An Unlikely Nailbiter

Tuesday, December 12, 2017Screen Shot 2017-12-12 at 9.11.12 AM

Good Tuesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Amid a blur of question marks and conflicting polls, voters in Alabama will cast ballots on Tuesday in a contentious Senate race. Roy S. Moore, the Republican, and Doug Jones, the Democrat, made their final appeals to voters Monday.
  • Former aides of Representative Blake Farenthold say the Texas Republican runs the epitome of a hostile workplace. But despite an open ethics inquiry, few Republicans have called for his resignation.
  • Several women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct said they hoped to be taken more seriously after a torrent of allegations that have toppled the careers of men in the news media, business and politics.

  • Transgender people will be allowed to enlist in the military beginning Jan. 1, Defense Department officials said on Monday, a move that pauses Mr. Trump’s effort to bar transgender troops.
  • The Treasury Department released a one-page analysis of the nearly 500-page Senate tax bill that suggested the $1.5 trillion plan would more than pay for itself but that assumed economic  growth much faster than any independent analysis of the bill has projected.
— The First Draft Team

A Campaign Memoir That Shows Trump, at Least Partly, as He Is

Corey Lewandowski, right, President Trump's first campaign manager, is an author of “Let Trump Be Trump.”

Corey Lewandowski, right, President Trump’s first campaign manager, is an author of Let Trump Be Trump. Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump likes gold fixtures, marble tiles and the trappings of grandeur. When he talks about himself in interviews and in his books, he talks in superlatives. He has billed himself as a masterful negotiator. He has described himself as having the world’s best memory. He almost never apologizes, and he rarely admits to having flaws.
Over the years, his advisers and aides have worked to maintain the image Mr. Trump has spent a lifetime cultivating, a particular challenge during a presidential race, when candidates’ flaws are exposed. But few candidates try to keep the iron grip on their images that Mr. Trump did in 2016, driving his aides to do battle with reporters over seemingly minor details.
So it is striking that “Let Trump Be Trump,” a new book by two former campaign aides, paints a portrait of Mr. Trump that shows him as he is — at least partly — as opposed to how he would like to be seen.
Read more »
President Trump, reflected in a camera lens, spoke Friday at a rally in Pensacola, Fla.

Trump Escalates Criticism of the News Media, Fueling National Debate


President Trump has issued broadsides against major news outlets, as reporting errors provide ammunition for his case that he is being persecuted.

Anthem and other insurance companies have announced that they will be exiting the Affordable Care Act marketplace in many counties in 2018, forcing consumers to look for coverage with other insurers.

An Obamacare Surprise in the Mail: New Insurers and New Costs


Through “automatic re-enrollment,” some Obamacare consumers are being assigned new insurance policies at higher costs — for doing nothing during open enrollment.

The projectile launcher can hurl debris at 100 miles an hour, or about the speed of a Category 2 hurricane, at a target about 20 feet away.

To Test for Climate Disasters: Break, Burn and Throw Stuff


A team of researchers is destroying things — with wind, water and fire — to help insurers manage the increasing risks of extreme weather.

People lined up outside the Supreme Court in Washington to attend a session this month.

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Case on Bias Against Gay Workers


Federal appeals courts are divided over whether a federal law’s prohibition of discrimination in the workplace based on sex also applies to sexual orientation.

Afghan youths near the site of a American bombing during an operation against Islamic State militants in Asadkhil, Afghanistan, in April.

Hunting Taliban and Islamic State Fighters, From 20,000 Feet


B-52s have once again been called into action in Afghanistan. A New York Times correspondent flew on one.

A photo released by North Korea’s state news agency in April 2016 purported to show a submarine-launched ballistic missile test.

North Korean Submarine Missile Threat Prompts U.S.-Led Military Drills


The joint exercises are in response to growing concerns that North Korea is making progress developing hard-to-detect submarine-launched missiles.

A billboard in Birmingham for Roy Moore, the Republican Senatorial candidate.

How Trump Became a Vocal Cheerleader for Moore


At first, the president remained largely silent on a contentious race. But as the special Senate election in Alabama neared, he voiced support for Roy Moore for the seat.

Ed Preston cleared leaves at his house before evacuating with his wife and two children in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Sunday.

In California, Mixed Results for Regulations Meant to Help Stop Fires


While the rules can certainly help in slow-moving fires, they have proved no match for the high-wind fires that made this season so destructive.

A home destroyed by fire at the Rancho Monserate Country Club near San Diego. The proposed tax overhaul would do away with a deduction for such losses.

Would the G.O.P. Tax Bill Penalize California Wildfire Victims?


How the proposed scrapping of the casualty loss deduction would affect taxpayers hit by the West Coast fires.

Power lines near Vega Baja, P.R., that were damaged by Hurricane Maria. Researchers say the storm’s devastation left the island a blank slate for innovative energy projects.

Rethinking Electric Power, Prompted by Politics and Disaster


On the West Coast, a center for alternative energy technology, researchers see opportunities for new ideas in Puerto Rico’s wrecked power grid and Washington’s turn from climate policy.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
Dana Hall McCain in The Dothan Eagle:
“If your vote is the whole of your efforts, you simply can’t afford the luxury of a complicated election cycle. That’s a garbage game plan — and nobody’s fault but ours.”
Ms. McCain, who begins her column enumerating her “pro-life credentials,” argues that even the staunchest of abortion foes should withhold their support for Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate for the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. She frames her argument in “a parlance we all understand in Alabama — football,” explaining that “for pro-life Christians in Alabama, this situation is tantamount to being 4th-and-2 on the 50-yard line.” Read more »
From the Left
Michael Harriot in The Root:
Tuesday’s election has little to do with the bodies of little girls [ …] It is about white supremacy. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
Mr. Harriot is skeptical of what some pundits and Moore supporters have called “Alabama values.” These “values,” he writes, “selected as their winner every single presidential candidate who ever ran on a platform of segregation or white supremacy.” These values, this election is proving, aren’t about protecting children from predators, but rather, are about what they’ve always been about: “white supremacy.” Read more »
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