Money

FEELING LUCKY?

Lottery fever is breaking out as two of the biggest jackpots top $1.4 billion dollars combined.

(… never mind the 1 in 88 quadrillion odds)

Money

Why Have A Lottery?

  • In theory, a lottery raises money (to contribute in addition to taxes) for initiatives like education.
  • A multi-state lottery like Powerball distributes a portion of the sales to participating states.
  • Over the years, many have debated whether or not lottery money significantly contributes to named projects.
Money

Placing Your Bets?
What to Know:

  • MEGA MILLIONS: Drawing Friday at 11pm ET for $970M jackpot (2nd largest lottery prize behind $1.58B Powerball jackpot won in 2016.) Lump sum payout: $513 million.
  • POWER BALL: Drawing Saturday at 10:59pm ET for $430M jackpot. Lump sum payout: $248M.
Money

History on Their Side?

  • Lucky 6th Numbers:
    #22 or #9 (Mega Ball)
    #26 (Powerball)
  • State with Most Winners:
    New York (Mega Millions)
    Indiana (Powerball)
  • You pick or let the machine pick?
    Odds are the same.
Money

Why the Monster Jackpots

Powerball & Mega Millions both changed their rules in recent years to increase the chances of winning smaller prizes, but make it more difficult to take home the jackpot.

After the change, odds of winning Powerball lowered, from 1 in 175M to 1 in 292M, analysis found. But the odds of a billion dollar jackpot are 7.5 times more.

 

Money

U.S. lottery ticket sales totaled more than $80 billion annually, in the most recent data. That's more than Americans spent on movies, video games, books, music and sports tickets combined. Good luck!

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Quick Quotes

“It is this right of passage for women and girls. … you’re lost and searching and unsure. This book comes along and tells you you’re not alone. Women remember where they were when they read it. I can’t think of another book you can say that about.”

Movie director Kelly Fremon Craig on securing movie rights to Judy Blume's "Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret." Blume, who wrote the book nearly 50 yrs ago, had long refused a movie deal.
Quick Quotes

“I must, in the strongest of terms, ask Mexico to stop this onslaught – and if unable to do so I will call up the U.S. Military and CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!”

President Trump in a Thursday tweet as a group of 3,000 Hondurans, who say they are escaping violence, made their way through Guatemala. Mexico officials say they will not be allowed to enter as a group, and must show a passport and visa or apply for refugee status, which can take 90 days. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Mexico Friday.
Quick Quotes

“It’s groundbreaking…. The federal government has so far been utterly silent on the Catholic cases.”

Marci Hamilton, Univ. of Pennsylvania professor & CEO Child USA, a non-profit think tank focused on preventing child abuse, after reports the U.S. Justice Dept is investigating sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. This follows a PA grand jury report which found 300 priests in the state molested 1,000 children over 7 years.
Quick Quotes

“They’re going to do an investigation. And when the investigation comes out we’ll evaluate it. It’s not about benefit of the doubt, it’s that it’s — reasonable to give them a handful of days more to complete it so they get it right.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after briefing President Trump on his trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, during which he discussed the disappearance of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Quick Quotes

‘Honestly, it’s not for everyone.’

Nebraska Tourism Commission's new slogan, acknowledging that the state "may not be on everyone's bucket list of places to visit." In fact, Nebraska has come in dead last on a survey of states tourist are interested in visiting - for four consecutive years.
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Worth-It-To-See

How Well Do You Know America?

While 90% of new immigrants applying for American citizenship pass the required civics exam, only 1 out of 3 current Americans can.

Test your U.S.A. GPA
Worth-It-To-See

Background

The civics part of the naturalization exam requires applicants to correctly answer 6 out of 10 questions out of 100 possible civics questions.

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services administers the questions in person; the questions are picked at random.

Worth-It-To-See

Example Questions

1. When was the U.S. Constitution written?

2. How many justices serve on the U.S. Supreme Court?

3. Who did the U.S. fight in World War II?

 

Worth-It-To-See

1. Constitution written? 1787
(13% Answered Correctly)

2. Supreme Court Justices? 9
(43% Answered Correctly)

3. WWII enemy? Japan, Germany, and Italy
(40% Answered Correctly)

Worth-It-To-See

“Unfortunately this study found the average American to be woefully uninformed regarding America’s history and incapable of passing the U.S. Citizenship Test.”

