Tuesday, March 29, 2016

UCs Have Lower Standards for OOS Residents

A state audit released today reveals that the UC system is accepting more nonresidents, many of whom have lower test scores and GPAs than those of residents. In other words, it may be easier to get into a UC by being out-of-state.

"As a public institution, the university should serve primarily those who provide for its financial and civic support — California residents," says state auditor Elaine Howle. "However, over the past several years, the university has failed to put the needs of residents first."

The motive is largely economic. The estimated sticker price for OOS residents is $58,308, which is $24,708 more than the resident tuition and fees. The schools use the extra fees paid by nonresident students to balance out the budget cuts that cut funding by about one-third a few years ago. Another interesting note is that this report comes a few months after the announcement that incoming OOS (out-of-state) residents can no longer receive financial aid beginning in fall 2016.

The audit also reported that the UCs have kept their promise to admit the top 12.5 percent of high school graduates, but these students don't always get accepted to their first choice. In contrast, nonresidents usually get accepted to their first choice campus and outnumber the number of residents in impacted majors such as engineering. 

Personally, I believe this is completely unfair. The UC system should be admitting those who are qualified from California before reaching out to applicants from other states since this system was created to educate the students of California. Living here should be a plus factor rather than a disadvantage. 

What do you think? Should the UC system be placing "fairness" over profit maximization and other economic motives? Were the schools just doing what they had to do in order to keep the system running? 


Monday, March 28, 2016

Paying the Price for Stealing a Propaganda Poster

Recently, University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and imprisonment for stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel while on a trip to North Korea. 

Warmbier has been held in the Asian country since January, and his detainment was only made public in late February. He has admitted to taking the poster to give as a "trophy" to someone from his hometown church in exchange for a car. 

Courtesy of KCNA/REUTERS
“I have made the worst mistake of my life.” --Otto Warmbier

Press Secretary Josh Earnest has stated that the North Korean government is using Warmbier and other U.S. citizens as "pawns to pursue a political agenda." Human rights groups are obviously angry, calling the action "outrageous and shocking."

However, Marie Myung-Ok Lee of the New York Times has a different opinion. In this piece, Lee tells of her experience traveling to North Korea, which is not an experience many people have.

"Once your Russian-made Air Koryo jet lands and you are in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, you lose control. You hand over your passport “for security reasons.” You are taken where the government wants you to go, you eat what’s given, you are not allowed to seek out unscripted encounters," Lee says. She was not shocked at the sentence Warmbier received.

Lee also mentions that we don't take North Korea seriously enough. The country has certainly been the butt of the world's jokes for its people's steadfast loyalty to their culture and leaders; North Korea seems to be a separate world of its own in essentially every respect. Is "not taking North Korea seriously" the root of the problem here?

Other questions: What was your reaction to Warmbier's trial? Was his sentence justified? What could the motives be to imprison him? What does this situation say about the nature of North Korea as a whole?


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Scientific Research? Or Cover up?

TO GO WITH Environment-whaling-IWC-JapanPhoto by Kazuhiro Nogi
Hunting whales in Japanese culture can be traced as far back as 10,000 B.C and is not only a staple food but also one of great cultural significance. After an 115 day hunting trip, 333 whales were killed and 230 were pregnant females which has caused international condemnation to fall unto Japan. Commercial whaling was banned in Japan in 1986 but every year, expeditions hunt under the guise of performing scientific research and in this case, the Japanese claimed that they were targeting so many pregnant whales to determine the age that whales reached sexual maturity in order to show that the whale population is healthy enough for regular hunting. Typically, only a small part of the whale gets placed under research while the rest is sold or distributed to markets and schools to encourage consumption. Australian environmentalists are upset because the Japanese may have hunted and killed whales inside of an Australian whale sanctuary and according to Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt, “There is no scientific justification for lethal research.”
In 2014 the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan should stop all hunting and yet Japan has persisted in doing so.

Questions: How should the international community convince Japan to halt whale hunting? Would it even be possible to get Japan to stop?

Sources: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/03/japanese-fleet-kills-hundreds-of-pregnant-whales.html

Dozens Killed in Amusement Park Bombing

“May God shower his wrath upon these attackers. What kind of people target little children in a park?”- Nasreen Bibi, mother of a child injured in the attack. 

