Delusional Border Disorder

There's a crisis building at the border. It's just not the crisis you've been hearing about. For example, it's not that terrorists have been aprehended there. Fox News' Chris Wallace realtime fact-checked Sarah Huckabee Sanders on that over the weekend. "Do you know where those 4000 people come from, where they're captured? Airports." (It would require a pretty tall wall to address that threat.) And while drugs entering the US present a constant challenge, we've learned during the El Chapo trial that most of that traffic would be unimpeded by a wall as it enters "in cars, trains, planes and submarines — even in a truck beneath a load of frozen meat." As a current administration official explains, today's border crisis has less to do with people trying to sneak across the border and more to do with a growing refugee challenge with which our current system is ill-equipped to deal: "These families are not trying to evade anyone. They're presenting themselves to the first Border Patrol agents they can find. This is not a border-security crisis. It's an administrative-processing problem." The New Yorker's Jonathan Blitzer on The Real Crisis at the Border.

+ "Comparing apprehensions and budget is a rough measurement, one that doesn't account for the greater numbers of families and unaccompanied children fleeing instability in Central America. But it does seem to suggest that the Border Patrol has never had less work to do or more resources to do it with." Bloomberg: Two Towns Forged an Unlikely Bond. Now, ICE Is Severing the Connection.

+ "Come on down to the Rio Grande valley. I'll show you around." Mattathias Schwartz in NY Mag: Would patrolling with the Border Patrol change your mind about the border?


Emergency Kit

The government remains in shutdown mode while President Trump has indicated that he might declare a national emergency to secure the money for the wall. Here's the latest from CNN.

+ "This edifice of extraordinary powers has historically rested on the assumption that the president will act in the country's best interest when using them. With a handful of noteworthy exceptions, this assumption has held up. But what if a president, backed into a corner and facing electoral defeat or impeachment, were to declare an emergency for the sake of holding on to power?" Elizabeth Goitein in the The Atlantic: What the President Could Do If He Declares a State of Emergency. (Spoiler alert: A lot...)


EU Genics

"Posters throughout Hungary read, 'If you come to Hungary, you must respect Hungarian culture!' All the posters were in Hungarian. That summer, Orbán's government began to construct a fence along Hungary's borders with Serbia and Croatia, essentially halting immigration to the country. Der Spiegel declared him 'the political victor' of the immigration crisis, and, since then, each new terrorist attack at a Christmas market in Berlin or Strasbourg seems to bolster his standing." Viktor Orbán's far-right vision for Europe serves up a few too many familiar themes (including the fact that it seems to be working for him). The New Yorker: The Prime Minister of Hungary, who thrives on conflict, has consolidated power in his own country. Now he is turning his attention to the E.U.


We’re Ruthless, People

"Ginsburg has not missed a day of arguments since she was confirmed to the court in 1993." Today, RBG broke that streak. NPR: Ginsburg Misses Supreme Court Arguments For First Time After Cancer Surgery.


Golden Retrievers

Usually the "snubs and surprises" articles garner the most clicks during awards season. By that metric, The Golden Globe Awards were a big success because the snubs and surprises dominated the entire evening. Here's a look at all the winners.

+ The TV broadcast received lukewarm reviews. The Fiji Water woman won the internet.


Hearing Things

"As it happens, there is and always has been one mechanism that produces precisely this effect in humans. Today it's referred to in the medical literature as conversion disorder—that is, the conversion of stress and fear into actual physical illness." Jack Hitt in GQ: U.S. officials say dozens of diplomats in Cuba were felled by a sonic 'attack.' But the likeliest culprit is far less futuristic—and much more terrifying. (I'm not sure this analysis is right, but I am sure this is one of the more interesting stories of the past couple years.)


Upright Citizen

"This kick did everything except go through the uprights: It hit both the upright and crossbar, killed the Bears mascot, made Matt Nagy a meme, and earned Nick Foles $1 million." Earlier this season, Bears' kicker Cody Parkey hit the uprights on four kicks ... in a single game. It was unthinkable, impossible, and absurd. And that's exactly the kind of thing the football gods love, much to the chagrin of Chicago fans. The Ringer: Cody Parkey's Double Doinker Caps Off a Season of Doinks That Defied All Physics and Explanation.

+ If it makes Parkey feel any better, the kick was partially blocked. Emphasis on partially.


Light Of My Life, Fire Of My Groins

Meet Pete Schiavo, the groin crusher. "The first time most people meet Schiavo, they've just come out of a coronary procedure and he's explaining that after the catheters are pulled out of their femoral artery, he's going to apply pressure to their groin for 20 to 40 minutes to aid in clotting."


Where’d Everybody Go?

"There are very few natural catastrophes that could annihilate all humans in one blow. Most of them would kill many or most humans while rendering Earth uninhabitable, and that may eventually kill the survivors of the initial catastrophe." Vox: Here are the ways nature could wipe out humanity. (This must be why humans seem so intent on wiping out nature first...)


Bottom of the News

As CES gets underway in Vegas, we welcome the fully immersive experience of Kohler's intelligent toilet. (I don't call this the bottom of the news for nothing...)

+ Forget decluttering your room or your office. It's all about decluttering your desktop.

+ A guy who wanted free chicken nuggets has been outdone by a guy willing to give away cash money. Yes, the world retweet record has been broken.

+ Ranking vegetables by how healthy they are.

+ "If you make more than $32,000 a year, you're part of the 1% wealthiest people in the world." If that random fact interests you, here are 13 more you may not know.