Houses of worship gain access to aid


President Trump signed into law that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now must provide houses of worship with equal access to disaster relief funds.  According to FEMA, the policy is effective for all disasters declared on or after Aug. 23, 2017.

Prior to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, FEMA did not allocate aid relief to houses of worship. However, after Harvey and Irma, three Texas churches and two Florida synagogues filed lawsuits against the government for not providing the same relief funding as secular nonprofit organizations received.

One of these cases made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.  FEMA was asked to explain why houses of worship were left out of disaster relief and the agency responded with a new policy protecting these places.

“Private nonprofit houses of worship are now eligible for disaster assistance as community centers, without regard to their secular or religious nature,” according to FEMA.

Becket, a nonprofit law firm aimed at protecting religious freedom, represented the three churches and two synagogues.

“Congress has delivered a big victory for houses of worship everywhere …. It was always strange to tell houses of worship that there is no room at the inn, when they are the first to help in time of need,” said Diana Verm, legal counsel at Becket.

Becket emphasized that houses of worship were some of the first groups to reach out to disaster victims following Harvey and Irma and they consistently reach out to those in need.

The announcement of new law is a major win for faith groups.  The news was celebrated across many faith-based organizations and networks such as CBN, the Times of Israel, and the Orthodox Union.

“We thank the Trump administration for righting this longtime wrong and treating disaster-damaged churches, synagogues and other houses of worship fairly — on the same terms as other nonprofits such as museums, community centers and libraries stricken by natural disaster,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy at the Orthodox Union.

ABC News covered the announcement by telling the story of Pastor Charles Stocker, whose Hi-Way Tabernacle Church was almost destroyed by Hurricane Harvey.

Stoker’s attorney, Daniel Bloomberg told ABC, Churches are “hubs for the community,” which is still recovering from the hurricane. “Denying help to them, to these churches, denies help to the community.”

“By finally following the Constitution, FEMA is getting rid of second-class status for churches,” Bloomberg stated.  “We will watch carefully to make sure that FEMA’s new policy is implemented.”

The Washington Post gave the story a different angle.  It covered the history of houses of worship fighting to receive disaster relief funds since the early 2000s.

The Washington Post also covered both sides of opinions about the announcement.

This announcement may be a big win for faith groups and religious conservatives, but some secular forces see federal disaster relief being allocated to houses of worship as a threat to separation of church and state.

The Washington Post wrote in their article that Dena Sher, assistant legislative director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said until this week the FEMA guidelines treated religious and nonreligious nonprofits equally, and determined eligibility based on what activities take place.

“Now this gives houses of worship special treatment,” she said.

“It’s troubling. We know communities need support as they rebuild and we can’t ignore fundamental principles of religious freedom. But the constitutional principle at stake says each of us gets to decide how and if to support any religion. That’s the promise the constitution makes and we should hold to it in good times and bad.”

VW sales booming within a month


Volkswagen cars were first manufactured in the late 1930s … the two-door, five-passenger, rear-engine economy car made its way onto the streets of Germany. Now China, the automaker’s largest market, plays as its biggest contributor to sales.

Volkswagen Group said Friday that it has set a new sales record for January, a record of more than 890,000 cars sold within a month. According to posted sales, China bought more than four million cars in 2017.

However, the company suffered multiple negative headlines in late January when it was accused of using animals such as monkeys to test out their cars. Many campaigns in the world are focused based on the freedom and protection of monkeys alone such as save the primates.

Matthia Mueller, CEO of Volkswagen, released a statement confirming that VW paid to have monkeys tested in 2014 forcing them to inhale fumes from a diesel Beetle.

However, since the release of the animal testing statement, the German government and CEO of Volkswagen stated they would conduct an internal investigation and turn away from animal testing.

Ever since, they have vowed to increase new electric and hybrid vehicle models between now and 2021. A hybrid car “uses a combination of an internal combustion engine and a battery electric drive system to increase fuel economy and reduce emissions.”

Volkswagen brand sold more than 30,000 Tiguan SUVs this passed January through China alone. The sales chief of Volkswagen, Fred Kappler, said in a statement, “There was significant growth in all regions,” which was great news since the company did lose over $30 billion due to the diesel emissions animal testing scandal.

After a heavy cost in sales due to animal testing, Volkswagen and its partners hope to electrify all 300 of its model and become more eco-friendly by 2030.

The school shooting epidemic


When the Sandy Hook Massacre occurred, I froze in disbelief. It was one of those moments where “you remember exactly where you were.” I was 13 years old at the time and in eighth grade and, boy, was I scared to go back to school the next day. I kept on asking myself, is school safe?

