I hope those of you who leave the home to celebrate New Year’s Eve are very careful tonight. I’ll probably be asleep when the Big Moment arrives (at least on PST), so I’ll remind you the countdown to midnight will also be the countdown for a tax-deductible 2014 donation to the Washington Monthly. It’s a much better bargain than the overpriced and watered-down drinks many of you will be consuming tonight.

Here are some remains of the day, and the year:

* Since Maryland has abolished the death penalty, it makes sense that Martin O’Malley commuted the sentences of the last four residents of Death Row to life without parole.

* Palestinian Authority joins International Criminal Court with intention to pursue war crimes charges against Israel after UN Security Council blocked resolution demanding Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories.

* Fascinating Uri Friedman story at The Atlantic about December 2000 intelligence agency predictions on what the world would be like in 2015.

* At Ten Miles Square, James Wimberly hearkens back to his own 2001 analysis of comparative movements of religious violence in order to get a handle on IS.

* At College Guide, Sarah Garland examines the origins of the controversial Common Core math standards.

And in non-political news:

* Reported 35 killed in stampede during Shanghai New Year’s Eve festivities.

That’s it for Wednesday. Tomorrow and Friday we’re going to feature an impressive new addition to our blogging corps here at PA. He’s a distinguished veteran journalist and currently Politics Contributor for theRoot.com and Washington Correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune. Please welcome Charles Ellison to Political Animal.

We’ll close our imaginary New Year’s Eve party with one more Television cut: “See No Evil.”

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.