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Forced to shell out more for lobster this summer, restaurants get creative

In response to the rising costs of lobster, restaurants across the region are substituting, using smaller portion sizes, or even eliminating dishes altogether......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 23rd, 2022

Meet the next generation of luxury entrepreneurs selling millions in real estate, creating art galleries, and building fashion empires

A new crop of luxury entrepreneurs has popped up, creating the businesses they want to see taking over the sector. (L-R), Alex Assouline, Destinee Ross-Sutton, Marina Raphael, Avi Hiaeve.Emilia Brandao; Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton 2020; Marina Raphael; Avi & Co; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider Luxury spans many sectors including, fashion, travel, real estate, and nightclubs.  However, the industry is changing: People want more sustainability and faces that are more diverse. Insider regularly talks to the young people who are making their mark in luxury and challenging the market.  Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Luxury is a pretty hard sector to tap into — and even years of notoriety doesn't necessarily mean years of financial stability or economic success. The coronavirus pandemic only heightened many of those issues, as brands and retailers throughout the world have been forced to close or declare bankruptcy. Even before the pandemic, however, there were calls for a changing of the guard in the luxury sector. People want more sustainability, leaders who are more tech-savvy, faces that are more diverse, and clothes that come with a meaning and a purpose.Rather than wait around for those currently in charge to change, a new crop of luxury entrepreneurs has popped up, creating the businesses they want to see taking over the sector. These are names and the faces that will come to define and helm the next generation of luxury spending. Insider has been speaking to the new rising faces in luxury about the future of their respective spaces, touching on topics such as the investment value in high-priced watches, and where they hope to see the world after the pandemic subsides. The interviews are being compiled here: Millennial entrepreneur Brandon Blackwood shares how $7,000 and Instagram helped him build a handbag empire that's on track to book $30 million in revenueBrandon BlackwoodBrandon BlackwoodBrandon Blackwood, 29, is the founder of his eponymous handbag line that went viral last year after making a tote that said: "End Systemic Racism." Since then, other styles of his bag have gone viral and he's launched a spring campaign featuring celebrities and influencers like Ryan Destiny, Normani, and Jaime Xie. So far, the brand booked more than $14 million in revenue this year and is on track to close 2021 with $30 million. The 24-year old jewelry designer, whose rings have been spotted on Serena Williams and Meghan Markle, uses half her profits to fund female entrepreneursShilpa YarlagaddaCourtesy of Shilpa Yarlagadda; Taken by Shoji Van KuzumiShilpa Yarlagadda, 24, is the cofounder of Shiffon, the fine jewelry brand that invests its proceeds back into female-funded businesses. For the upcoming election, the brand has partnered with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote foundation for limited-edition hoop earrings to represent the hoops women have to go through for basic rights. In an interview with Business Insider, she talks her career journey, the importance of mentorship, and her partnership with Obama. Inside the world of 'Bling Empire's' Jaime Xie, the tech heiress forging her own path as a fashion influencerJaime XieYoshi UemuraXie told Insider she had never even seen reality TV before joining the cast of Netflix's hit show "Bling Empire." Now she's one of its standout stars and is best known for her fashion and style. Born in Silicon Valley, she said tech wasn't really her thing, and she's always wanted a career in fashion. Now she's an influencer, jet-setting to Paris and Milan, sporting the hottest ready-to-wear looks. In an interview, she gives Insider a peek at her glamorous life. Real estate heiress Danielle Naftali, who is just 27, helped convince a mystery buyer to shell out $35 million for an NYC penthouse during the pandemicJonathan GrassiDanielle Naftali, 27, is expected to take over her father's real estate company Naftali Group, which develops some of New York City's most luxurious properties. But even she had to start at the reception desk. To Insider she breaks down working her way up and how she helped convince a buyer to shell out over $30 million for an apartment during a pandemic. Pajama sets are the new 2-piece suit. A millennial brand explains the wild pandemic year when sales spiked 400% .Joel Jeffery (L) and Molly Goddard (R)Desmond & DempseyHusband-wife duo Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffrey are known for their high-end pajama line Desmond & Dempsey, which also saw record growth during the pandemic as people sought to buy more comfortable clothing. To Insider, they talk about the brand's beginnings and how they hope to further capitalize on the billion-dollar markets of both wellness and comfort wear. Meet the millennial designer and CEO who wants to make comfort clothing the new power dressingMisha NonooCourtesy of Misha NonooDesigner Misha Nonoo thinks comfort clothes will also be part of the new way to power dress. To Insider, she spoke about her career beginnings, her latest collection, and what she thinks the future of sustainable fashion will be in a post-pandemic world. How fashion's 'patient zero' turned her fight with Covid into a new hygiene and wellness lineNga NguyenCourtesy of Nga NguyenAfter being diagnosed with COVID-19 last year, Nga Nguyen was deemed the fashion industry's "patient zero" as she was the first known case in the world of jet-set high fashion to catch the virus. But she's light at the end of the tunnel. To Insider she talks about her new wellness line, inspired by her run-in with the virus, and shares her expectations on what role hygiene products will play in a post-pandemic world. How a 28-year-old sold his first jewelry design for $25,000 and within 3 years built an exclusive client roster including RihannaEmmanuel Tarpin.Emmanuel TarpinCalling in from Paris, Emmanuel Tarpin spoke about his rise in the jewelry industry, how he nabbed two of the industry's top honors, and got Rihanna to fall in love with his work.How a 22-year-old heiress launched a handbag line and within 3 years landed the Netherlands' Queen Maxima as a fanMarina Raphael.marina raphaelAt just 22, Marina Raphael has already built a luxury handbag business that counts the Queen of the Netherlands as a fan. In an interview with Business Insider, she spoke about learning Italian, teaching herself design, and her plans to build the next-big-thing in luxury — as well as being a sixth-generation member of the Swarovski crystal dynasty.Swarovski crystal heiress Marina Raphael explains how she achieved record-breaking sales by selling smaller handbags, donating to charity, and using snail mail to reach customersMarina Raphael with her SS21 collection(1)Marina RaphaelRaphael caught up with Insider again in March of this year to talk about how her brand saw record growth during the pandemic. To cope with the time, she changed her marketing strategies and even reduced the size of her handbags as production took a hit due to closures. Still, the brand came out stronger than ever before. How one millennial CEO built a luxury eyewear brand that's been spotted on everyone from Jeff Bezos to Brad PittCourtesy of Garrett LeightGarrett Leight is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Garrett Leight California Optical. His father, Larry, was the founder of the sunglass brand Oliver Peoples. In an interview with Business Insider, Garrett talks about opening his own eyewear brand and keeping his family legacy alive. Pauline Ducruet isn't so different from other 26-year-old entrepreneurs — she just happens to be Grace Kelly's granddaughterPhoto by Francois Durand/Getty ImagesPauline Ducruet is the founder of the gender-neutral fashion line, Alter Designs. She also happens to be a granddaughter of Grace Kelly through her mother, Princess Stephanie of Monaco. In an interview with Business Insider, she talks about the importance of sustainability in fashion, and how the pandemic almost wiped out her business. A millennial car customizer who counts Lebron James and Kendall Jenner among his clients explains why he's expanding his business with a luxury shoe lineVik Tchalikian.Vik TchalikianVik Tchalikian is best known as the car customizer for the stars and boasts a client list that includes Kendall Jenner, LeBron James, and Billie Eilish. In an interview with Business Insider, he talks about how he used his car knowledge to start up a luxury shoe line. Two Gen Zers turned a $2,000 investment into an art gallery that sells $600K pieces. They want to usher in a new generation of art collectors.Alexis de Bernede (L) and Marius Jacob (R)Darmo ArtBased in France, Alexis de Bernede and Marius Jacob are the founders of Darmo Art gallery. Last summer, their two art shows netted six figures each, and they are now planning future exhibitions in Paris, the French Riviera, and at the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm, an exclusive report in Germany. Millennial fashion designer Alexandra O'Neill is seeing cocktail dress sales skyrocket as customers prepare for the new Roaring 20sCourtesy of Alexandra O'NeillAlexandra O'Neill is the founder of luxury brand Markarian and made headlines last year after First Lady Jill Biden wore a custom Markarian piece for Inauguration. Since then, the company has seen sales skyrocket. What's more, O'Neill held her first New York Fashion Week presentation in September, showing off a collection inspired by Lauren Bacall in the movie "How to Marry a Millionaire." Meet the Black millennial art curator who worked on a Zendaya photoshoot, had her portrait featured in Beyoncé's 'Black Is King,' and was just tapped by auction house Christie's to curate an exhibitDestinee Ross-Sutton.Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton 2020The art industry is notoriously white. Enter, Destinee Ross-Sutton, the 24-year-old art curator who already counts a Zendaya photoshoot and a Christie's exhibit under her name. A shining moment for her this year was when she discovered that a painting of her was featured in Beyoncé's "Black IS King." In speaking with Business Insider, Ross-Sutton talks about her mission to increase diversity and inclusion in the art world.The 28-year-old heir to a luxury publishing house explains how he creates some of the most exclusive — and expensive — private libraries in the worldAlex Assouline.Emilia BrandaoAlex Assouline is a creative library designer who helps create some of the most exclusive — and expensive — libraries in the world. The heir to his family's publishing house, Assouline also helps make stunning coffee books on subjects ranging from feminism to the palace of Versailles. In an interview with Business Insider, he talks about the art of library designing and which books he is helping to make next. Meet the 'VIPER Girls,' the female nightlife entrepreneurs who couldn't get a credit card 4 years ago and now field requests to work the Super Bowl(L) Kelsi Kitchener and (R) Celeste Durve.Courtesy of Kelsi Kitchener and Celeste DurveKelsi Kitchener, 28, and Celeste Duvre, 24, are the cofounders of the guest experience company VIPER, which works with some of the biggest celebrities and brands in the world. Known as the Viper Girls, they manage all points of the overall guest experiences at events. In an interview with Business Insider, Kitchener and Duvre talk about the founding of their company, and being young women in an industry that's long been touted as a "boys club." A 25-year-old set her eyes on taking over the high-end smoking accessories market — and it's workingCourtesy of Smoking JacketChiara di Carcaci, 25, is the founder of Smoking Jacket, a high-end cigarette accessories company that counts a Getty heiress as a fan. In an interview with Business Insider, di Carcaci talks about why she decided to start a luxury cigarette brand, and her ambitions to expand it into a full-service lifestyle company. A 28-year-old fashion brand director explains how ruthless attention to detail has landed Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez as clientsKyle Bryan.Courtesy of Kyle BryanIn an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Kyle Bryan, brand director at the luxury label LaQuan Smith, breaks down his plans on helping create the next big American fashion house. "A lot of women and celebrities will directly reach out to LaQuan and say, 'I would love for you to make me something,'" he said. "That's how some of our best stuff has even happened."Nisha Persaud's side hustle is creating at-home manicure boxes that are beloved by celebs and have been featured in luxury campaignsDanisha "Nisha" PersaudDanisha "Nisha" PersaudWhen the pandemic made it impossible for Nisha Persaud to get her nails done last year, she created at-home manicure kits to bring the nail salon to her. Since then, she's netted more than $100,000 in revenue and her work has been reposted on social media by Cardi B, received a shoutout by Megan Thee Stallion in a video, and gifted to the model Teyana Taylor for her baby shower. Meet the millennial cofounders of Apparis, the cult-favorite vegan coat brand that raised $3 million in funding this year and just launched a collaboration with Juicy Couture(L) Lauren Nouchi and (R) Amelie Brick.ApparisAmelie Brick, 37, and Lauren Nouchi, 29, are the cofounders of Apparis, an apparel company best known for its vegan coats. In an interview with Business Insider, they talk about why they decided to start a high-end vegan coat line, how the pandemic led them to expand into homewear, and why they decided to launch a collaboration with Juicy Couture. Meet the millennial cofounder of a jewelry brand that has partnered with the NFL and NBA and is on track to make $50 million in revenue this yearChristian Johnston.Courtesy of Christian Johnston cofounder of GLDChristian Johnston is the cofounder of the jewelry brand GLD, beloved by the likes of Justin Bieber and rapper Wiz Khalifa. The company has also done partnerships with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and Disney's Marvel. In an interview with Business Insider, Johnston talks about growing his jewelry company, which is now on track to make $50 million in revenue this year. Hogoè Kpessou worked as an Uber Eats driver before she launched her handbag brand last year. Now she's on track to net seven figures.Hogoè KpessouHogoè KpessouLuxury designer Hogoè Kpessou is best known for her backpacks emblazoned with a gold bumblebee. Before starting her eponymous company, she worked weekend shifts at a local restaurant and delivered food for Uber Eats. Today, she estimates her brand will hit seven figures in revenue in the beginning of 2022. YIMBY with a conscience: Meet the 26-year-old real-estate heir who wants to make affordable housing a reality in the Biden eraDonahue Peebles IIIPeebles CorporationDonahue Peebles III is set to one day take over his father's real estate and development empire, The Peebles Corporation. Speaking to Insider, he talks about his passion for helping make housing more affordable, gives his thoughts on gentrification, and shares his expectations for what's to come under a Biden presidency. Meet the millennial CEO who wants to redefine the ownership of men's clothing, and convinced Alexis Ohanian and Nas to investRegy PerleraCourtesy of SeasonsRegy Perlera is the co-founder of Seasons, an app that allows men to rent designer clothing. He tells Insider that renting clothing is one way to reduce your carbon footprint, and contribute to the circular economy. In 2019, Seasons raised $4.3 million in funding from investors such as Alexis Ohanian's Initialized Capital, Notation Capital, and the rapper Nas.A millennial entrepreneur who runs a high-end watch retailer explains why now is the time to invest in watches — and which timepieces are the most valuableAvi & Co.Avi Hiaeve, owner of the high-end watch retailer Avi & Co., met with Business Insider earlier this year to talk about his watch business as well as give tips for those looking to start investing in luxury watches. "The celebrities and the artists and all of them, they're not wearing watches under $100,000 anymore, everything they want is over $100,000. It's really gone through the roof," he explained to us. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

Eleven Madison Park owner responds to investigation and says the restaurant has been forced to raise workers" pay — but not to its originally proposed "living wage"

Celebrity chef Daniel Humm said he scrapped plans to pay workers a "living wage" of $20/hr because they "didn't feel comfortable" raising menu prices. Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into Eleven Madison Park at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday.Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into Eleven Madison Park on Monday.  He said they scrapped plans to pay workers $20/hr because they "didn't feel comfortable" raising menu prices. He added that the restaurant has recently raised wages to between $17 and $18 an hour.  Celebrity chef Daniel Humm responded to Insider's investigation into acclaimed restaurant Eleven Madison Park at the 2022 Aspen Ideas Festival on Monday, addressing a leaked op-ed draft that revealed management was fully aware it was underpaying its staff. The restaurant hired a journalist to ghostwrite the piece, which it hoped to publish in The New York Times, sources told Insider's Kate Taylor, who reviewed the op-ed draft as part of a series looking into the Michelin-star restaurant's chaotic shift to veganism. The op-ed draft read: "It is absurd and unjust that people working in the kitchens and dining rooms of some of the finest restaurants in the world can barely afford their own food and rent. We are going to ensure that everybody working at Eleven Madison Park will receive a living wage of at least twenty dollars per hour."Eleven Madison Park continued to say in the draft that it would offset higher labor costs by raising the price of its tasting menu to $425, up from $335. Charging $335 was only possible, the op-ed draft said, because most kitchen workers were paid $15 an hour. However, the plans to increase worker pay were dropped after The New York Times wrote a scathing review of the restaurant's new vegan menu. After Humm was questioned by MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff about the report on stage, he said the op-ed draft was written as an "exercise" to test out the restaurant's proposed increase in staff wages and menu prices. "This is not just a creative endeavor. It's also running a business in a very tough environment. And that is our livelihood," he said. "We didn't feel comfortable charging $480 for the meal to do this price increase, so we decided that we would move up there slower." "We wanted to pay people, I believe, $20," Humm continued. "Today we're paying $17, $18."While the pay bump, according to Humm, is an improvement from the restaurant's original $15 an hour wage, it still falls short of the $20 an hour proposed in the unpublished op-ed. However, Eleven Madison Park did reverse its long-standing no tipping rule in February, which allows staff to accept gratuity. "You cannot get people to do the work that is required at Eleven Madison Park if you don't have a great culture, and if you don't treat them well," Humm told Soboroff on Monday. Current and former Eleven Madison Park employees previously told Insider that many quit the restaurant over the past year because long hours, low pay, and food waste. Former employees described juggling roles and working more than 80 hours a week. A representative for Eleven Madison Park dismissed these complaints, saying that the staffers Insider spoke with were "agenda-driven" and that their critiques of the restaurant were "flat-out erroneous."Read Insider's original investigation into the past year at Eleven Madison Park.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

Cruise holidays may be as "cheap as we"ve seen" this summer as operators try to fill cabins, analyst says

Cruise lines are cutting cabin prices and offering deals to attract passengers in the hope they will spend while onboard, said Patrick Scholes. The Carnival Magic cruise ship docked in Marseille.Gerard Bottino/Getty Images Cruises could go for bargain prices this summer as operators try to fill cabins. Some cruise prices have fallen by $1,000 this year, data reported by Reuters suggests. Carnival told Insider its prices had been "at the higher end" this year. Cruise holidays could be as cheap as they've ever been this summer, despite soaring inflation.Cruises are slowly making a comeback as pandemic restrictions end, but wafer-thin margins mean leading lines are likely to cut prices to cope with lower demand, according to analysts. "Prices are down as there is too much unsold capacity and the cruise lines need to sail with their ships as full as possible to cover their very high fixed costs," Patrick Scholes, a leisure analyst at Truist Securities, told Insider. "Cruise lines are offering lower prices and deals to attract customers in the hope that they will continue to spend while onboard." In its latest earnings report, Carnival said occupancy in the second quarter of 2022 was 69%. Scholes said this spare capacity meant it would be forced to offer discounts.Scholes previously told Reuters: "Your typical Carnival, Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise this summer to the Caribbean is about as cheap as we've ever seen it." He also said there were 13% more ships at sea compared with pre-pandemic levels.According to Cruise Critic data seen by Reuters, the average cost of a five-night Caribbean cruise for two in June fell from about $3,000 this time last year to $2,000. Falling fares buck the trend of rising inflation. Air fares have jumped nearly 38% this year as fuel prices and labor shortages are passed onto customers, making cruises more attractive. It also contrasts with steeper cost pressures for cruise lines. In May, Insider reported that some cruise lines were being forced to cancel sailings, close on-board restaurants, and shed capacity owing to a lack of staff. But while Scholes told Insider that "cost increase drivers for the cruise industry are similar to cost increases for everyone else, whether it be for fuel and food," he said there was now less pressure on labor costs due to staffing being sourced from countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and India.A Carnival spokesperson told Insider: "While there are always attractive cruise offers being promoted by our brands, across the company, advanced bookings have been at the higher end of the historical range at higher pricing."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 26th, 2022

