New Year’s Eve, Russia With Love
Saturday, December 31, 2016
Vol. 5, No. 364
Happy New Year: Hundreds of thousands of revelers in New York’s Times Square tonight will have to pass through screening and be hemmed in by 65 sand trucks positioned as blast blockers. New York’s Finest is getting the backing of the Sanitation Department, which bills itself as New York’s Strongest, but people hope to have a blast anyway.
Today is the day when television reporters tell you about all the new laws going into effect around the country; higher minimum wages, legal marijuana, changes on tax laws. You’ll be able to take a selfie in a California voting booth. In Illinois, hairdressers and manicurists will be required to take training to recognize signs of domestic and sexual abuse, but they won’t be required to report it.
Tomorrow’s News: The Polar Bear Club goes swimming.
Russia With Love: Despite some rumblings from his own Foreign Ministry, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced yesterday that he will not retaliate for the Obama Administration sanctions placed in response to Russian cyberattacks on the US election. “While we reserve the right to take reciprocal measures, we’re not going to downgrade ourselves to the level of irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy,” Putin said, using a Russian expression for petty arguments. He said he was hoping for better relations with the administration of Donald Trump.
Trump tweeted, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”
Trump can lift the sanctions, but that will put him at odds with powerful members of his own party who’ve called for even tougher actions against Russia.
Nation: The murder conviction of Michael Skakel, the nephew of Ethel Kennedy, was reinstated yesterday by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
In 2002, Skakel was found guilty of murdering a neighbor girl, Martha Moxley, when both were teenagers in 1975. The trial revealed Skakel’s teenage drinking and drug use and the lives of rich kids in Greenwich, Conn. It was played up in the press as a Kennedy family scandal, although Skakel is not a Kennedy.
In 2013, a lower court judge threw out his conviction, ruling that Skakel was not properly represented by his lawyer. Now Skakel could be sent back to prison to serve out his sentence of 20 years to life.
Good News for Elephants: China announced that it will ban all trade in ivory by the end of 2017, dealing a major blow to poachers and the illegal international ivory business. Ivory carvings are traditional in China, making it the world’s largest market for elephant tusks. China’s move is partly as a result of negotiations with the Obama administration.
The Obit Page: Robert Hulseman, who invented the red plastic Solo cup and launched a million keg parties, has died at age 84. When he created the cup, Hulseman was thinking it would be useful for families going on picnics, but that was before the invention of Beer Pong.
Thanks for the Meme-ories: As 2016 draws to a close, we’d like to thank the following for making it a great year:
Donald Trump, The Deplorables, Anthony Weiner, Huma Abedin, The EpiPen, Russian Hackers, Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, Colin Kaepernick, Roger Ailes, Gretchen Carlson, Kellyanne Conway, The Electoral College, Vladimir Putin, Melania, Ivanka, Eric & Don, Jr., Twitter, Alec Baldwin, Trump University, The FBI, The Chicago Cubs, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bob Dylan, Brad and Angie, Creepy Clowns, The Bathroom Bill, Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps, Khizr Khan, Brexit, Dennis Hastert, Melissa Click, Jeb!, Johnny Manziel AKA “Johnny Football,” Little Marco Rubio, Sean Penn, El Chapo, and really, Donald Trump, the gift who keeps on giving.