Woodrow Wilson Foundation Pres. Arthur Levine on the first of its kind survey. Since it's the first survey, we can't compare to past results, but the foundation intends to do further research.
Worth-It-To-See

Something To Consider:

  • Younger Americans did the worst. Only 19% of those younger than 45 passed the exam.
  • More than 70% of respondents couldn’t name original 13 colonies.
  • While survey was given to respondents on paper with multiple choice answers, those trying to pass citizenship test must answer questions verbally.
Worth-It-To-See

Informed or not, voters are headed to the polls next month, and both parties use American history to bolster their platforms. The question is: do Americans know enough to understand what's true American history and what's not?

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Entertainment

LEAVING THE NEST

You may not know the name Caroll Spinney, but chances are he guided you through childhood.

The man who gave life to Big Bird & Oscar the Grouch is retiring after calling “Sesame Street” home for nearly a half century.

Entertainment

Behind the Beak

  • Carol Spinney (84) joined “Sesame Street” at its start in ’69.
  • Originally was asked to play Big Bird as “a funny, dumb, country yokel,” but a few episodes in, Spinney suggested he be played “like a child” who “can learn with the kids.”
  • Met his wife of 45 years while working on the show in 1973.

 

Entertainment

“Before I came to ‘Sesame Street,’ I didn’t feel like what I was doing was very important. Big Bird helped me find my purpose. Even as I step down from my roles, I feel I will always be Big Bird. And even Oscar, once in a while!”

Caroll Spinney, who was hand-picked by Jim Henson to join the cast, has been recognized for his work with 6 Emmy Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, & Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
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Entertainment

Did You Know?

  • Oscar the Grouch was orange in Season 1. After a vacation in the swamp, he came back green.
  • When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded mid-flight in 1986, NASA had originally wanted Big Bird on it, but the plan was shelved.
  • “Sesame Street” was almost called “123AvenueB” or “Fun Street.”
Entertainment

“Sesame” Set to Turn 50

  • Idea began at a NYC dinner party to use TV to educate kids.
  • First episode aired Nov. 10, 1969.
  • In 1981, gov’t stopped funding “Sesame Street” so the show turned to licensing.
  • Inked 5-season deal with HBO in 2015.
  • Adapted adding online programs, but remains longest running children’s TV show of all time.
Entertainment

Playing Big Bird, standing 8 feet 2 inches, all these years has been physical challenging. Spinney stopped in 2015 after developing problems with balance, but remained the voice. Big Bird will now be played by Matt Vogel, Spinney's apprentice since 1996.

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Quote of the Day

“My first love in the Marine Corps was leading Marines in combat—it motivated me everyday, they inspired me everyday. They are the medal.”

Quote of the Day

50 years after he "fought with unmatched bravery" during the Vietnam War, Sgt. Maj. John Canley (80) was awarded the Medal of Honor by Pres. Trump at the White House on Wednesday. Canley saved 20 Marine lives during 7 days of intense combat.

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Current Events

DIPLOMATIC VACANCIES

An alleged murder centers around 2 important U.S. allies: Saudi Arabia & Turkey.

Did you know America doesn’t have an ambassador in either country?

Current Events

Why It Matters

LEADERSHIP

“An ambassador is the President’s highest-ranking representative to a specific nation or international organization abroad.” (State Dept.)

An ambassador maintains relationships with host nation & helps coordinate between many federal agencies operating overseas & the U.S. gov’t.

Current Events

Why Empty Posts?

Politics: White House nominates a diplomat; Senate has to approve. A Senator can hold up the nomination process for any reason, at any time.

Process: Long and tedious vetting process. Some positions do not have a known nominee yet from the White House (like Turkey or Saudi Arabia).

Current Events

“In order to conduct U.S. foreign policy, the State Department needs its full team in place. … We’ve done our part at the State Department by putting forward a slate of candidates. It’s Sen. Bob Menendez and his colleagues who have refused to vote on these nominees, putting our nation at risk.”

Sec. of State Mike Pompeo placing blame for the delays squarely on politics at play. We do not know if all positions have nominees.
Current Events

“This Administration’s continued inability to adequately or appropriately fill key national security positions puts our nation at risk.”