My answer every time was yes, because I grew up in a affluent town with good people, crime was extremely low. I kept on obsessing about the massacre and thinking of all those young kids in that small, thought-to-be safe town, and started to realize that maybe no school is safe. I thought that after Sandy Hook, something of this magnitude would never happen at a school ever again.

Just two days ago, a 19-year-old gunman with mental health issues took his loaded AR-15 style rifle and shot more than 30 people, killing 17 of them. Families were shattered, people were left lying on the classroom floor in cold blood, and America now reels from another school shooting. This shooting wasn’t like any other shooting and it hit close to home for me.

This one was different because it seemed so preventable. The school was an excellent, “A” grade school. The community was dubbed “the safest city in Florida.” How could something at this magnitude happen again, in a community of this type? In all honesty, I don’t have any answers to this question because, clearly, a shooting like this can happen anywhere. A mass shooting could occur on the bustling Las Vegas Strip, in the wooded hills of Connecticut, or in the densely populated suburbs of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

What can we the public do about this? How can we make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again? Will more people continue to support the NRA and Second Amendment rights?

These are the questions that have been running through millions of American minds this past week and action needs to be taken. Nothing has effectively been done to prevent school shootings and it has become an epidemic. Rallies need to be held, celebrities need to speak out, and Congress needs to agree on rules.

This is no longer a Republican versus Democrat issue, rather, it’s a humanity issue. It’s time Americans band together for mankind and human safety.

Nikolas Cruz: What we now know


On Feb. 14, 2018, a mass shooting took place in Parkland, Fla., at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

A 19-year-old by the name of Nikolas Cruz was accused, after bringing a rifle to school, of killing 17 people and injuring even more. After students and neighbors traded stories of their experiences with him, the puzzle pieces came together.

Cruz had recently been expelled and the stories about him fell within the bands of typical teenage mischief making. He was taken into custody shortly after the massacre and was accused of 17 counts of premeditated murder.

The authorities released the names of all the victims on Thursday. These individuals were teachers and students, the kinds of people who bring a school to life.

The mother of one of these victims said she had a message for President Trump.

“President Trump, we need action, we need change, get these guns out of the hands of these young kids and get these guns off the streets,” said Alyssa Alhadeff.

The president who generally opposes new gun restrictions ahs focused on mental illness during mass shootings and did so again on Thursday on his Twitter account.

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again,” Trump said.

Cruz had no criminal history before the shootings according to the state law enforcement records but his childhood was certainly troubled.

His father passed away in 2004 while his mother recently passed away in November.

“He had emotional problems and I believe he was diagnosed with autism. He had trouble controlling his temper. He broke things. He would do that sometimes at our house when he lost his temper. But he was always very apologetic afterwards,” stated Paul Gold, Cruz’s neighbor.

In the end, all of this is no excuse for what he has done and the city of Parkland is now trying to heal.

This story included lots of detail in order for the reader to get more of an idea as to why something like this happened. It was covered in a very raw and honest manner not sugar coding. Overall, I think it was very well reported.

Charles Barkley admits to playing drunk


In a recent interview on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,former NBA all-star and current TV personality Charles Barkley admitted that he once played a game while drunk when he was the member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The segment was full of laughs and was brushed off as a laughing matter. So, why are other athletes’ careers ruined due to the same actions, but the news media covers Charles Barkley’s story like it’s a joke?

The most recent instance of an athlete derailing his or her career due to substance abuse would be that of Josh Gordon. Gordon was a very talented receiver for the Cleveland Browns and burst onto the NFL scene in 2013 where he led the league in receiving yards in only his second year.

Unfortunately, Gordon had been struggling with addiction and found himself out of the league by 2015 due to their substance policy. Gordon was crucified by the news media, who dug to uncover all they could about his early life. Gordon decided to beat the press and tell all himself, sharing how his abuse went as far back as getting drunk before games in high school to simply see if he could outperform others even while intoxicated.

Luckily, Gordon has since attended rehab and been reinstated by the NFL, but it’s interesting that he was put under a microscope when he slipped up, but jolly Charles Barkley was able to laugh it off. It wasn’t even as if he simply got a little buzzed before the game, as he directly stated “I was blasted … I’m not gonna lie.”

I understand that Gordon had a serious problem, but it doesn’t mean that the same acts on a less serious scale shouldn’t be ridiculed. Barkley continued to mention that he had been drunk, or at least hungover, for games on numerous instances, so it seems unfair that he was met with laughter and not scrutiny. It seems like the news media start to play favorites when covering athletes and it is starting to come off as unprofessional.

