Category: Editorials

Trump’s Impeachment: It’s About Time, America

By: Anna Taché

Editorials Editor

If you have been paying attention to the news at all for the past few weeks, you’ll know that President Trump, after facing his scheduled House Judiciary hearings, has been impeached for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and is currently in the midst of the Senate impeachment trial. Thanks to these hearings, Trump is now the third president in American history to have been impeached. To sum up what prompted these House Judiciary hearings, essentially a whistleblower claimed that last July, Trump, on a phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, pressured the Ukrainian government to launch a “politically charged” investigation. Trump wanted two things: to prove that Ukraine politicians tried to sway American voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and for the Ukrainian government to investigate one of his 2020 election rivals Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had worked on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma. Since the allegation was made public, other witnesses have come forward to confirm the claims and the White House released a summary of the call that describes President Trump asking Ukraine for a favor. At the time of the phone call, Trump had already suspended almost $400 million in US military aid to Ukraine.

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Photo Credit: Al Jazeera

Now, because this article is an editorial, you, as the reader, are most likely expecting me to state my opinion on this subject. Well, here you go: I believe that Trump’s impeachment is well deserved. There have been multiple issues that he has caused or allegations that surround him, and I’m here to break them down for you. First of all, the Ukraine scandal: what’ caused these impeachment trials in the first place. My biggest issue with the entire situation is that Trump pressured Ukraine, which desperately needed the US’s help to fend off Russian aggression, to target citizens for his own personal gain. Not is that only just a general invasion of privacy, but the fact that Trump was willing to exploit US citizens in order to excel in the 2020 election is painfully disappointing, but honestly not surprising based on his track record.

 Although Trump was impeached based on his abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, there is one important thing that I believe he should have been impeached for: the sexual misconduct allegations. The Huffington Post currently has a frequently updated article that contains a list of women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. As of October 2019, that list currently contains 25 names, including many former Miss Universe contestants, a former staff member of Trump’s presidential campaign, as well as his ex-wife, Ivana Trump. Trump, being the person that he is, has aggressively denied all of these claims, calling the victims “liars.” 

However, as of November, evidence has been discovered that links to one of the claims. Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos claimed that Trump had repeatedly touched, groped, and kissed her on multiple occasions in late 2007 and early 2008. Trump has denied these allegations, saying that he had never met her at a hotel, which is one of the claims made by Zervos. However, calendar entries and cell phone records from that time period have been released to the court, and the evidence is suggesting otherwise. The cellphone records released November 5 show that for a three-month period between 2007 and 2008, Trump had made multiple calls to Zervos, including one on December 21, 2007 at 3:02 p.m., which was 2 minutes after his flight was scheduled to land in Los Angeles. This validates Zervos’s claim that Trump had called her after he had landed in Los Angeles and asked her to meet him at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where he later sexually assaulted her. Trump’s calendar showed that he did, in fact, stay at the Beverly Hills Hotel on December 21, 2007 – the same day in which he called Zervos from the airport.

Although Trump has consistently denied all claims made against him, and very aggressively and inappropriately might I add, the fact that 25 women have come forward saying that they have had similar encounters with Trump is a better indicator of the truth than the loaded language of President Trump. I get it – he’s our president and you wanna respect him or whatever. But when it comes to an issue as serious as sexual assault, listening to and believing the survivors is important, even when the person they’re accusing is in a position of power. Men in power taking advantage of women isn’t a new concept: we’ve seen it very recently with the cases of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, etc. So why is it so hard to believe that even our president could commit similar acts? It’s time that we, as both a country and a society, start believing victims rather than calling them liars and victim-blaming. 

So ultimately, I believe that Trump’s impeachment was very well-deserved, and in all honesty, I think he deserves more of a punishment. He has been abusing his power since he came into office, and he rarely settles out issues over anything more than a poorly-worded tweet. I believe it’s time for us, as a country, to move on from this embarrassment of a president and finally kick Trump (and Pence as well, he’s no better) out of office for good.

Why Everybody Needs to Read Fanfiction

Isabel Berry

Co-A&E Editor

For those that read fanfiction, they know that talking about their reading habits in public will earn them a sideways glance or a questioning look. Fanfiction has a certain stigma around it, and after interviewing a few students, this reporter learned a little more about why that is. For those that may not know the specifics, works of fanfiction are stories that include characters of a TV series, movies, books, etc. that are written by fans. Stories can range from light-hearted fluff to more explicit themes. The more explicit stories are what have caused such a negative stigma around fanfiction itself. 

