Midday open thread: Kwanzaa, real estate, and a really big s'more.

Today’s comic by Matt Bors is The age of reason:

Kwanzaa begins today:

Each day of Kwanza celebrates one of seven principles in Swahili. Day 1 is Umoja: Unity, followed by Kujichagulia: Self Determination, Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility, Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics, Nia: Purpose, Kuumba: Creativity, and day 7 is about Imani, which means Faith.

Ho, ho, ho:

The lights were not twinkling. The toy trains were not whirring. Even the nearby bathrooms were locked.

The national Christmas tree, symbol of a country’s seasonal cheer, instead stood as an icon of a government in paralysis, as the partial shutdown stretched into the holiday with an array of federal services frozen, some 800,000 public servants either idled or about to be and the disruption to the broader public bound to grow when the quiet spell ends later this week.

Real estate transactions in Russia are, uh, scary:

In one common scheme, agents collude with property owners to sell homes and then race to petition judges that the sale should be invalidated because the seller was temporarily insane. Buyers lose their cash, sellers keep the homes and sales agents — and judges who may be in on the scheme — pocket millions of rubles. […]

This fall, one group of real estate agents, as all agents do, followed a cardinal rule of the property market: location, location, location. They were looking for a quiet spot with few neighbors and good waterfront access — to dispose of the bodies of customers who had gotten in the way of their making, well, a killing in the market.

Over a span of five years ending this August, the group killed nine customers and dumped some bodies in a picturesque lake in the woods outside Moscow, the Russian police said in a statement.

It’s good to have goals:

One Vermont community is celebrating the holidays and the winter solstice with a massive bonfire and what they hope will be the world’s largest s’more. […]

The giant dessert will then be chopped up and shared with attendees. Organizers said they were too late in pursuing a Guinness World Record but may try next year.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: (Last year’s) Boxing Day Blowout! Keeping up with Trump corruption. Fake news trolls, Deutsche Bank connections & a payoff for Javanka’s sweetheart DC rental. Our post-truth ambassador to the 1950s. Kaine seeks Hill harassment transparency. Denied.

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Source: dailykos