We bring the news every Sunday.

Paul George miss playoff game

Despite the world being “back to normal” after the pandemic, news has broken that All-NBA forward Paul George will miss tonight’s Clippers’ game due to health and safety protocols. The Clippers forward is believed to have COVID-19. George did not feel well Thursday and underwent testing. That is a massive development less than 12 hours before the game is to be tipped off. This is a massive blow to the teams considering the Los Angeles Clippers were unable to clinch their playoff spot, losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night. That forced them into the win-or-go-home game against the New Orleans Pelicans Friday night. Will they be able to pull a win tonight with George on the bench? 

Clippers’ Star Guard Missing Game Spells Trouble for Team

As those Twitter users point out, the Clippers played 82 games and finished six games ahead of the Pelicans for the eighth seed. Now, they are likely to be eliminated. The Clippers have seen a  large number of injuries this season. George missed 51 games earlier this season. He was out for three months with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He returned for five regular-season games, and the Clippers have won six of their last eight with a healthy George in the lineup. He averaged 24.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists this season. He had 34 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists in the team’s 109-104 loss at Minnesota in the play-in game for the seventh spot on Tuesday.

Paul George playoff game covid

The Clippers are still without Kawhi Leonard (with no word when he will be back from his injury) and George has already missed most of the season as well. Just as soon as it looked like the Clippers had turned a corner with the return of George, he is now once again absent, and for the biggest game of the year.Other fans simply had takeaways of all shapes and sizes.  “This is another challenge for our group,” Lawrence Frank said at the team shootaround. “The group has dealt with challenges all year. We’ve had guys in and out of the lineup and dealt with overcoming large deficits and yet this group has always responded. A very resilient group. We have a great deal of faith and a talented and deep roster and have a great coach in Ty Lue.”

Clippers’ Paul George’s to be Absent from Playoffs

Frank said the team is following the NBA’s lead when it comes to health and safety protocols. “This is a challenge but it has just been a series of challenges and may be fitting that this is a situation where all those reps and experiences that the group has had, they have been in these moments many, many times before this year.” There is no clear word for the rest of the team but the game is still expected to occur. Regardless of which team they might be rooting for, the real loser is the fans. Tonight should have been showcasing two of the best scorers in basketball, with CJ McCollum and Paul George. The Clippers will need Norman Powell and Robert Covington if they want to continue playing. 

With Paul George being taken out of the game due to COVID it begs the question: Why does everything seem to be going back to normal if people are still getting COVID? If things are back so “back to normal” why is this still an issue? Do you believe COVID is the real reason George won’t be playing in tonight’s game? How “back to normal” do you believe the world truly is? 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Aurora Exempts Diapers

Aurora will soon become the first city in Colorado to exempt diapers from local sales tax since the City Council approved the measure Monday night. The measure passed on a 6-3 vote, with council members Zvonek, Danielle Jurinsky, and Angela Lawson voting against the ordinance. Council member Zvonek said he understood the desire to help residents with rising costs, but he’d prefer a more comprehensive “across-the-board reduction,” rather than what he called a carve-out, to help residents keep more money in their pockets and the city be more competitive.

What Does The New Aurora Ordinance Do?

Council member Curtis Gardner brought forward the ordinance this year after successfully passing a city sales tax exemption on menstrual products he sponsored last year. City research shows that no other city in the state has adopted a measure to exempt diapers from local sales taxes. The ordinance will take effect June 1 and applies to infant diapers as well as adult incontinence products. The ordinance exempts those items from the city’s sales tax of 3.75%. It would cost the city about $575,000 in revenue per year, according to a staff analysis. A statewide measure is also moving through the legislature to exempt menstrual products and diapers from the state sales tax, but that won’t affect local taxes unless councils like Aurora make that change. Denver, for example, already exempts menstrual products from its city taxes.

Why Did Aurora Exempt Diapers From Sales Tax?

Aurora Exempts Diaper Taxes

In 2019, Aurora-based WeeCycle, which operates a diaper bank program, donated 237,000 diapers to families in need. In 2021, that number shot up to 1.1 million (with support from state funding), “still only scraping the surface of the need that exists in our state,” said Development Director Lindsey Zaback. Many less fortunate families were forced to send their kids to school with napkins or plastic bags taped to them in place of diapers or feminine hygiene products. 

When Curtis Gardner heard from school districts and community groups about families who couldn’t afford diapers and menstrual products, he tried to do something about it. “Diapers kind of fall under the same category (as feminine hygiene products) in terms of they’re a necessary product,” Gardner said in an interview. “We exempt groceries, we exempt other medical supplies, and so to me, diapers, are the same kind of thing. …I thought it was a good way to signal that we want to help families in our city.” Seniors on a fixed income who may struggle to buy supplies they need could also be positively impacted by this new ordinance. 

Do Conservatives Back the New Aurora Ordinance?

The Aurora ordinance was passed with support from conservative and progressive members of the City Council. However, Gardner says he was “flabbergasted” that he wasn’t able to convince all his fellow conservative members to get on board. “I really don’t understand why there’s pushback on helping families in our city. It’s been pointed out that costs continue to rise. It’s been pointed out that we exempt other products, and yet we are drawing the line in the sand here,” he said. “It seems to me if there was a sales tax cut that came forward for developers I bet you we’d pass that in no time. But for whatever reason, when we have an opportunity to help families in our city, there’s a lot of hesitance to do that.” 

Council member Zvonek said, “I don’t believe that this is good policy. It might be good politics, maybe. But I think it’s bad policy.” Is this policy a bad policy? Do you think the new Aurora Ordinance exempting diapers from sales tax will have a negative effect in some way? Would the possible negatives outweigh the good it could do for struggling families and seniors? The only way to know for sure is to watch the situation unfold and see what follows. 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Trump Endorsing Dr. Oz

Former President Donald Trump is publicly endorsing Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Turkish-American TV physician, for the Republican U.S. Senate primary race in Pennsylvania. Trump made his endorsement public during a North Carolina rally.  “This is all about winning elections in order to stop the Radical Left maniacs from destroying our country,” Trump said in a statement promoting the celebrity heart surgeon-turned-politician this weekend. “I have known Dr. Oz for many years, as have many others, even if only through his very successful television show. He has lived with us through the screen and has always been popular, respected, and smart.” The former president also praised Dr. Oz’s medical and academic credentials. Trump’s endorsement of Dr. Oz has ignited fury and ridicule among Trump supporters, republicans, and conservatives.

Why Are Trump Supporters Angry At Dr. Oz endorsement? 

Trump supporters believe that Oz, who has ever-changing feelings about abortion, isn’t a trustworthy “America First” Republican candidate. Just one example of reasons conservatives don’t trust Dr. Oz, despite his many credentials, occurred in March 2011. According to the National Library of Medicine, Oz stated on his show that homeopathy could ease people’s aches and pains without the use of prescription medication. His guest, Russ Greenfield, MD, claimed homeopathy works, even in extremely dilute concentrations, when not a single molecule of the original drug remains. “The essence of the medication—oh, let’s say the spirit of the medication—is imbibed and it sends a message to the body to heal itself,” according to Greenfield. Oz stated, during the same show, that his family often uses homeopathic treatments. 

During another show, Oz interviewed Dr. Mosaraf Ali, miracle healer to Sylvester Stallone, Prince Charles of England, and others. Most of the show focused on Dr. Ali’s use of iridology. According to this widely debunked theory, each part of the iris corresponds to a specific area of the body. This leads to a belief that a person’s state of health can be diagnosed by examining particular regions of the iris. After expressing his amazement at Dr. Ali’s diagnostic abilities, Oz stated, “I want to applaud Doctor Mosaraf Ali because these are ancient traditions and they have been around for centuries so who am I to dismiss them?” Oz’s frequent attempt to agree with guests, even when their theories have been debunked previously, makes conservatives fear this same mentality will be brought to his political career. Someone who has the ability to take a sure stance of their own on important topics is important to conservatives. Many conservatives and Trump supporters believe candidate Dave McCormick, who has ex-Trump administration official Hope Hicks by his side, is the better candidate. The former George W. Bush administration official’s resume closely fits the Republican mold. McCormick is also married to Dina Powell, a former Trump White House official.

Trump Endorses Dr. Oz

What Have Trump Supporters Said About Dr. Oz Endorsement?

“I have enormous respect for President Trump. I was honored to have his endorsement in PA. Twice,” Sean Parnell, the former Trump-backed candidate, who dropped out of the race after abuse allegations surfaced from his ex-wife, wrote on Twitter. “But I’m disappointed by this. Oz is the antithesis of everything that made Trump the best president of my lifetime.” Conservative radio host Erick Erickson tweeted, “it’s like Donald Trump’s staff is sabotaging Trump by convincing him to make the worst possible endorsements.” 

“This endorsement could divide MAGA in the only way that matters: he could lose America First conservatives over it,” Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak wrote.

 Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), who is running for the Senate, but recently split with Trump over back-and-forth accusations of election interference, blames the Oz endorsement on Trump’s staff. “This is happening because Trump’s surrounded himself by staff who are on McConnell’s payroll & hostile to the MAGA agenda. Everybody telling Trump who to endorse in primaries works for The Swamp,” said Brooks. “They played him. Again.” Lesser-known pro-Trump media personalities also stepped into the fold, including Townhall columnist Kurt Schlichter, who wrote: “It’s pretty hard for me to fully express how disappointed in Trump I am for endorsing Oz.”

