1. Mike drop
Michael Flynn was in court on Friday to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. The plea is part of a deal, and according to ABC, Flynn has promised the special counsel “full cooperation” in the Russia probe. From WaPo: “Flynn’s admission to the charge Friday in federal district court in D.C. could be an ominous sign for the White House, as Flynn is cooperating in the ongoing probe of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. His plea revealed that he was in touch with senior Trump transition officials before and after his communications with Kislyak – rebutting the idea that he was a rogue operator.” Here’s the latest from CNN and AP.
+ The Atlantic: If Flynn Is Small Fry, Who’s the Bigger Fish in Mueller’s Net?
+ Vox: Michael Flynn has signed a plea deal with Robert Mueller. Trump should be very worried. (I predict he’s going to be tired of the all the Flynning…)
+ Bloomberg’s Eli Lake: Kushner Is Said to Have Ordered Flynn to Contact Russia. More on the Kushner connection from Buzzfeed.
+ In other headlines on yet another slow news day in DC: Trump plans to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel during a speech next week. And Rex Tillerson calls reports that White House wants him to resign laughable. (Does anybody remember laughter?)
2. The tax man cometh
“Senate Republicans finally have enough votes to pass their tax plan. However, no one has actually seen the text of the bill. Republicans have been re-negotiating items in the bill, and things have been changing on a minute-by-minute basis.” According to Mitch McConnell, the Senate GOP has the 50 votes it needs to pass the tax overhaul. There are quite a few items changing by the minute. Here’s the latest from CNN.
3. Weekend whats
What to book: “In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off.” A fast-paced and well-researched story about the Osage Murders and the birth of the FBI. Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. If you need more reading material for the holidays, Jason Kottke has a rundown of the best-of lists.
+ What to shirt: This is the last time I’ll mention the NextDraft shirts available for only 14 bucks (I don’t make a cut, this is just about my need to be loved). The sale is just about to end, so score your favorite NextDraft shirts here, and be sure to check out all the other items at Cotton Bureau-my personal go-to t-shirt store.
+ What to movie: If you’re looking for a good family movie this weekend, check out Jane, the documentary on Jane Goodall. It features amazing footage, a subtle but effective look at humanity’s impact on the environment, and provides a glimpse into the psyche of someone truly driven by their passions. Oh, and chimpanzees!
+ What to watch: I don’t know how to describe Amazon’s new pilot Love You More. And I don’t want to. It’s better that you experience it cold (and without the kids in the room), as it’s unlike any show you’ve ever seen. It’s a trip. I really hope it gets picked up for a full season.
4. The catcher in the sky
“North Korea can make a nuclear bomb and has an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. If it launches such a missile, the United States has a $40 billion system designed to destroy the bomb in space. What’s unknown is whether it will succeed.” From WaPo: If North Korea fires a nuclear missile at the U.S., how could it be stopped? (I’m asking for a friend. Actually, all of them.)
5. From war zones to slave trades
“The grainy undercover video appears to show smugglers selling off a dozen men outside of the capital city Tripoli. ‘Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he’ll dig. What am I bid, what am I bid?’” From Time: The Libyan Slave Trade Has Shocked the World. Here’s What You Should Know. This is yet one more more terrible outcome of the international refugee crisis.
6. Hitting the mother code
“A bar of gold. A disk of iron. A chain of beads. A card of plastic. A slip of cotton-linen paper. These things are worthless. One cannot eat them, or drink them, or use them as a blanket. But they are valuable, too. Their value comes from the simplest thing. People believe they are money, and so they are.” Derek Thompson: Bitcoin Is a Delusion That Could Conquer the World. (In fairness, there are several delusions vying for that spot these days…)
7. Borderline case
“The Kate Steinle killer came back and back over the weakly protected Obama border, always committing crimes and being violent, and yet this info was not used in court. His exoneration is a complete travesty of justice. BUILD THE WALL!” While most Americans were focused on the Michael Flynn plea, President Trump “took to Twitter on Friday to attack a jury’s acquittal of a man in this country illegally who had been accused of killing a woman in San Francisco, a case the president made a centerpiece of his campaign against illegal immigration.” LA Times: Trump attacks jury’s acquittal in Kathryn Steinle case.
8. Tat chance
Many people set up a do not resuscitate order with a lawyer or doctor before an emergency occurs. Hospitals are used to dealing with those. But this case was a little different. “When an unresponsive patient arrived at a Florida hospital ER, the medical staff was taken aback upon discovering the words “DO NOT RESUSCITATE” tattooed onto the man’s chest-with the word “NOT” underlined and with his signature beneath it.” (If I did this, my mom would have me resuscitated just long enough to tell me how disappointed she was that I decided to get a tattoo…)
9. Then again, who’s counting?
“The judges felt that there are parts in the book where Bollen goes overboard in his attempts to describe the familiar in new terms, leading occasionally to confusion. In the line quoted … they were left unsure as to how many testicles the character in question has.” NPR on the 2017 Bad Sex In Fiction Award.
10. Feel good Friday
Buoyed by the response of the good news only pre-Thanksgiving extravaganza, I’m trying something new. Feel Good Fridays. Each Friday, we’ll use this Bottom of the News space to share good, nice, sweet, fun, funny, and/or uplifting stories. Let me know what you think. If a single section of good news isn’t enough to cheer you up, I suggest pairing it with a one dollar Long Island Ice Tea from Applebees.
+ “At the end of the first quarter of every Hawkeye home game this year, everyone inside Kinnick Stadium tilts their heads up and waves in unison at the new University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital built directly next to the stadium.” This is my favorite tradition in college football.
+ Remember that Afghan girls’ robotics team that was temporarily banned from entering the US? They just won a prize for their solar-powered farming robot.
+ In case you missed it in yesterday’s edition, South Korea’s Happiness Fund helps people pay off debts. (Happiness Fund is what I used to call my weed money.)
+ Houston Marine’s military interpreter finally reaches new home in Texas. “Yousafzoy wanted to come to Texas because of Hudson and his family but also because he’d heard of its reputation for diversity, of opportunities for immigrants – and because of the heat.”
+ “I thought probably I would just fade away. I really did. I never thought anything like this would happen, to be with people who come and want to know things about you.” Students bond with aged care residents by writing down their memoirs. (Years from now, I hope to have a young person visit me so I can share some of my most memorable tweets.)
+ Rescue dogs are being used to create more realistic animations in video games and films.
+ Finland is celebrating its 100th year of independence. Let’s celebrate with them with 18 reasons why Finland is the greatest country on Earth.
+ Dad is still drawing the scenes by hand. Son is using computer generation. But both Miyazakis are working on new animated features.
+ And finally, White House maintenance orders reveal cockroaches, ants and mice infestations. (They’ve been spending too much time looking for rats…)