Current Events

Spacewalking Into History

Two NASA astronauts take part in the first all-female spacewalk ever.

Current Events

BACKGROUND

The Astronauts:  Christina Koch and Jessica Meir

MISSION: Replacing a “faulty power unit.”

NASA says unit is not an essential piece of equipment for everyday power to International Space Station but still important (we humbly agree).

Current Events

WHY IT MATTERS

  • While female astronauts have participated in spacewalks before, two women have never completed one exclusively together.
  • Men have participated in 10x more spacewalks then women.
  • Koch is *also* expected to make history as the longest-serving woman in space, spending nearly a year (328 days) on a spaceflight.
Current Events

“We’re part of the team. It’s really nice to see how far we’ve come.”

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir on her upcoming spacewalk - her first. Jessica and Christina represent two of only 38 active duty American astronauts.
Current Events

NASA wants to send the first woman to the moon in less than 5 years. NASA had scheduled an all-female spacewalk earlier this year but the correct size spacesuit for one female astronaut wasn't available. Read more about the ongoing controversy over spacesuit size:

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Coffee Talk

3 Top Stories With Major Ripple Effects

October 17, 2019

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Now You Know

SAFER SEX?

It’s often called “the oldest profession in the world”… will prostitution become newly “legal” in America’s capital?

Now You Know

THE BASICS

What’s Going On: This week Washington D.C. will hold a public hearing on whether to decriminalize prostitution. The law wouldn’t “legalize” prostitution, but would remove criminal penalties for those 18-years-and-older.

Why It Matters: Other states are also considering similar legislation: Maine, Massachusetts, New York.

Now You Know

“By removing criminal penalties for those in the sex trade, we can bring people out of the shadows, help connect them to the services they need to live safer and healthier lives…”

Washington D.C. Councilmember David Grosso re-introduced legislation - previously rejected in 2017 - to decriminalize prostitution. Supporters say women should have freedom to do what they wish with their bodies and the government should not interfere with activities of consenting adults.
Now You Know

“… prostitution is not work, it is sexual abuse at its worst.”

Vednita Carter, former prostitute and founder of "Breaking Free," a non-profit that works to transition women out of prostitution and sex trafficking. Critics of decriminalization say it will embolden pimps and others to abuse women by legitimizing their businesses.
Now You Know

Something To Consider

  • Nevada is the only U.S. state with legalized prostitution – and still has limits. Only counties with population under 700,000 can legalize prostitution. Prostitution is illegal in counties containing Reno & Las Vegas.
  • Democrat presidential candidates have recently weighed-in on this issue with varying opinions (read more on our source page).
Now You Know

Washington D.C.'s legislation is reportedly modeled after New Zealand. NZ legalized prostitution in 2003. The gov't says while research suggests the law benefited sex workers, it also notes the challenge of collecting data and says exploitation still continues.

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Quick Quotes

“The devil is in the detail.”

General Motors worker Sean Crawford on a tentative deal reached between the United Automobiles Worker union and GM. The UAW represents 46,000 GM workers who went on strike more than a month ago while trying to agree to new employment terms. This is the first nationwide strike for the UAW in more than a decade. The tentative agreement will be reviewed Thursday. The deal matters as it may set a template for other major car companies.
Quick Quotes

“We will not cheat our children out of instructional time.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is closing public schools Thursday in the nation's third largest school district ahead of an expected strike by 25,000 teachers. Lightfoot says the city made a good offer, including a 16% pay raise, but the union wants to cut morning class time by 30 minutes a day. The Chicago's Teachers Union says they want more aggressive caps on class size and calls the mayor's characterization of generosity is "absolutely ridiculous."
Quick Quotes

“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!”

Pres. Trump wrote this in a letter to Turkey’s President Erdogan on the day Turkey launched its offensive into Syria. The offensive started after President Trump said America would withdraw from its positions in Northern Syria. Pres. Trump has since told Turkey to stop the offensive or he will "destroy" their economy. Vice President Mike Pence & Sec. of State Mike Pompeo will be in Turkey on Thursday to meet with Turkey's president.
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“Did I make a mistake? Well, maybe in the grand scheme of things, yeah…But did I make a mistake based upon some ethical lapse? Absolutely not.”

Hunter Biden, son of former VP Joe Biden, on joining a board of a controversial Ukrainian company while his father was Vice President. This was Biden’s first on-camera interview since the impeachment inquiry into Pres. Trump. Biden denied ever discussing issues in Ukraine and China w/his father while Joe Biden was VP.
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“We should neither want help from anyone nor lend an ear to any temptation.”

North Korean Leader Kim Jon Un delivering a message on horseback at the country's highest peak - a symbolically significant location. Kim delivered a message of self-reliance & referenced sanctions imposed by the U.S (and others) in efforts to force the country to denuclearize. Talks to restart negotiations between the U.S. & North Korea broke down in early October.
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Worth-It-To-See

“Baby Shark” Heads to The World Series (for real).

