The Wider World

Voting battles on many fronts

CONTROVERSY over the 2020 election has spawned new political battles (Shutterstock).

Georgia’s new law regulating – critics are calling it “suppressing” – voting moved to the front of the political debate Friday, spilling over into the courtroom and the U.S. Senate.

The new law cuts early voting days, requires the notarization of absentee ballots and allows the state legislature to remove election officials. Georgia narrowly went for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election and chose two Democratic senators, giving their party slim control of Congress and the White House.

Comparing the new law to “Jim Crow” rules that made it difficult for African Americans to vote in the South until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, Democrats are seeking to pass its For the People Act, which would overturn much of the new Georgia law. Democrats have the majority in the House, but the Senate is divided 50-50. While Vice President Kamala Harris could break a tie, Republicans can block the bill by the use of a filibuster, which requires 60 votes to overcome. Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader, has threatened to tie up all Senate business if Democrats eliminate the filibuster.

The stated reason for the new election law in Georgia – and others proposed in “red” states – are unsupported allegations of widespread voter fraud. Fox News was a leading purveyor of that theory, and Dominion Voting Machines is suing that 24-hour cable TV network for defamation and demanding $1.8 billion. Some Fox News employees alleged that the Dominion machines were the cause of fraudulent results that cost Republican candidates the election.

Fox is battling other lawsuits related to its coverage and denies any wrongdoing. Officials in Georgia, including the governor and secretary of state (both Republicans) vouched for the accuracy and integrity of the election.

Business: Drive-through convenience stores?

Stores like 7-Eleven and Circle K today provide meat sticks inside and gasoline outside. Could the next step be fast food? According to USA Today, 7-Eleven is experimenting with just such a concept.  Partnering with subsidiary Laredo Taco Company, the leading quick-shop chain in America is trying out the idea of also offering tacos and meals with hours from 5 a.m. to 10 or 11 p.m.  At this tryout location, there is also indoor seating and touch screens where customers can order food and drink.

Wall Street rebounds:  After a rough week, optimism returned to the investment community as all three major stock indexes showed healthy gains on Friday. The Dow was up 453.40 points to close at 33,072.88. The S&P 500 rose by 65.02 points to 3,974.54 and Nasdaq climbed 161.01 to finish the week at 13,138.72.

Sports: March a major month for Pac-12

Three teams from the Pac-12 Conference are in action this weekend in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, boosting the conference’s prestige. They’re now in the Sweet 16 and a win would propel them into the Elite Eight. That’s just one step from the Final Four, a status that brings in recruits and gets coaches big raises.

Here’s the schedule for Sunday’s clashes.

  • UCLA (seeded 11th in the East regional) vs. Alabama (second) in Indianapolis. The winner of that game will meet the winner of Michigan-Florida State on Tuesday.
  • USC (sixth) vs. Oregon (seventh), also in Indianapolis. The winner there meets the winner of Gonzaga-Creighton on Tuesday.

Thursday’s late results

  • Clippers 98, San Antonio 85: Reggie Jackson scored 28 points and Paul George added 24 as LAC (30-16) won in Texas and leapfrogged the Lakers into third place in the NBA Western Conference and second place in the Pacific Division.
  • Philadelphia 109, Lakers 101: The loss to the 76ers was the team’s fourth-straight defeat, as it struggles with the loss of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Kyle Kuzma scored 25 points as the Lakers record fell to 28-17.

Weather:  Sun, sun and more sun …

Summer is arriving just a bit earlier for the West Orange County area. The forecasts call for sunny and warm conditions right through next Friday, April 2. Daily highs will range from 78 on Saturday (52 overnight) to 85 on Sunday, then down to 77 on Monday, then up into the 80s the rest of the week. In the coastal Huntington Beach area, daily highs will be six to eight degrees cooler. It will be breezy with winds up to 20 miles out of the south-southwest.

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