Stories
Quote of the Day

“Follow your passion. Whatever you’re doing, do your best at all times and make it as correct as possible.”

Quote of the Day
  • At 101, Katherine Johnson, the former NASA mathematician and “human computer” who helped develop human spaceflight in America, died Monday.
  • For her contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015.
  • She was depicted in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures” about how black women mathematicians impacted the Space Race in the 1960s.
Quote of the Day

“She was an American hero and her pioneering legacy will never be forgotten.”

NASA Administrator James Bridenstine. Johnson was born in 1918 in West Virginia and became one of the first African-American students to enroll in a graduate program in the state in the 1930s. For decades, professionally and personally she confronted segregation. She returned to work in the 1950s after giving birth to 3 daughters and worked at NASA for more than 30 years.
Quote of the Day

“Get the girl. If she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.”

Astronaut John Glenn purportedly said this to NASA engineers who wanted Johnson to personally double check the work of computers that would track his flight as the first American to orbit the earth.
Quote of the Day

Earlier this month, NASA marked the return of astronaut Christina Koch, who set the record for the longest spaceflight by a woman after spending 328 days on the International Space Station. America prepares to meet the goal of putting a woman on the moon by 2024.

view sources

Read
Now You Know

PRESIDENTIAL PERK?

Executive Clemency

President Trump issued a series of clemency decisions to 11 convicted criminals.

What Happened &
Why It Matters

Now You Know

THE BASICS

Executive clemency is the “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the U.S, except in cases of impeachmentgranted to the President in the Constitution. Two main types:

  • Commutation: Conviction stays on record, but sentence is shortened.
  • Pardon: Conviction stays on record, but civil rights lost due to conviction (ex: voting, guns) are restored.
Now You Know

THE LIMITS

  • The President is the ONLY person able to issue a federal pardon or commutation.
  • The President need not consult with DOJ or provide any explanation.
  • The President may ONLY issue a pardon or commutation to someone convicted of a federal crime.
  • Pardons and commutations of state crimes are generally handled by governors.
Now You Know

“That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence, in my opinion.”

President Trump on commuting, or shortening, the sentence for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich - a Democrat found guilty on corruption charges, including trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Pres. Obama - from 14 to 8 years (time served). The commutation of Blagovich's sentence was one of 11 executive clemency grants the President made on Tuesday (full list on our source page).
Now You Know

“Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois, and not once has he shown any remorse for his clear and documented record of egregious crimes that undermined the trust placed in him by voters … As our state continues to grapple with political corruption, we shouldn’t let those who breached the public trust off the hook.”

Illinois GOP lawmakers on Pres. Trump's decision to shorten former 'The Celebrity Apprentice' star Blagojevich's sentence
Now You Know

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

During the first four years of their terms:

  • Pres. Clinton granted a total of 53 pardons & 0 commutations.
  • Pres. G.W. Bush granted a total of 19 pardons & 2 commutations.
  • Pres. Obama granted a total of 22 pardons & 1 commutation.
  • As of Feb. 19, 2020 Pres. Trump granted 25 pardons and 10 commutations.
Now You Know

Tuesday morning Pres.Trump held a meeting with former NFL players who had requested a pardon for a former team owner - they received it, and additional clemency decisions followed. One similarity between these and previous clemency decisions? Pres. Trump follows celebrity clemency recommendations. Read more:

view sources

Read
Quote of the Day

“It’s all about kindness. With everything that’s going on in the world, we just need a little bit more kindness out there.”

Quote of the Day

When Hardee's 5-year-old daughter Katelynn learned some children had trouble paying off their school lunch debt, she started a fundraiser to help. She has now raised $17,000+ and covered the student debt in her district. More than 75% of school districts in America carry school lunch debt. Read the story.

view sources

Read
Current Events

FROM THE BORDER

As the President requests more money for a wall on the southwestern U.S. border, Customs & Border Protection unveils the largest tunnel ever burrowed under it.

Current Events

Jan. 2020: What To Know

29,200 people apprehended attempting to illegally cross the border in January.

That’s 3,600+ fewer than December.

And nearly 19,000 less than last January.

The decrease is due, in part, to fewer family units apprehended.

Current Events

IMPORTANT CONTEXT

Last year, at the peak, nearly 133,000 people were apprehended at the southwest border in one month; more than 70% were family units (84,000+) & unaccompanied minors (11,000+).

Last month, 29,200 people were apprehended; 26% were family units (5,000+) or unaccompanied minors (2600+).

