‘Heartbeat bill’ passed in Ohio


Gov. Mike DeWine signed an ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Thursday afternoon, which banned the abortion of a five to six week old pregnancy in Ohio, even though it was considered unconstitutional in other states. The bill was expected to take full effect in the next 90 days which inevitably invites many who are unhappy about its passing decision.

The state’s government believed that as their duty to protect the citizens of state, they also needed to protect those who were not given the choice to have a voice. The only exception to the bill would be if a woman was in imminent danger due to her pregnancy and as a resulted needed to terminate it.

Many angered organizations joined forces to show their lack of support toward the bill and voiced many of their opinions toward it.

“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked,” said Freda Levenson, ACLU Ohio Legal Director, in an article for NPR by Gabe Rosenberg.

Some of the groups who plan to use were Pre-Term Cleveland, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and the Women’s Med Center of Dayton.

As the political battle enraged the dislikes of the business community and those who believed in a women’s right to chose what she does to her body, the rest of society was left to consider the consequences. Would this law benefit the upcoming future or would it continue to tear society apart?

Pilots not to blame for 737 Max 8 crash


According to CNN, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed a few months ago. The plane is a Boeing 737 Max 8. This incident killed all of the passengers and crew, 157 people were dead.

The Ethiopian aviation authorities reported this week that the pilots of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 did everything they were trained to do, but they still could not prevent this incident. Boeing 737 Max was not safe anymore.

The biggest problem is the automated anti-stall software called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). This system can keep the 737 Max’s nose from pointing up at too much of an angle, called “angle of attack.” High angle of attack (AOA) could cause a plane to stall and crash. Right now, only Boeing 737 Max has this MCAS system.

Boeing said it is currently developing a new version of MCAS and executives hope the Max can return to service soon. The improved MCAS system will be provided by data from two AOA sensors on the jet’s exterior rather than one. The improvement also includes a cockpit indicator to alert the pilot when something wrong with the sensors.

All in all, Boeing faces the most pressure to make sure the 737 Max is safe.

FDA investigates vaping and seizures


The Food and Drug Administration announced on Wednesday that it will investigate dozens of reports of seizures after using electronic cigarettes in the last decade.

At least 35 people who actively vape, mostly teens and young adults, reported suffering seizures to the FDA since 2010. Seizures, convulsions, vomiting and brain injuries are all known side effects of nicotine poisoning, according to NBC News.

“We can’t yet say for certain that e-cigarettes are causing these seizures,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in Wednesday’s statement. “As a public health agency, it’s our job to communicate about potential safety concerns associated with the products we regulate.”

According to USA Today, federal data shows that e-cigarette use was up 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students from 2017 to 2018. Popular vaping products can be highly addictive, many containing a significantly higher dose of nicotine than traditional cigarettes

“The FDA is committed to monitoring this issue closely and taking additional steps as necessary to protect the public, especially our nation’s youth,” said Gottlieb. “We will continue to provide updates as more is learned.”

This story received an extensive amount of coverage, as expected from a pervasive issue that affects youth in particular. As more is learned about the health effects of these products, media outlets fulfill their role in distributing the information, which can influence societal patterns.

Fighting causes student’s death


According to CNN news, a South Carolina student died after a fight with another student in the classroom. The students’ families are trying to figure out this incident.

According to the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, Raniya had a physical altercation with another girl. Authorities did not publicize the names of the students because they are younger than 17. Raniya was described as a good student who loved to write, play basketball and spend time with her friends.

The report stated that when first responders arrived, the student was on the nurse’s station with breathing. Then she was taken to the medical center and then airlifted to the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Health in Charleston.

After the conflict, school administrators secured the scene immediately, they ended the fight and called emergency medical services to the school. 

This incident influenced Raniya’s family. Ashley Wright, Raniya’s parents were saddened and they were planning her funeral on Thursday.

A school board member decided to do some research and a survey, trying to find any avenues that can help solve these problems so that they can make campus life safer. William Bowman, a school board member said, “we would continue to do the survey and got funds to apply different safety measures or needed safety measures.”

