Celebrities and sports stars are helping Harvey survivors. You can, too. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
President Trump was unusually muted in his response – no “Rocket Man” insults this time – saying only that “we will take care of it.” CNN’s Stephen Collinson says Trump’s response reflects the fact that the President just doesn’t have a lot of good options to deal with this crisis.
2. President Trump
For the GOP’s tax overhaul effort, one big hurdle has been crossed, but there are more obstacles ahead. The Senate version of the tax plan passed the Budget Committee on a party line vote of 12-11. Now the bill goes to the full Senate for a vote, which may happen this week. President Trump and GOP leaders are thrilled but, as CNN’s Chris Cillizza notes, getting this thing through a committee isn’t the same as getting it through the full Senate.
Concerns over how this tax plan might explode the deficit, how it might lead to higher health care premiums (because it would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate) and how it would affect small businesses could still lead to Republican “no” votes, and the GOP can only afford to lose two of those.
3. North Korea
The longest currently serving member of Congress is stepping down. But Michigan Democrat John Conyers had no choice, really. The pressure on him to quit was intense as multiple claims of sexual harassment against him – made by women who’ve worked for him – began to stack up. Conyers, who has denied the claims, is retiring and wants his son to replace him in Washington. Michigan’s governor will have to call a special election to fill the seat.
4. North Korea
The special election to fill Alabama’s Senate seat is less than a week away, and things are getting pretty intense. Steve Bannon came to town to campaign for GOP candidate Roy Moore, and he brought the fire against the whole GOP establishment. Democratic candidate Doug Jones (we’d almost forgotten there’s another guy in this race) focused on the sexual assault and harassment allegations against Moore, saying men who do things like that deserve to be in jail, not the US Senate. And Jones got an unexpected boost from an unlikely ally, Sen. Jeff Flake. The Arizona Republican tweeted out a photo of a $100 check addressed to Jones with the caption “Country over Party.”
5. Salmonella outbreak
Attention workers: The machines are coming for your jobs. As many 375 million workers worldwide will have to switch career fields by 2030 because of automation, says a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute. If your job involves operating machinery, prepping fast food, collecting data or processing documents (like mortgage origination), you may need to start thinking about retraining in a different field. The report also says governments and companies need to help workers out during these transitions.
Santa Ana winds are expected to pick back up today, making it that much harder to fight the wildfires that are torching Southern California. More than 65,000 acres have burned this week, fueled by strong winds and dry conditions. There are at least five blazes burning right now, adding to a devastating year in California for wildfires. The largest blaze is the Thomas Fire, tearing through Ventura County, just north of Los Angeles. Almost 200,000 people have been evacuated across the region.
People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
Lost in the brouhaha over President Trump’s “Pocahontas” quip is the powerful story of why the Navajo Code Talkers were being honored in the first place.
Exit the arena
Back to the beach
Isn’t it a little early for 2000s nostalgia? MTV doesn’t think so. That’s why it’s bringing back “Jersey Shore” for a little reunion.
Grammy nominations are out. There’s a lot of love for Jay-Z and song of the summer “Despacito” but shockingly none for Ed Sheeran.
Does not compute
Meet the New Hampshire doctor who lost her medical license because she refuses to use a computer.
Don’t know what to get the kids this Christmas? Check out this wish list of the 14 hottest toys of the season.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
The benchmark just passed for the first time by the virtual currency bitcoin, part of its rally of more than 900% this year
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“They are using old boats manned by the military, by people who have no knowledge about fishing”
An expert on North Korea explaining why he believes “ghost ships” carrying skeletons are washing up in Japan
AND FINALLY …
This guy, an ex-NASA engineer, created a liquid sand hot tub, because that’s what smart guys do with their spare time. (Click to view.)
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated that Howell Donaldson III will soon be charged with four counts of murder, according to verbal and written statements from Tampa police. The state’s attorney later clarified that he was arrested on four counts of murder and that a grand jury must indict him before he could be charged.