Kim Jong-un the Solution to Missed Senate Votes?

Kim Jong-un (N. Korea)Since the 2016 presidential campaign trail began for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, the two senators had notably been absent on Capitol Hill lately, having missed the third highest and highest number of U.S. Senate votes in 2015, respectively. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid found Rubio’s attendance so lacking that he went so far as to suggest that the Senate resign his seat. The heavy lack of attendance to the Capitol was surprisingly interrupted by, surprisingly, North Korea’s current leader, Kim Jong-un.

A vote on the sanctioning of North Korea and its current dictator yanked Cruz and Rubio off the campaign trail and onto the Senate floor on Wednesday. When asked why he diverted from his campaign trail to vote on this issue, Cruz replied that, “the national security threat is serious.” Rubio’s aide, Alex Burgos, made an extra effort to wave off reporters as his boss entered the Senate Wednesday evening. When asked why he wanted to vote, Rubio, while entering the Senate floor, replied, “it’s an important issue.”
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz

The legislation on the North Korea issue is obviously important to national security, and if the two Senators had to pick something to eventually vote for, this one is definitely one of the more important ones. However, one factor as to why the two decided to come back, is to avoid looking weak. A presidential candidate should look strong on matters of national security, and an opposing senator in the race could have attacked in an upcoming debate or on the campaign trail for not voting on an important matter of national security. There’s nothing wrong with this—strategy is obviously needed in a presidential election. However, it’s the duty of a U.S. Senator to vote on these issues, whether it affects their poll numbers or not.

What is Gender Identity?

imageOn June 9th, 2015 Vanity Fair magazine will release an issue with the cover featuring Caitlyn Jenner with the words “Call Me Caitlyn” heading the magazine. The cover, which is already released on the internet, along with her sit-down interview with Diane Sawyer, has garnered a lot of controversy and publicity over the revelation of who Caitlyn Jenner really is. While Caitlyn Jenner is famous for winning a gold medal in the 1976 Olympic decathlon, the new topic she addresses today is extremely relevant as gender identity finds its way into the national and international conversation. So, what exactly is gender identity?

Gender identity is the internal sense and feeling of one’s gender. Transgender people’s gender identity does not match that of their sex, assigned at birth. For some people, gender is not apparent. Instead they are classified as “Genderqueer” or “Genderfluid.” In other words, they do not identify themselves as men or women, but rather as somewhere in between, or neither at all.
Trans people should not be treated any differently than any other person. Here are some basic common sense guidelines to follow when talking to a transgender or genderqueer person:

  1. Always use a transgender person’s chosen name.
  2. If possible, ask the person of with which gender they identify and what name they would like to be called. (This is not rude, it’s respectful to address them however they want to be addressed.)
  3. Always use their chosen pronoun. (ex. He/She/They)
  4. When referring to a transgender person’s past life before their transition, use their current gender identity and name, never using their past gender or name.
  5. Transgender people should be treated as any other person and should not be talked down to or given privileges not given to other cis-gendered persons. (In other words, don’t think of them as “transgender” think of them as how they would like you to, a man or a woman or neither, whichever they prefer to identify as is what you should identify them as.)

Always be respectful of people, regardless of their genders. Everyone should be treated with the same respect as you’d like to be given; seriously, it’s dumb to treat someone as if they’re less than you, just because they feel more comfortable identifying with a different gender.

#LoveWithoutLocks

imagePont de Arts, also known as the ‘Bridge of Love’ in Paris has begun the process of removing nearly a million padlocks. Over the course of ten years, thousands of couples visiting from all over the world came to Paris and attached a lock to the metal railing of the bridge and threw the key into the river as a symbol of everlasting love.

These symbols of undying love have become a huge safety hazard as they add an extra 45 tons to the bridge. Phileas Le cléateur, a Parisian locksmith, and his wife started a passion project in early November to save as many “love locks” as possible from the bridge by using his vast collection of antique skeleton keys. Le cléateur has been using his keys to salvage as many padlocks as he can, in hopes of reuniting them with their original owners. He has rescued about 400 locks so far. He and his wife are now are beginning to post pictures of the locks that have been saved on Instagram and other social media sites to help reunite them with their rightful owner.

 

The Soviet Sniper

The beautiful and deadly, Roza Shanina.

The beautiful and deadly, Roza Shanina.

There are a lot of people that you may know who were around in 1941 such as Joe DiMaggio, Frank Sinatra, and Walt Disney.  But here is someone you might not know.
Her name was Roza Shanina and she was a college- educated kindergarten teacher during World War II. In 1941, her first brother was killed on the front line, so Roza decided to enlist. Initially, she was turned away because of how hot it was in the front.