School tragedies lead to three deaths


This week, there have been three suicides related to school massacres. In an article from CNN, the writers stated that “three suicides have devastated communities already linked by mass tragedies.” Getting through tragedy is hard for any community, but does the news media make it worse to get through these times?

It is the duty of a journalist to tell the truth and report on what is happening in the world. When tragedy strikes, it is a journalist’s job to report it. However, to what extent do we report this tragedy?

When the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre happened just over a year ago, the story was constantly in the news. It was on every station you turned to, especially in South Florida, and you could not escape it. While it was necessary for people to stay updated on everything surrounding the tragedy, we did not really look at how it affected the community.

If you attended the school or were a part of this community and constantly heard the name “Nikolas Cruz” on every station you turned to, then you could have very extreme reactions to that. Often times people believed that news stations were making Cruz famous or helping him accomplish what he set out to do.

This also bombarded people in the community because they were constantly having to hear about the tragedy. It does not help with trying to cope when you are reminded about the incident constantly. While the suicides were likely caused due to survivor guilt, according to CNN, the news media talking about these tragedies were probably not helpful to the people trying to deal with these losses.

It is the job of journalists to report the news, but not to insight fear and tragedy in a community that has already taken many hits from it. By over saturating the news with one topic of conversation, it can hurt the community and affect other’s who had a similar tragedy happen to them.

New Zealand announces gun changes


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced new law gun control laws that will ban all military-style weapons and assault rifles in wake of the mass shootings that killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch.

“On 15 March, our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too,” Ardern said. “We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strength our gun laws and make our a country a safer place.”

However, Ardern later clarified that this new legislation will be proposed to Parliament in beginning of April. She hopes to restrict access to such guns while the country waits for Parliament to pass the new legislation.

It took only 72 hours for New Zealand to act and make the proper changes to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.

The United States has a mass shooting almost every week, but no progress has been made in banning military style assault rifles, such as the AR-15, the common weapon in mass shooting

Not only has Arden fulfilled her promise of pursuing gun control, but also vowed to not give the shooter notoriety or mention is name in conversation. The “No Notoriety” campaign has not been as successful in the United States as the media continues to mention the perpetrator.

Prime Minister Ardern stands as a symbol for gun control and should be applauded for her response following one of the deadliest shootings in New Zealand history.

Media track Kelly, Jackson scandals


Recently, two major scandals involving big name music artists were in the headlines. The first involved a heated CBS interview with R. Kelly after he was indicted for several counts of sexual abuse. The other involved a documentary series presented by HBO entitled “Leaving Neverland” that led to a revaluation about Michael Jackson’s legacy in the news media. Both were excellent examples of the power of journalism in public discourse.

The interview with R. Kelly was conducted by Gayle King for “CBS This Morning.” Throughout the interview, R. Kelly tired to defend himself from the charges made against him. The most memorable and most widely reported incident occurred when Kelly had an emotional breakdown. King was able to keep her composure while Kelly was throwing a tantrum. This led to widespread ridicule and disgust on the Internet. King’s interview with Kelly, along with her follow-up interview with Kelly’s girlfriends, are an excellent example of a reporter’s power to influence public opinion.

HBO’s investigative documentary focused on allegations of sexual abuse made towards Michael Jackson. Specifically, it focused a few key witnesses most notably Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Both men and their families gave testimonials that included graphic details on how Jackson groomed and abused them. Crucially, the documentary uses video and audio recordings, as well as several photographs, to back up the claims made by the interviewees.

The documentary resulted in many articles and outlets condemning Michael Jackson for his actions and questioning his legacy as the “King of Pop”. Despite this, many hardcore fans of Michael Jackson have attempted to rally against the documentary and discredit the claims made against him. While it is still up in the air as to the documentary’s long-term effect, the conversations it has opened up have been dominating the Internet.

Mainstream media vs. Momo Challenge


By now, many have heard of the terrifying new phenomena on Internet. According to news media reports, the “Momo Challenge” involves several videos on YouTube encouraging children to harm each other and commit suicide. The videos are accompanied by a photograph of a terrifying creature that appears to be a woman with bird like features. As a result, parents across of the nation have been terrified for their child’s safety and have been calling for stronger regulation of Internet content.

