Jan 9, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: Trump's meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer didn't go well. He tweeted:

  • "Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time. I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!"

Breaking: “Young people from around the world who provided low-cost child care for American families will share in a proposed $65.5 million settlement of a lawsuit brought by a dozen former au pairs against the companies that bring the workers to the United States,” AP reports.

1 big thing: Classic diets are hot again

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Armed to the teeth with apps and wearable devices and New Year's zeal, Americans still appear to be turning to methods of old in a battle to lose a few pounds.

Driving the news: "The main players – WW International (formerly Weight Watchers International), Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig and Medifast – grew 18.1 percent to $3.11 billion in 2018," USA Today reports.

  • "The average age of most weight-loss programs' members is mid- to late 40s. And female. Recent re-targeted marketing efforts have increased the number of men in these programs."
  • "WW products range from branded groceries ... to a partnership with the meal kit company Blue Apron, unveiled Dec. 20."

Between the lines: It's not hard to see the appeal for Apple and Google in a future where a connected watch or phone holistically manages a diet plan. It could log physical activity and food intake, provide health data to doctors, and order the next round of delivery or restaurant meals — all in one connected ecosystem, paying fees at every step or in a bundle.

  • For consumers, that would bring convenience and simplicity, but also a financial price and a loss of privacy.

The big picture: Apple is extremely interested in health, Axios’ Ina Fried noted this morning.

  • "If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind?' It will be about health," Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC.
  • "We are democratizing it. We are taking what has been with the institutions and empowering the individual to manage their health."

The bottom line: Apple has already invested years to understand tech and build relationships with hospitals, doctors and regulators, reports Ina.

  • And Apple's work has already shown up in modest ways, like its fitness research lab, the ResearchKit that allows its products to be used in clinical studies, and the electrocardiogram in the latest Apple Watch.

Go deeper: Health is Apple's next really big thing

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump, with GOP senators in tow, after the weekly Republican Senate policy luncheon.

2. What you missed
  1. China's grand infrastructure effort could "tip the world into catastrophic climate change," a new report warns. Go deeper.
  2. The FDA has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities. Go deeper.
  3. Iran has confirmed it is holding a U.S. Navy veteran, Michael White, who has been held since July on unknown charges, and had been to the country several times to visit his Iranian girlfriend. Go deeper.
  4. Nearly 20% of 18- to 37-year-olds expect to die before they are able to pay off their debt. Go deeper.
  5. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi's televised response to Trump on Tuesday night got higher ratings than Trump's address. Go deeper.
  6. Tom Steyer won’t run for president: The billionaire activist has poured millions into climate and anti-Trump advocacy. Go deeper.
3. 1 historic thing

Lapis lazuli. Photo: Getty Images

The discovery of “brilliant blue flecks in the tartar” of the teeth of a woman who died 1,000 years ago in Germany is giving new ammunition to the idea that female artisans were more common in the Middle Ages than previously thought, AP reports.

  • “It’s kind of a bombshell for my field — it’s so rare to find material evidence of women’s artistic and literary work in the Middle Ages,” Ohio State professor Alison Beach told AP.
  • “Ultramarine, as the powdered form of lapis lazuli is known, was the finest and most expensive pigment in medieval Europe, more valuable even than gold. The stone came from a single source: the mines of Afghanistan. Because of the cost of carrying it to Europe, ultramarine was reserved for the most important and well-funded artistic projects.”
Mike Allen