It’s Friday and it’s Cinco de Mayo! Please celebrate safely on both fronts. Here are the 5 things you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.
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1. Health care
The Republicans’ new health care bill went from being on life support just days ago to dancing down the halls after 217 GOP voters pushed the bill through the House. Now it’s on to the Senate, where more challenges and drama most certainly await.
It’s a big win for Trump and the Republicans who supported the bill. Democrats were livid and taunted “yea” voters, whom they now see as sitting ducks in the 2018 mid-term elections.
As far as the actual “health” and “care” parts of the bill go, critics are concerned about coverage for the very long list of pre-existing conditions, which could include things like rape and domestic violence. In short: The young, healthy and middle/upper class may benefit from the bill. Lower income, older, and less healthy Americans may face challenges.
2. Religious freedom
Trump signed an executive order on religious liberty that, in theory, allows churches and other religious organizations to become more politically active. The idea is, the IRS cannot punish such organizations for political actions that stop short of endorsing a candidate. However, it’s something many religious leaders and groups already do without fear of punishment.
While a top Evangelical Christian leader called the order “more symbolic than substantive,” it still angered LGBT groups because of its implications. Trump’s remarks about it also confused military members because he implied they have been kept from receiving religious items at military hospitals. They haven’t been. The claim seems to stem from a misunderstanding of a 2011 policy at a military hospital that was meant to keep patients from receiving unwanted items from unauthorized visitors, including religious groups.
3. French election
On Sunday, French voters will pick a new president in a runoff election. Their choice comes down to far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron. So far, the markets — and a fiery final debate between the two candidates — have favored Macron. But we know not to count political chickens before they hatch.
The election could represent a sea change in Europe. It’s widely understood that a Macron win would stave off the rising tide of far-right nationalism, while a Le Pen win would feed it. It’s no surprise former President Barack Obama and other liberal world leaders have thrown their weight behind Macron.
4. Hillary Clinton
Speaking of liberal world leaders, Hillary Clinton will soon launch a political organization aimed at funding “resistance” groups that are standing up to President Trump. The organization will be called Onward Together and will identify small activist groups whose work could benefit from funding.
Clinton just re-entered the fray after her 2016 election loss, but she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that she is “back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance.”
Russia, Turkey and Iran have agreed to create four de-escalation zones in Syria in the latest effort to resolve the war-torn country’s six-year conflict. Maps demarcating the areas reportedly will be completed near the end of May. De-escalation zones, or “safe zones,” are meant to be places civilians can live without being targeted by any party in Syria’s war. However, key issues include whether and how the zones would be enforced.
People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
University awards posthumous aeronautics degree to Trayvon Martin
Florida Memorial University’s honor highlights the slain teen’s love of flying.
Can baseball stadiums really ban you for life?
After some unsavory racial incidents recently, it’s a question worth asking.
Officer offers kindness after impoverished girl steals $2 shoes
Congrats, you’ve found today’s feel-good read.
KFC publishes romance novel featuring Colonel Sanders
No, no. It’s not THAT kind of feel-good read.
Gin recalled for having too much alcohol
Just a hunch, but they’re probably not going to get many returns.
What’s for lunch
The April jobs report is set to drop this morning
Experts are optimistic. Here’s what you need to know.
The Kentucky Derby is tomorrow
Time to muddle some mint and pretend we know about horse racing!
AND FINALLY …
7-year-old’s classmates just love her new prosthetic leg
Definitely didn’t cry like a baby at 4 a.m. while writing this caption. This sweet scene happened recently in Birmingham, England. (Click to view)