Looking At the Huge Events That Happened In The Previous Year

So, it is the first month of 2018 going into the second. In a way, it is still kind of the New Year, right? Well, it is close enough to the previous year to think about the biggest events of 2017 that made the news. To be honest, even if it wasn’t so close to 2017, the events of 2017 would still be pretty notable to talk about.

Hurricanes

Some of America’s biggest hurricanes were seen in 2017. These storms devastated Florida, Texas, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The names of these hurricanes were Harvey, Irma and Maria. Hurricane Harvey topped Hurricane Katrina as being the most damaging storm to ever hit the United States of America. Hurricane Irma did more damage than hurricane Andrew. Hurricane Maria did more damage than Hurricane Sandy.

Hollywood Sexual Assaults Being Publicized

Well, Hollywood has long been known as a scene for degeneracy. There has always been this secret-but-not-so-secret-and-totally-known-by-everyone knowledge of dirty relations in show business. However, 2017 was the year when the biggest degenerates of Hollywood were openly named to the public.

Political Marches

The year 2017 was rife with marches and political passion as people with various views took to the streets and spoke. The day after President Trump’s inauguration, the “Women’s March” happened in Washington. This march was pro-choice and about women’s rights, though it also had a very partisan thing to it that was pro-Democrat. The antithesis to this march and its values was the protest in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the Charlottesville march, a bunch of people were protesting the fact that more liberal types wanted to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee in a park. Some people were there to legitimately protest the removal of the statue, because there are a lot of people down South—Black and White—who feel that Confederate monuments are a part of their regional heritage. Some of the people there felt that it was an anti-White thing to take it down, and some felt that it was un-American or unnecessary. Different types of people showed up—everyone from people with radical White-supremacist backgrounds, to people who felt that Whites were being discriminated against, to people who just wanted to preserve the statue. The media painted this as a “White supremacist” event.

A Lot of American History In January of 2018

The first month of 2018 has been filled with an amazing amount of American history.

On January 1st, California completely legalized weed for recreational use. Yes, they legalized weed! This unbelievable turn of events was a great push forward for the country. Around that time, there were plenty of click-bait articles online of how it could be bad for people.

On January 10th, a federal court went against Trump’s choice to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals protections. Trump was not happy about this.

On January 11th, Ecuador gave citizenship to Julian Assange, the man who founded Wikileaks.

Also, on January 11th, Trump referred to third world places such as Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries,” stirring up controversy.

On January 19th, Trump becomes the first president to ever address the March for Life—an anti-abortion rally.

On January 20th, the government shuts down.

On January 22nd, there was a deal to reopen the government until February 8th.

I have a lot of opinions about these events. First off, I think that President Trump was spot on when he called these places “shithole countries.” People leave impoverished places to come to America because those countries really are s-holes! That is the reason why a lot of people have immigrated to America over the past hundreds of years—their countries were total s-holes!

I am glad that weed was made completely legal someplace in America, because I think that it is a human rights issue. Weed cures many ailments, and forcing people to buy from shady sources leads to the funding of a shady underworld.

A lot of news pertains to Trump saying silly or attention-getting things. Who cares what this man says! Would you rather have some guy saying very frank sounding things, or would you rather have some guy blatantly lying in your face and being extremely condescending. Which is really better?

The Fascinating of Designated Survivors

A popular television program in the United States starring Keifer Sutherland called Designated Survivor (2016-2018) presents a drama revolving around a U.S. Cabinet appointee named Tom Kirkman. He unexpectedly becomes President of the United States after surviving a terror attack which wipes out other senior federal office holders. Fictional President Kirkman duly swore the Oath of Office because he had received the dubious honor of serving as his President’s “designated survivor.”

It may surprise many Americans to know the practice of selecting a “designated survivor” actually does exist. The national security protocol reportedly originated during the tense Cold War Era. It seeks to maintain continuity of government in the event of a worst-case scenario. The history of this practice sheds fascinating light on some Administrations.

