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Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

The wild life of billionaire Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who eats one meal a day, evangelizes about bitcoin, and had to defend his company in front of Congress

Jack Dorsey is expected to announce he is stepping down as CEO of Twitter, unnamed sources told CNBC. Jack Dorsey onstage at a bitcoin convention on June 4, 2021 in Miami, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Jack Dorsey cofounded Twitter in 2006, and the company has made him a billionaire. He is famous for his unusual life of luxury, including a daily fasting routine and regular ice baths. CNBC reported on Monday that Dorsey is expected to step down as CEO of Twitter, citing unnamed sources. Visit Business Insider's home page for more stories. From fighting armies of bots to quashing rumors about sending his beard hair to rapper Azealia Banks, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey leads an unusual life of luxury.Dorsey has had a turbulent career in Silicon Valley. After cofounding Twitter on March 21 2006, he was booted as the company's CEO two years later, but returned in 2015 having set up his second company, Square.Since then, he has led the company through the techlash that has engulfed social media companies, testifying before Congress multiple times.CNBC reported Monday that Dorsey is expected to announce he's stepping down as CEO, citing unnamed sources.Dorsey has provoked his fair share of controversy and criticism, extolling fasting and ice baths as part of his daily routine. His existence is not entirely spartan, however. Like some other billionaires, he owns a stunning house, dates models, and drives fast cars.Scroll on to read more about the fabulous life of Jack Dorsey.Rebecca Borison and Madeline Stone contributed reporting to an earlier version of this story.Dorsey began programming while attending Bishop DuBourg High School in St. Louis.VineAt age 15, Dorsey wrote dispatch software that is still used by some taxi companies.Source: Bio. When he wasn't checking out specialty electronics stores or running a fantasy football league for his friends, Dorsey frequently attended punk-rock concerts. @jackThese days Dorsey doesn't favour the spiky hairdo.Source: The Wall Street JournalLike many of his fellow tech billionaires, Dorsey never graduated college.edyson / FlickrHe briefly attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology and transferred to New York University before calling it quits.Source: Bio.In 2000, Dorsey built a simple prototype that let him update his friends on his life via BlackBerry and email messaging.joi / FlickrNobody else really seemed interested, so he put away the idea for a bit.Source: The Unofficial Stanford BlogFun fact: Jack Dorsey is also a licensed masseur.Getty Images/Bill PuglianoHe got his license in about 2002, before exploding onto the tech scene.Sources: The Wall Street JournalHe got a job at a podcasting company called Odeo, where he met his future Twitter cofounders.Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams took home the prize in the blogging category at SXSW in 2007.Flickr via Scott Beale/LaughingSquidOdeo went out of business in 2006, so Dorsey returned to his messaging idea, and Twitter was born.On March 21, 2006, Dorsey posted the first tweet.Jack Dorsey's first tweet.Twitter/@jackDorsey kept his Twitter handle simple, "@jack."Dorsey and his cofounders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, bought the Twitter domain name for roughly $7,000.Khalid Mohammed / AP ImagesDorsey took out his nose ring to look the part of a CEO. He was 30 years old.A year later, Dorsey was already less hands-on at Twitter. Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey.Wikimedia CommonsBy 2008, Williams had taken over as CEO, and Dorsey transitioned to chairman of Twitter's board. Dorsey immediately got started on new projects. He invested in Foursquare and launched a payments startup called Square that lets small-business owners accept credit card payments through a smartphone attachment.Sources: Twitter and Bio.In 2011, Dorsey got the chance to interview US President Barack Obama in the first Twitter Town Hall.President Obama talks to the audience next to Jack Dorsey during his first ever Twitter Town Hall.ReutersDorsey had to remind Obama to keep his replies under 140 characters, Twitter's limit at the time.Source: TwitterTwitter went public in November 2013, and within hours Dorsey was a billionaire.APIn 2014 Forbes pegged Dorsey's net worth at $2.2 billion. On the day it was reported he was expected to resign, Bloomberg's Billionaires Index calculated his net worth at $12.3 billion.Source: Bio. and ForbesIt was revealed in a 2019 filing that Dorsey earned just $1.40 for his job as Twitter CEO the previous year.Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who doesn't earn anything from his primary day job.David Becker / GettyThe $1.40 salary actually represented a pay rise for Dorsey, who in previous years had refused any payment at all.He's far from the only Silicon Valley mogul to take a measly salary - Mark Zuckerberg makes $1 a year as CEO of Facebook.Source: Business Insider He might have been worth more had he not given back 10% of his stock to Square.Jack Dorsey with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer, Veronica Smiley, and Kate Greer at the annual Allen and Co. conference at the Sun Valley, Idaho Resort in 2013.ReutersThis helped Square employees, giving them more equity and stock options. It was also helpful in acquiring online food-delivery startup Caviar.Sources: Business Insider and CaviarWith his newfound wealth, he bought a BMW 3 Series, but reportedly didn't drive it often.Alex Davies / Business Insider"Now he's able to say, like, 'The BMW is the only car I drive, because it's the best automotive engineering on the planet,' or whatever," Twitter cofounder Biz Stone told The New Yorker in 2013.Source: The New YorkerHe also reportedly paid $9.9 million for this seaside house on El Camino Del Mar in the exclusive Seacliff neighborhood of San Francisco.The Real Estalker via Sotheby'sThe house has a view of the Golden Gate Bridge, which Dorsey views as a marvel of design.Source: Business InsiderBefore the pandemic, Dorsey said he worked from home one day a week.Jack Dorsey's home setup.Twitter/@jackIn an interview with journalist Kara Swisher conducted over Twitter, Dorsey said he worked every Tuesday out of his kitchen.He also told Kara Swisher that Elon Musk is his favorite Twitter user.Elon Musk is a prolific tweeter.PewDiePie/YouTubeDorsey said Musk's tweets are, "focused on solving existential problems and sharing his thinking openly."He added that he enjoys all the "ups and downs" that come with Musk's sometimes unpredictable use of the site. Musk himself replied, tweeting his thanks and "Twitter rocks!" followed by a string of random emojis.Source: Business InsiderFacebook CEO and rival Mark Zuckerberg once served Jack Dorsey a goat he killed himself.Gene KimDorsey told Rolling Stone about the meal, which took place in 2011. Dorsey said the goat was served cold, and that he personally stuck to salad.Source: Rolling StoneHis eating habits have raised eyebrows.Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25Appearing on a podcast run by a health guru who previously said that vaccines caused autism, Dorsey said he eats one meal a day and fasts all weekend. He said the first time he tried fasting it made him feel like he was hallucinating."It was a weird state to be in. But as I did it the next two times, it just became so apparent to me how much of our days are centered around meals and how — the experience I had was when I was fasting for much longer, how time really slowed down," he said.The comments drew fierce criticism from many who said Dorsey was normalizing eating disorders.In a later interview with Wired, Dorsey said he eats seven meals a week, "just dinner."Sources: Business Insider, The New StatesmanIn the early days of Twitter, Dorsey aspired to be a fashion designer.Cindy Ord / Getty Images, Franck MichelDorsey would regularly don leather jackets and slim suits by Prada and Hermès, as well as Dior Homme reverse-collar dress shirts, a sort of stylish take on the popped collar.More recently he favors edgier outfits, including the classic black turtleneck favored by Silicon Valley luminaries like Steve Jobs.Sources: CBS News and The Wall Street JournalHe also re-introduced the nose-ring and grew a beard.GettyDorsey seems to care less about looking the part of a traditional CEO these days.Singer Azealia Banks claimed to have been sent clippings of Dorsey's beard hair to fashion into a protective amulet, although Dorsey denied this happened.Azealia Banks.GettyIn 2016, Banks posted on her now-deleted Twitter account that Dorsey sent her his hair, "in an envelope." Dorsey later told the HuffPo that the beard-posting incident never happened.Sources: Business Insider and HuffPoDorsey frequently travels the world and shares his photos with his 6 million Twitter followers.Jack Dorsey meeting Japanese Prime Minister Sinzo Abe.Twitter/@JPN_PMOOn his travels, Dorsey meets heads of state, including Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.Source: TwitterTweets about his vacation in Myanmar also provoked an outcry.Bagan, Myanmar.Shutterstock/Martin M303Dorsey tweeted glowingly about a vacation he took to Myanmar for his birthday in December 2018. "If you're willing to travel a bit, go to Myanmar," he said.This came at the height of the Rohingya crisis, and Dorsey was attacked for his blithe promotion of the country — especially since social media platforms were accused of having been complicit in fuelling hatred towards the Rohingya.Source: Business InsiderHowever, Dorsey says he doesn't care about "looking bad."FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump welcomes South Korea’s President Moon to the White House in WashingtonReutersIn a bizarre Huffington Post interview in 2019, Dorsey was asked whether Donald Trump — an avid tweeter — could be removed from the platform if he called on his followers to murder a journalist. Dorsey gave a vague answer which drew sharp criticism.Following the interview's publication, Dorsey said he doesn't care about "looking bad.""I care about being open about how we're thinking and about what we see," he added.In September 2018, Jack Dorsey was grilled by lawmakers alongside Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey are sworn-in for a Senate Intelligence Committee.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesDorsey and Sandberg were asked about election interference on Twitter and Facebook as well as alleged anti-conservative bias in social media companies.Source: Business InsiderDuring the hearing, Dorsey shared a snapshot of his spiking heart rate on Twitter.AP Photo/Jose Luis MaganaDorsey was in the hot seat for several hours. His heart rate peaked at 109 beats per minute.Source: Business InsiderDorsey testified before Congress once again on October 28, 2020.Jack Dorsey tuning into the hearing with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation/Handout via REUTERSDorsey appeared via videoconference at the Senate hearing on Section 230, a part of US law that protects internet companies from legal liability for user-generated content, as well as giving them broad authority to decide how to moderate their own platforms.In prepared testimony ahead of the hearing, Dorsey said stripping back Section 230 would "collapse how we communicate on the Internet," and suggested ways for tech companies to make their moderation processes more transparent. During the hearing, Dorsey once again faced accusations of anti-conservative biasJack Dorsey appearing virtually at the hearing.Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty ImagesThe accusations from Republican lawmakers focused on the way Twitter enforces its policies, particularly the way it has labelled tweets from President Trump compared to other world leaders.Dorsey took the brunt of questions from lawmakers, even though he appeared alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.Source: ProtocolDuring the hearing, the length of Dorsey's beard drew fascination from pundits.Dorsey had to address accusations of censorship.Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERSSome users referred to Dorsey's facial hair as his "quarantine beard," while others said it made him look like a wizard.—rat king (@MikeIsaac) October 28, 2020—Taylor Hatmaker (@tayhatmaker) October 28, 2020"Jack Dorsey's beard is literally breaking Twitter's own face detection," posted cybersecurity blogging account @Swiftonsecurity.—SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) October 28, 2020 Dorsey also addressed the way Twitter dealt with a dubiously sourced New York Post story about Hunter Biden.Jack Dorsey appearing on-screen at the hearing.Greg Nash/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAYWhen the New York Post published a report about Hunter Biden on October 14 that threw up red flags about sourcing, Twitter blocked users from sharing URLs citing its "hacked materials" policy.Dorsey subsequently apologized publicly, saying it was wrong of Twitter to block URLs.—jack (@jack) October 16, 2020During the Senate hearing, Sen. Ted Cruz accused Twitter of taking the "unilateral decision to censor" the Post.Dorsey said the Post's Twitter account would remain locked until it deleted its original tweet, but that updated policies meant it could tweet the same story again without getting blocked.Source: Business InsiderDorsey had to appear before another hearing on November 17 2020 — this time about how Twitter handled content moderation around the 2020 presidential election.U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee via REUTERS/File PhotoDorsey was summoned alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg by Republicans who were displeased with how the platforms had dealt with then-President Donald Trump's social media accounts. Both CEOs defended their companies, saying they are politically neutral.When he's not in Washington, Dorsey regularly hops in and out of ice baths and saunas.This is not Dorsey's sauna.ShutterstockDorsey said in the "Tales of the Crypt" podcast that he started using ice baths and saunas in the evenings around 2016.He will alternately sit in his barrel sauna for 15 minutes and then switch to an ice bath for three. He repeats this routine three times, before finishing it off with a one-minute ice bath.He also likes to take an icy dip in the mornings to wake him up.Source: CNBCDorsey's dating life has sparked intrigue. In 2018, he was reported to be dating Sports Illustrated model Raven Lyn Corneil.Sports Illustrated Swimsuit / YouTube / GettyPage Six reported in September 2018 that the pair were spotted together at the Harper's Bazaar Icons party during New York Fashion Week. Page Six also reported that Dorsey's exes included actress Lily Cole and ballet dancer Sofiane Sylve.Source: Page SixHe's a big believer in cryptocurrency, frequently tweeting about its virtues.Teresa Kroeger/Getty ImagesIn particular, Dorsey is a fan of Bitcoin, which he described in early 2019 as "resilient" and "principled." He told the "Tales of the Crypt" podcast in March that year that he was maxing out the $10,000 weekly spending limit on Square's Cash App buying up Bitcoin.In October 2020 he slammed Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong for forbidding employee activism at the company, saying cryptocurrency is itself a form of activism.—jack (@jack) September 30, 2020 Source: Business Insider, Business Insider and CNBC Dorsey said Square is launching a new bitcoin business.Square CEO Jack Dorsey speaks at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, a crypto-currency conference held on June 4, 2021 in Miami, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesDorsey announced the new venture in a tweet on July 15, 2021 and said its name was "TBD." It wasn't clear whether that was its actual name, or Dorsey hasn't decided on a name yet.—jack (@jack) July 15, 2021 Dorsey said he hopes bitcoin can help bring about "world peace."Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on stage at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention, a crypto-currency conference in Miami.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesDorsey appeared alongside Elon Musk and Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood during a panel called "The B Word" on July 2021. He said he loves the bitcoin community because it's "weird as hell.""It's the only reason that I have a career — because I learned so much from people like who are building bitcoin today," Dorsey said.At the end of 2019 Dorsey said he would move to Africa for at least three months in 2020.AP Photo/Francois MoriDorsey's announcement followed a tour of Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. "Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). Not sure where yet, but I'll be living here for 3-6 months mid 2020," he tweeted. Dorsey then came under threat of being ousted as Twitter CEO by activist investor Elliott Management.Paul Singer, founder and president of Elliott Management.REUTERS/Mike Blake/File PhotoBoth Bloomberg and CNBC reported in late February 2020 that major Twitter investor Elliott Management — led by Paul Singer — was seeking to replace Dorsey. Reasons given included the fact that Dorsey splits his time between two firms by acting as CEO to both Twitter and financial tech firm Square, as well as his planned move to Africa.Source: Business InsiderTesla CEO and frequent Twitter user Elon Musk weighed in on the news, throwing his support behind Dorsey.Tesla CEO Elon Musk.REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke"Just want to say that I support @jack as Twitter CEO," Musk tweeted, adding that Dorsey has a good heart, using the heart emoji.Source: Business InsiderDorsey managed to strike a truce with Elliott Management.AP Photo/Jose Luis MaganaTwitter announced on March 9, 2020 that it had reached a deal with Elliott Management which would leave Jack Dorsey in place as CEO.The deal included a $1 billion investment from private equity firm Silver Lake, and partners from both Elliott Management and Silver Lake joined Twitter's board.Patrick Pichette, lead independent director of Twitter's board, said he was "confident we are on the right path with Jack's leadership," but added that a new temporary committee would be formed to instruct the board's evaluation of Twitter's leadership.In April 2020, Dorsey announced that he was forming a new charity fund that would help in global relief efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic.Dorsey.Matt Crossick/PA Images via Getty ImagesDorsey said he would pour $1 billion of his own Square equity into the fund, or roughly 28% of his total wealth at the time. The fund, dubbed Start Small LLC, would first focus on helping in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, he said.The CEO said he would be making all transactions on behalf of the fund public in a spreadsheet.In July 2020, hackers compromised 130 Twitter accounts in a bitcoin scam.TwitterThe accounts of high-profile verified accounts belonging to Bill Gates, Kim Kardashian West, and others were hacked, with attackers tweeting out posts asking users to send payment in bitcoin to fraudulent cryptocurrency addresses.As a solution, Twitter temporarily blocked all verified accounts — those with blue check marks on their profiles — but the damage was done.  Elon Musk said he personally contacted Dorsey following the hack.Elon Musk (left) and Dorsey.Susan Walsh/AP; Getty ImagesDuring a July 2020 interview with The New York Times, Musk said he had immediately called Dorsey after he learned about the hack."Within a few minutes of the post coming up, I immediately got texts from a bunch of people I know, then I immediately called Jack so probably within less than five minutes my account was locked," said Musk.Source: The New York TimesIn March 2021 Dorsey put his first-ever tweet up for auction.Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, off camera, testify during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Dirksen Building where they testified on the influence of foreign operations on social media on September 5, 2018Tom Williams/CQ Roll CallAs the craze for Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) gathered momentum, Dorsey announced he was auctioning his first tweet for charity. It was bought for $2.9 million by Hakan Estavi, chief executive at at Bridge Oracle. Dorsey said proceeds from the auction would go to Give Directly's Africa response.CNBC reported on November 29 that Dorsey is expected to step down as CEO of Twitter.Jack Dorsey co-founder and chairman of Twitter and co-founder and CEO of Square.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesAn undisclosed number of sources told CNBC's David Faber Dorsey is expected to announce he will step down as CEO, CNBC reported Monday.Twitter did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 29th, 2021

