Celebrities homes in ruins after fires


Like many others, celebrities have returned to their California homes to find nothing left after devastating wildfires swept through the state. The Woolsey Fire is one of three major wildfires that has caused severe damage in Southern California.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, it has destroyed approximately 92,000 acres of land.

Big-name celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Gerard Butler were among the thousands of people in Southern California who were forced to evacuate their homes last week as the Woolsey Fire spread throughout Los Angeles County.

Mandatory evacuations are still in effect in several cities in the area, including Malibu, but some celebrities have already visited their properties to survey and document the damage, sharing pictures to their social media of what remains.

Although they completely lost their home, Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth already have plans to rebuild it, as well as their community. CNN reported that they have donated $500,000 to The Malibu Foundation. The funds will be used for “those in financial need, emergency relief assistance, community rebuilding, wildfire prevention and climate change resilience.”

According to FOX News, President Trump took to Twitter to blame the wildfires on California’s “gross mismanagement of the forests.”

In response, musician Neil Young called Trump out for his refusal to believe in climate change, saying, “California is vulnerable – not because of poor forest management as DT (our so-called president) would have us think. We are vulnerable because of climate change; the extreme weather events and our extended drought is part of it.”

In addition, celebrities such as Axl Rose and Tommy Lee also took the opportunity to slam President Trump via Twitter, calling him pathetic and insensitive.

Even firefighters are blaming the wildfires on climate change. In a press conference, Los Angeles Fire Chief, Daryl Osby, said, “The fact of the matter is if you look at the state of California, climate challenge is happening statewide.”

12 killed in California shooting


A gunman walked into Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif. on Wednesday. He set off smoke bombs in order to create confusion before shooting a security guard at the entrance and opening fire into the crowd.

Authorities identified the gunman as Ian Long, 28, of Newbury Park, Calif. Long was found dead at the scene after killing 12 and wounding about 15 people.

Long was a Marine Corps veteran who had served in Afghanistan, and while investigators say there was no clear motive, he had apparently been struggling with mental health issues.

The shooting was the nation’s deadliest attack since Parkland, Fla. in February.

Among those who died was Sgt. Ron Helus, who was only one year from retirement. Another was Cody Coffman, 22, who planned to join the Army. Aliana Housley, 18, was a student at Pepperdine University.

In response to the shooting, President Trump tweeted, “I have been fully briefed on the terrible shooting in California. Law Enforcement and First Responders, together with the FBI, are on scene. 13 people, at this time, have been reported dead. Likewise, the shooter is dead, along with the first police officer to enter the bar. Great bravery shown by police. California Highway Patrol was on scene within 3 minutes, with first officer to enter shot numerous times. That Sheriff’s Sergeant died in the hospital. God bless all of the victims and families of the victims. Thank you to Law Enforcement.”

Major news outlets such as Fox, CBS, and CNN have been extremely objective when reporting on the shooting. They have all done a superb job at reporting the facts and honoring the victims and their families.

‘Megyn Kelly Today’ cancelled


Megyn Kelly, host of NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today,” has officially been fired from the network after making inappropriate comments on one of the show’s episodes. During an on-air panel discussion about controversial Halloween costumes, the topic of dressing in blackface was addressed. Kelly prefaced the segment by saying she was “fired up” about the topic, and that political correctness has “gone amuck.”

“What is racist?” Kelly said. “You do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface for Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid, that was okay just as long as you were dressing as a character.”

Many were outraged by Kelly’s insensitive remarks. In response to the controversy, the next day, Kelly began her show by apologizing to her viewers and colleagues. However, the damage had already been done.

“The fact is, while she apologized to the NBC staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,” her colleague Al Roker said during his segment of the Today Show.”

A survey conducted by the Hollywood Reporter revealed that 45 percent of those questioned felt NBC’s decision to cancel the show was “too harsh of a consequence.”

In a USA Today article entitled, “‘Megyn Kelly Todaycould’ve taught us about blackface this Halloween,” the author feels that taking her off the air was not the right thing to do. Rather, this could have been used as an opportunity to educate people on the history of blackface so they can understand why it is so offensive.

A CNN article pointed out that the only way to resolve issues such as these is through dialogue and engagement with people who have different perspectives and life experiences, and the author feels that NBC could have done a better job at facilitating this.

At this point in time, the future is uncertain for Megyn Kelly. It was reported that she has been dropped by her current agent and is seeking representation elsewhere. Kelly recently obtained a lawyer, and matters are very tense between her and NBC executives as they negotiate the terms of her exit. While many speculated that she would return to FOX, Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of New Fox said that the network does not plan on adding her back to their lineup anytime soon.

