Sep 7, 2021

Axios AM

Welcome back, and happy Tuesday! Smart Brevity™ count: 1,190 words ... 4½ minutes. Edited by Zachary Basu.

⚡ Situational awareness: Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue will come down from its Monument Avenue pedestal tomorrow.

  • Gov. Ralph Northam made the announcement four days after the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the commonwealth could remove what Northam called "Virginia's largest monument to the Confederate insurrection."
1 big thing: Afghanistan adds to immigration mess

Afghan refugees at Dulles on Aug. 29. Photo: Kent Nishimura/L.A. Times via Getty Images

An influx of Afghan refugees is worsening America's broken immigration system, Axios' Stef Kight writes.

  • The Pentagon needs to add 50,000 spots to bases by next week to provide temporary housing for Afghan refugees.
  • That may sound like a lot, but there have been more than 1.2 million undocumented border crossings since October.

The big picture: Afghanistan is the latest in a string of migration emergencies facing President Biden.

  • COVID, poverty and violence in Central America, an earthquake that rocked Haiti, actions by the Trump administration and by federal courts, and agencies that are understaffed and underfunded have left the administration jumping from one fire to the next.

What's happening: The same HHS agency scrambling to fund and build emergency sites for unaccompanied kids from south of the border is also charged with funding services for resettled Afghans.

  • Paperwork, including work authorization for Afghans and Central American asylum-seekers alike, all flows through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which has long struggled with backlogs.

What we're watching: An unknown number of unaccompanied Afghan kids will join the record numbers of migrant children who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border without their parents or guardians.

  • As military bases prepare to house tens of thousands of Afghans, one base — Fort Bliss, Texas — has already been criticized for holding hundreds of unaccompanied minors in unfit conditions.

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2. Delta dagger: Goldman cuts growth forecast
Expand chart
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics via FRED. Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Goldman Sachs cut its U.S. growth forecast, citing a "harder path" ahead for consumers.

  • 2021 expansion is now pegged at 5.7%, economist Ronnie Walker told clients yesterday — down from 6% at the end of August, Bloomberg reports.
  • That follows Friday's report showing a massive slowdown in job creation.

The bank's projected unemployment rate is 4.2% at the end of this year — ticking up from a prior estimate of 4.1%.

  • But Goldman raised its growth forecast for 2022 to 4.6% — up from 4.5%.

🌐 The Delta effect is global. "Delta Surge Means This Is as Good as Global Growth Gets," warned a Bloomberg headline over the weekend.

3. Exclusive poll: 85% of D parents, 32% of Rs back school masks

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

59% of parents with school-age children back mask mandates in schools, Axios health care editor Tina Reed writes from an Axios/Momentive poll (38,251 adults).

  • 85% of Democrats, 66% of independents and 32% of Republicans support mask mandates for students and staff.

Here's the surprise: Opposition to school mask mandates is highest in Colorado (37%), Iowa (44%), Minnesota (38%), and Ohio (43%) — not in Texas and Florida, where mandates have been banned.

  • Fewer than half (46%) of Republicans in Texas — which has been hit hard by COVID in recent weeks — oppose mask mandates.
  • By contrast, 70% of Colorado Republicans oppose mandates.

Look at these gender and age gaps:

  • More mothers than fathers (66% vs. 50%) support mask mandates for students and staff.
  • Republican parents under age 35 are 10 points more likely than older ones to back requiring masks at school.

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4. Pic du jour
Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Marine One approaches the South Lawn last night as President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden return from Labor Day weekend in Delaware.

5. Space for amateurs: Pizza, movies, 360° view

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

🎧 Just dropped: Part 3 of Axios' "How it Happened: The Next Astronauts" podcast, following the first all-civilian space crew as they prepare for launch on Sept. 15. Axios Space author Miriam Kramer has the backstory:

The training for the all-civilian crew of SpaceX Inspiration4 is a reality check on the industry's goal of sending ordinary people to space.

  • For a future where millions of people live and work in space, the trip will need to take far less preparation.

The crew has spent hours in simulators learning how to run the Dragon capsule.

  • They ate what they'll eat in space — and sat through a simulated launch delay caused by weather.

🍕 The crew will eat cold pizza on the first day in orbit.

  • The crew is picking out movies.
  • SpaceX has installed a huge bubble window — called a cupola — at the top of their Dragon capsule to give the crew incredible 360° views of space and Earth.

Hear it here.

6. 👢 DOJ vows to shield Texans

The Texas House in May, during the abortion debate. Photo: Eric Gay/AP

Attorney General Merrick Garland said DOJ is "urgently" exploring ways to challenge the Texas abortion law, and vowed to "protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services."

  • "The department will provide support from federal law enforcement when an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is under attack," Garland said.

Read the statement.

7. Wall Street prepares for IPO flood

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

More than 100 companies are expected to go public on U.S. stock exchanges by year-end, capping off what's already been the busiest year for IPOs since 2000, Axios Pro Rata author Dan Primack writes.

  • 279 companies already completed U.S. IPOs in 2021, topping last year's 218.
  • Neither total includes the deluge of SPAC IPOs — 423 in 2021 vs 248 in 2020), per SPAC Research — nor the smaller number of direct listings.

Notable companies going public include Warby Parker, Fresh Market, iFit, Toast, Sportradar, Allbirds, Sweetgreen and Authentic Brands Group.

  • Yogurt maker Chobani and electric car maker Rivian are among those that have filed confidentially with the SEC.
  • Reports persist that Reddit, Discord, Flipkart and Instacart are still considering 2021 listings.

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8. 🚗 The future of auto shows
A Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept car at the Munich auto show yesterday. Photo: Jan Hetfleisch/Getty Images

Auto shows are coming back, and now feature hands-on experiences like automated parking, Axios' Joann Muller writes from Detroit.

This week's IAA international auto show in Munich is the first major industry event in two years, showcasing everything from bikes to e-scooters to cars, Reuters reports.

  • A "Blue Lane Road" dedicated to clean vehicles and autonomous shuttles will ferry you between show venues while you listen to lectures or music, or immerse yourself in virtual reality worlds.

Later this month, Detroit will revive its international auto show with Motor Bella, outdoors at an 87-acre motorsports track.

  • You'll be able to "cruise in an electric car on a mile-long track, take an exhilarating ride in a utility vehicle up rocky terrain, or feel the G’s of a sports car taking you from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds."

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9. Remembering Michael K. Williams
Michael K. Williams as Omar Little. Photo: HBO

Michael K. Williams, 54, played a criminal with a strict moral code as Omar Little in "The Wire," creating one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of TV.

  • Williams was found dead by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, AP reports. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said.

Williams was a ubiquitous character actor in other shows and films for more than two decades: He created another classic character as Chalky White in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," and appeared in the films "12 Years a Slave" and "Assassin’s Creed."

  • He's up for an Emmy for his role in HBO's "Lovecraft Country."

See more photos.

10. On Rosh Hashanah, wishing you a sweet new year
Photo: Rachel Racoosin/Axios

Jake Tapper is still writing 5781 on his checks ...

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