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The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House Democrats eye big vote on Biden measure...
2 weeks ago
Presented by ExxonMobil Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Wednesday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!Total U.S. coronavirus deaths each morning this week: Monday, 763,092; Tuesday, 764,365; Wednesday, 765,913. The Democratic agenda is piling up ahead of the Thanksgiving break as lawmakers plan to vote on the Build Back Better package in the coming days and President BidenJoe BidenIdaho state House passes worker vaccine compensation bill Biden sends 2016 climate treaty to Senate for ratification Rubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees MORE hits the road to sell his agenda despite potential stumbling blocks. Democratic leaders said on Tuesday that a House vote on a $1.75 trillion social spending package is likely on Thursday or Friday. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) predicted that “most of" the floor debate on the massive bill will occur today. “And then I expect a vote on the Build Back Better final passage at the earliest Thursday and at hopefully the latest on Friday,” Hoyer told reporters (The Hill). The latest timing for potential passage comes despite potential pitfalls in the Senate’s quest to pass the bill — namely, Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSanders vows to oppose defense bill: 'We need to get our priorities right' Energy information chief blames market for high fuel prices Lessons learned from a failed bet on 'Housing First' MORE (D-W.Va.). The West Virginia centrist, aired out more of his concerns on Tuesday, headlined by rising inflation, and signaled that he is not on board with Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBottom line Christie: Trump rhetoric about stolen election led to Jan. 6 attack Senate Republicans call on colleagues to reject government spending bills without border wall funding MORE’s (D-N.Y.) plan to pass the bill by Christmas. “The cost they see every day. And every day they go to fill up is a dollar and a quarter more a gallon,” Manchin said of rising gas prices in his home state. “Three twenty-nine, $3.39. … A gallon of milk is now $4 in many places. It’s taking a toll. And I hear it when I go to the grocery store or if I go to the gas station. They say, ‘Are you as mad as I am?’ and I say, ‘Absolutely’ ” (The Hill). The Hill: Democrats bullish they'll reach finish line this week. Politico: Democrats forge ahead on $1.75 trillion bill over inflation fears. NBC News: Democrats rebrand Build Back Better bill to counter inflation concerns. Meanwhile, Biden will hit the road for the second consecutive day in support of his agenda, appearing in Detroit to talk up the newly-signed bipartisan infrastructure law and its provisions to spend $7.5 billion on electric vehicle charging stations nationally. The event follows his Tuesday appearance in New Hampshire, where Biden argued the new law will boost U.S. competitiveness. He touted that it will allow the U.S. to recapture the global competition while providing funding to repair roads, bridges, ports and airports, among other things. “I truly believe that 50 years from now, when historians write about this moment, I think they’re going to talk about this (as) the beginning of the time where America recaptured the competition of the 21st century. We reasserted ourselves. That’s exactly what we’re going to do, what we can do, what we will do, I promise you.” Biden said at the NH 175 bridge in Woodstock, N.H. The Wall Street Journal: Biden hits road to promote infrastructure law as Democrats debate spending plans. Concentration on domestic issues on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue comes before a frantic post-Thanksgiving stretch for lawmakers. On Tuesday, expected tumult was heightened as Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money — Democrats try to run through the tape Yellen warns US could default soon after Dec. 15 Biden's decision on Fed chair said to be 'imminent' MORE told Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a letter that Congress has until Dec. 15 (rather than an earlier prediction of Dec. 3) to raise the nation’s borrowing authority or risk default. “There are scenarios in which Treasury would be left with insufficient remaining resources to continue to finance the operations of the U.S. government beyond this date,” Yellen wrote. “To ensure the full faith and credit of the United States, it is critical that Congress raise or suspend the debt limit as soon as possible” (The Hill). Alexander Bolton, The Hill: Democrats think GOP will blink in newest debt brawl. Also on the to-do list is the need to send Biden a measure to keep the government operating, with lawmakers debating how long to fund it ahead of a Dec. 3 deadline to prevent a shutdown. As The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes, one option would be to pass a stopgap bill to fund the government through Dec. 17, in an effort to strike a deal on a larger spending agreement. However, GOP appropriators believe there is insufficient time to wrap up agreement on a year-end package, which means a temporary continuing resolution through February or March is more likely. The Hill: Schumer plans to call a vote on a proposed repeal of 2002’s Iraq War-era Authorization for Use of Military Force. “The time for that is now.” Los Angeles Times: Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierHouse to vote Wednesday to censure Gosar, remove him from committees The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Ninth House Dem announces retirement Gosar defends anime Ocasio-Cortez video to GOP MORE (D-Calif.) to retire from Congress. > Censure: The House will vote later today to censure Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarHillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Oversight says 'small lapses' led to hacks House to vote Wednesday to censure Gosar, remove him from committees Gosar defends anime Ocasio-Cortez video to GOP MORE (R-Ariz.) and strip him of his committee assignments for posting an anime video that depicted him violently attacking the president and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Oversight says 'small lapses' led to hacks House to vote Wednesday to censure Gosar, remove him from committees Gosar defends anime Ocasio-Cortez video to GOP MORE (D-N.Y.). According to The Hill’s Cristina Marcos, Gosar would become just the 24th member to be censured by the lower chamber and the first in more than a decade. Gosar (pictured below) currently serves on the House Oversight and Reform Committee alongside Ocasio-Cortez. He is also expected to lose his spot on the House Natural Resources Committee, where he serves as the top Republican on its oversight subcommittee. The Hill: Jarring GOP divisions come back into spotlight. The Hill: Trump allies target Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) over his infrastructure vote. Niall Stanage: The Memo: Democrats may rue pursuit of Stephen Bannon. The Hill: Energy information chief blames market for high fuel prices. A MESSAGE FROM EXXONMOBIL Carbon capture and storage. One way we’re helping reduce emissions.Industry and power generation account for nearly two-thirds of global CO2 emissions. At ExxonMobil, we're collaborating on some of the world's largest carbon capture and storage projects to help reduce industrial emissions at scale.LEADING THE DAYCORONAVIRUS: A surge of COVID-19 infections has begun to sweep through many states this month as families plan holiday gatherings and government experts prepare this week for booster vaccine doses for adults of all ages, health conditions and occupations. U.S. coronavirus cases among children are up 22 percent in the past two weeks, a particularly worrisome sign (ABC7NY). Twenty-one states have seen at least a 10 percent jump in daily cases of coronavirus infections: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin (ABC News). Hospitalizations are rising after weeks of improved statistics. On Tuesday, there were more than 48,000 patients with COVID-19 currently receiving hospital care, up by about 3,000 patients from a week ago. Twelve states and Washington, D.C., have seen an increase of 10 percent or more in hospital admissions over the past week: Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin. As soon as Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration plans to give its blessing for booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for all U.S. adults, a step several states have taken on their own to try to increase immunity as infections rise among communities that remain unvaccinated (The New York Times). Offering second or third doses will increase the number of shots administered to adults by tens of millions at the same time some adults are getting their initial jabs. The Hill: Two-thirds of Americans in a new poll said their Thanksgiving gatherings will resemble pre-pandemic celebrations this year. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciTwo-thirds in new poll say their Thanksgiving gatherings will resemble pre-pandemic ones US daily COVID-19 cases up nearly 27 percent in last three weeks Arkansas opens boosters to all adults MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, repeated that based on available data, he believes booster doses to routinely extend peak immune responses will likely be needed to shift from pandemic to endemic levels of COVID-19 under currently identified variants (Reuters and The New York Times “The Daily” podcast interview). The Boston Globe: Will COVID-19 booster doses soon be approved for all U.S. adults? Yes. > Masks: Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserGreene says she's accumulated K in House mask fines and is not vaccinated DC murder rate at a 16-year high Newly elected Freedom Caucus chair tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D) (seen below), who is running for a third term, surprised many when she announced that the city will lift its indoor mask mandate on Monday (WTOP). Masks will still be necessary when private businesses require them; on public transit and inside transit stations and ride-share vehicles; inside schools, facilities for children and libraries; indoors at facilities such as nursing homes, assisted living developments, shelters, dorms and student residences, and correctional facilities; and indoors at District government buildings in which employees directly interact with members of the public. In the D.C. region, masks are still required indoors in Prince George’s County, Md., while many other jurisdictions, including Virginia’s Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, have recommended but not required masks indoors since the state ended its mandate six months ago. Montgomery County, Md., on Tuesday announced it would reinstate on Saturday the indoor mask mandate it lifted in late October (The Washington Post). > Treating infections: Pfizer on Tuesday requested emergency Food and Drug Administration authorization for the antiviral COVID-19 treatment called Paxlovid, a pill that the company says is highly effective at reducing the risks of hospitalization following confirmed mild to moderate coronavirus infections (The Hill and The Wall Street Journal). The New York Times: The U.S. plans to purchase enough of the Pfizer treatment pills to provide courses of treatment for 10 million people. > Vaccine mandates: Twelve states are now suing to block the federal requirement that health care workers be vaccinated, arguing the edict is unconstitutional (The Hill). … Biden faces an uphill climb as a mandate for vaccination covering all employees of large private companies shifted to a Cincinnati-based federal appeals court on Tuesday (The Associated Press). > Manufacturing vaccines: The administration is preparing to invest billions of dollars to expand U.S. vaccine manufacturing capacity for the future benefit of Americans and poorer nations, with the goal of producing at least one billion doses a year beginning in the second half of 2022, two top Biden advisers said Tuesday. The plan will be announced today (The New York Times). > Dropping the ball: Times Square will reopen this year for a New Year’s Eve celebration (The Hill). “We want to welcome all those hundreds of thousands of folks, but everyone needs to be vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioTimes Square reopening for New Year's Eve celebration Williams launches New York gubernatorial bid New York sanitation workers suspended amid probe into fake vaccine cards MORE (D) said on Tuesday.IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKESADMINISTRATION: A day after concluding a lengthy virtual conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping accompanied later by a carefully worded public statement, Biden sought on Tuesday to clean up earlier remarks about how the two leaders discussed the sensitive issue of Taiwan (The Hill). The U.S. is not endorsing Taiwan’s independence, the president clarified, but was restating what the Taiwan Relations Act requires. “I said they have to decide on Taiwan, not us. We are not encouraging independence. We’re encouraging them to do exactly what the Taiwan Act requires,” he told reporters, an apparent reference