Friday, December 8, 2017

A Eulogy for What.cd, and the Ethics of Piracy for Preservation

Jeremy Pether
Staff Writer

“So long and thanks for all the fish.” This was the final message OiNK users would receive from the site’s staff before its doors were closed forever. The well-known “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” quote was the sign that Oink’s Pink Palace, or OiNK for short, had met its end. OiNK was a private tracker where users could illegally download music, ebooks, and software through the BitTorrent protocol. On Oct. 23, 2007, a raid by Interpol brought the site down and seized the domain. Servers were confiscated and admins were arrested, but there wasn’t enough data on the actual users to make any arrests.
 Despite the shutdown, the users were not deterred. Internet piracy is like a hydra; cut off one head and more will pop up. On Oct. 27, just four days after OiNK's doors were forcibly closed, former OiNK user WhatMan launched What.cd. Shortly after came other contenders, like newcomer Waffles, and the Pirate Bay’s quickly abandoned BOiNK. What.cd struggled for dominance against Waffles, but in the end, it solidified its place as the new major music tracker.
 The main thing that separated What.cd from OiNK was its userbase. While OiNK invites were easily available, and people joined just to get free albums, the users of What.cd were of a completely different nature. Invites couldn’t be given out publicly, and users were responsible for the people they invited as well. Without an invite, the only other way to get in was an IRC (internet relay chat) interview about ripping, encoding and categorizing music. Prospective users were asked questions about themselves, other sites they were a member of, and about audio formats and transcoding. Audio related questions covered everything from what files could be transcoded without losing quality, to ripping different quality MP3s, CBR vs VBR, to analyzing spectrals of audio files to see if it was transcoded incorrectly. It took about 30 minutes to an hour to complete, and depending on the size of the queue, it could take days to even get into an interview. At that point, anyone who got in had motivation to contribute to the site and follow the rules. People who just wanted the latest Taylor Swift or Kanye album had left long ago. All that was left was enthusiasts willing to build one of the most complete and well organized collections of music in the world.
 The site had a ratio system, based on upload divided by download. Users had to maintain a certain ratio based on how well they seeded the content they downloaded, but for the majority of users, the required ratio was .60. One of the best ways to gain upload and gain ratio was to rip albums that were not already on the site. This led to people uploading incredibly rare releases that couldn’t be found anywhere else. From obscure electronic records that only got one run of pressings, to rare versions of popular albums, What.cd’s catalogue was astounding. There was a rip of the mono pressing of the original “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” an accidental pressing with different tracks, in FLAC and three different versions of MP3. It’s a $15,000 record with less than 20 known copies in existence, and it could be downloaded and listened to for free. Popular albums with multiple releases were common too. There were 49 different rips of official releases of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” to choose from, ranging from the first release to the rarest limited editions.
 The most incredible thing about What.cd was the sheer scope of it. Practically anything imaginable had been ripped and uploaded. What.cd was great for getting music that was normally inaccessible. Plenty of records uploaded to What.cd were releases that hadn’t seen the light of day for years, and were given a new lease on life on the site. Not only were these available, but they had plenty of added info, meticulously tagged, and ripped perfectly. Along with the detailed info attached to records themselves, there were also collages. Collages were collections of albums under a certain theme that were put together by members of the site. These themes could be anything, from a collection of a review site’s perfect scoring albums, to collages of albums for people looking to get started with new genres. There were even collages with strange or inane themes, like “Tip Your Driver: The Comprehensive Pizzacore collage,” a collage of releases about pizza.
 What.cd was compared by some to the Library of Alexandria at its peak, due to the staggering size of the torrenting giant’s archive. On Nov. 17, 2016, it was destroyed, much like the aforementioned library. French police raided the servers of webhost OVH, where What.cd had setup reverse proxies to protect itself. In response, the admins of What.cd pulled the plug and destroyed the data to protect the users of the site. Collages, related artist webs, release info, ripping guides, and more were gone. While the music was not technically lost, as it was all stored on users’ hard drives, it was as if the map to access the music had been lost.
 The story of What.cd raises a question: Is piracy okay for the sake of preservation and availability? Plenty of albums on What.cd were impossible to buy, let alone in lossless quality. There’s always the possibility of buying used, but tracking down a used copy could be next to impossible, and the artist gets nothing from it. Most of the torrents on What.cd were for albums that can’t be streamed online or bought from stores, meaning most people weren’t going to be able to pick up legitimate copies.
