Tag Archives: national news

“Help is Finally Here” : Stimulus Checks Help Those in Need

By Daisy Penaloza, News & Opinion editor

Finally.

In the last couple of weeks, much to the relief of many, Americans began seeing a rise in their bank accounts. That is because the stimulus checks have finally started arriving; and, more are on the way!

How did this come about?

The American Rescue Plan is a 1.9 trillion dollar economic stimulus bill created by President Joe Biden and signed into law on March 11, 2021. This bill includes many benefits for people who qualify.  

This stimulus bill will bring aid to small businesses and communities as well as many others in need.

This new plan covers just a small portion of what is needed in order to rebuild what was of incredible destruction from the previous years, from the United States last administration. We all know how much of a struggle those last four year were.

Anyways, enough about that. It’s time to focus on the new, the better. We’ve finally got some good coming our way, let’s see what that’s all about.

This new bill incorporates many needed factors from creating millions of additional jobs to advancing racial equity. Many people will finally see their window of opportunities arise.

As President Joe Biden stated, “It’s time that we build an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out. And this bill shows that when you do that, everybody does better.”

With this new plan, Americans are hopeful that the country will begin to recover from not only the consequences wrought by the traumatic pandemic but also from the period of national upheaval and unrest.  

See our related story for more insight on the American Rescue Plan.

Stimulus Checks From Government

By Carter Balbuena 含光君

The new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Stimulus Bill proposed by President Biden has been signed by the Senate and the President himself, so here’s what the bill includes:

Direct Payments

Most likely, the first thing people are wondering about is the stimulus check, specifically how much they’re getting, and if it’ll be enough to support them. Those eligible are as follows: individual people get $1,400 per person if they earn up to $75,000 per year and for couples if they earn up to $150,000 per year. This means that for a family of 4–two parents and two children–they would receive a check for $5600.

Unemployed Benefits

Now, those that are unemployed get $300 a week, which was originally proposed as $400. This will extend up to September 6, 2021.

Public and Education

Over $128 billion in grants is being given to schools, which includes funding for colleges, transit agencies, housing aid, child care providers, and food assistance. $7.5 billion is being sent to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to aid the COVID-19 Vaccines.

Other Benefits

Child tax credit has been increased to $3,000 for ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6. As for couples earning $150,000 a year and individuals earning $75,000, this amount is reduced. However, those that are eligible for full credit will get payments up to $300 per month starting July and lasting until the end of the year. Additionally, $7.25 billion is included for a small-business loan program known as PPP which allows for more nonprofits to apply and also includes larger nonprofits to be eligible.

Check out more on the American Rescue Plan and the stimulus checks.

Women’s History month Gallery

By Abby Corado

To mark International Women’s Day, the Bugle celebrates March as the month of women’s empowerment! In honor of Women’s History Month, we have a gallery of seven international female figures that have made an impact for women collectively.

Opinion: “For the People” Act a Step Forward

By Andrea Arias

The House of Representatives passed an important bill to help expand voting rights called the For the People Act, also known as H.R. 1, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. Some of the changes this bill would make include expanding the voting pool, mandating independent redistricting, ensuring voting rights, requiring presidential tax returns, and increasing election security. All of this comes after the mass amounts of voter suppression in the 2020 election, especially in states like Georgia and Arizona.

H.R. 1 will expand the access to mail-in voting and absentee voting, which were some of the ways to vote during the 2020 election. During the 2020 election, there was much controversy about mail-in voting due to misinformation and several statements made by former President Donald Trump and his campaign. Despite the misinformation, many Americans made the decision to vote from home, largely because of the pandemic. 2020 was the year with the most mail-in voting, having about 46% of voters voting from home, according to Pew Research. By making mail-in and absentee voting more accessible to Americans, it would give many people with disabilities and people out of the country the ability to vote without having to present themselves at a polling place.

H.R. 1 will also expand the voter pool, which means that it would make voting more accessible to people over the age of 18. It also includes things like automatic voter registration, restoring voting rights to people with completed felony sentences, and a reversal of state voter ID laws that would allow citizens to make a sworn statement affirming their identity if they were unable to produce an ID. With automatic voter registration, the struggle and almost endless process of applying to vote will become much simpler and quicker.

