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Five Trump-Russia 'Collusion' Corrections We Need From The Media Now Authored by Aaron Maté via RealClearInvestigations.com, Five years after the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded collection of Trump-Russia conspiracy theories known as the Steele dossier was published by BuzzFeed, news outlets that amplified its false allegations have suffered major losses of credibility. The recent indictment of the dossier's main source, Igor Danchenko, for allegedly lying to the FBI, has catalyzed a new reckoning. In response to what the news site Axios has called "one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history," the Washington Post has re-edited at least a dozen stories related to Steele. For two of those, the Post removed entire sections, changed headlines, and added lengthy editor's notes. Rosalind Helderman: Bylined reporter on two of the Post's most corrected stories. Twitter/@PostRoz Tom Hamburger: Other bylined reporter on two of the Post's most corrected stories. Twitter/@thamburger But the Post's response also exhibits the limits of the media's Steele-induced self-examination. First, the reporters bylined on those two articles, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, and their editors have declined to explain how and why they were so egregiously misled. Nor have they revealed the names of the anonymous sources responsible for deceiving them and the public over months and years. Perhaps more important, the Post, like other publications, has so far limited its Russiagate reckoning to work directly involving Steele – and only after a federal indictment forced its hand. But the Steele dossier has been widely discredited since at least April 2019, when Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller and his team of prosecutors and FBI agents were unable to find evidence in support of any of its claims. The dossier was also only one aspect of the Trump-Russia misinformation fed to the public. Even when not advancing Steele's most lurid allegations, the nation's most prominent news outlets nonetheless furthered his underlying narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy and a Kremlin-compromised White House. Along the way, some journalists won their profession's highest distinction for this flawed coverage. While co-bylining stories that the Post has all but retracted, Helderman and Hamburger also share a now increasingly awkward honor along with more than a dozen other colleagues at the Post and New York Times: a Pulitzer Prize. In 2018, the Pulitzer awards committee honored the two papers for 20 articles it described as "deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage in the public interest that dramatically furthered the nation's understanding of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and its connections to the Trump campaign, the President-elect's transition team and his eventual administration." Above, Washingon Post and New York Times reporters whose 2018 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting on the Trump-Russia affair is tainted by evidence in the public record that significant reporting was erroneous or misleading -- reporting that still has not been corrected by their publications, even though the Post recently made numerous corrections regarding the long-discredited Steele dossier. Journalist identifications are here. (Credit: YouTube/The Pulitzer Prizes) Although neither newspaper has given any indication that it is returning the Pulitzer, the public record has long made clear that many of those stories – most of which had nothing to do with Steele – include falsehoods and distortions requiring significant corrections. Far from showing "deeply sourced, relentlessly reported coverage," the Post's and the Times' reporting has the same problem as the Steele document that these same outlets are now distancing themselves from: a reliance on anonymous, deceptive, and almost certainly partisan sources for claims that proved to be false. Many other prestigious outlets published a barrage of similarly flawed articles. These include the report by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon of McClatchy that the Mueller team obtained evidence that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen had visited Prague in 2016; Jane Mayer's fawning March 2018 profile of Steele in the New Yorker; the report by Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier of BuzzFeed that President Trump instructed Cohen to lie to Congress -- explicitly denied by Mueller at the time; and Luke Harding of The Guardian's bizarre and evidence-free allegation that Julian Assange and Paul Manafort met in London's Ecuadorian embassy. McClatchy and BuzzFeed have added editors' notes to their stories but have not retracted them. In this article, RealClearInvestigations has collected five instances of stories containing false or misleading claims, and thereby due for retraction or correction, that were either among the Post and Times' Pulitzer-winning entries, or other work of reporters who shared that prize. Significantly, this analysis is not based on newly discovered information, but documents and other material long in the public domain. Remarkably, some of the material that should spark corrections has instead been held up by the Post and Times as vindication of their work. RCI sent detailed queries about these stories to the Post, the Times, and the journalists involved. The Post's response has been incorporated into the relevant portion of this article. The Times did not respond to RCI's queries by the time of publication. Falsehood No. 1: Michael Flynn Discussed Sanctions With Russia and Lied About It Flynn faces the press in his only White House Briefing Room remarks as national security adviser. YouTube/C-SPAN Officials say Flynn discussed sanctions By Greg Miller, Adam Entous and Ellen NakashimaWashington Post, February 9, 2017 Less than a month after BuzzFeed published the Steele dossier, the Washington Post significantly advanced the then-growing narrative that the Trump White House was beholden to Russia. A Feb. 9, 2017, Post article claimed that National Security Adviser Michael Flynn "privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia" with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak "during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials." The Post sourced its reporting to nine "current and former officials" who occupied "senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls" between Flynn and Kislyak following the Nov. 8, 2016 election. The Post's sources – who were revealing classified information, presumably from taps on Kislyak's phone – left no room for doubt: "All of those officials said Flynn's references to the election-related sanctions were explicit." They also added their own spin to the meaning of the conversations: Flynn's calls with Kislyak "were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election." Adding some mind-reading to the narrative, a former official told the Post that Kislyak "was left with the impression that the sanctions would be revisited at a later time." The Post and its sources fueled innuendo that Flynn had floated a payback for Russia's alleged 2016 election help and lied to cover it up. Facing a barrage of anonymous officials contradicting him, Flynn walked back an initial denial and told the Post that "while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up." Four days later, he was forced to resign. The following December, Special Counsel Mueller seemingly vindicated the Post's narrative when Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI, including about his discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. Flynn would later backtrack and reverse that guilty plea, sparking a multi-year legal saga. When the transcripts of his calls with Kislyak were finally released in May 2020, they showed that Flynn had grounds to fight: It wasn't Flynn who made a false statement about discussing sanctions with Kislyak; it was all nine of the Post's sources — and, later, the Mueller team — who had misled the public. Sergei Kislyak: Transcripts of Flynn's calls with the Russian Ambassador do not square with the Washington Post's reporting. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File In all of Flynn's multiple conversations with Kislyak in December 2016 and January 2017, the issue of sanctions only gets one fleeting mention – by Kislyak. The Russian ambassador tells Flynn that he is concerned that sanctions will hurt U.S.-Russia cooperation on fighting jihadist insurgents in Syria. The sum total of Flynn's response on the matter: "Yeah, yeah." The pair did have a longer discussion about a separate action Obama had ordered at the time: the expulsion of 35 Russian officials living in the United States. The expulsions, which were carried out by the State Department, were a distinct action from the sanctions, which targeted nine Russian entities and individuals under a presidential executive order. In discussing the expulsions, Flynn never addressed what Trump might do; his only request was that the Kremlin's response be "reciprocal" and "even-keeled" so that "cool heads" can "prevail." "[D]on't go any further than you have to," Flynn told Kislyak. "Because I don't want us to get into something that has to escalate, on a, you know, on a tit for tat." In its rendering of the call, the Mueller team cited these comments from Flynn – but inaccurately claimed that he had made them about sanctions. The Special Counsel's Office appeared to be following the lead of the Post's sources, who had claimed, falsely, that Flynn's references to sanctions were "explicit." Both the Post and the special counsel used Flynn's explicit comments about expulsions to erroneously assert that he had discussed sanctions. Yet the release of the transcripts did not prompt the Post to come clean. Instead, both the Post and the New York Times doubled down on the deception. The Post's May 29, 2020, story about the transcripts' release was headlined "Transcripts of calls between Flynn, Russian diplomat show they discussed sanctions." The Times claimed that same day that "Flynn Discussed Sanctions at Length With Russian Diplomat, Transcripts Show." In reality, the transcripts showed the exact opposite. In response to RCI, the Post acknowledged that the Feb. 9, 2017 story had conflated "sanctions" with "expulsions." "We appropriately used the word 'sanctions' in reference to the punitive measures announced by President Obama, including Treasury penalties on Russian individuals, expulsions of Russian diplomats/spies and the seizure of two Russia-owned properties," Shani George, the Post's Vice President for Communications, wrote. In other articles, however -- including a Dec. 29, 2016 article linked in the Feb. 9 story's second paragraph – the Post made a clear distinction between the two. Asked about dropping the distinction between sanctions and expulsions for the article discussed here, the Post did not respond by the time of publication. Falsehood No. 2: Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence Left to right, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone: Repeated contacts with Russian spies? Doubtful. FNC/AP Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence By Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt ApuzzoNew York Times, February 14, 2017 On Feb. 14, 2017 – just one day after Flynn resigned – the New York Times fanned the flames of the growing Trump-Russia inferno. "Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials," the Times reported. The story, written by three members of the paper's Pulitzer Prize-winning team, Michael S. Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, also suggested that these suspicious "repeated contacts" were the basis for the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's potential conspiracy with Russia: "American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election." The article even threw in a plug for Christopher Steele, who, the Times said, is believed by senior FBI officials to have "a credible track record." The story helped build momentum for the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller, and then quickly unraveled. Four months after the Times' report – and just weeks after Mueller's hiring – FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress about the story, saying that "in the main, it was not true." When the Mueller report was released in April 2019, it contained no evidence of any contacts between Trump associates and Russian intelligence officials, senior or otherwise. And in July 2020, declassified documents showed that Peter Strzok, the top FBI counterintelligence agent who opened the Trump-Russia probe, had privately dismissed the article. The Times reporting, Strzok wrote upon its publication, was "misleading and inaccurate … we are unaware of ANY Trump advisers engaging in conversations with Russian intelligence officials." Comey on Times story: "In the main, it was not true." It's still uncorrected. To date, the Times has appended two minor corrections. The most recent one reads: "An earlier version of a photo caption with this article gave an incorrect middle initial for Paul Manafort. It is J., not D." Rather than address its glaring errors, the Times left the story otherwise intact. When the Strzok notes disputing its claims emerged, the Times responded: "We stand by our reporting." Earlier this year, the Times even claimed vindication. The occasion was an April 15, 2021, press release from the Treasury Department. The Treasury statement alleged that Konstantin Kilimnik, a former aide to Trump's one-time campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is a "known Russian Intelligence Services agent" who "provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy" during the 2016 election. Writing that same day, Times reporters Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt declared that Treasury's evidence-free press release — coupled with an evidence-free Senate Intelligence claim in August 2020 that Kilimnik is a "Russian intelligence officer" — now "confirm" the Times' report from February 2017. The Treasury announcement did not explain how the department, which conducted no official Russiagate investigation, was prompted to lodge an explosive allegation that a multi-year FBI/Mueller investigation found no evidence for. It also does not name the position Kilimnik allegedly held in Russian intelligence – much less say whether he was a senior official. It also failed to address ample countervailing evidence: that Kilimnik had shared this same, publicly available polling data with Americans; that the FBI still does not deem him a Russian intelligence officer, instead claiming that he has unspecified "ties"; that he had long been a valued State Department source; that he traveled to the U.S. on a civilian Russian passport, not the suspicious diplomatic one Mueller alleged without producing it; and that even the Senate Intelligence Committee was "unable to obtain direct evidence of what Kilimnik did with the polling data and whether that data was shared further." Wanted in the U.S., Kilimnik shared his civilian (not diplomatic) passport with RCI. Konstantin Kilimnik via RealClearInvestigations In addition, no U.S. government or congressional investigator ever contacted him for questioning, Kilimnik told RCI in an April 2021 interview when he produced images of the civilian passport. To declare victory, Mazzetti and Schmidt not only relied on one sentence of a press release but distorted the claims of their original story. Even if Kilimnik somehow proved to be a Russian intelligence officer, the Times' 2017 story had reported that the Trump campaign had engaged in "intercepted calls" with multiple "senior Russian intelligence officials" – not just one person, and at a "senior" level. To elide that, Mazzetti and Schmidt abandoned the plural Russian "intelligence officials" to spin the Treasury press release as proof that "there had been numerous interactions between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence during the year before the election." It then returned to the use of the plural to further claim that Treasury's statement is "the strongest evidence to date that Russian spies had penetrated the inner workings of the Trump campaign." RCI sent Mazzetti and Schmidt detailed questions about their February 2017 article and their claim, four years later, that a Senate report and a Treasury press release confirm it. They did not respond. Falsehood No. 3: George Papadopoulos's 'Night of Heavy Drinking' With the Australian Envoy The Times mischaracterized George Papadopoulos's supposed Russiagate-launching barroom chat. