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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.
NEWS THIS MORNING
Get low, get low, get low, get low.
Via The Hill’s Sylvan Lane, “New weekly claims for jobless aid plunged to the lowest level in more than 50 years last week, according to data released Wednesday by the Labor Department.” https://bit.ly/3DNUOqQ
The numbers: “In the week ending Nov. 20, there were 199,000 initial applications for unemployment insurance, according to the seasonally adjusted figures, a decline of 71,000 from the previous week.”
For context: “Claims fell to the lowest level since November 1969 and are now well below the pre-pandemic trough of 225,000 applications received the week of March 14, 2020.”
Yes, the lowest level since we first went to the moon (!)
Via CNN Business’s Yoonjung Seo, amid the global chip shortage, Samsung announced that it will build a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Taylor, Texas. https://cnn.it/3HPU0UH
When it is roughly expected to be up and running: The second half of 2024
Happy Wednesday — TOMORROW IS THANKSGIVING!! Oh, and Christmas Eve is a month from today. Lots to celebrate! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to firstname.lastname@example.org — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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PROGRAMMING NOTE: The 12:30 Report will not publish tomorrow or Friday. Eat some pie and stuffing for me — and have a very happy Thanksgiving!! We will be back on Monday.
IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Just announced — She may have ‘acting’ removed from her title:
Via The Hill’s Brett Samuels, “President BidenJoe BidenChina eyes military base on Africa's Atlantic coast: report Biden orders flags be flown at half-staff through Dec. 9 to honor Dole Biden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package MORE on Wednesday announced his plans to nominate Shalanda Young as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) after the long-time Capitol Hill aide spent months serving as acting director.” https://bit.ly/3r6oDzb
Why her confirmation would be historic: She would be the first Black woman to run the agency.
Why the position hasn’t been filled: “She has served as acting director since Neera Tanden's nomination for OMB director was withdrawn in March.”
Yes, Biden nominated a Republican to lead the Fed, but it may still be left-leaning:
Via The Hill’s Sylvan Lane, “President Biden emphasized continuity and bipartisanship when making his picks for the top two positions at the Federal Reserve this week. But his next slate of nominees could establish an enduring left-leaning majority at the central bank.” https://bit.ly/3DQBsBo
How so: “Biden still has three seats on the seven-person Fed board to fill and the vacant vice chairmanship of supervision, which sets the Fed’s regulatory agenda, and he says that his new picks won’t be quite like the last. The president said his next nominees will ‘bring new perspectives and new voices,’ along with ‘long overdue’ diversity to the Fed board.”
What to expect: https://bit.ly/3DQBsBo
Via The Washington Post’s Maxine Joselow, The White House is creating a new division of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to coordinate federal climate change policies. https://wapo.st/32jfFUT
Who will be in charge?: Stanford energy professor Sally Benson
When the expect the White House’s official announcement: Today
What to expect from the new division: https://wapo.st/32jfFUT
Via The New York Times’s Jim Tankersley, “Administration officials overestimated how quickly Americans would start spending money in restaurants and theme parks, and they underestimated how many people wanted to order new cars and couches.” https://nyti.ms/3nMhWjD
What happened?: “Biden’s advisers, along with economists and some scientists, believed that widespread availability of coronavirus vaccinations would speed the return to prepandemic life, one in which people dined out and filled hotel rooms for conferences, weddings and other in-person events. Instead, the emergence of the Delta variant … slowed that return to normalcy. Americans stayed at home, where they continued to buy goods online, straining global supply chains and sending the price of almost everything in the economy skyward.”
The full analysis: https://nyti.ms/3nMhWjD
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
4.5 percent of federal employees to go:
Via The Hill’s Alex Gangitano, “Ninety-two percent of federal government employees have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose as of Tuesday, the deadline for federal workers to comply with the coronavirus vaccine mandate President Biden announced 75 days prior.” https://bit.ly/3cKrKEB
Plus another 4.5 percent: “Another roughly 4.5 percent of federal employees are considered to be in compliance with the mandate because they have a pending or approved exception request for vaccination, meaning the total percentage of the workforce complying is 96.5 percent.”
Breakdown by agency: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has the highest rate and the Department of Agriculture and Social Security Administration (SSA) have the lowest.
Full breakdown: https://bit.ly/3cKrKEB
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 47,987,991
U.S. death toll: 773,887
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 453 million shots have been given.
Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.84 million doses
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
IN OTHER NEWS
A little less of a Black Friday this year:
Via CBS’s Kate Gibson, “Black Friday starts early, but expect fewer holiday deals.”
What to expect: https://cbsn.ws/3nQ97pj
WHAT DEALS SHOULD WE BE EXPECTING?:
New York Magazine compiled a list of the best deals: https://nym.ag/3nNj0Uq
TIME published a compilation of the top 100 photos of 2021. The photos: https://bit.ly/30XJpGo
Sen. Grassley named his vacuum ‘Beth’:
More pictures of Beth the vacuum, via Axios’ Chelsea Cirruzzo: https://bit.ly/3xnEYR9
The House and Senate are out.
President Biden is in Nantucket, Mass., and has no public events scheduled through Sunday.
Vice President Harris is in Washington, D.C., and has no public events scheduled.
WHAT TO WATCH:
December 1: The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a Mississippi abortion ban case. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3FJhhFV
IN LIGHTER NEWS:
Today is National Sardines Day.
Have you ever noticed that Ocean Spray cranberry sauce cans are printed upside down? Well, “according to Ocean Spray, that's intentional: It creates a seamless serving experience.” https://cnn.it/30RSwIG
The gist: “[It] creates an air bubble on the rounded side (a.k.a. the top) so customers can "can swipe the edge of the can with a knife to break the vacuum and the log will easily slide out."
The full reasoning, from CNN Business’s Jordan Valinsky: https://cnn.it/30RSwIG
Nominations for the 2022 Grammy Awards have been announced (!) https://bit.ly/3FFxsnz
The biggest news: “Jon Batiste — veteran jazz keyboardist, musical director of ‘The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Jobless claims drop to 50+ year low Brian Williams to leave NBC News after 28 years Katie Couric: CNN shouldn't have let Chris Cuomo 'yuk it up' with brother Andrew during pandemic MORE’ and a member of one of New Orleans’ legendary musical dynasties — leads the nominees with 11, mostly for his ‘We Are’ album…”
Who else is leading in nominations?: “Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. follow with eight nominations each, and Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo are close behind with seven.”
The full list of nominations, from Variety: https://bit.ly/3FFxsnz
And while I know I’ve shown you this before, I must leave you on the most festive note possible: enjoy this flock of turkeys working as a fabulous hype squad for this reporter: