May 24, 2019

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Happy Friday! Axios AM brings you what matters, in Smart Brevity. (Today: 1,127 words ... < 5 minutes!)

Situational awareness: "Harvey Weinstein and his former studio’s board members ... reached a tentative $44 million deal to resolve lawsuits filed by women who accused him of sexual misconduct," and by the New York State attorney general. (N.Y. Times)

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1 big thing: What your hospital knows about you

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Every trip to a doctor's office or hospital adds more information to a deep, comprehensive record of who you are — physically, emotionally and even financially, Axios health care business reporter Bob Herman writes.

  • Everything else you, your family or your friends divulge to doctors gets recorded. That could include drinking habits, admission of responsibility in a car accident, or marital problems.
  • Why it matters: Health care data breaches are getting more common, putting our most sensitive personal information at risk of exposure and misuse.

How it works: A vast majority of doctors' offices and hospitals now use digitized records systems. Even though electronic health records have pitfalls, they can help patients and the health care system overall.

  • For example, if new doctors or emergency-room nurses can quickly pull up a list of your allergies, they're a lot less likely to accidentally give you a drug you're allergic to.
  • If they can see your recent test results, they're less likely to order a new and unnecessary test.

The bottom line: All this information can be exposed in data breaches, medical malpractice lawsuits, workers' compensation lawsuits or custody disputes.

2. 🇬🇧 End of May
Theresa May walks into 10 Downing Street in London after speaking. Photo: Alastair Grant/AP

Bulletin: British Prime Minister Theresa May said she will quit June 7, "triggering a contest that will bring a new leader to power who is likely to push for a more decisive Brexit divorce deal," per Reuters:

  • Why it matters: "May bequeaths a deeply divided country and a political elite that is deadlocked over how, when or whether to leave the EU."

May's voice shook as she ended her speech, saying: "I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold. The second female prime minister [after Margaret Thatcher], but certainly not the last." (BBC)

3. Pelosi's impeachment power

Speaker Pelosi holds her weekly news conference yesterday. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

There may not be another Democrat in the country, besides Speaker Pelosi, who would have had the ability to hold off the rank and file's push to impeach President Trump:

  • The view on the Hill seems to be that if she puts her foot down and says "no" to impeachment, then there’s no chance House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler or others will defy her wishes.

But the pressure to impeach will keep growing:

  • If Democrats win in court to get Trump’s financial documents, some energy could go out of the impeachment drive.
  • But if Democrats lose in court, it’s going to be extraordinarily difficult to hold off impeachment.

Ignore any Democrats who say you can always open an impeachment inquiry, and this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll impeach Trump:

  • In what universe do you see Democrats opening impeachment — which would be the dominant story in America for the foreseeable future — and then get to the end of it and say: "You know what? He’s kinda clean and legit!"
4. Pic du jour
Photo: Scott Sonner/AP

These two drones flew over Lake Street in downtown Reno, Nev., this week as part of a NASA simulation, AP's Scott Sonner reports:

  • One took off from the rooftop of a five-story casino parking garage and landed on the roof of another out of view across the street.
  • It hovered as onboard sensors adjusted for gusty winds before returning close to the center of the launchpad.

Why it matters: Businesses want to unleash the unmanned devices in droves above busy streets and buildings.

  • The emerging technology someday will be used to manage hundreds of thousands of small unmanned commercial aircraft delivering packages, pizzas and medical supplies.
5. Arlington sees housing boom before Amazon HQ2

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The Northern Virginia housing market has tightened dramatically in anticipation of Amazon's HQ2, Axios' David McCabe and Erica Pandey report:

  • Buyers and sellers have been scrambling for months to lock up properties and take advantage of the new demand.
  • Why it matters: Amazon’s move into Arlington, Va. — the first of 25,000 employees will arrive in June — comes as tech companies are being blamed for fueling inequality and gentrification in major cities around the country.

The big picture: In Seattle, Amazon's home, housing prices have doubled over the past six years. The D.C. market is already feeling the Amazon effect:

  • Prices are rising and the market is tightening in the Arlington and Alexandria areas near the Amazon project.
  • Homeowners are holding onto their houses in the hopes that they can sell for higher prices once the HQ2 project expands.

Homeowners who do sell have been getting multiple offers and feel emboldened to consider asking for more.

  • Buyers have been rushing to lock in sales before Amazon’s presence bumps up prices.
  • And speculators are circling the neighborhoods close to the HQ2 site. Some area residents have put up no-solicitation signs, to stop a crush of investors from knocking on their doors offering to buy their homes.

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6. Facebook 2020

What's new: Facebook stopped paying commissions to employees who sell political ads, as it overhauls how it engages with campaigns, The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).

  • Why it matters: "Once seen as a growth area, political ads are now viewed within Facebook as more of a headache."

Backstory: "In the wake of revelations about Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election, senior leaders at the company debated whether it should cease running political ads entirely."

  • "Mark Zuckerberg made the final call to stay in the business."
7. Trump has aides vouch that he's "very calm"
President Donald Trump asks Kellyanne Conway about his demeanor. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

President Trump insisted yesterday that he did not have a temper tantrum this week when he cut off a White House meeting with congressional Democrats after just three minutes, AP reports.

  • To prove it — in the middle of a meeting with farmers — he called on five members of his staff to bear witness to his demeanor.
  • One by one, his advisers dutifully stepped forward to testify, saying Trump had been "very calm," albeit "direct," in his meeting with Democrats.
8. Data du jour
Expand chart
Data: Economic Innovation Group Distressed Communities Index; Map: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Economic opportunity is tied to location more than ever before, according to a county-by-county report from the nonprofit Economic Innovation Group.

  • Most of today's distressed communities saw zero net gains in employment and business establishment since 2000. In fact, more than half have seen net losses on both fronts.

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9. Video du jour

SpaceX launched 60 of its internet-beaming Starlink satellites to orbit on Thursday night, marking the first launch of its kind for Elon Musk's company, writes Axios space reporter Miriam Kramer.

  • Why it matters: Starlink is SpaceX's big move into the satellite internet market. The company hopes to one day have a constellation of thousands of satellites in orbit, beaming broadband internet around the globe, particularly to areas without reliable coverage.

Watch the launch and landing.

10. 1 fake thing

An altered video of Speaker Pelosi that shows her speaking slowly as if impaired is spreading on social media, writes Axios' Kaveh Waddell.

  • The big picture: Experts are wringing their hands over the potential for deepfakes — AI-manipulated videos, audio and photos — to stir up political mayhem. But so far, the vast majority of media altered to mislead has been extremely simple.
Mike Allen

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