November 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Biden on the cusp, Trump on the verge.

He told us he was going to do it. Everyone was prepared for him to do it. And yet, even with that foreshadowing, it was still chilling to watch (along with the rest of the free world) an American president baselessly calling an election into question during a lie-filled rant as power was being ripped from his small, weak hands. “If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.” That was one of a long litany of potentially violence-triggering lies as Trump began the scorched earth episode of history’s worst reality show. WaPo: Trump’s White House statement: Falsehood upon falsehood. Trump’s rant was so bad and so false and so dangerous that as he began floating baseless claims of election fraud, television networks cut away. (I just wish Nixon were alive to see how not bad he was.)

+ NYT: “Even for President Trump, it was an imagined version of reality, one in which he was not losing but the victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy stretching across the country in multiple cities, counties and states, involving untold numbers of people all somehow collaborating to steal the election in ways he could not actually explain. Never mind that Mr. Trump presented not a shred of evidence during his first public appearance since late on election night or that few senior Republican officeholders endorsed his false claims of far-reaching fraud. A presidency born in a lie about Barack Obama’s birthplace appeared on the edge of ending in a lie about his own faltering bid for re-election.” (And after those two lies, and the tens of thousands in between, 69 million Americans still saw fit to vote for Trump.)

+ “What matters, of course, is not what Trump says, or how he says it, but what he does—and what his supporters do at his behest.” Trump Moves Into the Burn-It-Down Phase.

+ “In the 48 hours since polls closed on Election Day, President Donald Trump’s campaign has made good on a pledge to flood the courts with challenges, but so far it has either lost cases outright or gotten orders with little to no effect on vote tallies.”

+ AP: GOP divided over Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. There’s no fraud. The election will be called. The electoral advantage will be decisive. And don’t call it a comeback. No one was ahead. No one was making up or losing ground. That’s just bullshit for television. A vote is a vote. The order in which you count them is meaningless. None of that will make the next few weeks any smoother. Life is too short. Except the hours between now and January 20

+ Meanwhile, back in reality, Pennsylvania will soon be called for Biden, as will the election. Or as I like to put it: Scranton Comes Alive. Biden’s Secret Service nickname should be Thank God. I just hope the election ends soon, for the sanity of Steve Kornacki and John King, and for my own. Last night I said, Hey Siri, and she was like, “Dude, I don’t know either.” We need this to finally end.

+ And with that, here’s the latest, and hopefully the lastest, from WaPo, NYT, and CNN.


Savannah, Nah Nah Nah Nah Nah, Goodbye

John Lewis once said, “The vote is precious. It is almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democracy.” It sure packed a wallop in Georgia’s 5th District today. The votes from Clayton pushed Biden ahead (at least for now) in Georgia. Clayton is the county Trump called horrible and crime infested during an attack on John Lewis. Bad take, meet good trouble. Georgia is likely so close they’ll need a recount. They’re also gearing up for two runoffs that could decide the Senate.


Better Late Than Whatever

“The measures, which could be rolled out as soon as Thursday, are a response to heightened strife and social discord on Facebook after the election on Tuesday, these people said. They said there had been more activity by users and Facebook groups to coordinate potentially violent actions over issues such as voter fraud. President Trump has falsely claimed on social media and in remarks from the White House over the past few days that the election was being ‘stolen’ from him, even while a final result remained unclear.” Mike Isaac in the NYT: Facebook, Alarmed by Discord Over Vote Count, Is Said to Be Taking Action. So they have a good way to stem the spread of false information and decrease the likelihood of violence and they’re gonna start that NOW?

+ “Twitter banned an account associated with Steve Bannon on Thursday and YouTube removed one of his videos after the former Trump adviser called for the beheadings of two federal officials. Bannon, in a video for his podcast recording, had said he wanted to behead FBI Director Christopher Wray and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert.” Wow, they’re really getting strict these days.

+ Weekend Whats will return next Friday by which time I’ll have figured out whats what.


Social Climbing

“The dramatic rise in cases in recent weeks is part of the latest wave of infections sweeping through the Midwest and Northeast, where hospitalizations have also spiked. More than 53,000 people nationwide were being treated in hospitals for COVID-19 as of Thursday – a figure not seen since early August.” Meanwhile, back at the disaster, New Daily U.S. Coronavirus Cases Jump Nearly 20%, Hitting Almost 122,000.

+ Even if you’re asymptomatic, COVID-19 can harm your heart, study shows – here’s what student athletes need to know.

+ “If the spray, which the scientists described as nontoxic and stable, is proved to work in humans, it could provide a new way of fighting the pandemic. A daily spritz up the nose would act like a vaccine. ‘Having something new that works against the coronavirus is exciting,’ said Dr. Arturo Casadevall, the chairman of immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who was not involved in the study. ‘I could imagine this being part of the arsenal.'” Donald G. McNeil Jr. in the NYT: Nasal Spray Prevents Covid Infection in Ferrets, Study Finds. At least ferrets can rest a little easier.


Correlate Bloomer

One of the more interesting stats of the election (even if we don’t know exactly what it means): “Support for President Trump increased in 2020 in many of the U.S. counties that lost lives at the highest rate to COVID-19, according to an NPR analysis. Of the 100 counties with the highest COVID-19 death rates per capita, 68 had a higher proportion of votes cast for Trump this cycle than they did in 2016. This includes both Republican-leaning counties and counties that supported Joe Biden.” Was it that people didn’t think Covid is an issue? Were those more likely to support Trump less likely to wear masks and take other precautions? Was the idea that the virus is over more enticing in places where people were the most nervous? Or does this stat mean nothing because everything means nothing?


Job Lot

“The job gains suggested that a tentative recovery is still intact even as it faces a surging viral outbreak with no further financial aid from Congress. October’s increase was slightly below the 672,000 jobs that were added in September and far fewer than the 1.5 million in August. But last month’s gain was stronger than it appears: It was held down by the loss of about 150,000 temporary Census jobs.” Unemployment drops to 6.9% and US adds a solid 638,000 jobs. (One hopes this trend can survive the Covid one.)


Time Travel

“The metal cylinder contained letters, poems, photographs, badges, beer mats, a menu, wine corks – ephemera from the early 21st century for whomever might discover it in the future. The future came pretty swiftly. The cylinder was found this week on the north-western tip of Ireland after floating an estimated 2,300 miles from the Arctic Circle, where global heating is melting a record amount of ice.” Arctic time capsule from 2018 washes up in Ireland as polar ice melts. (At least one result arrived earlier than expected.)


Don’t Call Me Daughter

“A Michigan couple whose large family attracted attention by growing to include 14 sons has welcomed their first daughter nearly three decades after the birth of their first child.” (They probably think raising 14 sons qualifies them to raise one daughter. Ha!)


When Will I Ever Use Math in Real Life?

For old time’s sake, here’s a look at an exhausted Steve Kornacki doing some quick math in front of the big board. (For people wondering how Kornacki keeps up his energy, the key is to take 361 days a year off.)


Feel Good Friday

It’s my mom’s birthday and after decades of trying, I finally found the perfect gift. A new President of the United States. Biden and Harris are expected to give prime time address tonight. Mom, I hope your present will arrive on time. If not, we can always blame Louis DeJoy’s mail slowdown.

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