Other than Wisconsin, every state appeared to have met Tuesday’s “safe harbor” deadline, meaning Congress is legally required to accept the electoral votes cast next week.
🧀 On, Wisconsin
Wisconsin missed the safe harbour deadline due to an ongoing state lawsuit seeking to disqualify ~221k ballots from two largely-Democratic counties (Milwaukee & Dane). A hearing is scheduled for later this week.
However, missing the deadline doesn’t deprive Wisconsin of its 10 electoral votes. It means Congress could theoretically challenge the state’s chosen slate of electors if the House and Senate both agreed to the objection.
⚖️ In the Supreme Court…
Texas AG Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday seeking to invalidate presidential election results in GA, MI, PA, and WI, which would drop Biden below the requisite 270 electoral votes.
The suit, which experts say is unlikely to be taken up by the Court, claims the four states used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to unlawfully change election rules.
That brings us to yesterday: The Supreme Court rejected a separate lawsuit filed last week by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) and other PA Republicans seeking to throw out all of the state’s 2.6M mail-in ballots.
Each state’s chosen electors will cast their votes on December 14, with the results sent to the Capitol. On January 6, the incoming Congress will hold a joint session to count and certify the electoral tally.
The president-elect is then sworn in as president on Inauguration Day – January 20.
A record 101,501 Americans were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.
Nearly 85% of California residents are under new stay-at-home orders as of midnight Sunday after ICU capacity in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley fell below 15%.
Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, was taken to the hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19 on Sunday. Giuliani’s son on Tuesday tweeted his father’s condition had “improved significantly over the last 48 hours.”
The U.S. Army fired or suspended 14 high-ranking officers at its military base in Fort Hood, TX, yesterday. An independent investigative report published last month concluded the base’s leadership fostered a “permissive environment for sexual assault and sexual harassment,” and that “serious crime issues on and off Fort Hood were neither identified nor addressed.”
More: Officials ordered the review of Fort Hood, the largest active-duty armored post in the U.S., after a string of disappearances and deaths at the base, including Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
The FDA said Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine “met the prescribed success criteria” in its first analysis of the company’s clinical trial data published yesterday. The FDA’s analysis also found the vaccine provides strong protection against COVID-19 within ~10 days of the first dose of a two-dose regimen. An outside panel of advisors will review the report on Thursday, with emergency FDA authorization expected to soon follow.
More: President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday directing the secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure Americans have priority access to the vaccine, though it was not immediately clear what the practical impact would be.
⛰️ China and Nepal announced a joint revision to the official elevation of Mount Everest, which now measures at precisely 29,031.69 feet above sea level (more than 2 feet taller than the previous tally).
🏥 More than 500 people have been hospitalizedwith a “mystery” illness in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh over the past four days. On Tuesday, a local hospital chief revealed blood samples from ten patients indicated high levels of nickel and lead, though the sample size was too small to draw definitive conclusions.
🔓 Keep an Eye Out
FireEye, one of the largest cybersecurity firms in the world, was compromised by a cyberattack from “a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities,” CEO Kevin Mandia announced yesterday. Mandia said the hackers used tools and methods, previously unseen in other known cyberattacks, explicitly tailored to target FireEye. The nation-state culprit reportedly stole certain “Red Team” software tools used by FireEye to attack customers’ security systems and pinpoint weaknesses (à la Catch Me If You Can & White Collar).
More: The company declined to comment on the hacker’s identity, but sources say the FBI turned the case over to its Russian specialists.
🚁 Uber De-Elevates
Joby Aviation, a startup developing an all-electric aircraft, agreed to acquire Uber Elevate, Uber’s flying-taxi division. While the price of the deal was not disclosed, Uber publicly agreed to invest $75M in Joby Aviation (on top of an initial $50M investment earlier this year). The deal will allow Joby to use Uber’s app to offer air taxi rides once its aircraft enters service, which Joby says could be as soon as 2023.
More: The move comes a day after Uber sold its self-driving car division to Aurora Innovation and agreed to invest $400M in Aurora (though Uber’s CEO said the company isn’t giving up on self-driving technology).
🎧 Apple Maxes Out
Apple unveiled plans to sell AirPods Max, new over-the-ear headphones, starting Dec. 15 (next Tuesday). For a price of $549, the AirPods Max promises noise canceling, advanced acoustics, and up to 20 hours of battery life. Pre-orders started yesterday.
More: Apple also announced plans to begin selling a subscription fitness service next week centered around Apple Watch, costing $10 per month or $80 per year. (A Peloton subscription starts at $12.99 per month for fitness classes that don’t require the company’s exercise bike.)
🍩 DONUT Holes:
🎙️ Howard Stern extended his current deal with SiriusXM Radio for an additional five years, stretching into 2025. Financial terms were not disclosed; current five-year deal estimated to be worth between $80M and $100M per year.
🏈 The Michigan-Ohio State rivalry football game was canceled yesterday due to an increase in COVID-19 cases within UM’s program over the past week; Ohio State fails to qualify for the conference championship game under current Big Ten rules; conference officials are reportedly considering an amendment.
❤️ Don’t Give Up on Love
After getting engaged in May 2019, Lauren Jimenez and Patrick Delgado of Ontario, CA, had to change their wedding location, date, and guest list three times due to the pandemic. Then, three days before the ceremony in November, Lauren tested positive for COVID-19.
With their marriage license set to expire, Lauren and Patrick decided to move forwardwith the wedding. Drawing inspiration from Rapunzel, the bride exchanged socially-distanced vows with her groom from a second-story window as Patrick stood faithfully below.
💌 In Her Write Mind
When Rachel Syme, a writer for The New Yorker, bought a typewriter earlier this year, she quickly found that – instead of composing works of literature, as she had anticipated – she was more frequently using the machine to write letters to loved ones.
Thus, Rachel started the PENPALOOZA initiative, a program that uses a software called Elfster to connect participants with penpals worldwide during the pandemic. To date, the project has partnered up 7,000 letter writers, and is still accepting interested applicants here.
🦌 Deerly Beloved
Lisa Beach, the activity director at the Continental Manor nursing home in Blanchester, OH, is always searching for ways to keep the facility’s residents engaged during the COVID-19 crisis. With the elderly residents homebound due to the pandemic, Lisa decided to bring the great outdoors inside.
Last month, Lisa and her fellow workers set up a faux forest in the facility’s dining room, then donned deer antlers and let the residents “hunt” them with Nerf guns. (Video)
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