Editorial Board: Why Corporations Are Helping Donald Trump Lie About Jobs (NY Times)
President-elect Donald Trump would like everybody to believe that his election is energizing the economy by forcing businesses to create thousands of jobs in the United States. And companies like Sprint seem perfectly happy to go along with this fiction because they know they can profit handsomely by cozying up to Mr. Trump.
Tom Danehy: Tom presents his own list of 2016 achievements that were not at all dubious (so don't sue us, Esquire!) (Tucson Weekly)
ODDLY ENOUGH, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM WAS NAMED TOM AND EACH HAD AT LEAST ONE NIECE OR NEPHEW
A slightly higher percentage of African-Americans voted for Donald Trump than had voted for Mitt Romney in 2012. (Thanks to Jeff Sessions, they will soon find out exactly what it is they have to lose.)
Suzanne Moore: I do not recognise the stereotype of John Berger as a dour Marxist - his work embodied hope (The Guardian)
This seminal writer and critic's way of seeing was a way of being; he was a storyteller of searing moral clarity.
Garrison Keillor: What will be Trump's legacy? Who cares. (Washington Post)
It's going to be a long four years, people.
Garrison Keillor: Thank you, Trump voters, for this wonderful joke (Washington Post)
Now we sit and watch as he drops one piece of china after another, spits in the soup and gobbles up the chocolates. (Washington Post)
Garrison Keillor: Trump voters - it's not me, it's you (Washington Post)
A house divided against itself cannot stand, so let's make a duplex.
Garrison Keillor: How many liberals does it take to screw in a lightbulb? (Washington Post)
Donald Trump will never be my president, but politics isn't everything. Life goes on.
Garrison Keillor: Trump voters will not like what happens next (Washington Post)
The government is now in Republicans' hands. Let them deal with Trump.
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Michelle in AZ
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
JD took the day off.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Format Change Under Consideration
Turner is eyeing a major change for its resident late-night star.
Speaking with Variety Thursday, Turner Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly confirmed that the company is considering moving O'Brien's nightly late-night talk show "Conan" to a weekly format.
"Maybe," Reilly responded when asked about the possible move, which had been reported earlier Thursday. Noting that the network has several projects in the works with O'Brien, Reilly said, "He has a very full plate in things that we're going to be going the next step on in the next six months, and that led him to ask me, 'Well, how do we balance this with the talk show?'" Reilly added, "He's going to have a show on TBS for many years to come. Right now what form that takes in relation to these other endeavors is in flux. Is going to once a week a possibility? It is. That's going to come from him when he's ready to get his hands around that."
The potential shift to a once-a-week format reflects the changing realities of the television business. As late-night TV has become more crowded in recent years, programmers have placed a growing emphasis on using comedic talk shows as platforms for creating digital content to be consumed later. Since launching O'Brien's talk show in 2010, after the comic was bounced from his gig as host of "The Tonight Show" on NBC, "Conan" has drawn ratings far smaller in scale than those of the show's broadcast competitors. For the week of Dec. 23, the most recent in which TBS aired original episodes of the show, "Conan" drew an average 544,000 total viewers. "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," the most watched show in late night, drew 3.52 million.
But O'Brien's audience also continues to skew much younger than that of most of his competitors, making it potentially valuable as the channel, which has been in rebuilding mode since Reilly took over it and sister network TNT in 2014, shifts toward a multiplatform mindset.
Greta Van Susteren has over the course of her career held forth for both CNN and Fox News Channel. Now she's going to do the same for MSNBC.
The NBCUniversal-owned cable-news outlet said Thursday that it had hired Van Susteren to anchor its 6 p.m. hour, which had previously been occupied by a political-news program, "With All Due Respect." That program, hosted by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, had been produced by Bloomberg Television and re-played on MSNBC as part of a programming agreement. Van Susteren, who left Fox News Channel in the wake of a contract dispute last year, will now hold down the hour in an original program, the network said.
Her show, "For the Record with Greta," will debut Monday, Jan. 9.
Van Susteren is a cable-news veteran. She spent more than a decade at CNN, working as a legal analyst and co-hosting or hosting programs like "Burden of Proof" or "The Point." She anchored "On the Record" at Fox News Channel for 14 years, leaving that network last year after a contract dispute. Prior to her career in journalism, Van Susteren was a criminal defense and civil trial attorney. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in economics, with distinction, from the University of Wisconsin. She earned a Juris Doctor and a Master of Law from Georgetown Law.
