CRIME// President Obama commutes the sentence of Bradley “Chelsea” Manning, the Army soldier who stole sensitive U.S. documents and provided them to Wikileaks. In 2011, Obama said Manning ‘broke the law’ and that “we don’t let individuals make decisions about how the law operates.” In 2013, Manning claimed he was a woman and began referring to himself as “Chelsea.” http://cvote.it/2iN3dUb
CRIME // The commutation of Manning will make more news, but this one should make you madder. President Obama also granted clemency to Puerto Rican terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera, former head of the FALN Puerto Rican separatist group. The Chicago and New York cells of FALN planted approximately 120 bombs throughout the U.S. from 1974 to 1983, including one at the U.S. Capitol. http://cvote.it/2iznNZP
TRANSITION 2017 // Senate Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos championed school choice in her confirmation hearings. “For me, it’s simple: I trust parents, and I believe in our children.” But she also said that would not support a “federal role in dictating any of that.” When done with her testimony, DeVos went to shake liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren’s hands, but Warren refused the handshake. http://cvote.it/2j7JHzF
TRANSITION 2017 // Trump’s interior secretary pick Ryan Zinke testified to Congress and said there is a need for expanded oil, gas and coal production, saying that “we’re going to need an economy that grows.” On climate change, he said: “I do not believe it’s a hoax.” http://cvote.it/2iN3lmK
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY // What lies ahead for religious freedom in 2017? Here are five religious freedom cases to watch in 2017. http://cvote.it/2iNdUWP
ABORTION // The number of abortions have dropped 43% since 1990. There were 926,200 abortions in 2014, the lowest figure of babies lost since 1974. http://cvote.it/2iNh9xH
CATHOLIC // EWTN Global Catholic Network, in partnership with the Susan B. Anthony List, will launch a new half-hour weekly program focusing on promoting the culture of life. http://cvote.it/2iN2Qt0
WORD OF THE DAY // Commutation – A reduction or a change of a legal penalty or punishment to a lesser one. This is different from a full pardon, which is a formal forgiveness by the government that restores certain liberties.