▪ President Trump has yet to fill 2,000 appointed positions in the federal government, including more than 1,000 requiring Senate confirmation. The administration is finding it hard to fill jobs because of its loyalty test, a five-year lobbying ban, and a general sense of chaos in the agencies.
▪ The 400 temporary employees the Trump administration has hired as a “beachhead” to remake federal agencies include at least 36 lobbyists from the pharmaceutical, health insurance, and energy industries; several writers from the far-right Breitbart and WorldNetDaily web-sites; and a Trump campaign volunteer from New Hampshire who graduated high sch ool in 2015.
▪ For the first time ever, bottled water has overtaken soda as the most popular beverage in the country. Americans bought 12.8_billion gallons of bottled water in 2016, up almost 9_percent since 2015— and some 400_million gallons more than the 12.4_billion gallons of carbonated soft drinks they consumed.
▪ China is home to 56 of the world’s 88 self-made female billionaires. The U.S. has 15, the U.K. has eight, and nine other countries have one apiece.
▪ To lessen prison overcrowding, some Californians convicted of crimes are offered the option of paying about $100 a day to do their time in small city jails, and enjoying such privileges as phones, refrigerators, TVs, and computer access. The average “pay to stay” prisoner is charged $1,756, and some, with longer sentences, pay from $18,000 to $72,000.
Los Angeles Times ■