National News, Friday, Nov. 1 – Jobs And Economy Remain Strong Across U.S.

Today’s top stories and things to know from across the nation, from

Friday, November 1, 2019

The economy and the job market in the U.S. remains strong as employers hired at a solid clip in October, the latest evidence that American remains firmly in growth mode.

Employment grew by a seasonally adjusted 128,000 in October and job creation the prior two months was revised higher by 95,000, the Labor Department reported Friday. Last month, private-sector employers added jobs, including in health care and hospitality.

The gains more than offset the impact of a strike at General Motors plants and drop in federal government jobs related to the Census.

The unemployment rate ticked up from a 50-year low to 3.6% in October, and wage growth remained steady, up 3% from a year earlier. Friday’s jobs report along with other recent economic news point to an economy that is growing at a stable but slower rate compared with 2018, despite signs of a global economic slowdown.

U.S. employers overall have added to payrolls for 109 straight months, by far the longest stretch of consistent job creation on record to 1939. 

She’s now the frontrunner for the Democrats and staying on point with something Wall Street does not like at all, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said today that as president she would tap billionaires and large employers to pay the bulk of $20.5 trillion in new spending over a decade to finance her Medicare for All health-care plan, promising to shield most Americans from higher taxes under the proposal.

“We don’t need to raise taxes on the middle class by one penny to finance Medicare for All,” Ms. Warren wrote Friday on the blog site today, which came hours ahead of her planned address at a widely watched candidate forum in Iowa.

“Everybody gets the doctors and the treatments they need, when they need them,” Ms. Warren, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, wrote.

Medicare for All would eliminate private insurance and switch all Americans to a health system paid for by the government, essentially expanding the Medicare program to those younger than age 65.

By promising that her health plan could be financed without middle-class tax increases, Ms. Warren is breaking with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic primary rival whose Medicare for All legislation she co-sponsored.

Mr. Sanders has long said most Americans would see their tax bill rise under his plan, while Ms. Warren had faced growing pressure from some of her Democratic primary rivals—and some of her own supporters—to lay out how she would pay for her health proposal. She of course deflected the question when asked about possible tax increases at a Democratic presidential debate last month. 

The proposal would face a steep road to passage in Congress should Ms. Warren be elected. The front-runners in the Democratic field are split on the issue, with Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders backing the elimination of private insurance, while more centrist Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg would keep private insurance but allow households to buy into government-paid insurance.

As California is living through the most dangerous time of the year for wildfires due to dry and windy conditions, experts say a trio of factors make America’s most populous state more at-risk than ever.

Despite many recent and the dozen current wildfires outside of San Francisco and Los Angeles, there have been no significantly deadly and destructive blazes so far in 2019.   Nonetheless, the long-term trend in the Golden State is toward bigger, faster-moving and more destructive wildfires, due to a combination of overgrown forests creating more fuel, climate change that causes higher temperatures and less snow, and housing construction in fire-prone areas.

“There’s no simple problem and no one simple answer,” said Max Moritz, statewide fire specialist based at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It’s all of these things mixed together.”

California’s Mediterranean climate has long been conducive to fire.  Its forests dry out every summer and become fuel for when seasonal high winds roar this time of year, creating firestorms when ignited. But in just the last decade, the state has recorded 10 of its most destructive fires, seven of its largest and five of its deadliest.

A study published earlier this year by professors from schools including the University of California, Los Angeles found the annual area burned in the state quintupled between 1972 and 2018.

The expansion came at the same time warm weather temperatures rose almost three degrees Fahrenheit, melting mountain snowpacks earlier. That results in soil losing moisture faster, which causes trees and brush to dry up, making them more susceptible to burning, experts say.

“Changing climates makes these things more frequent, expands the timing you can get these events,” said Mark Finney, research forester for the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Mont.

Fires are only dangerous, however, when they come close to communities where people live and work.   About 11 million Californians, roughly a fourth of the state’s population, live in what foresters call the “wildland-urban interface,” close to highly vegetated areas that easily burn, according to a report last year by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Runners as they cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge during the New York City Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

The New York City Marathon is this weekend and the NYPD is prepared to keep the city safe for the race on Sunday, despite no current credible threats against NYC. 

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill reports that thousands of officers will be on duty throughout the five borough marathon course to protect the million spectators along with the 50,000+ marathon runners.

Police will be using drones, helicopters, blocker cars and police boats to help protect and keep an eye on the entire event.  Deputy Commissioner John Miller has explained that the NYPD has tracked 40 propaganda pieces that feature the NYC skyline since the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi.

NATIONALS PARADE IS SATURDAY _ A parade honoring the Washington Nationals is set for Saturday afternoon in Washington D.C. The parade will begin at 2 Saturday. The Nationals beat the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 7 to secure the team’s first title and Washington’s first World Series championship since 1924.

… In 2018: As the Boston Red Sox made their way along the parade route last year, overeager fans who were willing to part with their beer cans did damage to players, the manager — and the World Series trophy. Manager Alex Cora was the target of an open beer, courtesy of an underage dummy who was later arrested.

