Highlights of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration

The U.S. Presidential Inauguration is the second most important political event in the nation. It comes after the first which is the presidential election. The inauguration like the election usually occurs once every four years. The inauguration is a ceremony that occurs every term even when the President is re-elected. The previous inauguration was on January 20, 2017, and it was the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The next inauguration will happen on the 21st of January, 2021, and it will be the ceremony that swears in Joe Biden as the President of the United States.

Each inauguration is different in its own way; however, there are staple moments and highlights of the U.S. Presidential Inauguration that occur every single time. These moments are traditions that are precious and vital to the history of the United States. Here are some of the highlights of the presidential inauguration.

  1. Inaugural Speech – One of the most notable moments of the presidential inauguration is the speech given by the President-Elect. At Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009, he gave a speech that lasted 18 minutes and 58 seconds. At Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration he gave a speech that lasted 17 minutes and 49 seconds. These speeches are notable because they are often the first time the President addresses the nation after assuming their political position. These speeches are often heartwarming, promoting unity, perseverance, and other American ideals.
  1. Timing – The inauguration always takes place at noon EST. At exactly noon, the president-elect becomes the President. The date is also the same. Since 1937, every single presidential inauguration has taken place on the 20th of January except for three occasions where the date happened to be on a Sunday. On those occasions, a private ceremony administering the presidential oath of office is held before a public ceremony is then held the next day, which is usually a Monday.
  1. The Inaugural Parade – It is not a presidential inauguration without the inaugural parade. The parade includes a short drive where the President and their family wave to the people who have come to watch the presidential inauguration. It occurs after the oaths have been taken and the inaugural luncheon is over. The President and their escorts will drive down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White house.
  1. Location – Most presidential inaugurations have been held in Washington DC at the Capitol building. Since Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981, the inaugural ceremony has been held out on Capitol’s west front. This was done for two reasons—the first being to reduce the cost of the inauguration and the second being to ensure there was a lot more space for spectators.
  1. The Presidential Oath of Office – The administration of the presidential oath of office is the only part of the presidential inauguration that is required by the constitution. This oath is always taken on the 20th of January regardless of whether it is a Sunday or not. This is a necessity, and it marks the exact moment the President-Elect becomes the President.

More COVID-19 Lockdowns Announced Around the World

More Covid-19 lockdowns have been announced around the world. Some of these locations are heading into or experiencing their second/third/fourth wave of the coronavirus, hence the decision to enter a lockdown. The coronavirus pandemic took the majority of the world by storm in late February or early March prompting countries to go into emergency lockdowns with no prior warning. These precautions were all put in place in a plight to control the spread of the virus before the arrival of a vaccine. Despite the large numbers, the coronavirus still has an average death rate of 2-3 percent. When compared to the SARS death rate of 11 percent, the difference is clear. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is far more contagious than SARS ever was, hence the insane numbers we’re faced with. As of now, the coronavirus has taken the lives of 1.26 million people and infected 50.6 million people.

The reason for these lockdowns is to slow the virus spread so that healthcare systems can catch up because most healthcare systems are currently overwhelmed by the number of cases. Another reason lockdowns are being enforced is to ensure that asymptomatic carriers, which is a large percentage of people with the virus, do not pass the virus to others. If everyone who had the virus showed symptoms, tracing and containment would be much easier for the government. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Therefore, governments will place the country in lockdown mode whenever cases start to skyrocket consistently. More Covid-19 lockdowns have recently been announced. Here are some of them:

1. England

The Prime Minister of the United kingdom battled the coronavirus in April so he knows first hand what the virus can do. Reports coming in claim that Johnson is very angry and outraged at the fact that England has to go through another lockdown.

 This four-week lockdown began on the 5th of November and is expected to continue till early December. This stay-at-home order has been enforced in the hopes that the new daily cases will reduce giving the NHS a fighting chance. England has had 1.04 million covid cases and over 43,000 deaths.

2. Ireland

On the 21st of October, Ireland once again imposed a 6-week lockdown making it the first European country to go back into lockdown. Ireland is now in a very strict Level 5 lockdown. This means visiting the homes of others is banned, all non-essential workers must work from home, restaurants, bars and the likes can only provide takeaway and delivery. Public transportation is at 25% capacity, museums and art galleries are closed, and for those having weddings and funerals, the max amount of people present is 25. These alongside other rules have made Ireland’s current lockdown one of the toughest.

3. Bavaria, Germany

The state of Bavaria is not going into a total lockdown; however, there are restrictions on social gatherings being put in place alongside curfews.

4. Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain is one of the cities enforcing localized lockdowns. This particular lockdown implements rules that demand wearing of face masks, social distancing rules with limits being placed on social gatherings.

