Supercreator Daily: Everything I collected in my notebook but didn’t report last Friday
My internet was down late last week, which gave me an excuse to play hooky. So here’s all the stuff that happened between then and now.
My internet was down most of Thursday and all of Friday so I took the day off. So today’s newsletter is basically a stream of consciousness from everything I collected in my notebook but didn’t report while I was playing hooky. Let’s get into it.
Speaking of the internet, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris this afternoon will announce a new initiative with commitments from 20 private sector companies to lower costs for and expand access to high-speed internet.
The internet is a necessity for digital creators and affordable, reliable internet access will enable more creators to develop their craft, produce their ideas and get noticed and paid for the brilliance they bring to the world.
The program will cover more than 80 percent of the US population across urban, suburban, and rural areas and guarantee qualified households can access the internet for no more than $30 per month.
The administration also launched GetInternet.gov, a website with details on how Americans can sign up for ACP and find participating internet providers in their area.
I’ll have a full report on the announcement and what it means for the creative class for paid subscribers later this afternoon.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Good Monday 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 this morning will return to the White House from Delaware and receive his daily intelligence briefing with Vice President Harris. Then Biden and Harris will speak about the new initiative to expand and lower the cost of high-speed internet. The president will also sign a bill that will enhance his authority to enter into agreements with Ukraine to lend or lease military equipment to the country. This evening, Biden will attend a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in Potomac, Maryland.
Biden’s week ahead:
Tuesday: The president will speak about his plan to fight inflation and hold a meeting with Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy.
Wednesday: Biden will visit a family farm in Illinois and speak about his administration’s efforts to support farmers and food processors. He will also address speak at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and attend a DNC fundraiser in Chicago.
Thursday: The president will host a dinner for the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei, Laos, Myannmar, and Cambodia at the White House as part of the US-ASEAN Special Summit.
Friday: Biden will participate in the US-ASEAN Special Summit at the State Department.
— Harris will also attend the Ukraine lend-lease bill signing and ceremonially swear in N. Nickolas Perry to be the ambassador to Jamaica in her ceremonial office.
— First Lady Jill Biden will meet with President of Slovakia Zuzana Caputova before returning to DC this evening to complete her second solo international trip and the first to Europe.
— Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff is in Seoul, South Korea leading a presidential delegation to attend the inauguration of Yoon Suk Yeol.
— The House is out.
— The Senate is in and will consider a nominee to lead the agency that oversees the use of waterborne transportation.
The Senate is scheduled this week to vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would codify Roe v. Wade and protect the right to an abortion at the federal level.
The legislation has already passed the House but failed to advance in the Senate in February. The vote is expected to fail to advance in the Senate.
“Against this backdrop, [Senate Democratic] Leader [Chuck] Schumer and the Senate Democrats are showing up for reproductive freedom once again. The contrast with their colleagues on the other side of the aisle couldn’t be clearer,” Mini Timmaraju, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement. “When they last had the opportunity, every single GOP Senator voted against this bill to safeguard the right to abortion, signaling their willingness to let the Court overturn Roe v. Wade and paving the way for 28 states to ban abortion,” adding that many of these are the same Republican Senators voted to confirm the justices who are now ready and waiting to overturn Roe.
And now that the anti-abortion movement has likely succeeded in its decades-long project to overturn Roe v. Wade, the next frontier is to restrict access to or ban abortion pills as the last safe resort for people seeking to terminate their pregnancy.
I wrote an explainer to help you ground yourself in the science of medication abortion in the face of rising tensions and rampant misinformation:
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden on Sunday afternoon made a surprise visit to a school in Ukraine being used as temporary housing and shelter for 163 displaced Ukrainians, including 47 children.
The first lady is the latest high-profile US official to visit the region.
Speaker Pelosi met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other top Ukrainian officials in the capital city of Kyiv last weekend. And the weekend before, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with Zelenskyy.
“I wanted to come in Mother’s Day,” Dr. Biden said. “I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
Upon arrival, Dr. Biden met Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, and the two women hugged and Biden gave Zelenska a bouquet of flowers.
It was the first time Zelenska has appeared in public since February 24, the date of the Russian invasion. A US official said the two first ladies have exchanged correspondences in the last few weeks though.
Zelenska was asked what Dr. Biden’s visit meant to her.
