Here's What You Need To Know About The Government Shutdown

Here's What You Need To Know About The Government Shutdown

It is now on record as the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

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If you haven't heard, our federal government is currently shut down and has been for the past 30+ days. Trump threatened the shutdown in December, citing that if the Democrats would not agree to the wall he wants on the U.S.-Mexican border, he would shut it all down until they did. Thirty-plus days later, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are about to miss their second paycheck since the shutdown began. What do we know?

We know that this is a nightmare for the federal employees, the furlough taking place right before Christmas. At least 800,000 employees are currently without pay and will be for the foreseeable future. Trump's tantrum over a wall that doesn't need to be built is now affecting immigration processes, airport security, national parks and museums, public health departments such as the FDA (who carry out our necessary food inspections), IRS, food aid programs such as food stamps and school lunch programs, many law enforcement departments, and the Violence Against Women Act...which expired shortly after the shutdown began. Along with the fact that furloughed federal employees are suffering and are now being asked to work without pay, many of the daily government functions that we often take for granted are being affected.

One of the biggest stories of this shutdown has been federal employee's struggle to make ends meet without paychecks. Many are now turning to food banks or other local assistance to do so. Many places across the country have been setting up programs to provide free cooked meals for furloughed employees and their families. Thousands have already filed for unemployment with nowhere else to turn, though the claims themselves could take weeks to even process as the shutdown continues. However, the approximately 420,000 federal employees who have been ordered to return to work with no pay do not technically qualify for unemployment benefits, leaving them in an unfair and dangerous position.

Trump's solution? $5.7 billion dollars for his border wall, from the Democrats, and he will then reopen the government. They, of course, have repeatedly refused to accept this offer. His most recent attempt at compromise was a promise to offer a deportation reprieve, good for three years for illegal immigrants and those under DACA. This offer is due to go up for a vote but Democrats have refused this offer as well, not wishing to dangle the fate of so many in return for a reopened government and an expensive and unnecessary wall.

To add fuel to the fire, as the shutdown continues, the Supreme Court recently instituted Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. The ban prevents anyone who has transitioned from entering the military, as well as preventing individuals from transitioning while they are still serving. The recent decision puts the county in even more disarray than when the shutdown began.

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The Impact Of Technology On The Younger Generation

What effect will growing up in an “age of technology” have on the younger generation?
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By now, everyone knows what a prominent role technology plays in our society. It is nearly impossible to go a day without hearing something about technology on the news in some form, whether it is good or bad. Usually, these stories focus on the effect that it has on teenagers, since they are the group that is most heavily involved with using it; however, now, more than ever, kids and pre-teens are beginning to use technology just as much as teenagers and adults do. Unlike teenagers and adults, though, the younger generation has been raised with this constant influx of technology around them— they practically do not know life without it. What does this mean for them? What kind of impact will this have on them, both now and in the future? Overall, will this have a positive or negative effect on how they grow up?

In a way, growing up in an “age of technology” is a double-edged sword. While it has an abundance of advantages, it has just as many, if not more, disadvantages.

First, the advantages. The use of technology from a very young age helps in schools, due to the fact that it helps students want to learn, as well as makes it possible for each student to learn at their own pace. Additionally, it allows learning to become more interactive than it has ever been before. Kids essentially have the world readily available at their fingertips— if they want to know something they can look it up on the Internet and in just a few seconds have an answer.

Then, for the disadvantages, which many argue are much stronger than the advantages. Growing up with technology continuously around them, kids have a greater chance of becoming dependent on it, and become overly used to relying on it for everything. Among other effects, this can have a serious impact on their social skills. If kids and pre-teens communicate primarily through texting, social media, etc., from a young age, it is all they will know, and, as they get older, they will not be able to interact with others the same way they would if they were behind the screen of a device.

Kids are also more likely to follow what they see. For example, if they see their older sibling or parent constantly on their phone or laptop, they will do the same. Most kids today would rather stay inside and watch television or play video games then go outside to play. If they learn these habits now, it will be incredibly hard for them to break out of them. This will only lead to future generations becoming more and more introverted and technology obsessed in the years to come.

The bottom line is that having kids and pre-teens grow up in a world that is so influenced by technology has both good and bad effects on them. There is nothing wrong with their use of it, as long as it is balanced with them doing activities that kids should be doing, like going outside and playing catch or jumprope, or reading a book. There is no escaping technology— society just needs to learn how to use it in a way that is more beneficial than it is harmful.

Cover Image Credit: Ralph Nader Radio Hour

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Our Leaders Need A 'Time-Out'

We all learned a few essential rules as children.

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As I look watch the news, I can't help but wonder if the lessons we learned as children might not serve our leaders well. They seem to have forgotten these basic lessons. I am reminded of the book by Robert Fulghum "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

Watch out, hold hands, and stick together.

I think this could be useful in a couple of different contexts. First, the current divisiveness in the country doesn't serve us well. We are first and foremost, a part of the family of humankind. Differences in politics, religion, and so on come in far behind that one important attribute. What happened to the notion of agreeing to disagree?

Second, when leaders get off a plane in another country, they should remember who they came with and who they represent - "watch out, hold hands, and stick together."

Clean up your own mess.

Trump seems to take great pleasure in blaming everyone else for their "mess." The government shutdown was someone else's fault – any Democrat. When the stock market went up, he happily took credit, but when it went down, he quickly shifted gears and placed the blame on the Federal Reserve Chairman. Daily and hourly tweets out of the White House place blame on someone else for his "mess." Sadly, he still likes to blame Obama and Hillary for his mess.

Don't lie.

Politicians have always had a bad reputation when it comes to honesty. Still, the number of lies that we hear from Trump (and members of his staff) is unprecedented even for a politician.

We all learned these lessons when we were little more than five years old. Now more than any time in history I think our leaders need a " time out" to re-learn these lessons.

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