 What.cd had recordings that would slip through the cracks of time otherwise. One of the more notable examples of this was the Phish community on What.cd. Phish is a jam band that does a lot of improvisation on stage, so each concert was a unique experience. The What.cd Phish community was one of the most active groups on the site, collecting and archiving bootlegs of the latest shows. There was always a Phish release or bootleg on the day’s list of top torrents. Access was now available for hundreds of different shows they’d played, that many people had never been able to experience before. This wasn’t exclusive to Phish, either. Plenty of bands had similar concert bootlegs uploaded, or demo tapes that might never be heard again without the site.
 The request system also drove the ripping and archiving of releases that had yet to be uploaded. Users could put some of their upload up as a bounty, and other users could claim the upload by finding the requested record and uploading it. Plenty of requests were filled every day, expanding the already massive collection What.cd had to offer. Some of the biggest bounties had driven incredible uploads, for example scans of a collection of three stories by J.D. Salinger that had never been released before made their way to the site’s ebook section. The stories had a bounty of over six terabytes, due to the fact one of them is under lock and key at Princeton, and the other two are similarly secured at the University of Texas. While the J.D. Salinger stories were removed to protect the site from the massive media attention, plenty of rare and long sought after releases were finally unearthed by people looking to claim these bounties.
 Another important reason is format availability. Even with all the secondhand vinyls in the world, there’s still no way to take them on the go. Vinyl rips make that possible. On What.cd, vinyl rips were heavily scrutinized, and 90 percent of them were done by approved submitters with almost professional quality ripping setups. For the average person to buy their own good quality vinyl ripping setup, it could easily cost upwards of $500. They can either drop a lot of money on a vinyl ripping setup, or download from someone with a top of the line system already experienced in doing so.
 Along with the vinyl problem, even albums bought legitimately on many digital marketplaces may not be in the desired format. A lot of albums on the Google Play Store or iTunes aren’t sold in lossless formats. For those interested in transcoding between different file formats for different devices, it’s important to start with a lossless format or else the file will lose quality on each transcode. What.cd offered FLAC for almost everything on the site, as its main focus was getting a lossless format first, then MP3 320 and MP3 V0. Anyone interested in transcoding for other devices or archiving the media for preservational purposes would want lossless files, which most services will not provide.
 Finally, What.cd opens up access to the music Spotify and iTunes do not think are worth putting on their services. Spotify and iTunes hold their ground by providing the popular tracks that most people want to hear, like a new Kanye or Taylor Swift album. It’s not worth their time to bother getting the rights to less popular or more obtuse music. Spotify isn’t going to gain many new subscribers by adding Judy Dunaway’s “Balloon Music” or Whitehouse’s “Bird Seed.” In a world that’s quickly turning to streaming and digital download, we’re relying more and more on the libraries that these services provide us with. Plenty of albums will be lost to time due to not being carried on digital distribution sites, which could be prevented with an archival site like What.cd.
 The loss of What.cd is a devastating blow to music lovers and archivists alike. Terabytes of great musical data were now gone. From incredible edition information, to sprawling collages to aid in discovering new music, the demise of What.cd felt like the end of an era. But What.cd’s ending was the beginning for other trackers. The torrent hydra lives on, with three new sites popping up shortly after What.cd’s demise. Pass The Headphones, Xanax, and Nostream had all opened their doors to the public. Within a month, Nostream was hacked and taken down, with attempts to relaunch failing due to users not joining due to security concerns. Pass the Headphones and Xanax both went through some growing pains, renaming to Redacted and Apollo respectively, and NotWhat popped up as another tracker with much stricter rules. Waffles, which had been down for a small while, raised funds to renew the hosting and come back.
 On Oct. 23, 2017, the day that would have been What.cd’s tenth birthday, What.cd, the tracker presumed to be dead, released one final breath. The site’s Twitter account updated, posting the “What.cd 10-year Anniversary Mixtape.” A backup of the non-user data was made before the site was originally shut down. The collages, release info and related artist web were able to be saved and released to the public again. A lot of data was still lost, but the 10-year mixtape has helped other trackers progress in their goal to rebuild the incredible archive on What.cd.