“First of all, I would like to thank you for a very courageous act. Because we understand what it takes for the US First Lady to come here during a war when the military actions are taking place every day, where the air sirens are happening every day even today, she said vis a translator. “We all feel your support and we all feel the leadership of the US president but we would like to note that the Mother’s Day is a very symbolic day for us because we also feel your love and support during such an important day.”
Michael LaRosa, a spokesperson for the first lady, said Dr. Biden asked her how Zelenska how she was doing as a mother and handling the war.
Zelenska said she was grateful she “is able to hold her children’s hands every night even though she can’t be with her husband.”
LaRosa said she initially expressed interest in visiting Ukraine in March for her spring break but the opportunity did not become available until later.
“Mother’s Day was something she thought would be special for the mothers of Ukraine,” he said.
The first lady’s office reached out to the State Department and the National Security Council, who approved the trip. Her staff then connected with Disaster Assistance Response Teams in the region to plan her travel.
The Ukrainians offered to arrange a visit with Zelenska after advance teams landed in the region about 10 days ago and started to notify regional government officials of Dr. Biden’s travel plans.
LaRosa said Dr. Biden spoke with the president, who spent the weekend in Delaware, on the phone in the car after her visit.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the United Nations, didn’t answer if President Biden would visit Ukraine soon when asked on Sunday during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union.
“But I can say that the first lady’s visit has given so much support and encouragement to the Ukrainian women and children,” Thomas-Greenfield, who traveled to Romania and Moldova a few weeks ago to meet with Ukrainian mothers on the border, said. “And for her to go there on Mother's Day to meet with the Ukrainian first lady, I think sends a very strong, a very positive message.”
ICYMI: President Biden on Friday announced a $150 million package of security assistance that will provide additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment to Ukraine. President Biden noted that with the package his administration has nearly exhausted the funding that can be used to send security assistance through drawdown authorities for Ukraine and called on Congress to authorize additional resources.
The White House is warning we’re in for fall and winter COVID surge that could see a sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths affecting up to 100 million people if the US doesn’t get ahead of the next surge.
“Whatever happens or not is largely up to us as a country. If we can prepare and if we can act, we can prevent that,” Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said during a Sunday interview on ABC’s This Week as he called on Congress to approve an emergency funding request from the administration. “We need the resources to fight that battle so we don’t have that kind of fall and winter.”
ICYMI: Elizabeth Chuck and Corky Siemaszko at NBC News reported that the US surpassed one million COVID-19 deaths — equivalent to the population of San Jose, California, the 10th largest city in the US — 27 months after the country confirmed its first case of the virus.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration tracks the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University and that President Biden would mark the moment once those sources announce we’ve officially hit the milestone.
Vice President Harris last Friday became the first woman and person of color to receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Tennessee State University, a historically Black college. The award recognizes individuals who inspire others, personify excellence, integrity, and commitment, and enhance the public good, according to TSU.
Harris also delivered the TSU commencement address and spoke about abortion rights, climate change and growing up during a pandemic. The vice president closed her speech on an uplifting note:
I want you all — each and every one of you — to always remember that you are not alone, that you come from people, that you come with people.
Because I promise you: There will be a time when you will walk into a boardroom or a courtroom or maybe even the Situation Room, and you will walk into the room and find you are the only person in that room who looks like you or has had your life experience.
And at that moment, you must remember you are not in that room alone. Always know that you carry the voices of everyone here and those upon whose shoulders you stand.
Harris also shared an anecdote about her first time on Marine Two, the helicopter that transports the vice president, as it circled around her alma mater Howard University’s main courtyard.
“As I looked down out of the window, I saw myself at 17 years old walking across campus with a big stack of books tucked under my arms at a place just like this,” she said. “That reinforced that I could be anything, do anything even if it had never been done before. Like you. Like you and full of hope, full of dreams, with a future full of possibility just like you.”
Harris is the first HBCU graduate to serve in her role.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi last Friday announced several House reforms designed to widen the talent pool so Congress reflects the constituencies it serves:
The House will for the first time ever set the minimum annual pay for staff at $45,000. (There is no minimum for staffers’ salaries under current policy, with some making as little as $30,000 a year.) The deadline for members’ offices to implement the raise is September 1.
The House will vote this week on a resolution from Democratic Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan that will enable congressional workers to join a union to negotiate better working conditions.
The House will raise the maximum annual pay rate to $203,700 to match the Senate’s increase.
