The Worst Bandwagon Of 2015/2016

The Worst Bandwagon Of 2015/2016

Why Martin Shkreli is not evil.

If you have spent much time on the internet at all recently or in the year 2015, then it's very likely you have heard of the pharmaceutical CEO named Martin Shkreli, otherwise known as "The most hated man in America." With Martin's unique looks, prideful poise and high net worth, he became an easy target for Americans when the media announced Shkreli had raised the priced of Daraprim (a drug used for AIDS patients) from $13.50 up to $750 overnight.

Anyone's first reaction would be to see this as a greedy action on Shkreli's part, when he raises a drug price by 5,000 percent in less than 24 hours. The media displayed Martin Shkreli as an evil, rich punk who did this only for his own interest. The internet and social media sites quickly jumped on this story, and before we knew it, the price of Daraprim became a national story with Martin as the main villain.

I too immediately found myself jumping on the bandwagon, with a complete disapproval of the CEO's actions and business decisions. Why would he raise the price so drastically in such little time? Doesn't he care about all the people that are going to have to pay these prices? What if people can no longer afford to buy the drug they need? But what I didn't expect is that all these questions could easily be resolved by simply listening to Martin's side of the story.

Martin Shkreli is actually a pretty good guy. Here's why.

1. Daraprim hasn't been updated since the 1940s.

AIDS patients are still using the same drug as patients were in the mid-20th century. Our pharmaceutical technologies and sciences have evolved quickly, making Daraprim a very outdated medication. It is hard on the body right now and is very harmful to some patients.

2. Martin is using this extra money for research.

Since Daraprim is a drug that could be far less harmful with the right research, Shkreli saw an opportunity to make this drug's performance level much more efficient and less harmful for patients. By raising the extra money he is charging for the drug, more research can be done, improving the drug for its patients.

3. Martin has no salary with this company.

That's right, Shkreli receives zero dollars in income when it comes to Daraprim's profits. So it's easy to realize he is not doing this for the purpose of money.

4. Martin offers the drug for free to anyone who can't afford it.

The many patients who could not afford to buy this drug were at first in a panic, but Shkreli made it clear that his company would offer Daraprim for free to anyone who couldn't come up with the proper cash.

5. Martin's parents were immigrants and janitors.

Martin was not a trust-fund baby and he built everything he owns by himself.

6. This decision negatively affects the real greed.

The only groups that take the hit from this drastic price jump are the insurance companies and large companies like Walmart who have to pay full price. Though this can be ethically debatable, Martin had the intention of charging big companies high prices rather than the little guys.

7. Martin Shkreli pleaded the Fifth for the right reasons.

Another popular video bashing Shkreli that surfaced was the filming of Martin pleading the Fifth amendment in front of Congress. Many saw Shkreli acting in a disrespectful way towards the members of Congress, but in reality Congress was the true force of disrespect. Unlike most cases when they are informed that the defendant is going to take the Fifth, the testimony is usually dropped; but in this case, for political publicity, congress forced Shkreli to be there. Most would be fairly short in response too if put in that situation.

8. Martin has an incredibly positive history.

Whether it is donating to charity, helping his customers with financial needs, his support for LGBT rights, or his appreciation for "Wu-Tang," Shkreli has a history of helping those in need and being quite respectable.

Martin Shkreli is by no means perfect in his decisions or character, but regardless this man should not be hated by anyone. He has made these business decisions for the right reasons. Martin made the mistake of playing the role as the bad guy, because it simply amused him that he became such a hated figure. But Martin also stated his friends know "he is not that guy."

In all reality, Martin is on our side; the media is not.

Cover Image Credit: NY Magazine

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Our Big, Blue, Plastic Planet Needs Our Love

It's time we fell back in love with planet Earth.

Our Earth is sick, and we are to blame.

During the Industrial Revolution, coal became a popular energy resource. The excessive burning of this fossil fuel has released significantly higher than natural levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing a dramatic increase in global temperatures and air pollution.

Air pollution is the deadliest form of pollution, killing millions of people per year. A shocking 92 percent of people live in places where the air pollution exceeds safe limits. Breathing in these toxic fumes may cause diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema. Children are especially vulnerable to air pollution-related diseases due to their increased time spent playing outdoors and their developing immune system.

The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is also causing the global climate to warm, which is melting the polar ice caps. Significant amounts of water are stored in ice caps and glaciers across the planet, and if it all were to melt, the sea level would rise 70 meters, enough to cover every coastal city. Along with the rise in water levels, the increase in temperature is causing ocean currents to become warmer, forcing animals to migrate long distances which they often don't survive.

Many skeptics don’t see this as a serious problem, but for many species on Earth, these rising temperatures could cause them to go extinct due to habitat loss. There have been five confirmed mass extinctions on Earth, the most recent occurring 65.5 million years ago, but ecologists say that we are presently living in the sixth mass extinction. Currently, one-quarter of mammals are endangered, and some scientists predict that within the next 100 years, 30 percent of Earth’s plants and animals will be extinct.

Unfortunately, the rise in temperature is not the only thing CO2 is causing. Carbon dioxide is dissolving into the ocean and turning the water more acidic. Ocean acidification is a serious concern of many scientists, as it affects life on the lower end of the food chain. If life such as corals, shellfish, algae, and starfish go extinct, there would be catastrophic impact all the way up the food chain ending with humans.

