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More People Call To End Obama’s Presidential Library

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(Via Washington Examiner)

The Obama Foundation released plans last week for the presidential center it plans to build in Chicago’s Jackson Park, but behind the scenes, a battle is taking place to keep the former Democratic president from building on that specific lot of land, and there’s still a chance that it gets delayed when it seeks federal approval.

What initially started out as a library has morphed into a 20-acre private “center,” and some environmentalists and historians are unhappy with the Obama Foundation’s plans to swoop in and take over a national historic place.

The Obama Foundation originally said it would house a presidential library on the property and vowed to have the National Archives oversee the facility because of its placement on public land. But that’s no longer the case, and some are balking at the change in plans.

[Obama Foundation’s presidential center will include sledding hill, Women’s Garden, sports center]

“Here’s our bottom line. If the Obama Foundation wishes to construct this center on Chicago’s South Side, that’s fine, but not on parkland held in public trust. The University of Chicago, which orchestrated the winning bid for the project, has plenty of land on the South Side that they could and should use. Instead, they’ve been adamant since day one that they must have historic public parkland for the purpose,” Charles Birnbaum, president and founder of D.C.-based nonprofit, the Cultural Landscape Foundation, told the Washington Examiner in a written statement Saturday.

The foundation is not alone. The group is working alongside a number of others, including Friends of the Parks, Jackson Park Watch, Openlands, National Association for Olmsted Parks, Save the Midway, Landmarks Illinois, and Preservation Chicago, all of whom have raised concerns about the project.

In addition, 200 faculty members from Obama’s former employer, the University of Chicago, issued a formal letter last Monday stating its opposition to the presidential center being built at this location.

As a first step, the center’s proposal must be approved by Chicago’s planning department and the city council. That process is not expected to sit any snags, as Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is Chicago’s mayor.

“If past is prologue, municipal officials will rubber-stamp their approvals,” Birnbaum said.

But the federal process will be more complicated, and that’s where Birnbaum’s argument becomes especially relevant.

The Obama Foundation will have to get approval from the Environmental Protection Agency under the National Environmental Policy Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. A spokesperson for Birnbaum’s group said it is difficult to predict how the Trump administration’s EPA will handle it.

The first verification process will determine if the Obama Presidential Center would have “adverse effects” on Jackson Park. The State Historic Preservation Office will ask “official consulting parties” to provide opinions.

“This will play out over 2018 and involve several meetings of the ‘official consulting parties’ along with extensive written input from those parties,” Birnbaum explained in an email. “A determination could be made that this are no adverse effects and the OPC would proceed (highly unlikely); a determination could be made that there are adverse effects and a process of mitigation could be developed and approved by all of the consulting parties in a formal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA); a determination could be made that there are adverse effects, but the consulting parties don’t agree on mitigation, then this would likely end in litigation.”

From the perspective of the landscape foundation, Jackson Park and the surrounding parklands are quintessential examples of historic property.

“This isn’t just any public open space; this is historic parkland originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., and Calvert Vaux (of New York’s Central Park fame),” the organization’s website states. The park system was designed in 1871, and Olmsted wrote in 1895 that the Museum of Science and Industry was intended to be the only “dominating object of interest” in the park.

In 2012, Jackson Park was at the center of another Section 106 compliance review, and officials decided it should not be touched.

“As currently designed, the park retains a great deal of its integrity. While some of the original features have been modified, or removed, the remaining defining characteristics such as the overall plan … depicted on the 1905 map must be respected,” the document stated.

The foundation is expected to spend much of this year engaged in federal-related approval processes. The Chicago City Council will take up the issue this week.

Meanwhile, Obama’s team last week released more information about the center it hopes to open soon. In July 2016, the Obamas announced the selection of Jackson Park, a 500-acre park on Chicago’s South Side next to the University of Chicago, as their preferred site for his presidential library.

The spot is near the Museum of Science and Industry, Lake Michigan and the eastern edge of the university campus, where Obama used to teach constitutional law. The location is also near Woodlawn, a low-income black neighborhood that recently has begun to gentrify. The Obamas are longtime Chicago residents, and sought a part of their hometown that needed revitalization but could also benefit from the addition.

This week, the Obama Foundation shared dozens of changes to its proposal, including road closures within the park, a revamping of the picturesque landscaping, and a newly designed main building would stretch 23 stories high at 235 feet tall.

