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Now You Know

SUPREME COURT SHOWDOWN

 

 

Pres. Trump is set to announce his nominee for the high court – here’s a look at what happens next …

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ROUND I: Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings

  • Nominee submits a questionnaire & other records to Senate.
  • During open (public) hearings, the cmte asks the nominee about their judicial philosophy to get an idea of how they *might* rule.
  • Next, the cmte sends a recommendation on whether or not to confirm the nominee to the full Senate.
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ROUND II:
Senate Debate & Vote

  • The Senate debates the nomination during closed proceedings; this is not public.
  • In order to end debate and move to the confirmation vote, 51 votes are needed.
  • Once debate is over, the Senate votes on whether to confirm the nominee – a simple majority is required to confirm the nominee.
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What if there’s a tie?
As the head of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote.

How long will it take?
Since 1975, the process from nomination to final vote has taken anywhere from 19 to 87 days.

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Insiders say Pres. Trump will pick one of the following: Brett Kavanaugh (D.C. Court of Appeals), Amy Coney Barrett (7th Circuit Court of Appeals) or Raymond Kethledge (6th Circuit Court of Appeals). Learn about them here:

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“THE FOREVER WAR”

Revelations about new U.S. soldier deaths in places like Niger & Somalia and strikes in Syria have lawmakers questioning use of a nearly 17-year-old law.

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Background

  • AUMF = Authorization for Use of Military Force
  • AUMF became public law on Sept. 18, 2001 after 9/11 attacks.
  • Allows president to use “all necessary & appropriate forces against” terrorists who committed or aided in 9/11 attacks – particularly, Al Qaeda & Taliban.

 

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What’s the Controversy?

  • Nearly 17 years later, AUMF is still being used, allowing Presidents Bush, Obama, & Trump to also fight other terrorists around world.
  • America’s war on terror now stretches to no less than 76 countries (39% of the planet).
  • Lawmakers: time to take war off “autopilot.”
Click: Fascinating Map
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Bipartisan AUMF Proposal
from Sens. Corker (R-TN) & Kaine (D-VA)

  • Broadly, it says a president can’t engage in prolonged or repeated incursions without consulting Congress on broader strategy.
  • Critics say it flips Constitution, requires 2/3rds to disapprove war.
  • Fate unclear; Congress looks to avoid messy debate before midterms.
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In a separate study, released in November, Costs of War Project estimated the war on terror's price tag (with some future expenses included) has reached $5.6T - which some may argue is worth every penny. Click to read more & you decide.

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Celebrating America’s 242nd Birthday

SmartHER Facts to Impress at Your 4th of July Festivities.

…And should we REALLY be celebrating America’s birth on AUGUST 2nd?

 

 

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THE DECLARATION WASN’T SIGNED ON JULY 4 (OR IN JULY AT ALL)

  • We’re actually celebrating the *adoption* of the Declaration of Independence, not its signing.
  • Continental Congress officially voted for independence on July 2nd (the day John Adams thought we should celebrate).
  • Founding Fathers signed on August 2nd.
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3 PRESIDENTS HAVE DIED & 1 WAS BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY

  • Both Thomas Jefferson & John Adams died on July 4, 1826 – 50 years to the day after the Declaration was adopted.
  • James Monroe, America’s 5th president, died on the 4th in 1831.
  • Our 30th Pres Calvin Coolidge was only one born on the 4th.
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FIREWORKS INVENTED UNINTENTIONALLY

  • In 800 AD, a chemist mixed ingredients hoping to find the secret to eternal life… instead he created gun powder.
  • Pack that into bamboo/paper tube and… TA DA! Fireworks!
  • On America’s first 4th, fireworks were one color: orange
  • This year, 16K displays, big ones like Boston Pops cost $2.5M.
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MOST PATRIOTIC FOODS: DOGS & TURTLES?

