Eight Atlanta restaurant names tabbed as James Beard award semifinalists

The James Beard Foundation announced its long list of semifinalists for its 2023 awards......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 25th, 2023

30 people who became highly successful after age 40

From renowned designer Vera Wang to Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox, these success stories prove you don't have to be in your 20s make a difference. The late Toni Morrison was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2012 when she was 81.Alex Wong/Getty Images Founders in their 20s get a lot of media attention, but research suggests most founders are older.  Insider rounded up famous people who found success in their 30s, 40s, or later. The list includes the likes of Eric Yuan, Arianna Huffington, and Laverne Cox.  Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he started Facebook. And Bill Gates got Microsoft off the ground when he was 23.Their well-known stories would seem to suggest success comes early — or not at all.But the data on successful entrepreneurs says otherwise: The average age of business founders is around 40 years old, according to research by Pierre Azoulay, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.And a 50-year-old founder is approximately twice as likely to experience a successful exit, meaning the startup is acquired or goes public, compared with a founder at age 30, according to Azoulay's analysis of 2.7 million founders between 2007 and 2014. What's more, the average age of a unicorn founder is 34, according to venture capital partner Ali Tamaseb's 2021 book Super Founders: What Data Reveals About Billion-Dollar Startups.From renowned fashion designer Vera Wang who didn't design her first dress until she was 40 to Henry Ford who created the revolutionary Model T car at age 45, Insider rounded up 30 famous people who didn't achieve success until well past their 30th birthday.Here are other successful people who found success later in life.Eric Yuan founded Zoom at the age of 41. Yuan left Cisco Systems, where he was vice president of engineering, to launch Zoom Video Communications in 2011. When the company went public in 2019, Yuan became a billionaire. His net-worth and the success of the company grew exponentially during COVID-19 when companies and individuals turned to the platform to connect with colleagues and loved ones from around the globe.Eric Yuan is the founder of Zoom Video CommunicationsMatt Winkelmeyer / Getty ImagesRead more: Zoom CEO Eric Yuan says he's enjoyed working longer hours during the pandemic — and that his net worth jumping to $20 billion hasn't changed his life all that muchDavid Baszucki was 41 years old when he created Roblox with cofounder Erik Cassel, who was 36 at the time. The platform was released to the public two years later, in 2006. Roblox went public in March 2021 via a direct listing.David Baszucki is the cofounder of RobloxSteven Ferdman / Getty ImagesErik Cassel died in 2013 of brain cancer at the age of 45. Read more: The billionaire founder of Roblox reportedly used a tax break for small businesses to avoid paying millions to the IRS Read more: Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki told us why he found a direct listing the most authentic way to go public, and why he doesn't consider himself an IPO 'rebel' Stan Lee created his first hit comic, "The Fantastic Four," just shy of his 39th birthday, in 1961. In the next few years, he created the legendary Marvel Universe, whose characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men became American cultural icons.Rich Polk/Getty Images for Entertainment WeeklyLee died in late 2018 at 95.Read more: Stan Lee, Marvel legend, dead at 95Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison wrote her first novel, "The Bluest Eye," at age 40, while she was working at Random House as an editor. She won her Pulitzer Prize when she was 56, and her Nobel Prize in Literature at 62.FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2005 file photo, author Toni Morrison listens to Mexicos Carlos Monsivais during the Julio Cortazar professorship conference at the Guadalajara's University in Guadalajara City, Mexico. The Nobel Prize-winning author has died. Publisher Alfred A. Knopf says Morrison died Monday, Aug. 5, 2019 at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She was 88.AP Photo/Guillermo AriasMorrison died in 2019 at 88. Read more: Late author Toni Morrison quotes on writing, love, life, and race that show why she was so belovedMartha Stewart, the home and kitchen icon, didn't find real success until age 41, when her first cookbook published.Martha Stewart is seen leaving the Carolina Herrera fashion show during New York Fashion Week on September 09, 2019 in New York City.Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC ImagesBefore she became a household name, Martha Stewart worked on Wall Street and owned a Connecticut catering firm. But real fame struck Stewart at age 41 with the 1982 publication of her first book, "Entertaining," and the launch of Martha Stewart Living seven years later.She faced another challenge in 2004 when she was sentenced to five months in jail for obstructing a federal securities investigation. She has written nearly 100 books and has amassed millions of followers on social media.Vera Wang was a figure skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40. Today she's one of the world's premier women's designers.Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/APRead more: Vera Wang returns, with hippie hair and couture lingerieEmmy-nominated actress and trans rights activist Laverne Cox rose to prominence with her role in Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black" in 2013 when she was 41. In 2014, she graced the cover of TIME Magazine at age 42. At 45, she was nominated for her first Emmy.Jason Merritt/Getty ImagesRead more: Laverne Cox gave a great answer about what inspired her to get into actingDonald Fisher was 40 and had no experience in retail when he and his wife, Doris, opened the first Gap store in San Francisco in 1969. The Gap's clothes quickly became fashionable, and today the company is one of the world's largest clothing chains.YouTube/San Francisco Museum of Modern ArtFisher died in 2009 at 81.Read more: Jeff Bezos, Julia Child, and 17 more highly successful people who changed careers after age 30Samuel L. Jackson has been a Hollywood staple for years now, but he'd had only bit parts before landing an award-winning role at age 43 in Spike Lee's film "Jungle Fever" in 1991. Frazer Harrison/GettyRead more: 15 famous people who had a stutter Kris Jenner was 52 when she met with Hollywood producer Ryan Seacrest in 2007 to pitch the idea for a reality TV show following her family. The resulting show, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," became a hit and Jenner went on to manage her children's various ventures in fashion, beauty, and media.Kris Jenner at "The Kardashians" Hulu premiere.Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for ABARead more: The incredible evolution of Kris JennerGary Heavin was 40 when he opened the first Curves fitness center in 1992, which ended up becoming one of the fastest-growing franchises of the '90s.Frederick M. Brown/GettyRead more: The 10 Most Brilliant Franchise Founders We're Eternally Grateful For Robin Chase cofounded Zipcar at age 42 in 2000. She left the company in 2011 and continues to build and advise startups, as well as serve as a member of the World Economic Forum.A zipcar vehicle is seen parked in downtown WashingtonThomson ReutersRead more: Zipcar Founder Says The Future Of Self-Owned Driverless Cars 'Is A Nightmare' Sam Walton had a fairly successful retail-management career in his 20s and 30s, but his path to astronomical success began at age 44, when he founded the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962.AmazonWalton died in 1992 at 74.Read more: How the Waltons — America's wealthiest family and heirs to the Walmart empire — live their lives Henry Ford was 45 when he created the revolutionary Model T car in 1908.AP PhotoRead more: Henry Ford built 'Fordlandia,' a utopian city inside Brazil's Amazon rainforest that's now abandoned — take a look around Jack Weil was 45 when he founded what became the most popular cowboy-wear brand, Rockmount Ranch Wear. He remained its CEO until he died at age 107 in 2008.Rick Wilking/ReutersRead more: 10 CEOs who didn't find success until later in life Rodney Dangerfield is remembered as a legendary comedian, but he didn't catch a break until he made a hit appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" at age 46.YouTube/The Ed Sullivan ShowRead more: The most famous comedian the year you were born Momofuku Ando cemented his spot in junk-food history when he invented instant ramen at age 48 in 1958. Kazuhiro Nogi/Getty ImagesAndo died in 2007 at the age of 96. Read more: You can customize your own instant noodles at this ramen museum in Japan Julia Child worked in advertising and media before writing her first cookbook when she was 50, launching her career as a celebrity chef in 1961.Jon Chase/APRead more: These vintage photos of Julia Child in the kitchen will inspire you to cook Jack Cover worked as a scientist at NASA and IBM before he became a successful entrepreneur at 50 for inventing the Taser stun gun in 1970.Christopher Furlong/GettyRead more: Taser, Xerox, Popsicle, and 31 more brands-turned-household names Betty White was one of the most award-winning comedic actresses in history, but she didn't become an icon until she joined the cast of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in 1973 at age 51.Betty White knows how to make you feel good through a television screen.Toby Canham/Getty ImagesWhite died in 2021 at 99. Read more: Betty White: A defender of diversity and inclusion  Beloved comedian Steve Carell is known for his many blockbuster hits, including "The 40-year-old Virgin" and "The Big Short." But he didn't land his hit role as Michael Scott in "The Office" until he was 42.Reuters/ Mario AnzuoniRead more: Steve Carell says he 'gained credibility' with his kids when Billie Eilish sampled 'The Office'Tim and Nina Zagat were both 51-year-old lawyers when they published their first collection of restaurant reviews under the Zagat name in 1979. It eventually became a mark of culinary authority.Joe Corrigan/GettyRead more: These are the best restaurants in New York City, according to Zagat Taikichiro Mori was an academic who became a real-estate investor at age 51 when he founded Mori Building Company. His brilliant investments made him the richest man in the world in 1992, when he had a net worth of $13 billion. Katsumi Kasahara/APRead more: 19 highly successful people who prove it's never too late to change careers Ray Kroc spent his career as a milkshake-device salesman before buying McDonald's at age 52 in 1954. He grew it into the world's biggest fast-food franchise.AP PhotoRead more: How the legendary founder of McDonald's created his own luck Wally Blume had a long career in the dairy business before starting his own ice cream company, Denali Flavors, at age 57 in 1995. The company reported revenue of $80 million in 2009.Flickr/Richard DaltonRead more: 10 CEOs who didn't find success until later in life Laura Ingalls Wilder spent her later years writing semi-autobiographical stories using her educated daughter, Rose, as an editor. She published the first in the "Little House" books at age 65 in 1932. They soon became children's literary classics and the basis for the TV show "Little House on the Prairie."Wikimedia Commons/Public DomainRead more: A New Book Reveals What 'Little House' Author Laura Ingalls Wilder's Life Was Really Like Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952. He sold the franchise business for $2 million 12 years later. AP PhotoRead more: KFC is bringing Colonel Sanders back from the dead in a series of unsettling ads Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, began her prolific painting career at 78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.Arthur Z. Brooks/APRead more: 19 highly successful people who changed careers after age 30 Harry Bernstein spent a long life writing in obscurity but finally achieved fame at age 96 for his 2007 memoir, "The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers."Mel Evans/APRead more: Not everyone will support you, and 9 other truths you must accept to be successful Arianna Huffington founded her namesake news publication, The Huffington Post, at age 55. While she worked as a political commentator and writer for her early career, the success of her digital media publication made her a household name. HuffPost later sold to AOL for $315 million.Arianna Huffington speaks onstage in 'Digital Detox' on day 2 of POPSUGAR Play/Ground on June 10, 2018 in New York City.Brian Ach/Getty Images for POPSUGAR Play/GroundRead more: FINALLY: We Know How Much Money Arianna REALLY Made From The $315 Million Sale Of Huffington Post Richard Feloni contributed to an earlier version of this article which was originally published in January 2020.  An earlier version of this story appeared on January 16, 2020.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 28th, 2022

