Hamid Ahmadi

Hamid Ahmadi

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As I slowly realize that America is falling into a deep, dark pool of despair, I have decided to not only pay more attention to the presidential election, but also to voice my opinion about the burden that’s about to hit our country in less than two months.

At the beginning of this years election, I was and still am a very strong Bernie supporter. I was definitely ‘Feelin the Bern’, so you can probably guess how upset I was when Sanders was not named the Democratic nominee, and even more astounded by the fact that Donald Trump was voted as the republican nominee. But, even with my raging anger at America, I decided to still keep following the election and dispose of my preconception that democrats had all the answers for America’s problems.

Going into Monday’s debate, I had some very strong feelings that I would be triggered by the arrogance and ignorance of both parties. Even though this years election isn’t something that I wish to participate in due to the fact that, in my opinion, both presidential candidates are not stable enough to be running one of the world’s most powerful countries, I still think that one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and at least attempt to change some minds and restore some of my faith in humanity before the blood battle between the candidates gets serious.

The debate started off with a segment called “Achieving Prosperity,” a segment devoted to talking about the inequalities that citizens face in the workforce.

Hillary Clinton started the discussion off. She was asked why she is a better choice than her opponent (Trump) to create the kinds of jobs to put more money in the pockets of American workers. She responded by saying that the government must build an economy that is suitable enough to all citizens and not just those at the top of the economic food chain. What does this mean to Secretary Clinton? This simply means creating newer and better jobs in infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean renewable energy and small businesses that establish rising incomes. She wants to invest in us, the people, and our futures. Clinton went on to say that we must make the economy more fair which starts with raising the minimum wage, and guaranteeing equal pay for women. She wants Americans to be more centralized around the idea of family, and wants to help citizens who struggle in finding a balance between family and work by providing workers with paid family leave, earned sick days, affordable child care and debt free college. How does she hope to accomplish this, you may ask? By having the wealthy pay their share and closing the corporate loopholes. After she was done speaking about this issue, she asked viewers this question: “Who can shoulder the immense, awesome responsibilities of the presidency? Who can put into action the plans that will make your life better?”

Now Trump. He was asked the same question, and started off by saying that our jobs are fleeing the country. He then proceeded to say that countries like China are devaluing our currency and are using America as a piggy bank to restore their country. We are losing our jobs. We must stop our jobs from being taken over and our companies from leaving the United States. If elected president, Trump hopes to reduce taxes tremendously (35% to 15%, to be exact) for companies and small and big businesses.

My take on this segment of the debate? Hilary completely won me over. She had a more precise plan in mind and had obviously prepared for the debate. Trump on the other hand, not so much. You know when you don’t read the book and you have a graded in-class discussion and all you say is “I agree with …”? That’s kind of what Trump was saying. For most of his points, he kind of just fed off Clinton’s answers.

Clinton: 1 Trump: 0

As the debate went on, we found that truly, Hillary Clinton overpowered Donald Trump in the first presidential debate because we witnessed the Republican nominee stumbling over his words and spending most of the night on his heels.

Although it is a popular belief that Trump will be a more “cool”, laid back, and a more “presidential” fit for office, it was noticed that his agitation rate was through the roofs. He repeatedly interrupted Clinton and raised his voice. After the first blow, he had set the tone for the debate, and it wasn’t a very great one.

Tensions reached an ultimate high when Clinton asked the audience to visit her website, and Trump responded by stating that General Douglas MacArthur would not approve of Clinton’s post regarding her plan to defeat ISIS.

“You’re telling the enemy everything you want to do,” Trump said.

The one thing that I have to say about this argument is that as President of the United States, it is much wiser if you try to keep calm and cool instead of raising your voice like Trump has, not only during this debate, but also during many other occasions. If he is being careless enough to be yelling during a presidential debate, imagine the carelessness he is going to have during meetings with other leaders.

