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Politics

Here’s What You Missed (12/5/18)

Daniel Chase

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I’ve recently found that people toss around the term ‘anxiety’ like a football on Thanksgiving day, but what does it really mean to be clinically anxious. Well, for some it manifests itself right before sitting down to take an exam, while others may feel jittery and unnerved before driving a car. What I find interesting is how quick we are tell people that we have anxiety before we’ve even taken a visit to a primary care physician. For individuals who’ve received a proper diagnosis for anxiety, when they have an ‘attack,’ many have described themselves as feeling like they’ve lost complete control of their life and the world is collapsing in front of them. Terrifying, I know. I wholly support every person’s right to affordable access to mental health care, but in the interim, be wary of the terms you use to describe your feelings without knowing whether it holds true for you. 

Having said all of that, here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Note To Self (Driving Car)

Remember how terrifying it was to find out that Skynet, the overseeing tech company in the Terminator movies, unleashed its autonomous robots on civilians, causing widespread panic and murderous rampages spread across a very successful film series? Well, forget all that dark and twisted foreshadowing of our future and listen to this! Google’s (GOOGL) self-driving subsidiary, Waymo, just released their first commercial autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service in Arizona, called Waymo One. 

Similarly to Uber or Lyft, Waymo One users will use a smartphone app to indicate their location and call a car over, but this time, there won’t be a driver in the front seat to offer you gum or a phone charger. 

“Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully with the comfort and convenience of our riders in mind.”

John Krafcik, Chief Executive Officer, Waymo

Once In A Fortnite

Anyone with a pulse and a basic connection to the internet has heard of the globally popular game, Fortnite. If you haven’t played the game, perhaps you’ve seen the countless videos shared on the internet of the many ‘emote’ dances you can command your avatar to perform while playing the game. Well, it is this very aspect of the game that has gotten Fortnite creator Epic Games in a heap of legal trouble. 

Hip-hop artist 2 Milly filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, claiming that the game developer stole his “Milly Rock” dance move by adding it as an ‘emote’ for Fortnite players. 

“This isn’t the first time that Epic Games has brazenly misappropriated the likeness of African-American talent. Our client Lenwood ‘Skip’ Hamilton is pursuing claims against Epic for use of his likeness in the popular ‘Cole Train’ character in ‘Gears of War’ video game franchise. Epic cannot be allowed to minute to take what does not belong to it.” 

Legal counsel for 2 Milly

Burger King-Troll

Burger King is at it again with the competitions and the tricks, and what not. According to a recent report from CNN, if you’re within 600-feet from a McDonald’s, you can unlock a deal for a penny Whopper from the Burger King app. This promotional move serves as both a great incentive for people to download the fast-food joint’s new smartphone app as well as a decent prank pulled on one of its biggest rivals. 

Some people have reported having issued with the promotion:

“Sometimes someone has a poor connection, or maybe one specific restaurant out of 14,000 may not have been geolocated properly or somebody tried to redeem the coupon during breakfast.”

Fernando Machado, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Burger King 

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Politics

Here’s What You Missed (12/12/18)

Daniel Chase

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Something happened to me yesterday and it was incredibly frustrating, but also very telling of our current generation. So, there I was, minding my own business eating sushi for lunch when all of a sudden, an idea struck me for an incredible tagline for a raisin company. I thought to myself, I should write this down, but a little voice inside me suggested I take my talents to social media and seek gratification there. I unlocked my phone, sought out one of the many social platforms I use, and before an app could open, the idea was gone. I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember what the idea was. I tried retracing my mental steps, thinking about raisins and their primordial grape form, but nothing was clicking. The idea was gone, all thanks to my inherent desire to take this idea and, rather than care for it, submit it to my social circles for approval. 

What a shame, it was a really funny tagline. Here’s what you missed in the news yesterday. 

Even Lawyers Sing The Jailbird Blues

I hope that Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, looks sexy in black-and-white stripes because he’ll be rocking those threats for thirty-six months in prison following his sentencing on Wednesday. Back in June, about a month before special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation started heating up, President Trump fired Michael Cohen after his residences and homes were raided by the FBI. Lying awake in anguish every night, Cohen couldn’t stomach his relationship with Trump and eventually decided to cooperate with Mueller.

According to several sources present at the trial, Cohen started crying after he received his sentence, in hopes that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would potentially help him post bail, but there’s no award for Worst Supporting Criminal in a Presidential Election. 

“I have been living in a personal and mental incarceration ever since the day that I accepted the offer to work for a real estate mogul whose business acumen I deeply admired. Today is one of the most meaningful days of my life. The irony is that today I get my freedom back.” 

Michael Cohen 

Cohen is expected to pay $1.4 million in restitution, as well as a $50,000 fine, and forfeiture of $500,000 before his March 6 prison lease begins, according to Fox News. 

Remember That Online Game? You Know, Farm Bill? 

Oh, it was Farmville? Forgive me, I have the game confused with a remarkable piece of legislation that Congress voted to pass on Wednesday. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, commonly known as the farm bill, has within its scriptures many legislative policies that will be enacted once the bill is signed into a law, but perhaps the most interesting is the legalization of hemp. Hemp, derived from the cannabis plant, has countless uses including utilizing its fibers to make food, paper, cardboard, rope, and other products, but most importantly, it doesn’t get you high. 

“In the long run, it’s all going to be managed and controlled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just like corn, soybeans and everything else. It will also become an agricultural commodity, which in turn will allow crop insurance and Wall Street will be able to invest institutional funds into the hemp industry.”