Stockman: The Spasmodic Chaos Of The Post-Lockdown US Economy

Stockman: The Spasmodic Chaos Of The Post-Lockdown US Economy Authored by David Stockman via The Brownstone Institute, The Biden Administration’s utterly ridiculous plan to enact a three-month holiday from the 18.4 cents per gallon Federal gas tax should be a wake-up call with respect to a far broader and more destructive threat. To wit, the US economy has lost its market-based bearings and is now behaving like a spasmodic heap of discord, dislocation and caprice owing to repeated batterings via out-of-this-world government regulatory, fiscal and tax interventions. In combination, the Green Energy attacks, the Virus Patrol’s lockdowns and scare-mongering, the Fed’s insane money-pumping and Washington’s unprecedented $6 trillion fiscal bacchanalia of the last two years have deeply impaired normal economic function. Accordingly, the business sector is flying blind: It can’t forecast what’s coming down the pike in the normal manner based on tried and true rules of cause and effect. In many cases, the normal market signals have gone kerflooey as exemplified by the recent big box retailers’ warnings that they are loaded with the wrong inventory and will be taking painful discounts to clear the decks. Yet it is no wonder that they stocked up on apparel and durables, among others, after a period in which the Virus Patrol shutdown the normal social congregation venues such as movies, restaurants, bars, gyms, air travel and the like. And than Washington added fuel to the fire by pilling on trillions of spending power derived from unemployment benefits that reached to a $55,000 annual rate in some cases and the repeated stimmie checks that for larger families added up to $10,000 to $20,000. Employed workers didn’t need the multiple $2,000 stimmie checks because in its (dubious) “wisdom” the Virus Patrol forced them to save on social congregation based spending. Likewise, temporarily laid-off workers didn’t need the $600 per week Federal UI topper. For the most part they had access to regular UI benefits, and also suffered forced “savings” via the shutdown of restaurants, bars, movies etc. Even the so-called “uncovered” employees not eligible for regular state benefits didn’t need $600 per week of UI bennies. The targeted temporary coverages could have paid 65% of their prior wage for well less than $300 per week on average. So what happened is that the double whammy of forced services savings and the massive flow of free stuff from Washington created a tsunami of demand that sucked the inventory system and supply chains dry. For instance, here is the Y/Y change in inflation-adjusted PCE for apparel and footwear. The steady-state condition of the US economy for that sector oscillated right near the flat-line during 2012-2019. Then the Washington policy hurricanes hit. During the original Q2 2020 lockdowns, real spending  for apparel and footwear plunged by -27.0%, as Dr. Fauci and the Scarf Lady sent half of the American public scurrying for the fetal position in their bedrooms and man-caves. But it didn’t take the American public long to get the joke. They soon re-cycled their restaurant spending etc. and topped it up with a tsunami of Washington’s free stuff during the 18 months ending in September 2021. That literally turned spending patterns upside down. That is to say, the Amazon delivery boxes were declared “safe” once the CDC figured out that the virus didn’t pass on surfaces—so the public went nuts ordering apparel and footwear. By Q2 2021, especially after Biden idiotic $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act in March 2021, the Y/Y change had violently reversed to +57.1%. That’s whip-saw with malice aforethought. Left to their own devices consumers would never yo-yo their budgets in this manner, meaning, in turn, that retail, wholesale and manufacturing suppliers had no possible way to rationally cope with the Washington-fueled supply-chain upheavals. As is also evident from the chart, the inflation-adjusted Y/Y change in May plunged nearly back to normal—just +3.4%. Yet it will take years for supply chains and inventory levels and mixes to recover from the economic chaos generated by Washington. Y/Y Inflation-Adjusted Change PCE for Apparel And Footwear, 2012-2022 The same story holds for durable goods—with the yo-yo amplitude even more extreme. As shown by the chart below, the trend level of growth in real PCE for durables was 3.3% per annum during the 14 year period between the pre-crisis peak in October 2007 and the pre-Covid top in February 2020.  Other than during the 2008-2009 recessionary contraction, the numbers followed a stable pattern that businesses could cope with. And then came the Washington ordered whipsaws. During April 2020 real PCE plunged by -17.5%from prior year, only to violently erupt by +70.5% Y/Y in April 2021. Those stimmies and forced “savings” again! But now that’s over and done. During May 2022 the Y/Y change was -9.1%. Again, it is no wonder that businesses have the wrong inventories and supply chains have been monkey-hammered from one end of the planet to the other. Y/Y Change In Real PCE Durables, 2007-2022 In fact, that points to another dimension of the bull-whip story. To wit, the one time conversion of manufacturing to the global supply chain had a hidden vulnerability—-ultra JIT (Just-In-Time). That is to say, when shipping distances for goods went from 800 miles within the US to 16,000 miles (from factories in Shanghai to terminals in Chicago (or 68 days at sea), a prudent system would have built-in large amounts of redundant inventory to safeguard against the the sweeping disruptions of the past two years. But the carry-cost of in-depth inventory redundancy would have been extremely costly. That’s owing to working capital costs and the risk of stockpiling the wrong-mix of goods. That is, potential inventory costs and merchandise discounts and write-off would have eaten heavily into the labor arbitrage. But fueled by the Fed easy money and idiotic 2.00% inflation target, supply chains became ever more extended, brittle and vulnerable. That fact is now indisputable. As it happened, however, the push to ultra-JIT supply chains caused a massive one-time deflation of durable goods costs. In fact, the nearly 40% contraction of the PCE deflator for durables between 1995, when the China export factories first cranked-up, and the pre-Covid level of early 2020 is one of the great aberrations of economic history. We seriously doubt that the black line below actually happened, save for the BLS endless fiddling with hedonics and other adjustments to the CPI. Yes, toys, for instance plunged by upwards of 60% during this 25-year period, but then again did they make a whopping big negative hedonics adjustment to accounts for the China junk toy standard? Still, the deflationary free ride is over. Already, the durables deflator is up nearly 13% from the pre-Covid low and there is far, far more ground to recoup as global supply chains rework the busted JIT models that evolved prior to 2020. PCE Deflator for Durable Goods, 1995-2022 When it comes to Washington-induced whipsaws, however, there are few sectors that have been as battered as the air travel system. During April 2020, for instance, passenger boardings were down a staggering 96% from the corresponding pre-pandemic month, as in dead and gone. Moreover, this deep reduction pattern prevailed well into the spring of 2021. The airline shutdowns were not necessitated by public health considerations: Frequent cabin air exchanges probably made them safer than most indoor environments. But between the misbegotten guidelines of the CDC and the scare-mongering of the Virus Patrol, even as late as January 2022 loadings were still down 34% from pre-pandemic levels. The industry’s infrastructure got clobbered by these kinds of operating levels. Baggage handlers, flight attendants, pilots and every function in-between suffered huge disruptions in incomes and livelihoods—-even after Washington’s generous subsidies to the airlines and their employees. And then, insult was added to injury when pilots and other employees were threatened with termination owing to unwillingness to take the jab. The result was an industry to turmoil and sometimes even ruin. Then the traffic came flooding back. From 70% of pre-pandemic levels in mid-winter 2021-2022, boardings have subsequently rebounded to 90% in recent months. Alas, the air travel system is severely disorganized with labor shortages of every kind imaginable, leading to schedule gaps and cancellations like rarely before. And now the whipsaw is in the inflationary direction as desperate passengers pay previously unheard of prices to get scarce seats during the summer travel months. As CBS News recently reported, Airlines cancelled nearly 1,200 U.S. flights on Sunday and Monday, leaving passengers stranded and luggage piled up at airports across the the country. Thousands more trips were scrapped across the globe as the summer travel season kicks off. Now for the bad news: Airline analysts say delays and cancellations are likely to persist, and could even get worse. “We may not have seen the worst of this,” Kit Darby, founder of Kit Darby Aviation Consulting, told CBS MoneyWatch. Right now, when you have normal things like airplane maintenance or weather, delays are much more severely felt. There are no reserved extra pilots, planes, flight attendants — and the chain is only good as the weakest link,” Darby said. Many of these problems stem from airlines slashing staff early on in the pandemic, when air travel plummeted. Demand has since roared back faster than airlines have been able to ramp up hiring. “The biggest issue is they don’t have the capacity. They have not been able to bring back full capacity in terms of pilots, TSA checkpoints, vendors at the airport, baggage handlers, ground staff or flight attendants,” New York Times travel editor Amy Virshup told CBS News.  Right. But what is way up now is ticket prices. After plunging by -28% in May 2020 under Fauci’s benighted orders, May prices soared by +38% on a year-over-year basis. Again, what we have is an economy careening lower and then higher owing to massive and unnecessary government interventions. And in the case of energy, the mayhem is even more severe. For want of doubt, however, here is the inflation-adjusted level of airline personal consumption expenditures in recent years. In 2020, the proverbial trap-door literally opened up under the industry. Real output fell by $62.3 billion or 52%, then rebounded by 63% the following year. Real PCE for Air Transportation, 2002-2021 That’s surely some kind of destructive economic yo-yo. And it was all fueled by the Washington politicians and apparatchiks who have no clue that America’s grand $24 trillion economy is not some kind of glorified game of bumper cars. *  *  * This article is reprinted from David Stockman’s ContraCorner, which offers such analysis daily to subscribers. Pound-for-pound, Stockman’s daily analysis is the most comprehensive, salient, insightful, and data-rich of anything available today. Tyler Durden Thu, 06/23/2022 - 13:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 23rd, 2022

A seafood restaurant in Alabama is closing down because it cannot find enough cooks

The owners of Bayley's Seafood Restaurant in Theodore had already reduced its operating hours after one cook left. In April, workers quit jobs at hotels and restaurants at almost twice the rate of the national average.Hinterhaus Productions/ Getty Images A seafood restaurant in Alabama is closing down, with its owner blaming the move on a lack of cooks. Bayley's Seafood Restaurant had previously stopped its dinner service due to a lack of labor. In April, the quit rate at hotels and restaurants was nearly twice as high as the national average. A seafood restaurant in Alabama is closing down, with its owner blaming the decision on a struggle to find enough kitchen staff.Bill Bayley, owner of Bayley's Seafood Restaurant in Theodore, just off Alabama's south coast, said in a Facebook post that from Wednesday it would "be closing for good due to inability to get staff needed to run a restaurant efficiently.""What we need is, we need cooks," Bayley told AL.com. After the restaurant's night-shift cook left, it had to stop dinner service and instead shut at 4pm on the five days a week it operates, the website reported.The restaurant's daytime cook has now said he plans to retire after working there for nearly 30 years, the owner's wife Carol told AL.com.The owners said they were accepting applications and may be able to reopen if they found suitable candidates."We have people say, 'Hey, we know somebody who's in culinary school,'" Carol Bayley said. "Well, unfortunately we're a mom-and-pop restaurant. They basically need to grill, cook on the stove, fry and broil, be able to group the tickets."Although there are now more than 1 million more workers in restaurants, cafes, and bars than there were a year ago, owners are having to juggle with high staff turnover rates, which is causing headaches as the busy summer season starts.Workers across the US have quit their jobs in record numbers in search of higher wages, better benefits and hours, and a better work-life balance.In April, 740,000 workers in the accommodation and food services industry quit their jobs, according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics – a quit rate of 5.6%. While this is the industry's lowest quit rate in more than a year, it's still the highest of all sectors and nearly twice the national average.Understaffed restaurants have been forced to change their operations, with some cutting their hours, closing dining rooms or limiting menu options because they can't find enough workers.As demand for staff pushes up wages in the industry – hourly earnings for non-supervisory roles are now $17.73, up from $15.86 a year ago – some restaurants have raised their prices.Two-thirds of the 5,300 small business owners polled by Alignable in May and June said they don't think they'll be able to hire enough people to meet their needs this summer and 4% said they expected to have to cut their operating hours.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 23rd, 2022

Amid Surging Inflation, Inventory-Swamped Retailers Push Big Discounts

Amid Surging Inflation, Inventory-Swamped Retailers Push Big Discounts Though consumers are being hammered by price inflation at gas stations and grocery stores, they may be surprised by what they find at electronics, clothing, furniture and appliance stores. Swamped by excess inventory, many major retailers are offering big-time discounts on a variety of consumer goods.   One such retailer is Target, which has twice cut its profitability outlook in recent weeks. In its June 7 warning, Target projected its second-quarter operating margin would be roughly 2%, well less than half the 5.3% the company projected in May.   At the same time, Target said it was "planning several actions in the second quarter, including additional markdowns, removing excess inventory and canceling orders."  “We thought it was prudent for us to be decisive, act quickly, get out in front of this, address and optimize our inventory in the second quarter — take those actions necessary to remove the excess inventory and set ourselves up to continue to be guest-relevant with our assortment,” Target CEO Brian Cornell told CNBC. Last month, inventories at mega-retailers surged 26% over the previous year. Idle product is a double whammy, since it also entails higher storage costs.   Retailers' sales urgency translates into better deals on items like furniture, home decor, clothes, televisions, computers and kitchen appliances. WalMart, Best Buy, Gap and Urban Outfitters are among those reportedly cutting prices, but discounts aren't confined to major chains. Last week, a Fred's Appliances store in Missoula, Montana was asking just $1,799 for a package of four GE appliances—a refrigerator, range, dishwasher and microwave.    Today's widespread inventory problems started in 2021, as Bloomberg explains: Big retailers rushed to build up inventories last year amid soaring consumer demand and transportation bottlenecks—going so far in some cases as to rent their own cargo ships. Now, they’re trying to figure out how to sell all their stuff.  Several factors contributed to today's retail inventory pile-up:  Longer lead times on product deliveries forced purchasing managers to peer farther into the future when projecting their inventory needs, heightening the risk of the forecasting errors that are now manifesting themselves in retailers' warehouses. Shifting consumer needs: As the country moved out of pandemic mode, retailers found customers spent more on office wear and less on casual clothes and home goods.  Lower discretionary income: In an era of $5 gas and $1 avocados, consumers forced to shell out more money to cover basic needs have less money to work with.   That last factor may thwart retailers' plans for a mass summer inventory clearance. Not only is consumer cashflow under pressure, but Americans' credit card balances have mushroomed back to a record-high $867 billion. Stir in morale-sapping stock market losses and record-low consumer sentiment, and retailers may be facing a daunting task.  Tyler Durden Fri, 06/17/2022 - 06:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 17th, 2022

I plan menus for the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, where caviar fries cost $80. Here"s what my job is like.

Steve Benjamin is the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills' culinary director. When he's not in a kitchen, he plans meals for bodyguard-escorted celebrities. Steve Benjamin.Courtesy of Steve Benjamin Steve Benjamin, 45, is the culinary director at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. He helps create lavish celebrity menus. He was born and raised in Paris, where he professionally trained, and spent time as a celebrity chef in Las Vegas. This is his story, as told to writer Molly O'Brien. This as-told-to essay is based on a transcribed conversation with Steve Benjamin, the 45-year-old culinary director at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. It has been edited for length and clarity.As culinary director at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, I oversee the hotel's two restaurants — The Rooftop by JG and the Jean-Georges Beverly Hills — as well as room service and any banquet events. I work closely with the chef-owner of our two restaurants, Chef Jean George. Jean-Georges Beverly Hills.Waldorf Astoria Beverly HillsI was born and raised in Paris, where I fell in love with food as a child and trained as a chef at a very young age. Before the Waldorf, I worked as a chef in Las Vegas.When I start cooking, I feel a sense of passion — but I also like to interact with the tables and personally say hi to each person. I still cook, but I'm at the stage of my career where I also need to teach, mentor people, and share my passion for cooking.I oversee two luxurious restaurants where we serve hotel guests as well as locals and touristsEvery day when I come to work, I stop by the kitchen to say hello to everyone on our culinary team.I'm stopping in all departments, because it's important for me to motivate our team daily. It's a respect to say hello to everyone, in my opinion. After 32 years in food and hospitality, I want to share what I've learned and pass that knowledge along. My daily routine can range from menu creation to cooking classesThat includes menu changes, banquet duties, overseeing holiday events, and working in the kitchen for any extra-special guest requests. We also have several special dishes at the Waldorf, and we pride ourselves on our seafood. We do a Lobster Burger, as well as french fries topped with caviar. I call them the dirtiest, most expensive french fries in Beverly Hills.The Lobster Burger.Waldorf Astoria Beverly HillsWe put between 18 and 20 grams of caviar on the top of a bed of fries, depending on how many people there are sharing them. It's a good sharing dish and goes for $80 a plate.There's also our Avocado Pizza, which is pretty unique. It's fresh pizza dough with shaved onion, cooked until it's deep golden. (This will be the shell.) It's topped with olive oil, fleur de sel, and avocado, finishing with lime juice and zest, salt, micro cilantro, and Jalapenos. It's very California.I have a lot of favorite dishes on the menuBut I'd say my ultimate favorite — because I'm a big fan of Japanese cuisine — is the sashimi.  Three years ago, we had a special menu that combined white truffle, black truffle, and caviar. That menu went for more than $380 per person, not including wine pairings. This menu is only created when we can have these luxury seasonal items available, which is usually from the end of October through January. We have caviar all year. The Avocado Carpaccio Pizza.Waldorf Astoria Beverly HillsWe try to create a luxury experience within a banquet by doing a station where we have a really prestigious item, like caviar or truffle. This is for everyday events, as well as with our in-room dining.I get my truffle delivered from France right here to Beverly Hills, each week. It's that kind of product that we source that's really expensive but worth the cost. During the summer, we source the Australian truffle, called the "Manjimup winter truffle," which costs between $500 and $600 per pound. We also source the winter French black truffle from Perigord for between $550 and $700 per pound. My favorite part of the property is the rooftop, no matter the weather or time of dayI have a different view from the roof. In the morning, it can be a bit cloudy and foggy, and in the afternoon, it's sunny and hot. You can often see over the hills and all the way to the ocean.At night, it's a whole different ambiance. I just love coming upstairs and seeing this view. I organized a private event on the rooftop not too long ago for a celebrity rapper The rapper wanted to book a table for two for a special Valentine's Day dinner next to the rooftop pool. We set up the area at the pool with a large flower display and some heaters.He specifically wanted to have a table at the north end of the pool, where you can watch the sunset all the way to Santa Monica and Malibu. We cleared everything out of the entire pool area, just for him, to create a dinner for two with a view of the sunset. There were bodyguards everywhere.The Rooftop by JG restaurant.Waldorf Astoria Beverly HillsWe made some special items for them, as well as some classics like the Truffle Burger, the Lobster Burger, Crispy Sushi, Tuna Tartar, Grilled Octopus, the Sashimi Platter, the Strawberry Burrata, and more. We offered a couple of my creations as well, like the French Fries with Caviar. I was the one specifically cooking for him.We curated the entire evening, especially for them and what they wanted. That evening was really intense, but it turned out to be a lovely, romantic moment. We gave them the best of everything. My favorite part of my job is the feeling of community, passion, and sharing every day with my teamI want to make our guests happy and to create an experience that they'll treasure and remember. It's been almost 20 years now that I've been in the States, and I've been with the hotel since 2017. Above all of my many job duties, the most important thing for me is customer service.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 16th, 2022

75+ sweet gift ideas for your girlfriend that span all of her interests

We rounded up 76 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry to helpful tech and fitness accessories. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.We rounded up 76 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry to helpful tech and fitness accessories.Brightland/SonosGiving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know your partner: What they love, what rituals they enjoy, what small daily annoyances you could possibly solve with a thoughtful gift. You also know how much they'll appreciate a gift that comes from you.Odds are you want to give them something wonderful — whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all personalities and interests to help guide you.Check out 76 great gifts for your girlfriend in 2022:Home and kitchenA small cold brew coffee makerAmazonAirtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Amazon, $35.99This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee's less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there's a minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on your girlfriend's way out the door to work. A weighted blanket for better restAmazonYnM Weighted Blanket, available at Amazon, $36.50Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by "grounding" the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside. A high quality scented candle she'll light all the timeNordstromKacey Musgraves and Boy Smells Slow Burn Candle, available at Nordstrom, from $46Kacey Musgrave's collaboration with Boy Smells, a popular emergent candle brand, is woody and dark, with hints of smoked papyrus and amber with ginger and black pepper. We also love Otherland if you're looking for a gift from another on-the-rise startup she may have seen ads for online. For traditional candles, we'd recommend going with Le Labo, Diptyque, and Byredo if they're within your budget. A standing desk for a home office upgradeFullyJarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $509.15If she's working from home, your girlfriend might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need. A Dutch oven to elevate their bread gameLodgeLodge Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $79.90Did your girlfriend get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate her experience. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rack, according to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne.A framed keepsake of a favorite memoryFramebridgeFramed photo, available at Framebridge, from $49Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing a bit more affordable. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get. A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinetsMade InSilicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $69This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If your girlfriend loves to cook and has a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move. A customized map of her favorite placeGrafomapCustom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find our full review here.An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your homeOur PlaceAlways Pan, available at Our Place, $145If you're spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — she may appreciate a good 8-in-1 cookware hack.The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that's extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here.Personalized cartoon couple mugsUncommon GoodsPersonalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30These cute mugs can be personalized for what you're like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established if you'd like. A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memoryartifact uprisingLarge Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $19Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $19, a set of prints for $8, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $26.A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straightHydro FlaskHydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here.Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the marketBrooklinenLuxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $231.41Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in plenty of colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in a soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave.A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care forLeon & GeorgeSilver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to your girlfriend's door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George's options are very easy to care for. We'd also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.  A beautiful bouquetUrban StemsFlower Bouquets, available at Urban Stems, $55Send flowers to her doorstep. We're fans of UrbanStems; Its bouquets are one of the best things we've ever tested. If you're looking for something that won't be gone after a couple of weeks, you'll also find options for potted plants and low-maintenance, decor-friendly dried bouquets.A pasta maker you can use togetherWilliams SonomaImperia Pasta Machine, available at Williams Sonoma, $149.95Bring the pasta maker and the fixings to make a delicious meal together. It's relatively easy to get the hang of, and you can enjoy quality time with the bonus of incredible ravioli or fettuccine on the other end of it. Food and drinksDelicious sweets from a famous NYC bakeryMilk BarMilk Bar Treats, available at Milk Bar, from $27If your girlfriend has a sweet tooth, send her Milk Bar — the company delivers its iconic and decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to her doorstep.Her favorite specialty food straight from the sourceGoldbelly/InstagramOrder her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy your girlfriend's most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration. A subscription that sends her a six-month world tour of teasAtlas Tea ClubAtlas Tea Club 6 Month Subscription, available at Atlas Tea Club, $99This subscription sends your girlfriend single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. She'll get two delicious options sent to her home each month.A gift card to a popular wine subscription clubWincGift Card, available at Winc, from $50Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it's the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions. A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 secondsDaily HarvestGift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $50Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they're tasty and good for you. It addressed most of my healthy eating roadblocks. The internet's favorite olive oilBrightlandAwake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here. A cooking class from one of the nation's top chefsCozymeal/InstagramGift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50With a Cozymeal class, you and your girlfriend can learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation's top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it's safe to do so). Fancy popcorn and a movie nightWilliams SonomaAmish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, from $29.95Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on your girlfriend's favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants.A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferencesDriftaway Facebook3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $54If your girlfriend loves coffee, she'll probably love to try Driftaway. It's a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she'll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options.TechThe best Apple Watch we've triedAppleApple Watch Series 7, available at Amazon, from $383.97If you're looking for a great gift and not concerned about staying in an under-$200 budget, we'd recommend the Apple Watch Series 7.Currently, we think it's the best Apple Watch. The Series 7 can charge up to 80% in 45 minutes, and it's the most advanced version with features such as blood oxygen saturation measuring and an electrocardiogram scanner to detect abnormalities in the heart's rhythm. The best noise-canceling headphonesAmazonSony Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones, available at Amazon, $348If your girlfriend is into music, the best gift is the one that improves her everyday music-listening experience. For that, we recommend our favorite noise-canceling headphones — Sony's WH-1000XM4 — that balance sound quality, noise cancellation, and comfort at a solid price.You can find more good noise-canceling headphone options here.A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quicklyAmazonTile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99When your girlfriend can't find her phone, all she has to do is click the Tile button to make her phone ring, even if it's on silent. We've found them especially useful lately. Apple AirPods Pro for when she's on the moveCrystal Cox/Business InsiderApple AirPods Pro, available at Amazon, $197We love Apple's AirPods Pro for Apple users. They're no-hassle, work with Apple products, have decent sound and noise cancellation, are water-resistant, have a wireless charging case, and feel more comfortable than standard AirPods. You'll find more wireless earbuds we love here.A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhereAmazonKindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $139.99If your girlfriend is a reader, we'd suggest looking at Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite; it's the company's thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it's waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you've already taken care of.A small, portable projector to curl up and watch movies withAmazonNebula Projector, available at Amazon, $249.99This is one of the most portable (and affordable) projectors. It's about the size of a soda can, weighs one pound, and has crisp image quality and 360° sound. Use it at home or bring it with you on your travels. Find a full review of the Anker Nebula Capsule here. A powerful, customizable massage gunTheragunTheragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599This is the best massage gun we've tested — though it's also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use. If you can't give your girlfriend an unlimited pass to professional massages, this is a nice in-between option. A convenient phone sanitizerPhoneSoapPhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95This small, easy-to-use device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs.The new Sonos Move portable speakerAmazonSonos Move, available at Best Buy, $399.99The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It's powerful, can be controlled by voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort.Clothing and accessoriesA pair of beautiful pearl earrings she'll own for years to comeStone and StrandElliptical Pearl Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $250Pearls are timeless, but they're also one of the jewelry trends we're keeping an eye on in 2022. This pair, from the women-led startup Stone and Strand, is made with 14K gold with freshwater pearls.A versatile exercise dressOutdoor VoicesThe Exercise Dress, available at Outdoor Voices, $100Given the popularity of the Exercise Dress, we wouldn't be surprised if this was on your girlfriend's wish list. The Exercise Dress is comfortable, versatile, and cute — which has made it a cult-favorite item. If she's a fan of dresses, Outdoor Voices, or clothes she can wear all day long, this may be a good option. A delicate, timeless diamond necklaceAurateDiamond Bezel Necklace, available at Aurate, $320This is something your girlfriend will wear and own forever. A delicate diamond necklace is an essential piece and will (probably) never go out of style. This option is from one of our favorite startups, AUrate — an ethical fine jewelry startup founded by two women from the Netherlands and Morocco, respectively. The best socks she'll ever wearBombasWomen's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, available at Bombas, $49.50Bombas makes the best socks we've ever tried, and they're a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They're lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping.Earrings made with her birthstoneMejuriAmethyst Flat Sphere Studs, available at Mejuri, $148If your girlfriend wears jewelry, birthstone earrings that she can keep forever are a thoughtful, personalized gift she'll wear often.  Matching underwear from one of the internet's favorite startupsMeUndiesMatching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $40Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we've ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer. A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startupCuyanaLeather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $98 (+ $15 for monogram)Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you've gotten your girlfriend jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It's made from premium leather, comes in many colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of. A pair of blue-light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the houseFelix GrayFaraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95If she's ever complained about strain from constant screens, you can help mitigate it with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with sleep.A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery packAwayCarry-On, available at Away, from $275Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.Silky, breathable leggingsEverlanePerform Leggings, available at Everlane, $68Everlane's Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they're breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here.The comfiest sneakersAllbirdsWomen's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $110The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we'd also highly recommend the brand's casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that's more your partner's style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here.A satin-lined beanieAndrea Bossi/Business InsiderKink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $36Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil's satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she'd prefer to wear the hat without it.We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair. A cashmere crew from Everlane that she'll own foreverEverlaneThe Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, $145For a closet staple she'll own for years to come, Everlane's $120 Cashmere Crew (available in various colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has plenty of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can't really go wrong. A stylish leather makeup pouch that's thoughtful and easy to travel withDagne DoverHunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women's handbag companies to know, and its toiletry pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size holds a handful of go-to toiletries, and the large should have enough space for all of the grooming essentials.A comfy zip-up for the months aheadPatagoniaBetter Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We're also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option.A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the goCaraa SportStudio Tote, available at Caraa, from $180Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining. You can read our full review of this bag here.A pair of silky sweatsAloTailored sweatpants, available at Alo, $118These feel like sweats (in a knit jersey material) but have the sort of tailored fit that you'll find in a nice pair of trousers. So, they feel wonderful and look a bit nicer than the average pair. A new pair of comfy BirkenstocksNordstromBirkenstocks, available at Nordstrom, $134.95If your girlfriend wears the unbelievably comfortable Birkenstocks most days, she might appreciate a new, unblemished pair. They're also in style. BeautyThe best bathrobe money can buyParachuteClassic Turkish Cotton Robe, available at Parachute, $87.20We think the Parachute Classic Turkish Cotton Robe is the best robe on the market. It's soft, fluffy, and absorbent like a towel. It's also got nice deep pockets and a secure waist tie.The cult-favorite hair repair conditioner on her wish listAmazonOlaplex No. 3 Hair Repairing Treatment, available at Amazon, $28This is one gift that will have your girlfriend asking you, "how did you know about this?" If Olaplex isn't already in her shower, it might be on her wish list. The Olaplex No. 3 is good for any hair type and is meant to reduce breakage and strengthen hair from within.16 highly-rated sheet masksAmazonDermal Sheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $22.99Grab 39 sheet masks to make it easier for your girlfriend to have a frequent and well-deserved "treat yourself" day. These are highly rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.   The Dyson Airwrap she's seen all over the internetBest BuyDyson Airwrap Complete Styler, available at Best Buy, $599.99The Dyson Airwrap is a minor internet celebrity — so it might already be on your girlfriend's wish list. It replaces three hair devices (blow dryer, straightener, and curling iron) and uses a technology similar to jet engines. In the end, it's a way to get a salon-grade blowout at home, and different attachments let her achieve different styles. Find a Dyson Airwrap review with photos here.But, the cost is a whopping $549, and there are some decent alternatives on the market for far less ($30-$150). If you're looking for a less splashy gift, the Dyson Hair Dryer is also excellent. A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residueAmazonForeo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $89In the category of things your girlfriend may love but hasn't asked for yet: Foreo facial brushes. Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing devices. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so your partner can maintain their skincare routine while traveling. A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50%AquisAquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes for her hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries. An award-winning at-home facialSephoraDrunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It's $80, but it's an at-home pro-quality facial your girlfriend can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials.Fitness and hobbiesAn expertly designed plannerAmazonSelf Journal, available at Amazon, $31.99 The Self Journal is an undated, 13-week planner that's designed for daily use and quarterly planning. It helps its owner break projects and goals into manageable chunks. We love it.If she's working towards a big goal, this could be a really thoughtful resource — especially if it's the kind of goal you can't help her achieve otherwise.A funny card that pays homage to your girlfriend's favorite TV showEtsySuccession Cousin Greg Birthday Card, available at Etsy, from $4.66You could pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it's so much more thoughtful if you think ahead. For that, we suggest heading to Etsy for affordable, creative, and unique gifts.As Cousin Greg said, "if it is to be said, so it is…"A 215-piece art kit for creative projectsAmazonArt 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $43.70If your girlfriend loves to create art, this 215-Piece art kit includes everything she'll need for projects: crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint.Tickets to an excellent future concertStubHubConcert Tickets Gift Card, available at StubHub, starting at $25No matter when your girlfriend's favorite musicians are performing again, a gift card for concert tickets won't go to waste — and it gives both of you something to look forward to.A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classesMandukaManduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, available at Amazon, from $46.72Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference. It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal. A video message from someone she loves almost as much as youCameoCameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $1Whether it's your girlfriend's favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you're likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she'll never forget. A disposable camera that doesn't take you out of the momentGamesgamer024 The gamer/YouTubeDisposable camera, available at Target, $15.99Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection so you and your girlfriend can focus on just savoring experiences together.A planned trip for the two of you to take togetherAirbnbAirbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25If you want to gift an experience you and your girlfriend can enjoy together, grab a card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come up with a few location ideas to choose from. You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. *This gift can be saved and used at a later date.A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classesClasspassClassPass Gift Card, available at ClassPass, from $5Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing. ClassPass solves both issues. It's relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we'd highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they're ready to use it.A year-long MasterClass membership to learn about things she's passionate aboutMasterClassAnnual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearWe love MasterClass because it kind of feels like entertainment. Classes are short, there's no homework, and she can listen to just the audio like it's a podcast.The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here.A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoringFitbitFitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $99.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep someone informed about their physical activity — tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones.An exercise bike for staying active indoorsNordicTrackCommercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,899If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200. A card game that's meant to deepen personal connectionsUrban OutfittersWe're Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30This card game, from the popular Instagram account We're Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven't played before, but it's also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy with your girlfriend.A great foam rollerTB12Vibrating Pliability Roller, available at TB12, $160If your girlfriend is very physically active, a foam roller is a nice gift to aid in her workout recovery and soreness. This one is our favorite because it has four levels of vibration, a pattern that targets muscle groups, and a durable exterior. But, if your budget doesn't fit a $160 foam roller, never fear — we like some under-$50 options too. A subscription to a book club that sends her great hardcovers once per monthBook of the Month/Instagram3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she's a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time ("Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple). If you gift her a subscription, she'll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If she's really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).Hiking boots she'll thank you forREIForge GTX Hiking Boots, available at REI, $174.73Hiking boots are the MVP of hiking gear, and the right shoes can make all the difference thanks to their fit, ankle support, cushioning, and tread. Overall, we'd recommend getting the Tecninca Forge GTX boots – they're the best overall pair. But you can find suggestions for specific hikes — a pair for backpacking, a day hiking pair — in our buying guide to the best feminine hiking shoes here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 10th, 2022

