Fox News 2024-07-05 00:08:20


Singer confused why younger generation doesn’t know the importance of freedom

Craig Morgan believes many Americans, especially those among younger generations, take for granted the liberties they have as United States citizens.

During an interview with Fox News Digital, the country star, who recently released an updated edition of his 2022 memoir, “God, Family, Country,” reflected on what being an American means to him. 

“Freedom — it’s that simple,” Morgan said.

However, the “That’s What I Love About Sunday” hitmaker expressed his disappointment that not all Americans today share his outlook. Morgan said he had witnessed behavior indicating a lack of appreciation for the fundamental rights that set America apart from many other countries.

“I see it on TV,” he noted. “I see things that people are doing that just make me shake my head in a lack of understanding how they can’t appreciate how fortunate we are. I think a lot of that is attributed to a lack of education.

“I’m not calling anybody stupid,” Morgan added. “I’m just saying there’s some ignorance in the world, in our society, in particular in the states where people don’t understand the importance of the freedoms that we celebrate.”

WATCH: Craig Morgan says military service is ‘more natural’ to him than country music stardom

Morgan told Fox News Digital he was particularly bewildered by actions that he has seen on college campuses, dozens of which were rocked by anti-Israel protests in recent months.

During some demonstrations, protesters espoused anti-American rhetoric and raised Palestinian flags in place of the Stars and Stripes.

“I see these young folks out there that are doing things, and I just don’t — I’m dumbfounded by it,” Morgan said. “I can’t understand. But, at the same time, I do. And I attribute it again to ignorance. I see these young folks out here in colleges doing things, and they don’t even know half of what they’re saying.

“If they would just slow down — educate themselves. And I don’t mean through the collegiate system, I mean in life. Go visit some of these other countries. And they would understand how free and how fortunate we are to be in this great nation.

“I’ve had that honor and that privilege, most of which I attribute to my time in service in the United States Army,” he said. “And now I can say honestly that things that I’ve got to do in the music industry have allowed me to have a different perspective on how fortunate we are in this country.”

In 1989, the singer-songwriter enlisted in the United States Army. That same year, he was deployed to Panama, where he took part in Operation Just Cause, the U.S. mission that led to the removal of the Central American country’s dictatorial de facto leader, Manual Noriega.

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Morgan served almost 10 years of active duty in the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions before joining the Army Reserve as his music career began to take off. He continued to serve in the reserves for another 7½ years until he decided to commit himself entirely to music.

Last July, Morgan decided to re-enlist in the Army Reserve at the age of 59. That month, he was sworn in again to the Army Reserve on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in front of a sold-out audience. 

While speaking with Fox News Digital, he described re-enlisting in the Army Reserve as a “very emotional experience.”

“I spent 17½ years in my early life in the Army,” Morgan said. “It is a big part of who I am, what my family is about, what we represent. The love that we have for our country. The passion we have for the freedoms that we celebrate in this nation.

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“So, to be able to go back and reignite that fire and be a part of what I believe are the greatest people in our nation — it was very emotional,” he continued. 

“And I’m excited, honored, humbled and grateful to be able to do it again and hopefully encourage other folks in our country, to celebrate again and be a part of what I do believe and know to be the greatest nation in the world.”

Morgan chronicled his time in the military in his memoir “God, Family, Country,” which he co-authored with Jim DeFelice. He also shared other intimate details of his life’s journey, including his childhood years in Tennessee, his rise to fame in the world of country music and the tragic loss of his son Jerry.

In July 2016, Jerry died at the age of 19 in a drowning accident while tubing on Kentucky Lake. Jerry was the second oldest of the five children Morgan shares with wife Karen.

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WATCH: Country singer Craig Morgan explains how re-enlisting in the Army Reserve was an ‘emotional experience’

During his interview with Fox News Digital, Morgan explained why it was important to him to share memories of Jerry and honor his son’s legacy in his memoir.

“My son died in 2016, but he’s still very much a part of our lives,” Morgan said. “When people have someone that they loved die, it doesn’t change your emotions and your feelings and your love for that individual.

“The only difference between my love for him and my other children is that I don’t get to talk to him every day,” he continued. “But I actually do. I’m Catholic, so I do believe that we share mass together every time I’m in church.

