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Benjamin Mao

Articles #6
1. In Maryland Lawmakers Pass Bills to Raise Minimum Wage, Decriminalize
Marijuana (April 5, 2014), John Wagner and Jenna Johnson reported on the bills
recently passed by the Maryland Legislature. One raises the minimum wage in Maryland
to $10.10, making Maryland only the second state in the nation to have a minimum wage
above President Obamas goal of $10. Another makes Marijuana a civil rather than a
criminal offense for possession of 10g or less, meaning violators would only have to pay
a fine rather than go to jail. The Marijuana bill is not without its critics, with Delegate
Michael A. McDermott saying, Our kids deserve a better message and this is not it.
The news of Marijuana decriminalization will probably lead to more people
getting high in celebration and as a result, more traffic accidents.

2. In Sheldon: Irans Best Friend (April 5, 2014), Thomas Friedman argues that
U.S billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei actually have
one goal in common: they both want to destroy Israel. The Iranians are supporting
Palestinian militants determined to undermine the peace process. The longer peace talks
drag on, the more Israel will push for settlements in the West Bank and the less
legitimacy the Israelis will have. One the other side, fiercely pro Israel businessman
Adelson gave $100 million of his own money to finance the campaigns of several
Republicans running for President in 2012. All agreed not to refer to Palestinian
territories as occupied. However, last week, Presidential hopeful Chris Christie of New
Jersey accidentally referred to the territories as occupied, undermining Israeli
legitimacy, from a party that is supposed to be pro Israel.
We should question the choice of words that our potential leaders make. Does a
Republican presidential hopeful have a chance to get into office when he implies
that Israel has no right to territory?

3. In Violence in East Ukraine Ratchets up Tensions with Russia (March 6, 2014),
Sam Frizell claims that the recent storming of government buildings in Ukraine increases
tensions. On Sunday, pro Russian protestors stormed government buildings in 3
Ukrainian cities calling for independence and waving Russian flags. The Ukrainian
government claimed the takeover was orchestrated by Putin and deposed Ukrainian
President Yanukovich, aimed at separating Ukraine. Putin has tens of thousands of troops
massed along Ukraines border with Russia and his troops have already annexed Crimea.
Benjamin Mao
Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote that No one will tolerate the
lawlessness of these provocateurs.
Ukraine seems to be on the verge of civil war with Russia and the United States
taking opposite sides. We need to make sure that the side that we pick can
actually form a legitimate government.