Save your Internet

What is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality is what gives us the freedom to browse the Internet. It’s what prevents big phone and cable companies from controlling what we access and browse. Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) give us the platforms to post what we want. They provide the freedom and platforms for our speech. Net Neutrality prevents the ISP’s from controlling how fast or slow our Internet access is. It gives everyone on the Internet an equal experience.

What’s happening to Net Neutrality?

There has been concern that we could lose our Net Neutrality. Soon, the FCC (Federal Communications Commision) will vote to determine the status of Net Neutrality. Since 2015, the FCC has tried their hardest to change the rule of Net Neutrality. If things were to change, that means ISP’s would have control over what we do. Not only could they speed up or slow down our Internet access, but they could determine what is posted. The loss of Net Neutrality means potentially paying for the sites we want to access. It would be like subscribing to a magazine, making daily tasks harder.

Who will be affected?

Without knowing, everyone is affected. Whether you’re trying to roam the Internet or you’re trying to check out a business, it can be harder to access their content. Losing the ability to share online will make it harder for certain events. This means that groups such as Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ will have a hard time planning their events. Anyone who depends on the Internet to receive or put out information will have a hard time.

How can this change be prevented?

If you have social media, you’ve probably seen the petitions going around. You may be wondering “How does a lousy petition help?” The FCC doesn’t think many people understand Net Neutrality. These signatures bring it to their attention that we care about our Internet. Now, will this prevent Net Neutrality from changing? Possibly. Many have taken the opportunity to call the FCC and tell them what it means to lose their Net neutrality. Taking action by simply signing a petition can possibly stop us from losing our Internet freedom. 

To help prevent Net Neutrality, visit the petition below:

https://www.change.org/p/save-net-neutrality-netneutrality?recruiter=763323166&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&pt=AVBldGl0aW9uABIRswAAAAAAWh88MyGOFL82OTJhYzVlMg%3D%3D

For more information about Net Neutrality, please visit:

https://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-what-you-need-know-now
or
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2017/11/26/when-the-fcc-kills-net-neutrality-heres-what-your-internet-will-look-like/#216b23e44c68

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are officially engaged

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 27: Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle during an official photocall to announce their engagement at The Sunken Gardens at Kensington Palace on November 27, 2017 in London, England. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been a couple officially since November 2016 and are due to marry in Spring 2018. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Clarence House (office of Prince Charles) announced the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Monday, November 27. The announcement shocked the world greatly, and after the announcement, the two made a brief appearance in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. Harry told the reporters that he knew Meghan Markle was “the one from the first time they met.” The prince declined to tell the story of the proposal, but when he was asked if it was romantic or not, he answered “Of course it was.” Meghan Markle said she was very happy and flashed the engagement ring to the reporters.

According to Kensington Palace, Harry designed the engagement ring with a gold band, a large diamond from Botswana, and two smaller diamonds from a collection of Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Botswana is a significant place for Prince Harry and Meghan because they had spent time together there in the past year and a half. Cleave and Company, Court Jewellers, and Medallists were some of the companies that made the ring.

The couple plans to marry in spring 2018, and live at Nottingham Cottage, at Kensington Palace, where Prince Harry currently lives. Meghan Markle will be the first American to marry a British Royal since the marriage of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII. Harry’s grandparents are delighted and wishes the couple every happiness.

Harry also sought Markle’s parents and had received their blessings already. Her parent’s statement said, “We are incredibly happy for Meghan and Harry. Our daughter had always been a kind and loving person. To see her union with Harry, who shares the same qualities, is a source of great joy for us as parents. We wish them a lifetime of happiness and are very excited for their future together.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9243878t)
Britain’s Prince Harry pose with Meghan Markle during a photocall after announcing their engagement in the Sunken Garden in Kensington Palace in London, Britain, 27 November. Clarence House earlier 27 November 2017 announced the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. ‘His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle. The wedding will take place in Spring 2018. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.’ the statement said.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle engagement in Kensington Palace, London, United Kingdom – 27 Nov 2017

Prince William had just finished attending a charity event in Finland when he was asked about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement. He replied with “Wishing them all the happiness in this very exciting time. Very excited and delighted for them both.” Then he added, “For me personally, I hope it means he stays out of my fridge, and stop him scrounging over my food like he’s done over these past few years, I’m pretty excited.” He also confirmed that Prince Harry and Markle are absolutely in love and wishes them all the happiness and success in the wedding preparations.