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“I don’t know that he went to heaven immediately,” Morgan added with a laugh. “I’m sure he spent a little time in purgatory. But I do know that his heart was for God. He loved God.

“In fact, it wasn’t until after he passed that I learned how much impact he had on other people’s spiritual lives. So, I think it’s important that we share our love for those that are no longer with us. We should never let their memories fade. You know, my wife says it best. She talks about him all the time, and she wants to talk about him. We want to share his life and his legacy and his love and his passions and his aggravations and his whatever, you know, because I think it only impacts us and helps us all.”

In May, Morgan released the paperback version of “God, Family, Country,” which featured a new cover and an updated epilogue in which he wrote about his return to the Army Reserve. 

While speaking with Fox News Digital, Morgan reflected on what had surprised him during the process of telling his life story.

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“I’ve said I didn’t realize how much living I had done until I started writing these things down,” Morgan said.  “And, quite honestly, there was a lot of this stuff that I didn’t even remember.”

WATCH: Country star Craig Morgan talks about his memoir and how his life story can help others

Morgan recalled that he turned to his former military comrades for inspiration while writing parts of his book. 

“I didn’t have it until we started talking about it — Panama in particular,” he said. “I brought my team together, a bunch of the non-commissioned officers that I worked with, down to Florida. And we spent a few days together talking.

“Some of the stories that they were telling … were pretty intense,” Morgan continued. “I didn’t even remember one in particular. I still to this day — I don’t recall it, but they have very vivid memories of it.

“So it was obviously more important to them than it was to me,” he added with a chuckle.

Morgan explained that there wasn’t one specific experience he wanted to cover in “God, Family, Country” because he wanted the memoir to encompass his entire life.

“The idea for me was to sum all of these things together, to show people that you can overcome adversities in your life, regardless of where it may be in your life,” Morgan said. “And, for me, to ensure that people know that through faith and family and love, you can overcome a lot of adversity, and you can aspire to do things that you might not even think you’re supposed to do.

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“To this day — for a long time off and on — I thought the country music industry was not where I belong.

“I’m into law enforcement,” Morgan continued. “I want to save people’s lives. It’s just who I am. But every time I thought I was going to go do that in some way, God did something in this industry that ensured that I stayed here.

“And I realized that the impact that I may have in our society and on other people’s lives, my family and everything, is where God wants me to be, and that’s here. Share in music and, now with this book, stories that hopefully inspire other people to pursue their passions. “

Most dangerous state to drive in this Fourth of July weekend isn’t where you’d expect

With record numbers of people expected to drive and fly during the week surrounding Independence Day, those traveling for the holiday should prepare for heavy traffic and delays.

Nearly 71 million people are expected to travel between June 29 and July 7 around the Fourth of July, according to AAA estimates — that’s 5% more people than last year and 8% more than 2019.

“With summer vacations in full swing and the flexibility of remote work, more Americans are taking extended trips around Independence Day,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, said in a statement. “We anticipate this July 4th week will be the busiest ever with an additional 5.7 million people traveling compared to 2019.”

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The motor club predicts that 70.9 million people will travel 50 miles or more during that period — 60.6 million are expected to travel by car, an increase of 2.8 million from the same period in 2023.

The worst times to hit the road will be between 2 and 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Sunday, according to a transportation data analyst at INRIX. 

Based on the data they’ve collected, INRIX recommends that those traveling by car on July 3 and July 4 should try to leave home before noon, while road-trippers traveling on July 6 and July 7 should leave before 10 a.m.

“Drivers in large metro areas can expect the worst traffic delays on Wednesday, July 3rd, as they leave town, and Sunday, July 7th, as they return,” Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, told Newsweek.

Pishue said that on busy holiday weekends, car trips can take up to 67% longer than typical travel times, so he recommends starting drives on those days in the morning, if possible.

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If you can’t leave first thing in the morning, experts recommend waiting until after the evening rush to travel.

Following New Year’s Day, Independence Day is among the most dangerous holidays for driving in the U.S., Omega Law told Newsweek. 

“Holidays also often go hand-in-hand with breaks from school or work, which can mean more teenagers or young adults on the roads who may have less driving experience, leading to risky driving and accidents,” a spokesperson from the California-based injury law firm told the outlet.