Current Events

Something To Consider

While the decrease of border apprehensions Jan 2020 is a dramatic drop from Jan 2019, the difference seems less drastic when comparing it with numbers from prior recent years.

In fact, on average, roughly 30,000 people were apprehended or deemed inadmissable on the southwest border each month between 2015-2018. In 2019, the monthly average more than doubled.

Current Events

“We’ve seen eight straight months of decline, but as we see from the seizure of the longest-ever tunnel between the U.S. and Mexico and significant drug seizures, much work remains.”

CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan on January's numbers. The 70ft-deep tunnel ran over three-quarters of a mile from Mexico into Southern California, had a cart/rail system, electricity, ventilation, and even an elevator. No arrests or seizures came from the discovery.
Current Events

“As efforts to strengthen security on our Southern Border increase, Mexican drug cartels are forced underground to smuggle their deadly drugs into the United States. The sophistication of this tunnel demonstrates the determination and monetary resources of the cartels.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge John Callery. 
Current Events

Pres. Trump wants to reallocate billions of dollars for border wall construction. Today, about 1/3 (654 miles) of the southern border is equipped with barriers. About 1,300 miles has no barrier (not all the terrain allows for a wall).

view sources

Read
Current Events

New name, new cases, and new concerns about a possibility of a global pandemic.

What You Should Know

Current Events

NEW NAME

“COVID-19”

The World Health Organization chose this name to specifically refer to this newly discovered coronavirus (COVI) disease (D) in 2019 (19).

Purposefully doesn’t refer to place of origin to avoid “stigma” – e.g. “Wuhan Coronavirus.”

Current Events

NEW CASES

“In 2% of reported #COVID19 cases, the virus is fatal & the risk of death increases the older you are. We see relatively few cases among children. More research is needed to understand why.”

Dir-Gen of World Health Organization Dr. Tedros as the number of those infected Monday rose to 71,000+. Current WHO data says about 80% of the people who get COVID-19 will have a mild case and recover.
Current Events

New Economic Contagion

“…we do not expect to meet the revenue guidance…”

Apple, issuing guidance on its earnings, as the new coronavirus impacts its production and sales. America's largest company is one of the first to officially address the impact of the illness, raising questions about further economic ripple effects in Asia, Europe and beyond.
Current Events

NEW QUARANTINES

  • U.S. evacuated citizens from a quarantined cruise ship docked in Japan as it became apparent the virus continued to spread.
  • 300+ must be quarantined, with at least 14 testing positive for the virus.
  • Upwards of 15 military bases can host quarantines, a handful have done so ex: Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in TX.
  • Quarantine applies to those infected and healthy; lasts 14 days.
Current Events

“The potential is there…Whether we will get there or not, we don’t know. I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers.”

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine responding to a question about whether or not a global pandemic (a worldwide epidemic) is possible. He says despite best efforts, the data from China where the disease originated "still is very confusing, and we have to be skeptical."
Current Events

The mystery remains on how this virus is spreading. With most infections coming from China, can it travel on Chinese-made goods? With no single answer, a doctor from UCSF explain the risks in an article on our source page.

view sources

Read
Uncategorized

Whether you celebrate

President’s Day, Presidents’ Day, or Presidents Day…

none are official federal holidays.

So what is?

Uncategorized

Washington’s Birthday

  • 1879: George Washington’s birthday becomes a federal holiday.
  • In 1968, Congress mandated most federal holidays moved to Mondays to give federal workers a 3-day wkd & boost the economy (sales/travel).
  • Some tried to change holiday officially to “Presidents Day” but the legislation never passed so it remains Washington’s Birthday (ironically, Pres. Washington was quite a shopper).
Uncategorized

“Mrs. Washington’s slippers and clogs have come safe to hand, the latter, however, are not as she wished to have … and will, by the first convenient opportunity, return the clogs to Mr. Palmer and get a pair of galoshes.”

Pres. Washington, ordering his wife shoes from London, March 15, 1789. He regularly ordered "designer shoes" for his wife from a London broker.
Click For Shoes
Uncategorized

Pres. George Washington

  • After serving as leader of the Continental Army, Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention – where the constitution was created, signed and ratified.
  • Unanimously elected president twice (1789 & 1792).
  • His birthday (Feb. 22) was an unofficial holiday celebrated by for many years; became a federal holiday 80 years after his death.
Uncategorized

What About Pres. Lincoln?

President Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. (BTW – some states recognize Presidents Day rather than Washington’s Birthday to include other leaders).

