Paul Krugman: The Medicare Killers (NY Times Column)
Candidate Trump promised to protect entitlements, but president-elect Trump apparently has different plans.
Helaine Olen: Goldman Sachs Is Now Pitching Consumer Loans to Cover Bills and Emergencies. How Depressing. (Slate)
Other countries believe it's inhumane to assume their citizens have thousands of dollars at the ready, and their safety nets reflect it. But not in the United States, where a study released this week by the New England Journal of Medicine determined that almost 25 percent of people who went to an emergency room in their health insurance network still received bills they did not expect. The average surprise medical bill was more than $900, and the researchers even found one person who got a surprise tab for $19,603.
Matthew Yglesias: We have 100 days to stop Donald Trump from systemically corrupting our institutions (Vox)
The transition period is our last best chance to save the republic.
Brad Plumer: Donald Trump's infrastructure plan wouldn't actually fix America's infrastructure problems (Vox)
What Trump has right now is an idiosyncratic proposal for Congress to offer some $137 billion in tax breaks to private investors who want to finance toll roads, toll bridges, or other projects that generate their own revenue streams. But this private financing scheme, experts across the political spectrum say, wouldn't address many of America's most pressing infrastructure needs - like repairing existing roads or replacing leaky water mains in poorer communities like Flint. It's a narrow, inadequate policy.
Andrew Tobias: Three Donor Emails
Can you imagine having to read endless stuff like this and give the DNC $10,000 or $100,000? That's patriotism.
Peter Bradshaw: Gimme Danger review - Jim Jarmusch plugs into Iggy Pop's raw power (The Guardian)
Jim Jarmusch's documentary tribute to Iggy Pop and the Stooges is an act of fanboy - or rather fanman - love and it is entirely beguiling. This is not an obviously Jarmuschian film and Iggy is not himself a particularly Jarmuschian character - he is too humorously direct in conversation, too cheerfully ready to render up his meaning to you right away.
John Grey: The irrational rationality of Jonathan Swift (New Statesman)
Swift believed that humans have an innate capacity for reason, which they fail to use. But did he take the human comedy too serious.
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'Have We Learned Nothing?'
Actor and activist George Takei is speaking out against the notion that internment camps for Japanese-Americans during World War II established precedent for a potential registry of Muslims in the U.S.
For Takei, who spent his childhood in an internment camp, to tout this dark chapter in American history is to ignore the tragedy that took place when 120,000 people were robbed of their home, livelihood and freedom.
Takei, who rose to prominence on "Star Trek" and later connected with a new generation as a social media personality, penned an op-ed for the Washington Post on Friday criticizing Carl Higbie, a prominent Donald Trump surrogate, for suggesting that the internment would allow the president-elect to establish a database of Muslims.
"Let us all be clear: 'National security' must never again be permitted to justify wholesale denial of constitutional rights and protections," Takei wrote. "If it is freedom and our way of life that we fight for, our first obligation is to ensure that our own government adheres to those principles. Without that, we are no better than our enemies."
Takei also criticized Trump for telling Time magazine that he wasn't sure whether or not he would have supported the internment.
Gown Sold for $4.8 Million
The figure-hugging gown Marilyn Monroe wore to serenade President John F.Kennedy for his 45th birthday smashed its guide price to sell for $4.8 million at auction on Thursday.
The flesh-colored dress, adorned with 2,500 hand-stitched crystals, had been expected to fetch between $2-3 million, Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills said.
It went to Ripley's Believe It or Not!, an American media empire specializing in bizarre and historically significant items which owns a chain of museums, including one in Hollywood.
The dress was so tight on Monroe that the legendary actress wore nothing underneath and had to be sewn into it at the last minute before stepping on stage at Madison Square Garden in 1962 to sing to JFK in her trademark sultry voice, according to the auction house.
First auctioned by Christie's in 1999, the Jean Louis dress went to the late business mogul Martin Zweig for $1.3 million.
New Oil Exploration Blocked
The Obama administration on Friday blocked new exploration for oil and gas in Arctic waters, in a win for environmental groups that had fought development of the ecologically fragile region.
The Department of the Interior released a 2017 to 2022 leasing plan that blocked drilling in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off northern Alaska. It also limited petroleum development in the Cook Inlet off south-central Alaska.
Environmental activists have battled drilling in Alaska to protect whales, walruses and seals, and as part of a broader movement to keep remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
The Interior Department said the plan was "balanced," and left 70 percent of economically recoverable oil and gas resources open to drilling, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico.
The plan focuses on the best areas "with the highest resource potential, lowest conflict and established infrastructure - and removes regions that are simply not right to lease," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.
Settles Trademark Suit Against Urban Outfitters
The Navajo Nation, the largest Native American tribe, has settled a trademark suit brought against the apparel retail chain Urban Outfitters Inc over use of the tribe's name in company merchandise, the two sides said on Friday.
The deal resolves any and all claims by the tribe, whose reservation spans three Western states, contesting the Philadelphia company's "Navajo" and "Navaho" brands in a variety of products, including pullovers, feathered earrings and underwear.
Navajo leaders claimed in the 2012 lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico, that the retailer had infringed on the tribe's trademark rights by selling more than 20 lines of products under those two brand names.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Court records show that a federal judge formally dismissed the case on Monday.
But a statement by Navajo leaders said the two parties have also signed a "supply and license agreement" and plan to collaborate on authentic American Indian jewelry in future years.
Fake News Writer
"I think Trump is in the White House because of me," said Horner, adding that his sites were constantly picked up by Trump supporters. "His followers don't fact-check anything - they'll post everything, believe anything. His campaign manager posted my story about a protester getting paid $3,500 as fact. Like, I made that up. I posted a fake ad on Craigslist."
