☕ Spotlight: Kansas

The Midwestern state holds the first abortion vote post-Roe....
August 02, 2022 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

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Good morning. Prayers up for our inbox, which is getting an OOO vacation message for something like 98% of all 4.3 million of you right now.

FYI, we do plan on forwarding the message along to your colleague Gregory.

Max Knoblauch, Neal Freyman, Joe Abrams














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 12:00am ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Big "summer Monday" vibes on Wall Street yesterday, with all three averages ticking a bit lower on the first day of August. Perhaps the only major story was the drop in oil prices, which was a response to slower factory output across the US, Europe, and Asia. Less production = slower economic growth = less demand for fuel.


Abortion is on the ballot in Kansas

The state capitol building of Kansas Universal Images Group/Getty Images

In the country's first electoral test on abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, Kansans voting today in their state's primary election will decide whether to remove the right to the procedure from the state constitution.

In 2019, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled 6–1 that the state constitution's Bill of Rights protects the right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy. Because of that ruling, conservatives seeking to remove that protection and change the state's law must amend the constitution.

As other conservative states have introduced more abortion restrictions in recent years, Kansas clinics have treated an influx of patients coming from across the Midwest and much of the South. Last year, about 7,800 abortions were performed in the state—about half of which were provided to patients from neighboring states like Missouri, where access to the procedure is more restricted.

If "yes" votes prevail today, the Republican-majority Kansas legislature will be able to write laws making abortions all but impossible to receive in the state. Those far-reaching implications have turned the typically low-turnout summer primary into a heated political battleground, and both sides of the issue have led intense get-out-the-vote efforts.

It'll be close

A July 19 poll found that "yes" voters are narrowly edging out "no" voters 47% to 43%, though the state has a considerable number of unaffiliated voters who could swing the outcome.

Other factors, like the majority-GOP legislature's decision to put the measure on the ballot in a summer primary, when few Democratic races would be decided and unaffiliated voters can't vote on the vast majority of races, could also weigh heavily on the result.

Why this vote matters: According to some political scientists, a close outcome in the conservative state would be a sign that SCOTUS's ruling had a big impact on voters, and could be a sign of what's to come in future votes over the issue in other states.

Because those votes are coming. This November around a half-a-dozen states, including California, Michigan, Kentucky, and Vermont, are expected to vote on proposals expanding or weakening abortion access.—MK



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Tour de headlines

This frame grab from the Saudi-owned television network MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Center) shows alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden sitting next to his Egyptian lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahri AFP via Getty Images

US takes out top al-Qaida leader. After a 21-year manhunt, Ayman al-Zawahri was killed by a US drone strike in Afghanistan over the weekend, President Biden announced yesterday. Al-Zawahri was Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant when plotting the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people. In a televised address from the White House, Biden said that, "no matter how long it takes, no matter where you hide, if you are a threat to our people, the United States will find you and take you out."

Pelosi → Taiwan is happening. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning to stop in Taiwan today as part of her trip to Asia, according to multiple reports. As discussed in yesterday's Brew, Pelosi's visit is certain to ramp up tensions with China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and is opposed to any American meddling. A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry warned that its military "won't sit idly by," to which Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby responded, "We will not take the bait or engage in saber rattling."

Crypto pyramid scheme busted. The SEC charged 11 people for allegedly grifting retail investors out of more than $300 million in a classic Ponzi scheme…with a blockchain twist. The individuals are accused of creating and promoting Forsage, which purported to be a decentralized smart contract platform, and allowing investors to make money by getting others onto the platform. In strict adherence to the traditional Ponzi scheme format, Forsage allegedly used funds from new investors to pay off the old ones.


Deshaun Watson suspended for 6 games

Deshaun Watson Nick Cammett/Getty Images

Cleveland Browns star QB Deshaun Watson won't play a single down of football for six games after a disciplinary officer suspended him for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Under the suspension, Watson will cough up $345,000 of his $1.035 million salary for the season, but won't be fined any additional amount.

The backstory: Watson's been accused by more than two dozen women of sexual misconduct or sexual assault during massage sessions that occurred between the fall of 2019 and March 2021. Watson has repeatedly denied the allegations, and two grand juries in Texas declined to charge him with a crime. He has reached a settlement with all but one of the women who filed a lawsuit against him.

As those civil cases were being litigated, the NFL launched its own investigation into the accusations against Watson, which culminated in a three-day hearing in June.

