Monday, November 20, 2017

25 Muslim Uighur Inmates Escape From Thai Jail


25 inmates of Muslim descent escaped from Thai Prison. The 20 (5 were later caught) inmates were among a group of 200 Uighur that escaped from Xinjiang, China. All inmates left their home alleging China of oppressing them, in which China denies. However, China labels the Uighur people as illegal immigrants. China believes that terrorism runs rampant in the Uighur race. Over the years, many have tried to escape and join terrorist organizations in Turkey and Afghanistan. The escaped inmates escaped through digging through the walls with tiles, using the heavy rain to hide the noise. All escapees held no passport or identification papers. Both Turkey and China claim the escapees as citizens of their respective country.

I believe that the Thai authority should be the ones to blame for this. Since the 200 inmates were detained since 2014, it has been 3 years and still the Thai government has not yet made a decision on deporting them back to China, where they may or may not be executed or jailed, or granting them asylum and allowing them to become Thai citizens. However, if they are indeed oppressed by the ethnic Han/Chinese, their pleas for asylum should be granted. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Border Patrol Agent Killed In Texas In What A Senator Calls An Attack

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Two border patrol agents were reportedly attacked on Saturday, November 18th, while on patrol in Southwest Texas. While reporting to activity near the US-Mexico border, the partner of the agent who was killed said that they were both injured. However, they did not specify what happened or who was responsible. Officials will not release any details of this event. The agents were patrolling near interstate 10. Senator of Texas, Ted Cruz, believes that this was an attack. The FBI believe that they will release more information on Monday regarding this case. After the incident, Border Patrol searched for any possible witnesses or suspects. On Sunday morning, Rogelio Martinez passed away in the hospital due to his injuries. President Trump tweeted, "We will seek out and bring justice to those responsible. We will, and must build The Wall." Do you think that Donald Trump has good reasons on building The Wall? 

In my opinion, I strongly DISAGREE with the claim that the United States should build a wall along the US-Mexico border. Our country consists of many different people including a lot of immigrants. America is called the "Land Of Opportunity" because we want to give others a chance if they don't have that in their country. However, this wall will take away people's ability to enter the US and take away their opportunities. Many people come to the US for education and work but this wall will take away these chances. Yes, two border patrol agents were assaulted but we still have no details on what actually happened. I do not believe this because their are so many more issues we need to worry about. Issues such as hurricane relief, Puerto Rico, solving issues with North Korea, and many more. Do you believe in Trump's claims about building a wall? Do you think that building a wall will help America? Do you think that it is right to take away people's ability to come into America from Mexico?

Trump's elephant trophy reversal comes as a surprise to administration employees, interest groups

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On Friday night, Trump announced the reversal of his decision to lift the ban on the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. He put the decision on hold amidst severe backlash and claimed he wants to review conservation facts. Today, he tweeted that his decision would be announced next week and he hinted that the ban would stay in place, as he called the poaching of elephants a "horror show." I find it interesting that he initially called for the ban to be lifted, but only days later he is referring to the poaching of elephants with such negatively charged language. In my opinion, this indicates that he is pressured into certain decisions, especially since he announced the ban would be lifted before he did any research. Do you think his initial lifting of the ban has anything to do with the fact that his sons are big-game trophy hunters?

I don't think the ban should be lifted because elephants are listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. While regulated hunting can help conservation efforts, allowing the issuing of permits to import trophies into the United States will encourage the hunting of these animals and could potentially change their status from "threatened" to "endangered." Should the ban on the importation of elephant trophies be lifted? 

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Ousted By Own Party, Refuses To Step Down

ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe's governing party recently voted to bring an end President Robert Mugabe's 37 years of tyrannical rule. However, in an address on state television, rather than resigning, Mugabe stated that he will oversee a congress meeting in a few weeks, clearly demonstrating his desire to cling to his power and position.  This is in stark contrast to the peaceful transfer of power that George Washington ensured and has continued to be a cornerstone of US democracy. Worse yet, in my opinion the appointment of former vice president,  Emmerson Mnangagwa, to succeed Mugabe does not seem like much of a better path for Zimbabwe.  Mnangagwa, according to NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton's is "cut from the same cloth, the cloth that has seen Zimbabwe's economy tumble...So people shouldn't think of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who may come back and head an interim government, as being a savior for Zimbabwe - certainly not." I believe, considering how long Mugabe was able to stay in power, Mnangagwa could hold a tyrannical rule for a long time as well.

Why do you think Mugabe is refusing to step down? Do you think having Mnangagwa in power is going to positively benefit Zimbabwe's government? 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

An activist, a little girl and the heartbreaking origin of 'Me too'

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Actress Alyssa Milano originally tweeted "#metoo" during mid October, but according to this CNN report, it started long ago with the story of Tarana Burke. What do you think the significance of Milano sourcing Tarana Burke is? This movement is being done by women, and some men, all across the world talking about how they have been sexually harassed and or abused. Why is this movement so impactful to people today, and how do you think that this will affect our views on gender equality in the long term?

I thought it was really interesting to learn someone's personal story on why they decided to join the #metoo movement instead of only focusing on how they apply to the hashtag. Understanding why it started is an important puzzle-piece that I believe will help guide the world to understand what is going on and help to create a discussion about what we can do to make this problem less common.

