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Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
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Obama's 7 Deadliest Lame-Duck Sins

President Barack Obama has been making the most out of his lame-duck status as he runs out the clock on his eight-year reign of terror. The fear that he would be at his most dangerous when he was free to make unpopular decisions with little political consequence has turned out to be well founded.

In the past month, Obama has unleashed a boatload of "midnight regulations," executive orders, and pardons. He's also released more Gitmo detainees, increased refugee resettlements, and accelerated a highly politicized DOJ "probe" of the Chicago Police Department. Last but not least, he permitted (or more likely encouraged) the UN Security Council to pass a destructive and dangerous resolution declaring all Israeli settlement activity to be illegal.

1. Costly Midnight Regulations:

The Obama administration has put forth 25 so-called “midnight” regulations, which will cost the economy $44.1 billion, according to a report from the American Action Forum.

Midnight regulations are rules that are published after Election Day and before the next president is inaugurated in January 2017. Earlier this year, the administration estimated that there would be $5.2 billion in regulatory costs incurred during that time.

The $44.1 billion in regulatory costs have overshot that estimate by more than eight times.

Obama's job-crushing regulations have stifled economic growth, making him the only president in modern history whose time in office didn’t include at least one year of economic growth at the 3% historical average.

2. Economy-Crippling Executive Actions:

With less than a month left in his presidency, Obama has launched an initiative to wipe out coal mining and handicap offshore drilling for oil and natural gas.First, he ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with its controversial Stream Protection Rule. By one estimate, that would make mining so difficult it would make 85 percent of the nation’s coal reserves unrecoverable.

Then, on Tuesday, the president designated most government-owned areas in the Arctic Ocean and a large swath off the Atlantic Coast closed to drilling. That would prevent production of huge reserves of oil and gas.

For the past eight years, the Obama administration has abused the power of the executive branch by issuing unconstitutional, unilateral executive actions to push his agenda. Article I of the Constitution, which grants enumerated legislative powers to Congress -- not the president, became a quaint, but outdated artifact from the past under Obama. Hopefully Donald Trump will return the country to constitutional governance.

3. Record Wave of Pardons and Communtations: 

President Obama on Monday pardoned 78 people and granted another 153 commutations, amounting to the most acts of clemency granted by a U.S. president ever in a single day.

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston announced the decisions in an official blog post. He described all the individuals being pardoned or seeing their sentences shortened as “deserving.”

“The 231 individuals granted clemency today have all demonstrated that they are ready to make use – or have already made use – of a second chance,” he wrote.

He also previewed additional clemency decisions in the weeks ahead, saying: “I expect that the President will issue more grants of both commutations and pardons before he leaves office.”