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The Survivor Tree

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One tree, common to many cities, has an extraordinary story. Read more on our source page.

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Fact or Fiction?

“If you look at the numbers, we’re looking at an active shooter every other week in this country.”

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Who Said This?

FBI special agent Christopher Combs said this during an interview on last week’s mass shooting in West Texas.

The FBI defines an active shooter as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.”

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What We Know

It’s true in recent years.

From 2000 – 2018, America saw an average of 14.5 each year (less than one every other week).

*BUT* in 2017 & 2018 there was an average of 28.5 active shooter incidents each year (more than one every other week).

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Why It Matters

  • In addition to increasing in frequency over the years, active shooter incidents have become more deadly.
  • Of the more than 800 people killed by active shooters, more than a quarter were killed during 2017 and 2018 incidents.
  • No single explanation as to why the numbers recently increased.
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Despite the increase of active shooter incidents, the numbers also show they are rare considering the American population of 300M+.

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TAKE A BREAK, AMERICA!

How (and why) Labor Day became a National Holiday.

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“Lager beer kegs… mounted in every conceivable place.”

One description of the first Labor Day parade in New York City, 1882. Labor unions celebrated their trade with music and costumes. The parade ended with speeches, cigars and (ahem) beverages.
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Origin: Federal Holiday

  • Holiday’s founder debated. Labor unions advocated for it.
  • Celebrated first as a local or state holiday in the 1880s. 23 states had a statewide “Labor Day” before it was a national holiday.
  • 1894: Congress argued the working man needed a federal holiday, similar to others like Christmas, for a “reasonable amount of rest and recreation.”
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“By making one day in each year a public holiday for the benefit of workingmen the equality and dignity of labor is emphasized.”

Rep. Lawrence McGann (D-IL) May 15, 1894 appealing to Congress to recognize Labor Day as national holiday to celebrate the "nobility" of work.
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This year is the 125th anniversary of Labor Day as a Federal holiday. Interesting fact: Americans currently nearing retirement age have held an average of 12 jobs between the ages of 18-52.

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“Mass Shooting”

An all-too-familiar term fueling debate and discussion after two murder sprees in America within 24 hours.

Here’s what you need to know …

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“Mass” Killing vs. Shooting

No single accepted definition.

  • Justice Dept. defines “mass killing” as 3 or more people killed in one incident in a public place.
  • “Mass shooting” is not a legal term defined by gov’t so news sources may differ on the definition. Often references 4 or more shot (injured or killed) not counting the shooter.
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Limitations

  • Data for “mass shooting” statistics *often* date back to a shooting at the University of Texas in 1966. Hence, it’s inaccurate to say “deadliest in history” because the data is limited.
  • Some news sources may/may not include gang shootings or robberies in “mass shooting” statistics making data difficult to compare.
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BIG PICTURE

In 2019, there’s been more than one mass shooting a day in America: 253 in 216 days (vs. 207 in 2018).

However…

Mass shootings significantly trail many other crime categories involving firearms: home invasions (1,039), unintentional shootings (943) & defensive shootings (889).

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20 people died, 26 injured in El Paso, Texas Saturday in one of the deadliest mass shootings in the modern era. 9 people died, at least two dozen injured in Dayton, Ohio early Sunday.

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WHY CENSURE?

It’s not a constitutional power granted explicitly by name to Congress, but lawmakers have slapped a censure on four sitting Presidents.

Pres. Trump makes history as #5.

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What Happened:

  • The Democrat-led House of Representatives voted to censure Pres. Trump for a tweet he wrote about Democrat lawmakers.
  • Critics called the tweet racist; the President denies it.
  • We placed the entire tweet on the source page for you to read in full.
  • The resolution to censure Pres. Trump passed along party lines: 240-187.
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What Happens Now?

Practically: Not much. It’s a public reprimand with no other actionable or legal punishment.

Politically: Democrats can rally together, showing a united front against a Republican president ahead of an election year. President Trump can also use this to rally his base.

