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Maternal death rate isn"t as bad if you don"t count Black women, GOP senator says

Louisiana's Bill Cassidy said the state's maternal death rate isn't so high if you "correct our population for race," Politico reported. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Sen Bill Cassidy said his state's high maternal death rates are more standard if you "correct for race," Politico reports. Louisiana has a high Black population and one of the worst maternal death rates in the US. Experts called this framing "disturbing," arguing the state must improve healthcare for Black women. Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy said that the state's poor maternal mortality rate is only an "outlier" because of the high proportion of Black women in the state, according to Politico. Cassidy's comment was featured in Politico's in-depth exploration of Louisiana's maternal death rates, which are among the worst in the country. The state ranks 47 out of 48 states assessed for maternal deaths, state officials said. Cassidy told the outlet that this is partly because "about a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality."So, if you correct our population for race, we're not as much of an outlier as it'd otherwise appear."He continued: "Now, I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be. For whatever reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality."Overall, according to Louisiana's Department of Health, "four black mothers die for every white mother" in the state. It outpaces a three-to-one ratio nationwide, which is already the worst in the developed world, Politico reported. Dean Michelle Williams of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health discussed Cassidy's comments in a blog post. (The Politico article was produced as part of a series partnership with the school.)Williams said: "It's no mystery why maternal mortality rates are so high among Black women. They are high because of the devastating impacts of structural racism and individual bias."According to the CDC, Black women are disadvantaged in their "access to care, quality of care, prevalence of chronic diseases, structural racism, and implicit biases" in healthcare.Williams said she found Cassidy's framing "disturbing.""This is not a moment to quibble about how states are ranked," Williams wrote."It's not a moment to correct for race. It's a moment to assert that Louisiana — precisely because it has such a large population of Black women — must seize a leadership role in making pregnancy and childbirth safer for all."She noted that Cassidy has supported numerous public health measures, including those that protect pregnancies. Cassidy's comment comes soon after Politico's publishing of a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a measure that the Senator supports. Anti-abortion organization Louisiana Right To Life says that Cassidy has a "100% pro-life voting record." Louisiana is also one of 13 states with "trigger laws" that would come into effect to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade, as looks likely, is overturned. Following the Roe leak, top British medical journal The Lancet warned in a stark editorial statement that "women will die" if the decision is overturned. Furthermore, Black women will be the group most affected by the move, ABC News reported.Asked by Politico how maternal death rates may be affected by the measure, Cassidy said: "If we're using abortion to limit maternal deaths, that's kind of an odd way to approach the problem."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 21st, 2022

Babies are increasingly dying of syphilis in the US - but it"s 100% preventable

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.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 2nd, 2021

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

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

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 10th, 2022

Gun control really works. Science has shown time and again that it can prevent mass shootings and save lives.

Mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas in recent days have once again put America's gun violence problem in the spotlight. Mourners take part in a vigil at El Paso High School after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, August 3, 2019.Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters On Tuesday, a gunman killed 21 people, including 19 children at a school in Uvalde, Texas. Data from the CDC shows that 39,773 people in the US die from firearms every year. Despite restrictions on gun control research, scientists evaluated how policies affect gun deaths. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. On Tuesday, an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing 21 people, including 19 children.Earlier this month, a different 18-year-old man dressed in tactical gear and livestreaming on Twitch, fatally shot 10 people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities described as a racially motivated mass shooting.Already in 2022, the US has seen 27 school shootings and more than 200 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a Wednesday press conference suggested that mental health concerns are in part, responsible for the rise in mass shootings over the past few decades, but scientific research doesn't support those claims. Experts have repeatedly shown that mental health issues are not predictive of violence.What science has demonstrated, however, is that the number of gun deaths in the US is much higher than in other nations with similar rates of gun ownership – like Switzerland – and that certain policies can help prevent these fatalities. Studies have linked stricter background checks, rules prohibiting domestic abusers from owning weapons, and secure locks on firearms in the home with decreased rates of gun-related deaths.Read More: Switzerland has a stunningly high rate of gun ownership — here's why it doesn't have mass shootingsHere's what the data shows.In 2017, 39,773 people in the US died from firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Flowers and mementos are seen at a makeshift memorial outside Walmart, near the scene of a mass shooting that left at least 22 people dead, on August 4, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.Mario Tama/Getty ImagesMost of these firearm deaths are not from mass shootings, but from suicides and homicides, according to the CDC.There are close to as many guns in the US as there are people. There may be more, or there may be less, depending on which study you look at — there's no exact count, since there isn't a national database of gun purchases or firearm owners. Federal law does not require gun owners to get a license or permit.That's one of the many obstacles researchers face when trying to evaluate why so many people die from guns in the US and what might prevent those deaths.Gun violence is one the most poorly researched causes of death in America, according to a 2017 study.More than 80 family members and friends of people who were killed by gun violence gather for a news conference with Congressional Democrats to call for action on gun violence prevention, December 15, 2016 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images"In relation to mortality rates, gun-violence research was the least-researched cause of death and the second-least-funded cause of death," the authors of that study wrote.The study ascribed this paucity of research to a 1996 congressional appropriations bill called the Dickey Amendment, which stipulated that "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control."Former President Donald Trump signed a bill in 2018 that weakened the Dickey Amendment — the new legal provision gives the CDC permission to research the causes of gun violence. But the amendment still maintains a ban on "using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control."Researchers do know, however, that the annual number of people who died from firearm injuries worldwide rose from 209,000 to 251,000 between 1990 and 2016.People gather in Juarez, Mexico on August 3, 2019 in a vigil for the three Mexican nationals who were killed in an El Paso shooting.Christian Chavez/Associated PressAccording to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, six countries — Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, and the US — accounted for 50.5% of the 251,000 global firearm deaths in 2016.More than 60% of worldwide firearm deaths that year were homicides, while 27% were firearm suicide deaths, and 9% were unintentional firearm deaths.The chart below shows an American's odds of dying in a gun assault or a mass shooting as of 2018, as compared to other causes of death.Accidental gun deaths and suicides using guns are not included in these numbers.Shayanne Gal/Business InsiderAn American's chance of dying from gun violence overall is more than 22 times greater than the lifetime risk of dying while riding inside a car, truck, or van (though that category excludes pedestrian, cyclist, and other deaths outside of a motor vehicle). It's also more than 10 times as high as dying from any force of nature, such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or flood. In remarks following the El Paso and Dayton shootings, President Trump blamed "gruesome video games" and "mentally ill monsters" for the violence. A wealth of research contradicts both claims.President Trump departs after speaking about the shootings in El Paso and Dayton in the White House on August 5, 2019.Leah Millis/ReutersIn his comments after shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Trump said "mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun." He called for improvements to mental health treatment and, "when necessary, involuntary confinement" of mentally ill people.Decades of research, however, have shown that mental illness is not a cause of violence; in fact, a person with mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator. A 2016 study from the American Psychiatric Association found that "mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than 1% of all yearly gun-related homicides," and that "the overall contribution of people with serious mental illness to violent crimes is only about 3%."A study published in 2019 supports those findings: Having a mental illness does not make a person more likely to commit gun violence. A better indicator was their access to firearms.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesThe authors of the study, which published in the journal Preventative Medicine, found that individuals who had access to guns were over 18 times more likely to have threatened someone with a gun compared to people without such gun access."What we found is that the link between mental illness and gun violence is not there," one of the authors, Yu Lu, said in a press release. There is a link between reduced access to guns and lower rates of suicide.Gun safety and suicide prevention brochures on display next to guns for sale at a local retail gun store in Montrose, Colorado, February 23, 2016.Associated Press/Brennan LinsleyMore than 60% of the nearly 40,000 annual gun deaths in the US are suicides, according to the CDC; that's almost double the number of homicides. Data from other countries suggests there's a link between reduced availability of guns and fewer suicides. One study found that after the Israel Defense Forces stopped letting soldiers bring weapons home on the weekends, suicide rates dropped by 40%.Barring people convicted of domestic abuse from owning guns also decreases the number of gun deaths.A woman who has been beaten by her husband, holds her child in a shelter for women who suffered from domestic violence.Pavel Golovkin/APThe Lautenberg Amendment to the 1968 Gun Control Act disqualifies people with a misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence from buying or owning weapons.According to a 2017 study, gun murders of female intimate partners decreased by 17% as a result of that amendment. A 2018 report published by Everytown, a non-profit dedicated to reducing gun violence in the US, indicates that in at least 54% of mass shootings, the perpetrator also shot a current or former intimate partner or family member. After Congress let a 1994 ban on assault weapons expire in 2004, gun massacre deaths skyrocketed.A potential buyer looks at a gun at the Heckler & Koch booth at the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 19, 2016.John Locher/APWhen people in the US were allowed to start buying military-style firearms with high-capacity magazines (which enable shooters to discharge many rounds of ammunition in a short amount of time), the number of people killed in gun massacres — defined as shootings in which at least six people die — shot up 239%.By contrast, after the 1994 ban on assault weapons went into effect, the number of gun massacre deaths decreased by 43%, as researcher Louis Klarevas reported in his book "Rampage Nation."There's still debate about whether assault-rifle regulation is effective at reducing overall firearm deaths, since most gun deaths in the US are suicides. But most of the deadliest mass shootings in recent US history involved a military-style weapon with a high-capacity magazine.If US law makers do make policy changes, banning high-capacity magazines and renewing the assault weapons ban should be at the top of their lists, one researcher said.A custom-made semi-automatic hunting rifle with a high-capacity detachable magazine is displayed at a gun store in Rockin, California, October 3, 2013.Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli"Nearly every mass shooting illustrates that large-capacity magazines can increase the death toll and that forcing a shooter to reload more frequently can provide opportunities for counter-attack by those around," John Donohue, who researches mass shootings at Stanford University, previously told Business Insider.He added: "Accordingly, a ban on high-capacity magazines is absolutely essential if one wants to reduce the loss of life from active-shooter scenarios."There's a widening gap between the number of gun deaths in states with relaxed gun-control laws and states with more restrictive policies, according to a study published in 2019.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesFor the study, researchers assigned each of the 50 US states an aggregate "firearm laws score," ranging from 0 (completely restrictive) to 100 (completely permissive). These scores accounted for 13 factors, including gun permit requirements, if and where guns are allowed to be carried and kept, and whether state laws ensure a right to self-defense.The results suggested that a 10-unit increase in the permissiveness of state gun laws (according to the scoring system) was associated with an 11.5% higher rate of mass shootings.What's more, every state's score shifted towards greater permissiveness from 1998 to 2014.States that have stricter background-check laws for gun purchases have fewer school shootings.Mourners pray around a memorial in front of Santa Fe High School on May 21, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas.Getty Images/Scott OlsonA 2018 study found that states with stricter background checks for weapon and ammunition purchases had fewer school shootings.States that spent more money on education and mental health care also had lower rates of school shootings.Though not the most common form of gun violence, school shootings have spiked in the US: There was an average of one per year from 1966 to 2008, but an average of one per week from 2013 to 2015, the same study found.In 2018, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma called for gun policies that they say will make Americans safer, including removing firearms from domestic-violence perpetrators and regulating the sale of semi-automatic weapons.Dr. Faran Bokhari, head of the trauma department at Stroger Hospital in Chicago (second from right), and Dr. Jared Bernard, a lieutenant commander and trauma surgeon in the US Navy (third from left), work together during surgery of a gunshot victim, August 6, 2014.AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhIn a statement published in the journal Trauma Surgery & Acute Care Open on August 7, 2018, the Board of Managers for the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma issued 14 recommendations "in an attempt to stem the tide of deaths from firearm violence and support safe firearm ownership."The list also includes regulating the sale of high volume ammunition, bump stocks, and trigger actuators. The surgeons want mandatory reporting of all firearm sales as well.Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in 2019 pinpointed 10 policies that could reduce gun violence in the state of Illinois. Their recommendations are similar to the surgeons' list.Nortasha Stingiey (second from left) hold hands in a group prayer during a news conference by "Purpose over Pain," a group of mothers who lost children to gun violence in Chicago, Illinois, May 6, 2016.REUTERS/Jim YoungThe suggested policies include banning the sale of new assault weapons, denying concealed-carry licenses to some individuals, and prohibiting firearm sales to people convicted of multiple alcohol-related offenses. The most significant change the researchers recommended, however, would be to require gun purchasers to apply for a license in person with law enforcement and undergo safety training, rather than applying online or by mail without training.  These recommendations mirror some of Switzerland's gun policies. In that country, nearly one in four people legally owns a gun, but there hasn't been a mass shooting in almost two decades.Nina Christen of Switzerland shoots in a training session prior to the start of the 2016 Olympic Games, August 4, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesSwiss authorities keep a log of everyone who owns a gun in their region.They can also decide on a local level whether to give people gun permits, and police don't take that duty lightly. They might vet the person by consulting a psychiatrist or talking with authorities in other areas in which a prospective gun buyer has lived. People who've been convicted of a crime or have an alcohol or drug addiction aren't allowed to buy guns in Switzerland. The law also states that anyone who "expresses a violent or dangerous attitude" won't be allowed to buy a gun.Most Swiss citizens aren't allowed to carry their guns in public — getting a concealed-carry permit is difficult for people who don't work as security officers or police.A concealed carry holster is displayed for sale at the Guntoberfest gun show in Oaks, Pennsylvania, October 6, 2017.Joshua Roberts/ReutersIn the US, states that have right-to-carry (RTC) gun laws allow anyone who can own a gun and meet necessary conditions to get a concealed-carry permit. Four decades ago, only five states allowed the concealed carry of firearms. By 2014, all but eight states had reinstated RTC laws.One 2017 study found that concealed-carry laws increased the rate of firearm homicides by 9% when homicide rates were compared state by state. Research shows that states that require background checks on all gun sales had 35% fewer gun deaths per capita between 2009 and 2012.Bodies are removed from the scene of a mass shooting, August 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio.John Minchillo / Associated PressCurrently, US law only requires background checks when people buy guns from licensed firearms dealers. However, research from the nonpartisan Rand Corporation estimates that universal background checks could prevent 1,100 homicides per year.Seventeen US states and the District of Columbia also have "red-flag laws," which allow family members and law enforcement to file Extreme Risk Protection Orders that restrict or temporarily remove a person's access to firearms if their behavior suggests they pose a violent threat. Former President Trump endorsed those laws, saying, "we must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms and that if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process." Rates of accidental shootings are also higher when people — especially children — are around more guns.Police lead children away from Sandy Hook Elementary following a mass shooting on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people died in the attack.AP Photo/Newton Bee/Shannon HicksIn December 2012, a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The tragedy gave rise to calls for gun-control regulation, and that resulted in what's now a predictable phenomenon: People bought more guns.With more guns around in the months after the Sandy Hook shooting, the rate of accidental deaths related to firearms rose sharply, especially among children, according to a study published in the journal Science. The calculations showed that 40 adults and 20 children died as a result of those additional gun purchases.Many accidental gun deaths can be avoided, though, if gun owners lock up their firearms.Students from Centreville, Virginia wear targets on their chests at the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC.Win McNamee/GettyIn 2015, 13 million US households with children contained firearms. Fewer than one in three of those households, however, followed the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations to store all household firearms locked and unloaded.A study published this year found that up to 32% of youth suicides and accidental firearm deaths (with youth defined as any person 19 years old or younger) could be prevented if the remainder of these households were to lock up their guns.Specifically, the researchers found that if 20% of households that keep at least one gun unlocked started locking up all their guns within a year, between 72 and 135 youth firearm fatalities could be prevented.Longer prison sentences for crimes involving a gun — like armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon — have also been shown to help reduce violent firearm use.AP/Gerry BroomeGun-robbery rates have gone down in states that approved longer sentences for assault or robbery with a gun. In the 1970s and 1980s, legislators passed 30 laws calling for additional prison time for people convicted of robbery or assault with a gun.A 40-year-analysis published in the journal Science found that gun-robbery rates dropped by  5% in the years after these longer sentencing laws were enacted.Replacing medium- and large-caliber weapons with small-caliber guns would dramatically reduce gun deaths as well, according to data from the Boston Police Department.A Boston Police car is seen before game six of the 2013 World Series on October 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.Photo by Rob Carr/Getty ImagesIn a July 2018 study, researchers examined data from files of 511 gunshot victims kept by the Boston Police Department.They found that weapon caliber — which refers to the diameter of the firearm barrel and is an indication of the diameter of the bullet — played a big role in how fatal shootings were.People shot with medium-caliber weapons (.38, .380, and 9 mm) were more than twice as likely to die as those shot with small-caliber guns (.22, .25, and .32 mm). And victims shot with large caliber weapons (.357 magnum, .40, .44 magnum, .45, 10 mm, and 7.62 × 39 mm) were more than 4.5 times as likely to die as those shot with small-caliber firearms.Replacing all large- and medium-caliber guns with small ones would have reduced the homicide rate by 39.5%, the researchers found.Weapons buy-back programs have been successful in reducing mass shootings.David Gray/ReutersAfter at 1996 mass shooting left 35 people dead in Australia, the country's leaders enacted stricter gun-control legislation and set up a program for citizens to sell their weapons back to the government so they could be destroyed.The initiative appears to have been successful: Firearm suicides dropped by 65% and homicides by 59% over the decade following the 1996 legislation.While Australia saw 13 mass shootings (defined as five or more deaths) in the 18 years before the 1996 massacre, there have only been two in the 23 years since.The US has a higher rate of gun violence than any other similarly wealthy country.Mourners take part in a vigil near the border fence between Mexico and the U.S after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, August 3, 2019.Carlos Sanchez/ReutersThe US has far more mass shootings than just about any country in the world. Of countries with at least 10 million people, there are more mass shootings per capita in only Yemen, which has the second-highest per-capita rate of gun ownership (the US has the highest).The US is not inherently a more violent society, but its policies make guns easy to get. The data that we have indicates that some gun-control measures — like banning some types of weapons, improving background checks, and putting more restrictions on weapon access — could save lives.At the very least, gathering and analyzing data could help leaders determine what sort of changes might help prevent another Parkland, Sandy Hook, or Uvalde.Kevin Loria contributed to an earlier version of this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 25th, 2022

California"s Vanished Dream, By The Numbers

California's Vanished Dream, By The Numbers Authored by Joel Kotkin via RealClear Investigations, Even today amid a mounting exodus among those who can afford it, and with its appeal diminished to businesses and newcomers, California, legendary state of American dreams, continues to inspire optimism among progressive boosters. Laura Tyson, the longtime Democratic economist now at the University of California at Berkeley, praises the state for creating “the way forward” to a more enlightened “market capitalism.” Like-minded analysts tout Silicon Valley’s massive wealth generation as evidence of progressivism’s promise. The Los Angeles Times suggested approvingly that the Biden administration’s goal is to “make America California again.” And, despite dark prospects in November’s midterm elections, the President and his party still seem intent on proving it. But most Californians, according to recent surveys, see things differently. They point to rising poverty and inequality, believe the state is in recession and that it is headed in the wrong direction. Parting with the state’s cheerleaders, the New York Times’ Ezra Klein, a reliable progressive and native Californian, says the Golden State’s failures are “making liberals squirm.” Reality may well be worse than even Klein admits. In a new report for Chapman University, my colleagues and I find California in a state of existential crisis, losing both its middle-aged and middle class, while its poor population faces dimming prospects. Despite the state’s myriad advantages, research shows it plagued by economic immobility and inequality, crushing housing and energy costs, and a failing education system. Worse than just a case of progressive policies creating regressive outcomes, it appears California is descending into something resembling modern-day feudalism, with the poor and weak trapped by policies subsidized by taxes paid by the rich and powerful. California may conjure images of Rodeo Drive and Malibu mansions in the public imagination, but today the state suffers the highest cost-adjusted poverty rate in the U.S. The poor and near-poor constitute over one third – well over 10 million – of the state’s residents according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Los Angeles, by far the state’s largest metropolitan area, and once a magnet for middle class aspirations, has one of the highest poverty rates among major U.S. cities. A United Way of California analysis shows that over 30 percent of residents lack sufficient income to cover basic living costs even after accounting for public-assistance programs; this includes half of Latino and 40 percent of black residents. Some two-thirds of noncitizen Latinos live at or below the poverty line. While many Californians are fleeing, some are decidedly less bearish. “In California, there is this idea of ‘Oh, we care about the poor,’ but on this metric, we are literally the worst,” Stanford’s University’s Mark Duggan, principal author of an economic comparison of California with Texas, told the San Francisco Chronicle. The state’s poverty and associated dysfunction are on full display in leading cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, where a large underclass now inhabits the streets – the once-iconic locales having become poster children for urban dysfunction. Beyond massive homeless camps, crime has become so bad that the LAPD has warned tourists it can no longer protect them. San Francisco, meanwhile, suffers the highest property crime rate in the country. Businesses like Walgreens have shut down numerous Bay Area locations due to “rampant burglaries.” Homelessness and crime increasingly dominate the state’s political discourse, particularly in these two deep blue bastions. California also faces growing inequality. By the Gini index, a measure of the distribution of income across a population, California has the third-highest inequality behind New York and Louisiana, and has experienced the fifth largest expansion of inequality since 2010, according to American Community Survey data. California also suffers the widest gap between middle- and upper-middle-income earners of any state. In leading cities, homeless encampments line streets such as San Francisco's Golden Gate Avenue. AP Once among the most egalitarian regions in the country, Silicon Valley has become among the most segregated places in the country. CityLab has described the technology hub as “a region of segregated innovation,” a trend becoming more pronounced, according to recent research. Silicon Valley now boasts its own underclass of those who clean its buildings and provide food service. Nearly 30 percent of its residents rely on public or private financial assistance. Similarly, according to the Brookings Institution, San Francisco, the technology industry’s most important urban center, has experienced the most rapid growth in inequality among the nation’s large cities in the last decade. The California Budget and Policy Center has named the city first in California for economic inequality; the average income of the top one percent of households in the city averages $3.6 million, forty-four times the average income of the bottom 99 percent, which stands at $81,094 in a city and state with a high cost of living. The situation is worse elsewhere in the state. Over the past decade more than 80 percent of California jobs paid under the median income, and most under $40,000 annually, a poverty wage in California. Worse yet, as demonstrated in our analysis, California lags all peer competitors – Texas, Arizona, Tennessee, Nevada, Washington and Colorado – in creating high wage jobs in fields like business and professional services, as even tech growth begins to shift elsewhere. The biggest losers in California have been those industries that historically provided the best opportunities for working-class people – manufacturing, construction, energy – as well as agriculture, the state’s historic economic powerhouse. On a per capita basis, California builds only a fraction of the housing compared to its main rivals, while corporate new investment, suggests a new Hoover Institution study, has shriveled to a rate one-tenth Texas and one-sixteenth that of Ohio. The state’s climate change policies, however well-intentioned, have had a particularly devastating impact on manufacturing. California’s “renewable energy” push has generated high energy prices and the nation’s least-reliable power grid, crippling an industry reliant on fossil fuels and a stable electric supply. The state fell to 44th in the country in manufacturing sector employment growth last year; its industrial new job creation has lagged competitors such as Nevada, Kentucky, Michigan and Florida. Even without adjusting for costs, no California metro ranks in the U.S. top ten in terms of offering well-paying blue-collar jobs, notes The New York Times. But four – Ventura, Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego – sit among the bottom ten. Under California’s green agenda, electricity has skyrocketed while its grid has become less stable. Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity As the environmentalist Breakthrough Institute summarizes it, the state’s climate agenda has created a “new Green Jim Crow era” keeping more people, particularly minorities, in poverty. Housing policy has also hurt most those who can least afford it. California’s state planning policies aim to reduce urban sprawl – the shift to locales where costs are lower and the state is gaining migrants. The heavily minority Inland Empire, which has little political influence, now has more people than the San Francisco metropolitan area, which dominates state politics, but the former is unable to reverse any of these policies. Despite expectations by planners that limiting suburban growth would reduce prices for the masses and greenhouse emissions by encouraging density, studies in Vancouver, Canada and several other locations have shown the opposite; they associate densification with higher land and housing prices. California has the highest urban density of any state, yet suffers the second highest housing costs and rents of any state except Hawaii. On this issue, some media coverage appears to have been influenced by the pro-density preferences of tech titans like Mark Zuckerberg. Striving, largely minority middle- and working-class families bear the brunt of such policies. According to a recent American Enterprise Institute survey, California is home to six of the nation’s worst markets for first-time homebuyers. It would take more than 100 years for the median-income household to save for a mortgage on a median-priced home in San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Jose. The state now ranks 49th in homeownership rate, producing far less new housing than competitive regions like Arizona, Texas or Florida. A recent study by economist John Husing found not one unionized construction worker can afford a median-priced home in any coastal California county. Unable to buy their own home, many working class families find themselves paying extraordinarily high rents, with more than half of all renters shelling out in excess of 30% of household income, the traditional definition of an outsized housing burden. Nearly four in ten California households meet or exceed this level. Not surprisingly, one quarter are contemplating a move elsewhere. High rents and house prices, along with low wages, also have produced the nation’s highest level of overcrowding. Nor has densification brought the purported environmental benefits cited by California’s champions at Brookings and in the Biden Administration; the pro-density Terner Center projects that if California’s cities followed the density guidelines, at best the state would see a 1% reduction in emissions. Manifest Education Failures Historically education was seen – particularly among traditional liberals – as critical to upward mobility for poor and working-class people. Yet for decades the state’s schools have underperformed national norms, particularly for poor students. Since 1998, California has ranked, on average, 46th in 8th-grade reading and mathematics subject-area performance on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), the only comparable assessment between states nationwide. This includes comparisons with demographically similar states like Texas, which spends less money per student. Today, almost three of five California high schoolers are not prepared for either college or a career; the percentages are far higher for Latinos, African Americans, and the economically disadvantaged. Among the 50 states, California ranked 49th in the performance of poor, largely minority, students. San Francisco, the epicenter of California’s woke culture, and site of the recent recall of several far-left school board members, suffers the worst scores for African Americans of any county in the state. These students are often unprepared for college. At California State University – where ethnic studies programs are now mandated – the need for remedial courses or 40 percent of freshmen demonstrates a low level of preparedness in such basic skills as reading comprehension, writing and mathematics. Some educators have decided to eliminate this problem by eliminating remedial classes. California’s model curriculum, which focuses on how to “build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance,” may only exacerbate these problems by inculcating attitudes antithetical to those necessary to succeed in a highly competitive capitalist economy. Many California educators from the highest reaches of academia down to the grade school level champion “equity” in education over developing hard math skills and fostering excellence. Even basic life skills such as being on time are eschewed: The San Diego Unified School District will no longer count such scruples as turning in work on time in grading and evaluation. It may reduce the penalties for cheating. This is justified as a way of redressing racial issues, as many of the malefactors (like most California students) are from disadvantaged minority groups. Most Californians support charter schools, including nearly half of all Democrats, and three chapters of the Southern California NAACP – San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside. The state’s powerful teachers unions, and the Democrats they back, oppose such education alternatives. Tech titans, once focused on improving schools, now seem less engaged. This may make sense given the extent to which tech relies on global talent rather than recruiting locally. In 2018, three-quarters of the tech workforce in the Bay Area was foreign-born, a majority on short-term non-immigrant visas. The answer to many of the problems plaguing California’s struggling lower classes has been to throw more of the upper class’s money at them. Michael Bernick, a former director of the state’s Employment Development Department, says “The culture for much of California, driven by state politics, is one of benefits (and now guaranteed income), not a jobs strategy or expectation.” California is unlikely to be devoting the state’s surplus –driven largely by stock and property gains among the wealth – as Texas and other states do, to attracting businesses. Instead, as Bernick suggests, the preference has been to boost the welfare state, as it did in initiating record-setting stimulus payments during the pandemic. It is now contemplating handing out debit cards to cope with high energy prices created by the state’s environmental policies. California’s technology industry consists of staunch funders of the states’ progressive Democrats. They may themselves be obsessed workaholics and living testaments to entrepreneurial capitalism, but Greg Ferenstein, who interviewed 147 digital company founders, says most believe that “an increasingly greater share of economic wealth will be generated by a smaller slice of very talented or original people. Everyone else will increasingly subsist on some combination of part-time entrepreneurial ’gig work ‘and government aid.” Many prominent business people, including those who made their fortunes in California such as Zuckerberg, Pierre Omidyar, Elon Musk, and Sam Altman, founder of the Y Combinator, have embraced the notion of a "guaranteed wage," that would cover most critical bills. Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s campaign was built around this concept. In the interim, people are fleeing the state. Demographer Wendell Cox notes that since 2000, California has lost 2.6 million net domestic migrants, more than the current populations of San Diego, San Francisco and Anaheim combined. In 2020, California accounted for 28 percent of all net domestic outmigration in the nation, about 50 percent more than its share of the US population. California’s population growth has fallen below the national average for the first time, and the state appears to have even possibly lost population the last two years. The pandemic seems to have accelerated this movement. Last year California was home to three of the five large regions over one million with the highest percentage population loss – San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles. Both San Francisco and Los Angeles school districts face large decreases in enrollment; the LA district, the state’s largest, projects a 20% cut in this decade. This outmigration trend cannot be dismissed as “white flight.” An analysis of minority population flows shows that Latinos and African Americans are settling increasingly west of the Sierra, particularly in the south, Texas, and parts of the Midwest. Similarly, the foreign-born population – so critical to the state’s economy – has declined in Los Angeles over the past decade, and stagnated in the Bay Area while swelling in places like Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, Houston, Nashville and even midwestern cities like Columbus, Des Moines and Indianapolis. Simply put, California is in danger of losing its youthful mojo. Many of those leaving, according to IRS data, come from young, middle and working class families. When these people leave, birthrates plummet. Los Angeles and San Francisco rank last and second-to-last in birthrates among the 53 U.S. major metropolitan areas. Among California's big metros, only Riverside/San Bernardino exceeds the national average in women aged between 15 and 50 with births. California’s total fertility rate, long above the national average, is now the nation’s 10th lowest. Los Angeles County alone has lost three quarters of a million people under 25 over the past twenty years. California today is as old as the rest of the country and aging 50 percent faster than the national norm. It is rapidly replacing the surfboard with a walker. *  *  * Joel Kotkin is a Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. Tyler Durden Fri, 04/15/2022 - 22:15.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 15th, 2022

