Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trump privately signs anti-Planned Parenthood law








President Trump recently signed a bill that which allowed states to withhold federal money from Planned Parenthood and other agencies which provide abortions. Furthermore, the normally media friendly Trump decided to sign this bill in private away from cameras. The bill reverses Obama's regulation which determined that despite abortions being an aspect of organizations such as Planned Parenthood, there are still numerous positive services they provide health care, birth control, and pregnancy tests, thus preventing states from withholding money from these agencies. While Trump's signing this act does reflect his personal beliefs and those in his party's in regards to abortions, his choice disregards the beneficial services that these agencies provide to young women. Furthermore, it contributes to the image of Trump disregarding female rights and taking every opportunity to chip away at it. This reminds me of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and the criticism that was associated with it. While supporters of Roosevelt supported his tax policies and the more authoritative government in regards to economy, opponents argued that a more laissez-faire policy without extensive government interference would be better. This is similar to feminist leaders wishing Trump to not tamper with existing policies in order to support his own beliefs. What do you think of Trump's decision to sign this bill? Does it portray him in a negative light? Do you believe Planned Parenthood's positive aspects outweigh its negative ones?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tillerson Brings Tough Line to Moscow Over Russia's Backing for Syrian Regime



Article Link

Due to the recent chemical attacks that have been blamed on the Syrian government, the U.S has organized a meeting with Russia to discuss the alliance between Putin and the Assad regime. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson displayed the contempt towards Russia's alliance. He attempted to persuade the Russian government to come to terms with the U.S in an effort to create another alliance with other western countries. Putin, understanding the tension increase has stated that he has "information" that there are extremists who plan to plant a chemical bomb and blame it on the Syrian government. He also took a blow at the ex-President George W. Bush administrations invasion of Iraq as a comparison to the recent missile strikes on Syrian military bases (basically saying that they were both witch hunts). Putin believes that the tensions between the U.S and Russia are higher now than during the Cold War. Do you believe this? Do you think that it could escalate to even a World War III situation? Do you think that Putin will end his alliance with Syria?

Monday, April 10, 2017

United Airlines Passenger Dragged From Overbooked Flight

Link
Recently, a United Airlines flight has forced a passenger off of an overbooked flight in order to make room for United employees. Originally, United had offered passengers compensation and rewards for any volunteers who would willing give up their spot, and afterwards had to select four people to bump from the flight. Out of the four, three left without conflict, but the last, an unidentified Asian man, refused to give up his spot, claiming he was a doctor and had patients to see. Soon after, police were called in and an officer had to pull the man out of his seat quite violently and drag him out of the plane, bleeding from the mouth and glasses knocked askew. Somehow, after being dragged off the plane, he still managed to run back into the plane muttering "I have to go home" before collapsing. While there is no evidence of racism, the man had argued that he was only being selected because he was Chinese. United had said that they use this overbooking strategy in order to ensure full flights, thus more profit, but bumping people rarely happens. In my opinion, I think that how the police officer handled the situation was quite violent and unprofessional, and it reminds me of how blacks were treated during segregation where they were forced to relinquish their seat or kicked off transportation in order to make space for whites. While there is no solid basis of racism or discrimination in this case, do you think that the man still has the right to keep his seat, or does United still have the right to deny service to someone in order give their own employees first priority? In addition, does law enforcement have the right to forcibly treat people this way in order to benefit the other passengers in order to get the delayed flight moving?(Side note, other passengers were horrified, not really happy). Lastly, does the man's claim of being a doctor and his ethnicity change the situation by making him "more important" or "less important" than other passengers?

