Trump threatens to close border entirely if no wall funding
The Hill
— Trump made the threat in a tweet on the seventh day of a partial government shutdown that entered its seventh day on Friday with no end in sight.
>>> FROM WIKIPEDIA: The US is Mexico’s largest trading partner, accounting for close to half of all exports in 2008 and more than half of all imports in 2009.  In 2017, two-way trade between both nations amounted to $521.5 billion USD.

Cuba adopts new austerity measures
— Foreign trade fell around 25 percent from 2013 through 2017, with annual imports dropping to $11.3 billion from $15.6 billion, according to the government.


Adults Under Scrutiny After HS Wrestler Told: Cut Dreadlocks or Forfeit

A video still shows Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson getting his hair cut on Dec. 19, in Buena, N.J., after referee Alan Maloney told Johnson he would forfeit the match if he did not have his dreadlocks cut. (Michael Frankel/ via AP)

EPA, out of funding, to shut out 14,000 workers Friday
The Hill

Russian plot to sway US election included boosting Jill Stein
NBC News

Yikes! 79% of parents helping their adult kids pay the bills
Voice of America
— “Parenting is a lifelong financial commitment,” Surya Kolluri, a managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told VOA via email. “Parents spend twice as much on adult children as they contribute to their retirement accounts.”
— More than three-fourths — 79 percent — of parents with adult children provide financial assistance to their offspring, contributing to living expenses like rent, groceries and cellphone bills, according to a recent study from Merrill Lynch.

Boston Marathon bomber wants a new trial
— Judge shoulda moved the case outside Boston, his lawyers say.
— “The pre-trial publicity was damning: the more a prospective juror had seen, the more likely she was to believe that Tsarnaev was guilty and deserved the death penalty,” Tsarnaev’s lawyers wrote in a 500-page brief.

No wonder Putin’s gotta do all that strong-man posturing
Russians’ income falls for 5th straight year
Moscow Times
—  Russian economic growth has been below the global average over the past few years, hampered by a weak and volatile currency, a drop in oil prices, and by sanctions first imposed by the European Union and the United States in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The promise: Student loans forgiven if you take a public sector job
The reality: Betsy Devos, bankers’ best friend, is the Don of Education.
USA Today
— Less than 1% who qualify have had their loans forgiven. Betsy Banker is lookin’ into it, you can be sure. It’s an, ahem, “complex program.”

At least 1/3 of FEMA workers “unqualified” for job
— As a result, FEMA “placed staff in positions beyond their experiences and, in some instance, beyond their capabilities,” according to the agency’s internal analysis of the 2017 hurricane season.

Hospitals, like fast food joints, will now have to post prices
Faux News
Mass confusion to follow, since insurance companies don’t pay the list price anyway.

This dentist dug up Big Sugar’s sour secrets
The group enlisted a few Harvard nutritionists to write an article summing up what existing scientific literature said about the dangers of table sugar, known technically as sucrose. …. paid them nearly $49,000 in today’s money, sent over papers to include, and looked at the final draft with approval: “Let me assure you this is quite what we had in mind and we look forward to its appearance in print.”

After tainting the water of thousands of people,
two Michigan dudes plead guilty
in return for a slap on the wrist

Courthouse News Service
… Stephen Busch had faced involuntary manslaughter and other felony charges …
… The plea from Michael Prysby, a water engineer, relates to the improper permitting of Flint’s water treatment plant.
… Both Prysby and Busch have been on paid leave. They were among the first officials to be charged in connection to the water crisis, along with a Flint water official who went on to take a deal. Prysby’s misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison. The punishment for Busch’s charge is up to 93 days in jail.
——–> Paid leave! They’re white guys who wore suits to work so … let’s go easy on ’em, boys.

Gov’t Ice Queen makes PR move in response to kids’ deaths
dog-pony-juggleIn the wake of the death of a second migrant child in U.S. custody within the last two weeks, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced on Wednesday the government is calling on a several federal agencies to help Customs and Border Protection implement a host of new directives intended to improve how it cares for children and adults held in federal facilities.

In sneaky plea for donations, NRA claims it’s gonna be outta business soon 
———-> God No! What would we do without the NRA?
——-> Yeah, we knew Trump’s Vietnam War draft deferment was bogus.
——-> Another wild and wacky space scheme from Musk. Or is it a tunnel? Or a flamethrower? Or an overpriced car? Or a hat? What’s he selling today?


DRUDGE REPORT: Update: Putin setting up nuke bomber base on Caribbean island
This links to The Sun, Britain’s finest source for hysterical news.
HOWEVER when Snopes look into this it found that Russia sent TWO bombers to an island off Venezuela. Which falls well short of building an air base.
… According to the Associated Press, the reason for the transport of the bombers from Russia to Venezuela is unknown, but internal political factors in both countries that do not involve the United States could easily be playing a role. The Russian Ministry of Defense did not indicate how long the planes would be there, disclose whether they carried any weapons, or describe their purpose for being in the country.

He’s a monster who killed wife and children…
… and women send him love letters in prison
Washington Post
watts.jpg— “Greetings from New York, Chris!” a Brooklyn-based woman wrote to Christopher Watts on Aug. 23, days after he admitted to murdering his pregnant wife and young daughters, loading the bodies into his truck and dumping them at an oil work site.
— “I found myself thinking a lot about you,” Tatiana confessed to the now-convicted killer, “I figured life is too short to hold back … so here I am!”
— The 29-year-old enclosed a bikini-clad photo of herself on a beach. “So you can place a face to the words. I know what you look like so I thought I’d make it fair,” she flirted. “I hope I’ve put a smile on your face.”
…. In the past, true-crime narratives making national headlines were reserved mostly for mass murderers. Now, serial-killer groupies have open communication forums. They generate Facebook groups and Reddit posts, giving notice to men who otherwise would have been little-known….

Next states for legal pot…
Connecticut, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont …

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