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Ahead of ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ announcement, content-starved fans feel snubbed

Frustrated Animal Crossing fans have a laundry list of long-anticipated updates they hope Nintendo will announce this week......»»

Category: topSource: washpostOct 13th, 2021

Inside Frances Haugen’s Decision to Take on Facebook

Blowing the whistle against a multibillion-dollar tech company is no small feat Frances Haugen is in the back of a Paris taxi, waving a piece of sushi in the air. The cab is on the way to a Hilton hotel, where this November afternoon she is due to meet with the French digital economy minister. The Eiffel Tower appears briefly through the window, piercing a late-fall haze. Haugen is wolfing down lunch on the go, while recalling an episode from her childhood. The teacher of her gifted and talented class used to play a game where she would read to the other children the first letter of a word from the dictionary and its definition. Haugen and her classmates would compete, in teams, to guess the word. “At some point, my classmates convinced the teacher that it was unfair to put me on either team, because whichever team had me was going to win and so I should have to compete against the whole class,” she says. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Did she win? “I did win,” she says with a level of satisfaction that quickly fades to indignation. “And so imagine! That makes kids hate you!” She pops an edamame into her mouth with a flourish. “I look back and I’m like, That was a bad idea.” She tells the story not to draw attention to her precociousness—although it does do that—but to share the lesson it taught her. “This shows you how badly some educators understand psychology,” she says. While some have described the Facebook whistle-blower as an activist, Haugen says she sees herself as an educator. To her mind, an important part of her mission is driving home a message in a way that resonates with people, a skill she has spent years honing. Photograph by Christopher Anderson—Magnum Photos for TIME It is the penultimate day of a grueling three-week tour of Europe, during which Haugen has cast herself in the role of educator in front of the U.K. and E.U. Parliaments, regulators and one tech conference crowd. Haugen says she wanted to cross the Atlantic to offer her advice to lawmakers putting the final touches on new regulations that take aim at the outsize influence of large social media companies. The new U.K. and E.U. laws have the potential to force Facebook and its competitors to open up their algorithms to public scrutiny, and face large fines if they fail to address problematic impacts of their platforms. European lawmakers and regulators “have been on this journey a little longer” than their U.S. counterparts, Haugen says diplomatically. “My goal was to support lawmakers as they think through these issues.” Beginning in late summer, Haugen, 37, disclosed tens of thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The documents were the basis of a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal that sparked a reckoning in September over what the company knew about how it contributed to harms ranging from its impact on teens’ mental health and the extent of misinformation on its platforms, to human traffickers’ open use of its services. The documents paint a picture of a company that is often aware of the harms to which it contributes—but is either unwilling or unable to act against them. Haugen’s disclosures set Facebook stock on a downward trajectory, formed the basis for eight new whistle-blower complaints to the SEC and have prompted lawmakers around the world to intensify their calls for regulation of the company. Facundo Arrizabalaga—EPA/EFE/ShutterstockHaugen leaves the Houses of Parliament in London on Oct. 25 after giving evidence to U.K. lawmakers. Facebook has rejected Haugen’s claims that it puts profits before safety, and says it spends $5 billion per year on keeping its platforms safe. “As a company, we have every commercial and moral incentive to give the maximum number of people as much of a positive experience as possible on our apps,” a spokesperson said in a statement. Although many insiders have blown the whistle on Facebook before, nobody has left the company with the breadth of material that Haugen shared. And among legions of critics in politics, academia and media, no single person has been as effective as Haugen in bringing public attention to Facebook’s negative impacts. When Haugen decided to blow the whistle against Facebook late last year, the company employed more than 58,000 people. Many had access to the documents that she would eventually pass to authorities. Why did it take so long for somebody to do what she did? Read More: How Facebook Forced a Reckoning by Shutting Down the Team That Put People Ahead of Profits One answer is that blowing the whistle against a multibillion-dollar tech company requires a particular combination of skills, personality traits and circumstances. In Haugen’s case, it took one near-death experience, a lost friend, several crushed hopes, a cryptocurrency bet that came good and months in counsel with a priest who also happens to be her mother. Haugen’s atypical personality, glittering academic background, strong moral convictions, robust support networks and self-confidence also helped. Hers is the story of how all these factors came together—some by chance, some by design—to create a watershed moment in corporate responsibility, human communication and democracy. When debate coach Scott Wunn first met a 16-year-old Haugen at Iowa City West High School, she had already been on the team for two years, after finishing junior high a year early. He was an English teacher who had been headhunted to be the debate team’s new coach. The school took this kind of extracurricular activity seriously, and so did the young girl with the blond hair. In their first exchange, Wunn remembers Haugen grilling him about whether he would take coaching as seriously as his other duties. “I could tell from that moment she was very serious about debate,” says Wunn, who is now the executive director of the National Speech and Debate Association. “When we ran tournaments, she was the student who stayed the latest, who made sure that all of the students on the team were organized. Everything that you can imagine, Frances would do.” Haugen specialized in a form of debate that specifically asked students to weigh the morality of every issue, and by her senior year, she had become one of the top 25 debaters in the country in her field. “Frances was a math whiz, and she loved political science,” Wunn says. In competitive debate, you don’t get to decide which side of the issue you argue for. But Haugen had a strong moral compass, and when she was put in a position where she had to argue for something she disagreed with, she didn’t lean back on “flash in the pan” theatrics, her former coach remembers. Instead, she would dig deeper to find evidence for an argument she could make that wouldn’t compromise her values. “Her moral convictions were strong enough, even at that age, that she wouldn’t try to manipulate the evidence such that it would go against her morality,” Wunn says. When Haugen got to college, she realized she needed to master another form of communication. “Because my parents were both professors, I was used to having dinner-table conversations where, like, someone would have read an interesting article that day, and would basically do a five-minute presentation,” she says. “And so I got to college, and I had no idea how to make small talk.” Today, Haugen is talkative and relaxed. She’s in a good mood because she got to “sleep in” until 8:30 a.m.—later than most other days on her European tour, she says. At one point, she asks if I’ve seen the TV series Archer and momentarily breaks into a song from the animated sitcom. After graduating from Olin College of Engineering—where, beyond the art of conversation, she studied the science of computer engineering—Haugen moved to Silicon Valley. During a stint at Google, she helped write the code for Secret Agent Cupid, the precursor to popular dating app Hinge. She took time off to undertake an M.B.A. at Harvard, a rarity for software engineers in Silicon Valley and something she would later credit with helping her diagnose some of the organizational flaws within Facebook. But in 2014, while back at Google, Haugen’s trajectory was knocked off course. Haugen has celiac disease, a condition that means her immune system attacks her own tissues if she eats gluten. (Hence the sushi.) She “did not take it seriously enough” in her 20s, she says. After repeated trips to the hospital, doctors eventually realized she had a blood clot in her leg that had been there for anywhere between 18 months and two years. Her leg turned purple, and she ended up in the hospital for over a month. There she had an allergic reaction to a drug and nearly bled to death. She suffered nerve damage in her hands and feet, a condition known as neuropathy, from which she still suffers today. “I think it really changes your priorities when you’ve almost died,” Haugen says. “Everything that I had defined myself [by] before, I basically lost.” She was used to being the wunderkind who could achieve anything. Now, she needed help cooking her meals. “My recovery made me feel much more powerful, because I rebuilt my body,” she says. “I think the part that informed my journey was: You have to accept when you whistle-blow like this that you could lose everything. You could lose your money, you could lose your freedom, you could alienate everyone who cares about you. There’s all these things that could happen to you. Once you overcome your fear of death, anything is possible. I think it gave me the freedom to say: Do I want to follow my conscience?” Once Haugen was out of the hospital, she moved back into her apartment but struggled with daily tasks. She hired a friend to assist her part time. “I became really close friends with him because he was so committed to my getting better,” she says. But over the course of six months, in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, she says, “I just lost him” to online misinformation. He seemed to believe conspiracy theories, like the idea that George Soros runs the world economy. “At some point, I realized I couldn’t reach him,” she says. Soon Haugen was physically recovering, and she began to consider re-entering the workforce. She spent stints at Yelp and Pinterest as a successful product manager working on algorithms. Then, in 2018, a Facebook recruiter contacted her. She told him that she would take the job only if she could work on tackling misinformation in Facebook’s “integrity” operation, the arm of the company focused on keeping the platform and its users safe. “I took that job because losing my friend was just incredibly painful, and I didn’t want anyone else to feel that pain,” she says. Her optimism that she could make a change from inside lasted about two months. Haugen’s first assignment involved helping manage a project to tackle misinformation in places where the company didn’t have any third-party fact-checkers. Everybody on her team was a new hire, and she didn’t have the data scientists she needed. “I went to the engineering manager, and I said, ‘This is the inappropriate team to work on this,’” she recalls. “He said, ‘You shouldn’t be so negative.’” The pattern repeated itself, she says. “I raised a lot of concerns in the first three months, and my concerns were always discounted by my manager and other people who had been at the company for longer.” Before long, her entire team was shifted away from working on international misinformation in some of Facebook’s most vulnerable markets to working on the 2020 U.S. election, she says. The documents Haugen would later disclose to authorities showed that in 2020, Facebook spent 3.2 million hours tackling misinformation, although just 13% of that time was spent on content from outside the U.S., the Journal reported. Facebook’s spokesperson said in a statement that the company has “dedicated teams with expertise in human rights, hate speech and misinformation” working in at-risk countries. “We dedicate resources to these countries, including those without fact-checking programs, and have been since before, during and after the 2020 U.S. elections, and this work continues today.” Read More: Why Some People See More Disturbing Content on Facebook Than Others, According to Leaked Documents Haugen said that her time working on misinformation in foreign countries made her deeply concerned about the impact of Facebook abroad. “I became concerned with India even in the first two weeks I was in the company,” she says. Many people who were accessing the Internet for the first time in places like India, Haugen realized after reading research on the topic, did not even consider the possibility that something they had read online might be false or misleading. “From that moment on, I was like, Oh, there is a huge sleeping dragon at Facebook,” she says. “We are advancing the Internet to other countries far faster than it happened in, say, the U.S.,” she says, noting that people in the U.S. have had time to build up a “cultural muscle” of skepticism toward online content. “And I worry about the gap [until] that information immune system forms.” In February 2020, Haugen sent a text message to her parents asking if she could come and live with them in Iowa when the pandemic hit. Her mother Alice Haugen recalls wondering what pandemic she was talking about, but agreed. “She had made a spreadsheet with a simple exponential growth model that tried to guess when San Francisco would be shut down,” Alice says. A little later, Frances asked if she could send some food ahead of her. Soon, large Costco boxes started arriving at the house. “She was trying to bring in six months of food for five people, because she was afraid that the supply lines might break down,” Alice says. “Our living room became a small grocery store.” After quarantining for 10 days upon arrival, the younger Haugen settled into lockdown life with her parents, continuing her work for Facebook remotely. “We shared meals, and every day we would have conversations,” Alice says. She recalled her daughter voicing specific concerns about Facebook’s impact in Ethiopia, where ethnic violence was playing out on—and in some cases being amplified by—Facebook’s platforms. On Nov. 9, Facebook said it had been investing in safety measures in Ethiopia for more than two years, including activating algorithms to down-rank potentially inflammatory content in several languages in response to escalating violence there. Haugen acknowledges the work, saying she wants to give “credit where credit is due,” but claims the social network was too late to intervene with safety measures in Ethiopia and other parts of the world. “The idea that they don’t even turn those knobs on until people are getting shot is completely unacceptable,” she says. “The reality right now is that Facebook is not willing to invest the level of resources that would allow it to intervene sooner.” A Facebook spokesperson defended the prioritization system in its statement, saying that the company has long-term strategies to “mitigate the impacts of harmful offline events in the countries we deem most at risk … while still protecting freedom of expression and other human rights principles.” What Haugen saw was happening in nations like Ethiopia and India would clarify her opinions about “engagement-based ranking”—the system within Facebook more commonly known as “the algorithm”—that chooses which posts, out of thousands of options, to rank at the top of users’ feeds. Haugen’s central argument is that human nature means this system is doomed to amplify the worst in us. “One of the things that has been well documented in psychology research is that the more times a human is exposed to something, the more they like it, and the more they believe it’s true,” she says. “One of the most dangerous things about engagement-based ranking is that it is much easier to inspire someone to hate than it is to compassion or empathy. Given that you have a system that hyperamplifies the most extreme content, you’re going to see people who get exposed over and over again to the idea that [for example] it’s O.K. to be violent to Muslims. And that destabilizes societies.” In the run-up to the 2020 U.S. election, according to media reports, some initiatives proposed by Facebook’s integrity teams to tackle misinformation and other problems were killed or watered down by executives on the policy side of the company, who are responsible both for setting the platform’s rules and lobbying governments on Facebook’s behalf. Facebook spokespeople have said in response that the interventions were part of the company’s commitment to nuanced policymaking that balanced freedom of speech with safety. Haugen’s time at business school taught her to view the problem differently: Facebook was a company that prioritized growth over the safety of its users. “Organizational structure is a wonky topic, but it matters,” Haugen says. Inside the company, she says, she observed the effect of these repeated interventions on the integrity team. “People make decisions on what projects to work on, or advance, or give more resources to, based on what they believe is the chance for success,” she says. “I think there were many projects that could be content-neutral—that didn’t involve us choosing what are good or bad ideas, but instead are about making the platform safe—that never got greenlit, because if you’ve seen other things like that fail, you don’t even try them.” Being with her parents, particularly her mother, who left a career as a professor to become an Episcopal priest, helped Haugen become comfortable with the idea she might one day have to go public. “I was learning all these horrific things about Facebook, and it was really tearing me up inside,” she says. “The thing that really hurts most whistle-blowers is: whistle-blowers live with secrets that impact the lives of other people. And they feel like they have no way of resolving them. And so instead of being destroyed by learning these things, I got to talk to my mother … If you’re having a crisis of conscience, where you’re trying to figure out a path that you can live with, having someone you can agonize to, over and over again, is the ultimate amenity.” Haugen didn’t decide to blow the whistle until December 2020, by which point she was back in San Francisco. The final straw came when Facebook dissolved Haugen’s former team, civic integrity, whose leader had asked employees to take an oath to put the public good before Facebook’s private interest. (Facebook denies that it dissolved the team, saying instead that members were spread out across the company to amplify its influence.) Haugen and many of her former colleagues felt betrayed. But her mother’s counsel had mentally prepared her. “It meant that when that moment happened, I was actually in a pretty good place,” Haugen says. “I wasn’t in a place of crisis like many whistle-blowers are.” Read More: Why Facebook Employees ‘Deprioritized’ a Misinformation Fix In March, Haugen moved to Puerto Rico, in part for the warm weather, which she says helps with her neuropathy pain. Another factor was the island’s cryptocurrency community, which has burgeoned because of the U.S. territory’s lack of capital gains taxes. In October, she told the New York Times that she had bought into crypto “at the right time,” implying that she had a financial buffer that allowed her to whistle-blow comfortably. Haugen’s detractors have pointed to the irony of her calling for tech companies to do their social duty, while living in a U.S. territory with a high rate of poverty that is increasingly being used as a tax haven. Some have also pointed out that Haugen is not entirely independent: she has received support from Luminate, a philanthropic organization pushing for progressive Big Tech reform in Europe and the U.S., and which is backed by the billionaire founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar. Luminate paid Haugen’s expenses on her trip to Europe and helped organize meetings with senior officials. Omidyar has also donated to Whistleblower Aid, the nonprofit legal organization that is now representing Haugen pro bono. Luminate says it entered into a relationship with Haugen only after she went public with her disclosures. Haugen resigned from Facebook in May this year, after being told by the human-resources team that she could not work remotely from a U.S. territory. The news accelerated the secret project that she had decided to begin after seeing her old team disbanded. To collect the documents she would later disclose, Haugen trawled Facebook’s internal employee forum, Workplace. She traced the careers of integrity colleagues she admired—many of whom had left the company in frustration—gathering slide decks, research briefs and policy proposals they had worked on, as well as other documents she came across. Read more: Facebook Will Not Fix Itself While collecting the documents, she had flashbacks to her teenage years preparing folders of evidence for debates. “I was like, Wow, this is just like debate camp!” she recalls. “When I was 16 and doing that, I had no idea that it would be useful in this way in the future.” Jabin Botsford—Getty ImagesHaugen testifies on Oct. 5 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In her Senate testimony in early October, Haugen suggested a federal agency should be set up to oversee social media algorithms so that “someone like me could do a tour of duty” after working at a company like Facebook. But moving to Washington, D.C., to serve at such an agency has no appeal, she says. “I am happy to be one of the people consulted by that agency,” she says. “But I have a life I really like in Puerto Rico.” Now that her tour of Europe is over, Haugen has had a chance to think about what comes next. Over an encrypted phone call from Puerto Rico a few days after we met in Paris, she says she would like to help build a grassroots movement to help young people push back against the harms caused by social media companies. In this new task, as seems to be the case with everything in Haugen’s life, she wants to try to leverage the power of education. “I am fully aware that a 19-year-old talking to a 16-year-old will be more effective than me talking to that 16-year-old,” she tells me. “There is a real opportunity for young people to flex their political muscles and demand accountability.” I ask if she has a message to send to young people reading this. “Hmm,” she says, followed by a long pause. “In every era, humans invent technologies that run away from themselves,” she says. “It’s very easy to look at some of these tech platforms and feel like they are too big, too abstract and too amorphous to influence in any way. But the reality is there are lots of things we can do. And the reason they haven’t done them is because it makes the companies less profitable. Not unprofitable, just less profitable. And no company has the right to subsidize their profits with your health. Ironically, Haugen gives partial credit to one of her managers at Facebook for inspiring her thought process around blowing the whistle. After struggling with a problem for a week without asking for help, she missed a deadline. When she explained why, the manager told her he was disappointed that she had hidden that she was having difficulty, she says. “He said, ‘We solve problems together; we don’t solve them alone,’” she says. Never one to miss a teaching opportunity, she continues, “Part of why I came forward is I believe Facebook has been struggling alone. They’ve been hiding how much they’re struggling. And the reality is, we solve problems together, we don’t solve them alone.” ShutterstockFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the company was rebranding as Meta. It’s a philosophy that Haugen sees as the basis for how social media platforms should deal with societal issues going forward. In late October, Facebook Inc. (which owns Facebook, Whats App and Instagram) changed its name to Meta, a nod to its ambition to build the next generation of online experiences. In a late-October speech, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he believed the “Metaverse”—its new proposal to build a virtual universe—would fundamentally reshape how humans interact with technology. Haugen says she is concerned the Metaverse will isolate people rather than bring them together: “I believe any tech with that much influence deserves public oversight.” But hers is also a belief system that allows for a path toward redemption. That friend she lost to misinformation? His story has a happy ending. “I learned later that he met a nice girl and he had gone back to church,” Haugen says, adding that he no longer believes in conspiracy theories. “It gives me a lot of hope that we can recover as individuals and as a society. But it involves us connecting with people.” —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Nik Popli.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 22nd, 2021

Octopuses, crabs, and lobsters will be recognized as "sentient beings" in UK after a review concluded they feel pain and distress

The review defined sentience as "the capacity to have feelings, such as feelings of pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, warmth, joy, comfort and excitement." An octopus is pictured March 6, 2018 at the Oceanopolis sea center, in Brest, western France.Fred Tanneau/AFP/Getty Images A review of 300 studies concluded there is strong evidence some invertebrates are sentient. The UK government is updating an animal welfare law to includes octopuses, crabs, and lobsters. The review defined sentience as "the capacity to have feelings, such as feelings of pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, warmth, joy, comfort and excitement." Octopuses, crabs, and lobsters will be recognized as sentient beings under UK animal welfare laws after a review concluded there is strong evidence invertebrates are capable of feelings.The UK government announced Friday that decapods, an order of crustaceans, and cephalopods, a class of mollusks, will now fall under the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill. Decapods include animals like crabs, lobsters, shrimp, prawns, and crayfish, and cephalopods include octopuses, squids, and cuttlefish.The announcement said the bill "already recognizes all animals with a backbone (vertebrates) as sentient beings. However, unlike some other invertebrates (animals without a backbone), decapod crustaceans and cephalopods have complex central nervous systems, one of the key hallmarks of sentience."The decision followed the findings of a government-commissioned independent review by the London School of Economics and Political Science.The review, published this month, found there was "strong evidence" that such animals are sentient, which the review defines as having "the capacity to have feelings, such as feelings of pain, pleasure, hunger, thirst, warmth, joy, comfort and excitement.""I'm pleased to see the government implementing a central recommendation of my team's report," said Jonathan Birch, a professor at LSE who works on the Foundations of Animal Sentience Project, adding they reviewed over 300 scientific studies. "Octopuses and other cephalopods have been protected in science for years, but have not received any protection outside science until now."The report also made specific recommendations on animal welfare practices based on its findings, including:Banning the declawing of crabsBanning the sale of live crabs and lobsters to "untrained, non-expert handlers"Banning the following slaughter methods when a viable alternative exists and when electrical stunning is not done first: boiling alive and live dismembermentThe report also said there is no evidence of a slaughter method for creatures like octopuses that is "both humane and commercially viable on a large scale," recommending more research be done to identify more humane practices.In the announcement, the UK government said it would "not affect any existing legislation or industry practices such as fishing. There will be no direct impact on the shellfish catching or restaurant industry. Instead, it is designed to ensure animal welfare is well considered in future decision-making."Insider's Cheryl Teh reported in July UK lawmakers were considering a ban on inhumane slaughter methods for animals like lobsters and crabs, which prompted the LSE review.Boiling crustaceans alive is already illegal in some countries, including Switzerland and New Zealand.Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 21st, 2021

