Cup of Joe – October 30, 2023

Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) has taken down the website for the podcast he did with his wife. But all 69 episode are still available for download for anyone to archive.

Washington Post: “The evangelical policy wonk’s name had been swirling as a long-shot candidate for several weeks. But in the absence of other viable options — and in search of a compromise between influential leaders who had failed to clinch the speakership, but still held sway — Johnson ascended to second in line to the presidency. But the true test for the new speaker lies ahead. With little dealmaking experience, he will have to steer an unruly conference away from a potential government shutdown, field impending requests to aid Israel and Ukraine, and try to grow — or at least not lose — the GOP’s razor-thin majority in next year’s elections.”

“This account of Johnson’s rise and the uncharted path forward for a fractious House Republican conference is based on conversations with more than two dozen Republican lawmakers, aides and consultants, most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.”

“The pieces are lining up for President Joe Biden to lay claim to a victory for his pro-union stance as the second of Detroit’s Big Three car companies reached a tentative agreement with the United Auto Workers, President Shawn Fain confirmed Saturday evening,” Politico reports.

“The United Auto Workers called a fresh strike at a General Motors factory in Tennessee, a surprise walkout after negotiators had been working nearly around the clock to finalize a new contract this weekend,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The strike at the Tennessee plant is the latest in a series of unexpected moves by the union, which has run a strategy of misdirection and maximum publicity to keep the companies off balance. Talks had intensified in recent days between GM and union leaders, including meetings that included Fain and GM Chief Executive Mary Barra.”

“Meanwhile, the UAW confirmed Saturday evening it had reached a tentative agreement with Stellantis, moving the union one step closer to ending a historic strike that has dinged all three automakers and put more than 45,000 workers on the picket lines for six weeks.”

New York Times: “Mr. McCarthy’s political operation brought in more than 100 times the amount of money that Mr. Johnson has collected so far in 2023 — $78 million to roughly $608,000, according to federal records and public disclosures. And in Mr. Johnson’s entire congressional career, dating to his first run in 2016, the Louisiana Republican has raised a total of $6.1 million — less than Mr. McCarthy’s average monthly take this year.”

“The willingness of House Republicans to trade a party rainmaker for a member who has raised less than some more junior colleagues has caused a deep sense of uncertainty at the highest levels of the conference, even as relieved lawmakers united behind Mr. Johnson to end weeks of political paralysis.”

New York Times: “Underneath the tiny coastal strip and its more than 2 million people is a vast network of subterranean pathways, rooms, cells and even roads for vehicles. Hamas, which oversees Gaza, is believed to hide weapons, fighters and even command centers in the warren of underground chambers.”

Bloomberg: “Over the past two months, rates for 30-year mortgages have hurtled toward 8% by most measures. Affordability pressures are cutting into sales, with purchases of previously owned homes in September dropping to the lowest level since 2010.”

“It’s been a tough slog for house hunters since the start of the pandemic. After lockdowns started to lift, fierce competition fueled bidding wars and massive price increases. Then came rising rates that sidelined potential buyers, while owners also became more reluctant to sell. Inventory plunged, keeping prices elevated.”

“In the span of just one week, three former lawyers flipped on Donald Trump in a sweeping criminal case alleging a conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia,” the Financial Times reports.

“That string of dramatic U-turns has turned some of Trump’s most high-profile allies, including former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, into potential liabilities for the ex-president. Jenna Ellis and Kenneth Chesebro, two former Trump campaign attorneys, also pleaded guilty. It is still unclear if the lawyers, who have all agreed to testify truthfully in future proceedings, will seek to incriminate Trump in the Georgia case, legal experts said.”

“But their deals could unleash a chain of similar agreements, increasing the number of potential witnesses prosecutors have on their side as they pursue the former president.”

“Facing a barrage of criticism, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deleted a controversial social media post on Sunday in which he blamed the defense and intelligence establishment for giving him faulty assessments before the deadly Hamas attack on October 7,” Haaretz reports.

“The prime minister then published a new tweet, saying that he apologizes for his claims and that he fully backs the heads of Israel’s security establishment.”

Wall Street Journal: “[Hong Kong] has lost its appeal to some residents over the last four years, hurt by strict rules during the Covid-19 pandemic, anxieties about the growing political influence of Beijing, and competition from Singapore and elsewhere. Those who choose to remain in the city are increasingly opting out of having children: Hong Kong’s fertility rate is the lowest in the world.”

“The city’s government hopes to address this problem by paying a cash bonus to couples who have children. They will receive the equivalent of around $2,550, as well as other perks such as priority when renting or buying government-subsidized housing and increased access to in vitro fertilization.”

“President Emmanuel Macron promised on Sunday to enshrine a woman’s right to an abortion in the French Constitution by next year,” the AP reports.

“Americans should not have to live like this.”— President Biden, in a statement, after 16 people were killed in a Maine mass shooting.

“The Arizona attorney general’s investigation into the coordinated attempt to overturn the 2020 election results by creating and sending documents to the federal government falsely declaring Donald Trump the winner is also zeroing in on the pressure placed on local officials by the president’s key allies to help avert his loss,” the Washington Post reports.

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

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