Mass shootings lead to difficult choices


On Feb. 14, a gunman entered Broward County’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and started shooting. There were 17 fatalities, making it one of the top 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

The gunman, identified as 19-year-old expelled student Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15, the weapon of choice for many mass shooters. His motives are still unknown. He confessed in court to the shooting.

Much of the early information around this shooting came from social media posts by students trapped inside the school. Students barricaded in classrooms would tweet out safety updates or videos of the chaos. This ability to get live updates from inside a situation was unthinkable just a few years ago and allows for reporters and the rest of the outside world to have more information sooner.

However, there are many possible problems over reporting from these social media posts.

One possible problem is in regards to fact-checking. Much of what a student tweets could potentially be based off of incorrect assumptions or limited knowledge of the situation. In a situation such as this shooting, a news reporter needs to take extra care to not cause panic by disseminating false information, especially since social media allows for that false information to make its way back to other students in the same situation.

There is also the question of whether news media coverage is over-exposing people to violence.

Since the Parkland shooting, many people have questioned how necessary it is to see every dead body and puddle of blood. Some worry that it’s a violation of privacy and an act of disrespect to victims and their families. Many psychologists raise concerns that over-exposure to graphic images could worsen cases of acute stress disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder. There is also concern over people becoming desensitized to horrific violence.

However journalists decide to handle the inclusion of social media posts and graphic images in their reporting of mass shootings, I feel that the most important thing is to balance the need for truth and facts with respect for the tragedy.

Miami men fall to No. 1 Virginia


Miami’s men’s basketball season has had an up and down year, especially in ACC play.

Without sophomore Bruce Brown, things have gotten even harder for them as they have started to use players off the bench in more minutes than they usually play. After coming off a surprising road loss to Boston College, the Canes were set to play Virginia, who had just risen to become the No. 1 ranked team in the country.

Miami has had several home wins against top five teams in the past few years, so the anticipation from the fans for this game was high. However, when the game started, UVA proved why it was No. 1. Virginia led the entire game and held Miami to a season-low 50 points with its well-renowned defense.

The news media on campus did a great job of covering this game. The @CanesHoops account tweeted regularly during the game, keeping the fans who were unable to watch or attend completely updated throughout the game. It tweeted every two to four minutes and kept the score updated as well.

The game took place at 9 p.m. on Feb. 13 and The Miami Hurricane posted an article at 12:15 a.m. on Feb. 14 with analysis of the game, quotes and stats. The campus newspaper did an excellent job putting together a top-notch story in such a short amount of time for people to read the next morning.

Highlights of the game were posted to YouTube the following morning on the ACC Digital Network for a quick recap of how the game turned out. Also, pictures were taken by Hunter Crenian were uploaded with the story on the website of The Miami Hurricane.

The game was nationally televised on ESPN because it was such a big ACC match-up. It was a big game because it was a good platform for the seedings in the March Madness tournament at the end of the year. The game was highly interesting to fans all around the world.

With all of that being said, the news media did a good job covering the game and getting out information and stats to the public as soon as possible, especially The Miami Hurricane, which was able to put up a story within a short period of time.

Parkland focus turns to mental health


On Feb. 14, 17 people were killed at yet another school shooting by former student of the school. This time it was Nikolas Cruz at Stoneman Douglas High School. This is the 18th one of the kind this year and Americans are getting fed up of the gun violence and wonder when it will end.

An image has been circulating on social media in which the words “thoughts & prayers” are crossed off and replaced by the words “policy & change.”

This differs greatly from the way America has responded to these incidents in the past.

Rather than the usual tone of remaining positive, people are calling out politicians and demanding change. The president, along with many news media outlets, has decided to, once more, ignore the gun issue and give the incident the completely wrong focus.

As reported by The New York Times, POTUS tweeted about the mental state of the shooter a few hours before he formally addressed the public.Later during his formal speech, he also failed to mention gun control. Instead he continued to focus on mental health.

Similarly, an article on the Miami New Times the next day makes mention of the mental state of Cruz.

Although the article mainly focuses on how someone in that psychological state is able to get their hands on such deadly weapons, the mention of his mental health seems unnecessary when there are bigger problems at stake.

In this instance, the shooter had mental health issues but the reality of it is that many of the people responsible for these types of massacres do not. While mental health should be addressed when looking at these issues, that is an issue in itself that should not obstruct the gun debate.