After being asked if they knew what fanfiction was and if they would read fanfiction in a fandom they enjoy, Junior Skylar Shaffer replied, “I do know what fanfiction is and I used to read it if a friend would send me one. I think it would be more appealing if it was clear it wasn’t inappropriate, because I personally would rather not read text like that.” In order to address the latter half of Skylar’s statement, this reporter did some research. 

The two most popular fanfiction websites are Archive of Our Own and Fanfiction.net. They both are home to thousands of works of fanfiction and have millions of users. Archive of Our Own, commonly known as AO3, has over 2,257,000 users and over 5,552,000 works. Fanfiction.net has over 12,000,000 users and stories in over 40 languages. Archive of Our Own was created by fans in October of 2008 and is a non-profit, noncommercial archive for ‘transformative fanworks’. Fanfiction.net was actually created before AO3 in October of 1998, but Archive of Our Own soon passed it up in popularity ratings most likely because of its greater range in filters. 

On both sites there are ratings for the different types of content in each fandom. On Fanfiction.net the different ratings include K, K+, T, M, and MA. K is for audiences of 5 years of age or older, K+ is 9 and older, T is 13 and older, and M is for audiences 16 and older. MA is meant for audiences 18 and older, and is strictly forbidden on Fanfiction.net. Meaning that any work marked with MA is to be promptly removed from the site. There is a system in place for readers to report work if they do not have the proper rating, which is also utilized on AO3.

Archive of Our Own utilizes four ratings for their content, general audiences, teen and up, mature, and explicit: only suitable for adults. Archive of Our Own also has warnings that authors can put in place in order to inform readers that their content includes graphic depictions of violence, death, or that it includes explicit themes. Also, any story marked with explicit content has a secondary window that informs the reader that by clicking this work they may view adult content, and it informs them that by clicking ‘proceed’ they agree to view such content. 

So on AO3 and Fanfiction.net, content is clearly sectioned under the different ratings and by utilizing the filter options, readers can find what they want to read and avoid what they do not. Some of the most popular fandoms on AO3 and Fanfiction.net include Harry Potter, Naruto, Marvel, and Supernatural. In an interview with Sophomore Deacon Sweeting about the fanfiction stigma, he stated, “Fanfiction is seen as dirty, I don’t think that it can ever really be helped to be honest. I just think that there’s always been a stigma around it and there always will be.” So in order to attack the status quo, this reporter asked what people could do to make fanfiction more appealing to the general public and what people could do to show others that fanfiction can be good. There were many conflicting responses on what could be done, but Senior Terra O’Rourke put a positive spin on what many find appalling, “Maybe fanfiction sites can have filters so that you can choose what fandoms you like and they could have a rating system with the stories listed by what’s most liked. Think of it like this, it’s fun for some people and it’s good that some kids are writing creatively and expressing themselves. We shouldn’t bash on anyone who just genuinely enjoys it and promotes it for fun.” 

Fanfiction is an easy way for people to creatively write stories about their favorite characters and share them with the public. Instead of shying away from fanfiction because of the societal disgrace associated with it, everyone should be pulling up AO3 or Fanfiction.net to find something to enjoy. Many forms of entertainment are considered entertaining because they allow for an escape from the real world into a story of beloved characters. Fanfiction allows young authors to take their favorite characters and give them the stories that they wish to escape to. So instead of brushing off their works as distasteful, everyone should be whipping out their phones in order to find some fanfiction that allows them to truly escape and enjoy the wonders of reading a great story. 

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Photo Credit: Keep Calm Posters

To Trade or Not to Trade

By Ekene Ezeh 

Staff Writer

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Anthony Davis during his introductory press conference for the Lakers after demanding a trade from the Pelicans

Photo credit: Forbes

Player trades are a big part of sports. From the Hershal Walker trade in 1989, to Kobe being traded to the Lakers in 1996. Every year, fans look forward to seeing who their team has traded for. They are anxious to see how much better or worse their team has gotten, and whether or not the trade will bring them closer to a championship. But what happens to a fanbase when a star player decides to demand a trade? Athletes like Jalen Ramesy, Paul George, Anthony Davis, Antonio Brown, and others have all demanded trades and gotten their wish, which has sprung up plenty of controversy amongst the fans and the media. Is it a problem that athletes are forcing their way off teams despite being under contract? Or is it a good thing that players are taking control of their careers and making decisions that are better for their future? There are always two sides to this argument, but I believe that athletes should be allowed to demand trades.

