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You Oughta Know - Writing on the Wall

Writing on the Wall

The wall between Mexico and the United States is a terrible idea; I hope we can agree on that. If not, let the math persuade you. There are estimates (Backup Source) that the wall could cost up to $25 billion due to fluctuations in material costs, cost of labor, and land acquisitions, with an additional approximately $700 million in maintenance costs annually. Those numbers are just for the wall itself, not staffing and other “incidentals” like unpredictable, climate-change-based weather patterns. Meanwhile, “in 2010, Republicans tried to shut down healthcare for 9/11 first responders because the $8.4 billion price tag was ‘fiscally irresponsible’”. -Joel Pavelski (Source) (Backup Source)

UPDATE: Science says the wall will be costly in a very different and more terrifying way.

A Convenient Truth about the Climate Change Summit

Yesterday, I linked to the fact that the CDC canceled the Climate and Health Summit which was to take place in February. Then, news broke that a collection of organizations, including former Vice President and climate action advocate Al Gore, had taken up the mantel and the summit is back on. From the Washington Post:

The meeting now planned for Feb. 16 will take place outside of any government circles. Rather than at CDC, it will be held at the nonprofit Carter Center in Atlanta. It will be a one-day event rather than the three days originally planned. Its sponsors now include nongovernmental groups such as the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Turner Foundation and the Climate Reality Project, an education and advocacy group founded by Gore. Organizers say they are aiming to attract as many as 200 attendees from around the country to talk about the mounting risks to human health posed by climate change.

Rogue Nation

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for open government and accountability through the use of modern technologies, notes a list of Federal Government Agencies who were directed not to communicate directly with the public. Though some of the affected departments have been reauthorized to speak openly for now, such as the USDA, the list appears to be updated often and may be one to keep an eye on for awhile. The list includes multiple data sources where necessary.

In the meantime, a few muzzled agencies have setup alternative measures to circumvent the ban, see @AltNatParkSer and @RogueNASA for just two such accounts.

Those Emails

There is a lot of contention regarding the use of twitter by the president, but now there are security concerns involved as well. The president has decided—against the requests of his advisors—to continue to use his personal, unsecured Android phone, his press secretary tweeted out his Twitter password not once but twice, and both of these government officials had their twitter accounts registered with unsecured, personal Gmail addresses(Backup Source). (UPDATE: This appears to have been fixed on both accounts, but the problem did exist.) These pieces may not seem like a big deal to those who are willing to give the president all of the passes, but should be terrifying to everyone. Not only does this mean that official White House business is being conducted via private, unsecured Gmail accounts, this means that any claims that Hillary Clinton’s emails were a good reason not to vote for her are completely invalid.

John Morrison says it best: “’The cyber’ is so hard you guys.”

Awesome Woman of the Day

Yesteday’s Google Doodle commemorated the 125th birthday of Bessie Coleman, an American civil aviator. She was the first woman of African American and Native American descent to hold a pilot license. Also, she lived in Chicago for a time. Awesome!

If You Watch One Video

Speaking of awesome women and the Women’s March, check out this amazing group of women who got together to sing and were features on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. The song gave me chills.