Both the news media and American politicians need to focus on the real issue instead, which is the unnecessarily high accessibility to weapons in this country.

Parkland coverage turns to when to talk


It seems near impossible to analyze how the news media are responding to the high school shooting that took place on Feb. 14, 2018 in Parkland, Fla. It is unarguably necessary to discuss the way how news media portray such horror contributes to a cycle of perception to representation and back again.

It almost feels inappropriate, which is ironic given the justification often used for prolonging talks— that it’s too soon.

In terms of briefer forms of news media, the cycle prevails through social media; users send thoughts and prayers, share articles, and debate whether or not now is the time to discuss gun control.

Posts have gone up of pro-gun rights users prepping themselves with arguments against gun control for the predicted debates. Conversely, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphey tweeted “Don’t tell me tomorrow isn’t the appropriate time to debate gun violence.” And thus ensues the “should we talk about it or shouldn’t we?” narrative.

Higher profile news sources, such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, BBC, and nearly every other news medium is serving hard and fast facts as new developments emerge, as well as arguments regarding when is the time to discuss the problem. The constant theme, aside for the sentiments of regret and tragedy, is deciding when is appropriate to begin talks.

The over-used argument for prolonging gun control discussion focuses on not using a tragedy as a means for furthering a political agenda. This case is essentially arguing for victim sensitivity, which could perhaps be valid, if only the talks were to take place in given time and more often than not, they don’t.

Half the news media say we should talk about it and the other half uses victim sensitivity as a means to put off hard talks. As a result, we only ever talk about talking about it until we get tired and then quiet down until the next “biggest mass shooting in history” graces our headlines.

This, in turn, undermines both major angles of prevention- the mental health angle and the gun control angle- as both sides perceive the other to be solely agenda-pushing.

When shooting dialogues only take front seat when there is a tragedy, too many valid arguments from both sides are lost in the chaos. Perhaps if the serious discussions were to remain steady and progressive through news media representation, rather than urgent and reactionary as they are often portrayed, our country could actually get somewhere.

Can AI stop extremists on social media?


A few days ago, the United Kingdom government unveiled a new, $843,834 (600,000 British pounds) technology that would detect and flag videos with extreme jihadist propaganda.

An image from Isis’s Dabiq propaganda magazine.

This is the first major step into improving the automated flagging of inappropriate videos which has become a major concern for both viewers and content creators.

This issue was first brought to light in 2016 which jihadist videos reached hundreds of thousand of views on YouTube.

At this point, the platform would trust viewers with flagging content, which would then go under individual review by YouTube employees. But since the content creation has spiked in recent years, the review process has become inefficient and has fallen to criticism.

In response, the program set up an imperfect algorithm which flagged anything relating to violent acts, tragic events, or inappropriate content in general. As a result, many news-focused pages lost their funding and creators became unable to speak on tragedies or even curse in videos without the risk of losing their income.

ASI Data Science’s new artificial intelligence has proven to accurately flag videos and has only flagged 0.005 percent non-IS related videos and major giants like Facebook and Google are meeting with the developers to see about implementing the technology onto their platforms.

With the reveal of this technology also came British government’s willingness to pass legislation to make this a mandatory part of online technology. Many social media sites have had major issues with violent, terrorist-focused pages and videos using them as a host and even as a place for group recruitment.

Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have worked to create blanket solutions but still come under fire for the inaccurate and ineffective results produced by algorithmic solutions.

UK man Shafi Mohammed Saleen, a prolific ISIS supporter, who was convicted of spreading terrorist group propaganda on Twitter.

‘Social media companies continue to get beat in part because they rely too heavily on technologists and technical detection to catch bad actors,’ says an expert at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in the use of the internet by terror groups.

As the popularity of social media continues to grow so does the untraveled “Wild West” of the internet and we continue to question how we should handle it. The improvement in AI recognition seems like a step in the right direction, especially with the compliance of internet giants like Facebook and Google.

Shaun White and backlash culture


One of the most well-known American Winter Olympic athletes, 31-year-old snowboarder Shaun White, accomplished an amazing feat on Wednesday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, producing an electrifying final run in the men’s halfpipe to leapfrog Japan’s 19-year-old phenom Ayumu Hirano to capture his third gold medal in four Olympics.

The feat itself was a story, but the media storm in the aftermath of White’s gold medal victory was just as intriguing, and indicative of the current level of backlash in our society. Nowadays, it’s only a matter of time before the backlash comes, regardless of how beloved a figure may seem at the time.