San Bernardino School Shooting Leaves 3 Dead, Including Student



Two years after a terrorist attack killing 14 people, San Bernardino has been hit again with an elementary school shooting which left three people dead. The shooter was the husband of the special needs teacher at North Park Elementary School. The couple had been separated for the last month and the man had a criminal record including domestic violence, weapons possession and drug possession.  This connects to just about every past shooting in modern day America, whether it be at a school or anywhere. What it seems like to me is that the killers always slip under the radar of the authorities, even though they usually have some violent condition or past criminal record which makes them dangerous to others. This is a terrible act, especially since it seems so close to home, and it makes me think about how this could happen literally any day, anywhere, even at Aragon, which is a sad reality to live in. How do you think these killers keep slipping under the authority's radar? We've seen the elementary and middle schools around our community becoming fenced off to the surrounding neighborhood. Is this enough to protect children in school from the potential threat of shootings? This last question is a bit different. What do you think goes through the mind of a person that makes them want to commit such a horrible crime?

Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law


A judge in Texas ruled that the 2011 law that made people show a photo ID when voting was intended to be a discriminatory process against Hispanic and African American voters. During this long case the Democratic groups claimed that when passing the law, Republicans “depart[ed] from procedural norms” to prevent likely Democratic people from voting. The Republicans say that they had no intention for it to be a discriminatory process and that it was meant to prevent voter fraud. We know that the Voting Rights Act required federal approval for state's new voting laws. However, the Supreme Court invalidated that part of the act recently. As a result of this ruling, Texas may have to have to have their laws checked again. Because of it’s effect and how long this has been considered I do not think a photo ID is necessary. Hopefully there are other ways to prevent voter fraud that do not cause such an effect. What decision would you have made concerning this law? Do you think that having a photo ID is necessary when voting?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Russell Westbrook has 50 points, buzzer-beater in record 42nd triple-double



Link

Today Russell Westbrook had a record breaking Triple double breaking Oscar Robertson's 41 triple doubles in a season. Not only that he also did it capping other records such as most Triple doubles with 50 plus points as well as most triple doubles with 40 plus points. However, people believe that with a wider variety of player capabilities, capping triple doubles is easier than it was for Robertson. Who had to compete with Bill Russel and Wilt Chamberlain. As well as there not being many 3 point shooters back in the day. Unlike today where every team has at least one good shooter. In addition to fouling, where back then many plays were hard to pull off because fouls were not called or were a lot harder. Unlike today where we have the hand check and Flagrant fouls causing players to be a lot more careful on the court. Because of this many people are arguing about reapplying hand checking to make defense more effective. This can be tied to Bush's election in 2000 where he received Fewer popular votes but won the electoral college votes. Because of that they questioned whether they should continue the use of the electoral college. Do you believe that hand checking should be reimplemented into the NBA? Do you believe the electoral college should be used to elect the president of the US? Were Westbrook's Triple doubles more easily obtained than Robertson's?

Senate Goes Nuclear To Confirm Gorsuch




Last week Senate Republicans voted on a rules change that allowed for Judge Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed to the Supreme Court (please view article for detailed context). While this is not the first time the Senate rules have been changed, Democrats did so in 2009 to confirm President Obama's cabinet secretaries, this decision by Republicans ends the need for the majority to negotiate with the minority party in order to appoint anyone to a position in the government. In my opinion this is a short minded decision by the Republicans that they will later regret and it also shows an inability to think beyond the time that they are in control. This event is very similar to how the Democrats changed rules in 2009 to confirm Obama's appointments which I also believe was short minded and they later regretted this year when they were unable to block any of Trump's nominees even the ones which were obviously unqualified, ei. Betsy DeVos. What do you think about this issue? Should the majority party have to cooperate with the minority? Will Senate Republicans regret this decision?

Just to be clear, I do not think that this rule change was nor would have ever been a good decision in 2009 or 2017.

Judge Approves Consent Decree to Overhaul Baltimore Police Dept.




