All posts by Nick Shepard

Band Accepted to Play in Portland

by Morgan Marko – Sports Editor

The band has recently gotten the news that they were accepted into the Grand Floral Parade at the Portland Rose Festival. This news was long awaited, as it took either two to three months to arrive. Cayla Dreisbach, a junior in band had a huge role in the outcome.

The tryouts for the competition involved a promotional video of the band, a few photos of the band, and drum majors. Dreisbach made a short compilation from 2014 to 2017 and sent it in for the promo video. Dreisbach said the wait was especially nerve wracking because, “I would have personally felt at great fault if we weren’t accepted, mainly because the promotional video I put together kind of determined our outcome.” Thanks to Dreisbach and all their hard work, the band made it in.

After a rough year last year, with the cancellation of the Victoria field trip, the band is pumped and ready to get back into the swing of parades. “our band wants to show everyone that we are strong and can come together to man an amazing sound no matter where we play.” Said Dreisbach

To ensure success the band needs to be “organized and ready to fire” said Dreisbach. It’s more than just the music that goes into the parade, costumes also play a key factor. Mr. Urmenita, the band instructor said, “[the band] needs to make sure they have something that puts them over the top, something different. We can’t play the marching band game, everyone’s got uniforms or a drum line, since we don’t have those things what do we have? We’ve got the costumes, we’ve got the custom music.”

With the competition set for June 9th, the band has lots of time to prepare. And there are a few things in mind, “Always the quality of sound, the marching, although that’s not a huge priority in our program. We’re more of a street brass band kind of thing. And definitely showman ship, I think high school kids like to be the center of attention as long as they’re not the center of attention.one you put eyes on ‘em every kid shuts down. We got to get more of that Johnny U inside of them, like the entire school’s looking at you and you’re still going to act like that. Over the top showman ship, it’s that big vibrato showmanship, without that you don’t have a show,” says Urmenita.

The theme for the Grand Floral Parade is Super Smash Brothers, and the band can’t wait to smash the competiton.

Yemen Faces Humanitarian Crisis

by Taylor Bailey – Staff Writer

The Republic of Yemen, is a country in the southern part of the Middle East near the Arabian Peninsula. The people of Yemen have been going through some harsh and terrifying situations recently. This is not only due to the actions of Saudi Arabia, but also due to the funding of The United States of America.

Saudi Arabia created a blockade that has made it nearly impossible for food and water to get to the civilians of Yemen. The blockade has halted humanitarian aid from reaching the people of Yemen. Because of this, the people of Yemen are starving.

Not only has Saudi Arabia been starving Yemen, they have also caused the worst outbreak of cholera in modern history and they are having a civil war with Yemen. Ever since 2014, when Houthi rebels of Yemen took control of the capital Sanaa, the military campaign has caused much suffering in Yemen.

Here is where the US comes in. During his presidency, Barack Obama decided to help Saudi Arabia with their civil war and start funding them. However, during his final days, President Obama did show some resentment by funding the war by stopping some intelligence sharing and postponing a key arms deal. However, since President Trump has come into office, he has been serious about funding Saudi Arabia’s war. Now there is more funding, arms, and logistical support going to Saudi Arabia. The war with Saudi Arabia has caused the deaths of over 5,000 deaths in Yemen.

While the war is hurting Yemen greatly, the blockade could be worse. Due to the blockade 80 percent of Yemen’s population has no access to food. The United Nations have estimated that 7 million out of the 28 million people in Yemen are facing famine. “That blockade has been partially wound down but not fully wound down. It needs to be fully wound down if we are to avoid an atrocious humanitarian tragedy involving the loss of millions of lives, the like of which the world has not seen for many decades,” said U.N. humanitarian affairs chief Mark Lowcock.

If the funding doesn’t stop, if the war doesn’t stop, and if the blockade doesn’t get removed, the people of Yemen have some painful times ahead of them.