29 Black Friday Deals You Don’t Have to Wait For

Extra savings on big-ticket items like TVs, home goods and electronics The holidays are once again upon us filling calendars with present shopping, present wrapping and eventually, the main event: present opening. If you’re making a list and checking it twice, you’re probably aware of the fact that Black Friday falls on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 this year. Mark that day on your calendar for extra savings on some big-ticket items including TVs, home goods and electronics. The best part is you don’t even have to be at the mall at 6 a.m. to find a bargain. Here are some of the Black Friday deals that are on offer at Amazon, Walmart, Costco, Target and more. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Read More: 25 Great Cyber Monday Deals You Can Get Right Now Home Instant Pot Pro 8-Quart Electric Pressure Cooker Amazon price: $120 This handy kitchen tool works as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, and so much more. 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Buy Now: Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II Noise-Cancelling Headphones Apple AirPods Pro Amazon price: $189.99 Cut the cord with these wireless wonders that manage to combine great audio with elegant design and surprisingly effective noise cancellation. Buy Now: Apple AirPods Pro Xbox Games Xbox price: Up to 75% off Get the gamer in your life exactly what they want—more games. Xbox is offering Black Friday deals of up to 67% on over 700 digital games and up to 75% off games from Xbox Game Studios. That means Far Cry 6, FIFA 22, NBA 2K22, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and many more. Buy Now: Xbox Games Logitech G502 Hero Gaming Mouse Amazon price: $40 This gaming mouse works on both Mac and PC and has 11 customizable buttons, an adjustable weight system and more. At 50% off this is just about as low as it gets, so go ahead and make your favorite gamer’s dream come true. Buy Now: Logitech G502 Hero Gaming Mouse Toys Lego Classic Bricks and Animals Building Set Walmart price: $29 The classic plastic brick helps little minds build, create, and play. Whoever you give this set to, make them promise not to leave any on the floor for someone to step on. Buy Now: Lego Classic Bricks and Animals Building Set Fluxx FX3 Hoverboard Walmart price: $88 Why walk when you can hover? This hoverboard makes getting around so much fun for older kids looking to zip off whenever a grown-up mentions homework. Buy Now: Fluxx FX3 Hoverboard LOL Surprise OMG Movie Magic Studios Amazon price: $99.99 Put little imaginations to work making movies with this action-filled pack that comes with dolls, a green screen and a versatile set that would make some Hollywood directors very jealous. Buy Now: LOL Surprise OMG Movie Magic Studios Barbie Dreamhouse Playset Best Buy price: $199.99 This is Barbie’s Dreamhouse—enough said! Buy Now: Barbie Dreamhouse Playset Fitness and Outdoor LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Amazon price: $19.98 Turn any water into drinking water with this innovative straw that filters out impurities while you drink. Perfect for nature lovers and travelers on-the-go. Buy Now: LifeStraw Personal Water Filter Official NBA 50″ Portable Basketball Hoop with Polycarbonate Backboard Walmart price: $174 Get in touch with your inner WNBA star or prep the kids for an NCAA scholarship by putting a basketball hoop in the driveway. Practice your alley-oops, swishes and threes while getting a little cardio—and fun—in. Buy Now: Official NBA 50″ Portable Basketball Hoop with Polycarbonate Backboard Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitness Tracker Amazon price: $59.95 Keep up the good work or get a jump start on New Year’s resolutions with this handy fitness tracker. Buy Now: Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitness Tracker The Mirror Price: $995 through November 21 with promo code HOLIDAY21 at checkout One cold hard truth that the pandemic taught us, is that it is actually possible to work out at home. Mirror makes it even harder to ignore that fact. The clever product beams a virtual trainer into a mirror on your wall to follow along to exercise routines at home. Buy Now: The Mirror Clothes Lunya Washable Silk Tee Set Lunya price: $147 This washable silk pajama set makes sleeping late an elegant affair. Buy Now: Washable Silk Tee Set Prices may change over time.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 21st, 2021

Navy Shipbuilder Backpedals On Vaccine Mandate After Flood Of Employees Threaten To Quit

Navy Shipbuilder Backpedals On Vaccine Mandate After Flood Of Employees Threaten To Quit A federal subcontractor to the US Navy reversed course over the vaccine mandate this week, and announced that most workers will not longer be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine. A forward section of the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy’s main deck is lifted into place at the company’s Newport News Shipbuilding division in April 2018. (Photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries) Huntington Ingalls Industries, parent company of Newport News Shipbuilding made the announcement on Tuesday night notifying employees that they will no longer have to comply with a January 4 deadline. "with respect to Ingalls Shipbuilding and Newport News Shipbuilding, our customer has confirmed that our contracts do not include a requirement to implement the mandate," reads the letter. "In light of this development, we are hereby suspending the deadline for vaccination, except where specific Technical Solutions contracts require it." The shipyard initially announced that all 25,000 employees would need to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8 as a "condition of continued employment," only to move it to January - and now, not at all. Some shipyard employees feel 'tricked' however, as they "only got the vaccine because of the mandate," according to WTKR. "They made me get it and then lifted it," said Newport News Shipyard employee, Deshawn Royal. "I didn't want to get it, but they said I had to get it or we were going to get fired. And then they lifted it. Y'all did us wrong." Another employee, Rodney Apop, said that a lot of co-workers feel the same way. "They went ahead and jumped, and they didn't have the choice to do it," he said. "And now when they take [the mandate] away, they wish they had known so they didn't have to." Employees speculate the suspension came after workers threatened to quit. "You're gonna lose your people," said Royal. "Not everybody is gonna get it. It's not worth a lot of people's money to get injected with something they don't want." In Petter's letter to employees, he stated, "We have not wanted to lose a single employee to the virus, or to the effect of the mandate." But sentiments varied between shipyard employees. Anthony Askew, an employee within the IT Department at HII, said his coworkers are advocates for getting vaccinated against COVID-19. "All of us got the vaccine so we pretty much are on the same page in terms of supporting getting the vaccine," he said. -WTKR While there is no longer a mandate, the company is still encouraging employees to get vaccinated.  Tyler Durden Sat, 11/20/2021 - 21:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 20th, 2021

FDA Authorizes Covid Boosters; New Fed Chair Soon?

Adults who receive booster vaccine shots will be much more highly immunized from Covid-19 than those simply "fully vaccinated." Friday, November 19, 2021This morning, the FDA has officially authorized the use of third vaccine shots — “boosters” — from both the Pfizer PFE/BioNTech BNTX and Moderna MRNA treatments. This amounts to a switch in policy from two months ago, when the FDA halted an authorization for all vaccinated adults based on slim data coming in from Israel.Two months later, the data speaks much more clearly: adults who receive booster vaccine shots will be much more highly immunized from Covid-19 than those simply “fully vaccinated” (these terms may need to give way to more accurate descriptions at some point). We are less than a week before the first big Thanksgiving holiday in two years: this FDA recommendation could not possibly come at a more advantageous time.The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to formally make its recommendation, which it does following FDA judgments, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky assured that the Center “will act swiftly” in making its own recommendation. Booster shots have been administrated to adults other than the elderly and at-risk workers, who were already green-lighted for booster shots, but today’s announcement gets overall vaccination policy closer to the same page.President Biden has yet to make a decision whether or not to keep Fed Chair Jay Powell installed or replaced, likely with Fed President Lael Brainard. In recent weeks, the rallying call for a switch to Brainard has come from notable progressives in Congress, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has taken Powell to task in public hearings on the Fed in the recent past.In reality, a switch to Brainard wouldn’t be too drastic a change from Powell; after all, Powell himself had stubbornly kept asset purchases in place far beyond inflation reaching the optimum 2%, with the other segment of the Fed’s dual mandate — full employment — in mind. As a result, employment figures have grown more strongly than initially registered, and at higher levels of wage growth. These are similar results to what Brainard would be interested in generating.There is the question of whether Biden would feel the need to put in his own choice for Fed Chair; Powell replaced President Obama’s choice Janet Yellen by President Trump (even though Trump was often verbally critical about Powell’s unwillingness to end asset purchases and raise interest rates much sooner). Brainard, being a woman, would also assist the Biden administration’s goals to make presidential appointments “look more like America,” meaning not strictly white males installed in important posts like Fed Chair.The Dow is -190 points ahead of the opening bell, looking at a down-week overall after a strong start, the S&P 500 is -7 points at this hour but still may conclude the week higher, and the Nasdaq keeps its strength intact, +75 points ahead of the open to the final trading day of the week.Questions or comments about this article and/or its author? Click here>> More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR (BNTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 19th, 2021

FDA Gives Authorization to Two COVID-19 Boosters

FDA Gives Authorization to Two COVID-19 Boosters This morning, the FDA has officially authorized the use of third vaccine shots — “boosters” — from both the Pfizer PFE/BioNTech BNTX and Moderna MRNA treatments. This amounts to a switch in policy from two months ago, when the FDA halted an authorization for all vaccinated adults based on slim data coming in from Israel.Two months later, the data speaks much more clearly: adults who receive booster vaccine shots will be much more highly immunized from Covid-19 than those simply “fully vaccinated” (these terms may need to give way to more accurate descriptions at some point). We are less than a week before the first big Thanksgiving holiday in two years: this FDA recommendation could not possibly come at a more advantageous time.The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to formally make its recommendation, which it does following FDA judgments, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky assured that the Center “will act swiftly” in making its own recommendation. Booster shots have been administrated to adults other than the elderly and at-risk workers, who were already green-lighted for booster shots, but today’s announcement gets overall vaccination policy closer to the same page.President Biden has yet to make a decision whether or not to keep Fed Chair Jay Powell installed or replaced, likely with Fed President Lael Brainard. In recent weeks, the rallying call for a switch to Brainard has come from notable progressives in Congress, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has taken Powell to task in public hearings on the Fed in the recent past.In reality, a switch to Brainard wouldn’t be too drastic a change from Powell; after all, Powell himself had stubbornly kept asset purchases in place far beyond inflation reaching the optimum 2%, with the other segment of the Fed’s dual mandate — full employment — in mind. As a result, employment figures have grown more strongly than initially registered, and at higher levels of wage growth. These are similar results to what Brainard would be interested in generating.There is the question of whether Biden would feel the need to put in his own choice for Fed Chair; Powell replaced President Obama’s choice Janet Yellen by President Trump (even though Trump was often verbally critical about Powell’s unwillingness to end asset purchases and raise interest rates much sooner). Brainard, being a woman, would also assist the Biden administration’s goals to make presidential appointments “look more like America,” meaning not strictly white males installed in important posts like Fed Chair.The Dow is -190 points ahead of the opening bell, looking at a down-week overall after a strong start, the S&P 500 is -7 points at this hour but still may conclude the week higher, and the Nasdaq keeps its strength intact, +75 points ahead of the open to the final trading day of the week. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR (BNTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 19th, 2021

9 places to buy alcohol online in 2021 and get it delivered in time for the holidays

If you want to get alcohol delivered right to your door, here are the best places to shop whether you want liquor, wine, beer, or Japanese sake. Prices are accurate at the time of publication. Here's how to get alcohol delivered right to your door whether it's your favorite wine, beer, or spirit. Check your state's laws before you shop, and be sure an adult who is 21 years or older can sign for the package. This content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.Trying to carry two bottles of wine, a handle of whiskey, a six-pack of beer, and some bitters to stock our bar cart might as well be an Olympic sport. But the task of buying alcohol doesn't have to be so strenuous, and for anyone who can't or doesn't want to go outside to the store, there's always alcohol delivery. We've broken down how to buy alcohol online and the best places to order from whether you're into spirits, wine, or beer. Some can get you your alcohol within a couple of hours of ordering, while others may have set shipping schedules. One thing to keep in mind with any alcohol delivery service is that each state has its own laws. Alabama, Oklahoma, and Utah have outright bans on booze deliveries to private citizens. In almost all other states, wine deliveries are perfectly legal, though they will require a signature from an adult who's 21 or older in most places. Check the National Conference of State Legislatures' Direct Shipment of Alcohol Statutes page for the most updated information.Here are the best places to buy alcohol online:The best place to buy wine online: Wine.comThe best place to buy indie wine online: NakedWines.comThe best place to buy sake online: TippsyThe best place to buy beer online: Craft CityThe best on-demand alcohol delivery: DrizlyThe best place to buy alcohol gifts: ReserveBarThe best spirits subscription: FlaviarThe best wine subscription: WincThe best beer subscription: Beer of the Month ClubThe best place to buy wine onlineWine.com/InstagramWine.com boasts the world's largest online wine selection, letting you find your old favorites, discover new wines, and shop collectible and boutique wines. There's no shortage of choice at Wine.com, where you can shop by varietal and region, or browse various curated lists and deals. You can also pick up gift baskets, glassware, and other wine accessories to supplement your bottles. Each product page features helpful winemaker notes, reviews from trusted critics like James Suckling, and additional information about the vineyard. There's also a live wine expert chat function in case you need extra help. In addition to home delivery, the site offers order pickup from more than 10,000 participating locations including Walgreens, Duane Reade, and Safeway. If you anticipate ordering often, get the annual $49 membership, which is called the StewardShip program, and gives you free shipping on every order for a full year with no purchase minimum.New customers can also take $20 off orders of $50+ with the code "GIVING20".Shipping cost: Varied and based on the number of bottles and the size and weight of your orderRead about more places to buy wine onlineItalian Wine Gift Set$49.99 FROM WINE.COMOriginally $64.00 | Save 22%The best place to buy indie wine onlineNakedWines/InstagramNakedWines.com lets you support independent winemakers around the world and you'll receive big discounts so you can stock your wine supply for less.If you're interested in getting to know the winemaker behind each of your bottles, you'll love NakedWines.com, which specializes in lifting up independent wine labels around the world. You can become an "Angel" who invests $40 a month directly in up-and-coming winemakers, and in return, you'll get wholesale prices (up to 60% off wine) and a free gift bottle every month. Even if you don't want to become an Angel, you can still shop the large variety of red, white, sparkling, rose, and sweet wine on the site and try the user-friendly filtering system. You can even browse winemaker profiles to hear directly from the source, read customer reviews, and easily shop all the wine from that maker. There's a generous welcome offer of $100 off your introductory case that includes six bottles of reds and whites. For future orders, there is a six-bottle minimum. Shipping cost: $10 for orders under $100. For orders $100 and more, delivery is free — except for Hawaii (+$70) and Alaska (+$130).Read our review of NakedWines.comQuevedo Family Touriga Nacional 2019$14.99 FROM NAKEDWINES.COMThe best place to buy Japanese sake onlineConnie Chen/Business InsiderTippsy is a great way to explore Japanese sake à la carte or through a monthly subscription box.If you've never drunk sake outside of a Japanese restaurant, you're missing out on a whole world of booze. And if part of the reason is that you're not sure what to order or what to pair it with, you might want to sign up for Tippsy. Tippsy is an online store for sake, and it keeps the category from being overwhelming with taste profiles, pairing suggestions, translations of Japanese labels and descriptions, and more. Bottles can be purchased a la carte or through a subscription that arrives one, two, or four times a year. Each box contains six 10-ounce bottles, and your first box comes with a Sake 101 guide with tasting notes, and suggestions on food pairings and even what temperatures to enjoy the sake. This is a great way to expand your palate and knowledge of alcohol without venturing out to a Japanese restaurant.  Currently, you can get $15 flat shipping on all orders, or earn free shipping if you order six or more bottles.Membership cost: Starting at $93/box for subscription, à la carte bottles starting at $10 — Jada Wong Read our review of TippsyTippsy Sake Box$99.00 FROM TIPPSYThe best place to buy beer onlineCraft City/InstagramCraft beer enthusiasts will be happy with Craft City's impressive inventory that tends towards smaller brewery labels. If you have a particular craft beer in mind — maybe you tried it while traveling or you bought it from a store once and never saw it again — chances are that Craft City carries it. It also happens to be a great place to buy other fizzy drinks, like craft kombucha and craft soda. You can enjoy the nation's best craft breweries, from more well-known names like Ballast Point and Allagash to labels you've never heard of. The nice thing is that you can buy single bottles rather than full packs, so you can create a fully customized beer stash. Some of the products include ratings from Beer Advocate and Rate Beer, plus each page tells you exactly how much stock is left and whether you need to act quickly to snatch up your favorites. There's also a cool Product Comparison tool if you're between two beers and want a side-by-side breakdown of their differences. Shipping cost: Based on your specific location, and generally, we found you'll pay between $10 to $16 for ground shipping. Read about more places to buy beer onlineMason Ale Works Cash Stout $13.99 FROM CRAFT CITYThe best on-demand alcohol deliveryDrizly/InstagramFor alcohol delivery within the hour, Drizly provides the most reliable, well-designed, and widely available service. Drizly works with your local liquor stores to get you wine, beer, spirits, and even mixers, snacks, and party supplies quickly. Delivery's free in New York City and only $5 in other areas. Drizly service is available in more than 220 markets nationwide. Stock and pricing really depend on your neighborhood retailer, but you should expect all the big brands and bar essentials, as well as more unique offerings such as craft brews, bottles from local distillers, and exclusive wines. They should cost you the retail price, or a little more, though Drizly also regularly runs deals and promotions to save you some money.Both the website and app are easy to use and you can look at your past purchases to make reordering a breeze. Delivery cost: Free in NYC and $5 elsewhereRead our comparison of Drizly, Minibar, and SauceyHornitos Reposado Tequila 1L$25.99 FROM DRIZLYThe best place to buy alcohol giftsReservebar/InstagramReserveBar is an online luxury spirit and wine store that carries rare bottles, gift sets, and fine drinkware. It's the perfect place to find top-shelf options for special occasions. ReserveBar is an online delivery platform offering everything from bottom- and middle-shelf wine and spirits to the very tippy-top, like Armand de Brignac Blanc de Blancs and Remy Martin Louis XIII.However, since it does charge a premium on common bottles and brands, we recommend going to other sites or your local liquor store for the bottom- and middle-shelf stuff and focusing instead on all the rare vintages and limited offerings — if you have the budget. You'll also find custom engravings, fancy crystal and barware sets, and gift baskets. If you ever want to make someone in your life — be it a partner, relative, or business contact — feel special, ReserveBar's the place to find the best boozy gift. Shipping cost: Shipping is $15-$35 for orders under $149. It's free on orders over $149 with the code SHIP149. Read our review of ReserveBarJohnnie Walker Blue Label$259.00 FROM RESERVE BARThe best spirits subscriptionFlaviar/InstagramFlaviar is an accessible starting point and community for people wanting to expand their experience with spirits, and it offers no shortage of member-exclusive features to dive into and explore.The world of fine and niche spirits can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to the scene. But if you're interested in trying small-batch whiskeys, vodkas, tequilas, and more, personalized spirits subscription service Flaviar is an excellent place to start.In addition to providing quality options (including rare bottles) at great prices, Flaviar also serves as an online community for fellow fans (600,000+ strong) to get together and talk about everything spirits-related. It carries more than 20,000 different spirits and every three months, members can pick out one full-size bottle and a curated Tasting Box filled with various samples. There are many other perks, including member reviews, articles about different spirits, cocktail recipes, and interviews with industry experts. Membership cost: $109 per quarter or $349 per yearRead our review of FlaviarFlaviar Annual Subscription$349.00 FROM FLAVIARThe best wine subscriptionConnie Chen/Business InsiderThe modern wine club model is nearly perfect in Winc's hands, from its large and on-trend bottle variety to its streamlined browsing and customer rating system.Winc is always updating its stock of wine, which it produces based on consumer interests and emerging trends. That means you'll always have something new to look forward to when you do your monthly wine shopping haul. Winc's site is easy to use and browse for different varietals and regions, and you can view member ratings and descriptions for each wine. We also love it because its wines are pretty affordable, ranging from $13 to $32 a bottle. Amateur wine enthusiasts can start with the Palate Profile, which will point them in the right direction of different wines to try. Membership isn't required to order from Winc, though it can save you some money if you regularly consume wine. Right now, new customers can take $20 off four bottles or more.Membership cost: $59.95/month, or order a minimum of three bottles starting at $13/bottle Read our review of WincRead more about the best online wine subscriptionsWinc Wine Subscription$24.95 FROM WINCOriginally $52.00 | Save 52%The best beer subscriptionBeer of the Month ClubBeer of the Month Club has more than 25 years of experience recommending craft beers and uses three criteria — quality, freshness, and variety — to curate its 12-packs. This club has been around since 1994 and is more than familiar with the best craft beers you should know about. Its panel members have some impressive experience up their sleeves, including over 100 collective years in the brewing industry and 500 beers rated every year to bring you only top-tier beers. Beer of the Month currently offers five different membership types: US Microbrewed, US and International Variety, Hop Heads Beer, International Beer, and Rare Beer. You'll get 12 bottles that represent two to four beer styles and breweries, plus profiles and tasting notes. The subscription is aimed at people who want to develop their taste in beer or simply find it too time-consuming to do the research and work themselves.Right now, you can save up to $30 off prepaid orders. Use the code "SAVE10" for $10 off a 4-shipment order, "SAVE15" for $15 off a prepaid 6-shipment order, and "SAVE30" for $30 off a prepaid 12-shipment order. Membership cost: $29.95-$38.95 a month, plus $15 shipping. Beer of the Month Club Subscription$31.95 FROM BEER OF THE MONTH CLUBCheck out our other great guidesWince FacebookThe best places to buy beer online, from local delivery services to monthly subscriptionsThe best places to buy alcohol online — from general online liquor stores to monthly wine delivery servicesThe best wine subscriptions we've triedThe best Champagne and sparkling wine you can buy onlineThe best drinking glassesThe best wine openers and corkscrewsThe best cocktail shakersThe best wine glassesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 19th, 2021

