5 things for December 14: Net neutrality, tax overhaul, Rod Rosenstein, North Korea

It's a red-carpet salute to kindness. "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribune" airs Sunday night at 8 ET. Before the big sho...

Posted: Dec. 14, 2017 3:30 AM
Updated: Dec. 14, 2017 11:08 AM

It's a red-carpet salute to kindness. "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribune" airs Sunday night at 8 ET. Before the big show, meet this year's top 10. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

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1. Net neutrality

Today could be the day that the internet as we know it begins a major transformation. The FCC is expected to approve-a repeal of Obama-era net neutrality protections. These rules, OK'd just two years ago, were meant to keep the web open and fair and stopped big internet service providers from speeding up or slowing down traffic from specific websites and apps.

There's a big political divide on this. Democrats oppose the repeal. But the FCC is led by Republicans, and Trump appointed its chairman,-Ajit Pai, who has been a critic of net-neutrality rules for years. Pai wants the rules repealed to-stop the federal government from "micromanaging the internet."

The telecom industry wants the repeal, saying the rules hinder-innovation, but it's been loudly criticized by numerous technology companies and consumer advocacy groups, which fear a repeal would give internet providers too much control over how online content is delivered. If net neutrality is repealed,-the whole issue is almost certainly-headed to court.

2. Tax overhaul

The GOP is inching ever closer to achieving its dream of reworking the tax code. House and Senate Republicans have struck a tentative deal to merge their tax bills. The highlights: the corporate rate would be reduced to 21%, and the top individual rate would be 37%.; the state and local tax deduction would be capped at $10,000 and include income tax; the individual alternative minimum tax stays, but the corporate version of this tax is out, along with Obamacare's individual mandate.

A vote could happen next week. It'd be a big win for the President, but this thing just isn't that popular, and if it doesn't really juice up the economy next year, the GOP could pay the price during the 2018 midterm elections. Wondering how all this could affect you? Use this calculator to run the numbers.

3. Rod Rosenstein

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared before the House Judiciary Committee, and if that sounds like several hours of torture, you're right, so here's the abridged version of what he said. No, he doesn't see any-reason to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation.-No, he hasn't been-asked to fire Mueller. Yes, Mueller can expand the investigation to look into possible obstruction of justice. Yes, he thinks Mueller's doing a fine job. He took questions on Hillary Clinton's emails too, but he was noncommittal on reopening the investigation into that mess.

4. Sexual harassment

"Troubling allegations" have sidelined Tavis Smiley. PBS suspended distribution of his show after allegations of sexual misconduct. Smiley reportedly engaged in sexual relationships with "multiple subordinates." PBS has hired an outside law firm to look into this. Smiley, via Facebook, said he was shocked and that he'd-"Never. Ever. Never" harassed anyone.

Meanwhile, an Ohio Democratic House member is taking heat after telling colleagues in a closed-door meeting that-"too many members dress inappropriately" and it's "an invitation" to be harassed.-Rep. Marcy Kaptur told CNN that's not really what she meant. And an ex-aide to Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican, has approached the House Ethics Committee regarding what he described as a demeaning-office atmosphere, including a profane comment the congressman allegedly made about how the aide's wife should behave on their wedding day.

5. North Korea

Not so fast, Rex Tillerson. The White House and even his own State Department seemed to pour cold water on the secretary of state's assertion that the US was ready to talk to North Korea without the regime first giving-up its nukes. A National Security Council spokesperson said that before talks could be held, the North would need-to cut out the missile tests and take "meaningful actions toward denuclearization." So, should we be concerned that Tillerson and the administration aren't on the same page? Yes, said one ex-US official, because it may mean "Tillerson doesn't fully appreciate all the downside risks associated with talks without ...-preconditions." All the discord isn't-that surprising, since Tillerson doesn't seem to be one of Trump's favorite people, and rumors are still swirling that the President wants to replace him.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"For years, he was my monster."

Actress Salma Hayek, saying in a New York Times op-ed that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her and exhibited abusive behavior on the set of "Frida."

BREAKFAST BROWSE

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

'Heart' warming

She's just three weeks old and was born with her heart outside her body. But she survived the surgery to put it into her chest, so get those tissues ready.

Helping hand

Joe Biden and John McCain have been frenemies for years, but it was no surprise when the ex-veep comforted Meghan McCain on her dad's cancer diagnosis.

Let's go shopping

A man at a diner in Arizona left a $2,000 tip on a $17 meal, so it looks like it will be a very-merry Christmas for somebody.

If you can't beat 'em ...

Watch out Amazon, because Target's coming for you. The big, red bull's-eye plans to offer same-day delivery for online purchases next year.

WHAT'S FOR LUNCH

Russian President Vladimir Putin is holding his annual marathon news conference with international journalists in Moscow. Once, he answered questions for nearly five hours, so this could go on for a while.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

2 years

The prison sentence-reportedly handed down to an Egyptian pop singer after she released a suggestive music video online

NOT FORGOTTEN

It's been five years since the mass shooting that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We remember the victims.

AND FINALLY ...

That's gonna hurt

"Home Alone" is one of the greatest Christmas movies ever, until you get doctors and nurses to diagnose the many injuries that Marv and Harry suffer. (Click to view.)

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