Presidents Reagan & Harrison were also born in February.

President Washington & MLK Jr. are the ONLY two Americans whose birthdays are *official* federal holidays.

Uncategorized

Since the late 1890s, the Senate follows a tradition of reading Pres. Washington's Farewell Address (what he penned as he decided not to seek a third term as president, and returned to Mt. Vernon). Read it for yourself on our source page:

view sources

Read
SmartHER News

ONLINE MATING…
the next “online dating”?

SmartHER News

Online Mating?

  • Websites like PollenTree & Modafamily offer a way for people eager to have a child to “hook up” with someone to have a baby and co-parent with *minus* the dating relationship.
  • The decision on how to make the baby (surrogate, artificial insemination, actual intercourse) is left up to the individuals.
  • The sites also offer a way for men and women looking to donate their sperm and eggs to find matches with parents.
SmartHER News

“They were starting to feel the pressure of the biological clock, still single, and looking for a partner they can have a child with, whether they were married or not.”

Modafamily's CEO Ivan Fatovic on why he created the site. He said he was inspired to do so by friends who put off having kids to focus on their careers.
SmartHER News

BIG PICTURE

  • Fewer Marriages: In 1978, nearly 60% of 18-to-34-year-olds were married. In 2018, just about 30% were married.
  • Fewer Babies: In 2018, the U.S. birthrate fell to a 32-year low, *BUT* birth rates rose for women in late 30s / early 40s.
  • $$$: According to latest gov’t data, it costs approx. $234,000 to raise a child.
  • FYI: America is the only developed country without a mandated paid leave policy for new moms.
SmartHER News

“It’s a controversial approach to creating a family and there are people who balk at it, but the idealized version of a man and woman falling in love is shortsighted.”

Jenica Andersen (38), who met the soon-to-be-father of her baby via PollenTree. They first talked on the phone, then met in person, and after going through medical testing and legal consultations, decided to become parents together. Twist of fate? They fell in love (not a promised result).
SmartHER News

LOVE American Style? Online mating may be new, but online dating is definitely not. 30% of adults have tried it and 12% have been in a committed relationship with someone they met online. WHAT DO YOU THINK? Are co-parenting websites the logical next step?

view sources

Read
Health

BAD RAP?

We’re eating more tree nuts than ever…and they may have FEWER calories than we thought.

 

Health

BACKSTORY

  • BACKGROUND: The USDA and most food manufacturers rely on a century-old formula (1 gram of protein = 4 calories; 1 gram of fat = 9 calories) to calculate a given food’s calorie content.
  • RECENT: That formula might not apply when it comes to certain tree nuts because they aren’t broken down (digested) like other foods, and therefore our bodies don’t absorb as much energy (calories).
Health

About The Studies

  • 2011: USDA researchers began studying how almonds, walnuts, & pistachios are digested in human “waste.”
  • Using those samples, researchers calculated how much fat, protein, carbohydrates, & calories were absorbed by the participant.
  • Results: Nuts had fewer *digestible* calories vs. calorie counts on labels: almonds (-32%), walnuts (-21%) & pistachios (-5%).
Health

WHY?

“If they’re not digested, then maybe the calorie content is not correct.”

Dr. David Baer, one of the USDA researchers involved in the studies.
Health

Also Worth Noting

  • Researchers found the more the nut is cooked (or processed), the more calories digested. Example: Almond butter has more calories than roasted almonds, but roasted almonds have more calories than raw almonds.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service unit conducted the studies. Nut producers and organizations contributed funding.
Health

BIG PICTURE

“We can create synthetic DNA and clone animals but we still know incredibly little about the stuff that keeps us alive.”

Prof. Tim Spector, Kings College in London, on nutrition science: "No other field of science or medicine sees such a lack of rigorous studies." Food manufacturers create their own nutrition labels. Research has raised questions about accuracy of labels & whether counts can be "one-size-fits-all."
Health

Kind Bars recently announced it's cutting the calorie counts of its nut bars by 10-30 calories per bar because of the new research. Are chocolate-covered nuts next? DON'T COUNT ON IT! Mars, which owns a share of Kind, isn't planning on lowering its calorie counts for M&M’s with almonds.

view sources

Read
Quote of the Day

“…great things come out of adversity.”

Quote of the Day

Zellweger won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In her acceptance speech Sunday night, the Texas native thanked her immigrant parents, from Norway and Switzerland respectively, for giving her the opportunity to pursue the American dream.

view sources

Read
Health

MASKS: ON OR OFF?