Article Link

On Friday a federal judge had approved a consent decree that would completely overhaul the Baltimore Police Department. The agreement between the federal government and city leaders has been long awaited. The overhaul will include new technology, training, and new oversight. This agreement was made because of a very revealing 2016 Justice Department report that found that there was a systematic racial bias in the Baltimore Police Department. I would say this is event is comparable to many different civil rights movements, but in a smaller scale since this is happening with only one police department. But I would mostly compare it to the Brown v. The Board of Education court case because while the court case did deem segregated schools unconstitutional, racism was still a part in everyday life for African Americans. That is how I feel about this overhaul. Yes, there are going to be benefits that come with the change, but I do not see how the new training and technology will be able to change ones mindset on race and racial bias. If someone is already racist, I do not believe they can just automatically become non racist because of new technology or new training. What do you think of this overhaul? Do you believe this could make less racial bias in the Police Department? Or do you believe this change will make little impact?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Creator of Emmett Till ‘Open Casket’ at Whitney Responds to Backlash



Link

Recently a new painting has been put on display at the Whitney Museum, in New York City, that has aroused many conflicts between people. The painting of “Open Casket” by Dana Schutz’, was an inspiration of Emmett Till’s death. This painting has brought backlash, and African-Americans saying that the “white” artist has no right to be painting black’s pain and suffering. While others believe that her race does not matter and since it was an iconic symbol of the civil rights movement, her race should not matter. The painting in the past days has been blocked by black artists and has brought hate comments to Schutz. She has recently responded by saying that the painting itself was not easy to draw and she understands people’s questioning of her right to draw it, but it should be “an open discussion”. Schutz claims that she was inspired to create the exhibit due to all the 2016 killings of African Americans by police officers. This reminds me of the civil rights movements, because Emmett Till’s death and open casket pictures played a major role in the movement. In my opinion I believe what Dana Schutz drew was not meant to be wrong, she was only inspired by what was going on around her. I also understand the backlash going on about this, since Emmett Till was such a strong symbol in the civil rights movement, but I feel all this hate shouldn’t be let out on the artist simply because of her race. What do you guys think, is it right for the artist to receive hate about the picture? Is the painting considered culturally inappropriate? Should there be this much controversy about the painting?

White Supremacist James Jackson Says He Killed a Black Man to Deter Interracial Relationships














Article Link

James Harris Jackson, 28, is charged with with murder as a hate crime. The "self proclaimed bigot" tried to "kill as many black men as he could" to stop the spread of interracial relationships. His only victim however was Timothy Caughman, 66, of NYC. The army veteran allegedly stabbed Caughman with a sword. Caughman was able to take himself to the hospital, however he died a few hours later. Jackson supposedly was raised "was raised in what was described as a churchgoing, liberal family in a Baltimore suburb, said his ideal society is "1950s America." This reminds me of the hate crimes that happened before and during the Civil Rights Movement. The article concluded that Jackson has "clear psychological issues" but what do you guys think? Was this mindset influenced by parents or other authoritative figures in his life or does he just want to be famous? What do you think his punishment should be?  Comment below :) 



Monday, March 27, 2017

Push for Internet Privacy Rules Moves to Statehouses



Several states are looking to strengthen their internet privacy laws in light of federal rollback of such regulations under the Trump administration. While lobbyists from major tech giants Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple fiercely fight against these privacy measures, both liberal and conservative legislators are joining together to get these bills passed at the state level. With the federal government seemingly siding with large corporations rather than protecting consumers, this situation is reminiscent of when the federal government protected corporations over the rights of workers during the industrial revolution. Personally, I think that internet privacy laws should be a top priority for federal lawmakers. I find the situation to be hopeful despite the strong corporate forces fighting against internet privacy because of the teamwork amongst liberal and conservative politicians at the state level. Do you think internet privacy will be adequately taken care at the state level? What will it take for consumers to push for their rights at the federal level? Who do you think will ultimately win, corporations or consumers?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

US bans larger electronic devices on some flights from Middle East




Image result for etihad airways


New TSA guidelines affects travel on few airlines originating from the Middle East. Passenger travelling to and from USA on Royal Jordanian, Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air, Saudia Airlines, Kuwait airways, Royal Air Morocco, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad will not be allowed to carry electronic devices larger than a cellphone. After the Trump administration’s failed travel ban, this one will again cause a lot of inconvenience to passengers. The fact that the electronic devices are allowed in checked-in baggage is a bit mind boggling since the same risk applies to checked-in baggage as well. There are concerns that this ban may just be an excuse to go over a passenger’s data stored in an electronic device. The Emirates flight from San Francisco to Dubai is 16 hours long and a lot of families travel with kids. Not been able to use an electronic device like a laptop or and iPad will surely go down well with passengers.
The ban is technically related to ten airports in eight countries:

