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“I think this is just as much about a shortage in labor supply as it is about a shortage of labor demand.”

Economist Jason Fuhrman on the lower than expected job creation in April.

May 7, 2021

“This is not the end of days.”

Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell on the debris from a Chinese rocket that's expected to fall to Earth around …

May 7, 2021

“It will also support the return to a more normal life for our children, who have had such a hard time over the past …”

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, on the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for Canadian children …

May 7, 2021

“The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of …”

Derek Chauvin's defense attorney in motion for a new trial, less than two weeks after his client was convicted of …

May 5, 2021

“I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s request …”

Peloton’s CEO John Foley in a joint statement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announcing the voluntary …

May 5, 2021

“Prices have just shot up astronomically.”

Gary Hineman, Delaware County Supply Company, on skyrocketing lumber prices.

May 4, 2021

“That could be a game changer.”

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on an experimental antiviral pill to treat COVID-19.

May 3, 2021

“Every indication from our perspective was this was a smuggling vessel”

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jeff Stephenson, on a capsized boat off the California coast; 3 people died, 27 hospitalized.

May 3, 2021

“As the saying goes, dig the well before you’re thirsty. But we didn’t do that.”

Business owner Rajabhau Shinde runs an oxygen cylinder factory in India – the new epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 3, 2021

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On This Day

The First Mother’s Day

All About Flags…Not Flowers

On This Day

“I…direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

Pres. Woodrow Wilson declaring the first national "Mother's Day" on May 9, 1914, but the campaign for it began years earlier.

On This Day

The Daughter Behind Mother’s Day
  • Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her own mother, who founded “Mothers' Day Work Clubs” to teach health and sanitation to mothers in the Appalachian communities during the 1860s.
  • Jarvis' mother also cared for both Union and Confederate soldiers, and formed "Mothers Friendship Day" to encourage reconciliation after the Civil War.
  • After her mother's death, Jarvis began a campaign to honor mothers. She held the first Mother's Day celebration to honor her mother (and all mothers) in West Virginia in 1908 and two years later the state declared it a holiday.

On This Day

By the 1920s, mothers nationwide were showered with candy, flowers, cards, & other gifts to celebrate Mother’s Day, but Jarvis grew frustrated with the commercialization of the holiday, that she intended as a day to honor the role mothers play in the family, church, and community. She spent the rest of her life fighting against its commercial success because she wanted it a "to be a day of sentiment, not profit."

May 7, 2021

sources

Health

Call it "Vitamin G"

A new study says gardening may have the same benefits as jogging or cycling.
Why researchers say a green thumb may lead to a healthier heart.

Health

"This is the first time the 'dose response' to gardening has been tested and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden - the greater the health benefits. In fact gardening every day has the same positive impact on wellbeing than undertaking regular, vigorous exercise like cycling or running."

Lead author Dr. Lauriane Chalmin-Pui, Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) wellbeing fellow, on a new study "Why garden? – Attitudes and the perceived health benefits of home gardening."

Health

The Basics:

  • Who: Study by University of Sheffield, the University of Virginia, and the Royal Horticulturist Society.
  • What & Where: Research collected through an online survey of UK residents: 5,766 gardeners and 249 non-gardeners.
  • Findings: The higher your "dose" of gardening (2-3 times a week) the greater the benefit participants reported - including "reductions in perceived stress, increased subjective well-being and increased self-reported physical activity levels."

Health

"It feels to me like the gold rush..."

Nikos Kavanya, a purchaser for Fedco Seeds, a Maine seed & supply company founded in 1978, describing the insatiable demand for online seed purchases during the COVID-19 pandemic as Americans stayed closer to home. Kavanya says online orders this February typically reached their daily limit 10 minutes after opening.

Health

Consider the Source:

The UK's Royal Horticultural Society, the study's sponsor, is "the world's leading gardening charity." That doesn't mean the study isn't useful or interesting, but it's always important to know the "root" (pun intended!) of the research.

May 6, 2021

sources

Current Events

Who Are The Gatekeepers?

An "independent board" decides the fate of a former U.S. president on social media platforms with billions of users worldwide.
Who They Are & Why It Matters

Current Events

"The Board has upheld Facebook’s decision on January 7, 2021, to restrict then-President Donald Trump’s access to posting content on his Facebook page and Instagram account. However, it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension."

The Board upheld the suspension (for now) but ordered Facebook to review it within six months to determine & justify a "proportionate response" consistent with the rules applied to other users and its policy recommendations.

