It”s Freezing Out There, The Fantasy President

Weather: It’s bitterly cold in much of the country and a new wave of arctic air is expected. Freezing rain is forecast in the Pacific Northwest and light snow in the upper Midwest.

Wind chill advisories are in effect. It’s 17 degrees in Springfield, Mo.; Grand Forks, ND, 7; Duluth, MN, -5; Chicago, 5; Louisville, KY, 13; Raleigh, NC, 22; New York, 13; Burlington, VT, -7; Boston, 6; Bangor, ME, -10.

The President of Mar-a-Lago: President Trump during an appearance yesterday claimed that he had signed the most legislation in his first year than any other president since Harry Truman.

  “But I believe—and you would have to ask those folks who will know the real answer—we have more legislation passed, including the record was Harry Truman a long time ago,” Trump said. “And we broke that record, so we got a lot done.”

And checking with “folks” who know the real answer, what the president said is absolutely not true and not even close. He signed the fewest number of bills into law of any first-year president going back to Dwight Eisenhower, who signed more than 500.

President Trump signed 96 laws in 2017, the most significant being the tax reform bill. President Kennedy, close to 700; Carter and Bush 41, just under 250.

The number of bills signed is not necessarily a great measure of productivity or impact of a president. But Trump brought it up, and he’s living a fantasy.

Death and Taxes: The IRS threw taxpayers a curve ball yesterday.

Property owners across the country are lining up at government offices to prepay their 2018 taxes so they can dodge tax reform restrictions and put deductions on their 2017 taxes. The tax reform limits the deduction for state and local taxes to $10,000, which will cost taxpayers money in high tax states and areas with high real estate values.

But yesterday the IRS announced a rule that pre-paid taxes will be recognized only from jurisdictions where property assessments have been completed for 2018. What normal property owner would know that?

One Virginia homeowner told The Washington Post, “It’s a nightmare. I’m definitely frustrated, annoyed and irritated. The rush to get that bill done screwed everyone up. It’s insanity and it’s stupid.”

God and Voter Fraud: Alabama’s losing Republican Senate Roy Moore said he was waiting for God’s determination on the election, but yesterday he moved to block certification of the vote because of “systematic voter fraud.”

Moore lost by a margin of 22,000 votes. Alabama’s secretary of state said, “I have not seen any irregularities or any inconsistencies that are outside the norm.”

The Murder Beat: Police in Troy, NY, just northeast of Albany on the Hudson river, are trying to unravel what they describe as the gruesome murder of two women and two children in a basement apartment.

Troy usually has about six murders a year. Police Chief John Tedesco described it as a “savage” crime, without revealing the manner of killing or describing what the cops found in the apartment. He said, “It was the number of people killed, the manner in which they were killed. And the children being involved.”

Down in New York, once one of the most murderous cities in America, murder has taken a dramatic drop. New York had 2,245 killings in 1990, but as of yesterday, only 286 for 2017.

Permawar: At least 40 people were killed this morning and dozens injured in a multiple bomb attack on a Shiite cultural center and the Afghan Voice news organization in Kabul, officials said. A suicide bomber detonated himself in the cultural center where there were many women and children. No one has claimed responsibility.

The Hermit Kingdom: The discovery of anthrax antibodies in a North Korean soldier who defected to the South has raised alarms about the North’s development of chemical and biological weapons. Senior defense analyst Shin Jong Woo said the anthrax vaccine is probably given to North Korean soldiers working on biological weapons.

The Obit Page: The movie “The Post” about The Washington Post publishing the Pentagon papers in 1971 is doing well in theaters. Part of the movie focuses on the 1963 suicide of the paper’s publisher, Phillip Graham, and how that launched his widow Katharine from society hostess to publisher of one of America’s most powerful newspapers.

Her son Donald later took over the paper before selling it to Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

Now comes word that Bill Graham, 69, son of Katharine and Phil, committed suicide with a gun on Dec. 20 in his Los Angeles home. Graham was a lawyer and founded an investment firm that he ran for 20 years before selling it and becoming a philanthropist.

Trimming the Tree: Arborists yesterday cut away significant portions of the enormous 200-year-old magnolia tree planted on the White House grounds by President Andrew Jackson. It’s called the Jackson Magnolia. Much of the tree was decaying and held up with cables.

First Lady Melania Trump approved the trimming after reviewing reports from arborists. She asked that the wood and seeds from the tree be preserved.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Page Two

Jaw Meet Floor

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Small President

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Cuba Diaries

Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Alphabet of Maladies

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Healthcare Confusion Act

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freedom from Speech

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Too Big to Fire

Friday, June 19, 2015

More Probable Than Not

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's Been Said

" 'The enemy of the people,'" was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies. It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."
 
Arizona republican Sen. Jeff Flake speaking on the floor today.

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