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Now You Know

STAYING WATER WISE THIS SUMMER

In the wake of a high-profile investigation into what police call an accidental drowning, a look at why you should be extra careful in the water at this time of year.

Now You Know

“There are a lot of currents on the lake that appear typically in the afternoon. We believe it was mid-afternoon when she disappeared, the idea being that the boat started drifting, it was unanchored and that she mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself.”

Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub on recovering the body of Naya Rivera, who police believe died last week in an accidental drowning on a California lake.
Now You Know

WHAT TO KNOW:
Drowning

July: the deadliest month for drowning

  • Drowning is the #1 cause of accidental deaths in children ages 1 to 4.
  • For all ages, drowning is the #5 cause of accidental deaths.
  • Men & boys are more likely to drown; 80% of deaths are male.
  • Alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of drowning deaths.
Now You Know

WHAT TO KNOW:
Water-Associated Disease Outbreaks

Most common during July

  • CDC Study: From 2000 to 2014, there were 140 water-associated outbreaks linked to fresh / marine waters (lakes, rivers, oceans). 60% started in July.
  • Outbreaks caused nearly 5,000 illnesses & 2 fatalities.
Now You Know

Especially as we seek social distance activities outdoors due to COVID-19: P.A.U.S.E. BEFORE YOU DIP YOUR TOES IN: Pay attention to signs and caution warnings. Avoid night swimming. Use life jackets or flotation devices when possible. Swim with at least one other adult. Enjoy alcoholic beverages sparingly.

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Now You Know

“MAKING HISTORY!”

Lt j.g. Madeline Swegle is the first African-American woman to become a tactical aircraft pilot in the 100+ years of the U.S. Navy.

Now You Know

Backstory

  • Lt j.g. Madeline Swegle graduated from the Naval Academy in 2017.
  • She completed tactical aircraft (“TACAIR”) training last week and will earn her “Wings of Gold” next month, recognizing her as a qualified Naval aviator.
  • Next, she’ll be assigned a “platform” – a tactical aircraft – to continue her training.
Now You Know

The platforms include  F-18E/F “Super Hornet" (fighter attack aircraft), E-18G “Growler" (an electronic attack aircraft), or F35 “Lightning” (a fighter aircraft). This means after successfully completing additional training, Swegle *could* indeed become a U.S. Navy fighter pilot.

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On This Day

July 11, 1804

The Duel

Alexander Hamilton

Aaron Burr

Who Lives, Who Dies,
Who Tells The Story.

On This Day

Who & What

Who: Aaron Burr was Vice President of the United States under Pres. Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton was a “Founding Father,” the first U.S. Treasury Secretary and a powerful political figure. Both veterans of the Revolutionary War.

What: A duel. Dueling was illegal in New York and New Jersey, but NJ had a reputation for more leniency.

On This Day

Where & When

Where: Weehawken, New Jersey (across the Hudson River from New York City) in the early hours of July 11th, 1804

When: Each man left New York City from separate docks at 5 a.m.. Four men rowed them across the Hudson River.

On This Day

Why?

  • No one knows why specifically.
  • Over the years, their political differences put them on a collision course. Hamilton supported Jefferson who defeated Burr for the presidency. Hamilton also supported Burr’s opponent for NY governor.
  • Reportedly one particularly bad insult by Hamilton about Burr at a dinner sparked the face-off, but the exact comment remains a mystery.
On This Day

The Night Before

“But you had rather I should die inno⟨c⟩ent than live guilty. … God’s Will be done. The will of a merciful God must be good.”

Alexander Hamilton to his wife, Elizabeth (Eliza) the night before his duel to Aaron Burr, where he insinuates he doesn’t want to kill Burr. Conflicting accounts exist of who shot first and whether Hamilton missed on purpose.
On This Day

The Day After

  • Alexander Hamilton dies at 2 pm on July 12th.
  • Benjamin Moore, Episcopal bishop of New York delivered communion to him before his death.
  • Moore wrote an account that evening, relaying Hamilton said before he died: “I have no ill will against Col. Burr. I met him with a fixed resolution to do him no harm. I forgive all that happened.”
On This Day

“Let those who are disposed to justify the practice of duelling, be induced, by this simple narrative, to view with abhorrence that custom which has occasioned in irreparable loss to a worthy and most afflicted family: which has deprived his friends of a beloved companion, his profession of one of its brightest ornaments, and his country of a great statesman and a real patriot.”