 What.cd was officially closed down on Nov. 17 when a reverse proxy was seized by French police. Because What.cd had protected itself better than OiNK, federal agents never got access to user data, and the domain was not seized. The What.cd staff closed the site with one final message: “Due to some recent events, What.CD is shutting down. We are not likely to return any time soon in our current form. All site and user data has been destroyed. So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

Monday, December 4, 2017

Why America needs Net Neutrality

Lauren Walinski
Staff Writer

On Dec. 14, the FCC plans to vote on whether or not they should repeal net neutrality. Currently, they lean towards gutting the protections, which should concern every single American citizen. Why? To start, having net neutrality means that internet providers cannot control internet usage by censoring, throttling, or forcing consumers to pay extra. Without it, internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T, or Verizon could make their customers pay extra in order to access things such as social media, streaming sites, news sites, or anything else they wanted by slowing severely slowing internet speeds on these sites for those who have not paid.
 Consumers may have to pay each and every time the site is accessed. Internet service providers could also block content entirely if they wanted, creating unfair censorship. In fact, before net neutrality laws were put in place, many companies were caught doing just this. Two examples among many include AOL being caught not delivering any emails criticizing their site. Comcast temporarily blocking Google and Gmail to try and coerce consumers into creating comcast email accounts instead. Verizon was discovered blocking people from signing up for an activism-based text message update system. The internet provider Madison River Communications, a phone company, was caught blocking online phone calls (including 911 calls) in an attempt to keep consumers from switching from their company. Without net neutrality protections guaranteeing a free and open internet, this sort of censoring could return. Consumers like you could find themselves paying extra to use social media or google drive, things most students use every day. Net neutrality is a necessity in our current culture, and every single person should be alarmed at the possibility of it being repealed.
People around the country are trying to help keep net neutrality. The FCC’s website has been flooded with over 22 million comments about net neutrality, however the FCC has decided it will no longer listen to public opinion. It would only listen if complaints or criticisms were in serious legal terms or presented new facts. Still, people have been calling and writing to their Representatives and Senators and urging them to spare and protect net neutrality and all the protections it offers.
 Even here in school, students can help fight the repeal of net neutrality. Speak to Mr. Giorgi if you would like to help get involved in writing or signing a letter to local senators or representatives to help protect free, open, and equal access to the internet. You can also send your message directly to Congress by signing one of the following petitions:

You can also contact them on net neutrality through https://resistbot.io/.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The new iPhone X is “Xpensive”

Jen Abele and Alex DiGena
Staff Writers

Apple announced the new iPhone X on Sept. 12 and obtained over sixteen million views on YouTube. The iPhone X began pre-orders at nine hundred and ninety nine dollars on Oct. 27 and shipping Nov. 3.
 The first iPhone was released on June 29, 2007 with the slogan, “This is only the beginning.”
Jony Ive spoke out to the press that the “iPhone X is only the beginning of a new chapter in iPhone development.” Now the new iPhone X has overshadowed the iPhone 8 and 8 plus. The new iPhone X has consumers pleasantly surprised by the new features.
The most popular features include Animoji, the OLED screen, and Face ID.
 Animoji is the animated emojis that adapt to the face, and the ability to record a message with the animated emoji replacing the face. Wireless charging allows consumers to no longer experience the dissatisfaction of ruining their phone charger. Unlocking the iPhone X has changed dramatically. The iPhone now turns on after raising it to the consumer’s face because it has the technology to recognize the owner’s face. Screen is now OLED, and the most important feature is being water and dust resistant. Apple Pay now works as your face to provide your Apple ID. Optical Vision Stabilization creates great quality photos and videos in low light.
 “It’s expensive but it's definitely a big step forward for apple,”Grant Cheung commented on the new iPhone X. “The upside would be the new screen size. As for the downside, there isn’t an home button anymore which a lot of people are used to.It’s a cool idea, but i feel like it might not work out as well as they planned it to.”
 “Nothing really impressive,” Ryan Keating commented. ““I don't think it looks that different than the Samsung Note 8. The iPhone X looks cool, but it doesn't have the headphone jack and the home button.”
 While talking to other peers there’s one thing on which we all agree: It’s too expensive!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A European under The Star Spangled Banner

