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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

I flew JetBlue between New York and London and found the food in economy class to be surprisingly tastier than in business class

JetBlue is offering a culinary experience in both cabins but those paying more for a business class seat might want to request an economy class meal. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider JetBlue Airways has brought in-flight dining to both cabins of service on its new London flights. Dig is crafting the economy class menu while Delicious Hospitality Group is tasked with catering in Mint business class. Italian food was a big focus on my flights with options like meatballs, cavatelli, and chicken Milanese offered. JetBlue is offering more than cheap fares on its London routes, it's also offering a full culinary experience. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Travelers in both economy and business classes receive complimentary hot meals on European flights. It's the first time in economy class that JetBlue flyers receive any meals. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's what flying on JetBlue's first-ever flight to London was like in economy class.  The choice to provide meals aligns JetBlue with all the current airlines flying between the US and London. Meals are standard in economy on transatlantic flights to the UK and the offering shows that JetBlue isn't taking the budget carrier route of charging extra for meals. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The meal service is an important part of any flight as it passes the time, entertains, and breaks up the boredom of a long-haul flight. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I flew JetBlue to London in economy class and back in business class. Here's what dining on the airline was like in both cabins. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider My restaurant for the outbound flight to London was the economy class cabin onboard JetBlue's first Airbus A321neoLR, and I even scored a table near the window. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's why JetBlue flies one of the best aircraft between New York and London, despite its small size.  Instead of perusing a paper menu, however, all meals are on display through the seat-back entertainment screen. I was immediately brought back to the times of Virgin America, which had a similar ordering style. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider JetBlue chose Dig, a New York City-based eatery with an emphasis on healthy farm-to-table dining, to cater the economy class meals. I hadn't yet tried Dig's offering, despite working in New York City, and was eager to sample it. Eliza McKelvey/Business Insider "Dig has earned a big following in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, where customers love the fresh ingredients and customizable concept," Jayne O'Brien, JetBlue's head of marketing and loyalty, said in a statement. "We wanted customers in the air to have the same freedom to design their own meal, just like they would if they were dining at a Dig restaurant." Madeline Stone / Business Insider Ordering was quite simple and intuitive, starting with the main. Three options were available from which to choose only one, with two meat/poultry options and a vegetable option. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Each choice, to my surprise, had a list of the ingredients and a short description. I don't think I've ever seen that level of detail on an economy class food menu. On offer for the dinner service was charred chicken with brown rice in a lime juice with herbs…. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Beef and chicken meatballs in a tomato ragu with farro and basil... Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider And spiced eggplant with turmeric cauliflower rice and toasted quinoa. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the list of sides to accompany the main. Two sides could be selected from three choices available. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The options included a Dig Acres tomato salad with soft farm cheese, pickled onions, and mint… Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Chilled sheet tray carrots with garlic, herbs, and a lemon peel… Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider And mac and cheese in a three-cheese blend with whole-wheat pasta and crispy panko breadcrumbs. To be honest, it was hard to pick since all three seemed ideal to accompany the main. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider But just like that, I had the perfect meal queued up and ready to go. There was nothing more I had to do or say, and the anticipation was already building before takeoff. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The empty middle seat in my row also presented another opportunity: use the screen to order an additional meal. My rowmate, a JetBlue employee, and I decided to test out the system and ordered an additional meal to the empty seat. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider I also took a look at the interactive drink menu that listed all the beverages available on our flight. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider JetBlue offers complimentary soft drinks, beers, wines, and liquors in economy class. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The in-flight service began once the mood lighting in the cabin turned pink. Two flight attendants geared with service trolleys walked up and down the aisle to serve the cabin. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider I opted for the traditional gin and tonic in honor of JetBlue's first flight to London. The classic drink consisted of Bombay Sapphire gin and Canada Dry tonic water. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the part we were all waiting for, the meal service. Flight attendants once again started at both ends of the cabin, making their way towards the middle. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider A large black insulator case on top of the service trolley served to keep all the meals warn. It reminded me of a pizza delivery box but it did the trick. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The presentation was also unlike anything I had seen in economy, with the food served in small reusable containers. It was certainly presented better than the traditional microwaveable dinner-style packaging to which I'm accustomed on other airlines. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's what dining was like on an American Airlines flight from New York to Madrid, Spain was like in August.  Also on the meal tray was a water bottle and two sauce cups containing sriracha and garlic mayonnaise. This differs from, say, the dinner roll, small side salad, cheese and crackers, and perhaps a dessert that other airlines will pack onto the tray. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider I opened the lids, however, and found more than enough food to satisfy, and everything looked delicious. I quickly dug in, no pun intended, and effectively cleaned my plate. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The highlight was the mac and cheese which was the perfect comfort food for a long flight. I didn't love the cold carrots and was surprised by their temperature in comparison with the hot food but it was still tasty. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the meatball main and while the presentation was similarly delightful, I do have to say that I didn't love the meatballs. They were alright but as someone that takes joy in making meatballs from scratch, I thought I could have made a better meatball. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider The tomato salad, however, was incredibly fresh and delightful. It was a perfectly healthy option for the flight. I was too full to clean the tray but I made sure to enjoy the second serving of mac and cheese. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider An ice cream cookiewhich capped off the evening meal service, which was the highlight of the meal. And with that, it was off to bed for the rest of the transatlantic crossing. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider For those still hungry, though, the JetBlue "pantry" was open for business with a selection of the carrier's signature snacks. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider I was woken up just a few hours later by a JetBlue flight attendant, at my request, during the morning meal service. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider There weren't any choices this time around and all passengers were given the same box of breakfast goods, including a pain au chocolate served warm and fruit salad. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Once again, the light meal hit the spot and prepared me to take on the day in London. Chocolate bread is also a personal favorite when in Europe and I'm glad JetBlue thought it would be ideal for London flights. Flying JetBlue Airways from New York to London. Thomas Pallini/Insider Landing in London completed the culinary journey that accompanied the flight, and the next few days were spent enjoying the local UK cuisine. Eating at Nando's in London, UK. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's what it was like eating at Nando's, the South African chicken chain that's popular in the UK. Soon enough, though, it was time to head back to New York on JetBlue. This time, I'd be flying in the Mint business class cabin for a taste, quite literally, of how the other half lives. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read the full report here from the Mint business class flight home to New York. JetBlue has been working with the Delicious Hospitality Group to cater Mint business class flights since November. Any traveler that's flown Mint since then has had the opportunity to test out its culinary offering. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Here's how JetBlue overhauled its Mint business class offering in November.  DHC under chef Ryan Hardy is known for its New York City restaurants including Pasquale Jones, Legacy Records, and Charlie Bird. Each restaurant has its turn onboard and Pasquale Jones was up for my flight to New York. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Ordering meals in business class is slightly different than in economy, and traditional menus were left on each seat. Dinner was served on the 2:05 p.m. flight to New York, with five options from which to choose including baby greens, roasted carrots, shrimp curry, chicken Milanese, and cavatelli. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Before the meal, however, a blood orange mimosa was served for the pre-departure beverage. It was quite refreshing and set a positive tone for the flight ahead. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider A beverage menu also listed which cocktails, beers, and liquors were available to order. Traditional cocktails were on offer including an old fashioned, margarita, and a dirty martini, as well as JetBlue concoctions. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The meal service began shortly after takeoff with a tasting trio of olives, cashews, and anchovies. I'm not an anchovy fan but I can't hold that against JetBlue, especially as the other two snacks were delightful. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I also ordered a "mint condition," consisting of gin or vodka with ginger, lime, cucumber, and mint. It reminded me of a mojito and I very much enjoyed it. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Next came the main course, with four plates and a lot of food. Travelers can choose three of the five main course choices and I opted for the chicken Milanese, cavatelli, and baby greens. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The baby greens served as the salad for the meal and included sweet potato and buttermilk dressing. It was light, fresh, and delicious. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The chicken Milanese was basically a plain chicken cutlet, a dish I've eaten since I was a kid, accompanied with lemon and some greens. It was quite tasty but a bit bland without any sauce or cheese. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I was the most nervous about the cavatelli since I've never had a great experience with tomato sauces on airplanes. It wasn't my favorite dish on the tray but it was quite the Sunday gravy with a full bowl of pasta with sausage ragu with pecorino romano on top. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider And finally, a dinner roll was served on the side with an "emergency kit," as chef Ryan Hardy calls it, of olive oil, spicy olive oil, and salt. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider "I think we can really fix just about anything. If we have great salts, great olive oil, some hot pepper, and some lemon," Hardy said when debuting the new Mint offering in November, "because those are critical to the cooking that we do in our restaurants." Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Dessert immediately followed dinner and flight attendants rolled the desert cart down the aisle. On offer were a cheese plate and vanilla gelato with blackberries and almond crunch. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider A cheese plate, in my opinion, is the best way to end a meal and I'm glad to see that JetBlue recognizes that. My only complaint was that there weren't enough crackers to accompany the delicious cheeses. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider While certainly tasty and well-presented, I can't say it was among the best in-flight meals I've ever had. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider A selection of coffee and English tea was also available but I was fully content after the meal. The next few hours were spent working and resting. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The good food continued as we crossed the Atlantic with flight attendants passing around a selection of snacks, including Walker's shortbread cookies. I was glad to see it wasn't JetBlue traditional snack basket and had premium brands. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I also tested out the dirty martini and found it a little too dirty for my taste. But I did appreciate the odd number of olives in the drink. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider The pre-landing "supper small plates" were served just under an hour before landing as we approached New York. A selection of three choices was provided, from which I could select two, including Italian clam soup, panzanella, and a panini. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider I opted for the panzanella and panini, which were accompanied by a pretzel roll. It was a surprisingly good amount of food and I didn't even think I was hungry enough to eat again. But I was and I did. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Flight attendants also brought over the before-landing snack from economy, purely for demonstration purposes, consisting of a warm pretzel and fruit salad. I didn't indulge but both definitely would've sufficed had I been in the back. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Landing in New York came all too soon and it was safe to say that I didn't need to have dinner that night at home. But if I had to choose between the two JetBlue meals I had, I think I'd choose the meal I had on the flight I took in economy class. Flying JetBlue Airways from London to New York in Mint business class. Thomas Pallini/Insider Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nyt21 hr. 34 min. ago

