Archive for ‘National’

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 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 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. 

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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

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.

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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 25, 2019

The Elusive Answer to Sex Abuse in the Church

There is something profoundly horrible about sexual abuse. A woman may be taken advantage of while intoxicated at a party. A teacher may ask for a favor in return for a grade. Children may be molested at home. A woman or child may fall victim within their church, which is supposed to be a safe place. People generally feel disgusted at the news of rape, whether they can relate to the victim or not. Similarly, it should stir the hearts of all people to hear that hundreds of Christian churches are guilty of committing and covering up sex abuse.

A slew of cases recently surfaced in Southern Baptist churches. Thus, people have looked to the Southern Baptist Convention to remedy the situation.

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June 24, 2019

Here’s who you shouldn’t vote for in the 2020 Presidential Election

by Kanani Smull

The 2020 presidential election is right around the corner for citizens of the United States of America. Given the political climate surrounding the current presidential administration, this could turn out to be a potentially emotional election. There is a lot at stake, and eligible voters of the country continue to demonstrate drastic ideological differences. I respect the views of those who support Trump, however, I think that the Trump administration has enacted various policies that could be conceivably harmful to our country as a whole. As I write this argument, I strongly urge voters to take an inquisitive look regarding discrete Trump-era policies. By the end of my opinion piece, I hope that (at the very least) the majority of readers are convinced not to re-elect Donald Trump as president of the United States of America.

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June 24, 2019

From Fingerprints to Faces: What Should We Make of Facial Recognition Technology?

flat-3252983_640Many of us begin our day the same way we end it: by cozying up to our device. Whether it is to check the time, snooze the blaring alarm, or catch up on the news headlines of the day, the instinctive grab for our personal device is more than a habit—it has become second nature. Our devices have grown into an extension of our body: nearly every occupation, including that of student, requires long hours of work on a device, and many, if not all, of humankind’s greatest modern achievements—think along the lines of the moon landing and the creation of vaccines—would have been impossible without the use of technology.

Without our devices, our livelihoods crumble, and without our livelihoods, life may come to a grinding halt. So, does it really matter if the technology we used to open with our fingerprints has graduated to using our faces?

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July 2, 2018

Mass Shootings and Their Effect On Us

On April 20th, 1999 the most shocking and horrific event in a modern high school took place. Twelve students, one teacher dead. Twenty-four injured. The Columbine High School Massacre was a school shooting that ten years ago we never would’ve forgotten.

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June 30, 2018

Plastic Pollution is a Major Problem

I researched plastic pollution to write a paper about how it affects the environment, when I was a freshman in highschool. Then again as a senior in highschool. 5 years later and I’m writing about it again. I realize all the information is the same, yet the situation seems to be getting worse. Plastic pollution continues to grow throughout the entire world, even to places where no humans being have ever been. Plastic does so much damage to our environment, there needs to be more of an effort to fix this crisis. 

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June 30, 2018

The Last Stand of The Not so Big, Not so Bad Wolf

afterglow-animal-backlit-247583By Kāʻai Fernandez

So, you’re an endangered Red Wolf. First off, congratulations on that; secondly, you’ve got some problems. Okay, “some” is an understatement, but I’m sure you’re not worried… right? You’re an endangered species—that’s a bummer. And, even though you used to live throughout this place called America, from Texas to Pennsylvania, you now only live in North Carolina; oh, and there are fewer than a 100 of you left in the wild. You’ve been hunted, shot, starved and butchered—life’s been difficult.

And life is about to get a whole lot worse.

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June 29, 2018

The Next Gold Rush Won’t Be For Gold

The year was 1848. It was the Monday of January 24th. Anyone familiar with that date? Anyone? Well, it is not an entirely well-known date in American history, or history at all for that matter, unless you are one of the lucky people with an incredible memory for dates. Everyone knows those people. It’s the people who never forget your birthday even though you haven’t talked with them since freshman year of high school, fourteen years ago. It’s the people who know exactly when Memorial Day is versus Labor Day, because let’s be honest, most of us tend to mix the two up. Back to the point however, unless you have an incredibly sharp memory with history, you probably do not recall January 24th, 1848, so allow me to clue you in. January 24th, 1848 was the day Foreman James W. Marshall was working for Pioneer John Sutter up in Coloma, a town about an hour away from California’s capital, Sacramento. While working at Sutter’s Mill, Marshall found a shiny metal in the tailrace of the mill that he was building for Sutter on the American River. Is the memory coming back to you now? No? Well, fear not, I will continue. That shiny metal piece that good ole’ James W. Marshall had found ended up being the beginning of a hunt, of a quest, of a pursuit. For that shiny piece of metal was a man’s ticket to a life full of riches. That shiny piece of metal was gold, and it began what was called the California Gold Rush. 

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June 29, 2018

How Environmental Stewardship Saves Our Coral Reefs

diving-1808717_1920By Eve Berlinsky

Our current geological age has notably been titled the Anthropocene period. Anthropocene means “human caused,” and refers to humanity’s often detrimental influence on the planet that we all call home. This ranges from our impacts on the ocean to the rainforests to the atmosphere to anything else on this planet. There is little to no place on this earth that has not been affected by people in some way. For now, I will focus on the biggest and oldest thing humans have put at risk- the coral reefs.

