Breaking –> “The House on Friday passed a year-end spending bill that would keep the government funded through September and that the Senate is expected to clear for the president’s signature later in the day,” reports Kelsey Snell at The Washington Post. “There was concern until earlier this morning that there would not be enough support for the bill, but last minute lobbying efforts by leadership secured the needed votes.”
Democratic debate –> This one is, again, on a Saturday, hosted by ABC News, 8 p.m. ET. Politico’s Noah Weiland has the details.
At The New York Times, Frank Bruni decries the Democratic National Committee’s decision to keep holding the debates on weekends when few are watching — especially young voters supporting Hillary Clinton’s rivals. They’re more likely to be away from the TV or watching something else. Bruni: The Democratic Party “prides itself on being the true champion of democracy, more vigilant than the Republican Party about the disenfranchisement of voters, more invested in — and industrious about — making sure that as many people as possible are drawn into the process. Then shouldn’t it want its candidates on vivid, continuous display? Shouldn’t it connect them with the largest audience that it can?”
Grim outlook –> The FEC, tasked with regulating elections and the money donated to fund them, has been afflicted with partisan deadlock for years. Chair Ann Ravel aggressively has pushed for action, doing high-profile interviews, writing op-eds and even petitioning the agency as a private citizen, hoping to shame her Republican colleagues who refuse to check the huge sums pouring into politics. But the chair switches parties every year, and next year’s newly elected chair, GOP commissioner Matthew Petersen, is pledging to take “a more low-profile approach.” Dave Levinthal reports for the Center for Public Integrity.
Big deal –> The Department of Energy released “what it is describing as the ‘largest energy-saving standard in history’ and one that ‘will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date’ — a standard governing commercial air conditioners and furnaces. These devices consume a gigantic amount of energy across America because, well, they keep us comfortable in large buildings,” reports Chris Mooney for The Washington Post. The rule will help America live up to the goals it pledged to meet in Paris.
Bad situation –> Nevada’s the only state that arms its prison guards with guns. The results are horrendous, reports Dana Liebelson for Highline, HuffPo’s longform project.
Confused about Ben Carson’s appeal? –> So is Dylan Matthews. In a piece at Vox, he posits that Carson appeals to the same crowd as Glenn Beck, the right-wing television ideologue whose wacky ideas predate the tea-party movement, and that that has something to do with his rise.
True crime –> Ken Armstrong of the Marshall Project and T. Christian Miller of ProPublica teamed up to report this horrifying longread about what happens when no one believes a rape victim, and how one of them instead wound up pleading guilty to a crime.
He’s ready –> Bernie’s already writing his inaugural speech, reports The Huffington Post.
Meanwhile: Maryalice Parks at ABC News writes, “A Bernie Sanders campaign staffer has been fired after allegedly accessing modeling data from the Clinton campaign, a spokesman for Sanders said, resulting in the Democratic National Committee suspending the Sanders campaign’s access to its party voter data. The move could seriously affect the Vermont senator’s field organizing and campaigning efforts just weeks before the first primary votes are cast.”
Get a grip –> Schools are closed in Augusta County, Virginia, today because, Judd Legum of ThinkProgress reports, students in a world geography class were shown an example of Arabic writing — a statement of faith — as a lesson in calligraphy. A number of students and parents flipped out, resulting in “’voluminous phone calls and electronic mail locally and from outside the area’ to the school district. A statement from Augusta County Public Schools said the decision to close the schools was based on the ‘tone and content’ of the communications ‘based on the recommendations of law enforcement.'”
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