Today’s Martini

Today is Tuesday, December 11, 2018
It is the 345th day of the year
20 days remain

FIRST THINGS FIRST

Former Spice Girl Mel B is laid up in the hospital for broken ribs and a severed right hand, but no one is sure why. The former pop star posted a pic to Instagram of her arm in a giant sling and a bit about what she was in the hospital for, but without giving an explanation why. One friend tells TMZ Mel was staying with friends and took a tumble down the stairs. 

A pic was later posted of the other three Spice Girls, without Posh Spice aka Victoria Beckham, by their friend’s bedside. They’re gearing up for a reunion tour next summer.

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Emilie de Ravin and Eric Bilitch have welcomed a son. Theodore Kubrick de Ravin-Bilitch was born on Sunday. The “LOST” actress and Eric both share the news on their Instagram pages.

Theodore joins 2-year-old big sister Vera Audrey de Ravin-Bilitch.

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THE SWAMP

A U.S. federal judge has cleared the Trump administration’s decision to end a program that reunited Central American immigrants with family members living in the United States. The program allowed parents legally living here to apply to bring children or even other family members to the U.S., a program admitting 1,300 people to the country between 2014 and 2016. Immigrants rights activists had sued to overturn the change, but Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler threw out the bulk of the lawsuit, but said the administration’s decision to revoke 2,700 applications that had already been approved was arbitrary and capricious.

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The Supreme Court opted against reviewing three cases relating to efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. In a 6-3 vote, the high court declined to take up the issue of whether states can strip the abortion provider of Medicaid funds if it’s found the group is harvesting and selling “fetal materials.” The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Planned Parenthood in 2015 in the cases; the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear the case upholds that decision. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas accused the court majority of playing into political concerns.

ALSO—Disappointing liberals who insisted Brett Kavanaugh was the next Hitler, the newest Supreme Court justice sided with Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s liberal bloc in declining to hear the case, effectively siding with Planned Parenthood.

—QUOTABLE: “So what explains the Court’s refusal to do its job here?…I suspect it has something to do with the fact that some respondents in these cases are named ‘Planned Parenthood’…Some tenuous connection to a politically fraught issue does not justify abdicating our judicial duty…If anything, neutrally applying the law is all the more important when political issues are in the background.” -Thomas opinion

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Dean Martin’s daughter is defending her dad’s beloved song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Politically correct activists complain that the noted song contains supposedly sexist lyrics suggesting date rape and #MeToo infractions—lyrics Deana Martin says are being twisted by a generation of overly sensitive perverts into something sinister. The song is a “sweet, flirty, fun holiday song” and her dad would be going insane over the insinuation there are impure motives behind it, Martin said on Fox News on Monday.

—QUOTABLE: “There’s nothing bad about that song. And it just breaks my heart and I know my dad would be going insane right now … He would say, what’s the matter with you? You know, get over it. It’s just a fun song…I was absolutely flabbergasted…It’s just insane. When I heard it and I said, this can’t possibly be. You know, it’s a sweet, flirty, fun, holiday song that, well, it’s been around for 50 years.” -Deana Martin

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There’s a “now hiring” sign outside the White House—figuratively speaking. After Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers announced he would not be the replacement for outgoing White House Chief John Kelly, the hunt has moved on for President Trump’s top aide. Trump is considering a handful of choices—among them, Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus. Others being looked at are Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and financier Wayne Berman. No one candidate is currently leading the pack for the notoriously difficult job.

—QUOTABLE: “I am in the process of interviewing some really great people for the position of White House Chief of Staff. Fake News has been saying with certainty it was Nick Ayers, a spectacular person who will always be with our #MAGA agenda. I will be making a decision soon!” -Trump tweet

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Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina is changing her “not guilty” plea. The 29 year old Russian gun rights activist is preparing to admit that she worked as a foreign agent of the Kremlin, according to filings by her lawyers on Monday. In other words, she will admit she worked on behalf of Russia without registering as a foreign agent. Butina has been accused of posing as a conservative activists in order to get close to President Trump’s campaign with the intent of setting up a relationship between Trump’s operation and the Kremlin.