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How Old is Too Old To Go Trick-or-Treating?

By Isabel Berry and Sarah Meklir

Staff Writers

It’s the season of Halloween! Before the highly-anticipated holiday comes to pass, some ground rules need to be set. Namely, how old is too old to go trick-or-treating? Should kids stop after elementary school, middle school, high school, or can they continue through college? After they have turned thirty? What is the standard? Should these older trick-or-treaters even be permitted to venture out in search of free candy, when they are old enough to buy it for themselves? Hammond students had strong opinions on the subject. 

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Photo Credit: History of Halloween

After surveying the student body, it seemed as though the popular opinion was that trick-or-treating should be allowed for high schoolers across the board. Some even believed college students were entitled to trick-or-treat, as long as they go with their friends. Out of the high schoolers interviewed,  ¾ are going trick-or-treating tomorrow night. When asked about trick-or-treating, senior Victoria Kerry said, “I went last year, but I’m not going this year. I feel like, once you are a full-on adult, there should be no more trick or treating. Eighteen is fine, I think.” 

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Arrested Development is the Best Show to Ever Grace American Television: Change My Mind (But You Won’t)

By Chinaza Ezeh

Staff Writer

On the second day of November, in the year of two thousand and three, the lives of thousands of Americans and their posterity changed forever. This is because, on this day, the very first episode of the American television sitcom Arrested Development aired nationwide.

The critically-acclaimed Fox show features an ensemble cast with big names: Jason Bateman, Jessica Walters, and David Cross, to name a few. But, the name that means the most among all of them is that of the Canadian, Michael Cera.

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Michael Cera (left) getting licked by a dog. Photo Credit: Encore NI

At this point, you may be asking yourself: the reason Arrested Development is the greatest show to ever grace American television is because Michael Cera was on it?” The answer would be, yes, yes it is… and here’s how.

As aforementioned, Michael Cera is Canadian by birth. Now, anyone familiar with the geography of the earth knows that the country of Canada resides directly above the country of the United States of America. Anyone familiar with any hierarchy system knows that anyone in a position above another is deemed greater than the other, in whatever capacity. Therefore, since Michael Cera is Canadian, and since Canada is above the United States, it can be concluded that Michael Cera is better than the United States of America. Now, what kind of power does one single man who is better than an entire country hold? Great power. And what comes with great power? Great responsibility. Since Michael Cera is a fine, upstanding Canadian citizen, it is not a surprise that he has accepted such responsibility with lanky, open arms… in the form of improving the quality of life for countless Americans using the always reliable medicine: laughter.

Most of Michael Cera’s career has been composed of comedic roles, some larger than others. In fact, Michael Cera’s first ever role with lines was in a Pillsbury commercial, in which he poked the Pillsbury Doughboy, causing him to laugh. So clearly, it can be seen that Cera, even at a young age, had accepted his responsibility.

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Michael Cera (left) poking the Pillsbury Doughboy. Photo Credit: YouTube

Of course, every single one of Michael Cera’s roles is a beautiful testament to his commitment to brightening people’s lives. But, naturally, not every single one of these roles can be the “greatest thing to ever grace American television.” The factor that gives Arrested Development this title has to do with the duration of time Michael Cera has spent on the project, as well as his overall impact on it. And when it all comes down to it, Arrested Development is the project that Michael Cera has spent the most time and had the greatest impact on, as he has appeared in 84 episodes in sixteen years since the show’s premiere.

Michael Cera’s impact on any given project can be measured using what is called a “Cera-meter,” a recent device created by the most renowned scientists and mathematicians in Canada. When the Cera-meter is held up to any device playing anything that Michael Cera has worked on, it in turn produces a mC level (not to be confused with pH level) reading, indicating how deeply involved Cera was on the project. The greater the reading on the Cera-meter, the more dopamine will be released by the viewer. When the device was used to measure the mC level of Arrested Development, the readings went off the charts. When asked to share reports of these readings, scientists respectfully declined, stating that the reports contained information that detailed the production and development of the Cera-meter, which is still patent-pending after being rejected by the patent office three times, due to “absolute absurdity.” Despite this setback, scientists are determined to secure a patent, and are more than willing to release the reports once this is achieved.

There you have it: irrefutable, science-based evidence as to why Arrested Development is a gift straight from heaven (AKA, Canada). The next time someone asks you what the best show to ever grace American television is, you’ll know exactly what to say.

