The Hit List: January 9, 2019

  1. President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, pitching his plan to build a wall at the Southern Border.
  2. Networks gave newly re-minted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a slot to rebut the remarks with her senate counterpart Chuck Schumer.
  3. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has now missed TWO DAYS on the Supreme Court, a first for the aging and ailing judge. Her failing health has anti-trumpers crossing fingers she can stay on the bench at least until after the 2020 elections, when they hope to boot him from office.
  4. The White House Office of Management and Budget says the government shutdown won’t impact tax returns. VP Mike Pence says the admin is “taking steps … to mitigate the impact” on taxpayers expecting cash back from the feds. Meanwhile, news reports are surfacing of federal employees starting to feel the pain of missing a paycheck.
  5. Major League Baseball has reported record revenues for the 2018 season, but it’s complicated. Attendance at games is falling, and player salaries dropped overall by $18 million, the first time payroll has decreased since 2010.
  6. With Facebook and Twitter under heavy fire for heavy political fire against conservative voices, they’ve turned to outside groups to collaboratively police content on their platforms. Increasingly those groups will include right-leaning organizations to help combat that perception of bias. Family Research Council and Americans for Tax Reform are just two groups who have been lobbying hard to be involved in the process of policing content.
  7. You might be able to get some cash from your old iPhone if you’re ready to upgrade. Apple is pushing a program that gives a $100 credit toward the purchase of a new phone when you give up your old model. Top-line iPhones can cost upward of $1000 now.
  8. AT&T is under fire for misrepresenting an upgrade to its data network. On phones in select markets, their signal was changed to “5G E,” implying an upgrade from the standard LTE — but AT&T was just calling the same service by a different name. Competitors Verizon and T-Mobile piled on on social media, taking AT&T to task for the deceptive practice.
  9. Sears might not be dead yet. It’s slated to be sold at auction January 14, provided current Chairman Ed Lampert cuts a check for $121 million to the ailing company today. Lampert and his investment firm want to acquire the company outright for $4.4 billion and keep 425 stores afloat.
  10. Remember the American diplomats in Cuba who suffered strange head trauma after reporting bizarre buzzing, humming and grinding sounds? Some speculated it was a sonic attack perpetrated by the Cubans, but a new study suggests it was actually from a specific type of crickets. Scientists who heard recordings of the sounds were able to match them to the cricket breed, and think a swarm of the bugs might actually be the real culprit.