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Worth-It-To-See

Gerardo Parra joined The Nationals after being cut by the SF Giants in May.
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He was in a bit of a slump and needed a new walkup song. His 2-year-old daughter’s favorite – “Baby Shark” – became his anthem.
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Now BabyShark is all around the dugout. Players say Parra’s positivity was contagious.

Worth-It-To-See

The Nationals won the American League Championship and will play either the Yankees or Astros on Oct 22. This if the first time a Washington D.C. based team is heading to the World Series since 1933.

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Now You Know

Trouble With Turkey

The complexities of a country that bridges East and West, and now finds itself at odds with allies and adversaries alike.

Now You Know

The Basics: Turkey

  • Population: Approx. 80M
  • Strategically important – geographically links Europe to Middle East.
  • Member of NATO – one of 29 countries, including the U.S., in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; only Muslim nation.
  • Critics say Turkey has turned away from democracy towards an Islamist dictatorship.
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“Hey, European Union, pull yourself together. If you try to label this operation as an occupation … we will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way.”

President Erdogan as the European Union announced it has halted all arms sales to the country in protest of the offensive.
Now You Know

What Does Turkey Want?

  • Create a “safe zone” by the border it shares with Syria.
  • Resettle 3 million+ refugees from Syria’s civil war.
  • “Remove all terrorist elements”: Turkey’s president argues Turkey doesn’t have an issue with all Syrian Kurds, but a specific group advocating for an independent state. (Critics say Turkish forces are targeting ALL Kurds.)
Now You Know

America’s Dilemma

  • America allied with Syrian Kurds to defeat ISIS, providing weapons, equipment & training. Syrian Kurds don’t have their own nation but governed the Syrian territory they fought to secure with U.S.
  • America is allied with Turkey as part of NATO – an alliance built on cooperation politically and militarily.
Now You Know

Why This Story Matters

  • Turkey provides NATO a strategic foothold in the Middle East, but is now at odds with NATO members.
  • Syria & Russia – enemies of America – have stepped in as “power brokers” in this conflict, aiding Kurds.
  • Risk of: broader conflict, humanitarian crisis, release of imprisoned ISIS fighters.
Now You Know

“We cannot have situation where ISIS is resurgent. That’s the bottom line. The Kurds obviously have been a tremendous ally for us. If we abandon them in this way, it will be very difficult to establish alliances in the future. And we need those to avoid having to deploy massive numbers of U.S. forces on the ground.”

Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY)
Now You Know

Pres. Trump Monday threatened to "destroy" Turkey's economy if it does not stop its offensive. The U.S. halted trade talks and issued new sanctions. The White House previously defended a hands-off approach, allowing Turkey to proceed into Syria.

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Quick Quotes

“We’ve made a deal for peace.”

Ecuador's Pres. Lenín Moreno on an agreement that appears to have stopped nearly two wks of violent, deadly protests. While details are TBD, here’s the backstory: the Ecuadorian gov't artificially lowered fuel prices for decades but recently halted fuel subsidies as part of terms for a $4B loan to help the overall economy. Fuel prices instantly increased, igniting protests. Now, Moreno announced fuel subsidies are back. Future of the loan is also TBD.
Quick Quotes

“Ordinary people want to see animals protected, not abused.”

Cassie King of Direct Action Everywhere, an animal rights group, on news that California is the first state in the nation to ban the sale (and manufacturing) of fur products to residents. The law goes into effect Jan 1, 2023. Advocates want the law to become a nationwide trend; critics say the law is overly strict and will create a black market for fur goods.
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“It’s an honor I’ve gotten to compete so many times for the country.”

Gymnast Simone Biles who is now the most-decorated world champion gymnast, man or woman, in history. Biles added to her medal count at the world championship competition this weekend where the United States took home gold in the team event, and Biles earned gold for individual all-around gymnast. Including her event awards, Biles has earned a total of 25 medals.
Quick Quotes

“The tragedy here and the crime here is that the American people don’t get to see what’s going on in these sessions.”

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), the highest-ranking Republican on the House oversight committee. He, and other Republicans, accuse his Democrat colleagues of selectively leaking information to the press from testimony related to the impeachment inquiry into Pres. Trump. The testimony, including that of a former White House advisor on Monday, was behind closed doors.
Quick Quotes

“We want to make sure that we meet the needs of the investigation and not give the president or his legal minions the opportunity to tailor their testimony and in some cases fabricate testimony to suit their interests.”

Chair of the House Intel Cmte Adam Schiff (D-CA) on why testimony related to the impeachment inquiry is being heard in private. Schiff says the whistleblower, at the center of the inquiry, may not testify.
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Quick Quotes

“We identify this as the most significant contribution to peace in the past year.”

Chairman Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Norwegian Nobel Committee on the Nobel Peace Prize recipient: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Abiy is credited with ending a 20-year war with neighboring Eritrea. The youngest head of state in Africa beat out more than 300 other candidates for the 100th year award of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Quick Quotes

“I’m not here to suggest we’re going to have a grand slam in the U.S.-China relationship this week, but we’re going to make progress.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Myron Brilliant who, along with other business leaders, met with China's Vice Premier. Talks between the world's two largest economies continue Friday at the White House, as the trade war continues.
Quick Quotes

“They are the worst of the worst!”