to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which authorizes the continuation of commercial, cultural and other relations between the U.S. and Taiwan. Beijing claims Taiwan and Penghu Islands as part of its territory under its constitution. White House spokesman Andrew Bates told reporters that Biden told Xi the United States remains committed to the “One China” policy and is opposed to “unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” China’s tensions with Taiwan over independence have sparked global conjecture about whether the United States would protect Taiwan from any possible military hostilities. “I made it clear all along that we’re going to abide by the rules of the road,” Biden added. “What constitutes international airspace is international airspace, no matter what they say. There’s no air identification zone. Secondly, the law of the seas requires and dictates what constitutes territorial waters. We’re going to stay outside of their territorial waters and we’re not going to be intimidated or change to not go to the South China Sea. And we talked about that and there was no argumentation. It was a matter of fact.” The White House is expected to announce that neither Biden nor any other U.S. government officials will attend the Beijing Olympic Games, which begin Feb. 4, according to a report by journalist and columnist Josh Rogin. Sources said such a diplomatic boycott would be intended to respond to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses without impacting U.S. athletes. The president was cryptic when asked Tuesday about whether there would be an official U.S. government delegation sent to the Beijing games. The Olympics did not come up during Monday’s summit between Biden and Xi, according to the White House. > Justice Department: Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandThe Memo: Democrats may rue pursuit of Bannon Unions sue in bid to represent Connecticut National Guard members Top Senate Democrat calls on attorney general to fire prisons chief MORE is under pressure from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats mull cutting into Thanksgiving break amid pile up Top Senate Democrat calls on attorney general to fire prisons chief Congress barrels toward end-of-year pileup MORE (D-Ill.) to immediately fire the director of the Bureau of Prisons following an Associated Press investigation that disclosed this week that more than 100 Bureau of Prisons workers have been arrested, convicted or sentenced for crimes since the start of 2019, including an indictment for sexual abuse, a murder charge and theft involving drugs and property. Two-thirds of the criminal cases against Justice Department personnel in recent years have involved federal prison workers, who account for less than one-third of the department’s workforce. To date this year, 28 of 41 arrests of department employees involved Bureau of Prisons employees and contractors. ***** POLITICS: Former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden sends 2016 climate treaty to Senate for ratification US, China ease restrictions on journalists Americans keep spending MORE has long been considered the top kingmaker in GOP politics. Don’t tell that to a number of Republican primary candidates in key Senate races who have stayed in their respective contests without a nod to Trump. As The Hill’s Tal Axelrod and Max Greenwood write, states such as Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Alabama feature races where Trump-endorsed candidates have not only been unable to clear the field but are likely to face tough battles to win the GOP nod. In Pennsylvania, Sean Parnell is under fire from all sides over allegations he physically abused his estranged wife. Opponent Jeff Bartos has consistently attacked Parnell for the allegations, with reports that other potential candidates may still jump in the race. In North Carolina, Rep. Ted BuddTheodore (Ted) Paul BuddFormer GOP Rep. Mark Walker fielding calls about dropping NC Senate bid, running for House Senate GOP lines up behind Trump-backed candidates Internal poll shows McCrory with double-digit lead in North Carolina GOP Senate primary MORE (R-N.C.) earned Trump’s backing, but former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) remains a formidable candidate. Finally, Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksMeadows comes under growing Jan. 6 panel spotlight Gosar faces increasing odds of censure on House floor Cheney, Kinzinger signal they'd back Gosar censure MORE (R-Ala.), who won Trump’s endorsement to replace Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Biden hails infrastructure law, talks with China's Xi Senate Republicans call on colleagues to reject government spending bills without border wall funding Congress barrels toward end-of-year pileup MORE (R-Ala.), is deadlocked in recent polls with Katie Britt in Alabama. “Trump’s endorsement is obviously the biggest get that any Republican candidate can have. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. But it isn’t determinative of what’s going to happen. It’s not a ‘Trump endorses, and therefore that’s the nominee,’ ” said Doug Heye, a GOP strategist. “We still run these races for a reason.” Reid Wilson, The Hill: Proposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy. The Hill: Billions at stake in fight over future of California gambling. The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! OPINIONI warned the Democrats about inflation, by Steve Rattner, opinion contributor, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3FuoSZ3 Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonThe Memo: Democrats may rue pursuit of Bannon Justice delayed is public accountability denied The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Biden hails infrastructure law, talks with China's Xi MORE knows exactly what he’s doing, by David Frum, staff writer, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3Cj9VGZ Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCongress barrels toward end-of-year pileup The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden taps Obama official as FDA chief just ahead of deadline The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Appeals court delays Trump document ruling; Biden to meet Xi MORE is facing her toughest election yet. Here’s how she might win, by Henry Olsen, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3qIWCxn A MESSAGE FROM EXXONMOBILWHERE AND WHENThe House meets at 10 a.m. The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. to resume consideration of the nomination of Brian Nelson to be Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes. The president and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden at 12:30 p.m. will travel to Detroit to visit a General Motors electric vehicle assembly plant and speak at 4:45 p.m. about how the new infrastructure law provides funds for electric vehicle charging stations nationwide. Biden will return to the White House tonight. First lady Jill BidenJill BidenRubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Biden hails infrastructure law, talks with China's Xi Overnight Health Care — The race for boosters MORE will speak to the members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes Veteran Employment Advisory Council at 10:45 a.m. She will urge parents and guardians to vaccinate children ages 5 to 11 during a Washington event at 3 p.m. at a pediatric COVID-19 vaccination clinic. She will be joined by Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyOvernight Health Care — The race for boosters Fauci: Vaccinated families can 'feel good' about Thanksgiving gatherings Jill Biden makes pitch to parents for kids' COVID-19 vaccinations MORE, the Washington Mystics’ Alysha Clark and the Washington Wizards’ Thomas Bryant. The White House COVID-19 response team will brief reporters at 11 a.m. The National Book Award winners in five 2021 categories are to be announced in an online event this evening. Finalists (as reported by The New York Times last month) are described here. INVITATION: The Hill’s Virtually Live TODAY at 1 p.m. hosts the “Future of Healthcare Summit: Tackling Costs and Pathways to Care,” featuring Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Emergent Biosolutions — Pfizer seeks authorization for antiviral pill Hillicon Valley — Presented by Ericsson — Oversight says 'small lapses' led to hacks The Memo: Much-criticized Trump policy puts Biden in a vise MORE (R-La.); Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.); Andy Slavitt, a former senior adviser to the White House's COVID-19 response team; and former American Medical Association President Patrice Harris. Information is HERE. Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.ELSEWHERE➔ ECONOMY & FEDERAL RESERVE: Biden on Tuesday told reporters he hopes to make a final decision on nominating a Fed chair candidate “in about four days” (Reuters). ... Retail sales in October ramped up 1.7 percent, thanks to U.S. consumers and their decision to shrug off higher in-store and online prices, according to the Commerce Department. It was the largest seasonally adjusted gain since March and up from 0.8 percent from September (The Associated Press and The Hill). White House national economic adviser Brian DeeseBrian DeeseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Will Biden's big bill pass the House this week? Sunday shows - Biden officials craft inflation message White House economic adviser confident spending package will pass this week MORE embraced the report as progress in recovery following pandemic restrictions and closures: “Sales at restaurants and bars are up more than 29 percent compared to this time last year and more than 9 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels,” he said in a statement. “In addition, retailer stores are benefiting from healthy sales numbers. And this morning, Walmart, the nation’s largest grocery and retail store, reported that it will have enough products to meet consumer demand over the holiday season.” ➔ INTERNATIONAL: Russia on Tuesday denied U.S. accusations that it put astronauts aboard the International Space Station in danger after destroying an aging satellite with a missile in a weapons test that resulted in more than 1,500 pieces of dangerously unmoored pieces of space debris within 40 miles of the space station. Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenRubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees US, China get chance for cool-down with virtual summit US rebukes Cuba over crackdown ahead of protest MORE blasted Moscow, saying, “Despite its claims of opposing the weaponization of outer space, (Russia) is willing to ... imperil the exploration and use of outer space by all nations through its reckless and irresponsible behavior” (The Associated Press). … Security forces in Poland turned water cannons against rock-throwing migrants among thousands of people encamped along the border with Belarus, video footage showed on Tuesday. The immigrants are huddled in crude encampments behind razor wire and armed forces in a long-running attempt to gain entry to the European Union (Reuters). … American journalist Danny Fenster arrived in New York City on Tuesday after being freed from military-ruled Myanmar after nearly six months in jail. Former diplomat Bill Richardson helped negotiate the release of the journalist, who was sentenced last week to 11 years of hard labor on charges of spreading false or inflammatory information while working as managing editor of online magazine Frontier Myanmar (The Associated Press). ➔ TOIL FOR MILES: Southwest Airlines is offering employees up to $1,600 in loyalty program points in exchange for work over the holiday season in a bid to ease the labor shortages that have plagued airlines at time in recent months. In return for working 36 to 40 days between Nov. 15 and Jan. 14, company employees can earn between 60,000 and 120,000 Rapid Rewards points, translating to roughly $700 to $1,600 to be put toward future flights (The Hill).THE CLOSERAnd finally … A young girl who lost a special teddy bear she’d had since being adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage in 2016 thought it was gone forever when she forgot it last year along a trail in Glacier National Park, a 1,583-square-mile wilderness area in Montana's Rocky Mountains. The special toy bear was the first gift Ben and Addie Pascal sent to baby Naomi Pascal before she came to the United States. Her parents and family friends held out hope for months that the stuffed bear might still be found. Thanks to an incredible series of fortuitous events, including a social media plea, the sharp eyes and soft heart of a park ranger, and the closure of a hiking trail because of grizzly bear activity on the same day a family friend visited the park, the adventurous teddy bear is back in the arms of the 6-year-old in Jackson, Wyo. (The Associated Press). Share on Twitter JW Video Type: CutdownPerson: Alexandria Ocasio-CortezMerrick GarlandCharles SchumerBill de BlasioLisa MurkowskiAntony BlinkenRichard ShelbyMuriel BowserJackie SpeierAnthony FauciNancy PelosiDonald TrumpBill CassidyVivek MurthyJanet YellenSteve BannonBrian DeeseSteny HoyerJoe ManchinDick DurbinJill BidenPaul Gosardavid frumMo BrooksJoe BidenTed BuddExcluded from Just In: 0Video comments: Video comments......
