Good morning. What’s the most unlikely partnership you’ve ever seen? Even stranger than cats and dogs teaming up, or Republicans and Democrats reaching across the aisle (just kidding) – toymaker Hasbro officially completed the purchase of Death Row Records’ parent company last month for approximately $3.8 billion.
Housekeeping Note: A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who participated in our end-of-year survey, and congratulations to our prize drawing winners so far: Jordan (MI), Cindy (TX), Josh (MI), Daniel (TX), Stephanie (TX), Justin (CA), Steve (NM) and Jack (TX).
We still have two unclaimed prizes, so be sure to double-check your email to see if you were selected.
“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”
– Norton Juster
The Race to the White House
Five candidates have qualified for the seventh Democratic presidential debate, tentatively scheduled to take place on Jan. 14 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) previously told CNN that January’s debate may be rescheduled if a conflict arises with the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, which could potentially begin as soon as the week of Jan. 13.
What’s been going on? Earlier this month, the top presidential candidates released their fundraising numbers from the fourth quarter of 2019. Donald Trump led all candidates with $46 million raised, while Bernie Sanders led the Democratic hopefuls with $34.5 million raised, followed by Pete Buttigieg ($24.7 million), Joe Biden ($22.7 million) and Elizabeth Warren ($21.2 million) – billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg had previously said he would self-finance his campaign. Also, former candidate Julian Castro, who dropped out of the race last week, officially announced his endorsement of Elizabeth Warren yesterday.
Questions about the rating system we use? Learn more
Share Today’s Dose of Discussion
Weinstein Faces New Charges
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacy announced yesterday that Harvey Weinstein has been charged with four counts of sexual assault in LA County. The announcement is separate from Weinstein’s trial in New York (which began yesterday) for similar charges.
An unsigned draft letter from a top U.S. general to the Iraqi government was leaked on Monday, stating that the U.S. military would be preparing for “movement out of Iraq.” However, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper later told reporters that the letter was misleading, and the U.S. has not made a decision to leave Iraq.
Venezuelan politician Juan Guaidó was barred from attending a special session of the National Assembly where he was expected to be reelected as the legislature’s leader – political rival President Nicolás Maduro is believed to be responsible. In Guaidó’s absence, supporters of Maduro elected one of their own to head the legislature, but hours later a majority of National Assembly lawmakers met elsewhere and reelected Guaidó.
Pier 1 Imports unexpectedly reported quarterly earnings on Monday, tallying a net loss of $59 million or $14.15 per share for the quarter. The retailer also said that it intends to close up to 450 stores, nearly half of its 942 locations nationwide – Pier 1 stock is down more than 40 percent over the past 12 months.
Amazon on Monday announced a partnership with automakers Lamborghini and Rivian to integrate the Alexa voice-enabled assistant into the companies’ upcoming vehicles. The company also detailed plans to roll out the Echo Auto car-companion device in India starting Jan. 15, and said it will be bringing the latest Fire TV edition to future BMW and Fiat Chrysler vehicles.
Boeing has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to American Airlines to cover lost revenue from the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircraft series. American Airlines has said it plans to add $30 million to an employee profit-sharing program, similar to Southwest Airlines’ $125 million pledge after the company reached a similar agreement with Boeing last month.
Peggy Pasko was coming off a recent divorce when she happened upon a newspaper article about a homeless artist and felt called to support his work, but she had no idea she would end up with more than a hand-crafted sculpture. Peggy said she felt she just had to get in contact with Michael – who was living in a transition home and had been down on his luck – after seeing a picture of the artist with a wood-carved bust he’d created of John Wayne.
After sending a letter to the newspaper and waiting a long three weeks, Peggy got a call from Michael, and the two hit it off right away. After months of getting to know each other, the two set their first official date for New Year’s Eve – back in 2002. 18 years later, the Paskos are a married couple living in San Antonio, with their story reminding us that the best things in life can come from the most unexpected places.
Reports are showing that as of this week, nearly 500 million animals have died in Australia’s recent brush fires. Although that number is staggering, there are organizations dedicated to helping rehabilitate and save these animals in need. The late Aussie legend Steve Irwin – “The Crocodile Hunter” – dedicated his life to engaging with, rescuing, and teaching about wild animals, and his spirit is survived by the work of the family he left behind.
Steve’s wife, Terri, and two children, Bindi and Robert, now continue his legacy, having recently passed the threshold of 90,000 animals treated at the Australian Zoo Wildlife Hospital over the last 16 years. In the face of the ongoing crisis, Steve would be proud of his family, who continue to inspire others to show kindness to animals and to protect the vulnerable planet that we all share.
Batterymates… researchers at Monash University in Australia have developed a new battery that can reportedly power a smartphone for five continuous daysor allow an electric vehicle to travel 1,000 km before needing to recharge.