The Daily Valet. - 7/8/24, Monday

Monday, July 8th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
We’re back! Did you miss the newsletter? Because we missed you.

Today’s Big Story

Can Biden Really Drop Out?


As the president digs in, more supporters wonder if he should step aside


Is it really possible? Would it be a savvy, election-saving move or political suicide? Could the incumbent president really step aside and pass the baton a mere four months before Election Day? These are the questions swirling around as numerous officials, lawmakers and strategists in President Biden’s own party increasingly worry if his candidacy is unsustainable after that disappointing debate performance.

Prominent House Democrats joined calls for Joe Biden to bow out over the weekend, even as the president stepped up campaigning to convince voters and his own party that he was fit for office. Biden made two campaign stops on Sunday in Pennsylvania—a state he almost certainly needs to win to retain control of the White House in November. 

But a growing number of Democrats now believe that by remaining on the ticket, the president is not only jeopardizing their ability to maintain the White House but also threatening other candidates up and down the ballot. The moment is setting up an extraordinary clash between a defiant president of the United States who insists he is not abandoning his re-election campaign and members of his party who are beginning to suggest that he should.

Several senior House Democrats said Sunday that Biden should step down during a Zoom meeting with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to discuss concerns about the president’s mental acuity. Senators return to Washington today after two weeks away, and it will be the first time that they are together since Biden’s debate disaster.

However, the president said he had an hour-long conversation with Jeffries and had spent “many hours” with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The president also convened a meeting at the White House with Democratic governors last week. “If the Lord almighty came down and said ‘Joe, get out of the race,’ I’d get out of the race,” the president said. “The Lord almighty's not coming down.” Meanwhile, Axios confirmed that Virginia Sen. Mark Warner scrapped a Monday meeting with a group of Senate Democrats to discuss the president's bid. The meeting had been seen as a potential watershed moment for Senate Democrats, who have remained largely silent on Biden’s future … so far.

Dig Deeper:
Who would replace Biden on the ticket? Here’s a roster of some possible backup candidates.

Israeli’s Call for a Cease-Fire Deal


Protesters stage nationwide ‘disruption day’ to push for Gaza hostage deal

Marking nine months since the war in Gaza started, Israeli protesters blocked highways across the country Sunday, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down and pushing for a cease-fire to bring back scores of hostages held by Hamas. The demonstrations come as long-running efforts to broker a truce gained momentum last week when Hamas dropped a key demand for an Israeli commitment to end the war.

The Associated Press reports that several officials in the Middle East and the U.S. believe the level of devastation caused by the recent Israeli offensive has most likely helped push Hamas to soften its demands for a cease-fire agreement. Hamas over the weekend appeared to drop its longstanding demand that Israel promise to end the war as part of any cease-fire deal. The sudden shift has raised new hopes for progress in internationally brokered negotiations.

Israel’s northern border remained volatile on Sunday, with the Lebanese Hezbollah organization firing multiple rockets, drones and anti-tank missiles into Israeli territory. In an unusual incident, a private U.S. citizen was injured in one of the strikes from Lebanon, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, told the New York Times. The rockets from Lebanon came a day after Israeli aircraft carried out a deadly strike against a Hezbollah operative in the area of Baalbek, deep inside Lebanese territory—about 40 miles northeast of Beirut.

Check Your Accounts (Again)


Nearly 10 billion credentials exposed in likely the biggest password leak ever

Cybersecurity researchers are calling it the largest password compilation leak of all time. On July 4, a newly registered user on a popular hacking forum posted a file containing nearly 10 billion compromised passwords in plaintext. The post was first noticed by researchers at Cybernews.

According to Mashable, this gigantic list of leaked passwords known as RockYou2024 provides hackers with an important tool that can be utilized in a brute force attack. “A brute force attack is a popular hacking method where the attacker guesses a user's password by trial-and-error. Hackers commonly use automated scripts when carrying out a brute force attack, which enables them to try out a slew of passwords within a short period of time. With a leaked password database this big, hackers have a nearly unlimited pool of passwords to try out.”

This isn’t the first RockYou password drop, but it’s definitely the largest. Cybernews suspects the current file version contains a compilation of passwords obtained over the past 20 years, and offers a Leaked Password Checker to see if any of your passwords are included. If it’s been compromised, PC magazine suggests changing it immediately to a strong password. Then double-check your other accounts to make sure you're not reusing any passwords across services, and enable multi-factor authentication if it's offered.

OpenAI was hacked last year, but they didn't reveal the hack to the public because information about customers was not stolen.

Where Are the Happiest Cities?


Only one U.S. city ranked among the world’s happiest

I know it’s Monday morning, but how happy would you say you are? If you’re not very happy, it might have to do with where you’re living. The London-based Institute for Quality of Life recently released its 2024 Happy City Index, a ranking of the world’s happiest places. Somewhat surprisingly, it found that Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the happiest city in the United States and the only U.S. city to earn a coveted “Gold” ranking, alongside cities in Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Canada.

To create their index, researchers analyzed various “indicators…that directly relate to the quality of life and the sense of happiness of its residents.” Cities needed to have at least 300,000 inhabitants, though those “whose achievements distinguish them substantially from others, have been added,” researchers explained. They were all ranked based on five areas that “have a direct impact on happiness”: citizens, governance, environment, economy and mobility.

Topping the list? A lot of Scandinavian spots, of course. Aarhus and Copenhagen in Denmark, Zurich, Amsterdam and Helsinki. Germany had three in the top rankings. According to Afar, the “Silver” and “Bronze” rankings saw a much greater number of American cities, including Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Portland, Oregon, and fellow Midwesterners Rochester, Minnesota, and Madison, Wisconsin.

Earlier in the year, the U.S. fell off the list of the happiest countries for the first time ever.

The Long Read


The pandemic may have brought an end to a flourishing history of the necktie


Post-pandemic, there is no sign of a necktie recovery: a now famous photograph from the 2022 G-7 summit shows the group’s leaders, seven men, all in open collars, making them look weirdly ready for a slightly senescent remake of The Hangover.

- By Adam Gopnik


What We’re Buying


The Bear Merch


The Bear is back, baby! You've already streamed the entire third season, I know, so if you're missing it, take comfort in this collaboration. J.Crew partnered with the show for a collaboration focused not on the chefs, but on the show's two most reliable sources of comic relief, a.k.a. “the Faks”, played by Matty Matheson and Ricky Staffierni. The workwear-inspired range includes a tee, trucker hat, canvas jacket and this 14 oz. sweatshirt ($115).

Want More?
The five stylish items you should be buying this week.

Morning Motto

Keep it simple.


Breathe in. Breathe out.




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