There’s just one problem: the “Momo Challenge” is a hoax.

To begin with, if such a challenge were to exist, it wouldn’t last long anyway as YouTube is very strict with its policy involving content promoting violence. Also, the infamous image of Momo is actually a sculpture created by Japanese artist Keisuke Aisawa entitled “Mother Bird.” As a result of this panic, the Internet has responded with several memes involving the supposed challenge, mocking those who were gullible enough to believe it existed.

The fact that many parents were fooled into believing this challenge existed represents not only a failure on their part to do their own research, but also a failure on the part of mainstream news media. Several videos and articles related to challenge have only fed into the fears of parents. This kind of misinformation can potentially do even more harm than good. As I previously stated in my post about the vaccine crisis, it is the responsibility of journalism to spread the truth and set the record straight and this incident is an unfortunate example of journalists failing to meet that standard.

Second man​ cured of HIV/AIDS


For the second time in history a patient with HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), the virus that causes AIDS, has been cured of the infection.

A man from Britain known as the “London Patient” was cleared of the AIDS virus after he was given a bone marrow transplant by an HIV resistant donor. The London patient is the second man in the world to be cured of this virus, 12 years after the first patient, Timothy Ray Brown, was cured in Germany in 2007.

The London patient and Brown were both receiving bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic protein called CCR5, this protein fights against the HIV virus. Both the patients were also first treated originally for cancer, but the protein ended up killing the cancer cells as well as the HIV.

After three years of the transfusions and 18 months of not receiving anti-retroviral drugs, highly effective test shows no signs of the London patients’ previous HIV/AIDS infection. This makes the London patient the first patient since Mr. Brown to remain HIV/AIDS free for more than a year after stopping.

Ravindra Gupta, a professor at University College London and HIV biologist, co-led the team of doctors who treated the London patient. Gupta described his patient as “functionally cured” and “in remission.”

Gupta has been treating the London patient since 2003, when he was first diagnosed with HIV. In 2012, the patient was then diagnosed with blood cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

In 2016, when the London patient was very sick, the doctors decided to seek a donor that would fit for the transplant. According to Gupta “This was really his last chance of survival.”

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, “The misperception that’s floating out there now is that bone marrow transplantation is now a cure for HIV infection and that is completely untrue.”

The overall cure for AIDS has not been found, but in some patients’ the infection can be killed depending on the situation. Even though doctors don’t want people to assume these transfusions can cure anybody with AIDS, it’s incredible to know that they are working on the step of finding the ultimate cure. Hearing this makes me feel blessed to live in a world with this much-advanced technology. I have faith that one day, AIDS/HIV will be gone forever.

How much is too much reporting?


The news media are looked at as the watchdog over our government. They are supposed to hold people accountable for what they say and do–but to what extent? It seems as though sometimes news outlets are reporting on the wrong aspects of the news.

I realized this when scrolling through Twitter. I saw a tweet from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the representative for New York’s 14th Congressional district. The tweet linked an article from the New York Post with the headline “Ocasio-Cortez leaves parade in 17-mpg minivan–blocks from the subway.” Ocasio-Cortez responded with some light humor saying “I will have you know my tía was very upset that the New York Post insulted her minivan…If they saw how many goldfish snacks were in this thing they’d say I was killing the ocean too.”

At first, I thought it was just internet trolls at it again and Ocasio-Cortez getting into trouble. Once opening the article, it really criticized her. The first line was “she’s addicted to Uber.” The article goes on to say how hypocritical Ocasio-Cortez is for advocating for climate change and better use of energy while not using a form of mass transportation.

The writers, Sarah Trefethen and Bruce Golding, did a lot of digging to find out how much gas time and money she was wasting by taking this mini-van ride from her aunt, but they claimed it was Uber. They also revealed statistics from her days campaigning to say how much money she spent on Ubers, taxis and for-hire vehicles. They did not realize, however, that this ride that she was taking was not an Uber.

While it is good to know information about candidates or politicians and what they truly support, when is enough enough? Do we as journalists have to bash Ocasio-Cortez for taking an Uber ride or ride from her aunt and not using the subway for every mode of transportation every day? Does this truly prove a bigger point and say that she does not truly believe in everything she claims to?

