The Weekender: Starting Spring With a New King 👑


Welcome back to a new edition of The Weekender… where athletes, coaches, and child psychologists duke it out over participation trophies and technology continues to create and destroy job opportunities. May the Fourth be with you, and may The Weekender keep you in the loop.

P.S. Strategic Elements is proud to announce the promotions of four talented team members: Elizabeth Silva to Senior Operations Director; Kristin Sheldon to Senior Strategic Communications Director; Kyle Jones to Senior Public Affairs Manager; and Andrea Hatcher to Senior Digital Manager. They specialize in client relationship management, policy communications, cultivating brand awareness, and strategic narrative development. Their leadership abilities continue to be an asset to our team, and their new roles will prove significant for the continued success of Strategic Elements. Learn more about their promotions here.

State Lawmakers Take on Participation Trophies

Three Republican North Carolina lawmakers recently introduced a bill banning kids from receiving participation trophies in youth sports activities. Participation trophies have existed in some form for at least 100 years in the United States, given a 1922 Columbus, Ohio, column mentioning them, but the issue is still a hot topic for athletes, coaches, and parents alike. Many professional athletes and coaches – like Olympian and World Cup competitor Cobi Jones – believe participation trophies do not prepare children to face the challenges or triumphs of the real world by skewing their perception of success. In 2015, Entrepreneur’s Susan Solovic drew the connection between the increase in participation trophies and the decrease in small businesses being started by those who received them as children. Several years later, Big Think dove into the neuroscience behind these awards, suggesting that when a child discovers their efforts and dedication have come to fruition, even if they did not win, they are taught the value of effort regardless of the outcome. This conversation has echoed for decades, but it has never before reached the level of legislation. Will North Carolina set a new standard for youth sports? Time will tell. Read more at Insider.

Don’t Become a Fax Machine Salesperson

Technological innovation benefits all of society, but it has been undeniably bad for cassette tape makers, rotary phone builders, and floppy disk enthusiasts. The next generation of workers is no exception and will need to embrace modern industries unlikely to go extinct anytime soon. This week, The World Economic Forum released a report outlining the ways new technologies and the climate crisis will affect the modern workplace and job market. By 2027, the report says 69 million jobs will be created worldwide, but 83 million will be eliminated. Generative AI and the push to “go green” will instill value in certain jobs. If you are preparing to enter the job market, consider one of these professions:

  • AI and machine learning specialist
  • Sustainability specialist
  • Business intelligence analyst
  • Information security analyst
  • Fintech engineer

The demand for AI and machine learning specialists alone is expected to grow by 40% (one million jobs) over the next five years, which may eliminate some career fields. Don’t go to college for these jobs:

  • Bank teller
  • Postal service clerk
  • Cashier
  • Data entry clerk
  • Administrative secretary

And if you are concerned that the rise of technological growth is more dystopian than hopeful, check out Indeed’s list of “41 Jobs That Don’t Exist Anymore,” and remember that all professions and industries are subject to elimination by the next wave of human advancement. Read more at CNBC.

Carbon Capture: Omissions of Emissions

The Gulf of Mexico’s seabed is a treasure trove – but its riches are not golden, ruby, or jade. For nearly a century, the oil and gas industry has relished the Gulf’s massive reserves of fossil fuels. Today, though, the region is becoming a hotspot for Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS), when emissions caused by the extraction and subsequent burning of this black gold are returned to the ground where they cannot contribute to climate change. Analysts expect the Gulf to become a hotbed of activity for carbon sequestration, and renewable energy like offshore wind and solar, and continued oil and gas production. CCUS and carbon pipelines – are an economic and environmental prospect that has excited state and industry leaders across the country, with several states passing or considering legislation to capitalize on the surging investment in the technology. Carbon emissions may one day be gone with the wind, and the spaces that once preserved fossil fuels may be the final resting places for the emissions they created. Read more at Reuters.