The firm’s analysis of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s traffic fatality analysis reporting system from 2017 to 2021 found South Dakota to be the most dangerous state for driving during the July 4 holiday. Fatal crashes increased by 244% in the state compared to any other day. In Washington, D.C., fatal crashes increased by 182%, the firm told the outlet.

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Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and San Francisco are the cities with the highest demand for rental cars during this year’s holiday week. The busiest pickup days were last Friday and Saturday and Wednesday, July 3.

Meanwhile, the TSA warns that more than 32 million people are expected to pass through America’s airports between June 29 and July 8, an increase of 5.4 million people from last year, according to reporting by the Independent. The peak travel day will be July 7, on which 3 million people are expected to stream through the country’s 434 airports.

“We have been anticipating the arrival of the Fourth of July travel period and planning our security operations to ensure that we are prepared for the surge in travelers who will be coming to the airport,” TSA Federal Security Director for Colorado Douglas Cruz said in a statement.

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Lower-than-average prices for domestic airfare contribute to a surge in flyers when compared to this time last year, and domestic airfare will be 2% cheaper than last year, with the average price for a domestic round-trip ticket averaging $800, according to AAA estimates.

AAA recommends getting to the airport at least two hours early, even for domestic trips. Parking should be reserved in advance, and traveling with carry-on luggage can save time and money. 

More than 4.6 million people are expected to travel by other modes of transportation, like buses, cruises and trains, over the July Fourth holiday period, which is a 9% increase from 2019, according to AAA.

Hot dog eating contest faces unexpected twist with key ingredient missing

The Fourth of July means plenty of hot dogs will be on the grill, but perhaps none more than on Coney Island.

Coney Island has been the home of the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest just about every year since 1972 at the original Nathan’s.

Its popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, notably because of the dominance of two of the best eaters ever.

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Takeru Kobayashi broke the world record for most hot dogs eaten in 12 minutes, nearly doubling the previous record of 25.5.

It was Kobayashi’s first of six straight titles, but Joey Chestnut dethroned him in 2007.

Chestnut broke the record by eating 66 dogs and buns, which kick-started a dominant run. He’d wind up winning each contest until getting upset in 2015 by Matt Stonie. 

But Chestnut reclaimed the crown the following year and has won every year since.

This year, however, there will be a new champion because Chestnut will not be on Coney Island.

Last month, Chestnut signed a brand partnership deal with Impossible Foods, a rival of Nathan’s. Major League Eating ruled that as long as Chestnut was partnered with a Nathan’s rival, he would not be permitted at the competition.

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Despite Chestnut saying he was hoping something would work out, nothing ever did, thus the reason Chestnut won’t be in New York.

He will, however, compete in another hot dog eating contest in El Paso, Texas, which will be live-streamed at 5 p.m. ET, nearly five hours after the Nathan’s contest ends.

With Chestnut out of the race, sportsbooks say it’s a four-man race between Geoffrey Esper, James Webb, Nick Wehry and Patrick Bertoletti. Esper is the favorite at -110, while Webb is +140, Wehry is +300 and Bertoletti is +600.

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The goal is simple: eat as many hot dogs (and buns) as you can in 10 minutes (it went from 12 to 10 in 2008). Win, and receive $10,000.

Condiments, water and other beverages are allowed to make the eating easier, although typically, no one opts for condiments.

The contest will be broadcast on ESPN and begins at noon ET.

Reality stars’ debate over 4th of July staples is something every couple can relate to

Independence, patriotism and barbecues, oh my! 

It’s July 4th, and former “Vanderpump Rules” star Stassi Schroeder and her husband, Beau Clark, are tackling an important topic: What are you eating and drinking to enjoy today’s festivities?

The couple had a passionate debate about the essentials of a good July 4th barbecue on the latest episode of her self-titled podcast, “Stassi”

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When the couple tackled hamburgers – a general barbecue staple – Schroeder expressed her disdain for how some patties are shaped.

“Some people prefer this like big, thick patty, that’s like tall,” she said. “You don’t even get to enjoy any of the lettuce, or the tomatoes, or the cheese or the ketchup … You can’t fit it all in at the same time. It really annoys me.”

“Make [the burgers] thin,” she told listeners.

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The conversation then shifted to potato salad, a polarizing topic for the husband and wife. Schroeder suggested that potato salad was an obvious choice for a July 4th party, but Clark wanted to talk about dips, instead — specifically the popular brand, Dean’s.

