LBN – Special Report – Wednesday January 18, 2017

HOT – Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year: 

Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016 — trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in themodern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row. The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. The data show that politicians cannot wish the problem away. The Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization.

Poll: Obama Leaving Office With Highest Approval Since 2009:

President Barack Obama will exit the White House this week with his highest approval rating since his first year in office. According to a new CNN/ORC poll released Wednesday, Obama’s current approval rating is at 60 percent, his highest rate since June 2009, six months into his first term as president. CNN reported that such high marks place Obama third among recent presidents’ outgoing approval rating, behindBill Clinton’s 66 percent in January 2001 and Ronald Reagan’s 64 percent in January 1989. Additionally, the poll found, 65 percent of polled Americans said they believe the Obama presidency was a success; and while 54 percent of Democrats surveyed said they consider Obama among the “greatest presidents,” the same percentage of Republicans believe him to have been a poor president—underscoring the deep partisan divide felt as a Trump presidency is on the horizon.

*Trump already has re-election slogan picked out:

Donald Trump hasn’t even been sworn in as president — but he’s already come up with his re-election slogan. “Are you ready?” Trump asked a Washington Post reporter interviewing him at Trump Tower, seeming to have come up with the idea in the middle of the exchange. “‘Keep America Great,’ exclamation point.” Trump, apparently happy with his decision, reportedly called for a lawyer. “Will you trademark and register, if you would, if you like it — I think I like it, right? Do this: ‘Keep America Great,’ with an exclamation point. With and without an exclamation. ‘Keep America Great,’” Trump reportedly told his lawyer in the middle of the interview. “Got it,” said the lawyer.

*Edward Snowden’s Russia Residency Extended:

Even if the Kremlin’s relationship with the United Statessignificantly thaws under a President Trump, Edward Snowden is guaranteed another two years’ residency in Russia, The Guardian reported Wednesday. A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman wrote on Facebook that Snowden’s right to stay in the country had been extended “by a couple of years,” disputing claims that the National Security Agency whistleblower could be used as a bargaining chip in Putin-Trump negotiations. Additionally, in a separate statement, Snowden’s lawyer said his client has “every legal basis to get Russian citizenship,” further suggesting the leaker intends to stay beyond the extra two years.

George H.W. Bush Hospitalized for ‘Shortness of Breath’:

Former President George H.W. Bush has been hospitalized after experiencing “shortness of breath.” The 41st president’s office confirmed he was recently admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital and that he is responding to treatment. “He’s there. He’s fine and he’s doing really well,” Bush chief of staff Jean Becker told the Houston Chronicle. The 92-year-old former president, who has had a series of health scares over the past few years, is expected to be discharged in a few days. Bush had already announced plans to skip President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration due to his advanced age.

Secret Service to Pay $24M to Settle Race Bias Case:

The Secret Service has agreed to pay more than $24 million in a lawsuit brought by more than 100 black agents who alleged racial bias. The lawsuit, which focused on the treatment of black agents from 1995 to 2005, alleged that the Secret Serviceroutinely gave promotions to less qualified white agents and discriminated against black candidates, fostering an atmosphere of racial bias. The plaintiffs in the case will now receive compensation, with the eight original plaintiffs getting sums of as much as $300,000 each. The deal will not require the Secret Service to admit to wrongdoing. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who was involved in the negotiations for the case, said in a statement Tuesday night that the settlement was “simply the right thing to do.” “I am pleased that we are able to finally put this chapter of Secret Service history behind us,” Johnson said.

NFL: We Didn’t Tell Gaga No Politics:

Entertainment Tonight reported Tuesday that the National Football League told Super Bowl halftime singer Lady Gagathat she could not “say anything or bring anything up about the election, or mention Donald Trump” during her performance. Now, the NFL is saying that story was not true and that the singer was given no kind of instructions. “It’s false,” Natalie Ravitz, senior vice president of communications for the NFL, told CNN. “This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.” Lady Gaga was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Chelsea Manning to Be Released Early as Obama Commutes Sentence: 

President Obama on Tuesday commuted all but four months of the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the Army intelligence analyst convicted of a 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted Mr. Obama’s administration and brought global prominence to WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures. The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to kill herself last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the men’s military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.

