The GOP’s Midterm Chances & A Million-Dollar Commode
October 20, 2022
The Red Scare
Despite President Joe Biden’s best efforts, the Republican Party still seems poised to take the House of Representatives this midterm season. POLITICO’s Election Forecast analysis finds that the race to control the House remains “Likely Republican,” and now, 10 individual races look to have leaned in the GOP’s favor. In addition, two districts easily won by Biden in 2020 are now considered “Toss Ups.” The only good update for Democrats POLITICO has this week is in Alaska. The state’s only House seat is now slightly favored for Democratic candidate Mary Peltola, who beat former Governor Sarah Palin in a special election earlier this summer. Despite this, everyone’s favorite maverick remains committed to winning the seat and remains in the midterm election.
The shift to the right is especially painful in California and Oregon, two generally blue states. California’s 13th District and Oregon’s 6th District are the two Biden counties that have become toss-ups. Republicans have made headway in the states by focusing on inflation, crime, and homelessness. Two other Biden-voting districts in Oregon are looking like possible GOP wins as well. Florida is looking even worse for Democrats despite Governor Ron DeSantis’ borderline-psychopathic publicity stunt earlier in September, which saw migrants shipped off to blue states. Thanks to some totally legitimate (wink wink) redistricting efforts and GOP improvements with Latino voters, the state looks to become comfortably Republican this election. Democrats are also giving up House races in Wisconsin and Arizona.
Moving down to the state level, things look slightly better for the boys in blue (Democrats, not cops). Maryland and Massachusetts, currently home to GOP Governors, are turning “Solidly Democrat,” and Maine, Minnesota, and New Mexico are all classified as “Lean Democratic.” (Politico)
Some Good News
- UC Berkeley is repatriating cultural artifacts, including ancestral remains, to Indigenous tribes (CNN)
- Vaccines to treat cancer possible by 2030, say BioNTech founders (Guardian)
Plugging The Brain Drain
- Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee announced Wednesday that the city would be setting aside 30 billion Hong Kong dollars ($3.8 billion) to attract more businesses. The new funding was announced following the largest exodus the city has ever seen since official records began tracking such figures in 1961.
- According to Lee, “Over the past two years, the local workforce shrank by about 140,000.” He also announced a new hiring program alongside the spending bill on Wednesday, aimed at attracting wealthy individuals and graduates of top universities. The program offers “a two-year pass for exploring opportunities in Hong Kong” to eligible candidates.
- While Hong Kong has traditionally served as the gateway into China for Western countries (thanks, century of British colonization!), Singapore has recently overtaken it. Why? Hong Kong’s harsh Covid restrictions have stifled its business competitiveness, so Singapore’s open-door policy makes it the more attractive option. It seems western businesses are having a hard time shaking their addiction to jungle island metropolises. (CNN)
I Declare Martial Law!
- On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered all of Russia to support the war effort in Ukraine, declaring martial law in four partially-Russian-occupied regions of the country. The declaration came partly in response to an ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive aimed at taking as much territory as possible before the winter sets in.
- Russian forces near Kherson, one of the Ukrainian regions claimed by Moscow, have been pushed back 20-30 km (13-20 miles) in recent weeks and risk being pinned against a river. According to Moscow, civilians are being evacuated from the area. “The Ukrainian side is building up forces for a large-scale offensive,” a Russian official told state TV. “Where the military operates, there is no place for civilians.”
