1 Cop Killed, Another Critically Injured in GA

Georgia Bureau of Investigation/Reuters

Authorities in Georgia are offering a $20,000 reward after a police officer was killed and another wounded Wednesday near Georgia Southwestern State University. Two officers – one with the Americus Police Department and the other with the university – were responding to a domestic dispute at a nearby apartment complex when the suspect opened fire, police said. Americus Police Officer Nicholas Smarr, 25, was killed in the ensuing shootout and the university officer, Jodi Smith, was left in critical condition. The suspect has been identified as 32-year-old Minguel Kennedy Lembrick, who is still on the loose and has been described by police as armed and dangerous. No students were injured in the incident, but the university campus was placed on lockdown during the day and students were advised to stay indoors. The FBI and Georgia Bureau of Investigation have joined the manhunt for Lembrick, and they’re offering $20,000 for any information that leads to his arrest.


Giraffes Now an Endangered Species

The giraffe has been added to the international watch list of threatened and endangered species. The tallest land animal is now “vulnerable” to extinction after its population shrunk about 40 percent in 30 years. "There's a strong tendency to think that familiar species (such as giraffes, chimps, etc.) must be OK because they are familiar and we see them in zoos," said conservation biologist Stuart Pimm. "This is dangerous." In 2015, there were only about 97,562 giraffes in the world, reports the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Scientists blame habitat loss, in part, for the decrease in population. "Everyone assumes giraffes are everywhere," said co-director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation Julian Fennessy, adding that giraffes are experiencing a “silent extinction.”


Congress Passes Sweeping New Health Bill

The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Wednesday to fund cancer and Alzheimer's research, reshape the way the FDA approves medication, fight the opioid epidemic, and increase access to mental health treatment. The 21st Century Cures Act was passed by the House of Representatives last week and heads to President Obama's desk to be signed into law. "For the second consecutive year, the Senate is sending the President another Christmas miracle for his signature," GOP Senator Lamar Alexander said, adding that the measure "will help virtually every American family." Though the legislation has many supporters and passed in a 94-5 vote, critics of the measure—including Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders—say it lowers standards for drug approvals and gives unnecessary handouts to the pharmaceutical industry. "This gift—which 1,300 lobbyists, mostly from pharmaceutical companies, helped sell—comes at the expense of patient safety by undermining requirements for ensuring safe and effective medications and medical devices," said a statement released by consumer watchdog Public Citizen.

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Tina Fey Explains Why Hillary Clinton Lost

© Danny Moloshok / Reuters

Accepting the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at Wednesday morning’s 2016 Women in Entertainment breakfast, SNL alum and 30 Rock creator Tina Fey said she was going to avoid talking about the presidential election—“when I get written up in Breitbart, I want it to be because they’re mad that I’m making an all-female Hitler biopic”—but ultimately couldn’t help herself. “I have to say, I think the real reason that Hillary lost—and it’s the thing that people are afraid to talk about: not enough celebrity music videos urging people to vote,” Fey joked. “I just think if there had been, like, one more funny rap, or like, another Hamilton parody, or something.” Fey also worked a Donald Trump joke into her speech, telling the crowd that she’s been wondering lately, “What’s next for me? What is my role in this business going to be once nobody wants to grab me by the pussy anymore?”


Pizzagate Gunman: ‘I Regret How I Handled the Situation’

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The New York Times on Wednesday published the first interview with Edgar M. Welch, the man who fired an assault rifle in D.C. pizzeria as he investigated the patently false claims that the restaurant was the center of a child sex slave ring connected to the Clintons. “I just wanted to do some good and went about it the wrong way,” he told the Times. He recalled wanting to give the pizza shop a “closer look” and said he felt his “heart breaking over the thought of innocent people suffering.” Welch admitted that he found no pedophilia ring at Comet Ping Pong, telling the newspaper, “The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent.” However, he would not outright dismiss the possibility of the Clinton-connected child-sex ring, saying there were simply no children “inside that dwelling.” Asked whether he regrets his actions, Welch said, “I regret how I handled the situation.”


Trump Blasts Union Leader in Tweet

© Brendan McDermid / Reuters

President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday night to personally insult a private citizen: Chuck Jones, the President of United Steelworkers 1999. 

The tweet came shortly after Jones appeared on CNN and criticized a recent Carrier deal for which Trump took credit. 

Trump announced last week that he'd reached a deal with Carrier's parent company, United Technologies, to keep 1,100 of the company's Indianapolis jobs from leaving the state. Jones was later informed that out of that announced number, only 730 of the jobs would in fact remain. According to Jones, he had hoped that Trump would explain this when the President-elect apeared at the facility last week. But when he did not Jones was disappointed and said that Trump: "Got up there and, for whatever reason, lied his ass off.”

This criticism has apparently led Trump, the next leader of the free world, to bash the union leader. Jones told The Washington Post he learned of Trump's tweet only after a friend called to tell him he was about to get a lot of attention. “My first thought was, ‘Well, that’s not very nice,’” he said. He later shrugged off the incident and decided to focus on other things – something he said Trump should do as well. “He needs to worry about getting his Cabinet filled and leave me the hell alone,” he said.

Gideon Resnick


Judge’s Order Suspends Michigan Recount

© Brendan McDermid / Reuters

U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith suspended a recount in Michigan on Wednesday that began three days ago and hadn’t revealed any fraud or information that would significantly alter results. The recount cost as much as $3 million and was initially commissioned by Green Party candidate Jill Stein. There were various arguments in state and federal courts as to whether Stein was qualified to request this, given that she had no chance of winning the election based on the results. She also was involved in recount efforts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. 


California ‘Ready to Fight’ Trump

Mike Segar/Reuters

Xavier Becerra, California’s next attorney general, said Wednesday that he and his state would stand up to President-elect Donald Trump and his administration if it becomes necessary. Speaking to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Becerra said, “I don’t think California is looking to pick a fight, we’re just ready to fight if someone tries to stop us from moving forward some progressive values that have helped so many Californians.” Becerra, a 12-term congressman and House Democratic Caucus chairman, is one of many leading the charge in California, where Democrats are already working to block some of Trump’s more controversial proposals. Becerra, the son of an immigrant mother from Mexico and a U.S. citizen father, seems set to become the face of California’s resistance against the Trump administration, and he hasn't been shy about announcing it. “We’re not interested in having folks try to stop us. We’ll look at the Constitution of the United States, and we’ll look at our California constitution and recognize that as any other states, we will do whatever the U.S. Constitution allows us to do to protect our people and advance our interests,” Becerra told Maddow.


Walmart to Invest $1.3 Billion in Mexico

Daniel Becerril/Reuters

Walmart on Wednesday announced plans to invest $1.3 billion in Mexico, even as President-elect Donald Trump’s threatens to crack down on companies moving money and jobs abroad. The retail giant said it intends to build new distribution centers and expand on existing ones, creating more than 10,000 jobs, Walmart's Mexico director Guilherme Loureiro said in comments carried by Agence France-Presse. Loureiro announced the news alongside Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who said the investment was a major boost at a time of “great uncertainty and big risk-aversion,” a comment apparently referencing Trump. Walmart already has 2,300 stores in the country and plans to open another 1,000 over the next ten years. The announcement of even more investment in the country may be a slap in the face for Trump, who has not only lashed out at Mexico but also vowed to punish any U,S. companies that move jobs overseas.