How can someone at our status (student, teenager, etc) help to make a difference in society?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sheriff Suspended After Deputies Allegedly ‘Groped’ Students in Massive Drug Search

A Georgia sheriff by the name of Jeff Hobby (pictured above) groped students during a school drug search at Worth County High School in April, yet he suspended on November 6th by Governor Nathan Deal. On April 14, they had placed the high school on lockdown for 4 hours and forced students to stand with their legs and arms spread outward from their bodies, known as "eagle spread." The deputies groped students' breasts and genitals, as well as exposed some of their body parts. Hobby said that their searches were "legal" if a school administrator was present. Do you think Hobby had to right to search the students under the circumstances? In my opinion, Jeff Hobby did not have to right to search the students despite his social standing as a sheriff. He should be further punished than just having his job as a sheriff being taken away from him, there was no consent given to him by the underage students for the deputies to touching them in such a way. If not, do you think Hobby should receive a harsher punishment than just suspension from being a sheriff? Do you think that his social position had something to do with the punishment he received?

He has never tried a case, but Trump wants to make him judge for life

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President Trump nominated Brett Talley (pictured above) to be a federal judge for life in Alabama. Talley, who is 36 and has only practiced three years of law, hasn’t tried a case. This lack of experience puts into question whether or not he should be a judge. The president does make a good point in that the age of the judge is important in the long run, but I don’t think he should make that the reason to elect such young nominees, such as Talley. Experience is more important than age when giving such an important role to someone. Talley does claim to have “worked in all three branches of the federal government, ” and believes he is qualified to take on the task of being a judge. I, however, believe that he is not qualified to be a federal judge. I make this claim, not based off of my political views, but based off the actions of the president and the statements Talley makes (as stated previously). This position will allow him to judge cases for the next few decades, depending on how long he would serve. Talley needs more time in court to understand the title that the president wants him to take on. I’m not saying he isn’t qualified at all, I just don’t think he should be a judge with the experience he has now. But what do you think? Do you think Talley is qualified to be a federal judge? If so, why?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Men at Work Wonder if They Overstepped With Women, Too

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In the recent few weeks there has been a nationwide epidemic regarding workplace harassment among america’s working men. With the increasing amounts of sexual harassment experience cases many men who believe that they treat women as equals in the workplace are starting to rethink their own behavior and if they "have overstepped at work". Many offices have implemented safety precautions on the topic of sexual harassment, however, it was ineffective and workplace harassment is still widely underreported. I think because of these recent cases like Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin and Louis C.K. many women are starting to distrust men in general and men are also doubting their own past actions. I don't think it is fair for the men that believe women also should have equal rights, to also be grouped together by women as those who would sexually harass. Context seems to play a huge role in the topic of sexual harassment but i still believe there is no clear line between friendliness and sexual harassment, but how could we solve this problem? How would you define sexual harassment? Is there a unified definition? Do you think there should be a clear line? How so?

‘White Europe’: 60,000 nationalists march on Poland’s independence day

Polish nationalists light flares

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Protests on Poland’s Independence day were met with nationalist protesters, about 60,000 of them, calling for a “Pure Poland.” These demonstrators were also met “2,000 counter-demonstrators also took to the streets of central Warsaw to voice their outrage.” These protests seem eerily similar to the recent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville that turned violent. They also seem similar to racial segregation in where people were calling for these divisions in society based on race, a feeling of wanting to be separate. The thing that concerns me if that if these demonstrations are gaining more and more popularity, what will the future look like? I’m concerned that violence will continue to escalate. But at the same time, could this open up the conversation to listen to different opinions and viewpoints? This may have been a deep-rooted issue that now is being brought to the surface and needs to be addressed.

Why do you think protests, such as these, have gained more attention and support in recent years? Do you think protests are an effective ways for people to show their feelings? How should we respond to sentiments like these? What do you think needs to happen in order for the violence to lessen?

Where Self-Driving Cars Go to Learn

The primary reason why so many self-driving car companies have started operating out of Arizona is because of the lack of autonomous car regulations there. Although the abundance of tech companies relocating to Arizona has brought undeniable wealth to certain regions in Arizona, the effects are not all great. Governor Doug Ducey's lack of heed for safety and focus on the enticements of Silicon Valley have existed for the entire life of the Arizona autonomous vehicle boom. What began as his lack of action on clearly illegal Uber and Lyft practices around Superbowl 50 has been carefully worked into securing business deals that pay no attention to passenger privacy, cyber-attack prevention, and insurance for driverless cars. This brings us to see problems that have almost always existed in the industry to some extent. Where should the balance lean in the issue of ethics vs. developing successful technology? What type of regulations should be mandated to ensure public safety? Who should be held accountable for accidents between human drivers and driverless cars?     

Where Self-Driving Cars Go to Learn

Sunday, November 5, 2017

26 dead in shooting at church in Sutherland Springs, Texas

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Devin Kelley, a 26 year old man, was identified as the mass shooter responsible for taking the lives of 26 people, and wounding 20 more at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. He had a history of domestic violence against his wife and child, and was court martialed in 2012. He was resultantly discharged and demoted for bad conduct from the Air Force. Kelley was spotted around 11:20 am in tactical gear, and shortly opened fire with an assault-type rifle upon the Texas church and was later found dead in his car. His violent actions with an assault rifle took the lives of several innocent people who were peacefully praying in their place of worship, a place meant to be safe. Kelley's actions of mass violence beg the question: Are guns are too accessible in America? This horrific event calls for action. What steps do you think would be most effective in decreasing instances of gun violence? To what extent do you think think that gun regulation will prevent cases of violence? Also, do you believe that atheism and different religions create a significant divide in America, and if so what can be done to increase tolerance and awareness?

Talking about race in an era of Confederate statues, Black Lives Matter

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In an America that is becoming increasingly divided, it is encouraging to see communities coming together and discussing racial issues that are difficult to talk about. I think that discussing racial issues civilly will decrease the use of violence in America because as people begin to understand each other, they will be more inclined to make changes through the political system that lead to racial equality. This can be compared to the reconstruction era after the civil war when black people first began to have an influence in politics and freed slaves started to have more of a voice in social discussions. In Virginia, protests over confederate statues have inspired these conversations, but I think that it is important to discuss racial issues in all regions of the United States. What do you think of these polls? How do you think we can start and continue discussions about race in our community, and communities across the country?