The 32 best enemies-to-lovers books to swoon over this summer, from fun rom-coms to seductive fantasy novels

From classics like "Pride and Prejudice" to newer hits like "Beach Read," these are some of the best enemies-to-lovers books. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.Some of the best enemies-to-lovers books include "Pride and Prejudice," "The Hating Game," and "Red, White & Royal Blue."Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Enemies-to-lovers is one of the most popular romance tropes. Readers love witnessing bitter rivalries dissolve into a sweet love. You might recognize classic enemies-to-lovers stories like "Pride and Prejudice." The romance genre is full of unique and adorable love stories but with so many different facets of the genre, subgenres or "tropes" have emerged such as "fake dating," "forced proximity," or "enemies-to-lovers." Tropes offer an outline for the plot from which exciting plots and memorable characters emerge and allow readers to find their favorite romance style again and again. "Enemies-to-lovers" is one of the best and most popular tropes that you might recognize from classics like "Pride and Prejudice" or bestsellers like "Red, White & Royal Blue." Whether they're set on a fabulous island or a darkly magical land, here are some of readers' favorite enemies-to-lovers romance reads.The 32 best enemies-to-lovers books in 2022:Descriptions are provided by Amazon and lightly edited for length."Pride and Prejudice" by Jane AustenAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $6.99When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. Jane Austen's best-loved novel is an unforgettable story about the inaccuracy of first impressions, the power of reason, and above all, the strange dynamics of human relationships and emotions."Dating Dr. Dil" by Nisha SharmaGoodreadsAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $13.60Simone Larkspur loves her job as a pastry expert for a cookbook publisher until the company pivots to video and Simone finds herself stumbling and failing to create great content. When Simone's new kitchen test manager effortlessly and infuriatingly becomes a viral sensation, Simone is forced to work with Ray and their obnoxious personality in close quarters. In "Chef's Kiss", everything gets even more complicated when Ray comes out as nonbinary to a swell of mixed reactions — and Simone must choose between her career and the person who's been slowly melting her heart."Chef's Kiss" by TJ AlexanderAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $13.60Simone Larkspur is a perfectionist pastry expert with a dream job at The Discerning Chef, a venerable cookbook publisher in New York City. But when The Discerning Chef decides to bring their brand into the 21st century by pivoting to video, Simone is thrust into the spotlight and finds herself failing at something for the first time in her life.To make matters worse, Simone has to deal with Ray Lyton, the new test kitchen manager, whose obnoxious cheer and outgoing personality are like oil to Simone's water. But the more they work together, the more Simone realizes her heart may be softening like butter for Ray.Things get even more complicated when Ray comes out at work as nonbinary to mixed reactions—and Simone must choose between the career she fought so hard for and the person who just might take the cake (and her heart)."West Side Love Story" by Priscilla OliverasGoodreadsAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $11.66Having grown up in the nurturing household of Casa Capuleta, Mariana will do anything for familia. To solve her adoptive parents' financial problems amid their rapidly changing San Antonio comunidad, Mariana and her younger sisters are determined to win the Battle of the Mariachi Bands. That means competing against Hugo Montero, their father's archnemesis, and his band and escalating a decades-old feud. To Angelo Montero's familia, Mariana is also strictly off-limits. But that doesn't stop him from pursuing her. As their secret affair intensifies and the competition grows fierce, they're swept up in a brewing storm of betrayals, rivalries, and broken ties. "She Gets the Girl" by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson DerrickAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.32Alex Blackwood is a little bit headstrong, with a dash of chaos and a whole lot of flirt. Molly Parker has everything in her life totally in control, except for her complete awkwardness with just about anyone besides her mom. She knows she's in love with the impossibly cool Cora Myers. She just…hasn't actually talked to her yet.When Alex, fresh off a bad (but hopefully not permanent) breakup, discovers Molly's hidden crush as their paths cross the night before classes start, they realize they might have a common interest after all. Because maybe if Alex volunteers to help Molly learn how to get her dream girl to fall for her, she can prove to her ex that she's not a selfish flirt. As the two embark on their five-step plans to get their girls to fall for them, though, they both begin to wonder if maybe they're the ones falling…for each other."The Stand-In" by Lily ChuAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $11.99Gracie Reed is doing just fine. Sure, she was fired by her overly "friendly" boss, and yes she still hasn't gotten her mother into the nursing home of their dreams, but she's healthy, she's (somewhat) happy, and she's (mostly) holding it all together.But when a mysterious SUV pulls up beside her, revealing Chinese cinema's golden couple Wei Fangli and Sam Yao, Gracie's world is turned on its head. The famous actress has a proposition: due to their uncanny resemblance, Fangli wants Gracie to be her stand-in. The catch? Gracie will have to be escorted by Sam, the most attractive―and infuriating―man Gracie's ever met."Beach Read" by Emily HenryAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $7.36A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck with their respective writer's blocks engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters. They strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. Everyone will finish a book, and no one will fall in love. Really."The Spanish Love Deception" by Elena ArmasAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $17.99A wedding. A trip to Spain. The most infuriating man. And three days of pretending. Or, in other words, a plan that will never work.Four weeks wasn't a lot of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic — from NYC and all the way to Spain — for a wedding. Let alone someone eager to play along with my charade. But that didn't mean I was desperate enough to bring the 6'4 blue-eyed pain in my ass standing before me: Aaron Blackford. The man whose main occupation was making my blood boil had just offered himself to be my date, right after inserting his nose in my business and calling me delusional and himself my best option. Was it worth the suffering to bring my colleague and bane of my existence as my fake boyfriend to my sister's wedding? Or was I better off coming clean and facing the consequences?"Poison Study (The Chronicles of Ixia Book 0)" by Maria V. SnyderAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $11.59About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace — and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.And so, Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dusté, and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia, and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again, and choices must be made. But this time, the outcomes aren't so clear."A Touch of Darkness" by Scarlett St. ClairAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.54Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist. Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world, and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible. After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead, and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever. The bet does more than expose Persephone's failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows — and it's forbidden."The Hating Game" by Sally ThorneAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $9.19Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can't understand Joshua's joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy's overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head, and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job… But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn't hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn't hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game."Red Queen" by Victoria AveyardAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $6.98Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood — those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and she is betrothed to one of his sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard — a growing Red rebellion — even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction."Beautiful Disaster" by Jamie McGuireAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $9.90The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn't drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand.Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants — and needs — to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby's resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis's apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. "Red, White & Royal Blue" by Casey McQuistonAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $9.97What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius ― his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: Staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper  and more dangerous than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? "The Shadows Between Us" by Tricia LevensellerAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $10.99Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:1) Woo the Shadow King.2) Marry him.3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King's power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she's going to do everything within her power to get it.But Alessandra's not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen ― all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?"The Viscount Who Loved Me: Bridgerton (Bridgerton Book 2)" by Julia QuinnAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $9.19This time the gossip columnists have it wrong. London's most elusive bachelor Anthony Bridgerton hasn't just decided to marry — he's even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended's older sister, Kate Sheffield — the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate's the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands — and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate's determined to protect her sister — but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony's lips touch hers, she's suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself..."The Cruel Prince" by Holly BlackAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $10.99Of course, I want to be like them. They're beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever. And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered, and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. 10 years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans — especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.To win a place at the Court, she must defy him — and face the consequences."Wuthering Heights" by Emily BronteAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $7.36Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before. What unfolds is the tale of the intense love between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal are visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past."The Unhoneymooners" by Christina LaurenAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $8.44Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: From inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion… she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.Olive braces herself for wedding hell — determined to put on a brave face. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren't affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there's a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, 10 days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is… Olive doesn't mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be."If I Never Met You" by Mhairi McFarlaneAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $10.72When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling — not only because they work at the same law firm, and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles, and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex's pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.Jamie Carter doesn't believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It's the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment — and jealousy — of their friends and colleagues. But there's a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend..."Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove, #1)" by Shelby MahurinAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $10.59Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation — marriage.Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all."The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)" by Holly BlackAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $10.99You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring. The first lesson is to make yourself strong.Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world."Six of Crows (Six of Crows, 1)" by Leigh BardugoAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $7.99Ketterdam: A bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price ― and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction ― if they don't kill each other first."Bully (Fall Away, #1)" by Penelope DouglasAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.40My name is Tate. He doesn't call me that, though. He would never refer to me by a friendly nickname. No, he'll barely even speak to me. But he still won't leave me alone.We were best friends once. Then he turned on me and made it his mission to ruin my life. I was humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got worse as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to stay out of his way. I even went away for a year just to avoid him.But I'm done hiding from him now, and there's no way I'll allow him to ruin another year. He might not have changed, but I have. It's time to fight back."A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)" by Sarah J. MaasAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $10.80When 19-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a terrifying creature arrives to demand retribution. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she knows about only from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not truly a beast, but one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled her world.At least, he's not a beast all the time.As she adapts to her new home, her feelings for the faerie, Tamlin, transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But something is not right in the faerie lands. An ancient, wicked shadow is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever."To Kill a Kingdom" by Alexandra ChristoAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $9.89Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of 17 princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most ― a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian's heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby ― it's his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she's more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good ― but can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind's greatest enemy?"Punk 57" by Penelope DouglasAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99Misha: I can't help but smile at the lyrics in her letter. She misses me. In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed. It didn't take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever… And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us. We only had three rules: No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it? Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name's Ryen, loves Gallo's pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances? F*ck it. I need to meet her. I just don't expect to hate what I find. Ryen: He hasn't written in three months. Something's wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch. Without him around, I'm going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It's my own fault. I should've gotten his phone number or picture or something. He could be gone forever. Or right under my nose, and I wouldn't even know it."From Lukov with Love" by Mariana ZapataAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $18.99If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one. After 17 years — and countless broken bones and broken promises — she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close. But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she's spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything. Including Ivan Lukov."From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash, #1)" by Jennifer L. ArmentroutAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $18.65Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy's life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.The entire kingdom's future rests on Poppy's shoulders. But when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard, honor-bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden."These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)" by Chloe GongAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.98The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is 18-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang — a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette's first love… and first betrayal.But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns — and grudges — aside and work together, for if they can't stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule."The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom, #1)" by Danielle L. JensenAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $13.49The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara's homeland. So when she's sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she's the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she'll save... and which kingdom she'll destroy."Paper Princess (The Royals, #1") by Erin WattAmazonAvailable on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.14Ella Harper is a survivor ― a pragmatic optimist. She's spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she'll climb out of the gutter. After her mother's death, Ella is truly alone.Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons, who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to where she came from.Reed doesn't want her. He says she doesn't belong with the Royals. He might be right.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 7th, 2022

"No Justice, No Booty": Portland strippers continue organizing for better working conditions two years after Stripper Strike PDX

Portland strippers are organizing mutual aid groups and union-style collectives to support one another and negotiate for better working conditions. Dancer at Lucky Devil Lounge in PortlandShon Boulden Dancers in Portland, Oregon, have continued organizing for better working conditions since 2020's Stripper Strike,  Sex workers were left without access to aid during the pandemic and created mutual aid groups to make ends meet. Since then, labor groups for strippers have expanded beyond Portland to Los Angeles and beyond.  Two years since a general strike among strippers in Portland, Oregon, prompted nearly 30 clubs to adopt worker-protecting measures, sex workers in the region are still organizing to secure better living and working conditions, while their movement has gained steam nationwide and internationally. Strippers and other sex workers told Insider they still face sexual harassment and assault at work, by both management and customers of clubs, and conditions have been more challenging since the pandemic made owners more desperate for business. Despite some progress, Black dancers reported hearing racist remarks and facing discrimination at work.  Portland is home to the most strip clubs per capita in the US, with a unique culture and economy that relies on club tourism. In summer 2020, more than 100 dancers protested for better working conditions and nearly 30 strip clubs – facing the financial pressure of the pandemic as well as missing dancers – ultimately agreed to undergo anti-racism training, listening sessions, and hire more dancers of color. "We've shifted our focus from dealing with the clubs directly to dealing with people's personal everyday safety and security, to put them in a spot where they feel okay telling their boss to fuck off for a week," Cat Hollis, organizer of the 2020 Portland Stripper Strike, told Insider."And it's really hard to do that when you're a person of color who's scraping by and in a town that's meant to chew you up and spit you out." A Stripper Strike LegacyIn 2020, Hollis, who is nonbinary, uses they/them pronouns and worked as a stripper at the time, felt called to organize a series of protests among other strippers in Portland as they and other Black dancers reported facing racist harassment and discrimination at work. They alleged multiple clubs illegally withheld wages and required illegal kickbacks in addition to the risk of sexual violence they and other dancers regularly face in the clubs. A post shared by Haymarket Pole Collective (@pdxstripperstrike) Hollis, as well as three other dancers, have a suit pending against six different strip clubs in Oregon, alleging federal wage violations similar to those faced by gig workers, including management stealing tips and demanding illegal kickbacks and house fees. While they're dedicated to seeing the suit through, Hollis said, they are focused more on taking concrete actions directed toward helping sex workers and enabling them to further organize on their own.  "When I started listening to what the community was saying during our listening sessions throughout 2020 and into 2021, was that people needed to take care of their basic needs — they needed things like diapers, they needed things like COVID testing," Hollis said. "They needed things that create the stability in their lives to be able to go up against their boss."Since 2020, Hollis, now a full-time organizer with the Haymarket Pole Collective, has helped the nonprofit raise $1.6 million in donations and grant funding to provide material support for strippers and sex workers in Portland.Outside Portland, the wave of momentum caused in part by Hollis' organizing hit Los Angeles, where dancers at the Star Garden in North Hollywood voted this month to become the nation's first unionized strip club since San Francisco's Lusty Lady closed its doors in 2013. An Owner's Perspective For club owners, the needs of dancers frequently take a backseat to the financial needs of the business — especially during the pandemic, when strip clubs – classified as "live entertainment" venues – were forced to close due to coronavirus concerns. Some owners, faced with business closures and striking dancers, had contentious relationships with strippers who organized during the early days of the pandemic. One club, Union Jacks, was repeatedly named by dancers who said the club had issues with fair treatment and that management unfairly discriminated against Black dancers both before and during the pandemic. Union Jacks club did not respond to Insider's requests for comment. Other business owners, like Shon Boulden, who runs both Lucky Devil Lounge and Devils Point club in Portland, tried to embrace requests from organizing dancers in hopes of keeping morale up and doors open. "This whole industry, as far as in Portland, the strip club industry, the restaurants, the nightclubs, the nightlife in the street, you know, it all feeds off of each other," Boulden told Insider. "So that even impacted you know, you know, bartenders, all the people who were staff, sound engineers, security people, bartenders."During the early days of the pandemic, Boulden turned his club into a drive-through strip venue that served food to ensure he and his employees kept working. The dancers who volunteered to stay working despite club closures were mostly white, prompting Boulden to be called out by the Haymarket Pole Collective for racist hiring policies in his own clubs. He said he and his staff took the criticism to heart and underwent an implicit bias training hosted by HPC and tried to make his club more inclusive. "Lucky Devil Lounge strives to create an inclusive, equal opportunity space and welcome all races and ethnicities! BIPOC performers to the front!" reads a disclaimer on the Lucky Devil Lounge website. "We are aware & take responsibility for the past narratives surrounding our clubs. We are here to provide a safe, positive, and profitable atmosphere for everyone."Since being called out in 2020, Boulden has become a more vocal supporter of labor and mutual aid organizations for strippers, which he says are a benefit to the larger community. "I think anybody that supports support dancers and provides like information for them as a resource is a good thing," Boulden told Insider, adding that providing mental health and housing resources to dancers helps his business in the long run. "You know, those are all things that help us continue to keep this industry."Current ConcernsIn a high-turnover industry like sex work, dancers with less experience are unlikely to have heard of mutual aid organizations or labor and union groups like Haymarket Pole Collective and the group behind the Los Angeles strike, Strippers United. More experienced dancers, who have been stripping longer than two years, see the benefit of the groups, but have urgent needs beyond hiring practices and tipping procedures that need to be addressed before they consider unionizing.Dancers face sexual harassment and assault by both management and clients while stripping. One stripper told Insider she wore a butt plug with a fox tail during a dance on stage, which was suddenly pulled out by a customer. She reflexively punched the man who had just sexually assaulted her and, while he was not removed from the venue, she was fired by the club owners. Another dancer told Insider she helped a new girl home after she'd been drugged by a customer. Others still told Insider about stories of druggings, shootings, and other sexual violence while at work.In addition to the risk of violence, dancers also face increased stigma when seeking traditional aid resources. Many were ineligible for unemployment benefits, even as clubs closed during the pandemic, given the under-the-table nature of their work."I think that groups like that should also partly focus on things that they can do to help dancers," a stripper by the name of Mercedes told Insider. "Like, help find housing that will not deny us, help find programs that we can actually get into that aren't like, 'well, we can't track your income. We can't help you.'" A post shared by Haymarket Pole Collective (@pdxstripperstrike)  Strippers currently employed in clubs told Insider there are three main things they're seeking when it comes to pursuing better working conditions: one, management that treats them equitably and does not discriminate based on gender identity or race. Second, clubs that offer protection from threatening clients and do not punish strippers for standing up for themselves. Last, strippers told Insider they hope to find club owners who do not charge unreasonable fees and skim funds from private dances.If a dancer can find fair treatment in a safe club with high-end clientele, they've found a "good" club — though most experienced strippers will settle for two signs of a "good" club to begin dancing somewhere new, knowing how difficult it can be to find all three. Ultimately, the dancers who spoke to Insider all expressed how much they love their jobs and the financial security stripping provides. However, each also indicated that the sex work industry itself faces magnified issues of prejudice and stigma, which in turn makes it a hard job to sustain without strong community help. "It's still very mixed. I feel like it's really positive because, financially, I've been able to like gain a lot of freedom. But you know, you see a lot of things like drug addiction. Things like racism, like fatphobia," a dancer by the name of Sarah told Insider."You see a lot of negative things and it is like a really emotionally taxing job." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 28th, 2022

