Supercreator AM: TikTok video resumes, podcast trends, infrastructure update

Plus: The top Senate Democrat backs a key climate initiative.

Good morning and welcome to Supercreator AM. It’s ThursdayJuly 8. I’m Michael, writing to you from New York City. Here’s what you need to know as you start your day:

  • The global COVID-19 death toll passes 4 million ⇢ Daniel E. Slotnik at The New York Times: Put another way: This figure is roughly equivalent to the population of Los Angeles. And the numbers represent reported numbers from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University but are widely believed to undercount the actual number of pandemic-related deaths.

  • Haitian officials kill and arrest its president’s assassins ⇢ NYT: Authorities said four people were killed and two were arrested in connection with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and attack on First Lady Martine Moïse in their private residence yesterday.

  • Senate Dems eye July 19 as infrastructure deadline ⇢ Jordain Carney at The Hill: The Senate is currently on recess but once they return, they’ll face the tough task of passing two connected pieces of legislation to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and invest in the care economy against fierce Republican opposition and a tight window before a month-long break in August.

  • Google fees more antitrust heat ⇢ Lauren Feiner at CNBC: Attorneys general from 36 states and the District of Columbia brought a lawsuit against Google alleging the company abused its power over app developers through its Play Store on Android. It’s the fourth antitrust lawsuit against the company from US law enforcement in the past year.

  • Stitcher releases new report on podcast listenership ⇢ An interesting pandemic-era trend: Top listening hours shifted from peak commuting times to lunchtime and early afternoon during 11 AM and 2 PM. And household chores and gardening have replaced commuting as the primary activity that listeners do while enjoying podcasts.

  • TikTok wants people to apply for jobs on the app ⇢ I. Bonifacic at Engadget: The company launched a pilot program that allows people in the US to apply for positions at brands including Shopify, Target and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons by uploading a video with the #TikTokResumes hashtag. Altogether, there are approximately three dozen companies participating in the pilot.

◆◇ ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN ◆◇

Schumer backs the CCC ⇢ Last night, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New Yorkissued a statement supporting the creation of a new Civilian Climate Corps, a priority of climate activists who have been lobbying the lawmakers and the president to include meaningful climate legislation in an upcoming infrastructure bill.

The CCC, a program inspired by a New Deal-era national public works initiative called the Civilian Conservation Corps that employed over three million people over a decade, would empower a generation of Americans with dignified jobs to combat the climate crisis through public service.

In April, Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York introduced a bill to federalize the CCC and ensure that all Americans who want to participate may do so with health benefits and union support while preserving the inherent authority of indigenous tribes to govern themselves.

“A robust Civilian Climate Corps will spark a green jobs transition, improve the resilience of our communities and reinvigorate our sense of shared purpose in the fight against climate change,” Schumer said in his statement. “I will work tirelessly to achieve a big and bold Civilian Climate Corps that places justice at the center and urgently addressing our interlocking climate and economic crises.”

In a tweet, the Sunrise Movement, a climate justice advocacy group that spearheaded the idea of a new CCC during the 2020 presidential campaign cycle, said of Schumer’s support: “This is a HUGE victory for [Sunrise Movement] and our movement more broadly. Organizing works.”

◆◇ IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ◆◇

Biden wants to do away with noncompete agreements ⇢ The president will reportedly issue an executive order in the coming days that would ban or narrow the enforcement of noncompete agreements, which are clauses in a contract that prevent employees from working for a competitor for a specified amount of time after they no longer work for their current company.

According to a 2019 study by the Economic Policy Institute, somewhere between 27.8 and 46.5 percent of private-sector workers in the US are subject to noncompete agreements. But critics of them say they prohibit better wages for workers, limit worker mobility and stifle innovation. I spoke to a law professor yesterday who called noncompete agreements “the epitome of anticompetitive practice and it it long time they become banned.”

Biden’s executive order is part of a broader action to bolster competition across the economy by removing barriers to workers’ ability to pursue better jobs, especially across state lines. If signed, the reverberations could be especially felt in the tech industry, which is notorious for its ironclad noncompetes.

◆◇ THE MORNING READ ◆◇

It’s time to stop using generation labels ⇢ Philip N. Cohen at The Washington Post: “The supposed boundaries between generations are no more meaningful than the names they’ve been given. There is no research identifying the appropriate boundaries between generations, and there is no empirical basis for imposing the sweeping character traits that are believed to define them. Generation descriptors are either embarrassing stereotypes or caricatures with astrology-level vagueness. In one article you might read that Millennials are ‘liberal lions,’ ‘downwardly mobile,’ ‘upbeat,’ ‘pre-Copernican,’ ‘unaffiliated, anti-hierarchical, [and] distrustful’ — even though they also ‘get along well with their parents, respect their elders and work well with colleagues.’

“Ridiculous, clearly. But what's the harm? Aren’t these tags just a bit of fun for writers? A convenient hook for readers and a way of communicating generational change, which no one would deny is a real phenomenon? We in academic social science study and teach social change, but we don’t study and teach these categories because they simply aren’t real. And in social science, reality still matters.”

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