Category Archives: News/Op-Ed

News/Op-Ed: Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Inaugurated as 46th President of the United States

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief

At 78 years old, President Joe Biden becomes the oldest man to ever rise to the presidency. After decades of public service as a Senator from Delaware and two terms as Vice President, President Biden finally ascends to the office he has long sought. In a historic election cycle, Vice President Kamala Harris was inaugurated as the first African American and female to hold the Vice Presidency. 

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, as their children Ashley and Hunter watch.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

The journey to the White House has not been an easy one for President Biden. Despite earning the trust and admiration of many nationally for his public service, President Biden has battled through adversity, personal hardships and loss throughout his political career. The story of President Joe Biden is one that can simply be described as tragic, yet also an emboldening symbol of the power of perseverance, hope and optimism. 

In 1972, shortly before he would take his oath of office to become a United States Senator from Delaware, tragedy struck Biden: his wife, Neilia Hunter, and daughter, Naomi, only a year old, were killed in a tragic car accident that also injured his sons Beau and Hunter Biden. 

Out of the depths of despair, he was not swayed away from public service. On January 5, 1973, Biden was sworn in as a Senator from Delaware inside Delaware Division of the Wilmington Medical Center, where his two sons were still recovering. After the accident, then Senator Biden took the Amtrak from Delaware to Washington, D.C. daily just to be able to see his sons on a daily basis. The travel took a total of 3 hours and 90 minutes to and from work. 

In 1987, Senator Biden kicked off a longshot Presidential Campaign. While a respected and trusted Senator, his campaign failed to gain enough traction after being plagued by accusations of plagiarizing speeches. After just a few months of campaigning, Senator Biden withdrew from the race for the 1988 Democratic Nomination. 

In February 1988, just a few months after his tumultuous, failed campaign, Senator Biden suffered two life threatening brain aneurysms, which presented yet another roadblock and long road to recovery. 

Decades later, Senator Biden believed that he could once again be the Democratic nominee for the presidency in 2007. However, Biden, the experienced Senator, was no match for the two shining stars he was running against – Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. Biden later dropped out of the race in January of 2008. 

Eventually, to-be President Obama chose Senator Biden to be his running mate. The rest is history, with Biden serving as President Obama’s Vice President from 2009-2017. 

In 2015, though, tragedy struck then-Vice President Biden once again – his son, Beau Biden, died from Glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer, after a long battle. The death of his son devastated Vice President Biden, eventually leading to him believing that his political career was over, a large reason why he did not run for the Democratic Nomination in 2016. 

Still, President Biden persevered, choosing to seek the Democratic Nomination in 2020 after his family urged him to take on Incumbent President Donald Trump. Running on a reputation of being a strong Senator, Vice President and generally a decent person, Biden was seen as one of the most likely candidates to win the nomination.

However, in a field of strong, emerging candidates including Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, Biden stumbled out of the gate. Many believed the former-Vice President to be out of touch with the current generation and unable to pass the torch to the future of the Democratic party. 

Thus, Biden took losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, before a huge endorsement by Rep. Jim Clyburn helped him win South Carolina, which saved his campaign. As history would play its course, South Carolina was the turning point the Biden Campaign needed, as it led to victories on Super Tuesday that essentially put his final opponent Bernie Sanders out of the race. 

Biden became the Democratic Nominee, chose Kamala Harris as his running mate in August, and defeated Donald Trump in November. Life has come full circle for President Biden – and his story is one of perseverance, hope, optimism and resilience, as famed news anchor Dan Rather stated on twitter: 

The rhetoric of unity that President Biden employed throughout his campaign was a highlight in his Inaugural Address, which became even more imperative after the Insurrection at Capitol Hill two weeks ago.

While President Biden made a litany of optimistic statements throughout his address, he ensured to lay out his visions of what a Biden America may look like.

“Today on this January day, my whole soul is in this. Bringing America together. Uniting our people. Uniting our nation. And I ask every American to join me in this cause. Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment, and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity, we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus,” President Biden said.

