New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that the country will ban military-style semiautomatic weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines, and any parts that enable weapons to be modified into the style of weapon involved in the Christchurch shooting.
Unlike most other mass shootings like this, the Christchurch shootings inspired immediate changes around the world. Reddit has responded to the mass shooting by banning its most violent, goriest subreddits: /r/watchpeopledie and /r/gore. The New Zealand Jewish community has taken the unprecedented step of closing their synagogues for Shabbat in solidarity with the community.
New Zealand’s willingness to ban such guns has rankled many gun-control advocates in America, who feel frustrated by their nation’s lack of motivation to pass similar bans.
Pundits from around the world have pointed to the Unite States for spreading white supremacist ideology, an ideology that inspired the Christchurch killer. Donald Trump denied that white supremacy is on the rise around the world a a consequence of the United States. But critics say otherwise Karam Dana, a professor of Middle East politics and director of the American Muslim Research Institute at the University of Washington, Bothell, has said that the “United States is the epicenter of the world in terms of how white identity is seen.” Whether the changes New Zealand has made will trickle back to the United States remains to be seen.Read More
John McCain has been dead for over half a year. His death saddened just about every patriotic American with one notable exception: Donald Trump. Trump didn’t like McCain then, as he famously said recently, and he doesn’t like McCain now. For the past week, in fact, Trump has been continually attacking the deceased war hero. Why on earth would Trump do this?
Trump invents villains to make himself look better. He learned quickly that his fans like it when he insults people, so he finds people to insult. Terrorists, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, immigrants, or in this case John McCain, Trump paints himself and his supporters are living under siege.
Making fun of alleged enemies is a great way to keep people on your side because it reminds audiences that it’s an “us versus them” world. You don’t have to do it all the time, of course, just when you’re in a spot of bother. And you don’t have to be too extreme, either, just casually mock them like a teenager might on the schoolyard. Say something like this:”They’re not dumb guys, but they’re not supersmart. They’re O.K. They’re smartish.”
And there’s another reason that Trump wants to mock McCain now. Trump knows that he can never go too far because he’s already stretched the limit of public acceptance. So he can attack someone like McCain just to stir the pot and to distract people from what’s really going on––things like the imminent Mueller report.
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In December, Elizabeth Warren launched an exploratory committee for seeking the Democratic National Committee’s nomination for president of the United States. The pool of Democrats aiming for the nomination is already very crowded and very competitive. Beto O’Rourke learned that the hard way recently––there is no room for gaffs. Warren has thus far avoided embarrassing herself, and has even made some positive headlines. But she recently had her best moment yet at a CNN town hall:
To be clear, Warren supports a constitutional amendment that will protect the right to vote for every citizen, essentially nullifying laws that prevent felons from voting. Part of that amendment, it seems, will be the abolition of the electoral college. That would mean that individual votes would be counted directly towards the presidential election rather than towards electors who would then cast their vote for president. In theory, this would mean that presidential candidates have to focus on every state, not just swing states.
There has been a lot of complaints about the electoral college in the past several elections. Are those complains justified? Bloomberg points out that no single party has consistently benefitted from the electoral college. Vox points out that abolishing it is likely impossible. CNN suggests that electoral reform needs to be nuanced.
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Since Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff, fallout has been spreading. The pilot issued a distress call after the plane struggled to ascend at a stable speed. The jet was cleared to return to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, but it lost contact with air traffic control six minutes after takeoff and then crashed. The plane had 157 people on board, including passengers from at least thirty-five different countries. The crashed plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8. It was the same kind of plane involved in the Lion Air crash in Indonesia in which 189 people died. Since then, all Boeing 737 Max airplanes have been grounded.
Subsequent investigations have indicated that anti-stalling software in the Boeing 737 Max led to both crashes. Here’s the problem. The Federal Aviation Administration paid close attention to the Boeing 737 max as they were reviewing its designs. Elaine L. Chao, United States transportation secretary, has called for an inquiry into the F.A.A.’s approval process.
The crashes have, obviously, proved disastrous for Boeing. There are nearly 5,000 planes on order, which would bring Boeing hundreds of billions of dollars. Boeing will be audited as a result of these accidents.
