No Bull With Raging Robert.
2 Million Deaths
The number of COVID-19 deaths reported worldwide passed the 2 million mark over the weekend, a figure that has doubled in the past three months. Five countries — the US, the UK, Brazil, Mexico, and India — account for almost half of all deaths despite only representing roughly a quarter of the world’s population.
The US accounts for about one-in-five reported COVID-19 deaths worldwide, with 397,600 total deaths reported as of this morning. While the US ranks 16th globally in the number of reported deaths per observed cases (see data), it ranks fourth in deaths relative to population size. According to CDC figures, 60% of US deaths occur in patients aged 75 and older, despite the elderly population only making up about 6% of cases.
More than 31 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the US, with 12 million doses administered. President-elect Joe Biden outlined a plan to deploy the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to assist states in the logistics of vaccine administration, aiming to inoculate 100 million people by the end of April. The news comes as public health officials warn a new, more contagious coronavirus variant could become the dominant strain in the US by March.
Phil Spector Dies
Influential music producer and convicted murderer Phil Spector died Saturday at the age of 81. Spector reportedly succumbed to complications arising from COVID-19 while being detained at a California state healthcare facility for inmates.
Professionally, Spector was known for pioneering a production style known as the Wall of Sound, a formula that used instrumental ensembles to create a dense and diverse background. Tina Turner’s “River Deep-Mountain High” is considered his most successful use of the style. Spector is widely credited with creating the image of the producer as a song’s creative force on par with the musician.
Spector was convicted in 2009 of the death of actress Lana Clarkson five years prior. Clarkson had been found in Spector’s Los Angeles mansion with a gunshot wound to the mouth. Spector provided alternate accounts of the incident being a suicide or an accident — the specific details leading up to Clarkson’s death remain murky.
NRA Declares Bankruptcy
The National Rifle Association filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, with officials intending to reincorporate the organization as a Texas-based nonprofit. The gun-rights advocacy group has been a New York-based nonprofit since 1871 but was sued by state prosecutors in August over allegations top executives used nonprofit funds for personal benefit.
The group, which claims 5.5 million members, has called the charges politically motivated, though it admitted some top members did misuse funds. Legal experts say the Chapter 11 filing — which allows groups to reorganize debt while remaining afloat — will delay litigation but also put NRA assets under the supervision of a bankruptcy court. Under the proceedings, creditors may object to spending decisions and call for increased fiscal transparency. New York state law also requires nonprofits to gain approval from the attorney general — the same office leading the lawsuit — to shift assets.
See a brief history of the NRA here.
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CLEAN UP YOUR COFFEE
January resolutions have people at our office giving up all sorts of things … alcohol, pizza, dessert. But the one thing that we’ll never give up? Coffee. Which is great, because we just discovered Super Coffee.
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IN THE KNOW
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Kansas City Chiefs top Cleveland Browns 22–17 despite QB Patrick Mahomes leaving game with a concussion; Chiefs will host Buffalo Bills in AFC Championship game (More) | QB Tom Brady leads Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 30–20 victory over New Orleans Saints, will face Green Bay Packers in NFC Championship (More)
> Twenty-five tennis players in quarantine at Australian Open after flying on plane with COVID-19 positive passenger, bringing total in quarantine to 72 (More) | Music mogul Dr. Dre returns home after hospitalization due to brain aneurysm (More)
Science & Technology
> Dr. Eric Lander, the founding director of the Broad Institute, to lead White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; office will be raised to a cabinet-level position (More) | MIT Vice President for Research Maria Zuber and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Frances Arnold become the first women to lead the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (More)
> Two studies identify antiaging effects of limiting certain dietary proteins in mice and flies; research makes a key advance in linking diet and life span (More)
Business & Markets
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> US stock markets down Friday (S&P 500 -0.7%, Dow -0.6%, Nasdaq -0.9%) as retail sales slip 0.7% in December (More)
> Online dating app Bumble files for IPO with 42 million active users and 2.4 million paying subscribers (More)
> Federal Aviation Administration approves commercial drone use without an on-site pilot; flights required to be overseen by human pilot remotely (More)
Mortgage rates are at a historic low. No matter what you bought your home at, there’s no stopping you from refinancing at the incredible market rates today, which can amount to thousands in savings. Carpe diem, while it lasts. #Ad
Politics & World Affairs
> Vice President-elect Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to step down today ahead of Jan. 20 inauguration (More) | Far-right media personality Tim Gionet, known as “Baked Alaska,” arrested for role in Jan. 6 US Capitol riot (More) | Watch a video timeline of the Capitol siege paired with a diagram of the building (More)
> Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny detained at the Moscow airport after returning from Germany; Navalny had been recovering after allegedly being poisoned by Russian intelligence services (More)
J.LO LOVES THIS COFFEE
In partnership with Super Coffee
The three brothers that started Super Coffee are pretty impressive. They appeared on “Shark Tank” in 2018 and have been included in Forbes 30 Under 30. They’ve attracted notable investors like Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, and Aaron Rodgers, and Inc. Magazine named Super Coffee the fastest growing food and beverage company in America.
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Watch five of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speeches.
… and this 1964 interview on his philosophy of nonviolence.
The history of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The quarantine-filmed “Some Old Black Man” is streaming free today.
The best US national parks to visit in the winter.
The world’s oldest living Marine dies at 107 years old.
Quick-thinking waitress saves Florida boy from abuse.
Bus barrels off a Bronx bridge.
The case for cannibalism. ($$, Wired)
Clickbait: Carjacker lectures Oregon mom on good parenting.
Historybook: President John Tyler dies (1862); Actor Cary Grant born (1904); WWI Paris Peace Conference begins (1919); RIP Rudyard Kipling (1936); Willie O’Ree becomes first Black player in the National Hockey League (1958).
“True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”
- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
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