Israeli Activist Arrested After Video Goes Viral

by Cooper Lewis – Photographer

The last couple of years have been booming with human rights activists blowing up on social media. Platforms like twitter and Instagram have spread the word about thousands of problems through out the world and the people standing up against them. This time the activist was 16 year old Ahed Tamimi.

A video of Tamimi has gone viral of Tamimi slapping and kicking a guard standing outside her house, after the guards forced themselves into her home and shot her brother. After the video had spread through Israeli media, people had started calling for her arrest. A few days later soldiers had evaded the Tamimi household at three in the morning and brutally arrested Ahed Tamimi, while flipping the house upside down.

Ahed wasn’t the only one to receive a punishment for this though. Her father, Bassem Tamimi, was arrested at her court trial, her mother and cousin who where both featured in the video got arrested later that morning. Ahed’ s detention was lengthened 10 more days. Ahed currently has 12 charges against her ranging from throwing rocks at soldiers to kicking and hitting them.

This isn’t Tamimi’s first time going viral on the internet. In 2012 Tamimi was recorded throwing rocks at a soldier after they had arrested her older brother, then again three years later biting and slapping a soldier who had tried to take his little brother. Tamimi is seen as a unique symbol in the middle east, being a light skin, light eyes, and light hair, she has stood up for much of her and others rights.

“We are proud of our daughter, Nour, who has been raised to resist the occupation and the injustice, an extension of her parents and grandparents, and take pride in her struggle against this terrorist state, and we warn these thugs not to touch or endanger her.” Said Bassem Tamimi. Her father who is also a human rights activist and has planned and been apart of many protests. Bassem Tamimi is proud of her daughter and the path for justice and basic human rights she has pursued.

Devestating Amtrak Train Crashes Near Tacoma

by Jillian Felker – Entertainment Editor

“It felt like the end of the world, and I was standing amid the wreckage,” Said Emma Shafer, a 20-year-old modern-dance student who was aboard the train, which carried approximately 77 people and 7 crew members. Amtrak Train No. 501 began its new route on Monday Dec. 18, 2017 from Seattle down to Portland, but this ride took an extreme turn of events.

While turning over an overpass at 7:30 a.m. south of Tacoma, about halfway to Olympia, when a passenger train jumped the tracks landing onto busy southbound lanes along I-5, two passenger coaches also fell partly onto the lanes, killing six and injuring at least 100 others. All 12 of the train’s coaches and one of its engines derailed on the turn. The train carried approximately 77 people and 7 crew members

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a report that the train was traveling at a speed of over three times its regulated limit, 80 MPH, far over its regulated limit of 30 MPH on the turn. It was reportedly unclear as to of why the train was traveling at this speed during the time. The tracks on which the train had derailed were practically brand new, constructed from a recent investment program, which Wa. State approximately $180 mil. to pay for.

Following the crash, attorneys for one of the conductors, who was aboard the train to observe the new faster bypass track on Dec. 18th when it crashed in Pierce County, have filed a suit against Amtrak. This suit filed on Jan. 3rd, which claimed that he has suffered from emotional shock, rib and hip injuries, as well as severe pain, is only one of the man claims and lawsuits to come following the crash, and was the second one filed on the same day.

Young Iranians Dissatisfied with Government

by Alicea Alford – Staff Writer

Since Dec. 28, the people of Iran have been protesting the lack of economic opportunity, high prices of food and fuel, Iranian involvement in the Middle East, and the government as a whole.

President Hassan Rouhani outlined a plan during his election bid to boost the economy. However, with average Iranians not feeling the benefits of his economic agenda because they deal with growing inflation, unemployment, and restriction of their freedoms, they arranged protests.

Alireza Nader, an international policy analyst, said to CNN why the people are protesting, “The government is viewed as highly corrupt, increasing inequality is seen by the population as really a form of injustice.”

Most protesters that were arrested had been from low income families and were between 18 and 35 years old.

A South Asia and Middle East expert for the Washington-based Middle East Institute said to RadioFreeEurope, “Young Iranians hold higher expectations…and aspire to more freedoms and opportunities…they are deeply frustrated with economic and political stagnation in the country, and do not see the ruling political establishment as capable of addressing their needs.”