It is not yet clear when the 737 Max line will return to the air.
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For half the United States population, the president is doing a great job––and he has been since the first day. For the other half, however, the sky is falling––and it has been since the beginning. But during the past few days, it seems that the intensity of the anti-Trump panic is increasing.
The Washington Post holds that Trump’s mental state has “frayed” since he fired Comey from the FBI, and he gets especially bad when controversy rocks the White House. In light of the Christchurch shootings and the criticism directed at Trump, it’s no surprise that he seems especially unhinged. He re-ignited a beef with a dead man, John McCain. He retweeted conspiracy theories. He complained about an SNL rerun.
All of these things made Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway, speculate that Trump is deteriorating: “His condition is getting worse.” He’s referring to his earlier speculation that Trump is a narcissist.
There is also increasing discussion about Trump’s ties to white supremacy. Critics suggest that Trump cannot distance himself from white supremacists because his power depends on them. Digging through Trump’s tweets, Slate figured out that Trump has retweeted four white supremacists accounts that were later suspended.
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Following a House vote to override Trump’s national emergency proclamation, twelve Senate Republicans broke ranks and also voted against the proclamation in a 59-41 vote. This Politico article details which Republicans voted to override the national emergency. The vote sets Trump up for the first veto of his presidency.
Trump almost immediately tweeted his intent to veto: “I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country. I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!” True to his threat, he vetoed the bill.
Quick government lesson, for those who need a refresher. When the president vetoes a law, Congress can actually vote to override that veto and enact the law. That’s so that the president doesn’t have too much power. But in order to prevent the Congress from being so powerful that it can continually override presidential vetoes, the Constitution dictates that Congress needs a 2/3 majority vote to override a veto.
So maybe you can see the issue. The Senate only has 59 votes right now––it is highly unlikely that they would get the eight additional votes needed to tip the balance towards an override. This is unfortunate because the majority of Americans actually support the override.
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It has only been a few weeks since an FBI investigation uncovered the largest ever college admissions scheme. The scheme was orchestrated by William Singer, owner of college admissions companies Key Worldwide Foundation and Edge College & Career Network. Singer pled guilty to accepting bribes totaling $25 million, and he has claimed to have worked with over 750 families. Singer bribed, lied, and cheated so that his “students” could get into the best colleges.
So many students work incredibly hard––too hard, in fact––to get into university. They pay ungodly amounts of money to Kaplan and other test prep giants so that they can game the SAT, they high private admissions counselors, and when it’s all said and done they take out an average of $30,000 loans per student. Of course, the poorest students often take out the most, and they hope to reap huge rewards.
The looming student loan crisis began to make many question the worth of a college degree, at least insofar as it was weighed against crushing debt. But for many students, the Singer scam has broken their spirits. The admissions process is so obviously biased and broken, they think, that it’s not worth bothering about.
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After the New Zealand shooting, pundits from around the world have pointed to the Unite States for spreading white supremacist ideology, an ideology that inspired the Christchurch killer. Donald Trump denied that white supremacy is on the rise around the world a a consequence of the United States. But critics say otherwise Karam Dana, a professor of Middle East politics and director of the American Muslim Research Institute at the University of Washington, Bothell, has said that the “United States is the epicenter of the world in terms of how white identity is seen.”
A recent New York Times opinion piece adds some important nuance, though. It’s not necessarily the case that Trump inspires individual violent instances directly (though he has made some veiled threats along those lines), Trump’s rhetoric tends to inspire a general rise in the kinds of ideologies that inspire violence: white nationalism, outsider syndrome, and more.
Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor, has suggested that the danger Trump poses––evidenced by the Christchurch killing––goes beyond the spread of violent ideologies. Tribe believes that Trump has inspired an unprecedented number of constitutional crises in his tenure, and by the time 2020 rolls around he may have stretched the boundaries of appropriate democratic expectations to the breaking point. Tribe worries that Trump may refuse to leave office, and his ridiculous behavior might make that less unacceptable than it would have been under another president.
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There has been worldwide fallout over the recent shooting in Christchurch. One of the perhaps unexpected consequences of that shooting is that critics from around the world blame the Unite States for spreading such the kind of white supremacist ideology that inspired the Christchurch killer. Donald Trump denied that white supremacy is on the rise around the world a a consequence of the United States.