 

 

 

The Senate Republican tax bill

This week, senators on Capitol Hill debated passing the controversial new Senate Republican tax bill, known officially as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or colloquially as the Trump Tax Cuts. According to the official website of the United States Congress, the bill “amends the Internal Revenue Code to reduce tax rates and modify policies, credits, and deductions for individuals and businesses.” The Internal Revenue Code encompasses all domestic tax laws. Put simply, the goal of this bill is to reduce taxes for American individuals and businesses; a controversial goal indeed. The bill already passed a procedural vote on Wednesday, Nov 29, 52-48 and is expected to pass, finally, Friday, Dec 1, according to CNN Politics. In light of this information, it is important that we look at the details of the tax bill, which will undoubtedly affect millions of Americans.

The Senate tax bill differs from the House tax bill, which already passed on November 16, according to PolitiFact. The primary measures of the Senate bill are to lower individual and couple tax rates for the middle class, reduce corporate income tax from 35% to 20%, and to only tax income earned within US borders (PolitiFact). The idea is that these measures will create new jobs and businesses or, in the words of Donald Trump, perhaps the bill’s greatest champion, “Our focus is on helping the folks who work in the mail rooms and the machine shops of America, the plumbers, the carpenters, the cops, the teachers, the truck drivers… the people that like me best.” (St. Charles, Missouri, 11/29/17). The tax bill will also close certain tax loopholes that allow the rich to evade paying, including one highlighted by Donald Trump, in the same speech, that makes corporations pay less the more they reward their CEO’s with excessive bonuses, according to the Huffington Post.

These things may sound good, and certainly many Americans and 52% of the Senate think they are, but others argue they are not. According to Vox, the tax bill creates at least 5 big problems; it will create $1.5 in national debt over the first decade, it limits the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) which could create a “health insurance crisis,” it creates new loopholes for tax evasion despite closing others, it is designed to be more expensive or less effective than promised overtime, and most importantly, “According to the Tax Policy Center, by 2027 more than 75 percent of the tax cuts’ benefits will accrue to the top 5 percent of the income distribution, with more than 60 percent of the total gains going to the top 1 percent.” The tax bill, which has been promoted by President Trump, and other Senate Republicans, as a boon to the blue-collar worker and small business owner, may only benefit the very richest in our society.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 49% of Americans that were aware of the bill opposed it, 29% supported it, and 22% said they did not know. These results, which show an increase in the percent in opposition from 41% on October 24, are shocking after witnessing the unanimous, explosive cheering, and applause at President Trump’s Wednesday speech, and begs the perennial question, “Do lawmakers really have the people’s or even their own constituency’s concerns in mind?”

As of the writing of this article, Republican senators are still scrambling to rewrite the bill before an imminent vote, according to Politico. All we can do now is wait.

Students mental health during finals week (college)

A study hosted by Stop Procrastinating asked around campus’ about the upcoming exams and how college students feel about them. More than 2,000 college students said that they fear getting a lower grade, and finding job market failure because of the upcoming exams. Survey results also had shown that 64% of students worry that their exam stress is negatively affecting their grades and academic performance.

Existing stresses are from pressure to succeed academically and getting a successful job after graduation. Stress is also linked to distractions, such as social media, and lack of motivation. 37% of students struggle with loneliness and fear of not being successful in college, which leads to them abandoning their social life. Paige Clegg, a behavioral science graduate, said, “Socializing is a great way to relieve stress for college students. When your mind isn’t drowning in to-do lists and stress, it’s able to focus more easily.” She also talked about balance. “Balance is the key. Obviously doing well in school should be top priority, especially during such a stressful period. But it’s also critical to learn to relax your mind and unwind.”

