10 life changing tips to make your Chronicle experience a success

  1. Come to class late every day. This helps you maximize the time you aren’t doing work and lets you avoid the editors and therefore your deadlines.
  2. Thinking of good story ideas is overrated. Just pitch a few nonsense stories so it at least seems like you’re trying.
  3. Don’t bother contributing to story idea discussions, just write down the best ideas that other people give and steal them before they’re able to pitch.
  4. Deadlines are just suggestions. Your editors may act like they matter, but as long as you turn in a half-finished draft (or just a list of quotes) by hell week you should be fine.
  5. Don’t think of a visual when you pitch a story. There are plenty of other people on staff who will be eager to take/make your visuals for you in their free time.
  6. Never volunteer to cover things for the CSPN. It’s much more fun to watch the online editor stress out over getting things covered than actually helping yourself.
  7. When the Chronicle gets here don’t help bag. Instead spend the entire bell creating a kickass playlist on Spotify. DJ’s probably make better money than journalists anyway.
  8. Sleep in on distribution day. You need your beauty sleep and someone else will pick up the slack regardless. All you’re going to miss is a breakfast consisting of Kroger’s absolute cheapest multiple-day-old baked goods.
  9. Don’t read the Chronicle. It’s just a liberal propaganda rag and everyone knows liberals are losers. Sad!
  10. Never trust clickbaity Buzzfeed style lists. All the above advice is absolute rubbish and you shouldn’t follow it. What else would you expect from a failing pile of garbage like Buzzfeed?

 

In all seriousness being a part of the Chronicle staff has easily been one of the highlights of my 4 years at Mason High School. When I was typing out my cliche answers to apply to the Chronicle my sophomore year, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was thinking about how important expanding my resume would be so I can get into God knows what college to major in who the hell knows. I was stressing about how I would print out the Jonicle in time to turn in along with my application. I was worrying about the APUSH chapter quiz I had the next day, and how I would fit in time to read the chapter when it was already far past midnight. I wasn’t really thinking about why I wanted to join the Chronicle or what I would get out of it, little did I know it would be so much more than a bullet point on a resume.

The things I’ve learned and skills I’ve acquired over the course of my two years have easily prepared me more for college and beyond than any other class I’ve taken. From my English and writing skills, to my ability to think critically, to improving my communication, the Chronicle has propelled me to be a better student and future businessman/bureaucrat/who really knows. While those skills are invaluable, they don’t come close to having as large an impact as the people I’ve met on staff and the experiences I’ve had as a result.

I’m not going to attempt to list off names and describe how everyone has impacted me. That may be because I don’t want to copy other blogs (which I can’t hope to live up to anyway) or it may be because it’s past 1 in the morning and I desperately want to go to sleep. Regardless I can say without a doubt that the people I’ve gotten to know over the past two years have changed my life for the better. Whether it be a longstanding tradition like chronoeing or chronsgiving, something as small as a monthly powerpoint, or something as grand as a Jon Bellion concert or trip to Chicago or D.C., the memories I’ve made with people on staff will stay with me forever. I’ll never forget getting reported as truant while picking up Chipotle for food Friday and getting escorted back to school by a cop car(thanks, Arnav). I won’t forget seeing Mr. Conner get pied or watching him Pie Eric Michael. I won’t forget the late night insomnia runs at OU or getting Baked! at IU in the middle of a thunderstorm.

This is just a tiny snippet of the many memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life thanks to the Chronicle. So thank you, to the friends I’ve made on staff current and former, and to Mr. Conner for being an incredible role model and leader and for helping us produce the Chronicle even though he doesn’t have to. I can’t wait to see how much we all achieve in the coming years. I know every single person on our staff has amazing things ahead of them and I’m so excited to see everyone’s potential play out. Columbus is a sweet city so feel free to pay me and about 500 other Mason grads a visit if you get a chance. Until then I wish everyone the best of luck, even though I know none of you will need it.

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Global Warming hoax – editorial cartoon by Alekya

Despite inaccurate reporting from some right wing news agencies and claims that China invented climate change from our President-elect, climate change is real and we need to acknowledge the serious threat that it imposes on us. Alekya does a great job presenting this through her cartoon entitled “Global warming not a hoax.”

