Filibuster Showdown, Oxford High Lawsuit, and the 100 Best Jobs for 2022 Everything you need to know for the day in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Wednesday, Jan. 12, and we're covering a looming fight over the filibuster, details from a lawsuit over a Michigan mass shooting, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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Hospitalizations Pass Previous Peak

The number of current patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the US has surpassed numbers seen during a surge in cases last January, according to state-level reporting data. Nearly 146,000 inpatient beds, or one in five across the country, are occupied by those battling the disease. Roughly 30% of ICU beds, or almost 24,000, are occupied by COVID-19 patients. Explore the dashboard here.


While the omicron variant appears to cause less severe illness, a number of hospitals have said emergency departments are overwhelmed with mild to moderate cases and people seeking tests, coupled with growing staff shortages. 


The current daily average for new cases in the US is close to 750,000 (see data)—a figure that includes a record 1.5 million positive tests reported Monday. The country is averaging around 1,600 COVID-19 deaths each day, up by roughly one-third over the past week.


In related news, Pfizer announced it would produce 100 million doses of an omicron variant-specific vaccine by March. Read why mRNA vaccines are easily adapted to different strains.

Filibuster Showdown

President Joe Biden in Atlanta yesterday endorsed Senate Democrats’ push to modify filibuster rules as part of their effort to pass voting rights legislation. The bills (details here) face steep challenges in the evenly divided Senate. 


The final passage of Senate legislation typically hinges on a simple majority vote. Before a final vote, the chamber's current rules dictate 60 votes are required to invoke cloture and break a filibuster (see 101)—a threshold which itself can be modified by a simple majority vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has threatened to hold a vote by Monday on modifying filibuster rules, such as reducing the number of votes needed for debate or exempting voting rights from the filibuster.


Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have publicly supported the 60-vote threshold in the past. Republicans argue such modifications impinge on the rights of whichever party is the minority. 

Oxford High Lawsuit

School administrators allegedly knew of and failed to intervene following a series of incidents involving a student who opened fire on classmates at Michigan's Oxford High School, according to new legal claims.


Four people were killed and seven others injured during the Nov. 30 attack carried out by 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley. Among other behavior, Crumbley is said to have brought a severed and jarred bird's head to school, carried bullets to class, drew a handgun on homework with the phrase "help me," and more. The $100M lawsuit, one of two brought against the school district, alleges staff not only failed to recognize and prevent the potential danger but increased the risk of attack. 


Crumbley faces 24 charges, including terrorism and four counts of murder; his parents were charged with involuntary manslaughter. 


See victim profiles here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Academy Awards (March 27, ABC) to have host for first time since 2018 (More) | Betty White's death caused by a stroke suffered six days before her passing (More)


> Australian Border Force investigating if Novak Djokovic made a false claim in his travel declaration (More) | New York Yankees hire Rachel Balkovec as first female manager of an affiliated minor league team (More)


> Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (June 16-19) returns after last two years canceled; full concert lineup unveiled, headlined by J. Cole, Tool, and Stevie Nicks (More)

Science & Technology

> Scientists demonstrate ability to switch on ultraviolet iridescence in butterfly wings; study sheds light on how specific genes evolve to create distinct species (More)


> Oceanic heat content sets record for sixth straight year, is the highest since measurements began in the 1950s (More) | Why is ocean temperature important? (More)


> Study shows pyroptosis, where cell death is caused by excess inflammation, can be halted and controlled; study may lead to new methods to treat out-of-control inflammatory responses (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with reAlpha

> US stock markets up (S&P 500 +0.9%, Dow +0.5%, Nasdaq +1.4%); in congressional nomination hearing, Chairman Jerome Powell states Federal Reserve is preparing for interest rate increases as the US economy no longer requires emergency support (More)


> Citadel Securities—electronic stock trading firm majority owned by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin—sells 5% stake to venture capital firm Sequoia and cryptocurrency investing firm Paradigm, valuing company at $22B (More)


> Federal judge rules Federal Trade Commission's antitrust case against Meta (Facebook) can proceed (More)

From our partners: Short-term rentals (like Airbnb) can show 70% higher revenue than long-term rentals. And reAlpha is on a mission to make this lucrative asset class available to everyone through AI and fractional ownership. Learn more about reAlpha's investment offering and how it's taking on this $1.2 trillion industry.

Politics & World Affairs

> World Economic Forum releases annual Global Risk Report, highlighting space-based conflict, cyberattacks, and differences in post-pandemic economic growth in rich and poor countries (More) | See full report (More)


> Justice Department to create office focused on domestic terrorism, according to congressional testimony from top national security official Matthew Olsen (More)


> Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, fire officials conclude Jan. 5 blaze that killed 12 people, including nine children, was started after a child playing with a lighter ignited a Christmas tree (More)



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The 100 best jobs for 2022.


America's fastest (and slowest) growing cities.


Charitable giving in the US rebounds from the pandemic.


Maya Angelou becomes first Black woman featured on a US quarter.


Magwa, the landmine-sniffing hero rat, passes away.


Hungry badger unearths Roman coins.


A very Scottish photo.


Turkmenistan wants to close the Gates of Hell.


Clickbait: Goldfish learn to drive.


Historybook: Author Jack London born (1876); Boxer Joe Frazier born (1944); HBD Howard Stern (1954); RIP mystery novelist Agatha Christie (1976); Earthquake in Haiti kills more than 100,000 (2010).


"We never know the whole man, though sometimes, in quick flashes, we know the true man."

- Agatha Christie

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