Live Blog

Here is your live blog for the day.

A fine tribute to the late President Bush -- right to his face:

Back in the days when SNL was funny instead of just surly and mean.

Nil nisi bonum, and all that:

They don't even try to hide their ignorance and their contempt any more, even when it comes at the expense of news judgment and the truth.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Bacon continues his strange immunity, not only from the law but from public opinion:

The Rev. Al Sharpton has found an eager buyer for the rights to his life story — his own charity. The National Action Network agreed to pay the activist preacher $531,000 for his “life story rights for a 10-year period,” according to the non-profit’s latest tax filing, which was obtained by The Post.

NAN can apparently turn around and sell those rights to Hollywood or other takers at a profit, but neither the reverend nor the charity would identify what producers are waiting for such Sharpton content. The document does not indicate when Sharpton, who is president of NAN, gets the cash, which is above and beyond the $244,661 he already pulled down in compensation from the group in 2017. Sharpton also wouldn’t say when the cash would come in.

"Honesty has nothing to do with this. This is show business!"

Who says there's no good news?

Love your time in the local sauna? Your heart may love it, too. New research from sauna-loving Finland suggests that for people aged 50 and older, saunas may lower their odds of risk of dying from heart disease.

Specifically, just 5 percent of Finns in the study who spent more than 45 minutes in a sauna each week died of heart disease over the 15-year study period, compared to 10 percent of those who spent less that 15 minutes a week in saunas, the researchers said.

Of course, the study couldn't prove cause-and-effect -- it's possible that sauna-loving folk have other heart-healthy habits that might explain the findings.

That's the problem with all these studies -- correlation is not causation. But at least they're (to use another favored journaistic term) "linked"!

Still, "there are several possible reasons why sauna use may decrease the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease," said study co-author Dr. Jari Laukkanen, head of cardiology at the University of Eastern Finland. His team published its findings Nov. 28 in the journal BMC Medicine. "Our research team has shown in previous studies that high sauna use is associated with lower blood pressure," he noted in a journal news release. "Additionally, sauna use is known to trigger an increase in heart rate equal to that seen in low- to moderate-intensity physical exercise."

Caveat -- you have to take a sauna 4-7 days a week (like the Finns do) for any benefit to be realized.

Entitlements are the biggest debt problem the U.S. faces.

An excellent and important article by Dustin Siggins, over at FEE:

In October, Senate Democrats—led by insurgent 2016 presidential candidate and possible 2020 presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)published a report claiming that War on Terror spending has been significantly responsible for America’s deficits since 9/11. With Democrats now in charge of the House of Representatives, this factually incorrect but popular narrative may impact federal policy.

But defense spending is actually going down.

As Institute for Spending Reform President Jonathan Bydlak told me in an e-mail, “the national debt has increased by $15 trillion since 9/11. Pentagon spending contributed to this growth.” However, Bydlak also wrote that "looking forward, all discretionary spending…will continue to decrease as entitlement spending skyrockets. It will not be possible to deal with rising deficits and debt without considering their biggest drivers."

Increased defense spending has contributed to the national debt, but federal health care and entitlement programs are by far the largest fiscal problem.

The Department of Defense’s budget is shrinking as a percentage of the federal budget. It is currently 14 percent of the budget, which is smaller than expenditures for Social Security and the federal health care system—both of which will take up larger portions of the federal budget.

The facts are clear: while increased defense spending has contributed to the national debt’s massive increases since 9/11, it is federal health care programs and Social Security that have been driving our debt’s growth for years—and will do so even more in the future. An April 2018 CBO report projected that publicly held debt would grow from $14.7 trillion in 2018 to $27.1 trillion in 2028.