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12/20/2022: FBI Buries Hunter Biden Story
PLUS: Vaccination Death; Spielberg’s Shark Apology; and Sussexes New Netflix Project
Today is Tuesday, December 20, 2022.
It is the 354th day of the year.
11 days remain.
There will be no newsletter the week of December 26-30.
CEO of Twitter was trending Monday after Elon Musk asked followers if he should step down as head of Twitter. 57% responded yes.
#January6thCommittee landed in Twitter’s Top 10 Trends yesterday after criminal referrals were made against former president Donald Trump. More in Swamp.
Model Ashley Graham was trending after Twitter users came to her defense on Monday. More in Showbiz.
WELL, THAT BACKFIRED: Russian arms dealer VIKTOR BOUT is already in Ukraine – where he visited occupied territory to open a branch office of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia. (It’s a direct successor of the Liberal Democratic Party of the Soviet Union).
Bout visited Luhansk, an area in eastern Ukraine Russia has occupied since 2014. Shortly after his release in the prisoner swap for BRITTNEY GRINER, Bout told Russian media he “wholeheartedly” supports the invasion of Ukraine and would even volunteer to fight. No word if that’s on the front lines or just in terms of arming the same Russian soldiers the American government is spending billions of dollars to defeat.
A fossil site in Nevada first discovered in 1950 containing the numerous, ancient remains of giant marine reptiles has left scientists guessing why so many have been found in one spot, the AP reports.
The consensus had been that a single event killed the animals all at once. But a new theory published in journal Current Biology suggests the site was once a popular breeding ground, specifically for the extinct ichthyosaur.
New technology allowed the researchers to detect at least 37 ichthyosaur remains dating back as much as 230 million years – but the fossils were contained across multiple layers of rock and sediment, suggesting they died thousands of years apart.
OH: The BBC reports that an English man died as a direct result of getting the AstraZeneca covid shot.
The 27-year-old victim was first vaccinated in March 2021, and died before the end of April, after reporting to the hospital complaining of headaches and ongoing sickness. The coroner has since testified that the patient died because of a blood clot to the brain, “caused as a direct result of his body’s reaction to the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination,” according to official court testimony.
The finding arose after the deceased’s family was pursuing clinical negligence charges against the hospital where the man was getting care when he died.
A bout of violent turbulence on a flight from Phoenix to Honolulu left eleven people seriously injured on Sunday.
Fortunately, the Hawaiian Airlines flight was on its final approach when the accident happened, and the flight was able to land quickly and get treatment for the hurt passengers. At least 36 people were injured in total, and only one was reported to be unconscious at any point.
Two live grenades have now been found in a river in Kentucky since the start of December.
Someone with a fishing magnet found the second one on Sunday, and quickly called authorities.
The first was found on December 4.
No theories yet for what the grenades were doing there in the first place.
BY THE NUMBERS
📈 The Dow lost 163 points (0.49%) to close at 32,757 on Monday. The S&P dropped 34 points (0.90%) to close at 3,818 and the Nasdaq lost 159 points (1.49%) to close at 10,546.
🛢West Texas Intermediate closed at $76; Brent Crude at $80.
⛽The national average price of a gallon of gas was $3.14 on Monday.
₿ Bitcoin was trading around $16,469 Monday evening.
🛩 There were 5,124 flights delayed within, into, or out of the United States Monday and 232 such cancellations.
Top 5 Songs on iTunes:
Zhang Zhe Han, “憂傷的晴朗 (Sad Sunshine)”
Mariah Carey, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”
Brenda Lee, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
Sam Smith & Kim Petras, “Unholy”
Taylor Swift, “Anti-Hero”
Top 5 Songs on Spotify:
Taylor Swift, “Anti-Hero”
SZA, “Kill Bill”
Metro Boomin, The Weeknd & 21 Savage, “Creepin’”
Sam Smith & Kim Petras, “Unholy”
Rema & Selena Gomez, “Calm Down”
CNN correspondent DREW GRIFFIN has died.
He passed away Saturday after a battle with cancer, his family told the network.
He was 60.
JAMIE LOPEZ, the face of “Super Sized Salon,” has died.
Sources close to the star told TMZ that she’d been hospitalized in Vegas and passed away over the weekend as a result of heart complications.
She was only 37.
RICK ANDERSON, co-founding bassist of “The Tubes,” has died.
