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May 2016

. May 2016 Minimum Wage Raised In New York and California The economic implications remain in

Minimum Wage Raised In New York and California

The economic implications remain in question

By: Kathryn Nicolai

On Monday, April 4, both California Governor Jerry Brown and New York Gov- ernor Andrew Cuomo signed similar legisla- tion to gradually increase each state’s mini- mum wage to $15 an hour over the next sev- eral years. Under California’s plan, its mini- mum wage, currently one of the highest in the nation at $10 an hour, will rise to $10.50 in 2017, $11 in 2018 and a dollar each year through 2022. State workers in New York City will earn $15 an hour by the end of 2018 while state workers outside of the city will see wages rise to $15 by the end of 2021. Both states have incorporated provisions to sus- pend the wage hikes if economic conditions worsen. The economic implication of a mini- mum wage is an extremely controversial top- ic among politicians and economists. The minimum wage increases are unique to Cali- fornia and New York for essential reasons. A dollar in California or New York does not go as far as it would in other states. Prices in these two particular states are amongst the highest in the nation. “In Mississippi, where prices are the lowest in the nation, a worker would have to earn about $11.60 per hour to have the same purchasing power as a $15 hourly worker in California. In other words, at those levels, both workers can buy virtual- ly the same goods and services” (The Wash- ington Post). Additionally, cities of lower in- come in California such as Bakersfield and Fresno, are likely to notice larger economic effects due to the new wage legislation than high-wage cities such as San Francisco and San Jose. Bakersfield, Fresno, and other cit- ies with similar low-wage earnings are going

other cit- ies with similar low - wage earnings are going 2019 and 2020, and finally

2019 and 2020, and finally 12 weeks starting in 2021. The federal minimum wage is current- ly $7.25 an hour or about $15,000 annually. Bernie Sanders has long been a supporter of increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and used the actions of California and New York to promote his stance. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton supports a $12 federal minimum wage nationally, allowing local governments to go higher. She ex-

plained, “[

eral minimum wage. That is what the Demo- crats in the Senate have put forward as a proposal. But I do believe that is a minimum. And places like Seattle, like Los Angeles, like New York City, they can go higher.” Despite New York and California’s actions numerous states and the federal minimum wage re- mains a controversial topic.


I support a $12.00 national fed-

a controversial topic. ] I support a $12.00 national fed- to have a majority of their

to have a majority of their residents’ wages impacted, rather than cities with wage earnings comparable to San Francisco where the majority of wages are al- ready above $15 an hour. In New York, “about 6.5 percent of the state’s per- manent and seasonal work force — would see an in- crease in pay, according to the governor’s office, with the vast majority of those living upstate or outside the city” (The New York Times). Those in favor of the new minimum wage share the belief that con- sumers will spend more money after wage hikes and in turn cause a positive impact on the economy. In addition to raising the minimum wage, the legislation will include a new 12 week paid family leave program. This pro- gram will allow up to 12 weeks of paid time off from working to care for a new child (including foster or adopted children) or any family member with a grave illness. With it, New York becomes the fifth state to mandate paid family leave in the nation. “The dura- tion of the leave, while still far from the 40 weeks guaranteed in the U.K. or even the 16 weeks provided in Bangladesh, doubles the 6 weeks allotted in California and New Jersey, and triples the 4 weeks of paid leave offered by Rhode Island” (New York Magazine). However, the changes will occur over time. Starting in 2018, employees will be allotted up to 8 weeks of leave a year, 10 weeks in

Death with Dignity

Allowing terminally ill patients more autonomy through assisted suicide

By: Ashlin Leen

Assisted suicide is the act of a doctor intentionally providing a terminally ill person with the means to commit suicide by counsel- ling him or her about lethal doses of drugs and prescribing or supplying lethal doses of such drugs. It is becoming more common for people who have terminal or painful diseases to participate in assisted suicide. Some find comfort in having control over their own death, some do not want their loved ones to see them suffer and some want to avoid suf- fering altogether. As of 2016, there are only 5 states that allow assisted suicide. In every other state, it is illegal to help anyone commit suicide or withhold the knowledge that a per- son plans to kill himself. However, the act of assisted suicide for medical reasons continues

to be a hotly debated topic. Some argue that terminally ill patients can get better or live much longer than ex- pected by medical experts so to offer them assisted suicide would take away the possibil- ity of a miracle recovery. It is also possible for a medical mistake to be made such as a misdiagnosis that could lead to someone un- necessarily taking his life through assisted suicide. “The Journal of the American Medi- cal Association Vol 284, No 4, reports that medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the United States at 225,000 deaths per year. Half are medical mistakes, including 2,000 deaths/year from unneces- sary surgery”. People also fear that allowing assisted suicide would normalize suicide and encourage more and more people to consider taking their lives rather than fighting their

disease and even take away the incentive to find a cure. The teen suicide rate increased since assisted suicide was legalized in Wash- ington and Oregon. Many people simply do not believe it is necessary and will do more harm than good to society and the loved ones of the terminally ill. Although many people disagree with the practice of assisted suicide, there is also an overwhelming amount of support for it to be legalized throughout the United States. Many people see assisted suicide as a right for the terminally ill to control their own death and avoid the suffering and embarrass- ment that their disease might bring. These patients wish to spare their families from having to watch them suffer with no way to help. Although a loved one dying through as- sisted suicide will still be difficult for the fam-


Federal Bureau of Investigation Agents

And how they help protect our community

Robert Elmen is an FBI Special Agent who follows and investigates terrorists and other potentially dangerous people who could be a threat to the country. To get a better under- standing of what the FBI does, Pleasantville Post’s Callie Sullivan questioned him about his experiences with the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

By: Callie Sullivan

1. What is your official job title?

I’m an FBI Special Agent working on the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force

2. What does a normal workday look like for you?

There is no normal day on the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force which is what makes the job so exciting. We’re responsible for re- sponding to and investigating terrorist threats in the United States. An agent can have their day planned out at 8am and by 9am the phone can ring with a new threat that requires an immediate response. Some days I’m in the office writing reports, other days I’m interviewing suspects and debrief- ing informants, and still other days, I travel around the world to meet with U.S. govern- ment agencies and our foreign counterparts to share information and develop strategies for stopping terrorist attacks.

