Pineapples are the symbol for hospitality.

Spirit of Aloha: Block Trump’s Travel Ban

Two Federal Judges have banned Trump’s Travel Ban this past week. Judge Derrick K. Watson of the Federal District Court in Honolulu, Hawaii was the first to issue a nationwide order blocking the revised travel ban. Even though the ban was revised from its original version, Judge Watson believes it still unfairly discriminates against Muslims, citing a resemblance to the Japanese Internment camps. In a way Judge Watson is extending the spirit of his native state in welcoming immigrants and refugees to American soil.

On the flip side, the U.S. Code says the President has the right to bar “any class of aliens” under “any restrictions he may deem appropriate.” Furthermore, the Judicial system is in place to protect the rights of U.S. citizens. In a way, banning the travel ban extends American rights to citizens of other nations. However allowing the ban to take place –knowing that Trump intends to ban Muslims based on his statements during his campaign– puts American Muslims in an uncomfortable predicament, potentially leaving them vulnerable to discrimination. Here’s some further reading.

Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget Cuts EPA Spending

 Ducks swimming in Chesapeake Bay with Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse on March 17, 2017. Trump’s proposed budget would cut federal funding for the Bay’s pollution reduction program.

President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget increases defense spending by $54 billion, allocates $2.6 billion for a southern border wall and $1.4 billion for a school voucher program. Where will all the money come from? The President proposes cutting funding to 19 government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency (cut by 31%), the State Department (cut by 29%), the Education Department (cut by 14%), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (cut by 13%).

Congress can still make adjustments to the budget proposal and even reject it altogether, as they did with Obama’s 2017 budget proposal.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day From Belfast…and Star Wars?

Paraders dressed as Star Wars characters walk during the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

A parader dressed as Star Wars’s Darth Vader during the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

A parader dressed as a Storm Trooper waves to the crowd during the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Taronga Zoo’s Baby Pygmy Hippo Makes Debut

 The yet-to-be named Pygmy Hippo calf appears with her mother Kambiri on March 17, 2017 in Syndney, Australia.

Taronga Zoo in Syndney, Australia is celebrating their newest addition: a Pygmy hippo calf. The calf was born on February 21, 2017, marking the first Pygmy hippo birth at the zoo since 2010. Pygmy hippos are an endangered species, with less than 3000 remaining in the wild. Deforestation and civil wars driving displaced people to hunt the hippos for their meat are the major contributors to the Pygmy hippo decline.