Happy Wednesday. Have you ever been punished just for doing your job? Hopefully the consequences weren’t as severe as two employees at a cybersecurity company, contracted by the state of Iowa to conduct “penetration tests” of municipal buildings, who were arrested while carrying out their duties – months later, the charges still have not been dropped.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”
– Vincent Van Gogh
Impeachment Update: Going Public
Today the U.S. House of Representatives will begin public hearings in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. The inquiry, announced on September 24 by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has centered on a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. An August 12 whistleblower complaint alleged that Trump solicited Ukrainian interference in the 2020 presidential election during that call.
Who is Testifying? So far, House investigators have subpoenaed documents and heard depositions from numerous government officials behind closed doors. Two public testimonies will occur later today, from Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent (who previously testified behind closed doors on Oct 15), and from the U.S.’s chief envoy to Ukraine, Bill Taylor (who previously testified on Oct 22 behind closed doors). Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is expected to testify publicly on Friday.
What do Americans think? Recent polling shows that 51% of Americans support an impeachment inquiry, with 47.4% in support of impeachment and removal. Americans are split down party lines when it comes to impeachment and removal, with 84.6% of Democratic voters in favor compared to 9.3% of Republicans with the same beliefs.
So….what are people saying?
The House Articles of Impeachment Could be History’s Takeaway on Donald Trump
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Bolivia in Turmoil
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales has been granted asylum in Mexico following his resignation on Sunday amid controversy surrounding the October 20 presidential election. It is not immediately clear who will take over as Bolivia’s next leader, as the vice president, the leaders of both legislative chambers, the police commander, and the head of the electoral tribunal have also resigned.
Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has dropped his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020. Two other Republican challengers to President Trump remain: Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld.
An Israeli airstrike killed Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Bahaa Abu el-Atta in eastern Gaza on Tuesday, causing retaliation in the form of rocket fire from terror groups on the Gaza strip. Over 200 rockets were launched at areas surrounding Tel-Aviv, including Ashdod and the Gadera region, causing the Israeli Defense Forces to order schools and businesses closed for the first time since 1990.
Streaming service Disney+ launched in the U.S. and Canada yesterday, featuring content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. The rollout was not without a few mishaps – thousands of users reported experiencing a technical error preventing them from logging in, and Disney appears to have silently delayed the launch of the service in Puerto Rico until Nov. 19.
Facebook has launched a new payments service, called Facebook Pay, that will operate on all of its platforms. The service, which is compatible with most major credit cards and PayPal, will initially be available on the core Facebook and Messenger apps, but will later be offered to users of Instagram and WhatsApp.
Management consultant firm CMG Worldwide and content creation studio Observe Media are merging to form Worldwide XR, a company that will use CGI restoration to bring digital copies of deceased humans to traditional film and other mediums. The newly formed company holds and represents the rights of more than 400 celebrities, but has faced ethical backlash from several high-profile actors.
Dean Foods, the biggest U.S. milk company, filed for bankruptcy yesterday – the Dallas-based entity owns about 60 dairy processing plants across 29 states. The company said it has secured financing to continue operations as it explores a potential sale to the Dairy Farmers of America, a marketing cooperative owned by thousands of farmers.
“Believe in yourself and keep thriving.” That’s the message that CEO and inventor Freddie Figgers wants to pass on – and he knows a little bit about rising from adversity to achieve great success. He was abandoned by his mother and left in a dumpster as a newborn and adopted by Nathan and Betty Figgers at only two days old.
The Figgers turned out to be not only loving parents and role models, but also the inspiration behind some of Freddie’s most daring innovations. When his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, Freddie created a voice-activated tracking device to be placed in his father’s shoes. That invention was purchased for $2.2 million dollars by a company in Kansas and gave Freddie the resources he needed to start Figgers Communications, the only minority-owned telecommunications firm in the United States.
Freddie has created multiple inventions, all designed with the goal of helping others. For instance, he created a cloud computing service to help a car dealership after they lost all of their contacts following a tornado. He’s now working on a smartphone that will prevent texting and driving and also test blood glucose levels for diabetics.
Freddie is proof that innovation and inspiration can be found wherever there is someone in need, and that success can be achieved with natural talent, support, and the desire to make the world a better place.
While most kids use the profits from their summertime lemonade stands to buy new toys or games, Alex and Caroline Fischer have a different idea in mind – the 9-year-old and 6-year-old are working to feed hungry families in North Carolina on Thanksgiving.
The project started humbly enough. Their parents decided to donate one box of food to help a hungry family in 2017, but Alex wanted to do more to help those in need. So she and her sister set up their small roadside lemonade business to collect the funds needed to feed 10 families. They raised enough that year (with the help of GoFundMe) for 100 boxes of food.
This year, the girls raised $2,896 dollars to help feed hungry families, which will buy 108 boxes of food and 108 turkeys. On Thanksgiving day, families will be grateful to the Fischer sisters for helping to put food on their tables, a measure that shows that you’re never too small to make a big difference.