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From the Editor: Pride is all about being your authentic self, always

Our editor-in-chief shares a story from his past. It still nags at him......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 23rd, 2022

Editor"s picks: Things to know, including pride in financial services and a new lead in UT"s strategic enrollment planning

The TBBJ editor's curated rundown of news to know includes more expansion at Lakeland Regional Health and board changes at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 20th, 2022

14 Pride Month gift ideas from companies that are LGBTQ-owned or that donate to related causes

These gifts come from queer-founded businesses or donate a portion of proceeds to reputable LGBTQ organizations. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.These gifts come from queer-founded businesses or donate a portion of proceeds to reputable LGBTQ organizations.Peace Out/CASETiFYJune is LGBTQ Pride Month: an opportunity to celebrate queer joy while honoring the history and effort of the LGBTQ community. However, LGBTQ visibility and experiences don't disappear when the clock strikes midnight on July 1. In a sea of perceivable rainbows and support, it can be difficult to identify which businesses are queer-owned or actively supportive of the LGBTQ community year-round. If you're planning on celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month — or honoring those who've made Pride Month possible — it's crucial to be mindful of how corporations actively support the LGBTQ community far before June rolls around. As an identifying member of the LGBTQ community, this is especially important to me and was curated with extra research and care. The following gifts all either come from LGBTQ-owned businesses or brands making active efforts to support the LGBTQ community:  BombasBombasBombas Pride Collection, prices varyBombas creates our favorite socks during June and year-round, and the brand has since ventured into loungewear as well. While we love the brand's quality, we're especially respectful of their mission: donating one pair of socks, underwear, or a t-shirt for every product sold. During Pride Month, Bombas is supporting The Ally Coalition, which advocates for LGBTQ equality.BokksuBokksuBokksu Snack Boxes, from $39.95 per monthLGBTQ-owned Bokksu is a monthly Japanese snack subscription that supports small businesses. Anything from mochi to senbei is included, and the variety that Bokksu offers has allowed it to become one of our favorite gift baskets for any occasion. Harry'sHarry'sHarry's Face & Body Shave Set, $10This intentionally genderless shave set comes with two razor blade cartridges — one for the face and one for the body. 100% of profits received from the set are donated to The Trevor Project, a leading resource and support hub for LGBTQ-identifying youth. CASETiFYCASETiFYCASETiFY Pride Cases, from $25CASETiFY's cases are available for a variety of different devices, all created by LGBTQ-identifying artists. $5 from each purchase will support The Christopher Street West Association, the official nonprofit organization of Los Angeles Pride.Peace Out SkincarePeace Out SkincarePeace Out to Paradise Pride Set, $40LGBTQ-founded Peace Out Skincare is the brand behind one of our top picks for best pimple patches. The brand is selling a pride-specific version of their bestselling Acne Dots, both on their own and in a package along with Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Butter. 20% of the retail price will support The Trevor Project. PepperPepperPepper Pride Mesh All You Bra and Bikini, from $16Pepper specializes in creating bras for folks with small boobs, and purchases of the brand's matching (but separately sold) Pride bra and underwear set support the Trans Housing Coalition. Pepper has also donated over 11,000 bras to the Ali Forney Center, which supports LGBTQ community members experiencing homelessness. Conscious StepConscious StepSocks That Save LGBTQ Lives, $34.95Conscious Step specializes in socks whose proceeds support various organizations and communities, including The Trevor Project as one of their year-round partners. Individual pairs of socks and sweatshirts are also available. Malin & GoetzMalin + GoetzMalin & Goetz Travel Kit, $34Queer-owned Malin & Goetz focuses on entirely gender-neutral skin, hair, and body care. This travel kit is home to the brand's self-proclaimed products in each category, all packed into convenient travel tubes. TomboyXTomboyXTomboyX Pride Collection, from $14TomboyX is committed to making underwear, bras, activewear, and swimwear for anybody, regardless of gender or body type. The brand's business model holds up in both consciousness and comfort, and you can learn more about TomboyX in our review.society6Carmela Caldart/society6Society6 LGBTQ Artists' Prints, prices varySociety6 is promoting LGBTQ artists from within its community of sellers, highlighting their stories and donating a portion of proceeds to Queer|Art, a nonprofit connecting a community of diverse queer artists. Additionally and importantly, each purchase will pay the LGBTQ artists behind their designs. WildfangWildfangWildfang Clothing, prices varyWildfang is best known for ethically designed clothing that fits any body, all year long. Learn more about Wildfang and the importance of the clothing they produce in our review.QweerQweerQweer Hats and T-shirts, from $25From classic baseball caps in the colors of all the respective identity Pride flags to t-shirts with witty phrases, Qweer designs colorful and authentic apparel made by queer folks, for queer folks.Automic GoldAutomic GoldAutomic Gold Jewelry, from $49Queer-owned Automic Gold is best known for size-inclusive jewelry. Automic Gold offers both custom-made and pre-designed jewelry, so it makes for an excellent gift for the indecisive and incredibly creative alike. NOTO BotanicalsNOTO BotanicalsNOTO Botanicals Pride Kit, $59NOTO Botanicals is LGBTQ owned, and its Pride kit comes affixed with an agender oil and a branded logo bag. Best of all, 10% of sales will support SAGE, an advocacy group for the LGBTQ community. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 13th, 2022

Greenwald Opines On Biden"s "Submissive - And Highly Revealing - Embrace Of Saudi Despots"

Greenwald Opines On Biden's "Submissive - And Highly Revealing - Embrace Of Saudi Despots" Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com, In 2018, President Trump issued a statement reaffirming the U.S.'s long-standing relationship with the Saudi royal family on the ground that this partnership serves America's “national interests.” Trump specifically cited the fact that “Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world” and has purchased hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weapons from U.S. arms manufacturers. Trump's statement was issued in the wake of widespread demands in Washington that Trump reduce or even sever ties with the Saudi regime due to the likely role played by its Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Then-Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (2nd R) welcomes then-US Vice President Joe Biden (C) at the Riyadh airbase on October 27, 2011, upon his arrival in the Saudi capital with a US official delegation to offer condolences to the King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz following the death of his brother, Crown Prince Sultan. AFP PHOTO/STR (Credit: AFP via Getty Images) What made these Trump-era demands somewhat odd was that the Khashoggi murder was not exactly the first time the Saudi regime violated human rights and committed atrocities of virtually every type. For decades, the arbitrary imprisonment and murder of Saudi dissidents, journalists, and activists have been commonplace, to say nothing of the U.S./UK-supported devastation of Yemen which began during the Obama years. All of that took place as American presidents in the post-World War II order made the deep and close partnership between Washington and the tyrants of Riyadh a staple of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Yet, as was typical for the Trump years, political and media commentators treated Trump's decision to maintain relations with the Saudis as if it were some unprecedented aberration of evil which he alone pioneered — some radical departure of long-standing, bipartisan American values — rather than what it was: namely, the continuation of standard bipartisan U.S. policy for decades. In an indignant editorial following Trump's statement, The New York Times exclaimed that Trump was making the world "more [dangerous] by emboldening despots in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere,” specifically blaming “Mr. Trump’s view that all relationships are transactional, and that moral or human rights considerations must be sacrificed to a primitive understanding of American national interests.” The life-long Eurocrat, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, lamented what he described as Trump's worldview: “if you buy US weapons and if you are against Iran - then you can kill and repress as much as you want.” CNN published an analysis by the network's White House reporter Stephen Collinson— under the headline: “Trump's Saudi support highlights brutality of 'America First' doctrine” — which thundered: “Refusing to break with Saudi strongman Mohammed bin Salman over the killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Trump effectively told global despots that if they side with him, Washington will turn a blind eye to actions that infringe traditional US values." Trump's willingness to do business with the Saudis, argued Collinson, “represented another blow to the international rule of law and global accountability, concepts Trump has shown little desire to enforce in nearly two years in office.” Perhaps the most vocal critic of Trump's ongoing willingness to maintain ties with the Saudi regime were then-Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. As a recent CNN compilation of those statements demonstrates: “In the years prior to taking office, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and many of their administration's top officials harshly criticized President Donald Trump's lack of action against Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.” In a 2019 Democratic primary debate, Biden vowed: “We were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are,” adding that there is “very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia.” Harris similarly scolded Trump for his ongoing relationship with the Saudis, complaining on Twitter in October, 2019, that "Trump has yet to hold Saudi officials accountable," adding: "Unacceptable—America must make it clear that violence toward critics and the press won't be tolerated." That Joe Biden was masquerading as some sort of human rights crusader who would sever ties with the despotic regimes that have long been among America's most cherished partners was inherently preposterous. As Obama's Vice President, Biden was central to that administration's foreign policy which was driven by an embrace of the world's most barbaric tyrants. So devoted was Obama to the U.S.'s long-standing partnership with Riyadh that, in 2015, he deeply offended India — the world's largest democracy — by abruptly cutting short his visit to that country in order to fly to Saudi Arabia, along with leaders of both U.S. political parties, to pay homage to Saudi King Salman upon his death. Adding insult to injury, Obama, as The Guardianput it, boarded his plane to Riyadh “just hours after lecturing India on religious tolerance and women’s rights.” The Guardian, Jan. 27, 2015 The unstinting support of the Saudi regime by the Obama/Biden White House was not limited to obsequious gestures such as these. Their devotion to strengthening the despotic Saudi ruling family was far more substantial — and deadly. Obama's administration played a vital role in empowering the Saudi attack on Yemen, which created the world's worst humanitarian crisis: far worse than what has been taking place in Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24. In order to assuage the Saudis over his Iran deal, “Obama’s administration has offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, other military equipment and training, the most of any U.S. administration in the 71-year U.S.-Saudi alliance,” reported Reuters in late 2016, just months before Obama and Biden left office. Beyond the enormous cache of sophisticated weapons Obama/Biden transferred to the Saudis to use against Yemen and anyone else they decided to target, the Snowden archive revealed that Obama ordered significant increases in the amount and type of intelligence technologies and raw intelligence provided by the NSA to the Saudi regime. That intelligence was — and is — used by Saudi autocrats not only to identify Yemeni bombing targets but also to subject its own domestic population to rigid, virtually ubiquitous, surveillance: a regime of monitoring used to brutally suppress any dissent or opposition to the Saudi regime. In sum, no hyperbole is required to observe that the Obama/Biden White House — along with their junior British counterparts — was singularly responsible for the ability of the Saudi regime to survive and to wage this devastating war in Yemen. But that is nothing new. The centerpiece of U.S. policy in the Middle East for decades has been to prop up Saudi despots with weapons and diplomatic protection in exchange for the Saudis serving U.S. interests with their oil supply and ensuring the use of the American dollar as the reserve currency on the oil market. That is what made the hysterical reaction to Trump's reaffirmation of that relationship so nonsensical and deliberately deceitful. Trump was not wildly deviating from U.S. policy by embracing Saudi tyrants but simply continuing long-standing U.S. policy of embracing all sorts of savage despots all over the world whenever doing so advanced U.S. interests. Indeed, what angered the permanent ruling class in Washington was not Trump's policy of embracing the ruling Saudi monarchs, but rather his honesty and candor about why he was doing so. American presidents are not supposed to admit explicitly that they are overlooking the human rights abuses of their allies due to the benefits that relationship provides, even though that amoral, self-interested approach is and for decades has been exactly the foundational ideological premise of the bipartisan U.S. foreign policy class. But this has been the core propagandistic framework employed by the DC ruling class since Trump was inaugurated. They routinely depicted him as an unprecedentedly monstrous figure who has vandalized American values in ways that would have been unthinkable for prior American presidents when, in fact, he was doing nothing more than affirming decades-old policy, albeit with greater candor, without the obfuscating mask used by American presidents to deceive the public about how Washington functions. Reuters, Sept. 7, 2016 Beyond the Saudi example, this same manipulative media scam could be seen most vividly when Trump welcomed the brutal Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to the White House. As I reported at the time, the mainstream Washington commentariat depicted Trump's meeting with and praise for the Egyptian strongman as some sort of shocking violation of bedrock American principles. In fact, the U.S. has been by far the largest benefactor of Egyptian tyranny for decades. It armed and supported the Mubarak regime up until the very moment it was overthrown. Obama's Secretary of State, John Kerry, praised the military coup engineered by Gen. Sisi against the country's first democratically elected leader, as an attempt to protect democracy. And shortly before the Arab Spring began, Kerry's predecessor, Hillary Clinton, declared her personal affection for Sisi's predecessor, the monstrous dictator who ruled Egypt for three decades: “I really consider President and Mrs. Mubarak to be friends of my family, so I hope to see him often here in Egypt and in the United States,” Clinton gushed in 2009, while Obama ensured that the flow of money and weapons to Mubarak never ceased. While the bipartisan political and media class has spent decades insisting, and still insists, that the core foreign policy goal of the U.S. is to defend freedom and democracy and fight tyranny around the world, the indisputable reality is the exact opposite: propping up the world's most brutal dictators who serve U.S. interests has been a staple of U.S. foreign policy since at least the end of World War II. The only attribute that differentiated Trump from his predecessors and the rest of the mainstream D.C. ruling class was not his willingness to do business and partner with despots. There are few policies official Washington loves more than that. It was his honesty about admitting that he was doing this and his clarity about the reasons for it: namely, that the real goal of U.S. foreign policy is to generate benefits for the U.S. (or, more accurately, ruling American elites), not to crusade for democracy and human rights. To the extent that one attempted to isolate any other difference between Trump and official Washington, it was that he was often insistent that “American interests” be defined not by "what benefits a small sliver of U.S. arms manufacturers and the U.S. Security State” but rather “what benefits the American people generally” (hence his eagerness, and his ultimate success, to be the first U.S. president in decades to avoid involving the U.S. in new wars). In sum, the U.S. always has been, and continues to be, not just willing but eager to support and embrace foreign dictators whenever doing so serves those interests. They are just as willing and eager to overthrow or otherwise undermine and destabilize democratically elected leaders who are judged to be insufficiently deferential to American decrees. What determines U.S. support or opposition toward a foreign country is not whether they are democratic or despotic, but whether they are deferential. Thus, it was not Trump's embrace of long-standing U.S. partnerships with Saudi and Egyptian despots that represented a radical departure from the American tradition. The radical departure was Biden's pledge during the 2020 presidential campaign to turn the Saudis into "pariahs” and to isolate them as punishment for their atrocities. But few people in Washington were alarmed by Biden's campaign vow because nobody believed that Joe Biden — with his very long history of supporting the world's worst despots — ever intended to follow through on his cynical campaign pledge. It took no prescience or cleverness to see it as nothing more than a manipulative attempt to demonize Trump for what official Washington, and Obama and Biden themselves, have always done with great gusto and glee. This is why it comes as absolutely no surprise, repellent as it may be, that Joe Biden aggressively abandoned this core 2020 campaign foreign policy vow regarding Saudi Arabia the first chance he got. Far from turning them into a "pariah” state as he pledged, Biden has seamlessly continued — and even escalated — the U.S. tradition of propping up and strengthening what is quite plausibly the world's single most despotic and murderous regime. Just one month after Biden's inauguration, the Director of National Intelligence made public a long-secret report that announced: “We assess that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman approved an operation in Istanbul, Turkey to capture or kill” Jamal Khashoggi. Yet the White House, while imposing some mild sanctions on some Saudi individuals, adamantly refused to impose punishments on Crown Prince bin Salman himself, dispatching anonymous officials to friendly media outlets to explain that they were unwilling to jeopardize the significant benefits that come from the U.S./Saudi partnership. That was exactly the argument Trump made in 2018 in defense of his identical decision which caused so much faux indignation. One would, needless to say, be very hard-pressed to find similarly vehement condemnations of Biden for vandalizing sacred U.S. principles by refusing to sever or even meaningfully reduce the American partnership with the Saudis due to their murder of Khashoggi. But this was merely the start of Biden's embrace of the Saudi regime. Last November, “the U.S. State Department approved its first major arms sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under U.S. President Joe Biden with the sale of 280 air-to-air missiles valued at up to $650 million.” Just a few weeks later, the U.S. Senate, reported Politico, “gave a bipartisan vote of confidence to the Biden administration’s proposed weapons sale to Saudi Arabia, blunting criticisms from progressives and some Republicans over the kingdom’s involvement in Yemen’s civil war and its human rights record.” A group of dissenters — led by Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Mike Lee (R-UT) — argued that the arms sales would fuel the war in Yemen and embolden the Saudi regime, but they were easily swept aside by a status-quo-protecting bipartisan majority led by the two party's leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY). And it was during that same time — long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine — when Biden had all but abandoned any pretense of weakening ties with the Saudis, let alone turning them into the "pariah” state he promised during the campaign against Trump. “Mr. Biden was already prepared to end the isolation of Prince Mohammed as far back as October when he expected to encounter the Saudi leader at a meeting of the Group of 20 leaders and most likely would have shaken hands,” explainedThe New York Times last week (bin Salman was a no-show at the meeting). And now, it appears that Biden is planning a pilgrimage to Riyadh to visit his Saudi partners in person. Last week, The New York Times reported that Biden “has decided to travel to Riyadh this month to rebuild relations with the oil-rich kingdom at a time when he is seeking to lower gas prices at home and isolate Russia abroad.” During the trip, “the president will meet with” bin Salman himself, who Biden's own DNI said oversaw the murder of Khashoggi. The rationale offered by The New York Times for Biden's planned trip was virtually identical to the arguments Trump used in 2018: “the visit represents the triumph of realpolitik over moral outrage, according to foreign policy experts.” Indeed, the explanation offered by Biden's Secretary of State for the president's ongoing embrace of the Saudis is virtually indistinguishable from the rationale offered by Trump that sparked so many outraged denunciations about the fall of American ideals supposedly caused by his willingness to do business with undemocratic regimes: “Saudi Arabia is a critical partner to us in dealing with extremism in the region, in dealing with the challenges posed by Iran, and also I hope in continuing the process of building relationships between Israel and its neighbors both near and further away through the continuation, the expansion of the Abraham Accords,” Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Wednesday at an event marking the 100th anniversary of Foreign Affairs magazine. He said human rights are still important but “we are addressing the totality of our interests in that relationship.” Despite Biden's clear abandonment from the start of his campaign pledge to distance the U.S from the Saudis, this trip is being justified by the need to plead with the Saudis to make more oil available on the market in order to compensate for U.S.-led sanctions on Russia. As The Times put it: “Russia and Saudi Arabia are close to tied as the world’s second-largest oil producers, meaning that as Biden administration officials sought to cut off one, they concluded they could not afford to be at odds with the other.” After the Times report, Biden officials said the trip had been postponed to July, but did not deny that it was happening. What cogent moral argument can be advanced that it is preferable to buy Saudi oil as a means of avoiding the purchase of Russian oil? Whatever one's views are on the extent of autocracy under Putin's rule in Russia, there is no minimally credible argument that it is worse than the systemic tyranny long imposed by the Saudi ruling family. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to contest that, at least prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, civil freedoms were more abundant in Russia than in Saudi Arabia. And while one can certainly contend that Russia's three-month war in Ukraine has been more a moral atrocity, there is no basis — none — for arguing that it is worse on any level than the indiscriminate violence and destruction the Saudis have been unleashing for seven years in Yemen (unless one values the lives of European Ukrainians more than non-European Yemenis). And even if one did insist upon the view that absolutely nothing on the planet is worse than the Russian invasion of Ukraine and that everything must therefore be done to maintain the sanctions regime imposed on Russia, how would that dubious moral claim justify overlooking Saudi atrocities and sending Biden, on his knees, to beg bin Salman for more oil? If suffocating and punishing Russia is the highest moral and strategic priority, why would it not be more prudent and more moral for the U.S. to lift Biden's restrictions on its own domestic drilling as a means of replacing Russian oil, especially if that would avoid the need to further strengthen the Saudi regime? But herein lies the unique truth-providing value of the U.S. partnership with Saudi Arabia. Of course U.S. foreign policy is not devoted to spreading freedom and democracy and fighting despotism and tyranny in the world. How can a country that counts the Saudi monarchs, the Egyptian military junta, the Qatari slave owners, and the Emirati dictators as its closest partners and allies possibly claim with a straight face that it opposes tyranny and fights wars in order to protect democracy? The U.S. does not care, at all, whether a foreign country is ruled by democracy or tyranny. It cares about one question and one question only: whether the government of that country serves or hinders U.S. interests. Donald Trump's sin was admitting this obvious fact. This has been the central deceit shaping the virtually closed propaganda system imposed by the West around the U.S./NATO role in the war in Ukraine. If Western leaders had simply acknowledged from the start the obvious truth about their role — that they regard Russia as a geopolitical adversary and seek to exploit the war in Ukraine to weaken or even break that country — at least an honest debate would have been possible. Instead, they and their corporate media allies did what they always do whenever a new war is newly marketed: they draped it in fabricated moral fairy tales about freedom-fighting and opposition to tyranny. Thus, the popular Western moralistic narrative imposed a series of claims about U.S. motives that should not have even passed the laugh test, yet became virtually obligatory articles of faith. The U.S. is not involved in this war in Ukraine because it sees an opportunity to advance its own interests by sacrificing Ukraine in order to weaken Russia (a truth they began admitting in private: their goal is not to end the war but prolong it). Nor is the U.S. motivated by an opportunity to enrich the weapons manufacture industry which lost its primary weapons market after the U.S. withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan and which wields enormous power in Washington. Nor does the U.S. government, with its posture of Endless War, seek to justify the ever-increasing budget and power of the U.S. Security State and the sprawling Pentagon bureaucracy. Perish these thoughts. The massive benefits conferred on those powerful sectors by every new war are always just happy coincidences. Only a deranged conspiracy theorist would believe that profit and power for these factions — whose unrestrained growth was the target of Dwight Eisenhower's grave warnings when leaving office in 1961: long before their power exploded even more due to Vietnam, the ongoing Cold War and especially 9/11 — is ever a factor in shaping U.S. war policy. Good American patriots view the military-industrial complex as just a chronic lottery winner: they just keep hitting the jackpots purely through immense strokes of luck. To sustain popular support for the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars in new foreign wars, the population must be fed a morally uplifting framework, a sense of righteous purpose that leads them — at least at the start — to believe these new wars are moral necessities. Thus, rather than self-interest in Ukraine, the U.S. is acting benevolently, with the noblest of motives, with nothing but a desire to help others. The United States, you see, is a country that cares deeply that the peoples of the world remain free, that they enjoy the right of democratic rule and self-determination, and that they should never suffer under the repressive thumb of despotism — and we are so magnanimously devoted to these values that we are even willing to expend our our vast resources to ensure the prosperity of others. Those kinds of grandiose morality tales are always deployed to secure American support for new wars (hence, the war in Vietnam was about defending our South Vietnamese democratic allies from aggression and invasion by North Vietnamese Communists; the war in Afghanistan would liberate oppressed Afghan women from the Taliban; the first war in Iraq, beyond “liberating” Kuwait, was to stop a tyrant who tore babies out of incubators, while the second war in Iraq, beyond WMDs, was about freeing Iraqis from Saddam's tyranny; the wars in Libya and Syria would rid their long-suffering populations from the brutal thumb of Gadaffi and Assad, etc. etc.). It is the great enduring mystery of American and British discourse that the U.S. and UK Governments can still have employees of media corporations genuinely believe that their governments fight wars not to advance their own interests but to defend democracy and fight tyranny — even as these very same media figures watch those very same governments prop up the most repressive tyrannies on the planet and lavish them with weapons, intelligence technologies, and diplomatic protection. Somehow, without the U.S. press batting an eye, Joe Biden can deliver a speech righteously touting his commitment to protect democracy in Ukraine and stop Russian autocracy, and then board a plane the very next minute to go visit Mohammed bin Salman and General Sisi, heralding them as vital American partners, and announce new aid military and intelligence packages to each. Somehow, this severest cognitive dissonance — watching a government insisting with one hand that it fights wars in order to protect democracy and vanquish tyranny and then, with the other, send aid to the world's most repressive tyrants — eludes these savvy journalistic gurus. Perhaps this cheap, repetitive, and transparent propaganda works with the journalistic in-group because the officials inside the U.S. Government who disseminate these fraudulent tales are the friends, colleagues, neighbors and vital sources for the country's wealthiest and most prominent journalists, who therefore see the world the way they see it and want to assume the best about the intentions of their socioeconomic and professional comrades. Perhaps it is due to the great career benefits that are inevitably conferred on journalists who uncritically cheer and help sell the lies behind U.S. war propaganda (the path that led Jeffrey Goldberg from writing full-on Iraq War agitprop for The New Yorker in 2002 to becoming editor-in-chief of The Atlantic today). Perhaps it is because bolstering U.S. war propaganda fosters widespread elite applause, while doubting it fosters attacks on one's patriotism, loyalty, competence and sanity. Perhaps American journalists feel a sense of jingoistic pride and psychological pleasure by believing that their government, unlike most in the world, involves itself in an endless stream of new wars due to magnanimity rather than more craven motives. When it comes to the uniquely gullible and herd-like U.S. and British press corps and their unyielding faith in the noble motives of U.S. war planners, all of those dynamics are likely at play. Notably, this self-evidently manipulative propaganda — U.S. foreign policy is devoted to spreading freedom and fighting despotism — works only in the U.S., the UK and various parts of Western Europe. The rest of the world — especially those regions whose democracies have been on the receiving end of the CIA's violence and destabilization efforts — react to such claims not with gullible credulity but scornful laughter. This is why, as The New York Times reported this week, the Biden administration has been encountering increasing levels of resistance around the world for his Ukraine war policies, because most countries understand that what the Western press refuses to acknowledge: namely, that the U.S's motives in Ukraine — whatever they might be — have nothing to do with safeguarding democracy and fighting despotism. The same dynamic was vividly apparent with Biden's failed attempt to summon Latin American countries to Los Angeles for his so-called “Summit of the Americas.” After the Biden administration announced the exclusion of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua on the ground that those countries are insufficiently democratic, numerous other Latin American nations, led by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced they were likely to refuse to participate. Mexico ultimately boycotted the event, whereas Brazil attended only after Biden acceded to the demands of its president, Jair Bolsonaro, to hold a one-on-one meeting with him and refrain from criticizing Brazil over environmental policies in the Amazon. Again, nobody outside of the U.S. and British media takes seriously the claim that the U.S. — loyal patron to the Saudis, Emiratis and Egyptians and countless CIA coups in their region — is so offended by authoritarianism in the three excluded Latin American countries that they cannot abide participating in a conference with them. Such a claim is particularly unsustainable in light of reports that Biden officials were all but begging Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to sell oil on the market to compensate for sanctions on Russia in exchange for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela (indeed, why is it more moral to buy oil from the Saudis than the Venezuelans)? The reason for the U.S.'s shunning of those countries has nothing to do with America's antipathy to autocracy and everything to do with the political importance of rapidly growing immigrant communities in Florida and other key swing states who fled those Latin American countries due to contempt for those governments. What possible cogent moral argument holds that it is permissible to maintain relations with the Saudis and Egyptians due to geo-strategic benefits around oil and international competition but not countries in the U.S.'s own hemisphere such as Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua? If American interests compel the U.S. to “overlook” or even sanction grave human rights abuses in their close Gulf-State-dictatorship-partners, why do the benefits for American citizens from relations with these Latin American countries not compel the same? The undeniable reality is that Kissingerian realism — the question of what is in the self-interest of the United States, or at least what is in the interests of a small sliver of American elites — is and long has been the core, animating, overarching ideology of U.S. foreign policy, as is true of the foreign policy of all great powers. The bit about crusading for human rights and democracy and battling tyranny and despotism is just the propagandistic packaging for domestic media consumption. That is why both presidents Obama and Trump, and every president before them, were willing to embrace many of the world's most repressive regimes: because they perceived that doing so would produce tangible benefits for “American interests,” however that might be defined. It is that same mindset that caused both of those presidents, for instance, to view Ukraine as a vital interest of Russia, but not the United States, and therefore not a country worth risking war with Moscow in order to defend. The core deceit about U.S. foreign policy — that it is designed to spread democracy and vanquish tyranny — serves no purpose other than to manipulate the American public, through the government tool known as the U.S. corporate media, to support whatever new wars, obscene spending packages, or authoritarian powers are demanded in its name. And therein lies the real value of the long-standing U.S./Saudi partnership, the reason that Biden's immediate abandonment of his campaign pledge to scorn the Saudis, is so illuminating. For any rational person, watching Joe Biden continue and even escalate the decades-long love affair between Washington and the murderous despots in Riyadh should dispel these myths once and for all and illuminate the reality, the actual motivational scheme, that drives the role that the United States plays in the world, both generally and in Ukraine. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please subscribe, obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Sun, 06/12/2022 - 14:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 12th, 2022