3 dead after shooting at a Colorado Walmart, suspect arrested

Following the horrific manslaughters in New York and Las Vegas, the US faced another deadly killing, this time a shooting taking the lives of two men and one women. The suspect was taken into custody, but this incident once again brings up the gun control debate. The shooter, Scott Ostrem, has a history of financial problems and arrests, including bankruptcy, driving under the  influence, resisting arrest, police assault, and weapons charge. These charges go all the way back to 1990, and some were as recent as 2015. Personally, I believe that tightened security around buying weaponry would decrease mass shootings. Looking at the criminal records of someone and deeming them unfit to own a gun capable of murder could save lives in the future. The Second Amendment in the Constitution doesn’t have to be repealed in order to stop these attacks and other mass shootings, but more restrictive laws could improve the continuity of the killings. Do you think that the criminal records of someone should influence their ability to buy weapons? Will there ever be a way to truly limit gun violence, and are limitations necessary for the safety of US citizens?

There's An Immigration Gap In How Latinos Perceive Discrimination

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Contrary to popular belief, Latino immigrants perceive far less discrimination than their US-born children. According to nonimmigrants Valery Pozo and Karina Ramirez, they are subject to frequent discrimination. However, their immigrant mothers ignore the insensitive comments and place the blame on themselves, because it's "their fault that they didn't learn English". However, Sociologist Emilio Parrado states that nonimmigrants might experience increased discrimination because of their higher social standing in society, which could warrant increased suppression from those who want to remain in control (aka wealthy, educated, and employed white people). I believe that immigrants do experience the same amount of racism as their children, but that they blame themselves for not "properly adapting" to the American culture. This failure to adapt, in discriminator's minds, warrants rude and insensitive comments. As a result, the children of immigrants take offense to the comments, whereas the parents do not. Do you believe that children of immigrants really endure more discrimination than their parents? If not, do their parents suffer discrimination? Why or why not?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Former Trump Aides Charged as Prosecutes Reveal New Campaign Ties With Russia

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In this past week, President Donald Trump's former chief of campaign Paul Manafort, was indicted on charges of money laundering and tax fraud. In addition, investigators found evidence of two other individuals involved, partner Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos. Involvement with the Russians is well known between them and Manafort at this time. Although there is no evidence for involvement with Trumps campaign, Manafort has been known to be involved in many suspicious cases dating back into the 1980's political parties like Bill Clinton's.  Manafort pleads not guilty on the matter and awaits a trial. In my opinion, this is extremely shocking and questionable. This shines a whole new light on the Trump campaign and his win in the last presidential election. Now I wonder if he won fairly or not? Despite saying that there was no involvement in the Trump campaign, I still am suspicious and wish for a larger investigation on the his campaign. We designed our government trying to  avoid corruption like this recent event. What do u think? What does the indictment of Paul Manafort do to Trump's credibility? How do feel about Trump now, more suspicious or concerned? And in your opinion, how will this impact or nation as a whole?

8 dead in New York City truck attack; mayor calls it act of terror

On October 31st, an Uzbekistan man suspected of driving the rental truck into the bike path which resulted in the deaths of 8 people and 12 wounded people. The attack happened near the original World Trade Center where the terrorist attack of 9/11 took place.  Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed that this attack was a consequence of a terrorist attack, which I can agree with since this would be the second terrorist attack that NYC has experienced. A note was found in the rental truck that the suspect was driving, which referenced the terrorist group of ISIS and yelling "Allahu Akbar" meaning "God is great." The driver hit a school bus, a vehicle, pedestrians, foreign tourists, and bicyclists. The country of Belgium has spoken about the loss of one Belgian and the 3 wounded Belgians and the country of Argentina have spoken on the loss lives of the Argentine citizens. It is unjustifiable how innocent people were stripped from their lives by a man who had no reasons to do so but wanted to play the role of a villain by trying to reference the biggest terrorist group. What are your opinions? What should the U.S. do to prevent any future terrorist attacks?

Monday, October 30, 2017

How Australia's A$49bn internet network came to be ridiculed

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Australia is planning to stop the funding for the NBN project. This project has used up a lot of money and resources with very little positive outcomes. The project was launched before in 2007 and was suppose to be broadcasting internet all across Australia, with the help of two satellites. The progress of this project has done more harm than good for the internet speed. In 2013 Australia was ranked 30th on average internet speed, now it is ranked 50th. Also, with this project the amount of complaints about the internet rose 159% in the past year. I think that the idea of have this broadband internet for the entire country is a great idea, but this is till just an idea and they should end this project now before it takes up even more money and in fact create worse internet. The ideal part of this project is to get everyone in the country to have fast free wifi, but that is not the case for this. The internet is slow and is making the overall internet of the country slower, it costs a lot of money, and it is not available to everyone in the country. Do you think that the project should continue? If it were to stop and start over how do you think this project could improve the next time around? is this project worth it in the long run?