“This is also an issue of fairness, as many of the youngest staffers working the longest hours often earn the lowest salaries,” Pelosi said in a letter to colleagues.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona led a presidential delegation to Costa Rica to attend the inauguration of Rodrigo Alberto de Jesús Chaves Robles, the country’s new president. Cardona was joined by the ambassador to Costa Rica and officials from the State Department and White House.
The Department of Health and Human Services launched on Mother’s Day the Maternal Mental Health Hotline for expecting and new moms experiencing mental health challenges. The new confidential, toll-free hotline is backed with an initial $3 million investment, which would be more than doubled in President Biden’s next budget to expand expert staffing and build additional capacity.
HHS launched the Climate and Health Outlook, a new initiative to help people, health professionals, and communities protect individual and community health impacted by climate events. The inaugural edition of the Outlook will focus on extreme heat.
The Secretaries of Housing and Urban Development Marcia L. Fudge, Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Treasury Janet L. Yellen called on servicers of federally backed mortgages to pause foreclosure proceedings to help keep families in their homes during the pandemic. The cabinet officials also encouraged services to offer these loss mitigation options to borrowers who are struggling to make their mortgage payments.
Democratic Reps. Katie Porter of California and Kim Schrier introduced legislation that would empower President Biden to issue an Energy Emergency Declaration to ban the increase in gasoline and home energy fuel prices in an excessive or exploitative manner. The lawmakers point to record-breaking quarterly profits from oil companies as Americans pay historically high prices at the pump.
Steven Greenhouse on unions:
Labor unions typically focus on presidential and congressional races, but this year, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, they plan to focus far more than usual on state and local races—for instance, to defeat Republican candidates for elections commissions and secretaries of state who support Trump’s “Big Lie” and who have suggested they will overturn their state’s vote results in 2024 if the Democratic presidential nominee comes out ahead.
Political scientists say unions can play a big role in preventing Trump and other Republicans from subverting America’s democracy. “Unions are a huge mobilizer,” said Paul Frymer, a political science professor at Princeton. “They’re one of the biggest mobilizers for the Democratic Party, maybe the biggest.”
Ronald Brownstein on America’s blue-red divide:
The divide between red and blue states on abortion rights will become starker if the Supreme Court follows through on overturning Roe. Nearly half the states have laws in place that would restrict or ban abortion once that happens. And those laws are becoming more extreme. Many Americans already know about Texas’s ban on abortion after about six weeks’ gestation. But last year, the state legislature passed, and Governor Greg Abbott signed, a bill that would ban all abortions in the state 30 days after the Supreme Court overturns Roe—with no exceptions for rape, incest, or all but the most severe health complications. That means abortion could be prohibited in the nation’s second-largest state by sometime this summer. Of the 12 states that have passed new abortion restrictions since 2021, nine have denied any exceptions for rape and incest, according to Elizabeth Nash, who tracks state policy for the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank supporting abortion rights. Meanwhile, Guttmacher reports that 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place that will protect abortion rights if Roe falls. Every one of those states has voted Democratic in at least the past four presidential elections.
Shawn McCreesh on Anna Wintour:
Wintour turned Vogue into a global powerhouse: Watch 2009’s September Issue, and you see that at the time there was very little distinction between the magazine she ran and the fashion business itself. In the decade-plus since then, magazines themselves have shrunk into near irrelevance, but somehow Wintour has not. Perhaps it’s a war of attrition, but as Talley and other members of her inner circle have been phased out and her rivals — Graydon Carter, Jim Nelson, Linda Wells, Cindi Leive — expelled from the kingdom, Wintour’s role at Condé has just expanded. It all orbits around her now, and the Met Gala is perhaps Wintour’s most singular triumph. She transformed it from a stuffy society party into a night that rivals the Oscars. It’s a content machine with reach far beyond anyone who picks up a monthly print magazine.
Wintour is an old-school power broker. She’s got on speed dial everyone in fashion and media but also Hollywood, politics, and Silicon Valley. She has lunch with Jeff Bezos and Lauren Sanchez at Sant Ambroeus and parks them next to her in the front row at Tom Ford and then, boom, Amazon is collaborating with Vogue. Advertisers do not care about CEO Roger Lynch, and the age of the swashbuckling Galotti or Florio is so long gone. Wintour is it. She is all-powerful and has the board in her pocket, and there is no succession plan in place.
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