Benjamin Moore
On This Day

Burr continued to serve as VP until 1805 and was never convicted for the crime. 200 years later, a Broadway musical "Hamilton" put the two men back in the spotlight again in their former home of New York City. Hamilton, the musical, just debuted on Disney's streaming service.

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Now You Know

One of the most famous men in American history had private family scrapbooks you will soon see for yourself.

The amazing story of the Frederick Douglass collection.

Now You Know

Frederick Douglass

  • Born into slavery 1818; escaped to Massachusetts as a young man.
  • Self-educated, he became a powerful writer, journalist, and speaker.
  • One of the most significant abolitionists in American history.
  • Publisher of “The North Star,” an anti-slavery newspaper published in New York and read around the world.
  • The most-photographed American of any race in the 19th century.
Now You Know

The Scrapbooks

  • 9 private family scrapbooks of articles, photographs, personal letters arranged by Douglass’ three sons in the years after the Civil War, referred to as “the most extraordinary private collection of Douglass manuscript material in the world.”
  • Yale University recently acquired the collection, says will put the contents online for all to see (and read) first-hand.
Now You Know

“Scholars, researchers, students and the world should have access to it.”

Dr. Walter Evans, a retired surgeon, is a leading private collector of African-American art, writing, and artifacts. He owned the collection before Yale and says of Douglass: "You can't just say he was an editor or just an abolitionist or just a politician because he was just so much more than that." Douglass inspired many with his personal story, but also became a leading activist before, during & after the Civil War.
Now You Know

A historian describes Douglass' famous July 5, 1852 speech on American independence: “He rips the throats out of his audience, before lifting them up at the end. He says ‘It’s not quite too late. Your nation is still young, still malleable. It’s still possible to save yourselves.’” -- Read it:

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On This Day

July 9, 1819

The man who invented the sewing machine was born.

His idea was revered, rejected and finally embraced, changing the world forever.

On This Day

Elias Howe

  • Born in Massachusetts.
  • He created the concept while working in a machinist shop; demonstrated & patented the sewing machine in 1846 but he couldn’t gain momentum.
  • Howe traveled to England to promote his invention to no avail.
  • Meanwhile, several U.S. companies started making sewing machines.
  • Howe, near broke, sued for illegal use of his patent and won.

 

On This Day

“The mechanical sewing machine was one in a series of technological innovations that transformed the nature of work over the course of the nineteenth century…By 1900, most Americans employed in manufacturing no longer worked at home with their hands but in centralized factories with powered machinery.”

The Library of Congress noting women & children started entering the workforce.
On This Day

One of America's largest retailers Wal-Mart, said demand for sewing machines and do-it-yourself projects have increased during the pandemic. Interesting to Note: Howe's legal victories made him a millionaire. He supported a regiment of Union troops during the Civil War, serving himself.

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Politics

THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

In the wake of this week’s historic Supreme Court decision, here’s a look at the uniquely American institution that shapes how the U.S. elects a president.

Politics

How It Works:

  • When you vote this November, you won’t *really* vote for president and VP. You’ll vote for a slate of electors.
  • Electoral College members pledge to vote for the candidates that win the popular vote in your state.
  • The Electoral College has 538 electors. It takes 270 to win the presidency. If there’s a tie, the House of Representatives decides winner.
Politics

Origins & Evolution

  • Deciding how America would vote for pres. & vice pres. was tough for the U.S. founders who considered many options – some wanted Congress to decide, some wanted a popular vote. The compromise: the Electoral College at the 1787 Constitutional Convention.
  • The only constitutional requirement – electors can’t serve in federal gov’t.
  • Did You Know? Until 1804, electors only voted for pres. and runner-up got VP.
Politics

Electoral College Today

  • Every state receives the # of electors equal to its # of representatives (based on population) & senators (two). D.C., which has 0 votes in Congress, has 3.
  • State laws govern who can serve and state political parties nominate electors.
  • In most states, electors make a pledge that they’ll vote for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in their state.
Politics

This Week’s Case

  • Most states, but not all, legally require electors to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote.
  • Some of those states impose penalties, or disqualify those who don’t vote as pledged – a.k.a “faithless electors.”
  • The Supreme Court heard challenges to two state laws penalizing “faithless electors” from Colorado & Washington who voted OPPOSITE the popular vote of their state during the 2016 election.
Politics

“The Constitution’s text and the Nation’s history both support allowing a State to enforce an elector’s pledge to support his party’s nominee—and the state voters’ choice—for President.”