Critics, however, say otherwise. Karam Dana, a professor of Middle East politics and director of the American Muslim Research Institute at the University of Washington, Bothell, has said that the “United States is the epicenter of the world in terms of how white identity is seen.”
Former FBI agent Ali H. Soufan, founder of the security consultancy Soufan Group, predicted last year that Trump’s rhetoric would lead to violence. According to a CBS report, white supremacist violence in the U.S. is on the rise. The FBI has around 900 domestic terrorism cases, including those with links to white supremacists and such ideology.
Jim Accosta from CNN has rebuffed the president’s denials, saying in an interview with Anderson Cooper that the Christchurch killer used the same kind of language as Trump, “so, the White House can’t whitewash the white nationalism every time.”
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The drama continues to unfold after a recent FBI investigation uncovered the largest ever college admissions scheme. The scheme was orchestrated by William Singer, owner of college admissions companies Key Worldwide Foundation and Edge College & Career Network. Singer pled guilty to accepting bribes totaling $25 million, and he has claimed to have worked with over 750 families.
Two of Singer’s most famous clients are Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman. They allegedly paid Singer to engineer their children’s admission into top universities. Singer had associates take admissions tests for students, ensuring perfect scores. He also got the students labeled disabled in some way or faked athletic credentials to bribe coaches. These bribes were often disguised as charitable donations.
Enter the lawsuit. Jennifer Kay Toy alleges that Loughlin and Huffman’s actions prevented her child from getting into a top school. The $500 billion lawsuit seems fairly ridiculous, but it is a sign of things to come. “I’m now outraged and hurt because I feel that my son, my only child, was denied access to a college, not because he failed to work and study hard enough, but because wealthy individuals felt it was OK to lie, cheat, steal and bribe their children’s way into a good college,” Toy claimed.
Students have also sued universities. The Hallmark channel dropped Loughlin from their lineup, though she had worked with the network since 2010.
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As the dust settles from the deadliest mass shooting in New Zealand’s recent history, more news about the attacks is surfacing and the country is struggling to deal with the tragedy.
One man is being hailed as a hero for confronting the attacker and preventing an untold number of deaths. Abdul Aziz, 49, saw the gunman approaching the mosque, shooting anyone in his way. Though his wife and young sons urged him to take refuge in the mosque, he instead grabbed the first thing he could reach––a credit card machine––and sprinted into the parking lot. He shouted and ran towards the shooter. Aziz picked up an empty gun the shooter had discarded and launched it at the now retreating shooter, shattering his car windshield and scaring him off. The shooter was apprehended soon after.
Reddit has responded to the mass shooting by banning its most violent, goriest subreddits: /r/watchpeopledie and /r/gore.
Also in response to the shooting New Zealand will ban semi-automatic weapons. The Prime Minister made that bold announcement, but there have been other, unsuccessful attempts to change the gun laws in the past.
The New Zealand Jewish community has taken the unprecedented step of closing their synagogues for Shabbat in solidarity with the community.
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Although Beto O’Rourke’s bid for one of Texas’s Senate seats was ultimately unsuccessful, his electrifying campaign made national headlines. His fame was such that he believed––and many of his supporters and advisors believed––that he could be a viable candidate for the Democratic nomination for president.
Last week, he launched his campaign:
The announcement was accompanied by a Vanity Fair piece.
Almost immediately, O’Rourke came under fire for a variety of things.
First, it was his wife’s silence during the announcement video. She sat quietly, gazing lovingly at her husband and smiling, for the entire video. Observers point out that the silent-wife routine does not fit into a candidate pool with powerful women leaders.
Then critics accused Beto of having a huge ego, the result of white male entitlement. Other accused him of being a “poor man’s Obama.”
Beto himself soon increased his own problems by making inappropriate jokes about his marriage, white privilege, and his teen hobbies. He has made public apologies and vowed to be more thoughtful. He admitted to benefitting from white privilege.
Beto was already coming off a deficit because he lost his Senate bid in the midterms. Trump already has a ready-made insult for Beto: He’s a loser. But it looks like Beto may not make it very far.
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