The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Alabama Vote Deals Blow to Trump, GOP

    They believed the women. For the first time in a quarter-century, Alabama voters on Tuesday narrowly elected a Democrat as U.S. senator. The stunning upset is seen as a blow to President Donald Trump, who enthusiastically endorsed Republican Roy Moore, the twice-fired former state chief justice, despite multiple accusations of sexual assault and child molestation. The loss shaves the GOP’s Senate advantage to 51-49. Trump tweeted congratulations to Jones, a former attorney known for prosecuting KKK members, adding, “The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win.”

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    Tillerson Proposes US-North Korea Talks — Again

    No takebacks? In a major policy shift, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered direct talks with North Korea “without preconditions.” America had previously required Pyongyang to accept that its nuclear disarmament would be on the table — though Tillerson added that talks must follow a period without nuclear weapons or missile tests. The overture came as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised his nation would become “the world’s strongest nuclear power” — and despite President Trump’s October tweet deriding Tillerson as “wasting his time” with a similar opening.

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    Turkish Leader Urges Recognition of Palestinian Capital

    He wants to reciprocate. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is asking Muslim nations’ leaders to recognize Jerusalem as the “occupied capital of the Palestinian state.” The statement to an emergency meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation was a response to President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which Erdogan called a “terror state.” He pronounced U.S. recognition and plans to move its embassy to the holy city “null and void.” While rhetoric at the meeting was strong, Erdogan did not mention earlier threats to cut Ankara’s longstanding ties with Israel.

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    Investigation Finds Fake FCC Comments Widespread

    Does this need regulating? Of the 23 million comments on the Federal Communications Commission docket on net neutrality, many are fake, often using identities pilfered by online bots, a Wall Street Journal investigation revealed. Recently red-flagged by New York’s attorney general, the fraudulent comments, which the agency is required to consider, fall on both sides of the net neutrality issue — including some 800,000 identical messages favoring the FCC’s expected Thursday decision to deregulate and another 300,000 duplicated comments against it. The Pew Research Center estimates only 6 percent of comments are unique.

  5. Imperfect Defense, ‘Jedi’ Love and ‘Gutter’ Response

    Know This: President Trump signed a $700 billion defense policy bill yesterday, but objected to its “unconstitutional” anti-Russia provisions. Natural gas supplies have resumed flowing into Europe after an explosion at an Austrian pipeline hub killed one person Tuesday. And in its first wave of reviews following its weekend premiere, critics are heaping praise on Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

    Remember This: “Only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way.” — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, referring to Trump’s tweet after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called on him to resign over sexual misconduct allegations. He said the senator “would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them),” which has been interpreted as sexual innuendo.

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  1. Dictionary

    ‘Feminism’ Is Merriam-Webster’s Word of 2017

    Hear it roar. The dictionary defines its pick as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” “Feminism” got 70 percent more searches than last year, especially relating to its second definition: “organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests.” It spiked after January’s women’s marches, Kellyanne Conway’s disavowal of the concept, buzz over The Handmaid’s Tale and Wonder Woman, and the ongoing power of the #MeToo movement. Merriam-Webster’s other popular searches included “empathy” and “dotard,” while named “complicit” as its word of 2017.

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    Prehistoric Ticks Discovered Preserved in Amber

    And we still can’t get rid of them. Burmese amber from 99 million years ago has yielded five prehistoric ticks — one tangled in a dinosaur feather — suggesting the little suckers were pestering dinosaurs long before exasperating humans. The discovery includes a previously unknown species, Deinocroton draculi, or “Dracula’s terrible tick,” which is unlike any living today. While scientists aren’t planning a real-life Jurassic Park — they can’t analyze degraded DNA in the blood preserved inside the parasites — they’re not ruling it out forever, noting, “Science advances very fast.”

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    These Women Are Putting Sexist VCs on Notice

    They’re investing in dignity. Recent scandals have revealed Silicon Valley as a hotbed of sexism, but sites like FairFunders, built by an army of female founders, are fighting back. They rate and review venture capitalists to warn female and minority entrepreneurs of what unseemly conduct they might face. Though steering founders away from bad VCs might seem like a simplistic remedy for an ingrained problem, these entrepreneurs see it as part of a broader movement that includes California’s legislative efforts to crack down on sexual harassment in business.

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    Sexual Misconduct Claims Spur NFL Network Suspensions

    Let’s go to the tape. Three former players — Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans — were suspended as NFL Network analysts after Jami Cantor, a former wardrobe stylist, accused them of sexual misconduct in a lawsuit. Cantor described ten years of “ongoing and continual” harassment and says she has texts, videos and photos to support her claims. Others named in the suit include Donovan McNabb, Eric Davis, Warren Sapp, and former network executive Eric Weinberger, who has been indefinitely suspended from running the media group that publishes The Ringer.