The Baseball Player Yuli Gurriel was suspended when he made a racial gesture during the world series
   Gurriel got suspended from games after he pulled the corner of his eyes wide out and apparently used derogatory terms to refer to the pitcher in Spanish according to Times News. Gurriel apologized for his actions and said "they were indefensible." Gurriel was still suspended from the first 5 games of the next season regardless. Baseball is known well for when the players might try and throw the pitcher off their game and of course trash talking is normal. However, when players revert to racial gestures and slurs, punishment is needed for those actions. 5 games of suspension seems reasonable, but if it were to repeat again from the same team would more punishment need to be due? Are racist actions impulsive where people don't see the consequences until they happen? Could the actions have an impact on Yu Darvish, the picture, or is this only temporary? A man named Manfred believes he should've gotten an immediate ban, do you think that Gurriel's punishment was fair?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Israeli judo star Tal Flicker wins gold in UAE; officials refuse to play anthem

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The UAE refuses to recognize Israel as a country, therefore refuses to play Israel's national anthem at a Judo tournament. This political conflict has been ongoing since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. In my opinion, politics has no place in sports. Sports are intended to bring people together and unite them over a common passion. They shouldn't add fuel to the fire. This current situation closely relates to the American boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics, and the Soviet Union boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics.  In 1980, when the Cold War was taking place, the United States wanted to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and decided not to attend the Olympics held in Russia, and convinced other countries not to attend as well. To counter that, 14 Eastern Bloc countries, led by the Soviet Union, boycotted the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, California. Athletes put in work because they love their sport and aspire to accomplish great things. However, when politics get in the way, they prevent an athlete from achieving the full reward of their hard work. Politics having an effect on sports isn’t fair to the athletes, and it sure doesn't help the conflict either. Hearing the national anthem your country is one of the greatest honors as an athlete. Politics shouldn’t take that away. Do you think politics should influence sports?

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Newly Assertive C.I.A. Expands Its Taliban Hunt in Afghanistan

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Under the C.I.A.'s new director Mike Pompeo, the agency plans to increase aggression against more lower-level Taliban militants in order to force a negotiation - which is key for Trump's plans for Afghanistan. In addition to reclaiming territory, C.I.A. officers, elite American troops, and Afghan militia members will be hunting Taliban bomb makers to deal with the deadly and cheap explosives they will have to face. The C.I.A. is authorized by Trump to take risks if it makes sense “to make the C.I.A. faster and more aggressive.” The Afghanistan War began in 2001, to remove the Taliban government from power and dismantle al-Qaeda. The war continues on, with the U.S fighting the resurgence of the Taliban the remaining U.S. forces that have not withdrawn along with Afghan forces. I think that letting the C.I.A. take risks could be effective in ending this campaign against the Taliban if it does "make sense," is decisive in effect, and outweighs the risks. But at the same time, it could be unnecessarily more dangerous than it already is and not worth the investment. It makes me wonder what other kind of plans that might come from these available "risks." What will come from the C.I.A. taking risks? Is it possible that risks may play a part in end the long C.IA.'s campaign in Afghanistan? Will there be an end to this involvement in Afghanistan anytime soon?

Abe to push reform of Japan's pacifist constitution after election win

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The possible changing of Japan's Constitution can be a risk and a possible deterrent to the high tensions in Asia. Shinzo Abe, the newly elected Japanese Prime Minster wishes to reform Article 9. The reform would allow Japan to more comfortably build a stronger army in order to make North Korea have second thoughts about provoking the country, but the changing of Article 9 could raise tensions as more countries increase military spending and begin military expansion.  Just like Germany after WWII, the military capabilities of both nations were limited and taken away. Germany has gotten away from some of the restrictions, which has helped the protection of Europe and Germany as a whole. I believe that the reforming of Article 9 should be limited. The full reforming or repeal of Article 9 would put too much tension on top of the tension created by North Korea and the US. What do you think? What could possibly happen with the reforming of Article 9? Would it be beneficial or destructive?

Penn State Assistant Professor conducts first-of-its-kind research on intersection of race and gender in video games

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As a gamer myself, I think it's extremely beneficial that research analyzing race and gender in the gaming industry is being conducted. It's long been known that women aren't nearly as represented in gaming as men are, but the way that lack of representation intersects with race is new information. In my opinion, the stereotype of a gamer being a young white male is detrimental because it tells girls and people of color that gaming isn't for them, which in turn discourages them from getting involved with tech and joining STEM industries.

This exclusion of women and people of color from certain careers, especially careers that require logic and intellect, has been seen throughout American history. Generally, women and people of color have been regarded as "not smart enough" to perform the tasks that these jobs required. Although this is not as widely seen today, the lack of representation in the gaming industry still serves to exclude women and people of color and drive them out of technological industries, as they are rarely exposed to gaming early in life.

Why do you think including women and people of color in tech industries is important? Do you see exclusion of women and minorities in other industries or careers? What effects do you think this has?

Nigerian Model Featured in Controversial Dove Ad Defends Campaign

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Lola's response

My initial reaction to the Dove controversy, along with many others on social media, was one of anger and disbelief that anyone could have thought this was a good idea.  The ad campaign has been blasted as "tone-deaf", with many people making comparisons to racist soap ads from the 19th century that equate dirtiness and cleanliness with skin tone.  People have also pointed out that this isn't the first time Dove has "missed the mark" in portraying minorities; however, Lola Ogunyemi's statement suggests that there were good intentions behind the campaign and that the gif that ignited the controversy was taken out of context.

After reading Lola's essay, I don't think Dove had any malicious intent toward minorities (although I do think Dove's Twitter account is partly to blame for an unfortunate gif choice--maybe five seconds instead of three?).  Nevertheless, the backlash is understandable, and definitely reflective of the ongoing issue of race relations in America.  What do you think:  should Dove have defended its vision?  Is the backlash justified?  Do you think this ad is offensive, and should Dove have gone a different route?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

North Korea says it plans to launch many more satellites

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On October 17, North Korea's UN ambassador stated that they plan to "launch many more satellites and accused the United States of trying to block its efforts to help peacefully develop outer space." Kim declares that from 2016 to 2022, they have devised a plan to launch several satellites "that can contribute to the economic development and improvement of the people's living." Kim states that North Korea will send satellites into only for the desire for economic and lifestyle improvements, but how do we know that for sure? North Korea is infamously known through their ambition to stockpile large amounts of weapons to further strengthen their military, especially missiles. By allowing North Korea to launch satellites into space, we must keep in mind that this potentially could be an excuse in order to conduct missile tests in space. With the addition to missiles in space, this would seriously rack up the amount of nuclear weapons they have (ICBM's). This could be a serious problem because even though they don't have the largest military budget, they have made accusations such as Trump declaring war against North Korea and there could be a potential of them firing missiles if they develop one that is strong enough. However, the treaty on outer space states that "[it is] a common asset of humankind and all countries can develop outer space without any discrimination." Even though the UN and US feel insecure about allowing North Korea to launch satellites, they still have the right to. While I believe North Korea shouldn't be allowed to launch satellites into space, do you think North Korea should be permitted to launch satellites?

