June 29, 2019

No, we do not need a “Straight Pride Parade”

By a Member of the Straight Community

Happy Pride Month! Exactly 50 years ago from today, what’s now known as the “Stonewall Uprising” was sparked when the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Manhattan, was raided by police. A turning point for the United States’ Gay Liberation Movement, the event led to a series of protests and riots and soon served as inspiration for further LGBTQ political activism. We now commemorate this significant event every month of June by celebrating the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community with what’s known as “Pride Month.” Throughout the month, the LGBTQ community hosts parties, concerts, parades, and more to offer recognition to the impact that the community has had on history. However, the existence of a “LGBTQ Pride Month” posed a question to many: Why isn’t there a “Straight Pride Month?” Amid LGBTQ celebrations, news has come about that a “Straight Pride” Parade is on its way to being officially held. This now poses another question: Does the community really need one?

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June 29, 2019

The Individual’s Responsibility in the Name of Fast Fashion

“Beauty is pain” is a mantra that has been immortalized in the fashion industry. Although the phrase is more directed towards women, it is a universal suggestion that consumers must sacrifice something in the name of fashion. However, in light of recent movements for consumers to be conscientious of which types of companies they patronize, beauty – in the context of fast fashion – can now be viewed as a tangible pain to both the environment and forced laborers. Continue reading

June 29, 2019

Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Advocates Agreed! But Not For the Same Reasons

By Grace Moritabeautiful-woman-brunette-expectant-2100341.jpg

Last week, a woman in the UK was court-ordered to have her unborn baby killed. The woman’s doctors convinced Justice Nathalie Lieven to compel her to have an abortion because of her mental disabilities. The doctors believed that because she has to the mental age of a child, the birth of and care for the baby would be harmful to the woman and to the child. It was believed that the baby might not be cared for and that the mother would be subject to psychological damage in the process of childbirth. The baby’s grandmother, mother of the woman, joined forces with the woman’s social worker and lawyers to make an appeal because they all believed the baby should be born. Internationally, the public was rooting for the woman; it was even a possibility that the US would get involved in protecting the woman and her child. Many are rejoicing, however, because the ruling was overturned

It is significant that here, many on both sides of the abortion argument agreed that this woman should not be forced to have an abortion. Continue reading

June 29, 2019

Changing Life’s Course: CRISPR and Gene-Editing Technology

gene-editing-2375732_960_720Numbered are the days where having your “mother’s eyes” or your “father’s nose” are products of a genetic lottery. Since the discovery of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), methods to repair, replace, and repurpose life’s genetic code have become increasingly prevalent. Within the last decade, genetic engineering’s small beginnings have erupted into an industry dedicated to the manipulation of genomes. From increased crop yield to improved disease treatment, the applications of genetic engineering reach far and wide, but this Russian biologist wants to make it possible to choose what features you want in your children.

At the forefront of genetic engineering is a technology known as Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, or CRISPR, whose functions could dictate everything before and between birth and burial. Through its widespread applications, CRISPR pushes scientists to set their sights on creating bigger, better solutions. Some scientists, however, have pushed the envelope of genetic editing by tampering with human life. Stories like China’s commitment to creating more gene-edited babies sparks contentious debate about the ethics of genetic editing and invites an obvious question: should gene-editing technologies, specifically CRISPR, be more heavily regulated? Continue reading

June 29, 2019

Kim, oh no.

The Kardashian family being in the news is nothing new. Positive or negative, it seems like every aspect of their life is a headline. The Kardashian family are the reality TV royal family. The Kardashians are an empire. If you live under a rock, the Kardashian family is one of the biggest names in Hollywood, if not America. It all started in 2007 when the first episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians aired on TV. Pitched by “momager” Kris Jenner, the show original followed the crazy life of Bruce Jenner, Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Rob, Kendall and Kylie. Twelve years later, it’s expanded to include husbands, kids and close friends and still continues to be one of the most watched shows on television. Kim Kardashian may be the most notorious of the group. Originally known for her friendship with Paris Hilton, leaked sex tape with Ray J and numerous other famous boyfriends. Kim has grown to become a model, business owner, wife, mom and now “human rights activist”. It seems like Kim Kardashian is always in the news about something. 