India"s first home-built aircraft carrier is almost ready for action

India has bought carriers from other militaries in the past, but an indigenously built carrier is seen as a leap forward. Vikrant during sea trials in September 2021.Cochin Shipyard Limited The Indian Navy will soon receive its first domestically built aircraft carrier. India has bought carriers from other militaries, but an indigenously built carrier is seen as a leap forward. Vikrant is ready for action — The Indian Navy will soon receive its first domestically built aircraft carrier.It was announced last week that the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) is putting the final touches on the carrier, and it will then begin its final sea trial before being officially handed over."The final sea trial was scheduled for this month but faced a slight delay. We will hand over the IAC to Indian Navy next month after which the ship will take the name of INS Vikrant. India's first aircraft carrier will be commissioned on Independence Day in August this year," DSL director Bejoy Bhasker told reporters at an April 28 press conference to mark the shipyard's fiftieth anniversary.The 40,000-tonne (45,000 tons) warship, the largest and most complex to be built in India, will officially join the Indian Navy in August.The carrier will operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters, and MH-60R multi-role helicopters. INS Vikrant will have a top speed of around 28 knots and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles.Also notable is that she was designed with more than 2,300 compartments for the crew of around 1,700 sailors — including specialized cabins for female officers.Made in IndiaThe aircraft carrier Vikrant leaves Cochin Shipyard in Kochi, India, after its launch on August 12, 2013ReutersINS Vikrant has been seen as a symbol of pride for New Delhi, and the warship, which was built at a cost of around ₹23,000 crores (approximately US$3 billion), highlighted the shipbuilding capabilities of India.The South Asian nation is now in a select group of countries that has not only the capabilities of operating an aircraft carrier but more importantly that it can build a state-of-the-art warship.India has operated carriers in the past, including former Royal Navy warships, while the Indian Navy's current flagship carrier, INS Vikramaditya, is a former Soviet-built Kiev-class carrier. She entered service with the Indian Navy in 2013.An indigenously built carrier has been seen as a significant leap forward in the capabilities of India, even if progress on the ship has at times seemed slow-moving.The design of the carrier, which was built by the CSL, began in 1999, but her keel wasn't laid until February 2009. She was subsequently floated out of her dry dock in December 2011 and launched in August 2013.This first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) is reported to be 60% indigenously made, while the remaining 40% of its components were imported.Vikrant going for its maiden sea trials in August 2021.Cochin Shipyard LimitedNow that the Vikrant has been completed, CSL officials have said that a new aircraft carrier of IAC specifications could be built by the shipyard in just five years — and require fewer imported components."We have gained experience in the IAC project. If the Indian Navy asks us to bring out another aircraft carrier of 45,000-ton category like INS Vikrant, we can do it in five years," Bejoy continued. "IAC uses ski-jump technology for launching the aircraft from the carrier. We can also make aircraft carriers that use the Electromagnetic aircraft launch system (EMALS) adopted in aircraft carriers of the US Navy. Similarly, we are expanding the capacity of our dry dock here and we can make an aircraft carrier of up to 70,000 tonnes now. We can also manufacture Jack-up rigs and LNG vessels here."CSL has already obtained a contract for eight anti-submarine warfare (ASW) shallow watercraft. At the same time, the facility was declared the lowest bidder for the Indian Navy's New Generation Missile Vessel (NGMV) project.Now a senior editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military hardware, and is the author of several books on military headgear including "A Gallery of Military Headdress," which is available on Amazon.com. Peter is also a contributing writer for Forbes.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 12th, 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

Hollysys Automation Technologies Reports Unaudited Financial Results for the Third Quarter and the First Nine Months Ended March 31, 2022

First Nine months of Fiscal Year 2022 Financial Highlights Total revenues were $525.3 million, an increase of 20.9% compared to the comparable prior year period. Gross margin was 33.9%, compared to 36.4% for the comparable prior year period. Non-GAAP gross margin was 34.1%, compared to 36.4% for the comparable prior year period. Net income attributable to Hollysys was $60.2 million, a decrease of 11.2% compared to the comparable prior year period. Non-GAAP net income attributable to Hollysys was $69.5 million, a decrease of 3.0% compared to the comparable prior year period. Diluted earnings per share was $0.98, a decrease of 12.5% compared to the comparable prior year period. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was $1.13, a decrease of 4.2% compared to the comparable prior year period. Net cash provided by operating activities was $15.7 million. Days sales outstanding ("DSO") of 183 days, compared to 186 days for the comparable prior year period. Inventory turnover days of 58 days, compared to 52 days for the comparable prior year period. Third Quarter of Fiscal Year 2022 Financial Highlights Total revenues were $155.7 million, an increase of 41.7% compared to the comparable prior year period. Gross margin was 30.6%, compared to 37.4% for the comparable prior year period. Non-GAAP gross margin was 30.8%, compared to 37.5% for the comparable prior year period. Net income attributable to Hollysys was $15.8 million, a decrease of 0.2% compared to the comparable prior year period. Non-GAAP net income attributable to Hollysys was $18.3 million, a decrease of 2.2% compared to the comparable prior year period. Diluted earnings per share was $0.26, which remained relatively stable compared to the comparable prior year period. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was $0.30, a decrease of 3.2% compared to the comparable prior year period. Net cash used in operating activities was $35.4 million. DSO of 215 days, compared to 279 days for the comparable prior year period. Inventory turnover days of 69 days, compared to 58 days for the comparable prior year period. See the section entitled "Non-GAAP Measures" for more information about non-GAAP gross margin, non-GAAP net income attributable to Hollysys and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share. To further align the management's interests with the shareholders' and deliver value to our shareholders through share purchases, Dr. Changli Wang, the CEO and director of Hollysys, through a special purpose vehicle beneficially owned and funded by him, recently purchased a total of 1,055,000 ordinary shares in the open market in accordance with applicable SEC rules and regulations. BEIJING, April 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ:HOLI) ("Hollysys" or the "Company"), a leading provider of automation and control technologies and applications in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2022 ended March 31, 2022. Dr. Changli Wang, the CEO and director of Hollysys, stated: "We are pleased to report another fiscal quarter with solid financial and operational performance and carried forward of our mission of automation for better lives, even though the COVID-19 continues bringing challenges, such as the rising raw materials costs and the reduced engineering efficiency. I am confident with a promising business future as I am witnessing the self-motivated and goal-oriented management team and employees, raising jointly and heading towards a more prosperous and vigorous Hollysys with clear overall industrial maps and wise developing plans." The Industrial Automation ("IA") business maintained its strong momentum with augmented market shares as Hollysys had been poised to capitalize on opportunities of the evolving IA industry and had gained wider market recognition. In the field of chemical and petrochemical industry, we maintained a fast mounting pace. In this fiscal quarter, Hollysys signed a framework agreement with BASF Group for its largest overseas investment project, Zhanjiang Project for the construction of its third largest integrated production base around the globe. Hollysys is the only domestic automation control system supplier in China for this project, providing Gas Detection System ("GDS") and Safety Instrumented System ("SIS"). Furthermore, Hollysys successfully delivered the Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage ("CCUS") project of Sinopec Group, in which the Company provided Distributed Control System ("DCS"), SIS, GDS, integrated control system and solution. The project is the first one million ton CCUS project in China, and is expected to become the largest CCUS base and a benchmark project in China after its completion. In the future, the Company will continue to strengthen its advantages and competitiveness, helping chemical and petrochemical customers achieve green energy and low carbon goals. In the thermal power sector, we continued to strengthen our market position in the high-end market and won the bid of several power contracts. For instance, we signed 2*660MW power units in Yan'an, and 2*660MW power units in Xinlin Gol, among others. Despite the slowdown in the thermal power market, our advanced solutions and matured service help us win the favor, adherence and follow-up cooperation of customers, which will inject new vigor into future after-sell performance. Meanwhile, we are making progress on advanced intelligent technologies in the power sector, which will facilitate customers' construction of low-carbon and environmentally friendly projects. For example, the Jimsar Power Generation Project in which the Company participated had successfully passed the trial operation and embraced considerable satisfaction by the customer. Hollysys developed the "Whole-process Intelligent Collaborative Center" solution for the project that covers four functional modules of smart power generation platform, smart management service platform, smart facility application and active information security defense, aiming to build up a low-carbon, environmentally friendly and technology-leading intelligent power station. The Company also set up a new model for the construction of smart power plants in the whole process of the thermal power industry in China. In addition, the Company is becoming more influential in the food and pharmaceutical field, which was attributable to its accelerated improvements, upgraded products and solutions, and vast breakthroughs on the development of its business among leading customers in the industry. In this fiscal quarter, Hollysys signed a contract with a customer in the pharmaceutical industry in Hubei, who will employ HOLI comprehensive solution including instruments, SIS, Batch Processing System ("BATCH"), Industrial Optical Bus Control System ("OCS"), among others. The Company's solution is expected to help the customer reduce construction costs for users, enhance the reliability and security of the control system and bring remarkable value experience. In Rail Transportation Automation ("RTA") business, our market position has strengthened, and we take pride in our dedication to national transportation. For example, our technical team dedicated themselves to working at the front line during the Chinese New Year and assisted in maintaining the smooth operation of transportation for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. As the Automatic Train Protection ("ATP") supplier of Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway, Hollysys offered 7x24 hours' world-leading intelligent guard during the events, ensuring the transportation and providing safe, fast, warm and comfortable experience for athletes, coaches and guests around the world. In the metro field, benefiting from our good customer relationships, we won the bid of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition ("SCADA") project of Chengdu Metro Ziyang Line after winning the Chengdu 30 Line Project in the last few months. With respect to new market opportunities, Hollysys is seeking to leverage self-competitive advantage to sustain its leading position. Hollysys, as the chief editor, participated in the edit of Technical Standard for Precise Traffic Weather System of Highway (the "Standard"), regulating the structure, function, construction and application of highway traffic meteorological system. The implementation of the Standard is expected to further extend Hollysys' competitiveness, which will boost the development of the industry and help the construction of intelligent highways. COVID-19 remains a challenge to our business, especially to the unit of mechanical and electrical solutions ("M&E") and other overseas business in general. We will continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our business, and risk control remains our key focus. With our continuous dedication and experienced passionate expertise, we believe that we will continue to create greater value for our clients and shareholders. Third Quarter and the First Nine months Ended March 31, 2022 Unaudited Financial Results Summary (In USD thousands, except for %, number of shares and per share data) Three months ended March 31, Nine months ended March 31, 2022 2021 % Change 2022 2021 % Change Revenues $ 155,711 109,907 41.7% $ 525,346 434,702 20.9%     Integrated solutions contracts revenue $ 133,206 85,769 55.3% $ 424,274 333,943 27.0%     Products sales $ 7,146 6,543 9.2% $ 26,663 21,569 23.6%     Service rendered $ 15,359 17,595 (12.7)% $ 74,409 79,190 (6.0)% Cost of revenues $ 108,070 68,807 57.1% $ 347,324 276,482 25.6% Gross profit $ 47,641 41,100 15.9% $ 178,022 158,220 12.5% Total operating expenses $ 30,651 23,728 29.2% $ 122,599 86,633 41.5%     Selling $ 11,409 7,160 59.3% $ 34,438 25,596 34.5%     General and administrative $ 13,878 14,965 (7.3)% $ 56,918 39,723 43.3%     Research and development $ 16,291 13,159 23.8% $ 52,951 41,760 26.8%     VAT refunds and government subsidies $ (10,927) (11,556) (5.4)% $ (21,708) (20,446) 6.2% Income from operations $ 16,990 17,372 (2.2)% $ 55,423 71,587 (22.6)% Other income, net $ 967 813 18.9% $ 1,927 3,587 (46.3)% Foreign exchange (loss) gain $ (498) 391 (227.4)% $ (2,212) (5,277) (58.1)% Gains on disposal of investments in an    equity investee $ - - - 7,995 - - Share of net (loss) income of equity    investees $ (428) (2,725) (84.3)% $ 558 1,934 (71.1)% Losses on disposal of subsidiaries $ (3) - - (3) - - Dividend income from equity investments $ (93) 453 (120.5)% $ 86 456 (81.1)% Interest income $ 3,151 3,132 0.6% $ 9,335 9,852 (5.2)% Interest expenses $ (224) (151) 48.3% $ (590) (428) 37.9% Income tax expenses $ 4,038 3,571 13.1% $ 12,706 14,237 (10.8)% Net loss attributable to non-controlling    interests $ (3) (145) (97.9)% $ (343) (296) 15.9% Net income attributable to Hollysys    Automation Technologies Ltd. $ 15,827 15,859 (0.2)% $ 60,156 67,770 (11.2)% Basic earnings per share $ 0.26 0.26 0.0% $ 0.99 1.12 (11.6)% Diluted earnings per share $ 0.26 0.26 0.0% $ 0.98 1.12 (12.5)% Share-based compensation expenses $ 2,076 2,750 (24.5)% $ 8,382 3,688 127.3% Amortization of acquired intangible assets $ 370 70 428.6% $ 1,002 225 345.3% Non-GAAP net income attributable to    Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd.(1) $ 18,273 18,679 (2.2)% $ 69,540 71,683 (3.0)% Non-GAAP basic earnings per share(1) $ 0.30 0.31 (3.2)% $ 1.14 1.18 (3.4)% Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share(1) $ 0.30 0.31 (3.2)% $ 1.13 1.18 (4.2)% Basic weighted average number of ordinary    shares outstanding 61,068,732 60,522,107 0.9% 60,945,131 60,502,714 0.7% Diluted weighted average number of ordinary    shares outstanding 61,644,902 60,559,890 1.8% 61,560,896 60,736,180 1.4% (1) See the section entitled "Non-GAAP Measures" for more information about these non-GAAP measures. Operational Results Analysis for the Third Quarter Ended March 31, 2022 Compared to the third quarter of the prior fiscal year, the total revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2022 increased from $109.9 million to $155.7 million, representing an increase of 41.7%. In terms of revenues by type, integrated contracts revenue increased by 55.3% to $133.2 million, products sales revenue increased by 9.2% to $7.1 million, and services revenue decreased by 12.7% to $15.4 million. The following table sets forth the Company's total revenues by segment for the periods indicated. (In USD thousands, except for %) Three months ended March 31, Nine months ended March 31, 2022 2021 2022 2021 $ % of $ % of $ % of $ % of Total Total Total Total Revenue Revenue Revenue Revenue Industrial Automation 101,854 65.4 67,454 61.4 318,147 60.5 242,273 55.7 Rail Transportation Automation 34,224 22.0 30,673 27.9 149,570 28.5 140,638 32.4 Mechanical and Electrical 19,633 12.6 11,780 10.7 57,629 11.0 51,791 11.9 Solution Total 155,711 100.0 109,907 100.0 525,346 100.0 434,702 100.0 Gross margin was 30.6% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, as compared to 37.4% for the same period of the prior fiscal year. The gross margin fluctuated mainly due to changes in product and service mix. Gross margin of integrated solutions contracts, product sales, and service rendered was 25.4%, 65.9% and 59.5% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, as compared to 25.9%, 81.2% and 77.4% for the same period of the prior fiscal year, respectively. Non-GAAP gross margin was 30.8% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, as compared to 37.5% for the same period of the prior fiscal year. Non-GAAP gross margin of integrated solutions contracts was 25.7% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, as compared to 25.9% for the same period of the prior fiscal year. See the section entitled "Non-GAAP Measures" for more information about non-GAAP gross margin and non-GAAP gross margin of integrated solutions contracts. Selling expenses were $11.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022, representing an increase of $4.2 million, or 59.3%, compared to $7.2 million for the same period of the prior fiscal year. The increase was primarily due to the significant increase in sales. Selling expenses as a percentage of total revenues were 7.3% and 6.5% for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. General and administrative expenses were $13.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, representing a decrease of $1.1 million or 7.3% compared to $15.0 million for the same quarter of the prior year, which was primarily due to a $1.3 million decrease in credit losses. Share-based compensation expenses were $2.1 million and $2.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. General and administrative expenses as a percentage of total revenues were 8.9% and 13.6% for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively.  Research and development expenses were $16.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022, representing an increase of $3.1 million, or 23.8%, compared to $13.2 million for the same period of the prior fiscal year, which was primarily due to increased investments in research and development, including the upgrading of mainstream products and new products developed to meet the needs of the digital infrastructure market, such as the new generation DCS Macs V7, smart factory and smart city rail. Research and development expenses as a percentage of total revenues were 10.5% and 12.0% for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. The VAT refunds and government subsidies were $10.9 million for three months ended March 31, 2022, as compared to $11.6 million for the same period in the prior fiscal year, representing a $0.6 million, or 5.4%, decrease. The income tax expenses and the effective tax rate were $4.0 million and 20.3% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, respectively, as compared to $3.6 million and 18.5% for comparable period in the prior fiscal year, respectively. The effective tax rate fluctuates, as the Company's subsidiaries contributed different pre-tax income at different tax rates. Net income attributable to Hollysys was $15.8 million, representing a decrease of 0.2% from $15.9 million reported in the comparable period in the prior fiscal year. Non-GAAP net income attributable to Hollysys, was $18.3 million or $0.30 per diluted share. See the section entitled "Non-GAAP Measures" for more information about non-GAAP net income attributable to Hollysys. Diluted earnings per share was $0.26 for the three months ended March 31, 2022, which remained relatively stable compared to the comparable period in the prior fiscal year. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was $0.30 for the three months ended March 31, 2022, a decrease of 3.2% from $0.31 reported in the comparable period in the prior fiscal year. These were calculated based on 61.7 million and 60.6 million diluted weighted average ordinary shares outstanding for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. See the section entitled "Non-GAAP Measures" for more information about non-GAAP diluted earnings per share. Contracts and Backlog Highlights Hollysys achieved $299.2 million of value of new contracts for the three months ended March 31, 2022. Order backlog of contracts presents the amount of unrealized revenue to be earned from the contracts that Hollysys won. The backlog was $924.0 million as of March 31, 2022. The following table sets forth a breakdown of the value of new contracts achieved and backlog by segment. (In USD thousands, except for %) Value of new contracts achieved Backlog for the three months  ended March 31, 2022 as of March 31, 2022 $ % of Total Contract Value $ % of Total Backlog.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaApr 29th, 2022

