Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Good morning. I'm back at it after feeling a little under the weather. But enough about me. Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

By Doug Criss.

1. Chelsea Manning

It must have stuck in President Barack Obama's craw to deliver a win for WikiLeaks. But that's effectively what he did when he commuted the 35-year sentence of Pvt. Chelsea Manning. She's convicted of committing one of the biggest leaks of classified information in US history. And Obama's move to free someone regarded by many as a traitor set off a firestorm in the political and intelligence communities. We're sure this will come up when Obama holds his final presidential news conference today.

2. Obamacare

If you fall into the camp that thinks Obamacare is expensive, wait till you hear how expensive it'll get if it's repealed without a replacement. That'll quickly strip 18 million Americans of their insurance and cause premiums to double. That's according to the Congressional Budget Office - and they're non-partisan. President-elect Donald Trump wants Obamacare gone, gone, gone and says he's nearly done crafting a plan with "insurance for everybody." To that, Republican lawmakers say, please do share. Tom Price, Trump's pick for HHS secretary, says he too has a plan. But he too isn't sharing.

3. Orlando shooting suspect

It took a month and a massive manhunt but accused cop killer Markeith Loyd has finally been caught. Loyd's accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton. He was captured last night in an abandoned house just outside Orlando. For officers, the arrest was bittersweet, coming the day after Clayton's funeral. When they took Loyd into custody, they used her handcuffs. "To put her handcuffs on the bad guy that she was trying to catch when she was killed ... it's meaningful," the chief said. 

4. Nigeria

What a horrible, ghastly mistake. More than 50 people at a refugee camp in northeast Nigeria were killed when a Nigerian fighter jet, targeting members of Boko Haram, hit the camp instead. About 120 were wounded. Among the dead were six staffers with the Nigerian Red Cross. The saddest part of all this is that most of the displaced people at the camp were there because they had fled the evil clutches of the terrorist group.

5. Abortion

It's a fact that probably won't stop the political battle over abortion, but it's noteworthy nonetheless: abortions are at a historic low in the US. A new report says the rate has declined to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age. That's the lowest level since Roe v. Wade legalized abortions in the early 70s. There are two reasons: Greater use of contraceptives and a wave of abortion restrictions in several states.

Breakfast Browse

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
Get well soon
We're sending good vibes to former President George H.W. Bush, who's in a Houston hospital. A staffer says Bush is "doing fine."
Kick 'em out
Yes crying babies and overzealous seat recliners irk us on a plane, but the most loathed passenger (for the third year in a row)?  The rear seat kicker.
RIP Colo
Colo, the oldest gorilla on record, has died. She was 60. That's 20 more years of life than most gorillas get.
Don't worry, be happy
Continually worrying about worst-case scenarios that probably won't happen isn't good for your mind or body. So cut it out.
😄 😞😠
Someone's done a study on what your emoji usage says about you. Because there's no greater insight into your mind than cartoon faces.

What's for lunch

Here's what's coming up later
Hear them all
Confirmation hearings keep rolling along. Up today are billionaire investor Wilbur Ross for secretary of commerce (who, if nominated, plans on keeping part of his empire even though ethics agreement typically call for divesting assets or putting them in a blind trust); Scott Pruitt, who's sued the EPA, for EPA administrator; Nikki Haley, who's questioned US funding of UN, for US ambassador to the UN; and Tom Price, who's in a bit of an ethics pickle, for HHS secretary.
Inside Syria
This is a long, heartbreaking read, but it's worth it. It's on Arwa Damon's trip to rebel-held Syria, where children beg to die.

And finally ...

Riding the rails
Nothing like a relaxing train ride to clear your mind, even if it's a train made of Legos. (Click to view)
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