Author Archives: Andrew Chavez

NFT’s and their Impact

The landscape of collectibles is being changed drastically by Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT), a virtual item that is represented solely online. Celebrities have jumped on this new trend causing NFT’s to go viral and the marketplace of these products to reach record highs.

An NFT can be offered as many different virtual items bound only by the creativity of the creator. Some forms of NFT’s currently in the mainstream marketplace include short video clips sold by music artists and celebrities, sports cards, and cartoon/comic book character cards.

Singer The Weeknd sold NFT’s that included exclusive songs and unique artwork at prices ranging between $100 and $490,000. While social media celebrity Jake Paul sold an NFT of a video clip of his knockout of former basketball player Nate Robinson for 10 million dollars.

The thing that makes the video clips unique is they are a part of something called a blockchain. A blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions, these video clips aretracked through every sale to verify the validity of the NFT, ensuring that it is not a fake.

The blockchain is crucial to the high price of NFTs. With so few NFTs being sold, buyers want to know the high price is for a legit product.

Uniqueness is a major factor in buying an NFT. Fans of an artist or collectors of cards want to have something that nobody else owns. Buying these NFTs while still relatively new offers buyers the lowest price for these online collectibles before the price skyrockets if or when mainstream media fully embrace NFTs.

Another reason NFTs have become popular is in the card collecting community. A start-up still in its Beta phase of release called NBATopshot has partnered with the NBA to release unique in-game moments as online trading cards.

These NBA cards are called Moments, and collectors can purchase packs ranging from $9-$1,000 that offer different levels of card types. Every Moment has a different price value depending on many factors such as the player’s popularity, the serial number of your specific Moment, and how rare the Moment is.

For example, if you were to purchase a $9 common level pack on NBATopshot and pulled a common level LeBron James Moment the current minimum resale value for the Moment is $39.

The NBA is not alone in this NFT venture as Topshot has already partnered with the UFC and the NFL Players Association to potentially release Moments of different professional sports in the future.

NFL quarterback Tom Brady has started his own NFT company stating his company named Autograph will, “bring together some of the world’s most iconic names and brands with the best in class digital artists to ideate, create, and launch NFT’s and groundbreaking experiences to a community of fans and collectors.”

Major gambling businesses are also attempting NFT sales in a unique way. PreaknessStakesNFT is a website that allows you to buy a unique virtual horse NFT and enter that horse in daily races. Races are held every hour, and you can wager any amount of money on each race.

A major question arising with the popularity of NFT’s is the environmental impacts these tokens are having. 

NFT’s are sold under the blockchain of the popular cryptocurrency Ethereum. A single transaction for Ethereum consumes enough energy to power 1 U.S household for 2.5 days, according to Digiconimist.

Cryptocurrencies remain a large threat to the environment as they consume large amounts of energy and emit massive amounts of carbon. According to a study by Cambridge University, Bitcoin, the most famous and highest priced crypto on the market, uses more electricity annually than some countries such as Argentina, the Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates.

Ethereum’s energy consumption is around the equivalent of the energy usage in Peru. This is a problem that Etherum is looking to address immediately. 

Currently cryptocurrencies use a system called mining, this term means gaining cryptocurrencies by solving cryptographic equations through the use of computer software. This mining process is used to verify transactions on the blockchain of cryptocurrencies and miners are rewarded with new crypto coins that they can sell for large profits.

This mining process is the main reason cryptocurrencies consume so much energy. Large mining farms have become the norm as miners fill large spaces with computers to mine these cryptos 24/7 in hopes of earning a profit.

Ethereum’s plan to phase out this process and predicts their energy consumption will drop by more than 99%, according to the Ethereum foundation.

Chabot Swim Team Returns

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Chabot student-athletes have not competed in collegiate sports for the past year. However, the Chabot College swim team plans to proceed with a 2021 season.

The swim team goes into the season led by veteran Head Coach Greg Kubicki. Kubicki has coached the team at Chabot since January of the year 2000.

Preparation for this season is unlike any Coach Kubicki has experienced before. Not only is the performance of the team going to be tested, but health and safety may play an even bigger role in this season.

“I think the athletes, for the most part, want to do it, have a competitive season this year. I think most of the coaches want to do it … in terms of sports, we’re outdoors, we’re in chlorine … … from my perspective, it’s pretty safe.” Coach Kubicki stated.

