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The Bottom Line

Bipartisan lawmakers raise questions about a $1.9 trillion economic “rescue plan” by the new White House.

What To Know
Why It Matters

Current Events

“Without decisive action, we risk falling into a very serious economic hole, even more serious than the crisis we find ourselves in.”

Pres. Biden's National Economic Council Director Brian Deese. The $1.9 trillion proposal includes some elements, but different price tags, from previous plans: $1400 stimulus checks for those within a certain income level, $350 billion for states and local areas, and added unemployment benefits.
Current Events

“There are still a lot of unanswered questions, most notably, how did the administration come up with $1.9 trillion dollars required, given that our figures show that there’s still about $1.8 trillion left to be spent.”

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). Prior to this economic proposal, lawmakers have already passed $3+ trillion in stimulus.
Current Events

“This may end up hurting the exact people we’re trying to help more than anyone else.”

Chief investment strategist of the Leuthold Group, Jim Paulsen, on the potential impact of too much stimulus money leading to unintended consequences (like inflation). Paulsen worries “the overuse and abuse of economic policy” could lead to a recession in 2022 or 2023.
Current Events

BIG PICTURE

  • America remains 10 million jobs short since the pandemic began.
  • Overall, although challenged, American consumers continue to save *and* spend their money.
  • While certain industries have been negatively impacted (hospitality), others have thrived (housing).
  • Economic recovery is important. A large sum of stimulus *will* have impact. The question: Is the stimulus needed NOW & in this AMOUNT?
Current Events

“This isn’t Monopoly money. Every dollar that we’re talking about here is being borrowed from our grandchildren. We have a responsibility to be stewards," said Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses w/ the Democrats. The Biden admin says it wants a vote on the stimulus bill in the next week or so, prior to the impeachment trial.

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Quote of the Day

“525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in the life? How about love? …Seasons of love.”

Quote of the Day

Larson wrote these lyrics for the famous Broadway play "Rent"- a retelling of the opera "La Boheme" - in NYC during the HIV epidemic. Larson, 35, died from an aortic aneurysm the day of the play's first public performance, 25 years ago today. Rent went on to earn international acclaim, a Pulitzer Prize & a Tony Award.

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On This Day

January 25, 1890

A journalist returns home after circumnavigating the globe with a special goal.

She met it, *with* one navy blue dress and *without* a chaperone – igniting headlines around the world and sidestepping a global pandemic.

On This Day

“The American Girl will no longer be misunderstood. She will be recognized as pushing, determined, independent, able to take care of herself alone and single-handed, wherever she may be.”

Mayor Cleveland of Jersey City, Jan. 25, 1890, as Nellie Bly arrived at her final stop after attempting her goal to travel the world in less than 80 days; she did it in 72.
On This Day

Who Is Nellie Bly?

  • Born Elizabeth Cochran.
  • Trail-blazing female journalist.
  • Made a name for herself as a fearless reporter covering the forgotten: the poor & mentally ill.
  • Big Break: She pretended to be insane so she could be committed to a notorious asylum – Blackwell’s Island. She spent 10 days inside the institution & exposed abusive conditions.
On This Day

January 25, 1890

  • On assignment, Nellie reported on whether or not one could indeed travel “Around The World in 80 Days” (a famous fiction book).
  • She traveled alone wearing one navy dress, carrying a small bag, & using every form of transport available: ship, train, rickshaw, horse, etc.
  • Her circumnavigation of the globe started Nov. 14 and ended January 25 – in 72 days, 6 hours.
On This Day

“The influenza is coming around the world in a good deal faster time than Nellie Bly…”

A Nevada newspaper reflecting on Bly's trip during an unexpected pandemic of 1889. The pandemic, caused by the "Russian" or "Asiatic" flu, impacted travel for many and caused symptoms including fever, cough, headache, and fatigue; more serious cases resulted in pneumonia or heart failure.
On This Day

Nellie completed this adventure shortly before her 26th birthday. Click on our source page for a complete list of what she brought with her on her journey.