The best new books to read in 2022, based on your zodiac sign

Whether you're an independent Aries or connection-driven Gemini, here are great 2022 book recommendations based on your zodiac sign. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.Whether you're an independent Aries or connection-driven Gemini, here are great 2022 book recommendations based on your zodiac sign.IStock PhotoWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. With so many great books to choose from, finding a great read can be overwhelming. To help, here are newly released 2022 book recommendations based on your astrological sign. These picks include exciting new fiction and nonfiction reads in 2022. With so many amazing books on the market, it can feel impossible to choose the one you know you'll enjoy. As a Leo who doesn't fiercely crave the spotlight, I know our astrological signs don't create a flawless, spot-on image of who we are. But they can offer intriguing insights into what motivates or interests us.These 2022 books focus on great characters, stunning writing styles, and unique plots that mirror zodiac personality traits for each sign. So whether you're an independent Aries or connection-driven Gemini, here are 3 great 2022 book recommendations based on your zodiac sign. Learn more about how Insider Reviews reviews and researches books.The best 2022 books to read, based on your zodiac sign:Aries"The Memory Librarian" by Janelle MonáeAmazon"The Memory Librarian" by Janelle Monáe, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.99This collection of science fiction short stories begins with Jane 57821, who decides to break free from a world in which your thoughts can be controlled and erased by a select few. As a  natural leader that craves leadership and freedom, Aries will love the powerful characters rising against a totalitarian landscape in this inspired and artistic read."The Verifiers" by Jane PekAmazon"The Verifiers" by Jane Pek, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.59Featuring a strong, quick-witted heroine with which Aries can easily identify, "The Verifiers" is a mystery that follows Claudia Lin, an amateur sleuth who's just been recruited to work for an online-dating detective agency. In a story that will appeal to Aries' bold and brave nature, Claudia has to break protocol to investigate when someone goes missing."The Lost Dreamer" by Lizz HuertaAmazon"The Lost Dreamer" by Lizz Huerta, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99In this debut YA fantasy, Indir is a Dreamer whose existence is threatened when a new king seeks to bring her kind to a permanent end and Saya is a seer who discovers she has more than one gift. Aries will love these two determined trailblazers as they face impossible choices, new frontiers, and high-stakes risks in this supernatural read inspired by ancient Mesoamerica.Taurus"The Nineties" by Chuck KlostermanAmazon"The Nineties" by Chuck Klosterman, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.78This new nonfiction read revisits 1990s America, recognizing the accelerated cultural revolution that occurred before convenience technology crept into everyday life. While "The Nineties" is a fascinating analysis of a decade of social rifts and shifts, Tauruses will revel in the nostalgia and the "good old days" feelings from which they've never quite let go."Homicide and Halo-Halo" by Mia P. ManansalaAmazon"Homicide and Halo-Halo" by Mia P. Manansala, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.39"Homicide and Halo-Halo" is a cozy, tasty mystery novel about Lila Macapagal, whose summer is turned upside down when a resurrected local beauty pageant leads to the murder of a judge. Taurus readers will love to settle into the comfort of this foodie mystery novel as Lila and her old rival put aside their past to solve the case."House of Sky and Breath" by Sarah J. MaasAmazon"House of Sky and Breath" by Sarah J. Maas, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.74"House of Sky and Breath" is the stunning fantasy sequel to "House of Earth and Blood." In this novel, the dust has just begun to settle around Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar when they get pulled into rebel plans and must continue to fight for what's right. Tauruses will revel in the sheer beauty of this book, both inside and out, and enjoy the familiarity of a continued but equally captivating story.Gemini"All My Rage" by Sabaa TahirAmazon"All My Rage" by Sabaa Tahir, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99While "All My Rage" will certainly appeal to Geminis because of its multiple storylines that stretch generations and continents, it's the connection between characters that will truly speak to Gemini readers. Sal and Noor were as close as family members until a terrible fight split them apart. Now, as each former friend struggles against personal and familial trials, they must weigh the value of friendship against what once divided them in this story of family, loss, and forgiveness."Gallant" by V.E. SchwabAmazon"Gallant" by V.E. Schwab, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.95When a strange letter invites Olivia Prior home to the secret-laden Gallant, she accidentally finds herself on the other side of a ruined wall, in a strange alternate version of the world she just left. As they are curious and extremely adaptable, Gemini readers will love to follow Olivia as she unravels generations of secrets and tries to find the place she belongs."Don't Cry for Me" by Daniel BlackAmazon"Don't Cry for Me" by Daniel Black, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $22.48As Jacob lies on his deathbed, he begins to write letters to his estranged son, Isaac, pouring out truths from his heart and ancestral stories he believes his son should know. Geminis, who are natural communicators and expressive with their emotions, will undoubtedly cherish this hopeful and authentic story of empathy, reconciliation, and forgiveness.Cancer"Black Cake" by Charmaine WilkersonAmazon"Black Cake" by Charmaine Wilkerson, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.81Cancers are family-oriented and drawn to nurturing, so the moving familial story of "Black Cake" is sure to be a great pick for this water sign. In the wake of their mother's passing, Byron and Benny are left with a voice recording and a family recipe for a traditional Caribbean black cake. As the once-close siblings attempt to fulfill their mother's final wish, they embark on a journey of inheritance, family history, and motherhood."Book Lovers" by Emily HenryBookshop"Book Lovers" by Emily Henry, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99With their hard shell and soft interior, it's easy to know Cancers will love an enemies-to-lovers romance. Nora Stephens is a cutthroat literary agent ready to become the heroine of her own story when she takes a trip with her sister to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. Hundreds of miles from the city, Nora still manages to run into editor Charlie Lastra, with whom she's had more than her share of unpleasant interactions, but can't seem to avoid in this bookish romance."Vinyl Moon" by Mahogany L. BrowneAmazon"Vinyl Moon" by Mahogany L. Browne, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.53As Angel attempts to heal from a painful incident that led her to Brooklyn and away from her California life, she manages to find healing in her literature course, amongst the prose of Black writers. As Cancers are sensitive but protective of their emotions, Angel's story will resonate with Cancer readers as she allows herself to become immersed in words and slowly heal from her past. Leo"The Paris Apartment" by Lucy FoleyAmazon"The Paris Apartment" by Lucy Foley, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.16Lucy Foley's newest twisty thriller, set in a Parisian apartment surrounded by eclectic and mysterious neighbors, is a great pick for any drama-loving Leo. When Jess is in need of a fresh start, her half-brother apathetically agrees to let her stay with him for a while but seems to be missing once she turns up at his apartment. As Jess begins to investigate his strange disappearance, it soon becomes clear that every neighbor is a suspect with their own secrets. "Run Rose Run" by James Patterson and Dolly PartonAmazon"Run Rose Run" by James Patterson and Dolly Parton, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.00Co-written by a musical legend and one of the bestselling authors of all time, "Run Rose Run" is a fast-paced mystery about a young girl who comes to Nashville to rise to the top while outrunning her past. Leo readers will root for AnnieLee Keyes while reveling in the danger, drama, and desire of this page-turner. "Ramón and Julieta" by Alana Quintana AlbertsonAmazon"Ramón and Julieta" by Alana Quintana Albertson, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.40Celebrity Chef Julieta Campos is fighting against a bitter rivalry, rising tensions, and a surprising connection to her new landlord, Ramón, to save her beloved taqueria. Strong, ambitious, and determined Leos are sure to love this contemporary retelling of "Romeo and Juliet" as Ramón and Julieta must decide if they'll allow rivalries to divide them or allow love to bring them together. Virgo"To Paradise" by Hanya YanagiharaBookshop"To Paradise" by Hanya Yanagihara, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $20.18Internally emotional and detail-oriented Virgos will find themselves easily immersed in "To Paradise", a powerful literary novel that spans three centuries from an alternate 1893 reality, to 1993 Manhattan submerged in the AIDS epidemic, to a totalitarian future in 2093. As the three sections of this incredible novel come together, the characters connect through their perfectly flawed humanity."The Intersectional Environmentalist" by Leah ThomasBookshop"The Intersectional Environmentalist" by Leah Thomas, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $20.99Since Virgos are intellectual and resourceful problem-solvers, "The Intersectional Environmentalist" is a great nonfiction pick for Virgo readers. In this book, Leah Thomas demonstrates how minorities, especially BIPOC, are significantly more impacted by environmental injustices. Both an informational read and a call to action, this book shows how the fight for civil rights and our environment are irrevocably intertwined."What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma" by Stephanie FooAmazon"What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex Trauma" by Stephanie Foo, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.99"What My Bones Know" is a powerful memoir about Stephanie Foo's journey to understand the years of abuse and generational trauma that led to her diagnosis of complex PTSD. Because Virgos are compassionate and driven to understand and support others, Stephanie Foo's deeply personal and heavily researched memoir will affect Virgio readers with a painful but hopeful and enlightening story. Libra"Weather Girl" by Rachel Lynn SolomonAmazon"Weather Girl" by Rachel Lynn Solomon, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.99This charming new love story is perfect for eternally romantic Libras. Ari Abrams and Russell Barringer work together on a news team, both subjected to the constant conflict of their divorced bosses. After a calamitous work party, Ari and Russell decide to secretly meddle in their bosses' issues in the hopes of mending their relationship until their plan backfires and they realize the real chemistry might be between them instead."The Violin Conspiracy" by Brendan SlocumbAmazon"The Violin Conspiracy" by Brendan Slocumb, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.88When Ray McMillian's prized family heirloom violin is stolen just before an international competition, his dreams of becoming a professional musician seem to be crushed. Libras, who value fairness and balance, will root for Ray as others, from family to foe, try to claim the precious violin as their own."Fiona and Jane" by Jean Chen HoAmazon"Fiona and Jane" by Jean Chen Ho, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99Social and diplomatic Libras will love "Fiona and Jane," an alternating collection of short stories that illuminate two best friends who drift in and out of each other's lives over two decades. Best friends through childhood and adolescence, Fiona and Jane are separated by distance and betrayals but brought together by a multi-layered friendship in this contemplative read.Scorpio"An Arrow to the Moon" by Emily X. R. PanAmazon"An Arrow to the Moon" by Emily X. R. Pan, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.99When a new boy named Hunter Yee upends Luna Chang's life, their shared family secrets and hostility will bring them together in the face of an uncertain future. As Scorpios are intense and passionate, this magical retelling of "Romeo and Juliet" mixed with Chinese mythology will draw them in as Hunter and Luna are torn between fate and love. "Time Is a Mother" by Ocean VuongAmazon"Time Is a Mother" by Ocean Vuong, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $21.22"Time Is a Mother" is a deeply emotional, intimate, and slowly rejuvenating collection of poems that will speak to Scorpios' brooding and powerfully emotional side. In these poems, Ocean Vuong grapples with grief, loss, and restoration in the wake of his mother's passing."Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John MandelAmazon"Sea of Tranquility" by Emily St. John Mandel, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.38Since Scorpios crave psychological depth, "Sea of Tranquility" is sure to connect with their powerful mind. This epic, genre-bending tale illuminates humanity as it follows characters across time and space from the Canadian wilderness in 1912 to a writer who has left her colony on the moon to travel the Earth on a book tour. This novel is simply mesmerizing as Emily St. John Mandel creatively weaves three main stories into a transcendent work of fiction.Sagittarius"Violeta" by Isabel AllendeBookshop"Violeta" by Isabel Allende, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $24.99Born in 1920, Violeta's 100-year life is marked by revolutionary events, from the Great Depression to suffrage to personal heartbreak and great joy, outlined in this novel as she tells her incredible life story in a letter to her grandson. Because Sagittariuses crave exploration that leads to personal expansion, this historical fiction epic is sure to dazzle."The Cartographers" by Peng ShepherdAmazon"The Cartographers" by Peng Shepherd, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $25.19When Nell Young's legendary cartographer father is found dead in his office, she finds an incredibly rare and valuable map, possibly the last copy in the world. With a passion of her own for cartography, Nell sets out to uncover the secrets behind the map, her father, and the fight that tore their relationship apart. Sagittarius readers love adventure and anything that helps them understand the world better, so this new fantasy would make a great read."How High We Go in the Dark" by Sequoia NagamatsuAmazon"How High We Go in the Dark" by Sequoia Nagamatsu, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $19.97"How High We Go in the Dark" is an intricately told story about an accidentally unleashed Arctic Plague that devastates and reshapes humanity. Following a series of loosely connected characters and unique stories, this science fiction book is great for Sagittarius readers, who are curious explorers always seeking new ideas.Capricorn"How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer" to Every Moral Question by Michael SchurAmazon"How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer" to Every Moral Question by Michael Schur, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.14Since they're always searching for the answer to success, "How to Be Perfect" is a great new nonfiction read for Capricorns. Funny and thought-provoking, this philosophical book analyses complex ethical questions and searches for an ultimate "right" answer to each one through different insightful perspectives. Plus, Capricorns love having a greater perspective and finding a balance where success meets emotional and spiritual truths."The Atlas Six" by Olivie BlakeAmazon"The Atlas Six" by Olivie Blake, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $17.41This super popular fantasy book is about the Alexandrian Society, a secret and revered group of magical academicians that only considers six magicians per decade to attempt initiation into their society of wealth, power, and prestige. Drawn to all of these attributes, Capricorns will love to follow the six newest candidates as they fight to prove themselves and survive amongst their greatest rivals. "What the Fireflies Knew" by Kai HarrisBookshop"What the Fireflies Knew" by Kai Harris, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.20When KB and her sister, Nia, are sent to live with their estranged grandfather, they are still grappling with their father's death and the loss of their family home. With a disconnected family, sometimes-friendly neighbors, and a looming feeling of loneliness, KB must make sense of the pieces of her new, challenging life in this coming-of-age novel that Capricorns will cherish because of their own determination to succeed despite adversity.Aquarius"Wahala" by Nikki MayAmazon"Wahala" by Nikki May, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $18.73Social and fascinated by group dynamics, Aquarius readers will love this novel about Ronke, Boo, and Simi, who each have very different lives but are kept close by their deep and longstanding friendship. When the charismatic Isobel arrives and begins to infiltrate their small circle, chaos slowly ensues and threatens to dismantle relationships, aspirations, and trust in this entertaining read. "Moon Witch, Spider King" by Marlon JamesBookshop"Moon Witch, Spider King" by Marlon James, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.99In this sequel, Sologon, the 177-year-old Moon Witch, fights to tell her side of the magical and unforgettable story from "Black Leopard, Red Wolf." Curious, grounded, and proud to stand out from the pack, Aquarius readers will appreciate Sologon's perspective and crave to understand the reasoning behind her actions."South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation" by Imani PerryAmazon"South to America: A Journey Below the Mason Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation" by Imani Perry, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $23.16"South to America" anecdotal history of the American South is a great pick for Aquariuses, as they seek knowledge to better understand the world in order to make a powerful difference. This nonfiction read uses personal, political, and historical stories to demonstrate that the key to a greater, more equitable future lies in understanding the complexities of the South.Pisces"One Italian Summer" by Rebecca SerleBookshop"One Italian Summer" by Rebecca Serle, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.08Pisces are known for their emotional and intuitive nature and walking the line between fantasy and reality, so "One Italian Summer" is the perfect Pisces read. This book uses magical realism to bring Katy's story to life as she adventures on a mother-daughter trip alone shortly after her mom passes away. On the magical and alluring Amalfi Coast, Katy can somehow see her mother and get to know her as the young woman she once was."You Truly Assumed" by Laila SabreenAmazon"You Truly Assumed" by Laila Sabreen, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.15In "You Truly Assumed", a terrorist attack and growing Islamophobia brings three Black Muslim girls together over a blog used as an outlet and support system for a community of Muslim teens across the country. As Pisces readers are deeply compassionate and empathetic, the characters in this YA novel will resonate as they push back against the threats and hatred they receive in the fight to create a safe space for themselves and other Muslim teens."You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty" by Akwaeke EmeziBookshop"You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty" by Akwaeke Emezi, available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $24.30Five years after the accident that killed the love of her life, Feyi Adekola wants to ease into dating again when she's whisked into a whirlwind summer of romance and luxury, complicated by an off-limits potential relationship that leaves her searching for real answers. Pisces are sure to love the passion in Akwaeke Emezi's writing and want to follow Feyi to the very last page as she seeks joy and healing after loss. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 25th, 2022