  • Queen Alia in Jordan
  • Cairo International in Egypt
  • Ataturk International in Turkey
  • King Abudlaziz and King Khalid in Saudi Arabia
  • Kuwait International in Kuwait, Mohammaed V in Morocco
  • Doha International in Qatar
  • Dubai international and Abu Dhabi international in the United Arab Emirates.
Are we going too far with airline security? What do you think will come next? A ban on hand baggage altogether?

United Wouldn't Let 2 Girls on a Plane Because It Apparently Has a Leggings Ban

article link
This Sunday, a United Airlines gate agent denied two girls entrance onto one of their planes because the girls were wearing leggings. Shannon Watts, founder of the Moms Demand Action campaign for gun safety, saw what happened and tweeted about it, sparking a huge uproar on Twitter. She said that the two girls who were refused entry were teenagers, and that there was another girl as young as ten who was also wearing leggings but was allowed to enter once she put a dress that she happened to have in her backpack. United Airlines issued a statement saying that the two girls were relatives of United employees, receiving free or reduced rates, and that there is a dress code pass travelers have to follow, the code apparently including a "ban on spandex." United also has rules where they can refuse any passenger's boarding if he or she is "barefoot or not properly clothed," but not stating what "properly" means. I think that while their rule for general passengers makes sense, the rules need to be a lot more specific as to what is or isn't proper. However, my main problem is with their choice to ban spandex for pass travelers, as they do not see it as appropriate attire. Shouldn't you expect people to dress comfortably when they are on a long flight? And the fact that they refused service to two teenagers and would have also done so to a ten year old, who might not even be a pass traveler, is beyond me. United's inability to accept leggings as appropriate and proper clothing reminds me of the 1920s, when it was hard for society to accept women dressing in more revealing clothing. To me, this rule against spandex is pretty sexist, as they are denying women service based on what I believe is totally appropriate clothing.

Do you agree with United Airlines refusing service to the girls wearing the leggings? Should the rules  about proper attire and pass travelers be changed? Is it okay for an airline to deny service to people based on what they wear, as long as their clothing is not too inappropriate of course?

A Pro-Trump Rally Ended Up With a Man Getting Beaten With a ‘Make America Great Again’ Sign


Article Link Video can also be found on the site
At a pro-Trump rally in California, over 2000 protesters peacefully gathered to represent the current president. Things got violent as they clashed with a group of anti-Trump protesters, and arrests had to be made for usage of illegal pepper spray and physical violence. Though I realize the two groups were both protesting, this seemed like a downscaled version of the attacks made on civil rights protesters in the 1950's and 60's, for both began with peaceful protests that were attacked in one way or another. Despite my own opinions about the current president, I am appalled that either group would allow themselves to physically harm the other. I feel as though everyone is entitled to his own opinion, and as long as such opinions are expressed peacefully, there should be no violence necessary. Do you think such violence is acceptable is one is truly against another's beliefs? How can protesters work to remain peaceful and get their point across without violence-especially in situations such as this?

GOP health-care bill: House Republican leaders abruptly pull their rewrite of the nation’s health-care law