In this case, it came almost immediately via social media. Many athletes and celebrities took to Twitter to congratulate White on his accomplishment, but some questioned whether we should be celebrating a man who was accused of sexual assault in 2016 in a case that was eventually settled out of court.

In the ongoing #MeToo culture, many prominent faces have come into question, leading to trepidations among people who call themselves fans of the accused. It’s an interesting moral quandary. If your favorite celebrity has been accused of sexual misconduct of some kind, should your feelings toward them change?

Some might say that they won’t give their support to anybody who may have sexually harassed another person. Others might say that accusations aren’t proof, or if a person was convicted,  it’s totally separate from their exploits in their field, and those exploits can still be enjoyed. It’s certainly a point of contention, and one that will be brought up repeatedly as more prominent figures have dirt dug up about their pasts.

Curiously, NBC chose to cut to figure skating in lieu of interviewing possibly the greatest snowboarder ever after one of the greatest feats in his career, so the first comments we heard from White came in the press conference which followed the medal ceremony. The media members there began to question him about the 2016 lawsuit, and if it might tarnish his legacy. He said he preferred not to speak about what he called “gossip,” understandably wanting to focus on his tremendous win. That comment brought a whole new wave of backlash, and he issued an apology for his wording on an appearance on NBC’s Today later Wednesday.

That just illustrates how strong the backlash cycle can be: within a few hours, White won a gold medal, faced an initial onslaught of backlash (and a fair amount of praise, to be fair), responded to it, then faced another onslaught of backlash for his response to the backlash. On one hand, who can blame White for wanting to talk only about the Olympics in the afterglow of his win? On the other, it’s fair for people to call him into question in light of the scandal. It’s a huge gray area, and one that won’t be made black or white anytime soon.

Choosing bitcoin over homes?


Running low on energy, Iceland has to make a tough decision. As a power shortage is approaching, the region will need to decide if bitcoin mining is more important than powering houses this year.

The time has finally come: questioning the true value of bitcoin. All the fun math (mining) games may come to an end for the Icelandic people. The bitcoin mining tools include computers, servers and cooling devices – so pretty much, electricity. In simple terms, these tools use 840 gigawatt hours of electricity per year while homes in Iceland use 700 per year. Additionally, with more projects looking to jump on the cryptocurrency wagon, the situation could get worse.

This industrial development has been questioned since the day the idea was conceived, and now it’s starting to cause a real problem in Iceland.

Why there? Well, Iceland has cheap electricity and a great portion of the energy comes from renewable resources. The abundance from geothermal and hydroelectric power plants is to thank for the availability. Since these companies pay a low tax bill, for now, the situation continues: the power supply will definitely not be able to keep up with such a high demand. However, things might change to stop a lot of growth from affecting the region.

Companies like Expedia allow for digital currency pay, which increases the need for more bitcoins. One common way to gain bitcoins is by mining for the currency in a computer game. Sounds realistic, right?

The trauma brought on by bitcoins will continue to spread if the demand continues. Losing electricity to a coin that isn’t even in circulation yet seems unnecessary at most.

Iceland will have to chose to either step away or go all in, but hopefully whichever way the situation flows, it will not end with another bank crash.

Times reporter unveils Alt-Right mask


Emma Cott, a New York Times reporter, sat down with one of the primary leaders of the white supremacist group, the Alt-Right movement, and uncovered the key to their success.

Cott interviewed Elliot Kline, an Alt-Right leader who goes by the pseudonym Eli Mosley, after British fascist Oswald Mosley who tried to bring Nazism to England. Mosley made his transition from a Twitter-troll to a leader of the alt-right movement when he helped plan the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017. The rally ended in one fatality and more than a dozen wounded and was considered a success by the alt-right standards.

Eli Mosley, Facebook

Eli Mosley, one of the Alt-Right movement leaders.

At an Alt-Right member’s home in Alexandria, Va., Cott did an on-camera interview with Mosley in which he told her that there is a huge connection between the military and Alt-Right. He said that he served in Iraq and found it “boring.”

According to Mosley, lots of alt-right members served in the military and were “disillusioned with the American political system,” including himself.

Cott’s in-depth research following her sit-down with Mosley led her to ask questions. She contacted the Army for confirmation of Mosley’s deployment and to not much surprise, she found he had never actually been deployed. Cott’s strong reporting skills led her to conclude that Mosley’s identity in the Alt-Right movement was based on a lie.

Not only did Mosley lie about going to Iraq, but he refused to admit it was not an internal computer error that led the Army to tell Cott that he was never actually deployed.