Inside the New Basketball League Paying High Schoolers Six-Figure Salaries

A lot is riding on Overtime Elite’s fate Most high school hoops players across America—if they’re lucky—travel to their games in a yellow school bus. They might—if they’re lucky—compete in front of the local junior college scout. But members of Overtime Elite, the new professional basketball league for 16-to-19-year old stars, arrive in style, to play before a far more influential audience. On a crisp autumn morning in Atlanta, more than two dozen Overtime Elite (OTE) pros, who make at least six-figure salaries, stepped off a stretch limo bus, one by one. The players entered the brand-new 103,000 sq.-ft. facility built by Overtime, a five-year-old digital sports media startup that developed a huge following after posting Zion Williamson’s high school dunks on Instagram. Waiting for them at OTE’s inaugural “pro day”: some 60 pro scouts, including reps from 29 out of 30 NBA teams, sitting along the sideline and behind the baskets. They leafed through the scouting packet provided by OTE, which included information like the wingspan and hand width of each player plus advanced statistics on their performances during preseason scrimmages, whispering to one another about which ones they were excited to see. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Andrew Hetherington for TIMEEmmanuel Maldonado, Ryan Bewley, Bryce Griggs, Jalen Lewis of Overtime Elite taking a quick break from warm ups at the practice courts at the OTE arena. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEPlayers stretch next to practice courts at the OTE arena. As the league’s coaching staff led players through NBA-style drills, the scouts eyed Amen and Ausar Thompson, a set of rangy 6-ft. 7-in. twins from Florida who skipped their senior year of high school to join OTE. The brothers made clever dribble moves, before driving down the lane to throw down thunderous dunks. “The Thompson twins are obviously top talents,” says ESPN draft guru Jonathan Givony, who was also in Atlanta for the OTE pro day. “Those guys are ready to be seriously considered as NBA draft picks.” OTE made a strong first impression, but the evaluators universally agreed that not all of the 26 OTE players in the gym were bound for the NBA. Given the supply of global talent chasing that dream, and the precious few spots available, elementary math suggests such an outcome is all but impossible. The coaching came across as high-level. Anton Marshand, a scout for the Cleveland Cavaliers, expects to make frequent trips to Atlanta this season. “For us to be able to evaluate them now and see their growth over time, that’s the key,” says Marshand. “It’s a pro environment.” Andrew Hetherington for TIMEAmen Thompson (#1) of Team OTE on the show court at the OTE arena. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEAusur Thompson and Amen Thompson chat after practice. OTE is launching at a landmark moment in the history of American sports. For decades, talented teenagers in fields like acting and music could monetize their unique gifts by signing lucrative, life-changing financial agreements. But archaic rules and attitudes largely kept athletes from doing the same, preventing them from cashing in until they reached major pro leagues like the NFL or the NBA. Those restrictions are now going the way of the peach basket. In June, the Supreme Court captured these shifting assumptions concerning athletic amateurism in a ruling that prevents the NCAA from capping education-related benefits. In a scathing concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that the business model of the NCAA, an organization that has long kept college athletes from being paid—despite the millions in revenue many of them generate for their institutions—would be “flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.” About a week later, the NCAA, with public opinion and the highest court in the land turning against its outdated notions of amateurism, relented, and allowed college athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses. Read More: Why The NCAA Should Be Terrified Of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh’s Concurrence Naturally, businesses—many of them upstart tech platforms—have stepped into the fray, hoping to turn a profit by helping young athletes cash in on new opportunities. Brands like Icon Source, INFLCR and PWRFWD are promising to open up sponsorship opportunities, build social media presence and sell the merchandise of college athletes. A company called Opendorse aims to connect athletes with sponsorship opportunities—not unlike, say, how Uber connects drivers with riders, or Airbnb matches hosts and vacationers. With the loosening of name, image and likeness, or NIL, restrictions, Opendorse expects to quadruple its annual revenue in 2021 to more than $20 million. Tim Derdenger, a professor at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, estimates that the NIL market for college athletes alone could reach more than $1 billion in five years. But by betting on the popularity of high school basketball players, Overtime is taking a more radical, and potentially transformative, approach. Overtime’s pitch to players: forget college basketball. OTE promises to pay six-figure salaries and offer access to high-level coaching and skill development in a sports-academy setting, to prepare athletes for a pro career. OTE has also hired teachers and academic administrators so that players can secure their high school diplomas. The operation has financial backing from an All-Star investor lineup, which includes Jeff Bezos’ Bezos Expeditions fund, Drake, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and a slew of NBA players like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Trae Young. In March, Overtime raised $80 million. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEPlayers take classes at a WeWork space in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEBryce Griggs and TJ Clark leave the locker room on to the OTE practice courts in Atlanta. Signing with OTE isn’t a decision players take lightly. Under current NCAA rules, athletes with OTE contracts are classified as professional players who have forfeited any eligibility to play college basketball, an enterprise that, despite all its flaws, is a proven path to lifelong educational benefits and the NBA. If an OTE player does not make it to the NBA or secure a professional gig overseas, Overtime is pledging to kick in $100,000 to pay for a student’s college education. “You can’t beat that,” says Bryson Warren, a would-be high school junior from Arkansas who’s eligible for the 2024 NBA draft. “At the end of the day, I can still be a doctor and make NBA money.” For some, however, the OTE deal sounds almost too good to be true. At pro day, the same scouts who looked up to the ceiling of OTE’s airplane-hangar-size structure in wonder, asked the same question: How is OTE going to survive? The sports landscape is littered with failed professional leagues. Overtime has spent millions on a school, a coaching and basketball operations and performance staff rivaling that of NBA teams, not to mention salaries and housing for its players and a massive new structure. Dan Porter, Overtime’s CEO and co-founder, has heard all the skepticism. “Everyone wonders, What’s the business model?” he says. Porter points to OTE’s late-October opening weekend of games as a sign of the league’s promise: he says OTE content generated 23 million views, and 8.8 million total engagements, across social media. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEJai Smith of Team Elite makes his pre-game entrance on the inaugural night of games at the show court at the OTE arena. What’s more, now that top prospects can sign lucrative sponsorship deals while at proven collegiate powers like Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas, OTE may have to increase salary offers, further driving up its costs. And if Overtime’s marketing prowess helps the players build enough of a social media following to make OTE profitable, will that focus on building brands deter from their athletic development? OTE’s bottom line alone can’t thrive; the company needs to produce NBA draft picks. “We told kids when we recruited them,” says OTE director of scouting Tim Fuller, “our national championship is when you shake [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver’s hand.” A lot is riding on OTE’s fate. Success has potential to create economic empowerment and more options for young, mostly Black athletes who for far too long have been funneled into a system that mostly enriches white coaches and administrators, but not them. It could spawn copycats across sports (with the unintended consequence of further igniting the hyperspecialized, hypercompetitive $19 billion youth sports feeder system that often offers parents a false sense of their kids’ pro potential). OTE’s failure, however, might not cost just Bezos and Drake a rounding error of their overall wealth. Much worse, this disruptive idea could derail dreams. A new model OTE placed its recruiting call to Troy Thompson in the spring, at a fortuitous time. Troy’s twin sons, Amen and Ausar, had just played nearly 30 games over five weeks on the AAU circuit, where overuse injuries are becoming more common. The boys, who were based in Florida, had traveled to Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Missouri and Georgia during this swing. They were able to showcase their ability, but the twins barely had time to practice on the all too common travel sports grind. Were they actually improving? “OTE called right when my mind was going, ‘O.K., I’ve got to find a way to slow this thing down,’” says Troy. The OTE offer—a six-figure salary, plus the emphasis on player development in an academy setting—sounded attractive. “It’s like we’re getting to fast-forward their dreams,” says Troy, who works in security. Ausar was on board. Amen, however, took a little more convincing. “He’s hardheaded,” Ausar says of his twin brother, who was sitting next to him during an OTE post–pro day brunch of pancakes, shrimp, lobster, grits and potatoes, served at a Georgia Tech off-campus apartment complex that houses the OTE players. (It abuts a golf course, and includes a leafy courtyard and a pool.) Amen was looking forward to chasing another high school state title. He had always dreamed of playing college basketball, even as a “one-and-done” player who enters the NBA draft after freshman year. Kansas, Florida, Auburn and Alabama had already offered the twins basketball scholarships, and Kentucky had reached out with interest. “It’s just what I’ve known,” Amen says of college basketball. “And it’s shown to be proven.” After “a million conversations,” says Amen, he was on board. He ultimately thought he had outgrown scholastic competition. In Atlanta, the Thompsons mention to TIME that they have just missed their final high school homecoming. But Amen insists he’s still going to prom. “I’m just going to walk in,” says Amen. He quickly realizes party crashing won’t be so simple. “As soon as I left the school, they didn’t let me shoot in the gym anymore,” says Amen. “So, actually, I will need to have a date [from the school] to prom.” Adjusting to Atlanta took some time. At first, Troy says, his sons complained about the OTE curfew. According to OTE’s dean of athlete experience and culture, former 10-year NBA veteran Damien Wilkins, during the week players must be in the residence building at 10 p.m., and in their apartments at 11 p.m. But Amen and Ausar have gotten accustomed to the rules, and they insist they have no regrets about forgoing their senior year of high school, and the potential to win a national championship in college, to join OTE. Troy believes them. “I guess they’re loving it where they are,” he says. “Because, guess what? Dad hardly ever gets a phone call.” The OTE weekday starts around 9 a.m. when the players arrive—on the limo bus—at school. (Starting in early November, classes will be held at the OTE facility; before then, while building construction was being completed, the classes took place at a WeWork space in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood.) On an October day, one group of students are solving radical expressions in math; in social studies, a trio of players listen to a lecture about English colonial labor systems. A skeleton stands in a common area: the science teacher is reviewing anatomy. Students work on their “persuasive essays,” which they must turn into a 30–60 second commercial spot. Ausar, reading from a marble notebook, touts the benefits of water aerobics: “Who doesn’t love fun times in the pool?” Amen has picked stretching. “Remember, stretching over stress,” Amen says, snapping his fingers and pointing to the camera. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEPlayers take classes at a WeWork space in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEOvertime Elite players relax between classes at the WeWork space. Academics last around 3.5 to 4 hours a day, before the players grab lunch and head to basketball practice. Class sizes are small: the student-teacher ratio rarely exceeds 4 to 1. OTE’s academic head, Maisha Riddlesprigger—Washington, D.C’s. 2019 principal of the year—has heard too many times for her liking the assumption that OTE’s academic component serves as window dressing. “I think that comes from this deficit mindset that you can’t be an athlete and a scholar at the same time,” says Riddlesprigger. Veteran educator Marcus Harden, OTE’s senior administrator for academics and development, admits he worried that these high school juniors and seniors with healthy bank accounts and pro basketball ambitions would tune out classwork. And while some OTE players are more invested in school than others—fighting student phone-scrolling habits in class is an ongoing battle—Harden insists that overall, the students have exceeded expectations. “We would be negligent if we sent them out into the world with fake diplomas,” says Harden. “Even with the short day, I can say we’re doing this with integrity.” For the sake of students who might not make it in basketball, OTE must deliver on this promise. Still, former NBA player Len Elmore, a Harvard Law School grad and current senior lecturer at Columbia University’s sports management program, worries that even if the players who get injured or don’t pan out do return to college, they still might be worse off—savings accounts notwithstanding. “Come on, we’re talking about 17- and 18-year-olds who now have fizzled out at their dream,” says Elmore. “And now you expect them to go to a college that they were recruited by, or that they could have been recruited by, and enroll and go to class and watch other guys playing college basketball, knowing that they could have done that? That to me could also create some mental health issues.” ‘It’s lit’ When Porter, the OTE CEO, was head of digital at superagency WME in 2016, he spotted a shift in the way Gen-Z and younger millennials consumed sports content. Young people were less interested in sitting in front of a TV to watch live basketball or football games. They craved stories, personalities and highlights. They wanted it on demand, on their mobile devices, specifically on the social media platforms that spoke best to them, like Instagram. Porter co-founded Overtime late that year, focusing at first on high school basketball. A proprietary technology allowed videographers to shoot clips in gyms across the country and upload them to the cloud; the company’s social media editors fired off their favorite highlights. Williamson, who despite being built like an offensive lineman could throw down 360-degree slams on his comically inferior schoolboy competition, emerged as Overtime’s first star. The company built a young digitally-native cult following that has grown to more than 50 million followers across Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and other platforms. “If you are an ESPN or a traditional publisher, you can’t appeal to a young audience with a bunch of traditional sports programming,” says Porter. “You also can’t go on your accounts, and be like, ‘It’s lit,’ and a bunch of 50-year-old guys who are looking to figure out who they are going to start on their fantasy team are like, ‘I don’t understand what this is.’” Read more: As College Athletes Finally Start Cashing In, Entrepreneurs Big And Small Also Look To Score Overtime has since branched out into e-commerce, as well as longer-form programming, like a documentary about current Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields that lives on YouTube (and attracted some 426,000 views). Blue-chip companies like Gatorade, McDonald’s and Nike have advertised on the platform; Rocket Mortgage sponsored a post in which Miami Dolphins rookie wide receiver Jaylen Waddle looks for houses in South Florida. When Overtime was recruiting former Sacramento Kings and Philadelphia 76ers exec Brandon Williams to run OTE’s basketball operations, Williams, who was previously unfamiliar with the brand, knew he needed to consider the offer when his 10-year-old son gushed over the Overtime stickers that were sitting on his desk—he told Dad Overtime was kind of a big deal. Later, when some little kid spotted Williams wearing an Overtime shirt at an airport, the boy curved his hands into an “O”—a reference to the Overtime logo—as if approving Williams’ youth cred. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEBryce Griggs of OTE with the ball during the inaugural night of games in the show court at the OTE arena. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEThe OTE bench watches the game at the show court at the OTE arena A few factors coalesced to give birth to Overtime Elite. For one thing, Porter got weary of hearing feedback from college basketball programs that they appreciated Overtime giving their recruits exposure on the high school level, since the schools could then capitalize on their popularity. “I’m like, ‘That’s good for you, but that’s not very good for me,’” says Porter. An Overtime-branded league could keep personalities in the company’s ecosystem and give the startup a valuable piece of intellectual property. And the experience of another early Overtime star, current Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, opened Porter’s eyes. Ball spent one of his high school years—and part of the season he would have typically spent in college before becoming eligible for the NBA draft—playing overseas in Lithuania and Australia. He became the third overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft, and won last season’s rookie of the year honors. To Porter, Ball’s experience proved that talented players were willing to try a different path to the NBA. Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who passed away in January 2020, initially told Porter and Overtime’s other co-founder, Zack Weiner, that they were crazy. Overtime already had a compelling core business, and Stern knew from experience the hassles of running a sports league. But Stern eventually came around to the idea; his son, Eric, is one of OTE’s investors. Overtime Elite has signed multiyear, multimillion-dollar sponsorship agreements with Gatorade and State Farm. Both companies have prominent signage at the 1,100-seat “OTE Arena,” which is also part of the 103,000-sq.- ft. structure in Atlanta. OTE’s showcase court, which hosted its first set of games on Oct. 29, features LED lights and a Jumbotron. Topps is producing trading cards for OTE players; Porter says that “hundreds of thousands of dollars’” worth of cards have already sold, and that they should start appearing in Walmart, and hopefully Target, in December or January. Some NFT initiatives are sure to follow. OTE is not live-streaming games yet—Porter wants to create scarcity and buzz—but the content team is creating a mix of highlight packages and an episodic behind-the-scenes docuseries on the players. Overtime—which has yet to turn a profit—expects annual revenue to reach up to $300 million in five years, with Overtime Elite bringing in about a third of that haul. The company, and its investors, are betting that Overtime’s built-in brand notoriety and audience will differentiate OTE from other upstart sports leagues that have failed. “We don’t have that same kind of cold-start problem,” says Porter. ‘Dunk lines for content’ But the high stakes aren’t limited to Overtime’s bottom line. Players are placing their futures in the company’s hands, which puts the onus on OTE’s basketball development staff to ensure that, at worst, each player receives at least a lucrative pro offer overseas. The players do have impressive tools at their disposal. During one practice, for example, a biomechanical engineering Ph.D. rushes to tuck a microchip into the shorts of a few players: this technology allows OTE’s four-person analytics and data science team, led by applied math PhD. and former Philadelphia 76ers researcher Ivana Seric, to track how far and fast players move during practices. This information allows the coaches to better control wear and tear. Cameras atop each shot clock on the OTE practice courts can show, for example, how far to the left or right players are missing their shots. They can adjust accordingly. A 10-person on-court coaching staff, led by former UConn coach Kevin Ollie (who won the 2014 men’s national championship with the Huskies) fans out at four different baskets during practice, allowing players to work on team concepts, like defending screens and pick-and-rolls, and individual skills (they take ample corner threes and floaters, both key tricks of the NBA trade). Like any upstart, however, OTE has experienced hiccups. When Porter came to visit the academic session, a couple of players were unafraid to point out to him that the flimsy boxed roast beef and cheese sandwiches served for lunch—they may have fit it at the Fyre Festival—were subpar nourishment before practice. “This looks scary,” Porter admitted, eyeing the sandwich. “I wouldn’t eat it.” OTE launched in March, and settled on Atlanta as its home in May, meaning the facility, which comes chock-full of amenities like two oversize bathtubs for recovery and a players’ lounge and NFL-size weight room—as well as classroom and office space—needed to be constructed in five months. A few days before OTE’s opening games Halloween weekend, Ollie shouted instructions at practice over hardhats’ drilling; construction detritus forced one door to remain open, allowing a cool Georgia draft to accompany the players on the practice floor. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEKevin Ollie, Head Coach and Director of Player Development of the OTE coaches Team Elite during the inaugural night of games at the show court at the OTE arena. Andrew Hetherington for TIMEYoung fans in the stands watch the action at the OTE arena. While OTE deserves credit for executing its vision so quickly, it could be trying too much too soon. “They’re kind of building the parachute after they jumped out of the plane here,” says Dr. Marcus Elliott, founder and director of P3, a southern California-based sports science institute that provides advanced biomechanical analyses of elite athletes. Ollie was unhappy with this team’s effort at the first practice after pro day—and let the players know it. The energy was far from NBA-level, he told them. This scolding didn’t stop some of the players from lining up near a basket afterward, to show off their leaping ability for Overtime’s ubiquitous cameras. “Dunk lines for content,” said an OTE staffer who was looking on. Dunk lines for content. You probably couldn’t find a more fitting phrase to encapsulate the year 2021 in sports media and culture. Or a more spot-on reminder that kids are placing their basketball gifts in the hands of a digital marketing juggernaut. “I see the potential of this disruption to lead to a much more just and better world for these young athletes,” says Elliott. “But I also see lots of peril. It’s not about getting paid 100 grand to play as a 16- or 17-year-old. It’s about getting your second or third contract in the NBA. And those are challenging and sophisticated blueprints to put together. And so the fact that their DNA has nothing to do with development, that’s concerning.” Andrew Hetherington for TIMEA player hangs onto the net at the OTE practice courts. Overtime insists all incentives align. The company has hired experts like Ollie and the data scientists because the growth of OTE’s business hinges on the Thompson twins, and others, achieving their basketball dreams. After practice, Amen watches film with an OTE assistant coach; Ausar takes part in a small group shooting session that ends at 6 p.m. They both know that to make it to the next level, they must improve on their outside shooting. “I’m going to be in the gym,” says Ausar. “I have nothing better to do. I don’t do anything in Atlanta. I just chill in my room and watch basketball.” Amen and Ausar have talked to each other about backup careers; they both believe they’d be solid hoops commentators. But that can wait. When asked where they both see themselves in two years, neither brother hesitates. Nor do any of the OTE players when asked about their futures. “The NBA.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 9th, 2021