After Democracy prevailed once again and a peaceful transfer of power was carried out, President Biden signed 17 executive orders, including a national mask mandate, rejoining the World Health Organization, ending the “Muslim ban,” rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, stopping the construction of the border wall and extending eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.

News/OP-ED: How A Nation Divided Can Glean Inspiration From King’s Dream

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief, and Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor

The nonviolent civic legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. runs deep, and one of the greatest ways America could honor his memory is by listening to his rhetoric and transforming current politics into an environment that is welcoming for everyone.

With a domestic state of affairs that can simply be described as chaotic, unjust and perilous, the toxicity level between Americans with different social and political opinions has reached an unforeseen height. In turn, it deprives the masses of the ability to unite during times of strife, agony, despair and confusion. 

During the battle for Civil Rights between the 1950s and 1960s within the United States, Dr. King emerged as a central voice for African Americans nationally who simply wanted justice and to have a shot at living a life where they weren’t hated or discriminated against solely because of the color of their skin.  

In opposition to the segregationist Jim Crow laws in the South as well as oppression in other areas of the country, Dr. King emphasized the need for his people to choose peace and use nonviolent means to reach their just end. 

At that point in American history, African Americans had been through indescribable injustice, oppression and marginalization. Why try to resonate and be nonviolent with a group of people and a country that has long oppressed, marginalized and institutionalized you and your people? 

Through the use of Biblical references, Dr. King was able to rally the fervor of his listeners, to unite both blacks and whites in America to fight for the same cause. A very devout man who was undeniably devoted to the cause of justice for his people and those oppressed everywhere, he saw no value in violent resistance. Instead, he wanted to appeal to the better half of the oppressor and protest, mobilize, organize and fight in a way that was respectful, defendable and just. 

Dr. King preached on the importance of joining the oppressors and the oppressed. He called for the oppressed to be the “bigger person” and show love for their oppressors, while he called the oppressors to be in the shoes of those they oppressed for a second and think of how it feels to be mistreated in a changing society.

However, the incidents of the Insurrection at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on January 6th were anything but nonviolent, respectful, defendable or just. Indubitably, it was an act of domestic terrorism – an attack on America’s ever so sacred Democracy. The dream envisioned by Dr. King was much less clear across America that day. People died outside and inside the Capitol, and Confederate flags graced Capitol halls for the first time ever.

Importantly, the rioters committed insurrection and sedition for a cause that has been debunked and is rooted in denial and conspiracy. In comparison, Dr. King and those who supported his battle for Civil Rights never once raided federal property or responded with violence against our Democracy, and there actually was a legitimate reason for them to protest.

As America heads into a new administration and reflects on the good that Dr. King brought to this country, let’s remember his powerful nonviolent rhetoric in the face of mass scrutiny, violent pushback and oppressive discrimination.

In retrospect, Dr. King’s message is not a part of American history that can be left on textbooks as a memory of what America was, but instead a measure of what American should be like. Dr. King left a message for the masses- a message that can be shared with the world full of peace, love and acceptance. Dr. King’s message should be regarded as a message not only for those living in a pre-Civil Rights Movement era, but also in a time where parallels can be drawn between the past and the present.

In the end, a society cannot move forward without recognition of its past and looking for ways to fix what is broken. Dr. King did not die a martyr because he caused a change in the 1960s, but he died a martyr because his vision remains true long after his death, as many people have decided to lead inspired by his work.

A country should never forget the work of social justice martyrs; a country should fight for their work to be completed and for their dreams to be fulfilled.

News/Op-Ed: President Trump Impeached A Second Time For His Role In Inciting Insurrection At Capitol Hill

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief

On Wednesday, President Trump was impeached on the Capitol Hill insurrection’s one week anniversary, becoming the first President in U.S. history to be impeached twice. After already being embroiled in controversy for spreading baseless claims of a “rigged” election after his loss to President-Elect Joe Biden last November, President Trump’s last two weeks in office have been sent into a downward spiral after he incited his supporters to violently storm the U.S. Capitol.

Top: Image from an unidentified Presidential Inauguration. Bottom: A picture of the insurrection at Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Image via Reuters).

