President-elect Trump is expected to name former Goldman Sachs banker Steven Mnuchin Treasury Secretary. Mnuchin left Wall Street for Hollywood, but made an early bet on Trump as his finance chair — and the rest, as they say, is history. The former hedge fund manager has as much government experience as his boss (zero) but has been a shrewd movie mogul; he backed the X-Men franchise and Avatar.
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Trump also tapped Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation. Chao was Bush 43’s Secretary of Labor and is half of a Washington power couple — she’s married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And as reported earlier, the president-elect picked House Budget Committee Chairman and former orthopedic surgeon Tom Price for Health Secretary. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez AFP/Getty)
A “calamitous and deadly wildfire” was raging in two tourist towns near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At least three have been killed and 150 homes and businesses destroyed and 14,000 people have been forced to evacuate from the area, which hosts more than 10 million tourists a year and is not far from Dollywood.
Norwegian security experts “stole” a Tesla using a laptop. The team unlocked a Model S and drove away by exploiting a flaw (since patched) in the Tesla app, reports E-Hacking News. Caveats: This required the owner to download smartphone malware on a smartphone running a two-year-old version of Android AND connect to a public WiFi hotspot. Still …
Amazon’s next Alexa will feature a seven-inch touchscreen, Bloomberg reports. What would be the new highest-end model would also reportedly include high-end speakers. But the selling point is the screen, which “can be seen when it sits on a counter and the user is standing” — ideal for (say) the kitchen, where you might place greater value on hands-free visual feedback than you would (say) when requesting mood music in repose.
Did Uber drivers join a national minimum wage protest? It depends on the meaning of “strike,” and who you want to believe. The assertion made this NPR story, based on an interview with one Uber driver who also has a full-time job — suggesting he’s available for strike duty while he sleeps. Protest organizer Fight for $15 issued a statement by another purported driver. But, oh, how to be sure? Koan time: Do two strikers make a strike? And: If you don’t have to work, is it a strike?
Oil plummeted 4% the day before a key OPEC meeting,fueled by doubts the cartel can actually, finally get its act together on a production cut. Reuters reports that “Iran and Iraq (are) at loggerheads with Saudi Arabia” about shrinking supply to coax up prices. But most analysts still believe OPEC will “cobble together” some kind of deal, the news agency asserts.
Cover Art: Steve Mnuchin (C) arrives at Trump Tower, November 29, 2016. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)