Even With "Defund The Police" Discredited, Some Schools May Still Shun The Police

Even With 'Defund The Police' Discredited, Some Schools May Still Shun The Police Authored by Vince Bielski via RealClearInvestigations (emphasis ours), Des Moines this week suffered its first fatal school shooting – reigniting a controversy in the city after the district removed police officers from its schools last year. Police say a group of teenagers in vehicles outside Des Moines' East High School fired multiple rounds onto school property on Monday, killing a 15-year-old boy and critically wounding two female students who were bystanders. Six teenagers, some of them current Des Moines students, have been charged with first-degree murder. The deadly drive-by shooting now hovers over the decision by Des Moines officials, along with about 30 districts across the country, to exile cops from schools. These moves were part of the "defund the police" movement that erupted after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. It’s a movement now reeling in the face of violent crime surging nationwide, punctuated by President Biden’s State of the Union vow last week to “fund the police.” But in schools, at least, a decision to bring back cops -- or “school resource officers,” as they are called -- isn’t a slam dunk in places where students of color had been arrested at higher rates than whites. Des Moines (population: 214,000) provides a case in point. So far its district, half of whose students are black or Latino, has not followed schools from Maryland to California heeding pleas to restore the SROs. Instead, Iowa’s capital city is rolling out a new community-engagement safety plan to replace the cops. And that infuriates parents alarmed by school mayhem long before Floyd’s death moved racial justice to the front burner -- parents like Lindsay LaGrange. The Des Moines mom reached her breaking point in November after a student in her son’s middle school was found with an airsoft pellet gun on campus. “My son turned in this boy to the front office, and then later this boy beats up my son after school,” she said. “Almost every day he said there’s another fight at school. The kids are not safe.” Police investigating after Monday's fatal shooting outside Des Moines' East High School. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP) The Policing of America’s Schools Des Moines joined the wave of districts that hired SROs after the rash of school shootings in the 1990s, a decade capped by the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. The killing of Sandy Hook elementary school children in Connecticut in 2012 spurred more districts to follow suit. As many as 25,000 law enforcement officers are working today in all types of schools, from rural to suburban to urban, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). In Des Moines, SRO was a coveted job. Cops went through a competitive hiring process, which vetted them for the patience and savvy to communicate with teenagers, said Sergeant Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department. Not every officer was a good fit. Those tapped went through training at NASRO, a crash course in seeing the world through the eyes of a teenager. Des Moines started its SRO program about two decades ago. The district would eventually hire 10 SROs and a supervisor – one cop for each high school and four that were shared by the middle schools. Seventy percent of SROs were white men and women. Black men made up 30%. Parizek said the public has harbored misconceptions about the approach. SROs weren’t placed in schools to jack up kids with a dime bag. Although an average of 287 Des Moines students were arrested annually in the years before the pandemic, the goal was prevention: to build relationships with students to deter them from trouble and to hear chatter about what’s going down in the schools. Who’s going to fight? Who has a gun? “The guns we recovered in 2019, we recovered them before they made it inside the school door,” Parizek said. “And this was because of the relationships that SROs had with students who provided them with information.” School resource officer Deb Vanvelzen: “Sometimes kids talked to me to keep their friends safe.” A Cop’s Story at Lincoln High Officer Deb Vanvelzen fit the SRO mold. She was a school teacher with a passion for working with students before becoming a cop and then an SRO from 2005 to 2019, mostly at Lincoln High. In addition to performing typical police duties, such as breaking up fights and disposing of drugs, Vanvelzen aimed to be part of the Lincoln community. She advised teachers on how to keep classrooms safe. She spoke with parents about how to address problems with their children. She gave students lunch money and clothing her own kids outgrew. A former high school athlete, the white cop played hoops in the gym (and in uniform) with students and ate lunch in the cafeteria with kids of color to break the ice. They talked about clothing styles. For a few years she sent every student a birthday card. At graduation, Vanvelzen shook everyone’s hand. The payoff? “Once the students saw me as trustworthy, they started talking to me and I found out things before they happened and exploded,” she said. “Sometimes kids talked to me to keep their friends safe.” A few years ago, a Lincoln student approached Vanvelzen with a tip about a weapon. The day before, a teen from a different school involved in a fight across the street from Lincoln had a gun. Vanzelzen then relayed the tip to the SRO at that student’s school. “So that SRO sees the kid in the hallway, gets him into his office, and lo and behold, he still has the gun,” she said. Portilda Sayon, a junior at Lincoln, said some students felt safer because of the SROs. Sayon got to know Dusty Chapline, Vanvelzen’s replacement, after Sayon had a verbal spat with other girls. The two talked a lot about Sayon’s emotional problems and issues at home. “Chappie helped me tremendously,” Sayon said.    Some students, however, never took to the SROs. “They don’t like cops because they had a bad experience with them before,” Sayon said. Vanvelzen said that she, in collaboration with the Lincoln staff, “absolutely” made the school safer. But she notes the challenge in assessing the effectiveness of SROs. There’s no way to count the number of incidents that did not happen because of her presence at Lincoln. The statistics are hard to interpret: there were 1,652 reported acts of physical aggression in the Des Moines middle and high schools in fiscal 2019. That number was fairly steady in the few years before SROs were removed. So perhaps the cops were keeping a lid on violence but not significantly reducing it. When officials examined the data, they couldn’t come to a definitive conclusion about SROs. “That’s the essential question, but we really couldn’t answer it with confidence that SROs were or weren’t making schools safer,” said Jake Troja, the district director of school climate transformation. How Two Students Expelled the SROs The campaign to remove the police was led by two Des Moines students at East High School, Endi Montalvo-Martinez and Lyric Sellers. While researching racial equity for a leadership class, Montalvo-Martinez, then a junior, learned about the controversy surrounding SROs in other cities. It meshed with the experience of some of his friends who believed racism had led SROs to stop them and search their bags.   So Montalvo-Martinez and Sellers, then a sophomore, wrote a sweeping anti-racist proposal in early 2020 to compel the district to remove the police, redesign its Eurocentric curriculum and hire more teachers of color. Jake Troja, school official: Statistics didn't answer whether "SROs were or weren’t making schools safer.”  When the duo met with Superintendent Thomas Ahart, he said no. “He made excuses like there’s no funding, we can’t invest in these things,” said Montalvo-Martinez. Soon after that rejection, Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis ignited protests, even in quiet Des Moines, where demonstrators clashed with cops, exchanging bricks and bottles for tear gas in May of 2020. The following month, Ahart sent a letter to families, titled “We ALL Must Be Actively ANTI-Racist.” Montalvo-Martinez said the district’s new anti-racist pledge gave the two students more political leverage, but they still needed tactical advice on how to sway administrators and board members. Jaylen Cavil, a defund the police advocate with the Black Liberation Movement and candidate for the Iowa House, became a key adviser. Montalvo-Martinez and Sellers gathered arrest data from the Des Moines human rights department and student testimonials about being traumatized by SROs before making presentations to principals, teachers and school board members individually. They encountered some resistance from school staff, but in their second meeting with the superintendent, Ahart agreed that the SROs must go. "Ahart did a 180," Montalvo-Martinez said. Thomas Ahart, superintendent: After Floyd's murder, “We ALL Must Be Actively ANTI-Racist.” But Ahart knew that most parents probably wouldn’t back his decision. In a survey by the district, a majority of parents (66%) and students (53%) had said they supported having police in schools. In the heated racial politics of the moment, the arrest data – blacks students were twice as likely to be involved with a SRO than whites – became a rallying point. Montalvo-Martinez and other activists said it showed that the cops were biased and targeted blacks for arrest. The cops, however, generally didn’t patrol the halls and playgrounds looking to make arrests. The vast majority of arrests started with calls for help to SROs from school administrators, who were identifying the incidents and misbehaving students that they wanted the cops to handle, district officials say. “I want to make clear that SROs were not the problem even though it comes off in the media that way,” Troja said. “They were summoned” to the scene. In February 2021, the school board voted unanimously to end the SRO program. “Kudos to these two students for really being intentional around the process and information and lining up support on this issue,” said Teree Caldwell-Johnson, vice chair of the school board.  Schools Take On Violence Control Following the lead of other districts, Des Moines developed a SRO replacement plan for schools to handle most of the behavior problems, other than serious crimes such as possession of a weapon. This way, students would avoid the taint of a police record that could harm their job prospects after graduation. Officials also argued that they could improve school safety if the $900,000 spent on SROs was redeployed in support of a new, community-based approach. That included bringing community organizations like Dads on a Mission – a group of local fathers who want to have a positive influence on students – into the schools. Hall monitors were hired so high schools now have five of them rather than one SRO. And the district has been rolling out a restorative justice program, where students hash out their conflicts in discussion groups in hopes of overcoming them – a practice that has had mixed results in other districts around the country. “We were calling the SROs for many incidents, like physical fights in the hallways, that we could have handled ourselves,” Troja said. “Now we are approaching safety differently by allocating funds to different resources to try to get better results.” The new approach didn’t get off to a good start. Last fall, after 16,000 middle and high school students returned to classrooms full-time in Des Moines, officials were caught off guard by the spike in fighting and disruptive behavior. The removal of the SROs didn’t cause the surge in violence, but nor were the cops readily available to tamp it down. Last September, there were 83 referrals for fighting in Des Moines’ six high schools compared with 59 in the same month in 2019 – a pattern of monthly increases that continued through December. Students posted numerous disturbing videos on Snapchat of boys and girls aggressively attacking each other at different schools, with punches to the head, kicks to the stomach and stomps on the chest. Then there’s the matter of guns. Last year, a student brought a loaded 9mm pistol into Lincoln High, alarming parents but not surprising them. From 2016 to 2020, the staff and SROs confiscated 20 lethal weapons from students, mostly loaded guns, in this school district of 32,000 students. Des Moines police say a number of gun shots have been fired near schools that have been linked to students, but without any fatalities. In addition to guns, students have access to a wide arsenal of weapons. In December, a Lincoln student who had been bullied brought a taser to school and used it when he was attacked by others bearing brass knuckles and pepper spray. Backlash at the School Board Aveantai Smith moved from Arlington, Texas, to Des Moines, where she had lived about 17 years ago, assuming the schools were as safe as she remembered. Instead, she has been horrified by the brutality that her son and daughter have encountered at Lincoln High. Smith met with the principal, who said he’s doing everything he can to control the surge in violence. But that didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. She pulled her daughter out of Lincoln and sent her back to Texas to live with her grandmother. Her son, a football player who isn’t easily intimidated, remains at the school. “It’s literally outrageous,” said Smith, herself a college nursing student. “The school is not safe and secure. The fighting is on a whole different level. I’m scared to send my kids to school every single day.” By December a backlash was underway, with Des Moines parents calling for a return of the SROs in media interviews. The controversy came to a head at a Dec. 7 school board meeting. LaGrange, whose son Jeremiah was attacked by another student, has been organizing other parents on social media behind the SRO cause. She bluntly told board members during the meeting to “wake up” to the reality of the rise in violence and restore the police program to protect students. Critics of SROs also spoke up at the meeting, repeating the story line about racist police practices. A public school employee told the board that the police were removed for “targeting black children” and that the racist practice would return with the SROs. An activist with the Young Women’s Resource Center urged the officials to reject the “dangerous narrative” pushed by local TV station KCCI in its “campaign against black children, framing them as sources of violence within our schools.” But KCCI hasn’t singled out black students in its coverage. Ten days later, Superintendent Ahart was forced to crack down on students, announcing a tougher suspension policy for fighting in a letter to families. After a first fight, students can stay in school and try to resolve the conflict. After a second, they shift to 30 school days of remote virtual learning with counseling to get to the root of the problem. A third fight means two months of virtual instruction. With the return of some old school discipline, the number of reported high school fights dropped to 47 in January compared with 67 in the same month of 2020. But Ahart, who announced his resignation on Feb. 28, was silent on the question of bringing back SROs. Would having cops on-site who can quickly respond to incidents like the brawl outside of Lincoln High in September also make a difference? “Yes, without SROs we lose that immediate access to an officer,” Troja said. “Does that have benefits? It does. But do those benefits outweigh the benefits that we gain now with our new approach? I don’t think so, or we wouldn’t have gone down this path.” Tyler Durden Thu, 03/10/2022 - 21:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 10th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From "Insurrection" To Authoritarianism