In 2022, "Things Aren"t Gonna Get Done" On An Absolutely Massive Scale

In 2022, "Things Aren't Gonna Get Done" On An Absolutely Massive Scale Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com, Are we about to witness one of the greatest self-inflicted economic wounds in history?  Vaccine mandate deadlines are starting to arrive, and large numbers of very qualified people are losing their jobs as a result.  Of course this comes at a very bad time, because we are already in the midst of the most epic worker shortage in U.S. history.  Despite the biggest hiring push that I have ever seen in my entire lifetime, businesses all over America are still desperate for workers.  The funny thing is that lots of available workers should theoretically be out there somewhere.  The number of Americans that are currently working is still about five million less than the peak that was hit just before the pandemic arrived.  So where did all of those missing workers go?  That is a question that we desperately need an answer for, because millions of workers seem to have evaporated from the system.  Now the vaccine mandates are going to make things far worse, because millions of Americans that are actually good at their jobs are going to be ruthlessly terminated, and finding replacements for them is going to be exceedingly difficult. For instance, you can’t just pull guys off the street and have them fly planes.  Very soon, large numbers of pilots will be sent packing on a permanent basis, and pilots for American Airlines gave us a taste of what is coming by engaging in a “sick out” over the weekend… American Airlines canceled another 634 flights on Sunday, more than 12% of its total operations for the day, the company said Sunday. The airline has now canceled more than 1,500 flights since Friday, as it deals with weather issues and staffing shortages that started last week. Of course American Airlines is trying to blame “the weather” for these canceled flights, but everyone knows what is really going on. And I greatly applaud the pilots for taking a stand. If these airlines don’t reverse their mandates, pretty soon we will have widespread air travel headaches on a permanent basis in this nation. In New York City, Friday was the deadline for municipal workers to get vaccinated, and more than 26,000 of them have refused to comply… Twenty-six percent of municipal employees in New York City were still unvaccinated following a Friday deadline that mandated workers get the COVID-19 vaccine. A significant jump in vaccinations occurred among city employees due to the deadline, the city said, according to The Associated Press, but more than 26,000 workers have not uploaded proof of their vaccination status and face unpaid leave as a result. Moving forward, all of the work that those 26,000 workers used to do simply will not get done. Already, a total of 26 fire companies have had to be completely shut down… The FDNY shuttered 26 fire companies citywide on Saturday due to staff shortages caused by the COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to furious elected officials, who ripped the move as “unconscionable” — and warned it could have catastrophic consequences. So will this cost lives? Of course it will. In fact, a seven-year-old boy just died in an apartment fire… A seven-year-old boy died and his grandmother was seriously injured in an apartment fire in New York City as the FDNY deals with staff shortages in response to a vaccine mandate. Firefighters responded to a 1:30 a.m. call Saturday at a building in Washington Heights, where fire broke out in the building superintendent’s basement apartment. First responders quickly contained and extinguished the fire. Meanwhile, trash is starting to pile up around the city at a very alarming rate… Trash bags can be spotted all over the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, where some residents said that it has been days since their trash was last picked up. A few said they realized something was off earlier in the week, as one missed pickup happens, but they started to think there was a problem after the second missed time. On both residential streets and commercial areas, the trash bags on the sidewalk are piled several feet high in some instances. One resident who has lived in the area for about 40 years said she has never seen the area as dirty as has been the past few days. So what is the city going to look and smell like in a few months once we get into the early portion of 2022? The sad thing is that none of this had to happen. The vaccine mandates are absurd, and they are going to cause enormous problems all over the country. Countless supply chain workers are going to be pulled out of our supply chains in the coming months, and we are already facing painful shortages from coast to coast… Supermarket chains are revamping their operations to navigate persistent product shortages, expanding storage space and curbing discounts to make sure they don’t run out. Companies are planning for shortages of popular brands of food and staples to continue for months and managers are trying to keep up as different products run short from week to week, industry executives said. A lot of Americans are still expecting these shortages to go away eventually, but Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is now admitting that there will be supply chain problems “as long as the pandemic continues”… Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the supply chain crisis will continue at least until the COVID-19 pandemic ends amid fears of shortages ahead of the winter holidays. ‘There are definitely going to continue to be issues, especially as long as the pandemic continues,’ Buttigieg told Fox News Sunday. ‘If you have, for example, the third-largest container port in the world in China shutting down because of a COVID outbreak in late summer you’ll feel that in the fall here on the West coast.’ Of course there is no end in sight for the pandemic.  The virus is constantly mutating, and any immunity to it is very temporary. So just like the common cold and the flu, COVID will be with us indefinitely. If Biden administration officials want to reverse recent polling trends, they better find a way to address our supply chain issues, because right now their numbers are really dismal.  Here is just one example… “Americans have lost their confidence in President Joe Biden and their optimism for the country.” That, according to Chuck Todd, is the top takeaway from a just-released NBC News poll out Sunday. Breaking down the numbers on Meet the Press, Todd pointed to data from the survey that he deemed “shocking.” “Just 22 percent of adults say [the U.S. is] headed in the right direction,” Todd reported. “A shocking 71 percent say we’re on the wrong track.” The only surprise from that survey is that there are 22 percent of Americans that are still gullible enough to have a positive outlook. The Democrats have cooked up a recipe for national suicide, and they are setting the stage for so many of the things that I warned about in my latest book. If Joe Biden had any sense, he would rescind all nationwide vaccine mandates immediately. But he isn’t going to do that. And major cities like New York and Los Angeles are not going to rescind their mandates either. So “things are not gonna get done” on an absolutely massive scale in 2022, and we will all suffer deeply as a result. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/01/2021 - 17:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 1st, 2021

Soho gets a taste of what could be with new Vision Plan

Soho residents are getting a chance to see how their neighborhood could look if a new “Vision Plan” aimed at turning some of its congested streets into pedestrian plazas and reclaiming Broome Street from Holland Tunnel traffic gets the green light. Every Saturday throughout October, the local BID, the SoHo... The post Soho gets a taste of what could be with new Vision Plan appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Soho residents are getting a chance to see how their neighborhood could look if a new “Vision Plan” aimed at turning some of its congested streets into pedestrian plazas and reclaiming Broome Street from Holland Tunnel traffic gets the green light. Every Saturday throughout October, the local BID, the SoHo Broadway Initiative (SBI), is holding a temporary public demonstration along Prince Street showcasing the new ideas for improving the area through a Public Realm Framework + Vision Plan. Nicknamed “Little Prince Plaza,” the street will be closed to vehicular traffic between Broadway and Mercer Street, opening up space for people to stroll and sit at park benches and tables. The aim is to see how people use the space, learn what works well and what can be improved, and collect feedback for the Public Realm Framework + Vision Plan. “We are excited to partner with residents, business owners, and other local stakeholders to advocate for a more pedestrian-friendly SoHo,” said Mark Dicus, executive director of the SoHo Broadway Initiative. “In addition to increasing space for people, reducing traffic, and improving business operations, these changes will help strengthen SoHo’s position as one of New York’s most iconic and inclusive neighborhoods that welcomes local residents as well as people from around the city and the world.” Ariel view of how Broadway could look if the Vision Plan moves forward The demo comes as a controversial rezoning of a 56-block stretch of SoHo and NoHo stalls amid local concerns about overbuilding and commercialization. Rejected by the local Community Board, the rezoning seeks to add thousands of new apartments to the neighborhood while righting decades of special permit approvals that allowed a patchwork of retail and residential uses while sidelining any type of infrastructure or service delivery upgrades. Last month, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer asked city planners to tweak their current rezoning proposal before she’ll give it any support. But she has given her wholehearted support to the Vision Plan, which has been on the BID docket since well-before the rezoning. Calling it a “bold and impressive plan for how to better manage our shared public space in SoHo,” Brewer said, “The Four Key Moves that this draft plan proposes for Broadway, Prince Street, Mercer and Crosby Streets, and Broome Street that prioritize pedestrians, bus riders, cyclists, and importantly deliveries are exactly the kind of forward-thinking designs that the SoHo Broadway neighborhood has always needed, but are especially important as we begin our recovery from the pandemic.” Those Four Key Moves are: Create more space for people on Broadway: Broadway will be transformed into a curbless bus and pedestrian priority street from Houston Street to Canal Street, seamlessly linking the east and west sides of the street. By diverting all non-local vehicular traffic from Broadway to the perimeter of the SoHo ‘superblock’ (defined by Houston Street, the Bowery, Varick Street, and Canal Street) and improving and streamlining bus, emergency, freight, service, and for-hire vehicle operations, sidewalks can be expanded to improve pedestrian flow and create more comfortable spaces that include amenities such as greenery, seating, and public art. Share Crosby Street and Mercer Street: Mercer Street and Crosby Street will become beautifully restored, pedestrian-friendly curbless streets that effectively incorporate and streamline the District’s curbside operational activity. These low-traffic streets remain quiet, providing a green and comfortable respite from the bustle of Broadway. Mercer Street also provides a much-needed southbound bikeway connection through SoHo. Pedestrianize Prince Street and Howard Street: Prince and Howard Streets adjacent to Broadway will become public plazas featuring seating, greenery, a cafe kiosk, and  neighborhood-appropriate programming. These plazas will increase the District’s supply of usable public space and enhance pedestrian comfort and safety, while improving access and relieving congestion around subway entrances. Reclaim Broome as a local street: Broome Street will no longer operate as a tunnel on-ramp, and instead offer expanded, usable public space, greenery, and cycling facilities that serve the needs of SoHo residents, workers, and visitors. This will be achieved through diverting all tunnel-bound traffic to the perimeter of the SoHo ‘superblock;’ reducing vehicular travel lanes from two to one, adding a dedicated westbound bikeway linking Chrystie Street and Hudson Street; and allocating remaining space for public realm amenities. Rendering of pedestrianized Prince Street Adelaide Polsinelli, a vice chairman at the real estate brokerage Compass who specializes in the sale of commercial retail property around the city, said the Vision Plan offers a constructive solution to a longtime problem in the neighborhood. “In many ways, Soho has become a victim of its own success as a retail hot spot,” said Polsinelli. “Its eclectic mix of stores, boutiques, bars and restaurants have drawn ever more visitors while the number of businesses operating there has mushroomed. All of this has happened during a distinct lack of improvements to the streetscape and the type of small-scale improvements offered in the Vision Plan would go a long way to improving quality of life for everyone.” Local resident Anders Host agrees. “I think this vision is a giant leap forward in terms of quality of life for those of us who live in and visit SoHo,” said Holst. “SoHo is such a great neighborhood, with cool restaurants, bars, and stores and charming cobblestones and cast-iron architecture, but there are some important issues that we need to fix. “The Broome Street Symphony, which is performed every afternoon with cars honking, bumper to bumper, is not only dangerous but also detrimental to our health. I am glad we are taking a bold stance on these issues to create a greener and more human environment for future generations.” The popular Museum of Ice Cream at 558 Broadway is another supporter. Cofounder Manish Vora said she believes the future of NYC is a return to a carless, pedestrian- and bike-friendly city. Commercial property owner Greg Kraut said the plan would allow people to “move more efficiently enabling an improved operational and aesthetic experience.” Mercer Street be southbound bikeway connection through SoHo. With no official mandate to actually implement the Vision Plan, the SoHo Broadway Initiative said that, for now, they’ll be looking for community feedback from the October demonstrations and conducting traffic and parking studies. They are also looking to engage with local elected officials, City agencies and community stakeholders to figure out how much support there is for the plan overall and where the money to implement it would come from. The post Soho gets a taste of what could be with new Vision Plan appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyOct 14th, 2021

Asheville boasts one of the longest foliage seasons in the US - these 10 central hotels offer striking views