Gerrymandering is a tactic used by politicians to favor one party or the other. By doing this, the politicians are able to gain more votes in their districts and win elections much easier. While “mandating independent redistricting,” may sound crazy, it would just require states to redraw their congressional districts every 10 years. By doing this, it would lessen the influence of gerrymandering, which has long been a political tactic on both sides. While a great addition to the bill, if passed, it would not take effect until 2030 due to decennial census.

It is no secret that during Donald Trump’s presidency he hid his tax returns, never releasing them and fighting legal battles to keep them hidden. Well, H.R. 1 would require the president, vice president and candidates to the White House to release their annual tax returns. It would also require the president and vice president to fill out a financial disclosure form within 30 days of taking office. This would prevent presidents from having a financial conflict of interest like the ones with Donald Trump. This clearly seems to be the motive in adding this section to the bill.

By adding more security at the ballots it would crack down on voter intimidation tactics and the spread of misinformation. This would also hopefully make voters feel safer on their way to vote and while at the ballot. This was also a big story during the 2020 election, where many Trump supporters would stand outside polling places to prevent many people of color from entering.

H.R. 1 will also take aim at “dark money,” which would require organizations to disclose their large donors and also creates a system for small donations.

On the importance of H.R. 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated, “Our democracy is in a state of deep disrepair. During the 2020 election, Americans had to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering, and a torrent of special interest dark money just to exercise their right to vote. Across the country, people of all political persuasions — including Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — are profoundly frustrated with the chaos, corruption and inaction that plague much of our politics.”

Lastly, to ensure voting rights, H.R. 1 would, “improve voting protections that civil rights groups say have been eroded, notably by a 2013 Supreme Court decision.” The court decision mentioned is Shelby County (Alabama) v. Holder, the Supreme Court’s decisions threw out a section of the 1965 Voting Right Act which stated that states with a history of voter discrimination would have to obtain “pre-clearance” from federal officials before making election changes. By making this change, the Supreme Court has allowed many states and districts to get away with voter discrimination for years now, which this bill is trying to eradicate.

Although passing this bill would be a huge win for voters everywhere, many Democrats believe that this bill will not get past the Senate due to the very slim majority Democrats hold. Many Republicans continue to fight the simplification of the voting process, even passing laws in some states to make it more difficult to vote–the state of Georgia, for example–as well as passing several laws that would discriminate against many voters and make the application process more difficult for new voters.

Texas Battered by Snow Storm

By Mathew Ruiz

It was the week of February 13, 2021 when an unusual snowstorm hit Texas, leading to massive damages including power outages, no water, no electricity, and very limited supplies, including food.

The storm left millions of people in a very dire situation. Many of their houses’ pipes burst open causing water to gush and flood the floors. This led to the point where they had to boil water from the snow for the heat inside their homes. The storm was so bad that it also delayed the federal government’s delivery of Covid-19 vaccines which had caused many other shortages.

In one of the most unexpected snowstorms of early 2021, approximately 58 people died, including an 11-year-old boy who froze to death. The parents of this young child filed a lawsuit of $100 million dollars after not having any electricity. In Houston, a woman and her 7 year old daughter died inside her car while it was parked and running in the garage in an attempt to keep warm. Most families were cooking outside, charging phones in their car and using snow to melt and shower. All of the wild chaos made it very difficult for hospitals to take care of patients.

While some schools were open in Texas, the storm then led to them being closed for several days as their crews would have to repair pipes, damages, and clean the classrooms. The horrific snow storm temperatures were the coldest it has been since the year of 1989. Driveways were covered in snow, and without a car or road access, it was difficult for the residents of Texas to go to their grocery stores. The only way to get there was by walking. When residents could drive, the weather conditions caused more than 450 car accidents between the days of Sunday and Tuesday in the Houston area alone.

The stores looked like it was the beginning of Covid-19 all over again. There were long lines to get in, all shelves were empty, including all toilet paper and wipes. Water, first aid kits, and food were also eventually completely gone. When you’re in a situation like this, you don’t know what to do; so, some people started panicking.

Overall, around 290,000 Texas residents were left without power and more than 22 million other people across the South were put under frigid temperatures in the coldest winter of their lives.

