TAX BILL sneaks through Senate just before 2 a.m. — SEUNG MIN KIM talks to MCCONNELL about how he got a win on taxes — SPOTTED at the WH Xmas media party — KUSHNER working on Middle East peace without REX

politico 150x150 - TAX BILL sneaks through Senate just before 2 a.m. -- SEUNG MIN KIM talks to MCCONNELL about how he got a win on taxes -- SPOTTED at the WH Xmas media party -- KUSHNER working on Middle East peace without REX

Good Saturday morning. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP walked out of the White House this morning and took questions from the press, according to pooler James Osborne of the Houston Chronicle.

— ON THE SENATE TAX BILL: “It was a fantastic evening last night. We passed the largest tax cuts in the history of our country and many other things along with it. Now we go onto conference and something beautiful is going to come out of that mixer. People are going to be very, very happy. They’re going to get tremendous, tremendous tax cuts and tax relief, and that’s what this country needs. Business tax all the way down from 35 to 20. It could be 22 when it comes out but it could also be 20. We’ll see what ultimately comes out.”

Story Continued Below

— ON FLYNN: “What has been shown is no collusion, no collusion. There’s been absolutely no collusion, so we’re very happy. And frankly last night was one of the big nights. We’ll see what happens.”

Trump left at 9 a.m. for Joint Base Andrews for a day trip to New York City.

ONE STEP CLOSER TO A LEGISLATIVE ACHIEVEMENT — A.P. BULLETIN at 1:51 a.m.: “WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate narrowly OKs near-$1.5 trillion tax bill, pushing President Trump and GOP close to year’s biggest legislative win.”

— SEUNG MIN KIM, BRIAN FALER, COLIN WILHELM and BERNIE BECKER: “The 51 to 49 vote came after Senate Republicans frantically rewrote the multi-trillion dollar legislation behind closed doors to win over several final holdouts, and left congressional Republicans just a few steps away from sending legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk. The House passed its own plan in November.

“Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee was the only Republican to oppose the measure, in what’s also a big victory for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who repeatedly fell short in his efforts to push through an Obamacare repeal measure this year. ‘I think one reason we were able to get there was because there’s widespread interest,’ McConnell said in an interview with POLITICO. ‘Every single member of our conference wanted to get to yes, and all but one did.’” http://politi.co/2AkigOo

— WAPO’S HEATHER LONG: “How an unequal tax cut grew more unequal”: “As Republicans moved closer to a final vote on the bill Friday night, they made several tweaks to the tax legislation. They announced more benefits for business owners, particularly wealthy ones, but they voted down a proposal by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to give low-income families a bigger tax break.

“The disparate treatment underlined how the legislation — a massive rewrite of the individual and corporate tax code — has evolved since its first incarnation: What began as an effort that would favor wealthy individuals and corporations became, in many ways, even more tilted in their favor as the legislation made its way through the Senate.

“Rubio and Lee had suggested paying for their idea by lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent instead of 20 percent. ‘We could have helped so much more,’ an exasperated Rubio had said earlier Friday, anticipating defeat. ‘With less than that one percent difference, we can make a huge difference in the lives of millions of Americans making between $20,000 and $50,000.’” http://wapo.st/2kiGcff

“A Hasty, Hand-Scribbled Tax Bill Sets Off an Outcry,” by NYT’s Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport: “By midafternoon on Friday, Republicans had the votes to pass their tax bill in the Senate. What they did not have was a bill. The legislation, covering nearly 500 pages, finally surfaced well after the sun had set. It appeared first in the lobbying shops of K Street, which sent back copies to some Democrats in the Senate, who took to social media to protest being asked to vote in a matter of hours on a bill that had yet to be shared with them directly. The drafts that leaked to journalists included changes scrawled in looping handwriting in the margins. Democrats posted screenshots and accompanying complaints.” http://nyti.ms/2AoY9wz

— @SenatorTester: “I was just handed a 479-page tax bill a few hours before the vote. One page literally has hand scribbled policy changes on it that can’t be read. This is Washington, D.C. at its worst. Montanans deserve so much better.” 1-min. video http://bit.ly/2nneEGG

— ONE SMALL DEM VICTORY: “Democrats defeat GOP bid to shield conservative college from endowment tax,” by Michael Stratford: “Four Senate Republicans joined with Democrats to strip from the GOP tax bill a last-minute provision that would have shielded Hillsdale College, a prominent conservative school, from a new tax on university endowments. An amendment offered by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) — and incorporated into a package of changes Republicans unveiled Friday evening to their tax plan, H.R. 1 (115) — would have exempted all colleges that don’t accept federal student aid from the endowment tax.

