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Leasing News is a web site that posts information, news, and
entertainment for the commercial alternate financing,
bank, finance and leasing industries

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

 (Please click on Kettle)


Today's Equipment Leasing Headlines

Section 179 Depreciation Differs
  in House and Senate Versions
November, 2017 - The List
   The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Channel Partners Capital November’s Last 20 Deals
  Business Type/FICO/TIB/Annual Revenues/Funding Amount/Term
Sales Makes it Happen --- by Steve Chriest
   A conversation between sales and credit
Leasing Industry Ads---Help Wanted
   Harbour Capital/Maxim Commercial Capital
Guilt by Association
   Recruiter Hal T. Horowitz Speaks Out
State Licensing and Usury Laws:
  An Updated Overview of a Few Troublesome States
    By Barry Marks, CLFP
Leasing and Finance Associations -- Updated
  Membership Information
Alternate Finance Association Membership
   United States
NEFA Educational Grants Available
   for Equipment Finance Professional
Staffie Mix
   New York City, New York  Adopt a Dog
TV Series Reviews by Kit Menkin
  "The Crown” is Back this Friday

News Briefs---
Federal court orders Boersen Farms to pay $19.5 million
 to Tetra Financial Group for equipment leases, contempt
Consumer Bureau’s New Leader Steers a Sudden Reversal
Pay Day Loans Back, Bank Irregulators okay, Wild West Supported
Hire a Master Sergeant
   instead of a Masters Degree

Broker/Funder/Industry Lists | Features (writer's columns)
Top Ten Stories Chosen by Readers | Top Stories last six months (Be Careful of Doing Business)
Leasing News Icon for Android Mobile Device 

You May have Missed---
  Sports Brief----
   California Nuts Brief---
   "Gimme that Wine"
     This Day in History
       Daily Puzzle
         Weather, USA or specific area
          Traffic Live----

######## surrounding the article denotes it is a “press release” and was not written by Leasing News nor information verified, but from the source noted. When an article is signed by the writer, it is considered a “by line.” It reflects the opinion and research of the writer.

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Section 179 Depreciation Differs
in House and Senate Versions


"Allows full expensing of short-lived capital investment, such as machinery and equipment, for five years; increases the Section 179 small business expensing cap from $500,000 to $5 million, with the phase out beginning at $20 million, and maintains current depreciation schedules for real property."


"Allows full expensing of short-lived capital investment, such as machinery and equipment, for five years, then phases out the provision over the subsequent five; raises Section 179 small business expensing cap to $1 million with a phase-out starting at $2.5 million, and shortens the depreciation of real property to 25 years."

This does not effect 2017, so the depreciation write allowance is basically up to $510,000, if funded and delivered by Midnight, December 31, 2017.  The new changes would be for 2018. To be determined in Joint Conference between House and Senate and signed by the President.

In all cases, the client should check with their company accountant for all tax planning.




November, 2017 - The List
"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"


Marlin Business Services, Mount Laurel, New Jersey (11/17)
Highlights from Marlin Business Services Q3 2017; Earnings Call Transcript
(11/17) Marlin Business Services Highlights 10-Q for Quarter Ended Sept 30, 2017

ECN Capital, Toronto, Capital (11/17) to sell Canadian Commercial/Vendor Finance. Assets Proceeds to support ECN Capital’s continued transition (11/17)  ECN Capital Reports $50.9 Million Loss
$0.03 in After Tax Adjust EPS in Q3-2017

Ascentium Capital, Kingwood, Texas (11/17) Ascentium Capital Completes $236 Million Securitization. Rated Aaa by Moody's and Kroll

Balboa Capital, Costa Mesa, California (11/17) Balboa Capital and Shopko Settle Their Much Litigated $1 Million Dollar Plus perhaps $300,000 Attorney Fee Case

North Mill Capital, Princeton, New Jersey (11/17) Colford Capital Holdings LLC (“Colford”), New York, New York, announced the sale of 100% of the equity interests of North Mill Capital LLC (“NMC”) to Solar Senior Capital Ltd. (NASDAQ: SUNS) (“Solar Senior”).

GE, Boston, MA (11/17) GE Chief Exec Calls Q3 Results ‘Unacceptable;’ indicated there are big changes ahead for the conglomerate

NFS Leasing, Beverly, MA (11/17) NFS Leasing wins $8 M judgement against SignalShare and $5.7 M judgement against former SignalShare exec.

Neumann Finance, Philadelphia, PA (11/17) Beneficial Bank Announces the Formation of Nationwide Equipment Financing Operation: Neumann Finance
(11/17)  Dyer and Pelose Come Out of Retirement/   Marlin to Rise Again in Philly?

Navitas Credit Corp., Ponte Vedra, FL (11/17) Navitas Credit Corp. Reaches One Billion Total Originations; Founded in September, 2008, with Eight Employees

Bank of America, Charlotte, North Carolina (11/17) Tagged for $45 Million in Wrongful Foreclosure Case

OnDeck, New York, NY (11/17) Hurricanes Reasons for 8th Consecutive Q Loss at OnDeck. Press Release Claims/Also GAAP profitability in 4th Quarter 2017
GreatAmerica Financial Services, Cedar Rapids, IA. (
GreatAmerica Financial Services Reaches $2 Billion:
Celebrates 25th Anniversary



Channel Partners Capital November’s Last 20 Deals
Business Type/FICO/TIB/Annual Revenues/Funding Amount/Term



Leasing Industry Help Wanted

Asset Manager
Los Angeles, California
Class 8 through Class 6 Trucks

Manage repossession, valuation, refurbishing,
remarketing trucks and equipment
Exp. owner-operator trucking business a must
To learn more, please click here

"Helping Owner-Operators Break
through Credit Challenges"




Sales Makes it Happen
by Steve Chriest

A conversation between sales and credit

SALES: "You want answers?"

CREDIT: "I think we are entitled to them!"

SALES: "You want answers?"

CREDIT: (YELLING): "I want the truth!"

SALES: (YELLING): "You can't handle the truth!!!"

SALES: (Continuing): Old man, we live in a world that requires revenue. And that revenue must be brought in by people with elite skills. People who thrive on cold-calling, rejection and false promises. Who's going to find it? You? You, Mr. Operations? Mr. Credit Analyst? Mr. Credit it Know-it-All. We have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.

