News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Tech Drama, MBS, and The Latin Grammy Awards

Elizabeth Holmes Theranos founder and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried
November 18, 2022


The Story

This week has been a rollercoaster.

Where do we begin?

Big Tech. There’ve been a couple of chaotic stories dominating the headlines this week — in industries ranging from crypto to concert spaces. Here’s what you need to know:

After-FTX…It wasn’t enough that crypto exchange platform FTX suffered an $8 billion shortfall and went bankrupt. Or that Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) successor accused him of “complete failure.” Now, alleged romantic relationships among company leadership are raising eyebrows. There are alleged Tumblrs we can’t un-Tumble. And DMs from SBF appear to show him giving a giant FU to regulators. The effective altruism community is reeling. Democrats are without their no. 2 donor. And even Steph Curry and Larry David got sued. It’s unclear what will come next. But one thing is certain: We haven’t heard the last of FTX or SBF. Congressional hearings are planned for next month. And a documentary’s already in the works. Buckle up.

Ticketmaster of None…There’s no shortage of teardrops Taylor Swift fans have shed trying to get concert tickets. This week, Capital One cardholders and super fans were supposed to get first dibs — but many were met with glitches, long queues, and price gouging. Now, Tennessee and North Carolina are investigating alleged antitrust and consumer rights violations. And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has called again to break up Ticketmaster’s union with Live Nation. Meanwhile, company reps say 14 million people hit the site. And today’s general sale is canceled. But Swift isn’t saying anything…except ‘check out this remix of a song about how I’m the problem.’

Fleeing the Coop...Twitter employees. Yesterday was Elon Musk’s deadline for employees to be “hardcore” or leave. Turns out, hundreds of employees said ‘that’s my cue.’ This week’s saga involves Musk — who has experience running companies — warning employees to expect indefinite hours at the office, no remote work allowed. And that if they don’t like it, they can take severance. Because who needs quiet firing when the CEO is daring people to leave. Yesterday, amid a wave of resignations, Musk backed off the in-person requirement a bit. But it was too late. Now, some are speculating Twitter could buckle within hours or days, unable to withstand bugs with engineers gone. All of the company’s offices are reportedly closed. And #RIPTwitter is trending. At least it still works...for now.

Anything else?

Yes actually. Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced today. Something else to write Holmes about.


It's the week before Thanksgiving. Be thankful if you’re not the drama.

And Also...This

Who could be getting off scot-free…

Mohammed bin Salman. Last night, President Biden's admin said the Saudi crown prince should be granted immunity in a lawsuit over the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. It’s mixed messaging from a president who once promised to turn Saudi Arabia into a “pariah state” for its human rights abuses. And comes months after Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia in July where he fist bumped MBS…despite saying he blamed him personally for Khashoggi’s killing. The US intelligence community has also found that MBS approved Khashoggi’s killing and even boasted about killing others. But MBS — who was recently named prime minister — continues to deny he was involved. Now, the Biden admin says that as the “sitting head” of a foreign government MBS is immune from the lawsuit. Khashoggi’s fiancée said she was disappointed in the US and that there was no “light to justice.” A judge will get the final say on whether to grant immunity.

Who’s putting down her gavel…

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Yesterday, she said she’s stepping down as House Democratic leader after two decades. In 2007, Pelosi became the first woman to serve as speaker of the House. Since then, she’s notched legislative wins during the Obama and Biden admins (see: the Affordable Care Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act). And led the impeachments of former President Trump. Critics saw her as a radical — and quick to spend Americans’ tax dollars. Reflecting on her career, Pelosi said she never thought she'd go ”from homemaker to House Speaker.” But that now that Dems lost the House majority, “the hour has come” for a new generation of Dem leaders. Pelosi also noted that last month’s attack on her husband had her reconsidering her future. As for her replacement? Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (NY), Katherine Clark (MA), and Pete Aguilar (CA) could be ready to throw their hats in the ring for the next House minority leader.

What’s beaked our interest…

Lab-grown meat. This week, the FDA — for the first time — said that humans can safely eat it. The move brings Upside Foods one step closer to selling its lab-grown chicken in restaurants and grocery stores. Here’s how it works: unlike plant-based meat, Upside Foods takes actual cells from chickens and grows them in a petri dish with the help of other ingredients (like gelatin, ethanol, and water) to make lab-grown meat. Can’t wait for #recipetok to hop on that one. The meat apparently has the same nutrients as conventional meat. And the FDA said that after evaluating Upside Food’s chicken it had “no further questions” on its safety. Next up: the company needs to pass an inspection from the Agriculture Dept. Supporters see cultured meat (as it’s also known) as a win for animals and climate change, with tens of billions of chickens killed each year. And livestock making up about 14.5% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Critics are concerned about affordability.

Who's putting us in a Friday mood…

The Latin Grammy Awards winners.

What people have on their radar…

The 2022 FIFA World Cup. Stay tuned tomorrow for a breakdown.

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