“But Democrats immediately cried foul over the plan because it appeared to benefit only a single college, Hillsdale College, whose president, Larry Arnn, is influential in conservative intellectual circles. Arnn, who was floated last year as a potential pick to be President Donald Trump’s Education secretary, has served as a Heritage Foundation trustee since 2002. The school also has close ties to the family of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

“Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, John Kennedy of Louisiana, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined with Democrats early Saturday morning to pass an amendment by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) that stripped the provision from the tax bill.” http://politi.co/2BFpX00

THE SEUNG MIN KIM QUICK-TURN TICK TOCK (published at 3:16 a.m.) — WITH MCCONNELL INTERVIEW: “How McConnell got a win on taxes”: “On a recent phone call to discuss the GOP’s tax push, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested President Donald Trump focus his personal lobbying efforts on one senator in particular: Ron Johnson. For weeks, the Wisconsin Republican had made it clear he would seek more generous tax treatment of certain small businesses – and that he was willing to use his vote as leverage.

“But after several phone calls from Trump and one final negotiating session inside Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s ornate Capitol office, Johnson said early Friday he would finally support the bill. That announcement made passage seem all but inevitable just one night after the bill nearly collapsed in spectacular fashion on the Senate floor. McConnell and his leadership team ultimately secured passage of the tax code rewrite in the early hours of Saturday morning after weeks of methodically working each wavering vote, and by trying to learn the lessons of their Obamacare repeal failure.

“It worked. By moving the tax bill through the committee process and letting more GOP senators give more input as they drafted the bill, the Kentucky Republican delivered a sorely-needed legislative achievement to his party in a year marked by turbulence on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.” http://politi.co/2norXXm

MCCONNELL ASSESSMENT OF THE YEAR: “It’s been quite a year for Senate Republicans,” McConnell said in an interview with POLITICO as the chamber prepared to pass the bill. “We’ve changed the Supreme Court for a generation and done the first comprehensive tax reform in 31 years. Big year for us.”

TRUMP ON REPUBLICANS — @realDonaldTrump at 7:54 a.m.: “Biggest Tax Bill and Tax Cuts in history just passed in the Senate. Now these great Republicans will be going for final passage. Thank you to House and Senate Republicans for your hard work and commitment!”

THE MACRO — The Republican Senate passed the largest rewrite of the tax code in a generation, after failing to gut the health care law championed by President Barack Obama. THE MICRO — This passed at nearly 2 a.m. after a slew of backroom deals between Republican leaders and senators. This is the same stuff the GOP nailed Democrats on for years.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW? — The House will vote on Monday to begin a formal negotiation — called a conference — to reconcile the differences in the two bills. Senior aides we speak to think a conference will go pretty quickly.

REMEMBER: The government shuts down in less than a week. There are severe misgivings about the GOP plan to pass a short-term funding bill until Dec. 22, and then another until January. But the House GOP announced Saturday morning that they would proceed with that plan, scheduling a meeting of the Rules Committee to set the guidelines for debate.

****** A message from PhRMA: How much are hospitals marking up medicine prices? According to new Moran Company analysis, hospitals mark up medicine prices nearly 500 percent. The analysis of 20 medicines also found a hospital is paid 2.5 times what the biopharmaceutical company, who brought the medicine to market, receives. Read more: http://onphr.ma/2hSaqox ******

BREAKING at 10:06 a.m.: “LANSING, Mich. (AP) – 3 Democrats tell AP longtime Democratic Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan to retire, won’t seek re-election to 19th term.”

SPLIT SCREEN — PELOSI, DCCC CHAIRMAN call for Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.) to resign.

— THE STORY: BUZZFEED’S KATE NOCERA and TARINI PARTI: “She Says She Quit Her Campaign Job After He Harassed Her. Now He’s In Congress”: “Last year, a 25-year-old woman left her job on Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen’s campaign because of what she says were repeated, unwanted propositions for dates and sex. … Kihuen said on Friday, ‘I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable.’

“On Feb. 6, 2016, Samantha says she accompanied Kihuen to a fundraiser — a normal function of her job as finance director. As she attempted to leave when the event wrapped up, she says Kihuen walked her to her car. ‘He followed me to my car and said, “You look really good, I’d like to take you out if you didn’t work for me,”’ she recalled. Samantha said she quickly stated that she had a boyfriend, got in her car, and left. The advances became more frequent and more aggressive after that, asking if she had ever ‘cheated on her boyfriend’ and repeating that he would take her out if she did not work for him.

“On Feb. 19, Samantha says she accompanied Kihuen to a meeting with Rep. Tony Cárdenas at the Aria Hotel. Cárdenas was in town to support presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Cárdenas’ office confirmed that he and his wife stayed in the hotel that weekend. In the elevator on the way to the meeting, Samantha said Kihuen told her, ‘We should get a hotel room here.’