House votes to censure GOP Rep. Paul Gosar after he tweeted an edited anime video that showed him killing AOC

Democrats have criticized the Republican lawmaker following his violent anime tweet aimed at Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden. Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona rides alone on a subway car to the Capitol Building on November 17, 2021.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images The House on Wednesday voted to censure Rep. Paul Gosar and remove him from his committee assignments. The rebuke comes after Gosar posted an anime video edited that showed him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Just two Republicans joined Democrats in support of the resolution.  The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to censure Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona and remove him from his committee assignments after he posted an anime video that was edited to depict him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.Just two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, joined all Democrats in a 223-207 vote in support of the censure resolution. GOP Rep. David Joyce voted "present." Censure refers to a formal condemnation of an elected official. Several House Democrats, including Ocasio-Cortez, expressed their support for the move ahead of Wednesday's vote."As leaders in this country, when we incite violence with depictions against our colleagues, that trickles down into violence in this country," Ocasio-Cortez said as lawmakers debated the resolution on the House floor. "That is where we must draw the line." Republicans, meanwhile, sought to portray the Democratic-led vote as an abuse of power, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy repeatedly invoking the phrase "rules for thee but not for me."In his own defense, Gosar said on Wednesday that "it was not my purpose to make anyone upset" and that "there is no threat" in the video he tweeted. It's the first time the House has voted to censure a member since 2010, when-Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel was rebuked over ethics violations.—Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) November 17, 2021 Gosar's anime video violated Twitter's 'hateful conduct' policyWednesday's rebuke comes after Gosar on November 7 posted a video on Twitter that depicted an edited version of the opening credits of a Japanese animated series called "Attack on Titan," a show that centers on a hero who fights giant creatures called Titans.In the 90-second clip, Gosar, along with fellow GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, are seen attacking the "Titan" characters. Gosar's face is superimposed over one character that kills a Titan with Ocasio-Cortez's face on it. Gosar's character also swings two swords at a Titan with Biden's face on it.The tweet was captioned: "Any anime fans out there?"Democrats swiftly condemned the video as Gosar glorifying violence against his own colleague and the president, and called for the Republican lawmaker to be punished. Ocasio-Cortez herself slammed Gosar in a tweet as "a creepy member" she works with who "shared a fantasy video of him killing me.""And he'll face no consequences bc @GOPLeader cheers him on with excuses," the New York lawmaker wrote, tagging McCarthy on Twitter.Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona arrives to his office on Capitol Hill on November 17, 2021.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesTwitter flagged Gosar's tweet as a violation of its "hateful conduct" policies but did not remove the tweet because the company "determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible," a spokesperson said. Gosar deleted the tweet on November 9.Gosar has sought to defend himself amid the backlash, saying that he does not endorse violence against Ocasio-Cortez and Biden. The video was meant to be "symbolic" of the GOP's fight against the Democratic party's agenda, particularly regarding immigration policy, he said."The cartoon depicts the symbolic nature of a battle between lawful and unlawful policies and in no way intended to be a targeted attack against Representative Cortez or Mr. Biden," Gosar said in a November 9 statement, misspelling Ocasio-Cortez's last name.On Tuesday, Gosar tried explaining the video in a GOP conference meeting, reportedly telling his colleagues, "I don't believe in violence against any member."Ahead of Wednesday's vote, Gosar also compared himself to Alexander Hamilton. "If I must join Alexander Hamilton, the first person attempted to be censured by this House, so be it. It is done," he said. The lawmaker appeared to be referencing when the House unsuccessfully tried to censure Hamilton while he served as the US's first Treasury Secretary.'We've got to act in a decisive fashion'Before the vote, House Republicans argued that stripping Gosar of his committee assignment would set a problematic precedent. McCarthy, for his part, has previously vowed to strip Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar of her committee assignments if the party regains the majority next year due to GOP allegations of anti-Semitism against her.Democrats have dismissed the argument. Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries told Insider on Wednesday that "none of this would be an issue if Kevin McCarthy was willing to step up and hold his out-of-control members accountable.""I'm not gonna live my life in fear of what the out-of-control cover-up caucus may do at some hypothetical point in time in the future," he added. "We've got to act in a decisive fashion to make clear that violence against women is never acceptable."Omar was also dismissive of McCarthy's threat, characterizing it as "childish.""I don't really care for it," Omar told Insider. "The whataboutism is a distraction from the actual problem that they have in their caucus." Omar also said the censure vote was an issue of workplace safety. "The presence of many of my colleagues on the Republican side has made us feel less safe," she said.House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks with fellow Republicans on the House steps as the House debates censuring Rep. Paul Gosar on November 17, 2021 in Washington, DC.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesMcCarthy has largely defended Gosar in comments to reporters this week."He didn't see [the video] before it posted. It was not his intent to show any harm," McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday. "What I said to the conference was, [we] cannot accept any action or showing of a violence to another member."McCarthy has previously protected House Republicans despite pressure to reprimand them over their actions. Earlier this year, Democrats denounced Gosar over his connection to white nationalist Nick Fuentes. The lawmaker spoke at the America First Political Action conference, a far-right event led and attended by Fuentes, in February. Gosar was also pictured on a flyer of a fundraiser for Fuentes' organization in June. But Gosar denied having any ties to Fuentes, and McCarthy dismissed the matter.Gosar has been embroiled in other controversies in recent months, from claiming that the 2020 election was "stolen" to downplaying the violent January 6 insurrection. Gosar was criticized by lawmakers of both parties after he blamed the death of Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt on police.The rebuke also comes months after House Democrats voted to strip fellow far-right lawmaker Greene from her committee assignments in February. That vote came in response to the Georgia congresswoman's past support on social media for right-wing conspiracy theories and political violence. McCarthy, at the time, accused Democrats of a "partisan power grab."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

16 B Corps making products we love that you can feel good about buying

B Corporations are businesses that get voluntarily graded by the nonprofit B Lab on everything from worker health to environmental impact. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.United by Blue B Corps are businesses graded on their efforts to create an inclusive, sustainable economy. These companies treat "good business" as an idea that includes both profit and purpose.  Below, we rounded up the B Corps we love shopping at most, including Patagonia, Allbirds, and Prose. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyAs history can attest, nonprofits aren't enough to single-handedly eradicate poverty and inequality and infuse the workplace with jobs that make workers feel dignified and purposeful.To pitch in, some companies are willing to bet on a different conceptualization of "good business." Perhaps most impressive of this group are B Corps — businesses that nonprofit B Lab grade each year to ensure they're meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Companies awarded B Corp status have committed to using their businesses to work toward a more inclusive and sustainable economy. They strive to reduce inequality; lower poverty levels; and create a healthier environment, stronger communities, and purposeful jobs.They leverage their resources to pay into a better world, creating a definition of success that includes commonwealth and positive impact as necessary aspects of sustainable consumerism. It's not charity; it's better business, and the point is to move the needle on "better practices" further from extra credit and closer to universal compliance.We rounded up 16 companies we love to shop from that also happen to be certified B Corps, helping drive a global movement that uses business as a force for good. Check out 16 B-Corps brands we love to shop from:LeesaLeesaLeesa is best-known for being one of the forerunners in the increasingly crowded direct-to-consumer mattress space. Its Leesa Mattress has over 20,000 five-star reviews, and its Hybrid is one of the picks in our best mattress guide.The company also has a strong social impact: giving one mattress for every ten sold and devoting resources to national and local organizations. Despite the startup's accomplishments in a crowded space, Leesa's Head of Social Impact, Jen-Ai Notman, told Insider the social mission would be likely to still rank as the overwhelming incentive for working at the company.Overall, Leesa has donated more than 37,000 mattresses to those in need and makes a point to provide the opportunity for employees to feel invested in their own backyards with local volunteer opportunities.Shop Leesa here.The Body ShopThe Body Shop/FacebookYou may know The Body Shop from frequent trips to the mall, but the retailer has attracted a dedicated customer base for its social responsibility and wide array of ethically sourced bodycare products. In 2019, the company became a certified B Corp.Since opening its doors in 1976, The Body Shop has launched a series of activism campaigns, even becoming the first international cosmetics brand recognized under the Humane Cosmetics Standard.The Body Shop has also launched a Community Trade partnership with The Tungteiya Women's Association in northern Ghana. Through the partnership, over 640 women help source the high-quality shea butter used in The Body Shop's products, like the shea butter shampoo and conditioner, which is former senior reporter Connie Chen's go-to haircare set.The Coconut Body Butter is one of our favorite bodycare products, and we ranked its Tea Tree Oil as the best tea tree oil we've tried. Shop The Body Shop here.ProseProseProse is a trailblazer for custom haircare and is one of the most personalized beauty brands on the market.Launched in 2017 and added to the B Corp list in 2019, Prose creates complete customized haircare products that cater to the specific needs and goals of each individual's hair and scalp. Prose founders used their experiences in marketing, digital strategy, and R&D roles at consumer product companies like Procter & Gamble and L'Oréal to help define Prose's data-driven and ingredient-centric business model.Because of this technology-driven approach mixed with an apothecary-style concept, Prose's made-to-order products offer the highest quality of clean, sustainably sourced ingredients.Read our entire Prose review here.Shop Prose here.AllbirdsAllbirds/InstagramAllbirds are often referred to as the "world's most comfortable shoes," and we'd be inclined to agree. We also love that each collection seems to get even better at optimizing natural materials without raising prices or diminishing quality.Allbirds' classic sneakers and loungers are made from moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, odor-resistant merino wool that is ZQ-certified (meaning it meets stringent standards for sustainable farming and animal welfare) and uses 60% less energy than synthetics.Their second collection was comprised of sneakers and skippers made from cooling, eco-friendly eucalyptus pulp. Both collections are ultra-comfortable, low-maintenance, made from sustainable materials, and cost $95 for a pair. Shop Allbirds here.PatagoniaPatagoniaPatagonia is a beloved outdoors company for many reasons: its superior products and the environmental efforts that led to it being named a UN Champion of the Earth in 2019, the UN's top environmental honor.You can read more on how Patagonia walks the walk here. A few of our favorite examples include being the first California company to sign up for B certification in 2012; imposing an earth tax on itself; and giving 100% (yes, 100%) of their profits from Black Friday in the past directly to grassroots nonprofits working to protect air, water, and soil quality for future generations. Since 1985, the company has donated over $89 million to environmental work.It also bucks corporate trends by not being afraid to get political. It's led boycotts and sued the United States government after the former Trump administration proposed reducing two national monuments by up to 85%.The company also revised its mission statement from "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis" to the simpler, more urgent "we're in business to save our home planet."Shop Patagonia here.CotopaxiCotopaxiCotopaxi is an outdoors brand with social purpose built into its DNA. Its gear is superior (I count their 35L and 42L travel pack as among my all-time best finds). But, somehow, it's almost more exciting to talk about the work the company is doing outside of its retail line. From its inception, Cotopaxi has been founded upon the idea that the interests of profit and people could not only coexist but should and already do enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship.The B Corp values can be found at all levels of operation. Employees spend 10% of their work time in their local communities, adventuring outdoors, or doing service. The company donates 1% of its yearly revenue to ending poverty by funding local organizations working on sustainable solutions. Cotopaxi also puts out a Repurposed Collection of limited-edition gear made out of product scraps. The company has also created a skills-based volunteering initiative that leverages the time and talent of employees to respond to community needs, such as a card-writing program that provides a paid first job for refugees in Salt Lake City. The program provides youth with professional development, work experience, a competitive wage, and the opportunity to practice their English language skills. This is one company whose "Do Good" products actually feel authentic. Shop Cotopaxi here.Frank and OakFrank And OakFrank and Oak is a Canadian apparel company dedicated to making modern, high-quality essentials with sustainable materials and production methods.The company has winter boots made from coffee waste, recycled rubber, and plant-dyed leather, as well as circular denim made from post-consumer waste in a way that uses 79% less energy, 50% fewer chemicals, and 95% less water than the standard.About 50% of the retailer's products are made with minimal-impact processes and materials. Its shipping boxes are 100% recycled and recyclable, and its bags are biodegradable. What's more, its Canadian stores were built with recycled materials. It also keeps a lean supply of products on hand to avoid surplus, which makes nearly every collection limited-edition. Shop Frank and Oak.BombasBombasBombas is another company that was founded with the primary directive of giving back to the community, with its actual product idea coming second. But Bombas are still the best pair of socks we've ever tried.Founders David Heath and Randy Goldberg told Insider the now cult-favorite company began as a way to address the fact that homeless shelters have a great shortage of sock donations. And after noticing that consumers didn't have a great option between high-end niche technical socks and a six-pack at Target, Heath and Goldberg spent two years obsessively re-inventing the wheel.Bombas socks have blister tabs, a reinforced footbed, targeted areas of tension, "stay-up technology," and contoured seaming like a Y-stitched heel to minimize bunching, sliding, and sticking.Since 2013, the company has also donated more than 48,000,000 million items to homeless shelters thanks to its "buy one, give one" model for its socks and tees.And the socks and clothes Bombas does donate have been designed in conjunction with their giving partners to cater specifically to the needs of its recipients, who may not have access to the luxury of putting on clean clothes every day. For instance, the socks come in darker colors to avoid visible wear and tear, added anti-microbial treatment to prevent odor or bacteria if they can't be washed as frequently, and reinforced seams for durability. Shop Bombas here.BeautycounterBeautycounterBeautycounter, a skincare and makeup brand, has become synonymous with the clean beauty movement. Since its founding in 2013, the company has had what it calls The Never List — a laundry list of 1,800 questionable or harmful chemicals that are never used in its products, including the 1,400 banned or restricted by the EU. (The US bans just 30.)It's also involved in advocacy for better, healthier legal regulation in the US and Canada. Its makeup is solid, but it has some of the best skincare products around — and all blessedly sans harmful chemicals.Read our entire Beautycounter review here.Shop Beautycounter here.TentreeTentreeTentree is an outdoor company that essentially thinks of itself as a forestry program that ended up selling clothes. For every product you buy, the company plants 10 trees through thoughtful programs that reforest the earth and help rebuild communities around sustainable local economies. Since its inception, Tentree has planted over 57 million new trees on earth. By 2030, the company's goal is 1 billion. The brand's clothes mostly consist of comfy, unassuming sweatshirts, shirts, leggings, and other basic apparel sold at a reasonable price. It's also fostered a lively online community and lays claim to one of the most-liked Instagram posts of all time.Shop Tentree here.United by BlueUnited By BlueUnited by Blue, an outdoor apparel and accessories brand, was founded first and foremost to preserve and protect the places in which explorers go to play. That means its top-notch gear goes hand-in-hand with conservation work.The company utilizes inventive, sustainable materials and removes 1 pound of trash from the world's oceans and waterways for every product sold. It's working to ban single-use plastic from its business operations. You can also join them in a cleanup. We're particularly big fans of their flannel shirts as well as their jackets and socks that utilize bison down — a surprisingly sustainable material that packs a lot of warmth. Shop United by Blue here.EthiqueEthiqueEthique is helping tackle plastic waste by developing solid bars made for beauty, body, and haircare needs.Founded by a female biologist, the company formulates over 30 solid beauty bars that work as shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, self-tanners, and body washes, and they work well. Every bar is vegan, sustainably sourced, naturally derived, and comes in biodegradable packaging. They also last two to five times longer than bottled options since they're so concentrated (since about 70% of bottled shampoo is water), meaning you save money and contribute a smaller carbon footprint since you're ordering less frequently. To date, the company has prevented the making of more than 11 million plastic bottles.Ethique (French for "ethical") is certified climate-neutral and cruelty-free and donates 20% of its profit to charity.In 2015, the company was recognized as New Zealand's most sustainable business with the Best in B award. In its early stages, the company also attracted the highest number of female investors in PledgeMe history. (PledgeMe is New Zealand's crowdfunding platform.)Shop Ethique here. (Its Amazon orders are fulfilled by Pharmapacks.)AthletaAthletaSan Francisco-based Athleta makes relatively affordable but premium performance clothing designed by women athletes, and it focuses most of its philanthropy on empowering girls and women. Through the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. program and Fair Trade U.S.A., the label supports programs impacting the lives of the majority-female workers that create its apparel and has run empowerment-focused campaigns such as "Power of She." The company also offers thousands of free fitness and wellness events each year.  In 2021, it's diverted 74% of shipping waste from landfills, and 71% of its materials are made from sustainable fibers.Shop Athleta here.Uncommon GoodsUncommonGoodsUncommonGoods is a marketplace of creative craft-esque inventions, like long-distance friendship lamps, that make great gifts. The site feels like a clean, navigable Etsy with fewer products and a more distinct thesis: utilitarian but "unique." It's unusual to see a diverse aggregator like UncommonGoods as a B Corp (Etsy gave up the distinction in 2017), but the company has been one since 2007. UncommonGoods works with its artists to use sustainable or recycled materials when possible, chooses environmentally friendlier packing materials, and prints its catalog on FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and recycled paper. They also founded "Better to Give," which allows customers to choose a nonprofit partner for the company to donate $1 to with every order. For UncommonGoods, the "business for good" model is working, with the company growing steadily from five employees to over 200 year-round. As part of their approach to business, their lowest-paid hourly seasonal worker makes double the federal minimum wage. They've also advocated for higher minimum wage and paid family leave in New York and other states. The company partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and created the Uncommon Scholars program, which creates internship and scholarship opportunities for students enrolled at historically Black colleges and universities.Shop UncommonGoods here.MPOWERDAmazonNYC-based MPOWERD makes affordable, innovative products that help make clean energy accessible. Its best-known product is the Luci, an inflatable solar light. Particularly well-loved for its versatile applications for campers and hikers, MPOWERD is an increasingly recognizable name in the outdoors genre.Its big sales drive down costs, and those savings are passed on to MPOWERD's clients in developing economies.Through this process and a myriad of others, the company delivers affordable, life-changing solar lights to off-the-grid communities around the world. It has over 700 strategic nonprofit partnerships worldwide, emergency relief sales, and a customer-driven Give Luci program that encourages shoppers to purchase units for their global nonprofit partners. Shop MPOWERD here.Eileen FisherEileen FisherEileen Fisher has been a B-Corp since 2015 and has incorporated conscious practices into most of its supply chain, including "green initiatives" at its headquarters, stores, and distribution centers, along with volunteer work.The company has been involved in some meaningful policy engagement in the past, and it has designed a grant program that supports women involved in environmental justice. Shop Eileen Fisher.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 17th, 2021

Pilot Flies "FJB" And Middle Finger Pattern Over Arizona Skies  

Pilot Flies "FJB" And Middle Finger Pattern Over Arizona Skies   What began as an NBC reporter's attempt to suggest NASCAR fans shouting "F@ck Joe Biden" were actually saying "Let's go Brandon!" - has been a viral sensation for a month and a half.  Fans at football stadiums across the country have chanted "F@ck Joe Biden" to voice their discontent with the president.  The speed at which "Let's Go Brandon," a coded vulgar insult towards the president, has spread throughout stadiums and social media has been astonishing.  One can buy "Let's Go Brandon" t-shirts, Christmas ornaments, stickers, and other merchandise to express how they feel about Biden. Even a "Let's Go Brandon" rap recently made it to the number 1 rap song on iTunes.  "F@ck Joe Biden" or "FJB" for short has also made it to the sky. On Nov. 10, a pilot operating a Cessna commuter plane with the tail number "N23508" was recorded by flight-tracking website FlightAware. What's unique about this plane's flight route is that the pilot drew FJB and a middle finger. The pilot was at an altitude of 2,500 to 3,500 feet near Pheonix, flying around 85-100 mph for 37 minutes last week while they created their masterpiece in the sky. Here's a playback of the flight.  Vulgar insults directed at the president show an ultra-polarized country ahead of next year's midterms. So how long until the FAA interviews this pilot?  Tyler Durden Tue, 11/16/2021 - 19:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 16th, 2021

