2.28.2023

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Feb. 28, and we're covering Supreme Court challenges to student loan forgiveness, the Windy City's mayoral election, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Biden Student Loans Plan

The Supreme Court will hear arguments today on two challenges to the Biden administration's student loan forgiveness plan. The challenges involve a lawsuit brought by six states and a separate lawsuit by two students with student loan debt who wouldn’t benefit from all the provisions. See the players here.

 

The initial plan canceled up to $10K in federal student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125K or households earning less than $250K, with an additional $10K for Pell Grant recipients (see details), at an estimated cost of $400B over the next 30 years. The 6-3 conservative-led court will decide first if the plaintiffs have standing, or the right to sue. Next, they will decide if the government exceeded its authority and circumvented Congress in using the 2003 HEROES Act to justify the program.

 

More than 40 million borrowers are eligible for some debt forgiveness, and 53% of borrowers owe less than $20K.

 

Chicago Mayor's Race

Chicagoans vote for their next mayor today from a field of nine candidates, including incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), who won every ward in the city on the final ballot in 2019 but isn't leading most polls this year. Increased crime and feuds with labor unions are among issues observers say have diminished her popularity. If Lightfoot loses, it would be the first time an incumbent Chicago mayor fails to win reelection in three decades. 

 

Lightfoot, who became the city's first Black female and openly gay mayor, faces three other top contenders—Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson (D), Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García (D, IL-4), and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas (D) (see poll data). Candidates need to secure more than 50% of the votes to win; otherwise, the top two candidates will advance to an April 4 runoff, which observers expect to be the case. See the candidates and their stances on key issues here

 

Over 200,000 people have voted early, a record that is more than double from 2019 municipal elections. 

 

Disney Loses Special Status

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill yesterday formally rescinding The Walt Disney Company's private control over a 39-square-mile district outside Orlando where it operates its theme parks. The move finalizes a yearlong process seeking to end Disney's 56-year special status in the state.

 

In 1967, the area was designated by Florida lawmakers as the Reedy Creek Improvement District (see history). The Reedy Creek Act gave Disney nearly complete control over taxation, codes, and services, and was supervised by a five-member board appointed by the company. 

 

The new bill would not abolish the district as was proposed in April (see previous write-up), but instead hand over power in the district to the governor, effective June 1. Keeping the district intact was partly designed to avoid saddling the state and adjacent Orange and Osceola counties with Disney's nearly $1B in municipal debt. See other substantive changes to the district here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> FC Barcelona's Alexia Putellas and Paris St-Germain star Lionel Messi win FIFA Best Awards for top female and male soccer players (More) | NFL Scouting Combine begins today in Indianapolis (More)

> Three "Rust" crew members sue Alec Baldwin and other film producers, alleging anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (More) | Burny Mattinson, iconic Disney animator and director, dies at 87 (More)

Ian Fleming's "James Bond" books edited to remove a number of racial references ahead of the 70th anniversary republishing in April (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Snapchat to debut chatbot powered by OpenAI's ChatGPT, the latest large technology company to incorporate the AI-powered conversational tool (More) | ChatGPT explained (More)

> Researchers identify cellular-level changes in the brain's reward processing circuitry disrupted by early childhood stress; study may lead to therapies for certain mental disorders (More)

> Engineers develop augmented reality headset that allows wearer to see "hidden" items using wireless tagging; application has immediate use in warehouse environments, where many items are boxed or out of the field of view (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with Graze

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.3%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.6%), but on pace for a losing February (More)

> Zoom shares up over 7% in after-hours trading after beating Q4 expectations (More)

> Dish shares fall 8% after satellite TV provider experiences multiday outage from cyberattack (More)

From our partners: Robot-turned-commercial-lawnmower disrupting a $129B market. Built by an experienced team with deep industry and robotics expertise, Graze is creating a fully autonomous, renewable energy-powered lawnmower. With preorders totaling an estimated $32M in potential revenue, they're helping golf courses, airports, parks, municipalities and more cut down on fuel and labor costs. See how Graze is helping increase businesses' margins and learn more about their investment opportunity today.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen makes surprise trip to Ukraine, announces transfer of $1.25B in budget assistance—the first of $10B the US has pledged to provide Ukraine (More) | UN head says Russia's invasion of Ukraine points to "massive" human rights violation (More) | See war updates (More)

> Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D, MI-7) announces run for US Senate seat in Michigan to replace retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) (More) | Top congressional leaders, known as the Gang of Eight, to receive briefing today on mishandling of classified documents (More)

> Britain and the EU strike deal, known as the Windsor Framework, to ease post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland (More) | Betty Boothroyd, the first and only female speaker of the UK House of Commons to date, dies at 93 (More)

 

In-Depth

> The Coldest Case in Laramie 

Serial | Kim Barker. (Podcast) The next tale from the popular Serial podcast team explores a cold case in Laramie, Wyoming, and asks—What happens when a true crime podcast raises more questions than it answers? (Website | Apple | Spotify

 

> Running With Dogs

Runner's World | Caleb Daniloff. A father’s journey with his daughter’s addiction to heroin and fentanyl, and how running with her 30-pound mutt helped him cope. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

⭐ 1440 List: Thirteen notorious American fraudsters.

 

Spectacular aurora brightens the UK sky (w/photos).

 

Americans are more active now than before the pandemic.

 

Mapping the most popular streaming services by country.

 

How much space would we need to store the world's used plastics

 

Scientist invents a cure for hiccups

 

Motorola unveils a rollable phone concept.

 

ChatGPT dreams up emotions it may feel in the future.

 

Clickbait: Mexico's president posts photo of what he claims is an elf.

 

Historybook: Coaching legend Dean Smith born (1931); Record 106 million people watch series finale of "M*A*S*H" (1983); Gulf War ends (1991); Basketball star Luka Dončić born (1999); Actress Jane Russell dies (2011).

"If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you'll die a lot of times."

- Dean Smith

Why 1440? The printing press was invented around the year 1440, spreading knowledge to the masses and changing the course of history. More facts: In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. We’re here to make each one count.

 

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