The impact of our changing climate is being felt across the globe, from rising sea levels to record temperatures. 2015 was the hottest year on record and USA Today reports that 2016 will likely surpass it. We’ve seen more severe storms, record breaking droughts, and uncontrollable wildfires tear through our country and the world. Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that climate change is real and is caused by human activity.

There’s simply too much evidence to continue to deny the facts about our changing climate.

Myron Ebell, a well known climate change skeptic, is the likely candidate to lead the EPA once Trump takes office. He has repeatedly called climate change a “myth” and wants to get rid of environmental regulations that are necessary to curb pollution. This is unacceptable.

The Obama Administration made large strides in the fight against climate change from the Paris Agreement to his Clean Power Plan proposal. This progress is good but we have to do more, not less.

Investing in renewable energy would not only contribute to saving our planet, but would also create millions of well-paying jobs that would help our economy.

There’s too much at stake when it comes to climate change and we have to acknowledge the truth that it is real so we can combat it and preserve the Earth that we all so desperately rely on.

THE GOP DESERVES TRUMP

After the leak of Donald Trump’s horrific comments about grouping women, many Republican leaders were quick to jump ship.

51 current and former members of Congress, governors and high-level officials from Republican administrations have reached their breaking points and said they would not support Donald Trump since his vulgar remarks; these individuals include Senator John McCain of Arizona, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, and former GOP candidate Carly Fiorina.

Many of these people have suggested that Trump should step aside and let Governor Mike Pence lead the ticket. They believe that Pence could save them from a landslide loss in November and a Hillary Clinton presidency. They blame Trump for the problems that their party is facing and say he’s at fault for the electoral disaster that may be approaching on November 8.

But each and everyone one of these people knew exactly what they were getting into when they decided to back Donald Trump. They knew this is the man he is, and they decided to ignore it.

They knew that Trump rose to political notoriety by starting the racist birther campaign against President Obama. They watched as he announced his bid for President by calling Mexicans “criminals” and “rapists.” They watched when he said John McCain was not a war hero because he was captured. They watched as he mocked a disabled reporter during one of his rallies. They watched when he called for a shutdown of immigrants based on religion and attacked a Gold Star family whose son had died in combat. They watched as he said a judge couldn’t do his job because of his Mexican heritage, despite the fact he was born in Indiana.

They all watched.

They had every chance in the world to dump Trump, but instead they gave empty condemnations and continued to back the man that they knew was not right to lead our country. They were willing to risk the well-being of American people in order to preserve the appearance of party unity. They put party before country and are now feeling the impact.

While it is good to finally see so many notable Republicans finally drawing back support of Trump, it is blatant hypocrisy to bail now and ask for a do-over.

Each of these Republicans knew exactly what kind of ticket they were buying when the boarded the Trump train and now that it’s derailing, they can not jump off and act like they were not involved.

They knew what they were doing and on November 8, they will face the consequences.

The War on Journalism

Journalists have a responsibility to report the truth, and Donald Trump is trying to take that away from them.

The media has essentially carried Trump through the Republican primary, giving him over 2 billion dollars in free coverage, according to the New York Times. Despite this, the media has been one of Trump’s most consistent targets for attack.

He has called the media “disgusting and corrupt” and has blamed them for his sagging poll numbers, tweeting that if it wasn’t for the media, he “would be beating Hillary by 20 percent.”

The problem for Trump is that most of these attacks are not based on fact, and in reality, he would be much worse off if it wasn’t for the press.

The “biased liberal media” are the ones who revealed and continued to write story after story about Hillary Clinton’s email controversy. They are the ones who reported on Hillary’s Benghazi hearings. They gave seemingly endless coverage to FBI Director James Comey’s criticism of Hillary over her email practices which led to the massive anti-Hillary rhetoric of the RNC Convention in Cleveland and the chants to “lock her up.” More importantly for Trump, they gave him a free platform to spread his populist message and get his word out to voters.

All the while they were doing their duty to uncover the truth and spread information to the people in a way that is fair and just.

It is true that Trump has received far more negative press than the average candidate for President, but that is simply a result of the way he is.

Politifact, a nonpartisan, Pulitzer-Prize-winning, fact-checking organization, found that 70 percent  of questionable statements from Trump have been falsehoods, while only 27 percent of Clinton’s questionable statements have been found to be false.

