10.20.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Friday, Oct. 20, and we're covering an impasse in the US House, the ongoing auto strike, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Jordan Pauses, Unpauses

Rep. Jim Jordan (R, OH-4) said yesterday he would seek a third vote for the House speakership, a decision that came hours after he said he would pause—but not abandon—his bid. The reversal reportedly comes after a number of GOP lawmakers rejected a plan to grant temporary powers to Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10) while Jordan shored up support. 

 

McHenry, currently in his 10th term in Congress, has signaled he has no interest in the position permanently. A plan to expand his powers, should it come to a floor vote, may require support from Democrats, given existing opposition from a bloc of GOP members. It is unclear when a third vote for Jordan may be scheduled. Republicans have a slim 221-212 majority—any vote, assuming no Democratic support—can only afford to lose four GOP votes. 

 

The current impasse began Oct. 3, when former speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) was ousted, followed by Rep. Steve Scalise (R, LA-1) failing to secure support. The longest the House has gone without a permanent speaker was in 1856 when Rep. Nathaniel Banks was elected after 133 ballots

 

Ground Invasion (Still) Looms

Israeli defense officials told troops yesterday to prepare for an imminent ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, the latest in a string of signals suggesting Israel intends to conduct a major operation to root out Hamas militants from the territory. The comments—roughly two weeks after Hamas launched a surprise attack in southern Israel, killing at least 1,400 civilians (see previous write-up)—come as other officials have suggested a more strategic operation. 

 

Separately, reports suggest the US will redirect some of its stockpile of 155 mm artillery shells (typically used in towed field guns, like howitzers) designated for Ukraine to Israel. The stockpiles themselves are US-owned but stored in Israel for emergency use. 

 

In related news, more than 300 people were arrested yesterday after holding a protest in the Cannon Building, home to House lawmakers next to the US Capitol. The crowd was demonstrating for a cease-fire by both sides. 

 

More than 4,200 people have been killed in total over the past two weeks of fighting. See updates on the war here.

 

Auto Strike Continues

Ford Motor Co. announced additional layoffs yesterday of 150 workers, bringing the total number of affected Ford employees to over 2,730, as the United Auto Workers' strike enters its sixth week. The strike began Sept. 15 and involves approximately 34,000 union members from the Big Three: Ford, General Motors Co., and Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler), impacting facilities across 22 states.

 

Last week, the strike expanded to the Kentucky Truck Plant, the largest and most profitable Ford facility, generating $25B per year, with 8,700 union members joining the picket lines and posing a daily profit loss of around $30M. The union is pursuing various demands, including double-digit wage increases, the restoration of pension plans, and more. See an explainer on the strike here.

 

The strike's effects continue to ripple through the auto industry, jeopardizing smaller suppliers and disrupting industry operations. In addition to the autoworkers on strike, the Big Three is said to have laid off more than 6,000 workers.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> George Clooney, Ben Affleck, and Tyler Perry lead group of stars pitching $150M proposal to end actors strike, which is nearing 100 days (More)

> Arraignment for suspect in rapper Tupac Shakur's murder delayed two weeks for second time (More) | Burt Young, Oscar-nominated actor best known for "Rocky" franchise, dies at 83 (More)

> Arizona Diamondbacks edge Philadelphia Phillies 2-1 to win Game 3 of the NL Championship Series; Phillies lead series 2-1 (More) | See latest MLB postseason bracket and schedule (More)

 

Science & Technology

> STAT announces its 2023 class of "wunderkinds," honoring the top young researchers in the medical and biological sciences (More)

> Meta (Facebook) reveals AI platform capable of interpreting and reconstructing images based on brain signals recorded via MRI scans (More)

> Amazon begins offering free drone delivery for prescription medications; pilot program rolled out in College Station, Texas, aims for delivery within 60 minutes of ordering (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with Mode Mobile

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -0.9%, Dow -0.8%, Nasdaq -0.9%) after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signals Fed will extend pause on interest rate hikes (More)

> Finnish telecom giant Nokia announces it plans to cut up to 14,000 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce, as part of cost-reduction measures (More)

> US home sales fall to 13-year low in September, down 2% from August and 15.4% from a year ago; median home price of $394,300 is up 2.8% from a year ago, the highest ever for any September on record (More

From our partners: First disruption to $martphones in 15 years. This week our eyes are on Mode Mobile’s Pre-IPO Offering. Mode saw 150x revenue growth from 2019 to 2022, a leap that’s made them one of America’s fastest-growing companies. "EarnPhone," a budget smartphone, has helped consumers earn & save $150M+, while attracting 12,897 shareholders who participated in previously sold-out allocations. Today is the final day to claim an exclusive 80% bonus: $0.16/share.*

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Former Trump adviser Sidney Powell pleads guilty to reduced charges in Georgia election interference case, faces six years of probation and is required to provide a written apology to Georgia residents (More)

> Hurricane Norma strengthens into Category 4 storm, expected to reach Baja California over the weekend (More)

> Department of Justice reaches $9M settlement with Ameris Bank over allegations it violated fair lending laws in Florida, intentionally avoiding underwriting mortgages for minority applicants (More)

 

In-Depth

> Divisions of Labor

Knowable | Tim Vernimmen. Dividing up tasks among individuals, whether humans or harvester ants, leads to more effective communities. Animal researchers want to know what gives rise to the phenomenon. (Read)

 

> The Wedding Scammer

Ringer | Justin Sayles. (Podcast) The first episode in a seven-part docuseries tells the story of a band of aggrieved victims of one prolific financial scammer who collaborate to take him down. (Listen)

> Inside Operation Warp Speed

Vanity Fair | Joe Nocera, Bethany McLean. An excerpt from a new book detailing how government and business leaders came together in 2020 to manufacture a coronavirus vaccine in record time. (Read)

 

> The Picasso of Counterfeit Money

Insider | Staff. Jeff Turner explains how he faked over $1M in counterfeit $100 bills with such a high quality that federal agents called them the best they'd seen in a quarter century. (Watch)

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Etcetera
 

Mapping the world's boogeymen.

 

A rat's eye tops the year's best small world photos.

 

Answers to five fundamental questions of life.

 

Americans' confidence in media returns to a record low.

 

This dress switches design on command. (via YouTube)

 

Mathematician solves Möbius strip mystery.

 

Send your AI assistant to attend work meetings.

 

Frosty the white orca spotted off the California coast.

 

Clickbait: A record-breaking purr

 

Historybook: Baseball great Mickey Mantle born (1931); Congress investigates "Reds" in Hollywood (1947); Tom Petty born (1950); Vice President Kamala Harris born (1964); President Herbert Hoover dies (1964); Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi killed (2011).

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