Good morning. Many people throughout history have faced the prospect of jail time for what they believe in – Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela… and 20-year-old Spencer Boston, who was arrested in a Tennessee court after lighting up a marijuana joint in protest of state cannabis laws.*
*PSA: This is a JOKE and not intended to offend in any way 🙂
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Impeachment Trial: What’s Going On?
On Wednesday, senators received their first opportunity to ask questions in the impeachment trial of President Trump after a week-long stretch of opening arguments.
House impeachment managers spent more than 20 hours over three days presenting their case in favor of the two articles of impeachment – abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
The managers argued that President Trump withheld nearly $400 million in aid from Ukraine in an effort to force an investigation into Joe Biden.
Democrats also emphasized the need for additional documents and witnesses in the trial (a vote the Senate delayed until after opening arguments).
President Trump’s lawyers – a mixture of White House counsel and his personal attorneys – argued for 12 hours over the next three days.
The defense asserted the allegations against the president fall short of the constitutional standard for impeachment, and do not justify removing him in an election year.
Trump’s lawyers also argued his withholding of aid from Ukraine was a policy decision based on suspicions of Ukranian corruption.
What’s next? After an 8-hour Q&A session today, the senators face a big decision: (1) Vote to allow witnesses and potentially a longer trial, or (2) move to acquit Trump and end the impeachment process. In order for witnesses to be included, four Republicans would need to defect from their party and vote with Democrats tomorrow.
So… what are people saying?
It looks like John Bolton isn’t going to get his C-SPAN moment after all
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More Injured In Iran Missile Attack
Iran’s retaliatory attack following the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani was thought to have led to 34 U.S. troops receiving brain injuries – however, the Pentagon upped the count to 50 on Tuesday evening. Officials said 32 troops had already received treatment and were back on duty, while the other 18 were sent to Germany for further evaluation.
President Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – a bipartisan trade bill that will replace the previous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mexico has already ratified the USMCA, which does not become official until Canada also ratifies the deal and the three countries meet several obligations.
U.S. authorities have discovered a tunnel more than 4,000 feet long, leading from an industrial site in Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego, CA. The tunnel was outfitted with an extensive rail cart system, forced air ventilation, high-voltage electricity, and a drainage system.
Atari has partnered with strategy agency GSD Group to create video game-themed hotels in the U.S. under the Atari brand. The first location is set to break ground in Phoenix later this year, with additional sites planned for Las Vegas, Denver, Chicago, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, and San Jose.
You’ve Got Mail
A report from The Information ($) says that Google is working on a “new unified communication app” that merges functions from Gmail, Drive, Hangouts Chat, and Hangouts Meet. This would be Google’s tenth different messaging app, as it hopes to compete with similar products like Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Penn & (Bank) Teller
Casino and racetrack-owner Penn National Gaming has purchased a 36% stake in Barstool Sports for about $163 million in cash and stock. Shares of Penn National rose more than 12% Wednesday in response to the news.
Barstool founder Dave Portnoy was understandably pretty excited about the deal.
It’s a Small World
Annmarie Small is a devoted Florida teacher whose students received a valuable lesson on the importance of following your dreams. Originally from Jamaica, Annmarie came to the United States with her son 13 years ago and found her calling as a fourth-grade teacher in Tallahassee. When Annmarie officially became a U.S. citizen last week, in attendance were dozens of her students – past and present – who had come to celebrate her success.
Small says that she hopes by watching her journey, students will realize the true American dream: that no matter what country we come from or how our backgrounds differ, we are all the same. There is no more valuable lesson for these students to learn than the determination, passion, and love they will get from watching their teacher.
Anika Robinson, Susan Woodruff, and Angela Teachout are foster moms with big plans to enrich the lives of the children in their care, but they needed some assistance. Enter Randy Hansen, a local philanthropist who decided to give the three moms one million dollars to help pay the mortgage on a community center operated by the trio (which served a total of 1,365 foster children in 2019). When a grateful Anika received the check, she let Randy in on another goal: opening a private school for foster children.
Because children in the foster care system are moved around often, the new establishment aims to serve as a stable and safe place for them to learn while experiencing consistency. The goal is for each teacher to be formally trained in trauma-informed care to be able to meet each child’s specific needs. The group has worked tirelessly to find donors (large and small) to make this dream a reality, including an additional $2 million contribution from Randy, the man who continues to inspire us all.