🐤 Dinner time!

The White House Correspondents' Dinner was Saturday ... but is the annual event past its prime?

Monday | May 1st, 2023
Early Chirp
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Happy Monday, chirpers! If you feel like you just blinked your eyes and the weekend was over, you’re not alone. Many of us feel like Saturday and Sunday go by in a flash while the rest of the week drags on … but there are a few things you can do to make your weekends seem to last longer.

For starters, don’t waste your whole morning sleeping in. When you do get up, keep chores and errands within a scheduled time frame so you can enjoy the rest of your day. And for goodness sake, don’t waste Sunday night dreading Monday.

-Chris Agee

$84.34 (0.69%)
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S&P 500
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$170.79 (0.58%)
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*Market data for this issue is from April 30th, 2023 at 5:26pm EST

🏦 Markets: All things considered, last week was a fairly positive one on Wall Street. Looking ahead to the factors that will shape the next few trading days, we’ve got several more quarterly corporate earnings reports scheduled to drop.

But the most influential data is likely to be the latest indication about how the Federal Reserve will be handling its inflation-fighting policy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will also be releasing its latest employment numbers.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown YouTube screenshot/WPLG Local 10

🌪️ Terrifying twister: The city of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was hit with a massive storm on Saturday that sparked a tornado with wind speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. According to reports, the twister caused significant property damage — from flipping cars to toppling trees. Several roads were closed in the aftermath of the storm and authorities continued to inspect the area throughout the weekend, but there were no initial reports of deaths or serious injuries.

🗳️ Paraguayan president: Voters in Paraguay went to the polls on Sunday to vote for their next president. Across Latin America, the recent trend has been for opposition candidates to secure victories, but it was unclear as of this writing which candidate came out on top. Conservatives have been in control for most of the past three-quarters of a century, but incumbent President Mario Abdo Benitez couldn’t seek re-election due to term limits.

📲 Dorsey’s do-over: Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is back with another social media site … and it looks an awful lot like his last one. Although the way users engage with Bluesky is quite similar to Twitter, Dorsey hopes that a few key details will set it apart. For starters, you’ll need an invitation to join, which makes it an exclusive location on the web. It also operates without two Twitter mainstays: hashtags and direct messages.

👑 Contemporary coronation: As King Charles III prepares to be officially crowned, new details are emerging about the ceremony itself. Despite the deeply ingrained influence of the Church of England, Archbishop Justin Welby confirmed that leaders from various faiths — including Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh — will be on hand to take part in various aspects of the coronation. It will also include female bishops and prayers offered in different languages.

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Remembering The Good Old Days Of The White House Correspondents’ Dinner

The annual event features a who's who of D.C. media and political elites.

Remembering The Good Old Days Of The White House Correspondents’ Dinner Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images

D.C. politicians and journalists alike showed up for the most recent White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday. In many ways, it followed a familiar outline: a funny host made jokes at the expense of figures on both sides of the political aisle and nobody took themselves too seriously.

But some say the star-studded affair is just a shell of what it was in its glory days.

Two dozen years

According to a pair of Washington Post writers, there was a 24-year period during which the White House Correspondents Association put on a stellar show for attendees and those who watched from home.

The “golden age,” they wrote, began in 1993 when President Bill Clinton made his first appearance.

That event features iconic guests, including none other than Barbra Streisand, and a new president was ushering in what would become a prosperous and generally peaceful period of American history.

It was also the first time the dinner had been broadcast by C-SPAN, giving ordinary Americans a look at the glitz, glamor, and guffaws that define the event.

Clinton made an impression, too, with quips like this one: “I’m not doing so bad. I mean, at this point in his administration, William Henry Harrison had been dead 68 days!

Beginning of the end

The 24-year stretch encompassed the administrations of what the Post dubbed the “cute” presidents: Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

When Donald Trump took office and refused to show up to the annual gala, the entire mood changed. And even though Joe Biden’s election in 2020 signaled a return to normalcy for many Americans, many people think the dinner still hasn’t recaptured its former charm.

Nevertheless, Saturday’s event had a few highlights and Biden later credited host Roy Wood Jr. with doing “a hell of a job.”

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What Can Hungry Spiders Teach Us About Human Vision Loss?

Biologists have been focused specifically on one common arachnid.

What Can Hungry Spiders Teach Us About Human Vision Loss? Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Whether you think spiders are creepy or cute, you probably haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about what happens to them when they’re hungry. Experts at the University of Cincinnati have, however, and what they’ve discovered could have major implications for human health.

A vision quest

The biologists involved in the study specifically focused on jumping spiders, which use their eyesight extensively to find and capture their prey. When these animals were deprived of sufficient food, however, researchers found that they began to lose the light-sensitive photoreceptors that give them such exemplary vision.

In order to test their findings, the biologists compared the results of spiders that received ample food and those that were not fed enough. Across the board, the under-fed spiders lost significantly more vital cells.

As one of the researchers explained: “Photoreceptors are energetically costly. It’s hard to keep up with their energy needs. If you deprive them of nutrition, the system fails.”

The human connection

Scientists indicate that the cells they studied in spiders are closely related to the macula found in human eyes. A common condition called macular degeneration impacts these cells, ultimately leading to vision loss.

  • About 20 million Americans are currently affected
  • There is no cure
  • Studies show it is linked to metabolic processes

Taking all of that into consideration, experts now believe that proper nutrition could be a major factor in staving off the onset of macular degeneration in humans. Of course, more research needs to be done, but one of the study’s co-authors remarked that it would be “wild if a breakthrough in macular degeneration treatments for humans was inspired by work on jumping spiders common to backyards across the United States.”

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Digging Into The Great American Lawn Wars

To mow or not to mow? That is the question.

Digging Into The Great American Lawn Wars Giphy

For generations, Americans of all stripes have taken pride in their lawns — and many homeowners associations mandate precisely how a yard must look to comply with strict rules. But in the past few years, a competing philosophy has taken root (no pun intended).

Welcome to “No Mow May”

If you’re concerned about the environment, you might be aware of some of the arguments being made by those in the so-called “anti-lawn” movement. One of its most prominent campaigns begins today.

“No Mow May” calls on residents to abstain from mowing their grass for the entire month while more holistic efforts seek to replace lawns altogether with sustainable materials that don’t require tons of water and chemical treatment.

In addition to conserving resources, the push to cut back on mowing is widely heralded as a way to preserve flowers and plants that bees and butterflies rely on to pollinate.

Be prepared for confrontation

Before you join forces with the anti-lawn crowd, make sure you understand what that might mean. Even if you don’t live in a community regulated by an HOA, your neighbors might have a thing or two to say if you let your yard become overgrown with weeds and allow the grass to turn brown.

There are more eco-friendly options these days, including organic herbicides and electric mowers, that can keep your yard looking nice while reducing your environmental footprint.

How to transform your lawn

If you’re considering a shift away from the traditional lawn, several intriguing options are gaining popularity these days, including:

  • Planting vegetation that is native to the area
  • Establishing gardens commonly known as “food lawns”
  • Replacing traditional plants with succulents and rocks
  • Carpeting the yard with clover and/or weeds
  • Using nontoxic paint to maintain a lush, green look
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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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