Monday, May 28, 2018

Higher Gas Prices a Headache For GOP–Except in California

While with the normal season change it is only custom that other parts of society change. In this case it is gas prices. This has been a normal tradition but at this point is is higher than previous spikes as the earlier occurrences through the year including long-term oil supply/demand imbalance, a robust economy, production cuts from OPEC and Russia, the collapse of the Venezuelan oil industry, and the Trump administration’s destabilizing Middle East policies.In most states the shift of blame lays on the Republicans and the current president, however in California the angered eyes turn towards its own representatives. Although most prices will decrease after the summer it has been reported by many that they have opted out on long road vacations for the raised gasoline.

I feel that such a price raise is only normal as it is a big season for driving and vacationing giving the perfect opportunity to raise funds in that area. I feel that many people would be upset with and is given the power to finger point yet it happens about every year so I don't see how many can be over dramatic and blame those who make the official statement. Personally I don't drive so I myself can not see the base effects.

Do you believe that it is reasonable for the gas price raises at this point in time?
How does this affect your thoughts on driving or how would you believe people to change their mode of getting places in response? Would more switch to public transportation? Would this help or further hurt the economy?


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Accused Stalker Sent Man 65,000 Texts After One Date, Police Say

31-year old Jacqueline Ades is accused of breaking into her date's home, bathing in his tub, and sending thousands of disturbing text messages to the man's phone after one date. This was after the victim saw Ades in his house via security camera footage while he was on vacation, after which he called the police. A large butcher knife was discovered in the passenger seat of her car. Ades allegedly sent about 65,000 text messages to the man’s phone. The victim said that she sent about 500 text messages to him a day.

In one of Ades’ messages, she allegedly stated, “…Don’t ever try to leave me…I’ll kill you…I don’t wanna be a murderer.” She also said that she wanted to wear his body parts and bathe in his blood.

Ades was arrested on charges of threatening, stalking and harassment.

A lot of people frown on double-texting, but what about 500 texts in a day? Not going to lie, I'm kind of jealous. This guy basically got 21 texts per hour, and I can't even get a "you up?" All jokes aside, this woman needs help and belongs in an institution. I can't decide which of her actions was worse, saying that she'd bathe in his blood and wear his body parts or her incessant texting.

If you've just met someone, what's an acceptable amount of texts to send them before a reply?

Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem

Article Link

Israeli forces killed dozens of Palestinians in bloody clashes at the Gaza border Monday in the deadliest day there since the 2014 war, as the US officially opened its Embassy in Jerusalem just 50 miles away. At least 58 Palestinians died, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, during protests over the Trump administration's controversial relocation of the Embassy from Tel Aviv, a move that has been praised by Israelis but has enraged Palestinians. Palestinian officials accused Israel of committing a "horrific massacre" and called on the international community to immediately intervene. The Palestinian Health Ministry said more than 2,700 had suffered injuries, and that many of the dead had not yet been identified.

1. Should the UN be involved? What agreement can they make with Isreal and Palestine to make sure this never happens again?
2. Why do you think that Isreal and Palestine still haven't come to an agreement?
3. What has caused the rise of these intentions?

US birth rates drop to lowest since 1987

Around 3.85 million babies were born in the United States in 2017, the fewest since 1987. Birth rates among women in their teens and twenties decreased while birth rates among women aged between 40 and 44 increased. Both the birth rate, the number of births per thousand, and fertility, a lifetime average forecast, fell in 2017.

It is easy to see why births are dropping: the younger generation simply can't afford to have kids. People can barely afford things like mortgage payments, cars, health insurance, and student loans, so it's clear to see why people are waiting until their forties to have kids. Another problem is that due to America's declining birth rate and fertility rate, we will likely reach a situation similar to that of Germany or Japan, where the death rate is greater than birth rates. This can have massive long-term consequences, like a smaller working class, which could in turn lower overall GDP growth. Additionally, a topic we discussed in class that also relates to this is entitlement programs. America runs on systems like Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security that rely on the assumption that there are more people who fund these programs than there are people who benefit from these programs. As a result of the shrinking working class and growing number of people eligible for Social Security, taxes will most definitely increase to accommodate the larger older population. Hopefully immigration will continue to increase in order to counteract the decreasing birthrate.