Sen. Bob Menendez, the highest ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee has challenged President Trump's choices. The above was part the Senator's "tweetstorm" reacting to the resignation of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Current Events

Other empty posts besides Turkey and Saudi Arabia? Mexico, Pakistan. Australia. Others note that many empty posts remain in the Middle East during a crucial time with Iran: Jordan, Qatar and Iraq.

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Quick Quotes

“That’s my belongings. I appreciate God humbling me. Everybody needs it.”

Taylor Register, pointing to a small pile of keepsakes, after returning to his mobile home in hard hit Mexico Beach, Florida nearly a week after Hurricane Michael hit. He and his wife say they don't know how they'll make it with only enough money to last four more days. Hurricane Michael killed 33 people (23 in Florida alone), and 1,000 people are still missing in the Florida Panhandle.
Quick Quotes

“These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. … As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate.”

Jamal Khashoggi in his final Washington Post editorial published Wednesday. Khashoggi is suspected dead after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey & not leaving. Saudi Arabia denies any involvement.
Quick Quotes

“Get rid of the fat. Get rid of the waste. And I’m sure you can do it.”

President Trump directing members of his Cabinet to cut their next year's budget by 5%. Dubbed the "Nickel Plan," he said many members may be able to cut even more. The move comes days after the Treasury Department reported a $100B increase in the 2018 federal budget deficit versus last year.
Quick Quotes

“…in any negotiation, there are ups and downs. There are hiatuses and there are much more active periods. So, it appears as though we may be in something of a hiatus now.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on the current state of trade negotiations with China. When asked about a possible meeting at the G-20 meeting in late November in Argentina, Sec. Ross said that it's unlikely much would be accomplished there.
Quick Quotes

“A city of 8.6 million people — not a single shooting for three days. Let’s thank the NYPD for what they’ve achieved.”

Mayor Bill DeBlasio highlighting the "extraordinary" achievement of New York City going a weekend (Oct 12-14) with no shootings, a first in at least 25 years. Crime in the Big Apple has been on the decline, according to officials, with shootings down 8 consecutive quarters.
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On This Day

October 18, 1867

America Buys Alaska From Russia

 

Alaska didn’t become the 49th state until 92 years later, but the state celebrates Alaska Day each year on October 18th to commemorate the Alaska Purchase.

On This Day

Road To Statehood

  • 1725: Russia starts exploring the Alaskan coast
  • 1861: Gold first discovered
  • 1867: U.S. buys Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million
  • 1891: First oil claims staked
  • 1939 – 1945: During WWII, the U.S. began to realize strategic location of Alaska
  • 1959: Alaska becomes 49th state
On This Day

“Alaska’s contribution to America’s freedom isn’t just the oil we provide or the food we harvest from the seas or our location which is the best in the world for our military. It is more than that. It begins with the fact that Alaskans are free-thinkers.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in 2004. Russia sold Alaska to America hoping the U.S. would counter Great Britain. Alaska remained a very lawless nation for decades after it joined the Union.
On This Day

All About Ala$ka

  • OIL: While Alaska’s oil production has dropped in recent years, it still produces about 7% of our crude oil. Today, a third of Alaska’s jobs are tied to the oil and and gas industry.
  • TOURISM: Alaska attracts over 1.1 million visitor each year.
  • FISHING: Alaska’s seafood industry creates $12.8 billion in economic output.
On This Day

The word Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land."

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Quote of the Day

“…if you really want things to change and get better for everyone, you have to believe that it will, and you have to participate in that belief on a regular basis.”

Quote of the Day

The Oscar-winning actress on why there's no other option, but to be positive and feel optimistic about the future. Roberts (50) speaks with Oprah Winfrey about getting older and even faces her fear of heights in stunning photographs in the new issue of Harper's Bazaar.

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Now You Know

*UPDATE*

Where Are The Children?

What happened to the children separated from their families crossing the border illegally?

The policy ended in June & a judge ordered them reunited. But new numbers show 200+ children remain in federal custody.

Now You Know

BACKGROUND:

  • April: Trump’s admin implements “zero tolerance” policy: ANY adult crossing illegally arrested & minor children taken into custody. Previously, adults with minor child(ren) may avoid arrest.
  • June: Pres. Trump ends family separation.
  • April – June: Est. 2,342 children separated from families & put in gov’t custody.
Now You Know

WHAT’S NEW?

