Diversity = box-off success, DOJ sues TX for voter suppression and the iPhone as a subscription
Plus: Must-reads on cars and capitalism, how reducing our reliance on oil will increase our quality of life and what white men say about Asian women in their absence.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Good Friday morning and Happy National Employee Day. Welcome to Supercreator Daily, your morning guide to the politicians, power brokers and policies shaping how creators work and live in the new economy. Send me tips, comments, questions — or just say hi: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Know
The Biden administration announced more than $1 billion in new funding towards humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. The US will accept up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing the war too.
The administration also announced sanctions on over 400 Russian elites, politicians and defense companies in coordination with the European Union and Group of Seven. The has now sanctioned over 600 targets since Russia invaded Ukraine.
More than half of the children in Ukraine have been displaced in the one month since Russia invaded, according to the United Nations. They’ve either fled the country entirely as refugees or moved around internally to try to find safe areas. (Haley Ott / CBS News)
The White House announced plans for the traditional Spring Garden Tours and Easter Egg Roll next month. The tours take the public through the White House gardens and South Garden while the Easter Egg Roll will take place on the South Lawn for children (age 13 and younger) and their parents. Both events are free but require tickets.
The Supreme Court ruled in an 8-1 decision that a Texas death row inmate could have his spiritual adviser pray aloud and lay hands on him during his execution. The decision underscores the court’s attempt to balance religious accommodations at execution and a state’s security and safety concerns during an execution. (Ariane de Vogue and Devan Cole / CNN)
The Department of Health and Human Services announced two funding opportunities to expand and increase essential mental health services to vulnerable communities that would otherwise lack access to them. The funding totals more than $300 million and brings the agency’s investments in behavior health to $420 million.
The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security issued a new rule to speed up the processing of asylum claims from people who fear persecution or torture and pass the required credible fear screening. The rule is designed to ensure that those who are eligible for asylum are granted relief quickly while those who are not will be deported.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Texas in a challenge to the state’s redistricting plan, which it says discriminates against Black and Hispanic voters. The complaint asks a federal court to prohibit Galveston County from conducting elections under the challenged plan and to the county to devise and implement a new redistricting plan that complies with the Voting Rights Act.
More than 73 percent of US counties experienced more deaths than births in 2021, according to the Census Bureau. Fewer births, an aging population and increased mortality — intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic — contributed to a rise in natural decrease.
Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois introduced legislation that would help prevent the oil industry from engaging in gasoline price gouging. It would make it illegal for any person to sell gasoline, at wholesale or retail, during a period of an international crisis affecting the oil markets.
Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar reintroduced a bill that would expand the public housing stock in the US and guarantee housing as a human right. The legislation would make public housing investments mandatory spending so they couldn’t be cut in the event of a budget crisis or change in administration.
A bill that would make it unlawful nationwide to manufacture and import crib bumpers passed the Senate and is now headed to the House. Sen. Duckworth, Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, the legislation’s sponsors, say the products remain widely sold by retailers despite current recommendations advising parents to keep cribs bare to prevent sudden infant death syndrome.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland led 15 of his colleagues in a letter calling on Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler to take steps to address foreign spending in US elections. The letter follows a bill Raskin introduced that would close a campaign finance loophole that allows foreign-owned, foreign-controlled, or foreign-influenced US corporations to spend unlimited cash in US elections.
People of color are the key to the movie industry’s economic survival, according to the latest edition of the Hollywood Diversity Report. And movies with casts that were at least fairly diverse delivered the highest box-office earnings, while movies with the least diverse casts performed the poorest. (Marina Fang / HuffPost)
Apple is reportedly developing a subscription service for the iPhone and other hardware products. The move could make device ownership similar to paying a monthly app fee. (Mark Gurman / Bloomberg)
Spotify announced it paid out more than $7 billion to music rights holders in 2021, up from $5 billion in 2020 and $3.3 billion in 2017. This represents about two-thirds of the company’s revenue last year. Spotify said 1,040 artists generated more than $1 million of payouts from Spotify and it has now paid out more than $30 billion since its launch in 2008.
New in Supercreator
I wrote on Thursday about a series of recommendations Vice President Kamala Harris announced to safeguard voters from native communities, with disabilities and who work for the federal government.
Also: I’m taking the virtual stage at 9 AM ET with fellow news, science, sports and climate writers during the next stop on the Substack category tour. Register to hear me talk a couple of minutes about Supercreator and what I’m reading on Substack when I’m not reporting this newsletter. (Substack provides the technology for the newsletter.)
Speaking of talking: I was a guest a couple of weeks ago on the lifestyle podcast Chit Chat with Char a couple of weeks ago. We discussed my definition of a creator why political engagement is critical for historically marginalized communities and how I unplug from the noisy news cycle. (In addition to her podcasting prowess, Char is also my cousin, which made my appearance an extra-special treat.) Watch a recording of the live stream.