Three Bizarre Reasons Why Inflation Is Here To Stay

When I was about five years old in the early 1980s, my dad brought home our first computer. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more I’ll never forget it– it was an clunky IBM with a tiny, orange, monochromatic monitor, and dual floppy disks. It had 640 kilobytes of RAM, and no hard disk. […] When I was about five years old in the early 1980s, my dad brought home our first computer. 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (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 I’ll never forget it– it was an clunky IBM with a tiny, orange, monochromatic monitor, and dual floppy disks. It had 640 kilobytes of RAM, and no hard disk. I loved it. With that computer I learned how to program, how to navigate a command-line interface, how to design algorithms, and how to solve constant problems… because it was ridiculously buggy and would break down all the time. It was also painfully slow. The boot-up process could easily take an hour, from the time I flipped on the power switch, to the time I saw the ‘DOS prompt’. Sometimes I think that computer is a great metaphor for the global economy. Turning it off is nothing; you flip the switch and the power goes off. But starting it back up again takes a long time. And the process isn’t so smooth– sometimes it crashes during bootup. The Great Plague Last March when the Great Plague was upon us, nearly every industry, in nearly every country in the world, practically shut down. And many businesses went bust, never to return. Eighteen months later businesses have largely reopened. But like my old computer, the reboot process has been riddled with critical errors and system failures. For example, right now there are countless businesses in industries from retail to manufacturing that are experiencing severe labor shortages. Supply chains around the world are breaking down, resulting in product shortages and major transportation bottlenecks. The end result of this dumpster fire is that prices are soaring. And I wanted to spend some time today connecting the dots to help explain some of these important trends. Let’s go back to last March again when everything shut down. You probably recall that dozens of large companies declared bankruptcy, like Nieman Marcus, GNC, JC Penny, etc. But there were other companies that went bust which most people have probably never heard of. They were in more mundane, less sexy industries… like corrugated paper and wood pulp. Yet while their demise was hardly noticed, it turns out they would have a significant impact on the global economy. Surge In Global Shipping Demand Global shipping demand surged last year in ways that had never been seen before. Suddenly, instead of efficient supply chains shipping goods to large marketplaces (like retail and grocery stores), consumers wanted everything delivered to them. While the total volume of shipping was largely the same (or even less) than previous years, the number of individual shipments increased dramatically. In other words, instead of a single large shipment to a store or supermarket, companies were making thousands of tiny shipments to individual consumers. This meant more trips… and more packaging. More cardboard boxes. More plastic wrap. More plastic containers. More Styrofoam. And the prices for all of these materials has spiked. The price for polyethylene, for example, which is used extensively in shipping, has increased from $820 per ton to $1,850 per ton. Polypropylene prices are also up from $1,100 per ton to $1,770 per ton. It’s a similar trend with cardboard and corrugated paper. And these price increases aren’t simply due to high demand either. Supply has fallen. Last March when a number of wood pulp producers went out of business, no one noticed and no one cared. But it turned out that more than 10% of all North American paper capacity vanished, practically overnight, just before demand started to surge. And this capacity cannot be simply turned on again with a flip of a switch. It takes a lot of effort to resurrect a bankrupt factory, to re-hire and re-train workers. (We’ll get to the worker issue in a moment.) It’s a similar trend around the world– foreign factories have closed, and those that remain open are struggling to retain workers and operate under strict COVID protocols. Manufacturing efficiency is way down as a result, so they’re not producing enough supply to keep up with demand. The Actual Shipping Problems Then there are the actual shipping problems– the crazy delays, especially on the West Coast of the United States, that prevent container ships from delivering their cargo. It’s not that there aren’t enough ships in the world; in fact, the total global capacity in terms of TEUs, or 20-foot Equivalent Units, is slightly higher than pre-pandemic. But a range of factors, including COVID rules and union regulations, means there’s a shortage of maritime crew to operate the vessels. There’s also a shortage of dockworkers, truck drivers, forklift operators, etc. at the ports. This is especially true in California, whose regulatory environment makes port operations extremely difficult and inefficient. Yet sadly for the United States, California’s ports are the busiest and most important in the country; most of the seafreight from China is offloaded at the Port of Long Beach or Port of Los Angeles, so bottlenecks there cause a major ripple effect across the country. Right now there is a backlog of ships waiting to unload their cargo in southern California. This makes the COVID policies of California especially important for the rest of the United States; whatever Gavin Newsome decides has a huge impact on the national economy. Labor Shortage Labor is obviously another major issue in this messy economic reboot. Thanks to a steady digest of mass media Covid hysteria, there are still plenty of people who are terrified to leave their homes and go to work. Moreover, there are so many people who got used to being home over the past 18-months, that now they only want a job where they can work from home. This is a major problem for businesses… and why it’s so hard for restaurant companies, fast food joints, retail shops, factories, etc. to find workers. People would rather stay home. The government hasn’t exactly been helpful in this department when they were paying outsized unemployment benefits to encourage everyone to stay home. That effect is lingering. There’s another trend at work here, though. For the last several years, politicians have been fighting hard to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. It turns out that no one really wanted those jobs to begin with. Younger people in particular don’t have as much interest in those sorts of traditional jobs; they’d rather be ‘influencers’ and make their money posting butt selfies and snapshots of their contrived lifestyle. This was already becoming an issue prior to COVID; large companies– especially those in industries that were considered unappealing to Gen Z– were complaining how difficult it was to hire, train, and retain young workers. Now it’s borderline impossible. Businesses also have to compete with the government for labor, which has gobbled up workers and put them to work as ‘contact tracers’. And retail companies that are lucky enough to find employees are forced to misallocate those scarce resources to do unproductive tasks, like checking everyone’s ‘papers’ when customers walk through the door. And then, of course, if a business has been able to navigate all of those crazy obstacles, Hunter Biden’s dad is now forcing you to fire any worker who hasn’t been [unmentionable word– thanks Google]. Federal Reserve’s Monetary Blowout On top of all of the above is the Federal Reserve’s monetary blowout. They’ve printed trillions of dollars over the past 18 months to ‘support the economy’. Yet even though the unemployment rate is down to 4.8%, they’re STILL printing at least $120 billion per month in new money. All that new money has helped fuel giant asset bubbles in stocks, bonds, property, and commodities. Energy prices in particular have risen sharply, and this tends to cause all other prices to rise. The result of all of this insanity is inflation. Lots of it. The problem is that most of these trends are not going away anytime soon. The Fed may start to taper its money printing. But they have very little room to raise interest rates meaningfully to combat inflation. Plus the labor issues, government policy, shipping, manufacturing shortages, etc. are going to last for a while. In fact, you’d think the correct government policy right now would be to create incentives for people to work, to create new businesses, and to invest in new technology that could automate and clean up the bottlenecks. At a minimum you’d think they’d stay the hell away and let capitalism do its job. After all, free market competition is one of the greatest tools to fix any economic woes, especially inefficiencies and resource misallocation. Yet all of the policies they’re proposing are anti-competitive and anti-market. They want to create DISINCENTIVES to form businesses and make investments. It’s the exact opposite of what they should be doing. (This is what happens when you put a socialist in charge of writing the budget.) So the next time one of these politicians or central bankers say that inflation is ‘transitory’, you can be certain they’re completely clueless about what’s happening in the real world. On another note… We think gold could DOUBLE and silver could increase by up to 5 TIMES in the next few years. That's why we published a new, 50-page long Ultimate Guide on Gold & Silver that you can download here. Inside you'll learn... How you could Double Your Money with an asset That Has a 5,000 Year History of Prosperity Why gold could potentially DOUBLE, and why silver could increase by up to 5 TIMES The 5 smartest, safest and most lucrative ways to own gold and silver (and one way you should definitely avoid) Why gold is the ultimate anti-currency and insurance policy against the systematic destruction of the US dollar (that everyone should at least consider owning) Why ETFs are a lurking timebomb and why you want to avoid them like the plague And everything else you need to know about buying, owning, storing and investing in precious metals This 50-page report is brand new and absolutely free. Article by Simon Black, Sovereig Mman Updated on Oct 15, 2021, 4:01 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 15th, 2021

Elizabeth Holmes trial Week 6 recap: Trouble with Safeway and Walgreens deals, and how a dermatologist became the startup"s lab director

