Site Navigation Page Content

Time to Take Cyber Security Seriously

By: Dianna Shinn* | Summer Guest Writer

From government espionage to stolen card data, cyber breaches are becoming a common occurrence that impact national security and everyday American lives. The threat of cyber breaches stirred national attention in 2007 with the 45.6 million credit and debit cards that were compromised at TJ Maxx stores. Following the TJ Maxx breach both large and small retailers have experienced cyber security breaches leaving Americans’ personal information in the hands of cyber criminals. The largest breaches affected Target in December 2013 with 40 million credit and debit cards compromised and Home Depot’s September 2014 card breach with 56 million cards. The seriousness of cyber security breaches did not cause significant reactions from Americans until the 2014 Sony Attack, an act of espionage by the North Korean government.

From left, Chinese military officers Gu Chunhui, Huang Zhenyu, Sun Kailiang, Wang Dong, and Wen Xinyu have been indicted on cyber espionage charges

From left, Chinese military officers Gu Chunhui, Huang Zhenyu, Sun Kailiang, Wang Dong, and Wen Xinyu have been indicted on cyber espionage charges

Continue reading »

How Do We Fix Nonprofits?

By: Austin Thompson* | Summer Guest Writer

Nonprofits have recently been immersed in scandal. FIFA’s managerial elite has been exposed after decades of legendary corruption.  Last month, the U.S. government charged four American cancer charities with misusing over $187 million in donations. The American Red Cross is facing tough questions about how it has failed to get relief materials to those who needed it in the aftermath of disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy, despite publicly raising vast sums of money. Are nonprofits morally bankrupt? Is donated money simply going to crooks? Well, nonprofits may be going through a rough patch in the spotlight, but that’s how the system is supposed to work.

2014_NFL_Pro_Bowl_140126-M-DP650-012

Continue reading »

Facebook Deems Native Americans’ Names Fake

By: Katie Ott* | Development Editor

Chief_Touch_the_Clouds_Reliant_Arena_January_2014

Not everyone has a plain Jack and Jill name.  In fact, baby name trends for 2015 suggest parents have left behind classic names in favor of “an increasingly adventurous spirit in baby naming.”  That means 2015 kids are ending up with names after their parent’s favorite vegetable, like Kale, or a stylish nature names, such as River.  But trendy baby names are not the only unique forms of identification.  Traditionally, Native Americans choose distinct, individualized names that reflect both tribal heritage and culture.  These names are so important to Native American tradition that some tribes wait to name children until puberty; they believe a name should come from a child’s own life experiences.  Yet, despite the deep value of these names, Facebook’s attempt to purge Facebook users with false names is blocking Native Americans from registering for a page with their real names.  While 2015 children with new, trendy names are unlikely to have Facebook pages and thereby avoid the negative effects of the Facebook name watch (as newborns are not old enough to create their own pages), Native Americans are experiencing these chilling effects in full force.  They are left to choose between submitting to Facebook an incorrect, more “Americanized” name, contacting Facebook officials to request an exception for their names, or not using Facebook at all. Continue reading »

The Nurse with Ebola Strikes Back

By: Blaydes Moore* | Staff Writer

Nina Pham, the twenty-six year old nurse who contracted Ebola in Dallas last year, is suing her employer.  She alleges that the hospital negligently failed to prepare her to handle an Ebola patient.  She states that she was assigned the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, like any other.  The Liberian man was diagnosed with the disease on September 30, 2014.  It was the first case of Ebola ever diagnosed in the United States.

Continue reading »

The Looming Impact of EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.

By: Afzal Karim*|Staff Writer

Elauf supporters outside of the Supreme Court.

Elauf supporters outside of the Supreme Court.

Known for being a staple in preppy closets worldwide, the clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch finds itself in a more serious setting – the Supreme Court of the United States.  Recently, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.  The case centers on Abercrombie’s refusal to hire Samantha Elauf, a practicing Muslim, because of her decision to wear a religious headscarf, or hijab to her job interview.  Elauf and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought suit against Abercrombie alleging a Title VII violation for refusing to hire an employee due to a “religious observance and practice” that could be reasonably accommodated.  Abercrombie contends that its decision was based on the company’s “Look Policy,” which prevents employees from wearing “caps,” and was not aware Elauf wore the headscarf due to religious reasons. As the Supreme Court contemplates its verdict, the looming decision will set a strong precedent for religious rights in the workplace.