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From 'Insurrection' To Authoritarianism Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. ~  Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Read Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives here... Read Part 2 - Heart Of Darkness & The Rise Of Centralized Healthcare here... So, here we are at the third and final part of the 2021 Year in Review and it’s no longer 2021. Sorry about that pfuck-up. Think of it as not in 2021 but from 2021. You may have noticed that the first 200 pages (parts 1 and 2) were laced with a recurring catchphrase, “WTF is happening?” It was a literary device for noting that the events ceased to make sense within a conventional worldview, suggesting it is time to torch the old model and start anew. Our response to a disease that was killing a very small slice of the population was to sequester and vaccinate the entire population with an experimental drug of real but unquantified fatality rate. The apparent scientific illiteracy was not some mass psychosis. Y’all just got suckered by America’s Most Trusted Psychopathic Mass Murderer assisted by an epic media blitz sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry that had a distinct authoritarian quality. Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein During the brief period after uploading part 2 while grinding on this last portion, the Supreme Court took on the vaccine mandate issue, ruling that the only people forfeiting control of their own healthcare are the healthcare workersref 2 The court also illustrated their profound ignorance of the pandemic and what they were even charged to assess—the Constitutionality of mandates, not the efficacy.ref 3 The CEO of a major insurer reported a 40% spike in fatalities within the 18–65 age bracket that was not from Covid.ref 4 He said 10% would be a 3-sigma, once-every-200-year event: 40% is unheard of. Although he refrained from identifying a cause—deaths of despair, neglected healthcare, or a toxic vaccine—he knows precisely what did them in. They have been studying this stuff for centuries. I suspect his real message was that the insurance industry is about to contribute to inflation with rising premiums. Meanwhile, the pathological liars running the covid grift decided after two years the masks you’ve been wearing served no medical purpose and that the vaccines don’t work either. Wait: who said the masks and vaccines don’t work? We have known for many months that COVID-19 is airborne and therefore, a simple cloth mask is not going to cut it…Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. ~ Leana Wen, MD, CNN medical expert with no admitted ties to the CCPref 5 Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any. Three doses with a booster offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths. Less protection against infection. ~ Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEOref 6 Here is my most heartfelt response to them: You psychopathic lying sacks of shit. You had us wear rags across our faces and put rags across the kids’ faces when clinical studies that could be read by people with half your IQs showed they were worthless. Suicide rates and other deaths of despair soared while you petty tyrants played your little games and generated billions of dollars of profits while destroying the middle class. You have maimed or killed an unknown number of gullible victims with your lockdowns, vaccines, remdesivir, and oppression of Ivermectin. You jammed a vaccine that bypassed animal trials into the fetuses of pregnant women, assuring them it was safe. If we spoke up, we got muzzled. If we refused the vaccine, we got fired. You should all hang from your necks until dead. I will piss on your graves. I feel better already. Very refreshing. Meanwhile, many of my friends and colleagues look at the same data and say, “Oh. I guess I better get the booster and a KN95 mask.” You have got to unfuck yourselves. You’ve been duped. It will get worse. The tactics used to oppress us would have made Stalin smirk. Australia was a beta test for what is to come in the rest of the west if we don’t wake up soon. They are gonna keep coming for one simple reason: we accepted it. We got bent over and squealed like pigs. What normalization does is transform the morally extraordinary into the ordinary. It makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been. ~ Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioral patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions. ~ William Sargant, in Battle of the Mind Meanwhile, the financial world became even more dominated by central bankers who haven’t the slightest understanding of free-market capitalism. These twits or criminals—maybe both—have blown the most colossal bubble in history if you account for both price and breadth across the spectrum of asset classes. For the layperson, that means they have set us up for a colossal failure. Go back and re-read Valuations if you cannot picture the epic financial carnage lying dead ahead. The gap between the Fed funds rate and headline inflation has never been this large. These pinheads believe that if the markets do not coincide with their world views, the markets must be wrong. I am not an economist, but it appears that none of them are either. The notion that a dozen nitwits should set the most important price of them all—the price of capital—rather than letting the markets set it through price discovery is financial authoritarianism or what some call State Capitalism. I am angry in case it doesn’t show. Meanwhile, in 2020–21 the Fed contributed to destroying upwards of a half-million mom ’n’ pop businesses—they gutted the middle class—while giving BlackRock credit at 0.15% interest rates to buy up all their houses. Here is my advice to those day trading criminals: look both ways as you enter crosswalks. What I believe the response of society to a severe downturn given the current political climate will be epic. Big downturns come after euphorias. We have never entered a downturn with society at large this grumpy. We are in the early stages of The Fourth Turning.ref 7 The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. ~ Charles-Louis De Secondat When a State has mortgaged all of its future revenues the State, by necessity, lapses into tranquility, langor, and impotence. ~ David Hume, 1752 So, WTF is going on here? In this final part, I address geopolitics. It begins with a relatively benign analysis of Biden’s first year in office, culminating with what I think Afghanistan is really about. The second section addresses my view of what may prove to be the most important day in US History—January 6, 2021. Although it is my best shot—Dave’s Narrative—I will not attempt to nor will I inadvertently spread the love to both sides of the political spectrum. It is a right-wing view that most right-wing politicians and pundits are too cowardly to state in polite company. The final section addresses the Rise of Global Authoritarianism. For a topic covered by thousands of treatises to call my knowledge skeletal is a reach. I have merely created an intellectual foundation—a chalk outline—to ponder why authoritarianism is here and what could stop it. (Plot spoiler: I do not believe it can be stopped.) They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we’re on our way to the grocery store or not. But they haven’t acted on that to put people in camps yet. They could do it. We could be East Germany in weeks, in a month. Huge concentration camps and so forth. ~ Daniel Ellsberg (@DanielEllsberg), author of The Pentagon Papers and Secrets Before moving on, let me give a plug for a book.ref 8 I have not even finished it yet, but it will change your worldview. Look at those ratings! I can guarantee none of those readers enjoyed it. Kennedy will curdle your bone marrow describing 35 years of atrocities commited by America’s Most Trusted Madman. It is emblematic of a much larger problem. Evil is powerless if good men are unafraid – Americans don’t realize what they have to lose. ~ Ronald Reagan The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ~ H. L. Mencken Biden – Freshman Year Scorecard Let’s go, Brandon! ~ Cheers across America Most presidents begin their reign with a calling. Reagan raised our national self-esteem after a period of economic and political malaise. Bush Sr. took on the Gulf War, for better or worse. Clinton oversaw the economic boom and bank deregulation, again for better or worse. Bush Jr. was handed 9/11 and, in my opinion, boned it badly. Obama had to wrestle with the Great Financial Crisis. Trump was charged with disturbing the peace—drain the swamp if you will. Biden undeniably needed to begin healing the social discord that, regardless of its source, left the country wounded and divided. Maybe that was not Biden’s calling, but I wanted to see him become the president of all the people. This is not revisionist history of my failing memory: Biden’s the last of the Old Guard, which is probably why he was slipped into the office by the DNC old guard. I am guessing there will be no Supreme Court stacking; that was just rhetoric (I hope). There will be wars just like every president (except Trump, who brought troops home.) Congress is more balanced again and, at the time of this writing, the Senate is still in Republican hands. Hopefully, the gridlock will usher in some garden-variety dysfunction. I have subtle concerns about a Harris presidency. Admittedly, my opinion is based on precious few facts, but Harris displays a concerning shallowness of character, a lack of a moral compass, and the potential to slide to the left of Bernie. (I sometimes reflect on what it must have been like raising the teenaged Kamala.) I am trying to reserve judgment because first impressions scavenged from the digital world are sketchy if not worthless. ~ 2020 Year in Review By this description, Biden tanked his GPA. He ushered in a Crusade to erase the Trump era and its supporters. The weaponizing of social media and censorship against one’s opponents was probably unavoidable, but the downside will be revealed when the wind changes. Team Biden took banishing of political opponents on social media to new levels by, as noted by Jen Psaki, flagging “problematic posts” and the “spread of disinformation” for censorship. NY Timeslapdog Kevin Roose called for a “reality Czar,” not noticing the Russian metaphor problem. The War on Domestic Terror may prove to be a turning point in American history, one that risks extinguishing the flame of the Great American Experiment. Significant erosions of Constitutionally granted civil liberties discussed throughout the rest of this document may not have been Biden’s fault, but they occurred on his watch. If you see an injustice and remain silent, you own it. I can’t remain silent. Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. ~ Chris Hedges, right-wing hatchet man Team Biden. Books have been written about Trump’s fumbles in the first months (or four years) of his presidency. See Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven in Books or Michael Lewis’ less balanced The Fifth Risk reviewed in last year’s YIR. The Cracker Jack team assembled for Joe reveals a glob of feisty alt-left activists and omnipresent neocons. According to Rickards, two dozen players on Biden’s roster were recruited from the consulting firm WestExec Advisors (including Psaki and Blinken.)ref 1 That’s power and groupthink. David Axelrod: You must ask yourself, ‘Why are we allowing him to roll around in the hallways doing impromptu interviews?’ Jen Psaki: That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions.’ Young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are, but they don’t have lawyers; they don’t have accountants. ~ Joe Biden Joe Biden, President – Joe is the Big Guy. In an odd sense, he is immunized from criticism because he is visibly losing his marbles. His cognitive decline is on full display; this 52 seconds of gibberish about inflation is emblematic.ref 2 He’s 80 years old, for Cripes sake. I read a book this year entitled, When the Air Hits Your Brain, which derives from a neurosurgical aphorism that finishes with “you ain’t never the same.” Wanna guess who had two brain aneurysms (one rupturing) years ago leading to a miraculous recovery?ref 3 You’re the most famous African-American baseball player. ~ Joe Biden to the Pope, context unknown (possibly even a deep fake)ref 4 I am neither reveling in Joe’s problems nor do I believe he is calling the shots. Claims that the puppet master is Harris are, no offense, on the low side of clueless. Obama seems like a better guess but Barrack was a front man too. Having an impaired leader of a superpower, however, is disquieting and potentially destabilizing, especially with Taiwan in play. Biden’s energy policy that clamped down on fossil fuel production only to ask OPEC to open the spigots is one for the ages. The covid policies bridging both administrations were catastrophic, but throwing workers out of jobs into the teeth of unprecedented labor shortages makes zero sense. The nouveau inflation—Bidenflation—may stick to him like it stuck to Jimmy Carter, but that is unfair to both presidents. Look to the Fed in both cases for blame. Troubles at the southern border and the Afghanistan pullout are a couple of serious logs for a raging inferno that represents Biden’s first year in office. As discussed in a later section, demonizing “white supremacists”—not just political opponents but opponents labeled by their race—will not be viewed well by historians unless history is at a serious fork and Joe is ultimately protrayed as the founder of some new Fatherland. Kamala Harris, Vice President – Whenever situations heat up, Harris is off like a prom dress. During the crisis at the border that she was charged with overseeing, she took off to Europe, cackling about never even visiting the border. Kamala endorsed and claimed credit for the Kabul evacuation.ref 5,6 Realizing she had pulled yet another boner she pulled out before they renamed it Kamalabad. (Hey: At least I had the decency to pass on the Kamalatoe joke.) In a moment of surreal comedy, Harris hosted a public chat with Bill Clinton on “empowering women.”ref 7 She can even serve up semi-reasonable ideas with dollops of cringe. If the Democrats nominate her in 2024, may God have mercy on their souls—she is unelectable—or maybe on our souls—I could be wrong. Jen Psaki, Press Secretary – The role of any press secretary is to calm the press down with nuggets of insight—to feed the birds. When that fails, lie your ass off, all with a cold, calculating sociopathy. I would say she did the best job imaginable given the hand she was dealt. Disagree? I’ll just have to circle back with you on that. Ron Klain, Whitehouse Chief of Staff – This guy might be the rainmaker, but I haven’t quite figured him out. He has the durability of Andrei Gromyko, maintaining a central role through three democratic administrations. Keep an eye on him. Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury – We have yet to find out Yellen’s role because she has not been pressed into service by a crisis. To resolve the minor “meme stock” bruhaha, which did not call for a resolution, she needed an ethics waiver owing to the soft corruption of her bank-sponsored million-dollar speaking tour. My expectations of her are quite low, and I imagine she will meet them. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State – He has a good resume. Like Psaki, he is forced to play a weak hand. He lacks Psaki’s skills. Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, US Energy Secretary – In a press conference she was asked how many barrels of oil a day the US consumes and said, “I do not have those numbers in front of me.” ‘Nuff said. Get her out of there. Merrick Garland, Attorney General – The press will tear anybody a new one so snippets with bad optics are always dangerous. I would say, however, ordering the FBI to investigate parents who get irate at school boards—even those who seem rather threatening—is over the top. Leave that to the local and state police. His role in the January 6th event and push into domestic terrorism is potentially sinister and moves him onto my shitlist. Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency – This one blows my circuits. She is what in the vernacular is called “a commie” straight from Kazakhstan with a thesis on Marxism—a devout believer that the State should run the show. She also hails from Cornell Law School. (Yeah. I know. STFU.) Matthew Continetti of the National Review noted she is, “an activist intellectual who is—and I say this in the kindest way possible—a nut.”ref 8 There will be no more private bank deposit accounts and all of the deposit accounts will be held directly at the Fed. ~ Saule Omarova, Cornell Law Professor   We want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change. ~ Saule Omarova, on oil and gas companies For those who have seen the horror movie The Ring, Cornell tried to exorcise the demon by sending “the VHS tape” to Washington, D.C., but it came back stamped “Return to Sender.” She withdrew. Hey Team Biden: you could want to snatch up MIT’s Venezuelan-derived president who is already on the board of the World Economic Forum and was instrumental in pushing Aaron Swartz to off himself.ref 9 John Kerry, Climate Czar – Don’t we have enough Czars? John is charged with flying around the world in his private jet, setting the stage for a 30-year $150 trillion push to make many bank accounts much My disdain for the climate movement catches Kerry in the splash zone. Pete Buttegieg, Transportation Secretary – I must confess to liking Mayor Pete and would have been happier if he had gotten the crash course in the oval office rather than Joe. The one criticism I would make is that taking two months of paternity leave during the nation’s greatest transportation crisis seemed odd. I think when you are in such an important position you find a way. Get a nanny. Bring the twins to your office. Leave them with your spouse. For Pete’s sake (sorry), stay at your post. For the record, after my youngest son was born my wife had health problems. I used to bring him to work and lecture with him in a Snugly and changed a shitload of diapers. You could have done it too, Pete. Samantha Power, Head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – Sam is a garden-variety neocon, having served as ambassador to the UN and on the National Security Council, both under Obama. She was central to the planning behind destabilizing Libya,ref 10 which sure looks like a bad idea unless destabilizing the Middle East is our foreign policy. Please just don’t fuck up too much. Cass Sunstein, Homeland Security employee. This is not really an appointment, per se. Cass is the Harvard-employed husband of neocon Samantha Powers. In his 2008 book, Conspiracy Theories, Cass declared “the existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories” to be our greatest threat, outlining five possible solutions, and I quote, “(1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might engage in counter-speech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counter-speech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.” Guys like Cass who come out of Harvard’s CIA training camps are menaces to society. Marvelous hire, Joe. Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary for Political Affairs – She is famous for her hot mic “Fuck the EU” comment and for engineering the coup in Ukraine—a Wonder Bread neocon. William J. Burns, Head of the CIA – I’ve got nothing on Bill, not even a fingerprint. It would be difficult for me to grade him poorly on a curve with the likes of John Brennan, William Casey, and Alan Dulles. (I once had dinner with a former CIA head John Deutch. What a dick.) Christopher Wray, Head of the FBI – As the FBI increasingly looks like the Praetorian Guard for the power elite (both in and out of public office), Wray has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors like J. Edgar Hoover and James Comie to be both top cop and dubious scoundrel. Wray’s fate might be dictated by the ongoing Durham investigation, but I have not seen any heads roll inside the Beltway since Watergate a half-century ago. Tony Fauci, Director of NIAID – That bipartisan, power-hungry authoritarian—The Most Trusted Madman in America—is a recurring theme. He doesn’t know any science. He is a political hack—a chameleon—who survived 35 years multiple administrations by being able slither out of anybody’s claws and regrow his tail. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC – She got serious attention in part 2. I am horrified by her sociopathy. I think she is evil. Amy Gutmann, Ambassador to Germany – Guttman was given the job after giving the Big Guy more than $900,000 in speaking fees and an honorary degree from UPenn when she was the University’s president. I am sure every ambassador pays market rates for the job.  Cathy Russell, Biden’s Director of Presidential Personnel–She is married to Tom Donlin, Chairman of the gargantuan multinational investment firm, BlackRock. Their daughter made it into the Whitehouse National Security Council. A talented family enjoying the political respect accorded to billionaires. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Head of the Office of Science – Despite scientific chops as a climate-change-supporting agronomist, she has no administrative experience and is inexperienced in the scientific programs that she is overseeing. Of course, everything is now about the $150 trillion climate grift, so she’s our girl. Jared Bernstein, Whitehouse Economic Advisor – He is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degrees in social work and philosophy, and a Ph.D. in social welfare. His greatest strength may be his complete lack of training in economics. Shalanda Baker, Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy – Is that a salaried position? ‘Nuff said. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Mark transitioned from the Trump administration. It caused a stir when he went more “woke” than Chelsea Manning. We will no longer defeat our enemy but assign them pronouns and include them. This was followed by a scandal outlined in Bob Woodward’s book in which he instructed military leaders in a secret meeting to bypass Trump on important military decisions.ref 11 He then unilaterally told his peer in the Chinese military that he would drop a dime if there was an impending military conflict. He tried to hang it on the Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary spit the bit fast.ref 12 My theory is that the sudden wokeness was to commandeer allies on the far left knowing that scandal was coming. It worked. He looks like he is right out of Dr. Strangelove without the lip gloss and eye shadow. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services. He refuses to acknowledge the merits of natural Covid-19 immunity. That puts him near the top of my shitlist. Becerra has no medical or scientific training. He’s a lawyer, but at least he is from an underrepresented group. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services – I know little about her. She might be the most qualified candidate, certainly more so than her boss Becerra. Call me skeptical of a purely merit-based appointment. Hunter Biden. I was going to place Hunter in the bullets and call him Head of the DEA and National Association of the Arts, but I had reservations. There are sad, heartwarming, and troubling roles played by Hunter Biden. His addiction is a highly personal problem that is difficult for the first family to deal with, especially given other tragedies in their lives. Joe Rogan succinctly explained Hunter’s remarkably odd behavior: “he is a crackhead.” They are part and parcel of being dopesick. Leaked emails from the laptop show Dad to be a compassionate and loving father struggling to save his son. Ironically, old footage surfaced of Joe ranting about how we have to deal with crackheads severely no matter whom they know.ref 13 It did not age well. It is clear that Hunter Biden was selling access and influence. It appears that Joe Biden was aware of that effort. That is very serious. If these emails are false, this is a major story. If they are true, this is a major scandal. ~ Jonathan Turley Before you start blubbering, however, recall that Hunter’s laptop revealed that he was playing critical roles in Russian and Chinese dealings for the Biden family. The Kleenex gets tossed and the gloves now come off. Hunter’s business partner stepped forward admitting nefarious deals were made with Joe involved. Joe denied knowing the clown, but a then photo of the two surfaced.ref 14 This year Hunter also began selling his artwork for up to $500,000 a pop behind a “Chinese Wall”—a veil that ensures we cannot find out who bought the art.ref 15,16,17 The money might literally be from behind a Chinese wall. That buys a lot of crack even after the Big Guy’s 10% cut. Figure 1 shows two paintings, one by a Hunter and the other by two elephants. (No joke, elephants have been painting brilliant pictures free-trunk for decades.) Figure 1. Biden art (left) brought $500,000. The elephant painting (shown being painted) brought $39,000. We are a democracy…there are things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. ~ Joe Biden, several years ago Executive Orders. Before the first week of his presidency was over, Biden had signed 37 of those beauties. Some, such as the order extending rent moratoria, were overtly unconstitutional. Some merely unwound Trump’s orders that had unwound Obama’s orders. This is dodge ball. While Yale was battling a civil rights case for discriminatory admissions practices, the Biden DOJ dismissed it without comment.ref 18 Yale is said to have promptly destroyed the evidence, which shows they have good lawyers. Transgender athletes were reinstated in women’s sports, ensuring that longstanding records will be shattered.ref 19 It got surreal when UPenn’s transgender swimmer was beaten by Yale’s transgender swimmer.ref 19a An executive order giving the IRS direct access to our bank accounts seems both sinister and inevitable…death and taxes as they say.ref 20 There are a lot of Republicans out there giving speeches about how outraged they are about the situation at the border. Not many who are putting forward solutions. ~ Jen Psaki, forgetting about the wall idea Crisis at the Border. The mainstream press covered this one exhaustively. There are parallels here with the North Africans crossing into Europe several years back. It looks intentional, but why? Don’t tell me about building a democratic base. That is too far in the future and too simplistic. It is far easier to control the elections at the server level. Baffling details include the administration’s suggestion that border agents should be empowered to authorize the immigration of “climate migrants.”ref 21 That could boost a few agents salaries. Rumors of US military planes transporting illegals into the US suggests somebody could punk the elite: load up a boat and drop a couple hundred on Martha’s Vineyard. On further thought, rather than offering Vineyardians more gardeners, drop off some Afghans.ref 22Whoever is calling the shots, this is neither about civil rights nor climate change. Attorney General Merrick Garland clarified the immigration challenge: Today marks a step forward in our effort to make the asylum process fairer and more expeditious. This rule will both reduce the caseload in our immigration courts and protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence. If you do that, that will set off a mass migration that’s like nothing that we have ever seen in this country because the entire world will then come on through to get their asylum, essentially legalizing illegal immigration, in a very clever way. ~ Attorney General Merrick Garland WTF did Garland just say? Both his meaning and intent are unclear. The immigrants, of course, were all unvaccinated, which would have been OK by me had the administration not gone Third Reich to vaccinate US citizens. The administration also wanted to offer $450,000 to every immigrant family separated from their loved ones: why?ref 23They seemed to walk that third-trimester idea back and then walked it forward again. A half-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to manage the immigrants went to friends of the administration.ref 24 Your tax dollars at work. At least we are back to business as usual. By the way, where is Border Czar Kamala Harris while all this is going on? Making creepy videos.ref 25,26 People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations. ~ Graham Greene Miscellaneous issues surfaced that either went away or are still festering quietly. On the positive side, stacking the Supreme Court—increasing the number of justices to get a left-leaning majority—seems to have been only a political football. Granting Washington DC statehood, while to a plebe like me doesn’t seem nuts, has the trappings of a massive powershift to the left in national elections. Joe invaded the legal process by declaring Chauvin guilty and Kyle Rittenhouse a white supremacist. Would Obama have done this? I don’t think so. Rittenhouse may get his “10% for the Young Guy” in defamation suits against Joe and every media outlet on the planet. Joe checking his watch five times at the funeral of dead marines didn’t play well,ref 27 but if you put a camera on me I wouldn’t make it to lunchtime without serving up Jim Acosta fresh meat. The main drama of Biden’s first year, however, played out in a distant land.   Afghanistan—where empires go to die. ~ Mike Malloy Afghanistan. I’ve been groping for nomenclature — Afghazi, Afghazistan, Benghanistan, Benghazistan, Saigonistan, Clusterfuckistan, and Bidenistan—to describe this odd moment in history. That 20-year skirmish cost an estimated $2.3 trillion.ref 28 The idea that it was only a few thousand troops with no fatalities in the last year or two makes me question my wisdom, but I can’t start revising history. Whether for right or wrong, I was glad we were getting out. The ensuing Crisis in Kabul looked like the graveyard of a presidency—a combination of the Bay of Pigs and the Iran Hostage Crisis that would dog us for years. They are chanting “Death to America”, but they seemed friendly at the same time. ~ CNN reporter wearing a burka looking for a husband Even before the evacuation started we were hearing about huge caches of weapons that would be abandoned.ref 29 In an eat-and-dash that would make an IHOP waiter wince, we bugged out at 2:00 AM without telling anybody.ref 30Jalalabad Joe had assured us repeatedly the 300,000-strong Afghan army would hang tough. They were defeated in time to chow down on some goat stew for dinner. Images of desperate Afghan’s clinging to transport planes brought up images of the Saigon Embassy rooftop. We left service dogs in cages.ref 31 Marines would never do that. Stranded Americans and Afghan collaborators were begging for help to get to the airport and even to get into the airport.ref 32The administration used a drone to strike on some kids and their dads loading water into a truck to change the news cycle briefly.ref 33 The Afghan who is credited with saving Joe Biden and John Kerry in a disastrous excursion to Afghanistan years earlier got left behind pleading for help:ref 34 Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here. Mercenaries like Blackwater’s Erik Prince tried to prevent Americans from taking The Final Exit,ref 35 only to get stonewalled by the Whitehouse. Meanwhile, the top commander and four-star Wokie, Mark Milley, was too mired in scandal.ref 36 Retired generals were calling for the active-duty generals to resign.ref 37 The withdrawal could not be botched worse if you tried. The populace are now facing a winter of profound famine.ref 38 Rural Afghanistan has been rocked by climate change. The past three decades have brought floods and drought that have destroyed crops and left people hungry. And the Taliban — likely without knowing climate change was the cause — has taken advantage of that pain. ~ CBS News, sticking it like a Russian gymnast This vexing story was from the Theater of the Absurd. Starting with the caches of military equipment left behind, I have two simple solutions that a group of teenagers could have concocted: Announce Blow Shit Up Friday (BSUF). Provide the military personnel with some grenade launchers and a few kegs of beer, grill up some goat burgers, and start blowing shit up. That would be a blast. If that is too unprofessional, you gather all armaments and anything of else of value into an open space. Once the wheels go up on the last troop transport, drop a MOAB—Mother of All Bombs.ref 39 Tough luck for those who were trying to hotwire the stuff when the MOAB arrives. It will take a year to get them out…If you use those billions of dollars of weapons behind I promise they’ll be using them against your grandchildren and mine someday. ~ Joe Biden, Presidential Candidate, 2007ref 40 The collapse of the Afghan Army also couldn’t have come as a surprise. The military and CIA certainly knew that those troops wouldn’t withstand a West Side Story-level brawl.ref 41 The soldiers were paid by the US for their service COD, and there was no C left. Shockingly, most of the payroll booty had long-since been snarfed up by the politicians and top military brass from the only swamp in Afghanistan.ref 42 Whocouldanode? Taliban can murder as many people as they want. But if they keep trolling Biden like this they’re gonna get kicked off of social media. ~ Jesse Kelley, noting the Taliban has an active Twitter feed Here is a script playing out in my noggin. The Crisis in Kabul was an arms deal—Fast and Furious 2.0. One of our top diplomats called the Taliban and said, “We are pulling out in a month. We’ll leave the keys in the ignition and pallets of $100 billsref 43 to help pay for upkeep. If you guys let us sneak out unmolested, you can party like it’s 999—an authentic Taliban-themed fraternity party. We will leave you guns, money, nice facilities, and even a few wives. If you fuck this up, however, we will be right back here.” The Whitehouse also lent a legitimizing tone to the regime when speaking about “working with the Taliban” as part of the deal. In return, the State Department called on the Taliban to form an “inclusive and representative government,”ref 44 so there’s that bit of risible nonsense. Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have done any better. The bottom line: 90% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to leave Afghanistan. ~ Jalalabad Joe Biden That might be a great poll number or inflated final exam grade at a college Joe erroneously claimed to attend, but I am not sure “90%” is impressive in this context. The actual evacuation was ineptly executed from the get-go. Mr. Rogers, with the help of his viewing audience of toddlers, could have Kabuled together a better plan based on the simple precept, “pull out the civilians then the military.” Baffling claims the Whitehouse was obstructing evacuations of charter flights containing Americans was not right-wing propaganda: Where are they going to land? A number of these planes have a handful of Americans, but they may have several hundred individuals who do not have proper documentation of identity….we don’t have manifests for them, we don’t know what the security protocols are for them, we don’t know what their documentation is…hard choices you face in government. ~ Jen Psaki, press conference WTF actually happened? When nothing makes sense your model is wrong. Glenn Greenwald got the scent that withdrawal was intentionally mishandled, suggesting this is “fully within the character of the deep-state operatives.”ref 45We also forgot to destroy our sophisticated FBI-derived software and a complete database containing the biometrics of Friends of the USA,ref 46,47,48 enabling the Taliban to find potential detractors for an attitude correction. Think of it as Afghanistan’s high-tech War on Domestic Terror. The stonewalling of help from other countries also makes no sense using a conventional model.ref 49 Biden’s CIA Director met with Taliban leadership covertly—so covertly we all knew about it—to concoct a “deal”, but what kind of deal?ref 50 During the evacuation, we gave the Taliban names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies supposedly to let them pass through the militant-controlled perimeter of the city’s airport.ref 51 They would never abuse this list, right? A large number of Afghan refugees—possibly as many as 100,000 according to Tucker Carlson—entering the US are consistent with our open border policy along the Mexican border, but what is that all about? Afghans, by the way, are reputed to be always recalcitrant to assimilate in Europe just in case you’re thinking of renting out your basement as an Airbnb.ref 52 What happened in Afghanistan is not incompetence. We are not that incompetent. ~ General George Flynn The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war. ~ Julian Assange, 2011ref y I have no doubt that blood was shed after we left. More than a few US sympathizers surely lost their heads. As to the stranded Americans, why were they still there? China had evacuated their citizens months earlier.ref 53(Hmmm…Chinese citizens were there?) Two dozen students from the Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents there for an enriching summer trip were stranded.ref 54 How did they get visas? That field trip will generate a few college essays that will beat any written about dead grandparents, although Kabul State College may be their only option. This is now on-track, Peter, to be the largest airlift in U.S. history. I would not say that is anything but a success. ~ Jen Psaki to Peter Doucy The media can create, steer, or smother narratives at will. I have a question: Where are all the dead Americans—thousands of them—said to be left behind? Horror stories should be surfacing daily, but they’re not. We shit a mudbrick when One Dead Kashoggi (ODK) got fed to the camels in Saudi Arabia. Three thousand fatalities on 9/11 got us into Afghanistan in the first place. We supposedly left behind “thousands of Americans” but without generating a single headline? So much for that Bay of Pigs­–Iran Hostage Crisis analogy. So here are my next questions and I am deadly serious: Did we get duped? Was the whole thing more sham than farce? There is no such thing as a true account of anything. ~ Gore Vidal Here is Dave’s Narrative. We installed the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan as the best of many bad options. The winners are the Taliban and China. The two are inking deals for mineral rights as I type. The chaos was intentional. But why accept such a profound humiliation and dashed hopes of future alliances in global hotspots? I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world. The Taliban is saying, we just didn’t defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power, ever. I think, not only will the jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central. We are more at risk, without a doubt. ~ Michael Morell, former CIA Director under Obama Maybe China has way more than just Hunter’s laptop to blackmail us and is about to take possession of Taiwan soon. While we await the next Kyle Rittenhouse trial to preoccupy ourselves, take a peek at this video. Skip over the election stuff since we all have rock-hard opinions on that and go to minute 55:30. Xi Jinping’s right-hand man, Di Dongsheng, publicly explained the extent Beijing controls US politics:ref 55 There is nothing in the world that money can’t fix, right? If one wad of cash can’t handle it, then I’ll have two wads. (laughter) Of course this is how I do things. In fact, to be a bit blunt, in the past 30 years or past 40 years, we manipulated the core power circle in the United States, right? I mentioned earlier that Wall Street started to have a very strong influence on U.S. domestic and foreign affairs in the 1970s. So we figured out our path and those we could be dependent on. But the problem is that Wall Street’s status has declined after 2008. More importantly, starting in 2016 Wall Street has no influence on Trump. Why? It is awkward. Trump had a soft breach of contract on Wall Street once, so the two sides had conflicts. They tried to help during the Sino-US trade war. As far as I know, friends from the U.S. told me that they tried to help, but they were too weak. But now we see that Biden has come to power. (crowd laughs) The traditional elites, political elites, and the establishment have a very close relationship with Wall Street. You all see it: Trump talked about Biden’s son, “You have investment funds around the world.” Who helped him build the funds? You understand? There are transactions involved. (laughter) So at this point in time, we use an appropriate way to express a certain kind of goodwill. (applause) ~Di Dongsheng, Vice Director and Secretary of the Center for Foreign Strategic Studies of Chinaref 55 January 6th Capitol Insurrection Alec Baldwin killed more people in 2021 than did the January 6th insurrectionists. Anybody reading this far knows that the January 6th riots stemmed from the right-wing voters who doubted the veracity of the 2020 election. Twitter polls show that view is not as partisan or as rare as the media would lead you to believe. I happen to doubt U.S. election integrity but have for quite a few election cycles. ref 1 Hacked Stratfor emails show the democrats rigged the vote in ’08 ref 2 and Republicans rigged it in ’04.ref 3 It is bipartisan Capture the Flag with red and blue pinnies.ref 4 In any event, Trump’s Green Goblin strategy was to beckon the MAGA faithful to the Capitol to protest the Electoral College signing off on the results. It was not so different than the mobs outside the courthouses trying to subvert the Rittenhouse and Chauvin trials, but the scale of January 6th was much larger and the optics were Biblical. It got out of hand and, at times, even a little Helter Skelter. Mob psychology elicits dramatic changes in brain chemistry and has been the topic of many laboratory studies.”ref 5 Temporary insanity is not a crazy defense. My Tweet got some hysterically hateful responses from the Right who missed the sarcasm and the Left who did not. I think I squandered more of my valuable time left on this planet burrowing through the January 6th story than on the Covid-Vaccine combo platter. I should preface this section by noting that I was praised by a thoughtful long-time reader for being “balanced and measured and carefully worded, even on edgy topics.” I may be on the cusp of disappointing him. It’s impossible to peer at the The Great Insurrection through a non-partisan lens. Both sides may find common ground in the belief that January 6th is a profound fork in the road of the American Experiment. The sock-starching Left will celebrate it as a national holiday every year while the bed-wetting Right will try to ignore it. Both are wrong. Look at that photo and pause to ponder its implications. Put a funny caption to it. Let’s hear from some Republicans first: We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. ~ Liz Cheney I think Lizard nailed it. We’re on the same page. Let’s keep going… January 6 was worse than 9/11, because it’s continued to rip our country apart and get permission for people to pursue autocratic means, and so I think we’re in a much worse place than we’ve been. I think we’re in the most perilous point in time since 1861 in the advent of the Civil War. ~ Michael Dowd, former Bush strategist I would like to see January 6th burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11 because it was that scale of a shock to the system. ~ George Will, syndicated columnist Mike and George are as unhinged as I am but on different hinges. I think they are delusional and offensive. Edging forward… The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following. ~ Steve Smith, Lincoln Project co-founder Now I’m getting the heebie-jeebies if for no other reason than the Lincoln Project is filled with Democratic operatives (or at least neocons) pretending to be Republicans—as authentic as the Indians at the Boston Tea Party or stepmoms on PornHub. We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within…There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home… But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. ~ George W. Bush, a thinly veiled allusion to January 6 George got some serious guff from more than a few of the 80 million Fox-watching extremists including the Grand Wizard: So interesting to watch former President Bush, who is responsible for getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East (and then not winning!), as he lectures us that terrorists on the ‘right’ are a bigger problem than those from foreign countries that hate America. ~ Donald Trump He nailed it. I have stated previously that Bush committed war crimes. Of course, the National Security Machine chimed in… The No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in — the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 national security threat to the United States of America. ~ Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Dude! You just tarred about 80 million asses with that brushstroke. Let’s move further left to find some middle ground: They swooned for him on 9/11 because he gave them what they most crave: the view that Al Qaeda is comparable to those who protested at the Capitol on 1/6. ~ Glenn Greenwald, on George Bush’s comments Glenn is part of a growing cadre of liberals including Matt Taibbi, Tim Pool, Bill Maher, The Weinstein Brothers, and Joe Rogan who are unafraid to extend olive branches across The Great Partisan Divide at risk of being labled white supremacists and Nazis, but they are hardly emblematic of the Left. From the elite Left… I think we also had very real security concerns. We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress.  ~ AOC AOC’s comment prompted one pundit to tell her to “get a therapist”, which seems correct given her moment of maximum drama was when a security guard was screaming outside her door, “Are you OK, Ma’am?” #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett began trending on social media when it was disclosed that she was not even in the building when Ragnar and his buddies showed up.ref 6 They will have to decide if Donald J. Trump incited the erection…the insurrection. ~ Chuck Schumerref 7 What ya thinking about Chuckie? We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6. ~ Joe Biden Joe may be on the A-Team, but he hasn’t found his way out of the locker room. The blue-check-marked liberals did not mince words… The 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden never threatened the heart of the American experiment. The 1/6 terrorists and Donald Trump absolutely did exactly that. Trump continues that effort today. ~ S.V. Dáte, Huffington Post’s senior White House correspondent The only effective way for the government to respond to an act of war by domestic terrorists is to be prepared to meet them with machine guns and flamethrowers and mow them down. Not one of those terrorists who broke through police lines should have escaped alive. ~ a Washington Post commenter Moving as far left as you can by tuning into the most cunning commie who can outfox any Western leader… Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? They came there with political demands. ~ Vladimir Putin The Cast of this Drama. This Kafkaesque narrative will be scrutinized by historians and democratic operatives for years to come. The Left will cast this event as a truly unique moment in US history, but it was precedented. I see parallels with the 1920’s Bonus Army in which World War I veterans were pissed off about unpaid post-war benefits.ref 8 In the saddest of ironies, many were killed by Army regulars. Some authorities, including a young Dwight Eisenhower, thought it was a benign protest while others thought it was an assault on America. Grumpy crowds appear at the Capitol only on days of the week that end in “y.” Recently, f.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