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma"s Political Reach

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma's Political Reach Authored by Rebecca Strong via Medium.com, They keep telling us to “trust the science.” But who paid for it? After graduating from Columbia University with a chemical engineering degree, my grandfather went on to work for Pfizer for almost two decades, culminating his career as the company’s Global Director of New Products. I was rather proud of this fact growing up — it felt as if this father figure, who raised me for several years during my childhood, had somehow played a role in saving lives. But in recent years, my perspective on Pfizer — and other companies in its class — has shifted. Blame it on the insidious big pharma corruption laid bare by whistleblowers in recent years. Blame it on the endless string of big pharma lawsuits revealing fraud, deception, and cover-ups. Blame it on the fact that I witnessed some of their most profitable drugs ruin the lives of those I love most. All I know is, that pride I once felt has been overshadowed by a sticky skepticism I just can’t seem to shake. In 1973, my grandpa and his colleagues celebrated as Pfizer crossed a milestone: the one-billion-dollar sales mark. These days, Pfizer rakes in $81 billion a year, making it the 28th most valuable company in the world. Johnson & Johnson ranks 15th, with $93.77 billion. To put things into perspective, that makes said companies wealthier than most countries in the world. And thanks to those astronomical profit margins, the Pharmaceuticals and Health Products industry is able to spend more on lobbying than any other industry in America. While big pharma lobbying can take several different forms, these companies tend to target their contributions to senior legislators in Congress — you know, the ones they need to keep in their corner, because they have the power to draft healthcare laws. Pfizer has outspent its peers in six of the last eight election cycles, coughing up almost $9.7 million. During the 2016 election, pharmaceutical companies gave more than $7 million to 97 senators at an average of $75,000 per member. They also contributed $6.3 million to president Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. The question is: what did big pharma get in return? When you've got 1,500 Big Pharma lobbyists on Capitol Hill for 535 members of Congress, it's not too hard to figure out why prescription drug prices in this country are, on average, 256% HIGHER than in other major countries. — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 3, 2022 ALEC’s Off-the-Record Sway To truly grasp big pharma’s power, you need to understand how The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works. ALEC, which was founded in 1973 by conservative activists working on Ronald Reagan’s campaign, is a super secretive pay-to-play operation where corporate lobbyists — including in the pharma sector — hold confidential meetings about “model” bills. A large portion of these bills is eventually approved and become law. A rundown of ALEC’s greatest hits will tell you everything you need to know about the council’s motives and priorities. In 1995, ALEC promoted a bill that restricts consumers’ rights to sue for damages resulting from taking a particular medication. They also endorsed the Statute of Limitation Reduction Act, which put a time limit on when someone could sue after a medication-induced injury or death. Over the years, ALEC has promoted many other pharma-friendly bills that would: weaken FDA oversight of new drugs and therapies, limit FDA authority over drug advertising, and oppose regulations on financial incentives for doctors to prescribe specific drugs. But what makes these ALEC collaborations feel particularly problematic is that there’s little transparency — all of this happens behind closed doors. Congressional leaders and other committee members involved in ALEC aren’t required to publish any records of their meetings and other communications with pharma lobbyists, and the roster of ALEC members is completely confidential. All we know is that in 2020, more than two-thirds of Congress — 72 senators and 302 House of Representatives members — cashed a campaign check from a pharma company. Big Pharma Funding Research The public typically relies on an endorsement from government agencies to help them decide whether or not a new drug, vaccine, or medical device is safe and effective. And those agencies, like the FDA, count on clinical research. As already established, big pharma is notorious for getting its hooks into influential government officials. Here’s another sobering truth: The majority of scientific research is paid for by — wait for it — the pharmaceutical companies. When the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published 73 studies of new drugs over the course of a single year, they found that a staggering 82% of them had been funded by the pharmaceutical company selling the product, 68% had authors who were employees of that company, and 50% had lead researchers who accepted money from a drug company. According to 2013 research conducted at the University of Arizona College of Law, even when pharma companies aren’t directly funding the research, company stockholders, consultants, directors, and officers are almost always involved in conducting them. A 2017 report by the peer-reviewed journal The BMJ also showed that about half of medical journal editors receive payments from drug companies, with the average payment per editor hovering around $28,000. But these statistics are only accurate if researchers and editors are transparent about payments from pharma. And a 2022 investigative analysis of two of the most influential medical journals found that 81% of study authors failed to disclose millions in payments from drug companies, as they’re required to do. Unfortunately, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. The number of clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry has been climbing every year since 2006, according to a John Hopkins University report, while independent studies have been harder to find. And there are some serious consequences to these conflicts of interest. Take Avandia, for instance, a diabetes drug produced by GlaxoSmithCline (GSK). Avandia was eventually linked to a dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure. And a BMJ report revealed that almost 90% of scientists who initially wrote glowing articles about Avandia had financial ties to GSK. But here’s the unnerving part: if the pharmaceutical industry is successfully biasing the science, then that means the physicians who rely on the science are biased in their prescribing decisions. Photo credit: UN Women Europe & Central Asia Where the lines get really blurry is with “ghostwriting.” Big pharma execs know citizens are way more likely to trust a report written by a board-certified doctor than one of their representatives. That’s why they pay physicians to list their names as authors — even though the MDs had little to no involvement in the research, and the report was actually written by the drug company. This practice started in the ’50s and ’60s when tobacco execs were clamoring to prove that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer (spoiler alert: they do!), so they commissioned doctors to slap their name on papers undermining the risks of smoking. It’s still a pretty common tactic today: more than one in 10 articles published in the NEJM was co-written by a ghostwriter. While a very small percentage of medical journals have clear policies against ghostwriting, it’s still technically legal —despite the fact that the consequences can be deadly. Case in point: in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Merck paid for 73 ghostwritten articles to play up the benefits of its arthritis drug Vioxx. It was later revealed that Merck failed to report all of the heart attacks experienced by trial participants. In fact, a study published in the NEJM revealed that an estimated 160,000 Americans experienced heart attacks or strokes from taking Vioxx. That research was conducted by Dr. David Graham, Associate Director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, who understandably concluded the drug was not safe. But the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, which not only was responsible for initially approving Vioxx but also regulating it, tried to sweep his findings under the rug. "I was pressured to change my conclusions and recommendations, and basically threatened that if I did not change them, I would not be permitted to present the paper at the conference," he wrote in his 2004 U.S. Senate testimony on Vioxx. "One Drug Safety manager recommended that I should be barred from presenting the poster at the meeting." Eventually, the FDA issued a public health advisory about Vioxx and Merck withdrew this product. But it was a little late for repercussions — 38,000 of those Vioxx-takers who suffered heart attacks had already died. Graham called this a “profound regulatory failure,” adding that scientific standards the FDA apply to drug safety “guarantee that unsafe and deadly drugs will remain on the U.S. market.” This should come as no surprise, but research has also repeatedly shown that a paper written by a pharmaceutical company is more likely to emphasize the benefits of a drug, vaccine, or device while downplaying the dangers. (If you want to understand more about this practice, a former ghostwriter outlines all the ethical reasons why she quit this job in a PLOS Medicine report.) While adverse drug effects appear in 95% of clinical research, only 46% of published reports disclose them. Of course, all of this often ends up misleading doctors into thinking a drug is safer than it actually is. Big Pharma Influence On Doctors Pharmaceutical companies aren’t just paying medical journal editors and authors to make their products look good, either. There’s a long, sordid history of pharmaceutical companies incentivizing doctors to prescribe their products through financial rewards. For instance, Pfizer and AstraZeneca doled out a combined $100 million to doctors in 2018, with some earning anywhere from $6 million to $29 million in a year. And research has shown this strategy works: when doctors accept these gifts and payments, they’re significantly more likely to prescribe those companies’ drugs. Novartis comes to mind — the company famously spent over $100 million paying for doctors’ extravagant meals, golf outings, and more, all while also providing a generous kickback program that made them richer every time they prescribed certain blood pressure and diabetes meds. Side note: the Open Payments portal contains a nifty little database where you can find out if any of your own doctors received money from drug companies. Knowing that my mother was put on a laundry list of meds after a near-fatal car accident, I was curious — so I did a quick search for her providers. While her PCP only banked a modest amount from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, her previous psychiatrist — who prescribed a cocktail of contraindicated medications without treating her in person — collected quadruple-digit payments from pharmaceutical companies. And her pain care specialist, who prescribed her jaw-dropping doses of opioid pain medication for more than 20 years (far longer than the 5-day safety guideline), was raking in thousands from Purdue Pharma, AKA the opioid crisis’ kingpin. Purdue is now infamous for its wildly aggressive OxyContin campaign in the ’90s. At the time, the company billed it as a non-addictive wonder drug for pain sufferers. Internal emails show Pursue sales representatives were instructed to “sell, sell, sell” OxyContin, and the more they were able to push, the more they were rewarded with promotions and bonuses. With the stakes so high, these reps stopped at nothing to get doctors on board — even going so far as to send boxes of doughnuts spelling out “OxyContin” to unconvinced physicians. Purdue had stumbled upon the perfect system for generating tons of profit — off of other people’s pain. Documentation later proved that not only was Purdue aware it was highly addictive and that many people were abusing it, but that they also encouraged doctors to continue prescribing increasingly higher doses of it (and sent them on lavish luxury vacations for some motivation). In testimony to Congress, Purdue exec Paul Goldenheim played dumb about OxyContin addiction and overdose rates, but emails that were later exposed showed that he requested his colleagues remove all mentions of addiction from their correspondence about the drug. Even after it was proven in court that Purdue fraudulently marketed OxyContin while concealing its addictive nature, no one from the company spent a single day behind bars. Instead, the company got a slap on the wrist and a $600 million fine for a misdemeanor, the equivalent of a speeding ticket compared to the $9 billion they made off OxyContin up until 2006. Meanwhile, thanks to Purdue’s recklessness, more than 247,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2009. And that’s not even factoring in all the people who died of heroin overdoses once OxyContin was no longer attainable to them. The NIH reports that 80% of people who use heroin started by misusing prescription opioids. Former sales rep Carol Panara told me in an interview that when she looks back on her time at Purdue, it all feels like a “bad dream.” Panara started working for Purdue in 2008, one year after the company pled guilty to “misbranding” charges for OxyContin. At this point, Purdue was “regrouping and expanding,” says Panara, and to that end, had developed a clever new approach for making money off OxyContin: sales reps were now targeting general practitioners and family doctors, rather than just pain management specialists. On top of that, Purdue soon introduced three new strengths for OxyContin: 15, 30, and 60 milligrams, creating smaller increments Panara believes were aimed at making doctors feel more comfortable increasing their patients’ dosages. According to Panara, there were internal company rankings for sales reps based on the number of prescriptions for each OxyContin dosing strength in their territory. “They were sneaky about it,” she said. “Their plan was to go in and sell these doctors on the idea of starting with 10 milligrams, which is very low, knowing full well that once they get started down that path — that’s all they need. Because eventually, they’re going to build a tolerance and need a higher dose.” Occasionally, doctors expressed concerns about a patient becoming addicted, but Purdue had already developed a way around that. Sales reps like Panara were taught to reassure those doctors that someone in pain might experience addiction-like symptoms called “pseudoaddiction,” but that didn’t mean they were truly addicted. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support that this concept is legit, of course. But the most disturbing part? Reps were trained to tell doctors that “pseudoaddiction” signaled the patient’s pain wasn’t being managed well enough, and the solution was simply to prescribe a higher dose of OxyContin. Panara finally quit Purdue in 2013. One of the breaking points was when two pharmacies in her territory were robbed at gunpoint specifically for OxyContin. In 2020, Purdue pled guilty to three criminal charges in an $8.3 billion deal, but the company is now under court protection after filing for bankruptcy. Despite all the damage that’s been done, the FDA’s policies for approving opioids remain essentially unchanged. Photo credit: Jennifer Durban Purdue probably wouldn’t have been able to pull this off if it weren’t for an FDA examiner named Curtis Wright, and his assistant Douglas Kramer. While Purdue was pursuing Wright’s stamp of approval on OxyContin, Wright took an outright sketchy approach to their application, instructing the company to mail documents to his home office rather than the FDA, and enlisting Purdue employees to help him review trials about the safety of the drug. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that the FDA have access to at least two randomized controlled trials before deeming a drug as safe and effective, but in the case of OxyContin, it got approved with data from just one measly two-week study — in osteoarthritis patients, no less. When both Wright and Kramer left the FDA, they went on to work for none other than (drumroll, please) Purdue, with Wright earning three times his FDA salary. By the way — this is just one example of the FDA’s notoriously incestuous relationship with big pharma, often referred to as “the revolving door”. In fact, a 2018 Science report revealed that 11 out of 16 FDA reviewers ended up at the same companies they had been regulating products for. While doing an independent investigation, “Empire of Pain” author and New Yorker columnist Patrick Radden Keefe tried to gain access to documentation of Wright’s communications with Purdue during the OxyContin approval process. “The FDA came back and said, ‘Oh, it’s the weirdest thing, but we don’t have anything. It’s all either been lost or destroyed,’” Keefe told Fortune in an interview. “But it’s not just the FDA. It’s Congress, it’s the Department of Justice, it’s big parts of the medical establishment … the sheer amount of money involved, I think, has meant that a lot of the checks that should be in place in society to not just achieve justice, but also to protect us as consumers, were not there because they had been co-opted.” Big pharma may be to blame for creating the opioids that caused this public health catastrophe, but the FDA deserves just as much scrutiny — because its countless failures also played a part in enabling it. And many of those more recent fails happened under the supervision of Dr. Janet Woodcock. Woodcock was named FDA’s acting commissioner mere hours after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. She would have been a logical choice, being an FDA vet of 35 years, but then again it’s impossible to forget that she played a starring role in the FDA’s perpetuating the opioid epidemic. She’s also known for overruling her own scientific advisors when they vote against approving a drug. Not only did Woodcock approve OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old, but she also gave the green light to several other highly controversial extended-release opioid pain drugs without sufficient evidence of safety or efficacy. One of those was Zohydro: in 2011, the FDA’s advisory committee voted 11:2 against approving it due to safety concerns about inappropriate use, but Woodcock went ahead and pushed it through, anyway. Under Woodcock’s supervision, the FDA also approved Opana, which is twice as powerful as OxyContin — only to then beg the drug maker to take it off the market 10 years later due to “abuse and manipulation.” And then there was Dsuvia, a potent painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine and 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. According to a head of one of the FDA’s advisory committees, the U.S. military had helped to develop this particular drug, and Woodcock said there was “pressure from the Pentagon” to push it through approvals. The FBI, members of congress, public health advocates, and patient safety experts alike called this decision into question, pointing out that with hundreds of opioids already on the market there’s no need for another — particularly one that comes with such high risks. Most recently, Woodcock served as the therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, overseeing COVID-19 vaccine development. Big Pharma Lawsuits, Scandals, and Cover-Ups While the OxyContin craze is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile examples of big pharma’s deception, there are dozens of other stories like this. Here are a few standouts: In the 1980s, Bayer continued selling blood clotting products to third-world countries even though they were fully aware those products had been contaminated with HIV. The reason? The “financial investment in the product was considered too high to destroy the inventory.” Predictably, about 20,000 of the hemophiliacs who were infused with these tainted products then tested positive for HIV and eventually developed AIDS, and many later died of it. In 2004, Johnson & Johnson was slapped with a series of lawsuits for illegally promoting off-label use of their heartburn drug Propulsid for children despite internal company emails confirming major safety concerns (as in, deaths during the drug trials). Documentation from the lawsuits showed that dozens of studies sponsored by Johnson & Johnson highlighting the risks of this drug were never published. The FDA estimates that GSK’s Avandia caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007. Internal documents from GSK prove that when they began studying the effects of the drug as early as 1999, they discovered it caused a higher risk of heart attacks than a similar drug it was meant to replace. Rather than publish these findings, they spent a decade illegally concealing them (and meanwhile, banking $3.2 billion annually for this drug by 2006). Finally, a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study linked Avandia to a 43% increased risk of heart attacks, and a 64% increased risk of death from heart disease. Avandia is still FDA approved and available in the U.S. In 2009, Pfizer was forced to pay $2.3 billion, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history at that time, for paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and promoting off-label uses of its drugs. Specifically, a former employee revealed that Pfizer reps were encouraged and incentivized to sell Bextra and 12 other drugs for conditions they were never FDA approved for, and at doses up to eight times what’s recommended. “I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives,” the whistleblower said. When it was discovered that AstraZeneca was promoting the antipsychotic medication Seroquel for uses that were not approved by the FDA as safe and effective, the company was hit with a $520 million fine in 2010. For years, AstraZeneca had been encouraging psychiatrists and other physicians to prescribe Seroquel for a vast range of seemingly unrelated off-label conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, anger management, ADHD, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleeplessness. AstraZeneca also violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by paying doctors to spread the word about these unapproved uses of Seroquel via promotional lectures and while traveling to resort locations. In 2012, GSK paid a $3 billion fine for bribing doctors by flying them and their spouses to five-star resorts, and for illegally promoting drugs for off-label uses. What’s worse — GSK withheld clinical trial results that showed its antidepressant Paxil not only doesn’t work for adolescents and children but more alarmingly, that it can increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts in this group. A 1998 GSK internal memo revealed that the company intentionally concealed this data to minimize any “potential negative commercial impact.” In 2021, an ex-AstraZeneca sales rep sued her former employer, claiming they fired her for refusing to promote drugs for uses that weren’t FDA-approved. The employee alleges that on multiple occasions, she expressed concerns to her boss about “misleading” information that didn’t have enough support from medical research, and off-label promotions of certain drugs. Her supervisor reportedly not only ignored these concerns but pressured her to approve statements she didn’t agree with and threatened to remove her from regional and national positions if she didn’t comply. According to the plaintiff, she missed out on a raise and a bonus because she refused to break the law. At the top of 2022, a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, and GE Healthcare, which claims they helped finance terrorist attacks against U.S. service members and other Americans in Iraq. The suit alleges that from 2005–2011, these companies regularly offered bribes (including free drugs and medical devices) totaling millions of dollars annually to Iraq’s Ministry of Health in order to secure drug contracts. These corrupt payments then allegedly funded weapons and training for the Mahdi Army, which until 2008, was largely considered one of the most dangerous groups in Iraq. Another especially worrisome factor is that pharmaceutical companies are conducting an ever-increasing number of clinical trials in third-world countries, where people may be less educated, and there are also far fewer safety regulations. Pfizer’s 1996 experimental trials with Trovan on Nigerian children with meningitis — without informed consent — is just one nauseating example. When a former medical director in Pfizer’s central research division warned the company both before and after the study that their methods in this trial were “improper and unsafe,” he was promptly fired. Families of the Nigerian children who died or were left blind, brain damaged, or paralyzed after the study sued Pfizer, and the company ultimately settled out of court. In 1998, the FDA approved Trovan only for adults. The drug was later banned from European markets due to reports of fatal liver disease and restricted to strictly emergency care in the U.S. Pfizer still denies any wrongdoing. “Nurse prepares to vaccinate children” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 But all that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to dive a little further down the rabbit hole — and I’ll warn you, it’s a deep one — a quick Google search for “big pharma lawsuits” will reveal the industry’s dark track record of bribery, dishonesty, and fraud. In fact, big pharma happens to be the biggest defrauder of the federal government when it comes to the False Claims Act, otherwise known as the “Lincoln Law.” During our interview, Panara told me she has friends still working for big pharma who would be willing to speak out about crooked activity they’ve observed, but are too afraid of being blacklisted by the industry. A newly proposed update to the False Claims Act would help to protect and support whistleblowers in their efforts to hold pharmaceutical companies liable, by helping to prevent that kind of retaliation and making it harder for the companies charged to dismiss these cases. It should come as no surprise that Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and a flock of other big pharma firms are currently lobbying to block the update. Naturally, they wouldn’t want to make it any easier for ex-employees to expose their wrongdoings, potentially costing them billions more in fines. Something to