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Fresh Intelligence: DOJ Threatens Legal Action in Ferguson, New Hampshire Reshuffles Race, and More

Ferguson City Council Holds First Meeting Since Police Shooting Death Of Michael Brown
Ferguson first city council meeting following Michael Brown’s shooting on September 9, 2014. Photo: Scott Olson/2014 Getty Images

Good morning and welcome to Fresh Intelligence, our roundup of the stories, ideas, and memes you’ll be talking about today. In this edition, the Feds have little tolerance for Ferguson’s city council, Sanders and Trump take New Hampshire, and your phone could turn you into a fireball. Here’s the rundown for Wednesday, February 10.

Meteorologists have started throwing around the term “arctic blast” again, but it looks like the coldest temperatures will have to wait until the weekend. In the meantime, New York will stay below freezing today, with flurries possible in the morning. []

Department of Justice Threatens Suit in Ferguson

The Department of Justice said it’s exploring “legal actions” against Ferguson, Missouri, yesterday after the city council called on the department to revise the terms of a controversial agreement put into place after the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown and the subsequent riots and unrest. Among other revisions, the city council is balking at requirements that they raise police-officer benefits and hire more African-American police officers, and they asked that federal-oversight fees be capped at $1 million over five years. [USA Today]

Sanders, Trump Take New Hampshire
The first primary results are in, and it turns out everything pundits told you after Iowa was wrong. Trump won easily, taking about 34 percent of the vote, and Sanders beat Clinton with 60 percent to her 39 percent. Kasich came in second among Republicans with 16 percent, Cruz and Bush are fighting for third place, and Rubio, the onetime Establishment savior, came in fifth.

Spurned by New Hampshire, Christie Hopes New Jersey Will Take Him Back
After failing to place in the top five coming out of the New Hampshire primary, presidential hopeful Chris Christie told reporters he was heading back to New Jersey to mull over the results. Reporters speculate that he is dropping out of the race, reasoning that you don’t just go to New Jersey unless something is terribly wrong. [The Atlantic]

Obama Releases Dream Journal
The Obama administration released its final budget yesterday in what was seen as a chance to clarify the president’s priorities and put his legacy on paper as it were. If that legacy is getting everything he cares about thrown out by Congress, then he did a great job with it. Among the many items in the $4.1 trillion budget that are sure to anger his opponents are money for education, cybersecurity jobs, and the country’s infrastructure. Everyone’s going to love the $4.1 billion for the Department of Defense though, because boo terrorists. [Reuters]

Trump Misses Massive U.S. Employment Opportunity
After telling the world America’s top-secret actual unemployment rate — 42 percent, apparently — Donald Trump announced plans for a massive $8 billion public-works project. That’s the estimated cost of his glorious southern border wall. Too bad he’s giving all of those jobs to Mexico. [CNN]

Kmart Continues to Follow in Walmart’s Footsteps
Sears, which owns the megastore chain Kmart, has announced it will close at least 50 stores across the country. The move follows an announcement that the company’s revenues are down nearly $1 billion since last year. [CBS]

Cheddar Bay BiscuitIlluminati Connection Revealed
Beyoncé is now working the same magic she worked for the wedding-ring and surfboard industries on Red Lobster. After name-checking the beloved post-coital cheese-biscuit purveyors in her viral hit “Formation,” the chain’s sales have jumped 33 percent. [CNN]

America Hates Fitness
Shares of Fitbit, the tiny robot that follows you around making you feel bad about yourself, were down again yesterday following a huge 8.5 percent dive on Monday. The stock’s value is now at an all-time low and the company has lost half of its worth over the last year. Fitbit is releasing its earnings report on February 22, but things are not looking good. [CNN]

Another Reason to Be Terrified on Planes
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a safety alert saying that transporting lithium batteries could potentially cause an explosion or fire, leading to “catastrophic hull loss.” Though nearly every passenger carries lithium batteries in their phones and laptops, the FAA said it is not recommending that passengers stop carrying personal electronics onboard. Shoes, though, still bad. [CNET]

HuffPo Will Not Let This Trump Thing Go
This is how the Huffington Post conveyed the news that Donald Trump won on Tuesday: “A Racist, Sexist Xenophobe Just Won the New Hampshire Primary.” Arianna should really moderate a debate, what could go wrong? [HuffPo]

Nerds Beat Jocks
Poorly performing ESPN is still dragging its parent company Disney down, despite this year’s incredible success of the also Disney-owned Star Wars films. If there’s a better representation of nerds finally dominating the cultural discourse, we don’t know what it is. Oh, maybe when ESPN announced video games count as sports. [LAT, Bloomberg]

Robot Saves Journalism
The Washington Post is reportedly experimenting with a new program, developed in-house, that shows editors which version of a story will perform best online. The new technology is called “Bandito” because of all the jobs it will steal. [WSJ]

This grim fellow is Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who briefed lawmakers on Tuesday about the threats facing the U.S. in the new year. Among other cheerful talking points: ISIS continues encouraging attacks on U.S. soil, terrorist groups are infiltrating migrant populations, Al Qaeda is back, North Korea is trying to shoot a missile at us, China is really good at hacking into our computer systems, and Russia is scarier than ever. Enjoy your morning!

Photo: Gabriella Demczuk/2016 Getty Images

Lunch-skipping Chris Hayes’s “Bernie Sandwiches” slip was the highlight of primary night in New Hampshire (if you’re just following politics for the gaffes). We’re excited for all the novelty deli specials!

Wendy’s Calls Cops on Hungry Customer
An archetypal Florida man, described by his mother as quite the prankster, made his state proud when he threw a live alligator through the drive-thru window of a Palm Beach Wendy’s. Nobody was injured and, yes, there is a picture of the gator.

Getting Old Sounds Surprisingly Awesome
It’s rare to be jealous of how this country treats its veterans, but we would give anything to spend the day with Charlie, the one-year-old kangaroo who works as a therapy animal at the William E. Christoffersen Veterans home in Utah. Well, probably not enough to go to war. Anyway, Charlie will soon be honored by the Utah Red Cross. Congratulations, Charlie! [AP]

Obama All Over the Place
If you feel overworked come the middle of the week, just remember that today President Obama is addressing the Illinois General Assembly, but won’t have time to visit his old haunts, as he has two fundraisers to attend in the Bay Area later in the afternoon. [Mercury News]

Big Wave Season Kicks Off
Thanks to El Niño, of course, this year’s big-wave surfing is gearing up to be some of the best. Huge swells are expected at the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational on Oahu today, and the call has gone out for the Titans of Mavericks big-wave surf event in Northern California on Friday. [KHON]

You Got a Little Schmutz Day
Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, when observant Catholics attend services and get a symbolic smudge of ash on their foreheads.  Time to put those Mardi Gras good times behind you and think of something to give up. What are you going without this year?

Fresh Intelligence: DOJ Threatens Ferguson Suit