President Biden hosted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the US Mission in Brussels for a meeting to discuss the war in Ukraine. Following their meeting, the leaders made a joint press statement. The president will travel to Rzeszów, Poland, where he will be greeted by President Andrzej Duda of Poland. He’ll receive a briefing on the humanitarian response to the growing flow of refugees fleeing Ukraine and meet with service members based on NATO’s Eastern Flank. Biden will then travel to Warsaw, Poland.
Vice President Harris this morning will meet with the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators.
First Lady Jill Biden this morning will attend a private memorial service in Philadelphia before traveling to a children’s hospital in Tennessee to highlight programs and services that support pediatric cancer patients and their families and caregivers. She will also meet with some of the patients and families from Ukraine who are receiving care. The First Lady will then travel to Denver to attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser this evening.
The House is out.
The Senate is out.
Read All About It
Elaine Hsieh Chou on what white men say about Asian women in their absence:
It’s doubtful these men would dare speak these thoughts aloud when faced with a living, breathing Asian woman. But these thoughts are actually voiced aloud all the time in polite society: I’ve never been with an Asian girl before. I have a thing for Asian girls. Behind these terribly unoriginal lines is another terribly unoriginal myth: that Asian women, in appearance and mentality, are somehow different from other women — so different as to be a separate species.
Jen Kirby on the impossible task of truth and reconciliation:
“Victims” and “perpetrators” are black-and-white terms for situations that are almost always more complicated, and those distinctions can blur in times of war and oppression. Truth commissions exist because they deal with issues that are too big and too systemic to fit into the parameters of, say, a criminal trial. They operate under a radical concept: that all of society has a right to fully know what happened, and how, and why. They expose the extent of the atrocities and aim to unravel what allowed them to happen, in the hope that the knowledge could prevent them from happening again.
Kate Aronoff on how reducing our reliance on oil will increase our quality of life:
Instituting these measures and the shifts the IEA recommends, though, is less a matter of stiff-lipped patriotic wartime sacrifice than making the U.S. a more livable country. Fossil fuel dependence is an obvious security risk, but it also makes most U.S. cities—by global standards—uniquely unnavigable. In famously dense Paris, one recent study found, 85 percent of people live within walking distance of health care and education, compared to just 4 percent of Indianapolis residents. The U.S. fares poorly across walkability metrics. New York City—among this country’s most walkable cities—ranked fiftieth on closeness to schools and health care after high-scorers like Kathmandu and Athens. It’s not just wealthy European capitals that the U.S. is lagging behind. Small city blocks, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy finds, make it much easier to get around on foot. The leaders on that front are Khartoum, Bogotá, Lima, Karachi, and Tokyo.
Emily Stewart on cars and capitalism:
Amid the current inflationary environment, there’s a broader debate going on about what’s causing prices to rise. Some Democrats and economists argue that corporate greed is playing a role, basically saying that companies are taking advantage of the moment to boost their profits even when it’s not necessary, and contributing to higher inflation overall. Other economists have dismissed this, saying it’s a flimsy excuse, and that other factors, among them supply chain problems, increased demand, and commodity prices, have much more of an impact. After all, corporate greed wasn’t invented in the pandemic.
I am not going to litigate whether profiteering — which is generally legal in the US — is driving up inflation. But it’s hard not to recognize that in some corners, businesses and CEOs and salespeople are likely looking at the current economic landscape and thinking, “Eh, why not bump that price tag up a little more?” And who can blame them? That’s capitalism.
Kiera Butler on how wellness influencers became cheerleaders for Putin’s war:
The path of disinformation follows a clear pattern. It starts in the shadows of the internet, where crusaders share some conspiracy with their die-hard followers. But these communities are not locked rooms — rather, people with overlapping interests flow in and out, grabbing pieces of disinformation that align with their own interests and then spreading it to their followers, who in turn do the same. In the last few weeks, I’ve watched this happen in real time, as natural-living Instagram accounts turn wild theories about US-supported biolabs in Ukraine into pastel-hued memes. At first glance, populist geopolitics seems like an odd fit in these accounts. In one post, they might warn about the dangers of cell phone radiation; in the next, they’re suggesting that Putin is ridding Ukraine of pedophiles.
Allie Volpe on community:
According to clinical and community psychologist David McMillan, a community is defined by four criteria: membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection. To be part of a community, you must feel a sense of belonging (membership), feel like you make a difference to the group and that the group makes a difference to you (influence), feel like your needs will be met by other group members (integration and fulfillment of needs), and feel that you share history, similar experiences, time, and space together (shared emotional connection). High school, college, and retirement communities, McMillan says, are examples of community: “In college, the world is organized around satisfying you,” he says. From extracurricular activities to communal living, the entire experience centers around group collaboration and satisfaction. While a community can consist of pairs or small groups of friends — and help foster those connections — community members don’t necessarily need to be friends.
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