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The Spill: Don’t Forget the Senate!

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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. 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. That’s one more than they needed for a simple majority. The Republicans currently have 202. In the Senate, Republicans lead with 50 to the Democrats’ 48. Whichever party gets 51 senators will have a simple majority in the Senate.

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 the symbol represents slavery.

The new design has a white magnolia blossom. Mississippi is called the Magnolia State, and the magnolia is both the state flower and state tree.  Nearly 20 years ago, some people tried 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?

On November 8, Virgin Hyperloop CTO and co-founder Josh Giegel and director of passenger experience Sara Luchian boarded the company’s new highspeed train to see how well it would perform. They went on a 15-second rid at 100 miles per hour (MPH). The finished product is expected to carry as many as 28 people and go up to 760 MPH, which is almost as fast as the speed of sound!

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.

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