Pakistan BlastPhoto obtained by K.M. Chuadary/Associated Press

Over 65 people have been killed and more than 300 injured in a bombing that occurred in Lahore Park Pakistan. A branch of the Taliban known as Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has taken responsibility for the attacks.
“The target were Christians. “We want to send this message to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that we have entered Lahore. He can do what he wants, but he won’t be able to stop us. Our suicide bombers will continue these attacks.” -Ehsanullah Ehsan
They planned out the bombing to ensure the death of Christians during Easter Sunday. The suicide bombing carried out at Gulshan-e-Iqbal park which is a popular spot for children. All public parks were shut down and the government called upon the help of the people of Punjab to donate blood to the wounded. The explosion prompted a Facebook safety notification check that was accidentally sent to many people worldwide which is why many people may have received a Facebook notification asking if they were okay. The chief minister of Punjab has issued 3 days of mourning and death rates are expected to rise as most of the people injured are in critical condition. 

Questions: How is security supposed to reduce the chances of future attacks? How should the Pakistani government respond? 

Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/27/dozens-killed-in-blast-outside-lahore-park-pakistan

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tension in Jerusalem

"This is very clear evidence that Israeli soldiers are committing field executions documented by cameras against Palestinian civilians," -Dr. Jawad al-Awad, Palestinian minister of health
Image result for israeli military Photo obtained by The Diplomat 
Video of an unarmed Palestinian man being executed on the street by an Israeli soldier captured by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has surfaced causing people to question the ethics of the Israeli military. Two Palestinian males attacked an Israeli soldier in the streets of Hebron, stabbing him before both were shot. One was killed instantly while the other lay in the street, wounded and clearly alive. The Israeli soldier was wounded and sent to the hospital and is expected to live without any critical injuries. In the video it can be seen that the Palestinian attacker, identified as Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif is harmless and is in desperate need of medical attention. The 21 year old was lying in the middle of the street as medical staff and Israeli soldiers passed him by seemingly unaware of his existence until a few minutes later when a soldier fired a single bullet upon him at point blank range. The shooter was an Israeli medic who claimed he only did so in fear of the suspect potentially being armed with a bomb. The Israeli military along with government leaders like Benjamin Netanyahu have condemned the act.
"It is forbidden for a person, even when his blood is boiling, to lose his head and self-control. This incident will be dealt with in the most serious way. We have to know how to win and remain humane"-Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Many Israelis are proclaiming the Israeli soldier who had fired upon the Palestinian as a hero. 

Questions: What should become of this soldier? How will the Israeli military prevent future abuse of power by its soldiers? Should the Israeli control over Palestinians be "loosened" to create better a better relationship in order to reduce tension?

Sources: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/24/middleeast/video-israeli-soldier-palestinian-suspect/index.html 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Supreme Court Hears Contraceptive Case

Today the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Zubik v. Burwell. This case hits upon the issue of providing contraceptives through the Affordable Care Act.

As of right now, the ACA does not require religious non-profit organizations to provide contraceptive coverage. It allows for them to either fill out a government form or write a letter so the government can organize contraceptive coverage to be provided. 

The plaintiffs in the case consists of about thirty religious organizations with the lead plaintiff being David Zubik, a Roman Catholic Bishop. The plaintiffs argue that  although they are not directly providing  contraceptive care, but their insurance plans are being used to provide that care.  The plaintiffs claim that the government is placing a substantial burden on their religious practices.

Seven of the appeals courts have come to the conclusion that the law does not put a substantial burden on the religious organizations. They argue that the process is simple and straightforward.  One appeals court argued that there was a substantial burden in the law. The court said that going through the accommodation process with monetary penalties provides a substantial burden on these organizations.

As of right now, the justices seem to be split. If the decision does end up splitting, the case either will have to be heard again when a ninth justice is selected or a split decision will be made, not setting precedent but upholding the decision of the appellate court.

Do you think that the ACA is providing a substantial burden on religious organizations?

Will this case further the heated debate over the nomination of another Supreme Court Justice?