3. What is a case you are most proud of investi- gating in your career?

The case I am currently working on is proba- bly the one I am most proud of but since it's still classified we can't get into any details so I'll give you my first runner up. From ap- proximately January 2012 to October 2014, I was one of two agents investigating a Long Island man named Marcos Alonzo Zea, also known as "Ali Zea" who planned and at- tempted to join al-Qaeda in the Arabian Pen- insula (AQAP) and travel overseas in order to wage violent jihad. Ali Zea’s attempt to join AQAP took him from John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York to London en- route to Yemen, however Ali Zea was stopped by British authorities in London and returned to the United States. Upon Ali Zea's return to the United States, he was inter- viewed by investigators and closely moni- tored. Despite being returned to the United States by British authorities and being inter- viewed by investigators, Ali Zea continued to plot by encouraging and supporting his co- conspirator who was also planning to travel and fight jihad. After learning that he was under investigation, Ali Zea destroyed elec- tronic media on his computer in order to ob- struct the investigation. The FBI's Computer Analysis Response Team (CART) was able to conduct a forensic examination which re- vealed an assortment of violent Islamic ex- tremist materials. On September 9, 2014, Ali Zea pled guilty to attempting to provide ma- terial support to a foreign terrorist organiza-

provide ma- terial support to a foreign terrorist organiza- 7. What do you think made you

7. What do you think made you qualified for the job?

A lot goes into being qualified for the job as

an FBI Special Agent. I would say that being drug free and a good member of society are two very important characteristics that help

people to become FBI agents so be mindful of everything you do in high school and espe- cially the stuff you do after your 18th birth- day. There is no room for drug dealers or us- ers in the FBI, especially when we are tasked with investigating crimes against the United States of America. On top of that, on a more personal level, having accepted leadership roles throughout high school, college, and the United States Army, I had unique experienc-

es that I was able to articulate during the FBI application process and helped supply the foundation for a career as an FBI agent.

tion, AQAP and obstruction of Justice. On April 20, 2015, Ali Zea was sentenced to 25 years in prison where he currently remains. This case involved many components of the FBI and our partners including the federal prosecutors at the United States Attorney’s Office, the British government, surveillance specialists, intelligence analysts, the New York City Police Department, and specialty groups within the FBI.

4. How long is training for FBI agents?

Back in 1998 when I went through the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, new agent training was 18 weeks. Today, new agent training lasts approximately 20 weeks and incorporates the following four major areas of study:

Academics - covering all aspects of crime and law enforcement, e.g., white-collar crime, organized crime, drug investiga- tions, law (76 hours in law alone), forensic science, ethics (5 hours), behavioral sci- ence, computer skills, interviewing skills etc.

Firearms (113 hours) New agents at Quantico fire approximately 5,000 rounds during their 20 weeks of training.

Physical training and defensive tactics (73 hours)

Practical exercises (198 hours)- Periodi- cally students have to show how much they've learned by participating in multi- disciplinary practical exercises staged in the mock city, Hogan's Alley.

5. How long would you say you spend actively

working out in the field and how long behind the desk?

There is no perfect answer to this because every investigation takes on a life of its own. From my experience, during the early stage of an investigation a lot of time is spent out on the street conducting witness interviews, surveillance, and meeting with sources. As an investigation matures the time "behind a desk" may increase as your investigative techniques become more sophisticated such as electronic surveillance which really isn’t accomplished from “behind a desk.”

8. How long have you been with the Bureau?

I have been with the Bureau for 17 years. Mandatory retirement for all FBI agents is the last day of the month of your 57th birth- day. All new agents must enter the academy prior to their 37th birthday. 37 to 57 gives agents the 20 years that they will need for re- tirement that is why the cutoff to become an agent is 37 years of age.

9. Is there any other information that you think people will be interested in hearing about?

6. What previous experience is required to be- come an agent?

The FBI has traditionally sought out those with law enforcement, law and accounting backgrounds. Recently, the FBI has placed a new emphasis on considering prospects with professional or extensive educational experi- ence in intelligence, languages, computers and the sciences. Every new agent is required to have 3 years work experience. From my own personal experience, my academy class had everything from prior military and law enforcement personnel to a social worker and former high school teacher.

