12.20.2017

*|MC:SUBJECT|*
12.20.2017
NEED TO KNOW.
Congress on Verge of Passing Tax Bill.
Both the House and Senate voted to pass a joint tax bill that would make sweeping changes to the country's tax code - though due to procedural issues the House will have to vote again tomorrow. Assuming the House (again) passes the bill, it would head to President Trump for signature. The bill - a massive legislative accomplishment for the GOP - overhauls both the individual and corporate tax rates, while doubling the standard deduction. The top corporate tax rate would drop permanently from 35% to 21%, while the top income tax rate would fall from 39.6% to 37% (find your bracket), but revert back in 2025. A press conference is tentatively scheduled for 2 pm today for Trump to sign the bill into law - see a rundown of the most significant changes here (and finer points here). 

Cardinal at Center of Church Scandal Dies.
Cardinal Bernard Law, the disgraced former Cardinal at the center of a child sex scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in 2002, died at age 86 in Rome. While Law was not himself accused of abuse, as Archbishop of the Boston diocese he played a key role in covering up child sex abuse by other Boston priests, often moving them from parish to parish instead of exposing them. One of the priests, Father John Geoghan, was accused of molesting over 130 boys over 30 years (Geoghan was killed by an inmate in prison in 2006). The cover-up was uncovered by a bombshell Boston Globe expose, portrayed in the 2015 film Spotlight

Saudi Arabia Intercepts Missile Fired at Capital.
Saudi air defenses knocked down a missile fired towards the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh yesterday, according to officials, the second ballistic missile intercepted since the beginning of November. The missile was reportedly fired by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where the Saudis have been engaged in a proxy war with Iran for regional influence since 2015 (see 101). Hezbollah - also Iranian-backed but with a more well-equipped media arm - released a video of the missile launch (link via Twitter). A Saudi-led coalition supports the current Yemeni government against the rebels - primarily via airstrikes, which have killed nearly 140 civilians in December alone and attracted significant criticism. The conflict has killed more than 10,000 and displaced over two million, and caused widespread famine and disease among the general population. 
 
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IN THE KNOW.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

>  Lady Gaga signs $100M Las Vegas residency deal; 75 shows at MGM will begin in late 2018 (More)
>  2018 NFL Pro Bowl selections announced (More)
> John Legend tapped to play Jesus Christ in rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar; will air live on Easter (More)
 

Science & Technology.

> Counterintuitive: Study finds warming seas doubled snow accumulation on North American peaks (More)
> NIH lifts three-year ban on doing studies with dangerous viruses like influenza, SARS, and more (More)
> Woman successfully gives birth from embryo previously frozen for 24 years, longest ever (More)
 

Business & Markets.

> Bitcoin falls 10% after rival Bitcoin Cash made available to trade on Coinbase (More) | Cryptocurrency prices - total market now worth $600B (More)
> UK, New Zealand, Netherlands top Forbes' Best Countries for Business 2018 list (More)
> Gallup releases State of the Global Workplace report - 32% of adults worldwide have "good jobs", key to productivity & growth (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

> Prominent Conservative think tank Heritage Foundation names Kay Coles James as next president (More)
> Democrat wins Virginia House of Delegates seat by one vote, chamber now split 50-50 (More)
> China creates ambitious carbon market to curb emissions (More)
ETCETERA.
The most upvoted posts and top-rated AMA's from Reddit in 2017.

First trailer for star-studded, all-female Ocean's 8 spinoff released.

Kids that are motivated have more of an advantage in life than kids with high IQs.

Disney's Trump addition to the Hall of Presidents is a Jon Voight look-a-like.

Every lightsaber In every Star Wars movie, color coded in one chart.  

Rotten Tomatoes' top 20 movies of 2017.

The Most "2017" Photos of 2017 (From the Atlantic).

The to-do list for my psychological task rabbit (via McSweeney's).

Clickbait: Surgeon admits to laser branding initials onto patient's livers

Historybook: Louisiana Purchase finalized (1803); RIP Sacagawea (1812); It’s a Wonderful Life debuts (1946); RIP Carl Sagan (1996).
"WE ARE LIKE BUTTERFLIES WHO FLUTTER FOR A DAY AND THINK IT IS FOREVER."
-Carl Sagan
 
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