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June 29, 2019

Why Reparations Don’t Make Sense

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Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

By Zack Chan

Finally, a topic Americans can agree on: Slavery.

Narrow-minded perspectives and heated debate are problems plaguing both politics and daily life, as we are led by a government driven by agendas and live in a society riddled with extremists unwilling to find middle ground. So at last, an issue we 21st century Americans can agree on; the horrible, evil, inhumane concept of slavery. And we end up here, celebrating Juneteenth, the day word of emancipation reached Texas, the day slaves were freed from the hopeless sorrow of captivity. A positive, joyous day that marks an end to the era of original sin.

But it’s 2019, so we still find a way to make a two-sided argument out of it.

So on this joyous day of new hope, we find ourselves engaged in a heated debate as to whether or not reparations for slavery are right, and if so, how they will be implemented.

In answering this question, I reference a breaking news story from Europe, as just this past week the Dutch national railway company, NS, announced its plan to pay €50m in reparations to surviving victims and descendants of the Holocaust. Further, I talk about a similar instance of Holocaust reparations by another rail line, in which the company announced personal liability, fault, and grief for the lives it affected. I cite these examples as well as statements by current US politicians to show that reparations for slavery in the US are both wrong and impossible to implement.

The question drawing debate is whether descendants of slaves should be paid reparations for the cruelty suffered by their ancestors. And if so, how much, where does the money come from, and to whom? Continue reading

June 28, 2019

E-Cigarette Debate on Possible Bans

Smoking is bad for you, period. No one can deny that. E-cigarettes were created as a replacement for traditional, harmful cigarettes. The use of tobacco started about 2,000 years ago, though it has been growing for around 8,000 years. Initially it was used to be smoked during cultural or religious ceremonies or events. During the 1920’s was when the first medical reports linking lung cancer to smoking tobacco began to appear. Despite these new findings, many newspapers refused to print these findings as to not offend tobacco companies, which were heavily advertised in the media. Smoking increased dramatically during the world wars, especially among soldiers as cigarettes were used as a morale booster. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that it became less popular when people became more educated on the adverse health effects smoking has on a person’s body. It has been predicted that by the year 2020, approximately 10 million people will die annually from continuous tobacco use.

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June 28, 2019

Justice Remains Unserved for Standing Rock Sioux

Oil pipelines are one of the many examples of resources that are harming our environment, with that being said, the reason the Dakota Access Pipeline is such a substantial issue is because it not only damages our ecosystem, but it also passes through sacred lands of the Standing Rock Sioux. These pipelines are a long standing controversy and a symbol of the bigger battle over the future of energy production and climate change policy over the past several years. The Standing Rock Sioux reservation is heavily impacted by this occurrence since they are the soul nuisance standing in the way of the creation of this oil pipeline.

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June 28, 2019

Gerrymandering is an attack on democracy

by Kanani Smull

The Supreme Court

On June 27, the Supreme Court said that it had no role to play in partisan gerrymandering. Essentially, SCOTUS said that if state legislators want to draw the lines of their own districts and those of their members of Congress using political calculations, then it’s not the court’s job to stop them. Alternatively, state legislatures are given that power and can exert it as they see fit. Technically, this ruling has impacted both Democrats and Republicans equally. Over the last several decades, both parties have shown a willingness to push their partisan advantage in the decennial line-drawing process. In fact, the cases on which the court ruled on Thursday involved one Democratic gerrymander (Maryland) and one Republican gerrymander (North Carolina). However, I argue that Republicans will be reaping the most benefits from this ruling due to avalanche state elections in their favor both in 2010 and 2014. In my own opinion, the court’s gerrymandering decision is understandable, but still wrong.