Letters To Auction
Letters sent by Britain's late Princess Diana - including one in which she described a young Prince Harry as being "constantly in trouble" while at boarding school - sold for thousands of pounds at an auction Thursday.
The six handwritten notes were sent to Cyril Dickman, a former head steward at Buckingham Palace, during the 1980s and 1990s.
In one, sent five days after Harry's birth in September 1984, Diana thanked Dickman for a card he sent during what she called "this particularly happy time" and described how affectionate Prince William was toward his baby brother.
"William adores his little brother and spends the entire time swamping Harry with an endless supply of hugs and kisses, hardly letting the parents near!" she wrote.
That note, which had been expected to fetch up to 600 pounds ($745), sold for 3,200 pounds ($3,975), Cheffins auction house in Cambridge said.
Traced To Distant Galaxy
Mystery Radio Bursts
A mysterious type of radio wave from deep space, discovered only a decade ago, has been traced to a precise source for the first time, astronomers said Wednesday.
So-called fast radio bursts (FRBs) picked up in 2016 by a telescope in New Mexico likely emanated from a dwarf galaxy some three billion light years from Earth, the scientists reported in the journal Nature.
FRBs flash only for an micro-instant, and can emit as much energy in a millisecond as the Sun does in 10,000 years.
Exactly what causes these high-energy surges of long waves at the far end of the electromagnetic spectrum remains the subject of intense debate.
There have been 18 fast radio bursts registered since 2007, but only one -- observed in 2012 at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, and dubbed FRB 121102 -- recurred numerous times.
Mystery Radio Bursts
Fan Film Dispute Goes to Jury
Paramount Pictures and CBS have scored major successes in their copyright lawsuit over Axanar, a 20-minute YouTube video and a proposed feature-length version touted as a professional-quality Star Trek fan film. But a California federal judge Wednesday stopped short of declaring the Star Trek rights holders the victors in the closely followed case, reserving for a jury the key question of whether the works would be seen by lay people as substantially similar to older Star Trek films and TV shows.
The lawsuit was filed almost exactly a year ago after Alec Peters' Axanar Productions aimed to raise more than $1 million on Kickstarter for a prequel to the 1960s Gene Roddenberry series. Peters' work focused on Garth of Izar, an obscure character who appeared in a 1969 episode. Scripts were prepared for a film to be set around the Four Years War between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire.
Last May, the case survived a motion to dismiss and began drawing attention to whether Paramount and CBS could take ownership of everything from "pointy ears" to the Klingon language, especially in light of many fan-made works that have been permitted through the years without controversy. Despite some hopes expressed by Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin that all this would go away, Paramount and CBS marched forward, and the parties each delivered summary judgment motions.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner released his much anticipated opinion.
United States President-elect Donald Trump's(R-Mountebank) cabinet pick for the position of secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is set to receive more than $180 million as he severs his ties with his former company-ExxonMobil.
If Tillerson, the former chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, is confirmed to the post through upcoming hearings before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that start from Jan. 11, he will be paid in cash for his previously set retirement package that was pegged at the value of two million unvested shares over the next ten years and the money will be transferred to an independently managed trust, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Upon confirmation, Tillerson would be committed to selling his more than 600,000 vested Exxon shares worth about $54 million. However, had Tillerson retired with the company in March as planned, rather than stepping down as Exxon CEO on Jan. 1 after his nomination to the post of secretary of state was announced, he would not have lost $7 million from the retirement deal.
The deal, designed to comply with federal ethics rules and to avoid any situation of potential conflict of interest or office for profit also stipulates some checks and balances. Tillerson has been prohibited from working in the oil and gas industry for a period of ten years. If Tillerson violates the terms of the deal, he would have to forfeit his payout secured in the trust and it would be donated to charities "involved in fighting poverty or disease in the developing world," according to Exxon.
However, some such as Charles Elson, a professor of governance at the University of Delaware, believe that by allowing Tillerson to fully divest from Exxon, one can make the case that the company is granting millions of dollars to Tillerson, just as he is on the cusp of taking a position that can affect the company's business results.
