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The kinks aren’t out of the system yet. We’ve just transferred more than 2,000 posts to this new website. In the coming days, we promise our info will be current, clean and clutter-free (aka: “smarter”)

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Quick Quotes

“The Taliban wants to make a deal…It’s got to be a real deal, but we’ll see.”

Pres. Trump during a surprise Thanksgiving Day trip to Afghanistan to celebrate the holiday with U.S. troops. In his first visit to the country, the President opened the door for restarting peace talks with the Taliban; he had stopped previous negotiations after the group took credit for a car bombing that killed a U.S. solider. 19 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan this year - making it the deadliest since 2014.
Quick Quotes

“…the stakes going forward are potentially huge.”

Prof. Joseph Blocher, Duke University School of Law and co-director of the Duke Center for Firearms Law, on a case going before the Supreme Court Monday. About a decade ago the Supreme Court upheld the right to bear arms legally within one's house for self-defense. This next case brings up the question about the right of citizens to carry legal weapons *outside* ones home. The judgment could impact existing gun laws.
Quick Quotes

“They really are the best of us…Thank you to them on behalf of all Londoners.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan on the heroic bystanders who tackled a terrorist after he stabbed two people to death and injured others near London Bridge on Friday. The suspect, who was fatally shot by police, was released from prison early last year after serving six years on terrorism charges. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that "it is a mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early."
Quick Quotes

“We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Costco's message to shoppers when its site went down for several hours on Thanksgiving Day. Major retailers like H&M and Nordstrom Rack also experienced outages. According to Adobe Analytics, online retail sales reached $4.2B on Thanksgiving and Black Friday shoppers spent a record $7.4B online. As we head into Cyber Monday, online sales are up approx. 20% compared to last year.
Quick Quotes

“It was so many, I couldn’t keep count.”

New Orleans resident Kenneth Culbreth on the shots he heard fired early Sunday morning as 10 people were shot outside the French Quarter on the city’s busy Canal Street. Everyone survived. It’s the second shooting spree in three years after the city's famed Bayou Classic, a football game between two rival Louisiana colleges. The city has seen reductions overall in violent crime in recent years, but crime in the French Quarter has increased.
Quick Quotes
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Now You Know

BLACK FRIDAY

More than half of all Americans will shop during this unofficial national holiday … that may trace its name to a famous American football rivalry.

Now You Know

ORIGINS

  • 1869: “Black Friday” describes Sept. stock market panic.
  • 1950s – 1960s: Philadelphia police used the term to describe the chaos that erupted in the city on the Fridays before the Army-Navy game, which was held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
  • 1980s: Philly retailers started using “Big Friday” to rid the name of negative press – it didn’t work.
Now You Know

By the mid-2000s, Black Friday became a nationwide financial phenomenon – then came the knockoffs …

  • Cyber Monday began in 2005.
  • Small Business Saturday started in 2010 as an AmEx ad campaign.
  • Recently, not to be outdone by web & local sales, some retailers stay open on Thanksgiving too.
Now You Know

More than half the U.S. population – that’s how many people are expected to shop during the 5-day shopping weekend (Thanksgiving – Cyber Monday).

That number is about the same as 2018 when more than 165 million Americans shopped during the long holiday weekend, spending on average $313 in total.

Now You Know

BIGGER PICTURE $

The shopping weekend kicks off the holiday retail season.

During the 26 days in between Thanksgiving & Christmas Day this year Americans are expected to spend upwards of $727B, or about $1,047 per person (excluding gas, cars & dining out) – about 4% more than we did 2018.

Now You Know

Still hungry, but not in the mood for leftovers? Today's deals aren't limited to boots and laptops; spots like Red Lobster, Jack in the Box, STK Steakhouse, and Dunkin' are also handing out major discounts today. See ya, pumpkin spice - hello, peppermint!

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Politics

No American has ever gone directly from the mayoral office to the Oval Office.

 

Mike Bloomberg is the latest to try.

Politics

BLOOMBERG BASICS

  • 77 years old (4 years older than Pres. Trump, the oldest president to take office in 2017 at age 70).
  • Served 12 years as mayor of America’s largest city, NYC.
  • Politically “fluid”: Previously a democrat before running for NYC mayor as a Republican, and then registering as an independent. Re-registered as a Democrat in October.
Politics

BALLOT ISSUE TO WATCH

Gun control or “gun safety” as Bloomberg references on his website, a passion project after his tenure as NYC mayor.

Founded leading nonprofits advocating for certain gun laws.

Spent more than $100M last year to help elect candidates who support strict gun control policies.

Politics

“I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.”

An excerpt from an op-ed Mike Bloomberg wrote back in March. What's changed? He hasn't said. Speculation points to no clear front runner in the Democrat party & concerns about the party's nominees holding far-left policies that could alienate important voters in the general election.
Politics

DID YOU KNOW?