There are approximately 12,000 FBI agents across the United States who are broken up into 56 different field offices, each which con- tain multiple satellite offices called Resident Agencies (RA's). The FBI's New York Office

is located at 26 Federal Plaza in Manhattan

and has the following 5 RA's: White Plains, Brooklyn-Queens, Long Island, JFK, and

Hudson Valley. The New York Field Office is the largest field office in the FBI and contains approximately 10% of the agent population, approximately 1,200 agents and investigates

that is

some of the best cases in the Bureau

why the FBI New York Office is referred to

as the Flagship Office of the FBI.

that is some of the best cases in the Bureau why the FBI New York Office


Too Thin to Model

What France is doing to ensure the health of those in the modelling industry

By: Emma Murphy

In December 2015, the French gov- ernment passed a law requiring that models working in the country must provide a doc- tor’s certificate confirming that they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18 or above. Italy, Israel, and Spain have already passed similar legislation in an attempt to prevent the use of excessively thin models. With this law in ac- tion, agencies and brands who hire under- weight models could face charges of up to six months in prison or a 75,000 Euro fine ($85,477.50). Many modeling agencies in France are not happy with this law and be- lieve that there are better ways to legislate such as regulating sample sizes as an indus- try standard. Ms. Neumeister, Health Teach- er at Pleasantville High School said, “ I un- derstand the safety and the health of individ- uals and the pressure that companies have on them to hire very thin models, but I’m not sure if there should be a law…I think yes we should definitely have guidelines.” Oliviero Toscani, the Italian photog- rapher behind Nolita’s controversial anti- anorexia campaign expressed his concerns about the ability to enforce the law question- ing, “How will it work? You can always say:

‘She was 10 pounds more when she was booked.’” The campaign featured model and actress Isabelle Caro who at the time of the shoot was 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 60 pounds. She had battled anorexia since age 13 and died in 2010 at 28 years old. Accord- ing to The New York Times, the exact cause

of her death is not known but anorexia was decidedly a factor. In 2006, the Italian Fashion Chamber passed an “ethical code of self regulation” which is a set of guidelines that discourages companies from hiring models younger than 16 or that have a BMI lower than 18. These guidelines were an immediate success as Ital- ian companies adhered to them even though, unlike the French law, there are no legal ramifications. According to the bill, people with the condition anorexia nervosa in France num- ber between 30,000 and 40,000, and the aver- age BMI for a women in the country is 23.2, the lowest average of any country in Western Europe. Earlier drafts of the bill simply re- quired that models looking to work in France provide a medical certificate proving that their BMI was at least 18. However, this was criticized by some who argued that BMI is not always the most accurate indicator of whether or not someone is a healthy weight. In response to these complaints, the French government amended the bill making it so that a health professional must judge wheth- er a model is of a healthy weight, taking into account age, gender, weight, and body shape. Critics of the law argue that it will be ineffective because photos can still be re- touched. To combat this, any photos that have been altered must be labeled “retouched photograph” or companies could face a fine of 35,700 euros ($40,687.29). Trey Laird, CEO and chief creative officer of Laird+Partners argues, “It’s ridiculous… If

officer of Laird+Partners argues, “It’s ridiculous… If Isabelle Caro, French model featured in Nolita’s 2007 anti

Isabelle Caro, French model featured in Nolita’s 2007 anti-anorexia campaign. Courtesy of ERNESTO RUSCIO/GETTY

you’re going to have Julia Roberts on the cover of a magazine and you take out some wrinkles or change the color of her dress to match with the logo…do you need to put a big warning on it like a pack of cigarettes? At some point, enough is enough. There are big- ger issues for governments to worry about.”

There are big- ger issues for governments to worry about.” Kitch Bain/Shutterstock dangered species will be
There are big- ger issues for governments to worry about.” Kitch Bain/Shutterstock dangered species will be

Kitch Bain/Shutterstock

dangered species will be extinct by the year


The medical field would also be af- fected by extinction. There are many medi- cines that are derived from plants and with the insect population slowly decreasing, plants struggle to reproduce because they count on insects for pollination. In the fu- ture, many insects might not have a food source as a result. This could be described as a domino effect. The rate of extinction is rapidly in- creasing, and many species of animals are disappearing from existence completely. The solution to this is being more aware of our environment and protecting the habitats of all.

aware of our environment and protecting the habitats of all. Endangered Species And why we should

Endangered Species

And why we should protect them

By: Kaylei Raefski

Endangered species are animals at risk of extinction. They can be threatened by several factors including disease, hunting, climate change, and loss of habitat. Species of animals that are classified as endangered often have either a very small population or a declining size, meaning they are almost ex- tinct. The rate of extinction for some undis- covered species is much greater than their rate of birth which means that some animals may actually become extinct before even be- ing discovered. The rate at which some species are disappearing is increasing each year. Ac- cording to the World Wildlife Fund, of the total 100,000,000 species on earth, 0.1% go extinct each year. There is only one species to blame for this issue―ours. This phenomenon is referred to as the 6th extinction crisis, un- like the other five known mass extinction events in geological history, this is the only one in which one species is almost fully re- sponsible. In order to protect and save endan- gered species, there are several things that can be done. By recycling and buying sus- tainable products, one can help keep the ani- mals safe. Also, protecting their habitats is a big part of keeping these organisms in our

environment. Entire communities of ani- mals can be saved by keeping their habitats clean and protected. The International Un- ion for the Conserva- tion of Nature (IUCN) Red List is the world’s most compre- hensive global ap- proach to the conser- vation status of bio- logical species. On the list, there are 41,415 different species and 16,306 are endangered species threatened with extinction. With numerous species becoming en- dangered, human life can be impacted as well. The food chain, a hierarchical series of organisms dependent on each other for food, is severely impacted by extinctions. If a spe- cies such as plankton were to go entirely ex- tinct, larger creatures like fish would be im- pacted because they consume plankton as their major food source. Extinction could al- so result in overpopulation. For example, if coyotes were to go extinct, there would be less predators of deer, which would eventual- ly lead to an increase in the amount of deer in an area. Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson estimates that half of the current en-


Tiny Houses

The Latest Big Trend in Real Estate

By: Melissa Jacobs

A new lifestyle is becoming popular

among the many homeowners facing difficul- ties with the responsibility of housing expens- es. In a report done by Pew Charitable Trusts, it was found that “8 in 10 Americans are in debt in some fashion, most often be- cause of a mortgage”, according to CNBC. The “tiny house movement” as many are call- ing it, has people limiting their living spaces and saving money on maintenance, mortgage, and other payments that come with a full size home.

