The latest: At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails from bridge onto Interstate 5 near Olympia, Washington. Joseph O'Sullivan, Evan Bush and Christine Clarridge have been providing ongoing coverage of the story for The Seattle Times. They write, “The speed limit there is 30 mph, a Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman said. At some location before the overpass, the train had reportedly reached full speed of 79 mph.” Veronica Rocha, Brian Ries and Amanda Wills of CNN report, Positive Train Control technology that slows trains if going too fast was not activated on tracks in Washington derailment, Amtrak says. Also at CNN, Jason Hanna shares some Survivors’ tales: What the train derailment felt like.
California wildfires update
In Southern California, Melissa Etehad, Alene Tchekmedyian and Hailey Branson-Potts of The Los Angeles Times report that Firefighters have never seen a wildfire like this one. But there’s some good news, as Steve Gorman of Reuters reports: California wildfire fight aided by better weather. And “A familiar face jumped in to show his gratitude to the firefighters in Southern California this week and even invited them into his home after a long day of fighting wildfires,” notes 4029tv.com, as Rob Lowe shows his gratitude to Southern California firefighters during wildfires.
It’s tax bill day, and as Jennifer A. Calfas of TIME reports, Most Americans Think the Tax Bill Will Benefit the Wealthy, Not the Middle Class. Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence delays trip to Middle East for tax vote and amid uproar over Jerusalem decision, reports Jenna Johnson of The Washington Post.
Newsweek’s Bill Powell writes of Trump's Tax Cuts, Fear of Exploding Deficits and the Truth About the U.S. National Debt. The New York Times Editorial Board weighs in with Tax Bill Lets Trump and Republicans Feather Their Own Nests. Their piece links to the investigative series by David Sirota and Josh Keefe of the International Business Times, Donald Trump And GOP Leaders Could Be Enriched By Last Minute Tax Break Inserted Into Final Bill (the story that spawned the #CorkerKickback hashtag).
At CNBC, Darla Mercado outlines the 5 deductions taxpayers will miss the most in the tax bill, while at Next Avenue, Ellen Stark has your 2017 Year-End Tax Moves With the Tax Reform Bill.
And Have You Ever Felt Sorry for the I.R.S.? Now Might Be the Time, Patricia Cohen writes in The New York Times. “Yet another amazing @PatcohenNYT tax story,” tweets Ron Lieber.
It’s about pardons
“People close to the White House say the drumbeat against Mueller is about potential pardons,” tweets Blake Hounshell. POLITICO’s Darren Samuelsohn explains The real reason Trump allies are attacking Mueller, writing that “the goal is to sow public doubt about Mueller and his prosecutors in advance of upcoming criminal trials — and to give the president political cover if he wants to start issuing pardons to any current or former aides swept up in the Russia scandal.”
And now comes the report, from Emma Loop of BuzzFeed News, The Senate’s Russia Investigation Is Now Looking Into Jill Stein, A Former Campaign Staffer Says. She tweets, “Burr confirms SSCI is investigating Jill Stein's campaign, saying there are TWO campaigns the committee has just started looking at,” and “Update: Burr’s office says they don’t have any more info on what Burr meant by the two campaigns.”
Property or prey
“At Ford, bosses and fellow laborers treated women as property or prey,” tweets Nick Fox. “Bravo to @susanchira and @catrineinhorn for their careful and expansive investigation into the horrific harassment endured by black women at a Ford plant in Chicago,” tweets Jenna Wortham. They’re referring to How a Culture of Harassment Persisted on Ford’s Factory Floors, by Susan Chira and Catrin Einhorn of The New York Times. Tweets Chira, “We spent months examining what happens to blue-collar women --neither famous nor well-off--and how hard it is to change a culture of harassment.”
An unbelievable read
“This was the most gripping thing I read in 2017. Can't stop thinking about it from last night,” tweets Lauren Fox, of Deliverance From 27,000 Feet, by John Branch of The New York Times. “This is an unbelievable read,” says John Doherty. “A hard but powerful read about the retrieval of bodies from Mount Everest,” tweets Rochelle Riley.
The same disaster movie over and over
Peter Suderman of The New York Times tweets, “On tax reform, and the new Star Wars movie,” of his new piece, How Hollywood Blockbusters Explain American Politics. Tweets NYT Opinion, “In politics and entertainment, says @petersuderman, the benefits and perils of a blockbuster model are, if not precisely the same, strikingly similar — to Americans dismay.” Bottom line: “Politics is the same disaster movie over and over,” tweets Frazier Moore.
Simon Abrams and Ali Arikan of The Hollywood Reporter have the story (with “Last Jedi” spoilers—you’ve been warned): ‘Star Wars’ Fans From 2 Generations Debate ‘The Last Jedi.’
So maybe everything old is new again. TVLine’s Michael Ausiello reports on ‘The Office’ Revival at NBC Featuring Old, New Cast - 2018-19 Season. Worth noting: Former star Steve Carell will not be involved, writes Lesley Goldberg of The Hollywood Reporter.
As part of The Outline’s series reflecting on 2017, Aaron Edwards writes about When a good movie becomes evil. Tweets Matt Ortile, “Please read the following question in Carrie Bradshaw narration voice: Could I still love La La Land while rooting for it to fail? @aaronmedwards on Moonlight vs. La La Land, and the (misplaced?) stakes attached to the Best Picture battle.”
At The New Yorker, Jia Tolentino says, “I wrote about my psychological problems,” referring to her piece, The Year That Skin Care Became a Coping Mechanism. Tweets Lainna Fader, “Ahhhh definitely feeling this.”
Thank you, journalists
For “A nice rundown from Poynter on the year in corrections,” as Neil Brown tweets, check out the list from Alexios Mantzarlis of Poynter, Not fake news, just plain wrong: Top media corrections of 2017.
And at The Cut, Lisa Ryan has The Best Reporter, Journalist Reactions of 2017. “Thank you, journalists,” tweets Ryan. “lotta good facial expressions this year,” tweets Anna Silman. Adds April Ryan, “2018 will be the year of the poker face for me!”
In her piece for USA Today, Sally Yates asks, What kind of country are we? Speak out on our core values.
Trump talked about rescinding Gorsuch’s nomination. That’s from Robert Barnes at The Washington Post.
Zaz Hollander of the Anchorage Daily News reports, Track Palin, son of Sarah Palin, arrested for assaulting his father.
Kaspersky Lab Sues U.S Over Federal Agency Ban on Its Software, reports Bloomberg’s Tom Schoenberg.
From the UK comes the news that Britain's new 3 billion pound ($4.2 billion) aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has a leak, as Reuters reports.