Spooky Torts: The 2022 List Of Litigation Horrors

Spooky Torts: The 2022 List Of Litigation Horrors Authored by Jonathan Turley, Here is my annual list of Halloween torts and crimes. Halloween of course remains a holiday seemingly designed for personal injury lawyers around the world and this year’s additions show why. Halloween has everything for a torts-filled holiday: battery, trespass, defamation, nuisance, product liability and more. Particularly with the recent tragedy in South Korea, our annual listing is not intended to belittle the serious losses that can occur on this and other holidays. However, my students and I often discuss the remarkably wide range of torts that comes with All Hallow’s Eve. So, with no further ado, here is this year’s updated list of actual cases related to Halloween. In October 2021, Danielle Thomas, former exotic dancer known as “Pole Assassin” (and the girlfriend of Texas special teams coach Jeff Banks), found herself embroiled in a Halloween tort after the monkey previously used in her act bit a wandering child at the house of horror she created for Halloween. Thomas considers the monkey Gia to be her “emotional support animal.” Thomas goes all out for the holiday and converted her home into a house of horrors, including a maze. She said that the area with Gia was closed off and, as for petting, “no one is allowed to touch her!”  She publicly insisted “No one was viciously attack this a lie, a whole lie! She was not apart of any haunted house, the kid did not have permission to be on the other side of my property!” She even posted a walk-through video of the scene to show the steps that a child would have to take to get to the monkey. Don’t worry folks I got the #MonkeyGate video — Christian Sykes (@ctsykes13) November 2, 2021 She insists in the video that she knows all of the governing legal rules and shows the path in detail. It is not helpful on the defense side: it is not a long path and easy to see how a child might get lost. She later deleted her account (likely after her attorney regained consciousness). The case raises an array of torts including animal liability, licensee liability, negligence, and attractive nuisance claims. In 2022, we often added conversion to the usual torts where multiple versions of the new giant skeleton were stolen, including one particularly ham-handed effort in Austin, Texas caught on video tape: * * * In Berea, Ohio, the promoters of the 7 Floors of Hell haunted house at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds appreciate realism but one employee took it a bit too far. An actor brandished this real bowie knife as a prop while pretending to stab an 11-year-old boy’s foot. He then stabbed him. The accident occurred when the actor, 22, approached the boy and stabbed at the ground as a scare tactic. He got too close and accidentally cut through the child’s shoe, piercing a toe. The injury was not serious since the boy was treated at the scene and continued through the haunted house. The case raises an interesting question of “respondeat superior” for the negligent acts by employees in the course of employment. The question is what is in the scope of employment.  The question is often whether an employee was on a “detour” or “frolic.”  A detour can be outside of an employer’s policies or guidelines but will be the basis for liability as sufficiently related to the employment.  A frolic is a more serious deviation where the employee is acting in his own capacity or for his own interests. In this case, the actor was clearly within his scope of employment in trying to scare the visitors. However, he admitted that he bought the knife in his personal capacity and agreed it “was not a good idea” to use it at the haunted house, according to FOX 8. That still does not negate the negligence — both direct and vicarious liability. There was a failure to monitor employees and safeguard the scene. His negligence is also likely attributable to the employer. Finally, this would constitute battery as a reckless, though unintended, act. * * * In 2020, parents in Indiana were given a warning in a Facebook post that the Indiana State Police seized holiday edibles featuring packaging that resembles that of actual name brands — but with the word “medicated” printed on the wrapper along with cannabis symbols. The packaging makes it easy for homeowners to confuse packages and give out drugged candy.  Indeed, last year, two children were given THC-infused gummies while trick-or-treating, according to police in Waterford, Conn.. Such candies include the main active ingredient linked to the psychedelic effects of cannabis – the plant from which marijuana is derived. Even an accidental distribution of such infused candies would constitute child endangerment and be subject to both negligence and strict liability actions in torts. * * * I previously have written how the fear of razor blades in apples appears an urban legend. Well, give it enough time and someone will prove you wrong. That is the allegation of Waterbury, Connecticut police who say that Jason A. Racz, 37, put razor blades in candy bags of at least two trick-or-treaters. Racz’ razor defense may not be particularly convincing to the average juror. According to police, “Racz explained that the razor blades were accidentally spilled or put into the candy bowl he used to hand out candy from.” However, police noted that he “provided no explanation as to how the razor blades were handed out to the children along with the candy.” The charge was brought soon after Halloween in 2019. Racz is now charged with risk of injury to a minor, reckless endangerment and interfering with a police officer. He could also be charged with battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, but it is not clear if any children were injured. *  *  * Steven Novak, an artist from Dallas, Texas, believes that Halloween should be a bit more than a traditional plastic pumpkin and a smiling ghost.  Police were called to his home in Texas over a possible murder. They found a dummy impaled on a chainsaw with fake blood; another dummy hanging from his roof; a wheelbarrow full of fake dismembered body parts and other gory scenes.  Neighbors called the display too traumatizing.  Police responded by taking pictures for their families. A tort action for intentional infliction of emotional distress is likely to fail. There must be not just outrageous conduct but conduct intended to cause severe emotional distress. Courts regularly exclude injuries associated with the exercise of free speech or artistic expression . . . even when accompanied by buckets of fake blood. *  *  * The Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Pennsylvania tells customers that, if they come to their Halloween Haunt, “Fear is waiting for you.” In 2019, a new case was filed by Shannon Sacco and her daughter over injuries sustained from “unreasonable scaring.” They are seeking $150,000. The Allentown Morning Call reported that “M.S.” went with friends to the amusement park and was immediately approached by costumed characters. She said that she told them that she did not want to be scared and backed away. A little further on into the park however a costumed employee allegedly ran up behind her and shouted loudly. The startled girl fell forward and suffered what were serious but unspecified injuries. She alleges ongoing medical issues and inability to return to fully functioning activities. The lawsuit also alleges that the park failed to inform Sacco or her daughter that they could buy a glow-in-the-dark “No Boo” necklace to ward off costumed employees. The obvious issue beyond the alleged negligence of the Park is the plaintiffs’ own conduct. Pennsylvania is a comparative negligence state so contributory negligence by the plaintiffs would not be a bar to recovery. See Pennsylvania General Assembly Statute §7102. However, it is a modified comparative negligence state so they must show that they are 50 percent or less at fault. If they are found 51 percent at fault, they are barred entirely from recovery. Even if they can recover, their damages are reduced by the percentage of their own fault in going to a park during a Halloween-themed event. *  *  * In 2019, there is a rare public petition to shutdown a haunted house that has been declared to be a “torture chamber.” The move to “shut down McKamey Manor” that has been signed by thousands who believe Russ McKamey, the owner of McKamey Manor, has made his house so scary that it constitutes torture, including an allegation of waterboarding of visitors. The haunted house requires participants to get a doctor’s note and sign a 40-page waiver before they enter. People are seeking the closure of the houses located in Summertown, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama. McKamey insists that it is just a “crazy haunted house” and stops well short of the legal-definition of torture. The question is whether consent vitiates any extreme frights or contacts. He is also clear in both the waiver and the website that the house is an “extreme haunted attraction” for legal adults who “must be in GREAT HEALTH to participate.” Not only do people enter with full knowledge but there is no charge. McKamey owns five dogs and only requires a bag of dog food for entry. Presumably the food is cursed. *  *  * An earlier case was recently made public from an accident on October 15, 2011 in San Diego. Scott Griffin and friends went to the Haunted Trail in San Diego. The ticket warns of “high-impact scares” along a mile path with actors brandishing weapons and scary items. Griffen, 44, and his friends went on the trail and were going out of what they thought was an exit. Suddenly an actor jumped out as part of what the attraction called “the Carrie effect” of a last minute scare. While Griffen said that he tried to back away, the actor followed him with a running chain saw. He fell backwards and injured his wrists. The 2013 lawsuit against the Haunted Hotel, Inc., in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego, alleged negligence and assault. However, Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal granted a motion to dismiss based on assumption of the risk. She noted that Griffin “was still within the scare experience that he purchased.” After all, “Who would want to go to a haunted house that is not scary?” Griffen then appealed and the attorney for the Haunted Hotel quoted Hunter S. Thompson: “Buy the ticket, take the ride.” Again, the court agreed. In upholding the lower court, Justice Gilbert Nares wrote, “Being chased within the physical confines of the Haunted Trail by a chain saw–carrying maniac is a fundamental part and inherent risk of this amusement. Griffin voluntarily paid money to experience it.” *  *  * In 2018, a case emerged in Madison, Tennessee from the Nashville Nightmare Haunted House.   James “Jay” Yochim and three of his pals went to the attraction composed of  four separate haunted houses, an escape room, carnival games and food vendors.  In the attraction, people are chased by characters with chainsaws and other weapons.  They were not surprised therefore when a man believed to be an employee in a Halloween costume handed Tawnya Greenfield a knife and told her to stab Yochim.  She did and thought it was all pretend until blood started to pour from Yochim’s arm. The knife was real and the man was heard apologizing “I didn’t know my knife was that sharp.” It is not clear how even stabbing with a dull knife would be considered safe. The attraction issued a statement: “As we have continued to review the information, we believe that an employee was involved in some way, and he has been placed on leave until we can determine his involvement. We are going over all of our safety protocols with all of our staff again, as the safety and security of all of our patrons is always our main concern. We have not been contacted by the police, but we will cooperate fully with any official investigation.” The next scary moment is likely to be in the form of a torts complaint.  Negligence against the company under respondeat superior is an obvious start. There is also a novel battery charge where he could claim that he was stabbed by trickery or deceit of a third person. There are also premises liability issues for invitees.  As for Greenfield, she claims to have lacked consent due to a misrepresentation.  She could be charged with negligence or a recklessness-based theory of battery, though that seems less likely.  Finally, there is an interesting possible claim of negligent infliction of emotional distress in being tricked or misled into stabbing an individual. *  *  * Last year, a 21-year-old man surnamed Cheung was killed by a moving coffin in a haunted house in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park.   The attraction is called “Buried Alive” and involves hopping into coffins for a downward slide into a dark and scary space. The ride promises to provide people with the “experience of being buried alive alone, before fighting their way out of their dark and eerie grave.” Cheung took a wrong turn and went backstage — only to be hit by one of the metal coffins.  The hit in the head killed Cheung who was found later in the haunted house. While there is no word of a tort lawsuit (and tort actions are rarer in Hong Kong), the case is typical of Halloween torts involving haunted houses.  The decor often emphasizes spooky and dark environs which both encourage terror and torts among the participants.  In this case, an obvious claim could be made that it is negligence to allow such easy access to the operational area of the coffin ride — particularly in a dark space.  As a business invitee, Cheung would have a strong case in the United States. *  *  * A previous addition to the Spooky torts was the odd case of Assistant Prosecutor Chris White. White clearly does not like spiders, even fake ones. That much was clear given his response to finding fake spiders scattered around the West Virginia office for Halloween. White pulled a gun and threatened to shoot the fake spiders, explaining that he is “deathly afraid of spiders.” It appears that his arachnophobia (fear of spiders) was not matched by a hoplophobia (fear of firearms). The other employees were reportedly shaken up and Logan County Prosecuting Attorney John Bennett later suspended White. Bennett said “He said they had spiders everyplace and he said he told them it wasn’t funny, and he couldn’t stand them, and he did indeed get a gun out. It had no clip in it, of course they wouldn’t know that, I wouldn’t either if I looked at it, to tell you the truth.” It is not clear how White thought threatening the decorative spiders would keep them at bay or whether he was trying to deter those who sought to deck out the office in a Halloween theme. He was not charged by his colleagues with a crime but was suspended for his conduct. This is not our first interaction with White. He was the prosecutor in the controversial (and in my view groundless) prosecution of Jared Marcum, who was arrested after wearing a NRA tee shirt to school. *  *  * Another new case from the last year involves a murder. Donnie Cochenour Jr., 27, got a seasonal break (at least temporarily) on detecting his alleged murder of Rebecca J. Cade, 31. Cade’s body was left hanging on a fence and was mistaken by neighbors as a Halloween decoration. The “decoration” was found by a man walking his dog and reported by construction workers. A large rock was found with blood on it nearby. Donnie Cochenour Jr., 27, was later arrested and ordered held on $2 million bond after he pleaded not guilty to murder. Cade apparently had known Cochenour since he was a child — a relationship going back 20 years. Cochenour reportedly admitted that they had a physical altercation in the field. Police found a blood trail that indicates that Cade was running from Cochenour and tried to climb the fence in an attempt to get away. She was found hanging from her sleeve and is believed to have died on the fence from blunt force trauma to the head and neck. Her body exhibited “defensive wounds.” When police arrested Cochenour, they found blood on is clothing. *  *  * In 2015, federal and state governments were cracking down on cosmetic contact lenses to give people spooky eyes. Owners and operators of 10 Southern California businesses were criminally charged in federal court with illegally selling cosmetic contact lenses without prescriptions. Some of the products that were purchased in connection with this investigation were contaminated with dangerous pathogens that can cause eye injury, blindness and loss of the eye. The products are likely to result in a slew of product liability actions. *  *  * Another 2015 case reflects that the scariest part of shopping for Halloween costumes or decorations may be the trip to the Party Store. Shanisha L. Saulsberry sued U.S. Toy Company, Inc. after she was injured shopping for Halloween costumes and a store rack fell on her. The jury awarded Saulsberry $7,216.00 for economic damages. She appealed the damages after evidence of her injuries were kept out of the trial by the court. However, the Missouri appellate court affirmed the ruling. *  *  * The case of Castiglione v. James F. Q., 115 A.D.3d 696, shows a classic Halloween tort. The lawsuit alleged that, on Halloween 2007, the defendant’s son threw an egg which hit the plaintiff’s daughter in the eye, causing her injuries. The plaintiff also brought criminal charges against the defendant’s son arising from this incident and the defendant’s son pleaded guilty to assault in the third degree (Penal Law § 120.00 [2]). However, at his deposition, the defendant’s son denied throwing the egg which allegedly struck the plaintiff’s daughter. Because of the age of the accused, the case turned on the youthful offender statute (CPL art 720) that provides special measures for persons found to be youthful offenders which provides “Except where specifically required or permitted by statute or upon specific authorization of the court, all official records and papers, whether on file with the court, a police agency or the division of criminal justice services, relating to a case involving a youth who has been adjudicated a youthful offender, are confidential and may not be made available to any person or public or private agency [with certain exceptions not relevant here]” (CPL 720.35 [2]). This covers both the physical documents constituting the official record and the information contained within those documents. Thus, in relation to the Halloween egging, the boy was protected from having to disclose information or answer questions regarding the facts underlying the adjudication *  *  * We discussed the perils of pranks and “jump frights,” particularly with people who do not necessarily consent. In the case of Christian Faith Benge, there appears to have been consent in visiting a haunted house. The sophomore from New Miami High School in Ohio died from a prior medical condition at the at Land of Illusion haunted house. She was halfway through the house with about 100 friends and family members when she collapsed. She had an enlarged heart four times its normal size. She also was born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which prevents the lungs from developing normally. This added stress to the heart. In such a case, consent and comparative negligence issues effectively bar recovery in most cases. It is a terrible loss of a wonderful young lady. However, some fatalities do not always come with liability and this appears such a case. Source: Journal News *  *  * As discussed earlier, In Franklin County, Tennessee, children may want to avoid the house of Dale Bryant Farris, 65, this Halloween . . . or houses near him. Bryant was arrested after shooting a 15-year-old boy who was with kids toilet-papering their principal’s front yard. Bryant came out of his house a couple of houses down from the home of Principal Ken Bishop and allegedly fired at least two blasts — one hitting a 15-year-old boy in the right foot, inner left knee, right palm, right thigh and right side of his torso above the waistline. Tennessee is a Castle Doctrine state and we have seen past cases like the notorious Tom Horn case in Texas where homeowners claimed the right to shoot intruders on the property of their neighbors. It is not clear if Bryant will argue that he was trying to stop intruders under the law, but it does not appear a good fit with the purpose or language of the law. Farris faces a charge of aggravated assault and another of reckless endangerment. He could also face civil liability from the boy’s family. This would include assault and battery. There is a privilege of both self-defense and defense of others. This privilege included reasonable mistaken self-defense or defense of others. This would not fit such a claim since he effectively pursued the boys by going to a neighbor’s property and there was no appearance of a threat or weapon since they were only armed with toilet paper. The good news is that Farris can now discard the need for a costume. He can go as himself at Halloween . . . as soon as he is out of jail. *  *  * As shown below, Halloween nooses have a bad record at parties. In 2012, a club called Pink Punters had a decorative noose that it had used for a number of years that allowed party goers to take pictures as a hanging victim on Halloween. Of course, you guessed it. A 25-year old man was found hanging from the noose in an accidental self-lynching at the nightclub in England. The case would appear easy to defend in light of the assumption of the risk and patent danger. The noose did not actually tighten around necks. Moreover, this is England where tort claims can be more challenging. In the United States, however, there would remain the question of a foreseeable accident in light of the fact that patrons are drinking heavily and drugs are often present at nightclubs. Since patrons are known to put their heads in the noose, the combination is intoxication and a noose is not a particularly good mix. *  *  * Grant v. Grant. A potential criminal and tort case comes to us from Pennsylvania where, at a family Halloween bonfire, Janet Grant spotted a skunk and told her son Thomas Grant to fetch a shotgun and shoot it. When he returned, Janet Grant shined a flashlight on the animal while her son shot it. It was only then that they discovered that Thomas Grant had just shot his eight-year-old cousin in her black and white Halloween costume. What is amazing is that authorities say that they are considering possible animal gaming charges. Fortunately, the little girl survived with a wound to the shoulder and abdomen. The police in Beaver County have not brought charges and alcohol does not appear to have been a factor. Putting aside the family connection (which presumably makes the likelihood of a lawsuit unlikely), there is a basis for both battery and negligence in such a wounding. With children in the area, the discharge of the firearm would seem pretty unreasonable even with the effort to illuminate “the animal.” Moreover, this would have to have been a pretty large skunk to be the size of an eight-year-old child. Just for the record, the average weight of a standard spotted skunk in that area is a little over 1 pound. The biggest skunk is a hog-nosed skunk that can reach up to 18 pounds. *  *  * We also have a potential duel case out of Aiken, South Carolina from one year ago. A 10-year-old Aiken trick-or-treater pulled a gun on a woman who joked that she wanted take his candy on Halloween. Police found that his brother, also ten, had his own weapon. The 28-year-old woman said that she merely joked with a group of 10 or so kids that she wanted their candy when the ten-year-old pulled out a 9 mm handgun and said “no you’re not.” While the magazine was not in the gun, he had a fully loaded magazine in his possession. His brother had the second gun. Both appear to have belonged to their grandfather. The children were released to their parents and surprisingly there is no mention of charges against the grandfather. While the guns appear to have been taken without his permission, it shows great negligence in the handling and storage of the guns. What would be interesting is a torts lawsuit by the woman for assault against the grandfather. The actions of third parties often cut off liability as a matter of proximate causation, though courts have held that you can be liable for creating circumstances where crimes or intentional torts are foreseeable. For example, a landlord was held liable in for crimes committed in his building in Kline v. 1500 Massachusetts Avenue. Here the grandfather’s negligence led to the use of the guns by these children. While a lawsuit is unlikely, it would certainly be an interesting — and not unwarranted — claim. *  *  * Tauton High School District The Massachusetts case of Smith v. Taunton High School involves a Halloween prank gone bad. A teacher at Taunton High School asked a 15-year-old student to answer a knock on the classroom door. The boy was startled when he came face to face with a man in a mask and carrying what appeared to be a running chainsaw. The student fell back, tripped and fractured a kneecap. His family is now suing though the state cap on such lawsuits is $100,000. Dussault said the family is preparing a lawsuit, but is exploring ways to avoid a trial and do better than the $100,000 cap when suing city employees. This could make for an interesting case, but would be better for the Plaintiffs as a bench versus a jury trial. Many jurors are likely to view this as simply an attempt at good fun by the teacher and an unforeseeable accident. Source: CBS *  *  * In Florida, a woman has sued for defamation, harassment and emotional distress after her neighbor set up decorations that included an insane asylum sign that pointed to her yard and a fake tombstone with an inscription she viewed as a reference to her single status. It read, “At 48 she had no mate no date/ It’s no debate she looks 88.” This could be a wonderful example of an opinion defense to defamation. As for emotional distress, I think the cause of the distress pre-dates Halloween. *  *  * Pieczonka v. Great America (2012) A family is suing Great America for a tort in 2011 at Great Falls. Father Marian Pieczonka alleged in his complaint that his young daughter Natalie was at the park in Gurnee, Illinois for the Halloween-themed Fright Fest when a park employee dressed in costume jumped out of a port-a-potty and shot her with a squirt gun. He then reported chased the screaming girl until she fell and suffered injuries involving scrapes and bruises. The lawsuit alleges negligence in encouraging employees to chase patrons given the tripping hazards. They are asking $30,000 in the one count complaint but could face assumption or comparative negligence questions, particularly in knowingly attending an event called “Fright Fest” where employees were known to jump out at patrons. *  *  * A lawsuit appears inevitable after a tragic accident in St. Louis where a 17-year-old girl is in a critical condition after she became tangled in a noose at a Halloween haunted house called Creepyworld. The girl was working as an actress at the attraction and was found unconscious. What is particularly chilling is that people appeared to have walked by her hanging in the house and thought she was a realistic prop. Notably, the attraction had people walk through to check on the well-being of actors and she was discovered but not for some time after the accident. She is in critical condition. Creepyworld employs 100 people and can expect a negligence lawsuit. *  *  * Rabindranath v. Wallace (2010) Peter Wallace, 24, was returning on a train with fellow Hiberinian soccer fans in England — many dressed in costumes (which the English call “fancy dress.”) One man was dressed as a sheep and Wallace thought it was funny to constantly flick his lighter near the cotton balls covering his body — until he burst into flames. Friends then made the matter worse by trying to douse the flames but throwing alcohol on the flaming man-sheep. Even worse, the victim Arjuna Rabindranath, 24, is an Aberdeen soccer fan. Rabindranath’s costume was composed of a white tracksuit and cotton wool. Outcome: Wallace is the heir to a large farm estate and agreed to pay damages to the victim, who experienced extensive burns. What is fascinating is the causation issue. Here, Wallace clearly caused the initial injury which was then made worse by the world’s most dim-witted rescue attempt in the use of alcohol to douse a fire. In the United States, the original tortfeasor is liable for such injuries caused by negligent rescues. Indeed, he is liable for injured rescuers. The rescuers can also be sued in most states. However, many areas of Europe have good Samaritan laws protecting such rescuers. Notably, Wallace had a previous football-related conviction which was dealt with by a fine. In this latest case, he agreed to pay 25,000 in compensation. The case is obviously similar to one of our prior Halloween winners below: Ferlito v. Johnson & Johnson *  *  * Perper v. Forum Novelties (2010) Sherri Perper, 56, of Queens, New York has filed a personal injury lawsuit due to defective shoes allegedly acquired from Forum Novelties. The shoes were over-sized clown shoes that she was wearing as part of her Halloween costume in 2008. She tripped and fell. She is reportedly claiming that the shoes were dangerous. While “open and obvious” is no longer an absolute defense in such products cases, such arguments may still be made to counter claims of defective products. In most jurisdictions, you must show that the product is more dangerous than the expectations of the ordinary consumer. It is hard to see how Perper could be surprised that it is a bit difficult to walk in over-sized shoes. Then there is the problem of assumption of the risk. *  *  * Dickson v. Hustonville Haunted House and Greg Walker (2009) Glenda Dickson, 51, broke four vertebrae in her back when she fell out of a second story window left open at the Hustonville Haunted House, owned by Greg Walker. Dickson was in a room called “The Crying Lady in the Bed” when one of the actors came up behind the group and started screaming. Everyone jumped in fright and Dickson jumped back through an open window that was covered with a sheet — a remarkably negligent act by the haunted house operator. She landed on a fire escape and then fell down some stairs. *  *  * Maryland v. Janik (2009) Sgt. Eric Janik, 37, went to a haunted house called the House of Screams with friends and when confronted by a character dressed as Leatherface with a chainsaw (sans the chain, of course), Janik pulled out his service weapon and pointed it at the man, who immediately dropped character, dropped the chainsaw, and ran like a bat out of Halloween Hell. Outcome: Janik is charged with assault and reckless endangerment for his actions. Charges pending. *  *  * Patrick v. South Carolina (2009) Quentin Patrick, 22, an ex-convict in Sumter, South Carolina shot and killed a trick-or-treater T.J. Darrisaw who came to his home on Halloween — spraying nearly 30 rounds with an assault rifle from inside his home after hearing a knock on the door. T.J.’s 9-year- old brother, Ahmadre Darrisaw, and their father, Freddie Grinnell, were injured but were released after being treated at a hospital. Patrick left his porch light on — a general signal for kids that the house was open for trick and treating. The boy’s mother and toddler sibling were in the car. Patrick emptied the AK-47 — shooting at least 29 times through his front door, walls and windows after hearing the knock. He said that he had been previously robbed. That may be so, but it is unclear what an ex-con was doing with a gun, let alone an AK-47. OUTCOME: Charges pending for murder. *  *  * Kentucky v. Watkins (2008) As a Halloween prank, restaurant manager Joe Watkins of the Chicken Ranch in Paris, Kentucky thought it was funny to lie in a pool of blood on the floor. After seeing Watkins on the floor, the woman went screaming from the restaurant to report the murder. Watkins said that the prank was for another employee and that he tried to call the woman back on her cell phone. OUTCOME: Under Kentucky law, a person can be charged with a false police report, even if he is not the one who filed it. The police charged Watkins for causing the woman to file the report — a highly questionable charge. *  *  * Mays v. Gretna Athletic Boosters␣95-717 (La.App. 5 Cir. 01/17/96) “Defendant operated a haunted house at Mel Ott Playground in Gretna to raise money for athletic programs. The haunted house was constructed of 2×4s and black visqueen. There were numerous cubbyholes where “scary” exhibits were displayed. One booster club member was stationed at the entrance and one at the exit. Approximately eighteen people participated in the haunted house by working the exhibits inside. Near and along the entrance of the haunted house was a bathroom building constructed of cinder blocks. Black visqueen covered this wall. Plaintiff and her daughter’s friend, about 10 years old, entered the haunted house on October 29, 1988. It was nighttime and was dark inside. Plaintiff testified someone jumped out and hollered, scaring the child into running. Plaintiff was also frightened and began to run. She ran directly into the visqueen-covered cinder block wall. There was no lighting in that part of the haunted house. Plaintiff hit the wall face first and began bleeding profusely from her nose. She testified two surgeries were required to repair her nose.” OUTCOME: In order to get the proper effect, haunted houses are dark and contain scary and/or shocking exhibits. Patrons in a Halloween haunted house are expected to be surprised, startled and scared by the exhibits but the operator does not have a duty to guard against patrons reacting in bizarre, frightened and unpredictable ways. Operators are duty bound to protect patrons only from unreasonably dangerous conditions, not from every conceivable danger. As found by the Trial Court, defendant met this duty by constructing the haunted house with rooms of adequate size and providing adequate personnel and supervision for patrons entering the house. Defendant’s duty did not extend to protecting plaintiff from running in a dark room into a wall. Our review of the entire record herein does not reveal manifest error committed by the Trial Court or that the Trial Court’s decision was clearly wrong. Plaintiff has not shown the haunted house was unreasonably dangerous or that defendant’s actions were unreasonable. Thus, the Trial Court judgment must be affirmed. *  *  * Powell v. Jacor Communications␣ UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT 320 F.3d 599 (6th Cir.2003) “On October 15, 1999, Powell visited a Halloween season haunted house in Lexington, Kentucky that was owned and operated by Jacor. She was allegedly hit in the head with an unidentified object by a person she claims was dressed as a ghost. Powell was knocked unconscious and injured. She contends that she suffered a concussion and was put on bed rest and given medications by emergency-room physicians. Powell further claims that she now suffers from several neuropsychological disorders as a result of the incident.” OUTCOME: Reversed dismissal on the basis of tolling of statute of limitations. *  *  * Kansas City Light & Power Company v. Trimble␣ 315 Mo. 32; 285 S.W. 455 (1926) Excerpt: “A shapely pole to which, twenty-two feet from the ground is attached a non-insulated electric wire . . Upon a shapely pole were standard steps eighteen inches apart; about seventeen feet from the ground were telephone wires, and five feet above them was a non-insulated electric light wire. On Halloween, about nine o’clock, a bright fourteen-year-old boy and two companions met close to the pole, and some girls dressed as clowns came down the street. As they came near the boy, saying, “Who dares me to walk the wire?” began climbing the pole, using the steps, and ascended to the telephone cables, and thereupon his companions warned him about the live wire and told him to come down. He crawled upon the telephone cables to a distance of about ten feet from the pole, and when he reached that point a companion again warned him of the live wire over his head, and threatened to throw a rock at him and knock him off if he did not come down. Whereupon he turned about and crawled back to the pole, and there raised himself to a standing position, and then his foot slipped, and involuntarily he threw up his arm, his hand clutched the live wire, and he was shocked to death.” OUTCOME: Frankly, I am not sure why the pole was so “shapely” but the result was disappointing for the plaintiffs. Kansas City Light & Power Company v. Trimble: The court held that the appellate court extended the attractive nuisance doctrine beyond the court’s ruling decisions. The court held that appellate court’s opinion on the contributory negligence doctrine conflicted with the court’s ruling decisions. The court held that the administrator’s case should never have been submitted to the jury. The court quashed the appellate opinion. “To my mind it is inconceivable that a bright, intelligent boy, doing well in school, past fourteen years of age and living in the city, would not understand and appreciate the fact that it would be dangerous to come in contact with an electric wire, and that he was undertaking a dangerous feat in climbing up the pole; but even if it may be said that men might differ on that proposition, still in this case he was warned of the wire and of the danger on account of the wire and that, too, before he had reached a situation where there was any occasion or necessity of clutching the wire to avoid a fall. Not only was he twice warned but he was repeatedly told and urged to come down.” *  *  * Purtell v. Mason␣ 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49064 (E.D. Ill. 2006) “The Purtells filed the present lawsuit against Defendant Village of Bloomingdale Police Officer Bruce Mason after he requested that they remove certain Halloween tombstone “decorations” from their property. Evidence presented at trial revealed that the Purtells placed the tombstones referring to their neighbors in their front yard facing the street. The tombstones specifically referred to their neighbors, who saw the language on the tombstones. For instance, the tombstone that referred to the Purtells’ neighbor James Garbarz stated: Here Lies Jimmy, The OlDe Towne IdioT MeAn As sin even withouT his Gin No LonGer Does He wear That sTupiD Old Grin . . . Oh no, noT where they’ve sent Him! The tombstone referring to the Purtells’ neighbor Betty Garbarz read: BeTTe wAsN’T ReADy, BuT here she Lies Ever since that night she DieD. 12 feet Deep in this trench . . . Still wasn’T Deep enough For that wenches Stench! In addition, the Purtells placed a Halloween tombstone in their yard concerning their neighbor Diane Lesner stating: Dyean was Known for Lying So She was fried. Now underneath these daises is where she goes crazy!! Moreover, the jury heard testimony that Diane Lesner, James Garbarz, and Betty Garbarz were upset because their names appeared on the tombstones. Betty Garbarz testified that she was so upset by the language on the tombstones that she contacted the Village of Bloomingdale Police Department. She further testified that she never had any doubt that the “Bette” tombstone referred to her. After seeing the tombstones, she stated that she was ashamed and humiliated, but did not talk to Jeffrey Purtell about them because she was afraid of him. Defense counsel also presented evidence that the neighbors thought the language on the tombstones constituted threats and that they were alarmed and disturbed by their names being on the tombstones. James Garbarz testified that he interpreted the “Jimmy” tombstone as a threat and told the police that he felt threatened by the tombstone. He also testified that he had concerns about his safety and what Jeffrey Purtell might do to him.” OUTCOME: The court denied the homeowners’ post-trial motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to and motion for a new trial. Viewing the evidence and all reasonable inferences in a light most favorable to Officer Mason, a rational jury could conclude that the language on the tombstones constituted threats, that the neighbors were afraid of Jeffrey Purtell, and that they feared for their safety. As such the Court will not disturb the jury’s conclusion that the tombstones constituted fighting words — “those which by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.” *  *  * Goodwin v. Walmart 2001 Ark. App. LEXIS 78 “On October 12, 1993, Randall Goodwin went to a Wal-Mart store located on 6th Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He entered through the front door and walked toward the sporting goods department. In route, he turned down an aisle known as the seasonal aisle. At that time, it was stocked with items for Halloween. This aisle could be observed from the cash registers. Mr. Goodwin took only a few steps down the aisle when he allegedly stepped on a wig and fell, landing on his right hip. As a result of the fall, Mr. Goodwin suffered severe physical injury to his back, including a ruptured disk. Kelly Evans, an employee for appellee, was standing at the end of her check-out stand when Mr. Goodwin approached her and informed her that he had fallen on an item in the seasonal aisle. She stated that she “saw what he was talking about.” OUTCOME: Judgment affirmed because the pleadings, depositions, and related summary judgment evidence did not show that there was any genuine issue of material fact as appellant customer did not establish a plastic bag containing the Halloween wig which allegedly caused him to slip and fall was on the floor as the result of appellee’s negligence or it had been on the floor for such a period of time that appellee knew or should have known about it. *  *  * Eversole v. Wasson␣ 80 Ill. App. 3d 94 (Ill. 1980) Excerpt: “The following allegations of count I, directed against defendant Wasson, were incorporated in count II against the school district: (1) plaintiff was a student at Villa Grove High School which was controlled and administered by the defendant school district, (2) defendant Wasson was employed by the school district as a teacher at the high school, (3) on November 1, 1978, at approximately 12:30 p.m., Wasson was at the high school in his regular capacity as a teacher and plaintiff was attending a regularly scheduled class, (4) Wasson sought and received permission from another teacher to take plaintiff from that teacher’s class and talk to him in the hallway, (5) once in the hallway, Wasson accused plaintiff of being one of several students he believed had smashed Wasson’s Halloween pumpkin at Wasson’s home, (6) without provocation from plaintiff, Wasson berated plaintiff, called him vile names, and threatened him with physical violence while shaking his fist in plaintiff’s face which placed plaintiff in fear of bodily injury, (7) Wasson then struck plaintiff about the head and face with both an open hand and a closed fist and shook and shoved him violently, (8) as a result, plaintiff was bruised about the head, neck, and shoulders; experienced pain and suffering in his head, body, and limbs; and became emotionally distraught causing his school performance and participation to be adversely affected . . .” OUTCOME: The court affirmed that portion of the lower court’s order that dismissed the count against the school district and reversed that portion of the lower court’s order that entered a judgment in bar of action as to this count. The court remanded the case to the lower court with directions to allow the student to replead his count against the school district. *  *  * Holman v. Illinois 47 Ill. Ct. Cl. 372 (1995) “The Claimant was attending a Halloween party at the Illinois State Museum with her grandson on October 26, 1990. The party had been advertised locally in the newspaper and through flier advertisements. The advertisement requested that children be accompanied by an adult, to come in costume and to bring a flashlight. The museum had set up different display rooms to hand out candy to the children and give the appearance of a “haunted house.” The Claimant entered the Discovery Room with her grandson. Under normal conditions the room is arranged with tables and low-seated benches for children to use in the museum’s regular displays. These tables and benches had been moved into the upper-right-hand corner of the Discovery Room next to the wall. In the middle of the room, there was a “slime pot” display where the children received the Halloween treat. The overhead fluorescent lights were turned off; however, the track lights on the left side of the room were turned on and dim. The track lights on the right side of the room near the tables and benches were not lit. The room was dark enough that the children’s flashlights could be clearly seen. There were approximately 40-50 people in the room at the time of the accident. The Claimant entered the room with her grandson. They proceeded in the direction of the pot in the middle of the room to see what was going in the pot. Her grandson then ran around the pot to the right corner toward the wall. As the Claimant followed, she tripped over the corner of a bench stored in that section of the room. She fell, making contact with the left corner of the bench. She experienced great pain in her upper left arm. The staff helped her to her feet. Her father was called and she went to the emergency room. Claimant has testified that she did not see the low-seating bench because it was so dimly lit in the Discovery Room. The Claimant was treated at the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with a fracture of the proximal humeral head of her left arm as a result of the fall. Claimant returned home, but was unable to work for 12 to 13 weeks.” OUTCOME: “The Claimant has met her burden of proof. She has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that the State acted negligently in placing furnishings in a dimly-lit room where visitors could not know of their location. The State did not exercise its duty of reasonable care. For the foregoing reasons, the Claimant is granted an award of $20,000.” *  *  * Ferlito v. Johnson & Johnson 771 F. Supp. 196 “Plaintiffs Susan and Frank Ferlito, husband and wife, attended a Halloween party in 1984 dressed as Mary (Mrs. Ferlito) and her little lamb (Mr. Ferlito). Mrs. Ferlito had constructed a lamb costume for her husband by gluing cotton batting manufactured by defendant Johnson & Johnson Products (“JJP”) to a suit of long underwear. She had also used defendant’s product to fashion a headpiece, complete with ears. The costume covered Mr. Ferlito from his head to his ankles, except for his face and hands, which were blackened with Halloween paint. At the party Mr. Ferlito attempted to light his cigarette by using a butane lighter. The flame passed close to his left arm, and the cotton batting on his left sleeve ignited. Plaintiffs sued defendant for injuries they suffered from burns which covered approximately one-third of Mr. Ferlito’s body.” OUTCOME: Ferlito v. Johnson & Johnson: Plaintiffs repeatedly stated in their response brief that plaintiff Susan Ferlito testified that “she would never again use cotton batting to make a costume.” Plaintiffs’ Answer to Defendant JJP’s Motion for J.N.O.V., pp. 1, 3, 4, 5. However, a review of the trial transcript reveals that plaintiff Susan Ferlito never testified that she would never again use cotton batting to make a costume. More importantly, the transcript contains no statement by plaintiff Susan Ferlito that a flammability warning on defendant JJP’s product would have dissuaded her from using the cotton batting to construct the costume in the first place. At oral argument counsel for plaintiffs conceded that there was no testimony during the trial that either plaintiff Susan Ferlito or her husband, plaintiff Frank J. Ferlito, would  have acted any different if there had been a flammability warning on the product’s package. The absence of such testimony is fatal to plaintiffs’ case; for without it, plaintiffs have failed to prove proximate cause, one of the essential elements of their negligence claim. In addition, both plaintiffs testified that they knew that cotton batting burns when it is exposed to flame. Susan Ferlito testified that she knew at the time she purchased the cotton batting that it would burn if exposed to an open flame. Frank Ferlito testified that he knew at the time he appeared at the Halloween party that cotton batting would burn if exposed to an open flame. His additional testimony that he would not have intentionally put a flame to the cotton batting shows that he recognized the risk of injury of which he claims JJP should have warned. Because both plaintiffs were already aware of the danger, a warning by JJP would have been superfluous. Therefore, a reasonable jury could not have found that JJP’s failure to provide a warning was a proximate cause of plaintiffs’ injuries. The evidence in this case clearly demonstrated that neither the use to which plaintiffs put JJP’s product nor the injuries arising from that use were foreseeable. But in Trivino v. Jamesway Corporation, the following result: The mother purchased cosmetic puffs and pajamas from the retailer. The mother glued the puffs onto the pajamas to create a costume for her child. While wearing the costume, the child leaned over the electric stove. The costume caught on fire, injuring the child. Plaintiffs brought a personal injury action against the retailer. The retailer filed a third party complaint against the manufacturer of the puffs, and the puff manufacturer filed a fourth party complaint against the manufacturer of the fibers used in the puffs. The retailer filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to plaintiffs’ cause of action for failure to warn. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the actions against the manufacturers. On appeal, the court modified the judgment, holding that the mother’s use of the puffs was not unforeseeable as a matter of law and was a question for the jury. The court held that because the puffs were not made of cotton, as thought by the mother, there were fact issues as to the puffs’ flammability and defendants’ duty to warn. The court held that there was no prejudice to the retailer in permitting plaintiffs to amend their bill of particulars. OUTCOME: The court modified the trial court’s judgment to grant plaintiffs’ motion to amend their bill of particulars, deny the retailer’s motion for summary judgment, and reinstate the third party actions against the manufacturers. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/31/2022 - 19:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 31st, 2022

