Category Archives: US News

After NRA Policy Change, Delta’s Tax Cuts Crash and Burn

EthanBenn, Staff Reporter

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Parkland, Fla., Delta Airlines began to reconsider its relationship with the National Rifle Association of America (as have other companies in various sectors). Ultimately, Delta “rescinded a one-time group travel discount for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting, and asked the organization to remove [their] name and logo from their website.” This prompted Republicans in the Georgia General Assembly to pull a tax exemption for jet fuel directed towards the airline.  

Compared to fiery condemnations from elected officials, student protesters and celebrities, Delta’s handling of its relationship with the NRA could be described as being less dramatic. In fact, the rescinding of the discount came as part of a renewed push to “remain neutral” and stay away from such a divisive issue like gun control – Delta CEO Ed Bastian voiced that “we are supporters of the 2nd Amendment, just as we embrace the entire Constitution of the United States.” While it appears that Delta intends to refrain from taking either side in this debate, Casey Cagle, the Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, was quick to retaliate.

“I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” Cagle tweeted soon after Delta announced its new policy toward the NRA and its members. Because Cagle holds an incredibly important position in the Georgia legislature, his statement was of particular importance – without Cagle’s approval, the tax cut for fuel aimed at Delta would be doomed to fail.

As Republicans scrambled to strip the provision that would have given the airline millions of dollars, the public and other state officials were quick to comment on Cagle’s tweet, accusing him of extortion and offering Delta the chance to relocate its headquarters out of Atlanta. “@Delta, if Georgia politicians disagree with your stand against gun violence, we invite you to move your headquarters to New York,” tweeted the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo was not the only governor to make such a plea though it is unlikely that Delta would move away from its base at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.

Delta declined to shift its operations to another state, and the Georgia General Assembly moved to strike the $50 million dollar exemption for jet fuel from a larger tax bill, following up on Cagle’s threat. The Republican-led Senate voted for the new version of the exemptions, and the Republican House overwhelmingly agreed to approve the jet fuel free version after having already voted for the original bill.

Though Governor Nathan Deal (R) signed the exemptions into law, he stressed the importance of “Southern Hospitality” in how Georgia deals with private companies, as well as cautioning against poorly thought out policies and political maneuvering. Several Democratic representatives raised points that companies such as Amazon might avoid Georgia in the wake of this decision, further stressing the importance of this issue.  


Hope for the Democrats

MaddieYashinsky, Sports Editor

Jon Ossoff, who is currently running a firm specializing in anti-corruption investigations, was one of five Democrats running in a special election in Georgia’s 6th congressional district. On Jan. 5, 2017, Ossoff announced his candidacy for the special election after previous seat holder, Tom Price announced that he had been named Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary. Ossoff quickly became the most desirable democratic candidate in the race. He was endorsed by prominent figures such as congressman Hank Johnson and John Lewis as well as state House Democratic leader Stacey Abrams. Ossoff has raised over $8.3 million by early April of 2017.

Ossoff fell just short of capturing a House seat in a longtime conservative area of Georgia. Ossoff received 48.1% of the vote. He needed to get 50% in order to win outright. He and Republican candidate Karen Handel, who received 19.8% will now face off in a runoff election in June.

It wasn’t the election results however that made this special election such a popular topic of discussion. Rather, It was the statistics leading up to it that impacted the Republicans living in the area. The election is seen by many as an early test of how the first few months of Donald Trump’s presidency may have shifted the opinions or voter enthusiasm of educated suburban voters who live in swing districts. Trump under-performed in districts with demographics similar to the 6th during the 2016 election, having won the 6th District by only 1 percentage point. Fulton county Georgia has always been primarily Republican. In 2012 Mitt Romney won by 23 points in this district, and Republican Rep. Tom Price was re-elected with nearly 62% of the vote in 2016 here before being named Trump’s health and human services secretary.

“There is no doubt that this is already a victory for the ages,” Ossoff told supporters the night of the election. “That no matter what the outcome is tonight- whether we take it all or whether we fight on — we have survived the odds. We have shattered expectations. We are changing the world. Your voices are going to ring out across this state and across this country.” Many supporters of Ossoff and what the campaign stood for coined the phrase “Flip the 6th” as the election was being held.

Flooding Strikes California

MatthewKohn, Staff Reporter

After a five year drought, California is receiving more rain that it can handle. In fact, there has been so much rain in northern California that the water level in Lake Oroville has risen significantly. This caused water to overflow and flood over the emergency spillways and with the water flowing over the spillway, a hole has formed from erosion near the wall. If the erosion reaches it, the entire wall could collapse, causing millions of gallons of water to flood the surrounding area. This has brought great concern and led to the call for nearby towns to be immediately evacuated, almost 200,000 residents left their homes and fled to safer grounds.

In the past few days, state officials and the Oroville Dam workers have done everything that they can to try to minimize the flooding. They have intentionally released water from the lake to drop the level of it, and have begun to patch up the erosion with cement and rocks. These attempts to reduce the risk are helping and the locals should be excited, however there is a storm on the way that might cause problems with the lake and the damaged dam. This storm approaching could cause the same type of problems with the dam that the last one caused Residents should still take cover for the time being due to this storm, as it imposes a major threat.