  • Americans will enjoy 150M hot dogs this 4th of July.
  • That’s enough hot dogs to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than 5 TIMES.
  • Fun fact: on the first celebration of America’s birth, John Adams & thousands of others celebrated by eating Turtle Soup. Mmmm….
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We continue to do our forefathers proud as America's attention turns to New York's Coney Island & the Famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. How many hot dogs could you eat in 10 minutes? Click to see the record. #Merica

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New Month, New Laws

Coast to coast new rules have gone into effect tackling everything from plastic straws, marriage, school recess – even your eyes aren’t off limits.

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No Plastic Straws & Utensils in Seattle

  • New Seattle law bans plastic straws & utensils for 5,000 food service businesses.
  • Violators subject to a $250 fine.
  • Businesses can instead use more environmentally-friendly materials like paper, steel & bamboo.
  • 1st major city to do so; NYC introduced similar legislation in May.
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Must Be 18 Years or Older to Marry in Florida

  • Anyone under 17 will not be allowed to marry.
  • Anyone marrying a 17-year-old must be no more than 2 years older – minors need parental consent.
  • Old law allowed 16- & 17-year-olds to marry with parental consent.
  • Law stems from forced, minor marriages.
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More Recess in Virginia

  • New law allows school systems to count recess as part of the instructional day.
  • One county’s elementary schools which currently gets 15 minutes will double to 30.
  • Others will likely add time as well – as long as it does not exceed 15% of total instructional time or teaching hours.
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Don’t Dial & Drive

  • Georgia joins 16 other states and Washington, D.C. banning hand-held cellphone use while driving.
  • Drivers may not hold a phone with their hands or use any part of their body to support the device.
  • Georgia has notoriously bad traffic – and traffic deaths are up 30% in 2 years.
  • ALSO, new law in Arizona bans teen drivers from using phones.
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No Eyeball Tattooing in Indiana

  • Tattooists will now be prohibited from coloring the whites of an individual’s eyes or face $10K fine.
  • UM, SAY WHAT? The bill’s sponsor admits he wasn’t aware of any incidents in Indiana but says the idea came after a model in Canada had complications.
  • Oklahoma is the only other state with a similar law.
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No Slow Pokes in the Left Lane in Idaho

  • Who doesn’t get annoyed by slow drivers in the left lane? Now it’s grounds for a ticket in Idaho.
  • Law forbids slow drivers in the far-left lane from impeding other drivers who are traveling at the speed limit.
  • Citations would be handled like a speeding ticket & could cost you $90.
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Hundreds of new laws went into effect on July 1 for many state & local governments as a by-product of their 2018 legislative session. We want to know what you think about them? Email us at info@smarthernews.com.

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“To Stand By Things Decided”

Stare decisis

As debate heats up over who will fill an empty seat at the Supreme Court, here’s why you should know this term.

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Why It Matters:

  • Stare decisis is a legal doctrine of precedent, meaning past decisions carry weight.
  • As President Trump mulls another Supreme Court nomination for the Senate to consider, some predict the appointment of a conservative justice will lead to sweeping changes of current laws.
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“See the new @USSupremeCourt clearly: Abortion illegal; doctors prosecuted; gay people barred from restaurants, hotels, stores; African-Americans out of elite schools; gun control banned in 50 states; the end of regulatory state.”

Legal Commentator, Jeffrey Toobin, Twitter. While Toobin claims the above, it's not easy to legally overturn the laws he mentions.
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Something To Consider:

Justice Kennedy, who is retiring, referenced stare decisis in an opinion upholding a challenge to Roe v. Wade in 1992.

“In practice, the Supreme Court will usually defer to its previous decisions even if the soundness of the decision is in doubt.”

Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute.
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Stare Decisis doesn't mean old decisions will *always* hold if challenged, but it does mean that past decisions can shape current legal rulings.

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What Are They Doing On That Phone?

 

 

“Many parents are just plain overwhelmed — and often far too trusting.”

