First up today, as we await whatever madness will come during tonight's Presidential address to a joint session of Congress, Donald Trump's Dept. of Justice makes it official and flips its position on the case against Texas' racially discriminatory Photo ID voting restriction law.
Also, another wave of bomb threats are issued against dozens of Jewish Community Centers and schools across the country this week. And nearly a full week goes by before the White House offers any comment at all on the triple shooting in Olathe, Kansas, where the suspect is said to have shouted "Get out of my country!" before opening fire on two engineers from India --- both men in the country for years on legal work visas --- because he reportedly believed they were Iranians here illegally. Do you suppose that tragic story would have received more attention from both the U.S. media and the White House had the shooter been a Muslim man shouting "Allahu Akbar!" before opening fire in the same crowded bar?
Then, we're joined by Dr. Vaile Wright, Director of Research and Special Projects at the American Psychological Association (APA), to discuss the group's new two-part survey [PDF] finding, for the first time in their "Stress in America" study's history, a notable up-tick in stress among Americans of all political persuasions in the wake of last year's election.
Wright breaks down which demographic groups are most likely to be suffering from what is now being called "Post-Election Stress Disorder"; how Trump's rhetoric against immigrants has serious consequences ("Words absolutely matter," Wright says); how social media and mobile devices seems to be making us all more stressed, depressed and angry; and what you can do if you are among the now-majority of the nation feeling overwhelmed by the constant and disturbing barrage of troubling news.
"Some of the things that have happened, post-inauguration, have had pretty swift and real consequences," Wright explains, while detailing a long list. In the meantime, she notes, "You've got a news media that is 24/7. You've got social media that is nearly constant for those who use it, where they refresh their feed over and over again. And you get to this information overload, where basically it's hard to separate out truth from non-truth, and it just increases everybody's anxiety level." Tell me 'bout it. But it's somehow comforting, nonetheless, to have some empirical statistics to demonstrate that this nightmare is more than just our collective imagination.
Finally, we close with a bit of encouraging news, as a new poll finds some two-thirds of Americans do not want to see the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare") completely dismantled. Moreover, huge majorities in the survey now, in fact, support the landmark legislation's key provisions, even as Congressional Republicans struggle to find a plan to "repeal and replace" it, and Trump declares: "Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated!" Really, Mr. President?...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)