National News, Tuesday, Feb 4 – Iowa May Have Caucus Voting Results This Afternoon

National news stories and things to know from across the U.S. from

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Iowa has a mess going on.  Democratic party officials in Iowa are working furiously to deliver the delayed results of their first-in-the-nation caucus, as frustrated democratic presidential candidates were claiming momentum last night, with no actual results to show at all.  

No one knows who won last night as technology problems and reporting “inconsistencies” kept Iowa Democratic Party officials from releasing results from Monday’s caucus, the much-hyped kickoff to the 2020 primary.

It was an embarrassing twist after months of promoting the contest as a chance for Democrats to find some clarity in a jumbled field with no clear front-runner. Instead, caucus day ended with no winner, no official results and many fresh questions about whether Iowa can retain its coveted “first” status.

Problems with a mobile app appear to have forced the delay in reporting the results.  The officials there are stressing that delay was not caused by a “hack or an intrusion.” But other caucus organizers are putting the blame squarely on a new technology used to report results from some 1,700 caucus meetings across the state. Officials are hoping for full release of results later today.  Stay tuned.

Back in Washington D.C. today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is slamming the House Democrats’ drive to impeach President Donald Trump as “the most rushed, least fair, and least thorough” in history.

McConnell announced today he will vote to acquit Trump with a vote, soon.  He said the two impeachment charges against Trump — that he abused his power and obstructed Democrats’ impeachment — are “constitutionally incoherent” and don’t warrant removing him from office.  

The Kentucky Republican did not address whether Trump’s actions were inappropriate or wrong, as some GOP senators have said.  Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York accused the Republican leader and his GOP colleagues of sweeping Trump’s misconduct under the rug.

President Trump will be facing his accusers tonight during his State of the Union speech. The House-impeached president is speaking on the eve of what’s anticipated to be his Senate acquittal tomorrow, on Wednesday.

The White House says he’s expected to talk about his many accomplishments in office, but they’re not predicting whether Trump will stick to that script, of course. It should make for an interesting night at the podium.   The president has a deep and often-stated sense of grievance, and he’ll be in the room with people he has raged about on Twitter and elsewhere. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be sitting behind him, just a few feet away.

Record spending expected for Valentine’s Day.  According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) Americans are expected to set another record for Valentine’s Day spending this year.

… In a consumer survey conducted by the NRF, those celebrating the holiday said they plan to spend an average $196.31, up 21 percent over last year’s previous record of $161.96. Spending is expected to total $27.4 billion, up 32 percent from last year’s record $20.7 billion.

… Shoppers plan to spend $5.8 billion on jewelry (21 percent), $4.3 billion on an evening out (34 percent), $2.9 billion on clothing (20 percent), $2.4 billion on candy (52 percent), $2.3 billion on flowers (37 percent), $2 billion on gift cards (19 percent), and $1.3 billion on greeting cards (43 percent).

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi was on the winning side for Sunday’s Super Bowl, then on Monday paid off an animal shelter’s adoption fees.

KC Pet Project, a no-kill animal shelter in the Kansas City metro area, tweeted Monday that Nnadi paid off the adoption fees of more than 100 dogs. Nnadi explained: “All my life I always wanted a dog. Growing up I didn’t have a pet, my parents didn’t really allow pets.” He got his first dog, Rocky, in college, and it inspired him to want to help other animals.

More from your wallet perhaps as Google Photos workers are testing a Monthly Photo Prints subscription service that uses the company’s algorithms to automatically select and print your 10 best photos each month.

Elon Musk is recruiting.   If you don’t have a college degree, it won’t hold you back from working for Tesla. The company’s founder, Elon Musk, said in a tweet that he is recruiting for his artificial intelligence team.

… “A PhD is definitely not required” … I “don’t care if you even graduated high school.” While “[e]ducational background is irrelevant,” all candidates “must pass hardcore coding test.”

California man Paul Svoboda was with his 6-year-old daughter in August when he realized his wedding ring was missing from his finger — at the beach.

Svoboda enlisted the help of metal detecting group the Ring Finders, but they were unable to find it despite two sweeps of the beach. Then, late last month, Svoboda received a call from Rick Rolsheim. Rolsheim said he found the ring while metal detecting on the beach the previous week and asked friends if they knew anything about the unusual ring. A friend who is a member of the Ring Finders gave him Svoboda’s information.

Jeff Bezos paid a small fortune in parking fines as part of the ongoing renovation of his $23 million Washington, DC mansion.

A team of Bezos-employed contractors, who converted his home from a museum into a residence, racked up more $16,840 in parking tickets while working on the property.

… The tickets mostly came from ignored “no parking” signs, parking in spots reserved for residents, or blocking crosswalks and obstructing pedestrians’ paths.

Do you have a standout dish?   Americans aren’t especially confident in the kitchen. According to a poll (OnePoll), one in five think they have only one standout dish in their arsenal. And the average American surveyed can only prepare five meals completely without any help from a recipe.

… The top five meals that respondents can make without a recipe included eggs over easy (49 percent), scrambled eggs (46 percent), hard boiled eggs (44 percent), poached eggs (44 percent), and french toast (41 percent).

… The next five meals respondents could make without a recipe: soup (36 percent), grilled cheese (36 percent), pasta (36 percent), rice (36 percent), and salad (36 percent). At No. 11 is toast (34 percent).

… The kitchen tools which most intimidate us: spatula (33 percent), measuring cups (30 percent), whisk (30 percent), food processor (26 percent), and measuring spoons (25 percent).

If you’re trying to lose weight because you think it will improve your appearance, you might think that looking in the mirror would motivate you to keep your diet goals on track.