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin Unlikely Source Propelled Russian Meddling Inquiry By Sharon LaFraniere, Mark Mazzetti and Matt ApuzzoNew York Times, December 30, 2017 By late 2017, the Russiagate saga was engulfing the Trump presidency. The indictments of several figures connected to Trump fueled a media-driven narrative that Mueller was closing in on a Trump-Russia conspiracy. But a roadblock emerged in late October. After a year of evasions, the Hillary Clinton campaign and its law firm Perkins Coie admitted that they had funded the Steele dossier and that a lawyer for the firm, Marc Elias, had commissioned it. The disclosure was forced by House Republicans, led by Rep. Devin Nunes, who had subpoenaed the bank records of Fusion GPS in a bid to identify its secret funder. (Fusion GPS was the opposition-research firm hired by Perkins Coie that in turn hired Steele.) For those wedded to the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, the admission was problematic: After months of anonymous media claims that Steele's dossier was "credible" and even "bearing out," the heralded document was exposed as a paid partisan hit job from Trump's political opponents. If the FBI was found to have relied on the dossier, the Clinton campaign's key role could discredit the entire investigation. Just before the 2017 year-end deadline for 2018 Pulitzer eligibility, the New York Times produced a new origin story for the probe that would temper these concerns and help the newspaper win the prize. The FBI's decision to open the Trump-Russia probe had nothing to do with Steele, the Times claimed. Instead, the instigator was George Papadopoulos, a low-level campaign volunteer indicted by Mueller two months prior. "During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016," the Times' piece began, Papadopoulos told an Australian diplomat named Alexander Downer that Russia had "political dirt on Hillary Clinton," including "thousands of emails." Papadopoulos, the Times said, had learned of the Russian scheme the previous month from Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese academic who claimed to be in touch with "high-level Russian officials." Mifsud's claim signaled inside knowledge of Russia's alleged hack of the Democratic National Committee, the Times said, because at that point the "information was not yet public." Alexander Downer: The Australian diplomat's account of his conversation with George Papadopoulos conflicts with the Times' reporting. Twitter/@AlexanderDowner When Downer, via the Australian government, relayed this information to the U.S. in July, the FBI decided to open its Trump-Russia probe, codenamed Crossfire Hurricane, the Times reported. "The [DNC] hacking and the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia's attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump's associates conspired," the Times claimed. The article pointedly asserted that the Steele dossier "was not part of the justification to start a counterintelligence inquiry, American officials said." (In a possible contradiction, it also claims, without specifics, "that the investigation was also propelled by intelligence from other friendly governments, including the British.") Several key aspects of the article have been challenged by the principals involved — leaving aside a key question the Times appears never to have asked: Why would the FBI launch a counterintelligence probe of a presidential campaign based on a barroom conversation involving a volunteer? Moreover, the Times or its sources mischaracterized the barroom conversation, according to both of its participants. Speaking to a Sydney-based newspaper a few months later about the fateful London exchange, Downer said Papadopoulos had never mentioned "dirt" or "thousands of emails" — which the FBI would have linked to the DNC hack. Instead, Downer told The Australian, Papadopoulos "mentioned the Russians might use material that they have on Hillary Clinton in the lead-up to the election, which may be damaging." Contrary to the specificity of the Times' rendering, Downer recalled that Papadopoulos "didn't say what it was." He also said Papadopoulos made no mention of Mifsud, a mysterious figure with rumored ties to Western intelligence who vanished after a cursory FBI interview. A declassified FBI document would later confirm Downer's account of a vague conversation. In May 2020, the Justice Department released the July 31, 2016, FBI electronic communication (EC) that officially opened its Russia investigation. The EC states that Downer had told the U.S. government that Papadopoulos had "suggested the Trump team had received some kind of suggestion from Russia that it could assist" the Trump campaign by anonymously releasing damaging information about Clinton and President Obama. The EC made no mention of any "dirt," "thousands of emails," or Mifsud. It also acknowledged that the nature of the "suggestion" was "unclear" and that the possible Russian help could entail "material acquired publicly," as opposed to hacked emails by the thousands. Another declassified document, the December 2017 testimony from Andrew McCabe — the former FBI deputy director who helped launch and oversee the Russia probe — also undermined the Times' premise. Asked why the FBI never sought a surveillance warrant on the Trump volunteer who supposedly sparked the investigation, McCabe replied that "Papadopoulos' comment didn't particularly indicate that he was the person … that was interacting with the Russians." Despite the countervailing claims of Downer, McCabe, and the FBI document that opened the investigation (not to mention the recollections of both Papadopoulos and Downer that they only had one drink, belying the Times claim of "a night of heavy drinking"), the Times has never run a single update or correction. Falsehood No. 4: Russia Launched a Sweeping Interference Campaign That Posed a ‘National Security Threat' Social media posts from Russia's effort to "assault American democracy," as the Times put it. HPSCI Minority Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked By Greg Miller, Greg Jaffe and Philip RuckerWashington Post, December 14, 2017 To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans By Scott ShaneNew York Times, September 8, 2017 As the Pulitzer-winning media outlets relied on anonymous intelligence officials to fuel innuendo about Trump-Russia collusion, they turned to these same sources to imply that a compromised president was unwilling to confront the existential threat of "Russian interference." "Nearly a year into his presidency," a Pulitzer-winning December 2017 Washington Post story declared, "Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House." As a result, Trump has "impaired the government's response to a national security threat." The Post's article was sourced to "more than 50 current and former U.S. officials" including former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who "described the Russian interference as the political equivalent of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks." Another Pulitzer-winning story, written by Scott Shane of the New York Times two months earlier, offered a revealing window into the merits of the Russian interference allegations, and the appropriateness of equating them to attacks like 9/11. "To Sway Vote, Russia Used Army of Fake Americans," the Times' headline blared. Aside from the Pulitzer board, Shane's article also impressed the New York Times' editors, who proclaimed in a follow-up editorial that their colleague's "startling investigation" had revealed "further evidence of what amounted to unprecedented foreign invasion of American democracy." But from the details in Shane's article, it is difficult to see why anonymous U.S. intelligence officials, Pulitzer judges, and Times editors saw the alleged Russian "cyberarmy" as such a seismic danger. Melvin Redick, suspected Russian operator. The proof? Articles "reflecting a pro-Russian worldview," the Times reported. New York Times Shane's piece opened by describing a June 2016 Facebook post by an account user named Melvin Redick, who promoted the website DC Leaks, alleged by the U.S. to be a Russian intelligence cutout. Redick's posts, Shane writes, were "among the first public signs" of Russia's "cyberarmy of counterfeit Facebook and Twitter accounts" that turned the platforms into "engines of deception and propaganda." To Clint Watts, a former FBI agent turned MSNBC commentator, Russia's infiltration of Facebook and Twitter was so dangerous that social media, he said, is now afflicted by a "bot cancer." But these explosive conclusions, Shane's own piece later acknowledged, were undermined by a lack of evidence. The online users who manipulated social media, Shane quietly notes near the bottom, were in fact only "suspected Russian operators" [emphasis added]. Shane's uncertainty extends to Melvin Redick, the alleged Russian bot who begins the story. Redick is one of several identified accounts that "appeared to be Russian creations," Shane concedes. The only proof tying Redick to Russia? "His posts were never personal, just news articles reflecting a pro-Russian worldview." Robert Mueller's final report two years later also tried to raise alarm about what he called a "sweeping and systematic" Russian interference campaign. But as with the Pulitzer-winning outlets before him, the contents of his report failed to support the headline assertion. The Russian troll farm blamed for a sweeping social media campaign to install Trump spent about $46,000 on pre-election posts that were juvenile, barely about the election, and mostly appeared during the primaries. After suggesting that the troll farm was tied to the Kremlin, the Mueller team was forced to walk back that innuendo in court, and later dropped the case altogether. The other main claim regarding Russian interference – that the GRU (Russia's foreign intelligence agency) hacked the DNC's email servers and gave the material to Wikileaks – was quietly undermined by Mueller's qualified language and key evidentiary gaps, as RCI reported in 2019. The Russian hacking claim suffered an additional setback in May 2020, when testimony from the CEO of CrowdStrike — the Clinton-contracted firm that was the first to publicly accuse Russia of infiltrating the DNC — was declassified. Speaking to the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017, CrowdStrike's Shawn Henry disclosed that his company "did not have concrete evidence" that alleged Russian hackers had stolen any data from the servers. Despite its once exhaustive and alarmist interest in the operations of Russia's cyber army, neither the Times nor the Post has ever reported Henry's explosive admission. This includes Pulitzer-winning Post national security reporter Ellen Nakashima, who effectively kicked off the Russiagate saga by breaking the news on CrowdStrike's Russian hacking allegation in June 2016. Other than Henry, Nakashima's main source was Michael Sussmann – the Clinton campaign attorney recently indicted for lying to the FBI. Falsehood No. 5: The Justice Department Pulled Its Punches on Trump Ex-Justice official Rod Rosenstein was blamed for handcuffing Mueller -- a charge much doubted. AP Photo/Evan Vucci Justice Dept. Never Fully Examined Trump's Ties to Russia, Ex-Officials Say By Michael S. SchmidtNew York Times, Aug. 30, 2020 (Updated June 9, 2021) When Mueller ended his investigation in 2019 without charging Trump or any other associate for conspiring with Russia, a collusion-obsessed media formulated more conspiracy theories to explain away this unwelcome ending. First came the belief that Attorney General William Barr had forced Mueller to shut down, misrepresented his final report, and hid the smoking-gun evidence behind redactions. When Mueller failed to support any of these allegations in his July 2019 congressional testimony, a new culprit was needed. One year later, the New York Times found its fall guy: Mueller's overseer, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, had handcuffed the special counsel. "The Justice Department secretly took steps in 2017 to narrow the investigation into Russian election interference and any links to the Trump campaign, according to former law enforcement officials, keeping investigators from completing an examination of President Trump's decades-long personal and business ties to Russia," Michael Schmidt reported on Aug. 30, 2020. Rosenstein, Schmidt said, "curtailed the investigation without telling the bureau, all but ensuring it would go nowhere" and preventing the FBI from "completing an inquiry into whether the president's personal and financial links to Russia posed a national security threat." To buttress his case, Schmidt cited the Democrats' leading collusion advocate, Rep. Adam Schiff, who feared that "that the F.B.I. Counterintelligence Division has not investigated counterintelligence risks arising from President Trump's foreign financial ties." But as Schmidt's article tacitly acknowledged, that outcome did not come from Rosenstein but the Mueller team itself. After Rosenstein appointed Mueller, Schmidt reported, members of the special counsel's team "held early discussions led by the agent Peter Strzok about a counterintelligence investigation of the president." But these "efforts fizzled," Schmidt added, when Strzok "was removed from the inquiry three months later for sending text messages disparaging Mr. Trump." If Rosenstein had indeed "curtailed" a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller's team, why did the special counsel staffers discuss it, and why did it only "fizzle" upon Strzok's exit three months later? Strzok himself disputed the premise of Schmidt's article. "I didn't feel such a limitation," Strzok told the Atlantic. "When I discussed this with Mueller and others, it was agreed that FBI personnel attached to the Special Counsel's Office would do the counterintelligence work, which necessarily included the president." The only problem, Strzok added, was that by "the time I left the team, we hadn't solved this problem of who and how to conduct all of the counterintelligence work." Strzok's "worry," he added, was that the counterintelligence angle "wasn't ever effectively done" – not that it was ever curtailed. Another key Mueller team member, lead prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, also rejected Schmidt's claim. NYT story today is wrong re alleged secret DOJ order prohibiting a counterintelligence investigation by Mueller, “without telling the bureau.” Dozens of FBI agents/analysts were embedded in Special Counsel's Office and we were never told to keep anything from them. 1 of 2 — Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) August 31, 2020 Also erroneous is NYT claim "Rosenstein concluded the F.B.I. lacked sufficient reason to conduct an investigation into the president’s links to a foreign adversary.” See DOJ Special Counsel Appointment Order, para. (b)(i). 2 of 2 — Andrew Weissmann (@AWeissmann_) August 31, 2020 Rosenstein's May 2017 scope memo, which established the parameters of Mueller's investigation, indeed contained no such limitations. It broadly tasked Mueller to examine "any links and/or co-ordination" between the Russian government and anyone associated with the Trump campaign, as well as – even more expansively – "any matters that arose or may arise directly from that investigation." In his July 2019 congressional appearance, Mueller had multiple opportunities to reveal that his probe had been impeded or narrowed. Asked by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) whether "at any time in the investigation, your investigation was curtailed or stopped or hindered," Mueller replied "No." When Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) tried to lead Mueller into agreeing that he "of course … did not obtain the president's tax returns, which could otherwise show foreign financial sources," Mueller did not oblige. "I'm not going to speak to that," Mueller replied. With no curtailing or interference in the probe, perhaps Mueller never turned up any Russia-tied counterintelligence or financial concerns about Trump because there was simply none to find. For a media establishment that had spent years promoting a Trump-Russia collusion narrative and sidelining countervailing facts, that was indeed a tough outcome to fathom. But it's no time for excuses or false claims of vindication: The tepid accounting spurred by the Steele dossier's collapse should be just the start of a far more exhaustive reckoning. Broadly misleading journalism that plunged an American presidency into turmoil demands much more than piecemeal corrections. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 17:40.....»»