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June 27, 2018

Keeping Families Together Makes America Great

By Eve Berlinskyposters-2590766_1920

As our country attempts to tackle the topic of immigration, there is heated debate from both opponents and proponents of it. On one side, we see those who believe that immigration should be reduced in order to provide jobs for American citizens. On the other side, we see those who believe that immigrants help better our country by diversifying it, among other reasons. However, it seems that the recently implemented “zero-tolerance” policy has gained the attention of those on both sides. Many people have seen the heartbreaking photos and read the saddening reports of children, as young as two years old, being taken away from their parents as a deterrent to those crossing the United States border. From these accounts, it is evident that this policy is a cruel, barbaric one. Separating children from their parents in a foreign country where many of them do not even speak the language is wrong, and America stands for so much more than that.

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June 27, 2018

Here’s Why We Should Legalize Marijuana

I read an article about a mom who had her cannabis oils confiscated at an airport in the UK, because marijuana is illegal there. However, the purpose of the oils were for her son’s epilepsy. The family has been using the cannabis oils to help calm the natures of the young boy’s seizures. The article says that after having the oils confiscated “he ended up in the hospital after his seizures intensified.” The cannabis oils were later returned on the grounds that this situation was a “medical emergency.” It’s scary to think that without the use of medical marijuana, people in these types of situations don’t have that kind of medication. This is why the use of medical marijuana should be legalized across the US. Don’t you think that if cigarettes are legal, then so should marijuana. Marijuana is illegal, yet is widely known for its health benefits. While cigarettes, which actually deteriorates health is legal. Does that makes sense? No it doesn’t. I believe that all people should have the right to all the types of medication they need. I know a few people who heavily rely on medical marijuana due to pain and mental health. I also have friends who use marijuana to stay away from their addiction to cigarettes and opioids. Knowing this, marijuana should be legal so that people at least have it as a use for medication. It provides many benefits that outweigh the consequences of legalizing it. We need to give a voice to the legalization of marijuana, so that those who are in need of its medicinal properties can have it. 

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June 27, 2018

The Bigger​ Picture: Why the International Space Station should remain in the hands of NASA

By Tahlia W.

international-space-station-63128_1920

When I was a little girl, my mom and I would track the International Space Station and search for the bright light that shone as it passed us in the night sky. It was during these instances that I first had an inkling of the potential that human beings had in space exploration
if given the opportunity and resources. As a former Houstonian proud of the feats accomplished at Johnson Space Center and a lifelong admirer of all things space-related, I have avidly followed the contributions achieved through NASA’s research. The International Space Station is an example of NASA’s trailblazing work in space research. Recently, however, steps have been taken by the White House that would cause NASA to sever ties with the ISS.

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June 27, 2018

Supreme Court Sales Tax Ruling Could Bury Online Small Businesses

adolescent-bag-beautiful-919436Think about this. When you make a purchase at a store, does the cashier charge you a sales tax based on where you are from or where the store is located? Personally, I’ve never had a cashier ask me for my state ID in order to figure out how much sales tax to charge me. That would be ridiculous and inefficient. Generally, sales tax has been based on where the business is physically located. The business sector has been progressively becoming more technology driven. Some of the most prominent companies in the world only operate online. Companies like Amazon have really changed the business environment in this way. Companies can sell their products globally without having a physical presence near their customers. Clearly e-commerce has been a growing sensation in the world. E-commerce currently makes up for about 10% of all US retail sales. That 10% share is about $500 billion in sales and is expected to grow exponentially.

Since the rise of e-commerce, there has been debates in the US on how these companies would be deal with the varying sales tax policies in each state. In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that state governments may only impose a sales tax on companies that have a physical presence in their state. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to overrule their 1992 vote. Now states are allowed to require companies with no physical presence to collect sales taxes on transactions.

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June 26, 2018

From Zero Tolerance Policy to Zero Tolerance Morals

barb-wires-barbed-wire-barrier-340585By Kāʻai Fernandez

America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, was built on the backs of the poor, of the hungry, of the huddled masses. This country of ours was founded on the hopes and dreams of a people who felt hopeless in the Old World, who traveled thousands of miles over open ocean in dangerous conditions, into the unknown, for nothing but a chance at a new life. And after its founding, immigrants came because America had limitless opportunities, because America had freedom, because American had humane, morally good policies for struggling immigrants.

Those humane immigration policies don’t appear to exist anymore.

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June 26, 2018

Deepening the Divide: How the De Niro-Trump feud affects our collective discourse

 

railway-1758208_1920As a student in an argumentative writing class, I have recently cultivated an appreciation for effective rhetoric. Fostering substantive rhetoric is an age-old art and is described by the great rhetors of the past such as Cicero and Quintilian. In their time, rhetoric was a tool by which an issue was deliberated. My study of ancient rhetoric led me to question the quality of our own societal rhetoric. I have observed that the quality of our nation’s rhetoric has slowly diminished as a result of the prevalent state of discourse in our society today. The recent exchanges between actor Robert De Niro and Trump are one instance of many similar to this but highlight the prevalence of empty, meaningless words rather than substantive, logical discourse.

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