Continue reading »

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act

By: John Hodnette* | Staff Writer

2384-1268943578RdNmYou may recall from Constitutional Law I or II that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) was passed by the United States Congress in response to Employment Division v. Smith.  This case involved two Oregon Native Americans who were denied unemployment compensation because they tested positive for using peyote, an illegal drug, in a religious ceremony.  Justice Scalia ruled that the anti-drug laws applied to everyone and an exception should not be made for religious reasons.  However, Congress passed the RFRA requiring laws infringing on religious beliefs to meet the “strict scrutiny” test.  This law led to other opinions, such as the Hobby Lobby decision, which permits religious employees to decide what kind of birth control (if any) their insurance plan will provide, and the concept of “conscience clauses.”  One of the purposes of the Act, as explained in section (b) “Purpose” is “to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.”

Continue reading »

American Sniper Murder Trial

US Navy SEALs insignia

US Navy SEALs insignia

By: Emily Morris* | Staff Writer

Chris Kyle, is a decorated American hero for his ten year military service as a Navy Seal sniper. Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War where he was nicknamed the “Devil of Ramadi” by Iraqi insurgents. The Iraqi insurants put a $20,000 bounty on his head. He is credited with being the most lethal sniper in American history with a self-reported number of more than 160 kills. Kyle retired from the military in 2009 and became an activist for war veterans with PTSD. He is the author of a 2012 bestseller, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in Military History. Continue reading »

Opinion: Impact of Sony’s Decision to Cancel the Theatrical Release of The Interview


Constitution_We_the_People

By: Afzal Karim* | Staff Writer

“We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”  These strong remarks by President Obama came in response to the decision of Sony Pictures to drop the release of its highly anticipated comedy, The Interview.   The movie focused on a comical plan to assassinate the leader of North Korea.   However, a group of North Korean hackers known as the “Guardians of the Peace” did not find the plot amusing and threatened “9/11 type attacks,” on theaters that screened the movieFacing threats of violence and terrorism, Sony canceled the movie’s theatrical release.  Almost immediately, the decision was met by widespread criticism from all sides of the political spectrum.  Many called Sony’s decision to pull the comedy as a blow to our nation’s First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and creativity and a win for terrorists worldwide. Continue reading »

A Lawyer Explains 5 Weird Tax Laws on the Books

Arkansas has a tattoo tax.

Arkansas has a tattoo tax.

By: John Hodnette* | Staff Writer 

The IRS are not the most popular chappies in existence, but there is always a certain logic to what they tax and what deductions they allow.  The taxpayers understand this logic generally, and so they take advantage of some of the common advantages, such as the Home Interest Deduction, which encourages home ownership, and the Charitable Deduction, which encourages people to be generous to charities.  Taxpayers also enjoy the benefits of marriage based on the favorable tax brackets when filing your taxes “married filing jointly.”

However, some of the state tax laws that still exist may leave you scratching your head.  A recent article by Yahoo! Finance lists some of these peculiar taxes, and now a bona fide tax lawyer (yours truly) will help explain what gives.

1)   Maryland’s Flush Tax:  $60 per year.
Maryland had a problem:  how to raise money to improve its treatment plants and simulataneously protect the Chesapeake Bay.  Solution?  Tax everyone in the area for flushing your toilets.  The tax is applied by adding $5 per month to customers of the St. May’s Metropolitan Commission, which operates public water and sewer systems.  Though the tax sounds ridiculous, it is really just a general tax on use of the public water system.  I would be curious to see if anyone stopped flushing to avoid the tax—I think it is worth it to just pay. Continue reading »

The Road to an Open Internet

FCC Logo

FCC Logo

By: Emily Morris* | Staff Writer 

Net neutrality and “open Internet,” as the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) calls it, has been a topic of debate since the advent of the Internet.  Open Internet is when “consumers can make their own choices about what application and services to use and are free to decide what lawful content they want to access, create, or share with others.” Open Internet is important because it fosters competition and encourages investment and innovation. The FCC released an Open Internet Order in 2010 that was challenged in the D.C. Court of Appeals. The D.C. court affirmed the Commission’s authority to regulate broadband Internet access.

On February 4, 2015 Chairman Tom Wheeler announced on the Wire that he would be circulating an open Internet proposal to the other members of the Federal Communication Commission.  He says that this proposal is one of the strongest Open Internet protection proposals the FCC has ever submitted. The proposal ensures the “right of Internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the right of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.”  Continue reading »