12 Nightmarish Economic Trends That We Should Expect To See During The 2nd Half Of 2022

12 Nightmarish Economic Trends That We Should Expect To See During The 2nd Half Of 2022 Authored by Michael Snyder via TheMostImportantNews.com, If you thought that the economic news was crazy during the first half of 2022, just wait until we get to the second half.  So many of the problems that we are experiencing now are going to continue to intensify, and Americans are becoming more pessimistic about economic conditions with each passing day.  In fact, as you will see below, a whopping 85 percent of us believe that it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that the economy will go through a recession at some point during the next year.  Of course the truth is that if all we have to suffer through is a “recession”, we would be extremely fortunate.  Our leaders have lost control of the economy, and many of us are extremely concerned about what is coming next.  The following are 12 nightmarish economic trends that we should expect to see during the second half of 2022… #1 Gas prices will continue to surge higher, and many Americans will be shocked by how high they eventually go.  If you can believe it, in Washington State at least one gas station has now reprogrammed their gas pumps “to make room for double-digit pricing”… At the 76 Gas Station in Auburn, Washington located at 1725 Auburn Way North, gas pumps have been reprogrammed to make room for double-digit pricing. In March, they still had single-digit programming. A spokesperson at 76 confirmed to The Post Millennial that the gas pumps were reprogrammed to allocate for double-digit pricing. Although not confirming that they are expecting prices to increase up to $10.00 or more, the current trend suggests the possibility. Supplies of fuel will continue to get even tighter in the months ahead.  Earlier today, I heard from a reader on the east coast and a reader in the middle of the country that both said that diesel is now being rationed where they live.  So far, I have not been able to confirm that this is happening on a widespread basis. #2 We are being warned that there could be extended blackouts in some parts of the nation during the summer months.  It is being reported that the middle of the country is particularly at risk… About 100 million Americans face power blackouts this summer as roasting weather, overstretched powerplants and unreliable green energy sources combine to create a perfect storm of problems. States stretching from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean which are home to tens of millions of Americans could have a hard time producing enough power for their residents this summer. The ‘MISO’ part of America’s power grid – whose full name is the Midcontinent Independent System Operator is at greatest risk of a large-scale outage. #3 Everyone pretty much agrees that food prices will continue to rise.  Of course they have already reached levels that are absolutely insane… Take the case of Jeff Good, who co-founded three restaurants in Jackson, Mississippi. Around 18 months ago, a 40-pound box of chicken wings cost him about $85. Now, it can go as high as roughly $150. Expenses for cooking oil and flour have nearly doubled in the past five months, he said. But it’s not just ingredient prices going up. He’s paying more for labor and services, too. Even the company that maintains his air conditioners has tacked on a $40 fuel charge per visit. To cope, he’s raised menu prices. A 15-piece order of chicken wings, a signature dish at his Sal and Mookie’s pizzeria, went for $13.95 before Covid hit. Now, wing costs can vary so much they’re labeled at “market price,” like some restaurants do with lobster. At peaks, the menu price can be be about $27.95 — but that represents a barely-there margin — and Good estimates the “real cost” is closer to about $34. He’s trying to decide whether to keep raising prices or take wings off the menu. I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever see myself paying 34 dollars for an order of chicken wings. #4 As our supply chains endure even more stress, shortages will continue to intensify.  The extreme baby formula shortage that we are witnessing right now is just a preview of coming attractions… Two children in Memphis have been hospitalized after needing IV fluids and nutritional support due to the baby formula shortage. The preschooler and toddler, both from different families, were rushed to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital after their parents failed to secure formula as shelves across America go bare. #5 The UN is telling us that we are heading into the worst global food crisis since World War II.  In some parts of Africa, the number of people suffering from “extreme hunger” has already more than doubled… More than 23 million people are experiencing extreme hunger in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya, according to a new report by Oxfam and Save the Children. That’s up from over 10 million last year. The region’s worst drought in 40 years is being exacerbated by conflict and the pandemic. And the war in Ukraine has sent food prices soaring to record levels. #6 Widespread hunger will almost certainly lead to more civil unrest.  Recent events in Sri Lanka give us an indication of what may be coming… Protesters in Sri Lanka have burned down homes belonging to 38 politicians as the crisis-hit country plunged further into chaos, with the government ordering troops to “shoot on sight.” Police in the island nation said Tuesday that in addition to the destroyed homes, 75 others have been damaged as angry Sri Lankans continue to defy a nationwide curfew to protest against what they say is the government’s mishandling of the country’s worst economic crisis since 1948. #7 The Federal Reserve is likely to continue to aggressively raise interest rates.  In fact, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is openly admitting that his institution’s battle against inflation could cause “some pain” in the months ahead… Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Tuesday the U.S. could feel “some pain” as the central bank raises interest rates to fight inflation, insisting the Fed would do whatever it takes to curb price growth. During a live interview for The Wall Street Journal’s “Future of Everything” summit, Powell said the Fed will continue to raise interest rates until inflation starts to fall and the forces driving prices higher fade, even at the risk of a deeper economic slowdown. #8 Higher interest rates will be devastating for the housing market in the United States.  And that is very troubling news, because home sales have already fallen for three months in a row… Home sales fell for the third consecutive month in April as rising mortgage rates and affordability challenges pushed many would-be home buyers out of the market. #9 Defaults are likely to continue to rise higher.  Just like we saw right before the last financial crisis, defaults on subprime loans are really starting to surge… Consumers with low credit scores are falling behind on payments for car loans, personal loans and credit cards, a sign that the healthiest consumer lending environment on record in the U.S. is coming to an end. The share of subprime credit cards and personal loans that are at least 60 days late is rising faster than normal, according to credit-reporting firm Equifax. In March, those delinquencies rose month over month for the eighth time in a row, nearing their prepandemic levels. Delinquencies on subprime car loans and leases hit an all-time high in February, based on Equifax’s tracking that goes back to 2007. #10 As the economy slows down, we should expect layoffs to increase and jobless claims will eventually start to spike.  In fact, we just learned that they have now hit a four month high. #11 Needless to say, all of this bad economic news is going to be really bad for stock prices.  The S&P 500 has already nearly fallen into bear market territory, and many believe that what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning. #12 Many are warning that a recession is either already here or will arrive soon.  And Americans are increasingly becoming more pessimistic about the economy.  One survey that was recently conducted found that 85 percent of Americans believe that it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that there will be a recession at some point in the next year… An overwhelming majority of Americans are expecting there to be a recession within the next year, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The poll found that 85 percent of Americans think it is likely for the country to go through an economic recession in the next year. Of those who responded, 45 percent said it is “very likely,” and 40 percent said “somewhat likely” for a recession. The sort of historic economic meltdown that I have been warning about for years is rapidly approaching, and the mood of the nation will dramatically shift as conditions greatly deteriorate. Already, we are starting to see a tremendous amount of anger out there.  Earlier today, I came across the following post on a very popular Internet discussion forum… Just want to vent. I am from middle Missouri, I am a single mom of 2 teens. My day job pays well and pays the bills well, a year ago my income would support us, bills, food, gas etc. i now have to work a second job just to feed us and put gas in my car. Eggs here went from .99 a carton to 1.99, ground beef went from 2.89 a pound to 4.99, and it goes on and on. Gas went from 1.90 to 4.29 a gallon. I am out of my mind scared it will only get worse. I have democrat friends that say “that’s how the economy works”. No it’s because Biden was giving out “covid” bucks to non working people taking advantage of the system, giving our money to Ukraine, shutting down gas lines in the US etc. I can understand her anger. Most Americans are working as hard as they can, but our standard of living is being systematically destroyed by the very foolish policies of our leaders. Unfortunately, we are still only in the very early chapters of this crisis. It looks like the second half of this year will be even more challenging than the first half, and that is going to have enormous implications for all of us. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Fri, 05/20/2022 - 16:22.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 20th, 2022

I toured a farm that ethically harvests shrimp and it taught me how gross seafood production is. Here"s a look inside.

Kaila Yu toured a shrimp farm that produces 600 to 800 pounds of shrimp every week, which is sold fresh to local restaurants and markets. Writer Kaila Yu visited a shrimp farm in LA to learn about shrimp harvesting practices.Kaila Yu/Insider I visited a sustainable shrimp farm called TransparentSea in Los Angeles, California. Inside, the warehouse was filled with tanks for the shrimps' various stages of growth. Unlike some fisheries, this farm has an extensive water-filtration system and harvests shrimp by hand. Shrimp is the most consumed seafood in the US, but some shrimp companies are less than transparent about their supply chains — and some have even been tied to slave labor practices outside of the country.The seafood display in a Publix in Florida.Joey Hadden/InsiderSources: NOAA Fisheries, The Washington Post, The GuardianThe seafood industry also contributes heavily to ocean and waterway pollution across the globe as well as the decline in mangroves.Fishing boats moored at the Huangsha Port in Sheyang, Yancheng City, in eastern Jiangsu Province, China, May 4, 2021.Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty ImagesSource: The New York TimesMangroves act as buffers against storms and are the home to wildlife like fish, reptiles, mollusks, crabs, and more, but they're often destroyed and cleared to make way for ponds for shrimp production.Kiyoshi Hijiki/Getty ImagesSource: World Wildlife'Bycatch,' the marine life accidentally caught during commercial fishing like dolphins, rays, and turtles, is also an issue — almost 2 billion pounds of it is thrown away by US commercial fishermen each year.Subsea cables need to be buried to protect them trawler nets like this one.Sylvain Lefevre/Getty ImagesSource: World Wildlife, NPRAn urban shrimp farm in Los Angeles, TransparentSea, is trying to change all of that by producing local, ethically harvested shrimp.Kaila Yu/InsiderSource: TransparentSeaI visited the farm, which was opened in 2020 and is located in a commercial warehouse in Downey, California.Kaila Yu/InsiderThe 18,000-square-foot warehouse produces over 500 pounds of shrimp a week, according to the farm's founder Steve Sutton.Kaila Yu/InsiderThey farm indigo-toned prawns, which are never frozen and sold fresh to local restaurants and customers at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.Kaila Yu/InsiderTransparentSea's president and founder, Steve Sutton, is an aquaculture scientist.Kaila Yu/InsiderHe and his engineering partner Douglas Ernst designed most of the systems used at the farm using aquarium technologies to filter and recycle the water supply.Kaila Yu/Insider  The extensive filtration system keeps the water clean and filtered, a step many shrimp farms skip, which Sutton said results in shrimp living in their own waste and being unhealthy.Kaila Yu/InsiderI sampled some of TransparentSea's shrimp myself, which tasted great raw. It tasted nothing like the mushy and watery shrimp I've bought at the grocery store, much of which is chemically treated.Writer Kaila Yu visited a shrimp farm in LA to learn about shrimp harvesting practices first-hand.Kaila Yu/InsiderSource: The New York TimesSutton told me it's OK to eat their shrimp raw the same day it's harvested because it's fresh and untreated. They don't add any pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones in the growing process, and no preservatives during or after harvest.Kaila Yu/InsiderInside the warehouse, this tank houses the 2-week-old baby shrimp that TransparentSea buys from a hatchery in Florida.Kaila Yu/InsiderFor 3 to 4 weeks, the baby shrimp live in this first tank and are fed fish meal pellets to grow healthy and strong.Kaila Yu/InsiderNext, the shrimp are moved to a second, larger tank where they grow for 8 to 9 more weeks until they reach about one ounce in size and are ready to be harvested.Kaila Yu/InsiderThese shrimp are a couple of weeks from harvest and will head directly to a customer afterward.Kaila Yu/InsiderThe growing shrimp are fed small pellets, purchased from a US vendor, that are made of fish parts, fish oil, and some plant protein and starches.Kaila Yu/InsiderThe shrimp are harvested every Tuesday and Friday and reap about 300 to 400 pounds per batch.Kaila Yu/InsiderTo harvest, one or two of the three aquaculture technicians throws on a wetsuit to jump in the tank and wind a giant net around the tank to trap the shrimp.Kaila Yu/InsiderBefore sorting, the shrimp are killed in cold water and die within a minute, which Sutton said is the most humane method and the best way to preserve quality.Kaila Yu/InsiderWhile many farms dump the shrimp into a bath of chemicals before the ice water, TransparentSea avoids any chemical treatment.Kaila Yu/InsiderSource: The New York TimesNext, the shrimp are transferred to the sorting room and sorted by size.Kaila Yu/InsiderThey're out on the table for no more than 20 minutes before going on ice and heading out for delivery.Kaila Yu/InsiderSutton said the average shrimp changes hands 7 to 8 times and is frozen and thawed 2 to 3 times before reaching the consumer, so beyond not being fresh, the texture and taste is deteriorated.Kaila Yu/InsiderSince TransparentSea sorts all of their shrimp by hand, unlike other factories that sort by machine, they can offer a unique product — soft shell shrimp. This shrimp is extremely delicate and can be eaten without peeling the shell.Kaila Yu/InsiderBy 11 a.m. on harvest days, the shrimp goes out for delivery, 70 to 75% of which goes to local restaurants.Transparent Sea farm technician Diego Lopez heading out for deliveries.Kaila Yu/Insider  They don't use distributors because it's common for dishonest distributors to substitute inferior products, Sutton said.Kaila Yu/InsiderSource: The Fish SiteThis summer, TransparentSea plans to open part of the warehouse as a storefront and launch 'shrimp fishing' to the public, a fun activity that's popular in Asia.Kaila Yu/InsiderSource: The Next SomewhereMy visit to the shrimp farm was an eye-opening experience and changed the way that I look at all seafood. It also made me decide to stop purchasing fish and shrimp from the supermarket, and support local distributors and fresh farmers' markets instead.Kaila Yu/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 20th, 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

53 genuinely useful gifts to get your teacher for Teacher Appreciation Week

For Teacher Appreciation Week, show teachers you care with one of our gift ideas, from a mug warmer to gift cards. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.For Teacher Appreciation Week, show teachers you care with one of our gift ideas, from a necklace to a school supply organizer.AmazonThe best teachers work tirelessly inside and outside the classroom with endless enthusiasm, patience, and compassion along the way. Whether it's Teacher Appreciation Week or the last day of school, they deserve a little token of gratitude for all that they do.The greatest way to show a teacher that their work doesn't go unappreciated is by giving them a thoughtful gift, be it a sentimental card or a practical item that makes their life easier. Below, we outlined the best gifts for teachers, from delicious snacks to morning routine upgrades.53 of the best teacher gifts in 2022:A video montage from their studentsMontageGroup video gift, available at Montage, $29Nothing will bring happy tears to a teacher's eyes quite like a video montage from their students. The Montage platform makes it easy to compile videos — it sends email invitations to each person, provides instructions to upload their videos on the website, and compiles the videos into a montage with background music.A subtle but specific necklaceAmazonLcherry Bar Necklace, available at Amazon, $16.98Gifts that are teaching themed can often be kitschy or cheesy, but this necklace has the best of both worlds. It acknowledges the specific work of a teacher in the packaging, but is simple and subtle enough to wear each day. A plant set that will never dieTargetArtificial Succulent Plant Arrangement, available at Target, from $15If they love the look of plants but rightfully don't have the time to maintain them, a fake succulent assortment is a great option. It looks just like a terrarium but will never wilt. A chic school supply organizerAmazonMarbrasse Bamboo Art Supply Organizer, available at Amazon, $24.99This school supply organizer is an elevated take on the typical plastic container. It rotates for convenient access, but it can blend seamlessly in their classroom or home.Something to add to their snack stashSnack MagicSnack Magic Stash, available at Snack Magic, from $35Almost every teacher keeps a stash of snacks and treats for those days when they really need a pick-me-up. With a snack magic box, you can create a custom snack box full of treats the teacher will love.A comfortable space to workBed Bath & BeyondLapgear Lap Desk, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, $34.99Teachers inevitably have to bring their work home. With this lap desk, at least they can work comfortably from their bed or the couch as they lesson plan or grade on weekends. The desk comes in seven unique patterns.A personalized message from their favorite celebrityCameoCameo Video, available at Cameo, from $1Take the gold standard of teacher gifts — a personal and thoughtful letter — up a notch and have their favorite celebrity deliver the message. You can choose from thousands of celebrities to record a personalized video message to send to the teacher. (Since the more famous celebrities can be pricier, this can be a great gift to split with other classmates).Relaxing bath saltsRitualsMagnesium Bath Crystals, available at Rituals, $17.50Even the most energetic teacher knows that teaching can be exhausting. Give them something to help them relax and unwind at the end of a long day. These bath crystals are designed to soothe muscles and improve sleep quality.Something to make their classroom more comfortableSteph Coelho/Business InsiderHoneywell VersaHeat Digital Two Position Ceramic Personal Heater, available at Amazon and Walmart, $44.96Most teachers don't get to choose the temperature of their classroom, and shivering or sweating uncontrollably doesn't make for an ideal workday. With this space heater that also functions as a fan, they can make their classroom comfortable all year long. Just be sure to check that space heaters are allowed in classrooms before purchasing.Hand cream to combat drynessAmazonTonymoly Hand Cream, available at Amazon and Ulta, $12After washing and sanitizing their hands all day long, teachers' skin easily becomes dry and cracked. This premium peach hand cream will keep their hands soft and smelling nice.A warming plate for their coffeeAmazonMr. Coffee Mug Warmer, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, from $11.99It's a rare day that a teacher gets to finish their coffee before it gets cold. Give them the gift of perpetually warm coffee with this mug warmer they can plug in right at their desk.Bookends for their home or classroomWest ElmAgate Bookends, available at West Elm, from $34These beautiful bookends are made of solid agate. They can decide to use it in their home library or as a homey accent in their classroom. Something to satisfy their sweet toothBaked In ColorRainbow Chocolate Chip Cookie Tins, available at Baked in Color, from $30Many teachers keep a secret stash of their favorite treats hidden somewhere in their desks. Satisfy their sweet tooth with a tin of beautiful rainbow chocolate chip cookies.A story from the students' perspectiveTarget"Dear Teacher," available at Target, $11.16Perfect for preschool or kindergarten teachers, "Dear Teacher" is a love letter to all kinds of educators, written from the perspective of the kids who learn from them. It's an adorable message that teachers can share and appreciate with their students.A scented candle that reminds them of a happy placeAmazonHomesick Scented Candle, available at Amazon, from $31.28This is a great gift that's sure to make them feel sentimental. Whether it's their hometown, college town, or favorite spot to vacation, a Homesick candle — with scents inspired by all sorts of locations — will bring them back to that favorite place.A tablet and pen that lets them convey handwritten material remotelyAmazonXP-Pen Graphic Tablet, available at Amazon, $25.99One of the difficult aspects of remote learning is finding resourceful and convenient ways to mirror in-person tactics teachers use. This Graphic Tablet lets teachers draw using the stylus to convey information they may have handwritten before, such as math formulas or diagrams.A funny book of the best wrong test answersUncommon Goods"F in Exams" by Richard Benson, available at Uncommon Goods, $8.50After a stressful year for teachers, you may want to celebrate the funny and lighthearted side of the job. This book compiles some of the most amusing and inventive real-life wrong answers to grade school and high school tests.A personalized embosser for their personal libraryEtsyCustom Stamp, available at Etsy, from $34.50This unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with "from the library of [their name]" by pressing down like a hole-puncher. It's the kind of thing most people would never buy themselves but would genuinely cherish and get a kick out of if they received it as a present.The best water bottle they'll ever useAmazonHydro Flask Water Bottle, available at Amazon, from $36.07A stellar water bottle is a timeless life upgrade, but it'll be especially useful this summer. This stainless steel version from HydroFlask is the best water bottle you can buy, thanks to insulated stainless steel that keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to six. Delicious food from some of the most loved restaurants in the countryGoldbellyGoldbelly Restaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $35.95Bring a bit of their favorite restaurant right to their door. From bagels to barbeque, Goldbelly ships food gifts nationwide from iconic eateries in major cities.A small, water-resistant speaker to enjoy outside this summerAmazonSoundcore Flare Mini Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, $42.99Ensure they enjoy the summer with a portable, water-resistant speaker like this version from Anker. It's got a 12-hour battery life as well as LED lights on the bottom that they can adjust for five different lighting moods. We think it's the best relatively cheap Bluetooth speaker you can buy.A comfy sleep maskAmazonLuxury Sleep Mask, available at Amazon, $14.95Gift a comfortable sleep mask and help them get the kind of restorative, deep sleep they must need this year.A coloring book full of phrases your teacher can relate all too well toAmazonTeacher Life: A Snarky Chalkboard Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $5.99There are some situations that only teachers can understand, and this adult coloring book perfectly captures them with humor and cheekiness. The illustrations are single-sided, so they can take the page out and frame it if they so wish. Substantial, comfortable socksBombasMen's or Women's socks, available at Bombas, from $12.50Adulthood transforms socks from a banal, unexciting gift to a precious life upgrade. Bombas makes some of our favorite and most comfortable pairs, and we love to gift them to friends and family.A convenient wireless phone chargerAmazonMoshi Otto Q Wireless Charger, available at Amazon, $39.95Make their life that much easier with a wireless fast-charging pad that they can simply set their phone on top of in order to charge. After years of using the Moshi Otto Q, we ranked this version the best wireless charger you can buy. It's compatible with iPhones, AirPods, Samsung Galaxy/Note, Google Pixel, and other Qi-enabled devices.A gift card for travel experiencesAirbnbGift an Airbnb gift card, from $25Summer vacation is almost here, and you can help your teacher plan some much-needed time off with an Airbnb gift card that never expires (and can be used for online experiences if they're not comfortable traveling right now).A small potted plant for their deskThe SillSnake Plant Laurentii, available at The Sill, from $28Instead of gifting a flower bouquet, try an indoor plant. It lasts longer and requires less maintenance, but livens up their desk just as well. A tote bagBAGGUBAGGU Giant Pocket Tote, available at BAGGU, $62BAGGU makes great bags and its machine-washable cotton totes are no exception. Help your teacher carry all those lesson plans, tests, and homework papers with this cute yet sturdy tote. An insulated mugAmazonHydro Flask 12 oz Coffee Mug, available at Hydro Flask, $24.95Whatever it is they drink in the morning to prepare them for the school day ahead, this insulated mug keeps the beverage at the appropriate temperature for an astonishingly long amount of time. It has a comfortable handle and comes in many bright colors. Takeout any time they want itDoorDash AppDoorDashDoordash Gift Card, available at DoorDash, from $25Teachers log long days to support and enrich the lives of their students. Make sure their next easy, delicious dinner and relaxing night in is comped with a Doordash gift card.A comfortable seat cushionPurple.FacebookPurple Seat Cushion, available at Purple, $65These cushions can help soothe sore muscles and alleviate back strain. They're available in a variety of designs and thicknesses. Read our full review here. A way to squeeze in leisure readingAudible/InstagramAudible 3-Month Membership, available at Amazon, $45In between grading papers and designing lesson plans, it might be hard for your teacher to carve out time to read a book (for fun). Audible is a great way to catch up on the bestsellers everyone's reading, appreciate the classics from a new angle, or finally dive into that book they keep falling asleep to in bed. Decadent cupcakes they can enjoyBaked By MelissaCupcake Gift Boxes, available at Baked by Melissa, from $34Who doesn't love getting a sweet surprise? With delicious flavors ranging from Cookie Dough to Pink Frosted Donut, these bite-size treats are sure to please. You can also add a special gift box to complete the gift.Practical, reusable silicone strawsFood52Five Two Silicone Straws Single Pack, available at Food52, $25Bendable, sustainable, and portable (thanks to the set of carrying cases), these fun straws are the accessory they can use in their classroom, at home, and on the go.A coffee subscriptionDriftaway Coffee InstagramCoffee Subscription, available at Driftaway, from $54.00Chances are the coffee in the teacher's lounge isn't exactly top-notch. Thankfully, Driftaway Coffee's is, and keeps things interesting by sending new whole bean varieties every month (and improving upon the next selection based on their feedback). By the end of the school year, your teacher will have a good idea of the type of coffee they really like. A detailed poster of the opening lines from famous novelsPop Chart LabLab 'Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels', available at Pop Chart, $30English and grammar teachers will appreciate this chart diagramming the opening lines from 25 famous works of fiction. After admiring the partitioned, color-coded picto-grammatical representations, they'll want to read the books all over again. A fragrant candleOtherlandOtherland Candle, available at Otherland, $36These sophisticated coconut and soy wax candles come in scents ranging from refreshing Canopy (fig, ivy greens, mint) to rich Chandelier (champagne, saffron, leather). The beautiful look, delightful scents, and personalized matchbox make this candle gifting experience special. A heartfelt, personalized thank you cardEtsyPersonalized Winnie the Pooh Keepsake Greeting Card, available at Etsy, from $5.26Sometimes it just feels nice to be appreciated. A sweet card can go a long way — and it won't break the bank. A personalized notebook, planner, or address bookMintedTeach From The Heart Notebook, available at Minted, $18Give this one to the best teacher you know. You'll be able to customize the cover design, interior cover, and interior format of the notebook. A pillow massager for their neck and backAmazonZyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager, available at Amazon, $64.95If you've ever caught your child's teacher looking stressed or tense, you can fix that with this heated at-home massager that feels almost like a professional massage. It has four deep-kneading rotating nodes to relieve aches, knots, and muscle tension. A fun tape dispenserAmazonOtto the Otter Tape Dispenser, available at Amazon, $17.99An adorable twist to the traditional, ugly tape dispenser will instantly liven up their desk. A cute, funny coffee mugEtsyWatch Me Click Now Watch Me Grade Grade mug, available at Etsy, $13.50A cute mug that reminds them of their grateful students can be a fun, routine moment of motivation in a busy day.A cellphone standAmazonLamicall Cellphone Stand, available at Amazon, $10.99The simple, sleek, and durable stand is the perfect way to keep their device upright at just the right angle as they work. While it's a no-frills gift, it's undoubtedly practical and useful. A personalized desk signEtsyPersonalized Desk Wedge Sign, available at Etsy, from $25.99The wedge is a solid natural hardwood while the sign is shatter-resistant fogged acrylic glass, allowing it to last through any teacher's illustrious career. A gift card to stock up on versatile work shirtsDavid Slotnick/Business InsiderPublic Rec gift card, from $25Public Rec makes the most versatile polo shirt we've found, and many of the offerings from this athleisure brand are suitable for the classroom and beyond.A custom rubber stampEtsyCustom Stamp, available at Etsy, from $25Gift the stamp they'll always reach for first as they check and grade homework. You can get creative by submitting a picture of your teacher's face or their favorite catchphrase. There are three different mount choices and many more size options. A book-of-the-month subscription for summer readingBook of the Month/FacebookBook of the Month Membership, from three months for $49.99A hardcover book delivered monthly is a great way for a teacher to unplug and kick their feet up over summer break. Every month, they can choose from acclaimed fiction and nonfiction titles.A cozy plush blanketNordstromBliss Plush Throw, available at Nordstrom, $39.50Add to their home setup with a plush throw to wrap themselves in luxury. Available in a wide array of colors, this blanket adds coziness to any room.A novelty USB flash driveAmazonPink Pig USB 2.0 Flash Drive, available at Amazon, $12.99A cute and funny flash drive can instantly make work more fun. Sometimes, it's the little things. A smart home deviceAmazonAmazon Echo Dot, available at Amazon, $27.99For work or leisure, the small smart home device is endlessly useful. They can play Jeopardy, ask for recipes, listen to the news, turn lights on, play music, reorder products, and more.  A personalized key ring Leatherology/InstagramLeatherology Hotel Keychain, available at Leatherology, $15The full-grain leather keychain is a perfectly composed accessory that they'll love to carry, especially if you personalize it (for only $5) with a monogram. Beautiful note cube inspired by an American artistThe Met StoreLouis C. Tiffany Favrile Note Cube, available at The Met, $15Known for his stained glass work, Louis C. Tiffany lends his colorful and delicate designs to this tray, which hold 500 loose paper sheets and 50 color paper clips. Gift cardsTargetBuy a gift card from: Amazon, Target, StaplesAt the end of the day, teachers will always appreciate a gift card, especially if it's to a store where they can stock up on supplies. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 3rd, 2022

