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Debt Limit, Alec Baldwin, and AI

The limit exists

The story

The US has struck a blow debt ceiling.

So what now?

We are waiting. In December 2021, Congress raised the US debt ceiling up to $31.4 trillion to pay off bills. Think of it like a credit card max. The federal government only has so much (in this case, $31.4 trillion) it can spend on its obligations — anything from Social Security and tax refunds on military salaries. Yesterday was the day the US reached its limit. And if someone hadn’t intervened, the US would have defaulted – a financial state that has a cascade effect on everything from interest rates to the strength of the dollar, possibly even triggering a recession. It could also rattle global financial markets.

Who collapsed?

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. For months she has been sounding the alarm about the debt limit deadline. But has a plan: by pausing some of his investments federal retirement plans, the Treasury is able to reduce the country’s debt – and avoid bankruptcy for about five months. Retirees won’t feel the pinch, at least for now. But Yellen called the budget tactics “extraordinary measures.” And begs Congress to come up with a solution.

How long do we have?

Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) have until about June to come to some sort of deal. But they want very different things. House Republicans want to use this as leverage to push through cuts to social programs like Social Security and Medicare. But Biden has said this is not a negotiating point — and that Congress should raise the no-obligation debt limit since they have already agreed to pay these bills.

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The US has come closest to a moment like this 1979, when a technical accounting error affected a small number of investors. In 2011, a standoff between the Republicans and President Obama led to the very first upgrade of the US federal credit rating. Now, without a deal in the coming months, the US is heading for bankruptcy — a moment that would be unprecedented.

And also… this

Who are people talking about…

Alec Baldwin. Yesterday, New Mexico prosecutors announced they will charge the actor and producer on two counts of involuntary manslaughter. This is about the death of Halyna Hutchins. On the set of “Rust” in 2021, Baldwin held a prop pistol that fired a live shot, killing the 42-year-old cameraman. But the actor insists he didn’t pull the trigger and that he didn’t know there were live rounds in it. Because the film set was in New Mexico, state regulators fined the company for it firearms safety failures. Hutchins’ family then organized a wrongful death lawsuit. Meanwhile, Baldwin has denied responsibility for her death. His lawyer say Baldwin “relied on the professionals he worked with” to make sure the gun had no live ammunition. If convicted now, he could face up to 1.5 years in prison. Baldwin’s attorney called the charges a “appalling miscarriage of justice” and plans to appeal the charges.

What does ‘not in our classrooms’ say…

Florida. The state education department has blocked a new AP African American Studies course in high schools. During the 2022-2023 school year, 60 schools across the country have begun testing the course at the college level as part of a pilot program. The course explores the experiences and contributions of African Americans through literature, art and geography. But Florida — which reportedly has at least one high school in the pilot — said the class has “significantly no educational value” and goes against state law. Officials did not explain their reasoning to the College Board, which oversees AP courses. But state Senator Shevrin Jones (D) called it an “attack by black history and black people.” It comes after Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) restricted it discussions about race, gender and sexual orientation in classrooms.

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What’s making headlines in the Big Apple…

Free abortion pills. Earlier this week, New York City began providing the pills for free to a public health clinic in the Bronx — reportedly the first city in the country to do so. Three clinics in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens will also offer the free medication by the end of the year. Once they’re all up and running, a city official estimates they’ll be maxed out 10,000 drug abortions a year. While NYC already offers medication abortions in 11 public hospitals, this program aims to remove insurance and other economic hurdles that patients may experience in a hospital setting. It’s one of them multiple measures the city has taken steps to expand abortion access since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

… Oh and speaking of Roe v. Wade, remember the Supreme Court investigation to find out who leaked the draft advice? SCOTUS can not find who did it.

What could get 37 million calls…

T Mobile.

What takes away our smile…

Amazon.

Why do we say hello, Wisconsin…

That ’90s show.”

What can you possibly paint as one of his French girls…

AI.

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