A day after the release of the declassified report on Russian hacking during the 2016 election, the New York Times is reporting this morning on the business deals of Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner. In Washington, Congressional Republicans seem to be supporting Trump's campaign promise to build a border wall between the US and Mexico, even though it seems that American taxpayers will be the ones fronting the money to pay for it. Mr. Trump, with 13 days to go before he assumes the presidency, is tweeting about the "stupid" people, or fools, would think that [having a good relationship with Russia] is bad! He will purportedly give a press conference this week, on January 11, following President Obama's Farewell Address, on January 10. A number of confirmation hearings will also take place on the 11th. [more inside]
On August 21st this year, a solar eclipse will sweep across continental USA for the first time in decades. Between 10:15am in Oregon and 2:49pm in South Carolina, the sun will be blotted out in parts of 14 states to greatly varying degrees, with all of the contiguous United States seeing at least a partial eclipse. This iteration belongs to Saros 145; the longest duration of totality will be 2 minutes 41.6 seconds just south of Carbondale, Illinois and the greatest extent will be between Hopkinsville and Princeton, Kentucky. The best place to view? Depends, even as towns vie for viewers and predict the masses. While astronomers are excited, prophets are worried. Also, a google map, resource bibliography and an alien invasion.
As Rogue One plays, the US Electoral College, despite possible rebellions and protests, votes: 304 for Donald Trump, 227 for Hillary Clinton, 3 for Colin Powell, and 1 each for Faith Spotted Eagle, Bernie Sanders, Ron Paul and John Kasich. On the squawk mortar, the former obsessive green ink letter writer tussles with POTUS #42 and gets nuclear (more), while the current POTUS restricts offshore drilling and stays a figure of hope. With the inauguration and ball less than a month away, the stage is being built while performers are still being negotiated. Retrospections and speculations on what the wounded Democratic Party and liberals do next, and who leads, abounds. Meanwhile, liberals are arming, Pence is interpreting, Estonians are worried, North Carolina is undemocratic and funding signs are ominous. [more inside]
In yet another week of "surely this...", Russia is accused of helping him win the US election to a Senator's dismay and possible retaliation, Mitt loses out to Tillerson, Rick Perry is nominated for can't remember oops, other people are nominated, and librarians and science come under attack, with net neutrality possibly next. The Electoral College is but a few days away, with lobbying, labels, opinions and angry celebrities. However, the chances of a shock are low. Elsewhere, the public vote gives Hillary a large lead with comparisons to previous elections, Louisiana voted, the 2018 midterms are underway, Barack is interviewed, contemporary capitalism, Putin's revenge, un-democracy in North Carolina, latest odds, and piñata. [more inside]
The interval between the 2016 US election and inauguration of POTUS #45 continues. Donald likes an avid reader, but claims many bogus votes were cast and others believe it. Romney (previous, post title, transcript) emerges full of chocolate cake and glowing praise. The "swamp" continues to be filled, and despite 'leaving business' there are conflicts (multiple, many) of interest. There's recount news in Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin. Amongst voter suppression news (more, more, again), recent tactics arguably worked (more), Michigan is trying to pass tougher ID laws, legal issues continue in North Carolina, and the fight will be a hard and an unavoidable one. [more inside]
While book-reading president-elect Donald continues to tweet and finally speaks with the New York Times, he also generates news: property in Argentina, conflict of interests and the foreign Emoluments Clause, Foundation tax returns, NASA funding, New York protection costs and disruption, flip-flopping, the Climate Accord, a musical, ending the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and not attempting to prosecute Hillary. New appointments include DeVos as education secretary and Haley as U.N. ambassador, with Michael Flynn tapped as national security advisor. Beyond Trump Tower, the results in three states may be challengeable or challenged, and in the ongoing count, Hillary's popular vote lead exceeds two million (live spreadsheet). [more inside]
574 days since Hillary declared she would run, and 2 days left for the frontrunner and all of us till election day. While the world watches e.g. [Guardian] [RTE] [Denmark] [Russia] [Sweden (lonely)] and [France], analyses, reacts, or organizes election parties [Australia] [New Zealand], the polls bounce around but generally favor Hillary, the UK bookies, other odds and an increasingly angry Nate also still favor Hillary, and Politico only sees three narrow paths to victory for Donald. Meanwhile, the Democrats get the vote out, it's not been the best of years for Trump's New Jersey chum (also November 10th 2015), there are fears of an election "cyber attack", political phrases are becoming fatigued, celebrity social media remains divided, Mr Kaine duets with Mr Bongiovi, and Hillary and Donald (in Reno) near the end. [more inside]
Eleven days to go. Since last time, Donald announced his first 100 days of actions, but still dislikes Jeb and John, while Hillary considers Texas and (post-birthday) speaks with Michelle (post title from speech) in North Carolina, early voting is happening, and Barack has nice approval ratings (though not everywhere). In the polls, 538 reckons Donald needs a sweep of swing states, GOP "insiders" think there are secret Trump voters, another release shows ties in Georgia and Iowa, and in perhaps less reliable data, Donald has a huge lead. While social media rages and schools have concerns about being polling stations, Wikileaks continues to drip-feed mundane emails, the FBI writes a vague letter about other emails (rebuttal), Colin Powell declares for Hillary, a 'Victory Bus' tours (gallery), Evan and Mindy continue to draw support across Utah, and therapists and patients describe election stress. [more inside]
“These people performed a critique of a brutal capitalistic enslavement system, and they rejected it completely. They risked everything to live in a more just and equitable way, and they were successful for ten generations."The Great Dismal Swamp straddles the Virginia-North Carolina border. From the 1600s to about the American Civil War it was a place of refuge, largely for escaped African and African-American slaves, and an important link in the underground railway. [more inside]
The Equal Justice Initiative has released a report (pdf) on the history of lynchings in the United States, the result of five years of research. The authors compiled an inventory of 3,959 victims of “racial terror lynchings” in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950 -- documenting more than 700 additional victims, which places the number of murders more than 20 percent higher than previously reported. "The process is intended... to force people to reckon with the narrative through-line of the country’s vicious racial history, rather than thinking of that history in a short-range, piecemeal way." Map. [more inside]
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
A Terrible Legacy More than 60,000 Americans were sterilised, many against their will, as part of a eugenics movement that finished in 1979, aimed at keeping the poor and mentally ill from having children. Now, decades on, one state is considering compensation.
Oops. Touch-screen errors led to loss of 4,400 ballots in North Carolina election.
A little coffee shop in a little North Carolina town closes. When I worked in Fuquay-Varina, N.C., the opening of the Hyphen (get it? get it? the Hyphen in Fuquay-Varina?) was a miracle. There, in the midst of antique stores, clothiers, and the Bob Barker Co., was this hip, unique eatery owned and operated by two local artists. Owner Nina Fortmeyer partially cites that the little tobacco town has simply become "Wal-Mart-ized" in its growth, leading to a loss in downtown foot traffic, leading to lost business. This, methinks, is the greatest and most obvious consequence of globalization, the mom-and-pops being run out of town. If this is happening in Fuquay-Varina, it is absolutely happening everywhere. Very sad.