The Rise And Fall Of MySpace

The Rise And Fall Of MySpace According to reporting by Bloomberg, the MySpace clone SpaceHey has passed the 200,000 user mark one year after its launch. Originally envisioned as a hobby project by 18-year-old German web developer Anton Röhm, the site has received praise for its privacy-friendly setup and nostalgia vibes that don't rely on likes and algorithms. As Statista's Florian Zandt shows in the chart below, the social network is still unlikely to come close to MySpace's appeal though – which might be a good thing all things considered. You will find more infographics at Statista When Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. bought the site for $580 million in July 2005, two years after its launch, all signs pointed towards a bright future for the social media platform. Facebook and YouTube were only slowly gaining ground, Instagram, Twitter or WeChat were nothing more than ideas in their founders' heads, and the site counted 22 million users. In its heyday in 2006 and 2007, it was valued at $12 billion ahead of a potential merger with Yahoo after becoming the most visited website in the U.S. As its biggest competitor Facebook passed MySpace in terms of unique visitors in May of 2008, the site's userbase was already rapidly declining. By June 2011, estimates put the social network's userbase at roughly 60 million after a month-long exodus of millions of visitors. Mark Zuckerberg's platform, on the other hand, hit 687 million users worldwide around that time. This didn't prevent pop superstar Justin Timberlake and advertisement company Specific Media from scooping up the ailing network for $35 million and promising a music-focused modern rebrand of the site. Its users didn't take kindly to this idea: In October 2013, the new phase of MySpace went live, calling itself a social entertainment destination instead of a social network, while its userbase had dwindled to just 36 million. Over the past couple of years, the once-famous site finalized its descent into obscurity, first being sold off to Time Inc. along with its parent company Viant for an undisclosed amount in 2016, then to the Meredith Corporation in 2018. It last made real headlines in March 2019, losing all user data from launch to 2015 due to a botched server migration. Surprisingly, the site is still around and is being regularly filled with syndicated editorial content and its parent company seems to have recovered rather successfully: After buying back its shares from the Meredith Corporation at the end of 2019, Viant went public this February and as of November 12 stands at a market cap of $680 million. Still, a revival of the social aspects of MySpace seems unlikely – but at least now there's an alternative for fans of retro social media experiences. Tyler Durden Sun, 11/14/2021 - 07:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 14th, 2021

European Army: Rhetoric Versus Reality

European Army: Rhetoric Versus Reality Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, The call for a supranational army, part of a push for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States, is being spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of his reelection campaign, apparently hopes to replace outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe. Many EU member states disagree with Macron. Eastern European countries, some of which face existential threats from Russia, know that neither the EU nor France can match the military capabilities offered by NATO and the United States. Other countries are concerned about a panoply of issues ranging from financial costs to national sovereignty. "If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the U.S. and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. An EU Army will amount to European de-arming." — Bob Seely, Tory MP. "It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defense would bring the same security as NATO's U.S.-backed defense arrangement." — Richard Whitman, professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent. "Few share France's willingness to splurge on defense, or its expeditionary military culture. (Germany, especially, does not.) Nobody agrees what 'strategic autonomy' actually means." — The Economist. "The EU is not a credible substitute for what NATO represents. You will not see any appetite for the European army amongst member states." — Kristjan Mäe, head of the Estonian defense ministry's NATO and EU department. "Even if national capitals wanted to lunge for a common army, there are so many technical, legal, and administrative differences between their militaries that it would take decades to produce a smoothly functioning force.... Conclusion: any talk of creating a fully-fledged common army, even within the next generation, is just that: jaw-jaw and not real-real." — Brooks Tigner, analyst, Atlantic Council. European federalists seeking to transform the 27-member European Union into a European superstate — a so-called United States of Europe — have revived a decades-old proposal to build a European army. The call for a supranational army, part of a push for Europe to achieve "strategic autonomy" from the United States, is being spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron, who, as part of his reelection campaign, apparently hopes to replace outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the de facto leader of Europe. Macron claims that Europe needs its own military because, according to him, the United States is no longer a reliable ally. He cites as examples: U.S. President Joe Biden's precipitous withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan; the growing pressure on Europe to take sides with the United States on China; and France's exclusion from a new security alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. Many EU member states disagree with Macron. Eastern European countries, some of which face existential threats from Russia, know that neither the EU nor France can match the military capabilities offered by NATO and the United States. Other countries are concerned about a panoply of issues ranging from financial costs to national sovereignty. Still others are opposed to creating a parallel structure to NATO that could undermine the transatlantic alliance. A common EU army appears to be a long way from becoming reality. A logical course of action would be for EU member states (which comprise 21 of the 30 members of NATO) to honor past pledges to increase defense spending as part of their contribution to the transatlantic alliance. That, however, would fly in the face of the folie de grandeur — the delusions of grandeur — of European federalists who want to transform the EU into a major geopolitical power. Pictured: Soldiers of the Franco-German brigade, a military unit founded in 1989, jointly consisting of units from the French Army and German Army. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) Strategic Autonomy The term "strategic autonomy" in European discussions on defense has been in use since at least December 2013, when the European Council, the EU's governing body comprised of the leaders of the 27 EU member states, called for the EU to improve its defense industrial base. In June 2016, the term appeared in the EU's security strategy. The document — "A Global Strategy for the European Union's Foreign and Security Policy" — was said to "nurture the ambition of strategic autonomy" for the European Union. "An appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy," it stated, "is important for Europe's ability to promote peace and security within and beyond its borders." In recent years, the concept of "strategic autonomy" has taken on far broader significance: the idea now means that the EU should become a sovereign power that is militarily, economically, and technologically independent from the United States. EU observer Dave Keating noted: "The Brussels buzzword is now 'strategic autonomy,' an effort to wrestle the word 'sovereignty' away from nationalists and make the case that only a strong EU can make Europeans truly sovereign in relation to Russia, China, and the United States." European federalists increasingly have called for building an autonomous EU military force: March 8, 2015. In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Jean-Claude Juncker, then the president of the European Commission, the EU's administrative arm, declared that the European Union needed its own army because it was not "taken entirely seriously" on the international stage. The proposal was flatly rejected by the British government, which at the time was still an EU member: "Our position is crystal clear that defense is a national — not an EU — responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army." September 26, 2017. President Macron, in a major speech at Sorbonne University, called for a joint EU defense force as part of his vision for the future of the bloc: "Europe needs to establish a common intervention force, a common defense budget and a common doctrine for action." November 6, 2018. Macron, marking the centenary of the armistice that ended World War 1, warned that Europe cannot be protected without a "true, European army." He added: "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America." November 13, 2018. German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Macron's calls for a European army: "The times when we could rely on others are over. This means nothing less than for us Europeans to take our destiny in our own hands if we want to survive as a Union.... We have to create a European intervention unit with which Europe can act on the ground where necessary. We have taken major steps in the field of military cooperation; this is good and largely supported in this house. But I also have to say, seeing the developments of the recent years, that we have to work on a vision to establish a real European army one day." September 10, 2019. During her first press conference as the new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who has long called for a "United States of Europe," said that she will lead a "geopolitical Commission" aimed at boosting the EU's role on the world stage. She did not offer many details other than a vaguely worded pledge that the European Union would "be the guardian of multilateralism." November 7, 2019. President Macron, in an interview with the London-based magazine, The Economist, declared that NATO was "brain dead" and warned that European countries can no longer rely on the United States for defense. Europe, he said, stands on "the edge of a precipice" and needs to start thinking of itself strategically as a geopolitical power and regain "military sovereignty" or otherwise "we will no longer be in control of our destiny." Macron criticized U.S. President Donald J. Trump because he "doesn't share our idea of the European project." Chancellor Merkel said Macron "used drastic words — that is not my view of co-operation in NATO." November 26, 2019. France and Germany announced the "Conference on the Future of Europe," a two-year post-Brexit soul-searching exercise aimed at reforming the EU to make it "more united and sovereign." June 17, 2020. The European Council tasked the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, with drafting a written "Strategic Compass." The document should have three main purposes: 1) to formulate the EU's first common threat analysis; 2) to strengthen the EU's security and defense role; and 3) to offer political guidance for future military planning processes. The Strategic Compass, aimed at harmonizing the perception of threats and risks within the EU, is to be presented in November 2021, debated by EU leaders in December 2021, and approved in March 2022. December 3, 2020. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, in blog post, "Why European Strategic Autonomy Matters," wrote: "It is difficult to claim to be a 'political union' able to act as a 'global player' and as a 'geopolitical Commission' without being 'autonomous.'" He described "strategic autonomy" as a long-term process intended to ensure that Europeans "increasingly take charge of themselves." May 5, 2021. Fourteen EU countries — Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain — called for the creation of a so-called EU First Entry Force consisting of 5,000 troops with air, land and sea capabilities. August 29, 2021. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, said that the moment had come to establish an EU expeditionary force — a "First Entry Force" — to compensate for U.S. "disengagement" from international affairs. A senior EU diplomat, speaking to the Guardian newspaper, asked: "We have been here before — which leader is going to allow their nationals to be killed in the name of the EU? What problem is this reaction force meant to solve? Does Borrell seriously entertain the idea the EU would be able to step into the void the US left?" September 15, 2021. In her annual State of the Union speech delivered to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, von der Leyen urged greater military independence from the United States. "Europe can — and clearly should — be able and willing to do more on its own," she said. She called for a "European Defense Union" but admitted the "lack of political will" to "build the foundation for collective decision-making." October 2, 2021. European Council President Charles Michel, speaking at an award ceremony of the International Charlemagne Prize, declared that "2022 will be the year of European defense." October 5-6, 2021. At an EU Summit in Slovenia, EU member states were so divided on the issue of strategic autonomy that the topic was not even included in the summit's final declaration. To create the illusion of consensus, Michel issued an "oral conclusion" of the summit: "To become more effective and assertive on the international stage, the European Union needs to increase its capacity to act autonomously." A History of Failure The debate over building a European army has been going on since the end of World War 2. In 1950, France proposed creating a common army to protect Western Europe from the Soviet Union without having to rearm Germany. A treaty creating the so-called European Defense Community was signed in 1952, but it was never ratified by the French Parliament due to concerns that France would lose its sovereignty to a multilateral decision-making body. In the late 1990s, after the EU and its member states failed to prevent a decade of bloodletting in the Yugoslav Wars, and after the United States intervened, European leaders called for the creation of a European Rapid Reaction Force capable of acting in future crises. In 2007, after years of debate, the EU established two so-called EU battlegroups consisting of 1,500 troops each to respond to crises, but due to intra-European disputes over financing and deployment, they have never been used. The European Union is now calling for the battlegroups to be rebranded as a "First Entry Force" comprised of 5,000 troops. It remains unclear why EU leaders think the latter will achieve what the former could not. In any event, a force that small is nowhere near enough to give the EU "strategic autonomy" from the United States. Over the decades, the European quest for "strategic autonomy" has resulted in dozens of summits, declarations, concept papers, reports, institutions, terms and acronyms, including: Petersberg Declaration; St. Malo Declaration; Berlin Plus Agreement; Franco-German Brigade; German-Netherlands Corps; Belgian-Dutch Naval Cooperation Accord; European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP); Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP); Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO); European Capabilities Action Plan (ECAP); Headline Goals; EU Battlegroups; European Gendarmerie Force; European Rapid Operational Force (EUROFOR); European Maritime Force; Eurocorps; Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF); Entente frugale; European Defense Agency; European Security Strategy; European Intervention Initiative (EI2); EUFOR; European Command and Control (C2); European Union Military Committee (EUMC); European Union Military Staff (EUMS); Joint Support Coordination Cell (JSCC); Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC); Political and Security Committee (PSC); Politico-Military Group (PMG); European Defense Fund; Coordinated Annual Review on Defense (CARD); and the EU's ongoing "Strategic Compass" process, among many others. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, in a recent opinion article published by Politico, concluded that "illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end." She added: "Europeans will not be able to replace America's crucial role as a security provider. We have to acknowledge that, for the foreseeable future, we will remain dependent." Lack of Capabilities An important obstacle to building a European army is the reluctance of EU governments to invest in defense. At the 2014 Wales Summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, allies agreed to spend a minimum of 2% percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to defense spending. In 2020, only nine of NATO's 21 European members honored their pledges, according to data supplied by NATO. Germany — the biggest economy in the EU and the fourth-biggest in the world — spent only 1.53% of GDP on defense in 2020. That represents an increase of less than 0.5% of GDP since 2015. France, the EU's second-biggest economy, spent 2.01% of GDP on defense in 2020, an increase of only 0.3% of GDP since 2015. Italy, the EU's third-biggest economy, spent 1.41% of GDP on defense in 2020, while Spain, the EU's fourth-biggest economy, spent a mere 1.02% of GDP on defense in 2020, according to NATO data. The numbers show that defense spending is not a priority in most European countries. The German armed forces (the Bundeswehr) are in an especially sad state of disrepair. A damning report published by the German Parliament in January 2019 found that critical equipment was scarce and that readiness and recruitment were at all-time lows. "No matter where you look, there's dysfunction," said a high-ranking German officer stationed at Bundeswehr headquarters in Berlin. A May 2018 report by the German magazine Der Spiegel revealed that only four of Germany's 128 Eurofighter jets were combat ready. Germany's obligation to NATO requires it to have at least 80 combat-ready jets for crisis situations. At the end of 2017, not one of the German Air Force's 14 large transport planes was available for deployment due to a lack of maintenance, according to the German Parliament. In October 2017, a spokesman for the German Navy said that all six of Germany's submarines were in the dock for repairs. In February 2015, Germany's defense ministry admitted that its forces were so under-equipped that they had to use broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise in Norway. Much of the blame falls on German Chancellor Angela Merkel. During her 16 years in office, she has been content to free-ride on the U.S. defense umbrella. Also to blame is Ursula von der Leyen, who was German defense minister between 2014 and 2019, before she was promoted to lead the European Commission, and who now wants to build a European army. As German defense minister, von der Leyen was plagued by scandals and accused of cronyism, mismanagement and nepotism. EU affairs analyst Matthew Karnitschnig quipped: "With Merkel on her way out, fixing the Bundeswehr will likely be up to her successor. Until then, plans for a 'European Army' that includes Germany have about as much chance of getting off the ground as the German Air Force." France, which has just under 300,000 active-duty personnel, has the largest military in Europe. Still, it remains a regional power, not a global one. In September 2021, the RAND Corporation, in a major study — "A Strong Ally Stretched Thin: An Overview of France's Defense Capabilities from a Burdensharing Perspective" — concluded that the French military suffers many shortcomings that render as "limited" its capacity to sustain a high-end, conventional conflict. The French Army "faces a challenge with respect to readiness, owing to past budget cuts and austerity measures, a small number of weapon systems, and the burden of sustaining ongoing overseas operations," according to RAND. The French Air Force "suffers from limited capacity" and "severely lacks strategic airlift." The French Navy, which has only one aircraft carrier, like France's other services, "has issues with readiness, and munitions stocks reportedly are low," according to RAND. The report's takeaway is that the French military would require decades of preparation and massive budget increases to realistically form the basis for a European army. Poland, which is opposed to a European army because it would "weaken" the armies of NATO's member states, plans to double the size of its armed forces to 250,000 soldiers and 50,000 reserves. The expansion, announced on October 26, would make the Polish military the second-largest in Europe, ahead of that of the United Kingdom. In January 2020, Poland signed a contract worth $4.6 billion to purchase 32 F-35A fighter jets from the United States. In October 2018, Belgium signed a $4.5 billion deal to purchase 34 F-35A fighter jets from the United States. "The offer from the Americans was the best in all our seven evaluation criteria," Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput wrote on Twitter. "The decision is a setback for Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, who are behind the Eurofighter program, and also means the rejection of an informal French offer to sell Belgium the Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation," according to Reuters. This implies that in the future the Belgian and Polish militaries will be further integrated with the United States and NATO rather than with a hypothetical European army. Macron's Motives One of the most vocal champions of the idea of a European army is French President Emmanuel Macron. He must know that an independent EU military remains only a distant possibility, despite his describing the NATO alliance as "brain dead." As German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to retire, it appears that much of Macron's posturing on European "strategic autonomy" is part of a French nationalist campaign strategy aimed at presenting France as a great power that dominates the European Union. Macron seems to be trying to appeal to French voters while carving out a role for himself to replace Merkel as the new leader of Europe. Macron, who has yet to declare his candidacy, faces reelection in April 2022. Currently he is the clear first-round front-runner at 24%, according to recent polls cited by Politico. His main rivals are two nationalists: Marine Le Pen of the right-leaning National Rally party, and Éric Zemmour, a French essayist and media personality. Macron has been calling for a European army for several years, but his professed aspiration for "strategic autonomy" shifted into high gear after U.S. President Donald J. Trump threatened to withdraw from NATO if European member states refused to pay their fair share. Trump's warning, which appears to have been more of a bluff than a real threat, prompted many European countries to increase their defense spending, even if most are still below the agreed-upon threshold of 2% of GDP. Macron subsequently was dealt a humiliating blow by the Biden administration. In September 2021, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States announced a new tripartite strategic alliance aimed at countering China's growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. Notably, the so-called AUKUS agreement does not include any member state of the European Union, which was completely left in the dark about the new alliance. AUKUS was announced on September 15, just hours before the EU unveiled its much-hyped "Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific." The EU had been hoping that its new plan would highlight its "strategic autonomy" from the United States in the Pacific region. Instead, the EU was eclipsed by AUKUS and exposed as a paper tiger. Adding insult to injury, Australia announced that as part of the AUKUS deal, it had cancelled a multi-billion-dollar submarine contract — once dubbed the "contract of the century" — under which France was to supply Australia with 12 diesel-powered submarines. Instead, Australia said that it would be buying nuclear submarines from the United States. France has reacted angrily to its change of fortunes. French Foreign Minister called AUKUS a "stab in the back." The French Ambassador to Australia, Jean-Pierre Thébault, said that Australia's decision to cancel the submarine deal was akin to "treason." The French government claimed that the Australian decision caught Paris by surprise, but the subsequent leak of a text message between Macron and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed that Macron knew well in advance that Australia was planning to cancel the contract. The AUKUS humiliation set Macron into a rage and appears to be fueling his increasingly frenzied calls for "strategic autonomy." An advisor to Macron said: "We could turn a blind eye and act as if nothing had happened. We think that would be a mistake for all Europeans. There really is an opportunity here." So far, however, only Italy and Greece have come out in support of Macron's calls for an autonomous EU military force. In September 2021, France and Greece signed a new defense and security agreement in which France pledged to provide military assistance to Greece in the event of an attack by a third country, even if such a country, Turkey, is a member of NATO. Macron said the deal, worth $3 billion to France, was a "milestone" in European defense because it strengthened the EU's "strategic autonomy." Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis described the Greek-French defense deal "a first step towards the strategic autonomy of Europe." But some in the EU were skeptical of the deal and are concerned it will only serve to inflame tensions between Greece and Turkey. "It is a bit bizarre to say the pact contributes to European sovereignty," an unnamed EU diplomat told Politico. "By all accounts, this is a traditional 19th-century defense pact between two European powers." Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, in an interview with the Danish newspaper Politiken, said that Macron was escalating his dispute with the United States way out of proportion: "I think it is important to say, in relation to the discussions that are taking place right now in Europe, that I experience U.S. President Joe Biden as being very loyal to the transatlantic alliance. "I think in general that one should refrain from lifting some specific challenges, which will always exist between allies, up to a level where they are not supposed to be. I really, really want to warn against this." Meanwhile, the British newspaper, The Telegraph, on September 22 reported that Macron had offered to put France's seat on the United Nations Security Council "at the disposal of the European Union" if its governments back Macron's plans for an EU army. The French Presidency later denied the report: "Contrary to the assertions reported this morning, no, France has not offered to leave its seat on the United Nations Security Council. It belongs to France, and it will remain so." France assumes the EU's six-month rotating presidency on January 1, 2022. During that time, Macron is sure to continue pushing for "strategic autonomy" from the United States, including at a "Summit on European Defense" scheduled for the first half of 2022. Select Commentary Analysts James Jay Carafano and Stefano Graziosi, in an essay, "Europe's Strategic Autonomy Fallacy," wrote: "Strategic autonomy might sound empowering, but it remains little more than a distraction and irritant to the transatlantic community and the real issues. European nations need more national defense capacity. Europe needs a strong, innovative, and productive defense industrial base, and Europeans need to take collective security and its role in a Europe whole, free, prosperous and at peace seriously. These problems can be better addressed by building the militaries the Europeans need than the fantasies Brussels wants." A senior Tory MP, Bob Seely, warned: "If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the U.S. and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s. An EU Army will amount to European de-arming." EU affairs expert Dave Keating noted: "The problem is that while leaders like Macron have tasked the Commission to make the EU more geopolitically strong, he and others still refuse to give the Commission the tools that would make it strong. For the last decade, the European Council has consistently opposed measures that would strengthen the Commission, because it would mean diluting the power of national governments.... "EU national leaders are all well aware of the need for Europe to speak with one voice if it ever wants to be taken seriously on the global stage. But their natural instinct to preserve their own power gets in the way of achieving this goal." In an interview with France 24, the French state-owned television network, Richard Whitman, a professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, said: "It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defense would bring the same security as NATO's U.S.-backed defense arrangement. Nobody in the EU has ever been able to come up with a decision-making arrangement that takes national divides into account while facilitating expeditious decision-making; it's either the lowest common denominator or grand rhetorical comments tied to absurd propositions. Military action is politically defensible only when taken by national leaders and parliaments — and it's difficult to see that being worked around." Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Walter Russell Mead noted that the entire premise of European leaders that the United States was "disengaging" from international affairs was based on a "significant misunderstanding." He wrote: "Many Europeans, including some seasoned observers of the trans-Atlantic scene, believe that if the U.S. sees the Indo-Pacific as the primary focus of its foreign policy, it must be writing off the rest of the world. These observers look at the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and imagine that this is the kind of headlong retreat they can expect from America in Europe and the Middle East. "This is unlikely. American interests are global, and American presidents, like it or not, can't confine their attention to a single world theater." Polish analyst Łukasz Maślanka tweeted that the French arguments for "strategic autonomy" from the United States are lacking in substance: "French reports from the European Council summit in Slovenia assess Macron's chances of convincing Europeans to EU defense. A critical tone prevails against the reluctant Balts and Poles who still stubbornly believe in NATO despite the U.S.'s allegedly inevitable withdrawal from Europe. "However, it is French observers who lack lucidity: the U.S. presence in Central Europe has been growing, not diminishing in recent years. It is many times greater not only than what France currently delivers, but what it could ever deliver. "Finally, if the U.S. really did intend to turn its back on Europe, the dismay in Paris would be no less than in Warsaw. It's harmful to drive something that can finally become a self-fulfilling prophecy." The London-based magazine, The Economist, wrote that Europeans feel "unnerved" by Macron's push for "strategic autonomy" from the United States: "Most of them, especially those near the Russian border, are happy to rely on America's security guarantee. Few share France's willingness to splurge on defense, or its expeditionary military culture. (Germany, especially, does not.) Nobody agrees what 'strategic autonomy' actually means. Low odds, however, seldom deter Mr. Macron. After the latest snub, the unhugged French president will doubtless conclude that he has little choice but to keep trying." John Krieger, writing for the UK-based The Spectator, noted: "Given that Emmanuel Macron has nailed his colors to the mast on driving European integration deeper, a refusal by European member states to follow suit would be embarrassing and not a good omen for his forthcoming presidency of the EU in January." Kristjan Mäe, head of the Estonian defense ministry's NATO and EU department said: "The EU is not a credible substitute for what NATO represents. You will not see any appetite for the European army amongst member states." Analyst Brooks Tigner, writing for the Atlantic Council, concluded: "Even if national capitals wanted to lunge for a common army, there are so many technical, legal, and administrative differences between their militaries that it would take decades to produce a smoothly functioning force. "Those differences boil down to some of the most mundane things such as soldiers' rights. Strong unions representing military personnel in rich Scandinavian countries, for instance, ensure that their soldiers enjoy levels of physical comfort, hardship pay, and access to medical care that their equivalents in poorer southern EU countries can only dream of for an exercise, much less an actual operation. Whose union rules would govern a common European army? And how would that be financed? "The differences are even sharper at the strategic level when it comes to intelligence. As a whole, the EU countries (and those of NATO as well) do not trust one another with sensitive information: it is parceled out very parsimoniously from one capital to a few trusted others. It would never work for a truly common army. Changing that alone via twenty-five-way trust for intelligence-sharing within PESCO would take years and years. Some deem it impossible. "Conclusion: any talk of creating a fully-fledged common army, even within the next generation, is just that: jaw-jaw and not real-real." Tyler Durden Sat, 11/13/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 13th, 2021

