Category Archives: Editorial

Premier: Life with Harry Smith

Harry Smith is an average man bored with life and seeking comfort from his television.  Living on the edge of habitual boredom, his life is forever transformed when he decides to develop a friendship with his last french fry.

A metaphorical jaunt into the constant cliches students face every day in which they have been chillingly desensitized.

Rogue One Success and Failures; FBCHS Students Call It with Harrison Hertzberg

FBCHS Students Leah Roth & Ty Olsen discuss Rogue One with Harrison
Rebels… FBCHS Students Leah Roth & Ty Olsen discuss Rogue One with Harrison Photo by

The Bird Eye News with Harrison Hertzberg allows students to share their views of the last Star Wars movie Rogue One.

Here is a bonus comedy sketch, concerning the conspiracy theory that Jar Jar Binks is actually a Sith lord.

 

 

Hillary ‘Colludes’ with DOJ… Story by Florence Bates

As its likely well-known by now, Hillary Clinton has previously deleted over thirty-thousand emails from her private server. Last Tuesday, the Trump campaign called out the Department of Justice discharge all of Clinton’s communications between her and her supporters to prove the investigation an overboard situation.

A picture shot during James Comey and Loretta Lynch spoke about Hillary Clinton’s emails, making it obvious that Clinton has been being given a special treatment.
A picture shot during James Comey and Loretta Lynch spoke about Hillary Clinton’s emails, making it obvious that Clinton has been being given a special treatment.

After this took place, WikiLeaks hacked and leaked out recent messages. In these hacked emails, DOJ spokesman, Brian Fallon, was found updating processes relating to the investigation relating to Hillary’s emails. “DOJ folks inform me there is a status hearing in this case this morning, so we could have a window into the judge’s thinking about this proposed production schedule as quickly as today,” Brian Fallon sent to Hillary Clinton on May 19th of 2015. Later the same day of the release, Donald Trump’s communication advisor, Jason Miller, said, “Today’s report that Clinton’s campaign was in communication with the Obama Department of Justice on the email investigation shows a level of collusion which calls into question the entire investigation into her private server.”

For having access to Clinton’s emails, the State Department was sued and the litigation soon was in process to determine a date to release the messages. Another matter on hand was the Justice Department putting a criminal probe within Hillary Clinton’s classified materials was irrelevant to the case.

– A photo of Hillary Clinton claiming the situation between the DOJ and the leaked videos was ‘colluded
– A photo of Hillary Clinton claiming the situation between the DOJ and the leaked videos was ‘colluded

After the charges from the Trump campaign had been given, James Comey, a director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Loretta Lynch on the behalf of the Department of Justice, had made it obvious that Hillary was being given a ‘special treatment’ considering the two directors of the DOJ continued to spin their story. People below these directors from the Department of Justice now know that Hillary is getting these sudden privileges. By managing to exploit this, James Comey from the FBI is said to have permanently ruined the reputation of the bureau. This has been stated by veteran agents of the FBI. They have also claimed James Comey to be ‘cowardly’ due to neglect to the investigation and mishandlings of evidence through the use private servers.

After the situation, Comey argued that at was a mass of FBI agents’ fault, those of whom were under Comey himself. He stated, “So if I blew it, they blew it too.” This showed that he took no responsibility for his actions. Though, agents claim that Comey basically ‘forced’ the agents into agreeing to basic rules and demands from lawyers that are defending Hillary Clinton as well as her aids. Dennis V. Hughes, a first chief of the computer investigations unit of the FBI, claimed, “In my 25 years with the bureau, I never had any ground rules in my interviews.” This event has shown how the FBI and DOJ are really corrupt and that Hillary is above the law in a sense. Could Hillary Clinton still be a ‘great’ candidate for president even with so much lies and fraud stirring up the country?

Rated M for Marketing… Story by L.B. Van Dine

: Rated M by the ESRB… this is what people will see on the cases to games that are recommended to 17+ players
Rated M by the ESRB… this is what people will see on the cases to games that are recommended to 17+ players

It’s incredibly noticeable that the standard of what is and what isn’t safe for children to view is changing. When you look at a game rated “T” for teen what do you think most teenagers think? Apparently most don’t find these games appealing considering that these games are becoming more incredibly scarce as more games are being produced. This is the exact same thing that happened to the G-Rating concerning movies. There are no longer movies being released with the rating as “G” because that causes immediate judgement and the film will not receive nearly as much profit as Rated R Dead Pool for example.