The affordability issues in the housing market aren’t going away for younger buyers. The financial challenges hindering millennial homeownership have been well documented between overwhelming student loan debt and record-level home prices. However, some within the cohort are carving their own path to the American dream through teamwork. “Affordability is a key issue for young […] The post Millennials Collaborating to Attain the American Dream of Homeownership appeared first on RISMedia. The affordability issues in the housing market aren’t going away for younger buyers. The financial challenges hindering millennial homeownership have been well documented between overwhelming student loan debt and record-level home prices. However, some within the cohort are carving their own path to the American dream through teamwork. “Affordability is a key issue for young buyers or first-time homebuyers entering into the market with limited housing inventory, so pooling incomes with a roommate becomes a really good solution for many buyers to be able to enter into the housing market,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Recent data from ATTOM Data Solutions, reported by the Wall Street Journal, suggests that the number of home and condo sales across the country by co-buyers has soared since millennials became the largest share of homebuyers in the U.S. in 2014. The number of co-buyers with different last names increased by 771% between 2014 and 2021, according to ATTOM. Like other market trends, the pandemic accelerated the trend, according to Lautz, who also suggests that declining marriage rates among younger generations have also contributed. Despite the generational lull in nuptials, that hasn’t kept buyers, particularly millennials, from pursuing homeownership. Based on NAR’s recently released 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report, for the third consecutive year, the share of unmarried couples that purchased a home accounted for 9% of the buyer pool. According to NAR’s data, the share of first-time buyers who were unmarried couples rose slightly to 17%. Navigating the Trend While co-buying isn’t a novel concept in real estate, experts and agents told RISMedia that it’s a worthwhile trend to keep an eye on, as affordability issues and student loan debt plague millennials—the largest cohort of buyers in the market. Along with working as an agent, Nicholas Ritacco is also a co-buyer. The New York-based Corcoran agent teamed up with his roommate to buy their first home during the pandemic to escape renting. Looking at the numbers, Ritacco says low mortgage rates since 2008—and record lows during the pandemic—presented an opportunity to finally tap into homeownership while living in or near more major metro areas. “The affordability is in our favor, and it is time-sensitive, whether it’s two, three or five years down the line, no one can predict, but I can tell you every point we go up is pricing out somebody,” he says. Compared with traditional buyer scenarios, Lautz suggests that agents work with their co-buying clients to identify long-term intentions for the property they are looking to buy and how they will address any life changes. “If someone gets a job on the other side of the country, are you going to rent the room that the roommate has been living in?” Lautz asks. Discussion over income between the clients is also essential, as Lautz notes that will become an issue when it comes time to divvy up the down payment and closing costs in very similar ways, so they are earning equity in the same way. “Questions like that may get into the nitty-gritty, but I do think it’s important for keeping that relationship and the home-buying transaction on track as well about what is realistic and what may not be realistic.” Having gone through it himself, Ritacco says that he also started working with friends that want to partner up to buy a home. Part of his guidance strategy is helping his clients identify their “exit strategy” before going into a co-buying partnership. This typically involves determining how long they intend to live in the property and how they want to approach selling or renting it out when one or more parties is ready to move. “You have to understand what your options are and what your rights are,” he says, noting that he gets “granular” with his clients when working out the details so that each party is comfortable entering into the deal from the beginning. “It’s really about understanding every step of the process and what is expected of everybody,” Ritacco says. “It’s a joint venture. You’re just changing it from that typical investment-focused agreement to adopting it for a joint venture for a primary.” According to agent Kate Wright at Better Home and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers in Atlanta, Georgia, taking a deep dive into buyer goals and expectations during an opening consultation is a helpful tool to mitigate future issues. “That way, I know what they are looking for and what their goals are, and I can direct them toward the best avenue for pursuing the purchase,” Wright says, adding that her market has been popular among millennial buyers because of its affordability. Wright’s pool of millennial co-buyers have already bought their first home and have joined friends to start investing in other properties. While she admits that her pool of first-time buyers co-buying is negligible in her market, broker Shonna Peterson at the Warmack Group with Keller Willams in Seattle says that the trend is popular with the millennial investment group. Peterson notes that investor buyers’ motivation focuses more on the numbers and turning a profit rather than living in the home primarily. Despite the difference in approaches and desired outcomes, Peterson indicates that managing emotions is essential to navigating millennial investors. “While they have a great grasp on the numbers, there does still tend to be an emotional component just because it’s human nature to get somewhat competitive when you know that the competition is stiff,” Peterson says. Legal Protection While the trend of co-buying opens doors to homeownership, it’s not without its challenges, which is why agents told RISMedia that they encourage their clients in co-buying situations to speak with legal experts. Real estate attorney Edwin Farrow recommends hashing things out in writing before closing on a home when it comes to co-buying partnerships. “What they’ve done is create a partnership, and partnerships can go bad,” Farrow says. “You need to know what happens in the event the partnership is dissolved, keeping in mind the fact that the bank doesn’t care that you’re friends and agreed to whatever you agreed to.” Farrow’s co-buying clientele typically consists of unmarried couples and family members teaming up to buy homes together. He indicates that getting a better understanding of the risks and benefits of teaming up to buy a property together is vital for any buyers looking to take this route toward homeownership. Eric Smith, a real estate attorney with Timoney Knox in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, echoed similar sentiments, adding that the biggest problem that he notices among co-buyers is that many tend to bypass getting a written agreement before closing on their home. If the partnership doesn’t end amicably, Smith says a written agreement could save buyers “tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees” if their friendship or relationship dissolves and they end up selling the property. “In the end, it will be costly to prove that the person who paid the down money is entitled to get it all back or any of it back,” he says. By default, Smith says tenants in common (TIC) is the route that clients take. The option gives each property owner an “undivided interest of the whole thing in equal shares.” “It essentially means that each owns a slice of the pie,” Smith says, adding that shares can be passed on to an heir in the event of a death. A joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is another route, Smith explains, noting that each partner owns the whole property together, and the last of them to die would keep everything. “You could also imagine a circumstance where you might have a number of people who buy a piece of property as legitimate business partners,” Smith says. He thinks the best option is to buy with an entity—like a limited liability company—so parties can have an operating agreement for the property. “It just makes it easier to manage,” Smith opines. Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to email@example.com. The post Millennials Collaborating to Attain the American Dream of Homeownership appeared first on RISMedia......»»
Babies with syphilis may have deformed bones, damaged brains, and struggle to hear, see, or breathe. A newborn baby rests at the Ana Betancourt de Mora Hospital in Camaguey, Cuba, on June 19, 2015. Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters The number of US babies born with syphilis quadrupled from 2015 to 2019. Babies with syphilis may have deformed bones, damaged brains, and struggle to hear, see, or breathe. Routine testing and penicillin shots for pregnant women could prevent these cases. This story was originally published by ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom, in collaboration with NPR News. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.When Mai Yang is looking for a patient, she travels light. She dresses deliberately - not too formal, so she won't be mistaken for a police officer; not too casual, so people will look past her tiny 4-foot-10 stature and youthful face and trust her with sensitive health information. Always, she wears closed-toed shoes, "just in case I need to run."Yang carries a stack of cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that show what happens when the Treponema pallidum bacteria invades a patient's body. There's a photo of an angry red sore on a penis. There's one of a tongue, marred by mucus-lined lesions. And there's one of a newborn baby, its belly, torso and thighs dotted in a rash, its mouth open, as if caught midcry.It was because of the prospect of one such baby that Yang found herself walking through a homeless encampment on a blazing July day in Huron, California, an hour's drive southwest of her office at the Fresno County Department of Public Health. She was looking for a pregnant woman named Angelica, whose visit to a community clinic had triggered a report to the health department's sexually transmitted disease program. Angelica had tested positive for syphilis. If she was not treated, her baby could end up like the one in the picture or worse - there was a 40% chance the baby would die.Yang knew, though, that if she helped Angelica get treated with three weekly shots of penicillin at least 30 days before she gave birth, it was likely that the infection would be wiped out and her baby would be born without any symptoms at all. Every case of congenital syphilis, when a baby is born with the disease, is avoidable. Each is considered a "sentinel event," a warning that the public health system is failing.The alarms are now clamoring. In the United States, more than 129,800 syphilis cases were recorded in 2019, double the case count of five years prior. In the same time period, cases of congenital syphilis quadrupled: 1,870 babies were born with the disease; 128 died. Case counts from 2020 are still being finalized, but the CDC has said that reported cases of congenital syphilis have already exceeded the prior year. Black, Hispanic, and Native American babies are disproportionately at risk.There was a time, not too long ago, when CDC officials thought they could eliminate the centuries-old scourge from the United States, for adults and babies. But the effort lost steam and cases soon crept up again. Syphilis is not an outlier. The United States goes through what former CDC director Tom Frieden calls "a deadly cycle of panic and neglect" in which emergencies propel officials to scramble and throw money at a problem - whether that's Ebola, Zika, or COVID-19. Then, as fear ebbs, so does the attention and motivation to finish the task.The last fraction of cases can be the hardest to solve, whether that's eradicating a bug or getting vaccines into arms, yet too often, that's exactly when political attention gets diverted to the next alarm. The result: The hardest to reach and most vulnerable populations are the ones left suffering, after everyone else looks away.Yang first received Angelica's lab report on June 17. The address listed was a P.O. box, and the phone number belonged to her sister, who said Angelica was living in Huron. That was a piece of luck: Huron is tiny; the city spans just 1.6 square miles. On her first visit, a worker at the Alamo Motel said she knew Angelica and directed Yang to a nearby homeless encampment. Angelica wasn't there, so Yang returned a second time, bringing one of the health department nurses who could serve as an interpreter.They made their way to the barren patch of land behind Huron Valley Foods, the local grocery store, where people took shelter in makeshift lean-tos composed of cardboard boxes, scrap wood, and scavenged furniture, draped with sheets that served as ceilings and curtains. Yang stopped outside one of the structures, calling a greeting."Hi, I'm from the health department, I'm looking for Angelica."The nurse echoed her in Spanish.Angelica emerged, squinting in the sunlight. Yang couldn't tell if she was visibly pregnant yet, as her body was obscured by an oversized shirt. The two women were about the same age: Yang 26 and Angelica 27. Yang led her away from the tent, so they could speak privately. Angelica seemed reticent, surprised by the sudden appearance of the two health officers. "You're not in trouble," Yang said, before revealing the results of her blood test.Angelica had never heard of syphilis."Have you been to prenatal care?"Angelica shook her head. The local clinic had referred her to an obstetrician in Hanford, a 30-minute drive away. She had no car. She also mentioned that she didn't intend to raise her baby; her two oldest children lived with her mother, and this one likely would, too.Yang pulled out the CDC cards, showing them to Angelica and asking if she had experienced any of the symptoms illustrated. No, Angelica said, her lips pursed with disgust."Right now you still feel healthy, but this bacteria is still in your body," Yang pressed. "You need to get the infection treated to prevent further health complications to yourself and your baby."The community clinic was just across the street. "Can we walk you over to the clinic and make sure you get seen so we can get this taken care of?"Angelica demurred. She said she hadn't showered for a week and wanted to wash up first. She said she'd go later.Yang tried once more to extract a promise: "What time do you think you'll go?""Today, for sure."The CDC tried and failed to eradicate syphilis - twiceSyphilis is called The Great Imitator: It can look like any number of diseases. In its first stage, the only evidence of infection is a painless sore at the bacteria's point of entry. Weeks later, as the bacteria multiplies, skin rashes bloom on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet. Other traits of this stage include fever, headaches, muscle aches, sore throat, and fatigue. These symptoms eventually disappear and the patient progresses into the latent phase, which betrays no external signs. But if left untreated, after a decade or more, syphilis will reemerge in up to 30% of patients, capable of wreaking horror on a wide range of organ systems. Marion Sims, president of the American Medical Association in 1876, called it a "terrible scourge, which begins with lamb-like mildness and ends with lion-like rage that ruthlessly destroys everything in its way."The corkscrew-shaped bacteria can infiltrate the nervous system at any stage of the infection. Yang is haunted by her memory of interviewing a young man whose dementia was so severe that he didn't know why he was in the hospital or how old he was. And regardless of symptoms or stage, the bacteria can penetrate the placenta to infect a fetus. Even in these cases the infection is unpredictable: Many babies are born with normal physical features, but others can have deformed bones or damaged brains, and they can struggle to hear, see, or breathe.From its earliest days, syphilis has been shrouded in stigma. The first recorded outbreak was in the late 15th century, when Charles VIII led the French army to invade Naples. Italian physicians described French soldiers covered with pustules, dying from a sexually transmitted disease. As the affliction spread, Italians called it the French Disease. The French blamed the Neopolitans. It was also called the German, Polish, or Spanish disease, depending on which neighbor one wanted to blame. Even its name bears the taint of divine judgement: It comes from a 16th-century poem that tells of a shepherd, Syphilus, who offended the god Apollo and was punished with a hideous disease.By 1937 in America, when former Surgeon General Thomas Parran wrote the book "Shadow on the Land," he estimated some 680,000 people were under treatment for syphilis; about 60,000 babies were being born annually with congenital syphilis. There was no cure, and the stigma was so strong that public-health officials feared even properly documenting cases.Thanks to Parran's ardent advocacy, Congress in 1938 passed the National Venereal Disease Control Act, which created grants for states to set up clinics and support testing and treatment. Other than a short-lived funding effort during World War I, this was the first coordinated federal push to respond to the disease.Around the same time, the Public Health Service launched an effort to record the natural history of syphilis. Situated in Tuskegee, Alabama, the infamous study recruited 600 black men. By the early 1940s, penicillin became widely available and was found to be a reliable cure, but the treatment was withheld from the study participants. Outrage over the ethical violations would cast a stain across syphilis research for decades to come and fuel generations of mistrust in the medical system among Black Americans that continues to this day. People attend a ceremony near Tuskegee, Alabama, on April 3, 2017, to commemorate the roughly 600 men who were subjects in the Tuskegee syphilis study. Jay Reeves/AP Photo With the introduction of penicillin, cases began to plummet. Twice, the CDC has announced efforts to wipe out the disease - once in the 1960s and again in 1999.In the latest effort, the CDC announced that the United States had "a unique opportunity to eliminate syphilis within its borders," thanks to historically low rates, with 80% of counties reporting zero cases. The concentration of cases in the South "identifies communities in which there is a fundamental failure of public health capacity," the agency noted, adding that elimination - which it defined as fewer than 1,000 cases a year - would "decrease one of our most glaring racial disparities in health."Two years after the campaign began, cases started climbing, first among gay men and, later, heterosexuals. Cases in women started accelerating in 2013, followed shortly by increasing numbers of babies born with syphilis. The reasons for failure are complex: People relaxed safer sex practices after the advent of potent HIV combination therapies, increased methamphetamine use drove riskier behavior, and an explosion of online dating made it hard to track and test sexual partners, according to Ina Park, medical director of the California Prevention Training Center at the University of California San Francisco.But federal and state public-health efforts were hamstrung from the get-go. In 1999, the CDC said it would need about $35 million to $39 million in new federal funds annually for at least five years to eliminate syphilis. The agency got less than half of what it asked for, according to Jo Valentine, former program coordinator of the CDC's Syphilis Elimination Effort. As cases rose, the CDC modified its goals in 2006 from 0.4 primary and secondary syphilis cases per 100,000 in population to 2.2 cases per 100,000. By 2013, as elimination seemed less and less viable, the CDC changed its focus to ending congenital syphilis only.Since then, funding has remained anemic. From 2015 to 2020, the CDC's budget for preventing sexually transmitted infections grew by 2.2%. Taking inflation into account, that's a 7.4% reduction in purchasing power. In the same period, cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia - the three STDs that have federally funded control programs - increased by nearly 30%."We have a long history of nearly eradicating something, then changing our attention, and seeing a resurgence in numbers," David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said. "We have more congenital syphilis cases today in America than we ever had pediatric AIDS at the height of the AIDS epidemic. It's heartbreaking."Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, warns that the US should not be surprised to see case counts continue to climb."The bugs don't go away," she said. "They're just waiting for the next opportunity, when you're not paying attention."Syphilis has fewer poster children than HIV or cancerYang waited until the end of the day, then called the clinic to see if Angelica had gone for her shot. She had not. Yang would have to block off another half day to visit Huron again, but she had three dozen other cases to deal with.States in the South and West have seen the highest syphilis rates in recent years. In 2017, 64 babies in Fresno County were born with syphilis at a rate of 440 babies per 100,000 live births - about 19 times the national rate. While the county had managed to lower case counts in the two years that followed, the pandemic threatened to unravel that progress, forcing STD staffers to do COVID-19 contact tracing, pausing field visits to find infected people, and scaring patients from seeking care. Yang's colleague handled three cases of stillbirth in 2020; in each, the woman was never diagnosed with syphilis because she feared catching the coronavirus and skipped prenatal care.Yang, whose caseload peaked at 70 during a COVID-19 surge, knew she would not be able handle them all as thoroughly as she'd like to."When I was being mentored by another investigator, he said: 'You're not a superhero. You can't save everybody,'" she said.She prioritizes men who have sex with men, because there's a higher prevalence of syphilis in that population, and pregnant people, because of the horrific consequences for babies.The job of a disease intervention specialist isn't for everyone: It means meeting patients whenever and wherever they are available - in the mop closet of a bus station, in a quiet parking lot - to inform them about the disease, to extract names of sex partners, and to encourage treatment. Patients are often reluctant to talk. They can get belligerent, upset that "the government" has their personal information, or shattered at the thought that a partner is likely cheating on them. Salaries typically start in the low $40,000s.Jena Adams, Yang's supervisor, has eight investigators working on HIV and syphilis. In the middle of 2020, she lost two and replaced them only recently."It's been exhausting," Adams said.She has only one specialist who is trained to take blood samples in the field, crucial for guaranteeing that the partners of those who test positive for syphilis also get tested. Adams wants to get phlebotomy training for the rest of her staff, but it's $2,000 per person. The department also doesn't have anyone who can administer penicillin injections in the field; that would have been key when Yang met Angelica. For a while, a nurse who worked in the tuberculosis program would ride along to give penicillin shots on a volunteer basis. Then he, too, left the health department.Much of the resources in public health trickle down from the CDC, which distributes money to states, which then parcel it out to counties. The CDC gets its budget from Congress, which tells the agency, by line item, exactly how much money it can spend to fight a disease or virus, in an uncommonly specific manner not seen in many other agencies. The decisions are often politically driven and can be detached from actual health needs.When the House and Senate appropriations committees meet to decide how much the CDC will get for each line item, they are barraged by lobbyists for individual disease interests. Stephanie Arnold Pang, senior director of policy and government relations at the National Coalition of STD Directors, can pick out the groups by sight: breast cancer wears pink, Alzheimer's goes in purple, multiple sclerosis comes in orange, HIV in red. STD prevention advocates, like herself, don a green ribbon, but they're far outnumbered.And unlike diseases that might already be familiar to lawmakers, or have patient and family spokespeople who can tell their own powerful stories, syphilis doesn't have many willing poster children. Breast Cancer survivors hold up a check for the amount raised at The Congressional Womens Softball Game at Watkins Recreation Center in Capitol Hill on June 20, 2018. Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call "Congressmen don't wake up one day and say, 'Oh hey, there's congenital syphilis in my jurisdiction.' You have to raise awareness," Arnold Pang said. It can be hard jockeying for a meeting. "Some offices might say, 'I don't have time for you because we've just seen HIV.' ... Sometimes, it feels like you're talking into a void."The consequences of the political nature of public-health funding have become more obvious during the coronavirus pandemic. The 2014 Ebola epidemic was seen as a "global wakeup call" that the world wasn't prepared for a major pandemic, yet in 2018, the CDC scaled back its epidemic prevention work as money ran out."If you've got to choose between Alzheimer's research and stopping an outbreak that may not happen? Stopping an outbreak that might not happen doesn't do well," Frieden, the former CDC director, said. "The CDC needs to have more money and more flexible money. Otherwise, we're going to be in this situation long term."In May 2021, President Joe Biden's administration announced it would set aside $7.4 billion over the next five years to hire and train public health workers, including $1.1 billion for more disease intervention specialists like Yang. Public health officials are thrilled to have the chance to expand their workforce, but some worry the time horizon may be too short."We've seen this movie before, right?" Frieden said. "Everyone gets concerned when there's an outbreak, and when that outbreak stops, the headlines stop, and an economic downturn happens, the budget gets cut."Fresno's STD clinic was shuttered in 2010 amid the Great Recession. Many others have vanished since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.Health leaders thought "by magically beefing up the primary care system, that we would do a better job of catching STIs and treating them," Harvey, the executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said.That hasn't worked out; people want access to anonymous services, and primary care doctors often don't have STDs top of mind. The coalition is lobbying Congress for funding to support STD clinical services, proposing a three-year demonstration project funded at $600 million.It's one of Adams' dreams to see Fresno's STD clinic restored as it was."You could come in for an HIV test and get other STDs checked," she said. "And if a patient is positive, you can give a first injection on the spot."'I've seen people's families ripped apart and I've seen beautiful babies die'On August 12, Yang set out for Huron again, speeding past groves of almond trees and fields of grapes in the department's white Chevy Cruze. She brought along a colleague, Jorge Sevilla, who had recently transferred to the STD program from COVID-19 contact tracing. Yang was anxious to find Angelica again."She's probably in her second trimester now," she said.They found her outside of a pale yellow house a few blocks from the homeless encampment; the owner was letting her stay in a shed tucked in the corner of the dirt yard. This time, it was evident that she was pregnant. Yang noted that Angelica was wearing a wig; hair loss is a symptom of syphilis."Do you remember me?" Yang asked.Angelica nodded. She didn't seem surprised to see Yang again. (I came along, and Sevilla explained who I was and that I was writing about syphilis and the people affected by it. Angelica signed a release for me to report about her case, and she said she had no problem with me writing about her or even using her full name. ProPublica chose to only print her first name.)"How are you doing? How's the baby?""Bien.""So the last time we talked, we were going to have you go to United Healthcare Center to get treatment. Have you gone since?"Angelica shook her head."We brought some gift cards..." Sevilla started in Spanish. The department uses them as incentives for completing injections. But Angelica was already shaking her head. The nearest Walmart was the next town over.Yang turned to her partner. "Tell her: So the reason why we're coming out here again is because we really need her to go in for treatment. [...] We really are concerned for the baby's health especially since she's had the infection for quite a while."Angelica listened while Sevilla interpreted, her eyes on the ground. Then she looked up. "Orita?" she asked. Right now?"I'll walk with you," Yang offered. Angelica shook her head."She said she wants to shower first before she goes over there," Sevilla said.Yang made a face. "She said that to me last time." Yang offered to wait, but Angelica didn't want the health officers to linger by the house. She said she would meet them by the clinic in 15 minutes.Yang was reluctant to let her go but again had no other option. She and Sevilla drove to the clinic, then stood on the corner of the parking lot, staring down the road.Talk to the pediatricians, obstetricians, and families on the front lines of the congenital syphilis surge and it becomes clear why Yang and others are trying so desperately to prevent cases. J.B. Cantey, associate professor in pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio, remembers a baby girl born at 25 weeks gestation who weighed a pound and a half. Syphilis had spread through her bones and lungs. She spent five months in the neonatal intensive care unit, breathing through a ventilator, and was still eating through a tube when she was discharged.Then, there are the miscarriages, the stillbirths, and the inconsolable parents. Irene Stafford, an associate professor and maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UT Health in Houston, cannot forget a patient who came in at 36 weeks for a routine checkup, pregnant with her first child. Stafford realized that there was no heartbeat."She could see on my face that something was really wrong," Stafford recalled. She had to let the patient know that syphilis had killed her baby."She was hysterical, just bawling," Stafford said. "I've seen people's families ripped apart and I've seen beautiful babies die." Fewer than 10% of patients who experience a stillbirth are tested for syphilis, suggesting that cases are underdiagnosed.A Texas grandmother named Solidad Odunuga offers a glimpse into what the future could hold for Angelica's mother, who may wind up raising her baby.In February of last year, Odunuga got a call from the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston. A nurse told her that her daughter was about to give birth and that child protective services had been called. Odunuga had lost contact with her daughter, who struggled with homelessness and substance abuse. She arrived in time to see her grandson delivered, premature at 30 weeks old, weighing 2.7 pounds. He tested positive for syphilis.When a child protective worker asked Odunuga to take custody of the infant, she felt a wave of dread."I was in denial," she recalled. "I did not plan to be a mom again." The baby's medical problems were daunting: "Global developmental delays [...] concerns for visual impairments [...] high risk of cerebral palsy," read a note from the doctor at the time.Still, Odunuga visited her grandson every day for three months, driving to the NICU from her job at the University of Houston. "I'd put him in my shirt to keep him warm and hold him there." She fell in love. She named him Emmanuel.Once Emmanuel was discharged, Odunuga realized she had no choice but to quit her job. While Medicaid covered the costs of Emmanuel's treatment, it was on her to care for him. From infancy, Emmanuel's life has been a whirlwind of constant therapy. Today, at 20 months old, Odunuga brings him to physical, occupational, speech, and developmental therapy, each a different appointment on a different day of the week.Emmanuel has thrived beyond what his doctors predicted, toddling so fast that Odunuga can't look away for a minute and beaming as he waves his favorite toy phone. Yet he still suffers from gagging issues, which means Odunuga can't feed him any solid foods. Liquid gets into his lungs when he aspirates; it has led to pneumonia three times. Emmanuel has a special stroller that helps keep his head in a position that won't aggravate his persistent reflux, but Odunuga said she still has to pull over on the side of the road sometimes when she hears him projectile vomiting from the backseat.The days are endless. Once she puts Emmanuel to bed, Odunuga starts planning the next day's appointments."I've had to cry alone, scream out alone," she said. "Sometimes I wake up and think, 'Is this real?' And then I hear him in the next room."There's no vaccine for syphilis A health worker tests a migrant from Haiti for HIV and syphilis to in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, on September 25, 2021. Daniel Becerril/Reuters Putting aside the challenge of eliminating syphilis entirely, everyone agrees it's both doable and necessary to prevent newborn cases."There was a crisis in perinatal HIV almost 30 years ago and people stood up and said this is not OK - it's not acceptable for babies to be born in that condition. [...We] brought it down from 1,700 babies born each year with perinatal HIV to less than 40 per year today," Virginia Bowen, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said. "Now here we are with a slightly different condition. We can also stand up and say, 'This is not acceptable.'" Belarus, Bermuda, Cuba, Malaysia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are among countries recognized by the World Health Organization for eliminating congenital syphilis.Success starts with filling gaps across the health care system.For almost a century, public health experts have advocated for testing pregnant patients more than once for syphilis in order to catch the infection. But policies nationwide still don't reflect this best practice. Six states have no prenatal screening requirement at all. Even in states that require three tests, public-health officials say that many physicians aren't aware of the requirements. Stafford, the maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Houston, says she's tired of hearing her own peers in medicine tell her, "Oh, syphilis is a problem?"It costs public health departments less than 25 cents a dose to buy penicillin, but for a private practice, it's more than $1,000, according to Park of the University of California San Francisco."There's no incentive for a private physician to stock a dose that could expire before it's used, so they often don't have it," she said. "So a woman comes in, they say, 'We'll send you to the emergency department or health department to get it,' then [the patients] don't show up."A vaccine would be invaluable for preventing spread among people at high risk for reinfection. But there is none. Scientists only recently figured out how to grow the bacteria in the lab, prompting grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund research into a vaccine. Justin Radolf, a researcher at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, said he hopes his team will have a vaccine candidate by the end of its five-year grant. But it'll likely take years more to find a manufacturer and run human trials.Public-health agencies also need to recognize that many of the hurdles to getting pregnant people treated involve access to care, economic stability, safe housing, and transportation. In Fresno, Adams has been working on ways her department can collaborate with mental health services. Recently, one of her disease intervention specialists managed to get a pregnant woman treated with penicillin shots and, at the patient's request, connected her with an addiction treatment center.Gaining a patient's cooperation means seeing them as complex humans instead of just a case to solve."There may be past traumas with the healthcare system," Cynthia Deverson, project manager of the Houston Fetal Infant Morbidity Review, said. "There's the fear of