The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for a historical second time in a 232-197 vote. The impeachment comes merely one week after he incited his supporters to commit seditious acts and storm Capitol Hill in a last-ditch attempt to overturn his election loss to President-Elect Joe Biden.

As the votes on impeachment were finalized, it was revealed that 10 Republican Representatives sided with Democrats and voted in favor of impeachment, making President Trump’s second impeachment the most bipartisan impeachment effort in American history. Most notably, Representatives Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Peter Meijer (R-MI) were three of the ten GOP House members to vote in favor of impeachment.

Since the House of Representatives has sped through the impeachment process in record time, President Trump’s fate lies in the hands of the Senate, although a formal Senate vote isn’t expected until after President Trump leaves office on January 20th, according to Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

Already, there is speculation that many Republican Senators can join Senate Democrats in formally convicting President Trump. If President Trump is convicted, there is growing belief that the Senate may also vote to ban President Trump from ever running for President again, as he has publicly considered runs in 2024.

The impeachment effort came on the heels of last week’s attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The Orwellian chaos will forever be remembered by not just Americans, but folks around the globe, as a protest-turned-riot dented our nation’s Capital and within an instant became one of the most appalling moments in American history. 

Sparked by a rally from President Trump just moments before, his supporters invaded our nation’s capitol as Congress was in the process of certifying the Electoral College results that solidified the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, who will take office in just a week in a D.C. area now being patrolled by the National Guard.

The United States of America stopped for a few hours, as the country glued themselves to their TVs and screens and watched as Trump supporters raided Capitol Hill and disregarded the rule of law. 

The Presidency – as former President Ronald Reagan loved to say – is a bully pulpit. Usually, Presidents use their platform and higher office to provide words of optimism, hope and unity to the American people, while also being sure to speak out and bring awareness to specific domestic and foreign issues that the nation must address. Essentially, the Presidency being a bully pulpit means it’s the highest platform for social awareness and advocacy. 

On Wednesday, January 6th, however, the Presidency was anything but a bully pulpit. In lieu of finally conceding his election loss to President-Elect Joe Biden, President Donald Trump used his Presidential position to foment violence and sedition. 

Since his election loss to Joe Biden in November, President Trump has continued to repeat baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud, after filing lawsuits that have since been thrown out or lost by the President and his campaign. 

As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) pleaded for their Republican colleagues to rethink their objections to the Electoral College results inside the Senate chamber, Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill and fought Capitol Hill police as they stormed their way and breached not just federal property, but one of the most important houses of power in the world. 

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) were the two main Republican Senators who objected to Biden’s election victories in the swing states of Arizona and Pennsylvania, amongst others.

As the two Senators presented their cases before Vice President Pence and the rest of the Senate, a mass of Trump supporters began to break into Capitol Hill, damaging federal property, breaking into the offices of Representatives and Senators and striking Capitol Hill police and security guards. 

On a day that was supposed to be a day of celebration for Democracy, President-Elect Biden and his supporters as the Senate convened to certify the results of the Electoral College, terror riddled the hearts and minds of Americans nationally.

Merely a day after the Democrats flipped the Senate in the Georgia runoff elections and historically elected a Southern Jewish Millenial in Jon Ossoff and a liberal, black Minister in Reverend Raphael Warnock, sweatshirts bearing “Camp Auschwitz” and T-shirts bearing “6MWE” – which stands for “6 Million Wasn’t Enough” – in reference to the Holocaust – were seen being worn by Trump supporters on Capitol Hill.

Furthermore, as Trump supporters infiltrated the halls of the Capitol, many carried Confederate Flags – the first time in American history that the Confederate Flag was present inside the Capitol halls. Not even during the Civil War was the symbol for the Confederacy present within the Capitol. 

The same Capitol that has been roamed throughout American history by various Senators, Representatives and Presidents saw itself being vandalized, looted and invaded with vile words and symbols of hate. 

Blood was even spilled in the Capitol, with a woman being shot to death by Capitol Hill police for attempting to get through a barrier. 

However, the woman who was shot to death wasn’t the only individual who died – three other individuals died of what was said to be “medical emergencies”, while policeman, Brian Sicknick, was killed by injuries inflicted in the riot.