Clinton: 2 Trump: 0

One thing that really bugged me and kind of surprised me was that when the candidates were asked about issues regarding race, neither Clinton nor Trump had anything to say about the Black Lives Matter movement. This, to me and many others, is such an important movement and the fact that nothing was said about it kind of left me disinterested in this part of the debate. However, going further into the recent issues with race, Clinton accused Trump of having “a long record of engaging in racist behavior”, after multiple clashes between the two parties. Clinton was referring back to Trump’s 1973 Department of Justice lawsuit accusing him of discrimination for not renting apartments to black people. Trump dismissed Clinton’s statement and went on to say that there were many companies involved in the lawsuit and that he settled without admitting guilt. Trump then went on to praise himself for opening up a night club in Palm Beach, Florida that did not discriminate against anyone.

Personally, I believe that opening up a night club that isn’t discriminatory is not that big of a deal due to the fact that we live in America and it is the 21st century. Is there something deeper about this case that we must look into? Is Trump praising himself because it was hard for him to open a non-discriminatory night club in 21st Century America?

In light of both candidates dodging the BLM issue, the score remains Clinton: 2, Trump: 0

Furthermore, Trump defended the stop-and-frisk, the controversial policing policy that a court ruled unconstitutional when used in New York City. Trump called it “tremendous beyond belief” and said other cities needed to adopt it in order to implement “law and order,” but is a controversial policy like stop-and-frisk really appropriate for this country’s police force, after everything that’s been happening? We see cases like Dylan Noble, Korryn Gaines, Tyre King, where unarmed, non-violent African American citizens are being shot due to a misconception that they are always doing something wrong. So, we must ask ourselves, why would stop-and-frisk ever be acceptable in a country where people of color are three times more likely to be arrested or incarcerated? There cannot be “law and order” if there is no order in our police system. (For more info on police violence, visit this link.)

One of the main points that was brought up during the debate was the issue of Obama’s birth certificate and the fact that Trump had repeatedly accused of him of not being a natural born US citizen. So, after five years of raising doubt on the topic, Trump finally decided to give in but gave no explanation as to why he finally changed his mind.

Besides completely ignoring instead of accepting the very simple fact that he was wrong, he actually blamed Clinton for starting the rumor and praised himself for forcing Obama to produce his birth certificate.

“Let’s take a closer look at that birth certificate. @BarackObama was described in 2003 as being “born in Kenya,” Trump tweeted on May 18, 2012.

March 30, 2011: Trump says on The O’Reilly Factor, “If you are going to be president of the United States you have to be born in this country. And there is a doubt as to whether or not he was. … He doesn’t have a birth certificate. He may have one, but there’s something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that. Or he may not have one. But I will tell you this. If he wasn’t born in this country, it’s one of the great scams of all time.”

These are just some prime examples of Trump supporting the “birther movement.” Why he has suddenly decided to change his mind and put the blame on Hillary is way beyond reason, but I ask you, the readers, this question: Do we want our next president to be a profound liar? If he’s lying about something like this, he’s bound to hit again. Big things stem from small things.

This is an easy one. Truthful Candidate > Lying Candidate.

Clinton: 3 Trump: 0

Another issue that was touched on at the beginning of the debate was Trump’s statement regarding Hillary Clinton’s looks. When Holt asked Trump to speak further on his comment, he stated that Clinton simply does not have the stamina to be president of the United States. In some way, I do agree with this point because there have been many instances where Clinton has fainted; one of the instances actually being a couple weeks ago when she had left the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero in Manhattan, stating that she had started to feel “faint”.

So, in the case of physical ability, Trump definitely has my vote.

Clinton: 3 Trump: 1

Personally, I believe that this is by far, one of the most difficult, but easy decisions that America will make only because of the fact that both candidates touch on certain issues with a special vibe of their own. However, one thing that we must remember is this:

The media is everything. Depending on what website you’re on, what channel you’re watching, you are bound to hear some very biased information. Hillary Clinton’s health incident at the 9/11 memorial was viewed as “unprofessional” and “disrespectful” only because people did not have all the facts and the media chose to portray her in that manner because that she is a woman. The facts were laid out in front of us when her campaign directors revealed that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday. But again, the media chooses what to and what not to publish.

Donald Trump, on one hand chooses to at times make himself look bad. But other times, even though he gets wall-to-wall coverage, it is definitely negative 95% of the time. The media is definitely increasingly biased against Trump. He really is getting different, harsher treatment than any candidate in memory. Whether you think that he deserves it is one thing, but there are rules within traditional political reporting operations about how you cover presidential candidates.

