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McConnell at RNC: "We are the firewall against Nancy Pelosi’s agenda"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stuck to the basics in his endorsement of President Trump at the Republican National Convention on Thursday, casting the Democratic Party as too focused on elites and dismissive of "middle America" and "flyover country."

Why it matters: The Senate is "the firewall" against the Democratic agenda if Trump is defeated in November, McConnell stressed as he called on voters to "support Republican Senate candidates across the country." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has referred to the GOP-controlled Senate as McConnell's legislative "graveyard."


What he's saying: "They want to defund the police and take away your Second Amendment rights. They want free health care for illegal immigrants, yet they offer no protection at all for unborn Americans. They want to pack the Supreme Court with liberals intent on eroding our constitutional rights."

  • “Today’s Democrat party doesn’t want to improve life for middle America. They prefer that all of us in flyover country keep quiet and let them decide how we should live our lives. They want to tell you when you can go to work. When your kids can go to school. They want to tax your job out of existence, and then send you a government check for unemployment."
  • “They want to tell you what kind of car you can drive. What sources of information are credible. And even how many hamburgers you can eat."
  • “I am immensely proud of the work the Republican Senate has done. We are the firewall against Nancy Pelosi’s agenda. Like President Trump, we won’t be bullied by a liberal media intent on destroying America’s institutions. ... The stakes have never been higher.

Reality check: Joe Biden has repeatedly said that he does not support defunding police, a policy that many progressives have promoted. He said in an interview with activist Ady Barkan that he "absolutely" supports redirecting some funding to address mental health issues or prison reform.

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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