Shutdown may upend State of the Union speech

WASHINGTON — A grand Washington ritual became a potential casualty of the partial government shutdown Wednesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to postpone his Jan. 29 State of the Union speech. She cited concerns about whether the hobbled government can provide adequate security, but Republicans cast her move as a ploy to deny Trump the stage.

In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said that with both the Secret Service and the Homeland Security Department entangled in the shutdown, the president should speak to Congress another time or he should deliver the address in writing. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen denied anyone’s safety is compromised, saying both agencies “are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.”

Trump did not immediately respond to the request and the White House, thrown off guard by the move, had yet to offer any official response hours later. But GOP allies accused Pelosi of playing politics, with Republican Rep. Steve Scalise tweeting that Democrats are “only interested in obstructing @realDonaldTrump, not governing.”

Pelosi, who issued the customary invitation to Trump weeks ago, hit the president in a vulnerable place, as he delights in taking his message to the public and has been preparing for the address for weeks.

The uncertainty surrounding the speech also underscored the unraveling of ceremonial norms and niceties in Trump’s Washington, with the shutdown in its fourth week, the White House and Democrats in a stalemate and the impasse draining the finances of hundreds of thousands of federal employees.

Pelosi left unclear what would happen if Trump insisted on coming despite the welcome mat being pulled away. It takes a joint resolution of the House and Congress to extend the official invitation and set the stage.

“We’ll have to have a security evaluation, but that would mean diverting resources,” she …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

Outpouring of generosity for TSA workers, others without pay

The partial government shutdown is a double-whammy for Cara and Philip Mangone, a married couple from Philadelphia. Both are agents with the Transportation Safety Administration, both working full time at the Philadelphia airport. Neither knows when they might again start drawing their paychecks.

Part-time jobs are out of the question — they work opposite shifts timed to make sure one of them is always home with their kids, ages 2 and 5. So donations of food and diapers have been a real help as savings are being stretched thin.

“Every penny that we don’t have to spend is helpful,” Cara Mangone said Wednesday as she picked up donated goods being distributed at the airport by fellow members of the American Federation of Government Employees.

The shutdown has brought an outpouring of generosity to TSA agents and other federal employees who are working without pay. Food, financial help, haircuts and toiletries are among the donated goods and services. TSA screeners start at about $24,000 a year, and most make between $26,000 and $35,000, less than many other government employees, although some earn more because of seniority, overtime or level of management responsibility.

On Wednesday, donations of diapers, juice, garbage bags, canned soup and boxes of Ramen noodles were being unloaded onto luggage carts at the valet drop-off curb at Orlando International Airport, to be distributed to TSA workers there the next day.

“I just wanted to support the federal workers who are furloughed because of the inaction of our government leaders,” said Brian Couch, wearing a Kansas City Chiefs ball cap as he dropped off his donation.

The airport in Pittsburgh provided a free lunch to TSA workers on what should have been their payday last Friday. “Our Operation Thank You free lunch program initially was only Fridays but because we’re hearing from several food vendors who …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

Plan to bring Robbie Knievel team to White Rock to jump the pier unlikely

Despite the best intentions of a White Rock businessman, it appears unlikely a plan to get Robbie Knievel and his motorcycle team to jump the White Rock pier will fly.

On Monday night, promoter Brooke Colby told council he was planning to invite the Robbie Knievel team (Robbie is son of legend Evel Knievel) to town in time for the reopening of the destroyed White Rock pier. Colby’s idea was that the team would jump the pier at low tide as part of a reopening festival and that it would be broadcast by Fox TV.

A boat is battered by waves and is slammed into the White Rock Pier that was severely damaged during a windstorm, in White Rock, B.C., on Thursday December 20, 2018. One person who was trapped on the pier had to be rescued by helicopter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck ORG XMIT: VCRD101

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A boat is battered by waves and is slammed into the White Rock Pier that was severely damaged during a windstorm, in White Rock, B.C., on Thursday December 20, 2018. One person who was trapped on the pier had to be rescued by helicopter.

Mayor Darryl Walker told Colby he would meet him, adding “I’ll meet with just about anybody.”

Colby said that the one condition he had, if he was able to coordinate the feat, was that a plaque be placed on the pier commemorating his mom and dad. Larry Colby was a White Rock alderman between 1970 and 1973 (when Evel Knievel was at his peak).

Coun. David Chesney told council there was a “grain of sand here of a really good idea, but it needs a lot of work.”

…read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun

Today is National Nothing Day. Here’s what that means

According to the National Day Calendar, Jan. 16 is recognized as National Nothing Day, and it’s been this way since 1973.

Coffin’s National Nothing Foundation sponsors the holiday. But don’t ask what the foundation does. It’s probably nothing.

So, what’s the purpose of this holiday?

National Nothing Day “was created as a day to provide Americans with one National day when they can just sit without celebrating, observing or honoring anything,” according to National Day Calendar.

With all those holidays cluttering the calendar (parties to attend, traditions to uphold — with nothing but checklists of things to get done), today can be dedicated to simply doing nothing.

Here are a few nothings to get you started:

Listen to some songs about nothing

“Busy Doin’ Nothing,” by the Beach Boys
“When You Say Nothing At All,” by Keith Whitley
“I Who Have Nothing,” by Ben E. King
“Nothing Broken But My Heart,” by Céline Dion

Read some books about nothing

“The Book of Nothing: Vacuums, Voids, and the Latest Ideas about the Origins of the Universe,” by John D. Barrow
“Nothing Matters: a book about nothing,” by Ronald Green
“The Book about Nothing,” by Mike Bender

Watch a show about nothing

Use “nothing” in as many phrases as possible

“All or nothing”
“Nothing but …”
“Thanks for nothing”
“Nothing to lose”
“Next to nothing”
“I got nothing”

Visit Nothing, Arizona

You’re sure to find something to do in Nothing, Arizona
Once upon a time the settlement had a population of a whopping four people, according to Wikipedia.
According to the town sign, nothing keeps the town from thriving:

Other ideas include:

…read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News