Democrats Face Brutal Reckoning With Hispanic Voters

Democrats Face Brutal Reckoning With Hispanic Voters Authored by A.B. Stoddard via RealClear Politics (emphasis ours), These days the Democratic Party is like a sad addict whose life has fallen apart, with too much to resolve and repair all at once. Sure, the aching hip and broken relationships can be put off for another day, but the lost job, wrecked car, and empty bank account require immediate attention. President Biden and the Democrats are — simultaneously — working to stave off the failure of his economic agenda, control a once-again rampaging pandemic, mitigate the effects of the worst inflation since 1982, and rescue democracy from new laws that permit the GOP to nullify the next election, all before they likely lose both chambers of Congress next year. Democrats Face a Brutal Reckoning With Hispanic Voters There are too many liabilities to count. But there is one new and glaring problem that has nothing to do with bickering factions in Congress, and cannot be explained away by global trends or the potency of election conspiracies and propaganda. A distinct group of their supporters is leaving them. Many Hispanic voters, long a reliable part of the Democratic coalition, have walked away. It is not — yet — a majority of them, but the numbers are dramatic. Biden won 750,000 fewer Hispanic voters in 2020 than Hillary Clinton did in 2016 — in an Electoral College victory he nearly lost by fewer than 45,000 votes in three states. Donald Trump improved his margin with these voters by eight percentage points in four years, according to an analysis by the Democratic firm Catalist — a larger swing than any among white, black or Asian voters. It gets worse. Biden’s approval ratings are awful across the board, but his support has eroded more among Hispanic voters than with any other racial group. A Pew/Marist poll from December showed his approve/disapprove numbers with Hispanic voters were 33/65, a net -32, while they were 40/56 with whites, a net of -16. A recent Wall Street Journal poll showed Hispanic voters splitting their support between both parties, with just 37% of them backing Democrats in the House of Representatives if the midterm elections were held today, compared to the 60% they gave Democrats last November. Republicans would also garner 37% if the election were today. While Biden won 63% of Hispanic voters in 2020, this poll showed they would split their support in a 2024 rematch, with 44% for Biden and 43% for Trump. Hispanic men are more supportive of Republicans than Hispanic women, and following the 2020 election some Democrats dismissed this as a temporary loss, an attraction to Trump’s strongman persona. But Democrats are wrong to delude themselves with such a fiction. The data shows Hispanic voters not only rejected the left’s embrace of socialism, but that they prioritized the issue of jobs and the economy over all else, even if they were critical of Trump’s stand on immigration and the border wall. Their focus remained the same a year later — Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin won the Hispanic vote when he defeated Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, and Hispanic voters strongly disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy. The WSJ poll findings showed that a negative outlook on the economy was seven points higher among Hispanic voters than it was for voters overall. So it isn’t surprising that, like most other voters, Hispanics do not see the American Rescue Plan as good policy, let alone the boon Democrats thought Americans would now be thanking them for. And like many voters, Hispanics too blame rising inflation on the Democrats’ spending bills. Amy Walter, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Cook Political Report, recently quoted an older Latina swing voter from a focus group she attended in November who said that while “there were people who need the stimulus, like those who were unemployed,” Democrats “gave money to everyone, including those who didn’t need it. And now we are all paying for it because everything is going up.” Layered on those differences, and the fact that many Hispanics are pro-life Catholics, is that the Democrats’ culture-war messaging is turning these voters off. Ruy Teixeira, a political scientist who has studied emerging trends in the Hispanic electorate, wrote in “The Liberal Patriot” that these voters do “not harbor particularly radical views on the nature of American society and its supposed intrinsic racism and white supremacy. They are instead a patriotic, upwardly mobile, working class group with quite practical and down to earth concerns.” Have Democrats managed to miss all of this, or do they not care? Is it possible Republicans figured out Hispanic Americans are not woke, and many do not consider themselves non-white, but Democrats did not? Democrats traditionally focus much of their election-time messaging on black voters, but in the first year of the Biden administration the party has sought to continue that outreach. Officials from the president on down have repeatedly highlighted the disenfranchisement of blacks by new Republican voting restrictions, especially in places like Georgia, calling those efforts a new era of Jim Crow, and Vice President Kamala Harris recently held an event on maternal morbidity rates, at which the White House issued a presidential proclamation marking “Black Maternal Health Week.” There is not an explicit message or agenda that speaks to Hispanics, despite the math. While the black vote is expected to stay stable, the Hispanic vote will increase as their population grows, and was 30% larger in 2020 than it was in 2016. It turns out that while Democrats were ignoring this demographic reality, even as Trump bellowed about the wall or Mexican rapists, Republicans deployed a strategy to address the growth of this voting bloc. The swing against Democrats last year — though it amounted to an eight-point gain for Republicans nationally — was much larger in some places like the Rio Grande Valley in Texas (12 points) and Miami-Dade County in Florida (20 points), according to EquisLabs in an analysis of the 2020 Latino electorate. In both of those places, Democrats, it turns out, were asleep at the wheel. Passed out actually. The Equis assessment described a unilateral disarmament by Democrats that bolstered Republicans with Hispanic voters in Florida and Texas. In those states, on the issues of socialism and control of the border, Republicans were communicating their message to these voters clearly and repeatedly while Democrats were absent. “Both are seemingly cases of neglect — where one side completely owns a highly salient issue without meaningful competition. We aren’t talking about ad spending in the last months of the election; we mean multiple years of attention — appearances, photo ops, press conferences, policy rollouts … boosted by local media that echo it,” stated an Equis Research report on the findings posted on Medium in December. Unless Democrats want to cede the Hispanic vote to Republicans, it’s high time they sober up. A.B. Stoddard is associate editor of RealClearPolitics and a columnist.  Tyler Durden Tue, 01/04/2022 - 20:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 4th, 2022

Ten Great Lessons From “Treasure of the Sierra Madre”

Hollywood’s purest gold is in glorious black and white: Warner Brothers’ “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948). Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Directed by the inimitable John Huston. Screenplay by John Huston and Robert Rossen from the novel by the mysterious B. Traven. Starring the director’s father, storied stage and screen actor, […] Hollywood’s purest gold is in glorious black and white: Warner Brothers’ “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” (1948). if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Directed by the inimitable John Huston. Screenplay by John Huston and Robert Rossen from the novel by the mysterious B. Traven. Starring the director’s father, storied stage and screen actor, Walter Huston, in his Oscar-winning role as the venerable prospector, Howard, the best supporting actor who ever stole a picture. And Huston’s dear friend, leading man Humphrey Bogart, cast against type as, per Bogie himself, “the worst sh-t you ever saw,” Fred C. Dobbs. Set and largely filmed in John Huston’s beloved Mexico, this unforgettable morality tale is rated 100% on “Rotten Tomatoes.” Science teaches: when inter-rater reliability reaches 100% the conclusion can’t be wrong. Or, as my father always said: “If ten people tell you you’re drunk, you’re drunk.” More than a fable, “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is a grand tour of the best and worst in human nature, A timeless guide to the benefits and perils of friendship and partnership, love and life, castles and moats, business and investment. Of “Treasure’s” many great lessons here are an even ten: Spoiler alerts apply! "Don’t Take A Risk, Can’t Make A Gain." --- Walter Huston as "Howard" We first meet wizened Howard---Walter Huston reluctantly shed his uppers to appear old beyond his 64 years---at the Oso Negro (Black Bear) flophouse, regaling his fellow down’n’outers with a neo-Marxist analysis of the lure of gold: Gold derives its value from the backbreaking work---prospecting and mining---of production, not its ultimate utility. For gold has little save dentistry and adornment. Is Howard a wayward labor organizer? A fellow-traveler? Even a card-carrying Communist? The answer is D, none of the above. Howard is a “learning machine,” Warren Buffett/Charlie Munger fashion. A mature man of deep vision and moral clarity, a natural philosopher who has compounded skills and wisdom over a well-traveled and closely examined life: A venture capitalist who washed out, but isn’t washed up. So when Howard warily seals the deal with brutish Dobbs and genial Bob Curtin—cowboy-star Tim Holt in the best performance of his career---he blesses their prospecting venture with the fundamental tenant of commercial life: “Don’t Take A Risk, Can’t Make A Gain.” None Are Pure At Heart Like any fable “Treasure” features heroes and villains. And in verisimilitude villains may sometimes do right, heroes can go wrong, and everyone has their reasons. Embittered Dobbs is so certain he will be exploited he is first to do so: “Nobody puts one over on Fred C. Dobbs!” Loathe to share and eager to steal, Dobbs can nonetheless “do the right thing:” He generously tips the Mexican boy who sells him a winning lottery ticket---after previously cruelly dousing him with water in the first reel (“Our Gang” veteran Bobby Blake was fearful of Bogart until they warmed to each other on the set); He helps Howard close the exhausted goldmine, a gesture without reward in this life and a favor for which he seeks no recompense; He contributes the lion’s share of venture capital with a hearty laugh and handshake. But note well Dobbs remains highly transactional: as he freely admits, without his added contribution the venture is sunk. Moreover Dobbs’ spare cash is lottery winnings, house money anyone might casually risk. And, true to his character or lack of it, Dobbs complains of his partners’ supposed ingratitude later in a fit of pique at the mention of the word “hog,” see below. The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend---Ancient Proverb When interloper Cody---formidable Olympian, Bruce Bennett, a Warner contract player---appears uninvited at the campsite Dobbs menaces him and awkwardly punches him. (Though personally intimidating, Bogart shied from fisticuffs, onscreen and off.) Overplaying a weak hand, Cody suggests he might report the find to Mexican authorities if he is not made partner. The threat enables Dobbs to convince reluctant Curtin and Howard to murder Cody rather than share future earnings. Significantly, Curtin and Howard appear sick at heart as they draw their revolvers, whereas Dobbs leads the party and betrays more than a hint of bloodlust. Cody escapes his fate through the fortuitous arrival of Gold Hat, the memorable psychopath played by veteran Mexican actor, Alfonso Bedoya, and his posse of bandits. (Actual bandits in real life, they teased and terrified Bedoya even as his legendary performance—“stinkin’ badges”---frightens and delights viewers.) Thus a prompt reversal of fortune transforms Cody from mortal enemy to brother-at-arms in the desperate gun battle he does not survive. Cody's Widow: Moral Beacon As Howard, and then the more literate Curtin, solemnly read a letter from Cody’s wife---now widow---we learn Cody’s backstory: he sought gold not for himself but to provide a better life for his wife and family. Heretofore in “Treasure” the only on-screen women have been streetwalkers, as mercantile as the men. The widow’s letter is anything but transactional. She loves Cody unconditionally: dismissive of gold, for “we’ve already found life’s real treasure.” Howard and Curtin, unloved and childless men, are moved as we, and promise a share of their find to the widow, as though Cody had been partner from the start. Indeed had Cody not joined them in battle, the outcome might well have been death or worse, as Traven’s novel and the original screenplay forewarn. Selfish Dobbs dismisses his partners as fools who “must’ve been born in a revival meeting.” Cody’s fate is his own bad luck and Dobb’s good. The virtues of Cody’s off-screen widow will figure prominently in the denouement of the picture. Game Theory Rules Every human encounter in “Treasure” rings true, for each abides by classical game theory’s four possible outcomes: Win-Win Lose-Lose Win-Lose Lose-Win Only Win-Win grants enduring mutual benefit. Venture capitalist Pat McCormack is strictly Win-Lose: he hires work crews and “when it comes time to pay off he takes a powder.” Dobbs and Curtin only secure their pay when they tag-team sociopathic McCormick in a vicious bar fight, not easily won. So McCormack goes from Win-Lose to Lose-Win and Dobbs & Curtin go Win-Win, then partner with Howard for a hoped-for Win-Win-Win. But when the going gets tough Dobbs breaks ranks, calls for a default Lose-Lose-Lose, even threatening Howard’s life with a rock. Howard laughs it off: “Without me you two would die here more miserable than rats!” He taunts his flagging partners with another animal analogy, “You’re dumber than the dumbest jackass!” For Dobbs and Curtin fail to appreciate “the riches you’re treading on with your own feet:” Gold! And Howard dances—quite ably---with joy! Suddenly it’s Win-Win-Win, as hoped and dreamed, thanks to Howard, who now educates his partners in the difficult, dangerous and dirty work of goldmining. The Fish That Always Stinks: Selfish Win-Win-Win endures only with generosity and tolerance. Selfish Dobbs possesses neither. He insists on dividing the day’s yield three ways nightly, setting the stage for conflict rather than the mutuality that has heretofore brought success. Dobbs is consistently selfish and intolerant: He does not share water with Cody; He would not exchange tobacco with the Indians (“Why not everybody smoke his own?”) He will not support Cody’s widow; He mocks the Indians’ moral/religious obligation to repay Howard for reviving a drowned boy; indeed he comments that Howard has been duly punished for his kindness. To be sure, Howard’s good deed---the most beautiful, solemn, near-religious moment of the picture---will springload the conclusion of Howard’s story. Bulls Eat, Bears Eat, Hogs Get Slaughtered---Wall Street Maxim Put simply, greed kills. Dobbs, who tellingly bridles at the very word “hog,” is dissatisfied with $35,000 in gold, his one-third share of the $105,000 find. In today’s dollars the total find is 1.5 million and Dobb’s share half a million: the difference between a small fortune and substantial wealth. As Dobbs plainly states, a one-third share might support the remainder of Howard’s life and minimalist lifestyle. But Dobbs is younger, seeks pleasure, luxury and revenge upon the cruel world he inhabits. Selfish to the core, he will not share. Thus when moral duty calls Howard to the Indian boy’s aid and honorable Curtin won’t agree to abandon Howard and plunder his share, Dobbs descends further into greed and paranoia. Dobbs projects his own selfish wishes onto Curtin, then rationalizes Curtin’s murder to take the full pot lest Curtin kill him first. Curtin, too noble to take Dobbs’ life in cold blood, suffers the consequences. "Wars are caused by undefended wealth." --- Ernest Hemingway But Dobbs does not reckon that “one less gun” applies to Curtin’s “death” as well as Cody’s. Now he is alone to face Gold Hat & Co on the long journey back to Tampico, which he never completes. "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." --- African Proverb Inversion: From Loss To Learning When wounded Curtin, newly christened medicine man Howard, and the befriended Indians find the empty sacks of gold among the ancient ruins, Curtin is understandably crestfallen. Howard, who has taught Curtin much, mentored and fathered him, wisely laughs off the loss and offers Curtin his greatest gift yet: the thinking tool beloved of Buffett and Munger, inversion: “Laugh, Curtin, old boy, it’s a great joke played on us by the Lord or fate or nature---whatever you prefer, but whoever or whatever played it, certainly had a sense of humor. The gold has gone back to where we found it. This is worth ten months of suffering and labor, this joke is.” And Curtin is a quick study: “You know, the worst ain’t so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it’ll be before it’s happened. I’m no worse off than I was in Tampico. All I’m out is a couple hundred bucks when you come right down to it. Not very much compared to what Dobbsie lost.” You can view this brilliant and touching climax here: "Life's Real Treasure" --- Cody's Widow Sheltered beneath a stone wall among ruins now perhaps speckled with gold dust, Howard reveals his plan: He will live out his remaining years as medicine man to the tribe he has befriended, with honor, respect and likely even love, as suggested in earlier scenes where Howard, pampered and adored by young Indian women, breaks the fourth wall to wink at the camera. Remarkably, it was Walter Huston himself who introduced the greatest song of late-life love, Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s “September Song,” from “Knickerbocker Holiday,” heard here and now timeless: The more we learn of Howard’s development as a person—prospector, horseman, marksman and warrior, musician, philosopher, dancer, teacher, healer---the more we admire him; moreover, he is moral compass and guide to this amazing story. Howard is kind, courageous, restrained when need be, bold when action is warranted. Howard eschews worldly wealth even as he sought it: he offers his share of what remains of their goods to Curtin, if Curtin will but visit widow Cody and bring the terrible news in person. And perhaps, with another wink to the camera, Howard suggests that Curtin fulfill the ancient duty to marry his brother-at-arm’s widow, whom we already know to be as good as she is beautiful. Howard, at last, is matchmaker, as well. Bogie's Redemption: "The African Queen" (1951) But what of “Treasure” lead Humphrey Bogart, fallen Dobbs? Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Harvey Roy Greenberg, MD, in his book “Movies on Your Mind,” argues that movie stars inhabit our unconscious as eternal icons, even as they pass from role to role, molding the identities that will enshrine them forever. In the Bogart persona Dr. Greenberg traces the seeds of paranoia from “The Maltese Falcon” (1941) through “Casablanca” (1942) to full flower in “Treasure” where frank psychosis leads Bogart’s Dobbs to his ignominious death in an off-screen beheading. If Greenberg’s thesis is correct, John Huston surely sought redemption for his pal Bogart in “The African Queen.” Spoiler alert! Here grizzled, alcoholic, heretofore marginal Charlie Allnut finds sobriety and purpose, romance and heroism, accepting even death upon the gallows, through the love of yet another good woman, Katherine Hepburn’s iron-willed, devoted missionary, Rose, whom he joins in selfless devotion to flag and country. The role won Bogart his long overdue Oscar for Best Actor: a gold-plated statuette that is the ultimate tribute, of love and respect, an actor can receive. To be sure and to be clear that is Howard’s message at the close of “Treasure,” that love, honor and respect are far greater treasure than gold. Updated on Jan 4, 2022, 12:34 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJan 4th, 2022

84 great gifts for your girlfriend no matter her interests, from astrology jewelry to an REI co-op membership

We rounded up 84 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry under $100 to helpful tech and fitness accessories. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Gift your girlfriend a thoughtful, custom keepsake.Framebridge Giving your girlfriend a meaningful gift doesn't have to require hours of research. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts for your girlfriend, from accessories and tech to home decor. Still looking for gifts? Find more gift guides broken down by interest, budget, and occasion here. Giving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know your partner: What they love, what rituals they enjoy, what small daily annoyances you could possibly solve with a thoughtful gift. You also know how much they'll appreciate the gift when it comes from you.Odds are you want to give them something wonderful — whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all personalities and interests to help guide you.Check out all 84 gifts for your girlfriend:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Vuori. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*The best Apple Watch we've triedAppleApple Watch Series 7, available on Amazon and Apple, from $379If you're looking for a great gift and not concerned about staying in an under-$200 budget, we'd recommend the Apple Watch Series 7.Currently, we think it's the best Apple Watch. The Series 7 can charge up to 80% in 45 minutes, and it's the most advanced version with features such as blood oxygen saturation measuring and an electrocardiogram scanner to detect abnormalities in the heart's rhythm. Earrings made with her birthstoneMejuriAmethyst Flat Sphere Studs, available on Mejuri, $180If your girlfriend wears jewelry, birthstone earrings that she can keep forever are a thoughtful, personalized gift she'll wear often.  Delicious sweets from a famous NYC bakeryMilk BarMilk Bar Treats, from $22If your girlfriend has a sweet tooth, send her Milk Bar — the company delivers its iconic and decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to her doorstep.A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classesClasspassClassPass Gift Card, from $15Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing. ClassPass solves both issues. It's relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we'd highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they're ready to use it.Leggings fit for workouts and lounge sessionsVuoriVuori Daily Legging, from $50Vuori is known for its smooth, soft fabrics and flattering fits — and the Daily Legging is no exception. Combining the leisure and comfort of a jogger with the function and stretch of a legging, your girlfriend can wear these for both workouts and weekend lounging. *Sponsored by VuoriA disposable camera that doesn't take you out of the momentGamesgamer024 The gamer/YouTubeDisposable camera, $42.49Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection so you and your girlfriend can focus on just savoring experiences together.The best electric toothbrushColgateElectric toothbrush, $39.99If your girlfriend is more interested in gifts she needs as well as wants, an electric toothbrush is a good option. We've tested our fair share of electric toothbrushes, and we think Colgate's Hum is the best value. It cleans thoroughly and offers advanced features and modern design for $70 — which is considerably more affordable than options with fancy features you may not use enough. A planned trip for the two of you to take togetherAirbnbAirbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25If you want to gift an experience you and your girlfriend can enjoy together, grab a card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come up with a few location ideas to choose from. You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. *This gift can be saved and used at a later date.A versatile Exercise DressOutdoor VoicesThe Exercise Dress, available on Outdoor Voices, $100Given the popularity of the Exercise Dress, we wouldn't be surprised if this was on your girlfriend's wish list. The Exercise Dress is comfortable, versatile, and cute — which has made it a cult-favorite item. If she's a fan of dresses, outdoor voices, or clothes she can wear all day long, this may be a good option. Her favorite specialty food straight from the sourceGoldbelly/InstagramOrder her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy your girlfriend's most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration. A streaming bundle that checks off all the boxesHulu/Disney+/ESPN+/Business InsiderHulu, Disney+ ESPN+ Bundle, available at Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, from $13.99 per monthIf canceled sporting events or trips to Disney have you feeling down, you can gift Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu together to ensure the next few months include plenty of entertainment options. If your partner is not too fond of ads, this bundle can also be purchased with the ad-free version of Hulu.A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residueAmazonForeo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $59In the category of things your girlfriend may love but hasn't asked for yet: Foreo facial brushes. Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing devices. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so your partner can maintain their skincare routine while traveling. A thoughtful book she'll loveAmazon"Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed, available on Amazon, $12.42Pick up one of your all-time favorite books that you think she'd like, or browse some of the books we love to gift. This collection of Dear Sugar advice columns is a heartfelt favorite. Its topics are diverse, its letters to Dear Sugar are intimate and relatable, and Cheryl Strayed's responses are both witty and extraordinarily compassionate.A membership to a huge outdoor co-opREIREI Co-Op Lifetime Membership, $20, available at REIAn REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. If your girlfriend loves the outdoors, this is an option she can enjoy solo and with you. A Dutch oven to elevate their bread gameLodge mfgEnameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $79.90Did your girlfriend get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate her experience. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rack, according to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne.A subscription that sends her a six-month world tour of teasAtlas Tea ClubAtlas Tea Club 6 Month Subscription, available on Atlas Tea Club, $94This subscription sends your girlfriend single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. She'll get two delicious options sent to her home each month.Festive matching underwear from one of the internet's favorite startupsMeUndiesMatching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $42Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we've ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer. A standing desk for a home office upgradeFullyJarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $569If she's working from home, your girlfriend might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need. A framed keepsake of a favorite memoryFramebridgeFramed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing a bit more affordable. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get. The best socks she'll ever wearBombasBombas Women's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, $49.50Bombas makes the best socks we've ever tried, and they're a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They're lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping.A powerful, customizable massage gunTheragunTheragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599This is the best massage gun we've tested — though it's also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use. If you can't give your girlfriend an unlimited pass to professional massages, this is a nice in-between option. A nice gold vermeil and sapphire zodiac sign necklaceMejuriAquarius Necklace, available at Mejuri, $395Mejuri is a Canadian startup created in 2015 to make fine jewelry affordable to buy — and it has racked up waitlists with more than 40,000 people before. Their popular Zodiac Necklace is cool, minimalist, and something she can wear every day. It's made in gold vermeil with AAA quality white sapphires. Mejuri's affordable pricing means the estimated traditional retail price of the same necklace elsewhere would be closer to $235.  The best bathrobe that money can buySnoweBathrobe, available at Snowe, $100Snowe's unisex bathrobe has been called the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, and I'm just one more fervent believer. The cotton fiber traps air for extra absorbency and is soft and plush, and the unisex sizing means it will feel like a blanket-turned-robe. Perfect functionality, and extra points for coziness.A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quicklyAmazonTile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99When your girlfriend can't find her phone, all she has to do is click the Tile button to make her phone ring, even if it's on silent. We've found them especially useful lately. A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startupCuyanaLeather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $85 (+ $15 for monogram)Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you've gotten your girlfriend jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It's made from premium leather, comes in many colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of. A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the houseFelix GrayFaraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95If she's ever complained about strain from constant screens, you can help mitigate it with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with sleep.The convenience of Apple AirPodsHollis Johnson/Business InsiderApple AirPods, available at Best Buy, $119.99When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're easy to use. For the latest option, you can pick up AirPods Pro for $189.99. A 215-piece art kit for creative projectsAmazonArt 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $49.34If your girlfriend loves to create art, this 215-Piece art kit includes everything she'll need for projects: crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint.A year-long MasterClass membership to learn about things she's passionate aboutMasterClassAnnual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearIf your dinner table conversations often include talk of photography, or tennis, or screenwriting, or another passion, consider getting your girlfriend a gift that helps her spend time with her hobbies. We love MasterClass because it kind of feels like entertainment. Classes are short, there's no homework, and she can listen to the audio like its a podcast or watch the videos. The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here.A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinetsMade InSilicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $59This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If your girlfriend loves to cook and has a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move. A convenient phone sanitizerPhoneSoapPhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95This small, easy-to-use device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs.A bottle (or two) of wineMcBride SistersMcBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a wine gift for your girlfriend. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot. The new Sonos Move portable speakerAmazonSonos Move, available at Best Buy, $399.99The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It's powerful, can be controlled by voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort.A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery packAwayCarry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.16 highly-rated sheet masksAmazon/Business InsiderSheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $22.99Grab 39 sheet masks to make it easier for your girlfriend to have a frequent and well-deserved "treat yourself" day. These are highly-rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.   A weighted blanket for better restAmazonYnM Weighted Blanket, available at YnM, from $49.80Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by "grounding" the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside. A mini multipurpose toolAmazonMini Multitool Knife 12 in 1, available on Amazon, $9.99This lightweight multitool has a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, scissors, and a bottle opener — so it's nine times as many opportunities for being useful as your average gift. A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoringFitbitFitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $69.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep someone informed about their physical activity — tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones.An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your homeOur PlaceAlways Pan, available at Our Place, $145If you're spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — she may appreciate a good 8-in-1 cookware hack.The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that's extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here.A video message from someone she loves almost as much as youCameo/Business InsiderCameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $15Whether it's your girlfriend's favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you're likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she'll never forget. Personalized cartoon couple mugsShelley KleinPersonalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30These cute mugs can be personalized for what you're like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established if you'd like. Silky, breathable leggingsEverlaneEverlane Leggings, $68Everlane's Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they're breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here.Beautiful candles from a cool startupOtherlandOtherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. If you want to give your girlfriend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from a startup that she's probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option. Find our full review here.The last weekend bag you'll ever need to buy herRothy'sRothy's The Weekender, available at Rothy's, $550With its large, padded top handles and roomy interior, Rothy's The Weekender might be the last overnight bag your partner ever needs. It's got multiple pockets and a sturdy insert that helps it maintain its shape. You'll be shocked by how much you can fit in this bag — definitely enough for a long weekend. It's made of recycled plastic pulled from the ocean and is machine washable.  The "world's most comfortable shoes"AllbirdsWomen's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we'd also highly recommend the brand's casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that's more your partner's style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here.A customized map of her favorite placeGrafomapCustom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find our full review here.A gift card to a popular wine subscription clubWincGift Card, available at Winc, from $29.95Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it's the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions. An exercise bike for staying active indoorsNordicTrackCommercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,499If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200. A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memoryArtifact Uprising/Business InsiderLarge Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $22, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $30.A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straightHydro FlaskHydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here.A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 secondsDaily HarvestGift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $50Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they're tasty and good for you. It addressed most of my healthy eating roadblocks. The best hair dryer ever inventedDyson/FacebookDyson Blow Dryer, available at Ulta, $399.99This gift may seem inexplicably expensive, but the Dyson blow dryer is lauded as the best one ever invented, making it a cult favorite. It prevents hair damage by measuring air temperature 20 times per second, has a specially designed Dyson motor for fast drying, and reduces static, breakage, and makes hair look smooth and shiny.Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the marketBrooklinenLuxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $240Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in plenty of colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave.This cozy loungewear set that she'll never want to take offKnixKnix Cozzzy Track Pants, available at Knix, $46.75Cozy and warm, the Cozzzy Track Pants from Knix are comfortable enough to wear around the house while also being cute enough to wear to the market. The ultra-soft fabric feels like the softest terry cloth washcloth you've ever used, and its slouchy fit is modern and luxe. She'll love the joggers with cuffed legs that are sleek without being overly tight. Comes in cream and gray.The internet's favorite olive oilBrightlandAwake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here. A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classesMandukaManduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, from $42.50Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference. It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal. A card game that's meant to deepen personal connectionsUrban OutfittersWe're Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30This card game, from the popular Instagram account We're Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven't played before, but it's also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy with your girlfriend.A cooking class from one of the nation's top chefsCozymeal/InstagramGift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50With a Cozymeal class, you and your girlfriend can learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation's top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it's safe to do so). A satin-lined beanieAndrea Bossi / Business InsiderKink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $36Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil's satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she'd prefer to wear the hat without it.We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair. Rihanna's bestselling Fenty skincare setFenty BeautyFenty Skin Start'rs Full-Size Bundle, $75Rihanna's bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything she'll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, and two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here.A cashmere crew from Everlane that she'll own foreverEverlaneThe Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, from $120For a closet staple she'll own for years to come, Everlane's $120 Cashmere Crew (available in various colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has plenty of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can't really go wrong. A small cold brew coffee makerAmazonAirtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Walmart, $34.99This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee's less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there's minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on your girlfriend's way out the door to work. A stylish leather makeup pouch that's thoughtful and easy to travel withDagne DoverHunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women's handbag companies to know, and its toiletry pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size holds a handful of go-to toiletries, and the large should have enough space for all of the grooming essentials.A comfy zip-up for the months aheadPatagoniaBetter Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We're also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option.A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhereAmazonKindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $129.99If your girlfriend is a reader, we'd suggest looking at Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite; it's the company's thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it's waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you've already taken care of.A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50%AquisAquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, from $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes for her hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries. A fun, unique local dateAirbnb/Business InsiderAirbnb Experiences, available at Airbnb, from $10Airbnb started offering experience programming online. You can book from thousands of experiences that range from workouts with Olympic athletes over Zoom to cooking classes with chefs you'd normally have to hop on a flight to meet. We tested a a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class.It's also an under-utilized part of Airbnb, making it a thoughtful and unusual gift — and one you may keep using with your girlfriend for out-of-the-box date nights in the future. As states and countries slowly begin reopening, Airbnb listings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you're not ready to travel yet or just want a fun activity. A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care forLeon & GeorgeSilver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to your girlfriend's door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George's options are very easy to care for. We'd also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.  Beautiful earrings she'll own foreverStone and StrandSparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $395They're solid gold, conflict-free, and made locally. Plus, the style is versatile enough that your girlfriend can wear them every day.A membership to a popular skincare and makeup subscription that sends new, cool, and bestselling products once per monthConnie Chen/Business InsiderBirchbox Gift Subscription, available at Birchbox, from $45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products to subscribers so they can find products they love without much commitment or cost upfront. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, so this is a particularly helpful service. A funny and unique cardLoveFromCo/EtsyYou Take My Breath Away, available at Etsy, from $4.09You can pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it'll mean more if you think just a few days ahead. Etsy has great options for cheap, unique, handmade gifts that are cool and thoughtful. This one is perfect for a couple who appreciates a "The Office" deep cut. A streaming stick that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodesAmazonRoku Streaming Stick +, available at Best Buy, $44.99Roku's Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into his TV.A great foam rollerTB12Vibrating Pliability Roller, available on TB12, $160If your girlfriend is very physically active, a foam roller is a nice gift to aid in her workout recovery and soreness. This one is our favorite because it has four levels of vibration, a pattern that targets muscle groups, and a durable exterior. But, if your budget doesn't fit a $160 foam roller, never fear — we like some under-$20 options too. A subscription to a book club that sends her great hardcovers once per monthBook of the Month Instagram3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she's a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time ("Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple). If you gift her a subscription, she'll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If she's really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).Fancy popcorn and a movie nightWilliams SonomaAmish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on your girlfriend's favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants.A gift set of a dozen decadent bath bombsAmazonBath Bomb Gift Set, available at Walmart, $34.53This bath bomb gift set comes with 12 handcrafted bath bombs that range from mango-papaya to lavender in scent, and some of which include flower petals. They're a great addition to a long bath, as is a bamboo bathtub tray. A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferencesDriftaway Facebook3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $75If your girlfriend loves coffee, she'll probably love to try Driftaway. It's a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she'll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options.A book of love letters written by history's great menAmazonLove Letters of Great Men, available at Amazon, $13.95It can be hard to do yourself justice in words — whether they're spoken or written in a card. This compilation of love letters written by great men can help you say it without actually technically saying it. Bonus points if you write your own, or mark the ones in the book that most closely resemble your own feelings.  A beautiful diamond necklace she'll have foreverAUrateDiamond Bezel Necklace, available at AUrate, from $320A diamond necklace doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality. Lush, subtly scented body washNecessaireNecessaire — The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with nourishing vitamins and clean ingredients. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave her skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished. Hand sanitizer that smells goodTouchlandTouchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9Many of us are using hand sanitizer a lot these days. Why not pick one they'd enjoy using? This version from Touchland is a little moisturizing and doesn't smell like alcohol or make hands sticky. Read our full review here.A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the goCaraa SportCaraa Studio Tote Large, available at Caraa, $250Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining.An award-winning at-home facialSephoraDrunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It's $80, but it's an at-home pro-quality facial your girlfriend can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials.Kitchen towels that rate wines by how well they pair with certain foodsUncommon GoodsWine Pairing Towel, available at Wolf & Badger, $19If your girlfriend loves having a nice glass of wine and/or cooking, she'll appreciate the thought behind this unique wine pairing towel. Grab a bottle and some corresponding ingredients for a fun night in for the two of you.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 8th, 2021