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On This Day

Jan. 23, 1849

Graduation day for the first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S.

“I do not wish to give [women] a first place, still less a second one – but the most complete freedom, to take their true place whatever it may be.”

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell
On This Day

Elizabeth Blackwell

  • Born February 3, 1821 in England.
  • Decided to study medicine after a sick friend believed she could have been treated better by a female doctor.
  • Admitted to Geneva Medical College in New York only because her application was believed to be a joke from the college’s rival school; she graduated at the top of her class.
On This Day

Notable Accomplishments

  • 1851: Returned to the U.S. after continuing her medical training in Europe. Unable to find a hospital willing to hire a woman doctor, she opened her own small clinic instead.
  • 1857: Opened the New York Infirmary for Women & Children with her sister (also a doctor) to provide jobs for women physicians & medical care to the poor.
  • 1867: Opened a medical college for women in NYC.
On This Day

While men continue to outnumber women nearly 2:1 in the U.S. medical field, in 2019 more women than men enrolled in medical school for the very first time on record. The new Dir. of the CDC is Dr. Rochelle Walensky - the third woman to hold the post.

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Quote of the Day

In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.

Quote of the Day

Known as one of the best baseball players ever to play the game, Aaron broke records and racial barriers in his 23-year career. Admired for his athleticism and advocacy for civil rights, Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth's all-time home run record in 1974, and went on to hold the record for more than 30 years until 2007. Aaron died peacefully in his sleep on Friday.

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Quote of the Day

“For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Quote of the Day

The first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate continued a tradition of a featured inaugural poet (past poets incl. Maya Angelou & Robert Frost) – Gorman made history as the youngest to ever appear. The 22-year-old once suffered from a speech impediment (as did Pres. Biden).

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Current Events

What we’ve learned & the questions still unanswered two weeks after the historic Capitol Hill riot.

Current Events

“This is an unprecedented incident. If this investigation was a football game, we’d still be in the first quarter.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono speaking last week. As the many investigations continue, law enforcement has requested the public's assistance. To date, the FBI alone has received countless tips and over 140,000 photos and videos.
Current Events

Aftermath

  • Ongoing investigations by U.S. Capitol Police, D.C. police, & federal agencies, including DHS, DOD, DOJ, and FBI.
  • U.S. Capitol Police Chief resigned, and several officers are suspended pending investigations into their actions.
  • Five died from their injuries, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer.
  • Over 270 suspects identified by law enforcement and at least 125 charged in federal courts.
Current Events

Perpetrators

  • Named defendants include a mother & son, off-duty police officers, a New Mexico elected official, and an Army reservist who works at a Navy base.
  • Also charged are many of those seen in widely circulated photos & videos, including a self-proclaimed white supremacist, the “QAnon Shaman” (the guy wearing horns), and the men who sat in the chairs of Vice President Mike Pence & House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Current Events

Charges

Charges vary, but include the following:

  • Assault of federal law enforcement officers (with & w/o a deadly weapon)
  • Violent entry & disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds
  • Obstructing law enforcement during civil disorder
  • Theft of gov’t property; theft of public money, property, or records
  • Civil disorder
  • Conspiracy
Current Events

Unanswered Questions

The many lingering unknowns include:

  • Why were law enforcement seemingly unprepared, understaffed & slow to respond?
  • Was there a coordinated attack plan? If so, who organized it, how many were a part of it (vs. rally attendees), and was there a specific goal or target(s)?
  • What, if any, assistance or guidance did the perpetrators get, and from whom?
Current Events

BIG PICTURE: Although the number of criminal cases are increasing daily, the legal proceedings are still in very early stages. As the numerous investigations continue and new information develops, we expect to learn a lot more in the days and weeks to come.

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Now You Know

The New Beginning

The U.S. Constitution has ONE requirement for the new president on Inauguration Day – the rest has become tradition.

What It Is. Why It Matters.

