Good morning. Today, in the small town of Buñol, Spain, trucks will haul more than 100 tons of tomatoes to serve as ammo for the world’s largest food fight. Known as La Tomatina, the festival is held the last Wednesday of August and draws a crowd of 20,000 tomato-flingers who clearly don’t mind being left on red.
No one knows how this tradition began, but the town is probably eager to keep it going. Because of the citric acid of the tomatoes strewn everywhere, the clean-up leaves Buñol more sparkling than it was before.
The Biden administration took its biggest step yet to lower drug costs for Americans, dropping the highly anticipated list of 10 prescription drugs that will first be subject to negotiations with Medicare. The medicines include blockbuster treatments like the blood thinner Eliquis from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, and the diabetes pill Jardiance from Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim.
Pharma companies are having kittens over this move—one of the most substantial actions ever taken against the industry—and are assembling an army of lawyers to stop it from happening.
How we got here
Medicare, the government’s health program covering 65 million Americans, has not been able to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical manufacturers. But that changed last year when Democrats included the measure in their Inflation Reduction Act, one of the few items in the massive bill that actually aims to…reduce inflation.
The theory is that by unleashing the bargaining power of the US’ largest buyer of healthcare, the government and consumers will save billions on drugs.
And surprise: People like paying less for drugs. Nearly 90% of Democrats and 77% of Republicans were in favor of the policy, according to a KFF survey last year. That overwhelming support is probably due to the fact that as of 2019, the US spent about double on prescription drugs compared with peer countries, per OECD data.
But pharma is fighting back
Large drugmakers, including J&J, Merck, and Bristol, have already sued the government over its Medicare negotiation push, calling it unconstitutional. Specifically, they say the Biden administration is violating the Fifth Amendment’s ban on seizing private property for public use without paying for it fairly. The pharma industry also claims that by hamstringing drugmaker revenues, the government will discourage the development of future life-saving treatments.
Looking ahead…the new drug prices won’t take effect until 2026, but we might see this argued before the Supreme Court before then.—NF
You’re training, gaining, and not complaining (much). Nothing quenches your thirst better than a refreshing, electrolyte-packed energy drink, but is there a way to escape those added sugars and artificial ingredients?
Enter LMNT, a delicious electrolyte drink mix that offers all the vital electrolytes you need—without the sugars and questionable ingredients found in other sports drinks.
LMNT prevents and eliminates headaches, muscle cramps, and fatigue while supporting a low-carb lifestyle and elevating performance. Kick-start your day, power up workouts, travel with a tried-and-true energy booster…the possibilities are endless, healthy, and delish.
For a limited time, try all of LMNT’s flavors with a free 8-count sample pack with any purchase. Happy hydrating, friends.
Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images
Florida braces for “catastrophic” Idalia. Fueled by sizzling ocean temps, Hurricane Idalia strengthened to a Category 3 storm and is expected to make landfall this morning in Florida’s Big Bend. Forecasters are warning the powerful Idalia could bring potentially life-threatening storm surges to the state’s west coast from the panhandle down to Tampa, and Gov. Ron DeSantis cautioned people in the storm’s path that they will likely lose power. For whatever reason, Atlantic storms beginning with the letter “I” have been the most destructive since 1955.
Bitcoin gets a boost from landmark ETF ruling. An appeals court said the SEC was wrong to reject an application from crypto investment firm Grayscale to create a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), sending the price of bitcoin up about 6.5%. The slumbering crypto industry has been eagerly anticipating a spot bitcoin ETF (as opposed to existing crypto ETFs based on futures) because it could attract a torrent of cash and interest from individual investors. The SEC said it was reviewing the decision.
3M reaches historic settlement. The manufacturing giant agreed to a $6 billion settlement to resolve claims its earplugs led to hearing damage for US veterans and service members. With about 240,000 plaintiffs eligible for payouts, it is the largest single mass tort in US history. Still, the legal trouble isn’t over for 3M, which is being sued from all directions for allegedly contaminating drinking water with “forever chemicals.”
After being dragged on social media for its hilariously bad AI-generated high school football reporting, the Columbus Dispatch and its owner Gannett announced they are pausing their local AI sportswriting initiative.
What happened: An article written by AI recapping a football game in Westerville, Ohio, went viral on X for being borderline illegible.
- The write-up used the phrase “a close encounter of the athletic kind” to describe the game.