About 12% of college students admit to using drugs to help them cope with the stress. Also, drugs are sometimes used to substitute hours of sleep for students. Some drink energy drinks, and others pull all-nighters during finals week. According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 34% of college students illegally use ADHD medications to help them focus on their studies. Adderall and Ritalin are among the most used medications according to a study conducted by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, and they found that mentions of Adderall spikes on Twitter during final-exam periods.

At Boston University, behavioral medicine clinicians reported that the number of students in crisis, coming in for help, increased from 647 in 2014 to 906 in 2015. According to another study, of about 100,000 students, conducted by the Penn Center, they showed that more than half of the students listed anxiety as a concern. Nearly one in 6 college students had been diagnosed or treated for anxiety according to ACHA 2015 national survey. The survey also found that 21.9% of students said that the last 12 months of anxiety affected their academic performance. While 13.8% reported that depression affected their academic performance.

From the same survey from ACHA, about 30% of students said that stress affected their performance while 20% listed sleep difficulties. About 47.7% of students had said that they felt like a lot of things were hopeless, and 85.6% said they felt overwhelmed with school and everything they had to do in their life at the moment. Students had been asked if they felt overwhelming anxiety, and about 56.9% of the students said yes. About 1.4% of the students had said they attempted suicide and 34.5% students agreed with the statement of being so depressed that it was difficult to function.

Bombing in Mogadishu

According to the New York Times, more than 270 people were killed, and hundreds were wounded, in a double truck bombing in Mogadishu, Somalia. This happened on October 15, 2017. Senator Abshir claimed that it is one of the most deadliest incident since the 90’s.

image taken from: ttp://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/03/somalia-mogadishu-car-bombing-160309051433825.html

Security officials believe that this was caused by a Somali terrorist group, and that they created the bomb. According to the Guardian website, one of the security officials has said that the explosives has been hidden under rice, sugar, and other goods in the truck. They were about 4 miles away from Mogadishu. The bomb then exploded near a hotel on a busy street, which caused many people to die, and wrecked buildings.

Also according to the Guardian website, a woman named Zainab Sharif lost her husband in the bombing, and she said that she lost everything they had. Another woman, named Muna Haj, said that she lost her son during the bombing, and she said that her son doesn’t deserve to die right now, and that the killer deserves to get punished. So many women lost their loved ones and want to know who started the bombing. The group killed innocent civilians and children too.

Many Somali people protested against this and want justice. Many people, including Somali people here in the U.S., are donating money to their families and to the Somali government.

The opioid crisis and President Trump’s reaction

In a speech given on October 26, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a “nationwide public health emergency.” This is not just a description, as it may seem, but a legal act which allows the allocation of a certain number of funds towards combatting the crisis, through the Public Health Services Act (CNN). However, that number is pitifully low; only $57,000, according to the Washington Post. President Trump could have declared the crisis a national disaster, another type of national health emergency declaration which holds more weight and makes more funding available (CNN). Because of this, and other comments, Trump’s reaction to the opioid crisis has been highly controversial.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids are a class of drugs including legal drugs such as common prescription painkillers such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), codeine (cough syrup), morphine, etc., and illegal street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. Opioids are especially popular among young people, and were the cited cause of death of an estimated 62,497 Americans in 2016, according to Vox. As shown in the graph taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of opioid-related deaths has been rising steadily since 2000.

The opioid crisis began in the late 1990’s, according to NIDA, when pharmaceutical companies began promoting opioids as non-addictive painkillers (which was false), and doctors began prescribing them more liberally. Also, as reported by Medpage Today, during this time, popular medical philosophy changed in ways that may have exacerbated the crisis. Treating pain came to be seen as almost as important as treating illnesses themselves. Medical organizations such as the United States Department of Veteran Affairs and the Joint Commission officially recognized pain as the “fifth vital sign,” on par with body temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate.

