Congressional Republicans are celebrating the passage of their tax plan, while many other issues are being pushed till 2018.
A Dream Deferred, Again
With the tax bill out of the way, avoiding a government shutdown on Friday is the top priority for Republicans in Congress — and most everything else will apparently have to wait. An $81-billion disaster relief package for hurricane and wildfire victims may make it through. But among the agenda items being deferred are a promised year-end deal to protect the young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation; an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, which provides insurance for about 9 million children; and measures to stabilize the Affordable Care Act.
‘Taxmas’ Is Here. Who Will Pay?
President Trump is calling the tax overhaul bill a two-fer: “We have essentially repealed Obamacare,” Trump said, pointing to a provision in the bill to end the penalty on Americans who don’t get health insurance. But some are wondering if Trump and the GOP are getting more than they bargained for, in the form of a potential political backlash over the perception that the bill favors elites — and in the warnings from some analysts that it could overheat the economy.
-- A guide to paying your property taxes early, before the new tax law kicks in.
-- “No one is above the law, not even the president”: Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia says any attempt by Trump to interfere with the Russia investigation would be a “gross abuse of power.”
-- Not so fast: A panel of election judges ruled that a state race in Virginia was a tie instead of a one-vote victory for a Democrat. Now it appears the winner will be decided by drawing a name from a jar.
-- The U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote on a nonbinding resolution condemning the Trump administration’s formal declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
An Autumnal Harbinger of Doom (It’s a Dry Heat)
Today is the first day of winter, yet scientists are looking to the weather conditions in the just-concluded fall for an idea of how the wildfire threat is increasing in Southern California. What they’ve seen isn’t good: no rain, combined with record heat, and Santa Ana winds on top of that. The warmth “is clearly a symptom of climate change,” says one UCLA researcher. The huge Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties could be a sign of blazes to come.
A Gymnast Alleges a Coverup of Abuse
McKayla Maroney, who won a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics as a member of the team dubbed the Fierce Five, is suing the United States Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics. The allegation: that officials had her sign a confidential financial settlement to keep secret the sexual abuse she suffered as a teen by team doctor and confessed molester Larry Nassar. The USOC has denied involvement in the payout, while USA Gymnastics said the confidential provision in its settlement with Maroney was initiated by her attorney at the time, Gloria Allred.
Must-Watch Video: These Actresses Want to Shift the Focus
With Hollywood’s treatment of women a point of daily discussion and with awards season in swing, The Times’ Envelope section brought together six leading actresses for their insights. While serving on the jury of the Cannes Film Festival, Jessica Chastain saw 21 movies in a short time frame and noticed “how little stories talked from a woman’s point of view, from a female protagonist, a story about a woman who wasn't victimized.” Watch highlights from the conversation involving her, Margot Robbie, Diane Kruger, Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening and Kate Winslet.
-- A group of Ventura County residents is suing two utility companies and the city of Ventura, claiming they are responsible for damage caused by the Thomas fire.
-- An Altadena man has filed a claim for damages against Pasadena, its police department and chief, and the two officers involved in his beating and arrest. The incident was caught on video.
-- Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer filed a lawsuit against the mother-and-son owners of a South Los Angeles duplex, alleging it’s a hub for gang violence and troublesome parties.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
-- “Star Wars” breakout star Kelly Marie Tran had once “resigned myself to thinking that one day I would be just the weird side character who always talks about being Asian and brings kimchi to the party.”
-- Netflix has gone epic with Will Smith’s fantasy-action thriller “Bright,” but our reviewer says the result is less than thrilling.
-- Columnist Michael Hiltzik argues that the rise of streaming is endangering our film and video history.
Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” had its Hollywood premiere on this date in 1937 at the Carthy Circle Theater, near the intersection of Wilshire and San Vicente boulevards. This newsreel shows some of the celebrities who appeared on the red carpet at the theater, which would be torn down in 1969.
-- In Melbourne, a car crashed into pedestrians, injuring 19. The driver has been arrested, and police say there is no evidence of a terrorist link.
-- A federal judge declared a mistrial in the case involving Cliven Bundy and his two sons after finding prosecutors “willfully” failed to turn over evidence related to the Bundys’ 2014 armed standoff in Nevada.
-- South Korean soldiers fired 20 warning machine-gun rounds, turning back North Korean soldiers apparently pursuing a comrade who had defected.
-- Voters in Spain’s Catalonia region are set to elect a new parliament today, but the issue of secession remains divisive there.
-- Rome’s official Christmas tree won’t stop shedding needles. Romans have started calling it “Spelacchio” (or Threadbare), and some are blaming the mayor.
-- After the Disney-Fox deal, smaller players like Paramount and MGM are facing the pressure to bulk up.
-- “An Instant Pot in every kitchen”? The device’s inventor, Robert Wang, thinks it’s attainable given the kitchen gadget’s cult-like status.
-- Not happy with your purchase? There’s money to be made in returning e-commerce orders, at least for companies trying to build a business off of it.
-- The Lakers surprised the Rockets, notching an impressive victory and snapping Houston’s 14-game winning streak.
-- Cross-town swap: UCLA’s football program lost a coveted defensive prospect to USC after stealing one from the Trojans.
-- Our Editorial Board says that Trump and Republicans in Congress should let special counsel Robert S. Mueller III do his job rather than listening to Sean Hannity et al.
-- Father James Martin asks: How can you be Christian without caring for the poor?
WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING
-- Welcome to Xinjiang province in China, where your every move is watched and you even have to register to buy a kitchen knife. (Wall Street Journal)
-- How did the pointy-haired boss in “Dilbert” go from antagonist to protagonist? (The Awl)
-- In addition to “123456” and “Password,” here are 23 more passwords you should definitely not use. (Gizmodo)
ONLY IN L.A.
If you ever wanted to own Zsa Zsa Gabor’s gilded Steinway piano, monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage or a sketchpad she used while on trial in 1989 for slapping a police officer, you’ll soon be in luck. In April, pieces from the estate of the late actress will be auctioned off at her Bel-Air home.