In the aftermath, Congress returned safely and did their jobs – with Vice President Mike Pence formally announcing the certification of the Electoral College results which saw the Biden-Harris ticket win convincingly. 

However, the successes and joys Democrats achieved by flipping the Senate, retaining the House and winning the Presidency were quickly washed away as days passed. As new information was released on the Capitol Hill riots due to pictures, news and CIA investigations, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle were livid at the fact that President Trump’s rhetoric was mostly to blame for inciting such violence – and, thus, the death of six Americans. 

Congresswoman Cori Bush of Missouri was among the first Democrat to introduce legislation for Articles of Impeachment against President Trump despite Inauguration Day for President-Elect Biden being on January 20th. 

Despite Vice President Pence denying the pleas of Congress to invoke the 25th Amendment against President Trump and become acting President for the remaining weeks of his term, the House of Representatives voted 223-205 on Tuesday, January 12th to call on Vice President Pence to strip President Trump of his power, primarily due to concerns with the President’s dangerous state of mind and uncertainty surrounding what he may do next. 

The concerns over President Trump’s worsening mental state were made even more evident after he was banned from a litany of social media sites, most notably Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, and Google. 

As arrests continue to be made for those participating in the Capitol riots and no-fly list travel bans are imposed, Capitol Hill police and Washington, D.C. as a whole are already preparing for the next challenge of quelling any dangers that may arise on Inauguration Day on Wednesday, January 20th. 

While President Trump has already announced he will not be in attendance to President-Elect Biden’s Inauguration, with Vice President Pence taking his place, threats were made by Trump supporters and the far-right extremist group “Proud Boys” on the now-defunct conservative social media platform Parler that more violence was to be expected on Inauguration Day.

President Trump becomes the first outgoing President since Woodrow Wilson in 1921 to not attend their successor’s Inauguration, although Wilson remained inside the Capitol Building during Warren G. Harding’s Inauguration due to poor health. 

In response, Capitol Hill police is beefening up their procedures and preparing for any scenario possible, in conjunction with the National Guard and Secret Service.

While the Insurrection at Capitol Hill is certainly going down in history books as one of the most shocking moments in American history and an attack against our Democracy by domestic forces, one thing is certain: bright days may very well be ahead.

News/Op-Ed: The Start Of A New Year COuld Bring Many Students Back To School In LA County

by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor

During the last few weeks, several talks on the matter of a future reopening for schools across Los Angeles County has left many in shock due to the high number of cases in the area. So, what would the reopening of schools be like with such a high number of cases?

Opinion | After the Coronavirus, Reopen Schools, Not Bars - The New York  Times

According to weekly reports, the cases in LA County have been on the rise, with ICU availability close to zero in many areas, worrying citizens day and night.

Stay at home orders have been in place for weeks, but with such a high number of cases, many wonder whether those restrictions are being respected and treated seriously by the people.

Schools were still allowed to be open over the last few weeks, as long as small cohorts were created. The cohorts resulted to be effective as people were getting a closer experience to a normal school year.

Cases in Los Angeles have increased from last week’s 84.4 new cases per 100 thousand, to 63.9 new cases per 100 thousand, positivity rate is at a whopping 11.4 %, compared to 8.4% from last week, and ICU availability is currently at 2%, compared to 13.3% from last week, an all-time high rate of cases since the start of the second wave. 

As new reports of vaccines being rushed to those in need increase, the approval from the FDA of the Moderna vaccine, and how it will work along with the Pfizer vaccine, with several doses delivered to LAX, many questions remain unanswered.

How will the new vaccine allow for more doses to be administered? Is there going to be a penalization for those who deny to take the vaccine? And, can life really return to normal after the vaccine starts to immunize the general population?

Even as many of those answers can only be determined by time, many stipulate that the vaccines could never bring life back to normal as the virus created several challenges, not to mention the lives that were lost in the process, and how the general public regarded governments responsible for the containment or general economic support of the virus.

For school, the centers of learning for many, the spaces where concentration can only work, hope to continue campaigns that will allow for small cohorts to be present under safety guidelines stipulated by each state.