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President Trump is fighting back against his former top legal counsel. Former Trump Organization lawyer and presidential adviser Michael Cohen has admitted to deeper involvement in a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow and circumventing campaign finance laws than he previously admitted. Court filings indicate Cohen acted at the direction of an individual assumed to be Trump when paying off porn stars Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Trump a decade ago. In a Twitter storm Sunday, Trump expressed his disapproval of the turning of the tables by Cohen.

—QUOTABLE: “Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking [sic] Gun…No Collusion…That’s because there was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution…which it was not (but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s – but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine. Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me). Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced. WITCH HUNT!” -Trump tweets

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The number of asylum claims at the border has skyrocketed by 67 percent in 2018, according to Homeland Security officials on Monday. There’s just not enough space to process all the claims and hold people who want to enter the country—in fiscal year 2018, 93,000 people took the first step in requesting asylum, which has become the new process for attempting to gain entry into the U.S. after tougher border enforcement by President Trump’s administration. 14 percent of those caught trying to jump the border used the asylum process to try and stay, along with almost one third of those who showed up at a port of entry without paperwork. That’s up from just over 55,000 claims last year. Federal officials say drug cartels are coaching the migrants on what to say to obtain asylum.

—QUOTABLE: “Migrants may have to need to stay and wait in Mexico until space opens up…This number would be higher, again, if not for the facility and resource constraints at the ports of entry.” -Anonymous Customs and Border Protection official 

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Liberals are scrambling to stop a proposed Trump administration requirement that immigrants demonstrate they’re not a burden to the public. The administration is moving fast to finalize the new rule, perhaps the most significant change to legal immigration in a generation. Under the rule, if an immigrant wants to extend their visa or get on a path to citizenship they must show they’re not welfare cases and contribute meaningfully to society—a reaction to reports that some 63 percent of households led by noncitizens use at least one welfare program. Immigrant groups object to the proposed regulations as mean and racist, but immigration hawks say the American people should be self sufficient and come in as contributing members of society.

—QUOTABLE: “I think they’re going to implement them as is or with some tweaks. This is the kind of thing he was elected for…While there might be advocacy groups that object to that idea, the fact is most Americans think immigrants should be self-sufficient, so I think they’re on pretty strong ground.” –Steven A. Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies

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#MeToo

CBS Chairman Les Moonves will likely leave $120 million on the table as he exits the network in the wake of sexual harassment allegations. At issue is whether he was terminated “for cause,” something that the lawyers will have to hash out, but if they do, could open up all kinds of old wounds. The Hollywood Reporter says that for Les, who’s made over a billion dollars while working for The Eye, it might just make sense not to fight for the payout. 

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LOTTERY

No winner for Saturday night’s Powerball drawing. Tomorrow night’s drawing will be for $230 million or a $135.9 million cash payout.

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No winner for Friday night’s Mega Millions’ drawing. Tonight’s drawing will be for $245 million or a $144 million cash payout.

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SHOWBIZ NEWS

With Kevin Hart’s unexpected departure as the Oscars host, the Academy is scrambling. They’re set to meet tonight to go over options. One top comedy agent tells Variety they have no idea what they’re going to do, but one idea is emerging as a favorite: No host. Instead, celebs would do bits and throw to commercials between awards and show segments. It’s not the worst idea; with no one wanting to do it and some hosts getting bad reviews before the show even airs, the Academy would be taking a major stumbling block off the table, and move closer to a format that might once again attract massive audiences. Viewership numbers have plummeted over the last decade.

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Kevin Hart can’t catch a break. A woman who attended his show in San Diego last July is suing because she wasn’t allowed to use her cell phone to check an app that monitors blood sugar. The plaintiff is diabetic, and was feeling unwell, but was asked to leave when security saw her taking the phone out. Fortunately — the suit is against the venue and Live Nation, not Hart himself.