“Dean’s is disgusting, you need the homemade!” Schroeder lamented. “You get the packet of the French onion, and you mix it with the sour cream. And that tastes so much better,” she insisted. “Dean’s is foul.”

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The duo threw out other suggestions – including a seven layer dip – before transitioning into their ideal beverage for a barbecue.

Clark suggested anything from a Miller Lite to a tequila-based cocktail, like a Margarita. He went so far as to suggest a piña colada, which Schroeder couldn’t envision her husband whipping up.

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“When have you ever made a piña colada at a barbecue?” she quipped. 

Schroeder explained that her preferred beverage came in a can – such as a hard seltzer. 

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The conversation was ultimately moot, however, as Schroeder and Clark revealed they didn’t have any specific plans, nor were sure how to tackle the holiday with a toddler and baby. Schroeder welcomed her second child, a son, in September. They also have a 3-year-old daughter.

Lonely remote workers are sharing their business with strangers online — literally

While working from home has been an option for some people in some jobs over the years, the COVID pandemic in 2020 made it a reality for millions of employees across many industries. 

Today, about 35% of U.S. workers are still working in a remote job, according to a Pew Research Center survey. 

Another trend that’s become popular recently is using TikTok — and it’s believed that over 150 million people in the U.S. are active on the social media app. 

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Now some people are putting the two trends together and creating a virtual “co-working space” on TikTok. Remote workers are live-streaming themselves during their actual workday — on the computer, typically — as a way to connect with others who are also employed from home.

FOX Business spoke with Miranda Flick, known online as @goldenmirmy. She works from home as a social media manager and livestreams daily from her desk set-up. 

She said she decided to go live on TikTok, and another platform, Twitch, to help others who are looking to connect while working alone

“It’s just nice to have a virtual co-working buddy without being in the office,” Flick said.

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The 28-year-old from Central Florida said she’s been working from home for eight years and goes live Monday through Friday from around 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. 

She continued, “We’ll do the ‘pomodoro method,’ which is working for 30–35 minutes [of] focused time [with] no distractions, and then take a break for 5–6 minutes and talk with each other.”

Flick said this helps her stay focused and productive throughout the day. 

As for what her boss thinks of her pastime of going live on TikTok during office hours, Flick said her boss actually livestreams herself on TikTok during work hours, too.

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She added, “My boss doesn’t see any harm in it.”

Dr. Karen Fortuna, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, said TikTok has a unique position in this situation. 

“TikTok has the potential to enhance the remote work experience by tapping into the psychological aspect of accountability,” she said. 

She added, “The platform’s livestreaming feature, where users may feel they are being observed, whether in the video or the group chat feature, can foster a sense of responsibility toward tasks.” 

“My boss doesn’t see any harm in it.”

Fortuna said this process is considered a way for people to support and learn from others.

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“Personal inquiries from colleagues encourage accountability to people rather than AI-automated inquiries, fostering real-time goal-setting, task alignment and team cohesion,” she said.

Another TikTok user who frequently goes live to share her working space with others is Holly Ho, a 30-year-old small business owner from Seattle, Washington. 

Ho said she’s been working from home since 2019.

She goes live every weekday for about two or three hours — working for 20 minutes and taking five-minute breaks in between. 

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“Working from home can be really lonely, so being able to hang out and feel like you’re working with other people keeps you motivated and inspired to work,” she said. 

Ho added that she feels more productive when she’s livestreaming while others are watching. 

Dr. Marlow Taylor, a psychiatry fellow at the LSU Department of Psychiatry and the Children’s Hospital New Orleans in Louisiana, suggested that this type of co-working set-up is functioning as a modern-day coffee shop. 

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“If older generations sought out coffee shops as a ‘third space’ outside of home and workplace settings for motivation or collaborative efforts, younger generations who are working remotely likely crave a similar outlet,” he said. 

He added, “Users of the virtual co-working space may benefit from collaboration with diverse individuals, creation of a community based on shared interests and motivations, and the spreading of new ideas from related industries within the virtual co-working platform.”

In terms of how this can help the younger generation through isolating “doom and gloom,” Taylor said, “Given the negative mental health consequences of social media use for young people, the live co-working space may be one way the internet can help those working remotely thrive.”

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