George Griffin
Staff Writer

What do I say: Hello or Bonjour?
 This is a troublesome question for an English boy who spent most of his life in Paris. I was born in Buckinghamshire, and after living 4 years in England, my father’s job prompted us to move to Paris. Now, at the age of four, I only knew three words in the French language: yes, no and cheese. After 11 years my vocabulary has broadened, and I speak the language fluently; however, now my father’s job has forced us to move to the US. It’s been about a month now and I am still getting used to the change of culture, food and people; my experiences so far have been riveting to say the least.
 I’ve had some interesting interactions with the people of Pennsylvania so far. A few weeks ago upon entering the Giant supermarket, an eight-year-old boy came up to me and asked if I’d met the Queen, after a small chuckle I promptly answered no to which he said my accent was “rad”. (BTW: for this article, I will be putting the periods and commas outside the quote marks like we do in England where we invented the language.)
 Being a European I had never had a homecoming dance, so when I went in September I had an amazing time. I met a load of my current friends there and their reactions to my accent were not what I was expecting. Some people didn’t believe I was English and thought it was a prank, but most people just screamed, a long, loud scream. I was also quite surprised when talking to a friend a few days ago and finding out the house I will move into is next to the street where a murder happened last summer. Great, I thought, things just get more exciting here in the States with every passing minute.
 It was quite difficult for me to move to a new country. I had to leave behind most of my life. However, I was excited to see how an American high school really worked. The school systems across the Atlantic are quite different from they are here, and the only experience I had had with high school was when my sisters forced me to watch “Mean Girls” every weekend. I had only known the stereotypes and cliches of cheesy film and TV.  But I am impressed with what New Hope has shown me and am excited for the future to unfold.
 During my time here I have also noticed the language differences. It’s odd but there is actually a difference between British English and American English. There are differences like; colour, aluminium and aeroplane, for these you have simply dropped some of the vowels. There are pronunciation differences like zebra, pronounced as your “zee” and my “zed” which is precisely why I won’t go to an American zoo. Frankly, I feel as if the Americans decided to change the English language just to annoy the British when they come overseas purely as revenge for the mess we caused in the Revolutionary War. And don’t even get me started on metric vs imperial.

 All in all I have had an amusing time here in New Hope and I am excited to have actually bought a house a couple days ago. I knew this town would be the perfect place as soon as I saw it, I mean who doesn’t want to live in a place that shares the name of the greatest Star Wars movie? Who knows what the future will hold for me here. All I know is that I think I might actually like it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Roaring Corner: Episode 1

Amanda Horak & Parker Miele
Staff Writers

Hi! We are here to answer questions that students have submitted to us via Google Forms. We are here to take your responses and give advice about them to make you feel better about your certain situation!
 Recently, we have asked the student body the following question: “What questions do you have about high school or do you have any specific stresses towards high school?” We received multiple responses to this question. Most of which included answers about the upcoming CBAs, grades, college, and AP classes.
 One of the more popular topics was about the recent CBAs and how they are “very stressful.” We definitely understand the stress of CBA’s, but they can easily be overcome. If you start planning for the CBA early, you won’t have to cram and study. It’s also helpful to start studying early because we have other classes with other tests and assignments making it more difficult to study the night before. You won’t ever know when a random assignment will pop up and be due the day before your CBA.
 Another popular topic was how taking multiple AP classes at once can be stressful. Others wondered if it was necessary to take at least one to two APs during high school. Being seniors, we have had our share of taking multiple AP classes at once. It is difficult to manage, but when you are assigned something, definitely start it as soon as possible. Having these multiple AP classes is totally unnecessary, but it is recommended to have that rigorous schedule each year for colleges to be able to see you didn’t slack off during high school. Make sure to do your AP classwork on time and don’t stress! All of us are going through the same thing with each of our classes.

 We know how stressful AP classes and CBAs can be! Just make sure to stay calm, study ahead of time, and do your work as soon as possible!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

STDs are a Reproductive Death Sentence

Jen Abele
Editor  
There are 110 million cases of Sexually Transmitted Infections in the United States. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis cases are increasing according to a new report from Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Cases of chlamydia have increased 4.7 percent from 2015 to 2016, it is the most common std due to chlamydia being asymptomatic reported the CDC in a survey done in 2015.
 Why is this article important?
  In high school individuals find their identity, their partner, and build relationships. Some have decided to go all the way, and it shouldn’t be regretful. In college there will be more thirst for knowledge as well as desires. It’s completely normal to pursue desires, but do it safely.  
The CDC survey from 2015 stated that 41 percent of teenagers have had sexual intercourse, and 30 percent have had sexual intercourse in the last three months. Teens that did not use a condom was 43 percent, and 14 percent didn’t use any contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.
Nearly 230,000 babies were born to teenage girls aged 15–19 years in 2015.
 The CDC also collected survey results for HIV, and the findings were devastating. Only 10 percent have been tested for HIV, human immunodeficiency virus. People aged 13 to 24 accounted for an estimated 22 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2015.Half of 20 million new STD cases reported each year are obtained by young people between the ages of 15 to 24.
 Mrs. Walker is one of the PE and Health teachers at New Hope Solebury High School.“The biggest misconception is it won’t happen to me.“ Mrs. Walker stated.
STDs are very dangerous, socially and medically. It is important to take precaution with your partner. If you think your love life is dead, imagine how dead it would be if you got an STD. Having unprotected sex may seem like a good idea in your imagination, but it also seemed like a good idea for Eve to take a bite out of the apple. Is it worth it? I think not.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Why DACA should not be rescinded