Despite this, some have pointed out that prescription opioids may not be the leading cause of the crisis. According to the New York Post, most opioid-abusers (more than 75% of pill users, most heroin addicts) were never prescribed pain medication for an injury or illness, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and emergency room records show only 13% of opioid-overdose victims began using opioids because of pain according to the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Also controversial, has been President Trump’s promise of an aggressive anti-drug (specifically anti-opioid) campaign targeted at youth as a primary strategy against the crisis. The New York Times article “Just Say No to Opioids? Ads Could Actually Make Things Worse” explains how campaigns like these in the past were actually ineffective or even detrimental. The authors cite a study of 200,000 youth aged 9 to 18 that shows that those exposed to more anti-drug campaigns were actually more skeptical about the harmfulness of marijuana and that they should avoid it. The New York Times explains that more subtle add campaigns such as “truth.” which made drugs seem “uncool” were actually more effective than those that made them seem scary. However, the New York Post article “Deadly myths of the opioid epidemic,” provides other statistics that say otherwise. Graphic, aggressive anti-smoking ads from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “cut smoking among youth and convinced 400,000 smokers to quit for good.”

Whether or not you think prescription drugs are the primary cause of the opioid crisis, or whether anti-drug ad campaigns should be graphic or social (or should not exist at all), it is apparent that it will require more than $57,000 in allocated funding to defeat the opioid crisis. Now is the moment for all branches of the government to show with their actions, not just rhetoric, how serious they believe the opioid crisis to be.

 

The 2017 wildfire crisis

Image: Damage in Coffey Park, Santa Rosa after wildfire (NBC News, https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/western-wildfires/one-killed-major-wildfires-ignite-overnight-across-northern-california-n809206)

Since October 8, firefighters in California have responded to 250 new wildfires. In 2017, 7980 fires have burned 1,046,995 acres of land in California, according to CAL FIRE. One wildfire, the Tubbs Fire, has broken the record for most destructive wildfire in the history of California, burning 36,793 acres, destroying 5300 structures, and killing 22 civilians as also reported by CAL FIRE. In total, the wildfires have killed 42 civilians, according to CNBC. These wildfires pose serious questions about the nature of climate change and how we should treat our environment, as well as questions about how the government should respond to natural disasters.

In an article by Scientific American entitled “Scientists See Climate Change in California’s Wildfires,” UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain explains how climate change exacerbated the California wildfire crisis. The summer of 2017 was the warmest in more than 100 years, which dried out vegetation which in turn acted as fuel for the fires. This drying out of vegetation is also related to California’s recent historic drought, also linked to climate change. Additionally, strong winds blew the fires farther and into urban areas.

In the same article, climate scientist LeRoy Westerling says that climate models predict California to have continuing cycles of drought and rainfall due to climate change, a deadly combination when it comes to wildfires.

On October 19, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation to combat wildfires in California and elsewhere, according to The Hill. Among other things, the bill would include a program for the U.S. Forest Service and Interior Department agencies to treat the most potentially dangerous areas for wildfires by removing dried vegetation, which might drastically decrease wildfire destruction for reasons previously explained. It would also provide $100 million to prepare against wildfires for communities most threatened by potential wildfires. This would be in addition to $576.5 million in disaster relief funds for wildfire recovery recently approved by The House.

The wildfire crisis is not just a Californian phenomenon. So far this year, The Hill has reported that over 50,000 wildfires have burned over 8.8 million acres in the United States, a massive increase over the average number of acres burned per year over the last 10 years, which is only 6 million. As well as wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters have also been occurring at an alarming rate in the United States. We must work as a country with our government to respond to these situations and aim to prevent them in the future by addressing their root causes, including climate change.

You can donate here to help two of the counties most affected by the California wildfire crisis: https://www.gofundme.com/napa-sonoma-fires

For information on how to contact Minnesota senators to discuss wildfire prevention and relief, click here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/senators_cfm.cfm?State=MN

 

 

North Korea gets U.S. and South Korea war plans

Early on morning of October 11, North Korean hackers were able to hack into the South Korean government computers and stole about 235 GB of data. The stolen data included 300-lower classified, confidential documents, and there were also classified wartime plans drawn up by the U.S. and South Korea.

Mr. Rhee Cheol-hee, a South Korean lawmaker, had stated to reporters that one of the documents that was stolen included South Korea’s military plan of removing North Korea leader, Kim Jong-Un, if war between the Korean Peninsula breaks out. The hackers had used a computer vaccine service, and South Korea had been able to trace the IP address, of the vaccine, which originated in Shenyang, China.