49 genuinely useful gifts to get your teacher for Teacher Appreciation Week

For Teacher Appreciation Week, show teachers you care with one of our gift ideas, from a mug warmer to gift cards. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.For teacher appreciation week, show teachers your appreciation with one of our gift ideas, from a mug warmer to a gift card.Baked by MelissaThe best teachers work tirelessly inside and outside the classroom with endless enthusiasm, patience, and compassion along the way. Whether it's Teacher Appreciation Week or the last day of school, they deserve a little token of gratitude for all that they do.The greatest way to show a teacher that their work doesn't go unappreciated is by giving them a thoughtful gift, be it a sentimental card or a practical item that makes their life easier. Below, we outlined the best gifts for teachers, from delicious snacks to morning routine upgrades.49 of the best teacher gifts in 2022:A video montage from their studentsMontageGroup video gift, available at Montage, $29Nothing will bring happy tears to a teacher's eyes quite like a video montage from their students. The Montage platform makes it easy to compile videos — it sends email invitations to each person, provides instructions to upload their videos on the website, and compiles the videos into a montage with background music.Something to add to their snack stashSnack MagicSnack Magic Stash, available at Snack Magic, from $35Almost every teacher keeps a stash of snacks and treats for those days when they really need a pick-me-up. With a snack magic box, you can create a custom snack box full of treats the teacher will love.A comfortable space to workBed Bath & BeyondLapgear Lap Desk, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, $34.99Teachers inevitably have to bring their work home. With this lap desk, at least they can work comfortably from their bed or the couch as they lesson plan or grade on weekends. The desk comes in seven unique patterns.A personalized message from their favorite celebrityCameoCameo Video, available at Cameo, from $1Take the gold standard of teacher gifts — a personal and thoughtful letter — up a notch and have their favorite celebrity deliver the message. You can choose from thousands of celebrities to record a personalized video message to send to the teacher. (Since the more famous celebrities can be pricier, this can be a great gift to split with other classmates).Relaxing bath saltsRitualsMagnesium Bath Crystals, available at Rituals, $17.50Even the most energetic teacher knows that teaching can be exhausting. Give them something to help them relax and unwind at the end of a long day. These bath crystals are designed to soothe muscles and improve sleep quality.Something to make their classroom more comfortableSteph Coelho/Business InsiderHoneywell VersaHeat Digital Two Position Ceramic Personal Heater, available at Amazon and Walmart, $44.96Most teachers don't get to choose the temperature of their classroom, and shivering or sweating uncontrollably doesn't make for an ideal workday. With this space heater that also functions as a fan, they can make their classroom comfortable all year long. Just be sure to check that space heaters are allowed in classrooms before purchasing.Hand cream to combat drynessAmazonTonymoly Hand Cream, available at Amazon and Ulta, $12After washing and sanitizing their hands all day long, teachers' skin easily becomes dry and cracked. This premium peach hand cream will keep their hands soft and smelling nice.A warming plate for their coffeeAmazonMr. Coffee Mug Warmer, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, from $11.99It's a rare day that a teacher gets to finish their coffee before it gets cold. Give them the gift of perpetually warm coffee with this mug warmer they can plug in right at their desk.Bookends for their home or classroomWest ElmAgate Bookends, available at West Elm, from $34These beautiful bookends are made of solid agate. They can decide to use it in their home library or as a homey accent in their classroom. Something to satisfy their sweet toothBaked In ColorRainbow Chocolate Chip Cookie Tins, available at Baked in Color, from $30Many teachers keep a secret stash of their favorite treats hidden somewhere in their desks. Satisfy their sweet tooth with a tin of beautiful rainbow chocolate chip cookies.A scented candle that reminds them of a happy placeAmazonHomesick Scented Candle, available at Amazon, from $31.28This is a great gift that's sure to make them feel sentimental. Whether it's their hometown, college town, or favorite spot to vacation, a Homesick candle — with scents inspired by all sorts of locations — will bring them back to that favorite place.You can also gift funny, enjoyable versions of this candle — from an old book scent to something simply named "Thanks For Putting Up With My Kid." A tablet and pen that lets them convey handwritten material remotelyAmazonXP-Pen Graphic Tablet, available at Amazon, $25.99One of the difficult aspects of remote learning is finding resourceful and convenient ways to mirror in-person tactics teachers use. This Graphic Tablet lets teachers draw using the stylus to convey information they may have handwritten before, such as math formulas or diagrams.A funny book of the best wrong test answersUncommon Goods"F in Exams" by Richard Benson, available at Uncommon Goods, $8.50After a stressful year for teachers, you may want to celebrate the funny and lighthearted side of the job. This book compiles some of the most amusing and inventive real-life wrong answers to grade school and high school tests.A personalized embosser for their personal libraryEtsyCustom Stamp, available at Etsy, from $34.50This unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with "from the library of [their name]" by pressing down like a hole-puncher. It's the kind of thing most people would never buy themselves but would genuinely cherish and get a kick out of if they received it as a present.The best water bottle they'll ever useAmazonHydro Flask Water Bottle, available at Amazon, from $36.07A stellar water bottle is a timeless life upgrade, but it'll be especially useful this summer. This stainless steel version from HydroFlask is the best water bottle you can buy, thanks to insulated stainless steel that keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to six. Delicious food from some of the most loved restaurants in the countryGoldbellyGoldbelly Restaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $35.95Bring a bit of their favorite restaurant right to their door. From bagels to barbeque, Goldbelly ships food gifts nationwide from iconic eateries in major cities.A small, water-resistant speaker to enjoy outside this summerAmazonSoundcore Flare Mini Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, $42.99Ensure they enjoy the summer with a portable, water-resistant speaker like this version from Anker. It's got a 12-hour battery life as well as LED lights on the bottom that they can adjust for five different lighting moods. We think it's the best relatively cheap Bluetooth speaker you can buy.A comfy sleep maskAmazonLuxury Sleep Mask, available at Amazon, $14.95Gift a comfortable sleep mask and help them get the kind of restorative, deep sleep they must need this year.A coloring book full of phrases your teacher can relate all too well toAmazonTeacher Life: A Snarky Chalkboard Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $5.99There are some situations that only teachers can understand, and this adult coloring book perfectly captures them with humor and cheekiness. The illustrations are single-sided, so they can take the page out and frame it if they so wish. Substantial, comfortable socksBombasMen's or Women's socks, available at Bombas, from $12.50Adulthood transforms socks from a banal, unexciting gift to a precious life upgrade. Bombas makes some of our favorite and most comfortable pairs, and we love to gift them to friends and family.A convenient wireless phone chargerAmazonMoshi Otto Q Wireless Charger, available at Amazon, $39.95Make their life that much easier with a wireless fast-charging pad that they can simply set their phone on top of in order to charge. After years of using the Moshi Otto Q, we ranked this version the best wireless charger you can buy. It's compatible with iPhones, AirPods, Samsung Galaxy/Note, Google Pixel, and other Qi-enabled devices.A gift card for travel experiencesAirbnbGift an Airbnb gift card, from $25Summer vacation is almost here, and you can help your teacher plan some much-needed time off with an Airbnb gift card that never expires (and can be used for online experiences if they're not comfortable traveling right now).A small potted plant for their deskThe SillSnake Plant Laurentii, available at The Sill, from $28Instead of gifting a flower bouquet, try an indoor plant. It lasts longer and requires less maintenance, but livens up their desk just as well. A tote bagBAGGUBAGGU Giant Pocket Tote, available at BAGGU, $62BAGGU makes great bags and its machine-washable cotton totes are no exception. Help your teacher carry all those lesson plans, tests, and homework papers with this cute yet sturdy tote. An insulated mugAmazonHydro Flask 12 oz Coffee Mug, available at Hydro Flask, $24.95Whatever it is they drink in the morning to prepare them for the school day ahead, this insulated mug keeps the beverage at the appropriate temperature for an astonishingly long amount of time. It has a comfortable handle and comes in many bright colors. Takeout any time they want itDoorDash AppDoorDashDoordash Gift Card, available at DoorDash, from $25Teachers log long days to support and enrich the lives of their students. Make sure their next easy, delicious dinner and relaxing night in is comped with a Doordash gift card.A comfortable seat cushionPurple.FacebookPurple Seat Cushion, available at Purple, $65These cushions can help soothe sore muscles and alleviate back strain. They're available in a variety of designs and thicknesses. Read our full review here. A way to squeeze in leisure readingAudible/InstagramAudible 3-Month Membership, available at Amazon, $45In between grading papers and designing lesson plans, it might be hard for your teacher to carve out time to read a book (for fun). Audible is a great way to catch up on the bestsellers everyone's reading, appreciate the classics from a new angle, or finally dive into that book they keep falling asleep to in bed. Decadent cupcakes they can enjoyBaked By MelissaCupcake Gift Boxes, available at Baked by Melissa, from $34Who doesn't love getting a sweet surprise? With delicious flavors ranging from Cookie Dough to Pink Frosted Donut, these bite-size treats are sure to please. You can also add a special gift box to complete the gift.Practical, reusable silicone strawsFood52Five Two Silicone Straws Single Pack, available at Food52, $25Bendable, sustainable, and portable (thanks to the set of carrying cases), these fun straws are the accessory they can use in their classroom, at home, and on the go.A coffee subscriptionDriftaway Coffee InstagramCoffee Subscription, available at Driftaway, from $54.00Chances are the coffee in the teacher's lounge isn't exactly top-notch. Thankfully, Driftaway Coffee's is, and keeps things interesting by sending new whole bean varieties every month (and improving upon the next selection based on their feedback). By the end of the school year, your teacher will have a good idea of the type of coffee they really like. A detailed poster of the opening lines from famous novelsPop Chart LabLab 'Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels', available at Pop Chart, $30English and grammar teachers will appreciate this chart diagramming the opening lines from 25 famous works of fiction. After admiring the partitioned, color-coded picto-grammatical representations, they'll want to read the books all over again. A fragrant candleOtherlandOtherland Candle, available at Otherland, $36These sophisticated coconut and soy wax candles come in scents ranging from refreshing Canopy (fig, ivy greens, mint) to rich Chandelier (champagne, saffron, leather). The beautiful look, delightful scents, and personalized matchbox make this candle gifting experience special. A heartfelt, personalized thank you cardEtsyPersonalized Winnie the Pooh Keepsake Greeting Card, available at Etsy, from $5.26Sometimes it just feels nice to be appreciated. A sweet card can go a long way — and it won't break the bank. A personalized notebook, planner, or address bookMintedTeach From The Heart Notebook, available at Minted, $18Give this one to the best teacher you know. You'll be able to customize the cover design, interior cover, and interior format of the notebook. A pillow massager for their neck and backAmazonZyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager, available at Amazon, $64.95If you've ever caught your child's teacher looking stressed or tense, you can fix that with this heated at-home massager that feels almost like a professional massage. It has four deep-kneading rotating nodes to relieve aches, knots, and muscle tension. A fun tape dispenserAmazonOtto the Otter Tape Dispenser, available at Amazon, $17.99An adorable twist to the traditional, ugly tape dispenser will instantly liven up their desk. A cute, funny coffee mugEtsyWatch Me Click Now Watch Me Grade Grade mug, available at Etsy, $13.50A cute mug that reminds them of their grateful students can be a fun, routine moment of motivation in a busy day.A cellphone standAmazonLamicall Cellphone Stand, available at Amazon, $10.99The simple, sleek, and durable stand is the perfect way to keep their device upright at just the right angle as they work. While it's a no-frills gift, it's undoubtedly practical and useful. A personalized desk signEtsyPersonalized Desk Wedge Sign, available at Etsy, from $25.99The wedge is a solid natural hardwood while the sign is shatter-resistant fogged acrylic glass, allowing it to last through any teacher's illustrious career. A gift card to stock up on versatile work shirtsDavid Slotnick/Business InsiderPublic Rec gift card, from $25Public Rec makes the most versatile polo shirt we've found, and many of the offerings from this athleisure brand are suitable for the classroom and beyond.A custom rubber stampEtsyCustom Stamp, available at Etsy, from $25Gift the stamp they'll always reach for first as they check and grade homework. You can get creative by submitting a picture of your teacher's face or their favorite catchphrase. There are three different mount choices and many more size options. A book-of-the-month subscription for summer readingBook of the Month/FacebookBook of the Month Membership, from three months for $49.99A hardcover book delivered monthly is a great way for a teacher to unplug and kick their feet up over summer break. Every month, they can choose from acclaimed fiction and nonfiction titles.A cozy plush blanketNordstromBliss Plush Throw, available at Nordstrom, $39.50Add to their home setup with a plush throw to wrap themselves in luxury. Available in a wide array of colors, this blanket adds coziness to any room.A novelty USB flash driveAmazonPink Pig USB 2.0 Flash Drive, available at Amazon, $12.99A cute and funny flash drive can instantly make work more fun. Sometimes, it's the little things. A smart home deviceAmazonAmazon Echo Dot, available at Amazon, $27.99For work or leisure, the small smart home device is endlessly useful. They can play Jeopardy, ask for recipes, listen to the news, turn lights on, play music, reorder products, and more.  A personalized key ring Leatherology/InstagramLeatherology Hotel Keychain, available at Leatherology, $15The full-grain leather keychain is a perfectly composed accessory that they'll love to carry, especially if you personalize it (for only $5) with a monogram. Beautiful note cube inspired by an American artistThe Met StoreLouis C. Tiffany Favrile Note Cube, available at The Met, $15Known for his stained glass work, Louis C. Tiffany lends his colorful and delicate designs to this tray, which hold 500 loose paper sheets and 50 color paper clips. Gift cardsTargetBuy a gift card from: Amazon, Target, StaplesAt the end of the day, teachers will always appreciate a gift card, especially if it's to a store where they can stock up on supplies. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 2nd, 2022