He passed away on December 16, according to a statement from the band. No cause of death was shared.
He was 75.
GARY KNAFELC has died.
The former Green Bay Packer and, later, Lambeau Field PA announcer, from 1964 until 2004.
No cause of death was shared. He was 90.
The Biden Administration is in a pickle.
Earlier this year, the administration announced it would end enforcement of Title 42, the legal provision first deployed at the start of the pandemic that kept illegal immigrants out of the country while their asylum requests were processed.
But before the administration could do so, a federal judge ruled that lifting the order, while other public health orders were still in place, would violate administrative procedural law.
BUT WAIT: In November, a D.C.-based U.S. District judge ordered that Title 42 be lifted immediately.
Left scrambling, the Biden administration asked for another month to lift Title 42 – because doing so would mean an influx of even more illegal immigrants into an already unmanageable situation. The judge agreed to the extension.
AND THEN: Just last Friday, that same judge denied a request filed on behalf of multiple states to keep Title 42 in place. Right now, with the Biden administration’s unwillingness to take border security seriously, it’s the virtually the last thing propping up an already weak border.
BUT NOW: Late Monday, Supreme Court Chief Justice JOHN ROBERTS ordered that Title 42 temporarily remain in place. The Biden administration has until 4:00 pm today to respond.
THIS IS ALL VERY CONFUSING: Earlier this year, the Biden administration wanted to end Title 42. Now they’re going to be forced to argue before the Supreme Court that Title 42 should end. But they’ve also acknowledged that Title 42 is the only provision that’s doing anything to stem the influx of illegal immigrants into the country.
Independent journalist MICHAEL SHELLENBERG on Monday published the smoking gun emails that prove the FBI anticipated and suppressed news about the HUNTER BIDEN laptop ahead of the 2020 election.
FIRST OF ALL: Twitter’s general counsel was JIM BAKER until just a few days ago, when ELON MUSK fired him. Baker was previously a top lawyer at the FBI and played an essential role in the yearslong Russian collusion witch hunt that ultimately turned up nothing on former President DONALD TRUMP.
As was revealed last Friday, the FBI was actively coordinating and communicating with Twitter staff, in many cases ordering them which tweets to take down and which accounts to suspend.
These emails show Baker and other FBI staff actively priming Twitter leadership over concerns there would be some kind of leaked, hacked material before the election. They lied and said this would be perpetrated by a foreign government. And their efforts intensified when they knew Hunter Biden’s laptop contents would leak.
Over the weeks and months leading up to the November 2020 election, the FBI repeatedly asked Twitter leadership for evidence of foreign interference or hack-and-leak schemes. To their credit, Twitter repeatedly said there were none, because there weren’t. To make Twitter executives feel even more special, and on the side of the “good guys,” the FBI even offered to give some of them temporary security clearances in the run-up to the election.
To get ahead of the report published by the New York Post that proved corruption in the Biden family, Baker and the FBI doubled-down on their lies to Twitter staff that the whole story of Hunter’s laptop felt like the work of a nefarious actor. That if the contents weren’t fabricated, they were illegally obtained, and therefore shouldn’t be shared on Twitter. But between the chain-of-custody of the laptop and the repair shop owner who swore under oath it belonged to Hunter Biden, Baker and the FBI knew the laptop and its contents were legitimate.
They lied anyway. The nefarious government organization interfering in the election was the FBI itself.
WORTH NOTING: Let’s not get bogged down in whether any of this is legal. What happened isn’t right. Anyone who throws out these arguments is unserious and knows they’re siding with authoritarians.
No winner for Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing. Tonight’s drawing will be for a $465 million jackpot or a $250.4 million cash payout.
Twitter user @SameeraKhan was met with swift backlash after she fat-shamed plus-sized model ASHLEY GRAHAM.
Posting a photo of Graham wearing a short, fitted, shimmery dress, Sameera wrote, “The fat positivity movement is getting out of hand.”
Users defended Graham, calling her “stunning” and “successful,” while also sharing examples of her generosity and kindness.
In response, Sameera tweeted “You all are right -- I am very jealous of Ashley Graham’s fat rolls.”
A woman broke into and attempted to steal Christmas gifts from actor ROBERT DE NIRO’s townhouse early Monday morning.
Shanice Aviles, who is well-known by the NYPD, was found trying to break into other residences before successfully entering De Niro’s home.
The actor and his daughter were home at the time, but insiders say there was no interaction between them and Aviles.
