Harris, Obama to encourage Black voters to turn out for key Virginia race
As fellow Democrats worry about a close contest in the Virginia governor’s race, candidate Terry McAuliffe is turning to a popular ex-president, other political leaders and outreach programs to encourage turnout from a key constituency: Black voters. On Saturday, former President Barack Obama will hold a rally at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. The visit of the country’s first Black president could help energize Black voters, who helped deliver victory for McAuliffe in an earlier bid for governor in 2013. On Sunday, thousands of worshipers at Black churches all over Virginia will see a video featuring Kamala Harris, the first Black woman and first Indian American vice president. The venues are different, but the Obama and Harris messages to Black voters are the same: You need to get out and vote if Democrats are to win the key Virginia race – not to mention key congressional races in 2022, which will determine control of Congress and the success or failure of the second half of Biden’s presidency.
Justice Clarence Thomas celebrates 30 years on Supreme Court
Clarence Thomas, whose 30-year anniversary on the nation’s highest court is Saturday, is still the most likely justice to write a solo opinion. But the 6-3 advantage conservatives now enjoy has given the second African American justice in Supreme Court history some company, and may also offer him a chance to wield more influence in closely divided cases. For many Americans, Thomas, 73, is still best known for the explosive allegations of sexual harassment that landed during his Senate confirmation hearings in 1991 and nearly derailed his nomination. Those allegations, leveled by professor Anita Hill and denied by Thomas, came decades before the #MeToo Movement. But Thomas’ supporters, including several former clerks, have been working to draw the public’s attention to other aspects of his story.
‘Bomb cyclone’ expected to hit the West this weekend
A series of potent storms is poised to deliver torrents of rain and feet of snow across the West over the next few days, including one on Sunday that’s being called a “bomb cyclone” because of its ferocity. Supercharged by a classic atmospheric river pattern, the storms could lead to flash floods and dangerous debris flows in a wide swath of the region already devastated by wildfires. Meteorologists define a bomb cyclone as a rapidly strengthening storm with central pressure that plummets by 24 millibars or more within 24 hours; the process is known as bombogenesis. Despite the danger, the rain and snow will be welcome across drought-plagued areas of the West, California in particular. As of Thursday’s U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 92% of the western U.S. is in some level of drought. The rain will help stop smoldering wildfires and could ease water restrictions on farmers.
MLB’s National League Championship Series comes down to this weekend
Seeking their first the World Series berth since 1999, the Atlanta Braves will host the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of MLB’s National League Championship Series Saturday night (8:08 p.m. ET, TBS). If the Dodgers pull out a victory, the two teams will square off back in Atlanta in a winner-take-all Game 7 Sunday evening (7:38 p.m., ET, TBS). The Dodgers will be at a disadvantage Saturday as star pitcher Max Scherzer will not make his scheduled start. It is unknown if Scherzer will pitch in the game at all, but was scratched from his start because of arm fatigue concerns, according to reports. The team that comes out of the weekend as the National League champion will face the Houston Astros, winner of the American League pennant, in the World Series, which begins Tuesday. The Astros clinched their trip to the World Series Friday night with a 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox, winning the last three games to take the series 4-2.
Revamped state-of-the-art arena to host Seattle Kraken’s first home game
The Seattle Kraken, the National Hockey League’s newest expansion team, will play their first home game Saturday night, hosting their new rival from about 150 miles to the north, the Vancouver Canucks. The Kraken are off to a rough start as they won just once in their five-game road trip to open the 2021-22 season. But the home opener will still be a celebration as the return of a professional winter sports franchise is providing a cathartic release for hockey fans who had begged for the NHL in the Pacific Northwest and for sports fans who have felt incomplete since the day in 2008 when the NBA’s SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. The Kraken will play their home games at Climate Pledge Arena, which is on the site of the SuperSonics’ old home, KeyArena, and came with renovation costs that topped $1 billion. Oak View Group, which owns and operates the arena, says the venue will be the world’s first net-zero carbon arena following the guidelines of the International Living Future Institute.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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