The Weekender

The Weekender: Tick Tock on TikTok

The Weekender


  • 4%: Vanguard’s prediction for the U.S.’ year-end unemployment rate (down from 4.8%)
  • 23rd: The United States’ happiness ranking in 2024
  • 28%: The percentage cruise bookings have increased since last year
  • 144: The number of Boeing Max 9 aircrafts in operation in the United States
  • 352: The number of U.S. legislators who voted to pass legislation to ban TikTok
  • 1,215: The number of delegates needed to secure the Republican party’s nomination (Trump has 1,623)

The Big 5 News Updates

The Five Seasons: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Primary

For politicos, spring does not exist; this is primary season. If you are one of the many that haven’t noticed that the sun is shining a bit more brightly, here are five key races to tune into:


Rep. Bob Good (R-VA)

As chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Good holds his own during campaign season. But that hasn’t stopped John McGuire, a former Navy Seal, from challenging him in Virginia’s June 18 primary. Good, despite his strength of office, has two potential electoral albatrosses around his neck. Firstly, he endorsed Gov. Ron DeSantis over Trump in the GOP presidential primary, sparking the Trump camp to undermine his chances of re-election. Secondly, he voted to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Rep. Good has the support of the House Freedom Fund PAC but is being attacked by Virginians for Conservative Leadership and The Republican Main Street Partnership.


Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY)

As a dedicated member of the progressive House caucus, colloquially known as “The Squad,” Rep. Bowman was sure to face a primary challenge. He is being challenged by George Latimer who was partially convinced to run by Rep. Bowman’s criticism of Israel. Although his constituents won’t vote until the June 25 primary, they will have a choice between Rep. Bowman and George Latimer, who also describes himself as a “lifelong progressive Democrat.”


Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC)

Rep. Mace is one of only eight Republicans who voted to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy from office last year, a move that all but ensured she would be primaried. Catherine Templeton is taking her chances against Rep. Mace during their June 11 primary. It would have been a closer race, but Rep. Mace received the gold-plated bulletproof primary vest that is the Donald Trump endorsement. Templeton, who is not dropping out of the race despite the gladiatorial backing of her opponent, will ride out the campaign until the primary vote.


Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX)

Rep. Gonzales’ March 5 primary did not go well for him, leading to a May 28 runoff with his competitor Brandon Herrera. Rep. Gonzales failed to secure 50% of the primary, which is just shy of failure for an incumbent, but he is optimistic about his chances in the runoff. Herrera criticized Rep. Gonzales for his vote to set up the Jan. 6 Commission. For what it is worth, his district is nothing short of massive, stretching from the far outskirts of San Antonio all the way to El Paso, covering 29 counties and lengthening itself well over half the width of Texas.


Rep. Summer Lee (D-PA)

Bhavini Patel is running against Rep. Summer Lee on the grounds that Rep. Lee is undermining President Biden (according to her ads). She has faced a bit of trouble from a super PAC supporting her, however. Moderate PAC is spending $270,000 on the ads backing her campaign, but Patel denounced them after they accepted $1 million from Jeffrey Yass, a Republican Megadonor who Trump is considering for a cabinet pick if re-elected. Moderate PAC President Ty Strong affirmed his money did not pay for her ads and that the PAC is supporting her because Rep. Lee may lose the district.

The political theater of 2024 is in full swing. Tune in every Friday to The Weekender to get your fix.  

Read More at The Washington Post

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, TikTok, BOOM

Tick-tock goes the clock on TikTok as Congress will interlock to decide if the app can continue to walk the walk in the U.S. Until now, it has been a cakewalk for the app to grow like a beanstalk given the massive feedstock of use by younger generations. The House quickly pointed their flintlocks at ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company), voting in a bloc to pass a bill requiring the Chinese-owned company to divest from TikTok or face a national ban. Senators will flock to a hearing to be briefed on the issue by the FBI, Justice Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The bipartisan measure is no laughingstock and is likely to put ByteDance in a headlock.