Trump simply doesn’t give much value to truth.

This is the man who started the birther movement saying that Obama is not a citizen, he denies the fact that climate change is happening or that there is a drought in California, he said that Obama was the founder of ISIS, he claimed that crime is rising despite it being at its lowest point in decades, he implied that Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of JFK – the list goes on.

But when journalists call him out for his falsehoods, he discounts them as being biased and, for some reason, people listen to him.

He recently has gone as far as to attack the First Amendment, tweeting that “It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!”

Well, guess what Donald, by definition it is.

Just like Trump has the right to say things that are completely inaccurate, the media has the right to report on it, and it will continue to do so to ensure that people hear the truth.

Trump has set up a situation in which he grabs ahold of positive coverage and spreads it for everyone to see, but the second he is criticized he reverts back to his criticism of the media as being biased or unfair. As he benefits from free coverage, he attacks the journalists providing it.

And I would say that is truly unfair.

Religious Freedom Bills

Last April Mississippi Governor signed a bill into law that he claimed would protect religious freedoms, yet instead of protecting people from discrimination it does the exact opposite.

Supporters of the bill have claimed that it protects “religious freedom” but the clear focus of the bill is on allowing for open discrimination against people of the LGBT community.

This bill allows for religious organizations to refuse to conduct a marriage, fire employees for their sexual orientation, and refuse to provide adoption or foster care services.

Individuals and private companies are allowed to refuse to give counseling, refuse to give housing, refuse to provide any wedding-related services, all because of someone’s sexual orientation.

After same-sex marriage was determined a universal right last summer, it is extremely disappointing that certain states are still trying to limit the rights of LGBT people, especially considering the current standing of states like Mississippi that are signing these bills into law.

According to Gallup and USA Today, Mississippi has the lowest life expectancy, highest obesity rate, third lowest graduation rate, and lowest median household income in the country, yet instead of focusing time and resources on solving major issues, they’re spending time and resources getting discriminatory bills like this one passed.

The problem is these bills hurt more than just the people who they target; they can have broader economic impacts as well.

We have seen this happen in Georgia where a similar bill was put on the Governor’s desk. That bill lead to numerous companies and groups threatening to pull out of the state, such as Coca Cola, Delta and Home Depot. Nathan Deal, the governor of Georgia, went on to veto that bill but that was not the case for all states.

In North Carolina, another similar religious freedom bill was passed. The reaction was not surprising, and a number of companies such as Bank of America and Lowes blasted the law, with some companies such as Paypal actually pulling investments out of the state.

America has become a very diverse and gradually more accepting nation, but these states are holding back progress and wasting time and energy trying to uphold backwards legislation.

It’s time to recognize the fact that we are all different and, regardless of what religion you follow, it’s no longer acceptable to discriminate against people who may not live the same way we do.

Muslims are not to Blame

Following the horrific terrorist attacks in Brussels, politicians and civilians alike were quick to up their anti-Muslim rhetoric.

We see these attacks happen far too often nowadays, and it’s sad that fear has creeped its way into nearly every part of our lives, but we must not allow this fear to influence our actions and policy in a way that strips away at our values and hurts our way of life.

On the day of the attacks, presidential candidate Ted Cruz gave a statement in which he said, “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

Aside from the very low likelihood that such a plan would be effective or solve any issues, he is once again condemning an entire religious group to be mistreated because of the horrible actions of a small part of that group. America is home to nearly three million Muslims, the majority of whom are normal people just like us.

It is simply wrong to infringe upon the liberties and freedoms of a very large group of people just because they share the same religion as a much smaller, evil group of people.

We have to remember that the real enemy that we are facing is ISIS, not all Muslims. Allowing ourselves to overreact to tragic events like the attack in Brussels will do more harm than good, and we cannot afford to persecute peaceful people who are on our side.

On top of being dangerous, Cruz’s statement is also rather hypocritical given his position as a religious candidate who is against the government getting involved with religion. He seems to be taking a stance: religious freedom is essential unless the religion is different from his own.

The harsh reality is that violence has no religion and targeting a specific group as being dangerous makes no sense. According to the New York Times, in America you are seven times more likely to be killed by a right wing extremist than an Islamic extremist, whether that is at a church in South Carolina or a Planned Parenthood clinic.