Because Mosley’s position within the movement is to help bring people together who share a common goal of becoming so-called “activists” in the white supremacist community, he pretends to be apart of the target audience: veterans.

Cott pieced together the fraudulence within the alt-right movement by concluding that the movement is filled with “Holocaust deniers and pseudo-intellectuals who spout unsubstantiated theories about the science behind racial difference.”

Mosley’s trick of lying to gain entrance and ranking within the white supremacist community does not differ from the strategies of his fellow Neo-Nazis. Cott claims that alt-right is merely a place, “where a weekend warrior can pass himself off as a disillusioned veteran of war.” The interview is merely a spotlight on Mosley caught in a lie.

Kick Logan Paul off YouTube?


The past few weeks, Logan Paul, 22-year-old YouTube sensation, was attacked on social media after he found a suicide victim in Japan’s “suicide forest” and taped his reaction to it, tasering rats on his YouTube channel, joking about tide pod incidents, and making racist comments/gestures on his trip to Japan.

After he broadcasted his finding of a suicide victim in Japan, Paul got an immediate backlash of “How could you do this?” “You’re sick.”

Paul put out a public apology on both Twitter and YouTube within a day.
(Logan Paul YouTube Account)

Paul’s net worth is $12.5 million. He gets paid $150,000 per Facebook post, $80,000 for sponsored Instagram content, and for his “apology video” after countless demeaning actions, he was paid $12,000.

A lot of people are asking, “What do we have to do to get Logan Paul kicked off YouTube?”

Paul has lost all of his sponsors for Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. However, he is still making videos and updating his fans daily. He has been on “Good Morning America” to state,

“I am a good guy who made a bad decision” 

Yet, one week later Paul is posting videos on his Youtube channel of him tasering rats and joking about tide pod incidents that have sent many to the hospital.

So, the world is asking themselves, is Logan Paul a good guy? And is it one bad decision or one after another?

Tweets have started to surface contacting Logan Paul about deleting his Youtube account and never making another video again.

These are the questions we must ask ourselves when Logan Paul is a social media influencer.

With young children watching and learning, with this spotlight on him at all times, comes great responsibility. One he needs to earn back in the eye of the public.


The rising #Churchtoo movement


The #metoo movement has now inspired a new movement that is gaining traction called “#churchtoo.”  The campaign was launched over Twitter by Hannah Paasch and Emily Joy, who are both survivors of sexual assault.

The mission of #churchtoo is to bring to light the rampant sexual abuse occurring in churches and among the Christian community.

Unlike the #metoo campaign, coverage of the #churchtoo movement has been very minor by secular news networks, if it is even covered at all.

However, the Huffington Post ran a lengthy online article written by Paasch.  In her article, Paasch shared Joy’s story, told her own story and described the campaign.

Paasch wrote, “#ChurchToo is a platform not only where survivors can out their abusers — yes, names and all — but also where Christians, ex-evangelicals and agnostics alike can ask one another: How can we do better? What would a theology of consent and autonomy look like? How would we build a world in which that sort of church was not the exception?”

Time magazine was the only other well-known publication to run a story about #churchtoo.  Their article was only a few short sentences and then a series of screenshots from fiery Twitter posts using the hashtag.

Many Christian publications have written about the campaign such at CBN, Relevant Magazine, and the Christian Post.  All show support of the victims and are in favor of the campaign.

How the story of the campaign is told has varied greatly across Christian publications.  I believe this is likely due to Paasch’s blatant criticisms of the Christian church.

Paasch fervently condemns what she calls, “purity culture” preached in churches and the widespread ideology of sexual restraint in the Christian community.

“That theology of abstinence that singles out women and slut shames everyone who engages in any kind of sexual activity outside of marriage.  Purity culture is the religious antecedent to rape culture, as it lays the bulk of the responsibility for maintaining the sexual purity of both genders on women’s attire and behavior,” wrote Paasch in her article for the Huffington Post.

In her Huffington Post bio, she refers to herself as an “ex-Christian blogger.”

In CBN’s coverage of the #churchtoo campaign, Paasch’s name is not mentioned once.  Instead, their coverage focuses on pastors and prominent Christian leaders who are advocating for churches to address the issues of sexual abuse.

CBN interviewed Jimmy Hinton, who is a pastor of Someset Church of Christ in Pennsylvania and consultant for the nonprofit GRACE on sexual abuse issues occurring in churches and faith-based groups.

Hinton reported his father, who had pastored the church for years, to the police.  Hinton’s father confessed to multiple crimes against children and is now in jail, according to CBN News.

