Good morning. Monday is back and with it… paperwork. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as a Maine woman who received more than 500 letters over 5 days denying insurance claims she never made – all of them encouraging her to “Go Paperless.”
Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.
Impeachment Inquiry Update
How did this all start?
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment investigation on September 24. The investigation centers on a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was the focus of an August 12 whistleblower complaint. The complaint alleges President Trump used his power of office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election.
Where are we now? On Thursday, Congress released text messages between the State Department’s former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, other U.S. and Ukrainian officials, and Rudy Giuliani. Michael Atkinson, the inspector general who received the whistleblower complaint, testified before Congress on Friday. Yesterday, attorneys representing the CIA officer behind the initial August 12 complaint stated (here and here) they are representing at least one additional whistleblower in connection with the original complaint.
Looking forward House committees involved in the impeachment investigation have subpoenaed documents from the White House, from Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Investigators have also scheduled depositions of several state department employees – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent is slated for today.
So… what are people saying?
What impeachment? Trump reiterates call for foreign governments to investigate his foes
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Hong Kong protests
On Friday, the Hong Kong government used its emergency powers for the first time in more than 50 years to ban people from wearing masks at public assemblies. Over the weekend, tens of thousands of masked protestors engaged in violence with authorities and vandalized property belonging to mainland China.
U.S. and North Korean officials met for 8.5 hours in Stockholm on Saturday to resume denuclearization talks. Afterward, North Korean officials stated the talks had broken down, but the U.S. said the countries had good discussions containing creative ideas that it intends to continue – Sweden has invited both sides back in two weeks to continue negotiations.
Anti-government protests in Iraq continued over the weekend, marking six straight days of unrest. More than 100 people have been killed and more than 6,000 have been wounded in the clashes between Iraqi security forces and protestors.
Paypal has become the first company to officially leave the Libra Association, a Facebook-led group of ~30 companies overseeing the effort to build Libra, a global digital currency. Per the WSJ, Paypal’s exit comes as other major companies within the association are considering leaving the group as the project has become a target of regulatory agencies and governments worldwide.
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics released Friday, the economy added 136k new jobs in September and revised job numbers from August and July upwards by a combined 45k. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, its lowest rate since December 1969, though the increase in worker pay over the past 12 months fell to 2.9% from 3.2% in August.
Disney has banned advertising from Netflix across all of its entertainment TV properties ahead of the November release of its Disney+ streaming service. Disney has mutual business or advertising relationships with other streaming companies, but Netflix does not include advertising on its platform.
Warner Bros’ “Joker” pulled in $93.5 million at the U.S. box office this past weekend, which gives the film the highest-grossing October opening of all time. The movie also brought in $140.5 million internationally, bringing its total opening weekend haul to $234 million (these numbers include estimates for Sunday).
On a warm August night this summer, 75-year-old Joe Cwiklinski was driving home after dinner at a friend’s house when he suffered a sudden heart attack and lost control of his vehicle. His car crashed in the street and people poured out of their houses to investigate, unsure what to do.
At the same time, registered medical assistant Toni Pollard was walking to the grocery store with some friends. She hadn’t initially wanted to go but finally acquiesced to her friends’ pleas – thankfully, this caused her to be right there when Joe crashed. She helped pull him from his vehicle and quickly got to work. Because she administered CPR when she did, Joe survived the ordeal.
As we covered in a previous edition, Joe posted flyers around where he crashed thanking the neighborhood profusely for saving his life – at the time, he had no idea who was responsible for doing so. After someone took a picture of the flyer and shared it on social media (it ended up going viral), Joe was able to find the exact person who did it. This past Thursday, Joe met Toni for the first time as they were acknowledged in a ceremony at the local fire station. Looking at each other in disbelief, they hugged. “All I can think of to say right now is thank you,” said Joe.
For some of us it takes decades – and several lessons – to learn it is more rewarding to give than to receive. But 5-year-old Weston Newswanger, who is in remission from a rare soft tissue cancer, has already figured it out.
When asked what he wanted for his birthday, Weston said he didn’t want or need anything. So after his mom suggested they ask friends and family to donate to a cause instead, Weston had the perfect idea: he’d ask for toy donations for the children’s hospital where he had been treated. Weston knew first-hand the value of toys in helping him through the difficult days of treatment, and he wanted to make sure other kids had those distractions during hard times too.
Once they spread the word with relatives, friends, and over social media, toys began flooding in. By the time Weston helped deliver the toys to Penn State Children’s Hospital, there were more than 3,000. After two years in remission, it was the perfect way to celebrate Weston’s birthday – and his wisdom, which is well beyond his 5 years.