Intel Reports Q3 2021 Earnings: Client Down, Data Center and IoT Up...
1 month ago
Kicking off another earnings season, Intel is once again leading the pack of semiconductor companies in reporting their earnings for the most recent quarter. As the company gets ready to go into the holiday quarter, they are coming off what’s largely been a quiet quarter for the chip maker, as Intel didn’t launch any major products in Q3. Instead, Intel’s most recent quarter has been driven by ongoing sales of existing products, with most of Intel’s business segments seeing broad recoveries or other forms of growth in the last year. For the third quarter of 2021, Intel reported $19.2B in revenue, a $900M improvement over the year-ago quarter. Intel’s profitability has also continued to grow – even faster than overall revenues – with Intel booking $6.8B in net income for the quarter, dwarfing Q3’2020’s “mere” $4.3B. Unsurprisingly, that net income growth has been fueled in part by higher gross margins; Intel’s overall gross margin for the quarter was 56%, up nearly 3 percentage points from last year. Intel Q3 2021 Financial Results (GAAP) Q3'2021 Q2'2021 Q3'2020 Revenue $19.2B $19.7B $18.3B Operating Income $5.2B $5.7B $5.1B Net Income $6.8B $5.1B $4.3B Gross Margin 56.0% 53.3% 53.1% Client Computing Group Revenue $9.7B -4% -2% Data Center Group Revenue $6.5B flat +10% Internet of Things Group Revenue $1.0B +2% +54% Mobileye Revenue $326M flat +39% Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group $1.1B flat -4% Programmable Solutions Group $478M -2% +16% Breaking things down by Intel’s individual business groups, most of Intel’s groups have enjoyed significant growth over the year-ago quarter. The only groups not to report gains are Intel’s Client Computing Group (though this is their largest group) and their Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, which Intel is in the process of selling to SK Hynix. Starting with the CCG then, Intel’s core group is unfortunately also the only one struggling to grow right now. With $9.7B in revenue, it’s down just 2% from Q3’2020, but that’s something that stands out when Intel’s other groups are doing so well. Further breaking down the numbers, platform revenue overall is actually up 2% on the year, but non-platform revenue – “adjacencies” as Intel terms them, such as their modem and wireless communications product lines – are down significantly. On the whole this isn’t too surprising since Intel is in the process of winding down its modem business anyhow as part of that sale to Apple, but it’s an extra drag that Intel could do without. The bigger thorn in Intel’s side at the moment, according to the company, is the ongoing chip crunch, which has limited laptop sales. With Intel’s OEM partners unable to source enough components to build as many laptops as they’d like, it has the knock-on effect of reducing their CPU orders, even though Intel itself doesn’t seem to be having production issues. The upshot, at least, is that desktop sales are up significantly versus the year-ago quarter, and that average selling prices (ASPs) for both desktop and notebook chips are up. Meanwhile, Intel’s Data Center Group is enjoying a recovery in enterprise spending, pushing revenues higher. DCG’s revenue grew 10% year-over-year, with both sales volume and ASPs increasing by several percent on the back of their Ice Lake Xeon processors. A bit more surprising here is that Intel believes they could be doing even better if not for the chip crunch; higher margin products like servers are typically not impacted as much by these sorts of shortages, since server makers have the means to pay for priority. Unfortunately, unlike Q2 Intel isn’t providing a quarter-over-quarter (i.e. vs the previous quarter) figures for their earnings presentation. So while overall DCG revenue is flat on a quarterly basis, it sounds like Intel hasn’t really recovered from the hit they took in Q2. Meanwhile, commerntary on Intel's earnings call suggests the sales of the largest (XCC) Ice Lake Xeons has been softer than Intel first expected, which has kept ASP growth down in an otherwise DCG-centric quarter. The third quarter was also kind to Intel’s IoT groups and their Programmable Solutions Group. All three groups are up by double-digit percentages on a YoY basis, particularly the Internet of Things Group (IoTG), which is up 54%. According to Intel, that IOTG growth is largely due to businesses recovering from the pandemic, with a similar story for the Mobileye group thanks to automotive production having ramped back up versus its 2020 lows. Otherwise, Intel’s final group, the Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group, was the other declining group for the quarter. At this point Intel has officially excised the group’s figures from their non-GAAP reporting, and while they’re still required to report those figures in GAAP reports, they aren’t further commenting on a business that will soon no longer be theirs. Finally, tucked inside Intel’s presentation deck is an interesting note: Intel Foundry Services (IFS) has shipped its first revenue wafers. Intel is, of course, betting heavily on IFS becoming a cornerstone of its overall chip-making business in the future as part of its IDM 2.0 strategy, so shipping customers’ chips for revenue is an important first step in that process. Intel has laid out a very aggressive process roadmap leading up to 20A in 2024, and IFS’s success will hinge on whether they can hit those manufacture ring technology targets. For Intel, Q3’2021 was overall a decent quarter for the group – though what’s decent is relative. With the DCG, IOTG, and Mobileye groups all setting revenue records for the quarter (and for IOTG, overall records), Intel continues to grow. On the flip side, however, Intel missed their own revenue projections for the quarter by around $100M, so in that respect they’ve come in below where they intended to be. And judging from the 7% drop in the stock price during after-hours trading, investors are taking note. Looking forward, Intel is going into the all-important Q4 holiday sales period, typically their biggest quarter of the year. At this point the company is projecting that it will book $18.3B in non-GAAP revenue (excluding NSG), which would be a decline of 5% versus Q4’2020. Similarly, the company is expecting gross margins to come back down a bit, forecasting a 53.5% margin for the quarter. On the product front, Q4 will see the launch of the company’s Alder Lake family of processors, though initial CPU launches and their relatively low volumes tend not to move the needle too much. On that note, Intel’s Innovation event is scheduled to take place next week, on the 27th and 28th. The two day event is a successor-of-sorts to Intel’s IDF program, and we should find out more about the Alder Lake architecture and Intel’s specific product plans at that time. Gallery: Intel Q3 2021 Earnings Presentation......
Roland SP-404MKII hands-on: Dragging an iconic sampler into the modern age...
1 month ago
The Boss and Roland line of SP samplers (specifically the SP-303 and SP-404) are some of the most important instruments in hip hop history. Right up there with the MPC and the Technics SL-1200. They’ve been used by the likes of MF Doom, Madlib and J Dilla, and are a favorite among lo-fi hip hop artists everywhere. They’ve also been used by plenty of other musicians like Panda Bear, Four Tet, Oneohtrix Point Never and even Radiohead. But, the original SP-404 was released in 2005. And even though it was succeeded by the 404SX and the 404A, those were extremely minor updates that did things like switch from the aging and slow CF Card format to SD. The new SP-404MKII, though, finally updates the classic sampler for the modern age without sacrificing what made the OG so alluring.Physically, the 404MKII is very similar to past versions of the 404. There are four knobs across the top; a circular window below them, flanked by six effects buttons; and pads on the bottom for triggering samples. The MKII does look better than the A, at least. The 404A was designed to fit in with the rest of Roland’s AIRA line — that means stark black accented with garish red and green. It’s… a look. But not one that everyone (myself included) can get behind. The new version is a much more subdued gray and black, with white and muted orange accents.Terrence O'Brien / EngadgetBeyond pure aesthetics, though, there are some huge upgrades in the MKII. The two most obvious differences are the detailed OLED screen that has replaced the old-school seven-segment LEDs, and the move from a 12-pad layout to a 16-pad one.The screen represents the biggest change to the SP experience. Editing samples on an OG 404 could be painful. The three-digit LEDs gave you only generic start and end points, and because of the high resolution needed to create perfect loops, the range was very small. That would lead to having to crop a sample multiple times to take off all the excess. The OLED on the SP-404MKII is high enough resolution to show the actual waveform as it’s being edited. You can zoom in and out as needed to crop as little or as much as you want. I would go as far as to say that recording and editing samples on the MKII is not only easier, but actually kinda fun.The 16 pads give you access to more samples and patterns to construct your beats out of. Also, the four-by-four grid has become something of a standard. It’s the layout used by Akai on the MPC, on Pioneer’s DJ gear, on the Native Instruments Maschine, Ableton’s Drum Rack and even some of the larger members of the SP family like the 808 and the 606.Terrence O'Brien / EngadgetThere are other more subtle changes as well. For one, those 16 pads on the front are all velocity sensitive, a first for the SP line. That said, it’s almost impossible to get full velocity out of them without just turning on fixed velocity. Some finger drummers especially may prefer to turn fixed velocity on to keep melodic and percussion elements consistently mixed, but it can also leave things sounding a bit robotic and unnatural. Just something to keep in mind.Roland added MIDI out to the back of the SP-404MKII as well. The previous versions had MIDI IN only. Now the 404 can be used to sequence external gear, or even be hooked up to a PC to control your DAW via USB-C. That makes the 16-pad layout even more important, because it’ll map better to whatever you’re connecting it to most likely. Oh. and that USB port can also be used to stream audio to your PC.This also marks the first time that Roland has ditched RCA in favor of ¼-inch jacks for the audio ins and outs on an SP. Now, this is a net positive but there is a down side. Often an SP is being used to sample directly from vinyl and most turntables use RCA. That means there will be an intermediary step to getting loops from a record to the 404. But, it does make it easier to sample directly from an instrument. Synths, drum machines, guitars and basses all generally use ¼-inch plugs. And, since the ins and outs on the MKII are balanced, it should be less susceptible to noise and interference.In addition to the ins and outs around back, there’s a pair of headphone jacks on the front (one ⅛-inch, and one ¼-inch) and a ¼-inch audio input. That jack is switchable from mic to “guitar” or instrument level signals. You can feed audio through the SP-404MKII live so you can use it as a submixer and jam or sing along to your creations. And there are a host of input effects tailored specifically for that application. There’s a pretty decent guitar amp sim that covers everything from clean funk to thrash metal, an auto pitch correction effect, and a vocoder. For the latter, you can connect a MIDI keyboard to play chords and melodies.In general, the MKII offers a lot more in the effects department than past models. In addition to the input effects, there’s a pair of bus effects. You can apply one, both or neither to each pad. Put a compressor on your drums, EQ on your bass and both on your rhodes if you want. And there are a pair of background effects, too.If you dive into the settings you’ll find Bus 3 and 4 where you can apply master effects. In that same menu is where you can also customize the “direct” effects that are assigned to the six buttons around the display. So, for example, if you don’t like or use the resonator, you can swap in the new cassette simulator, which is what I did. (Though the button will continue to be labeled “resonator” no matter what you do.)Terrence O'Brien / EngadgetThe selection of effects is pretty large, too, and it definitely leans into the lo-fi vibe that SP users are generally looking for. In addition to the new cassette simulator (which has a cute, but questionably useful catch feature that simulates the tape getting stuck momentarily), there’s also a lo-fi effect, a bit crusher and the vinyl simulator from both the 303 and the 404. Many SP users swear by the 303 simulator, and I can’t say I blame them. The 404 version is just a bit too extreme and the noise is too constant and frankly kind of annoying even at low levels. The 303 