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A new bill would make 2-year colleges debt free. Here's how it would work.

College is expensive. Congress has two very different ideas on how to handle that.

On July 24, House Democrats unveiled the Aim Higher Act, a proposal that would allow people to attend a two-year community college debt-free.

“We want a world where parents do not have to choose between college for their kids or paying the rent,” said Rep. Susan Davis (D-California).


Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

In short, the proposal would force states and the federal government to work together, simplifying the application process for financial aid, increasing funding for Pell grants, improving protections against predatory lenders, and increasing outreach to underserved communities like Native Americans.

Democrats say their proposal is a response to a competing bill from House Republicans called the PROSPER Act, which also seeks to simplify the financial aid process but would also cut federal funding for at least two major aid programs by $15 billion over the next decade. It came about one day after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed cutting back debt relief options for students who have been defrauded by predatory lenders.

Political observers say the Aim Higher Act isn’t likely to make serious progress in the current session of Congress. So, why did Democrats even propose it?

Congress is up for grabs in November 2018, and we’re starting to see what Democrats would do if they win control.

Historically, the party that wins the White House usually loses seats in Congress during the next midterm election. And with President Donald Trump’s low-approval ratings, there’s a lot of talk about Democrats potentially taking control of the House, though the Senate is still considered a long shot.

In light of that, a potential Democratic agenda is slowly starting to take shape. Along with the Aim Higher Act, Democrats in Congress recently launched the "Medicare for All" caucus committed to a proposal that would essentially replace Obamacare with universal health care. It already has 70 members and a formal proposal with official support from 120 Democrats in Congress.

“It’s an opportunity for us,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) said. “There has never been a coordinated effort to share information around the prospect of ‘Medicare for All.’ This is historic.”

That doesn’t mean either of those bills will ever become law. Trump is still president and has threatened to veto any universal health care bills Congress sends to him.

But if power in Congress is split after the 2018 midterms, it’s likely Democrats and Republicans will be under pressure to work together to get legislation passed. At the very least, voters are starting to get a clearer picture of what their vote in November could actually mean.

The issue of high cost higher education is just one of the issues that both sides agree needs a solution.

Democrats and Republicans may not agree on the answer but there seems to at least be a near consensus about the problem.

Offering solutions that lift up those in need is something our government should be doing more of, and these kinds of policy moves are giving people something to vote for instead of just another thing to vote against.

Surrendered mama dog reunited with puppies after she refused to leave the corner.

People surrender animals to Humane Societies for all kinds of reasons, but many do it because they don't feel like they can properly care for their animals anymore. It could be that they have to move to a home that doesn't allow pets or they lost a job, making caring for an animal difficult.

Two small dogs were surrendered to Marin Humane Society in Novato, California and the female had recently given birth to puppies. It's not clear if the previous owners felt like they couldn't care for both the older dogs and the puppies so they just kept the puppies, or if something else prompted the drop-off.

Either way, this mama dog was in distress after being left at the shelter without her babies. She refused to leave the corner of the large kennel and just looked so sad. The employees felt for the sweet mama dog and decided to do some detective work to see if they could figure out where the puppies were located.

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This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

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The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

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This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Because you're a girl.

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I was promoted a few weeks ago, which was great. I got a lot of nice notes from friends, family, customers, partners, and random strangers, which was exciting.

But it wasn't long until a note came in saying, “Everyone knows you got the position because you're a girl." In spite of having a great week at a great company with great people whom I love, that still stung, because it's not the first time I've heard it.

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Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

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On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

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From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

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What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

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