The discussion on how safety and protection against COVID will be handled this season has been spearheaded by the President of the school, the Dean of Instruction, and the Athletic Director. They have been meeting to ensure that Chabot sports follow state mandates and successfully hold an entire season of competition this year.

Part of these state mandates has affected the preparation for the season already. “They’ve allowed us since September to swim two times a week … and that’s better than nothing.” Coach Kubicki continued, “In terms of are we going to have a competitive season or not, well if we do, it’s not going to look like any other season. I’ve come to grips with that.”

With vaccines becoming available to every California resident, holding any sport or class in person seems to pose far less risk than a year ago.

Coach Kubicki, when asked if he feels sports for student-athletes is a necessity right now, “Being able to get out of the house and see other faces, look at all of the psychosocial benefits of what we’re involved with, especially with the last year we had.” Coach continued, “the seclusion, I think has caused a lot of problems for people in terms of mental health and exercise. I think being able to get out there whether it’s two days a week or four days a week it’s fantastic.”

Supporting our student-athletes may prove difficult this season. As vaccines continue to be distributed, the school awaits a return to campus at some point in the future. Currently, no fans will be allowed to attend sporting events held at Chabot.

Without fans in the stands, the team will heavily rely on its coach to get them through the season. “One of my most important jobs is just keeping a level head and keeping a positive attitude. I think that’s something the students are going to pick up on,” stated Coach Kubicki. “If I were 18 or 20 years old, I’d be looking for some leadership, and I think that’s one of the most important jobs we can provide right now.”

One way to support the swim program would be to sign up for a swim class at Chabot or even join the swim team. Every student at Chabot is welcomed to be a part of the team. Despite most students and instructors not being on campus, the pool at Chabot is one place where there is some normalcy and social interaction.

Coach Kubicki, encouraging students to consider joining the swim team, states, “I think being a part of a team is an awesome experience. I think this year in a pandemic it’s been super valuable for these young men and women to be able to set foot on this campus and hang out with each other and train.”

California Passes New York in Covid Related Deaths

California has officially passed New York as the state with the most deaths related to Coronavirus.

As of March 18, the number of deaths currently sits at 56,952 and continues to rise every day.

That being said, the statistics are beginning to show a move in a positive direction. As of February 17, the reported coronavirus cases were down 43%. According to the LA Times, confirmed cases in hospitals have also decreased by 40.3 percent from two weeks ago.

According to 24/7 Wall Street, there is still an average of 3,298 COVID cases confirmed per week in California, as of the week of March 16, and this means that businesses continue to remain at limited capacity, restaurants remain limited to outdoor seating. Hospital beds remain regularly occupied by coronavirus patients.

However, as the vaccine is slowly distributed to the public, the key for California remains limiting the spread of the virus. There is no official timetable for when every person will be eligible for the vaccine currently.

Sabrina, a quality assurance employee for a large produce distributor in California, was eligible for the vaccine because her job involves agriculture. “They basically told everyone in the office it was optional to get the vaccine, but most employees did receive the vaccine now. It’s going to be a lot less stressful knowing we can feel a little more comfortable in the office together,” says Sabrina.

Jared, an EMT in the bay area, received a vaccine very soon after it became available to first medical employees. “It’s just a huge relief. After worrying about a lot of things during the pandemic, it feels good knowing I can still work and go visit my parents with a lower risk of exposing them to anything.”

According to California state health director Dr. Mark Ghaly, “starting March 15, people between ages 16-64 who are severely disabled, and those with health conditions that put them at high risk can get in line for shots.”

Joe Biden has ordered 200 million COVID-19 vaccines to boost the number of shots available for Americans.

To help slow the spread of germs, the Center for Disease Control has recently endorsed double masking to ensure a tight fit on the mask and to allow fewer respiratory droplets out.

As double masking is thought to lower the risk of exposure, there is no mandate on wearing two masks. The California department of public health’s guidance remains that Californians must wear face coverings in public spaces, especially indoors and in areas where physical distancing is not possible.

Another facet that could lead to potentially more cases of coronavirus is in-person learning at schools. As many schools remain online, some schools have taken specific measures to return for the fall semester of 2021.

UC Berkeley began a lockdown on campus on Feb 1 as over 400 people contracted coronavirus. With about 2000 students living on campus, students were required to remain in their rooms at all times. Students were only permitted to leave for seeking medical attention, going to the bathroom, and picking up food.