Taylor Swift encourages fans to vote


On Sunday, Oct. 7, Taylor Swift took to Instagram to show her support for the Democratic Party. Swift, a Tennessee resident, endorsed Phil Bredesen and Jim Cooper, who are running for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in the upcoming midterm elections.

At the same time, Swift condemned Bredesen’s senate race rival, Republican Marsha Blackburn, saying the politician’s voting record “appalls and terrifies” her.

Swift, who has kept to herself regarding politics in the past, did not shy away from voicing her opinion this time around.

Swift concluded her post with a plea to her fans urging them to register to vote before the upcoming deadline, as well as educate themselves on current issues and the candidates who are running in their states.

According to VOTE.org, there was a significant increase in voter registration after Swift’s post. However, CNN and The Washington Post pointed out that there is usually an influx of people registering to vote right before the deadline, so it is difficult to completely credit Swift with that.

An article from The Atlantic downplayed the power of Swift’s message, saying that it has generated too much press for it being just a basic message and that fans are just caught up in her celebrity.

On Tuesday, Oct. 9, Swift took the opportunity to voice her political opinion yet again at the American Music Awards while accepting the award for artist of the year.

“I just wanted to make a mention of the fact that this award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people. And you know what else is voted on by the people? The midterm elections on Nov. 6. Get out and vote,” she said.

Ford’s credibility called into question


Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to come forward and accuse Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, has been believed by many to be a credible witness during her hearing in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.

Now, her credibility is being called into question, as a letter from her former boyfriend, Brian Merrick, was released to the public this week.

The letter, written under penalty of perjury, contradicts a number of Ford’s claims from the hearing. If such claims are true, Ford may face the possibility of being tried for lying under oath.

The former boyfriend claims that he witnessed Ford assist a “life-long best friend,” Monica McLean, prepare for a polygraph test. Merrick stated, “I witnessed Dr. Ford help McLean prepare for a potential polygraph exam. Dr. Ford explained in detail what to expect, how polygraphs worked, and helped McLean become familiar and less nervous about the exam.”

This is contrary to Ford’s sworn statement that she had never assisted in a polygraph test. McLean denied these claims in a recently released statement.  

Other claims by Merrick include that Ford never admitted to having a fear of flying and that upon the ending of their relationship, due to her infidelity, she stole his credit card information and charged “about $600 worth of merchandise” to his account. In her sworn testimony, Ford claimed to have a fear of flying.

The letter has been largely overshadowed in the mainstream media by President Donald Trump’s disbelief of Ford while at a campaign rally in Southaven, Miss. He stated, “How did you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where’s the place? I don’t remember …. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.”

The vote on whether to confirm Judge Kavanaugh is scheduled this weekend in front of the U.S. Senate.

Kavanaugh hearing sparks news frenzy


On Thursday, U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the first woman to accuse him of sexual assault, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, testified in front of the U.S. enate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C. The hearing lasted almost nine hours.

During her time on the stand, Ford was questioned on the details surrounding her alleged encounter with Kavanaugh when they were both teenagers. Ford claims Kavanaugh attempted to sexually assault her at a party in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh denied these allegations and remains firm that he is innocent.

As one could imagine, the day’s events sparked a news media frenzy. Major news outlets were covering the hearing with minute-by-minute updates, political pundits took to Twitter to voice their opinions and millions of Americans tuned in to watch the story unfold.

As to be expected, there was major division among the more conservative and liberal news networks, such as Fox, CNN and MSNBC regarding who is truly innocent.

However, in a CNN article titled, “How Fox News is covering Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony” instead of defending Kavanaugh as many may expect of Fox, it discusses how the Fox News commentators watching the hearing believed Ford was actually a credible witness.

Also according to CNN, during Ford’s testimony, Judge Andrew Napolitano stated, “The president cannot be happy with this.” Yet, after the hearing, President Donald Trump, who had been watching all day, tweeted, “Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him. His testimony was powerful, honest, and riveting. Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist. The Senate must vote!”

Julie Chen to leave ‘The Talk’


Julie Chen was once regarded as television royalty. She has been a long-time host and is the wife of Leslie Moonves, the former CEO of CBS. Earlier this month, Moonves resigned from his position amid allegations of sexual misconduct and violence made by several women.

Chen decided to stand by her husband since the allegations first surfaced in July and, as a result, received a great deal of backlash, mainly from women.

After a week-long absence as host of CBS’ daytime talk show, The Talk,” Chen reappeared in a pre-recorded message announcing her departure from the show. She did not address the allegations made against her husband, but simply said, “I need to spend more time at home with my husband and our young son, so I’ve decided to leave ‘The Talk’.” Chen has hosted the show since it began nearly a decade ago.