President Trump describing two ISIS terrorists reportedly responsible for beheading American journalists. The U.S. gov't reportedly took these two ISIS detainees and dozens of others out of Syria to Iraq in recent days. The ISIS detainees were being held with thousands of others by the Kurds, a group now under threat by Turkey, raising questions about whether or not these prisoners will indeed stay...in prison.
Quick Quotes

“Our findings suggest that having a dog is associated with longer life.”

Dr. Caroline Kramer, who examined the impact of dog ownership in newly published research. Dog owners had a lower rate of mortality overall, as well as lower rates of death related to heart & cardiovascular issues, compared to non-dog owners. Dr. Kramer says the next step is to examine a patient's health before & after having a dog to measure the potential physical benefits.
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On This Day

October 11, 1884

 

 

 

 

America’s longest-serving First Lady is born.

On This Day

Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Born in New York City; orphaned by 10-years-old.
  • Niece of Pres. Theodore Roosevelt (who gave her away at her wedding).
  • Wife of her distant cousin, Franklin – who served 4 terms in office, more than any other president.
  • At one time, one of the most popular columnists in America.
On This Day

“…generalities are always dangerous.”

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt writing in her syndicated column, "My Day," where she shared her life (and issues she felt passionate about) directly with the American people. She wrote the above in regards to an observation while traveling - having initially believed women preferred trains, while men preferred planes. She also discussed the challenges of "long distance housekeeping" in her column on Oct 11, 1939, 80 years ago on her 55th birthday.
On This Day

Eleanor Roosevelt started writing "My Day" as part of her husband's re-election campaign in 1935. She continued until 1961, often submitting columns 6 days a week. At one point she was published in more than 60 newspapers and had a readership of 4M.

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Now You Know

KINDNESS CONTAGION

Why watching a political “odd couple” enjoy each other’s company at a football game sparked smiles (and a social media storm).

The science of being kind.

Now You Know

“When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone.”

Ellen DeGeneres, a self-described "gay Hollywood liberal" defending herself against critics who didn't like to see her enjoying the company of former President George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, at a Dallas Cowboy's game.
Now You Know

Why Being Kind Matters

  • Witnessing or performing acts of kindness produces oxytocin (love hormone) and dopamine (feel-good hormone) in our brains.
  • Kind people have lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and age at a slower rate.
  • Doing *or* observing kind acts, whether to strangers, friends, family or YOURSELF, increases happiness (Oxford University).
Now You Know

“We all seek a path to happiness. Practicing kindness toward others is one we know works.”

Professor of psychiatry, Dr. Waguih William IsHak, Cedars-Sinai. Practicing kind acts is sometimes included in certain psychotherapy to boost mood.
Now You Know

"President and Mrs. Bush really enjoyed being with Ellen and Portia (de Rossi) and appreciated Ellen’s comments about respecting one another. They respect her." President Bush's spokesperson to Fox News.

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Quick Quotes

“…numbers no immigration system in the world is designed to handle, including ours.”

Customs & Border Patrol Acting Commish Mark Morgan on the nearly 1M law enforcement actions at the SW border from Oct 2018 - Sept 2019, incl. 800,000+ apprehensions -- more than twice the number of apprehensions last year. September apprehensions decreased for a 4th straight month but remain historically high.
Quick Quotes

“This test is a beast.”

Tutor Leisha Baker on the ACT college admissions exam. For the first time in the test's 60 year history, students in September 2020 will have the opportunity to select sections of the test they want to re-take rather than having to complete the whole exam. The nonprofit test-taking organization says the student's highest scores became more predictive of how they will perform in college. Critics suggest this will only favor wealthy students who can afford it.
Quick Quotes

“A thing like this has never happened to any President before.”

Pres. Trump reacting to a federal judge's dismissal of his lawsuit to block a subpoena by the NYC District Attorney seeking 8 yrs of his tax returns. The DA is investigating whether his business falsified records. Pres. Trump doesn't have to turn over his records *yet* while appealing the ruling. Presidential candidates have disclosed their tax returns (in some form) since 1980.
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“We take this red flag warning extremely seriously.”

Mayor Libby Schaaff of Oakland, CA, one of the areas impacted by a planned power outage by power company PG&E due to windy and dry conditions. PG&E is proactively cutting power to an estimated 800,000 people. Downed PG&E power lines, in windy, dry conditions, ignited one of the most destructive & deadly wildfires in CA history. The planned outage may last a week and become a new normal in America's most populated state.
Quick Quotes

“What I saw that day was complete and total malevolence, bad overcome by good.”

Pfc. Brendan Bialy, one of the students credited with disarming a shooter at a Denver high school earlier this year. Bialy, who lost a friend in the shooting, is now a Marine. His father said of his son, "You love your child more than anything else in this world, but the same time, you understand what he has, you have to share."
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