Terrorism on the New York Subway

Continuing the sporadic terrorism that has spread throughout the United States and Europe (not to mention the Middle East), several people were injured by a pipe bomb that was set off on Monday in New York City’s Port Authority subway station.

Though five were harmed, nobody was killed in the explosion. The suspect, Mr. Akayed Ullah, survived as well. He is currently being treated for burns in Bellevue Hospital.

Ullah used a homemade pipe bomb. Although his choice of weapons failed to do significant damage, the fact that he was motivated by loyalty to the Islamic State leaves a shaken New York populace.

President Trump has responded to the attack with a re-emphasis on immigration control. Specifically, he is advocating for greater restriction of chain migration. Chain migration gives those with family already in the United States a leg up in gaining entry into the country. According to the president, this poses a risk, as it allows immigration based on family connections rather than personal merit.

That said, chain migration allows those in dangerous areas of the Middle East to rejoin their families in the West. As always, the responses to terrorism, immigration, and human rights seem inseparable, with the resulting tension preventing potentially meaningful policy changes.

Net Neutrality

The Internet as a social body is up in arms against the Federal Communication Commission’s vote to repeal Net Neutrality. The Republican-led Commission’s 3-2 decision to repeal today, Thursday the 14th, despite an abundance of protests on sites such as Reddit and the popular petition on https://www.battleforthenet.com/.

For those who don’t use the internet for much other than email and the occasional google search, you might be asking the question, why is everyone making such a fuss? What did we lose when we lost net neutrality? Well, until today, we have all had free and equal access to any information on the internet.

Without Net Neutrality in place, internet service providers can control and block content at their discretion, allowing them to coerce customers into paying more for access to certain services if they see fit. So, those google search results that you’ve been taking for granted may now be limited by how much money you’re willing to spend to get your answers.

Trump Accusers Re-Open Allegations of Sexual Assault

It’s hardly news that allegations of sexual assault resound in every public sphere (Hollywood, Congress, and most recently the cooking show “The Chew”). However, the outcry has now reached the Presidency, and women who attempted to make their claims against Donald Trump heard during the election are trying once more.

Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, and Rachel Crooks are just 3 of the dozen or so accusers who spoke out during the Presidential race. All three have made claims of sexual and verbal assault from Trump. They hope that, in light of the new transparency about this topic and the consequences that have been imposed on the accused, there is potential for their stories to finally garner results.


Those who wish to shut down discourse regarding rape culture had previously dismissed these allegations as plots to derail our current President’s campaign – now that he’s won, the claims of harassment are still seen by his supporters as an attempt to sully his legitimacy. President Trump himself has taken an active lead in denying these allegations.

That said, due to the high volume of Republican politicians accused of similar actions, many party members are beginning to advocate for addressing the allegations instead of shutting them down.

Democrat Doug Jones Wins Alabama Senate

Alabama turned over a new leaf in its political history late Tuesday night, when Democrat Doug Jones won the senate race against Republican Roy Moore. While Roy Moore’s Conservative Christian values are in line with Alabama’s traditional voter preferences, recent allegations that the 70 year old former chief justice has sexually assaulted women, most notably a minor, called these values into question. Jones remarked in his victory speech that the senate race managed to move past party lines and refocus on values of “dignity and respect.”

The win is significant, not just in that it turns sets Alabama on a new political path, but also in that it paves the way for the Democrats potentially re-taking the senate. Alabama’s choice in senators reflects a society-wide refusal to tolerate rape culture and other crude behavior, as well as a dissatisfaction with Republican management of congress.

Brazil

In an attempt to address the increasingly rampant spread of AIDs amongst its youths, Brazil has taken a significant step towards its prevention. The solution comes in the form of a pill called Truvada (commonly known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis). Much like birth control, PrEP must be taken once a day for it to function properly.

While there are other institutions and individuals who have promoted access to the drug, Brazil is the first government to invest in free access. Considering that PrEP can be priced upwards of $1,000 per pill, the fact that it will now be free is projected to have a huge preventative impact.

Free access will not be granted to all, though. In an effort to not overspend, Brazil has limited PrEP’s availability to those who are considered likely to fall victim to the virus. This primarily includes men who engage in sex with other men, but also applies to prostitutes, people who identify as transgender, and those who have a partner with HIV.

Ideally this move to prevent rather than simply treat the problem will have a positive result, both economically and in terms of health policy.