While many Republicans, conservatives, and Trump supporters has been bashing Dr. Oz’s endorsement from former president Trump, the doctor seems to have an ally in Fox News host Sean Hannity. “I am supporting his nomination to be the Republican candidate,” Hannity said in March. “I have known him for many, many years.” Dr. Oz has been a highly controversial figure over the last few years, especially during the pandemic. Do you believe Dr. Oz will make a good Republican candidate? Do you support or reject Trump’s endorsement of the TV physician? 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Secret Service on Leave 

Members of the Secret Service were placed on leave after receiving gifts from two men posing as federal agents. The two men posed as Department of Homeland Security officers in Washington tricking several members of the Secret Service, providing them with tens of thousands of dollars in gifts. The men provided members of the Secret Service and a Homeland Security employee rent-free apartments, iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a flat-screen television, a generator, and a case to store an assault rifle. Arian Taherzadeh and Haider Ali began their two-year scheme in February 2020. Both men appeared by videoconference on Thursday at a hearing in federal court in Washington. Mr. Ali held several visas that had been issued by Pakistan and Iran. Prosecutors said Mr. Ali told witnesses he had connections to the Inter-Services Intelligence in Pakistan. Joshua Rothstein, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the judge during the court proceeding on Thursday that both men are flight risks and should remain in custody. A detention hearing for both defendants, who did not enter pleas, is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Postal Service Uncovers Two Men Posing As Federal Agents

The investigation of Taherzadeh and Ali began after a letter carrier with the United States Postal Service was assaulted in March at an apartment complex where the men had been living. A U.S. postal inspector went to the complex to interview the two men, who were witnesses. The men told the inspector they were investigators with the U.S. Special Police Investigation Unit undercover investigating gang-related activity, as well as the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. Other residents of the building told the inspector the men had identified themselves as Homeland Security agents. According to those residents, the men used other apartment units in the building and drove around in black SUVs equipped with emergency lights that looked like official Homeland Security vehicles. Residents said Taherzadeh and Ali placed various pieces of surveillance equipment around the building and told residents they had access to everyone’s cellphones and personal information. The inspector reported the information to the Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General, which referred the case to the F.B.I.

Secret Service Leave 

Two Men Charged with Posing as Federal Agents

Taherzadeh, 40, and Ali, 35, were charged with one count of false impersonation of an officer of the United States, the affidavit said. Four members of the Secret Service have been placed on administrative leave while the case is being investigated, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in the District of Columbia. The F.B.I. arrested the men, both of whom are U.S. citizens, on Wednesday in Southeast Washington. “Taherzadeh and Ali have attempted to use their false and fraudulent affiliation with D.H.S. to ingratiate themselves with members of federal law enforcement and the defense community,” David Elias, an F.B.I. special agent, wrote in the affidavit. Elias did not say why the men carried out the impersonation.

 One witness spoke of being recruited by Taherzadeh and Ali to be a Homeland Security employee and serve on a task force. As part of the recruitment process, the men shot the witness with an Airsoft rifle “to evaluate their pain tolerance and reaction,” Mr. Elias wrote.

The men told the witness, who was not identified in the affidavit, that they needed to conduct research “on an individual that provided support to the Department of Defense and intelligence community,” according to the affidavit. Federal prosecutors declined to give a motive or provide further information about the two men. Michelle Peterson, a federal public defender who represented both men, said they planned to ask to be released at the hearing on Friday. If convicted on the impersonation charge, they face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Real Federal Agents Find Arsenal of Law Enforcement Equipment

Rothstein said investigators searched five apartments and several cars used by Taherzadeh and Ali. They found equipment and paraphernalia associated with law enforcement, including body armor, gas masks, zip ties, hand-held radios, a drone similar to ones used by S.W.A.T. teams, Homeland Security patches, 40 to 50 rounds of ammunition, weapon stocks, and documents that were stamped “law enforcement sensitive.” Taherzadeh often carried a Glock 19. He sent one Secret Service agent pictures of himself posing in front of a stack of large cases that are often used to carry firearms. He also sent an agent a photo that he claimed showed a training session for Homeland Security Investigations.“The investigation revealed that the photo Taherzadeh sent is a stock photo from the internet,” Mr. Elias wrote. “Although Mr. Taherzadeh was very outspoken about his job,” Mr. Elias wrote, “he claimed that he was part of a covert task force.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement, a spokesman for the Secret Service said that the agency was working with investigators and that the employees involved in the case had been restricted from accessing Secret Service facilities, equipment, and systems. “The Secret Service adheres to the highest levels of professional standards and conduct and will remain in active coordination with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security,” the spokesman, Kang Lee, said. How could something like this go on for so long before it was detected? What security risks do these two men pose? How could not one, but two people with fake credentials, trick part of the secret service? How can we trust the security of the nation if we can’t trust the people who are supposed to protect us?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Colorado Backs Abortion

Governor Jared Polis, signed a bill into law creating a “fundamental right” to abortion, contraception, and other forms of “reproductive health-care rights.” The law creates rights for “a pregnant individual,” explicitly denying rights for the unborn. The bill addresses the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is expected to replace the abortion precedent in Roe v. Wade (1973). Polis signed H.B. 22-1279, the “Reproductive Health Equity Act,” which the Polis says “codifies a person’s fundamental right to make reproductive health-care decisions free from government interference.”

Colorado Backs Abortion 

“In the State of Colorado, the serious decision to start or end a pregnancy with medical assistance will remain between a person, their doctor, and their faith,” Polis said during his statement Monday. The law prohibits state and local public entities from denying, restricting, interfering with, or discriminating against a person’s right to use or refuse contraception or to continue a pregnancy or to have an abortion. It also bars public entities from restricting abortion due to the individual’s “potential, actual, or perceived impact on the pregnancy, the pregnancy’s outcomes, or the pregnant individual’s health.”Jeff Hunt, president of the Colorado think-tank the Centennial Institute, lamented Polis’ signing of the bill. “This will go down as one of the worst days in Colorado history,” he wrote on Twitter. “Pro-abortionists at the Colorado capitol sealed the fate of countless lives.”

Colorado New Abortion Law

What Does The Law Says

The law itself states that “Access to abortion and reproductive health care is currently under attack across the nation. Impending federal court cases, including Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization,… jeopardize access to legal abortion care for tens of millions of people, particularly those living in most Southern and Midwestern states.”

“Every individual has a fundamental right to make decisions about the individual’s reproductive health care, including the fundamental right to use or refuse contraception,” the law states. “A pregnant individual has a fundamental right to continue a pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion and to make decisions about how to exercise that right. A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent or derivative rights under the laws of this state,” the law adds. 

Now that the state allows abortions it will be up to conservative Colorado counties or municipalities to try to pass local measures banning or significantly limiting access to abortion procedures or medication in their county. House Bill 1279 changes only state statute, not the state constitution, so Republicans could still introduce bills and ballot measures seeking to limit abortion access. Only a constitutional amendment, which would require approval by 55% of voters, could more permanently settle the question. Do you believe Colorado counties should be doing more to fight against the new abortion law? 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Disneys Conservative Downfall

A Colorado Senate candidate and film producer who pitched projects to the ‘Mouse House’ in the past is now warning the company’s adoption of “wokeness” will be their downfall.  Deborah Flora, a Republican seeking to challenge Democrat Senator Michael Bennett in the 2022 midterm election, posted that “The Walt Disney Company may not survive the injection of “wokeness” flowing through…” Disney seems to be backing itself into a corner amid the recent political controversy. People from both sides are hitting Disney with criticism for a multitude of reasons. Could this be the beginning of the end for the ‘happiest place on earth?”

Disney Protests ‘Don’t say Gay’ Bill

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has faced many former Disney fans criticizing his choices as CEO and stances on recent controversies like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. Until recently, the Disney theme Parks stayed as non-political as possible. Known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, this piece of legislation is as simple as the title. As stated by NPR, “The legislation prohibits any instruction about sexuality or gender between kindergarten and third grade, or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” Bob Chapek finally addressed how The Walt Disney Company felt about the bill. 

Disneys Conservative Downfall Beginning

He said he and the rest of the company do not support it and Disney was “opposed to the bill from the outset”. Chapek also announced the company was pledging $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign in order to help further protect LGBTQ+ communities. In a wild turn of events, the Human Rights Campaign actually announced that it would be rejecting this sizable donation until “more meaningful action was taken” by the company. After playing both sides of the fence for years, have people on both sides decided they can no longer trust the happiest place on earth? The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is not the only thing that has republicans and conservatives angry with Disney. 

Disney Supporting Abusive Nations

Deborah Flora is not only a politician but a film producer who founded Lamplight Entertainment. Her husband, Jonathan Flora, is a former Walt Disney Studios producer. The Republican Senate candidate also said that she and her husband pitched a movie to Disney that was rejected for being “too Americana.” Disney went on to say the pitched film also “would not sell in China.” Flora is outraged with Disney for its dealings in China, especially during the government genocide of Uyhgur Muslims. She went on to call China “one of the largest human rights abusers on the entire planet.” Disney supports this nation while simultaneously vilifying parents’ rights. “It is absolutely hypocritical,” Flora said. “And it’s really disturbing because when Walt Disney is now synonymous with ‘wokeness,’ we know that this ideological agenda that is out of touch with the vast majority of American people has hit a point where we all need to stand up and take notice.”

Flora says parents in her community have told her and her non-profit organization, Parents United America, that they will “never go” to Disney’s theme parks again. Those same parents claim that when Disney removed “boys and girls” from their theme park greeting in the name of inclusion it made them heartsick. “It’s a sad day for America, but honestly, I believe it’s going to be the downfall of The Walt Disney Company because they have just ignored the very demographic that they are supposed to be appealing to,” Flora warned.

Woke Disney Culture

Disney Follows Hollywood Wokeness

Flora also warned that Disney is following the rest of Hollywood leftward and publicly displaying dangerous “woke thinking” that has forced conservatives into hiding over fears of being victims of cancel culture or forced out of the industry for not going along with the group think. “McCarthyism is alive and well in Hollywood, but it’s the exact opposite,” Flora said. “If you are someone who holds traditional values, if you are someone that believes that the history of America is a great history, if you are someone that is willing to stand up in a non-work non-PC manner, you are now on that hit list.” 