Justice Elena Kagan, writing the court's unanimous opinion, which held that states may require electors to vote for the candidate they pledged to support and penalize those "faithless electors" who don't. The decision notes that "faithless electors" have never impacted the outcome of an election.
Politics

Alexander Hamilton wrote that the Electoral College was not perfect, but "excellent." Many disagreed then & many still do. A Supreme Court ruling allowing electors to go "rogue" could have strengthened the argument for those who want to abolish the Electoral College for the popular vote (which would require a constitutional amendment).

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Now You Know

While Americans celebrated Independence Day at home, two U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups sailed together in the South China Sea — in the name of “freedom.”

What To Know

Now You Know

What Happened?

Two U.S. aircraft carriers – the USS Nimitz & USS Ronald Reagan – and their supporting ships/aircrafts conducted military exercises on July 4th in the South China Sea.

Days earlier, the Chinese Navy held its own military exercises.

Both sides accuse the other of disrupting peace and security in the region.

Now You Know

“These efforts support enduring U.S. commitments to stand up for the right of all nations to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows.”

U.S. Navy Commander, Task Force 70 / Carrier Strike Group 5 Public Affairs, on the military exercises by the carrier strike groups. The last time two aircraft carriers were in this region at the same time was 4 years ago to show support for America's allies, as China claims this strategically-important and disputed waterway.
Now You Know

“…the U.S. deliberately dispatched massive forces to conduct large-scale military exercises in the relevant waters of the South China Sea to flex its military muscle.”

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian. The U.S. Navy has held military exercises in this region before, including only a week prior. Chinese officials reportedly warned such actions by the U.S. "...could very easily spark an unforeseen incident."
Now You Know

Overview: South China Sea

  • South China Sea is a major strategic waterway for both global trade AND defense.
  • *At least* 5 countries claim parts of the South China Sea (including Philippines & Vietnam).
  • China has not only claimed and aggressively patrolled this area, but also built islands for military installations in what the U.S. and others consider international waters.
Now You Know

Why It Matters:

International waters are generally considered anything beyond 12 nautical miles off the coast of a nation.

This insures freedom of the navigation as no single nation “owns” the sea.

China’s claim to territory far off their coastline conflicts with internationally-accepted norms, and reflects a more aggressive military posture.

Now You Know

The U.S. is one of the few nations in the world with aircraft carriers in its fleet, with a total of 12 -- more than any other nation. China has two in operation and is working on bringing others into its fleet. READ MORE about a near collision at sea between the two countries:

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Quote of the Day

“Live your life.”

Quote of the Day

After 3 mos. battling COVID-19 Broadway performer Nick Cordero, 41, passed away. His wife, Amanda, updated & inspired many with her positive, faith-filled posts (w/their infant son Elvis) & #WakeUpNick movement of supporters singing Nick's song "Live your life." CDC: The median age for U.S. COVID-19 cases is 48.

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Now You Know

Why we celebrate America’s independence on July 4 INSTEAD of July 2, August 2 or September 3

Now You Know

Why July 4?

Independence Day celebrates the *adoption* of the Declaration of Independence — not its signing.

During the summer of 1776. the Second Continental Congress was busy at work:

  • voted for independence on July 2
  • adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4
  • signed the document on August 2
Now You Know

July 2, 1776

  • The Second Continental Congress (delegates from the 13 colonies) met in Philadelphia and voted to approve the resolution for independence on July 2, 1776, declaring freedom from Great Britain. John Hancock later signed first.
  • Fun Fact: John Adams made it clear he thought July 2 should be the celebratory day, writing in a July 3, 1776 letter that it will become “the most memorable” day in America’s history.
Now You Know

August 2, 1776

  • The Declaration (dated July 4) did not became official until it was signed by most of the the Second Continental Congress on August 2, 1776.
  • Why It Matters: In addition to proclaiming that “all men are created equal” endowed with rights including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” the Declaration allowed the 13 colonies to secure assistance from France in the Revolutionary War.
Now You Know

September 3, 1783

  • Although 4th of July festivities are recorded dating back to 1777, and other nations acknowledged America’s independence, Great Britain did not officially recognize our independence until a September 3, 1783 treaty.
  • Big Picture: Even after the Declaration of Independence was signed, colonists continued to fight for 7+ years for Great Britain to acknowledge their autonomy.
Now You Know

DID YOU KNOW? Although July 4th has long been one of America's most-celebrated secular holidays, it's only been a federal holiday for 150 years. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill into law establishing the first federal holidays - including New Year’s Day, Independence Day, and Christmas Day - on June 28, 1870.