1900s

President Reagan documented the names of his designated survivors. They included Samuel R. Pierce, Jr, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1984) and John Block, Secretary of Agriculture (1986). The latter remembered spending designated survivor duty in a warm tropical setting (probably a far more pleasant environment than Washington D.C. during winter!).

President Bill Clinton also rotated designated survivor duties among different Cabinet members. He asked Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services, to remain in the White House during his 1996 address to Congress. She reportedly treated everyone to a pizza party. The next year he chose Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman as his designated survivor. In 1999, Andrew Cuomo undertook those responsibilities at the President’s request.

2000s

During recent years, some designated survivors have found themselves whisked away to high security sites. The assignment assumed covert importance following the 9/11 tragedy. As the United States entered the Twenty First Century the role of a designated survivor transformed to keep pace with changing times.

The African American Museum In DC Is Now Open Thanks To Hidden Figures

The newest national museum to open in Washington D.C. is the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It came after almost a 100-year effort. People like Congressman John Lewis have been pushing for the construction of such a museum for decades. Lewis is a prominent African American congressman and civil rights champion. He was among a group of four prominent congressmen that managed to get the funding for the construction of the museum.

Both Republican and Democrat members of Congress managed to cooperate in a bipartisan fashion to establish the Museum of African American History and Culture. However, behind the public figures existed hidden figures that helped craft the legislation that made the museum a reality. These hidden figures included four African American women that worked behind the scenes to secure funding and reach a consensus in Congress.

The hidden figures behind the project were all staffers for the bipartisan group of congressman that helped push through legislation to make a century-old dream a reality. Their names are Tammy Boyd, LaRochelle Young, Kerri Speight Watson and Donnice Turner. While these women may not get the fame or recognition that their bosses have received, their role was pivotal for getting a National African American Museum built.

The museum will inspire generations of African Americans and Americans of all backgrounds on what it means to persevere and overcome obstacles. African American history is full of discrimination, slavery, and abuse. Still, despite all of this African Americans have enriched our nation and culture with their services in the military and contribution to the arts and music.

Thanks to the efforts of Congressmen Lewis and Watts and Senators Brownback and Cleland, the dream and goal of a National African American Museum are now achieved. The work of their hidden figure staffers is lesser known but was just as crucial for the project. You can now visit the museum and learn more about well-known figures such as Martin Luther King and Serena Williams and lesser-known African Americans such as Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan who worked at NASA.

Contemporary Art Exhibit Holds Up Mirror to Jim Crow Era

“Sanctuary,” an art exhibition by New York-based multimedia artist Derrick Adams, opened on January 25, 2018 at the Museum of Arts and Design (2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY). The exhibit collects 50 of Adams’ sculptural/multimedia/installation pieces that walk visitors through a disturbing chapter of American history, the Jim Crow era.

Adams’ work was inspired, in part, by The Negro Motorist Green Book by Victor Hugo Green. First published in 1936, the book by African-American New Yorker Green helped African-American travelers identify places where racial discrimination was legal or tolerated. People of color could use the “Green Book” to avoid places where they might be harassed, denied food or lodging, or possibly imprisoned.

Victor Hugo Green published several updates of his work between 1936 and 1967. In his introduction, Green wrote of his hope that the day would come when racial equality would make such guides obsolete.

Adams’ exhibition includes reproductions of pages from Green’s book. Tamara Warren writes that visitors will quickly come to realize that many of the issues of Green’s day remain unresolved and are as relevant as they were during the time of Jim Crow.

Historians define the Jim Crow era in American history as lasting from 1877 until the 1960s, according to the Jim Crow Museum. During this time, the legal and civil rights of American citizens of African descent were severely restricted by law. Although many of these laws applied to the American South and border states, they were not exclusively restricted to any one part of the country.