2 Top Tech Stocks to Buy on the Dip for Long-Term Growth

Investors with outlooks beyond 2021 might want to take this time to add strong stocks. Today, we dive into two tech-focused stocks trading at substantial discounts to their highs that boast strong, longer-term growth outlooks... All three major U.S. indexes dropped for the second day in a row Wednesday, with the Nasdaq down 1.7% and the S&P 500 0.82% lower at the closing bell. Headlines pointed to 30-year high inflation that could force the Fed to raise interest rates sooner than projected.Rising prices and supply chain bottlenecks are clearly worrisome. But they have been here for months and they didn’t prevent Wall Street from pushing stocks to new records just a few days ago.In fact, the Nasdaq had climbed nearly 12% since early October until its recent pullback, with investors looking to stronger-than-projected corporate earnings, solid margins, historically low interest rates, as well as signs of consumer positivity entering the busy part of the crucial holiday shopping season.Therefore, an alternative reading of the pullback is simply that Wall Street decided it was time to take profits and a breather—as it regularly does—after a month-long rally sent many index-tracking ETFs into overbought territory.The Nasdaq 100-tracking QQQ ETF began its climb out of oversold RSI territory (30 or under) in early October and it popped to overbought levels (70 or higher) by early November. In fact, it climbed all the way to 78 last week, which marked its highest level since early September 2020.The quick drop pushed QQQ all the way to 59, or closer to neutral levels in just a few sessions. Meanwhile, S&P 500-tracking ETFs including SPY made similar moves, though they haven’t come down as quickly.There could clearly be more near-term selling and the current economic headwinds might be with us for a while longer. Still, rising prices have yet to appear in the S&P 500 margins outlook for FY22 or FY23. And even when the Fed starts to finally raise interest rates, they will likely continue to favor stocks for the foreseeable future.Investors with outlooks beyond 2021 might want to take this time to add strong stocks. Today, we dive into three tech-focused stocks trading at substantial discounts to their highs that boast strong, longer-term growth outlooks…Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSnap Inc. SNAPSnap stock tumbled over 20% in the blink of an eye after it warned investors on its Q3 earnings call on October 21 that changes to Apple’s privacy policies are making it more difficult for its advertisers to “measure and manage their ad campaigns for iOS.” The news sent waves through the broader digital ad world, including Facebook, which has been publicly fighting with the iPhone maker since its announcement last year.Snap and its Snapchat app are fueled by digital advertising and the firm is actively working on new ways to help its clients better track consumer engagement and more, including additional first-party tools. Wall Street had clearly discounted the impact Apple’s new opt-in-focused app tracking would have on the mobile-based advertising market.Snap’s user base is still growing within key demographics that are hard to reach anywhere but their smartphones. This backdrop provides Snap with plenty of long-term growth runway because advertisers have to try to reach younger consumers as they disconnect almost completely from legacy media. And the change to Apple’s policies, which impact all iOS apps, doesn’t mean advertisers and marketers are going to simply stop spending.Snap grew its daily active users by 23% to 306 million last quarter and it boasts that it reaches “more than 500 million people, including more than 75% of 13- to 34-year-old in the United States, Canada, France, the U.K., Australia and the Netherlands.” Snap has attracted these highly sought-after consumers by continually enhancing its social media app that became famous for disappearing photos and videos.Snapchat is now full of video content and shows from social media stars, big-time Hollywood celebrities, and brands like the NFL and countless others. Its Discover page has gained traction and it’s been in the booming mobile gaming market for over two years. The company also constantly releases various augmented reality offerings and it launched its Spotlight feature late last year that aims to challenge TikTokImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSnap’s Q3 revenue still climbed 57% to over $1 billion and its adjusted earnings soared to easily top our estimates. Zacks estimates currently call for its FY21 revenue to surge 62% to reach $4.1 billion, with FY22 projected to climb another 43% to $5.8 billion. This year will represent its best growth as a public company and follow three straight years of between 43% to 46% top-line expansion. Snap is also projected to swing from an adjusted loss of -$0.06 a share to +0.35 this year and then jump 55% higher in FY22.  The digital entrainment app’s revenue and EPS outlook remains impressive. That said, its consensus FY22 EPS figure tumbled from $0.80 a share before its release to its current $0.54 level. The change in its 2022 earnings outlook is striking, but Wall Street already hammered the stock and Snap has consistently destroyed our bottom-line outlooks.Snap currently lands a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and the 23 brokerages recommendations Zacks has remain as bullish as they were three months ago, with 18 “Strong Buys” and two more “Buys.”Snap shares have tumbled nearly 40% from their September records and 30% since its Q3 release to close regular trading Wednesday at $52.88 a share. The move sent it well below its 50-day and 200-day moving averages and it currently hovers right at oversold RSI levels.Despite the tumble, Snap is up 40% in the last year and 265% in the last two years. The recent fall has the stock trading at year-long lows in terms of valuation at 15.9X forward sales. And its current Zacks consensus price target of $77.26 a share represents 46% upside to its current levels.Some may want to stay away from Snap until it shows signs of a comeback or simply not touch it at all. But it continues to join together the two seemingly unstoppable trends of digital advertising and overall smartphone addiction, even though Apple has made it harder to track users.Roku, Inc. ROKUWall Street continued to sell Roku following its Q3 earnings release on November 3, as part of a longer and larger decline from its summer records. The streaming TV firm provided lower than projected revenue guidance for the current holiday quarter and posted slower account growth in Q3. Roku management pointed to ongoing supply chain setbacks that are disrupting connected TV sales in the U.S.Roku pulled in 1.3 million new active accounts—Wall Street was calling for around 1.7— last quarter to lift its total active users to 56.4 million. And executives expect these setbacks to remain into 2022, after “overall U.S. TV sales in Q3 fell below pre-Covid 2019 levels.” Near-term setbacks aside, it posted blowout quarterly results, with adjusted earnings up from $0.09 a year ago to $0.48 a share to crush our estimate by 700%. Meanwhile, its revenue climbed 51%.The firm is also due for a comeback considering that its player space, which includes its streaming devices and smart TV OS, accounts for far less of its business these days. Roku now makes most of its money from its booming digital ad unit that enables companies to buy targeted ads to promote their streaming movies, shows, platforms, or whatever else they’re selling. In fact, its ad-heavy platform revenue soared 82% in Q3 to account for over 85% of sales, while its player segment fell 26%.Roku ramped up spending to roll out more content, including original programming on its own ad-based Roku Channel that allows users to watch free streaming movies and TV shows. Plus, it’s expanding its international reach outside of the U.S. and Canada. Perhaps most importantly, ad dollars are simply pouring into streaming, and Roku is not being impacted by Apple’s privacy moves.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks estimates call for Roku’s FY21 revenue to surge 58% to $2.80 billion. Sales are then set to climb another 38% in 2022 to extend its streak of between roughly 40% and 60% revenue growth to five years. Plus, it’s projected to swing from an adjusted loss of -$0.14 a share to +$1.56 a share this year. Its consensus FY22 estimate has slipped from $1.77 a share prior to its release to +$1.58 per share, as it faces a margin crunch in players and other headwinds.Roku has consistently blown away our EPS estimates and it lands a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at the moment. Despite the post-earnings drop and the broader pullback from its highs, Wall Street remains extremely bullish on the stock, with 17 of the 20 brokerage recommendations Zacks has at “Strong Buys.”Roku shares have fallen over 40% since early August, including a 13% slide since its Nov. 3 release. The drop has the stock right at oversold RSI levels (30 or under) at 31. And it’s now up only 18% in the last 12 months to lag its industry. Yet, it has still soared 560% in the last three years and it's been on extended downward and sideways runs before.Like its peer on this list, Roku is trading at year-long lows at 10.0X forward sales. And its $429 a share Zacks consensus price target marks 55% upside to its current levels. All that said, investors with long-term horizons might want to take a chance on the pure-play streaming stock that stands to benefit from the growth of the entire connected-TV space. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential: Last years top IPOs surged as much as 299% within the first two months. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year could be even more lucrative. See Zacks’ Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Snap Inc. (SNAP): Free Stock Analysis Report Roku, Inc. (ROKU): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 11th, 2021

America"s Woke Colleges Can"t Be Salvaged. We Need New Ones

America's Woke Colleges Can't Be Salvaged. We Need New Ones Authored by Niall Ferguson, op-ed via Bloomberg.com, I'm Helping to Start a New College Because Higher Ed Is Broken If you enjoyed Netflix’s “The Chair” - a lighthearted depiction of a crisis-prone English Department at an imaginary Ivy League college - you are clearly not in higher education. Something is rotten in the state of academia and it’s no laughing matter.   Grade inflation. Spiraling costs. Corruption and racial discrimination in admissions. Junk content (“Grievance Studies”) published in risible journals. Above all, the erosion of academic freedom and the ascendancy of an illiberal “successor ideology” known to its critics as wokeism, which manifests itself as career-ending “cancelations” and speaker disinvitations, but less visibly generates a pervasive climate of anxiety and self-censorship. Some say that universities are so rotten that the institution itself should simply be abandoned and replaced with an online alternative — a metaversity perhaps, to go with the metaverse. I disagree. I have long been skeptical that online courses and content can be anything other than supplementary to the traditional real-time, real-space college experience. However, having taught at several, including Cambridge, Oxford, New York University and Harvard, I have also come to doubt that the existing universities can be swiftly cured of their current pathologies. That is why this week I am one of a group of people announcing the founding of a new university — indeed, a new kind of university: the University of Austin. The founders of this university are a diverse group in terms of our backgrounds and our experiences (though doubtless not diverse enough for some). Our political views also differ. To quote our founding president, Pano Kanelos, “What unites us is a common dismay at the state of modern academia and a belief that it is time for something new.” There is no need to imagine a mythical golden age. The original universities were religious institutions, as committed to orthodoxy and as hostile to heresy as today’s woke seminaries. In the wake of the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution, scholars gradually became less like clergymen; but until the 20th century their students were essentially gentlemen, who owed their admission as much to inherited status as to intellectual ability. Many of the great intellectual breakthroughs of the Enlightenment were achieved off campus. Only from the 19th century did academia become truly secularized and professional, with the decline of religious requirements, the rise to pre-eminence of the natural sciences, the spread of the German system of academic promotion (from doctorate up in steps to full professorship), and the proliferation of scholarly journals based on peer-review. Yet the same German universities that led the world in so many fields around 1900 became enthusiastic helpmeets of the Nazis in ways that revealed the perils of an amoral scholarship decoupled from Christian ethics and too closely connected to the state. Even the institutions with the most sustained records of excellence — Oxford and Cambridge — have had prolonged periods of torpor. F.M. Cornford could mock the inherent conservatism of Oxbridge politics in his “Microcosmographia Academica” in 1908. When Malcolm Bradbury wrote his satirical novel “The History Man” in 1975, universities everywhere were still predominantly white, male and middle class. The process whereby a college education became more widely available — to women, to the working class, to racial minorities — has been slow and remains incomplete. Meanwhile, there have been complaints about the adverse consequences of this process in American universities since Allan Bloom’s “Closing of the American Mind,” which was published back in 1987. Nevertheless, much had been achieved by the later years of the 20th century. There was a general agreement that the central purpose of a university was the pursuit of truth — think only of Harvard’s stark Latin motto: Veritas — and that the crucial means to that end were freedom of conscience, thought, speech and publication. There was supposed to be no discrimination in admissions, examinations and academic appointments, other than on the basis of intellectual merit. That was crucial to enabling Jews and other minority groups to take full advantage of their intellectual potential. It was understood that professors were awarded tenure principally to preserve academic freedom so that they might “dare to think” — Immanuel Kant’s other great imperative, Sapere aude! — without fear of being fired. The benefits of all this defy quantification. A huge proportion of the major scientific breakthroughs of the past century were made by men and women whose academic jobs gave them economic security and a supportive community in which to do their best work. Would the democracies have won the world wars and the Cold War without the contributions of their universities? It seems doubtful. Think only of Bletchley Park and the Manhattan Project. Sure, the Ivy League’s best and brightest also gave us the Vietnam War. But remember, too, that there were more university-based computers on the Arpanet — the original internet — than any other kind. No Stanford, no Silicon Valley. Those of us who were fortunate to be undergraduates in the 1980s remember the exhilarating combination of intellectual freedom and ambition to which all this gave rise. Yet, in the past decade, exhilaration has been replaced by suffocation, to the point that I feel genuinely sorry for today’s undergraduates. In Heterodox Academy’s 2020 Campus Expression Survey, 62% of sampled college students agreed that the climate on their campus prevented them from saying things they believed, up from 55% in 2019, while 41% were reluctant to discuss politics in a classroom, up from 32% in 2019. Some 60% of students said they were reluctant to speak up in class because they were concerned other students would criticize their views as being offensive. Such anxieties are far from groundless. According to a nationwide survey of a thousand undergraduates by the Challey Institute for Global Innovation, 85% of self-described liberal students would report a professor to the university if the professor said something that they found offensive, while 76% would report another student. In a study published in March entitled “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination and Self-Censorship,” the Centre for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology showed that academic freedom is under attack not only in the U.S., but also in the U.K. and Canada. Three-quarters of conservative American and British academics in the social sciences and humanities said there is a hostile climate for their beliefs in their department. This compares to just 5% among left-wing faculty in the U.S. Again, one can understand why. Younger academics are especially likely to support dismissal of a colleague who has made some heretical utterance, with 40% of American social sciences and humanities professors under the age of 40 supporting at least one of four hypothetical dismissal campaigns. Ph.D. students are even more intolerant than other young academics: 55% of American Ph.D. students under 40 supported at least one hypothetical dismissal campaign. “High-profile deplatformings and dismissals” get the attention, the authors of the report conclude, but “far more pervasive threats to academic freedom stem … from fears of a) cancellation — threats to one’s job or reputation — and b) political discrimination.” These are not unfounded fears. The number of scholars targeted for their speech has risen dramatically since 2015, according to research by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. FIRE has logged 426 incidents since 2015. Just under three-quarters of them resulted in some kind of sanction — including an investigation alone or voluntary resignation — against the scholar. Such efforts to restrict free speech usually originate with “progressive” student groups, but often find support from left-leaning faculty members and are encouraged by college administrators, who tend (as Sam Abrams of Sarah Lawrence College demonstrated, and as his own subsequent experience confirmed) to be even further to the left than professors. There are also attacks on academic freedom from the right, which FIRE challenges. With a growing number of Republicans calling for bans on critical race theory, I fear the illiberalism is metastasizing. Trigger warnings. Safe spaces. Preferred pronouns. Checked privileges. Microaggressions. Antiracism. All these terms are routinely deployed on campuses throughout the English-speaking world as part of a sustained campaign to impose ideological conformity in the name of diversity. As a result, it often feels as if there is less free speech and free thought in the American university today than in almost any other institution in the U.S. To the historian’s eyes, there is something unpleasantly familiar about the patterns of behavior that have, in a matter of a few years, become normal on many campuses. The chanting of slogans. The brandishing of placards. The letters informing on colleagues and classmates. The denunciations of professors to the authorities. The lack of due process. The cancelations. The rehabilitations following abject confessions. The officiousness of unaccountable bureaucrats. Any student of the totalitarian regimes of the mid-20th century recognizes all this with astonishment. It turns out that it can happen in a free society, too, if institutions and individuals who claim to be liberal choose to behave in an entirely illiberal fashion.  How to explain this rapid descent of academia from a culture of free inquiry and debate into a kind of Totalitarianism Lite? In their book “The Coddling of the American Mind,” the social psychiatrist Jonathan Haidt and FIRE president Greg Lukianoff lay much of the blame on a culture of parenting and early education that encourages students to believe that “what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker,” that you should “always trust your feelings,” and that “life is a battle between good people and evil people.” However, I believe the core problems are the pathological structures and perverse incentives of the modern university. It is not the case, as many Americans believe, that U.S. colleges have always been left-leaning and that today’s are no different from those of the 1960s. As Stanley Rothman, Robert Lichter and Neil Nevitte showed in a 2005 study, while 39% of the professoriate on average described themselves as left-wing in 1984, the proportion had risen to 72% by 1999, by which time being a conservative had become a measurable career handicap. Mitchell Langbert’s analysis of tenure-track, Ph.D.-holding professors from 51 of the 66 top-ranked liberal arts colleges in 2017 found that those with known political affiliations were overwhelmingly Democratic. Nearly two-fifths of the colleges in Langbert’s sample were Republican-free. The mean Democratic-to-Republican ratio across the sample was 10.4:1, or 12.7:1 if the two military academies, West Point and Annapolis, were excluded. For history departments, the ratio was 17.4:1; for English 48.3:1. No ratio is calculable for anthropology, as the number of Republican professors was zero. In 2020, Langbert and Sean Stevens  found an even bigger skew to the left when they considered political donations to parties by professors. The ratio of dollars contributed to Democratic versus Republican candidates and committees was 21:1. Commentators who argue that the pendulum will magically swing back betray a lack of understanding about the academic hiring and promotion process. With political discrimination against conservatives now overt, most departments are likely to move further to the left over time as the last remaining conservatives retire. Yet the leftward march of the professoriate is only one of the structural flaws that characterize today’s university. If you think the faculty are politically skewed, take a look at academic administrators. A shocking insight into the way some activist-administrators seek to bully students into ideological conformity was provided by Trent Colbert, a Yale Law School student who invited his fellow members of the Native American Law Students Association to “a Constitution Day bash” at the “NALSA Trap House,” a term that used to mean a crack den but now is just a mildly risque way of describing a party. Diversity director Yaseen Eldik’s thinly veiled threats to Colbert if he didn’t sign a groveling apology — “I worry about this leaning over your reputation as a person, not just here but when you leave” — were too much even for an editorial board member at the Washington Post. Democracy may die in darkness; academic freedom dies in wokeness. Moreover, the sheer number of the administrators is a problem in itself. In 1970, U.S. colleges employed more professors than administrators. Between then and 2010, however, the number of full-time professors or “full-time equivalents” increased by slightly more than 50%, in line with student enrollments. The number of administrators and administrative staffers rose by 85% and 240%, respectively. The ever-growing army of coordinators for Title IX — the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination — is one manifestation of the bureaucratic bloat, which since the 1990s has helped propel tuition costs far ahead of inflation. The third structural problem is weak leadership. Time and again — most recently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where a lecture by the University of Chicago geophysicist Dorian Abbot was abruptly canceled because he had been critical of affirmative action — academic leaders have yielded to noisy mobs baying for disinvitations. There are notable exceptions, such as Robert Zimmer, who as president of the University of Chicago between 2006 and 2021 made a stand for academic freedom. But the number of other colleges to have adopted the Chicago statement, a pledge crafted by the school’s Committee on Freedom of Expression, remains just 55, out of nearly 2,500 institutions offering four-year undergraduate programs. Finally, there is the problem of the donors — most but not all alumni — and trustees, many of whom have been astonishingly oblivious of the problems described above. In 2019, donors gave nearly $50 billion to colleges. Eight donors gave $100 million or more. People generally do not make that kind of money without being hard-nosed in their business dealings. Yet the capitalist class appears strangely unaware of the anticapitalist uses to which its money is often put. A phenomenon I find deeply puzzling is the lack of due diligence associated with much academic philanthropy, despite numerous cases when the intentions of benefactors have deliberately been subverted. All this would be bad enough if it meant only that U.S. universities are no longer conducive to free inquiry and promotion based on merit, without which scientific advances are certain to be impeded and educational standards to fall. But academic illiberalism is not confined to college campuses. As students collect their degrees and enter the workforce, they inevitably carry some of what they have learned at college with them. Multiple manifestations of “woke” thinking and behavior at newspapers, publishing houses, technology companies and other corporations have confirmed Andrew Sullivan’s 2018 observation, “We all live on campus now.” When a problem becomes this widespread, the traditional American solution is to create new institutions. As we have seen, universities are relatively long-lived compared to companies and even nations. But not all great universities are ancient. Of today’s top 25 universities, according to the global rankings compiled by the London Times Higher Education Supplement, four were founded in the 20th century. Fully 14 were 19th-century foundations; four date back to the 18th century. Only Oxford (which can trace its origins to 1096) and Cambridge (1209) are medieval in origin.  As might be inferred from the large number (10) of today’s leading institutions founded in the U.S. between 1855 and 1900, new universities tend to be established when wealthy elites grow impatient with the existing ones and see no way of reforming them. The puzzle is why, despite the resurgence of inequality in the U.S. since the 1990s and the more or less simultaneous decline in standards at the existing universities, so few new ones have been created. Only a handful have been set up this century: University of California Merced (2005), Ave Maria University (2003) and Soka University of America (2001). Just five U.S. colleges founded in the past 50 years make it into the Times’s top 25 “Young Universities”: University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded 1969), University of Texas at Dallas (1969), George Mason (1957), University of Texas at San Antonio (1969) and Florida International (1969). Each is (or originated as) part of a state university system. In short, the beneficiaries of today’s gilded age seem altogether more tolerant of academic degeneration than their 19th-century predecessors. For whatever reason, many prefer to give their money to established universities, no matter how antithetical those institutions’ values have become to their own. This makes no sense, even if the principal motivation is to buy Ivy League spots for their offspring. Why would you pay to have your children indoctrinated with ideas you despise? So what should the university of the future look like? Clearly, there is no point in simply copying and pasting Harvard, Yale or Princeton and expecting a different outcome. Even if such an approach were affordable, it would be the wrong one. To begin with, a new institution can’t compete with the established brands when it comes to undergraduate programs. Young Americans and their counterparts elsewhere go to college as much for the high-prestige credentials and the peer networks as for the education. That’s why a new university can’t start by offering bachelors’ degrees. The University of Austin will therefore begin modestly, with a summer school offering “Forbidden Courses” — the kind of content and instruction no longer available at most established campuses, addressing the kind of provocative questions that often lead to cancelation or self-censorship. The next step will be a one-year master’s program in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. The primary purpose of conventional business programs is to credential large cohorts of passive learners with a lowest-common-denominator curriculum. The University of Austin’s program will aim to teach students classical principles of the market economy and then embed them in a network of successful technologists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and public-policy reformers. It will offer an introduction to the world of American technology similar to the introduction to the Chinese economy offered by the highly successful Schwarzman Scholars program, combining both academic pedagogy and practical experience. Later, there will be parallel programs in Politics and Applied History and in Education and Public Service. Only after these initial programs have been set up will we start offering a four-year liberal arts degree.  The first two years of study will consist of an intensive liberal arts curriculum, including the study of philosophy, literature, history, politics, economics, mathematics, the sciences and the fine arts. There will be Oxbridge-style instruction, with small tutorials and college-wide lectures, providing an in-depth and personalized learning experience with interdisciplinary breadth.   After two years of a comprehensive and rigorous liberal arts education, undergraduates will join one of four academic centers as junior fellows, pursuing disciplinary coursework, conducting hands-on research and gaining experience as interns. The initial centers will include one for entrepreneurship and leadership, one for politics and applied history, one for education and public service, and one for technology, engineering and mathematics. To those who argue that we could more easily do all this with some kind of internet platform, I would say that online learning is no substitute for learning on a campus, for reasons rooted in evolutionary psychology. We simply learn much better in relatively small groups in real time and space, not least because a good deal of what students learn in a well-functioning university comes from their informal discussions in the absence of professors. This explains the persistence of the university over a millennium, despite successive revolutions in information technology. To those who wonder how a new institution can avoid being captured by the illiberal-liberal establishment that now dominates higher education, I would answer that the governance structure of the institution will be designed to prevent that. The Chicago principles of freedom of expression will be enshrined in the founding charter. The founders will form a corporation or board of trustees that will be sovereign. Not only will the corporation appoint the president of the college; it will also have a final say over all appointments or promotions. There will be one unusual obligation on faculty members, besides the standard ones to teach and carry out research: to conduct the admissions process by means of an examination that they will set and grade. Admission will be based primarily on performance on the exam. That will avoid the corrupt rackets run by so many elite admissions offices today. As for our choice of location in the Texas capital, I would say that proximity to a highly regarded public university — albeit one where even the idea of establishing an institute to study liberty is now controversial — will ensure that the University of Austin has to compete at the highest level from the outset. My fellow founders and I have no illusions about the difficulty of the task ahead. We fully expect condemnation from the educational establishment and its media apologists. We shall regard all such attacks as vindication — the flak will be a sign that we are above the target. In our minds, there can be no more urgent task for a society than to ensure the health of its system of higher education. The American system today is broken in ways that pose a profound threat to the future strength and stability of the U.S. It is time to start fixing it. But the opportunity to do so in the classic American way — by creating something new, actually building rather than “building back” — is an inspiring and exciting one. To quote Haidt and Lukianoff: “A school that makes freedom of inquiry an essential part of its identity, selects students who show special promise as seekers of truth, orients and prepares those students for productive disagreement … would be inspiring to join, a joy to attend, and a blessing to society.” That is not the kind of institution satirized in “The Chair.” It is precisely the kind of institution we need today. *  *  * Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was previously a professor of history at Harvard, New York University and Oxford. He is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm. His latest book is "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe." Tyler Durden Wed, 11/10/2021 - 22:05.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 10th, 2021