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News flash! Women’s Lives Now More Than Bearable

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This is a contentious time for feminism. In the age of #MeToo, Time’s Up, and the Weinstein effect, just a few of the many products of the fourth-wave feminist movement, women are continuing to push forward a certain narrative about men and the Western culture’s effect on women in general. It seems as if the conversation surrounding women and gender equality has seeped into virtually every realm of life: politics, culture, religion, and even medicine and technology. Fourth-wave feminists are expressing their distrust in men in many ways…celebrities are calling out sexual predators in front of public audiences, politicians are using sexual assault as a political tool, and students are marching and demonstrating. Corporations, eager to jump on the “let’s make a political statement” bandwagon, are even using sexual assault as a marketing tool, spouting controversial messages about toxic masculinity and the like. A prime example is the recent Gillette ad, which garnered more than 19 million views on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Many women are also writing about feminism. One example of this is an article, written last year in celebration of International Women’s Day, that has been circulating on social media for the past few months. The article, entitled “100 Easy Ways to Make Women’s Lives More Bearable” and authored by Dani Beckett, has been shared more than 300,000 times since its publication in March 2018. While we would not exactly call it “viral,” it is no secret that the article’s contents are becoming increasingly normalized, currently believed by a meaningful number of female millenials. Beckett’s article was published in Broadly, a subset of Vice Media, a digital media and broadcasting company that launched Vice, the Canadian-American print magazine that gave rise to Broadly. Broadly, a heavily leftist channel catering to women and designed to “provide a space for us to understand, express, and navigate our identities as we define who we are and where we’re headed next,” has quite a solid readership.

After I kept encountering the article on Facebook for several months, I figured it was probably worth a read, but before reading it, I could not help but linger on the title. How to make women’s lives more…bearable? Bearable means tolerable, able to be endured, not even touching the realm of pleasurable or happy. The title implies that women in this country are struggling so much that someone desperately needs to make their lives “more bearable.” In a country where the vast majority of workplace fatalities befall men, the chief victims of non-fatal violence are men, men make up three quarters of all murder victims, women are outperforming men at all levels of education (they even outnumber men at most medical schools), women win custody battles, and women legally win half the earnings and belongings in a household, apparently women’s lives are not yet bearable enough. I was confused, but intrigued, and proceeded to make my way down the long list of male-targeted demands, some of which are too good not to highlight.

The article is written in an incredibly patronizing tone, as if men in America need to be taught that forcing sex upon a woman is probably not a good idea, as if they apparently grew up in a society that conditioned them to rape. The first item on Beckett’s list is, “Before explaining something to a woman, ask yourself if she might already understand. She may know more about it than you do.” Well, is that not general logical advice for anyone? I know the point is to call men out for supposedly always trying to explain things to a woman, but if you are versed in the basic tenets of communication, then it must be the case that you know not to prematurely lecture someone on a topic you suspect they are already well-versed in, regardless of their gender. And let us suppose this is not the case and you have a habit of being didactical when not needed. Well, then this advice should certainly go for everyone, not just men. The point is, gender has nothing to do with it. There is no evidence that men are somehow more likely than women to try to explain something to women, simply because they are women, before considering whether those women might actually understand the topic. Fourth-wave feminists are pushing the narrative that men inherently feel entitled and better than women, so they feel it necessary to always explain things to a woman without thinking if she might already understand. It is a dangerous and baseless narrative to push forward. While it was certainly true fifty years ago when male professors would not even call on their female students in lecture, today, men DO listen to women, whether they like it or not. By virtue of the professional empowerment of women, which has become normalized in Western society, men listen to women explain things to them every single day. Consider this: women now hold 49% of total faculty positions in American colleges and universities. Women lecture, and men listen.

Beckett then states, “Related: Never, ever try to explain feminism to a woman.” Well, what if she’s wrong? Beckett would tell you, “Trust women. When they teach you something, do not feel the need to go and check for yourself. And especially do not Google it in front of them.” So, if she’s wrong, it doesn’t matter. No one cares about facts anyway. Women are so privileged that they now also have the right to be wrong and to lie without getting called out. This is an important reminder of “Believe all women,” the Left’s mantra during the infamous Kavanaugh controversy. If you feel the need to check something JUST because the person who explained it to you is a woman, then maybe you need to treat your misogyny and perhaps Beckett’s list is actually for you. But we live in a society where women are leaders in every sphere – politics, business, medicine, science, the law. At this point, men get it. The need to overpower women, of which remnants will perhaps always exist, has largely dissipated through the years as evidenced by the fact that women now control 60% of the wealth in the United States, for example. If men are such misogynists, why are they collectively not fighting tooth and nail to tear down successful women? Certainly some are, but it’s virtually impossible to prove patriarchy-enforcing men outnumber matriarchy-enforcing women. Instead of acknowledging that, fourth-wave feminists are resorting to feelings, as opposed to facts, to craft their man-hating narrative. What’s more, they are lowering their standards for women.

Clearly, men and women are different, no matter what radical feminists want you to believe. But even though they are different, every society is founded upon a standard set of basic principles and values that every human, regardless of identity, should be obligated to follow in order to preserve civility. Lying does not all of a sudden become okay for a woman if it’s not okay for a man because women should not get special privileges. That is why Dani Beckett is also mistaken in suggesting “Be kind to women in customer service positions. Tip them extra.” Because they are a woman? This sentiment points directly to the pinnacle of feminists’ hypocrisy. Feminists want women to be treated equally, which naturally entails holding them to the same standards as men. Regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, if you don’t do your job well, then you should not be tipped extra. Regardless of whether you are a woman or a man, your customers should be nice to you if you do your job well because that’s the right thing to do.