Opinion: Biden Is A Much Needed Change

By Daisy Penaloza

The Drama is Ending

America has suffered for the last four years because of the horrendous acts of former president Trump. Trump never behaved as a president should behave–putting his country and its people first–and this was as clearly seen not only by our own country’s citizens, but by the entire world.

Trump never once did anything to save or to really help the country as a whole, but he’s surely done much to help himself and his own personal political agenda.

From deeming different groups of people as “criminals, terrorists, rapists, drug dealers,” plummeting the economy like never before, and knowing the dangers of COVID-19 yet letting it worsen, Trump made his mark as the worst president ever.

Additionally, as a result of the Trump-incited insurrection that took place on January 6 and the resulting death threats to both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. placed 25,000 National Guard troops and Secret Service, as well as other law enforcement personnel around them at the U.S. Capitol in order to ensure the safety and security of all involved on Inauguration Day.

Hope for the Future

Now that President Biden has taken office, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief as they finally have hope for a brighter and calmer future. 

President Biden receives the Covid-19 vaccine

Life still won’t be easy, and as always, it will get tough at times. But, with the help of the new president and his cabinet, our country may finally receive what it needs–unity.

Biden and Harris will have tons of work to do working to rebuild everything the previous president ruined, but it is a challenge that they both are eager to take on.

President Joe Biden has proposed some wondrous and amazing policies. First, he promised to get the raging pandemic under control. He is making public announcements asking Americans to wear masks and take precautions, and he is working to obtain vaccines and distribute them as quickly as possible. He also wants to work towards more ways to reduce climate change, empower and protect women, and even advance LGBTQ+ equality!

Even though our leadership has finally changed, this is not the time for complacency. 

The fight for our rights is over when the need for a fight is over.

For more information on President Biden’s plans and policies, check out his official campaign website.

Opinion Column: Chaos with Coney Barrett

by  Angelina Carranza

Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to be a new justice of the Supreme Court. Within the court, she can pass legislation and vote to overturn laws that are in place. According to an article for NBC News, some of her rulings may affect the LGBTQ+ Community and women’s rights in the state of Pennsylvania and possibly other parts of the country.

One upcoming case is Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. This involves whether or not a child welfare service needs to work with same sex couples. These changes could bring total chaos to the state. This is an injustice to these two communities because of how hard they’ve fought for their rights. If Justice Barrett eliminates the ability for same sex couples to adopt, it will destroy families.

This same NBC article also mentions that several years ago, Barrett worked against same sex marriages, too. So she doesn’t even want same sex couples to be allowed to marry. Why would anyone want to take away the right of marriage for people who love each other?

Abortion rights is another issue that Barrett seems to oppose. It’s a woman’s right and choice whether or not to eliminate an unplanned pregnancy. This topic includes lots of different situations such as young females who get their menstrual cycles at early ages and who get sexually assaulted. These young girls are at an age where their bodies haven’t reached full capacity, and carrying and delivering a baby could cause them real harm or even bring about their death.

How is it possible for this new Supreme Court judge to take away rights so easily when they were so difficult to acquire?

These are basic human rights that people have fought hard to obtain. I would hope that a woman like Amy Coney Barrett would know how important basic women’s rights are. I don’t understand why she wants to stop other females from exercising their rights when it’s not her choice or her decision? She should not allow her own opinions to influence her rulings. She should not take something away from females or other people just because she doesn’t personally agree or like it.

Both the LGBTQ+ community and the community of women fought for their human rights, and they all still live in a country where their voices are able to be heard. They, and everyone, have the right to be free and to express themselves. So, why does Barrett want to come into office and take away these rights?

Covid-19 Vaccine Timeline

By Monserrat Juarez

The CDC announced that Pfizer and Moderna will be releasing their vaccines to healthcare workers and nursing home residents starting this month. There is a timeline that experts want to follow and it looks like this:

  • December: Healthcare workers and nursing home residents will probably receive the first vaccinations. 40 million doses will be available, so only 20 million people can receive the vaccine because after a few weeks, those people who received the vaccine will have to get another dose.