How To Stay Healthy

Health

BACKGROUND

  • “Coronavirus” ~ a family of viruses causing a range of illnesses from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
  • *New* coronavirus detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
  • Spread to at least 24 countries.
  • World Health Organization declared a global health emergency.
Health

Coronavirus: China

  • Reported cases has multiplied rapidly.
  • Number of deaths in China has already exceeded suspected deaths during the SARS outbreak.
  • Passengers arriving in the U.S who traveled to China within the last two weeks are diverted to 11 airports where they are screened, and if necessary quarantined.
  • The State Dept. and Centers for Disease Control advise against travel to China.
Health

Coronavirus In U.S.

  • Declared a public health emergency.
  • Twelve people infected (most, if not all are travel-related & their spouses) in six states (AZ, CA, IL, MA, WA, & WI).
  • More than 300 suspicious cases tested negative; 60+ cases still pending (representing people in 37 states).
  • CDC: “…it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.”
Health

DO YOU NEED A MASK?

“There really is no need to wear a mask right now…Exactly what you do to protect against influenza, applies to protecting against coronavirus – and that does not include wearing a mask.”

Nat'l Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases Dir. Dr. Anthony Fauci
Health

Something To Consider:

  • Majority of respiratory illnesses spread either through tiny airborne germs or droplets.
  • Airborne germs can easily spread simply by being in close proximity with someone who is ill, like the measles.
  • Right now, the CDC believes the new coronavirus is spread via droplet; touching infected surfaces, or having someone sneeze/cough near you from 3-6 ft may spread the disease.

 

Health

Practical Advice

“Wash your hands really well. Use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and open the door. Use your elbow to touch an elevator button and try not to touch high-traffic surfaces…All those things that help protect us from the flu, will also help protect us from the coronavirus.”

Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD MBA, author of "Mom Hacks."
Health

For context: the CDC estimates 10,000 people have died from the flu since October, and 180,000 were hospitalized (comparable to past years). The CDC just announced coronavirus diagnostic test kits are now available to doctors & will provide results in 4 hrs.

view sources

Read
Quote of the Day

“In order to achieve anything, you must be brave enough to fail.” 

Quote of the Day

The legendary actor passed away Wednesday at the age of 103. Douglas, a Navy veteran, grew up poor and made a name for himself after World War II. He nearly turned down coming to Hollywood, admitting he once believed real actors only appeared on Broadway.

view sources

Read
Current Events

How Pres. Trump’s Impeachment Made History

The 45th President finds himself (and the nation) in uncharted territory.

Current Events

ONLY PRES. TRUMP…

The House of Representatives voted to impeach two other U.S. Presidents: Pres. Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Pres. Bill Clinton in 1998.

But President Trump is the only U.S. President in history to be impeached and facing removal from office WHILE running for reelection.

Current Events

How The Trial Compared

  • WITNESSES: Unlike his predecessors, the Senate voted not to hear from witnesses during Pres. Trump’s trial.
  • OUTCOME: Like his predecessors, Pres. Trump was acquitted. But, unlike his predecessors, a member of his own party voted to convict him: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).
  • ALSO: First time no one from the opposing party voted with the President.
Current Events

“Perhaps impeachment’s bitterness will fade, starting with members of the Senate pulling together…Or, perhaps it will help cement the capital’s division for some time to come.”

Capital Journal Columnist Gerry Seib for The Wall Street Journal who says voters' reaction to the impeachment vote could impact election races for seats in the House and Senate for both parties. His concern? The parties' divide becomes more entrenched.
Current Events

NYT columnist David Brooks wrote this after Pres. Trump's acquittal: "Instead of spending the past 3 years on Mueller and impeachment suppose Trump opponents had spent the time on an infrastructure bill or early childhood education? More good would have been done." Agree/Disagree?

view sources

Read
Our Commitment

SmartHER News #GetSmartHER

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO WASTE TIME filtering through headlines searching for the facts. That's when we realized the need for a quick, trustworthy news source that makes staying up-to-date easy and interesting.

OUR GOAL IS TO CLEAR THE CLUTTER. We're committed to providing non-partisan news, in small servings, available wherever you are, whenever you want it.

AND FOR THE RECORD: WE BELIEVE YOU'RE ALREADY SMART. We don't need to tell you what to think or how to feel or what to believe. We just want to equip you with clear facts so you're prepared for any conversation, any vote, any choice and never feel like you're falling behind.

Bullet Points Without The Bias ~ We're bringing you #SmartHERNews.