It is an appalling but true fact that most people are unhappy with their appearance. Thanks greatly in part to society's harsh standards, we are pressured into looking, and even acting a certain way. Social media has shaped the expectations of the "ideal" human body; the only catch is that almost every single photo online has had some form of alteration. As a person who constantly struggles with body positivity, I find it completely unfair that the bodies we praise aren't real.
It took two years, boycotts by fans, declining TV ratings, growing alarm among advertisers, a drop in the sale of gear and especially a public shaming by President Trump, but the owners of NFL teams have finally decided their players will not be allowed to kneel or make other protests during the playing of the national anthem. The NFL Players Association claims the owners’ decision violates the players’ “free speech rights.” No it doesn’t. Players are perfectly free to protest anywhere, anytime they wish, just not at the start of games for which the owners pay them large amounts of money they are unlikely to make elsewhere. If you think free speech rights are valid wherever and whenever one wants to speak, try protesting something on company time where you work and see how long you keep your job.
There’s a heroic tale to tell about the Korean War service and sacrifice of Army Maj. Charles A. Newman, a tank commander from Glenview who led an assault on Chinese forces in May 1951. The story, appropriate for Memorial Day, involves bravery under fire and an impatient general who goads Newman while waving a swagger stick. “Get those god-damned tanks on the road and keep going until you hit a mine,” Lt. Gen. Edward Almond ordered. Newman got going, seized a bridgehead and thereby earned a place in military history books.
Thirteen: the number of years that I have attended public school in the United States. One hundred and fifty-four: the number of school shootings in K-12 schools to occur during school hours since I started kindergarten, per the Washington Post. The Cold War and consumerism molded the baby boomers. Rapid technological advancement and the fall of communism defined Gen Xers. The rise of social media and economic downturn characterized millennials. And, Generation Z? Our defining influence is gun violence in our schools. As a senior in high school, myself and other 18- and 17-year-olds are among the oldest members of Generation Z, commonly nicknamed iGen and the Selfie Generation. But even more distinctive than our dependence on the internet is our unique experience in schools foreign to all who came before us. Over the years, I have participated in countless lockdown drills, sat through five or six “real” threats, and watched as school and district administrators inadequately attempt to solve our school shooting problem because our lawmakers refuse to meet them halfway. Although school shootings are statistically extremely rare, the looming threat of their potential occurrence due to years of inaction from legislators shapes how children view their schools and how administrators formulate safety policies.
As we take time this Memorial Day weekend to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we also should remember the men and women of our Armed Forces who fought and returned as living casualties of war. At the core of the American military ethos is a pledge to leave no soldier behind. Yet, too often the soldiers we deploy to fight for our nation come home profoundly different – physically, mentally or emotionally wounded from war. Part of them has been left behind.
For students, bullying is, unfortunately, a natural part of their routine - whether they are the bullies or the bullied. Nationally, only 28 percent of students report experiencing bullying; this statistic is important as it indicates that the statistics regarding bullying rates may be gravely underestimated. Within schools, approximately 70 percent of students and staff report witnessing bullying. The statistics also report that 15 percent of high school students experience cyber-bullying.
When bluster ends in capitulation, what do other negotiating partners see? Blood in the water. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, surely absorbed the lesson from the Trump administration’s recent dealings with China. He saw how rashly President Trump waged trade war against China and how rapidly he retreated at the first sign of serious resistance.
Today, fellow spymasters, we must briefly interrupt our fascination with President Donald Trump’s latest Twitter binge of victimization – his weeklong claims that he and his presidential campaign were innocent victims of a scandalous FBI spy caper. To help us evaluate our president’s self-pitying tweet week, we’re going to play our first-ever intelligence role-playing game – Spymaster vs Spymaster.
On Sunday, actor/musician Gary Sinise will again co-host the National Memorial Day Concert from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. It will be the 29th annual concert on the 150th anniversary of Memorial Day. The format is much the same as in past years. Sinise and “Criminal Minds” star Joe Mantegna team with retired Army Gen. Colin Powell to remember those who have sacrificed for our country, our freedom and our way of life. It will attract millions of viewers across our nation and at American military installations around the world.
The already meager rights of American workers just got significantly smaller, thanks to the Supreme Court. It ruled Monday that employees can use contracts with workers to ban them from joining class-action lawsuits – and to mandate individual arbitration in the event of disputes. The decision came in a case that pitted two conflicted federal statutes against one another. As the Wall Street Journal summarized: