Baltimore Buzz: It's National Chocolate Day!
Baltimore Buzz: It's National Chocolate Day!
Even world leaders who have previously allied with Trump — including UK's Boris Johnson and Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu — have congratulated Biden.
A weekend attack on farm workers in northeast Nigeria blamed on jihadists left at least 110 dead, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the country said on Sunday, the deadliest attack on civilians this year. The attack, in a state gripped by a jihadist insurgency for more than 10 years, took place the same day as long-delayed local elections in the state. "I am outraged and horrified by the gruesome attack against civilians carried out by non-state armed groups in villages near Borno State capital Maiduguri," Edward Kallon said in a statement. "At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack," he added. Some locals blamed the attack on Boko Haram fighters, but Bulama Bukarti, an analyst with the Tony Blair Institute, said rival group the IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) were more active in the area. "ISWAP is the likely culprit," he tweeted. Kallon, in his statement, said: "The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. "I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice," he added. The violence centred on the village of Koshobe near the Borno state capital Maiduguri, with assailants targeting farm workers harvesting rice fields. One pro-government anti-jihadist militia said the assailants tied up the labourers and slit their throats. Kallon said the assailants - "armed men on motorcycles" - also targeted other communities in the area. "Rural communities in Borno State are facing untold hardships," he added, calling for more to be done to protect them and to head off what he said was a looming food crisis there. Borno Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum attended the burial Sunday in the nearby village of Zabarmari of 43 bodies recovered on Saturday, saying the toll could rise after search operations resumed. The victims included dozens of labourers from Sokoto state in northwestern Nigeria, roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) away, who had travelled to the northeast to find work, it said. Six were wounded in the attack and eight remained missing as of Saturday. Kallon, citing "reports that several women may have been kidnapped", called for their immediate release. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack on Saturday, saying: "The entire country has been wounded by these senseless killings." Neither the president's statement nor Sunday's from the UN mentioned either Boko Haram or rival group ISWAP by name. But both groups have been active in Borno State, their attacks having forced the postponement of locations in Borno State, which finally took place Saturday.
Russia came under renewed pressure Monday to explain the nerve agent attack on opposition figure Alexei Navalny as the annual meeting of the global chemical weapons watchdog got underway amid measures aimed at reining in the spread of coronavirus. Navalny fell ill on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia, and was flown to Germany for treatment two days later. Tests carried out by labs in Germany, France and Sweden and by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons established that Navalny was exposed to a Soviet-era Novichok nerve agent.
The women "were well within their right to act in defense of their sister and daughter" and are not expected to face charges, authorities say.
If you live in a snowy region and you own a lawn tractor or zero-turn-radius riding mower, you may have thought about attaching a plow or snow blower to your mower—especially when the snow falls ...
President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14.This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3.Behind in almost all the major polls, Trump stormed within a hair’s breadth in the key battlegrounds of winning reelection, and his unexpectedly robust performance helped put Republicans in a strong position for the post-Trump-presidency era. This is not nothing. But the president can’t stand to admit that he lost and so has insisted since the wee hours of Election Night that he really won -- and won “by a lot.”There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people. The Trump team (and much of the GOP) is working backwards, desperately trying to find something, anything to support the president’s aggrieved feelings, rather than objectively considering the evidence and reacting as warranted.Almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny. In particular, it’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems. Over the weekend, he repeated the charge that 1.8 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania were mailed out, yet 2.6 million were ultimately tallied. In a rather elementary error, this compares the number of mail-ballots requested in the primary to the number of ballots counted in the general. A straight apples-to-apples comparison finds that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested in the primary and 1.5 million returned, while 3.1 million ballots were requested in the general and 2.6 million returned.Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States.Elected Republicans have generally taken the attitude that the president should be able to have his day in court. It’s his legal right to file suits, of course, but he shouldn’t pursue meritless litigation in Hail Mary attempts to get millions of votes tossed out. This is exactly what he’s been doing, it’s why reputable GOP lawyers have increasingly steered clear, and it’s why Trump has suffered defeat after defeat in court.In its signature federal suit in Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued that it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution for some Pennsylvania counties to let absentee voters fix or “cure” their ballots if they contained an error while other counties didn’t. It maintained that it was another constitutional violation for Trump election observers not to be allowed in close proximity to the counting of ballots. On this basis, the Trump team sought to disqualify 1.5 million ballots and bar the certification of the Pennsylvania results or have the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoint presidential electors.By the time the suit reached the Third Circuit, it had been whittled down to a relatively minor procedural issue (whether the Trump complaint could be amended a second time in the district court). The Trump team lost on that question, and the unanimous panel of the Third Circuit (in an opinion written by a Trump appointee) made it clear that the other claims lacked merit as well. It noted that the suit contained no evidence that Trump and Biden ballots or observers were treated differently, let alone evidence of fraud. Within reason, it is permissible for counties to have different procedures for handling ballots, and nothing forced some counties to permit voters to cure flawed absentee ballots and others to decline to do so.Not that it mattered. The court pointed out that the suit challenged the procedures to fix absentee ballots in seven Democratic counties, which don’t even come close to having enough cured ballots to change the outcome in the state; the counties might have allowed, at most, 10,000 voters to fix their ballots, and even if every single one of them voted for Biden, that’s still far short of Biden’s 80,000-plus margin in the state.The idea, as the Trump team stalwartly maintains, that the Supreme Court is going to take up this case and issue a game-changing ruling is fantastical. Conservative judges have consistently rejected Trump's flailing legal appeals, and the justices are unlikely to have a different reaction.Trump’s most reprehensible tactic has been to attempt, somewhat shamefacedly, to get local Republican officials to block the certification of votes and state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in clear violation of the public will. This has gone nowhere, thanks to the honesty and sense of duty of most of the Republicans involved, but it’s a profoundly undemocratic move that we hope no losing presidential candidate ever even thinks of again.Getting defeated in a national election is a blow to the ego of even the most thick-skinned politicians and inevitably engenders personal feelings of bitterness and anger. What America has long expected is that losing candidates swallow those feelings and at least pretend to be gracious. If Trump’s not capable of it, he should at least stop waging war on the outcome.
Thousands have fled the scene of a rumbling Indonesian volcano that burst to life for the first time in several years, belching a massive column of smoke and ash, the disaster agency said. The evacuation of more than 4,400 residents came as Mount Ili Lewotolok erupted Sunday, spouting a thick tower of debris four kilometres (2.5 miles) into the sky, triggering a flight warning and the closure of a local airport. The crater's last major eruption was in 2017. There were no reports of injuries or damage from the eruption in a remote part of the Southeast Asian archipelago. But authorities advised residents to wear masks to protect themselves from volcanic ash spouting from the crater in East Nusa Tenggara - the southernmost province of Indonesia - and to be alert for possible lava flows.
Leslie Van Houten has spent nearly five decades in prison since she was arrested for 1969 killing spree.
Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted and then acquitted of sexual abuse in his native Australia, reflects on the nature of suffering, Pope Francis’ papacy and the humiliations of solitary confinement in his jailhouse memoir, according to an advance copy obtained by The Associated Press. “Prison Journal," which recounts the first five months of Pell’s 404 days in solitary lockup, also provides a play-by-play of Pell’s legal case and gives personal insights into one of the most divisive figures in the Catholic hierarchy today. To his supporters and even some detractors, Pell is a victim of a terrific perversion of justice; to his critics, he is the symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the Catholic Church’s wretched response to clergy sexual abuse.
