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The Spill: A Flag for the Magnolia State

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A New Flag for Mississippi

Mississippi is getting a new flag. The current flag has the confederate battle insignia in the top left corner. It’s the last state flag in the country to have it. Many argue that symbol represents slavery.

The new design has a white magnolia blossom highlighted on a dark blue backdrop. Mississippi is called the Magnolia State, and the magnolia is both the state flower and state tree.  Nearly 20 years ago, in 2001, a movement sought to change the flag. They wanted to remove the confederate symbol, but nearly two-thirds of the voters were against the change. The political mood is different now, though. The bill passed with a 91-23 vote in the House and 37-14 in the Senate. The governor, Tate Reeves, will need to sign the legislation into law.

“This is not a political moment to me, but a solemn occasion to lead our Mississippi family to come together to be reconciled and to move on,” the governor said. House Bill 1796 says the new flag design “shall honor the past while embracing the promise of the future.” It requires that the phrase “In God We Trust” be included.

The retired flag flew for the last time on July 1 and was handed over to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

World’s Fastest Train?

Faster than a speeding bullet? maybe. Something right out of a science fiction film? Definitely. The hyperloop capsule took its first test with a resounding success, taking its two passengers on a 15-second trip at 100 miles per hour. The highspeed train is one of the newest inventions to help improve travel time and safety.

On November 8, Virgin Hyperloop CTO and co-founder Josh Giegel and director of passenger experience Sara Luchian boarded the futuristic vehicle to see how well it would perform. Just 35 miles north of Las Vegas, Nevada, about 1,640 feet of concrete tube in a stretch of the desert set the scene for the experiment. The two-seater pod is equipped with an airlock system, plush white seats, and armrests that serve as storage areas.

Once Giegel and Luchian were safely buckled in, the speed train was propelled through the tunnel using electromagnetics. Luchian said the experience was “exhilarating both psychologically and physically” and that it was “not at all like a rollercoaster,” although she admitted the take off and acceleration was “zippier” than it would be on a larger track. Thankfully, neither of the passengers felt sick afterward.

Nicknamed Pegasus, the tester pod is a much smaller version of what the company foresees. Finished products are expected to be able to travel up to 760 miles per hour with a much longer track and seat up to 28 people.

Who Will Control the Senate?

The 2020 election has been the center of the news cycle and most people’s thoughts for a few months now. While most people are thinking about who will become the next president, whether there is voter fraud going on, and how the next four years will be shaped, it is important to know that how the Senate elections will affect the country as well. The elected officials in Congress and the individual states can have just as much – or more – influence over how the nation is run.

Regardless of who wins the presidential election, laws cannot be passed without making it through both houses of the United States Congress – that is, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each state gets an equal number of senators. With two senators for each state, the Senate has 100 members. The number of representatives, however, is based on the population of the state. For example, small states like Delaware and Vermont only have one representative in the House. California has a much larger population, and 53 representatives. Michigan has 14. All together, there are 535 members of Congress – 100 senators and 435 representatives.

Not only does Congress have to pass laws before the president can sign off on them, but they also have the task of making sure the president behaves properly. The House of Representatives can vote to impeach the president – which is very similar to when a grand jury decides there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime. In order for a president to be removed, the Senate would then have to vote to convict.

So far, in this election, the Democrats have control of the House with 219 votes out of the 218 needed to reach majority. The Republicans currently have 202. In the Senate, Republicans lead with 50 out of the 51 needed for majority to the Democrats’ 48.

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