Do you think changes need to be made to entitlement programs in the future?

Chicago cop paid teen runaways for sex. Out-of-state condoms made it a federal crime, records say

After a 61-year old Chicago cop named William Whitley paid a 14-year old girl for sex in 2015, the girl came forward to federal investigators with details about their encounters, including the specific types of condoms the now ex-cop used. While this may seem like an unimportant detail, this piece of evidence was what allowed Whitley to be charged in a federal court instead of a local one because condoms Whitley used to commit the crime came from outside Illinois, where the crime occurred, meaning his “conduct affected interstate commerce,” according to an FBI criminal complaint. Whitley pleaded guilty to one count of sex trafficking a minor on Tuesday.

After learning about cases in class where the government increases its power through the commerce clause, I believe that its a bad thing that Whitley was able to be charged at the federal level. If more stuff like this happens, it's not crazy to think that the federal government will be able to prosecute almost every crime in the country. You have a crime involving a car? The car was made in a different state, so now the crime is Federal rather than local. You used a weapon manufactured in another state to in self-defense? Have fun defending against the federal government in court.

No doubt Whitley is scum. He claimed that he didn't know the girl was 14 and he said that the girl repeatedly told him she was 23, despite the braces on her teeth saying otherwise. Additionally, when they banged, Whitley "left his Chicago Police Department uniform hanging from his bedroom door" and "he even bragged about being a cop." Whitley also had a loaded firearm stashed under his pillow in bed, court records said. However, I personally think that the case itself shows that the federal government can take nearly any case depending on how bad they want it. The fact that condoms were used as the basis for Whitley being charged federally proves that the government can use selective enforcement. In that case, Whitley was better off raw dogging it because he'd probably get in less trouble. Even though this guy is a terrible person, I think this leap to make the crime a federal offense is stupid. If condoms can be used to determine that something is a federal crime, than almost all crimes are federal crimes.

How do you feel about this government extension of power through the commerce clause?

Earth just had its 400th straight warmer-than-average month thanks to global warming

Federal scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday that last month was Earth's four-hundredth consecutive month with above-average temperatures. Additionally, in April, Carbon dioxide reached its highest ever concentration in the atmosphere at 410 parts per million, which is the highest CO2 concentration in 800,000 years, according to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

It's easy to point fingers in the global warming debate. Things like Trump pulling out of the Paris climate deal and China's emission standards are all credited with the rise(and fall) of global temperatures. However, what I personally think is one of the biggest contributors to global warming is our own demand for consumer goods. We can say China is damaging the Earth with their low emission standards, but it's the demand coming from the States for consumer goods that makes the factories in China lower emission standards in order to pump out more goods. One of the best ways to combat global warming would be to start with lowering our own demand for goods or buy products that are known to be produced in a country with strict emission standards.

Is global warming a real concern? If so, what steps should we take to fight it?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

In Familiar Cycle, Trump Laments Texas School Shooting and Vows Action

Article link

Nine students and a teacher were killed Friday morning in a shooting at Santa Fe High School in the southeastern Texas city of Santa Fe. It's the 22nd school shooting in the US in 201810 people are dead, a law enforcement official said. Nine of those killed are students and one a teacher. Two law enforcement officers are among those injured. At least 13 people have been hospitalized. Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, the suspect, appeared before a judge in Galveston County via video from the county jail. He is being charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of a public servant. He was denied bond and not asked to enter a plea. President Trump addressed the shooting at an unrelated White House event, saying: "This has been going on too long in our country." Trump is once again promising to make sure people who don't deserve to have guns should not possess them. He has said this many times in the past, and let's see if he holds good on his promise this time.