Los Angeles County will ban most social gatherings starting Monday for at least three weeks. That's as coronavirus cases continue to climb, crossing the threshold set for additional measures. The county will prohibit individuals from socializing with anyone outside their household. That’s on top of the overnight curfew imposed across most of the state last week by California Governor Gavin Newsom. Together, they’re among the most restrictive measures in effect nationwide. The county’s public health order issued Friday will affect some 20 million people living in and around the nation’s second largest city. The order extends to businesses as well. It lowers the maximum occupancy levels for “essential” retail businesses like groceries to 35% of capacity and non-essential businesses like indoor malls and nail salons to 20% of capacity. Arnold and Kristy Ontes own a small business. “I understand why they’re saying that. I just don’t know if it’s proven that that’s gonna help.” They're seeing many empty storefronts. “It’s very difficult to watch. Especially when you know people, like we do who own these businesses.” But the order will allow for religious services and protests under constitutionally protected rights. That’s an apparent nod to Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision that struck down a New York state order that had restricted the size of religious gatherings. Beaches, trails and parks will also remain open.
The Salem Health oncology nurse was not named by the hospital, but local media identified her as Ashley Grames.
That seemingly didn't go according to plan.President-elect Joe Biden picked up 257 votes in Wisconsin's Milwaukee County on Friday after the Trump campaign demanded a recount there. President Trump did pick up some votes, as well, but the 125 he received gives Biden a net gain of 132.Biden won Wisconsin by around 20,000 votes, which was close enough for the Trump campaign to call for recounts, and a separate one in Dane County is expected to finish Sunday, so the president could still decrease his deficit. But Dane County is also Democratic-leaning, so it's unlikely the recount will significantly alter the results either way.The Trump campaign's efforts, which are grounded in unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, cost $3 million.Trump's lawyers are still expected to mount a legal challenge of the overall vote in Wisconsin, The Guardian notes, but the state is on track to certify its results Tuesday. Read more at The Guardian and Business Insider.More stories from theweek.com Is Mnuchin trying to sabotage the economy? The case for shortening the presidential transition 5 witheringly funny cartoons about Trump's sort-of concession
Beavers have built their first dam in Exmoor in more than 400 years, following river restoration work by the National Trust. The semi-aquatic rodents, which constructed their dam at the Holnicote Estate near Minehead, are the first to be released into the wild by the trust in its 125-year history. Footage captured on wildlife cameras shows the animals gnawing nearby trees and collecting vegetation to create a dam across small channels that run through the Somerset estate. Rangers described the beavers as "ecosystem engineers", as nine months after they were introduced to slow the flow of water through the landscape and improve river quality, they have created an "instant wetland". Their construction allows for deep pools of water which offer animals shelter from predators and a place to store food, and turns the surrounding land into a mosaic of nature-rich habitats. Beaver dams, ponds and channels help human communities too - by preventing flooding through slowing, storing and filtering water as it flows downstream.
Noem, a Republican, has refused calls to issue a mask mandate, disputing their effectiveness even as cases in South Dakota surge.
The fugitive leader of Ethiopia’s defiant Tigray region on Monday called on Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to “stop the madness” and withdraw troops from the region as he asserted that fighting continues “on every front” two days after Abiy declared victory. Debretsion Gebremichael, in a phone interview with The Associated Press, said he remains near the Tigray capital, Mekele, which the Ethiopian army on Saturday said it now controlled. Far from accepting Abiy’s declaration of victory, the Tigray leader asserted that “we are sure we’ll win.”
Ousted cybersecurity official speaks out for first time since firing, saying president’s fraud claims are without basis
President-elect Joe Biden has hired an all-female senior communications team. “Communicating directly and truthfully to the American people is one of the most important duties of a President, and this team will be entrusted with the tremendous responsibility of connecting the American people to the White House,” Biden said in a statement. “These qualified, experienced communicators bring diverse perspectives to their work and a shared commitment to building this country back better,” Biden continued.
The gun was mounted on a Nissan truck that self-destructed after the hit on Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was complete, the semiofficial Fars news agency said.