Running from January 25, 2018 to August 12, 2018, Adams’ exhibit explores themes of both America’s Jim Crow legacy and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Pop culture and media are other themes that the collection explores.

The National Anthem Still Elicits Strong Feelings

Singer Brett Young’s rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner before a National Hockey League audience in Florida yesterday elicited so many online comments the Huffington Post website mentioned the performance. The song, hastily penned by Francis Scott Key on September 13, 1814, remains a potent symbol of determination. Its origins symbolize American resolve during one of the most challenging periods in the nation’s history.

A Young Nation

Today, the bleak political landscape at the time Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics may seem remote. The United States, then a comparatively young nation, had entered into a second war with Great Britain. The British Crown administered a global empire of colonies, while the USA had barely completed its capital. Although the United States had purchased extensive western territories, Louisiana had only recently become the first state located west of the Mississippi River.

War of 1812

The War of 1812 had proceeded badly for the United States. After rebuffing an invasion of the Crown’s holdings (in lands now forming Canada), the British has sent an army to burn Washington D.C. President Madison’s Executive Mansion lay smoldering as a young American lawyer, Francis Scott Key, boarded a British ship in Baltimore Harbor to try and negotiate for a prisoner’s release.

A Symbol of Resolve

Only Baltimore’s Fort McHenry stood between the British military and the populous City of Baltimore. Soon after he boarded the ship, Francis Scott Key became a detainee while the British began bombarding the U.S. fortress with cannons. The young lawyer’s verses expressed his relief upon seeing the U.S. flag still flying over the fort after he witnessed a heavy night of gunfire. His poem set to music became the National Anthem in 1931 at the height of the Great Depression.

New Technology

Scientists at England’s University of Birmingham recently unveiled a handheld device they hope may eventually permit faster genome sequencing. Produced with the assistance of Oxford Nanopore, the compact unit reportedly recently helped epidemiologists seeking to track and predict the spread of the feared Ebola Virus. With an estimated 99.5% accuracy, the new technology may soon permit physicians to conduct genomic sequencing in the field much faster. It represents an innovation resulting from research generated by the Human Genome Project, an effort to map the genes carried by human beings which started in 1990.

Tracking Diseases

James Gallagher, a science correspondent for the BBC, spoke with one of the scientists developing the device who hopes it will eventually permit “routine” DNA sequencing by the public. His article brings to mind a fascinating idea: if epidemiologists had possessed this type of tool just a few decades earlier, would the discovery have changed the course of U.S. history? By enabling epidemiologists to track specific strains of viruses, genomic sequencing potentially offers a powerful tool for combating some diseases. Researchers now understand virus strains (including the viruses responsible for influenza) often change and evolve while spreading through a population.

Previous Epidemics

Many disease epidemics have profoundly impacted the United States. One of the most famous continues to generate news headlines: a devastating pandemic in 1918 and 1919 spread illness to millions. It killed a high percentage of patients. Today many scientists surmise that epidemic produced high mortality because an influenza virus infecting humans had mutated and acquired genetic components from a strain which usually infects birds. The global epidemic frightened the American public during the final months of WWI; returning servicemen may have inadvertently spread the disease. Rapid genomic sequencing would have offered a powerful weapon against the pandemic.

NBA Players Honor MLK Day in Unique Way

Martin Luther King’s impact is felt across the country, every day. In communities where the majority of people are African-American, including the NBA, King’s influence is perhaps even greater.

To honor Dr. King on Monday, NBA players took to the court wearing special-edition warm-up shirts, and some wore unique sneakers.

The shirts were made by Nike and feature the iconic words “I have a dream” on the front of them. On the back, there is a longer quote from a speech King made on August 28, 1963. Fans can purchase the shirts at the NBA store, and all proceeds will go to the National Civil Rights Museum.

Shoes sported by the players included those from the Nike Equality line. The Equality line includes an all-black shoe with gold letters that spell “Equality.” It also includes Jordan sneakers and those that sport the colors of the Pan-African flag: red, green, and black.

