Chance The Rapper and Jeremih’s mixtape Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama: Rewrapped.
Courtesy of the artists
Courtesy of the artists
Chance the Rapper and Jeremih have teamed up for the second year in a row to drop a holiday-themed mixtape for the masses. After weeks of teasing fans online with the prospect of new music, Chance and Jeremih premiered Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama: Re-Wrapped on Chicago’s Power 92.3 earlier today.
Merry Christmas Lil’ Mama: Re-Wrapped is an extended version of the tape the pair dropped last December with nine remastered versions of those tracks joined by 10 new tracks, including “Ms. Parker,” “Let It Snow” and “Big Kid Again.” The new songs bring with them features from comedian Lena Waithe (Master of None) and Chicago legend Common.
It’s no surprise that after the premiere on Power 92.3, the rapper chose to drop the new music on SoundCloud, the streaming service that helped make him famous.
Enjoy the jukin’ holiday cheer for all to hear.
Swans swim in Lake Eola as the sun sets in Orlando, Fla., in 2014. At the center of the lake is a decades-old green, multi-tiered fountain that is the official icon of the city. A man found himself stuck on that fountain on Friday.
Let’s just say his night took a swan dive.
Police rescued a 36-year-old man from the center of Lake Eola in Orlando, Fla, in the wee hours of Friday morning, after he hijacked a boat to visit some friends and got stuck on a fountain.
Except the boat was a swan. The friends were also swans. And, OK, they weren’t actually friends, he was just looking for a nonjudgmental group setting.
We should back up.
Lake Eola, in a public park in downtown Orlando, is a large lake that features a central fountain, swan-shaped paddleboats, and realswans.
#OnlyOn9 All the swan boats are back where they belong…after police say a man stole one and took it to the fountain. Investigators say he then hot on the fountain and yelled for help. Story at 6am. pic.twitter.com/02TU8WWFJi
— Ty Russell (@TRussellWFTV) December 15, 2017
Keith Thurston “ingested a large quantity of Molly” and decided he wanted to commune with the swans because, as the police report put it, “they didn’t judge him.”
So, of course, he stole a swan-shaped boat, paddled to the fountain at the center of the lake, stepped out from the boat, forgot the crucial step of tying the boat to the fountain, and found himself marooned.
“Officers were called about 4 a.m. Friday after people heard Thurston screaming for help,” the Sentinel writes. Police set off on a rescue mission.
Coming up at noon— we are following the story behind the man who was rescued on the fountain in Lake Eola. pic.twitter.com/48bCFaMDKM
— Ty Russell (@TRussellWFTV) December 15, 2017
“Thurston told police he was not trying to hurt himself and had on a life preserver he found on the swan boat,” WFTV reports, citing police. The officers took the man to the hospital.
“OPD is following up with the rental boat company to see if charges will be filed,” the Orlando Weekly says.
This happened on Friday, so we apologize for the delay in bringing you the news. We weren’t aware of this story until we saw, and could not possibly resist, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram‘s headline “He took ‘a large quantity of Molly’ and messed with the wrong swans, police say.”
As the Star-Telegram implies, Thurston may have miscalculated in more ways than — well, in several ways. Swans can be territorial and violent, and the specific birds that he was so eager to spend time have been known to be confrontational.
Here’s footage of one chasing an Orlando police officer around a truck:
But hey. Who knows. Maybe the swans are just suspicious of authority, and would be much more welcoming to an overnight visit from a man not in uniform.
Who are we to judge?
A Hawaii Civil Defense Warning Device, which sounds an alert siren during natural disasters, is shown in Honolulu on Nov. 29, 2017. The alert system is tested monthly, but now Hawaii residents will hear a new tone designed to alert people of an impending nuclear attack by North Korea.
The jitters over North Korea’s missile tests have led Hawaii to bring back air raid sirens. The state already has sirens in place in case of tsunami, but starting this month the state will once again test the “wailing tone” meant specifically to warn of attack.