Current Events

BACKSTORY

  • Jan 6 & 7: Facebook deemed former Pres. Trump in violation of its policies due to his posts about the Capitol Hill riot & election results.
  • The posts were removed and he was suspended. The next day, the suspension was extended "indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks."
  • Jan 21: Facebook's Oversight Board accepted a referral from Facebook seeking a review of the indefinite suspension.

Current Events

Facebook Oversight Board

  • Independent body created and funded by Facebook (through an endowment managed by trustees) to navigate difficult content decisions.
  • "The board operates like a Supreme Court for content" (Wall Street Journal) issuing rulings on what content Facebook & Instagram should allow or remove "based on respect for freedom of expression and human rights."
  • The board issues decisions & can make content policy recommendations, which Facebook must implement within a week.

Current Events

The Board Members:

  • Currently made up of 20 members (could vary from 11 - 40 members) initially chosen by Facebook "for the diversity of their expertise and the quality of their judgment."
  • Experts in a range of fields such as journalism, constitutional law, & freedom of expression.
  • Members come from across the globe, incl. the U.S., Kenya, Taiwan, Pakistan, etc.
  • In January 2021, the board issued its first 5 rulings (overturning 4 of Facebook’s decisions) and 9 policy recommendations.

Current Events

The Decision-Making Process:

  • Once the board decides to take up a case (via referrals from Facebook or appeals from users), that case is assigned to a panel of five of its members; we won't know which five.
  • The panel examines whether the content at issue violates Facebook's Community Standards or human rights standards, and considers information from Facebook, the user, public comments and outside experts.
  • The panel presents its decision to the full board for review. The board's final decision is binding.

Current Events

Something To Consider:

  • Your First Amendment right to free speech applies to govt. censorship – NOT social media sites run by private companies.
  • Social media sites are free to set their own rules (to which users agree when they sign up) about what type of content is allowed.
  • Federal law allows companies to take “good faith” actions to restrict access to excessively violent, obscene, or “otherwise objectionable" content regardless of whether it's constitutionally protected - this may include prohibitions against false or misleading posts.

Current Events

This case is not important simply because of former Pres. Trump, but also because of the precedent it sets for other high-profile users, world leaders, as well as Facebook's 2.85+ billion users and Instagram's 1+ billion users.

May 5, 2021

sources

Current Events

The Final Drawdown

Taliban attacks continue as the United States begins its final withdrawal from the site of America's longest war.
Afghanistan's president calls this period "a moment of risk and opportunity."
What To Know & Why It Matters

Current Events

What's Happening

  • An agreement during previous negotiations among the Taliban, Afghan government, and the U.S. under the Trump administration set May 1, 2021 as the date for full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • The Biden administration called the date "hard to meet" and delayed full withdrawal to September 11, 2021 despite Taliban protests.
  • The drawdown of America's estimated 2,500 remaining troops has begun; the U.S. is packing up supplies & soldiers and handing over bases to the Afghan government.

Current Events

"The withdrawal also represents an opportunity for the Afghan people to achieve real sovereignty ... As we prepare for peace talks with the Taliban, we are also prepared to face them on the battlefield."

Afghanistan Pres. Ashraf Ghani says "integration of the Taliban into society and government is the only way forward," but the Taliban must meet demands they haven't in the past - for example, they must "address ongoing connections to al Qaeda," accept democratic elections and "uphold the rights" of women & minorities.

Current Events

“... we are about to go into a system of power. You have to be well prepared. I wish successes for you in all your duties.”

The Taliban's deputy emir, Sirajuddin Haqqani, in a recorded audio message translated by The Long War Journal's Tom Joscelyn - who reports the Taliban are preparing a judicial system to enforce Islamic rule in Afghanistan just as they maintained prior to the war. Haqqani is designated a terrorist by the United Nations & is on the F.B.I.'s "Most Wanted List" for his associations with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Current Events

"... We've seen nothing thus far that has affected the drawdown or -- or had any significant impact on the -- the mission at hand in Afghanistan."

U.S. Dept. of Defense Press. Sec. John Kirby in response to a question about recent "deadly Taliban attacks" as America began its final drawdown on May 1st. The Taliban is reportedly behind a truck bomb that killed 21 people and injured dozens of others, as well as a rocket attack at an important American airfield; America retaliated against a Taliban position.

Current Events

Why This Matters: A Taliban-controlled Afghanistan provided safe haven for al-Qaeda as it planned the 9/11 terrorist attacks and propagated terrorist ideology worldwide, which spawned other attacks. A looming question remains on how the absence of U.S. troops will impact the security of America, innocent Afghan people and others elsewhere. Nearly 3,000 Americans died on 9/11; over 2,000 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan and more than 20,000 injured.

