The Weekender

The Weekender: Minnesotans Choose Between Guns and Ganja


Welcome back to a new edition of The Weekender… where boarding a plane is more strenuous than ever, and Minnesota becomes Minne-stoned-a. The sun is shining and we’re not opining; we’ve got your backs with nothing but the facts. Right here in The Weekender.


  • 10,000: The number of layoffs in the Meta Platform’s second round of firings.
  • 232,000: The number of U.S. applications for jobless claims last week.
  • 2.9 Million: The number of people who watched the Succession finale on Sunday night.
  • $1 Trillion: The approximate value of U.S. chipmaker Nvidia by the end of last week.

New Moms on the Block

Moms for Liberty (MFL) didn’t exist in the 2020 presidential race, but it’s quick rise to political stardom positions the group to become a leading player in 2024. Since its inception in 2021, MFL has become a leading advocate for greater parental involvement in schools.

The organization found its roots working to amend local school board’s votes on COVID-19 restrictions but has quickly expanded into a national network of more than 100,000 members with 275 chapters.

Today, their legislative ambitions include revamping the U.S. education systems by limiting discussions of systemic racism, gender, LGBTQIA issues, and sex education, while calling for limits on transgender students’ participation in sports and removing books they deem inappropriate. Top Republican candidates have embraced the growing organization, including Governor Ron DeSantis, who spoke at the organization’s inaugural summit in downtown Tampa. Mother Jones anointed the group “The Most Powerful Moms in America;” their influence is nothing to ignore.Read More at The Wall Street Journal

Congress Raises the Debt Ceiling

After weeks of painstaking negotiations and “will they, won’t they” deal proposals, both Chambers of Congress passed legislation to raise the debt ceiling and cut federal spending. The bill is expected to be signed into law by President Joe Biden today. Throughout the nail-biter sequence of events leading to the passage, Republican Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy brokered a 314-117 passage of what he calls one of the “most conservative” deals they could have received. President Biden doesn’t deem it “conservative” but does say he “feels good” about the final negotiation. Senate discussions largely centered around defense spending, but in the end, leaders from both political parties issued a joint statement saying the deal “does nothing to limit the Senate’s ability to appropriate emergency supplemental funds to ensure our military capabilities…” The subtle glimmer of bipartisanship is receiving applause. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board wrote, “Divided government is rarely pretty, but sometimes it can yield good results. That’s the case with the weekend debt-ceiling deal…”  Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota said, “you can’t make people do things, but you can set it up so that it’s easier for them to get things done. And that’s what we hope was accomplished here.” Among the legislation’s winners is renewable energy. The final bill includes language that could accelerate new renewable investments and pave the way for projects to receive approval in a timelier manner. And the losers? Those who were hoping for another extension of student loan repayments. The bill outlines that the pause on federal student loans will “cease to be effective.”Read More at The Washington Post

Dial-a-Doc: Here to Stay?

May 11, 2023: the day the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ended (per the U.S. government), but its impact reverberates across our culture – and our healthcare systems. Telehealth was a valuable tool during the pandemic: it eliminated appointment travel, skirted childcare issues, expanded access to specialists, and provided rural communities with new avenues to receive care. A new study demonstrates that low-income Asian and Hispanic patients are the most likely to leverage telehealth.  But is telehealth here to stay? Chris Raphaely, the co-chair of the healthcare practice group Cozen O’Connor, says yes. People like the new norm and are pushing back against rescinding COVID-era regulations.  For example, the FDA was slated to use the May 11 end of the PHE to roll back e-prescribing without an in-person consultation to a much smaller subset of drugs. That rule received more than enough public commentary in opposition, leading the FDA to keep the current rules in place indefinitely. Patients prefer to see their doctors in person to receive evaluations, but telehealth provides an important service to those who are immobile, live in remote locations, or have busy schedules.Read More at Healthcare IT News


Cannabis campaigners can rejoice: they’re almost halfway done. This week, Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize adult recreational marijuana use. The bill – signed by Governor Tim Walz – will not only legalize the plant for those 21+ but also expunge misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor records of prior offenders. This new law goes into effect August 1 and will carry a 10% state sales tax in addition to the statewide 6.875% sales tax.  According to the Pew Research Center an overwhelming majority of Americans would applaud this action. Fifty-nine percent of people nationwide support full legalization, 30% support medicinal legalization, and only 10% say it should not be legal.  But here’s the rub: although states are free to “legalize it,” the federal government still maintains its illegality. In response to the new Minnesota law, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms advised Minnesotans that individuals who consume cannabis cannot legally own firearms. This is something that many households within the state should take into consideration since 42.8% of people in the state have a gun in their homes. Minnesotans can blow smoke rings from their mouths or their barrels, but not both.

Read More at the Duluth News Tribune

Bad Day to be a California Goat

California deploys a wide arsenal of tools to reduce wildfire risks, including targeted grazing by goat herds to munch on the dry vegetation, which serves as fire tinder. Goat herds are quieter, more sustainable, less destructive, and produce fewer emissions than the leading alternatives like weed-whacking machines and chemical herbicides. But new state regulations are putting the goat grazing industry on the chopping block. The new rule change increases the monthly salary of herders from $3,730 on average to up to $14,000, according to the California Farm Bureau, an aim to ensure goatherders are subject to the same labor laws as other farm workers. The herders receiving the pay raise are mainly hired from Peru and live in employer-provided trailers near grazing sites since they are expected to be available 24/7. Companies say the new law will put them out of business, forcing them to sell their herds and shut their doors. Company owners say that if the law passes, they will either close their operations (increasing risks of wildfires) or pass the cost down to the customer at a price point few could afford.Read More at The Associated Press


Failure to Launch

North Korea experienced another failed launch during its attempt to put its first military spy satellite into orbit. Rather than ending up in space, the rocket ended up in the ocean. Despite the failure, the country announced that it will soon proceed with a secondary launch. The string of launches stirs new international tensions between North Korea and the alliance of South Korea, Japan, and the United States. South Korea’s military said this incident, and many others like it, only strengthens its relationship with the United States and underscores the need for increased cooperation. Notably, North Korea claims they require a military satellite to monitor the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises that have seen a stark increase since 2022. Japan affirms it will strike down any missile that either approaches or crosses over its borders, serving as a critical firewall protecting the U.S. and Canada.Read More at USA Today


See you next week!


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