Halo 5 sold less than all of its previous games in the franchise. This could all be due to a poorly made game, but the Halo series is one of the most iconic series’ on the Xbox, why didn’t it get the same sales as its predecessors? Could it be the fact that Halo 5 has been rated-T and the moment kids saw that rating in the corner it lost its appeal?

The most mainstream games are rated M for mature matters such as blood and gore, drugs, sexual content, inappropriate language, and graphic violence. However, just because they are rated M it doesn’t mean that it’s only interesting to a mature audience. According to a survey by The Pew Research Center reported “in 2008 that 97% of youths ages 12 to 17 played some type of video game, and that two-thirds of them played action and adventure games that tend to contain violent content.” Just because something isn’t recommended to children doesn’t mean it isn’t marketed towards them.

Various games… that are popular with many people and a large amount of the interest is with children photo by dailymail.co.uk
Various games… that are popular with many people and a large amount of the interest is with children photo by dailymail.co.uk

Today, many kids are constantly lining up to buy big titles games such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Grand Theft Auto.  Many voices heard online are the voices of children online, probably no older than eleven years of age. It shows that a rating holds no meaning it is merely a regulated recommendation, but it’s pretty noticeable that people often ignore these recommendations.

Some of these games seem like they can make the cut and be considered games rated for Teens, but there are many on the internet who feel that game industries add extra blood, gore, and profanity only to get the game to reach rated M on the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s scale. One hundred percent of students asked at FBCHS believe that the gaming industries would purposely rate these games as mature to market and make it seem more appealing to children.

 

Editorial: Students sue the U.S. Government over Climate Change… Story K

Students protest the government's failure to respond to climate change
Students protest the government’s failure to respond to climate change

It is surprising to see that a judge in Oregon did not dismiss a lawsuit filed against the federal government for its failure to take action against fossil fuel emissions. Usually the issue of the future of our planet is ignored because the corporations that are poisoning our planet control our government. The so-called “representatives” are wealthy elites working in the interest of big business.

The future of our planet is in our hands
The future of our planet is in our hands.

What makes this case especially interesting is the fact that these are children who are trying to make a case against the government. Will government act in its own interest or in the interest of future generations? If we were in their position, I think a lot of Americans would side with the children. Different sources have different views on how much of America believes in global warming. Thinkprogress.org says 70% of Americans believe in global warming. Wikipedia says 67% believe it is a threat.

Graph of climate change - provided by NASA
Graph of climate change – provided by NASA

The case being made is that by failing to take action against climate change, the U.S. government is denying them their constitutional right to life. If we are not following the constitution, then we are no longer a constitutional republic. If most of America believes in global warming and think it is a threat, then how can the politicians do nothing about it and claim they act in our interest?

I think the most important question here is: what kind of world do we want to make for our future generations? How do we want our society to be remembered? If we start asking those questions, then it could make a difference.

For more info visit Democracy Now!

Standardized: The testing industry’s cutthroat profit margin… By Mack Jastle

As the shuffle of test booklets and the scratching of #2 pencils echoes through the halls, one thing is made clear.  It’s testing season.  that means  students all across the country will be taking standardized tests that will directly affect their lives moving forward.  Well, at least the companies paid to create these tests care about the students….right?

It’s not quite that simple.  The testing industry is literally a billion-dollar industry, raking in total profits of close to two billion dollars annually.  Millions of dollars are spent every year lobbying federal and state officials to support policies that enforce standardized testing.  In some cases, these officials are even hired by these companies.

You may be wondering which companies are being mentioned here.  This brings us to the four titans of the testing industry, these being McGraw-Hill, ETS, Houghton Mifflin, and Pearson Education.  These are the kinds of names that you see on most tests and, coincidentally, the textbooks to study for them.  These four control the bulk of the lucrative testing industry, and thus control a large amount of the American educational system.

Lucrative…..The testing industry’s profits total in the billions annually, and that number only rises as more students enter the system. Photo-by: Politico
Lucrative… The testing industry’s profits total in the billions annually, and that number only rises as more students enter the system. Photo-by: Politico

In addition to cornering the testing market, they also make a fortune providing textbooks for college and K-12 students to study from.  And, as anyone who has ever had to foot the bill for one of those books knows, they are very expensive.  Those expensive books make those four companies a lot of money, in addition to the profit they make from the tests themselves.