But after loosing two more siblings in 1942, she finally succeeded in joining the Soviet Army as a female sniper. Roza made it through Central Female Sniper Academy with no problem.The Soviet military believed that women made good snipers because of their greater flexibility, patience, and ability to endure combat hardships better than their male counterparts.

In April 1944,  Roza killed her first Nazi soldier and within a month she killed about 17 more. One brisk day, when Roza was under heavy artillery fire and her commanders told her to withdrawal but she ignored the orders and continued to support the advancing infantry. Roza was a fighter and that’s where she felt at home. She excelled at shooting doublets, which means hitting two targets in rapid succession. Her bravery earned her military commendations and wide renown among her countrymen.

Before she died, Roza had killed 59 people in a 8 month span when stacked up with other great snipers, she had the most kills in the least amount of time. In comparison, Carlos Hathcock who was a American fighting in the Vietnam war killed 96 people in a 2 year period and Chris Kyle who fought in Fallujah and Ramadi, killed 255 people in 10 years.

Rosa’s short tour of duty finally came to an end On January 27, 1945 when she was severely injured while shielding a wounded artillery officer. She was found by two soldiers disemboweled, with her chest torn open by a shell fragment.

And that is the story of the young, beautiful and extremely deadly Roza Shanina.

#RelieftoNepal

imageA 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal near the capital of Kathmandu. More than 4,000 people were killed and 2,000 remain to be in serious conditions. Thousands of people are shaken from the event, forced to sleep in the open due to the fact that their homes have been destroyed. Others are afraid to stay in buildings that may be vulnerable to aftershocks. Aid groups have not been able to reach remote areas near the quake’s epicenter, which could in fact may be among the places most severely hit. There are many ways you are able to help relieve and prevent future occurrences in Nepal.

  • To donate to Nepal Earthquake’s Children’s Relief fund, click here.
  • To donate to Global Giving Nepal Earthquake Relief fund, click here.
  • To donate to Lutheran World Relief organization, click here.
  • Doctors without borders have sent eight teams to Nepal to assist those in need, including a highly-skilled surgical team that will set up mobile clinics in the hopes of reaching people in remote areas. If you want to donate, click here.
  • Clean water is also a very important thing at a time like this. People in Nepal need significant help accessing clean water. To send clean water, click here.

Other options that do not require monetary donations include spreading awareness to others through social media. The people of Nepal need our help.

The Biggest Scam In the Galaxy?

imageI’ve already reported about the Mars One Mission Company, but is it possibly all a scam? So far, only one finalist has spoken out about this problem, but we can’t help but wonder if it is. The contestant says that the media had been telling the wrong story.

Joseph Roche, the contestant in question, claims that there was never 200,000 applicants, but 2,761. As well as not having insuffiecient psychological/ psychometric testing, the “ranks” that either brough a contestant up or down the list, were earned by how much money was donated. Roche also brings up a point system, (which ironically is pointless). The way you earn points, is buying merchandise from the company… Although he was chosen to be in the final 100, he had never met anyone from Mars One face to face. The galactical experiment was supposedly going to become a reality tv show as well, but the production company pulled out of the contract that was supposed to make $6 billion. Coincedential? Gerard Hooft, a former adviser for Mars One had mentioned that the actual launch date was 100 years away, instead of 10 years away. But Mars One CEO, Bas Lansdorp, (it’s a Dutch company) denies all of these statements. Some speculators have been saying, instead of going through the trouble of trying to create a livable space on Mars, why don’t we just fix up Earth? Opinions have been circulating and we’re waiting for updates on that…

The Baltimore Uprising

imageOnce again, another unarmed black man was killed by police, although this time may have been an accident, or indirect murder. A 25 year old man named Freddie Gray was arrested for selling illegal substances this Friday on April 12th. Prior to arrest, proven by video footage, Freddie was heard asking for assistance while being tackled, dragged, and thrown into the police van by police officers.

Only 50 minutes after arrest, the police officers were reported to have been driving sporadically. Mr. Gray suffered a spinal cord injury which the officers withheld from the emergency responders; he then died on the spot with no immediate medical services.

“Medical attention should’ve been given much sooner…”
– Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts

Police brutality over years and years led up to this violent moment, to a riot arising in Baltimore. Ironically, rival gangs join forces for a common cause: Police brutality. Looting, fires, and assault has occurred. Many black men took this killing personally, while others gave police the benefit of the doubt and protected them as seen on the attached video clip. Starting Tuesday, April 28th, guards will be stationed to protect citizens as cleanup and repair ensues.

Soundcloud: The End of an Era

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Soundcloud used to be a place where independent music creators could harmlessly share their music without any financial gain.  But now, it is in favor of boosting revenue and helping those with record labels.

