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Supercreator Daily: Biden marks one million American COVID deaths
“I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is unrelenting,” the president said. Plus: the NAACP rallies for student cancelation and more Democrats embrace Biden’s “Ultra-MAGA” attack line.
FYI: The NAACP this morning is hosting a rally outside the White House to protest for student debt cancellation as President Joe Biden considers wiping out $10,000 of debt through executive authority — far below the $50,000 lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and activists have called for.
“President Biden, to Build Back a Better economy, you must cancel at least a minimum of $50,000 in student loan debt. That’s how we can Build Back a Better America,” Wisdom Cole, NAACP's National Director of Youth & College, said in a statement. “The Black community continues to be shackled by debt, and $10,000 in cancellation will not break the chains. The NAACP believes that you can be the president that cancels student debt. Now that's a legacy to be remembered by. However, cancelling $10,000 is not enough, and means-testing is simply unacceptable.”
President Biden this morning released a statement officially marking one million American lives lost to COVID-19, a once inconceivable milestone that embodies the human toll the pandemic has had on the country in the past two years.
“One million empty chairs around the dinner table,” the president said. “Each an irreplaceable loss. Each leaving behind a family, a community, and a nation forever changed because of this pandemic. [First Lady] Jill [Biden] and I pray for each of them.”
He also related to the pain of those who are grieving, as one of few presidents to experience the level of loss he’s faced after losing his first wife Nelia and daughter Naomi in an automobile accident in the ‘70s and his son Beau to brain cancer in 2015.
“I know the pain of that black hole in your heart. It is unrelenting,” Biden said. “But I also know the ones you love are never truly gone. They will always be with you.”
The president redoubled his call for Americans to remain vigilant against the pandemic as public health officials warn of brutal fall and winter seasons that could see as many as 100 million cases without additional funding from Congress for more testing, vaccines and treatments.
“In remembrance, let us draw strength from each other as fellow Americans,” Biden said. “For while we have been humbled, we never give up. We can and will do this together as the United States of America.”
President Biden on Wednesday continued his campaign to make the midterm elections about the ideology and anti-democratic sentiment of Donald Trump’s supporters despite the former president not being on the ballot himself.
During a speech at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 40th Annual Conference, Biden said (emphasis mine):
Under my predecessor, the great MAGA king, the deficit increased every single year he was president. The first year of my presidency — the first year, I reduced the deficit — literally reduced the deficit by $350 billion. First year.
Biden also continued his attacks on Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who has attempted to cast the president as unfit for office as he staves off attacks on his proposed agenda for if Senate Republicans reclaim the majority this November:
But Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida, laid out a plan in writing — I call it the ”Ultra-MAGA” plan — Make America Great Again plan. It’s in writing.
And the ultra-MAGA Republicans’ proposal — here’s what it does: It puts Social Security, Medicare — this is the Republican plan now, the only one out there — and Medicaid on the chopping block every five years.
This is serious. The MAGA Republicans are going to vote on whether you’ll have Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid and what amount you get. Every five years it’s reconsidered.
Then here’s Biden on Wednesday night at a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee:
But we have to take on the — MAGA Republicans — “Make American Great Again” Republicans. I think they’re the most extreme party. And that’s what the Republican Party is now. Not [every] Republican believes that. But the fact of the matters is they run the show — the MAGA Republicans.
The president went on to say:
We have to remember that we’re talking about a relatively small number of people who are the MAGA Republicans. We may be talking about as much as one-third of the electorate. That’s more than I’d ever thought would occur.
FWIW, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois repeated the president’s new line warning against an ”ultra-MAGA” movement returning to power during his introduction of Biden at the fundraiser.
And Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer did the same in a floor speech ahead of the failed vote to codify Roe v. Wade:
This is a cruel, repressive, dangerous vision for our country, but it is precisely the future that MAGA Republicans are working towards.
For MAGA Republicans, this has always been about making abortion illegal everywhere—about making the bans in Texas apply equally to New York and California and Minnesota and everywhere in between.
MAGA Republicans are telling American women: “Your body, our choice.”
Before the day is over, every member of this body will make a choice: stand with women to protect their freedoms, or stand with MAGA Republicans and take our country into a dark and repressive future.
Republicans are leaning into the label though.
Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking House Republican, once known as a moderate from upstate New York, has fully embraced Trumpism in her to the most powerful woman in the House GOP Conference: “I am ultra-MAGA and I'm proud of it,” she said on Wednesday at a press conference.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Good Thursday morning and welcome to Supercreator Daily, your guide to the politicians, power brokers and policies shaping how digital creators work and live in the new economy.
