Quick Quotes

“I would watch people sort of kiss their fingers and then kiss the heart. It was allowing them to feel like it was OK to admit our sadness in the moment. “

New York artist Kristina Libby on her Floral Heart Project—a mission to memorialize the more than half a million Americans whose deaths are attributed to the virus.

"Let's let our Iraqi partners investigate this, see what they learn, and then if a response is warranted, I think we have shown clearly ... that we won't shy away from that. But we're just not there yet."

Pentagon Press Sec. John Kirby on a rocket attack at a U.S. base that led to the cardiac arrest and death of a U.S. contractor.

"It is now time to open Texas 100 percent."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announcing he’s removing the statewide mask mandate and COVID-related business restrictions.

“This is not a responsibility we take lightly as allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously.”

NY Attorney General Letitia James on the decision to open an independent investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Dr. Seuss Enterprises to The Associated Press on halting the publishing of six of Dr. Seuss’ books because of “racist and insensitive imagery,” according to the AP.

"We were walking in the stones and thorns. They started hitting us with guns so that we could move.”

15-year-old Farida Lawali who was kidnapped along with hundreds of her classmates in Nigeria. All 279 were later freed after several days of captivity.

Stories
On This Day

March 4, 1933

The 40-hour work week, minimum wage, child labor laws, and social security – all policies Frances Perkins helped create after becoming the first woman named to a presidential cabinet on this day in 1933.

On This Day

“The people are what matter to government, and a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life.”

Frances Perkins began her work in public service as a social worker. Her pursuit for workers' rights was shaped during a trip to NYC on the day of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, when nearly 150 workers died. She held many positions in the New York government under then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt and his predecessor.
On This Day

“I came to Washington to work for God, FDR, and the millions of forgotten, plain common workingmen.”

Sec. Perkins, who came to the White House to help President Roosevelt draft and implement labor and economic policies during the height of the Great Depression, became the FIRST female cabinet secretary and the LONGEST-serving labor secretary in history. As the head of the Dept. of Labor, she also oversaw the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
On This Day

Perkins’ Lasting Legacy

She played a key role in several parts of FDR’s New Deal – including the passing of the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938).

  • The act established a federal minimum wage ($0.25/hour with a gradual increase over the course of 7 years).
  • It also lowered the standard work week to 44 hours/week (which would decrease to 40 hours/week by 1940).
On This Day

What’s Happening Now:

  • 40-hour Work Week: The pandemic has impacted this routine for nearly all employees. Managerial workers report working around an hour more each day. As of last summer, hourly employees report working an average of 36% less hours per week.
  • Federal Min. Wage: The recent economic stimulus bill incl. a *new* federal min. wage of $15 per hour, but it was removed due to lack of support.
On This Day

The future of legislation for a new federal minimum wage remains TBD. Since we're speaking of work life, based on 2018 analytics, duties performed by stay-at-home moms equated to a yearly salary of $162,581 with an average of 98 hours of work per week. Like much of our employment data, we don't have recent updated numbers of the impact of the pandemic.

view sources

Read
Current Events

Protecting The Vulnerable

At the center of case counts and controversy, America’s nursing homes remain a critical piece of the puzzle in the COVID-19 pandemic.

What to Know & Why It Matters

Current Events

BIG PICTURE:

  • 3.4M+ Americans live or work in the nation’s 44,500+ nursing homes and residential care communities – that’s roughly 1% of the U.S. population.
  • At least 20% of deaths have taken place in nursing homes & long-term care facilities. This doesn’t include people who lived/worked at the facilities and died in hospitals. Overall: An estimated 34% of U.S. deaths are linked to these facilities.
Current Events

Feb 2020: First Nursing Home Outbreak

One of the first major U.S. outbreaks took place at a Washington nursing home, which state was also home to the first death attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S.

  • Where: Life Care Center (Kirkland, WA).
  • When: Feb. 19, 2020 – first known case; first outbreak Feb. 28-March 30.
  • What: 155+ cases among residents & staff; at least 46 linked deaths in 2020.
Current Events

Something To Consider:

  • Older adults are not more susceptible to COVID, but they are more prone to severe cases which may result in hospitalization or death. At least 80% of U.S. COVID-19 deaths occurred in people age 65 or older.
  • COVID is more likely to spread in congregate settings like nursing homes, where people live and work in close contact and social distancing is more challenging.
Current Events