5. Greece

Greece began a three-week lockdown in the second week of November with strict measures in place to curb the spread of the virus.

Other countries that are on partial lockdowns with schools open include France, Hungary, Thailand and South-Korea

Trump’s Reaction to the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election

The 2020 US elections were held on the 3rd of November, 2020. For over a week, the nation watched with bated breath as both candidates inched their way towards 270+ electoral votes. On the 7th of November, Joe Biden reached and crossed that line when the electoral votes from Pennsylvania and Nevada tipped in his favor. The reactions were mind-blowing. Voters flocked to the streets of New York and other locations, celebrating the victory of President-Elect, Joe Biden. On the other side, some Republican party supporters argued against the validity of the elections with claims of voter fraud and election rigging rife in the air. President Trump did nothing to dispel those rumors. In fact, as of 10th of November after Joe Biden crossed the 270+ mark, President Trump has yet to acknowledge Biden’s victory or even give his concession speech. Instead, President Donald Trump’s reaction has been to deny the President-Elect’s victory, threaten to take them to court, and fuel the claims that mail-in votes for Donald Trump were being set ablaze.  None of these claims have been proven or backed with actual evidence.

President Donald Trump has still not conceded the election. His rapid response team is still calling for donations. President Trump himself has tweeted several times that he is “winning by a lot,” he is threatening to take the results to court despite pleas from Jared Kushner and Melania Trump, the First Lady. He is also asking his supporters to report and recount moments of voter fraud in their polls. President Trump has also said that he doesn’t know if he will concede easily or willingly hand over power to the next administration. This is evident in his actions. In just the past week (Nov 3 – Nov 10), the President has fired or replaced three officials who led agencies. Mark Meadows, who is the chief of staff has just been with the coronavirus.

Although Trump is still on course to win the 15 electoral seats of North Carolina, that will only bring him to 229 electoral votes, and he needs 270. Biden on the other hand is set to win the 16 electoral votes of Georgia which will bring his total to 306.

The 2020 US Election was one with high stakes. The amount of voters who turned up to vote is the highest ever recorded making Joe Biden the President-Elect with the highest number of votes. This was the election coming after the coronavirus pandemic which is one of the biggest criticisms of the Trump administration. The absence of a singular body giving science-backed information on the coronavirus has fueled anti-mask protests and conspiracy theories claiming the coronavirus isn’t real even after the US has recorded over 5 million cases and over 200 thousand deaths. Citizens and medical health experts have criticized the way the Trump administration handled the pandemic citing the fact that he continued to hold mass rallies and made fun of Joe Biden for wearing a mask. Perhaps the cherry on top was the moment he tested positive for the coronavirus. Although Trump’s administration has had several successes with foreign policy and the economy, the atmosphere heading into the election was one fraught with tension, anxiety, and of course, fears concerning the coronavirus.

Trump’s erratic reaction has raised fears on whether he will concede and hand over power in January of 2021. For now, all we can do is hope that the inauguration goes smoothly.

Tour These Washington DC Museums Online

Washington, DC is home to 81 museums, 17 of which are Smithsonian museums under what is called the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian museums are museums named after their founding donor, British Scientist, James Smithson. These museums are exciting and take around a day to visit each one. However, if you do not have that much time to spare or are unable to physically visit these museums, here are some museums that you can tour online.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of these museums are simply closed or operating at a limited capacity, so, if you can’t catch the exhibits in person, you can certainly catch some of them virtually. Here is a list of some of the museums offering virtual tours.

  1. The Phillips Collection – The Riffs and Relations exhibit in The Phillips collection is available online on their YouTube channel. This exhibit has been published on YouTube to let people engage and view the exhibits. If you’re interested in taking a look at The Phillips Collection and their array of artworks, you can check it out here.
  1. National Geographic Museum – If you like their TV programs, then you’ll certainly enjoy this exhibit. National Geographic Museum offers the Becoming Jane exhibit that tells the story of Dr. Jane Goodall, a primatologist. This exhibit is available with 360-degree videos to completely immerse yourself in the experience. You can find this exhibit here.
  1. National Archives – While the national archives do not offer classic virtual tours, a lot of their information has been saved and stored online for whoever wants to visit. If you are interested in any of their files or documents, you can access them here at no cost to you.
  1. Museum of the Bible – If you’re interested in learning about the history behind the Bible, seeing copies of the first printed Bible as well as old scrolls, Museum of the Bible offers virtual tours as well as a video series and a podcast for viewers to watch, interact and engage with. You can find the virtual tour here, their video-series here, and their podcast here. With the virtual tour, you’re able to get closer than ever to these priceless artifacts.
  1. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History – If you’re interested in taking a virtual tour of the museum larger than 18 football fields, then keep reading. The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History contains specimens of plants, fossils, animals, rocks, minerals, meteorites, human remains, and cultural artifacts. This museum contains the largest natural history collection on the planet. If you’re interested in touring the history of the world then click here.
  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture – This museum contains vital information on African American history and culture. If you’re interested in browsing through their carefully selected and planned exhibits, click here.
  1. National Portrait Gallery – The Natural Portrait Gallery tells the history of the nation through portraits of the people who defined the course of history. If you’re interested in seeing this, click here.