I ate like Warren Buffett for a week — and it was miserable

Coca-Cola galore, ice cream for breakfast, steak, and no vegetables. Here's what it's like to diet like Warren Buffett. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren BuffettRick Wilking/Reuters I ate like Warren Buffett for a week. Buffett does not eat very healthy. My body felt terrible by the end of the week. See more stories on Insider's business page. Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors in history.He also has a really weird diet.Buffett's diet of sugary soda, junk food, and limited vegetables has reached legendary status.The Berkshire Hathaway CEO drinks about five cans of Coca-Cola products a day, constantly munches on See's Candies, and pours so much salt on his food that John Stumpf, the former Wells Fargo CEO, said watching Buffett dole it out was like a "snowstorm."Business Insider has tried various people's diets — from Elon Musk's to Tom Brady's — so back in 2017 I decided to take on Buffett's strange food tastes for one workweek to see what it was like.There were some basic ground rules — eat three meals a day, don't drink alcohol, and avoid vegetables.Overall, I just tried to maintain the general attitude by which the man himself defines his diet."I checked the actuarial tables, and the lowest death rate is among 6-year-olds, so I decided to eat like a 6-year-old," Buffett told Fortune. "It's the safest course I can take."So in honor of the 2022 edition of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, here's a look at what it's like to eat like the man himself.The cornerstone of the Buffett diet: Cherry Coke.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderIn 2015, Buffett told Fortune he was "one-quarter Coca-Cola."Buffett said he favored either Diet Coke or Cherry Coke and had at least five cans of the soda a day.I decided to opt for exclusively Cherry Coke throughout the week, as I'm not the biggest fan of the taste of plain Coke. I am, however, a fan of cherry and cherry-adjacent soda products like Dr. Pepper and Cheerwine (it's a North Carolina thing — Google it).I also couldn't purchase cans of the stuff at my local grocery store, but a two-liter works out to 5.6 cans a day, within the ballpark of Buffett's consumption. Thus, I decided to go with one of these each day.If you're wondering, that works out to 252 grams, or 0.56 pounds, of sugar a day from the Cherry Coke alone. That's right — I got 84% of my recommended daily carbohydrate intake from just the sugar in the Cherry Coke.I didn't initially do the math on the sugar content of the Cherry Coke, believing it was better to go into the week with a bit of blissful ignorance. While I had assumed it would be rough consuming all of the syrupy-sweet drink, I couldn't anticipate the full devastation the Coke would have on my mood.On the first breakfast of the week, I was nervous but had a supply of foolish confidence in my ability to handle what was ahead.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderIn the HBO documentary "Becoming Warren Buffett," the legendary investor said his breakfast each day came from McDonald's and was dictated by the stock market.Typically, Buffett gets breakfast once the market is open. If stocks are up, he gets a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. If they're down, he opts for a cheaper breakfast of two sausage patties. If the market is flat, as it was Monday morning before the open, he goes for the sausage McMuffin.I get to work around 7:30 a.m. ET every day, meaning I had to base my McDonald's selection on the premarket futures, which tend to be a bit harder to gauge. Regardless, I decided to try to factor in a bit of qualitative analysis based on the overseas markets and the previous day's close (and, by the end of the week, what I could tolerate).The first breakfast wasn't too challenging. The biggest issue was the lack of coffee, as Buffett doesn't drink the stuff.I decided to front-load the Cherry Coke to get the caffeine I usually got from my coffee while also preventing myself from drinking soda well into the night.Additionally, I'd decided to keep track of my weight each morning and night. For the calorie counts, the Cherry Coke totals are added to the count at dinner, since they were dispersed throughout the day.Breakfast, Day 1: McDonald's sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffin; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 470Monday-morning weight: 168.4 poundsThe Cherry Coke hit me like a ton of bricks.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI don't drink much soda — I drink mostly water and coffee at work — so the sudden increase in the amount of corn syrup in my diet made me feel incredibly sluggish. Plus, the sugar high was so off the charts that I almost felt the tingle of the carbonation in my fingers as I was typing.Then again, I also put down half of the two-liter before 11 a.m. in an attempt to front-load the caffeine.My inner child was excited to have ice cream in the middle of the day. The chili-cheese dog excited me less.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderThe bun on the Dairy Queen dog was spongy, but not like an angel food cake — like an actual kitchen sponge. The hot dog tasted very salty.The sundae was delightful. Buffett says he typically gets cherry syrup on his DQ sundaes, which was not an option at my Manhattan location. I did get his preferred chopped nuts on top.I was feeling pretty weighed down at this point. I don't have a big lunch most days — a salad at most — so the extra calories and copious sugar made me feel bloated.Lunch, Day 1: Dairy Queen chili-cheese dog; strawberry sundae with chopped nuts; Cherry CokeLunch calories: 650I cheated a bit on dinner for the evening, getting chicken parmigiana — which Buffett usually has as a side. (!)Bob Bryan/Business InsiderBy the evening I was feeling a bit better, possibly because I finished the coke around 2 p.m.The big test was running. I typically try to run four to five miles a day after work, and I was dreading how I would feel. I imagined keeling over and puking into the East River.To my surprise, it was fine. I was probably a step slower than normal, but I didn't feel too awful.Dinner was heavy — I couldn't finish the whole serving — but at the end of Day 1, I was doing half decent.Dinner, Day 1: Chicken parmigiana with penne from Famous Calabria PizzaDinner calories: about 1,500Total daily calories: 3,520Monday-evening weight: 171.2 poundsThe second day started much better.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI lost sleep on Sunday night worrying about the challenge ahead, but after feeling decent at the end of the day, I got a good night's sleep.Stock futures were up on Tuesday, so I decided it would be fair to get a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. Coming from the South, I preferred this option over the semi-soggy McMuffin from the day before, and I felt confident as I tucked into breakfast and the second giant bottle of Cherry Coke.Breakfast, Day 2: McDonald's bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 450Tuesday-morning weight: 170.4 poundsFor lunch, I went for a burger — another Buffett favorite.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderNow, many of my coworkers said I cheated by going with Shake Shack instead of some local restaurant, but you know what? I was the one suffering, and I deserved a slight luxury.Another signature Buffett trait is an excess of salt, as John Stumpf, the former Wells Fargo CEO, once described."When the food comes, Warren grabs a salt shaker in his left hand and one in his right, and it's a snowstorm," Stumpf told Bloomberg in 2014.So I threw a little extra sodium on the french fries before dipping them in the chocolate shake.Lunch, Day 2: Shake Shack ShackBurger; french fries; chocolate milkshake; Cherry CokeLunch calories: 1,710By Tuesday afternoon, I was ... not feeling well.Andy Kiersz/Business InsiderDear God did I make a mistake.Again, I attempted to front-load the Cherry Coke, and by 2 p.m. I was more than two-thirds of the way done with the two-liter. Not only that, but the heavy meal — especially the milkshake — was crushing my will to live.I was jittery, grumpy, exhausted, unfocused, and downright distraught. The sugar from the Coke (roughly a half-pound a day) was causing surges and drop-offs in energy.The increase in meat consumption was making me sweat more than usual (weirdly enough, from my kneecaps, of all places). The bloating was making my back hurt. I was a wreck after less than 48 hours.Tuesday night might have been my low point, as evidenced by my sad dinner spread.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderIn the middle of my run that evening, I texted a coworker expressing my dismay at my physical state. I was going noticeably slower than I had the day before, and I couldn't make myself run faster. My legs simply wouldn't move as I wanted.Upon getting back to my apartment from the run, I was, as my notes say, "**WRECKED**" by stomach cramps. My roommate walked in as I was sitting on our couch doubled over and asked me whether I was sure I wanted to keep going.I finally got myself together, and, unable to muster the strength to figure out a proper meal, I just made two hot dogs and ate some Utz chips — another brand Buffett loves.I went to bed Tuesday night feeling much less enthused about the prospects for the rest of the week.Dinner, Day 2: Two Hebrew National kosher hot dogs; Utz kettle chips; See's Candies peanut brittleDinner calories: about 650Total daily calories: 3,710Tuesday-evening weight: 171 poundsAnother day, another bacon, egg, and cheese.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderHonestly, given the recent rise in the stock market, Buffett must be getting sick of these biscuits by now.I decided to try to space out the Cokes more evenly to avoid the crashes. (Spoiler: It didn't work.)Breakfast, Day 3: McDonald's bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 450Wednesday-morning weight: 169.2 poundsFor lunch, I went back and found one of Buffett's go-to lunch orders at Gorat's, an Omaha, Nebraska, institution.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI ordered an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and Thousand Island dressing from Eisenberg's, a local sandwich shop.I was served a closed-faced, sliced turkey sandwich with bacon and Thousand Island dressing. I wasn't going to split hairs, so I took it back to the office as it was.The meal was finished off by fries and some Cherry Coke.You may ask: "Bob, did you put extra salt on the fries like you said Buffett always does?"My answer? Yes, I did. Hope you're enjoying my suffering so far.Lunch, Day 3: Turkey sandwich with bacon and Thousand Island dressing from Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop; french fries; Cherry CokeLunch calories: about 900Dinner on Wednesday was veal parmigiana with an indulgence: a Hawaiian Punch. I can't prove Buffett likes fruit punch, but, hey, it was my favorite when I was 6.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI walked home on Wednesday and then went for a run.I felt as if the sugar, syrup, and grease leaked from my belly to my legs. Children were passing me on the street during my walk home, and I'm usually a fast walker. Imagine having maple syrup in your joints and muscles — that's what I felt like.Dinner, Day 3: Veal parmigiana from Nonna's LES Pizzeria; waterDinner calories: 1,060Total daily calories: 3,310Wednesday-evening weight: 172.4 poundsFutures were down, so I ordered two sausage patties for breakfast. But upon arriving at work, I realized the McDonald's workers gave me only one.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI'm still not sure whether the single patty was a good or a bad thing, but it did give me a bit of a break from heavy meals.Also, it made me realize that McDonald's sausage by itself is not very good. Who could've guessed?Breakfast, Day 4: McDonald's sausage patty; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 174Thursday-morning weight: 169.8 poundsThis may be the point to mention that I've done terrible things to my body before — and this was the worst.Left: me in April 2011, about 125 pounds. Right: me in April 2014, about 205 pounds.Kedar Bryan; Bob Bryan/Business Insider compositeI'm no stranger to massive dietary changes — I gained 80 pounds in college and then lost 45 pounds in three to four months after I graduated. (I overestimated my pay as an intern and underestimated NYC rents.)That is to say: I've done some terrible things to my body via my diet before.Even at my heaviest, I never felt this run-down. The weird thing though was that I was still hungry at every meal.Maybe it was the chemicals from the processed food?I was running out of idea at this point on Thursday, and honestly, I was busy with work, so I just gave up and got McDonald's.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderFun fact: Buffett once used coupons to buy Bill Gates lunch at McDonald's.Oh, another reason this was such a terrible idea: I cover policy here at Business Insider, including healthcare and taxes — and, of course, I decided to try the Buffett diet on the week that Republicans again attempted to repeal Obamacare (no, the irony did not escape me) and rolled out their most detailed tax-reform framework yet.This meant that amid my midafternoon sugar crash, I was typically forced to pull myself out of the fog and write something of substance.To be fair to myself, I did write a considerable amount over the five days. You'd have to ask my editor Brett whether my diet hurt the quality of my writing, but I stand by everything I published.Lunch, Day 4: McDonald's Quarter Pounder with cheese; french fries; Cherry CokeLunch calories: 870Buffett once ordered a country- (or chicken-) fried steak with Jay-Z, so I had to get it for a meal.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderI really like country-fried steak (see my previous comment about being from the South). This one was from Cowgirl in the West Village.Buffett isn't a big fan of broccoli, much less collard greens, so I did cheat a bit. But, c'mon, actual collard greens at a restaurant in the North? I had to try them.Alas, they were bad.I went with a coworker and couldn't finish the steak and mashed potatoes — not to worry, salt was added in extreme amounts — prompting her to call me "weak." I replied I would take the leftovers home and finish them later (we were eating fairly early), but I happened to "forget" the bag as I left.In a surprise to probably no one, the gravy sat heavy in my stomach. Walking to the subway, I was happy there was only one day left, but I felt terrible.Dinner, Day 4: Country-fried steak with mashed potatoes, gravy, and collard greens from Cowgirl; waterDinner calories: 1,540Total daily calories: 3,484Thursday-evening weight: 172.4 poundsOf course Buffett eats ice cream for breakfast. Of course I was the idiot who saved it for the last day.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderRemember what I said about getting used to it? Not so much on Friday morning.I have never enjoyed ice cream less. That's really all I have to say about this meal.Breakfast, Day 5: Ben and Jerry's Phish Food ice cream; Cherry CokeBreakfast calories: 870Friday-morning weight: 170.4 poundsWhat if Buffett just says he eats all of this food to make other people like me buy it and boost his investments' sales?Bob Bryan/Business InsiderBuffett owns Dairy Queen and holds considerable stock in McDonald's and Coca-Cola. Sitting down for my final lunch, I realized I probably made the guy a lot of money that week.The thought struck me mid-bite of an M&Ms Blizzard: I was a sucker.Buffett is a self-mythologizer — a folk hero who presents himself as a kind grandfather but has made it in the vicious investment world. He's a ball of contradictions and social oddities.I couldn't put it past him to deceive the few interviewers he trusts to cast the glow of the cult of Buffett.On the other hand, surely people see him at these restaurants. He wouldn't lie about his diet just to get a few suckers to boost his sales, would he?Lunch, Day 5: Dairy Queen chili-cheese dog; french fries; M&M Blizzard; Cherry CokeLunch calories: 1,400Here's all the Cherry Coke I consumed during the week.Thanks to my former colleague Myles for giving me this Berkshire hat from the annual meeting in Omaha.Bob Bryan/Business InsiderThe sugar-and-caffeine crash came easier by Friday. I had learned how to manage the timing and frequency of the Coke intake to make sure I had a solid energy reserve all day.But I still felt awful after I finished a bottle.Here's some fun math on the amount of Cherry Coke I consumed in the week:• Total amount: 338 fluid ounces, or 2.64 gallons.• Calories: 4,500.• Sugar: 1,260 grams, or 2.78 pounds.• Caffeine: 1,020 milligrams, or 204 a day. (An average cup of coffee, 8 fluid ounces, has 95 to 165 milligrams.)For dinner, I went with a few coworkers to Smith & Wollensky, Buffett's favorite New York City restaurant.The plaque at the restaurant bearing Buffett's name.Dennis Green/Business InsiderBuffett comes here once a year for a dinner, at which a lucky bidder joins the Oracle of Omaha himself. In 2016, the meal went for $3.4 million. All the proceeds are given to charity.I was joined by four of my coworkers to bask in the final meal of my epic run.I contacted the restaurant earlier in the week to say what we would be there for, and the staffers did everything to make my experience as authentic as possible.We sat in the private alcove where Buffett sits when he visits, with a full glass wall looking into the kitchen. There was a plaque with Buffett's name on it and a letter from him framed on the wall.I asked our waiter, Baci, who had served Buffett on his trip to NYC in August, to bring me what the man ate. This was a mistake.Dennis Green/Business InsiderWe started with something off-menu called the "seafood bouquet." It featured lobster, shrimp, and lump crab meat. The seafood was divine — though it was chilled, and I typically enjoy seafood hot.I began to feel a bit uneasy as I dined on the appetizer, thinking back to everything I had put down that week. I wanted to have an authentic meal at a favorite location of Buffett's, but could I survive to the end?Also, I must admit here that I broke the Buffett rules by having a bit of wine. But it was the end of the week, and can you really blame me?Next, the steak: a 32-ounce Colorado rib-eye.Go ahead, judge my utensil manner. Just remember my physical and emotional state.Dennis Green/Business InsiderIn what can only be compared to the primitive tomahawk of a caveman, the mighty Colorado rib-eye emerged on a plate still sizzling. At that point, a glorious, freeing sense of debauchery overtook me, and I laid all of the terrible meals of the last week to the side.The steak was a knockout.For the first three-quarters of a pound, I consumed it with reckless abandon, ignoring the inevitable food hangover that was surely coming. The rib-eye was cooked to perfection and cut beautifully, and it contained just the right amount of fat.When I hit the wall — and I hit it hard — there was an overriding sense of disappointment that I simply couldn't finish the meal.The final tallies for dinner were, in a word, monumental."Oh my God, what have I done to myself?" Bob thought as he descended into a food-induced coma.Dennis Green/Business InsiderI wasn't even drunk from the wine, but the meal knocked me out. I was struggling to form coherent thoughts as all the blood ran from my brain to my stomach, attempting to handle the influx of fat, protein, and sugar.My coworkers and I ambled toward Grand Central Station, and I felt dazed. We decided against a post-dinner drink, and wandering off from the rest of the group, I felt unsure on my feet.I huffed and puffed my way back to my apartment near Chinatown, sweating pure steak grease.Upon making it back, I collapsed on the floor of my living room. I dozed off for a little over an hour, trying to pretend my stomach wasn't bursting at the seams.Dinner, Day 5: Seafood bouquet, 32-ounce Colorado rib-eye steak, hash browns, creamed spinach, and coconut cake from Smith & Wollensky; red wine; waterDinner calories: 3,343Total daily calories: 6,513Friday-evening weight: 175.2 poundsWhat did I learn?Me from Monday to Friday, reflecting my emotional state. If you look closely, you can see the happiness and joy for the world drain from my eyes.Elena Holodny/Business InsiderLet's get this out of the way: Don't eat like Warren Buffett unless you are Warren Buffett.The man himself says to be yourself instead of copying him. This applies not only to investing, but to dieting as well.My experience was miserable, and I realized why I committed myself to eating healthy when I moved to New York. Being sluggish and moody during the day just isn't fun.It's also a good lesson in recognizing limits. Buffett apparently has none; I very much do.And, finally, I now understand Buffett's investing strategy perfectly!Just kidding.I just have a few extra pounds to work off and a good story.Average calories a day: 4,107.4Total calories over five days: 20,537Weight gain, Monday morning to Saturday morning: 2.4 poundsWeight gain, Monday evening to Friday evening: 4 poundsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 30th, 2022

Is The Woke Cultural Agenda Of Union Leaders Undermining Support For Organized Labor Groups?

