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Governors, Pentagon In Space Force Feud

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Wednesday. And welcome to May! Here is a cool new invention: Washington state's Department of Transportation has designed a drone that removes graffiti from public surfaces that would be otherwise hard to reach. Have a great day!

In Today’s Brief

  • Protests: NYPD moves in at Columbia U

  • Canada: Parliamentary brouhaha

  • Trump: Outlines re-election plans

  • Dow Jones: Worst month since 2022

  • Tony Awards: Nominations announced

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Space squabble

Almost every governor in the country has a bone to pick with the Pentagon.

  • The news: An Air Force proposal to Congress would convert every Air National Guard unit tasked with space-related missions into the active-duty Space Force. The proposal consolidates all space professionals into a single federal service component rather than establishing a Space National Guard.

  • The pushback: The proposal would waive a federal law that prohibits changes to a National Guard unit in any state without gubernatorial approval. Governors from 48 states and leaders of five U.S. territories have protested the move in a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott did not sign the letter.

  • Big picture: The Air Force has dismissed the governors' concerns, arguing the proposal only impacts about 1K Guardsmen in 14 units across seven states. But the governors argue the proposal would set precedent for future infringement on their authority and could hinder preparedness and public safety in their states.

2) High time

A massive shift in federal drug policy is on the table.

  • The news: The Biden Administration has proposed reclassifying marijuana as a lower-risk drug. Weed is currently a Schedule I drug according to the Controlled Substances Act; the proposal would downgrade it to Schedule III.

  • The impact: Marijuana would still be considered a controlled substance and the rule change would not legalize it for recreational use. States that prohibit it could still prosecute people for possession. But while Schedule I drugs are considered to have no medical use and a high risk for abuse, most Schedule III drugs come with fewer restrictions and can be obtained through prescription.

  • Big picture: The full ramifications are unclear as the rule change has yet to be finalized. Downgrading marijuana could drastically change practices around the drug for users as well as commercial, government and law enforcement groups. And it could give President Joe Biden a boost in his re-election bid.

3) Elder disrespect

Americans lost over $3B due to scams targeting older people last year.

  • The news: People ages 60 and up were scammed out of $3.4B in 2023, according to an FBI report. That marked an 11% increase in so-called "elder fraud" from 2022. There was also a 14% increase in complaints filed with the bureau.

  • More numbers: Over 100K complaints were filed last year. The average complainant lost about $34K. Almost 6K people lost over $100K. And the real figures are likely higher, as about half of the 880K complaints received by the FBI had age data.

  • Big picture: Tech support fraud -- when scammers pretend to work for a legitimate company and offer assistance or refunds that require downloading malware -- was the No. 1 crime type. But investment scams were the costliest form of crime. Illegal call scams were another major issue.

Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • The NYPD arrested dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters in a raid of an occupied Columbia University campus building. The Ivy League school asked police to remain on campus to prevent further encampments (More)

  • House Democrats said they will block any vote to oust Republican Speaker of the House Mike Johnson. Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene reiterated her threat to file a motion to vacate (More)

  • Over 50 people were injured when a Los Angeles Metro Rail train collided with a USC campus bus. Two people were said to be in critical condition; only the driver was aboard the bus (More)

World News

  • Pierre Poilievre was ejected from the Canadian House of Commons after calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a "wacko" during a discussion of drug decriminalization in British Columbia. Poilievre leads the opposition Conservative Party, the chief opposition of Trudeau's Liberal Party (More)

  • Close to 60% of Israelis think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should resign immediately, according to a new poll. Over 50% want elections to be held amid the Gaza war against Hamas (More)

  • Zimbabwe formally introduced the world's newest currency, the ZiG. It replaces the Zimbabwe dollar, which has been battered by depreciation; new banknotes and coins are now available after an initial digital rollout (More)

Campaign News

  • Former President Donald Trump did not rule out using the military to deport illegal migrants if he is re-elected. Trump sat for a pair of wide-ranging interviews with Time to discuss his policy plans (More)

  • Trump was fined $9K for nine violations of a gag order in his New York hush money trial. Judge Juan Merchan warned Trump he could face imprisonment for future violations (More)

  • Independent vice presidential candidate Nicole Shanahan is launching a podcast and media tour. The attorney and donor has been mostly inconspicuous since being named as Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s running mate; she will seek to connect with young voters (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed lower yesterday with the Dow Jones capping its worst month since Sept. 2022. The monthly Federal Reserve meeting closes tomorrow (Dow -1.49%, Nasdaq -2.04%, S&P 500 -1.57%).

  • Binance founder Changpeng "CZ" Zhao will serve four months in federal prison for violating bank laws. The Department of Justice had sought a three-year sentence for the cryptocurrency billionaire (More)

  • Tesla is laying off its entire Supercharger division, adding about 500 workers to recent workforce cuts. The move calls into question the electric vehicle maker's charger strategy; the company's share price slid over 5% on the news (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Hell's Kitchen and Stereophonic each notched 13 nominations for June's Tony Awards. The revival of Merrily We Roll Along surprisingly only garnered seven nominations (More)

  • Good Morning America meteorologist Rob Marciano is no longer with ABC News. The longtime on-air personality was reportedly banned from the show's studio last year due to colleague complaints, but had made sporadic appearances (More)

  • Composer John Tesh said NBC could reacquire the rights to his Roundball Rock theme if it regains NBA broadcast rights. FOX has used the music in recent years, but Tesh said that deal does not preclude NBC from using it for NBA contests (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Real Heroes: Two barbers were at work in Connecticut when they noticed a small child wandering close to a busy intersection. They rushed out of their shop and got to the toddler just in time.

  • Be Safe: Martinelli's has recalled apple juice sold at popular stores like Target and Whole Foods. The juice at issue has high arsenic levels.

  • Take Note: Cicadas are very annoying for humans. Are they dangerous to our pets? This information should put your mind at ease.

  • True Crime: The story of "Roofman" is headed to the big screen. But you can read the incredible saga of an extremely courteous (and cunning) armed burglar before then.

  • Fun Stuff: A 91-year-old British man had biscuits (er, scones) and gravy for the first time. It was a big hit. Get him some chicken-fried steak next!

  • OPTIMIZE ME: Researchers “found convincing evidence that higher intake of ultra-processed foods was associated with 50% increased risk of cardiovascular disease-related death, a 48% to 53% higher risk of anxiety and common mental disorders, and a 12% greater risk of type 2 diabetes”

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A look at the fascinating history of Broadway in New York City, a road that has changed the world.

Looking Ahead …

If you have ever wanted to be Mr. Met (or Mrs. Met), your time has come. The New York Mets are accepting applications to be their mascot (and much more). Auditions are on May 15, so hurry up!

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