You scoff at sales divisions and you curse our lucrative incentives, commissions and bonus plans. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that while the cost of business results are excessive, it drives in the revenue.

And my very existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, drives this company to a profit! You don't want to know the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at management staff want me on that sales call. You NEED me on that sales call.

We use words like discounts, licensing, business development and global purchase agreements. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent negotiating contracts. You use them as a punch line!

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to people who rise and sleep under the very blanket of revenue I provide and then question the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just say "thank you" and went on your way. Otherwise I suggest you pick up the phone and make a sales call. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

CREDIT: “I want the truth! Did you leave out the financial statement you had in the last deal?”

SALES: "I did the job I was hired to do."

CREDIT: (YELLING): "Did you not include the financial statement as you knew it would kill the deal?”

SALES: "I did the job I was hired to do."

CREDIT: (YELLING): "Now tell me the truth! The real truth! I can handle the truth. Did you NOT include the financial statement as you knew it would kill the deal?”

SALES: (YELLING): "You're damn right I didn’t include it!"

Steve Chriest is the CEO of Open Advance and author of “Selling to the E-Suite, The Proven System for Reaching and Selling Senior Executives and Business Acumen 101.”  He produces video and radio blogs, as well as continuing as a columnist for Leasing News since 2005.

Sales Makes it Happen articles:




Guilt by Association
Recruiter Hal T. Horowitz Speaks Out

This should be a rhetorical question. What do Capital Works, The Funding Tree, Equipment Acquisition Resources, Parker Capital, and, among others, Barklay Capital have in common. Certainly, some things that come to mind are “scandal,” “no longer in business,” and “greed.” Another is “stigma.”

In the wake of the crises that led to the failures and ultimate closures of these companies were thousands of professionals pounding the streets looking for their next job. Many had left behind large compensation packages and unpaid bonuses. Few received severance. Some were complicit in the actions that led to their respective employers’ demise; some were complicit by their silence. Most were just employees who developed business, booked the deals, tracked the income, recorded the payments or sent out the soon-no-longer-to-come payroll checks. But all shared a common bond: The stigma of having worked for a company that had so publicly failed by its own hand. 

Whether, and to whatever degree, they might have been involved in the events that precipitated losing their jobs, all their résumés now bore the names of companies that were once badges of merit.  Now, at best, these individuals were subjected to greater scrutiny, vetting and in some cases, curiosity, than previously, and, than candidates were from other companies; and at worst, their résumés were not read beyond the name of their last employer. 

No one accepts an offer with a top performing company, an excellent compensation package and the promise of what appears to be an unlimited career path, thinking that somewhere in restricted room the company’s revenue is being inflated, depreciation understated, receivables overstated, expenses capitalized, or that their industry itself might be next year’s burst bubble. 

When employment started to pick up following the 2008 recession, I was specifically told by two clients that they did not want to see résumés from anyone coming out of three specifically named, recently failed institutions, no matter the strength of the candidate.  Many candidates who were able to get interviews told me that they were subjected to some very probing questions such as how close they were to the action, how they couldn’t have seen what was going on or why they hadn’t reported anything suspicious.

Even now, if you have a history with a publicly besmirched firm, you are going to have to deal with the biases that go with that.  Does this make getting a job impossible?  No, just more difficult.  Here are some steps you take to make exiting a failed company not appear so threatening. 

  • If your résumé isn’t current, correcting that would be your first step. 
  • Bring your list of accomplishments up to date.
  • At the first signs of fiscal impropriety, start documenting your actions, including what you are instructed to do, when and by whom.
  • Talk to those you will be using as references and ask for letters from them as well.  (Never give anyone as reference if you’re not absolutely confident in their confidence in you.)
  • Plan an exit strategy.  This should include immediately reaching out to former colleagues, centers of influence and network resources; and prepare to leave on short notice if necessary, especially if asked to do something seemingly illegal. 
  • Anticipate the possibility of a reduced living budget.
  • Be prepared to answer some tough questions regarding your (presumed) noninvolvement, both in interviews and when speaking to those who may be able to refer you to others.
  • When discussing your former employment, limit your answers to the questions asked.  Don’t volunteer unrequested information or anything that might be privileged, or you are in any other way restricted from speaking to.  Do not mention names, assert blame, or attempt to make yourself sound like you were a hero – or wanted to be one. Admitting to having been the whistle-blower, the person who did the right thing, can have its own set of consequences.
  • If you were at the executive- or C-level of your firm, the vetting will be even more intense since the higher up the chain you were, the question of culpability to some degree makes deniability less credible. 
  • As with any other former employer, speak to your accomplishments, but in the smaller, rather than the larger picture.

Seeking employment is daunting enough without the burden of being prejudged as less trustworthy for no reason other than a former association.  You did your job and you did it well.  Let others know that, not through your frustration, but rather, through your determination.  Let them know that if they were to ask anyone, they would learn that besides the vast skills you own, you bring a high level of integrity to the table. 

Hal T. Horowitz
Financial Pro Solutions
Executive recruitment serving financial professionals
Career coaching & professional résumé writing services & interview preparation
Phone: 818-347-FINA (347-3462)
Cell: 818-730-0645
Twitter:  @finapros

Recruiter Hal T. Horwitz Speaks Out






State Licensing and Usury Laws:
An Updated Overview of a Few Troublesome States
By Barry Marks, CLFP
(Special to Leasing News)

(Leasing News requested Barry, a long time contributor to Leasing News, to update the state usury laws list. He states these are synopsis, pointing out the actual laws for each state should be view.
He also makes a disclaimer:) “This article is not intended to offer legal advice and is no substitute for consultation with a lawyer familiar with the laws of the relevant state.”

State usury and licensing laws differ significantly from state to state. These are just a few examples; there are other laws in other states that bear review.
In general, the factors that determine whether licensing or usury issues are likely to exist include whether leases or loans are offered, whether motor vehicles are being leased or financed, the size of the transaction and how high the proposed rate will be.
Many states also have laws affecting lease and loan brokers and the sale of off-lease motor vehicles.

