Today's edition of quick hits:* Prepare a back-up plan: "Top generals have been insisting for years that if North Korea launched a missile at the United States, the U.S. military would be able to shoot it down. But that is a highly questionable assertion, according to independent scientists and government investigators."* The story at the intersection of other stories: "Exxon Mobil is pursuing a waiver from Treasury Department sanctions on Russia so it may drill in the Black Sea in a venture with the Russian state oil company Rosneft, a former State Department official said Wednesday. An oil industry official confirmed the account."* He was rewarded with a seat on the dais, which is unheard of for a donor: "Sheldon G. Adelson, the casino magnate and stalwart Republican donor, gave $5 million to support the festivities surrounding President Trump's inauguration, according to federal election filings."* Interesting case: "Supreme Court justices on Wednesday seemed sympathetic to a Missouri church that claimed its exclusion from a state playground improvement program was a violation of constitutional rights."* Occasional criticism shouldn't bother him quite this much: "Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly offered a sharp rebuttal to critics of his department on Tuesday, challenging lawmakers who dislike its approach to immigration enforcement to change the law or 'shut up.'"* This guys later said he meant "no disrespect," which only made this more ridiculous: "Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles dropped the n-word to a pair of African-American colleagues in private conversation Monday night -- after calling one of them a 'f**king a**hole,' a 'b***h' and a 'girl,' the two senators said."* In the unlikely event you haven't heard: "In a stunning and sudden downfall, Bill O'Reilly is out at Fox News. 21st Century Fox, parent company of Fox News, released a statement Wednesday afternoon that read, 'After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Bill O'Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.'"* And Trump welcomed the New England Patriots to the White House today. Take a look at this photo, note how many players showed up for today's event, and then compare it to the same picture when President Obama hosted the Patriots a couple of years ago.Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.
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