In his first interview about his bombshell exposé about the White House, journalist Michael Wolff stood by his reporting and said President Trump’s behavior in the wake of three explosive excerpts is “proving the point of the book.” Wolff wrote that Trump is increasingly repeating stories, cannot recognize old friends, and is viewed by his closest allies as “incapable of functioning in his job.” Trump and his team responded by tearing down former top strategist Steve Bannon and sending a cease-and-desist letter to Wolff and his publisher. “Not only is he helping me sell books, but he’s proving the point of the book,” Wolff said on NBC’s Today on Friday. “This man does not read. Does not listen. He’s like a pinball, just shooting off the sides.” He added, “They all say he is like a child.”
*HELP WANTED – U.S. Added 148,000 Jobs in December, Fewer Than Expected
The Labor Department reported early Friday that U.S. employers added 148,000 jobs during December, a figure that pushed the yearly number over 2 million, but failed to meet analysts’ forecasts for the last month of the year. Unemployment remained steady at 4.1 percent. Average hourly wages rose 2.5 percent from a year earlier. For all of 2017, 2.1 million jobs were added—the seventh consecutive year job growth has surpassed 2 million. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected for 181,000 new jobs in December.
*North, South Korea to Hold Official Talks Next Week
North and South Korea have agreed to hold official talks next week for the first time in more than two years after Pyongyang took Seoul up on an offer to sit down for dialogue. South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced the news early Friday, saying officials from both sides would meet in the border truce village of Panmunjom to discuss the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The two sides will also discuss how to improve overall ties after a year of heightened tensions. North Korea reportedly agreed to the talks after the U.S. and South Korea delayed an annual joint military exercise, a frequent source of hostility between the rival Koreas. The apparent easing of tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues his saber-rattling with the U.S., having announced in a New Year’s Day address that he has a “nuclear button” on his desk ready to be used at any time. President Trump was quick to retort that he has a nuclear button of his own—and it’s “much bigger.”
*BUNDLE UP – New York and Boston May See Coldest Temperatures on Record
As a monster winter storm rolls out, East Coast residents will face a record deep freeze Friday from the Mid-Atlantic to New England, the National Weather Service reports. “Numerous record lows and record low highs are expected with this Arctic air mass with some of the coldest temperatures ever recorded expected for Boston and New York City,” said Weather Channel forecaster Michael Palmer. Coastal areas in the Northeast may experience temperatures in the single digits, with wind-chill factors making it feel as cold as negative 15 degrees from Philadelphia to Boston. Thursday’s powerful winter storm brought hurricane-force winds, blanketed the region in snow, and flooded coastal areas, including in Boston Harbor, Cape Cod, and the North and South Shore areas.
*Trump: ‘Watch What Happens’ to ‘Sloppy Steve’ Bannon and Michael Wolff
President Trump took to Twitter late Thursday to rage at former chief strategist Steve Bannon and Michael Wolff, the author of an explosive new book on his presidency. Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” has triggered a political firestorm with its unflattering portrayal of dysfunction under Trump’s command, with Bannon earning special wrath from the president for his damning comments included in the book. Trump on Thursday slammed the “phony book,” claiming it is “full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don’t exist.” “Look at this guy’s past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!” he said. The president’s remarks come after his lawyers reportedly tried to halt the book’s release with a cease-and-desist letter accusing Wolff and the book’s publisher of “actual malice.” The letter backfired, however, with the publisher bumping up the book’s release date due to “unprecedented demand.”
*Report: Brady’s ‘Body Coach’ Feud Tearing New England Patriots Apart
Is this the beginning of the end at Foxborough? An explosive report from ESPN early Friday describes “serious” tensions at the top of the New England Patriots that are threatening to rip the heart out of the five-time Super Bowl winners. According to the report, friction among quarterback Tom Brady, Coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft has reached such a boiling point this season that several insiders said it could be the final season the successful combination remains together. At center of the feuding: Brady’s reported devotion to his business partner/trainer guru Alex Guerrero and Belichick’s efforts to distance the “body coach” from the team. Patriots officials called Guerrero’s methods “cult-like” in their sway over players, particularly Brady. Belichick is also reported to have bristled at his forty-something quarterback’s demands for a new, lucrative long-term contract, despite his success at his age already being nearly unprecedented in NFL history. In a statement, Patriots officials said the report had “several inaccuracies and multiple examples given that absolutely did not occur,” but did not give specific examples.
