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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Mounting U.S. debt, and rising credit-card delinquencies, are creating what one big bond investor describes as a "cocktail of economic risk."
Why it matters: These realities run contrary to the overall narrative of a strong U.S. economy.
What they’re saying: "Junk bonds are flying out the door once again. Deeply indebted companies are borrowing even more to pay equity holders." (Bloomberg)
What to watch: As companies struggle under their enormous debt loads, expect them to start looking to the high-flying stock market for rescue.
What's new: The College Board will report SAT takers' so-called "adversity score" to college admissions officers, a measure "calculated using 15 factors, including the relative quality of the student’s high school and the crime rate and poverty level of the student’s neighborhood," writes the N.Y. Times' Anemona Hartocollis.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
With red states passing a record wave of abortion restrictions, Planned Parenthood Federation of America today will announce a six-figure digital ad buy over the coming weeks urging women voters to contact their legislators.
What conservatives are thinking ... National Review's David French:
"Two generations of pro-life activism, persuasion, and argument have yielded pro-life supermajorities in state houses across much of the South and Midwest, and they recognize the fact that we have reached a moment of legal possibility we may never attain again — perhaps not for generations. It is possible (maybe not likely, but possible) that the Supreme Court could overrule Roe v. Wade, and these legislatures have chosen to go for broke."
Go deeper: Blue states rush to protect abortion
"Intelligence collected by the U.S. government shows Iran’s leaders believe the U.S. planned to attack them, prompting preparation by Tehran for possible counterstrikes, according to one interpretation of the information," report The Wall Street Journal's Warren Strobel, Nancy Youssef, and Vivian Salama (subscription).
What's new: As the White House is diverting billions of dollars in military funds to the border wall, President Trump "is micromanaging the project down to the smallest design details," Nick Miroff and Josh Dawsey report:
Why it matters: "Trump’s frequently shifting instructions and suggestions have left engineers and aides confused."
I.M. Pei (pronounced PAY), the Chinese American architect who left landmarks around the world, died in Manhattan yesterday at 102.
Why he matters: "Pei ... had a client list that was a who's who of 20th century notables, including French President Francois Mitterrand for the Louvre, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library in Boston, and art collector and philanthropist Paul Mellon for the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington." (L.A. Times)
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
The $1.5 trillion per year business of moving stuff around is one of the most lucrative and complex industries in the U.S. — and Amazon is attempting to conquer it, writes Axios' Erica Pandey.
Why it matters: It could spark an out-and-out war. If Amazon strengthens its network and stops relying on the big shippers, UPS and FedEx could lose one of their biggest customers, hurting their bottom line. And smaller firms could pick Amazon over them, too.
AI company Dessa claims that it's created "the most realistic AI simulation of a voice we’ve heard to date" — an audio deepfake of podcaster Joe Rogan.
Worth noting, via Axios' Kaveh Waddell: Dessa hasn't published any technical details about how it made the voice — it promises a follow-up in the coming days.
"On My Way! Smartphones Are Turning Us Into Liars: Demand for frequent E.T.A. updates leads to a rash of easily exposed prevarications," The Wall Street Journal's Katherine Bindley writes in an A-hed (subscription):
Why it matters: "We can communicate more easily, more often, in more ways than ever before. And although we can be reached at most any time, we don’t always want to be reached. Our options are to either ignore someone or to deceive them with white lies." (Jeff Hancock, Stanford communications professor)
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