Krupa Shah
Contributor

Recently, the Trump administration announced that it would be rescinding the Obama-era Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program with a six month window to find a replacement of the executive order. This program protects approximately 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children.The DREAM Act parallels with DACA but has not yet been addressed. Now the immigration status of these individuals is ultimately in the hands of Congress where they may face the prospect of deportation to countries they have ostensibly never lived in.
 The Obama-era executive order allowed children of undocumented immigrants to pursue a college education, employment, and a possible legalized immigration status. All of these opportunities can be applied for and will be accepted, granted that they do not have past criminal history. The thinking behind this program is that these children did not have any input about coming to a new country and personally do not have any connection to their native countries. The program requires eligible individuals to apply for citizenship and renew their file every two years so they can eventually be naturalized.
 Universities across the nation have announced their support for DACA and will continue to stand in solidarity with their undocumented students. American University went as far as stating that they “will continue to offer protection to the full extent allowed by law, guided by policies that guard the privacy and safety of every member of the university community.” Furthermore, they went on to state that they “will use every legal means at our disposal to offer our support and protection”.
 DACA should not be rescinded as it has provided many with the opportunity to attend school and eventually pursue higher education while others obtained jobs and worked to further themselves. These individuals have legitimately contributed to society and are not purely leeching off the government for benefits. As a whole, DACA beneficiaries saw an increase not only in social mobility but in educational attainment as well as mental health.
 Prior to DACA, undocumented immigrants were unable to equate high academic standing with professional and personal success. This was mainly a result of the lack of credentials that would establish them as US citizens, such as driver’s license and a social security card. Resulting in limited job opportunities that leads to a minimalistic income that cannot be used to sustain a basic lifestyle.
 Educational attainment was largely reported by DACA individuals. Most notable is Christina Velasquez, a senior at Georgetown University majoring in International Politics. Velasquez has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award two years in a row and is a Walsh scholar. Additionally, she has interned in the United States House of Representatives and has held two part time jobs. Without the benefits of DACA, Velasquez would not have been able to do the things she has done so far. It is evident that DACA has provided major educational opportunities for individuals who would not have them if not for the program. DACA is extremely beneficial to undocumented immigrants who wished to be naturalized and contribute to the workforce.

Take the Knee

Lauren Walinski
Staff Writer

This past Sunday, a number of players on various NFL teams decided to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and the unfair treatment of Black people and people of color in the United States by following in the footsteps of Colin Kaepernick. Players from the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and the Miami Dolphins decided to kneel.
 The players on the Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, and all but one player on the Pittsburgh Steelers did not even take to the field until the anthem had already played. Players on a few teams locked arms, with or without kneeling, as a show of solidarity and in support of the right of players to protest. Even Meghan Linsey and Rico Lavelle, two singers performing at two of the games, kneeled at the end of their renditions of the anthem.
 Though President Trump praised the “great solidarity” shown by locking arms, he was less favorable of kneeling. He called for NFL owners to suspend or fire any “son of a b****” who kneeled during the national anthem, believing it to be a sign of disrespect for the flag. However, the players are well within their first amendment rights to protest peacefully in the way they did and, love or hate the protest, Trump punishing them for it would be unconstitutional.

 Many teams made statements in support of people of color in America, such as the players of the Seahawks, who made the following statement on not taking the field during the anthem: "We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country. Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms." Vernon Davis, tight end with the Redskins and 12-year war veteran, said he would love to be invited to the White House so he could tell the president that "we love the flag. Let's focus on solutions rather than attack those protesting."

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

College Applications Drive Seniors Crazy

Claudia Kolinchak
Managing Editor

‘Tis the season to be overwhelmed and confused (at least for the class of 2018). With fall right around the corner, the ever dreaded college application process is upon us, and it’s more confusing now than ever before.
 “The college application process is almost as confusing as the movie Interstellar” says high school senior Devin Bock who is just one of the many students overwhelmed by college applications. With the countless different accounts and applications we must maintain it’s no wonder we’re so stressed. Naviance, Common App, Coalition, and College Board are only the basic college accounts, but students can expect many more if they plan to apply directly to any schools.
 The websites promise to facilitate the application process by combining all your applications in one account; however this is far from true. The reality is that if you are applying to eight schools, chances are four may be on the Common Application, possibly two on the Coalition Application, and two directly to the institution. In addition, students must send transcripts and letters of recommendation through Naviance and SAT/ACT scores separately. The fear of missing a key part of an application is enough to drive seniors crazy.
 In addition to the confusion of applying, the amount of writing students must do is excessive. The Common Application essay, which was created so that one essay could be used for all of a student’s applications, has almost become pointless due to the increase of supplemental essays among colleges. A lot of colleges require their own writing prompt, and even when schools claim that their supplements are “optional”, what the school really means is “if you want us to think you are a good candidate for our school, write about how awesome we are here”. So instead of writing one essay for all their schools, students end up doing the Common App essay and individual supplements for each school, this is excluding any/all scholarships they are planning on applying for.
 Honestly, sometimes it seems like it would be easier if every school had their own application that students sent everything to directly to the college’s website, or even throwing it back to good ol’ fashioned paper portfolios. Technology has created a platform for colleges to demand so much data from students that we just become a number to them. However, year after year, more steps are added to the process and the senior classes get more and more stressed out.