“Survivors are ready to fight for what’s right and they’re ready to fight to have their voice,” Hinton told CBN News.

CBN, a more conservative Christian network, did not quote any of the Twitter posts for the campaign or any survivor’s fiery condemnations of the Christian faith.  Nor did CBN mention anything about “purity culture.”

Conversely, the Christian Post and Relevant Magazine, ran stories about the campaign where the majority of the text was direct quotes from survivors’ Twitters.

The Christian Post and Relevant Magazine both mentioned the oppression of women in churches and told the stories of people who have left the church as a result of sexual abuse.

This raises the question, is coverage of the #churchtoo campaign another way of suppressing the voices of victims?

In my opinion, the CBN story did not suppress the voices of survivor’s.  They quoted prominent Christian U.S. gymnast, Rachael Denhollander, who was the first U.S. gymnast to publically accuse USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

“I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt so you may some day experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me, though I extend that to you as well,” Denhollander told Nassar in her impact statement in court.

I personally enjoyed reading CBN’s story about the campaign because it focused on church reform and the big strides being made to put an end to sexual abuse in the church and faith-based organizations.  The CBN article did not dwell on the horrific crimes of the past, but rather spoke of optimism for the future.

This Tesla’s fate is to be announced


The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket on Feb. 6 was successful. There is a Tesla roaming space right now, playing “Space Oddity” by David Bowie, with a mannequin wearing a spacesuit whose name is Starman in the driver’s seat.

In the Tesla, there is a screen that says, “Don’t Panic!” But what is going to happen to it now? And where is it headed?

Red Roadster and Starman (Courtesy of Elon Musk, Instagram).

This past Tuesday night, Elon Musk announced via his Twitter that the Tesla, named “Red Roadster,” exceeded its envisioned orbit and would eventually pass by Mars and into the asteroid belt.

According to CNNtech, experts in NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory took a look at SpaceX’s data.

Based on their observations, they inferred that “the farthest it will go is about 250 million kilometers from the sun, or about as far as Mars,” contrary to what Musk predicted. This prediction by NASA was supported by Johnathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who also took a look at the data.

By November, it is believed that it will reach its farthest point from the sun. But by September 2019, CNNtech said that the Tesla will complete a full loop around the sun. The expected path of the Tesla, however, could change by then, rising another problem and discussion.

Because solar radiation can shift the Tesla into a different direction, or because excess gas in the second-stage rocket can also move it into an unknown path, it is hard to predict its path and final destination.

While they still can, astronomers are taking the opportunity to take shots of where the Tesla is now. They are saying that the it will be too far away from Earth to spot by next week.

While the path of the car aligns with Earth’s orbit, CNN informed its readers that space expert Marco Langbroek made calculations that predicted that the Tesla would not be spotted again until 2073. But even he said that any predictions made right now would lack reliability. Being an asteroid expert, he also said that another possibility would be that the car could be confused with an asteroid.

Luckily, NASA added the Red Roadster, as well as Starman, into its “artificial object catalog” to avoid it being mistaken with anything else.

Surprise, chaos at NBA trade deadline


Usually the trade deadline in the NBA is filled with moves from teams all over the league, but with 24 hours left before the deadline, no significant moves had been made besides Blake Griffin trade bout a week ago.

The Cavaliers made a lot of moves in the last 12 hours before the deadline, essentially revamping their entire team. They traded Isaiah Thomas to the Lakers for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. Dwyane Wade was also traded back to the Miami Heat for a second round pick. Several other smaller moves were made by the Cavaliers later on in the day.

Emmanuel Mudiay was traded from the Nuggets to the Knicks and Elfrid Payton was traded from the Magic to the Suns. Rodney Hood and George Hill were included in deals to Cleveland and will make their debuts for the Cavs in the next few days.

Throughout the shocking chaos during this year’s NBA trade deadline, SportsCenter and other NBA sportswriter did an excellent job following all the action and getting it out to the public almost immediately when deals were finally made. Writers such as Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Stein utilized social media very well, especially Twitter.

They both tweeted early in the day on Feb. 8 which teams were in trade talks and how likely it was that the talks would turn into agreements. They then broke the news immediately about all of the Cavaliers moves, starting with Thomas, the most significant trade deadline move.

Within the afternoon, SportsCenter had covered the trades on broadcast, bringing on Stephen A. Smith within an hour of Isaiah Thomas’ deal. Smith talked about how the trade would effect the Cavaliers and what the future is like for Thomas in Los Angeles. SportsCenter also used Twitter to share the news about the trades around the world.

