5 things to know for November 2: Election, climate, Congress, Covid-19, abortion

5 things to know for November 2: Election, climate, Congress, Covid-19, abortion

We’ve reached the end of our named list for the 2021 storms, even though there’s a whole month left to go in the Atlantic hurricane season. If more storms develop after the current Subtropical Storm Wanda, the naming will move to a new list — starting all over again at “A.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Election

US voters will head to the polls today to decide a series of races and policies that will test the national political landscape a year into President Joe Biden’s administration, and a year before the all-important midterm elections. Perhaps the most critical race today is in Virginia, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin are vying to be the state’s next governor. Biden handily won the state in the 2020 election, and Democrats are hoping to keep the state blue. Youngkin, meanwhile, has tried to walk a fine line on handling support from former President Donald Trump, and if he wins, it would provide Republicans with a road map on how to leverage Trump’s influence. Other key decisions to be made today: Police reform is on the ballot in Minnesota, New Jersey’s Democratic governor is looking for a historic reelection, and Atlanta and New York City are choosing new mayors.

2. Climate

World leaders exchanged promises and deadlines at the first full day of COP26 talks in Glasgow. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally announced a net-zero emissions target, pledging India will become carbon neutral by 2070. The country has been under pressure to join other major UN nations with such a pledge, but Modi’s deadline is a full two decades after the 2050 deadline experts say is critical to reducing warming due to greenhouse gases. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, apologized for the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement under the Trump administration. Delegates from smaller nations like Barbados called on world powers to do more to curb rising global temperatures, pointing out that their nations were especially susceptible to things like natural disasters and rising sea levels. Today, more than 100 world leaders representing over 85% of the planet’s forests are expected to commit to ending and reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030.

3. Congress

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, whose vote is hugely important in an evenly divided Senate, has said he is not ready to vote on the Democrats’ $1.75 trillion spending bill, even after being one of the sole forces behind its significant pare-down. Yesterday, Manchin said that liberal Democrats’ efforts to secure his vote in exchange for their backing of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill weren’t working, and insisted the House vote on the infrastructure bill alone. This is a huge blow to progressive Democrats and to President Biden, who wants to get climate funding from the spending bill assured as soon as possible. Manchin’s announcement has also sowed unease because, if Democrats heed his suggestion, they’d be moving forward on infrastructure without any concrete assurances that he’d support the spending bill. To Biden and those closely aligned with him, the bills are equally important.

4. Coronavirus

The United States’ Covid-19 vaccination program for children ages 5 to 11 will be “running at full strength” next week, according to White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients. That, of course, is contingent on what the CDC decides this week: Its vaccine advisers will meet today to consider whether to recommend the use of a child-sized dose of the Pfizer vaccine in that age group. If they make the recommendation, and if CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signs off on it, inoculations can begin. In other vaccine news, the Federal Register is expected to soon publish the Labor Department’s rule requiring private businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure they’re vaccinated or test them weekly, fulfilling an announcement President Joe Biden made in September.

5. Abortion

The Supreme Court listened to hours of arguments yesterday regarding the controversial Texas abortion law, which prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy and attempts to avoid legal challenges by empowering private citizens to enforce it. The nine justices will continue to deliberate the case in private, but during yesterday’s hearings at least two conservative justices, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, expressed doubts regarding Texas’ effort to prevent federal lawsuits against the law. This could set up a court majority ruling against Texas for the first time and allow at least one of the lawsuits against the ban to proceed. Critics of the law hope this may lead to a suspension of the ban. The Texas law conflicts with high court precedent dating to 1973’s Roe v. Wade and has forced women throughout Texas to travel to Oklahoma and other states for abortions.


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Some days you just wanna …

If all you do today is sigh, yell, and slip back into your dark, comfortable lair like this seal, you’re still going a good job! (Click here to view)

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