Brussels in Mourning

“what is coming is worse and more bitter”

                                              Photo obtained from abc news
That was part of the statement given by the Islamic state which claimed responsibility for the terrorist bombings in Brussels. At least 31 people in total have died from two attacks which were done in the Zaventum airport and Maelbeek metro station. The first two blasts went off at the airport killing at least 11 and injuring about one hundred others. Investigators believe that it is very likely that the attack at the airport was carried out through suicide bombing although another bomb was found in a different part of the airport which failed to go off and was disposed of by security. An hour later at the metro station, another bomb went off killing at least 20 and injuring 130 others. The three suspects have not been identified yet and investigators believe that the third one is still on the lose which prompted many raids in the surrounding area.
A taxi driver who had driven the possible suspects shown by police in pictures led officials to the location of where he had picked them up. Inside police found a nail bomb, chemicals, and an ISIS flag.

The attacks may be in response to the arrest made on Salah Abdeslam. Connected to the Paris attacks, Europe's most wanted man was found hiding out in Brussels suburbs.

"The Belgians have been sitting on a ticking time bomb," a U.S. counterterrorism official said.
Many potential terrorists travel from Brussels up to countries like Syria or Iraq to join Isis, and some return back to Brussels making it what some describe as a hot spot for terrorist activity.

Questions: Do you think that the attacks are connected to the Paris attacks? How should the international community respond? How do we prevent future attacks by radical Islamic groups? Should President Obama cut his trip to Cuba short and return to assert leadership?

Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/mar/23/brussels-attacks-police-search-airport-bomb-suspect-live

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cuba Meeting Between Obama and Castro Reveals Old Grievances

(Photo Obtained from the Associated Press)

President Obama met President Raúl Castro today to discuss normalization, though the meeting revealed lingering tensions of a historic thaw, especially concerning the topic of humans rights. The two presidents engaged with reporters and with each other in the first meeting between the two governments in 88 years, including an awkward cross between a handshake and a revolutionary fist.

When asked about political prisoners, Castro had to say: “Give me a list of the political prisoners and I will release them immediately. Just mention the list. What political prisoners?” Humans rights groups quickly produced rosters of people who said they had been imprisoned for challenging the Cuban government and distributed them through social media. According to the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, 79 are still behind bars—40 of which are being held for peaceful protest. In response, however, Castro rebuked the United States for not providing universal health care, equal education, and equal pay; therefore, “it’s not right to ask...about political prisoners.” In response to a second question concerning humans rights, Castro added, “How many countries comply with all 61 human rights? Do you know? I do. None. None.”

Obama also assured Castro that the United States had no intentions to dictate Cuba’s future: “I affirm that Cuba’s destiny will not be decided by the United States or any other nation. Cuba is sovereign and rightly has great pride, and the future of Cuba will be decided by Cubans, not by anybody else.” Though Obama did not respond to Castro’s demands for Guantanamo to be returned to Cuba, he was optimistic about the end of the embargo: “The embargo’s going to end. When, I can’t be entirely sure.” He also said that direct flights to Cuba would begin this year, and regular tourism could happen very soon.

Castro summarized the significance of the meeting and expressed hope for continuing improving relations with the United States: “We agree that a long and complex path still lies ahead. What is most important is that we have started taking the first steps to build a new type of relationship, one that has never existed between Cuba and the United States.

Though this historic meeting perhaps marks the end of over 80 years of tension, lingering sentiments revealed impediments to the end of the thaw. It seems that both leaders are taking steps to end the decades-long conflict, but it may still be awhile before total normalization, especially concerning humans rights issues and Gitmo.

(Interesting Side-Comment: When a reporter asked Castro if he favored the election of Trump or Clinton, Castro simply smiled and said, “I cannot vote in the United States.”)


To what extent can we trust Castro’s promise to release political prisoners, given his reluctance to address the issue?

What if the U.S. and Cuba cannot come to agreement on issues of human rights? Then what?




Apple's Help Unneeded to Unlock San Bernardino shooter's phone?