The Tucker Carlson origin story

Tucker Carlson's journey from prep school provocateur to Fox News flamethrower, according to his friends and former classmates. Tucker Carlson during a CNN National Town Meeting on coverage of the White House sex scandal, on January 28, 1998.Richard Ellis/Getty Images Tucker Carlson is remembered as a provocateur and gleeful contrarian by those who knew him in his early days. His bohemian artist mother abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will. At a Rhode Island prep school and at Trinity College, classmates remember him as a skilled debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audiences. On Oct. 29, 1984, New York police killed an elderly Black woman named Eleanor Bumpurs in her own home. Bumpers, who lived in a public housing complex in the Bronx, had fallen four months behind on her rent. When officials from the city housing authority tried to evict her, she refused, and they called the police. Five officers responded by storming into her apartment. Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, grabbed a butcher knife as two officers pushed her against a wall with their plastic shields and a metal pole. A third officer fired two shots from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking Bumpurs in her hand and chest.Eleanor Bumpurs' death dominated the city's news for two months and led the NYPD to revise its guidelines for responding to emotionally disturbed individuals.At St. George's prep school, some 175 miles away in Rhode Island, the incident deeply haunted Richard Wayner. He was one of the school's few Black students and had grown up in a residential tower not far from where Bumpurs had lived. He earned straight As and was so admired that in 1984 his peers elected him senior prefect, the prep equivalent of student body president, making him the first Black class leader in the school's 125-year history. Harvard soon beckoned.Wayner was frustrated with how the St. George's community seemed to ignore the conversations about racial justice that were happening outside the cloistered confines of Aquidneck Island. It bothered Wayne that almost no one at St. George's seemed to know anything about Bumpurs' killing. "You had your crew, you put your head down, and you tried to get through three or four years of prep school with your psyche intact," Wayner said of those days.As senior prefect, one of the duties was to deliver an address each week at the mandatory Sunday chapel service. One Sunday, perched from the chapel podium, Wayner described the shooting as a sea of white faces stared back at him. He concluded with the words: "Does anyone think that woman deserved to die?"Near the front of the chapel, a single hand went up for a few brief seconds. It was Tucker Carlson.Eleanor Bumpurs was shot and killed by the New York Police Department on October 29, 1984APThen a sophomore, Tucker had a reputation as a gleeful contrarian – an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk. "Tucker was just sort of fearless," said Ian Toll, a St. George's alumnus who would go on to be a military historian. "Whether it was a legitimate shooting may have been a point of debate but the fact was that Tucker was an underclassmen and the culture was to defer to the seniors." Wayner himself never saw Tucker's hand go up, and the two kept in touch over the years. (Note on style: Tucker Carlson and the members of his family are referred to here by their first names to avoid confusion.)  Four decades later, glimmers of that prep school provocateur appear on Tucker's Prime Time show on Fox, which garners an average of between 3 to 4 million viewers a night. His furrowed visage and spoiling-for-a-fight demeanor are all too familiar to those who have known him for decades. In the words of Roger Stone, a Republican political operative, frequent guest, and longtime friend of Tucker's: "Tucker Carlson is the single most influential conservative journalist in America… It is his courage and his willingness to talk about issues that no one else is willing to cover that has led to this development."Tucker's name has even been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. "I mean, I guess if, like, I was the last person on earth, I could do it. But, I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy." he said on the "Ruthless" podcast in June, dismissing this possibility.Tucker's four decades in Washington, and his transition from conservative magazine writer to right-wing television pundit, have been well documented. But less well known are his early years and how they shaped him: his bohemian artist mother, who abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will; the Rhode Island prep school where he met his future spouse; and his formation into a contrarian debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audience with his attention-getting tactics.Tucker declined to participate in an interview with Insider, saying in a statement. "Your level of interest in the boring details of my life is creepy as hell, and also pathetic," he wrote. "You owe it to yourself and the country to do something useful with your talents. Please reassess."California roots Tucker Carlson's West Coast roots burrow as deep as a giant redwood. He was born in San Francisco in May 1969 as the excesses of the Sixties peaked and the conservative backlash to the counterculture and the Civil Rights movement started to take shape. Tucker's mother, Lisa McNear Lombardi, born in San Francisco in 1945, came from one of the state's storied frontier families. Lisa's mother, Mary Nickel James, was a cattle baron heiress. Her great-great-grandfather had owned 3 million acres of ranchland, making him among the largest landowners west of the Mississippi. Her father Oliver Lombardi was an insurance broker and descendant of Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants. Lisa enrolled at UC Berkeley, where she majored in architecture. She met Richard Carlson, a San Francisco TV journalist from a considerably less prosperous background, while still in college. Lisa and Richard eloped in Reno, Nevada in 1967. The couple didn't notify Lisa's mother, who was traveling in Europe with her new husband at the time. "Family members have been unable to locate them to reveal the nuptials," a gossip item published in the San Francisco Examiner dished.Tucker arrived two years later. A second son, Buckley, was born two years after that. As Richard's career began to flourish, the family moved first to Los Angeles and then, in 1975, to La Jolla, a moneyed, beach-front enclave about 12 miles north of San Diego. When Lisa and Richard divorced a year later, in 1976, Richard got full custody of their sons, then 6 and 4. According to three of Tucker's childhood classmates, Lisa disappeared from her sons' lives. They don't recall Tucker talking about her, or seeing her at school events. Marc Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate who went on to be executive producer of the Tony Kornheiser Show, says the two didn't talk much about Tucker's relationship with his mother and he got the impression that Tucker and Richard were exceptionally close. When Sterne's own parents split up that year, he said Tucker was supportive and understanding. Lisa spent the next two decades as an artist – moving first to Los Angeles, where she befriended the painter David Hockney, and later split her time between France and South Carolina with her husband, British painter Michael Vaughan. In 1979, Richard Carlson married Patricia Swanson, heiress to the Swanson frozen foods empire that perfected the frozen Salisbury steak for hassle-free dinners. She soon legally adopted Tucker and Buckley.  When Lisa died in 2011, her estate was initially divided equally between Tucker, his brother Buckley, and Vaughan. But in 2013, Vaughan's daughter from another marriage found a one-page handwritten document in Lisa's art studio in France that left her assets to her surviving husband with an addendum that stated, "I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each." A protracted battle over Lombardi's estate involving Vaughan and the Carlson brothers wound up in probate court. The Carlsons asserted the will was forged but a forensic witness determined that Lisa had written the note. The case eventually went to the California Appellate Court, which allowed the Carlson brothers to keep their shares in 2019."Lisa was basically sort of a hippie and a free spirit," said one attorney who  represented the Vaughan family and recalled having conversations about the case. "She was very liberal and she did not agree with Tucker's politics. But she stuck the will in the book, everyone forgot about it, and then she passed away."In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Tucker described the dissolution of his family as a "totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all." Several pieces of art produced by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderLisa When Lisa left her husband and two young sons, she was escaping suburban family life in favor of the more bohemian existence as an artist. One of Tucker and Buckley's former teachers said their mother's absence "left some sour grapes." "I felt they sided with the father," Rusty Rushton, a former St. George's English teacher said. After the divorce, Lisa returned to Los Angeles and tried to break into the city's thriving contemporary art scene. She befriended Mo McDermott, an LA-based British sculptor, model, and longtime assistant to David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A few years before he met Lisa, the scene was captured in Jack Hazan's 1974 groundbreaking documentary "A Bigger Splash," which followed Hockney and his coterie of gay male friends idly lounging around the pool in his Hollywood Hills home."When love goes wrong, there's more than two people who suffer," said McDermott, playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself, in a voiceover in the documentary.Lisa and McDermott became a couple and Lisa won admission into Hockney's entourage. Hockney lived a far more reclusive lifestyle than his pop art compatriot Andy Warhol but some four dozen or so artists, photographers, and writers regularly passed through his properties."She was more like a hippie, arty kind of person. I couldn't ever imagine her being a mother," said Joan Quinn, the then-West Coast editor of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, who knew Lisa during those years and still owns several of her works. "She was very nervous all the time… She was ill-content."The pair were often seen at Hockney's Hollywood Hills home and at Friday night gallery openings on La Cienega Boulevard. They collaborated on playful, large-scale wood sculptures of animals, vegetables, and trees. A handful of their pieces could be seen around Hockney's hillside ranch."Hockney had me over to meet them. He wanted a gallery to handle their work," said Molly Barnes, who owns a gallery in West Hollywood and gave the pair shows in 1983 and 1984. "They were brilliant and David loved Mo. He thought they were the best artists around.""She was quiet and intellectual and somewhat withdrawn," Barnes said. "She had come from a lot of money and that reflected on her personality. She wasn't a snob in any way but she had the manners of a private school girl and someone who was fighting the establishment."A sculpture by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderNone of them recall Lisa discussing her two sons. McDermott died in 1988. After his death, Hockney discovered that McDermott had been stealing drawings from him and selling them. Hockney said the betrayal helped bring on a heart attack. "I believe I had a broken heart," Hockney told The Guardian in 1995. (Hockney did not answer multiple inquiries about Lisa or McDermott.)In 1987, Lisa met Vaughan, one of Hockney's peers in the British art scene known as the "Bradford Mafia." They married in February 1989 and for years afterward they lived in homes in the Pyrenees of southwest France and South Carolina's Sea Islands.Lisa continued to make art, primarily oversized, wooden sculptures of everyday household items like peeled lemons and dice, but she exhibited her work infrequently. She died of cancer in 2011, at which point Carlson was a decade into his media career and a regular contributor on Fox News. Richard In contrast to Lisa's privileged upbringing, Richard's childhood was full of loss. Richard's mother was a 15-year-old high school girl who had starved herself during her pregnancy, and he was born with a condition called rickets. Six weeks later, his mother left him at an orphanage in Boston called The Home for Little Wanderers. Richard's father, who was 18, tried to convince her to kidnap the infant and marry him, but she refused. He shot and killed himself two blocks from her home.A Massachusetts couple fostered Richard for two years until he was adopted by a wool broker and his wife, which he described in a 2009 reflection for the Washington Post. His adoptive parents died when he was still a teenager and Richard was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He later enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in an ROTC program at the University of Mississippi to pay for college.In 1962, Richard developed an itch for journalism while working as a cop in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 21, and the future NBC political correspondent Catherine Mackin, helped him get a copy boy job at the Los Angeles Times. Richard moved to San Francisco three years later and his career blossomed. He started producing television news features with his friend, Lance Brisson, the son of actress Rosalind Russell. They filmed migrant farm workers in the Imperial Valley living in cardboard abodes in 110 degree weather, traipsed the Sierra Nevada mountains to visit a hermit, and covered the Zodiac Killer and Bay Area riots (during one demonstration in 1966, they sent television feeds from their car where they trapped for four hours  and a crowd roughed up Brisson, which required four stitches under his left eye). Another time, they rented a helicopter in search of a Soviet trawler but they had to jump into the Pacific Ocean when the chopper ran low on fuel near the shore and crashed.In 1969, Richard and Brisson co-wrote an article for Look Magazine that claimed San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto had mafia ties. Alioto sued the magazine's owner for libel and won a $350,000 judgment when a judge determined the article's allegations were made with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for whether they were true or not." (Richard was not a defendant in the case and has stood by his story. Brisson declined an interview.)Richard moved back to Los Angeles to join KABC's investigative team two years later. One series of stories that delved into a three-wheeled sports car called the Dale and the fraudulent marketing practices of its founder, Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, won a Peabody award in 1975. The series also outed Carmichael as a transgender woman. (Richard's role in Carmichael's downfall was explored in the HBO documentary "The Lady and the Dale.") Soon after arriving as an anchor for KFMB-TV, San Diego's CBS affiliate, Richard ran a story revealing that tennis pro Renee Richards, who had just won a tournament at the La Jolla Tennis Club, was a transgender woman."I said, 'You can't do this. I am a private person,'" Richards, who years later would advise Caitlyn Jenner about her transition, urged the television journalist to drop his story, according to a 2015 interview. "His reply? 'Dr. Richards, you were a private person until you won that tournament yesterday.'" By the time he left the anchor chair in 1977 to take a public relations job with San Diego Savings and Loan, Richard had soured on journalism. "I have seen a lot of arrogance and hypocrisy in the press and I don't like it," he told San Diego Magazine in 1977. "Television news is insipid, sophomoric, and superficial… There are so many things I think are important and interesting but the media can be counted on to do handstands on that kind of scandal and sexual sensation."Years later, Richard said that he never tried to encourage his eldest son in politics or journalism, but that Tucker had a clear interest in both from an early age. "I never thought he was going to be a reporter or a writer. I never encouraged him to do that," Richard told CSPAN of his eldest son in 2006. "I actually attempted not to encourage him politically, either. I decided those are the things that should be left up to them."A LaJolla, California post card.Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty ImagesA La Jolla childhoodAfter the divorce, Richard and his boys stayed in La Jolla in a house overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Friends of Tucker's would later say that the trauma of their mother's absence brought the three of them closer together.  "They both really admired their dad. He was a great source of wisdom. He's one of the great raconteurs you'll ever meet. They loved that glow that came from him," said Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate. "They both looked up to him, it was clear from my eyes."In an essay included in his book "The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism," Tucker described Richard as a kind parent who imbued family outings with a deeper message.One of Tucker's earliest memories, he writes, was from just after the divorce, when Tucker was seven and Buckley was five: the brothers gripping the edge of a luggage rack on the roof of his family's 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon, while their father gunned the engine down a dirt road."I've sometimes wondered what car surfing was meant to teach us," Tucker wrote. "Was he trying to instill in us a proper sense of fatalism, the acknowledgement that there is only so much in life you can control? Or was it a lesson about the importance of risk?... Unless you're willing to ride the roof of a speeding station wagon, in other words, you're probably not going to leave your mark on the world."More often, the boys were left unsupervised and found their own trouble. Tucker once took a supermarket shopping cart and raced it down a hill in front of their house with Buckley in its basket. The cart tipped over, leaving Buckley with a bloody nose. He also recalled building makeshift hand grenades with hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil – using a recipe from their father's copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook"  and tossing them onto a nearby golf course."No one I know had a father like mine," Tucker wrote. "My father was funnier and more outrageous, more creative  and less willing to conform, than anyone I knew or have known since. My brother and I had the best time growing up."Richard sent Tucker to La Jolla Country Day, an upscale, largely white private school with a reputation as one of the best in Southern California, for elementary and middle school. In his book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution," Tucker described his first grade teacher Marianna Raymond as "a living parody of earth-mother liberalism" who "wore long Indian-print skirts," and sobbed at her desk over the world's unfairness. "As a conservative, I had contempt for the whiny mawkishness of liberals. Stop blubbering and teach us to read. That was my position," he wrote. "Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.""I beg to differ," Raymond countered in an interview, saying that she was also Tucker's tutor during the summer after first grade and was even hired again. "I'm a great teacher. I'm sure he liked me." For her part, she remembered Tucker as a fair-haired tot who was "very sweet" and "very polite." (When The Washington Post reached out her her, she said Carlson's characterization had been "shocking.")  Friends from La Jolla remember that Tucker loved swimming the mile-and-a-half distance between La Jolla Shores Park and La Jolla Cove, jumping off cliffs that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, riffing on the drums, and playing Atari and BB gun games at the mall with his friends. "He was a happy kid. We were young, so we used to go to the beach. We did normal kid stuff," said Richard Borkum, a friend who is now a San Diego-based attorney. When they weren't at the beach or the mall, Borkum and another friend, Javier Susteata, would hang out at the Carlson home listening to The Who, AC/DC, and other classic rock bands. Borkum said the adults at the Carlson household largely left them alone. "I'm Jewish and Javier was Mexican and I'm not sure they were too happy we were going to their house," Borkum said.Another friend, Warren Barrett, remembers jamming with Tucker and going snow camping at Big Bear and snorkeling off Catalina Island with him in middle school."Tucker and I literally ate lunch together every day for two years," Barrett said. "He was completely the opposite of now. He was a cool southern California surfer kid. He was the nicest guy, played drums, and had a bunch of friends. And then something must have happened in his life that turned him into this evil diabolical shithead he is today."LaJolla is a upscale beach community outside of San Diego. Carlson and his family moved their in 1975.Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSan Diego's next mayorRichard, meanwhile, was exploring a second career in public service. By 1980, he had risen to vice president of a bank headed by Gordon Luce, a California Republican power broker and former Reagan cabinet official. The following year, Richard's public profile got a boost when he tangled with another veteran television journalist, CBS's Mike Wallace. The 60 Minutes star had interviewed Richard for a story about low-income Californians who faced foreclosures from the bank after borrowing money to buy air conditioners without realizing they put their homes up for collateral. Richard had his own film crew tape the interview, and caught Wallace saying that people who had been defrauded were "probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos." The remark made national headlines and Wallace was forced to apologize.Pete Wilson, the U.S. Senator and former San Diego mayor, encouraged Richard to run for office. In 1984, Richard entered the race to challenge San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's re-election. "He was a very well-regarded guy," Hedgecock told Insider. "He had an almost Walter Cronkite-like appearance, but because he was in local news he was all about not offending anybody. He didn't have particularly strong views. He was nice looking, articulate, and made good appearances, but what he had to say was not particularly memorable other than he wanted me out of office."Sometimes Tucker tagged along for campaign events. "He would always show up in a sport coat, slacks and a bowtie and I thought that's really nice clothing for someone who is a kid," Hedgecock remembers. He was a very polite young man who didn't say much."Five days before voters went to the polls, Hedgecock went on trial for 15 counts of conspiracy and perjury, an issue that Richard highlighted in his television campaign ads. Richard still lost to Hedgecock 58 to 42 percent despite pouring nearly $800,000 into the race and outspending Hedgecock two to one. (Hedgecock was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and resigned from office in 1985 but his convictions were overturned on appeal five years later.)People are seen near a beach in La Jolla, California, on April 15, 2020.Gregory Bull/AP PhotoPrep school In the fall of 1983, a teenaged Tucker traded one idyllic beachfront community for another.At 14, Tucker moved across the country to Middletown, Rhode Island, to attend St. George's School. (Buckley would follow him two years later.) The 125-year-old boarding school sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and is on the other side of Aquidneck Island where Richard Carlson went to naval school. The private school was known as a repository for children of wealthy East Coast families who were not as academically inclined as those who attended Exeter or Andover. Its campus had dorms named after titans of industry, verdant athletic fields, and a white-sand beach.Senators Claiborne Pell and Prescott Bush graduated, as did Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and poet Ogden Nash. Tucker's class included "Modern Family" actor Julie Bowen; Dede Gardner, the two-time Oscar-winning producer of "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight"; and former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. Billy Bush – "Extra" host, and cousin to George W. Bush – was three years behind him.Tuition at St. George's cost $13,000 per year in the 1980s (it's now up to $67,000 for boarding school students) and student schedules were tightly regimented with breakfast, classes, athletics, dinner, and study hall encompassing each day. Students were required to take religion classes, and attend chapel twice a week. Faculty and staff would canvass the dorms on Thursdays and Sundays to ensure no one skipped the Episcopal service. Tucker impressed his new chums as an hyper-articulate merrymaker who frequently challenged upperclassmen who enforced dorm rules and the school's liberal faculty members."He was kind of a California surfer kid. He was funny, very intelligent, and genuinely well-liked," said Bryce Traister, who was one year ahead of Tucker and is now a professor at the University of British Columbia. "There were people who didn't like Tucker because they thought he was a bullshitter but he was very charming. He was a rascal and a fast-talker, as full of shit as he is today."Back then Tucker was an iconoclast more in the mold of Ferris Bueller than preppy neocon Alex P. Keaton, even if his wardrobe resembled the "Family Ties" star. Students were required to wear jackets, ties, and khakis, although most came to class disheveled. Tucker wore well-tailored coats and chinos, pairing his outfit with a ribbon-banded watch and colorful bowtie which would later become his signature. "He was always a very sharp dresser. He had a great rack of ties. He always knew how to tie a bowtie but he didn't exclusively wear a bowtie," said Sterne, Tucker's freshman year roommate. "He always had great clothes. It was a lot of Brooks Brothers." Their crew crew held court in each others' dorm rooms at Auchincloss, the freshman hall, kicking around a Hacky Sack and playing soccer, talking about Adolph Huxley, George Orwell, and Hemingway, and dancing to Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, and U2 on the campus lawn. Televisions weren't allowed so students listened to their Sony Walkman swapping cassette recordings of live concerts. Tucker introduced several bands to his friends."He loved classic rock and he was and still is a big fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead," said Sterne, who saw a Dead show with Tucker at RFK Stadium in 1986.Sometimes the clique got slices at Aquidneck Pizza and played arcade games in town, hung out in history instructor William Schenck's office, and smoked pot and Marlborough Red cigarettes on a porch in the main building's common room that faced the ocean, according to multiple sources. When the school administrators banned smoking indoors the following year so they congregated behind the dumpster behind the dining hall. Vodka (often the brand Popov) mixed with Kool-Aid was the drink of choice and students stockpiled bottles under their beds.Tucker was an enthusiastic drinker, half a dozen classmates recall. In his book, "The Long Slide," Tucker credits Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for enticing him to try drugs in 10th grade, The experience gave him "double vision and a headache." By the time he got to college, Tucker writes, "I switched to beer."By the late 1990s Tucker stopped smoking. He eventually cut alcohol too in 2002 after drinking so much while covering George W. Bush in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary that he accidentally got on the wrong plane, according to a friend.Most of Tucker's fellow students remember him best as a skilled speaker."He was always eager to take the less palatable side of the argument and argue that side," said Mahlon Stewart, who attended prep school and college with Tucker and is now a geriatric specialist at Columbia University. "Back then it was comedic. I thought it was an act.""His confidence was just amazing. He could just put out some positions and be willing to argue anything no matter how outlandish," Keller Kimbrough, a former classmate who's now a professor at the University of Colorado. "We were talking about politics and religion one time Tucker pulled this card out of his wallet and said, 'Well actually I'm an ordained minister, I'm an authority on the subject.' This was a stunt. He could literally play the religion card." "When he got the job at Fox I just thought 'Wow that's perfect for him, that's exactly what he can do.'"Their dorm room discourses were never serious. Tucker would pick a side in a debate between whether the color red or blue were better, and the crowd would erupt whenever he made a good point, friends said.  "Even at age 15 he was verbally dexterous and a great debater," Ian Toll said. "His conservative politics was fully formed even back then. He believed in strong defense and minimal government."His teachers saw a pupil who was primed for law school."Language and speaking came naturally to him. He took pleasure in it," said Rusty Rushton, Tucker's former English teacher. Tucker's politics, though, "seemed fluid to me," Rushton said. "I don't think of him as a deeply ensconced ideologue."He ditched soccer after sophomore year to act in a school theater production of Ayn Rand's courtroom thriller "Night of January 16th" (Julie Bowen starred as the prosecuting attorney. Tucker played a juror). But Tucker found his voice in competitive debate when he eventually joined the school's debate club. The team traveled to other private school campuses to compete against schools like Andover, Exeter, and Roxbury Latin in tournaments."He won some debate and basically did a victory lap afterward and got in the face of all the faculty there," one alum from a rival school who debated against Tucker said. "After defeating the student team, he started challenging the faculty, and said, 'Do any of you want to take me on? Are any of you capable of debating me?'"SusieIn the fall of Tucker's sophomore year, a new headmaster arrived at St. George's, Rev. George Andrews II. Andrews' daughter, Susie – who Tucker would eventually marry – was in Tucker's class. According to school tradition, a rotating group of underclassmen was charged with serving their classmates dinner and, one night in late September, Tucker and Susie had the shift at the same time. "They were sitting at a table at the far end of Queen Hall just leaning in, talking to each other," Sterne recalled. "You could see the sparks flying, which was cool."Susie floated between the school's friend groups easily. When she was seen mingling with Tucker, some questioned what she saw in him."People were saying, 'Come on Susie, why are you dating Tucker?' He's such a loser slacker and she was so sweet," Traister said. The pair started dating at the age of 15 and quickly became inseparable. Tucker gained notoriety on campus for repeatedly sneaking into Susie's room on the second floor of Memorial Schoolhouse, the school's stately administrative office that housed the headmaster's quarters. He had less time for his dumpster buddies now that the couple hung out on the campus lawn, attended chapel and an interdenominational campus ministry organization called FOCUS. His senior yearbook included a photo of Tucker squinting in concern to a classmate, with the caption "What do you mean you told Susie?While Susie was universally liked within the St. George's community, her father was polarizing.Andrews led the school during a turbulent period – it was later revealed – when its choirmaster Franklin Coleman was accused of abusing or having inappropriate conduct with at least 10 male students, according to an independent investigation by the law firm Foley Hoag in 2016. (Two attorneys representing several victims said 40 alumni contacted them with credible accounts of molestation and rape accusations at the hands of St. George's employees between 1974 and 2004 after a 2015 school-issued report detailed 26 accounts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. (Coleman was never criminally charged and he has not responded to Insider's attempts to reach him.) Over his eight-year tenure as school music director, from 1980 to 1988, Coleman invited groups of boys to his apartment for private parties. Sometimes he shared alcohol and pot with some of them, gave them back and neck rubs, showed pornographic videos, traveled with them on choral trips and stayed in their hotel rooms, and appeared nude around some of them, the report found. Several of Tucker's classmates and former faculty said they had no reason to believe he would have been aware of the accusations. "There were rumors circulating wildly that Coleman was bad news. The idea was he would cultivate relationships with young men," Ian Toll, a St. George's alum, said. "Anyone who was there at that time would have likely been aware of those rumors."Andrews told Foley Hoag investigators he was not aware of any complaints about Coleman until May 1988 (by then, Tucker had finished his freshman year in college) when school psychiatrist Peter Kosseff wrote a report detailing a firsthand account of misconduct. But Andrews acknowledged to investigators the school could have been aware of "prior questionable conduct" before then, the report said. Andrews fired Coleman in May 1988 after the school confronted Coleman with allegations of misconduct and he did not deny them. According to the investigation, Andrews told students Coleman resigned due to "emotional stress" and that he had the "highest regard and respect for him." On the advice of a school attorney, Andrews did not report the music teacher to child protective services. He also knew that his faculty dean wrote Coleman a letter of recommendation for a job at another school, according to investigators. Andrews left the school a few weeks after Coleman departed. By September 1989, he was named headmaster at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Florida which he led for 18 years. (Andrews declined to speak about Tucker or his tenure at either school.) St. George's, meanwhile, reached an undisclosed settlement with up to 30 abuse survivors in 2016. Coleman found work as a choir director at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa Bay, Florida before he retired in 2008. Tucker Carlson attended St. George’s School, a boarding school starting at age 14.Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesTrinity In the fall of 1987, Tucker enrolled at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where Rev. Andrews had also attended.Nearly two-thirds of Trinity's student body back then originated from private schools and many came from wealthy backgrounds. Tuition in 1987 cost $11,700 plus an additional $3,720 for room and board—around $27,839 in today's dollars."When the Gulf War broke out" in 1990, one Trinity alum who knew Tucker recalled, "there was a big plywood sign in front of the student center that read, 'Blood for Oil,' and someone else threw a bucket of paint on it."The posh campus was situated in the middle of Hartford, Connecticut, the state's capital and one of its poorest cities. Discussions about race and inequality were sometimes at the forefront of campus politics, but many students avoided engaging in them entirely."There were issues about whether black students should only date other black students, that kind of thing," said Kathleen Werthman, a classmate of Tucker's who now works at a Florida nonprofit for people with disabilities. "My sophomore year, for new students, they had a speaker talking about racism, and one of the students said, 'I never met a black student, how are you supposed to talk to them?' And the idea that only white people can be racist was challenged too."Susie was at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His brother remained in Rhode Island and other prep school friends had fanned out across the East Coast. Tucker moved into a four-bedroom dormitory overlooking the main quad. One suitemate, Neil Patel, was an economics major from Massachusetts who played intramural softball. (They would co-found the Daily Caller together two decades years later.) Other roommates played on the varsity soccer team and they formed a tight-knit group."I remember being struck by him. He was the same way he is now," said Rev. Billy Cerveny, a college friend of Tucker's who's now a pastor at Redbird Nashville. "He was a force of nature. He had a sense of presence and gravitas. You might get into an argument with him, but you end up loving the guy."Tucker often went out of his way to amuse his friends. Once during the spring semester, several activists set up a podium and microphone beneath his dorm window to protest the CIA's on-campus recruitment visits. The demonstration was open-mic so Tucker went up to the stage and told the crowd of about 15 people, "I think you're all a bunch of greasy chicken fuckers.""I think people laughed. He did," Cerveny said. "There was always a small collection of people any time there was an issue who tried to stir the pot in that way. Some people were dismissive and other people loved it, thinking 'Oh we're getting a fight here.'"As a sophomore, Tucker and his friends moved into a dingy three-story house on Crescent Street on the edge of the campus. He ditched his tailored jackets, khakis, and bowties for oversized Levi jeans, t-shirts, and untucked oxford shirts. Tucker commandeered a low-ceilinged room above the front porch with so many windows he had to hang up tapestries to keep out the sun. The tiny alcove had barely enough space for an eight-foot futon and several bookshelves Tucker built himself stacked with books he collected. Friends remember Tucker receiving an 8-by-10 manilla envelope that his father sent through the mail once or twice a month containing dozens of articles from newspapers and magazines.One of Tucker's friends, Cerveny, remembered stopping by Richard's home in Washington, D.C. and finding evidence of his hobbies, including the world's second largest collection of walking sticks."His house was filled with rare canes he collected from all over the world," Cerveny said. "The hallways had really amazing rows of canes hung on hooks that were specially made to mount these things on the house. One used to be a functional shotgun, another one was made out of a giraffe. His dad would pull out newspaper clippings of WWII Navy aircraft carriers. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I had never seen anything like that. Who collects canes?"During sophomore year, Tucker's friends decided to rush Delta Phi, a well-to-do fraternity also known as St. Elmo's. The Greek scene had a large presence on campus — about 20 percent of men joined them even though Trinity was a liberal arts school — and St. Elmo's had a reputation as freewheeling scamps. Once a year, a St. Elmo's brother would ride his motorcycle naked through the campus cafeteria. (Faculty voted in 1992 to abolish Greek life saying they were sexist and racist, and school administrators instead forced fraternities to become co-ed.)But Tucker refused to come aboard. Some classmates thought it was because he didn't want to be hazed."Tucker was not a joiner like that," Mahlon Stewart said. "He wouldn't have set himself up for whatever humiliation would have been involved. He would not have put up with that." But Cerveny, who pledged the fraternity, said it was a matter of faith."I remember explicitly him saying 'Look, I want to focus on what my faith is about and I thought this would be a big distraction,'" Cerveny said. "But he was very much in the mix with us. When we moved to a fraternity house [on Broad Street], we asked him to live with us."Tucker occasionally dropped in on his friends' fraternity events and occasionally brought Susie when she visited or Buckley when he drifted into town. Other times they hung out at Baker's Cafe on New Britain Avenue. Mostly Tucker stayed in his room."He was basically a hermit. It wasn't like he was going to a ton of parties" one Trinity St. Elmo's brother said. "He was not a part of the organizational effort of throwing big parties, or encouraging me to join the fraternity." Susie, who didn't drink or smoke, was a moderating influence. "Tucker and Susie had their moral compass pointing north even back then," Sterne said. "Tucker's faith was not something he was focused on in his early years but when he met Susie and he became close to her family, that started to blossom and grow in him. Now it's a huge part of his life."By the time his crew moved to another house on Broad Street, they each acquired vintage motorcycles and tinkered with them in their garage. Tucker owned a 1968 flathead Harley Davidson that barely ran and relied on a red Jeep 4X4 to transport friends around town (the Volkswagen van he had freshman year blew up). He smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, sipped bourbon, and occasionally brewed beer in the basement, including a batch he named "Coal Porter," according to GQ.When he wasn't reading outside of his courses or tinkering with his carburetor, Tucker took classes in the humanities and ultimately majored in history. Tucker dabbled in other fields including Russian history, Jewish history, Women's Studies, and Religious Studies, sitting in the back of lecture halls with his friends. Ron Kiener, who taught an introductory level course in Judaism, recalled Tucker performing "poorly" but earning a credit. "He did not get a stellar grade from me," Kiener said. "Based on what he says now he surely didn't get very much out of my courses."But Leslie Desmangles, who led courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Myth, Rite, and Sacrament, said Tucker was engaged and likely did just enough to pass his courses even if he wasn't very studious or vocal in class discussions."He was interested in understanding the nature of religious belief and studying different cultures and religions but I'm not sure if he had an interest in diversity," Desmangles said. "He was genuinely interested in ritual since a lot of the Episcopal church is highly ritualistic."Tucker's fascination with religion extended to his extracurricular activities too. He and several friends joined Christian Fellowship, a Bible study group that met weekly and helped the school chaplain lead Sunday services. Some members even volunteered with ConnPIRG, a student advocacy group on hunger and environmental issues, and traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the Gulf War. But Tucker steered clear of campus activism. He spent his free time reading and seeing Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Sting perform when they came through Connecticut. Sometimes he skipped school to follow his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, on tour.He took an interest in Central American politics too. At the end of freshman year, Tucker and Patel traveled to Nicaragua. "We did not have a place to stay or any set plans," Tucker told the Trinity Tripod, his college paper, in March 1990. "It was very spontaneous. We are both extremely political and we felt that getting to know the country and some of its citizens would give us a better perspective on the situation." In February 1990, Tucker returned with three friends to Managua for 10 days to observe Nicaragua's elections. The National Opposition Union's Violetta Chamoro, which was backed by the U.S. government, defeated the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Daniel Ortega who had been in power since 1979. A month later Tucker and his classmate Jennifer Barr, who was separately in Nicaragua to observe elections and distribute medical supplies to the Sandinistas, shared their perspectives about their visits to a small crowd at the Faculty Club for the school's Latin America Week. Tucker thought press coverage of the election was too left-leaning and criticized the media for skewing a conservative victory, according to Barr."I don't think it was necessarily true," Barr said. "He was dismissive [about my views]. I did get a sense that he believed in what he was saying, and it was very different from my experience and my understanding of the race."Tucker's stance on U.S. politics at the time was less didactic. As the 1992 presidential election loomed his senior year, Tucker touted the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, a Texas business magnate, to his friends although it did not appear that Tucker was an ardent supporter."Tucker would go on and on about how Ross Perot was the answer to this or that, as a joke, and every one would participate" one St. Elmo's brother said. "He liked the way Ross Perot was basically throwing a wrench into the system. He wasn't a serious Ross Perot proponent. He was cheering on somebody who was screwing up the system."In Tucker's college yearbook, below his tousle-haired, bowtie wearing thumbnail photo, was a list of his extra-curricular activities: "History; Christian Fellowship 1 2 3 4, Jesse Helms Foundation, Dan White Society." Neither of the latter two – named, respectively, after the ultra-conservative North Carolina Senator, and a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978 – ever existed. Tucker admired Helms for being a "bull in the china shop" of Congress, one classmate said. Some friends believed Tucker slipped in the off-color references as a lark."It's like a joke you and a friend would put in a series of anagrams that only you and two friends would remember and no one else would," the St. Elmo's friend said. "It's so niche that only someone like Tucker is thinking things like that or would even know the name of the person who killed Harvey Milk. He paid attention to things like that."Others claimed Tucker was the victim of a prank."It would not at all surprise me if one of the other guys in the [fraternity] house filled it in for him, and not just an inside joke, but pegging him with something that he got grief for," another close friend said. Protesters rally against Fox News outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesAn outsider among insidersBy the spring of 1991, Tucker's academic performance had caught up with him. He had accumulated a 1.9 grade point average and may have finished with a 2.1 GPA, according to one faculty member who viewed a copy of his transcript. Tucker would eventually graduate from Trinity a year late. Falling behind was not uncommon. About 80 percent of Trinity students completed their degrees in four years, according to Trinity College records. (A Trinity spokeswoman would not comment on Tucker's transcript due to FERPA laws, which protect student privacy.Tucker's post-collegiate plans fell through too. Tucker applied to the CIA that spring. The spy agency passed."He mentioned that he had applied and they rejected him because of his drug use," another college friend said, while declining to be named. "He was too honest on his application. I also probably should say I don't know whether he was telling the truth or not." Once the school year was over, Tucker and Neil Patel hit the road on a cross-country motorcycle ride. After that: Washington DC.  Tucker's family left Southern California for Georgetown after President Reagan named his father head of Voice of America. In June 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Richard ambassador to the Seychelles and the Carlson family upgraded to a nicer house in Georgetown with a pool in the basement. That summer, with Tucker's father and stepmother often out of town, the Carlson household was the center of Tucker's social lives, the place they retired to after a night drinking at Georgetown college dive bars like Charing Cross and Third Edition, and pubs like Martin's Tavern and The Tombs, immortalized in St. Elmo's Fire. In August, Tucker and Susie got married in St. George's chapel and held a reception at the Clambake Club of Newport, overlooking the Narragansett Bay. Back in Washington, Tucker's prep school, college, and his father's Washington-based networks began to mesh. Tucker took a $14,000-a-year job as an assistant editor and fact checker of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published at the time by the Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading conservative think tank. For the next three decades, Tucker thrived in the Beltway: He joined The Weekly Standard and wrote for several magazines before appearing on cable news networks as a right-of-center analyst and host at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. His father embarked on a third career as a television executive where he ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and his brother became a political operative and a pollster. By the time Tucker reached the core of the conservative media sphere, a slot on Fox News's primetime opinion lineup, he shed friends from his youth who couldn't grapple with the hard-right turn he veered once he became the face of the network.One friend was not surprised with Tucker's act. In the spring of 2016, during the heat of Donald Trump's presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton and a few months before "Tucker Carlson Tonight" premiered on Fox, Tucker had lunch with his old prep school classmate Richard Wayner who made the speech about Eleanor Bumpurs all those years ago. Wayner believed Tucker's gesture from his pew was never serious. "As a 9th or 10th grader in a chapel full of people in a conversation, he was trying to get attention," Wayner said.The two stayed in touch over the years and Tucker at one point suggested he write a handful of pieces for the Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion site that Tucker co-founded and ran in the 2010s. As they settled into their table at a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse, the two chatted about Wayner's experience on the board of St. George's (which Susie was about to join) and their respective careers. Tucker was floating around at Fox, and Wayner, now an investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said the conversation drifted toward salaries."He was asking, 'How much do you make on Wall Street' and was like, 'Wow, Wall Street guys make a lot.'" Wayner said. When they left the restaurant and headed back toward the Fox News headquarters, several people recognized Tucker on the street even though he had jettisoned his trademark bowtie years ago. Wayner saw Tucker making the pragmatic decision to follow a business model that has made his conservative media counterparts a lot of money."I don't think he has a mission. I don't think he has a plan," Wayner said. "Where he is right now is about as great as whatever he thought he could be.""Tucker knows better. He does. He can get some attention, money, or both." he added. "To me, that's a shame. Because he knows better." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