Here’s what’s happening today in politics:
— President Biden and Vice President Harris this morning will receive their daily intelligence briefing. This evening, the president will welcome the leaders of ASEAN countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia) and the ASEAN Secretary-General to the White House where they will take a family photo on the South Lawn. Then, Biden will host a dinner for the ASEAN leaders in the State Dining Room.
— The House is in and will take up a bill that modifies the workplace rights, protections and benefits for Transportation Security Administration workers. Also: The House Financial Services Committee will hear testimony from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the economy and the annual financial stability report. The House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security will hear testimony from Homeland Security Department officials on the agency’s efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.
— The Senate is in and will consider several executive nominations, including for the Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Also: The Foreign Relations Committee will hear testimony from State Department officials on Ukraine aid.
In the Know
— President Biden announced seven nominees for the US Sentencing Commission. The bipartisan independent agency, created during the Reagan Administration created to reduce sentencing disparities and promote transparency and proportionality in criminal sentencing, has lacked the minimum number of members necessary to enable its work since 2019.
— Over 500 American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children's deaths occurred at 19 of the federal Indian boarding schools between 1819 and 1969. The schools separated children from their families and forced them to abandon their native language and culture through “systematic militarized and identity-alteration methodologies,” according to a new report from the Department of Interior.
— The Department of Health and Human Services announced $5 million in funding for community health centers to increase access to cancer screenings. The funding is in response to President Biden’s call to action on cancer screening and early detection.
— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted 107,622 people died from overdoses in the 12-month period ending in December 2021. This is up 15 percent from the previous year and the result of lost access to treatment, social isolation and stronger drugs.
— Attorney General Merrick Garland directed the US Marshals Service to provide additional support to the Marshal of the Supreme Court and Supreme Court Police to boost security for the justices. The conservative justices have been the focus of sustained protests since the Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked to Politico last week.
— Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of California reintroduced two bills that she says will better protect student borrowers. The proposed legislation would re-empower the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s student loan top official charged with protecting student borrowers, improving data on student loan defaults and cracking down on fraudulent for-profit universities.
— A Florida circuit court judge signaled that a new congressional map supported by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is likely unconstitutional “because it diminishes African Americans’ ability to elect the representative of their choice.” DeSantis’s office said the ruling would be appealed after it’s formally issued. (Steve Contorno / CNN)
— A US appeals court in San Francisco ruled a California ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to adults under 21 is unconstitutional. Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office said it was reviewing the decision. (Brian Melley / AP News)
Read All About It
Tracy Jan on Black Texas communities, which are the last in line for disaster planning:
The situation in Texas illustrates the challenge facing the Biden administration, which has pledged to focus on racial equity but is struggling to protect low-income communities of color from the growing threat of climate change. Even after HUD’s finding of discrimination, the agency said it does not have the power at this time to suspend the rest of the $4.3 billion in disaster mitigation money awarded to the state under criteria approved by the Trump administration.
Federal disaster mitigation grants are supposed to improve the inferior flood infrastructure in lower income communities. But the HUD investigation found that competition rules set by the Texas General Land Office unfairly ****favored smaller towns with less urgent needs and where residents are more likely to be White and less likely to be lower income.
Robinson Meyer on Democrats and climate change:
During the campaign, Biden described climate change as one of the country’s four major overlapping crises. Yet his administration seems to be sleepwalking toward inaction. Five months ago, Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat of West Virginia, killed Biden’s Build Back Better bill after the White House repeatedly ignored his attempts to pare it down. Since then, Democrats have been stuck in limbo, with Manchin laying out some of his terms for a replacement bill, and Democrats neglecting to put together a new bill reflecting those terms. It now seems likely that Democrats will lose control of Congress with only a bipartisan infrastructure bill to show for their trouble.
Then they face overwhelming odds. Because of the geographic apportionment of their supporters, Democrats can win 51 percent of votes cast in the 2022 and 2024 elections and still lose eight Senate seats. I have heard estimates that the party must win eight points more than Republicans to pick up a Senate seat. Unless inflation abates, such an outcome will be so unlikely that it’s essentially impossible, consigning Democrats to minority status for years to come. Republicans, by contrast, have a plausible path to more than 60 seats, allowing them to pass legislation over that institution’s filibuster.
At the same time, the Biden administration could soon lose its ability to regulate climate change at all. The Supreme Court could restrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases this term. It could also curtail Chevron deference, a legal doctrine that gives executive agencies more freedom to operate when the underlying law is unclear. In the past, both concepts have been central to Democratic climate-rule making. Both could be gone by 2023.