version, however, is amazing.If there’s one complaint I have about the effects, it’s that none of them are really subtle. The filter + drive, for example, is great and one of the many things people make heavy use of on the 404, but the drive is intense. Even on one it makes a huge difference in the sound of a loop. And by 10 it’s already introducing ringing feedback. By 100 it’s just noise. (Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.)One of the things that people really like to use those effects for is resampling beats and even mixing down full tracks to individual pads. (That’s how strong the appeal of the 303 vinyl sim and compressor are.) You can even use the MKII’s new DJ mode to blend between two beats while applying those effects. That said, I haven’t really put this through its paces.Resampling is also incredibly easy. For one, there’s a clearly labeled resample button, which the original 404 had as well, so it was never particularly unintuitive. But there’s also now a Skip Back feature (though, you have to assign the subpad to in the utility menu), which recalls the last 25 seconds of audio performed either on the device or from the inputs and saves it to a pad. This is great for capturing live performance and moments of inadvertent genius.And you can capture those moments anywhere you want basically. While the 404 isn’t exactly the smallest device in the world, it fits in a bag easily enough. And you can still power it with six AA batteries like previous models. And just like the previous versions the SP-404MKII is affordable. In fact, Roland cut the price by $50 so a brand new SP will only set you back $500 when it goes on sale in November.Terrence O'Brien / EngadgetThat makes it a perfectly reasonable purchase for a first-time producer or someone looking to dabble in sampling. The Novation Circuit Rhythm is $100 cheaper, but I think the effects on the SP are better and the screen makes for a much more pleasant chopping experience. Honestly, the screen alone is probably worth the extra hundred bucks.There are even more affordable options like the Elektron Model:Samples, but you can’t actually record and edit samples on that, only play them back. And there are no standalone MPCs in this price range. The $799 MPC One is the cheapest member of the family, but it’s also a lot more complex than all these other devices; it’s closer to a DAW in a box than a sampler.One thing those all have over the SP, though, is a step sequencer. That probably isn’t a huge deal to most people already eyeing a 404. But it’s something to keep in mind if rhythm isn’t your strong suit.Considering that I’ve had it for less than a week and this is my first time using an SP device, I’m hesitant to call this a proper review and slap a score on it. But the SP-404MKII is undeniably fun to use and it’s quickly becoming my favorite entry-level sampler.......
15 years of Google Docs, and where the next 15 might take us...
1 month ago
15 years ago, if you were writing a document, chances are you were doing it in Microsoft Word. Part of the company’s wildly successful Office suite, Word was the de-facto option for drafting text, whether you were an author, an office worker, a student, a teacher… you get the point.But on October 11th, 2006, Google officially launched Google Docs and Spreadsheets in beta. As with everything Google, Docs and Sheets were cloud-based applications that also let you collaborate with others in real time. It’s easy to forget now, but this was completely different from how most people worked on documents at the time.I was in a different career 15 years ago, one that required me to work on lots of spreadsheets and Powerpoint presentations that were accessed in a shared network drive. Submitting them to others for edits and notes was a fraught process. Making sure you had the most current version of the document usually involved six-digit numbers representing the last date it was modified, initials to note who had checked it out, and messy notes added to the end until you landed on something insanely convoluted like “April_Report_051504_NI_final_final_reallyfinal.doc.”15 years later, I’m writing this story in a Google Doc shared with my editors; they can make as many changes as they want to the finished parts of the draft as I keep typing away here and nothing will get lost. Collaborative work is a lot better than it used to be, and Google Docs is a big part of that – but it wasn’t always smooth sailing to get here.Google Docs began as a “hacked together experiment,” its creator Sam Schillace said in an interview with The Verge in 2013. Eight years earlier, he created a tool called Writely, a web-based text editing platform. Google bought the company in March of 2006. According to Schillace, 90 percent of the company was using Writely only a month later. “When we went to Google, Writely was internally adopted very quickly,” he said. Barely seven months after that, Google officially released Docs and Sheets at the Office 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. As with most Google products at the time, it was released in beta for free.TechCrunch / GoogleUnsurprisingly, it wasn’t quite up to par with what Microsoft was offering with Office. The text editor was, comparatively speaking, very simple. But more importantly, Google Docs only worked when you had an active internet connection. While good broadband was fairly common in workplaces and universities, it was far less easy to find when you ventured out into the world. If you wanted to get some work while traveling, say on an airplane, Google Docs was a non-starter.It didn’t take Google long to realize it needed to come up with a way to sync documents to a computer for offline access. In May of 2007, at its first “worldwide developer day,” the company introduced Google Gears. Gears was an open-source project and browser extension for Mac, Windows and Linux that would help web apps work with no internet connection. While the project was meant for any developer to use, using it for Google Docs made perfect sense.Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most stable tool. In late 2009, Google stopped development on Gears in favor of using the capabilities afforded by HTML 5. But even though Google continued supporting applications that used Gears, a technology transition probably didn’t do the company any favors in getting Docs and its broader app suite adopted in businesses and education institutions.Around this time, Google was experimenting with a variety of ways to push collaboration and communication forward — Docs was just one of the success stories. There were failures though, the most high-profile of which was Google Wave — an ambitious combination of instant messaging, email, documents, multimedia and more. It was hyped by the tech press, so much that Google Wave invites were being sold on eBay. But interest dropped off quickly, in large part because it felt like even less of a finished product than most of Google’s “beta” launches.Google / EngadgetGoogle didn’t do a great job explaining exactly what problem this new tool was designed to solve, and the company pulled the plug in 2010, after only a year. But many of the things Google experimented with in Wave ended up living on in other places. Indeed, right around the time Google ended development on Wave, the company added chat to Google Docs, letting people who had the same file open discuss what they were working on right alongside the content itself.Google Docs clearly evolved past its early struggles, though. Google put a somewhat surprising amount of focus on the product over the last decade-plus, incrementally iterating and improving it at a steady pace. That’s the hallmark of products Google seems to really believe in. It’s the same way the company treated Android, Chrome (both the browser and OS), Drive, Photos, and, of course, Search and Gmail.As internet access has become more and more widespread, the fact that Docs (like most of Google’s products) works best online was less of a hindrance. Not having to worry about saving a document took a while to get used to, but it’s something that we take for granted now — if your browser crashes, whatever you were working on should still be there waiting for you in the cloud.Perhaps the biggest endorsement of Google’s cloud-first strategy came in 2010, when Microsoft took its first steps towards bringing Office applications online. For a long time, though, Google’s suite of apps were better-suited to the cloud. For example, you couldn’t have multiple people working on the same Office document until late 2013, something that was built into Google Docs from day one. Apple also followed Google’s lead, bringing its iWork apps online in 2013 and eventually enabling simultaneous collaboration as well.While Office remains dominant in the workplace, it’s fair to say that Google gave Microsoft its first real competition in many years. Google has some giant customers, like Salesforce, Whirlpool, Twitter and Spotify. And Google’s apps, combined with inexpensive Chromebooks and its education platform, have made the company a force in the K-12 space as well as in higher education.As for the next 15 years, it’s all but assured that collaborative and remote working will continue to be hugely important. That was clear before COVID-19, and the last 18 months have basically blown up the notion that everyone needs to go to an office. For a good idea of where collaborative work is going, consider Microsoft’s open-source Fluid framework. First announced in May of 2019, Fluid is meant to remove the barriers between different file formats and make it easy to pull in content from a wide variety of sources. Microsoft described it as a way to share atomized components of data across multiple files — so if you’re updating a spreadsheet in one document, you can link to that content in another file and it’ll automatically reflect those changes.Dropbox hasn’t come up with its own “atomized components” of documents, but its Paper app works in a similar fashion. They’re collaborative like Google Docs, but they support a wide range of content plug-ins, so you can embed YouTube videos, Google Calendar elements, Figma documents, to-do lists, Trello lists, and even entire Google Docs.Microsoft has been deliberate about developing Fluid, taking small steps since its initial release. Earlier this year, the company announced that some Fluid components would work in its communications platform Teams. I think that content moving outside of strict platforms like Google Docs or Microsoft Office into all the other places that we do work is going to be another important step forward.That’s already happened to some degree. For years now, Dropbox has supported creating, sharing, and editing Microsoft Office documents right inside its own app and website, and it later added similar support for Google Docs as well. And apps like Slack have a host of integrations for things like Google Drive and Trello, though it’s not clear how widely used or essential they are to a Slack workflow. (I mostly just drop links to Google Docs I need edited.)Somewhat ironically, as the barriers between content and file types fall away and more people do work in virtual spaces like Teams and Slack, Google’s vision for Wave looks to be rather prescient. The notion of a space for a project or team that encompasses all of its important elements, be they written documents, spreadsheets, images, videos or any other kind of content seems to be where we’re headed. But despite the fact that Google (and the rest of the industry) are moving back towards models that remind us of what Wave attempted, there’s still a missing piece in Google’s strategy.That piece is messaging, something Google has struggled with, well, for about as long as Google has existed. As exhaustively detailed by Ars Technica, Google has never been able to stick with a coherent messaging plan for consumers or businesses. At some point, Google Chat (née Hangouts) could have been a solid Slack competitor, as well as the web that connects all the content people work on, but the company missed the boat as Slack solidified its dominance over the past five years. Even though Google Workspace has a huge user base, it hasn’t made inroads in the messaging side — which is what pulls a modern workplace together.That said, Google’s Smart Canvas (announced at I/O this year) could be its own version of Fluid, a way to unify disparate forms of content and communication all in one place. From what we’ve seen so far, Smart Canvas has various “building blocks” that you can pull all into a single canvas — like a Meet call alongside a Google Doc for taking notes and a to-do list to assign items to team members. It’s only rolling out on a limited basis to paying Google Workspace customers, but it’s definitely worth watching to see how it evolves.No one can really say what other cultural workplace shifts, like those brought on by COVID-19, will happen in the next 15 years. And those shifts are probably what will drive the most significant changes in products meant for work.......