These are the best hotels in Asheville, NC including Grand Bohemian, the Biltmore, Cambria, the Renaissance, Kimpton, and Omni Grove Park Inn. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Omni Hotels Asheville is a big city with a small-town feel in North Carolina. Asheville is near national parks and is known for vibrant dining, breweries, art, and music. Asheville's best hotels are also varied, from boutique inns to B&Bs and brand name luxury. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWith unbelievable mountain views, a thriving food and drink scene, an emphasis on nature, and a penchant for the arts, Asheville is a must-visit destination. Sitting on "America's Prettiest Drive," the Blue Ridge Parkway, it has mild seasons year-round and one of the longest, most vibrant fall foliage seaons in the US.I've been visiting Asheville for the past decade, and throughout the pandemic, it made it my go-to road trip for its accessible location, outdoor activities, and how safely it's handled COVID-19. Follow my lead and plan a trip to Asheville with a stay at one of the following standout hotels that range from cozy bed and breakfast in a historic neighborhood to trendy downtown high rise, and the lap of luxury at a five-star spa hotel. Browse the best Asheville hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area here:The best hotels in AshevilleFAQ: Asheville, NC hotelsHow we selected the best hotels in AshevilleMore of the best hotels on the East CoastThese are the best hotels in Asheville, sorted by price from low to high. Cambria Downtown Ashville Floor-to-ceiling windows offer direct views of Pisgah Mountain. Booking.com Book Cambria Downtown AshevilleCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $128/$515Best for: Couples, friends, families, solo travelers, business travelers On-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, convenience store, meeting roomsPros: Every room is thoughtfully designed with wide foyers, Bluetooth mirrors in the bathroom, and desks and beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views.Cons: TVs only have a few channels and don't connect to streaming services, so don't count on a lot of in-room entertainment.Located next to historic Grove Arcade, the Cambria Downtown Asheville places you in an ideal location to explore Downtown's revered restaurants, bars, breweries, and galleries on foot.The rooms are loft-style, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering direct views of Pisgah Mountain and more space to spread out than most standard hotel rooms. As you walk in, a foyer gradually widens, opening up to a space marked by crisp white beds, a desk, plenty of electrical outlets and USB ports, wood floors, and exposed red brick walls with eye-catching splashes of blue. The bathroom is spacious with a large vanity, walk-in showers, bathtubs in some rooms, and the coolest part, Bluetooth mirrors that can play your music while you get ready.A sundry in the lobby is packed with healthy meals to prepare in your in-room microwave, or head to Hemingway's, a Cuban restaurant and bar on the fourth-floor with a terrace and fire pits. Locals pack this rooftop on weekend nights, so make a reservation to grab a seat. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Renaissance Asheville Hotel Rooms are comfortable, clean, and have mountain views. Marriott Book Renaissance Asheville HotelCategory: Mid-rangeNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $131/$512Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, fitness room, pool, meeting rooms, marketPros: This Renaissance has the largest Junior Olympic saltwater swimming pool in Asheville.Cons: The restaurant is only open for breakfast, and the only other food served at the hotel are the snacks and packaged meals available at the on-site market. When you need a nice, but moderate Downtown Asheville hotel with a full list of modern amenities from a trusted brand, choose the Renaissance.I stayed here on a whim as I was passing through Asheville in the height of COVID-19 in 2020, and wanted a hotel brand I knew I could trust to handle the pandemic safely. The Renaissance, a Marriott Bonvoy property, did this exceptionally well and impressed me with their levels of safety and cleanliness.The Renaissance is on the edge of Downtown Asheville and every room has floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to wake up to see the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with plush beds, textured black headboards, a desk, and a sitting area.Asheville was nicknamed "Bee City USA" in 2012 for its honey bee population and commitment to educating the public about how important bees are for the environment. Staying true to this oath, this hotel houses "bee boxes" from the Bee Institute on its roof to promote sustainability.COVID-19 procedures are available here. 1900 Inn on Montford The lavish, spa-like Cloisters Suite is a top pick for romance and relaxation. Booking.com Book 1900 Inn On MontfordCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $145/$605Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, daily breakfast and social hour, live music, games, all-day snacksPros: Book the luxurious 1,300-square-foot Cloisters suite, which has a private garden and a large spa room with a two-person Whirlpool, shiatsu massage, air bath, and walk-in shower.Cons: This hotel is not great for families as children under the age of 12 are not permitted.Perched on a hill in a historic residential neighborhood, just eight blocks from the edge of Downtown Asheville, the Inn on Montford is charming, cozy, and well-placed.This Arts and Crafts style bed and breakfast has eight rooms, each with King beds, gas fireplaces, bathrooms with fiber-optic starry floors, Roman baths, and color-changing, LED-lit vanities.Don't miss the daily cookie selection; one of the innkeepers, Shawnie, makes them herself and prepares a mix of mouthwatering flavors like salted chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or chocolate-orange.If you're on vacation with your special someone, make it extra romantic and book the Cloisters suite, in the Carriage House, which has 1,300 square feet of space, a private garden, a huge living room, a kitchenette, a bar, a fireplace, and a luxurious 68-square-foot spa room with a two-person Whirlpool tub, shiatsu massage, air bath, and a huge walk-in shower. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph Collection Art and design feature prominently, with statement decor in guest rooms. Marriott Book Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph CollectionCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $158 /$600Best for: Couples, families, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, art gallery, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Grand Bohemian Asheville is located directly across the street from the entrance to the famed Biltmore Estate, and the on-site art gallery has local and regional art and jewelry for sale.Cons: In some room categories, the bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a thin curtain rather than an actual door, which isn't ideal for privacy or modesty. Request one with a door if you're traveling with mixed company.This art-driven hotel is the best hotel in Biltmore Village, directly across the street from the entrance to famous Biltmore Estate, known as "America's Largest Home," which was built by George Vanderbilt in 1889 and has a world-class winery, historic gardens, popular restaurants, a farm and over 20 miles of nature trails.Like all Kessler boutique properties, this hotel is innately luxurious, but with a vibe that's creative, relaxing, and comfortable enough to make you feel at home. Art also features prominently, with an on-site art gallery filled with paintings, sculptures, glass art, and jewelry by local artists that are also available for sale.As such, the atmosphere is rich and enticing, with an entrance flanked by a Tudor-style driveway, dramatic candelabras, and heavy burgundy drapes.Inside, stylish, but quirky rooms and common areas juxtapose oil and contemporary paintings and historic busts with surprising sculptures, like a wild hog wearing a tacky tourist hat, and bright purple low lighting that matches velvet chairs alongside fixtures that look like antlers. The rooms are big and enticing, with tufted teal headboards, lamps with tree branch bases, brown and teal-patterned carpeting, and sleek bathrooms with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the soaking tub.COVID-19 procedures are available here.Read our full hotel review of Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville Village Hotel Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate. Booking.com Book Village HotelCategory: Mid-RangeNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $170 /$705Best for: Families, couples, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, pool, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Village Hotel is located in Antler Hill Village, on Biltmore Estate, right next to a slew of family-friendly restaurants, activities, a petting zoo, a winery, and over 20 miles of nature trails. Cons: Transportation around the estate is currently unavailable due to COVID-19, so guests will need to factor a rental car into the cost of their trip.Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, and it's the best pick for families. Located in Antler Hill Village, just steps from the winery, the famed Cedric's Tavern (named after the Vanderbilt family dog), a petting zoo, the outdoor adventure center, and over 20 miles of nature trails, the hotel offers tons to do.The entry-level Village Double Rooms are simple, without fancy bells and whistles, but are modern and spacious with a minimalist black, white and gray color scheme, comfortable double beds, a walk-in shower, and a charming window seat for a vantage point over the beautiful grounds.In addition to all of the aforementioned perks of staying at Biltmore Estate, guests can also dine at Village Social for kid-friendly breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, or go to The Creamery for "Winky Bar sundaes," which is a waffle cone filled with black cherry ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Kimpton Hotel Arras Kimpton Hotel Arras has a prime downtown location and impressive perks, especially for pets. Booking.com Book Kimpton Hotel Arras Category: Boutique Neighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $171/$760Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, travelers with pets, IHG loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, fitness center, seasonal book program, free essential toiletriesPros: This hotel boasts a super central location in downtown Asheville, right on Pack Square. Animals may stay at no extra charge and receive special pet amenities.Cons: With its prime downtown location and resident and local foot traffic, this hotel can be loud and crowded.When in Downtown Asheville, look up and you'll spot the Kimpton Hotel Arras; it's the tallest building in all of Asheville.The 128 rooms, suites, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom luxury condos are bright, airy, and filled with natural woods, white and neutral fabrics, textured walls, art by local Asheville artist Catherine Murphy, a desk, and floor-to-ceiling windows facing Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.In even the most basic Queen Room, the vanity and bathroom area feels luxurious with a huge walk-in glass shower, marble accents, warm lighting, a dark wood vanity, a large mirror, and a separate toilet.Indulge in drinks and a Mediterranean meal at District 42, and when the sun goes down on a pretty evening, grab a seat by the glass fire pits on the terrace and watch life in Downtown Asheville buzz by. All Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly, too, so bring your dog, cat, bird, iguana or any other animal for no charge. All pet companions are also pampered with perks like stylish feeding bowls, pet beds, treat bags, a ball, and more for free.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Foundry Hotel Asheville Exposed brick and contemporary furnishings give off an industrial-chic vibe. Hilton Book The Foundry Hotel AshevilleCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $182/$684Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, families, Hilton loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, meeting rooms, courtyard with fire pitsPros: It's just two blocks walking distance from the heart of downtown Asheville, and offers Tesla car service and a Southern soul food restaurant by a six-time James Beard Award nominee.Cons: The internet connection was unreliable when I visited, which is hard for business travelers or those who like to be overly connected.Once the foundry and warehouse that forged steel for Asheville's famous Biltmore Estate, The Foundry Hotel Asheville is now a luxury boutique Hilton property next to Pack Square Park.An ode to the city's Black history, it's located in a historical enclave called "The Block," that was once a hub of African American community and business in the late 19th and 20th centuries.After sipping a glass of Champagne at check-in, make your way up to your room, which feels industrially luxe with exposed brick walls, all-white beds with cream tufted leather headboards, floor-to-ceiling mountain views, and eclectic wall art featuring period paintings and newspaper clippings in mixed oval and rectangular frames.Paying homage to its Black heritage, the on-site Benne on Eagle is a Southern soul food restaurant led by six-time James Beard Award nominee John Fleer. The hotel is just a five-minute walk from Downtown Asheville, but if you'd rather drive, The Foundry's Tesla car service can drop you off. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Abbington Green This charming B&B feels plucked from the English countryside. Booking.com Book Abbington GreenCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $229/$469Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, spa, English gardens, daily breakfast and social hour, games, all-day snacksPros: Every room has a King bed (which is unique for most historic bed and breakfasts in Asheville) and TVs you can watch from the bathtub.Cons: Children under the age of 12 are not permitted, which isn't ideal for young families.The English-inspired Abbington Green is an award-winning bed and breakfast, sitting atop a hill with whimsical landscaping and prize-winning manicured gardens.The property has both a main and carriage house, seven rooms, one two-bedroom suite, a spa room, a dining room, and a living room with games, a piano, and a guitar.Every guest room has a King bed, which is unique for historic homes like these, as well as towel warmers, a fireplace, and luxury bathtubs with a view of the TV — perfect for a bubble bath with a glass of wine and your favorite movie.There's an on-site charging station for electric cars, daily breakfast, a social hour, and a beautiful veranda where you can watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains. The warmth of innkeepers Dean and Cherie brings it all together, as they love to talk to their guests, swap travel stories, and make everyone feel right at home.For COVID-19 procedures, call (828) 251-2454. Sourwood Inn The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry, and their knowledge filters down to the overall experience of staying here. Booking.com Book Sourwood InnCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Greater AshevilleTypical starting/peak prices: $235/$390Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, nature lovers, foodies, oenophilesOn-site amenities: Dining room, library, loop trails, wine and flower packages, gamesPros: The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry and brought that culinary experience to the hotel, giving guests farm-to-table dining, curated wine lists, in-room wine programs, and pairing dinners.Cons: The inn is a 20-minute drive from downtown Asheville on remote mountain roads, so you'll have to factor a rental car into your trip.This romantic bed and breakfast is a true hidden gem that sits largely under the radar in Asheville. Located right off the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, it's just 20 minutes from downtown, positioned on 100 acres of hilly landscapes that make it feel as if you're staying in a national park.There are 12 guest rooms in the cedar and stone-trimmed main house, with a separate Sassafras Cabin, all of which underwent a recent head-to-toe renovation. Rooms are airy and bright, welcoming sunlight through tall windows, plus light-colored walls, wood-burning fireplaces, balconies overlooking Reems Creek Valley, and soaking tubs with scenic Bullhead Mountain views.The owners spent a combined 25+ years in the wine industry, and brought that culinary knowledge to the inn through well-executed farm-to-table cuisine, curated wine lists, food pairings, as well as wine of the month and wine and dine packages that add value for serious oenophiles. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Omni Grove Park Inn Sprawling grounds feel regal and are exceedingly beautiful. Tripadvisor Book The Omni Grove Park InnCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Grove ParkTypical starting/peak prices: $239/$1,049Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, business travelers, families On-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, fitness room, pools, spa, meeting rooms, sports complex, outdoor center, golf course, tennis courts, food foraging experiencesPros: Perfect for a honeymoon or couples getaway, this romantic hotel guarantees five-star service, a renowned subterranean spa, and an iconic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset from its restaurant, Sunset Terrace.Cons: As this is a luxury property, expect to pay premium prices for everything.Few resorts can say they've hosted 10 US presidents and every celebrity you can think of, from Gene Hackman and Helen Carter to Nick Carter and Barack Obama, but The Omni Grove Park Inn is one of them. Additionally, this historic resort, which opened in 1913 is famous for being a World War II internment camp for German diplomats, and served as the hotel and inspiration of choice for author F. Scott Fitzgerald over the course of two summers. Five-star service is unparalleled, with an exterior resembling a majestic stone palace that appears as if it's built right into the mountains. Overlooking 300 acres of hills, woodlands, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the hotel also sits on a Donald Ross-designed championship golf course.From its famous terrace viewpoint, wander down the stone steps to the subterranean spa (it's so popular that you have to book six or eight weeks in advance to get an appointment) and discover hidden waterfalls along the way. Be sure to drink a glass of wine by one of two huge lobby fireplaces, and look up to see original light fixtures from the first day it opened.You'll likely pinch yourself watching the sunset over the mountains from dinner at Sunset Terrace. It's such an iconic view that, whether you stay at the Omni or not, everyone will ask if you saw it.COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Asheville, NC hotels What is the best area to stay in Asheville?Asheville is a revered food and drink destination and staying in downtown Asheville puts you within walking distance from many award-winning restaurants and breweries.If you're only in town to visit Biltmore Estate, you could stay in Biltmore Village, which is right across the street from the estate entrance, or at the Biltmore itself. Biltmore Village and Downtown Asheville are the two main attraction areas in Asheville and, luckily for visitors, they are only a 10-minute drive apart.Don't worry about not having a car; Uber and Lyft are everywhere in Asheville's popular areas, and it's easy to catch one to get to and from each. When is the best time of year to visit Asheville?Ask the locals, and they'll tell you there's no such thing as a "low season" in Asheville anymore. As such, the best time of year to visit Asheville is anytime. The award-winning restaurant and brewery scene is always available and the famous Biltmore Estate is a top attraction.If you're planning a fall visit, Asheville's 100+ deciduous trees give it one of the nation's longest fall foliage seaons, making it truly spectacular to visit in September and October. At this time of year, the leaves start to change along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, apple-picking season is in full swing, and temperatures drop to the 40s and 50s.Prices get slightly cheaper in January and February when snow and ice make driving in the mountains less appealing, and in March when it's cold and rainy. What are COVID-19 protocols in Asheville?Asheville has been very proactive about COVID-19 risk since the beginning of the pandemic, and stores, restaurants, and businesses strictly enforce local mandates. Currently, there are no restrictions on capacity and social distancing in restaurants, bars, and meeting spaces. Masks are required in all indoor locations in Buncombe County based on advice from medical experts and scientists. What is the best hotel in Asheville?I believe that The Omni Grove Park Inn is by far the best hotel in Asheville. It feels like staying in a palace built into the mountain, right on a championship golf course, with five-star service, a subterranean spa, and unbelievable views of 300+ acres of rolling green hills and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Staying here is the ultimate getaway, whether you're on your honeymoon, planning a girls spa weekend, or looking for a memorable place to spend the holidays. But with rooms hitting peak prices at $1,049 a night, it might not be an option for everyone. However, Asheville is filled with a range of wonderful boutique properties and larger hotels. For the best boutique hotel in Asheville, stay at the Abbington Green, an England-inspired bed and breakfast in the Montford Historic District with large and modern King rooms, daily breakfast, social hours, and beautiful English gardens.For the best hotels in downtown Asheville, the Kimpton Hotel Arras is a dog-friendly hotel right on Pack Square with beautiful and spacious rooms. And across from Grove Arcade, the Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville offers stylish loft-style rooms with panoramic mountain views, Bluetooth bathroom mirrors, and a terrific terrace restaurant serving authentic Cuban food. What is better in Asheville—a boutique inn or bed and breakfast, or a larger hotel or resort?Both options are wonderful, and the one you choose depends on what your group needs or prefers. Boutique inns or bed and breakfasts are usually in historic residential neighborhoods and offer a cozy and comfortable feel of staying in someone's house. They typically have between six and 16 rooms, so if you're traveling with a small or mid-sized group, you could even rent the entire property.A larger hotel comes with more amenities and usually a more central location within walking distance of great restaurants, bars, breweries, shopping, and entertainment. There are also no age restrictions at larger hotels in Asheville, while most bed and breakfasts don't allow children under the age of 12 so as not to disturb other guests. What is the most romantic hotel in Asheville?With its beautiful stone building, iconic views, luxury service, and intimate feel, there is nowhere more romantic in Asheville than The Omni Grove Park Inn. Make your honeymoon extra special by booking a couples massage at the spa, ordering a tasty steak dinner and a bottle of wine at Sunset Terrace, book a Premium Club Floor Room on the adults-only Club Floor, and end each night with a drink by the lobby fireplace. What is the best hotel for families in Asheville?Village Hotel in Biltmore Estate's Antler Hill Village is great for families. Its basic Village Room starts at $170 and comes with two double beds. If you need more room, upgrade to the Village Double with Living Room, which starts at $320 per night and comes with a bedroom with two double beds, a separate living room with a couch, two twin sleeper sofas, and two full bathrooms.The location is also a huge benefit for families as it is steps away from family-friendly restaurants, the Farmyard petting zoo, 20+ miles of easy nature trails, falconry, and the Biltmore Gardens Railway, which has model trains that kids will love.How cheap or expensive is it to plan a trip to Asheville?Asheville is definitely a top tourist destination in the United States, so prices are constantly rising. That said, there is so much to do and see in Asheville, from hiking, biking, and kayaking to award-winning restaurants, breweries, and the Biltmore. These activities run from free or cheap to quite expensive. Hotels and resorts also run the gamut from $128 to $1,049 per night, and there are also tons of Airbnbs at a variety of price points. If you'd prefer one, we rounded up the best vacation rentals in Asheville as well. How we selected the best hotels in Asheville I chose the properties on this list based on my own deep knowledge of Asheville, supplemented by the research points listed below. I extensively researched and visited each hotel and selected properties with excellent recent reviews and ratings of 4 or higher on trusted traveler sites like Tripadvisor or Booking.com.All properties offer a variety of accommodation types, from boutique bed and breakfasts to brand-name hotels and luxury resorts.They range in starting price from $128 to $1,049 per night to suit a range of budgets. Hotels are located in Asheville's top neighborhoods and historic districts, and are near popular restaurants, breweries, shops, and attractions.All hotels offer COVID-19 safety policies, which we've linked for each property, or provided contact information where you can find out more. More of the best hotels on the East Coast Tripadvisor The best hotels in BostonThe best hotels in New York CityThe best hotels in PhiladelphiaThe best hotels in Washington, DCThe best hotels in Ocean City, MarylandThe best hotels on Hilton Head IslandThe best hotels in Myrtle BeachThe best hotels in CharlestonThe best hotels in SavannahThe best hotels on Tybee IslandThe best hotels in Florida Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

Sick of rising prices? Your neighborhood businesses are too. How they"re handling inflation

California's small businesses waded through COVID to a rebound in consumer spending, only to face rising costs for supplies and wages.California's small businesses waded through COVID to a rebound in consumer spending, only to face rising costs for supplies and wages......»»