California: Willful violation of the finance lender licensing laws is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. Violators can be subject to a civil penalty of $2,500 per violation. Note that brokers are also subject to the licensing requirement and payment of referral fees is restricted. Licensed lenders are exempt from California’s usury limitation: the higher of 10% or a rate tied to the Federal Reserve rate. As Tom McCurnin points out: lenders who violate California’s usury laws are prohibited from recovering any interest and loss of previously paid interest, treble damages and punitive damages are possible. 

Colorado: Charging over 45% interest is a felony and carries a minimum one year prison sentence and a fine of $1,000.00.

Florida: Charging interest at a rate exceeding 18% on loans of less than $25,000 is considered a consumer finance loan and requires a license. In addition, an interest rate exceeding 25% is a second degree misdemeanor and charging an interest rate exceeding 45% is a third degree felony.

Kentucky: Lenders making loans of $15,000 or less or to sole proprietors must have a license and is subject to a usury limitation of 4% over the Fed 90-day commercial paper rate. Failure to obtain the loan license when necessary is a misdemeanor. The statute also provides that any loan contract made in violation of this statute shall be void and the lender shall have no right to collect any principal, charges or recompense whatsoever.”

Maryland: Loans under $15,000 made to a borrower other than a corporation face a 24% usury limitation and require licensing. Failure to obtain the license is a misdemeanor subject to fines and/or imprisonment not exceeding 3 years.

Massachusetts: The criminal usury rate is 20%. Violation of the criminal usury statute is punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than ten years or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Michigan: If the borrower is a “business entity” but the lender is not a bank, credit union or similar institution, the maximum interest rate is 25% and that rate is subject to criminal penalties. Any person guilty of criminal usury may be imprisoned for up to 5 years and/or fined up to $10,000.00.

Minnesota: Loans to sole proprietors are limited to: 
Any person who violates the loan licensing statute is guilty of a “gross misdemeanor” and loans made without a license are void. The borrower is not liable to pay any amount under the loan and can obtain a refund of any money paid on the loan.

New Jersey: Loans for business purposes under $50,000 are limited to 16% interest (or a rate tied to federal rates, if higher). In addition to its civil usury rates New Jersey’s criminal usury rates are: (a) 50% for to loans to corporations, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships; and (b) 30% to other borrowers Violation of criminal usury laws subjects the lending party to criminal usury liability and a fine up to $250,000.

Rhode Island: The maximum interest rate any entity may charge may not exceed the greater of 21% per annum or 9% above a published index. Violation of the usury statute can result in forfeiture of the entire principal and interest and imprisonment for not more than five years.

Tennessee: Tennessee’s usury rate is a variable published “formula rate”. The willful collection of usury is a misdemeanor punishable by up to eleven (11) months, twenty-nine (29) days in jail.

Barry S. Marks, CLFP
Marks & Associates, P.C.
400 Century Park South, Suite 100
Birmingham, AL 35226
Mailing Address: PO BOX 1138
Birmingham, AL 35202
Tel: (205) 251-8303
Fax: (205) 278-8905


Bookmark Leasing News


Full List:




Alternate Finance Association Membership
United States

Technically these groups are an association: "an organization of people with a common purpose and having a formal structure."  In reality, and by their own admission, they are more an association of "lobbyists": "...trying to influence legislation on behalf of a special interest."

One thing they have in common is a very small number of members; anywhere from three to eight, although they are trying to attract new members.

Coalition for Responsible Business Finance (CRBF) states, "The business sector of "alternative" or "innovative" or “non-traditional” funding mechanisms has emerged as a reliable source of capital for small businesses in the United States.  The Coalition for Responsible Business Finance (CRBF) helps ensure that this sector rises in prominence and thrives without undue state and federal regulatory burdens.  The work of CRBF proactively protects and enhances the reputation of the industry by bringing leaders in the small business community together with small business lenders and advocating their shared desire to increase access to capital for small business."

An Advisory Board is listed ( but
no members are listed at this time
However, staff is mentioned with Tom Sullivan, Executive Director:

"Tom Sullivan is an attorney in the government relations practice of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP in Washington, DC. Tom runs the Small Business Coalition for Regulatory Relief ( and represents several clients including the National Federation of Independent Business."

"Nicholas N. Owens is the CEO of Magnolia Strategy Partners, a bipartisan government relations and corporate strategic counseling firm. As a senior executive in the federal government, Owens was appointed as the fifth National Ombudsman for the U.S. Small Business Administration."

Commercial Finance Coalition (CFC) has hired two reportedly well-established lobbying groups.  The group reportedly has 20 members. They describe themselves as "a not-for-profit alliance of innovative financial technology companies that are working together to deploy capital to help small and mid-sized businesses grow… CFC members include lenders, commercial finance brokers, payment processors, data providers, merchant cash advance companies and recovery agencies."

Financial Innovation Now was formed to "lobby for policies important to the growing electronic payments sector." In their mission, it includes "... expanding the market for online commerce and lending and improving access for underserved populations."  Members are involved in loans and leases, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit, and PayPal. The executive Director of the coalition, Brian Peters, is also a staffer at tech lobbying powerhouse the Franklin Square Group.

Founded by what their press release calls "The nation's three largest online small business lending platforms – OnDeck® (NYSE: ONDK), Kabbage, and CAN Capital."

The ILPA press release states, "Beginning in June 2016, the Innovative Lending Platform Association will commence a 90-day ‘"national engagement period’ in which it will seek feedback on the SMART Box initiative from interested lenders, trade associations, policymakers, and non-profit organizations. In September 2016, the Innovative Lending Platform Association will encourage those interested in promoting the responsible development of the small business lending industry to voluntarily adopt or support the model disclosure."

"The Innovative Lending Platform Association is focused on advancing small business online lending education, advocacy, and best practices."

The new association is aligned with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), “For twenty-five years, AEO and its more than 450 member organizations have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families and their communities. AEO members and partners include a broad range of organizations that provide capital and services to assist underserved entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing and expanding their businesses. Together, we are working to change the way that capital and services flow to underserved entrepreneurs so that they can create jobs and opportunities for all."