But Hawaii remains an exception. In most of the country, air raid sirens are long gone. In Seattle, the mainland big city closest to North Korea, emergency management officials say they would use the Emergency Broadcast System to send out alerts by TV and radio, as well as alerts to smart phones.
The question, though, is how prepared the public would be to respond to such an alert?
“We’re beyond the generation now of remembering what Hiroshima and Nagasaki looked like,” says Seattle emergency management director Barb Graff. “We need to keep in mind that it’s more than just warning people and saying ‘run!'”
During the Cold War, the federal Civil Defense Administration produced films with specific advice on how to survive nuclear attack. Although they’re often mocked today, the films did contain useful information that could save lives.
“The concept of ‘duck and cover’ really came from the idea that you had the ability to protect yourself from those prompt effects,” says Brooke Buddemeier, a certified health physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who’s studied potential risks of nuclear attack. He says the Civil Defense recommendations weren’t as futile as people think, especially in the early days of the Cold War, when nuclear weapons were less powerful and the Soviets had a smaller arsenal. And the advice may still save lives now, in the event of nuclear terrorism or a limited attack by North Korea.
“For a smaller, sort of low-yield nuclear detonation, in a modern urban city, even near the detonation there’s a very good chance of survival if you can get inside, stay inside and stay tuned,” Buddemeier says.
Barb Graff, director of Seattle’s Emergency Management Center, says telling people to run is not a plan.
That kind of survival advice is still available today, but people have to seek it out on websites such as Homeland Security’s Ready.gov. Government officials, federal and local, have become leery of high-visibility public awareness campaigns about surviving nuclear attack. In Washington state, there’s even a law passed in 1984 that forbids preparations for nuclear attack. Local emergency officials say the law doesn’t hamper them in practice, but the lingering symbolism is clear, says nuclear weapons historian Alex Wellerstein, at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.
“Civil defense got very politically controversial in the 1980s,” Wellerstein says. “And a lot of people, especially on the left, essentially argued that civil defense was a waste of money at best, because it wasn’t going to be effective, and at worst it was an insidious plan to make people complacent.”
Wellerstein is now part of a Carnegie Corporation-funded project called Reinventing Civil Defense, which seeks to rethink an effective version of nuclear preparedness for the 21st century. He says the Cold War efforts included some worthwhile elements, but officials made a big mistake in not being honest about how bad an attack could be.
“They really didn’t want to have to say, ‘There really isn’t a lot of work we can do for you people, because if the Soviet Union launches 30 nuclear weapons at New York City, you guys aren’t going to make it.’ And not being able to ‘fess up to that fact I think discredited a lot of their work.”
So today, most local plans for nuclear attack are low-profile, if they exist at all. Ventura County, Calif., which in 2014 created a specific plan for nuclear attack, is one of the exceptions to the rule.
Instead, emergency managers take what’s called the “All Hazards” approach — they say they can apply to a nuclear attack the same skills they’d use for other crises, such as earthquakes.
But Washington state senator Mark Miloscia — who is a former Air Force bomber pilot — would like to see more specific planning for nuclear attack. For him, the first step would be to change the 1984 state law barring nuclear emergency preparations, which he finds too fatalistic.
“Nuclear war is survivable. It may be horrific, and it may be painful, and it may be destruction all around, but it is survivable if you’re smart about it,” he says. “To say ‘give up hope and just die,’ I don’t think that’s the best of any sort of American spirit.”
Election officials in Newport News, Va., examine ballots during a recount for a House of Delegates race on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017.
The old saying “every vote counts” may never have been more true than in Virginia Tuesday. A recount in a Newport News district appears to have flipped the outcome and moved the House of Delegates to a 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats, ending 17 years of GOP control.
Republican Delegate David Yancey started the day with a ten vote lead. As each precinct was recounted, that lead dwindled away. The final result: A single-vote victory for Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds. That’s one vote out of more than 23,000 cast on Election Day last month.
A recount court still has to certify the results Wednesday. If the tally stands, the House of Delegates will be evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. That would require a power-sharing agreement between the parties, a situation not seen in Virginia since the 1990’s.