Hopefully with the worst of it behind them, Californians can look to resolve the problem at hand. This flood has been a major wake-up call to the state about the current state of the Oroville dam. Renovations should be made to the dam to improve the almost fifty-year-old structure. The dam should be ready to endure these types of storms and should have more features that serve as insurances. For the time being, the problem with the incoming storm needs to be resolved before any permanent adjustments can be made. Even though, the current crisis was averted, the dam needs to be updated to ensure that this problem will not happen again.

Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways

DrakeMackley, Staff Reporter

Idaho technology company, SolarRoadways, is being contracted to test their solar panel road design on iconic, Route 66. Local Missouri government is looking to the public for funding assistance to pay for the final amounts needed to start placing panels on the roads before the first snowfall of 2016. The solar roadway product was first announced in 2014 on Indiegogo, then promoted via a promotional video since the release of the video SolarRoadways has raised over $2.2 million in public funding.

According to the American Geophysical Union’s June 2004 article, there are 32,000 square miles of roads, sidewalks and other pavements that could be replaced with solar roadway panels. After adjusting solar yields due to road angles, glass thickness and weather, the solar roadways would produce 14,085 billion kilowatt-hours along the Canadian border. If the same tests were recreated in southern states, the yields would increase.

So how much energy is 14,085 billion kilowatt-hours? The Energy Information Administration stated in 2010 that the total energy consumption for all 50 states was 3,741 billion kilowatt-hours. If SolarRoadways placed their product on every road and sidewalk in the United States, our roads would be able to provide over three times the energy that Americans use. According to SolarRoadways, 50% of the greenhouse gases that are produced worldwide are a result of burning fossil fuels for electricity. Solar panel roads have the ability to cut greenhouse gases emitted through the burning of fossil fuels.

The second highest producer of harmful pollution is carbon emissions from motor vehicles and SolarRoadways panels also have a solution for that. The design released by SolarRoadways has the capability to charge electric vehicles, while they are driving in order to increase the range of electric cars and make them more practical. Solar roadway panels have the capability to reduce contribution to greenhouse gases by 75%. Solar roadways are more than just a road and solar panel mixed together. These hexagonal, LED filled, glass covered devices are intelligent. They remain snow and ice-free due to internal heating which keeps the roads over 32 degrees fahrenheit, and they require no paint. The panels also give a heads-up on the road for upcoming obstructions such as animals and fallen trees and provide safe placement for telephone and internet cables. Regions that receive more than five inches of snow annually are 70% of the US roadways. In winter, panels heat up then melt the snow/ice to prevent reductions in arrival times, speeds, and the 24 percent of automobile accidents that occur on snow-related roads every year. Not only would solar roads increase quality of life, but it is also more economically efficient. The US Department of Transportation stated that in 2009 the US spent 2.3 billion dollars on snow and ice control and additional funds repairing roads due to harmful climate effects.

SolarRoadways could be the solution to worldwide electricity; however, according to VOX, the cost to place this product in every American road would come close to $56 trillion. The American people will have to decide whether the huge price tag is worth the benefits that solar roadways provide.

Where Does the Gun Point Now?

JourneySherman, LeahZarzour and LavanyaChellam

 On Friday Nov. 13, ISIS attacked a Paris concert venue, Batlacan, slaughtering 129 people. Lesser acknowledged attacks occurred the day before in Beirut and Baghdad. Over 60 individuals were killed by suicide bombers.

It seems like there is an unfortunate, never ending stream of breaking news regarding ISIS. By adding more nations to their “hit list,” they make it known that no one is safe or out of harm’s way. It seems like their weekly threats have become daily. ISIS has rattled the world, and the world is holding its breath in lamentation for the prodigious heap of unnecessary deaths. The attacks have left many feeling as though they live in homes made of twigs, and until now ISIS was just the big bad wolf that only existed in storybooks.Their infamous beheading videos would  seem like child’s play if we had only believed what was coming.

The organization describes the current situation in layman’s terms as “the calm before the storm.” If the massacring of almost 200 people within 48 hours isn’t “as bad as can be,” according to ISIS, the world needs to brace itself for that which will come.

     The ringleader of The Paris attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was recently killed in a raid in a  Paris suburb Nov.18. He is accused of leading the phalanx of gunmen and suicide bombers into the concert venue and surrounding cafes, killing over 100 innocent individuals.

With the western media constantly covering the massacre in Paris, little concern was shown in regards to the terrorist attacks in Beirut and Baghdad. When the stories were pushed through The New York Times and The Washington Post, they were quickly overshadowed by the horrific attacks in Paris, one of our nation’s favorite cities.

Although these attacks occurred across the world, Chattahoochee was still impacted. Theodore Rizo (SO), believes “Paris holds a special place in many Americans’ hearts. If you even whisper the name Paris, their eyes glaze over as they go on a daydream-vacation to the city of lights. The western media has taken advantage of that and continues to strike fear in the hearts of many so as to gain more views and make more money.”  