*LBN-INVESTIGATES: More than 200,000 people seek addiction treatment on the phone or online every month. Few of them realize that their pleas for help are a valuable commodity — one that is quietly fought over by those angling to turn a distress signal into cash. Addicts represent big money to treatment centers, which are happy to pay a middleman $50 for a “lead” on a patient who might generate $40,000 or more in insurance claims in a matter of months. That is why television ads offering help to addicts air constantly nationwide. But lead generators, or lead gens, aren’t necessarily the ideal path to rehab clinics — as Dr. Alan Goodwin, an inquisitive psychologist in Palm Beach, Fla., accidentally discovered earlier this year. That discovery led him on a month-long personal mission to try to understand the ethically murky business of customer acquisition in the treatment world.
*THINK FREELY – READ LBN: “An Incredible Value!” – “The Best Promotional Deal On The Web” —– Now YOU can tell YOUR unique story in the world-famous LBN E-Lert –www.LBNElert.com – and communicate directly with LBN readers in all 50 of the United States and 26 foreign countries. Amazing coverage with YOUR story, YOUR headline, YOUR photo and YOUR website. And then, of course, you can share this LBN story on all YOUR Social Media! And it’s really easy to do. Simply send your story (not to exceed 250 words) including a photo and link to: LBNElert@TimeWire.net. We will approve and run. The cost is a mere $250 payable via PayPal or credit card. This is (by-far) one of the best deals in the world of digital promotion and only available to LBN subscribers.
*FANGS A LOT — Denver Zoo’s King Cobra Beats Cancer
An 18-year-old king cobra at the Denver Zoo that was diagnosed with cancer last year is now in remission, following a chemotherapy treatment plan pioneered by veterinarians at the institution. Zookeepers put chemo pills inside dead rodents and then fed them to the highly venomous snake every three weeks to treat the lymphosarcoma. The king cobra’s bloodwork has now been stable since August.
*DID YOU KNOW? Did you know that 37 Professors from Harvard University read LBN daily?
- Children who are vaccinated according to the recommended schedule will receive around 26 shots within their first two years, providing immunity to 14 different diseases.
- Because diseases such as hepatitis B can be deadly for infants, most children in America receive their first three vaccination shots within 24 hours after birth.
- In 2010, America experienced an eruption of whooping cough cases, due in part to parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.
- Some vaccines, such as the ones for hepatitis B and HPV, significantly lower a person’s chances of developing liver or cervical cancer.
- One of the main reasons parents choose not to vaccinate their children is a belief that vaccines can cause autism. Although this claim has been proven false, a variety of anti-vaccination organizations continue to insist otherwise
*LBN-SPORTS INSIDER: ***UFC president Dana White has warned Conor McGregor that he risks losing his lightweight title if he stays out of the Octagon for much longer. McGregor has yet to fight in the UFC since he lost his boxing match to Floyd Mayweather in August and although there were whispers he was set to return in the first quarter of 2018, nothing has been set. McGregor claimed the lightweight title by defeating Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 in November 2016 but hasn’t fought in the UFC since. While it’s clear McGregor is not going to be returning to featherweight — there are plenty more options at 155 pounds.
*LBN-MEDIA INSIDER: ***Ready for your first look at David Letterman’s new talk show? The first teaser trailer for his new series, titled “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction – with David Letterman” has been released. That title suggests a show that’s setting a high bar for booking celebrities with name recognition and Letterman’s first guest certainly qualifies: The show will launch with the first post-presidency TV talk show interview with Barack Obama.
*LBN-NOTICED: ***Foreigner’s Mick Jones and wife Ann Dexter-Jones ringing in the new year with kids Charlotte Ronson, Samantha Ronson and Annabelle Dexter Jones in Miami at son Roman Jones’ restaurant Kiki on the River. ***Bill Maher — who has come under fire for re-creating Al Franken’s controversial groping photo while on a private plane — lounging on the beach in Maui. ***Original “Charlie’s Angels” star Jaclyn Smith at Farmshop in Brentwood, Calif. ***Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner having dinner recently at Shu Sushi restaurant at the Beverly Glen Center in Bel Air.
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: Winston S Churchill: We Shall Fight on the Beaches — https://youtu.be/MkTw3_PmKtc
*LBN-R.I.P.: ***Brendan T. Byrne, the former New Jersey governor who helped lure professional teams to a new sports colossus in the Meadowlands and won passage of the state’s first income tax, a feat that prompted some pundits and pollsters to write his political obituary prematurely, died on Thursday at his home in Livingston, N.J. He was 93. His death was announced by Gov. Chris Christie. Mr. Byrne’s son Brendan Jr. said his father had developed a lung infection and “was too weak to fight,” The Associated Press reported.
