Redneck rethink: There's a group of self-proclaimed "rednecks" who say they are pro-gun and pro-labor, and not racist. The organization, Redneck Revolt, is trying to swing the pendulum of right-wing populism in the opposite direction away from Trump and MAGA trolls. According to their site, Redneck Revolt is made up of working-class whites who are also committed to anti-racist and anti-fascist principles. We'll take a wait and see approach for now, but interesting to see how this one comes together.
American Health Care in Limbo: The GOP's Senate bill had a rough week, but Republican leaders seemed determined to keep pushing for overhauling the country's health care one way or the other. The big unknown is what they want a new system to look like. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently reported that, if passed, the GOP's latest bill would reduce federal deficits by $420 billion and increase the number of uninsured Americans by 22 million in 2026, compared to Obamacare. Tensions are high in congressional offices with active protests turning into a daily thing and the only thing that is really certain is that heated debates will continue. VICE Impact wants to hear what you think about America's health care future. Tweet us your thoughts @viceimpact.
We Need to Do a Better Job of Addressing Mental Health: Yesterday brought sad news that Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington took his own life. His passing brings attention to the grim reality of the stigma around suicide, and the lack of adequate resources given to addressing a very immediate public health issue. In the United States, men die by suicide 3.5 times more than women, and suicide is the tenth leading cause of death. Learn more about suicide prevention resources here.
Bad Sign for Democracy: On Thursday, the Polish parliament decided to overhaul its Supreme Court and put it under their control. All the judges, excluding those favored by Polish President Andrzej Duda, were removed from their positions. People have taken to the streets in protest to demand an autonomous judiciary branch. The EU may step in, but as of now they have not taken any action on the issue. This is yet another instance of the far-right ruling party in Poland consolidating power and stripping the nation of liberties in the name of traditional values.
Revved up East Coast Corridor: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk announced yesterday that the government has given him permission to build a hyperloop from Washington DC to New York City. Currently, it takes about five hours to travel the distance by car, three hours by train and a little over an hour by plane. Musk promises his hyperloop could travel the distance in as little as 30 minutes. Although he allegedly has government approval, a date for construction is still to be determined.
Afghan Robotics, Not Terrorists: An all-female Afghan robotics team competed in the FIRST Global Challenge after being denied one-week US visas, twice. The Trump administration eventually allowed the girls entry into the country and the team of six traveled to Washington DC for the competition. The US State Department will not comment on why the girls were originally rejected, but it appears that the team was refused due to the recent controversy around Trump's immigration policy.