Good Wednesday morning to you, and we’ve climbed back atop the cliff — sort of…

Weather: Clearing and colder. Tuesday’s rain gives way to clearing skies today, but temperatures will turn colder and stay that way for a while. Today’s highs will reach the middle 40s, with nighttime lows around 30. That forecast will hold all the way through the weekend.

Cliff-climbing. The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Senate’s short-term resolution of the so-called “fiscal cliff” late Tuesday night. The vote was 257-167 to pass, but most Republicans voted against, including all six Alabama GOP members (Democrat Terri Newell voted in favor). The bill raises income tax rates on couples making more than $450,000 a year and individuals making $400,000, and ends the two-percent reduction on Social Security withholding; that increase takes effect immediately. The bill also raises dividend and capital-gains taxes on high-income taxpayers, and restores the estate tax — called by detractors a “death tax” — of as much as 40 percent for estates of more than $10 million. The Senate passed the bill just after midnight Tuesday by an 89-8 vote; Alabama’s Richard Shelby voted against, while Jeff Sessions voted in favor. President Obama is expected to sign the bill today.

Preparing for the unthinkable. School administrators and teachers from Jefferson County Schools will have a chance to learn today how to handle a situation such as the shooting at a Newtown, Conn. School last month. The system will hold two three-hour training sessions, including a drill with simulated weapons, at the system’s counseling center in Ketona.

Sports: Two out of three for SEC. Southeastern Conference teams won two and lost one in New Year’s Day bowl games. At the Outback Bowl in Tampa, The Ol’ Head Ball Coach — Steve Spurrier, to the uninitiated — used two different quarterbacks as they came back to beat Michigan 33-28. In the Capital One Bowl at Orlando, another comeback led Georgia over Nebraska by a 45-31 score. But at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Mississippi State couldn’t hold off Northwestern, which won its first bowl game since the 1949 Rose Bowl with a 34-20 score. Elsewhere, Stanford took out Wisconsin 20-14 in the Rose Bowl, and Cinderella’s slipper didn’t fit Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl; the BCS-crashers from the Mid-American Conference fell to Florida State by 31-10 count. Tonight, it’s the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, with Florida facing Louisville.


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