It's the last Slog AM of the year: I wish I had something to really ring in the New Year for you, but I don't. All I have is the news and—spoiler alert—it's bleak. Happy New Year! Maybe next one will be better. Except, I think it might be so much worse. Sorry. 

A Maine event: Following in Colorado's footsteps, Maine's primary election ballot will not include former President Donald Trump. In Colorado's case, the state's supreme court struck Trump from the ballot under the Constitution’s insurrection clause, banning those who "engaged in insurrection" from holding office. This time, Maine's secretary of state took matters into her own hands and unilaterally removed Trump. Colorado's decision must wait until the Supreme Court makes a ruling. Maine's decision will likely need the a-okay from ghouls in the Supreme Court as well. Maine's decision is a bit more of a gut punch for the Trump camp since Maine splits its four electoral votes and one elector went to Trump in 2020. In other words, Colorado was never going to swing Trump's way; Maine could have.

Trump throws a fit: Naturally, the Trump campaign wasn't pleased by Maine's decision. The campaign wasted little time putting out a statement calling this an "attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter." No, see, this is in response to the attempted theft of an election and disenfranchisement of the American voter which happened on January 6, 2021. The hypocrisy makes me want to slam my head into a thick wall. 

Moscow murder house is dead: On Thursday morning, the University of Idaho tore down the house where four students were fatally stabbed last fall. The university said the tear-down was for the well-being of other students. Families of the murder victims opposed the demolition since they viewed the house as critical evidence. 

Cloudy today: And warm-ish. Seattle will be gray and in the mid-50s, a record high for December 29th. That could explain the no-good situation in the mountains. 

Low snow: The weather is warm, the ground is dry. Snow has barely dusted the mountains up and down the West Coast. Ski resorts sit empty. The snowpack—which we rely on to irrigate crops, sustain salmon runs, fuel hydropower, and more—is less than half than normal records in some places. Bad, bad, bad. Summer is going to be a dry hellscape. 

King County breaks fentanyl overdose records: In 2023, King County saw a significant increase in fentanyl overdoses. Of the nearly 1,300 fatal overdoses this year, 1,050 involved fentanyl. That's a staggering 47% increase in fentanyl overdoses compared to 2022, which was a record at the time. Half of the overdose deaths involved using both fentanyl and methamphetamine. To put this particular crisis into context, back in 2015, King County saw just three fentanyl-related overdose deaths. Now, the fentanyl deaths have increased by more than 500%. 

Glee-core police abuse: Two Louisville, Kentucky cops were caught throwing slushies at people from an unmarked police vehicle. During a period of 11 months in 2018 and 2019, these members of Louisville's finest chucked slushies out their car window at 24 people. What is this, the hit 2009 series Glee? Slushy-gate only came to a head recently when Courier Journal Newspaper obtained video evidence of the slushying via Freedom of Information Act request. 

Beware the angry seas: The Pacific Ocean is not to be trifled with right now. She is all types of turbulent. I would be too, sweet girl. The horrors, the neglect, it's all too much for an ocean sometimes. Anyway, give her some space. A giant wave crashed into a seawall on the beach in Ventura, California. It swept up a truck and people. Eight people went to local hospitals after due to their injuries. 

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War updates: "Russia launched 122 missiles and dozens of drones" against Ukraine. The "aerial barrage" killed 24 civilians, the Associated Press reports. Meanwhile, in Palestine, hundreds of thousands of people fled to Rafah, the southernmost town in Gaza and one where they hoped to be safe from Israel's bombardments. After all, it's the place where Israel told them to go to seek shelter. However, Israel reportedly struck a Rafah hospital Thursday, killing 18 people. 

Food in 2024: The New York Times predicts 2024 will be a big year for snacking, drinking water and meat-flavored cocktails, eating buckwheat, and slurping soup.  

Wrong lever: Back in January, a plane crash in Nepal killed 72 people. Why? The pilot pulled the wrong lever, changing the propeller angle instead of the wing flaps. The plane plummeted and crashed, killing everyone on board. 

Pop-Tart ritual sacrifice: At least football is still camp. The Pop-Tart Bowl college football match happened last night. Who cares who played? There was a Pop-Tart mascot who danced on top of a giant toaster and then, at the end of the game, flashed a sign reading "dreams really do come true" as it was lowered back into the toaster, seemingly killed, and then eaten by the winning team. 

Now this is the stuff of nightmares: A Minnesota woman is suing her dentist for malpractice after he did 30 procedures on her in one day. He performed eight crowns, four root canals, and 20 fillings in one visit. Shivers ran down my spine writing that. According to a dental expert witness retained to review the medical files, the dentist's diagnosis that all of his patient's teeth were decayed was correct, but the treatment was all wrong.