Quick Senate Update: With wins by Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), the Democratic Party has maintained its majority in the Senate. Here’s the unmisleading map:
Both wins were not hugely surprising. We still don’t know who will represent Alaska or Nebraska, but we know it will be a Republican. And of course, we won’t know until the runoff on December 6th whether Democratic Raphael Warnock or Republican Herschel Walker will represent Georgia.
The runoff election in Georgia is still extremely important, though. If Warnock wins for a 51-49 Democratic edge, Democratic leadership will no longer have to rely on every single Senator’s vote to pass legislation, including Joe Manchin (D-WV). That would be great news for Democratics everywhere for two reasons. First, for passing legislation, which after all is the entire point of being the majority party. Second, the occasional (or even frequent) no vote will allow Manchin to say he “stood up to the left wing of his own party,” which will be helpful for his re-election campaign in 2024 in ultra-conservative West Virginia.
All this comes with a big IF, of course: IF Raphael Warnock wins the runoff election against Herschel Walker. No matter which candidate you support: VOTE! VOLUNTEER! DONATE! The future of American democracy is in your hands.
Five seats are still undecided, three of which have implications for control. If the Democratic Party wins 2 out of 3 seats, they will control the Senate by virtue of either a 50-50 tie plus the Vice President as tiebreaker, or by a 51-49 majority. If the Republicans win all three, they will control the Senate with a 51-49 majority.
Here are the seats whose Senators are still unknown, ordered from least to most interesting.
Nebraska Group 3 (next election 2026):Ben Sasse will resign immediately at the beginning of the next term to become President of the University of Florida, a job for which he is extremely well qualified. He has been one of the few Republicans to even try to stand up to Trump, so I wish him well. His successor will be named by the Governor of Nebraska, pending an off-cycle special election in 2024. It’s technically possible that Republican Governor Pete Ricketts will name a Democratic Senator, but hahahahahahahahahaha no.
Alaska Group 3 (current cycle): Alaska has a weird system using Australia-style ranked choice voting, independent of party. Currently, Trump-backed Republican candidate Kelly Tshibaka leads incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski. The margin is hard to evaluate because of the ranked choice voting system, but it looks like the predicted comfortable victory by Tshibaka will turn into a close victory. But a win is a win – and even if Murkowski comes back, the seat will still be held by Republicans.
Arizona Group 3 (current cycle): With 82 percent of the vote counted, Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly currently leads Republican challenger Blake Masters by 115,000 votes, for a 52%-46% edge (plus a few percentage points for minor parties). Most of the remaining ballots are from Maricopa County (Phoenix and suburbs) and/or are mail-in ballots, both of which lean Democratic. Kelly will almost certainly be re-elected.
Nevada Group 3 (current cycle): This one is hella close. With 90 percent of the vote counted, Nevada’s Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt leads Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto by just 9,000 votes, just a 49%-48% edge. With mostly mail-in ballots from Clark County remaining, Cortez Masto could still win – but so far the margin of those appears to be 50-50 as Laxalt holds a slight edge. I have no idea what will happen here. If Laxalt holds, then once again it all comes down to the runoff election in…
Georgia Group 3 (current cycle): Georgia has a Brazil-like system where, if no candidate gets a majority, the election heads to a second round with the top two candidates. Democratic incumbent Reverend Raphael Warnock leads Republican challenger Herschel Walker by 35,000 votes for a 49.5%-48.5% margin, but neither candidate got the required majority of votes cast to win outright. The runoff is scheduled for Tuesday, December 6th. Again, this one could go either way. Runoff elections tend to have higher turnout, which would favor Warnock. But without a Libertarian candidate to pull votes away, Walker could do better in a one-on-one matchup.
So where does that leave us? On the news, you have probably seen visualizations of the composition of the Senate, either as a map or as a series of dots in a half-circle. Both visualizations have major disadvantages. The map massively overstates the importance of large-area, low-population states, resulting in a skewed view. The dot-half-circle view fairly represents the balance of power by depicting area, but removes all geographic context.
With my passion for data visualization and mapmaking, I figured we can do better. So here is the state of the U.S. Senate at this moment. All states have equal areas in the map, are in their approximate relative locations, and are surrounded by yellow borders. Each hexagon shows one Senator, gives that Senator’s last name, and is color coded by party. Red means Republican, blue means Democratic, and light blue means independents who vote with the Democratic Party. The red hexagons with ? labels mean that we know the Senator will be Republican, but we don’t know which Republican. The white hexagons with ? labels mean that we don’t know either the next Senator or the next Senator’s party. Click on the image for a larger view.