Big picture: The NFL has faced loads of heat for what critics consider light suspensions over cases involving violence against women. By shifting the responsibility for administering penalties from Commissioner Roger Goodell to a disciplinary officer, a policy that was established in 2020, the league hopes to give off the sense that its punishments are the result of a wholly impartial process.—NF



It pays to have friends in high places

A person walking up a ladder of other people Illustration: Will Varner, Photo: Getty Images

Social scientists have spent decades wondering why kids in some neighborhoods rise out of poverty, while kids who live in other, similar communities stay behind. In other words: What is the secret sauce to the American Dream?

In two pathbreaking studies published in Nature yesterday, a team of researchers claimed to have found the answer. The most important factor in upward income mobility was having friends across class lines.

How the researchers did it: with a little help from Zuck. The study used a data sample representing 72 million people on Facebook to map the socioeconomic profile of their friends on the platform.

What they found: Children who live in neighborhoods with more cross-class interaction—what the researchers dubbed "economic connectedness"—have a much greater chance of climbing out of poverty than children who live in places where low-income and high-income people mingle less often.

This discrepancy is what your science teacher would call "statistically significant." If children of low-income parents were to live in places where 70% of their friends were wealthy, their predicted future earnings would increase by an average of 20%, the study found.

So how do we encourage more cross-class interaction? The researchers pointed to several policies that could help, including reforming zoning policies, boosting affordable housing, and addressing "friending bias"—where people in a certain class choose to pal up with others of the same class.—NF



Key performance indicators

A woman looking through a VR headset Illustration: Francis Scialabba, Photo: Plume Creative/Getty Images

Stat: In the metaverse, there are fewer job postings than legs. New monthly job postings with "metaverse" in the title dropped 81% from April to June, according to a study by workforce researcher Revelio Labs. The plunge in open positions likely reflects hiring freezes across the tech industry as well as the recent slump of Meta, the poster child for metaverse ambitions. The company posted its first ever annual revenue drop in Q2.

Quote: "The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced."

A representative for Beyoncé confirmed that a word used on her new album, Renaissance, will be swapped out after disability activists denounced it as an ablesit slur that demeans people with spastic cerebral palsy. Just a few weeks ago, Lizzo apologized for using the same word in one of her new songs, and re-released the track with another lyric.

Read: A "quarterlife crisis" is real and normal. Here's how young adults can navigate it. (New York Times)


Music nerds train nerds: Find out why the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song is so unironically good.

What's streaming this month: Find your newest obsession here and here.

When you're craving beef but in a rush: Here is the quickest way to grill burgers.

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  • The first ship carrying Ukrainian grain since Russia's invasion left the port of Odesa on Monday, offering hope that a global food crisis could be averted.
  • The death toll from Kentucky floods has increased to at least 37 people.
  • PepsiCo purchased a roughly 8.5% stake in energy drink company Celsius for $550 million. The company bought another energy drink brand, Rockstar, in 2020.
  • The Dallas Cowboys, worth $7.64 billion, are the most valuable franchise in the NFL and across all professional sports, per Sportico.


The imposter inside us all

The imposter inside us all

On Imposters, we sit down with titans of industry, sports, and entertainment to discuss the personal challenges they've overcome to get where they are today. It's honest and raw, and a reminder that we're all just doing the best we can. Check out some recent popular episodes:

This editorial content is supported by Lincoln Financial Group.


The puzzle section

Brew Mini: Jump back in time with Shakespeare quotes and jousting weapons for today's Mini. Play it here.

Nuclear trivia

To kick off a conference among countries that have signed a nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that "humanity is just one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation."

Leave it to the Brew to turn Armageddon into a trivia question: Can you name the nine countries that have nuclear weapons?

Excel shortcut mouse pads are back in stock

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The fan-favorite Excel Shortcut Guide Mouse Pads are now back in stock! Shop mouse pads from the Excel Collection for major returns on your workflow efficiency.

For more from the Brew:

On Business Casual, the CEO of The Juggernaut explains what the mainstream media has gotten wrong. Listen or watch now.

Stuck on how to navigate your career? The Brew's Leadership Accelerator sets you up with exec coaching and other resources so you can plan your next step.


  1. China
  2. North Korea
  3. France
  4. India
  5. Pakistan
  6. Russia
  7. US
  8. UK
  9. Israel (While Israel hasn't officially acknowledged it has nuclear weapons, it's widely understood that it possesses them.)

✢ A Note From Facet Wealth

Facet Wealth is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. This is not an offer to sell securities or the solicitation of an offer to purchase securities. This is not investment, financial, legal, or tax advice. *Two months free offer is only valid for an annual fee paid at the time of signing.


Written by Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, and Joseph Abrams

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