Former Safeway and Walgreens executives testified about their companies' failed deals with Theranos. One said he had "never been more frustrated." Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Courthouse with her mother Noel Holmes during her trial. Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters The fraud trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has concluded its sixth week. It included testimony about Theranos' failed Walgreens and Safeway deals. Here's everything that happened in the trial in its sixth week. "I have never been more frustrated"Former Safeway CEO Steven Burd returned to the stand, testifying that his company did at least 100 hours of due diligence on Theranos before signing a $400 million contract, according to CNBC. Burd spoke of frequent launch delays, lost blood samples, nonsensical test results, and a "poor patient experience," according to the Wall Street Journal. He added that he worried about Safeway's reputation.In late 2012, he wrote an email to Holmes with the subject line "Becoming Discouraged.""I can only recall having been discouraged once in the last 62 years," he wrote. "That said, I am getting close to my second event."On another occasion, he said, "We are so good together when we collaborate, but I have never been more frustrated. I want to help, but you are making it difficult." The deal dissolved in 2015."The haters are everywhere"Former Walgreens CFO Wade Miquelon testified that Walgreens agreed to pay Theranos a $100 million "innovation fee," along with $40 million in convertible notes. In August 2013, Holmes asked Walgreens to speed up the $100 million payment, Miquelon said.Shortly after the Wall Street Journal published its exposé on Theranos in 2015, Miquelon emailed Holmes words of encouragement."The haters are everywhere, but your contribution to the world cannot be bottled up," he wrote, according to the Journal. "You are going to help so many people in your lifetime it's absurd."How a dermatologist became a Theranos lab director Sunil Dhawan, a dermatologist for Theranos' former COO and President Sunny Balwani, testified that Balwani asked him to be Theranos' lab director, which Balwani said had a "minimal" time commitment, the Journal reports. Though Dhawan seemed an unusual choice, he met federal and state requirements. He testified that he rarely visited the lab and that he only worked five to 10 hours from November 2014 to the summer of 2015. He was paid $5,000 per month. Theranos disappointed on its biggest promise, former Walgreens exec saysFormer Walgreens executive Nimesh Jhaveri testified that the company was unaware that finger-stick samples were being tested on commercial third-party devices; Walgreens believed these tests were being run on Theranos' own devices. In 2014, roughly 40% of tests were still requiring vein draws instead of simple finger pricks, and Walgreens wanted to "get that number to zero." That never happened, despite Balwani's reassurance that venous draws would dip below 5% by the end of 2014, Jhaveri said.He said this was disappointing because running a variety of tests with a single fingerprick was Theranos' biggest selling point.Walgreens ultimately ended the partnership in 2016.Theranos' former senior project manager testifiesDaniel Edlin, a senior project manager at Theranos, testified that Theranos sometimes set up partitions to hide parts of its labs before giving tours. He also said he was once asked to set up a display of Theranos' MiniLab machines for guests to see on a tour, but he later learned these devices were never used for clinical patient testing.Edlin said he knew Theranos used third-party devices to run venous tests but wasn't aware the company also used them for finger-stick samples, according to KTVU.He ultimately left Theranos in 2016."I no longer believed based on what I was seeing that the company was capable of standing behind the claims it had been making about its technology," he said, according to the Journal.You can catch up on Week 1 here, Week 2 here, Week 3 here, Week 4 here, and Week 5 here. You can read how Holmes wound up on trial here and see the list of potential witnesses here. Everything else you need to know about the case is here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

The 20 best books of 2021, according to Book of the Month readers

Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/Insider Book of the Month sends great books from emerging authors directly to subscribers. At the end of each year, readers vote for their favorite books they read through the service. Here are the 20 most loved BOTM selections of 2021. The winner will be announced on November 11. Book of the Month sends new and noteworthy books - often before they become popular - to subscribers each month. In the past, the company has picked hits such as "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah, "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee, and "The Girl With the Louding Voice" by Abi Daré to bring to its readers.Membership (small)At the end of the year, the club's thousands of subscribers vote on the best books they read through the service, making it a more curated version of Goodreads' best books of the year. For example, the 2020 winner was "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett, which also won the 2020 Goodreads award for Best Historical Fiction.Below, you'll find a reading list of the top 20 books of 2021 according to Book of the Month readers. Book of the Month will announce the best book of 2021 on November 11, awarding the winning author a $10,000 prize. The 20 best books picked by Book of the Month in 2021, according to its readers:Descriptions are provided by Amazon and edited lightly for length and clarity. "Things We Lost To The Water" by Eric Nguyen Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she sends letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she attempts to come to terms with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memories and imaginations. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong gets involved with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity — as individuals and as a family — threatens to tear them apart, un­til disaster strikes the city they now call home, and they are suddenly forced to find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them. "Imposter Syndrome" by Kathy Wang Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.59Julia Lerner, a recent university graduate in computer science, is living in Moscow when she's recruited by Russia's largest intelligence agency in 2006. By 2018, she's in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America's most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self-promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia's asking for more, and Julia's getting nervous.Alice Lu is a first-generation Chinese-American whose parents are delighted she's working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she's slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial "founder's girlfriend." One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she's burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine's privacy settings aren't as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself. The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she's the one who built her career; isn't she entitled to protect the lifestyle she's earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, "Impostor Syndrome" is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream. "The Lost Apothecary" by Susan Penner Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99Hidden in the depths of 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary's fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious 12-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.Meanwhile, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her 10th wedding anniversary alone in present-day London, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London 200 years ago, her life collides with the apothecary's in a stunning twist of fate — and not everyone will survive. "This Close To Okay" by Leese Cross-Smith Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15.62On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing at the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett. Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. What she doesn't realize is that Emmett isn't the only one who needs healing — and they both are harboring secrets.Alternating between Tallie and Emmett's perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge's edge — as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with since her marriage ended — "This Close to Okay" is an uplifting, cathartic story about chance encounters, hope found in unlikely moments, and the subtle magic of human connection. "We Are the Brennans" by Tracey Lange Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.49When 29-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all — and her high school sweetheart — five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions.Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets — secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes — and ultimately find a way forward together. "The Maidens" by Alex Michaelides Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.78Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this, Mariana is confident. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike ― particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana's niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?When another body is found, Mariana's obsession with proving Fosca's guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything ― including her own life. "Razorblade Tears" by S.A. Cosby Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.10Ike Randolph has been out of jail for 15 years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.Derek's father, Buddy Lee, was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father's criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their prejudices about their sons and each other as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. "Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.80Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over — especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud — because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about has promised she'll be there.And Kit has a couple of secrets of her own — including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.By midnight the party will be entirely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come rising to the surface. "Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.49Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the land's bounty is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman's only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: Marriage to a man she barely knows.By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work, and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa's tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa ― like so many of her neighbors ― must make an agonizing choice: Fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family. "The People We Keep" by Alison Larkin Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $22.99Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo's diner, she's left fending for herself in a town where she's never quite felt at home. When she "borrows" her neighbor's car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good — setting off on a journey to find her own life.Driving without a chosen destination, she stops to rest in Ithaca. Her only plan is to survive, but as she looks for work, she finds a kindred sense of belonging at Cafe Decadence, the local coffee shop. Still, somehow, it doesn't make sense to her that life could be this easy. The more she falls in love with her friends in Ithaca, the more she can't shake the feeling that she'll hurt them the way she's been hurt.As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn't dictate who she has to be. "The Heart Principle" by Helen Hoang Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands — the more unacceptable the men, the better.That's where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex — he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna's family, she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love — but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. "Instructions for Dancing" by Nicola Yoon Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.40Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began… and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: Adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything — including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? "Once There Were Wolves" by Charlotte McConaghy Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.99Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing 14 gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape but Aggie, too — unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she's witnessed ― inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet, as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept that her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn't make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect? "People We Meet On Vacation" by Emily Henry Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $9.98Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She's a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year, they live far apart — she's in New York City, and he's in their small hometown — but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.Poppy has everything she should want, but she's stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together — lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong? "The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina" by Zoraida Cordove Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.49The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty or why their matriarch won't ever leave their home in Four Rivers — even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.Seven years later, her gifts have manifested differently for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly's daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea's line. Determined to save what's left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador — to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back. "Damnation Spring" by Ash Davidson Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.81Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It's 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn't what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now, that way of life is threatened. Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It's a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall — a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son — and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient Redwoods. Colleen, desperate to have a second baby, challenges the logging company's use of herbicides that she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community — including her own. The pair find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict that threatens the very thing they are trying to protect: Their family. "The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany" by Lori Nelson Spielman Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $10.95Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than 200 years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily single baker at her grandfather's Brooklyn deli, claim it's an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it's an actual hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she'll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her 80th birthday — and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed — secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. "The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $12.92Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers — Owen's 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As Hannah's increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen's boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn't who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen's true identity — and why he disappeared.Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen's past, they soon realize they're also building a new future — one neither of them could have anticipated.You can read our interview with author Laura Dave here. "The Office of Historical Corrections" by Danielle Evans Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $17.49Danielle Evans is known for her blisteringly smart voice and X-ray insights into complex human relationships. With "The Office of Historical Corrections," Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters' lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love and getting walloped by grief — all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history — about who gets to tell them and the cost of setting the record straight. "Infinite Country" by Patricia Engel Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.80I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally reunite with her family.How this family came to occupy two different countries — two different worlds — comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering — the costs they've all been living with ever since. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