Many students and parents will hope to take advantage of the opportunity, after seeing a significant drop in the performance of students in the classroom, and the support system that became difficult for teachers and school officials to really take into consideration.

The virus changed how people view every little aspect of life. Many saying that the virus ruined the start of a new decade, others that the virus was an aid for progress as no vaccine has ever been released so quickly and been approved by so many authorities in the world.

2020 came to change humanity forever, perhaps becoming a turning point in human history, proving how fragile humans really are, and how a small virus can take down so many citizens at once.

News/Op-Ed: The Race For A COVID-19 Vaccine Is Over

by Pedro Ochoa

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE received U.S. regulatory authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine on December 11, making it the first vaccine company to get the green light in the United States.

Shipping containers with the COVID-19 vaccine being distributed across the U.S.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are the coronavirus vaccine front runners.

The nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine will begin arriving in states Monday morning, as the outbreak has killed nearly 300,000 Americans

Trucks rolled out Sunday morning as shipping companies UPS and FedEx begin delivering Pfizer’s vaccine to nearly 150 distribution centers across the states. Initially, about 3 million shots are expected to be shipped nationwide.

It was unclear exactly who would receive the first doses of the vaccine, though health workers and nursing home residents were the priority. Perna said health authorities would decide.

A similar number of shots will be held back for those recipients’ second dose, which is needed for full protection from COVID-19.

Distribution locations include hospitals and other sites able to meet those ultra-cold storage requirements. Within three weeks, vaccines should be delivered to all vaccination sites identified by state governments, such as local pharmacies, Perna said.

The vaccine was timed to arrive Monday morning so that health workers would be available to receive the shots and begin giving them.

While determined to be safe, regulators in the U.K. are investigating several severe allergic reactions. The FDA’s instructions tell providers not to give it to those with a known history of severe allergic reactions to any of its ingredients.

The FDA next week will review a second vaccine from Moderna and the National Institutes of Health that appears about as protective as Pfizer’s shot. It was next to release full data analysis for a late-stage trial on Nov. 30, with its vaccine showing a 94.1% efficacy rate. FDA advisers are due to review it on Dec. 17 and the EMA will do so by Jan. 12.

News/Op-Ed: Understanding The Data, Crashing Number Of COVID-19 Cases After A Busy Holiday And An Emergency Lockdown In Los Angeles County

by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor

After California Governor Gavin Newsom announced in a press conference the plans for a safer California, many of such actions are beginning to take effect on LA County after a week of the announcement.

A shadow of itself: 40m Californians wake up to life under shutdown |  Coronavirus | The Guardian

It is no surprise that after such a long-waited holiday, people would have incredible motivation to go outside during Thanksgiving/Black Friday specials.

Hundreds of millions alone flooded the busy outlet mall of Citadel in LA county. Even as people were required to wear masks, many did not social distance and took off their masks at points of conglomerations.

As the incubation period for the virus varies from 2-14 days, it is no surprise that many cases would be expected in the following weeks of the holiday season.

To understand the severity of the situation calculated in numbers here is a rundown of what this week looks like for new cases and a possibility of going back to normal:

Cases have increased to 34 new cases per 100 thousand, positivity rate is at a whopping 8.4%, and ICU availability is currently at 13.3%, forcing the county to enforce stay-at-home order due to the high amount of cases and rate of infection.

In order to reduce the rate of infection, people need to cooperate and stay at home until the situation gets better. No matter what holiday it is, it is better to stay at home and prevent the spread to relatives and friends.

The situation in Los Angeles County has taken an immense toll on essential workers as they are constantly on the line and at a higher risk of becoming infected by interacting with people who are unaware of having the virus. For those reasons, staying at home becomes the best possibility, but for those that are needed in the fields, the best thing to do is keep precautions and practice social distancing.

The numbers are clear, Los Angeles County is currently one of the most affected counties in all of California, given the number of people who call this their home as well as the focus of business in the area.

As stay-at-home orders begin to take effect, authorities urge the population to only go out when needed and put on hold leisure activities while the situation stabilizes.