The Innovative Lending Platform Association is seeking members:


Marketplace Lending Association (MLA) was launched by the CEOs of Funding Circle, Lending Club and Prosper. Reportedly between the three, about $20 billion has been loaned out, and analysts predict that, by 2020, the marketplace lending sector could represent assets totaling around $122 billion. The new association is aimed at promoting responsible business practices and “sound public policy.”  The website states they are looking for members.

One of the earlier groups is now called the Small Business Finance
Association (SBFA), who have hired an experienced "lobbyist," Stephen "Steve" Dennis. Members to date include bizfi, bfscapital, Capify, Capital for Merchants, eleveante Funding, Fora Financial, GRP Funding, Merchant Capital Sources, Merchants Capital Access, NextWave Funding, Principis Capital, Rapid Advance, Retail Capital, Strategic Funding, Swift Capital, Yalber.  By the dues set-up, this is not for individual members, but more for access to Washington.

“"We felt it was time to bring on an experienced Capitol Hill veteran to make SBFA the leading voice for alternative small business finance in Washington," said incoming President of SBFA and Chief Executive Officer of Capify, David Goldin. "It is time to come together as an industry to ensure we have a strong and unified voice on behalf of the small businesses we serve."





##### Press Release ############################

NEFA Educational Grants Available
for Equipment Finance Professionals

Chris Walker, CLP
(Photo: GreatAmerica Corporate Directory)

The Chris Walker Education Fund Board of Trustees is accepting grant applications. Applications will be accepted now through December 22nd, 2017. The fund will award a total of $15,000 in grants to be distributed in December 2017.

Funds available through the Chris Walker Educational Fund can be used for any project or need that furthers the general education of leasing professionals - either for individual use based on need or for another project that helps the leasing industry's educational platform as a whole.

The award will be split up into two types of designations with $8500 in grants being awarded to institutions, foundations, or associations; and $6,500 being dispersed for individual grants. This balance of grant disbursements may change depending on the number of grant requests from both groups. Individual grants are intended to support individual industry members’ educational initiatives. This includes grants for industry education, certifications such as the Certified Lease and Finance Professionals (CLFP) designation or development of content for NEFA’s Online Learning Center or other educational initiatives. Individual grants can be requested up to $1,000, or an amount equal to the cost of qualified industry related education.

All grant requests will be sent to Nancy Geary, CPA, CLFP with ECS Financial Services, Inc., directly and held in the strict confidence of the Chris Walker Education Fund Board members All information will be kept confidential.

Grant Request Form:

About the Award:

### Press Release ############################


Staffie Mix
New York City, New York Adopt-a-Dog

Age: 7 Years
Weight: 35 lbs.

"Hi everyone! I was found in a building in Puerto Rico after it was abandoned due to Hurricane Maria. I was left in a crate with minimal food and no water for days! As you might’ve noticed, I am suffering from an environmental fungus that had gone untreated for some time and I’m currently waiting for a vet visit to see what they can do to accelerate the treatment. Otherwise, I’m a very sweet quiet girl, excellent walker on leash! I mostly stay by the person walking me. I like most dogs and would be a great family pet!"

For more information:

(You may print and fill out the Adoption Application ahead of time, but we will only accept applications in person. Please DO NOT MAIL OR FAX it in.)

Animal Haven
200 Centre Street
New York, NY 10013

12 PM – 7 PM Tuesday-Sunday.
*We will be closing at 5pm on Sundays through December 10th.
Closed Mondays

Adopt a Pet



TV Series Reviews by Kit Menkin
"The Crown is Back this Friday"

Netflix has announced the next season of their TV series "The Crown" will premiere this Friday. "With the world undergoing great changes, a damaged British monarchy must confront its past in order to have a future."

Season 1 started off on the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. It is very revealing, and historical. One of the things I learned is what a terrible life they have and how they are expected to behave and what political control they really have. IMDb gives it an 8.8 rating.

Winston Churchill played by John Lithgow


News Briefs----

Federal court orders Boersen Farms to pay $19.5 million
 to Tetra Financial Group for equipment leases, contempt

Consumer Bureau’s New Leader Steers a Sudden Reversal
Pay Day Loans Back, Bank Irregulators okay, Wild West Supported

Hire a Master Sergeant
   instead of a Masters Degree

Asset Manager
Los Angeles, California
Class 8 through Class 6 Trucks

Manage repossession, valuation, refurbishing,
remarketing trucks and equipment
Exp. owner-operator trucking business a must
To learn more, please click here

"Helping Owner-Operators Break
through Credit Challenges"




You May Have Missed---

YouTube, responding to crisis over content,
 will have 10,000 people addressing problems: CEO


Hope Is a Tattered Flag 
by Carl Sandburg

Hope is a tattered flag and a dream of time. 
Hope is a heart spun word, the rainbow, the shadblow in white 
The evening star inviolable over the coal mines, 
The shimmer of northern lights across a bitter winter night, 
The blue hills beyond the smoke of the steel works, 
The birds who go on singing to their mates in peace, war, peace, 
The ten-cent crocus bulb blooming in a used-car salesroom, 
The horseshoe over the door, the luck piece in the pocket, 
The kiss and the comforting laugh and resolve— 
Hope is an echo, hope ties itself yonder, yonder. 
The spring grass showing itself where least expected, 
The rolling fluff of white clouds on a changeable sky, 
The broadcast of strings from Japan, bells from Moscow, 
Of the voice of the prime minister of Sweden carried 
Across the sea in behalf of a world family of nations 
And children singing chorales of the Christ child 
And Bach being broadcast from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 
And tall skyscrapers practically empty of tenants 
And the hands of strong men groping for handholds 
And the Salvation Army singing God loves us….



Sports Briefs---

Russia has been barred from the 2018 Winter Games for systematic doping. Punishment without precedent in Olympic history

Warriors’ Stephen Curry sidelined for at least two weeks with sprained right ankle

Raiders playoff chase: Sweep of Chiefs would be huge for AFC West hopes




California Nuts Briefs---

Ventura County wildfire rages over 50,000 acres, reaches Pacific Ocean as it jumps 101 Freeway

Oakland workers strike, bringing city services
 to a halt, with no end in sight Previous

High housing prices are forcing hundreds
  of Sacramento State students into homelessness

Cold but no rain in immediate forecast.
 Is California having a dry winter?