“‘I said ‘no’ very firmly and he just laughed at me. It was humiliating,’ she told BuzzFeed News. Kihuen drove on the way back from the meeting to their campaign office, with Samantha in the passenger seat. Samantha said Kihuen again asked if she’d ever cheated on her boyfriend, and started touching her thigh. She told him to stop, and said she said ‘no’ and began talking about her boyfriend. A separate time, in March, Kihuen asked for help with something on the computer during ‘call time’ — when a candidate makes fundraising calls — and Samantha alleges he grabbed the back of her thigh while she looked at the screen.” http://bzfd.it/2j9GaTj

— HEATHER CAYGLE and ELANA SCHOR: “House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is calling on Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen to resign amid allegations that the freshman Democrat sexually harassed a campaign staffer during the 2016 election. ‘In Congress, no one should face sexual harassment in order to work in an office or in a campaign. The young woman’s documented account is convincing, and I commend her for the courage it took to come forward,’ Pelosi said in a statement after talking with Kihuen. ‘In light of these upsetting allegations, Congressman Kihuen should resign.’ …

“‘Members and candidates must be held to the highest standard. If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, they should not hold elected office. Congressman Kihuen should resign,’ Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement. Kihuen signaled Friday evening that he did not intend to resign.” http://politi.co/2AE1j26

— IT’S WORTH NOTING: House Democratic leaders moved much faster here than they did when Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) was accused of improper behavior. Pelosi and DCCC Chair Ben Ray Lujan both called for Kihuen’s resignation on the same day the report surfaced. It took Pelosi several days before she called for Conyers to step down.

DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVES we talk to tell us the more closely the Democratic Party is associated with the “swamp” the harder it is for them to be able to pick up seats and make a real run at the majority. That’s why you’ll see them move swiftly to throw lawmakers overboard.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE — “Republicans divided on Farenthold resignation,” by John Bresnahan and Rachael Bade: “Speaker Paul Ryan and his conference’s top advocate on sexual harassment appear divided about whether Rep. Blake Farenthold should resign following news of his taxpayer-funded sexual harassment settlement. Ryan will not call on the Texas Republican to resign following a POLITICO report that he used $84,000 in taxpayer funds to pay off an accuser, his office said Friday night — even though he has called for Democratic Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) to step aside over similar sexual harassment allegations.

“But GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock (Va.), who’s led the charge for Republicans against sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, said through a spokesperson that Farenthold should step aside. Comstock also called on Farenthold to reimburse taxpayers for the full $84,000 settlement and for both parties to waive their confidentiality agreement so they can testify about what happened.” http://politi.co/2Bt3FgX

OTHER SETTLEMENTS COME TO LIGHT — “Gowdy, Benghazi panel settled wrongful firing suit with $150,000 in public funds,” by WaPo’s Elise Viebeck and Michelle Ye Hee Lee: “As chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) used $150,000 in taxpayer dollars to settle with a former aide who alleged he was fired in part because he was not willing to focus his investigative work on Hillary Clinton. The Post confirmed the confidential settlement reached between Gowdy and the Benghazi panel and Bradley Podliska after it appeared in a list of settlements released Friday by the congressional Office of Compliance. Gowdy is now the chairman of the House Oversight Committee.” http://wapo.st/2AAuwLl

MUELLER WATCH — “Trump keeps playing nice with Mueller, for now,” by Darren Samuelsohn: “President Donald Trump’s lawyers have been counseling him since this past summer to play nice with special counsel Robert Mueller. Cooperation with the Russia probe, the president’s attorneys have argued, is the best path to the exoneration Trump has craved all year – a way not just to get things over with quickly, but also to signal to prosecutors that the administration has good intentions and nothing to hide.

“Now, as Mueller’s probe moves deeper into the president’s inner circle, some of Trump’s longtime advisers are urging him to stick with the approach outlined by White House lawyer Ty Cobb. ‘Take a deep breath, follow Ty Cobb’s lead, trust the process,’ said former Trump legal spokesman Mark Corallo. ‘Antagonizing prosecutors is never a good idea. This is not arbitration. This is not mergers and acquisitions. This is not real estate law. This is criminal law. Prosecutors can do things with their almost unlimited resources, time and authority.’” http://politi.co/2Aladkh

THE MICHAEL FLYNN EARTHQUAKE — “Mueller’s swift moves signal mounting legal peril for the White House,” by WaPo’s Ros Helderman, Tom Hamburger and Karen DeYoung: “According to the filings, Flynn consulted with multiple senior Trump officials during the transition. One adviser, described in court documents as a ‘very senior member’ of the transition team, directed Flynn in December to reach out to Kislyak and lobby him about a United Nations resolution on Israeli settlements. People familiar with the investigation identified the adviser as Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner lawyer Abbe Lowell declined to comment.

