Morning Headlines: 11/16/23
Santos Drops Reelection Bid
Rep. George Santos (R, NY-3) said he would not seek reelection in 2024, an announcement which came the same day the House Ethics Committee released a report accusing Santos of campaign fraud, misuse of campaign funds, and other federal crimes. The committee referred its evidence to the Justice Department for potential prosecution.
The Santos saga started after he flipped New York's newly reconfigured 3rd Congressional District during the 2022 midterms. A few weeks after the electoral win, reports surfaced alleging Santos extensively fabricated his resume (see previous write-up), from his educational background to his Jewish ancestry. Since then, Santos has been charged with 23 federal crimes, from wire fraud to identity theft. Santos has denied the charges to date.
Ethics chairman Rep. Michael Guest (R, MS-3) said he'd move to expel Santos ahead of the 2024 election. Read the committee's report here.
Red Cup Rebellion
Thousands of Starbucks workers from around 200 stores staged a strike yesterday on one of the company's largest promotional days of the year, marking their largest collective action yet in a two-year effort to unionize the company. Red Cup Day, when the store gives away reusable red cups, typically registers the year's highest sales—the company boasted the single highest sales day ever in 2022 despite a strike at over 100 stores.
Starbucks Workers United, representing over 360 stores of 16,000 US locations, was protesting understaffing and mobile ordering, which particularly overwhelms staff on promotional days. Other union demands include protections against racial harassment, a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, and increased minimum wages. Starbucks said it is working on companywide improvements, including automating tasks and pay increases of 3%.
Separately, employees in New York City filed 32 complaints—in addition to 90 since February—alleging Starbucks violated the city's labor laws.
F1 Hits the Strip
One of the year's biggest sporting spectacles will be held this weekend, as Formula 1 racing returns to Las Vegas for the first time in four decades. The course is designed to impress—starting at a now-permanent racing garage, drivers will head down the strip, passing resorts and venues, including the Venetian, Bellagio, and the newly built Sphere. See a map of the course here.
While the sport has enjoyed a rapidly growing fanbase in the US—a race last year in Texas drew 440,000 attendees—the timing will be optimized for European viewers. The flag drops at 10 pm local time Saturday, with the 50-lap race finishing up in the early hours Sunday morning. The sport spent a reported $500M to plan and host the race; tickets average $2,000 to attend (though prices have softened in recent days).
Superstar driver Max Verstappen is a heavy favorite to win the race. The part-Belgian, part-Dutch racer has won a record 17 of 20 contests this season, already having wrapped his third straight world title (read more).