Social media outlets Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook were overflowing with concerns for Paris to the point where it consumed the media. Little did the world know that terror would pursue before they could swallow their fears down.

 On Sunday Nov. 21, terror struck even closer to home when an online group, called Anonymous, unearthed a possible ISIS threat to a WWE event at Philipps Arena. The threat was later proved false, but the fear and investigative tension grew nonetheless, because the wolf does come eat the boy when the villagers refuse to believe the child’s wail.

The world is plagued with worry and fear and fights—of  what will come, and even worse—when and how it will.


Be Careful What You Post: Social Media and Free Speech


How far can a threat posted on Facebook go to be considered a legitimate safety concern?
Would restricting an individual’s rights to posting be considered a violation of the First Amendment? One man argues just that, taking his case to the Supreme Court.

A Pennsylvania man, Anthony Elonis, was arrested and convicted for posting threatening posts towards his estranged wife on his Facebook page. He began writing these posts back in 2010 when his wife left him and took their two children. Elonis used violent, descriptive language in the posts, including statements such as, “I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts.”

His wife, fearing for her safety, successfully filed a restraining order against Elonis. After violating the restraining order, he was arrested, and was sentenced to four years in prison. Yet, he continued to post threatening messages, now directed at even more people. One of these posts directed at his wife stated, “Fold up your protective order and put [it] in your pocket. Is it thick enough
to stop a bullet?”

Elonis insists that the posts were not meant to be taken seriously, that he was writing rap lyrics as a form of venting—not something to be taken too seriously. He says that the process was “therapeutic” for him in working out the sadness of his wife leaving him.

The main question behind this case is the intent of the man behind the words. When the man posted the threats, was there a motive to actually harm his wife? That is where the prosecutors come in. “How does one prove what’s in somebody else’s mind?” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked Mr. Elonis’s lawyer.

In addition, if posting threatening messages online were to be banned by law, some fear that it could lead to the suppression of the First Amendment right to free speech. By expressing his thoughts and ideas online, Elonis insists that he was simply exercising this right.

“That concern is all the more pressing in the online context,” his lawyer said, since, “many of the people who are being prosecuted now are teenagers who are essentially shooting off their mouths or making sort of ill-timed, sarcastic comments, which wind up getting them thrown in jail.”

Hence, Should verbal intimidation be an accepted form of free speech? That is up to the judges in this case to decide.

Ferguson Hits Home for Hooch



On Aug. 9, 2014 the nation was rocked back on its heels when police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. In the months following the incident, the Ferguson case has been at the top of every news site in the country as protests, some violent, rage on and more and more cases of police brutality toward blacks are brought to light. The case has been given more attention in the last couple of weeks due to the jury’s “no indictment” decision regarding the officer and the outrage among US citizens that has erupted as a result.

Not one person is immune to the case, with people of all ages, races and genders getting involved in the movement. Teenagers and young adults have taken the case personally since Michael was only 18 and this generation seems adamant on positive change. In particular, Chattahoochee students have joined other Atlanta residents for the cause of ending police brutality and acting on the principle of equality and justice for all.

The wave of action in Atlanta began on a Wednesday in late October when “a human blockade temporarily formed on I-75/85 northbound as protesters halted traffic,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. Atlanta police spokesman Officer John Chafee said a number of protesters were present on the Downtown Connector near Freedom Parkway. Their presence blocked traffic for a short time (AJC). These protests hit close to home with other Atlanta teens and acted as the green light for change in our school.

Peyton Rowe (SR) suggested that students follow the lead of other schools and stage a walk-out during the pledge of allegiance the Monday after Thanksgiving break. Carly Rudnick (SR) took probably the most dramatic step in raising awareness at Hooch for the case and its repercussions. She helped share a petition, written anonymously, that called for a four- and- a-half minute moment of silence during the pledge to highlight the four and a half hours Mike Brown lay dead after the shooting. The letter stated “We pledge allegiance to the United States every morning, yet it has failed to grant liberty and justice for all. I think it would be nice if we as a school sent a message of support, and therefore I want to send this email to administration.” The letter noted that its purpose was in no way related to the jury’s verdict released the previous Monday; it was created to “show support for the Brown family and for the safety of the people in Ferguson.”

It brought up how the students understand that this is “a polarizing issue that the administration may not want to take a stance on,” but it reached out for their support of the change that must take place in our society. Students were free to comment on the post and add their names to the bottom to show their support. However, the petition was not accepted and the moment of silence was not followed through. While action may not have taken place in these instances, Chattahoochee students still contributed to the hundreds of thousands of social media posts pertaining to the case. The students recognized the power of social media and used it to their advantage to share their opinions, offer condolences and support and demand change in an argument for equality that has been prevalent for years but never stopped. Chattahoochee students are the next generation of social action leaders, and they have proved that they will not stand for injustice or offense resulting from years of ripe aggression.