7.21.2022

Electoral Count Act, Housing Costs, and America's Best Boardwalks Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Thursday, July 21, and we're covering an effort to reform presidential election procedures, record house prices, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Sunak Versus Truss

Rishi Sunak, the UK's former chief financial minister, will face off against Liz Truss, foreign secretary, in the final round of voting to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister. Penny Mordaunt, a long shot candidate whose campaign had gained steam, was eliminated from the race yesterday after receiving the fewest votes in the fifth round of voting.

 

The pair will battle it out over the month of August to gain support from the estimated 200,000 dues-paying Conservative Party members—or about 0.3% of the population—eligible to participate in the vote. Truss is considered the current favorite to win, despite Sunak receiving 137 votes to her 113 votes yesterday. See a rundown on the candidates here.

 

The winner will inherit the country's current economic problems, including record-high inflation, energy prices, and more. Among other policy differences, Truss has promised immediate tax cuts while Sunak is resistant to lower taxes until inflation is under control.

 

Separately, Johnson ended his final parliamentary session as prime minister by quoting the Terminator.

Electoral Count Act Reform

A bipartisan group of 16 senators reportedly reached an agreement yesterday, reforming a century-old statute governing the certification of presidential elections.

 

Led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the bill clarifies the 1887 Electoral Count Act—the law at the center of an effort to convince then-Vice President Mike Pence to decline to certify the 2020 election results last Jan. 6. Changes include defining the role of the vice president as purely symbolic, raising the threshold needed to object to results from each state, and barring states from declaring a "failed election" to override the popular vote.

 

Nine Republicans have signed on to the bill, with 60 votes in the evenly divided chamber needed to break a potential filibuster. See the history of the original act here.

 

In related news, the House Jan. 6 Committee is scheduled to hold its next—and last currently scheduled—hearing tonight at 8 pm ET (livestream here).

US Housing Sales

Sales of previously owned homes declined for the fifth straight month in June amid rising mortgage rates and record-breaking selling prices, according to data released yesterday.

 

The median sale price of a previously owned home rose to a record $416K in June, up 13.4% year-over-year. Home sales fell 5.4% in June from a month ago and 14.2% from a year ago—the slowest annual pace since January 2019, excluding pandemic-related slowdowns. Still, homes that were bought sold quickly, with properties remaining on the market for 14 days in June, the shortest time period since 2011. See charts breaking down data here.

 

Economists say the housing market—a key driver of economic growth (see 101)—shows signs of a slowing economy, raising the risk of a recession as the Federal Reserve increases interest rates to tame annual inflation not seen since the 1980s.

 

See the growth in US home prices by state here.

In partnership with The Motley Fool

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> San Diego Comic-Con returns in person for first time since 2019; see schedule and some of the most-anticipated panels (More)

 

> Hollywood Black Film Festival founder Tanya Kersey dies at 61 (More) | Rebecca Balding, actress known for roles in "Charmed" and "Soap," dies at 73 (More) | Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Charles Johnson dies at 50 (More)

 

> Swimmer Katie Ledecky, baseball star Shohei Ohtani win best female and male athletes at Steph Curry-hosted 2022 ESPY Awards; see full list of winners (More)

Science & Technology

In partnership with Dirty Labs

> Paleontologists discover ancient "fishapod" that returned to open aquatic environments instead of continuing on land; findings shed light on the evolution of transitional water-to-land species nearly 375 million years ago (More)

 

> Security flaws in popular Chinese-made GPS system allow hackers to remotely track and turn off the engine of at least 1 million vehicles around the world, report says (More)

 

> Researchers pinpoint the molecular signal in the brain responsible for assigning positive or negative emotions to memories (More)

From our partners: The startup cleaning up laundry detergent. Did you know Americans wash 40 billion loads of laundry each year? Most of these loads are washed with petrochemicals, including forever chemicals recently found in drinking water in New York and Arizona. Dirty Labs’ team of chemists and environmentalists is on a mission to make petroleum-based cleaning obsolete by using advanced bio-based, biorenewable ingredients to deliver on par or better cleaning performance without all the toxic chemicals. Ready to clean up your laundry? Today, 1440 readers get 20% off your first order with code 1440PERKS.

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq 1.6%) as tech stocks rally (More)

 

> Tesla reports quarterly profit decline amid Chinese factory shutdown but beats expectations, quarterly revenues of $16.9B are down from $18.8B in the first quarter but up 42% over last year; company sold 75% of Bitcoin holdings (More)

 

> United Airlines posts first quarterly profit since before the pandemic but plans to reduce flight growth; shares fall over 5% in after-hours trading (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> President Joe Biden announces a series of executive orders aimed at addressing climate change (More) | More than 100 million Americans under heat warnings as triple-digit temperatures stretch from the Southern Plains to the Northeast (More)

 

> Russia reportedly to turn back on its Nord Stream 1 natural gas pipeline to Europe at reduced capacities today; EU officials accuse Russia, who claimed the line was down for maintenance, of weaponizing energy supplies (More) | See updates on Russia's war in Ukraine here (More)

 

> Sri Lankan parliament elects new president amid economic and political crisis (More) | Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi resigns after former allies boycott confidence vote (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

Dark Sky

BBC Future | Frankie Adkins. Stargazers across the world are racing to protect areas with low light pollution. (Read)

Consider the Hoatzin

New Yorker | Ben Crair. One unusual bird has forced biologists to question evolution's fundamental character. (Read, paywall)

WORDS TO INVEST BY

 

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ETCETERA

 

The best boardwalks in America.

 

... and the US states where you pay the most in taxes.

 

Blue Angels name first female demonstration pilot

 

Take a peek inside one of DC's narrowest homes.

 

Explore an underwater archeological park at an ancient port.

 

Watch animals cool off from the UK heat wave.

 

NASCAR street racing is coming to Chicago.

 

For Gen Z, TikTok is the new Google Search.

 

Clickbait: When you accidentally order too much pizza. (via Twitter)

 

Historybook: Author Ernest Hemingway born (1899); Actor and comedian Robin Williams born (1951); HBD soccer great Brandi Chastain (1968); Jay Silverheels becomes first Native American to have a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (1979); NASA’s Space Shuttle program ends (2011).

 

"There’s no shame in failing. The only shame is not giving things your best shot."

- Robin Williams

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