being discovered if she's doing something illegal to survive. [...] She may need to be in a certain place at a certain time so she can get something to eat, or maybe it's the only time of the day that's safe for her to sleep. They're not going to tell you that. Yes, they understand there's a problem, but it's not an immediate threat, maybe they don't feel bad yet, so obviously this is not urgent.""What helps to gain trust is consistency," she added. "Literally, it's seeing that [disease specialist] constantly, daily. [...] The woman can see that you're not going to harm her, you're saying, 'I'm here at this time if you need me.'"Yang stood outside the clinic, waiting for Angelica to show up, baking in the 90-degree heat. Her feelings ranged from irritation - Why didn't she just go? I'd have more energy for other cases - to an appreciation for the parts of Angelica's story that she didn't know - She's in survival mode. I need to be more patient.Fifteen minutes ticked by, then 20."OK," Yang announced. "We're going back."She asked Sevilla if he would be OK if they drove Angelica to the clinic; they technically weren't supposed to because of coronavirus precautions, but Yang wasn't sure she could convince Angelica to walk. Sevilla gave her the thumbs up.When they pulled up, they saw Angelica sitting in the backyard, chatting with a friend. She now wore a fresh T-shirt and had shoes on her feet. Angelica sat silently in the back seat as Yang drove to the clinic. A few minutes later, they pulled up to the parking lot.Finally, Yang thought. We got her here.The clinic was packed with people waiting for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. A worker there had previously told Yang that a walk-in would be fine, but a receptionist now said they were too busy to treat Angelica. She would have to return.Yang felt a surge of frustration, sensing that her hard-fought opportunity was slipping away. She tried to talk to the nurse supervisor, but he wasn't available. She tried to leave the gift cards at the office to reward Angelica if she came, but the receptionist said she couldn't hold them. While Yang negotiated, Sevilla sat with Angelica in the car, waiting.Finally, Yang accepted this was yet another thing she couldn't control.She drove Angelica back to the yellow house. As they arrived, she tried once more to impress on her just how important it was to get treated, asking Sevilla to interpret. "We don't want it to get any more serious, because she can go blind, she could go deaf, she could lose her baby."Angelica already had the door halfway open."So on a scale from one to 10, how important is this to get treated?" Yang asked."Ten," Angelica said. Yang reminded her of the appointment that afternoon. Then Angelica stepped out and returned to the dusty yard.Yang lingered for a moment, watching Angelica go. Then she turned the car back onto the highway and set off toward Fresno, knowing, already, that she'd be back.Postscript: A reporter visited Huron twice more in the months that followed, including once independently to try to interview Angelica, but she wasn't in town. Yang has visited Huron twice more as well - six times in total thus far. In October, a couple of men at the yellow house said Angelica was still in town, still pregnant. Yang and Sevilla spent an hour driving around, talking to residents, hoping to catch Angelica. But she was nowhere to be found.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Dow Gains Over 200 Points to Begin May Recovery stocks had a strong start to the new month (and week) on Monday, sending the Dow higher by more than 200 points as investors remain encouraged by a solid earnings season and a rapid pace of vaccinations. They’re also feeling pretty good about Friday’s all-important jobs report. The Dow enjoyed the best performance of the day by advancing 0.70% (or nearly 240 points) to 34,113.23. The S&P rose 0.27% to 4192.66, but the NASDAQ slipped 0.48% (or about 67 points) to 13,895.12. Stocks are coming off a very impressive April that saw the S&P and NASDAQ each advance by more than 5%. The Dow was up 2.7%. We enjoyed strong earnings, solid economic data and a Fed that constantly reiterated its super dovishness throughout the month. We’re also returning from a week dominated by Big Tech earnings reports, especially Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN). These tech giants all beat on both the top and bottom lines in their quarterly reports. And yet, the market was still disappointed with the results, which is what happens when you’re looking for perfection. The FAANGs + MSFT were down again on Monday, except for AAPL. The iPhone maker managed to gain 0.82%. Speaking of earnings season, we’re still in the thick of it! Those tech names may take up most of the oxygen in the room, but there are still over 1,000 names going to the plate this week. Some of tomorrow’s big reports come from Pfizer (PFE), CVS (CVS), ConocoPhillips (COP) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI). But the biggest story of the week will likely be Friday’s Government Employment Situation. As you no doubt remember, last month’s report (which was released on Good Friday when the market was closed) was nothing short of epic. The economy added over 900K jobs, which was 250K better than expectations and doubled the previous month. And the market is expecting nearly 1 million more in this report as well! Today's Portfolio Highlights: Technology Innovators: After selling three names last Friday (including cashing in a more than 50% winner), Brian thought it was time to “fill in some of the holes”. On Monday, he added Smart Global (SGH), a designer, manufacturer and supplier of electronic subsystems to OEMs. The company has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the past four quarters with an average surprise of 7.1%. Rising earnings estimates have made SGH a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while the editor “loves” the valuation here with solid growth being presented as well. Shares of SGH were as high as $55 not too long ago, so it has a lot of ground to recover. Read the full write up for more specifics on this new addition. Counterstrike: The casinos will be among the biggest beneficiaries of the economy’s grand re-opening, which was clearly on display in the quarterly report from Boyd Gaming (BYD). This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) operates a multi-jurisdictional gaming company with properties in as many as 10 states, including Nevada, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The company beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 111% in its recent report, but still slipped about $10 afterwards like so many other strong performances this earnings season. But that's all right since it opens a fantastic opportunity for Jeremy. He added BYD on Monday with a 6% allocation, while also selling eBay (EBAY) for a 9.4% return in two months and Rocket Companies (RKT) for a loss. Surprise Trader: The past two quarters saw Gildan Activewear (GIL) beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by triple digits! And now it has an Earnings ESP of 7.69% for the quarter coming after the bell on Wednesday. There’s no way of telling if GIL is set for another outsized surprise, but it does seem poised for a third straight beat. Dave added this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) on Monday with a 12.5% allocation, while also selling Potlatch (PCH) for a slight 0.6% increase in less than two weeks. Read the complete commentary for more on today’s action. Blockchain Innovators: The dry bulk shipping stocks had a strong session on Monday, which helped Danaos (DAC) become the best-performing stock on the day among all ZU names. Shares jumped 13.5% today and it’s now up approximately 130% in the service since being added in early January. DAC is a leading international owner of containerships and chartering vessels to many of the world’s largest liner companies. The company reports again in two weeks and will be going for a 15th straight positive surprise. Black Box Trader: Half of the portfolio was replaced in this week's adjustment, which included a double-digit winner and a couple other positive returns. The stocks that were sold on Monday included: • Deutsche Bank (DB, +13.3%) • Toll Brothers (TOL, +5.7%) • ConocoPhillips (COP, +1.8%) • CNH Industrial (CNHI) • US Steel (X) The new buys that filled these open spots were: • Dow (DOW) • Graphic Packaging (GPK) • KBR (KBR) • Nucor (NUE) • Olin Corp. (OLN) Read the Black Box Trader’s Guide to learn more about this computer-driven service. Headline Trader: "In the past 9 years, the S&P 500 has illustrated an average return of 5.3% over this once quiet summer period (May through October). These six months of summer might have been a market vacation in the past, but this new market doesn't take any holidays, and selling in May is no longer a rewarding strategy. "That being said, I believe that an enormous amount of optimism has been priced into the markets, but as an investor, there is really no other place to put your money to work today. From real estate to commodities to cryptocurrencies, every other asset class is sitting at very expensive levels. Investors don't want to be holding fixed-income assets in an environment where interest rates are poised to keep rising. Obviously, cash is not attractive to be holding, with inflation already showing signs of soaring. "The stock market remains the most attractive place to put your money to work, despite its seemingly frothy levels." -- Dan Laboe Until Tomorrow, Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >> Zacks Investment Research.....»»
Donald Trump blasts the "vicious" Jan. 6 committee and NY AG for targeting his children Ivanka and Donald Jr.
The Jan. 6 committee asked Ivanka to testify, and the NY AG issued subpoenas for Ivanka and Donald Jr. over the Trump Organization's financial dealings. Donald Trump along with his children Eric(L) Ivanka and Donald Jr. arrive for a press conference January 11, 2017 at Trump Tower in New York.Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images Donald Trump said it was "very unfair" that the Jan. 6 committee and NY AG are targeting his adult children. The Jan. 6 committee asked Ivanka to testify, and the NY AG has issued subpoenas for Ivanka and Donald Jr. Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric have been closely intertwined with their father's businesses and presidency. Former President Donald Trump complained that the "vicious" January 6 committee and New York Attorney General are targeting his adult children as part of their investigations."It's a very unfair situation for my children. Very, very unfair," Trump told The Washington Examiner in an interview published Friday."It's a disgrace what's going on. They're using these things to try and get people's minds off how incompetently our country is being run. And they don't care. They'll go after children."Trump's eldest three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric, have long been closely intertwined with their father's businesses and political career.The House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot on Thursday asked Ivanka Trump for her voluntary cooperation with its probe.Ivanka Trump was a senior advisor to her father during his presidency and was present at the White House as the insurrection unfolded, committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said in a letter."They are using whatever powers they have. They couldn't care less. They are vicious people," Trump said of the January 6 committee to The Washington Examiner."You know Ivanka very well, and you know the quality of her," he told the outlet. "For them to have to go through all this stuff is a disgrace."Donald Trump faced accusations of nepotism throughout his presidency after installing his eldest daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, into key roles, despite having no previous qualifying experience. Separately, New York Attorney General Letitia James's office has been conducting a probe into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.James said the investigation has uncovered "significant evidence" indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent and misleading asset valuations on multiple properties.Last week, she took legal action to enforce the subpoenas issued to Donald Trump and his children Donald Jr. and Ivanka. James wrote on Twitter that Trump's eldest two children had been "closely involved in the transactions in question."Donald Trump Jr. is currently an executive vice president of the Trump Organization, and Ivanka Trump has held senior roles, including overseeing developments and acquisitions.Eric Trump has already sat for depositions with the attorney general's office, during which he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights more than 500 times, court filings showed.Donald Trump told The Washington Examiner that he believed James was probing his businesses because she campaigned on a promise of "I'll get Trump." Speaking about the Trump family, James has said "no one is above the law" and has pledged to continue the investigation to "uncover the facts, and pursue justice."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
San Francisco Officials Secretly And Illegally Operating An Illicit Drug Use Site Authored by Michael Shellenberger and Leighton Woodhouse via substack (emphasis ours), San Francisco Mayor London Breed generated national news media coverage last December when she announced a sweeping crackdown on open air drug use and drug dealing in the downtown Tenderloin neighborhood. Shortly after, she announced a “linkage center” aimed at connecting homeless street addicts with drug rehab facilities. Breed’s announcement came in the midst of a local, state, and national debate over whether the city should open a “supervised drug consumption” site as a tactic for reducing drug overdose deaths. When San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a “linkage center” to connect homeless drug addicts to treatment, she never mentioned it would include a supervised drug consumption site. In fact, the illicit drug consumption site has been up and running since Tuesday inside the linkage center, which is located at 1172 Market Street. The linkage center is located in the United Nations Plaza, the city’s largest open air drug market. The supervised drug consumption area is an outdoor fenced section of the linkage center. The supervised drug use site is directly behind the green mesh. The sign on the fence says “Tenderloin Linkage Center” and names “Food and Water,” “Hygiene Services,” and “Social Support,” but makes no mention of the supervised drug use site. There is an on-going national debate over the efficacy of supervised drug consumption sites, which are prohibited by state and federal laws, and a continuing local debate over whether and where to open one in San Francisco. Mayor Breed and members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have advocated a supervised drug consumption site, and purchased two properties in the Tenderloin to serve people suffering from addiction. But the city never approved the creation of a supervised consumption site at the linkage center and the site is in violation of state and federal laws. We are the first to report on the operation of the illegal supervised drug consumption site at the linkage center. The two of us witnessed a half-dozen people smoking fentanyl in an outdoor area on the site, and two people passed out at a table. An employee of a city contractor at the linkage center told us that two people had overdosed and been revived since the site opened on Tuesday. People smoking fentanyl a few feet away from the linkage center’s supervised drug use site. Subscribe to Michael Schellenberger's substack here. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/21/2022 - 22:20.....»»
San Francisco Officials Secretly And Illegally Operating An Illicit Drug Use Cite Authored by Michael Shellenberger and Leighton Woodhouse via substack (emphasis ours), San Francisco Mayor London Breed generated national news media coverage last December when she announced a sweeping crackdown on open air drug use and drug dealing in the downtown Tenderloin neighborhood. Shortly after, she announced a “linkage center” aimed at connecting homeless street addicts with drug rehab facilities. Breed’s announcement came in the midst of a local, state, and national debate over whether the city should open a “supervised drug consumption” site as a tactic for reducing drug overdose deaths. When San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a “linkage center” to connect homeless drug addicts to treatment, she never mentioned it would include a supervised drug consumption site. In fact, the illicit drug consumption site has been up and running since Tuesday inside the linkage center, which is located at 1172 Market Street. The linkage center is located in the United Nations Plaza, the city’s largest open air drug market. The supervised drug consumption area is an outdoor fenced section of the linkage center. The supervised drug use site is directly behind the green mesh. The sign on the fence says “Tenderloin Linkage Center” and names “Food and Water,” “Hygiene Services,” and “Social Support,” but makes no mention of the supervised drug use site. There is an on-going national debate over the efficacy of supervised drug consumption sites, which are prohibited by state and federal laws, and a continuing local debate over whether and where to open one in San Francisco. Mayor Breed and members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have advocated a supervised drug consumption site, and purchased two properties in the Tenderloin to serve people suffering from addiction. But the city never approved the creation of a supervised consumption site at the linkage center and the site is in violation of state and federal laws. We are the first to report on the operation of the illegal supervised drug consumption site at the linkage center. The two of us witnessed a half-dozen people smoking fentanyl in an outdoor area on the site, and two people passed out at a table. An employee of a city contractor at the linkage center told us that two people had overdosed and been revived since the site opened on Tuesday. People smoking fentanyl a few feet away from the linkage center’s supervised drug use site. Subscribe to Michael Schellenberger's substack here. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/21/2022 - 22:20.....»»