Violation of these lockdown rules by any student could have resulted in suspension.

The campus quarantine was proved effective as cases dropped, and the school lifted the lockdown on February 15th.

It is essential to stay informed on when vaccine distribution is available to you. You can keep track of this information at

CA vs Texas Power Outages

In Aug. 2020, California received criticism for its handling of rolling power outages throughout the state. In Feb. 2021, Texas also went through its own power crisis.

California energy officials estimated the rolling energy blackouts in Aug. 2020 left as many as 2 million residents without power.

The main cause for this issue was a single 500-megawatt generator went offline during peak energy usage hours. According to the national weather service, the underlying issue was California reaching a record-breaking heat wave, with a dozen Bay Area cities tying or setting record high temperatures.

As Californians  continued to rely on air conditioning units to battle the heat wave, the strain on the state’s energy generators rose, leading to the generators to eventually fail. With several thousand residents left with no escape from the heat, California Gov. Gavin Newsom sent out a tweet begging people to reduce the use of unnecessary energy to help ease the tension of the already failing energy system.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz quoted this tweet with his own opinion of the situation, stating, “Biden/Harris/AOC want CA’s failed energy policy to be the standard nationwide. Hope you don’t like air conditioning!”

Just six months later, on Feb.10, 2021, Texas unexpectedly had its own energy crisis to deal with as about 4.5 million Texas residents were affected by power outages, according to 

The leading cause of these outages was an unexpected snowstorm that led to single-degree temperatures and covered Texas in snow.

California’s power grid is connected to one of the main grids that runs through the entire country, and the state can draw power from outside the state to assist the power crisis. Texas has refused to connect to one of these grids, relying on their individual energy production.

As temperatures in Texas plummeted, residents relied heavily on heating systems in their homes and consumed a high amount of electricity. According to the state’s power grid operator, Electric Reliability Council of Texas, cold temperatures froze natural gas supply lines and stopped wind turbines from spinning. This dropped the energy supply by 46,000 watts as energy consumption reached yearly peaks around 86,000 watts.

Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University in Houston, tweeted, “Every one of our sources of power supply underperformed”

Weather is a huge factor in the energy failure of both Texas and California, and these issues are not unheard of, however there are no unanimous national regulations regarding the standards of these power grids because the weather varies from state to state.

Power generators in Wisconsin for example, are designed to battle cold weather conditions with insulation and heated pipes. As Texas struggled from snowy temperatures a power grid like Wisconsin’s was built so, “that it can get down to 40 degrees below zero and even stays there for a few days.” says Madison Gas and Electric spokesman Steve Shultz.

As Texas continues to reject connecting to the national power grid, there remains a possibility these dangerous power outages will happen again if the weather reaches similar conditions.

Image of a look inside the impeachment trial. Many people sitting at desks reviewing documents.

Impeachment Trial Review

Former President Donald Trump has been acquitted after being impeached for incitement of insurrection, alleging that he incited his followers to storm the U.S. Capitol building.

In February, the acquittal of the former President by the Senate was voted through. This was just days after the House Democrats voted to impeach Donald Trump an unprecedented second time.

Although seven Republican congressmen and women voted with the democrats, a different story was told in the Senate where Trump would not be acquitted. Senate Democrats and impeachment managers from Congress debated Trump’s behavior in the time leading up to the siege on the Capitol.

“Donald Trump surrendered his role as commander in chief and became the inciter in chief of a dangerous insurrection, … He named the date, he named the time, he brought them here, and now he must pay the price … He told them to ‘fight like hell … and they brought us hell that day.’” Lead Impeachment manager Dem. of Maryland James Raskin stated.

In Congress, the argument was focused on three main points: The Big Lie, which stated Donald Trump as the proprietor promoting false, baseless, and debunked claims questioning the integrity of the 2020 election. Stop the Steal, which was said to be Trump’s campaign delegitimizing President Biden’s term. Trump did this by suing numerous states, supporting the rejection and denial of the election results. Fight like Hell was the last point noting Trump’s words argued by democrats to directly incite rioters to the Capitol hours before the insurrection on Jan 6.

“The base was completely prepared to believe the kind of outlandish things that Trump said,” said Rick Hasen, a professor and election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told NBC News.

