He’s slipped the surly bonds of Earth. The first American to orbit the planet and a four-term U.S. senator, Glenn died yesterday at the Ohio State Cancer Center. He became a war hero flying 149 combat missions in World War II and Korea before joining the fledgling space program as a Project Mercury astronaut. Glenn is being remembered today for his lifelong service to his country and his enduring bravery. As his backup famously told him during the Cape Canaveral launch of his historic 1962 mission, “Godspeed, John Glenn.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Are they forming a junta? Fans of civilian government may be wondering. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday named a third general, retired Marine combat leader John Kelly, as secretary of homeland security. He’s already tapped retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis for defense secretary and retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn — already in hot water for promoting conspiracy theories — as national security adviser. Meanwhile, as expected, Trump named a climate skeptic and fossil fuel industry ally, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
Unfortunately, they’ve seen worse. Indonesia’s Aceh province is pulling itself back together after Wednesday’s magnitude-6.5 earthquake killed at least 102 people. Rescuers are still searching wrecked structures, including a collapsed market, for more survivors, but the death toll is also expected to rise. Dozens of aftershocks have rattled Aceh residents, who still remember an even more devastating catastrophe: The 2004 tsunami that killed over 160,000 in Indonesia alone. Thousands displaced by this week’s quake are living in shelters and President Joko Widodo is planning to visit the area.
“No more playtime.” So says the far-right National Front presidential candidate, arguing that France should stop offering free education to foreign children. Her campaign declaration is the latest sign of surging anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe, which helped defeat last Sunday’s Italian constitutional reform referendum — the same day Austria narrowly avoided electing a far-right president. At a speech in Paris, Le Pen said that she had nothing against foreigners, but, “If you come to our country, don’t expect to be taken care of.”
Bring America together — but not these guys. That’s the position the president-elect has taken against the $85 billion AT&T-Time Warner union, which he’s described as anti-competitive. Republican lawmakers have so far kept quiet about Donald Trump’s corporate hit list, which lately included Boeing’s contract to design future Air Force One planes. Democrats were not so restrained: Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal blamed Trump’s merger opposition on his feud with Time Warner’s CNN, noting that using his power to silence or change news coverage is “absolutely abhorrent.”
Know This: Pakistan is probing Wednesday’s plane crash that killed 47 people. New Zealand’s National Party has named Deputy Prime Minister Bill English as the country’s new premier. And Donald Trump has chosen pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon to head the Small Business Administration.
Hang Up on This: “I’ve been doing this job for 30 years, and I’ve heard everything from people who want to burn my house down or shoot me,” said Chuck Jones, union president for Carrier workers who said he received veiled death threats after questioning Trump’s boasts about saving jobs. “I take it with a grain of salt.”
Listen to this Number: 57 million. That’s how many Americans heard podcasts last year. If you’re promoting a business with a national customer base, investing $500 in some good microphones and other gear and starting your own show might pay off.
They’ll never get it back. For the first time in 23 years, the life expectancy of U.S. citizens has shortened. According to new data from the National Center for Health Statistics, men’s anticipated lifespans dropped from 76.5 in 2014 to 76.3 last year. Women also lost time: .1 years to an expected 81.2. The drop, which hasn’t happened since AIDS peaked in 1993, is blamed on increases in several types of death, particularly heart disease, dementia and accidents during infancy. Still, people continue to live longer than they did a lifespan ago, when lives were a decade shorter.
Wanna get plugged in to cannabis? With recreational weed becoming legal in more states, it was only a matter of time before growing your own went digital. Gadgets like the Grobo and the Leaf have been designed to make DIY pot farming simple: Both are essentially self-monitoring greenhouses that can be checked and customized via smartphone. Understandably, these devices have earned some wows from the stoner world, but with marijuana not yet legal everywhere, you might want to check with a lawyer before ordering.
Are they poles apart? Poland’s been the EU’s economic-growth darling, boasting a world-leading 24 years without recession. Last year, though, it drew ire for electing the authoritarian and protectionist Law and Justice Party, an early domino toppling toward the world of Brexit and Trump. Now the EU’s investigating the state of democracy in Lech Walesa’s homeland, and some investors are steering clear. But many think the 38 million-strong republic, with its world-class educational system, highly skilled workers and cheap labor, remains on a long-term high-growth trajectory.
What do you get with that? For Jim Delligatti, the inventor of the Big Mac, “All I got was a plaque.” But despite the lasting fame of his signature sandwich, which went national in 1968 as competition for Burger King’s Whopper, he never profited from the iconic “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame-seed bun.” All Delligatti reaped were booming sales in the McDonald’s outlets he operated, and its Pennsylvania birthplace now boasts a Big Mac Museum.
They’ve colored their world. Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is known for its vibrant, larger-than-life murals, and educators are starting to recognize the potential benefits. Wynwood’s street art has made it a tourist attraction for years, but with local artists now turning their talents to schools, teachers are reporting that kids, many of them from underprivileged families, are drawing inspiration from the murals. Schools with hallway art claim higher retention rates, and local nonprofits are now paying young artists to brighten their communities and futures.
Have we gone from “Gooooooooal!” to “meh”? Soccer fans are pining for the days of “wonder goals,” dramatic shots like Clarence Seedorf’s legendary 1997 score from nearly midfield. They’ve largely gone out of style, with some of the biggest teams, like FC Barcelona, changing tactics over the past decade in a way that’s arguably dulled the game. Strategy is increasingly efficient, meaning fewer breathtaking moments and more calculated passing assists for short-range strikes. It might win more games, but fans must resort to YouTube for old-fashioned, heart-stopping action.