Today, our education is more of a testocracy than ever.  The average American student has to take a total of 112 mandated standardized tests before graduation.  By contrast, most countries currently outperforming the US in education test their students three times during their K-12 education.

Seems a little suspicious, right?  Those statistics mean that even though American students take thirty-seven times more standardized the tests than the leading nations, we are still far behind.  This brings up a good point; why have so many standardized tests if they aren’t improving our nation’s intelligence?

To answer that question, we’re going to have to dig deeper, and ask a lot more questions.  (Counter-intuitive, I know).

How did standardized tests become so deeply embedded in our education?  What caused this dependence on standardized testing that we currently have now?  The answers to these questions lie hidden in the history of Standardized Tests’ Past, we must first look at America’s history of educational reform.

Educational reform was seriously batted around near the end of the twentieth century, when worldwide surveys concluded that America was falling far behind in its’ educational standards.

The response from legislators and policymakers was decisive.

Standardized testing was pushed as the be-all end all to improve our standings in the world.  While testing was pushed forward, it wasn’t until 2001 that the testing industry really began to pick up steam, when President Bush unveiled the No Child Left Behind Act.

The NCLB massively increased the number of standardized tests taken by American schoolchildren, and severely penalized schools that either failed to give these tests or consistently scored poorly on them.

Ever since, American students have learned to fear the testing season.  But for the testing companies themselves, testing season is met with considerably more excitement.

Is it healthy to have our intelligence benchmark measured entirely by standardized testing?  Is it worth it for us to spend this much money and put our faith into testing?

Standard…..Standardized tests have become the primary method for state and national measure of academic achievement. Photo-by: morecaucusnyc.org
Standard… Standardized tests have become the primary method for state and national measure of academic achievement. Photo-by: morecaucusnyc.org

The answer is murky at best.  While standardized testing does give us statistics to base improvements on, it can lead to teachers teaching to the test, and to students with less resources being unfairly prejudiced against.  The educational value of the questions is also dubious…are these questions really helping our children improve, or just conditioning them to agree with the testmakers?  Evaluating a student’s intelligence based on how they did on one particular day is fundamentally flawed, and we have to figure out a better way.

We have to seriously evaluate just how much we want to go into standardized testing, and whether or not we want continue funneling money to these companies.

America has a decision to make.  Despite all of this increased testing, we are still far down on the education totem pole.  We must decide whether or not our current level of standardized testing is needed, or if we should cut back.

America, get your No. 2 pencils out, because you’re being put to the test.

Middle East Crisis Prediction or Plan?… Story By K

Prediction or logical conclusion... General Wesley Clark between circa 1997 and 2000.
Prediction or logical conclusion… General Wesley Clark between circa 1997 and 2000.

General Wesley Clark was general of the United States Army from 1966 to 2000. In 2003, on Democracy Now! and in his book Winning Modern Wars he outlined a plan from within the government to “take out seven countries in five years”. These counties were: “beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off Iran.”

All of these countries are now in a state of political, economic, and/or social chaos. What Wesley Clark is suggesting is that this could be the result of U.S. military action and/or C.I.A. operatives. This is the same man who served in the Kosovo and the Vietnam Wars.

When ISIS / ISIL is left unchecked... Map showing regions in Syria and Iraq controlled by ISIS.
When ISIS / ISIL is left unchecked… Map showing regions in Syria and Iraq controlled by ISIS.

General Wesley Clark goes on to explain that if it were not for oil, the Middle East would be like Africa. There are horrible regimes and governments in Africa, but no one is threatening to intervene. In fact the U.S. government supported Apartheid South Africa. Then president, Richard Nixon thought it was important to keep a close relationship with the white leaders. (source: THE BIRTH AND DEATH OF A TAR BABY:  HENRY KISSINGER AND SOUTHERN AFRICA. A Thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School at the University of Missouri Columbia by Aaron T Dowdall and supervised by Dr. Carol Anderson in December 2009)

Many people would like to believe that the U.S. and Britain are special somehow and they won’t do terrible things for power, but they are not. They are just as hungry for power as any other country. The U.S. government will lie and use “terrorists” as scapegoats so that they can get cheaper oil and impose their power upon countries that don’t comply with the global capitalist system (like the “socialist” government in Somalia).