As journalists, I feel as though the line that is separating what is necessary to report and what is distracting from the point is blurring more and more each day. We need to figure out whether or not to report on the details of someone’s personal life versus the issues they are discussing.

Good Samaritan arrested in drug bust


Oh how the cookie crumbles…

A man who was praised for buying $540 in Girl Scout cookies last Friday, was arrested on Tuesday for federal drug charges.

Last Friday, Detric Lee McGowen was a hero all over the internet. His story of buying 120 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from freezing children at the supermarket went viral.  The story was picked up by local and national news, with pictures of him and the happy children presented all over.

Unrelated to his generosity, McGowen was arrested on Tuesday and charged by the DEA with conspiracy to import and distribute fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.

McGowen is one of the 11 men tied up in a case claiming that they conspired to import Mexican drugs into the U.S. More than $1 million were found among the defendants.

Various local news networks have caught up with the Girl Scouts from Greenville to speak on their experience with McGowen. In an interview with the Greenville News, Karen Kelly, the vice president of the Girl Scouts chapter stated, “Nobody was hurt. Nobody was threatened.… We had no reason to believe that this man was anything other than one of our valuable customers.… This is now in the hands of law enforcement and of course we will cooperate with authorities.”

The Girl Scouts of Greenville are saddened by the actions of McGowen and maintain that the girls are safe and that McGowen presented no form of danger or threat. It has not yet been reported if the Girl Scouts plan on returning the money,

McGowen has been charged with a total of eight drug-related counts and has further been charged with racketeering and conspiracy to deceive the United States.

This story has been reported by a variety of news networks. CNN, NPR, The Washington Post and more have written about the intriguing story. The overall draw to the story is that you never really know a person. A criminal may be who you least expect.

Grammys criticized for Motown tribute


Uh Oh! Did the Grammys really just do that? On Sunday’s biggest night in music, Jennifer Lopez graced the stage to perform a tribute in honor of Motown Records at the 61st annual Grammy Awards, and fans were not impressed.

Lopez took the stage took the stage to perform hits such as “Dancing in the Street,” “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” “Please Mr. Postman” and “Do You Love Me?” She also joined Smokey Robinson in a performance of “My Girl.” While, the performance was entertaining, her style of dress and salsa dancing had no relation to the Motown label.

For those who have been missing for the past century, Motown Records is a legendary Detroit record label known for popularizing Black music. Motown is responsible for the success of legends such as Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and, you guessed it, Michael Jackson. So maybe it can be understood why Motown fans were surprised to see Lopez parading the Staples Center stage in full leotard, to honor the label.

Fans took to Twitter to complain about the disaster. Many questioned why in Black History Month, on the eve of Motown’s 60th anniversary, would the Grammy’s choose Lopez, instead of a successful African American artist, to perform. Motown is a staple in the Black community and generated the first genuine respect for Black artists, thus the decision to choose Lopez was not fully thought through.

In response to all the controversy, Lopez spoke to “Entertainment Tonight” saying, “The thing about music is that it inspires all. Any type of music can inspire any type of artist. You can’t tell people what to love.” She went on to say, “It was for my mom. I could cry. It’s such a good moment. It’s just a dream come true.” Many find J-Lo’s defense to be sub- par.

Talented she may be, the Lopez Motown medley simply missed the mark and overshadowed the success and legacy of Motown Records.

This story has been widespread throughout the news media, being reported by various outlets. Some sources, such as The Grape Vine, reported rather harsh on Lopez and claimed that her performance gentrified the Motown genre. Whereas, “Entertainment Tonight” and many others defended J-Lo’s performance, not understanding the significance of the performance. Many commended her performance, missing the point of the entire backlash.

One year later: Parkland shooting


One year after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting and people everywhere are still grieving. While Feb. 14 used to be the day of love, people are now mourning and changing their outlook on the day. This day will be remembered by many forever and has made a huge impact on the lives of many.

This was not the first time there had been a school shooting. In fact, there were approximately 11 before Parkland happened. However, shootings in the past did not get covered like this one. This shooting in particular seemed to affect everyone all over the country and even in different parts of the world. One of the biggest reasons this become such a prominent movement was because of the people leading this movement and the news coverage it was given.