“Likewise, Flynn spoke to Kislyak about new U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia by President Barack Obama in late December only after discussing the matter with a senior Trump official who had accompanied him on a trip to Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago club … The senior official was Flynn’s deputy, K.T. McFarland, according to two people familiar with the conversation.” http://wapo.st/2i7UvPo

–“Trump White House caught off guard by Flynn plea,” by Andrew Restuccia, Annie Karni and Nancy Cook: “[T]here is a growing sense of dread among Trump’s closest confidants that the noose is tightening — if not around the president, then around his closest advisers and family members. … One person close to the White House described the mood this way: ‘What they’re freaked out about is that there are no leaks. Papadopoulos didn’t leak. Flynn didn’t leak. They feel like they can’t trust anyone. Their own counsel didn’t know.’” http://politi.co/2AzNukZ

— “Trump Fumed for Weeks About Flynn Turning on Him,” by The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay and Asawainn Suebsaeng: “For weeks, Trump has vented privately to advisers and confidants about his anxiety over signs that Flynn had flipped. He noted the possibility that Flynn had ‘turned on me,’ three sources close to the president independently recall him saying. These sources had relayed details of these conversations to The Daily Beast over the course of the past week.” http://thebea.st/2izAFjQ

— JEFFREY TOOBIN in The New Yorker, “Michael Flynn’s Guilty Plea Sends Donald Trump’s Lawyers Scrambling: The President insists that the investigations into Russian meddling amount to nothing more than fake news. But the truth is now emerging.” http://bit.ly/2jEIaSV

— “What Michael Flynn’s Plea Deal Means: Eleven legal experts weigh in” — POLITICO Magazine: http://politi.co/2jDLhuH

HMM — @brianstelter: “Via CNN’s @GloriaBorger: ‘One source close to the president attempted to mitigate the severity of the charge against Flynn by pointing out that everyone lies in Washington.’”

PIC DU JOUR — @mflynnJR: “Family is the most important thing in life…..don’t ever take yours for granted. Thanks everyone for the support.” http://bit.ly/2As9Na9

–@TheDailyShow: “Curl up and enjoy the Mike Flynn ‘Lock Her Up’ Yule Log, just in time for the holiday season!” http://bit.ly/2j91M2j (h/t Matt Negrin)

OOPS: “ABC News corrects bombshell Flynn report,” by CNN’s Oliver Darcy: “ABC News on Friday evening corrected an explosive special report that aired in the morning saying that Donald Trump, as a candidate for president, had asked Michael Flynn to make contact with Russians. During ‘World News Tonight,’ ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross said the source who had provided the initial information for his story later told him that it was as president-elect, not as a candidate, that Trump asked Flynn to contact the Russians.

“The initial report, based on one anonymous source, prompted a dramatic reaction in the financial markets, and the Dow fell more than 350 points. … A tweet published by ABC News containing Ross’ initial report had been retweeted more than 25,000 times and embedded in various news stories online before it was deleted. ABC posted a ‘clarification’ on Twitter around 8 p.m.” http://cnnmon.ie/2i8YMlu

TRUMP’S SATURDAY — THE PRESIDENT is in New York. He speaks at a breakfast fundraiser at 11:20 a.m., an RNC lunch fundraiser at 12:35 p.m., participates in an RNC roundtable at 1:40 p.m. and arrives back in D.C. by 4:45 p.m.

SIREN — WAPO: “Alabama race is neck and neck, with voters divided over Roy Moore allegations, poll finds,” by Michael Scherer and Scott Clement: “With less than two weeks to go, support for Democrat Doug Jones stands at 50 percent vs. [Republican Roy] Moore’s 47 percent support among likely voters — a margin of a scant three points that sets up a nail-biter for the oddly timed Dec. 12 special election.” http://wapo.st/2iCcMrO

— AP’S STEVE PEOPLES: “Alabama Republican Roy Moore has celebrated his isolated fight against the political establishment in both parties. The outsider story may resonate with Alabama voters, but the reality has a clear downside: The Senate candidate and his allies are almost completely cut off from the GOP’s traditional donor network and struggling to raise money for the final-weeks sprint to Election Day. Federal fundraising reports released Friday reveal that Moore is losing the battle for campaign cash to Democrat Doug Jones. And he’s losing badly. Moore raised $1.7 million from Oct. 1 to Nov. 22, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission. Jones raised $9.9 million over the same period.” http://bit.ly/2i9PxBv

