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Tax bill poised to pass, cyclists petition city for upgrades, Philly's best holiday lights | Morning Newsletter

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Penelope Garnant looks at the lights at "Miracle on South 13th Street."
Penelope Garnant looks at the lights at "Miracle on South 13th Street."Read moreMargo Reed

Happy Wednesday, folks. Looking ahead today, the Senate and House are poised to finalize the biggest overhaul of the country's tax laws in more than three decades. Looking ahead to the weekend…let's try to focus on the joy of the holiday season.

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: Philly’s must-see holiday lights

Before a flurry of relatives and gift wrapping takes over, consider adding this to your to-do list: seeing nine of Philly's must-visit spots for holiday lights.

Still need to do some shopping? Try these last-minute beauty gift buys for the skincare guru in your life, or snag one of these cookbooks for your favorite amateur chef. For the health nut on your list, look for these affordable kitchen tools  just don't forget the express shipping.

And before you head to this weekend's holiday parties, let a dietitian show you how to navigate the dinner table.

» READ MORE: Senate passes major tax overhaul, House is next 

Early this morning the Senate passed the GOP's sweeping tax bill and the House looks to pass it (again, on a re-vote) today, a change that will impact every member of the U.S. economy. The bill gives big tax cuts to the wealthy and businesses; middle-income families will see more modest cuts. The bill will also add $1.46 trillion to the nation's debt over the next decade.

The GOP is looking for a "win" ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, but most nonpartisan analysts and voters have little confidence in the bill's many promises. Republicans say Americans will warm up to it once they see their new paychecks, though most won't see the full effects until they do their 2019 taxes, post-midterms.

But the bill isn't just about taxes: it also repeals the individual insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act and allows drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

» READ MORE: Cycling advocates take to the streets once again

For the second time in a month, bicycle commuters were protected by a human bike lane barrier in Center City yesterday, following the injury of cyclist Becca Refford last week.

Refford was in the bike lane when she was hit by a box truck at the intersection of 13th and Pine streets, less than three weeks after Emily Fredricks was killed in a bike lane on 11th Street on her way to work.

Cycling advocates have petitioned the city for bike safety upgrades, requesting they speed up installation of bike-friendly infrastructure. The city's response? We can't move any faster.

What you need to know today

  1. Pennsylvania House Democrats spent nearly a quarter million dollars in taxpayer money to secretly settle a sexual harassment complaint against a Berks County lawmaker, according to a document obtained by The Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

  2. Fear not, Sweet Lucy's fans: the Northeast barbecue staple did have a fire Monday evening but it did not burn down, as some social media posts suggested. They're hoping to reopen soon.

  3. South Jersey icon Riletta Cream, an educator and former Camden County freeholder, died Monday at 91. The city she loved certainly loved her back, writes columnist Kevin Riordan.

  4. The Sixers lost to the Sacramento Kings last night and their string of recent losses have left reporter Keith Pompey wondering: are the Sixers as good as we thought?

  5. Six Eagles were named to the Pro Bowl last night, including injured quarterback Carson Wentz and four Birds who earned spots in the starting lineup.

  6. The next mayor of Atlantic City, Frank Gilliam, is ready to make change, and he's starting with pot, sports betting and progressive politics.

  7. Mayor Kenney is expected to sign the controversial bill aimed at cracking down on stop-and-go beer delis today. Here's what's next for store owners and their neighborhoods.

  8. Former presidential candidate Jill Stein has been swept into the Senate intelligence committee's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election; she says she's cooperating with authorities.

» 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. A group of cyclists called the Pedal Posse Divas have built  a roving community and now they are on a mission: get more black women on bikes!

  2. Today is signing day for high school athletes, the day they announce to what schools they'll bring their talents next year. Find out which students are headed to Penn State, Temple, and Villanova.

  3. Mural Arts has given a bridge over Kensington a bright, colorful makeover as part of its initiative to use public art as harm reduction.

  4. As they prep for a game Christmas Day, Eagles coach Doug Pederson has to keep home field advantage in mind when deciding who to rest up for the post-season, writes columnist Mike Sielski.

  5. Beware of the at-home genetic testing kit under your tree this year. If it comes with a health-risk report, you may get more information than you bargained for about dangerous genes.

  6. In Sullivan County, one of the state's least populated, shooting is a high school sport. The county's even sent two shooters to the last two summer Olympics.

  7. Ben Franklin by day and Santa by night? Impersonator Robert DeVitis is donning his bifocals this holiday season to ring the Salvation Army kettle bell.


"It's safe to say that never in recent history has so much planning gone into protesting something that hasn't happened yet, and may never happen. But if you've been paying close attention these last few days, something is afoot." — Columnist Will Bunch asks if you have a safety plan for U.S. democracy if Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller.
  1. Without U.S. Army Corps of Engineers intervention in dredging the Schuylkill River, Boathouse Row could go dark, writes Paul Laskow, chair of the Schuylkill Navy River Restoration Committee.

  2. Thanks to a new study, we know even more about cycles of poverty and trauma and how to break them, writes Jeanne Felter, director of the master's program in community and trauma counseling at Thomas Jefferson University.

What we’re reading

  1. Temple University is feeling the ripple effect of multiple student deaths so far this year. The Temple News created a compelling three-part story on the university's response and the lives lost. 

  2. Meek Mill's incarceration has brought a lot of attention to probation and parole reform, but NextCity takes the issue a step further to explore how court supervision can actually stymie parolees' success.

  3. Getting a new phone for the holidays? Stop by Fast Company's list of the 25 best new apps of the year and download away.

  4. If you're into Twitter or Facebook you've probably seen the "White Guy Blinking" gif used to perfectly encapsulate shock and amusement. Thrillist actually found the guy (his name's Drew) and he explains what life is like as a living meme. 

  5. Calling all punks: Doc Martens are cool again, and Quartzy tells the long storied history of the shoes and subcultures. Who knew a boot could tell us so much?

Your Daily Dose of | Wentzmas

A Bucks County third grader is donating to Carson Wentz’s AO1 Foundation this holiday and created a cookie version of the QB in his honor. Gives a whole new meaning to gingerbread man.