Democrats have a 51-49 majority in the Senate.
Is this about Georgia?
Yup. Since last year, the Senate has been split 50-50, with VP Kamala Harris on call to cast the tie-breaking vote for Dems if needed. This year, John Fetterman’s win in Pennsylvania gave Dems a shot at an outright majority — as long as Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) beat GOP challenger Herschel Walker to keep his seat. Yesterday, after the race went into a runoff, Warnock did just that.
What does this mean?
That in an election year with low presidential approval ratings and record high inflation, Democrats not only kept the Senate — but expanded their hold by a seat. That’s far from the red wave Republicans had banked on. While the GOP has a majority in the House, it’s on track to possibly be the narrowest since the 1930s. Meaning, it’s unclear what either party will get done in the next two years. But the win in the Senate could help Dems speed up judicial nominations. It could also dilute the power of centrist players like Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
Any other key takeaways?
As some states turn more solid (like Florida going red), yesterday’s race shows Georgia’s very much a battleground state. It also had record turnout. And marks the first time a Black senator from Georgia was elected for a full six-year term. (In 2021, he secured a partial term, thanks to that year’s runoff race.)
Warnock’s win is a major blow to former President Trump — whose trail of failed endorsements just got longer. But it still signals gridlock ahead. And shows the country remains as divided as ever.
What’s got lawyers tagging along…
Apple. Earlier this week, two women sued the company over its AirTags. Apple markets the relatively affordable, quarter-sized smart devices as a “supereasy way” to track personal items (think: keys or purses). But according to the lawsuit, the device has become “the weapon of choice of stalkers and abusers.” One plaintiff says her ex tracked her location by placing an AirTag on her car. Another alleges her former partner tracked her by putting the device in their child’s backpack. While Apple called AirTags “stalker-proof” when they first launched, it later acknowledged reports of “bad actors” using them for “malicious or criminal purposes.” So in February, the company added safeguards to the devices (like alerting people if an AirTag is following them), but the lawsuit calls them “woefully inadequate” and says the benefits of AirTags “do not outweigh the risks.”
What’s been found guilty…
The Trump Org. Yesterday, a Manhattan jury found former President Donald Trump’s company guilty on 17 criminal counts, including criminal tax fraud and falsifying business records. (Worth noting: The former president was not a defendant in the case.) Since at least 2005, the company was found to have helped top execs avoid paying taxes on unreported perks like apartments and luxury cars. And over the summer, the former chief financial officer pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme and agreed to testify as part of his plea deal — becoming a key witness for the prosecution in this case. While the Trump Org is not in danger of being dismantled, it faces a maximum of $1.6 million in fines at the sentencing in January. And the ruling could affect its future business dealings. The Trump Org says it plans to appeal.
Legal troubles: The verdict comes as the Trump Org is also facing a $250 million lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James (D). And as Trump himself is under investigation for his handling of classified documents.
…Oh and amid all of this, the House Jan 6 committee said it will recommend criminal charges to the Justice Dept. TBD who that could include or what the charges might be.
Where it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that ring…
Indonesia. Yesterday, lawmakers in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country unanimously banned sex outside of marriage. It comes as the country has seen a rise in conservatism in recent years. The new criminal code won’t go into effect for another three years. But when it does, anyone who has sex outside of their marriage could face up to one year in prison and unmarried couples living together risk a six-month sentence. The law applies to foreign visitors, too — even in tourist-driven areas like Bali. Critics say the changes threaten human rights. But the country’s law and human rights minister reportedly defended the move, saying it isn’t easy to make a criminal code that “accommodates all interests.”
What’s airing its dirty laundry…
Who run the world…
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