Hyatt (H) collaborates with Stratford City Hotels Limited for the openings of Hyatt Regency London Stratford and Hyatt House London Stratford. In a bid to strengthen its portfolio in the U.K., Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s H affiliate recently entered into a management agreement with Stratford City Hotels Limited (a subsidiary of M&L Hospitality) for the openings of Hyatt Regency London Stratford and Hyatt House London Stratford. Post the renovations, the company expects to open the properties by second-quarter 2022.Hyatt Regency London Stratford comprises 225 guestrooms with 6,673 square feet of meeting space. It also comes with a restaurant, bar and an open-air terrace. Meanwhile, Hyatt House London Stratford features 127 guestrooms comprising modern, apartment-style suites with fully-equipped kitchens and flexible workspaces.Located within Europe’s Westfield Stratford City, the properties also offer convenient access to Heathrow International Airport, Stratford Station, London convention center and universities, including the East campus of the University College of London and the new College of Fashion.With reference to the opening, Felicity Black Roberts, vice president of development Europe, Hyatt, stated, “The addition of these two hotels will be another exciting step in growing Hyatt’s brand presence in the United Kingdom and in creating a network of hotels across the key commercial and leisure markets in the country.”Increased Focus on ExpansionHyatt aims to differentiate its brands by providing distinct travel experiences. Hyatt is also consistently trying to expand its presence on a worldwide basis in Asia-Pacific, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.Hyatt, along with the collaboration of M&L Hospitality, opened Hyatt Regency Manchester and Hyatt House Manchester, Hyatt Place London Heathrow Airport in the U.K. market. Other properties in the region include Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, Hyatt Regency Birmingham, Great Scotland Yard Hotel, Andaz London Liverpool Street, Hyatt Place West London Hayes, Hyatt Centric Cambridge and Hyatt Place London City East.The company announced a solid pipeline of developments that are likely to cater to the company’s intention of global market expansion. For Europe and the Middle East, the company announced the addition of Magma Resort Santorini (part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand), 7Pines Resort Sardinia (part of the Destination by Hyatt brand) and Thompson Madrid with expected openings in mid-2022 and Andaz Doha with an expected opening in late 2022. Hyatt also revealed the addition of Alila Lanzarote, Grand Hyatt Lanzarote and Park Hyatt Riyadh Diriyah Gate, with expected openings in 2025.We believe that expansion in these markets would likely help the company gain market share in the hospitality industry and boost business.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past year, shares of the company have gained 21.9% compared with the industry’s 10.6% growth.Zacks Rank & Other Key PicksHyatt currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.Some other top-ranked stocks from the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector are Guess, Inc. GES, Crocs, Inc. CROX and RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc. RICK.Guess sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 97%, on average. Shares of Guess have increased 1.8% in the past three months.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for GES’s 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 38.6% and 4,342.9%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Crocs flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 41.6%, on average. Shares of Crocs have increased 45.3% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CROX’s 2022 sales and EPS indicates a rise of 48.8% and 25.8%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.RCI Hospitality sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 67.7%, on average. Shares of RCI Hospitality have surged 75.8% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for RICK’s 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 34.9% and 22.1%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H): Free Stock Analysis Report Guess, Inc. (GES): Free Stock Analysis Report Crocs, Inc. (CROX): Free Stock Analysis Report RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc. (RICK): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»
Marriott (MAR) provides an update on 2021 development progress. In 2021, the company signed 599 agreements, which reflect roughly 92,000 rooms. Marriott International, Inc. MAR provided an update on 2021 development progress. The company witnessed robust growth in 2021, and the trend is likely to continue in 2022 and beyond.At the end of 2021, the company had approximately 8,000 properties and nearly 1.48 million rooms in 139 countries and territories. At the end of 2021, the company had nearly 485,000 rooms in the development pipeline.In 2021, the company signed 599 agreements, representing roughly 92,000 rooms. More than half of the rooms are located outside of the United States and Canada. Last year, it added more than 86,000 rooms on a gross basis to its portfolio, up 3.9% year over year.Stephanie Linnartz, president of Marriott International, said “Our analysis of the prevalent trends in global development is particularly instructive as we continue to recover from this global pandemic. We have been focused on working closely with our valued community of owners and franchisees throughout these unprecedented times.”In 2021, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company signed 40 luxury hotel deals, which represent more than 6,000 rooms. The company’s portfolio of luxury hotel rooms increased by 4.8%. In 2022, the company expects to debut more than 30 luxury hotels in 2022 in destinations from Mexico (The St. Regis Kanai Resort) and Portugal (W Algarve) to Australia (The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne) and South Korea (JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa).Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchStock PerformanceShares of Marriott have gained 23.8% in the past year, compared with the industry’s rally of 11.8%. The company has been benefiting from a continuous focus on expansion initiatives, digital innovation and loyalty program. It witnessed improved occupancies in Europe, owing to the reopening of international borders and the easing of travel restrictions. Meanwhile, Marriott is consistently trying to expand presence worldwide and capitalize on the demand for hotels in international markets.Key PicksSome better-ranked stocks from the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector include Guess', Inc. GES, Crocs, Inc. CROX and RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc. RICK.Guess sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 97%, on average. Shares of Guess have increased 1.8% in the past three months. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for GES’s 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 38.6% and 4,342.9%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Crocs flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 41.6%, on average. Shares of Crocs have surged 45.3% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CROX’s 2022 sales and EPS indicates a rise of 48.8% and 25.8%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.RCI Hospitality sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 67.7%, on average. Shares of RCI Hospitality have soared 75.8% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for RICK’s 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 34.9% and 22.1%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Marriott International, Inc. (MAR): Free Stock Analysis Report Guess, Inc. (GES): Free Stock Analysis Report Crocs, Inc. (CROX): Free Stock Analysis Report RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc. (RICK): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»
What/Who: My State MLS, the first nationwide Multiple Listing Service of its kind with agents in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, is hosting free webinars in January, February and March for real estate professionals looking to grow their career and market their listings with an MLS that caters to... The post My State MLS to Host Free, Educational Webinars for Real Estate Professionals appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. What/Who: My State MLS, the first nationwide Multiple Listing Service of its kind with agents in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, is hosting free webinars in January, February and March for real estate professionals looking to grow their career and market their listings with an MLS that caters to their specific needs. The webinars will teach real estate professionals how to grow their business, how to use new tools that My State MLS offers its members, including how to upload manufactured housing listings to MHAuthoirty.com. All webinars take place on Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. ET. Please see the webinar schedule and registration details below: New Year, New Growth – January 20, 2-3 p.m. ET Getting a head start on resolutions? It’s no secret that the past few years have been characterized by a real estate frenzy, and early predictions indicate that 2022 likely won’t be much different. On this webinar, My State MLS will cover its top tips to keep that momentum going to grow a business, territory and team. David Mink, vice president of operations and national trainer for My State MLS, will be the moderator. New Career in the Real Estate and CE Shop – January 27, 2-3 p.m. ET The real estate and mortgage industries constantly evolve – and real estate education should too. My State MLS offers innovative CE Shop courses, created by industry experts, that are designed with real estate professionals’ success in mind, no matter if they’re new to the industry or a seasoned veteran. David Mink, vice president of operations and national trainer for My State MLS, will be the moderator. My State MLS Pro Search and Networking – February 10, 2-3 p.m. ET Professional Search is one of the most powerful tools for members of My State MLS. In this webinar, My State MLS will show attendees how to gain an edge on the competition, quickly laser target properties for clients, easily appraise property values, and how to network with other agents for those valuable referrals. David Mink, vice president of operations and national trainer for My State MLS, will be the moderator. Open Listing Advertisement – February 17, 2-3 p.m. ET Use Open Listings to get leads, advertise, and expand your business. Learn how to post Open Listings that will show up on My State MLS’ public search. The member’s photo, name, and company will also be promoted on all their listings with this upgrade on My State MLS. Dawn Pfaff, founder and president of My State MLS, will be the moderator. MH Authority – February 24, 2-3 p.m. ET My State MLS listened to industry professionals to provide the tools that mobile and manufactured housing professionals really need and have an exclusive website (MHAuthority.com) for these listings. Sign up for this webinar and My State MLS will explain how to upload listings, get leads, and more. David Mink, vice president of operations and national trainer for My State MLS, will be the moderator. Series: How to Win Listings for Different Types of Builds – March 10, 17, 24, 2-3 p.m. ET In this month-long series, My State MLS will show real estate professionals how to get listings in new construction developments, pre-selling and re-selling multi-family homes, and how to list and sell exotic and unique properties. David Mink, vice president of operations and national trainer for My State MLS, will be the moderator. To register, real estate and aspiring real estate professionals can visit: www.mystatemls.com/webinar_schedule When: 2–3 p.m. ET Thursday, Jan. 20 Thursday, Jan. 27 Thursday, Feb. 10 Thursday, Feb. 17 Thursday, Feb. 24 Thursday, March 10 Thursday, March 17 Thursday, March 24 Where: Online. Participants will receive online directions with next steps after registering here. Cost: FREE How: Visit www.mystatemls.com/webinar_schedule to register. The post My State MLS to Host Free, Educational Webinars for Real Estate Professionals appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»
It is not the flashiest or most dynamic part of the real estate industry. The concept of a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, goes back more than 100 years when local boards would meet in a dusty office and exchange paper copies of listings. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger volumes accessible by members of […] The post Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation appeared first on RISMedia. It is not the flashiest or most dynamic part of the real estate industry. The concept of a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, goes back more than 100 years when local boards would meet in a dusty office and exchange paper copies of listings. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger volumes accessible by members of local or regional associations, before the dawn of the internet blurred regional lines and gave broad access to listing data for both consumers and real estate professionals. Today, the MLS landscape retains vestiges of that fractured, paper-driven local data sharing. But as technology has improved, regulations have tightened and consumers have found other avenues to access home listing data, the traditional MLS needed to evolve. Exactly what this means, though, varies widely, and companies across the country are taking very different approaches to consolidation, expansion and tech investments—all of which could upend the traditional methods real estate data is shared and accessed. “The real benefit is modernization, and giving the consumer something they expect in the year 2022,” says Michael Barbaro, President of SmartMLS in Connecticut Like many regions, Connecticut was once divided into dozens of individual MLS organizations, which eventually consolidated into two larger companies with overlapping and sometimes arbitrary boundaries. Barbaro describes all-too familiar scenarios with agents paying multiple fees and signing into different systems, and consumers receiving clunky, redundant and inconsistent listing data. But in 2017, following a blitz of meetings, surveys and compromises, SmartMLS became the state’s main—though still not sole—MLS service, consolidating the two previous systems and staff to serve over 90% of the state. This merger was the subject of a glowing case study report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which lauded Barbaro’s ability to foster relationships and come up with innovative solutions (having co-CEOs for the new company and realigning fee structures, among other things). Almost five years later, Barbaro says this process—which took a lot of work but only about six months to put together—has allowed the combined MLS to better serve both real estate professionals and consumers while also investing in the technology that will be needed to keep SmartMLS from falling behind. “We are looking to change the game of real estate,” Barbaro says. “I’ve been encouraged by the fact that MLSs are starting to see the writing on the wall.” But in the enormous, diverse landscape of the U.S., how applicable is the experience of one small Northeast state? How realistic is it to expect big metros and tiny villages, huge national brokerages and small local teams to use the same platforms and data? Not too unrealistic, according to Jon Coile, vice president of MLS & Industry Relations for HomeServices of America and former chair of BrightMLS, a large, multi-regional MLS in the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia area. Coile is currently helping lead NAR policy studies focused on the MLS industry, which has considered state-wide standards to help eliminate some of the obvious issues with the current landscape. “I have a state license, I can sell anywhere in the state,” he says. “But in states where they don’t share data, I might have to and belong to 15 or 20 MLSs to get access to the data. Meanwhile the consumer, they just go to one website—Zillow or Redfin or whatever—and they can access everything. So, the consumer knows more about real estate than I know as a REALTOR®, and that makes no sense.” Data-sharing, with some number of MLS companies creating a separate database that contains all their listing data and standardizes platforms or entries is not a new concept, and seems like common sense in the face of Zillow. Some have still resisted—Barbaro says there are a couple MLSs in small, affluent Connecticut towns that are holding onto their independence. Brian Donnellan is the CEO of BrightMLS. He made it clear that the data-sharing approach is both “extremely effective” and widely beneficial to consumers, real estate professionals and the MLSs themselves. “By providing both more access to listings on the buying side, and more exposure on the seller side, consumers have more choice among a wider range of listings,” Donnellan says. “The shift toward working from home for many buyers and sellers has opened up a larger area of possibilities for many consumers. More options presented in a simple and straightforward way helps agents and brokers serve consumers more efficiently.” One solution to the regionalization problem is to disregard these local boundaries entirely. Dawn Pfaff runs My State MLS, which offers a national platform that attempts to create flexibility and an expansive, unrestricted listing landscape—including auctions and manufactured homes. “The biggest advantage to My State MLS, is that you can list anywhere you are licensed,” Pfaff says. “We believe that cooperation is essential, and we agree to cooperate with everyone who is also licensed in the same state.” Joe Rand is the CEO of another national initiative called the Broker Public Portal (BPP), which powers consumer portal HomeSnap.The idea is to create a set of standards behind a Zillow-type national portal that is more agent-focused and doesn’t monetize leads, instead creating a more level playing field that will still provide the national MLS experience for consumers. “I just don’t see how MLS systems can be cordoned off the way they used to be,” Rand says. “Smart MLSs realize they can’t shield themselves from the outside world. As brokerages get bigger, they’re increasingly frustrated by having to deal with multiple MLS systems that don’t collaborate with each other. Given that MLSs themselves espouse cooperation among brokers, it makes sense that they should also be cooperative with each other. “ Ruth Hackney is the CEO of the REALTORS® Association of Southwest Wisconsin, and former CEO of the Montana Regional MLS. She says Wisconsin has had state-wide data sharing for more than a decade now, with the platform owned by the three largest MLSs in the state while smaller companies maintain some independence. Those relationships have been defined by convivial discussion and consideration of each other—something that not every state or region can claim. “Wisconsin is a very friendly place. Nobody wants to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone upset, so when we go forward, we want to make sure we’re going forward together,” she said. Because everyone is essentially happy with the current system, Hackney says there is no strong impetus for further consolidation right now. But at the same time, having larger, more formal partnerships and centralized resources is becoming vital to the success of any MLS. Tech Savvy New York City is an almost incomparably unique geographic and political area, and therefore unique as far as real estate as well. The Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, is independent of NAR unlike most local associations, having essentially seceded from the national body in 1994 in a dispute over membership fees. REBNY owns its own listing database which technically is not called an MLS, instead christened “RLS,” or “Residential Listing Service.” Other associations around and in the city—which are affiliated with NAR—continue to compete for territory and offer their own MLSs. In this much more cutthroat environment, (REBNY Board of Governors member Fredrick W. Peters described the history of MLS in the city as “warring fiefdoms”) the priority is to provide a better product. Because MLS companies are tech companies at heart, that means having the best technology. Ninve James is the senior vice president of the RLS serving 12,000 agents and $45 billion in listings. Set to launch in the second quarter of 2022, James touts “Citysnap,” a proprietary consumer-facing website and app exclusive to the RLS built by HomeSnap. “I know it’s something the industry has been looking to have for a while,” she says. For real estate professionals, leads are routed directly to the listing agent or broker at no cost, James says, and there are no listing fees. It is also meant to ensure all listings comply with the complex advertising and fair housing laws in the city. Creating that product, which is molded to the unique NYC landscape, along with migrating the RLS to national software and data standards, is the “big thing” for the organization, James says, and Citysnap is an “all hands on deck” project. Though REBNY, as the oldest and most established real estate association in the country’s largest metro, has a huge head start on the competition, James makes it clear that they will not be sitting back. “It’s going to provide much needed data transparency for New Yorkers, which is a huge win for our city’s real estate industry and consumers,” she says. Donnellan highlights BrightMLS’s hub for showing service, which became an especially important tech integration in the “incredibly busy market” of the last year or so. “It’s about speed—what’s coming on the market, what’s available at any given moment, etc. Agents and brokers need to be able to present the fullest, most complete representation of the market to their clients as quickly as possible,” he says. Not everyone in the MLS world has reacted in a timely