keep in mind: these are the same people who produced, marketed, and are profiting from the COVID-19 vaccines. The same people who manipulate research, pay off decision-makers to push their drugs, cover up negative research results to avoid financial losses, and knowingly put innocent citizens in harm’s way. The same people who told America: “Take as much OxyContin as you want around the clock! It’s very safe and not addictive!” (while laughing all the way to the bank). So, ask yourself this: if a partner, friend, or family member repeatedly lied to you — and not just little white lies, but big ones that put your health and safety at risk — would you continue to trust them? Backing the Big Four: Big Pharma and the FDA, WHO, NIH, CDC I know what you’re thinking. Big pharma is amoral and the FDA’s devastating slips are a dime a dozen — old news. But what about agencies and organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)? Don’t they have an obligation to provide unbiased guidance to protect citizens? Don’t worry, I’m getting there. The WHO’s guidance is undeniably influential across the globe. For most of this organization’s history, dating back to 1948, it could not receive donations from pharmaceutical companies — only member states. But that changed in 2005 when the WHO updated its financial policy to permit private money into its system. Since then, the WHO has accepted many financial contributions from big pharma. In fact, it’s only 20% financed by member states today, with a whopping 80% of financing coming from private donors. For instance, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is now one of its main contributors, providing up to 13% of its funds — about $250–300 million a year. Nowadays, the BMGF provides more donations to the WHO than the entire United States. Dr. Arata Kochi, former head of WHO’s malaria program, expressed concerns to director-general Dr. Margaret Chan in 2007 that taking the BMGF’s money could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences” including “stifling a diversity of views among scientists.” “The big concerns are that the Gates Foundation isn’t fully transparent and accountable,” Lawrence Gostin, director of WHO’s Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, told Devex in an interview. “By wielding such influence, it could steer WHO priorities … It would enable a single rich philanthropist to set the global health agenda.” Photo credit: National Institutes of Health Take a peek at the WHO’s list of donors and you’ll find a few other familiar names like AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck. The NIH has the same problem, it seems. Science journalist Paul Thacker, who previously examined financial links between physicians and pharma companies as a lead investigator of the United States Senate Committee, wrote in The Washington Post that this agency “often ignored” very “obvious” conflicts of interest. He also claimed that “its industry ties go back decades.” In 2018, it was discovered that a $100 million alcohol consumption study run by NIH scientists was funded mostly by beer and liquor companies. Emails proved that NIH researchers were in frequent contact with those companies while designing the study — which, here’s a shocker — were aimed at highlighting the benefits and not the risks of moderate drinking. So, the NIH ultimately had to squash the trial. And then there’s the CDC. It used to be that this agency couldn’t take contributions from pharmaceutical companies, but in 1992 they found a loophole: new legislation passed by Congress allowed them to accept private funding through a nonprofit called the CDC Foundation. From 2014 through 2018 alone, the CDC Foundation received $79.6 million from corporations like Pfizer, Biogen, and Merck. Of course, if a pharmaceutical company wants to get a drug, vaccine, or other product approved, they really need to cozy up to the FDA. That explains why in 2017, pharma companies paid for a whopping 75% of the FDA’s scientific review budgets, up from 27% in 1993. It wasn’t always like this. But in 1992, an act of Congress changed the FDA’s funding stream, enlisting pharma companies to pay “user fees,” which help the FDA speed up the approval process for their drugs. A 2018 Science investigation found that 40 out of 107 physician advisors on the FDA’s committees received more than $10,000 from big pharma companies trying to get their drugs approved, with some banking up to $1 million or more. The FDA claims it has a well-functioning system to identify and prevent these possible conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, their system only works for spotting payments before advisory panels meet, and the Science investigation showed many FDA panel members get their payments after the fact. It’s a little like “you scratch my back now, and I’ll scratch your back once I get what I want” — drug companies promise FDA employees a future bonus contingent on whether things go their way. Here’s why this dynamic proves problematic: a 2000 investigation revealed that when the FDA approved the rotavirus vaccine in 1998, it didn’t exactly do its due diligence. That probably had something to do with the fact that committee members had financial ties to the manufacturer, Merck — many owned tens of thousands of dollars of stock in the company, or even held patents on the vaccine itself. Later, the Adverse Event Reporting System revealed that the vaccine was causing serious bowel obstructions in some children, and it was finally pulled from the U.S. market in October 1999. Then, in June of 2021, the FDA overruled concerns raised by its very own scientific advisory committee to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm — a move widely criticized by physicians. The drug not only showed very little efficacy but also potentially serious side effects like brain bleeding and swelling, in clinical trials. Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a Harvard Medical School professor who was on the FDA’s scientific advisory committee, called it the “worst drug approval” in recent history, and noted that meetings between the FDA and Biogen had a “strange dynamic” suggesting an unusually close relationship. Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told CNN that he believes the FDA started working in “inappropriately close collaboration with Biogen” back in 2019. “They were not objective, unbiased regulators,” he added in the CNN interview. “It seems as if the decision was preordained.” That brings me to perhaps the biggest conflict of interest yet: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID is just one of many institutes that comprises the NIH — and the NIH owns half the patent for the Moderna vaccine — as well as thousands more pharma patents to boot. The NIAID is poised to earn millions of dollars from Moderna’s vaccine revenue, with individual officials also receiving up to $150,000 annually. Operation Warp Speed In December of 2020, Pfizer became the first company to receive an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for a COVID-19 vaccine. EUAs — which allow the distribution of an unapproved drug or other product during a declared public health emergency — are actually a pretty new thing: the first one was issued in 2005 so military personnel could get an anthrax vaccine. To get a full FDA approval, there needs to be substantial evidence that the product is safe and effective. But for an EUA, the FDA just needs to determine that it may be effective. Since EUAs are granted so quickly, the FDA doesn’t have enough time to gather all the information they’d usually need to approve a drug or vaccine. “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Event” by The White House is licensed under CC PDM 1.0 Pfizer CEO and chairman Albert Bourla has said his company was “operating at the speed of science” to bring a vaccine to market. However, a 2021 report in The BMJ revealed that this speed might have come at the expense of “data integrity and patient safety.” Brook Jackson, regional director for the Ventavia Research Group, which carried out these trials, told The BMJ that her former company “falsified data, unblinded patients, and employed inadequately trained vaccinators” in Pfizer’s pivotal phase 3 trial. Just some of the other concerning events witnessed included: adverse events not being reported correctly or at all, lack of reporting on protocol deviations, informed consent errors, and mislabeling of lab specimens. An audio recording of Ventavia employees from September 2020 revealed that they were so overwhelmed by issues arising during the study that they became unable to “quantify the types and number of errors” when assessing quality control. One Ventavia employee told The BMJ she’d never once seen a research environment as disorderly as Ventavia’s Pfizer vaccine trial, while another called it a “crazy mess.” Over the course of her two-decades-long career, Jackson has worked on hundreds of clinical trials, and two of her areas of expertise happen to be immunology and infectious diseases. She told me that from her first day on the Pfizer trial in September of 2020, she discovered “such egregious misconduct” that she recommended they stop enrolling participants into the study to do an internal audit. “To my complete shock and horror, Ventavia agreed to pause enrollment but then devised a plan to conceal what I found and to keep ICON and Pfizer in the dark,” Jackson said during our interview. “The site was in full clean-up mode. When missing data points were discovered the information was fabricated, including forged signatures on the informed consent forms.” A screenshot Jackson shared with me shows she was invited to a meeting titled “COVID 1001 Clean up Call” on Sept. 21, 2020. She refused to participate in the call. Jackson repeatedly warned her superiors about patient safety concerns and data integrity issues. “I knew that the entire world was counting on clinical researchers to develop a safe and effective vaccine and I did not want to be a part of that failure by not reporting what I saw,” she told me. When her employer failed to act, Jackson filed a complaint with the FDA on Sept. 25, and Ventavia fired her hours later that same day under the pretense that she was “not a good fit.” After reviewing her concerns over the phone, she claims the FDA never followed up or inspected the Ventavia site. Ten weeks later, the FDA authorized the EUA for the vaccine. Meanwhile, Pfizer hired Ventavia to handle the research for four more vaccine clinical trials, including one involving children and young adults, one for pregnant women, and another for the booster. Not only that, but Ventavia handled the clinical trials for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Jackson is currently pursuing a False Claims Act lawsuit against Pfizer and Ventavia Research Group. Last year, Pfizer banked nearly $37 billion from its COVID vaccine, making it one of the most lucrative products in global history. Its overall revenues doubled in 2021 to reach $81.3 billion, and it’s slated to reach a record-breaking $98-$102 billion this year. “Corporations like Pfizer should never have been put in charge of a global vaccination rollout, because it was inevitable they would make life-and-death decisions based on what’s in the short-term interest of their shareholders,” writes Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. As previously mentioned, it’s super common for pharmaceutical companies to fund the research on their own products. Here’s why that’s scary. One 1999 meta-analysis showed that industry-funded research is eight times less likely to achieve unfavorable results compared to independent trials. In other words, if a pharmaceutical company wants to prove that a medication, supplement, vaccine, or device is safe and effective, they’ll find a way. With that in mind, I recently examined the 2020 study on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine to see if there were any conflicts of interest. Lo and behold, the lengthy attached disclosure form shows that of the 29 authors, 18 are employees of Pfizer and hold stock in the company, one received a research grant from Pfizer during the study, and two reported being paid “personal fees” by Pfizer. In another 2021 study on the Pfizer vaccine, seven of the 15 authors are employees of and hold stock in Pfizer. The other eight authors received financial support from Pfizer during the study. Photo credit: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) via Unsplash As of the day I’m writing this, about 64% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 76% have gotten at least one dose. The FDA has repeatedly promised “full transparency” when it comes to these vaccines. Yet in December of 2021, the FDA asked for permission to wait 75 years before releasing information pertaining to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, including safety data, effectiveness data, and adverse reaction reports. That means no one would see this information until the year 2096 — conveniently, after many of us have departed this crazy world. To recap: the FDA only needed 10 weeks to review the 329,000 pages worth of data before approving the EUA for the vaccine — but apparently, they need three-quarters of a century to publicize it. In response to the FDA’s ludicrous request, PHMPT — a group of over 200 medical and public health experts from Harvard, Yale, Brown, UCLA, and other institutions — filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act demanding that the FDA produce this data sooner. And their efforts paid off: U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman issued an order for the FDA to produce 12,000 pages by Jan. 31, and then at least 55,000 pages per month thereafter. In his statement to the FDA, Pittman quoted the late John F. Kennedy: “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” As for why the FDA wanted to keep this data hidden, the first batch of documentation revealed that there were more than 1,200 vaccine-related deaths in just the first 90 days after the Pfizer vaccine was introduced. Of 32 pregnancies with a known outcome, 28 resulted in fetal death. The CDC also recently unveiled data showing a total of 1,088,560 reports of adverse events from COVID vaccines were submitted between Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 28, 2022. That data included 23,149 reports of deaths and 183,311 reports of serious injuries. There were 4,993 reported adverse events in pregnant women after getting vaccinated, including 1,597 reports of miscarriage or premature birth. A 2022 study published in JAMA, meanwhile, revealed that there have been more than 1,900 reported cases of myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle — mostly in people 30 and under, within 7 days of getting the vaccine. In those cases, 96% of people were hospitalized. “It is understandable that the FDA does not want independent scientists to review the documents it relied upon to license Pfizer’s vaccine given that it is not as effective as the FDA originally claimed, does not prevent transmission, does not prevent against certain emerging variants, can cause serious heart inflammation in younger individuals, and has numerous other undisputed safety issues,” writes Aaron Siri, the attorney representing PHMPT in its lawsuit against the FDA. Siri told me in an email that his office phone has been ringing off the hook in recent months. “We are overwhelmed by inquiries from individuals calling about an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. By the way — it’s worth noting that adverse effects caused by COVID-19 vaccinations are still not covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Companies like Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are protected under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which grants them total immunity from liability with their vaccines. And no matter what happens to you, you can’t sue the FDA for authorizing the EUA, or your employer for requiring you to get it, either. Billions of taxpayer dollars went to fund the research and development of these vaccines, and in Moderna’s case, licensing its vaccine was made possible entirely by public funds. But apparently, that still warrants citizens no insurance. Should something go wrong, you’re basically on your own. Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine business model: government gives them billions, gives them immunity for any injuries or if doesn't work, promotes their products for free, and mandates their products. Sounds crazy? Yes, but it is our current reality. — Aaron Siri (@AaronSiriSG) February 2, 2022 The Hypocrisy of “Misinformation” I find it interesting that “misinformation” has become such a pervasive term lately, but more alarmingly, that it’s become an excuse for blatant censorship on social media and in journalism. It’s impossible not to wonder what’s driving this movement to control the narrative. In a world where we still very clearly don’t have all the answers, why shouldn’t we be open to exploring all the possibilities? And while we’re on the subject, what about all of the COVID-related untruths that have been spread by our leaders and officials? Why should they get a free pass? Photo credit: @upgradeur_life, www.instagram.com/upgradeur_life Fauci, President Biden, and the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky all promised us with total confidence the vaccine would prevent us from getting or spreading COVID, something we now know is a myth. (In fact, the CDC recently had to change its very definition of “vaccine ” to promise “protection” from a disease rather than “immunity”— an important distinction). At one point, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) and former Governor Andrew Cuomo prepared a social media campaign with misleading messaging that the vaccine was “approved by the FDA” and “went through the same rigorous approval process that all vaccines go through,” when in reality the FDA only authorized the vaccines under an EUA, and the vaccines were still undergoing clinical trials. While the NYS DOH eventually responded to pressures to remove these false claims, a few weeks later the Department posted on Facebook that “no serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported,” when in actuality, roughly 16,000 reports of adverse events and over 3,000 reports of serious adverse events related to a COVID-19 vaccination had been reported in the first two months of use. One would think we’d hold the people in power to the same level of accountability — if not more — than an average citizen. So, in the interest of avoiding hypocrisy, should we “cancel” all these experts and leaders for their “misinformation,” too? Vaccine-hesitant people have been fired from their jobs, refused from restaurants, denied the right to travel and see their families, banned from social media channels, and blatantly shamed and villainized in the media. Some have even lost custody of their children. These people are frequently labeled “anti-vax,” which is misleading given that many (like the NBA’s Jonathan Isaac) have made it repeatedly clear they are not against all vaccines, but simply making a personal choice not to get this one. (As such, I’ll suggest switching to a more accurate label: “pro-choice.”) Fauci has repeatedly said federally mandating the vaccine would not be “appropriate” or “enforceable” and doing so would be “encroaching upon a person’s freedom to make their own choice.” So it’s remarkable that still, some individual employers and U.S. states, like my beloved Massachusetts, have taken it upon themselves to enforce some of these mandates, anyway. Meanwhile, a Feb. 7 bulletin posted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicates that if you spread information that undermines public trust in a government institution (like the CDC or FDA), you could be considered a terrorist. In case you were wondering about the current state of free speech. The definition of institutional oppression is “the systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group.” It is defined as occurring when established laws and practices “systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.” Sound familiar? As you continue to watch the persecution of the unvaccinated unfold, remember this. Historically, when society has oppressed a particular group of people whether due to their gender, race, social class, religious beliefs, or sexuality, it’s always been because they pose some kind of threat to the status quo. The same is true for today’s unvaccinated. Since we know the vaccine doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID, however, this much is clear: the unvaccinated don’t pose a threat to the health and safety of their fellow citizens — but rather, to the bottom line of powerful pharmaceutical giants and the many global organizations they finance. And with more than $100 billion on the line in 2021 alone, I can understand the motivation to silence them. The unvaccinated have been called selfish. Stupid. Fauci has said it’s “almost inexplicable” that they are still resisting. But is it? What if these people aren’t crazy or uncaring, but rather have — unsurprisingly so — lost their faith in the agencies that are supposed to protect them? Can you blame them? Citizens are being bullied into getting a vaccine that was created, evaluated, and authorized in under a year, with no access to the bulk of the safety data for said vaccine, and no rights whatsoever to pursue legal action if they experience adverse effects from it. What these people need right now is to know they can depend on their fellow citizens to respect their choices, not fuel the segregation by launching a full-fledged witch hunt. Instead, for some inexplicable reason I imagine stems from fear, many continue rallying around big pharma rather than each other. A 2022 Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports survey of Democratic voters found that 59% of respondents support a government policy requiring unvaccinated individuals to remain confined in their home at all times, 55% support handing a fine to anyone who won’t get the vaccine, and 48% think the government should flat out imprison people who publicly question the efficacy of the vaccines on social media, TV, or online in digital publications. Even Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up. Photo credit: DJ Paine on Unsplash Let me be very clear. While there are a lot of bad actors out there — there are also a lot of well-meaning people in the science and medical industries, too. I’m lucky enough to know some of them. There are doctors who fend off pharma reps’ influence and take an extremely cautious approach to prescribing. Medical journal authors who fiercely pursue transparency and truth — as is evident in “The Influence of Money on Medical Science,” a report by the first female editor of JAMA. Pharmacists, like Dan Schneider, who refuse to fill prescriptions they deem risky or irresponsible. Whistleblowers, like Graham and Jackson, who tenaciously call attention to safety issues for pharma products in the approval pipeline. And I’m certain there are many people in the pharmaceutical industry, like Panara and my grandfather, who pursued this field with the goal of helping others, not just earning a six- or seven-figure salary. We need more of these people. Sadly, it seems they are outliers who exist in a corrupt, deep-rooted system of quid-pro-quo relationships. They can only do so much. I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should get the vaccine or booster doses. What you put in your body is not for me — or anyone else — to decide. It’s not a simple choice, but rather one that may depend on your physical condition, medical history, age, religious beliefs, and level of risk tolerance. My grandfather passed away in 2008, and lately, I find myself missing him more than ever, wishing I could talk to him about the pandemic and hear what he makes of all this madness. I don’t really know how he’d feel about the COVID vaccine, or whether he would have gotten it or encouraged me to. What I do know is that he’d listen to my concerns, and he’d carefully consider them. He would remind me my feelings are valid. His eyes would light up and he’d grin with amusement as I fervidly expressed my frustration. He’d tell me to keep pushing forward, digging deeper, asking questions. In his endearing Bronx accent, he used to always say: “go get ‘em, kid.” If I stop typing for a moment and listen hard enough, I can almost hear him saying it now. People keep saying “trust the science.” But when trust is broken, it must be earned back. And as long as our legislative system, public health agencies, physicians, and research journals keep accepting pharmaceutical money (with strings attached) — and our justice system keeps letting these companies off the hook when their negligence causes harm, there’s no reason for big pharma to change. They’re holding the bag, and money is power. I have a dream that one day, we’ll live in a world where we are armed with all the thorough, unbiased data necessary to make informed decisions about our health. Alas, we’re not even close. What that means is that it’s up to you to educate yourself as much as possible, and remain ever-vigilant in evaluating information before forming an opinion. You can start by reading clinical trials yourself, rather than relying on the media to translate them for you. Scroll to the bottom of every single study to the “conflicts of interest” section and find out who funded it. Look at how many subjects were involved. Confirm whether or not blinding was used to eliminate bias. You may also choose to follow Public Citizen’s Health Research Group’s rule whenever possible: that means avoiding a new drug until five years after an FDA approval (not an EUA, an actual approval) — when there’s enough data on the long-term safety and effectiveness to establish that the benefits outweigh the risks. When it comes to the news, you can seek out independent, nonprofit outlets, which are less likely to be biased due to pharma funding. And most importantly, when it appears an organization is making concerted efforts to conceal information from you — like the FDA recently did with the COVID vaccine — it’s time to ask yourself: why? What are they trying to hide? In the 2019 film “Dark Waters” — which is based on the true story of one of the greatest corporate cover-ups in American history — Mark Ruffalo as attorney Rob Bilott says: “The system is rigged. They want us to think it’ll protect us, but that’s a lie. We protect us. We do. Nobody else. Not the companies. Not the scientists. Not the government. Us.” Words to live by. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/09/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

