“I just signed your death warrant.” That’s what a Michigan judge told convicted sexual assailant Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics doctor who was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison today for molesting some of the country’s leading athletes in the sport. Nassar’s week-long hearing was filled with emotional testimony from his victims — most of whom were young girls when they fell prey to his abuse, which occurred under the guise of treatment. The courtroom reportedly broke into applause after the 54-year-old’s sentencing.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It’s a whole new wall game. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says he offered President Donald Trump funding for his border wall as part of a deal on immigration — a claim the White House denies, though leaders from both parties back up Schumer’s account. Now that potential money is off the table, and Republicans are grumbling over Schumer’s change of terms, which he said only pertained to a specific deal. Congress must now debate immigration and pass further spending legislation before Feb. 8, when the current short-term spending bill expires.
“There’s no good answer for it.” So said Gov. Matt Bevin, whose voice broke at a press conference about the Marshall County High School shooting that left two dead and 18 wounded yesterday. It’s the nation’s 11th school shooting so far in 2018. The suspect, a 15-year-old boy, has been arrested and will be charged with murder, though police say his motives are still unknown and it’s not yet decided whether he’ll be charged as an adult. Meanwhile, experts say they worry that Americans are becoming numb to such violence.
Six more years. The pro-government Constituent Assembly has ordered new elections by the end of April — a gift to embattled President Nicolas Maduro, who’s announced his re-election bid at a time when his opposition is disorganized and many rivals have been exiled or imprisoned. Maduro, in power since 2013, told supporters the election would go ahead “with or without the opposition.” Venezuela has been racked by violent protests and an economic crisis, and analysts believe if opposition forces can coalesce around one candidate, populist anger could defeat Maduro.
It’s a security question. Hawaii Gov. David Ige says he was told that the Jan. 13 missile warning was a false alarm just two minutes after it went out … but he didn’t immediately inform the public because he couldn’t remember his Twitter password. He sent a message 15 minutes later, but by then, others had called emergency services and alerted social media that the warning was sent in error. Ige says he’s now installed Twitter on his phone, though spokespeople wouldn’t comment on whether he remembers his password.
Enough smoke and mirrors. An examination of over 800 scientific studies on vaping has sought to determine if the booming industry deserves its chilly reception from U.S. regulators. It revealed that vaping is less harmful than cigarettes, but long term health effects are still unknown. And while e-cigarettes may help smokers quit, data shows they also steer teens toward conventional cigarettes. Today the FDA votes whether to let a heat-not-burn tobacco product be marketed as safer than cigarettes, which could clear the air for vaping.
He was a bolt from the blue. The unexpected win of Doug Jones in Republican stronghold Alabama has left Democrats in other GOP havens feeling more bullish. Long-closed fundraising doors in Tennessee and Mississippi are opening, and Dems are even eyeing gubernatorial races in Georgia and South Carolina. Republicans insist Alabama was a fluke, and the electoral map in 2018 puts Democrats on the defensive in states President Trump won. But with just a two-vote GOP majority in the Senate, some Democrats (and donors) sense blood in the water.
She will be missed. LeGuin, most famous for her Wizard of Earthsea series, was the recipient of the Newbery Medal and multiple Nebula and Hugo awards for fantasy writing. She was also an outspoken feminist and fought for the rights of authors, taking on Google in a copyright dispute over digitizing books. She died Monday of unspecified causes at her home in Portland, Oregon, prompting an outpouring of tributes from fans and fellow authors. “What an immense imagination,” Margaret Atwood wrote of LeGuin. “What a strong and trenchant mind.”
It’s good to be King. James became the seventh NBA player in history — and, at 33, the youngest — to record 30,000 career points. He reached the milestone with a jumper over Danny Green to end the first quarter of last night’s 114-102 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Even before the game James was confident he’d hit the mark, amusing online commenters by congratulating himself on Instagram prior to taking the court. Now he’s just got to score 8,367 more points to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time record.