CONTEXT

  • Nursing homes, subject to federal guidelines and state rules, confronted a lack of COVID-19 preparedness.
  • Many states & facilities struggled with mitigation efforts such as testing & whether to accept COVID patients from hospitals. New York & other states ordered nursing homes to accept COVID patients, a controversial policy some say freed-up hospital resources but led to further infections and deaths.
Current Events

Feb 2021: Latest Data

  • Both the rate of cases AND deaths among nursing home residents AND staff have fallen significantly.
  • Since Dec., the rate of cases among both residents and staff has decreased by over 90%.
  • Since Dec., the rate of death among residents has dropped by nearly 75%.
  • Over 4.6M workers & residents have received at least one vaccine dose since distribution began in December.
Current Events

"The question is, are they going down because of the vaccine, or are they going down because we’re on the backside of the outbreak. … It’s a combination of both." Dr. David Gifford, American Health Care Assn.'s chief medical officer, on how to interpret recent nursing home amid declines in cases & deaths nationwide.

view sources

Read
Current Events

KIDNAPPED

She dreams of becoming a doctor.

Her cousin wants to become a scientist.

But their fates – along with more than 300 other school girls kidnapped in Africa – remain unknown.

What Happened. Why It Matters.

Current Events

What Happened:

  • Feb 26: 317 girls kidnapped in the middle of the night from a boarding school in northern Nigeria. Kidnappers unknown at this time.
  • Education in Nigeria is a challenge, particularly in the north where Islamic terrorist groups have gained strength.
  • UNICEF cites geography, poverty, “insurgency” and property damage as reasons “one in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria.”
Current Events

“I couldn’t get to there to save her because the kidnappers were shooting everywhere.”

Samaila Umar heard the gunshots from afar. He tried to reach his 15-year-old daughter (who wants to study medicine) and his 14-year-old niece (who loves science), but he was unable to locate them by the time he reached the Government Girls Secondary School.
Current Events

“Kidnapping for ransom is now the most thriving industry in Nigeria.”

Terrorism analyst Bulama Bukarti. Recent kidnappings have often been blamed on "bandits" rather than terrorist groups - but Bukarti says the “line between Boko Haram and the bandits is getting more and more blurred” amid growing lawlessness in Nigeria. The country's president has warned local authorities against paying ransom, saying the policy "might boomerang disastrously," encouraging more crime.
Current Events

Context

  • “Bring Back Our Girls”: In 2014, Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 school girls in Nigeria, igniting international outrage. While some girls escaped, 100+ remain missing.
  • Not Just Girls: 300+ boys were kidnapped in December. Dozens of boys were kidnapped days before this recent kidnapping of girls; some have already been released.
Current Events

Why It Matters

“The country, which has one of Africa’s strongest armies and is a strong U.S. counterterrorism ally, is struggling to contain multiple threats: a 10-year jihadist rebellion, and swelling banditry and lawlessness that have become a conflict of overlapping militant groups.”

The Wall Street Journal
Current Events

While the Nigerian gov't (federal & local) denies paying ransom, it's common belief that they do. Kidnapping school children is not unique to Nigeria – it's a problem seen elsewhere in Africa. We have more on this story linked in our source page.

view sources

Read
Quote of the Day

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

Quote of the Day

The three hidden words on NASA's Perseverance rover's parachute reading "dare mighty things" are from an 1899 speech by Pres. T. Roosevelt (then NY governor) in which he emphasizes the need to embrace challenges, advising "not to shirk difficulties, but to overcome them; not to seek ease, but to know how to wrest triumph from toil and risk."

view sources

Read
Current Events

One-Shot Deal

What to know about the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in America (and why some doctors say it will make a “huge” impact).

Current Events

Latest COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Made by Johnson & Johnson (J&J).
  • Different vaccine “delivery” system than Pfizer & Moderna. J&J uses a “modified” adenovirus (virus that causes cold symptoms) to help the body learn to identify and attack SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19).
  • Safety analysis came from a study of nearly 44,000 people ages 18 and up, with more than half completing at least eight weeks of follow-up.
Current Events

“There were no COVID-19-related deaths and no COVID-19 cases requiring medical intervention occurring 28 days or more post-vaccination among participants age 60 years or older with medical comorbidities in the vaccine group.”