Corcoran’s Cornell-Marshall Team is All in on Brooklyn

Arguably the most successful sales team in the toniest areas of Brooklyn, Jim Cornell and Leslie Marshall, with a combined 50 years of borough sales experience, clearly have keys to the King’s County kingdom, closing out last year with 199 transactions and a sales volume of over $480 million. Their four-person team, consistently ranked among […] The post Corcoran’s Cornell-Marshall Team is All in on Brooklyn appeared first on RISMedia. Arguably the most successful sales team in the toniest areas of Brooklyn, Jim Cornell and Leslie Marshall, with a combined 50 years of borough sales experience, clearly have keys to the King’s County kingdom, closing out last year with 199 transactions and a sales volume of over $480 million. Their four-person team, consistently ranked among the top 25 brokers in Corcoran’s 1,500-person sales force, serves just about every corner of New York’s Brooklyn neighborhoods, from Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights to Williamsburg and Brownstone Brooklyn’s townhouses, co-ops and condos. Cornell, a Boston transplant and former technical writer, and Marshall, a Fordham Law School graduate and public defender, came into real estate from different backgrounds and with different talents, but credit their success as a team with an instant meeting of the minds. Barbara Pronin: The two of you came to Corcoran within a year of each other some 20 years ago, when teaming wasn’t yet really a thing. What was it that brought you together? Leslie Marshall: We met while working with a client in Park Slope, Jim for the buyer and I for the seller, and it didn’t take long to realize we had a very similar approach—easygoing but client-focused and detail-oriented, and familiar with the best Brooklyn neighborhoods. Jim Cornell: We had different skills, but the same goals and work ethic, and a partnership appealed to both of us. But there weren’t a lot of teams at the time, so we really had no role model. It was Corcoran, actually, that made it happen, moving us both into their Brooklyn Heights office. We were all in, fifty-fifty, no matter where the leads came from, and we shared every task from showings to all the administrative work that comes with every transaction. The process was kind of organic, but it worked. BP: When did you decide to expand the team? LM: I had branched into the design, marketing and sale of new developments, and we were preparing to launch a 134-unit development. Jim was very busy, we were handling properties in the $5- to $10 million dollar range, and we knew we needed help to keep up with the business we were building. JC: In 2020, we brought in Nick Hovsepian, who came to Corcoran with a track record of over 200 closed sales in seven years. Like Leslie and me, he has a kind of laid-back, friendly, but detail-oriented approach and he’s been a great addition to the team. LM: About the same time, Ashley Banker reached out to me, and we were impressed with her background and ambition. She had been with Corcoran about 14 years, mostly specializing in marketing and project management. She is diligent, capable, and committed to providing the same high level of service that has always been the hallmark of this team. BP: Considering the volume of business you do, it’s surprising you don’t have a dedicated administrative staff. How does your team split the work? JC: We all do a bit of everything—no ego, no hierarchy, just pitch in and get it done, and that includes the admin work. One of our key strengths is the way we support each other so that every client has a seamless and rewarding experience. LM: We’re on the phone with each other often and we’re all tagged on every email, so any one of us is knowledgeable and accessible to every one of our clients. It may seem casual, but we are supremely organized, and our clients appreciate the way we work. We operate in a kind of rarefied area, and the majority of our business comes from referral.  BP: You’ve racked up numerous recognitions from Corcoran’s President’s Council and Million Dollar Club to Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights Team of the year. Do you consider yourselves a role model now as teaming becomes a more popular way of doing business? JC: Teams reach out to us all the time, and we are happy to act as mentors and share what has worked for us. Giving back where we can is important to us, not only within our company, but to the communities where we work. We are all active in a variety of non-profits and civic organizations, all of which we thoroughly enjoy. BP: What are your plans for the team going forward? LM: We have no plans to expand at the moment, although we are always open to it as the business grows. Mostly, we are focused on maintaining the reputation for excellence that we have worked so hard to achieve. BP: Best advice for building relationships and creating a successful team? JC: Trust. It’s the overall reason for our success—both a personal trust in each other to do the right thing and support one another, and instilling trust in our clients. LM: And being authentic—putting your personal touch on every task and your heart into everything you do. To contact the Cornell Marshall team, email cornellmarshallteam@corcoran.com. Barbara Pronin is a contributing editor to RISMedia. The post Corcoran’s Cornell-Marshall Team is All in on Brooklyn appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaApr 5th, 2022

Roman Abramovich injected himself into the Ukraine peace talks to curry favor with the governments sanctioning his business empire, experts say

The UK and EU sanctioned Abramovich last month. The Russian oligarch is now working for peace to save his own skin, experts told Insider. A composite image of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP, Mason/Getty Images, Laurent Van der Stockt for Le Monde/Getty Images The UK and EU sanctioned Roman Abramovich last month over Putin's invasion of Ukraine.  The Russian oligarch, who is a Putin ally, has since been seen taking part in Russia-Ukraine peace talks. Experts said he was there merely there to expedite the unfreezing of his assets and save his empire. The Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich's presence at the Russia-Ukraine peace talks is an attempt to expedite the unfreezing of his assets and save his business empire, experts told Insider.The UK and EU sanctioned Abramovich — who according to Bloomberg is worth $14.3 billion — in early March following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.As a result, Abramovich relinquished control of several investment vehicles, and saw his assets frozen by US hedge funds. Evraz, Abramovich's mining company, suspended trading on March 10 after the price fell 85%. The sanctions also prevented Abramovich from personally profiting from the sale of Chelsea Football Club, the London soccer team he listed days earlier.Now Abramovich is doing all he can to to solve his financial issues, mainly by inserting himself in peace talks to bring an end to President Vladimir Putin's invasion, experts said.Abramovich at peace talks between delegations from Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 29, 2022.Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesMotivations for a cease-fireAbramovich has attended peace talks held between Ukrainian and Russian officials, with his most recent appearance being last Tuesday in Turkey, where he sat with the Russian delegation, the Financial Times reported.Vladimir Milov, Russia's former deputy energy minister, told Insider: "He's absolutely devastated by blows to his international business empire and assets that were delivered by sanctions and he also does not support the war.""Which is why he is trying actively to do something about it, to help achieve some sort of cease-fire which might be a starting point for unblocking his assets and his travel.""I am sure there is no other motivation. He was always an extremely selfish person, only focused on personal gain," he added.Milov said that as deputy energy minister, he had played a role in the 2002 sale of the Russian oil company Slavneft to Abramovich. The BBC reported last month, citing leaked Russian intelligence documents, that the sale may have been rigged."I was against selling this major stake to one man without an auction, as there were other bidders who offered a higher price," Milov said. Losing Chelsea will also be a dear blow to Abramovich, experts said. Abramovich bought the club in 2003 and took it from mediocrity to winning the Premier League five times and the Champions League twice."The loss of Chelsea would have hurt him," Mark Hollingsworth, the author of "Londongrad: From Russia with Cash," told Insider. "I think that was a genuine love affair."Abramovich wearing a Chelsea Football Club scarf.BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty ImagesOthers have cast doubt on Abramovich's motivations for peace talks.Vladimir Ashurkov, executive director of the Putin critic Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, told the FT that Abramovich's presence at the peace talks could be "a PR tool," while Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine's ambassador to the UK, recently suggested to the BBC that Abramovich might be "buying his way out" of future sanctions.Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and editor of the Agentura news site, told Insider that Abramovich appeared also to be using the peace talks to line up new investments in Turkey."He is trying desperately to find a new place, safe for his investments. As far as I get it he is going to invest in Turkey," he said. Following the imposition of UK and EU sanctions, two of Abramovich's yachts docked in Turkey.Abramovich hasn't been sanctioned by the US. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Treasury halted plans to sanction Abramovich after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked President Joe Biden to spare the oligarch due to his role in the peace talks.'Putin's wallet'Abramovich has been a successful businessman for the entirety of Putin's 22-year stint as president or prime minister, and the pair have often been photographed together. However, in a recently-settled UK court case, lawyers for Abramovich said he was "someone who is distant from Putin," a claim which sits uneasily with his presence at peace talks. Hollingsworth said: "People have called him 'Putin's wallet' and 'Putin's treasurer,' and he was known as 'the money man' and 'the bag man.' But it's quite hard to really pin it down."The Financial Times reported that Abramovich had Putin's explicit blessing to be at the peace talks.And according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Abramovich is helping with "certain contacts between the Russian and Ukrainian sides."Motivations aside, Abramovich has much to offer at the talks, Hollingsworth said. "He has been a brilliant negotiator, that's his great skill," he said.  Abramovich, who was orphaned at the age of three, left school at 16 and rose from a provincial perfumes-and-deodorants trader to an oil magnate. By 2005 he was Russia's richest man, according to Forbes.'The person who has least chance to be punished by Putin'Few among Russia's business elite have explicitly spoken out against the war, apparently fearing they will be punished by Putin for dissenting.However, the Financial Times reported that Abramovich recently made a direct in-person pitch to Putin to end the war, following which Putin permitted Abramovich to attend the peace talks."He is the person who has least chance to be punished by Putin for actually inserting his nose and doing something because he still has a very strong standing, personal relationship with Putin," Milov told Insider."Others are afraid to stray out of their business and interfere with Putin's business, which is war. Abramovich is less afraid. "Russia's offensive into Ukraine has faltered in recent weeks, with Putin's forces refocusing on the east of the country, abandoning towns and cities such as Trostyanets and Irpin, as well as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Hollingsworth, who researched Abramovich for his book, said Russia's invasion of Ukraine will have triggered something deep in Abramovich. "He probably genuinely cares about the fact that this war is such a disaster for Russia," he said. "I think there's a certain nationalistic pride there."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 4th, 2022

Will The New York Times Apologize To Sen. Cotton?

Will The New York Times Apologize To Sen. Cotton? Authored by Jonathan Turley, Every recovery program starts with the mantra that the first step in dealing with a problem is to admit that you have a problem. That cathartic moment seems to have escaped the editors of the New York Times in denouncing a cancel culture that they helped spread in the media. Many of us were both bemused and bothered by the editorial in the New York Times opposing cancel culture. The Times has not been some dedicated antagonist of this culture but rather one of its most unabashed ambassadors.  Indeed, one of the most outrageous acts of cancellation by the media was the treatment of Sen. Tom Cotton over his 2020 Times editorial. Given its history, the most striking aspect of the Times editorial was the utter lack of self-awareness.  The editors wrote: “In the course of their fight for tolerance, many progressives have become intolerant of those who disagree with them or express other opinions, and take on a kind of self-righteousness and censoriousness that the right long displayed and the left long abhorred.” As with the recent admission of the Times that the Hunter Biden laptop and emails are authentic, there was no effort to address its own leading role in spreading viewpoint intolerance and censorship. The treatment of the Cotton column shocked many of us. It was one of the lowest points in the history of modern American journalism. During the week of June 6, 2020, the Times forced out an opinion editor and apologized for publishing Cotton’s column calling for the use of the troops to restore order in Washington after days of rioting around the White House. While Congress would “call in the troops” six months later to quell the rioting at the Capitol on January 6th, New York Times reporters and columnists denounced the column as historically inaccurate and politically inciteful. The column was in fact historically accurate, even if you disagreed with the underlying proposal (as I did). Reporters insisted that Cotton was endangering them by suggesting the use of troops and insisted that the newspaper should not feature people who advocate political violence. Writers Taylor Lorenz, Caity Weaver, Sheera Frankel, Jacey Fortin, and others also said that such columns put black reporters in danger and condemned publishing Cotton’s viewpoint. Critics never explained what was historically false (or outside the range of permissible interpretation) in the column. In a breathtaking surrender, the newspaper apologized and not only promised an investigation into how such an opposing view could find itself on its pages but promised to reduce the number of editorials in the future: “We’ve examined the piece and the process leading up to its publication. This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards. As a result, we’re planning to examine both short term and long term changes, to include expanding our fact-checking operation and reduction the number of op-eds we publish.” One of the writers who condemned the decision to publish Cotton was New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones.  Hannah-Jones applauded the decision of the Times to apologize for publishing such an opposing viewpoint and denounced those who engage in what she called “even-handedness, both sideism” journalism. (Notably, Hannah-Jones herself later tweeted out a bizarre anti-police conspiracy theory that injuries and destruction caused by fireworks was not the fault of protesters but actually part of a weird police conspiracy. There was no hue and cry over accuracy). Opinion editor James Bennet reportedly made an apology to the staff.  That however was not enough. He was later compelled to resign for publishing a column that advocates an option used previously in history with rioting. What was particularly galling was the open hypocrisy of the editors as they continued to publish authors with violent viewpoints and anti-free speech agendas. For example, the newspaper had no problem in publishing “Beijing’s enforcer” in Hong Kong as Regina Ip mocked freedom protesters who were being beaten and arrested by the government. Likewise, the New York Times published a column by University of Rhode Island professor  Erik Loomis, who defended the murder of a conservative protester and said that he saw “nothing wrong” with such acts of violence.  (Loomis has also been ridiculed for denouncing statistics, science, and technology as inherently racist). In truth, there is a reason to publish all of these authors as part of a diverse set of viewpoints in a newspaper. The problem is that the Times only moved against one: Sen. Cotton. When confronted by the very mob described in the recent editorial, the Times let them in and rushed to join them in cleansing its pages and editorial staff. Everyone loves a redemptive sinner and I would be the first to applaud the New York Times in rescinding its earlier position on the Cotton editorial.  However, absent that recognition, the Times is just another member of the mob haunted by its own lack of courage. If the Times has decided to truly oppose the anti-free speech movement, it can start with an apology to Senator Tom Cotton. Tyler Durden Sun, 03/20/2022 - 15:30.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMar 20th, 2022

Ukraine Invasion Is an Ethical “Line in the Sand” for Brands

It is impossible, as a citizen and a human being, to ignore the events currently unfolding in eastern Europe, as Russia wages what amounts to a war of conquest against the fledgling democracy of Ukraine. Apart from his own propaganda and few isolated echo chambers, Russian President Vladimir Putin is being widely condemned and isolated […] The post Ukraine Invasion Is an Ethical “Line in the Sand” for Brands appeared first on RISMedia. It is impossible, as a citizen and a human being, to ignore the events currently unfolding in eastern Europe, as Russia wages what amounts to a war of conquest against the fledgling democracy of Ukraine. Apart from his own propaganda and few isolated echo chambers, Russian President Vladimir Putin is being widely condemned and isolated by business and political leaders across ideological lines, as the world bands together to levy brutal sanctions against him and those associated with Russia. In times like this, every person who runs a business—no matter how big or how small—has decisions to make. With how deeply connected the world is today, no one can fully abdicate their participation in something like this crisis. What a real estate professional does or says—whether they are leading a multinational brand or a team of four agents in Des Moines, Iowa—matters. “You build into your brand…the idea that it’s not just about the features that define the product,” says Americus Reed, a researcher focusing on branding and consumer behavior at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. “It’s also about some kind of statement about the core values that the company, brand, product or service stands for.” More and more people—particularly younger people—are making decisions about where they spend their money and where they get services based on core values and beliefs, Reed states, adding that the pandemic accelerated this trend as people “were forced to kind of pause and think about what is important.” The invasion of Ukraine is somewhat unique in that people are inundated with images and reports of atrocities and tales of battlefield heroism every day, and the seriousness, speed and bold-faced nature of the invasion has left everyone who is even slightly paying attention either angry, frightened or likely both. It has become almost impossible for a business leader to stay silent or toe the line, Reed cautions. “Once it gets framed as brutal ruthless dictator committing genocide and invading another country, it’s really hard, if not impossible, to not have something to say,” Reed says. A spokesperson for Century 21 Real Estate, which opened its first brokerages in Moscow in 2007, said the company had chosen to withdraw from Russia as well, and that the company did not have any employees based in Russia. Navigating to CENTURY 21’s English-language webpage for its Moscow brokerage displayed an error message as of Wednesday, though the Russian-language version of the website showed hundreds of listings around the country, which the spokesperson said was displaying listings from independently owned franchisees. A spokesperson for Sotheby’s provided a statement saying it “made the decision to curtail our very limited Sotheby’s International Realty franchise business in Russia,” adding that the company “remains focused on supporting Ukrainians impacted by the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region,” specifically through a partnership with the Red Cross (something CENTURY 21 also participates in under the Realogy banner). It was not clear if any other major multinational residential real estate brands were involved in Russia, though online searches did not turn up any results. Century 21 appeared to have the largest number of franchises in the country, with 78 independent franchises as of Q4 2021, according to the company’s spokesperson. Marie Driscoll, managing director of Coresight Research, said on a recent Ukraine-focused webinar that consumers are not going to forget what they are seeing on social media—bombed-out hospitals and children huddled in shelters. She lauded companies for pulling out of Russia, particularly luxury brands that supported or were patronized by the oligarchs who are largely complicit in the war. “I think…brands have responded as they should,” she said. “But then the impact on our collective psyche—what’s happening over there, do I feel like buying?” Sentiment Many people will certainly hesitate or delay their participation in markets during the chaos, she added. Speaking specifically about luxury, Driscoll predicted a global pull-back in the short term. “Prices are being raised across the board, and now you have this ‘whamo’ effect of $100 oil perhaps, for three or four months, perhaps longer,” she said. “We choose to participate with brands when we’re comfortable.” These people who are waiting on the sideline, though, are paying special attention to what companies are saying and doing during the crisis, she added. “These are brands that we personify; we have relationships with them. In effect, these brands live in our brain matter. We choose to participate with them when we’re comfortable,” Driscoll said. “I don’t think people really feel like buying luxury—rather, we feel empathetic with luxury brands that are giving money to the Ukrainians.” Greg Reed (no relation to Americus Reed) is associate director of the University of Wisconsin’s Graaskamp School of Real Estate. He told RISMedia earlier this month that the crisis was a “geopolitical wake-up call” and that consumers are going to have a “greater focus” on companies and products that prioritize domestic labor and production—both for practical and ethical reasons. “Not necessarily nationalistic or patriotic,” he says. “Look at the disruption that happens.” But on a more qualitative level, the ground-level sentiment regarding the war has been united and powerful—something Reed notes is relatively rare when it comes to recent crises and conflicts. “This has been incredibly sad to witness,” he says, “but I’m amazed at how quickly the international community has coalesced…we didn’t see cohesiveness on the global pandemic.” What exactly this might manifest as is unclear, but Reed says he expects business leaders and everyday buyers to move away from industries and companies that depend on autocratic nations to some degree. Extrapolating even further, Reed says the response to Ukraine might even be a chance for people and political leaders to come together on a basic level. “Who knows, maybe there could be greater cooperation and interaction amongst countries, and God forbid, maybe that ripples down to human interactions as well,” he reflects. Authenticity Americus Reed says it isn’t just gargantuan global brands that consumers expect moral behavior from. A small, local or independent business—especially a very visible one like a real estate franchise or agent—is held almost to a higher standard and has more to both gain or lose depending on what they do in the face of the crisis. “The smaller you are, the more positive it’s probably going to be—at least in this case for sure. Because a smaller company is taking on much more risk in making these stands,” he explains. Consumers are fully aware that a small, local business or independent contractor is not facing political pressure, and likely isn’t relying on public relations experts to guide their decisions, Reed points out. They also have less wiggle-room as far as how much business they can afford to lose. That makes words and actions on a big issue like this much more authentic. “It’s a bigger deal—you must really believe ,” he says. “Probably the people who look at that and share those aligned beliefs are probably going to give you even bigger praise.” Conversely, the potential to alienate even a small segment of your prospective clients by saying the wrong thing or going too far is something businesspeople will have to keep in their calculus—though Reed argues in this case there are very few consumers of any demographic or political stripe that are defending Russia. “I can’t imagine someone coming and saying, ‘Hey guys let’s pump the brakes, let’s not get ahead of our skis on Putin,’” he quips. “No one is saying that.” Across the continent, real estate agents and companies both large and small have held fundraisers or collected supplies for Ukrainian defense forces and refugees. The reason why this crisis has received so much broad support and media attention compared to war crimes and floods of refugees in Syria (with Russia at least partially responsible there as well) is multifaceted, according to Reed, and likely has to do with racism, European history and the specific circumstances on the ground. Right now, from both big brands and small businesses, consumers are looking for unambiguous statements and action to back it up, Reed says. Hypocrisy is not tolerated, and even well-meaning support can alienate people, he warns. “It seems more authentic when there is a clear line that’s being drawn,” he says. “Consumers can go look on the ‘Google machine’ and see exactly what you’ve been doing, and they’ll call you out…if you haven’t been doing this stuff consistent with this line in the sand that you drew, that is also inauthentic, and you’ll probably get called out about it.” Maybe most importantly, in an environment of uncertainty that extends beyond economics, and has many people worried about the possibility of war or nuclear catastrophe, the average person is going to look more than ever for brands, businesses and services that they trust on a deeper, authentic level—something that started during the pandemic, but has become more evident over the last few weeks. “People are just thinking, ‘Transactions are less important, relationships are much more important.’ What is my relationship with a company?” he asks. “And that will include asking and answering the question, what is this company about—what do they stand for?” Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas, jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post Ukraine Invasion Is an Ethical “Line in the Sand” for Brands appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMar 17th, 2022