Amid all the other controversy, The Walt Disney Company is also dealing with the backlash after a cheer team performed a racist and offensive chant on Main Street U.S.A. in Disney World recently. The Disney Parks are building a few brand new rides and attractions in an attempt to gain new customers and stay afloat. While Disney may never fall completely, this recent controversy has definitely seen a hit in the number of current Disney fans. Many people are canceling their Disney plus memberships and not buying season passes for the year. How are you reacting to Disney amid the recent controversy? Will you be supporting Disney in the future?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Global Inflation Causes Shortages

Global prices for food, energy and other commodities have soared this year as countries roll back COVID-19 restrictions, triggering supply shortages. Prices around the world continue to climb and show no sign of slowing down any time soon. Food prices are the highest they’ve been in over a decade, according to a report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Agency. Higher prices are felt by everyone, but especially hard on impoverished households who were already barely making it paycheck to paycheck. 

Inflation Leads to Food Shortages

Farmers have reduced their harvests this year for a myriad of reasons. A recent surge in energy prices is also feeding food price inflation. At the end of last year, the FAO Food Price Index was led by vegetable oils, with prices increasing 9.6 percent. At the same time, cereal prices rose as well, gaining 3.2 percent. Within the cereals category, wheat prices reached their highest level since 2012.

One of the major causes of inflation and shortages of food is the  Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions enacted by the West in response. Ukraine is a major wheat producer. Russia is also a major grower and world’s largest fertilizer manufacturer, but war will prevent either country from exporting to the world. The Russian Ukraine War also has affected things such as gas prices. 

Inflation Affects Gas and Transportation Significantly 

Li said “Car and truck rental prices doubled from 2020, while plane tickets are 25 percent more expensive. More vaccinations, relaxed business restrictions, stimulus and record household savings accelerating the price trends. And you also have outside factors, like shortages for workers, chips, and raw materials, exaggerating the price increases.”  Overall vehicle consumer inflation soared 7% in 2021, the biggest increase in nearly 40 years, the Labor Department said

Global Inflation

Used car and truck prices shot up 37% last year, with the average used vehicle now costing $29,000, according to Auto Website Edmunds. While prices will fall again eventually, they don’t seem to be anytime soon. “Competition for new vehicles will be fierce as inventory shortages persist in 2022,” said Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights for Edmunds.

Unemployment Causes Inflation To Rise Exponentially

Neil Cavuto with the Fox News show “Your World” says, “ We have not seen a pace like that since 2008, when George W. Bush was president of the United States.” In the same episode, his guest Susan Li said consumer prices were rising the fastest they have in 13 years. She claimed a portion of the rise in prices could be blamed on a portion of the unemployed. “Consumers are spending, because they’re armed with stimulus checks, while shortages of labor and materials made goods even more expensive.”

Now we are seeing unemployment numbers dropping slowly. The drop in unemployment came even as the number of people working or looking for jobs grew by 418,000, pushing the labor force participation rate from 62.3% to 62.4%, highest since March 2020. More people who had been fearful of COVID or caring for children, among others, are returning to a favorable labor market with rising wages. Hopefully the workforce will begin to return to work in larger numbers. 

If we were to see a large return to the workforce inflation would likely ease a little, at least in America. The Russian Ukraine war will continue to affect prices world wide as long as it continues and likely for years to come with the damage done in Ukraine. The best way for you to combat inflation is to save what money you can and buy fewer unnecessary items. Do you think there are other causes for the current inflation of global prices? How is inflation affecting you? What are you doing to combat inflation in your daily life?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Maxine Waters Threatens Reporter

Thousands of people gathered in Los Angeles after being told via social media that a scheduled event was giving out section 8 vouchers to everyone in attendance. Many homeless people showed up in a desperate act to find a home.

She claims to be a huge advocate for the homeless. While they say any publicity is good publicity, the way she conducted herself really tarnished the work she does. Water’s ended up threatening a reporter who asked for a comment from Waters over the ordeal. 

Waters Tells Homeless to ‘Go Home’ 

Once Waters and the staff of the event became overwhelmed, she can be seen on video telling the large crowd of homeless people to go home. When Waters said “I want everybody to go home,” the large crowd of homeless people became rightfully angry. Many of the homeless people said things such as “What home we gonna go to?” “We don’t got no home.” “Where are we supposed to go?”

These angry responses prompted Waters to curse at the crowd of desperate homeless people.”Excuse me, there’s nobody in Washington who works for their people any f— harder than I do. I don’t want to hear this. No, no, no.” Making comments like this and conducting herself in this way, not only makes us question her decisions and ability to function as a politician in public, forces important work three steps back.

Why The Homeless Were so Angry at Waters

Many who were in the crowd are used to facing the typical discrimination thats comes with being homeless. For many, every day they deal with other people’s assumptions about them and they’re situations. Telling them to ‘go home’ is likely something they often hear from people who don’t believe they’re homeless and make whatever assumptions about why they are asking for money. If that feeling isn’t enough, for many this was not the first time they were promised vouchers and turned away right as they reached the front of the line.  Videos show reporters  speaking to the homeless people at the event. Ms. Burnett, a disabled homeless woman and one of the event attendees said “Maxine Waters was here, and she said to come back Tuesday with our paperwork filled out. I have it, everything they asked for. But every time we get near the front of the line, they shut the door. They opened the door about 20 minutes ago and said they’re not servicing anyone else today.” 

Waters Attempts to Snuff Story

When a Los Angeles Times reporter contacted Waters about the event, the democrat tried to keep the story from being run. “You’ll hurt yourself and the community trying to put this together without background,” she told reporter Connor Sheets, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t want you to start trying to write it, you won’t understand it.” How can someone understand the “background” of the issue when Waters refuses to give background information. In today’s world of technology, it would make more sense for Waters to attempt to mend her image in the media after the video of her comments surfaced. 

Homelessness is not only a Los Angeles, California, or even west coast issue. Homelessness affects every single state in the United States of America. Since the pandemic, homelessness has risen and fallen but is overall at an all time high. In the wake of the job market opening up, the hope is that the number of homeless will fall. Maxine Waters has likely hindered  work done up to this point. All we can hope for is her apology and public action plan of how she can do better, or another major advocate to rise in her place. 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Evacuation Orders In Border

A wildfire, being called the NCAR fire, has broken out over the weekend fire near Boulder, Colorado, and burned nearly 190 acres as of Sunday morning. The cause of the wildfire, which began around 2 p.m. Saturday, was unclear. The wind-fueled wildfire was named the NCAR fire because it started near the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The NCAR fire comes after a blaze, known as the Marshall fire, tore through suburban neighborhoods between Denver and Boulder in December and forced the urgent evacuation of tens of thousands of people. Now this same urgency was felt over the weekend as authorities evacuated over 19,000 people throughout the weekend, officials said. About 1,600 people and nearly 700 homes remained in an evacuation zone as of Sunday morning. 

Weekend Wildfire Causes Evacuation Order

The authorities on Saturday ordered evacuations in Table Mesa, on the eastern side of the South Boulder neighborhood, and Eldorado Springs, said Marya Washburn, a spokeswoman for Boulder Fire-Rescue. More than 200 firefighters were in the air and on the ground trying to keep the fire away from neighborhoods. “We’re going to continue to try and corral this fire up into the rocks, into the snow, which is really one of our big holding features right now, and one of the reasons that we’re having really, again, good success,” Michael Smith, the incident commander in Boulder County, said on Sunday. Despite his calling the response to the NCAT fire a success, Smith expressed fear about the upcoming fire season. “I think this is just a sign of the way things are going to go,” he said. Wildfires grow larger every year in the Western United States, and their seasons grow longer. If you live in an area in which wildfires break out frequently, are you prepared if you have to evacuate? 

Do You Know How to Evacuate Properly?

If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Take your disaster supply kit, lock your home, and retreat to a safe place. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of the fire and smoke. Tell someone when you left and where you are going. If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Don’t assume that someone else has already called. Describe the location of the fire, speak slowly and clearly, and answer any questions asked by the dispatcher. If you must evacuate, remember most possessions can be replaced, living beings cannot. 

If you are not ordered to evacuate and have time to prepare your home, FEMA recommends you take the following actions:

Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area in case you need to evacuate

Put on protective clothing when outside such as a hat sturdy shoes, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and mask or other type of handkerchief to protect your face

Gather fire tools such as a rake, ax, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket, and shovel

Close outside attic, eaves and basement vents, windows, doors, pet doors, etc. Remove flammable drapes and curtains

Close all shutters, blinds or heavy non-combustible window coverings to reduce radiant heat

Close all doors inside the house to prevent draft

Open the damper on your fireplace, but close the fireplace screen

Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source

Connect garden hoses to outdoor water faucet and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs or other large containers with water

Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above-ground fuel tanks, and leave the sprinklers on, dowsing these structures as long as possible

If you have gas-powered pumps for water, make sure they are fueled and ready

fire season boulder colorado

If asked to evacuate FEMA recommends you…

Place a ladder against the house in clear view to aid firefighters

Disconnect any automatic garage door openers so that doors can still be opened by hand if the power goes out, and close all garage doors

Place valuable papers, mementos and anything “you can’t live without” inside the car in the garage, ready for quick departure

Any pets still with you should also be put in the car

Place valuables that will not be damaged by water in a pool or pond

Move flammable furniture into the center of the residence away from the windows and sliding-glass doors

Turn on outside lights and leave a light on in every room to make the house more visible in heavy smoke

FEMA recommends other things such as having landscaping which helps to deter wildfires if possible. Have irreplaceable family heirlooms in one central location if possible. Always know where pet carriers are and keep them as assembled as possible. It is a good idea to keep emergency backpacks for every member of your family, including pets. Being prepared for a wildfire can help ensure you and your family’s safety.

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Colorado Inflation

Inflation continues to rise faster than wage growth. It has been decades since the last inflation hike and many people were not even alive the last time the cost of living skyrocketed. In their quarterly report to Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee, the Legislative Council and Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting highlighted the fact that consumer prices outpaced the national average at 7.9%. That means prices were higher in January of this year than they were in January of 2021, the highest increase in 40 years. According to Legislative Council’s forecast, “the risk of escalating conflict in the war in Ukraine, potential for additional pandemic-induced supply chain disruptions, and the momentum of a wage-price spiral, each pose significant upside risks to this inflation forecast”. What does this mean for you and your family as a Coloradoan? How can you combat inflation in your everyday life? 