MEDIAWATCH — “Minutes after slamming ‘fake news,’ Trump welcomes ‘my friends in the media’ for Christmas party: President tells reporters they are ‘honestly in many ways very special people — at least many of you,’” by Jason Schwartz: “After spending most of the year attacking the media’s credibility, President Donald Trump gave brief, but friendly, welcoming remarks to a large turnout of reporters and editors at his White House Christmas party on Friday afternoon. Those in attendance described the event as, in many ways, like any other White House holiday party …

“Following his remarks, which lasted two minutes, Trump spent another two or three minutes shaking hands near the front of the crowd before leaving … In previous years, presidents have stayed usually for about two hours to take pictures with media members. White House chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway made appearances, though many senior administration officials skipped the party or stayed only a brief time.” http://politi.co/2iDj3n1

SPOTTED: Kellyanne Conway chatting with Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, James Rosen, Steve Doocy chatting with Greta Van Susteren, John Coale, Jonathan Karl, Devin Dwyer, Justin Fishel, Michael Anton, Hogan Gidley, Brian Kilmeade, Annie Linskey, Matt Viser, Jen Jacobs, Michael Falcone, Kevin Cirilli, Jesse Watters, Howard Kurtz and Judy Kurtz, Hunter Walker, Byron York, Francesca Chambers, Peter Doocy, Trey Yingst, Chris Isham, Charlie Spiering, Eliana Johnson, Annie Karni, Tara Palmeri, Craig Gordon, Alex Pappas, Ed Henry, Norah O’Donnell, Jackie Alemany, Louise Dufresne, Kristen Welker, Louise Radnofsky, Alice Lloyd, Jeff Mason, Steve Thomma.

YOU’RE INVITED — Our first live podcast taping next Thursday night (Dec. 7) at 7 p.m. at Sixth and I. Our inaugural guests: MICHAEL BARBARO, host of the New York Times’ hit podcast “The Daily,” DCCC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DAN SENA and NRCC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR JOHN ROGERS. And a panel of POLITICO stars: RACHAEL BADE, SEUNG MIN KIM and ANNIE KARNI. Get your tickets now! http://bit.ly/2hWK7tF

TV MONDAY – THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: “Billy Bush Books ‘Late Show With Stephen Colbert,’ Appearance”: http://bit.ly/2jGoOx4

TRUMP WHITE HOUSE DEPARTURE LOUNGE – “Former White House southeast political director running Tennessee Senate campaign,” by Daniel Strauss and Daniel Lippman: “Thomas Midanek, formerly the White House southeast regional political director, has left the Trump administration and joined former Tennessee Rep. Stephen Fincher’s Senate campaign as campaign manager.” http://politi.co/2jEvJXg

HOLY LAND READ — “Trump inches toward moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,” by Andrew Restuccia and Eliana Johnson: “President Donald Trump and his senior aides are mulling a plan to eventually move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a decision that could derail Trump’s attempts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. A leading option under consideration: temporarily keeping the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv while also outlining a longer-term strategy to begin the process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, according to two administration officials. The plan is meant to strike a middle ground on the politically treacherous issue. One of the officials also said the administration is weighing whether to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.” http://politi.co/2zSjVeY

FLYING SOLO — “Kushner Is Leaving Tillerson in the Dark on Middle East Talks, Sources Say,” by Bloomberg’s Nick Wadhams and Erik Schatzker: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is increasingly alarmed by what he sees as secret talks between Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — fearful that the discussions could backfire and tip the region into chaos, according to three people familiar with Tillerson’s concerns.

“The central goal of the Kushner-Prince Mohammed negotiations … is for an historic agreement featuring the creation of a Palestinian state or territory backed financially by a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, which could put tens of billions of dollars toward the effort. … Tillerson believes Kushner hasn’t done enough to share details of the talks with the State Department … leaving senior U.S. diplomats in the dark on the full extent of the highly sensitive negotiations.” https://bloom.bg/2AkDBqR

****** A message from PhRMA: According to new analysis from the Moran Company, hospitals mark up medicine prices, on average, nearly 500 percent. The analysis of 20 medicines also found a hospital is paid 2.5 times what the biopharmaceutical company, who brought the medicine to market, receives. While hospital markups lead to higher costs for patients, employers and payers, these markups are often overlooked in conversations about medicine costs. As the provider market continues to become more concentrated and the number of medicines being administered in hospital-owned facilities is growing, the amount hospitals mark up medicine prices needs greater scrutiny. http://onphr.ma/2Ba0TOa ******

CLICKER – “The nation’s cartoonists on the week in politics,” edited by Matt Wuerker — 14 keepers http://politi.co/2ApI7Co

