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The climate stakes of the Supreme Court fight

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death and the battle over her vacant Supreme Court seat have real implications for energy and climate policy.

Why it matters: If President Trump replaces her, the court will likely become more skeptical of regulations that claim expansive federal power to regulate carbon under existing law, and perhaps new climate statutes as well.

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The tech war between the U.S. and China escalates

Economic tension between the U.S. and China continues to escalate but is shifting in focus — away from the tit-for-tat trade war and toward a more direct confrontation over the future of technology at the heart of the conflict between the world's two largest economies.

Why it matters: The battle between the U.S. and China was always about tech supremacy and the direct confrontation could result in an accelerated splintering of global supply chains and a significant reduction of international commerce.

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CDC updates guidance to say coronavirus can be spread through the air

The CDC updated its guidance on Friday to acknowledge that the coronavirus can be transmitted through the air at distances farther than six feet and through"droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols" like coughs or sneezes.

Why it matters: The update — which was little noticed until a CNN story was published Sunday — comes months after scientists pushed for the agency to acknowledge the disease was transmissible through the air. The CDC previously said that close person-to-person contact was the bigger concern.

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Top Mueller prosecutor: "We could have done more"

Andrew Weissmann, one of former special counsel Robert Mueller's top prosecutors, says in his new book, "Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation," that the probe "could have done more" to take on President Trump, per The Atlantic.

Why it matters ... Weissmann argues that the investigation's report didn't go far enough in making a determination regarding Trump's potential obstruction of justice: "When there is insufficient proof of a crime, in volume one, we say it. But when there is sufficient proof, with obstruction, we don’t say it. Who is going to be fooled by that? It’s so obvious."

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Trump's next moves in Supreme Court fight

President Trump's choices to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg are down to two women, both federal appeals court judges.

The frontrunners are Amy Coney Barrett of Chicago, the early favorite, and Barbara Lagoa, who is viewed as easier to confirm. The Senate confirmed Lagoa 80-15 last year, so many Democrats have already voted for her.

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The TikTok deal's for-show provisions and flimsy foundations

The new deal to rescue TikTok from a threatened U.S. ban — full of provisions aimed at creating the temporary appearance of a presidential win — looks like a sort of Potemkin village agreement.

How it works: Potemkin villages were fake-storefront towns stood up to impress a visiting czar and dignitaries. When the visitors left, the stage set got struck.

  • Similarly, many elements of this plan look hastily erected and easily abandoned once the spotlight moves on.
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More than 3 million Americans have registered to vote on social media this year

An estimated 2.5 million+ Americans have registered to vote on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, Facebook announced Monday. More than 733,000 Americans have registered to vote so far via Snapchat.

Why it matters: The broad reach of social media platforms makes them uniquely effective at engaging voters — especially younger voters who may not know how to register to vote or be civically engaged.

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Wall Street: Recession is over

U.S. economic activity fell more sharply in the second quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history. It's also going to grow more sharply in the third quarter of this year than during any other quarter in history.

  • The recession is over, according to Wall Street, with current forecasts showing sustained economic growth through 2021 and beyond.
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