Starting December 8th, health authorities began to send “emergency alerts” to residents in the Los Angeles County are, with strict order to stay at home, unless it is urgent to go outside.

To stay in line with the guidelines of the state governor, ICU availability would have to go up to at least 15% in order to be back into activities pre-Thanksgiving. 

As people become tired of stay-at-home orders, nothing will continue to improve. Unless people vow to cooperate with state authorities, very little could be achieved.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the streets of LA in ways never imaginable, taking the city of angels to a period of loneliness and despair.

News/Op-Ed: As Inauguration Day Nears For President-Elect Biden, The Political Climate Is As Tense As Ever

by Joshua Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief

Over the past few weeks, President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris have dedicated their focus on their presidential transition. Despite President Trump continuing to press forward with his failure to concede the election, Americans are getting a glimpse at the upcoming Biden Administration through his Cabinet picks.

How Biden's inauguration could be affected by COVID-19, Trump's absence -  ABC News

According to election polls, incumbent President Donald J. Trump has lost the election.

While this may seem like old news, the Trump Administration and Campaign team have continued their self-described “legal battle” against the election results, echoing their baseless claims of voter fraud and uncertified ballots even as key battleground states where lawsuits were filed – such as Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada – have doubled down, or even tripled down, with their confirmation of President-Elect Biden’s election victories in their state.

Whereas President Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York City, have decided to wage war against Republican Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia and other state officials over their refusal to believe the President’s accusations of voter fraud, President-Elect Biden has swiftly begun his duties as the soon to be Commander-In-Chief, assembling his cabinet members and taking briefings on both COVID-19 and matters of Intelligence and National Security. 

A glimpse into a potential Biden Administration and Biden Cabinet has gotten clearer by the day for Americans, as the President-Elect has prioritized political and administrative experience in choosing his supporting staff, a stark contrast to President Trump’s Cabinet, which has featured many political outsiders and relatively inexperienced figures. 

Thus far, President-Elect Biden’s cabinet is fronted by veterans of the Obama Administration and politically experienced figures with plenty of history in D.C. and abroad, while also being tremendously diverse. 

Antony “Tony” Blinken, President-Elect Biden’s pick for Secretary of State, served as Deputy Secretary of State under President Barack Obama and likely has a rapport with President-Elect Biden.

Of course, the Blinken pick has been met with backlash from Republicans due to his time in the Obama Administration.

Amongst other cabinet picks for President-Elect Biden include former Secretary of State and 2004 Democratic Nominee for President John Kerry as Climate Envoy and Linda Thomas-Greenfield for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. 

Moreover, Avril Haines was selected as the Director of National Intelligence, while Alejandro Mayorkas was selected as Secretary of Homeland Security. On Monday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra was selected as the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the first Latino to hold the position if confirmed by the Senate. 

Dr. Rochelle Walensky was selected as the Director of the CDC, while Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has gained the admiration and trust of the American people throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, will return as Chief Medical Adviser for COVID-19 to President-Elect Biden. 

President-Elect Biden’s Cabinet picks have looked tremendously diverse thus far as promised. The selection of Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury leads that pack, as she will be the first woman to front that post if confirmed. 

On Monday, alongside Xavier Beccera being selected for Secretary of Health and Human Services, President-Elect Biden selected Retired General Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense, according to CNN sources.

President-Elect Biden has also filled some personal staff positions that do not require Senate confirmation. Ron Klain is yet another experienced selection for the Biden Administration, as he served as Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore from 1995-1999, while serving then-Vice President Biden as Chief of Staff from 2009-2011. 

Furthermore, President-Elect Biden has hired an all-female senior communications team. While the President-Elect is far from finished with making his Cabinet and staff selections, he is already fulfilling a promise he made to the American people as his supporting staff stands to be one of the most diverse – if not the most diverse – in American history, a stark contrast to the Cabinet and staff employed by President Trump during his sole term in office. 

On the election front, President Trump and his Administration have pressed forward with their baseless claims of election fraud, even after Rudy Giuliani tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday. Despite opposition from President Trump and Giuliani, Georgia certified Joe Biden’s election victory for a third – yes, third – time. 