  article 
Republican leaders in the House conceded defeat on their attempted overhaul of Obama Care on Friday, March 24, going back on President Trump's most loudly trumpeted campaign promise during the recent presidential election. Surprisingly, although the bill met fierce opposition with the democratic party, the bulk of its failure can be attributed to fractures within the Republican party, as speaker Paul Ryan and other supporters of the bill failed to strike a compromise that would satisfy the most conservative Republican congressmen, who demanded a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I personally think that this was a good outcome for the majority of America, as it was made clear by the bill's repeated modification and rewriting only the night before that it was half-baked, and did not account for necessary expenses. Passing of the bill would have lowered taxes at the expense of health coverage for millions of Americans, and I am glad that this was not the case. This fragmentation in the Republican party brings with it ominous implications for the future of the party, and a failure to achieve party unity can bring struggle and potential overhaul of a party, as when Theodore Roosevelt parted ways with the Republican party in the 1912 election after his loss of the Republican nomination in order to create his own progressive party, fragmenting the Republican party and resulting in a handy defeat at the hands of democrat Woodrow Wilson. What do you guys think? Was the failure of this bill a good thing? What does this failed campaign promise mean for the future of the Republican Party? Is the door now open for democrats to begin to take control of congress and eventually the presidency? I know its early, but any thoughts?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Long-Range Missiles in North Korea

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/20/politics/north-korea-rocket-test-icbm/index.html

North Korea tested their rocket engine yesterday, March 19th, and its engine was proven to be able to handle the first and possibly second stage of a large intercontinental ballistic missile. However, an expert in Missile Defense claims that the engine is too big for the intercontinental missiles currently in their possession. Because this could possible threaten the US, defense officials are keeping a close eye on North Korea and its rocket programs. President Donald Trump had previously tweeted two months ago in January that a nuclear war with North Korea wouldn't happen, but this Sunday had claimed that the North Korean leader was "acting very very badly."

What does this mean for us? How do you feel about what President Donald Trump had said? Will we come close to another repeat of the Cuban Missile Crisis? Or do you think North Korea won't succeed in developing their ICBM (Intercontinental ballistic missile) since the technology is very advanced and hard to develop? 

Duterte Opposes Gay Marriage in Philippines, Reversing Campaign Pledge


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In the Philippines there will not be any legalization of same sex marriage. In Duterte's campaigns he had made a promise to push for equality for the LGBT community. He is now reversing on his promises declaring that the Philippines can not support same-sex marriage because they are catholic, however, during his campaign he claimed that the bible should have stated that marriages are for gays as well. Ever since he had won his presidency he has been back tracking on his word. He claims to say that he has no issues with anyone's sexuality and that some of his family members are gay. His associates have relegated on a bill that protects the rights of  gays but it has not moved for 18 years. There has been substantial backlash to the passing of these laws because the church has a large political influence. The large religious influence on the government reminds me of the first colonies in America. For a long time the Church had a large say on the legislation passed, however I think it is important to separate church and state. In the first amendment it is states that no law should be prohibited by religion. If many people are agitated by the effect religion has had on passed legislation, I believe that the Philippines should look into limiting the influence the church has.  Do you think Duterte needs to step up on his promises? Do you think it is unfair that the Church has such a big influence on the legislation? What steps do you think the LGBT community in the Philippines need to make?



                    

Sunday, March 19, 2017

#BoycottHawaii Spawns Hilarious Twitter Reaction


http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/BoycottHawaii-trending-11007436.phpMany states who oppose Trump's ban had their federal judges freeze actions. President Trump's executive order seeks to temporarily ban the issuance visas to citizens of six Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. The order also suspends the admission of new refugees to the U.S..Most recently Hawaii has joined California, Washington, Oregon and several other states in opposing the Trump ban. As a hawaiian federal judge chose to freeze Trump's ban, many hawaiians took to Twitter to help and support their Judge Watson. Soon, the hashtag #BoycottHawaii had gone viral by Trump supporters who wanted to fight back Hawaii and other states who opposed Trumps Ban. Do you think #BoycottHawaii will have any impact on the states like Hawaii who are fighting Trump's ban? Do you think the hashtag could be used to "advertise" a state like Hawaii for tourism or is it really just an argument over Trump's?

Costs and Benefits Rise for Many All Americans with Proposed GOP Health Care Act


On March 6th House Republicans released a bill that is intended to replace the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare as President Trump promised during his campaign trail speeches and in his Address to Congress earlier last month. However, the hard-line Republican Freedom Caucus suggests that the bill does seem to have an objective focused on "amending" rather than "repealing" as it does retain clauses such as prohibiting insurers  from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions or setting annual and lifetime limits on individual coverage. Additionally, it allows dependents to stay on health insurance plans until the age of 26.