Democrats pleaded the danger that fell before the Capitol, stating someone must be held responsible for the damage and harm condoned. “Perimeters were broken, and the Capitol was breached,” Congressman and impeachment manager Eric Swalwell said.

In the Senate trial, the impeachment managers used unseen audio, video, and security footage displaying visceral and explicit evidence of rioters ravaging the Capitol. In the footage shown, Senators and Capitol employees are seen running for their lives. This all was occurring while Capitol Police constantly fought to keep them safe.

“It looked like a medieval battle scene, some of the most brutal combat I have ever encountered. At one point, I got tazed. People were yelling at me. ‘Y’all, we got one! We got one!’” A 20-year veteran of Capitol Police officer Micheal Pinome

Pinome is seen on footage during the trial as just one of three officers dragged down the stairs of the Capitol. Rioters then stole his badge, his radio, ammunition magazine and tazed him, triggering a heart attack during the attack. 

Congressman Swalwell and Raskin ran through the timeline of the siege on the Capitol, footage of the timeline, and the course of the rioters from the initial break into the final Police securing of the Capitol. But their choice of argument and strategy of not using witnesses fell short. 

The Senate voted to acquit Trump, 57 Guilty to 43, Not Guilty. Raskin claimed he did not attempt to bring in witnesses because “The point is that no number of witnesses demonstrating Donald Trump continued to incite the insurrectionists even after the invasion of the Capitol would convince them, they wouldn’t be convinced,” James Raskins told the public.

Upon the arrival of the Senate, vote not to convict former President Donald Trump. Chuck Schumer, Majority leader of Democrats, was left with distaste as he said, “My Fellow Americans never forget that day, Jan. 6th. There is nothing more un-American, nothing more antithetical, nothing more insulting to the Americans that gave their lives … look at what Republicans have chosen to forgive … over half the Senate Republican conference has voted to condone … the most despicable act any President has ever committed and the Majority of Republicans cannot summon courage or morality to condemn it. This trial was not about choosing country over party. It was about choosing this country over Donald J. Trump, and they chose Trump.”

Senate minority leader of Republicans, Mitch McConnell, a staple in the GOP through the Senate floor for a surprise as his ending statement was pushing back against his party.

 “There is no question; none, that Donald Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the event of the day, the people who stormed this building thought they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their President. Rioters were assaulting Capitol in his name. The criminals were carrying his banner, hanging his flag, and screaming loyalty to him. It was obvious,” 

This may sound contradictory to his vote of acquittal, but “He didn’t get away with anything, yet,” McConnell said, noting that “we have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former presidents are not immune from being [held] accountable by either one.”

The storming of the Capitol came after a speech on January 6 by former president Trump where he claimed that he won the election and his followers need to “fight like hell” to “stop the steal” of the election. Trump’s legal team argued that he used the term “fight” only a few times and every time the word was used figuratively. Not in a way to sway followers to physically fight.

The legal team pointed out that Donald Trump did not go with the mob to the capital or tell them to storm the building in his speech on January 6th.

There was even a question of the validity of the argument that Trump’s speech was inciting violence as he said during his speech, “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building peacefully to patriotically make your voices heard.”

The defense team also played a video montage of democrats using the word fight in speeches of their own to show that it’s a common phrase in politics that is not meant to be taken literally.

Trump’s team also argued that impeaching the former president would violate his first amendment rights. The legal team claims that the speech was Donald Trump exercising his freedom of speech and cannot be impeached on this basis.

Another point made by the defense team was that the legislature had no jurisdiction to impeach a former official as Mitch McConnell in an email to his colleagues stated that “While a close call, I am persuaded that impeachments are a tool primarily of removal and we, therefore, lack jurisdiction.”

The validity of having an impeachment for a president no longer in office was the main topic of the first day of trial. Maintaining a verdict against impeachment is key in Trump’s plans to run for office again. With still more legal battles to come, the acquittal currently leaves the door open for a 2024 election campaign. Regardless of both sides arguing for or against, the trial continued the following days.

Trump’s team also argued that the trial should be thrown out as they were not afforded due process. The legal team argued that investigations should be held and depositions should be taken. 

The legal term Bill of attainder was brought into question on this trial. Bill of attainder is something that prohibits enacting a law that legislatively determines guilt and inflicts punishment upon an identifiable individual without provision of the protections of a judicial trial. 

