11.19.2021

Social Spending Vote, Peng Shuai, and When Kids Name Snowplows Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, Nov. 19, and we're covering the Build Back Better Plan, a historic purchase, and much more in today's digest. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Social Spending Vote

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Biden administration's sweeping social spending package today, ending months of intraparty haggling in the chamber. A vote was delayed last night following a marathon speech from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-23) the stretched into the early hours of the morning. 

 

The bill contains an expansive set of family- and climate-related provisions (see details). Top line items include $390B to establish universal pre-K programs and lower child care costs, $195B for paid family and medical leave for workers, and $130B to extend the Child Tax Credit for one year. More than $550B will go toward climate resilience and infrastructure spending, primarily through tax cuts.

 

The Congressional Budget Office released projections yesterday estimating the bill would increase the deficit by $367B over 10 years. If passed, the proposal will head to the Senate, where it remains unclear whether Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) will support the bill.

ConstitutionDAO Falls Short

A cryptocurrency group fell short in its bid to purchase the only known private copy of an original printing of the US Constitution at a Sotheby's auction last night, with the winning bid coming in at $43.2M. Collectively known as ConstitutionDAO, the group had secured more than the equivalent of $47M ahead of the auction, pooling funds from thousands of individual contributors, but believed they would not have enough funds to properly insure and transport the document with a higher bid.  

 

One of the newest phenomena leveraging blockchain technology, decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs (see 101), allow individuals to pool funds in exchange for ownership of an asset, help in governance or making decisions, or other benefits. 

 

Thirteen copies of the Constitution are known to have survived from an initial print run of 500 in 1787. The copy in question was most recently owned by the widow of a New York developer—the new owner has not been publicly revealed. 

Where is Peng Shuai?

Speculation around the safety and whereabouts of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai deepened yesterday after an email attributed to her was released via the country's state-run media. Critics question why the email, addressed to Woman's Tennis Association chief Steve Simon, was not sent directly to the organization. It was also noted that a typing cursor is visible in the provided screen shot (see here), suggesting active editing.

 

Peng, once the world's No. 1 doubles player, has not been heard from since accusing former senior Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault. The first such public accusation against a senior Communist Party official, the allegations were viewed as the biggest revelation of a burgeoning #MeToo movement in the country. The comments were later scrubbed from Peng's social media accounts. 

 

The purported email from Peng claims she is relaxing at her home and that the sexual assault allegations she had previously made are untrue. 

Elon Musk apparently can't find objective news—help point him toward us.

In partnership with The Motley Fool

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The Gardner brothers founded The Motley Fool back in 1993, and searched far and wide with their independent teams to release their most promising stock picks. But every once in a while, they like a stock so much that they recommend it again. Which brings us back to Netflix. Back in 2007, The Motley Fool recommended the little-known DVD-subscription site for a second time, and returns have been a whopping 22,875%. In fact, their teams have only arrived at the same pick 95 times in the entire history of The Motley Fool, with average returns of 641%.

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Returns as of 11/11/21

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Los Angeles Angels pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani wins American League MVP in unanimous vote; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper wins his second National League MVP award (More) | Cleveland Indians officially switch name to the Guardians; team had used Indians moniker for more than a century (More)

 

> Dave Frishberg, jazz pianist and songwriter known for "Schoolhouse Rock!" song "I'm Just a Bill," dies at 88 (More)

 

> NBCUniversal signs six-year, $2.5B deal to retain rights to broadcast English Premier League matches; all 380 games to be aired on NBC, Peacock, and more (More)

Science & Technology

> Vials labeled as smallpox discovered in a Pennsylvania lab freezer, authorities investigating; the virus was eradicated in 1980 following a large-scale vaccination campaign (More)

 

> Study shows ultracold, superdense groups of atoms lose their ability to scatter light, effectively becoming invisible (More)

 

> Engineers make first in-orbit demonstration of iodine-powered electric propulsion system for spacecraft (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US weekly jobless claims fell to 268,000 last week, the lowest figure since the start of the pandemic, but slightly higher than analyst estimates (More)

 

> Ford and General Motors outline strategic arrangements with semiconductor chipmakers to develop chips amid global shortage (More) | Shares of chipmaker Nvidia up 8%, revenues up 50% year-over-year (More)

 

> Shares of salad chain Sweetgreen up 76% on first day of trading to over $5B valuation after raising $364M in initial public offering (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) commutes the death penalty for Julius Jones hours before execution; advocates for Jones say DNA evidence points to an accomplice who testified against Jones at original trial (More)

 

> Kyle Rittenhouse trial enters day four of jury deliberations; MSNBC banned from courtroom after reporter accused of following the jurors' bus (More) | Defense in the trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery rests, closing arguments set for Monday; shooter testifies Arbery did not threaten him before he raised his gun (More)

 

> Amazon deforestation jumps more than 20% year-over-year; hits a 15 year high as measured by acreage (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

Under Netflix's Hood

Verge | Catie Keck. While Netflix holds one of the most robust content lineups among streaming providers, its rise to the top is built on a relatively unknown foundation—its Open Connect server network. (Read)

'This Experience Broke a Lot of People'

Politico | Natasha Korecki, Nahal Toosi. Inside the State Department during the final chaotic days of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. (Read)

The Rise and Fall of Randonauting

Wired UK | Amelia Tait. The popularity of an app that led users to random coordinates to explore the surroundings exploded in popularity during the pandemic. (Read)

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

 

In partnership with The Motley Fool

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ETCETERA

 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get its own three-digit number (988).

 

The longest partial lunar eclipse since ... 1440.

 

America's 40 best new restaurants.

 

Crab migration shuts down roads in Australia.

 

When children name snowplows.

 

Gymnast nails a 19-foot backflip between bars (w/video).

 

Tiger kings are nothing new.

 

Millionaire German shepherd looks to sell former Madonna estate.

 

Clickbait: Wyclef Jean drops a CEO on his face.

 

Historybook: President James Garfield born (1831); President Abraham Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address (1863); Indira Gandhi, first and only female prime minister of India born (1917); President Ronald Reagan meets Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for first time (1985); Charles Manson dies while in prison (2017).

 

"Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm."

- Abraham Lincoln

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