1. Will President Trump hold good on his promise about gun control this time?
2.  What is your opinion about the 2nd amendment?
3. What steps should be taken by all schools, to help prevent such incidents in the future?

    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    Quakes Damage Roads as Ash Spews From Hawaii Volcano

    Link To Chicago Tribune Source


    Earthquakes have been damaging both roads and buildings on the Big Island of Hawaii since Wednesday. Ash emissions have streamed from the Kilauea volcano continuously. There have been occasional spouts of ash shooting out of the volcano, causing ash to fall downwind onto several communities. On Tuesday, Ash had spouted as high as 12,000 feet into the air according to local scientists on site. "'We're all safe, and I wish they'd open the park back up, but they have to keep it safe for everybody,' said Ken McGilvray, an area resident. 'We live on a volcano!"" However it has been recommended that more than 1,000 residents be evacuated due to the eruption, many if not most of the residents have elected to stay put, as they have lived there for many years and are used to earthquakes and eruptions such as these. Although so far these events have been quite normal for the volcano, geologists have warned that a larger-scale eruption could occur that would send huge boulders shooting up in the air and landing on near-by communities. Although it is still a possibility, it is still unclear as to whether or not this is likely to occur. 

    Ultimately, it is up to the people that have lived in these communities for many years that can decide whether or not they want to evacuate or stay put. The biggest issue currently would most likely be the air quality. All of that ash would create awful air quality, which, in turn, could prove deadly for the lungs. But, in regards to falling boulders, this article does not give out the impression that geologists are very worried about the possible large-scale eruption, otherwise, residents would not be allowed to make the decision to stay at home on the volcano, as this would mean certain death for the entirely of the community.

    1) If a natural disaster is going to result in catastrophic ends, is it morally ethical to force people out of their homes?
    2) Should the residence of the communities on the volcano be concerned about the hypotheses of geologists?
    3) What in the constitution could possibly prevent the government from forcing an evacuation of these communities living on the Kilauea volcano?
    4) Which interest group would be concerned about this event regarding the changing air-quality in Hawaii's Big Island. 

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018

    New York Times: FBI and Justice Dept. investigating Cambridge Analytica

    Image result for facebook

    Article Link

    Cambridge Analytica was in the eye of a storm recently for having accessed a lot of user data inappropriately from FaceBook and used it to influence voter opinion during the 2016 Presidential Election. This scandal caused damage to FaceBook's reputation around data privacy and security. Mark Zuckerberg had to testify at the US Senate recently to address public concerns about the way the company handles user data. Cambridge Analytica is currently under investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department


    1. Do you think that we need much more robust data protection and privacy regulations?
    2. Do organizations like FaceBook should also be under scrutiny for having failed to protect user data?
    3. Do you think other social media sites have also been exposed to such breaches in the past that have never been disclosed to the public?

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018

    North Korea warns US as it suspends South Korea talks over military drills

    The terrifying step Trump better not take on North Korea

    Article link

    Given the backdrop of the historic summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un on June 12 in Singapore, North Korea today threatened to cancel the summit due to the on-going military exercises between the United States and South Korea.  Given the fact that this summit is an important step towards peace in the Korean peninsula, this might turn out to be a huge setback for the United States and its allies. The US state department is trying to verify what North Korea has said, and is confident that the summit would go on as planned.

    Discussion Questions:
    1. Do you think that North Korea will cancel the forthcoming summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un?

    2. Given North Korea's sensitivities towards joint military exercises between the US and South Korea in the past, do you think that the United States should have postponed the joint military exercises?

    3.  Do you think the United States believes that its business as usual till the time North Korea agrees to complete de-nuclearization?