HOW PARENTS PRETEND HALLOWEEN CANDY VANISHES _ We know that around 80 percent of parents steal some of their kids’ Halloween candy. A survey asked parents how they do it. More than one response was allowed:

• 44 percent say they hide it away and hope their kids don’t notice

• 43 percent pretend the candy magically went missing all by itself

• 41 percent tell their kids they had to take some in order to “inspect” it for safety

• 40 percent simply sneak candy when the kids aren’t looking

• 37 percent pretend the candy has gone bad

MANY KIDS AREN’T GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP ON SCHOOL NIGHTS _ While waking up in time to catch the school bus may be a distant memory for many of us, every age group can relate to feeling exhausted all day due to lack of sleep. The problem may especially be more prominent for kids, whose developing brains need sufficient rest each night. Now, an alarming new study reveals that a staggering number of U.S. school-aged children aren’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis.

… According to research conducted at Brown University, only 48% of school-age children in the U.S. get the recommended nine hours of sleep most weeknights. The study goes on to suggest that children who are able to get enough sleep are much more likely to display a positive outlook towards school, academia, and overall “childhood flourishing,” classified as a measure of behavioral and social well-being.

WOMAN SUES WAITER AND COUNTRY CLUB FOR SPILLING RED WINE ON HERMÈS HANDBAG _ A New Jersey woman said her luxury Hermès (ehr-mez) handbag was ruined when a waiter at a country club spilled red wine on it. She’s now suing the privately-owned club and server for negligence, claiming that she suffered “property damage in the approximate cost of $30,000.”

… The woman said the light-pink purse has a sentimental value because it was a gift from her husband for her 30th birthday. Her attorney said the bag, which was discontinued by the high-end French fashion brand, is now covered in large stains.

The woman has been trying for a year to resolve the incident with country club, but they have been uncooperative.

CHICK-FIL-A ACCIDENTALLY EMAILED CUSTOMERS ABOUT NATIONAL SANDWICH DAY _ This week, some Chick-fil-A customers got emails from the chain about celebrating National Sandwich Day. The annual celebration takes place on November 3, which falls on a Sunday this year. Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. So, on Thursday, the chicken chain emailed customers to apologize for its mistake.  Chick-fil-A is never open on Sundays, in keeping with the Christian faith of the chain’s founder and his family.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE HAPPY MEAL _ The McDonald’s Happy Meal is 40 years old. To celebrate, McDonald’s will be released limited-edition Surprise Happy Meals featuring fan-favorite throwback toys. Retro toys like mini Beanie Babies, Hello Kitty, Changeables, and the Disney 100 Years of Magic collection are all coming back.

… The Surprise Happy Meal will be offered in over 90 countries starting November 7 at participating restaurants.

HUNDREDS OF MYSTERIOUS ‘WITCHES MARKS’ FOUND HIDDEN IN CAVE _ Researchers at a university in the UK (Sheffield Hallam University) have uncovered scratchings believed to scare-away evil spirits, inside a cavern. The team using advanced technology to give detailed images of the markings. According to experts the ‘witch marks’ or apotropaic marks, formed part of a ritual dating back as far as the early medieval period.

… Apotropaic marks are symbols or patterns scratched into the fabric of a building to keep witches out.

WOMAN PRETENDED TO BE PREGNANT TO GET OUT OF PAYING BAGGAGE FEES _ Rebecca Andrews is a travel writer from Melbourne, Australia, who recently tried to save $60 on excess carry-on baggage fees at the airport by pretending to be pregnant. Rebecca shared tips on social media for pulling off the scam. After she was all set to go she got caught.

… After they weighed her bag and scanned her ticket, she walked down the gangway to the plane. She dropped the ticket and as she bent over to pick it up, she made a noise and the staff looked at her. The shape of her laptop tucked into her back became apparent “and the jig was up.”

LYFT IS OFFERING FREE RIDES TO JOB INTERVIEWS _ In an age of corporate scandals and greed, you don’t often come across a feel-good story. Lyft, the ride-sharing company, which runs in over 600 cities in the United States and Canada, is offering its services for free or reduced costs to people in need. The company will provide transportation for people who are going to interviews, starting new jobs, or attending job-training functions.

… Lyft is partnering with, in part, Goodwill, the USO, National Down Syndrome Society, and the United Way.

NOVEMBER IS MOVEMBER _ Have you always wanted to grow a mustache? There’s no time like the present — especially when you can do it for a good cause. On Friday (November 1) mustache fans will kick off Movember, the massive mustache-growing charity event that raises money and awareness for men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s suicide.

OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT FOR KIDS WHEN THEY’RE SIX YEARS OLD _ Kids might like a piggy bank, but these banks don’t pay interest or send out monthly statements. If you move your child’s money to a bank account, they learn valuable lessons about money management. Experts suggest six years old as the proper age to start an account.

MOMS ARE 10 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO SKIP WORK FOR SICK CHILD _ Parents skip work for their sick kiddos all the time, especially while those antibodies are developing, but a study says that when that happens, it’s usually mom who sacrifices her workday. In fact, moms are 10 times more likely to skip work for their sick children than dads.

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