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Kamala Harris: The RNC "is designed for one purpose — to soothe Donald Trump's ego"

Sen. Kamala Harris excoriated President Trump in a speech pre-butting the final night of the GOP convention, accusing him and his Republican allies of ignoring "the reality" of an America facing crises of racial injustice, public health and economic despair.

Why it matters: Harris said throughout her presidential run — and again during her Democratic National Convention speech — that her goal is to "prosecute" the case against the Trump presidency. She made that case on Thursday by relentlessly attacking Trump and the Republicans for spending little time during their convention on the coronavirus pandemic.


What she's saying: "Unlike the Democratic convention, which was very clear-eyed about the challenges we are facing and how we will tackle them, the Republican convention is designed for one purpose: To soothe Donald Trump's ego," Harris said.

  • "We know the truth: Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a president of the United States. He failed to protect the American people. Plain and simple."
  • "Here's what you have to understand about the nature of a pandemic, it's relentless. You can't stop it with a tweet. You can't create a distraction and hope it will go away. It doesn't go away."
  • "By its nature, a pandemic is unforgiving. If you get it wrong at the beginning, the consequences are catastrophic. It's very hard to catch up. You don't get a second chance at getting it right. Well, President Trump, he got it wrong from the beginning and then he got it wrong again and again."

The bottom line: "Donald Trump stood idly by and, folks, it was a deadly decision," Harris said. "Instead of rising to meet the most difficult moment of his presidency, Donald Trump froze. He was scared and he was petty and vindictive."

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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