  • 2,000 children separated after crossing border illegally between April-June reunited with family.
  • More than 245 children still in federal custody
  • The parents of 175 of those children have been deported; 125 of those parents don’t want their children returned to them in their home country.
Now You Know

Why It Matters: Big Picture

  • Rising numbers: 27%+ “family units” & 19%+ minors illegally entered U.S. (est. 90,000 families & 45,000 minors) 2017-18.
  • Gov’t still figuring out how to handle influx.
  • “Unaccompanied alien children” (UAC) are put in federal custody & reside in shelters until placed with sponsor or family.
Now You Know

CONTEXT MATTERS:

The 2,000+ recently separated minors represent a small portion of the 45,000+ unaccompanied alien children (UAC) apprehended at the SW border in FY2018 – up nearly 20% since FY2017.

Due to overcrowding, some UACs held in makeshift locations, like the “tent city” in Torillo, TX, currently housing 1,500.

Now You Know

A recent AP investigation of court records casts doubt on gov't statements regarding family reunification. AP says there are "holes in the system that allow court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families — without notifying their parents."

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Quick Quotes

“I don’t got a lot of dollars, but I got a lot of dreams.”

New York resident Marino Panteleo on why he bought a ticket for the record $677M Mega Millions drawing Tuesday night. It was the third largest jackpot in U.S. history. The odds of winning were one in 302.5 million and there were NO winners, meaning the jackpot now jumps to $868 million for Friday. Those feeling lucky can play Mega Millions in 44 states, Washington, D.C., & the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Quick Quotes

“We are strong and old allies. We face our challenges together – the past, the day of, tomorrow.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before meeting with Secretary of State Pompeo, to which Sec. Pompeo replied, "absolutely." Sec. Pompeo traveled to Riyadh, pressing for a "transparent" investigation into the disappearance of journalist Kamal Khashoggi. Turkey says it believes a Saudi hit team killed Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago - claims the Saudis deny.
Quick Quotes

“This is a mystery so far.”

CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier as 62 total cases of acute flaccid myelitis, a mysterious, paralyzing illness that primarily effects children, have spread to 22 states. The U.S. saw similar waves in 2014 & 2016, but the CDC does not know the cause.
SmartHer Explainer
Quick Quotes

“This is the worst it’s ever been. Nobody should have to live like this. They don’t need to live like this. We can get this under control.”

Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce, San Francisco's largest private employer, on why he is supporting a new measure to tax city businesses, like his, to provide services for the city's exploding homeless problem. Proposition C, on Nov. 6 ballot, would raise $300M. Those opposed, like SF Chamber of Commerce, say spending more $$ won't solve the problem.
Quick Quotes

“I remember a passionate man who held his family and friends dear. I also remember a brilliant technologist and philanthropist who wanted to accomplish great things, and did.”

Bill Gates on the death of Microsoft co-founder & friend Paul Allen. Their friendship, which began in 7th grade, struggled in 1983 when Allen left Microsoft, but mended in later years. On his personal blog, Gates wrote "Microsoft would never have happened without Paul."
Quick Quotes
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Current Events

CANNabis For CANada

The Great White North is the second country after Uruguay (and the first G7 country) to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide.

Current Events

The Cannabis Act

  • Starting October 17, on the federal level, Canadian adults may possess up to 30 grams of marijuana and as many as four plants per household.
  • However, each of Canada’s 13 provinces & territories can add restrictions re: lowering possession limits, increasing the minimum age, and limiting how/where it can be sold & used.

 

Current Events

Why Canada?
Why Now?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau began advocating for legalization in 2013, two years before taking office.

In 2016, the Liberal Party first introduced the idea, aimed at putting an end to the black market and protecting minors.

The bill passed in June 2018.

Current Events

Why It Matter$

Canadians spent $5.7B on marijuana in 2017 – most of which was spent on the black market.

The new legal industry is expected bring in $6.5B in annual sales. The federal & local governments will make money (collect taxes) on sales.

Canada = a test case for a legalizing marijuana. Will America follow?

 

 

Current Events

In America, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. In 1996, CA became 1st state to legalize medical marijuana. Today, it's legal in 31 states + DC. In 2012, CO & WA became 1st states to legalize recreational marijuana. Today, it's legal in 9 states + DC.

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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.

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