Horner claims he was trying to make Trump and his supporters look bad. "I thought they'd fact-check it, and it'd make them look worse," Horner told the publication. "Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it, and that feels [bad]."
The fake news writer said he never thought Trump would win and become president. "They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore - I mean, that's how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn't care because they'd already accepted it. It's real scary. I've never seen anything like it."
Horner fancies himself a writer of satire, saying he likes to get lumped in with The Onion. He said he makes $10,000 a month from Google AdSense. He thinks that the "horrible sites" that have "no creativity or purpose" behind them should be washed out by Google and Facebook's new desire to clean up fake news, but he hopes his own sites that have "purpose and meaning" will not be affected.
Plans 'Victory Tour'
President-elect Donald Trump (R-Grifter) is hitting the road in the coming weeks for a new round of rallies to celebrate his election, according to his campaign advance-team director, George Gigicos.
"We're working on a victory tour now; it will happen in the next couple of weeks," Gigicos told reporters at Trump Tower on Thursday, per the presidential transition pool report.
Gigicos said Trump's victory tour will start some time "after Thanksgiving." He did not identify any of the places Trump plans to visit but said they would focus on "the swing states we flipped over" and other places where Trump scored wins on Election Day last week.
Large rallies were a hallmark of Trump's presidential bid, and he often delighted in pointing out the size of his crowds. Aides have said the events were a key source of energy for Trump during the grueling campaign and, prior to Election Day, some speculated he might continue holding rallies even if he lost the race.
Ex-Dictator Given Hero's Burial
Ex-Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried in a secretive ceremony at the national heroes' cemetery Friday, triggering street protests as opponents denounced what they said was the whitewashing of his brutal and corrupt rule.
The burial at the "Cemetery of Heroes" was another stunning development in the remarkable political comeback of the Marcos family, a phenomenon given fresh energy by the clan's strong alliance with new President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Supreme Court last week endorsed a decision by Duterte to lay the dictator to rest at the heroes' cemetery, three decades after millions of people took to the streets in the famous "People Power" revolution that ended Marcos's reign.
The Marcos family and government moved quickly after the verdict, secretly flying the embalmed body to the cemetery on Friday and interring him despite appeals still pending with the Supreme Court urging it to reconsider.
The military honoured Marcos at the ceremony with a 21-gun salute as soldiers in parade dress and ceremonial rifles stood to attention.
Drought Kills 102 Million Trees
The California drought has killed more than 102 million trees in a die-off of forests that increases the risk of catastrophic wildfires and other threats to humans, officials said Friday.
The latest aerial survey by the U.S. Forest Service shows there are 36 million more dead trees since May in the state and there has been a 100 percent increase since 2015.
California has endured five years of drought marked by a record low mountain snowpack and warm temperatures. The drought has left trees thirsty and prone to infestation by bark beetles.
Late last year, Gov. Jerry Brown formed a task force charged with finding ways to remove the trees that threaten motorists and communities.
Officials are pushing to turn more trees into lumber, burn them in energy plants or dispose of them in incinerators to eliminate them as fuel for wildfires.
Global Concert Tours
The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.
1. Guns N' Roses; $5,753,995; $117.92.
2. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band; $5,297,471; $112.28.
3. Beyonce; $4,735,412; $104.12.
4. Adele; $4,137,285; $109.80.
5. Coldplay; $3,933,002; $107.28.
6. Justin Bieber; $2,792,121; $83.85.
7. Kanye West; $2,414,169; $91.85.
8. Drake; $2,297,170; $112.58.
9. Luke Bryan; $1,681,890; $59.64.
10. Phish; $1,609,025; $57.94.
11. Zac Brown Band; $1,314,020; $58.92.
12. Jason Aldean; $1,008,536; $48.97.
13. Dave Matthews Band; $1,007,045; $51.71.
14. "Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour" / Puff Daddy; $1,005,191; $82.59.
15. Dixie Chicks; $868,095; $73.79.
16. Florida Georgia Line; $700,222; $43.57.
17. Carrie Underwood; $699,487; $70.88.
18. Journey / Doobie Brothers; $678,756; $64.40.
19. Def Leppard; $632,154; $66.79.
20. Blink-182; $583,002; $40.64.
Global Concert Tours
Singer Sharon Jones, the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings who found success after working for years as a prison guard, died Friday of pancreatic cancer, according to her Facebook page. She was 60.
The soul and funk singer was recently the subject of the documentary "Miss Sharon Jones!" directed by Barbara Kopple. After revealing that her cancer had returned at the Toronto Film Festival premiere of the documentary in 2015, she returned with the albums "It's a Holiday Soul Party" and "Miss Sharon Jones!," which included the new track "I'm Still Here."
Jones released her first album at the age of 40, and was nominated for her first Grammy in 2014 for best R&B album for "Give the People What They Want."
Born in North Augusta, S.C., she moved to Brooklyn as a child. Though she worked sporadically as a session singer, for many years she was a corrections officer at Rikers Island and an armored car guard for Wells Fargo Bank.
In 1996 her career picked up momentum when she began backing soul musician Lee Fields, recording the song "Switchblade," which appeared on Soul Providers' album "Soul Tequila." She began to be known as "the queen of funk."
The Dap-Kings were formed with performers from the Soul Providers and the Mighty Imperials, and Jones released her first album "Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings" on the new Daptones Record label. Among their other albums were "Naturally," "100 Days, 100 Nights," and "I Learned the Hard Way."
She appeared in the 2007 film "The Great Debaters" and performed "That's What My Baby Likes" on the soundtrack, and sang in the closing scenes of the Marvel Netflix series "Luke Cage." Jones performed with acts as diverse as Lou Reed, Phish, David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, and Michael Buble.