Trump’s legal team is arguing that impeachment allows the legislature to attain a guilty verdict against Trump without a judicial trial as he is a private citizen who has a right to be tried for criminal prosecution before a judge. 

“Congress has no jurisdiction to try people who are not currently in office.” states political commentator and legal analyst Alan Dershowitz.

The conclusion of this trial may just be the beginning of a much larger trial, as we wait to see what will happen involving a criminal trial against Donald Trump.

A look back on the Election

After a long and eventful year, the 2020 presidential election has finally come to an end. Former Vice President Joe Biden has been declared the projected winner of the election and will become the 46th president of the United States.

As with anything in the year 2020, the road to this election has not been simple. Current President Donald Trump, who argues that he is, in fact, the winner of the 2020 election, is currently filing lawsuits to challenge the validity of the election results. These actions by our President should not come as a surprise as these questions of voting credibility have lingered all year by the white house staff.

Many things this year have led to a split in the country regarding our democracy and how our elections are being run. This election has sparked debates on issues such as voter fraud, mail-in voting validity, misinformation via news outlets, and alleged claims of election rigging, among other things.

Voter fraud has not been an issue in any elections in recent history. With today’s laws and technology in place preventing nearly all cases of voter fraud. In the 2000 and 2004 elections, the Brennan Center for Justice New York University School of Law found that rates of voter fraud committed were somewhere between .0003 and .0025 percent.

Despite the statistics against the likelihood of mass voter fraud occurring in this election, President Trump remains adamant that this election has been rampant with fraudulent votes.

As the pandemic raged on, voters remained wary of in-person voting. A risk-free option to voting is to simply mail in your vote.

According to MIT political scientist, after analyzing numbers from the Heritage foundation’s election fraud database, they concluded that only 0.00006 percent of the 250 million votes by mail in the 2016 election were fraudulent.

President Donald Trump has argued that the post office can not handle the amount of mail-in votes in time to receive and count them all during this election.

Although the number of mail-in ballots could increase greatly this year due to the pandemic, the post office has shown no concern about not being able to handle the extra workload.

News stations during the election have had facts and information vary depending on which station you’re watching. This can be said for most elections as some news stations tend to lean one way or another politically.

What has gotten out of hand this election is the fact that President Trump and his team have argued and disregarded facts concerning election results to a point where Twitter has started censoring the president’s tweets.

As President Trump tweets about voter fraud and how he has in fact won this election, Twitter has had to label these with a warning.

“Some or all of this content shared in this tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.” messages can now be found throughout President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed to warn followers of potential misinformation.

Both sides of this election have somewhat been accused of attempting to rig the election in their favor. A very serious allegation.

President Donald Trump has been accused of attempting to dismantle the post office as many of his supporters will be voting in person and many of Joe Biden’s supporters will be voting by mail.

Pictures of mailboxes being removed have gone viral and accusations of voter suppression have risen.

While the Trump administration has tried to argue that mail-in ballots should not be counted after election day so a winner may be announced immediately.

“It would be very, very proper and very nice if a winner were declared on Nov. 3, instead of counting ballots for two weeks, which is totally inappropriate.” stated the President.

The President also raised concerns about the validity of the vote counting, expressing concerns for mail-in ballot dumps being counted for almost exclusively Biden at times.

“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key states, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled… Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted, very strange, and the pollsters got it completely and historically wrong.” expressed President Trump.

There is no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claims on the counting of ballots. 

Officials have been speculating for months that the surge of mail-in votes would be immense and large floods of ballots were expected to occur at times during the counting process and a  result of the post office slowly delivering large amounts of ballots to counting locations after election day.

As we approach the conclusion of a strange year, we can only hope that we have reached the conclusion of a strange election as well. Only time will tell how our democracy will handle things if President Donald Trump refuses the election results.

Chabot Stays Online

Chabot College will remain predominantly online for the spring 2021 semester.

Remaining online ensures all Chabot students’ safety while we remain in the midst of a pandemic that has no current end date.

Classes will continue as they have during the fall semester. Chabot has shifted online and quickly adapted to offer many, if not all, of the same services online that would typically be provided on campus.

There’s currently state guidance for colleges, released by California’s Department of Public Health, that addresses schools’ concerns opening back up during the pandemic.

The 34-page state guidance states that most California colleges must offer classes virtually except for limited hands-on courses that will require social distancing.