So who won the Monday debate? In my eyes, Hillary Clinton.

The second presidential debate, which took place on Oct 9 at Washington University, was a cross between a “he said, she said” argument and an extremely heated fight on the playground. Let’s go over some of the key points of the debate.

Clinton went into sunday’s debate with massive momentum, a majority of it caused by Trump’s stumbles. However she made sure she made no types of errors that would allow the Republican back into the contest. Even in the face of some very personal attacks from Trump, she kept steady and pleasant. She also seemed more knowledgeable on Trump’s actions. Another major plus for Clinton was that she let her opponent speak, which seems to be an obstacle that Trump struggles with.

During this debate, Clinton definitely had more chances to hit Trump with more negative blows than she had done during the previous debate, which she didn’t which shows that she kept her teperment calm, cool, and collected.

However, when confronted about the deleted emails incident, Clinton’s response was merely an answer. She then went into a whole spiel about Abaraham Lincoln and Wall Street together which in my eyes was plain out ridiculous.

Moving onto Trump, who definitely was much more solid and energetic in this debate than in the previous one. He ad-libbed a terrific line after Clinton’s Lincoln-Wall Street spiel.

But even though Trump’s attitude changed tremendously since the last debate, he still was his own enemy. He made the whole situation sticky for himself after he held a pre-debate news conference with a handful of women allegedly assaulted by Bill Clinton which flowed seamlessly into Trump’s insistence from the debate stage that Hillary Clinton would be in jail if he was elected president. But, these comments and also his remarkable, repetitive accusation that Clinton has “hate in her heart,” helped him win the debate among the Republican base that has been longing for a candidate who would stand up to the Clintons without fear of reprisal. However, the problem for Trump is that we know from polling that his base isn’t nearly large enough to win an election.

Let’s take a couple steps back. If you paid attention and watched the debate from the beginning, you would have noticed that the candidates broke what is a political debate tradition by not shaking hands at the start of the night. This opened up the window that tension blew into throughout the night.

When asked about the recordings of his talking about women in a vulgar fashion, Trump went on to talk about how Bill Clinton’s actions during his presidency were far worse than his.

“If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, and his was action. His was — what he’s done to women, there’s never been anybody in the history of politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women … Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them here tonight,” Trump said.

That statement puzzled me in more ways than one. Comparing your assault charges to someone else assault charges is not something that you do, especially if you’re running for president. Your charges being less serious than someone else’s charges isn’t something that you should be proud of. So, if this was Trump’s way of firing back at the Clinton’s, his gun must have been pointing the wrong way because it definitely back fired on him.

If you read my last article and are wondering why I’m not quite covering this past debate like I did for the first one, it’s because I believe that this election is just becoming childish now. Both candidates are above 65 years old, but act like the two little kids who always argue over who gets the last juice box during snack time. I zoned out of the debate 45 minutes in, because all they kept doing was going back and forth, and not really giving the answers that people wanted to hear. They just kept “flaming” each other.

To fact check sunday’s debate and find out what the candidates lied about, visit this site.

Some might argue that the debate had a clear and obvious winner (the answers vary). However, if you ask me, no candidates deserve to be called a “winner” after the blatant children’s fight that occurred on sunday night.

Photo Credits to Business Insider

Picture this. A ball of rubber bands being bounced around but with each hit to the ground. Rays of light spur out of the ball, filling the room with positivity. Now imagine this ball as a person. Some might think of someone completely random, but I think of Arooba Lodhi, senior at Niles North High School.

Between juggling some very challenging courses such as AP Chemistry, AP Psych, GAWAPUSH, and being involved in extracurriculars such as WHO Club, Dance Marathon, Table Tennis (which, by the way, she is a beast at), and being a point tutor, Lodhi successfully accomplished her goal of not crying as much as she expected to the past few years.

If you know Lodhi, you probably know that you will always see her with a bright and shiny smile on her face. What you may not know, however, is that behind that positive energy and that contagious smile, Arooba does stress about things, just like any other high school senior.

“I think that the world needs positivity… especially nowadays… I have a lot of layers, and I think the world needs more layers.” says Lodhi

Being the bright student she is, Lodhi already has an idea as to what her plans are for after high school.