    Sunday, May 13, 2018

    Repositioning conservative voters into a party that better represents their views

    Article Link

                                              Source: Matt Chase, The New York Times

    With dwindling support for the Republican Party under President Trump in California, now may be the time to create a new conservative political party that is center-right. Even in a liberal state like California, this formula proved successful under Governor Schwarzenegger and given that fewer voters are identifying with the two major political parties, opportunity knocks. Over the past twenty years, Democratic support has dropped slightly from 47 to 45% of voters while Republican support has dropped from approximately one third to one quarter of voters. Given president Trump's low approval ratings, now seems like the time for conservative political leaders to get behind a new brand that would appeal more to center-right leaning voters.

    Discussion Questions:

    1. Given that Republicans control all three branches of government right now is this idea too risky?
    2. Does the unprecedented political polarization we've seen in the 21st century invite opportunity for a mainstream third party or parties?
    3. If this plan were successful, could membership of this new party surpass Republican party affiliation within a decade or two?

    Friday, May 11, 2018

    A Black Yale Student Was Napping in a Dorm, and a White Student Called the Police

    The Yale campus. A graduate student in the university’s African studies program said she was harassed for taking a nap in a common area.

    Around 1:30 a.m. of Tuesday, a black graduate student, Lolade Siyonbola, was caught asleep in the common area of her dorm at Yale University by a fellow student. The white student, who is not identified, told her that she had no right to be here and promptly called the police. Ms Siyonbola, posted a 17 minute recording of her encounter with the police who responded to the call, which garnered 600,000 views by Wednesday. After Ms. Siyonbola proved she had a dorm there by unlocking her room with it, the officers were unsatisfied and asked to see her ID to confirm it with the university records frustrating Siyonbola.

    In my opinion, the behavior of the white student as well as the police was uncalled for. Even if the white student was suspicious to find someone she did not recognize in the dorms, it did not seem like she even considered the possibility of the stranger being another student. I think that prejudice was the main reason she was so quick to call the police. As for the police, I think that they should have left after Siyonbola proved that she had the key to her dorm room, I mean did they think that she had stolen a key and somehow knew which dorm the key belonged to?

    Was the white student right to be suspicious?
    Do you think that the police were just doing their job carefully or were they overstepping their bounds?
    Do you think that racial tensions are particularly high right now, if so, why might this be?

    Article Link

    Are population growth and increasing diversity making governing America impossible?

    Article link

                                              Source: Alexander Glandien

    As the U.S. population has passed the 325 million mark and the nation continues becoming more diverse, this article asks the question of whether the nation is becoming impossible to govern. Polarization is causing elections so close that the Electoral College has produced a winner who did not win the popular vote in two of the past five presidential elections. Popular mistrust of government continues growing with Congress having abysmal approval ratings and the president has been under investigation for the past year. Federalism was supposed to be a system the nation could grow into and help prevent any group from gaining too much power, but political factions have evolved into unprecedented levels of opposition.

    Discussion Questions
    1. Is the 21st century polarization in politics a sign that parts of the governmental system need to be reconsidered?
    2. Is our political structure robust enough to accommodate a diverse group of people approaching 330 million?
    3. How can popular trust of government be improved?

    Monday, May 7, 2018

    CA Surges to Become the World's 5th Largest Economy

    Article link

                                              Source: Jim Wilson, The New York Times

    California can now boast that if it were a nation, it would have the fifth largest economy of any country in the world. The state economy has grown despite strict environmental regulations, high taxes, and rising minimum wages. Texas boasts high rates of economic growth with a laissez-faire hands off government approach to managing its economy. Other western states have had similar or larger growth rates to California's. Silicon Valley is a huge growth engine with Apple bringing in $229 billion in revenues (more than the state of Wyoming) and Facebook boasting median pay of $240,000. The consequences include increased traffic, a housing affordability crisis, and the fastest rise in homelessness of any U.S. state. Governor Brown took a deficit that Governor Schwarzenegger handed him in 2011 and currently is operating a $6 billion surplus.

