FLASH NEWS! The Democrats didn’t do as poorly as expected; I’ll put up an early post on this half an hour after this one goes up. Save your comments on politics until then. GOOD NEWS!
Welcome to a Hump Day (“День горба“, as they say in Ukraine. November 9, 2022: National Greek Yogurt, a day of cultural appropriation. It’s also National Scrapple Day (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it), Carl Sagan Day (he was born on this day in 1934), Go To an Art Museum Today Day, and World Freedom Day.
Greek yogurt is the best yogurt, and here’s a recipe, but start with a good culture of yogurt (Cabot’s full-fat yogurt in America is good). When I lived in Sitia, a (then) tiny village on the northeastern end of Crete, there was a wee shop with one table that sold two things: sheep’s milk, and sheep’s milk yogurt, along with rusks. I’d go there every day for the month I lived in town, alternating between these treats for breakfast. Alas, Sitia is now, like all towns on the north shore of Crete, a tourist enclave, and I doubt that shop is still there.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this day by consulting the November 9 Wikipedia page.
Da Nooz, of course, is all about the elections. I usually write this the evening before publication but I’ll give some highlights when I fill in the blanks this morning. The news is better than expected—for us Democrats.
*But here’s Nate Silver’s prediction from yesterday evening, followed by his new prognostications in an article from Five Thirty Eight called, “Final election update: The Forecast is more or less back where it started.” First, the Congress:
And the individual Senate races: reddish is Republican, bluish is Democratic. Not much change since June, but Lordy, both Pennsylvania (Dr. Oz) and Georgia (Herschel Walker) are predicted (narrowly) to go for the kooks, quacks, and loons. [n.b., Walker and Oz apparently both lost).
Nate Rakich from the site:
Our forecast also predicts that, on average, Republicans will win 230 seats in the next House, and Democrats will win 205. That would be a 17-seat gain for Republicans, which would be below average for a midterm election. However, those seat projections come with very wide confidence intervals, which means a wide range of scenarios is possible. For example, our forecast says there’s an 80 percent chance that Republicans will gain between one and 33 House seats.
From Geoffrey Skelley:
Just about no part of the 2022 midterms is more uncertain than the race for control of the U.S. Senate. The chamber is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans,1 but Democrats hold a precarious majority via the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. As a result, a one-seat gain by Republicans would be enough to give them control, whereas Democrats need to avoid any net losses to retain their advantage.
But the fate of the Senate looks to be on a knife’s edge. Republicans have a 59-in-100 chance of taking control of the chamber, according to FiveThirtyEight’s Deluxe forecast, which is now frozen. That isn’t much better than the probability of calling a coin-flip correctly, although the GOP may have the slightest of edges. Considering the midterm environment and the seats that are up this cycle, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Republicans have a slightly better chance than Democrats of capturing the Senate. But the GOP’s fortunes have also improved markedly in the final weeks, as Democrats had about a 7-in-10 shot of controlling the Senate in late September.
*I’m neither surprised nor disappointed, but somewhat satisfied that Theranos grifter Elizabeth Holmes, according to the Wall Street Journal, has lost her bid for a new trial. She’s tried getting a new one three separate times, but it’s all come to naught.
A federal judge denied Elizabeth Holmes’s bid for a new trial, the latest setback for the Theranos Inc. founder who was convicted of fraud in January.
U.S. District Judge Edward Davila, who oversaw Ms. Holmes’s trial which began last year, said in a ruling late Monday that the arguments in her three motions for a new trial didn’t introduce material new evidence or establish government misconduct, adding that a new trial was unlikely to result in an acquittal.
Ms. Holmes is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 18. Earlier Monday, a court probation officer submitted a presentence report, an investigation into Ms. Holmes’s legal and personal background.
The judge previously denied her request for an acquittal. He also denied requests for an acquittal and new trial from Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, Ms. Holmes’s former boyfriend and deputy at Theranos, who was found guilty on 12 counts of fraud and conspiracy in a separate trial that concluded in July.