How Inflation Impacts Daily Life 

Wage growth was strong in 2021 as the labor shortage caused businesses to compete for workers by raising wages and salaries faster than ever. Now, inflation causes prices to rise continuously, overtaking and surpassing the growth accomplished by wages in 2021. The Denver Post reported inflation in the energy and transportation sectors was over 21%, in each case. As far as food, proteins like meat, fish, poultry, and eggs are up nearly 13%. Fruits, vegetables, cereals, and bakery items are up almost 9%. Dairy and related products cost about 5% more. Housing, apparel, and other things needed for daily living have seen price inflation higher in Denver than the national average. These numbers were reported before Russia invaded Ukraine causing rising gas prices. The rise in gas prices also contributes to inflation because of the higher cost to deliver items. 

A Quinnipiac University Poll conducted between March 10 and 14, found that nearly two-thirds of Americans say that the price of gasoline has been a serious problem for their family. More than 4 out of every 10 families have cut back significantly on household spending because of the recent rise in gas prices. All this talk of rising pricing can make one wonder: what about my family in the future? How will this affect them? Governor Polis is hopeful about Colorado’s future, stating that “Colorado is recovering faster, stronger, and ahead of other states. The forecast shows that despite nationwide inflation and supply chain headwinds, Colorado’s economy will likely continue to grow stronger, with elevated job growth. The state’s innovative work creating and strengthening programs that help connect job seekers to employers has provided real relief for Coloradans, as Colorado’s unemployment rate continues to decline.” The people of the United States are no strangers to economic crises; we have faced many such as the dot-com crisis and the Great Recession. After those, we saw exponential growth until COVID-19. We can only hope that once inflation hits its peak it will hopefully fall, leading to a time of economic growth.

Colorado Inflation Soars

Inflation Impacts Democrats Current Standing

Inflation stems from many different places. Which place has the higher impact, depends on who you ask. Democrats will blame it on the pandemic and corporate America while Republicans will blame the Biden administration’s energy policies and pandemic assistance for putting too much money into the economy. Before this current period of inflation, we saw an exponential growth in Democrats taking public offices. Currently, Biden and the rest of the Democrats find themselves in a precarious position. Low presidential favorability rates and high inflation will likely benefit Republicans nationally by leading to significant Democratic losses in November. National polls show voters blame the Biden administration for higher gas prices. A Rasmussen poll released this week found that 64% of voters believe Biden’s administration has been the major catalyst for increased inflation. Here in Colorado, where Democrats control virtually every majority and office in both the state Senate and House, Republicans’ potential win this November is the silver lining of the current economic situation. 

As Inflation gets higher, prices continue to rise, and families continue to struggle to get by in everyday life. As Americans, we have to stick together and cling to the light at the end of the tunnel. Republicans will hopefully return to the majority which will likely set off a chain of events that allow for economic growth. Until then, you can try saving money by taking public transportation when you’re able, borrowing what you can, and planning your week of meals to cook at home ahead of time. Have you had to cut back financially due to inflation? How has your experience with inflation affected your political outlook? 

Written by: Erinn Malloy


Saudi Arabia China Negotiate

Saudi Arabia is currently negotiating with Beijing to change the way they price oil for China. If implemented, sales would be made in yuan. Saudi Arabia is also considering implementing yuan-denominated contracts, known as the petroyuan, in the pricing model of Saudi Arabian Oil Co., Aramco. Some professionals fear this change could be detrimental to the U.S. dollar’s dominance of the global market. This change would be another attempt to shift the world’s top crude exporter to China. Negotiations have been going since China introduced using yuan for oil sales in 2018; recently they have picked up speed because Saudi Arabia is unhappy with U.S. security commitments.

Saudi Arabia Angry With U.S., Changes Oil Pricing

There are many reasons Saudi Arabia is angry with the United States. Saudi Arabia is angry over the lack of support during Yemen’s civil war. They are also angry over Biden’s attempt to strike a deal with Iran over their nuclear program. Saudi officials said they were shocked by the “precipitous” U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. Currently, despite their best efforts, Biden’s administration is unable to even set up a phone meeting with the leader of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Biden administration wants to come to an agreement with Saudi Arabia. According to US and Middle East officials, the Crown Prince won’t take Biden’s call but is openly forging a new relationship with China. 

Saudi Arabia produces 6.2 million barrels of oil a day. China currently buys 25% of the oil produced by Saudi Arabia. Along with 80% of the global market, Saudi Arabia has traded oil in dollars since a deal with Nixon that included security guarantees for the kingdom in 1974. However, using dollars is problematic for China due to U.S. sanctions on Iran and Russia over nuclear programs and the Ukraine invasion. If priced in yuan, the standing of China’s currency changes radically by those oil sales. Introducing the yuan to global oil markets would raise the status of the currency and lead to a wider acceptance of it worldwide. What does this mean for the U.S. dollar?

China Oil Purchase In Yuan

What Changing to Yuan Means for the Dollar

According to Wall Street Journal, U.S. Dollar experts say Saudi Arabia and China’s relationship is a symbolic move rather than a threat to the dollar’s status as the reserve currency. “It could marginally dent the dollar’s role as the reserve currency, but not that much,” Cornell University economics professor, Eswar Prasad, told Axios. “Ultimately, as a reserve currency, you still need a very liquid currency with deep financial markets and strong institutions,” he added. 

The dollar will likely remain the world’s reserve currency for a while. Central banks held 59% of reserves in dollars during the fourth quarter of 2020. Dollar-denominated debt outside the U.S. is constantly rising, hitting $12.6 trillion as of 2020. This leads many experts to believe the dollar will continue to be the World’s strongest currency, despite being tenth by CMC Markets.

The only way to truly know how Saudi Arabia changing oil sales to yuan for China will affect the global market is to wait and monitor announcements from both countries carefully. This decision, coupled with reactions from other countries, can affect the standing of the U.S. dollar. However, experts say that is unlikely. What do you think will happen if China and Saudi Arabia solidify their relationship in this way?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

High Priority Nuclear Target

Colorado was intentionally designed as part of a “nuclear sponge.” Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and Nebraska have sites that were designed to be the highest-priority targets of a nuclear attack. According to Insider, “While large population centers with huge cultural impact may seem like obvious choices, a smarter nuclear attack would focus on countering the enemy’s nuclear forces.” Colorado residents should be made aware of this since Russian President Vladimir Putin has alluded to the possible use of nuclear weapons while invading Ukraine. Once the cold war ended when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the threat of nuclear attack diminished significantly. Now the threat seems a lot more imminent than we would like to imagine.

What is a Nuclear Sponge?

Russia has one of the world’s largest nuclear arsenals, at around 6,000 weapons. The United States has about 5,500. A large number of them come in the form of Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles deployed to silos that straddle Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado. The missiles could hit targets thousands of miles away, though many believe military leaders never intended to actually use them. 

“Their primary mission is to be destroyed in the ground, along with all the people that live anywhere near them,” wrote Tom Collina of Ploughshares Fund in Defense One. “Their main purpose is to ‘absorb’ a nuclear attack from Russia.” This theory is what has earned the various sites the name: “nuclear sponge.” Colorado is also home to another high-priority nuclear target, North American Aerospace Defense, or NORAD, at Peterson Space Force Base in Colorado Springs. 

Colorado Priority Nuclear Target

Why Should Colorado Residents be Worried?

Putin’s aggressive behavior is the biggest and most obvious reason why Colorado residents should be concerned. Putin has warned that if the West intervenes in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “The consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history.” In order to not have the conflict hit American soil, this warning shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

“The thing about Putin is, if he has an instrument, he wants to use it. Why have it if you can’t?” Fiona Hill, the Russia expert and former National Security Council official, said about Putin’s nuclear threat. “So if anybody thinks that Putin wouldn’t use something that he’s got that is unusual and cruel, think again. Every time you think, ‘No, he wouldn’t, would he?’ Well, yes, he would.” When asked if Hill believed the United States would be more involved if the threat of nuclear weapons was not so imminent, she said, “we would probably be more involved than we are now, not just us, but NATO and our European allies. This is what Vladimir Putin is banking on. He’s banking on the fact that everyone is showing some restraint in terms of their intervention because of the nuclear weapons. In fact, he’s making the world a much more dangerous place, not just for himself, but more broadly from the point of view of proliferation of nuclear weapons.”

colorado nuclear missile target

Nuclear Sponge Part of Deterrence Plan

Deterrence is the principle that says the presence of nuclear weapons would deter an enemy from attacking with its own nuclear weapons since the enemy could expect retaliation or mutual assured destruction. Deterrence depends on the people in control of the nuclear weapons being in control of themselves, as well as nuclear weapons behaving the way they are meant to. Fiona Hill said, “there’s evident visceral emotion in things that he (Putin) said in the past few weeks justifying the war in Ukraine. The pretext is completely flimsy and almost nonsensical.” 

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis has specifically described the silos in the West as a crucial deterrent. “It’s clear they are so buried out in the central U.S. that any enemy that wants to take us on is going to have to commit two, three, four weapons to make sure they take each one out,” Mattis said in written testimony to the Senate. “In other words, the ICBM force provides a cost-imposing strategy on an adversary. What we’re trying to do is set such a stance with our triad that these weapons must never be used.”