    1. How is California managing its economic growth? Does the state deserve praise for its successes or criticism for unaddressed concerns?

    2. What can California do about the housing affordability, traffic, and homelessness problems?

    3. Does the state need to be worried about a recession or is the economy so strong that it can overcome an economic slowdown?

    Sunday, May 6, 2018

    Trump Administration Ends Protected Status for Thousands of Hondurans

    Summary: The Trump administration on Friday ended a special immigration program for 57,000 Hondurans who have legally lived and worked in the U.S. for two decades, giving them 18 months to leave the country. The announcement is the latest step by the administration to phase out Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is granted to foreign nationals whose countries are decimated by hurricanes, earthquakes and civil wars. By cutting off TPS for Hondurans, the administration has now ended the program for 98% of the roughly 317,000 immigrants from six countries who had been legally residing in the U.S., some for nearly 30 years.
    "Forcing their return to a country that is wracked by endemic violence and poverty will put their lives in danger, separate families, and have devastating effects on communities both in Honduras and the United States," said Sister Patricia McDermott, president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas.

    Analysis: What was intended to be “temporary” clearly was not. Twenty two years is not a temporary or fleeting time in any person's life. I simply do not understand the rush to kick out hard-working people who have been here for so many years. When TPS is ended for a particular group, there should be a special appeals process where an affected individual can make a case for why he or she should stay. This decision is only creating more illegal immigrants willing to take the risk of living in the shadows instead of abandoning their lives here. Families will be broken up and livelihoods will be disrupted for no good reason.

    What are your thoughts on this topic?
    Do you approve of Trump’s decision to terminate TPS?
    Should thousands of people who have lived most of their lives in the US get sent back to country they are no longer familiar with?

    Unemployment Rate Hits 3.9%, a Rare Low, as Job Market Becomes More Competitive

    Summary: The U.S. economy has delivered steady gains for most Americans since the Great Recession in 2009. It’s been a frustration for many. Nearly nine years into the recovery, the job market keeps delivering: The government said Friday that employers added 164,000 jobs in April, the 91st straight month of hiring growth, the longest such streak on record. More tellingly, the unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent, the lowest since December 2000.
    However, pay growth, on average, has been poor. The stock market boom and low interest rates that defined the recovery have favored the wealthy. The economy’s modest growth, though, has helped prevent it from overheating and skidding into another recession, as often happened during more robust expansions. And some economists say a low unemployment rate suggests that more Americans will soon stand to benefit from stronger pay growth.

    Analysis: I believe this is a good thing as low unemployment rate means there are fewer available workers for each job opening. That gives an advantage to those looking for jobs and provides more opportunity to Americans on the margins of the labor force. Additionally, low unemployment forces employers to raise pay more sharply to attract and retain workers.

    What are your thoughts on this topic?
    Do you thing the unemployment rate will keep dropping?
    Does Trump’s administration deserve some credit for it?

    Friday, May 4, 2018

    Missouri Lawmakers Will Hold Special Session To Consider Impeaching Governor

    The mayor Governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens, has been charged with two felony charges: one for
    data tampering to help fund his campaign, and another for the invasion of privacy for taking and
    possessing a revealing picture he took of a woman with whom he had an affair. Prosecutors claim that
    Greitens illegally used a fundraising list from his personally-founded military veterans charity, The
    Mission Continues, in order to raise money for his 2016 governor campaign. The woman with whom
    he had an affair claims that he took the photo without her consent, that Greitens used it to blackmail
    her, and that he physically and verbally abused her. Greitens has admitted to the affair, but not to any
    other claims. His trial for the charge regarding the revealing picture is set to start on May 14, directly
    preceding the special session that will start on May 18. To begin the impeachment, “the Missouri
    House would vote first, requiring a simple majority. The process would then move to the Senate,
    where state lawmakers would name a panel of seven jurists to try the impeachment. Those judges
    would ultimately decide whether to convict Greitens” (CNN article linked below).