Tumblr founder David Karp resigns
   after 11 years in charge


“Gimme that Wine”

Move over bottles, wine in cans capturing the millennial demand
(Drinking wine in paper cup okay)

Bordeaux 2017: How the new vintage is shaping up

Wine Prices by vintage

US/International Wine Events

Leasing News Wine & Spirits Page


This Day in History

     1492 - Christopher Columbus lands on the island of Santo Domingo in search of gold.  He finds a lot of natives that he makes slaves and brings back to Spain, reporting that he has found a route to India. Later he is to bring tobacco back to Europe, which becomes a big rage to chew and smoke.
    1628 - Thomas Beard began manufacturing shoes. He came over on the Mayflower. Prior to that date, shoes were imported from England. The colonists also learned from the Native Americans how to make moccasins, which were so well liked that as early as 1650, they were exported to Eng­land.
    1776 - Phi Beta Kappa, the first scholastic fraternity, is founded at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
    1787 - Delaware became the first state to ratify the federal Constitution by unanimous vote. It was signed on December 7 by all 30 members of the Constitutional Convention. Thomas Collins, who was president of Delaware at that time, automatically became the first state governor.
    1790 - Congress moved from New York City to Philadelphia. 
    1820 - James Monroe was re-elected president of the United Sates. Daniel D. Tompkins was re-elected vice-president. The electoral vote was Monroe, 231; John Quincy Adams, a Federalist and Monroe’s secretary of state, 1 electoral vote. The panic of 1819 had wrought great changes in people’s economic status. A period of wild speculation had ended with wholesale foreclosures by banks, and much property in the South and West reverted to the national bank. To add to this, at the end of 1818, the Union consisted of 11 free and 11 slave states. Ready to be a state, Maine would be a free state, but it would be offset by creating the state of Missouri from Louisiana, otherwise known as the Missouri Compromise. The fourth U.S. Census recorded a population of 9,638,453. The center of population was 16 miles east of Moorefield, W.Va.
    1862 - President Lincoln ordered the hanging of 39 of the 303 convicted Indians who participated in the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota. They were to be hanged on Dec. 26. The Dakota Indians were going hungry when food and money from the federal government was not distributed as promised. They led a massacre that left over 400 white people dead. The uprising was put down and 300 Indians were sentenced to death. Pres. Lincoln reduced the number to 39, who were hanged. The government then nullified the 1851 treaty. 
    1864 - Abraham Lincoln appointed Ohio Senator Salmon P. Chase to be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, a strong advocate of African-American rights.
( lower half of: l )
    1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, abolishing slavery in the US. "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, save as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." In 1860, the US Census recorded a population of 31,443,321. There were 448,070 free blacks and 3,953,760 slaves in the country, the overwhelming majority were black.
    1884 - Washington Monument is “topped.”
    1865 - Eight months after the end of the Civil War, Georgia became the last state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, officially ending the institution of slavery in the United States. With it, the single greatest change wrought by the Civil War was officially noted in the U.S. Constitution.
    1876 – The presidential election held on November 7 had given Governor of New York Samuel J. Tilden, the Democratic candidate, a popular vote plurality of 250,000, but Republicans refused to concede on the grounds that returns from Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon were in dispute and thus their 19 electoral votes. Rutherford B. Hayes needed the electoral votes of those states to win. On December 6, two different sets of electoral returns were reported from the four states. The electoral vote ultimately was to be determined by a special 15-members electoral commission with five members from each house of Congress and five members from the Supreme Court, made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats. On March 2, Congress adopted the commission’s decision, Rutherford B. Hayes received 185 electoral votes and Tilden 184. The Republicans were accused of offering southern Democrats economic favors for their region if they supported Hayes’s claim. In any event, the new president showed a conciliatory attitude toward the South: the last federal troops were withdrawn and there was no further effort to protect the rights of blacks. All government programs for equality were ended. Reconstruction was over.
    1876 - Jack McCall is convicted for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok and sentenced to hang. He was acquitted at an “illegal” trial, but held again for trial in South Dakota, where he was convicted, then became the first person hanged in South Dakota. Wild Bill Hickok’s card hand held an ace of spades, ace of clubs, two black eights - clubs and spades - and the jack of diamonds. This became known as aces and eights - the dead man's hand.
    1877 - Washington Post publishes first edition 
    1877 - First sound recording made (Thomas Edison)
Edison did not build the first sound recording machine, but made his first phonograph design and gave a sketch of the machine to his mechanic, former Swiss clock maker John Kruesi, to build. Thirty hours later the machine was finished, but Kruesi bet the inventor $2 that it would not work. Edison immediately tested the machine by speaking a nursery rhyme into the mouthpiece, "Mary had a little lamb." To his amazement, the machine played his words back to him. Kruesi would go on be involved in many of Edison's key inventions, including the quadruplex telegraph, the carbon microphone, the phonograph, and the incandescent light bulb and system of electric lighting. 
