President Trump Prepared for Long Shutdown; U.K.’s Gatwick Airport Shuts Down Due to Drones; Secretary of Defense Mattis Resigning; Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Has Surgery To Remove Cancerous Nodules From Lung; President Trump Signs Criminal Justice Reform Bill; Harlem Globetrotters Visits Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf; Support The Daily Moth
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President Trump Prepared for Long Shutdown
President Trump said there is a very good chance of a government shutdown, that he is prepared for a very long shutdown.
As I sign this news, Senators are voting to decide if they will vote on a House-approved bill that has $5 billion in border security funding.
Republican House representatives passed the bill last night. President Trump applauded them then warned that if Democrats voted “no,” there would be a shutdown that would last for a long time.
Republican Senators had a meeting with Trump today at the White House. Trump wanted the Senate to go for the “nuclear option,” which would change the required threshold of votes from 60 to a simple majority of at least 50 votes.
But Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell (Ky) said they would not support going for the nuclear option.
Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer (NY) said Trump should not force the U.S. government to shut down over a wall that he promised Mexico would pay for. Schumer tweeted a series of clips of Trump making statements during his campaign where he promised that Mexico would pay for the wall.
Schumer said on the Senate floor that Trump would not get his wall.
The Senate is expected to keep voting open for several hours throughout the afternoon and night, because some Senators are flying back to D.C. to vote. But it is apparent that there will not be enough Democratic senators to support the $5 billion proposal.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said he thinks a shutdown is probably happening and that it is not clear what the next steps would be.
President Trump planned to leave to south Florida today to have his holiday break at his Mar-a-Lago resort, but it seems he will delay his trip due to the government shutdown.
If the government shuts down at midnight, it will be a partial shutdown — affecting 25 percent of government operations within the Homeland Security, Justice, Interior, State, and Housing departments. It would cause 420,000 federal employees to work without pay and 380,000 employees to be furloughed, which is a temporary leave of absence.
U.K.’s Gatwick Airport Shuts Down Due to Drones
In the U.K., the Gatwick Airport was shut down for over 30 hours because there were drones that flew close to the airport. It caused thousands of travelers to be stranded in the airport.
It started on Wednesday morning local time. Two drones were spotted near a runway, causing flights to be suspended. At 3 am, the flights were set to resume, but there were other drones spotted, forcing the airport to extend the closure.
Police and military were called, with helicopters and snipers trying to track down the drones using advanced technology. Some officers had guns, they were ready to shoot them down.
It is possible that the person responsible for the drones is a “green protester,” someone who is an environmentalist. Police said they are investigating “persons of interest.”
The airport resumed flights today at 6 am local time after several hours of no drone sightings.
The person or persons responsible could face a lengthy prison term.
Secretary of Defense Mattis Resigning
Last night the Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, announced he would resign in February.
His resignation letter, available for the public to read, explains that he is leaving because he does not have the same views as President Trump on global security.
Mattis said one of his core beliefs is that our strength as a nation is linked to the strength of our allies and partners, and that this requires showing respect to them.
Mattis said he believes we must be resolute (determined) and clear in our approach to oppressive countries such as China and Russia.
Mattis said Trump has a right to a Secretary of Defense with views that are better aligned with Trump’s views, so he is leaving on February 28.
We can interpret from the letter that Mattis is disagreeing with Trump’s frequent criticism of the NATO, his approaches to China and Russia, and the decision to pull out of Syria.
There are also reports that about 7,000 troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan in the next few months, which is half the number of soldiers there.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell (Ky) said he was distressed that Mattis was resigning due to sharp differences with the president on alliances and foes.
Another Republican senator, Marco Rubio (Fla) said Mattis’ resignation made it very clear that we are headed towards a series of policy errors that will endanger our nation, damage our alliances, and empower our adversaries.
Mattis is the fourth and final general to leave the Trump administration. The other three are the outgoing Chief of Staff John Kelly and former National Security Advisers H.R. McMaster and Michael Flynn.
Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg Has Surgery To Remove Cancerous Nodules From Lung
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had surgery today to remove two cancerous nodules from her left lung at a hospital in New York.
A spokesperson for the Court said there is no evidence of any remaining disease.
Ginsburg is 85 years old. She was taken to the hospital last month after she fractured three ribs in a fall in her office. The nodules were discovered during that treatment.
The Court said Ginsburg is expected to remain at the hospital for a few days and is comfortable.
President Trump Signs Criminal Justice Reform Bill
President Trump has signed the “First Step Act” into law to bring reform to federal prisons and sentencing laws.
This bill had strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, which is rare in the current political environment.
Axios news said this law would send 4,000 inmates home immediately and makes it possible for thousands more to reduce their sentences.
The law would allow inmates who are not considered high-risk to serve time in house arrest or halfway houses instead of within prisons.
The law would require inmates to be placed within 500 miles of family.
The law would mandate female inmates be provided with sanitary napkins and tampons.
The law would reduce the mandatory penalty for a third conviction of certain drug offenses from life down to 25 years, and from 25 years down to 15 years for a second conviction.
The law would give judges more decision-making abilities to give less strict sentences than the minimum for certain low-level crimes.
This law would only impact about 180,000 federal prisoners, but it could influence state and local laws.
Harlem Globetrotters Visits Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf
The famous basketball team Harlem Globetrotters visited the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf in New York.
One of the players, Chris “Animal” Hyche, identified as a CODA, a child of deaf adults. He used ASL to talk with the students.
You can see a video of it posted on Harlem Globetrotters’ Facebook page.
Hyche said when he grew up, his friends were flabbergasted when they saw him using sign language to talk with his mother, that they thought it was the most amazing thing but to him it was just an everyday thing.
One of their topics was anti-bullying using the acronym, “TEAM” — which stands for Talk, Empathy, Ask a Question, and Mobilize.
Hyche is a dunking specialist and he showed the audience a nice dunk.
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