50 unique subscription boxes and services that keep on giving month after month

The best subscription services provide unique discoveries and make life easier. We rounded up 50 subscriptions to gift to friends and family. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Earthlove delivers eco-conscious books and sustainably-sourced, ethically-made artisanal products. Earthlove There's a subscription for every interest you can think of, from books to fashion to pets. You don't even need to wrap them yourself, since they're sent directly to your recipient. We discovered 50 of the best subscription boxes, from flavored water to stationary. Although you typically order them for yourself, subscription boxes are also an excellent gift choice because there's one for pretty much every interest and hobby you can think of. It's easy to purchase online and send, too - no pesky gift-wrapping necessary. The best subscription services provide unique discovery opportunities, curate high-quality brands, and automate everyday routines to make life easier. But if you're worried about choosing the right subscription, most sites offer gift cards. Then, they can apply it towards a plan of their choice and personalize the subscription to their own wants and needs. So, even if the actual subscription box doesn't ship in time for the occasion (though no one needs an occasion to celebrate these days), your recipient will still receive notification that it's on its way, so they know you didn't forget about them. Check out 50 great subscription gifts below: Murray's Cheese: an assortment of gourmet cheese to try Murray's cheese Classic Cheese of the Month Club, from $63Whether you're a certified cheese lover or a newcomer, this gourmet collection fits any cheese preference. This cheese subscription gift provides up to four delectable cheese options to snack on each month. Calm: a sleep and meditation app Calm Calm Subscription, from $69.99Help them to unwind by gifting a subscription to Calm, a soothing solution to their stress. Calm is known for helping its app user maintain mindfulness, achieve better sleep, and reduce anxiety. The Criterion Channel: A streaming service for classic and contemporary films the criterion channel The Criterion Channel subscription, $10.99/monthThe Criterion Channel offers a refreshing selection of films to discover, even for the cinephile who believes they've seen everything. The streaming service features a diverse library of hidden gems from classics, independent films, to international discoveries. Scentbird: a monthly perfume and cologne subscription box Scentbird Gift a Scentbird subscription, from $44/3-monthsLet them unwrap the gift they really want – infinite new designer scents and none of the smelly sample strips. They can avoid the commitment to just one bottle and instead find their signature smell. Each month they will get a 30-day supply of the fragrance they want.  Menlo Club: a wardrobe revamp for the person who doesn't have time to shop Menlo Club Give a Menlo Club membership, $153/3-monthsMenlo Club is an affordable men's clothing subscription that will supplement their existing wardrobe with fresh pieces. The membership gives them the opportunity to take a style quiz and receive two to three items from Menlo Club's brands based on their personal style. Senior reporter Amir Ismael tested it out and found it's the easiest way to dress nicely without overspending or going to the store.Read our full Menlo review here. My Garden Box: bonsai and terrariums that satisfy green thumbs My Garden Box My Garden Box, from $35.50/month plus $12.99 shippingTurn their home into their own personal plant nursery with this monthly gardening and crafting package. Each month, they'll get everything from a planter, soil, and living plants, plus gardening tips. Loot Crate: a curated bundle of fan collectibles Loot Crate Loot Crate, from $9.99/monthWhether they are a gamer, anime fan, or pop culture aficionado, there's an exclusive crate for them. Each box is filled with multiple fan collectibles and apparel. Find the box that best aligns with your giftee's interests and get it delivered directly to their door.  Curlbox: products for those with curly hair Curlbox Gift a Curlbox subscription, $25/month Curlbox is the perfect gift for your curly haired family member or friend, with monthly boxes that share four or more hair product samples. It's a first come, first served system, but they could receive products from notable brands like Flawless by Gabrielle Union or Carol's Daughter. Rowan: hypoallergenic earrings for tweens Rowan Gift a Rowan subscription, $25/monthWhile this subscription box is geared towards tweens, the gold vermeil and sterling silver options can really appeal to just about any earring lover. The great thing about this subscription is that the earrings are all hypoallergenic in case the receiver has sensitive ears. Mindfulness cards, stickers, and sometimes surprise accessories also come in the box. Cloth & Paper: stationary and planners for the organization enthusiast Cloth and Paper Gift a Cloth & Paper subscription, $18-$240/1 month-6 monthsThe one who can't stop planning, jotting down notes, and sending cards will appreciate Cloth & Paper's subscriptions. There's a box filled with writing utensils, a box for planning and stationary, and one that merges the two. From brush pens and fineliners to sticky notes and postcards, they'll be planning nonstop.  Hygge Box: Danish coziness in a box Hygge Box Gift a Hygge Box subscription, $36-$49/monthHygge is the Danish concept of coziness, and this subscription brings just that to the table, featuring items like candles, fairy lights, tea, and snacks. The deluxe box also includes home decor, accessories, wellness products, and other full-size treats. They'll be celebrating the comfort and joy in the ordinary when you give this subscription.  Earthlove: earth-friendly home, kitchen, and beauty products Earthbox Gift an Earthlove subscription, $59.95/monthEarthlove delivers eco-conscious books and sustainably-sourced, ethically-made artisanal products. The company is all about the lifestyle and experience, providing a booklet with self-care tips and mindful stories, as well. By gifting this seasonal subscription box, you'll also be supporting a handpicked organization that nurtures the planet.  Winc: full-sized bottles of wine to enjoy Winc/Instagram Gift a Winc gift card, $60-$150Winc is a California-based company that both creates its own wine and curates bottles from top vineyards. It sends three full bottles of wine based on their "Palate Profile," so they'll get something that suits their particular taste. Its community rating system also points them to new names to try. Read our full review of Winc here.  Goldbelly: their favorite food delivered to their door Goldbelly Gift a Goldbelly Subscription, $45-$749You can choose from subscriptions to their favorite food like pizza and BBQ, their favorite cities like NY and New Orleans, or let the editors at Goldbelly curate the month's best sellers for a surprise box. Read our full review of Goldbelly here. Trunk Club: An at-home take on personal styling Trunk Club Gift a Trunk Club Gift Card, choose your amountTrunk Club is Nordstrom's personal styling service. It helps to simplify the often overwhelming online shopping experiencing by curating subscription boxes full of clothing based on personal styles and budgets. They'll only keep what they want to buy, and they can send the rest back. The gift card can be applied to both Trunk Club and all of Nordstrom's site. Read our full review of Trunk Club's masculine styles here. Nest: Beautiful, fragrant candles Nest Nest Candle Subscription, $40/3 monthsNest is known for its unique and innovative fragrances like Black Tulip and Wisteria Blue. The brand's monthly candle subscription delivers a new, expertly chosen scent to the recipient every month, each of which comes in a sleek glass vessel with up to 60 hours of burn time.  BarkBox: toys and treats for their best animal friend Barkbox Gift a BarkBox subscription, from $35/monthThe best way to please a dog owner is to gift not to them, but to their dog. Bark Box's adorable toys and all-natural treats are the highlight of the month for more than two million dogs nationwide. Read our full review of BarkBox here. Date night in box: a custom-curated date night sent right to their door Date night in a box Gift a Date Night in a Box Subscription, from $41.99/monthIf you're shopping for a couple that you know, this will take the stress out of planning date night. Each box is themed and comes with activities, ambiance for the night, and of course, snacks or recipes to make.  Adult and Craft: all that you need to make your Pinterest project dreams come true Cratejoy Gift an Adult and Craft Subscription from Cratejoy, from $31/monthCrafting lovers, rejoice because this box provides you with all you need to make your Pinterest dream projects come true. The box provides you with enough supplies to create the projects which range anywhere from photo transfer to woodworking. Disney Plus: entertainment options for every mood and interest Disney Plus Gift a Disney+ subscription, $79.99/yearThe popular new streaming subscription features unlimited, ad-free access to thousands of movies and series (including original, exclusive programming), and the ability to stream on up to four devices simultaneously and add up to seven profiles. If you know someone who still hasn't subscribed, you can help them tune into all the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars content they've been craving. Read our full review of Disney+ here. Birchbox: beauty and grooming samples tailored to their style and needs Birchbox Gift a Birchbox subscription, $45/3 monthsThe grooming, skincare, and beauty industries couldn't be more packed with products for all types of needs and concerns. Birchbox digs through the clutter for them and picks out five samples each month that they should use. At $15 a month, the value of the service is unparalleled. Read our full review of Birchbox here. Harry's: razors and accessories needed for a close and comfortable shave Harry's Gift a Harry's custom shave plan here, starting at $5 one time payment with a $15 refill every 5 monthsThe gift of a clean, smooth shave is more cherished than you might think. Harry's full line of shaving products work together seamlessly, and you can customize this combination of blades, creams, foaming gels, and post-shave balms to send to your recipient. Read our full review of Harry's here. HelloFresh: convenient, easy-to-cook, and delicious meal kits HelloFresh Gift a HelloFresh subscription, from $70HelloFresh is one of our top meal kit subscription choices because of its tasty dishes, creative features like "Dinner-to-Lunch" recipes, and accompanying wine club. There are plans and menus to suit all types of cooks and family sizes, from vegetarian couples to omnivore families of four. If HelloFresh doesn't look like it'll suit your recipient, check out the gift options from one of these services. Read our full review of HelloFresh here. Atlas Coffee Club: the ability to travel the world, one cup of coffee at a time Atlas Coffee Club Gift an Atlas Coffee Club subscription, from $50/3 monthsMore than one area of the globe boasts amazing coffee, and around-the-world subscription Atlas Coffee Club is out to prove that by sending coffee from a different region every month. Each order includes tailored brewing recommendations and a postcard with information about the country's coffee-growing methods so they'll fully appreciate the flavor and history of each cup. Read our full review of Atlas Coffee Club here. Book of the Month: the perfect gift for people who appreciate the feel of a physical book Book of the Month/Instagram Gift a Book of the Month subscription, $49.99/3 monthsThis national book club is still going strong after more than 90 years. Every month, the bookworm in your life can choose a hardcover from five new titles and settle into a story that, more often than not, goes on to gain national attention and win major literary awards. Read our full review of Book of the Month here. Cairn: outdoor products to get them prepared and excited to explore Cairn/Instagram Gift a Cairn subscription, from $34.99/monthA group of outdoor enthusiasts came together to start Cairn, a subscription box of up to six products to gear anyone up for hikes, camping, and other outdoor activities. Whether they are just starting a new outdoor hobby or have conquered trails across the country, they'll be inspired by the food, gear, and apparel in the box to stop wasting time and get outside. Read our full review of Cairn here. KitNipBox: toys and treats for their other best animal friend KitNipBox Gift a KitNipBox subscription, from $19.99/monthOf course, cats also deserve to be spoiled. The toys will entertain them for hours and the treats will keep their bellies full through lazy afternoon naps. KitNipBox supports more than 100 animal welfare organizations by donating a portion of proceeds and products every month. Read our full review of KitNipBox here. FabFitFun: the seasonal subscription box filled with the best full-sized products FabFitFun/Instagram Gift a FabFitFun gift card, $25-$300Curating eight to 10 full-sized, premium products across beauty, wellness, and fitness for only $49.99, FabFitFun sounds almost too good to be true. Members can customize their boxes and add on other products, enjoy exclusive offers and discounts from brand partners, and access workouts through FabFitFunTV. Read our full review of Fab Fit Fun here. KiwiCo: activity-filled boxes that make kids forget they're even learning Kiwi Co. Gift a Kiwi Crate subscription, $65/3 monthsThis kids' subscription is divided into eight different types of "crates" based on the age group. The Panda Crate (0-24 years old), for example, helps develop their imagination and fine motor skills; the Kiwi Crate (5-8 years old) blends crafts, science, and engineering into hands-on projects; and the Atlas Crate (6-11 years old) explores nature and art. Read our full review of Kiwi Co Panda Crate here. Stance: socks worn by NBA players, skateboarders, and musicians alike Stance/Instagram Gift a Stance subscription, $57/3 monthsAs a kid, no one was ever excited to receive socks, but it's a different story for adults — especially when the socks are as stylish and comfortable as Stance's. With celebrity investors like Will Smith, Dwayne Wade, Nas, and Jay-Z, Stance definitely has an aura of cool that translates into its socks. Read our full review of Stance here. Hint: delicious, healthy waters that kick their soda habit Hint/Facebook Gift the Hint Flavor of the Month Bundle Subscription, from $16.99/monthFans of this flavored water stock it in their pantries by the caseful. The calorie-, sugar-, and GMO-free water comes in refreshing flavors like watermelon and strawberry-kiwi, which they can rotate through with this drink subscription. Anyone who's bored with regular water but wants to stay hydrated and healthy will look forward to each month's delivery. Read our full review of Hint Water here. Causebox: products for the socially and environmentally conscious Julia Guerra/Insider Gift a Alltrue membership, $199.80/yearCausebox curates ethically made, vegan, and charitable products from the top socially conscious brands in beauty, fashion, wellness, home, and art. Each quarterly box has a retail value of more than $250 but only costs $49.95 and has the added benefit of doing good — for artisans, the environment, and your body. Read our full review of Alltrue here. The Sill: low-maintenance plants for budding green thumbs The Sill Gift The Sill's Plants for Beginners Subscription, $60/monthEven those with terrible histories of tending to plants can build a thriving garden with The Sill. Each month, the houseplant subscription delivers a hand-potted plant in a gorgeous earthenware planter in one of four colors of their choosing. Read our full review of The Sill here. Rent the Runway: designer clothing rentals for less Rent the Runway Gift a Rent the Runway membership, $69/monthRent the Runway's innovative model means they no longer have to waste money on clothes they'll wear once or twice. Another clothing subscription to consider is competing rental service Stitch Fix, which caters to personal styles and budgets. Read our full review of Rent the Runway here. Mouth: gourmet treats from makers you've never heard of Mouth Gift a Mouth subscription, from $47.75/monthGourmet PopTarts, single-origin chocolate, and unusual chips made in small batches by independent American makers fill the boxes from this elevated snack company. There are seven different subscriptions to choose from, including a Best of Mouth tasting sampler and the hyper-specific Pickles assortment. Vinyl Me, Please: exclusive vinyl records to build their collection Vinyl Me, Please/Instagram Gift a Vinyl Me, Please membership, $119/3 monthsAdding to their vinyl collection isn't difficult when they can choose one exclusive LP each month from a collection of Essentials, Classics, and Rap and Hip Hop. The three-month gift membership includes one bonus record, while the six- and 12-month ones include two bonus records.Read our full review of Vinyl Me, Please here. ArtSnacks: supplies for artists of all levels ArtSnacks Gift an ArtSnacks subscription, from $24/monthPart of the fun of being an artist is trying out new products and techniques. ArtSnacks' collection of four to five premium, limited-edition art products (brushes, pens, paint, paper) encourages artists to incorporate supplies and techniques they might not use otherwise. They can join in on the #artsnackschallenge by using only that month's products to create and share a work of art.  Goby: the first electric toothbrush they'll be excited to receive Goby/Instagram Gift a Goby gift card, $50-$100The gift of good oral care is both thoughtful and useful. The Goby electric toothbrush is vigorously thorough, with the ability to be switched between sensitive and standard modes. Choose the eye-catching monochrome or metallic style, and throw in the brush head subscription so they always have an effective brush head. Read our full review of Goby here. Next Big Idea Club: the best nonfiction books, as recommended by bestselling authors Next Big Idea Club/Facebook Gift a Next Big Idea Club Hardcover Book subscription, from $249/yearThe book selections from Next Big Idea Club are curated by some of the biggest names in business and psychology non-fiction. Your recipient will read only the books that really matter, receive course materials that delve deeper into the content, access exclusive interviews, and discuss learnings with fellow members. Read our full review of Next Big Idea here. Frank And Oak: stylish yet composed closet basics Frank & Oak/Instagram Gift a Frank And Oak Style Plan gift card, $25-$500Canadian clothing startup Frank And Oak offers Style Plans for both men and women who are looking to build the foundation of their closet with long-lasting, versatile basics. The box contains items like simple crew necks and button-downs they can't go wrong with, plus they're all ethically sourced and sustainably made. Read our full review of Frank and Oak here. Carnivore Club: cured meats to snack on Carnivore Club/Instagram Gift a Carnivore Club gift card, $25-$100Hopefully they'll invite you to the picnic after they receive a box of delicious, handcrafted cured meats from Carnivore Club. The local salami, prosciutto, pancetta, and other cured meats taste far better than the kind they get from the grocery store. The price ranges from $29.99 per box, and each contains four to six meats.  The Bouqs Co.: flower bouquets every week or every month, just because Bouqs Co. Gift a Bouqs Co. subscription, $40-$65/monthWe would never turn down a regular shipment of beautiful flowers to adorn our desks or tabletops. With a subscription, you can save 30% on bouquets, enjoy free delivery, and set customizable dates for your lucky recipient.  Daily Harvest: the easiest way to eat and drink healthy Daily Harvest Gift a Daily Harvest gift card, $50-$200From breakfast to dinner, Daily Harvest is the purveyor of all things healthy. Its pre-portioned smoothies, harvest bowls, lattes, soups, parfaits, and overnight oats are far from rabbit food and will actually fill them up with the nutrients to attack the day. Read our full review of Daily Harvest here. Bokksu: authentic snacks from Japanese makers Bokksu Gift a Bokksu subscription, from $39.95/monthExperience the creative snack culture of Japan through Bokksu, the subscription where they won't know which one to tear open first. Think: Kit Kat flavors they can't find in the US, shiitake mushroom chips, kabocha bread, and citrus shortbread cookies. The themed boxes contain 20 to 24 snacks and a tea pairing. Read our full review of Bokksu Club here. Universal Yums: snacks from a different country each month Universal Yums Gift a Universal Yums subscription, from $25/monthAnother delicious snack box option from Universal Yums, this one spotlights treats from a different country each month. Each box contains at 10-12 unique snacks, plus a guidebook with trivia and games from the country. Past boxes have featured snacks from Spain, Greece, Indonesia, and Israel. Read our full review of Universal Yums here. Facetory: the best Korean sheet masks Facetory/Facebook Gift a Facetory subscription, from $19.90/monthSoothing sheet masks are essential to an at-home spa day. Facetory sends high-quality Korean sheet masks for half their retail price. Made from unique ingredients like banana milk, yogurt, marine collagen, and 24 karat gold extract, they address a range of skin concerns and simply feel great on their skin. Read our full review of Facetory here. Breo Box: high-end and boutique brand name products Breo Box/Facebook Gift a Breo Box subscription, from $159/seasonPast boxes from Breo Box have included TRX fitness accessories, smart home devices and smartwatches, and Bluetooth headphones. The high-end products aren't geared toward any gender — as long as they appreciate quality everyday essentials, fitness and health gear, and tech, they'll love Breo Box. Read our full review of Breo Box here. Stitch Fix: an inclusive and personalized styling experience Stich Fix Gift a Stitch Fix gift card, $20-$1,000Stitch Fix offers the most styling options for different ages and body types: men, women, kids, plus size, maternity, and petite. The average price for men's and women's items is $55, but they can set their own budget to receive clothes they're comfortable with, and you can give a gift card in amounts up to $1,000. Read our full review of Stitch Fix here. Tippsy: premium Japanese sake from top breweries Tippsy Gift a Tippsy subscription, from $93/boxWhile you have plenty of wine clubs to choose from, other types of alcohol are quietly waiting in the background for their moment to shine. Sake is one example — it's harder and more expensive to find, and it lacks the mainstream education afforded to beer and wine. Tippsy sources its sake directly from the best Japanese breweries for a more affordable price and teaches your recipient everything they need to know to become a sake expert. Read our full review of Tippsy here. Candy Club: curated treats to satisfy a sweet tooth Candy Club Gift a Candy Club subscription, $29.99/monthGiftees with a hankering for something sweet will appreciate receiving a Fun Box with six 6-ounce candy cups. The brand partners with smaller artisans as well as famed candy shops for a curated selection of delicious treats every month based on a personalized flavor profile.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 10th, 2021