Articles were posted online as early as 12:45 p.m. on Feb. 8 with analysis and coverage of the trades, almost as soon as they were announced. Overall, reporters utilized social media very well during this hectic time and also getting analyst on SportsCenter as soon as possible.

Rap superstar Drake visits UM campus


Rapper Drake visited the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus Monday afternoon to film a music video for his hit song “God’s Plan” and donate a $50,000 scholarship to a student.

Drake’s visit whipped up a frenzy on campus, drawing a large crowd around the Shalala Student Center hoping to catch a glimpse of him.

Drake swung by the Frost School of Music where a smaller crowd watched as he surprised UM student Destiny James, a public health major, with a $50,000 scholarship. James was under the impression she would be filming a video to encourage scholarship donors when Drake appeared.

At the Shalala Student Center, the crowd’s patience was eventually rewarded when Drake popped out on the Moss Terrace balcony. He danced to “God’s Plan” while the crowd sang along to the track. Cheers erupted every time he threw up the U.

Throughout all of this, The Miami Hurricane, the UM student newspaper, did an excellent job of following the events of Drake’s visit and keeping students informed. There was an article on the online site that was continuously updated with new information and interviews of student reactions. By 9 a.m. the next day, the newspaper sent out a Drake edition of its newsletter for subscribers. There were also print issues on the stands with Drake as the cover story.

The Miami Hurricane effectively utilized social media. There were many tweets updating their followers with pictures of Drake sightings, videos of the crowd and Drake’s performance, and stories from the crowd. Their Facebook also had a number of videos.

Kate Upton joins list of #MeToo victims

On Jan. 31, former Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton took to Twitter to join the #MeToo movement.

The #MeToo movement started in October 2017. The hashtag spread through multiple social media outlets to bring attention and shed light on sexual harassment. Paul Marciano is the creative director for the brand Guess. Upton was the face of Guess from 2010-11. Upton stated that her first day shooting Marciano tried to grab her breasts. However, Marciano denied the claims while releasing a statement to Time magazine, saying “I have never been alone with Kate Upton.”

Multiple women have claimed they have been sexually harassed by men in the business industry claiming they use their power to prey on women. Upton was offered to be the face of Guess Jeans in 2014, but couldn’t accept the offer due to her experience with Marciano in 2010.

Yu Tsai, the photographer who was present during Upton’s first photo shoot with Guess confirmed Upton’s claims to Time magazine. Tsai released a statement saying “extremely moved by the strength and courage that it has taken Upton to tell her story and for the countless brave women and men who have already come forward.”

Upton, like many other women have come forward to share their stories against CEOs, executive producers and other men in high positions in business.

Guess declined to comment on Upton’s allegations in an interview with Time magazine. Upton blames her experience with Marciano on her lack of confidence in the modeling industry and said she contemplated quitting. Upton said she hopes coming forward will inform other people on the appropriate behavior in and out of the workplace with one another.

Juuling: Worse than a cigarette?


On Feb. 7, 2018, college students and active Juul users went crazy on social media. Rumors started circling around saying that kids were being diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 19 due to using their Juul excessively.

This statement is not true due to the fact that lung cancer takes years to develop.

The text message circulating said, ” Announcement: one of Chris friends from college has never smoked weed or cigs but for the past year he has been an addictive Juuler like constantly which is basically like all of us and he was just diagnosed with lung cancer and his lungs are completely black, and he’s 19 and he’s probably going to die. Scotty and a few of my guy friends have thrown their Juul away.”

Despite the chain mail nature of this story, students across the nation took action. This screenshot was posted on Twitter, which then proceeded to spread through college campuses such as our own. Twitter users started creating a Twitter thread by posting videos of throwing their Juul out into the street or smashing them with hammers.

A clinical professor from UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine by the name of Dr. Kien Vuu stated that it is unlikely that Juuling has a short term carcinogenic effect. It usually takes a long time from an exposure of a carcinogen before cancer forms.

“The contents within Juul capsules are unknown in many cases, so it is possible for people to develop bronchitis, bronchiolitis, or forms of acute lung injury which can be severe. The carcinogenic effects of these additional substances long term are unknown at this point; so to say that the contents of Juul has no carcinogenic effects would be unjustified- we just don’t know” he said.

At this point, the route of the rumors are unclear but it is said it could have something to do with an New York University study released last month claiming that vaping can result in an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.

This story was portrayed in a great manner due to supplying screenshots of what was posted on Twitter including the original texts. Including scientists with the real answers also answers the question for readers when learning about this issue.