The invasion of Ukraine has opened many Americans up to the same feelings they experienced during the cold war. Many American communities have begun preparing in case a threat arises. Nuclear war is not something either side could win. Every country involved would end up partially destroyed and likely plunge the world into chaos. The nuclear sponge deterrent sites are there in case anything were to happen, hopefully they continue to be untouched and unused for years to come. 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Ukraine Invasion Causes Uncertainty

As the invasion of Ukraine presses on, Russia is still firing missiles into Ukranian captiol city Kyiv. There has been an increase in fighting along the city’s outskirts. Currently a delegation of European leaders is headed to Kyiv to meet with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan pressed Chinese officials over China’s siding with Russia during an intense, seven-hour meeting which included discussion of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russia has been silencing their own citizens. The way Russia is currently conducting themselves has many around the world wondering if the invasion of Ukraine is in fact the start of World War 3. 

Ukraine Invasion Causes Russian Protest

Most recently two civilian residents died in an attack on an apartment complex and dozens were taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski was killed covering the war in Ukraine. A woman in Russia ran onto the set of an evening news program holding a poster reading: “No war. Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They lie to you here. Russians against war.” She yelled: “Stop the war, no to war” before the camera cut away. Russian state-run news agency TASS reported she had been arrested and investigators are considering bringing charges against her. Russia is not only hurting and killing civilians and members of the media, but they are silencing their own people. 

Ukraine Invasion World Uncertainty

Silencing the people of Russia is proving to be a difficult task. Russia seems to be closing its doors in an effort to hide the discourse within its own borders. Russian government officials have imposed sanctions on President Biden and other top U.S. officials, in a move aimed at restricting travel to Russia. The Kremlin’s latest round of travel restrictions includes 13 people, and the foreign ministry said the measures could be expanded. Almost 3 million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion, with more displaced within the country as cities are shelled. Silencing his people, closing his country off, and invading other nations makes Putin seem like a tyrant, warlord, or dictator rather than a president.

Ukraine Invasion Causes UK to Open Doors

During a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the House of Commons on Wednesday, British politicians applauded as Zelenskyy, dressed in army khakis, invoked Winston Churchill’s wartime rhetoric and urged the UK to increase its military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Now more than 100,000 people have opened their doors, homes, and arms to Ukrainian refugees just in the first 24 hours of a government scheme to bring refugees to the UK. The Foreign Office minister, James Cleverly, said “10,000 people every hour” were signing up. The website for registering in the scheme crashed for a short while because of the numbers offering help. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities tweeted: “Thanks to the generosity of the British public we’ve received over 100K expressions of interest from individuals and organisations so far in our Homes for Ukraine scheme.” Under the scheme, refugees would be allowed to live and work in the UK for up to three years and receive full and unrestricted access to benefits, healthcare, employment and other support.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said  “In this time of uncertainty, we have a clear way forward: Help Ukraine defend itself. Support the Ukrainian people. Hold Russia accountable.” The UK and the United States will continue to support Ukraine through this crisis. Since the beginning of the Russia Ukraine crisis the United States says they have been dedicated to the people of Ukraine. According to white house officials, “The U.S. government is monitoring the situation closely, coordinating with other donors, assessing the evolving humanitarian needs of the people of Ukraine, and liaising with partners to ensure that they are able to rapidly scale up or adjust assistance should needs require.”

Written by: Erinn Malloy 

Is the Microwave Dangerous

Cooking with a microwave oven is convenient, simple and incredibly fast. Many people believe the microwave is a harmful thing. Some people don’t even own microwaves out of fear that food coming from the microwave is tainted in some way, as well as fear of the radiation they produce. Throughout most of our lives, we have been told the microwave is dangerous. “Don’t stand too close!” “Always follow directions exactly!” “Don’t put plastic in the microwave, it’ll melt!” Let’s find out the real deal with microwaves in this installment of Fact or Fiction!

Can I Stand Close When Using the Microwave?

If you’re anything like me, you like to watch food cook. The way it changes between raw or old and ready to eat can be truly fascinating. So how safe is it to observe this process happening in the microwave? Many people believe that microwaves produce harmful radiation and have the capacity to damage healthy nutrients. Microwaves turn electricity into electromagnetic waves called microwaves. These waves change the molecules in food, making them vibrate, spin around, and clash with each other, heating it up. Healthline says it is similar to the process of how your hands heat up when you rub them together, except microwaves produce electromagnetic radiation. 

You may find this concerning but find solace in the fact that this is not the type of radiation associated with atomic bombs and nuclear disasters. Microwaves produce non-ionizing radiation, similar to your cell phone, just stronger. Microwaves generally have metal shielding, as well as screens over the window that prevents radiation from escaping, so there shouldn’t be any risk of harm. A broken door that doesn’t open or click together properly is at risk for leaking radiation. Because of this always being a small possibility, healthline does suggest you still don’t press your face right against the viewer window, keeping a 1 foot distance. Radiation decreases rapidly with distance. Since it is safe to watch it cook from a distance, is the food from the microwave actually safe to eat?

Is Food From the Microwave Safe to Eat?

The main factors to determining the safety of food are temperature, cooking time, and method. During boiling, water-soluble nutrients may leak out of the food. When using a microwave, cook times are generally shorter and temperatures are lower. This is why they may not be as effective as other cooking methods at killing pathogens that could lead to food poisoning. Using a microwave with a turntable ensures that your food is heated sufficiently and you kill all microorganisms. Even then, things such as Chinese food leftovers are sometimes best left uneaten. Even microwaved “properly,” reheated leftover food can carry so many pathogens. 

Microwave Dangerous

As far as raw foods go, a study on 20 different vegetables noted that microwaving and baking preserved antioxidants the best, while pressure cooking and boiling did the worst. A more recent study showed that mild microwaving actually increased the levels of the anticarcinogenic compound sulforaphane in broccoli. The nutrient value of many different foods can actually be saved by microwaving them properly. The other major thing that affects how our food from the microwave affects us is what we heat it in.

Can I Put Plastic in the Microwave?

Many plastics contain compounds that can cause harm when heated. Notable examples are bisphenol-A (BPA), and Phthalates. Both are used to make plastic stronger and more flexible. These substances matter because BPA, and some phthalates, are considered endocrine disruptors, which mimic or block natural hormones in the body. Both have been linked to conditions like cancer, thyroid disorders, and obesity. For this reason, do not microwave your food in a plastic container.

“It’s important to avoid substances that interfere with hormones,” says Dr. Neelima Chu, a board-certified endocrinologist and internal medicine doctor. “These substances can lead to infertility; thyroid disease; early puberty; leukemia; breast, uterine and prostate cancers; neurobehavioral issues; obesity; and metabolic dysfunction.”

What it all boils down to: Microwaves can be safe, effective, and highly convenient cooking methods when used properly. There is no evidence they cause an overt amount of harm. Some evidence says they are even better than other cooking methods at preserving nutrients and preventing the formation of harmful compounds. Watch it work from a distance, be cautious when reheating leftovers, and don’t use plastic to heat your food. Happy Heating!

Written by: Erinn Malloy

George W. Bush

George W. Bush, a Republican from Texas, was born into the Bush political dynasty on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut. He was 54 when he became the 43rd president of the United States. During the early part of the 2000 campaign, Bush led in polls over Vice President Al Gore Jr. Gore won the popular vote but the presidency hinged on Florida’s electoral votes; in the end, Bush won the electoral count. George W. Bush became a wartime President in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Since his presidency, he has been making waves in the art community. Could Bush be attempting to make a political comeback?

During Bush’s Presidency

During Bush’s Presidency, the terrorist attacks occurred on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the thwarted flight against the White House or Capitol on September 11, 2001. In response, Bush sent American forces into Afghanistan to break up the Taliban, who were responsible. The Taliban was successfully disrupted but the leader, Bin Laden, was not captured. Following the attacks, the president ordered a reform of the military forces to keep up with the new enemy.

Bush was re-elected after being challenged by Massachusetts Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004. Before his second term, Bush said, “after the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet- and then there came a day of fire. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom – tested but not weary lol… we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.” This statement and similar others, plus the unity the country felt after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 all attributed to Bush’s reelection. The former president’s approval rating has soared since he left office in 2009.

George W. Bush whereabouts

Where has Bush been since his Presidency? 

President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush returned to Texas as private citizens in 2009. President Bush established the George W. Bush Institute, an organization dedicated to generating practical solutions to improve economic growth, education policies, global health, and human freedom throughout the world. Laura Bush continues to advocate for education and to promote human rights in countries like Afghanistan and Burma. Both are very involved in the creation of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and supporters of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

George W Bush has recently done a promotional book tour with virtual conversations, radio interviews, and late-night talk shows. The book and media appearances have debuted Bush’s new, some republicans speculate politically moderate, outlook on life. Bush’s new book, Out of Many, One, is one of the major reasons for this speculation. The 43rd president has painted 43 portraits of immigrants he has got to know and has written their stories. He says his purpose is to put human faces on the important debate around immigration and the need for reform. The promotional tour, and sudden passion for immigration, signify Bush’s comeback to the public stage.

Recently many people have accused Bush of being a hypocrite recently due to his criticism of the Ukraine crisis. “I join the international community in condemning Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine,” Bush said after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Leftists believe Bush shouldn’t be commenting on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine due to his invasion of Iraq. Do you think Bush is attempting to make a new name for himself as a more moderate politician? Why do you think Bush has made this shift from a right-wing leader to a more leftist politician? Could we possibly see Bush running for an office again in the near future?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Asteroids and Gas Giants

Scattered in orbits around the sun are bits and pieces of rock left over from the dawn of the solar system. Most of these objects, called planetoids or asteroids, orbit just after Mars and right before Jupiter in a grouping known as the Asteroid Belt. Beyond the asteroid belt, the gas giants fly through space in their large orbits. A gas giant is a large planet mostly made of helium and/or hydrogen. The gas giants of our solar system are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. 

The Asteroid Belt 

Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets, are rocky, airless remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. The Main Asteroid Belt lies twice as far as the Earth from the sun. Most of the millions of asteroids contained in the asteroid belt are small, but some can be thousands of feet across. According to NASA, the total mass of the asteroid belt is less than the moon. The current known asteroid count is 1,113,527.

