For years, there has been controversy surrounding the chemical tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). Currently, it is in many food products as an antioxidant. Essentially, its function is to extend the shelf life of certain foods. Robert Freeborn, a toxicologist at Michigan State University, recently carried out a study that looked at its effects on the flu vaccine. The results were cause for worry for anyone who has received the shot.
By Cassandra Twining | United States
Recently Gillette released an ad addressing and highlighting the changes that our society is moving towards when it comes to men. Namely, it addresses how we as a society are starting to hold men accountable for their inappropriate actions.
This ad has been very controversial and has received a lot of backlash from various media outlets and viewers alike. However, I think these critics are missing the main lesson that should be taken away from this video. Men do not understand what it’s like to grow up as a woman.
That seems like a given, right? But it’s not something people are paying enough attention to. Of course, there are differences in how people grow up. That’s obvious, but how blatant are these differences once you start to look closer?
Before I start I want it to be known I recognize while the way I’ve grown up is certainly different from others, but I certainly think there are a lot of similarities between me and most girls my age. Furthermore, these are just my experiences. I would never pretend to speak for women or men as a whole. It’s just not my place.
The main takeaway of this video is that men don’t know what it’s like to grow up as a girl can be narrowed even further. From as young as I can possibly remember I was taught to take responsibility for myself and the situations I’m in. If there was a man staring at me inappropriately it was my job to dress in such a way that eliminated his desire to do that. It was never his job to perhaps, not stare at a young girl in that way. This line of logic can be applied to many situations in my childhood.
I’m not the only one who has dealt with this either. 77% of women report they have experienced some kind of verbal sexual harassment in their life. That’s 3 out of 4 women. Sadly, it is not at all uncommon for women to experience this all throughout their life. It can make them feel very unsafe and scared. This is where I suggest men start to take a stand and attempt to help.
I certainly think people should be responsible for their own safety and should consider situations they’re getting themselves into, no matter their gender. However, we as a society could try to start changing the balance of who holds the responsibility. What if I was not only aware of putting myself in safe situations, but the men around me were also making sure they were doing their part to make sure I wasn’t in a situation I would feel uncomfortable in. If we shared the responsibility you would move towards women being able to feel safer and more accommodated.
Not only that, but men should want to learn how to make situations more comfortable for women. If you purposely try to make situations scary or uncomfortable for women the problem is much deeper than this ad addresses. If that’s not you, be open to learning! Ask the women in your life what are some things you could do to help them feel safer, or ask them things they fear in everyday life that you probably don’t even think twice about and think of ways you could make that a better experience for women all around you.
I’m not asking that men take all the responsibility for ensuring the safety of women everywhere. I think women should still be aware of themselves and their surroundings and be responsible for their own safety. However, if men started to notice things like a creepy man staring at a woman and stepped in to offer support to the woman, this would revolutionize our interactions and the feelings of fear women suffer from on a daily basis.
The fact of the matter is, women fear things men don’t even think to be afraid of. I encourage men everywhere to start a conversation about it. Whether that be with your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, or just a female friend. I can guarantee they will appreciate your proactiveness, and you will also be able to learn ways to make the world safer for the women around you. Why anyone wouldn’t like the idea of doing that is beyond me.
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Nate Galt | United States
Much of the current political discussion surrounds the controversial topic of privilege – many believe that the white race has more privileges than people of color do, and others believe that straight people are better off in society than homosexuals. While those categories may make one privileged at a certain place and time, there is no bigger privilege than wealth. Wealth, universally, gives someone opportunities and offers them more possibilities. If they happen to be a billionaire who is a transgender, lesbian, African-American woman, they are infinitely more privileged than a heterosexual white homeless man. The privilege of wealth trumps any other supposed notion of privilege.
“White privilege” is a term used by those who label themselves “progressive” or as a crusader for “social justice”, to say that white people have many privileges that non-whites do not have. This phrase can also be combined with “male privilege,” “straight privilege,” or “cisgender privilege.” A popular talking point in their circles is that statistically, being white reduces your risk of being shot by a police officer and being male reduces your chances of being raped. While these statistics are certainly true, minimizing those chances does not indicate privilege. Special programs that encourage gender and racial diversity in the classroom and in the workplace have been created. One such program, Affirmative Action, decreases the chances of a white man getting accepted into college. Men are approximately three times more likely to be homeless than women are, and are at a higher risk of committing suicide. One group is not more privileged than another; each group has its own hardships.
A notable “progressive” description of white privilege appeared as a musical skit on the A.B.C. channel on Australian television. The segment depicts two people trying to cross a stream. One person, who is said to be a straight white man who speaks English and was born in a peaceful nation, waits with a woman who the writers say cannot speak English, has dark skin, and is a refugee. The segment shows the methods that each person uses to cross the rapid. The writers say that since the white man is inherently privileged because of the color of his skin, he uses teleportation to get across. The skit then shows the woman swimming across the stream and then getting sick. The lyrics of the segment say that because she is female, cannot speak English in an English-speaking country, and has brown skin, she has to swim across the stream. As a result, she catches a cold. This description of privilege could be no further from the truth. The justification for the man using teleportation is that he has certain privilege that the woman does not. Not all heterosexual white men have privileges that darker-skinned refugee women do not. The deciding factor of who has or does not have privilege is wealth and/or material possessions. LeBron James, a multimillionaire African-American legendary basketball player, has many more doors open for him than an impoverished white man. Even if James were to become transgender and subsequently come out as a homosexual, he would still have privilege that the aforementioned poor white man would not.