manner to innovations and opportunities, according to Barbaro, particularly around technology. Companies and products that are pushing the industry forward are being bought out at “ridiculous valuations,” and he argues there is no reason that MLS companies can’t begin investing in these products themselves rather than relying on vendors. “I’ve been talking about this for years, I don’t understand why we don’t own the technology, why we don’t develop the technology,” he says. “We use them, we’re a captive audience. Now we’re finally starting to see come out there.” Barbaro points to one of the largest MLSs in the country, California Regional MLS, which recently invested $15 million in a venture capital fund to take a more direct hand in its own tech future. My State MLS also owns their own tech, and Pfaff says their clients can feel confident knowing their membership fees are being invested directly into improving software and data technology. But even small MLSs can band together, he adds, and take control of their technology future, with Barbaro saying there are numerous cases of half a dozen or so small companies getting together to buy a product or invest in a technology, to the benefit of all. “I think that the most important tech advancements are all about integration of tools by smart tech providers,” Rand says. “People want technology to be seamless, which you can’t achieve if you’re not ethically sharing data across platforms to better service agents and consumers.” In Wisconsin, Hackney says the three largest MLS companies own the software that powers the state-wide shared database. She describes tech advancement as “staff-driven” and mostly starting with leadership in the larger organizations, with any big decision or change inclusive of all the members who share and use it. “We just sit down and start to brainstorm,” Hackney says. “We’re just constantly kind of keeping our eye out—is an MLS already doing something and it’s working? Then how can we adopt that and make it work for our unique system?” The Devil in the Details It is not these big-picture questions that are hampering growth and cooperation in the MLS industry today, according to Barbaro. Nearly everyone has now woken up to the fact that consumers are turning to Zillow and Redfin for listings, and that technology can and must make the MLS experience simpler and more straightforward for real estate professionals. What makes things difficult is every little structural and bureaucratic line that has been drawn. That can be everything from what data fields to use to staffing responsibilities, and can take an enormous amount of effort and time to find consensus among dozens of organizations with their own histories and structure. Barbaro says the case study on SmartMLS did not allow any specific discussions about staff ahead of the merger and created a new streamlined fee structure and had the state association offset costs of legal fees and meeting expenses. A lot of real estate professionals are happy with their MLS staff and service, Barbaro suggests, and even though there were obvious improvements to be made in Connecticut they still wanted to hang on to staff “People are like, ‘I get good service,’ and I thought that was interesting. Most people really care about that, and there is an amount of that,” he says. All these things were worked out, though, in a relatively short time through a lot of conversations and listening to people’s concerns, according to Barbaro—with the NAR case study saying his role was “highly praised” as he “created a partnership atmosphere” through the delicate process. Though REBNY is not in the same situation as far as mergers or consolidation, James says that the RLS also must work hard to listen to their stakeholders, who are made up of a particularly vibrant and diverse real estate community. “We’re in constant communication,” James says. “We have multiple committees across the city that basically get updates and meet on a constant cadence to make sure that we send out communications and stay in touch with our constituents.” Understanding how New York City functions—whether that means adding data fields for things like which buildings have doormen and elevators, or mapping distance to parks and transportation—will be vital to the success of any system in the city, and James says the RLS is building that through feedback. “When you look at Citysnap it will cater to what’s expected in New York City,” she says. Coile says that the Real Estate Standards Organization, or RESO has come up with what he calls a “data dictionary” that can actually translate those regional differences automatically and eliminate the sticking points for MLSs. For example, checking the same box would result in a property being designated “waterfront” in one region or “shorefront” in another depending on the preference. “All the computer knows is that field F42 is on or off,” he says. “There could be 10 different words in there.” Fees and pricing will always be an issue and will definitely need to be worked out, though Coile says that consolidation almost always results in lower costs for technology as companies can get a lower price per agent if they serve hundreds or thousands instead of dozens. Pfaff touts My State MLS for not having any fines or board membership requirements, which is another way to attract more business, and says that they also offer webinars on things like digital marketing to help add value to the service. Membership to a single, national MLS also makes sense in more rural areas where properties are spread out, she says. Even though BrightMLS exists in a limited geographic region, Donnellan agrees that eliminating “digital boundaries” that are often arbitrary and mean nothing to the consumer will be the future of the industry. “We…have the opportunity to continue to lead the way on further market transparency for the benefit of consumers,” he says. “Ultimately, this clear open market is in the best interest of all. Transparency and a complete most accurate picture of the market puts them in a position to help their clients succeed.” MLSs are businesses, and at the end of the day if they are not serving the best interests of clients and consumers, they are not going to survive, and no amount of history or pushback from the old guard will change that. Hackney says that she experienced some of the difficulties in getting different organizations to work together in her previous role in Montana, which was in the process of merging MLSs at the time. Now in the very convivial landscape of Wisconsin, she says she still holds on to that lesson: that an MLS is first and foremost a tool for clients and consumers. While everyone does their utmost to avoid disruption and maintain staffing, there still has to be a willingness—especially at the top—to accept the inevitability of change. “The goal is to create efficiencies, and as staff it’s our job to serve the best interests of the member,” she says. “When you have a really strong MLS executive, those people are going to see the benefit of it, they’re going to be willing to make compromises.” Jesse Williams is an associate online editor at RISMedia. Email him with your real estate news ideas firstname.lastname@example.org The post Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation appeared first on RISMedia......»»
At his Arizona rally, Trump played a supercut of NY Attorney General Letitia James, who is investigating his real estate company for fraud, labeling her an "unhinged liberal"
James is investigating whether Trump organization officials artificially inflated or deflated the value of properties for loan and tax purposes. New York Attorney General Letitia James presents the findings of an independent investigation into accusations by multiple women that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed them on August 3, 2021 in New York City.Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images New York Attorney General Letitia James is leading a civil fraud investigation into the Trump Organization's business dealings. During his rally in Arizona, Donald Trump claimed he did not know who she was. In December, Trump filed a lawsuit against James, accusing her of harassing him with investigations. On Saturday, former President Donald Trump held a rally in Florence, Arizona, where he played a supercut mocking New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is currently leading a fraud investigation into the Trump Organization."Keep our prosecutors out of politics because this could work very much in the other direction also, and all it takes is a few more votes and it'll work in the other direction. And that would be very, very sad," Trump said, before directing attendees to watch the video.Clips showed James repeatedly calling Trump an "illegitimate president," stating that prosecutors need to focus on following his money. In the final frame, "unhinged liberal" was superimposed over James' face.While Trump claimed on Saturday that he didn't know "who the hell she is," he filed a lawsuit against James last month accusing her of trying to "harass" him with investigations.James' probe is focused on whether Trump organization officials artificially inflated or deflated the value of properties for loan and tax purposes, respectively.On December 1, James issued subpoenas to the former president's eldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump.Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, baselessly claimed that the investigation is "unconstitutional" during an interview with Sean Hannity on Monday. —Acyn (@Acyn) January 11, 2022 "It violates the Consitution. It's unethical. It's wrong," Eric Trump said. "This is what you'd expect from Russia. This is what you'd expect from Venezuela. This is third-rate stuff."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Caesars Entertainment's (CZR) Caesars Sportsbook turns sports betting partner for MSU Athletics. The partnership emphasizes responsible sports gaming and education for the MSU community. Caesars Entertainment, Inc. CZR recently announced a collaboration with Michigan State University (“MSU”) Athletics, thereby naming Caesars Sportsbook as the latter’s official sports betting and iGaming partner.Facilitated by MSU's third-party multi-media rights holder, Playfly Sports, the partnership provides Caesars Sportsbook with access to MSU athletics’ broadcast and digital content as well as signage across basketball, football and hockey. Also, it emphasizes the expansion of responsible sports gaming and education for the MSU community.The multi-year agreement includes the entitlement of a new premium seating area inside the Spartan Stadium and outdoor tailgating area (expected to debut during the 2022 football season) as well as access to alumni and fan engagement opportunities. Moreover, the association involves the integration of the company’s loyalty program, Caesars Rewards. This facilitates bettors with credits and a tier status that can be used to unlock unbeatable experiences within the Caesars portfolio of properties and partnerships.With respect to the collaboration, Eric Hession, co-president of Caesars Digital, stated, "Michigan State has a proud tradition of excellence and partnering with an internationally recognized brand in college athletics is a great opportunity for us."Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment continues to emphasize sports-betting expansion to drive growth. To this end, the company formed a new Caesars Digital segment comprising sports betting, iGaming and poker. As of Jan 14, 2022, the company operates sports betting in 21 jurisdictions, of which 15 are mobile. Going forward, the company anticipates rolling out iCasino offerings in New Jersey and West Virginia in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. Further, it expects to complete the migration of its legacy up to Washington, D.C., Nevada, Pennsylvania and Illinois to the Liberty platform in 2022. The company stated that its expanded gaming portfolio will be supported by improvements in its in-app merging technologies.Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchShares of CZR have gained 6% in the past year compared with the industry’s 5.3% growth. The company is benefiting from the solid performance of the regional destination properties. This, along with its focus on partnerships and property development, bodes well. Also, the improvement in occupancy levels is encouraging. The company continues to focus on the prospects derived from the William Hill acquisition. However, pandemic-related woes persist. Meanwhile, earnings estimates for 2022 have declined in the past seven days, depicting analysts’ concern regarding the stock’s growth potential.Zacks Rank & Key PicksCaesars Entertainment currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Some better-ranked stocks from the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector include Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. HGV, Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation BVH and RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc. RICK.Hilton Grand Vacations sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 411.1%, on average. Shares of Hilton Grand Vacations have increased 60.9% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for HGV’s 2022 sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests growth of 27.7% and 154.4%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Bluegreen Vacations sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 695%, on average. Shares of Bluegreen Vacations have surged 158.8% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for BVH’s 2022 sales and EPS indicates a rise of 7.6% and 0.4%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.RCI Hospitality sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 67.7%, on average. Shares of RCI Hospitality have surged 122.2% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for RICK’s 2022 sales and EPS suggests growth of 34.9% and 22.1%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 5 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Caesars Entertainment, Inc. (CZR): Free Stock Analysis Report RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc. (RICK): Free Stock Analysis Report Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. (HGV): Free Stock Analysis Report Bluegreen Vacations Holding Corporation (BVH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»
The University of Pennsylvania selected M. Elizabeth Magill, executive vice president and provost at the University of Virginia, to serve as its ninth president. Prior to joining the University of Virginia in 2019, Magill was dean of the Stanford Law School, and was previously a faculty member at UVA’s School of Law for 15 years. Thursday’s announcement ends the long search process for President Amy Gutmann’s successor. Gutmann, 72, is Penn’s longest-serving president, having held the….....»»
At 54 years old, Gavin Newsom has years of career potential ahead of him. But with Kamala Harris as the heir-apparent should Biden step aside in 2024, the California governor would have to contend with another superstar and old friend from his own state. Vice President Kamala Harris and California Gov. Gavin Newsom appear at an anti-recall rally together in September 2021.SAUL LOEB / AFP California Gov. Gavin Newsom is well-positioned for a presidential run in 2024 or beyond. Except, VP Kamala Harris is the Democrats' heir apparent, and they're from the same state. For now, Newsom allies say there's "no way in hell" they'd run against each other in a primary. California has given the US two presidents —Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan — and could give it a third in 2024. Vice President Kamala Harris, a former senator and state attorney general, is considered next in line for the Democratic nomination should her boss, President Joe Biden, choose not to run for a second term due to his age. But even if Biden runs again, the 2028 nomination would be Harris' to lose.But there's another state official who could add to California's tally: Gavin Newsom. The question is, will he try? Newsom, the telegenic governor of California who beat back a surprisingly boisterous recall campaign last year and is on solid ground to win re-election in 2022, would normally be a strong presidential contender. The state teems with Democratic voters and cash, and its delegate-rich primary often solidifies a frontrunner's status. The governor has always shot down questions about whether he'd run for president. When asked for comment, his campaign provided an interview Newsom gave to a San Francisco CBS affiliate where he vowed his presidential ambitions were, "None, never." In a separate interview, Newsom said running for the White House has "100 percent never been on my radar." Then again, it's common for high-profile politicians to promise they aren't running, until one day, they do.Harris and Newsom chat in front of the cameras during Harris' tour of an Oakland, CA treatment plant in 2021Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesNewsom has made moves towards growing his national profile, recently garnering headlines for proposing a ban on assault weapons modeled after Texas' controversial abortion law, which effectively outlawed the procedure in the state by letting private citizens sue anyone who aids or abets an abortion that takes place after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Newsom has also sought to portray his state as a leader in handling the coronavirus pandemic, though the recall effort against him was born from Republicans' frustrations with the state's restrictions and lockdowns. At 54 years old, he has years of career potential ahead of him after the governorship. But with Harris as the nominee to beat should Biden step aside, Newsom would have to contend with another superstar from his own state, splitting party loyalties and forcing California voters to choose between two familiar hometown names."Kamala Harris being vice president not only complicates Gavin Newsom's path, but the path of everybody if Biden doesn't run in 2024," said Bruce Cain, a professor of political science at Stanford University in California. "It's even a greater complication for Gavin given that his base and her base is California. I think it's fair to say that it has to be weighing on any calculation he might have about jumping into a 2024 race.""They occupy not only the same home base and same kind of mentors," Cain said. "The reality is they are more similar than they are dissimilar. And I think that's a problem for him, particularly when she has more visibility."Like Harris, Newsom is perceived nationally and at home as a liberal politician. He granted marriage licenses to gay couples as San Francisco's mayor in 2004, declared in 2020 that California would begin phasing out vehicles that run on fossil fuels, and this week announced he wanted to expand Medicaid eligibility to undocumented immigrants. That record would make him a prime target for national Republicans, who are eager to paint him as an out-of-touch coastal liberal if he seeks the presidency."Newsom's record is one no candidate should be proud of. Republicans can only hope he's the nominee in 2024." California Republican Party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson told Insider in a statement. "He can point to record gas prices, surging crime, sky-high taxes, a homeless crisis, and the fact that no other governor has driven more people to leave their state than California."Newsom and Harris are public allies and still maintain overlapping networks at home. They've campaigned alongside each other during various campaigns throughout the years. In September, Harris appeared with Newsom at a rally during his Stop the Republican Recall campaign. The two shared a warm embrace on stage.Harris and Newsom hug it out during an anti-recall rally in September 2021.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesTwo Democrats who have worked for Newsom dismissed speculation that the two Northern California politicians would ever face off in a presidential primary."There's no way in hell those two are going to run against each other," said one California operative who has worked for both Newsom and Harris. "They are old friends who go back decades.""If there's any sort of quote-unquote rivalry between them historically, I would characterize it as a sibling rivalry," the operative said. "The reality is they have been very big boosters of one another's careers; they have each supported the other." Another strategist who worked for Newsom "can't imagine a scenario where they go up against each other." "Newsom has been nothing but absolutely praising of the vice president," said the strategist, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the two politicians' relationship.Further complicating matters are Harris and Newsom's intertwined political circles. Several of California's most prominent Democratic strategists, fundraisers, and communications experts have done time with both state power players. They also share donor networks in California.So far, their careers have developed on parallel tracks. Newsom climbed from mayor of San Francisco to lieutenant governor, and finally governor all within a decade. At the same time, Harris completed a parallel ascent, from San Francisco district attorney to California attorney general, to US Senator, to making history as the first woman elected vice president of the United States.Harris, whose latest approval ratings are at 35.8%, dismissed any speculation about her potential 2024 ambitions."I'm sorry, we are thinking about today," she said in an interview for NBC's "Today Show" that aired on January 13. Insider has reached out to Harris' office for comment.Though both Harris and Newsom have said they are not thinking about 2024, it's a game that political spectators will continue to take bets on over the next two years in the lead-up to the presidential elections.The Democratic operative told Insider Harris and Newsom's careers have played out as "a friendly game of one-upmanships." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
I quit corporate real estate to join a CBD startup. I had to start at the bottom, but it was worth it.