Category: topSource: latimesDec 7th, 2021

Choice Hotels (CHH) Expands in Nashville With New Hotel

Choice Hotels (CHH) boosts upscale brand presence In Tennessee with the opening of the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport. Choice Hotels International, Inc.’s CHH Cambria brand recently announced the opening of the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport in Nashville, TN. This marks the brand’s second property in the region after Cambria Hotel Nashville Downtown.Located at 44 Rachel Drive, Royal Park Owners Association, the 130-room upscale hotel provides guests access to amenities like fitness centers, on-site dining and multi-function indoor-outdoor meeting spaces (of approximately 7,000 square feet). It also offers convenient access to several shops, restaurants, art galleries, entertainment venues and corporations (including Nissan North America, HCA Healthcare, Dollar General Corp and Bridgestone Americas).With reference to the opening, Janis Cannon, senior vice president, upscale brands, Choice Hotels, stated, “We're pleased to welcome the Cambria Hotel Nashville Airport, which offers the best of both worlds to guests with its proximity to several leisure Music City attractions, professional sports teams, as well as area businesses.”Focus On Expansion Bodes WellChoice Hotels’ riveting growth potential depends on the continual expansion of its brands. In fact, the company’s portfolio of well-segmented brands is getting stronger. During third-quarter 2021, the company’s upscale portfolio reported impressive unit growth of 22% year over year, primarily driven by Cambria and the Ascend Hotel Collection. During the quarter, the Cambria brand continued its positive momentum with unit growth of more than 9% year over year. As of September end, the brand had 17 projects under active construction.Going forward, the company intends to strengthen its presence in Tennessee with a future property in Nashville's West End neighborhood along with Cambria Hotel Gatlinburg and Cambria Hotel Pigeon Forge. Also, it anticipates ramped-up expansion across major U.S. cities, including Austin, TX; Calabasas, CA; and Louisville, KY by 2021 end. The brand has more than 130 hotels (open or in the pipeline), thereby illustrating strong growth in its coast-to-coast expansion.Price performanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSo far this year, shares of the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have gained 34.8% compared with the industry’s 8% growth. The company is benefiting from continual expansion strategies through acquisitions and franchise agreements. Also, focus on the loyalty program bodes well. Going forward, the company continues to focus on expansion strategies, enhancement of the mid-scale brand as well as transformation and advancement of the Comfort brands to drive growth in the upcoming periods. Earnings estimates for 2021 have moved up in the past 30 days, depicting analysts’ optimism regarding the stock’s growth potential.Key PicksSome better-ranked stocks in the Consumer Discretionary sector include Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. HGV, Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation BVH and Camping World Holdings, Inc. CWH.Hilton Grand Vacations sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 411.1%, on average. Shares of the company have increased 55.3% so far this year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Hilton Grand Vacations’ current financial-year sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 222.1% and 170.8%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Bluegreen Vacations flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 695%, on average. Shares of the company have surged 119.8% so far this year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Bluegreen Vacations’ current financial-year sales and EPS indicates growth of 27.5% and 199.3%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Camping World carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company benefits from the launch of a fresh peer-to-peer RV rental marketplace and a mobile service marketplace. It has been investing heavily in product development.Camping World has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 70.9%, on average. Shares of the company have appreciated 59.1% so far this year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CWH’s financial-year sales and EPS suggests growth of 25.9% and 77.1%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0%. You’re invited to immediately check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 Choice Hotels International, Inc. (CHH): Free Stock Analysis Report Camping World (CWH): Free Stock Analysis Report Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (HGV): Free Stock Analysis Report Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation (BVH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 6th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease S&P futures and European stocks rebounded from Friday’s selloff while Asian shares fell, as investors took comfort in reports from South Africa which said initial data doesn’t show a surge of hospitalizations as a result of the omicron variant, a view repeated by Anthony Fauci on Sunday. Meanwhile, fears about a tighter Fed were put on the backburner. Also overnight, China’s central bank announced it will cut the RRR by 50bps releasing 1.2tn CNY in liquidity, a move that had been widely expected. The cut comes as insolvent Chinese property developer Evergrande was said to be planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring plan. US equity futures rose 0.3%, fading earlier gains, and were last trading at 4,550. Nasdaq futures pared losses early in the U.S. morning, trading down 0.4%. Oil rose after Saudi Arabia boosted the prices of its crude, signaling confidence in the demand outlook, which helped lift European energy shares. The 10-year Treasury yield advanced to 1.40%, while the dollar was little changed and the yen weakened. “A wind of relief may blow the current risk-off trading stance away this week,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at U.K. brokerage ActivTrades. “Concerns related to the omicron variant may ease after South African experts didn’t register any surge in deaths or hospitalization.” As Bloromberg notes, the mood across markets was calmer on Monday after last week’s big swings in technology companies and a crash in Bitcoin over the weekend. Investors pointed to good news from South Africa that showed hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by the latest wave of Covid cases. Initial data from South Africa are “a bit encouraging regarding the severity,” Anthony Fauci, U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday. At the same time, he cautioned that it’s too early to be definitive. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Alibaba’s (BABA US) U.S.-listed shares rise 1.9% in premarket after a 8.2% drop Friday prompted by the delisting plans of Didi Global. Alibaba said earlier it is replacing its CFO and reshuffling the heads of its commerce businesses Rivian (RIVN US) has the capabilities to compete with Tesla and take a considerable share of the electric vehicle market, Wall Street analysts said as they started coverage with overwhelmingly positive ratings. Shares rose 2.2% initially in U.S. premarket trading, but later wiped out gains to drop 0.9% Stocks tied to former President Donald Trump jump in U.S. premarket trading after his media company agreed to a $1 billion investment from a SPAC Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks tumble amid volatile trading in Bitcoin, another indication of the risk aversion sweeping across financial markets Laureate Education (LAUR US) approved the payment of a special cash distribution of $0.58 per share. Shares rose 2.8% in postmarket Friday AbCellera Biologics (ABCL US) gained 6.2% postmarket Friday after the company confirmed that its Lilly-partnered monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, together with etesevimab, received an expanded emergency use authorization from the FDA as the first antibody therapy in Covid-19 patients under 12 European equities drifted lower after a firm open. Euro Stoxx 50 faded initial gains of as much as 0.9% to trade up 0.3%. Other cash indexes follow suit, but nonetheless remain in the green. FTSE MIB sees the largest drop from session highs. Oil & gas is the strongest sector, underpinned after Saudi Arabia raised the prices of its crude. Tech, autos and financial services lag. Companies that benefited from increased demand during pandemic-related lockdowns are underperforming in Europe on Monday as investors assess whether the omicron Covid variant will force governments into further social restrictions. Firms in focus include meal-kit firm HelloFresh (-2.3%) and online food delivery platforms Delivery Hero (-5.4%), Just Eat Takeaway (-5.6%) and Deliveroo (-8.5%). Remote access software firm TeamViewer (-3.7%) and Swedish mobile messaging company Sinch (-3.0%), gaming firm Evolution (-4.2%). Online pharmacies Zur Rose (-5.1%), Shop Apotheke (-3.5%). Online grocer Ocado (-2.2%), online apparel retailer Zalando (-1.5%). In Asia, the losses were more severe as investors remained wary over the outlook for U.S. monetary policy and the spread of the omicron variant.  The Hang Seng Tech Index closed at the lowest level since its inception. SoftBank Group Corp. fell as much as 9% in Tokyo trading as the value of its portfolio came under more pressure. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.9%, hovering above its lowest finish in about a year. Consumer discretionary firms and software technology names contributed the most to the decline, while the financial sector outperformed.  Hong Kong’s equity benchmark was among the region’s worst performers amid the selloff in tech shares. The market also slumped after the omicron variant spread among two fully vaccinated travelers across the hallway of a quarantine hotel in the city, unnerving health authorities. “People are waiting for new information on the omicron variant,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Tokyo. “We’re at a point where it’s difficult to buy stocks.” Separately, China’s central bank announced after the country’s stock markets closed that it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost to economic growth.  Futures on the Nasdaq 100 gained further in Asia late trading. The underlying gauge slumped 1.7% on Friday, after data showed U.S. job growth had its smallest gain this year and the unemployment rate fell more than forecast. Investors seem to be focusing more on the improved jobless rate, as it could back the case for an acceleration in tapering, Ichikawa said.  Asian equities have been trending lower since mid-November amid a selloff in Chinese technology giants, concern over U.S. monetary policy and the spread of omicron. The risk-off sentiment pushed shares to a one-year low last week.  Overnight, the PBoC cut the RRR by 50bps (as expected) effective 15th Dec; will release CNY 1.2tln in liquidity; RRR cut to guide banks for SMEs and will use part of funds from RRR cut to repay MLF. Will not resort to flood-like stimulus; will reduce capital costs for financial institutions by around CNY 15bln per annum. The news follows earlier reports via China Securities Daily which noted that China could reduce RRR as soon as this month, citing a brokerage firm. However, a separate Chinese press report noted that recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean that there will be a policy change and an Economics Daily commentary piece suggested that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic and could lead to misunderstandings after speculation was stoked for a RRR cut from last week's comments by Premier Li. Elsewhere, Indian stocks plunged in line with peers across Asia as investors remained uncertain about the emerging risks from the omicron variant in a busy week of monetary policy meetings.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 1.7% to 56,747.14, in Mumbai, dropping to its lowest level in over three months, with all 30 shares ending lower. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also declined by a similar magnitude. Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both indexes and declined 2.3%.  All 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a measure of software exporters.  “If not for the new omicron variant, economic recovery was on a very strong footing,” Mohit Nigam, head of portfolio management services at Hem Securities Ltd. said in a note. “But if this virus quickly spreads in India, then we might experience some volatility for the coming few weeks unless development is seen on the vaccine side.” Major countries worldwide have detected omicron cases, even as the severity of the variant still remains unclear. Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to announce its rate decision on Tuesday, while the Indian central bank will release it on Dec. 8. the hawkish comments by U.S. Fed chair Jerome Powell on tackling rising inflation also weighed on the market Japanese equities declined, following U.S. peers lower, as investors considered prospects for inflation, the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt and the omicron virus strain. Telecommunications and services providers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and Daiichi Sankyo were the largest contributors to a 0.4% loss in the Nikkei 225. The Mothers index slid 3.8% amid the broader decline in growth stocks. A sharp selloff in large technology names dragged U.S. stocks lower Friday. U.S. job growth registered its smallest gain this year in November while the unemployment rate fell by more than forecast to 4.2%. There were some good aspects in the U.S. jobs data, said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. “We’re in this contradictory situation where there’s concern over an early rate hike given the economic recovery, while at the same time there’s worry over how the omicron variant may slow the current recovery.” Australian stocks ended flat as staples jumped. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed little changed at 7,245.10, swinging between gains and losses during the session as consumer staples rose and tech stocks fell. Metcash was the top performer after saying its 1H underlying profit grew 13% y/y. Nearmap was among the worst performers after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the stock will be removed from the benchmark as a result of its quarterly review. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,597.81. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gave up a modest advance as the European session got underway; the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies among the leaders and havens among the laggards. JPY and CHF are the weakest in G-10, SEK outperforms after hawkish comments in the Riksbank’s minutes. USD/CNH drifts back to flat after a fairly well telegraphed RRR cut materialized early in the London session.  The euro fell to a day low of $1.1275 before paring. The pound strengthened against the euro and dollar, following stocks higher. Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent due to speak. Market participants will be watching for his take on the impact of the omicron variant following the cautious tone of Michael Saunders’ speech on Friday. Treasury yields gapped higher at the start of the day and futures remain near lows into early U.S. session, leaving yields cheaper by 4bp to 5bp across the curve. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.395%, cheaper by 5bp vs. Friday’s close while the 2s10s curve steepens almost 2bps with front-end slightly outperforming; bunds trade 4bp richer vs. Treasuries in 10-year sector. November's mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. Italian bonds outperformed euro-area peers after Fitch upgraded the sovereign by one notch to BBB, maintaining a stable outlook. In commodities, crude futures drift around best levels during London hours. WTI rises over 1.5%, trading either side of $68; Brent stalls near $72. Spot gold trends lower in quiet trade, near $1,780/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME copper outperforms, holding in the green with lead; nickel and aluminum drop more than 1%. There is nothing on today's economic calendar. Focus this week includes U.S. auctions and CPI data, while Fed speakers enter blackout ahead of next week’s FOMC. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,567.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 466.39 MXAP down 0.9% to 189.95 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 617.01 Nikkei down 0.4% to 27,927.37 Topix down 0.5% to 1,947.54 Hang Seng Index down 1.8% to 23,349.38 Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,589.31 Sensex down 1.5% to 56,835.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,245.07 Kospi up 0.2% to 2,973.25 Brent Futures up 2.9% to $71.89/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,780.09 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 96.26 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1290 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Speculators were caught offside in both bonds and stocks last week, increasing their bets against U.S. Treasuries and buying more equity exposure right before a bout of volatility caused the exact opposite moves Inflation pressure in Europe is still likely to be temporary, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe said Monday, even if it is taking longer than expected for it to slow China Evergrande Group’s stock tumbled close to a record low amid signs a long-awaited debt restructuring may be at hand, while Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. faces a potential default this week in major tests of China’s ability to limit fallout from the embattled property sector China Evergrande Group is planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring that may rank among the nation’s biggest ever, people familiar with the matter said China tech shares tumbled on Monday, with a key gauge closing at its lowest level since launch last year as concerns mount over how much more pain Beijing is willing to inflict on the sector The U.S. is poised to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, CNN reported, a move that would create a new point of contention between the world’s two largest economies SNB Vice President Fritz Zurbruegg to retire at the end of July 2022, according to statement Bitcoin has markedly underperformed rivals like Ether with its weekend drop, which may underscore its increased connection with macro developments Austrians who reject mandatory coronavirus vaccinations face 600-euro ($677) fines, according to a draft law seen by the Kurier newspaper Some Riksbank board members expressed different nuances regarding the asset holdings and considered that it might become appropriate for the purchases to be tapered further next year,  the Swedish central bank says in minutes from its Nov. 24 meeting A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities began the week cautiously following last Friday's negative performance stateside whereby the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq closed lower by around 2% apiece, whilst the S&P 500 and Dow Jones saw shallower losses. The Asia-Pac region was also kept tentative amid China developer default concerns and conflicting views regarding speculation of a looming RRR cut by China's PBoC. The ASX 200 (+0.1%) was initially dragged lower by a resumption of the underperformance in the tech sector, and with several stocks pressured by the announcement of their removal from the local benchmark, although losses for the index were later reversed amid optimism after Queensland brought forward the easing of state border restrictions, alongside the resilience in the defensive sectors. The Nikkei 225 (-0.4%) suffered from the currency inflows late last week but finished off worse levels. The Hang Seng (-1.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.5%) were mixed with Hong Kong weighed by heavy tech selling and as default concerns added to the headwinds after Sunshine 100 Holdings defaulted on a USD 170mln bond payment, whilst Evergrande shares slumped in early trade after it received a demand for payments but noted there was no guarantee it will have the sufficient funds and with the grace period for two offshore bond payments set to expire today. Conversely, mainland China was kept afloat by hopes of a looming RRR cut after comments from Chinese Premier Li that China will cut RRR in a timely manner and a brokerage suggested this could occur before year-end. However, other reports noted the recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean a policy change and that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic which could lead to misunderstandings. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady after having marginally extended above 152.00 and with prices helped by the lacklustre mood in Japanese stocks, while price action was tame amid the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today and attention was also on the Chinese 10yr yield which declined by more than 5bps amid speculation of a potentially looming RRR cut. Top Asian News SoftBank Slumps 9% Monday After Week of Bad Portfolio News Alibaba Shares Rise Premarket After Rout, Leadership Changes China PBOC Repeats Prudent Policy Stance With RRR Cut China Cuts Reserve Requirement Ratio as Economy Slows Bourses in Europe kicked off the new trading week higher across the board but have since drifted lower (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a somewhat mixed lead from APAC. Sentiment across markets saw a fleeting boost after the Asia close as China’s central bank opted to cut the RRR by 50bps, as touted overnight and in turn releasing some CNY 1.2tln in liquidity. This saw US equity futures ticking to marginal fresh session highs, whilst the breakdown sees the RTY (+0.6%) outpacing vs the ES (Unch), YM (+0.3%) and NQ (-0.6%), with the US benchmarks eyeing this week’s US CPI as Fed speakers observe the blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC policy decision – where policymakers are expected to discuss a quickening of the pace of QE taper. From a technical standpoint, the ESz1 and NQz1 see their 50 DMAs around 4,540 and 16,626 respectively. Back to trade, Euro-indices are off best levels with a broad-based performance. UK’s FTSE 100 (+0.8%) received a boost from base metals gaining impetus on the PBoC RRR cut, with the UK index now the outperformer, whilst gains in Oil & Gas and Banks provide further tailwinds. Sectors initially started with a clear cyclical bias but have since seen a reconfiguration whereby the defensives have made their way up the ranks. The aforementioned Oil & Gas, Banks and Basic Resources are currently the winners amid upward action in crude, yields and base metals respectively. Food & Beverages and Telecoms kicked off the session at the bottom of the bunch but now reside closer to the middle of the table. The downside meanwhile sees Travel & Tech – two sectors which were at the top of the leaderboard at the cash open – with the latter seeing more noise surrounding valuations and the former initially unreactive to UK tightening measures for those travelling into the UK. In terms of individual movers, AstraZeneca (+0.7%) is reportedly studying the listing of its new vaccine division. BT (+1.2%) holds onto gains as Discovery is reportedly in discussions regarding a partnership with BT Sport and is offering to create a JV, according to sources. Taylor Wimpey (Unch) gave up opening gains seen in wake of speculation regarding Elliott Management purchasing a small stake. Top European News Johnson Says U.K. Awaiting Advice on Omicron Risks Before Review Scholz Names Harvard Medical Expert to Oversee Pandemic Policy EU Inflation Still Seen as Temporary, Eurogroup’s Donohoe Says Saudi Crown Prince Starts Gulf Tour as Rivalries Melt Away In FX, the Buck has settled down somewhat after Friday’s relatively frenetic session when price action and market moves were hectic on the back of a rather mixed BLS report and stream of Omicron headlines, with the index holding a tight line above 96.000 ahead of a blank US agenda. The Greenback is gleaning some traction from the firmer tone in yields, especially at the front end of the curve, while also outperforming safer havens and funding currencies amidst a broad upturn in risk sentiment due to perceivably less worrying pandemic assessments of late and underpinned by the PBoC cutting 50 bp off its RRR, as widely touted and flagged by Chinese Premier Li, with effect from December 15 - see 9.00GMT post on the Headline Feed for details, analysis and the initial reaction. Back to the Dollar and index, high betas and cyclicals within the basket are doing better as the latter meanders between 96.137-379 and well inside its wide 95.944-96.451 pre-weekend extremes. AUD/GBP/CAD/NZD - A technical correction and better news on the home front regarding COVID-19 after Queensland announced an earlier date to ease border restrictions, combined to give the Aussie a lift, but Aud/Usd is tightening its grip on the 0.7000 handle with the aid of the PBoC’s timely and targeted easing in the run up to the RBA policy meeting tomorrow. Similarly, the Pound appears to have gleaned encouragement from retaining 1.3200+ status and fending off offers into 0.8550 vs the Euro rather than deriving impetus via a rise in the UK construction PMI, while the Loonie is retesting resistance around 1.2800 against the backdrop of recovering crude prices and eyeing the BoC on Wednesday to see if guidance turns more hawkish following a stellar Canadian LFS. Back down under, the Kiwi is straddling 0.6750 and 1.0400 against its Antipodean peer in wake of a pick up in ANZ’s commodity price index. CHF/JPY/EUR - Still no sign of SNB action, but the Franc has fallen anyway back below 0.9200 vs the Buck and under 1.0400 against the Euro, while the Yen is under 113.00 again and approaching 128.00 respectively, as the single currency continues to show resilience either side of 1.1300 vs its US counterpart and a Fib retracement level at 1.1290 irrespective of more poor data from Germany and a deterioration in the Eurozone Sentix index, but increases in the construction PMIs. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned revival in risk appetite, albeit fading, rather than Riksbank minutes highlighting diverse opinion, is boosting the Sek, and the Nok is also drawing some comfort from Brent arresting its decline ahead of Usd 70/brl, but the Cnh and Cny have been capped just over 6.3700 by the PBoC’s RRR reduction and ongoing default risk in China’s property sector. Elsewhere, the Try remains under pressure irrespective of Turkey’s Foreign Minister noting that domestic exports are rising and the economy is growing significantly, via Al Jazeera or claiming that the Lira is exposed to high inflation to a degree, but this is a temporary problem, while the Rub is treading cautiously before Russian President Putin and US President Biden make a video call on Tuesday at 15.00GMT. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are firmer on the day with the complex underpinned by Saudi Aramco upping its official selling prices (OSPs) to Asian and US customers, coupled with the lack of progress on the Iranian nuclear front. To elaborate on the former; Saudi Arabia set January Arab light crude oil OSP to Asia at Oman/Dubai average +USD 3.30/bbl which is an increase from this month’s premium of USD 2.70/bbl, while it set light crude OSP to North-West Europe at ICE Brent USD -1.30/bbl vs. this month’s discount of USD 0.30/bbl and set light crude OSP to the US at ASCI +USD 2.15/bbl vs this month’s premium of USD 1.75/bbl. Iranian nuclear talks meanwhile are reportedly set to resume over the coming weekend following deliberations, although the likelihood of a swift deal at this point in time seems minuscule. A modest and fleeting boost was offered to the complex by the PBoC cutting RRR in a bid to spur the economy. WTI Jan resides on either side of USD 68/bbl (vs low USD 66.72/bbl) whilst Brent Feb trades around USD 71.50/bbl (vs low 70.24/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways with the cluster of DMAs capping gains – the 50, 200 and 100 DMAs for spot reside at USD 1,792/oz, USD 1,791.50/oz and USD 1,790/oz respectively. Base metals also saw a mild boost from the PBoC announcement – LME copper tested USD 9,500/t to the upside before waning off best levels. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’re really at a fascinating crossroads in markets at the moment. The market sentiment on the virus and the policymakers at the Fed are moving in opposite directions. The greatest impact of this last week was a dramatic 21.1bps flattening of the US 2s10s curve, split almost evenly between 2yr yields rising and 10yrs yields falling. As it stands, the Fed are increasingly likely to accelerate their taper next week with a market that is worried that it’s a policy error. I don’t think it is as I think the Fed is way behind the curve. However I appreciate that until we have more certainly on Omicron then it’s going to be tough to disprove the policy error thesis. The data so far on Omicron can be fitted to either a pessimistic or optimistic view. On the former, it seems to be capable of spreading fast and reinfecting numerous people who have already had covid. Younger people are also seeing a higher proportion of admissions which could be worrying around the world given lower vaccinations levels in this cohort. On the other hand, there is some evidence in South Africa that ICU usage is lower relative to previous waves at the same stage and that those in hospital are largely unvaccinated and again with some evidence that they are requiring less oxygen than in previous waves. It really does feel like Omicron could still go both ways. It seems that it could be both more transmittable but also less severe. How that impacts the world depends on the degree of both. It could be bad news but it could also actually accelerate the end of the pandemic which would be very good news. Lots of people more qualified than me to opine on this aren’t sure yet so we will have to wait for more news and data. I lean on the optimistic side here but that’s an armchair epidemiologist’s view. Anthony Fauci (chief medical advisor to Mr Biden) said to CNN last night that, “We really gotta be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or really doesn’t clause any severe illness comparable to Delta, but this far the signals are a bit encouraging….. It does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.” Anyway, the new variant has taken a hold of the back end of the curve these past 10 days. Meanwhile the front end is taking its guidance from inflation and the Fed. On cue, could this Friday see the first 7% US CPI print since 1982? With DB’s forecasts at 6.9% for the headline (+5.1% for core) we could get close to breaking such a landmark level. With the Fed on their media blackout period now, this is and Omicron are the last hurdles to cross before the FOMC conclusion on the 15th December where DB expect them to accelerate the taper and head for a March end. While higher energy prices are going to be a big issue this month, the recent falls in the price of oil may provide some hope on the inflation side for later in 2022. However primary rents and owners’ equivalent rents (OER), which is 40% of core CPI, is starting to turn and our models have long suggested a move above 4.5% in H1 2022. In fact if we shift-F9 the model for the most recent points we’re looking like heading towards a contribution of 5.5% now given the signals from the lead indicators. So even as YoY energy prices ease and maybe covid supply issues slowly fade, we still think inflation will stay elevated for some time. As such it was a long overdue move to retire the word transitory last week from the Fed’s lexicon. Another of our favourite measures to show that the Fed is way behind the curve at the moment is the quits rate that will be contained within Wednesday’s October JOLTS report. We think the labour market is very strong in the US at the moment with the monthly employment report lagging that strength. Having said that the latest report on Friday was reasonably strong behind the headline payroll disappointment. We’ll review that later. The rest of the week ahead is published in the day by day calendar at the end but the other key events are the RBA (Tuesday) and BoC (Wednesday) after the big market disruptions post their previous meetings, Chinese CPI and PPI (Thursday), final German CPI (Friday) and the US UoM consumer confidence (Friday). Also look out for Congressional newsflow on how the year-end debt ceiling issue will get resolved and also on any progress in the Senate on the “build back better” bill which they want to get through before year-end. Mr Manchin remains the main powerbroker. In terms of Asia as we start the week, stocks are trading mixed with the CSI (+0.62%), Shanghai Composite (+0.37%) and KOSPI (+0.11%) trading higher while the Nikkei (-0.50%) and Hang Seng (-0.91%) are lower. Chinese stock indices are climbing after optimism over a RRR rate cut after Premier Li Kequiang's comments last week that it could be cut in a timely manner to support the economy. In Japan SoftBank shares fell -9% and for a sixth straight day amid the Didi delisting and after the US FTC moved to block a key sale of a company in its portfolio. Elsewhere futures are pointing a positive opening in US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.46%) and DAX (+1.00%) futures both trading well in the green. 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.+4.2bps with 2yrs +2.6bps. Oil is also up c.2.2% Over the weekend Bitcoin fell around 20% from Friday night into Saturday. It’s rallied back a reasonable amount since (from $42,296 at the lows) and now stands at $48,981, all after being nearly $68,000 a month ago. Turning back to last week now, and the virus and hawkish Fed communications were the major themes. Despite so many unknowns (or perhaps because of it) markets were very responsive to each incremental Omicron headline last week, which drove equity volatility to around the highest levels of the year. The VIX closed the week at 30.7, shy of the year-to-date high of 37.21 reached in January and closed above 25 for 5 of the last 6 days. The S&P 500 declined -1.22% over the week (-0.84% Friday). The Stoxx 600 fell a more modest -0.28% last week, -0.57% on Friday. To be honest both felt like they fell more but we had some powerful rallies in between. The Nasdaq had a poorer week though, falling -c.2.6%, after a -1.9% decline on Friday. The other main theme was the pivot in Fed communications toward tighter policy. Testifying to Congress, Fed Chair Powell made a forceful case for accelerating the central bank’s asset purchase taper program, citing persistent elevated inflation and an improving labour market, amid otherwise strong demand in the economy, clearing the way for rate hikes thereafter. Investors priced in higher probability of earlier rate hikes, but still have the first full Fed hike in July 2022. 2yr treasury yields were sharply higher (+9.1bps on week, -2.3bps Friday) while 10yr yields declined (-12.0bps on week, -9.1bps Friday) on the prospect of a hard landing incurred from quick Fed tightening as well as the gloomy Covid outlook. The yield curve flattened -21.1bps (-6.8bps Friday) to 75.6bps, the flattest it has been since December 2020, or three stimulus bills ago if you like (four if you think build back better is priced in). German and UK debt replicated the flattening, with 2yr yields increasing +1.3bps (-0.7bps Friday) in Germany, and +0.3bps (-6.7bps) in UK this week, with respective 10yr yields declining -5.3bps (-1.9bps Friday) and -7.8bps (-6.4bps Friday). On the bright side, Congress passed a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through February, buying lawmakers time to agree to appropriations for the full fiscal year, avoiding a disruptive shutdown. Positive momentum out of DC prompted investors to increase the odds the debt ceiling will be resolved without issue, as well, with yields on Treasury bills maturing in December declining a few basis points following the news. US data Friday was strong. Despite the headline payroll increase missing the mark (+210k v expectations of +550k), the underlying data painted a healthy labour market picture, with the unemployment rate decreasing to 4.2%, and participation increasing to 61.8%. Meanwhile, the ISM services index set another record high. Oil prices initially fell after OPEC unexpectedly announced they would proceed with planned production increases at their January meeting. They rose agin though before succumbing to the Omicron risk off. Futures prices ended the week down again, with Brent futures -3.67% lower (+0.55% Friday) and WTI futures -2.57% on the week (-0.15% Friday). Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 07:51.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