This guidance has various rules and mandates for schools electing to return to in-person classes next semester. However, Chabot has decided to forego the risk and remain online in the spring, giving students one less place where they could potentially be exposed to the Coronavirus.

So when will it be safe to go back to campus? Some states have already resumed in-person teaching to mixed results.

In Oregon, the Department of Education, Colt Gill, estimates that they currently have 600,000 students participating in in-person classes. Gill remains optimistic that all schools will transition online.

The Oregon Health Authority has reported that 160 COVID-19 cases spread across 83 schools in Oregon over November.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas has many in-person schools in session, with an estimated 2.8 million students currently attending school in person.

The Texas Health and Human Services reported 6,835 positive COVID-19 tests by students just in the week of December 6th.

We may not know precisely when it will be safe to go back to in-person classes. Still, we know Chabot is putting student safety as its top priority.

What jobs are Essential?

As the coronavirus pandemic took the world by surprise this year, the country’s workforce was put into a difficult situation.

While most businesses shut down to avoid spreading the virus, some had to remain open through the pandemic as they were labeled essential.

What exactly qualifies as an essential worker?

The label of an essential worker varies from state to state, but according to the U.S. Department of Homeland security, “essential workers are those who conduct a range of operations that are typically needed to continue critical infrastructure operations.”

There are some obvious professions that should be labeled as essential to society, such as, health care workers, law enforcement or first responders, and food and ag workers.

The line of essential becomes more blurred as we see minimum wage workers being forced to work at jobs that are necessarily needed for survival during a pandemic.

Must fast-food restaurants stay open while grocery stores are there to supply us with food?

Is it essential for retail stores to remain open, so people can buy new clothes, at a time when everyone is encouraged to remain at home?

Leonard, a retail worker that has not stopped working through the pandemic, shared his thoughts on if feels his job is essential states, “No, it’s not. You don’t need clothes to survive a pandemic.”

“I think my job could be labeled essential for high-risk people that can’t go out and get their own food.” stated Jacob, a pizza delivery worker, “but I still feel that there are ways to order groceries nowadays and have them delivered so that I don’t have to put myself at risk too.”

Mercedes, an employee at an auto parts store, also sees both sides of the term essential from her job. “I see my job as essential because what if there’s a doctor or someone important that needs a part for their car to get to work, but I don’t feel that I see people coming into the store for only essential items. I’ve had customers coming in and leisurely shopping for things that can wait until after the pandemic.”

The economy is now in a difficult situation as small businesses have been forced to close their doors, most closing for good, and big businesses have been allowed to bend the rules to remain open.

Some may argue that these minimum wage workers should be happy to be employed at a time when most people had no choice but to lose their jobs at the hands of the pandemic.

Although it’s questionable how much of a choice these “essential workers” really have been given.

These workers have two choices. Put themselves at risk of catching the virus every day at work, or quit their job and attempt to rely on the government’s unemployment plan and nonexistent stimulus plan to pay their bills.

With no real relief funding in place these workers can’t afford to quit their jobs and fall behind on their bills. As most minimum wage workers are living paycheck to paycheck before the financial strains of the pandemic.

Leonards view on why he continues to go to work, “my bills didn’t quit so why should.” he continued, “I don’t feel that the government can consistently support me financially right now and I have a mortgage payment that needs to be paid every month.”

Jacob also is wary of government support, “I make more money going to work right now than I would make on unemployment and I still want to keep my job after the pandemic. So quitting doesn’t seem like an option right now.”

With a vaccine on the way, the country is hoping to put the pandemic behind us and return everyone to work safely. Until that time employees will continue to work and continue to put their health at risk.

street mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburd face

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18, 2020. Ginsburg was a trailblazer in her profession, as only the second-ever woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. She was an advocate of gender equality, a pop culture icon, and a role model for all women.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 due to complications related to pancreatic cancer.

