1. Not-so-super Tuesday for Democrats: In a turn of events that analysts insist could portend 2022 (though we remind you – a lot can happen between now and then), Virginia elected a Republican governor, with New Jersey too close to call.
In Virginia, Republican Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin scored an upset win against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. That’s a stinging defeat for the President’s party; in 2020 Biden won Virginia by 10 points. McAuliffe was dragged down by Biden’s falling poll numbers and Congress’ inaction. But he’s also not a great campaigner. Without a strong message, in the closing days his campaign was drowned out by Youngkin’s dog-whistle politics.
Youngkin, a private equity executive, embraced a lot of Trumpism, but not Trump himself. That’s likely to become the new playbook for swing state Republican candidates in 2022. Call it decaf MAGA.
And in New Jersey, the gubernatorial race was too close to call as of writing. A mere 500 votes separated the Democratic and Republican candidates, which was a huge disappointment to Democrats; Joe Biden won solidly in 2020. Pundits say that the race shouldn’t be this close, but the state isn’t as reliably blue as they keep insisting. Remember: Chris Christie was the Republican governor from 2010-2018. Check our Instagram for election updates.
New York has a new mayor. Democrat Eric Adams will take over from outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio. The former police captain and Queens native vowed to make New York City safe again, without racial bias. Note: New Yorkers aren’t free of Blas yet. He’s filed paperwork to run for governor.
And Boston elected its first woman and first person of color as mayor, Michelle Wu! She’s promised to make the city work better for working people.
2. The fight to cool down heats up: Leaders from around the globe are meeting at COP26, aka the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland in what’s been called the “last best chance” to avoid worldwide climate disaster. The US finally returned to the table after Trump pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accords, but is it too late?
First, the basics. COP26 = 26th annual Conference of Parties. The participating nations are trying to keep climate warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, for us Americans who never got on board with the metric system.) Scientists say catastrophic damage is less likely to occur if warming is kept within this range, but that’s looking increasingly unlikely.
The leaders of several major emitters didn’t attend, including Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin, Brazilian Pres. Jair Bolsonaro, and Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping.
Some of the promises made: More than 100 world leaders vowed to end deforestation within the decade. President Biden vowed to cut emissions in half by 2030. India vowed to aim for net zero emissions by 2070. Scientists say none of this is enough to hit the summit’s target.
Youth climate activist and teen that gives us hope for the future Greta Thunberg called out leaders for their inaction and even sang along with others to “shove your climate crisis up your arse!”
3. Manchin throws a wrench, again: West Virginia Senator and self-appointed most important man in America Joe Manchin poured cold water on the Dems’ social agenda bills again after the price tag was significantly lowered ($3.5T to $1.75T) to appease him and Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
House Dems say they are hoping to vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (aka BIF) and the “Build Back Better” bill (aka BBB) this week. That’s a major concession by House Progressives.
The “Build Back Better” bill will have to go to the Senate for a vote. It includes funding for child care, health care, education, and climate, among other things. (And yes, a lot has been gutted – including paid leave. Still, it will help fill huge gaps in the social safety net.)
Manchin says he wants more time to understand how much the measure will cost. The bill still has to be finalized.
4. Courting the fate of Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court heard the first oral arguments this week on the Texas abortion law, specifically the part that deputizes regular old citizens to sue abortion clinics, providers, and anyone who aids or abets the procedure after six weeks for a minimum of ten thousand dollars. That means anyone can be a bounty hunter, not just Dog. Even right-leaning Justice Brett Kavanaugh said “There’s a loophole that’s been exploited here.”
The justices aren't deciding whether pregnant people should have access to abortion. They’re considering whether Texas abortion providers and the US DOJ have grounds to challenge the law in court.
We don’t know when the decision will come down.
5. Afghanistan despair: A bomb at a military hospital in Kabul killed at least 25 people Tuesday morning, and as of writing no group has claimed responsibility.
Conditions for Afghans have been deteriorating in the months since the US departed with more than half of the population facing food insecurity heading into winter. Some desperate families have even sold their young daughters into marriage due to hunger. CNN witnessed one such sale, which is illegal there, but still commonplace.
6. COVID roundup:
Attention parents: The CDC gave the big sign off to allow Pfizer vaccinations for kids age 5-11. Roughly 28 million more kids will be eligible for the shot. 15 million doses are on their way to locations around the US. The Biden Administration says the shots will be fully available by the week of November 8, so stay tuned to find out who has the best band-aid on the playground.
Doses for kids are one-third of the amount given to teens and adults.
The CDC added mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and depression to the increased COVID risk list, making millions eligible for boosters.
7. Atlanta sports curse broken!: The Atlanta Braves defeated the Houston Astros 7-0 last night to win their first World Series title since 1995. Just do locals a favor, and don’t call it Hotlanta.
1. The porn blame game: Missouri Senator and picture of masculinity Josh Hawley called for a return to traditional gender roles. He went so far as to say that “the left wants to define traditional masculinity as toxic” and argued this is driving men to video games and pornography. Dude, can you just ask your wife for the man cave? We’re tired of mansplainers blaming their insecurities on liberals, women, and Harry Styles in a dress.