Restaurants created a monster by emphasizing to-go and online orders during the pandemic, and now they can"t control it

Americans are consuming much more food than before the pandemic and putting more pressure than ever on service workers. Many restaurants turned to carry out and delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo Restaurant chains are starting to grapple with the growing demand for to-go orders. Workers have been saying things were untenable since early in the pandemic. Americans are consuming much more food than before the pandemic, data shows. Restaurant chains have enjoyed huge boosts in delivery and to-go orders over the last year and a half, but now they're facing a demand that they can't handle.Off-premise orders were key to keeping these restaurants afloat in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic closed many dining rooms, and online orders subsequently exploded. Mobile orders drove Starbucks' recovery and grew to an "all-time high" in 2021, making up over 25% of all orders, and at Chipotle they now make up nearly half of all orders. Even restaurants that traditionally concentrated more on dine-in business have emphasized online orders, and Cheesecake Factory doubled them in 2021 to $3 million in sales per restaurant.Consumers are spending way more on delivery, and restaurants in general, than they have in the past. They've shown a growing preference for ordering digitally, Kalinowski Equity Research founder Mark Kalinowski told Insider. At least 10% of US restaurants, around 100,000 businesses or more by most estimates, closed since the onset of the pandemic, so a smaller number of restaurants are responding to this growing demand as the restaurant industry has one of its best years in recent memory. Part of the higher demand is that people are simply consuming more, Kalinowski told Insider. Combined food service and grocery sales, which are a close proxy for overall food purchases, are up more than double digits over 2019 levels, Kalinowski told Insider based on US census data. For example, in October 2021 US consumers spent 14.3% more on restaurant and grocery purchases than in October 2019.The desire for to-go and delivery orders continues to grow, but now chains are realizing that they've created more demand than they can fulfill with current staffing and ingredient levels. IHOP and Applebees have begun to shut down delivery orders during the busy evening and weekend morning periods, CEO John Peyton said. Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, both owned by Darden Restaurants, are throttling online orders because of "excess demand," CEO Gene Lee said in a recent earnings call. Cheesecake Factory managers now have the ability to temporarily close digital orders if needed. While management is just starting to grapple with the tolls of excessive delivery demand, workers have been well aware. Restaurants are chronically understaffed, without enough workers to meet even average demand, without the additional orders this year. Some business owners say they're unable to find staff and in some cases even cite a lack of desire to work, while workers say they can demand better pay and benefits in the tight labor market. This mismatch has led to restaurants decreasing hours and closing dining rooms, and a third of restaurant workers say they want to leave the industry. These problems are coming to a head across the country. In mid-November, a group of five employees at an Austin Chipotle quit their jobs, led by their general manager. They reached their breaking point as digital orders kept coming in, and the manager closed the dining room in an attempt to keep up with the online orders.Across the industry, workers told Insider that they agree these orders have gotten out of hand."Digital ordering was the worst thing that ever happened to fast food," a Taco Bell worker of 20 years who recently quit told Insider. These online orders can be "so ridiculously customized," he said, that they're highly difficult to make, coming in much faster than they can be made. Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 4th, 2021

FTI Consulting (FCN) Announces Name of New Senior MD in France

FTI Consulting (FCN) welcomes Karl Payeur to the position of senior managing director and head of its Forensic and Litigation Consulting and Technology segments in France. FTI Consulting, Inc.FCN announced the appointment of Karl Payeur as a senior managing director and head of its Forensic and Litigation Consulting and Technology segments in France.In his new role, Payeur will be offering forensic, investigation, compliance and technology services to FTI Consulting’s clients, thereby addressing the demands of both French businesses and multinational organisations.Considering Payeur’s more than 28 years of international experience in forensic, investigation, regulatory compliance, corporate governance, financial crime advisory and technology services, the latest appointment is expected to complement FTI Consulting’s operations and strengthen its competitive position in the French market.Kevin Hewitt, chairman of FTI Consulting’s EMEA region, stated, “Karl is a leading figure in forensic and technology consulting, and his arrival at our practice in France enables FTI Consulting to offer an extended suite of services to clients. His experience and reputation, combined with FTI Consulting’s expertise and network of more than 1,000 forensic professionals around the world, means that we can now better serve the needs of our clients in this growing market.”Karen Briggs, head of EMEA Forensic and Litigation Consulting and Technology at FTI Consulting, stated, “We are delighted to welcome Karl to lead the Forensic and Litigation Consulting and Technology practices in France. His appointment supports our goal of becoming the leading provider of forensic, investigation, compliance and technology services in France and across the EMEA region.”So far this year, shares of FTI Consulting have gained 30.4% compared with 39.8% growth of the industry it belongs to.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank and Other Stocks to ConsiderFTI Consulting currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Some similarly ranked stocks in the broader Business Servicessector are Avis Budget CAR and Cross Country Healthcare (CCRN), both sporting a Zacks Rank #1, and Charles River Associates (CRAI), carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Avis Budget has an expected earnings growth rate of 420.6% for the current year. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 76.9%, on average.Avis Budget’s shares have surged 744.3% in the past year. The company has a long-term earnings growth of 18.8%.Cross Country Healthcare has an expected earnings growth rate of 447.8% for the current year. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 75%, on average.Cross Country Healthcare’s shares have surged 201% in the past year. The company has a long-term earnings growth of 21.5%.Charles River Associates has an expected earnings growth rate of 61.2% for the current year. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 51%, on average.Charles River’s shares have surged 119.3% in the past year. The company has a long-term earnings growth of 15.5%. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>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 Charles River Associates (CRAI): Free Stock Analysis Report Avis Budget Group, Inc. (CAR): Free Stock Analysis Report FTI Consulting, Inc. (FCN): Free Stock Analysis Report Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. (CCRN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Why Is Omicron Being Treated Like Ebola?

Why Is Omicron Being Treated Like Ebola? Authored by Professor Angus Dalgleish, op-ed via The Daily Mail, As I listened to ministers react nervously in recent days to the new Omicron Covid variant, I began to experience an all-too-familiar sinking feeling. Shall I put it into words? Here we go again, I thought. Mask mandates have been reimposed in shops, schools and hairdressers, and new swingeing £200 fines will be levied on those who dare to break the rules. Meanwhile, the inevitable chorus of gloomy voices has begun to sing again: that unholy alliance of scientific ‘experts’ who have been given blanket coverage by the BBC and Left-wing media so often during this pandemic. The Government has used these voices as justification to impose fresh restrictions on our lives — as well as to threaten more in future. The Government has used an unholy alliance of scientific ‘experts’ who have been given blanket coverage by the BBC and Left-wing media as justification to impose fresh restrictions on our lives — as well as to threaten more in future. Mask mandates have been reimposed in shops, schools and hairdressers, and new swingeing £200 fines will be levied on those who dare to break the rules Panicking Right now, the key question is: are any of the new measures actually necessary? Yes, there remains much we don’t know about Omicron, but the early signs are distinctly encouraging. Many patients have reportedly recovered quickly from what have been very mild symptoms. Southern Africa, where the variant emerged, has largely avoided panicking. One German epidemiologist, Professor Karl Lauterbach, who is running to be Germany’s next health minister, has even said that a mild strain would be an ‘early Christmas gift’. Given all that, how much can the Government’s hawkish approach truly be justified? Very little, I would submit. Yes, there remains much we don’t know about Omicron, but the early signs are distinctly encouraging Many patients have reportedly recovered quickly from what have been very mild symptoms Jenny Harries: Brits shouldn't socialise with people unless necessary The real danger for most of us now comes not from Omicron or any other coronavirus variant. Instead, it comes from ministers and officials apparently flirting with taking us into yet another era of ruinous restrictions, cancelling Christmas or other cherished holidays, dashing all hope of foreign travel, wrecking the economy and otherwise immiserating our lives at the whim of the state. Yes, a new, heavily mutated coronavirus variant has been identified. But Professor Lauterbach, a highly respected clinical epidemiologist, suggested yesterday that the variant might even be good news. Why? Because its numerous mutations — twice as many as the Delta variant that swept the world this year — mean that though it may well be more infectious, it could also be less deadly. In layman’s terms, this means that more people might catch it, but not suffer serious illness. And that is a good thing — certainly compared to a very infectious, very virulent virus with the capacity to sicken or kill large numbers of people. Anyone infected with a ‘mild’ Covid virus — one unlikely to cause serious disease — will still develop antibodies to guard against future infection. And the more people with such antibodies, the closer we are to the fabled ‘herd immunity’. This, coupled with the help of our highly successful vaccination programme, could even spell the eventual end of the pandemic — though not, it must be said, the end of Covid. This is the sort of grown-up discussion ministers should be having with us. Instead, by announcing new restrictions over the weekend, flanked by his two familiar harbingers of doom, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the Prime Minister risked terrifying large swathes of the nation all over again — just as they were beginning to catch their breath as the worst of the pandemic was lifting. Anyone infected with a ‘mild’ Covid virus — one unlikely to cause serious disease — will still develop antibodies to guard against future infection Coronavirus restrictions, it should not need pointing out, do not work in isolation. A year ago, I wrote in the Mail how I believed that lockdown was a killer in the making far worse than Covid-19. Today, I stand by that view. From spiralling hospital waiting lists and delayed cancer treatment to the horrendous impact on the mental health of the nation, I think we are seeing the tip of an iceberg of premature deaths from causes other than Covid — and that, in time, history will reveal the second and third lockdowns, at least, for the folly I believe them to be. That is before you contemplate the ramifications of our sabotaged economy: livelihoods destroyed by the enforced shutdown of businesses and High Street firms shuttered thanks to working-from-home mandates. 'Vaccines very likely to be less effective against Omicron': JCVI It is imperative that ministers do not go down that dangerous road again — unless some terrible new variant or new virus with a vastly higher death rate does emerge. Even the most fervent lover of lockdown would be hard-pressed to describe today’s scenario as an Armageddon-in-the-making, especially as the virus is behaving exactly as scientists always suspected that it would. Just as with flu, it is likely that in years to come the world will experience new waves of this coronavirus. Crucially, there is no evidence that these waves will somehow be ever-more lethal. Instead, it is likelier that this virus, like most pathogens, will become less deadly over time. Cautious This flies in the face of those who favour the ‘just-in-case’ argument: that we must be extra cautious and ready to lock down early again, lest the new variant prove more dangerous than anticipated. That argument was valid at the start of the pandemic, when we lacked treatments and vaccinations. But it does not hold any longer. Today, we are well-versed in the ways of our foe. With a few exceptions (usually the unvaccinated), most people are dying with Covid, not necessarily because of it, while others have had an imminent death merely hastened. Even the most compassionate individual must realise that public policy cannot be founded on trying to mitigate against a death that, however sad, was due sooner rather than later. A long time ago, when I was a junior doctor working in A&E, I was initially amazed by the fact that among those admitted to hospital with flu and pneumonia symptoms were the young and fit. That is often the nature with the flu virus. Just as with flu, it is likely that in years to come the world will experience new waves of this coronavirus A percentage of them would end up in intensive care, and a proportion would die — just as they do today. Each individual death was terribly sad, of course, but no one would argue they meant that we should change our health policy. What a contrast with today, when we live in a country increasingly bedevilled by what the former Supreme Court judge Jonathan Sumption has rightly labelled ‘Covid authoritarianism’. Paralysis Flailing Labour politicians, desperate for any stick with which to beat the Government, demand ever-tougher measures: work-from-home advice and yet more masks, with new lockdowns and furlough schemes waiting in the politicians’ arsenal. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon exhorts her citizens to work from home while demanding tougher restrictions down south. We are not dealing with Ebola, which kills up to 90 per cent of those it infects, but a virus which was found in one Cambridge University study last summer — thanks to vaccinations and better treatments — to have an infection fatality rate of just 0.085 per cent Many of us are only too happy to let such Cassandra-like prophecies drift over our heads, but there are many others who have been frightened into what feels like near-permanent paralysis in the face of the news headlines and political shroud-waving. I see this phenomenon among my own friends. There is a clear divide between those who, like me, think we need to get on with our lives, and others who still appear obsessed with Covid, long after the worst of the virus appears to have retreated. Yet get on we must. We are not dealing with Ebola, which kills up to 90 per cent of those it infects, but a virus which was found in one Cambridge University study last summer — thanks to vaccinations and better treatments — to have an infection fatality rate of just 0.085 per cent. By all means let us watch this virus closely. But let us also retain the clear perspective and the common sense that should hold in a free society.  *  *  * Angus Dalgleish is an oncologist at a London teaching hospital Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Square changes name to Block just 2 days after Jack Dorsey steps down from Twitter

The name change highlights Jack Dorsey's continued cryptocurrency and blockchain ambitions. Jack Dorsey onstage at a bitcoin convention on June 4, 2021 in Miami, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images Square Inc., Jack Dorsey's financial services company, is changing its name to Block.  The move comes days after Dorsey announced his departure from Twitter. Dorsey has directed Square toward ventures in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.  Square, the online financial services company co-founded by Jack Dorsey, is changing its name to Block.The corporate rebrand, announced Wednesday, comes mere days after Dorsey announced he would step down as CEO of Twitter, which he co-founded 15 years ago. The name change, which will go into effect legally on December 10, comes as Square moves into areas aside from its initial card-reader business. "The change to Block acknowledges the company's growth. Since its start in 2009, the company has added Cash App, TIDAL, and TBD54566975 as businesses, and the name change creates room for further growth," the company said.—Block (@blocks) December 1, 2021"Not to get all meta on you… but we're going to!" the company wrote on Twitter. "Block references the neighborhood blocks where we find our sellers, a blockchain, block parties full of music, obstacles to overcome, a section of code, building blocks, and of course, tungsten cubes."Founded in 2009, Square started out by selling a credit-card reader that allowed individuals and businesses to accept payments using a smartphone. It has since expanded into other ventures, including ones focused on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2021

Shoplifting numbers for all of San Francisco doubled in September after one Target location changed the method it uses to report the crime

More than a third of the shoplifting incidents reported to the SFPD in September were from the intersection in front of a Target near Union Square. Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/Reuters Retailers in San Francisco are reporting an increase in shoplifting, but the data aren't adding up. The Chronicle delved into SFPD data and found incident reports to be below historic averages. A brief spike in September appears to be a result of one store's reporting method. Bay Area businesses are concerned about a wave of retail crime in San Francisco, with shocking video of coordinated robberies making headlines around the world.But data from the San Francisco Police Department tells an oddly different story, reporters at the San Francisco Chronicle found.Rather than a rising wave, the monthly number of shoplifting reports over the past 18 months has largely remained below pre-pandemic averages, except for a spike in September that briefly doubled August's count.The Chronicle took a closer look at that spike and discovered that 154 of the roughly 400 reports of shoplifting that month were attributed to an intersection in front of a Target in the Metreon Mall — roughly three blocks away from Union Square.When asked by the Chronicle whether there had been a spree of incidents at that Target, the store manager Stacy Abbot said no.What did change, Abbot said, was that the store had started using a phone-reporting system to report incidents that was set up by the SFPD. Abbot and Target declined to discuss the matter further with the Chronicle.Insider also reviewed the SFPD's data and was largely able to replicate the Chronicle's findings.Interestingly, the number of shoplifting reports for November have fallen back below 200, in spite of the high-profile spate of burglaries over Thanksgiving weekend.And it's not just shoplifting. SFPD reports of commercial burglary and robbery are also below pre-pandemic averages, with no significant spikes in recent months.Read Hayes, a criminologist at the University of Florida and director of the Loss Prevention Research Council, told the Chronicle that police data can be a flawed way to measure retail crime, since many businesses may not want to detain suspects or get law enforcement involved.Attempting to detain a suspected shoplifter or recover losses from them can sometimes spell legal trouble for companies, as Walmart found on Tuesday when a jury ordered it to pay $2.1 million in damages to a woman who says she was wrongly accused of stealing groceries.Retailers do carefully track inventory loss, but hardly any share details with the public beyond summary figures in their quarterly financial statements and industry surveys.A CVS spokesperson told the Chronicle that the company loses $200 million per year from organized retail crime, while Walmart says retail theft costs the US economy tens of billions of dollars each year.CVS and Walmart made revenues of $269 billion and $559 billion, respectively, in 2020.Do you work in retail asset protection and loss prevention? If so, please get in touch with Dominick Reuter via email.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2021