Thanks to human actions, the ocean is being polluted in more ways than one. Along with effects of air pollution, the ocean is being directly contaminated by our sewage and trash, not to mention oil. According to the Department of the Interior Minerals Managment Service, between the years of 1971 and 2000, there were 250,000 oil spills in US waters alone.

Instead of protecting the ocean, we have been using it as our own personal waste dump. “Humans dump between 5.3 million and 14 million tons of plastic into the ocean annually.” To give you a little perspective, 9 million tons of plastic equates to about 136 billion milk jugs. If you were to stack those end to end, the chain would reach over halfway to Mars. If we continue at these rates, scientists predict that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight (pound for pound).

Our neglect to dispose of such materials properly results in massive collections of garbage formed by ocean currents, like The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. While there is no scientific size estimated for the Pacific Garbage Patch, it has often been estimated to be around twice the size of Texas and possibly larger.

Unfortunately, plastic is incredibly durable, which may be good for when we are actually using it, but once it enters our landfills or oceans it becomes a problem. Its durability means it degrades very slowly if at all. Styrofoam is another example of this problem seeing as it is non-biodegradable. Styrofoam is especially dangerous because it absorbs harmful chemicals and then is eaten by fish. These chemicals then circle back to us when we eat the fish.

We, humans, are contaminating our own food source and polluting our own air. We are killing our planet and we are killing ourselves. If we don't change our ways, the world as we know it will be lost. The famous scientist, Jonas Salk once said:

“If all the insects were to disappear from the Earth, within 50 years all life on Earth would end. If all human beings disappeared from the Earth, within 50 years all forms of life would flourish.”

Thankfully, countries all around the globe have come to this realization and are ready to take action. Countries are turning to using more green energy to lower their carbon footprint and are taking many other actions to keep the Earth healthy. A few more ways we could lower or pollution rates would be by lowering plastic production, improving our waste management, and placing a tax on carbon. If citizens are fined for littering, why should companies be let off the hook? Hopefully, these goals can be met, but it wouldn't hurt for those at home to join the movement too.

Some things you could try at home would include using reusable cloth bags instead of plastic, donating old clothes instead of throwing them away, carpooling or riding your bike as transportation and only using electricity when it is absolutely necessary.

Every little bit helps, so make sure you are doing your part to keep the Earth healthy.

Cover Image Credit: National Geographic | YouTube

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Oprah, Please Do Not Run For President

We need her as a humanitarian, and someone on the outside of politics who can change the thoughts of those setting the agendas and making policy

It is difficult in our current political tide to not advocate for change within our severely partisan system. The bias in media is constantly pushing the American public to believe that all Americans are as far right or far left as that outlet’s political alignment or the politicians they support.

This makes it difficult for those who are not completely content with the severity of the left or right’s stances on policies – most Americans – to maintain support for seasoned politicians who are constantly pushing their agenda with more and more outlandish claims.

With that being said, it is understandable why people would start to look to other sources for political leadership. Celebrities who took stances that align with the masses who were formerly solely regarded as activists and advocates are now being supported as possible political candidates.

From the outside, these people seem like viable possibilities, but just because they can talk the talk does not indicate they can actually be a successful president because they do not understand the intricacies and sensitivities of the oval office.

While it is easy to argue that some of our most famous and impactful presidents have come from unconventional backgrounds, it is also easy to verify their experience prior to taking office.

Ronald Reagan, for example, is highly extolled by the GOP as one of the best presidents our country has ever known because of his work designating him as the Great Communicator. While his time as a Hollywood actor made his ability to speak and entertain a crowd impeccable, his time as Governor of California gave him the political experience needed to be President.

Being president goes beyond being America’s figurehead. The job demands a strong understanding of compromise, negotiation, and the politics behind the policies we have already and need in the future.

As we often see, candidates make promises on the campaign trail that they ultimately can’t keep once in office because they either do not have the support from Congress to push their agenda through, or they have new context that makes the promise implausible.

This brings me to Oprah. Following Oprah’s inspiring speech at the 2018 Golden Globes, after she received the Cecil B. DeMille award, people are supporting her to run for president. Oprah years ago said she had no interest in running for office, but people are calling her to oppose President Trump for the 2020 election and sources are saying she is entertaining the idea.

While I admire Oprah’s activism, philanthropy, and rags-to-riches success, she should not be president. Oprah is incredible at what she does. Her life and inclusive message are inspiring, and she has enough money to support her own campaign, but she has never held public office before.

Furthermore, her celebrity and impact are worldwide already, and we need her as a humanitarian, and someone on the outside of politics who can change the thoughts of those setting the agendas and making policy.

Our current president is someone who was a celebrity first and had no prior political experience before taking office. He has admitted to the drastic change the presidency makes to your life and unforeseen minutia that makes up life in the oval office. Someone running for president isn’t a joke or an entertaining talking point for the news broadcasters.

It’s serious.

No matter our dissatisfaction with seasoned politicians in office, we must admit our country is still here, thriving, and highly regarded worldwide. There will never be a perfect president, they are human as well and humans are prone to error, but we can’t discount the necessity of experience and broad political understanding when it comes to choosing our commander and chief.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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