Shootings happen every day. There have been an estimated 38 killings that have already occurred in 2019 alone. I have heard about maybe three of these shootings, but nothing close received the coverage that Stoneman Douglas did.

The news media played a huge role in the start of this movement. Often times when there is a mass shooting, the news media move on to something else after a day or two of coverage. With this particular shooting, people discussed it for weeks. And even one year later, the coverage continues on what the people affected by this shooting are still doing today.

Why did the news media care so much about this and not about others? Was it the number of people affected and the area of the school? Was it because of the effect it had on the community? While the coverage for this instance may have been exactly what people needed to hear, the same attention has still not been brought to anything since then.

News outlets need to give equal coverage to events that may have links to them like this. The news media oftentimes takes out details and downplays events as to not insight fear in society. However, information like this should be of public concern. People should know the details about everything that happens, not just when it happens one time.

Couple jailed after mistreating children


On Tuesday morning in Wise County, Texas, a mother and her boyfriend were arrested after police received a domestic disturbance call regarding four malnourished children stuck inside a home.

According to authorities, the children were found under clutter and grime. The children’s age ranged from 1-5, there were three boys and one girl. 

Two of the four children were placed in a barn crate that was converted into a sleeping space.

According to CNN affiliate, KTVT, the two oldest children ages 4 and 5 were the ones stuck in the crates.

Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said when he found the children, they were hungry and thirsty, and covered in feces. Akin also stated that the children didn’t talk much when the police arrived at the home. 

“Our deputies and our lieutenant fed and gave water to those children. And due to the malnourishment and other concerns, EMS was called; emergency medical was called,” Akin said.

The biological mother to four of the children was identified as Paige Harkins. Her boyfriend, Andrew Fabila, is the biological father to one of the kids. 

The domestic disturbance call was made in the first place due to an altercation the couple was having. When the authorities showed up, Fabila had multiple cuts on his face.

Harkins and Fabila were both arrested on four counts of endangering a child. Harkins was also charged on one count for aggravated assault resulting in serious bodily injury, Akins said. The couple is currently being held at Wise County jail. 

The children were taken to a hospital in Fort Worth for further assessment. They are now in custody of Child Protective Services. 

I believe this horrific situation is something that should never occur. The fact that there are still people out there who treat their children like this is just disgusting and morally wrong. If you’re going to have a child, you better understand the responsibility it entails. You can’t treat children like animals and leave them in crates to die. I don’t think stories like this ever get enough coverage from the news media. I concur that if we were to focus more on issues like this, people would know how wrong it is to mistreat children.

How much should we cover the shooter?


It has been one year since the worst mass shooting in United States history. On Valentine’s Day 2018, tragedy disrupted the happiness and love at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

According to authorities, a former MSD student brought his semi-automatic rifle into a freshman building where he shot and killed 17 students and faculty in less than 10 minutes.

During the immediate aftermath of the shooting, survivors, which included students David Hogg, Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and Jaclyn Corin, launched a campaign called the “March For Our Lives” to end gun violence around America. Additionally, they vowed to never forget the lives lost by making sure their names are always brought up in commemoration.

After the shooting, the news media goes through the usual script of covering a mass shooting: explaining what happened, the lives lost and background of the shooter. However, many of these young activists are calling for the media to stop glorifying mass shooters.

Most recently, USA Today published a story in honor of the one-year anniversary of the shooting. In doing so, the reporter, John Bacon, highlighted all the key figures at the center of the shooting to discuss where they are today, which included discussing the young student activists and the shooter along with an image of him in court.

In response to the article, David Hogg appeared on MSNBC where he said, “They’re [USA Today] one of the best news organizations at making shooters famous in the first place. They always plaster the shooter’s face everywhere. They always give them several hundred pages of coverage.”

Hogg advocating for news media outlets to change how they cover mass shootings is part of the broader campaign called “No Notoriety” that began as a result of the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. There have been studies done to show that many mass shootings are repetitions of each other as perpetrators see the news coverage of the shooting and want the notoriety of being a school shooter. These aspiring shooters who hope to achieve fame see that is a real possibility through the news media. Thus, this campaign is calling for the news media to stop naming and showing pictures of the shooter.