It is easy to be scared of what is different or unfamiliar, and it is easy to buy into the rhetoric that people like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are using far too often.

But we cannot let that fear get the best of us and discriminate against millions of people who are fighting the same fight, who share the same enemy, as the rest of us.

APPLE CHAMPIONS MORE THAN PRIVACY

The debate between Apple and the FBI, privacy versus security, should not be framed as such.

It all started when U.S. Judge Sheri Pym ordered Apple to unlock an iPhone owned by one of the terrorists in the San Bernardino, California tragedy that took place in December. More specifically, she wanted Apple to create a way for the court to bypass the iPhone’s security measures that freeze or erase the device after too many failed passcode attempts. The bypass would allow for the FBI to use a computer program to run as many unlock attempts as they wish.

There is a simple problem, however, with this request that a lot of people don’t realize: unlocking one phone means unlocking all of them.

In order to bypass the iPhone’s security protections, Apple would have to create a unique version of their operating system that would be given to the government, so it can unlock the iPhone. This operating system would be the equivalent of a master key that could be used to unlock any iPhone in the entire world.

In the wrong hands, this master key could be extremely dangerous. It would enable hackers or terrorists to gain access to anyone’s iPhone, allowing them to steal information and data from unsuspecting citizens.

Think of encryption as a solid box around your data. Nothing and nobody can get in or out of this box to steal your data. If the FBI’s backdoor is implemented, it would be like putting a door on this box with a key that only the FBI can use. The problem is that a hacker could potentially steal the key or lockpick the door, and gain access to users’ sensitive data.

The solution to this dilemma would be to simply never create a backdoor in the first place.

On top of the clear security risks, creating this backdoor would set a dangerous precedent that would allow for the government to expand its power and eliminate our privacy.

The government could just as easily ask for access to our cell phones cameras and microphones, track our locations, access our financial information, and much more, for the sake of “security.”

I would like to believe that the government has good and pure intentions, but I still do not trust it with unlimited access to my information or data.

It isn’t about wanting to hide something: I don’t have anything to hide. It’s the principal of the government undermining our freedoms, the very same freedoms that they are claiming to protect.

That is why Apple needs to stand strong against a government overreach. It needs to stand strong against the security risks that would come with adding a backdoor. It needs to stand strong against the continued attack on our freedoms for “security’s” sake.

We need to stand with it.

Keep big money out of politics

America’s democracy is quickly turning into an oligarchy.

Our political system is being corrupted more and more by large special interest groups that are spending billions of dollars lobbying politicians, and it is having a big impact on our elections and the way our government functions.

According to a New York Times study, as of October of 2015 just 158 families, as well as companies that they control, have contributed over $176 million to presidential campaigns – nearly half of the money contributed overall. In addition to this, in 2012 MoveOn reported that 40 percent of political contributions came from one-hundredth of one percent of the U.S. population.

This kind of money is not given out of pure generosity: it comes with strings attached.

In return for massive donations, special interests expect things such as tax favors, subsidies, and quiet promises to be kept. This leads to politicians acting in favor of the interests of a handful of mega-wealthy people and corporations instead of the interest of the public which elects them.

Not only does this give an unfair amount of influence to a small group of people, but it also can be partially blamed for the gridlock in our Congress and our politics as a whole.

Secret promises made by politicians to special interests groups have limited their ability to compromise and has increased division in government. This can be seen in Congress where Republicans are acting as a wall, blocking any progressive proposals that try to make their way through the floor.

The widespread opposition to the Affordable Care Act is the perfect example of this. It could be true that almost all Republicans simply think that the ACA is bad policy and want it repealed for honest reasons. But this seems unlikely considering that OpenSecrets.org reported that in 2015, the pharmaceutical industry spent a whopping $235,107,261 on lobbying and the insurance industry spent an additional $155,805,113.

This is a broken system that needs fixing.

On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Citizens United, allowing large corporations and super PACs to make unlimited campaign contributions. This ruling held that the First Amendment prohibited the government from limiting political expenditures, essentially saying that corporations are people and money is speech.

This ruling has enabled the wealthiest people and groups in the country to contribute incredible sums of undisclosed money to politicians in exchange for their influence in government, and must be overturned in order to fix the broken campaign finance system with which we are currently dealing.

