The roll out of the Affordable Care Act has been anything but efficient. In a speech earlier today President Obama used the phrase “fumbled the ball” four separate times. While there has been a good deal of obstructionism that has gone on since the legislation was passed in March of 2010, there have been significant mistakes made by the Obama Administration since the healthcare.gov website went live on October 1st.
As long as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the President of Iran, nothing was ever going to happen with the Iranian nuclear program, no matter what the international community tried. He wouldn’t even talk to the United States for the most part. As a result, the rhetoric surrounding the Iranian nuclear program got more and more explosive while the chance of any agreement seemed to plummet. In spite of all of this, Iran is meeting with the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China over it’s nuclear program in Geneva right now.
So I wanted to write about politics today but my political mind was literally just going “OMG the shutdown is stupid,” so I’m gonna do a quick preview of the MLB playoffs instead because that is less sad (except the Twins are bad so yeah).
On March 23rd, 2010, one of the most controversial bills of recent history was signed into law by President Barack Obama – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). Regardless of how you feel about the legislation, it is about to become a reality. I remember reading the bill when it first came out, and I was extremely confused by the over 1,000 page monstrosity. So, I figured I would take the time to try to explain this health care overhaul in as simple of terms as is possible, so people can understand what is changing in an extremely important field.
With all the hullabaloo about Syria and Egypt and Syria going on, I realized I haven’t written about anything that has gone on here in the United States. So how’s this: “The US government is most likely going to shut down in two weeks.” Do I have your attention yet? Good.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have written a couple articles about what has been going on in Syria and what I think we should do there. I have been asked countless questions about it over that time frame as well. A good deal of my answers have came down to one basic principle: “let’s wait and see what the UN report has to say.” I no longer have that to fall back on as my stock answer for the Syrian situation, so let’s take a look at the major parts of this UN report, and see what it means in the grand scheme of things.
The crisis in Syria is not nearly all about the rebel groups versus the Assad regime. Many people have been forced to flee the country since the outset of the crisis – estimates are as high as 2 million people have became refugees, and over 1/3 of the population has been uprooted, including internal displacements. The vast majority of them have fled to relatively stable countries – such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. The group of refugees that has gone through the most is undoubtedly the 4th largest group – those that have fled to Egypt.
With Congress returning to session today, the biggest boiling point they will be facing in the short term is that of Syria. President Obama and his Administration have been calling for Congress to authorize military action against Syria as a result of the chemical weapons that Syria has allegedly used against the rebel groups. Now on Wednesday a test vote is scheduled on a resolution to take military action there. This military action would be limited to strikes against the Assad regime’s access to chemical weapons.
Two years ago, the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daichi went critical as a result of getting hit by both a strong earthquake and a tsunami. As everyone started freaking out about the radiation coming from the plant itself out into the atmosphere (a overblown concern), another issue has been slowly developing that is starting to manifest itself into a much bigger concern. Namely, the coolant water that was used to help contain the meltdown becoming radioactive (which was expected) has been steadily seeping out into the ocean (not expected).
According to Japan’s nuclear watchdog group:
highly radioactive water from the now-destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant has leaked into the ocean through an underground barrier and is now quickly rising towards the surface… the toxic water has caused the ocean to exceed levels far above the legal radioactive limit.
At this point, there is no evidence it has had an impact on the water used everyday in Japan and neighboring areas. This could change if nothing significant is done to contain this issue.