The Gas Giants

Astronomers think the giants first formed as rocky and icy planets similar to terrestrial planets. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. It has a radius almost 11 times the size of Earth and many dozens of moons either confirmed or waiting to be confirmed. The planet is mostly made of hydrogen and helium surrounding a dense core of rocks and ice, with most of its bulk likely made up of liquid metallic hydrogen, which creates a huge magnetic field. Saturn is nine times Earth’s radius and has large rings; how they formed is unknown. It has several dozen moons discovered and being confirmed. Saturn is mostly made up of hydrogen and helium that surround a dense core. 

Asteroids Gas Giants Facts

Uranus has a radius about four times that of Earth. Uranus is tilted on its side, and rotates backward relative to every planet but Venus, implying a huge collision disrupted it long ago. The planet has dozens of moons, and its atmosphere consists of hydrogen, helium and methane. Neptune also has a radius about four times that of Earth’s. Like Uranus, its atmosphere is mostly made up of hydrogen, helium and methane. There are more than a dozen confirmed moons with the planet. Uranus and Neptune are likely smaller and have bigger orbits due to them not collecting hydrogen and helium as efficiently as Jupiter and Saturn. 

Although there are only four large gas planets in our solar system, astronomers have discovered thousands outside of it. These exoplanets are being examined to learn more about how our solar system came to be, and to compare the formation of our solar system to those planetary systems that might be quite different. NASA researchers aim to soon answer big-scale questions: When will we send manned missions to the moons of our solar system’s gas giants? How many exoplanets are there? Where can we find exoplanets and can we predict their locations? 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Ukraine Pleads

Russian forces are continuing their attempted push through Ukraine. Russian forces moving from neighboring Belarus toward Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, don’t appear to have advanced closer to the city since coming within about 20 miles, although smaller advanced groups have been fighting gun battles with Ukrainian forces inside the capitol. Russia has been met by sanctions from the United States, Canada and countries throughout Europe, targeting the Russian economy and Putin himself.

Ukrainian President Please With World For Help

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for Jews and the world to wake up to the threats posed by Russia, warning that “Nazism is born in silence.” The following quote was part of an address Zelenskyy made to the world. 

“I am now addressing all the Jews of the world. Do you not see what is happening? It is very important that all of you together, millions of Jews around the world, do not remain silent. This strike proves that for many people in Russia, our Kyiv is absolutely foreign. For anyone who knows world history, our history, Babi Yar is a special place in Kyiv, in Ukraine.

“It’s a place of remembrance for one hundred thousand people killed by the Nazis, a place of old cemeteries in Kyiv. You are killing the victims of the Holocaust for the second time. They don’t know a thing about Kyiv, about our history. But they all have orders to erase our history, erase our country, erase us all. On the first day of the war Uman was severely bombed, a place which hundreds of thousands of Jews come to pray. Shout for the murder of innocent people. Shout for the murder of Ukrainians!” 

Russians Don’t Want War with Ukraine

Russia’s state censor on Friday announced it is blocking Facebook in the country.  The state censor claimed to do this because of alleged freedom of speech violations by Facebook, citing the blocking of several Russian state media channels from the platform. This is part of a broader push by Russian authorities to shut down independent media and social media platforms that might spread dissent against the war in Ukraine. 

Ukraine Pleads to world

There has been much speculation over whether the citizens of Russia actually want to go to war with Ukraine. Many Russian soldiers have been seen surrendering on social media. Many of those who have surrendered have maintained they were not told they would be taking the Ukraines freedom and urged their fellow Russian soldiers to drop arms and protest. Despite the pleas from the president of the Ukraine, the Ukrainian people, and surrendered Russian soldiers, Russian continues their advances. 

Russia Attacks Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant

U.S. envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned that, “the world narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe last night. We all waited to exhale as we watched the horrific situation unfold in real time.” She called Russia’s attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant “incredibly reckless and dangerous” and said it “threatened the safety of civilians across Russia, Ukraine and Europe.” Thomas-Greenfield urged Russia to withdraw troops from the facility, give operators full access to ensure continued safe operation and assess any damage and to halt any further use of force near Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi attended the meeting remotely, saying the agency was ready to deploy to Ukraine and establish “basic principles of safety and security starting with the physical integrity” of its nuclear power plants. Ukraine has requested the assistance, he said. Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russian citizens to protest against the attack and to “take to the streets and say that you want to live, you want to live on earth without radioactive contamination”.

Vladimir Putin suffered a setback in his war on Ukraine when three Russian commanders were killed after moving towards the front line. Thousands have been killed or wounded and over a million refugees have fled Ukraine so far. What kind of consequences will Ukraine, Russia, and the rest of Europe face in the wake of Putin’s warpath?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Trumps Truth Social

Donald Trump has launched his new social media app, Truth Social, luring users with the promises of a platform free from “discrimination against political ideology.” Truth Social, a social media network developed by former president Donald Trump’s new media company, is up on the iOS App Store. The service is modeled after Twitter, which was previously Trump’s preferred social media platform before being banned in 2021. Conservatives have repeatedly criticized Twitter and other big tech companies for what they see as overly harsh moderation of right-wing views. In response, a wave of right-wing platforms have grown in popularity, including Parler, Gettr and now Truth Social seems to have gained significant interest. Will Trump’s new app be able to compete with the others? 

What Features are on Trump’s New Social Media?

Truth Social is being developed by Trump Media and Technology Group. Similar to tweets, Trump’s new social media refers to individual posts as “Truths.” You can see other people’s truths on your “Truth Feed.” If you see a “Truth” that you want to share with your followers, you can apparently “ReTruth” it. Other features under development are support for direct messaging, as well as user verification, according to the platform’s chief product officer. 

“Our main goal here is to give people their voice back,” said former Republican US congressman Devin Nunes, who became Trump Media and Technology Group’s president earlier this year, adding that the app offers “the opposite of some Silicon Valley tech oligarch freak telling people what they want to think and deciding who can or cannot be on the platform.” he also said he hopes the social media platform would be “fully operational” by the end of March.

trumps truth social launches

Can Trump’s New Social Media Compete with Others?

As of Wednesday morning, Trump’s account on Truth Social had just under 50,000 followers, according to the New York Times. The former president formerly had over 88 million followers on Twitter. Trump’s “first post” on Truth Social said “Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!” Whether his new platform will truly take off remains to be seen. Other “free speech” startups like Parler, MeWe, Gettr, and Rumble compete for a similar pool of social media users.

An exact launch date for the service’s Android app is yet to be announced, but Truth Social’s website says it’s coming to the Google Play Store “soon.” Hopefully developers will fix the glitches the app currently has before that expansion happens. Some users report vague error messages when attempting to open the app after signing up. Other users say they were put on waiting lists of hundreds of thousands of people to register, or their verification emails never came. With any new app launching, bugs are to be expected but developers need to fix these issues sooner rather than later if Truth Social is expected to succeed as a social media platform.

If developers are able to put the pieces together and smooth out the bugs, do you think Truth Social will be the next big conservative social media platform? Should Twitter be angry over the similarity of the two social media platforms? As of this article, Twitter has given no comment as to whether they will take action against Truth Social in any way. Could reopening this direct line to his followers, and the post he posted, be Trump’s way of signaling he will be running for president again?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

the rights of tomorrow

This is a continuation of a previous series: We the people of the United States know very little detailed information about the constitution. In 2019, a study showed only 15 percent of Americans knew the Constitution was written in 1786. Only 25 percent knew there are 27 amendments to the Constitution.  As American citizens, we should know the rights our country was founded on and the ones that were added on along the way. In our last installments we looked at everything from the bill of rights to women’s suffrage. In this article we will look at the voting age being moved, how long a president can stay president and the repeal of prohibition. 

20. The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3rd day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven from the date of its submission.

Before this amendment was passed by Congress March 2, 1932 and ratified January 23, 1933 when a President was elected in November they wouldn’t make it to the White House until around March making the old President a “lame-duck” so to speak. This is why the 20th amendment is known as the “Lame-Duck Amendment.” This amendment drops that four month window down to two. We also see a new congress being sworn in on January 3rd rather than the original March 4th. This shortened the time defeated politicians could stay in office and affect public policy without being accountable to voters. Lastly we see the House having the ability to choose a new President in the event of the President’s death and the Senate choosing the Vice-President in the event of similar circumstances. If we see an electoral tie when voting this amendment gives congress the right to pass a law for presidential succession.

21. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

This is the only amendment written in order to cancel out another. The 21st amendment Passed by Congress February 20, 1933 and ratified December 5, 1933 amendment lifts prohibition of alcohol that was laid out by the 18th. Originally the 18th amendment was put in place to cure the ailments of society but the crime rate and popularity of speakeasies skyrocketed during the 1920’s. Rather than being passed by ⅔ of all houses and ¾ of all states like amendments in the past this one was passed through conventions. Ever since the 21st amendment state and local agencies have had control of prohibition all states leaving it behind it by 1966. 

22. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

The 22nd amendment gives us the two term maximum for a person to be president. The amendment,  passed March 21, 1947 and ratified February 27, 1951, made it so someone can’t serve more than two 4 year terms. Someone could potentially be president for 10 years if they step up as President during the last two years of a term. They would still be eligible to run for two terms. No one, other than FDR, has been president more than 2 terms. This amendment was passed after FDR died in 1945 a few months into his 4th term. Today this amendment still only allows for two term or 10 year maximum.

23. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 

This amendment, passed June 16, 1960 then ratified March 29, 1961 gives the people of Washington D.C. representation. The amendment was backed by both parties but still did not give D.C. local government. The amendment gives D.C. three electoral votes which is the equivalent to Wyoming. D.C. is currently not allowed any more votes than the state with the least amount of representation. In 1973 congress passed the DC Home Rule Act which gave them local government and legislation. They currently have one House representative with limited voting privileges and no Senate representation. 

24. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The 24th amendment passed by Congress August 27, 1962 then ratified January 23, 1964 put an end to the poll taxes. Poll taxes had been a requirement of mostly southern states in order to vote. Often the person was required to pay tax for that year and any previous year tax that they had failed to pay. This resulted in parts of the population not being able to afford to vote. The 24th amendment has had little impact since it abolished poll taxes in federal elections. The cost of producing documents for Voter Identification laws and paying court fines are currently not seen as poll taxes but there is a lot of controversy. 

25. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

The 25th amendment was passed by Congress July 6, 1965 then ratified February 10, 1967 following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. This amendment lays out succession in the event of a President’s death. It also allows the Vice President and the Cabinet to remove the President from office if they believe the President is unable to perform their duties. The president can fight this motion but if the Vice President and the Cabinet persist it ultimately comes down to Congress to make the decision. We also see the President’s ability to delegate power to the Vice President then return once they are able to perform their duties. This was used when both Presidents George W. Bush and Ronald Raegan underwent medical procedures. This amendment has never been used to remove a president, however,  it has been used to fill the Vice President role twice. This amendment allows for the acting President to nominate a new Vice President but they must be approved by congress. The only time in recent history this happened was during the Nixon administration. There were times before it’s ratification that it could have proven useful.

26. The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The 26th amendment was proposed to congress March 23, 1971 and ratified July 1, 1971. This makes it the fastest ratification process of any amendment so far. This amendment was first talked about during WWII when the slogan “Old enough to fight, Old enough to vote” came out after FDR lowered the draft age to 18. The slogan was later adopted by student activists during the vietnam war. The quickly ratified amendment gave citizens the age of 18 and older the ability to vote in state and federal elections. This amendment still gives us the right to vote beginning at 18 today. 

27. No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

We follow the amendment with the shortest ratification process with the longest. The 27th amendment was originally proposed by Jame Madison in september of 1789 along with the original Bill of Rights. The states did not ratify it until May 7, 1992 when a student, Gregory Watson, wrote a paper about the amendment that hadn’t been ratified. He began to push for its ratification after receiving a C; he prevailed when it began to gain traction with Maine Senator William Cohen in 1983. This amendment prevents House members and Senators from giving themselves pay raises without consulting the electorate. Any decrease or raise would go into effect after another election had been held and that official was re-elected. This way if the public has issues with any change in salary today they could remove the official by voting them out.

The Constitution and the amendments are our building blocks. All decisions in law-making are decided around our rights as people. Knowing where we come from is very important for knowing where we are going as a country. It is our job as American citizens to protect freedom in any way we can. The best way we can do that is by knowing what rights we and our lawmakers have that way none of them are ever forgotten. 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Maus Banned

“Maus” by Art Spiegelman, a book that many students enjoyed last semester in their English classes, has been banned by a school district in East Tennessee. The graphic novel shows pictures of cats and mice, while telling the true story of Vladek Spiegelman’s experiences while imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II.  The story was written by his son, Artie, and has two books: “Book One: My Father Bleeds History” and “Book Two: And Here My Troubles Began/From Mauschwitz to the Catskills and Beyond.” McMinn County School Board voted to ban the book over “rough” language and a nude drawing of a woman, according to the meeting minutes.

Maus Banning Sparks Outrage

Ryan Higgins, a comic-bookstore owner in California, has offered up his store’s copies of the complete series of Maus. After learning of the school board decision, he tweeted his offer of as many as 100 copies to any family in McMinn County. “We always have a couple copies in stock. Those were gone within a minute of this happening,” Higgins told Yahoo News. “I never could have imagined the response.”  Following the outraged response over the banning of Maus, the McMinn County School Board issued a statement.

“The McMinn County Board of Education voted to remove the graphic novel Maus from McMinn County Schools because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide. Taken as a whole, the Board felt this work was simply too adult-oriented for use in our schools. We do not diminish the value of Maus as an impactful and meaningful piece of literature, nor do we dispute the importance of teaching our children the historical and moral lessons and realities of the Holocaust. To the contrary, we have asked our administrators to find other works that accomplish the same educational goals in a more age-appropriate fashion. The atrocities of the Holocaust were shameful beyond description, and we all have an obligation to ensure that younger generations learn of its horrors to ensure that such an event is never repeated.”

Maus Banned School Districts

The US Responds to Maus Banning

Maus received the Pulitzer Prize in 1992. Now the novel can be checked out in your local library or bought online. Many people who are angry over Maus being banned from the McMinn County school’s curriculum. Some speculate the McMinn County school board did not actually investigate and read the book thoroughly before removing it from the school curriculum, a move they call irresponsible. Some could argue that children in middle school are already exposed to such material from social media and their peers. Maus is a good tool to teach the holocaust. Maus is a novel which is more absorbable for students rather than novels which have been used traditionally.

The author of Maus, Artie Spiegelman, says he believes the books was banned over control. “I think it’s all about control, and control that doesn’t need to be exercised. What needs to be exercised is empathy and intelligence.” He went on to say that the attitudes of some adults involved in the matter “need rethinking more than {their} kids do.”

The current political state the world finds itself in creates an atmosphere where we need to keep younger generations, now more than ever, educated about events such as the holocaust. The Invasion of the Ukraine could cause a possible World War 3 in response, according to war experts. Many of the Russian President’s previous council have compared him to Hitler.  The outrage over banning Maus is completely understandable in today’s world. Shouldn’t we be using every tool we can to ensure students are engaged?

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Russia Ukraine Crisis

As this Russia Ukraine Crisis Continues, the U.S. and other countries are trying to find a solution to end the Russian invasion. After denying for weeks he planned to invade, Putin argued that the West left him no other choice. Russian troops descended on Ukraine’s capital today, with gunfire and explosions coming closer to the government quarter. Russia claims to want to work things out with Ukraine despite increasing signs that Russia may be seeking to overthrow Ukraine’s government. Ukrainian officials reported at least 137 deaths on the Ukrainian side and hundreds on Russia’s. Russian authorities released no casualty figures. U.N. officials reported 100,000 people were believed to have left their homes and estimated up to 4 million could flee if the fighting escalates. NATO leaders called an urgent meeting to discuss how to challenge Putin without physically engaging Russian forces. U.S. diplomats have been in intense talks with dozens of other diplomats from across the world in hopes to gain backing for the U.N. regarding the resolution of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

U.N. Resolution for Russia Ukraine Crisis

The draft of the U.N. resolution for the Russia Ukraine Crisis demands the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. Pushed by the U.S., it is expected to go before the Security Council in Friday’s session, where Russia, one of five permanent members of the group, is certain to veto it. One senior administration official has said, “they will underscore their isolation. The resolution condemns, in the strongest terms possible, Russia’s aggression, invasion and violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.” Once Russia vetoes the resolution, the U.S. will attempt to put it before the full 193-member General Assembly, where a simple majority is needed to pass.  Rallying that majority has been a difficult task for American diplomats. Many countries fear Putin or rely on Russian energy exports or trade, and hesitate siding with Washington against Moscow. 

Will US Gain Support In Russia Ukraine Crisis? 

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, as well as other officials, have attempted to gain support from many nations, including Portugal, Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia. India, for example, has historic ties with Moscow, but New Delhi has recently built a significant defense and diplomatic partnership with Washington. During a Security Council session India’s representative called for de-escalation but did not condemn Moscow, despite Ukraine’s ambassador to India, Igor Polikha, making a public plea to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak to Putin, in light of Delhi’s “special relationship” with Russia.

Russia Ukraine Crisis War

When asked if India and the U.S. were “fully in sync” on the crisis, President Biden said Thursday: “We haven’t resolved that completely.” Turkey, while a member of NATO, is another country that has mixed feelings about the wider global rivalry between the U.S. and Russia.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately branded Russia’s invasion as “unacceptable.” But Turkey has developed a closer relationship with Russia in recent years. 

Ukraine Begs for Help Amid Russia Crisis

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has asked Western powers to act faster to cut off Russia’s economy and provide Ukraine military help. “When bombs fall on Kyiv, it happens in Europe, not just in Ukraine,” he said. “When missiles kill our people, they kill all Europeans.” Zelenskyy’s offered to negotiate on one of Putin’s key demands: that Ukraine declare itself neutral and abandon its ambition of joining NATO. Russia says they are ready to send a delegation to Belarus to discuss that.

While many countries likely support the notion that Russia should leave Ukraine, they can’t publicly support that. Will the United States be able to gain support from other Nations in NATO? What will happen to the people of the Ukraine if they don’t? Will we start seeing a surge of immigration from the Ukraine? Should the United States physically stop Russia, or continue to attempt to handle this Russia Ukraine Crisis diplomatically? 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Bear Burglarizes 40 Homes

Could you imagine walking downstairs in the morning to find a bear rummaging through your refrigerator? Well, A 500-pound bear has become the newest career criminal in a California community. “Hank the Tank,” a name given to him by the residents of the community, has been breaking into homes through garages, windows and doors to find food. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has attempted to keep him away, Hank continues to return, spokesperson Peter Tira told the Times

California Community Attempts to Keep the Bear Away 

Officials have tried to deter the bear with paintballs, bean bags, sirens and Tasers to prevent Hank from returning to the community.  “It’s easier to find leftover pizza than to go in the forest,” Tira said. As of Friday, 38 homes in California’s Lake Tahoe area have been damaged by Hank. Over 150 calls have been made to report Hank and his whereabouts, according to CBS Sacramento. Tim Johnson, who lives in the area favored by Hank, says the bear’s presence has made him more vigilant about home security. “I’ve been in town 40 years and I’ve been locking my doors recently and I’ve never done that,” he told the news station. 

Bridget Marchetti Phillip, whose neighbor’s house was damaged by bear, told NBC News 4 San Antonio that she is “tired of having to fear our lives quite frankly because of what the bear may or may not do. This has been happening for a very long time and eventually something very, very bad is going to happen.” Many other residents in the California Community have found themselves afraid they could come face to face with Hank. Local residents are now debating whether or not the bear should be euthanized.

Bear Burglarizes California Homes

Will Officials Euthanize “Hank the Tank?”