Massive contributions in return for influence in government is not speech, it’s corruption, and it must be stopped to preserve the exceptional democracy that has always defined America.

Armed and Underqualified

As mass shootings become commonplace on our news feeds, the idea of a “good guy with a gun” continues to be promoted.

A vigilante citizen packing heat is not beneficial in countering crime nor violence. According to the New York Times, since 2007, at least 763 people have been killed in 579 shootings by people with legally obtained concealed carry permits that did not involve self-defense.

In that same time period, there were only 21 cases of concealed carry shootings where self-defense was a factor.

The reality is that too many people are getting concealed carry permits too easily.

Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Wyoming and Vermont are fully unrestricted, meaning that anyone who is not prohibited from owning a firearm is allowed to carry one. 35 states, including Ohio, follow a “shall-issue” policy meaning that if a person meets the state-set qualifications, they can be given a permit.

License requirements typically include residency, minimum age, submitting fingerprints, passing a computerized instant background check, attending a certified firearm safety class and paying a fee. The problem is that the requirements vary dramatically from state to state: some have few or none of these requirements.

Proper training plays a crucial role when it comes down to high pressure situations when a “good guy with a gun” would actually use his gun. The main problem with people who are carrying firearms for self-defense is that, in order to avoid disaster, they must have everything go right.

When congresswoman Gabby Giffords was gunned down in Arizona in 2011, a good guy with a gun was present. But in the 16 seconds it took for the shooter to kill six and wound 13, the good guy didn’t have time to react. Unarmed bystanders tackled the shooter while he reloaded. In fact, a good guy with a gun nearly shot at bystander who had wrestled the gun away from the shooter.

For a good guy to properly fight back against a threat, he first has to identify it. He has to decide whether or not deadly force is justified. He has to engage without hitting innocent bystanders. He has to be a good shot under intense pressure from the adversary and his emotions.

There are too many variables to put our trust in “good guys with guns” when it comes to violence and tragedy in our societyespecially if an armed vigilante tries, and fails, to save the day.

Refugees Are Not the Enemy

Following the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, 31 governors have announced that they oppose the Obama Administration’s plan to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees.

The size and scale of the Syrian refugee crisis is truly staggering. Over 11 million men, women, and children have been forced out of their homes, signaling one of the worst refugee crises since World War II.

European nations are being slammed with refugees as millions flood north to escape persecution, and the European Union has requested that each nation take in at least 160,000 to spread the load on the countries. The United States, however, has remained mostly out of the picture, having taken in only about 2,100 refugees over the course of the entire crisis.

This is not enough, especially as our European allies continue to take in more and more refugees.

Germany has planned to take in over 800,000 by the end of 2015 and is likely to meet this number. Despite concerns raised by some in France following the attacks in Paris, its president has pledged to increase the number of refugees that they would take in from 24,000 to 30,000, calling it a “humanitarian duty” to help the refugees.

The 10,000 refugees that Obama has pledged to take in pales in comparison, especially considering the size of the United States compared to many European countries. Letting 10,000 refugees into the U.S. is the equivalent of letting an extra two fans in to a sold-out Paul Brown Stadium.

But for many of the 31 governors – as well as millions of Americans who are opposed to letting in refugees – the real concern is security.

It’s understandable that people would fear refugees, especially following the gruesome attacks in Paris. That fear, however, is mostly unwarranted.

As of now, none of the Paris attackers have been linked to the refugee crisis, and the only possible link, a Syrian passport found in the pocket of a suicide bomber, was found by French investigators to be fake and likely planted to install fear of refugees. In fact, all known assailants in the Paris attacks are known to be citizens of European Union countries. But nonetheless, there still is a potential risk of letting in thousands of refugees into our country, right?

According to The Guardian, “Each candidate is vetted first by the UN’s refugee agency, and then separately by officials from the State Department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the Defense Department. The process takes between 18 months and two years.”

The U.S. State Department has called refugees, “the most heavily vetted group of people currently allowed into the U.S.,” and they’re right. There is no other legal process of getting into the U.S. that is as rigorous and difficult than the process for letting in refugees.

The United States should join the rest of the EU, and 10,000 people is a very reasonable number with which to start.

We can not sit back and watch as people continue to die, and the Middle East continues to implode in on itself.