With its new agreements with Warner and zefr, Soundcloud is basically trying to push the independent artists out.

Soundcloud has had an agreement with Warner for a while and the whole objective with Warner was to gain revenue for Soundcloud and protect Warner’s artists on Soundcloud.

In order to do that, they called in zefr to totally eradicate the independents from Soundcloud by removing anything with even a little bit of copyright infringement.

This means no sampling or remixes from songs releasing on any major record labels by independents.

Not to mention warner could not reimburse their one year contract Soundcloud and leave it with nothing but the independents who decided to stay, possibly even begging for them back.

I, for one, would be happy and excited to move my music elsewhere.  The layout of SoundCloud sucks anyway regardless of what’s going on with these deals.

We all just have to move somewhere else.

The question is where we are going.

#Hillary2016 is Official

Hillary Clinton in her “Getting Started” campaign video

Finally emerging after two years of rumors and speculation, Hillary Clinton announced last Sunday that she would be running in the 2016 presidential race, marking her second attempt in becoming the first woman president of the United States. She introduced her goals and focus for her second run in her campaign video “Getting Started” that garnered much attention and feedback after it was released just after 3 PM.

A multitude of diverse people and their current life are highlighted in the video, which reflects Clinton’s sentiments of wanting to become the champion of “everyday Americans.” From a stay-at-home mom returning to the workplace after many years, to a pair of expectant parents, a job-seeking college student, and a same sex couple on the verge of marriage, Clinton promises to these people that she wants to run “so you can do more than just get by — you can get ahead and stay ahead.” Even on her Twitter account, she shoutouts this particular group of people. “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion,” she says. This specification calls attention to one of the key objectives in her campaign: to fight for those who have been just getting by during the States’ economic recovery.

However, regardless of her pledges, she still has a ways to go in terms of swaying public opinion and showing the warm, fun side of Hillary Clinton. It is both a blessing and a curse that she’s starting with such experience, having been a First Lady, US Senator, and Secretary of State. Her image is that much more difficult to reinvent, but she’s also gained a substantial amount of supporters due to her time in the political spotlight. The Republican National a Committee Chairman, Reince Priebus, talked about “Clinton’s air of ‘inevitability'” when speaking about her candidacy on CBS News’ Face the Nation, saying that she gives off an impression that she intends to “waltz into the White House.” That image is very much something Clinton and her team are definitely working to transform during her presidential candidacy, and it’s apparent what she says during her campaign video. Instead of going the “starting a conversation” route that she took in 2008, she tells voters that she’s “hitting the road to ear [their] votes.” In pursuing this goal of evoking a feeling of familiarity between the voters and Clinton, her advisers say her second presidential run is going to look less like her first but rather her run for the Senate seat from New York in 2000 where a listening tour took place and she even spent a few nights in supporters’ homes.

Her campaign reports to be planning to spend the next six to eight weeks hiring staff and reaching out to volunteers, before starting her first rally sometime in May. With an all-new campaign message and a renewed team, it’s time to see if perhaps second’s a charm for Clinton.

Earth Day 2015

It is time to commemorate International Earth Day today! Every year over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day. From planting trees to cleaning up their communities to turning off electronics for only an hour, Earth Day is considered the biggest environmental event in the world. Earth Day raises awareness for many environmental challenges. As climate change and other environmental problems become increasingly more of an issue, days like Earth Day educate people, transform our cities, and forge a sustainable future. Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.

Here are a couple tools and resources for you to get involved with Earth Day in your community:

  • Plant a tree: Planting trees helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean pollution, secure soil in place to prevent erosion, and provide homes for a lot of biodiversity.
  • Build a birdhouse: Encourage the local bird population!
  • Educate yourself and others: Think about the issues that concern you the most and research ways you can help.
  • Join a local group: Look for groups or clubs in your community that undertake activities to help protect the environment.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Buy as little as possible and avoid items that come in lots of packaging, especially on Earth Day. Don’t use any disposable plates or cutlery. Recycle all the things you use for the day. Bring a cloth bag to your local supermarket to avoid the use of plastic bags.
  • Support local growers: Locally grown food retains nutrients because it gets to you faster rather than a mass produced supermarket.
  • Unplug!: For at least one hour go outside and sign off your electronics. Get active!
  • Turn off lights: Remember to turn off the lights before leaving a room. Using as little electricity as possible on this day is important!
  • Donate: Donate your old toys and clothing to other children who can make use of them.
  • Clean up litter: Get rid of litter from roadways and sidewalks in your community. Put on a pair of gloves and get a bag to clean-up. Once you have collected as much trash as possible, place recycled bags along the road.
  • Check the label!: Make sure before buying cleaning supplies you check the labels for any harmful chemicals. Earth-friendly cleaning products.