Up First briefing: Defense bill delayed; Kansas bans ID changes; SAG-AFTRA strike vote
GOP House lawmakers want to amend the defense authorization bill. A Kansas judge has kept a temporary ban in place preventing transgender residents from changing the gender on their drivers' licenses. The Hollywood actors union holds a strike vote this morning.
Today's top news
Hard-right House Republicans have delayed a vote on an $886 billion defense spending bill because they want to make amendments that would shape military policy on things like abortion access, gender-affirming care and diversity in recruiting.
- The defense bill is one of the few pieces of bipartisan, must-pass legislation, according to Washington Post reporter Marianna Sotomayor. On Up First today, she says the divisive amendments put a lot of vulnerable Republicans in swing districts in "pretty perilous positions." They don't want to vote on controversial issues that would complicate their upcoming reelection campaigns.
Threads, the new Twitter rival from Facebook's parent company, Meta, has quickly become one of the most downloaded apps ever. But while many news and politics made Twitter relevant, top Meta executive Adam Mosseri has been transparent about de-emphasizing news and politics on Threads.
- Meta learned that its users are more engaged when people share content about influencers, celebrities and their friends and family — and that keeps the ad dollars rolling in, according to NPR's Bobby Allyn. Allyn spoke with former Facebook researcher Solomon Messing, who tells him that if Threads replaces Twitter and successfully pushes politics and news to the wayside, it could make users less engaged with those topics or vote.
SAG-AFTRA will vote on a strike order this morning after negotiations between the Hollywood actors union and major studios have failed to produce a new deal. Federal mediators joined negotiations yesterday.
- Joshua Flax, Deputy Director for Policy and Strategy at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, explains how federal mediators help with negotiations on Morning Edition. He tells A Martinez that often, mediators will separate the parties in a private caucus and use reality testing and shuttle diplomacy to try and move negotiations forward.
Fox News is facing another defamation lawsuit. Trump supporter and Jan. 6 protester Ray Epps sued Fox News over statements by Tucker Carlson alleging Epps was actually an undercover FBI agent who instigated the violence at the Capitol to make Trump and his supporters look bad.
Early Bird: The latest news from Kansas City
- Transgender Kansans remain temporarily barred from changing the gender on their drivers’ licenses, a judge ruled yesterday. The 14-day ban comes in an ongoing legal fight over the implementation of a new state law that ties the legal definition of terms like “male” and “female” to a person’s reproductive anatomy.
Kansas City’s on-demand micro transit service, IRIS, recently expanded to cover the entirety of the city. However, there are rising concerns about the efficiency of these on-demand services, even as they grow in popularity. And some Kansas City residents worry that IRIS is pulling attention and funding away from mass transit like buses.
- Heard on the podcast: Kansas City is on pace to have more homicides this year than last, and reports of gun deaths are a weekly, if not daily, occurrence. But local leaders like Mayor Quinton Lucas say they’re restricted by state policies that make it impossible to pass local regulations — and they want to change that. Listen to the interview on Kansas City Today.
Much of the American South is still experiencing dangerously high temperatures. Heat can take a toll on the body, and there are many misconceptions about how to protect yourself. Avoid these mistakes to stay safe from heatstroke or heat exhaustion, and read the story for four more tips.
- Your body needs time to adjust to heat. Acclimate yourself over a few days.
- Hydrate in advance. You're already 10 to 25% dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty.
- Certain medications make you more vulnerable to heat. Take extra precautions if you're on them.
- Don't ignore the early telltale signs of heat exhaustion: sweating, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and headache.
New York City and LA have recently declared a record level of homelessness. Many other cities have also seen numbers rise, despite dedicating a considerable amount of money to the issue. What's going on? Here are four reasons why homelessness is so hard to end.
- Housing people is only one part of the equation. An even higher number of people are becoming homeless.
- Rents have risen faster than wages, and millions of low-cost rentals have disappeared.
- Zoning laws and local opposition make it hard to build new housing for low-income renters.
- Many pandemic-era aid programs many people relied on to keep their homes are ending.
3 things to know before you go
- Two Dutch museums have returned hundreds of cultural artifacts looted from Indonesia and Sri Lanka during Dutch colonization to their rightful home. It's the latest in a move for Western powers to repatriate items they plundered during colonial times.
- HBO's Succession led the pack at the Emmy nominations yesterday. Pop Culture Happy Hour host Aisha Rascoe has a few takeaways about what's next for the award show as an actors strike looms.
- I scream, you scream, we all scream for swords made out of ice cream. A cafe in Japan plans to sell 16-inch "swordsicles," roughly the size of a ninja sword.
This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.
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