The Ripcurrent: TikTok, Pandas, Kamala Harris, 2020 Dem Convention, Iowa Derecho

Biden Announces Pick For Vice President

Biden revealed his VP pick, ramping up a contentious race for the White House. Image source: Unsplash

Presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his choice of Kamala Harris for his running mate on August 11th. Kamala, the 55-year old senator from California, pitches herself as a great choice for both moderates and progressives; this also appeals to the main demographic of Biden’s campaign.

She is known for her sharp debate and speaking skills, and, if elected, will make history as the first woman of color Vice President: Kamala is from Indian and Jamaican descent. Although she appeals to many democrats ideals, she has come under fire for her past wrongdoing in law enforcement as elected attorney general.

President Donald Trump quickly went to bash Harris in his many media outlets, emails and in video. In an email, he stated, “Kamala Harris is the meanest, most horrible, most disrespectful, MOST LIBERAL of anyone in the U.S Senate, and I cannot believe that Joe Biden would pick her as his running mate.” He also addressed the notion that Harris was not born in the United States. He told the press that he would “look into it,” but acknowledged that he had no idea if it was true or false.

Many around the nation wonder how she will impact the political field now as a VP candidate, especially if she and Biden are elected.

Source, Source -Amy Whitman

Here's What To Expect At The DNC This Week

Tomorrow marks the start of the Democratic National Convention (DNC), and the official nomination of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for the November ticket. The event will be aired live through Thursday from 9 to 11 pm ET and is taking place virtually to safeguard against Covid-19. The event is jam packed with speakers who have emerged as Democratic firebrands in the recent months, as well as some familiar faces from the primaries: on Monday, speakers include Senators Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, as well as Former First Lady Michelle Obama and Governors Gretchen Whitmer and Andrew Cuomo. Tuesday will feature Representative AOC, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and former Second Lady Jill Biden. Hillary Clinton, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Elizabeth Warren, President Obama, and Biden’s VP pick Kamala Harris will appear on a star-studded Wednesday night. Finally, Thursday night will feature the Presidential nominee himself, as well as several women who Biden considered for Vice President: Senators Tammy Duckworth, Tammy Baldwin and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Two more faces from the primaries will join with speeches: Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Cory Booker.

-Viviane Kim

Trump Moves to Ban TikTok

President Trump has expressed interest in banning the Chinese app TikTok. Image Source: Unsplash

Recently President Trump has raised concerns about the extremely popular app TikTok. Trump’s concerns stem from its creator, a Chinese software developing company called ByteDance. He claims that the Chinese government is using the app to steal American data, then using it for blackmail against the United States. Representatives of Tik Tok have said that they “never provided user data to the government, nor would we do so if asked.” National security experts have testified that there is no real threat, stating "Chinese corporate actors are not synonymous with the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party, and have their own commercial interests to protect." This has not stopped the Trump Administration from moving forward with plans to outlaw the app, following India’s recent ban.

Many have speculated that there may be other motivations behind Trump’s TikTok ban. Many users of the app use it as a platform for voicing their political opinions. Recently, teens on the app figured out how to reserve tickets for the President’s Tulsa rally—but none actually went. Although the campaign had touted the massive number of fans expected to fill the stadium, the rally was sparsely attended, which greatly upset Trump. Users have also mused that the ban isn’t about national security, but rather Trump's personal vendetta  against people who are using the app to work against him. Others theorize that this is another political attack against China, as the President has a ‘bias’ against the nation. None of these theories have been confirmed.

Trump has set a 90 day deadline for ByteDance to sell its U.S. TikTok business.

Source - Abbie Blake

Derecho in Iowa Devastates Thousands

On Monday, a hurricane-force storm known as a derecho with winds reaching 100 mph swept through Iowa, as well as other neighboring states, leaving over 160,000 people without power. The damage was devastating, completely ruining corn fields, houses, and farms. There have been four confirmed deaths so far: three in Iowa and one in Indiana.

There has been such outrage over the lack of power to the point where Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has asked for federal assistance to help restore power.

Iowa's economy is already suffering from COVID-19, and the hurricane could only make things worse: Iowa is the top corn producer in the U.S., with a $10 billion corn industry. Iowa’s corn is mainly harvested between late September and mid-October, and storm damage could reduce yield.

Source -Liam Cooper

Panda On the Way

Pandas are only able to get pregnant for a 24-72 hour window annually, making this a rare event. Unsplash 

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo announced on Friday that its resident female panda Mei Xiang is showing signs of pregnancy. This comes after the giant panda was artificially inseminated in March, and the species is looking at a positive increase in population numbers. Giant pandas were classified as vulnerable species in 2016, an upgrade from its previous “endangered” status. Mei Xiang’s pregnancy is a good sign for the international effort to boost the dwindling panda population. Pandas born in the National Zoo are moved to China after turning four. However, the species is still suffering from massive habitat destruction and human interference, leaving them with an estimated 1,864 members in the wild.

Source -Viviane Kim

Note: A correction issued on August 17th changed "hurricane" in Cooper's story to "derecho". The original segment incorrectly identified the storm as a hurricane.

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.

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.

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