2. Sexiest man alive?: The line of celebrity women wanting to date SNL star Pete Davidson may have grown longer this week: the one and only Kim K was spotted holding hands with the comedian on a roller coaster, but sources say they’re just friends. He’s got quite the track record, from Phoebe Dynevor to Kate Beckinsale to Ariana Grande. If these two kids can’t make it work, our money is on Betty White next.
3. UC inside, but U can’t C outside: 97-year-old billionaire Charles Munger said he would donate a cool $200M for a desperately needed dorm at UC Santa Barbara, but only if his bizarre design – which includes mostly units with no access to natural light or fresh air – is used. The plans were so bad the actual architect quit the project. Munger’s response? “I’d rather be a billionaire and not loved by everybody than not have any money.” Noted.
4. Dawn of the dumb: Hundreds of QAnoners gathered in Dallas awaiting the appearance of long-dead JFK Jr., who perished in a plane crash in 1999 but who they maintain has been 'in hiding.' As part of their completely normal theory, Trump will also resume the presidency but step down to allow JFK Jr. to take over. Yet another blow to Don Jr. and Eric.
Between the Great Resignation and Striketober, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the labor market for you. And guess what? There’s another notable trend happening in the workforce: Women are leaving, big time. According to USA Facts, who gave us the exclusive on their data, it’s been happening for decades.
Women’s participation in the labor force actually peaked in 1999 after decades of steadily increasing. So it was at its highest when you still had to rewind VHS tapes before returning them to Blockbuster, and it’s been declining since then. This has a lot to do with baby boomers now reaching retirement age.
But that’s not the only contributing factor, according to USA Facts. “Younger generations of women [are also] participating in the labor force at lower rates,” and that’s especially true for less educated women.
Then, of course, there is the pandemic and childcare, which disproportionately hit women. Of those who left the labor force for family obligations since July of this year, 66 percent are women compared to 34 percent men.
There is one group that seems to be an exception: Asian women have actually “increased their labor participation rate by almost 4% since the pandemic began, from 53.6% in April 2020 to 57.7% in September 2021.” White, Black, and Hispanic or Latina women have not returned to pre-pandemic work rates.
USA Facts is a non-partisan civic organization dedicated to making government data accessible. They’re a News Not Noise content partner. You can find more at www.usafacts.org.
How much will fashion change in the post-pandemic world? Should we pay attention to the debate between middle and side parts? To answer all these questions, I spoke with celebrity stylist and News Not Noise-r Karla Welch, who gave us the fashion insider perspective we desperately need as we toss out the well-worn sweatpants.
Check out her full interview on the News Not Noise Podcast, and some of what she had to say below. Her answers have been edited for clarity.
The News Not Noise audience is a little worried that they're aging out of their look, but they don't want to give it up. Why did mom jeans come back into fashion, and who can wear them?
KW: I have a lot of feelings about aging out. I'm in my late forties, and I have a rule. If you put it on in the mirror and you don't have to ask yourself, ‘is this right?’ Then it's right. If you are asking yourself, ‘is this right?’ Then it's probably not right. And it only matters if it's right for you. I don't know how the hell mom jeans came in style. When I was 13, I wore an oversized pair of Levi's that I guess were technically “mom jeans.” I just think jeans are one of those wheels that keep turning. It's always going to be either in style or out of style. Jeans are such a part of who you are, right? It's the American uniform. It's become de rigueur to wear jeans. So, again, my personal mantra and mantra for everyone I work with is, as long as your jeans make you feel amazing, that's the only rule that you need to abide by.
Why do you think we're seeing so many retro fashion trends, like scrunchies, fanny packs, and big sneakers? Is it just that fashion recycles every two or three decades?
KW: Yes. You nailed it. Just as I would have looked at hippies or beats, that's what kids do now, too. They're looking at the nineties, and they're seeing Gwyneth Paltrow in a slip dress. It's just the nature of who we are as humans. We're always recycling and repeating. And the vintage clothing boom is really interesting. I wore a dress the other night that I bought 20 years ago that was vintage at the time. I think I bought it for $3 [then], and I still love it. Kids are inspired by stuff they see in the past, and then they replicate it. There is new out there, of course, but it's also the treasure hunting of finding something old and bringing it [back] to life.
Now that we're going back to the office, how casual can we stay? What am I allowed to wear that I can keep from the pandemic when I'm no longer working from home?
KW: I think it's time to kind of push ourselves, and as superficial as it sounds, you feel good when you've got a cute outfit on. So leave the sweats at home, unless of course you've got a really cute shoe, a cute sock, and you put on a blazer with your sweats. Then, okay, you've got something happening. But it's time to get dressed again.
Is there one style piece someone can buy to dress up their pandemic comfort look?
KW: Yes. An oversized blazer.
What is the worst pandemic-fueled fashion trend?
KW: I don't know that I think there was anything, [except] not wearing a mask.
🌿 ICYMI: Check out my IGTV interview with intersectional environmentalist (aka @greengirlleah) Leah Thomas.