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Ron Teigen celebrated his daughter’s 33rd birthday in style — getting her FACE tattooed on his left arm. Chrissy Teigen posted a pic to Instagram of her dad with his tattoo artist sporting the new ink on Monday. Famous pal Kim Kardashian-West commented “OMG” and January Jones chimed in with “Now that’s a good dad.”

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Tom Cruise is on location in Lake Tahoe, shooting scenes for the sequel to “Top Gun.”

While the specifics of the film have been kept under wraps, some shots have been revealed. According to TMZ, Tom has been shooting scenes running through the forest and on top of mountains that look down at the local airport. Military aircraft has been spotted flying in and out that airport too. 

Scenes for the film have also been shot in San Diego and Nevada.

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Offset is determined to win Cardi B back.

Sources told TMZ that the rapper was desperately trying to save his marriage before Cardi made the announcement that they were done.

The 26-year-old believes that what he wants may be impossible because of all the haters out there commenting and blogging about the failed relationship. He added that Cardi reads all that is written and takes it to heart.

Friends close the couple said that the rapper only has love for his daughter Kulture and Cardi and that he will take every chance to save his family.

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Tyra Banks is a supermodel-turned-MC. While hosting the Altus Foundation Gala in Houston on Sunday, she unexpectedly took the stage for some freestyle rapping. The 34-year-old was pretty good at it too.

The surprise rap performance comes on the heels of her being compared to the likes of Cardi B and Nicki Minaj after dropping her new “Life Size 2” music video, in which she is in full on rap mode.

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Jaquees dropped some serious dough at his mom’s wedding over the weekend…all over the dance floor. During the reception, the rapper took the mic to profess his love and appreciation for his mom. He then opened a Louis Vuitton duffel and poured $100k all over the floor.

While many guests were shocked, none more so than his mom, Rosie Broadnax.

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Paris Hilton seems to have already bounced back from her broken engagement to Chris Zylka. The 37-year-old was spotted doing her thing at Wall Lounge in Miami over the weekend, where she was reportedly the life of the party.

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Danielle Bregoli aka Bhad Bhabbie aka Cash Me Outside Girl just took another hit at Iggy Azalea. While answering questions—in Iggy’s native land of Australia—the 15-year-old told fans that Iggy can’t be on her current celebrity s**t list because she’s “not even really a celebrity.”

Just last month, Bhabbie was in a bar where she threw a drink at the 28-year-old. She also dissed Iggy in her song that she shared to kick off 2018.

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CELEBRITY CELL BLOCK

Ty Dolla Sign is facing a possibility of more than a decade in prison. The rapper was recently indicted on drug charges that included felony possession of cocaine, felony possession of THC and misdemeanor possession of less than 1 ounce of weed.

This past September, Ty and his crew were in Atlanta when their limo was pulled over and searched. Drug dogs were called to the scene and got a hit on Ty’s bag. The rapper was arrested, while the others who had been riding with him were let go.

Ty was in town for a concert. He was supposed to open for Lil Uzi Vert and G-Eazy.

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THE DAILY KARDASHOPUS

It seems that Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson are doing more than just making it work. According to Entertainment Tonight, the parents of True Thompson are “fully in love again.”

A source told the news outlet that Khloe’s “relationship with Tristan is so good. They made it through some really dark times, but she’s happy that she gave him a second chance because he’s stepped up and is not only an amazing father to True, but he’s been such a rock for Khloe.”

Even though it appears Khloe has forgiven Tristan for his transgressions, the rest of the Kardashian family is not as ready to forgive and forget.

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WE'LL NEVER BE ROYALS

Thomas Markle spilled the beans to the DailyMail about missing his daughter’s wedding over the weekend, but it was just to clear his name, not do anything to damange Meghan’s reputation. Tom showed the paper medical records to prove he did indeed undergo surgery right before her wedding to Prince Harry, and that it wasn’t a stunt done out of ill will. One questionable quote came when he called Meghan “demanding but not rude” … though maybe that’s a good thing? A princess knows what she wants.

