Happy Wednesday. Some people go to extraordinary lengths to accomplish a goal. In an example of this phenomenon, the first person to successfully cross Antarctica alone on foot revealed that he, uh, soiled himself less than halfway through, and was forced to use the same pair of underwear during the remaining 38 days of his journey.
“One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh.”
– Robert Heinlein
Pardon US: A Look at Presidential Pardons
President Trump on Tuesday signed executive orders granting pardons to seven individuals and commuting the sentences of four others who were convicted of various charges.
Meet the squad Among those granted clemency yesterday were:
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is halfway through a 14-year sentence for attempting to trade President Obama’s vacant Senate seat for political favors in 2010.
Ex-New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who served two years in federal prison for felony tax fraud and lying to investigators.
Former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who received a $1 million fine and two years probation for failing to report a felony.
American financier Michael Milken, who was handed a lifetime trading ban and forced to repay over $1 billion after he was convicted of tax evasion and securities fraud.
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Tonight’s Las Vegas Debate
Six Democratic presidential hopefuls will take the stage at 9 p.m. ET tonight in Las Vegas for the ninth debate of the election cycle, streaming live on NBC. A new national poll from the WSJ/NBC News shows Bernie Sanders holding a twelve-point lead over four other candidates grouped around second place.
More: Mike Bloomberg will participate in his first debate of the cycle after his national polling numbers qualified him on Tuesday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the State Department has designated five Chinese state media outlets as “foreign missions.” Under the terms of the designation, the companies must provide the State Department with information about U.S. real estate holdings, as well as a roster of every American employee.
The Independent Election Commission declared that incumbent Ashraf Ghani beat out runner-up Abdullah Abdullah in a general election to retain his title as Afghanistan president. Abdullah is contesting the results of the election (which was held last September), and vowed to form his own parallel government.
More: Ghani won just over 50% of the vote according to the IEC, while Abdullah received nearly 40%. 1.82 million votes were counted across the country (compared to a population of 37 million), while nearly 1 million votes were reportedly discarded due to irregularities.
LendingClub has reportedly agreed to purchase Boston-based Radius Bank for a cash-and-stock deal worth $185 million. The move marks the first time a U.S. financial technology (fintech) company has acquired a bank.
Start Me Up
Employees at Kickstarter voted Tuesday to become the first full-time employees at a tech company to unionize. The move comes after two employees spearheading the unionization effort were fired last September, resulting in a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
The Final Frontier
SpaceX announced a partnership with space tourism company Space Adventures, and plans to offer commercial flights to space aboard the Crew Dragon capsule as early as 2021. Space Adventures has already helped fly eight tourists to the ISS over the past two decades.
P.S. I Love You
It’s hard to overstate the overwhelming loneliness felt by a person whose longtime romantic partner has passed away.
Kentucky native Rich Cox took steps to ensure that his wife would always feel the love – eight years after he lost his battle with cancer, his wife still receives flowers from him each Valentine’s Day.
When we picture a woman in labor, the scene is usually set at a hospital – however, extenuating circumstances can sometimes prevent people from accessing medical aid in a time of need.
When super dad Rhys Darby found his girlfriend in that exact situation, he managed to deliver their baby safely using just one hand, as his other arm was tied up in a cast.
The World Meteorological Organisation disqualified the previous high of 137°F from Libya in 1922 due to scientific inaccuracies, leaving a 134°F reading from Death Valley, CA as the world’s highest recorded temperature.