Barring anything unforeseen, President Trump’s hail mary attempt to overturn the election results are essentially over, even if he and his team continue to press forward with their resistance to President-Elect Biden’s victory. 

On January 5th, the Georgia Senate Runoff Elections are set to take place, with two Senate seats potential up for grabs. If the Democrats win both seats, it will be a crushing blow for Republicans, as the Senate will be a 50-50 split, leaving Vice President-Elect Harris as the tiebreaking vote in the Senate in favor of the Democrats. 

The runoff election will see Democratic Nominee Jon Ossoff take on incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue, and Democratic Nominee Reverend Raphael Warnock take on incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler. 

Despite the 2020 Presidential Election being over, the political realm of the United States is still overwhelmingly active and constantly shifting. As Inauguration Day nears for President-Elect Biden, there will be a litany of developments between now and next month that will arise in our country as 2020 comes to a close. 

Between COVID-19, the Senate runoff election results, the remainder of President-Elect Biden’s Cabinet picks and President Trump’s continuous refusal to concede the election, the American people may have a tumultuous, intense, and action-packed month ahead. 

News/Op-Ed: Due To Yet Another Rise In Covid-19 Cases, California Issues Another “Stay At Home” Order

by Aydn Morris

After 9 months of quarantining, there is still an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, leaving California officials reeling as they try to slow the spread and flatten the curve.

California Governor Gavin Newsom and his team has once again spearheaded an effort to tighten restrictions across California and flatten the curve.

For the past 9 months Covid 19 has affected many peoples lives. Most people believed that this virus would end in about a month or two, but they never expected it to go for this long. A majority of people around the world are tired of seeing family members die or get infected by the virus and just want it to stop so they can get back to the way things were before. 

California is one of the states with the highest number of cases and increasing percentages of cases and deaths due to Coronavirus. For the past couple of weeks, California has been giving residents light stay at home orders to try and decrease the cases and deaths.

The stay at home order is where residents are expected to stay at home unless of an emergency, in need of essential services or are essential workers. The stay at home order is is just a lighter version of the lockdown where a few places are still open but only a small amount of people are allowed. 

The stay at home order will close down many public places such as restaurants, personal grooming services, bars, movie theaters, museums and casinos.

Places that are open will be outdoor recreational facilities, hotels, places of worship (which will have to be held outside), professional sports and entertainment production without live audiences and non-urgent medical and dental care. For grocery stores that are open, they have to limit their store capacity down to 20%. Outdoor recreational facilities include beaches, golf courses, and parks. All of these places will require people to masked, socially distanced and in limited capacity. 

According to KTLA5 News, “the new restrictions will go into effect in Southern California at 11:59 p.m. Sunday and last for at least three weeks. The region includes the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego and is home to about 24 million people, almost half of the state’s population. The order was also put in effect for the San Joaquin Valley in central California.”

This will outrage half of California’s population especially since it is the Holiday season, with kids being out of school on their winter break, which most likely puts an end to any plans of traveling to families houses and it will also be harder for people to finish Christmas shopping. 

According to Deadline, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva sent mixed messages this week as the orders were issued. “I want to stay away from businesses that are trying to comply the best they can. They bent over backwards to modify their entire operation to conform to these current health orders,” he continued, “and then they have the rug yanked out from under them, that’s a disservice. I don’t want to make their lives any more miserable.”

Obviously, it’s difficult for leaders to make these decisions because they all understand how much this is affecting peoples businesses and lives. Furthermore, it also furthers gridlock between politicians and local law enforcement officers, as differing opinions have led to a lack of enforcing restrictions in California and abroad.

Most of us want to get back to the way things were before COVID-19 and California is trying its best to do so.

All we can do as California Citizens is just have to have hope, make the most out of what we have, wear masks, and socially distance.

News/Op-Ed: In December, Yet Another Fire Has Erupted Near Corona Municipal Airport

by Andrew Fierro

The fire erupted Corona Municipal Airport and has since grow to over 500 acres, shutting down Highway 71 and causing air-filled smoke all over Orange County. 

The fire began on Tuesday night, though it really rocketed in size on Thursday due to strong winds. As of 8 A.M. Thursday, the fire is 0% contained.