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Interesting To Note:

  • Congress can punish lawmakers three ways: expulsion, censure and reprimand.
  • Expulsion is the only punishment mentioned by name in the constitution. 
  • Censure evolved as a punishment starting in 1800s.
  • Other Presidents censured: Presidents Jackson, Lincoln, Taft & Buchanan.
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The first time censure was considered in Congress? In 1798, when one state lawmaker spat on another; ultimately there was no censure vote. Mostly censure has been used for bad behavior: "defamatory or insulting statements."

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What’s The Deal With Deportations?

 

 

ICE raids. Threats of arrests. Heated political debate.

What’s the real deal when it comes to *deportations* in America?

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What To Know

ICE uses 2 deportation categories:

Removals: a person who had been in the U.S. illegally, received a court order of removal (deportation), and is confirmed to have left.

Returns: a person who did not receive a court order of removal but leaves the U.S. – i.e., someone turned away at the border who exits the country.

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Context Matters

How the U.S. handles deportations over the last 20 years changes depending on how you look at these categories.

  • “Removals” peaked during the Obama administration: 432,448
  • “Returns” peaked during the Clinton administration: 1,675,876
  • Since 2013, both removals & returns have declined.
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BIG PICTURE

  • Up to this point, the Trump admin. has deported fewer people than the Obama admin. The Obama admin deported fewer people than the Bush & Clinton administrations.
  • ICE says 1 million+ people have currently received final removal notices. 2,000 were reportedly the focus of this weekend’s raids.
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“The Trump administration would have to increase the pace of interior removals dramatically to reach Obama’s previous peak.  Unless something dramatic changes, that won’t happen…”

The Cato Institute says Obama admin (which focused on illegal immigrants w/criminal records) received more support from local law enforcement than Trump admin (which focuses on the record # of families apprehended crossing the border) when it comes to enforcing immigration laws.
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When focusing on illegal immigration in the "interior" of America (outside of the southern border), less than 1% of the total estimated illegal immigrant population has been removed in recent years.

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NEW BORDER NUMBERS

3 things to know about what happened at the U.S. southern border in June.

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“We are past the breaking point and in a full-blown emergency.”

Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan. Apprehensions decreased in June compared to May. But compared to the same period last year (October - June), apprehensions are up 140%. McAleenan went on to say, "This situation should not be acceptable to any of us."
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THE NUMBER

104,344: number of people apprehended for illegally crossing the U.S. southern border (94,897) AND those deemed “inadmissable” (9,447) at the U.S. border.

“Inadmissable” = those seeking lawful entry to U.S. but being denied for any number of reasons – from not having correct documents, criminal past, poor health, etc.

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THOSE APPREHENDED

60% = Family Units.

8% = Unaccompanied Alien Children (those 17-years-old and younger).

32% = Single Adults.

Context: Minors and family units made up 42% of apprehensions last June vs. 66% this year.

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BIG PICTURE

  • Total apprehensions & inadmissables declined from May to June.
  • Nearly 40,000 fewer people were apprehended – a larger percentage decrease than usual but apprehensions are still at record highs.
  • Since 2014, apprehensions have decreased from May to June every year except for one.
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We reached out to Customs and Border Protection to find out why numbers have decreased dramatically. We are awaiting a response.

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RISING THREAT

 

 

 

How one tiny tick may make you severely allergic to your favorite foods.

