I watched the Apollo 11 moon landing on TV as a kid (on a black and white television). But this is NOT in the recent film, “First Man,” a biopic about astronaut Neil Armstrong.


Plastic Water Bottle Floating in Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica, California, USA

Surprise!  Only a little comes from the US.  A majority of the plastic waste in our oceans comes from China and nearby Asian countries.  Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan each throw more garbage into the waters than we do.  So does the European Union.  The US accounts for less than 1% of the plastic waste in the ocean.  (Banning straws in California isn’t really going to make much difference.)  You can read the dirty details here.



Here is a very depressing chart correlating the cost of education with the performance of students:

Of course, it’s no surprise that the cost of education has increased.  (I don’t like it, but what are you going to do?)  But look at performance.  No significant improvement in reading and math, and science got worse!  Whatever the problem with public education is, it isn’t more spending needed.  As Conservatives often suggest, throwing money at a problem doesn’t solve it.  It may make it worse.

(If you’d like a nice breakdown of educational costs, national and by state, here is an easy-to-read summary  by The Room 241 Team at Concordia University.)


While Congress has been unable to “overhaul” or end the ironically named Affordable Care Act, there have been some significant changes in the favor of patients.  The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a provision reducing the penalty under ACA for not purchasing “qualifying” health insurance to $0 beginning in January 2019.  A new Department of Labor rule permits small businesses and self-employed individuals to partner together to purchase coverage through “association health plans” or AHPs exempt from many Obamacare’s mandates.  Another new rule will allow short-term insurance coverage that’s cheaper and less comprehensive than Obamacare plans.  Beginning in 2019, these plans can be extended for 36 months.  While not a comprehensive fix of the Obamacare mess, this is a good start.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.

Yanan Wang, of the Associated Press, has an excellent article detailing personal stories of recent persecution of Christians in China.   Required registration with the government, constant surveillance, and destruction of church property by government officials are just some of the consequences faced by religious citizens.  Read more here.

You can read the US State Department profile of China in the International Religious Freedom Report of 2017  here:  http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?year=2017&dlid=280814