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Meghan Markle is losing another aide.

Samantha Cohen—Meghan and Prince Harry’s private secretary—has stated that she does not intend to make her job permanent and “has let it be known that she intends to leave after Meghan’s baby is born next spring.”

Samantha has worked with the royal family for 17 years, starting  out as Queen Elizabeth’s former assistant private secretary.

The news of yet another of Meghan’s aide’s leaving, comes on the heels of reports that the Duchess is “difficult” to work for.

Meghan’s personal assistant, Melissa Touabti, quit her job after only six months, claiming that she and the Duchess had a difficult relationship.

Melissa played a key role in making Meghan and Harry’s wedding day as spectacular as it was.

Kensington Palace has not commented on Samantha’s departure or the negative reports about Meghan.

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DAY OF THE YEAR

• International Mountain Day
• Noodle Ring Day
• Have a Bagel Day

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ON THIS DATE

1777

General George Washington and more than 12,000 troops start their cold slog to Valley Forge.

Across the Schuylkill River, they encountered British soldiers and battled with General George Cornwallis and his men. The fight was completely coincidence, not strategic: Cornwallis’ men had been foraging for berries.

Washington ordered a swift retreat, being unprepared to fight. They destroyed the bridge that linked both sides of the river, keeping the Brits at bay.

They would finally make it to Valley Forge on December 19.

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1815

President James Madison presents a treaty to Congress to manage trade with Great Britain.

Following the end of the War of 1812, trade with Great Britain restarted, with the Empire finally completely giving in to America’s status as an independent, free, and powerful nation.

The agreement was largely ceremonial, but asserted and established America as a legitimate power on the High Seas in regard to both military and commerce.

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1816

Indiana becomes the 19th state.

The organized territory had already drafted and approved a Constitution, and had a functional capitol and and governor.

It quickly went from frontier territory to organized, industrial powerhouse.

But the aggressive expansion bankrupted the state. Meanwhile, the value of goods it produced increased and land value skyrocketed.

At first, it was dominated by German immigrants, and later overtaken by ethnic English.

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1941

The Nazis declare war on the United States.

Following the attacks on Pearl Harbor, America swiftly entered into the Pacific conflict, at least politically.

This declaration of war would bring America to the European front as well.

Hitler had a standing agreement with Japan to begin fighting America at some point, and the attack on Pearl Harbor was his entry point.

He also believed that Japan would force the Americans to surrender quickly, and would aide him in fighting Russia.

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1961

American helicopters begin staging in South Vietnam.

33 Vertol H-21C Shawnee helicopters arrived in Saigon aboard the Core.

A total crew of 400 would man and operate the helicopters. At first, the mission was to only assist South Vietnamese troops in getting into North Vietnamese territory.

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2008

Bernie Madoff is arrested.

Madoff engineered one of the biggest cons in history, deftly maneuvering more than $65 billion in assets for various clients, for his own financial gain.

When the economy began to tank in 2008, he couldn’t keep it up.

He confessed to his sons, who turned him in.

Madoff pled guilty to 11 felony counts and was quickly convicted. Though he was sentenced to 150 years behind bars, the path of destruction continued. His own son killed himself the following year, and his other son was implicated in assisting with the scheme, though he claims innocence.

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CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS

Hailee Steinfeld – Mattie Ross in “True Grit” – 22

Mos Def – actor, rapper – 45

Monique – actress – 51

Nikki Sixx – singer – 61

Jermaine Jackson – singer – 64

Teri Garr – actress – 71

Brenda Lee – singer – 74

John Kerry – fmr Secretary of State – 75

Rita Moreno – first person to EGOT (win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) – 87

BORN ON THIS DATE

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn – Soviet dissident – 1918

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