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The fallout from scheming during the 2020 U.S. presidential election continues. A number of those named in the Georgia indictment — including Rudy Giuliani — have surrendered to face charges for their role in trying to subvert the election. Former President Donald Trump is expected to turn himself over on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, 16 Republican lawmakers have been charged with felonies for trying to steal the election for Trump by submitting false elector paperwork. It’s triggered an attempt to root out the false electors, some of whom are still in office.
The polls still show Trump, who skipped the first debate, with a commanding lead in the Republican primary. I have to admit, though, that a mug shot would make a riveting campaign ad.
POLITICS and WORLD
NASTY, BRUTISH, SHORT: Yevgeny Prigozhin — leader of Wagner mercenaries — is presumed dead. He was reportedly aboard a private jet shot down close to Moscow, in the Tver region. Prigozhin had led a brief revolt against Putin earlier this year. The oligarch was sometimes called “Putin’s chef” due to his holdings in catering companies used by the Kremlin, though, in a joke that writes itself, Putin seems to have found another person to dish out revenge.
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL: Saudi Arabian border guards rained bullets on Ethiopian migrants slaying hundreds, according to a report from the nonprofit Human Rights Watch. Among the dead were asylum seekers who were attempting to enter the country over its border with Yemen. The dead included children — bullets, it’s well known, don’t discriminate. “I saw people killed in a way I have never imagined,” a 14-year-old named Hamdiya told the nonprofit. “I saw 30 killed people on the spot. I pushed myself under a rock and slept there. I could feel people sleeping around me. I realized what I thought were people sleeping around me were actually dead bodies. I woke up and I was alone.”
SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY: Part of Georgia’s ban on hormone therapy for minors was momentarily blocked by U.S. federal judge Sarah Geraghty. Geraghty cited the “imminent risks of irreparable harm,” including “depression, anxiety, disordered eating, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.” This issue has become conspicuous in American politics, and will likely be in the background (if not the foreground) of Republican political campaigns this cycle.
BUSINESS and ECONOMICS
GROWING UP: USMCA, the North American trade deal that replaced NAFTA, turned three. So far, the deal has spurred trade growth; currently, Canada and Mexico do more trade with the U.S. than China. It’s also led to more foreign direct investment on the continent and smoothed the way for labor complaints between countries, according to an analysis from the Brookings Institution.
BLUE-BALLING: Following up on a previous story… Seven Democrat state officials have written to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to ask that they block the proposed $25 billion Albertsons-Kroger deal. The merger, which has been called a “private equity smash and grab,” would concentrate control over the supply chain and would make it harder for labor to negotiate wages.
SCIENCE and CLIMATE
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON: India landed its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft on the moon’s “south pole” this week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented that the moment was “a victory cry of a new India.” But the lunatic is in his head.
LIBERAL SCRUM? Do generative artificial intelligence chatbots have a liberal bent? Are they, as my conservative father once called me, “liberal scum”? Yes, according to a new study that purports to show that ChatGPT, everyone’s favorite chatbot, shows a liberal bias when answering political questions. But — before you go repeating that — it’s worth noting that the report’s prompts contained some “fatal flaws” in the way they were worded, and this paper may not count as quality evidence for political bias.
OLD MEN AND THE SEA: Japan started the decades-long process of pouring a million tons of nuclear waste water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the ocean. In the short term, it’s bad news for Japanese fishermen, who are worried nobody wants to buy radioactive fish. Hong Kong has already limited seafood imports from Japan.
HURRICANE COUNTRY: Hurricane Hilary — a name that brought conservatives to titters — crossed California. It was the first time in recent memory that California — including the dusty Inland Empire and the arid Death Valley — was under a state of emergency for a hurricane. At the same time, there was an earthquake in Ojai. The storm did cause some real grief and damage. But in my area, unlike its famous counterpart, the hurricane was able to move on.
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