  • January: 40 million doses will be available so only 20 million people can receive the vaccine because after a few weeks, those people who received the vaccine will have to get another dose. By early 2021, there will be about 70 million doses available for 35 million people. At this point, healthcare workers are still going to be top priority.

  • February and March: People over 65 years of age, people with medical conditions that put them at risk because of infection, and essential workers in education, food, transportation, and law enforcement.

  • April-June: Nonessential workers that are younger than 65 years old will probably start receiving the vaccine. It is expected that the majority of Americans will already be vaccinated by summer’s end.

According to this timeline, the CDC predicts that large gatherings will be more safe by the summer. However, this does not mean that people should simply go out to eat carelessly because there is still risk.

Post-Election Update: Transfer of Power

By Edmund Shryock

As the closely viewed 2020 Election comes to a close, Joe Biden was projected as the President Elect. Now all eyes are focused on President Trump and what he does in these final months of his Presidency. Here are 5 key events in the typical Presidential transition of power:

  1. Conceding the Race- The first steps in the Presidential transition of power would take place on or around election night. This would be when the losing opponent in the election would concede the election to the winner. However, Donald Trump has not officially conceded in the 2020 election and is holding recounts and lawsuits within the major swing states. One of the many things Trump tweeted came on November 23, when he wrote, “Will never concede to fake ballots.” Even though conceding an election has been a tradition, it is not required by law. However, maybe Trump will change his mind and drop the recounts before election day on January 20, 2021.
  2. The Dispute Deadline- December 8th, 2020. All state recounts and court cases over the presidential election results must be completed by this date. This will be crucial due to President Trump having multiple court cases and disputes in several swing states. Perhaps this will be the end to the Trump Administrations fight on the 2020 election results.
  3. The Gathering of the Electors- On December 14 2020, electors in each state meet and formally cast their ballots for the President and the Vice President. They will send copies of each ballot to the President of the Senate (who is the Vice-President). This will be a formal way of giving the electoral votes to each candidate and one of the final steps in the transition of power.
  4. Intelligence Reports and a New Cabinet- In the past when a winner is projected, they will start to get de-briefed on national security and pandemic responses. This will allow the President Elect and Vice President Elect to be ready when taking office on January 20th. However, President-Elect Biden is tasked with appointing new people to fill in national jobs such as Secretary of State and Attorney General. This will replace the numerous spots that are currently held by Trump appointed officials. This is one of the main reasons why there is a huge gap in between Election Day and Inauguration Day. However, Biden has just recently started to get briefed and pick his cabinet which puts him behind the average President-Elect’s progress.
  5. Inauguration Day- The current situation in Washington may leave numerous people divided and unsure about the results of the 2020 election. However, one thing that is for sure is that somebody is going to be sworn in on January 20, 2021. If Joe Biden is sworn in, it is tradition that the loser of the election will attend the inauguration. However, Americans are still unsure if Trump will attend the ceremony. On this day, this will draw the end to the transition of power and the beginning of a new Presidency. 

The transition of power is a key in upholding our nation’s democracy that Americans have upheld since 1776. Even though the 2020 election consisted of vigorous attacks from both sides of the political spectrum, leaving the country divided, January 20 will be a day that Americans will hopefully come together and unite behind their President, especially during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

The Silverado Burns

By Paul Kang

The Silverado Fire began its journey on October 26, 2020 at 6:47 a.m. A blaze sparked causing a fire on a vegetable farm. More than 500 firemen arrived for battle as the fire burned and consumed the land. The high winds made containing the fire extremely difficult.

As more and more people evacuated, more and more firemen came in to try and put it out. Tens of acres burned, but as time passed, that number increased to hundreds, then thousands. The firefighters were spread thin across the lands as the winds blew on.

More than 14,000 acres burned as only 60% of the fire was contained. More than 70,000 people in Irvine had to evacuate and another 9,500 in Lake Forest had been ordered to move. There was smoke and ash everywhere, and the wind blew burning debris towards the cities. Everything was grey and dark; the sun was covered, and ash settled on everything it could find.

By November 7 the fire was out, having finally been fully contained. In the end, two firemen were injured, five structures were burned, and nine more structures were damaged. Overall, the firefighters–our guardians–did a great job of protecting the community.

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