Fury erupted across America on Wednesday—not only because a Texas man massacred 19 children and two teachers, but because of the seemingly quicker-than-usual effort by gun industry defenders to change the subject. Expressions of sympathy from opponents of reform, deemed by gun-control advocates hollow at best (the expression “thoughts and prayers” coming in for acid derision), also earned wide condemnation on social media. Ten years after another group of children were shot dead in Connecticut, and with multiple mass killings in between, Republican Party leaders were showing no sign that the latest slaughter—in a state with some of the least restrictive gun laws in America—would lead to new legislation.
Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke (left) interrupted a press conference Wednesday held by Republican Governor Greg Abbott. “This is on you until you choose to do something different,” O’Rourke told Abbott, a long-time opponent of gun regulations. Photographer: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images
Texas Governor Gregg Abbott was called out on Wednesday during a press conference in a dramatic, fiery denunciation by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke. Abbott has been one of the GOP’s most strident supporters of firearm deregulation and is to speak at the National Rifle Association’s gun industry convention in Houston on Friday, along with fellow Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz. Not long after the shooting, Cruz went on the offensive against anyone who might cite the bloodshed in Uvalde as reason to pass new gun laws. The reaction was swift.
Indeed, as Washington Democrats wring their hands at legislative gridlock (though a few have previously voted against gun regulations), multiple states have already or are in the process of making it easier for more people to own and carry firearms. And the Supreme Court, controlled by six Republican-appointed justices, is expected to rule in the coming weeks in a case that may further dilute gun licensing nationwide. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden pleaded with Congress, saying “for god’s sake, let’s have the courage to stand up to the industry.” On Wednesday, Congress indicated it would proceed with its Memorial Day recess before considering any gun control legislation. But the chances of anything getting passed are “slim,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Mark Gongloff, writing in Bloomberg Opinion, is pessimistic. “Nothing changes,” he writes. “We await the next massacre.”
Stocks climbed as Federal Reserve minutes from its latest policy meeting revealed no signals that officials would turn more hawkish in their fight to tame inflation. In late trading, Nvidia, the largest US chipmaker by market value, slid after Chinese supply-chain woes and Russia’s war on Ukraine weighed on its sales forecast. Here’s your markets wrap.
Africa risks sliding into stagflation as price pressures and supply-chain disruptions emanating from the war stifle output. As for Russia, it’s been pushed closer to a potential default after the US Treasury Department let a key sanctions waiver benefitting American investors expire.
With more than 104,000 confirmed infections each day, and the actual number likely much higher thanks to at-home testing, the US is now fully enveloped in its seventh wave of the pandemic. Hospitalizations, seen now as a more apt gauge of severity, average 3,500 per day over a 7-day period, a 15.6% jump over the previous period, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths, generally a lagging indicator, had been dropping from their winter wave high until this month. Currently, about 280 Americans are dying from Covid-19 each day. But as more people focus not on precautions but where they can travel without Covid restrictions, there are new, troubling studies. One out of five people infected by the coronavirus will suffer from the constellation of potentially serious infirmities associated with long Covid, said one study. The other stated that vaccinations are of minimal protection against such long-term effects.
Elon Musk is dropping plans to partially fund his purchase of Twitter with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increasing the size of the deal’s equity component to $33.5 billion. Meanwhile, the CEO’s incessant posting on social media is damaging the company that made him.
Guggenheim Partners Chief Investment Officer Scott Minerd loved Bitcoin—but now he doesn’t. Minerd said he expects Bitcoin to fall to $8,000 and that cryptocurrency has become a market of “a bunch of yahoos.” Two years ago, he predicted it would reach $400,000.
Scott Minerd Photographer: Lauren Justice/Bloomberg
A proposal by the founder of Terra to salvage the project was approved, averting a total collapse of one of the most-watched experiments in decentralized finance.
Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian journalist and American citizen who had covered the conflict in the Occupied Territories for decades, may have been intentionally killed by Israeli forces on the morning of May 11, according to an investigation by CNN. Abu Akleh, 51, wearing a bright blue flak jacket and helmet, both labeled press, was shot in the head. CNN said it reviewed almost a dozen videos of the attack as part of its investigation. Israel, which denied the report’s allegation, has yet to open a criminal probe of her murder. Members of the US Congress have urged the Biden administration to independently investigate the American’s killing.
Shireen Abu Akleh Source: Al Jazeera via AP
Shuli Ren writes in Bloomberg Opinion that China’s leaders are no fans of George Soros. During the Asian financial crisis, the billionaire investor tried to break the Hong Kong dollar peg. In 2016, when China was experiencing massive capital outflows, Beijing warned him not to short the yuan. Last summer, he wrote that President Xi Jinping “does not understand how markets work.” Now Soros has really upped the ante. In a speech at this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, he said Xi may not get a third-term at the 20th National Congress this fall. Here’s why—and the odds Soros might be right.
Xi Jinping Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images AsiaPac