FDA Briefing Doc on the J&J vaccine shows a slightly lower *overall* efficacy for this vaccine than Pfizer/Moderna. But the J&J study took place during higher infection rates worldwide than others.
Current Events

Similar Vs. Different

  • Similar (To Other COVID Vaccines): Side effects include body aches, fever, etc. More prevalent in younger recipients than those age 60-and-up.
  • Different: It doesn’t need deep-freezer storage like Pfizer OR the freezing temps of Moderna; this vaccine can stay in a fridge for about 3 months. This is why some doctors believe this, along w/ the single dose, will be a game-changer enabling “mobile” vaccination units.
Current Events

BIG PICTURE

  • There are still unknowns for *any* COVID-19 vaccine w/emergency use approval, such as transmission impact or how long any immunity lasts.
  • Bottom Line: You may contract COVID after receiving a vaccine (as with flu), but early data shows vaccine recipients have a lower chance of severe cases. Early research: you’ll *likely* recover faster & w/out hospitalization (better for you & health systems overall).
Current Events

Other vaccines J&J is exploring with this "Trojan horse" adenovirus technology? Zika, HIV and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus common in kids). Some say the approval of this vaccine will significantly increase vaccine accessibility in America AND worldwide over the next several months.

view sources

Read
On This Day

February 26, 1919

“…one great sight which every American should see.”

The nation welcomes a new national park, home to the
Grand Canyon.

On This Day

“The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world.”

Pres. Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 after visiting the Grand Canyon. Years earlier, Sen. Harrison (who later became president) proposed legislation to protect the Grand Canyon, but repeated congressional action failed. One of the challenges? Few lawmakers had seen the site to understand its importance.
On This Day

John Wesley Powell

  • Civil War veteran & one of the first Grand Canyon explorers.
  • Lost his right arm in battle but ventured into completely unknown & uncharted territory exploring the West.
  • In 1869, 10 men set out on an exploration expedition; only 6 returned, incl. Powell – who spread the word of the wonder of the land & the Colorado River.
  • Well-known for his work as a map maker, scientist, & conservationist.
On This Day

How It Happened

  • 1882: The first bill to establish the Grand Canyon as a national park was introduced; it took five bills over several decades before Congress approved the measure.
  • 1908: Pres. Roosevelt made the Grand Canyon a national monument.
  • 1919: After congressional action, Pres. Wilson declared the Grand Canyon America’s 15th national park – three yrs after creating the National Park Service.
On This Day

Pres. Roosevelt underscored this point about Grand Canyon: "You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see." More than 5M people visit the national park every year.

view sources

Read
Quote of the Day

“We’re all better together.”

Quote of the Day

Ahmaud Arbery's mother on the one-year anniversary of her son's death, responding to a question about whether she has hope America can unite. Arbery’s death was the first of several notable cases that ignited debate, protests and civil unrest about race in America. We have a full timeline of the Ahmaud Arbery case linked in bio.

view sources

Read
On This Day

February 23, 1945

Marines raise an American flag
on Iwo Jima.

The backstory of the photo that captured the iconic moment in WWII (and why it was actually the second flag to be raised that day).

On This Day

The Battle of Iwo Jima:

  • A critical battle in WWII on the island of Iwo Jima: Feb. 19 – March 26, 1945.
  • The photo was taken on Mount Suribachi; the volcano’s summit overlooks the entire island.
  • The Japanese used the summit to fire on U.S. forces, making it an important mission for the Marines to capture this specific position.
  • U.S. gained control of the summit & raised the flag to signal the victory.
On This Day

“The United States Marines by their individual and collective courage have conquered a base which is as necessary to us in our continuing forward movement toward final victory as it was vital to the enemy in staving off ultimate defeat… Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz
On This Day

“Everybody cheered and it was really something because the flag from the [USS] Missoula was the very first to be raised on Japanese territory… We were very proud.”

U.S. Navy vet Tom Price who sailed on the USS Missoula, one of many ships involved in the battle. A flag from the ship became the *first* raised on Iwo Jima. The Marine photographer who captured that image fell 50 feet dodging a grenade - he (and his film) survived.
On This Day

“… speaking for myself—and yet I am sure there are many others aboard who feel the same—the part we played in the invasion of Iwo Jima was pretty small compared to the willing and simple heroism with which the Marines did their bloody job.”