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Kids in Control

  • New AP research finds teens are using video & chat to meet strangers on apps like Musical.ly, WhatsApp & Houseparty.
  • Storing risqué photos in vault apps (that can look as innocent as a calculator) & then trading those photos like baseball cards.
  • Using Text Burner and other apps to harass and bully peers with anonymous messages.
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Why It Matters:

  • Physically speaking, teens are safer than previous generations.
  • BUT… psychologically teens are much more vulnerable to mental illness, including depression & suicide.
  • New CDC report finds suicide rates among those aged 10-19 years rose 56% between 2007-2016, with greater increases for females than males.
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When *IS* the Right Age?

  • On average, a child gets his/her first smartphone at 10.3 years old.
  • The same study shows that by age 12, a full 50% of children have social media accounts (primarily Facebook & Instagram).
  • BUT… a 2016 Pew survey: only about half of parents said they checked phone calls & text messages or even friended their kids on social media.
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“When you give our children, at the ripe old age of 11, this ominous device, it’s like giving them the keys to their brand new Mercedes and saying, ‘Sweetheart you can go to Vegas. …wherever you want to go.'”

Rich Wistock, Ret. Police Detective tells parents to offer a “Golden Ticket” — no punishment when kids come to them about mistakes made online or help with a social media problem.
Watch Now
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He's one of the greatest technological innovators of our time, so what does Microsoft founder Bill Gates say is right age for a child to get a cell phone? Click to find out.

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The Great Straw Debate

 

 

First, plastic bags.
Now, plastic straws?
Straw bans span coast to coast, but stir up questions.

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Why Hate On Straws?

“Straws are a luxury, we do not need straws to have our drinks, and I think it’s an easy step forward where we can have a great impact for our environment.”

Brooklyn City Councilman Rafael Espinal who introduced a straw ban for America's largest city in late May, following previous official bans in Seattle, Oakland & Miami Beach.
Now You Know

Impact? Data Debate

  • You’ll see this number A LOT: Americans use an est. 500,000,000 straws a day (that would mean every single American uses more than 1 straw a day).
  • That estimate is based on a 9-year-old’s research project.
  • Whatever the number, debate continues on whether straws are public enemy #1 for pollution.
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The Last Straw?

  • Straw ban part of renewed focus on reducing plastic in the ocean. 60-80% of all marine debris is composed of plastic: WCS.
  • Study looking at efficacy of general plastic bans says initial results encouraging, but more research needed.
  • Other study: fishing gear, balloons & plastic bags = biggest threat to ocean life, doesn’t name straws.
Now You Know

The patent for the first straw was approved in 1888, but a patent for "drinking tubes" for disabled Americans came before that - another argument against the straw ban is it will hurt the disabled who depend on straws to drink.

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What Does The Past Teach Us About The Current Immigration Debate?

Our top 3 takeaways from a conversation with librarian and historian at the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, Barry Moreno.

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“Illegal Immigration” hasn’t ALWAYS existed.

There was a time in America when “illegal immigration” did not exist.

If you wanted to come to America, you could travel with ease.

After the Civil War, the Federal Government became more powerful and this set the stage for more centralized immigration reform.

 

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Immigration: A State Issue

  • Ellis Island opened in 1892
  • First federal facility for immigration in American history.
  • Symbolizes the first major move by federal govt to regulate (and profit from) immigration.
  • Immigration previously managed by individual states and cities. In fact the nation’s first immigration center ever was in NYC – “Castle Gardens.”
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Children: Immigration

  • 17-year-old Annie Moore = first immigrant processed at Ellis Island in Jan 1, 1892.
  • Native of Ireland.
  • Traveled with her 2 younger brothers to meet parents in NYC.
  • If parents/child detained at Ellis Island, they stayed with their mother – as long as they were under 16-yrs-old – in the women’s ward.
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We asked Mr. Moreno what historical context he feels is often missing from current conversations on immigration - His answer may surprise you! Read More:

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GOING TO POT?

Canada becomes the 2nd nation in the world to legalize marijuana – will the U.S. follow suit?

New signs suggest the existing U.S. federal ban against marijuana could become a ban against the federal gov’t interfering in states where it’s legal.

