Forrest Bird Charter School welcomes our new student, Merrell Cunningham. Merrell Cunningham is in sixth grade. She came from Amarillo, Texas (wow – that’s far away from here). Merrell came to Sandpoint on June 17, 2017. She likes movie theaters and play theaters. Sadly, she does miss her old home.
The reason Merrell came to Sandpoint is because her parents want to start a church. She loves our school. The reason she likes it here is because she feels normal here. Now that you know Merrell, make sure to make her feel welcome to our school.
For the past three years, Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war that ties into the regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the midst of the conflict, millions of civilians are at risk of famine and disease. The US is supporting this violence, and has largely ignored the human cost of giving help to Saudi Arabia. Coverage of the crisis in the US has also been lacking—both the media and president have stayed clear of the topic. So what is the conflict in Yemen, and why is the US involved?
In 2014, Houthi rebels rose up in northern Yemen due to religious strife and discontentment with elections. They were able to take the capital Sana’a and much of the populated land in the western parts of Yemen. Government forces under President Sadi were initially routed with the president himself being forced to flee the country—however, they eventually retook the port city of Aden, where the government is based now.
Houthi rebels are largely reported to be supplied and supported by Iran. This concerns Saudi Arabia and their allies, as the two countries fight for influence across the Middle East. In 2015, they began a bombing campaign to prop up the Sadi government and harm the Houthi rebels. While fighting up to this point had still been bloody, the bombings led to a new level of casualties. Upwards of 60% of the 50,000+ casualties are from the air strikes, including many civilians. This effort is supported by US intelligence because of the alliance with Saudi Arabia—as a result, the US is aiding the murder of civilians.
Media coverage on this conflict and specifically on US involvement has been limited at best. The government has very little to say regarding the conflict, but refuses to condemn Saudi actions. This isn’t a partisan issue—both Obama and Trump have had the same response. However, the crisis has reached a breaking point, and Yemen is now on the verge of famine.
Yemen imports about 90% of its food, and what food does remain inside of the country is exorbitantly priced. The Saudi bombings have damaged the infrastructure in the country to the point where getting supplies to those who need them is extremely difficult. Also, there is a Saudi blockade of all ships going to Houthi-controlled ports. In one recent case, a United Nations (UN) ship was held for weeks trying to get humanitarian aid and medical supplies into a port. Currently, 17 million of the 27 million people living in Yemen are food insecure. There is a chorea outbreak as well that affects over 600,00, and also severe malnutrition among 400,000 children.
These statistics show more than simple internal strife. There is a potential famine called the worst in modern history by the UN. Not only is the US refusing to speak out against the war, but it actively supports Saudi Arabia. None of this is to say that Houthis are free of blame, as they also have indiscriminately shelled population areas, but the current issue is from devastating bombing that does not let any relief come in for the population of Yemen. The media’s refusal to cover this is truly dangerous, and even if the government refuses to speak, more should be aware of the crisis. Governments should have a moral responsibility to put life ahead of politics, something which the US has certainly not done.
In 2015, $357 million dollars were spent in TV advertisement for the prescription drug Humira. This was the drug that had the most advertising based on money alone. It’s no secret that drug commercials are primarily shown on every channel. They can vary from allergies to things dealing with Schizophrenia, however they are all based around the general idea of appealing to their audience.
TV viewers are slowly dropping as they are going to other sources for entertainment, but the amount of viewers is still high enough to the point that drug advertisements are continuously being shown. These commercials are slowly stirring up more controversies each day. USA TODAY states that these controversies are becoming more popular due to the fact that the drugs that are being advertised are rather expensive or have a “limited practicality for the average patient-viewer”.
Promoting drugs that have a high price, or are impractical, doesn’t seem to concern the drug advertisement department as they are only continuing to publish these ads. For example, the drug Lyrica costs $400 per 60 capsules, meaning that those who really need the drug may be unable to afford to keep the prescription going. Another factor that is changing within the advertisement is actually the side-effects that one may experience when taking the drugs. The commercials are focused primarily on things that will speak to the patient-viewers that are struggling with the disorder or issue the drug can correct.
For example, allergy commercials promote that once you start taking the allergy medication, you will be able to do things you used to be unable to do, such as playing with animals, walking around in the springtime, etc. This is something that someone with strong allergies would naturally be attracted to. However, when listing the side-effects, the commercial will divert the viewer’s attention with aesthetically pleasing pictures or videos, alongside pleasant music so that they don’t have their full attention on what the side effects actually are, therefore missing the major issues the drug may cause.
While drug commercials aren’t the only ones guilty of this technique, the products they are promoting can be dangerous if the viewer isn’t completely aware of the side effects they may be facing. Now before getting a prescription, patients must speak to their doctors about it, to see if it is best for them. However it seems to be growing more common that the patient’s want overpowers the doctor’s advice. The Placebo Effect is then put into motion. Due to the fact that patients are determined to get the medicine prescribed to them, they begin to develop ‘symptoms’ that would make their doctor more likely to let them have the prescription.
This can be unwise, especially if the patient’s financial situation isn’t the best as prescription prices are getting higher and higher every year. Despite the things that are happening, the drug advertisement business isn’t slowing down. Whether or not they will change their tactics is still unknown, but in the meantime, viewers are advised to make sure to properly research and discuss the drug they are interested in becoming prescribed to. www.pbs.org/newshour/ health/drug-commercials-like-prescription-costs-rise
Phones: a device that has overtaken the world. A reasonably small object that easily fits in your pocket is controlling our society. When the very first mobile phone was made in 1973, it was used for one thing: to call and talk to someone. Now almost 45 years later, cell phones are used for everything from calling or texting to playing games or solving a math equation. You basically have every book ever written on one note card sized phone.
About 36% of the world’s population owns a phone and about 68% of Americans own a smartphone. Now, I own a phone and in no way am I saying it a bad thing. In fact it can be quite helpful. For example, if you need to contact someone who is at work, or to find information for a project. The problem comes when people abuse the job of the phone or overuse it. When it becomes an addiction. It is going to affect your life, and it will have consequences.
Here are some statistics about cell phone ownership from psychguides.com:
60% of U.S. college students consider themselves to have a cell phone addiction.
71% of people sleep with or next to their cell phones.
Nearly 40% of people never disconnect from cell phones, even while on vacation.
44% of Americans say they couldn’t go a day without their mobile devices.
These statistics are concerning and show that our world revolves around cell phones.
There can be major consequences to having a phone addiction. When I got my first device, an iPod, I told myself this would never happen. Sadly, I didn’t really go through with it. If I was bored the first thing I would do would be to either check Facebook or watch YouTube. I was on my device a lot and I felt is change my family life. This happens to families all around America. Finally I realized I was truly on my device too much and so I made a change. I have realized that having an addition to a phone or other device has consequences.
It appears that some millennials of this world don’t seem to realize this. People divide from family, become afraid to not have their phone, and in some cases, even die because they were staring at their phone and crash or get hit by a car.
Our world needs to realize what is happening to our world and make a change. Yes phones are nice but in no way do we need to be on it all the time. Some changes we can make are: Raise awareness because most people don’t realize they are addicted to their phone. Personally: if you notice you are on your phone a lot, turn it all the way off. Yes that can be hard but it helps. Go do something else to get your mind of your phone and social media. Take a walk, play a board game with someone or read a book. These may seem like small things but over time it will make a difference.