The protests spread to more than 80 cities and towns around Iran. They were the largest protests in Iran since 2009. More than 42,000 people took part in the protests. Around 3,700 people were arrested for their participation in the anti-government protests.

The Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafaari Dolatabadi said to the Mehr news agency, “More than 440 people who were arrested in Tehran riots have been released.”

The protests resulted in at least 25 deaths. Most killed were protestors, however some were security guards trying to keep control during the protests. At least 2 deaths occurred while in police custody.

Although the protests have ended, Siavush Randjbar-Daemi, a lecturer in Iranian history at Britain’s University of Manchester said to NBC news, “I do not think the feeling of dissent toward the regime and level of disgust for the political and economic situation has gone away.”

New KSD Technology Aims to Promote Learning

by Symantha Edwards – Staff Writer

As our world progresses each day, the push for new technology is affecting the way we travel, the way we communicate and now, the way we learn. Schools all over America are pushing for technology advances, and schools right here in Kent are no different. 14 million computers are already available at different school across the countries, but Patrick Regnart, former principal at Neely O’brien and current director of technology for the Kent school district, disagrees that computers are as essential as we make them seem.

While an advocate for technology being available to students, Regnart noticed the effect typing had on the overall thinking process of his students. He watched younger students struggle with keyboards so much that they could barely articulate the thoughts they were trying to express. “Technology allows us to do more in less time, but it does not always foster learning,” said Regnart. “If we want students to synthesize material, draw inferences, see new connections, evaluate evidence and apply concepts, we need fewer gigs — more brain power.”

The solution to this dilemma? Convertible laptops, similar to tablets. With these devices, students can still type, but are also enabled to draw directly on the screen with a stylus or make handwritten notes in the margins of articles. Many studies have shown that writing further helps students to retain and understand information more than typing ever has.

Along with all of the above-mentioned benefits, the tablets will reduce sheets of paper getting lost and mangled in students backpacks.

About 900 tablets were distributed to Kent elementary schools this past November and plans to distribute more in the next couple years are in place.

As new technology advances, school wills try to keep up to better our leaning experience, and that is positive change.

Iceland Takes Action Against Pay Inequality

by Megan Monahan – Staff Writer

Iceland’s taking a leap forward for women’s equality by making it illegal to underpay woman with a possible fine of five hundred dollars to any company who does.

Worldwide many are applauding Iceland for becoming the First Country in the World to require equal pay for women. This plan has been coming to action since March of 2017 with Iceland’s Prime Minister Bjarni Bendeiktsson stating on last years International Women’s Day that, “Gender quality benefits all of us.” The law is the first of its kind at the National level and applies to all countries with more than 25 employees. Companies must undergo certification every three years to ensure that their pay policies follow the rules. “There is a standard which we have already taken up,” said Bendeiktsson, “but not all are following it.”

Many are speaking up about the new legislation praising Iceland for its step toward women’s equality. American tennis player Billie Jean King stated that, “Iceland again leading in the quality movement. A new Female Prime Minister, and a Parliament where nearly half of its members are women. Equal representation benefits everyone!” King is not the only one praising Iceland’s efforts. CEO Sam Smethers, a women’s rights supporter said that equal pay “isn’t just about women’s interests.” She emphasized that “Holding women back holds our economy back. Tackling gender inequality and discrimination is good for business and for all of us.”

The United States is trying to follow in Iceland’s footsteps and is attempting to close the wage gap. Some of these attempts have been successful, however the wage gap still remains wide. In January 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the most recent date showed that women were still earning “83 percent of men’s median weekly earnings,” which is a point two percent increase from 2012. The only state that is taking strong effort in trying to close the wage gap is Minnesota. Minnesota has its own gender pay equity law that has been in place since December 31, 2012, however it is yet to prove a major difference in the wage gap.

