🐤 Shut it down

There's a strong possibility of a government shutdown ... should you be worried?

Friday | September 22nd, 2023
Early Chirp

Happy Friday, chirpers! The summer heat is coming to an end which means spooky season is right around the corner. If you haven't even started to think about what costume to wear this year and want do something new, don't fret! With all the recent ridiculousness in the world you should have plenty of ideas to choose from.

P.S. To all the dudes out there, don't be Ken (Ryan Gosling) from Barbie. Be serious with yourself for a second. I already called dibs anyways.

-Chris Agee

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*Market data for this issue is from September 21st, 2023 at 4:27pm EST

🏦 Markets: Wall Street experienced a third straight day of losses on Thursday with each of the three major indexes dipping 1% or more.

Inflation concerns — and the anticipation of another interest rate increase — were one of the likeliest causes for the sell-off, as were fears about a looming government shutdown.

Ten-year and two-year Treasury yields have also hit their highest point in 15 years, putting further pressure on the market this week.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Shutterstock

📺 Outfoxed: After decades in the media industry and spending much of his career at the helm of Fox Corporation and News Corp, Rupert Murdoch announced this week that he’ll be stepping down. Lachlan Murdoch will be succeeding his father as the chairman of News Corp while retaining his current positions as CEO and executive chairman of Fox Corp. The younger Murdoch touted his father’s “vision, his pioneering spirit, [and] his steadfast determination.”

🏘️ Airbnb crackdown: Airbnb is dealing with more than just its exile from New York City these days. The short-term rental platform announced that it’s taking on the task of banning fraudsters and removing fake listings. Concerns about such threats have caused many would-be customers to avoid Airbnb. Utilizing AI to help root out fake offers, the company said it has already removed 59,000 listings and stopped 157,000 more from being posted so far this year.

🤖 Cisco acquisition: Telecom company Cisco announced a deal to buy cybersecurity firm Splunk for a whopping $28 billion, paying $157 per share. The move comes as Cisco works to address possible security vulnerabilities — particularly those posed by AI advancement. This acquisition, CEO Chuck Robbins said, “will drive the next generation of AI-enabled security and observability,” citing a desire to “help make organizations of all sizes more secure and resilient.”

🎨 The joy of buying: Bob Ross, the late host of the PBS series “The Joy of Painting” has attracted a loyal following in the social media age, and his popularity is evident in the interest his on-air artwork has garnered. The most prized of all pieces he painted during the long-running half-hour program is “A Walk in the Woods,” which he completed in the first-ever episode. Its owner recently put it up for sale for almost $10 million but doesn’t really want to let it go.

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us politics

How Worried Should You Be About A Possible Government Shutdown?

A Sept. 30 deadline is looming. Here's what it means.

How Worried Should You Be About A Possible Government Shutdown? Shutterstock

It’s become a common predicament in modern American politics. There’s a budget dispute on Capitol Hill and time is running out to settle it before a shutdown commences.

But what is a shutdown exactly? One side says it’s really no big deal and the other insists life would be disrupted for millions of Americans.

In reality, the truth is somewhere in the middle … but it’s definitely worth considering the ramifications ahead of the Sept. 30 deadline.

What it would mean

It’s true that most crucial functions of the federal government would continue even during a shutdown, which is good news for those receiving payments from Medicaid, Medicare, or Social Security. The U.S. Postal Service would still be delivering mail during this period too.

On the other hand, many folks might be impacted, including:

  • Government employees and contractors who could be expected to work without pay
  • Parents who depend on access to the Head Start program
  • Anyone looking forward to a trip to any of America’s national parks
  • Americans interested in clinical health trials or essential government inspections

And it’s worth noting that, despite the impact a shutdown would have on all of these people, the lawmakers who failed to keep the government open would continue receiving their six-figure salaries.

Learning from history

This has all happened before, and perhaps the best way to prepare for a future shutdown is by taking a closer look at the last one. It was in 2018 and lasted for 35 days.

Many government workers either left their jobs or called out of work because of the conditions.

In addition to frustrations like long lines at airports due to TSA shortages, an estimated $3 billion in economic activity was essentially gone without a trace when the shutdown finally ended.

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How America Keeps Its Nuclear Arsenal Safe And Operational

It's a pivotal piece of the nation's military, but it's not easy to maintain.

How America Keeps Its Nuclear Arsenal Safe And Operational Shutterstock

It’s a deterrent unlike any other, and as more nations around the world develop nuclear weapons it’s vital for the U.S. to maintain a functional arsenal.

Given the temperamental nature and potentially destructive power of these warheads, however, the upkeep regimen is particularly important. That means there’s a very precise set of procedures.

Highly complex weapons

Nuclear warheads are made of an intricate network of hinges, springs, gears, and contacts of all sorts that must work in perfect harmony in order to achieve their intended result. And they also can’t be exposed to certain environmental conditions or simply left to sit without regular maintenance.

As a result, there are facilities like one in Kansas City, Missouri, which contains a specialized and highly sterile room where experts go through the painstaking process of checking each component and making repairs where needed.

Then there are the teams working at facilities like one in New Mexico that is protected by steel walls and contains all the elements to create the plutonium cores needed for a new generation of nuclear weapons. Inside, workers are protected by goggles, gloves, and radiation monitors as they take on the exacting mission of creating devices capable of a world-changing explosion.

The military component

For weapons that are ready for action, the task of safekeeping typically falls on service members. It’s not only the components that lead to a detonation that are crucial in this process but also the maintenance of each bomb’s external cone.

If there’s any blemish or imperfection, it could result in a devastating deviation in the warhead’s trajectory if it is ever launched against an enemy.

All this upkeep doesn’t come cheap. The U.S. is expected to spend in excess of $750 billion over a decade to build and preserve its nuclear arsenal.

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Exploring The Complicated Reality Of America’s Indoor Farmers

New farms are appearing even as many existing ones go out of business.

Exploring The Complicated Reality Of America’s Indoor Farmers Shutterstock

As climate change threatens much of the nation’s farmland, there’s some hope that massive greenhouses can provide some of the crops that would otherwise be grown outside.

But even as new indoor farming operations spring up across the country, there are some serious concerns about the long-term viability of this relatively new method.

Trial and error

If you were to ask some industry insiders whether indoor farming is the wave of the future, you’d get a resounding “yes.” After all, there’s a lot of money being injected into projects like Plenty Unlimited — an enormous facility being constructed in California.

Then there’s Kroger, the supermarket chain that recently announced significant investments in its own supply of produce grown in so-called “vertical” farms.

But on the other hand, you’ve got AeroFarms in New Jersey and AppHarvest in Kentucky, both of which filed for bankruptcy recently. Planted Detroit planned to build another farm in its operation but abruptly ceased operations entirely over the summer.

The lesson seems to be that it’s imperative to build on a model that is sustainable economically as well as environmentally.

Accentuate the positive

Advocates of indoor farming are quick to point out all of the potential pros associated with the process, including:

  • Using less water and land
  • Cutting down on transportation
  • Reducing the need for pesticides
  • Allowing for year-round harvests

Any company that is able to capitalize on these selling points is likely to survive the current period of uncertainty, according to Eden Green grower Jacob Portillo, who said: “The fact that other people are failing and other people are succeeding, that’s going to happen in any industry you go to, but specifically for us, I think that especially as sustainable as we’re trying to be, the sustainable competitors I think are going to start winning.”

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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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