Category Archives: Josh Manning

Looking to the Future: 2018 Predictions

by Josh Manning – Staff Writer

We are only half a month into the new year but that won’t stop people from making predictions for it. Some of the predictions that are frequently brought up is the possibility of nuclear war with North Korea. While the words North Korea might sound like white noise to some at this point, the reality is that nuclear war is only becoming more likely by the day. Their nuclear missile technology is increasingly strengthening and widening their range, they are now more than capable of launching an attack against several North American cities, easily destroying them in the process.

Another rather pessimistic prediction is that the current trend of the increase of scam sites, clickbait, hyper-partisan media, and media hoaxes isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Because of the increasingly polarized media and overwhelming presence of bias present in the media, many moderates and disaffected members of both main bipartisan parties are continuing to distrust the media. Many like to joke about CNN and fake news, but unfortunately the problem extends to both sides of the political spectrum in terms of reporting dishonestly. The problem is too deeply rooted in narrowcast media in general which, unfortunately, isn’t going away anytime soon.

Artificial intelligence is another technologically driven prediction. As far as completely intelligent AI, it isn’t predicted to come by 2018. However, as for how far we’ve come in terms of AI, for example Siri, Cortana, Google Assist, etc., the companies responsible for them are expecting to make great strides in terms of making more and more human like responses to questions. We might be able to have an entirely human-like conversation with the AI in our phones by the end of the year.

Virtual reality is also on the rise as of recently. Even though it is the next frontier of modern video gaming, only the upper middle class to rich can really afford it, but at the rate that it is progressing and the rate at which new virtual reality consoles are being made, it is predicted that virtual reality gaming will become something mainstream, joining the ranks of the Xbox and the PlayStation.

Politics will likely become an even more sensitive subject. Whether we will see an impeachment is hard to say, due to the prediction of impeachment usually just being a clickbait and controversial way for the media to seek attention. However, the reality is that Trump’s approval ratings are the lowest of any modern president after one year in office, which could factor into the midterm elections that are quickly approaching in November of this year. Essentially, in terms of impeachment, the likelihood is the highest it has been in a while.

I think this year shouldn’t be looked at too bleakly, it should just be expected that many changes will take place as they do every year but just slightly more with some higher consequences. These are also just predictions, not prophecies, all the bleak predictions could end up just being false alarms, but unfortunately to know the truth of what will really happen this year we can only experience it for ourselves.

Annual Tree Lighting Strengthens Sense of Community

by Joshua Manning – Staff Writer

The tradition of lighting the tree at the Don Henning roundabout in downtown Covington is an annual occurrence which seeks to bring together to the community of Covington through the topic of the Christmas Season. The event started at 4 PM with live music and a few scenes from “Scrooge, The Musical” as well as live caroling shortly after. Many Covington service clubs, as well as our very own Kentlake Key Club were present at the event to serve hot beverages such as cider and cocoa as well as cookies and other refreshments. In addition to the food, the City of Covington also had arts and crafts stations set up for ornament making.

The tree lighting itself took place around 6 PM which is when attendance to the event swelled the most. The big tree on the roundabout that the lighting used to happen on was notably cut down years ago but it has since been replaced with a smaller one for the lighting ceremony since the lighting is a tradition and it is the thing that the most people show up to on the day of the event. Many people when asked why they showed up to the lighting just simply said “out of tradition”, while others tended to expand on the ideas of community and how the event can fortify ties with other people you may not have met otherwise.

Although the event officially started at 4 PM, the Covington Kiwanis Club held a pancake breakfast, ran a craft bazaar, and facilitated a 5k event. These events were part of the Hollydaze Saturdays in December, which is also a tradition of Covington in which every Saturday before Christmas, special holiday events for the family are held. These events took place over the course of the whole day whereas the tree lighting started at 4 PM and ended at 6 PM. The Kiwanis Club also had their own booth and sold goods at the tree lighting as well to raise money for future events they will be holding as well as to raise money for the Kiwanis Children’s Cancer Program for pediatric oncology.

Start Time a Blessing in Disguise

by Joshua Manning – Staff Writer

The new schedule has brought mixed reactions among students. As for myself, I think it is a step in the right direction for the way school should be scheduled. Most schoolwork, at least for me, is done at home so having two more hours to work at home every Wednesday helps a lot with the increasing homework level.

However, this schedule does have flaws. The most glaring problem is the fact that the late start day is on the same day as homeroom on the weeks we have it. The Wednesdays that have homeroom are often skipped due to them not being considered very important because every class is a mere thirty minutes minus the time it takes to get class started and pack up. The schedule is by no means perfect. Homeroom should be changed to another day of the week to accommodate this in my view.

However, the pros outweigh the cons for the new schedule. It makes school go longer, but only by five minutes, which is a miniscule amount when put in context of a six-hour school day. It allows for more time off school each week to help ease the flow of the average school week and helps with the increasing work load.