Other museums offering virtual exhibits include the National Museum of Women in Arts and Ford’s Theatre for those interested in the legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

How Fake News Impacts Political Elections

“Fake news” is a term used to describe inaccurate news stories, outright lies, or misinterpretations. Fake news harms people in their day-to-day lives; however, when it comes to an election, fake news can be especially dangerous. You may be wondering how?

The term “fake news” became popular during the 2016 U.S elections. The term along with another term “post-truth” became prevalent during/after the election. In this context, “post-truth is used to explain a concept where objective facts have less influence over public opinions in comparison to personal and emotional belief.” In simpler terms, post-truth refers to a situation where emotions have more influence on public opinion than concrete facts.

Fake news is said to have severely impacted the 2016 US elections and now scholars are studying the effect of fake news on political elections. Politics is a field that needs objectivity more than ever. Most of the time, fake news isn’t spread in a hateful manner, sometimes it’s simply misinterpretations. The problem is how fast the news spreads. Let’s discuss two ways fake news could affect political elections.

1. Through the internet

Unfortunately, a lot of people get their political beliefs and stance from social media networks. While it is good to expand your beliefs and understand all sides of the spectrum, your political beliefs should not be influenced by the personal opinions of others.

Your political beliefs should come from your morals and your stance on political issues. It’s easy to go on Twitter and jump on a political bandwagon, but it’s dangerous, especially if you’re a registered voter. The system needs educated voters making informed decisions. Base your decisions on political debates by the actual politicians not someone else’s interpretation of their debate.

2. Through fixating on extremist views

Studies such as this one have shown that fake news tends to fixate on extremist or hyper-partisan politics. They pick extreme topics and tie the name of a politician to it. Before the politician is even aware of what is going on, the news has spread like wildfire across the nation. This is especially dangerous for democracies and multi-partisan states. More often than, not members of the other party will run with the incriminating news regardless of whether it’s fake or true. This shows that the spread of fake news is not necessarily always about the person but about curbing their party and political ambition.

While some studies show that fake news has an impact on elections, others like this one conducted to research the 2018 Italian elections argue that fake news has no significant impact on elections but are only tools parties use to attack each other. This study suggests that the rise of fake news has only reduced trust in political figures and traditional news sources.

The Long-Term Economic Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Economy

The Covid-19 pandemic has been devastating in many ways. The economy suffered, the social nature of humans has suffered, and most importantly numerous lives have been lost. The pandemic is making people ask scary questions. Will the coronavirus change everything we know? Well, the answer is yes and no. It’s already changed how we work with a lot of companies working remotely. It’s also affected how we act in social places and the livelihoods of those whose jobs rely on humans being in social spaces.

Tourism, the restaurant industry, and many other industries have suffered, but stocks seem to be doing well as well huge corporations like Apple and Amazon. It would be unfair to undermine the enormity of its impact; however, unemployment rates have dropped to 8.4% as against April’s 14.9% unemployment rate. Of course, the economy is not where it was in February pre-pandemic, but things seem to be looking up, or are they? Let’s discuss the long term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy.

1. E-commerce will grow

While e-commerce is already mega-popular (i.e Amazon), it is set to grow even more. People are turning to online shopping experiences because it means they don’t have to go outside, and a lot of people have become accustomed to it after the nationwide lockdowns. E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry that is set to transform the economy.

2. Low-wage workers face a crisis

Low wage workers were already under a huge amount of pressure before the pandemic, and now it only seems to be getting worse. With a lot of small businesses closing or downsizing, the low-wage workers are facing a housing crisis and an all-round survival crisis. Minimum wage is simply not going to cut it no matter how far they stretch it. Hours have been reduced, and inflation has begun to creep in. These workers may feel the impact of the pandemic the most.

3. Another wave

Vaccine trials are moving very fast, but they might not be fast enough. The reopening of the economy means more people are venturing outside their homes. This could mean another wave of the virus hitting even stronger than the last. The economy will have to shut down once more, and this time small businesses may not recover.