Retellings are books that put a modern spin on classic novels - these are the 21 best titles

Retellings of classic books are fresh, modern takes on iconic stories, from "Pride and Prejudice" to "The Odyssey." When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Some of the best classic retellings include "Pride," "A Court of Thorns and Roses," and "Love in Color." Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider From fairytales to ancient legends, classic stories have influenced new books for centuries. Retellings of classic books imagine our favorite characters and stories with a new, modern twist. We've rounded up some of the best retellings of classics, from "Don Quixote" to "Cinderella." Whether it's the magical tale of "Beauty and the Beast" or a well-loved Jane Austen novel like "Pride and Prejudice," classic stories whisk us away to magical lands and inspire a lifetime of reading. In contemporary retellings, authors reimagine our favorite legends and heroes in new and exciting stories. Each retelling on this list was influenced by an ancient myth, a magical fairytale, or a work of classic literature. To gather these recommendations, I looked at popular reads from lists on Audible, Goodreads, and Bookshop. Whether you're looking for a fresh perspective on an old fairytale or to discover an ancient legend in a new setting, retellings offer exciting reimaginations of our favorite stories. The 21 best retellings of classic books and stories: "To Kill a Kingdom" by Alexandra Christo Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89Princess Lira is a royal siren with an impressive record of 17 princes killed. When she disobeys her mother, the Sea Queen turns her into a human who must deliver Prince Elian's heart — a siren killer — or remain a human forever in this dark and vicious romantic fantasy. Retelling: "The Little Mermaid" by Hans Christian Andersen  "Anna K: A Love Story" by Jenny Lee Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.11"Anna K" is a modern YA retelling of a classic romance, perfect for anyone who loved "Gossip Girl." Anna K. is a 17-year-old girl at the height of Manhattan society who has always managed to avoid the teenage drama and problems that plague her friends and family. When a new boy with a bad reputation comes into her life, Anna can't resist the gravity that seems to pull them together. Retelling: "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy "Pride" by Ibi Zoboi Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.99In this retelling of a Jane Austen classic, Zuri Benitez is proud of her Afro-Latino family in Brooklyn and can't stand to see the neighborhood gentrifying around her. When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, she's repulsed by Darius' arrogance — yet their initial dislike grows into a mutual understanding in this novel's exploration of race and class, illuminated by Ibi Zoboi's poetic writing style.Retelling: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen "Quichotte" by Salman Rushdie Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Sam DuChamp is an Indian writer living in America who has authored a series of unsuccessful spy thrillers. He eventually creates a character named Ismail Smile who falls in love with an unattainable television star and begins to send love letters under the pen name "Quichotte." As his character sets off on a cross-country journey to prove his worthiness of the star's love, Sam DuChamp's personal crises prove urgent in this playful and satirical retelling.Retelling: "Don Quixote" by Miguel De Cervantes "Cinder" by Marissa Meyer Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.89The first in a series of new imaginings of fairy tales in a futuristic world, "Cinder" features a cyborg retelling of "Cinderella," set in New Beijing as a plague devastates the city. As the merciless Lunar people watch from space, Cinder's life intertwines with the prince's and she must dig into her mysterious past in the hopes of saving the planet. Retelling: "Cinderella" by Charles Perrault "Blanca & Roja "by Anna-Marie McLemore Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.99Blanca and Roja are sisters but (more importantly) bitter rivals, bound by a generations-old spell that will one day leave one of them a girl and the other trapped in the body of a swan. Woven with magical realism and spell-binding storytelling, this story is a gorgeous and diverse fairytale retelling as two local boys get entangled in the unpredictable magic within the woods. Retelling: "Snow-White and Rose-Red" by the Brothers Grimm "A Court of Thorns and Roses" by Sarah J. Maas Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.80"A Court of Thorns and Roses" is the first in a hugely popular five-book fantasy series about a huntress who is captured and stolen away to a magical land after killing a protected wolf on a hunt. As Feyre uncovers the truths about the beast who captured her, her resentment slowly shifts to burning passion. When a looming evil threatens the magical land, Feyre must decide where her loyalties truly lie. Retelling: "Beauty and the Beast" by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve  "Recipe for Persuasion" by Sonali Dev Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.71Chef Ashna Raje is struggling to keep her father's once-popular restaurant alive when an opportunity to win a huge grand prize on a reality cooking show offers the answers to all her problems.  When she's paired up with the worst possible partner, Rico Silva — a soccer star and Ashna's first love — the competition heats up and brings their past relationship to the forefront. Ashna and Rico must navigate both in this romantic comedy that also addresses more complex issues.Retelling: "Persuasion" by Jane Austen "Home Fire" by Kamila Shamsie Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49Separated into five sections that each reveal the experiences of a single character, "Home Fire" is an insightful but heartbreaking story about a British Muslim family who struggles between love and loyalty when a shadow of a terrorist threat looms over them. Isma spent most of her young life raising her younger twin siblings, Aneeka and Parvaiz, but is now off to America to pursue her own dreams. When Parvaiz disappears to explore the dark legacy of their father, his resurfacing brings Isma's worst fears to life. Retelling: "Antigone" by Sophocles "Meg & Jo" by Virginia Kantra Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.85In this contemporary reimagination of a beloved classic, the March sisters are all grown up and have pursued their separate dreams. Meg is living the charming family life she thought always wanted while Jo is struggling in New York City after a painful end to her journalism career. When their mother falls ill, the sisters rush home for the holidays and find that family and sisterhood may be the key to truly understanding their dreams.Retelling: "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott "If The Shoe Fits" by Julie Murphy Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.28When Cindy, a recent college graduate with a degree in shoe design, starts working for her stepmother behind the scenes of a reality show, she's hoping it's just temporary until she can launch her fashion career. But when a spot on the show needs filling, Cindy volunteers and finds herself quickly becoming a plus-size icon for viewers everywhere. From the author of "Dumplin," this romance is a fun and fabulous retelling of a classic fairytale.  Retelling: "Cinderella" by Charles Perrault "Six Crimson Cranes" by Elizabeth Lim Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.99This novel begins with a simple and elegant story and quickly builds to a mesmerizing and breathtaking fairytale retelling. Shiori is a princess who is usually able to conceal her secret, forbidden magic. But when her stepmother banishes her and turns her brothers into cranes, Shiori searches for them and uncovers an overwhelming conspiracy that only she can stop.Retelling: "The Wild Swans" by Hans Christian Andersen "Love in Color: Mythical Tales from Around the World," Retold by Bolu Babalola Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.29"Love in Color" is a collection of short stories about love that retell ancient myths and legends from an array of countries and cultures. Perfect for lovers of romance and happy endings, this anthology brings a vibrancy to classic tales with contemporary twists.Retelling: Various folktales and legends from West Africa, the Middle East, and Greece "Dorothy Must Die" by Danielle Paige Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99In this retelling exploring the darker side of Oz, Amy Gumm is another girl from Kansas who has been trained by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to kill Dorothy, the violent and unforgiving ruler of Oz. Amy must take the Tin Man's heart, the Scarecrow's brain, and the Lion's courage on her dark journey to restore Oz to the way it's supposed to be.Retelling: "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum "Spinning Silver" by Naomi Novik Bookshop Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99In this award-winning fantasy retelling, Miryem sets out to save her family from her father's debts and quickly gains a reputation for being able to spin silver into gold. When Miryem's skills catch the attention of an evil creature, she's given an impossible task that sets her on a journey to save the kingdom — and herself. Retelling: "Rumpelstiltskin" by the Brothers Grimm "The Wrath and the Dawn" by Renée Ahdieh Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.41"The Wrath and the Dawn" is an enchanting and magical story where Khalid, an 18-year-old king, takes a bride each night and kills them by morning, devastating families throughout the kingdom every day. When Shahrzad's friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad hatches a plan for revenge and volunteers to be his next bride but is quickly entangled in a betrayal far more complex than she could have imagined. Retelling: "The Arabian Nights" "The Girl in Red" by Christina Henry Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.94"The Girl in Red" is a suspenseful, post-apocalyptic retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" where the population has been devastated by an epidemic and terrifying predators emerge from the woods at night. Alternating between the past and the present, Red must reach her grandmother's house and try to survive in this brutal and twisted dystopia.Retelling: "Little Red Riding Hood" by the Brothers Grimm "Legendborn" by Tracy Deonn Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.19In this modern retelling of Arthurian legends, Bree Matthews escapes to a residential high school program for gifted students after her mother dies in a tragic accident. When Bree witnesses a magical attack on her first night, a secret society of magical students unveils an entire world of hidden memories and well-kept secrets, including Bree's own magical powers and the circumstances of her mother's death. Retelling: King Arthur legends "Ayesha at Last" by Uzma Jalaluddin Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.59Ayesha is working to pay off her debts to her uncle while constantly being reminded that her younger cousin has received countless marriage proposals. Certain she doesn't want an arranged marriage, Ayesha meets Khalid and can't stand that she's attracted to him despite his judgemental attitude. When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Ayesha's cousin is announced, Ayesha must confront her family's gossip and her deeply personal discoveries about herself to find what she truly wants. Retelling: "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen "A Study in Charlotte" by Brittany Cavallaro Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.01When Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great-granddaughters of the famous detective duo Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, meet at a prep school in Connecticut, it seems they might make better rivals than friends. But when a student dies under mysterious circumstances mirrored from an old Sherlock Holmes story, Jamie and Charlotte are framed as the culprits and must solve the mystery to clear their names.Retelling: "Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle "An Orchestra of Minorities" by Chigozie Obioma Amazon Available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.49In this original and beautiful retelling of "The Odyssey," the life of a young farmer named Chinonso is changed after he stops a woman named Ndali from jumping off a bridge. They fall in love, but when Ndali's wealthy and educated family refuses their union, Chinonso sets off on a long and devastating journey to prove himself worthy. Retelling: "The Odyssey" by Homer Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 5th, 2021

A former Google exec is suing the company, saying a coworker sexually harassed and drunkenly berated him

Ryan Olohan filed a complaint against Google and his coworker alleging sexual harassment, gender and race discrimination, and retaliation. A former Google executive named Ryan Olohan (not pictured) is seeking unspecified damages over claims of economic loss and emotional distress.Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress/Getty Images A former Google exec is blaming his termination from the company on discrimination and retaliation. Ryan Olohan says Google had failed to act on his complaints about a coworker's sexual advances. The coworker said Olohan's complaint was "a fictional account" and full of "falsehoods." A former Google executive is suing the company in New York, saying a coworker sexually harassed and drunkenly berated him on numerous occasions.Ryan Olohan, formerly Google's managing director of food, beverage, and restaurants, filed a complaint against Google in November alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, race discrimination, and retaliation. The suit names Tiffany Miller, Google's director of programmatic media, as a codefendant.A representative for Miller told Insider the lawsuit was "a fictional account of events filled with numerous falsehoods, fabricated by a disgruntled ex-employee, who was senior to Ms. Miller at Google."The person added: "Ms. Miller never made any 'advance' toward Mr. Olohan, which witnesses can readily corroborate. Even more disturbing is the overt sexism and racism in Mr. Olohan's efforts to blame others for his termination."Google didn't respond to a request for comment.Olohan, a New Jersey resident, says in the complaint, which was first reported by Bloomberg, that he suffered workplace retaliation by Miller after rejecting advances from her and reporting them to Google's human-resources department.The complaint says that during a company dinner at the Fig & Olive restaurant in Manhattan in December 2019, Miller approached Olohan and rubbed his stomach, telling him he had "such a nice body."The complaint also accuses Miller, who is Asian, of telling Olohan, who is white and married to an Asian woman, that "her marriage lacked 'spice'" and "she knew he liked Asian women." It says Olohan was left feeling "uncomfortable" and "immediately removed himself from the situation."Olohan reported the incident to Google's human-resources department the next week but no action resulted, the complaint says. The complaint says Miller "began to retaliate" against Olohan, criticizing him to coworkers and complaining to human resources of "microaggressions" by him.The complaint says Miller was "openly hostile" to Olohan in December 2021 at an off-site work event, where it says she "drunkenly rebuked him at a table in front of numerous Google employees." It says Miller apologized the next day, saying she'd been "very drunk.""Although Google was aware that Miller's continued harassment of Olohan stemmed from his rejection of her sexual advances, it again took no action," the complaint says.The complaint says that at a work event at a karaoke bar in April of last year, Miller "mocked Olohan when he arrived late to the event and asked if he was at the gym again, building his muscles," and "told Olohan that she knew he preferred Asian women to white women."Olohan's employment at Google was terminated on August 5, per the complaint. The complaint says Google "discriminated against Olohan and subjected him to adverse employment actions including, but not limited to, terminating his employment."It says Olohan is seeking unspecified damages over claims of economic loss, including past and future lost earnings, and emotional distress.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt5 hr. 8 min. ago

North Carolina Officials Applaud the Start of $35 Million Project by WinnDevelopment to Transform a Historic Mill into Affordable Apartments

WinnCompanies, an award-winning national developer and manager of affordable, mixed-income and market rate apartment communities, today broke ground on its first-everadaptive reuse project in North Carolina, starting construction on a $35 million project that will create 139 affordable apartments in a long-vacant, historic textile mill. Becky S. Smith, the Mayor... The post North Carolina Officials Applaud the Start of $35 Million Project by WinnDevelopment to Transform a Historic Mill into Affordable Apartments appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. WinnCompanies, an award-winning national developer and manager of affordable, mixed-income and market rate apartment communities, today broke ground on its first-everadaptive reuse project in North Carolina, starting construction on a $35 million project that will create 139 affordable apartments in a long-vacant, historic textile mill. Becky S. Smith, the Mayor of Bessemer City, NC, joined WinnCompanies CEO Gilbert Winn and a host of state, county and local officials to celebrate the beginning of work at Osage Mill, located only 30 minutes from Charlotte in the fast-growing region of western Gaston County, where new rental housing for working families is needed to sustain economic growth. “The Osage Mill created hundreds of jobs in Bessemer City 125 years ago and we’re excited to get underway transforming this iconic building into modern homes for those who will drive the area economy in the 21 st century,” said Gilbert Winn. “We value our partnership with North Carolina’s housing and economic leaders on this important effort and looking forward to the project’s completion near the end of 2024.” Led by the WinnDevelopment Vice President Aimee McHale and Senior Project Director Laura Manville, the historic adaptive reuse of the mill will preserve the building’s iconic exterior while creating 12 three-bedroom apartments, 77 two-bedroom units and 50 one-bedroom units for households earning 60 percent of the Area Median Income. “Bessemer City is ready to excel our economic position in the Charlotte Region with the completion of the Osage Mill Renovation Project This project will amplify our community’s position for positive growth, assist with supporting local small businesses, and provide needed housing for our ever-growing workforce with other multi-million-dollar investments taking place, said Mayor Smith. “Bessemer City is growing in a positive way in all directions. This project specifically will act as a catalyst that will transform the community and revive a historic landmark that speaks to the City’s history, culture, and identity. The City is only getting started with revitalization.” Financing for the project is supported by tax-exempt bonds from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) and issued by the Gastonia Housing Authority. “The agency is proud to support the future redevelopment of Osage Mill,” said NCHFA Executive Director Scott Farmer. “This development serves as a prime example of how adaptive reuse of existing sites can create safe and affordable homes for families in North Carolina.” Bank of America is providing construction and permanent financing, as well as equity under the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, the federal Historic Tax Credit program and North Carolina’s Mill Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. “Bank of America is proud to be the lead financer of this innovative development that repurposes previously vacant space to provide much-needed affordable housing in greater Charlotte,” said Mary Thompson, Senior Vice President of Community Development Banking at Bank of America. “We are pleased to work with WinnCompanies, and our other public and private partners, to help support the communities where we work and live.” The 250,000-square-foot building has been largely vacant since 1995. Built by Bessemer City founder, John Askew Smith, in 1896, it quickly became one of the city’s largest textile mills. “Main Street is economic development within the context of historic preservation,” said Kenny Flowers, North Carolina’s Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development. “The Lofts of Osage Mill project is the ultimate reuse of a historic building, preserving a piece of Bessemer City’s history while rehabilitating the property for a new purpose that will benefit the entire community. We commend the local government leaders and private partners for their dedicated work and collaboration which will result in a multi-million-dollar investment, new businesses, and new jobs.” Several elected officials in Gaston County played a key role in moving the project forward. “It has been a pleasure to have made three board of commissioners’ motions in support of this historic project, all receiving unanimous support from the County. John Smith would be proud of this project without doubt,” said Bob Hovis, Vice Chairman of the Gastonia County Commissioners. “I have been pleased to work with the town of Bessemer City in the planning and redevelopment of the Osage Mill. Osage Mill is an iconic landmark built as a textile mill in the late 1800s that now will offer creative opportunities to cultivate entrepreneurial and other local businesses, allowing them to flourish in a retail as well as residential environment,” said State Sen. W. Ted Alexander. “Residents will have the benefit of being within walking distance to some of their favorite establishments. The convenience of eating in your favorite restaurant, after a long day of work, without having to get into a car and drive is priceless. Its rehabilitation is a prime example of how these older historic mills, once considered a liability, can become an economic engine and source of pride for a community like Bessemer City.” “This is a banner day for Bessemer City and all of Gaston County,’ said State Sen. Brad Overcash. “The Historic Osage Cotton Mill Redevelopment Project is a significant economic development victory for the people of Western Gaston County. I wish everyone well and look forward to watching this project move forward.” “I am honored to be included in today’s groundbreaking and proud to show support for the Osage Mill adaptive reuse project,” said State Rep. Kelly Hastings. “The transformation of the vacant mill into workforce housing apartments is vital to our community, bringing life to downtown Bessemer City. I feel confident the work will be completed in a professional and timely manner.” Although this will be WinnDevelopment’s first adaptive reuse project in North Carolina, the company has been responsible for the reuse and rehabilitation of 41 historic structures since 1981, creating nearly 5,000 new apartments in seven states and the District of Columbia. No other residential developer in the United States has won more awards for transforming vacant schools, mills and other historic buildings into multifamily housing. The mill will be renovated to preserve and highlight the historic fabric of the building while providing a host of modern amenities and common areas, including an on-site management office, mail room and package lockers, resident lounge, business center, fitness room, and secured storage for residents. Outdoors on the property, residents will enjoy access to a dog park, a seating and picnic area and children’s playground. Theproperty will offer 244 parking spaces, including 20 spaces for persons with disabilities. “The Gastonia Housing Authority is proud to support the redevelopment of the Historic Osage Mill by actingas the issuer of the multi-family bonds,” said Terri Sanford, Executive Director of the Gastonia Housing Authority. “Not only will this project preserve an important historic structure and revitalize the downtown area of Bessemer City, but it will also provide homes for the elderly, the disabled, and working families in our area. We are grateful to the developers, the City of Bessemer City and the City of Gastonia elected officials and staff, and to all others who have worked tirelessly to bring this project to fruition.” The building’s design conforms to Energy Star guidelines. WinnDevelopment is collaborating with Duke Energy to maximize energy efficiency of the building’s mechanical equipment, appliances, interior and exterior lighting and building envelope. Rehab Builders, of Winston-Salem, is the general contractor for the project, with Tise Kiester Architects of Chapel Hill serving as architect and MacRostie Historic Advisors LLC as historic consultant. Brockmann Law, located in Charlotte, is serving as legal counsel. Osage Mill is located in a mixed-use neighborhood adjacent to Bessemer City’s downtown commercial area and offers easy access to Interstate 85 and strong employment hubs in Charlotte and Spartanburg, SC. Once completed, the community will be operated by WinnResidential, the property management arm of WinnCompanies. The company currently manages 504 apartments at three other North Carolina properties located in Charlotte, Monroe and Raleigh. Its sister company, WinnResidential Military Housing Services, operates 6,183 privatized military homes for members of the U.S. Marines and their families at Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point in Havelock. The post North Carolina Officials Applaud the Start of $35 Million Project by WinnDevelopment to Transform a Historic Mill into Affordable Apartments appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweekly14 hr. 51 min. ago

I moved to New York from the UK to marry my partner using a K-1 visa. The process was so difficult that we had to sue the government.