NAR’s 2022 ‘That’s Who We R’ Advertising Showcases the Ethics, Expertise of REALTORS®

The National Association of REALTORS® announces its fourth “That’s Who We R” national advertising campaign, showing REALTORS® in action and how they help consumers. The new creative further distinguishes REALTORS® –members of NAR and guided by the association’s Code of Ethics–from non-member agents and “do-it-yourself” tech platforms. Created in partnership with Havas Chicago, the series […] The post NAR’s 2022 ‘That’s Who We R’ Advertising Showcases the Ethics, Expertise of REALTORS® appeared first on RISMedia. The National Association of REALTORS® announces its fourth “That’s Who We R” national advertising campaign, showing REALTORS® in action and how they help consumers. The new creative further distinguishes REALTORS® –members of NAR and guided by the association’s Code of Ethics–from non-member agents and “do-it-yourself” tech platforms. Created in partnership with Havas Chicago, the series of television, audio and digital creative spots use emotional and real-life storytelling to bring to life the tangible and meaningful benefits of working with a Realtor® during the increasingly competitive and complex process of buying and selling property. “These ads highlight the value REALTORS® bring by showcasing our members’ dedication, expertise and professionalism,” said Victoria Gillespie, NAR chief marketing and communications officer. “As a former agent and Realtor®, I know personally how we go above and beyond to make ownership a reality for our clients. By establishing and cultivating trusted partnerships with millions of prospective property owners, Realtors® are not only champions for consumers, but also for the communities they serve.” “The National Association of REALTORS® is 1.5 million members strong and we take immense pride in being expert guides and supportive counselors at every touchpoint throughout the real estate transaction,” added NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith, a REALTOR® from Plano, Texas and broker associate at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate in Dallas. “I am extremely proud of NAR’s ad campaign and how it delivers on our promise to members, boldly distinguishing Realtors® within the crowded real estate industry.” Simple yet personal and emotional moments throughout the spots act as the connection point for viewers and listeners. The commercials leverage a diverse set of characters and real estate situations–residential and commercial–that work together to be relatable at scale. In each situation, viewers will see how REALTORS®’ unrivaled expertise, ethics and neighborhood knowledge guide consumers through numerous scenarios, establishing trust and inspiring confidence despite surprises. “We understood that our creative perspective needed to instantly resonate with consumers who may feel unsure about who or what to trust on their individualized path to ownership,” said Myra Nussbaum, president and chief creative officer, Havas Chicago. “The cultural truth is brought to the screen through the mix of authentic, emotional and unexpected moments that can occur throughout the property buying process. The output is a creative narrative that shows how Realtors® partner with their clients during what is often the biggest purchase a person makes in their life.” The TV campaign will launch both 15- and 30-second versions with creative extensions into various media touchpoints, including streaming and terrestrial audio, social media and branded content partnerships. In addition to paid media led by Havas Media, NAR will once again launch a full suite of new advertising and social media assets, created in conjunction with 2022 campaign imagery and messaging, for its members and Realtor® associations to leverage locally. The “That’s Who We R” TV spots feature four storylines, including “The Neighborhood,” “The Right Thing,” “The Search” and “The Unexpected.” The Neighborhood :30 The Right Thing :30 The Search :30 The Unexpected: 30 Visit ThatsWhoWeR.realtor for more information on NAR’s “That’s Who We R” national advertising campaign. For more information, visit nar.realtor. The post NAR’s 2022 ‘That’s Who We R’ Advertising Showcases the Ethics, Expertise of REALTORS® appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaFeb 8th, 2022

Follow the Money: New Leads vs. Database

Any successful real estate agent will tell you that their best source of leads exists within their own database. This was discussed during RISMedia’s Real Estate’s Rocking in the New Year virtual session, “New Leads vs. Database: How to Focus on Your Best Sources,” held earlier this month. Buffini & Company’s Vice President of Coaching […] The post Follow the Money: New Leads vs. Database appeared first on RISMedia. Any successful real estate agent will tell you that their best source of leads exists within their own database. This was discussed during RISMedia’s Real Estate’s Rocking in the New Year virtual session, “New Leads vs. Database: How to Focus on Your Best Sources,” held earlier this month. Buffini & Company’s Vice President of Coaching and Membership, Dave McGhee, moderated a panel of top agents that included Greg Chaplain of The Real Estate Group; Greg Lukina of David Lyng Real Estate; and Dawn Pfaff of My State MLS, all of whom dove deep into strategies for tapping into databases to generate new and lucrative business opportunities. McGhee kicked things off by explaining the importance of starting the year’s business off quickly with lead generation, noting studies suggest that 40% of the average agent’s business is generated during the first quarter of the year. With that in mind, he asked the panel: “What are your top three sources of lead generation?” “Our team is founded on—number one—working on referrals,” said Chaplain. “Second, we have a robust business-to-business platform, which is basically the same thing as working by referrals, but working with other business owners. Third, I would say…social media and traditional marketing that’s connected to our listing business.” “I’m going to start off with open listings, and that’s a trick that New York City brokers have used forever,” said Pfaff. “Second, a strong marketing and public relations strategy. Our third way is to really think outside the box on where there are places to get listings without just buying leads.” “Realistically, my top lead generation source is my database,” said Lukina. “I work mainly off of repeat-referral clients. Second is business-to-business relationships; I’m currently in two business networking groups and they’re great sources of leads for me. Third is strategic partnerships. I work with a company that provides down payment assistance to teachers in our community, and so I get leads through that partnership.” When it comes to mining your database for new listings and referrals, the panelists noted there are a variety of approaches real estate professionals can take. “We work with clean-out companies; people who clean out houses of people who want to move but have too much stuff,” said Pfaff. “If you work with clean-out companies, then you can do a lot to get new listings and referrals.” There are a lot of other companies, Pfaff notes, that real estate professionals can work with to garner new referrals. However, the difficulty with thinking outside the box is just that—there’s no clear-cut strategy for coming up with clever ways to get those leads. Real estate professionals are going to have to put in the effort and hours to get those contacts, especially in the current market. “Advertising is important, but what’s more important is marketing and having a solid marketing plan in place. You need to stay in front of people,” added Pfaff. Traditional marketing and online marketing are still trusted ways for real estate professionals to get new referrals. However, when reaching out to former clients, it’s imperative to remain consistent and authentic to your company’s voice and brand. “When it comes to referrals, make sure that you’re being deliberate and staying consistent. If you’re doing mailers, make sure you’re getting them out on time, every time,” Lukina concluded. Even today, when new listings seem hard to come by, agents and brokers can mine their databases for leads and develop sustainable business. Missed the event? Replays, including every panel and expert interview, are available here. Jameson Doris is RISMedia’s blog and social media editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jdoris@rismedia.com. The post Follow the Money: New Leads vs. Database appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaFeb 6th, 2022

8 Top CEOs Give Their Predictions for the Wild Year Ahead

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders… (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, business leaders are heading into 2022 facing the strong headwinds of the Omicron variant, continued pressure on supply chains, and the great resignation looming over the labor market. TIME asked top leaders from across the world of business to share their priorities and expectations for the year ahead. Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, wants to leverage the advances his pharmaceutical company has made in fighting COVID-19 to tackle other diseases, while Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has made improving access to healthcare one of her goals over the next year. GoFundMe CEO Tim Cadogan says building trust will be at the heart of decision-making at the crowdfunding platform—both with workers and its wider community. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Innovation is key to Intel CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger and Forerunner Ventures founder and managing partner Kirsten Green. And Rothy’s CEO Stephen Hawthornthwaite, Albemarle CEO Kent Masters, and Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, shared their suggestions for how companies and policymakers can respond to persistent supply chains problems. Read on to see how some of the most powerful people in business envision the coming year. (These answers have been condensed and edited for clarity.) What are the biggest opportunities and challenges you expect in the year ahead? Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer: The scientific advancements made by Pfizer and others over the past year have brought us very powerful tools to battle the worst pandemic of our lives. But, unfortunately, we don’t see everyone using them. I am concerned about the limited infrastructure and resources in the poorest countries as they struggle to administer their supply of COVID-19 vaccines to their people. Some of these countries have asked us to pause our deliveries of doses while they work to address these issues. While I am proud of the work Pfizer has done to make vaccines available to low- and lower middle-income countries over the past year, we need to find new ways to support the World Health Organization as they work with NGOs and governments to address these infrastructure issues. Getty ImagesAlbert Bourla, CEO, Pfizer Over the next year I’d like us to help find solutions to issues like the shortage of medical professionals, vaccine hesitancy due to limited educational campaigns, lack of equipment and even roads to allow timely delivery of vaccines. Throughout every chapter of this pandemic, we have been reminded of the importance of collaboration and innovative thinking. We need to work harder than ever before to address these health inequities so that people around the globe are protected from the virus. Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel: Throughout the history of technology, we’ve seen the pendulum swinging between centralized and decentralized computing. And there is still a tremendous untapped opportunity in edge computing as we bring greater intelligence to devices such as sensors and cameras in everything from our cars to manufacturing to the smart grid. Edge computing will not replace cloud; we’re swinging back to where decentralized compute becomes the primary growth for new workloads because the inference and AI analysis will take place at the edge. Technology has the power to improve the lives of every person on earth and Intel plays a foundational role within. We aim to lead in the opportunity for every category in which we compete. Roz Brewer, CEO of Walgreens: The pandemic affirmed Walgreens as a trusted neighborhood health destination to help our customers and patients manage their health. We provide essential care to our communities, including administering more than 50 million COVID-19 vaccines as of early December 2021. The opportunity ahead of us at Walgreens Health—our new segment launched this past fall—is to create better outcomes for both consumers and partners, while lowering costs across the care continuum. A year from now I want to look back on this time as an inflection point and a moment in time where real, lasting change happened—that we will all have collectively banded together to get through the pandemic and at the same time delivered real change toward improving accessible and affordable healthcare. I feel inspired and hopeful that some good will come out of this very difficult time in our country and the world’s history. Jason Redmond—AFP/Getty ImagesRosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens, speaks in Seattle, Washington on Mar. 20, 2019. Tim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe: We’re going to see continued disruption in the world and the workplace in 2022—this will require more people to come together to help each other. Our opportunity is to use our voice and platform to bring more people together to help each other with all aspects of their lives. Asking for help is hard but coming together to help each other is one of the most important and rewarding things we can do in life. We are continuously improving our product to make it easier for more people to both ask for and give help, whether it’s helping an individual fulfill a dream, working on a global cause like climate change, or supporting a family during a difficult time. Kirsten Green, founder and managing partner of Forerunner Ventures: We are nearly two years into the pandemic, and it is still ongoing. We must embrace this new normal and figure out how to make that reality work for our businesses, our consumers, and our people. Thankfully, we often see innovation come out of these periods of change and fluctuation. At the same time, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact that the world has evolved, and it is still important to understand that the ‘reset’ button just got hit for a lot of people. Values, goals, and core needs are being reevaluated and reestablished, and we as a society need to figure out how to move forward during a volatile period. Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles: Our industry needs to help drive the American economic recovery amid the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The top priority remains getting goods to American consumers and creating a more fluid supply chain. We also need to address the growing trade imbalance. Imports are at all-time highs while U.S. exports have declined nearly 40% over the past three years in Los Angeles. We have to help American manufacturers and farmers get their products to global markets. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, our team is working to get our fair share of federal funds to accelerate projects to improve rail infrastructure, local highways and support facilities. The Port of Los Angeles is the nation’s primary trade gateway, yet east and gulf coast ports have received most of the federal funding in the past decade. The best return on port infrastructure investment is in Los Angeles, where the cargo we handle reaches every corner of the country. Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle: Challenges will likely continue to include competition for top talent, supply chain disruptions due to possible pandemic impacts to raw material availability and logistics, and potential inflation impacts to material and freight costs, all of which we’re monitoring closely so we can respond quickly. With the global EV market growing rapidly, we have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us for years to come. Next year, we’ll advance our lithium business through new capacity ramp-ups in Chile, Australia and China, and restart the MARBL Lithium Wodgina hard rock resource in Australia to help feed our new conversion assets and meet customer needs. We’re also keenly focused on organizational goal alignment and continuous improvement to drive greater productivity through our global workforce next year. What do you expect to happen to supply chains in 2022? Gelsinger: The unprecedented global demand for semiconductors—combined with the impact of the global pandemic—has led to an industry-wide shortage, which is impacting technology providers across the industry. Intel is aggressively stepping in to address these issues and build out more capacity and supply around the globe for a more balanced and stable supply, but it will take time and strong public-private partnerships to achieve. Read more: From Cars to Toasters, America’s Semiconductor Shortage Is Wreaking Havoc on Our Lives. Can We Fix It? Brewer: We learned a lot over the past two years and companies are taking action with investments in capacity, resiliency and agility for supply chains across the world. We will continue finding creative ways to increase manufacturing and shipping capacity. Manufacturers will continue expanding capacity and increasing the diversity in their supplier base to reduce reliance of single sourcing. Companies will continue to invest to increase resiliency through expanded inventory positions, extended planning horizons and lead-times, and increased agility in manufacturing and logistics capabilities to fulfill customer needs. As the marketplace changes, we must be agile and adapt quickly as we respond to shifts in consumer behavior. Investments in technology, such as real time supply chain visibility and predictive/prescriptive analytics, will enable companies to deliver the speed and precision expected by today’s consumer. Seroka: Goods and products will get to market. The maritime logistics industry must raise the bar and make advances on service levels for both our import and export customers. Retailers will be replenishing their inventories in the second quarter of the year. And by summer, several months earlier than usual, we’ll see savvy retailers bringing in products for back to school, fall fashion and the winter holidays. Despite the challenges, retail sales reached new highs in 2021. Collectively, supply chains partners need to step up further to improve fluidity and reliability. Stephen Hawthornthwaite, CEO of Rothy’s: In 2022, pressure from consumers for transparency around manufacturing and production, coupled with pandemic learnings about existing supply chain constraints, will push businesses to condense their supply chains and bring in-house where possible. I also predict that more brands will test make-to-demand models to better weather demand volatility and avoid supply surpluses—a benefit for businesses, consumers and the planet. Nimbleness and a willingness to innovate will be crucial for brands who wish to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world. At Rothy’s, we’ve built a vertically integrated model and wholly-owned factory, enabling us to better navigate the challenges that production and logistics present and unlock the full potential of sustainability and circularity. Courtesy of Rothy’sStephen Hawthornthwaite, chairman and CEO, Rothy’s Green: The pandemic crystallized what a lot of us knew to be true, but hadn’t yet evaluated: There’s not nearly as much innovation in the supply chain as a flexible world is going to need. What we’re seeing now is a giant wake-up call to the entire commerce ecosystem. This is more than a rallying cry; it’s a mandate to reevaluate how we’re managing our production processes, and 2022 will be the start of change. Expect a massive overhaul of the system, and expect to see more investment building innovation, efficiency, and sustainability into the supply chain space. Read more: How American Shoppers Broke the Supply Chain Masters: As the pandemic continues with new variants, we expect global supply chain issues to persist in 2022. To what degree remains to be seen, but I would expect impacts to some raw materials, freight costs, and even energy costs. On a positive note, we can successfully meet our customer obligations largely because of our vertically integrated capabilities. This helps us continue to be a reliable source of lithium, as well as bromine. Worldwide logistics issues are a factor, but more marginal in the supply question when the determining factor is the ability to convert feedstock to product and bolster the supply chain. In lithium, we have active conversion facilities running at full capacity now. As we bring more capacity online (La Negra III/IV, Kemerton I/II, Silver Peak expansion, and our Tianyuan acquisition in China) while making more efficient use of our feedstocks, it will help strengthen the global supply chain. How will the labor market evolve and what changes should workers expect in the coming year? Brewer: The labor market will continue to be competitive in 2022. I often say to my team: as an employer, it’s not about the products we make, it’s not about our brand. It’s about how are we going to motivate team members to feel good about themselves, fulfilled and passionate about their work, to contribute at their highest level of performance. How do we create a culture that means Walgreens Boots Alliance is the best place to work—so our team members say, “Yes, pay me for the work that I do, but help me love my job.” In the coming year and beyond, broadly across the market, we will see that managers will continue to become even more empathetic and listen more actively to their team members as people. Workers will expect that employers and their managers accept who they are as their whole, authentic selves, both personally and professionally. Read more: The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Finally Getting Companies to Take Burnout Seriously. Is It Enough? Gelsinger: Our employees are our future and our most important asset, and we’ve already announced a significant investment in our people for next year. As I’ve said, sometimes it takes a decade to make a week of progress; sometimes a week gives you a decade of progress. As I look to 2022, navigating a company at the heart of many of the pandemic-related challenges, we must all carefully consider what shifts are underway and what changes are yet to come. It will continue to be a competitive market and I expect you’ll continue to see companies establish unique benefits and incentives to attract and retain talent. We expect the “hybrid” mode that’s developed over the past years to become the standard working model going forward. Al Drago/Bloomberg—Getty ImagesPatrick Gelsinger, chief executive officer of Intel Corp., speaks during an interview at an Economic Club of Washington event in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Dec. 9, 2021. Bourla: The past couple of years have challenged our workforce in ways that we never would have imagined. Companies have asked employees to demonstrate exceptional flexibility, commitment, courage and ingenuity over the past two years—and they have risen to the challenge. I predict that we are likely to see an increase in salaries in the coming year due to inflation—and I believe this is a good thing for workers, as it will help close the gap in income inequality. That said, financial rewards are no longer the only thing that employees expect from their employers. Increasingly, people want to work for a company with a strong culture and a defined purpose. As such, companies will need to foster and promote a culture in which employees feel respected and valued for their contributions and made to feel that they are integral to furthering the purpose of their company. Businesses that are able to create such a culture will not only be able to attract the best talent, but also maximize the engagement, creativity and productivity of their people by enabling them to bring their best selves to every challenge. Green: For many years, Forerunner has been saying, “It’s good to be a consumer. Consumers want what they want, when they want it, how they want it, and they’re getting it.” That same evolution of thought has now moved into the labor market: It’s a worker’s market, not a company’s market, and the relationship between the worker and the employer needs to evolve because of that. Workers should expect to get more flexibility, respect, benefits, and pay in some cases—but they still need to show up and deliver impact at work. It’s a two-way street, and we need to tap into a broader cultural work ethic. As a society, we need to be more holistic in our approach to meeting both company and worker needs. Read more: The Pandemic Revealed How Much We Hate Our Jobs. Now We Have a Chance to Reinvent Work Seroka: There’s a need for more truck drivers and warehouse workers in southern California. President Biden’s new Trucking Action Plan funds trucker apprentice programs and recruit U.S. military veterans. It’s an important step forward to attract, recruit and retain workers. Private industry needs to look at improved compensation and benefits for both truckers and warehouse workers. We need to bring a sense of pride and professionalism back to these jobs. On the docks, the contract between longshore workers and the employer’s association expires June 30. Both sides will be hard at work to negotiate and reach an agreement that benefits the workers and companies while keeping cargo flowing for the American economy. Courtesy Port of Los AngelesGene Seroka, executive director, Port of Los Angeles. Masters: I think there will still be a fight for talent next year. It’s a tight labor market overall and Covid-19 restrictions are a challenge in some regions. Albemarle has a really attractive growth story and profile, especially for workers interested in combatting climate change by contributing in a meaningful way to the clean energy transition. We are embracing a flexible work environment, much like other companies are doing, and upgrading some benefits to remain an employer of choice in attracting and retaining the best people on our growth journey. And, of course, we should all expect pandemic protocols to continue next year to ensure everyone’s health and safety. How do you see your role as a leader evolving over the coming year? Bourla: We are entering a golden age of scientific discovery fueled by converging advancements in biology and technology. As an industry, we must leverage these advancements to make disruptive changes in the way we discover, develop and bring new medicines to patients. Since I became CEO of Pfizer, we have been working to reimagine this process by operating as a nimbler, more science-driven organization, focused on delivering true breakthroughs for patients across our six therapeutic areas. In the past few years, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver on this promise of bringing true scientific breakthroughs through our colleagues’ tireless work in COVID-19. But there is more work to be done to address the unmet need in other disease areas—and now is the time to do it. In the year ahead, my leadership team and I will focus on leveraging these advancements in biology and technology, as well as the lessons learned from our COVID-19 vaccine development program, so that we may continue to push this scientific renaissance forward. This is critical work that we must advance for patients and their families around the world who continue to suffer from other devastating diseases without treatment options. Gelsinger: We are in the midst of a digital renaissance and experiencing the fastest pace of digital acceleration in history. We have immense opportunities ahead of us to make a lasting impact on the world through innovation and technology. Humans create technology to define what’s possible. We ask “if” something can be done, we understand “why,” then we ask “how.” In 2022, I must inspire and ensure our global team of over 110,000 executes and continues to drive forward innovation and leadership on our mission to enrich the lives of every person on earth. Brewer: Purpose is the driving force at this point in my career. I joined Walgreens Boots Alliance as CEO in March of 2021, what I saw as a rare opportunity to help end the pandemic and to help reimagine local healthcare and wellbeing for all. Seven months later, we launched the company’s new purpose, vision, values and strategic priorities. My role as CEO now and in 2022 is to lead with our company’s purpose—more joyful lives through better health—at the center of all we do for our customers, patients and team members. I’m particularly focused on affordable, accessible healthcare for all, including in traditionally medically underserved communities. Healthcare is inherently local, and all communities should have equitable access to care. John Lamparski—Getty Images for Advertising Week New YorkTim Cadogan, CEO of GoFundMe, speaks in New York City on Sept. 26, 2016. Cadogan: The last two years were dominated by a global pandemic and social and geopolitical issues that will carry over into 2022. The role of leaders in this new and uncertain environment will be to deliver value to their customers, while helping employees navigate an increasingly complex world with a completely new way of working together. Trust will be at the center of every decision we make around product development and platform policies—do the decisions we are making align with our mission to help people help each other and do they build trust with our community and our employees? Green: Everything around us is moving at an accelerated pace, and being a leader requires you to operate with a consistent set of values while still leaning into opportunity. Arguably, the pandemic has been the most disruptive time in decades—a generational disruption on par with the Depression or WWII. People’s North Stars are in the process of transforming, and leaders need to figure out what that means for their companies, their cultures, and their work processes. How does this change require leaders to shift their priorities as a business? Courtesy, Forerunner VenturesKirsten Green, founder and managing partner, Forerunner Ventures Masters: My leadership style is to make decisions through dialogue and debate. I encourage teams to be curious about other perspectives, be contrarian, actively discuss, make decisions, and act. I wasn’t sure how well we could do this from a strictly remote work approach during the pandemic, but watching our teams thrive despite the challenge changed my mind. Our people adapted quickly to move our business forward. We’ve worked so well that we’re integrating more flexibility into our work environment in 2022. With this shift to hybrid work, it will be important for all leaders, myself included, to empower employees in managing their productivity, and ensure teams stay engaged and focused on our key objectives. We’re facing rapid growth ahead, so our culture is vital to our success. I’ll continue to encourage our teams to live our values, seek diverse viewpoints, be decisive, and execute critical work to advance our strategy. Courtesy of Albemarle Kent Masters, CEO of Albemarle Seroka: Overseeing the nation’s busiest container port comes with an outsized responsibility to help our nation—not just the Port of Los Angeles—address the challenges brought about by the unprecedented surge in consumer demand. That means taking the lead on key fronts such as digital technology, policy and operational logistics. On the digital front, our industry needs to use data better to improve the reliability, predictability, and efficiency in the flow of goods. Policy work will focus on improving infrastructure investment, job training and advocating for a national export plan that supports fair trade and American jobs. Operationally, we’ll look for new ways to improve cargo velocity and efficiency......»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 2nd, 2022