What the History of Money Says About Its Future

We may be on the cusp of a currency shift now When Franklin Roosevelt told his economic advisers he was about to take the U.S. off the gold standard, they freaked out. The President was leading the country into “uncontrolled inflation and complete chaos,” one of them said. Another said it was “the end of Western civilization.” Roosevelt’s aides weren’t wild-eyed reactionaries; their view was conventional wisdom. The gold standard, almost everybody agreed, was the natural way to do money. Under its rules, anybody who wanted to could trade in paper money for a fixed amount of gold. In the U.S., $20.67 got you an ounce of gold, year in and year out. That unchanging value was the whole point of the gold standard. Take away the gold, and money would obviously be just worthless paper. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] This worldview turned out to be completely wrong. Clinging to the gold standard was part of what created the Great Depression in the first place. Leaving it in 1933 was an essential step toward economic recovery. So why were Roosevelt’s advisers, and most of the leading economists of the day, blinded by their devotion to gold? There’s this thinking error we almost always make with money. The way money works at any given moment feels like part of the natural order, as with water or gravity. Any alternative to the way money works seems like some absurd game. Paper money not backed by anything? That’s like expecting water to flow uphill! Then some political or technological or financial shock comes along, and suddenly there’s something new: paper money backed by metal, or paper money backed by nothing, or simply numbers on a screen. Pretty soon, we get used to the new money. It comes to seem like the natural state of things, and anything else is foolishness. We may be on the cusp of one of those shifts now. It’s impossible to say for sure how things will play out, but history provides some deep insights into what should make us hopeful about the future of money—and what should scare us. Money Is Technology Around A.D. 100, a Chinese court official ground up a mash of mulberry bark, rags and fishnets, and invented paper. A few centuries later, someone—maybe a Buddhist monk who was tired of writing the same sacred text again and again—carved a sacred text into a block of wood and invented printing. A few centuries after that, a merchant in the capital of Sichuan set out to solve another problem: the money his customers were using was terrible. It was mostly iron coins, and it took a pound and a half of iron to buy a pound of salt. It would be the modern equivalent of going grocery shopping with nothing but pennies. So the merchant told his customers that they could leave their coins with him. In exchange, he gave them a claim check—a piece of paper that could be used to retrieve the coins. People started using the claim checks themselves to buy stuff, and paper money was born. It was a huge hit. Pretty soon, the government took over the business of printing paper money, and it spread throughout China. In an era when there was no mechanized transport, the ability to move value around on a few pieces of paper—rather than a wagon full of metal coins—was a breakthrough. Read More: The U.S. Is Losing the Global Race to Decide the Future of Money Paper money relied on paper and printing, which were a kind of technology. But paper money itself also was a new technology—a tool that made trade easier. This led to an increased exchange of ideas and more economic specialization, which in turn meant people could grow more food and make more stuff. Paper money helped China get richer. At the same time, that new technology came with risks—it meant rulers could print lots of money, which sometimes led to ruinous inflation. Today, new technologies allow us to move money using the supercomputers in our pockets. In the coming years, technology will drive even more dramatic changes in money, as the full impact of crypto-currencies becomes clear. Like paper money, these new technologies will continue to bring new opportunities, efficiencies and risks. Money is both public and private One key dynamic to watch as digital currency evolves is the tension between the government and private firms, a theme that runs like a golden thread through the history of money. Consider the case of America in the mid–19th century, when almost any bank could print its own paper money. The $2 bill from Stonington Bank in Connecticut had a whale on the front; the $5 bill from the St. Nicholas Bank of New York City had a picture of Santa Claus. At one point, private banks were printing more than 8,000 different kinds of money. This was still the era when paper money was a claim check for gold or silver. If a bank went bust, the valuable claim check was suddenly just a piece of paper with a picture of Santa Claus on it. This presented a problem for merchants who faced customers using thousands of kinds of money. How could they know which banks were sound? For that matter, how could they tell real money from counterfeit? Publications called banknote reporters sprang up to solve both problems. They were little magazines that listed bills from all around the country, with brief physical descriptions and recommendations for whether to accept the money at full value or, in the case of shaky banks, at a discount. That world disappeared around the time of the Civil War, when a new federal tax on paper money drove most of the old banknotes out of existence. But even as the variety of paper money declined, money created by private banks persisted. Even today, banks create new money out of thin air every time they make a loan. This money, stored as balances in checking and savings accounts, is not so different from the paper money banks used to print. Well into the 20th century, depositors in the U.S. could lose their money when a bank went bust—just like their ancestors who were left holding worthless pieces of paper. It was only in the 1930s, when the federal government started insuring most bank deposits, that this risk disappeared. In other words, modern banks create money that is in turn guaranteed by the federal government. Is this money public or private? It is both! Read More: Thinking of Investing in a Green Fund? Many Don’t Live Up to Their Promises, a New Report Claims The original dream of cryptocurrency was purely private money—a currency that needed neither governments nor banks. And although this remains a technical possibility, it’s striking that more than a decade after Bitcoin was invented, almost no one uses crypto-currency in the ordinary way people use money—to buy stuff in everyday life. If crypto-currency does become ordinary money, it probably won’t be as some purely private libertarian money, but as the kind of public-private hybrid that money has almost always been. In fact, regulators have started to crack down on so-called stablecoins, a type of crypto-currency designed to substitute for our existing money. Stable money is risky money What should we worry about when we worry about the future of money? Sure, there are plenty of new cryptocurrencies whose values fluctuate wildly from week to week. But if we’re worried about broader risks—to the economy, rather than just to speculators—maybe we should focus on stablecoins. Rather than promising overnight wealth, many stablecoins offer stability with the claim that each virtual coin will be worth exactly $1 today, tomorrow and forever. As more and more people trade a growing number of crypto-currencies, stablecoins such as Tether and USD Coin have exploded in popularity. And in the history of money, we often find the promise of boring stability is ultimately more risky than the promise of quick riches. Money-market mutual funds are a telling example. They were invented in the 1970s, and the idea was to offer something that seemed like a bank account but paid higher interest. As Bruce Bent, the inventor of the money-market fund, said again and again, “The purpose of the money fund is to bore the investor into a sound night’s sleep.” Even the name is dull. Money-market funds worked like banks. Investors put money in. The fund then lent that money out, collected interest and paid some of the interest back to the investors. People and companies put trillions of dollars into money-market funds for safekeeping, and it seemed a lot like money in the bank—put a dollar in, take a dollar out, plus interest. But, unlike bank deposits, money-market fund investments were not guaranteed by the federal government. In September 2008, the investment bank Lehman Brothers went bankrupt. As it happened, a large money-market mutual fund had lent $785 million to Lehman Brothers—and the bankruptcy meant that the fund might not get that money back. Investors in the money-market fund started demanding their money back. But the fund couldn’t deliver. In the parlance of money-market mutual funds, it “broke the buck”—investors could no longer take out a dollar for every dollar they put in. The moment an asset that seemed safe suddenly seems risky can be profoundly destabilizing. Overnight, investors started trying to pull hundreds of billions of dollars out of money-market mutual funds. It was like a bank run, and as often happens in a run, the money-market funds weren’t going to be able to come up with all the money. Within a few days, as part of an effort to prevent a broader economic collapse, the federal government stepped in. The most popular stablecoins work a lot like these funds. When people buy stablecoins, some of the companies that run stablecoins turn around and invest that money. When people want to redeem their stablecoins for dollars, the creators of the coins have to sell off those investments. If the investments lose a lot of money, or if everyone suddenly wants to redeem their stablecoins at once, stablecoins might prove unstable—investors might suddenly be unable to get a dollar out for every dollar they put in. Regulators know this. And over the past few months, some of the most powerful economic officials in the country have suggested that stablecoins may soon come in for stricter regulation. The rise of stablecoins, and the government’s response, is the history of money and the future of money playing out in the present: a new monetary technology that brings new benefits, new risks and new fights between public and private interests......»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

