March 26th – April 1st

Welcome back! Touching a bit on last week’s “week in review,” the March For Our Lives had a historical turnout. More than 200,000 individuals showed their support in Washington D.C.’s live rally and there were more than 800 rallies globally. What’s next? The midterm elections. Approximately 4,000 March For Our Lives organizers registered to vote and they’ve got demands. They’re calling for things like a ban on assault-style rifles and universal background checks. And electing politicians who want the same.

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While 17 to 18-year-olds are rewriting history, Trump seems to be unmoving in regards to transgenders serving in the military. A ban on transgender individuals serving in the military was suppose to be revoked last summer, however the Trump administration hit the brakes on that. Now, the ban will turn away transgenders from serving and established that the U.S. would no longer fund sex reassignment surgeries. Congress didn’t much like this alteration though. They ruled the ban unconstitutional therefore Trump’s administration found a compromise. This new ban is only applicable to transgenders who require surgery or other major medical treatments still. Also, current transgenders serving might be required to serve under their biological gender.

 

Another after effect of the Trump Train that’s still getting attention is the Facebook scandal with Cambridge Analytica. Here’s a little backstory, this political consulting firm worked with the Trump administration during the political campaign and recently, word got out that the firm used 50 million users’ personal information without their consent for political intel. Now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is getting involved. The FTC is looking into whether this was a breach of privacy, considering the firm gathered this information by sucking information from not just its volunteers for their political intel but all of the volunteers’ friends list as well. Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee wants to have a little chat with Zuckerberg. Safe to say, stealing millions of people’s personal information will not be a deed swept under the carpet.

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Not to bring the mood down, but a legend passed away over the weekend. Linda Brown from the infamous Brown v. Board of Education passed on at the age of 76 in Topeka, Kansas. Brown was responsible for the desegregation of public schools back in the ‘50s and we will always be thankful for her courage.

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Bringing things back to current day, the 2020 census is stirring up controversy. For those of you unaware of what the census is, every 10 years the US government collects data from the entire country that helps determine how many seats each state gets in the House of Representatives, how $700 billion/year of the federal budget will be divided and where public institutions like schools and hospitals will be built, stuff like that. Well this time around, Trump administration is adding a new question to the survey: Are you a U.S. citizen? This question hasn’t been on the census since the ‘50s. There are pros and cons to adding this question such. Democrats believe if we include this question then minorities and immigrants will be scared off from the census, therefore resulting in an inaccurate representation of the population count in a state and leading to under-representation. How does this affect you? If a state has an inaccurate population count then Congress will assign seats in the House of Representatives according to that inaccurate population count. For example, Minnesota is at risk for losing seats in the house because of the implementation of this question in the census. On the other hand, this question is pretty basic and at the end of the day, makes sense. The final list of questions must be submitted to Congress by March 31, 2018. Secretary Ross will then make a decision.

 

But on the up-side, I’ve got a story for you that’s not about Trump. For years, people thought the Amazon rainforest was uninhabited but recently explorers have been coming across these “unnatural” signs. So archaeologists used satellite images to further investigate. Tuesday, these images found roads, canals, dozens of settlements that lead us to believe that the Amazon was, in fact, inhabited from 1250 to 1500. Archaeologists believe up to 500,000 to a million people lived in the rainforest and we never knew. This is a big deal because now we can conclude what the human impact on the rainforest is.

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In other news, one of the biggest cyberattacks against a major U.S. city happened about a week ago and the deadline to pay off the hackers was Wednesday. For about a week now, Atlanta’s government files have been held hostage. Researchers behind this have been pointing fingers at an anonymous group of hackers called “SamSam” who have a history with this sort of thing. The hackers are demanding $51,000 in bitcoin. A similar situation has unfolded in Texas and Colorado before, resulting in people beginning to think the states’ government needs to make a change or adjustment if this sort of thing is the regular basis.

 

Demand for change isn’t just happening in the states’ government though. After being excluded from the Congressional Accountability Act, the women of the senate are ready to get a move on that sexual harassment legislation. After the discovery that some senators were using taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment allegations, the House unanimously passed a bill prohibiting taxpayer money being used by alleged harassers as well as required a month-long “cooling off” period filing a suit against the harassment. After this bill was passed, it moved on to the Senate and just stayed there. Now the 22 women of the senate are pushing for more action on this legislation.

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