WORTH NOTING: Aviles was arrested seven times between November 25 and December 8 for burglary, according to The Post.
JAMES CAMERON was caught on camera flipping the bird to a group of fans waiting for him after a screening of his new film “Avatar: The Way of Water” over the weekend.
After refusing to stop and sign some autographs, the crowd appeared to turn on Cameron with one person shouting, “[F—] Avatar!” It was then Cameron flipped them the bird.
Some fans called him a “jerk” for the action, while others deemed him a “legend.”
KEVIN FEDERLINE, who shares two sons with ex-wife BRITNEY SPEARS, is writing a book about fatherhood.
Journalist Daphne Barak told the Daily Mail that Federline is writing about “his experience of fatherhood” and Spears’ estranged dad, JAMIE SPEARS, has “agreed to help.”
The two men, who were once estranged over abuse accusations from Kevin’s son Sean Preston against Jamie, have since reconciled.
WORTH NOTING: In a separate interview with the Daily Mail, Jamie said that he raised the two boys with Kevin while Britney was under her conservatorship.
“Yellowstone” star LUKE GRIMES released his debut single on Friday, “No Horse to Ride.”
Grimes recently signed a record deal with Universal Music Group Nashville, who also represents famous country singers LUKE BRYAN, CARRIE UNDERWOOD and ERIC CHURCH.
As for when he will release more music, Grimes said his debut album is already in the works. He is also set to hit the stage at 2023’s Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California and Under the Big Sky Festival in Whitefish, Montana.
WHAT’S MORE: His new single will be featured on “Yellowstone’s” mid-season finale on January 1.
LIL WAYNE is all about giving back during the holiday season.
Over the weekend, the rapper treated 150 kids, ages 12 to 16, from his hometown of New Orleans to a day of fun at Dave & Buster’s.
The teens, who were chosen for their good grades and involvement in sports, spent the day playing games and taking photos with Santa.
They were all sent home with new sporting equipment, courtesy of Wilson Sporting Goods.
BEN AFFLECK and JENNIFER LOPEZ serenaded the crowd at their Christmas party over the weekend.
Clips of their duet were shared to social media, showing the newlyweds singing JOHN LEGEND’s “By Christmas Eve.”
After performing, the couple shared a smooch as the crowd cheered them on.
Lopez later took to the stage solo and sang “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Jingle Bells.”
This will be Ben and Jen’s first Christmas as a married couple.
STEVEN SPIELBERG is apologizing for his role in the “decimation of the shark population.”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs,” the 76-year-old director said that he believes that the popularity of his 1975 flick, “Jaws” led to the “decline of sharks.”
“That’s one of the things I still fear. Not to get eaten by a shark, but that sharks are somehow mad at me for the feeding frenzy of crazy sport fisherman that happened after 1975,” Spielberg explained.
BUT WAIT: Shark expert Paul Cox told The Guardian that “pinpointing the blame on ‘Jaws’ would be giving the film too much credit.”
BUT WAIT AGAIN: PETER BENCHLEY, the author of the book that “Jaws” is based on, agrees with Spielberg that the popularity of the franchise had a devastating effect on the shark population. “I could never write that book today,” he told the BBC in 2015.
The original mechanical model of E.T. from the movie “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” recently sold at auction for more than $2.5 million.
According to the lot description, the “one-of-a-kind cinematographic relic [built in 1981] features 85 points of movement and is regarded as an engineering masterpiece.”
The item was part of the TCM Presents: Icons and Idols Hollywood auction held by Julien’s Auctions.
The buyer wishes to remain anonymous.
Former “Bachelor” host CHRIS HARRISON is launching his own podcast, called “The Most Dramatic Podcast Ever…With Chris Harrison.”
Per the description, Harrison will “dig into all things relationships every week.”
The podcast launches on January 9.
WORTH REMEMBERING: Harrison left the “Bachelor” franchise in 2021 after he didn’t call out contestant RACHEL KIRKCONNELL over photos from her past showing her attending a plantation-themed fraternity formal.
Actress AMBER HEARD has settled her defamation fight with ex-husband, fellow actor JOHNNY DEPP.
Heard shared the news in an Instagram post on Monday, writing that after a “great deal of deliberation” she has been “provided with an opportunity to emancipate [herself] from something [she] attempted to leave over six years ago.”
