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The Weekender: A New Generation of FDR’s Fireside Chats

The Weekender Newsletter powered by Strategic Elements


  • 51: The number of Walmart Health Centers set to close (all of them)
  • 83: The number of tornadoes reported across the Heartland last Friday
  • 100: The number of people arrested at a Columbia University protest on Tuesday night
  • 630 Miles: The distance a house cat traveled in an Amazon box after the owner mistakenly taped her inside his Amazon return package
  • 3.6 Million: The number of babies born in 2023; the lowest one-year tally since 1979
  • $21.1 Billion: The estimated value of the influencer marketing industry in 2023

The Big 5 News Updates

A Podcast to Win the Presidency

Nicole Shanahan, RFK Jr.’s vice presidential pick, has little experience campaigning for office, engaging on social media, being in the spotlight, or reaching out to voters; something she is hoping to quickly change. With little name recognition, she is kicking off her national media campaign to raise awareness for the RFK-Shanahan ticket. Her first step into the limelight is a new podcast, “Back to the People,” where she will interview innovators, policy experts, and notable individuals. Her first guest for the unscripted conversation series is a wise, if not unsurprising, choice: RFK Jr. Debuting this past Wednesday, the next guests lined up are financial analyst Luke Gromen and Gracie Price, an 18-year-old documentarian.

The podcast is intended to feel casual and grassrootsy, not alluding to any sentiment that the host is a vice presidential candidate. If done correctly, it’s not a bad bet to win the “someone I can have a beer with” vote. With a new addition every week, Shanahan will be exerting time and resources into this podcast and, with the Biden and Trump campaigns fully revved up, it will need to pay off. While these podcasts are intended to connect directly with the American public (à la FDR’s country-captivating “Fireside Chats”), the podcast game is a bit inundated with content – so RFK and Shanahan will need a strong angle to break through the noise.

Read More at Axios

Americans are Counting More Sheep

It may have released 50 years ago, but Americans are finally learning the lessons from Aerosmith’s “Dream On” by getting more sleep than they have in the past two decades. Those most likely to be catching more Zs are young adults between 25 and 34 years old, men of all ages, and (unsurprisingly) people without children.

The increase in sleep gains is partially attributed to the rise in remote work. With 1-in-3 workers having access to some form of remote work, a significant part of the workforce is spared the early mornings and commute travel time – allowing many to hit snooze one more time every morning. Although people generally are only getting 25 more minutes of sleep from 2003 to now, it’s a big win for everyone – especially considering the health benefits of a good night’s rest.

As you may have assumed after spending one-third of your life doing it, sleep is undeniably important. Chronic poor sleep is linked to serious physical health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia, immune system suppression, and an increase in mental maladies, including anxiety and depression. The best rest needs two things: 1.) it has to be long enough (at least 7 hours) and 2.) it needs to be high-quality and uninterrupted.

Prioritizing your sleep, setting a rigid sleep schedule and bedtime routine, taking in sunlight throughout the day, doing physical activity, avoiding alcohol (especially near bedtime), and not looking at phone screens two hours before sleep will help you feel your best.

Read More at The Washington Post

U.S. Tells Cars to “Pump the Brakes”

Buckle up for this one – cars sold in the U.S. will become more advanced in the coming years. Here’s the quickest route to explain 2021’s bipartisan infrastructure law: it included a lot of provisions. The most recent news from the broad package is this week’s announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Essentially, it requires nearly all automobiles sold in the U.S. to include automatic emergency braking systems at speeds up to 62 miles per hour. In 2016, 20 automakers voluntarily agreed to ensure automatic braking is standard, so they are not worried about the NHTSA putting out a press release titled “Don’t Make Us Turn This Car Around.”

In 2021, 6.1 million car crashes were reported to the police – and all parties survived in 99.3% of them. Automatic emergency brakes should serve to increase the survivability of car wrecks and present life-saving technology to pedestrians.

Read More at Reuters

The Information Generation Situation

There may come a day when we no longer talk about the lingering impacts of COVID-19; today is not that day. Gen Z, who was in high school and college during the pandemic, missed out on many of life’s important milestones. The graduating high school class of 2020 could have missed their senior prom, seen their high school graduation canceled, and spent several years in remote college learning on-campus. For those who attended USC or other institutions seeing protests surrounding the Middle East conflict, their college graduation may be in jeopardy, too. For those students, their only graduation ceremony was in middle school.

From COVID, to a rise in post-2016 xenophobia, to protests over Black Lives Matter, Ukraine and Israel, to the white nationalist marches in Charlottesville, VA, being a young person in the past decade is no cake walk. Not to mention every ounce of information, video, photo, and testimonials accessible through social media.

With each action comes an equal and opposite reaction: Gen Z is increasingly more pessimistic, anxious, and depressed than previous generations. While many young people will readily admit it’s far better to live in the U.S. than the war-torn communities they constantly hear about, being exposed to an endless, daily supply of internet dread certainly impacts mental health – especially at a young age when they start to meaningfully understand the world around them.

Read More at ABC News

Sales surge with AI

By this point, most people are aware that AI can write social media captions, quickly analyze data, and alter images. In Q1, though, Amazon proved that AI could be a critical component for a new revolution of sales in the digital marketplace.

In the first three months of the year, sales in Amazon’s crucial profit center, Amazon Web Services (AWS) surged by over 17% to approximately $25 billion. The division’s operating project also experienced a significant increase of nearly 84%. Amazon CEO Andy Jassy likened the opportunity potential of AWS to that of the cloud – and even the internet.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Amazon, whose rising expenses, particularly in fulfillment and technology, dampened profits. But the rise in AI sales and uptick in advertising revenue shows promise.

Small businesses may not have the chance to deploy Amazon’s AI sales scale, but embracing emerging technologies may help increase the bottom line for entrepreneurs across the country. Here are four small biz AI tips from Forbes:

  1. Use AI to personalize marketing campaigns.
  1. Use AI chatbots to handle multiple customer interactions at once.
  1. Use AI to automate price adjustments based on real-time market conditions, inventory levels, and more.
  1. Use AI to help automate route tasks and optimize workflows.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

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