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“We are not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.”

Pres. Biden on the U.S. military in Iraq.

Jul 27, 2021

“Delivering during COVID is hard ... It’s nice to be celebrated and everybody wants to win a gold medal and it's fun to …”

Nurse Stephanie Peterson at St. Luke's Health System in Missouri. She crocheted around 20 gold medals for newborns born …

Jul 27, 2021

“I think the issue is still in doubt, but Kandahar has not fallen.”

General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. who oversees the U.S. military's mission in Afghanistan as the Taliban gain ground.

Jul 26, 2021

“We are still not sure about whether the reduction in effectiveness is due to time passed or [a] question of the variant.”

Israeli Dr. Nadav Davidovitch on new data raising questions about the efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Jul 26, 2021

“Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life ...”

Naomi Osaka on lighting the Olympic Cauldron at the Tokyo 2020 Games Opening Ceremony.

Jul 23, 2021

“Our first priority is human life, the life of our firefighters and the people who are on the line, as well as the public …”

U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Matt Zumstein on the the Tamarack Fire in Eastern California.

Jul 21, 2021

“This was a foolish decision on my part that I take full responsibility for ... I do not nor will not make any excuse.”

Florida resident Paul Hodgkins who received the first felony sentence (8 months) for his January 6 actions on Capitol …

Jul 20, 2021

“Our goal is to close Guantanamo Bay.”

White House Press Sec. Jen Psaki on the first Guantanamo Bay detainee released under the Biden administration.

Jul 20, 2021

“Transnational criminal organizations recruit United States Citizens to facilitate their smuggling schemes, they continue …”

Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean McGoffin on his team discovering travel trailers full of dozens of people …

Jul 20, 2021

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Current Events

Test or Vaccinate?

America's most populated state and its biggest city have new policies for some workers - show proof of vaccination or agree to regular COVID-19 tests.
What To Know & Why It Matters

Current Events

What's Going On:

  • California and New York City announced new COVID-19 policies for some state or city workers.
  • In general, these policies require employees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or agree to regular COVID-19 tests.
  • The Dept. of Veterans Affairs also issued a similar requirement for "frontline" healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, dentists) - the first federal agency to do so.

Current Events

“Too many people have chosen to live with this virus. We’re at a point in this epidemic, this pandemic, where choice — individuals’ choice not to get vaccinated — is now impacting the rest of us in a profound and devastating and deadly way.”

California Gov. Gavin Newson on a new policy that will begin to be implemented next week. CA has seen a rise in infections and hospitalizations in recent weeks; at least 60% of adults have received one vaccine dose.

Current Events

"Our goal here is simple: make it maximally easy for people to get vaccinated and create an atmosphere where there's clearly consequences if you don't get vaccinated. Because vaccination is the only answer at this point."

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. City workers who do not comply will be placed on leave without pay. 71% of New York City's adult population has at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.


Current Events

The Flip Side:

  • Several states have new laws preventing businesses from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for employment: Montana, North Dakota, Arkansas, Tennessee, & Utah.
  • Other states, like Texas, have passed similar legislation though it has yet to become law.
  • In general, state or local law can legally require (often with some exceptions) specific vaccinations for employees (e.g. healthcare workers) or certain citizens, as can private businesses (e.g. students in private and public school districts).

Current Events

"We didn't want to use the power of the government to compel people to do something. I'm not anti-vaccination and am encouraging everyone to get the vaccine. But I don't want the government telling someone they have to."

Utah Rep. Robert Spendlove on the bill he sponsored which prohibits government entities from requiring individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment. Gov. Spencer Cox signed this bill into law in March. 67% of Utah's adult population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Current Events

These new policies matter because they can set a precedent for more state, cities, or private businesses to do the same. The White House COVID-19 Response Team says nearly all deaths and hospitalizations nationwide occur amongst unvaccinated people. Infections have risen in all 50 states; it will take several weeks to see if these infections also cause a spike in hospitalizations and deaths as has happened in the past.

Jul 26, 2021

sources

Now You Know

GOING FOR GOLD?

