President Donald Trump has signed a bill into law that adds the exploration of Mars as a goal for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA. The law also authorizes $19.5 billion in funding for the agency during the 2017 budget year, which began on October 1. Trump also recently sent Congress a proposal of $19.1 billion in funding for NASA next year. The law additionally directs NASA to manage human space flight programs to help humans explore Mars and other planets and destinations.
Should the U.S. rely so heavily on racial profiling?
1. Over the weekend, a former deputy police chief claimed that he was detained at JFK International Airport early this month simply because of his name. Hassan Aden had spent 26 years with the Alexandria Police Department before becoming chief of police in Greenville, North Carolina. He retired from the force in 2015. Aden was returning from Paris on March 13, when he was held in the airport for 90 minutes. Aden is not Muslim, but he said policies like President Trump's travel ban could lead to authorities being suspicious of him just because of his name.
2. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials say using racial profiling is just another tool in their arsenal to keep everyone safe. There are some stats to back up specific genders and races are more prone to committing different kinds of crimes. Often, a person's race, name or gender is used in combination with other factors and evidence to determine whether the person is a danger.
3. So, is racial profiling a good tool for law enforcement?
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By George, they really did it. The Federal Reserve raised the interest rates to range between 0.75 percent and 1 percent. This is the third time in 15 months the rate has increased, signaling an end to the nine-year stimulus project. Spending and hiring numbers are up. The market keeps surging, showing investors are confident. The Fed is expected to raise rates again this summer. Better pay of your credit card debt.
Should we keep Daylight Saving Time?
1. We will switch over to Daylight Saving Time this Sunday, March 12. DST was originally implemented during World War I and again after the United States entered World War II to save energy. The rationale is that by extending the daylight hours into the evening, less energy will be consumed. It is a tradition we have kept up until today.
2. However, more and more Americans think switching to DST isn't worth the hassle. Most people do feel worse in the few days following the time switch because they've essential "lost" an hour on the clock. Even losing an hour of sleep can mess with your sleep cycle. Additionally, it turns out that DST doesn't actually save us much energy. It only reduces energy consumption by about .03 percent. That's basically nothing.
3. So should we keep Daylight Saving Time?
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House Republicans have finally released their proposed bill to replace Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act. The new bill is called the American Health Care Act. Most notably, this legislation will keep in place several popular elements of Obamacare. These include a ban on lifetime limits, no denial of coverage due to a "pre-existing condition," and adult children will be allowed to stay on their parents' plan until they turn 26. The bill removes the individual mandate that required all Americans to purchase insurance or face a tax. But replaces it with a call for insurers to apply a 30 percent surcharge to premiums for a year for people who go without insurance for more than two months. The American Health Care Act would also freeze the expansion of Medicaid put in place by Obamacare by 2020, meaning now new sign ups will be allowed at that point.
Should Republicans draft Obamacare replacements in secret?
1. House Republicans are drafting legislation that could eventually replace Obamacare in secret. The closed door meetings began after a very early draft of the bill leaked to the public. Republicans received criticism from the right for that draft because it looked too similar to the Affordable Care Act. Draft bills are not typically released to the public until they are discussed by the committee that has jurisdiction over the matter at hand.
2. However, many members of the public and some other senators and representatives are demanding that House Republicans release their draft. In order to have an open debate on the topic, everyone needs to see what the current version of the bill entails. Senator Rand Paul has been the most vocal on this topic. "“We're here asking for a written copy of this because this should be an open and transparent process," he said Thursday.
3. So, should Republicans continue to draft health care legislation in secret?
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The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has hit a 44-year low. Claims for state unemployment benefits have dropped by 19,000. Only 223,000 people filed for benefits. This is the lowest this number has been since March 1973, according to the Labor Department. This is the 104th straight week where claims were below 300,000. The decreased number of Americans filing for benefits indicates a healthy labor market. This stronger labor market combined with rising inflation could push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates soon.
It might feel like spring for part of the United States. But the clash of warm fronts and cold fronts is creating bad weather for the Midwest and Southeast. A string of tornados went through Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and southeastern Ohio Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Three people have died in Tuesday’s storms. The National Weather Service received more than 20 reports of tornadoes or possible twisters on Tuesday. Several million people are at risk go severe weather damage.
Mardi Gras got serious after a drunk driver drove into a parade crowd, injuring 28 people. According to New Orleans police, 25-year-old Neilson Rizzuto had three times the legal alcohol limit. He is being charged with two counts of first-degree vehicular negligence, one count of reckless operation and one count of hit-and-run driving. The youngest person to be injured is 3-years-old. Rizzuto's bail is set at $125,000.
J.C. Penny announced that it will close anywhere from 130 to 140 stores and two distribution centers over the next two months. The company is aiming to improve profitability in light of online shopping. The closures represent 13 to 14 percent of J.C. Penny's current store count, which is also less than 5 percent of total annual sales. The company said it would initiate a voluntary early retirement program for 6,000 eligible employees. J.C. Penny is looking for ways to increase sales while improving its e-commerce.