Rabbit, rabbit! It’s a new month, which means a brand new chance to make your own luck. Why do we say rabbit rabbit, anyway?
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. White House
The White House is cranking up pressure as talks drag on with Republicans over President Biden’s ambitious yet divisive infrastructure plans. The administration had hoped for a deal on the proposal, originally tagged at $2.2 trillion, by Memorial Day. However, there’s still a $700 billion gap between Biden’s original proposal and the GOP’s counterproposals. There are fears among the President’s allies that this ongoing inertia could lead to a “summer slump” that often happens in the first year of a presidency, when unanticipated challenges at home and abroad slow down the early months of a president’s legislative momentum.
Half the US population is now at least partially vaccinated, which means health experts are less concerned about the crowds that gathered at beaches, bars and other venues over the holiday weekend. Still, they warn that those who aren’t vaccinated remain at great risk of serious illness from Covid-19. The next goal? Biden wants to get 70% of the population at least partially vaccinated by July 4. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has assigned new labels to key coronavirus variants so the public can refer to them by letters of the Greek alphabet instead of where the variant was first detected. For instance, the UK variant that made its way around the US is now variant Alpha, and the one responsible for India’s most recent deadly surge is Delta.
3. Voting laws
Texas has become the next battleground in the voting rights fight after state Democrats successfully derailed a restrictive voting bill. Legislators walked off the state House floor late Sunday night, leaving majority Republicans without the quorum they needed to approve the bill before a midnight deadline. The bill would make mail-in voting more difficult, ban early voting on Sunday mornings and prohibit local elections officials from sending out absentee ballot applications to anyone who has not requested one. The measure may be dead for now, but Gov. Greg Abbott made it clear the issue will be top of mind during the next legislative session. States like Georgia and Florida have already passed similarly restrictive voting measures based on falsehoods promoted by former President Trump that the outcome of the 2020 election was somehow fraudulent.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure as Israeli Prime Minister could be coming to an end after two political rivals announced they are working toward forming a new government in the Knesset, the country’s parliament. Naftali Bennett, leader of the small right-wing party Yamina, said he is working toward a coalition deal with centrist party leader Yair Lapid to avoid a fifth round of elections, the prior of which have failed to produce a new government. If successful, Netanyahu — who faces an ongoing trial on bribery and fraud charges — will be ousted as Israel’s longest-serving PM. Lapid now needs to reach and sign formal coalition agreements with the eight parties involved. Parliament then has a week to vote on the coalition arrangements before the new government — and a new Israeli prime minister — could be sworn in.
Today marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, but the first named storm is already in the books. Subtropical Storm Ana formed in the Atlantic 10 days ago, marking the seventh year in a row when at least one named storm formed prior to the official start of the season. Hurricanes are getting deadlier and deadlier as oceans and the air around them heat up due to the climate crisis. Rising sea levels also raise the risk of destructive storm surges. As we gear up for another potentially dangerous season, Amazon and the Red Cross are partnering on a new disaster hub that will allow for a faster response to locations hit by hurricanes and other natural disasters. And coastal Catholics are calling on a more divine go-between: Our Lady of Prompt Succor, a version of the Virgin Mary known to protect from storms.
Krispy Kreme has given away over 1.5 million doughnuts to vaccinated people
It’s the 2021 version of getting a lollipop after a doctor’s visit.
Olivia Rodrigo’s album ‘Sour’ debuts at the top of the chart
The reigning queen of breakup songs to scream along to in your car is living large.
This ‘wandering meatloaf’ mollusk has a rare mineral in its teeth
How does it get the name “wandering meatloaf?” Well, just look at it!
A swanky ‘Darth Vader House’ hits the market for $4.3 million
The aesthetic is strong with this one.
It only takes weeks for your body to fall out of shape when you stop exercising
This is NOT what we needed to hear after a long weekend.
Biden will visit Tulsa, Oklahoma, today to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, one of the worst acts of racial violence in US history, and to announce new steps to reduce the racial wealth gap.
That’s the year China implemented its one-child policy to try to address overpopulation and alleviate poverty. Now, China’s government says it will allow couples to have three children after lagging population growth and a looming demographic crisis.
“They are the product of the creativity of this people, who pass them from generation to generation; their wearers wear them with pride, as a deep expression of their culture.”
Mexican Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto Guerrero, in a letter to clothing companies including Zara and Anthropologie, accusing them of cultural appropriation of indigenous Mexican designs. In the letter, Guerrero said he wants to protect the creators of these motifs because they are often overlooked and underappreciated.
Look at ’em go!
Let’s tackle this week like this capybara tackles an obstacle course. (Click here to view.)