Naval communications officer Alan Wood in a letter reflecting on providing the now-iconic flag after the request reached the ship he served on for a larger Stars and Stripes.
On This Day

Interesting To Note:

  • Marines took the summit early on Feb. 23, but the Pulitzer prize-winning photograph was taken with a second flag later in the day by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal.
  • Why? The original flag was too small for everyone to see from below – so a second patrol climbed to the summit to raise the larger flag.
  • 27 Medals of Honor awarded – more than any other battle in U.S. history.
On This Day

The iconic flag was raised days into the battle for Iwo Jima, but the island wasn't secure for another month. Nearly 7,000 Americans died in the fighting, including 3 of the men who hoisted the flag. You can view the famous flag in the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia. See rare footage of the flag raising on our source page.

view sources

Read
Quote of the Day

“Great moments are born from great opportunity … You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”

Quote of the Day

Head coach Herb Brooks inspired the amateur U.S. Olympic hockey team before one of the greatest upsets in sports history, defeating the Soviet Union 4-3 on Feb. 22, 1980. "The Miracle on Ice" came during a tumultuous time - the Cold War, U.S. hostages held in Iran, long gas lines & rising crime. The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.

view sources

Read
Now You Know

State of Marriage

While headlines swirl about another high-profile celebrity breakup, statistics show the divorce rate in America has hit its lowest point in a decade.

What To Know & Why It Matters

Now You Know

What The Data Says

Stats from the U.S. gov’t:

  • Divorce rates have dropped.
  • Marriage rates have also dropped.
  • One data point that increased? The age of Americans at their first marriage. Some believe being “older and wiser” (and more financially stable) is a factor impacting lower rates for both marriage and divorce.
Now You Know

“Where there was a crack, there is now a rupture.”

Family therapist Dr. Kathryn Smerling on the impact of COVID-19 on marriages. Initial data shows divorce filings and marriage licenses have dropped even further during the pandemic, but it's unclear if that's simply a filing issue (i.e. gov't resources shut down or delayed due to COVID-19) and whether pent-up demand *for both* will lead to different statistical conclusions.
Now You Know

“The U.S. is progressing toward a system in which marriage is rarer, and more stable, than it was in the past.”

Dr. Philip Cohen authored a study called "The Coming Divorce Decline" and writes divorce will continue to decline - in part because marriage is becoming "increasingly selective." Divorce & marriage rates differ state to state. The Census Bureau updated data in 2019; Wyoming had the highest marriage rate. The highest divorce rate? Arkansas. See the interactive map on our source page.
Now You Know

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West filed for divorce after more than 6 years of marriage. Is there anything statistically true about the "7-year-itch"? One psychologist says 4 years is, historically, a critical intersection in marriage. Read more about the "evolutionary" explanation on our source page.

view sources

Read
Quote of the Day

“Perseverance will get you anywhere.”

Quote of the Day

"I’m safe on Mars," NASA's Mars rover "Perseverance" from its Twitter account. The successful landing of "Percy" (the spacecraft's nickname) begins a two-year mission on the Red Planet, incl. a search for signs of ancient former life in areas scientists believe water flowed billions of years ago. The soonest we'll see Mars samples back here on Earth? 2031.

view sources

Read
Worth-It-To-See

Time For “Perseverance”

Will NASA’s newest rover make it to Mars?

It’s traveled nearly 300 million miles since launching in July, but its most challenging task lies ahead: surviving the “seven minutes of terror.”

Worth-It-To-See

Why “Perseverance”?

  • Named after a 7th grader’s essay submission for the “Name the Rover” competition; NASA said the name “captured the spirit of exploration.”
  • The most advanced rover ever made – built with a navigation system, detailed maps, 19 cameras, and a microphone (so we can hear what Mars sounds like).
  • About the size of a small car and weighs over 2,000 pounds.
Worth-It-To-See

“Seven Minutes Of Terror”

  • In just 7 minutes, the rover will descend towards Mars & go from 12,000 mph to 2 mph in order to softly land… completely autonomously.
  • Why the terror? The 11-minute communication delay from Mars to Earth means that when NASA’s Mission Control Center is alerted of the rover’s entry into Mars’ atmosphere, the descent & landing – or crash – will already have happened.
Worth-It-To-See

Why It Matters

  • Over at least two Earth years, Perseverance will explore an ancient river delta, paving the way for human exploration & looking for signs of past ancient life.
  • It also begins a larger NASA mission to collect rocks & sediment on Mars & return them to Earth for study.
  • Since the 1960s, only about 50% of Mars surface missions have succeeded, leaving much of it unexplored.
Worth-It-To-See

“It’s just a matter of executing… Now, we just have to trust in our team and the hard work that we’ve put in until now, to see us through to the finish line.”

Swati Mohan, who will serve as the mission commentator during the landing event. She is one of thousands of staff members who have contributed to this project over the last decade.
Worth-It-To-See

Perseverance is set to land around 3:55 est on Mars. We have a list of how to watch the event on our source page.

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.