Ellese Symons, now a VP, says she's happier and more fulfilled working toward a vision she believes in — even though she'll always love real estate. Ellese Symons says she transitioned into the CBD industry because she wanted to work at a company with a vision she believed in.Ellese Symons Ellese Symons is the VP of marketing at Balanced Health Botanicals, a family of CBD brands. After working in real estate for some years, she wanted to join a startup with a meaningful vision. She transitioned to the CBD industry first in a customer-service role and later in marketing. Real estate is a part of my DNA. I moved around a lot growing up, and in my family a house wasn't just a home — it was an investment opportunity. I learned how to determine a property's worth based on its potential rather than its current state, and by the time I was 18 my parents had fixed and flipped over 70 homes across Colorado. After college, I joined my dad and sister in purchasing distressed multifamily apartment buildings and renovated them into beautiful properties. My sister and I later started our own company, Highline Residential, fixing and flipping residential homes in Colorado.For about two years business was booming and we loved the work. In 2012, more Wall Street investors moved into the Denver market and started outbidding us on homes. Eventually, our margins started to diminish, and it was time for a new business angle. In 2014, my sister and I were recruited to join Sotheby's International Realty as residential agents.After a few years, I wanted to work with corporate real-estate clientsIn spring 2016, I joined CBRE, a commercial real-estate brokerage firm. My role was to help technology startups find office space. The companies I worked with were full of young professionals eager to launch their organization's big idea. I was inspired by their passion and felt that my career path was missing something I'd learned as a kid — how to invest in potential. I decided to make a career change and wanted to plant roots in a small startup with a vision I could contribute to and believed in. As I explored my options, my father told me about a small company he'd invested in called CBDistillery. In 2016, CBD was just kicking off in the consumer-products market and only a small amount of people knew what it was. My opportunity came when my dad asked me to drop off Costco sub sandwiches to the CBDistillery employees who were packing and shipping Black Friday orders. The small team of six was working around the clock fulfilling thousands of orders. I was mesmerized by the grit and dedication of the team and immediately wanted to get involvedI offered to help and the team gladly accepted. While everyone focused on fulfilling orders, I stepped in to answer customer-service emails. On all accounts, I wasn't the most qualified customer-service candidate and was extremely fortunate to have the team put their trust in me. I spent hours doing research in order to answer customer questions, and many customers told me on the phone how CBD had changed their lives for the better. One customer with Crohn's disease said he was grateful for our Black Friday sale because it helped him afford a product that offered him the relief he needed. After also witnessing the effects of our products firsthand, I quickly became a believer that CBD was going to change the world and this company was going to be at the forefront of doing so. I was all in. After a year of working as a customer-service rep, I transitioned into a marketing role in March 2017Under the guidance of our former CMO Chris Van Dusen, I focused on content, SEO, building an affiliate program, creating email campaigns, optimizing the website, and launching new social-media pages. Chris was a great mentor and taught me a lot about the fundamentals of marketing. Today, I'm the vice president of marketing and lead a 12-person team. My marketing career has been unconventional, and I'll always have a love for real estateStill, I don't regret moving to the CBD industry — it feels great to do work that can make a difference and help people. If you're considering a career change, follow your gut. Even if you have to play catch up, you'll probably be more successful doing something you love. I also highly recommend finding a good mentor in the industry you want to join.For those interested in the CBD industry, my advice is to research your options and align with an organization that's doing things right. There are a lot of CBD brands cutting corners and not providing the best quality and safest products to customers. Make sure you start with a trustworthy company because they're more likely to be around in the long run. Do you have an unconventional career path or have you made a unique career change? Email Laura Casado at email@example.com.Ellese Symons is the vice president of marketing at Balanced Health Botanicals, a family of hemp-derived CBD brands that include CBDistillery and BOTA. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»
Nine PBS, the nonprofit St. Louis-area affiliate of the Public Broadcasting Service, has named a new vice president and chief content officer, a role previously held by Amy Shaw, who is currently president and CEO of Nine PBS......»»
OliveMill Holdings, a newly launched commercial real estate firm, has formed a long-term partnership with Hunt Realty Investments and acquired 2801 North Central Expressway in Dallas, currently occupied by The Richards Group. Angelo Gordon is an equity partner in the transaction. OliveMill will oversee the property’s management and operations. In addition... The post OliveMill and Hunt Realty Form Long-Term Partnership appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. OliveMill Holdings, a newly launched commercial real estate firm, has formed a long-term partnership with Hunt Realty Investments and acquired 2801 North Central Expressway in Dallas, currently occupied by The Richards Group. Angelo Gordon is an equity partner in the transaction. OliveMill will oversee the property’s management and operations. In addition to the acquisition, OliveMill represented Hunt Realty Investments on the lease of JPMorgan Chase and Dallas Petroleum Club at 1900 Akard Street, home to Hunt Consolidated headquarters. OliveMill was founded by Chris Selbo, Peter Yates and Ryan McManigal in 2021. OliveMill is a full-service firm focused on investing, leasing, management services, and development. The company targets assets located in high-growth commercial and employment centers to maximize returns and value. “It’s an exciting time to be working in the office building segment, and we’ve found great partners with Hunt Realty Investments and Angelo Gordon,” said Selbo. “We look forward to a long relationship as we share a similar vision of focusing on the people aspect of office assets and leaving properties better than we found them.” Prior to launching OliveMill Holdings, Selbo served as vice president at KDC and senior analyst at HFF; Yates served as vice president at KDC and senior leasing associate at Lincoln Property Company; McManigal served as senior vice president at KDC and vice president at KBS. “With over 35 years of combined experience in commercial real estate, we have worked with and learned from some of the best in the business,” added McManigal. “We understand the industry’s ups and downs, and the need to be nimble and adaptable, and we’re ecstatic for what the future holds.” 2801 North Central Expressway is a 240,000-square-foot Class AA office building developed in 2015 for The Richards Group. The 18-story building, known for a three-story staircase atrium as well as its highly transparent glass skin that displays the building’s colors, is located in the highly walkable and amenity-rich West Village, near a DART stop and the McKinney Avenue Trolley Line. “This is a bittersweet event for me personally. Of course, I am excited for Hunt Realty to be part of the group purchasing this tremendous building, essentially launching a new platform with some of my best friends in the industry in Ryan, Peter and Chris from OliveMill,” said Colin Fitzgibbons, President of Hunt Realty Investments. “My mom worked for The Richards Group for 25 years, so part of me is sad this building was even for sale. We will do our utmost to take care of this building Stan Richards meticulously developed just a short while ago, while at the same time making sure this is a successful investment for our new venture with OliveMill and Angelo Gordon.” OliveMill also represented Hunt Realty Investments on the leases in its headquarters at 1900 Akard Street. JPMorgan Chase will occupy floors 1 through 5 at 1900 Akard Street starting in fall 2022. Dallas Petroleum Club will occupy the top-floor location starting in early 2023. “The timing of the formation of our partnership with OliveMill was just perfect,” said Chris Kleinert, CEO of Hunt Realty. “We had not focused on the creating of operating companies as much as Hunt Realty has in the past but given the relationships and some unique opportunities in the market all coming together at the same time, we thought the potential was too great to pass up. The post OliveMill and Hunt Realty Form Long-Term Partnership appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»
The Freddie Mac Multifamily Apartment Investment Market Index® (AIMI®) remained positive in Q3 2021 driven by net operating income (NOI) growth, bolstering the investment environment for multifamily properties, the organization has announced. Overall, the index is up by 2.6% quarterly and 3.5% annually, with every market examined posting a positive number in the third quarter for […] The post Freddie Mac’s AIMI Shows Favorable Multifamily Investment Environment Across All Markets in Q3 appeared first on RISMedia. The Freddie Mac Multifamily Apartment Investment Market Index® (AIMI®) remained positive in Q3 2021 driven by net operating income (NOI) growth, bolstering the investment environment for multifamily properties, the organization has announced. Overall, the index is up by 2.6% quarterly and 3.5% annually, with every market examined posting a positive number in the third quarter for the first time since 2019. Mortgage rates, a component of the index, decreased over the quarter by 5 basis points, offsetting the 5-bps increase last quarter, but remain down 37 bps year over year. “Propelled by strong net operating income growth and low rates, this quarter’s AIMI shows a positive environment for multifamily investors in most markets,” said Steve Guggenmos, vice president of Multifamily Research & Modeling. “Markets across the country are rebounding strongly from the impact of COVID-19, including those that were hit hardest by the pandemic.” Over the quarter, AIMI increased in the nation and all 25 markets. NOI growth was universally positive for markets and the nation. NOI grew the fastest in New York and Tampa at 13.2% and 11.5%, respectively. Even the slowest growing metro Minneapolis posted a strong growth of 3.8%. Property prices grew in the nation and in 24 of the 25 markets; New York was the only metro to experience a decline at -1.8%. Mortgage rates held relatively steady, decreasing by 5 bps, offsetting the 5-bps increase seen last quarter. Over the year, AIMI increased in the nation and in 23 markets, while the Jacksonville, Florida and Minneapolis markets experienced a modest AIMI drop. NOI increased in the nation and all 25 markets. Two markets saw NOI increase by 25% or more over the past year: Tampa and Phoenix saw NOI growth of 25.0% and 27.4% respectively. The lowest NOI growth over the past year was seen in San Francisco at 1.7%. The nation and all but one market experienced property price growth. New York was the only market that saw property prices decline. Mortgage rates decreased by 26 bps over the past year. In addition to national and local values, a sensitivity table is available that captures how the index value adjusts based on changes in certain underlying variables. Additional information about AIMI is on the Freddie Mac Multifamily website, including FAQs and a video. AIMI is an analytical tool that combines multifamily rental income growth, property price growth and mortgage rates to provide a single Index that measures multifamily market investment conditions. A rise in AIMI from one quarter to the next implies an increasingly favorable environment for multifamily investment opportunities, while a decline suggests that attractive investment opportunities are becoming more difficult to find compared with the prior period. Freddie Mac Multifamily helps ensure an ample supply of affordable rental housing by purchasing and securitizing mortgages on apartment buildings nationwide. Roughly 90% of the mortgages purchased support rental units for households earning 120% of area median income or below. Freddie Mac securitizes about 90% of the multifamily loans it purchases, thus transferring most of the expected credit risk from taxpayers to private investors. For more information, visit FreddieMac.com. The post Freddie Mac’s AIMI Shows Favorable Multifamily Investment Environment Across All Markets in Q3 appeared first on RISMedia......»»
Real estate technology company and national brokerage firm @properties has hired Tim Ossmo as CEO of Suburban Jungle Group. In his role, he will provide leadership for all aspects of Suburban Jungle Group with an emphasis on strategic growth, as the company looks to raise its profile in its current markets and scale into new […] The post @properties Names Tim Ossmo CEO of Suburban Jungle Group appeared first on RISMedia. Real estate technology company and national brokerage firm @properties has hired Tim Ossmo as CEO of Suburban Jungle Group. In his role, he will provide leadership for all aspects of Suburban Jungle Group with an emphasis on strategic growth, as the company looks to raise its profile in its current markets and scale into new markets. Ossmo’s hire follows the acquisition of Suburban Jungle by @properties in June 2021. Ossmo most recently served as vice president of Media Operations at iProspect, one of the world’s leading digital marketing agencies. During his 16 years with the company, Ossmo led a 40-person team that drove business results for blue-chip brands, including Discover, Charter Communications and Cox Communications through paid media, creative and site experience. As head of iProspect’s Chicago office, he streamlined partner and client onboarding processes, brought new training opportunities to the agency and drove thought leadership for the agency, which manages more than $1.2 billion in media. Suburban Jungle offers pre-search consultation services to help homebuyers identify the best neighborhoods for their specific needs. The company’s strategists use in-depth client interviews, technology, and extensive local experience to recommend towns or neighborhoods for their clients. After referring a buyer to an expert real estate agent in that area, the strategist continues to work alongside both parties until the buyer finds a home. The firm’s Jungler app adds another layer of efficiency, allowing the buyer, agent and strategist to share resources, schedule appointments and give feedback. Ossmo will be tasked with expanding Suburban Jungle through digital strategies designed to generate leads and make more homebuyers aware of its offerings. “Tim’s leadership, creative vision and success in building brands through digital marketing made him the right choice as we look to strengthen Suburban Jungle’s brand awareness and market share in existing markets, and expand services beyond its current footprint,” said Mike Golden, co-founder and co-CEO of Suburban Jungle parent company @properties, in a statement. “I’m thrilled to join Suburban Jungle, which has the potential to be one of the top resources for homebuyers moving to a new neighborhood, as well as the best generator of high-quality leads for real estate agents,” said Ossmo. For more information, please visit www.atproperties.com. The post @properties Names Tim Ossmo CEO of Suburban Jungle Group appeared first on RISMedia......»»