Sheriff Offers Prison Inmates
A Massachusetts county sheriff has proposed sending prison inmates from around the United States to build the proposed wall along the Mexican border that is one of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's (R-Con Man) most prominent campaign promises.
Hodgson, who like Trump is a Republican, said inmates from around the country could build the proposed wall, described by Trump as a powerful deterrent to illegal immigration.
The United States has a long history of prison labor, with advocates of the idea saying that putting inmates to work can help them learn skills that prepare them for their return to society after completing their sentences. Opponents contend that inmates are not fairly compensated.
The federal prisons system operates some 53 factories around the United States that produced about $500 million worth of clothing, electronics, furniture and other goods in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, according to its financial statements.
Still, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union in Massachusetts said Hodgson's proposal could violate prisoners' rights.
"The proposal is perverse, it's inhumane and very likely unconstitutional," ACLU staff counsel Laura Rotolo said in a phone interview. "It certainly has nothing to do with helping prisoners in Massachusetts or their families. It's about politics."
Adding Nine New Ships in 2017
This year the U.S. Navy will add nine ships to the battle force as it slowly grows towards a 300-ship fleet. Most likely, these new ships are a sign of things to come as President-elect Donald Trump (R-Grifter) campaigned on a promise to boost the Navy to 350 ships.
Nine ships are scheduled to be commissioned into the fleet in 2017, meaning they are fully manned, functional, and assigned to a major command. The total includes one aircraft carrier, two destroyers, two nuclear attack submarines, and four littoral combat ships.
The Navy is set to gain the USS Gerald R. Ford, the first in a new class of aircraft carrier. The Ford has the same aircraft capacity as the older Nimitz-class carriers, typically 64 aircraft but capable of embarking up to 90. The carrier introduces a host of new technologies, including a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapult system, new aircraft arresting gear, a new nuclear reactor, and new multifunction and volume search radars.
The Navy will also add two Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, the John Finn and Rafael Peralta. The two are the first new destroyers in five years, after a decision was made to cut the Zumwalt-class to three destroyers and build more Burkes instead.
Also joining the fleet are two nuclear-powered attack submarines, the Washington and Colorado. The two Virginia-class submarines each have four torpedo tubes for Mark 48 heavyweight guided torpedoes and twelve vertical launch tubes, each with one Tomahawk land attack cruise missile. Nuclear powered, they can stay on patrol indefinitely, limited only by crew endurance and food supplies.
Could Spread Faster Than The Black Death
Students at Leicester University have developed a mathematical model that has predicted that a zombie outbreak would spread through the human population at a rate faster than the Black Death and could potentially wipe out humanity in 100 days.
The mathematical model developed by the students, which presupposes that a Zombie can infect one person each day with a 90 percent success rate, predicts that only 273 survivors would remain after 100 days of the Zombie outbreak and with such overwhelming odds (outnumber by a million to one) humanity could be pushed to the edge of extinction in less than six months, according to their study.
However, the students also cautioned against some margin of error in their statistical predictions. For instance, the students did not account for humans killing zombies or the fact that their 90 percent rate of spread of infection would remain a constant.
Other assumptions used to develop the mathematical model called "SIR" to investigate the spread of disease included: accounting for different speed in spread of infection in less or more densely populated areas; presuming a life span of 20 days for zombies before they die of starvation and presuming that zombies can cross the geographical barriers.
French maestro Georges Pretre, who regularly conducted the renowned Vienna Symphony Orchestra, died Wednesday aged 92, the Austrian capital's Philharmonic society said.
Pretre died in Naves in southwest France where he lived in a chateau, the town's deputy mayor Brigitte Baux, who regularly organised events with the conductor, told AFP.
Born in northern France on August 24, 1924, he entered the Paris Conservatoire aged 15 but went on to enjoy most of his career outside his homeland.
He was notably the first "invited leader" from 1986-1991 of the Symphony Orchestra, the Austrian capital's second classical ensemble after the celebrated Philharmonic.
Pretre, who liked to say that he was himself Viennese, also twice conducted the prestigious New Year's concert by the Philharmonic, in 2008 and 2010.
During his career he also wielded the baton at some of the world's top orchestras, from Chicago to the Metropolitan Opera de New York, and the Scala in Milan to the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.
He last conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in 2013 at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris in a repertoire including Ravel, Beethoven and Strauss.