News media outlets face difficult decisions in covering mass shootings. Now, many, such as Anderson Cooper, are pledging not to name the shooter during coverage or release any images. However, the American news media have the responsibility to keep the public well informed about what is happening around the globe and nationally. Yet, they need to be responsible in reporting. Instead of focusing on who it was, the news media must focus on why or how it happened.

We should use the news media coverage surrounding mass shootings to better understand why this keeps on happening and find the solutions to prevent them from happening in the future rather than as a means to talk about the shooter. When the media glorifies and identifies mass shooters, the victims are hurt twice: once by the perpetrator and the media. Since it seems as though mass shootings are going to be a constant in the U.S. for years to come, news outlets need to do their jobs but must be mindful of the victims and their families because their wounds are consistently reopened due to reappearing images and identification of the shooter in the news.

How to get away with murder


The Democratic Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, openly embraced infanticide and dressed in blackface thirty five years ago. Which story did the media jump on? Surprisingly, the latter.

Northam is working on legislation with delegate Kathy Tran, that would remove all time restrictions on abortion. Women would have legal access to abortion up until the point of birth. This raised many questions among pro-life advocates and, reasonably so, as abortion gets more and more complicated as birth approaches.

Northam was asked what he would do in the event that the baby would be accidentally delivered during an abortion. Northam responded,

“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Though Northam was not fully clear, it is safe to say this so called “discussion” that would ensue would revolve around whether the baby would be kept alive or murdered. The idea that a beautiful, healthy, breathing child would be murdered outside the womb is abhorrent.

One would think such a story would draw a great deal of news media attention, however, the day after he made this statement, a photo of the governor in blackface surfaced. All media attention turned to this issue and his other comments were pushed to the back burner.

The American people need to comprehend the severity of Gov. Northam’s comments. Yes, the photo is disgusting and he must face consequences for his actions. Both issues are inexcusable, this is not an either or scenario. A representative of our government is calling for newborn babies to be murdered. Wake up America.

Florida city commissioner resigns


The city commissioner of Madeira Beach, Fla., resigned this week after receiving criticism from complaints that she had allegedly groped her male co-workers and licked their faces during work events and meetings. Nancy Oakley had been the city commissioner of Madeira Beach from 2007 to 2013 and also from 2017 to 2019.

Oakley submitted her resignation letter on Tuesday, in which she denied the claims. She wrote that she was resigning to “still the controversy” and also wrote: “I maintain my innocence and am pursuing the paths of appeals available.”The complaint was filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics in February 2017 by former Madeira Beach City manager Shane Crawford. He said that Oakley had made “unwanted sexual advances” toward him and director of the city’s public works department and the city marina, Dave Marsicano, at a fishing tournament in 2012.

According to the report by the ethics commission in response to the complaint, Crawford said that Oakley had “grabbed his crotch, and slowly licked him from his Adam’s apple all the way up his face.”

The report also include details of an incident between Oakley and Dave Marsicano. Marsicano said that during a meeting in 2012, Oakley “hung on his neck, grabbed his crotch, and licked his face.” He also said that Oakley had hugged him and tried to kiss him on numerous other occasions.

According to a press release, the Florida Commission on Ethics found at a meeting on Jan. 25 that Oakley violated the state’s ethics code by “misusing her position by exhibiting inappropriate behavior toward city staff.” The press release also states that it was recommended that Oakley be fined $5,000 and publicly censured by the governor. A Madeira Beach spokesperson confirmed that Oakley’s resignation was accepted on Wednesday night.

Muslim inmate executed in Alabama


ATMORE, Ala. — Muslim inmate Dominique Ray was executed by lethal injection under the order of the U.S. Supreme Court after requesting to have an Islamic spiritual mentor in the execution chamber on his day of death.