Is The Woke Cultural Agenda Of Union Leaders Undermining Support For Organized Labor Groups? Authored by Batya Ungar-Sargon via Outside Voices, Doug Tansy is living the American Dream. A 44-year-old Native Alaskan, Tansy is an electrician living in Fairbanks in a house he and his wife Kristine own. Kristine has a social work degree, but for 13 years she stayed home to raise their five kids. It was something the couple could afford thanks to Tansy’s wages and benefits, secured by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. All of Tansy’s union friends have similar stories; those who chose not to have kids traveled the world on the money they earned.  Buena Park, CA, Monday, April 11, 2022 - Union organizer answers questions as Southern California grocery workers vote to approve a union contract at UFCW Local 324. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Tansy started an apprenticeship right out of high school, a decision he calls “one of the best things I ever did for myself.” His high school pushed everyone to go to college, which Tansy did, but to pay for his first year he took a summer job working construction. It provided an instructive contrast with his college courses. “College was certainly challenging, but it didn't excite me. Construction did. It grabbed me,” Tansy told me. “I was always told ‘find what your hands want to do, and when you do, do it with all your might.’ And I did.” Tansy now serves as the assistant business manager of the IBEW in Fairbanks and as president of the Fairbanks Central Labor Council, which is sort of like the local chapter of the AFL-CIO. “I consider myself a labor person and that simply means a lot of what we do is focus on the middle class,” Tansy explained. “Putting really great wages into our economy and helping people save up to get ahead, to pay off a house.” But the union is about more than just securing a middle-class life for working class Americans. Tansy calls it a fraternity. “If I ever have trouble, I can make one phone call and that's the only call I need to make,” he says. “They will take care of the rest of it and whatever I need will be coming.” And this support system traverses ideological and ethnic divisions. The IBEW in Fairbanks has Republicans, independents, Democrats, progressives, and everything in between. Debates can get testy, especially when social issues like abortion come up in the breakroom. Tansy has also on rare occasions experienced racism. And yet there is a deep bond connecting the members of the IBEW that crosses ideological lines. This bond is the result of a simple fact: that more unites members of the union than divides them, and that what unites them is sacred. “Having good wages, good benefits, good conditions, and being treated fairly and with dignity in retirement should not be only for Republicans or Democrats or red states or blue states,” Tansy explained. “To me, these are nonpartisan issues that should be for everybody. And that's how we reach our common ground.” Tansy’s story is not unique. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans who belong to unions in the U.S. make on average 17% more than their non-unionized brothers and sisters, with a median $1,144 in weekly earnings—compared to $958 for those not unionized. It’s not just wages, either. Unions offer apprenticeships and ongoing training, a debt-free career, a pension, and workplace safety and other protections. They give workers a seat at the table and a voice to balance out the power of the businesses they work for, no mean feat at a time when the majority of working-class Americans are living lives of precarity. Working-class wages decoupled from production and stagnated in the late 70s; it’s estimated that over $47 trillion of working- and middle-class wages have been sapped from the bottom 90% of earners and redistributed to the top 1% since then. So it’s no surprise that approval of labor unions is the highest it’s been since 1965: 68% of Americans told Gallup they approve of unions last year. And yet, despite this fact, Americans aren’t signing up to join unions at record rates. Just the opposite: fewer Americans than ever belong to unions, a scant 6% of Americans working in the private sector. Many believe they are a dying institution in the U.S. Some cast this as proof of yet another case of working-class conservatives choosing a cultural stand against their economic interests. William Sproule is the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters and says his union is actively engaged in combating negative stereotypes about unions when recruiting. “In the South and other parts of the country, the Southeast, even some of the middle of the country, you say the word ‘union,’ people have been basically brainwashed to think that there are people like me who are some kind of fat-cat millionaires who are stealing money from their pension funds and all this other stuff, all these bad things they try to present about unions,” Sproule says. Of course, there are political reasons unions aren’t popular in some corners of the South. Labor has for a century been affiliated with the Democratic Party and remains so. Sproule views the Democrats as much better for organized labor, and though the Carpenters Union will endorse pro-labor Republicans, right now he says it’s important that the Democrats maintain control over government. “The predominant anti-union forces do seem to come from the Republican Party,” Sproule says, citing things like punishing, anti-union “Right to Work” laws. The Carpenters Union advised its members to vote for Joe Biden based on the policies President Trump pursued that were hostile to organized labor—things like deregulations at the National Labor Relations Board and appointments of pro-business judges, among other things.  Certain pro-labor positions are undoubtedly the province of the Left, from minimum wage campaigns, to support for the NLRB and the PRO Act, to even the expansion of social security benefits. Then there’s healthcare. When employers are responsible for employee healthcare, they have immense, unfair, and corrosive leverage over their workers. The push for universal healthcare is crucial for stabilizing the downward slide of many working-class families, and it is something only Democrats bring up, however sporadically. And yet, thanks to an emergent class chasm in America, the laboring class is increasingly made up of people who find more in common with the Republican Party. In 2020, Bloomberg News found that truckers, plumbers, machinists, painters, correctional officers, and maintenance employees were among the occupations most likely to donate to Trump (Biden got the lion’s share of writers and authors, editors, therapists, business analysts, HR department staff, and bankers).  Others have blamed the fear of corporate consolidation—and corporate retaliation—for a lack of interest in unionizing. The pressures of starting a union are immense, like trying to hold an election in a one-party state, David Rolf, Founding President of Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union and author of The Fight for Fifteen: The Right Wage for a Working America, explained. “Sort of like if you were running to become the mayor, but before you were allowed to be the mayor, you had to first fight to establish that there should be a mayor at all. And then once you establish that there should be a mayor, then you find that your opponent is the only one with access to the electorate for eight hours a day, and that they've had the voter list for years and you just get it six weeks before the election. Also they have unlimited resources.” Meanwhile, there are numerous stories of ugly union busting and retaliation at companies like Tesla and Amazon. But even in companies where union busting is minimal, many people don't want to go to work and have a permanently conflict-based and litigious relationship with their boss, Rolf explained. And there’s the fact that things like sectoral or regional bargaining are just not part of the American worker’s lexicon. But in addition to overcoming the immense challenges of starting a union from scratch while facing corporate union busting, there’s another, less discussed reason workers give for not flocking to unions at a time when they are most in need of what unions offer: a political and class divide separating the people leading unions from the rank and file. More and more, unions are led not by people like Doug Tansy, who sees his job as overcoming partisan divides, but by people enmeshed in a progressive culture that is increasingly at odds with the values of the people the unions purport to represent. And it’s resulted in the paradox of waning union membership despite the near record level of popular support for unions. Labor is definitely having a moment. Anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 workers went on strike in October 2021. Workers at four Kellogg cereal plants ended an 11-week strike after announcing a deal had been made with the company. The first Starbucks voted to unionize a branch in Buffalo, New York, and has been followed subsequently by other branches across the nation, many of them voting unanimously. At the end of last year over 10,000 workers at John Deere ended a five-week strike after making substantial improvements to their working conditions. Those included a 20% increase in wages over the next six years as well as a return on cost-of-living adjustments and gains to their pension plan. Most recently, an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island became the first Amazon center to unionize, an effort that the corporation spent $4.3 million to combat. The COVID-19 pandemic created a much tighter labor market, which has given workers the upper hand in negotiations for the first time in decades. Expanded unemployment and stimulus checks gave many workers a cushion, some for the first time in their lives, which, combined with the absence of childcare for much of the pandemic and a shortage of workers due to illness or even death, created a real labor shortage. In some cases, that shortage has led to resignations. Over 4 million Americans quit their jobs in November, the majority of them low-wage. In other cases, it’s led to workers demanding better conditions in order to stay—and succeeding at getting them. Chris Laursen lives in Ottumwa, Iowa and has worked at John Deere as a painter for 19 years. He says the strike was a long time coming and sees in it evidence of the rebirth of the American labor movement. “The strikes like the one that we spearheaded showed working people that it is possible to take a stand and get a seat at the table and secure better wages and benefits for your families and yourselves,” Laursen says. “The cheap labor bubble’s busted. Gone are the days where you can bring in employees and not pay them anything.” Like in the IBEW, for John Deere workers, the union’s power is a non-partisan proposition. Ottumwa is the kind of factory town that went for Barack Obama in 2012 then for Trump in 2016. A 2018 rally for Bernie Sanders saw 800 people turn out—followed by one for Trump two weeks later which drew a crowd of 1,200. “Twenty years ago, if you were a Republican here, you were pretty much a closet case about it,” Laursen, who was a delegate for Bernie Sanders, says. “That's really not the case anymore.”  Key to the strike’s success was a laser-like focus on what united the striking workers over what divided them. “We didn't want to politicize the strike or have anything that could divide us, because we understood the importance of us staying together,” Laursen explained. “People who own all the stuff and the media, they want to divide the herd and get us fighting amongst each other. And it really is nonsense because we work in the same place, and our kids go to the same schools. We eat in the same restaurants. We have a lot more commonalities than we do differences.” The COVID labor market has been a boon for non-union workers, too. Latasha Exum is a health aid in a school in Cleveland. She’s in charge of evaluating children who need medical attention. Exum has been in the medical field for 10 years—she’s certified as a medical assistant—but she’s new to her current job and not sure she’ll stay (she loves children, but she worries about how much they spread germs in the age of COVID). And due to the current pressures of the job market, she’s certain that she would be able to find another one. She had no trouble finding this job and was even able to negotiate for a higher starting pay, although the supply chain crisis has made her job harder (thermometers and even band aids have been in short supply).  “Pay isn't everything as far as working conditions,” Exum explained. “Pay is one of the factors that some places are willing to wiggle and negotiate, but the conditions might not be the best.” The COVID economy hasn’t worked for everyone, though. Jenna Stocker is a former marine who worked retail at a pet store in Minneapolis throughout the pandemic. Her job was deemed essential, and she couldn’t afford to miss a paycheck, so while millions were able to work from home, she went to work every day. “I couldn’t afford to stay home and bake bread,” she said. “And those who did looked at us like we were lepers. Essential workers were looked down upon for having a job that allowed other people to stay home.” And she does mean lepers. “They didn’t want to touch us,” Stocker recalled. “When I would deliver dog food, they made me leave it outside. It was dehumanizing.” But it was also part of a larger trend Stocker has noticed, of feeling what she calls “morally wrong” for being poor or working class. There’s a smugness that’s imposed on the lower classes by those in the upper classes, and the class divide is only getting worse. Yet within the working class, divisions evaporate. “I work with a whole spectrum of people, including liberals and conservatives,” Stocker says. “It’s just not something that divides us. We have to work together. We have to make it work. Politics is not something we let divide us at work or in our friendships.” They simply don’t have that luxury. One of the things that the labor shortage has done is something the federal government failed to do: It normalized the idea of a $15 an hour wage. 80% of American workers now make at least $15 an hour—up from 60% in 2014. But that’s nothing close to a living wage for most American cities. Working-class wages have simply not kept up with production; all that extra GDP that’s come from increased production went instead to the top 1%. “Had you merely kept pace with the economy since the 1970s, a full-time, prime-age worker in America who in 2020 made $50,000 a year, that person would be making between $93,000 and a $103,000 a year without any growth in their personal income or share of GDP since the 1970s,” Rolf said. “Half of the income people should have expected to receive over that time was functionally stolen by a series of public policy and boardroom decisions that rewired the economy as upwardly sucking.” Jason Offutt is a 47-year-old from Parma, Ohio who paints lines on roads and in parking lots. He’s seen wage stagnation firsthand. Offutt took a summer job as a line painter when he was 16 and stayed with the company after he left school. He worked for a number of other companies after that, until he was finally able to buy a line-painting machine—it was a friend's, and it was in pieces—for $1,000. He put it back together by hand, and now he works for himself. “I just got tired of watching everybody else making money that I was busting my butt for,” Offutt told me. It took a while to become viable, but once Offutt got in the church directories, the jobs started to come regularly.  In the 30 years Offutt has been a line painter, he’s seen the security of working-class life collapse. “Inflation has gone up so much, even compared to when I started,” he told me. “I was making $16, $17 an hour back in my 20s and 30s, so that was pretty decent money back then, if you had one kid and didn't have too many responsibilities. But as you get older and your kids get older, your son's out working and he barely has enough to pay for his apartment, where I could work and pay for my apartment and car and still be ok. Now, if you’re working class, you've got to have two incomes, two and a half incomes, just to be an above-board person and enjoy your life. Back then, you could do great on just one income.” The percentage of American workers who have what might be called a secure job—who work at least 30 hours a week and earn $40,000 a year with health benefits and a predictable schedule—is less than one in three, and for people without a college degree, it’s just one in five. That’s what Oren Cass, executive director of American Compass and author of The Once and Future Worker, recently found in an extensive survey. “The economy has generally bifurcated into a labor market that has relatively better paying, secure jobs in what we would call knowledge industries, that have tended to see expansion and wage growth and so forth, and generally less secure jobs in shrinking or stagnating industries, that tend to be filled with people without college degrees,” says Cass. One of those people is Cyrus Tharpe, a 46-year-old hazmat truck driver from Phoenix. Tharpe has spent his entire life living below the state median household income everywhere he has lived, and he is deeply cynical about talk of a resurgent labor movement. “Everything is getting worse,” Tharpe tells me. Working class bodies are born to work until they are in too much pain to do so—and then die. “If you’re working class, you die in your early seventies. You know that and there's nothing you can do about it. This is the business model,” Tharpe says. Most of the successful strikes have been won by the tiny percentage of workers who are already unionized. But the 94% of workers in private sector jobs without union representation like himself are just out of luck; to them, attempting to unionize means an antagonistic relationship with management or retaliation from bosses or risking their jobs entirely, facing an influx of new workers flown in from elsewhere or a corporation shutting down the branch where they work. These are luxuries most American workers just can’t afford. Someone from the AFL-CIO in Arizona once reached out to Tharpe and asked if he was interested in forming a union. He said yes and asked for contact information for the lawyers who would back him up when his boss started pushing back. He never heard back from the union representative. It's exhilarating to see workers at places like Amazon and Starbucks unionize. But those jobs tend to be temporary ones—by design at a place like Amazon, which is infamous for paying people to quit. Meanwhile Starbucks workers are often younger and even college-educated. Though both are huge employers—Amazon is America’s second biggest—they also aren’t typical of working-class jobs. And there’s a question of scale, too. The efforts at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island succeeded where others had failed in large part due to the eschewal of a national union in favor of the creation of a new one specific to the site—the Amazon Labor Union. Far from an endorsement, the success of the Staten Island Amazon warehouse is largely being viewed as a rebuke of organized labor. Moreover, there’s something of a Catch-22 to starting a union in the workplaces where people most need union protections and collective bargaining: It requires someone who paradoxically doesn’t really need the work, who will be ok if the corporate backlash is extreme and they lose their job. Gianna Reeve is a 20-year-old shift supervisor who has worked at a Starbucks in Buffalo for a year and a half. Reeve is a student at Buffalo University where she’s studying psychology, and she is active in the effort to unionize her branch, hoping to follow the lead of another Buffalo Starbucks, the first to unionize. For now, Reeve’s branch seems to have voted against unionizing, though the pro-union faction is contesting the results. Reeve came to Starbucks from Tim Hortons, which she says was grueling work. At Starbucks, employees—Starbucks calls them “partners”—seemed happy to come to work, and Reeve initially felt that they were respected by the company. But in mid-August, a coworker texted to ask if they could talk about something to do with work but “outside of work.” They met at another coffee shop that had recently unionized—a symbolic choice, it turned out—and Reeve’s coworker explained the unionization effort to her and asked if she was interested in helping out.  “I was like, yeah,” Reeve recalled. “I mean, of course, if it means better working conditions for people like my partners, then absolutely.” Reeve was thinking of the people she supervises, most of whom are older than her. She made a point of checking her privilege, pointing out the sad irony of union organizing. “I don't blame any of my partners for being scared or being against unionizing,” she told me. “I'm in a position where I'm able to say, yeah, you know what, let's do it either way. But it's a privilege. I don’t have kids. I don’t have a family I support,” she explained. “I don’t really have anything personally that tethers me. I know that I’m going to be financially and benefits-wise stable, no matter what, so it’s not really a threat they can put against me.” But it’s not just economic privilege. There is an emerging cultural disconnect between the people who most need unions and the people who sometimes run them. At the national level, union staff—especially on the political and public policy side of things—are very likely to be part of what one longtime union leader called the “revolving door of Democratic operatives in Washington.” They have often been guilty of subordinating core working-class interests to what he called “the permanent culture of progressive college-educated coastal elites.” And they are alienating the workers they're supposed to be representing—who are much more socially conservative. A YouGov/American Compass survey of 3,000 workers found that “excessive engagement in politics is the number one obstacle to a robust American labor movement.” “Among those who said they would vote against a union, the top reason cited was union political activity, followed by member dues,” the survey found. “These workers anticipate that unions will focus on politics rather than delivering concrete benefits in their workplaces, and don’t want to pay the cost.” Meanwhile, fear of retaliation was the least cited reason workers gave for why they haven’t unionized. The alliance of unions and Democratic politics often goes beyond labor issues, whether it’s the president of the AFL-CIO applauding a Netflix walkout over a Dave Chappelle special, or one of America's biggest unions endorsing Supreme Court packing, or unionization efforts drawing on slogans like Black Lives Matter to convince workers to vote yes. “When you survey workers, which is what we did, what you find is that this is the thing that they most hate about unions,” Cass told me. Jeff Salovich is a pipefitter foreman at the Minneapolis City Hall, which means he’s in charge of all the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems for local government offices, including those of the police chief, the fire chief, City Council, and the mayor. Salovich has been with the Local 539 since 2002, something he’s proud of. But he’s worried about the future of labor in America.  “I think unions are dying,” Salovich told me. And he blames what he calls “political theater.” “There's too many progressives in my mind that don't really understand unions. And although they're trying to represent unions, they're actually doing more harm to unions than they are good.” Though Salovich’s union has people from across the political spectrum, it leans conservative, and there is a divide forming between the blue-collar members and the top-down liberal culture that’s being imposed upon them. “A great majority of the people that I work with—other pipefitters and plumbers and mechanical trades—I would say at least 75% of the workers tend to lean more conservative and are more concerned about keeping their jobs instead of saying the right things or addressing people by pronouns and this and that, all the theatrics that are going on,” he said. “Whereas the people that are running things are being pressured by outside influences to succumb to that.”  For example, in the pipefitter trade, there’s a tool called a nipple that connects different pieces of pipe. But as part of what Salovich sees as progressive pressures on leadership, the word is now verboten, and if you're caught saying it, you'll get reprimanded by your boss. It’s a small example of a much larger trend, he explained. “I think there's that breaking point where people will start to leave if they feel like their dues money is going to political alliances that don't line up with their family's convictions,” he explained.  Many conservatives in the union just stay quiet, hoping this new tidal wave will blow over. But for some, even the good pay and benefits that the union provides isn’t worth it. So, they’re willing to give up their economic interests for cultural issues? “No,” Salovich explained. “Because my interests are not just limited to my paycheck. It's your life,” he said. “They don't understand that people just want to work. I'm coming from a mechanical side. As far as trade staff like painting and plumbing and carpentry and trades that people work with their hands, we don't want to have to be perfect in how we address people and how we talk or be afraid to talk or be who we are as people And the Left side, the progressives, are really pushing a lot of agendas that are not aligned with how we raise our families.” There are a lot of people willing to work for half as much as the unions are offering for peace of mind and a stress-free environment, and to not see their dues go to groups that fund Planned Parenthood. But the more progressive culture may also be contrary to their economic interests; after all, marriage has been correlated with significantly higher earnings, especially for men. They may not have the data at hand to support what they can observe in their communities, but working-class people resisting a politics that is indifferent at best and hostile at worst to traditional values like marriage are, it turns out, acting in their economic interests, too. Many union leaders are cognizant of this cultural divide, like Doug Tansy of Alaska. Tansy is a registered Democrat, but he actively works to combat the politicization of his union. “I purposely always try to get people that will check me,” he told me. “I definitely want that conservative voice at the table, debating with me and decision-making with me because, left to my own devices, I will go too far. I represent a very diverse membership and I use my conservative friends to help check me, to make me defend my ideas and to defend my choices, because I don't want to be one-sided.” But how many Tansys are there?  There’s a devastating irony to the fact that it was a bipartisan anti-worker consensus that resulted in stagnant wages and downward mobility for America’s working-class, and that it is now partisanship that is keeping a strong working class from fighting back.  Americans are often told how divided the nation is, how politically polarized, how we entombed in our own tightly sealed echo chambers. But this is not the reality for millions and millions of working-class Americans outside the few elites who make up our political and chattering classes. Political polarization is a luxury they cannot afford in a marketplace dominated by powerful, profit-maximizing corporations. With the blessing of free-market policies pushed by both political parties in the U.S., millions of good working-class jobs have been shipped overseas, jobs that once catapulted working-class Americans into the middle class and now do the same for the burgeoning middle class in China and elsewhere.  What would help America’s working class? A number of solutions came up with everyone I spoke to. Vocational training was the first. America is unique among wealthy countries in its refusal to invest in skilled trades, something that in countries like Germany and Switzerland has offset the drastic effects of offshoring manufacturing. Universal healthcare was another thing nearly everyone I spoke to agreed upon. Regional or sectoral bargaining was another option that came up, or just a larger culture of collective bargaining that isn’t tied to individual workplaces; it’s why across Northern Europe, corporations like Starbucks and Amazon are forced to deal with unions. And we need new federal labor laws that protect workers—not just businesses.  But none of these goals are achievable so long as organized labor is a political football and what one longtime union organizer and leader called a “subsidiary of the Left wing of the Democratic Party.” Rather than holding the benefits of organized labor hostage until Republican workers agree to fund groups that support Planned Parenthood, those who claim to want a strong labor movement would do better to meet workers where they are—which is increasingly on the social and political right. In other words, Americans who truly care about a stable and thriving working class, one that has access to the American Dream, would do well to learn what workers understand: that more unites us than divides us. In other words, politicians and pundits and journalists and influencers who seek to advance workers’ causes should stop trying to lead and should start following.  Batya Ungar-Sargon is the deputy opinion editor of Newsweek. She is the author of "Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy." *  *  * NOTE FROM GLENN GREENWALD: As is true with all of the Outside Voices freelance articles that we publish here, we edit and fact-check the content to ensure factual accuracy, but our publication of an article or op-ed does not necessarily mean we agree with all or even any of the views expressed by the writer, who is guaranteed editorial freedom here. The objective of our Outside Voices page is to provide a platform for high-quality reporting and analysis that is lacking within the gates of corporate journalism, and to ensure that well-informed, independent reporters and commentators have a platform to be heard. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Fri, 04/15/2022 - 19:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 15th, 2022

Tens of millions of Chinese people are back in strict lockdown. Residents say they feel "trapped."

Surging numbers of virus cases prompted the new measures. Daily increases of more 1,000 cases are a warning, one expert said. Police officers next to some locked-down areas after the detection of new cases of COVID-19 in Shanghai on Monday.HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images Tens of millions of people in China are back in strict lockdown. Surging numbers of coronavirus cases prompted the new measures. China describes its "zero-COVID" policy as "dynamic," seeking to quickly contain outbreaks. As people in the US and other countries get rid of masks and plan summer vacations, tens of millions of people in China are back in strict lockdown, causing frustration among residents and hampering global supply chains.Surging COVID-19 case numbers, driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant, have prompted the new measures, as Chinese health officials stand by what they call a "dynamic" "zero-COVID" policy. That means rapid lockdowns, mass testing, and travel restrictions when clusters emerge.The weekly average number of daily cases recorded in China is more than 1,600 — the highest since February 2020, according to Oxford University's Our World in Data. The vast majority of cases are in Jilin, a northeastern Chinese province that borders North Korea and Russia.Jin Dong-Yan, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, told Reuters that China's COVID-19 policy hadn't "completely broken down" but added that "daily increases of over 1,000 cases are a warning sign."In Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, 17.5 million people are under stay-at-home orders for at least a week, with exceptions being permitted only for "essential reasons."In Shanghai, China's commercial hub of 24 million people, schools and restaurants are closed. By stark contrast, on Friday the UK planned to remove all travel restrictions for international travelers for the first time in two years. The UK was one of the slowest to enact controls in the wake of the initial outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan and was later one of the earliest to dramatically ease restrictions.The impact of China's latest restrictions have already been felt worldwide. Some companies have been forced to suspend their Chinese operations, piling fresh uncertainty on supply chains. Apple's top iPhone assembler stopped operations in Shenzhen on Monday.China's zero-COVID-19 approach has suppressed case numbers throughout the pandemic, but the strategy makes returning to normal life a challenge.About 85% of the population have had two doses of Chinese-made vaccines, according to Our World in Data, but it's not clear how effective they are against Omicron. Furthermore, because of the zero-COVID strategy, immunity levels in the population from past infection are low.Mi Feng, a representative at the National Health Commission, said Tuesday that preventing and controlling epidemics had become "more difficult" but China's current strategy was still effective against Omicron, per Reuters.Despite a rapid rise in cases for the country, it's still recording relatively low numbers compared with the US and the UK — as of Tuesday, the US recorded an average of 93 new daily cases per million people, the UK recorded more than 1,000, and China recorded 0.89, according to Our World in Data.Chen Zhengming, a professor of epidemiology at Oxford University, told Reuters that, regardless of cost, China's approach had worked and cautioned that the public might misinterpret any changes as "giving up.""The next two weeks are key to determining whether existing policies can really be effective in curbing infection growth or even reaching completely zero cases in one city as we saw last year," he said.In the meantime, some are frustrated.One Shenzhen resident told Reuters he believed there was "no way" to stop Omicron."The only way is to maintain normalcy and welcome the virus," he said. "Many people have recovered and traveled everywhere. Why are we trapped here?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 18th, 2022

Tens of millions of Chinese people are back in strict lockdown. Residents say they feel "trapped".

Surging numbers of virus cases prompted the new measures. Daily increases of more 1,000 cases are a warning, one expert said. Police wear protective clothes next to some lockdown areas after the detection of new cases of COVID-19 in Shanghai on March 14HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images Tens of millions of people in China are back in strict lockdown. Surging numbers of virus cases prompted the new measures. China describes its "zero-COVID" policy as "dynamic" — not insisting on zero cases, but blocking cases as they occur. As populations in the US and other countries get rid of masks and plan summer holidays, tens of millions in China are back in strict lockdowns, causing frustration amongst residents and hampering global supply chains.Surging COVID-19 case numbers, driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant, have prompted the new measures, as Chinese health officials stand by a "dynamic" zero-COVID-19 policy. That means rapid lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions when clusters emerge.The weekly average number of daily cases in China is currently more than 1,600 — the highest since February 2020, according to Oxford University's Our World in Data. The vast majority of cases are in Jilin, a northeastern Chinese province that borders North Korea and Russia.Jin Dong-Yan, professor at the University of Hong Kong, told Reuters that China's COVID-19 policy hadn't "completely broken down," but added that  "daily increases of over 1,000 cases are a warning sign."In Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, 17.5 million people are under stay-at-home orders for at least a week, with exceptions only being permitted for "essential reasons".In Shanghai, China's commercial hub of 24 million people, schools and restaurants are shut. By stark contrast, as of Friday, the UK plans to remove all travel restrictions for international travelers, for the first time in two years. The UK was one of the slowest to enact controls in the wake of the initial outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and one of the earliest to ease restrictions.The impact of China's lastest restrictions have already been felt worldwide.  Some companies have been forced to suspend their Chinese operations, piling fresh uncertainty on supply chains. Apple's top iPhone assembler stopped operations in Shenzhen on Monday.China's zero-COVID-19 approach has suppressed case numbers throughout the pandemic, but the strategy makes returning to normal life a challenge.About 85% of the population have had two doses of homemade vaccines, according to Our World in Data, but it's not clear how effective they are against Omicron. Furthermore, due to the zero-COVID strategy, natural immunity levels in the population are low.Mi Feng, a spokesperson at the National Health Commission said Tuesday that preventing and controlling epidemics had become "more difficult", but China's current strategy was still effective against Omicron, per Reuters.Despite a rapid rise in cases for the country, the average number of new cases remains relatively low compared to the US and UK — as of Tuesday, the US had an average of 93 new daily cases per million, the UK had more than 1,000, and China had 0.89, according to Our World in Data.Chen Zhengmin, professor of epidemiology at the University of Oxford, told Reuters that, regardless of cost, China's approach had worked and cautioned that the public might misinterpret any changes as "giving up"."The next two weeks are key to determining whether existing policies can really be effective in curbing infection growth or even reaching completely zero cases in one city as we saw last year," he said.In the meantime, some are frustrated.Peter, a Shenzhen resident and owner of a VR startup, said he believes there was "no way" to stop Omicron now."The only way is to maintain normalcy and welcome the virus," he told Reuters."Many people have recovered and travelled everywhere. Why are we trapped here?"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMar 18th, 2022