As the Olympic Games begin, the world's best athletes compete for first-of-its kind medals - the same hue as the past, but history-making for modern times.
What To Know

Now You Know

Wreaths to Medals

  • Ancient Times: In ancient Greece's Olympics, victors received wreaths made of olive branches taken from the sacred olive tree of Zeus at the sanctuary site of Olympia.
  • Modern Times: Modern Olympic Games began in 1896 in Athens, Greece. 1st-place winners received a silver medal, olive branch, & diploma; 2nd-place winners rec'd a bronze medal, laurel branch, & diploma. The 1904 Games in St. Louis began the tradition of awarding gold, silver, & bronze medals to the top 3 finalists.

Now You Know

"The gold, silver and bronze medals ... not only represent the greatest honor for the athletes but also an opportunity for Japan to showcase its culture & charm to the rest of the world."

Tokyo 2020 Olympic website. Each host city designs the medals awarded to Olympians & Paralympians following these three requirements: Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, must be pictured in front of the Panathinaikos Stadium (site of the 1896 Games in Athens), they must include the official name of the games, & the Olympic five rings symbol must be visible. 

Now You Know

NOT ALL GOLD

  • Gold medals: First-place winners receive a gold medal *but* the medal is mostly made of pure silver plated with 6 grams of gold. They weigh about 1.20 pounds. Solid gold medals have not been awarded since the 1912 Games.
  • Silver medals: made of pure silver and weigh about the same as gold medals.
  • Bronze medals: made of red brass (which is 95% copper and 5% zinc). The third-place medal is the lightest and weighs about 0.99 pounds.

Now You Know

Where did the metal come from to make the medals this year? 100% from recycled materials collected from donated products (small electronics). For the first time ever, Olympic and Paralympic medal production involved the greater public, asking for items to make the medals.

Athletes from around the world will compete for about 5,000 gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Jul 22, 2021

sources

Quote of the Day

“I’ve got to trust my guide with my ability to get down the track ... And off the track, as well as on the track, I’ve got to trust God with my ability to get through life.”

David Brown

Quote of the Day

David Brown is the world's fastest blind runner. He won the gold medal in the 2016 Paralympics 100 meter run and is competing in the 2021 Paralympics in August. He will run with Jerome Avery, whose job is to guide Brown and encourage him to the finish line. The duo has worked together for 7 years.

Brown is not only a professional athlete, but is also a seminary student, can play four instruments, and travels as a motivational speaker.

Jul 20, 2021

sources

Quote of the Day

"I'm going. That is my quest ... I love flying, that's my job, that's what I love. And I'm not a quitter."

Wally Funk

Quote of the Day

Ms. Wally Funk joined Jeff Bezos on Blue Origin's first *crewed* flight to space on Tuesday. A pilot at age 17, Funk trained to become an astronaut as part of the *Mercury 13* - a group of women who completed rigorous requirements by NASA but never got the chance to travel to space. At the time, only military pilots became astronauts - and only men were allowed to become military pilots. At 82, she became the oldest person to fly to space.

Jul 20, 2021

sources

Now You Know

HISTORY-MAKING

A new record.
The highest number of people attempting entry along the U.S. southwest border in modern data collection.
Here's the data and why it matters.

Now You Know

Numbers To Know:

  • 188,829 total people "encountered" at the U.S. southern border in June 2021 - the highest single-month number in at least 20 years.
  • More than half - 104,907 - were expelled.
  • The majority of those crossing the border are single adults. However, the number of unaccompanied minors (those 17 and younger traveling without a guardian) also increased last month to 15,253 - one of the highest monthly totals in decades (the highest being in March of this year: 18,800+).

Now You Know

“We are in the hottest part of the summer, and we are seeing a high number of distress calls to CBP from migrants abandoned in treacherous terrain by smugglers with no regard for human life."

CBP Acting Commissioner Troy Miller. During summer months, border apprehensions tend to take a dip with the high temperatures, but the number of encounters have now increased to more than 100,000+ encounters every month since February.

Now You Know

Something To Consider:

Trend Continues: Customs and Border Protection reiterated that many of the people "encountered" for crossing the border illegally are repeat offenders - those who have attempted crossing before & were apprehended and expelled - not *new* attempts.
Reminder: While important, this data reflects *only* "encounters" - a term used for those apprehended, arrested, expelled or allowed to stay pending pursuit of asylum. It doesn't include an estimate of those who have attempted crossing and succeeded undetected.