Where to buy the best dinnerware to impress your guests in 2021

Having a nice dinnerware set can really make a meal feel like an occasion. These are the 7 best places to shop for dinnerware in 2021. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Wedgwood A good dinnerware set fits your family's needs, personal aesthetic, and will last for years. We did our own research and spoke with experts to come up with our top dinnerware picks. Our recommendations include reputable brands, like Wedgwood, that have been around for decades so you can easily add or replace dinnerware pieces. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWhen it comes to dinnerware, you want something that lasts for years and fits your aesthetic and lifestyle. Dinnerware comes in a variety of materials and styles and is sold by individual pieces (open stock), by place setting, or by small to large sets. You'll want to consider all these factors when choosing the best dinnerware set for you and your family. For our guide on the best places to shop for dinnerware, we spoke with Courtney Whitmore, cookbook author and party hosting expert, as well as Bruce Roy, a wedding caterer for more than 30 years. We used their advice and our own research to come up with the best dinnerware you can buy. You can read more about how to choose the best dinnerware set for your needs in our FAQs and primer on dinnerware materials below. Here are the best places to buy dinnerware in 2021 Noritake Noritake Noritake is a Japanese brand that offers a large variety of formal place settings and casual dinnerware. Its Colorwave stoneware collection comes in 28 colors.Typical price per place setting: $100 for 5-piece place settingReturn policy: Within 30 days of receipt or shipment (shipping cost not refunded)Replacements: Will replace for free if items were broken during initial shipment and will replace at a discounted price for items broken after thatPros: Timeless look, reputable company, provides a breakage replacement programCons: More expensive than many other reputable brandsNoritake is a Japanese brand that's been around for more than 100 years and you can still find some of its vintage china today. These days, the brand is well known for providing a large variety of dinnerware options, whether you're looking for something formal or more casual.Its formal dinnerware is made from porcelain or bone china, and you can choose from a gold band, platinum band, or no band at all to add a classic look to your tablescape. Its casual collection, Colorwave, is made from stoneware and comes in 28 colors. The colors complement each other so you can mix and match if you choose, and every piece in the collection is microwave- and dishwasher-safe. You can purchase most collections by the piece, place setting, or in a set. Noritake does come at a higher price, so "buying in sets would generally prove to be the best option and money saving choice," Roy said.And as a Noritake customer, you can register your dinnerware pattern. If you do, Noritake will send you information on any new items available in your pattern, and you'll have access to the brand's breakage replacement program. This program allows you to replace any broken pieces at a discounted price as long as the pattern is actively being sold and in stock.What to buy:5-Piece Austin Platinum Place Setting (small)4-Piece Colorwave Blue Square Place Setting (small)50-Piece Crestwood Gold Dinner Set (small) Wedgwood Wedgwood Renowned brand Wedgwood comes at a higher price, but its pieces are one-of-a-kind, and you'll be able to pass the long-lasting dinnerware from generation to generation.Typical price per place setting: $150 for 5-piece place settingReturn policy: Within 30 days of receipt or shipment (shipping cost not refunded)Replacements: Will replace for free if items were broken during initial shipmentPros: Comes in many bold patterns, world-renowned brandCons: Pricey, most of the dinnerware sets haven't been made in England since 2009If you frequently host dinners and gatherings and love bold patterns, Wedgwood is the way to go. Josiah Wedgwood, an English potter, founded the company in 1759, and because of his invention of Jasperware (a colorful stoneware), Wedgwood became one of the first dinnerware companies to offer colors, including the iconic "Wedgwood Blue."Historically, British royalty and other nobility have chosen Wedgwood for fine china, and the company holds a royal warrant, denoting it as a supplier to the queen of England. But you don't need to be in the royal bloodline to enjoy a set of your own; Wedgwood is available online at many retailers. While Wedgwood may be known for dishwasher-safe bone china in elegant, unexpected patterns, its white dinnerware is just as coveted. Many Wedgwood customers like to mix and match the bold patterns with the white dinnerware to bring an elegant look that also makes a unique statement.Wedgwood offers numerous collections, including a one from designer Vera Wang, and most of its dinner sets are sold by place setting that comes with a dinner plate, salad plate, bread plate, teacup, and saucer. You can also purchase items separately, like plates, bowls, flatware, drinkware, serveware, and even teaware.What to buy:Vera Moderne 5-Piece Place Setting (small)16-Piece Jasper Conran Strata Dinnerware Set (small)5-Piece Sailor's Farewell Place Setting (small) Our Place Our Place Our Place makes its dinnerware in ethical factories and keeps communities and cultures top of mind when curating its dinnerware collections.Typical price per place setting: $120 for 12-piece bundleReturn policy: Within 30 days of receipt or shipment (shipping cost not refunded)Replacements: Will replace for free if items were broken during initial shipmentPros: Ethical company; handmade, one-of-a-kind dinnerwareCons: Doesn't offer a wide variety of patterns and materials, doesn't offer a complete dinnerware setIf you want dinnerware that not only makes a big impact on your table setting but also in the community, Our Place dinnerware is a great choice. This online kitchenware startup focuses on the community built around food globally. Its founders, Shiza Shahid, Zach Rosner and Amir Tehrani launched the company with a small collection of dinnerware that satisfies the needs and wants of the modern kitchen.The company sources high-quality materials from ethical factories and artisan collectives with a focus on female entrepreneurs. Like its best-selling product, the Always Pan, Our Place's dinnerware options are both simple and highly functional. The porcelain plates and nesting bowls are hand painted, and the drinking glasses are hand blown, giving each piece a one-of-a-kind look. Our Place is a great option if you're looking for ethical dinnerware that's equally unique as it is functional. You can buy just the essentials separately or purchase a bundle like the Dinner for 4 and Set the Table sets, which offer all the pieces you need at a better value. What to buy:Dinner for 4 Bundle (small)Set the Table (small)Basics Bundle (small) Gibson Gibson Gibson offers a variety of dinnerware at a great price point, and you'll find it at most retailers.Typical price per place setting: $65 for 12-piece setReturn policy: Within 30 days of receipt or shipment (shipping cost not refunded)Replacements: Will replace for free if items were broken during initial shipmentPros: Affordable, available at many retailers, durableCons: Some buyers reported discoloration, some buyers reported small bumps in the glazingFor those on a budget, Gibson makes a great everyday dinnerware choice. The company partners with many brands — like The Pioneer Woman, Oster, and Crockpot — to provide affordable customized dinnerware and cookware options. You can find just about every style and material in its massive line of dinnerware, but we're particularly fond of its chip- and scratch-resistant melamine dinnerware for outdoor entertaining or households with children. This high-quality melamine line is great for kids and "can be mixed and matched or added into the table settings for the adults," Roy said.Another favorite is the Gibson Elite Collection, which offers an artistic approach to everyday dinnerware in bold colors and a reactive glazed finish. In general, Gibson's dinnerware is heavier duty than many other brands out there, which makes it a great durable choice. However, if you're looking for something more delicate and lightweight, you'll want to shop with another brand. Most retailers that carry the brand sell the dinnerware in 16-piece sets, but you can also buy the dinnerware in 12-piece sets, bowl sets, and some individual pieces.What to buy:16-Piece Juneau Dinnerware Set (small)12-Piece Brela Melamine Dinnerware Set (small)16-Piece Stoneware Dinnerware Set in Blue (small) Crate & Barrel Crate & Barrel Crate & Barrel has nearly 50 dinnerware sets to choose from and the Mercer line is a minimalist's dream. The all-white dinnerware and flat bottoms provide a simple, elegant look to any table setting.Typical price per place setting: $45 for set of eight platesReturn policy: Within 90 days of receipt or shipment (you pay for return shipping)Replacements: Will replace for free if items were broken during initial shipmentPros: Simple and elegant; dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safeCons: Some buyers reported chipping after months of use, the unglazed bottom can scratch certain surfacesFor a timeless and simple all-white design that will last for years, the Mercer line from Crate & Barrel is the perfect selection. This low-maintenance dinnerware made from porcelain is dishwasher-, microwave- and even oven-safe.The plates in this line are flat on the bottom and feature low rims to provide more surface area and a rustic feel that's still classic and elegant. Not only does Mercer come with all the essentials for a complete place setting, but you can purchase matching serveware, too. The line is versatile, so you can match it with any other dinnerware look.Crate & Barrel sells the collection as open stock pieces so you can pick exactly what you need, or you can buy the plates and bowls in sets of eight.What to buy:Mercer Dinner Plates, Set of 8 (small)Mercer 5" Mini Bowl (small)Mercer 3-Part Server (small) Lenox Lenox Lenox's dinnerware can be moved directly from the freezer to the oven for those who love to prep their dinners ahead of time. And, Lenox will replace any broken items for free if you register your dinnerware.Typical price per place setting: $150 for 5-piece place settingReturn policy: Within 120 days of receipt or shipment (return shipping is free for any damaged, incorrect, damaged or defective product)Replacements: Will replace any broken items for free if you register your dinnerware.Pros: High-quality dinnerware, reputable brand, good return/replacement policyCons: PriceyAn American company that's more than 130 years old, Lenox offers high-quality dinnerware with craftsmanship at top of mind. Even though Lenox is more known as a traditional dinnerware retailer, it's done a great job of introducing modern designs through the years.The dinnerware comes in many materials including porcelain, bone china, stoneware, melamine, and even metal. You can buy the dinnerware as open stock pieces and in sets from three pieces all the way up to 28 pieces. The 28-piece set is a service for four and includes dinner plates, accent plates, dessert bowls, fruit bowls, rice bowls, party plates, and mugs. Lenox's dinnerware is not only dishwasher and microwave-safe, but is also durable enough to move directly from the freezer to the oven (at up to 350 degrees F).Lenox also offers a Replacement Promise if you register your dinnerware, where the company will replace any Lenox brand dinnerware and serveware you break for free as long as the replacements are available. (This is a recent improvement from their previous policy of replacing items at 50 percent off.)What to buy:28-Piece Butterfly Meadow Set (small)Charlotte Street East 4-piece Place Setting in Navy (small)French Perle Scallop 12-Piece Dinnerware Set (small) Mikasa Mikasa Mikasa is widely available at many retailers, so it's easy to replace items in your dinnerware collection and even mix and match new styles with your current pieces.Typical price per place setting: $50 for 4-piece place settingReturn policy: Within 90 days of receipt or shipment (30 days for sale and clearance items)Replacements: Will replace any broken items for free if broken during initial shipment.Pros: Affordable, available at many retailers, reputable brandCons: Some buyers report inconsistencies in qualityWhether you're looking for a formal dinnerware set or an everyday set, the American brand Mikasa will have what you need. It offers several collections from an antique white to a more intricate trellis collection and all at an affordable price. You can buy open stock plates or sets with service for one to 12.Mikasa offers a generous return policy of up to 90 days from purchase. However, we don't think you'll be returning anything because of its big selection of styles and the fact that Mikasa's dinnerware is made from durable porcelain and stoneware.You can find Mikasa at virtually every major retailer, so it's readily available if you ever want to add to your current collection or upgrade a few pieces — all at affordable prices.What to buy:Jet Set Blue Set (Service for 8) (small)Maisie Set (Service for 4) (small)Tivoli Garden Set (Service for 4) (small) Our dinnerware sets research methodology A nice dinnerware set is something you'll keep for years to come, and perhaps even pass down generations, so we chose brands that have been around for decades, or even centuries. After speaking with cookbook author Courtney Whitmore and wedding caterer Bruce Roy and doing our own research, we selected trusted brands that provide the best customer service and have plenty in stock so you can easily replace or add to items in your collection. Dinnerware FAQs How do I wash china?How to wash and care for your dinnerware depends on its material and how it was glazed. Your best bet is to consult with the manufacturer, most of which offer detailed care guides. Most porcelain, china, and stoneware are dishwasher and microwave safe, but you'll want to check the bottom of each dinnerware item to double check. For example, a porcelain dish is normally microwave safe, but if your pattern has metal in it, you'll want to avoid putting it in the microwave. And even if a piece says it's dishwasher safe, you may want to use certain detergents (Wedgwood has some recommendations). If you're handwashing, use warm water, dish soap, and avoid any abrasive materials. What's the best way to store china?When it comes to storing and stacking pieces, it's best to place a napkin or cloth between each item to avoid scratching. With these simple care tips, your dinnerware will likely last for years to come.How many dinnerware pieces do I need?You'll notice that you can buy dinnerware as open stock, by the place setting, or in sets with services of two to 12 people. "I always advise people to have a dinnerware set for at least 10 [people] in addition to a selection of platters, trays or serving pieces," said Whitmore. "You can mix and match pieces to coordinate a cohesive look as well."Brands may differ in what pieces they include in their place settings or sets. If you are shopping for a dinnerware set for a formal dinner, make sure each place setting "includes the key pieces like dinner plate, salad plate, a teacup and saucer and dessert plate," said Roy.What style of dinnerware should I buy?The style of dinnerware depends on your personal aesthetic and how you plan on using your dinnerware. If it's for everyday use, you can play with different colors and patterns. If you're looking for dinnerware for a formal table setting, it's best to keep it simple. "I always recommend a classic white set with a little extra detail like a subtle scallop edge or a beaded trim," said Whitmore. "You can use it all year long and switch out the colors of table linens, flowers and decor to coordinate color schemes with holidays and occasions."Where can I purchase replacements for broken china?If you receive a broken or damaged dinnerware item when you first purchase it, most companies will replace the product for free. If you want to replace a broken item from your collection, check to see if the brand offers a replacement program. If you register your dinnerware, brands like Lenox and Noritake offer a replacement program at a discounted price or free as long as the items are still actively being sold. You can also check Replacements, Ltd., the world's largest retailer of dinnerware (with more than 425,000 patterns available), to search for a replacement. Types of dinnerware materials When shopping for dinnerware, you'll want to consider a material that meets your durability and lifestyle needs. The main dinnerware materials you'll find are porcelain, fine and bone china, stoneware, and melamine. In general, porcelain and china are more delicate, while stoneware and melamine are heartier and can go in the dishwasher. Here's a breakdown of the different material types:ChinaChina is durable, lightweight, and often reserved for special occasions. There are two types of china — bone and fine. Bone china is made by combining china clay and cow bone ash, which forms a translucent, milky look that's timeless and classy. While both bone and fine china may be associated with special occasions, they're also a surprisingly good option for everyday use — both bone china and fine china are durable dinnerware options, with bone china being the most durable. If you prefer the look of bone china, you will pay a higher price. When shopping for bone china, make sure you look at the percentage of cow bone ash content. According to Noritake, the standard amount of bone ash should be 30%. If you don't see the percentage listed in the product details, ask the manufacturer before purchasing; brands can claim their dinnerware is bone china with even a small percentage of bone ash.PorcelainIf you prefer a slightly heavier, sturdier feel for dinnerware, porcelain is a great option. Porcelain — a nonporous ceramic — is fired at a high temperature making it durable, and it's oven-, dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Porcelain dinnerware usually comes in white but you can find it in different colors and patterns.StonewareStoneware is a nonporous ceramic dinnerware made from stoneware clay that's fired at a high temperature. It's thicker than both porcelain and china, and you'll often find this dinnerware material at your favorite restaurant for this reason. This type of dinnerware requires a little more maintenance as it doesn't handle extreme heat or extreme cold temperatures well. MelamineEven though many dinnerware materials are durable, they aren't completely shatterproof like melamine. Melamine is a type of plastic that's food safe. Whitmore suggests it's worth investing in a chic melamine set if you have small children in your household; it also doubles as dinnerware for outside or poolside dinner parties. However, according to the FDA, it isn't microwave safe. And even though melamine has come a long way in appearance — often looking like a higher-end material — it may be too casual for a formal dinner. Check out our other buying guides to complete your table setting CB2 The best drinking glassesThe best flatware and silverwareThe best dining tables Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 9th, 2021