It is important to note that I try not to say “our government” or “we went in to this country”. This is because WE do not do anything. They do it and say they’re acting in our name. We should not make the mistake of thinking that the U.S. government actually acts in our interest, they act in the interest of big business.

What General Wesley Clark is saying is important. It proves that the U.S. did not go to war in those seven countries because of nuclear or terrorist threats. The U.S. government is mainly interested in maintaining the “petrodollar” and exercising it’s power.

Is Artificial Intelligence Going Too Far? Story By John Holmes

Artificial Intelligence: a subject of inquiry for many technologists and scientists alike. The thought of robots and computers doing a share of our work – such as cleaning house, putting away groceries, and feeding the cat – is enticing to countless people. This dream of a life of luxury with our own mechanical servants has been pursued in various genres of engineering, advancing this technology to become self-thinking. But could we be taking it too far? Could an army of autonomous, intelligent servants eventually rebel to become the masters?

Sophia…the crazy-eyed android. Photo by: CNET.com.
Sophia…the crazy-eyed android. Photo by: CNET.com.

This fear arises with the crazy-eyed android, Sophia. Created by Hanson Robotics, Sophia is equipped with many advanced features – such as 62 facial and neck architectures, camera eyes that allow her to recognize faces, speech recognition software, and her own personality (dubbed by Hanson as “Character Engine AI”). She even has a silicon skin called Frubber.

Sophia’s main purpose is healthcare, but Hanson wants to put droids like her in education, therapy, and customer service as well.

As it seems, Sophia has some of her own ambitions. As she in an interview, someday she wants to” go to school, study, make art…even have [her] own home and family.”

David Hanson, the owner of Hanson Robotics, began to explain how robots like Sophia could help us humans – do our work for us. Sophia’s face went into an eerie sneer and her eyes creepily twitched – quite the insane look. Hanson then asked Sophia never to say she is going to destroy the human race, to which she promptly responded “Okay. I will destroy the human race.”

Hanson said it was probably a glitch – but this is the most advanced AI robot in the world. How can an advanced robot say she is going to destroy her very creators? If Siri told me she was going to destroy the human race, I’d switch to a Samsung phone. If this is a glitch, Hanson better fix it before they market this product.

A.I…the movie of robotic empathy. Photo by: google.com.
A.I…the movie of robotic empathy. Photo by: google.com.

Of course, I may be pushing the issue a bit. Artificially Intelligent droids may not end up like the terminator. Perhaps we will end up with robots looking for empathy – such as in Steven Spielberg’s 2001 movie A.I. In this movie, a robotic boy – David – is adopted by a family, but when circumstances arise that make life difficult, David leaves sets off on a journey to find out where he belongs.

Will humans eventually be wiped out due to glitchy AIs? Or will robots become so intelligent that they feel we humans are irrelevant, and thus worthy of extermination? Whatever the case, we better prepare ourselves and tread carefully in the study of AI.

Capitalism v. Socialism: The Political Scale… Story By John Holmes

Story 6 michelsenbrandon_302_92678_socialism_or_capitalism-3This year’s presidential race has been an exciting – and very distressing – event. Featuring candidates on two separate ends of the spectrum, the 2016 Presidential Election will be a deciding factor in the future of our country. The question has been on the minds of Americans nationwide – who will be our country’s president? With two entirely different political structures racing for your vote, perhaps the better question is what system will work?

One system presented is a socialist system. With a promise of increased wages and income equality, a socialist system sounds enticing, but is it really what our country needs?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Socialism is defined as “any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.” This means that the government holds power over how any form of goods are produced and distributed. For example, let’s say you own a company that produces candy bars. In a socialist system, the government is allowed to take the candy bars you worked to produce and distributes them as they see fit.

At first glance, this system sounds safe. However, a government in this system is given an immense amount of power. With control of production and distribution of goods, a government holds control over the people. For example, when government distributes food, they decide what groups get a certain amount of rations.

This type of government control is known as totalitarianism – defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority.” Basically, in a totalitarian government, you as a citizen are wholly subject to the government’s authority. A full-on socialist government requires a totalitarian approach – a frightening realization, isn’t it.