Shellenberger: Why Anti-Police Activism Kills

Shellenberger: Why Anti-Police Activism Kills Authored by Michael Shellenberger via Substack, In response to anti-police protests, many officers quit, resulting in shortages and a spike in avoidable deaths, from homicides to heart attacks, of innocents... Will Yurek with three of his four children including Drew (far right) who called 911 when his father suffered a heart attack. First responders say the city of Seattle failed to save Will’s life because of a police shortage. At 1:24pm on Nov. 2, 13-year-old Drew Yurek called 911 to report an emergency: his father Will didn’t feel well and needed help. Medics arrived six minutes later, but were told by dispatch to wait for the police before entering; there was a cautionary note that flagged the occupant of the address as being hostile to first responders. But the note was outdated, and referred to a previous tenant. Because of a shortage of police officers first reported by Seattle journalist Jason Rantz, the medics were left to wait outside the house until cops could arrive. At 1:37pm, Drew called 911 again, desperate. He needed help. Medics waited two more minutes before deciding to ignore the order and enter the building. They found Will and started to perform CPR and apply a defibrillator. But by then it was too late. Despite their best efforts, Will, 45 and a father of four, died of a heart attack as Drew looked on. The police did not arrive until 1:45pm. Now Drew’s mother, Meagan Petersen, is planning to sue the city of Seattle. “People need to know how the city let this happen,” said Meagan, who is divorced from Will and lives in Utah. “They could have saved Will if the system was working like it should.” Firefighters and police officers I spoke to said they believe they could have saved the man’s life had there not been a shortage of cops. By the end of 2020, 200 police officers had left the Seattle police force. What happened to Will Yurek and what his son had to suffer is a tragic but cautionary tale of what happens when activism and moral cowardice at the top of government destroys public safety and common sense in society. It has happened in Seattle, but many other parts of the country have also fallen victim — with many more in peril, too. Before a vaccine mandate took 100 police officers off the street in mid-October, the Seattle police department was short at least 400 police officers to be at the minimum considered necessary to protect public safety. Why is that? The overwhelming and unavoidable reason is anti-police protests by Black Lives Matter activists. This happened nationwide, but was worse in Seattle, where Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and progressive members of the Seattle City Council allowed anarchists to briefly take over the downtown Capitol Hill neighborhood in the summer of 2020. Durkan did so to show solidarity with anti-police protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. The anti-police protests in Seattle were surprising because in 2018 the City Council had hired a black woman, Carmen Best, for the first time to serve as the city’s police chief. Best opened up for the first time about what happened last summer in an interview with me for my book, “San Fransicko,” earlier this year. Best is also one of the candidates NYC’s Mayor-Elect Eric Adams is considering for NYPD Commissioner. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, left, talks with activist Raz Simone, right front, and others near a plywood-covered and closed police precinct behind them on June 9, 2020. “I refuse to work for this socialist City Council and their political agenda,” said one officer. “It ultimately will destroy the fabric of this once fine city.” Another said the city’s progressive City Council “will be the downfall of the city of Seattle.”  Anti-police protests took a toll around the country. At least two dozen other police chiefs or senior officers resigned, retired, or took disability leave in America’s 50 biggest cities in 2020, while 3,700 beat officers left. Today there are fewer police officers per capita in America than at any time since 1992. In 2020, the homicide rate increased on average by more than one-third in America’s 57 largest cities. Homicides rose in 51 cities and declined in just six of them. Homicides rose 35 percent in Los Angeles, 31 percent in Oakland, 74 percent in Seattle, 63 percent in Portland, 60 percent in Chicago, and 47 percent in New York City.  Some blamed the coronavirus pandemic, and higher gun sales, which rose in March. But homicides in 2020 only started to rise in June, after Black Lives Matter protests, not March. And there had been a similar spike in homicides in 2015 when there was no coronavirus pandemic.  The lack of sufficient police may have made communities more vulnerable to the spikes in homicides seen in 2015 and 2020, as police were redirected to deal with anti-police protests. “When you have your officers and detectives every night on the front line dealing with demonstration after demonstration after demonstration,” said former police chief Best, “they are not engaging with community members. They are not talking to young people. All of that is not happening because the focus now is on the nightly demonstrations.”  “When people believe the procedures of formal social control are unjust,” notes University of Missouri criminologist Richard Rosenfeld, whose research is relied upon by the Department of Justice, “they are less likely to obey the law.”  Counter to the claims of those who advocate defunding the police as a way to reduce violence, the evidence suggests that fewer cops may mean more police misconduct, because the remaining officers must work longer and more stressful hours. Research has found that fatigue predicts a rise in public complaints against cops: a 13-hour rather than 10-hour shift significantly boosts their prevalence, while back-to-back shifts quadruple their odds. The people who suffer most from anti-police activism are black. Nationally, 30 times more African Americans were killed by civilians than by police in 2019. Today, black Americans are seven to eight times more likely to die from homicide than white Americans. If anti-police protests increase homicides, why do groups like Black Lives Matter do it? Because they are after radical system change, not less violence. Radical thinkers, from anarchists to socialists, have for 200 years blamed our capitalist system for crime, and justified crime as a revolutionary act. Crime is a rational response to the high levels of inequality created by capitalism, they argue. For the most part, societies, including in Seattle, have dismissed these radical arguments. “The anarchists had always been a cosplay clown joke,” Seattle Police officer Christopher Young told me earlier this year. “On May Day they would come and fight the police and break some windows. We’d be like, ‘Okay guys, go back to your mother’s basement.’” But after the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016, the anarchists rebranded themselves as “anti-fascists,” said Young, and that increased their legitimacy in the eyes of Seattle’s progressive voters. “They said, ‘We’re here to fight the racists and fascists.’” “The community really wanted more cops,” she told me. “At least three City Council members campaigned on more cops. They wanted better response times.” They also wanted more racial and gender diversity and so, said Best, she created a plan “to have a lot more diversity with our hiring, for women and people of color both. We got to almost 40 percent of either minority or women representation as new hires.” But after the Floyd killing, Seattle anarchists started attacking the police. “Within that large group of people who were there peacefully protesting,” said Best, “there were groups there to create mayhem, throw rocks, bottles, and incendiary stuff, and point lasers at the officers.”  In June, somebody removed a police barricade that had prevented demonstrators from protesting in front of the East Precinct downtown. “It was decided,” said Best, “to remove the barricade and to allow the demonstrators to fill in the street in front of the precinct. We didn’t want to give up the precinct. I have to tell you it was not my decision.”  Progressive members of the Seattle City Council had pressured Mayor Durkan to order the police to abandon their precinct building.  “The next morning,” said Best, “there were these folks out there armed with long rifles, telling the officers who responded that it was their ‘sovereign land.’ ‘What sovereign property are they talking about?’” Best asked her colleagues. “Well, they’re talking about Twelfth Avenue.” She laughed. “We had never experienced anything like that.”  And therein began CHAZ, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best Later, the organizers would rename the area CHOP, for Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. The anarchist leaders invited hundreds of Seattle’s homeless residents to move into the occupied zone, and many did. When asked, Seattle’s mayor insisted that everything would work out fine.  “How long do you think Seattle and those few blocks [will] look like this?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Seattle’s mayor. “I don’t know,” she replied. “We could have a summer of love!”  But soon after, said Best, “We were getting reports of rape, robbery, assault… I don’t know what the Wild West was like, but it couldn’t have been any worse than that.”  Armed residents at CHOP shot two teenage boys just before it was shut down. At least one of them could have been saved. But CHOP’s unelected leaders didn’t allow first responders in until hours later. The homicides led Chief Best to demand permission from the City Attorney to retake the neighborhood, which she did a few days later.  But then, in August 2020, a few weeks later, the Seattle City Council voted to cut the budget of the Seattle Police Department. “That means that all these new people that we hired who are black, people of color, and women will be the first ones to go,” Best told the City Council. “Because it’s first in, first out.”  The council said they wanted Best to go through and pick the people to fire.  “Let me get this straight,” she said she told the council. “You want me to pick the white people to go? Are you crazy?’ They were highly dismissive. It was the most bizarre thing that I had ever dealt with.”  Best criticized the City Council. “I said that they were being reckless and dangerous and that people are going to suffer for it,” she said. “The next day, one of the city councilors said, ‘We need to cut her salary by 40 percent.’ It wasn’t even on the agenda for them to talk about. It was highly punitive and retaliatory.” And so Best resigned. By the end of 2020, 200 police officers had left the Seattle police force.  In truth, much of what people believe about the police is wrong. Police killings of African Americans in our 58 largest cities declined from 217 per year in the 1970s to 157 per year in the 2010s. And there are no racial differences in police killings when accounting for whether or not the suspect was armed or a threat (“justified” vs “unjustified” shooting). Reducing homicides and other crimes will require more police, and that will require community and political leaders to educate voters, and publicly apologize for their role in unfairly demonizing police officers. Most of all, we should seek to make amends to the victims of anti-police activism, including the Yurek family, who are mourning the loss of a young father at Thanksgiving time. “Mr. Yurek’s young son acted quickly and competently. Unfortunately, the city of Seattle was neither quick nor competent,” said the family’s attorney, Mark Lindquist of the Herrmann Law Group. But Will Yurek’s death could gain new meaning if it helps us, as Americans, to view police officers as vital, if imperfect, public servants, and take the measures necessary to affirm their role, and recruit them back into our city police forces. *  *  * Michael Shellenberger is a Time Magazine "Hero of the Environment,"Green Book Award winner, and the founder and president of Environmental Progress. He is author of just launched book San Fransicko (Harper Collins) and the best-selling book, Apocalypse Never (Harper Collins June 30, 2020). Subscribe To Michael's substack here Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

10 Things in Politics: Supply-chain disarray won"t ruin the holidays

And young women say they met Barstool Sports' founder for sex and it turned violent and humiliating. Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Plus, download Insider's app for news on the go - click here for iOS and here for Android. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com.Here's what we're talking about:Forget the supply chain ruining Christmas. Companies are prepping for a blowout holiday season.'I was literally screaming in pain': Young women say they met Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy for sex and it turned violent and humiliatingBiden's COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing mandate for millions of workers is set to take effect January 4Programming note: There will be no newsletter Monday. We'll be back in your inbox Tuesday morning. A help-wanted sign outside a Dunkin' location in Boston on June 14. Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe/Getty Images 1. THE ECONOMY: The holiday season may be more normal than you think. Hiring data shows that companies are betting on a return to pre-pandemic shopping trends. Logistics experts also say the supply-chain crisis is starting to fade, casting some doubt on predictions of shipping bottlenecks bedeviling holiday plans.Here's where things stand:Not everything is merry and bright: Online out-of-stock warnings are nearly triple precrisis levels, and prices continue to climb at their fastest pace in more than a decade. And the coronavirus pandemic has widened inequality, hitting vulnerable workers hard while making the rich richer.Experts are wary of looking only at overall growth to assess the recovery: "There are a lot of people that are slipping through the cracks, that are being kicked out of their homes and their apartments that never did have much spending. Those people are not doing well and their children are not doing well, and that isn't being reported on very much," Sylvia Allegretto, a labor economist who is a cochair of the University of California at Berkeley's Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics, told Insider.But there are some good signs: US retailers, warehousing businesses, and transportation companies plan to hire 939,300 seasonal workers to handle holiday demand, the outplacement and business-coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said in a report. That would be a record.And the supply-chain crisis may be easing: Jefferies economists led by Aneta Markowska said in a note published October 15 that the US was most likely "past the peak pinch," while one of the world's major warehousing CEOs just called a peak this week.Read more about what you can expect to see this holiday season.2. House plans a marathon day of votes on Biden's agenda: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed votes on the two biggest pieces of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda to today after long-simmering disputes threatened to once again derail final passage, Politico reports. Lawmakers are now expected to vote on both the nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $1.75 trillion social-spending plan later today. Pelosi and her leadership team spent the day pushing Democrats to support both pieces of legislation and trying to resolve concerns about the spending plan's drug pricing and immigration provisions as well as concerns about the lack of independent budget analysis. Here's where things stand at the start of a pivotal day for Biden's presidency. Dave Portnoy. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images 3. Young women say sex with Dave Portnoy turned violent and humiliating: In a new Insider investigation, one woman described sex with the Barstool Sports founder as "traumatic," and two said he filmed and choked them without permission. More than two dozen people with direct experience with Portnoy and Barstool spoke with Insider. Three women - who had no professional connection to Portnoy - said that they had sex with him and that the encounters had taken a toll on their mental health. Portnoy, in two videos posted after the story was published, said he had never done "anything remotely nonconsensual" and described the deeply reported story as "the next iteration" of cancel culture. Read more from Insider's investigation.4. Biden's COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing mandate is set to take effect January 4: The White House said the president's previously announced requirements for people working at companies with 100 or more employees would take effect after the new year. There's also a separate mandate - without an exception for testing - for healthcare workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid to be fully vaccinated. The rules for private businesses are expected to cover 84 million Americans, which combined with the healthcare-worker mandate would cover roughly two-thirds of the US workforce. In response, Republican attorneys general have threatened legal action. Here's everything you need to know about the coming mandates.5. Prosecutors say a source for the Steele dossier lied to the FBI: A Russia expert who contributed to the so-called Steele dossier was arrested as part of the special counsel John Durham's investigation into the origins of the FBI's Russia inquiry, The New York Times reports. Igor Danchenko, a Russian national who lives in the US, was charged with five felony counts of making false statements to the FBI. This latest indictment also casts doubt on the origins of the Trump pee-tape rumor.6. Veteran Democrat warns of a midterm bloodbath: Former Rep. Jim Moran was with Terry McAuliffe on the disappointing election night for the former Virginia governor. Moran told Insider that McAuliffe "was more surprised than he should have been" and that "some of the people that have been advising him were kind of deluding him." Moran, who is now a senior policy advisor and lobbyist at the firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, warned of a coming "bloody" midterm election if Democrats failed to resolve their differences on Capitol Hill and Biden didn't return the party's focus to more centrist economic issues. More on the Virginia politician who is worried about 2022. Mayor-elect Eric Adams of New York City. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images 7. Mayor-elect Eric Adams wants to be paid in bitcoin: Adams has been vocal about wanting to transform New York City into a bitcoin hub to compete with Miami for the status of the epicenter of the US crypto community. He said his first three paychecks would come via bitcoin. More on how politicians are jockeying over the future of crypto.8. WHO warns of major COVID-19 surge in Europe: The World Health Organization's European head, Hans Kluge, warned the continent could see 500,000 more deaths by February amid slowing vaccination rates and a relaxation of coronavirus-prevention measures, the BBC reports. Among the worrying numbers, Germany hit a record rise in its daily case count of more than 37,000, just 32% of Russians were fully vaccinated by the end of October, and Romania recorded its highest daily death toll, 591, this week. More on why health officials are worried about the months ahead.9. The most powerful New Jersey state senator lost to a Republican truck driver: Edward Durr, a truck driver for a local furniture chain, is now projected to have pulled off a monumental upset by dethroning Sen. Steve Sweeney, the New Jersey Senate president, The Times reports. Sweeney's loss drives home Democrats' struggles in 2021 elections, which nearly claimed Gov. Phil Murphy as well. The upset will leave a major hole in New Jersey politics.10. The Rock says his production company won't use real guns on sets: Dwayne Johnson told Variety his production company, Seven Bucks Productions, would no longer use real guns in its productions in response to the fatal shooting of the cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film "Rust." Johnson added that his productions would switch to "rubber guns" and simulate gunfire in postproduction. "We're not going to worry about the dollars - we won't worry about what it costs," he said.Today's trivia question: Which president's son was nearby when three presidential assassinations took place? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.Yesterday's answer: William Henry Harrison was the first sitting US president to pose for a picture. He posed for a daguerreotype portrait on the day of his inauguration before his death just 31 days later.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 5th, 2021

Interview With Jared Bernstein From CNBC’s WEC Summit Today

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with White House Council of Economic Advisers Member Jared Bernstein at CNBC’s WEC Summit, which took place today, Wednesday, November 3rd. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Interview With Jared Bernstein TYLER MATHISEN: But first, President Biden campaigned on issues very important to US […] Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with White House Council of Economic Advisers Member Jared Bernstein at CNBC’s WEC Summit, which took place today, Wednesday, November 3rd. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Interview With Jared Bernstein TYLER MATHISEN: But first, President Biden campaigned on issues very important to US workers. And as the stripped down Build Back Better plan snakes its way through Congress, what can employers expect from the White House? Jared Bernstein is a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers and your interview right now is CNBC Senior White House Correspondent, Kayla Tausche. Kayla? KAYLA TAUSCHE: Tyler, thank you and our thanks to Jared Bernstein for joining us as well. Jared, let's kick it off by talking specifically about where the White House sees the labor market right now. The US still has not regained about 5 million jobs since before the pandemic and yet workers are quitting their jobs at stunning rates. So, tell us what policies is the White House considering to either get employees and employers to create new jobs and to help them retain the workers that they have? JARED BERNSTEIN: Well, that's a great question to start us off and I'm very happy to see you and appreciative to have this opportunity. Probably the first place to start is the historical pace of job gains since President Biden took office. 600,000 jobs per month, almost 5 million jobs added since he got here. Unemployment claims now finally back down to where they were before the pandemic took hold and over 10 million job openings, another historic record. The unemployment rate at 4.8%. CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, in their pre pandemic forecast before we had the rescue plan in place, believed it was going to be many years from now before the unemployment rate fell below 5%. So I think there's just it's not at all controversial to argue that the labor market is strong, adding jobs at an historical clip, and that the fingerprints of the rescue plan, particularly shots in arms and checks in pockets helping families and businesses get to the other side of the crisis is instrumental in that regard also had positive wage growth, acceleration particularly in in sectors with strong labor demand. So, I think we're gonna continue to pull folks into a, into a strong job market. TAUSCHE: And while those programs that you mentioned Jared they did go a long way in putting money in people's pockets, there has also been this added specter of inflation during that time. And if you just look at the data over the last year from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inflation is up 5.5% roughly over the last year. In the same time, average hourly wages are down close to 1%. So do companies just simply need to pay more to workers and in some cases, a lot more to get them in these jobs? BERNSTEIN: Well there has been considerable increase in wage offers, and by the way, we see that significantly in some sectors with very strong labor demand like leisure, hospitality restaurants, but also among newly hired workers. That's an interesting finding out of the Atlanta Fed, but let's unpack your question. It's so important. The President has consistently stated that he is very much aware of the constraints on family budgets when inflationary pressures are upon the economy and you're right, they are and they are very much intimately I would say inseparably connected to the pandemic and to the supply constraints that are a result of the pandemic. By the way, a very good way to look at this in my view probably somewhat underappreciated, is simply look at the inflation rates of every other advanced economy. They're also highly elevated. One of the drivers there by the way is, is motor vehicles and that has a lot to do once again with supply chain constraints related to the virus and, and the semiconductor issue they're in. Now in terms of real wages, if you actually look at the last few months, not year over year, which was what you were citing perfectly legitimate site by the way Kayla, that's a that's, that's a true stat. But if you look more narrowly at the recent months, whether it's the employment cost index or average pay in the establishment survey, you actually see that beating inflation. You see, you see wages, beating inflation for low wage workers, which is interesting, and that's important because of the strong labor demand story I've been telling. I think just completing this part of our analysis I'm certainly willing to talk about it more if you like. If you look at where we and every other forecaster including the Federal Reserve believe these dynamics are headed, it's for continued tightness in the labor market, the employment rate continuing to fall, wage pressures continuing to be strong and inflation to come down. So, every forecast including our own, has wages, wages beating prices once the supply constraints ameliorate. TAUSCHE: So, Jared, if you think that wage growth is actually stronger than some of this data lets on than what intangibles are missing? What do companies need to be offering their workers to entice them to take some of these jobs and what can the government provide to fill in some of those gaps? BERNSTEIN: Yeah, let me start, that’s another great question. Let me start with the second part of that question because it feeds right into of course what we're focusing on right now which is passing landmark transformative legislation both in terms of the Build Back Better plan and the infrastructure plan. I think this is so important for the audience of folks that we're talking to today both in terms of infrastructure, productivity, efficiency, getting goods to market, kind of greasing the skids of commerce, but also in terms of diversity. I know we have a lot of diversity officers in the, in the room. We are talking about the most transformative investment in children and caregiving in generations and this helps create a pathway toward it's one of the reasons why other advanced economies who have more affordable and accessible childcare have higher participation rates in the labor market, especially for women and especially for, for moms. We're talking about an investment that could provide 35 million families help through expanding the child tax credit and allow middle-income families to pay no more than 7% of their income on childcare. Again, critical pathway into the labor market. TAUSCHE: But Jared— BERNSTEIN: Sorry. TAUSCHE: No doubt, no doubt that would certainly go a long way but that is if it gets passed and right now, the path to doing so is unclear at best. I'm wondering if you could, if you could handicap for us exactly when you think we could see some of these pieces of legislation get passed and how you think they will change between now and then? BERNSTEIN: Sure. I'll get to that in a sec. I do want to go to the first part of your question though, particularly given our audience today, which what can employers do? Well, I think one of the important things is, is happening already which is employers particularly in the lower wage sectors are boosting wage offers so they're paying attention to price signals and I think that, that's something we kind of expect in this, in this sort of a labor market and that's happening. One of the areas that's important to me as someone who's done labor economics for a lot of years is, is not just the wage side of the compensation package and not even just the benefit side either though that's of course very important, but the scheduling side as well. I think to the extent that employers can help workers with tricky scheduling in an economy that has so many challenges for working families. Challenges that as I just said I think we helped to meet with our, with our reconciliation plan. I think that's really helpful. I like this idea of scheduling banks where essentially the employer tells a group of workers, I'm not gonna micromanage your schedule. It's up to you to make sure you have somebody there, those scheduling banks have actually had a good track record. In terms of the progress, look, this is, you know, this couldn't be a higher. Sorry. I don't think I've talked this much today yet so let me just get a glass, a sip of water. You know, this couldn't be a higher priority for this President and we are making progress toward the goal. Look, you know me Kayla, I'm gonna, I'm an economic, I'm an economic policymaker. I'm not the political force here and I've commented on, you know, CNBC for many years on the economics of this policy without I think, thankfully through the viewers getting deep into the political process. What I can say is that the President and our team have been working extremely hard to get the different factions of the party to support the plan and they've been making real progress. I’m hearing congressional leadership and it's up to them in terms of the timing of these votes making very positive sounds in terms of progress towards, towards the legislative goal line. TAUSCHE: There have been some very high-profile proponents of pieces of this package, I'm thinking namely about paid leave which has now entered back into at least the House draft of this package. I'm wondering where you are getting calls from did Meghan the Duchess of Sussex call you directly in addition to members of the hill to try and get this— BERNSTEIN: Yeah, we talk all the time. No, I did not from her. If she wants to call me, please do so, Meg. But no, I've talked to actually lots of different members from all sides. Remember, I've been in this swamp for, you know, two and a half decades or something like that. So I've been working with members really of both parties, mostly these but ours too, for so many years and we have great conversations and I have heard from the progressives, I've heard from the moderates, I've heard from the folks where climate is their, is their major concern. I had a great conversation, it was a private one so I'm not going to name names, with, with a, with a senator about housing policy. We have 150 billion of highly important progressive supply side adding housing policies in this plan that hasn't gotten enough attention and that's, that's on the docket, too. In terms of paid family leave, yes, I mean not well, I've heard from members but when I joined President Biden and the campaign, this was one of the first things he talked about and so we're gonna continue to fight for this, glad to hear the movement you mentioned in the House but he's not going to give up on this. That's how important he believes it is to working families. He knows personally what it's like to try to balance work and family and how important family and paid leave is to that equation. TAUSCHE: I want to pivot slightly Jared because these labor shortages are happening at a time when also employers are facing the prospect of mandates coming from the government. First it was a mandate to have individuals wear masks, face masks in certain scenarios and now a mandate for private employers with more than 100 employees to have their employees be vaccinated or be subject to a testing regime and there have been some industry organizations that have been asking the administration to delay some of these requirements because they're worried about mass resignations. And I'm wondering if a delay is something that you think has merit, if you are considering it and what you would tell some of those organizations. BERNSTEIN: Well, let me start from the economics like I always like to do then get into the more granular policy. So, I put something up on my Twitter feed the other day that was a very simple graphic. All it showed was the trajectory of the Delta caseloads, I’m sorry, the COVID caseloads, the ups and downs and of course, the most recent up and down in the Delta variant which is down about 60% off its peak from the summer and next to each hump in that trajectory, I plot I just wrote down the GDP growth rate which in the first half of this year was 6.5% on an annualized basis as you know, that is rocket fuel GDP growth and helped us build the strongest GDP recovery among the advanced economies. Last I checked we were the only one whose level of GDP is back to its pre pandemic peak. Now in the third quarter of course, GDP came in at 2% and that was the quarter where you saw that curve tick up. Now, we have forecasts for the fourth quarter where as I just mentioned, the curve is coming down again the caseload curve, and those forecasts are for 4.5% to 6%. So, the connection between a strong economy and vaccinations and the trajectory of the caseload is extremely clear to me and in fact, quite elastic. It happens very quickly. And that of course is the motivation— TAUSCHE: So are you suggesting— BERNSTEIN: Behind the vaccination program. Go ahead. TAUSCHE: So you’re suggesting that a company who is not requiring its employees to get vaccinated is sacrificing its own revenue growth in short? BERNSTEIN: You know, I would never assume to speak for an individual company. Many of them are going to face a very different outlook but I can tell you from the perspective of economic analysis that I've just shared with you and I've looked at really almost every important variable I can find, yeah, that does certainly make the case that vaccines and economic progress, strong growth, revenue growth, income growth, wage growth, jobs, GDP, industrial production, every variable I look at seems highly and positively elastic to these wiggles in the, in the caseloads. So that is, you know, that's certainly the implication of what we're seeing. TAUSCHE: And Jared you know well within the government the mandate of getting the country to full employment falls squarely to the Federal Reserve. Chair Jay Powell is speaking right now, there are several open seats on the Fed and there have, there's been some concern that the Fed has been hamstrung, has not been able to pursue some of its own priorities because of a lack of some of those chairs being filled at the Board of Governors and I'm wondering what you can say about how soon we could see some of those chairs being filled and how that will impact the trajectory for labor policy over the next few months. BERNSTEIN: Well, let me say two things about that. First thing is I'm not going to say anything about that. When I was a chin stroking pundit on CNBC, I would flap my gums and play chin music all day on a question like this, but now those kinds of things from where I sit now, those kinds of answers can move markets and certainly don't want to do that. Now, you heard the President yesterday, I think it was yesterday, maybe the day before, talking about how he's engaged in this process and will continue to be so until he names nominees, candidates but that's all I'm going to say about that. But I did want to say one other thing you know again from this perch, we don't comment on monetary policy. But one thing I did notice was that if you look at the market reaction to the Fed’s announcement that they just made about tapering, it was a very different reaction than you saw with the taper tantrum back a few years ago. And that is a sign of I'm not talking about any particular fed or any particular personnel, just from the perspective of what we as economists can learn about, not just monetary policy, but I think policy in general. That's a sign of forward guidance being used effectively to communicate actions in ways that participants understand what's coming and that's something that President Biden has tried to do on the fiscal side as well. TAUSCHE: Well, we will see if and when we get that announcement from the President for now. Jared, we appreciate your time and your perspective from the executive branch on the outlook for jobs and employment in this country and I'm sure we will speak to you soon. Jared Bernstein. BERNSTEIN: Hope so. Thank you. TAUSCHE: From the Council of Economic Advisers. Tyler. Updated on Nov 3, 2021, 5:31 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 3rd, 2021