On December 2nd, two terrorists opened fire on people attending a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino killing 14 and injuring 22. The married couple had met online and planned the massacre in their townhouse in Redlands. The two were killed in a shootout with police and husband Syed Rizwans cellphone has been a major piece of evidence that the FBI has been trying to gain full access to ever since. Apple has denied to help the FBI in cracking the phone stating privacy concerns and major controversy has spurred over whether or not Apple should comply.

 Last month, Apple was given a court order to lower security on the Iphone so that the FBI could gain access and Apple has been very strong in their stance that they will not offer any assistance. The court hearing between the two was planned to be held in Riverside on the 22nd of this month but just today the FBI announced that a third party may potentially be able to lower security and that Apple's help may not be a necessity. The hearing has been postponed and the department of Justice will report an update on its progress by April 5th.

If another party has the potential of doing what Apple will not comply to, should Apple just agree to help and save the FBI some time? Do you agree that helping the FBI would be seen by many as an act of invasion of privacy?

Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/21/fbi-apple-court-hearing-postpone-unlock-terrorist-iphone


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Trump Faults Protesters Over Violence

(Photo obtained from the New York Times, taken by the Associated Press)

On Saturday, dozens of protesters blocked traffic near a Donald Trump event in Arizona. Three protesters were arrested and two cars were towed. Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joaquin Enriquez stressed that the arrests were for blocking the road, not for protesting. Regarding the blockage, Trump stated, “I think it’s really unfair that these, really, in many cases professional, in many cases sick, protestors can put cars in a road blocking thousands of great Americans from coming to a speech, and nobody says anything about that. It’s a very unfair double standard.”

The rally was also marked by violence, including one of the most violent confrontations at a Trump appearance. 32-year-old Tony Pettway was caught on video punching and kicking a protester and charged with assault and injury. The incident took place when an anti-Trump protester wearing an American flag shirt and holding a sign that read “Trump is Bad for America” was being escorted out of the rally.

In response to the incident, Trump refused to condemn the assault, claiming that the victim had been accompanied by another protester provocatively wearing a KKK costume: “There's a disgusting guy, puts on a Ku Klux Klan hat on, he thinks he is cute -- he's a disgusting guy, These are not good people, folks. They're throwing the flag all over the place... And they're not really protesters, they're agitators.”

Other Republican leaders, however, including Senator Mitch McConnell suggested that Trump should do more to calm his crowds. Republican national chairman Reince Priebus said it was a mistake for the campaign staff to get involved with the violence: “As far as everyone getting involved in the crowds, leave it to the professionals.” McConnell added, “I think all the candidates for president ought to be discouraging that kind of activity because the people in the audience tend to listen to those who are speaking. We ought to condemn this kind of violence and encourage the American people to engage in this political debate in a respectful way.”

So who’s to blame here? On one hand, perhaps Trump’s argument that the protesters should not have been blocking the road holds some merit. Regarding the violence, however, were the protesters being excessively provocative? To what extent should Trump be held responsible for the actions of his followers?




Saturday, March 19, 2016

Anti-Vac Parents on Trial After Child Dies of Meningitis

“They are a poor excuse as parents.”
“Baby killers!”
These were just some of the comments left under the photos of David and Collet Stephan after the Canadian government opened its trial against the couple, charging them of failing to provide the necessities of life to their 19-month-old-son Ezekiel leading to his death on March 18, 2012.

From The Washington Post:
“According to prosecutors, David and Collet stubbornly refused to take their sick son to see a doctor, instead giving him home remedies such as smoothies containing hot pepper, ginger root, horseradish, onion and apple cider vinegar. Even after warnings from a family friend who is a nurse, the anti-vaccine couple took him to a naturopath for echinacea — an herb believed to stimulate the immune system — instead of to a doctor for an exam.

It was only when Ezekiel began to have trouble breathing that they rushed him to a hospital, prosecutors said.

By then, it was too late.

Ezekiel died from bacterial meningitis and empyema, two conditions routinely cured with antibiotics, a medical examiner told the court last week, according to the Lethbridge Herald.

If convicted, the parents could spend up to five years in prison.”