    I think this somewhat relates to the MeToo movement that sparked with the Weinstein accusations.
    Sexual predators are finally being held accountable for their actions, including Greitens. The CNN
    article mentions how none of his fellow Republicans have been eager to defend him for either of his
    felonies, which definitely says something… sometimes silence is what speaks the loudest. One felony
    is enough for me to question the legitimacy of any kind of government official, but two? One being
    sexual harassment? Get Greitens out of there. Also, taking from a foundation one’s own foundation
    doesn’t make it okay.

    1) Do you think jail time would be justified for Greitens? Or would you want to see a harsher or
    softer sentence? Why or why not?
    2) If this investigation makes it to a court of law, do you think he will be “let off easy” or will the
    mallet come down on him because of his position as governor? Why or why not?

    The Mission Continues homepage (also linked in the summary)

    Thursday, May 3, 2018

    Facebook unveils plans to have a dating feature on app

    Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, announced that Facebook will launch a dating feature for its app. Zuckerberg claims that the addition will not be just for hookups, but for "building real long-term relationships." 

    In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Zuckerberg emphasized that Facebook has the privacy of its users in mind. The feature will be opt-in, and users' friends will not be able to see their dating profile. 

    After Facebook announced its dating feature, shares of Match Group, the parent company of and Tinder, dropped 22 percent. However, executives of the Match Group and Tinder do not appear phased by Facebook's entrance into the dating app market. 

    The LA Times article's analysis mentions that Facebook has trouble attracting the same age group that dominates dating apps. Additionally, the dating feature may be a tactic to get users to spend more time on Facebook, making it more essential to people's lives. 

    Connection to Econ principles: Since we are reviewing material this week, I will make a few connections to themes from this past semester. Overall, I believe demand for dating apps is high among young adults (ages 18 to 30?). People are starting to get married later in their lives than in previous years and are taking more time at establishing their careers. Thus, they opt for the often instant gratification of dating apps while in their younger years. However, Facebook's approach at hoping to build long-term relationships may be the downfall of its success. I believe people who use dating apps on a daily basis, like they use Facebook, are not exactly looking for those types of relationships. Therefore, online daters' tastes may not align with Facebook's goal. Since the general demand for dating apps is high, there are many buyers in the market, especially with Facebook's more than 1 billion users. But like the LA Times pointed out, those buyers in the market may not be looking to use Facebook's dating feature. 

    Do you think Facebook's decision to make a dating feature is smart? Why?  
    How do you see dating apps in general being used in the future? Will they become more integral in matchmaking? 
    What do people lose and gain on meeting people through an app, compared with meeting people in person? 


    Will Trump's Tax Cuts Benefit the Economy in the Long Run?

    Image result for Trump tax cuts

    GDP growth in the past year was 2.9%, steadily increasing since the recession. Ever since Trump took office, job, workforce and productivity growth had slowed, which predictably will cause the 2018 GDP to be lower than the years preceding it. With the baby boomers retiring, the workforce will see a steady decrease. And like O’Brien, a reporter covering economic affairs, had stated, “it won’t get better anytime soon when Trump is demanding that we reduce our easiest source of new workers: legal immigrants”.

    While Trump’s tax cuts do increase investments in machines and technology that will bring an increase in productivity, I believe this will lead to a upward trend in unemployment rate. More efficient machines equals less of a use for human employees. So I believe the pros and cons will cancel each other out and will not benefit GDP in the long run.

    Do you think Trump’s tax cuts will increase growth in the long run? Or just short term or not at all? What do you think will become of GDP in a few years? What effect do you think the tax cuts will have in the long term?

    Wednesday, May 2, 2018

    Fed set to leave rates alone amid signs of rising inflation

    The entirety of the article linked is basically in the title: the Federal Reserve is going to leave interest rates as they are
    despite a future possible rise in inflation. The New York Times article offers a more in-depth analysis of these ideas
    touched on in the ABC News article.

