Wednesday's Mini-Report, 12.14.16

Today's edition of quick hits:* Aleppo: "When Syrian rebels surged into Aleppo in the summer of 2012, it was the high point of their still young, still idealistic revolution against President Bashar al-Assad. Four and a half years and hundreds of thousands of deaths later, troops loyal to his government were poised to take the city back, heralding the end of an era for the rebellion."* Interest rates: "Federal Reserve officials, amid signs that the economy soon could shed its long period of stagnation, approved the first interest rate hike in just about a year Wednesday and indicated a modestly more aggressive path ahead. The Federal Open Market Committee raised its target range from 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent to 0.5 percent to 0.75 percent. The overnight funds rate currently sits at 0.41 percent."* No good can come of this: "As Republican lawmakers called themselves into yet another special session Wednesday afternoon with an unclear agenda, Democrats called the move unconstitutional.... Almost immediately after giving final legislative approval to a disaster recovery bill, both chambers adjourned the special session that opened Tuesday and reconvened a new legislative term."* The witch hunt was too much for Team Trump to defend: "President-elect Donald Trump's transition team on Wednesday disavowed a survey sent to the U.S. Department of Energy that requested the names of people working on climate change in the agency."* Since Corker is a Trump ally, it's probably best to keep expectations low: "Sen. Bob Corker's Foreign Relations Committee will launch a probe into Russian cyber hacking early next year, according to a spokeswoman. The panel will hold a classified briefing and an open hearing in January, joining the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees in probing the matter."* New rule: "Mindful of the clock ticking down to a Trump presidency, the Obama administration issued a final rule on Wednesday to bar states from withholding federal family-planning funds from Planned Parenthood affiliates and other health clinics that provide abortions. The measure takes effect two days before the Jan. 20 inauguration of Donald J. Trump." [Disclosure: my wife works for Planned Parenthood.]* Farmers will be pleased: "The U.S. Department of Agriculture set new rules to protect farmers from anticompetitive business practices, ending a six-year battle between livestock and poultry producers and meatpacking companies that buy their products."* Four years later: "There have been over 200 school shooting incidents -- an average of nearly one a week -- since the horrifying morning when 20-year-old Adam Lanza marched into Sandy Hook Elementary School and did the unthinkable. Four years ago today, Lanza shot and killed his mother in her home in Newtown, Connecticut, before making his way to the school and opening fire, leaving 20 children and six staff members dead."Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.