The 6 best weighted blanket we tested in 2021

A weighted blanket may help if you have trouble falling asleep. We tested 12 of them to round up the best weighted blankets for a good night's rest. Brooklinen Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Research is limited, but recent findings say weighted blankets can aid in sleep and reduce anxiety. We tested 12 of them. Our favorites are the Brooklinen Weighted Comforter and the Bearaby Napper. Click here for more advice on what to consider when buying a weighted blanket. If you toss and turn at night or find your mind racing when trying to fall asleep, you might benefit from adding a weighted blanket to your bedding. Usually weighing somewhere between 15 and 25 pounds, weighted blankets provide gentle, constant pressure as you sleep, and recent studies have shown promising results in their ability to ease anxiety and reduce insomnia, though research remains limited. I spoke with Rebecca Robbins, sleep researcher, author, and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate scientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She said the reason why weighted blankets tend to work is quite primal. "It really hearkens back to the way we entered the world," said Robbins. "You were in a womb, compressed on all sides by water and fluid, and so there was a sense of pressure. We try to emulate that with infants by swaddling them. We might look at weighted blankets as the adult version of swaddling or emulating those circumstances where we feel at ease."I tested 12 of the most popular weighted blankets on the market to determine the best ones you can buy. I evaluated them for how well I slept while using them, the quality of materials and construction, how easy they were to wash and care for, and how comfy they were. The best weighted blankets in 2021Best weighted comforter: Brooklinen Weighted ComforterBest extra-heavy weighted blanket: Gravity 35-Pound BlanketBest cooling weighted blanket: BlanQuil ChillBest weighted throw blanket: Bearaby NapperBest budget weighted blanket: Luna Weighted BlanketBest king-size weighted blanket: HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket Best weighted comforter Jen Gushue/Insider Brooklinen's Weighted Comforter has a premium plush design that blends seamlessly with the rest of your bedding.Available sizes: Twin/twin XL (64" x 90"), full/queen (90" x 90"), king/Cali king (106" x 90")Available weights: 15 lbs., 20 lbs., 30 lbs.Available colors: WhiteMaterials: 400 thread-count cotton sateen shell, polyfill interior, glass micro-beadsCare instructions: Dry clean only, spot clean with soap and warm water, and dry with hairdryerPros: Looks just like a normal comforter, lots of plush fill, made of 400-thread-count cotton sateen, has duvet cover loops, accepts returns in any condition within one year of purchaseCons: Dry clean only, duvet cover sold separately, difficult to adjust while using itIf you don't want to sleep under a stack of blankets or compromise your bedroom's look, you'll want a weighted comforter, and Brooklinen makes the best one I tried. It looks and feels like a traditional plush comforter but with an extra 20 pounds of weight integrated with small glass beads. The blanket itself is made of 400-thread-count cotton sateen, so it's soft enough to throw on your bed without a duvet cover.That being said, we recommend adding one — corner loops make it easy to tie on — because the blanket is dry-clean only, which could run you anywhere from $20 to $50.I found that the 20-pound comforter I tested weighed closer to 24 pounds, but the extra weight didn't make too much of a difference once I laid it out on the bed. Sleeping under it was pretty dreamy (excuse the pun). I felt enveloped by the cushy fill but not too overwhelmed or overheated. It was somewhat difficult to adjust while lying under it due to the weight and size, but I found this typical for just about every comforter-sized weighted blanket I tested.Though pricey, this comfortable weighted blanket is worth the investment, especially because it will entirely replace your comforter. If you find it's not right for you, Brooklinen has an incredibly lenient return policy, accepting returns for any reason in any condition within 365 days of your purchase. Best extra-heavy weighted blanket Jen Gushue/Insider Gravity's 35-pound weighted blanket evenly distributes weight across your king-size bed and is perfect for those who are looking for some extra heft.Available sizes: Queen/king (90" x 90")Available weights: 35 lbs.Available colors: White, navy, grayMaterials: Micro-fleece removable cover, glass beadsCare instructions: Removable cover is machine wash cold and tumble dry low, inner blanket is hand wash and air dry onlyPros: Great for those who need a heavier blanket, weight is evenly distributed, no beanbag feel, the cover is machine washable, low profile blanketCons: Queen/king size only comes in 35 pounds, the cover should be washed before use, too heavy to adjust in the middle of the night, the inner blanket is hand-wash only, customers are responsible for return feesWhen I first received the Gravity 35-pound blanket, I thought it would feel way too heavy, but I found it pretty manageable. It did tend to slide down the bed as I was sleeping, and I'd often wake up about a foot lower than usual because I was chasing the blanket around through the night. It was simply too heavy to pull up or adjust while laying under it, though someone stronger than me will likely not have this issue.One issue with this blanket was that the included micro-plush duvet cover felt oddly greasy out of the package. It left a film on my hands as I tried to smooth it out over the bed. But the zip-on cover is removable and washable, and a run through the wash resolved the issue. I can't imagine hauling such a heavy blanket into and out of a washing machine, so the removable cover is a huge plus. The Gravity blanket is low-profile without any excess fill, so it won't add a lot of bulk to your bed. That said, it's not as plush or cozy as the Brooklinen comforter, which does also come in a 35-pound version, though it's much more expensive.The brand also makes "single" size weighted blankets that measure 48-inches by 72-inches. I tested a 15-pound one with a cooling cover and found it performed well, but nothing made it stand out from the pack. Best cooling weighted blanket Jen Gushue/Insider The BlanQuil Chill's unique cover disperses heat and stays cool to the touch as you fall asleep, but its slick fabric can cause it to slide off the bed.Available sizes: 48" x 74"Available weights: 15 lbs., 20 lbs.Available colors: White with blue threadingFill materials: Glass micro-beadsCare instructions: Removable cover is machine wash cold and tumble dry low, inner blanket is spot clean onlyPros: Stays cool to the touch, no beanbag feel, glass beads don't shift, 60-night sleep trialCons: Slides off the bed easily; internal blanket is spot-clean only; only one size, one color, and two weights availableI sleep hot, and the BlanQuil Chill is the weighted blanket I have the longest relationship with. It's been on my bed for about a year and a half, and I've had two iterations of the design.I lined up all the cooling blankets I tested for this guide and ran my hand across each one, and the BlanQuil felt noticeably cooler than all the others. Plus, it did the best job of dissipating heat and getting back to its cool baseline.Since it's slightly bigger than a twin bed, it's not a blanket that's intended to be shared. Glass beads add weight, but there's no beanbag feeling, and I've never felt them shift in a way that causes the blanket to feel lumpy or uneven.The zipper on the removable, washable cover of the first version of the design was weak, couldn't handle the weight of the blanket, and broke just a couple of months into its use. But BlanQuil has since reinforced the zipper, and I've yet to have a problem with it. I even stress tested it by holding the weight of the blanket against the zipper, and it held strong.Though it's one of the best I've used, the cooling cover's material has a bit of a sheen to it, which makes it slick so it slides off the bed easily — especially if you toss and turn at night. As soon as it gets off-center, the blanket's weight will cause it to slide. Best weighted throw blanket Jen Gushue/Insider The cocoon-like, knit-woven Bearaby Cotton Napper keeps you cozy yet cool as you lounge on the couch, it's entirely machine washable, and it's one of the heftiest blankets we tested.Available sizes: 40" x 72", 45" x 72", 48" x 72"Available weights: 15 lbs., 20 lbs., 25 lbs.Available colors: Eight colors currently availableMaterials: Organic long-staple cottonCare instructions: Machine wash cold on delicate cycle, tumble dry lowPros: Aesthetic design, has significant heft, made from organic cotton, washable and dryable, 30-day return policy if blanket remains unwashed, most versatile weighted blanket I testedCons: Doesn't fit in compact washing machines, takes multiple cycles to dry, open weave may catch toes and fingers, heavier than advertised (though this may be a pro, depending on your preference)The weight of the Bearaby Napper comes entirely from the dense organic cotton strands hand-knit into one of the most aesthetically minded weighted blankets I've ever seen.This is a really heavy blanket — the blanket I tested, which was advertised as the 15-pound version, actually tipped the scales at 24 pounds. I contacted the company to verify that they sent me the right item, and they assured me they did. It's not necessarily bad that they're heavier than advertised, but it's something to keep in mind when you order.A blanket this heavy — and bulky — can be tough to shift around, and if it's going to live on your couch, it will take up quite a bit of space. I've shifted it to my bed. It drapes nicely over my partner and me, but the open weave makes it prone to stretching if you need to pull it up in the night. It hasn't become misshapen in any significant way, thankfully.It's not quite a cooling blanket — Bearaby does offer one called the Tree Napper that I haven't tested — but it doesn't trap heat thanks to the open weave. The holes are quite large, though, so if you are bothered by some toes or fingers poking through, you might want to look elsewhere.The Napper is fully machine washable and can go in the dryer on a delicate setting. I wanted to see how the blanket washed and dried as part of my test, but it didn't fit in my space-saving apartment-sized washing machine. Best budget weighted blanket Jen Gushue/Insider Weighted blankets are typically expensive, but the Luna Weighted Blanket is gentle on your wallet despite being constructed from Oeko-Tex-certified cotton and filled with natural glass beads.Available sizes: 36" x 48", 41" x 60", 48" x 72", 60" x 80", 80" x 87"Available weights: 5 lbs., 7 lbs., 10 lbs., 12 lbs., 15 lbs., 17 lbs., 20 lbs., 22 lbs., 25 lbs., 30 lbs.Available colors: 11 solid colors and 14 patterns currently availableMaterials: Cotton shell, glass beadsCare instructions: Machine wash cold on delicate cycle, hang dry or tumble dry lowPros: Excellent quality at a low price; comes in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and weights; fully machine washable; Oeko-Tex Certified construction; true to weightCons: Thinner blanket than some others on our listWeighted blankets tend to be very expensive, but Luna offers an excellent weighted blanket at an affordable price.I tested the 15-pound queen-size blanket, and the glass beads inside were barely noticeable, producing no beanbag effect. Where many other cheap weighted blankets are loaded with chemicals, the Luna Weighted Blanket is Oeko-Tex Certified, meaning it contains no harmful materials.The blanket is much thinner than some of the others I tested, but it stayed breathable and was light enough to easily adjust in the middle of the night. It wasn't quite as cozy as some others, but it's a great option to layer with your usual comforter or use during the warmer months.As I've continued to test these blankets, the Luna has become a bit of a travel-sized weighted blanket for me. I wouldn't recommend taking it on an airplane — it's a bit bulky for that — but the Luna is thin enough to fold into a car trunk-friendly size. The blanket was a true 15 pounds according to my scale, but that weight was dispersed over a queen-size surface area, making it feel lighter. It's also one of the easiest blankets to clean that I tested. The entire thing fits into my compact washer-dryer and was fully dry within one cycle — and it got softer after just one wash. Best king-size weighted blanket James Brains/Insider The HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket is large enough for couples, breathes well to keep you from overheating, and can go in the washer and dryer.Available sizes: 60" x 80", 80" x 86", 88" x 104"Available weights: 15 lbs., 20 lbs., 25 lbs., 30 lbs., 35 lbs., 40 lbs., 50 lbs.Available colors: White, dark grey, cool mint, burgundy, greyMaterials: Cotton shell, glass beadsCare instructions: Machine wash cold on delicate cycle, hang dry or tumble dry lowPros: Breathable organic cotton shell, glass beads sewn into 5-by-5-inch pockets for even weight distribution, machine washable and dryable, the king size is large enough for couples, weight options up to 50 lbs.Cons: The blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use, hard to track down customer supportAs a big guy, one of the problems I run into with weighted blankets is that they aren't large enough to cover my whole body. Even queen-size blankets tend to be too small to reach my giant feet. This was not a problem with the HomeSmart Products King Size Weighted Blanket.At 88 inches by 104 inches and with weight options up to 50 pounds, it's the ideal blanket for couples who want to enjoy the comfort of a weighted blanket without sacrificing intimacy.The HomeSmart blanket features micro glass beads sewn into the 400-thread count organic cotton shell with 5-by-5-inch pockets to keep the weight evenly distributed. The blanket is machine washable and dryable, which is a must for me since I don't use duvet covers. I've washed the blanket several times over the last two-and-a-half years and have found it's an effortless endeavor. If you want to add a duvet cover, the blanket has 10 loops for tying one on.I tested the 15-pound and 25-pound comforters and enjoyed both, though the 25-pounder was almost too restrictive for me. I prefer the 15-pounder, and it's what I sleep under when I'm not testing other models. Thanks to its breathability, it's a great year-round blanket. Even in the summer, overheating has never been an issue.The HomeSmart Weighted Blanket isn't without its flaws. The 25-pound blanket started to leak beads after 18 months of use. This was likely due to one of our pets working a hole into it. I tried to reach customer service but couldn't get a hold of anyone.-James Brains, reporter What else we tested The Gravity Cooling, Helix, and Brooklyn Bedding weighted blankets were among the others we tested. Jen Gushue/Alyssa Powell/Insider What we recommend and why Baloo Cool Cotton Weighted Blanket: The Baloo weighted blanket struck a great balance between comfort and cost. Its construction and quality felt similar enough to the Luna that we'd rather recommend the one that's even more affordable.Gravity Cooling Blanket: The blanket itself is well-built and high-quality, but the cooling cover did little to actually cool me off as I slept. It just felt like any other weighted blanket and didn't do much to distinguish itself from the other blankets I tried.Brooklyn Bedding Dual Therapy Weighted Blanket: This blanket is dual-sided — with a silky cooling side and a minky textured side. The silky side stayed cool to the touch, and the bumps on the minky side provided a nice sensory option. It didn't feel beanbaggy, and the weight was evenly distributed. But it was only available in one size, two weights, and one dark gray color that severely limited how many home decor scenarios it would work within.What we don't recommend and whyYaasa Weighted Blanket: This is a knit-style blanket similar to the Bearaby Napper, but Yaasa's weave was much tighter and allowed for less airflow. The material also felt spongier and less cozy than the Napper's. The Yaasa blanket was also dry clean only.Helix Weighted Blanket: This blanket is dual-sided with a white sherpa fleece side and a gray minky fleece side. I found the sherpa side especially cozy, and so did my cat. But it had one of the worst beanbag effects of any of the blankets I tried, and there is only one size and color option available, though it did come in three weights. If this blanket suits your style, it's a decent buy for an affordable price.YnM Weighted Blanket: This is an Amazon bestseller in weighted blankets, so we wanted to put it to the test. It's a perfectly serviceable budget blanket, but the glass beads created a sort of beanbag effect that the Luna did not. Plus, the Luna is even cheaper and made of Oeko-Tex certified cotton, which isn't found with the YnM. Our testing methodology There are several factors I took into consideration while assessing weighted blankets. Aside from the general coziness and comfort provided by each blanket, I also assessed things like quality of material, value, weight options, and aesthetics. For example, a blanket that came in more color and weight options beat out a blanket of equal quality that came in fewer options. I also considered return policies, sleep trials, and how easy these blankets were to clean.The following are three tests I ran each blanket through to assess general user experience:Sleep test: I slept with each weighted blanket on my bed for at least three consecutive nights. I noted how well I slept overall and how the blanket regulated my sleep temperature. I also paid attention to how well the blanket stayed in place as I slept and how easy it was to adjust while lying under it. Part of this test also included making the bed every day (hauling a weighted blanket is harder than it looks).Wash test: I washed every weighted blanket or cover that was machine washable at least once to ensure they held up well in the wash and didn't shrink, shed, or otherwise show signs of wear. I noted if the added weight made them more difficult to haul into and out of the washing machine. I also discovered that one of the machine-washable blankets was so bulky it didn't fit into my washing machine. For those blankets that weren't machine-washable, I noted the care instructions and factored that into the cons of the blanket as I assessed them.Weight test: I wanted to ensure each blanket was actually the advertised weight. To get an accurate reading, I weighed myself and then weighed myself again while holding each blanket, noting any discrepancies in the advertised weight versus the actual weight. What we're testing next Bearaby Sleeper: This is the only weighted blanket I've discovered designed specifically for couples. While there's little data available to determine the best weight for a couple to share, Bearaby has eliminated some of that guesswork by weighting the two halves of the blanket differently, allowing you to choose the right weight for each person. This is especially useful if you and your partner are drastically different sizes and would benefit from different blanket weights. The two halves can unzip from each other and become two distinct blankets. Right now, they are sold out, but Bearaby has assured us that they'll be restocking soon, and we hope to test it once they do.Luxome Luxury Weighted Blanket: The Luxome weighted blanket comes with a reversible cover with a plush minky fabric on one side and a cooling bamboo fabric on the other. This allows you to customize your blanket with the seasons. I'm curious to see if this versatility makes a difference in how the blanket affects my body temperature. It's also a nice mid-range option in terms of price, and I'm hoping to add more affordable options to this guide.Slumber Cloud Weighted Blanket: In my ongoing quest to find a cooling weighted blanket that stays put throughout the night, I'm looking forward to testing the Slumber Cloud. It's made using thermoregulation technology developed by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their spacesuits. The Outlast technology uses small beads that absorb body heat when you get too hot and release it back to you when you get too cold. I'm fascinated by this concept, and I'm excited to see if it works. Weighted blanket FAQs What weight should a weighted blanket be?It's recommended that you select a blanket that's roughly 10% of your body weight. But Robbins adds that there are no clinically established guideposts for choosing a blanket weight. "It's hard for the one size fits all approach because we're all just so unique and have different physiologies," she says.This is especially true when blankets come in different sizes. A 15-pound throw blanket is going to feel much heavier than a 15-pound comforter since a larger blanket distributes its weight over a larger surface area. Robbins suggests trying out weighted blankets before purchasing them. If you can't test weighted blankets in a store, look for brands that offer sleep trials or have buyer-friendly return policies like many of our top picks.What if I'm sharing the weighted blanket with a partner?If you're sharing a weighted blanket with a partner, you'll likely want something a bit heavier, mostly because larger blankets feel lighter than smaller ones. A blog from Layla Sleep advises purchasing a blanket that's roughly 7.5% of the couple's combined weight.I reached out to the brand to determine how they established this number, and a representative responded, "Most suggestions in terms of weight are based on anecdotal evidence. We also factor in the customer satisfaction data that we have when making suggestions, but ultimately the weight that's right for any one person will depend heavily on personal preference."It's important to note that this parameter hasn't been established in any clinical trial or scientific study, so take it with a grain of salt. As long as you're comfortable and can move freely under the blanket, you should choose the weight that works best for you.What size weighted blanket should I get?If you're sharing a blanket with a partner with a similar body weight, you'll want a weighted blanket that covers your entire bed. Many brands, including almost all of our top picks, offer blankets in multiple sizes to fit standard twin, full, queen, and king beds.Some weighted blankets in these sizes are a bit smaller than typical comforters so the weighted blanket doesn't hang off the side of your bed too much. Excess fabric hanging off the side can pull the weighted blanket off-center as you shift around in the night.If you and your partner are very different weights, consider opting for two smaller separate blankets in a throw or twin size. This way, you can each get the weight that's most comfortable for you. Plus, you'll have the added benefit of not having to worry about blanket theft in the middle of the night.How do I choose a weighted blanket?In addition to weight and size considerations (see above), you'll also want to consider how easy the blanket is to clean and what type of fill it uses. A duvet cover will be easier to wash than a weighted blanket, but with a cover, you have to deal with the hassle of removing it and putting it back on. Even with ties to keep it in place, the blanket may still bunch up inside the cover.Weighted blankets rely on glass beads, plastic pellets, or, less commonly, steel shot beads. What you prefer is a matter of personal preference. Comforters with plastic pellets tend to be cheaper, but it's a less eco-friendly material.How often should I wash my weighted blanket?Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President at The American Cleaning Institute, recommends you treat your weighted blanket like any comforter, washing it once or twice a year, provided it's covered by a duvet cover that you're washing monthly. If it doesn't have a removable cover, the entire blanket should be washed roughly once a month.Are weighted blankets good for anxiety?In theory, the answer is yes. However, there are no randomized clinical trials that can speak to the efficacy of weighted blankets in the treatment of anxiety. This is because it would be obvious once participants curl up under one of the blankets that they're either in the control group or the weighted blanket group. The theory is that weighted blankets help reduce some anxiety symptoms, like quickened breathing or heart rate, by putting your autonomic nervous system at ease. Anecdotally, my wife and I have both been diagnosed with anxiety disorders. We've found lounging with a weighted blanket helps us unwind.The bottom line is weighted blankets may help with anxiety, but there isn't any hard science to back it up.  Check out our other sleep and bedding guides Lauren Savoie/Insider 7 weighted blankets for kids that may help with sleep, anxiety, and sensory issuesThe best pillowsThe best mattressesThe best sheetsThe best duvet coversThe best comforters Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Hot Locations: The 30 Most Popular Second Home Buying Destinations in the Americas