  • NO mayor has ever gone straight from City Hall to the White House.
  • Just three U.S. presidents previously served as mayors.
  • Bloomberg joins three other former mayors in the race: Cory Booker (Newark, NJ), Julián Castro (San Antonio, TX) & Bernie Sanders (Burlington, VT). Pete Buttigieg is the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Politics

Unconventional

  • Bloomberg will not qualify for the December debate under current rules (without specific amount of donations & poll numbers).
  • He will not campaign heavily in early states like Iowa.
  • Spent record amount on weekly ads: reportedly $31M, topping previous record by Pres. Obama.
  • Working to win “Super Tuesday” when most votes up for grabs.
Politics

While much has been made of the relationship between politicians and news organizations, Mike Bloomberg is the only candidate that actually owns a media company. He is the majority owner of Bloomberg - a financial data and international media company.

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Now You Know

The Truth About The First Thanksgiving Feast

Pigeons potentially with turkey…venison instead of ham…maybe a side of eel…but definitely…
NO PIE.

Now You Know

“The colonists did not have butter and wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts… So what are they putting on instead? I think meat, meat and more meat.”

Kathleen Wall, culinarian at the Plimoth Plantation, a "living museum" in Massachusetts where the pilgrims landed accidentally in 1620 (they were headed for New York's Hudson River). The first Thanksgiving in 1621 celebrated surviving their first year in a new land.
Now You Know

MAJOR MEATS

  • Surviving letters from time period describe hunts for “wild fowl” – likely wild turkey, geese, duck, and potentially flocks of passenger pigeons.
  • Venison (aka DEER) meat contributed by Native Americans, the Wampanoag Indians, who helped teach the pilgrims how to hunt, fish & harvest the area of modern-day Cape Cod.
Now You Know

LASTING DISHES

LIKELY during Thanksgiving 1621:
Wild Turkey
Corn (dried), Beans & Carrots
Pumpkins (squash)
Mussels, eel or shellfish

LIKELY NOT:
Potatoes (not in North America)
Cranberry sauce (not talked about for another 50 yrs) – plus, sugar was scarce.

Now You Know

NAME TO KNOW

Sarah Josepha Hale

  • Original poet of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” & editor of woman’s mag “Godey’s Lady’s Book”, where she wrote about American issues & customs.
  • Petitioned politicians starting in 1840s to make Thanksgiving a nat’l holiday (it was mainly celebrated in Northeast region).
Now You Know

Hale's work paid-off. A letter to Pres. Lincoln in Sept. 1863 is thought to have inspired his proclamation to make Thanksgiving a national holiday on November's third Thursday. He did this during the Civil War in 1863 (the same year he delivered the Gettysburg Address) as a way to unify the country around a common history. Read Hale's letter here:

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Quick Quotes

“It looks shaky for the balloons.”

Accuweather senior meteorologist Steve Wistar on the windy weather forecast for Thursday's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.  The 93rd annual parade will go on even if city regulations prevent the balloons from flying during severe wind gusts. The last time Macy's was forced to scrap the balloons was 1971.
Quick Quotes

“… her symptoms have abated …”

U.S. Supreme Court spokesperson Kathleen Arberg after Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to the hospital Friday for signs of an infection. The 86-year-old returned to work Monday. Justice Ginsberg's health remains a focus because Supreme Court justices may serve for life. The highest court in the land is split between conservative and liberal justices, but the next appointee could tip the ideological scale.
Quick Quotes

“I hereby acknowledge my termination…”

Now former sec. of the Navy Richard Spencer who was apparently forced out of his position over a dust-up with the White House and Pentagon regarding the case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was found innocent of war crimes. His subsequent demotion was reversed by Pres. Trump, though he was facing what would be an independent internal review by the Navy.
Quick Quotes

“It’s nothing short of a revolution.”

Willy Lam of the Chinese University of Hong Kong reacting to the results of Hong Kong's district council elections. After nearly six months of protests in Hong Kong, early results indicate the pro-democracy candidates swept the elections. The election results come after Pres. Trump indicated last week he may veto a bill supporting the pro-democracy protesters in light of ongoing trade talks with China.
Quick Quotes

“The time has come to investigate the investigators.”

Israel's longest-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacting to news he is the first sitting Israeli PM to face criminal charges. Last week, he was charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust for widespread corruption. The indictment comes as Israel inches toward holding its third election in less than a year after Netanyahu has twice failed to form a coalition.
Quick Quotes
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On This Day

November 14, 1732

How the simple hiring of a librarian in Philadelphia set the stage for the world’s largest library before America even existed.

On This Day

What Happened:

A young 20-something Benjamin Franklin helped found the Library Company of Philadelphia in 1731

On November 14, 1732, the Library Company hired its first librarian.