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Current Events

The Longest War

Reports of “bounties” for the killing of U.S. soldiers serving in America’s longest war.

What To Know

Current Events

Big Picture: Afghanistan

  • The Taliban controls more territory in Afghanistan now than at any other time in America’s longest war.
  • In February, the U.S. signed a “peace deal” with the Taliban based on certain conditions that *could* lead to the withdrawal of American forces.
  • A recent State Dept. assessment says the Taliban and other al-Qaeda-linked groups continue violent attacks despite the deal’s terms.
Current Events

Reports: What To Know

  • Several media outlets recently released stories about a Russian military agency paying “Taliban-linked” militants to kill American soldiers.
  • All reports *cite anonymous sources.*
  • Reports: U.S. intel identified money flowing from Russian military to Taliban accounts “most likely” connected to bounties.
  • Reports: A car bomb that killed 3 Marines last year suspected to be part of bounty.

 

Current Events

“There was not a consensus among the intelligence community. And, in fact, there were dissenting opinions within the intelligence community, and it would not be elevated to the president until it was verified.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany during an afternoon briefing Monday. The White House continues to call the reports "unverified."
Current Events

“I do not understand for a moment why the president is not saying this to the American people right now and is relying on ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I haven’t heard,’ ‘I haven’t been briefed.’ That is just not excusable.”

Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Ca) as reports, referencing the anonymous officials, cite the President heard of these reports in February.
Current Events

“We are still investigating the alleged intelligence referenced in recent media reporting, and we will brief the president and congressional leaders at the appropriate time. This is the analytic process working the way it should. Unfortunately, unauthorized disclosures now jeopardize our ability to ever find out the full story with respect to these allegations.”

Dir. of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe
Current Events

The Politics

The President’s critics point to the story as highlighting further evidence that the President isn’t tough enough on Russia.

The President’s allies say this story lacks evidence and serves as another attempt to hurt the President by tying him to false allegations of Russian collusion.

Current Events

America entered Afghanistan because the Taliban provided al-Qaeda a safe harbor to organize, train, and plot September 11th terror attacks. A shooting on a Navy base in Florida last year was recently tied to al-Qaeda. Read more on our source page.

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Quote of the Day

“Enjoy the good times, and walk away from the bumps. That’s it. Even failures can turn into something positive if you just keep going.”

Quote of the Day

The Hollywood pioneer who said laughter was his "first priority" died at 98. The legendary writer, director, producer, & actor was known for his various comedic roles & creations, including The Dick Van Dyke Show & The Ocean's 11 series. Read more on who helped him live his "best life."

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On This Day

June 30, 1864

During the height of the Civil War, Pres. Abraham Lincoln turns his gaze west, granting Yosemite Valley to California, with the specific orders to preserve it for future generations of Americans.

On This Day

“I have seen persons of emotional temperament stand with tearful eyes, spellbound and dumb with awe, as they got their first view of the Valley from Inspiration Point, overwhelmed in the sudden presence of the unspeakable, stupendous grandeur.”

The first guardian of the Yosemite Grant, Galen Clark helped oversee the land known later as Yosemite National Park. Yosemite was the name of the local Native American tribe in the area.
On This Day

The Early Years

  • The Gold Rush led to conflict between settlers and Native American tribes.
  • A “Yosemite Board of Commissioners” was named to both preserve the land and make it accessible for recreation.
  • 1865: The man responsible for designing NYC’s Central Park, Frederick Law Olmsted, filed a report on Yosemite valley & nearby “Big Tree Grove” of ancient sequoia trees, raising concerns about how visitors impacting the area.
On This Day

“Nearly all the park is a profound solitude. Yet it is full of charming company, full of God’s thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and eager enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons on life, mountain-building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stones, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful of humanity.”

Naturalist John Muir
On This Day

By the 1870s, there were already concerns about too many visitors impacting Yosemite. Muir was one of the many voices who argued (successfully) for Yosemite to become a National Park in 1890 - the third in the nation after Yellowstone and Sequoia.

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