When it started almost two years ago, the pandemic upended people’s lives. Hobbies were forgotten, all activities that were not hand washing and mask buying were set aside, and all plans were put on hold. Travel plans were chief among them, as planes and trains and ships all ground to a halt in the weeks […] When it started almost two years ago, the pandemic upended people’s lives. Hobbies were forgotten, all activities that were not hand washing and mask buying were set aside, and all plans were put on hold. Travel plans were chief among them, as planes and trains and ships all ground to a halt in the weeks and months that followed the first lockdown. 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 Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (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 Travelers and those interested in moving abroad were hit especially hard by the new restrictions. However, the temporary clamp down only seemed to make Americans more eager and more determined to try and find a better home, a bigger property or a sunnier backyard somewhere south or north of the border. With much more time on their hands and with precious else left to occupy their imagination, many Americans took to travel planning and house hunting in the virtual space. And as the analysis of search patterns by real estate platform Point2 revealed, some countries and places in the Americas take precedence when it comes to Americans’ preferences for second home locations. Compared to 2015 and 2018, some countries have retained their privileged position at the top, while others were dethroned by newly minted, second home and vacation home heavens. So, which are the most desirable destinations for second home buying? Mexico and Canada remain the most popular destinations in which to buy a second home in the Americas. Puerto Rico — the third-most sought-after location in 2018 — dropped to number four, switching places with Costa Rica. Newcomer Honduras kicked Jamaica out of the top 10 most-wanted locations. New countries to enter top 30 include: El Salvador, Grenada, Anguilla, and Peru. Mexico’s Fabulous Beaches & Enchanting Lifestyle Continue to Attract American Homebuyers No other country was able to surpass Mexico so, in 2021, it remains the most popular destination for Americans looking to buy a home abroad. Gathering more than 80,000 monthly searches, Mexico is the obvious vacation choice given its wide array of activities, leisure opportunities, and spectacular gastronomic options. Also, with beaches for miles, relaxing waves and colorful wildlife, looking for homes for sale in Puerto Vallarta or San Miguel de Allende makes sense for many of the people who feel trapped inside crammed city apartments. Puerto Vallarta is the most-searched destination, followed by San Miguel de Allende and Cabo San Lucas. Boasting the most Google searches of all of the real estate markets in the country, these superlative resort-style cities have all the sand and sea, captivating architecture and entertainment options that anyone could wish for. San Miguel de Allende is a hidden gem that’s sure to make repeaters of all of its first-time visitors and, moreover, turn many visitors into permanent residents. Proof of the city’s incredible magnetism, as well as its acceptance and harmonious living are the 63 different nationalities living together and calling San Miguel home. The third most-researched Mexican destination is Cabo San Lucas. Americans who want to move here are mostly fascinated by the pristine beaches and spectacular water vistas, as well as the city’s busy night life, abundant food and dining options, and vibrant art scene. Canada Retains Its Appeal for American Second-Home Buyers Jumping from the 7th place in 2015 straight to #2 in 2018, Canada has managed to retain its place on the podium in 2021 as well. The U.S. neighbor to the north has become a mainstay, in large part due to its proximity and ease of access but also to Canadians’ famed deference and politeness and to the country’s amazing ski resorts, endless hiking trails and breathtaking northern lights spectacle. Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON are the most popular locations for Americans looking to buy a second home. Coming in at #3 — but definitely trailing behind the first two markets in terms of number of searches — is Hamilton, ON. But for those who are more interested in the best cities for young people, more specifically Canada’s top millennial hot spots, the cities that are the most attractive are Québec City, QC; Ottawa, ON; and Kingston, ON. Tropical Paradise Costa Rica Earns Spot as In-Demand Second-Home Location Costa Rica has something for everyone: Those who simply want to relax in the sun all day can take advantage of the country’s endless beaches while the adventurous types can spend as much time as possible surfing, white-water rafting, visiting the hot springs of Arenal or watching wildlife. And what are the top three most-desirable locations for Americans? Tamarindo, Jaco and Santa Ana. If Tamarindo and Jaco are known for their beaches, great surfing, water sports and activities and amazing national parks, Santa Ana is famous for its professional 18-hole golf course, a bustling downtown area with plenty of shopping venues and restaurants. No matter the place they choose, with a bit of luck, American second home buyers are sure to find their own home away from home in these countries. Garnering tens of thousands of searches, tropical havens and oases of adventure or tranquility such as Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, or Canada might be the perfect places to escape and unwind. Updated on Oct 14, 2021, 4:13 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 14th, 2021

