Daily Bread for 1.17.21

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be overcast with a high of thirty-one.  Sunrise is 7:20 AM and sunset 4:49 PM, for 9h 29m 03s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 19.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is both the one thousand five hundred thirty-first day and the seventy-second day. 

On this day in 1917, the United States pays Denmark $25 million for the Virgin Islands.

Recommended for reading in full — 

Michael S. Schmidt and Kenneth P. Vogel report Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fuels Market to Buy Access to Trump:

As President Trump prepares to leave office in days, a lucrative market for pardons is coming to a head, with some of his allies collecting fees from wealthy felons or their associates to push the White House for clemency, according to documents and interviews with more than three dozen lobbyists and lawyers.

The brisk market for pardons reflects the access peddling that has defined Mr. Trump’s presidency as well as his unorthodox approach to exercising unchecked presidential clemency powers. Pardons and commutations are intended to show mercy to deserving recipients, but Mr. Trump has used many of them to reward personal or political allies.

The pardon lobbying heated up as it became clear that Mr. Trump had no recourse for challenging his election defeat, lobbyists and lawyers say. One lobbyist, Brett Tolman, a former federal prosecutor who has been advising the White House on pardons and commutations, has monetized his clemency work, collecting tens of thousands of dollars, and possibly more, in recent weeks to lobby the White House for clemency for the son of a former Arkansas senator; the founder of the notorious online drug marketplace Silk Road; and a Manhattan socialite who pleaded guilty in a fraud scheme.

Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer John M. Dowd has marketed himself to convicted felons as someone who could secure pardons because of his close relationship with the president, accepting tens of thousands of dollars from a wealthy felon and advising him and other potential clients to leverage Mr. Trump’s grievances about the justice system.

 Ed Pilkington reports Major NRA donor to challenge gun group’s bankruptcy over alleged fraud:

A major donor to the National Rifle Association is poised to challenge key aspects of the gun group’s bankruptcy filing, in an attempt to hold executives accountable for allegedly having defrauded their members of millions of dollars to support their own lavish lifestyles.

Dave Dell’Aquila, a former tech company boss who has donated more than $100,000 to the NRA, told the Guardian on Saturday he was preparing to lodge a complaint in US bankruptcy court in Dallas, Texas. If successful, it could stop top NRA executives discharging a substantial portion of the organisation’s debts.

It could also stop Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s controversial longtime chief executive, avoiding ongoing lawsuits that allege he defrauded the pro-gun group’s members to pay for luxury travel to the Bahamas and Europe and high-end Zegna suits.

Isabelle Khurshudyan and Loveday Morris report Russian opposition leader Navalny again tests Kremlin: Supporters await return while officials threaten arrest:

But jailing Navalny could create another conundrum for Putin’s government, analysts said. A throng of supporters are expected to greet Navalny at Vnukovo International Airport — more than 2,000 people responded “going” to one Facebook group.

Arresting him would certainly elevate his image as a political martyr among his backers. A response from Western governments, perhaps in the form of more sanctions, is also possible.

Tatiana Stanovaya, head of political analysis firm R. Politik, wrote on the Telegram messaging app that Navanly’s possible arrest would trigger protests that would test “how far [Russian security services] and the most repressive apparatus of the state can go.”

Paris Receives First Snowfall of the Season:

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