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'Uncommitted' voters send Biden a message on Gaza; Alabama senate moves to protect IVF

A Democratic voter uncommitted to President Biden rallies outside of a polling location at Maples Elementary School on Feb. 27 in Dearborn, Mich.
Kevin Dietsch
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Getty Images
A Democratic voter uncommitted to President Biden rallies outside of a polling location at Maples Elementary School on Feb. 27 in Dearborn, Mich.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

Former President Donald Trump handily defeated Nikki Haley last night in Michigan's Republican primary. President Biden won his contest as well — but division remains among the state's Democratic electorate. More than 100,000 people cast "uncommitted" votes to protest Biden's handling of the war in Gaza. The turnout exceeded the 10,000 vote goal set by Listen to Michigan, a group that wants Biden to call for an immediate cease-fire and stop sending U.S. aid to Israel.

  • It's common to see several thousand uncommitted votes on a primary, NPR's Elena Moore tells Up First. But Michigan Rep. Abraham Aiyash tells her this moment is different because anyone who voted uncommitted last night "came out with the intention of sending the message that we do not want a party that is led with a lack of humanity for the Palestinian people." Moore says last night was the first big test for gauging how voter attitudes toward Biden's Gaza policy could impact outcomes.
  • Though their preferred parties and policy concerns may differ, many metro Detroit voters tell Morning Edition they're feeling disillusioned and unmotivated to vote come November. Here's why


President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, is expected to testify behind closed doors today in the impeachment inquiry into his father. House Republicans have long been focused on Hunter Biden, who has previously refused to testify privately.

  • Hunter Biden is expected to tell lawmakers that his father was not involved in his business affairs, NPR's Ryan Lucas reports. He's also likely to bring up recent criminal charges against Alexander Smirnov, a former FBI informant accused of fabricating claims of a Biden bribery scheme. Democrats say that the inquiry should be over — which they've said before the Smirnov indictment. House Republicans leading the probe say their investigation doesn't rest on the Smirnov claim alone, and they're pursuing other leads. 


Republican lawmakers in Alabama have introduced two bills aimed at protecting in vitro fertilization in the state. Both bills seek immunity from civil and criminal liability for providers of IVF goods and services. They were introduced after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled last week that frozen embryos should be legally considered children.

  • At least six states currently have bills that would allow women to seek child support for fetuses. Lawmakers in Colorado and Iowa proposed bills that define personhood as beginning at fertilization when it comes to homicide and wrongful death cases. While these bills don't explicitly mention IVF, reproductive rights advocates tell NPR's Ryland Barton that even granting limited protections to embryos has broader implications, like in Alabama.

Deep dive

Cognitive neuroscientist Charan Ranganath says the human brain isn't programmed to remember everything. Rather, it's designed to "carry what we need and to deploy it rapidly when we need it."
/ Bulat Silvia/iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Bulat Silvia/iStock / Getty Images Plus
Cognitive neuroscientist Charan Ranganath says the human brain isn't programmed to remember everything. Rather, it's designed to "carry what we need and to deploy it rapidly when we need it."

Neuroscientist Charan Ranganath isn't interested in the things we forget – he's much more interested in the things we remember. In his new book, Why We Remember, he writes about the basic building blocks of memory.

  • Memories sometimes compete with each other, which is why you sometimes can only remember part of an event or a name and not the whole thing.
  • Constantly being interrupted makes it harder to build memories. Smartphones and smartwatch distractions can cause the memory of a certain event to be weaker.
  • Stress during traumatic events can strengthen memory, but chronic stress can cause damage to areas of the brain that control memory.
  • Sleep is an investment. While we may think nothing is happening while we rest, our brains are actually at work processing memories, which can help strengthen them. 

Life advice

/ Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR
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Photo Illustration by Becky Harlan/NPR

Many people at NPR consider themselves lifelong learners. It can feel incredibly satisfying to learn a new skill — but it's not always easy. NPR producer Rommel Wood asked former Ask Me Another contestants their best advice for learning a new skill. Think about something you want to learn and try these tips:

  • Give yourself a realistic timeline to achieve your goal. 
  • Stop and adjust your process if you feel like you're hitting a wall.
  • Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Failure is part of the process.

3 things to know before you go

/ Los Angeles Conservancy
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Los Angeles Conservancy

  1. Los Angeles' iconic Wayfarers chapel is closing indefinitely after a landslide caused extensive damage to the historic landmark. Learn about the history of the chapel here. (via LAist)
  2. Dust off your roller skates and head to Kansas City, where two veterans are trying to diversify their favorite childhood pastime and turn their city into a global destination for Black skate culture. (via KCUR)
  3. Macy's announced it would close 150 of its "underproductive" stores and open more of its higher-end stores: Bloomingdale's and beauty-focused Bluemercury.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Mansee Khurana contributed.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.