All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men, Gather for a Coronation Again

King Charles III will be officially coronated on Saturday, May 6, succeeding his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned for 70 years. While there are no legal requirements for the coronation ceremony, the event has historically been deeply religious, rooted in tradition and serves as the formal confirmation intended to demonstrate the monarch’s God-given authority. The last coronation ceremony – in June 1953 – was televised in black and white, so modern technological capabilities are certain to outweigh Elizabeth’s coronation from a viewership perspective. Although this coronation is intended to be a “toned-down” affair, millions worldwide will tune in to watch the ceremony. And the American audience may be just as enthralled as the British. Arianne Chernick, associate professor at Boston University’s history department, says that “as soon as we severed ties, we were back to being fascinated – captivated really – by the royal family.” According to Nielsen, approximately 23 million Americans woke up to watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011. Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding was one of the most-watched events of the 1980s in the United States, and when Princess Diana died, roughly 30 million Americans watched the funeral. The coronation of King Charles III will be a momentous occasion for the world to watch. Read more at The Associated Press.

War of the Wardrobes: Skinny vs. Baggy Jeans

Gen Z, the ‘TikTok Generation’, is accused of killing many things: Facebook, cash, cable television, cursive handwriting, and side-part haircuts. Their alleged latest victim? Skinny jeans. While their efforts to replace skinny jeans with baggy fits on both men and women are working to some degree, slim fits still claim 70% of Bloomington’s men’s jean business. But Gen Z sees the skinny jean as an antiquated fashion trend and has collectively elected to don the Clinton-era baggy britches (topped with an accompanying bucket hat). Unsurprisingly, the rise of skinny jeans among Millennials was a fashion revolution akin to the knicker knock-out the current youngest generation currently wages. Millennials, despising the ill-fitted leg-hiders worn by their parents, sought out skinny jeans as a more stylish and comfortable alternative to lifeless, downtrodden trousers of their predecessors’ day. It appears each passing generation attempts to take a short position against their parents’ pants, and it does not look like Gen Z will be giving any slack in their struggle against the slim fit. Overall, we are curious to see which chaps will chap subsequent generations. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.


Threat of Chinese Balloons Inflates

In an unassuming corner of a northwestern China desert, satellite imagery from the U.S. company BlackSky showed a large blimp developed by the Chinese military. These images were taken three months before a Chinese spy balloon traversed the U.S. only to (eventually) be shot down over the coast of South Carolina. The blimp, resting neatly on a 100-foot runway outside a 900-foot airship hangar, appears to have dedicated propulsion and navigation capabilities. China has been investing in ‘near space’ maneuverability and supremacy, a region that may be hotly contested as countries seek technological advancement to compete with one another on the edge of space. According to NPR, near space is an emerging battleground for surveillance operations, and China is off to a running start. Suspected Chinese balloons have been spotted in Japan, Taiwan, India, Latin America, and Hawaii in the last three years. Even the weather research China secures through these balloons has readily available military applications. If these balloons can transmit weather conditions back to an operating base, that data can be used to increase the efficacy of ballistic missiles, hypersonic missiles, and traditional payload-bearing aircraft. Between China expanding its near-space surveillance repertoire, secret police stations in U.S. cities, and potential data collection through TikTok, the country is clearly placing a premium on intelligence. Read more in CNN.


  • 11,500: The number of Hollywood writers on strike, protesting their compensation versus the revenue generated in the streaming era.
  • $2.65: The price per gallon of wholesale diesel in New York Harbor, down from a record $5.34 last May. A nationwide U.S. freight slowdown, a warm winter, and a reshuffling of global oil trade cut demand and increased supplies – a potentially worrying sign for the economy.
  • 46%: The share of U.S. voters who support a nationwide TikTok ban, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll. Younger voters and Democrats are far less likely to want a ban than older voters and Republicans.
  • 152,000: The approximate number of transgender adults in the U.S. who are enrolled in Medicaid, according to Williams Institute statistics. Medicaid is at the center of a widening partisan divide among states over transgender healthcare.
  • $387 million: The charge Norfolk Southern recorded from the train derailment that spilled toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio, in February. The amount – roughly 12% of its 2022 profits – doesn’t reflect money that Norfolk Southern could potentially recover through its insurance policies.
  • 7.3%: The raise for a typical person switching jobs in March 2023 versus 5.9% for employees who remained on the job. Seven months earlier, wage increases were 8.4% and 5.6% respectively. As the labor market shifts, fewer people are quitting, which suggests employers don’t need to offer as big a premium to hire or keep workers.



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