Marine Attacks Waiter in Iraqi Restraunt

Was this attack a hate crime or just untreated PTSD?
40-year old Damien Rodriguez was a decorated Marine sergeant who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last spring, he walked into the restaurant DarSalam, sat and refused to order, and 30 minutes later walked over to the cash register, began cursing about Iraq, and threw a chair at a waiter's head. He was soon arrested, and forced to retire from the military. Now he is charged with hate crime and assault, which carry mandatory prison sentences.

Friends and family say his actions were not provoked by hate but by PTSD from his war experiences. One day in particular still occupies his thoughts: April 6, 200; Ramadi, Iraq. On that day he was a platoon sergeant during a city-wide coordinated ambush by hundreds of enemy fighters. The initial ambush split their squad. He recalls seeing a pair of Marines dead in the street and two more down the block, hit by a grenade. By nightfall, 12 marines in the Battalion were dead, and when he returned home, it was with a diagnosis for PTSD and prescription medicine, not psychological counseling. He began having dreams of dead marines, developed sleeping problems, and drank heavily. He put in paperwork and had the dead men awarded Bronze Stars. Every April, on the anniversary of the ambush, he visits their graves with their families.

Asked to comment about his charges, he responded "How can they say I hate Iraqis? I gave my soul for Iraq."

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lawmakers Say The ATF Should Regulate Bump Stocks. It's Not That Simple

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In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting where almost 60 people were shot dead, lawmakers are pushing to regulate bump stocks that are used on semi-automatic guns to make it so that it fires like a fully-automatic one. This is because the shooter, Stephen Paddock, used bump stocks in his guns to shoot at a crowd of innocent people enjoying a concert from his hotel room in. Current law states that bump stocks are legal because it does not technically make a semi-automatic gun a machine gun, since it still releases one bullet with one pull of the trigger, even at the accelerated shooting rate. Many gun advocates are saying that bump stocks do not cross into the territory of making a gun a machine gun and that it is under the protection of the Second Amendment. However, lawmakers have introduced a bill would make it illegal to buy, sell, or possess accessories or devices that would make a semi-automatic fire more rapidly. In my personal opinion, I would like to see a ban on bump stocks because there really is no use for bump stocks in recreational or defensive gun use. What do you think? Do devices that make guns fire more rapidly lie under the protection of the Second Amendment? Should bump stocks be banned?

Bombing In Somalia Kills Hundreds; Death Toll Expected To Rise

Personally, I agree with President Farmaajo on how we should "unite against terror," but I also don't exactly know if the "renewed offensive" against extremist groups from the government will better the situation. I feel like this offensive would just prolong the conflict, and that we should consider increasing security and promoting nonviolence, like how Martin Luther King Jr. peacefully protested during the U.S. civil rights movement, but I recognize that it's difficult to judge whether national security is worth it when it comes at the cost of individual rights, which is an issue that still persists today, especially after 9/11 and the Patriot Act controversy over its allowance of government surveillance. While this attack didn't occur in America itself, I believe that we should still be concerned about how to combat terrorism. What do you think? How should we deal with terrorism? What kinds of security measures should be allowed, and which ones infringe on our privacy?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Wildfires Devastate Northern California Counties

        Northern California, specifically the Sonoma, Napa and Yuba counties are currently being hit with a massive wildfire. There has been a total of 15 separate fires, which have covered a total of 212,000 acres collectively.  33 people have already been confirmed dead, as well as hundreds of people being reported missing. Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for the three counties that are being the most effected. We even see the effects of the wildfire in San Mateo county, with unhealthy air quality. This is a clear sign of one of the effects of global warming. 2017 has been one of the hottest years on record, and the hot, dry conditions are the reason such a big fire can break out. My question to you is, do you think this recent wildfire is substantial evidence that climate change is a real thing, and will persuade people who say otherwise? What are some direct steps do you think we can take to reduce the chance of this happening again?


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Young Worker Clocked 159 Hours of Overtime in a Month. Then She Died.

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In July 2013, Miwa Sado, a Japanese journalist, died as a result of working 159 overtime hours in one month. In Japan, there is a word for incidences like these: karoshi. Sado's death is not an isolated incident; it is estimated that there are approximately 10,000 karoshi-related deaths in Japan each year. Karoshi is not limited to Japan, however. We live in a society that values and rewards hard work.  As high school students, we are encouraged to take AP classes, play sports, join clubs, do community service, and much more. People who "do more" are considered more successful. But is this cultural mindset the right one? Is the person who works the hardest the best off? Based on the alarming frequency of karoshi, it isn't. The question is, how much work is too much? Where should the line be drawn? At what point does a healthy, productive life turn into a death trap?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017

