Mandela: The day after he left the earth, he is suddenly everywhere. Even the Chinese government and its opponents are arguing over whose shoes are a better fit for his footsteps: "President Xi Jinping, who supported opponents of apartheid throughout the cold war, praised Mandela's victory in the struggle and his contribution to 'the cause of human progress' ... 'This moment magnifies how evil the current regime is,' Hu Jia, an activist said."

"An ideal for which I am prepared to die": From Mandela's famous speech during his trial for sabotage in 1964 that begins with a description of his education (bachelor of arts degree), his profession (law), and his crimes (leaving the country without a permit, inciting people to strike, sabotage) and ends with: "I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

Icy Reception: "Castear says he experienced what immigrant rights groups say is a common practice—detaining immigrants in frigid cells to pressure them to agree to deportation. Among immigrants, the cells are pejoratively called hieleras—Spanish for iceboxes."

US Unemployment at a Five-Year Low: "Unemployment in the US fell to 7% in November, its lowest level in five years , as employers took on 203,000 new people. The figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics may have been bolstered by the return of hundreds of thousands of federal employees following October’s government shutdown but they still represent the fourth straight month of good growth in the jobs market."

A rattlesnake the size of a jumbo jet: "Boeing says factories for its planned 777X will require total investment of up to $10 billion, but states competing for the work are asked to shrink that tab by providing the site and facilities at 'no cost, or very low cost.' In confidential documents sent to the 15 states vying for the project, Boeing estimates it will produce 8,500 direct jobs."

Another cautionary tale about deregulation and the "free" market: "When California's telephone market was deregulated in 2006, consumers were told that increased competition would improve service and reduce prices. It hasn't worked out like that." Prices have increased by 260 percent and some services, such as available minutes, have fallen by a quarter.

Yemeni Journalist (accused of terrorism by the US) wins major human-rights award: "Shaye came to prominence when he personally picked through fragments from one such [drone] strike, in Majala, establishing that US missiles – not the Yemeni military – had been responsible for the deaths of 41 people, 21 of them reportedly children and another 14 women."

Thai government sells refugees from Myanmar to human traffickers: "As thousands of Rohingya flee Myanmar to escape religious persecution, a Reuters investigation in three countries has uncovered a clandestine policy to remove Rohingya refugees from Thailand's immigration detention centers and deliver them to human traffickers waiting at sea."

Etymology of the day: "Freedom" has its roots in Old English for "noble" and "joyful." "The primary sense seems to have been 'beloved, friend, to love;' which in some languages (notably Germanic and Celtic) developed also a sense of 'free,' perhaps from the terms 'beloved' or 'friend' being applied to the free members of one's clan (as opposed to slaves, cf. Latin liberi, meaning both 'free' and 'children')."

And finally, the weather: "We are now experiencing our coldest weather since January, with temperatures falling below zero in 'favored' spots of eastern Washington and Oregon. Snow is coming to the Northwest during the next two days, but unfortunately will miss most of Washington."