Tira says euthanizing Hank is the last thing anyone wants to do. However, he went on to say, “this is a bear that has lost all fear of people. It’s a potentially dangerous situation.” A local group called the BEAR League is attempting to find a place where Hank could live peacefully. “The BEAR League is vehemently opposed to this plan (euthanization), and we are frantically working to save his life by reaching out to various wildlife sanctuaries in hopes of finding him a safe home.” 

A 500 pound bear in an enclosed space, such as a house, could be disastrous for an adult. Heaven forbid a small child looking for a glass of water come face to face with “Hank the Tank.” While no one wants to see the bear be euthanized, a bear who is not afraid of people is very very dangerous, as officials have stated. Hopefully the BEAR league will find “Hank the Tank” a home before something truly tragic happens. Do you believe California officials should try to relocate the bear? Are the habits he has created too dangerous for him to be relocated? What do you think California Wildlife officials should do? 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Colorado Surgeon Criminally Charged

A prominent Colorado plastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim, 52, and his nurse, Rex Meeker have been charged with criminal charges after a botched surgery in 2019 led to the death of teenage patient Emmalyn Nguyen. Nguyen, 18, went to Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery for a breast augmentation on Aug. 1, 2019, but suffered cardiac arrest once given anesthesia, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. As a result of the incident, Nguyen was left “in a permanent ‘semi-conscious state’” from her brain injury and required round-the-clock care, including a permanent feeding tube. Due to this her family claimed in a lawsuit filed in 2019, in which the family received $2 million. Then in October 2020, 14 months after the procedure, the Nguyen family lost their child when she tragically passed away due to the complications.

Why is Colorado Charging the Surgeon?

The Colorado Plastic surgeon and his nurse allegedly left Nguyen “unobserved” for up to 15 minutes after putting her under anesthesia. During their absence something went wrong and Emmalyn Nguyen was found with her lips and face blue, and the discoloration spreading across her body. Nguyen suffered cardiac arrest twice and had to be resuscitated. Doctors then waited five hours to call 911. All of these steps that were taken were negligent and contrary to medical best practices, according to the negligence lawsuit filed by Nguyen’s parents in 2019. 

Colorado Botched Surgery

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office announced that an arrest warrant for the prominent Colorado plastic surgeon was obtained for Nguyen’s death from plastic surgery complications, after “a lengthy criminal investigation.” The Colorado Surgeon has been charged with first-degree aggravated assault and criminally negligent homicide. He turned himself in, was booked and released on a $5,000 bond. The nurse anesthetist that was responsible for anesthetic during the botched plastic surgery that ended up killing Emmalyn Nguyen, has also been charged with manslaughter and a warrant issued for his arrest. He is expected to turn himself in today. 

“We opened this criminal case in August 2019. The investigation has taken more than two years to complete and involved dozens of interviews and search warrants,” said Travis Stewart, Captain of Investigations with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, said. “Our hope is that this will be the beginning of bringing justice and a sense of closure to Emmalyn’s family.“

What Does the Victim’s Family say? 

Lynn Fam, Nguyen’s mother, released a statement that said, “We’re all still very devastated and grieving over the loss of our beautiful Emmalyn. It’s still so very surreal. This settlement or any amount of money could never replace her. All we really want is for Emmalyn to be with us healthy and happy again.” She went on to say “It’s just crazy how these medical staff could get away with this and none of us still not knowing the truth about what really happened when Emmalyn was in the OR,” Fam said about her daughter. “How could they let that happen to her? Our lives will never be the same again and our hearts will never be at peace. It’s so difficult losing a child under the hands of someone you thought knew what they’re doing.”

Colorado Surgeon Charged

David Woodruff, an attorney for the Nguyen family, told KUSA of Denver, Colorado, “I think the family has mixed feelings about this. Obviously, they are overwhelmingly happy that finally there will be some justice for Emmalyn, but at the same time, this brings up the whole ordeal all over again and it kind of has reawakened the trauma they went through,” he continued. At the end of the day, I think they’re glad to see this happening, and it’s encouraging that the legal system is pursuing this,” Woodruff said. 

There is a large amount of trust people put in their doctors, especially surgeons and their teams. Emmalyn Nguyen trusted her doctor to know what he was doing and he left her without supervision while she was vulnerable and only had him and his team to protect her. This incident could shine light on other incidents where patients have died on the table or from preventable complications. Should we start seeing doctors being held even more accountable when a patient dies on the table or from complications that were preventable? Do you believe Emmalyn Nguyen’s plastic surgeon and nurse should be charged for her death? 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Russia’s Lying About Troop Withdrawal

While Russia did not invade Ukraine last night their actions have been a major cause for concern over the last few months. Russia has perched 150,000 troops along the border of Ukraine, deployed troops into allied Belarus, and even though Russia claims that it has no intention of invading Ukraine, Western intelligence remains wary of a possible attack in the near future. On Tuesday, Biden said the 30-member alliance has made several proposals to address Russia’s security concerns. Russia has continued to demand things of NATO such as not allowing Ukraine to join and for Russia to take charge of certain security concerns. Russia has claimed to pull the troops back from the border, but Nato officials worry this is not the case. 

China Lies for Russia about Troop Withdrawal

China has accused the United States of “playing up” the crisis on Ukraine’s border after Moscow has “pulled back” troops on the Ukraine border. “Such persistent hyping up and disinformation by some Western countries will create turbulence and uncertainty to the world full of challenges and intensify distress and division,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters today. “We hope relevant parties will stop such disinformation campaigns and do more to benefit peace, mutual trust and cooperation,” he added. Wang also highlighted China and Russia’s “long term good neighborliness and mutually beneficial cooperative relationship.” 

russian troops ukraine border

NATO Confirms Russia Lies About Troop Withdrawal

Today, the Russian Defense Ministry released a video showing a trainload of armored vehicles moving across a bridge away from Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Yesterday, Moscow reported the start of a pullback of troops following military exercises near Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has contradicted Moscow’s claims of pulling troops back from the Ukraine border. Stoltenberg warned today that Russia is still capable of launching a “full-fledged invasion of Ukraine with no warning time.”

“We have not seen any withdrawal of Russian forces. That contradicts the message of real diplomatic efforts,” Stoltenberg told reporters.  “They have increased the number of troops and more troops are on their way. So far, there is no de-escalation. We are closely monitoring and following what they’re doing,” Stoltenberg said. “They have always moved forces back and forth. So just that we see movement of forces…doesn’t confirm a real withdrawal.”

Russia’s demands from NATO include restrictions on Ukraines NATO membership and missile placements in the region. NATO does not plan to change their stance when it comes to barring Ukraine from becoming an alliance member. “Russia is not deciding who is going to be a member of NATO or not,” Stoltenburg told reporters. Both the U.S. and NATO continue to urge Russia to engage in diplomatic talks. 

Written by: Erinn Malloy

SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster Crash

A SpaceX Falcon 9 booster will crash into the surface of the moon soon, and you can watch the rogue rocket booster as it does. The upper stage booster is part of a Falcon 9 rocket that SpaceX launched in February 2015 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The rocket carried the Deep Space Climate Observatory satellite, which is a joint effort led by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA. Now the SpaceX Falcon 9 boosters speeds towards the moon. This is one of many pieces of space debris that flies around our solar system, endangering the lives of astronauts and their spacecraft. This will not be the first in space collision. On June 25, 1997, a cargo freighter ended up colliding with the Spektr module of the Russian space station. This seriously damaged the solar arrays used for power generation and left a hole in the Spektr module, resulting in depressurization. Luckily, there was no loss of life as the crew present on board at the time managed to close off the damaged module from the rest of the station. The lucky thing is that the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster is not headed for any manned spacecraft. 

Why is the SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster Crashing?

After completing its mission, the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster didn’t have enough fuel to return to Earth. Now the booster has been in an uncontrolled orbit for the last seven years. Satellite trackers show the rocket booster will now smash into the far side of the moon. A Rome-based Virtual Telescope Project is offering free, live webcasts today (Feb. 7) and tomorrow (Feb. 8), where you can watch the Falcon 9 booster speed towards the moon. The webcasts are available online, beginning at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT). The rocket booster is expected to crash into the moon at 7:25 a.m. EST (1225 GMT) on March 4, according to a statement from the Virtual Telescope Project. However, since the impact will occur on the moon’s farside, it won’t be visible from Earth. While the crash won’t be visible from Earth, the hope is that moon-orbiting spacecraft such as NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter  and India’s Chandrayaan-2 will be able to study the resulting crater or any subsurface material ejected from the impact. 

Planned SpaceX Falcon 9 Crash

Can You See the SpaceX Falcon 9 Booster from Earth now?

“About one month earlier, it will be visible from Earth for the last time and we will show it live to the world,” Gianluca Masi, an astronomer with the Virtual Telescope Project, said in the statement. “On 8 Feb., in particular, [the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster] will be at its brightest and closest to our planet, moving very fast across the stars.” Amateur astronomers will be able to track the Falcon 9 Booster’s crash course using Unistellar’s Ephemeris tracker. The Ephemeris Tracker allows viewers to select a target and pinpoint its position in the night sky based on the viewer’s location and the date of observation. Using this data, skywatchers can then properly point their telescopes at the Falcon 9 booster, which will be visible as sudden bursts between Feb. 7 and Feb. 9, according to Unistellar. This means it’s time to break out those telescopes and take a peek into the sky. 
While many assets of space travel run like they are supposed to, accidents like this can happen, leading to a collision such as the coming lunar one.Hopefully today’s launching of satellites from SpaceX (Which you can watch live here at 1 pm est) will run smoothly, leading to no issues such as the ones they have been facing in the recent months. Elon Musk has received complaints about the debris left by his company’s space endeavors, risking the safety of astronauts who are currently in space. One of Elon’s many projects should eventually be the clean up of space debris in order to lessen the threat against astronauts and their ships.

Written by: Erinn Malloy

Featuring Joe Jaquint & Jason Walker