Victor Davis Hanson: The Left Got What It Wanted - So Now What?

Victor Davis Hanson: The Left Got What It Wanted - So Now What? Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com, There is no schadenfreude in seeing the Left destroy everything it touches - because its claws tear all of us as well... What was the purpose for the insane opposition of the Left between 2017 and 2021? To usher in a planned nihilism, an incompetent chaos, a honed anarchy to wreck the country in less than a year? Then No sooner had Donald Trump entered office than scores of House Democrats filed motions for impeachment, apparently for thought crimes that he might, some day, in theory, could possibly commit. Foreign Policy published an article by a liberal Obama Administration lawyer outlining all the ways to remove an elected president as soon as possible—including consideration of a military coup.  The FBI and the entrenched bureaucrats at the Justice Department continued their prior failed efforts during the campaign to seed the lies of the fabricated Steele dossier and Fusion GPS. A 22-month-long and $40 million hoax ended with the special counsel himself, a doddering Robert Mueller, swearing under oath that he essentially knew nothing about the dossier or Fusion GPS—the twin catalysts that had prompted his very own investigation.  Fired FBI Director James Comey—a lion on Twitter, and a lamb when under oath—on over 240 occasions testified to the Congress that he either did not know or could not remember, when asked details about the collusion fraud that the philosopher G-man had helped perpetuate.  No one worried about the weaponization of government. So, we went right from the nefarious legacy of John Brennan (who lied under oath to Congress twice), James Clapper (who lied under oath to Congress once), James Comey (who leaked confidential presidential memos), Andrew McCabe (who gave false testimony to federal investigators), Lisa Page (who was fired from the special counsel’s legal team for various unprofessional conduct), Peter Strzok (about whom there is not enough space to detail his transgressions), and the now convicted felon Kevin Clinesmith onto the next round of impeachments.  Two of them followed. Neither was conducted by a special counsel. There was no array of witnesses, no prosecutorial report. Much less were there formal charges of a specific high crime or misdemeanor, or bribery or treason, as specified by the Constitution.  In the end, both farces ended in trials—but not before the Left had established lots of baleful precedents. Impeachment is now simply a tool to embarrass a president in his first term when he has lost the House. A Senate trial could hound an innocent president, even as a private citizen out of office. And a chief justice need not preside over the Senate trial. If and when Joe Biden loses the House, the Left should applaud any attempt to impeach him—given it established the new model of opposition. Of the January 6 debacle, we were not told that it was a riot involving lawbreakers who would be punished. Instead, we were lied to that it was an “armed insurrection,” a “coup,” and “a rebellion” of massive proportions.  Our esteemed retired military and civil libertarians who had damned the mere thought of using federal troops to quell the prior four summer months of continuous rioting were suddenly happy to see 25,000 federal soldiers patrol Washington to hound out fantasy second-wave insurrectionists. In Animal Farm fashion, there were now to be good federal troops deterring mythical violent domestic extremists, but bad federal troops who should never stop real, ongoing mayhem in the streets. It mattered nothing that “armed” in the case of January 6 meant that no firearms were used or even found among the protestors. No one was charged with conspiracy, insurrection, or racketeering. But many were placed in solitary confinement without specific charges being filed—to the utter delight of liberal groups like the ACLU and human rights organizations. The FBI—recently known mostly for spreading Hillary Clinton’s campaign collusion hoax—found no premeditated grand plot. The remaining media narratives were also untrue: Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick was not murdered, but died tragically of a stroke the next day. Five persons were not “killed.” Four who died were Trump supporters. Only one of the five deaths occurred at the hand of a known other—a 14-year military veteran, unarmed, 110-pound female Ashli Babbitt. She was fatally shot while attempting to enter through a window of the Capitol by a law-enforcement officer—to the frequent approbation of the left-wing commentariat. The officer’s name was hidden for months from the public—something conspicuously uncharacteristic in other cases where law enforcement officers are involved in shooting unarmed suspects.  Videos surrounding the entire melee still have been repressed. They likely will never be released. That infamous day remains in dire contrast to the prior 120 days of continuous rioting, looting, and arson. In the election-year summer 2020, federal courthouses and iconic buildings were torched. Nearly $2 billion worth of property was destroyed and 28 were killed.  Yet current Vice President Kamala Harris rallied the public to help bail out the arrested. And the architect of the “1619 Project” reassured Americans that crimes against property like arson and looting are not really violence per se. The weeks of “spontaneous” mayhem magically vanished after November 3, 2020. Note that esteemed medical professionals argued that BLM protestors who flooded the streets were exempt from quarantine, social distancing, and mask requirements, given their higher morality. There are now good riots and bad ones, and noble sustained silence about a noble officer who lethally shoots an unarmed suspect, and noble immediate outing of an ignoble officer who lethally shoots an unarmed suspect. These were merely the main media distortions and fixations over the last four years. We forget the daily craziness such as a president’s calls to foreign heads of state routinely leaked or the FBI director passing on confidential memos of private presidential conversations to the liberal press, or the “whistleblower” who was not a whistleblower as much as a Democratic operative. The media nadir came when the press bellowed that Trump had overfed a fish. An array of retired four-stars damned their president as Hitlerian, Mussolini-like, and deserving an early exit from office. Their superior morality naturally excused them from abiding by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  The New York Times falsely identified a minor Trump Administration bureaucrat (“anonymous”) as a major conservative truth-teller—once he thrilled the media by lying that a large, morally superior, inside cabal was devoted to obstructing the implementation of a president’s orders. Everyone from Hillary Clinton to an active FBI lawyer bragged of joining the “Resistance,” with plenty of conspiratorial retro-accusations that the 2016 election was “rigged.” All that was a warm-up for the plague year in which Donald Trump was blamed for every COVID death. His medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci was deified, due largely to his coy opposition to the president he was supposed to serve.  Both the current president and vice president had, less than a year ago, urged Americans not to be vaccinated, given their own reluctance to take a “Trump” vaccine. At least the anti-vaxxers had consistent opposition to the experimental inoculations; in contrast, the anti-Trumper anti-vaxxers merely saw sabotaging the 2020 vaccination program as necessary to be in a position to claim it as their own in 2021. Now What did all that madness achieve? Mostly, the first election in U.S. history in which over 100 million ballots were not cast on Election Day. Strangely, with such an avalanche of ballots, the usual error rate of absentee balloting dived from around 2-4 percent to 0.2-0.4 percent. You see, when we suddenly must count tens of millions more paper ballots then it becomes easier, not harder, to spot errors. So, the Left won its Pyrrhic victory.  The nation was done with the demonized Trump and now the Left controlled the presidency, and both houses of Congress. Somnolent Ol’ Joe Biden from Scranton pledged to heal the nation as he overturned his predecessor’s supposedly disastrous policies and went on a rampage of slandering his opponents. If Donald Trump was once damned as non compos mentis, the same media and academic accusers kept mum as Biden shuffled, fell, went mute, slurred words, and went off on angry, disjointed, and incoherent riffs. What followed was a concerted effort to destroy the Trump record: the greatest level of combined annual natural gas and oil production in any nation’s history, record low minority unemployment and near record peacetime, general unemployment, a border secure and illegal immigration finally under control, and a New Middle East in which Israel and its Arab enemies concluded neutrality pacts. China was put on notice for its past mockery of global norms. Inflation was low, growth was good. “Stagflation” was still a rarely remembered word from the past. And again, what was all that Pavlovian nihilism to achieve?  Within eight months the following was finalized: Joe Biden utterly destroyed the idea of a border. Some 2 million were scheduled to cross illegally in the current fiscal year. The sheer inhumanity of deplorable conditions at the border surpassed any notion of the “cages” Donald Trump, in fact, had inherited from the humanitarian Barack Obama.  A war almost immediately broke out in the Middle East, once Biden distanced the United States from Israel and rebooted the radical Palestinian cause.  The Taliban defeated the 20-year effort of the United States in Afghanistan, in the most humiliating withdrawal of the American military in over 45 years. Tens of billions of dollars of abandoned military equipment now arm the Taliban and have turned Afghanistan into a world arms mart for terrorists. Iran is emboldened and speeds up its nuclear proliferation efforts. China brags that the United States has been Afghanistanized and will not defend its allies, Taiwan in particular.  At home, gas prices have soared. Prior trillion-dollar deficits now seem financially prudent in comparison to multitrillion-dollar red ink. The nation is more racially polarized than at any time in the last half-century. A bleak and venomous woke creed has outdone the hate and fear of the McCarthyism of the 1950s, as it wages war on half the nation for various thought crimes and the incorrect idea that the United States was, is, and always will be a kind and humane place. More will likely have died each day from COVID by year’s end during the Biden first 12 months than during Trump’s last 12 months. That statistic perhaps might have been meaningless had Biden himself not demagogued the idea that a president is strangely responsible for all pandemic deaths on his watch.  But then again, Biden had warped the pandemic narrative only after he had inherited the Trump vaccination program (17 million vaccinated by Inauguration Day). Biden was wrongly and prematurely convinced that vaxxes were a permanent prophylaxis to any sort of COVID variants that would simply disappear once he took office. Depending on the occasion, Biden claims none, or just 4 million, were vaxxed until he took office, as truth and fantasies waft through his cloudy cognition. With Biden came not just woke polarization, stagflation, a subsidized ennui that erodes the work ethic, and selective nonenforcement of existing laws: Worse, still, we got a bankrupt ideological defense of these insanities. Critical legal theory, critical race theory, and a new monetary theory were all dreamed up by parlor academics to justify the nihilism.  Did America ever believe that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would trash his commander in chief as Hitlerian to journalist hitmen, or allegedly denounce news organizations as “terrorists,” or interrupt the chain of command on a prompt by the Speaker of the House, or warn the Chinese military that he believed there was enough instability in the White House to justify a promise to warn of any impending U.S. military action against Beijing deemed offensive? Was General Milley suffering from the very “white rage” he sought to ferret out? With Biden, China is now omnipresent in the halls of power. A task of our chief COVID advisor, Anthony Fauci, seems to be to deny repeatedly that his stealthy funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan virology lab in China had anything to do with the likely accidental release of a likely human engineered and energized coronavirus. Americans still cannot even imagine that their government might have helped subsidize the plague germ that has wrought such havoc upon them. Meanwhile the president’s son still owns a 10 percent cut in a communist Chinese government-affiliated financial venture, apparently due to his prior drug-addled record of financial mismanagement. The media still insists Hunter Biden’s laptop was “Russian disinformation,” while his paint-by-numbers art is auctioned off to foreign lobbyists expecting a return of the old days when Hunter and Joe grandly arrived on Air Force Two to do their bidding.  What did the Left leave as the proper model for conservatives now to deal with Biden?  Impeach him when he loses the House? Get a special counsel, lavish said counsel with $40 million, a dream team of right-wing lawyers, and 22 months to find real Chinese collusion?  Start seeding a conservative version of Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman and an “anonymous” whistleblower inside the Biden octopus?  Get retired four-star generals on TV to swear Biden is a Chinese “asset,” or have them retweet the idea of sending Biden supporters to China, or swear that he is a fascist? Bring back Woodward and Bernstein to find out whether Biden, Inc. ever paid taxes on all that Chinese and Ukrainian cash?  Call in the ubiquitous Dr. Bandy X. Lee from Yale to administer the Montreal Cognitive Assessment to prove that Biden can distinguish a camel from an elephant or a train from a bike or count backwards from five?  Will the Right prod General Mark Milley’s replacement to collude with soon-to-be Speaker Kevin McCarthy and call the Russians to warn them that Biden is demented, democracy is “messy,” Kamala Harris is crazy, and thus Moscow might need a warning from us about any Biden preemptive aggression? And what of the people who voted for this change and the media that empowered it? In the latest Quinnipiac poll, known for its liberal affinities, Biden now earns a 38 percent approval rating. We should add a few extra negative points given media bias. Do they suffer buyer’s remorse or angst that they were lied to by the hard Left that Joe Biden was cognizant and not a mere vessel for a two-year push for overt socialism? Meanwhile the media is reduced to explaining why an undocumented activist has an understandable right to chase a liberal Democratic senator into a public restroom, hector her, and then video her as she enters a stall to relieve herself and then post the grotesqueness on the internet—a felony in the state of the Arizona, though just part of the “process” for the president of the United States. We could call the above insanity nemesis for woke hubris. Or maybe it is karma, “payback’s a bitch,” or “what goes around comes around.” But there is no schadenfreude in seeing the Left destroy everything it touches—because its claws tear all of us as well. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 20:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Live Free Or Die: Why Medical Autonomy Matters

Live Free Or Die: Why Medical Autonomy Matters Authored by Frank Miele via RealClearPolitics.com, Because I have not been vaccinated against COVID-19, I have been labeled everything from an anti-science Luddite to a domestic terrorist. If I lived in almost any other state than Montana, I might be denied basic human services such as health care, refused employment, or told I can’t shop at a store for such fundamental necessities as food. The powers that be in government, media and medicine have decreed me to be an undesirable and they want to force me and millions like me to be vaccinated against our will. They say that I am a danger to society, never for a minute realizing that they represent a much greater threat to society — the threat of totalitarianism, the state against the individual. George Orwell might just as well have never written “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” The Greatest Generation might as well have never defeated the Nazis. Ronald Reagan may as well have never defeated the Evil Empire of Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. What’s the point if I have to surrender my dignity and willpower to the bureaucrats and technocrats and let them stick a needle in my arm to mark me just as a rancher would brand his cattle: owned. Oh, wait — I’m supposed to surrender for the greater good. I’m supposed to give up my ability to govern my own body because the people who are already vaccinated are still terrified of the virus that the vaccination supposedly protects them against. Something doesn’t add up, and until I feel comfortable with taking the vaccine, you can count me out. No, I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’ve never had any problem with vaccines before. From the time I was a child growing up in the early 1960s, I understood that vaccines were to protect me — and society — from deadly illnesses. That’s not an exaggeration. Smallpox was fatal in up to 30% of cases, and even if you survived, you paid a price. One of my teachers bore the awful scars of smallpox on his face, and no one wanted to suffer as he had. Every kid in school also knew that if you had a run-in with a rusty nail, you ran the risk of being infected with tetanus, which went by the even scarier name of lockjaw. Then there were German measles, diphtheria and whooping cough. We kids may not have known much about those, but our parents sure did, and they could tell stories about cousins, siblings or friends who had perished from them. I never got measles because I was vaccinated at a young age, but it was a common problem in lower-income families such as mine, and was something you definitely didn’t joke about. I think vaccines have done the world a world of good. I remember getting my smallpox vaccine and waiting eagerly to get the scar on my arm that my mother’s arm showed off like a badge of courage, but it never appeared for me. Then when the oral polio vaccine was developed, I remember lining up in the gym at North Garnerville Elementary School in New York to get my first dose on a sugar cube. Yum. So yes, I’m pro-vaccine. I also generally get the flu vaccine every year. I even got a shot last year, although for some peculiar reason, influenza vanished last winter while COVID was enjoying its greatest reign of terror. And naturally, my three children have all been vaccinated against the usual childhood diseases and taken whatever was recommended to keep them safe. But one thing I never thought of doing was forcing my neighbors to get vaccinated against the flu. Did you know that influenza kills as many as 50,000 Americans a year? That’s approaching the number of U.S. soldiers killed in the entire length of the Vietnam War. On average, flu kills as many Americans every year as car crashes. Yet did anyone — even St. Anthony Fauci — ever dare to suggest that vaccination for flu should be mandatory because it would save lives? Hell, no, and even though many vaccinations are required of school children for good reasons, we also have allowed religious and medical exemptions for families that needed them. Because we aren’t supposed to be a nation of slaves, but a nation of citizens. If someone had a personal reason why they rejected vaccines, we didn’t put them through an inquisition or try to burn them at the stake of public opinion. This was America — land of the free. I also never thought of celebrating when a person who opted not to get the flu vaccine died of influenza. But vaccine mandate supporters seem to get giddy when a vaccine refusenik falls ill from COVID and dies on a ventilator or worse. This isn’t science; it’s scientific imperialism — and the CDC centurions are ruthless in their application of power to the masses. Obey or die. So why might a reasonable person decide not to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in such a hysterical climate? Maybe because it’s an experimental and untested drug using a technology (mRNA) that has the power to tamper with the very genetic makeup of the cells in my body. Maybe because I’m more worried about herd instinct than herd immunity. Maybe because I’ve heard wonky scientists gloating about the power they wield over everyday Americans. Maybe because Big Pharma’s getting rich by inventing reasons why you just might need to get a new shot every year. Maybe because I want to decide for myself what’s best for me. Think of it this way. You are afraid of dying of COVID-19. So am I. But that doesn’t mean I am going to die from COVID. In fact, there is what I would characterize as an acceptably small chance I will die of COVID, and I’m 66 years old, right smack in the realm of the supposedly at-risk elderly population. According to data from the CDC reported at RationalGround.com, from Jan. 1, 2020 until Sept. 11, 2021, there were 12,702 U.S. deaths from COVID for my age cohort out of an estimated population of 3,618,069. That’s a death rate of 0.365%. Meanwhile, 100,449 people my age died during the same period of all causes, suggesting I have about a 12% chance of dying of something this year, a much scarier possibility than dying of COVID-19. Think of it! If I’m going to die this year, I’m 33 times more likely to die of anything else besides COVID. Based on the propaganda we are inundated with every day about the virus, I should be terrified! There are way worse things out there trying to kill me than COVID. But I’m not terrified, not even slightly, because life is always a risk. I can temper my risks by avoiding downhill skiing, ATVs, booze, surfing, and motorsports. Those are my choices, but heaven forbid I should dictate that you have to avoid those activities because they are not 100% safe. Your behavior is none of my business. I make my choices, and you make yours. Except with COVID. Then Joe Biden makes my choices, trying to protect me from myself. But here’s the thing. There’s no guarantee I’ll ever actually be exposed to the coronavirus, and if I do, there’s something like a 99% chance that I — as a generally healthy man with no co-morbidities — will recover. Now consider the risk of some kind of debilitating side effect from receiving one of the experimental vaccines being pushed by the government. It is much harder to come up with an actual percentage of adverse effects, because there are so many potential side effects and not all of them may be linked with the vaccine yet, especially when they show up weeks or months after the jab. We do, however, have a number of vaccine-related deaths officially reported by the CDC, using data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System: “More than 396 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through October 4, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 8,390 reports of death (0.0021%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine.” Of course, this means the likelihood of dying from the vaccine is considerably lower than dying from COVID; in fact, if you do the math, it’s about 175 times less likely. That’s a pretty significant difference, even if you throw in the possibility that getting the jab will inflict you with one of the other known possible side effects such as Guillain-Barre syndrome, anaphylaxis, myocarditis, pericarditis, heart failure, thrombosis, brain damage, paralysis, menstrual disorders, and a variety of unexplained pain phenomena. All told, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson says there were more than 400,000 adverse effects recorded by VAERS through July 19 of this year. That number is closing in on 600,000 by now. But reasonable people can’t ignore the adverse effects of the vaccine, and in a reasonable world, they wouldn’t. Just last week, for instance, Sweden and Denmark halted Moderna vaccinations for those under 30 years of age. Finland did the same for men under 30. According to Reuters, “The Swedish health agency said it would pause using the shot for people born in 1991 and later as data pointed to an increase of myocarditis and pericarditis among youths and young adults that had been vaccinated. Those conditions involve an inflammation of the heart or its lining. ‘The connection is especially clear when it comes to Moderna's vaccine Spikevax, especially after the second dose,’ the health agency said, adding the risk of being affected was very small.” Small or not, the risk is real. The question is why you would want to leave the decision up to a health agency whether you should put something in your body that may harm or even kill you. Why not become informed and then make your own decision. Defenders of Big Pharma like PolitiFact say there is no evidence that the vaccines have killed anyone, but to believe that you would have to ignore the evidence of not just the VAERS data set, but also the numerous human stories told in news reports and obituaries of perfectly healthy men and women who died suddenly and often horribly after taking one of the vaccines. Now here’s the point. Knowing all that, if you or anyone else wants to take the COVID vaccine, God bless you, and may all turn out well. But don’t make that decision for me, and don’t turn me into a criminal for making my own decision. I have a conscience, I have a brain, and I have a God. They will inform my decision, along with the science, but the decision should be mine alone. I learned long ago in Psychology 101 that the individual is formed when the infant first cries, “NO,” and for now, that’s what I’m saying to any and all vaccine mandates. I refuse. I’m an individual citizen, not a vassal subject to the whims of my noble superior. Yes, there is a chance that I will contract COVID and suffer as a result. But there’s no certainty about whether I will ever be exposed to the virus while it is in a dangerous form. If I am, I may get very sick or only slightly sick or have no symptoms at all. Compare that to the absolute certainty that if I am vaccinated, I am putting myself intentionally at risk of known side effects by putting a vaccine into my arm that I don’t trust. Only a madman would do that, or someone who puts a much higher value on going along with the crowd than I do. I don’t want to die, but that’s not the worst thing that can happen. Being forced to turn my most personal medical decisions over to Joe Biden or Anthony Fauci is an insult to me and to the Founding Fathers who fought to free us from tyranny. “Live free or die” was their creed, if not yet a formal motto in 1776. Nearly 250 years later, it seems more appropriate than ever. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

The 85 truly unique gifts for your girlfriend that she will actually love, from personalized jewelry to unique subscription boxes