Walt Disney: Master Animator, or Copycat Extraordinaire?

by Elizabeth Gerken – Staff Writer

Walt Disney; just the mere mention of his name conjures vivid and colorful images of the princesses, castles and talking animals we all know and love from our childhood. His influence on the film industry can be seen everywhere, especially in the modern format for western film which essentially copies the format of his earlier works. However, that magical castle Disney rules is built on a foundation of shady marketing and stolen ideas, most of which have flown under the radar of the general public for far too long.

Disney is not a demon for his copycat tendencies, but it should be recognized that he was not very original in his lifetime. For example, only 5 out of the 19 movies he made in his lifetime were original. Everything else was based off of children’s books or old fairytales that he made more appropriate for his young audience. This fact is even more shocking when you realize that almost all of the originals were complete box office flops or were not even released in theaters.

The one success from the original movies was Fantasia, but it was a critical flop directly after its release in 1940 that almost drove the company into bankruptcy and tarnished Disney’s reputation with critics who enjoyed his pre-established mold of unoriginal fairytales. The only other originals with revenue information available are Melody Time which was released in 1948 made 1.85 million us dollars, and Make Mine Music, released in 1946, made 2.25 dollars. These numbers seem small initially but appear even smaller when you realize that these were all off rentals of the movies years after they came out. Now the more popular but unoriginal movies like Snow White made 418 million dollars at the box office from its 1938 release. This massive jump in revenue may be the driving reason for Disney making unoriginal content; everybody knows the story of Snow White and will go see a movie on it but nobody knows the stories of movies like Melody Time because its new and so they wont want to go see it.

Wanting to make money is something that is seen in every facet of life, so Disney wanting to is nothing new and, while him making primarily unoriginal content is not the most respectable thing, it is understandable. The thing that is harder to understand and by far the most unacceptable is one of his major claims to fame: that he was the first to make animation with synchronized sound. This is an outright lie that few people know. The pioneers of sound animation were Max and Dave Fleisher, two brothers from New York running their own animation studio. They are the ones responsible for characters like Betty Boop and Popeye. Although these characters were their big success, their biggest accomplishment was the creation of Song Car-Tunes. Song Car-Tunes were a series of “follow the bouncing ball” style sing-along animations that ran from May 1924 to September 1927. Steamboat Mickey, the supposed original sound animation, was released in November of 1928, over a year after the final Song Car-Tune was released. Disney was able to propel his animation into the spotlight by convincing news outlets to call his the first and not mention the Fleisher’s at all. This shady business worked, leaving Disney with the fame and the Fleisher brothers buried under him in animation history.

Overall, he is not a monster, but he was not a hero either. The combination of unoriginal content and aggressive marketing practices make his good reputation as a filmmaker questionable. He will forever be an icon of animation and a household name across the world but that does not mean that how he became that should be hidden.

Newest Tax Reform a Huge Blow for Working Americans

by Jason Thiel – Staff Writer

On December 22, 2017, President Trump held and emergency bill signing in order to sign the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. This bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, effective in 2018. The seven income tax brackets stay, but the rates of each bracket are lowered, the individual tax rate drops to 37%, it doubles the standard deduction, eliminates personal exemptions, and repeals the estate tax. These individual tax changes expire in 2025, but the corporate tax cut is permanent. This is an outraging piece of legislature to be passed at a time like this. To be middle class you should be making $200-250k a year, and the majority of America makes around $100k or less. This bill is going to cripple the middle class while handing huge tax cuts to billionaires and corporations, so that they can stack their money higher and watch the rest of America suffer.

Tax reform is incredibly complicated, and the details of this bill are still being analyzed by the media, but the changes listed are the main tenants of the bill, and create the problem we’ve had in this country with trickle-down economics for the better part of 30 years. Corporations, when given tax cuts and subsidies, do not invest in their employees. Some may invest in some new factories or a new department, but the wealthiest corporations in this nation have the finances to do that whenever they want. One part of this legislature about business that sticks out is that it allows companies to repatriate the collective $2.6 trillion they have held in foreign stockpiles, at a one-time tax rate of 15.5% on funds and 8% the value of physical equipment. This type of ‘tax holiday’ was administered in 2004, and was measured to have not done much to boost the economy. Most companies were reported as distributing repatriation checks to their shareholders, rather their employees, in order to boost investment and increase their stock value. This is the same thing they do with the cuts to their actual tax rate. They may invest a little in employees as PR, to keep enough of the public divided on whether or not trickle-down works, and then they send the rest to their shareholders and executives. This goes to show how we’ve seen this same legislature tried multiple times in recent history, seen it not work, and continued to do it.

