all quick reads

Current Events

IMPORTANT UPDATE:

Middle East Meddling

“Diplomatically & militarily Moscow plays both arsonist and fire fighter, fueling tensions among all parties in Syria.”

General John Votel, Commander, CentCom, Feb 27, 2018

Current Events

Feb 27th Hearing

  • CentCom = U.S Central Command oversees 20 Middle East nations.
  • CentCom’s Commander, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, testified before House Armed Services Committee.
  • We took notes so you don’t have to, but it’s worth a listen – check out the full hearing:

Watch Now

Current Events

Key Takeaways

  • ISIS: Losing “physical caliphate” but pressure needs to continue.
  • Iran: Moving dangerous missiles around the Middle East to places like Yemen.
  • Russia: Major mischief maker, undermining efforts inside Syria.
  • Something to watch: China’s growing presence in Middle East, such as a port in Pakistan and military base in Djibouti (Africa).

Current Events

Top Priority: Iran

“Make no mistake, while we continue to confront the scourge of terrorism, Iran’s malignedA actives across the region pose long term threat to stability in this part of the world.”



General Votel, Commander, CentCom, Congressional Testimony Feb 27, 2018

Current Events

Why It Matters:

  • CentCom’s focus on Iran, despite all the major players, serves as a reminder of Iran’s powerful role as an anti-American state sponsor of terror.
  • The Middle East impacts our national security, not only because of terrorism threat, but also economically (oil markets, shipping lanes, investment of military “men & materials”).

Current Events

SmartHER News quotes the "open" session available to the public; General Votel also testified in a classified setting not open to the press. This is normal practice, but important to mention.

view sources

Feb 28, 2018

sources

Money

Blue Jeans Getting Laser Treatment

“This is the future of jeans manufacturing”

Levi Strauss, the “inventor” of the American blue jean, pioneering use of lasers in distressing jeans.

Flip For The Scoop

Money

Levi: Jean Make-Over

  • The rips & holes in your jeans are often done by hand; one pair of jeans can take 20 minutes.
  • Distressing jeans can use 1,000s of chemicals.
  • Lasers allow last minute fashion design changes.
  • Shorter production time = Shorter turnaround time to consumers.
  • Levi says in next 2 years all jeans will use lasers.

Money

Cleaner & Quicker

‘Our goal was to tackle two predominant industry challenges a being able to respond quickly to changing consumer trends while making the manufacturing process more sustainable.’



Chip Bergh, Levi Strauss President & CEO, Feb 27, 2018

Money

Levi Strauss = Real Person

  • Bavarian immigrant; business man
  • Moved to San Francisco during Gold Rush; supplied goods to small retailers.
  • Teamed-up with Nevada tailor, Jacob Davis.
  • The partners invented pants with rivets to last tough working conditions.
  • First Jeans: Denim & Brown Cotton Duck (canvas material).

Money

Blue Jean Birthdate

May 20, 1873

Date US Patent & Trademark Office approved a “blue jean” patent.

First Pair of Jeans Named “XX”

“It’s No Use They Cant Be Ripped”

Click Here: Oldest Pair of Women's Jeans

Money

Lasers = automation and automation can lead to job losses. What will that look like? TBD. Read More:

view sources

Feb 28, 2018

sources

Worth-It-To-See-It

“Is This The World’s Toughest Commute?’
BBC

Priest hikes almost 2 hours one-way, scaling 800 foot wall, to get to church.

If you’ve ever felt tested by your faith, WATCH this INCREDIBLEA story.

Watch Now

Worth-It-To-See-It

"The reason I became a priest is to teach the people what I have learned, so they could walk in my footsteps"

view sources

Feb 27, 2018

sources

Current Events

‘Clueless” To Congress

  • Stacey Dash, aka “Dionne” from the movie Clueless, plans to run for California congressional seat; district, south of LA, includes Compton & parts of Long Beach.
  • Dash, a Republican, filed official paperwork with slogan “Dash to DC” joins a record number of women running for Congress in 2018.

Flip For More

Flip For More

Current Events

Record Run For Office

“At latest count, 431 women were running for or were likely to run for the House nationwide a 339 Democrats and 92 Republicans. At this point in 2016, there were fewer than half that: 212. Likewise, 50 women are running for or likely to run for Senate, compared with 25 at this point in 2016.”