Chris Boucher, Chief Executive Officer, Farmtiva

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Politics

Here’s What You Missed (12/11/18)

Daniel Chase

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Maybe things would be easier if I didn’t pursue a degree in political science during my undergraduate career. I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I declared myself a foreign relations major, I think I hadn’t really slept much the night before. Either way, four years of contentious political debate, hours spent reading on everything from East Asian politics to a step-by-step guide written on how to successfully plan and execute a coup d’état, and “pages” on “pages” typed away on my decade-old laptop in the UC Santa Cruz main library, here I am ranting about all of this to each and every one of you. Isn’t it strange how writers feel connected to their readers, despite never actually communicating with them? It’s this unspoken bond between author and reader that fuels my desire to awaken each day, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to get to work. 

Either way, here’s what you missed in the news yesterday.

Let’s Get Ready To Rumble!

The White House was the stage for today’s episode of “The Real House/Senate Members: Washington DC,” during the course of which Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi met with President Trump to negotiate, and hopefully avoid, a government shutdown. President Trump is insisting that Congress fund his original campaign promise of building a massive wall along the US-Mexico border, but seeing as the Democrats will retake the House before the wall’s funding deadline on January 21, it is highly unlikely that this will happen. At the risk of not getting the wall built, Trump told Mr. Schumer and Ms. Pelosi that “if we don’t have border security, we’ll shut down the government. If it’s not good on border security, I won’t take it. ” 

Though their conversation continued, President Trump did not break on his threat to shut down the government. 

“And I am proud…I tell you what, I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck (Schumer), because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So, I will take the mantle. I will be the one  to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down it didn’t work. I will taketh mantle of shutting down and I’m going to shut it down for border security.”

President Donald Trump

Oh Hail No!

For those of us who’ve ever had a few too many adult beverages and needed a ride, or had to catch a flight early in the morning, we all know too well how to use one of the many ride-hailing apps to call a car and get out of dodge (no pun intended, I promise.) What most of us don’ know is that the entire on-demand car industry began with a startup called Sidecar Technologies Inc, a defunct company that went down back in 2015. The company made headlines on Tuesday when it announced plans to sue Uber Technologies Inc over allegations related to anticompetitive practices that ultimately led to Sidecar going out of business. 

“Uber intentionally sustained near-term losses that were designed to drive Sidecar out of the market while Uber acquired a dominant market position.”

Official language from Sidecar v. Uber Lawsuit 

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Politics

Brexit, Lunch, and Dinner

Daniel Chase

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There is a fine line between accepting defeat and admitting that you were wrong. On one hand, accepting defeat means recognizing that despite exhausting every option at your disposal, you failed to complete what you set out to do. On the other hand, admittance of error is a mature response that often comes after several informed individuals suggested information that contradicted your beliefs/motives, but nevertheless, you persisted. Then, there are unique snowflake-like situations where a person must accept defeat because they were wrong, and this predicament is where we find our protagonist in today’s episode of “Emergency Brexit” starring British Prime Minister Theresa May. 

For the sake of due diligence as a storyteller, allow me to get you up to speed on the Brexit situation. Back in June 2016, a gaggle of Britains was feeling pretty confident in themselves and the future of their country, so they voted, 52 to 48 percent, to leave the confines of the European Union, arguing that the United Kingdom would regain control over its borders, and perhaps take a second go at colonizing America. Those opposed to the infamous “Brexit” warned everyone that leaving the bloc would result in chaos. Suffice to say,  the “Brexiteers” came out on top and the remaining 27 EU member-states approved the UK’s agreement to leave the union at a summit in Brussels several weeks ago, according to Vox. As daunting as the process was, the captain of the good ship Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May is tasked with convincing her 650-member parliament to approve the deal. 

On Monday, with her tail between her legs, PM Theresa May advocated to postpone the UK Parliament’s vote on the Brexit deal, in a move that many are saying was done because May knows Parliament will shut the whole deal down. May told Parliament “if we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow (Tuesday), the deal would be defeated by a significant margin. We will, therefore, defer the vote scheduled for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the house at this time.” You’ve got to admit that Theresa May has got some serious moxie for postponing the vote on Brexit, even after months of contentious debate, and the tooth-pulling process of convincing the EU to approve the deal. The truth is she doesn’t have the votes, but per the example that began today’s lesson, sometimes it takes a while for a person to admit they were wrong and, in this case, accept defeat. 

One of the more contentious components of May’s Brexit deal is referred to as the “Irish backstop,” which requires that the border between Northern Ireland (still part of the UK) and the Republic of Ireland (EU territory) remain open. Experts view the “Irish backstop” as a legislative insurance policy of sorts, allowing for one country in the UK to remain in adherence of the four fundamental freedoms of the EU: free movement of people, services, capital, and goods. Valiant as this might on Prime Minister Theresa May’s part, this part of Brexit seeks to keep the UK connected to the European Union without being a member of the bloc, in a loophole of sorts. 

“I spoke to a number of EU leaders over the weekend, and in advance of the European council, I will go to see my counterparts in other member states and the leadership of the council and the commission. I will discuss with them the clear concerns that this House [of Commons] has expressed.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May 

At this point, it seems to be that no one has even the foggiest idea of what the future holds for the Brexit deal. PM Theresa May’s postponement of the UK parliament vote baffled many in the geopolitical arena and everyone, including Parliament, is still trying to get their bearings on the situation. Per the recondite Brexit deal, the UK will be leaving the European Union in exactly 108 days. As for Theresa May’s next course of action, perhaps she’s finally recognized her mistake and is ready to accept defeat. 

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