Going into Election Day, Republicans had controlled 66 of the chamber’s 100 seats and suffered major losses in suburban districts around the state. Republican will continue to control the state senate with a narrow 21-19 majority. Democrats maintained control of the governor’s mansion with the election of Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.
In a statement, House Democratic leaders David Toscano and Charniele Herring congratulated Simonds and hinted at the General Assembly session that begins next month. “We are one vote closer to expanding Medicaid and extending access to affordable health care to nearly 400,000 people,” they wrote. “Let’s get this done.”
Republican leaders in the House conceded the seat to Simonds, pending confirmation by the court. In a written statement, Kirk Cox, Todd Gilbert, Tim Hugo and Nick Rush wrote they are “ready to establish a bipartisan framework under which the House can operate efficiently and effectively over the next two years.”
There are two more recounts in other House races this week, though the margins in those races were not nearly as small.
Behold Rome’s beleaguered Spelacchio. Skinny, patchy and now, dead.
Antonio Masiello/Getty Images
Antonio Masiello/Getty Images
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Pluck just about any Christmas carol off FM radio, and you’ve got a decent shot it’ll be lauding the merits of a tree — a glorious yuletide pine with “lovely” branches, say, or with happy campers rockin’ around it. In other words, carolers typically try to avoid comparing their Christmas tree to a toilet brush.
But then, there’s little that’s typical about the big tree now standing in one of Rome’s busiest plazas. Nicknamed Spelacchio — roughly “mangy” or “balding” in Italian — the Christmas tree has attracted mockery on social media for its long arms, patchy pine needles and such a disconcerting amount of air between its branches, one need not squint too hard to catch its likeness with a certain bathroom cleaning device.
Oh, and here’s the other thing: It appears to be dead already.
City authorities conveyed the sad news to local media Monday, confirming to Corriere Della Sera what many onlookers had already feared: The tree, which was set up in the Piazza Venezia at a reported cost of more than $55,000, is utterly rootless and beyond saving at this point.
— LauraDeliQuintiliani (@AvvLauraDeliQ) December 8, 2017
“It has no roots, but that is the practice,” a representative of Rome’s environmental department explained. “It’s impossible to transport the roots and soil of a specimen this tall and imposing.”
The suppliers who sent the tree, for their part, firmly dismissed any role on the tree’s tragically early end, saying that at the outset it was “in excellent health.”
“We do not point the finger at anyone,” their spokesman Stefano Cattoi told the paper, “but something happened to that tree, it’s obvious. It’s undergone too much stress.”
The city expects to open an investigation.
In the meantime, still nearly a week before Christmas, the city is set to watch its tree whither — and continue poking fun at what has become a beloved (or reviled) holiday scapegoat across the world. Unlike the unfortunate tree that had to be removed this week from Rhode Island’s State House, poor Spelacchio has at least earned something of an international reputation, inspiring a popular hashtag, a parody Twitter account and more than a few unflattering comparisons.
— P.L. (@PieroLatino) December 19, 2017
But maybe the cruelest comparison is with another Christmas tree nearby, the full-bodied pine arrogantly flaunting its wellbeing from the Vatican.
Rome’s Christmas tree, nicknamed Spelacchio, stands side by side in this composite with the tree standing in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
At any rate, the mourning for Spelacchio has already begun. Some enterprising fans scheduled a funeral for the tree on Christmas — though that ceremony appears canceled at the moment — and others grieved with a musical number.
All this to say what a carol never could: Rest in peace, sweet tree.
— Marzia 🎄 (@hypodermicmars) December 19, 2017
A photo provided by the Indiana State Police shows the wreckage from a small plane crash Saturday night in southeastern Indiana. An executive at the NTSB was among the three people killed when the Cessna crashed into the woods.
Indiana State Police/AP
Indiana State Police/AP
Paul Schuda, the director of the NTSB’s training center in Ashburn, Va., was killed when the Cessna piloted by his friend Louis Cantilena crashed into a heavily wooded area in southeastern Indiana. Cantilena’s daughter was also killed in the crash.