Dan Gooding met his now-husband in Spain. They decided to marry to be together. The immigration process stalled their plans for over 18 months. Dan Gooding, right, married his partner, David, using a K-1 visa.Dan Gooding Dan Gooding, from the UK, met his partner, an American, on a short vacation.  Gooding decided to move to New York, so he married David. They applied for a K-1 visa. The pandemic stalled visa applications, so they had to sue the government. They're happily married. It all started with a Grindr message: "Hey handsome, how's it going?" I received the message during my two-night stay in Seville, Spain, in November 2018. I had booked my little getaway from my home in the UK. This guy, David from New York, told me he was visiting Spain, too. It was his first time out of the US, and he'd arrived in Seville the day before me."Going to explore and try to find cake," I replied. Wild, highly romantic stuff right there.David suggested getting some dinner and that if it didn't feel right, we could go our separate ways. There was something about him that I couldn't put my finger on. Maybe it was how friendly he seemed, so I said, "Sure. I'll pick a place."We sat down at a corner table in a quaint backstreet restaurant. I distinctly remember the blue floral tiles on the wall, the view out to the street, and the raw beef I somehow convinced myself I would like and absolutely did not. David translated the Spanish menu for me, and from there, the conversation just flowed. There was never a moment of, "Maybe this isn't the best idea." Instead, we wandered the city afterward, grabbed a drink, and just talked and talked. We spent the entire next day together, too. That second evening ended with us promising to visit each other in England and in New York. That Grindr message led me to my husband — and a journey through an arduous immigration system that seemed determined to keep us apart.Those 24 hours in Seville became so much moreI remember walking back to my hotel thinking if that was it, then it was a truly incredible 24 hours that I'd always treasure. David, meanwhile, had already messaged friends to say that he'd just met his future husband. We spent the next few months chatting nearly every day. Despite that and the time we'd shared, there was part of me that didn't believe this could be anything official or big. We did fulfill our promise to each other, though. David flew to visit me in the UK from New York, and I realized then that this was more than a friendship; this really was something special. We visited each other pretty much every six weeks in 2019, crisscrossing the Atlantic. I fell in love with him and New York City. My friends asked when I would be moving, and initially, I brushed it off. How could I leave my job, my friends, my family, and my home for a guy? The goodbyes got tougher, though, and we knew we had to make a decision. In February 2020, we went to see an immigration lawyer in NYCWe went to an immigration lawyer. My main option was a work-based visa. It would cost us well over $5,000, with no guarantee it would work. The other option was to get married. My gut reaction was that it seemed wild, but it quickly dawned on me that this was the best route. I mean, David had already predicted this would happen. We submitted our K-1 visa application the day before the city's COVID-19 lockdown hit. We couldn't have picked a worse time to do this. A combination of travel bans, immigration-service cutbacks, and the Trump administration's policies ensured that nothing happened for months. We were dealing with not only a pandemic but also the uncertainty of when our lives could move forward. We sued the US government In late 2020, another couple in a similar position started a class-action lawsuit, suing then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US government over allegations that it held up cases and kept couples apart. But at that time, without our first approval from immigration, we couldn't join that suit.Let's take a step back. I want to explain the process a bit. First, the US fiancé applies for the K-1 visa on their international partner's behalf. Once that first application is approved in the US, it should automatically get sent to the foreign fiancé's local embassy so they can be interviewed for final approval. But for all the reasons I mentioned, that wasn't happening. But in early 2021, the US finally approved our initial application. This meant we could join hundreds of couples on the third round of that lawsuit, and our names being on that list forced our case to the embassy in London for an interview — nearly 18 months after we first applied. In August 2021, I finally moved to New York City, and the clock started tickingAs if moving to a new country weren't enough, in August 2021, we had a countdown of 90 days to get married as part of the K-1 visa requirements. Honestly, I wasn't thinking about that next stage just yet. I was overwhelmed by being in a new home and finally being with David. The first day after moving, we visited the Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO. Looking at the Brooklyn Bridge, and I could not believe this was my home now. We finally got married with about 30 days of our 90-day countdown left. It was a City Hall ceremony, with masks on and a protective screen in front of the officiant. We had one witness — a good friend of David's. She took us for brunch afterward, and we went for a very fancy dinner later that day to celebrate.Unfortunately, the immigration journey still isn't over. Even now, there's a waiting period and papers to sign. But at this point, I'm just so relieved and happy to have fought through the tougher parts of the pandemic and immigration hurdles.I made it, and I'm now with this person I met by chance. It turned out to be so much more than a magical 24 hours in Spain.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 28th, 2023

Racism made us believe MSG was dangerous. Now, chefs are bringing the once-controversial seasoning back into the spotlight.

MSG is a commonly found ingredient across various foods and fares. So why did Chinese cuisine receive the brunt? photo_chaz via Getty Images MSG has been branded as a dangerous food ingredient for decades, especially associated with Chinese cuisine. The problematic controversy isn't rooted in science, but instead, racism. Chefs of today are advocating to debunk dated myths about the ingredient's health impacts.  In 2019, Lucky Lee's, a fast-casual Chinese American restaurant in New York City, closed its doors after less than a year in business. According to a since-deleted Instagram post, the owner vowed to serve "clean Chinese" food that included less salt, grease, and would leave customers feeling less "bloated and icky." While the white-owned restaurant was met with immediate backlash for racist rhetoric, its original premise, to improve Chinese food fit for the refined western palate, sheds light on a prolonged battle between the Chinese food industry and racist myths about one commonly used ingredient — MSG. Monosodium glutamate, abbreviated as MSG, is a popular flavor enhancer that has been popularized as a harmful processed additive mostly found in Chinese dishes, despite a plethora of scientific evidence that says the opposite. Not only has MSG been deemed GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA, it is also naturally occurring in some foods, such as tomato products, protein isolates, and cheeses. Everything from chips to condiments, and frozen meals and fast foods, are also likely to contain MSG.'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome'The debate of whether MSG is safe for consumption began in 1968, when a doctor wrote a letter titled "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome," to the New England Journal of Medicine, complaining of falling ill after eating at Chinese restaurants. The story sparked outrage against the ingredient, quickly spreading the idea that Chinese food was dangerous. A year later, a scientific paper identifying MSG as "the cause of the Chinese restaurant syndrome," was published and claimed that it could cause "headaches, burning sensations, facial pressure, and chest pain." It wasn't until 2020 that Merriam-Webster redefined its definition of Chinese restaurant syndrome from "a group of symptoms (such as numbness of the neck, arms, and back with headache, dizziness, and palpitations) that is held to affect susceptible persons eating food and especially Chinese food heavily seasoned with monosodium glutamate" to a term that is "offensive" and "dated." The so-called syndrome is one of several examples of viral monikers used to place blame on a country or group of people, and the effects are dangerous. Consider the COVID-19 global pandemic that former US president Donald Trump constantly, publicly referred to as the Chinese virus. Shortly after his racist rhetoric hit the mainstream, hate crimes against the Asian American community surged. Similarly, MSG myths impacted the Chinese food industry, so much so that "No MSG restaurants" lists exist all over the internet and many Chinese takeout restaurants still advertise against MSG use today.Reclaiming MSG"I notice some Chinese American takeout places have 'no MSG' signs, but they're actually lying because I know some of the sauces they use contain MSG. They may be referring to the fact of no added MSG," said Keegan Fong, owner of Woon in Historic Filipinotown, Los Angeles. While dishes at Woon do not have added MSG, Fong says some of the ingredients and sauces used already contain MSG. "Almost all our main dishes contain trace amounts of MSG because almost all dark soy sauces contain at least a little bit of MSG," he said, shedding light on how commonly the ingredient is consumed. Yet, Woon still receives calls from potential customers asking if the restaurant uses MSG. "It's a complex answer because almost all Italian restaurants contain MSG in their food. So, it's kind of an annoying question because we may actually be using less MSG than other cuisines, but people only ask us if our food contains MSG because we are a Chinese restaurant," Fong said. "I'm sure we've lost customers over this."Calvin Eng, lead chef and owner at Bonnie's in Brooklyn, New York has had a similar experience. "People still email us all the time to give them a list of dishes they can have that don't contain MSG," he said, noting that the list is short: rice and a fruit plate. At Bonnie's, everything from bloody marys to desserts contain MSG – something Eng takes pride in. "Many people still aren't comfortable with the ingredient, and I'm trying to educate and change that by being pro-MSG. I'm proud to use it and I advertise it," he said. Even on his left arm, where he had 'MSG' with a heart tattooed four years ago."Everyone assumes that it is bad for you. All data suggests that MSG is not harmful to you. In fact, people consume it in large amounts," said award-winning chef David Chang (Momofuku) at the 2012 MAD Symposium in Denmark. "People who say they're allergic to MSG will happily dip their sushi in soy sauce or eat a miso soup." Chang is one of many public figures who advocates for MSG use publicly and passionately. In addition to independent restaurants and chefs taking individual steps to advertise or not completely write off the use of MSG in dishes, several campaigns like Know MSG advocate for debunking myths surrounding the ingredient and are helping bring it back into the mainstream. But whether people choose to follow scientific evidence, it's nearly fact that we're all consuming MSG in one form or another. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 28th, 2023

Nashville chefs named 2023 James Beard Awards semifinalists

The 2023 James Beard Awards semifinalists list includes multiple Nashville names, more than 2022. Here's who made the list......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 25th, 2023

Houston chefs, restaurants score 10 spots on 2023 James Beard Awards semifinalists list

Some returning favorites and several new names from Houston landed on the semifinalists list for the 2023 James Beard Awards, sometimes called the Oscars of the food world......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJan 25th, 2023

I plan a Brit Awards after-party attended by celebrities like Katy Perry and Lorde. Here"s what goes into organizing an event for the stars.

Claire Haffenden, the director of artist relations and events at Universal Music, plans its annual Brit Awards after-party. Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, and Lorde at Universal Music's 2014 Brit Awards after-party.Getty Images Claire Haffenden is the director of artist relations and events at Universal Music. She organizes its Brit Awards after-party, attended by some of the biggest names in music. She said she loved one of her favorite venues because it had no VIP areas. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Claire Haffenden, the director of artist relations and events at Universal Music, about planning events including its Brit Awards after-party. It has been edited for length and clarity.I didn't know what I wanted to be when I left school, and I didn't go to university. But I've always loved music. I grew up in Bath, in the west of England, but moved to London in the late '80s. I had a flatmate who worked at Island Records, and I was working for a recruitment agency at the time.He opened my eyes to the music industry. Because I came from a small town, and my parents were not from a creative background, it just wasn't in my thoughts before I met him.One of my first jobs in music in the '90s was in artist relations for Polydor creating comfortable spaces for artists who were visiting. I was the person telling them where they needed to be and organizing their hotels and cars. That planning experience helped me in my current role, director of artist relations and events at Universal Music, where I lead a team of five. I became head of artist relations and events in 2008 and director of artist relations and events in 2013. Claire Haffenden, the director of artist relations and events at Universal Music.Claire HaffendenOne of the events we manage is our Brit Awards after-partyThe planning for it starts the day after the previous one because it's fresh in our minds.We talk about what went well, what didn't, and what we could do better. We typically start looking for a venue around autumn.But it can be finalized anytime between the day after the prior event and four months before it's set to take place.I can't give too much away about the next one, but it's happening in February. It's also the first one since 2020 because of COVID-19, and it's the first time it will be on a Saturday. So people are eager.We don't normally have a theme. The music and people are the theme. We've started working with visual artists — we've worked with Yinka Ilori and Ashton Attzs. We take them down to the venue so that they can visualize what they'd like to put together.Yinka Ilori and Ashton Attzs at the event in 2020.The Outside OrganisationWe don't have a celebrity booker. All the nominees are invited. I don't create the guest list and say who can and can't come. I make sure every artist's team has an allocation of guest tickets, for the artist's family, friends, and contacts. That's why it has an authenticity about it, because it's everyone's party. The invites are sent out about a month in advance, after the award nominations are sent out.We've had good venues and bad. One of my favorites was The Ned in London because there were no VIP areas.Magical moments are created when everybody can see what's happening. Parties and events work well when that dynamic energy is harnessed in one space and everybody is enjoying it. If an event is split into pockets or rooms, there becomes this need for guests to get in and out, like at a festival. People think, "Where is it happening?" and there's this desire to see what's happening in the VIP areas. That can create a problem. Stairs, small doors, and different floors in a venue make my skin itch because there is no flow of people.But if the event is focused in one big space, it's happening all around you — you're immersed in it.My favorite moment at one of the after-parties was when Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry, and Lorde got up and DJed togetherI thought, "I can't believe this is happening." It was a moment that was brilliant and felt so special.My advice to people organizing events is don't try to be a one-person band. You can't do everything, as there are a lot of moving parts to an event. There should be a person on each team focused on a part, whether it's the food, the drinks, looking after the artists, or the guest experience.You can do this by having regular meetings and empowering your team to focus on their own part and make it brilliant.Planning an event means having a lot of noise coming at you, so it's also important to remain calm and make sure people are clear on their roles. Being a people person and having a good sense of humor in times of adversity help, too.Things are often quite last minute, and sometimes there are problems. The reason I think I've been doing it as long as I have is that I have a can-do attitude.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 25th, 2023

AI Tech Platform Signs 5,000 SQFT Lease At ATCO’s 240 W. 35th

ATCO Properties & Management announced today that data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) copywriting platform Anyword has signed a 4,924-square-foot lease at 240 West 35th Street, an 18-story, 165,000-square-foot class A office building in the Garment District. Anyword’s new space encompasses part of the 5th floor of the property, which is located between 7th and 8th Avenues. The company – a... The post AI Tech Platform Signs 5,000 SQFT Lease At ATCO’s 240 W. 35th appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. ATCO Properties & Management announced today that data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) copywriting platform Anyword has signed a 4,924-square-foot lease at 240 West 35th Street, an 18-story, 165,000-square-foot class A office building in the Garment District. Anyword’s new space encompasses part of the 5th floor of the property, which is located between 7th and 8th Avenues. The company – a content marketing company that uses natural language processing, machine learning and social graphs to match stories with users – formerly operated under the name Keywee. The relocation to 240 West 35th Street occurred in December 2022. “We are delighted to add Anyword to our tenant roster at 240 West 35th Street,” said Kate Hemmerdinger Goodman, co-president at ATCO Properties & Management. “The building’s excellent light and views, and its location just two blocks from Penn Station, make it ideal for organizations in search of exceptional space that inspires their workforce.” Colin Godwin and Todd Korren of Avison Young represented building ownership in the transaction, while Brandon Cooperstock of Savills represented Anyword. Asking rents were in the mid-$40s per square foot. 240 West 35th Street boasts a renovated lobby and common corridors, new elevators and restrooms, generous ceiling heights and exceptional light, air, and views. Major tenants at the property include Paris-based luxury goods company Diptyque; award-winning men’s fashion and eyewear designer Thom Browne; and leading foreign language school Spanish American Institute. The property is also home to Latin American restaurant Café Nunez and Irish pub Jack Doyle’s. 240 West 35th Street has a number of partial floor spaces available for lease that are already built-out and move-in ready, some are even furnished. There is also an opportunity at the property for an up to 40,000-square-foot tenant to create a building within a building with a dedicated elevator.  The post AI Tech Platform Signs 5,000 SQFT Lease At ATCO’s 240 W. 35th appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyJan 23rd, 2023

Charlie Javice has been fooling the world for years, long before founding Frank or allegedly defrauding JP Morgan. Here"s why they bought it.

Investors and media billed Charlie Javice as a groundbreaking young entrepreneur, until JPMorgan Chase sued her for millions of dollars of fraud. Charlie Javice; Arif Qazi/InsiderInvestors and media billed Charlie Javice as a groundbreaking young entrepreneur, until JPMorgan Chase sued her for millions of dollars of fraud.The ambitious entrepreneur Charlie Javice had been the subject of glowing profiles in Forbes, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, and Insider since she was barely out of high school. Her financial aid startup, Frank, was featured in the New York Times, CNBC and Wall Street Journal. She'd been featured on Forbes's 30 Under 30 list and hailed by Wharton Business School as "the voice of a microfinance generation."In the past week, all that came crashing down. Barely a year after selling Frank to JPMorgan Chase & Co. for $175 million, the bank accused the 30-year-old of fabricating almost four million client names and emails — the overwhelming majority of her company's users.Javice's lawyer called her a "whistleblower" and said JP Morgan's decision to fire and sue her was a pretext to avoid paying her. But an Insider investigation, based on a review of company documents, media appearances and interviews with 10 former mentors, employees, and others who knew Javice, suggests that she had a history of exaggerating her accomplishments.Although she positioned herself as an innovator with groundbreaking solutions to student loans and solving global poverty, Javice's greatest talent may have been in leveraging elite institutions and national news outlets to gain an ever-growing platform. As Javice accumulated accolades and media appearances, no one — including Insider — seemed to question the fundamental claims of her businesses until the day JPMorgan alleged the numbers simply didn't add up.Over and over, Javice earned plaudits in the media for projects whose impact she overstated. Glowing profiles missed inaccuracies that could have been caught with a basic fact-check, focusing instead on her youth and status as one of a small number of women startup founders. One journalist even introduced Javice, then 19, to a key Frank investor.Despite a public record that raised questions about Javice and Frank — including warnings from the Department of Education and Federal Trade Commission, and a wage theft lawsuit from Frank's cofounder — news outlets and investors kept buying into the narrative that Javice spun. In one case, Javice pivoted her entire business model without realizing her new concept was part of a heavily regulated industry that required various approvals, but framed this as a learning moment.Now JPMorgan is alleging that Javice was involved in what would be the largest exaggeration of all. By the start of 2021, Frank was claiming to have 4.25 million users, according to JPMorgan's suit. In reality, it never had more than around 250,000, the bank claims. After leaving the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business school, Javice traded on her reputation, bolstered by glowing profiles, as a successful entrepreneur.biiIf Javice's career before the suit had positioned her to be one of the future titans of her industry, JPMorgan's allegations may have put her on the trajectory to be the next Elizabeth Holmes, Sam Bankman-Fried or Adam Neumann.Javice and two attorneys representing her did not respond to a request for comment. Javice has lodged her own lawsuit against JPMorgan, alleging that the company tanked Frank's value by treating the startup's customer base as a marketing opportunity and fired her in order to avoid having to pay a $20 million retention bonus.A deeper dive into Javice's early claims would have revealed a history of questionable statements. In a 2018 interview with Insider, Javice claimed Frank secured an average of $28,000 for its users, and was helping students get "thousands off their tuition." That figure is more than twice the average aid disbursed to college students in the 2015-2016 school year, the most recent year for which data is available.But Frank didn't have any kind of magic formula to double the amount of aid students were receiving, student-aid expert Mark Kantrowitz told Insider. All Frank was doing was making it simpler to fill out standard federal financial aid paperwork, a form called the FAFSA."Frank did nothing that would have affected the amount of aid the students would have received had they filed the FAFSA on their own," Kantrowitz said. "That would not have led to a doubling of the amount of financial aid."  When Frank was describing how much aid its users received, "it appeared that they made up figures at random," Kantrowitz said. Lofty goals and big talk Javice gained a degree of finance-world fame while still in high school as a founder of PoverUp, a small microfinance organization with huge ambitions. Her brother and co-founder Elie posted on Facebook in 2011 that its goal was to reach 100 million high school, college and graduate students worldwide.PoverUp was styled as a nonprofit that would harness small student contributions to make loans to entrepreneurs in poor countries in order to lift them out of poverty. It came with a compelling origin story, where Javice had volunteered at a refugee camp on the Thai border with Myanmar and been inspired to create the startup. (Javice was there as part of a student travel and learning experience that now costs around $6,000 per trip.)Javice's goal for PoverUp was to "save the world. Nothing less," said Howard Finkelstein, a lawyer who helped her set the company up and served on its advisory board.The startup gave Javice the first taste of a symbiotic relationship with media outlets that would carry on for more than a decade. After graduating from a private Westchester high school to attend Wharton Business School, her involvement in PoverUp garnered her a spot on Fast Company's 2011 list of 100 Most Creative People and a complimentary writeup in Forbes. PoverUp was ranked as one of the "11 coolest college startups" by Inc. Magazine, while Wharton called Javice "the voice of a microfinance generation" in a video it has since removed from YouTube.There was this air about her where she wanted everyone to know that she was an up and coming leader in the field, that she had been anointed.Soon after landing a spot on Fast Company's list, Javice appeared on a CNBC reality television special featuring anti-democratic billionaire Peter Thiel where entrepreneurs under the age of 20 vied against each other for a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship. Javice has said she was offered that grant but turned it down, but a rejection email obtained by The Daily Beast shows the then-president of the Thiel Foundation informing her that she was not selected.Javice traded on her reputation as a could-have-been Thiel Fellow and Fast Company designee throughout her time at Wharton, according to PoverUp's Tumblr and a person who knew her at Wharton."There was this air about her where she wanted everyone to know that she was an up and coming leader in the field, that she had been anointed," that person said.But there were fissures emerging between how Javice was heralded in writeups and the reality behind her businesses. Insider found no evidence that PoverUp registered as a nonprofit, and two of the three microlenders that Inc. reported were in talks to partner with PoverUp said that nothing came of the meetings. Despite Javice telling Wharton Magazine in 2013 that PoverUp raised $300,000 from friends and family, a former board member told Insider that it never disbursed a single loan. "She really didn't get much traction," said Finkelstein, the lawyer. "When she finished school, she basically gave that up."Pivoting and spinningAfter Javice graduated from Wharton in 2013, she immediately turned toward her next startup. The venture would end with a lawsuit in an Israeli court and, by Javice's own telling, her firing all her employees after losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.Javice, along with Israeli entrepreneur Adi Omesy, had initially set out to build Tapd — a company that connected young workers with job opportunities via text message, according to an archived version of Tapd's website. That idea seems to have fizzled.Do you have a tip or insight to share? Contact reporter Katherine Long via phone or the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-206-375-9280), or at Contact reporter Jack Newsham via Signal (+1-314-971-1627), or at next pivoted to building an alternative credit score for college students. That concept attracted investors, but it also failed after she said the company learned it would need to secure regulatory approvals to operate as a credit bureau. Javice had apparently sold investors on a business before she was sure how to operate it legally – a strategy almost par for the course in the startup world, where entrepreneurs often pitch themselves as "disrupting" the existing modes of doing business."Little did I know that there was this whole body of regulation," she said on a 2021 Planet Economics podcast, complying with which would cost "millions of dollars a year." "That was a no-go." On another podcast Javice recalled that by 2016 she was "$500,000 in the red" and in an interview described needing to fire "all my employees." "It was the worst thing I've ever had to do," she said in the interview with Authority Magazine, which has since deleted the article. "A lot of my employees were close friends, and still won't talk with me to this day. They didn't understand that it wasn't a personal decision."Javice's Tapd co-founder Omesy, who on LinkedIn also calls himself a co-founder of Frank, sued Javice in Israel in 2017 for unpaid wages and failing to award him 10% equity in the company. Omesy additionally claimed that his salary for one month was drawn from Javice's personal bank account.Tapd faced a judgment for about $35,000 in 2021. Omesy didn't respond to Insider's requests for an interview.While the story of Tapd seemed to be one of failure and contentious mismanagement, Javice would spin that turmoil into a story of triumph. The young founder made the crisis part of her personal success story, omitting the lawsuit and framing the layoffs as a teaching moment. Tapd would be rebranded as Frank, a new startup with a new mission and a new pitch.In a 2020 email to an online magazine about a possible feature on Javice, obtained by Insider, Frank's public relations representative described it as "miraculous" that Frank had gotten so far. "Charlie's first company fizzled after 18 months, so after losing all her investors' money, she convinced every one of them to fund her next company, Frank."A media feedback loopWhen Javice launched Frank in 2017, she came prepared with a story readymade for the ways that entrepreneurs and the outlets that cover them talk about success. Building a startup is hard, failure is almost inevitable, and real leaders learn from that adversity to find their true calling.Journalists bit, and she soon tapped into a media feedback loop. Javice was important because she appeared in major news outlets, and major news outlets covered her because she was important. Javice made the podcast circuit, speaking about "the merits of being an entrepreneur," why "rejection is a numbers game," and "Frank's journey to reach almost 10 million households." She was heralded as a "female disruptor." Insider featured her twice, in 2018 and 2021.The complications of her past leadership at PoverUp and Tapd, especially the lawsuit, never appeared. In 2019, she landed a spot on Crain's New York Business 40 Under 40 list and Forbes's 30 Under 30 — even as she continued to make inaccurate statements about the field she was supposed to be an expert in, student aid.Javice's 2018 op-ed in the New York Times had a lengthy correction appended, for instance. So did a piece in the Wall Street Journal that was built around an interview with her. In a 2019 appearance on New York's ABC news station, she claimed that college students left $40 billion in financial aid on the table every year — a number that student aid expert Kantrowitz called "bogus."In an earnings call this month, JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon said the bank's acquisition of Frank was "a huge mistake."Jim Watson/Getty ImagesMeanwhile, a journalism connection would help her land a key investor. Dominic Chu, a reporter for CNBC, had given a teenage Javice a tour of Bloomberg's headquarters, as the PoverUp team chronicled on a Tumblr post from around 2011. Chu later introduced her to Michael Eisenberg, the founder of Israeli firm Aleph Venture Capital. Aleph, an early backer of WeWork, convinced other investors to hop on board, including Silicon Valley firm Slow Ventures, which invested $100,000 in Frank's 2017 seed round, Slow partner Sam Lessin said.Aleph "is a firm we really like and collaborate with a lot," Lessin wrote in an email. The "check was a quick angel one for us," he added, "to be supportive."Ten years later, after Frank had been acquired by JP Morgan, Eisenberg tweeted his thanks at Chu for the introduction. "Charlie Javice is one of those folks who, at the age of 20, made me think 'what have I done with my life?'" Chu responded. "Congrats to Charlie on a great entrepreneurship story...and to your team on a successful startup investment story!"Chu declined to comment on the record. Eisenberg did not respond to repeated requests for comment.In interviews, Javice continued to cast herself as a mold-breaking entrepreneur."I built a business and raised funds out of college, turning down a finance job, even though I was told I would fail because I didn't have business experience," she told Insider in 2021, in an article titled "3 leadership tactics a 28-year-old founder who's raised $20 million for her startup lives by." "My impatience to achieve my goals helped me see past that 'conventional wisdom' to take a risk that landed me where I am today."But even the account circulated by Javice's press team, that she had convinced every one of her old investors to buy in to Frank, had holes in it.At least one big-name investor described in several news accounts as a Frank backer told Insider his actual involvement was minimal. Despite being included in a list of investors that included Aleph and Marc Rowan, the chairman of Apollo Global Management, Tusk Ventures didn't actually cut a check to Frank, according to its founder Bradley Tusk."My consulting firm did a little work for Frank and got paid in equity, which is why you see us on the cap table," he said. "I only met Charlie once.""I painted a rosier picture than things truly were."At Frank, Javice admitted she sometimes painted a more positive picture of the company's health than was supported by the facts."Being a founder, I'm obviously skewed towards being overly optimistic – and sometimes that works to your advantage, sometimes it doesn't," she said on a 2021 podcast. "And there were definitely times where I painted a rosier picture than things truly were."Frank's public statements about its user base were all over the map. In April 2017, Frank's website said "thousands" of families using its service had received "$75 million in free aid." (That same website had stock images of people, including of "smiling mature woman" and "good looking cheerful manager," labeled as actual users.) In November 2018, Frank's website said it had helped 300,000 families unlock over $7 billion in aid.Frank stuck with the "over 300,000" figure for more than two years. But suddenly, in January 2021, the company began claiming that it served "over 4.25 million students," according to archived versions of its website and tweets from Frank's account referenced in JP Morgan's lawsuit. In reality, Frank only ever had about 250,000 users, according to JPMorgan's legal complaint.I cried at work a lot.Javice maintained a public persona of a savvy entrepreneur, doling out advice to would-be founders about the keys to success. Internally, she was pressuring employees to grow Frank's user base, two former employees told Insider. One recalled that Frank struggled to build name recognition through multiple rebrandings. "Figuring out how to grow was not very strong," this employee said. "There wasn't a clear direction all the time.""It was all about growth," another employee said, describing weekly meetings with Javice and then-chief growth officer Olivier Amar. The two leaders emphasized repeatedly in those meetings that "we need to follow through for the people who are investing in this." Amar told this employee that if Frank didn't meet specific user metrics, "then you're gonna lose your job." Amar did not respond to requests for comment.Both former employees said working at Frank cratered their mental health. "I cried at work a lot," one said.Meanwhile, Frank was facing scrutiny from government agencies, including the Department of Education and the FTC, over allegations that it was misrepresenting its products and relationship to the federal government, Insider has previously reported. Both agencies threatened Frank with legal action unless it changed its practices, and Frank settled with the DOE. An early Frank investor, though, later touted the company's influence with the Department of Education.Javice "made waves with the US Department of Education that resulted in key policy changes for American families," Aleph Venture Capital founder Eisenberg wrote in a blog post in 2021 celebrating Frank's acquisition. Eisenberg's Aleph Venture Capital also backed WeWork, whose founder, Adam Neumann, shown here, was ousted from the company in 2019 after revelations of mismanagement botched WeWork's IPO.Jackal Pan/Visual China Group via Getty ImagesAfter JPMorgan acquired Frank, the bank set out to turn what it thought were the startup's more than 4 million users into JPMorgan customers. Last January, JPMorgan sent a marketing email to a batch of about 400,000 Frank users."The marketing campaign was a disaster," the bank alleged in its lawsuit. About 70% of the emails bounced back, and only 103 of the email's 400,000 recipients clicked through to Frank's website. JPMorgan launched an internal investigation.The bank alleges its investigation found that Javice and Amar had hired a New York data science professor to create more than 4 million fake profiles on Frank. Javice and Amar supplemented those fake Frank profiles with email addresses purchased from data brokers, according to the bank's lawsuit.The marketing campaign was a disaster.The lawsuit is now prompting many of the same institutions that propelled Javice's rise to begin interrogating her exaggerations. Forbes published a lengthy takedown of Javice this week, though without mention that the magazine had previously included her on its 30 Under 30 list. Investors have distanced themselves or gone quiet. JPMorgan has gone from embracing Javice as a financial wunderkind to accusing her of being a serial fabulist – though the brazen nature of Javice's alleged fraud has prompted questions about why JPMorgan didn't catch on sooner. "In every aspect of her interactions with JPMC, Javice had a choice," the bank, which once touted its acquisition of the "fastest growing college financial planning platform," alleged in its lawsuit: Reveal the truth about her startup and accept that Frank was not as valuable as she claimed, or lie to inflate Frank's value."Javice chose each time to lie," it concluded.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 21st, 2023