This case is but one example of the recent resurgence in vaccination debates, making a case for vaccination and modern medicine. In a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 83% of adults say the measles vaccine is safe for healthy children, while only 9% think it is unsafe. What is your opinion on this issue in the United States? To what extent can the free speech and exercise clause be upheld in the face of national health and security?  Should vaccines be compulsory? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Obama Nominates Merrick Garland for Supreme Court

(Photo obtained from Politico, taken by the Associated Press)

President Obama announced today his nomination of Merrick B. Garland to fill the vacancy on the court, someone he believes is “widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence.”

To provide some background, Garland has served as a federal appeals judge for the DC Circuit since 1997, a court that is widely viewed as the second-most powerful following the Supreme Court. His other qualifications include graduating with high honors from Harvard Law School, clerking for Justice William Brennan, and holding senior positions in the Justice Department. His age also makes him an ideal Obama nominee: at age 63, Garland is the oldest person nominated to the Supreme Court since Nixon’s nomination of Justice Lewis Powell in 1971.

Following the death of former Justice Antonin Scalia last month, there was considerable discussion about whether the vacancy would be filled before the end of Obama’s presidency. President Obama hoped that his nomination would be seen as a compromise: “I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing, and then an up-or-down vote. If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.”

Despite potentially disappointing from members of the Democratic Party who hope that a strictly liberal candidate would fill the ninth seat, Obama’s choice of Garland, “a well-known moderate who has drawn support over decades,” is definitely a politically strategic move. By nominating a unquestionably qualified moderate instead of a liberal, President Obama essentially dared the Republicans to obstruct the nomination process—and they did.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated later in the day that the Senate would not consider Garland’s nomination, that it would be unnecessary to act further on this nomination, and that the Senate would revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the next nominee.

Adding to the awkwardness of the situation, senators in the Republican Party have praised Garland in the past. For example. in 1997, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch supported Garland’s nomination to the DC Court of Appeals, saying

“Merrick B. Garland is highly qualified to sit on the D.C. circuit. His intelligence and his scholarship cannot be question… His legal experience is equally impressive… Accordingly, I believe Mr. Garland is a fine nominee. I know him personally, I know of his integrity, I know of his legal ability, I know of his honesty, I know of his acumen, and he belongs on the court. I believe he is not only a fine nominee, but is as good as Republicans can expect from this administration. In fact, I would place him at the top of the list.”

All of this ties back into the political factors which influence the nomination process of the Supreme Court. Garland indisputably meets the legal qualifications for nomination; however, obstructionist politics have prevented perhaps one of the most reasonable nominees the Republicans could have hoped for. Looking back at vacancies in the Supreme Court during election years in the past, it is definitely not standard practice to leave a seat open until after the election. As to whether or not that happens, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Should a vacancy on the Court be a consideration for voters during an election year?

What do you think about McConnell’s response? Is it justified?


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mother Teresa to be Declared Saint

Pope Francis announced today his plan to canonize Mother Theresa as a saint on September 4, the eve of the anniversary of her death on September 5, 1997. In most cases, two miracles are required to be considered a saint. Pope Francis declared in December 2015 that he would declare her a saint after recognizing her second miracle: the healing of a Brazilian man with multiple brain tumors after loved ones prayed to Mother Teresa. The first miracle, the reportedly inexplicable curing of a woman’s stomach tumor after praying to Mother Teresa, and she was beatified in 2003 by Pope John II after he waived a customary five-year wait period after her death in 1997.

In the Catholic religion, saints are believed to be people who have already entered heaven; canonized saints, those who are declared saints by the church after death, are prayed to and revered as model humans to be imitated. Mother Teresa spent most of her life working with the poor in India, founding the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 to care for “all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared-for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone,” she said in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Being canonized a saint? Seems like a no-brainer—unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Mother Teresa has always been a subject of controversy, and critics attempt to bring to light Mother Teresa’s less saint-like actions. According to Huffington Post Associate Editor Krithika Varagur,

“She was no saint. To canonize Mother Teresa would be to seal the lid on her problematic legacy, which includes forced conversion, questionable relations with dictators, gross mismanagement, and actually, pretty bad medical care. Worst of all, she was the quintessential white person expending her charity on the third world -- the entire reason for her public image, and the source of immeasurable scarring to the postcolonial psyche of India and its diaspora.”

