A billionaire is wiping out the debt of an entire 2019 college class. AOC says they shouldn’t need an ‘act of charity.’

In an astonishing display of generosity, billionaire Robert F. Smith announced that his family is providing grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 class at Morehouse College.

Smith made the announcement while giving a commencement speech at the all-male historically black college in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, May 19. It was met by an enthusiastic cheer from the 400 graduating seniors.

“My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans,” Smith said. According to the college, Smith pledges to donate $40 million to the graduates.


Smith is the founder of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm with over $46 billion in assets.

While Smith’s donation is an incredible show of generosity, it also highlights the tremendous burdens faced by millions of many college and trade-school graduates. Americans owe $1.4 trillion in college debt. That’s more than they owe on car loans or credit cards.

The average college senior now owes $29,000 in student loan debt and the average bachelor’s degree holder takes 21 years to pay off their loans.

Student debt prevents young Americans from starting businesses, buying homes, or saving for retirement. It also forces them to make hasty career decisions so they can stay afloat.

Freshman Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used Smith’s generous donation to highlight the student debt crisis.

She also saw the donation as an experiment to see how debt-free graduates behave as opposed to those who leave college under extreme financial stress.

Ocasio-Cortez campaigned in favor of creating tuition free college and trade schools as well as eliminating all student debt. It’s an issue that's close to home for her, because she’s still paying off her degree from Boston College where she graduated in 2011.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders echoed Ocasio-Cortez's statement at a town hall in Montgomery, Alabama.

"A very kind gentleman, a billionaire, forgave the debts of students at Morehouse," the Democratic presidential candidate said. "What he did was very generous, but the truth is that private charity alone is not going to solve a problem in which some 40 million Americans are struggling with right now."

"The time again is long overdue to stop the punishment of millions of people who did nothing wrong except try to get the best education that they could," he continued.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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