Operating like a membership service (costing 40 shillings to join &10 shillings per year), patrons could visit & borrow books arriving from Europe that would be too expensive for them to buy.

On This Day

Historical Importance

  • The library became the first lending library in America.
  • “The Club” allowed members of the first Continental Congress to use it as a resource for free. This privilege continued for politicians post-revolution and set the groundwork for The Library of Congress – “the oldest cultural institution in the nation.”
On This Day

We discovered this "On This Day" while perusing one of our favorite websites: LOC.gov (Library of Congress). If you put all the bookshelves in the Library of Congress end to end, they would stretch from Washington D.C. to Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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On This Day

November 19, 1863

Pres. Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.

 

But the famous speech would not have happened without this one man whose name isn’t as well known.

On This Day

“It will be a source of great gratification to the many widows and orphans that have been made almost friendless by the Great Battle here, to have you here personally.”

Gettysburg Attorney David Wills who wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln on November 2, inviting him to speak at the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery on November 19.
On This Day

David Wills

32-years-old when the Civil War battle raged between Union & Confederate soldiers.

Helped care for those injured, clear the battlefield of dead, communicate with families looking for missing relatives.

One of the main forces behind purchasing 17 acres for a cemetery to honor the fallen.

On This Day

The Battle of Gettysburg

  • Brutal battle: July 1-3, 1863
  • 100,000+ Americans fought; 1 in 5 killed, wounded or missing.
  • Union soldiers pushed back Confederates, the victory arguably a tipping point in the war.
  • It took nearly another 2 years of fighting until the South officially surrendered.
On This Day

David Wills' home is still standing in Gettysburg, PA. You can visit the room where Pres. Lincoln slept the night before he delivered the Gettysburg Address. Re-read the whole speech on our source page.

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Quote of the Day

“Find your good, and do it.”

Quote of the Day

Grammy-awarding winning rocker Jon Bon Jovi, who built the JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank, NJ, a farm-to-table community restaurant which relies primarily on donated food sand services. It serves both paying and in-need customers unable to pay the requested $20 donation fee.

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Current Events

3 Takeaways From This Week’s Historic Impeachment Hearings

Current Events

Quid Pro Quo

“something for something”

Witnesses, including those “friendly” to the administration, testified they believed a quid pro quo was being used in White House policy towards Ukraine.

Not one witness heard a quid pro quo demand from the President himself.

Current Events

Nuances

Witnesses agreed understood the “quid pro quo” in different ways.

Some believed a White House visit was being used as a “carrot” in exchange for an investigation into a Ukrainian company that employed Joe Biden’s son.

Some theorized or concluded military aid was being withheld for the investigation.

Current Events

Witness: Depth of Service

Army war veteran, son of a refugee from the Soviet Union. (Alexander Vindman)

Self-made millionaire, son of German holocaust survivors who fled to Uruguay before immigranting to Seattle. (Ambassador Sondland)

The daughter of a North England coal miner who has served as a nonpartisan adviser for 3 presidents. (Fiona Hill)

Current Events

Democrats, who have the majority in the house, will drive the timeline on what happens next; The House Judiciary Cmte can draw up articles of impeachment to vote on. If the Pres. is impeached by the house, Republicans, who have the majority in the Senate, will drive the timeline on a trial.

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Quote of the Day

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”

Quote of the Day

Pres. Kennedy issued his last Thanksgiving Day proclamation Nov. 4 1963, continuing an annual tradition that started 200 years earlier after Pres. Lincoln officially made Thanksgiving a holiday in 1863. Kennedy was assassinated shortly after on Nov. 22 1963.

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Quote of the Day

“I have been shown in darkness, light and have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it.”

Quote of the Day

About Kayla

  • 2009: Graduated from college in her home state of Arizona. Started traveling the world, from Israel to India, to help those in need.
  • 2013: Kidnapped by ISIS in Syria. Held for about 18 months (about 547 days). Fellow captives say she was raped & tortured by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
  • 2015: Reportedly killed at age 26. Her body was never recovered.
Quote of the Day

“I have come to a place in this experience, where in every sense of the word, I have surrendered to our creator, because literally there was no one else…and by God and by your prayers, I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall.”

A handwritten note written by Kayla to her family was smuggled out by fellow captives, who escaped in 2014. In it, she remained positive for her loved ones and focused on her faith. You can read the letter in full on our source page.
Quote of the Day

“One of the things that (Gen.) Milley did was named the operation that took down al-Baghdadi after Kayla Mueller, after what she had suffered.”

Pres. Trump's National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien after ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - one of the most wanted men in the world - died during an operation by U.S. forces. Gen. Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, designated the operation "Kayla Mueller" in her honor.
Quote of the Day

After hearing of al-Baghdadi's death, Kayla's mother, Martha, said, "I still want to know, 'Where is Kayla?' and what truly happened to her and what aren't we being told."

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