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The Spill: Biden Called Up

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Biden Named As Democrat Nominee for President

It’s official. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) has formally announced Joe Biden as its presidential candidate for the 2020 election to run against President Donald Trump. Although most people assumed he was already the presidential candidate, it wasn’t legal until the Convention appointed him. Since he chose Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) to run on the ticket with him, she will become the vice president if the pair wins the election in November.

Harris and Biden are progressive liberals, with a viewpoint much different from President Trump’s team. In fact, the two sides are so opposite, a Biden-Harris win could mean a complete change in America. The DNC, however, did have a great turnout of Democratic speakers supporting the pair.  Some of the big hitters included former presidents Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama, as well as many other big names.

The speakers used a lot of their time to insult the current commander in chief and blame the world’s problems on Trump in an effort to contrast their own party against their opponent. Biden’s appointment was not unanimous. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), also known as AOC, spoke during the event but lent her support to former candidate Bernie Sanders. She said she supported a “mass people’s movement working to establish 21st century social, economic, and human rights, including guaranteed health care, higher education, living wages, and labor rights for all people in the United States.”

Now that America has its two contenders for the highest office in the country, the campaigning will likely ratchet up several notches. This election year, however, will be much different than usual. Not only is it going to be challenging to have debates and campaign speeches during a pandemic when much of the country is on at least a partial lockdown and people are forced to wear masks, but there is also the issue of voting. Mail-in voting is a hot topic as those fearful of spreading or contracting the virus want to make it so that everyone in every state can vote by mail-in ballot. Meanwhile, a lot of people fear this will make it much easier for voter fraud to happen, while putting too much of a strain on the post office to deliver the ballots by the November 3 deadline.

Death Valley Could Set Global Heat Record

California is catching a lot of heat lately … literally. Death Valley, an area known for reaching high temperatures, may have just broken its own record, reaching 130 degrees Fahrenheit this week. Now that is hot! The race is on to determine whether this is actually the hottest recorded temperature for the area since accurate records started being taken. It’s a long, calculated process that may not show any results until next year.

Dan Berc is a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, Nevada. His department also covers the Death Valley area. Berc said he feels the 130°F temperature to be accurate. “I don’t make the final assessment, but I see no reason to believe, on the surface, that this 130 is incorrect,” he stated. “I think, based on what I can see now, it’ll probably stand up.”

In July of 1913, Death Valley recorded an amazing 134 degrees Fahrenheit, which is currently the official world record. However, there are skeptics of this reading because, at that time, they did not have the technology nor the rigorous testing that we have now. Also, some critics say that the person who made the claim was inexperienced, and the measurements didn’t quite add up with others in nearby areas.

High heat is common in California during July and August when parts of the state easily reach triple digits, sometimes for several days without a break. The high temperatures make it difficult for daily life, but very challenging for firefighters who have to battle the many fires caused by various reasons during the summer months when vegetation is dry and water supplies low. Currently, the Golden State is experiencing some of the worst fires ever, with at least 367 known active fires. These destructive fires were caused by 10,849 lightning strikes in just 72 hours!

Gandhi’s Historic Glasses Find New Life

Imagine a pair of eyeglasses being worth nearly $20,000! If those glasses happened to have been an authentic pair belonging to Mahatma Gandhi, then they could be worth that and even more. So you can guess how amazed and excited the folks at East Bristol Auction were when they discovered the historic treasure inside a plain white envelope sticking halfway out of the mailbox.

Auctioneer Andrew Stowe thought someone was trying to play a joke on the company. “Someone popped them into our letterbox on a Friday night and they stayed there until Monday — literally hanging out,” he said. “One of my staff handed them to me and said there was a note saying they were Gandhi’s glasses. I thought, ‘That’s an interesting one,’ and carried on with my day.”

But then the authentication results came back, and those glasses that hung halfway out of the mailbox for the entire weekend turned out to be the real deal. It also appears they were from an earlier point in Gandhi’s life since the prescription was not very strong.

Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi was an Indian lawyer and activist who became the leader and symbol for the nationalist movement for removing British rule from India. He taught peaceful protests instead of violent upheavals as the way to spread the message and win the movement. His people called him “Mahatma” which means “Great Soul,” and massive crowds would travel miles just to see and hear him. While preaching peaceful resistance, Gandhi took up a new tactic to fight against British rule and began fasting while imprisoned.

“This is a God-given opportunity that has come to me,” Gandhi announced from his prison cell at Yerovda, “to offer my life as a final sacrifice to the downtrodden.” The fasting protest brought success several times for Gandhi, helping to negotiate India’s independence, until on January 30, 1948, he was assassinated on his way to a prayer meeting by a Hindu extremist.

In the photographs taken of Gandhi, he is usually wearing little more than a loincloth and a pair of eyeglasses. One of those pairs of glasses will now be available during an online auction on August 21. They are estimated to be worth $19,600 but could gain a much greater price during the sale.

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