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June 28, 2019

Why We Should Accept Immigrants

We have seen the pictures; we have heard the stories. Everyone knows about the crisis that is going on at the Mexican border of the United States of America. But what exactly is happening down there? We hear opinions, usually one extreme or the other—we hear those who share the harrowing stories of immigrant children who died in America’s custody, and we hear those who agree with President Donald Trump’s bogus idea of building a giant wall all along the Mexican border—but rarely do we hear what is actually occurring. So beyond the pictures of innocent foreign children whose lives have been cut short, beyond the intensely heated debates about shutting down DACA and forcing Mexico to pay for this wall, let’s take a look at the facts. The real stories. And in doing so, I will show you why America should be more kind and accepting of immigrants into this country; why we should not build a wall between America and Mexico, why we should stop these horrible raids committed by ICE (the US Immigration and Customs Enforcements), and why we should make conditions safe and healthy for immigrants waiting to cross over into this “great” country of ours.

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June 27, 2019

Reparations, but 100 years too late.

Juneteenth. June 19. This day in 1865, is the day when those who were enslaved in Texas learned that they were free. Both their physical and metaphorical shackles were broken. So, they thought. Enslaving Africans is what many Americans define as America’s original sin. From 1619 to 1865, those who were enslaved could only dream of a day like Juneteenth. Between 1619 and 1865, that’s 246 years. Generations came and passed and didn’t know an America without slavery. Many Americans thought that after slavery was abolished, that was it, life was great for all Americans and America’s original sin would be remembered no more. The years that followed the abolition of slavery consisted of racism, discrimination, segregation, Jim Crow laws and many other laws that hindered the growth of African-Americans in the United States of America. Americans think they’re doing a lot betterthan they truly are.  Continue reading

June 26, 2019

Climate Change, HB 2020, and You

Climate change: it affects us all. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how wealthy you are, what you do for a living, what ethnicity you are, or what country you are from. So long as you reside on plant Earth, you are susceptible to the harmful effects of climate change. Some, however, are more susceptible than others. Likewise, some are more responsible for the development of this issue than others. And so, it is the moral duty of those responsible to use that same power to find solutions. As one of the main contributors to the excessive carbon dioxide emissions that’s caused climate change, the United States has been coming up with ways to play their part in bettering the issue. In the state of Oregon, government officials are attempting to pass House Bill 2020, also referred to as the “cap-and-trade bill,” which aims to place a cap on Oregon’s carbon emissions. The bill has sparked controversy among Oregon residents and even resulted in the walkout of Republican state senators. However, with the rapid development of climate change, we cannot afford to postpone or take more time to decide on plans to resolve it.

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June 26, 2019

Trump on Iran (He’s Doing Well!)

By Zack Chan

administration-architecture-building-129112What constitutes the value of a human life? This question is equally moral, ethical, and economic. When it comes to war, it is the decision of military leaders to determine the value of one life versus another. This is god like power, and with the development of sophisticated military technology, that decision can be carried out swiftly with the push of a button from thousands of miles away. Just as deadly are the economic effects that are a byproduct of war. While deaths from lack of food, shelter, and medicine are difficult to calculate and don’t typically make it to news headlines, they are a gruesome and inhumane reality of war. Essentially, the pushing of a button to take a life can happen both literally and figuratively.

So, what constitutes the value of a human life? I argue that officials have a tendency to operate in a way in which the ends justify the means. Winning the war absolves you from the horrible means in which you won the battle. In this paper, I argue the dangers of dehumanizing enemies, specifically the current US enemy number one, Iran.