*LBN-VIDEO LINK: “Without Notes” with Dr. Srini Pillay – Episode 1: The Early Years — https://youtu.be/rgQK37nRr0E
*LBN-SITE OF THE DAY:
HiveStory is an online collaborative dynamic story or set of stories. Every member of HiveStory.com has the opportunity to contribute words (or nodes) and vote on them to create and shape infinite possible story threads. The top ranking story threat at any given time is displayed on the front page of site. Visitors can explore all possible story threads. Contributors receive points for contributing nodes and when their contributed nodes receive votes from other users.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by David Brooks: Over the past several years we have done an outstanding job of putting total sleazoids at the top of our society: Trump, Bannon, Ailes, Weinstein, Cosby, etc. So it was good to get a reminder, from Pope Francis in his New Year’s Eve homily, that the people who have the most influence on society are actually the normal folks, through their normal, everyday gestures being kind in public places, attentive to the elderly. The pope called such people, in a beautiful phrase, “the artisans of the common good.” Small deeds, he said, “express concretely love for the city … without giving speeches, without publicity, but with a style of practical civic education for daily life.” The pope focused especially on driving, praising those people “who move in traffic with good sense and prudence.” As Richard Reevesof the Brookings Institution points out, driving is precisely the sort of everyday activity through which people mold the culture of their community. If you speed up so I can’t merge into your lane, you’re teaching me that the society around here is basically competitive, not cooperative. If, on the other hand, you give me a friendly wave after I let you in, you’re teaching me that this is a place where a kindness is recognized and gratitude is expressed.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Daphne Merkin: The women I know — of all ages — have responded by and large with a mixture of slightly horrified excitement (bordering on titillation) as to who will be the next man accused and overt disbelief. Publicly, they say the right things, expressing approval and joining in the chorus of voices that applaud the take-down of maleficent characters who prey on vulnerable women in the workplace. In private it’s a different story. “Grow up, this is real life,” I hear these same feminist friends say. “What ever happened to flirting?” and “What about the women who are the predators?” Some women, including random people I talk to in supermarket lines, have gone so far as to call it an outright witch hunt. It goes without saying that no one is coming to the defense of heinous sorts, like Kevin Spacey and Matt Lauer. But the trickle-down effect to cases like those of Garrison Keillor, Jonathan Schwartz, Ryan Lizza and Al Franken, in which the accusations are scattered, anonymous or, as far as the public knows, very vague and unspecific, has been troubling.
*LBN-COMMENTARY by Warren Buffett: I have good news. First, most American children are going to live far better than their parents did. Second, large gains in the living standards of Americans will continue for many generations to come. Some years back, people generally agreed with my optimism. Today, however, pollsters find that most Americans are pessimistic about their children’s future. Politicians, business leaders and the press constantly tell us that our economic machine is sputtering. Their evidence: GDP growth of only 2% or so in recent years. Before we shed tears over that figure, let’s do a little math, recognizing that GDP per capita is what counts. If, for example, the U.S. population were to grow 3% annually while GDP grew 2%, prospects would indeed be bleak for our children. But that’s not the case. We can be confident that births minus deaths will add no more than 0.5% yearly to America’s population. Immigration is more difficult to predict. I believe 1 million people annually is a reasonable estimate, an influx that will add 0.3% annually to population growth.
*LBN-HISTORICAL COMMENTARY by Mother Teresa: I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.
*LBN-A DIFFERENT VIEW:…
*LBN-OVERHEARD: ***Lara Spencer is ready to say “I do.” The “Good Morning America” anchor, 48, is engaged to her boyfriend of two years, tech entrepreneur Rick McVey. People reports the couple met on a blind date set up by a mutual friend. This will be Spencer’s second marriage, as she divorced real estate broker and former reporter David Haffenreffer in 2015. They share two children, Katharine and Duff while McVey is also a divorceé and has three daughters. ***Rayya Elias, Elizabeth Gilbert‘s partner, has died following a battle with pancreatic and liver cancer. She was 57. The “Eat Pray Love” author, 48, made her relationship with Elias public in September 2016 following Elias’ diagnosis. In a lengthy Instagram tribute to her late partner, whom Gilbert previously cited as the reason she ended her marriage to José Nunes, the writer called her relationship with Elias the “greatest honor of my life.”
LBN E-Lert Edited By Dan Gaylord