Holmes could get eighty years in the slammer, but won’t come close to that. However, since she’s shown no remorse, I hope she gets more than a slap on the wrist. Just because she’s young and attractive is no reason to go lighter on her, and, as for her baby, well, as I’ve said (and I’m not alone here), I wouldn’t put it past her to have gotten pregnant as a “get out of jail” card.
Ms. Holmes was convicted in January on four counts of criminal fraud for deceiving investors while running a yearslong scheme at Theranos, a blood-testing startup, where she was chief executive. She faces up to 20 years in prison, plus fines, for each guilty count. Lawyers following the case have said she almost certainly won’t receive the maximum penalty, based on outcomes of other white-collar prosecutions. Ms. Holmes, who is visibly pregnant, has remained out of jail after posting bail.
*Via reader Daniel, a bit more about Salman Rushdie’s condition after the odious attack on him, almost certainly stemming from the Satanic Verses fatwa. This comes from Rushdie’s agent, Andrew Wylie, interviewed by the Spanish paper El Pais:
Question: How is Salman Rushdie doing?
Answer. [His wounds] were profound, but he’s [also] lost the sight of one eye… He had three serious wounds in his neck. One hand is incapacitated because the nerves in his arm were cut. And he has about 15 more wounds in his chest and torso. So, it was a brutal attack.
Q. Is he still in the hospital?
A. I can’t give any information about his whereabouts. He’s going to live…That’s the more important thing.
Q. Do you think that the attack on Rushdie so many years after Iran issued the fatwa against him means that we’re living at a particularly dangerous time for freedom of expression in the world?
A. I think the attack was probably something that Salman and I have discussed in the past, which was that the principal danger that he faced so many years after the fatwa was imposed is from a random person coming out of nowhere and attacking [him]. So, you can’t protect against that because it’s totally unexpected and illogical. It was like John Lennon’s murder.
His eye, his hand, and 15 wounds in his chest. Thank Ceiling Cat he’s alive! I expect the next thing he writes (and he will write) will be about the attack.
*Lotteries have been called a “tax on the stupid,” since one’s expected return is always less than one’s investment, and I’ve never played. But somebody did, and just won $2.04 billion in Powerball, nabbing the world’s largest lottery prize ever:
The ticket was sold at a Joe’s Service Center, the California Lottery said on Twitter. Results posted to Powerball.com similarly said there was one winner who matched all six numbers in California – the odds of which were 1 in 292.2 million, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association.
The winning numbers, which were announced Tuesday morning after Monday night’s drawing was delayed, were 10-33-41-47-56 and the Powerball was 10, according to the association.
And while you likely weren’t the jackpot winner, lotteries are urging players to check their tickets on the chance you won one of the other – albeit smaller – prizes: Per the Multi-State Lottery Association, more than 11.2 million tickets won cash prizes totaling $98.1 million, including 22 tickets that won $1 million prizes for matching the five white numbers but not the Powerball.
The jackpot was a record $1.9 billion but grew to $2.04 billion by the time of the drawing, the association said in a statement, “making it the world’s largest lottery prize” – just as its organizers intended when they changed the odds in 2015.
(from the AP):
The $2.04 billion jackpot was by far the largest lottery prize ever won, topping the previous record $1.586 billion prize won by three Powerball ticketholders in 2016. Only four previous jackpots have topped $1 billion, but none of those are close to the current prize, which started at $20 million back on Aug. 6 and has grown over three winless months. No one has won the jackpot since Aug. 3.
Joe Chahayad, the owner of Joe’s Service Center, also gets a million bucks for selling the winning ticket.
*And let’s not forget there’s a war—a just war—still going on between Ukraine and Russia. The latest report, this from the NYT, is that although Ukraine is getting a passel of sophisticated new weapons systems from NATO and especially the U.S., the Russians are fighting back by getting missiles from our erstwhile negotiating partner and killer of its citizens, Iran.
Even as Ukrainian officials celebrate the arrival of more advanced Western air-defense systems and claim growing success at shooting down Russian rockets and drones, they are warning that Moscow is on the hunt for new long-range weapons against which Kyiv’s forces have little defense — specifically, ballistic missiles from Iran.
A spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said the Kremlin had plans to buy Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles from Iran, which the Ukrainians say will almost certainly be used to continue to target civilian energy infrastructure that has already been battered by barrages of attacks in recent weeks.
