The Ripcurrent: VP Debate, Governor Kidnapping Plan, Nameless Hurricanes

Harris vs. Pence

Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Mike Pence went head to head in the first and only vice-presidential debate of the 2020 election on Wednesday, October 7th, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The debate followed the COVID-19 diagnosis of President Trump and many other White House Officials, and the virus was a focal point of the debate. Harris criticized the response of the Trump Administrations Coronavirus task force, claiming their delay and lack of organization cost the lives of thousands across the nation. Pence argued that the task force was doing everything and more that the Biden Administration would’ve planned to do. He also claimed that the response of the administration was very quick and precise, which saved American lives.

The debate went on to talk about numerous other topics, such as the economy, trade, and the Supreme court, during which Pence endorsed Amy Coney Barrett, the President’s SCOTUS nominee. Another heavily discussed topic was climate change, principally regarding clean energy. There was much dispute about the stances of both parties regarding their plans for clean energy and their opinion on reducing carbon emissions. Pence argued that Biden said that he would ban fracking, a way to harvest fossil fuels by drilling. Harris shut that down, saying Biden will slowly reduce the use of fracking on public land, not ban it altogether.

The Vice Presidential debate goes down in history as the second most viewed VP debate in history, coming behind the Biden-Palin debate of 2008, with both historic debates including women. The nature of the debate was also very significant because it was very composed and collegial, unlike the Presidential debate, which was...chaotic. We will not get to see another meeting between Harris and Pence, but the October 15th date for the next Presidential debate has been officially due to President Trump’s refusal to conduct a virtual debate.



-Amy Whitman

Right Wing Extremist Group Tries To Kidnap Governor Whitmer

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has long been a scapegoat of right-wing conservative groups who accuse her of suppressing their rights through her Coronavirus response. Similar to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Governor imposed a statewide lockdown earlier this year, angering many residents. This week, the FBI uncovered a plot to kidnap Whitmer before the election: seven men from a group called the Wolverine Watchmen were arrested for planning the kidnapping. They had been watching the Governor's home, and plotted to knock on her door and kidnap her when she opened it. They also had been planning to buy explosives, a taser, and to potentially blow up a bridge. The men involved in the plot have been arrested and Governor Whitmer is safe.


-Viviane Kim

Hurricane Names: What Happens When We Run Out?

From June to November, the number of hurricanes formed in the Atlantic Ocean have skyrocketed. In 2020, there have been more hurricanes recorded in the shortest amount of time than any other year. Normally, each of these hurricanes is given a different name to not only keep track of the storm but also to humanize them, a practice especially important in cases of severe storms as it can help them feel more urgent. Names are chosen from a list of specially picked first names chosen by the World Meteorological Association; this list is on a 6 year rotation with enough names for 21 storms per season. If a storm is catastrophic enough for its name to not be repeated, scientists will retire its name and replace it. Some of the most notable were Sandy, which has been replaced with Sara on the list, and Katrina, which has been replaced with Katia.

But what happens when they run out of names for that year? When this happens, they resort to using letters from the Greek alphabet. The National Hurricane Center has only run out of human names for hurricanes once before. The first time was in 2005, they got 6 letters into the Greek alphabet, ending with Zeta. As of October 1o, 2020, four Greek letter names have been given to tropical storms: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta. Tropical storm Delta has progressed to a hurricane and a tropical depression, causing widespread flooding in Southern stated. With over a month left in hurricane season, it is possible that they could get well into the Greek alphabet for storm names. But the reason why the number of storms making landfall is increasing puzzles scientists. Many, including the Union of Concerned Scientists, point to climate change, saying that human-caused global warming has increased the amount of energy absorbed by our oceans, leading to an increased intensity of storms. Overdeveloped coastal regions make the destruction of these storms far more lethal, and rising sea levels make for greater storm surge.




-Abbie Blake

Abbie Blake

Abbie, a junior, writes for The Ripcurrent and News columns. An aspiring journalist, she loves coming up with different ideas and then writing about them. She also enjoys painting and stage crew.

Viviane E. Kim

Viviane, a sophomore, is Editor-in-Chief of The Current. She's an aspiring pianist, flutist, artist, and activist. She has won several writing competitions and performed with the SBU Orchestra.

Amy Whitman

Amy is The Current’s Multimedia lead. A junior, she contributes to our podcast and News column. She loves writing, reading, sports, and film, and plans to major in journalism and political science.

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