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“I felt my throat start to close. I don’t normally have allergies…”

26-year-old Matt Faraco was on an international flight from the U.S. to Israel when his health started to deteriorate. A quick-thinking doctor onboard helped administer a dose of epinephrine that likely saved his life. Upon later examination, doctors reportedly believe he was bit by a tick that made him suddenly allergic to red meat.
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LONE STAR TICK

  • “very aggressive tick that bites humans” (CDC)
  • Dark brown with one lone white mark or “star” on its back
  • Found in southeastern/east U.S.
  • Carries pathogens that can make you sick with flu-like symptoms, & can spread alpha-gal syndrome, which triggers an allergic reaction to a sugar in red meat: “The first reaction can be anaphylactic.” 
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BIG PICTURE

The CDC describes ticks as a “growing threat”

Ticks have spread to larger geographic areas in America and carry new diseases

Reported cases of tick-borne disease have increased

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“It appears the range of this tick is expanding…” says Dr. Scott Commins, one of the first docs to connect the tick with this allergy. He says awareness is important. Read more:

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RIPE FOR VIEWING

 

 

 

A rare look tonight at the Strawberry Moon.

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Strawberry Moon

  • The “lowest” full moon of the year.
  • The moon’s shallow path, in a low arc along the sky, allows us to see it more closely to the horizon (instead of up in the sky). The earth’s atmosphere gives it a rose-y, orange, yellowish glow.
  • “Strawberry Moon” may have also come from a Native American tribe as the full moon signaled time to harvest strawberries.
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The Strawberry moon is also known as the Honey Moon or Rose Moon, but the color may vary depending on where you view it. The lowest pass of the moon signals we are close to summer which "officially" begins this Friday.

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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 $139 on average on Father’s Day (up from last year’s record of $133), & compared to $195 est. spent on Mother’s Day).

 

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

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132,887

The amount of people apprehended illegally crossing the U.S. Southern border in May.

It’s the highest monthly number in more than 13 years.

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Behind The Number:

  • We’ve seen numbers like this before (early 2000s), but this time is different because of the high number of family units & large groups (100+ ppl).
  • Families or unaccompanied children (17-yrs-old & younger) = 70%+ of apprehensions.
  • In 2018, 13 large groups were apprehended. This year: 180 large groups (so far).
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Why This Matters:

  • The Trend: More people are illegally crossing the border, not less.
  • Most (90%) are from “the Northern Triangle” (Honduras, Guatemala, & El Salvador) & Mexico.
  • This is why the White House held talks with Mexico, threatening tariffs, to get much-need help stopping the flow of travelers through Mexico to the U.S. border.
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Something To Consider:

  • Majority of those detained stay in America. They are released shortly after arrest, with the responsibility to follow up on their “status” wherever they settle.
  • Minors who can’t be released without a “sponsor” (family member) are placed temporarily in detention centers, until gov’t can find suitable guardian (about 2 months).
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Detention centers holding a record number of minors are also running unprecedented programs (classes/sports) & will run out of funding at the end of this month. WH requested $$ in a recent disaster bill. Congress could not agree on amount & stripped it out.

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ROBOCALL…KILLER?

“If there is one thing in our country today that unites Republicans & Democrats, liberals & conservatives, socialists & libertarians, vegetarians & carnivores, Ohio State & Michigan fans, it is that they are sick and tired of being bombarded by unwanted robocalls…”

IS CHANGE COMING?
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BACKSTORY:

  • Problem: Approx. half of the calls you get this year will be robocalls.
  • Why? Technology allows creeps to call you even if you’re on the “Do Not Call” list. Using the internet, they can automatically dial thousands – millions of numbers each day. All they need is a small number to answer to make the scam worthwhile.
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A Change?

  • Thursday: FCC voted to allow carriers like AT&T or Verizon to proactively block suspicious calls from their customers. Think of this similar to the way your email siphons out “junk.”
  • Warning: Some worry legit calls from places like banks that use robocall systems might not reach you. We also don’t know how quickly phone companies will act.
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What can you do in the meantime? 

“The best approach is to protect your phone number the way you do your Social Security and credit card numbers. Don’t give your phone number to strangers, businesses or websites unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Univ. of Maryland professor & computer scientist, Raymond Huahong Tu, who has researched robocall technology.
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Lingering question & concern by some FCC commissioners: Will phone companies charge you for "sifting out" robocalls to your phone? FCC says they can; will they? & would you pay?

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