NPR: Read Article

Current Events

Women Candidates: 2018

Senate:A “increases in number of female incumbents & challengers of both parties account for the rise in women’s candidacies.”

House:A “surge of women candidates is concentrated almost entirely among Democratic challengers.”

Rutgers University

Current Events

Women In America:

By The Numbers

More than half the population (51%).

Nearly 47% of U.S. workforce.

1 out of 5 representatives in Congress.

Current Events

Why Are More Women Running? Several factors depending on point-of-view. Read On:

view sources

Feb 27, 2018

sources

Current Events

DACA Drama

  • Supreme Court will not hear an expedited legal appeal on DACA.
  • Trump administration requested The Supremes look at case when lower courts halted President Trump’s unwinding of the program.
  • DACA kicked back to lower courts. Fate & timeline unknown.

Flip Here

Current Events

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals:

The 2012 Obama-era policy granted provisional work permits and temporary protection from deportation for nearly 800,000 young people brought to U.S. illegally as kids, but NO pathway to citizenship.

Current Events

How We Got Here:

Sept 2017: President Trump announced repeal of DACA program & gave Congress until March 5th to come up with broader immigration reform.

January 2018: California federal court issued a preliminary injunction halting repeal of DACA program & ordered gov’t to resume accepting DACA renewal applications.

Current Events

Why It Matters

  • Supreme Court’s decision not to hear appeal early says nothing about the merits of the case or how court might ultimately rule.
  • DACA recipients can continue to apply for DACA renewals while the California case works its way through the court system.
  • March 5th deadline is moot; Pres. Trump cannot cancel program during ongoing court challenges.

Current Events

Next stop for DACA? 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. More Here:

view sources

Feb 27, 2018

sources

On This Day

25 years ago
1993 World Trade Center Bombing

First attack by al-Qaeda in USA.

Just past noon, 2 of 7 terrorists drove a truck into the WTC’s basement garage & detonated the bomb before fleeing the scene.

On This Day

February 26, 1993
Friday 12:17 pm

“…Middle Eastern terrorism had arrived on American soilawith a bang”



FBI, First Strike: Global Terror in America

On This Day

1993 WTC Bombing

  • Six people died; 1,000+ injured.
  • Blast created by truck bomb created a 100-foot crater.
  • Plot mastermind, Ramzi Yousef, is currently serving life sentence in American prison.
  • Yousef’s uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, called the mastermind of 9/11, is currently detained at Guantanamo Bay.

On This Day

al-Qaeda Inspired Attacks On US Soil

  • 2001: 9/11, nearly 3,000 murdered
  • 2009: Nidal Hassan murders 13 and injures dozens at Fort Hood
  • 2009: Attempted “underwear bombing” on US-bound jetliner
  • 2010: Attempted car bombing in NYC’s Times Square
  • 2013: Boston Marathon bombing

On This Day

ICYMI:
Making Headlines Today

Boston Herald reports college roommate found guilty of lying to FBI about al-Qaeda inspired terrorist in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing will be released from halfway house.

Click For Full Article

On This Day

One terrorist from 1993 WTC bombing remains at large. Click to see FBI Most Wanted poster

view sources

Feb 27, 2018

sources

Current Events

Catch-Up: North Korea

  • Friday: USA announces new sanctions against North Korea as President Trump speaks at annual gathering of conservatives.
  • Sunday: South Korea says North Korea is open to talks; North Korea reportedly says U.S threatening war (state media).

Flip For how we got here

Flip For how we got here

Current Events

North Korea & Sanctions

  • North Korea has nuclear weapons, & reportedly the technology to deliver them to America’s mainland.
  • Sanctions used in the past by both Republicans & Democrats to deter North Korea. It hasn’t worked.
  • Trump administration calls latest round ‘largest sanctions ever’ – some debate this description.

Current Events

Timing Matters

Back-To-Business

  • Sanctions announced as the first daughter landed in South Korea for closing ceremony of Olympics.
  • As athletes exit the Korean peninsula, this ramps up demands on North Korea.
  • USA demands total denuclearization of North Korea.

Current Events

Sanctions Target?
Shipping & Trade Cos

“This action targets the deceptive shipping practices that have enabled the Kim regime to fund its dangerous weapons programs.”



Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Feb 23, 2018

Current Events

Will sanctions work this time? If past is precedent, North Korea will continue to grow its weapons program despite international pressure.

view sources

Feb 26, 2018

sources

Current Events

Spying On Americans?

