Our title today is brought to you by 1980s “Hold On to the Night” singer Richard Marx, who subdued an unruly passenger on Korean Air flight 480 today with, honest to god, a piece of rope and his elbow. I guess he was “Right Here Waiting” for a chance to be a hero. Who knew?
Use of quotes/citations does not imply endorsement.
“No!!! She doesn't even know what a Hatchimal is, thank God!” Overheard in Indianapolis, a mother responding to being asked if she was getting her daughter a Hatchimal for Christmas.
“I'm ready right now.” @pourmecoffee, commenting on National Geographic Science's link “This suit will turn your dead body into mushrooms.” (Twitter)
“If you are carrying a balance on your credit card, you will probably see an increase immediately when the [Federal Reserve] raises rates.” Binyamin Applebaum. The Fed is predicting it will be raising interest rates three times in 2017. (NPR; WBUR On Point with Tom Ashbrook)
“Campaigners talk about 'a woman's right to choose,' as if she were picking a sweet from a box or a plum from a tree. It's not that sort of choice.” Hilary Mantel (The New Yorker)
“They [the Russian hackers] exploited our free press and we played right into their hands and they got what they wanted. And there's something disconcerting about that.” Emily Bazelon (Slate/Panoply, The Political Gabfest)
Machines are “always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” Andy Puzder, Trump's nominee to be Secretary of Labor. (LA Times)
“No, no, no, no, don't take [Donald J. Trump] literally, take him symbolically.” Trump aide Anthony Scaramucci, who didn't add “but just take him, please.” Which is a wasted opportunity, if you ask me. (The Hill; MSNBC)
“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism.” (Mayo Clinic)
“Kleptocracy…is a government with corrupt rulers (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political power.” (Wikipedia)
3– The three texts Michael Gerson of the Washington Post believes Donald Trump should read are Martin Luther King Jr.'s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Roosevelt's 1941 “Four Freedoms” speech to Congress, and Washington's “Letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island.” (Washington Post; Slate/Panoply Political Gabfest)
10– The top ten diets Googled in 2016 are, in order from most-Googled to least: the GOLO diet, Taco diet, Military diet substitutes, the Atkins 40, Ketogenic diet foods, Dissociated diet, The wild diet, Pizza diet, the Dukan diet (I want, so badly, for this to actually be The Dunkin Diet), and the Mono diet (for what it's worth, I have actually had mononucleosis before and I did lose weight. I'm not sure this is what people were googling, however.) (Google; Self)
20– Medicines and perfumes together equal as much as 20 percent of all alcohol consumption in Russia. Dozens have recently died after drinking bath oil. The troubled economy and high prices of alcoholic beverages has led to a “surrogate alcoholic beverage industry” in Russia. (BBC)
2027– The next year that Christmas and Hannukah will overlap as they do this year will be the year 2027. The last time was in 1978. (Time)
25 Million– Donald Trump has agreed to pay $25 million to settle a series of lawsuits stemming from Trump University. About 7,000 students (victims?) will share in the settlement. Trump University ended in 2010. The “Gold Elite” class offered by Trump University cost $35,000. (New York Times)
150 Million– Soon-to-be-First-Lady Melania Trump is requesting $150 million in damages from a “Maryland-area blogger” and The Daily Mail for defamation, in a case filed in September. Ms. Trump appeared in person at a court conference on December 12 “to show her commitment to the case.” If Ms. Trump wins her suit, maybe President Trump can borrow twenty-five million dollars of it for his settlement. (USA Today; MSNBC)
In Other News: (1.) Who knew that Richard Marx was married to Daisy Fuentes? (2.) Indispensible link: Trumpcabinet.org (3.) So, “unpresidented” is The Guardian's Word of the Year for 2016. Thanks, DJT. (4.) So, the true Nightmare Before Christmas is This Snake in an Australian Christmas Tree (5.) Israel just announced it will take in wounded civilians from Aleppo
In Memory and In Thought: for the city of Aleppo and all those who are evacuating; for the Berliners and tourists visiting a Christmas Market yesterday when a lorry purposely rammed into it, killing 12 and injuring more than 48. For the 26 killed in Mexico today at a fireworks market. For the more than 50 souls killed by ISIS in Sanaa, Yemen. For those living through the continued battle to re-take Mosul. For those enduring an historic drought in Bolivia. For those lost and in pain; for those who are cold, living under oppression; those who are sick and those who are hungry. There are not candles enough. Words are insufficient.
Let there be peace on earth.