Next on Beckett’s list is a whole compilation of demands centered around how to describe women. She states, “Examine your language when talking about women. Get rid of ‘irrational, dramatic, bossy, and badgering immediately.” This implies that women cannot be any of these things, which they most certainly can. Or perhaps it implies that they can be some or all of these things but they should not be called out for it, which once again, means that according to Beckett, we should hold women to a lower standard. Let’s be clear, women should not get free passes just because they are women and their ancestors have suffered through years of misogyny and oppression. If feminists want true equality, then they should not be cutting women slack and lowering their standards for women out of pity. Women are perfectly capable of meeting those standards. Pushing forward women’s rights legislation should not be done out of a need to prop up identity politics. Women deserve equal rights not because they are women, but because they are humans.

If that was not enough, Beckett certainly has more! “Never comment on a woman’s body,” she says. When describing women positively, men should say she is “talented,” “clever” or “funny,” but not “gorgeous” “sweet” or “cute.” Men also cannot call her unique, and “unlike other girls” because all girls are awesome. Long gone are the days when it was flattering for a woman to be told she has a nice physical appearance. And long gone are the days when men were allowed to make their physical attraction, the very basis of biological reproduction, known to women. I am assuming Beckett wants men to assign more value to women than their physical appearance, which is understandable, but assigning more value to personality and assigning some value to physical appearance are not mutually exclusive acts. A 2017 study published in Evolutionary Psychological Science found that most women are likely to choose physical attractiveness over personality and intelligence in potential partners. For a group of people who supposedly hate double standards, fourth-wave feminists sure do love double standards.

And now we arrive at the scariest portion of Beckett’s list: the postgenderism demands. Beckett states, “If you read stories to a child, swap the genders. Cast women in parts written for men. We know how to rule kingdoms, go to war, be, not be, and wait for Godot.” Right, and that is exactly why the parts of Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, Daenerys Targaryen, Mulan, and many, many more have been written. To show that women can indeed rule kingdoms, go to war, and do pretty much anything. Fourth-wave feminists are called “fourth-wave” because they are not the first. The women of the past have already proven that women are powerful and can rule kingdoms. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel by going to extreme measures (i.e. swapping genders) to show something that everyone, barring exceptions, already knows. Perhaps, then, the point of swapping genders is not so much to normalize powerful, masculine women. It is, in fact, to get rid of gender roles altogether. My prediction is that postgenderism will pave the way for fifth-wave feminism.

So why is one article like this one so important? It’s maybe just the opinion of one woman. Except it’s not. Between 70 and 80 percent of college women currently identify as feminists. The contents of Beckett’s article are at least somewhat representative of the mentality of young women in America today, even if some shy away from the label “feminist.” I fear that this association we have started to develop between feminism and fourth-wave values, some of which are exemplified in this article, will only become stronger until, eventually, first and second-wave feminists are shut out entirely. Women who are pro-life are shut out entirely. Women who want other women to be held accountable are shunned and considered anti-feminist. Criticizing obesity, pointing to false allegations of sexual assault, challenging the misconceptions surrounding the pay gap, holding conservative views about female sexuality, and acknowledging core differences between men and women will become wholly incompatible with any definition of feminism. Women should be encouraged to be strong, not feed their victimization complexes. Women should be encouraged to listen to other women, even if they disagree. Fourth-wave feminist indoctrination should not be something we stand for if we want to actually help gender equality.

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Politics

Trump to Enact Massive Change to Prescription Drug Pricing, Sources Say

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President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar before announcing a plan to overhaul how Medicare pays for certain drugs during a speech at HHS headquarters October 25, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration late Thursday afternoon proposed an effort to increase transparency  when it comes to prescription drug pricing by cutting the widely used practice of middlemen — one of the major cost-drivers of drug prices.

President Donald Trump is strongly considering signing an executive order to do just that, according to four people inside the administration who asked for their identities to be withheld for various reasons.

The executive order which has already been drafted by White House counsel Pat Cipollone, would allow manufacturers of drugs to offer discounted pricing to customers, but would legally, stop them from giving rebates to pharmacy benefit managers.

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Politics

“If you can’t manage a campaign, how do you manage the country?”: Chuck Todd schools Bernie Sanders

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In a segment Thursday on MSNBC, network host Chuck Todd slammed Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders for allowing sexual misconduct to occur inside his 2016 presidential campaign.

“Could this derail his chances of another presidential bid,” host Chuck Todd wondered before playing a video clip.

“Boy, that is a tough answer to defend of course,” Todd said referring to Sanders telling CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview that he didn’t know about ongoing sexual misconduct because he was “a little busy running around the country trying to…make the case.”

“Because if you’re running to be president of the United States…if you can’t manage your campaign, how do you manage the country,” Todd continued. “No potential 2020 candidates had a worse start to 2019 than Bernie Sanders”

WATCH:

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