We rounded up 85 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry under $100 to helpful tech and fitness accessories. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Give your girlfriend a thoughtful, custom keepsake. Framebridge Giving your girlfriend a meaningful gift doesn't have to require hours of research. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts for your girlfriend, from accessories and tech to home decor. Still looking for gifts? Find more gift guides broken down by interest, budget, and occasion here. Giving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know your partner: What they love, what rituals they enjoy, what small daily annoyances you could possibly solve with a thoughtful gift. You also know how much they'll appreciate the gift coming from you.Odds are you want to give them something wonderful - whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all personalities to help guide you, below.Check out all 85 gifts for your girlfriend:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Vuori. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.* Earrings made with her birthstone Mejuri Amethyst Flat Sphere Studs, available on Mejuri, $180If your girlfriend wears jewelry, birthstone earrings that she can keep forever are a thoughtful, personalized gift she'll wear often.   Delicious sweets from a famous NYC bakery Milk Bar Milk Bar Treats, from $22If your girlfriend has a sweet tooth, send her Milk Bar — the company delivers its iconic and decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to her doorstep. A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classes Classpass ClassPass Gift Card, from $15Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing. ClassPass solves both issues. It's relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we'd highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they're ready to use it. Leggings fit for workouts and lounge sessions Vuori Vuori Daily Legging, from $59Vuori is known for its smooth, soft fabrics and flattering fits — and the Daily Legging is no exception. Combining the leisure and comfort of a jogger with the function and stretch of a legging, your girlfriend can wear these for both workouts and weekend lounging. *Sponsored by Vuori A disposable camera that doesn't take you out of the moment Gamesgamer024 The gamer/YouTube Disposable camera, $45Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection so you and your girlfriend can focus on just savoring experiences together. The best electric toothbrush Colgate Electric toothbrush, $39.99If your girlfriend is more interested in gifts she needs as well as wants, an electric toothbrush is a good option. We've tested our fair share of electric toothbrushes, and we think Colgate's Hum is the best value. It cleans thoroughly and offers advanced features and modern design for $70 — which is considerably more affordable than options with fancy features you may not use enough.  A planned trip for the two of you to take together Airbnb Airbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25If you want to gift an experience you and your girlfriend can enjoy together, grab a card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come up with a few location ideas to choose from. You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. *This gift can be saved and used at a later date. A versatile Exercise Dress Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress, available on Outdoor Voices, $100Given the popularity of the Exercise Dress, we wouldn't be surprised if this was on your girlfriend's wish list. The Exercise Dress is comfortable, versatile, and cute — which has made it a cult-favorite item. If she's a fan of dresses, outdoor voices, or clothes she can wear all day long, this may be a good option.  Her favorite specialty food straight from the source Goldbelly/Instagram Order her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy your girlfriend's most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.  A streaming bundle that checks off all the boxes Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+/Business Insider Hulu, Disney+ ESPN+ Bundle, available at Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, from $13.99 per monthIf canceled sporting events or trips to Disney have you feeling down, you can gift Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu together to ensure the next few months include plenty of entertainment options. If your partner is not too fond of ads, this bundle can also be purchased with the ad-free version of Hulu. A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residue Amazon Foreo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $59In the category of things your girlfriend may love but hasn't asked for yet: Foreo facial brushes. Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing devices. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so your partner can maintain their skincare routine while traveling.  A thoughtful book she'll love Amazon "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed, available on Amazon, $12.42Pick up one of your all-time favorite books that you think she'd like, or browse some of the books we love to gift. This collection of Dear Sugar advice columns is a heartfelt favorite. Its topics are diverse, its letters to Dear Sugar are intimate and relatable, and Cheryl Strayed's responses are both witty and extraordinarily compassionate. A membership to a huge outdoor co-op REI REI Co-Op Lifetime Membership, $20, available at REIAn REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. If your girlfriend loves the outdoors, this is an option she can enjoy solo and with you.  A Dutch oven to elevate their bread game Lodge mfg Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $79.90Did your girlfriend get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate her experience. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rack, according to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne. A subscription that sends her a six-month world tour of teas Atlas Tea Club Atlas Tea Club 6 Month Subscription, available on Atlas Tea Club, $109This subscription sends your girlfriend single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. She'll get two delicious options sent to her home each month. Festive matching underwear from one of the internet's favorite startups MeUndies Matching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $42Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we've ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer.  A standing desk for a home office upgrade Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $569If she's working from home, your girlfriend might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need.  A framed keepsake of a favorite memory Framebridge Framed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing a bit more affordable. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get.  The best socks she'll ever wear Bombas Bombas Women's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, $49.50Bombas makes the best socks we've ever tried, and they're a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They're lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping. A powerful, customizable massage gun Theragun Theragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599This is the best massage gun we've tested — though it's also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use. If you can't give your girlfriend an unlimited pass to professional massages, this is a nice in-between option.  A nice gold vermeil and sapphire zodiac sign necklace Mejuri Aquarius Necklace, available at Mejuri, $395Mejuri is a Canadian startup created in 2015 to make fine jewelry affordable to buy — and it has racked up waitlists with more than 40,000 people before. Their popular Zodiac Necklace is cool, minimalist, and something she can wear every day. It's made in gold vermeil with AAA quality white sapphires. Mejuri's affordable pricing means the estimated traditional retail price of the same necklace elsewhere would be closer to $235.   The best bathrobe that money can buy Snowe Bathrobe, available at Snowe, $100Snowe's unisex bathrobe has been called the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, and I'm just one more fervent believer. The cotton fiber traps air for extra absorbency and is soft and plush, and the unisex sizing means it will feel like a blanket-turned-robe. Perfect functionality, and extra points for coziness. A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quickly Amazon Tile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99When your girlfriend can't find her phone, all she has to do is click the Tile button to make her phone ring, even if it's on silent. We've found them especially useful lately.  A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startup Cuyana Leather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $85 (+ $15 for monogram)Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you've gotten your girlfriend jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It's made from premium leather, comes in many colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of.  A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the house Felix Gray Faraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95If she's ever complained about strain from constant screens, you can help mitigate it with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with sleep. The convenience of Apple AirPods Hollis Johnson/Business Insider Apple AirPods, available at Best Buy, $129.99When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're easy to use. For the latest option, you can pick up AirPods Pro for $199.99 on Best Buy too.  A 215-piece art kit for creative projects Amazon Art 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $49.99If your girlfriend loves to create art, this 215-Piece art kit includes everything she'll need for projects: crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint. A year-long MasterClass membership to learn about things she's passionate about MasterClass Annual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearIf your dinner table conversations often include talk of photography, or tennis, or screenwriting, or another passion, consider getting your girlfriend a gift that helps her spend time with her hobbies. We love MasterClass because it kind of feels like entertainment. Classes are short, there's no homework, and she can listen to the audio like its a podcast or watch the videos. The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here. A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinets Made In Silicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $59This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If your girlfriend loves to cook and has a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move.  A convenient phone sanitizer PhoneSoap PhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95This small, easy-to-use device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs. A bottle (or two) of wine McBride Sisters McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a wine gift for your girlfriend. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot.  The new Sonos Move portable speaker Amazon Sonos Move, available at Best Buy, $399.99The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It's powerful, can be controlled by voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort. 16 highly-rated sheet masks Amazon/Business Insider Sheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $22.99Grab 39 sheet masks to make it easier for your girlfriend to have a frequent and well-deserved "treat yourself" day. These are highly-rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.    A weighted blanket for better rest Amazon YnM Weighted Blanket, available at YnM, from $39.50Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by "grounding" the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside.  A mini multipurpose tool Amazon Mini Multitool Knife 12 in 1, available on Amazon, $8.99This lightweight multitool has a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, scissors, and a bottle opener — so it's nine times as many opportunities for being useful as your average gift.  A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoring Fitbit Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $99.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep someone informed about their physical activity — tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones. An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your home Our Place Always Pan, available at Our Place, $115If you're spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — she may appreciate a good 8-in-1 cookware hack.The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that's extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here. A video message from someone she loves almost as much as you Cameo/Business Insider Cameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $15Whether it's your girlfriend's favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you're likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she'll never forget.  Personalized cartoon couple mugs Shelley Klein Personalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30These cute mugs can be personalized for what you're like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established if you'd like.  Silky, breathable leggings Everlane Everlane Leggings, $68Everlane's Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they're breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here. Beautiful candles from a cool startup Otherland Otherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. If you want to give your girlfriend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from a startup that she's probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option. Find our full review here. The last weekend bag you'll ever need to buy her Rothy's Rothy's The Weekender, available at Rothy's, $550With its large, padded top handles and roomy interior, Rothy's The Weekender might be the last overnight bag your partner ever needs. It's got multiple pockets and a sturdy insert that helps it maintain its shape. You'll be shocked by how much you can fit in this bag — definitely enough for a long weekend. It's made of recycled plastic pulled from the ocean and is machine washable.   The "world's most comfortable shoes" Allbirds Women's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we'd also highly recommend the brand's casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that's more your partner's style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here. A customized map of her favorite place Grafomap Custom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find our full review here. A gift card to a popular wine subscription club Winc Gift Card, available at Winc, from $29.95Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it's the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions.  An exercise bike for staying active indoors NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,999If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200.  A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memory Artifact Uprising/Business Insider Large Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $22, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $30. A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straight Hydro Flask Hydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here. A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 seconds Daily Harvest Gift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $50Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they're tasty and good for you. It addressed most of my healthy eating roadblocks.  The best hair dryer ever invented Dyson/Facebook Dyson Blow Dryer, available at Ulta, $399.99This gift may seem inexplicably expensive, but the Dyson blow dryer is lauded as the best one ever invented, making it a cult favorite. It prevents hair damage by measuring air temperature 20 times per second, has a specially designed Dyson motor for fast drying, and reduces static, breakage, and makes hair look smooth and shiny. Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the market Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $240Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in plenty of colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave. This cozy loungewear set that she'll never want to take off Knix Knix Cozzzy Track Pants, available at Knix, $46.75Cozy and warm, the Cozzzy Track Pants from Knix are comfortable enough to wear around the house while also being cute enough to wear to the market. The ultra-soft fabric feels like the softest terry cloth washcloth you've ever used, and its slouchy fit is modern and luxe. She'll love the joggers with cuffed legs that are sleek without being overly tight. Comes in cream and gray. The internet's favorite olive oil Brightland Awake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here.  A comfortable cable-knit sweater United By Blue United By Blue Recycled Cotton Fisherman Sweater, $99.99A cable-knit or fisherman's sweater is a wardrobe staple that'll last for years. United By Blue's take on the classic piece is made from recycled cotton and is super soft, so your girlfriend has a feel-good cozy staple. A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classes Manduka Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, from $58Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference. It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal.  A card game that's meant to deepen personal connections Urban Outfitters We're Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30This card game, from the popular Instagram account We're Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven't played before, but it's also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy with your girlfriend. A cooking class from one of the nation's top chefs Cozymeal/Instagram Gift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50With a Cozymeal class, you and your girlfriend can learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation's top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it's safe to do so).  A satin-lined beanie Andrea Bossi / Business Insider Kink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $37Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil's satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she'd prefer to wear the hat without it.We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair.  Rihanna's bestselling Fenty skincare set Fenty Beauty Fenty Skin Start'rs Full-Size Bundle, $75Rihanna's bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything she'll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, and two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here. A cashmere crew from Everlane that she'll own forever Everlane The Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, from $120For a closet staple she'll own for years to come, Everlane's $120 Cashmere Crew (available in various colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has plenty of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can't really go wrong.  A small cold brew coffee maker Amazon Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Walmart, $37.55This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee's less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there's minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on your girlfriend's way out the door to work.  A stylish leather makeup pouch that's thoughtful and easy to travel with Dagne Dover Hunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women's handbag companies to know, and its toiletry pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size holds a handful of go-to toiletries, and the large should have enough space for all of the grooming essentials. A comfy zip-up for the months ahead Patagonia Better Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We're also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option. A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhere Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $84.99If your girlfriend is a reader, we'd suggest looking at Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite; it's the company's thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it's waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you've already taken care of. A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50% Aquis Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, from $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes for her hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries.  A fun, unique local date Airbnb/Business Insider Airbnb Experiences, available at Airbnb, from $10Airbnb started offering experience programming online. You can book from thousands of experiences that range from workouts with Olympic athletes over Zoom to cooking classes with chefs you'd normally have to hop on a flight to meet. We tested a a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class.It's also an under-utilized part of Airbnb, making it a thoughtful and unusual gift — and one you may keep using with your girlfriend for out-of-the-box date nights in the future. As states and countries slowly begin reopening, Airbnb listings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you're not ready to travel yet or just want a fun activity.  A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care for Leon & George Silver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to your girlfriend's door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George's options are very easy to care for. We'd also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.   Beautiful earrings she'll own forever Stone and Strand Sparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $395They're solid gold, conflict-free, and made locally. Plus, the style is versatile enough that your girlfriend can wear them every day. A membership to a popular skincare and makeup subscription that sends new, cool, and bestselling products once per month Connie Chen/Business Insider Birchbox Gift Subscription, available at Birchbox, from $45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products to subscribers so they can find products they love without much commitment or cost upfront. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, so this is a particularly helpful service.  A funny and unique card LoveFromCo/Etsy You Take My Breath Away, available at Etsy, from $4.19You can pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it'll mean more if you think just a few days ahead. Etsy has great options for cheap, unique, handmade gifts that are cool and thoughtful. This one is perfect for a couple who appreciates a "The Office" deep cut.  A leather wallet from the same manufacturer as Prada for a fraction of the price Italic Brynn Zip Around Wallet, available at Italic, $50Italic is a startup that makes unbranded luxury goods from the same factories that produce designs for brands like Givenchy or scents for Le Labo — minus the markup. The Zip-Around Wallet is made from soft, calfskin leather and comes in four classic colors.It comes from the same manufacturer as Celine and Prada, and Italic estimates it would cost $295-$300 in traditional retail. It's also good to note that the company plants one tree for every order. You can find a full review of the company's leather goods here, and of their candles here.  A streaming stick that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes Amazon Roku Streaming Stick +, available at Best Buy, $44.99Roku's Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into his TV. A great foam roller TB12 Vibrating Pliability Roller, available on TB12, $160If your girlfriend is very physically active, a foam roller is a nice gift to aid in her workout recovery and soreness. This one is our favorite because it has four levels of vibration, a pattern that targets muscle groups, and a durable exterior. But, if your budget doesn't fit a $160 foam roller, never fear — we like some under-$20 options too.  A subscription to a book club that sends her great hardcovers once per month Book of the Month Instagram 3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she's a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time ("Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple). If you gift her a subscription, she'll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If she's really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here). Fancy popcorn and a movie night Williams Sonoma Amish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on your girlfriend's favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants. A gift set of a dozen decadent bath bombs Amazon Bath Bomb Gift Set, available at Walmart, $40.01This bath bomb gift set comes with 12 handcrafted bath bombs that range from mango-papaya to lavender in scent, and some of which include flower petals. They're a great addition to a long bath, as is a bamboo bathtub tray.  A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferences Driftaway Facebook 3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $75If your girlfriend loves coffee, she'll probably love to try Driftaway. It's a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she'll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options. A book of love letters written by history's great men Amazon Love Letters of Great Men, available at Amazon, $13.95It can be hard to do yourself justice in words — whether they're spoken or written in a card. This compilation of love letters written by great men can help you say it without actually technically saying it. Bonus points if you write your own, or mark the ones in the book that most closely resemble your own feelings.   A beautiful diamond necklace she'll have forever AUrate Diamond Bezel Necklace, available at AUrate, from $320A diamond necklace doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality.  Lush, subtly scented body wash Necessaire Necessaire — The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with nourishing vitamins and clean ingredients. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave her skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished.  Hand sanitizer that smells good Touchland Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9Many of us are using hand sanitizer a lot these days. Why not pick one they'd enjoy using? This version from Touchland is a little moisturizing and doesn't smell like alcohol or make hands sticky. Read our full review here. A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the go Caraa Sport Caraa Studio Tote Large, available at Caraa, $250Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining. An award-winning at-home facial Sephora Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It's $80, but it's an at-home pro-quality facial your girlfriend can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials. Kitchen towels that rate wines by how well they pair with certain foods Uncommon Goods Wine Pairing Towel, available at Wolf & Badger, $20If your girlfriend loves having a nice glass of wine and/or cooking, she'll appreciate the thought behind this unique wine pairing towel. Grab a bottle and some corresponding ingredients for a fun night in for the two of you. A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery pack Away Carry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

86 gifts for your girlfriend that show you truly know her, from personalized jewelry to unique subscription boxes

We rounded up 86 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry under $100 to helpful tech and fitness accessories. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. If you're looking to wow, plan an activity or staycation on Airbnb. Airbnb Giving your girlfriend a meaningful gift doesn't have to require hours of research. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts for your girlfriend, from accessories and tech to home decor. Still looking for gifts? Find more gift guides broken down by interest, budget, and occasion here. Giving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know your partner: What they love, what rituals they enjoy, what small daily annoyances you could possibly solve with a thoughtful gift. You also know how much they'll appreciate the gift coming from you.Odds are you want to give them something wonderful - whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all personalities to help guide you, below.Check out all 86 gifts for your girlfriend:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Vuori. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.* Earrings made with her birthstone Mejuri Amethyst Flat Sphere Studs, available on Mejuri, $180If she wears jewelry, birthstone earrings that she can keep forever are a thoughtful, personalized gift she can use often.  Delicious sweets from a famous NYC bakery Milk Bar Milk Bar Treats, from $22Milk Bar delivers its decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to your doorstep. A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classes classpass ClassPass Gift Card, from $15Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing. ClassPass solves both issues. It's relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we'd highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they're ready to use it. Leggings fit for workouts and lounge sessions Vuori Vuori Daily Legging, from $59Vuori is known for its smooth, soft fabrics and flattering fits — and the Daily Legging is no exception. Combining the leisure and comfort of a jogger with the function and stretch of a legging, they'll be reaching for these for both workouts and weekend lounging. *Sponsored by Vuori A disposable camera that doesn't take you out of the moment Gamesgamer024 The gamer/YouTube Disposable camera, $45Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection and editing so you can savor your experiences together. The best electric toothbrush Colgate Electric toothbrush, $39.99We've tested our fair share of electric toothbrushes, and we think Colgate's Hum is the best value. It cleans thoroughly and offers advanced features and modern design for $70 — which is considerably more affordable than options with fancy features you may not use enough.  A planned trip for the two of you to take together If you're looking to wow, plan an activity or staycation on Airbnb. Airbnb Airbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25If you want to gift an experience for the two of you to enjoy together, grab a birthday card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come up with a few location ideas to choose from. You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. *This gift can be saved and used at a later date. A versatile Exercise Dress Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress, available on Outdoor Voices, $100Given the popularity of the Exercise Dress, we wouldn't be surprised if this was on her wish list. The Exercise Dress is comfortable, versatile, and cute — which has made it a cult-favorite item. If she's a fan of dresses, outdoor voices, or clothes she can wear all day long, this may be a good option.  Her favorite specialty food straight from the source Goldbelly/Instagram Order her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration.  A streaming bundle that checks off all the boxes Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+/Business Insider Hulu, Disney+ ESPN+ Bundle, available at Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, from $13.99 per monthIf canceled sporting events or trips to Disney have you feeling down, you can gift Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu together to ensure the next few months include plenty of entertainment options. If your partner is not too fond of ads, this bundle can also be purchased with the ad-free version of Hulu. A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residue Amazon Foreo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $59Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing brushes. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so they can maintain their skincare routine while traveling.  A thoughtful book she'll love Amazon "Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed, available on Amazon, $12.42Pick up one of your favorites that you think she'd like, or browse some of the books we love to gift. This collection of Dear Sugar advice columns is a heartfelt favorite. Its topics are diverse, its letters to Dear Sugar are intimate and relatable, and Cheryl Strayed's responses are both witty and extraordinarily compassionate.  A membership to a huge outdoor co-op REI REI Co-Op Lifetime Membership, $20, available at REIAn REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. Find out more here. A Dutch oven to elevate their bread game Lodge mfg Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $79.90Did they get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate their game. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rack, according to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne. A subscription that sends her a six-month world tour of teas Atlas Tea Club Atlas Tea Club 6 Month Subscription, available on Atlas Tea Club, $109This subscription sends her single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. She'll get two delicious options sent to her home each month. Festive matching underwear from one of the internet's favorite startups MeUndies Matching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $42Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we've ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer.  A standing desk for a home office upgrade Fully Jarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $569If they're working from home, they might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need.  A framed keepsake of a favorite memory Framebridge Framed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing for not-custom-framing prices. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get.  The best socks she'll ever wear Bombas Bombas Women's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, $49.50Bombas makes the best socks we've ever tried, and they're a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They're lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping. A powerful, customizable massage gun Theragun Theragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599This is the best massage gun we've tested — though it's also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use. A nice gold vermeil and sapphire zodiac sign necklace Mejuri Aquarius Necklace, available at Mejuri, $395Mejuri is a Canadian startup created in 2015 to make fine jewelry affordable to buy — and it has racked up waitlists with more than 40,000 people before. Their popular Zodiac Necklace is cool, minimalist, and something she can wear every day. It's made in gold vermeil with AAA quality white sapphires. Mejuri's affordable pricing means the estimated traditional retail price of the same necklace elsewhere would be closer to $235.   The best bathrobe that money can buy Snowe Bathrobe, available at Snowe, $100Snowe's unisex bathrobe has been called the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, and I'm just one more fervent believer. The cotton fiber traps air for extra absorbency, is soft and plush, and the unisex sizing means it will feel like a blanket-turned-robe. Perfect functionality, and extra points for coziness. A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quickly Amazon Tile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99When they can't find their phone, all they have to do is click their Tile button to make their phone ring, even if it's on silent. We've found them especially useful lately.  A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startup Cuyana Leather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $85 (+ $15 for monogram)Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you've gotten her jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It's made from premium leather, comes in six colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of.  A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the house Felix Gray Faraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95Help mitigate some of the strain from constant screens with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with their sleep. The convenience of Apple AirPods Hollis Johnson/Business Insider Apple AirPods, available at Best Buy, $129.99When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're incredibly easy to use. For the latest option, you can pick up AirPods Pro for $199.99 on Best Buy too.  A 215-piece art kit for creative projects Amazon Art 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $49.99This 215-Piece art kit includes crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint for endless art projects.  A year-long MasterClass membership to learn about things she's passionate about MasterClass Annual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearIf your dinner table conversations often include talk of photography, or tennis, or screenwriting, or another passion, consider getting her a gift that helps her spend time in that hobby. We love MasterClass because it kind of feels like entertainment. Classes are short, there's no homework, and she can listen to the audio like its a podcast or watch the videos. The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here. A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinets Made In Silicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $59This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If they love to cook and have a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move.  A convenient phone sanitizer PhoneSoap PhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95This small device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs. It's easy to use, and it could help give you and your partner a bit more peace of mind. The new Sonos Move portable speaker Amazon Sonos Move, available at Best Buy, $399.99The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It's powerful, can be controlled by your voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort. 16 highly-rated sheet masks Amazon/Business Insider Sheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $22.99Grab them 39 sheet masks to make it easier for them to have a frequent and well-deserved "treat yourself" day. These are highly-rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.    A weighted blanket for better rest Amazon YnM Weighted Blanket, available at YnM, from $39.50Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by "grounding" the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside.  A mini multipurpose tool Amazon Mini Multitool Knife 12 in 1, available on Amazon, $8.99This lightweight multitool has a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, scissors, and a bottle opener — so it's nine times as many opportunities for being useful as your average gift.  A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoring Fitbit Fitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $99.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep them informed about their physical activity. The heart rate monitor lets them be more strategic about their workouts by tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones. An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your home Our Place Always Pan, available at Our Place, $115If you're spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — they can definitely appreciate a beautiful 8-in-1 cookware hack.The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that's extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here. A video message from someone she loves almost as much as you Cameo/Business Insider Cameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $15Whether it's her favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you're likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she'll never forget.  Silky, breathable leggings Everlane Everlane Leggings, $68Everlane's Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they're breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here. Beautiful candles from a cool startup Otherland Otherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. If you want to give your girlfriend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from a startup that she's probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option. Find our full review here. The last weekend bag you'll ever need to buy her Rothy's Rothy's The Weekender, available at Rothy's, $550With its large, padded top handles and roomy interior, Rothy's The Weekender might be the last overnight bag your partner ever needs. It's got multiple pockets and a sturdy insert that helps it maintain its shape. You'll be shocked by how much you can fit in this bag — definitely enough for a long weekend. It's made of recycled plastic pulled from the ocean and is machine washable.   The "world's most comfortable shoes" Allbirds Women's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we'd also highly recommend the brand's casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that's more your partner's style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here. A customized map of her favorite place Grafomap Custom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find our full review here. A gift card to a popular wine subscription club Winc Gift Card, available at Winc, from $29.95Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it's the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions.  An exercise bike for staying active indoors NordicTrack Commercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,999If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200.  A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memory Artifact Uprising/Business Insider Large Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $22, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $30. A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straight Hydro Flask Hydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here. A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 seconds Daily Harvest Gift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $50Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they're tasty and good for you. It addressed all my healthy eating roadblocks.  The best hair dryer ever invented Dyson/Facebook Dyson Blow Dryer, available at Ulta, $399.99This gift may seem inexplicably expensive, but the Dyson blow dryer is lauded as the best one ever invented, making it a cult favorite. It prevents hair damage by measuring air temperature 20 times per second, has a specially designed Dyson motor for fast drying, and reduces static, breakage, and makes hair look smooth and shiny. Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the market Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $240Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in 14 colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave. This cozy loungewear set that she'll never want to take off Knix Knix Cozzzy Track Pants, available at Knix, $46.75Cozy and warm, the Cozzzy Track Pants from Knix are comfortable enough to wear around the house while also being cute enough to wear to the market. The ultra-soft fabric feels like the softest terry cloth washcloth you've ever used, and its slouchy fit is modern and luxe. She'll love the joggers with cuffed legs that are sleek without being overly tight. Comes in cream and gray. The internet's favorite olive oil Brightland Awake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here.  A bottle (or two) of wine McBride Sisters McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a gift for the wine lover on your list. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot.  A comfortable cable-knit sweater United By Blue United By Blue Recycled Cotton Fisherman Sweater, $99.99A cable-knit or fisherman's sweater is a wardrobe staple that'll last for years. United By Blue's take on the classic piece is made from recycled cotton and is super soft. A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classes Manduka Manduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, from $58Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference. It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal.  A card game that's meant to deepen personal connections Urban Outfitters We're Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30This card game, from the popular Instagram account We're Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven't played before, but it's also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy together. A satin-lined beanie Andrea Bossi / Business Insider Kink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $37Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil's satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she'd prefer to wear the hat without it.We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair.  Rihanna's bestselling Fenty skincare set Fenty Beauty Fenty Skin Start'rs Full-Size Bundle, $75Rihanna's bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything you'll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, and two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here. A cashmere crew from Everlane that she'll own forever Everlane The Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, from $120For a closet staple she'll own for years to come, Everlane's $120 Cashmere Crew (available in various colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has plenty of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can't really go wrong.  A small cold brew coffee maker Amazon Airtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Walmart, $37.55This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee's less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there's minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on her way out the door to work.  A stylish leather makeup pouch that's thoughtful and easy to travel with Dagne Dover Hunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women's handbag companies to know, and its toiletry pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size holds a handful of go-to toiletries, and the large should have enough space for all of the grooming essentials. A comfy zip-up for the months ahead Patagonia Better Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We're also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option. A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhere Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $84.99Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite is its thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it's waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you've already taken care of. A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50% Aquis Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, from $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes your hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries.  A fun, unique local date Airbnb/Business Insider Airbnb Experiences, available at Airbnb, from $10Airbnb started offering experience programming online. You can book from thousands of experiences that range from workouts with Olympic athletes over Zoom to cooking classes with chefs you'd normally have to hop on a flight to meet. We tested a a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class.It's also an under-utilized part of Airbnb, making it a thoughtful and unusual gift — and one you may keep using yourselves for out-of-the-box date nights in the future. As states and countries slowly begin reopening, Airbnb listings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you're not ready to travel yet or just want a fun activity.  A 100% silk pillowcase that reduces frizz and keeps skin hydrated overnight Walmart 100% Mulberry Silk Pillowcase, available at Walmart, from $22.32Silk pillowcases reduce frizz and damage to hair and make it look shiny and healthy. It also reduces the likelihood of wrinkles and keeps skin hydrated overnight by absorbing less of the moisture in the skin. A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care for Leon & George Silver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to her door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George's options are very easy to care for. We'd also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.   Beautiful earrings she'll own forever Stone and Strand Sparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $395They're solid gold, conflict-free, and made locally. Plus, the style is versatile enough that she can wear them every day. A membership to a popular skincare and makeup subscription that sends new, cool, and bestselling products once per month Connie Chen/Business Insider Birchbox Gift Subscription, available at Birchbox, from $45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products to subscribers so they can find products they love without much commitment or cost upfront. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, so this is a particularly helpful service.  A funny and unique card LoveFromCo/Etsy You Take My Breath Away, available at Etsy, from $4.19You can pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it'll mean more if you think just a few days ahead. Etsy has great options for cheap, unique, handmade gifts that are cool and thoughtful. This one is perfect for a couple who appreciates a "The Office" deep cut.  A leather wallet from the same manufacturer as Prada for a fraction of the price Italic Brynn Zip Around Wallet, available at Italic, $50Italic is a startup that makes unbranded luxury goods from the same factories that produce designs for brands like Givenchy or scents for Le Labo — minus the markup. The Zip-Around Wallet is made from soft, calfskin leather and comes in four classic colors.It comes from the same manufacturer as Celine and Prada, and Italic estimates it would cost $295-$300 in traditional retail. It's also good to note that the company plants one tree for every order. You can find a full review of the company's leather goods here, and of their candles here.  A streaming stick that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes Amazon Roku Streaming Stick +, available at Best Buy, $44.99Roku's Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into his TV. A great foam roller TB12 Vibrating Pliability Roller, available on TB12, $160If your girlfriend is very physically active, a foam roller is a nice gift to aid in her workout recovery and soreness. This one is our favorite because it has four levels of vibration, a pattern that targets muscle groups, and a durable exterior. But, if your budget doesn't fit a $160 foam roller, never fear — we like some under-$20 options too.  A subscription to a book club that sends her great hardcovers once per month Book of the Month Instagram 3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she loves books, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time ("Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple). If you gift her a subscription, she'll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If she's really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here). Fancy popcorn and a movie night Williams Sonoma Amish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on her favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants. A gift set of a dozen decadent bath bombs Amazon Bath Bomb Gift Set, available at Walmart, $40.01This bath bomb gift set comes with 12 handcrafted bath bombs that range from mango-papaya to lavender in scent, and some of which include flower petals. They're a great addition to a long bath, as is a bamboo bathtub tray.  A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferences Driftaway Facebook 3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $75If she loves coffee, she'll probably love to try Driftaway. It's a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she'll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options. A book of love letters written by history's great men Amazon Love Letters of Great Men, available at Amazon, $13.95It can be hard to do yourself justice in words — whether they're spoken or written in a card. This compilation of love letters written by great men can help you say it without actually technically saying it. Bonus points if you write your own, or mark the ones in the book that most closely resemble your own feelings.   A beautiful diamond necklace she'll have forever AUrate Diamond Bezel Necklace, available at AUrate, from $320A diamond necklace doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality.  Personalized cartoon couple mugs Shelley Klein Personalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30These cute mugs can be personalized for what you're like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established.  Lush, subtly scented body wash Necessaire Necessaire — The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with nourishing vitamins and clean ingredients. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave their skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished.  Hand sanitizer that smells good Touchland Touchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9We're using hand sanitizer a lot these days. Why not pick one they'd enjoy using? This version from Touchland is a little moisturizing and doesn't smell like alcohol or make your hands sticky. Read our full review here. A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the go Caraa Sport Caraa Studio Tote Large, available at Caraa, $250Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining. An award-winning at-home facial Sephora Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It's $80, but it's an at-home pro-quality facial she can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials. Kitchen towels that rate wines by how well they pair with certain foods Uncommon Goods Wine Pairing Towel, available at Wolf & Badger, $20If she loves having a nice glass of wine and/or cooking, she'll appreciate the thought behind this unique wine pairing towel. Grab a bottle and some corresponding ingredients for a fun night in for the two of you. A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery pack Away Carry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here. A cooking class from one of the nation's top chefs Cozymeal/Instagram Gift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50With a Cozymeal class, they'll learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation's top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it's safe to do so).  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

