The 7The 7

Tuesday briefing: Georgia runoff election; Supreme Court case on LGBTQ rights; Kirstie Alley; hydration research; and more

(Jordan Robertson for The Washington Post)

1

The Senate runoff election in Georgia is today.

  • The candidates: Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker. Neither got 50% of votes in November, which triggered a runoff.
  • What to watch: Both parties say the race will come down to turnout. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time. We’ll have live updates here.
  • Why this matters: Democrats control the Senate, but another seat would give them more leverage. And experts will watch closely for clues about the 2024 election.

2

Explosions hit military bases in Russia yesterday.

  • What we know: The targets included an airfield allegedly used in Moscow’s relentless airstrikes on Ukraine’s key infrastructure, which continued yesterday.
  • Why it matters: Ukraine did not claim responsibility. But the attacks, if confirmed, would mark the deepest strikes yet by Ukrainian forces inside Russia.

3

The Supreme Court heard a dispute over LGBTQ rights yesterday.

  • The case: A Christian website designer sued Colorado, arguing that a state law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates her right to free speech.
  • Why it matters: The court’s decision, expected next year, could end up redrawing the line between religious beliefs and protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people.

4

Disabled Americans are waiting months to get benefits.

  • Why? State Social Security offices that make benefits decisions have hit a breaking point. Staff shortages, low pay, old technology and bureaucratic issues are contributing to the crisis.
  • The numbers: Processing time has slowed the most in the southeast. In Florida, people are waiting an average of 225 days for a ruling on a claim, almost triple what it took in 2019.

5

Two generals’ foreign consulting deals set off a battle in the Air Force.

  • What happened? The retired generals tried to profit off connections in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic rife with corruption. U.S. officials tried to stop them, fearing a scandal.
  • How we know this: The Post sued the Air Force after it repeatedly tried to keep information about the dispute from becoming public.
  • It’s part of a larger picture: Hundreds of U.S. veterans have taken lucrative jobs with foreign governments, mostly in countries known for human rights abuses, a Post investigation found.

6

Kirstie Alley, the Emmy-winning “Cheers” star, has died.

  • How we’ll remember her: As high-strung bar manager Rebecca Howe on the long-running NBC sitcom, and for box-office hits including “Look Who’s Talking.”
  • What we know: The 71-year-old died yesterday of cancer that was recently diagnosed, her family said.

7

You might not actually need to drink eight cups of water a day.

  • Why? The decades-old advice doesn’t take into account all the water we get from our food and other drinks like coffee and tea, new research found.
  • So how much should I drink? It depends on factors like your age, sex, size, physical activity levels and the climate you live in — but eight cups won’t do any harm, experts said.

And now … add these to your to-do list this month: Eight home-maintenance tasks to get your home ready for this chilly weather. Plus, how to fight those “winter blues.”

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