At the end of the taped message, the camera returned to the set of The Talk,” where Chen’s co-hosts expressed their love and gratitude toward her.

While it is clear that they support their friend, in an episode that aired one week prior, the women did not shy away from talking about Moonves’ exit from the network and showing their support for his alleged victims.

It has also been interesting to watch CBS News cover the story as it continues to unfold. They have done so in a very professional and objective manner, although it is clearly a conflict of interest.

Chen’s departure has generated mostly positive responses from fellow TV hosts and journalists. Numerous people have spoken out to show their support for the beloved host. However, according to USA Today, many felt that she could not continue to host a television show that promotes female empowerment while her husband is being accused of mistreating women.

Chen is also the host of CBS’ hit reality series, Big Brother.” She plans to continue hosting the show as she has done for the past 18 years.

Scarborough calls Trump harmful


Sept. 11 is regarded as a national day of mourning, where Americans come together in solidarity to honor the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the tragic terrorist attacks. It is a day to put political differences aside and remember the fallen.

Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” did not seem to get that memo.

Scarborough, a former Trump supporter turned critic, took to Twitter on the 17th anniversary of 9/11 to promote his newest opinion piece in The Washington Post, entitled, “Trump is harming the dream of America more than any foreign adversary ever could.”

In the column, Scarborough recalls that America was once a powerhouse prior to Sept. 11, 2001. He then proceeds to criticize the presidency of George W. Bush before ultimately scrutinizing President Donald Trump and his supporters.

He concluded the piece by saying, “The question for voters this fall is whether their country will move beyond this troubled chapter in history or whether they will continue supporting a politician who has done more damage to the dream of America than any foreign adversary ever could.”

Regardless of one’s feelings regarding President Trump, comparing his presidency to the deadliest attack on American soil is both inappropriate and insensitive. Scarborough continues to be the recipient of backlash from various political pundits for his remarks. In an interview with Fox News, conservative strategist, Chris Barron, said that “Shamelessly exploiting the death of 3,000 Americans in an attempt to do political damage to President Trump is a new low, even for Joe Scarborough.”

After receiving criticism from public figures such as Sean Hannity and Donald Trump Jr. Scarborough took to Twitter once-again to give what seemed like a weak apology for the article. “…On September 11th, I’ll read the column again and think about whether I could have said the same thing in a way less offensive to Trump supporters on September 11th.”

Personally, I am surprised that Scarborough’s piece did not generate more news media attention. While it was definitely acknowledged by the more conservative networks such as Fox, it did not seem to get mentioned as much or at all on the more liberal media outlets.

Kardashian continues justice crusade


Reality television star Kim Kardashian West is known for many things. The model, TV personality and entrepreneur can now add “advocate for criminal justice reform” to her long list of accolades.

In June, Kardashian West paid a visit to the White House, where she spoke with President  Trump on behalf of Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving a life sentence in prison for drug possession. Through her efforts, Kardashian West was able to convince Trump to reduce Johnson’s prison time.

While this was certainly a great accomplishment for Kardashian West, her work was not yet done. According to CNN, Kardashian West arrived at the White House once again on Wednesday morning to attend a session on clemency and prison reform with White House officials, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

This time, she also advocated for a man named Chris Young. During an appearance on the podcast, “Wrongful Conviction,” Kardashian West revealed that Young was sentenced to life in prison on drug possession charges in 2010. He already had two prior convictions for drug possession, which resulted in a third strike, and ultimately led to a life sentence.

“Yesterday, I had a call with a gentleman that’s in prison for a drug case — got life. It’s so unfair. He’s 30 years old; he’s been in for almost 10 years,” Kardashian West told the podcast.

At the session, Kardashian West took to Twitter, where she shared photos with the caption, “It started with Ms. Alice, but looking at her and seeing the faces and learning the stories of the men and women I’ve met inside prisons I knew I couldn’t stop at just one. It’s time for REAL systemic change.”

I, along with many others, applaud Kardashian West for standing up for her beliefs and using her celebrity status to help others. Major news outlets covering the story ranging from Fox News to Rolling Stone to People magazine have been supportive of her efforts, as well.

Noticeably quiet about Kardashian West’s latest White House visit was the New York Post, which infamously mocked the star, calling her “Kim Thong Un” and referred to her first meeting with Trump as “The Other Big Ass Summit.” Although many love to mock her, Kardashian West received an outpouring of support from other reporters and media outlets, condemning The Post for its insensitive comments.

Perhaps the response surrounding Kardashian West’s work has been more positive this time around is because we can see it was not just a one-time publicity stunt. It is clear that she is passionate about this issue and is determined to make a difference. I look forward to hearing more about her future endeavors in criminal justice reform.