Now You Know

”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution stipulates this specific oath as a requirement for a new president to take office.
Now You Know

The First Inauguration Day

  • April 1789: Pres. George Washington traveled from his home in VA to the nation’s then-capital: New York City.
  • He took the oath of office on an outdoor balcony in front of a large crowd, his hand on a Bible – thus beginning the current tradition. His inaugural address was given in the Senate chamber to Congress.
  • Fireworks erupted across the city in the evening, concluding the festivities.
Now You Know

Why January 20?

  • Inauguration Day used to take place on March 4 due to how long it took to collect & count votes.
  • The 20th Amendment in 1933 changed Inauguration Day to Jan. 20.
  • The Constitution states one presidential term is ended and the new one begins at noon on the 20th, and has only one other specific requirement for the day: the new president must take an oath of office.
Now You Know

The Inaugural Ceremony

  • Besides D.C., past inaugurations have taken place in 4 states: NY, PA, VT & TX (on Air Force One after assassination of Pres. Kennedy).
  • Pres. Jefferson (1801): first inauguration at the U.S. Capitol (Senate’s chamber).
  • Pres. Monroe (1817): first inauguration held outside at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Ronald Reagan (1981): first inauguration held on the West Front of the Capitol, where it will be held yet again this year.
Now You Know

Why Outside The Capitol?

 A disagreement between lawmakers back in 1817 may have helped inspire the tradition of an outside inauguration: 

“…when a small feud ensued between the Senate and the House of Representatives over which chairs would be used in the House chamber, the venue changed to an outdoor platform in front of the building.”

Now You Know

The Parade

  • Inaugural parades began as an informal event escorting the president to the Capitol to be sworn in.
  • 1809: the inauguration of James Madison included the first formally-planned parade route, with participants from around the country.
  • Modern day: the parade and its thousands of attendees escort the President and VP from the Capitol to the White House.
Now You Know

Unique Moments:

1801: Pres. Thomas Jefferson remains the only president to walk to and from his inauguration ceremony.

1925: Inaugural address first broadcast on the radio (Pres. Coolidge). 1949: First televised inauguration (Pres. Truman’s second term).

1961: Army flame throwers melted the snow off Pennsylvania Ave. so the parade could go on.

Now You Know

The presidential oath is typically recited with one hand on a Bible, though it is not required. John Q. Adams took his oath in 1825 using a book of law. Pres. Theodore Roosevelt held up his hand. Pres. Obama used Pres. Lincoln's Bible for both inaugurations, and added Dr. MLK Jr's Bible for his second. Pres. Trump also used the Lincoln Bible in addition to his own.

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Now You Know

America’s Freedom Church

 What to know about the home church of both Martin Luther King Jr. and one of the Senate’s newest members.

Now You Know

Ebenezer Baptist Church:

  • 1886: Founded by Rev. John Parker – a former slave – in Atlanta, GA.
  • 1894: Rev. A.D. Williams, grandfather to MLK Jr., became pastor.
  • Rev. A.D. Williams served as the lead pastor for 37 years and emphasized civil rights activism – a legacy that remains within the church to this day.
  • Rev. MLK Sr. became pastor in 1931; Rev. MLK Jr. became co-pastor in 1960.
Now You Know

The Church Building

  • 1914: After outgrowing 3 different locations, the congregation began meeting in a nearby basement.
  • 1922: Main church building completed.
  • Several renovations & expansion projects have occurred since, but the location has not changed.
  • The church is now part of the MLK Jr. National Historic Site, which includes the King family home and MLK’s gravesite.
Now You Know

Then & Now

Ebenezer Baptist Church began with 13 congregants and now has at least 6,000.

In its 135-year history, there have been five Senior Pastors.

The current Senior Pastor, Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, has served since 2005. Recently elected to the Senate in the GA runoffs, he will be the first Black senator from the state.

Now You Know

Ebenezer Baptist Church: America’s Freedom Church

As we mark Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, we return to the church where it all began.