Many players in the league have traditionally been outspoken about using their apparel and footwear to support their beliefs on social issues.

The league, itself, has significantly relaxed rules regarding what can and cannot be worn on the court. Decades ago, shoes had to be predominantly black or white with only some accents in team colors to showcase team unity. The rules have loosened to allow players to wear shoes of their choice, as long as there is some sort of team unity.

For special events, including MLK day, there are very few rules about what one can wear in terms of shoes. On these “theme nights,” special-edition sneakers are shown off. On Monday and over the weekend, there was astonishing variety in how players honored Dr. King. Since millions of young people look up to these players, their way of marking MLK day was sure to be noticed.

A Posthumous Grammy Award And Cinematic History in The USA

The ScreenRant website recently reported that the late Carrie Fisher received a posthumous 2018 Best Spoken Word Album Grammy Award yesterday. Although she passed away in December, 2016 at the age of 60 following a heart attack, the actress and writer enjoyed a distinguished career in the film and entertainment industry. Some of her film roles will likely remain significant in American cinematic history.

The Star Wars Franchise

Possibly Carrie Fisher’s best known role occurred within the series of science fiction adventure and action films created by George Lucas. She portrayed Princess Leia, the sister of hero Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). Leia became the romantic interest of smuggler-turned-rebel Han Solo (Harrison Ford).

The first Star Wars film appeared in 1977. A box office success, it launched one of the most robust franchises in Hollywood. Playing the role of a courageous Princess determined to thwart the malevolent Darth Vader catapulted Carried Fisher (already well known in the United States) into international celebrity during the late 1970s.

Women in U.S. Cinema

Ironically perhaps, Carrie Fisher’s final appearance as Leia occurred in a film released after her death. She played the Princess as a General in Star Wars: The Last Jedi(2017). During the interim, Carrie Fisher accepted numerous roles in television and movie productions, and she also wrote scripts and books.

The transformation in Leia’s status between 1977 and 2017 to some extent reflects the changing role of women in society during the pivotal four decades between the end of the Vietnam War and the present. During this epoch, young American women became subject to register for military conscription just like men. Carrie Fisher depicted the transformation of Leia from a beautiful and privileged princess into an indomitable general determined to spawn rebellion at any cost.

WSJ’s Interview With David Giertz: The Authority On Financial Advising Weighs In On Social Security

The Wall Street Journal has recently published a video interview with longtime financial advisor David L. Giertz. The interview chiefly deals with social security, and how current and future retirees are potentially receiving a raw deal by way of uninformed local financial advisors. Giertz says the controversy stems from these advisors lacking a comprehensive understanding of the multitude of rules that compose the fine-print of the social security program. According to David Giertz, there are nearly three thousand laws, rules, addendums that compose the current U.S social security program, and its a surplus of information that eludes the majority of low-end financial advisors. Giertz concludes the interview by explaining the various ways this negatively affects our parents and grandparents, be it by way of ill-preparation, or funds being lost outright.

These words aren’t to be taken lightly, considering their source: David L. Giertz has nearly three decades of consulting experience. This experience comes from the very top rungs of the industry to boot. Giertz is without question the authority on the subject, having served as Nationwide Financial’s chief advisor for the bulk of his career. In this time frame, Giertz has increased the companies revenues by nearly 48% in certain regions, a substantial increase that clued the company into his incredible insight.

This financial expertise was well-earned. A recipient of an MBA from the University of Miami, Giertz’ knowledge is built on a foundation of similarly brilliant individuals. In addition to academic success, Giertz served a nine-year tenure on the board of Millikin University’s financial board, yielding them similar gains to those he provided Nationwide. These years of experience have resulted in Giertz’ being hailed an inspiration, visionary, and respected figure within the advisory space. Giertz’ decades of success and impeccable reputation have built massive amounts of credibility for both himself and his potential ventures.