☕️ Olive branch

California's recall election: what to know
September 14, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Daily Brew


Good morning. Apologies if the newsletter is a little sloppy this morning...we're pretty hungover from consuming too much celebrity last night at the Met Gala. And please keep words like "slay" or "icon" to yourself—we'll get nauseous.

Matty Merritt, Sherry Qin, Neal Freyman














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 6:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Economy: The S&P and Dow snapped a 5-day losing streak with Covid cases falling from their recent peak in the US. Airbnb stock slipped after Goldman Sachs analysts slapped a "sell" rating on the home rental company. 
  • Covid: An international group of scientists, including two experts from the FDA, wrote that booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine weren't yet needed for the average person. The US still plans to roll them out in less than a week.


With Tax Plan, Democrats Try to Unite Democrats

Old fire extinguisher box that says "In Case of Tax Hikes, Break Glass" with wad of cash inside

Francis Scialabba

House Democrats are all of us before wedding season as they scramble to cover the bill for their pricey $3.5 trillion budget proposal. Yesterday, they released a plan that included about $2.9 trillion in tax hikes. 

Reality check: Unless you're the CEO of Target or clutching your third boat, you won't be targeted by the increases, which aim to raise money from corporations, wealthy Americans, and investors. Here are some of the deets:

  • For bigger, profitable companies, the corporate tax rate would jump to 26.5% from 21% currently.
  • Americans who earn more than $435,000 per year would see their top tax rate increase from 37% to 39.6%.
  • Individuals earning over $5 million would get hit with a 3% surtax.
  • The top capital gains rate (taxes on the sale of stocks, real estate, NFTs of gorillas) would jump from 20% to 25%.

On the spicy scale, this plan is mild

While it reverses many of the Republican tax cuts for 2018, the plan stops short of the ambitious tax hikes President Biden first proposed. For instance, he initially wanted to bump the corporate rate up to 28% (26.5% in the new plan) and the top capital gains rate to 39.6% (25% in the plan). Plus the proposal doesn't include the Senate Finance Committee's taxes on billionaires' investments, where most of their wealth is tied up.

This tax proposal is seen as an olive branch to moderate Democrats who don't want to play the villain to business. However, it's not nearly tame enough to gain support from Republicans.

Zoom out: You'd think that a $2.9 trillion tax proposal to fund the biggest social spending plan since the '60s would be the No. 1 priority on Capitol Hill, but it's not. Lawmakers must pass a budget before Oct. 1 or else face a government shutdown, and time is also running out to raise the debt ceiling before the US defaults. – MM



Walmart's Crypto Deal Was too Weird to Be True

Meme for Walmart-Litecoin hoax

Someone just pulled off the biggest hoax since Bishop Sycamore weaseled its way onto ESPN.

A press release published yesterday morning by GlobeNewswire stated that Walmart would accept litecoin, a small cryptocurrency, as payment. While the partnership sounded odd, the release seemed pretty legit—litecoin's official Twitter handle tweeted out a link to the announcement, and news outlets like Reuters posted stories.

After reporters did some digging, though, it became clear this was fake news. That caused litecoin prices, which had surged up to 33% due to the "partnership," to fall back down.

Everyone went into clean-up mode: 

  • Litecoin's creator said its social media manager was "wrong to retweet" the announcement.
  • Intrado, the company that operates GlobeNewswire, said it is looking into how the fake release, which even included a made-up quote from Walmart's CEO, got through its filters.

Bottom line: Scammers have faked news announcements for "pump and dump" schemes before, but cryptocurrencies, which are less regulated and more volatile than public company stocks, are particularly fertile ground for hoaxes. – NF



California's Recall Election: What You Need to Know

SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 08:  California Gov. Gavin Newsom sp...

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California, the most populous state in the US and the fifth-largest economy in the world, will decide today whether Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom should remain in office. If Newsom is recalled, his successor would serve the remainder of his term, which is set to end in January 2023.

The backstory: Many Californians have disapproved of the governor's handling of homelessness, water policy, and undocumented immigrants. This recall effort, which started in February 2020, grew into a real threat throughout 2020 as the pandemic worsened in the state.

This election has consequences far beyond California. It will be the first test of Democrats' strength ahead of next year's midterm elections, and, if certain things shake out just right, it may even influence which party has control of the US Senate. 

Here's where things stand right now:

  • The latest polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight show Newsom with a sizeable lead.
  • Radio talk show host Larry Elder is the Republican frontrunner, leading 45 other candidates trying to take Newsom's spot. 

Bottom line: Recalls are as Californian as breakfast burritos for dinner; in fact, there have been 179 attempts since 1913. But few have prompted an election and only six officials have actually been recalled. – SQ



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You only have until tomorrow to get 40% off new system orders


Key Performance Indicators

ted lasso


Stat: Jason Sudeikis will make nearly $1 million per episode for season 3 of Ted Lasso, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That's a nearly 4x raise from seasons 1 and 2. 

Quote: "New York will no longer be anti-business. This is going to be a place where we welcome business and not turn into the dysfunctional city that we have been for many years."

Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for NYC mayor, wants to reset the relationship between the leadership of the city and its business community. 

Read: Facebook says its rules apply to all, but company documents reveal a secret elite that's exempt. (WSJ)



The 'Ice Age' Remake Is Very Realistic

wooly mammoth biotech


A new company called Colossal intends to re-create and re-introduce the extinct woolly mammoth to the Siberian tundra.

How it (could) work: Entrepreneur Ben Lamm and Harvard genetics professor George Church, who have raised $15 million in funding from strategic investors including Sid the Sloth, plan to use CRISPR gene-editing technology to create a new species that's close to, but not an exact replica of, the woolly mammoths that roamed the Arctic before disappearing roughly 10,000 years ago.

OK, but why? A mammoth revival could contribute to the fight against climate change—for example, through slowing permafrost thaw in the tundra by removing trees and trampling moss, Dr. Church has argued.

Looking ahead...if everything goes according to plan, the company could begin "rewilding" mammoths in 15 years, Lamm said. But it'll have to navigate an ethical minefield to get there.

Emerging Tech Brew has a whole lot more about Colossal here. – NF



  • Apple patched a vulnerability that had reportedly been exploited by Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO Group. The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab discovered the issue and alerted Apple. 
  • Intuit, the maker of TurboTax and QuickBooks, will buy email platform Mailchimp for $12 billion. It would be the largest-ever acquisition of a company that received no outside funding.
  • Media companies linked to the Chinese exiled billionaire Guo Wengui will pay $539 million to settle the SEC's charges that they illegally raised money from investors. 
  • The first trial of the college admissions scandal known as the "Varsity Blues" kicked off yesterday.
  • Succession season 3 finally has a premiere date: October 17.


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Tech Tip Tuesday: 40 one-sentence email tips.

International streaming guide: Some of the best shows on streaming services aren't in English. Here is your definitive guide to the best TV and movies from around the world.

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The Puzzle Section

Brew Mini: A classic YouTube video from 2013 shows up in today's puzzle. See which one here.

iPhone Quiz 

Ahead of today's iPhone launch (here's how to watch), can you name the bestselling iPhone model of all time? 


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Apple sold 231 million units of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in fiscal 2015, making it the bestselling iPhone series ever. 

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Written by Matty Merritt, Neal Freyman, and Sherry Qin

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