There are many television shows that are publicizing the movement, including Tiny House Nation on FYI, and Tiny House Build- ers on HGTV. Tiny houses can range from about 200 to 600 square feet, and usually cost from $20,000 - $60,000 to purchase. The cus- tom building of tiny homes has also become popular, which can range in price, depending on materials. There are several ways people can save money purchasing or building their own tiny house: using recycled materials, purchasing a used space (a trailer/shed), and using self and volunteered labor. Many tiny houses are converted trailers, so mobility is commonly favored among builders and buy- ers.

Building a tiny house can be an enjoy- able project for all ages: Cathryn Puglia, a sophomore at Pleasantville High School, plans to build a tiny house with her father. When asked about the growing trend, she said she believes that “tiny houses are becom- ing popular among many people because of the idea of living off the grid or living [without the] debts that a full sized house

grid or living [without the] debts that a full sized house Boneyard Studios created a unique

Boneyard Studios created a unique tiny house village from an old overgrown lot in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy of Inhabitat )

a fraction of the cost to power a traditional home with solar energy, and there are even incinerating toilets that help reduce water consumption” (PlanetForward.org). There are many companies, like Boneyard Studios, challenging the status quo with their tiny houses. Boneyard Studios has created a showcase of four tiny houses in an old lot in Washington, D.C., with a mission to “demonstrate creative urban infill, promote the benefits of tiny houses, support other tiny house builders, and model what a tiny house community could look like”. These compa- nies have shown that living small could be the solution to the environmental impact and stressful expenses that thousands of people face with full-size homes.

that thousands of people face with full - size homes. comes with.” She purchased an old

comes with.” She purchased an old camping trailer for just over $300 and said that the project will cost about $6,000. Cathryn says that living in such a small space is very ad- vantageous, and that it will force her to “really think about what I need and what’s just junk that takes up space.” She is excited to live in her own space and learn some fun new building techniques. “I decided on [building] a tiny house because it seemed cool. Also, it’s fun learning all the new skills that come with building my own tiny house, such as welding.” Tiny houses are also ideal for many homeowners due to their environmental- friendly nature; the smaller the house, the smaller the carbon footprint. “The size of the house reduces heating and cooling costs, they can be completely powered by solar panels at

Apple’s 40th Anniversary

By: Hiroshi Yumoto

people in the world have an Apple product. Some of the main products by Apple include Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Some new prod- ucts were released on March 21, 2016. They are iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7. The iPhone SE is not Apple's least expensive iPhone ever, but it's a relatively inexpensive smartphone. The screen size is the same as the 5S, 4inch on the diagonal with the same quality colors and brightness. For Apple’s 40th anniversary, a flag was raised at their headquar- ters in California. The flag includes an illustra- tion of a pirate drawn by Susan Kare, a member of the “Lisa” (a comput- er model) development team. This was done be- cause Steve Jobs once said, “It’s better to be a pirate than join the na- vy.” The “Lisa” comput- er had great perfor- mance, but did not suc- ceed because the com- puter ran slowly and was too expensive. Steve

It has been 40 years since Apple was

established by Steve Jobs in 1976 in Califor- nia. The world that we live in today has been greatly influenced by Apple’s products. Ac- cording to Apple’s announcement last year, there are more than one billion active Apple devices now. This means that one out of seven

active Apple devices now. This means that one out of seven Apple flies pirate flag to

Apple flies pirate flag to commemorate 40th anniversary (Courtesy of Power- page.org)

Jobs was in charge of

Lisa’s development, but was removed. After- wards he tried to make an ideal computer that many people would enjoy using, so he was put in charge of Macintosh’s develop- ment with Susan Kare. Its development was extremely difficult and the team of over eighty workers worked more than 80 hours a week. Much of the success of the Macintosh was thanks to the development team’s pains- taking work. The Macintosh wasn’t the only success- ful product from Apple. In fact, the most popular Apple product is the iPhone. The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. Since then, 13 different kinds of iPhones have been released and have gained support from many people across world. One of the big- gest reasons that iPhone has been a massively successful product for Apple is design. The physical design of the iPhone differs signifi- cantly from other smartphones such as An- droid. The iPhone SE, which was released on March 21, 2016, gained support especially from women because it was a good size for people who have small hands. Another rea- son the iPhone is so popular is that the soft- ware is always up-to-date. An iPhone user will always get the newest version of iOS, which is the mobile operating system that runs on Apple’s mobile devices.

will always get the newest version of iOS, which is the mobile operating system that runs


New “Religious Freedom” Bills and Our Country’s Stance on Gender Equality

By: Isabelle Graj

Additionally, Georgia has passed aspects of life. Although United States citi- zens are living in
Additionally, Georgia has passed aspects of life. Although United States citi- zens are living in
Additionally, Georgia has passed aspects of life. Although United States citi- zens are living in
Additionally, Georgia has passed aspects of life. Although United States citi- zens are living in
Additionally, Georgia has passed aspects of life. Although United States citi- zens are living in
Additionally, Georgia has passed aspects of life. Although United States citi- zens are living in
Additionally, Georgia has passed aspects of life. Although United States citi- zens are living in

Additionally, Georgia has passed

aspects of life. Although United States citi- zens are living in a much more progressive and accepting time where women’s roles in society are almost unrestricted, “gender equality,” however you define it, is an as- sumed, discretionary standard. The pro- gression of LGBT individual’s rights has improved in some states but still, clearly, needs more support. Without a unified foundation of rights for all genders stated in our constitution, it allows each state to in- terpret “gender equality” to whatever de- gree they feel is right. To states with a large population of religiously driven citizens that believe any sexuality other than heterosexu- ality is wrong, “gender equality” may only refer to women and men (if even that); therefore these states can establish “religious freedom” laws that restricts citi- zens who do not identify as specifically a man or women, or do not engage in tradi-

A controversial debate has been ad- vancing in states such as Mississippi, Geor- gia, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and Arizona regarding the issue of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) com- munity and religious freedom. Many of these states have considered or passed bills that allow religious and private organiza- tions to deny services to LGBT persons. Alt- hough the bills in each state differ, the over- lapping theme is: if you are a person with a strong religious or moral conviction that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman and an individual's biological sex is determined by anatomy and genetics at the time of birth, then you have the right to de- ny services to someone who does not adhere to your beliefs. While most of the country sees this as discrimination, the supporters of these laws believe they are protecting an in- dividual’s freedoms by preventing people from being forced to work with or having to accommodate to people they are uncomfort- able with from a religious or moral perspec- tive.

their “Free Exercise Protection Act,” how- ever, Governor Nathan Deal was firmly against the law and sent it back to lawmak- ers for readjustments. Gov. Nat Deal para- phrased a passage from the Gospel of John

have a belief in forgiveness

and said “[

and that we do not have to discriminate un- duly against anyone on the basis of our own religious beliefs. We are not jeopardized, in my opinion, by those who believe differently


on the basis of our own religious beliefs. We are not jeopardized, in my opinion, by
In Mississippi, legislators passed a “Religious Freedom Bill.” As stated in the second section of

In Mississippi, legislators passed a “Religious Freedom Bill.” As stated in the second section of the bill, for this law to ap- ply to someone, that individual must sin- cerely believe one or all of the following:

from us. We are not, in my opinion, put in jeopardy by virtue of those who might hold different beliefs or who may not even agree with what our Supreme Court said the law of the land is on the issue of same-sex mar- riage. I do not feel threatened by the fact that people who might choose same-sex marriages pursue that route.” Even after stating his rational perspective, legislators happily passed the revised version of the bill.

Seeing that this law, in my opinion, is an act of discrimination against the LGBT community, I researched laws and written amendments in our constitution that could somehow defend the LGBT community. Through this process I found nothing in our constitution establishing gender outside of equal job opportunities in federal occupa- tions. In 1923, the Equal Rights amendment was presented to Congress which would have given women equality, but it was never passed. There is however the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states in employment section VII, that employers cannot discrimi- nate against an employee based on their race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. The Department of Justice sent a letter to North Carolina stating that their bathroom bill violates the Civil Rights Act. North Car- olina believes the Department of Justice is “rewriting” the act’s laws to help confirm their political position. The media has cov- ered the bathroom bill in North Carolina a great deal, with less attention on the reli- gious freedom bills which discriminate against the LGBT community in many more aspects. As of today, there is still no amend- ment to the United States Constitution that officially sets gender equality in place for all

tionally accepted relationships. Laws restricting the LGBT commu- nity from parts of society demonstrate hom- ophobia. Someone having a strong notion that homosexuality is “wrong” or a “sin” has nothing to do with private business practice, housing, or any service to the pub- lic. Not allowing a person services from your business based on their sexual orienta- tion because it does not coincide with your religion is not the way American people are meant get along. America is a free country in which everyone has religious freedom. Therefore, everyone has the right to believe what they want, practice any religion, and follow whatever lifestyle they please. These laws supposedly protect your first amend- ment rights by not requiring business own-

your first amend- ment rights by not requiring business own- ers to do work with someone

ers to do work with someone that “violates” their religion. In reality, these laws just al- low people to separate themselves based on belief. Socially, this is done every day: one person goes to the temple, another goes to the church, and another stays at home and watches TV. These three people may not be socially connected in any way, but live in the same free country and should be able to work together peacefully.

not be socially connected in any way, but live in the same free country and should

marriage is the union of a man and woman, legal sexual relations can only occur be- tween a man and a woman, and sex is deter- mined at birth. If you follow these moral or religious certitudes and you work for a reli- gious organization that provides marriage, adoption, foster care, or housing, you may deny those services to anyone who goes against those previously stated beliefs. That means allowing the exclusion of members of the LGBT community. If an individual fol- lows these moral or religious certitudes and

individual fol- lows these moral or religious certitudes and they work for a private organization, they

they work for a private organization, they can deny counseling, fertility services, gen- der-transition-related medical care, and wedding-related business services. They may also establish sex-specific dress codes or sex-segregated bathrooms in their place of work.