Ebenezer Baptist Church, spiritual home to Rev. Dr. MLK Jr. and Rev. MLK Sr., has also laid the foundation for one of the Senate’s newest members – Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock.

Now You Know

The very first federally-recognized Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated at Ebenezer Baptist Church with a ceremony between King's wife, Coretta, and VP George H.W. Bush.

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Quote of the Day

“Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”

Quote of the Day

On the stormy night before he was killed, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a church in Memphis, Tenn. in a speech “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop." Nearly 20 yrs after his death, America celebrated its first Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in 1986. You can read/listen to two of MLK Jr's most famous speeches on source page.

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Current Events

Birthday Backstory

He’s one of only two Americans we celebrate with a federal holiday.

How Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday became a national celebration.

Current Events

Timeline

  • Martin Luther King Jr. born Jan. 15, 1929.
  • The pastor, civil rights leader & youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (at 35) was killed in 1968, at 39.
  • Four days after his death, Rep. John Conyers Jr., a trailblazing African-American congressman, began advocating to make MLK’s birthday a federal holiday. He presented the bill every Congress until it was established in 1983.
Current Events

How Did It Gain Support?

  • 1979: Pres. Carter publicly pledged support; Coretta Scott King, MLK’s widow, began lobbying Congress for the holiday – but the first vote failed.
  • 1983: Momentum gathered. Hundreds of thousands gathered in D.C. to mark 20 yrs since the March on Washington (when King made his famous “I have a dream…” speech). Congress passed the holiday into law.
Current Events

“Dr. King’s was truly a prophetic voice that reached out over the chasms of hostility, prejudice, ignorance, and fear to touch the conscience of America. He challenged us to make real the promise of America as a land of freedom, equality, opportunity, and brotherhood.”

Pres. Ronald Reagan on January 18, 1986, on observing the first MLK holiday - three years after Congress approved the holiday bill.
Current Events

Why It Matters

Martin Luther King Jr. and George Washington are the only Americans to have a national holiday observed in their honor.

While the federal holiday passed in 1983, it took longer for all the states to *also* celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. In 1999, New Hampshire was the last state to pass legislation to recognize the day.

Current Events

Stevie Wonder wrote his famous song “Happy Birthday” in 1980 and released it as a rallying cry for the promotion of the holiday. Though MLK Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, his birthday is celebrated on the third Monday in January in order to remain consistent with other federal holidays.

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Now You Know

Are We Truly Free?

Censorship takes center stage as social media platforms restrict posts from the president of the United States.

Here’s one part of the story: What is free speech?

Now You Know

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution includes five guaranteed freedoms: religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition.
Now You Know

Free Speech Basics

  • Free speech does *not* mean you can say whatever you want, whenever (or wherever) you choose.
  • Free speech means a gov’t entity can neither compel speech or other forms of expression, nor prohibit *certain* forms of speech & other forms of expression — this is “protected speech.”
  • Free speech prohibitions apply to gov’t actors — *not* private companies (like social media platforms).
Now You Know

What Counts As Speech?

  • More than words! Protections extend beyond spoken or written words to various non-verbal actions, including:
  • Silence (ex: public school students can’t be forced to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the U.S. flag, nor be punished for declining)
  • Political Spending (ex: certain donations to campaigns or candidates)
  • Symbolic Speech (ex: flag burning)
  • Commercial Speech (ex: offensive ads)
Now You Know

Is It All Protected?

No! Some types of speech can lose their protection when they fall into certain categories, such as:

  • Intentional misrepresentations of facts, such as fraud (ex: an ad making false claims) or defamation (such as a tabloid’s false report).
  • Incitement/fighting words – hateful speech/actions likely to cause imminent unlawful violence.
Now You Know

BIG PICTURE: The First Amendment's Free Speech Clause is meant to ensure the free flow of ideas and protect us from censorship by the government so that no gov't entity (local, state, or federal) suppresses or punishes protected speech. How can businesses limit our speech? Next week on SmartHER News.

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