“I think I want to major in the medical field… do something with medicine… but definitely minor in journalism. But I’m not quite sure where I want to go to college quite yet,” says Lodhi.

When asked to describe her past four years at Niles North, Lodhi said that her high school experience, so far, has been eye opening, life changing and unforgettable. She’s already counting down the days to the night of Dance Marathon and is super excited to be part of the Northstar News staff.

Monday is a day that we all dread as high school students, but imagine going to first period, having a project due, showing it to your teacher, and accusing you of making a bomb. Instantly, your palms start sweating, your mind starts racing, and you can’t get words to come out of your mouth. Unfortunately that’s what happened to Ahmed Mohamed, a freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, TX.

On Monday, Sept 14, Mohamed came into school, proud to have made his own clock, only to be falsely accused of making a hoax-bomb by not only his teacher, but also the police.

In an interview last Wednesday, with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Mohamed said he’d been pulled out of class by his principal and five officers. Afterwards, he had been taken into a room and was interrogated for an hour and a half. When he asked if he could call his parents, the police responded with “No, you can’t call your parents… You’re in the middle of an interrogation at the moment.”

“I felt like I was a criminal,” the 14 year old said. “I felt like I was a terrorist. I felt like all the names I was called just because of my race and my religion.” (He had been called a terrorist, a bomb maker, and other derogatory terms.)

Mohamed had been released from school at 3 p.m. and later taken into Juvenile Detention where he was fingerprinted and escorted to his parents. After the arrest, he was suspended for three days.

According to Elhassan Mohamed, Ahmed’s dad, he will not be returning to MacArthur High School. His family has not yet decided on where he’d be going, but they are exploring options both inside and outside of the United States.

However, the Mohamed families story does not end there. Ahmed went from handcuffs to fame real quick. He has been receiving countless support from several people around the nation, including support from Mark Zuckerberg, MIT, Hillary Clinton, and even the President of the United States.

“I was scared at the moment, but now I feel really happy,” Ahmed said. “I’m getting all this support from all over the world. And the support isn’t just for me but for everyone who has been through this. I will fight for you if you can’t stand up for yourself.”

“Cool clock, Ahmed,” President Obama said on Twitter. “Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”

There are two sides to every story, however. Irving’s Mayor, Beth Van Duyne went on Facebook to defend the school district and the police force, claiming that their city is “one of the safest cities in the country.”

“I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat,” Van Duyne wrote. “We have all seen terrible and violent acts committed in schools… Perhaps some of those could have been prevented and lives could have been spared if people were more vigilant.”

Either way, the support the public has been giving to Ahmed has been continuing to grow tremendously, and his Facebook messages have been flooded with positive messages from people around the nation.

What comes into play when a situation like this occurs in the nation, or even in the world, is; does this type of social injustice pertain to our community, to our town, in our school? Let us know what you think.

You can watch a short clip on Ahmed’s story here.

Contrary to the popular belief, cheerleading is not just a bunch of girls standing on sidelines, shaking their pom poms and jumping around.

Niles North cheerleading has continued to thrive and prosper throughout the years. With the title of three time Central Suburban League (CSL) conference champs and eighth in state, the team sure has a legacy to carry on.

This team is one of the hardest working teams here at our school.

“As the varsity coaches, we are currently working hard to create the toughest competitive routine that our varsity athletes will be able to execute for our competitive season! Our winter practices are mainly devoted to practicing new stunt sequences that may be incorporated into our routine,” Head Coach Aleka Landon says. “The overall focus for this year’s varsity routine is intense energy throughout our performances.”

This year, the varsity cheerleading team consists of 24 members, four of which are seniors.

Imagine going through a grueling 8 hours of school, going to practice for 2 and a half hours, and during practice, getting kicked, scratched, punched, elbowed, etc. This is what a cheerleader has to endure.

“The varsity practices are often loud and energy driven. We believe in pushing our athletes to work at their personal best at each practice so they are able to peak at the end of their season. We as their coaches have one goal in mind and we are on our way there,” Landon says.

However, it’s practices like these that lead teams to greatness and beyond. It’s the exhausting, long practices, the bruises and pains, and the injuries that make us phenomenal.

