Tuesday News: The biggest heist in history

HOUSE AND SENATE ON TRACK TO APPROVE 1.5 TRILLION TAX SCAM TODAY: Their long-sought political goal within grasp, Republicans in Congress are set to catapult sweeping $1.5 trillion tax legislation through the House, rolling over a dozen GOP defectors from high-tax states. The Republicans' final drive to deliver the tax package to an eager President Donald Trump begins Tuesday with a vote in the House. Quickly following, a vote later in the day or on Wednesday in the Senate is expected to seal the deal. Both tallies likely will cling along party lines. The Senate result was in doubt in recent weeks. Only on Friday did Republican leaders cement the needed support for the legislation, securing endorsements from wavering GOP senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Bob Corker of Tennessee. More holdout GOP senators— moderate Susan Collins of Maine and Mike Lee of Utah — came into the fold on Monday. Now the biggest reshaping of the U.S. tax code in three decades is on a clear path to passage and a presidential signing into law.

UNC CIVIL RIGHTS CENTER ATTORNEYS CARRY ON UNDER NEW BANNER: It only took a week or so for the two former UNC Center for Civil Rights lawyers the UNC-Chapel Hill fired to hang their own shingle, under the banner of the independent Julius L. Chambers Center for Civil Rights. Mark Dorosin and Elizabeth Haddix are taking on the UNC center’s former caseload now that UNC system policy and a N.C. State Bar ruling prevent the university center from engaging in the practice of law. “We had 14 open matters we were working on when the [system] Board of Governors’ decision came down,” Dorosin said. “Once we were notified we would be terminated, we consulted with the clients and asked them what they wanted to do. Certainly UNC wouldn’t be able to represent them anymore, but Elizabeth and I offered to represent them in our original capacity. All of them were enthusiastic, and so that’s what we’re doing.”

FEDERAL APPEALS COURT JUDGE "RETIRES" AFTER SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS SURFACE: The sexual misconduct allegations that have cut a swath through Congress brought down a prominent member of the judicial branch Monday with the resignation of Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals court judge known for his blunt and colorful legal opinions. The move came days after the 9th Circuit opened a misconduct inquiry following the first in a pair of Washington Post stories that said 15 women — some of whom worked for him as law clerks or in other positions — accused him of groping them, making lewd comments or showing them pornography. Kozinski, who was known to have a bawdy side well before his resignation, said that while speaking in a "candid way" with male and female clerks, he "may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace." The son of Holocaust survivors from Romania, Kozinski was appointed to the appeals court in 1985 when he was in his mid-30s by Republican President Ronald Reagan. He is known as a libertarian.

MYSTERIOUS "CAT PEE" STENCH IN WILMINGTON GOES BACK FOR DECADES: North Carolina environmental officials are trying to discover the cause of a cat urine smell in a coastal city where residents say the odor is overwhelming on some days. The StarNews of Wilmington reports more than a dozen residents alerted the state Department of Environmental Quality on Nov. 25 because the smell was so bad. DEQ officials are investigating several industries as a source. Brad Newland of the state Division of Air Quality’s office in Wilmington says it’s possible that all those industries are causing the smell. The odor isn’t new. Newland was part of a team that studied it in the 1990s. Residents should call 910-796-7215 to report smells. Newland says investigators should be alerted immediately because it’s difficult to find a cause once the odor has dissipated.

ANOTHER NCGA REPUBLICAN DECLINES TO RUN IN 2018, ANNOUNCED IN A NAUSEATING RELIGIOUS FACEBOOK POST: State Rep. Bert Jones, a Rockingham County Republican, announced in a Facebook post over the weekend that he won't seek re-election in 2018, and that he’ll be backing an unnamed “like-minded, well-qualified friend” to replace him. Jonathan Kappler of the N.C. FreeEnterprise Foundation tweeted about the announcement on Saturday. “It has never been my ambition to seek a long political career,” Jones wrote. “Public service has been a part of my greater calling to serve the Lord. ... My prayerful decision is that it is time for me to devote more time and energy to other important life priorities. Therefore, I will not seek re-election to the legislature in 2018. I am satisfied knowing that a like-minded, well-qualified friend is ready to serve, one who shares the Christian, conservative values I have promoted. He plans to announce his candidacy very soon.”