38 romantic Valentine"s Day gifts for long-distance relationships, from touch lamps to the best virtual date nights

If you're in a long-distance relationship, a gift can remind your other half how much you miss them. Here are the best items to show you care. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.EtsyLong-distance relationships can come with their challenges. When you live far away from each other, simple things like date nights, daily catch-ups, or even touches require more effort to coordinate. At the same time, getting creative with showing how much you care can make for some unique and highly cherished memories. Whether you want to do something special for Valentine's Day or want to cheer your partner up, there are plenty of sweet ways to show your love.To help, we compiled over 40 gift ideas for long-distance relationships, from romantic reminders of your loved one to activities you can do together.A bar necklace that nods to your LDRsomethings2share/EtsySomethings2Share Long Distance Relationship Bar Pendant NecklaceBar necklaces are all the rage right now, but you can get extra creative with this one by adding your respective states or countries and a cute arrow in between. It's a lovely way to celebrate what is sometimes a pain: how truly different your locations are.A modern day mixtapeEtsyTheBlankRecordStore 4GB USB MixtapeRemember when "I made you a mixtape" was the most romantic thing in the world? This retro-style USB port will take them back to the good ol' days. Even with a more modern-day, practical twist, you can load this bad boy up with all the songs you need to prove your devotion.A set of aesthetically-pleasing touch lampsEtsySet of Two Friendship LampsEven though you miss them constantly, sometimes a text message here and there doesn't feel like it gets your emotions across. When you touch your lamp, theirs lights up no matter where or how far away they are — a soothing and subtle reminder of your affection that can be placed on their nightstand or desk.A love letter immortalized in a blanketUncommon GoodsPersonalized Hand-Written Letter BlanketIf love letters feel too fragile, you can gift a more permanent reminder of your love with this personalized blanket. All you have to do is submit your text and choose a font to create a one-of-a-kind, utterly heartfelt present they'll wrap themselves up in all the time.A video message from their favorite celebrityCameoCameo MessageWhether you love watching Bravo shows together or they'd be tickled to hear a "happy birthday" from a "Sopranos" actor, Cameo lets you pay talent to record special messages. Prices can really range depending on who you pick, so this can also be a great gift to split amongst friends or family.A creative virtual class you can take togetherUncommon GoodsShades of Love: Paint Your PersonUncommon Goods features a host of unique online classes and workshops, which can be a fantastic date night or Valentine's Day option if you're far apart. This one has you paint your person from a photo in your camera roll, but there are plenty of options from making a map of your relationship to crafting Parisian cocktails. You can find all the course offerings here.A custom light box with a sweet messageMagicWoOod/EtsyMagicWoOod LDR Gift Custom Magic BoxThis little wooden box casts a message on a wall when lit up. You can customize it with a comforting reminder, inside joke, or anything else that they can look at whenever they need a pick-me-up.A stationary kit for writing old-school love lettersUncommon GoodsA Year Of ConnectionTake a step back from FaceTime and DMs with this mindful stationary kit that brings thoughtfulness back into how we communicate. Send one card to your special someone with romantic envelopes, meaningful prompts, and reflection space.An adorable 3D pop-up cardLovepopI Lava You Pop-Up CardIf you want to send them a card that won't just live in a drawer, look no further. Lovepop makes 3D cards and paper bouquets you can leave out on full display, so they can get the most out of your message. You can browse Lovepop's Valentine's Day offerings here.A stylish personalized printUncommon GoodsPersonalized Movie Marquee Photo PrintThis artsy print can be customized to include a movie title that represents your love story, along with your names and your anniversary date. Beyond being a cute nod to your relationship, it's a nice way to look forward to the next time you can catch a movie together.A Scandinavian-inspired conversation gameAmazonThe Hygge Conversation GameWhile you may not be able to physically spend lazy Sunday mornings and casual nights together at the moment, this light-hearted game can easily be transferred to FaceTime. This pack perfectly captures the feeling of well-being and togetherness that defines the Danish values of hygge and invites you into 330 cozy conversation starters with your favorite person.A sweet love letter necklaceCatbirdThe Smallest Love Letter CharmIf your relationship is defined by sweet letters to each other, get them this adorable and chic love letter necklace, which you can personalize with their name, address, your initials, or even a short message. You can get the charm by itself or pay extra to add a gold chain.A gourmet meal from homeGoldbellyGoldbelly Restaurant Meal KitsIf they're missing home, chances are it's about more than just you. Surprise them with their favorite restaurant or hometown meal from Goldbelly, our favorite service for gourmet meals delivered nationwide. A custom anniversary star mapThe Night SkyThe Night Sky Custom Star MapRecapture the moment your hearts skipped a beat with this stunning creation of the night sky, complete with geographically accurate star formations. Every time they see it hanging on their wall, it'll remind them of where it all began.A bracelet that vibrates when your partner is thinking of youUncommon GoodsLong Distance Touch Bracelet SetThis bracelet set helps show your love from afar: Simply touch your bracelet and the other half on your partner's wrist will light up and vibrate to show you're thinking of them.A pair of matching undiesMeUndiesMeUndies Matching PairsA pair (or two) of fun, PJ-worthy MeUndies makes it so easy to match your bottom half to your better half. Choose from countless colors and designs, including Pride and fandom-inspired wear.A digital picture frame to display your best memories togetherAuraCarver Digital FramePhotos are the best way to keep the memories alive, but moving them off your phones and onto a countertop is a real gesture. The Carver frame shuffles through countless digital photos as it holds unlimited storage space.A comedic tea spoonAmazonStir Your Tea and Think of Me SpoonThis quirky tea spoon not only induces smiles — it also makes sure that every time they give their morning beverage a stir, you'll be on their mind. Sounds like a win-win!Fresh flowers delivered to their doorUrbanStemsUrban Stems Flower DeliveryNothing brightens up a lonely room or says, "Wish I could be there" for special occasions you're missing quite like a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Urban Stems is the best flower delivery service we've tested with so many different arrangements, perfect for any partner.A scrapbook like the one in "Up"AmazonOur Adventure Book ScrapbookIf one or both of you happens to be a Disney fan, you can't pass on this replica of the scrapbook used in "Up." You can use it to store notes, photos, ticket stubs, and anything else you want to cherish in your relationship.An art piece with a custom Spotify playlistAmazonVeelu Custom Spotify Glass ArtThis Spotify glass art lets your partner scan a custom song code to pull up a playlist you've created of all the tunes that remind you of each other. The art piece comes on a wooden stand, so it doubles as something nice to look at on the nightstand.Matching bracelets of your names in Morse codeWishANDdesign/EtsyWishANDdesign Couple Name Morse Code BraceletsIf you prefer more subtle displays of your love, you can get these simple bracelets of each other's names in Morse code. You can pick your cord colors and beads for extra customization as well.A cute book you can fill inAmazonKnock Knock "What I Love About You" BookThis sweet, simple book is full of prompts you can fill out to show much you really care. It's a great low-budget gift idea that they'll hold on to for years to come (and can flip to anytime they need some extra reassurance).A weighted blanket to bring physical comfortGravityGravity Weighted BlanketA weighted blanket can help ease the loneliness of missing that body next to you at night. It's certainly not the same, but that warmth still brings comfort — especially if it was gifted by you. This blanket from Carver is our top pick for an extra-heavy weighted blanket among those we tested.An instant love letterUncommon GoodsLovebox Spinning Heart MessengerLove letters in the mailbox are great, but this unique gift lets you deliver them instantly. After sending them the physical box, you can send your partner special messages via the app and a large red heart spins on their box to inform them their digital love letter inside is ready to read.A gift card for a trip or experience togetherAirbnbAirbnb Gift CardMake the next time you two are together a special adventure. Whether it's a destination or a virtual experience, an Airbnb gift card never expires and is an easy way to start new memories.Paired mugs to remind them of your love every dayKate SpadeKate Spade Daisy Place Love You More Mug SetIf words aren't enough, show your partner how much you love them with these matching mugs.GrafomapGrafomapGrafomap Custom MapWhether it's of the special place you two met or got engaged, this custom map poster keeps that memory alive. It doubles as a great interior piece and a cherished memento to store at home.A Disney+ subscription for date nightsDisney PlusDisney+ Gift SubscriptionNetflix — erm, Disney+ — and chill from across the country with a subscription that lets you both access movies from nostalgic Disney classics to Marvel hits. The streaming service contains a variety of old and new content that's available to watch in multiple countries.A delicious box of chocolatesBon Bon Bon/InsiderBon Bon Bon Medium Mystery Mix BonsChocolates are the sweetest just-because gift to brighten their day. This tasty gift set includes a mix of 15 chocolates that are all individually and beautifully wrapped.A book subscription to pass the timeBook of the MonthBook of the Month Book Subscription (3-months)Start a book club with your significant other as a fun activity to pass the time. A Book of the Month subscription offers quality bonding time at the start and finish of each book. A romantic candleAmazonHomesick Love Letters CandleThe heart grows fonder with this candle's romantic scent inspiration. Fill your partner's space with soft notes of lemon, sandalwood, and rose that are just as passionate as love letters.A scratch-off poster of bucket list movies to watch togetherUncommon GoodsUncommon Goods 100 Movies Scratch Off PosterThe next virtual watch party just became easier with this scratch-off movie poster. Explore 100 iconic films to scratch off your movie night bucket list.A jar of pre-written love messagesAmazonMessage Pill Co. Long Distance Messages in a Bottle"I miss you" text messages are too predictable. Instead, send these pre-written love messages tucked away in capsules for your partner to open once a day.A MasterClass subscription for twoMasterClassMasterClass Duo SubscriptionMasterClass is one of our favorite online learning platforms because of its high-quality, entertaining, and diverse offerings. If you both love learning for fun, you can get a Duo subscription for two devices. It's a fun way to watch classes together (or watch on your own to discuss on the phone later).A neck massager when you can't be there to work out the kinksAmazonNekteck Shiatsu Neck and Back MassagerWhen they're having a stressful day, this neck and back massager is a soothing companion when your hands are too far for a massage. The heated massage device has eight kneading massage nodes and three speeds level to alleviate muscle soreness and stiffness.Conversation prompts to spice up your phone callsAmazonCrated With Love 141 Outrageous Conversation StartersRather than recapping each other's day, get to know each other more with this couples game. Switch out normal conversations with this card game's ridiculous prompts that guarantee a fun phone call.A weekender bag to make travel easierDagne DoverDagne Dover Landon Carryall BagAn extra-long weekender is exactly what they need when they come visit you. This Dagne Dover bag prepares for any type of weekend trip as it contains a shoe bag, water bottle holder, and a laptop sleeve on the inside.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 17th, 2023

How China planted an FBI mole who was discovered only after gutting the CIA"s vast spy network

Over the past decade, more than a dozen Chinese agents recruited by the CIA have been killed or imprisoned. An alleged spy in the FBI may be to blame. The FBI building in Washington, DC.Celal Gunes/Getty Images The following is an excerpt from "SPYFAIL: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs, and the Collapse of America's Counterintelligence" by James Bamford. An alleged spy within the FBI may be largely responsible for unraveling the CIA's Chinese spy network. The FBI's website carries a stark warning. "The counterintelligence and economic espionage efforts emanating from the government of China," it says, "are a grave threat to the economic well-being and democratic values of the United States. Confronting this threat is the FBI's top counterintelligence priority." But far worse is the threat to the lives of scores of courageous Chinese agents who have volunteered to spy for the U.S. within their own country. Over the past decade, more than a dozen agents recruited by the CIA have been killed or imprisoned.And it now turns out that it was an alleged Chinese spy within the FBI's own counterintelligence division who may have been largely responsible. A spy whose activities went undetected for upwards of two decades, until his quiet arrest in 2020. Currently in a Hawaiian jail, his little-known case is wrapped in layers of secrecy as he awaits trail. Now in his new book, "SPYFAIL: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs and the Collapse of America's Counterintelligence," author James Bamford peels back many of those hidden layers.THE RENDEZVOUS"Spy Fail" by James Bamford.Twelve BooksIn the spring of 2001, Chinese intelligence was on a very big roll. On April 1, a Navy EP-3 electronic spy plane, operated by the National Security Agency and on patrol along the Chinese coast, was forced to make an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island. After evacuating the crew, Chinese intelligence agents went to work extracting some of the agency's most secret espionage and cryptologic equipment, along with piles of documents classified above top secret.  An enormous windfall, the hardware, software, and documents gave Chinese intelligence critical insight into the NSA's targets in their country, and the methods used to spy on them.  And less than a week earlier, Chinese intelligence came upon another intelligence bonanza when two former CIA clandestine officers, one born in Shanghai and the other in Hong Kong, agreed to change sides.At the time, four years after the handover from Britain to China, much of Hong Kong remained a world of neon and noise. But now a great many of the tourists haggling over Rolex watches, checking into the Peninsula, and packing Lan Kwai Fong and other nightlife districts had a decidedly Mandarin accent. "Five years ago, everyone looked down on you if you spoke Mandarin," said a Beijing executive living in Hong Kong. "Now, they know we're the big bosses with the money."Despite predictions that the former colony would turn into a gray vista of hunched workers and nameless noodle shops, travelers from mainland China had become the principal source of visitors to Hong Kong. They were even spending more per capita than their American and Japanese counterparts. And March 2001 was an especially busy time. As soon as the Hong Kong Arts Festival ended, the Hong Kong International Film Festival began.Deep in the shadows, the city had also become a major crossroads for Eastern and Western spies. "Hong Kong is a place where foreign intelligence agencies conduct a lot of activity," admitted Li Gang, the deputy director of Beijing's Liaison Office in the city. As the arts crowd checked out of their rooms and the film fans checked in, two former American spies quietly slipped into another hotel for a discreet rendezvous with their Chinese counterparts. They were brothers who had both worked as clandestine CIA officers in China, and now they were about to switch sides.Alexander Yuk Ching Ma and his older brother David were both veterans of the CIA's clandestine operations division. David was born in Shanghai in 1935, a time of smoky jazz clubs, bustling casinos, and opium dens. The Pudong District, on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River, became the country's major financial hub, and decades later it would also become its high-tech eavesdropping hub.In 1961, at the age of twenty-six, David moved to Los Angeles, became a naturalized U.S. citizen, and six years later joined the CIA in an entry-level capacity, possibly as a translator. But in the late 1960s the United States was in the middle of its desperate war with North Vietnam, which was aided by China. As a result, a throng of new recruits were continuously making their way to Camp Perry, known as "The Farm," the CIA's boot camp for spies, near Williamsburg, Virginia.The problem was, nearly all had the physical appearance of cheering fans at a Notre Dame football game. Few would blend into a crowd on a street in Asia. Also, very few spoke Chinese or Vietnamese, especially with any fluency. That was good for David, and in 1971 he was promoted to the officer ranks within the CIA's clandestine service. Entrusted with the identities of many of the agency's human sources in China and elsewhere, as well as its system of covert communications (known as "covcom"), he spent years in the Far East.People do Tai Chi exercises in Hong Kong's Happy Valley district in February 2001.Dustin Shum/South China Morning Post via Getty ImagesIn 1983, David resigned after it was determined that he was inappropriately using his government position to assist Chinese nationals in obtaining entry into the United States. But months before, as if taking his place, his thirty-year-old brother Alex had joined up and also became a clandestine officer. He was born in Hong Kong and, like David, lived for a time in Shanghai. Both also graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Following extensive training at The Farm, he was also provided with the identities of the agency's networks of spies, the various covcom details, and was sent to the Far East. Seven years later he left the agency, and around 1995 he moved to China, there oddly being no restrictions on former spies moving to their target nations. Therefore, little is known about his activities there.David, however, ran into serious legal and financial trouble. In 1998, while living in Los Angeles, he pled guilty to two counts of defrauding a lending institution. In December he began serving a five-month sentence at Taft Correctional Institution, a low-security federal prison near Bakersfield, California, followed by five years of probation and $145,623 in restitution — money he didn't have. Then in 2000, his brother Alex returned from China, telling Customs and Border Protection officers that he was an "importer and exporter" and was carrying $9,000 in U.S. currency. Not long after, both brothers turned up in Shanghai.For three days, beginning on March 24, 2001, Alex and David allegedly met secretly in a hotel room with at least five officials from China's Ministry of State Security (MSS) and passed on highly classified information. According to government charges, details included the covers used by CIA officers and CIA activities in China; cryptographic information used in classified and sensitive CIA communications and reports; information concerning CIA officer identities as well as those of CIA human assets in China; the CIA's use of operational tradecraft; and CIA secure communications practices — that is, covcom details. The brothers were then handed $50,000 in cash.Afterward, as laid out in the indictment, both Alex and David returned to California, but they kept in touch with their handlers. Alex eventually agreed to become a mole for China's intelligence service within the FBI, and on the day after Christmas 2002, he applied for the position of special agent. By then, however, he was about forty-nine years old and was informed that he was over the age limit.But in 2004 he was nevertheless hired as a Chinese translator since he spoke several Chinese dialects. In many ways, this was an even better position for a spy since he would have access to a very broad range of information, including intercepted Chinese conversations. The day before he started his new job, he called a suspected accomplice, possibly David, to give him the good news that he would now be working full-time for "the other side."By then the FBI was reeling from another extremely damaging, and extremely embarrassing, counterintelligence disaster involving China. In 2003 it was discovered that the bureau's key U.S.-based China asset, Katrina Leung, was, like Alex, a double agent working for China. Worse, she was simultaneously sleeping with two of the FBI's top China agents. Among them was her longtime handler, through whom she had been passing false information for more than a decade, information that often was quickly passed on to the White House.Assigned to the Honolulu FBI office, Alex and his wife moved into a $600,000 condominium on Hawaii Kai Drive, a short walk to the ocean on the southeastern corner of Oahu. Strongly built, with a broad natural grin, Alex wore squarish glasses above puffy cheeks that seemed to glow when he smiled, which was often. Over at least the next six years and possibly much longer, he took over the role of FBI mole where Robert Hanssen, who spied for Russia for more than two decades, left off, except for a different spymaster. It was as though no lessons had ever been learned by the bureau.The method was simple. Attracting no suspicion, Ma would gather up piles of highly secret materials and simply walk out the door with them, just as Hanssen had done for decades. Some he photographed with a digital camera, others he downloaded from his computer onto a flash drive, while still others he copied onto CD-ROM discs. Some dealt with guided missiles and weapon systems, and others revealed the identity of confidential sources, putting their lives at risk.FBI agents remove evidence from Robert Hanssen's home in Vienna, Virginia on February 20, 2001.Alex Wong/NewsmakersIn addition, Ma had extensive knowledge of the CIA's highly secret covcom techniques by which CIA officers communicated with their sources. Every few months, once he had accumulated a load of secrets, he would call his handlers. They would then book him a hotel room in Shanghai, pick him up at the airport, and take him into town, where he would hand over his secrets and be debriefed by agents of the Shanghai State Security Bureau (SSSB).The SSSB was the regional office of the Ministry of State Security, China's equivalent of both the CIA and FBI. Headquartered in Beijing at Xiyuan (Western Garden), next to the vast ensemble of lakes, gardens, and palaces of the Summer Palace, its logo still displays the hammer and sickle of the Communist Party. At the time, it was run by Minister of State Security Xu Yongyue, a stern-faced senior party official from Zhenping County, the jade capital of China, in the province of Henan. And in charge of the SSSB was Cai Xumin, who received a very significant promotion to vice minister of the MSS in 2004, likely due to his recruitment of Ma.Following the rendezvous and document drops in Shanghai, Ma would simply fly back to Honolulu. At one point a curious U.S. customs official pulled him aside for a secondary search and discovered he was carrying $20,000 in cash and a shiny new set of golf clubs. But no questions were raised, no actions were taken, and later that day Ma sent an email to his SSSB handler with an attachment containing additional classified information. Other money paid to him by the MSS was regularly deposited in a bank account in Hong Kong.David Ma also secretly remained in the loop. Living in Arcadia, a wealthy Los Angeles bedroom community, he established himself as a consultant on immigration rights for the many Asian immigrants in the nearby communities, such as Alhambra and Monterey Park. Familiar with their needs and fluent in various Chinese dialects, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghai, and Chaozhou, he opened several businesses. They included the Chinese American Civil Rights Organization and AsiAmerica Immigration & Consultancy, Inc.Ironically, in 2005 he was quoted in a Los Angeles Times article about Chinese espionage. As China's economy continued to boom, he said, he could understand the temptation of some Chinese Americans who wanted to do business there to help the government any way they could. "I'm not saying all of them are spies," he said. "But for some of them it is outright greed because they need to do business with [the Chinese government]. It's just like barter or exchange."Because of his businesses, David became very well known within the Chinese communities in Los Angeles, which was ideal for the SSSB and MSS. Critical for them was discovering community members who had become confidential informants on China for the CIA and FBI. In February 2006, Alex Ma, China's mole in the FBI, sent David photos he received from his handlers of five suspected human sources. Accompanying the pictures was a photo of five dogs sitting on a park bench, which was a coded way of asking him to supply the identity of the sources. Shortly thereafter, David sent Alex an email identifying two of the informants. And a memory card belonging to Alex had pictures of the five sources along with a list of five names.Shanghai's Pudong district in August 2006.Athanasios Gioumpasis/Getty ImagesA few months later, Alex arranged for his wife, Amy Ma, who was also born in Hong Kong, to fly to Shanghai to meet with his handlers and to deliver an encrypted laptop computer to them. An email message soon came back thanking him for sending his wife and delivering "the present." Over the years, without suspicion, Alex continued to fly back and forth to Shanghai every few months with stashes of secrets. And in June 2008, his handler phoned him to say that his "company" would have a lot of work orders in the coming year.In May 2010, a few months after another clandestine rendezvous to hand over documents to his handler, Alex received a phone call from an MSS officer apologizing for not seeing him during a recent visit to China and extending an invitation to meet in Shanghai in the future. He also asked Alex to get in touch with David and see if he would be willing to discuss their "business venture." About the same time, the MSS was also bringing on board another veteran CIA clandestine officer, one who had just reapplied to the agency, possibly to become a mole. Known as Zhen Cheng Li in China, he was Jerry Chun Shing Lee to his colleagues at Langley.Born in Hong Kong like Alex, Lee grew up in Hawaii and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. At seventeen, in 1982, he joined the U.S. Army, serving for four years but remaining in the reserves. A few years later he enrolled at Hawaii Pacific University, graduating in 1992 with a degree in international business management. A year later he earned a master's degree in human resource management and shortly thereafter joined the CIA as a case officer in the clandestine service. Over the following fourteen years, he was dispatched on numerous overseas assignments, including to China, where he, like Alex and David Ma, had access to the agency's clandestine networks, both human and covcom.By July 2007, Lee had become frustrated by his lack of advancement at the CIA. "He was quite critical about the organization and his time there; the fact that he didn't get credit, he didn't get promoted, he didn't get the assignments he deserved," said one of his associates. As a result, Lee resigned and moved to Hong Kong, taking a job with Japan Tobacco International ( JTI). Employing about forty thousand people around the world, the company sells 120 brands of cigarettes, including both Camel and Winston outside the United States.But a key problem for the company was tobacco smugglers and counterfeiters. Asian crime syndicates were exporting tons of counterfeit cigarettes out of China with the help of corrupt officials. To combat the syndicates, the company had established a Brand Integrity Unit under a veteran CIA officer, David Reynolds, who had worked at the agency from 1988 to 2002. Afterward he was assigned as a U.S. consular officer in Guangzhou for two years. Lee claimed that his last job at the CIA was the agency's official liaison in Beijing to Chinese intelligence, the MSS, and he was hired by Reynolds.Now, with an office on the forty-second floor of Tower 1 in Times Square, the city's flashy, upscale shopping and restaurant complex at Causeway Bay, Lee could see all of Hong Kong spread out below him. But adjusting to private industry was difficult and he soon ran into problems. Company officials began to suspect that he was alerting corrupt Chinese officials about the firm's investigations and the pending raids and arrests by law enforcement. "Several of the shipments of counterfeits purchased as part of the investiga-tions were seized by the Chinese authorities or simply disappeared, and one of our contract investigators was arrested and imprisoned in China," said a manager.All evidence pointed toward Lee, and as a result, executives at JTI alerted the FBI, but apparently no action was ever taken. Lee was finally fired in mid- 2009, and soon afterward a Chinese official warned the company that he was not only continuing to share information with MSS officers, but was also actively working with them. And once again JTI officials passed the information to the FBI. "I certainly reported it to the appropriate authorities," said a company supervisor. It was good information, but once again it seemed to go nowhere within the bureau. At about the same time, Lee hooked up with a potential business partner, Barry Cheung Kam-lun, a former Hong Kong police officer who, Lee knew, had close ties to the MSS. And on April 26 the two traveled across the Hong Kong border to neighboring Shenzhen for a private dinner with MSS officers.Shenzhen, China.Liao Xun/Getty ImagesIt was time for the official pitch. After excusing Barry, the intelligence officers and Lee reached an agreement that he would begin passing secrets to them and act as their spy. In exchange, they handed him a briefcase full of cash, $100,000, along with an agreement to take care of him "for life." It would be the first of hundreds of thousands of dollars he would receive, and within a few weeks he began receiving his taskings, key among them apparently becoming a mole in the CIA, as Alex Ma had done in the FBI. That same month, he applied for reemployment with the CIA. But given his less than illustrious career and departure from the agency, it went nowhere.Instead, possibly as a cover, Lee and Barry Cheung Kam-lun established their own company, FTM International, to enter the "Big Tobacco" wars and conduct their own brand integrity investigations. After investing nearly $400,000, they set up shop in the down-market Wan Chai area, renting space in Dannies House. Unlike JTI's soaring skyscraper in Times Square, Lee's new office was in a tired thirteen-story orange high-rise with battered air-conditioning units stuck out the windows like giant steel bird feeders.But two years later, fed up with Hong Kong and having run out of secrets to sell, Lee decided to move his family back to Virginia, where he had been offered a potential job by the CIA. It had been secretly created to lure him back to the United States, and in August 2012, during a three-day stopover in Hawaii, agents conducted a black bag job on his hotel room. What they found was damning. Inside a small, clear plastic travel pack was a forty-nine-page datebook and a twenty-one-page address book, both of which contained top secret handwritten operational notes from his CIA days. Most critically, they included the true names of secret human sources as well as the dates and operational locations of the meetings. Another clandestine search was conducted on his hotel room in Fairfax, Virginia, soon after he arrived, and the information remained in his possession.But inexplicably, rather than Lee being arrested, the decision was made to simply question him repeatedly over the following year. Finally, after the fifth interview in June 2013, with the questions becoming more and more revealing of what the bureau knew, Lee fled with his family back to China-controlled Hong Kong. Once more he was out of reach, and once more the FBI had bungled it.Over the next few years, Lee did security work for the cosmetics company Estée Lauder and the auction house Christie's. Then in January 2018, apparently believing the danger had blown over, he boarded a Cathay Pacific flight to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. It was a serious mistake. His name had been flagged on the airline's manifest and he was arrested as soon as he landed. After first vowing to fight the espionage charges, in May 2019 he agreed to plead guilty and was sentenced to nineteen years in prison.Around the same time, the FBI finally discovered the Chinese mole who had bored his way into the organization sixteen years earlier. In August 2020, an agent posing as an MSS officer approached Alex Ma in Honolulu and snared him in a sting operation. To convince Ma of his bona fides, he showed him a video of the meeting between him, David, and the SSSB agents at the time they signed on as spies in 2001. The pretend MSS officer then offered Ma $2,000 in cash as a "small token" of appreciation for Ma's assistance to China. Ma offered to continue working for the MSS and stated that he wanted "the motherland" to succeed. Shortly afterward he was arrested on charges of espionage and is currently awaiting trial. With regard to David, then eighty-five years old, the decision was made not to arrest him due to his advanced stage of Alzheimer's disease.James Bamford, winner of the National Magazine Award for Reporting, is the bestselling author of "The Puzzle Palace," "Body of Secrets," and other books on intelligence. His most recent book, from which this excerpt was taken, is "SPYFAIL: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs and the Collapse of America's Counterintelligence," which will be released on January 17.Excerpted from "SPYFAIL: Foreign Spies, Moles, Saboteurs, and the Collapse of America's Counterintelligence." ©2022 James Bamford and reprinted by permission from Twelve Books/Hachette Book Group.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 17th, 2023