- One sentence reads: “The Warriors chalked up this decision in spite of the Warhawks’ spirited fourth-quarter performance,” which makes perfect sense.
The Dispatch’s ethical guidelines state that AI content has to be verified by humans before being used in reporting, but it’s unclear whether that step was taken. Another AI-written sports story in the Dispatch initially failed to generate team names, publishing “[[WINNING_TEAM_MASCOT]]” and “[[LOSING_TEAM_MASCOT]].” The Dispatch has since updated AI-generated stories to correct errors.
Big picture: Major news outlets are still figuring out how to incorporate AI into their reporting process. Reuters, the AP, and others have published guidelines to define AI’s role in the newsroom, while Google is reportedly testing an AI product that helps journalists produce news stories. But expect more close encounters of the robot kind—experts estimate that 90% of content on the internet in a few years will be AI-generated, according to Axios.—CC
|Lace up in sustainable kicks with 40k 5-star reviews. Cariuma’s cult-fave sneakers are loved by literally everyone, including A-listers like Jon Hamm and Helen Mirren. Best part? They’re good for the environment (yep, B Corp-certified) and superrr comfy, with a broken-in feel straight outta the box. These never go on sale (even for Labor Day), so use code BREWAUGUST for 20% off. |
GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy rapped Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” at the Iowa State Fair earlier this month, trying to convince the crowd he’s cool and White House-ready.
But if Vivek only had one shot, he missed his chance to blow. Eminem responded by demanding that the music rights company BMI remove his work from a collection of over 20 million songs that it licenses to Vivek’s campaign. And Vivek agreed to eschew rapping Eminem in public going forward.
Zoom out: The rap hero to suburban ’90s kids is far from the only artist to cringe at political candidates jamming to their tunes on the campaign trail.
- Rock legends Foo Fighters were furious with John McCain for blasting their hit “My Hero” at rallies for his 2008 presidential run without permission. And McCain’s opponent, Barack Obama, was asked by Sam Moore from soul duo Sam and Dave to stop playing the track “Hold On, I’m Comin’.”
- More recently, Donald Trump drew protests (and some cease-and-desist letters) from at least 16 musical acts and their heirs, ranging from The Beatles to Rihanna, who did not want their songs soundtracking his White House bids.
Fortunately for them, artists can usually opt out of seeing politicians bust a move to their music, per the policies of companies like BMI.
Stat: You know those prompts at checkout counters that ask you to donate to charity? They raise boatloads of money for nonprofits. Consumers spent $749 million on donations at checkout last year, up 24% from 2020, according to social impact organization Engage for Good. Stop & Shop, for example, brings in $1 million–$2 million per month for its breast cancer and food-security initiatives, per the WSJ. But while the amount of giving has never been higher, Americans are getting fed up with retailers always asking for tips and donations: Only 59% of consumers said they donated to charity at the register this year, down from 80% in 2021, according to a survey from Accelerist.
Quote: “It’s probably not going to work out for you at Amazon.”
If you work for Amazon but don’t want to come into the office three days a week, you should probably start searching for the resume file on your computer. In a fireside chat earlier this month, CEO Andy Jassy told employees, “It’s past the time to disagree and commit” to the company’s return-to-office policy or else look for another gig, Insider reported. With his stern warning, Jassy joins a growing group of CEOs ditching gentle reminders for blunt force to get employees back to the office.
Read: How the “urban doom loop” could pose the next economic threat. (Washington Post)
- Apple sent out a save-the-date for its iPhone 15 release event: September 12.
- Here’s what you need to know about this fall’s Covid variant, BA.2.86.
- Toyota will restart production at its factories in Japan today after a system malfunction caused all of them to shut down.
- Terry Gou, Foxconn’s billionaire founder, announced his candidacy for president of Taiwan.
- The chess world’s explosive legal battle among Magnus Carlsen, accused cheater Hans Niemann, and Chess.com has been resolved, Chess.com said.
Word Search: In today’s Word Search, you’ll be reminded of all the toys you bought when they were cool but now gather dust in your basement. Play the fad-themed Word Search here.
Guess the skyline
Can you name this Midwestern US city?
Word of the Day
Today’s Word of the Day is: “eschew,” meaning “deliberately avoid using; abstain from.” Thanks to Jacinta from Sacramento, CA, for the suggestion.