Kim Phillips-Fein on the world venture capital made:
If you’re not a twentysomething college student or recent grad who is into trading tips about crypto and Robinhood, you may be forgiven for wondering what precisely defines venture capital. You may also wonder why it matters, if you’re not in the circle of people aspiring to fantastic wealth.
Venture capital refers to investment funds that invest in companies in their early stages, often giving fledgling entrepreneurs capital in return for shares of stock in the new business. Frequently, they seek some form of control over the company in addition to their equity—such as the power to appoint a CEO with expertise in running a company (as opposed to the inventor who has developed a new technology but has no actual experience managing a business). They cash in when the successful company finally has an IPO, or initial public offering, selling its stock to the broad public.
We are in an important moment to think about venture capital, because the past year has seen a flood of new money pour into VC funds, with the number of deals funded at all-time highs. Record numbers of private companies have stock valued at over a billion dollars on paper—known as “unicorns,” a term coined in 2013 by financier Aileen Lee—even though they have yet to test this by going public. Today, there are more than 1,000 such “unicorns” around the world, compared to fewer than 200 in 2016. Venture capital equaled 11 percent of all nonresidential fixed investment in 2021, significantly more than the 7 percent it equaled in 2000, the height of the dot-com frenzy, let alone the average of under 2 percent per year between 1980 and 2007 (figures that do not come from Mallaby but from the economics writer Doug Henwood). In other words, it’s a critical time for a serious exploration of the world VC is building, what its investments are, and what its economic but also political impact has been, and is likely to be.
Peter Kafka on how streaming services are learning to live with ads:
It’s a head-snapping turn for an industry that seemed as though it was sprinting away from ads as fast as it could — in part because it was following Netflix’s anti-ad lead. But if you step back, there are two easy-to-understand reasons why streamers are embracing ads, willingly or reluctantly:
(1) Even in 2022, there’s an enormous amount of money in TV advertising, and it’s still growing: Media agency Zenith predicts advertisers will spend $65 billion on TV ads this year, up 4 percent from last year. Even in 2022, people still watch a lot of TV programming. But they’re increasingly watching it on streaming services on their TVs — streaming services now account for 30 percent of TV time, per Nielsen. So advertisers want to fish where the fishes are.
(2) The streaming wars are expensive to fight. All of the new services chasing Netflix are throwing billions of dollars into programming to attract and keep their subscribers. In the old days, networks and studios had multiple ways to make money from programming — ads, cable TV subscription fees, and syndication —but the new model removed all of those in favor of a single fee from consumers. Adding back ads is a way to bring in more money and/or increase profits — which are increasingly important to investors.
Terry Nguyen on the death of trends:
The problem, so to speak, isn’t cottagecore, night luxe, or the concept of micro-aesthetics. It’s the fact that modern consumers are bombarded with a neverending stream of inconsequential trends to take note of — marketing vessels for products that fit into a paradigm devoid of meaning. This doesn’t just concern the fashion world: The effects of trend-induced brain rot have trickled into online discourse. The topics and figures deemed most important on the internet are based on where they fall along this spectrum of trendiness, depending on the scale of attention they command.
Virality isn’t always a bad thing, but it chips away at this once-valued notion of authenticity, of discovering a music or fashion scene first. Today, this sentiment doesn’t matter nearly as much. Trend mania is considered passé among young social media users. Teenagers, for instance, are accustomed to trying on digital aesthetics like clothes (and also buying fast fashion to represent these tastes), swapping out ones that no longer fit their aspirational personality, style, or vibe. Taste communities, as Andjelic mentioned, aren’t competing for social relevance. Cottagecore and night luxe can coexist in harmony — and might even overlap in the demographics that they attract.
You could argue that Wintour became the most powerful magazine editor in the world specifically because of her taste. She is famously meticulous about every single detail of her life, even going so far as to ban chives from the Met Gala’s menu because they might make guests’ breath smell bad. It does not seem like an accident that she would ask to have the tomatoes removed from her caprese salad. Odell’s book places this order as something Wintour would have eaten five or six years ago — but still, it remains deeply confusing.
What even is a caprese salad without tomatoes? The entire dish consists of only three ingredients: tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. (Delicious together, and also a nod to the colors of the Italian flag.) To lose the tomatoes is like ordering fish and chips without the fish, or macaroni and cheese, hold the macaroni. As an Italian, I’m offended. As a journalist, I’m captivated.
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