SeaWorld is the Real Killer

PANTHER FEATURES SeaWorld is the Real Killer Photo by Oliver Gratton By: Ashlin Leen SeaWorld is

Photo by Oliver Gratton

By: Ashlin Leen

SeaWorld is a well-known family- friendly theme park that has been open since 1964. The park features many species of ma- rine animals but is most famous for its killer whale show. Millions of people attend this show every year without realizing they are supporting the inhumane exploitation of these animals. These whales are highly intelli- gent, not typically aggressive towards hu- mans, and have the ability to feel emotions; however, the abuse and cruel treatment they experience as captive animals can drive them to insanity and acts of extreme violence. Being in captivity is psychologically and physically traumatizing for these captive orcas. They are taken from the wild, separat- ed from their families, and put into pools with other orcas that they are unfamiliar with. In the wild, orcas travel with tight knit pods of family members that stay together for life and are very protective of each other. Within their pods, they rarely make any at- tempts to physically harm other whales. Each pod is different and even has different dia- lects that they use to communicate with orcas in their family unit. SeaWorld makes no ef- fort to keep pods of whales together and will commonly take a newborn orca away from its mother, whereas in the wild, a mother will remain with her calf for life. Also, when these whales are forced to be in such close quarters with other unfamiliar whales, they become threatened and anxious. These feelings can build up and eventually lead to acts of ag- gression during which the orcas have no way to escape. These fights end in injuries to the whales such as raking (ripping whale skin with teeth), blood loss, and even death. On August 22, 1989, The New York Times re- leased an article discussing a tragic event that ended in the death of one of SeaWorld's orca whales, Kandu, which stated that “several thousand spectators at Sea World watched Kandu, a 14-year-old female, bleed to death in the show soon after she collided with an- other female whale, a 25-year-old named Corky, in an apparent act of aggression.” Both whales had been in an altercation ever since they had first been placed in a tank to- gether, but no one made an effort to separate them. Unfortunately, this fight caused a frac- ture to Kandu's upper jaw which led to fatal

hemorrhaging into the nasal passages. Benja- min D. Deeble, an ocean ecology campaigner for the environmental group Greenpeace said, “They do not kill each other in the wild and have never done so in captivity. Kandu's death is therefore an indication that some- thing is wrong at SeaWorld.” SeaWorld’s disregard of the natural lifestyle of this spe- cies led directly to aggression by orcas to- wards other orcas in their tanks. Conse- quently, living in an environment of constant physical danger is also extremely damaging to the orca’s mental health. Even without the aggression from oth- er orcas, the living conditions of an orca in captivity are anything but healthy. Their tanks are not nearly big enough for these ac- tive animals who are accustomed to swim- ming up to 100 miles a day in a large and vast ocean. As a result, these whales cannot exer- cise the amount that they need to be healthy. Due to this, as well as stress and an unnatural diet of thawed dead fish, all captive adult male orcas have collapsed dorsal fins. Sea- World claims that this condition is common but in reality it only occurs in 1 percent of male orcas in the wild and is a sign of an in- jury or sickness. Most of the trainers who are responsible for the orcas have no background education in marine wildlife and do not have the knowledge or skills needed to care for the orcas correctly. This insufficient care is made obvious when comparing their life expectan- cies in both captivity and the wild. Orcas in the wild have an estimated lifespan of 60 to 70 years for males and 80 to over 100 for fe- males, but average age of death for orcas who

have died at SeaWorld is only 13 years old. The physical health of orcas alone should be enough to force SeaWorld to end the captiv- ity of these animals. Along with the physical effects of cap- tivity, orcas also have to endure the damag- ing psychological effects that have caused them to become increasingly aggressive not only towards other whales but also humans. Orcas are indeed predators, but are also known to be gentle towards humans and have never harmed a human being in the wild. For this reason, SeaWorld is able to have trainers in the water interacting with these animals. However, there are records of orcas showing aggression towards humans when in captivity and some of these attacks have even resulted in death. The most well-known case of orca aggression began in 1983, when a whale named Tilikum was captured and taken away from his mother and the rest of his pod at the age of two. He was then shipped to Sealand of the Pacific where he was kept in a small tank, had food withheld from him as a part of his training, and endured many attacks from two dominant female orcas that lived in his tank. He was forced to perform every hour, eight times a day, seven days a week. The constant stress and exhaustion even caused him to de- velop stomach ulcers. When the park closed each day, the three orcas were crammed into a tiny round metal-sided module for more than 14 hours each night. All the whales could do was float in their small metal pris- ons until the park reopened the next morn- ing. Tilikum would always emerge from his confinement with rake marks covering his body and usually bleeding. On February 21, 1991, Sealand trainer Keltie Byrne slipped and fell into the orca tank, but before she could pull herself out, she was pulled to the bottom of the pool by Tilikum and drowned as visitors of Sealand watched. The abuse Tilikum experienced at Sealand from both the staff and the orcas caused him stress, frustration, and insanity that eventually led him to act out in anger. Even after this awful event, the SeaWorld Corporation ignored the fact that this practice of keeping orcas cap- tive is cruel and led to the death of a 20 year old woman and the closing of Sealand of the Pacific. Even though it seemed obvious that Tilikum was mentally unstable due to his treatment in captivity, Sealand quickly sold him to SeaWorld where they planned to use him in shows and for breeding.

his treatment in captivity, Sealand quickly sold him to SeaWorld where they planned to use him


SeaWorld is the Real Killer (continued)