To focus a little closer on the legislation for individuals, the Tax Policy Center broke down the bill and determined that it helps higher-income families disproportionately more than the rest. Families and individuals in the lowest-earning fifth of the population would see a .4% income increase. Those in the next highest fifth would see a 1.2% boost, then a 1.6% and 1.9% for the next two-fifths. The highest-earning fifth would receive a 2.9% income boost, which is not where the money needs to be going. This isn’t a tax cut for the working class citizen, it’s a boost to the already thriving members of society. Additionally, the budget-conscious party added $1.5 trillion to the national debt, while creating $700 billion in growth due to the repeal of the ACA individual mandate, which will throw 13 million people off of health insurance because they no longer receive the necessary subsidies needed. This will hike health insurance costs because less people will be able to afford care until they need emergency care, which is exponentially more expensive than preventative care. The U.S. Treasury, which is still a partisan bureaucracy, claims that this bill will bring in $1.8 trillion in new revenue, under the assumption that Trump passes his infrastructure spending plans, deregulation, welfare reform, and other of his promises. In reality, this number is pure speculation, given the current turbulent path of our Commander-in-Chief and his agenda. Given that this revenue is over 10 years, and we already have $20 trillion of debt, it isn’t going to fix the immediate problem of hitting the debt ceiling.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a disgrace to modern democracy and the rights of people to have a fair shot at earning a living and providing for their families. It gives corporations and rich elites more fiscal power that they don’t need, so they can sit on the money that the common man is sacrificing so much to try to attain. Eugene V. Debs once said, “Those who produce should have, but we know that

those who produce the most – that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least.” These words couldn’t be truer of today’s world. I’m not advocating for communism or total wealth sharing, but oligarchy and social democracy can’t coexist, and for some reason people think they can.

Seattle’s Drink Tax Unfairly Targets the Poor

by Harris Yun – Staff Writer

Recently in Seattle, a tax was proposed and accepted that would add an extra cost to sweetened beverages. Under the tax, any sweetened beverage imported into Seattle for retail sale will be charged an extra $.0175 per ounce, unless the manufacturer grosses under $5 million globally, in which case they are charged a lower rate or exempted from the tax altogether.

The law defines a sweetened beverage as any liquid substance intended for human consumption with something in the drink that adds both calories and is perceived by humans as sweet. The tax is only on distributors who purchase the drinks for retail sale, because lawmakers do not want the consumer or small businesses who sell these drinks to pick up the cost of the tax. However, this is a moot point, as distributors will push the extra costs onto retailers, who in turn push those extra costs onto consumers. The way it looks right now, the tax can have one of two outcomes. The first (and much less likely) outcome would be the tax actually discouraging people from purchasing these drinks, promoting public health. With average price per ounce of these drinks, the tax would increase the cost of them by around 70% or more. This large increase would seem like it would stop people buying these unhealthy drinks, but the reality is much more likely to be far from that outcome.

The fact of the matter is, people like soda too much. Sugary drinks are an addiction in today’s America. If anything, this tax will function much like a cigarette tax – it might stop people from starting the cycle of sugary drink addiction, but will not do anything for the people currently drinking soda more than they drink water. If anything, this will only hurt the poor more than they already are being hurt by various taxes around Seattle. It is a proven statistic that poorer families consume more soda on average than a richer family, and this tax will provide corporations a larger excuse to charge more on things that they know are basically unavoidable costs for people. This tax might have started out with good intentions, but now it seems like the only reason it exists is to allow corporations to suck more money out of the lower class in Seattle.