GREAT WEEKEND READS, curated by Daniel Lippman:

–“Where Millennials Come From,” by Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker: “Millennials, according to recent headlines, are killing hotels, department stores, chain restaurants, the car industry, the diamond industry, the napkin industry, homeownership, marriage, doorbells, motorcycles, fabric softener, hotel-loyalty programs, casinos, Goldman Sachs, serendipity, and the McDonald’s McWrap.” http://bit.ly/2AblR1y

–“How Peter Thiel and the Stanford Review Built a Silicon Valley Empire,” by Andrew Granato in Stanford Politics: “But 30 years ago, as a sophomore at Stanford, Thiel … co-founded … the Stanford Review. … Thiel continues to meet with the publication’s editors, and he is substantially more open with them about his beliefs than he is with the general public, including on highly controversial issues like race and immigration. And across the Bay Area, many of The Review’s alumni, spearheaded by Thiel, have built a relatively small but tight-knit network that extends across three decades and has a net worth that extends into the billions.” http://bit.ly/2j8PgQd

–“Feeding Puerto Rico,” by Anderson Cooper in CBS’ “60 Minutes”: “José Andrés has some 30 popular restaurants across the United States, but he’s barely stepped foot in them for two months. He and an army of chefs and volunteers have been serving the people in Puerto Rico.” http://cbsn.ws/2AzbNjJ

–“A failed vision,” by LA Times’ Richard Marosi in Veracruz, Mexico: “Mexico promised affordable housing for all. Instead it created many rapidly decaying slums.” http://lat.ms/2AbBxl4

–“When Does a Watershed Become a Sex Panic?” by Masha Gessen in the New Yorker: http://bit.ly/2mqEcSK

–“On the other side of the catcall,” by Natalie Johnson in March 2014 in the Libertarian Republic: “I have never in my life been more aware of my gender until I traveled to Europe. This is not to say that I didn’t feel objectified and degraded through various forms of harassment prior to studying abroad. … This unexplainable feeling of entitlement that many men have toward women is nothing new to me. However, I have never in my life experienced it to the scale that I have while abroad.” http://bit.ly/2BCrfc9

–“Kick Against the Pricks,” by Laura Kipnis in the N.Y. Review of Books, reviewing “Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back,” by Gretchen Carlson: “Toppling power isn’t about storming the Bastille these days, it’s about changing the way people talk and think. Creating a crisis of authority for those in power is how the world changes. But we’re reminded by recent events that the agents of progress can be unlikely: just as the military was a major force in desegregation, now we have corporations like News Corp acting like progressives on sexual harassment.” http://bit.ly/2ApHlFu$16.60 on Amazon http://amzn.to/2jFUjXY (h/t TheBrowser.com)

–“Trapped: The Grenfell Tower Story,” by Tom Lamont in GQ: “Buildings aren’t supposed to burn the way London’s Grenfell Tower did. But to the residents stuck inside, and to the firefighters who rushed to save them, this was a different kind of fire, a blaze that burned at 1,800 degrees, a devastating inferno that killed dozens and shocked an entire nation. This is the untold story of what it felt like to fight that fire and to flee it—a story of a thousand impossible decisions and the people who dared that night to make them.” http://bit.ly/2iB3X1l (h/t Longform.org)

–“Every Parent Wants to Protect Their Child. I Never Got the Chance,” by Jen Gann in NYMag’s The Cut: “In what’s called a wrongful-birth case, plaintiffs sue a medical practitioner for the failure to diagnose or inform them of a disease or disability possible to detect in utero. The money awarded goes toward the cost — astronomically high — of the child’s medical care. A mother desperate to help her child declares that she would not have had that child.” http://bit.ly/2zIfbZx

–“Europe’s Heart of Darkness,” by Alexander Clapp in 1843 Magazine: “A fledgling human-trafficking trade takes in refugees from the Aegean Sea, hustles them over to the Adriatic and on to Italy. Guns come by boat from Albania or Ukraine. Hash arrives from Crete, heroin from the Turkish border, cocaine in car parts imported from South America. The contraband cigarette business makes €1bn of illegal profit in Greece alone.” http://bit.ly/2jCefL6

–“Lake Chad: The World’s Most Complex Humanitarian Disaster,” by Ben Taub in the New Yorker: “Boko Haram, climate change, predatory armies, and extreme hunger are converging on a marginalized population in Central Africa.” http://bit.ly/2n91NYe

–“The Case for Not Being Born,” by Joshua Rothman in the New Yorker: “The anti-natalist philosopher David Benatar argues that it would be better if no one had children ever again.” http://bit.ly/2zJNwrf (h/t ALDaily.com)

