New Year Agenda, Deeper Freeze

The Swamp: Congress and the President return to work with an ambitious and pressing agenda before turning to mid-term elections in the fall.

Major items include funding the government to avoid a shutdown, re-stabilizing the national health insurance program for poor children, and whether to shield the young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” from deportation.

Also on the agenda are emergency relief for regions flattened in last year’s natural disasters, and the fate of an agreement to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act.

And shadowing the President like Banquo’s ghost is the Russia investigation.

Deeper Freeze: A Low pressure system is lurking off the East Coast, presenting the threat of a major winter storm. Forecasters are not sure how the system will track.

It’s 6 degrees in Jordan, MT.; 1 Pine Bluff, Ark,14 ;Green Bay, Wisc. -2, Traverse City, MI, 15; Whitefield, NH, -33; Providence, RI, 8; Boston, 5; Bangor, ME, -8.

Iran: Protests in as many as 50 Iranian cities continued for a sixth day today as the death toll rises. As many as 21 people have been killed. A general with the Revolutionary Guards said ominously, “If this situation continues, the officials will definitely make some decisions and at that point this business will be finished.”

President Trump tweeted, “The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.’ The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”

The World:  South Korea proposes high-level talks with North Korea, a day after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un suggested easing military tensions and allowing his country’s participation in the Winter Olympics in the South. — Pakistani Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan fired back on Twitter answering President Trump’s insulting tweet accusing his country of “lies & deceit” and threatening to cut financial aid.

Pakistan was already doing all it could to combat terrorism within its borders, the minister said. “We have already told the U.S. that we will not do more, so Trump’s ‘no more’ does not hold any importance.”

Maybe we should remind the President of his Oct. 13 tweet in which he said, “Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts.”

News Roundup: NY City Ballet Director Peter Martins announced he will retire after five dancers accused him of physical assault and intimidation. Martins was already on leave while the ballet investigated an accusation of sexual harassment against the long-time ballet director.

Martins had complete control of the ballet from choreography to casting. Employees had no one to complain to about his behavior but him. — The number of murders in Chicago fell from 771 in 2016 to 650 last year. That’s still more than New York and Los Angeles combined. The number of reported shootings dropped from 3,550 to 2,785. — A New Jersey teenager is being held after the New Year’s Eve murders of his parents, sister, and a family friend.

College Ball: The Georgia Bulldogs will face Alabama in next Monday’s college football national championship.

Georgia kept coming from behind to beat Oklahoma in the first overtime match and highest scoring game for the Rose Bowl. Georgia 54, Oklahoma 48.

Georgia trailed Oklahoma 31-14 in the second quarter. In the second overtime and tied at 48, Georgia blocked an Oklahoma field goal and moments later scored the winning touchdown.

Alabama beat Clemson 24-6.

The Obit Page: Maura Jacobson, who over 31 years created 1400 often witty crossword puzzles for New York magazine, has died at age 91. She was a trivia buff who was one of the first contestants on the enduring quiz show, “Jeopardy!.”

The answer for a clue to parakeet noise in the Netherlands was “Dutch tweet.”

The answer for the clue “French Tarzan’s adventures” was DEGAULLE OF THE WILD; “Sex on the reservation” was LUST OF THE MOHICANS; and “Post-Watergate depression” was MOPY DICK.

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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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