Varagur supports this idea, citing a 2013 study from the University of Ottawa, which revealed among its findings that Mother Teresa's missions provided inadequate medical care and of her conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s passion. The world gains much from their suffering.” To some, Mother Teresa is not a holy figure but rather a symbol of Western supremacy and resembles the idea of the”White Man’s Burden” during the late nineteenth century.

In matters regarding religion, it is important to respect others’ beliefs, but what do you think? To outsiders, canonizing Mother Teresa just seems like a smart PR move by the Catholic church, but to others this decision holds far more meaning. Given the controversy surrounding Mother Teresa’s actions in life, do you think she should be considered a saint? How might this decision affect the United States' relationship with the Pope and the Catholic Church?







Sunday, March 6, 2016

North Korean Threatens Nuclear Strike

North Korea has responded to the joint U.S. -South Korean military exercises by threatening a nuclear strike. However, is was expected for North Korea to react this way, as they have shown their ability, or their thoughts on the world perspective of politics. For example, they have tested missiles on February 8, 2016, which they have publicly announced to be a hydrogen bomb (3). Not to mention, they have also sunk the South Korean warship Cheonan on March 26, 2010, with no public apology (4).

Currently, the status of weapons of mass destruction in North Korea is not known to a specific enough for there to be large public arousal. Over and over again, tensions between North Korea and the UN/South Korea have been gradually increasing. However, between the magnitudes of the missiles tested in 2013 and 2016, it seems that has stayed around the same.

As of now, US and South Korean militaries will be working on “two exercises 'Key Resolve' and 'Foal Eagle,' which will run until April 30.” (2).

I feel that the global community does not need to take a more active stance in regards to North Korean foreign policy. Yes, they have tested missiles and nullified truces and negotiations, but in the grand scheme of things, they have not done widespread damage such as set of a series of terrorist attacks in America.

Does imposing more sanctions cause North Korea to act more rebellious?

What do you think about what the global community should do in regards to North Korea foreign policy?

1 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-21710644
3 http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/02/north-korea-h-bomb-missile-test/462240/
5 http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-11813699

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

KFC Hires, Fires, then Re-hires a Transgender Woman

Transgender woman: someone who identifies as a woman, but was born with characteristics of a different gender.

In Richmond, Virginia, Georgia Carter applied for a job at the local KFC. She was hired, but then management saw her (government-issued) ID, which read "male." When questioned, she said, "I'm transgender." She was then fired; she says the management cited the difficulty of not knowing "which bathroom [she could] use."

But the story has a happy ending (for social liberals)! This morning (March 1, 2016), KFC tweeted that the manager had been "terminated" and that "Ms. Carter was offered a job at any Richmond KFC," and a representative later confirmed that the treatment of Carter clashed with their policy of anti-discrimination, which covers gender identity and sexual orientation.

To what extent is having such a huge, international franchise take such a public, pro-transgender rights action a big step forward for transgender rights? The Huffington Post article cites The National Center for Transgender Equality with this statistic: "more than one in four transgender people have lost a job due to bias, and more than three-fourths have experienced some form of workplace discrimination."

It's worth noting that, in 2014 (and now, too, according to this article by equalityvirginia.org),  changing one's official female/male gender identity in Virginia required filing with the court, getting the signed order, getting a doctor's signature, changing information with Social Security, getting a new ID from the DMV, and, finally, changing all your official information with anyone of importance, like schools, banks, etc. The entire process can cost up to over 200 dollars, which is no small amount, especially for someone like Georgia Carter, who is applying for a job at KFC.

So, is transgender discrimination even worse for low-income people? Should Carter still have switched her government-issued ID? What measures could expedite this process? Also, consider the costs and benefits. Even beyond the $200, there's the time needed to make an appointment with the DMV or wait in line, the possible monetary and time cost of seeing one's doctor if one does not have insurance or even being unable to find a sufficiently sympathetic doctor, filing fees...the list goes on.

Finally–should the push for transgender rights be coming from mostly quarters like the government or interest groups/activists, or is it good for big companies to get involved, too? Consider KFC's possible motivations for addressing the problem (and the manner in which they did it).