Photos show San Francisco stores" boarded-up windows after wave of smash-and-grab robberies

Some residents say the city needs to be harder on crime — others argue poverty levels must be addressed first. Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images Over $1 billion worth of goods were stolen from Bay Area stores this month in smash-and-grab robberies. Louis Vuitton, Nordstrom, Burberry, Bloomingdales, Walgreens, and Lululemon were among the stores affected. Photos show San Francisco stores boarded up with a strong police presence on Black Friday. A wave of organized theft and smash-and-grab robberies hit California's Bay Area this November, from luxury stores in San Francisco's Union Square to family businesses in Chinatown.Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)Approximately 80 people raided this Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, stealing merchandise in under one minute, a police spokesperson said. Three employees were kicked, punched, or pepper-sprayed, the spokesperson added.Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesSource: NBC NewsThe same week, San Francisco's Union Square saw nearly a dozen of smash-and-grab robberies. Around 20 to 40 thieves targeted a Louis Vuitton store, District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement.Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/ReutersSource: SF District Attorney press releaseOver $1 million of merchandise was stolen during the Union Square robberies, prosecutors said. Nine arrests have been made so far, according to the District Attorney's website.Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/ReutersKevin Nishita, a security guard protecting a news crew covering retail theft in Oakland, died this weekend after being shot during a robbery attempt, KTVU reported.Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)Source: KTVUIn the wake of the city's mass thefts, San Francisco retailers boarded up their window fronts as plywood replaced December's usual holiday decor.Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/ReutersBurglarized Union Square stores boarded up broken windows, such as Burberry.Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/ReutersSource: ABC 7 NewsLocal business owners and employees told reporters that they want officials to do more to combat organized retail theft. San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) said the robberies are "detrimental to our city," promising security changes to Union Square.Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/ReutersSource: ABC 7 News, SF ChronicleEarlier that month, a small business owner in Chinatown had $250,000 worth of jewelry stolen from her store in a smash-and-grab robbery. She told the SF Chronicle that her insurance won't cover the loss, adding that she's not sure if she can afford to keep the store open.Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)Source: the San Francisco Chronicle "What happens when people vandalize and commit those levels of crimes in San Francisco, we not only lose those businesses, we lose those jobs," Mayor Breed said. "We lose that tax revenue that helps to support our economy that helps to support many of the social service programs that we have in the city in the first place."Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/ReutersSource: ABC 7 NewsAs photos of boarded-up storefronts went viral on social media, some said that San Francisco's poverty and homelessness levels must be addressed in tandem with the crimes.Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA/Reuters"This is what downtown San Francisco looks like rn," one user tweeted alongside photos of the city's homeless encampments. "If you're feeling sorry for ZARA and Burberry shoppers, you're missing the point."A sanctioned and fenced-in homeless encampment is seen from this aerial view in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty ImagesAs shoppers filled Union Square on Black Friday, police and private security guards stood watch at stores like Gucci. "We will flood this area with police officers for the foreseeable future," SFPD Chief Bill Scott said at a press conference. "We will do what we need to do to put an end to this madness."Jessica Christian/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty ImagesSource: CBS LocalRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

Goldman Sachs CEO warns taxes could be NYC"s downfall, saying urban centers aren"t guaranteed a "permanent place in the world"

David Solomon says NYC "has to be aware that there are good choices" it can make to stay attractive. A bad choice, to him: higher taxes on the rich. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon warns that New York tax hikes will drive wealthy New Yorkers and corporations out of the state.Associated Press Goldman Sachs' CEO slammed the prospect of tax hikes in NYC, saying they'd threaten its financial hub status. Many people left during the pandemic, and Solomon told the FT NYC has to be careful or they might not return.  The taxes he referenced are aid for those hit hardest by the pandemic, like low-income New Yorkers of color. Goldman Sachs' chief executive had strong words for New York City leaders, warning them against taking the wealthy's tax dollars for granted. "New York is not going away," David Solomon said during the Financial Times' Global Banking Summit. "It's also not guaranteed for any urban center that you have a permanent place in the world." Solomon argued that high taxes on big earners would disincentivize workers from wanting to live in the state. New York has some of the highest tax rates in the United States, and they're projected to rise even higher under the latest version of President Joe Biden's Build Back Better plan. "New York has to be aware that there are good choices, and it's got to make sure it keeps itself super-attractive," Solomon said at the summit. "At the end of the day, incentives matter, taxes matter, cost of living matters."The pandemic prompted many high-earning New York residents to move elsewhere when the coronavirus swept the city — and the rest of the world — early last year. Between last March and last November, approximately 300,000 New Yorkers left the city for destinations like the Hamptons, Miami, and Honolulu. The mass migration alarmed many at the onset of the pandemic. The loss of 300,000 stood to cost the city billions. Around this time last year, New York authorities estimated there would be about $59 billion in revenue shortfalls through 2022. The city's economic future is not completely secure yet, but New York eventually escaped the most dire of those estimates, thanks to higher than anticipated revenue and federal aid administered to the state — about $5.6 billion from Biden's American Rescue Plan in March. Goldman is still headquartered in New York but has been opening offices in states such as Florida and Texas. In both states, the top tax rates under Biden's plan would be 51.4%, while the highest tax rate for New Yorkers would hit 66.2%. Many of the wealthy New Yorkers who left have come back — but not all of them. And Solomon's words suggest that they might never, using their tax money as bartering power. A report from Bloomberg last year found that the top 1% of New Yorkers had a combined $133.3 billion in income in 2018, and paid for 42.5% of the city's total income tax. Just 38,700 New Yorkers accounted for a massive $4.9 billion in tax revenue that year. Those numbers are ones high earners can escape in lower-tax states like Florida, where many have already moved.  But while many wealthy residents moved out of the city, lower and middle income residents moved around it. Residents who left Tribeca last year, for instance, earned an average income of about $140,000, Thomas Walle, chief executive of Unacast, told Reuters last year after the company published a report on New York City's pandemic losses.The typical person moving into the neighborhood in 2020 earned an average $82,000, he said. CEOs are complaining about tax hikes that fuel New York relief plans Solomon has been voicing his opposition to increased taxes for corporations and individuals in New York for months now. In March, he and about 250 chief executives signed a letter to state lawmakers and then-governor Andrew Cuomo arguing against a tax hike. "Many members of our workforce have resettled their families in other locations, generally with far lower taxes than New York, and the proposed tax increases will make it harder to get them to return," they wrote at the time. Lawmakers eventually went through with raising taxes for wealthy New Yorkers and corporations in April. The move was projected to generate more than $4 billion in revenue for the city, revenue intended to help vulnerable populations adversely impacted by the pandemic: relief for renters, small businesses, and undocumented residents, groups that disproportionately skew toward Black and brown New Yorkers.  Half of New York City's minority- and women-owned businesses have had to lay off or furlough employees since the start of the pandemic, according to a survey conducted by Comptroller Scott Stringer's office in May. Additionally, people of color accounted for 68% of an estimated 750,000 jobs lost last year. In the statement Solomon signed in March, the CEOs seemed to acknowledge that the pandemic has mostly hurt low-income residents of color, and that the tax hikes were meant to directly benefit them — they also suggested, however, that partnerships and hiring opportunities from their companies would be better solutions than taxes on firms and employees."The pandemic has also put a spotlight on the inequitable condition of Black and Latinx communities, low-wage workers and immigrant populations who were struggling to survive in our high-cost cities in the best of times but have been ravaged during the past year," the letter said. "We understand your need to respond to these urgent human needs and we will continue to support these efforts through expansion of partnerships for education and workforce development, hiring and small business assistance." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 30th, 2021

French-American School sells White Plains campus to developer

The French-American School of New York (FASNY) said today that it has sold its 130-acre property in the Gedney Farms neighborhood of White Plains to The Farrell Building Company, a residential developer. The sale price was not disclosed. The sale includes four parcels that comprised the former Ridgeway Country Club... The post French-American School sells White Plains campus to developer appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. The French-American School of New York (FASNY) said today that it has sold its 130-acre property in the Gedney Farms neighborhood of White Plains to The Farrell Building Company, a residential developer. The sale price was not disclosed. The sale includes four parcels that comprised the former Ridgeway Country Club (pictured top) that FASNY purchased in December 2010:  Parcel A, that in November 2017 was approved by the City for construction of its Secondary School (grades 6-12) consisting of 27.7 acres between Ridgeway, Hathaway Lane, and Gedney Esplanade; Parcel B, 14 acres between Gedney Esplanade and Heatherbloom Road; Parcel C, 15.6 acres between Heatherbloom and Bryant Avenue; and Parcel D, 72.3 acres between Hathaway, Ridgeway, Bryant and North Street. The property is zoned R1-30 allowing single-family residential lots of 30,000 square feet. FASNY purchased the former Ridgeway County Club property in December 2010 as the proposed location for a new school campus. Following a protracted approval process and ensuing legal battle, FASNY entered a stipulation of settlement with the City in 2016 and, in 2017, ultimately obtained a site plan and special use permit for a reduced project for its Secondary School (grades 6-12) on Parcel A. In 2019 FASNY listed Parcels B, C and D for sale. FASNY said that over the course of the last couple of years, the space requirements and planning needs of the school evolved and shifted, leading to the conclusion that selling the entire property was in the school’s best future interests. FASNY offered its sincere, heartfelt thanks for the extensive support it received for its plan throughout the approval process from individuals and organizations across White Plains and the greater community, recognizing the countless hours, late night meetings, letters of support and much more. FASNY specifically thanked Mayor Tom Roach and the members of the White Plains Common Council who voted to approve the school’s plan, as well as the city corporation counsel and department commissioners and staff; the leaders and supporters of White Plains Neighbors ACT; the coalition of White Plains religious leaders; local and regional environmental organizations; the Business Council of Westchester, the Westchester County Association and local businesses; and the thousands of individuals who signed petitions, wrote letters and spoke at public hearings in favor of the school plan. The post French-American School sells White Plains campus to developer appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyNov 30th, 2021

Big restaurant chains including Olive Garden, Applebee"s, IHOP, and Cheesecake Factory are cutting back on delivery amid staff shortages

The retail and foodservice industries are among those that have been worst impacted by the labor crunch. Olive Garden takeout.Lea Suzuki/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images IHOP, Applebee's, and Olive Garden are halting online ordering services at peak times. Staffing shortages have made it harder to keep up with demand.  The foodservice industry is grappling with a labor shortage.  Some of America's favorite local dining spots including Olive Garden, Applebee's, and IHOP are being forced to dial back on online ordering and delivery options because of staffing shortages, The Wall Street Journal reported. At the height of the pandemic, takeout and delivery services became a lifeline for these dine-in establishments. But as consumers return to restaurants and demand picks up, a scarcity of workers means they're having to scale back.In an interview with The Journal, John Peyton, CEO of Dine Brands, which owns IHOP and Applebee's, said the company had to shut down delivery options in the evenings or on weekend mornings when it's most busy with eat-in customers."In that trade-off, we are always going to make sure that we're serving the guests that are physically in front of us because that experience has got to be right," he told the paper. Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse among other chains, is doing the same and cutting its online delivery business at certain points on weekends because of "excess demand," its CEO said in a recent earnings call.Meanwhile, The Cheesecake Factory has given its managers the ability to halt its delivery service at any time when the kitchen becomes overwhelmed. The company confirmed in a recent earnings call that it was facing staffing shortages, but said that these had not had a meaningful impact on sales so far. The retail and foodservice industries are among those that have been worst impacted by the labor crunch with record numbers of workers quitting each month. These workers – who have been put off by low pay, a lack of benefits, and pandemic health concerns, among other things – are often quitting to find better-paying jobs in more stable industries.This has put many businesses in a challenging position, and meant they've had to reduce hours or close entirely because they can't find enough staff.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 29th, 2021

Airlines Are Scrambling to Navigate a Fast-Degrading Travel Outlook Amid Concern Over the Omicron Coronavirus Variant

A slew of new travel restrictions is recalling the earlier days in the pandemic Airlines, passengers and businesses scrambled to respond to a deluge of travel restrictions announced over the weekend to slow the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. An initial spate of flight bans from southern Africa, where omicron was first detected, gave way to more wide-ranging measures that will make travel more expensive and less convenient — if possible at all — recalling earlier days in the pandemic. The U.K. re-introduced mandatory PCR tests for all arriving passengers and said they must self-isolate until receiving a negative result. Israel closed to all inbound foreign nationals for 14 days, the Philippines said travelers from European countries including Switzerland and the Netherlands won’t be welcome for several weeks and Singapore delayed the launch of vaccinated travel lanes with Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Spain and Switzerland tightened access for arrivals from Britain, whose travel comeback has quickly been thrown into reverse. U.K. low-cost carrier EasyJet Plc said Sunday its flight schedule was operating as normal, “however we continue to monitor the situation closely.” While the full impact will get clearer over coming days, “this will be problematic for business travel — particularly inbound into the U.K.,” said Martin Ferguson, a spokesman for American Express Global Business Travel. Organizers of the World Aviation Festival in London told attendees the event will go on as scheduled starting Tuesday, the day the new U.K. rules come into effect. The group arranged for testing at two nearby hotels where delegates who are guests can self-isolate while awaiting results. A separate, internal corporate event in the U.K. was shifted to hybrid from in-person, because the new testing and isolation requirements would have caught out some attendees set to arrive on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the matter. © 2020 Bloomberg Finance LP Travelers wait to be admitted into the Covid-19 test center at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The impact of Omicron on leisure travel Leisure travel will also see an impact, while friends and relatives visiting loved ones after long absences are more likely to go through with a trip, said Alex Irving, an analyst at Bernstein in London. “Christmas bookings will obviously be weaker than we had expected prior to the omicron variant,” he said. “As you add barriers to travel such as the PCR tests and isolation requirements, all that does is changes the incentives. Airlines now face a return to the uncertainty of shifting rules and public-health developments that threw customer plans into chaos and undermined demand earlier in the pandemic. British Airways, for example, halted flights to Hong Kong through at least Nov. 30 after one employee tested positive for Covid-19 and staff were sent into quarantine. The airline said it’s keeping its operations under review as the situation evolves. Singapore and Japan are among countries that have said they’re considering tighter border restrictions. The risk of a second lost winter has already tanked shares of airline stocks, with the Bloomberg EMEA Airline Index down 18% this month. This will make it harder to raise fresh capital to repair balance sheets — British Airways parent IAG SA has 12.4 billion euros ($14 billion) in net debt, for example. “This comes at a time of year when airlines will seek to bolster liquidity and to a modest extent profitability, and is after an already arduous 18 months of revenue depletion,” said John Strickland, who heads London-based JLS Consulting......»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 28th, 2021

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas Exposes The Real COVID Disaster