Millennials are creating housing communes with friends because it"s too expensive to buy a home as a single person

Homes today are expensive. So is being single. It's left some millennials combining their savings with friends to buy a house together. Housing has become so expensive that millennials are buying homes with friends. Marko Geber/Getty Images Millennials are buying houses with their friends to become homeowners, the WSJ reports. The housing crisis has pushed home prices to record highs, boxing some millennials out of the market. Also - it's just really expensive to be single. First-time homebuying millennials are finding a loophole in today's housing crisis: buying a home with their friends.Some members of the generation are turning to co-buying as a way to overcome economic and cultural hurdles that stand in the way of homeownership, The Wall Street Journal's Alex Janin reported. It's a pre-pandemic trend, she wrote, largely accelerated by the desire for remote work and an expensive real estate market.The number of buyers purchasing as an unmarried couple during April to June 2020 increased to 11% from 9% during the same time frame in 2019, per data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR)."During the pandemic, people have been renting and they may have wanted more space, and so they looked at, perhaps, their roommate and decided, 'Let's go buy a home together,'" Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), told Janin. Pre-pandemic, it was already a tough world for aspiring millennial homebuyers, who struggled to save for a down payment as they dealt with the financial fallout of the Great Recession, staggering student-loan debt, and soaring living costs. As they aged into their peak homebuying years in 2020, they led a housing boom that soon morphed into a historic inventory crisis that was already forming over the past dozen years as contractors underbuilt homes.Home prices shot up, reaching a record high of $386,888 in June. The biggest victim of this housing shortfall was the starter home, which was already nearing its demise even before the pandemic. While the housing market has since begun to cool and contractors have begun to build more homes, these homes are in the higher end of the market, NAR's director of housing and commercial research, Gay Cororaton, told Insider.These affordability issues have boxed many millennials out of the housing market, forcing them to get resourceful in finding ways to fast-track their path to homeownership. For some, that's moving out to the exurbs or buying fixer-uppers. For others, it's inventing their own commune.The single life is an expensive oneMillennials' lifestyle choices are also shaping their co-buying decisions. The generation has established a new normal, in which getting married and having kids comes later in life, after going to college and becoming financially settled. It's contributing to a decline in marriage rates and birth rates.Millennials "have a lot more options and they don't have to settle down quite as early as people in previous generations were expected to do," Clare Mehta, an associate professor of psychology at Emmanuel College, previously told Insider.Homeownership is the one milestone that remains important to the generation. To nearly three-fourths of millennials surveyed in a Bank of America Research study, it's more significant than getting married and having children. It partly explains why more millennial couples are buying houses together before tying the knot. But buying a house when you don't have a partner isn't quite as feasible. As Insider's Juliana Kaplan recently reported on recent Pew data, nearly 40% of young adults who aren't in couples make less money than their peers.It's especially troublesome for women, who typically make less than men regardless of relationship status thanks to the wage gap. Recent research from Freddie Mac found that the majority of single women head of household renters (60%) think they won't ever be able to afford the home. Most said they don't have enough savings for a down payment or think a mortgage would be too expensive.Teaming up with a friend or roommate cuts the individual price of a home in half, enabling millennials to buy a home with less money saved. While there are complicated factors involved, such as deciding how to share equity and what to do in the case of a fallout, millennials are ultimately seeing the move as a win-win situation: they get a stake in an appreciating real estate market and get to fulfill their desire for communal living.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