- At the moment, it’s unclear what the declaration of martial law even really means outside the tightening of security in Russian-held areas. Ukrainian Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called the move “a pseudo-legalisation of (the) looting of Ukrainians’ property.” The U.S. State Department announced that it was not surprised in the slightest that Moscow was resorting to “desperate tactics.” (Reuters)
Additional World News
- Prisoner swap with Russia sees 108 Ukrainian women released (Guardian)
- ‘Troubled marriage’: Oil spat unlikely to break US-Saudi ties (Al Jazeera)
- Berlusconi says Russia’s Putin gifted him vodka, sweet note (ABC)
- Norway intel agency takes over probe into drone sightings (AP)
- Mallikarjun Kharge: Can a non-Gandhi Congress chief take on Modi? (BBC)
- A besieged Liz Truss loses the second of her key cabinet members (WaPo, $)
- Poland to buy 288 multiple rocket launchers from South Korea (ABC)
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot
Farming Funding Never Fails
- On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a farm loan relief program that will provide $1.3 billion in debt relief for about 36,000 farmers who have fallen behind on loan payments or face foreclosure. The relief comes from $3.1 billion set aside in the Inflation Reduction Act for loan relief for any USDA borrowers.
- “Through no fault of their own, our nation’s farmers and ranchers have faced incredibly tough circumstances over the last few years,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The funding included in today’s announcement helps keep our farmers farming and provides a fresh start for producers in challenging positions.” Farmers can struggle for many reasons, including climate change-related issues like drought. (AP)
Ready And Eager To Double Down
- Three years after writer E. Jean Carroll sued former President Trump for defamation in New York, he was scheduled to submit to a sworn deposition on Wednesday at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Carroll accused Trump of raping her at some point in the 1990s in her 2019 book, but Trump denied her claims, saying she was “totally lying” and that she was not his “type.”
- Carroll says Trump’s response harmed her reputation, and a judge ruled on October 12 that Trump had to sit for the deposition. Trial is scheduled for February 6. Trump’s lawyer said he is “ready and eager to sit” for questioning, and he says he has not changed his stance since the last time he spoke out about Carroll’s claims, even repeating the claims again on Truth Social and doubling down on Carroll not being his type. (NYT, $)
Additional USA News
- California jury convicts Paul Flores of 1996 murder of Kristin Smart (WaPo, $)
- Florida police cameras show August arrests for alleged voter fraud (CNN)
- A rare but dangerous flesh-eating bacteria is infecting Florida residents (NPR)
- New York to Open Tent Camp for Migrants on Randalls Island (NYT, $)
- Texas schools send parents DNA kits to identify their kids’ bodies in emergencies (NBC)
- 66% of American workers are worse off financially than a year ago due to inflation, report finds (CNBC)
- McCarthy: No ‘blank check’ for Ukraine if GOP wins majority (AP)
A Toilet In Hand Is Worth $1.7 Million
- San Francisco politicians gathered in the Noe Valley Town Square Wednesday to celebrate the opening of…something. A municipal monstrosity. A $1.7 million bathroom. The politicians were celebrating securing state money to erect a long-desired toilet in the northeast corner of the town square.
- While San Francisco at least has a few public toilets (in Europe you have to pay when nature calls), the city’s housing crisis has led to a growing demand for bathrooms for the people. The new toilet is at least a step in the right direction, but it’s an expensive one – the 150-square-foot bathroom is expected to cost $1.7 million, roughly the same price as a single-family home in the city.
- Democratic Assemblymember Matt Haney secured the $1.7 million bathroom bag from the state for the toilet following community requests for a new bathroom. “They told me $1.7 million, and I got $1.7 million,” Haney explained. “I didn’t have the option of bringing home less of the bacon when it comes to building a toilet. A half a toilet or a toilet-maybe-someday is not much use to anyone.” The project is expected to be completed by 2025. (SF Chronicle)
- Indian outlet on defensive after its explosive claims of Meta political censorship (WaPo, $)
- ‘Buckle up’: US backers of Just Stop Oil vow more Van Gogh-style protests (Guardian)
- Athlete Elnaz Rekabi, who competed without a hijab, returns to Iran (NPR)
- Russian cosmonaut runs over colleague after space return (AP)
- First Known Family of Neanderthals Found in Russian Cave (NYT, $)
- Record-breaking bony fish weighing 3 tons found (CNN)