LBN-SPOTLIGHT: Would You Like Your Computer To Perform Better? ——

Report: Theranos Failed 2nd Inspection and Didn’t Disclose It:

Disgraced blood-testing company Theranos failed a second inspection of its lab facilities before shutting down in October, but didn’t bother to disclose that information to investors or patients, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night, citing sources close to the matter. Having already had its testing license for a California lab revoked over problems that put patients’ health in “immediate jeopardy,” the company may now face additional penalties, the report said. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finished its inspection of the second of the company’s two labs in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Sept. 29, according to the report. After finding “deficiencies” there, Theranos devised a plan to correct the deficiencies, but that plan was later rejected by regulators, who proposed furthersanctions instead. The company continued to carry out testing at the facility even after the problems were uncovered, until announcing on Oct. 5 that the company would cease medical testing, according to the report.  After the problems were uncovered last year, the company announced it was voiding years’ worth of blood-test results because of its flawed technology, with many patients having received inaccurate diagnoses. The Silicon Valley blood-testing firm is also reportedly under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors, who believe the startup misled investors and government officials about the veracity of its technology. As part of the sanctions already imposed on the company, CEO Elizabeth Holmes has been hit with a two-year ban from the blood-testing industry.

Jack Nicholson to retire after 60 years in Hollywood:

Hollywood superstars do not get bigger than Jack Nicholson. But after a career stretching more than 60 years featuring a record 12 Oscar nominations, the legendary actor is quitting Tinseltown. The notorious ladies’ man — ­famous for his “Here’s Johnny!” line in the psycho horror flick “The Shining” — has been enjoying a quieter life since his last significant film role in 2010’s “How Do You Know.” Now his long-standing friend and co-star Peter Fonda says the ­former hellraiser has retired at the age of 79. Peter, who co-starred with Jack in 1969’s “Easy Rider” and has stayed good friends since, said, “I think he is ­basically retired. I don’t want to speak for him, but he has done a lot of work and he has done very well as a person financially.”

LBN-HOLLYWOOD INSIDER:   ***Jerry Seinfeld is getting into business with Netflix. The comedian has signed a production deal with the streaming giant that will bring his new comedic projects to Netflix beginning this year.   ***The Donald Trump White House has added another figure with major Hollywood ties, as the president-elect on Tuesday named WME-IMG chief financial officer Chris Liddell to oversee special projects. Liddell, who joined the super-agency in 2014, will take the title of assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives. During the transition, Liddell has served as a special adviser on appointments.

MY REVIEW: “I want to be smarter so I read LBN. I don’t want to live like other young people who don’t know or care about anything other than Instagram. LBN wakes me up to an entire universe of independent, non-biased news and information.”—–Rory S., an LBN reader from Portland, Oregon.

LBN-NOTICED:   ***Jake Gyllenhaal at brunch with a “petite brunette” at Gjusta in Venice Beach.   ***Matt Damon, Justin Bieber and Dr. Dre dining separately at Catch LA.   ***Kobe Bryant chatting with some fans who approached his table at Tao Downtown in NYC.   ***Charlie Rose at a Russian New Year’s party at Brasserie Cognac in NYC, where further guests included Ramona Singer.   ***DJ Ruckus kicking off his 2017 residency at Marquee Las Vegas.   ***Pitbull celebrating his 36th birthday at Sugar Factory on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach .

LBN-HEALTH WATCH: Many people worry that running ruins knees. But a new study finds that the activity may in fact benefit the joint, changing the biochemical environment inside the knee in ways that could help keep it working smoothly. In my many decades as a runner, I have frequently been told by fellow runners and nonrunners alike that I am putting my knees at risk. The widespread argument generally follows the lines that running will slowly wear away the cartilage that cushions the bones in the joint and cause arthritis. But there is little evidence to support the idea, and a growing body of research that suggests the reverse. Epidemiological studies of long-term runners show that they generally are less likely to develop osteoarthritis in the knees than people of the same age who do not run. Some scientists have speculated that running may protect knees because it also often is associated with relatively low body mass. Carrying less weight is known to reduce the risk for knee arthritis.

LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Nicky Scarfo, a Mafia boss who purged two dozen fellow mobsters during his 1980s reign in Philadelphia and South Jersey, milked casino profits in Atlantic City and bribed the city’s mayor, died on Saturday at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C. He was 87. His death was confirmed by a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Mr. Scarfo had been in prison since 1988. Michael E. Riley, a lawyer for Mr. Scarfo’s son Nicky Jr. — who is himself in prison on a racketeering conviction — declined to specify a cause.


LBN-COMMENTARY by Eleanor Clift: Several Democrats slated for jobs in the West Wing if HillaryClinton had won the election are in limbo now, coming to terms with their regrets and trying to figure out what to do next in Donald Trump’s strange new political world. “Election night felt like the Jason Isbell song, ‘24 Frames,’ as in ‘everything you built… goes up in flames in 24 frames,” says Jennifer Palmieri, the Clinton campaign’s director of communications. “Now it’s Shawn Colvin’s ‘Fall of Rome,’” she says, quoting the lyrics. “‘In anyone’s heartache or anyone’s blues is the beautiful feeling of nothing to lose.’ “So that’s liberating,” she concludes in an email. “Things are better.”

LBN-COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman: When Donald Trump was elected president, it felt to me like the most reckless thing our country had done in my lifetime. But like many Americans, I hoped for the best: He’ll grow into the job. He’ll surround himself with good people. The country could use a jolt of fresh thinking. He’ll back off some of his most extreme views. But now that Trump is about to put his hand on the Bible and be sworn in, I’ve never been more worried for my country. It’s for many reasons, but most of all because of the impulsive, petty and juvenile tweeting the president-elect has engaged in during his transition. It suggests an immaturity, a lack of respect for the office he’s about to hold, a person easily distracted by shiny objects, and a lack of basic decency that could roil his government and divide the country. I fear that we’re about to stress our unity and institutions in ways not seen since the Vietnam War. As a leader, you only have one chance to make a second impression. And it is troubling how badly Trump wasted his. A recent Gallup poll found that only 44 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of his transition — compared with 83 percent for President Obama’s and 61 percent for George W. Bush’s.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Frank Bruni: On the bright side, at least Jenna Bush Hager didn’t say “Hidden Fences in the Moonlight,” mashing together all three of the critically acclaimed movies about African-Americans that are in theaters right now. I’m referring to that cringe-worthy moment at the Golden Globes when Hager, a correspondent for NBC’s “Today” show, mistakenly referred to “Hidden Figures” as “Hidden Fences,” something that the actor Michael Keaton also did later that same night. “Fences” is its own production, and it, “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight” are all in the hunt for Oscar nominations, to be announced next Tuesday. They tell unrelated stories in unrelated styles. And they’re not equally accomplished, not to my eye. “Moonlight” has a daring, a visual poetry and a jolting intimacy that lift it well above the other two.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Norman Lear: Trump’s lying is, like everything about him, hyperbolic to the point of self-parody. We may expect politicians to fudge the truth in the heat of battle, but Trump displays a contempt for the very idea that someone in his position should be expected to confine himself to true statements. On the stump he repeated falsehoods that had been debunked. He retweeted false and racially inflammatory information distributed by white nationalists. Paul Waldman has described Trump’s “epistemological netherworld” as a place where “facts are meaningless, knowledge is useless and nobody can really know anything.” One of Trump’s main surrogates recently took it even further, saying there’s no such thing as facts. No such thing! That worldview will come in handy for the people he is appointing to lead federal agencies whose public service missions they oppose.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Tony Medley: LBN’s article, “Poll: Trump Transition Approval Plummets” accepts two fraudulent polls, ABC’s and CNN’s, which used clearly biased standards. While Gallop identifies 28% of Americans as Republican and 25% as Democrats, ABC’s poll skewed their sample by interviewing 31% Democrats and only 23% Republican. Similarly, CNN interviewed 32% Democrats and only 24% Republican. The polls are fatally biased and should not be reported by any fair-minded media outlet.


LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu

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