    In class, we learned about the Federal Reserve’s purpose and the power it has over the economy. The maintaining of the
    interest rates reflects well on the economy since consistent rates mirrors a consistent economy. Analysts claim that rates
    are due to rise, however, in order to discourage people from borrowing. This discouraging then lessens the
    amount of money in circulation, causing the economy to grow slower. The Federal Reserve, therefore, has to closely
    gauge the economy in the near future and try to prevent a recession.

    1) Based on this information on future interest rates, will you alter the way you spend your money? How?
    2) Nearing entrance into the workforce, do you think you will monitor Federal Reserve activity more or less than you do now? Why?


    Tuesday, May 1, 2018

    Did Michelle Wolf Kill the White House Correspondents' Dinner?

    Saturday, April 28 was the night of the 2018 Correspondents’ Dinner, where some individuals think
    that Michelle Wolf made much too “edgy” jokes. Others believe it is hypocritical for the
    Correspondents to think poorly of the jokes because “a group dedicated to advancing journalism
    ought to defend a comedian’s right to free speech.” Trump is the first president not to show since
    Reagan was hospitalized from being shot in 1981. However, the article states that “A complete end to
    the dinner has been floated, too, though it would be a special kind of cosmic irony if Mr. Trump
    presided over the fall of the event that inspired his political rise.” Trump took to Twitter (what else?)
    to bash the Dinner and Wolf herself, deeming it a disaster and labeling it “fake news.” Judd Apatow,
    a comedian and writer, expressed: “it’s the best part of America… This is what you’re not allowed to
    do in other countries! You’re not allowed to speak openly! You’re not allowed to criticize the
    president!” citing the first amendment in Wolf’s defense.

    The Correspondents’ dinner is “supposed to be a lighthearted evening for the president and the
    press”, and “is billed as a celebration of freedom of the press and the First Amendment” (ABC
    News). Therefore, Wolf can say whatever she wants within the guidelines of the constitution. It
    doesn’t really matter what others think; she said what she said, and cannot go back to change it. Sure,
    people can disagree with it, but they cannot stop her.

    1) Do you think some of the jokes Wolf said went “too far?” Why or why not?
    2) If you were supposed to be the comedian at this dinner, what would you say? Would you even accept the offer to speak?


    In a first for fast-food industry, burger chain workers vote to unionize

    The fast food industry is one of the most resistant to unionization, but this month workers at a regional Burgerville chain restaurant voted to form a union. The union vote, held last week, garnered 82% and another union vote was set next month at a second Burgerville joint. The decision to unionize came after two years of failed efforts, consisting of boycotts and walkouts, by workers to improve wages and working conditions. Workers frequently experienced poverty and were paid an hourly rate of $11.70, just above minimum wage. The Burgerville union is affiliated with Industrial Workers of the World and has also attracted attention from the Service Employees International Union.

    The restaurant chain has stated over social media that the are willing to work with the employees and that they are excited to be the first unionized restaurant chain. However, some members take a more cynical outlook against the restaurant, like Suisman, a union attorney, who notes that "there is a real reluctance by the employer to formally recognize the union." Others note that the restaurant is creating an empathetic and progressive facade while at the same time paying workers poorly.

    Personally, I think that unionizing is a step in the right direction, at least for the short term, because from the article it's clear the workers have tried other options and must resort to this one. However, I am not sure if this tactic of unionizing will work for all of these large chain restaurants in general. Burgerville is one of the smaller chains and so unionizing there should be easier, as bad PR would hit them harder, whereas a large corporation could easier block unionizing.

    Why do you think that workers in the fast-food industry in particular have taken so long to unionize, as compared to other industries? Will unionizing be possible for these fast-food workers, and how  hard do you think the corporations will attempt to block it? Furthermore, do you think unionizing will be the long-term solution for the fast food industry?