–“The new great game in the Middle East,” by John Jenkins in the New Statesman: “What we are seeing is the eruption of a previously submerged rivalry between an expansionist Iran and a historically cautious Saudi Arabia that has been years in the making. The rivalry flows from Lebanon through Syria and Iraq, across to Bahrain, Oman and Yemen and up the Red Sea. It also affects Pakistan and Afghanistan.” http://bit.ly/2Alaeoj

–“The secret tricks hidden inside restaurant menus,” by Richard Gray on BBC: “Great thought and effort go into creating restaurant menus – and there are some very powerful psychological tricks employed to make you choose.” http://bbc.in/2mObDPb

–“How the sandwich consumed Britain,” by Sam Knight in the Guardian: “The industry has its own 80:20 rule: 80% of sales come from 20% of the flavours. These are often referred to as ‘the core’ – the egg mayonnaise, the BLT, the chicken salad. Pret’s best-selling sandwiches (the top three are all baguettes: chicken caesar and bacon, tuna and cucumber, cheddar and pickle) have not changed for seven years. [Marks and Spencer’s] prawn mayo has been its No 1 for 36.” http://bit.ly/2mVUZNL

–“A Generation in Japan Faces a Lonely Death,” by NYT’s Norimitsu Onishi in Tokiwadaira, Japan – per Longreads.com’s description: “With a population of 127 million, Japan has the most rapidly aging society on the planet. Elderly individuals often live in extreme isolation, albeit only a few feet from neighbors on all sides, ‘trapped in a demographic crucible of increasing age and declining births.’ Their fate? A ‘lonely death’ where their body may remain undiscovered in their small government apartment for days (or even years) because family is distant both physically and emotionally, and friends have all long since passed away.” http://nyti.ms/2zFhHvr

TRY AGAIN — “Milo Yiannopoulos’ crusade fizzles in California, so he heads to Australia,” by LA Times’ Ben Oreskes: Cal State “Fullerton was supposed to be just one stop in what Yiannopoulos billed as a major national tour in which he would bring hard-right attitude to liberal campuses and other venues. But the tour has largely fizzled. Of the at least eight planned events nationally in October and November, Fullerton was the only one on a college campus that ended up happening. (He also spoke at a book signing with former Trump advisor Roger Stone in mid-October in Orlando, Fla.). A spokeswoman for the writer’s company disputed these numbers but declined to offer more details about where else he may have spoken.” http://lat.ms/2zVBF9z

SPOTTED: Michelle Obama dining with two friends at Chez Billy Sud in Georgetown … Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Richie Neal (D-Mass.) all at DCA midday on Friday … Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) sitting on the floor of DCA Friday with no shoes on waiting for a flight to Charleston – pic http://bit.ly/2j7aAWw

OUT AND ABOUT — SPOTTED at a party and dinner at Café Milano last night hosted by UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, Bob Johnson and Franco Nuschese honoring Kennedy Center Honors recipient Lionel Richie: Colin Powell, Norman Lear, Quincy Jones, Bill Cohen and Janet Langhart, Ret. Gen. Jim Jones and Diane Jones, Catherine and Wayne Reynolds, Bob Woodward and Elsa Walsh, Tammy Haddad, Jonathan Karl, Tom Quinn, Roxanne Roberts, Bobby Kotick.

SPOTTED at a party last night in celebration of Kennedy Center honoree Norman Lear hosted by Amb. Elizabeth Frawley Bagley at her home in Georgetown: Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Paul Pelosi, Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein and President Deborah Rutter, Leslie Moonves and Julie Chen, Norman and Lyn Lear, Lara Bergthold, David Bohnett, Ron Brownstein, Alex Witt, Andrea Mitchell, Judy Woodruff, Amb. Lou DeBaca and Lorena Chambers, Ambassador John Emerson and Kimberly Emerson, Harold Ickes, Michael Keegan, Frank Loy, Ricki Seidman and Aviva Rosenthal.

SPOTTED at the Saban Forum gala dinner last night at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel: John Allen on stage in conversation with Yonit Levi, Ehud Barak interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Justice Stephen Breyer, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Amb. Ron Dermer, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Egyptian Amb. Yasser Reda, George Tenet, Martin Indyk, Haim Saban, Gabi Ashkenazi, Nir Barkat, Jackson Diehl, Amb. Dan Shapiro.

ANNIVERSARY: Autumn and Jim VandeHei celebrate 17 years of marriage today.