I’ll keep updating the map as we learn more. Check back here to learn what the future of the USA will look like!
Even if you live in a state with a Senate seat and in a district where the incumbent will win 95 percent of the vote, VOTE!
Separation of powers means that your city and county elected officials have just as much influence over your world as the President. Every race matters. So VOTE!
The composition of the U.S. House and Senate will change greatly tomorrow, in ways that we can’t fully predict right now. Here is what our Congress looks like now.
Click for a larger version
The House of Representatives
Click for a larger version
Both these maps might look very different after today’s results. It’ll take me some time to make new versions, since the district boundaries have changed as a result of the 2020 U.S. Census. But rest assured I will update the maps. Yay maps!
After a record 38 votes, we have a winner in the Sixth Annual Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™!
In my earlier post, Back Again! Sexy Unsexy Halloween Costumes!, I explained the purpose of the contest and reviewed the winners of the 2015-2019 contests (the 2020 and 2021 contests were cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic). On Halloween Monday, I revealed this year’s record 23 nominees, sent in by you! From there, I chose 12 finalists and invited you to vote for your favorites.
Here are the results, in order of increasing votes, with ties broken by me.
In twelfth place, with zero votes:
Sexy Fart (for Kids!)
Suggested by Aimee Shoff
Kids costumes are never within the Sexy Unsexy Costume Contest brief, for reasons that I really really really hope are obvious to everyone. But some costume designs are so WTF inappropriate that they just have to be included.
This one came in under a cloud of suspicion, but ultimately it was a stinker.
The good news is that this costume is extremely popular with kids – my sister tells me that my niece and nephew are already asking for one next year.
In eleventh place, also with zero votes:
Sexy Blockbuster Video Employee
Suggested by Aimee Shoff
Everyone’s favorite costume from Halloween 1992 – and like Blockbuster Video itself, it is still inexplicably around for Halloween 2022!
In tenth place, with one vote:
Suggested by Aimee Shoff
Since when was Velma the sexy one in the Mystery Machine crew? Since ALWAYS!
Seriously, though, Velma is the best. Universal agreement across all genders and sexual orientations on this one.
At least until one of you gets lost halfway through the evening, or until you stick it into the wrong hole.
In third place, with four votes:
Sexy Boob Ghost
Suggested by David Dudich and Aimee Shoff
Aimee sent this to me by private message so that she wouldn’t get sent to Facebook Jail. At first I wondered why a simple sheet-for-a-ghost Halloween costume would get her suspended.
Then I got it. BOOBS.
In second place, with six votes:
Sexy Honey Badger
Suggested by Jackie Bowman
Honey Badger don’t care… Honey Badger is SEXY!
Caution: may eat your face. But maybe you’re into that.
…and with 13 votes, our 2022 Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™ winner is…
Suggested by Elliot Kresmer
A homemade costume is this year’s winner, with an incredibly strong WTF appeal: Sexy Tardigrade!
Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are microscopic animals that are found all over the Earth, in the most extreme environments from the Antarctic interior to a mile deep in the crust to the stratosphere – and even in outer space.
Yes, the accompanying costume photo really is what it looks like. At least the top half; the bottom half is pure sexy.
Sexy Tardigrade is also the first animal costume to win since Sexy Orca in 2015. Yes, I looked it up and confirmed that a tardigrade is an animal.
I’ll let you explain why this one won, in your own words from online discussion of this year’s contest:
I wish the tardigrade had boobs. Very hard to vote against boobs but logic follows that a sexy person would become a sexy ghost. So I guess I’m voting tardigrade! With ear pods as a close second.
same, with pretty much the same reasoning
I vote for the tardigrade. The blank meme and the CVS receipt are nicely meta/random, but I don’t think the CVS receipt is even trying to be sexy. In contrast, the repulsive top vs sexy bottom in the tardigrade are notable
So congratulations to Sexy Tardigrade, and congratulations to Elliot Kresmer on the winning suggestion! Elliot, I’ll be in touch about the $10 Amazon.com gift card.
I hope you enjoyed this year’s contest, and remember, it’s never too early to send entries for the 2023 contest!
After a delay due to Medical Complications (looooong story involving allergic reactions to antibiotics but I’m fine now)… welcome to the final round of the 2022 Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™!
In my most recent post, Back Again! Sexy Unsexy Halloween Costumes!, I explained the purpose of the contest and reviewed the winners of the 2015-2019 contests (the 2020 and 2021 contests were cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic).
Today is Halloween, which was supposed to be the day I announced this year’s winners. Instead, we’ll review this year’s nominees – so very many nominees! And we’ll close with a poll to determine the winner, which I will announce later this week – as well as the person who suggested the winning costume, who wins a $10 Amazon.com gift card!