At SeaWorld, Tilikum was still in a tank that was too small, forced to perform every day, and attacked by other orcas. He continued to be exploited and mistreated, so looking back, it is not a surprise that Tilikum killed again. His second victim was Daniel Dukes, a man who trespassed into the orca tank with Tilikum and was found the next morning dismembered and being paraded on Tilikum's back. The most recent victim of Tilikum occurred in 2010, an experienced head trainer named Dawn Brancheau was in the water with Tilikum practicing some basic routines when the whale grabbed onto her and dragged her down into the water. She was drowned and suffered from head trau- ma, a severed spinal cord, broken jaw, and many other injuries. SeaWorld tried to deny that the whales were aggressive towards trainers and claimed that Dawn Brancheau should not have been wearing a ponytail which the whale innocently grabbed onto as it was new to his environment. Witnesses contradicted this by claiming that Tilikum had Dawn Brancheau’s arm not her ponytail. Also, it is very common for trainers to have their hair in ponytails while working with the whales. Therefore, there was little indication that this was not an act of aggression. There have been many cases of orcas that commit- ted acts of aggression towards their trainers, but it is a reaction to the unnatural environ-

ment and unrelenting mistreatment which they experience every day in captivity. A for- mer SeaWorld trainer John Hargrove stated, “Unfortunately, after all the years of experi- ence that I had, I saw the psychological and physical trauma that results from captivity. A massive corporate entity is exploiting the hell out of the whales and the trainers.” Or- cas are wild animals, they are not meant to live in tanks, fed frozen fish, or circle around an arena while someone stands on their backs. Being forced to live this way has had devastating effects on these animals. In 2013 the documentary “Blackfish” was released showing the physical and psy- chological effects that captivity has on orcas and SeaWorld has been struggling financially ever since with declining attendance, lower admission prices, and falling share prices. According to a survey from 2014, “half of American adults oppose the practice of keep- ing orcas in captivity, a rise of 11% since 2012.” In an effort to change the public's view in their favor and combat their financial troubles, SeaWorld has recently made an an- nouncement that in some of their parks, not all, they are replacing their Shamu Shows with a more informative experience in a more authentic and natural setting that will inspire people to support orca conservation. However they have not shown exactly how they plan to create this natural experience

for visitors and many animal conservationist are not impressed with this minor change that will not significantly, if at all, improve the lives of these animals. PETA’s Director of Laboratory Investigations, Justin Goodman, also says, “Changing the tanks or the style of show is not going to meaningfully relieve the animals of suffering.” In addition, SeaWorld has also faced a lot pressure from the law to end the captivity of whales. U.S. Congress- man Adam Schiff very recently introduced federal legislation that would prohibit the breeding of captive orcas, end the capture of wild orcas, and stop the import and export of the animals. The corporation was recently forced by congress to stop the unnatural and forced breeding of orcas in captivity, but Sea- World continues to fight this decision as it will make it harder for them to obtain new orcas.

Although this announcement will hopefully improve the lives of captive orcas, the animals will still be in captivity, living in small tanks, susceptible to violence, and suf- fering from irreversible physiological dam- age which is in no way natural for these ani- mals. Their recent announcement is a step in the right direction but animal activists and legislation continue to push SeaWorld to end their practice of keeping these animals cap- tive and release the orcas into the wild where they belong.

tive and release the orcas into the wild where they belong. Cell Phone Radiation And how

Cell Phone Radiation

And how it affects us

By: Callie Sullivan

Cell phones are a normal part of eve- ryday life for billions of people. The number of users in the United States has increased from 110 million in 2000 to 327.5 million in 2014. There are estimated to be about 5 bil- lion users globally. Over time, the amount and duration of phone calls have increased drastically. Additionally, the amount of cell phone use for other purposes has increased in general. With the significant increase in over- all use, there are many concerns about the radiation that cell phones give off, such as emitting radiofrequency energy, or radio waves, from their antennas. Radiofrequency energy is a type of electromagnetic radiation that can be categorized as either ionizing or nonionizing, and is determined by its fre- quency. For example, ionizing radiation is high frequency (therefore high pressure), while non-ionizing radiation is the opposite. According to the National Cancer Institute, cell phones contain non-ionizing radiation. The human body absorbs this energy, but it is thought that only ionizing radiation can cause cancer. However, there is a chance that this theory can be disproven. A common question about cell phone radiation is whether or not children have a higher risk of developing cancer than adults. Since their nervous systems are still develop- ing, they are more vulnerable to cancer-


many other variables that can cause inaccu- racies in the study. For example, it is impos- sible to know if the individual places any calls using a different cell phone, and it is also not clear whether multiple users of a phone are represented on a single phone company account. Another study is in pro- gress by the National Institutes of Health, which involves the study of exposure to ra- diofrequency energy in rodents. In past years, hundreds of research studies have investigated the relationship be- tween cell phone use and health problems. Some have suggested that long-term use may be linked with certain types of brain cancer, but more in-depth studies should help gather all the information needed.

depth studies should help gather all the information needed. causing factors. Children also have the potential

causing factors. Children also have the potential of ac- cumulating more years of exposure to cell phones than adults.

