Democrat Jon Ossoff fell just short of the 50 percent mark in Tuesday's special election for a House seat in Georgia's 6th congressional district, an affluent and reliably conservative area in Atlanta's northern suburbs that has sent Republicans to Congress since electing Newt Gingrich in 1978. With 88 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, Ossoff had 48.3 percent of the vote in an 18-candidate field. He will face Republican Karen Handel in a June 20 runoff election. Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, was running a distant second place with 19.7 percent of the vote.
Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional staffer, told supporters Tuesday night that even if he has to face Handel in a runoff, "there is no doubt that this is already a victory for the ages." His campaign has "defied the odds," he said. "We have shattered expectations," and "we will be ready to fight on and win in June if it's necessary." Handel, 55, dismissed Ossoff as a "young man" beholden to liberal Democrats and said she would "kick a little Ossoff" in June. She did not mention President Trump, who had been urging voters to defeat Ossoff on Twitter and in robocalls.
Ossoff had trounced Handel and all other candidates in fundraising, raising $8.3 million while Handel's benefitted from $1.3 million from the national conservative group Ending Spending. Republican groups had also poured $5 million into defeating Ossoff. Georgia's 6th district is the most highly educated GOP-controlled district in America, and Trump only narrowly won it in 2016, even as Tom Price, the incumbent who is now health and human services secretary, crushed his Democratic challenger with 62 percent of the vote. Peter Weber
If there was ever any doubt that Disney's upcoming streaming service is going to be a massive hit, those doubts can now be put to rest.
Variety reports that Disney's forthcoming Netflix competitor will include original TV shows based on characters in the multi-billion dollar Marvel film franchise. The idea is to give some of the heroes who haven't yet headlined their own movie a TV show lasting between six and eight episodes, with limited series based on Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) reportedly already in development. Hiddleston and Olsen are both expected to reprise their roles from the movies.
These shows will receive budgets on par with that of an actual feature film, Variety reports. And although the current slate of Marvel TV shows, like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil, are produced separately from the movies like Avengers: Infinity War, the head of Marvel's film studio, Kevin Feige, will be directly involved in these new shows. It will almost be like new Marvel blockbuster movies are being delivered directly via streaming instead of in a theater.
This move essentially guarantees that Marvel fans, many of whom have been begging for a Loki movie, will sign up for Disney's streaming service, which launches in 2019. Read more about the new Marvel shows at Variety. Brendan Morrow
The Trump administration announced this week that it is capping the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. in fiscal 2019 at 30,000, the lowest number since the current U.S. refugee resettlement system was put in place in 1980. It's also a steep drop from the cap of 45,000 refugees set in 2018 — though with only two weeks left in the fiscal year, the U.S. has let in only 20,918 refugees, Axios notes. And the large majority of those refugees shared a certain religion in common.
The Trump administration has again cut the number of refugees allowed into the U.S., and the overwhelming majority of the small group of refugees who were admitted this past year are Christians. https://t.co/ezvAjR31Wo pic.twitter.com/WbwIcnlcZk
— Axios (@axios) September 19, 2018
In fact, fewer than 2,000 Muslim refugees have been admitted to the U.S. this fiscal year, versus more than 9,000 in fiscal 2017 — even though, as Axios notes, 39 percent of the 25 million refugees in the world come from three predominantly Muslim countries: Syria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Most of the Muslims let in this year came from Myanmar, while the number of Somali refugees dropped sharply due to unexplained objections from the White House. Still, while the share of Christian refugees has grown to 71 percent, the total number of Christians allowed in dropped more than 40 percent from the previous year. You can read more at Axios. Peter Weber
Yet another retro video game console will be given a new life this holiday season, though getting your hands on it might be a challenge.
Sony has just announced that the PlayStation Classic, a mini version of the console originally released in 1994, is hitting store shelves this December. It will cost $100 and come with 20 games, including Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3, and Wild Arms, Sony announced Wednesday. The other 15 games haven't been revealed yet.
With this console, Sony is following in the footsteps of Nintendo, which in 2016 released the wildly successful NES Classic Edition, a mini version of the Nintendo Entertainment System that came with 30 games. Despite being a re-release of a 30-year-old system, the NES Classic has been such a hit that in June 2018, it actually outsold the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch, per The Verge. Nintendo followed it up with the Super NES Classic Edition, which was so popular that pre-orders sold out minutes after they went live, Business Insider reports.