Coroner has authorized the release of the names of the Oldenburg Plane Crash Victims….
Dr. Louis Cantilena, age 63, Potomac, Maryland (Pilot)
Dr. Paul Schuda, age 65, Arlington, Virginia
Dr. Amy Cantilena, age 31, Potomac, Maryland (Daughter of Pilot)#RIP
— Sgt. Stephen Wheeles (@ISPVersailles) December 19, 2017
Two dogs were also on board the plane; one survived.
The NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates all civil aviation accidents in the United States and selected accidents in other modes of transportation.
Schuda and Cantilena were both members of the Civil Air Patrol. Schuda was previously a deputy director at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a professor of chemistry at the University of Maryland, College Park, the air patrol says.
Cantilena was a professor of medicine in clinical pharmacology at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., according to the air patrol.
Seeking to cut greenhouse gas emissions in California by 40 percent by 2030, state regulators have approved a plan that offers incentives for truck and bus fleets to go green.
David McNew/Getty Images
David McNew/Getty Images
California has the toughest air quality regulations of any state in the country. But they’re not tough enough to satisfy a new state law that requires California to double the rate at which it cuts greenhouse gases.
So this month, the California Air Resources Board approved a plan it says is aimed at “decarbonizing” the state’s economy.
The plan seeks, by 2030, to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 40 percent from 1990 levels. The board projects that the plan will save $11 billion in avoided environmental damage.
The key to the plan is to get more clean cars and trucks on the road.
The state extended or approved programs that offer incentives to buy zero-emission vehicles. The plan encouragesthe deployment of zero-emission trucks and spending more to shift to cleanersystems for the large amount of freight that enters the state (three of the country’s top 10 ports by volume are in California: the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland).
The plan, which aims to cut or eliminate diesel trucks, provides $208 million in incentives for truck and bus fleets to go green by purchasing electric vehicles. Another $190 million will go toward making freight operations less polluting. You can imagine electric forklifts.
More than 20 manufacturers offer 60 eligible models of hybrid, low-emission and zero-emission trucks and buses, according to Trucks.com. The incentives, at nearly $400 million, have already sparked competition, it reported:
“Such incentives are expected to encourage the purchase of electric trucks and powertrains like those that Tesla Inc., Cummins Inc., BYD Inc. and Mitsubishi Fuso are planning or are already selling. Electric heavy-duty trucks typically sell for 20 percent to 30 percent more than comparable diesel vehicles. The incentives will help offset the difference. The funding also will underwrite sales of clean natural gas trucks and other green technologies.”
Though much of the plan is directed at transportation, California also is taking steps that would curb emissions in other parts of the economy. Under a renewed cap-and-trade program, it will be more expensive to emit and dispose of super pollutants such as refrigerants or methane.
The board’s plan provides guidelines for the state’s electric utilities to use renewable sources for half their energy by 2030. It provides money for everything from investing in and developing clean fuel technology.
The plan also calls for doubling the number of electric charging stations in California. This initiative will be aided by $800 million in fines from Volkswagen, to mitigate damage from the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal.
This all comes while the Environmental Protection Agency, under Administrator Scott Pruitt, appears set to roll back federal fuel economy rules. California is the one state that can set its own emissions rules under the Clean Air Act of 1970, subject to a waiver. Other states can follow California’s lead or the federal government’s lead but they aren’t allowed to strike out on their own.
California has asked for and received a waiver to make tougher rules than the federal government. Pruitt has said EPA is not reviewing California’s special status, though environmental groups are poised to fight.
Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, says the state will continue to set tough rules. “I think there’s no question that our vehicle emissions standards have been the most influential and will continue to be,” she tells NPR.
Nichols says it would be hard for the auto industry to ignore the state since China and other countries are following California’s lead when it comes to climate change.
Pointing to changing consumer awareness and a determination by other countries to curb carbon emissions, she says “the demand is growing around the world for very efficient, very clean, essentially no-pollution vehicles. That’s a path we’re on and will continue to stay on.”