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June 26, 2019

Briarwood Needs to Address Concerns Raised of Private Police Force

It is difficult to believe that your safety is always secure. It is even more difficult to have that confidence when you are in the presence of a large number of people in an easily accessible, confined space. For Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s measure that would allow the church to create a private police force was met much acclaim and relief. Although initial attempts to advance the state legislation were blocked for many years, the recent signing of HB309 proves that this church may have had their prayers finally answered. Continue reading

June 26, 2019

To Be or Not to Be: Gun Control

Gun Control. Just the mention of those two words is usually enough to start an uproar between those for stricter gun control regulations and those who want better freedoms. This unique issue has affected almost every person in our country due to skyrocketing numbers of deaths that have occurred because of these weapons. Although this is such a major issue many prefer to use these violent mass shootings to justify their viewpoint rather then consider the opposition’s view. This controversy alone has led to a division in the political world, and a division across America. 

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June 26, 2019

Non-profit atheist organization wants Bladensburg ‘Peace’ Cross destroyed…here’s why I think it’s wrong.

by Kanani Smull

On June 20, the Supreme Court ruled that a 40-foot cross erected as a tribute to war dead may continue to stand on public land in Maryland. This ruling rejected arguments that it was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. The ruling prompted an outpouring of individual opinions as the court struggled to explain what should be done with public displays that feature religious imagery. Notably, Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that history and tradition must be taken into account when judging modern objections to monuments on public land. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. She said that the court’s decision to maintain the cross-shaped monument on public land “erodes” the constitutional principle that “demands governmental neutrality.” Kavanaugh said that the decision allows the cross to remain on public land but does not require it. Maryland officials could make other arrangements, he said, such as transferring the land to a private group. In my own opinion, the Supreme Court’s decision concerning the Bladensburg Cross was a respectful one, particularly for those of the Christian faith and, of course, the World War I warriors whom this monument is honoring.

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June 26, 2019

The Egyptian Silence

flag-1699424_960_720While confined in a soundproof glass cage, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, former president Mohamed Morsi, dropped dead during a hearing on charges of espionage against him. Despite his significance in Egyptian politics, many state newspapers only published homogeneous, 42-word news articles that were hidden within the third or fourth pages—sections that are usually devoted to monitoring criminal cases. Even the current Egyptian president has remained silent about the death and chose to praise the behavior of Egyptian fans’ during a football match instead of acknowledging Morsi’s passing.

The death of a former president usually triggers national mourning, regardless of location. State funerals are a hallmark of the United States, crowds fill the streets in Canada, and even communist countries, like China, hold nationally televised memorial services for their former leaders. However, Egypt has yet to formally acknowledge the death of their former president.

The action, or lack thereof, raises a crucial question: is Egypt’s indifference toward the passing of Mohamed Morsi justifiable? Continue reading

June 26, 2019

Cellphone Use Is NOT Causing You To Grow a Horn 

5671-woman_text_one_person-1296x728-header.jpgAre we actually growing ‘horns’ from using cellphones?

That must of been the question of the week last week after the “Horns are growing on young people’s skulls. Phone use is to blame, research suggests” headline appeared in The Washington Post. Chances are, you are currently hunched over your cell phone right now, worrying about the headlines you’ve been seeing about how people are growing horns on their skulls. Continue reading

June 26, 2019

Are smartphones to blame for the highest point of teen suicides?

iphone-app-mdDid you know that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone and 45% online almost all the time?

Pew Research Center did a survey on teenagers and their social media usage. Did you know that smartphones are linked to suicide among teenagers? The ease of connectivity and interaction with others are both the positives and negatives in regards to smartphones and teenagers. Continue reading

June 25, 2019

Vaccinations

This has been the worst year for measles outbreaks in 25 years. (LaVito, Schoen) There have been 1,044 cases of measles as of June 13th of this year. (Akpan, Dennis) “There have been more measles cases in the United States the first five months of 2019 than there were in all of 1992, when the last large outbreak occurred.” Europe has reported more than 41,000 cases, which have resulted in 37 deaths. 28 states in the U.S. have also reported measles cases. (Delulio) No deaths in the U.S. have been recorded as of this year’s outbreak. Luckily, in the United States at least, those who contract the disease rarely die. (Akpan, Dennis) Though, unfortunately, this is not the case world-wide. Federal health officials blame the spread of misinformation about vaccines. (Stack)

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