Square Enix is now letting 'Avengers' fans pay to fix the game's mistakes...
1 month ago
What if you could fix the fatal flaw in an awesome game, but it would cost you more money?That's the situation fans of Marvel's Avengers are facing as developer Crystal Dynamics and publisher Square Enix introduce paid boosters that help your heroes level up and improve their gear more quickly. These "pay-to-win" elements let time-strapped players spend money instead to get ahead. But as I've been saying all along, it shouldn't have been like this in the first place.The big problem I've had with Avengers, as the recent "War for Wakanda" free update highlighted, is how it's built in a way that undermines the central fantasy of commandeering Earth's mightiest super-team. There's much more detail in the earlier post, but the short version is that each hero needs to be leveled up fully before you can access all their abilities — but that's a 20-odd hour process.There's a basic (and excellent) story mode in Avengers that makes the first climb to unlocking a character's suite of powers relatively enjoyable and straightforward. After that, though? It's an unpleasant treadmill of repeating activities where you're constantly left feeling less-than-super.Now, though, as the 2020 release arrives for Xbox Game Pass subscribers, the in-game marketplace has some controversial new items up for sale in a new "Consumables" menu. The priciest of these is a $5 booster that gives players a week of increased experience points (XP) gains, by 1.5x. There are other consumables that last for shorter amounts of time and/or provide a boost to the amount of gear upgrade materials that drop. This is the new "Consumables" menu in 'Avengers' in-game marketplace. The $5 week-long XP boost is highlighted. Credit: crystal dynamics / Square enix - screenshot by mashable It's all bad, but the XP boosters are especially egregious. That 1.5x boost doesn't even get the pace of Avengers leveling back to where it was when the game first launched. Back in March, Crystal Dynamics slowed down the whole process of leveling up your heroes. The studio claimed players were leveling up too quickly, and it "led to pacing issues, such as skill points...being rewarded too fast, which may be confusing and overwhelming to newer players."In fairness to the developer, there's some truth to the view that players need time and space to learn. Avengers employs a unique role-playing game-style skill tree that allows players to customize the way their abilities perform. At the later stages of leveling up, certain skill tree branches offer either/or propositions where you can choose which one of three ability-altering nodes to activate. Take Iron Man's Unibeam attack, the blazing beam of light he shoots out of his chest plate. One branch of the skill tree governing his Unibeam gives players a choice: You can make the beam last a few seconds longer; you can stagger its charge so he can take more shots before the ability is exhausted and needs to cool down; or you can beef up its overall damage.Every hero's skill tree works like that. Once you've mastered one hero, getting a handle on the rest is more a matter of playing around with them and reading the text of their skill trees than it is progressively unlocking skill points. There's no need for a lengthy grind through 50 experience levels spanning double-digit hours. In fact, this kind of hurdle is counter-productive. It makes the prospect of playing as other heroes far less appealing.It was at least a bearable problem when Avengers first launched. Having to level each hero individually wasn't my favorite decision, but it moved swiftly enough for people who grasp RPG systems quickly while still leaving less experienced players a gentle learning curve. The March update changed all of that, though. Suddenly, leveling up any hero after your first one turned into a miserable chore. You're allowed to level up faster, but you need to pay for it. This became even more clear as new heroes were added to the game, with short story modes of their own that wouldn't even carry them through half of their respective skill trees. Crystal Dynamics even seems to be aware of that specific issue; when "War for Wakanda" launched, it arrived alongside a temporary month-long boost to XP gains for all players. Even with that boost, the Wakanda story got my Black Panther only as far as level 21, out of 50.That timed boost sure looked from the outside like an implicit acknowledgment of Avengers' deep pacing issues. But when it ended, the game returned to the sorry state it was left in after the March update. And now we see why: You're allowed to level up faster, but you need to pay for it.That sucks, in part because it's a broken promise. Crystal Dynamics has said multiple times in the past that the in-game marketplace is only meant for things like hero skins and emotes — cosmetic items. As a blog posted on the Avengers website in Sept. 2020, the month the game released, reads: "We’ve...committed that content purchasable with real money in Marvel’s Avengers will be aesthetic-only additions, which will ensure we can keep the game fresh for years to come."It also sucks because the boosters are essentially Crystal Dynamics asking players to pay to fix pacing issues that the studio itself created. It was bearable enough in Sept. 2020 when Avengers launched that adding XP boosters now could have made sense, broken promises aside. But the March update was a huge step in the wrong direction, as the temporary XP boost timed to Black Panther's arrival seemed to confirm.Maybe Avengers hasn't been as financially successful as Square Enix had hoped, and so selling these boosters is a push to justify the costs of further development. But as someone who's played extensively since Sept. 2020, I've got to say: This ain't it. It's time for Crystal Dynamics to embrace transparency, level with its fans, and accept that the game it built perhaps isn't the game players thought they were signing up to play.......
The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden's $3.5 trillion plan will likely have to shrink...
2 months ago
Presented by National Industries for the Blind Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!Total U.S. coronavirus deaths as of this morning: 659,975. As of this morning, 63.1 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 53.8 percent is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg News global vaccine tracker.Senate Democrats return to Washington today facing a self-imposed deadline to enact the boldest portion of President BidenJoe BidenSocial media making political polarization worse: report Biden and UK's Johnson to meet for talks this month: report Toyota, Honda knock union-made EV incentive in Dems' spending package MORE’s domestic agenda amid the make-or-break objections of West Virginia centrist Democrat Joe Manchin. Democratic leaders have set a soft Wednesday deadline for Senate committees to complete drafting their portions of the sweeping $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. However, questions are stacking up today about its size and scope, and the Senate rules tied to the mammoth social policy legislation (The Hill). Manchin reaffirmed in multiple Sunday show appearances that he opposes spending another $3.5 trillion, but may be open to roughly half as much. His explanations vary, but he argues the pending measure is too big, is moving too fast and would be tough to sell to his constituents. He maintains he’s not the only Senate Democrat who would vote against the measure. Manchin reprised the same “flawed and rushed” arguments he used in 2017 when he balked at a GOP tax bill signed by former President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse Democrats eye 26.5 percent corporate tax rate Iran accepts deal on nuclear monitoring, avoids censure Old South vs. the new America: What Confederate monuments say about us MORE. “We don't have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there's some deadline we're meeting or someone's going to fall through the cracks,” Manchin told NBC's “Meet the Press.” “I want to make sure that children are getting taken care of, that people are basically having an opportunity to go back to work. We have 11 million jobs that we haven't filled, 8 million people still unemployed. Something's not matching up there” (The Hill). “I have been giving. I could say that I’m against this and that and everything. I’m for an awful lot of the things. I’m for also putting guardrails on,” Manchin added. Alexander Bolton, The Hill: Democrats see $3.5 trillion spending goal is slipping away. The Washington Post: Democrats sorting through painful sacrifices as social bill enters final stretch. The Hill: This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake. With Democrats needing unanimity in the upper chamber to pass the blueprint, Manchin’s stance would scuttle the party’s planned timeline to vote on the bill to tee up a vote in the House by Sept. 27, the date by which Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi 'deeply concerned' about alleged Saudi torture of aid worker Man pleads guilty to threatening to shoot Pelosi If another 9/11 happened in a divided 2021, could national unity be achieved again? MORE (D-Calif.) promised to hold a vote on the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure measure. What it will take to bring Manchin on board with a bill of any kind remains unclear. When pressed on CNN’s “State of the Union,” he declined to lay out what his ceiling is on a price tag, instead floating a bill in the $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion range (CNN). However, the West Virginia centrist has not described the proposed policies and programs he would leave out or shrink. He says he worries about the rising national debt, inflation and potential U.S. needs abroad. As Manchin spoke, Democrats began circulating a new tax plan that would raise nearly $3 trillion in new taxes and revenue, with much of it coming from wealthy Americans and corporations. Included in the blueprint are provisions that would increase the top tax rate on those earning more than $435,000 from 37 percent to 39.6 percent and raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 26.5 percent for larger businesses and firms (The Washington Post). Axios: Inside Democrats' tax hike menu. The Wall Street Journal: Democrats grapple with limits of anti-poverty and climate bill. Sunday shows: Manchin says he won't vote for a $3.5 trillion bill. Manchin’s latest remarks upset Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows - Manchin says he won't vote for .5 trillion bill Sanders says Manchin not supporting Biden's spending package is 'not acceptable' Democrats see .5T spending goal is slipping away MORE (I-Vt.), who has in recent days drawn a red line of his own, saying that he will not back any bill that falls below the $3.5 trillion total. Sanders originally envisioned a measure worth $6 trillion over a decade but agreed with Democrats to reduce his ideas by nearly half. It’s worth noting that Manchin (along with Arizona Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaDemocrats see .5T spending goal is slipping away On The Money — Biden launches vaccine crackdown The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats face headwinds on .5 trillion plan, debt ceiling MORE) voted to advance the $3.5 trillion budget resolution last month to open the doors to the massive bill. “No, it's absolutely not acceptable to me. I don't think it's acceptable to the president, to the American people or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic caucus,” Sanders told “State of the Union.” “This is a consequential bill. It is hard to put a bill like this together. At the end of the day, I believe we will,” Sanders continued (The Hill). Axios: Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerWarner says .5 trillion package 'falls short' on housing assistance The risks of running as Trump-lite Will the US emulate China's tech takedown? MORE (D-Va.) warns he may vote against the $3.5 trillion budget over housing assistance. The Hill: Manchin responds to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezWarner says .5 trillion package 'falls short' on housing assistance Manchin responds to Ocasio-Cortez tweet: 'Continue to divide, divide, divide' Ocasio-Cortez raises over 0K for Texas pro-choice groups MORE’s (D-N.Y.) tweet: “Continue to divide, divide, divide.” A MESSAGE FROM NIB LEADING THE DAYPOLITICS: Democrats say they feel more confident that Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomRose McGowan stumps for Larry Elder in California: 'He is the better man' On The Trail: California recall tests vaccine politics By defeating Newsom recall, pro-choice women would send a powerful message MORE (D) will avoid ouster at the end of Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall contest in California (The Hill). Election Day will cap off what for Democrats was a roller-coaster competition, with early polls showing an enthusiasm gap in Republicans’ favor before organized labor’s leadership and other advocates mobilized in earnest for Democrat Newsom (CNN). Conservative talk radio celebrity Larry Elder, the Republican thought to have the best chance to step into a void if Newsom is recalled, has used Trump-like warnings about “voter fraud” to mobilize voters to cast ballots. Elder, who recently falsely claimed on Fox News that Biden was elected because of fraud in 2020, said, “They’re going to try that in this election right here.” He has an election fraud section on his campaign website asking supporters to join a petition to demand a special session of the California legislature to investigate Tuesday’s results. The website also contains a link for supporters to report alleged election fraud (Newsweek). Biden will campaign for the governor in the Golden State today at a time when more than a third of registered voters already cast mail-in ballots (Los Angeles Times). Vice President Harris made the trip to her home state last week to deliver a significant piece of the Democratic message: Fear a GOP governor. Recent polls show Newsom with a double-digit lead when voters are asked the threshold question of whether he should be recalled (RealClearPolitics). California's contest is the first test of Democrats’ theme, first introduced nationally in the 2020 presidential contest, that pandemic management and leadership can instill trust and be good politics, reports The Hill’s Reid Wilson. At the same time, Newsom’s restrictive COVID-19 policies are partially behind a recall ballot in the bluest of blue states (The Wall Street Journal). The Washington Post: Democrats wanted Trump gone. Now they want him on the ballot. The Hill: Federal vaccine mandates test Biden’s ties with labor. The Hill: U.S. political polarization is worsened by social media, according to a new report.IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKESCORONAVIRUS: Biden is staring down a legal brouhaha with Republican governors days after his latest directive for many private businesses to require employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. The sweeping rule applies to businesses with 100 or more workers, while similar requirements were issued for most federal employees and those in health care settings that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding. Immediately, GOP governors erupted at the latest move and vowed court challenges galore, saying that it violates personal freedoms and that businesses should be allowed to set their own workplace standards. “This action by President Biden is blatantly unlawful, and Georgia will not stand for it,” Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempBiden steps into legal fight with vaccine mandates GOP seeks Biden referendum over vaccine mandates Overnight Health Care — Biden defends push for vaccine mandates MORE (R) said shortly after (The Hill). Those sorts of comments kept up on Sunday. Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonSunday shows - Manchin says he won't vote for .5 trillion bill GOP governor: Biden's vaccine mandate 'increases the division' Sunday shows preview: Biden issues new vaccine mandates; House committee marks up .5T reconciliation bill MORE (R), who has dealt directly in recent months with Biden on vaccinations and COVID-19 response, predicted that the latest mandate will “increase the division” between unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals (The Hill). The Hill: Nebraska Gov. Pete RickettsPete RickettsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden's .5 trillion plan will likely have to shrink Sunday shows - Manchin says he won't vote for .5 trillion bill Nebraska governor: States looking into how to 'attack' Biden vaccine mandate in court MORE (R): States looking into how to “attack” Biden vaccine mandate in court. RealClearPolitics: “Fox News Sunday” host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceBreyer says term limits would 'make life easier for me' Breyer on how he hopes to be remembered: 'He did his best' Nebraska governor: States looking into how to 'attack' Biden vaccine mandate in court MORE asks Ricketts: If mandatory polio vaccine is OK, why not COVID-19? Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said during his weekly appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the new requirement could be problematic for the administration, as it could “discourage” some individuals from getting vaccinated. “In the near term, a lot of businesses that have might have mandated vaccines are now going to sit on their hands and say, I'm going to wait for OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] to tell me just how to do it and give me more political coverage,” Gottlieb told host Margaret Brennan. “So in the near term, you could actually discourage some vaccination” (The Hill). The New York Times: GOP seethes at Biden mandate, even in states requiring other vaccines. The Hill: Rep. Joseph MorelleJoseph (Joe) MorelleNY Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 in latest House breakthrough case House GOP campaign arm adds to target list NY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus MORE (D-N.Y.) tests positive for COVID-19 in the most recent disclosed House infection of a fully vaccinated lawmaker. However, the administration did not take the criticism lying down. Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthySurgeon general: 'Our enemy is the virus. It is not one another' Sunday shows - Manchin says he won't vote for .5 trillion bill Murthy: Private sector has to do everything they can to tackle the virus MORE told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the private sector must do its part in order to tackle the current surge of the delta variant. “What the president and what all of us have said as public health leaders from the earliest part of this pandemic is that we have to use every level of government, and we all in the private sector have to do everything we can to tackle this virus,” Murthy said. “The requirements the president announced are an example of that” (The Hill). The Washington Post: An upstate New York hospital says it won’t deliver babies after staffers resigned because of a coronavirus vaccine mandate. Axios: The U.S. isn't vaccinating most of the world — but China might. The Washington Post: Parents and teachers push to move school lunches outdoors to help reduce spread of virus. The Associated Press: Japan surpasses 50 percent vaccination rate, may ease some COVID-19 restrictions in November. The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! OPINIONBiden must hold government accountable — starting with his own, by The Washington Post editorial board. https://wapo.st/3A6hmRR An honest Theranos wouldn’t have done much good, by Faye Flam, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3hr03nf A MESSAGE FROM NIB WHERE AND WHENThe House will meet at 11 a.m. on Tuesday for a pro forma session. The full House will not convene until Sept. 20. The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of James Kvaal to be under secretary of Education. The president will depart Wilmington, Del., to make a Western swing featuring stops in Boise, Idaho, to visit the National Interagency Fire Center, and Sacramento, to survey wildfire damage from the Caldor fire and deliver an afternoon speech. Biden will also make a political appearance at 7 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif., to support the governor ahead of a Tuesday recall election. First lady Jill BidenJill BidenHarris in Shanksville honors heroism, courage of Flight 93 passengers Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary Biden marks 9/11 anniversary with message recognizing the lives lost MORE will deliver a prerecorded message for Research!America’s National Health Research Forum at 10:30 a.m. She will deliver remarks live at the virtual American Physical Therapy Association centennial event at 2:30 p.m. The first lady at 6 p.m. will join Secretary of Defense Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinDefense leaders urge vigilance, commemorate service members on 9/11 anniversary Bidens, former presidents mark 9/11 anniversary 20 years after 9/11, are we safer? MORE, Prince HarryPrince HarryRoyal family supports BLM movement, senior representative says Culture editor Emily Jashinsky says groups like Time's Up pose conflicts of interest Prince Harry blasts 'mass scale misinformation' for vaccine hesitancy MORE and Ken Fisher of the Fisher House Foundation, serving military veterans and their families, for a virtual, live streamed event. Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.ELSEWHERE➔ INTERNATIONAL: Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope in Hungary says antisemitism a 'fuse that must not be allowed to burn' Former cardinal charged following sexual assault allegations, pleads not guilty Pope, citing Putin, criticizes two-decade war in Afghanistan MORE on Sunday issued a veiled shot at Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration policies, calling on the nation to “extend its arms to everyone” during an appearance in Budapest as part of his first international trip since undergoing intestinal surgery in July (The Associated Press). ➔ IMMIGRATION: A lower court decision upheld by the Supreme Court last month tasks the Biden White House with implementing the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols, which the president campaigned to end. Biden has a choice: implement the “Remain in Mexico” policy or adopt Trump-era tactics to try to dismantle it (The Hill). ➔ AFGHANISTAN: The United Nations is seeking more than $600 million for the remainder of 2021 at a donors conference in Geneva today for Afghanistan assistance. The U.N. wants to help 11 million people following the Taliban takeover (The Associated Press). … Women’s rights activist Zakira Hakim doesn’t know exactly how she got a seat on an evacuation flight out of Afghanistan, The Hill’s Laura Kelly reports. Now in Sri Lanka on a temporary visa, Hakim (not her name) fled the Taliban thanks to an extraordinary effort by a network of international and high-level government officials. ➔ STATE WATCH: States across the country hope to bounce back from declines in recently released standardized test scores that underscore the challenges of remote learning during the first full school year of the pandemic. In Arizona and Tennessee, some of the sharpest declines have been among minorities and economically disadvantaged students (The Hill). ➔ U.S. OPEN: Tennis legend Novak Djokovic failed Sunday to cap off his hallmark year with a coveted Grand Slam. He lost the U.S. Open final to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, in Flushing Meadow, N.Y. Heading into the match, Djokovic was 27-0 in the major tournaments this year and was aiming for a record-setting 21st Grand Slam title. The Serbian tennis star is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 such titles (ESPN). THE CLOSERAnd finally … It’s been weeks since a small dazzle or herd of wild zebras, which had been transported from Florida to private property in Maryland, got loose and began to startle onlookers by trudging through backyards and grazing in empty fields. As of the weekend, three of the distinctive escapees were reportedly still on the lam, described as more akin to wild bulls than striped horses. Zebras tend to crash through barriers (fences, people) rather than stand still for well-intentioned rescuers, making them hard to capture. Their owner is working to gradually corral them in a Maryland field they seem to favor, using zebra feed and a lot of patience (WTOP, WJLA and The New York Times). Share on Twitter JW Video Type: CutdownPerson: Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAsa HutchinsonKyrsten SinemaBernie SandersJoseph MorelleChris WallacePete RickettsVivek MurthyNancy PelosiPrince HarryLloyd AustinPope FrancisDonald TrumpGavin NewsomJoe ManchinMark WarnerBrian KempJill BidenJoe BidenExcluded from Just In: 0Video comments: Video comments......