Only 71 years ago, the UN General assembly made it's first decision towards the removal of nuclear weapons. It's incredible how the issue of nuclear weapons continue to this day, after some inclines and declines in severity. Nuclear weapons are a constant danger to life on Earth.  They are one of the most powerful and dangerous. They are especially relevant in the present, as the issues with North Korea continue. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) is an organization working towards achieving treaty-based prohibition of nuclear weapons called the Humanitarian Pledge, which 108 states have already signed. Make sure to read in depth everything this organization has and has not done. Although it has not yet accomplished an international ban, the NNC (Norwegian Noble Committee) says that it awards the prize to promote the spread of Nuclear-free states and countries. Although I am not a specialist in various organizations, I think that the prize was very relevantly awarded to the ICAN: it is a committee that has promoted the removal of nuclear weapons and strives for the safety of mankind, especially since it is a prevalent issue today.  Do you believe that ICAN deserves the Noble Peace Prize? Are there any other organizations you can identify as potential nominees? Can you think of any other connections in the past/present that are related to this event? Let me know your thoughts!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Elon Musk issues a stark warning about A.I., calls it a bigger threat than North Korea

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, OpenAI, and SpaceX, stated that artificial intelligence can be very dangerous, even more so than North Korea's threats to bomb the US. Ironically, this happened after OpenAI's machines won an esport competition against professional gamers. Musk advocates for regulations for AI, otherwise the machines will take over. If AI development moves faster than regulations are made for them, then many ethical and economic issues will accumulate quickly within the next few years in the industry. I believe that regulations are very important in allowing the transition to a more technological world. This is similar to the industrial revolution, where the creation of new machinery greatly changed the economic conditions. New machines allowed production to become much faster and efficient. However, it also created tension as some feared that their jobs would be replaced by the machines. What do you think about the current status of artificial intelligence? Do you think anything should be done to regulate technological advances?

Monday, October 2, 2017

'I cannot express how wrong I was': Country guitarist changes mind on gun control after Vegas

On Sunday night at approximately 10 p.m. a man identified as Stephen Paddock shot into the crowd at a country music festival, killing over 50, and injuring over 250.  Soon after, Stephen Paddock went on to kill him self. Due to this being one of the worst mass shootings in our nation's history, many find themselves questioning their opinions on gun control. This is the case for Caleb Keeter, member of the Josh Abbott Band. Keeter who witnessed the shooting in person took to social media in order to voice his opinion and change of heart. I personally feel torn at the moment, because I have always been a huge supporter of the 2nd ammendment, but when something as horrific as this happens, it makes you wonder how someone could have that many guns in his hotel room, waiting to be used on 100s of innocent people. We've seen horrible mass shootings in the past, such as the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, and the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016, but these shooting unfortunately continue to happen. My question to you is, does this mass shooting change your opinion on gun control and if so how?

Sunday, October 1, 2017

A Transgender Minister's Road to Acceptance

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It takes a lot of courage for someone to come out as transgender, even more so, for the minister of a Presbyterian church. For Petra Strand, I can only imagine the fear and anxiety she had opening up to her church, especially since most churches originally did not favor accepting the different sexualities besides those who identify as heterosexual. In addition to undergoing the process of hormone replacement therapy, Petra was also going through the process of being ordained as a priest for the church. As she was going through her transformation, she relied on her faith to guide her. It is great to see people are comfortable with their faith and society has become more accepting of all people in order to be inclusive. More and more religious leaders have been coming out as transgender, like Christians and the Jewish. How does this make an impact on today's society? I believe that society should have a place for everyone no matter what they identify with, and with more people coming out, an increasing number of people in society are learning to accept themselves in their own skin.  What do you think? What can we take away from Petra's story?

Puerto Rico is all our worst fears about Trump coming real

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Since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the island has entered a state of complete disarray. The current situation on the island is a grave humanitarian crisis, fomented, in part, by the inactivity and disassociation the Trump administration has displayed over the past weeks. Trump's irresponsible handling of the fiasco is troubling enough, but moreover, it seems that once again the White House's policy is being driven by racial bias, and an odd case of xenophobia (since it seems from the President's remarks that he considers Puerto Rico to be a foreign entity, though he must know it is a US territory). This is a subject near and dear to the antebellum period which we are currently studying, seeing as an influx in immigration to America lead to a surge in nativist movements. Give your opinion on the management of Puerto Rico crisis and what should/might come of the disaster we are witnessing (think repercussions). Also, describe what decisions were affected by these qualities of the administration and what steps could be taken to mitigate future humanitarian crises under the present leadership circumstances.

Five hurt as Edmonton attacks spark terror investigation

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5 people have been hurt in Edmonton, as has been claimed as act of terrorism. A man had used a white Chevrolet Malibu and U-Haul truck to deliberately hit police officers and pedestrians. After he escaped to Chevrolet an ISIS flag was found in the car. The man was then chased as he attempted to hit pedestrians in the U-Haul. He was then caught and identified, as they soon learned how he was Somali national and refugee and was already known to the Edmonton police. In my opinion, I see this act of terrorism as one of the many to come and fear for the rest of the world.  This is because of another event in the Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France. Where an man stabbed two women. ISIS has identified the man on social media, as a solider. These two events were both people connected to ISIS and within a day of each other. What do you think about these recent attacks? Do see these attacks as a big threat to our world?