May 4, 2021

sources

Quote of the Day

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”

Audrey Hepburn

Quote of the Day

On this day in 1929, Audrey Hepburn was born in Belgium. She studied ballet from a young age while growing up in the Netherlands during World War II, before shifting her focus to acting. Both a humanitarian and fashion icon, she is best known for roles in films including "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "Roman Holiday," and "My Fair Lady." Hepburn spent her later years working as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, a charity dedicated to serving children living in poverty around the world.

May 4, 2021

sources

Health

Everyday Danger?

Questions swirl about child safety after a warning to families about a popular at-home treadmill.
What household items pose a threat to your children?
Here's what we discovered...

Health

Backstory:

  • An independent federal agency, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Comm. (CPSC), "urges" Americans to stop using the Peloton Tread+ b/c it poses "serious risks" to children - such as abrasions, fractures & death.
  • "39 incidents including one death"...from "becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under" the Peloton Tread+ (CPSC).
  • Peloton calls CPSC's statement "inaccurate and misleading," reminding all users to remove the device's safety key when not in use.

Health

Context:

Approx. 48 million = children under the age of 11 in America.
2,000 = reported treadmill injuries among children 8 and under in 2019.
Any loss of life is significant. Considering the rarity of this injury, we wanted to *also* ask:
After a year where many families spent more time at home than ever before, what does the data show about common dangers for children in every household?

Health

TIP-OVERS

  • Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in U.S. kids (CDC).
  • Tip-over accidents involving furniture, TVs & appliances sent an estimated 11,300 children on average to the ER each year and reportedly killed 469 children ( 1 month to 14 years old) from 2000 - 2019 (CPSC).
  • PREVENTION TIP: CPSC recommends anchoring down household items such as dressers, bookcases, TVs, TV stands and beyond.

Health

BURNS

  • 300+ U.S. children visit the ER daily for burn-related injuries & 2 die each day (CDC).
  • Burns from tap water cause more hospitalizations & deaths than burns from other hot liquids.
  • About 75% of children's scalding burns caused by hot liquids or steam are preventable (Johns Hopkins).
  • PREVENTION TIP: CDC recommends setting your water heater thermostat to 120°F or lower.

Health

PLANTS?

  • Poison incidents send 300+ U.S. children to the ER daily and two die each day (CDC).
  • Many result from medicines, cosmetics, or cleaning products, but plants rank #10 on the list of top pediatric poison exposures from kiddos ingesting houseplants (National Poison Data System).
  • PREVENTION TIP: Do a simple "background check" on your plants before bringing them home, especially if you have small children and pets.

Health

The last comprehensive report by the CDC on household injuries and children was issued in 2008! We reached out to the CDC to see if there's any updated *definitive* data.

Meanwhile, a federal class action lawsuit was filed against Peloton, accusing the company of selling and marketing the Tread+ "as safe and appropriate for use by families in the home, even though its design makes it inherently and uniquely dangerous to children."

May 3, 2021

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videos

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read: quick quotes

view all

“I think this is just as much about a shortage in labor supply as it is about a shortage of labor demand.”

Economist Jason Fuhrman on the lower than expected job creation in April.

May 7, 2021


“This is not the end of days.”

Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell on the debris from a Chinese rocket that's expected to fall to Earth around …

May 7, 2021


“It will also support the return to a more normal life for our children, who have had such a hard time over the past …”

Dr. Supriya Sharma, chief medical adviser at Health Canada, on the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for Canadian children …

May 7, 2021


“The cumulative effect of the multiple errors in these proceedings deprived Mr. Chauvin of a fair trial, in violation of …”

Derek Chauvin's defense attorney in motion for a new trial, less than two weeks after his client was convicted of …

May 5, 2021


“I want to be clear, Peloton made a mistake in our initial response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s request …”

Peloton’s CEO John Foley in a joint statement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announcing the voluntary …

May 5, 2021


“Prices have just shot up astronomically.”

Gary Hineman, Delaware County Supply Company, on skyrocketing lumber prices.

May 4, 2021


“That could be a game changer.”

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla on an experimental antiviral pill to treat COVID-19.

May 3, 2021


“Every indication from our perspective was this was a smuggling vessel”

U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jeff Stephenson, on a capsized boat off the California coast; 3 people died, 27 hospitalized.

May 3, 2021


“As the saying goes, dig the well before you’re thirsty. But we didn’t do that.”

Business owner Rajabhau Shinde runs an oxygen cylinder factory in India – the new epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic.

May 3, 2021


“The common denominator through here is to engage China from a position of strength.”

Ambassador Erica Barks-Ruggles on a specific G7 meeting on China.

May 3, 2021


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