  • Catch-Up: In early Feb, republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo detailing what they say are abuses by the FBI to surveil or “spy” on Americans related to the Trump campaign.
  • Saturday: Democrats on cmte release memo rejecting this claim.

Flip Here

Current Events

Democrat Memo

  • 10-page redacted & unclassified.
  • Written in January, but Republican majority on House Intel Committee blocked its release.
  • Memo released on Saturday while the Committee’s Chair (a Republican) spoke at a gathering of conservatives.
  • In-Focus: Carter Page, an American who worked for Trump campaign at one time.

Current Events

Democrats Claim:

  • In late July 2016, the FBI started its investigation into Carter Page, but didn’t receive the infamous “dossier” (a research document created by an anti-Trump firm hired by democrats) until more than 6 weeks later.
  • This goes against GOP allegations FBI officials relied on slanted political material (dossier) to justify surveillance of Page.

Current Events

“DOJ and the FBI would have been remiss in their duty to protect the country had they not sought…to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, someone the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government.”

Democrat Minority Memo: House Intel Committee: "Correcting The Record - The Russia Investigation" Written Jan 29, 2018 & Released Feb 24, 2018

Current Events

“The Democratic response memo released today should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI…”



House Intel Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), Feb 24, 2018

Current Events

“The Democrat memo response on government surveillance abuses is a total political and legal BUST. Just confirms all of the terrible things that were done. SO ILLEGAL!”

President Trump via Twitter, Feb 24, 2018

Current Events

Why This Matters:

  • U.S. government cannot spy on citizens without a warrant.
  • Republicans say Dept of Justice (DOJ) used biased political material to justify the warrant.
  • Democrats say DOJ only used political material AFTER other reasons justified the warrant.
  • Either way, political material mentioned in a case to spy on an American. Slippery Slope.A

Feb 26, 2018

sources

Entertainment

Best Selling Book Debuts On Broadway

5 hours & 15 minutes

Expected run time of the Broadway adaption of “Harry Potter”

Play staged in two parts seen on one day or on different nights.

Entertainment

‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

  • Opens April 22nd on Broadway
  • 8th book in series, but 1st ever theatrical production
  • The play earned a record-breaking 11 Oliver Awards (U.K. version of the Tonys)
  • NOT a musical but will compete against Disney’s musical adaptation of “Frozen”

Entertainment

Pre-show jitters?

‘Broadway is a scary place.”



J.K. Rowling to The New York Times about the challenges of adapting her best selling book series to Broadway, Feb. 21, 2018

Entertainment

Pure Magic!

Harry Potter’s Success

  • Best-selling book series in history
  • 500M books sold worldwide
  • Translated into 80 languages
  • 20 years since first book “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was published (still the bestseller of the series)

Entertainment

No Potter without an 8-year-old’s approval?

J.K. Rowling’s first “Potter” book was rejected by a dozen publishers.

Small British publisher Bloomsbury finally said yes.

But only after its Chairman’s young daughter couldn’t put the book down.

Entertainment

For More Potter-Palooza Click Here!

view sources

Feb 24, 2018

sources

Travel

Girl “Injured” By “Support Dog” On Flight

  • On Feb 21, an incident took place involving a young girl (6-7 yrs old) while boarding plane.
  • Southwest says dog “scraped” girl’s forehead with teeth (AP).
  • Dog reportedly “support” pet of another passenger.

Flip For Why It Matters

Travel

Consider The Context

Drama-Filled Month

  • In late January, a United Airlines passenger made national headlines when she tried to bring a peacock named Dexter on a flight as a “support” pet.
  • United denied the peacock a seat and a debate about “appropriate” support animals ensued.

Travel

Why This Is Important

“United had been reviewing its policy since late last yearA afterA a 75% increase in emotional-support animals on flightsA and ‘a significant increase in onboard incidents.’



Charlie Hobart, United Airlines spokesman, USA Today, Feb 1, 2018

Travel

Why Is This Happening?

Possible Explanations

  • Support pets, like service animals, fly free.
  • Support pets do not receive the same rigorous training as a “service” pet, which can lead to more “incidents.”
  • No hard firm rules about acceptable “comfort” animals on flights.