Link to stabbing in the Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France

Trump to Tillerson: N Korea negotiations a waste of time

Image via Twitter

Donald Trump recently took to twitter openly criticizing Kim Jong Un, referring to him as "Little Rocket Man." Rex Tillerson, The United States Secretary of State, attempted to talk to Un about the dispute between the two countries. Trump claimed he was "wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man..." completely contradicting Tillerson. He not only mocks Un, but threatens him as well claiming, "we'll do what has to be done!" Personally, I don't think this was the smartest of decisions considering how North Korea is known for having mass amounts of nuclear weapons. This situation also brings up another issue. If Donald Trump has an issue with Rex Tillerson or any official for that matter, he should not publically tweet about it and give out private information that could be seen as a threat. Instead he should go to them personally to try and resolve the issue. Rex Tillerson should be able to do his job without the President contradicting him. It's what he gets paid to do and he should be able to do his job freely. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Catalan referendum: Voters mass as showdown looms

     The eminent Catalan referendum, along with the similar 2014 referendum, are the result of a century-long independence and cultural revivalist movement originating as resistance to the intense cultural suppression of Francisco Franco, dictator of Spain from 1939 to 1975. The region, marked by its distinct cultural, linguistic, and geographic differences from the rest of Spain, is deeply divided by independence. Whatever the populace may believe in, the Spanish federal court has declared the upcoming referendum in Oct. 1, like its 2014 predecessor, to be unconstitutional. In the present, Spanish police have seized voting supplies, while protesters on the other side have been occupying schools to protect voting areas and holding mass demonstrations. Police have been ordered to non-violently stop the voting process, and protesters have urged voters to resist non-violently, but a conflict between the two groups seems very probable. How much does Catalan's justification for independence mirror the conditions of colonial america - is this a case of cultural superiority or a genuine threat to life, liberty and property? Should the constitution of the Spanish monarchy be upheld over Wilson's theory of self-determination and other justifications for independence? Considering the divisiveness within Catalan itself on the issue, what percentage of "Yes" and voter turnout would make the results legitimate? What can be done on both sides to mitigate violence on voting day? I believe that whatever the justification, if there is great consensus among Catalonians, Spain should respect their right to self-determination, and in anticipating this possibility they should withdraw police deployed from the area to avoid conflict. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Stress and Social Media Affecting the Mental Health of Young Women

Young women often need the ‘reassurance’ of likes and shares online, and are faced with images of ‘perfect’ bodies.

After research, mainly by NHS reveals how social media increases stress and levels of mental illness -- or mental crisis as the article calls it-- amongst females from as early as 11 to their starting adult years. As the mental health crises increase over 50% in the last decade, the NHS is unable to support all their patients due to their lack of resources and experience. Stated in the article, " self-harm has jumped from 10,500 to more than 17,500 a year over the past decade – a rise of 68%." This shows how we as a society have neglected those who have or show symptoms of someone with has a mental health issue, or have been unable to support/sympathize with their mental ideas of themselves and the idea of "perfection." Others studies by a variety of universities suggests that "low self-esteem among British girls reflect a trend in many other countries[, that] more and more young females suffer from anxiety and depression."  This shows how the lack of awareness, availability, and resources cause mental health crises to increase drastically on a national scale. I believe that the idea of social media influencing such mental health crises is accurate, but only to an extent. Social media depicts what society sees as "perfect", giving the public many things to compare themselves , which can lower self esteem levels and their self-confidence. Research reveals how " the rise of social media means the need to always be available,seek reassurance... and [how] they are faced with constant images of ‘perfect’ bodies or ‘perfect’ lives, making it hard [for them] not to compare themselves to others.” This emphasizes how social media not only hurts our individuality, but damages out mental health subconsciously.  I believe we need to develop a better sense of sympathy and empathy, and develop a better understanding of how everyone is "perfect", how everyone is equal. What do you guys think? Is social media increasing mental health crises, or is it something else?


Monday, September 25, 2017

Puerto Rico governor: ‘We still need some more help’ from Washington

After facing the devastation of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico fears that Congress will "shortchange his island once the initial wave of emergency relief is gone." The country is currently facing floods, no electricity, damaged housing and infrastructure,  and a death toll of ten. The governor, Ricardo Rosello, has  also stated that he has been unable to hear from mayors of 6 municipalities. Because of the damage they are facing, the governor has questioned the United States, seeing as many residents are U.S. citizens. Despite the U.S. having responded to the circumstance by sending help through FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Defense Department such as making shelters, carrying out rescue flights, and operating nine vessels off the coast, the country needs as much help as they can get. They are in need of more supplies and financial help. They state that they thought they would have received more help from the U.S. seeing as they also lent a hand during the Hurricanes that hit our coast. If they do not receive adequate help, many residents may need to migrate to the Unites States. Therefore, more awareness needs to be brought to the difficulties Puerto Rico is currently facing. An example being that President Trump decided to tweet more about the NFL and the controversy they are facing instead of paying more attention and responding to Puerto Rico's current situation. More compassion needs to be shown towards Puerto Rico and we need to help them in any way possible. Seeing this, what are your thoughts on Trump not addressing the situation? How can we help bring more awareness so Puerto Rico gets the help they deserve?


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Immigration Officials Taking New Steps to Discourage Smuggling of Children

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Since some people believe it is not possible for them to achieve “The American dream”, they believe that they can send their kids unattended to the U.S, to have a better life. I understand that many parents want their children to have brighter future. While I have compassion for these children, I feel that when they are illegally smuggled here, it is bad for many reasons. When children are smuggled into the U.S, not only do they face exploitation and other dangers, they are also a burden to taxpayers. When they get across the border, they turn themselves into border control and are handed over to the Department of Health and Human Services, and after that, they are placed in shelters until their family members in the U.S can be located. Some are even put on government assistance.  Therefore, many resources are being used to locate family members and support the kids using taxpayer money. It is also a super scary experience to the kids.  I believe that immigration officials should continue to take steps to discourage and reduce the smuggling of children. What do you think? Is it okay for parents to send their children across the border by themselves?

Will Trumpcare replace Obamacare?

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The Republican party is battling to repeal Obamacare. Obamacare is free health care from the government to help citizens that do not recieve coverage from their employer. Over 20 million Americans currently utilize the free health care. Repealing it would take two years until new Republican health care plan was solidified. The plan would include larger companies requiring to cover health care, fewer people qualifying for affordable health care, and limited federal funding for Medicaid. Do you think the repeal should pass? Do you think the new health care act will be better than Obamacare? How should the government handle the 20 million people without health care while trying to replace it?

