Cup of Joe – July 30, 2023

“President Joe Biden unveiled his latest round of judicial nominees Thursday, bringing the number of people he has offered for the federal judiciary to 180 and continuing the White House’s emphasis on demographic and professional diversity,” CNN reports.

“President Joe Biden on Wednesday nominated former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley to lead the Social Security Administration,” the AP reports.

“If confirmed, O’Malley would run one of the biggest social programs in the nation and grapple with the surrounding uncertainty over its funding. Roughly 70 million people — including retirees, disabled people and children — receive Social Security benefits.”

“For years, regulators and activists have worried that social media companies’ algorithms were dividing America with politically toxic posts and conspiracies. The concern was so widespread that in 2020 Meta flung open troves of internal data for university academics to study how Facebook and Instagram would affect the upcoming presidential election,” the Washington Post reports.

“The first results of that research show that the company’s platforms play a critical role in funneling users to partisan information with which they are likely to agree. But the results cast doubt on assumptions that the strategies Meta could use to discourage virality and engagement on its social networks would substantially affect people’s political beliefs.”

“Only three months into Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s first Supreme Court term, she announced a book deal negotiated by the same powerhouse lawyer who represented the Obamas and James Patterson,” the New York Times reports.

“The deal was worth about $3 million, according to people familiar with the agreement, and made Justice Jackson the latest Supreme Court justice to parlay her fame into a big book contract.”

“Justice Neil M. Gorsuch had made $650,000 for a book of essays and personal reflections on the role of judges, while Justice Amy Coney Barrett received a $2 million advance for her forthcoming book about keeping personal feelings out of judicial rulings. Those newer justices joined two of their more senior colleagues, Justices Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor, in securing payments that eclipse their government salaries.”

Politico: “A range of economists and Wall Street analysts are predicting that consumer spending could take a hit as payments return for the first time since the pandemic reprieve began more than three and a half years ago.”

“Millions of borrowers who are set to resume repaying were hoping to have their debts significantly reduced or eliminated completely by Biden’s student debt relief plan before it was struck down by the Supreme Court last month. That disappointment — and the financial sting of new payments — could undercut the president’s ability to convince voters that they’re doing better under his stewardship of the economy.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) told fellow attendees of a prayer breakfast that she delayed having sex with her fiancé to make it to the event on time.

Said Mace: “When I woke up this morning at 7, I was getting picked up at 7:45. Patrick, my fiancé, tried to pull me by my waist over this morning in bed and I was like, ‘No, baby, we don’t got time for that this morning. I got to get to the prayer breakfast and I got to be on time.’”

“White House chief of staff Jeff Zients invited all the former occupants of his office — Democrats and Republicans — to the White House this month for a wide-ranging conversation on the presidency, followed by a casual dinner at his D.C. home,“ Axios reports.

“The closed-door sessions evoked an earlier, less partisan time in Washington, when small talk and stiff drinks allowed friendships to flourish and political differences to fade away.”

After Donald Trump’s longtime lender had cut ties with him in the days after the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the Washington Post reports a little-known internet bank approved $225 million in loans to help Trump restructure his real estate debt.

“The Axos loans to Trump were vital to stabilizing his post-presidential finances and enabling him to mount the campaign that now has him leading the GOP pack for the 2024 presidential nomination.”

Tucker Carlson says in a new book that he was fired by Fox News in April as a condition of the $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems regarding the broadcast of Donald Trump’s lie about election fraud, The Guardian reports.

Said Carlson: “They agreed to take me off the air, my show off the air, as a condition of the Dominion settlement. They had to settle this; Rupert couldn’t testify. I think that deal was made minutes before the trial started. I mean, I know it was.”

Former Australian prime minister John Howard told The Australian that colonization was “the luckiest thing that happened to this country” and praised Britain for being a better overlord than other nations.

Said Howard: “Not that they were perfect by any means, but they were infinitely more successful and beneficent colonizers than other European countries.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said North Korea’s “firm support” for Russia’s war in Ukraine emboldens the two countries’ determination to cope with Western nations, CNN reports.

“I used to call him a pig but at least a pig has bacon.” — Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), speaking about Donald Trump.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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