WhatsApp encrypted backups will let users balance their own privacy and security priorities...
2 months ago
If you want to remember a 64-digit encryption key, that's totally up to you There's no shortage of reasons for why WhatsApp is as popular as it is, but the service's focus on user privacy has got to be one of the big ones. With end-to-end encrypted messages, people using the app can feel secure that their messages are headed right to the eyes of their intended recipient, without the risk of any looky-loos peeking along the way. Now Facebook's talking about its plans for taking that kind of protection to its next logical step, as end-to-end encryption expands to cover WhatsApp backups. Read More WhatsApp encrypted backups will let users balance their own privacy and security priorities was written by the awesome team at Android Police.......
Caitlyn Jenner: I’m Pro-Choice but I Also Support Texas Abortion Ban...
3 months ago
CNNStruggling Republican gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner attempted to claim Tuesday morning that she supported a “woman’s right to choose”—while simultaneously defending Texas’ draconian new law that bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.With just a week left before California votes on whether to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, Jenner made the media rounds on Tuesday in an effort to boost her floundering campaign. (Recent polls show only one percent of California voters support her candidacy while Newsom has opened up a double-digit lead on remaining in office.)Appearing on CNN’s New Day, the reality TV star was pressed by anchor Brianna Keilar on her personal view of the Texas law, which the Supreme Court refused to block in a midnight decision. The law not only bans abortion after most women even know they’re pregnant but it also effectively deputizes private citizens to seek bounties on those who “aid and abet” women seeking abortions in the state.Read more at The Daily Beast.......
The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand...
3 months ago
Presented by AT&T Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Thursday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!Total U.S. coronavirus deaths each morning this week: Monday, 637,539; Tuesday, 638,711; Wednesday, 640,108; Thursday, 642,081.The Supreme Court late Wednesday decided not to block Texas’s “fetal heartbeat” law, allowing it to stand as legal challenges make their way through the judicial system. The court’s five core conservatives — Justices Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoBiden rips 'extreme' new Texas abortion law Six-week abortion ban goes into effect in Texas Legislation extending medication abortion restrictions advances in Texas MORE, Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasSupreme Court could undermine freedom of the press Biden asks Supreme Court to leave eviction moratorium intact Is the eviction moratorium legal? MORE, Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchSupreme Court could undermine freedom of the press Biden asks Supreme Court to leave eviction moratorium intact Is the eviction moratorium legal? MORE, Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughGoldman Sachs: 750K households face eviction this year Kamala Harris: The absentee VP by design Eviction ruling puts new pressure on Congress MORE, and Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettTexas emerges as new battleground in abortion fight Those calls to impeach Biden: As wrong as they were with Trump Masks and vaccines: What price freedom? MORE — let stand the Texas statute that bars abortions from six weeks after a woman’s last period. The law has no exceptions for incest or rape (The Washington Post). Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's three liberal justices who would have blocked the state statute, calling its enforcement “not only unusual, but unprecedented.” That means that the second-most populous state has the country’s most restrictive abortion law, curtailing access for millions of women. The New York Times: The four dissenting justices filed opinions. “The court has rewarded the state’s effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the court’s precedents, through procedural entanglements of the state’s own creation,” Justice Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorSupreme Court declines to block Texas abortion law Supreme Court blocks Biden's eviction moratorium Supreme Court blocks part of New York's eviction moratorium MORE wrote, calling the court’s order “stunning.” The New York Times: The Texas abortion law explained. As The Hill’s Justine Coleman writes, reproductive rights advocates are sounding the alarm, warning of a domino effect in other states as anti-abortion groups spike the football. Inaction from the Supreme Court comes ahead of the its impending review of a Mississippi law that bans abortion at 15 weeks, which poses a direct challenge to the landmark 1973 ruling. “Today, Texas law SB8 went into effect. This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade and upheld as precedent for nearly half a century,” President BidenJoe BidenHouse panel advances 8B defense bill Democrats defeat GOP effort to declare 'lost confidence' in Biden after Afghanistan withdrawal House committee moves to block private funds for National Guard deployments MORE said in a statement. “The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes” (The Hill). Later this year, the court is scheduled to hear arguments about a Mississippi law that if allowed to take effect would ban nearly all abortions after 15 weeks. Twelve states have passed “trigger” laws with stringent abortion restrictions that could go into effect immediately, or soon after, if landmark Roe v. Wade is overturned. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that women have the constitutional right to an abortion before viability, the point at which a fetus could survive outside the womb. Although there’s no universal agreement on when that happens, most experts estimate it to be around 24 weeks (The Washington Post). The abortion issue is expected to play a role ahead of next year’s midterm elections. As The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports, Democrats and abortion rights activists are gearing up to go on the offensive in the coming months. A MESSAGE FROM AT&T AT&T is making a $2 billion, 3-year commitment to help connect communities to their American Dream We are making a $2 billion, 3-year commitment to help connect communities to their American Dream. Kamal Bell, Founder of Sankofa FarmsLEADING THE DAYCORONAVIRUS: The U.S. saw a glimmer of positive COVID-19 news when hospitalizations dipped for the first time in more than two months on Wednesday, a sign that the pandemic may have peaked as the nation continues to race to vaccinate more Americans. The national seven-day average of new coronavirus-related hospitalizations dropped 2.4 percent from one week earlier, marking the first such drop since June 27, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday. Declining numbers of infections that require hospitalization have been tallied in some hot spots, including Florida, Texas and a number of Southern states that have had trouble containing the delta variant (Bloomberg News). The nation is far from out of the woods, however. U.S. regions have yet to reach their peaks of infection, including states with lagging vaccination rates. The school year is just beginning with classroom instruction and battles over masks and other mitigation strategies, which could mean COVID-19 case loads surge this year in younger people. Axios: COVID-19 cases are up 14 percent. > Moderna on Wednesday announced it started to submit data to the Food and Drug Administration for approval of a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine. According to the company, antibodies from the two-dose regimen waned “significantly” before a booster dose was administered roughly six months after individuals received a second dose. After a third dose, a similar level of neutralizing was achieved across age groups, notably in adults ages 65 and above, the company said (The Hill). Axios: Israeli coronavirus vaccine booster data gives the U.S. hope. Reuters-Ipsos poll: Most vaccinated Americans want COVID-19 booster shots. NBC News: At least 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been wasted in the United States since March, new data shows. > Variants: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday issued a warning that a new strain — titled the mu variant (B.1.621) — could prove more resistant to vaccine protection than other variants. The WHO said the strain is emerging in Colombia and Ecuador, with “sporadic reports” of cases and outbreaks in South America and Europe. The strain is responsible for 39 percent and 13 percent of the infections, respectively, in Colombia and Ecuador (Forbes). The Washington Post: Massive randomized study is proof that surgical masks limit coronavirus spread, authors say. > Corporate America: Apple on Wednesday said that it has asked its employees in the U.S. to “voluntarily” report their vaccination status but has yet to follow in the footsteps of a number of other companies that have issued vaccination mandates. Apple asked its staff to report their vaccination status by mid-September no matter whether they were working in an office or remotely (Bloomberg News). Insider: Costco has reintroduced purchase limits as evidence of COVID-19 stockpiling mounts. Oregonlive.com: Oregon school superintendent followed state law and got fired by the Adrian School Board on Tuesday for enforcing a mask mandate. The New York Times: Amid Arizona ban on school mask mandates, sick kids and angry parents. The Hill: Brazilian viper venom shows promise as drug to combat COVID-19. ****** ADMINISTRATION: The White House is trying to move past the chaotic and deadly U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by turning its attention back to Biden’s domestic legislative agenda amid his sagging job approval numbers and ahead of next year’s midterm contests. Biden will travel to Louisiana on Friday to support victims of Hurricane Ida and repeat his administration’s pledges of federal assistance. He’s also expected to comment Friday on what the White House anticipates will be evidence of U.S. employment progress in August (The Hill). The Hill: Advocates “demoralized” as 100,000 U.S. allies remain stranded in Afghanistan. The Associated Press: Some American citizens and green card holders left in Afghanistan complain of broken U.S. promises. The Associated Press: “It looked like one of those zombie movies”: In interviews, U.S. service members describe final U.S. military flights out of Afghanistan. The U.S. government on Wednesday said it is looking at all possible options and routes out of Afghanistan for Americans and legal permanent residents who want to leave the country (Reuters). “It’s possible” the United States and the Taliban could coordinate against ISIS-K, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyOvernight Defense & National Security — Defense bill brawl barreling on Top general: 'It's possible' US could coordinate with Taliban on ISIS-K General acknowledges 'others' killed in drone strike targeting ISIS car bomb MORE said Wednesday (seen below) (The Hill). > Housing: The administration on Wednesday announced federal initiatives to “create, preserve and sell” nearly 100,000 additional “affordable” homes to individual buyers and nonprofits over the next three years, focused on low- and middle-income opportunities for the purchase and rental markets (Yahoo News). It’s a drop in the bucket nationwide for consumers who are priced out of home ownership and struggling to find affordable rentals in a soaring market that seems oblivious to millions of Americans who took economic hits since the pandemic began. The administration is unhappy with a recent economic trend in which investors buy up housing stock to flip or rent for profitable turnover. “Large investor purchases of single-family homes and conversion into rental properties speeds the transition of neighborhoods from homeownership to rental and drives up home prices for lower cost homes, making it harder for aspiring first-time and first-generation home buyers, among others, to buy a home,” officials said. The median sales price of U.S. single-family homes jumped in the second quarter to $357,900, an increase of $66,800 or 22.9 percent from the year before. Double-digit price gains were seen in 94 percent of markets, according to the National Association of Realtors. > U.S. and Ukraine: President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine met with Biden in the Oval Office on Wednesday, the culmination of a years-long struggle that at one point put Zelensky center stage amid U.S. impeachment politics during the Trump era, CNN reported. Zelensky on Wednesday had some significant requests, including U.S. input on Ukraine's chances of joining NATO, suggesting a potential U.S. role in reaching a settlement in the Donbas