Many or- ganizations such as the American Can- cer Society (ACS), the National Insti- tute of Environ- mental Health Sci- ences (NIEHS), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have conducted studies to see if there could be some cancer risk associated with radiofrequency energy, but the evidence is never strong enough for them to investigate further. Several studies are under way to fur- ther scientist’s understanding of long-term cell phone use and the health effects associat- ed with it. In 2010, a study known as COS- MOS (or cohort study of mobile phone use and health) enrolled about 290,000 cell phone users 18 and older and will follow them for 20 to 30 years. Participants in the study were asked to complete a question- naire about their health, lifestyle, and cell phone use. Although studies such as COS- MOS seem like the perfect way to get a bet- ter understanding of the problem, there are


Wage Discrimination

U.S. Women’s soccer team files complaints against U.S. Soccer Federation

By: Emma Murphy

On March 30th, 2016, five members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team filed

a federal complaint against the U.S. Soccer

Federation (USSF) to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in regard to wage discrimination. The complaint was filed by co -captains Carli Lloyd and Becky Sauerbrunn,

forward Alex Morgan, midfielder Megan

Rapinoe, and goalkeeper Hope Solo on behalf

of the entire team. They claim to earn as little

as 40 percent of what players on the men’s national team earn even though they won the World Cup last year. U.S. Soccer officials have argued that the men’s national team grosses about double the revenue that the women’s team does. However, in their complaint, the five players cited recent U.S. Soccer financial reports as proof that they have become the federation's main source of income. In 2017, for example, the profits earned by the women’s team are expected to increase by $5.2 million while the men are projected to earn $1 million less than they earned this year. In regards to the complaint, goalkeep- er Hope Solo said, “The numbers speak for themselves, [w]e are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships. [The men’s players] get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.” Admit- tedly, the pay structures for the teams are set up differently: the women receive a base sala- ry of $72,000 a year regardless of the number of games played while the men are paid a minimum of $5,000 per game played and then receive a bonus for winning. While the income security that the women’s team en-

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

USWNT celebrates after defeating Canada 2-0 in the CONCACAF

Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship final. Courtesy of Scott Halleran/Getty Images

up out of the ground, and the turf itself was both low-grade and aging. This was a playing surface that looked like it hadn’t been re- placed in years.” Similarly, when the women’s team travels for away games they don’t receive ac- commodations equal to what the men are giv- en. While traveling for games, players receive daily allowances to cover living expenses. The per diem allowance for a women’s player during a domestic game is $50 and $60 when traveling abroad. The men’s players, howev- er, receive $62.50 each for domestic games and $75 when playing internationally. Tim Howard, goalie for the men’s na- tional team, told Sportscenter, “We support the fact that the women should fight for their rights and fight for what they think is just compensation. We, on the men's side, have been fighting that battle for a long, long time, we certainly know what it feels like. We felt underpaid for a long time. We had to negoti- ate our way to a settlement.” Support like this may encourage the USSF and the US- WNT to come to an agreement.

encourage the USSF and the US- WNT to come to an agreement. joys seems reasonable, it

joys seems reasonable, it is actually the source of the financial inequality. Both the men’s and women’s teams are re- quired to play 20 exhibition games every year. The yearly pay for a player on the men’s team if they lose all 20 games is $100,000 while a member of the wom- en’s team receives a total of $98,000 for winning all of their games. According to the complaint, due to the skewed pay structure for advancement through the

rounds of the World Cup, the women’s team earned $2 million for winning the World Cup in 2015 while the men’s team made $9 million without advancing past the round of 16 in 2014. It’s not just money that the women’s team is worried about, the players also re- quested treatment equal to the men in re- gards to playing surfaces. The women are frequently asked to play on turf fields (they played 8 of their 10 games on turf in last year’s World Cup) while the men rarely do the same. In fact, TIME magazine reported that, “when the men’s national team does schedule a game at a stadium that has turf, the maintenance crew lays down sod before the game, regardless of the cost” while the same is not offered to the women. Members of the women’s team are concerned about playing on artificial grass fields because of the dangers involved. In fact, the women’s team even had to cancel one of the games on their World Cup Victory Tour because of the potentially dangerous field conditions at Alo- ha Stadium in Halawa, Hawaii. Players from the national team said, in an article on The Players Tribune, “There were sharp rocks ingrained all over the field. They were every- where. The artificial turf was actually pulling

Death with Dignity

Continued from Page 1

ilies, it may be easier than watching them suffer. When they are not given the choice to die legally they may still commit suicide, but they also risk getting their families in legal trouble. Furthermore, supporters ar- gue that the legalization of assisted suicide

will not impact a doctor’s motivation and ability to heal people or find cures for ter- minal illnesses. Even if a doctor participates

in assisted suicide his first priority is always

getting his patient back to health. Even though assisted suicide is illegal in many states, patients do have option of enacting a “do not resuscitate” order which will not allow a caregiver to perform CPR or administer an electric shock should the patient stop breathing or suffer a cardiac arrest. Patients who are not believed to be able to improve from the treatment they are

receiving in the hospital are given this op- tion because resuscitation is extremely hard on the patient's body. Every time a patient

is resuscitated they are weaker, may have

had their ribs broken, or only be partially resuscitated in which their body can be sup- ported on machines but they are brain dead. For these reasons, it is common for termi- nally ill patients to choose to be DNR. Peo- ple with diseases like terminal cancer also

to be DNR. Peo- ple with diseases like terminal cancer also OSV Newsweekly have the right

OSV Newsweekly

have the right deny medical treatment be- cause they do not feel the painful treatment is worth it. They instead spend their re- maining time doing the things they love with the people they love. If a patient is given the ability to control his or her death in these ways, why shouldn’t one also be given the option of assisted suicide. Terminally ill patients feel that phy- sician assisted suicide will allow them to control their death and give them the oppor- tunity to die with dignity. California has re- cently passed legislation making it the fifth state to legalize physician assisted suicide starting June 9th.

to legalize physician assisted suicide starting June 9th. T HE N EWSPAPER OF P LEASANTVILLE H
T HE N EWSPAPER OF P LEASANTVILLE H IGH Editor in Chief Digital Content Editor


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