 At this point, there’s nothing more that seniors can do other than attempt to fight their way through the maze that is known as the application process; Battling through dozens of essays, hundreds of background questions, and reporting countless numbers that score their intelligence. Upcoming seniors, be prepared, because it’s not getting any easier in the near future.  

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Is President Donald Trump the next former President Richard Nixon?

Krupa Shah
Staff Writer

In the days following President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, several media outlets called his actions “Nixonian” and “an obstruction of justice.” Trump’s firing of the FBI director, who was supervising the probe of the Trump’s campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, was legal as he was acting on his own authority. However, it betrays the democratic foundation that the nation was built on as well as the ideals that have dominated the presidency and represents great Nixonian undertones. Similarly, during the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s former President Richard Nixon fired the special prosecutor overseeing the investigation into the administration's involvement in the Watergate burglary. The comparisons between Trump and Nixon have not been new, but the specific details that have come out make it easier to draw parallels.
 Comey’s precedented and unceremonious firing bears great resemblance to the events of the Saturday Night Massacre of 1973. Essentially, Nixon order the firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. Cox was demanding Nixon turn over the secret White House recordings that contained information regarding President Nixon’s role in the scandal. On that same night, two of the highest ranking Department of Justice officials, the Attorney General and his deputy, resigned from their posts rather than carrying out Nixon’s orders of sacking the special prosecutor. Cox was eventually fired by Solicitor General Bork who then completely eradicated the Special Prosecutor's office. In terms of legality, Nixon’s were completely legal. Likewise with Trump, his actions brought about tremendous amounts scrutiny as he interfered with an ongoing investigation.
 The parallels between the Nixon and Trump administrations are quite striking as both individuals attempted to the shut down the investigations regarding their scandal and campaign, respectively. Nixon did not want the public to hear the private recordings of the White House as he believed it would threaten national security and his presidency as a whole. Currently many in the media, believe that Trump’s reason for Comey’s firing was to stop and cover up the investigation into the Trump campaign’s association and collusion with Russia. Similarly, what both individuals did not realize is that the investigations would continue regardless of the their actions. Additionally, both presidents have been suspected of tampering with evidence related to their presidential campaigns. Nixon was suspected to have order the cover up of his aides burglary of the Democratic National Committee's headquarters during his campaign for a second term. In the same manner, circumstantial evidence is mounting against President Trump and his campaign’s conspiracy with Russia to hack the DNC’s private email server in order to impact the presidential election.
 In regards to the Russian hacking scandal, according to Wired Magazine on July 27, 2016, Donald Trump was recorded saying “They hacked—they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do,” he says. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” further indicating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Obviously, there was support for Russia’s efforts. As a result, there is much speculation into President Trump’s collusion with Russia that may bring about impeachment charges.

 With Trump mirroring Nixon’s bold, presumptuous nature, it is unclear as to what will happen next.

Keycard Crisis

Riley Brennan
Features and A&E

This past school year has been an interesting one. The building has been undergoing construction since the week before school started at the end of August. With this construction has come the inevitable changes. One of which, has been the absence of keycards. Few students have access to key cards, making it hard to enter the school at off times.
 “While it still works for printing, I noticed my keycard does not work when I try to enter through the theater doors,” Victoria Siano reported.
 The Lion’s Tale confirmed with the office that students who still have keycards will find that they do work for printing and for the passageway between the middle school and the high school. It seems this was done purposefully by administration, in an effort to increase safety around the school during construction, and keep exits and entrances from being used at off times during the day. This however, has proven to be difficult for all, especially for student athletes. When it comes to bringing in equipment in and out of school, not having a keycard or access via a keycard is incredibly difficult. Most of the time the doors to the entrance by the theatre, as well as by the office, are locked, meaning that students trying to return sports equipment to the trainer after games. This leaves students with very few options.
 In the past, many students have lost their keycards; however, this did not mean they weren’t missed. Having a keycard provided many students with a sense of security; that feeling has been replaced with stress and frustration. Despite construction, students should still have keycard access to some important entry points.