    1886 - Birthday of Joyce Kilmer (d. 1918), at New Brunswick, NJ.  American poet most famous for his poem “Trees,” which was published in 1913.  Killed in action near Ourcy, France, in World War I, July 30, 1918. Camp Kilmer was named for him. 
    1886 - A great snowstorm hit the southern Appalachian Mountains. The three-day storm produced 25 inches at Rome, GA, 33 inches at Asheville, NC, and 42 inches in the mountains. Montgomery, AL received a record eleven inches of snow. Columbia, SC received one to two inches of sleet. (4th-6th)
    1892 - Birthday of Theodore Lawless (d. 1971), African-American medicine pioneer, born Thibodeaux, Louisiana. He was a dermatologist who became a millionaire form his studies, practice and development of medicines. He also contributed to the better understanding of syphilis, a venereal disease; and leprosy, a disease which wastes away the muscles of the body. Setting up his offices in the heart of Chicago's Black community, he established one of the largest and best-known skin clinics in the city. For many years, men and women and children, both black and white, crowded his waiting room from morning until night. But he still found time to teach at Northwestern University, work with the staff of Chicago's Provident Hospital, and share his knowledge with other doctors. In 1954, he was awarded the NAACP's Springarn Medal. In 1970 at his seventy-eighth birthday celebration on Dillard University's campus, Lawless shared the philosophy that directed his life: 
“I sought my soul,
But my soul I could not see,
I sought my God, but my God eluded me,
I sought my neighbor, and I found all there.”
    1896 - Birthday of Ira Gershwin, born Israel Gershowitz (d. 1983), NYC.  Pulitzer Prize-winning American lyricist and author who collab­orated with his brother, George, and with many other composers.
Among his Broadway successes: Lady Be Good, Funny Face, Strike
Up the Band and such songs as “The Man I Love,” “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
    1898 - Birthday of American photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt (d. 1995), Dirschau, Prussia. One of the greatest photojournalists in US history, he is best known for his 86 photos that were used on covers of Life magazine, including the photo of the sailor kissing a nurse in New York’s Times Square at the end of World War II.
    1920 - Pianist/composer Dave Brubeck (d. 2012) birthday, Concord, CA.
    1921 - Otto Graham (d. 2003), the Hall of Fame quarterback who ran and passed the Cleveland Browns to seven league championships in 10 seasons (1946-55), was born in Waukegan, IL.
    1922 - William P. McGivern (d. 1982) was born in Chicago. American novelist, screenplay writer, who published over 20 novels covering the wide genre of thrillers — homicide detection, espionage, political corruption, the world of psychopath, & the crooked cop.
    1922 - The first electric commercial power line was placed in operation by Utica Gas and Electric Company, Utica, NY. The plant was built by the General Electric Company, Schenectady, NY, and consisted of the transmitters, the power lines, and the associated receives. The transmission lines carried both voices and power. A single power line could carry several different carrier frequencies simultaneously, making possible distant supervisory control of various types of electric equipment. This opened the United States, and the world to cheap electrical power, transmission, and changed lifestyles. The first hydrogen-cooled turbine generator for cities was built by GE, who lead the field in innovation and relatively low cost for consumers
    1925 - Tenor sax and flute player Bob Cooper (d. 1993) born, Pittsburgh, PA.
    1928 - Birthday of drummer Frank Dunlop (d. 2014), Buffalo, NY
    1937 - Birthday of drummer Eddie Gladden (d. 2003), Newark, NJ
    1940 - Birthday of bass player Jay Leonhard, Baltimore, MD
    1940 - Nat King Cole Trio cuts first Decca recordings.
    1941 - President Roosevelt, convinced on the basis of intelligence reports that the Japanese fleet is headed for Thailand, not the United States, telegrams Emperor Hirohito with the request that "for the sake of humanity," the emperor intervene "to prevent further death and destruction in the world." The Royal Australian Air Force had sighted Japanese escorts, cruisers, and destroyers on patrol near the Malayan coast, south of Cape Cambodia. An Aussie pilot managed to radio that it looked as if the Japanese warships were headed for Thailand-just before he was shot down by the Japanese. Back in England, Prime Minister Churchill called a meeting of his chiefs of staff to discuss the crisis. While reports were coming in describing Thailand as the Japanese destination, they began to question whether it could have been a diversion. British intelligence had intercepted the Japanese code "Raffles," a warning to the Japanese fleet to be on alert-but for what? Britain was already preparing Operation Matador, the launching of their 11th Indian Division into Thailand to meet the presumed Japanese invasion force. But at the last minute, Air Marshall Brooke-Popham received word not to cross the Thai border for fear that it would provoke a Japanese attack if, in fact, the warship movement was merely a bluff. Meanwhile, 600 miles northwest of Hawaii, Admiral Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese fleet, announced to his men: "The rise or fall of the empire depends upon this battle. Everyone will do his duty with utmost efforts." Thailand was, in fact, a bluff. Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii was confirmed for Yamamoto as the Japanese target after the Japanese consul in Hawaii had reported to Tokyo that a significant portion of the U.S. Pacific fleet would be anchored in the harbor. 
    1944 - The Count Basie Orchestra records "Red Bank Boogie." 
    1947 - Stan Kenton cuts “Peanut Vendor.”,