region of Ukraine and requesting assistance to free hundreds of people imprisoned in Donbas. Biden said his administration will “continue to support Ukraine as it advances its democratic reforms agenda and movement toward being completely integrated in Europe.” IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKESCONGRESS: Publicly debated since the 2020 presidential campaign is the aim among progressive Democrats to enact legislation to hike taxes on wealthy individuals and big companies that could pour new revenues into ambitious social support and other spending priorities. As the Senate’s summer drama over a bipartisan infrastructure bill demonstrated, Republican lawmakers remain loath to increase taxes on big corporations and wealthy individuals. But Democrats could theoretically push their tax plans to Biden’s desk without that hurdle, and this fall they hope to approve a $3.5 trillion collection of major social policy expansions as well as tax hikes to foot the bill. The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda reports that progressive advocacy groups have begun a campaign to argue for their ideas during what will be a fractious autumn within the party. Business groups, practiced at defeating calls to tax the rich and big corporations, are poised for an all-out battle against key elements of the Democrats’ agenda. Progressive groups argue most Americans like the idea of corporations and wealthy individuals paying more in taxes (Gallup, ALG Research and Hart Research), and they say they will work to keep Democrats united. CNBC: House vote on $3.5 trillion budget in August raises prospect of higher taxes on the rich. The Hill: Progressives push Senate Democrats to nix the filibuster ahead of a fight this fall over voting rights legislation. The Hill: Industry lobbies Congress to extend to three days the notification timeline after cybersecurity incidents. Where is Rep. Markwayne MullinMarkwayne MullinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Defiant Biden defends US exit from Afghanistan GOP lawmaker threatened officials while trying to enter Afghanistan: report Overnight Energy: Update on Biden administration conservation goals | GOP sees opportunity to knock Biden amid rising gas prices | Push for nationwide electric vehicle charging stations MORE (R-Okla.)? On Wednesday, he said on Instagram that he was “safe” and was heading home. That was after The Washington Post reported that the lawmaker sought to get Americans out of Afghanistan with plans he shared with disapproving State and Defense officials that reportedly involved a lot of cash and his proposed clandestine travel out of Tajikistan or Greece. While Mullin posted an Instagram photo of himself without pinpointing his location, he encouraged followers to believe he “went dark for a little, yes because it wasn’t safe to be communicating” (KJRH Oklahoma). Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCawthorn to introduce resolution condemning political violence after warning of 'bloodshed' if elections are 'rigged' Pelosi's office rips McCarthy's silence over Cawthorn's 'bloodshed' comment Raskin writing memoir about Jan. 6, son's suicide MORE (D-Calif.) has publicly admonished House members twice not to travel to Afghanistan because of the risks. ***** MORE POLITICS: Former President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats defeat GOP effort to declare 'lost confidence' in Biden after Afghanistan withdrawal Prosecutors say Jan. 6 rioters committed roughly 1,000 assaults on federal officers Texas emerges as new battleground in abortion fight MORE on Wednesday issued two key endorsements as he attempts to put his stamp on the GOP primary process ahead of the 2022 midterm elections next year. In Pennsylvania, Trump threw his support behind Sean Parnell, a veteran and top ally of Donald Trump Jr., in the state’s jam-packed primary to replace retiring Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.). In a statement, the former president called Parnell a “great candidate” who will fight for a number of Trump-backed priorities if elected. Along with Parnell, the top-tier group of contenders for the GOP nomination includes Carla Sands, who served as Trump’s ambassador to Denmark, and Jeff Bartos, an eastern Pennsylvania businessman who ran for lieutenant governor in 2018. The winner will square off with the victor of an equally crowded Democratic field, which is headlined by Rep. Conor Lamb (Pa.), who defeated Parnell for his House seat in November, and Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (The Hill). Across the country, Trump also announced his support for Joe Kent, a Republican who is challenging Rep. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerTrump endorses challenger to Herrera Beutler over impeachment vote Jan. 6 committee to seek lawmaker records Five big questions as Jan. 6 panel preps subpoenas MORE (R-Wash.) in the state’s 3rd Congressional District. Herrera Beutler is one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January over his role in the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. In a statement, Trump said he first met Kent, an Army Special Forces veteran, in 2019 after Kent’s wife was killed fighting ISIS. Trump praised Kent’s service and added that Kent would be a loyal fighter for his agenda. “Joe served his country proudly for many years and understands the tremendous cost of America's wars in the Middle East, and elsewhere. In Congress, Joe will be a warrior for the America First agenda, unlike Jaime Herrera Beutler who voted, despite the facts, against the Republican Party and for the Democrats' Impeachment Scam,” Trump said. The endorsement is another move for Trump to gain retribution against the group of Republicans who voted to impeach him. Trump has already backed former top aide Max Miller against Rep. Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezTrump endorses challenger to Herrera Beutler over impeachment vote House moderates call on Biden to reconsider Aug. 31 evacuation deadline Six takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections MORE (R-Ohio) in the Buckeye State and is currently weighing who to endorse in his push to unseat Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyDemocrats defeat GOP effort to declare 'lost confidence' in Biden after Afghanistan withdrawal House panel backs making women register for draft Freedom Caucus chair asks McCarthy to boot Cheney, Kinzinger from GOP conference MORE (R-Wyo.) (The Hill). The Wall Street Journal: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Biden 'is not going to be removed from office' Biden's Afghanistan exit: A decision for the long term Lobbying world MORE Urges GOP voters to focus on Midterms, not Biden impeachment The Hill: DOJ issues warning to states ahead of redistricting. The Hill: Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassBass says she is 'seriously considering' running for LA mayor With minority bent on obstruction, US Senate still the place bills go to die Bass planning to run for reelection amid talk of LA mayoral bid MORE (D-Calif.) says she is “seriously considering” running for Los Angeles mayor.The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! OPINIONThe government can but also can’t but can tell you what to do with your body here in Texas, by Alexandra Petri, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2Vd4euW COVID-19 vaccines: Public health before personal liberty, by Marc Siegel, M.D., opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3mV7IxI The war is over — the imperative to protect Afghans isn't, by Susan Yoshihara of the American Council on Women Peace and Security, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2WLHGCeA MESSAGE FROM AT&T WHERE AND WHENThe House will meet at noon on Friday for a pro forma session. The full House will not be active until Sept. 20. The Senate convenes on Friday at 1:30 a.m. for a pro forma session. Senators are expected back in Washington on Sept. 13. The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m. Biden will speak at 11:30 a.m. about federal efforts to help the Gulf Coast recover after Hurricane Ida. He will speak at 1:45 p.m. with rabbis from around the country in a virtual event to commemorate upcoming Jewish High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur). Vice President Harris will ceremonially swear in Ken Salazar as U.S. ambassador to Mexico at 3 p.m. Harris, Labor Secretary Marty WalshMarty WalshMedicare reserves unchanged despite COVID-19 pandemic Labor Dept. forms new office to modernize, reform unemployment insurance system Pelosi sets up risky House vote to deem .5T budget approved MORE and staff will meet to discuss the White House task force on worker organizing and empowerment at 4:25 p.m. Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will report claims for unemployment benefits in the week ending Aug. 28. Analysts hope to see a continued downward trend in filings. The White House press briefing is scheduled at 1 p.m. The administration’s COVID-19 response team will brief the news media at 3 p.m. Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.ELSEWHERE➔ LETHAL WEATHER: The remnants of Hurricane Ida moved up the Atlantic coast, leaving behind record-setting emergency situations. At least eight people perished in New York and New Jersey. As of this morning, rain, wind and flooding left behind damage in states and crippled parts of the New York region, including New York City, which is under a state of emergency this morning. Central Park saw more than 3 inches of rain in an hour on Wednesday. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency in New York City for the first time (The New York Times). The storms prompted a string of tornado warnings across parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, including a warning for Philadelphia after the Weather Service said a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado had been observed south of the city. ➔ INTERNATIONAL: The Biden administration on Wednesday issued a one-year extension to the ban on travel to North Korea by those with U.S. passports. The initial move was made in 2017 by former Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump-era ban on travel to North Korea extended Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump House passes legislation to elevate cybersecurity at the State Department MORE following the death of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student who was seriously injured while under arrest in the dictatorial state (The Associated Press). ➔ TECH: Amazon Chief Executive Andy Jassy told Reuters the company is preparing to hire 55,000 people for corporate and technology roles worldwide in the next few months, potentially expanding the Amazon’s workforce by more than a third. ➔ NATURE: The tiny snail darter, once powerful enough to block a federal dam, has been removed from the endangered species list (The Associated Press), but a new hazard, LED street lights, may harm insects (Science News). It’s hard to keep up!THE CLOSERAnd finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Tuesday marked the 24th anniversary since the death of Princess Diana, which sparked our little gray cells. Send us your smart guesses and expert Googling! Email your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com, and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday. What was the Kensington Palace tribute that Princess Diana’s sons William and Harry unveiled outdoors in July to honor their mother? Special rose in her nameGrove of oak treesPlayground and gazeboSculpture of Diana Inspired by the late princess, which of these heads to Broadway in November? “Diana The Musical”“The Crown”“Spencer”“The Diana Chronicles” Which former U.S. president was identified as Princess Diana’s 11th cousin, twice removed? John F. KennedyBill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonHow many voters will stick with Biden? Biden continues Trump's flirtation with complacency Monica Lewinsky fears 'being misunderstood again' with 'American Crime Story: Impeachment' MOREGeorge W. BushBarack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEveryone has an opinion on Afghanistan — Do voters care? As Biden falters, a two-man race for the 2024 GOP nomination begins to take shape It's time to own our mistakes and look to the future in Afghanistan MORE What did Diana, then 24, share with a famous U.S. actor in 1985 that was later described by him as “a storybook moment”? Charitable appearance to benefit HIV/AIDS patientsKiss at a Hollywood movie screeningAmusement park ride with their respective children Dance at the White House ** Bonus point: Who was the actor? Share on Twitter JW Video Type: CutdownPerson: Jaime Herrera BeutlerAmy Coney BarrettMarkwayne MullinAnthony GonzalezMitch McConnellClarence ThomasBrett KavanaughSonia SotomayorRex TillersonSamuel AlitoLloyd AustinNeil GorsuchNancy PelosiDonald TrumpBill ClintonBarack ObamaMarty WalshMark MilleyKaren BassLiz CheneyPat ToomeyJoe BidenExcluded from Just In: 0Video comments: Video comments......