Happy Thursday! Our hearts go out to the Las Vegas wedding planners and city clerks bracing for a rush of newlyweds this New Year’s Eve. But we really can’t blame people for wanting an anniversary date—12/31/23, or 123123—that even a toddler could remember.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) expanded its ground operations into refugee camps in central Gaza this week, deeming them “a new battle zone” in the campaign to destroy Hamas’ military and governing capabilities in the enclave. Civilians living in the Bureij and Nusairat camps have been directed to move to Deir al-Balah, a central Gazan town just south of the camps, and thousands fled there on foot yesterday—but Deir al-Balah has reportedly also been a site of continued fighting. “The war will continue for many more months,” said Herzi Halevi, chief of the general staff of the Israel Defense Forces, in a press conference on Tuesday. “There are no magic solutions or shortcuts in the fundamental dismantling of a terrorist organization, except persistent and determined fighting.”
- The U.S. Defense Department announced on Wednesday its final security aid package under existing drawdown authority to Ukraine, which includes up to $250 million in “air defense capabilities, artillery and anti-tank weapons, and other equipment.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged lawmakers to pass additional aid to continue American support to the embattled country. “It is imperative that Congress act swiftly, as soon as possible, to advance our national security interests by helping Ukraine defend itself and secure its future,” he said in a statement released yesterday.
- The New York Times filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against OpenAI and Microsoft over alleged copyright infringement, claiming that the companies exploited the newspaper’s content without permission or authorization to train their AI systems—including the chatbot ChatGPT—and “wrongfully benefited from” the Times’ journalism. “This action seeks to hold them responsible for the billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages that they owe for the unlawful copying and use of the Times’ uniquely valuable works,” the paper argued in the filing.
- The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday left a lower court ruling in place that keeps former President Donald Trump on the GOP presidential primary ballot. As in Colorado, the Michigan voters who brought the case argued that Trump should be barred from the ballot under the insurrection clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. In a one-paragraph order, the justices wrote, “We are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this court.” The ruling didn’t address whether Trump was eligible to appear on the general election ballot, but the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide that issue in the coming weeks.
- In a motion filed Wednesday, special counsel Jack Smith requested the federal judge overseeing his 2020 election case against Trump stop the former president and his legal team from “inject[ing] politics” into the trial and making unfounded claims to the jury about selective prosecution or election interference. Smith asked Judge Tanya Chutkan to block any attempts “to confuse and distract the jury” with questions or claims not relevant to the case. “The court should not permit the defendant to turn the courtroom into a forum in which he propagates irrelevant disinformation,” the filing read. “Much as the defendant would like it otherwise, this trial should be about the facts and the law, not politics.” Chutkan temporarily put the trial proceedings on hold earlier this month while a federal appeals court assessed Trump’s claims of immunity from prosecution.
Waiting for the (Economic) Ball to Drop
Being wrong is always frustrating, but being wrong in the company of a large number of well-qualified—though equally incorrect—experts must dull the blow slightly.
We hope that sentiment holds true for the economists Bloomberg and Financial Times surveyed around this time last year, asking whether they expected the U.S. economy to be in a recession by the end of 2023. In December 2022, the vast majority of those economists said, “You betcha.”