On the other side of the political spectrum, Democrats have heavily criticized the bill because of how quickly it has been moving through the legislative bodies, all done "without hearing from consumers, health care providers, insurance companies or state officials — and without having estimates of the cost or the impact on coverage from the Congressional Budget Office" (NY Times).


It is true that Obamacare took much longer to pass through the various legislative committees and had more consultation with health care companies yet the American Health Care Act is focused on eliminating taxes that were implemented with the Affordable Care Act which raised premiums and enrolled more people below the poverty line into coverage that was subsidized by the Federal Government. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the GOP plan headed by Paul Ryan will lead to 14 million Americans losing coverage over the next year and 24 million over the next decade due to the fact that it permits insurance companies to charge older customers up to five times the amount of younger customers (it was three times the amount under the Affordable Care Act) and doesn't fine individuals who don't have coverage. This event reminds me of the universal healthcare provisions that were part of Truman's Fair Deal but were eventually struck down with vehement opposition coming from the American Healthcare Association. As of late many Americans think of healthcare as a very important issue when it comes to public policy.


Do you believe that universal healthcare or some forms of it are here to stay? Which health care bill do you prefer? Is it fair or unfair to charge older healthcare customers five times more? Is there an alternative that you believe would be better for Americans?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Why Emma Watson could be any of us


http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/06/opinions/emma-watson-marines-sexism-filipovic-opinion/index.html

About a week ago, Vanity Fair released a group of photos of Emma Watson to the public, which included a photo that exposed a fair amount of Watson's chest. As soon as this photo was released, Emma Watson received incessant comments from the public and from public figures both criticizing and praising her photos. However, the criticism seemed to have surpassed the praise. A British radio host, named Julia Hartley-Brewer attacked Emma Watson, claiming you cannot be a feminist and complain about "not [being] taken seriously" and also expose yourself to the world. I believe Hartley-Brewer's definition of feminism is wrong, for feminism is advocating for the meaning of a woman unapologetically, and if Emma Watson believes a woman is sexy and comfortable with her physique, then she has every right to express herself that way. This controversy reminds me of the 1920s, and the "flappers" that came in that era- the unapologetic, sexy, overly-feministic woman. Many people, including other woman, criticized flappers in the 1920s because they were unusual or different for the time. Like the flappers, Emma Watson is showing herself the way she sees herself- sexy, beautiful, feminine and most of all proud. I find it incredibly hypocritical and painful that another woman would criticize Emma Watson for being herself, because isn't that what feminism is all about? Do you believe Emma Watson's photos were inappropriate? Do you believe she is or is not proving the idea of feminism? 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Are Teens Replacing Drugs with their Phones?

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With the rates of kids on drugs decreasing, people are looking for the cause. The rate decline has come over the past decade, which is when spark of the smart phone came into the lives of many. The correlation of just "being bored" may have shifted what kids do in their free time. The rate of marijuana in 8th and tenth graders along with cocaine, ecstasy and LSD being way down in our nation's 12 graders. Even as heroin has become an epidemic and an issue with the adult communities, it is down with teenagers. It seems that playing video games and using social media may have had an impact on what teenagers choose to use when seeking sensation. What you also need to remember is that this is also the decade when our government started putting a serious effort and more funding towards the programs that attempt to keep kids off of drugs. There is a direct correlation to the decrease in teenage drug use with the prevention campaigns and public education about the dangers of drugs. To me, that seems like a more logical explanation. What is the main reason for the decrease in teenage drug use? Do we owe it to the anti-drug campaigns or our smartphones?