It is also admirable that the Kent School District is willing to experiment and try new things in terms of scheduling as opposed to just being formulaic and unwilling to improve. I think that change needs to be more welcomed as a concept in terms of education. I am not positing that every change is worthy of praise, but the concept of change needs to be less feared in the world of education. New ways of learning are being developed every day, one prominent one being the advent of technology, and because of this, much learning can be done outside of the classroom via the internet. Classroom teaching helps aid the learning process but much of the actual acquiring of information is done through the increasing homework load, so giving students more time off to better accommodate this shift in the way education is handled is definitely a positive one.

Somalia Bombing Leaves Many Victims in Wake

by Josh Manning – Staff Writer

Two trucks carrying lethal explosives were blown up in a terrorist attack in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. The most recent statistics of the incident were 358 confirmed dead, 56 still missing, 226 injured. Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for this attack, and investigations are still underway in search for survivors. The first explosion was responsible for most of the casualties as well as responsible for much structural damage, destroying many stalls and hotels in the center of the city.

Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed, the president of Somalia, issued a statement on twitter about the event, saying that “Today’s horrific attack proves our enemy will stop at nothing to cause our people pain and suffering. Let’s unite against terror”. President Donald Trump has so far declined to comment on the situation in Somalia. American troops in Somalia have been looking to give training to the Somali forces. James Mattis, Secretary of Defense of the United States stated that the objective of the United States involvement in Somalia was to “buy time” for Somalian government to build up its own security.

Medical responders on the scene issued statements on the severity of the issue. The Aamin Ambulance Services on twitter said, “In our 10-year experience as the first responder in Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this”. Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Medina Hospital in which a great number of injured were taken, said “This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past”. The victims of the attack were described to have been “burned beyond recognition” and some were said to be missing several limbs.

The Mogadishu bombing has been claimed to be one of the deadliest events to take place in sub-Saharan Africa as of recently. CNBC said in their article that this attack was “larger than the Garissa University attack in Kenya in 2015 and the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998”.

The victims of the attack were devastated. Zainab Sharif was a mother who was affected by the attack, she said “There’s nothing we can say. We have lost everything”. Shopkeeper Abdullahi Omar said “I closed my shop and ran away” and “We still have much fear and still the shock is persisting in our minds”.

Al-Shabab terrorism is nothing new to the world, it has been fought against by African Union troops and American counterterrorism efforts ever since 2007 and this event appears to be another bloody chapter of the story. The counterterrorism efforts of the United States have been promised to be expanded under President Trump and whether the fruits of that promise will manifest themselves is still a mystery.

Mike Pence’s Negative LGBTQ Reputation Plummets

by Joshua Manning – Staff Writer

Mike Pence has had quite the negative reputation with the LGBTQ community. These relations have been called into question again as Donald Trump, according to two different sources, called out Mike Pence as an untrustworthy source for information on gay rights, as he told a legal scholar that Pence wants to “hang them all”. Mike Pence and the Whitehouse denied this statement, with Mike Pence stating that “Articles like this are why the American People have lost so much faith in the press.”

Regardless of whether the claims are true, one must call into question the regrettable past that the vice president has had with the LGBTQ community. When Pence was a governor of Indiana, he openly opposed the gay marriage act and made it legal for people to cite their religion as reason to deny service to gay or transgender people. A prime example of this legislation being abused was when a bakery refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding in 2012. Pence’s homophobia goes all the way back to 2000 when he fought against the non-discrimination laws and campaigned against gay marriage. But perhaps the most indefensible of all is his historic connection to the advocacy of conversion therapy. Not only has conversion therapy been deemed a “pseudoscientific” practice by many notable scientists and neurologists, but it has also been debunked by the American medical establishment and denounced by LGBTQ groups.

Donald Trump has been more accepting of the LGBTQ community than most would have expected what with him stating at the Republican National Convention that he “will do everything to protect the LGBTQ citizens.” However, this also raises the question of why someone who is allegedly pro-LGBTQ would choose a running mate who has the history that he has when it comes to these issues.

Even with all these issues in mind, we cannot assume that Pence said these things for sure. As far as anyone knows, nobody but Trump has claimed that Pence has said that he wants to “hang gay people”. With midterm elections fast approaching, however, one must consider what these things could mean for the government. History has shown us that during midterms the president’s party will almost always lose seats in Congress and the opposing party will almost always become stronger. This weakening of the current political party in Congress could be made worse due to these issues. Situations like these will no doubt make the public believe in the government less due to the government officials giving contradictory statements about one another. But as far as an actual full impeachment like some have posited, only time will tell if that will be a reality.

Respecting the Flag: Pro vs. Con

by Joshua Manning and Harris Yun – Staff Writers

Con

Respecting the flag is something that in my opinion is very poorly defined. What exactly does it mean to disrespect the flag? Why does the flag deserve our undying respect? Why is it looked down on to not respect a piece of cloth? Well, most would argue that the flag represents something more than just a cloth, it represents the nation and everyone who has fought for it. In that case, the question of “should we respect the flag?” turns into the question “should we respect the nation?”. Well that depends on what you mean by respect, if by respect you mean having sympathy for all the causes of the nation no matter what, then you can count me out and here is why.

There is no set of beliefs, ideas, or organizations that are granted special privilege and are exempt from criticism. The nation itself doesn’t have the right to not be questioned and it most certainly shouldn’t expect that from citizens who are granted the right to freedom of thought and expression through its government. The nation’s ideals can and should be brought into question by the public, that is how we start new conversations about how our legislature should and shouldn’t change. How are we supposed to know if people are unhappy with current laws and regulations if all we see is everyone showing unquestioned loyalty towards the nation and what it stands for.

The recent case of athletes kneeling during the national anthem is a prime example of people using symbolic speech (something that is protected by the first amendment) to raise awareness of issues they have with the nation in which they are affected by. Kneeling during the anthem is a perfectly safe and valid way of protesting a set of ideas which they feel haven’t properly represented their best interests. Collin Kaepernick for instance kneeled because he feels as though police brutality is currently a huge issue which the government has not done much about and he wanted to bring attention to that through symbolic speech of kneeling during the anthem.

It should not be considered taboo to criticize your own country, in fact it should be the norm. Criticizing something means you have legitimate concerns about it and, most importantly, shows that you care about it. Too often I see the conflation of ideas and beliefs with people, and they are not the same thing. Nations and the things they stand for (their ideas) are not people, they don’t have the right to not be harshly criticized, quite the opposite in fact. We should criticize the nation and what it stands for if we feel we have legitimate concerns. If we do not raise our voice then our problems with the nation in which we are a part and therefore directly affects us will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes and our right to freedom of speech will have been utterly wasted.

Pro

There has been some recent controversy over football players kneeling during the national anthem. Some people feel like disrespecting the flag and what it stands for is the best way to speak out against the issues that people in America face today. This, however, both misrepresents the stance of the people who do not respect the flag and overall further fractures the country.

The flag represents more than the current country – it represents the ideals the country was founded upon. You might not agree with the current president’s policies, or the laws in this country, or who enforces those laws, but the flag is something above; it is the ideal image of equality and just treatment. By not showing proper respect for it, someone gives off the impression that they do not agree with those ideals, not merely the way the government chooses to interpret those ideals; the ideals that all men (and women) are created equal, that everybody has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Furthermore, this is unnecessarily fracturing the country when unity is needed most. In order to fight the injustices that people are facing, we need to unify, not divide. The 60s civil rights movement would not have been possible without unity on the side of the protesters. The only way they were able to right the injustices they saw in the system was to unify behind a cohesive message, with clearly defined goals. Not respecting the flag is both highly divisive and does not send a clear message. There are those who are on the fence, and this only hurts the cause by creating more confusion and driving them away.

I respect people’s right to free speech, and by no means am I telling them that they should be punished for this, or that this should be illegal; merely saying that those who wish to unify the country against these issues would be better served by making a public statement instead of spitting in the symbol of the very ideals they wish was a reality.

Rocky Start with Early Release Lunches

by Josh Manning – Staff Writer

It is safe to say that most of the students were not expecting lunches to be a problem for early release days, even after learning they would be scheduled at the end of the day. Most juniors and seniors were just expecting to leave campus during lunch and essentially get another 30 minutes knocked off an early release day. However, it was not nearly as easy as we were imagining.

Unfortunately, in addition to having all 3 lunches combined into one (which was a disaster waiting to happen), there were multiple security guards waiting for us just outside the courtyard. They greeted us with disappointing messages of how off-campus passes are not in effect until October and how school is still technically in session and we couldn’t leave.

Let us look at this issue from the perspective of the student. Sixth period ends and the students promptly must rush down to the commons if they want any chance of getting lunch since the lines are abnormally long. After they receive their lunch, they usually will not have any room in the commons so they are forced to eat in the courtyard or on the ground. If they manage to finish their food early they won’t be allowed to leave, even though all the instruction has been completed for that school day and they have nothing else to do.

Clearly this is an issue that was handled extremely poorly by the staff. It was forcing the students into uncomfortable situations and chaos was rampant. It was unnecessary to keep juniors and seniors on campus when they have off-campus passes. It should be treated as a normal lunch, in which people with off-campus passes can go eat somewhere else, or in this case go home because there are no more classes for the day.

Overall it was a situation in which I had to ask myself, “What did they think would happen?” Having all 3 lunches combined into one at the end of the school day in a school with over twelve hundred students is never a good idea. It led to several students lying about being in Green River to have an excuse to leave campus.

My point is that students should not be forced to stay at school for 30 minutes longer than necessary if they are not doing anything productive and no instruction is being conducted. It was a waste of time and could have been easily avoided had we just had two lunches or not had lunch on that day.