Destroying American Democracy - An Inside Job

Destroying American Democracy - An Inside Job Authored by Pete Hoekstra via The Gatestone Institute, Over the last few years, there has been much written about the destruction of American democracy. Frequently the threat has been of alleged interference in U.S. elections by Russia, China or other state actors. Government agencies, the name of election integrity, were assigned to identify and disrupt these foreign intrusions. As more and more information is revealed about these agencies, it seems that America's Intelligence Community participated in these activities domestically, and in a way that poses a grave threat to both election integrity and American democracy. Just last week it was revealed that the FBI again withheld pertinent information from the American public, for past two months, until after the November 8, 2022 federal election. As with the Bureau's reported cover-up of evidence influence-peddling reportedly found on Hunter Biden's laptop, agents knew, since November 2, 2022, about at least some of the three sets of classified material that illegally found their way into the garage and library of President Joe Biden and into the Penn Biden Center think tank at the University of Pennsylvania -- to which anonymous members of the Chinese Communist Party have donated $54.6 million. Their existence only became known this week, after the newly elected Republican-majority House of Representatives announced that it would hold hearings on "how the [Justice] department handled investigations into classified materials found at former President Donald Trump's Florida home and those found at President Joe Biden's office in a Washington think tank bearing his name and his Delaware home..." In addition, the recent release of the "Twitter Files" has raised at least two major concerns regarding actions by the Intelligence Community. The first is that the wall of separation between the Intelligence Community and the U.S. media has not only sprung a leak, it has totally collapsed. The report that officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) met weekly with Twitter executives to coordinate information is totally inappropriate. Would officials from the ODNI review, affirm or label certain sets of information as false? When ODNI was created, no one intended its officials to have a role in these types of discussions. It also appears that intelligence officials in recent years have politically weaponized intelligence. The combination of a politically weaponized Intelligence Community, operating hand-in-hand with organizations that are the main gateways for information to millions of Americans, poses a serious threat to American democracy and the integrity of our elections. Let us just briefly look at the steep slope of lying, deceit and corruption that has seeped into the leadership of the U.S. Intelligence Community. First, there are not enough words to praise our Intelligence Community and the men and women who risk their lives to keep America safe. These are the rank-and-file professionals that form the core of the Intelligence Community. Most are dedicated to the mission of gathering the necessary information to protect our nation. Their leaders have a responsibility to serve these individuals. Too often, however, as the current array of whistleblowers indicates, those leaders have let these individuals down. Imagine their reaction in 2013 when, in response to a question from Senator Ron Wyden to then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper about whether the National Security Agency (NSA) collects "any type of data on millions, or hundreds of millions of Americans," Clapper answered, "No sir, not wittingly." Clapper, who had been given the question the previous day, was asked after the hearing if he wanted to amend the answer, and declined. It was shortly thereafter that a massive NSA program containing millions of pieces of Americans' data was revealed. Clapper was caught in a huge lie -- to U.S. Senator Wyden and the American people. On January 12, 2017, CNN reported that President-elect Donald Trump had been briefed by DNI Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Michael Rogers. The topic: "Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Donald Trump." It was intended to inform the President-elect that these allegations "are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress, and other government officials in Washington." The briefing also touched on other major allegations they claimed were "circulating." Having this false information -- some of which the FBI actually altered -- in the public domain was evidently intended to damage Trump. The Russian "hoax" allegations would haunt and damage the Trump presidency for almost two years. Clapper himself stated: "I express my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press ... they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security." Clapper also released a statement that neither he nor anyone else in the Intelligence Community were responsible for the leaks. How did this highly classified information, then, get into the public domain? A House Republican investigation provides the answer. Clapper denied leaking the dossier but admitted to discussing the dossier with CNN correspondent Jake Tapper and perhaps other journalists in early January 2017. Later in 2017, Clapper would go on to join CNN as a "national security" contributor and CNN would receive an award for its reporting at the White House Correspondents' dinner. Today we know that the "Russia hoax" was a lie. After a 22-month investigation, no evidence of collusion between any element of the Trump campaign and Russia was uncovered. The supposedly compromising evidence had never existed; the information in the "Steele dossier" was false -- and the FBI had known it was from the start. The entire fabrication had been an attempt to attack and politically weaken Trump. In October 2020, shortly before the elections 51 former intelligence professionals had even signed a joint letter stating that the Hunter Biden laptop had "has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation." They stated that their national security experience made them "deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case." They went on: "If we are right, this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we strongly believe that Americans need to be aware of this." The New York Times raised questions about the authenticity of the materials found on the laptop. Bill Evanina, the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director, had indicated in August that Russia was trying to denigrate the Biden campaign. All these manufactured "facts" were apparently intended to create circumstances where reasonable people would have to conclude that the Hunter Biden laptop was Russian disinformation. Signatories of the 2020 letter included Clapper, Brennan, Michael Hayden, Jeremy Bash and David Buckley. Clapper and Brennan are familiar names. They were involved in the January 2017 briefing to President Donald Trump on the fake Steele dossier. Jeremy Bash and David Buckley are worth mentioning because they continue to play significant roles in domestic and national security areas in the U.S. government. Buckley was the majority staff director on the House Select Committee investigating January 6th. Bash has been named to co-chair a government commission to review the war in Afghanistan. The fraudulent efforts by the U.S. government, Clapper, Brennan and the 49 others -- along with Hillary Clinton, her campaign committee, the Democratic National Committee and the suppression of the media and social media (here and here) -- to influence the public unfortunately met with some success. For almost two years, the authenticity of the material found on Hunter Biden's laptop was questioned. Today, its authenticity has been verified; the information is real and damning. As summarized by the New York Post: "Yes that letter from the Dirty 51 had all the classic earmarks of a disinformation operation, all right – one designed to ensure Joe Biden won the presidency. And it was essentially a CIA operation, considering 43 of the 51 signatories were former CIA." One final example of the Intelligence Community involving itself in domestic politics comes from the recent release of the "Twitter Files." According to tweet #20 of the third tranche released: "This post about the Hunter Biden laptop situation shows that Roth not only met weekly with the FBI and DHS, but with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence." Tweet #17 states: "executives were also clearly liaising with federal enforcement and intelligence agencies about moderation of election-related content." Finally, the FBI paid Twitter $3.5 million reportedly to "handle requests from the bureau." We now know what happened. Twitter suppressed discussion of the Hunter Biden laptop story and suppressed conservative messaging, while at the same time it appears the FBI, DHS and the ODNI had literally had set up shop at Twitter. The American people should be outraged. This level of collaboration between federal law enforcement and a private sector company on controlling speech is terrifying. Having our Intelligence Community, which is supposed to be focused on foreign intelligence collection, involved is even more terrifying. DNI James Clapper lying to the American people in 2013 about government surveillance of them, the promoting of the Russian hoax theory in 2017 by CIA Director Brennan, DNI Clapper, FBI Director Comey and others, the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story by 51 former intelligence professionals, and the close working arrangement between the FBI, DHS and the ODNI in 2020-2022 raises a staggering series of questions: Can our government, law enforcement, and the Intelligence Community still be trusted? Have those federal government agencies literally weaponized law enforcement and intelligence against political opponents in the U.S.? Has more than one solitary person -- former FBI attorney Kevin Clinemith, for altering an email -- been held accountable for these egregious abuses of power? Why wasn't there a more powerful response from the Intelligence Community and the law enforcement community about the disinformation from the 51 former intelligence professionals? Who authorized the cozy relationship between law enforcement, the intelligence community with Twitter? Who in these government agencies reviewed and approved of the output and decisions coming from these joint efforts? Were political appointees in the review loop? Who has the records, notes and decisions that emanated from these groups? It is clear that our law enforcement community needs to be investigated, but most importantly we need to investigate how our Intelligence Community has evolved from having literally a non-existent relationship with speech in America to being inside the room determining what speech is allowed. There also needs to be a significant investigation by an outside, non-government group to understand how far this massive government overreach into free speech and election manipulation went. Clearly the government has been influencing what we get to see and hear. It needs to stop -- now -- before our democracy is destroyed. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/15/2023 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 16th, 2023

Popeyes meme kid from viral GIFs inks college football NIL deal with the fast-food chain

The internet is forever, and the Popeyes kid meme lives on after the subject of the viral sensation just inked an NIL deal with the company. Dieunerst Collin went viral for being a Lil Terrio lookalike, but now he's becoming famous in his own right.Dieunerst Collin/Instagram Popeyes announced a partnership with viral meme star Dieunerst Collin on Thursday. Collin, now a college football player, signed an NIL deal with the company.  Collin will be featured on a Popeyes billboard in his hometown of New Jersey, ESPN reported. The star of a once-viral meme is having a full-circle moment after inking a deal with Popeyes, the restaurant where his famous side-eyeing GIF was born.Dieunerst Collin was 9 years old when a stranger at the fast-food restaurant launched him to internet stardom with a video comparing Collin to viral star, Lil Terrio, who gained fame on video-sharing app Vine for his dance moves.In the video of Collin, the cameraman can be heard asking a confused-looking Collin to say "Oooh," like the creator of the original viral Vine of Lil Terrio. Since then, Collin's suspicious stare has been used as a meme across social media platforms.Collin — now a freshman and football player at Lake Erie College in Ohio —  finally cashed in on his online fame on Thursday when by signing a Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) deal with Popeyes as a college athlete, ESPN reported.As part of the NIL sponsorship, Collin will promote the restaurant and appear on a billboard in his home state of New Jersey, per ESPN. It is unclear how long the deal will last and exactly how much Collin will make from it.Collin credited a Monday Instagram post from Sports Center for his idea to tag the restaurant chain in the hopes of profiting off of the NCAA's new rules for athlete compensation. A post shared by SportsCenter (@sportscenter)  "I thought this is probably the opportunity I can get with Popeyes to at least reach out," Collin told ESPN.He continued: "I went on Instagram and decided to post asking everyone to repost and tag Popeyes, not knowing that I would get all the support I got."By Monday afternoon, Popeyes messaged Collin letting his know they'd like to work with him, and the partnership was officially announced on Thursday. —Popeyes (@Popeyes) January 12, 2023The announcement has prompted other companies to reach out for additional brand partnerships, Collin told ESPN. "I had Dude Wipes, they talked to me and they're sending me some products," Collin said. "I have one company that I've been with called Lock1N. It's an athletic brand from a football player I used to play with in high school."In 2021, student-athletes celebrated a monumental NCAA policy change that would allow them to make money from their names, images, and likenesses after a decades-long fight for the right to do so. The change sparked a slew of brand deals for college athletes – some even scoring five or six figure deals, according to the report.Collin told ESPN he's grateful that his unintentional fame is finally paying off nearly a decade later."I just want to thank everyone for going in the comments and tagging Popeyes," Collin said. "That actually led me to where I'm at now, so I'm grateful for that." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2023

Online Credit Reports & How They Are Tracking Everything You Do

Imagine that you’ve been invited to join a friend on a weekend getaway. The only problem? Your dog has to stay home. Thankfully, you can solve this problem by hiring a pet sitter. Of course, you aren’t going to have anyone watch over your four-legged friend. You’re going to ask them some questions first. Primarily, […] Imagine that you’ve been invited to join a friend on a weekend getaway. The only problem? Your dog has to stay home. Thankfully, you can solve this problem by hiring a pet sitter. Of course, you aren’t going to have anyone watch over your four-legged friend. You’re going to ask them some questions first. Primarily, what’s their experience, and how often they’ll be able to walk your dog? if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Find A Qualified Financial Advisor Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. You might get asked similar questions by lenders when you apply for loans and credit cards. To find out, they might check your credit report. What are credit reports, why are they important and what is in them? Read on to find out. What is a Credit Report and Why is it Important? You can think of a credit report as a snapshot of your financial situation. Specifically, it contains active and closed credit accounts, the dates when the accounts were opened, the type of credit, and the payment history of the accounts. Basically, a credit report tells you what your financial habits are. Companies may use the data to predict how likely you are to pay back your debts on time. As a result, credit reports are crucial for decisions about lending money in the form of credit cards, auto loans, or mortgages. But that’s just scratching the surface. You may also receive different interest rates based on the information on your credit reports. Moreover, insurance prices, utility deposits, and even job applications are affected by your credit history. There are dozens of places where you can obtain your credit report. The three big credit bureaus, however, are Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®. Often referred to as credit reporting agencies, these companies work independently. As a result, each bureau has its own interpretation. Credit Reports vs. Credit Scores Your credit scores are also influenced by your credit reports. The reason for this is that credit scores are calculated using information from your credit report. Essentially, your scores summarize the information in your credit report. Nevertheless, keep in mind that there are multiple credit reports and scores as well. The information used to calculate scores can differ based on a variety of factors, including which bureau provided the information. What’s in Your Credit Report There are a number of elements that make up your credit report, including personal information, your credit account history, and your credit inquiries. Credit bureaus receive this information from your lenders and creditors. FICO® Scores are used to determine whether you are a good credit risk for future lenders. Although all credit reports contain basically the same information, they are formatted and reported differently by the credit bureaus. And, they generally contain the following four categories. Personally Identifiable Information (PII) Credit reports may contain information about you that identifies you, such as: Your name and any nicknames you have used with a credit account. A list of current and previous addresses. Date of birth. Social Security number. Phone numbers. Information about past and current employment. What to look for when viewing PII. Is your name spelled correctly? Do you see your current address on the report? Make sure the digits on your Social Security Number are not transposed incorrectly. Dispute any incorrect information with the credit bureau(s) that have this information on their reports. The “Personal Statements” section might also include items such as a security freeze, fraud alert, or power of attorney comments. If you are submitting a personal statement, ensure that it is accurate. Credit Accounts Information about your borrowing and repayment history can be found under “credit accounts” in your credit report. This could include credit cards, mortgages, car loans, student loans, and mortgages from the past. Additionally, each account listing will likely include the following information: Account type, such as a revolving credit account, an installment loan, or a mortgage. The name of the lender. Loan amount or credit limit. The balance of your account. History of payments. If applicable, the date of opening and closing. You may also be able to view any collection activity recorded by the credit bureau. In some agencies, people with credit accounts are listed separately, while in others, they are listed together. What to look for when viewing credit accounts: Your account is in good standing if you have made payments on time and adhered to your creditor’s terms. Even though your report states you are in “good standing,” make sure you are aware of the account (verify the name and number) and that the date of opening, balance, payment status, and payment history match. In negative accounts, payment information is displayed about accounts that have not been paid. All account information should be accurate, including the account number and recent balance, as well as past due amounts and payment histories. Don’t hesitate to contact the credit bureau(s) and/or creditors if you notice anything that’s not right. Credit Inquiries On your credit report, you may find two kinds of inquiries. There is only one factor that can influence your credit scores, however. Having your credit report checked by a lender after applying for a loan will result in a hard inquiry. Typically, they involve extending credit or lending money. Depending on your credit score, hard inquiries can appear on your credit report for two years. When you do the following, you might trigger a hard inquiry: Apply for a credit card or loan. Increase your credit line. Apply for a mortgage or rent a house or apartment. Sign up for a phone, cable, or internet service. Unlike hard inquiries, soft inquiries do not affect your credit scores. They are, however, recorded on your credit report for a period of two years. And, a soft inquiry does not appear on a potential lender’s credit report. You may receive a soft inquiry if: Do a credit check on yourself. Obtain an insurance quote. Take part in a background check for a job you are interested in. Receive a prequalification or preapproval credit card offer. What to look for in credit inquiries: In addition to checking your credit report, you should make sure that there are no “funny business” transactions going on. See if your credit has been checked and if it was shared only with you or with others. Your credit report will list the creditor’s name, business type, and inquiry date. Consult the credit bureau(s) if you see a suspicious business name or are confused about why a specific company checked your credit. Public Records You may also see negative information on your credit report based on information reported in public records. Examples include: Bankruptcies. Foreclosures. Tax liens. Civil suits and court judgments. Overdue child support. If you see a debt collection on your credit report, don’t panic. Despite the fact that there are no quick fixes for repairing your credit, there are things you can do to improve your FICO score. For example, getting current on missed payments. What to look for in public records: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years after it’s filed. On the hand, after seven years, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be wiped out. In case either of these appears on your report, remember this. When applying for credit, always verify that the information on your credit report is accurate so that your lender sees the most accurate FICO Score. It is your responsibility to notify the appropriate credit bureau of any errors on your report. What Credit Bureaus Aren’t Telling You: Our “Financial Surveillance” System Consumer credit bureaus track consumers’ credit histories, including their payment history and overall debt load. However, they may also track everything from bouncing a check to applying for health insurance as well. “In any one of these everyday scenarios, there’s a good chance your information is being logged, cross-referenced, bought, sold, and scored among a sprawling network of consumer data brokers,” writes Adam Hardy for Money. “And that data can be used against you when it comes time to apply for a loan, land a job, rent a place to live, and even innocuous things like sign up for a new phone plan.” Financial information not related to debt. Additionally, the bureaus maintain information about consumers’ home addresses and employment records that have nothing to do with credit, notes MarketWatch. Lenders use this data to evaluate borrowers when they apply for credit, even denying them a loan without calculating credit scores. According to Louis Hyman, an assistant professor of consumer-credit history at Cornell University, people who move addresses often may be considered less financially stable and harder to track down if they owe unpaid debts. A similar scenario can be seen with people who change jobs frequently, he says. Consumers’ home addresses and employment records are also kept by the bureaus. Lenders can use this information to evaluate borrowers when they apply for credit – even to reject them. How often you move. Louis Hyman, an assistant professor at Cornell University and a consumer-credit historian, says that people who change their addresses often are believed to be less financially stable. In the same way, those who change jobs frequently might miss payments more often. Credit bureaus say this information is crucial for accurate credit reports. According to Consumer Data Industry Association spokesman Norm Magnuson, consumers’ addresses help bureaus identify the right credit report to provide lenders. Since some consumers do not provide social security numbers, social security numbers alone will not suffice. Despite consumer protection laws, the CDIA cannot comment on lender underwriting practices. Your salary. It is also possible to obtain information about consumers’ salaries. For example, in 2007, Equifax acquired a data-mining company, which provided it with information on more than 33% of U.S. adults. Equifax maintains a private database of salary records for 33% of U.S. adults. This information can be used by mortgage and car finance companies to evaluate the ability of consumers to repay loans. According to Equifax’s spokesman, Timothy Klein, the company discloses salary information only when permitted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which was passed in 1970 and regulates how consumer data can be shared. As stated in a company statement to Congress, the company is in “compliance with all applicable consumer protection laws.” According to him, this data will only be provided to lenders with consumer consent. Keeping Track of Your Every Move There’s no way to completely opt out of becoming part of this financial data matrix since you probably didn’t ask to be included. In other words, you should watch the watchmen. However, it might be a good idea to clear your schedule. “To get a better sense of how daunting this task is, I pulled several of my own reports,” adds Hardy. “The CFPB keeps a list of roughly 60 of the largest consumer-reporting companies. I chose six of them: ‘the big three,’ ChexSystems, The Work Number (an employment-history agency owned by Equifax), and LexisNexis (a data firm that tracks property, bankruptcy, and other public records).” It took Hardy about five hours to pull these six reports. “I had to ace timed multiple-choice questionnaires,” he adds. Getting the answer wrong would lock me out, he says. Because my requests for reports were not working properly on the company’s website, I sent multiple emails to the help desk. “To access my employment-history report, I had to send in scans of a recent pay stub and my driver’s license over an encrypted email service,” Hardy states. “In most cases, I received a digital copy of my report once I cleared the gauntlet,” Hardy continues. “But some companies only send reports through snail mail, so it can easily take weeks to compile everything.” “The breadth of my consumer files was eye-opening.” Among the information in the reports were past jobs, about a dozen previous addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, salaries, debts, assets, and more. “In some cases, the information was incredibly specific: My employment report, for instance, included a breakdown of the number of hours I worked each week when I was a server at a quasi-French restaurant in 2013.” Mistakes Caused by Big Data are Bigger Additionally, consumer reporting agencies can convince landlords, employers, banks, and insurance companies that their dossiers are necessary. According to Nelson from the National Consumer Law Center, more than 90% of employers and landlords use reporting agencies to run consumer background checks. “Sure, it makes sense that the person screening my job or apartment application would want to know if I have an open felony,” Hardy adds. “But do they really need to know my credit score, or my past four telephone numbers, or the fact that I got a traffic ticket in 2015 (which I contested in court and won, by the way), or how many hours I logged in that part-time job a decade ago?” It gets worse. A paper in the spring 2022 issue of the American Business Law Journal suggests that credit bureaus and financial technology companies gather more behavioral and lifestyle information to determine creditworthiness, including SAT scores and social media posts. “The scope of data that’s out there,” says Lindsay Sain Jones, a legal studies professor at the University of Georgia and co-author of the report, “is sort of mind-blowing.” This is what Jones refers to as “alternative fringe” data collection, which is gathered right from the web without the consent of consumers. In many cases, the use of this data is disguised as helping unbanked or “credit invisible” populations, which tend to be racial and socially disadvantaged. Until now, this practice has not been widely adopted, but that could change as more CRAs adopt an “any data is credit data” approach. “We’re concerned about how more and more information is making its way into these models,” says Sophie Sahaf, a deputy assistant director at the CFPB, “and what that means for surveillance risk for consumers and intrusion into their lives.” A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumer reporting agencies are required to maintain accurate, fair, and private information. In addition to credit bureaus, there are specialty agencies that sell information about check writing histories, medical records, and rental histories. The following is a summary of your major rights under the FCRA. For more information, including information about additional rights, visit It is your right to know if your file has been misused. Your file should be made available to you if you wish. Obtaining your credit score is your right. It is your right to dispute inaccurate or incomplete information. Inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information must be corrected or deleted by consumer reporting agencies. Negative information may not be reported by consumer reporting agencies if it is outdated. Your file is only accessible to a limited number of people. Your consumer report may only be used by people who have a legitimate need for it. Reports can only be provided to employers with your consent. Credit and insurance offers that are prescreened based on your credit report can be limited. You have the right to opt out of unsolicited “prescreened” credit and insurance offers by calling the toll-free number provided in these offers. You may opt-out with the nationwide credit bureaus at 1-888-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688). Furthermore, you have the right to put a “security freeze” on your credit report. This prevents the credit bureaus from releasing information about you without your permission. A security freeze prevents credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your permission. It is important to know, however, that if you use a security freeze to control who can view your credit report, any subsequent requests or applications for loans, credit, mortgages, or any other accounts involving credit extension may be delayed, interfered with, or prevented from being approved within a reasonable timeframe. Rather than freezing your credit file, you can place an initial or extended fraud alert for free. In the initial fraud alert, a consumer’s credit file is flagged for one year. Before extending new credit, a business must verify a consumer’s identity upon seeing a fraud alert on their credit file. Those who have been victimized by identity theft are entitled to extended fraud alerts, which last for seven years. Credit Report FAQs What information is included in my credit report? Your personal credit report contains: Name, address, phone number, Social Security number, date of birth, and employers at present and in the past. In the version of the credit report you receive, your spouse’s name may appear, but not in the version shared with others. As this information comes in part from your credit applications, its accuracy depends on how accurately and consistently you fill out the forms. An account’s specific information, such as the date it was opened, the credit limit, the amount of the loan or credit card, the balance, and the payment pattern over the past few years. The information is provided by companies you do business with. Bankruptcy records filed in federal districts. Records from the public are used for this information. The names of those who have accessed your credit report. Credit reporting agencies provide this information. A dispute statement is a document that outlines the factual history of an account for both consumers and creditors. In cases where a consumer disputes an account’s status, after the account has been reinvestigated, and if the consumer and creditor cannot agree on the status, a dispute statement is added. In the credit report, both the consumer’s and creditor’s statements will be included. An excellent rental payment history from property management companies that give their information to RentBureau, a service provided by Experian. What information is not in a credit report? In most cases, a credit report contains no information about race, religion, medical history, lifestyle, political preference, friends, or criminal history. Why check your credit report? Checking your credit report is important for two reasons: Approximately five percent of American consumers have errors on one of their three major credit reports, which could result in them paying more for products such as auto loans and insurance. The chance of identity theft is reduced when you check your credit report. How do I obtain a credit report? Depending on your financial institution or credit card issuer, you may be able to get your credit report for free. Additionally, you’re entitled to a free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus once a year. Getting your reports from all three bureaus is important because they may contain different info. This gives you three opportunities a year to verify your own information and credit and to prevent fraudsters from using your identity to open accounts. Also, if you’re rejected for a loan or credit card, you’re entitled to a free credit report. In the event that a company takes action against me because of something in my credit report, what should I do? Make sure your reports are up to date before applying for a loan, credit, insurance, or a job. Get your credit report corrected if you find errors by contacting the credit bureaus and the company that provided the information. You’re entitled to another free credit report if a company takes “adverse action” against you due to something in your credit report. In order to get it, you must request it within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. A notice must include the name, address, and phone number of the credit bureau that provided the company with your credit report, so you know which credit bureau to contact. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old, while attending the University of Utah, he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months, he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time, he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and Finance Expert by Time. He is the Founder and CEO of Due......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 11th, 2023