 If the keycard were to come back to New Hope, there are a few possibilities that should be considered in it’s design. Possible solutions to this problem include, a sort of barcode app that students could download to their phones and scan to get into the building, or something that students could put in or on their phone. Others have even argued for the “old fashion” keycard that has been used in the past. The point is, students want their keycards back.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to celebrate Singles' Awareness Day (aka Valentine's Day)

Stella Kelley
Staff Writer


For most people that are not in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is just another reminder of their loneliness. However, it does not have to be this way. There are many alternative activities for you to do with your friends or family on Valentine’s Day!


  • Order a heart-shaped pizza from Guiseppes and watch movies with friends!
There is nothing better than hanging out with your friends and eating as much food as you possibly can, and this is the perfect way to do it! Giuseppe's pizza delivers heart shaped pizzas on V-day, and feel free to go all out and order the fries with it. Also, don’t forget to pick up the gallon of ice cream from Giant and a good movie on Netflix!
  • Dress Up and go out to dinner with a group of friends!
There are plenty of local places that serve a variety of food, drinks, apps, anything that you want! If you want to get out of town, Philly is a good option, filled with hundreds of amazing restaurants. Don’t forget to make a reservation!
  • Get outside and go on a walk or hike
This winter has had some unseasonably warm days so far, and it’s possible that Valentine’s Day could be one of them! Make a good playlist to motivate you! If weather is permitting, take a hike to Bowman’s Tower, Goat Hill, or take the trip down to High Rocks State Park in Tinicum.
  • Skyzone
Do you like jumping on trampolines? Make the trip down to Skyzone in Levittown! A day trip would be fun, or go after 9 p.m. to glow up for the real party. Get a group of your closest friends, wear white, and go bounce around on Valentine’s Day for a fun and carefree day.
  • Schedule a Spa Day
There’s no better cure to Valentine’s Day depression than treating yourself to a relaxing spa day. Nurture Spa and Zanya Salon are both local options that provide quality spa services. Both spas provide massage, manicure, pedicure, and facial services. Additionally, Zanya provides options for blowouts and makeup. A spa day can be done by yourself, with your friends, or with your significant other. Also, if you are on a budget and don’t want to splurge on a professional spa treatment, create your own spa day at home! Take a bath, do your nails and toenails, and find a recipe online for a homemade facial!
  • Go skiing/ snowboarding!
There is a valentines day sale at Jack Frost Big Boulder, $14 lift tickets! Get a group of your friends, or your special someone, and fly down that mountain!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Under Fire, House Fails to Pass Vote Gutting Independent Ethics Office; Quietly Passes Similar Rule Instead

Katie Steele
Opinions Editor

On Monday, Dec. 2, Republicans in the House of Representatives secretly voted to markedly restrict the power of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), an independent watchdog which was set up in 2008 after a string of scandals which sent three House members to jail.
 The vote was made in opposition to Republican House leaders Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy, who argued against making a maverick ethics change and hoped to push the issue to a later date when a more bipartisan approach would be possible. The move, which would essentially kill the office, was not made public until Monday night. As part of a larger rules package that the House planned to vote on during the next day, the secretive vote and subsequent announcement seemed to leave little room for discussion on the matter.
 But that was not the case. Across the country, offices of Republican representatives who had voted on the measure were flooded with calls from angry constituents, and prominent figures from both parties heavily criticized the move. The OCE has often kept the public aware of alleged wrongdoing by representatives; under the new rule, however, the office would not be allowed to release such information to the media. In fact, it would not even be allowed to directly contact law enforcement if its employees learned of potential criminal activity on the part of representatives.
 As a result of the backlash these House members received—most notably, from President-elect Donald Trump late Tuesday morning—they ultimately scrapped the measure. Trump was credited with much of the responsibility for the reversal, though it’s very likely that the hundreds of thousands of calls placed by constituents and other distinguished officials also played a role. The move was criticized as a display of weakness by Republican officials, who, on their first day back in session and with complete control of Congress, seemed to be in a state of disagreement and disarray.
 However, since then, those same House officials, with the help of the Senate, have been able to quietly pass a new rule which again threatens the power and scope of ethics investigations in Congress. The passage of this rule allows individual representatives to hide “embarrassing” or “incriminating” financial documents from investigators—from ethics committees or even from the U.S. Department of Justice. This vote is unlikely to get the same level of attention as the first one, but poses an arguably even more serious threat to ethical standards and independent oversight. Allowing Congress members to pick and choose what they allow independent investigators to access is dangerous. Under the new rule, regardless of if a document concerns a breach of public welfare (like the commission of a crime or illegal use of taxpayer funds), an elected official can choose not to hand it over to investigators. The House’s recent focus on undercutting congressional criminal and ethics investigations and minimizing the transparency of elected officials is confounding and alarming—and it raises some very obvious questions: why do our U.S. representatives want to be shielded from independent investigations? From where do they derive that privilege? And what are they hoping to hide?