The Electoral College is a political abomination. As I have written before, rather than protecting the influence of small states, it grants overwhelming power to a handful of states that randomly happen to have a close partisan balance, which are mostly fairly large. Worse, it allows popular vote losers to win — which has happened twice in the last 20 years. Indeed, theoretically a candidate could lose the popular vote four to one and still win the electoral vote.Moreover, since 2012 the divergence between the Electoral College and the popular vote has been steadily growing. As I'll show below, while Joe Biden won a clear victory in the popular vote, he just barely squeaked through in the Electoral College. This idiotic anachronism must be destroyed.Let's take a look at this over the last two decades. One way to examine this question is to look at the most "efficient" way that losing candidates could have won the Electoral College. In other words, if we add up the state totals for previous elections going back to 2000, how might the losers have won by flipping the least number of votes?Using data from U.S. Elections Atlas, and 2020 data from the The New York Times (including a rough extrapolation assuming Biden wins 80 percent of the mail-in votes that haven't been counted yet in New York state), I calculated how the popular vote losers could have won the Electoral College — or lost, in the case of George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016.In 2000, of course, Bush officially "won" Florida by 537 votes, and therefore the presidency with 271 electoral votes, while Al Gore won the popular vote by about 550,000. (In reality, Gore probably would have won a fair recount in Florida if it hadn't been stopped by a conservative Supreme Court on nakedly partisan grounds, but I'm going to ignore that for the time being since it doesn't matter for this particular argument.) That means a flip of just 269 votes in one state from one candidate to the other would have changed the result. In 2004, Bush won re-election with a margin of about three million votes, and 286 electoral votes. John Kerry famously could have won if he had just flipped Ohio, where the margin was just 118,601 votes. However, it would have been slightly more efficient in vote terms to flip New Mexico, Iowa, Nevada, and Alaska, with a cumulative margin of 117,411. That means a flip of just 58,706 votes would have given Kerry the presidency.In 2008, Barack Obama steamrolled John McCain with a popular vote margin of over 9.5 million, and 365 electoral votes. But it would have taken relatively few vote changes to overturn even that landslide result. Obama won Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Rhode Island, Maine, New Mexico, Nevada, Vermont, Delaware, New Hampshire, Indiana, and North Carolina by a cumulative margin of just 1.436 million votes — therefore flipping just 718,138 would have given McCain an additional 97 electoral votes and victory. Similarly in 2012, Mitt Romney could have won by taking the nine closest states in terms of total votes, requiring only 384,188 flips. Then in 2016, Trump of course squeaked out an Electoral College victory with tiny margins in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania — just 38,868 flips would have given Clinton the win.That finally brings me to 2020. Biden won the popular vote easily, with a margin maybe in the neighborhood of 6.9 million or so (depending on what happens in New York.) But it would have taken just 33,139 flips in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin to deliver a Trump second term.Bringing this all together: If we plot these minimum vote flips to change the Electoral College result as a percentage of the popular vote margin, we can get a sense of how badly it diverges from the principle of one person, one vote:Courtesy: U.S. Elections AtlasWhat this shows is that the Electoral College is routinely on the edge of handing the popular vote loser the presidency even when it doesn't happen — and it seems to be getting worse. In 2008 and 2012, it would have taken a flip of 7.5 percent and 11 percent of the popular vote margin (still not great), but in 2016, flipping just 1.3 percent of the margin would change the result. The 2020 election, meanwhile, is the worst result since 2000 — though Biden did win, a flip of a mere 0.48 percent of the popular vote margin (or something like 0.02 percent of the total vote) would have let Trump win. Moreover, while the 2008 flipping scenario outlined above relies on implausible large percentage swings in small states like Vermont, Biden's victory depended on razor-thin margins in three swing states.All this speaks for itself. But before Republicans get too smug about cooking up justifications for the Electoral College because it happens to help them at the moment, consider that in 2004, flipping just 1.9 percent of the popular vote margin would have delivered the presidency to the Democrat even though Bush got three million more votes. Because the Electoral College's rules are so goofy and arbitrary, it is very easy to imagine demographic trends handing the Dems a near-automatic victory every time — if Texas went solidly blue, for instance. It would be better and fairer for everyone if the presidency simply went to the candidate that got the most votes.More stories from theweek.com Is Mnuchin trying to sabotage the economy? The case for shortening the presidential transition 5 witheringly funny cartoons about Trump's sort-of concession
Sincere Pierce, 18, was one of two teenage victims in the 13 November killing by a Brevard County deputy officer