Elon Musk has a social circle that includes some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley and Hollywood from Nathan Fielder to Joe Rogan and Jack Dorsey

Elon Musk has developed several friendships with powerful people. Here's a closer look at some of the relationships Musk has built over the years. Elon Musk is a member of various Silicon Valley and Hollywood circles. Here, he is pictured at Heidi Klum's Halloween party.Getty Images Elon Musk has built connections with some of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley and Hollywood. At one time or another, he's seemed close with Larry Ellison, Jack Dorsey, and Ye, but his Twitter takeover may have strained a few friendships. Here's a closer look at the relationships Musk has built over the years. Larry EllisonLarry Ellison.Kimberly White/Getty ImagesThe Oracle founder has repeatedly said he's "very close friends" with Elon Musk.Ellison has defended Musk against critics, and in 2018, Musk added him to Tesla's board of directors."I think Tesla has a lot of upside," Ellison said at the time. "I am not sure how many people know, but I'm very close friends with Elon Musk, and I'm a big investor in Tesla."While Ellison announced earlier this year that he was leaving Tesla's board, the two men appear to have maintained their close friendship. The Oracle founder pledged $1 billion to Musk's Twitter acquisition, and the two billionaires were texting into the early hours of the morning ahead of Musk's decision in May to put the acquisition "temporarily on hold."Source: InsiderKimbal MuskMusk embraces his brother, Kimbal Musk.Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesMusk has been known to bring his younger brother, Kimbal Musk, into his business ventures. The younger Musk is a board member at both Tesla and SpaceX.The two brothers founded Zip2 together in 1995. The startup was designed to create a searchable business directory and was later sold for $300 million. The younger Musk told Vanity Fair in 2015 that he and his brother would have wrestling matches in the office over business disagreements at Zip2.More recently, at a November trial over Musk's Tesla compensation, his brother said the two men often vacationed together with their families, visiting spots like Jackson Hole in Wyoming and David Copperfield's island, as well as Burning Man.Sources: Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, InsiderJack DorseyDavid Becker/Getty ImagesThe Twitter cofounder and Musk had been friends for years, though that appears to have changed in recent months.Dorsey publicly praised Musk as early as 2016, saying the Tesla CEO was a "really good model" of how to use Twitter. Dorsey had also asked Musk for feedback on how to run Twitter in the past, and Musk has repeatedly praised the former Twitter CEO, saying on more than once occasion that he believes Dorsey "has a good heart."Dorsey was also quick to support Musk when he first attempted to join Twitter's board of directors and later when Musk decided to purchase the company."In principle, I don't believe anyone should own or run Twitter. It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company," Dorsey tweeted in April after Musk offered to buy Twitter. "Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness."Now that Musk is leading the company, Dorsey has criticized some of his decisions, including his release of the "Twitter Files."Source: InsiderMathias DöpfnerMusk with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Döpfner.HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesMusk and Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer, appear to have a longstanding relationship. (Editor's note: Insider is owned by Axel Springer.)The Tesla CEO has sat down for several interviews with the German billionaire, and private text messages between the two men in October showed that Döpfner suggested Musk buy Twitter days before his accumulation of just over 9% of Twitter's stock became public."Why don't you buy Twitter?" Döpfner asked. "We run it for you. And establish a true platform of free speech. Would be a real contribution to democracy.""Interesting idea," Musk replied a few minutes later, according to the text log."I'm serious. It's doable. Will be fun," Döpfner wrote back.Source: InsiderReid HoffmanGreylockMusk's relationship with the LinkedIn cofounder goes back to one of his first startups.Both Hoffman and Musk are members of the "PayPal Mafia" — the group of entrepreneurs that helped build the business venture and went on to found some of Silicon Valley's most successful companies.Earlier this year, Hoffman told Axios he was initially wary of Musk's decision to buy Twitter but that he never doubted Musk for long and he texted Musk when he learned about the deal.Hoffman has been known to support Musk. In July, the entrepreneur went to bat for Musk after former President Donald Trump slammed the Tesla CEO."Not surprised to see Trump's attacks on @elonmusk. Elon's a classic immigrant story — an entrepreneur with a real record of success," Hoffman tweeted at the time. "Started EV revolution w/Tesla, resurrected US rocket industry w/SpaceX, fighting climate change while promoting American innovation."Sources: Insider, AxiosDavid SacksDavid Sacks.ZenefitsSacks, the CEO of the investment firm Craft Ventures, is another member of the PayPal Mafia who has publicly supported Musk.Sacks was subpoenaed by Twitter earlier this year in its court battle against Musk after Sacks responded to Musk's tweets with several ideas about how to fix Twitter. At the time, the investor called Twitter's legal request "a giant fishing expedition."He has been quick to defend Musk's actions at Twitter since the mogul took the company private and was even brought in to assist in the transition. The New York Times reported in November that Sacks and other members of Musk's team were privately referred to by Twitter employees as "Elon's goons."Musk also appears to be close with several other members of the PayPal Mafia, including the investors Joe Lonsdale and Keith Rabois.Sources: Insider, The New York TimesJason CalacanisJason Calacanis.Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage via GettyCalacanis is an angel investor and friend of Musk who often promotes the CEO on Twitter and in the "All-In Podcast" that he hosts with Sacks, among others.Twitter's lawsuit against Musk brought to light numerous text messages between Calacanis and Musk. At one point, Calacanis offered to serve as Twitter's CEO and pitched several ideas about how to change the social-media company, including how to oust Twitter employees without having to pay severance. "You know I'm ride or die brother — I'd jump on a grande for you," Calacanis told Musk — likely meaning to write the word "grenade" — according to the text messages that were shown as a part of the pretrial discovery process in Twitter vs. Musk.Sources: Insider, "All-In Podcast"James MurdochJames Murdoch.Toni Anne Barson/FilmMagic via GettyMurdoch is the son of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch and a longtime associate of Musk who serves on Tesla's board of directors.The former CEO of 21st Century Fox and his wife, Kathryn Murdoch, also texted Musk ahead of his Twitter acquisition."Will call when some of the dust settles," Murdoch texted Musk on April 26. "Hope all is ok."Source: InsiderSergey Brin and Larry PageThe Google cofounders Larry Page, left, and Sergey Brin.James Leynse/Corbis via Getty ImagesMusk's friendship with the Google cofounders dates back years.The Tesla CEO said in 2016 that he took Brin and Page on a test drive during the electric-car maker's early days. Both Page and Brin invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in Tesla, and the three men used to hang out in a Google-owned apartment to brainstorm futuristic tech ideas, Vice reported in 2015.Page has said Musk used to sleep at his house when he visited Los Angeles and that he'd rather leave his money to Musk than give it away to charity.It's unclear whether Musk's relationship with Brin has gone sour. In July, The Wall Street Journal reported that their friendship had ended after Musk was said to have had an affair with Brin's wife, Nicole Shanahan. Brin filed for divorce last year and sold all his holdings in Musk's companies, the publication reported.Several hours after the story was published, Musk, who denied having an affair with Shanahan, tweeted: "This is total bs. Sergey and I are friends and were at a party together last night!"Sources: Insider, The Wall Street Journal, New York PostSteve JurvetsonYouTube/TechCrunchSteve Jurvetson, an investor, says he's been friends with Musk for over 25 years, and Musk has been known to party at his house in Half Moon Bay.He's also a board member at SpaceX and served as a board member at Tesla from 2006 to 2020.Musk appeared to stand by Jurvetson in 2017 when the investor left Draper Fisher Jurvetson after he was accused of sexual harassment. Jurvetson denied the allegations in a Facebook post at the time, calling them "vicious and wholly false."At the time, a Tesla spokesperson said Jurvetson was placed on leave "from the SpaceX and Tesla boards pending resolution of these allegations."DFJ later apologized for hosting an event at Jurvetson's Half Moon Bay home, which was said to feature sex and drug use, Quartz reported. But Musk, who attended the event, appeared to defend Jurvetson."If there are 'sex parties' in Silicon Valley, I haven't seen or heard of one," he told Wired at the time. "If you want wild parties, you're in the wrong place." In July, Musk posted pictures of himself with Brin at Jurvetson's birthday party for his wife, the New York Post reported.Sources: The New York Times, "The Twenty Minute VC," USA Today, Quartz, Wired, New York PostPeter ThielPeter Thiel with Musk.APMusk and the billionaire investor Thiel have had their ups and downs over the years. Their relationship goes back to the beginning of Musk's career in Silicon Valley. The two men have worked together for decades, but they haven't always seen eye to eye.In 2000, they combined their respective banking companies when Thiel's Confinity merged with Musk's X to eventually become PayPal.In a book on Thiel, "The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power," Max Chafkin says that soon after, Musk crashed his $1 million McLaren with Thiel in the passenger seat ahead of an investor meeting while trying to show off the sports car's acceleration.In the book, Chafkin says a person close to both men said the Tesla CEO viewed Thiel as "a sociopath," while Thiel saw Musk as "a fraud."Chafkin said Thiel and his allies at PayPal worked to oust Musk as CEO while he was on his honeymoon.Despite their differences, Thiel was instrumental in helping keep SpaceX afloat, investing $20 million in 2008 after the company had three failed rocket launches.Sources: Insider, "The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power"JB StraubelJB Straubel.Redwood MaterialsMusk and Straubel, the CEO of Redwood Materials, worked together during Tesla's early years.The two men said they ultimately decided to join Tesla after a lunch meeting during which they discussed the future of electric cars. They were later introduced to the Tesla cofounders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning and joined the company in 2004.Earlier this year, the Tesla CEO said he wished Straubel was Tesla's only other cofounder. Straubel, who served as Tesla's chief technology officer until 2019, in 2017 founded Redwood Materials, a company that recycles batteries for electric vehicles.Last year, Musk publicly sent Straubel his condolences when it was reported that Straubel's wife had died in a car accident.Earlier this year, Straubel told Time he was still on good terms with Musk and talked to him often. But he added that the Tesla CEO "can be a very difficult guy to work for."Sources: Time, CleanTechnica, Twitter, TeslaBilly MarkusA dogecoin illustration.NurPhotoMarkus, a dogecoin cocreator, has a seemingly friendly relationship with Musk on Twitter.Markus, who calls himself "Shibetoshi Nakamoto" on Twitter, is often seen tweeting back and forth with Musk. The two men seem to share similar senses of humor and viewpoints on social and political issues.Earlier this year, Markus appeared to support the billionaire after Musk criticized dogecoin's other creator, Jackson Palmer, saying Palmer didn't write a "single line of Dogecoin code."Musk has been promoting dogecoin on social media since 2019 and has helped buoy the currency to new highs in the past. Last year, Musk booked a mission to the moon that would be funded entirely by dogecoin, naming the satellite that would be launched Doge-1.Source: InsiderJoe RoganJoe Rogan with Musk.The Joe Rogan Experience/YouTubeMusk and Rogan, a podcast host and UFC commentator, appear to have fostered a relationship.The billionaire famously smoked marijuana on Rogan's podcast in 2018 and has been on "The Joe Rogan Experience" two more times since. Rogan has promoted Musk's companies on social media, including a sneak peek of the Tesla Cybertruck earlier this year, which he dubbed "the coolest car I've ever seen in my life."Last year, the two men posted pictures together at the barbecue restaurant Stubb's in Austin, Texas, alongside Dave Chappelle and Grimes, Musk's girlfriend at the time.In April, Rogan congratulated Musk for attempting to join Twitter's board and later offering to buy the company outright."Are you going to liberate twitter from the censorship happy mob?" Rogan texted Musk on April 4, according to a court exhibit in Twitter vs. Musk.A few weeks later, after Musk had offered to acquire Twitter, Rogan on April 25 texted again. "I REALLY hope you get Twitter. If you do, we should throw one hell of a party," Rogan said. Musk replied with the "100" emoji.Sources: Insider, ElectrekAri EmanuelAri Emanuel.Amy Sussman/Getty ImagesMusk also has some buddies in Hollywood — most notably, Emanuel, the Endeavor CEO.Emanuel is one of Hollywood's most powerful agents and was the basis for the character of Ari Gold on the HBO show "Entourage."The two men have been spotted together on several occasions while yachting or lunching. In July, they were photographed vacationing on a superyacht off the coast of Greece.More recently, Emanuel tried to help Musk broker a deal with Twitter to avoid a court battle, Bloomberg Law reported.Source: InsiderNathan FielderComedy CentralIn October, The New York Times reported Musk was fan of the deadpan comedian Nathan Fielder.The publication said Musk tried to make Fielder laugh at parties. The comedian wrote, directed, and starred in the Comedy Central show "Nathan for You," which ran for four seasons. On the show, Fielder offers unusual ideas and strategies to struggling small businesses.In 2016, Musk invited the comedian to have lunch at SpaceX, according to The Times. That year, the two men also interacted on Twitter after Musk shared a photo of his "Dumb Starbucks" coffee mug — a nod to one of Fielder's business projects that went viral.—nathan fielder (@nathanfielder) February 20, 2016Since then, Musk has invited Fielder to his parties, The Times reported.Source: The New York TimesJustin Roiland and Dan Harmon"Rick and Morty" was created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon.Warner Bros. Television DistributionMusk has also developed a relationship with the creators of "Rick and Morty," Roiland and Harmon.In 2017, Musk said on Twitter that he was a fan of the TV show.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2017"'Kinda' disgusting? Just wait," the TV show's official account responded. "We'll have the whole Musk family fully disgusted by the end of the season."Musk's Twitter thread soon spawned a discussion of singularity — the theory that machine intelligence will one day surpass our own — with the account.Two years later, Musk made a cameo on the show as "Elon Tusk," the CEO of Tuskla and a business magnate in the multiverse.The New York Times reported earlier this year that Musk set up meet and greets with Harmon and Roiland at one of his parties.In April, Roiland congratulated Musk for buying into Twitter."I fucking love that you're the majority owner of Twitter," Roiland texted Musk on April 6, according to court documents.He proceeded to suggest that Musk meet friends of his who had created a program to verify people's identities.Musk corrected him two days later, saying, "I just own 9% of Twitter, so don't control the company." He added that he would "raise the identity issue" with Twitter's then-CEO.Sources: The New York Times, InsiderYeGeorge Lucas, Ye, and Musk in 2015.Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for TIMEYe, formerly known as Kanye West, and Musk have a complicated history.The two men appeared to develop a friendship in 2011 when Musk shared a photo of him and Ye in front of what appeared to be a SpaceX capsule with the caption, "Kanye stopped by the SpaceX rocket factory today."—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 24, 2011In 2015, Musk praised Ye, saying, "He fought for his place in the cultural pantheon with a purpose." A few years later, Musk cited Ye as someone who inspired him, and in 2020, Musk expressed support for Ye when he announced his plans to run for US president.Ye has also defended Musk in the past. In 2018, the rapper gave an impromptu speech at a school, telling people to "leave that man the fuck alone," likely referencing Musk's "funding secured" fiasco from 2017.More recently, their friendship appears to have hit some roadblocks after Musk booted Ye off Twitter when the rapper tweeted an antisemitic image. After Ye was suspended, Musk tweeted about the move, saying: "I tried my best. Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended."Musk later said in a Twitter Spaces meeting that he wanted to "punch" Ye after he tweeted the image of a swastika.Since then, Ye has made some strange comments about Musk. In December, Ye posted an Instagram rant in which he called the billionaire a "genetic hybrid." Musk responded to the comment via Twitter, saying: "I take that as a compliment." Ye said on Instagram: "It was meant as a compliment my friend."Source: InsiderGrimesMusk has two children with Grimes.Theo Wargo/Getty ImagesMusk has appeared to remain friends with his former girlfriend Grimes.The two broke up last year after welcoming their first child together, X Æ a-12, in 2020.Grimes told Vanity Fair earlier this year that the two had remained in contact. The pair welcomed their second child via surrogate in 2022.Source: Vanity FairRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 8th, 2023

I flew on a private jet to Miami and on Spirit Airlines back to New York. Here"s how my $92 flight compared to a Bombardier Global 7500 which can cost $20,000 an hour to charter.

Unlike flying on a commercial airline, those on private jets do not have to clear security, battle crowded airports, or wait for their boarding zone. Taylor Rains/Insider There is a vast spectrum of flying experiences in the US aviation industry, from flying private to low-cost economy class. I flew on both a private jet and Spirit Airlines in one day and see how the operators cater to different customers. When it comes to flying, there's a spectrum of comfort and entertainment.Philip Pilosian/ShutterstockFor the ultra-wealthy, like Donald Trump and Elon Musk, or those lucky enough to hitch a ride on a friend's personal plane, private flying is a reality.Inside Donald Trump's Boeing 757 private jet.Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty ImagesTrump has refurbished his prized $100 million Boeing 757 private jet as he announces a 2024 presidential run — see inside 'Trump Force One'Huge, lavish jets with bedrooms and theater systems scatter the sky every day, shuttling people from New York to Miami for business, or to Spain for a luxury vacation.Celebrities are being criticized over their private jet usage.JethuynhCan/Getty ImagesIt's no surprise flying private costs a pretty penny. Prices range from $6,550 per hour on charter company Volato's mid-sized Gulfstream 280…Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on a $25 million Gulfstream G280 that private aviation company Volato will charter for $6,550 starting in 2024 — see inside…to a whopping $20,000 per hour on a VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500, which is the world's largest charter company flying the world's biggest purpose-built private jet.A VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500.VistaJetI flew on a $75 million Bombardier Global 7500 private jet from Miami to New Jersey and saw why the ultra-wealthy love the planeWhile most of the world can't fathom that kind of money being spent on just an hour of flight time, I can see why those who can afford it pay up for the experience.VistaJet Global 7500.VistaJetNot only are these planes personalized for peak comfort, but passengers can also bypass security and crowded airports because the aircraft typically fly out of fixed-based operators.FBOs are service stations for planes and offer things like fueling and cleaning, though some are more amenity-heavy with free things like coffee and food.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe majority of commercial travelers will find themselves in an economy product, with the lowest end of the spectrum being budget carriers like Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines.Frontier Airlines.nyker/ShutterstockThese low-cost airlines are infamous for tight seats and add-on fees, though the fares are usually lower than mainline carriers like Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.Inside a Spirit Airlines A320 aircraft.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut, there are plenty of people — including myself — that actually prefer flying low-cost and will happily forgo mainline airlines to save some money.Taylor Rains/InsiderThanks to my position as an aviation reporter, my work has shown me what both ends of the spectrum look like for passengers.Flying on VistaJet's Bombardier Global 5000 private jet.Taylor Rains/InsiderRecently, I flew on what is considered one of the US' worst airlines — Spirit — as well as the giant Bombardier Global 7500 private jet, both within 24 hours.Taylor Rains/InsiderHere's what $92 got me on Spirit from New York to Miami, and what over $10,000 per hour would get me on VistaJet.Taylor Rains/InsiderStarting my journey on Spirit was relatively easy as a seasoned traveler. I checked in online to avoid any potential boarding pass fee and made my way to security.My flight went out of Terminal A at LaGuardia Airport in New York.Taylor Rains/InsiderI didn't need to check a bag, but for those that do, be sure to stay within the size and weight limits or you'll find yourself paying upwards of $99 at the airport.Spirit Airlines bag size and weight checkers at LGA Terminal 1.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile I typically only bring a free personal item, I bought a carry-on bag for $60 for this trip, which could not exceed 22x18x10 inches.My 35L Cotopaxi carry-on is 20x12x8 inches.Taylor Rains/InsiderAlthough us regular flyers have to abide by airline rules, VistaJet guests wouldn't need to worry about such things.Courtesy of VistaJetThe Global 7500 — as well as most other business planes — has plenty of storage for several bags and carry-ons. Granted, travelers are paying much more than $60 for the "free" amenity.The storage space onboard a Gulfstream G650ER, which is smaller than the Global 7500.Taylor Rains/InsiderAs far as accessing the jet, there is a stark difference when flying commercial versus when flying private.Flying on VistaJet's Bombardier Global 5000 private jet.Taylor Rains/InsiderOn Spirit, I had to traverse the crowded LaGuardia Airport and clear security, which can take a lot of time during peak season. Fortunately, I have TSA Pre-Check so the process only took about 10 minutes.When flying commercial, I have to budget at least one hour of time before departure. Flying private, I only show up about 15 minutes before takeoff.Taylor Rains/InsiderHowever, when I flew on VistaJet from Miami to New York, it took less than five minutes from the moment I parked outside the FBO — which was free — to boarding the Global 7500.Flying on VistaJet's Bombardier Global 7500.Taylor Rains/InsiderI simply walked into the terminal — no security needed — and took a 1-minute shuttle ride to the plane. And, I was greeted by a friendly cabin hostess who served me champagne and a hot towel.One of the two cabin hostesses on our flight.Taylor Rains/InsiderThere were no bag checks, no waiting for my zone to be called, and no general cattle herding that can exist at major airports.Passengers walk in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta on September 3, 2022.Carlos Barria/ReutersIf I thought the lack of security checks was a shocker on private planes, the interior proved to be even more impressive.Taylor Rains/InsiderVistaJet's Global 7500 comes with a meeting room, a bedroom, a theater room, a six-person dining area, a large gallery with snacks and coffee, and two lavatories.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe giant, reclining lounges were comfortable and came with power ports, storage, and cup holders, among other amenities.Taylor Rains/InsiderVistaJet guests also have the opportunity to cater food onboard, including everything from simple meals like Shake Shack to high-end plates from award-winning restaurant Nobu.Taylor Rains/InsiderI tried gourmet food only available on private jets from one charter company and I see why the luxurious flights costs thousands of dollarsMeanwhile, on Spirit, the $32 I paid for the seat alone got me 28 inches of pitch, a tiny tray table, no recline, no TV, no snacks, and not even a sip of water.The Wi-Fi on my Spirit flight was not working, unfortunately. When it does connect, the airline charges a fee.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on Spirit from New York to Miami and found the carrier is a perfectly fine way to travel if you know how to avoid the extra feesAbout 30 minutes into the flight, the flight attendants did come around with things like diet soda, alcohol, and Pringles — but for a fee, of course.The snack box, diet soda, and alcoholic drink came to $24.Taylor Rains/InsiderWhile the two products are complete opposites, I'm happy to see the industry has evolved to cater to different markets and give people of varying incomes and lifestyles the opportunity to travel.There was no seatback pocket, only a small cubby at the top of the seat in front of me that could fit a book, but not a water bottle.Taylor Rains/InsiderBut, just because Spirit is not the most luxurious airline out there does not mean some mainline carriers don't have nice products. For example, travelers can find comfort in Singapore Airlines' First Class suite…First class seating on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A380, which can be combined with the neighboring suite to create a huge room with a double bed and two loungers.ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images.…JetBlue Airways' Mint business class…Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI flew JetBlue's new London to New York route in Mint business class. It's a premium leisure traveler's dream but some kinks need to be ironed out.…and Qatar Airways' QSuite, which has been named the world's best business class for 2022 by airline ranking company Skytrax.Taylor Rains/InsiderThe top 20 airlines in the world, according to expertsThese products are posh, and many would argue the price to fly these cabins is easily more sensible than flying private.Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 business class.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI toured the 'world's best' business class on Qatar's Boeing 777-200LR and I see why people fork out thousands of dollars to experience itFor example, a first class suite on Singapore between the island nation and Sydney, Australia, comes with a lounger, a huge TV, a desk, and a bed — all for about $8,000 roundtrip, a spokesperson told Insider.Singapore's first class suite also comes with access to two huge lavatories, both of which feature a vanity table (pictured).Singapore AirlinesSingapore Airlines' Airbus A380 and its famous first-class suite are leaving NYC — see inside the luxurious cabinThe same flight eight-hour flight could cost tens of thousands of dollars on VistaJet, though the company does not publicly publish its exact rates.A VistaJet Bombardier Global 7500.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAt the end of the day, obviously flying private would be a preferred method of travel. But, most people are happy earning status on their favorite mainline airline or flying as cheaply as they can on a low-cost carrier.My preferred airlines are United and Delta for status, reliability, and comfort.On The Run Photo/ShutterstockI flew on Delta's Boeing 767 from Sweden to New York in economy and it was the best transatlantic flight I've taken in a long timeFor me, Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant Air, Ryanair — it doesn't matter. These carriers get me from point A to point B safely with little to no hassle.Flying Ryanair from London to Stockholm.Taylor Rains/InsiderI flew on Europe's infamous low-cost airline Ryanair from London to Sweden and the cheap fare was worth the hassleRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 6th, 2023