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Amtrak disaster recalls Philly's own, tax bill up for vote today | Morning Newsletter

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Cars from an Amtrak train lay spilled onto Interstate 5 below alongside smashed vehicles as some train cars remain on the tracks above Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, in DuPont, Wash.
Cars from an Amtrak train lay spilled onto Interstate 5 below alongside smashed vehicles as some train cars remain on the tracks above Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, in DuPont, Wash.Read moreElaine Thompson / AP

Good morning, Philadelphia. Today we have our eyes on voting for the GOP tax bill, which will start today, and what caused the Amtrak derailment in Washington state. It'll be a relatively warm day, so it might be a good chance to finish that last-minute shopping.

If you like what you're reading, tell your friends it's free to sign up to get this newsletter in your inbox every weekday. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and feedback, so please email me, tweet me @aubsn, or reach our social team on Facebook. Thank you for reading.

— Aubrey Nagle

» READ MORE: Amtrak derailment in Washington recalls 2015 Philly disaster

An Amtrak train derailed in Washington state yesterday, killing three people and injuring others. The train was running its first day on a new, faster route and traveling at 80 mph in a 30 mph zone when it derailed.

The disaster recalls Philly's own derailment in May 2015 which killed eight and injured more than 100. That crash could have been prevented had a speed control system been installed at the time. The stretch of track where yesterday's derailment occurred did not have this technology in place.

Just last month the National Transportation Safety Board found that a poor safety culture at Amtrak contributed to a deadly 2016 crash in Chester, Pennsylvania that killed two men.

» READ MORE: Sen. Leach takes a step back form congressional campaign

Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach is "taking a step back" from his congressional campaign. The announcement follows an Inquirer and Daily News report that multiple women and men claim Leach inappropriately touched female campaign staffers and subjected them to highly sexualized conversations.

Gov. Tom Wolf called for Leach to resign Sunday. Matt Goldfine, Leach's former campaign field director confirmed, "there was a pattern of behavior that I believe was totally inappropriate" on the campaign.

Leach denied any wrongdoing on Sunday and wrote yesterday in a statement, "It's heartbreaking to me that I have put someone in a position that made them feel uncomfortable or disrespected."

» READ MORE: Trump team presses Mueller on investigation

Over the weekend, it was revealed that special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian contact with the Trump campaign had obtained tens of thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials. Trump's team suggested the email access was improper, though they were sought through a federal agency that stored the material.

Trump has since said he won't fire Mueller, a move which could trigger a constitutional crisis, but his lawyers are expected to press Mueller this week seeking news that the investigation into Trump is over.

However, their hunt for good news may not turn up much: Mueller's team has said they expect to be working through next year at least.

What you need to know today

  1. The House is set to vote today on the GOP's tax overhaul bill with a vote in the Senate following today or tomorrow. Though the Senate vote was in doubt in recent days, the bill is expected to pass along party lines.

  2. A prominent Philly lawyer who's practiced law in the city for almost 50 years is suing the Philly Sheriff's Office after an alleged attack in August. Clifford E. Haines, 72, says they unnecessarily gang-tackled him leaving him with a separated and fractured shoulder.

  3. The governor of Puerto Rico is calling for a recount of certified deaths that have occurred due to Hurricane Maria. The official count is 64 while third party reports have provided estimates in the hundreds.

  4. Gov. Chris Christie successor Democrat Phil Murphy was caught posing with a cardboard cutout of Christie's infamous "beachgate" photo. He says he just couldn't resist. Then again, who could?

  5. Campbell Soup Co. is buying snack food brand Snyder's-Lance Inc., makers of Kettle and Cape Cod potato chips. It's almost a full meal.

  6. Governor Wolf was in town yesterday to officially veto SB 3, a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks. Republicans could try to override the veto, but they may not have two-thirds majority needed to do it.

  7. Eagles fans packed MetLife stadium this weekend and Eli Manning says it cost the Giants the game. Columnist Marcus Hayes says Doug Pederson should be named Coach of the Year.

» READ MORE: #OurPhilly

We want to see what our community looks like through your eyes. Show us the park that your family walks through every weekend with the dog, the block party in your neighborhood or the historic stretch you see every morning on your commute to work.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we'll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out to build those followers!

That’s Interesting

  1. If you're a Philly hoops fan you must know about Speedy Morris. The St. Joseph's Prep coach just opened the 50th season of his career and he's connected to everyone — and we've got the infographic to prove it.

  2. Is having pets "low-class?" The president said as much about VP Mike Pence for keeping pets in the family's residence. But historically, pet owners (nearly 70% of American households) come in all income brackets.

  3. Being a chef is physically exhausting, but it also comes with a certain social cache. Local chefs explain about how the job straddles the blue- and white-collar lines.

  4. Former NBC10 reporter Jillian Mele is now in New York with a new gig on Fox & Friends First. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mele says she gets trolled no more now than she did by Philly sports fans.

  5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi just broke opening weekend records, but it broke some science rules, too, according to a Villanova astronomer.

  6. Need some last minute gift ideas? Craig LaBan has some whiskey recommendations for the imbibers in your life.

  7. South Jersey's Ritz Theatre is trying to woo new audiences back to the historic venue. First step: a fancy new marquee and digital display.


"There is no greater disrupter than knowing how to express yourself with clarity and purpose."
— — Mighty Writers executive director Tim Whitaker announces a new initiative to bring writing classes to more Philly kids.
  1. Clean needles are to the opiate epidemic what condoms are to AIDS and free needle exchange could save lives in Camden, writes HIV doctor Cecilia Fix, MD.

  2. The best way to combat employees hiring immigrants over native-born workers is to end low-skill immigration, writes Penn Law professor Amy L. Wax and public policy analyst Jason Richwine

What we’re reading

  1. Hallmark's so-bad-they're-good Christmas movies are legend, but their new one is all about Philly millennials and development. Billy Penn watched it so you don't have to.

  2. Philly's experiencing a sheriff sale boom and wholesale buyers are purchasing plots at a rapid pace. PlanPhilly comprehensively explains its root causes and ripple effects.

  3. The former vice president of corporate communications for health insurance giant Cigna, based in Center City, is launching a journalism start-up. Philadelphia Magazine's profile explores why Wendell Potter made the jump.

  4. ESPN is the next major company under scrutiny for sexual harassment, so The Boston Globe dug into what it's like for women who work there.

  5. Ever heard of the turnspit dog? It's an extinct breed once bred specifically to run on a wheel that turned a roasting spit over a fire. Thank NPR for this fascinating history lesson.

Your Daily Dose of | Nochebuena

El Rey chef Dionicio Jimenez shares his family’s traditional Mexican Christmas Eve dinner, complete with recipes. And, yes, it will make you very hungry.