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News to Know


Pew: Obama’s true legacy is divided nation, bad race relations

Barack Obama leaves the presidency with the nation more divided than at any time in decades, race relations at a new low and a surge in atheism, according to a new survey by Pew Research.

The survey concludes the United States is “undeniably different” than when Obama was elected eight years ago, citing such trivia as the introduction of the Apple iPhone during his 2007 campaign and the fact that Twitter was only two years old then.

But things haven’t gone so well on other issues.

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Chicago Mayor Pushes Moody’s to Rescind City’s Junk-Bond Rating

Chicago is stepping up its battle with Moody’s Investors Service ahead of a $1.2 billion bond sale next week.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat who pushed through a record tax increase to shore up the city’s finances, asked the company to pull its junk rating on Chicago’s debt, saying it’s exaggerating the risks to bondholders and failing to recognize steps he’s taken. Chicago has already stopped hiring Moody’s to rate new bond deals, relying instead on rivals S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings that continue to consider its debt investment grade.

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Chicago Homicides Even Higher Than Reported

The record-setting violence in Chicago is even worse than announced as new evidence shows the city suffered 50 more homicides last year than the numbers publicly reported in the past week.

The city posted a decades-high homicide count of 812 in 2016, per the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. That’s 15% greater than the 762 murders reported by the city’s police department.

The discrepancy is largely due to the fact that the county tallies “homicides” while the police number counts “murders.” Murders are defined as violent acts subject to criminal prosecution. Homicides, according to the medical examiner, include instances “when the death of a person comes at the hand of another person. This does not imply that all homicides are murders that would be subject to criminal prosecution.”

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Right-wing people are better looking than those on the left, study claims

Research has found that being attractive influences many things in a person’s life — their salary, their popularity and grades in school, even the prison sentences they receive. So why not their politics?

A recently published study in the Journal of Public Economics concludes that the attractiveness of a candidate does correlate with their politics. They find that politicians on the right are more good looking in Europe, the United States and Australia.

The study shows correlation, not causation, but the researchers float a simple economic explanation for why this might happen. Numerous studies have shown that good-looking people are likely to earn more, and that people who earn more are typically more opposed to redistributive policies, like the progressive taxes and welfare programs favored by the left.

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Buzzfeed’s Trump report takes ‘fake news’ to a new level

So the website BuzzFeed decided to publish a series of memos that have been floating around for months alleging all kinds of terrible things about Donald Trump.

Some of those terrible allegations have to do with efforts to influence the American elections and Trump. Some of them have to do with Trump’s personal sexual conduct.

Readers of this newspaper know well not to include me among Trump’s supporters. But the scurrilousness of what BuzzFeed has done here is so beyond the bounds of what is even remotely acceptable it should compel even those most outraged by Trump’s political excesses to come to his defense and to the defense of a few other people mentioned in these papers whose names are also dragged through the mud.

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Trump conducts his own sting operation to ensnare intelligence briefers – and says he caught them leaking

President-elect Donald Trump, after growing suspicious that intelligence officials were leaking news about their classified briefings with him, says he conducted a sting operation to try to prove top spies were behind the leaks.

Trump revealed the extraordinary scheme to try to entrap the senior spies in a furious press conference where he suggested the intelligence community had been behind salacious and totally unproven allegations against him.

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Larry Elder: President Obama’s Legacy Is ‘Donald J. Trump’

Nationally syndicated Salem Radio talk-show host Larry Elder joined “Hannity” to discuss President Barack Obama’s legacy following his farewell address Tuesday night.

When Sean Hannity asked the question of Obama’s legacy, Elder gave a succinct yet telling response.

“His legacy, Sean, is Donald J. Trump,” Elder said. “That’s what his legacy is and the fact that the majority of the American people feel that we’re on the wrong track economically, on the wrong track in terms of foreign policy.”

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Trump can punish ‘sanctuary cities’ that protect undocumented immigrants

Donald Trump, with a little help from Congress, will have broad presidential powers to crack down on “sanctuary cities” that protect undocumented immigrants from his planned roundup and deportation of millions who are in the country illegally.

In what could become a major conflict between the new president and local governments, the showdown likely will result in legal challenges testing how far the White House can go in dictating its priorities.

Trump will be armed with a range of powerful options, including federal lawsuits and the power to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in grants that states and cities rely on.

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Russian tech expert named in Trump report says US intelligence never contacted him


A Russian venture capitalist and tech expert whose name and company are mentioned in the now-notorious document alleging connections between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian hackers says no intelligence officers have ever contacted him about the accusations, which he says are false.

A report compiled by a former Western intelligence official as opposition research against Trump was made public Tuesday when BuzzFeed posted its 35 pages. The document included unsubstantiated claims of collusion between the Trump campaign team and the Kremlin.

Read more here:

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U.S. Small-Business Optimism Index Surges by Most Since 1980

Optimism among America’s small businesses soared in December by the most since 1980 as expectations about the economy’s prospects improved dramatically in the aftermath of the presidential election.

The National Federation of Independent Business’s index jumped 7.4 points last month to 105.8, the highest since the end of 2004, from 98.4. While seven of the 10 components increased in December, 73 percent of the monthly advance was due to more upbeat views about the outlook for sales and the economy, the Washington-based group said.

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ICYMI: Black leaders one championed strict drug laws they now seek to dismantle

A few months after taking office, New York Governor David Paterson stood in a drug treatment center in Queens, and made history.

“And finally today, on this sunny day, in April of 2009, with the stroke of a pen, we will end the regime of the Rockefeller drug laws,” said Paterson, drawing cheers.

With that gesture, New York’s first black governor rolled back the mandatory minimum sentencing laws first passed in 1973 that disproportionately locked up African-American men.

Earlier this week, another black leader, US Attorney General Eric Holder, argued that Rockefeller-style laws should be eased at the federal level as well.

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