In 2010, the U.S. broke into North Korea’s computer system; targeting Reconnaissance General Bureau, which is North Korea’s equivalent of the US C.I.A. Last month, U.S. strategic bombers, and fighters jets, flew along the East Coast of North Korea. North Korea claimed a right to shoot any American warplanes flying near the country.

The Pentagon hasn’t yet released a statement, but spokesperson, Army Col. Rob Manning, stated that “I can assure you we are confident in our security in our operations plans and our ability to deal with any threat from North Korea.” He also added, “The operations plan that they are referring to is a bilateral plan, so the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance remains steadfast in their commitment to make sure they safeguard that information and ensure readiness on Korean Peninsula to counter any North Korean threats.”

Trump tweeted on Monday, October 9th, “Our country had been unsuccessfully dealing with North Korea for 25 years, giving billions of dollars and getting nothing. Policy didn’t work.” He then tweeted later in the afternoon “Presidents and their administrations had been talking to North Korea for 25 years, agreements been made and massive amounts of money had been paid…hasn’t worked, agreements violated before the ink was dry, making fools of US negotiators. Sorry but only one thing will work!” When the reporters asked Trump what he meant by his tweets his only response was “You’ll figure it out pretty soon.”

Gender roles

by: Ali Limback and Eddie López

The definition of gender roles (according to Google) is basically a set norm of what each gender is supposed to be/act/look like.

image taken from Twitter @Thynative

The typical norm for guys is to be fit, act very tough, and be interested in sports. Guys can also be intrested in other things besides sports, like video games, and more. Most of the time when guys find things of interest, that are typically “girly” things, they get excluded. Often, since they are not intrested in the same thing as most guys, they find the person weird, so they call them names like “fag” or “queer.”

The typical norm for girls is to be super social, very dainty, with no muscle, and very much into their looks. It’s not the usual to have short hair because that’s a “boys hairstyle.”

A good example of exposing people to non “normal” looks is through celebrities and their fashion choices. Honestly, it is more socially acceptable for a girl to wear “boys” clothes than the other way around. That is why I chose to focus on male celebrity

fashion choices.

Harry Styles has recently been wearing outfits that don’t fit into the standards of normal masculine fashion. He has been seen wearing a lot of woman’s clothing (like blouses) and colors men wouldn’t typically wear. We personally think that it’s great to see someone so high in the music industry (a lot of people look up to him) wearing what he wants to wear, and showing people that we can mix fashion, and there’s not a set gender in clothing. A lot of people are being really great about his recent change in fashion and supporting him through it all.

From Glee, the character, Kurt Hummel, was known for his fashion choices. He was bullied and called very rude things because of what he wore because he was different. He was definitely a character to look up to because even through all the bulling, he did not change his fashion choices because of what other people said. It ended up great in the end because he got such a great job in fashion, and he never gave up on himself.

NFL national anthem protests

Before every game, whether it’s for high school or the pros, the national anthem plays and we stand to face the flag. Lately, many of the pro sports players haven’t been standing for the anthem. Players in the NFL have been kneeling during the anthem. “Why?” some might ask. It’s because they are protesting against police brutality and racial injustice.

The protests began on August 26, 2016, when then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick would not stand during the national anthem according to ProCon.org. Many people have conflicting views regarding the players’ actions, the president of the United States has given his opinion, as well as the National Football League.

President Trump has tweeted out many things about the protests, some of which say the players should be fired. He believes what they are doing in disrespectful to our country. Trump told Vice President Pence to attend a 49ers game, who then left right after the anthem, after seeing players kneel, instead of stand, says Jeremy Woo from Sports Illustrated.

The NFL has stated that they are not making any plans at the moment to make players stand during the national anthem. They are “trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together” states a spokesperson from the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to all 32 teams saying “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.” Mid-October, players in the league are expected to go to New York to discuss plans to solve the issue and create a positive change within the NFL and the country.

Overall, it seems everyone would like a change in some form. Players would like to see a change in society. The president would like to see a change in the NFL. And the NFL would like everyone to be positive.