Now You Know

Why This Matters: With June's numbers, more than 1 million people have been encountered at the U.S. southwest border this year; the government's "year" spans from October 2020 - September 2021. These are the highest numbers we've seen in at least two decades.

Note: We use the term "modern data collection" when comparing these numbers since that's when the data was recorded in a more consistent manner.

Jul 18, 2021

sources

Current Events

Who's To Blame?

The U.S. president says social media companies are "killing people" by not more aggressively policing misinformation on COVID-19.
Facebook fires back.
The showdown between the president and the world's leading social media platform: Who has the public's trust?

Current Events

Backstory:

  • During a press briefing at the White House on Thursday, the surgeon general issued a "Surgeon General’s Advisory" - which is "reserved for urgent public health threats."
  • The threat? "... misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health."
  • Advisory: Requests the public, healthcare workers, education institutions, and technology companies do more to combat bad information about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current Events

"... the truth is that misinformation takes away our freedom to make informed decisions ..."

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Although citing an "all-of-society" approach to combating misinformation, most of his briefing focused on tech companies which he said should "help lift up the voices of credible health authorities," because otherwise voices of health care professionals, officials, & scientists get "drowned out." "Modern technology companies have enabled misinformation to poison our information environment with little accountability to their users."

Current Events

“They’re killing people ... the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated ... they’re killing people,

Pres. Biden when asked Friday about the impact of social media's misinformation. The White House press secretary specifically said Facebook should measure the reach of misinformation, act more quickly to take it down, promote higher-quality posts, and coordinate an "enforcement strategy" (the White House said "about 12 people" produce 65% of "anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms" but aren't consistently banned across Facebook platforms).

Current Events

“The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period."

Facebook spokesman Kevin McAlister. Facebook owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp (among others) and has nearly 3 billion users. Facebook also said, “We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts. The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet."

Current Events

Why is the White House taking on social media companies now? The Wall Street Journal reports the tension between Facebook and the White House escalated in recent months. The White House wanted to meet a July 4th deadline of having 70% of American adults vaccinated; they did not meet that goal. On Monday, the White House press secretary said that "we’re not in a war or a battle with Facebook; we’re in a battle with the virus," but also said she would not take any legal or regulatory actions off the table.

Jul 18, 2021

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videos

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read: quick quotes

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“We are not going to be, by the end of the year, in a combat mission.”

Pres. Biden on the U.S. military in Iraq.

Jul 27, 2021


“Delivering during COVID is hard ... It’s nice to be celebrated and everybody wants to win a gold medal and it's fun to …”

Nurse Stephanie Peterson at St. Luke's Health System in Missouri. She crocheted around 20 gold medals for newborns born …

Jul 27, 2021


“I think the issue is still in doubt, but Kandahar has not fallen.”

General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr. who oversees the U.S. military's mission in Afghanistan as the Taliban gain ground.

Jul 26, 2021


“We are still not sure about whether the reduction in effectiveness is due to time passed or [a] question of the variant.”

Israeli Dr. Nadav Davidovitch on new data raising questions about the efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Jul 26, 2021


“Undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life ...”

Naomi Osaka on lighting the Olympic Cauldron at the Tokyo 2020 Games Opening Ceremony.

Jul 23, 2021


“Our first priority is human life, the life of our firefighters and the people who are on the line, as well as the public …”

U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Matt Zumstein on the the Tamarack Fire in Eastern California.

Jul 21, 2021


“This was a foolish decision on my part that I take full responsibility for ... I do not nor will not make any excuse.”

Florida resident Paul Hodgkins who received the first felony sentence (8 months) for his January 6 actions on Capitol …

Jul 20, 2021


“Our goal is to close Guantanamo Bay.”

White House Press Sec. Jen Psaki on the first Guantanamo Bay detainee released under the Biden administration.

Jul 20, 2021


“Transnational criminal organizations recruit United States Citizens to facilitate their smuggling schemes, they continue …”

Big Bend Sector Chief Patrol Agent Sean McGoffin on his team discovering travel trailers full of dozens of people …

Jul 20, 2021


“The enemy has returned to throw all it has at destroying the sacred unity and tranquility of the citizens.”

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel at a government-organized rally on Saturday, primarily blaming the U.S. for the recent …

Jul 20, 2021


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