For the settlement, Heard is paying Depp $1 million, which he has pledged to several charities, according to his legal team.
The settlement comes after a weekslong trial that captivated the country. The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, while Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages. She appealed the verdict, leading to the settlement.
THE DAILY KARDASHOPUS
KIM KARDASHIAN clearly missed the memo when it came to dressing up for PARIS HILTON’s Christmas party.
The reality star showed up in a cropped concert T-shirt and studded black leather pants while everyone else was wearing festive red and green outfits.
A photo shared to Instagram of Kim posing alongside her mom KRIS JENNER, Paris, her sister NICKI HILTON and mom KATHY HILTON, who were all in holiday dresses, was mercifully mocked by followers.
“Kim’s outfit is for a rock concert, not a Christmas party,” one wrote, while another added, “Did Kim not understand the holiday party attire assignment?”
WE’LL NEVER BE ROYALS
PRINCE HARRY and MEGHAN MARKLE have another new Netflix project in the works.
According to Deadline, the couple are serving as executive producers on “Live to Lead,” a documentary series set to debut on December 31.
In a trailer for the series, Harry tells the camera that the project was “inspired by Nelson Mandela, who once said, ‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived.’”
Meghan continues the quote, “It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”
SPEAKING OF THE SUSSEXES: Their docuseries “Harry & Meghan” made history as Netflix’s biggest documentary debut ever with 81.55 million viewing hours.
Pro golfer KYLE BERKSHIRE set a new ball speed record.
Known for his ability to hit balls 450-plus yards, Berkshire tested out a TrackMan simulator last week where one of his balls hit a record-breaking 236.2 MPH, according to Golf.com.
He says next year he will aim for 240 MPH.
DAY OF THE YEAR
National Sangria Day
Go Caroling Day
ON THIS DATE
1790 - The first successful cotton mill begins spinning yarn in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
The mill was built by Samuel Slater, based on industrialist Richard Arkwright’s design.
1812 - “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm is first published.
The first edition contained 86 stories. By the time the seventh edition rolled around in 1857 there were over 210 unique fairy tales.
1951 – The first atomic power plant puts out electricity at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.
A day after generating power, it supplied all the energy to run its own building.
It was largely experimental, lasting until 1963. But the tests at Argonne laid the groundwork for the future of atomic-powered electricity.
1963 – The first West Berliners are able to visit those trapped behind the Iron Curtain in East Berlin.
4,000 free Germans passed through to visit relatives and loved ones.
More than 170,000 West Berliners would make that crossing before the fall of the wall.
1989 – American troops storm Panama.
Dictator Manuel Noriega faced charges of drug trafficking and suppressing democracy. He fled to the Vatican's headquarters in Panama City, where he sought asylum. But he would surrender to Americans in January.
9,000 troops assaulted the island, along with 12,000 men already stationed in Panama. They squashed all opposition in four days.
1995 – NATO takes over peacekeeping operations in Bosnia.
The US began its mission in the country in 1992 following an outbreak of civil war.
Though the UN played a crucial role in humanitarian aid, it was useless in preventing fighting.
Under the leadership of NATO, influenced heavily by the American military, more stability was brought to the nations.
2007 – Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest monarch to reign over the United Kingdom.
At 81 years, 7 months, and 29 days, she outlived Queen Victoria, who ruled for much of the 19th century.
2019 - The United States Space Force is founded.
The armed forces branch is dedicated to space warfare.
2020 - European countries begin closing their borders after news of a faster-spreading variant of COVID-19.
Kylian Mbappe - soccer player - 24
De’Aaron Fox - basketball player - 25
DaniLeigh - R&B singer - 28
Jorginho Frello - soccer player - 31
Isabel Durant - actress, “Dance Academy” - 31
JoJo - pop singer - 32
Bob Morley - actor, “The 100” & “Neighbours” - 38
Jonah Hill - actor, “Superbad” & “The Wolf of Wall Street” - 39
David Wright - baseball player - 40
Todd Phillips - filmmaker - 51
Thomas Newberry - football player - 60
Dick Wolf - TV series creator, “Law & Order” franchise - 76
Uri Geller - magician & psychic - 76
Peter Criss - drummer, KISS - 77
Born On This Date
Paul Ritter- actor, “Vera” & “Quantum of Solace” - 1966 (d. 2021)
Harvey S. Firestone - founder of Firestone Tire and Rubber Company - 1868 (d. 1938)
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