Travel

Airlines: Reviewing Rules

  • Stricter regulations on “comfort” animals resisted by some who say increased documentation unfair to the truly disabled.
  • Current rules purposefully very broad; spiders are clearly NOT considered comfort pets, but did you know miniature horses are included in The Americans with Disabilities Act as “service pets”?

Travel

Just For Kicks: Dexter, the peacock, may not have "frequent flyer" miles but he has his own instagram account.

view sources

Feb 23, 2018

sources

Current Events

ICYMI

Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation handed down its SEVENTH indictment in the probe into Russia’s influence on 2016 election

How Did We Get Here?

Current Events

MAY 2017:

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is appointed by the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to lead an investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with America’s 2016 Presidential election

FYI: Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from Russia inquiry

Current Events

OCTOBER 2017:

Former WH advisor George Papadopolous pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians during election

Paul Manafort (Trump’s former campaign manager) and Rick Gates (Manafort’s associate) are indicted by a D.C federal grand jury on 12-counts and plead not guilty

Current Events

DECEMBER 2017:

Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleads guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia’s ambassador

Current Events

FEBRUARY 2018:

A CA man unconnected to Trump pleads guilty to identity fraud

13 Russian nationals & 3 Russian entities are charged with conducting “information warfare” against U.S.

A A Dutch lawyer living in U.S. pleads guilty to lying to FBI about interactions with Rick Gates

Current Events

FEBRUARY 2018:

Paul Manafort (Trump’s former campaign manager) & Rick Gates (Manafort’s associate) are indicted by a VA federal grand jury on 32-counts

Rick GatesA pleads guilty to 2 counts (lying to FBI & conspiracy) in DC & feds agree to drop VA charges against him

Current Events

“It’s very clear that Russia meddled in the election. It’s also very clear that it didn’t have an impact on the election. And it’s also very clear that the Trump campaign didn’t collude with the Russians in any way for this process to take place.”



Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, Feb 20. 2018

Current Events

For Your Consideration

The latest 32-count indictment against Paul Manafort & Rick Gates accuses them of filing false tax returns, failing to file foreign bank accounts, and bank fraud – although the crimes they’re accused of are unrelated to their work for Trump, some took place around US election.

Current Events

BOTTOM LINE

Indictments & guilty pleas are speeding up.

Some cases have serious potential jail time at stake; others will never see the inside of a courtroom.

We don’t know when the investigation will end; there isn’t a timeline, but the pace of indictments indicates progress.

Feb 23, 2018

sources

Money

Who Buys A $100,000,000 Apartment?

Answer Revealed

Michael Dell, founder of Dell Technologies, reportedly purchased a record-breaking $100 million apartment in New York City.

WSJ With The Scoop Flip For More

Money

What Does $100 MIL Buy You?

  • Most expensive home ever sold in New York City.
  • Penthouse located just off Central Park South in midtown Manhattan.
  • 6 bedrooms, 6 baths; nearly 11,000 sq feet.

Click HERE To Look At Building

Money

Wall Street Journal Says:

  • Final Sale Price: $100.47 million.
  • Purchased in 2012 before construction on building finished.
  • Despite the record-setting price, Michael Dell reportedly hired his architect to “renovate” the penthouse.
  • Dell and others would NOT confirm ownership; WSJ reporting based on “sources.”

Money

“I had been warned…not to bring ponies, gerbils, guinea pigs or bunnies to the building, nor to engage in modeling, massage therapy or seminude performances, none of which are allowed.”


Penelope Green detailed her "sleepover" in the skyscraper for The New York Times, Feb 22, 2018

Money

Meanwhile…Back On Earth

  • Existing Home Sales in U.S. for January = disappointment.
  • Biggest year-over-year decline in 3 years.
  • Existing home sales (homes already built) account for nearly 90% of the market.
  • Low inventory leading to higher prices & slower sales.

Money

Why It Matters

  • Real estate market impacts overall economy; local & national.
  • Moving, furnishing, decorating, replacing appliances, renovations etc. impact many industries.
  • Recent data is a snapshot of one month, but this is why we pay attention – to see if slowing sales becomes a “trend.”

Money

‘There may be some headwinds ahead for home resales with rising mortgage costs affecting how much the buyer can afford & this could put a damper on existing home sales & take some of the wind out of the economy’s sails.”



Chris Rupkey, Economist to Reuters

Money

The Median Sale Price of An "Existing" Home in America = $240,500

view sources

Feb 22, 2018

sources