    1947 - Everglades National Park was established.  Part of vast marshland area on southern Florida peninsula, originally authorized May 30,1934.
    1950 - Duluth, MN had their greatest 24 hour snowfall when 25.4 inches fell
    1951 - Top Hits
“Sin (It’s No)” - Eddy Howard
“Because of You” - Tony Bennett
“Down Yonder” - Del Wood
“Slow Poke” - Pee Wee King
    1952 - The Mills Brothers' "The Glow-Worm" hits #1 
    1954 - No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: "Mr. Sandman," The Chordettes.
    1957 - Mercury Records releases the Diamonds' cover of the Chuck Willis dance tune "The Stroll." It peaks at #8 on the pop chart and sparks a fad for the dance of the same name.
    1957 - Elvis visits radio station WDIA in Memphis and meets two of his idols, Little Junior Parker and Bobby Bland. 
    1959 - Top Hits
“Mack the Knife” - Bobby Darin
“Don’t You Know” - Della Reese
“In the Mood” - Ernie Field’s Orch.
“Country Girl” - Faron Young
    1960 - Gene Autry was attending the 1960 baseball winter meetings hoping to secure a broadcasting contract for KMPC, his Los Angeles radio station. The ‘Singing Cowboy’ wound up as the owner of the expansion Los Angeles Angels (when no one came forward to bid for the team, Autry made a bid of his own). The team became the showpiece for KMPC. The Angels played their first season in Wrigley Field (capacity 22,000), then rented Dodger Stadium and later moved to Anaheim. 
In 2002, they won the World Series, beating the San Francisco Giants.
    1960 - 500 store owners in Tucson, Arizona sign pledges of non-discrimination.  In 1994, a black chamber of commerce was formed in Tucson, the 33rd largest city in the United States. One of the “hold out” states, it was not until 1993 that Arizona observed its first statewide Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. June 7, 1993, Governor Jean Shaheen of New Hampshire signed the King Holiday legislation into law, completing enactment of holiday in all states.
    1965 - Motown Records releases Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "Going to a Go-Go." The song is later covered by the Rolling Stones. The Miracles' version will reach #11 on the pop chart.
    1966 - The Beatles record "When I'm Sixty-Four" 
    1967 - Top Hits
“Daydream Believer” - The Monkees
“The Rain, the Park & Other Things” - The Cowsills
“I Say a Little Prayer” - Dionne Warwick
“It’s the Little Things” - Sonny James
    1967 - The first heart transplant in the United States was performed at Maimonides Hospital in Brooklyn, New York City. Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz was the surgeon and the patient was a two-week-old baby boy, who lived for 6.5 hours after the operation. The transplant took place three days after Dr. Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant in history in Cape Town, South Africa. The first heart transplant performed on an adult in the United States took place on January 6, 1968, at the Stanford Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA. The patient was Mike Kasperak and the surgeon was Dr. Norman Shumway.
    1967 - LITEKY, ANGELO J., Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Chaplain (Capt.), U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 199th Infantry Brigade. place and date: Near Phuoc-Lac, Bien Hoa province, Republic of Vietnam, 6 December 1967. Entered service at: Fort Hamilton, N.Y. Born: 14 February 1931, Washington, D.C. Citation: Chaplain Liteky distinguished himself by exceptional heroism while serving with Company A, 4th Battalion, 12th Infantry, 199th Light Infantry Brigade. He was participating in a search and destroy operation when Company A came under intense fire from a battalion size enemy force. Momentarily stunned from the immediate encounter that ensued, the men hugged the ground for cover. Observing 2 wounded men, Chaplain Liteky moved to within 15 meters of an enemy machine gun position to reach them, placing himself between the enemy and the wounded men. When there was a brief respite in the fighting, he managed to drag them to the relative safety of the landing zone. Inspired by his courageous actions, the company rallied and began placing a heavy volume of fire upon the enemy's positions. In a magnificent display of courage and leadership, Chaplain Liteky began moving upright through the enemy fire, administering last rites to the dying and evacuating the wounded. Noticing another trapped and seriously wounded man, Chaplain Liteky crawled to his aid. Realizing that the wounded man was too heavy to carry, he rolled on his back, placed the man on his chest and through sheer determination and fortitude crawled back to the landing zone using his elbows and heels to push himself along. pausing for breath momentarily, he returned to the action and came upon a man entangled in the dense, thorny underbrush. Once more intense enemy fire was directed at him, but Chaplain Liteky stood his ground and calmly broke the vines and carried the man to the landing zone for evacuation. On several occasions when the landing zone was under small arms and rocket fire, Chaplain Liteky stood up in the face of hostile fire and personally directed the medivac helicopters into and out of the area. With the wounded safely evacuated, Chaplain Liteky returned to the perimeter, constantly encouraging and inspiring the men. Upon the unit's relief on the morning of 7 December 1967, it was discovered that despite painful wounds in the neck and foot, Chaplain Liteky had personally carried over 20 men to the landing zone for evacuation during the savage fighting. Through his indomitable inspiration and heroic actions, Chaplain Liteky saved the lives of a number of his comrades and enabled the company to repulse the enemy. Chaplain Liteky's actions reflect great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
    1969 - Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Livermore, a free concert featuring performance by the Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplanes, Santana, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the Flying Burrito Brothers turned into tragedy. The "thank you" concert for 300,000 fans was marred by overcrowding, drug overdoses and the fatal stabbing of a spectator by a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang, who had been hired as security guards for the event. The murder is filmed and included in the film "Gimme Shelter" which premieres exactly one year later.
    1969 - Musician Cab Calloway turned actor as he was seen in the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation of "The Littlest Angel" on NBC. The big band singer, known for such classics as "Minnie the Moocher", became a movie star in "The Blues Brothers" (1980) with John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd. 
    1969 - "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," by Steam, reached the #1 spot on the top 40. It stayed at the top for two weeks and was the only major hit for the group that later ran out of ... steam. 
    1970 - "Gimme Shelter," the documentary film about the Rolling Stones' 1969 tour of the U.S. debuts on the anniversary of the Altamont concert.
    1970 - A windstorm toppled the National Christmas Tree at the White House. 
    1971 - It was payday for Jack Nicklaus. He received $30,000 for capturing the first Disney World golf tournament. His earnings for the season totaled $244,490. 
    1971 - Ryan Wayne White (d. 1990) born with hemophilia, Kokomo, IN, later to contract AIDS from blood-clotting products.