Ginsburg served as a justice on the Supreme Court for 27 years after being appointed by President Bill Clinton. Before her time as a justice, she earned her Bachelor’s degree at Cornell. She then attended Harvard before transferring to Columbia Law School, where she graduated top of her class. Ginsburg experienced sexism throughout her education and her career as Law was not a profession women normally chose at the time. Her experiences pushed her to fight for gender equality so she and all women would be treated fairly in her position. After graduating from Law school she struggled to find a job. Eventually, she became the second-ever female Law professor at Rutgers University. Despite landing the job at Rutgers her fight against sexism continued as she had to fight for her pay to be equal to the men employed at Rutgers. After eventually joining Columbia as a Law Professor, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project of ACLU. This is where she took on litigation of gender equality cases and fought the problem one law at a time, slowly changing the landscape of our legal system to recognize women’s equality in the workplace.

Before making her mark in law, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Neither of Ruth’s parents went to college but instead worked hard and pushed their children to better their lives through education. Her mother, Celia Bader, lost a battle to cancer and passed away while Ruth was still in high school. Ruth’s mother was a great influence on her and instilled the hard-working attitude Ruth carried on throughout her whole life.

While attending Cornell University Ruth met and married her husband Martin D. Ginsburg. After graduating from Cornell the couple’s first child Jane was born. Eventually, Martin took a job as a tax lawyer in New York. This led to Ruth transferring from Harvard to Columbia where she became the first woman to become a member of both schools Law Reviews. She then went on to have a law professor at Rutgers University followed by Columbia. During her tenure at Columbia, she took 6 cases before the supreme court winning 5 of them. After her impressive success against the supreme court in the 70s, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the US Court of Appeals in 1980 where she would work for the Supreme Court. This led to her eventual nomination, by President Bill Clinton, to join the Supreme Court in 1993.

In Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, she leaves behind two children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Her daughter Jane Carol Ginsburg is 65 years old with two children and pursuing a career as a lawyer. Her son James Steven Ginsburg is 55 years old with two children and a grandchild. James is currently a record label executive. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes history one last time as she is the first woman ever to lie in state at the US Capitol. Mourners held a candlelight vigil on Saturday, September 18th outside of the Supreme Court. A private ceremony at the Capitol was held for Ginsburg on September 25th. Thousands lined up outside the Supreme Court to pay their respects as Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose Wednesday, September 23rd, with many still mourning outside the building over the weekend.

Trump vs. TikTok

The Trump administration attempted to place a ban on the video-sharing app TikTok on sunday September 20th. This would have been the last day US citizens could download the Chinese owned app, but the ban is being temporarily blocked by a Federal Judge.

Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote that although there is evidence of China being a threat to national security, “it was less clear that TikTok itself posed a risk.”

TikTok has over 100 million users in the US currently. In an executive order written by president Trump, he states, “This data collection (done by TikTok) threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information—potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo warns to only download TikTok, “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

President Trump announced his plan to ban the app on July 31st, just one month after teens using TikTok registered for thousands of free tickets to the President’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma to limit the number of attendees. This left thousands of seats empty after the administration promised to fill all seats.

President Trump has also insisted that instead of using a Chinese owned app people should use the new app Triller. Triller is almost completely similar to TikTok and has risen in popularity since the banning of TikTok.

The President and his son, Donald Trump Jr, are both verified and actively posting on Triller.

Trump Jr recently posted a 7 minute video on Triller attacking Tiktok and urging people to use Triller instead. He stated,“There’s an option that you can go to that’s an American company, that’s not saving your data, that’s not going to eventually weaponize it against your children.”

TikTok has admitted that their app, “automatically collects certain information from you when you use the Platform, including internet or other network activity information such as your IP address, geolocation-related data … unique device identifiers, browsing and search history.” However this is also true for every other social media app, including American owned app Facebook.

ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, has denied any sale of personal data to a third party and argued they do not store user data in China at all.

However, a conflicting report by encryption and cybersecurity company Protonmail warns, “the social media giant not only collects troves of personal data on you but also cooperates with the CCP, extending China’s surveillance and censorship reach beyond its borders.”

After failures to sell the App to an American based company TikTok’s answer to the ban is a lawsuit against the Trump administration. Their official statement regarding why the lawsuit was filed specifically, “By banning TikTok with no notice or opportunity to be heard (whether before or after the fact), the executive order violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment.”

TikTok was originally given a 45 day period after the September 20th ban to fix any cybersecurity issues and potentially be allowed back into business with Americans.

 However, since Judge Nichols put a halt to the ban, a new plan to have a US hearing decide the fate of TikTok was put into place.

The hearing is scheduled to take place the day after the Presidential election, and will officially decide whether TikTok will be allowed to remain in App stores.