Biden Weighs Tapping Strategic Reserves As He Threatens OPEC+ With "Undisclosed Tools"

Biden Weighs Tapping Strategic Reserves As He Threatens OPEC+ With "Undisclosed Tools" The Biden administration is considering tapping into the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to lower prices at the pump. Biden has even touted an "arsenal of tools" to deal with OPEC+ to boost crude output.  On Monday, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told MSNBC "an announcement" could come this week to address the highest gasoline prices in seven years. Soaring fuel prices have put pressure on the Biden administration to act.  President Biden is "certainly looking at what options he has in the limited range of tools a president might have to address the cost of gasoline at the pump, because it is a global market," Granholm said.  Over the weekend, Biden threatened OPEC+ with an undisclosed "arsenal of tools."  "There are other tools in the arsenal that we have to deal — and I'm dealing with other countries; at an appropriate time, I will talk about it — that we can get more energy in the — in the pipeline, figuratively and literally speaking." The mentioning of "arsenal of tools" came in response to whether Washington would tap the SPR as a means to flood domestic fuel markets with supply to lower prices.  Since July, Biden has urged OPEC+ to increase output as recovering demand for crude products pushed prices at the pump to very politically uncomfortable levels ahead of midterms. Last week, OPEC+ snubbed Biden's calls to increase output, which begs the question of what "tools" the president has to sway the oil cartel.  This week's decision to tap the strategic reserves will do very little to alleviate structural issues like US crude production, which is well under pre-pandemic levels.  It turns out US shale doesn't have the support from the government or shareholders to boost production and take on OPEC+, as we've seen before. OPEC+ seems satisfied with current prices and is unlikely to change its stance as Biden's tools to sway the cartel are likely fluff.  This entire spectacle shows just how desperate the Biden administration is to tame energy inflation that is showing up at the pumps ahead of midterms. Judging by the president's polling data, voters are not that thrilled with soaring fuel prices.  By the end of the week, or in the very near term, the president or Granholm will likely announce SPRs will be tapped - which solves absolutely nothing about the structural issues in the energy complex (and may not even provide a temporary easing of pain for the average joe). The administration needs to encourage and support US shale to raise production but, of course, that goes against their "green agenda" to decimate the fossil fuel industry. Finally, by way of example of the farcical dilemma he finds himself in, Biden and his administration were reportedly exploring the closure of yet another domestic pipeline while begging OPEC+'s leader, Saudi Arabia, for more oil (and enabling Russia's NS2 pipeline) in an apparent shift away from America's energy independence. ... and yes, Biden did do that.  Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 09:35.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 9th, 2021

Top Marketing Strategies for Finance Industries

When developing a marketing strategy for financial services, you must be smart enough to consider the target market, organization goals, market trends, organization weaknesses and strengths, and most importantly, the resources you have at your disposal. Choosing an effective marketing strategy as a financial service company can help you reach your goals and focus more […] When developing a marketing strategy for financial services, you must be smart enough to consider the target market, organization goals, market trends, organization weaknesses and strengths, and most importantly, the resources you have at your disposal. Choosing an effective marketing strategy as a financial service company can help you reach your goals and focus more on growth. This article looks at some of the most effective marketing strategies for financial services you should look forward to. 1. Perform customer outreach  When creating a marketing strategy for your startup or organization, you have to research more about your customers. Know who your target customers are and learn one or two things about what they like most about your product. Customer outreach is one of the oldest strategies that most professional marketers in financial institutions still use today. In this strategy, you simply reach out to customers to feel their need for brand awareness, education, and help. For large companies, this strategy can be effective when they offer financial education on debt management programs. Small companies can offer a free consultation to customers on all areas of their products and services. This way, companies create awareness of the products, build loyalty, and create interest in their brands. 2. Invest in local SEO  Search engine optimization (SEO) is the way to go if you want your business to remain visible online. When you invest in local SEO, your financial services as a company will get your company to the top of search results. This strategy emphasizes the local pack in the Google search results, making it more effective than the normal SEO. Local SEO uses the information available on the Google My Business (GMB) account. Therefore, you should always optimize your GMB account for local and international SEO. Fill out your business listing on GMB and ensure all the useful information is included. Always include your business phone number, business category, address, business hours, coupons, specials, and photos of your business. 3. Apply omnichannel digital marketing  Omnichannel marketing, simply put, is marketing your business on more than one platform. It is all about allowing customers to access your products and services on different platforms like mobile, tablets, desktops, and many others. You should take the help of a CRM to increase demand generation, forecast sales, and measure the performance metrics across different channels that your business uses. Without a CRM it would be challenging to measure the impact of the marketing platforms. Studies have shown that omnichannel marketing campaigns can gain up to 18.96% engagement. This is way above the single-channel campaigns, which is only 5.4%. Omnichannel campaigns also achieve up to 90% higher retention compared to single-channel campaigns. When you choose integrated marketing campaigns for financial services, ensure it responds to all touchpoints, including adjusting to customer interactions. For example, when customers open your marketing email, there should be a link to your website landing page embedded in the email. Similarly, when customers search for your services using voice assistants like Alexa, your brand should be recommended by the device. Hence, optimizing your site for voice SEO is also crucial. 4. Educate and empower customers using content marketing  A report by Facebook IQ shows that only 8% of millennials trust financial institutions to offer them guidance. There are many reasons why this number is that low. It means financial institutions have an anthill of a task to build trust in their target customers. To build trust for financial services, companies should adopt relationship marketing. This is employing a strategy that helps you connect and engage with your customers more personally. Content marketing inbound methodology is the best tool financial service providers can use to connect with customers. Customer education is the most compelling content strategy in determining client loyalty to financial services. 5. Optimize your branding and messaging  When you decide to market financial services on different platforms, you want to ensure that all the content you share has a common theme and design. It means that header images, pictures, profiles, banner ads, logos, and other elements of your message should be unique to your brand. Customers should be able to recognize your brand whenever they interact with your messaging on different platforms. By creating familiarity and continuity in your branding and messaging, you can inform your target audience on all platforms. Adjust your branding and marketing content for all platforms if you want to achieve results in your marketing. You should adjust the content and massage for authority, imagery, brevity, and searchability. Ensure your content is SEO-friendly if you want to improve its online visibility. 6. Apply video marketing Video marketing is one of the best strategies you can use to engage and market your content to your prospects. According to recent research, it has been established that, on average, U.S internet users spend an average of 15 hours each week on digital video. Also, YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which means most people are probably switching to YouTube for those ‘how to’ videos. Most financial companies invest a lot in video marketing because it is the best tool for increasing awareness and educating customers about their products and services. At least 87% of pro marketers are saying video marketing has helped to increase their sales. You should include these types of videos in your marketing plan if you are starting: Firm history – create a video explaining to your customers where your company is coming from and the steps you’ve been able to make since your establishment. Competitor differentiator – what makes your company stand out from the rest in the industry? Testimonial – use testimonial videos to convince your customers that you are the best out there. How-to video guides – most people are probably going on YouTube to search for a guide on doing something and navigating the financial system. You can create video guides explaining to your customers the financial market. Final Thoughts  When you are thinking of marketing your financial service company or just putting it ahead of the rest, you should choose the most effective marketing strategy. Leverage social media, engage with your customers, and increase leads with email marketing. Apply omnichannel digital marketing, and don’t forget to research what your target audience likes in your brand. There are many options for marketing your brand online, and you should dig more and choose the most effective channel that can help boost your sales and make you an authority in the industry. Updated on Nov 8, 2021, 3:02 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 9th, 2021

Victor Davis Hanson: Trickle-Down Bidenism

Victor Davis Hanson: Trickle-Down Bidenism Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com, Can 10 months really make a real difference in America? Not normally. But weld together a hard-left socialist agenda with the control of the White House and Congress onto the combined forces of progressive woke media, Silicon Valley, the corporate boardrooms, the entertainment industry, academia, and the Wall Street borg - all in the age of instant and intrusive communications—and it’s no wonder a country, even a nation as resilient as the United States, can descend quite quickly in ways that make America almost unrecognizable. In other words, 40 weeks of relentless Bidenism finally permeates most of the nation. Fuel Prices, Inflation, and Border Chaos Out in the California foothills and Central Valley, relatively “cheap” propane now has more than doubled to a rate of $3.91 a gallon. At about the same time that I got the propane bill, I filled up the truck with diesel fuel. It was $4.87 a gallon with a credit card, up in price almost $2 a gallon from over a year ago. I thought myself lucky since the week prior in Palo Alto it was about $5.29 a gallon. I spoke not long ago in Bakersfield to an oil man. He described impending California new rules on the horizon concerning almost every aspect of horizontal drilling and fracking—as part of his own larger fears that the entire industry is shrinking even as demands and profits soar, and consumers need more natural gas and gasoline than ever. Has anyone ever heard of liberal Americans deliberately not pumping oil and gas, but still needing so much more output that they beg the illiberal Saudis and Russians to bail us out? At other times in our history, we have suffered plenty of fossil fuel scarcities due to war, embargoes, and declining reserves. But never has America deliberately created shortages amid a sea of our own gas and oil. What has been the reaction from those who slashed natural gas and oil production by cancelling new federal leases and pipelines, and oil fields in Alaska, or warned frackers that new regulations and taxes were just the prerequisites to a rapid phase out of their existence altogether—on the pathway to a wind and solar nirvana? When asked if the United States would at least increase (e.g., restore previous levels of) oil production, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm laughed, “That is hilarious.” To whom is that comical? The guy with an older model pickup doing daily landscape work for his wealthy clients? The waitress who drives 20 miles to work? The broke student who commutes to campus? I drove today along a rural avenue next to my farm. Both sides of the street were littered—far more than usually so—with trash. They were not just the usual garbage bags and tires, but washers, dryers, refrigerators, car seats, furniture—and mattresses of all shapes and sizes. It was an intensification of the now old story of rural California as an open dumping ground of refuse. I stopped to inspect the flotsam and jetsam. The dumpers are careful to glean out their personal addresses. They rarely leave traceable material. But all the magazines, newspapers, and printed material were in Spanish. Note there are no green regulators out here who patrol rural avenues to stop the pollution and desecration of the natural landscape; in the hierarchy of wokeness, illegal immigration trumps the environment. So, I assumed, as is the case when I find people in the actual act of dumping their garbage and refuse on my property (like last week), that they are likely illegally here (no English). And the current clutter may represent recent spikes in crossings from a nonexistent border and redirects of illegal aliens from Texas. (If 2 million illegal entrants will cross the current fiscal year, and if they are being bused or dispersed by the Biden Administration throughout the United States, then small communities of recent immigrants will likely feel the surge). The reaction? The Biden Administration is planning to settle “claims” of “wrong” treatment lodged by those who feel that after crossing illegally into the United States, and continuing to reside illegally in America, that they are entitled to $450,000 per family. Otherwise, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas preened of the nonexistent border that it “is no less secure than before.”  “No less secure” means 2 million will cross this year? When acting White House deputy press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked why the Biden Administration would lavish nearly a half a million dollars on illegal aliens who broke federal law, but not upon legal immigrants who obey America’s laws, she seemed bewildered at any criticism of rewarding only the unlawful: “Why would we be giving people who are coming here the right way money?” Ms. Jean-Pierre gave a rare unguarded summation of the essence of woke progressivism: If we are going to give free stuff to Americans, those who do things the “right way” deserve nothing; those who do things the wrong way certainly do. Asymmetrical application of the law is the hallmark of wokeism. I have been looking at new cars at the large regional car dealers. Whereas a year ago there were 200 or so new ones on lots to inspect, now there are not more than 10 or so—mostly subcompacts with prices upon inquiry well over the sticker MSRP figure. Almost overnight the lots have changed from premium new car marts into vast used car dealerships, but with a twist: today’s used cars sell at last year’s new car prices. Wood is now a bit cheaper than three months ago, but still about triple the price of a year ago. I talked to a Mexican American contractor I know not long ago at Home Depot who was sorting and sifting through a small pile of what was left of overpriced 2’x6’s. “Just the junk left. It’s all junk,” he said. When pressed about these disruptions in the supply chain, empty shelves, scarce inventories, delayed or cancelled shipments, and soaring prices, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki snarked, “The tragedy of the treadmill that’s delayed.” Yes: cars, lumber, food—all the irrelevant treadmill trinkets that people don’t need. After disappearing in the midst of the crisis due to his paternity leave, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg returned to weigh in with: I think there have always been two kinds of Christmas shoppers. There is the ones who have all their list completed by Halloween, and then there’s people like me who show up at the mall on Christmas Eve . . . .   [I]f you’re in that latter bucket, obviously there’s going to be more challenges.    Yes, that’s it, Pete. The bucket of self-employed handymen who make their living repairing roofs will just have to plan ahead better and quit waiting to fix eaves and gutters on Christmas Eve. Farmers are not procrastinating but they still aren’t always being paid.  Some hear their almond containers are stuck at Asian ports abroad, rotting for lack of longshoreman—and months after shipping the grower is getting nothing for his crop. Other payments freeze because California crops can’t get onto ships to cross the Pacific from Los Angeles or Long Beach. Growers are not whining about late-arriving Pelotons. I’ve been looking at house prices too, again partly out of curiosity, partly because a family member is looking for a home. Homes in a development in October 2020 that were outrageously priced at $850,000 for a 2,400 square foot home near the central California coast are now listed between $1.3-4 million! Interest may be about 2-3 percent, and so monthly mortgage costs don’t fully or immediately reflect the burdensome sale prices. Nonetheless, who could afford the $15,000-20,000 minimum property tax, the soaring insurance, the exorbitant cost to landscape the dirt lot in the backyard—and with a price increase on what we used to call a “middle-class home” of some $400,000 plus in just a year? Translated, the house went up over $1,000 a day, from unaffordable to a sick joke. Medical bills are skyrocketing. A daughter’s health insurance deductible is $5,0000—per person in a five-person family. This year almost every family member’s bill will exceed that deductible. Of such spiraling prices, White House chief of staff Ron Klain reweeted former Obama advisor and Harvard professor Jason Furman’s shrug about the soaring inflation, “Most of the economic problems we’re facing (inflation, supply chains, etc.) are high class problems.” Ron and Jason are right: Rent, a ruptured appendix, and mammograms are just the “high class problems” stuff of America. Retribalizing America The country is rapidly retribalizing—the most toxic and sickest of all of Joe Biden disastrous gifts to America over the last 10 months. The Biden fixation with race reverberates throughout the intelligence agencies, the bureaucracy, the Pentagon, and the White House, as left-wing furies are unleashed shrieking and searching for mythical “white rage” and “white supremacy.” The Left’s new message is that of Bull Connor and Lester Maddox to the core: you are what you look like. Your race defines you and everyone who looks like you—and as well all those who don’t look like you. Individuals don’t exist; the tribe tolerates no exceptions, no traitors to their racial allegiances. When I go into local large national discount retail stores, I notice that in the early morning hours one group of Americans shops. And by 10 a.m. they are replaced by quite another. Another strange new development: someone of your own race, a total stranger, will abruptly greet you with enthusiasm, as if some new tie, some previously unrecognized bond, now exists between you at a time when apparently the “color of your skin” fixation is supposedly the new normal. Critical race theory’s legacy will entail the complete destruction of the message of Martin Luther King, Jr. When asked about the consequences of mandating the teaching of critical race theory racism to “combat” racism in Virginia, and the statewide pushback against Democratic candidates who endorsed such retrograde tribalism, Deputy Press Secretary Jean-Pierre scoffed, “Great countries are honest, right? They have to be honest with themselves about the history, which is good and the bad. And our kids should be proud to be Americans after learning that history.” Yes, of course, that explains the Democratic implosion in Virginia: Those poor dishonest Virginians who were previously deluding themselves that their country was only half good! The electoral anger in New Jersey and Virginia, but also throughout the country, reflects not just the chaos of the Biden first year, but the way in which the nearly 10 months of disasters have so rapidly damaged millions of American lives. The Biden team’s smug responses to the messes they made remind us that socialists care little for the millions of broken eggs necessary to cook a vast toxic omelet. Does the Biden socialist cadre who engineered these self-induced calamities have any clue about the damage they have done to America? Or do they believe the chaos is tolerable collateral destruction to achieve an otherwise unattainable socialist paradise? Or do they assume that their own wealth, power, and influence will provide them exemption from the baleful, concrete consequences of their own abstract ideologies? Will trickle-down Bidenism always harm someone else, someone poorer, someone less important, someone culturally repugnant to them—like Joe Biden’s dregs and chumps, Barack Obama’s clingers, and Hillary Clinton’s deplorables and irredeemables? Tyler Durden Mon, 11/08/2021 - 22:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

Leading The Taper Run

No S&P 500 pause to speak of – bonds support the buying pressure. The broad turn to risk-on has value holding up relatively well while tech remains in the driver‘s seat. The daily weakness in financials looks misleading, and as a function of retreat in yields – I‘m looking for stabilization followed by higher prices. […] No S&P 500 pause to speak of – bonds support the buying pressure. The broad turn to risk-on has value holding up relatively well while tech remains in the driver‘s seat. The daily weakness in financials looks misleading, and as a function of retreat in yields – I‘m looking for stabilization followed by higher prices. Real estate though is starting to smell a rat – I mean rates, rising rates. Slowly as the Fed didn‘t give the green light, but they would acommodate the unyielding inflation. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more There was something in the taper announcement for everyone – the hawks are grasping at the possibility to increase taper pace should the Fed start to deem inflation as unpleasantly hot. I wrote about the dovish side I take already on Wednesday when recapping my expectations into the meeting. Coupled with non-farm payrolls coming in above expectations, the table is set to reassure the stock bulls that further gains are possible while the lagging commodities move up. Precious metals would continue recovering from the pre-taper anxiety, and miners with copper kicking back in, would be the confirmation. The dollar should welcome the figure corresponding to yields increase, buying a little more time. One more note on oil – its downswing is positive for the stock bulls as its retreat works to increase disposable income, and in the zero rates environment, kind of acts as a shadow Fed funds rate. Regardless, I‘m standing by the call for triple digit oil prices in 2022. Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of www.stockcharts.com). S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook S&P 500 fireworks are continuing with improving participation, and the path of least resistance remains higher. Credit Markets Universal risk-on move in the credit market still continues, and the long HYG knot isn‘t a sign of a reversal – the bulls merely got ahead of themselves, that‘s all. Gold, Silver and Miners Gold easily reversed the pre-taper weakness, and so did silver. I‘m now looking for the miners to catch up, and a good signal thereof would be a fresh commodities upswing. No, CRB Index hasn‘t peaked. Crude Oil Crude oil hasn‘t peaked either, and appears attracting buying interest already. While $80 were breached, the commodity is getting ahead of itself on the downside – the oil sector doesn‘t confirm such weakness. Copper Copper has stabilized in the low 4.30s, and an upswing attempt is readying – its underperformance of CRB Index would get reversed. Bitcoin and Ethereum Bitcoin and Ethereum consolidation goes on, and nothing has changed since yesterday – stabilization followed by slow grind higher is what‘s most likely next. Summary S&P 500 stands to benefit from real economy revival, earnings projections and taper being conducted in the least disruptive way, apparently. Credit markets have made up their mind, and aren‘t protesting the risk-on sentiment, which has come from a temporary commodities retreat (hello, China). Inflation worries should though still return to the fore as the rising rates aren‘t as much a result of improving economy and yield spreads, which the precious metals are sensing already. Thank you for having read today‘s free analysis, which is available in full at my homesite. There, you can subscribe to the free Monica‘s Insider Club, which features real-time trade calls and intraday updates for all the five publications: Stock Trading Signals, Gold Trading Signals, Oil Trading Signals, Copper Trading Signals and Bitcoin Trading Signals. Thank you, Monica Kingsley Stock Trading Signals Gold Trading Signals Oil Trading Signals Copper Trading Signals Bitcoin Trading Signals www.monicakingsley.co mk@monicakingsley.co All essays, research and information represent analyses and opinions of Monica Kingsley that are based on available and latest data. Despite careful research and best efforts, it may prove wrong and be subject to change with or without notice. Monica Kingsley does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. Her content serves educational purposes and should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks and options are financial instruments not suitable for every investor. Please be advised that you invest at your own risk. Monica Kingsley is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading her writings, you agree that she will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make. Investing, trading and speculating in financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Monica Kingsley may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in her writings, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice. Updated on Nov 5, 2021, 11:31 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 5th, 2021