God's Plan for Mike Pence

There's a whole lot of new information regarding the Trump campaign camp courtesy of columnist McKay Coppins and The Atlantic. The lengthy piece Trump's running mate is called "God's Plan for Mike Pence" and among the interesting nuggets included is that Pence considered what amounts to a "coup" against Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Access Hollywood tape scandal. Immediately after the scandal broke, Pence let the Republican National Committee know that he was ready to replace Trump as the GOP nominee, even though it was just four weeks from Election Day. Soon, GOP insiders began buzzing about the possibility of a ticket with Condoleezza Rice as Pence's vice president. At the same time, a group of billionaires started asking how much it would take to get Trump to walk away. One source tells Coppins they were given a price of $800 million, though it's unclear whether an offer was ever made or whether Trump himself was aware of any of this. In any event, the scandal faded and Pence soon found himself as vice-president-elect. Coppins writes that this near-coup was not a matter of "political opportunism" for Pence, a devout Christian who was "genuinely shocked" at Trump's comments in the recording. It's been previously reported that Pence considered leaving the ticket at that point, but the Atlantic story makes the case that he went much further than that. (Atlantic)

When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted

Authorities in Germany are trying to find a wild boar that turned the tables on a hunter and fatally injured the man after he fired a shot and followed it into a reed bank. Witnesses say the male boar apparently surprised the man as he searched for it. The 50-year-old hunter, who was part of a larger hunting party but followed the boar alone, suffered serious injuries to his left thigh and fell into water. The man, who lost a lot of blood after the attack, died in a hospital. The regional hunting association described the death as a "tragic accident" and said it was the first of its kind in the area in decades. Boar hunters are advised to wear protective trousers and put protective vests on their dogs. German hunters kill at least 500,000 wild boar every year, but numbers are still rising and authorities have called for more hunting to prevent the spread of swine fever from further east in Europe. (Deutsche Welle)

200 New Zero-Points Foods

Rejoice, all you calorie-counting lovers of eggs, yogurt, and lobster! Weight Watchers is adding more than 200 items to its list of foods that have zero points on its SmartPoints rating system. That means you can now eat as many skinless chicken breasts and no-fat yogurt as you'd like, guilt-free! The change , part of the company's new WW Freestyle program, will make it easier for dieters to eat well, which will, ideally, attract new people to the company and former dieters to come back. But Weight Watchers officials say the larger zero-point list isn't just about profitability; it also reflects changes in the way dietitians are looking at healthy food. "These foods get picked for a reason," says Gary Foster, Weight Watchers' chief scientific officer. For example, new studies show that eggs don't necessarily lead to increased cholesterol levels, the way we once thought they did. Hence the arrival of the breakfast favorite on the no-points list, right next to celery and kale. (Newser)

When Extreme Elf on a Shelf Goes Bad

The plan was for a skydiving Santa to make a grand entrance while taking an Elf on the Shelf to a 9-year-old girl on a Florida beach. Instead, Santa crashed into a tree and light pole before hitting the beach and breaking his leg! George Krokus was dressed as Santa Claus during the Saturday skydive to deliver toys to the Tampa Bay Beach Bums Operation Santa Charity Volleyball Tournament, but as he neared his Gulfport landing spot, he took a sudden turn and crashed right into a tree and light pole on the beach, then fell down among a bunch of volleyball nets. Little 9-year-old Madison Spiers saw the crash and said, "I felt bad, because ... that was the first time I saw someone skydive and it didn't turn out that well." She also received a surprise after the crash: a letter from the "elf" named Kristoff, who usually visits her house during the holidays. "The note said he went skydiving with [Krokus], and [that] 'as we were about to land, this big tree jumped right out in front of us!'" Meanwhile Krokus is healing and said to be in good spirits. There's a GoFundMe that's been set up to help him pay for his medical bills. The page has already raised more than $1,500 toward a $12,500 goal. (ABC Action News)

Spotify Has News for the Grammys

The Grammys may have dissed Ed Sheeran, but Spotify has his back and has named him the most streamed artist of the year. The streaming service announced yesterday that Sheeran tops its 2017 list with 6.3 billion streams. He also has Spotify's biggest album of the year with Divide, streamed 3.1 billion times, and the top song with "Shape of You," logging 1.4 billion streams. Sheeran received only two Grammy nominations last week and was shut out of the major categories, including album, song, and record of the year. No female acts were in the top five most-streamed acts of the year: Sheeran is followed by Drake, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, and The Chainsmokers. Rihanna is the most streamed female performer of the year, followed by Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez. Spotify also notes that hip-hop streams increased by 74% in the last year, while Latin music streams jumped 110%. (Newser)

Win for the Bikini Baristas!

Those bikini-wearing baristas up in Everett, Washington, just got a break from a federal judge who granted them a preliminary injunction, temporarily preventing the city of Everett from enforcing its ban on bikini barista stands. Back in August, Everett's city council unanimously passed two ordinances that required baristas to cover "minimum body areas," effectively banning the scantily clad coffee stands. So seven bikini baristas and the owner of a chain of coffee stands called "Hillbilly Hotties" sued the city claiming the ban denies bikini-stand employees the ability to communicate through their attire, and is vague, confusing and unlawfully targets women. U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman issued an order today that found the baristas were likely to succeed on the merits of their case and found that the ban likely violates the First Amendment. Barista Emilia Powell called the decision a "big step for women." (KING5)

What the What?

You know that new holiday laser light thing you got that covers your home with thousands of spots of light with just the push of a button? Yeah, well you're blinding pilots and the Federal Aviation Administration claims that they could pose a major risk! According to the FAA, lasers can temporarily blind pilots, which is why it is illegal to point them towards any aircraft while in flight. And while most of the displays come with warnings that tell users to not point them towards people or moving objects, like an aircraft, faulty set up can cause these displays to point higher than a home and towards the sky. Pilot Steven Thomas says, "A laser is virtually invisible until you actually hit it. Most times it is temporary blindness but you do have to read instruments in the air when you are flying and it can be a problem." For more information about the dangers of laser lights visit the FAA's website. (Global News)


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