Archives January 2017

While Some Republicans Praise Trump’s EPA Nominee, Some Democrats Denounce Him

The Environmental Protection Agency became a political lightning rod under President Barack Obama. Now, the same organization that spent the last decade collecting plastic bag statistics showing that only 2% of plastic bags are actually recycled in the U.S., will soon be headed in a completely different direction. reports that President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is regarded by some environmentalists as “the worst nominee ever tapped to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” according to Rhea Suh, the president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which recently denounced Pruitt in a scathing statement.

Yet, at the same time, Republicans are celebrating Trump’s pick, who has promised to roll back regulations that many conservatives believe harm businesses.

“The EPA has not acted within the framework provided by Congress,” Pruitt said. “it’s Congress that gives those instruction to the EPA. EPA is an agency, not a legislative body.”

Pruitt has supporters in coal country politicians like West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, another government official who strongly supports Trump’s nomination for EPA administrator.

“I’ve been in the trenches with Scott,” Morrisey said. “I’ve witnessed his passion for the rule of law. I know that he is highly qualified for the position. He will also reinforce the EPA’s core mission and be a friend to the Mountain State.”

Pruitt, who has sued the EPA more than a dozen times as the Oklahoma attorney general, has clearly been one of the strongest critics of the agency over the years, along with Trump himself.

Although Pruitt disagrees with President Trump’s comments about global warming being a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, he still has strong reservations about climate change, despite the international scientific consensus behind man-made climate change.

“This is not a man that you want in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Suh. “Forget the language of the acronyms and crazy politics of Washington D.C., let’s [talk] about what it means to go to your tap, drink a glass of water, and know that it won’t position you. Because that’s what’s at stake.”

Pruitt still awaits confirmation to run the Agency.

Danish Hygge and Your Home — How to Bring the Idea of Nordic Comfort Into Your Home This Winter

Winter is in full force, and Americans nationwide are choosing to spend more time cuddling up in their homes. To fulfill their homes’ warm and toasty potential this winter, many Americans are looking to the Danish for some design inspiration.

Many aspects of Danish culture are based around the idea of hygge, which is the feeling associated with making living areas cozy and warm. Here are some interior designer-approved, up-and-coming hygge trends to implement for a snug home this wintertime.

Pay attention to the fireplace

The fireplace gets a lot of use in the wintertime, so it should not be forgotten when it comes to interior decorating. Use the mantle space to your advantage and spruce it up with some candles, garlands, and pieces of art for a supremely hygge-vibe.

Create a relaxation station

This trend is quite easy because it doesn’t require the homeowner to completely revamp their entire interior design. Setting up a relaxation station — think a cozy chaise lounge, plenty of blankets and pillows, and a bookshelf — will help anyone decompress and relax after a particularly stressful day.

Invest in a focal point

If your home does not have a large fireplace to gather around, then it is a good idea to invest in a piece of furniture that can be a focal point for the entire room. It can be anything from a sofa, an ornate coffee table, a stone accent wall, or a decked out television stand. Not only does this make sure the living room is welcoming, it will make you want to relax there more often and use your furniture pieces to their full potential. Plus, since furniture is usually the third most expensive thing a person will ever buy after their home and vehicle, it only makes sense to show it off with a functional focal point!

Invite the outdoors inside

Hygge was originally developed in order to recreate the snowy log cabins of the Danish countryside. To bring some elements of the outdoors into the living space, consider purchasing furniture items made of reclaimed wood, using earth-toned colors such as browns, olive greens, and grays, and incorporating wood paneled walls or ceilings.

FHA Cuts Insurance Fees, Makes Home Ownership Easier for Millennials

In an attempt to lower high interest rates, the Federal Housing Administration announced it will be decreasing the monthly insurance premiums homeowners pay on FHA mortgages.

The premiums will decrease 25 basis points, which is determined based on the value of one’s home. Currently, every homeowner with a FHA mortgage pays 0.85% premiums off the home’s worth, but this percentage will now drop down to 0.60%. This change is set to go into effect for those who purchase new FHA homes or refinance their mortgage on or after January 27, 2017.

For those with a standard, 30-year fixed rate mortgage of $200,000, this decrease will save about $500 a year. In total, the FHA predicts this reduction will target around one million buyers, and save current homeowners about half a billion dollars within 2017 alone.

The FHA sells insurance to those who conventionally wouldn’t get approved by traditional banks or credit unions. Since their rules only require a 3.5% down payment — compared to a standard 20% — more Millennials and first-time home buyers are able to manage the finances that come with owning a home. Plus, FHA also allows mortgages to be available to those with credit scores under

This is the second time the FHA has reduced costs on their insurance plans, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro explains that these cuts have only been made available because their Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund recovered from the housing crash in the late 2000s.

For first-time homeowners, this price cut is great news. Any amount of money they can save now is helpful, considering they will have to save up to spend on home repairs in the future. ON average, a homeowner can expect to spend between 1-4% of a home’s value annually on maintenance and repairs.

“It’s time the FHA passed along some modest savings to working families,” Castro explains to Bloomberg.