The fire, due to its size and the smokey air causing vision issues for drivers, has caused a shutdown of State Route 71 on Thursday morning. 

The winds overnight made residents near the flames, in towns like Sonora Ranch which is about 2 miles away from the fire, frightful of whether or not it was going to be able to be contained.

An evacuation order was issued for many areas including, but not limited to, Springs Court, Rock Ridge Court, and Cheyenne Road. However, those orders were lifted as of 10 P.M. 

The fire was reported first on Tuesday behind the airport at the Prado Basin and at the time of the report was at less than five acres. Though because of the strong wind and low humidity, the fire kicked up to 25 acres by Wednesday afternoon and then onto 50 later in the evening. 

So far there have been no damages or injuries reported due to the fire, though the air quality may be unsafe for some people due to the heavy smoke and wind. 

There have also been almost 200 encountered flames in the thick vegetation burning at a mild rate away from the airport. Two water-dropping helicopters were making different runs until nightfall hit, not dissolving the fire but at least slowing it.

Of course, the airport was closed because of the firefighters working on slowing and eventually stopping the fire. There has been a temporary flight restriction that covers a five-mile diameter area around the field. 

People in all areas of Orange County can go out of their homes and see the heavy smoke in the sky, which was very predominant in the morning and the smoke scent is still heavy, which for some people may be unsafe to go out in. 

Though it is not contained, it is slowing and the firefighters are doing their best to keep it from getting worse and too close to towns and cities. 

News/Op-Ed: David Prowse, British Heavyweight Weightlifting Champion And Most Notably The Man Behind The Mask Of Darth Vader, Passed Away Saturday At The Age Of 85.

by Andrew Fierro

The man behind Darth Vader, Prowse had a profound impact on the Star Wars Franchise and fans worldwide, even if he didn’t voice the famed villain. Unfortunately, Prowse passed away at the age of 85 on Saturday due to COVID-19.

David Prowse on set of Star Wars films as Darth Vader.

Prowse was born in Bristol, United Kingdom on July 1, 1935. He went on to do many amazing things in his life, including becoming a weightlifting champion in Britain and also being the first Green Cross Code man.

However, what most people know him as is portraying one of the most iconic movie villains in history, Darth Vader. 

David Prowse was 41 years old when George Lucas asked him to audition for the role after seeing him in the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film, A Clockwork Orange.

He had the choice between playing Chewbacca or Darth Vader, choosing to play Darth Vader because he believed that everyone always remembers the villain. He would be absolutely correct in that prophecy.

After receiving the role of Darth Vader and playing him for some time on set, George Lucas made the decision that his voice would be scrapped in post-production due to his heavy British accent that didn’t fit the character.

This would lead to the voice being portrayed by James Earl Jones, while Prowse handled actual Darth Vader character duties.

Though Darth Vader was his most popular role, he had other roles in his acting career, including playing Julian the Bodyguard in “A Clockwork Orange”.

He also worked to help other actors prepare for a role, helping Christopher Reeve get ready for his role in the 1978 version of “Superman”. 

Despite his rise to fame during adulthood, Prowse faced many adversities in his younger life that he had to overcome, such as having disabilities, having no father in his life after he passed when David was 5, and being a poor student.

When he was 12 years old, he had to spend 3 years wearing a leg-iron because the doctors suspected that he had tuberculosis, though that was later proved to be unfounded.

When David was younger he found a passion early on for weightlifting and bodybuilding. Due to his passion and hard work, he was regarded as a highly regarded member of the fitness community, receiving many awards for competing in weightlifting competitions, including his win of the British Heavyweight Weightlifting Title. One of his most popular appearances was his appearance in the Mr. Universe contest.

David Prowse lived in the spotlight for most of his life, whether it was in weightlifting competitions or movies. Though he was most known for his role as Darth Vader, he was a very successful man in whatever craft he put his mind to.

He will be remembered as an amazing actor for portraying one of the most iconic and intimidating villains in movie history, as well as for being a well-respected actor and person who overcame lots of adversity. 

Rest In Peace, David Prowse.

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