Rachel Robison-Greene

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Rachel works in metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. She is heavily involved with the Ethics Bowl debate organization and loves working out ethical issues with students. When she isn't teaching or writing, she loves to travel and read about British history.

"Crowd" by James Cridland is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

As the human population continues to grow, questions arise concerning how to deal with problems that are human in origin: problems like pollution and environmental degradation, resource depletion, and global food shortages.  The global population, which currently sits at over 7 billion, is expected to reach 10.9 billion by the end of the century.  

As populations increase, the rate of greenhouse gas emissions also increases.  Topsoil depletion that took place between the years 1900 and 2000 was equal to the depletion that took place in the 1000 years that preceded it.  As a result, land that is suitable for agriculture becomes more and more scarce and our ability to produce enough food for climbing populations is threatened.  

"Bowe Bergdahl" by United States Army is licensed under CC0 Public domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

In June of 2009, 23-year-old Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl deserted his post at Mest Manko in Afghanistan.  Shortly thereafter, he was captured by the Taliban.  He was held as a prisoner of war for five years in deplorable conditions.  In 2014, President Barack Obama’s administration arrived at an agreement with the Taliban. In exchange for Bergdahl’s release, the United States would release five Taliban members from Guantanamo Bay.  The deal was controversial.  Many people felt that the U.S should not have negotiated with terrorists for release of a soldier that deserted his post.

Bergdahl’s case was a hot topic on the campaign trail during the 2016 presidential election.  Now-President Donald Trump commented on it frequently, referring to Bergdahl as a traitor and suggesting that if he could undo the deal, sending Bergdahl back into captivity and returning the detainees to Guantanamo, he would do so.  

"This is War" by Pietro Piupparco is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Flickr)

On the evening of February 1st, 2017, protestors burst through lines of zip-tied metal fencing to flood a building at the University of California, Berkley.   Some protesters wore masks, and others threw red paint on members of the College Republicans.  Windows were smashed and fires were started.  This chaos was caused by disapproval on the part of many Berkeley students to the invited speaking engagement of Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial conservative commentator and technology editor for Breitbart.

"Newspaper" by Pezibear is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Pixabay)

Last week, I saw a group of people cross the street to avoid a guy wearing a Trump t-shirt.  On Facebook several days ago, my friend shared some pictures of a big pile of pink hats made by her knitting circle.  Her aunt, also a crafty type, asked her what they were.  When my friend replied that they were “pussy” hats for the Women’s March in L.A., her aunt replied, “Geez.  Sorry I asked.”  

"UBER Application" by Mark Warner is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

Working an inflexible nine-to-five schedule is often not conducive to the demands of ordinary life.  Parents find themselves missing events at their children’s schools that occur during the day.  Cautious workers manage their sick days conservatively, not knowing what health challenges the year might bring.  Taking a day to care for personal psychological health strikes many as an impractical luxury.  

"The Slants" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Flickr)

In 2006, Simon Shiao Tam founded the Asian-American band The Slants.  As the group became increasingly successful, Tam opted to pursue federal trademark protection for the band name. Trademark protection is important for both producer and consumer; the producer can feel confident that no one is unfairly capitalizing on the fruits of their labor, and the consumer can be sure that the product that they are purchasing is the one that they intend to purchase; they can be sure that it is not a product produced by an imposter using the same name.  If granted the trademark protection, Shiao’s Asian-American band would own exclusive rights to the name The Slants.  

"SQ Lethal Injection Room" by California Department of Corrections is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

In the early hours of the morning, on November 8th, 1994, Casey Wilson was working his shift at a Circle K in Huntsville, Alabama.  That morning, 23-year-old Ronald Bert Smith Jr. came into the station with the intention to rob it.  He pistol-whipped Wilson and forced him to the convenience store restroom where he shot him.  Wilson died of his wounds.  To avoid detection and identification, Smith removed the store’s surveillance videotape from that night and brought it with him.

"IMG_6304" by Elvert Barnes is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (via Flickr)

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency of the United States has further divided an already deeply divided country.  Specifically, the question of how, precisely, to respond to the election result has fractured a large group of deeply despondent progressives.  One segment of this population maintains that the behavior of Donald Trump, not only during the election, but also throughout his entire lifetime, demonstrates a profound lack of respect and regard for the well-being of women, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, Muslims, impoverished individuals, and members of the LGBTQ community.  They argue that, because Trump supporters don’t seem bothered by this behavior, and because some of them even engage in it themselves, Trump supporters should be called out for what they are: racists and bigots.

"Scene at the Signing of the Constitution" is licensed under CC0 Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

In the early hours of the morning on November 9th, 2016, it became clear that Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States.  Though vote counts within many contentious states were close, he won the Electoral College handily—with Michigan still outstanding, Trump received 290 Electoral College votes and Clinton received 228.  Despite his Electoral College victory, Trump appears to have lost the popular vote.  This is the second time that this has happened in the 21st century.  In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote while George W. Bush won the Electoral College.

"AT&T" by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (via Flickr)

On October 22nd, telecommunication company AT&T and media conglomerate Time Warner, parent company of major networks like CNN and HBO, announced that they were merging. AT&T acquired Time Warner in an 85.4 billion dollar deal. Deals such as these may well be the wave of the future.  Companies like Time Warner produce the content that viewers watch, and AT&T distributes it. The marriage of the two companies allows production and distribution to take place in innovative new ways.  As the trend toward streaming entertainment continues, AT&T can find new ways to provide customers with convenient options to access Time Warner’s content.  The deal is expected to close sometime near the end of 2017.