4. Small businesses may struggle

The lockdown established a monopoly of major industry. People started ordering food and other items online that they would normally buy in local markets. This has led to the closure of small businesses and street vendors. Unless they branch into e-commerce which most of them cannot afford, their businesses may go through some tough struggles.

5. Tourism

The tourism and aviation industries have been dealt one of the biggest blows of this pandemic. As countries close and open their borders to protect their citizens from the virus, these industries will have to bear the fluctuations of customers till a vaccine is ready.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us a lot about what we need to survive. Protecting low wage workers is important across all industries because they are most vulnerable to the effects of the virus on the economy. It is also important that we remember how essential they are.

Current Unemployment Statistics in the U.S.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the U.S economy with unemployment rates rising to 14.9 percent in April. Almost 16 million people were unemployed. This is almost four times the amount of people who were unemployed in March. Fortunately, the numbers have been dropping as businesses are reopening and lockdown restrictions are being eased.

In August 2020, the unemployment rate fell below 10% for the first time since March. The rate is currently 8.4% and the amount of unemployed people is estimated to be around 13.6 million. This is a major improvement from July’s 16.8 million. The number of unemployed people per job has dropped to 2.5 from 3.0 in June. While this is very far from the percentage rates in March, it is still a large improvement. These reductions have shown the reopening of the economy and hope for the future.

Unemployment rates have dropped in 41 states. Nebraska leads the states with a 4.0% unemployment rate and Nevada coming in at the back with a 13.2% unemployment rate. Now let’s take a look at each of the states.

We’ll be presenting August’s percentage rates in comparison to July’s percentage rates.

*These stats are according to the Bureau of Labour

  1. Alabama unemployment rate dropped from 7.9% to 5.6%
  2. Alaska’s unemployment rate dropped from 11.6% to 7.4%
  3. Arizona’s rate of unemployment dropped from 10.7% to 5.9%
  4. Arkansas’ unemployment rate increased from 7.1% to 7.4%
  5. California’s unemployment rate dropped from 13.5% to 11.4%
  6. Colorado’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.4% to 6.7%
  7. Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% to 8.1%
  8. Delaware’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.5% to 8.9%
  9. District of Columbia’s unemployment rate remained at 8.5%
  10. Florida’s unemployment rate dropped from 11.4% to 7.4%
  11. Georgia’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.6% to 5.6%
  12. Hawaii’s unemployment rate dropped from 13.5% to 12.5%
  13. Idaho’s unemployment rate dropped from 5.1% to 4.2%
  14. Illinois’ unemployment rate dropped from 11.5% to 11.0%
  15. Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.9% to 6.4%
  16. Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.8% to 6.0%
  17. Kansas’ unemployment rate dropped from 7.2% to 6.9%
  18. Kentucky’s unemployment rate increased from 4.5% to 7.6%
  19. Louisiana’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.4% to 7.6%
  20. Maine’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.9% to 6.9%
  21. Maryland’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.8% to 6.9%
  22. Massachusetts’ unemployment rate dropped from 16.2% to 11.3%
  23. Michigan’s unemployment rate remained at 8.7%
  24. Minnesota’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.6% to 7.4%
  25. Mississippi’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.4% to 7.9%
  26. Missouri’s unemployment rate increased 6.9% to 7.0%
  27. Montana’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.5% to 5.6%
  28. Nebraska’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.9% to 4.0%
  29. Nevada’s unemployment rate dropped from 14.2% to 13.2%
  30. New Hampshire’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.0% to 6.5%
  31. New Jersey’s unemployment rate dropped from 14.2% to 10.9%
  32. New Mexico’s rate dropped from 12.7% to 11.3%
  33. New York’s unemployment rate dropped from 15.9% to 12.5%
  34. North Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.5% to 6.5%
  35. North Dakota’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.6% to 5.0%
  36. Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.0% to 8.9%
  37. Oklahoma’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.1% to 5.7%
  38. Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.4% to 7.7%
  39. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate dropped from 12.5% to 10.3%
  40. Rhode Island’s unemployment rate increased from 11.3% to 12.8%
  41. South Carolina’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.7% to 6.3%
  42. South Dakota’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.4% to 4.8%
  43. Tennessee’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.7% to 8.5%
  44. Texas’ unemployment rate dropped from 8.0% to 6.8%
  45. Utah’s unemployment rate dropped from 4.5% to 4.1%
  46. Vermont’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.3% to 4.8%
  47. Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.9% to 6.1%
  48. Washington’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.2% to 8.5%
  49. West Virginia’s unemployment rate dropped from 10.0% to 8.9%
  50. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.1% to 6.2%
  51. Wyoming’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.1% to 6.6%