The House was decisive on the bill, easily passing it 352 in favor and 65 against only eight days after it was introduced. The legislation now faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where Members are looking at alternatives to regulating foreign-owned apps that pose security risks. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has remained neutral on the issue and affirmed that the Senate will review the legislation but is not immediately whipping in either direction.

Public opinion polling on the issue is evenly split in a three-way tie. According to a poll by The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 31% of U.S. adults favor the ban, 35% oppose the action, and 31% neither favor nor oppose it. Further action is expected after the national security briefing in the Senate, but the chamber is unlikely to move as quickly as the House. If the Senate moves in favor of the legislation, there is sure to be an aftershock once ByteDance sells TikTok or abandons the U.S. marketplace.

Read More at Axios

Are you happy? An increasing number of Americans are not.

Since the World Happiness Report began 12 years ago, the United States has consistently ranked in the top 20 – until now. 2024’s report illustrates that the U.S. is the unhappiest it’s been in a long time, dropping from 15th last year to 23rd. Conversely, Scandinavia swept the top 3 happiest countries, with Finland, Denmark, and Sweden in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively. Other countries that climbed over the USA in rank are Israel (ranked #5), Costa Rica (#12), Kuwait (#13), Canada (#15), and the United Arab Emirates (#22).

This year, all age groups’ happiness rankings fell in the US. The oldest group was the happiest, likely due to increased gratitude and less self-focus. Younger groups were found to be the unhappiest, a decline that the Wall Street Journal attributes to “feeling worse about their lives.” Researchers suspect decreasing human interaction and increasing social media use are prominent factors behind lower rates of happiness. Others cite rising costs of living and world conflict.

How can the US turn its frown upside down? Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Science Director at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center says that relationships, gratitude, and purpose, are crucial components to a happier life. Healthy amounts of exercise and sleep and less time on social media also aid in increasing happiness and reducing stress. 

Read More at The Wall Street Journal

Inflation is Outstaying its Welcome

The Federal Reserve has been pushing for a so-called “soft landing” – raising interest rates just enough to slow the economy without crashing it into a recession. Instead, analysts suggest the U.S. may be headed toward a “deferred landing” which is a similar maneuver, except inflation may remain higher than the Fed’s 2% target for longer than anticipated. Fortunately, a soft landing is still on the table and there is a much lower likelihood of a recession.

While a recession would be bad for consumers, a deferred landing means that inflation is going to outstay its welcome. For those spending on higher price growth goods and services, like education and healthcare, the effect will be felt more heavily than others. There is some good news, however, as the labor market remains strong. Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits over the last week and laid-off workers spent less time finding new work.

Read More at CNBC

Rockets Aimed at the Wrong Planet

North Korea claims to have successfully breached a new threshold in its offensive military missile technology: an intermediate hypersonic missile designed to strike American island territories such as Guam. Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un publicly announced his administration would be developing these hypersonic missiles in 2021, and just three years later, they released they have cracked the code. It is important to note that this is an intermediate range weapon – not an intercontinental ballistic missile; therefore, this vehicle could not strike the U.S. mainland.

The significance of this development is that the missile itself utilizes solid fuel, which is harder to detect than liquid-propellant missiles. Liquid-propelled missiles must be fueled directly before takeoff as the fuel cannot last long. A solid propellant vehicle could be launched significantly faster, leaving little time for surveillance operations to notice activity. These hypersonic missiles must consistently exceed Mach 5 speeds to break through missile defense systems, a feat that has not yet been verified.

This past week, the U.S., South Korea, and Japan detected multiple ballistic missile tests departing the DPRK; North Korean media said these test missiles are nuclear-capable with multiple rocket launchers designed to target South Korea’s capital of Seoul. Launch observers say that North Korean missile tests will increase as the U.S. prepares itself for another presidential election.

Read more at Politico

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