How the baby boomer generation is the real problem, according to 21 millennials

21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for the many problems millennials now face. These millennials tell us about the problems they now face because of baby boomers. Business Insider Deutschland Millennials are accused by some of being whiny, narcissistic, and too politically passive. A number of them suggest, however, that the real problem isn't them; it's baby boomers. 21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for many problems millennials now face. See more stories on Insider's business page. Whiny, self-obsessed, not politically engaged enough - the accusations directed at millennials by older generations seem endless.Millennials, or anyone born between 1980 and 2000, often get painted as pampered do-gooders with a naive worldview, whose priorities extend only to getting sabbaticals and being allowed to work from home.That said, decades of disregard for the climate, unfair policies and structures being implemented between the generations, and questionable ideas concerning success in the workplace have left 18 to 38-year-olds with a heavy weight to bear.Twenty-one young people from Germany told Insider of the problems the baby boomers have created and perpetuated in Germany and how they can be solved:'Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong.' Felix Finkbeiner, 20, environmental activist. Flickr / Plant for the Planet We're hurtling towards the edge of a cliff at full pelt - it isn't for the sake of science that we're trying to figure out the quantity by which sea levels are set to rise; it's about survival.Together, with more than 67,000 other children and young people from our Plant for the Planet initiative, I've committed myself to combat the climate crisis. And yes, perhaps the older generation is listening to us but are they doing enough?The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our time. The CO2 clock is ticking. What must we do and what can we do right now? Well, we can massively reduce our CO2 emissions. And we can plant 1,000 billion trees to absorb a quarter of man-made CO2. I'd say to the older generations, to company bosses, and to politicians: "Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong or what's going wrong - let's plant trees together and save our future."'It's older people who get to call the shots on pensions - yet they no longer have to cough up.' Sarna Röser, 30, chairwoman of Junger Unternehmer (Young Entrepreneurs). BJU Most baby boomers will be retiring soon, which will put considerable pressure on our pension system. There's a massive disparity between the number of working people and the increasing number of pensioners for whom those working people are footing the bill.I think a simple and logical solution would be if everyone had to work for a period of time during their later years. And retirement should be linked to life expectancy. I'm skeptical about who decides what's what when it comes to pensions. You only find older people sitting on the Pensions Commission, who no longer foot the bill themselves. We younger people have to hand out payments but aren't given a say.'The biggest problem the baby boomers have left us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crap.' Kevin Kühnert, 28, national chairman of the youth organisation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Jusos. Getty Images The biggest problem the baby boomers have dumped on us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crappy habits: it's the state they've in which they've left the future of our pension system. Pay-as-you-go financing, which has been successfully practiced for decades, will come under increasing pressure as more baby boomers leave the workforce and begin receiving benefits from the pension fund. This news comes as no surprise but politics has, so far, failed to make provisions for that day, when it comes.Fewer contributors and more beneficiaries mean great challenges will be posed for the statutory pension for a good 15 years. How these challenges will be managed isn't just a technical question. In fact, some are taking the opportunity - through scandalous inaction - to slowly chip away at the principle of solidarity when it comes to pensions and to privatize them. If all employees became contributors, we could increase contributions slightly and, if necessary, avoid shying away from tax subsidies.'We've inherited the baby boomers' workaholic attitude and taken it to the next level. Stefanie Laufs, 31, senior communications consultant at a PR agency. Stefanie Laufs The notion that Generation Y has no interest in professional success and thinks of the home office as synonymous with doing nothing is certainly not new - and unfortunately, it's firmly rooted in the minds of many among the older generation. I actually believe we've inherited their workaholic attitude - always better, always more, always higher - and that we've taken what the baby boomers did and pushed it much further.Whether among friends, colleagues, or in reports in the media - no other generation linked with topics such as burnout or partly unpaid overtime as often as ours. The demands on our generation when it comes to starting a career are enormous. You're expected to have five years of professional experience after completing your studies as well as to nearly have finished your Ph.D. Of course, you can't solely blame the baby boomers, but they've always stressed the importance of establishing a career and reinforced that it was the key to a successful and happy life. Although we've taken on this attitude, we'd actually do a lot better to leave it behind. Generation Y continues to work a lot, but having a private life is much more important than money: leisure and downtime shouldn't be overlooked.Our generation is on its way to achieving the ideal work-leisure balance and to putting the baby boomers' workaholic madness to rest.'Too much emphasis on progress and performance is a key problem we've inherited from the older generation.' Jonathan Sierck, 24, author of the book 'Junge Überflieger'. Jonathan Sierck A serious problem we've inherited from the older generation is this fixation on progress and performance. In our tireless efforts to push boundaries, whatever the cost, there's usually little room to address the often serious consequences. There's no doubt about it: constant growth and development do pay off and, as a species, we have to take certain risks every now and then in order to move forward and survive. But pushing boundaries mustn't become the objective itself nor must it come at the cost that it currently does.In order to steer us into a desirable future, we need those in decision-making positions to be sharp. They need both the courage to change yet the informed judgment to pick up on warning signs too. To ensure we don't continue to deplete our resources, we need a clear plan that takes into consideration the effects of our actions. Otherwise, we'll leave our future generations with more - possibly even more serious - problems than those we have inherited, whether they be nuclear waste, the bees dying off, or climate disasters.'Our education systems barely differ to those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.' Magdalena Rogl, 33, head of digital channels Microsoft Germany. Magdalena Rogl I'm firm on the notion that we owe much to those who came before us. Especially the generation born in 1968, who revolutionized so much and helped break down so many structures.But one area in which far too little has happened in recent decades is education. Our education systems have barely changed from those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.At the age of 10, our children are still "sorted" into schools - not based on their individual talents, but purely according to their grades. Applicants are still assessed according to their qualifications on paper far too often, and not by what they actually know. And academic degrees are still worth more than emotional education.I still remember the look of horror on the faces of my first boyfriend and his parents when I announced I was leaving high school as soon as I legally could, to follow my heart and become a childcare worker.But I think I learned more life lessons through doing so than I could have ever done at university.And that's exactly what our generation so urgently needs: lessons in life. More and more tasks are being taken over by machines and artificial intelligence. The skills Generation Y needs in professional life today are not obedience, authority, and academic knowledge, but empathy, flexibility, and problem-solving.Our generation must adapt quickly to new circumstances, because the job you did yesterday may look quite different tomorrow. And the office is no longer about sitting at a desk from nine until five; it's about working at a time and place that maximizes one's quality of work, based on the individual.That's why I'm committed to ensuring our future generations get better human and digital education, so they make our world more human and each individual person can be as he or she is - and thus achieve their own best performance.'Those who monopolize most of the power are, on average, much too old.' Daniel Krauss, 35, cofounder and chief information officer of Flixbus. Flixbus Today's prosperity is probably the greatest legacy of the previous generation. We should definitely be grateful for it. But it's not as though it's being passed down to younger generations without its drawbacks. The downside is that his focus on prosperity means few provisions have been made for the future and we haven't adapted to our current challenges.Those who monopolize most of the power are still, on average, far too old. Our generation is still trapped in a gilded cage. At some point, young Germans are going to escape that cage and find that the country is no longer at the top of the list of industrial nations.This power needs to be handed over to the younger generation at an early stage. We're ready to take on the responsibility and start restructuring things.'The older generation knows little about what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet.' Jörg Mayer and Nadine Horn, both in their early thirties, are vegan bloggers on 'Eat this'. Eat This The abundance in food and convenience have featured heavily in the kitchens of the post-war generation. Where meat had previously featured rarely on the dining table, it was almost a compulsory, everyday part of meals in the 1950s. But it had to be simple, fast, and cheap.It's becoming increasingly clear that this kind of practice can't go on indefinitely for future generations.Due to this abundance and a lack of true appreciation for food, some among the older generation have little idea about what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet. What's more, over the years a lot of marketing-driven pseudo-sciences - which, simply put, is often wrong and sometimes even dangerous - have persisted.Questions like: "Where do vegans get protein from if they don't eat meat?" or the myth that milk consumption is good for the bones (when the opposite is true) are still firmly anchored in their minds and will only be shifted with a lot of effort.We try to set a good example and show that vegan life is anything but boring, that we don't just live off salad or tofu - that the kitchen can be a place to have fun. We're trying to show that cooking with friends, either alone or in pairs, is not another tedious chore; it's the best thing you can do.'Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously.' Ria Schröder, 26, chairman of Jungen Liberalen (the Young Liberals). Business Insider Deutschland The baby boomers, our parents and theirs, have been instrumental in ensuring we grew up with high living standards. I'm grateful for that but we've also inherited a few problems, one of them being the pension situation. Like many in my generation, I don't assume I'll be provided for in old age. The level of baby boomers being paid for by us is ever increasing while there are fewer of us to foot the bill. It's great that people are living longer but the subsidy for the pension system is already the largest item in the German budget.At the same time, less and less is being invested in the future: for example, in education, and in infrastructure. My generation is outnumbered. But those who focus only on large voter groups are putting the future of our country at risk in favor of short-term electoral success. Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously. Ultimately it will help not only one generation but the whole country.'We know humanity has power over the Earth's biophysical systems, thanks to our predecessors.' Sina Leipold, 32, junior professor of social transformation and circular economy at the University of Freiburg. Sina Leipold For some time, we've known humanity affects and has control over the Earth's biophysical systems more than any other force of nature - knowledge we've attained only thanks to our predecessors. It is both a blessing and a curse for our generation.Never before have so many people been able to inhabit our planet and never before have commodities like regular holiday flights been so easy and readily affordable.At the same time, hurricanes, floods, and heatwaves have threatened to destroy (and, in many cases, have destroyed) the lives and homes of millions.My personal goal, through a more responsible approach than previous generations, is to help our generation ensure this power sticks around long term, instead of putting it at risk by inviting irreversible climate disasters.'Older generations aren't prepared to take risks.' Christopher Obereder, 26, startup founder. David Visnjic Setting up a business in Germany is far too complex; it should be more straightforward. Other countries are well ahead and we should be moving on as soon as possible. The tax system in Germany is also massively outdated and makes it extremely difficult for those looking to get started with a business.Start-ups could be much better supported with tax reforms so the start-ups could focus more on taking care of their business. Singapore has attracted startups from all over the world with its simple control system and has become the hub of the crypto scene. Our political structures are also too slow to change and aren't able to keep up with innovation. Things have to change on this front.A survey by U.S. News showed Germany was in first place in the "Entrepreneurship" category, ahead of Japan and the USA. It's clear Germany is at the forefront despite the clear room for improvement.Work has also changed: people used to stay in the same job their whole life, which is why it used to be feasible to work without constantly developing and learning. Today we seem to switch jobs every year or two. I think it has a lot to do with the Internet.We always need to be ready to learn new things and take risks. And many opportunities and possibilities arise with the Internet if you're open to it - cryptocurrencies are something I'm currently heavily involved in and open to, and I realize older generations aren't.There's a conflict simply because older generations always advocate stability and safety over risk-taking, which they aren't prepared to do. I can only speak for myself but if I'd never taken risks, I'd never have learned. We have to learn through trial and error that you can't make money from anything and everything. Failure has become a valid part of working life, even if older generations still don't want to admit it.But older generations are starting to accept the start-up scene for what it is: it's fast-moving, involves risk-taking, and isn't always lucrative.'The older generation has left European peace in a fragile state.' Lisa Badum, 34, Green Party parliament representative. Lisa Badum The rapid rise in greenhouse gases, the dramatically worsening climate crisis, the question of nuclear waste disposal, the irreversible death of countless plant and animal species - these are just some of the many consequences of failed climate and environmental policies from previous generations. Because they haven't relied on sustainability, they've dumped the consequences of and responsibility for their actions onto future generations. We're now having to face a mammoth challenge together: to keep global warming below two degrees to give future generations the chance to make mistakes.As for Europe, our younger generation has inherited the task of establishing European peace, a project which the older generation has left in a sorry state. The continually rising rate of youth unemployment within the EU, austerity policies, Brexit - all of these things have greatly weakened the notion of the "European community" and reinforced right-wing nationalist and populist forces in Europe. I myself have close ties with Greece, and over the years I've witnessed the destructive effects of austerity there, and have also seen growing disillusionment towards the EU. We have to stop this in its tracks and do it now because lasting peace between us all is the most basic of prerequisites for taking on the many challenges ahead and finding solutions for tomorrow.Where justice and gender equality are concerned, the older generation has set us on a path of clear progress, particularly as regards legal equality between the sexes. While we have to defend this success, we also have to continue fighting for 100% equality between men and women, whether in family and work, pay or pension, and the end of sexual violence towards women and girls.'Digitisation is largely a generational issue.' Barbara Engels, 30, economist at the Institute of German Economics Cologne (IW). IW Cologne Being digital means being online, networking, being open to new business models - and being young. It seems to be a largely generational issue: older people are less likely to be online than younger people, which is a pity because digitization opens up many new possibilities, especially for people who are aging. It can simplify and enrich everyday life. I hope people of all ages will greet digitization with open arms and optimism, but obviously not without a healthy dose of skepticism. Networking is at the heart of the digital world and could contribute to a better level of understanding between young and old. And it would help us learn much more from older people and vice versa.'Pension plans are a big disappointment.' Kristine Lütke, 35, president of WirtschaftsjuniorDeutschland (the Junior Chamber Germany). Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland The subsequent drop in birth rate as a result of the rise of the contraceptive pill among the baby boomers is exacerbating demographic change. This has resulted in a shortage of specialists and labor in all areas of the economy. We young entrepreneurs and managers in particular are suffering from this as employers. Moreover, our country's pension plans are a huge disappointment for our generation and an attack on intergenerational justice, particularly in view of demographic changes. The question of billions of funding for the "maternal pension" that's been proposed in Germany remains open.What can be done to increase employment rates and to mitigate the consequences of demographic change, as well as the pensions package? We need to look at options for flexible retirement. The statutory retirement age should be done away with. And working time law needs to be fundamentally reformed.'Climate change presents us with challenges that will dictate the opportunities of future generations.' Lukas Köhler, 31, Free Democratic Party Member of Parliament. Lukas Köhler We've inherited a lot of problems to do with CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate change today presents us with a task - and how we manage this task will directly determine the opportunities available for future generations. That's why I'm fully committed to limiting climate change as much as possible. We will only succeed with a market-based climate policy in which politicians set clear targets for reducing emissions. Other bans and regulations are unnecessary and provide false incentives. If we succeed in building a global emissions trading scheme with ambitious goals, which is as broad as possible for all economic sectors, I'm convinced we can limit global warming to an acceptable level.'We've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability.' Sonja Oberbeckmann, 36, environmental microbiologist at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research. Sonja Oberbeckmann We have much to thank the previous generations for: no generation has grown up as carefree and with as many possibilities as ours. However, it's come at a price: we've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability, where material prosperity counts more than individual happiness.My professional field, science, is set up for the short term: there are many temporary contracts, focusing on trendy topics. But this profit-focused society has left its mark everywhere. The environment is riddled with pesticides, exhaust gases, plastics, and much more. People are stressed and it seems they would sooner pop pills than demand the time to live more healthily. Hardly anyone stops to breathe.We, all generations together, can define new goals and break out of this established cycle, that's exploiting human and environmental resources. Instead of sitting passively in front of the television and getting worked up about company bosses, we should all be taking responsibility and consuming both more sustainably and consciously. And we should be asking ourselves from time to time what actually makes us truly happy.'We're still teaching as though we're in the 19th century.' Nina Toller, Private Teacher. Business Insider Deutschland Living in the 21st century, teaching 19th-century style: this is what seems to be at the core of our schooling.I've tried myself to fend this off with learning methods that combine critical thinking and communication with creativity and teamwork, as well as the use of digital media. My students shouldn't just be learning content and facts; they should be learning how to obtain new facts, how to share work effectively and efficiently, and how best to absorb and apply what they've learned. In this way, they develop openness, a willingness to learn, and also a certain degree of independence. The teacher becomes more of a companion for learning and a moderator.My school is open to digital media and supports me in my creative work. I almost always use QR codes or get foreign-language authors, into the classroom via Skype.Yet, due to a lack of technical support, training, time, and security, few teachers can organize something like this on their own initiative. On my page "Toller Unterricht" I publish lots of my ideas as well as tried and tested lesson plans, with materials included.Politicians have made promises to digitize schools. In addition to the lack of qualifications teachers have, there also seems to be a lack of equipment. I'm glad my school has some projectors and smartboards I can use for my lessons, but some don't even have Internet access.Data protection is currently being taken to ridiculous extremes: new data protection regulation makes the use of private computers difficult, so some are being advised to use paper and pen. This won't work within the frame of a digitization strategy for Germany in 2018.Therefore, comprehensive reform is needed. Only then can we equip all our students with the skills to prepare them for life and learning in the 21st century.'It's as if the parents think schools are responsible for raising children.' Franziska Hafer, 23, teacher. Franziska Hafer The older generation has paid far too little attention to sustainable development. Sustainable development means empowering children to form their own opinions and encouraging them to act sustainably. Sustainable development means the current generation is developing, not compromising the next generation, but actively considering it. Children haven't been sensitized to this at all.I think there's a very different tone in schools now. I get the sense that kids are becoming less and less respectful. Manners are disappearing and, unfortunately, you rarely see a boy holding the door open for a girl. It's as if parents think schools are responsible for bringing children up.Some children are only interested in who has the latest, highest-end mobile. The children who do not have a say in this are outside the picture - and I think that the generation above us is responsible for instilling different values.'We've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us.' Max Lucks, 21, spokesman for Grünen Jugend (Green Youth). Max Lucks We've not inherited generational conflicts; we've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us, which has dealt little with political change or shaping the future and has been more focused on how everything can remain as is. One only has to look at how Merkel's government dealt with a climate crisis and how it's always been ignored and fought against by one commission or another. This political style has disappointed our generation and rightly so: it's clear to young people that a little isn't enough to answer the hard questions. For example, how can we still find well-paid and permanent jobs in 20 years' time in spite of digitalization?'The older ranks of conservative politicians are afraid of change.' Akilnathan Logeswaren, 29, European Activist. Business Insider Deutschland As an activist for a united Europe, I'm always reminded of how much of the older ranks of conservative politicians fear change. While young people are almost unanimous in their commitment to a united Europe, the older generation is still resistant to it, although though the United States of Europe has been on the agenda of previous German political figures such as Franz Josef Strauss himself.While old politicians are practicing against the left by remaining on the right, today's young people are already focusing more on the spirit of the European Parliament, namely by looking for solutions.In the 21st century, it is no longer about just having ideas, but about collaborating for a shared future. For example, the campaign #FreeInterrail - a free Interrail ticket for all Europeans as soon as they turn 18 - was devised by the youth for the youth. Ideas like these will secure our peace and cohesion in the long term.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

Man suspected of driving truck in Texas migrant-smuggling incident that left 53 dead was high on meth, lawmaker says

Rep. Henry Cuellar said he was informed by the Customs and Border Protection that the man had meth in his system when arrested. At least 40 men and 13 women, believed to be migrants secretly crossing into the US from Mexico, are dead after being found in and near an abandoned semi-truck in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday.Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images The man accused of driving the truck carrying migrants into Texas was on meth, a lawmaker said. Rep. Henry Cuellar and a law-enforcement official made the claim to several media outlets. Prosecutors say the truck's driver tried to hide in the brush to evade detection by law enforcement. A man accused of driving the truck involved in a tragic migrant-smuggling incident in San Antonio, Texas, that led to 53 people's deaths was high on meth, a lawmaker said.Reuters spoke with Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, who said the US Customs and Border Protection briefed him about the incident. Cuellar's district includes part of San Antonio. He said he was told that Homero Zamorano Jr., a Texas native whom authorities have identified as the driver of the truck where dozens of bodies were found, had methamphetamines in his system when arrested.Reuters separately cited an anonymous CPB official as saying Zamorano had been high on meth, though the outlet said it couldn't independently verify the claim. The Washington Post also reported that two unnamed officials had said Zamorano was high on the drug.Cuellar said the 18-wheeler truck where the dead and dying people were found had passed through a highway checkpoint without being checked, the Post reported."The truck was waved through because the traffic was backing up," Cuellar told the Post."There's an issue with manpower and they don't have the right or same technology at checkpoints that they do at ports of entry," Cuellar said, per the Post. He added that criminal organizations engaged in smuggling had learned to "clone," or disguise, trucks to look like FedEx, UPS, and Border Patrol vehicles.The US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas said in a statement that Zamorano had tried to hide in the brush to avoid being detected by law-enforcement officers."At the scene, San Antonio Police Department officers discovered multiple individuals some still inside the tractor trailer, some on the ground and in nearby brush, many of them deceased and some of them incapacitated," the statement said."SAPD officers were led to the location of an individual, later identified as Zamorano, who was observed hiding in the brush after attempting to abscond," the statement added.The attorney's office said four men — Zamorano, Christian Martinez, Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mende, and Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao — had been charged over the incident. Zamorano was charged with one count of smuggling resulting in death and faces up to life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted.At least 40 men and 13 women, believed to be migrants secretly crossing into the US from Mexico, have died after being found in and near abandoned semi-truck on Monday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

Suspected driver of truck in Texas migrant smuggling incident that left 53 dead was high on meth, say lawmaker and officials

Rep. Henry Cuellar said he was informed by the Customs and Border Protection that the man had meth in his system when arrested. The bodies of at least 40 men and 13 women, believed to be migrants secretly crossing into the US from Mexico, were found in an abandoned semi-truck in San Antonio on Monday.Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images The suspected driver of the truck carrying migrants into Texas was high on meth, per reports. Rep. Henry Cuellar and a law enforcement official made the claim to multiple media outlets. Prosecutors claim the driver also tried to hide in the brush to evade detection by law enforcement. The suspected driver involved in a tragic migrant smuggling incident in Texas that led to 53 people's deaths was high on meth, said a lawmaker. Reuters spoke to Texas Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, who said the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) briefed him about the incident. Cuellar said he was told that the suspected driver of the truck in which the bodies were found, Texas native Homero Zamorano Jr., had methamphetamines in his system when arrested.Reuters cited an anonymous CPB official who said that Zamorano had been high on meth although the outlet stated that it could not independently verify the claim. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported that "two officials," had said that Zamorano was high on the drug.According to Cuellar, the 18-wheeler truck that Zamorano was driving was not checked because border patrol agents were occupied at the southern border, The Post reported."The truck was waved through because the traffic was backing up," Cuellar told The Post."There's an issue with manpower and they don't have the right or same technology at checkpoints that they do at ports of entry," Cuellar said, per The Post. He added that criminal organizations engaged in smuggling have learned to "clone" or disguise trucks to look like FedEx, UPS, and Border Patrol vehicles.According to the United State Attorney's Office in the western district of Texas, Zamorano tried to hide in the brush to avoid being detected by law enforcement officers."At the scene, San Antonio Police Department officers discovered multiple individuals some still inside the tractor trailer, some on the ground and in nearby brush, many of them deceased and some of them incapacitated," read the office's June 29 statement."SAPD officers were led to the location of an individual, later identified as Zamorano, who was observed hiding in the brush after attempting to abscond," the statement added.The attorney's office said four men — Zamorano, Christian Martinez, Juan Claudio D'Luna-Mende, and Juan Francisco D'Luna-Bilbao — have been charged over their involvement in the incident. Zamorano, for one, was charged with one count of smuggling resulting in death and faces up to life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted.The bodies of at least 40 men and 13 women, believed to be migrants secretly crossing into the US from Mexico, were found in an abandoned semi-truck in San Antonio on Monday. Another 16 people aboard the truck were found to be suffering from heat exhaustion and hospitalized.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022