Thursday, 10th November, 2022

[Day 969]

Thursday is my shopping day and for some reason, things seemed very quiet this morning so I got my money out of an ATM and whizzed around the supermarket in record time. After I had got home, breakfasted and unpacked, Meg and I treated ourselves to another little mini-concert on our newly resurrected CD player and then decided to make a trip to the park. The weather was a little indeterminate but we thought that a breath of fresh air would do us good, which I am sure that it did. Upon our return, I noticed that a little bundle of CDs had arrived, all courtesy of Ebay. One of these was Vladimir Askenazy set of the five most popular Mozart piano concertos which came on 2 CDs and for which I paid less than £3.00. The bigger bundle was a 12 disk set of Murray Perahia playing almost every piano concerto that Mozart ever wrote (1-27 but missing Nos. 7 and 10 for some reason) and this bundle came in at less than 40p a disk. I cannot say how much these would have cost when they were just released but, for whatever reason, they are now being sold at almost give away prices, particularly once you subtract the cost of the postage. We have played some of the Asknenazy disks and the quality seems fine but evidently it will take me many hours of listening pleasure to work my way through the entire collection to see if they are all play as they should.

The American election results continue to fascinate but some of the final votes seem to be incredibly slow to declare. This may be because postal votes are not counted until the day after the election and are counted by hand rather than by machine but the final results are better than the Democrats had dared hoped and worse than the Republicans had come to expect. The latest estimate from NBC News has the Republicans winning 222 House seats compared with the Democrats’ 213, meaning they would still take control but with much less authority. And a Democrat win is still within the margin of error. As I write, the latest estimate from NBC News has the Republicans winning 222 House seats compared with the Democrats 213, meaning they would still take control but with much less authority than the 40+ gains anticipated by some pollsters. A majority of 9 is still sufficient for the Republicans to follow much of their own agenda but in today’s climate, how many independently minded Republicans are left who may defy how the rest of the party are voting? The race for the Senate is also very much in the balance, with just three seats left to declare. Georgia’s race is set for a run-off on 6 December so we may have to wait until then for the final result. Whichever party wins two of the three outstanding contests in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada will control the Senate. With about 70 percent of the vote tallied in Arizona, incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly maintains a 5-point lead over Republican challenger Blake Masters. But election officials in Democrat-heavy Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county, have said it could take until at least Friday to tally the hundreds of thousands of remaining votes. About 80 percent of the vote has been tallied in Nevada, where Republican Adam Laxalt has a slight edge over Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto. But late-arriving mail-in ballots, especially in Democratic strongholds of Clark and Washoe Counties, that have yet to be counted could still tip the scales in the incumbent’s favor. Election officials are saying that the results of these votes might not be known until Friday. The US newspapers owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch make brutal reading for Donald Trump today. Once again, the two flagship Murdoch titles – the upscale conservative-leaning Wall St Journal (WSJ), which is influential with deep pocketed Republican donors, and the tabloid New York Post – have united to tell their collective readership that it is time for Republicans to move beyond Donald Trump. New York Post columnist John Podhoretz wrote a blistering editorial, saying: ‘After three straight national tallies in which either he or his party or both were hammered by the national electorate, it is time for even his fans to accept the truth: Toxic Trump is the political equivalent of a can of Raid.’ While Republican lawmakers are so far loyal to the former president in public, the debate emerging from the Murdoch-owned press reflects the conversations Republicans are having in private.

In the Ukraine, the fact that the Russians seem to be abandoning Kherson might appear to be good news for the Ukraine but the military command is being very cautious. It may be that several ‘traps’ have been laid by the retreating troops. The fact that they are retreating to the east bank of a river means that they can still shell Kherson at will and may be difficult to attack. But it does appear that the Russians had little choice but to abandon the city as their supply lines had been so successfully disrupted by the Ukrainians seeking to liberate their own territory.