It remains to be seen whether the PlayStation Classic will be as hard-to-get an item, but you can at least attempt to buy one on Dec. 3. Watch a video of Sony's announcement below. Brendan Morrow
When you're giving a speech, a joke can help win over your audience and add leavening to a weighty subject. Sometimes those jokes don't age well, though, like pretty much any joke involving a racial epithet. Or jokes about your high school's lifelong code of omertà when, a few years later, you're a Supreme Court nominee credibly accused of a violent and clumsy attempted rape in high school and your high school friend, the only witness to the alleged incident, says he has no memory of it happening.
On Tuesday, CNN unearthed a video of Judge Brett Kavanaugh making such a joke. "Fortunately we had a good saying we've held firm to to this day," Kavanaugh said in a March 2015 speech at Catholic University of America's Columbus Law School: "What happens at Georgetown Prep stays at Georgetown Prep. That's been a good thing for all of us, I think." The joke is in the first part of the clip, and CNN's panel discusses it and the broader Kavanaugh imbroglio for a few minutes after that. Watch below. Peter Weber
The Senate just approved a massive spending bill, but it's punting on Trump's wall until after the election
On Tuesday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a massive spending bill that funds the Defense Department and the Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services Departments for fiscal 2019 and also keeps the entire government open through Dec. 7, averting a government shutdown before the midterm elections. The House is expected to take up the measure next week, but because it does not include the money President Trump wants for his border wall, it is unclear if Trump will sign it. The government will partially shut down on Oct. 1 if Trump doesn't sign a stopgap spending bill.
The legislation the Senate passed 93 to 7 provides $606.5 billion for the Pentagon and $178 billion for Labor, Education, and HHS. Together, that accounts for more than 60 percent of discretionary spending. If the House approves and Trump signs the bill, Congress can wait to pass the seven remaining spending bills — out of 12 — by Dec. 7. Along with its stopgap spending measure, the Senate's Defense, Labor, Education, and HHS bill reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act until Dec. 7 and orders the Department of Homeland Security to submit a plan to Congress to reunite separated migrant families. Peter Weber
In her new book, Stormy Daniels writes about her night with President Trump "in detail," Jimmy Fallon said on Tuesday's Tonight Show, pulling a face, "which explains why every book comes with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol and a straw." He came up with creative ways to dance around Daniels' description of the president's "Trump Tower." Because of her comparison of Trump's "Don Jr." to a popular video game character, "in the new Mario Kart, Toad collects gold coins and uses them as hush money," Fallon joked. He spliced together a clip of Trump "setting the record straight" on the matter.
Fallon then involved the studio audience in a game centered around Trump's slurred mispronunciation of certain words, joked about the Emmys proposal and Amazon's big plans for Alexa, and showed a viral video about a gender-reveal ceremony gone awry. Watch below. Peter Weber
Tracy 'LaDonald Trump' Morgan interrupts Jimmy Kimmel's discussion of the new Stormy Daniels tell-all
"While there have been a number of tell-alls about [President] Trump," Jimmy Kimmel said on Tuesday's Kimmel Live, the new memoir from porn actress Stormy Daniels "is the first one that presents a detailed analysis of the president's genitalia." He read the entire description, which is as safe for work as network TV allows. "And just like that, I will never eat a mushroom or play a video game again," Kimmel joked. Daniels also said that Hillary Clinton called Trump while they were together during the 2008 Democratic primary, and they discussed some mysterious "plan."
Mid-joke, Tracy Morgan came out dressed in a suit and sporting Trump hair, an orange face, and tiny orange hands. He introduced himself as LaDonald Trump. "Tracy, what is this?" Kimmel asked. "What are you doing?" "This is a hilarious new character I created, just go with it," he said. They bantered about LaDonald's wife, first lady Mesothelioma, and his vice president, Mike Pence.
"I have to go, my nipples are getting itchy from the orange paint," Morgan said. "You know, I told you you didn't need to paint your whole body," Kimmel interjected. "I painted my whole body because I care about my craft," Morgan said, taking a little jab at his former 30 Rock co-star, now SNL's Trump impersonator: "Suck it, Alec Baldwin." He ambled over to the curtain hiding Emmy winner Glenn Weiss and his new fiancée, Jan Friedlander Svendsen, and crawled in bed with them.
Earlier in the show, Kimmel had interviewed the happy couple about Weiss' marriage proposal during Monday night's Emmys ceremony. You can watch that below. Peter Weber