The Weekender: The (Un)official Start of Summer

Welcome back to a new edition of The Weekender… where another mass murder has hit the community of Uvalde, Texas—we dive into what is to be expected next. Plus, a look into this week’s primary results and insights into the next presidential election. And, what to expect for your holiday weekend plans and how monkeypox may be the next pandemic. These stories and more are below in this week’s edition of The Weekender. Glad you can join us.

DON’T MISS THIS: Strategic Elements announces the promotion of U.S. Air Force veteran Elizabeth (Liz) Etter to Director of Public Affairs. Elizabeth has years of experience in project and operations management and high-Intensity, specialty training—keeping projects and teams on track for success. Learn more about Elizabeth here.

 

THE BIG FIVE

America Calls on Capitol Hill for Change

At least 21 people were killed this week in a mass shooting at an elementary school. With casualties increasing, this marks the largest shooting in US history. The deaths include 19 schoolchildren. The senseless shooting was carried out by an 18-year-old who was legally able to purchase two assault rifles. Mass shootings are in a surge throughout the country—and experts are attributing this to the pandemic lockdowns and the availability of guns. All eyes move to Congress as Americans call for action on gun control and mental health resources. However, there has been little meaningful action from Capitol Hill in more than 30 years on gun control—so hope for significant change is limited. An executive order could create substantial change, but there has been no word from the Administration if this is on the horizon. Regardless, we have to ask, “what can be done?” And maybe just as importantly, “why does this keep happening?” Read more in Reuters. 


Another Week of Primaries, Another Week of Waiting

Primary season continued this week with some highly anticipated races concluding… and others still await final results. The Georgia Republican gubernatorial race was highly watched this cycle, and incumbent Brian Kemp claimed victory—beating out Trump-backed David Purdue. Governor Kemp was said to now have not done enough to overturn the 2020 Presidential—making Trump heavily campaign for Purdue. However, in a midnight surprise, former Vice President Mike Pence endorsed and campaigned for Kemp—adding to the division between the former president and his VP. Pence’s appearance and subsequent separation from Trump sparked rumors of a 2024 run for the former VP. While the Georgia primaries are settled, the Pennsylvania GOP senate race is still not final. Dr. Oz remains slightly in the lead, but the Republican National Committee vowed for a recount as the numbers are still so close—with less than a thousand votes separating Oz and McCormick. This election cycle sure is interesting, and this is just the beginning. Read more in The Washington Post

 
Traffic, Congestion, and Barbeque: #MDW2022
Americans are eager to return to a pre-pandemic normal—and summer travel plans prove it. According to a recent poll, a majority of Americans have summer travel plans, but high gas and hotel prices are “major factors.” Even so, high inflation prices aren’t stopping a good time. Florida’s tourism has surpassed pre-pandemic levels, and officials at Miami International Airport are projecting the “busiest Memorial Day weekend ever.” Whether you’re traveling north or south, tourist sites expect crowds in mass. Pennsylvania state police are expecting 2.2 million drivers to be just on the Pennsylvania Turnpike this weekend alone. As a record number of cars hit the road to mark the start of summer, always remember to check your rear-view mirror and use your turn signal (please). Read more in USA Today.
 
Hold On Tight: Hurricane Season Impacts
The beginning of summer is the start of peak travel, longer days, and hurricane season—and this year, it’s hitting harder than ever. According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report, hurricanes are forecast to be “unusually active,” with predictions of a 70% chance of 14 to 21 named storms. Of these, six to ten will become hurricanes, and three to six will intensify into major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater. The increase in storms is attributed to an ongoing Pacific La Nina, a cooling of the ocean’s surface caused by climate change. These storms are costly. The Weather Channel reports Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 through Hurricane Nicholas in 2021, 19 hurricanes and tropical storms caused at least $1 billion in damage in the U.S. when adjusted for inflation. In addition, hurricanes have claimed more than 3,500 lives since 2016. Read more in The Hill.
 
Memorial Day Memorializing

This weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, but it also brings an important American holiday: Memorial Day. While many will be celebrating at the beach or a barbecue, there is sure to be one central location on the news: Arlington National Cemetery. So how did Arlington land as the final resting place for so many of the nation’s fallen service members? The site marks the final resting place for U.S. military personnel of every major American conflict since the Revolutionary War—with over 400,000 service members, veterans and their eligible next-of-kin laid to rest in the cemetery overlooking Capitol Hill. Presidents historically visit the site to lay a wreath over the tomb of the unknown soldier during Memorial Day, paying respects to the military’s lost servicemembers. The tradition was officially started in 1971 with an act of Congress but has since expanded to include parades, events, and ceremonies to honor those who lost their lives in service. We thank all of our nation’s veterans and their families for their ultimate sacrifice to keep our country safe. Read more in U.S. Embassy

INTERNATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

Monkeypox Goes Global

As if Coronavirus and Bird Flu weren’t enough, global health authorities in Europe, Australia, and the United States have recently raised another red flag—monkeypox. The U.S. and Australia recently confirmed their first cases of monkeypox, with the root cause remaining unknown. While some cases are tied to recent travel to Africa, where the disease is typically confined, experts are witnessing global spread. U.S. President Joe Biden said that monkeypox is not as concerning as COVID-19. While he mentioned that Americans have a vaccine for monkeypox, he urges Americans to “be careful.” Health officials remain clear that the monkeypox outbreak poses a low-risk threat to the public, as it is believed to spread through “intimate skin-on-skin contact” or through “body fluids and respiratory droplets.” However, it is clear to health officials that it is not as infectious as COVID-19. The CDC has also reported that it has enough smallpox vaccines—a treatment for monkeypox—in its strategic reserve to immunize the entire U.S. population. While there is currently limited information on the situation, be sure to stay tuned for the latest updates in The Weekender. Read more in Bloomberg.

DATA POINTS

  • 87 million: The number of Facebook users that were subject to Cambridge Analytica’s data breach on Facebook. This week, the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg which would hold him personally liable for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
  • 100: The number of confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox in 12 countries, including the United States. President Joe Biden recently said that he doesn’t believe that monkeypox is as risky as the COVID-19 pandemic, but people should “be careful.”
  • 78,000 pounds: The amount of baby formula that was recently sent to the United States from European manufacturers. The emergency shipment is the first that was sent to help ease the baby formula shortage.
  • 1,200: The number of arachnid species, including spiders and scorpions, that are currently being traded across the world. A recent study found that nearly 80% of global arachnid trading is going unmonitored, threatening the sustainability of the species.
  • 80%: The estimated effectiveness of a three-dose COVID-19 vaccination for children five years and younger. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced they are seeking approval to distribute a booster shot for the country’s youngest population.
  • 100 million: The number of people worldwide that have been displaced from their homes, the highest number on record. The United Nations said that this figure represents 1 percent of the world’s population.
  • 57%: The percentage of U.S. small business owners that expect economic conditions to worsen in the next year, according to a recent Wall Street Journal survey.
  • 130: The number of Starbucks stores in Russia. The company recently announced it will be closing its doors in Russia, impacting nearly 2,000 employees.

FEATURED TWEET

Credit: Newsmax on Twitter.

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