What to Know

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi all but ensured she will become House speaker next month, quelling a revolt by disgruntled younger Democrats[hhmc]

  • Health officials in western New York say they've confirmed a case of measles[hhmc]

  • 'Sesame Street' is tackling yet another important issue with the help of one of their muppets, Lily: homelessness[hhmc]

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Nancy Pelosi All But Assured of Becoming House Speaker

Rep. Nancy Pelosi all but ensured she will become House speaker next month, quelling a revolt by disgruntled younger Democrats by agreeing to limit her tenure to no more than four additional years in the chamber's top post. Within moments of announcing she would restrict her time in the job, seven of her critics distributed a statement promising to back the California Democrat. Democrats widely agreed that the pledge meant Pelosi had clinched a comeback to the post she held from 2007 until January 2011, the last time her party ran the House and the first time the speaker was a woman. The accord gives Pelosi a clear path to becoming the most powerful Democrat in government and a leading role in confronting President Donald Trump during the upcoming 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns.

Trump's Payment Explanations Shift as Legal Exposure Grows

The sentencing of Michael Cohen, President Trump's former personal lawyer, brought a perilous investigation into the president's campaign one step closer to the Oval Office. Though Cohen broke down during his sentencing hearing Wednesday, Trump remained uncharacteristically quiet, his Twitter feed still while he ignored shouted questions about his former attorney at a White House event. But Trump has been far from silent during the monthslong Cohen saga, with the president's explanations frequently shifting as his legal exposure grew. Since the spring, Trump has gone from denying knowledge of any payments to women who claim to have been mistresses to apparent acknowledgement of those hush money settlements – though he claims they wouldn't be illegal in any case. But both Cohen and federal prosecutors said the payments were made at Trump's direction to fend off damage to his White House bid, an apparent campaign finance violation.

Health Officials Confirm Case of Measles in New York

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Health officials in western New York say they've confirmed a case of measles. Now they're warning people who may have been exposed at several Buffalo-area locations over the past week to be aware of symptoms. The Erie County Health Department says a recent immigrant was recently diagnosed with the highly contagious virus at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. The patient visited several venues between Dec. 4 and 11, including Catholic Charities and a county health clinic in Buffalo, Sweet Home High School in Amherst, and several stores in and around Buffalo. Authorities say the virus remains alive in the air and on surfaces for up to two hours. People who haven't been vaccinated should see a doctor if they develop a fever, watery eyes and a rash.

Sesame Street Muppet to Teach Kids About Homelessness

"Sesame Street" is tackling yet another important issue with the help of one of their muppets: homelessness. Through recent "Sesame Street in Communities" videos shared online, "Sesame Street" introduced a new storyline for muppet Lily, who first joined the show nearly a decade ago. "I miss our apartment and now we don't have our own place to live," she says in one video as the rest of her schoolmates leave. "And sometimes I wonder if we'll ever have our own home again." As she tells her friend Elmo and Sofia in a separate clip, her family no longer has an apartment and she misses her bedroom as they stay in different places. After connecting "the dots of love" in one segment, Lily learns to think of home as where the love is. According to Sherrie Westin, president of global impact and philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, Lily is their first character to face homelessness.

Mika Brzezinski Apologizes for Homophobic Slur Aimed at Pompeo

MSNBCs "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski apologized on Twitter after coming under fire for using a homophobic slur to insult Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on live television earlier in the day. The off color remark was part of a string of insults criticizing Pompeo for what Brzezinski saw as an unsatisfactory response to Saudi Arabias responsibility in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khashoggi occasionally used his Washington Post column to criticize the countrys government. “Why doesnt Mike Pompeo care right now,” Brzezinski said. “Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard when he appeared on Fox & Friends, is that a patriot speaking or a wannabe dictators butt boy?” MSNBC tried to censor the comment, but were just a second too late. Brzezinski soon apologized, saying she should have used a word like “water boy.”

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