Hammond Renovations Get Pushed Back

By: Anna Afoakwa

Staff Writer

It has come to our attention that Hammond High School is the only school in Howard County, Maryland that has not been updated constructively since 1977, with our modern-day society and technology.     

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Photo Credit: The Baltimore Sun

There were set plans for us to finally get what our community was waiting for and deserved, but like past events, we are pushed to the side and overlooked. The school’s construction was pushed back and revised on September 5, 2019, because of the county’s funding level. There was a meeting held with the Board of Education of Howard County. High school 13 will have an additional 1,650 seats. The project is set to have a $130.7 million budget, that will be spent to build a 287,005-square-foot high school with 579 parking spaces and 34 school bus parking spaces. According to a report previously presented to the school board, It was announced that because of all their other projects, which include Talbott Springs Elementary School, Hammond High, and Middle School. Manor Woods Elementary School, Elkridge Landing Middle School, including High School #13. Hammond High School would have to wait for our renovation for an additional 3 years because the board is prioritizing the new High School that will be located in Jessup, MD and Hammond Middle School’s boiler construction it is not in the Board’s budget. 

The community is very upset about this announcement. “I feel frustrated because every other school has greater access to good quality air, to a cleaner facility, more resources, and an additional gym. I feel like we are gipping our students of doing that and by pushing it back yet again, devalues our students and their educational environment.” A teacher from Hammond High School expressed. “Students will rise to the occasion if the learning environment looks professional, clean, and demands a certain standard of work ethic. I believe students will perform, but if you work in an environment that is old and crumbling, and the carpets have Silverfish everywhere, does not promote a level of professionalism that is required for students and staff…it makes us feel like we do not matter.” With that being said, it is clear that a lot of people are not happy about this. 

Although, without renovations, Hammond is still an exceptional school, very diverse with lots of love to give. The teachers are also great. Despite the lack of resources, the students are still able to learn proficiently. As a school that encourages the saying “Where People Matter” It is expressed that in this situation they do not necessarily feel “mattered”. Hopefully, the outcome of things will turn around because this project is long overdue. It would mean the world to Hammond High School’s students, staff and community.

What Did the U.S. Gain From the Vietnam War?

By Chris Parris 

Staff Writer

The Vietnam War was a conflict that saw the United States battle against the North Vietnamese in order to stop them from making South Vietnam a communist government. From 1965 to 1973, the United States played a major part in the conflict. Most of the United States Armed Forces withdrew from the war and Vietnam would eventually become unified as a communist nation two years later. The Vietnam War has been deemed as one of the most controversial wars in modern history and the conflict’s effects still linger. Even though the United States lost the war, we managed to gain quite a few things.

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Photo Source: Life & Time Pictures

Because of the Vietnam War, the draft no longer exists. During the Vietnam War, thousands of young men were drafted and shipped overseas. As the war went on the draft grew unpopular. The draft ceased to exist in 1973 when the United States Armed Forces became an all-volunteer military force. The improvement of weaponry and military tactics was another gain from the Vietnam War. By the war’s end, battle rifles were replaced with assault rifles; light machine guns and grenade launchers were incorporated into squads; the concept of having helicopters transport soldiers to and from combat zones was conceived; jungle warfare became better understood. 

Prior to the Vietnam War, terms such as “war neurosis” and “gross stress reaction” were used to describe veterans who had psychological problems after returning home from combat. The psychological trauma that Vietnam veterans displayed for years after the war led to a deeper understanding of mental illness in all veterans. In 1980, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (or PTSD) became an official medical term as a result of years of  studies involving Vietnam veterans and veterans from other wars. Nowadays, psychological problems that veterans face are better understood and can now get proper services and benefits.

And finally, the Vietnam War changed how wars are covered by the news media. The Vietnam War has been considered as the “first televised war.” Every night, the American Public would watch the news and see raw, uncensored footage of firefights, airstrikes, and casualties. Wars continue to be covered by the news media but the footage that is aired is not as graphic. 

Yes, the United States lost the Vietnam War. Our efforts to stop Vietnam from becoming a communist country miserably failed. We suffered over 58,000 killed and thousands of veterans continue to suffer from PTSD and illnesses brought on by exposure to defoilants such as Agent Orange. However, the conflict brought innovations to weapons and military tactics, the purge of the draft, a better understanding of psychological problems that combat veterans face, and changed how the media covers wars.