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The (many) marijuana laws of the land:

  • In 1996, CA became 1st state to legalize medical marijuana.
  • In 1998, medical marijuana was legal in 5 states. By 2008, that number nearly tripled. Today, it is legal in 29 states + DC.
  • In 2012, Colorado & Washington became 1st states to legalize recreational marijuanaToday, it is legal in 9 states + DC.
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Marijuana: State vs. Feds

Marijuana is illegal under federal law. But, as more states began to legalize it within their borders, the federal gov’t shifted its focus away from prosecuting *most* marijuana-related crimes in situations where there is compliance with state laws.

Instead, opting to focus on “serious drug traffickers while taking into account state and local laws.”

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Policy Change?

  • January 2018: Atty General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era policies that eased enforcement of federal marijuana laws, instead opting for a tougher stance.
  • June 2018: Just last week, Pres. Trump indicated he is willing to loosen the federal blanket ban on marijuana in states where it is legal.
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Something To Consider:

  • Pres. Trump did NOT say he will end the federal ban on marijuana.
  • However, he DID say he is willing to support a federal bipartisan bill, which would ease enforcement of the federal ban on marijuana in states where it’s legal.
  • The bill would NOT legalize marijuana on the federal level or force states to take any action.
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Po$$ible motivation? Economic Benefits. According to one cannabis analytics firm, sales from medical & recreational cannabis will reach $11.7B in 2018 and $25B in 7 years.

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PHONE OR REMOTE?

In a first — next year, people around the world will spend more time online than watching TV. 

Except in America. For now.

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THE FINDINGS

  • In 2019, people around the world, will spend 170.6 mins/day online vs. 170.3 mins/day watching TV.
  • Change happening faster than expected: just last year, data co. Zenith predicted TV would still be #1 in 2019.
  • However, in America, internet usage isn’t expected to top TV until 2020. TVs prolific in 96.5% of American households.
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Why it Matters

  • Zenith’s findings cement the fact that globally more people are using phones than ever before with major economic & business ramifications.
  • In fact, online advertisers are expected to outspend TV advertisers by $40B this year & $60B next year.
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Earlier this year, Pew Research found about a quarter of Americans are online "almost constantly." Which would be harder for you to give up: your phone or TV? See what most Americans said by clicking here:

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Father’s Day

“To have a father—to be a father—is to come very near the heart of life itself.”

A beloved Civil War Veteran & single dad inspired it – a President made it official.

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BACKSTORY

  • William Jackson Smart: Civil War Vet. His wife died & he raised 6 children alone.
  • His daughter, Sonora, inspired to honor him after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon.
  • First Father’s Day: Spokane, Washington, June 19, 1910 – William’s birthday was June 5th but reportedly the mayor wanted more time to prep for celebration.
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It’s Official

“Our identity in name and nature, our roots in home and family, our very standard of manhood—all this and more is the heritage our fathers share with us. It is a rich patrimony, one for which adequate thanks can hardly be offered in a lifetime, let alone a single day.”

Pres. Nixon made it a federal holiday in 1972 with the above proclamation.
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Flowers For Fathers?

Original Fathers Day Gift

In 1910, children gifted red roses to living fathers; white roses honored deceased.

We’re expected to spend about $133 on average on Father’s Day (down slightly from last year’s record of $135), & compared to $180 est. spent on Mother’s Day).

 

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One survey found that a majority of consumers will gift their dad an experience or an outing, over an item. Read More:

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Why Do We Shake Hands?

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Exact Origin?
No One Knows For Sure

“This custom started in medieval times…people often concealed weapons in their hands. The handshake was a way of affirming that neither you nor the person you were greeting was carrying anything intended to harm.”

Farmers' Almanac
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Do We Shake Hands…
To Smell Each Other?

Say… What?

One study suggests we touch our face more often after shaking hands, without even realizing it – an instinctual way to “sniff out” the other person.

Click: Link To Study
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What makes a good handshake?

“In North America and Europe, a firm handshake is an appropriate form of greeting. In Asia and the Middle East the customary grip is gentler; a too-hearty grip could be interpreted as aggressive.”

Emily Post
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Good guide to handshakes... when to... when not to... and what about shaking hands with women overseas?

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