A President Betrayed by Bureaucrats: Scott Atlas Exposes The Real COVID Disaster Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute, I’m a voracious reader of Covid books but nothing could have prepared me for Scott Atlas’s A Plague Upon Our House, a full and mind-blowing account of the famed scientist’s personal experience with the Covid era and a luridly detailed account of his time at the White House. The book is hot fire, from page one to the last, and will permanently affect your view of not only this pandemic and the policy response but also the workings of public health in general.  Atlas’s book has exposed a scandal for the ages. It is enormously valuable because it fully blows up what seems to be an emerging fake story involving a supposedly Covid-denying president who did nothing vs. heroic scientists in the White House who urged compulsory mitigating measures consistent with prevailing scientific opinion. Not one word of that is true. Atlas’s book, I hope, makes it impossible to tell such tall tales without embarrassment.  Anyone who tells you this fictional story (including Deborah Birx) deserves to have this highly credible treatise tossed in his direction. The book is about the war between real science (and genuine public health), with Atlas as the voice for reason both before and during his time in the White House, vs. the enactment of brutal policies that never stood any chance of controlling the virus while causing tremendous damage to the people, to human liberty, to children in particular, but also to billions of people around the world.  For the reader, the author is our proxy, a reasonable and blunt man trapped in a world of lies, duplicity, backstabbing, opportunism, and fake science. He did his best but could not prevail against a powerful machine that cares nothing for facts, much less outcomes.  If you have heretofore believed that science drives pandemic public policy, this book will shock you. Atlas’s recounting of the unbearably poor thinking on the part of government-based “infectious disease experts” will make your jaw drop (thinking, for example, of Birx’s off-the-cuff theorizing about the relationship between masking and controlling case spreads).  Throughout the book, Atlas points to the enormous cost of the machinery of lockdowns, the preferred method of Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx: missed cancer screenings, missed surgeries, nearly two years of educational losses, bankrupted small business, depression and drug overdoses, overall citizen demoralization, violations of religious freedom, all while public health massively neglected the actual at-risk population in long-term care facilities. Essentially, they were willing to dismantle everything we called civilization in the name of bludgeoning one pathogen without regard to the consequences.  The fake science of population-wide “models” drove policy instead of following the known information about risk profiles. “The one unusual feature of this virus was the fact that children had an extraordinarily low risk,” writes Atlas. “Yet this positive and reassuring news was never emphasized. Instead, with total disregard of the evidence of selective risk consistent with other respiratory viruses, public health officials recommended draconian isolation of everyone.” “Restrictions on liberty were also destructive by inflaming class distinctions with their differential impact,” he writes, “exposing essential workers, sacrificing low-income families and kids, destroying single-parent homes, and eviscerating small businesses, while at the same time large companies were bailed out, elites worked from home with barely an interruption, and the ultra-rich got richer, leveraging their bully pulpit to demonize and cancel those who challenged their preferred policy options.” In the midst of continued chaos, in August 2020, Atlas was called by Trump to help, not as a political appointee, not as a PR man for Trump, not as a DC fixer but as the only person who in nearly a year of unfolding catastrophe had a health-policy focus. He made it clear from the outset that he would only say what he believed to be true; Trump agreed that this was precisely what he wanted and needed. Trump got an earful and gradually came around to a more rational view than that which caused him to wreck the American economy and society with his own hands and against his own instincts.  In Task Force meetings, Atlas was the only person who showed up with studies and on-the-ground information as opposed to mere charts of infections easily downloadable from popular websites. “A bigger surprise was that Fauci did not present scientific research on the pandemic to the group that I witnessed. Likewise, I never heard him speak about his own critical analysis of any published research studies. This was stunning to me. Aside from intermittent status updates about clinical trial enrollments, Fauci served the Task Force by offering an occasional comment or update on vaccine trial participant totals, mostly when the VP would turn to him and ask.” When Atlas spoke up, it was almost always to contradict Fauci/Birx but he received no backing during meetings, only to have many people in attendance later congratulate him for speaking out. Still, he did, by virtue of private meetings, have a convert in Trump himself, but by then it was too late: not even Trump could prevail against the wicked machine he had permissioned into operation.  It’s a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington story but applied to matters of public health. From the outset of this disease panic, policy came to be dictated by two government bureaucrats (Fauci and Birx) who, for some reason, were confident in their control over media, bureaucracies, and White House messaging, despite every attempt by the president, Atlas, and a few others to get them to pay attention to the actual science about which Fauci/Birx knew and care little.  When Atlas would raise doubts about Birx, Jared Kushner would repeatedly assure him that “she is 100% MAGA.” Yet we know for certain that this is not true. We know from a different book on the subject that she only took the position with the anticipation that Trump would lose the presidency in the November election. That’s hardly a surprise; it’s the bias expected from a career bureaucrat working for a deep-state institution. Fortunately, we now have this book to set the record straight. It gives every reader an inside look at the workings of a system that wrecked our lives. If the book finally declines to offer an explanation for the hell that was visited upon us – every day we still ask the question why? – it does provide an accounting of the who, when, where, and what. Tragically, too many scientists, media figures, and intellectuals in general went along. Atlas’s account shows exactly what they signed up to defend, and it’s not pretty.  The cliche that kept coming to mind as I read is “breath of fresh air.” That metaphor describes the book perfectly: blessed relief from relentless propaganda. Imagine yourself trapped in an elevator with stultifying air in a building that is on fire and the smoke gradually seeps in from above. Someone is in there with you and he keeps assuring you that everything is fine, when it is obviously not.  That’s a pretty good description of how I felt from March 12, 2020 and onward. That was the day that President Trump spoke to the nation and announced that there would be no more travel from Europe. The tone in his voice was spooky. It was obvious that more was coming. He had clearly fallen sway to extremely bad advice, perhaps he was willing to push lockdowns as a plan to deal with a respiratory virus that was already widespread in the US from perhaps 5 to 6 months earlier.  It was the day that the darkness descended. A day later (March 13), the HHS distributed its lockdown plans for the nation. That weekend, Trump met for many hours with Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and only a few others. He came around to the idea of shutting down the American economy for two weeks. He presided over the calamitous March 16, 2020, press conference, at which Trump promised to beat the virus through general lockdowns.  Of course he had no power to do that directly but he could urge it to happen, all under the completely delusional promise that doing so would solve the virus problem. Two weeks later, the same gang persuaded him to extend the lockdowns.  Trump went along with the advice because it was the only advice he was fed at the time. They made it appear that the only choice that Trump had – if he wanted to beat the virus – was to wage war on his own policies that were pushing for a stronger, healthier economy. After surviving two impeachment attempts, and beating back years of hate from a nearly united media afflicted by severe derangement syndrome, Trump was finally hornswoggled.  Atlas writes: “On this highly important criterion of presidential management—taking responsibility to fully take charge of policy coming from the White House—I believe the president made a massive error in judgment. Against his own gut feeling, he delegated authority to medical bureaucrats, and then he failed to correct that mistake.” The truly tragic fact that both Republicans and Democrats do not want spoken about is that this whole calamity is that did indeed begin with Trump’s decision. On this point, Atlas writes: Yes, the president initially had gone along with the lockdowns proposed by Fauci and Birx, the “fifteen days to slow the spread,” even though he had serious misgivings. But I still believe the reason that he kept repeating his one question—“Do you agree with the initial shutdown?”—whenever he asked questions about the pandemic was precisely because he still had misgivings about it. Large parts of the narrative are devoted to explaining precisely how and to what extent Trump had been betrayed. “They had convinced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would naturally do in any other circumstance,” Atlas writes, that is  “to disregard his own common sense and allow grossly incorrect policy advice to prevail…. This president, widely known for his signature “You’re fired!” declaration, was misled by his closest political intimates. All for fear of what was inevitable anyway—skewering from an already hostile media. And on top of that tragic misjudgment, the election was lost anyway. So much for political strategists.” There are so many valuable parts to the story that I cannot possibly recount them all. The language is brilliant, e.g. he calls the media “the most despicable group of unprincipled liars one could ever imagine.” He proves that assertion in page after page of shocking lies and distortions, mostly driven by political goals.  I was particularly struck by his chapter on testing, mainly because that whole racket mystified me throughout. From the outset, the CDC bungled the testing part of the pandemic story, attempting to keep the tests and process centralized in DC at the very time when the entire nation was in panic. Once that was finally fixed, months too late, mass and indiscriminate PCR testing became the desiderata of success within the White House. The problem was not just with the testing method: “Fragments of dead virus hang around and can generate a positive test for many weeks or months, even though one is not generally contagious after two weeks. Moreover, PCR is extremely sensitive. It detects minute quantities of virus that do not transmit infection…. Even the New York Times wrote in August that 90 percent or more of positive PCR tests falsely implied that someone was contagious. Sadly, during my entire time at the White House, this crucial fact would never even be addressed by anyone other than me at the Task Force meetings, let alone because for any public recommendation, even after I distributed data proving this critical point.” The other problem is the wide assumption that more testing (however inaccurate) of whomever, whenever was always better. This model of maximizing tests seemed like a leftover from the HIV/AIDS crisis in which tracing was mostly useless in practice but at least made some sense in theory. For a widespread and mostly wild respiratory disease transmitted the way a cold virus is transmitted, this method was hopeless from the beginning. It became nothing but make work for tracing bureaucrats and testing enterprises that in the end only provided a fake metric of “success” that served to spread public panic.  Early on, Fauci had clearly said that there was no reason to get tested if you had no symptoms. Later, that common-sense outlook was thrown out the window and replaced with an agenda to test as many people as possible regardless of risk and regardless of symptoms. The resulting data enabled Fauci/Birx to keep everyone in a constant state of alarm. More test positivity to them implied only one thing: more lockdowns. Businesses needed to close harder, we all needed to mask harder, schools needed to stay closed longer, and travel needed to be ever more restricted. That assumption became so entrenched that not even the president’s own wishes (which had changed from Spring to Summer) made any difference.  Atlas’s first job, then, was to challenge this whole indiscriminate testing agenda. To his mind, testing needed to be about more than accumulating endless amounts of data, much of it without meaning; instead, testing should be directed toward a public-health goal. The people who needed tests were the vulnerable populations, particularly those in nursing homes, with the goal of saving lives among those who were actually threatened with severe outcomes. This push to test, contact trace, and quarantine anyone and everyone regardless of known risk was a huge distraction, and also caused huge disruption in schooling and enterprise.  To fix it meant changing the CDC guidelines. Atlas’s story of attempting to do that is eye-opening. He wrestled with every manner of bureaucrat and managed to get new guidelines written, only to find that they had been mysteriously reverted to the old guidelines one week later. He caught the “error” and insisted that his version prevail. Once they were issued by the CDC, the national press was all over it, with the story that the White House was pressuring the scientists at the CDC in terrible ways. After a week-long media storm, the guidelines changed yet again. All of Atlas’s work was made null.  Talk about discouraging! It was also Atlas’s first full experience in dealing with deep-state machinations. It was this way throughout the lockdown period, a machinery in place to implement, encourage, and enforce endless restrictions but no one person in particular was there to take responsibility for the policies or the outcomes, even as the ostensible head of state (Trump) was on record both publicly and privately opposing the policies that no one could seem to stop.  As an example of this, Atlas tells the story of bringing some massively important scientists to the White House to speak with Trump: Martin Kulldorff, Jay Bhattacharya, Joseph Ladapo, and Cody Meissner. People around the president thought the idea was great. But somehow the meeting kept being delayed. Again and again. When it finally went ahead, the schedulers only allowed for 5 minutes. But once they met with Trump himself, the president had other ideas and prolonged the meeting for an hour and a half, asking the scientists all kinds of questions about viruses, policy, the initial lockdowns, the risks to individuals, and so on.  The president was so impressed with their views and knowledge – what a dramatic change that must have been for him – that he invited filming to be done plus pictures to be taken. He wanted to make it a big public splash. It never happened. Literally. White House press somehow got the message that this meeting never happened. The first anyone will have known about it other than White House employees is from Atlas’s book.  Two months later, Atlas was instrumental in bringing in not only two of those scientists but also the famed Sunetra Gupta of Oxford. They met with the HHS secretary but this meeting too was buried in the press. No dissent was allowed. The bureaucrats were in charge, regardless of the wishes of the president.  Another case in point was during Trump’s own bout with Covid in early October. Atlas was nearly sure that he would be fine but he was forbidden from talking to the press. The entire White House communications office was frozen for four days, with no one speaking to the press. This was against Trump’s own wishes. This left the media to speculate that he was on his deathbed, so when he came back to the White House and announced that Covid is not to be feared, it was a shock to the nation. From my own point of view, this was truly Trump’s finest moment. To learn of the internal machinations happening behind the scenes is pretty shocking.  I can’t possibly cover the wealth of material in this book, and I expect this brief review to be one of several that I write. I do have a few disagreements. First, I think the author is too uncritical toward Operation Warp Speed and doesn’t really address how the vaccines were wildly oversold, to say nothing of growing concerns about safety, which were not addressed in the trials. Second, he seems to approve of Trump’s March 12th travel restrictions, which struck me as brutal and pointless, and the real beginning of the unfolding disaster. Third, Atlas inadvertently seems to perpetuate the distortion that Trump recommended ingesting bleach during a press conference. I know that this was all over the papers. But I’ve read the transcript of that press conference several times and find nothing like this. Trump actually makes clear that he was speaking about cleaning surfaces. This might be yet another case of outright media lies.  All that aside, this book reveals everything about the insanity of 2020 and 2021, years in which good sense, good science, historical precedent, human rights, and concerns for human liberty were all thrown into the trash, not just in the US but all over the world. Atlas summarizes the big picture: “in considering all the surprising events that unfolded in this past year, two in particular stand out. I have been shocked at the enormous power of government officials to unilaterally decree a sudden and severe shutdown of society—to simply close businesses and schools by edict, restrict personal movements, mandate behavior, regulate interactions with our family members, and eliminate our most basic freedoms, without any defined end and with little accountability.” Atlas is correct that “the management of this pandemic has left a stain on many of America’s once noble institutions, including our elite universities, research institutes and journals, and public health agencies. Earning it back will not be easy.”  Internationally, we have Sweden as an example of a country that (mostly) kept its sanity. Domestically, we have South Dakota as an example of a place that stayed open, preserving freedom throughout. And thanks in large part to Atlas’s behind-the-scenes work, we have the example of Florida, whose governor did care about the actual science and ended up preserving freedom in the state even as the elderly population there experienced the greatest possible protection from the virus.  We all owe Atlas an enormous debt of gratitude, for it was he who persuaded the Florida governor to choose the path of focussed protection as advocated by the Great Barrington Declaration, which Atlas cites as the “single document that will go down as one of the most important publications in the pandemic, as it lent undeniable credibility to focused protection and provided courage to thousands of additional medical scientists and public health leaders to come forward.” Atlas experienced the slings, arrows, and worse. The media and the bureaucrats tried to shut him up, shut him down, and body bag him professionally and personally. Cancelled, meaning removed from the roster of functional, dignified human beings. Even colleagues at Stanford University joined in the lynch mob, much to their disgrace. And yet this book is that of a man who has prevailed against them. In that sense, this book is easily the most crucial first-person account we have so far. It is gripping, revealing, devastating for the lockdowners and their vaccine-mandating successors, and a true classic that will stand the test of time. It’s simply not possible to write the history of this disaster without a close examination of this erudite first-hand account.  Tyler Durden Sun, 11/28/2021 - 12:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 28th, 2021

19 of our favorite Small Business Saturday deals, including Brooklinen, Bombas, and Dagne Dover

We found the best Small Business Saturday deals from top brands, including 20% off sitewide at Bombas, Brooklinen, and more. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.OtherlandWhile Black Friday is a big shopping day for major retailers, Small Business Saturday is your chance to support high-quality brands that might fly under the radar. With the disproportionate effect the pandemic has had on small businesses, it's more important than ever to support your favorite independent sellers. Many of our favorite small businesses are having sales throughout the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, including Brooklinen, Bombas, Coop Home Goods, and more. To help you find the best Small Business Saturday deals, we have rounded up a few of our favorites from brands we've previously tested and featured in our guides and reviews.Here are the best Small Business Saturday deals to shop todayBrooklinenBrooklinenSave 20% off sitewide at BrooklinenSeveral Insider Reviews team members have tested Brooklinen sheets, blankets, and other bedding over the years, and we always get excited when there's a sale. For Small Business Saturday, Brooklinen is offering 20% off sitewide, including its Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle and All-Season Down Comforter.PartakePartakeSave 25% off orders of $35 or more at PartakePartake specializes in allergen-free treats, so its cookies are ideal for school snacks and other get-togethers. I have a sensitivity to gluten and was impressed with how good the chocolate chip cookies tasted — I couldn't tell they were gluten-free.BombasBombasSave 20% off sitewide at Bombas with promo code MERRY20Many members of the Insider Reviews team wear Bombas socks. We like that the company donates millions of pairs of socks to homeless shelters; it oesn't hurt that Bombas are incredibly comfortable, too.Callaloo BoxCallaloo BoxSave 15% off sitewide at Callaloo BoxIf you like Caribbean food and don't have anywhere to get it locally, Callaloo Box has you covered. Founded by sisters from Trinidad, Callaloo Box has a wide assortment of hard-to-find Caribbean groceries. I like to snack on the high-protein, high-fiber split peas between meals.Great JonesGreat JonesSave 25% off sitewide at Great JonesWe love Great Jones because it makes luxury cookware more accessible and its beautiful designs are sure to make your Instagram stories pop. Our team finds that the bakeware performs well and is incredibly durable. Today, you can save even more on these already-affordable pieces.SistainSistainSave 20% off sitewide at SistainSistain is about as small as it gets. When I interviewed Jaclyn Tracy, the founder and CEO of Sistain, in August, she told me the independent retailer only had five employees, all women.Tracy aims to make Sistain more than just an online store, too, as she's trying to help consumers make earth-conscious purchasing decisions. In addition to a carefully curated shop of sustainable home and kitchen products, Sistain offers tips and resources for eco-friendly consumerism.Coop Home GoodsCoop Home GoodsSave up to 30% off at Coop Home Goods with promo code FRIYAYOf the dozens of pillows we've tested through the years, the Coop Home Goods' Original Pillow is the best. And, as I test different sheets, mattresses, and head pillows, one product remains consistent in my bed setup: the Coop Home Goods Body Pillow. For the last three years, it's kept my spine aligned while I sleep.StojoStojoSave 20% off at Stojo with promo code "STOJOFRIDAY"Stojo seeks to help the environment by making reusable cups and bowls that are convenient to carry with you. The company's products collapse so you can keep a coffee cup in your pocket or bag, and when you head to the coffee shop, you just pop it out and avoid wasting a paper cup. My son brings the Stojo Jr. bottle to school — he likes that it reminds him of a fidget toy.LeatherologyLeatherologySave up to 20% off sitewide with promo code CELEBRATELeatherology makes stylish leather products accessible to shoppers of all budgets. The company specializes in wallets, handbags, portfolios, and more. For Small Business Saturday, it's offering 10% off sitewide, 15% off purchases of $100+, and 20% off purchases of $250+.NrodaNrodaSave up to 40% off at NrodaNroda is a Black woman-owned business that specializes in stylish eyewear. The brand is best known for its sunglasses but it's also branched out to include earrings, rings, and other jewelry. AurateAurateSave 25% off sitewide at Aurate with code STOCKEDAurate is one of the best places to buy affordable fine jewelry online. Woman-owned Aurate uses customer feedback to help guide its design decisions, which has led to some stunning collections.ThermoworksLauren Savoie/InsiderSave 25% off Thermoworks thermometersIn our guide to the best meat thermometers, Thermoworks thermometers were tops in all five categories we tested for. For Small Business Saturday, many of our favorites are on sale, including 20% off the Thermoworks Thermapen One, the best meat thermometer, according to our testing.SunshinyMoonEtsySave 30% off SunshinyMoon period kits at EtsySunshinyMoon is a Black woman-owned shop on Etsy that specializes in handmade period kits and accessories. The designs on the period wallets and kits range from cute to badass. The shop also has several first-period kits to help teens prepare.Nappy Head ClubNappy Head ClubSave 25% off sitewide at Nappy Head ClubSmall Business Saturday is an excellent opportunity to support Black-owned businesses. Nappy Head Club was started by two sisters who were tired of the lack of authentic representation. The site offers clothing and accessories that celebrate pride of self.Dagne DoverDagne Dover/InstagramSave 20% off sitewide at Dagne Dover with code HOLIDAZEWhile Dagne Dover offers wallets and other accessories, the company is best known for its bags, ranging from fashionable fanny packs to leather totes. Dagne Dover makes one of our favorite work bags, and the Dakota Neoprene Backpack is our pick for the best backpack for women.FirstleafConnie Chen/InsiderGet your first six bottles for $29.95 and free shipping at Firstleaf with code CYBERWINEFirstleaf is our pick for the best value wine club subscription. In addition to the attractive intro offer, which is even more attractive through Cyber Monday, we liked that you can easily swap out the pre-selected bottles in your order to get the varieties that suit your tastes.OtherlandOtherlandUp to 35% off sitewide at OtherlandOtherland believes that candles make everything better. That's why it's set out to produce candles made of clean ingredients. The candles come in reusable glass tumblers that are made in the USA. With its unique scents, we think Otherland is one of the best places to buy candles online.Made InMade In; Alyssa Powell/InsiderSave up to 25% off sitewide at Made InYou'll find Made In cookware in the kitchens of several Insider Reviews team members. We like that you can get the same pots and pans used in Michelin-star restaurants without breaking the bank. We especially like the carbon steel pan and stainless clad saucier.Partners Coffee Co.Partners Coffee Co.Save 20% off sitewide at Partners Coffee Co.Brooklyn-based Partners Coffee Co. partners with farms around the world to build a diverse, seasonal menu of roasts. The company is also committed to green practices, including offering retail coffee bags that are part of a zero-waste manufacturing chain.Small Business Saturday FAQWhat is Small Business Saturday?Started by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday was created to encourage consumers to support small shops the day after Black Friday. Many stores have special deals to commemorate the day.When is Small Business Saturday?It falls the day after Black Friday and two days after Thanksgiving in the US (which is on the fourth Thursday of November). This year, Small Business Sunday is November 27.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 27th, 2021