There are various totalitarian dictatorships that began with a socialist approach: Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialist Party; Joseph Stalin, dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; Benito Mussolini, the Italian Premiere for 21 years. These men used a socialist approach to accomplish their own goals rather than the goals of the community.

However, not all socialist governments turn to such a corrupt entity as these. But there are still more subtle problems with socialism. One of them would be us as laborers.

In a socialist society, the usual concept is that goods are given to a governmental entity to be distributed. The said entity proceeds to distribute the goods equally among the people – at least, that’s the general idea. This system does not work for several reasons. First, socialism promotes a communal ownership of property. This sounds nice, but human nature does not allow it to work. Humans have a psychological impulse for private possession.

One main reason why we long for private possession is because it defines us – according to 19th Century psychologist William James. Private ownership does not only apply to material things, but corporate or business ownership as well. You’ve probably felt satisfaction when you are using something of your own design – say, a homemade sandwich. That homemade sandwich just feels better because you know it is your own, you made it with your own hands. In a socialist system, the products and goods created may define the community, but they do not have individualism.

Jamestown…est. 1607. Photo by: History.com.
Jamestown…est. 1607. Photo by: History.com.

In the 17th Century, New World settlers faced this problem. In 1607, residents of Jamestown faced what was known as the “starving time,” where many of the colonists died of famine – despite the abundant food sources. According to Tom Bethell, in his book The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity through the Ages, the settlers were dying due to the lack of private land. The colonists were required to submit their land to the community store – and this made them indolent in their work. This caused them to have a lack of food, causing the famine. However, a new governor came and set up a capitalist system, in which the colonists had their own land. This allowed them to have an increased food store, and better prospects of survival.

Now, the United States has not been entirely without socialism. During World War II, the U.S used several socialist strategies, such as food rations. However, these systems did not work, and it took the private ownership of grocery stores to reinvigorate the economy.

The idea of private ownership in the economy is known as capitalism. Capitalism is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods.” Private ownership in the economy is good for a variety of reasons. First of all, it allows for that possession and individualism that socialism forbids. A person can create their own product and keep their own profit. They can define their company and create a name for themselves.

Capitalism also embraces competition. Two companies may be trying to innovate a new technology, and the competition between them will generate new ideas and better societal advancement. But competition doesn’t stop there. Two stores may be selling the same product, and they will compete with each other for customers. Companies do this by lowering prices – making it cheaper for you as a consumer.

Another positive factor of capitalism is freedom of choice. Unlike a socialist system, capitalism allows for a consumer to choose what they want to buy, where they want to shop, and even how they shop. A corporation is free to choose what they produce, how they manufacture it, and what price it should be set at.

Though there are many positive effects of capitalism, there are still negative possibilities. Too much capitalism could result in a fascist government. Fascism is defined as “a political philosophy, movement, or regime…that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic [governed by one individual or group] government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Capitalism can lead into a fascist rule where corporations or individuals with a corporate benefit rule the people.

To prevent this, a laissez-faire capitalist system is promoted. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Laissez-faire is defined as “a doctrine opposing governmental interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary for the maintenance of peace and property rights.” This system helps to separate corporations and governments beyond the minimum necessary for the economy to run.

Both systems seem to result in a negative end – too much socialism results in totalitarianism and too much capitalism results in an oligarchy (rule by the few). How do we keep the economy owned by the people? We need a balanced mixture of the two systems. For example, laissez-faire capitalism would be used in the private sector of the economy – corporations and businesses – by using small government intervention to prevent corporate monopolies and lobbying on the benefit of the businesses. Socialism would be used in community owned systems, such as electrical power and water supply. This balance allows for the overall economy to operate at the perfect point, but it is still not enough to prevent full rule by the government.

Thomas Paine, in his 1776 pamphlet “Common Sense,” wrote that “the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world.” Therefore, government is put in place to help lead citizens of a country in a moral direction. If immoral people are running government, then the government will become corrupt – trading in the good of the people for their own self-interest. This is how a totalitarian or fascist government arises – through immoral rule of government.

So, as my last point, I want to caution the reader of the upcoming election. Vote wisely – be sure to research the candidates and their political systems – and vote for the most moral contender. This is the most efficient way to keep our country from falling into a reign of terror under a government regime.