Phrases such as “white privilege” are extremely divisive rhetoric. Implying that someone is privileged because of their sex, sexual orientation, or the color of their skin will divide people into several distinct groups at odds with each other. Instead of uniting one another and saying that no matter who we are, we are fellow Americans, some keep pushing identity politics. Our country is already divided into two distinct camps as a result of the congressional duopoly of Democrats and Republicans. Dividing the United States of America any further could cause an inseparable rift.
Political discourse must move away from “white privilege” or any other category which is not based on wealth. The wealthy, no matter their skin color or their gender, are incredibly more privileged than a poor person of any race. Every group has their hardships that society should work to fix. We, as a community, should combat these struggles together. Preaching identity politics in the name of fighting nonexistent “white privilege” will only drive us farther apart.
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By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial
Ross Ulbricht has recently joined Twitter. Social Media users everywhere are now able to hear words right out of the Dread Pirate Roberts’s mouth. It is a wonderful but saddening thing. He can still spread encouragement in all of our agoristic activities, yet his continued imprisonment is a constant reminder of how broken our justice system is. Ross Ulbricht is a pioneering figure, showing what can be done with technology to resist the power of the state by running an online drug market.
Earlier this morning, I had the great privilege of travelling through the airport. To my mild surprise, the TSA had granted me pre-check status. Walking through the security line, I did not need to remove my shoes and laptop, among other personal items. Ultimately, the line was not much faster, though this was simply due to the fact that there were not many people in either line. However, I was still through before the rest of my party, so I sat to wait for them.
Saving Americans From… The Injured?
As I sat, facing the security line, I noticed a young woman sitting in a cast near its exit. She appeared to walk with a slight limp, and clearly was in discomfort. I brushed it off as injury pain, or flight anxiety, but then, noticed the TSA agent approaching her. From a distance, I saw his face, stone-blank with apathy, as he forced her, hobbling on one foot, to remove the cast. He then met her grimace of pain with the same lack of emotion. Following this, and without assisting her, he guided the woman away from the line for a full-body pat-down.
Ultimately, the agent returned her to line shortly before the rest of my party got through. All in all, the process may have taken 5-10 minutes. Now, some may say that this is a small price to pay for American safety. But, just how safe are we?
A Not-So-Grand Success Story
Since the TSA’s conception in November of 2001, it has been profiling, flagging, and grabbing individuals in ways that they do not necessarily consent to. These often extend far beyond the incident of this morning. Without a doubt, there are some clear downfalls to the agency. Despite this, many defend it on the grounds of keeping America safe. The thing is, though, that America is not any safer. With all of the flagging and grabbing, the agency has caught a grand total of zero terrorists.
Throughout 2015, the Department of Homeland Security performed undercover tests on the TSA. Across, the country, they sent 70 different agents through security checkpoints carrying fake weapons. Of the 70, the local TSA agents successfully stopped three. Thus, the other 67 made it through the lines without any problems. With malicious intent, of course, they would have been a serious threat to security. How can an agency be imperative to national security when it cannot secure even five percent of simulated threats?
The TSA, in addition to their normal security procedure, also has a program known as SPOT. The program attempts to identify suspicious behavior in passengers, but again, simply fails. The Government Accountability Office looked into the effectiveness of this plan. Once more, the agency was entirely unsuccessful. The study found that of the many that the TSA flags, they only arrest 0.6 percent – yes, a less than 1% guilt rate. And of those arrested? The same study shows police did not designate a single one of them as related to terrorism.
Why Keep the TSA?
So, why must such a blatant failure exist? It appears that the agency has no functional purpose for the American people. Of course, it is possible that the illusion of safety may make some travelers feel more secure, and that isn’t a bad thing. However, this is no excuse to flag and grope American people. It further is not an excuse to take money out of Americans’ wallets to fund the agents’ useless work.
There are means of pacifying a nervous traveler that require less force, such as the private security that existed prior to the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001. Yes, these measures were not able to prevent those attacks. But it appears, neither is the TSA, especially considering the hijackers did not use a gun or knife, but box cutters. Though imperfect, private security did not entail the groping and flagging of innocent citizens. It also cut down on security waits, as each airline had a separate line.
The benefits of private security are evident, as are the pitfalls of the TSA. But, there’s one thing left to fuel it, the same fuel that the rest of the government uses.
Oh That’s Right. It’s Profitable.
Without a doubt, the TSA is able to obtain massive amounts of money from American travelers. Let’s look at some numbers. In 2017, 48% of Americans reported that they had flown at least once in the past year. 88% had flown in their lifetime. This means that of the 325.7 million people then in the United States, roughly 156 million of them flew in an airplane in 2017, and 287 million had done so in their lifetime. These numbers are only increasing every year.
A TSA pre-check currently costs $85 for a five year membership. A survey in 2017 found about one quarter of American flyers use the program “all the time”. So, if that is the case, then in 2017, the TSA processed 39 million pre-check passengers. Each spent $19 a year on the service, for $85 over five years, making a grand total of $663 million in annual TSA pre-check revenue.
This is no small sum of money. But by the agency’s own standards, these people are unsafe. They leave their shoes on, and leave their computers in their bags. Yet, the TSA permits this to happen, provided they pay a fee. So, is this an admission that the regular screening process is unnecessary, if anyone can dodge it by fueling the government a little bit more?
In a free society, individuals do not have to pay the government to not be flagged and groped. Thus, the TSA is a clear and direct threat to American freedom. Quite ironically, the agency for security only makes us less safe.
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