Archive for ‘Politics’

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 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

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?

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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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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 29, 2018

The Supreme Court Supports Lying and Deception

close-up-court-courthouse-534204When I see a doctor, I don’t question their character. I go in and I listen to them because they tell you the truth. They give you all the necessary information that you need, and they let you make a decision. They may make recommendations, but ultimately, they give you all of the required information in an unbiased manner and they leave the decision making in your hands. This is how it has been for me, and this is how it certainly should be for pregnant women. Across the United States there are about 2,700 anti-abortion crisis centers. Some of these centers are medically license, and other are not. These centers are religiously motivated places that strongly encourage women to seek all other options besides abortion. There are actually three times as much anti-abortion crisis centers than clinics that provide abortions. These centers are government funded in 14 states. From 2001 to 2006, these centers received about $30 million.These centers have built a reputation for being deceptive and taking advantage of the vulnerability of pregnant women in order to push their political agenda.

In 2015, California passed the Reproductive FACT Act. This act had 2 provisions. First, “The FACT Act requires unlicensed crisis pregnancy centers to post a sign or otherwise disclose to their clients in writing that the center is not a licensed medical facility and has no licensed medical provider who supervises the provision of services.”. The second provision requires licensed centers “to post a sign that says the state provides free or low-cost access to prenatal care, birth control and other reproductive care, including abortions”. This act was recently appealed and upheld unanimously by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court reversed this decision and no longer requires anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to more fully disclose what they are.

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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 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

Your Daily Coffee Is About To Get Roasted

Many are familiar with the name Al Gore. The 45th Vice President of the United States of America. Democratic nominee for the 2000 presidential election. Divorcee of his high school sweetheart. 1969 Army enlistee. Well now I’m getting off track. The point is, most have heard the name Al Gore at some point in their lives, whether they lived through his vice-presidential terms, or they have heard his name on the news when topics of climate change are brought up. Regardless, Al Gore was ahead of his time. He argued on the existence of climate change and the obligation we have to bring it under control, even winning the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. However, even now, eighteen years after he served as the Vice President and fought for the country to gain a control on climate change, many still do not believe that climate change is a problem that affects them.

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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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June 26, 2018

Trump’s New Title X Takes Away Crucial Funding for Family Planning Organizations

Screen Shot 2018-06-26 at 12.00.52 AMSomething I don’t think some people realize, is how grueling having a baby can be. The changes to your body and hormones, medical complications, medical finances, etc. If you don’t have the support and stability for that, what can you do? Some people say adoption, but just having your body change out of your control, and giving birth is something that isn’t easy to endure. Many people focus on all the positive aspects of having a baby. However, for many women who aren’t ready for that, it’s a nightmare. The fear of getting pregnant at the wrong time is why we also have contraceptives and places like Planned Parenthood. It’s to give us choice of deciding what we want to do. A lot of the funding that supports women and families in need are being threatened. Trump’s revision of Title X will ruin what was created to help people.

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June 25, 2018

Take the Turnpike to Failing Bureaucracy

bagger-constructing-construction-2489As a child, I found something fun about going over potholes; they’re like jumps after all—and creaking bridges and cracked roads make the world feel old, like life’s an adventure. But by the time you own the car that trips over that pothole and cracks a rim, it’s not fun. And when you pay taxes on the bridges that make you nervous to drive over and cracked roads that make you frown. When there is a lack of results from the private sector and the public sector working together, it doesn’t feel like an adventure. It feels like a horror movie.

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June 24, 2018

Amusement and Theme Parks Would Be Wise to Follow in SeaWorld’s Footsteps

Every month I look forward to receiving my monthly copy of National Geographic. The vibrant, striking photos on the cover with their intriguing captions and headlines never cease to capture my attention. This month, when I pulled my copy out of the mailbox, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the iceberg the cover image displayed. It was bright, white, and shimmering in the sunlight, reflecting itself onto the ocean surrounding it. However, upon closer glance, I came to the realization that it was no iceberg at all, but instead, it was a plastic bag partly submerged in the ocean with the headline “Planet or Plastic? 18 billion pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean each year. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”   

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August 13, 2017

Trump’s America: The Charlottesville Horror

TRUMP IS A DUMPOn August 11th, 2017, hundreds of white supremacists rallied together in the collegetown of Charlottesville, Virginia in order to spread fear, hatred, and bigotry amongst the people of the town. For the “alt-right” white supremacists, this was a rally against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. With lit torches in hand, the protesters also meant to strike a message to anyone not of their race and ideology, showing that they were rallying to take back America for themselves.

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August 13, 2017

Can your political opinions get in the way of doing your job

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Black Lives Matter is a movement/organization that started in 2012, spreading awareness in the U.S about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of their basic human rights and dignity. There is also an opposing movement that claim All Lives Matter. A true statement, but one that takes away from the real issue of racism. When celebrities in the black community want to speak out in support of the movement, they always choose a careful time to do it. Jesse Williams, actor on the ABC drama Greys Anatomy gave an eloquent acceptance speech at the BET awards about his support and need for awareness to the movement. Singer The Weekend shows his stance through donations, a silent but obvious sign of support. NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick showed his fight by kneeling during the National Anthem at a football game, a stunt that many believe cost him his job. The argument is, was it his political stance, or his field performance that lead him to be jobless today; I say it’s both.

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