Google's Renewable Energy Act in 2017

Deven Smith
Staff Writer

Google has just announced that by 2017 they will be running entirely on renewable resources, which includes their newest addition, Alphabet. This is a huge accomplishment because of how big of a company it is, and how many other social media companies they own.  
 One reason this is incredible is because of how many buildings Google has. The renewable energy will be used in 13 data centers and 113 offices worldwide. They also have 55,000 employees that will need to work entirely on renewable energy.  Even with the success of Google and other Companies like Apple and Microsoft, many countries are still reliant on the use of oil, like the US, China, and Russia. Not only is it getting easier to obtain renewable energy but Google says that it is financially beneficial as well.  
 Joe Kava, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure says, “It’s good for the economy, good for business and good for our shareholders.” Google does not supply their own energy, instead they do business with about 115 wind farms in the US and Canada. The biggest is a 50,000 acre wind farm in Minco, Oklahoma.   
 Other companies are following Google in their quest to run entirely on renewable resources.  Those companies include Amazon and Microsoft. However, Google also runs other sites like YouTube and Gmail that have over 1 billion customers and require more than 100,000 computers. Now, all of those computers will run on renewable energy.  If Google is able to complete a task like this in a year, then it will be interesting to see what they can do in the future.

How Trump’s Inauguration Will Be Different Than Obama's

Savannah Herring
Staff Writer

The 2017 Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump is expected to one for the books, with about 800,000 to 900,000 people showing up to either commemorate or repudiate. There is a noticeable difference in the dynamic of this event as it approaches. Obama’s inauguration was an event of enthusiasm and hope, but Trump’s is seeming to be quite the opposite. Trump’s inaugurational committee is winning over big donors and big names to attend with promises of exclusive events and luxuries.
 Among the expected attendees, many women mourning the Hillary Clinton’s loss are joining together in a giant women’s march in a defiant protest against their new president. Many celebrities who opposed Trump during the election are also planning on attending the various rallies and marches that day. Hotels are also concerned with their business, since the inauguration is always a money maker for eager citizens waiting to see their newest president. They are noticing that more hotel rooms are being reserved for Saturday, rather than Friday, clearly expressing that many more people have interest in the marches than the inauguration.

 This event will hopefully bring new hope and healing to a torn nation, but could in fact worsen relations. It is expected that these marches will be peaceful and productive and ensure a message of love and equality is clear. Trump faces many groups of people both opposing him and welcoming him with open arms on his inauguration day and shall face the deepest hatred and appreciation all at once.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Trump dumped inauguration announcing icon

Jen Abele
Staff Writer/columnist

Charles Brotman has been the announcer at the inauguration since 1957. He has been traditionally selected since President Eisenhower. Brotman has served as inauguration speaker for 11 presidents. The 89 year old Brotman “felt like he was punched in the stomach by Muhammad Ali” after receiving the President Elect’s email. Trump clouded the email with compliments, and ended the email by stating Brotman will not be announcing at inauguration.
 Mr. Charles Brotman is a political icon who has been announcing for the inauguration for 60 years. He enjoys announcing for the American people during every historic inauguration. No one can take the place of Brotman. Donald Trump has made several questionable decisions so far as President elect. Rejecting a political icon should not have been on his agenda.Brotman is an incredible speaker who enjoys the privilege  announcing at the inauguration parade. It’s heartbreaking that Donald Trump would not carry on the tradition.

  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Jelly's Corner: Very Confused

Joseph Giunta
Kelly Hyland
Staff Writer

Dear Jelly’s Corner,

So why wasn't your article in the most recent print issue? Very upset about this!

Annoyed Reader

Dear valued subscriber.
Thank you for your concerns with this ongoing issue. It is kinda funny because we at Jelly's Corner are also VERY confused as well. We have been writers since September and we thought we had something special. Regardless we will fight this issue and get justice for what we believe in! No matter what, we will fight for the rights of  ourselves and our valued readers.  We will discuss with Mr. Giorgi and the editors to find a resolution for this issue.

Ask Jelly: If you have any questions about life, school or anything else, please send them to jellyscorner.lionstale@gmail.com and we will answer them in the next issue of the Lion’s Tale.