Malthusianism, Prometheanism, & The Hyper-Bitcoinized World To Come

Malthusianism, Prometheanism, & The Hyper-Bitcoinized World To Come Via Cathedra.com, 2021 Letter to Shareholders Dear Fellow Shareholders of Cathedra Bitcoin Inc: In 1798, a British economist was concerned that the incessant increase in population would cause humanity to run out of food. As a solution, he supported a variety of measures aimed at curbing the rate of population growth (e.g., taxes on food) to improve the living standards for those humans who did survive. The economist in question, Thomas Malthus, was raised in a country house in Surrey, was educated at Jesus College Cambridge, became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1818, and–in simple terms–championed policies designed to limit (or end) human life to prevent this population bomb. “Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague.” – Thomas Malthus, “An Essay on the Principle of Population” (1798) Looking back, we can see that such predictions have (fortunately) not come to fruition. The human population has grown ninefold since Malthus penned his infamous piece, “An Essay on the Principle of Population.” Meanwhile, technology has given humanity the ability to channel energy in ways unimaginable to Malthus, allowing us to enjoy levels of prosperity that make the elitist Malthus look like a serf in comparison. Yet we are not without our troubles. In response to COVID-19, the last two years have seen an unprecedented degree of government intervention around the world, through mandates as well as record-breaking fiscal and monetary stimulus. Meanwhile, food shortages have visited the developed and developing worlds alike. Housing, asset, and commodity prices are soaring, with even the dubious Consumer Price Index reaching its highest level in four decades in the U.S. And around the world, civil unrest is on the rise. We believe the root causes of these issues are quite simple: unsound money and unsound energy infrastructure. In this first annual letter to Cathedra Bitcoin shareholders, we examine the current state of both and discuss how they inform our vision for the future of the company. Macro Update: Energy The European Energy Crisis For the last six months, headlines have been filled with a “European Energy Crisis.” As the global economy surged back to life after 18 months of lockdowns, a perfect storm of events unfolded: over the summer, China increased natural gas imports following a coal shortage, causing power prices to rise in Europe; in September, a wind shortage beset northern Europe, resulting in enormous sums being paid to dispatch other (“dirtier”) forms of generation; reduced natural gas imports from Russia left Europe with historically low natural gas reserves; in December, unusually cold temperatures hit the continent, sending shockwaves through energy markets (even serving as a catalyst for the civil unrest in Kazakhstan); and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in recent weeks has sent oil and gas prices surging, bringing calls for increased domestic energy production. These events have conspired to cause a sharp increase in energy prices around the continent. One is tempted to point to any one of the above as a “black swan event” driven by unforeseeable forces beyond our control (in hindsight, it will be even more tempting to blame this crisis on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine). But in reality, Europe has been systematically dismantling its stable energy infrastructure for over a decade. And unfortunately, they are not alone. Take California, for example: over the last decade, the state has seen energy prices rise 7x more than those in the rest of the U.S., and blackouts have become “almost daily events.” If one looks deeper, a far subtler cause reveals itself: misguided policies that subsidize intermittent renewables and shutter stable forms of generation, the net effects of which are energy insecurity and higher energy costs. The Real “Energy Transition” Beginning in the early 2000s, governments around the world began reorienting energy policy around climate change. These “net-zero” policies push for an “energy transition” away from CO2-emitting energy sources toward 100% “renewable” energy, primarily via subsidies to intermittent wind and solar generation. On the surface, these policies seem to have worked. EU power generation from renewables has increased 157% in the last ten years. As a result, in 2020, renewable generation in Europe surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time, providing 38% of the region’s electricity (vs. fossil fuels’ 37%). And these policies are only accelerating: in July 2021, the EU announced its even more ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, requiring an estimated tripling of wind and solar generation from 547 TWh in 2020 to ~1,500 TWh in 2030. These pro-renewables policies have been paired with the abandonment of more stable forms of generation. Coal continues to be pushed out of the generation stack due to its heavy carbon footprint and the rising cost of carbon credits. Additionally, despite the seemingly obvious importance of nuclear energy in a “net-zero” carbon future, regulators have been shutting down nuclear reactors around the world in response to environmentalist movements[1] (a trend that accelerated in the wake of the Fukushima disaster). Germany alone shut down 16 GW of nuclear power since 2011, and plans to retire its last three nuclear power plants this year. With hydro being geography-dependent and long-term energy storage unsolved, natural gas is left as the main  viable form of dispatchable generation. Given self-imposed fracking bans, Europe has no choice but to import natural gas via LNG or pipelines (largely from Russia). Returning to California, we see the same dangerous combination of policies. Despite the aforementioned rising electricity costs and grid fragility, the state is decommissioning its last nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon–responsible for ~10% of the state’s electricity–while reasserting goals to achieve “net-zero” by 2045. Unfortunately, even if stable forms of generation are not discarded by mandates, renewables subsidies distort market signals. This auxiliary revenue stream of carbon or renewable energy credits allows wind and solar farms to sell power to the grid at negative prices, often driving unsubsidized, baseload generation out of business. The net result? The hollowing out of sound energy infrastructure, which increases both the costs and fragility of the energy system. In her book Shorting the Grid, Meredith Angwin warns of a “fatal trifecta” affecting grids around the world: (1) overreliance on renewables, (2) overreliance on natural gas, often used to load-follow renewables, and (3) overreliance on energy imports. When demand outpaces supply, either due to diminished output from renewables or heightened demand (e.g., during a cold snap), grid operators seek to dispatch additional generation. But natural gas and energy imports are both vulnerable to disruptions, as natural gas is typically delivered just-in-time via pipelines and neighboring regions are likely to experience correlated supply or demand shocks (read: weather). This results in more expensive energy (increased demand chasing limited supply) or enforced blackouts (e.g., Texas in February 2021). “Grid fragility” may sound like a highly abstract concept, but its real-world consequences are severe. It means industry halting, hospitals losing power, and even access to clean water being threatened. Such effects are so severe that energy-insecure countries tend to rely on more rudimentary forms of energy, including expensive backup diesel generators, to keep the lights on. Robert Bryce has termed this phenomenon the “Iron Law of Electricity”: people, businesses, and governments will do whatever they must to get the electricity they need[2]. We fear these confused policies are causing an energy transition of the wrong kind–one toward energy insecurity. Its effects are clear in the U.S., where “major electric disturbances and unusual occurrences” on the grid have increased 13x over the last 20 years. Meanwhile, Generac, a leading gas-powered backup generator company, saw 50% growth in sales in 2021 (it's worth highlighting the contradiction between the stated aims of these “net-zero” policies and their downstream effects). A Malthusian Approach to Energy Energy insecurity is also expensive. Dependence on intermittent renewables often results in paying top-dollar for energy when it’s needed most. During its September wind shortage, the UK paid GBP 4,000 per MWh to turn on a coal power plant–a clear demonstration that not all megawatt hours are created equal. The quality of energy matters. With renewables, humanity is once again at the mercy of the weather. This is the underlying logic of these “net-zero” policies: make energy more expensive so that we use less of it. In fact, economists advising the European Central Bank view rising energy costs (“greenflation”) as a feature, not a bug–a necessary consequence of the energy transition. Rising energy prices are a regressive tax on the least well-off in society. We all require energy to survive (heating/cooling, food, water, etc.), regardless of our wealth. These requirements are effectively a fixed cost; the lower one’s income, the greater the percentage of it one spends on energy. There is a point beyond which rising energy costs become unsustainable, sending people to the streets to fight for their survival–as we saw in Kazakhstan after the spike in LPG prices. Researchers estimate that each 1% increase in heating prices causes a 0.06% increase in winter-related deaths, with disproportionate effects in low-income areas. “If energy is life, then the lack of energy is death.” – Doomberg, “Shooting Oil in a Barrel” (2021) Energy is the key input for every other good and service in the economy, and over time accounts for all wealth in an economy. To the extent energy gets more expensive, so does everything else (including and especially food), making society poorer. This is the Malthusian approach to energy. Expensive “green” energy that the elites can afford, while the unwashed masses bear the brunt of those rising costs. Energy for me, but not for thee. We question the political and social sustainability of such an approach. Enter Entropy Energy’s role is even more fundamental to the economy and human well-being than most understand. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, what is commonly understood as “energy generation” is really just the conversion of energy into a more highly ordered form; it is the reduction of entropy locally by shedding even greater amounts of entropy elsewhere. Despite the universality of this entropy reduction, some energy resources are inherently lower-entropy than others (highly dense nuclear fission vs. low-density wind power). We depend on this entropy reduction to sustain us through the food and energy we need to maintain the order of civilization. This entropy reduction is cumulative; without sufficient entropy-reducing energy infrastructure, we cannot maintain our existing order. We cannot create entropy-reducing energy infrastructure without adequate pre-existing infrastructure. And we cannot advance further as a civilization (i.e., create more order) unless we develop even more entropy-reducing infrastructure. “We never escape from the need for energy. Whatever the short-term variations might look like, the trend over time is for greater energy use, to deliver and crucially to maintain and replace a human sphere that is progressively further away from thermodynamic equilibrium. There is no point at which you sit down and have a rest.” – John Constable, “Energy, Entropy and the Theory of Wealth” (2016) There is no free lunch when it comes to energy. If a country’s economy grows while reducing energy consumption, it is only through de-industrialization, exporting its energy footprint to other countries (the same often holds true for carbon emissions). The second law of thermodynamics is indeed a law, the best attested regularity in natural science, not a tentative suggestion: the entropy must go somewhere. Unfortunately, distortions caused by our current monetary system have convinced many otherwise, a deception that has had dire consequences. Macro Update: Money For the last 50 years the world has participated in an unprecedented experiment: a global fiat monetary standard. In 1974, a few years after “Tricky Dick” Nixon rug-pulled the other governments of the world by severing convertibility of the U.S. dollar into gold, the U.S. struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to cement the dollar’s status as the global reserve currency: the OPEC nations would agree to sell oil exclusively for U.S. dollars, and the Saudis would receive the protection of the U.S. military in return. This arrangement, which survives to this day, became known as the “Petrodollar system,” and it has had enduring economic, social, and political consequences: securing the dollar’s status as the reserve currency of the world; bidding up U.S. asset prices via petrodollar “recycling;” displacing U.S. manufacturing capabilities and increasing economic inequality between American wage-earners and asset-owners; and contributing to the secular decline in interest rates, causing an accumulation of public- and private-sector debts and distortions in the pricing mechanism for all other assets (typically viewed in relation to the “risk-free rate” of interest on Treasuries). In recent years, cracks in the foundation of this system have begun to show. A half-century of irresponsible fiscal and monetary policy has pushed sovereign and private sector debt to the brink of unsustainability and fragilized financial markets. The once steady foreign demand for Treasuries is evaporating, forcing the Fed to begin monetizing U.S. deficits at an increasing rate. The U.S.’s share of global GDP is waning, and the role of the dollar in key trading relationships is diminishing. Even the once-mighty U.S. military—on whose supremacy the entire Petrodollar system was predicated—shows signs of degeneration. The U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many of these trends. Through a series of legislative and executive actions in 2020 and 2021, Congress and the Trump and Biden administrations approved nearly $7 trillion of spending on COVID relief, a large majority of which increased the federal deficit. Not to be outdone, the Fed authorized its own emergency measures to the tune of $7 trillion. In the nearly two years since these extraordinary actions, the U.S. and the global economy has been defined by record-low interest rates (which is part of the explanation for the interest in subsidized renewables); acute supply chain disruptions (read: shortages) across critical markets; a continuation of the asset price inflation of prior decades; and the highest levels of consumer price inflation in 40 years. This last development—“not-so-transitory” CPI inflation—is perhaps most significant given it represents a departure from economic conditions since the Great Financial Crisis. The Fed now faces a predicament. With mounting cries from the public and political officials over the runaway CPI, the pressure is on Jay Powell & Co. to arrest inflation by raising interest rates. But the current state of public and private sector balance sheets complicates matters. As the Fed increases rates, so too does it increase the federal government’s borrowing cost, not to mention that of a private sector which is also saddled with dollar-denominated debt. If corporates are unable to service or refinance their debt, they will be forced to reduce costs, resulting in higher unemployment. Rest assured; rates aren’t going higher for long. Global balance sheets will not allow it. This suggests to us that we may be entering a period of financial repression, whereby inflation is allowed to run hot while interest rates remain pinned near zero, producing negative real returns and deleveraging balance sheets over several years. We also find it likely that the Fed will be forced to implement some version of a yield curve control program. Under such a policy, the central bank commits to purchasing as many bonds as necessary to cap the yields of various maturities of Treasuries at certain predetermined levels. There is precedent for a maneuver of this sort: the Fed implemented a version of the policy throughout the 1940s to inflate away the national debt during and after WWII. At the end of the long-term debt cycle, the only option is to inflate away the debt and debase the currency. But unlike in the 1940s, citizens, businesses, and governments now have several monetary alternatives available to them. We therefore believe the coming period of structural inflation will hasten a transition to a new monetary standard. The Currency Wars Cometh The writing is on the wall; the post-Bretton Woods monetary system is in its death throes. The question is not if we will see a paradigm shift away from the present dollar-based monetary order, but when. And the far more interesting question, in our view, is: what will replace it? We believe the next global monetary system will be built atop Bitcoin—with bitcoin the asset and Bitcoin the network working together to offer final settlement in a digitally native, fixed-supply reserve currency on politically neutral rails. Bitcoin uniquely enables this value proposition, and game theory and economic incentives will compel nation-states to take notice amid the collapsing monetary order. But it is not without competition. Central Bank Digital Currencies Bitcoin is the ideological and economic foil to another candidate for heir to the petrodollar: the central bank digital currency (“CBDC”). The retail CBDC—which is the variety most often discussed in policy circles—is a natively digital form of fiat money that is issued, managed, and controlled by the central bank. Their proponents claim CBDCs would enable many of the same benefits as cryptocurrencies—near-instant final settlement, programmability, high availability, etc.—without many of the attendant “disadvantages”—decentralization, untraceability, etc. CBDCs open up a whole new design space for monetary authorities, empowering them to implement creative and fine-grained policies which heretofore have been confined to masturbatory thought-experiments in BIS papers (e.g., negative interest rates). They would also allow for all manner of fiscal policies which today are operationally or technically infeasible; one can imagine government-imposed parameters around how and when a given sum of CBDC money is spent, digitally programmed into one’s Fed wallet. A universal basic income program could be effected with a single keystroke. In many ways, the CBDC is the perfect Malthusian implement. Their inherent programmability allows for granular, top-down rationing of resources for whatever “greater good” suits the politically powerful. “I’m sorry, sir. Your card has been declined, as you have already exceeded your weekly beef quota. Might we suggest a more environmentally friendly alternative, such as a Bill Gates pea protein patty?” Such a system amounts to highly efficient regulatory capture; citizens are only permitted to spend money on those goods and services favored by The Powers That Be (or the corporate interests that fund them). Expect CBDCs to further distort the pricing mechanism, leading to a variety of market failures (such as the current energy crises). Skeptics of such claims need only be reminded of the U.S. government’s recent history of abusing its power to restrict politically undesirable financial activities. It should come as no surprise that the CBDC model is being pioneered by the Chinese Communist Party in the form of a “digital renminbi.” Make no mistake—wherever a CBDC is implemented, it will be weaponized by the State for political ends. In the West, such a system would be readily abused to create a Chinese-style social credit system—but one cloaked in the neo-liberal parlance of “financial inclusion,” “climate justice,” and “anti-money laundering.” CBDCs: Coming to A Country Near You? We remain cautiously optimistic that the U.S. will forgo implementing this dystopian technology. The U.S. remains among the freest nations in the world, both politically and culturally. A CBDC is wholly incompatible with American values, and we expect millions of Americans would resist the complete usurpation of their financial lives by the State. Additionally, a retail CBDC implemented by the Fed would transfer power from the commercial banks whose interests the Fed was conceived to protect to the federal bureaucracy[3]. And is there any doubt that the U.S. now lacks the state capacity to implement a CBDC, a feat which would require a high degree of technical and operational competence? Figure 1: Which Way, Western Man? BTC vs. CBDC Bitcoin for America So, how can the U.S. extend its financial leadership of the 20th century amid the decaying Petrodollar system? The U.S. is already the frontrunner in nearly all things Bitcoin—trading volumes, mining activity, number of hodlers, entrepreneurial and business activity, capital markets activity, etc. We submit that the path of least resistance would be for America to lean into its leadership in the Bitcoin industry and embrace the technology as a privacy-respecting, open-source, free-market, and fundamentally American alternative to the totalitarian CBDC. What does “adopting Bitcoin” look like for a country like the U.S.? It is likely some combination of: (i) authorizing bitcoin as legal tender, (ii) removing onerous capital gains tax treatment, (iii) subsidizing or sponsoring mining operations (which could support domestic energy infrastructure, in turn), (iv) purchasing bitcoin as a reserve asset by the Fed and/or Treasury, or (v) making the dollar convertible into bitcoin at a fixed exchange rate. We see early signs that such a move by the U.S. may not be so far-fetched. Notably, major American policymakers have already signaled support for bitcoin as an important monetary asset and nascent industry. The “crypto” sector has grown into an important lobby in D.C. and represents a highly engaged, motivated constituency—politicians are taking notice. In our estimation, Bitcoin’s economic incentives and congruence with American values make it the leading candidate for U.S. adoption as a successor to the present monetary order. As the current dollar-based system continues to deteriorate, we are excited by the potential for a U.S.-led coalition of freedom loving nations moving to a Bitcoin Standard. Money, Energy, and Entropy Energy is the fundamental means to reduce entropy in the human sphere, and money is our tool for the direction of energy towards this end. We use money to communicate information about economic production, resolving uncertainty about how scarce resources ought to be employed. And we seek out highly ordered sources of energy to resist the influence of entropy on our bodies and societies. In his lecture, “Energy, Entropy and the Theory of Wealth,” John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation observes that all goods and services—and indeed, civilizations—are alike in that they are thermodynamically improbable. All require energy as an input and necessarily create order (i.e., reduce entropy) in the human domain, shifting the local state further away from thermodynamic equilibrium. So then, wealth can be understood as a thermodynamically improbable state made possible through human entropy reduction. If material wealth is measured by the goods and services one has at one’s disposal, then wealth creation on a sound monetary standard is the reduction of entropy for others, and one’s wealth is a record of one’s ability to reduce entropy for fellow man. Unsound money (of the sort the Malthusians celebrate) increases uncertainty—and therefore, entropy—in economic systems. Active management of the money supply confuses the price signal, reducing the information contained therein and erecting an economic Tower of Babel. Fiat money therefore contributes to malinvestment—entrepreneurial miscalculations which produce the wrong goods and services and increase societal entropy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our energy infrastructure: unsound money has caused malinvestment in unsound sources of generation. As noted above, a half-century of government subsidies and declining interest rates made possible by the Petrodollar system has steered capital towards unreliable renewables that invite greater entropy into the fragile human sphere, dragging us ever closer toward thermodynamic equilibrium (read: civilizational collapse). Cathedra Bitcoin Update Our macro views on energy and money inform everything we’re doing at Cathedra. Chief among them is the belief that sound money and cheap, abundant, highly ordered energy are the fundamental ingredients to human flourishing. Our company mission is to bring both to humanity, and so lead mankind into a new Renaissance—one led by Bitcoin and the energy revolution we believe it will galvanize. Accordingly, with Cathedra we’ve set out to build a category-defining company at the intersection of bitcoin mining and energy. One which is designed to thrive in the turbulent years of the present energy and monetary transition and in the hyperbitcoinized world we believe is to come. In December we announced a change of the company’s name from Fortress Technologies to Cathedra Bitcoin. Our new name reflects our aspirations for the company and for Bitcoin more broadly. The gothic cathedral is a symbol of bold, ambitious, long-term projects; indeed, any single contributor to the monument would likely die before its completion, but contributed nonetheless—because it was a project worth undertaking. So it is with Cathedra, and so it is with Bitcoin. The religious connotations of the name “Cathedra” are not lost on us. Rather, they’re an indication of the seriousness with which we regard this mission. Ours is a quest of civilizational importance. Our new name also hints at another distinguishing feature of our business: we focus our efforts on Bitcoin, and Bitcoin only. The difference between Bitcoin and other “crypto” networks is one of kind, not degree. Bitcoin is the only meaningfully decentralized network in the “crypto” space, which is why bitcoin the asset will continue to win adoption as the preferred form of digitally native money by the world’s eight billion inhabitants. Bitcoin seeks to destroy the institution of seigniorage once and for all. Your favorite shitcoin creator just wants to capture the seigniorage himself. We feel strongly that our long-term mission of delivering sound money and cheap, abundant energy to humanity can be best achieved through a vertically integrated model. In the long-term, Cathedra will develop and/or acquire a portfolio of energy generation assets that leverages the synergies between energy production and bitcoin mining to the advantage of both businesses. In a decade, Cathedra may be as much an energy company as a bitcoin miner. Vertical integration will allow us to control our supply chain and rate of expansion to a greater degree, in addition to giving us a cost advantage over our competitors. As a low-cost producer of bitcoin, we will also be positioned to deliver a suite of ancillary products and services to customers in the Bitcoin and energy sectors. And we’ve begun making strides toward this goal. Earlier this year, the Cathedra team expanded by three with the hires of Isaac Fithian (Chief Field Operations and Manufacturing Officer), Rete Browning (Chief Technology Officer), and Tom Masiero (Head of Business Development). Each of these gentlemen brings years of experience in developing and deploying mobile bitcoin mining infrastructure in off-grid environments. With this expanded team, we recently began production of proprietary modular datacenters to house the 5,100 bitcoin mining machines we have scheduled for delivery throughout 2022. We’re calling these datacenters “rovers,” a nod to their mobility, embedded automation, and capacity to operate under harsh environmental conditions in remote geographies. The modularity and modest footprint of our rovers will allow us to produce them at a rapid pace and deploy them wherever the cheapest power is found, in both on- and off-grid environments. We are proud to be manufacturing our fleet of rovers entirely in New Hampshire, working with the local business community to bring heavy industry back to the U.S. As bitcoin miners, we view ourselves as managers of a portfolio of hash rate. As in the traditional asset management business, diversification can be a powerful asset. Whereas most of the large, publicly traded bitcoin miners are pursuing a similar strategy to one another—developing and/or renting space at hyperscale, on-grid datacenters in which to operate their mining machines—we have optimized our approach to minimize regulatory, market, environmental, or other idiosyncratic risk within our portfolio of hash rate. If one has 90% of one’s hash rate portfolio concentrated in a single on-grid site, 90% of one’s revenue can be shut off by a grid failure or other catastrophic event—an occurrence which is sadly becoming more common, as highlighted in our Energy Update. To our knowledge, Cathedra is the only publicly traded bitcoin miner with both on- and off-grid operations today. We increasingly believe that the future of bitcoin mining is off-grid. On-grid deployments are already vulnerable to myriad unique risks today, and we believe their economic proposition will become less attractive over time. As power producers continue to integrate bitcoin mining at the site of generation themselves, large on-grid miners positioned “downstream” in the energy value chain will see their electricity rates rise. Today, “off-grid” describes any arrangement in which a bitcoin miner procures power directly from an energy producer. Popular implementations include stranded and flared natural gas and behind-the-meter hydro and nuclear. In the long-term, we believe the only way to remain competitive will be to vertically integrate down to the energy generation asset. Mining bitcoin is a capital-intensive business. To ensure we have access to the capital we’ll require to execute on our vision, we’ve embarked on several capital markets initiatives. In February, Cathedra commenced trading on the OTCQX Best Market under the symbol “CBTTF.” This milestone represents a significant upgrade from our prior listing on the OTC Pink Market and should enhance our stock’s accessibility and liquidity for U.S. investors. We intend to list on a U.S. stock exchange in 2022 to further increase the visibility, liquidity, and trading volume in our stock. We recently announced that Cathedra secured US$17m in debt financing from NYDIG, a loan secured by bitcoin mining equipment. When it comes to borrowing in fiat to finance assets that produce bitcoin—an asset which appreciates 150%+ per year on average—almost any cost of debt makes sense. We intend to continue using non-dilutive financing in a responsible manner where possible, with a sober appreciation for the risks debt service presents as an additional fixed cost. Accumulating a formidable war chest of bitcoin on our corporate balance sheet is a priority for us. If one believes, as we do, that the next global monetary order will be built with Bitcoin at its center, then those companies with the largest bitcoin treasuries will thrive. We will continue to hold as much of our mined bitcoin as possible and may even supplement our mining activities with opportunistic bitcoin purchases on occasion. At time of writing, Cathedra has 187 PH/s of hash rate active, and another 534 PH/s of hash rate contracted via purchases of mining machines we expect to be delivered from April through December of this year. Since we replaced the prior management team in September, we have grown Cathedra’s contracted hash rate by more than 300%. And we’re just getting started. Conclusion We stand today at a crossroads between two divergent movements defined by conflicting visions for the future: Malthusianism and Prometheanism. The Malthusians believe progress is zero (or even negative) sum; resources are finite and “degrowth” is the only viable path forward; we ought to judge human action first and foremost by whether it disturbs the natural world. This movement is characterized by totalitarian CBDCs and a desire to make energy more scarce and expensive, so that earth’s resources can be appropriately rationed. On the other hand, the Prometheans carry with them a more optimistic vision: progress is positive-sum; human creativity allows us to liberate and employ resources in novel ways, in turn preserving the natural world for our own benefit; and that human flourishing is the moral standard by which we should evaluate human action. These are social, cultural, and spiritual choices we are all called to confront. “The century will be fought between Malthusians (“resources are finite”; obsessed with overpopulation; scarcity mindset; zero-sum, finite games) and Prometheans (“human imagination is the most valuable natural resource”; abundance mindset; positive sum, infinite games).” – Alpha Barry (2020) The Malthusian camp wants top-down, centralized management of resources via CBDCs and energy rationing policies. They believe our energy resources are fixed; the only path forward is backward, farming for energy using huge swaths of land controlled by the privileged few. “Industrialization for me but not for thee.” “You’ll own nothing and be happy.” These are the slogans of the Malthusian movement. This is not the path that took us to space and lifted billions out of poverty. We, Cathedra, choose the other path. That of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods to benefit humankind. We believe in a future of sound money that brings property rights to eight billion humans around the world. A world of beautiful, free cities powered by dense and highly ordered forms of energy generation. Small modular nuclear reactors with load-balancing bitcoin miners (and no seed oils). A future in which technology is employed to improve the human condition–not only for those who walk the earth today, but for generations to come. Bitcoin mining is a powerful ally to the Promethean cause. As the energy buyer of last resort, Bitcoin promotes sound money and sound energy infrastructure. No two forces are more fundamental to keeping disorder at bay and advancing human civilization. We at Cathedra are not alone; there are other Prometheans working tirelessly to further this vision of a freer, more prosperous tomorrow. Human flourishing is earned, not given. Together, we win. Drew Armstrong President & Chief Operating Officer AJ Scalia Chief Executive Officer Tyler Durden Mon, 03/14/2022 - 19:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 14th, 2022