Merkel gets a fourth term but German voters deliver far-right surge

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This Saturday German Chancellor Angela Merkel won her fourth term as German Chancellor in a pretty solid victory. However, the ballot tolls were not all that the Christian Democratic Union Party, Merkel's party, had hoped for with the worst showing the party has had since 1949. To a surprise of the party, they lost a considerable amount of votes to the newly founded AfD, an overly right wing political party who are already the third largest party since their founding 4 years ago. Personally I think any political party should be allowed to exist as long as they are a serious and organized political party. But this for me raises questions as to the direction the German people are heading. What do you think? Also, if the AfD are actually able to gain control of Germany in say the next 10 to 20 years, how do you think that this may affect their public image? I am interested to hear because of the events that Germany has taken part in (to loosely state) in the past century.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trump: NFL owners should fire players who protest the national anthem

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Trump's speech is a part of the larger debate surrounding the boundaries of national respect in sports games, as people have differing opinions on whether kneeling for the national anthem before a game is a sign of disrespect to America and is unpatriotic. This discussion is the newest manifestation of the debate on the patriotism of dissent which has been present for all of American history most notably with the antiwar protests against the Vietnam war and in the fall of the Federalist party who withered away because they were considered unpatriotic owing to their opposition to the war with Great Britain. Personally I think that showing dissent through kneeling at the anthem is perfectly permissible and punishing people who knelt would be the real unpatriotic act. What I want to know is do you think that kneeling during the national anthem should be considered unpatriotic? and what should be done about the people kneeling? would you want to endorse their kneeling if not their cause? punish them? permit it silently? or do something else entirely?

U.S. bombers, fighter jets counter 'reckless behavior' in show of force off North Korea coast

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The United States and North Korea have been having increased conflict between them after a "war of words" this past week. Our President recently addressed the United Nations this past Tuesday and stated how the U.S. will take action against North Korea if we need to protect ourselves or our allies. Kim Jong Un responded with some harsh words calling President Trump "mentally deranged". This show of force displayed with fighter jets against North Korea this weekend was necessary in my opinion because it gives them a message that our country will take no threats. The Pentagon states this was in response to their "reckless behavior". This event is similar to Operation Paul Bunyan, which was a show of force shown against North Korea by the U.S. and South Korea in 1976. Do you agree to this response of "reckless behavior" or do you believe our nation should have handled this situation in a different manner?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Georgia Tech vigil for student shot by campus police turns violent

21-year-old Scout Schultz was shot and killed by Officials in Georgia Tech, Atlanta on september 16, 2017. Schultz was reported to have made the initial 911 call describing a man walking around possibly intoxicated and armed. When the police came they found him walking around with a knife and wouldn’t comply with the officers. Schultz allegedly came too close to an officer and with one shot aimed to his chest, was killed. After some investigation authorities found 3 suicide notes in his dorm. Students in Georgia Tech had a vigil shortly after the incident. Some were shocked to find out about the event. Many, however, were disappointed that 5 officials couldn’t stop him and had to kill him. The family knew Schultz was battling with depression but saw no signs in the recent months. Students at Georgia Tech were very upset and some became violent to the extent where someone lit a police vehicle on fire. My question for you all is, do you think the mishap of Scout Schultz was unjust? What about the reaction of the upset students? Why or why not?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Despite Rising Seas and Bigger Storms, Florida’s Land Rush Endures

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People love the sun. Indeed, people love the sunny climate of Florida so much that during the Great Florida Land Boom of the 1920s, prospective land developers envisioned draining a massive swamp to create land for new cities and resorts. But now, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, people are becoming well aware that the swamp is biting back. With anticipated sea level rise and climate change due to global warming, Florida is especially vulnerable to flooding and natural disasters. Indeed, 79 tropical storms and hurricanes have hit Florida since 2000. However, this has not deterred land developers, who are ushering in a building boom in coastal areas of Florida. With a population of 21 million people and growing, it will be a difficult task for Florida to accommodate for all these people in the face of more frequent natural disasters. Should new developments be allowed to built unchecked? Or on the other extreme, should Florida begin a lengthy, expensive process of permanently evacuating all the areas vulnerable to sea level rise? In my opinion, the monetary cost of preparing for natural disasters and building and repairing crucial infrastructure will be a small price compared to the lives that might be lost if no new planning takes place. If many people are willing to live in the path of a hurricane if it means extra sun, so be it. How do you think Florida should prepare for the future?

Sunday, September 17, 2017

London terror attack latest: Second man arrested in tube bombing

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Recently, an explosion in London's Tube station categorized as a terrorist threat was recently downgraded from critical to severe as a second suspect was captured and arrested for further questioning. Critical would mean that an attack is imminent while severe means that it is instead highly likely. The original attack was on the morning rush of travel Friday injuring 30 passengers mostly with flash burns. ISIS has claimed their role in the attack as they tend to do with most of the terrorists attacks that have been taking place throughout the world. In recent years, there has been recent uprising in terrorist attacks throughout the west. From bombings and shootings to vehicular rampages, many are hurt by terrorism. Terrorism is nothing new with the origin of the word dating back from the French Revolution in the 18th century. Events such as 9/11 and the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing helped to gain mainstream awareness on terrorism. Some people have looked towards the recent intake of refugees from some of these countries, other's claim it is ISIS's prevalence and influence on younger generations. I think that an increase of security on public transportation is just one of the few things we should do to help to ensure the safety of our nations. What do you think attributes to all these attacks? How can we prevent these attacks in the future?