1. BIDEN VISITS FLORIDA
Putting aside his political beef with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, President Joe Biden visited the state Wednesday to survey the damages from Hurricane Ian. With midterms fast approaching, the disaster has forced the president to work closely with a leading contender for the Republican ticket in 2024. “There will be plenty of time to discuss differences between the president and the governor, but now is not the time,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
2. MUSK-TWITTER: WHAT’S NEXT?
With a still-scheduled trial fast approaching, the Elon Musk-Twitter saga opened a new chapter this week when the Tesla billionaire seemed to renew his April offer to buy the company for $44 billion. But what comes next? The judge presiding over the case has said she will “continue to press on toward our trial” apparently until there is movement to formally stop it.
3. OIL CARTEL CUTS PRODUCTION
The oil producing cartel OPEC and its allies have agreed to cut oil production against the wishes of the Biden administration, which has urged the countries to keep pumping to curb inflation. The group, known as OPEC+, reduced production earlier in the pandemic, but started ramping back up as the world economy reopened. Now, with prices once again sliding, OPEC+ is changing course, and Americans could feel the pressure at the pump.
4. JOB GROWTH CONTINUES
The U.S. economy added 208,000 jobs in September, according to payroll services firm ADP. The data is yet another sign that the labor market is holding strong, despite widespread concerns that a recession may be on the horizon. Nela Richardson, chief economist at ADP, told Cheddar News that school reopenings are behind the job growth, as well as a boost in services that the firm expects to continue through the holidays.
5. MORTGAGE RATES SPIKE
As if housing prices weren't high enough, mortgage rates have hit a 16-year high of 6.75%. The rate has increased steadily in recent months, as the Federal Reserve has tightened financial conditions, causing the housing market to swiftly contract after multiple years of booming home sales. Some are anticipating relief with this week's drop-off in bond yields, which are closely tied to mortgage rates, but many prospective homebuyers are still holding off the big purchase until the dust settles.
6. ABORTION LAW UPDATES
IDAHO: The University of Idaho has advised staff members not to give students counseling on birth control as a broad reaction to the state's abortion ban. President Biden bashed the school's guidance, asking, "What century are we in?"
Somewhere in the Dark Ages, apparently.
ARIZONA: A Phoenix clinic has found a way around the state's abortion ban to provide the needed pills to patients. It involves a four-step, two-state process, which it believes will not run afoul of state laws.
7. AMAZON HIRING FREEZE
Amazon will not fill any corporate positions in its retail division, even as it approaches the busy shopping season. While the company noted it is still hiring for other positions, a spokesperson said people should expect Amazon “to keep adjusting our hiring strategies.” And it’s not just Amazon. Tech companies from Meta to Snap are giving up office space and laying off employees. Cheddar News’ Michelle Castillo looks into why big tech is becoming smaller — and why small, private startups may not feel the crunch as much.
Not so happy holidays for some this year.
8. CLEANING UP SPOTIFY
The music streaming service Spotify has purchased Kinzen, a tech company that provides services for detecting harmful online content. Spotify said it hopes to better understand and identify "emerging abuse trends." This comes several months after the company faced backlash for hosting the controversial podcast "The Joe Rogan Experience."
9. IN ENTERTAINMENT
“RUST” SETTLEMENT: Actor Alec Baldwin has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of Halyna Hutchins, who was killed last year on the set of “Rust" after an improperly loaded gun discharged. The lawsuit alleged numerous violations of industry standards on the set. The film is now expected to resume production in 2023.
COMIC CON: New York Comic Con begins today with a fuller lineup of celebrities, artists and vendors than last year's not-so-triumphant return after its cancellation in 2020. Cheddar News will be covering the proceedings, so keep an eye out for dispatches from the Con.
10. PROFESSOR FIRED FOR HARD CLASS
An organic chemistry professor who literally wrote the book on teaching the subject to future doctors was unceremoniously canned by NYU after struggling students petitioned to get better grades. The university said the untenured professor, Maitland Jones Jr., who spent most of his career at Princeton, had abysmal evaluations from students and made the move to appease students and the bill-payers (usually parents). Jones, who isn't trying to get his job back, says over the last decade students have lost focus, which was exacerbated by the pandemic.
We'd be interested in checking out that list of signatories when we're thinking about finding a new doctor.
JETSONS IN 2022
Jetson, the flying electric vehicle producer, has raised $10 million in its latest funding round. Peter Ternström, co-founder and president of Jetson, joined Cheddar News to discuss making the skies available to the public with its personal transport drone.