BIRTHDAYS: former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is 78 … former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 85 … Stone Phillips is 63 … Nancy Haberman is 7-0 (hat tip: daughter Maggie) … Cal Thomas is 75 … Ken Babby … Politico’s Alex Short … Grant Everett Starrett … RNC alum Bob Carey … Rep. Carol Shea Porter (D-N.H.) is 65 … former Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Tex.) is 56 … Jason Huntsberry … Emily Schultheis, writing for POLITICO Europe in Berlin as a 2017-18 Robert Bosch fellow … Carrie Wofford, head of Veterans Education Success, former Senate staffer, and a Clinton WH alum, and Jen Wofford, Ford Foundation consultant and an SEIU and AFL-CIO alum, are 5-0. “The Wofford clan (including their uncle, former Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.) are gathering for a family celebration Saturday” (h/t Lauren Culbertson) … Kelly Klass of Locust Street Group (h/t Allison Schneider) …

… Marc La Vorgna, founder of comms and public affairs firm MLV Strategies … Mina Moore, director at Glover Park Group … Megan McCafferty … Caroline Gangware … Mark Irion, former president at Levick and senior counselor at Prosper Group … … Bush WH alum Eleanor Schiff … Dan Puskar … Mairead Lynn, Democratic press secretary for the Senate HELP committee … Erin Bailey … Sara Siskind … Patricia Rojas-Ungar, VP of gov’t relations at the U.S. Travel Association … Andrew Howell, partner at Monument Policy Group … Conyers Davis of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute … Bush 41 alum Mark A. Shiffrin is 61 … Audrey Lavin … Celeste Brown … Rayshon Payton.

THE SHOWS, by @MattMackowiak, filing from Austin:

–ABC’s “This Week”: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) … Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) … Michael Mukasey. Panel: Charles Blow, Alex Castellanos, Megan Murphy, Jen Psaki and Chris Ruddy

–NBC’s “Meet the Press”: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) … Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) … Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. Panel: Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., Doris Kearns Goodwin, Mike Murphy and Danielle Pletka

–CBS’s “Face the Nation”: Mitch McConnell … Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) … Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) … OMB Director Mick Mulvaney. Panel: Ron Brownstein, Ezra Klein, Julie Pace and Ramesh Ponnuru

–CNN’s “State of the Union”: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) … Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Panel: Mike Rogers, Jennifer Granholm, Rick Santorum and Karine Jean-Pierre

–“Fox News Sunday”: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster … Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). Panel: adviser Karl Rove, Jennifer Griffin, Jason Chaffetz and Juan Williams … panel Michele Flournoy and Gen. Jack Keane (Ret.) … “Power Player of the Week” with former Secretary of State George Shultz (live from the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California)

–CNN’s “Reliable Sources”: Panel: Jeff Greenfield, Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Michael D’Antonio … Hadas Gold and Marisa Guthrie … Sally Quinn

–Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures”: Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) … Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) … Bill Richardson. … Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) … Art Laffer. Panel: Caitlin Huey Burns and Al D’Amato

–Fox News’ “MediaBuzz”: Mollie Hemingway … Shelby Holliday … Marie Harf … Lynn Sherr … Matthew Belloni … Susan Ferrechio and Noah Rothman

–CNN’s “Inside Politics” with John King: Panel: Julie Hirschfield Davis, Julie Pace, Sahil Kapur and Michael Warren

–CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS”: Foreign policy panel: Ian Bremmer and Julia Ioffe … T.R. Reid … Thomas Erdbrink … Max Boot

–Univision’s “Al Punto”: María Elena Durazo with two hotel employees and alleged victims of sexual harassment (Cecilia and Nuris) … Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) … former Mexican foreign affairs secretary Jorge Castañeda … journalist and Mexican presidential hopeful Pedro Ferriz de Con … chef Cristina Martinez

–C-SPAN: “The Communicators”: Cloudflare co-founder and CEO Matthew Prince … “Newsmakers”: Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), questioned by Military Times’ Leo Shane and Bloomberg Government’s Roxana Tiron … “Q&A”: Author and Hoover Institution senior fellow John Cogan

–Washington Times’ “Mack on Politics” weekly politics podcast with Matt Mackowiak (download on iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher or listen at http://bit.ly/2mCW4tB): Hispanic Leadership Fund president Mario H. Lopez.

****** A message from PhRMA: According to new analysis from the Moran Company, hospitals mark up medicine prices, on average, nearly 500 percent. The analysis of 20 medicines also found a hospital is paid 2.5 times what the biopharmaceutical company, who brought the medicine to market, receives. While hospital markups lead to higher costs for patients, employers and payers, these markups are often overlooked in conversations about medicine costs. As the provider market continues to become more concentrated and the number of medicines being administered in hospital-owned facilities is growing, the amount hospitals mark up medicine prices needs greater scrutiny. http://onphr.ma/2Ba0TOa ******

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