Monday, March 13, 2017

‘No one escaped': Poland accuses 98-year-old Minnesota man of ordering a Nazi massacre



Article Link

Recently, Michael Karkoc, a 98-year-old U.S. citizen living with Alzheimer’s has been accused of being a Nazi commander who ordered the killing of two Polish villages in 1944. After the Germans surrendered WWII and the war ended, the commander slipped into the U.S., lied about his military service, and settled in the country. For decades, the Nazi who ordered the killing has been unknown, with their war crimes being unpunished. This connects to WWII because in WWII, the Nazis were brutal and committed many war crimes, one of which included the genocide of Jews. 73 years later, Poland still seeks to arrest Michael Karkoc for his actions. In my opinion, I do not think that Karkoc should be arrested. Sure, he committed a war crime and caused many deaths, but it is 73 years since the event and many things have changed since then. In addition, the article states that he suffers from Alzheimer’s, and I believe that he deserves to at least live the rest of his life peacefully, as he is also 98 years old. Do you think that Karkoc deserves to be arrested? Does it matter how long ago the crime was committed? Should Poland, who is interested in arresting him and forcing him to spend the rest of his life in jail take into account of his Alzheimer’s in addition to his old age?



US Marines in the Fight Against Raqqa



Article

A ground force of 400 Expeditionary Marines and Army Rangers have arrived in Raqqa to support the push into the Islamic State capital. This marks the first time in many years that the US has had a major conventional ground presence in the war on ISIS. US troops will be providing artillery support for Iraqi forces. While President Trump has been pushing for a stronger stance against ISIS, this offensive has been in planning since before his presidency. This event marks a shift from purely aerial support and special operations to a more conventional front line invasion by US forces. The debate of this new conflict in the Middle East against ISIS concerns the global involvement of America, and whether we should be getting involved. It's very similar to the debate between isolationism and war during the pre WWII period, when Americans did not agree on if this country should get involved in conflicts in other regions. The controversy is even bigger this time around, as the US has already sunk more than $3 trillion into 2 lengthy and ineffective wars in the Middle East. I believe that American support is crucial to global cooperation in solving the Middle Eastern conflicts. However, the military must have clear objectives and form a clearer plan for stability in the region. What do you think America's involvement in the Middle East should entail? Do you think President Trump's plan for a stronger offensive against ISIS is an effective plan?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Australia considers childcare ban on unvaccinated children

Medical vials and a syringe

The Australian government is considering enforcing a nationwide policy in which children who are unvaccinated would be prohibited from entering childcare centers of any kind. Personally, I agree with this course of action. Parents who do not let their children be vaccinated jeopardize the health of not only their own children, but also the children around them. Moreover, these people especially put those who have immunodeficiencies and cannot get vaccinated at high risk. I can understand why this act may be controversial, as the government would be depriving non-vaccinated children of early education and interactions with other children. However, the beliefs that influence the lack of vaccinations have no substantial backing to them, making it entirely unjustified not to vaccinate one's child. I'm not trying to suggest anything negative about what Australia is doing, but this does remind me somewhat of how the US dealt with communism in the Red Scares of WWI and WWII. The general public did regard communism pretty much as a disease in its own, and people who were communists were ostracized from some public services and jobs. The US people's fear of the spread of communism parallels to some degree the Australian people's fear of contagion.

Do you believe this is the right course of action from the Australian government? Or are they overstepping? Do you think there is any alternative or better way to go about this?

Radioactive Boars in Fukushima Thwart Residents’ Plans to Return Home

Image: Wild boar


After the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami in Northern Japan, radiation from damaged power plants continues to prevent residents from returning to their homes. Now, the Japanese government is hiring hunters to kill radioactive, wild boars who have taken over the area. Even if the boar problem is resolved, most residents still do not want to return to Fukushima for fear of radiation and the safety of the power plant. This is obviously related to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki because of the lasting effects of radiation from nuclear energy. While this radiation exposure was the result of a damaged power plant, not a bombing, the atomic bombings in WWII were the first demonstrations of the lasting damage of radiation from atomic energy. Personally, I would also worry about being in the area given how aggressive and dangerous these boars are. Do you think residents justified in not wanting to return? And are the benefits of nuclear energy worth the risk it poses to people’s health?