But any stimuli (including photos of other people’s bodies) that make you think about your appearance may actually lead you to eat more — regardless of your appetite.

… Research conducted in the Netherlands revealed that whether you’re looking in the mirror, at a model, or even photos of your friends on Facebook or Instagram — you’re thinking about outward appearances, and that can be deeply distracting. This can muddle the messages your stomach sends to your brain to signify you’re full, and make it especially hard to resist food, regardless of your appetite.

Couples who consistently refer to themselves as “we” may get on the nerves of singletons everywhere, but spouses who use this “couple-focused” language may fare better during conflicts than those who don’t.

A study found that using personal pronouns, such as “we,” “our” and “us” when talking about a conflict was associated with more positive behaviors between the pair, such as affection, less negative behavior (like anger), and lower physiological stress levels during the disagreement. On the other hand, using words that expressed “separateness,” such as “I,” “you,” and “me,” during the discussion was associated with marital dissatisfaction.

Miss the good old days of a flip-phone, but don’t want to give up your big touchscreen?

Someone has posted a video of what looks like a prototype of the Galaxy Z Flip. Much like the rumors have suggested, the device really does appear to be a modernized take on the classic flip phone. It’s a compact device with a tiny external display when folded shut, but it expands to reveal a very tall display when you pop it open. • VIDEO

… The handset may make an appearance at Samsung’s Unpacked event on February 11. While there’s a good chance this will cost less than the $1,980 Galaxy Fold, foldable display technology is still new enough that it could easily cost more than the upcoming Galaxy S20.

A father and son who paid almost $300,000 for a white Lamborghini Huracan Spyder are suing the dealer after the paint job took on a yellow tinge.

Calogero Caruso took a second mortgage on his home to buy the Italian sports car for his son, because it was his child’s “dream to own such a luxury vehicle.” The plaintiffs claim the problem developed just days after they took possession of the luxury car when they noticed it had started to turn yellow. The Carusos say the dealership’s boss, John Scotti, told them the car was indeed white but can look a little yellow in the sun. The plaintiffs say they gave the dealer the benefit of the doubt and parked the car indoors but still noticed that it was turning yellow. Caruso and son no longer want the  car. They want a refund plus damages, but the dealer won’t give it to them. Caruso returned the car to the dealership, but he is still making mortgage and insurance payments.

The idea of a mid-life crisis has been blamed for all sorts of odd behavior, but research suggests the concept may be a myth after all.

The study found the middle-aged years are actually among the happiest in a person’s life. Researchers say people who are middle-aged are better off, happier and more balanced than they were when they were 20 years younger.

The nation might be divided when it comes to choosing between three-hour superhero blockbusters and three-hour mob epics, but there’s one thing we can all agree on: a good 90-minute romantic comedy.

After asking 4,629 Americans to choose their favorite 21st-century movie from Rotten Tomatoes’s list of 150 best romantic comedies of all time, pollsters (with House Method) found that a staggering 19 states love 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin above all others. In second place, with 11 states, was Bridesmaids from 2011. Apparently we can’t get enough of Judd Apatow — not only did he direct and co-write The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but he also produced Bridesmaids. • LINK • LINK

… Apart from those two riotous romps, the votes were scattered across many other movies. 13 Going on 30 (2004) and 500 Days of Summer (2009) won four states each, and 2005’s buddy comedy Wedding Crashers came in fifth place with three states.

… Amy Adams’s tour de force as a fairytale princess-to-be battling the terrors of present-day Manhattan in 2007’s Enchanted was adequately appreciated by just one state — Nebraska — and Delaware went with 2001’s Amélie.

Your New Year’s Resolutions are probably already forgotten.  

January 1st is a time when millions of people set lofty goals and expectations for themselves in the new year. By February 1, the average American will have given up on their resolutions, and 68% said they usually don’t even last that long. The survey also found that one in seven Americans never really believe they will follow through on their resolutions in the first place.

… What’s stopping so many people from improving themselves? The top reason given by respondents was a lack of discipline (52%), followed by packed schedules (43%). Other popular responses included social pressure (40%), familial pressure (39%), and negative influence from a partner (35%).

… The average respondent would be willing to pay $15,748.19 all just to have someone hold them accountable to their resolutions.

As Russ Wright drove home on Wednesday, he spotted two deer in a field south of Calgary — but something wasn’t right. He realized the deer had locked antlers.

At first, Wright said he thought one of the deer was dead and called Fish and Wildlife. Tranquilizing the animals was considered, but that could have meant a deadly outcome because you run the risk of having one immobilized deer while the other one still full of life.

So the Scott Kallweit, with Calgary’s Fish and Wildlife district, grabbed his 12 gauge shotgun, which was loaded with slugs. His first and only shot hit the antlers of one of the deer, which separated them.

Following faithfully in the footsteps of their aging owners, who are increasingly embracing medical marijuana as well as over-the-counter CBD remedies, dogs and cats are being treated for many of the same ailments afflicting their humans.

… The demand for pet products containing CBD (cannabidiol, a component of both the hemp and marijuana varieties of cannabis) has skyrocketed following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018, which expanded legal hemp cultivation and research.

… Most of this pot is going to the dogs, but there have been an increasing number of products developed for the broader pet kingdom, such as cats, birds, and horses. There are a wide array of CBD products to choose from, including tinctures, treats, capsules, topicals, mixing powders, and shampoos, with prices ranging from about $20 for treat packets to $200 for high-dosage or high-volume tinctures.

How kids like their sandwiches cut.  Pay attention mom and dad.  A survey finds that 40 percent of kids like their sandwiches cut diagonal; 25 percent in the middle; 17 percent whole; and 6 percent in quarters.

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