“We have information that they achieved some agreement on delivery,” the spokesman, Yurii Ihnat, said at a news conference on Monday.
Iran has denied plans to sell ballistic missiles to Russia. But Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence directorate, has said delivery of Iranian missiles could happen by the end of November.
“It’s a serious threat because Iranian missiles, unlike Russian ones, are quite high-precision, very high-speed, and those features have been battle-proven,” he said in a recent interview with the War Zone, an online publication focused on military matters.
Ukrainian officials have declined to disclose details about the number of missiles Russia may be seeking to acquire. But Mr. Ihnat said Ukraine was in discussions with its Western allies over how to counter the threat.
“It is theoretically possible to shoot them down, but it is actually very difficult to do this with the capabilities we have at our disposal today,” he noted.
I would be more than happy were the citizens of Iran to overthrow its odious, patriarchical, theocratic, and inhuman regime. Now would be an especially good time, but of course that would go along with a bloodbath.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili can’t quite comply with Paulina’s request:
Paulina: Say “cheese”.
Paulina: Powiedz ser. Hili: Mysz.
God is really ticked off at Elon Musk, whose latest gambit is to ensure that parody accounts are clearly labeled as parodies (I’m not sure what I think about that):
[PARODY] I am Elon Musk and I [PARODY] am a stupid motherfucking cocksucking [PARODY] dangerous sociopathic spoiled little man-boy for whom [PARODY] $40+ billion dollars is still not enough to [PARODY] grant a layer of either [PARODY] thick skin or self-awareness. [PARODY]
— God (Thee/Thy) (@TheTweetOfGod) November 7, 2022
From Masih; the demonstrations continue in Iran, the females with uncovered hair.
School girls & boys decided to take to the streets together in Isfahan. The girl says; in Iran from age of 7 not only we have to cover our hair, we also must go to segregated school, we are not allowed to go to stadiums together. Now this is our civil disobedience.#MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/ZqVzsyfrlk
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) November 8, 2022
Followers of the Nation of Islam believe that the research of a black scientist named Yakub led to the creation of the white race via grafting of monkeys and albinos. After his death, some of Yakub's university colleagues were killed when Moses threw dynamite at them. pic.twitter.com/oq6HV31ws1
— Monitoring Bias (@monitoringbias) November 8, 2022
From Rich, a cat and a concert piano. He says, “I’d love to know the story there.” Me too!
— Images That Could Be Album Covers (@ImagesAlbum) November 8, 2022
From Malcolm: a comparison of tsunami sizes:
The size of different Tsunamis put into context. pic.twitter.com/vjfQilab59
— Fascinating (@fasc1nate) November 2, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a boy gassed at eight. The statement, “SS doctors did not select anyone from this transport to be registered” means that every person on the arriving train was immediately murdered in the gas chamber.
— Tracey Thomas Hosmer (@trylthomas) November 7, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. First, a great parody of “Titanic” starring Owlkitty. “Draw me like you draw one of your French cats.”
Titanic with a cat.
🎥: Owlkitty pic.twitter.com/raIvsJvMAI
— $atish💌 (@Love_onlyyU) February 14, 2022
No damage done to the coat, I presume:
Hang on to your hats! 💨 🎩
When Amelia Earhart visited the NACA at Langley (now @NASA_Langley) #OTD 94 years ago, she got her raccoon-fur coat sucked into an 11-inch high-speed wind tunnel! #AviationHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/brmRYFV4W4
— NASA History Office (@NASAhistory) November 5, 2022
These are the kind of waves we experienced on two crossings of the Drake Passage from Chile to the Antarctic Peninsula. One of them toppled tables, chairs, and food in the dining rooms. We had waves of about 15
Here’s a fun peek at the Drake Shake though none of our videos captured it. 30-35ft waves, 70mph gusts-each wave the ship would lift up about 50ft with force until you were almost weightless and then slam you back down. It was so much fun even for a 36 hour roller coaster. pic.twitter.com/aBSPiinfNW
— Shannon (we're already in space) Stirone 💀 (@shannonmstirone) November 4, 2022