“You have to remember that although things seem impossible, you need to be aggressive and kill your fears,” Yarden Yitzhak, freshman, says.

This year, the team’s motto is to “Light it up!”

What does this mean, you ask?

It means that whenever you’re on the mat, you put on the performance of a lifetime. Practice like you’re in second place, perform like you’re in first. Bring energy onto the mat that will bring the team up.

“This team gives me drive and motivation to push myself and be better. From the beginning of the summer practices to now, we all as a team have all grown not only skill wise but as a family. Our competitive season is going to be great and we are all so pumped and ready to compete,” Max Davito, sophomore, says.

With competitive season starting on October 26, the team has been working hard and diligently to get podium (top 3 in the state) this year. The team believes that they are worthy and skilled enough to make it. With the coaches pushing the team to their highest point, they know that they will go far this season, and leave their mark in IHSA Cheerleading.

“When we think about this year’s team, we think they have what it takes, but it’s going to take everything they got. In the time that Coach Landon and I have taken over this program, we have focused on building discipline, dedication, passion, and inspiration into our athletes. Winning isn’t everything, but striving towards a common goal and working hard every day in and day out is what it takes to be successful,” Assistant Varsity Coach Natalie Hoss says.

So, cheerleading is actually not a bunch of “popular” teenage girls shaking their pom poms and jumping around, cheerleading is an unpredictable, intriguing, high flying sport.

The vikings’ first competition is on December 18th at Belvidere North High School.

More information will come as the season progresses.

Spring is coming up and it’s a great time to refine our fashion skills for the upcoming season. For those of us that have a bit of trouble coming up with outfits this season, here are some important tips on what you can do to refine your fashion sense.

One thing that’s imperative this season is denim. Denim has started to make a huge comeback in the past couple of years, and people are starting to make their own creative choices with it. One thing that is a big “no” is “denim-on-denim”. Although, some might say that wearing different shades of denim, for example, light-washed jeans with a dark-washed long sleeve shirt is a good fit. But if you’re thinking about wearing dark washed jeans with a dark washed top, please, put the outfit down, reevaluate what you’re doing, and find other options.

This year, as the spring shows rolled out, one thing became very, very apparent; 90’s jeans are coming back.

Now, when you hear someone say 90’s jeans, you’re most likely to think of JNCOs, but that’s not exactly what 90’s jeans are. Think more of a raver or skater girl type of jeans. However, aside from just jeans, you can expect to see people showing off their true style wearing denim skirts, shirts, dresses, and more.

Another thing that you might be wondering about is colors… Colors are such an essential part when it comes to fashion. The Spring 2016 Fashion color palette is one to die for. It evolves from snow white to a more leafy green to a crimson red. In between, you can find colors more on the metallic side and certain colors that are silky-like. Some of the top 10 colors for this upcoming season are ‘Rose Quarts’, ‘Snorkel Blue’, ‘Buttercup’, ‘Green Flash’ and my personal favorite, ‘Fiesta’.

Moving on from the color palettes, you can expect to see a lot of plaid this season.

“Gingham will always have a place in our hearts (and on the runways) but this season, designers are saying, ‘supersize me.’ We spotted large plaids at Thakoon, Marissa Webb, Brooks Brothers, Victoria Beckham, and Wes Gordon, to name a few,” Nikki Ogunnaike, Senior Fashion Editor at Elle Magazine reports.

Lace, Lace, Lace! Lace is back and better than ever. Lace is being used in so many different ways this season. Aside from being used for blouses and shirts, designers are incorporating lace into their designs for dresses.

“A sensual lightness lingered through the spring collections, as designers rendered transparencies, lace and lingerie to reveal an introspective beauty,” reports Mayte Allende, fashion reporter for Womens Wear Daily.

A lot of the lines that you can expect to be seeing this season differ from Marc Jacobs, Kendall and Kylie, Ralph Lauren and DKNY to more extravagant designers like Céline, Balenziaga, Oscar de la Renta and Hood By Air.

It really looks like designers are incorporating more kind, serving up the romantic, eye-catching, and ornate fashion styles this year.

For more updates on the Spring 2016 Fashion Runway styles, be sure to check out Vogue, Elle, and WWD.