Thursday, December 19, 2019

Trump Impeached for Abuse of Power, Obstruction of Congress

President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives last night (12/18), becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors. The historic vote split along party lines, much the way it has divided the nation, over the charges that the 45th president abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. Then a majority of the House approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation. The articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment, now go to the Senate for trial. If Trump is acquitted by the Republican-led chamber, as expected, he would have to run for reelection carrying the enduring mark of impeachment on his presidency. (NewsMax) 


Two men admit to working on illegal streaming sites that rivaled the size of Netflix and Hulu

The Department of Justice says two men behind some of the largest illegal streaming services have been taken out of play. Two computer programmers in Las Vegas pleaded guilty last Friday (12/13) to criminal copyright charges after an FBI investigation revealed they had been working on two massive, illegal online streaming sites, iStreamItAll and Jetflicks, according to plea agreements. iStreamItAll’s content library featured more than 118,000 television episodes and nearly 11,000 movies, making it larger than Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime, according to a release from the Justice Department. Both iStreamItAll and Jetflicks had tens of thousands of paid subscribers and were designed to work on many different devices and platforms, “including myriad varieties of computer operating systems, smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, video game consoles, digital media players, set-top boxes and web browsers,” the DOJ said, citing the two plea agreements. (Department of Justice)


Mother gets ‘shamed’ for saying ‘Father Christmas’ rather than ‘Santa’ because it’s not “Gender Neutral”

A mother has revealed she was mocked online for saying ‘Father Christmas’ rather than ‘Santa’ because it’s not gender neutral. The anonymous woman, from Plymouth, told how she was ‘shamed’ on a Facebook group during an exchange about a children’s book, where she spoke of ‘Father Christmas.’ However, it didn’t go down well and she was quickly criticized by those asserting ‘Santa is now seen as gender neutral’ and is the preferred name by parents. The woman in question went on to explain how she didn’t intentionally mean to offend and was left feeling ‘on edge,’ not knowing what term to advise her little one to use. She explained “I have a small child and don’t really want to raise him saying Father Christmas if it’s hurtful to some”. And it seems the heated exchange has caused quite a stir online, with many wading in on the debate to offer their strong opinions on the matter. (Plymouth Herald)


Purdue owners withdrew billions

The owners of Purdue Pharma took out more than $10 billion from the company, maker of OxyContin, and deposited it in trusts and holding companies as criticism began to mount over its role in the opioid epidemic. An audit showing the transfers could reignite debate over how much the Sacklers, who own Purdue, should pay to settle more than 2,800 lawsuits against the company in connection with the crisis. The family has offered to forfeit $3 billion in cash, but some have argued they should pay more. (New York Times)


McDonald’s wins big labor dispute

McDonald’s prevailed in a case pitting it against workers demanding higher pay and the right to unionize at the fast-food chain’s franchises. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that the franchises, which account for 90% of McDonald’s 14,000 restaurants, weren’t “joint employers” and therefore not subject to labor laws that would have prevented them from allegedly retaliating against the workers. The case is expected to set a precedent for other franchise operations, found mostly in fast food but also in other industries, including hotel chains, 7-Eleven and UPS Store. (Bloomberg)


Mother tricks toddler with life-size cutout of herself

A mother looking for a few minutes to herself duped her toddler by leaving a life-size cardboard cutout of herself in the room with the child. Sharing video to Twitter, the child’s father said their one-year-old would cry as soon as his mother disappeared from sight. In the footage, the child’s mother can be seen setting up the cutout in the kitchen while the child is distracted, playing with toys in the adjoining living room. As she tiptoes out of the room, the child continues to play, occasionally glancing back at his cardboard mom in the kitchen. According to the father, the child was entertained and did not notice the mother was missing for a full 20 minutes. (Oddity Central)


Man stuffs shrimp down pants in California grocery thefts

A thief stuffed a total of 30 bags of frozen shrimp down his pants in back-to-back burglaries of a Southern California grocery store, police said. The man took the shrimp from a Vons market in Riverside, California by entering the store three times in a span of 15 minutes recently. Each time he went to the frozen food section and concealed the shrimp in his pants, Riverside police said in a statement. The stolen food had a retail value of more than $500. Security video of the suspect in the market was posted on the Police Department’s Facebook page. (AP News)


Alaska man shopped, donated change after robbery

An Alaska man robbed a credit union and then went shopping and dropped spare change in a donation bucket, authorities said. A 34-year-old man faces a federal bank robbery charge for taking $947 from the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union in Anchorage recently. Jensen demanded money in a note given to a credit union teller, federal charge documents show. A weapon was not displayed during the robbery, FBI spokesman said in an emailed statement. Surveillance video showed the crook leaving his red jacket alongside a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant next to the credit union and then going to a nearby Walmart, authorities said. He bought cigarettes, a lighter, a hat, green vest and a neck covering at the Walmart. He dropped spare change into a donation bucket outside the store as he left, authorities said. Police arrested him a short time later near the Anchorage Public Library. Credit union employees later identified him in a lineup, officials said. (The Anchorage Daily News)


Man’s marijuana Christmas gifts sniffed out at airport

A man who may have been dreaming of a “green” Christmas found himself inside the gray walls of a Tennessee jail. According to court documents, state police caught the 57-year-old man with more than 80 pounds of marijuana disguised as Christmas gifts at Nashville International Airport earlier this week. Officers and a K-9 smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from three bags, according to the documents. The officers said they saw the man pick up the bags and load them onto a cart. He allowed officers to search the bags, which were filled with what appeared to be wrapped Christmas gifts. The items were actually filled with vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana weighing 84 pounds, authorities said. The man had flown to Nashville from Seattle. He was booked into jail and bonded out the next morning. (US News)


Thursday Splashes In With:

  • Free Shipping Day (3rd Thursday at Participating Retailers)
  • National Re-gifting Day (3d Thursday)

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