    1973 - Gerald Ford was sworn in as vice-president under Richard Nixon, following the resignation of Spiro Agnew who pled no contest to a charge of income tax evasion. Ford became the first vice president chosen under the 25th amendment when he was sworn into office as President Richard Milhous Nixon’s vice president. The 25th amendment, ratified on February 10, 1967, enables the president to appoint a vice president in the event that the office becomes vacant. On October 10, 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned to face charges of income tax evasion, leaving the vice presidency open for the first time since the passage of the amendment. When President Nixon resigned, Gerald Ford became the first president of the United States never elected to the office. He later pardoned Nixon after his resignation as president. Some say it was this act that elected Jimmy Carter president of the United States in 1976. The electoral vote was Carter, 297; Pres. Ford, 240. the popular vote was Carter, 40,828,929; Ford 38,148,940. In congressional elections, the Democrats kept a 2-Senate majority, 61-38, with one seat going to an impendent, and a House Majority o4 2192-143. Yet Carter was considered by historians as a very ineffectual president and leader. Some say it was the challenging of his chief campaign manager who became director of the Officer of Management and budget, Bert Lance. Never the less, in the first months of Pres. Jimmy Carter’s administration, most Vietnam-era draft resisters were pardoned, the planned pullout of U.S. forces from South Korea was announced, and administration officials spoke out against human rights violations worldwide. Vernon Jordon of the National Urban League charged the administration with not doing enough to reduce unemployment among blacks. In his second year, national unemployment reached 7% and the Dow Jones declined, while the U.S. faced a high trade deficit, primarily because of oil imports and the falling value of the dollar. 
    1973 - Steve Miller who'd been laying low for most of last year and this year, gets a gold record for "The Joker," his most successful LP to date. The title track becomes Miller's first chart-topping hit and gives cameo roles to some of his previous in-song personas, like "Maurice" and "The Gangster of Love."
    1975 - Paul Simon’s album, "Still Crazy After All These Years," was number one in the U.S. It was Simon’s first #1 solo album and it contained his first recording with Art Garfunkel since their 1969 breakup ("My Little Town," which was also included on Garfunkel’s "Breakaway" album). 
    1975 - Senator Robert Dole & Elizabeth Hanford marry.
    1975 - Top Hits
“Fly, Robin, Fly” - Silver Convention
“Sky High” - Jigsaw
“Let’s Do It Again” - The Staple Singers
“Secret Love” - Freddy Fender
    1975 - Soul singer Tyrone Davis enters the R&B chart with "Turning Point," which -- though it will never enter the pop chart -- will hit Number One early next year.
    1979 - AC/DC's big breakthrough comes with his fifth U.S. album, "Highway to Hell." It turns gold and happens to be the last album recorded with original vocalist Bon Scott, who dies two months later.
    1983 - Top Hits
“All Night Long (All Night)” - Lionel Richie
“Say Say Say” - Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
“Uptown Girl” - Billy Joel
“A Little Good News” - Anne Murray
    1984 - The longest winning streak in the history of women’s tennis came to an end when Helena Kuova defeated Martina Navatilova, who had won 74 matches in a row, starting January 15, 1974.
    1986 - University of Miami quarterback Vinny Testaverde won the Heisman Trophy. 
    1987 - Another in a series of storms brought high winds and heavy rain to the northwestern U.S., with heavy snow in some of the higher elevations. In northern California, Crescent City was drenched with 2.58 inches of rain, and winds gusted to 90 mph. Up to fourteen inches of snow blanketed the mountains of northern California, and snow and high winds created blizzard conditions around Lake Tahoe, NV.
    1989 - Heavy snow blanketed the Central Rocky Mountain Region. Totals in the southern foothills of Colorado ranged up to 17 inches at Rye. Arctic air invaded the north central U.S. Lincoln, NE, which reported a record high of 69 degrees the previous afternoon, was 35 degrees colder. International Falls, MN was the cold spot in the nation with a morning low of 9 degrees below zero, and temperatures in northern Minnesota hovered near zero through the daylight hours.
    1991 - Top Hits
“Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” - PM Dawn
“Black or White” - Michael Jackson
“Blowing Kisses in the Wind” - Paula Abdul
“Forever Together” - Randy Travis
    1994 - Financial disaster hit Orange County on December 6, 1994, as a dalliance with high-risk investing forced the affluent California community to file for bankruptcy. The move, which marked the single biggest bankruptcy filing by a municipality, capped off a disastrous run for Orange County and its multi-billion-dollar investment fund.
    1998 - Astronauts on the U.S. space shuttle "Endeavour" completed the most difficult task of their 12-day mission, mating modules from Russia and the United States to create the first two building blocks of International Space Station. “We have capture of Zarya,” Commander Robert Cabana announced when the two pieces came together at approximately 9:07 p.m. EST. “Congratulations to the crew of the good ship Endeavour,” replied Mission Control. “That's terrific.” 
    1999 - The U.S. airline maintenance company SabreTech was cleared of conspiracy charges in the crash of a plane belonging to cut-rate carrier ValuJet, which killed 110 people. The company was convicted on a series of less serious charges, including the improper packaging of the oxygen canisters thought to be responsible for the crash. The case involved 144 oxygen generators removed by SabreTech from other ValuJet planes and delivered to the ill-fated flight without the required safety caps or any markings indicating the canisters were hazardous. Investigators blamed the generators for starting a 2,200-degree cargo fire that brought down the DC-9 on May 11, 1996. 
    1998 - Comedian and actor Bill Cosby receives the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. Cosby was born in Philadelphia in 1937. He dropped out of high school and joined the Navy in 1956, later getting his high school degree by correspondence. In 1960, he entered Temple University on a football scholarship, but by the following year he had become more interested in comedy and began performing regularly in a Greenwich Village nightclub. He went on to pursue a career in show business and was cast in 1965 as the partner of a white undercover agent in “I Spy,” which ran until 1968. The first network TV show to portray a natural working relationship between white and black colleagues, “I Spy” co-starred Robert Culp. (The first black-white TV show was “Harlem Detective” written-produced-directed by my father in the early 1950’s in New York.) Cosby starred in numerous other TV shows throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including “The Bill Cosby Show,” from 1969 to 1971, a situation comedy in which Cosby played a high school coach, and “The New Bill Cosby Show,” a variety show that lasted only one season (1972-73). Meanwhile, Cosby released a series of hit comedy recordings, winning eight Grammys, and earned a doctorate in education. In 1972, he launched an animated cartoon series called “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” which ran until 1984. In the 1970s and '80s, he made many appearances on children's TV shows, including “The Electric Company” and “Sesame Street.”  In 1984, “The Cosby Show” debuted, a series featuring obstetrician Cliff Huxtable, his attorney wife, and their houseful of children. Rejected by ABC and NBC when Cosby pitched a similar concept based on a blue-collar family, NBC agreed to try the show once Cosby made the main characters an affluent family. The show, which ran until 1992, became one of the most popular programs on television. From 1994 to 1995, Cosby starred in “The Cosby Mysteries,” playing a forensic expert, and launched Cosby, about downsized airline worker Clinton Lucas, in 1996. Cosby also starred in several movies, including “Leonard, Part 6” (1987), which he produced, and “Ghost Dad” (1990), but his movies generally failed to make a splash at the box office. He is later to be charge by many women for rape.
    2005 - At the Winter Meetings, the Blue Jays continue to keep their wallets open as the team agrees to a five-year, $55 million deal with A.J. Burnett ( 12-12, 3.44 ). The signing of the Marlin free agent who many consider the best starter available on the market, comes on the heels of Toronto giving B.J. Ryan $47 million over five-years making it the richest contract in baseball history.
    2007 - Billy Joel released a new Pop single called "Christmas in Fallujah," which featured the vocals of 21-year-old singer Cass Dillon. At 58, Joel said he felt he was too old to sing the song, which was inspired by letters he received from soldiers in Iraq.
    2010 – US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks revealed a cable from Hillary Clinton accusing Saudi Arabia’s wealthy of being the largest source of funding for Sunni terrorist groups.
    2014 – NASA awakened the New Horizons spacecraft from hibernation for the last time. The vessel was launched in 2005 to travel over 3 billion miles to Pluto and will be within range to begin data collection on the planet by January, 2015.



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