According to sources, shortly before the case was brought to the U.S. Supreme Court, Ray argued that his Atmore Prison did not accommodate Muslim inmates in that a prison-employed Christian chaplain stayed in the chamber to offer comfort during lethal injections. However, his prison along with the state refused to grant for an imam to be present. Due to “security reasons,” Ray’s imam, Yusef Maisonet, was only permitted to view the execution in the next room, separated by glass.

Ray gained the attention of the nation when he challenged this decision at the federal appeals court. On Wednesday the court granted him a stay of execution, while they decided if Ray’s case violated Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by “preferring one religion over another.”

However, less than 24 hours later in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court allowed for the commencement of the execution on Thursday. His imam was not in the room.

Ray was sentenced to death after he raped and murdered a 15- year old, Tiffany Harville whose body was discovered in a cotton field. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall called Ray’s execution a “long-delayed appointment with justice.”

Conservative justices claim that their abrupt decision was due to the “last-minute nature” of Ray’s appeal. Whereas, liberal justices find the ruling to be inevitably wrong.

Ray’s case brings to question if the Establishment Clause was actually violated. Many argue that Christian prisoners have been granted the right to have a religiously affiliated leader by their side during execution so, why is Ray’s case different?

As Alabama’s first execution of 2019, Dominique Ray’s case is still being reviewed. Although he was not granted his religious rights, the conversation about church and state will continue.

Special needs wait-list to be dropped


On Monday morning, at Pace Brantley School of Special Education in Longwood Fla., Gov. Ron DeSantis made the announcement to eliminate the 2,000-student wait-list for The Gardiner special needs program.

Eliminating the wait-list will make it easier for kids to receive the help they need. The Gardiner Scholarship is set to begin in the 2019/20 school year and will be fully funded, according to DeSantis. 

“As we’ve met with people and talked about these very valuable scholarships, the fact of the matter is we have close to two thousand families who are on the waiting list,” DeSantis said.  “I have allocated enough funds to get rid of the wait list for Gardiner Scholarships entirely.”

The Gardiner Scholarship is used to provide students with disabilities funding that can be used for specialized services such as speech or occupational therapy, tuition for private school, contribution to college, instructional materials and more.

There are about 12,000 students who participate in the program. Qualifying conditions include Down Syndrome, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism. The Scholarship currently has around $124 million dollars to spend. DeSantis wants to allocate another $18.7 million to get rid of the waitlist. 

Brittany Wilson, a mother of two special needs kids currently on the wait-list states, “Just having this scholarship just opens our world, it just allows me to have the confidence and the hope that I can do what’s best for them, whether it’s at home or whether it’s at a private school.”  

DeSantis is doing an amazing thing in my opinion. Its already hard enough for special needs kids to live a normal life. Medical expense already cost so much leaving parents with barely enough money to send their kids to a good school. I believe eliminating the waitlist for this scholarship program will make it so much easier for parents to receive the money they need and deserve for their children.

CBP makes record fentanyl bust


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Arizona announced on Thursday that border officers have made the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history.

The 254 pounds of powder and pills that were confirmed to be the synthetic opioid was found hidden inside of a floor compartment of a large truck trailer filled with cucumbers. Officials valued the drug at $3.5 million. This bust is a large step for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but a small step for the opioid crisis in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017. This record breaking number has much to do with the out-of-control opioid overdose crisis in America. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that more than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdose every day.

So what does this monumental fentanyl bust mean for the United States? The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has referred to Mexican cartels as “the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States.” These cartels are known to smuggle narcotics across the Southwest border of the U.S., often hidden in trailers similar to the truck trailer filled with cucumbers and 254 pounds of fentanyl that was just busted. This fentanyl seizure was more than double the amount of the previous record that was found in Nebraska in 2017. This national security concern is constantly on the radar for Customs and Border Protection officials, and this bust was an important victory for them.

We often hear President Trump preaching about his proposal for a border wall, which he claims will reduce national security concerns such as drug trafficking. However, U.S. Border Protection officials have expressed that, according to their data, the majority of hard drugs such as fentanyl and other opioids are seized from vehicles that attempt to cross the border by driving through official entry ports. It is unclear if a border wall would have much of an impact on the drug trafficking and opioid crisis in the U.S., but this major bust will hopefully act as a warning for all other drug traffickers looking to cross the border into the United States.