Consistency and Good Habits Equal Success

VITALS:  The Funk Collection Years in business: 13 Size: 1 branch office, 102 agents Region Served: Central Florida 2021 Sales Volume (as of Dec. 1): $231 million 2021 Transactions (as of Dec. 1): 490 units Renee Funk knows Central Florida real estate. Having spent the past two decades in the Orlando area, and co-founding The […] The post Consistency and Good Habits Equal Success appeared first on RISMedia. VITALS:  The Funk Collection Years in business: 13 Size: 1 branch office, 102 agents Region Served: Central Florida 2021 Sales Volume (as of Dec. 1): $231 million 2021 Transactions (as of Dec. 1): 490 units Renee Funk knows Central Florida real estate. Having spent the past two decades in the Orlando area, and co-founding The Funk Collection brokered by eXp Realty with husband Jeffrey Funk, she’s been a key figure in the market for a long time. “It’s the most amazing industry,” says Funk, “and it’s been such a blessing to be a part of it.” Keith Loria: How did the Central Florida market fare in 2021? Renee Funk: Home values were up more than 25% year-over-year. We’ve been running at about a month’s worth of inventory for the past six to seven months, so not as strained as some of the other markets in the U.S. We see many drivers that indicate that the market will continue to climb because we have open borders and foreign investors who have been on the sidelines for the last 18 months. KL: What makes your firm unique?  RF: Our business focus is to create well-rounded business owners. We learned early on that people often come into the industry and are connected to one path or one source of business, and sometimes that becomes a trap. We look at each REALTOR® and set them up for success as business owners by helping them diversify their business. KL: Tell us about your growth philosophy…  RF: We’ve built the business through organic SEO, our website, organic reach on social media and our personal network and sphere, which has given us a leg up as we help agents grow their business based on relationships. Success in the real estate industry comes down to “do we have consistency and good habits?” KL: You recently had your agent count pass the 100 mark. What do you look for when bringing in new agents?  RF: When seeking talent, we are looking for those who have passion, grit and the tenacity it takes to be an entrepreneur. I look for all of these things long before I look at whether they have experience in real estate. I’m very bullish on newly licensed or newer agents. They have an incredible opportunity in the marketplace that can give them a competitive edge over more seasoned agents who have not experienced a marketplace like this before. KL: How do you use tech to attract agents to the company? RF: From a tech standpoint, we are focused on one thing: giving agents tools to improve the services they provide to the consumer, and not automating the consumer. We make sure our tech stack helps create efficiency for agents to elevate their customer service. For us, the tech and the human side of the equation should blend. KL: What’s the best piece of advice you can offer agents?  RF: The best advice I can give to agents is to let them know they’re not alone. There are agents and organizations who fully subscribe to authentic collaboration at the highest level. There’s no secret sauce. Those who are showing up and plugging in, absolutely yield the results. KL: What is your favorite thing about being in this business? RF: It’s not about the transaction. It’s about delivering the keys to a family who you’ve had the privilege to work with and you see they realize they are in the place they are going to build their memories. There’s nothing like it. Keith Loria is a contributing editor to RISMedia. The post Consistency and Good Habits Equal Success appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaJan 1st, 2022

Why Kentucky is the epicenter of the Great Resignation

In Insider Weekly: Kentucky is the epicenter of the Great Resignation, Merrill Lynch isn't what it used to be, and Facebook has a bad reputation. Welcome back to Insider Weekly! Hope you're having a relaxing holiday weekend. I'm Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. The labor shortage has been one of the defining trends of 2021. To understand why, and what it might take to solve it, Insider's economy team zoned in on Kentucky, the epicenter of the Great Resignation. They spoke with workers, business owners, economists, and local lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Based on their conversations, they identified four distinct and often overlapping factors driving the labor shortage. A Kentucky Democrat said the labor shortage was "cultural." A Kentucky Republican recommended temporarily suspending unemployment benefits to get people back to work.While the series makes clear that the labor shortage hits differently wherever you are, it's also clear that what's happening in Kentucky reflects a national story affecting businesses, workers, the economy, and politics. And it's not going away anytime soon. Read on for a Q&A with Executive Editor Josée Rose and Deputy Editor Nick Lichtenberg on the series. Also in this week's newsletter:Facebook's sinking reputation has meant it has to pay even more to hire and retain talent.Top investors share the healthcare and biotech startups set to take off in 2022.Even though Merrill Lynch's business is booming, insiders say the firm isn't what it used to be.Let me know what you think of all our stories at mturner@insider.com.Subscribe to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here.  Download our app for news on the go — click here for iOS and here for Android.Inside the epicenter of America's Great ResignationNatosha ViaNick Lichtenberg and Josée Rose take us behind the scenes of a sweeping series of reports looking at the labor shortage in Kentucky — and what it means for the rest of America.Why did the economy team home in on Kentucky?Nick: The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report is the data story of the year. It showed more Americans quitting their jobs than ever before, as well as more job openings than ever before. In October, it showed Kentucky's quit rate was way higher than the rest of the country. Two editors on the economy team, Bartie and Andy, immediately suggested investigating.Our resident JOLTS expert, Madison, looked into it. She found the thesis was correct: Kentucky was a microcosm of the Great Resignation and the labor shortage. It's the epicenter.How do these reports work together to show the impact of the Great Resignation?Nick: We really wanted a diversity of voices: economists, workers, business owners, and the politicians who represent Kentucky. Madison, Hillary, and Juliana canvassed the state trying to find the stories of real people who are struggling to hire or find good jobs. Ben and Joseph landed interviews with politicians.We got all these perspectives in three connected articles: the Republican who represents a rural district, the Democrat in thriving Louisville, and the workers and employers on the ground across the state.What should readers take away from this package? Josée: Depending on where you live, the hiring problems can affect you differently and hit you harder. By using real people in a hard-hit state, and then talking to the politicians who help make decisions, we're showing the big disconnect between the governments (state and federal) and everyday people. We want readers to come away with better insight. These problems aren't going away anytime soon, and for some, they'll get worse.Read all three reports here:Kentuckians lay out the 4 forces driving the state's labor shortage — and explain why it's here to stayA Kentucky Democrat says solving the labor shortage is 'cultural'A Kentucky Republican on how to solve the labor shortage: 'Temporarily suspend the unemployment program'Facebook's souring reputationFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty ImagesFacebook's reputation has taken so many hits. Scandals and missteps have forced the company to pay out more generous compensation to hire and retain workers, according to former employees, industry recruiters, and data reviewed by Insider.The tech giant is giving larger equity awards than Google, and compensation for Facebook engineers has jumped since 2020. Still, some tech workers worry that a job at Facebook will follow them for the rest of their careers.Here's what ex-employees say about the Facebook's 'brand tax.'The future leaders in healthcare and biotechRachel Mendelson/InsiderInsider asked top investors to select the healthcare and biotech startups most likely to take off in 2022. Some startups that made the cut: 54gene aims to address the knowledge gaps that have made it harder to develop drugs, specifically for people from Africa; Babyscripts created software that lets medical professionals remotely monitor pregnant and postpartum patients; and Artios Pharma is developing a class of therapies geared toward sabotaging cancer cells.See the full list of 34 companies.Behind the scenes of Merrill Lynch's evolutionMerrill Lynch Wealth Management; John Lamparski/Getty Images; Associated Press; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderThe legendary brokerage is setting records and training a new generation. But at the same time, Merrill Lynch is losing longtime advisors who were once its "thundering herd."Former staffers remember a bygone era at the firm, and many expressed pride and loyalty in working there — one even launched a "Mother Merrill" website dedicated to company nostalgia.Merrill is facing a reckoning as it adapts to a new era of Wall Street.More of this week's top reads:Real estate is due for a shake-up. Here are 30 rising stars reimagining how homes are sold and buildings are made.Black women face an uphill battle for raising capital. Six founders who've raised $6 million or more shared how they crafted their pitch decks.Better CEO Vishal Garg started as a visionary startup leader. Now, he's the poster child for bad bosses.Meet the five powerful network execs working behind the scenes to find the next generation of news talent.Insider spent three days at a real-estate conference to learn why investors were so eager to buy homes and turn them into rentals.From our Block Street interview series: An investor earned $5,000 within a few hours of playing in a metaverse. Here's how he did it.Have you ever wondered where a billionaire's money goes when they die? This is what happens.Gene-editing experts see 2022 as a make-or-break year for CRISPR — the technology holds the potential to cure certain genetic diseases.Compiled with help from Phil Rosen.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 26th, 2021

Billion-Dollar Loan Officer Shares Path to Success

For the mortgage industry, 2021 was something of a feeding frenzy. Both refinances and new purchase loans broke records as interest rates sat at historic lows. Even under these positive market conditions, however, success was not guaranteed, and it took a sharp, innovative mind and a prescient, futuristic grasp of the loan process to fully […] The post Billion-Dollar Loan Officer Shares Path to Success appeared first on RISMedia. For the mortgage industry, 2021 was something of a feeding frenzy. Both refinances and new purchase loans broke records as interest rates sat at historic lows. Even under these positive market conditions, however, success was not guaranteed, and it took a sharp, innovative mind and a prescient, futuristic grasp of the loan process to fully take advantage of the opportunities. Sitting on a staggering top-line of just over $2 billion in loan originations this year, Shant Banosian of Guaranteed Rate seemingly had the right tools, the right team and the perfect approach to match a year that was rife with both positive conditions for mortgage professionals but also uniquely challenging. “It’s been a great ride,” he tells RISMedia. Doling out enough dollars to rival the GDP of a small country, Banosian’s understated evaluation of his success is a consequence of both his experienced, steady optimism as well as a market that seemingly rewarded those who were able to stay focused on their larger goals. With the industry breaking records and a half dozen other loan officers joining Banosian in the billion-dollar club, this year opened up a whole new world of possibilities as consumers sought loans and demanded more from their lenders. With around 12 years at Guaranteed Rate, Banosian credits both a supportive culture at his company and the ability to anticipate trends and prepare accordingly for his tremendous numbers this year. “We really learned a lot from 2020,” Banosian says. “We staffed up, we implemented systems and put processes in place. 2021 was the payoff for all that. Our service level, our execution, our communication with our clients and just overall delivery, return, brand and reputation grew along with our volume and not at the expense of it, which was great.” Though he describes 2020 as a surprise that “caught some people off guard,” Banosian did not miss the opportunities available last year, either, racking up $1.7 billion in originations. But as technology advances, and against the backdrop of a savagely competitive seller’s market, loan officers were challenged to support clients more, and in new ways. Sacrificing service for speed in order to compete with cash offers and serve time-constrained buyers was simply not an option, Banosian says. To offer the same service and experience while upping their speed, the only answer was to grow, train and innovate, he says. “The No. 1 goal we led with this year was how much business we can do, but also, how happy we can make our clients and, simultaneously, how fast can we manufacture a loan,” he says. “Ultimately, if your clients are extremely happy they’re going to tell everyone about you…I’ve grown my business entirely based on referral.” Accelerating his process to provide a much more detailed and concrete pre-commitment letter instead of a pre-approval or pre-qualifying was one way Banosian says he was able to simultaneously increase the speed of the loan approval process without leaving clients wanting. He decried the lack of innovations around speed in the industry, with the approval process still taking an average of more than a month. Another way is technology, with Banosian lauding how some in the industry have capitalized on the pandemic to revamp tired and slow habits which have remained unchanged for decades. He says he was often able to offer a two-week close on loans, or as little as 10 days, and hopes to be able to offer that consistently and across geographic regions. “That really helped our clients quite a bit and it really helped us get a lot of market share,” he says. “It really grabbed buyers’ attention, as well as REALTOR® referral partners.” That technological focus will especially matter in the long run, according to Banosian. “We’ve always invested in technology and I feel like we pride ourselves in always being an industry leader,” he says. “Loan officers who maximize technology will replace loan officers who don’t.” Underpinning all of this is the platform he works on. Banosian says that his priorities—remaining team focused, well-connected and technologically advanced—are shared by Guaranteed Rate, which has kept him at the company even as his star has risen on a national level. “ is a company that ultimately understands where businesses are going and is constantly looking to improve,” Banosian says. “It’s not just one thing, it’s all of those things.” Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post Billion-Dollar Loan Officer Shares Path to Success appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaDec 21st, 2021

How a Missouri Firm Leaned on BoomTown Data to Grow Their Business

If there’s one thing Matt Delhougne knows about gaining a competitive edge in the real estate industry, it’s that nothing replaces great data. Delhougne, who currently serves as broker/owner of Chesterfield, Missouri-based Delhougne Realty Group, has been a licensed REALTOR® since 1999. He also served as a St. Louis County police officer for 14 years—a […] The post How a Missouri Firm Leaned on BoomTown Data to Grow Their Business appeared first on RISMedia. If there’s one thing Matt Delhougne knows about gaining a competitive edge in the real estate industry, it’s that nothing replaces great data. Delhougne, who currently serves as broker/owner of Chesterfield, Missouri-based Delhougne Realty Group, has been a licensed REALTOR® since 1999. He also served as a St. Louis County police officer for 14 years—a career that overlapped his time in real estate. Taking great pride in assisting first responders, Delhougne notes that the company comes from a heavy police background. Affiliated with RE/MAX for the entirety of his 22 years in real estate, Delhougne has used numerous products and worked with many service providers over the years. One thing he points out is the importance of relying on a suite of products, rather than trying to find just one company to fill all of your needs. “The technology and leads we depend on are Zillow, Google, BoomTown, Slack, Brokermint and several others,” he says. But when it comes to the perfect CRM, Delhougne says he’s all-in on BoomTown. The company’s product is specifically designed to help real estate professionals generate leads, manage contacts and run their business better. “All brokers, agents and teams should be tracking and measuring data,” says Delhougne. “Some basic measuring metrics are leads per month, leads per agent, conversion per lead source, conversion per agent, ROI per lead source, ROI per agent as well as time scale on lead registration to payday.” While these data points barely scratch the surface, at Delhougne Realty Group, they’re measuring a gamut of others. Delhougne’s favorites include business planning and projections in addition to goal setting for the company and its agents. “Data points are about the number of leads per month, quarter and year, which we compare to the previous month, quarter and year,” explains Delhougne. “For example, 15+/- leads per agent per month—if they’re full-time and the leads are coming from a strong source—300+/- closings per transaction coordinator and 35+/- agents per team leader.” Tracking this information since 2015, Delhougne understands the importance that data plays when it comes to the health and longevity of a brokerage. Without these numbers provided by BoomTown, Delhougne notes that it would be impossible to scale and grow as a company. With the help of a great CRM, agents have more time to focus on their own individual brands and clients. As real estate agents have been getting slammed in the current market, one of the best ways to combat this is with great products, such as the one that BoomTown provides, and regular training. “We focus on the ‘now’ and future business daily,” says Delhougne. “We have four team leaders who assist all of our agents with free weekly training that can be implemented now.” Better yet, Delhougne approaches business planning in several different ways, focusing on 30 days, one quarter and one year. He has set plans for each timeframe, including who to hire, how many leads they need, etc. With this strategy—and the assistance of great products like BoomTown—Delhougne has been able to expand his independent brokerage. “Most of us at Delhougne Realty Group come from a service world, not a sales world,” concludes Delhougne. “We don’t use scripts or tactical closing techniques. We’re genuine, we use common sense and we serve daily.” For more information, please visit www.boomtownroi.com. Jameson Doris is RISMedia’s social media/blog editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jdoris@rismedia.com. The post How a Missouri Firm Leaned on BoomTown Data to Grow Their Business appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaDec 1st, 2021

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

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

Category: worldSource: nytNov 27th, 2021