We got a record TWENTY-THREE NOMINEES this year! So many that I can’t include them all without making this post overwhelmingly long and the poll overwhelmingly difficult to score. And so, from the full list of 23 nominees, I designated twelve as finalists for the award – the best of the best, making sure to include at least one entry from each person who sent in a suggestion. First, I’ll link to photos of the Honorable Mention costumes, and then show the 12 finalists. And then we’ll vote!
With 23 suggestions, some just couldn’t make the final poll. Here are those great ideas. Click on the name of the costume for a photo.
Back from a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, it’s the most famous thing I’ve ever written about: welcome to the long-awaited Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™!
What is the Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™, you ask? It’s a joyous annual tradition celebrating (?) the weirdness that is Halloween as celebrated on Earth, and especially as celebrated in the United States. Specifically, the weirdness of women’s Halloween costumes.
What is so weird about women’s Halloween Costumes?
Imagine that you are a woman (easy for about 50% of you) and that your favorite animal is a moose (easy for me and maybe you too). You want nothing more than to go out with your friends and celebrate the majestic moose.
Behold, the ONLY women’s moose costume I could find on the Internet.
And there is the problem: for just about any costume idea you can imagine, there are no normal costumes available in women’s sizes for that idea – instead, there are just SEXY costumes. And Sexy Moose is not even in the Top 100 weirdest. (Aside: another weirdness is that this is clearly a women’s costume, but it has antlers, which only male moose have).
In 2015, I decided to take the moose by the antlers and sponsor a contest. It took off from there. Oh boy did it take off. People now send me these costumes twelve months a year. Someone once defined an Internet brand as the thing that, whenever anyone sees it, it makes them think of you. By that definition, my brand is… inappropriately sexy Halloween costumes. Y’all are WEIRD.
A caution before we begin: I don’t want to sound like I’m making fun of any women who wear these costumes. You should wear whatever you want this Halloween, and have fun wearing it. Instead, I want to make fun of a society that thinks so little of women that it offers absolutely no costumes but sexy ones.
Once again, I invite you to suggest the best, weirdest, most WTF examples of sexy Halloween costumes. In particular, I invite you to suggest costumes that bring sexy to things that are totally, completely, Inherently Not Sexy. (If you send me a costume idea since the last completed contest in 2019, please send it again.) Comment here, or on my social media, or email me at email@example.com.
Coming up here are the winners of the Best Sexy [Thing That Is Inherently Not Sexy] Halloween Costume Contest™ for the years 2015 to 2019. I think you’ll agree that, not only are they all completely batshit, they get more batshit with each year. I can’t wait to see what this year’s suggestions will bring.
The rest of this week, I’ll post the suggestions I receive from you. On Friday, I’ll post a poll asking you to vote for the winning (?) costume. You’ll have the weekend to vote, and the winner will be announced on Halloween itself, next Monday.
A new twist this year: A PRIZE! The person who suggests the winning (?) costume will receive not only Internet fame, but also a $10 Amazon.com gift card.
Good luck and Happy Halloween!
Previous Winners (?)
Presenting the winners from previous years, and the people who suggested them:
2015: Sexy Orca
Suggested by Jeremy Berg
Because nothing says “sexy” like GIANT SWIMMING WHALE OF DEATH!
2016: Sexy Scrabble
Suggested by Kelly Simms
When people say “smart is the new sexy,” I don’t think this is what they had in mind. Possible exception if your name is Magdalena Krzyzewski.
2017: Sexy Green Poo
Suggested by Aimee Shoff
This was a reference to one of cultural items that makes no sense even five years later. For Halloween 2017, Burger King sold a limited-edition “Black Whopper” – just a regular Whopper sandwich served in a black bun. And apparently, it turned your poo green. Who thinks green poo is sexy? Please don’t answer that question.
2018: Sexy Art Gallery Urinal
Suggested by Christina Rawls
A reference to a different pop culture icon: the art exhibit Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, a literal urinal that he submitted to an art gallery. With this costume, you can make a subversive statement about the nature of art, while also finding partners who enjoy the same things you do.
2019: Sexy Mr. Rogers
Suggested by Elliot Kresmer
After two straight years of scatological costume humor, the contest went in a… different… direction. This costume was inspired by the box-office success A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Tom Hanks the legendary children’s TV host. It includes his iconic red sweater, which you can take off when the trolley takes you to the land of make-believe.
I’ll feature your costume suggestions the rest of the week, put up a poll on Friday, and announce winners on Monday – as well as who won THE PRIZE!