I used a COVID-19 rapid test for the first time and it was surprisingly easy

I tested myself for COVID-19 from the comfort of my bedroom. The instructions in the BinaxNOW test kit left little room for human error. I tried Abbott's BinaxNOW rapid antigen test. Andrea Michelson I tested myself for COVID-19 from the comfort of my bedroom. I had never taken a rapid test before, but the instructions were easy to follow. Rapid antigen tests are convenient, but they're not as sensitive as PCR tests. I made it through 2020 and most of 2021 without taking a rapid COVID-19 test. I've been careful about masking up and socializing outside, so I haven't had many COVID scares. Andrea Michelson I got a couple PCR tests last year when I wanted to be sure I was healthy — after coming home from college to visit my family, for instance. I trusted the gold-standard test wouldn't steer me wrong, especially if I quarantined before taking it.Since then, rapid antigen tests have become more widespread. Antigen tests quickly scan for fragments of the virus' genetic material, which is a good way to know if you're infectious or not. But they don't detect the virus with as much sensitivity as PCR tests, so there's a greater chance of getting a false negative.The convenience of getting a result in 15 minutes appealed to me, but I knew I would have to take it with a grain of salt. Experts say rapid tests are most helpful if used for frequent screening, like testing every three days. I picked up a BinaxNow test from Walgreens to have on hand. The Walgreens by me had plenty of rapid tests, but other drugstores have sold out. Andrea Michelson A few weeks ago, I bought a BinaxNOW self-administered antigen test kit for $23.99. Walgreens had plenty of the two-test packs, and I heard they were hard to find.A colleague told me they were capped at one test kit when ordering online from Walgreens. Other pharmacies also limit how many tests you can buy due to high demand. CVS allows four tests per customer in stores, or six per purchase online. I opened the test kit to find two swabs and one dropper. I was skeptical of the tiny dropper at first. Andrea Michelson I wondered how someone would make the tiny vial of reagent liquid — the juice that mixes with your sample to produce a result — last for two test cards, but soon found another dropper hiding in the box.The test kit also came with two wrapped test cards, a fact sheet about antigen testing, and detailed instructions in both English and Spanish.Following step one in the instructions, I washed my hands before getting started. I unwrapped the test card and lay it on my desk. The instructions included lots of diagrams and tips for minimizing human error. Andrea Michelson Careful not to touch the test strip, I placed the card atop the instruction manual. I had a bit of trouble getting the card to lie open, but bending the spine back (as suggested in the instructions) did the trick. I can see how the process has room for human error. The bubbles worried me at first, but they subsided before I inserted the swab. Andrea Michelson The next step was a little trickier. I had to drop some reagent liquid in the correct hole on the test card.The instructions said to hold the bottle straight, not at an angle, and to make sure to get six drops in. A false negative can occur if there's not enough liquid in the hole.I tried my best to use enough of the solution, but the dropper spit out several air bubbles along with it. I added an extra drop for good measure, and there was not enough liquid left for a second test when I was done. I swabbed myself while taking a selfie, which was harder than it looks. Swabbing my own nose was a bit unpleasant, but no worse than getting a test at a clinic. Andrea Michelson Then came the dreaded swab. The kit was pretty well-designed for minimizing human error on this step: I removed the swab at the stick end, and inserted the soft tip into my nostril.The instructions say to make at least five big circles per nostril, or swab for 15 seconds on each side. I counted to 15, eyes watering, and then repeated on the other side. I inserted the swab into the test card, closed it, and waited. Turning the swab ensures that it's coated in the reagent liquid. Andrea Michelson I slid the snotty swab tip though the two holes in the test card as instructed. I'm glad the directions included a diagram for this step.Before closing the card, I made sure to turn the swab to the right three times to mix my sample with the reagent drops. I feel pretty confident I'm COVID-free after seeing my negative result. The final product reminded me of a wrapped lollipop. Andrea Michelson The test kit advertises results in 15 minutes, but I waited 25 just to be safe.My test card was identical to the negative result diagram, with a single pink line where it said "control." There wasn't even a hint of a second line, which would indicate a positive result.If I had reason to believe I was exposed to the coronavirus, I would take a couple more rapid tests this week to be sure I was negative. But given that I'm fully vaccinated and haven't come into contact with any sick people to my knowledge, I feel good about my result. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Kristin Hannah"s 22 most popular books, based on Goodreads reviews

According to Goodreads, the best Kristin Hannah books include "The Nightingale," "The Great Alone," "Firefly Lane," and "The Four Winds." According to Goodreads, the best Kristin Hannah books include "The Nightingale," "The Great Alone," "Firefly Lane," and "The Four Winds." Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/Insider When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Kristin Hannah is the bestselling author of over 20 books, most recently "The Four Winds." She writes romance books, historical fiction novels, and stories with magical twists. Goodreads members' top favorites include "The Nightingale" and "The Great Alone." Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author perhaps best known for "The Nightingale" and "Firefly Lane," the latter of which has become a hit Netflix show. Though Hannah primarily writes moving romances with devastating twists, her more recent works have been vivid historical fiction stories that transport readers through time.To rank Kristin Hannah's best books, we turned to Goodreads members. With over 125 million users, Goodreads lets readers rate, review, and recommend their favorite novels. So whether you're a new Kristin Hannah reader wondering where to start, or a long-time fan looking for a new read, we've ranked the best Kristin Hannah books, according to Goodreads members. 'The Nightingale' Amazon "The Nightingale," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.15With nearly 600,000 five-star ratings on Goodreads, "The Nightingale" is Kristin Hannah's most popular book. Set during World War II, this deeply moving novel focuses on two sisters living through the Nazi occupation of France. While 18-year-old Isabelle courageously risks her life to join the Resistance, Vianne is left at home to protect her daughter and herself as a German captain requisitions her home in her husband's absence. 'The Great Alone' Amazon "The Great Alone," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.69When Ernt Allbright returns from the Vietnam war broken and volatile, he impulsively moves his family to the Alaskan wilderness, determined to live off the land amongst other fiercely independent locals. But as the brutal winter darkness sets in, the Allbright family discovers they are far less physically — and mentally — prepared than they thought. 'Firefly Lane' Amazon "Firefly Lane," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.19In this powerful story about the magic of friendship, Tully and Kate became inseparable friends during the summer of 1974, forming a bond that would last a lifetime. As the decades pass, Tully and Kate act as buoys in each other's turbulent lives — until a devastating act of betrayal puts their bond to the ultimate test. 'The Four Winds' Amazon "The Four Winds," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49As the Great Depression continues to devastate Americans in the early 1930s, a ruthless drought tears through Texas, leaving families torn between fighting for their land and heading west for the chance of a better life. A portrait of the strength of American women, this historical fiction novel follows young Elsa Martinelli as she agonizes over her own choice during the Dust Bowl era, a particularly dark period of history. 'Winter Garden' Amazon "Winter Garden," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.56"Winter Garden" is a novel that explores the intricacies of a mother-daughter bond through Meredith and Nina, two starkly different sisters who are brought home over their father's illness. With little connection besides old memories and their mother's disdain, the sisters finally learn the devastating truth of their mother's past, revealing more about their family and themselves than they ever knew. 'Night Road' Amazon "Night Road," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.56Jude is a stay-at-home mom who always puts the needs of her children ahead of her own. So when former foster child, Lexi, enters her twins' lives, she welcomes her in and the three kids become inseparable. But when a terrible accident happens, everyone blames Lexi and she's forced to leave behind the closest thing to family she's ever known. Years later, Lexi returns to face Jude, the past, and the night that changed their lives forever. 'Fly Away' Amazon "Fly Away," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.67"Fly Away" is the touching sequel to "Firefly Lane" and while it can be read as a standalone novel, it's recommended to read "Firefly Lane" first to truly understand the depth of heartbreak in this book. As Kate struggles against her battle with breast cancer, her best friend, Tully, promises to be there for her children in any way she can. As Tully and Kate's family reel from grief, Tully struggles to keep Kate's daughters safe and come to terms with her own past in this story about forgiveness and redemption. 'Magic Hour' Amazon "Magic Hour," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.26After a sudden tragedy ruined her career as a child psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Cates returned to her hometown to quietly recover. When she meets a peculiar six-year-old girl who seems to have emerged from the nearby woods, Julia dedicates herself to saving the child — even if it means asking for help. 'Home Front' Amazon "Home Front," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.89Defense attorney Michael and soldier Jolene have been married for 12 years and are already struggling through everyday life when Jolene is sent on a dangerous deployment and Michael is left caring for their daughters back home. In this story of love, loss, war, and duty, Jolene tries to quell her family's fears from the other side of the world until tragedy strikes and leaves Michael living his worst nightmare. 'True Colors' Amazon "True Colors," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.39"True Colors" is a heartfelt family story that follows the Grey sisters, whose bond strengthened as they leaned on each other when their mother passed away. After a devastating event threatens to tear their sisterhood apart, the girls must fight through the tension to forgive each other in this compelling and emotional story loved for its romantic and dramatic elements. 'Between Sisters' Amazon "Between Sisters," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.49When Meg was 16 and Claire was nine, a misunderstanding led the sisters to an estrangement that it seemed would last a lifetime. But as Claire's wedding day quickly approaches, Meg decides to take time off from her successful law career to help Claire and try to reignite their bond, hoping to become the family they always wanted. 'On Mystic Lake' Amazon "On Mystic Lake," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.19When Annie Colwater's husband tells her that he's in love with a younger woman, she returns to her hometown to heal and is reunited with her first love, Nick Delacrox. As Nick recovers from his own loss and tries to help his daughter do the same, the three find comfort in each other — until a shocking twist forces Annie to make an impossible choice. 'Summer Island' Amazon "Summer Island," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.35Ruby hasn't spoken to her famous talk show-host mother in more than a decade, resentful after Nora chose to walk out of their home, leaving her husband and daughters behind. So when a shocking scandal from Nora's past is exposed, Ruby is offered a small fortune to write a tell-all book. Returning to her family home, Ruby confronts her mother's past and her own in this exhilarating Kristin Hannah read. 'The Things We Do for Love' Amazon "The Things We Do for Love," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.27Angela DeSaria Malone thought her life would unfold perfectly just as it had for her sisters and cousins: High school, college, marriage, motherhood. But when Angela and her husband divorce after she repeatedly fails to get pregnant, she moves back to her hometown and meets a teenage girl who will change her life forever. 'Angel Falls' Amazon "Angel Falls," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $5.98"Angel Falls" is an inspirational romance novel about Liam Campbell, who sits at his wife's bedside every day despite the doctor's warning that she may never wake from her coma. When Liam discovers a painful secret from his wife's past — a previous marriage — he knows he must solicit the help of her ex-husband in the desperate hope for her recovery. 'Distant Shores' Amazon "Distant Shores," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99Elizabeth and Jackson Shore appeared to live a beautiful and happy life but when their daughters leave home, the couple finds themselves slowly drifting apart. When Jack gets an amazing job opportunity, Elizabeth decides to follow him — until a horrible tragedy forces her to question everything about her life and decide who she wants to be. 'Home Again' Amazon "Home Again," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99Dr. Madeline Hillyard is a famous heart surgeon whose teenage daughter feels more like a stranger to her every day: Angry, resentful, and desperate to find the father that abandoned her so many years ago. When her father, Angel DeMarco, comes back into their lives despite his devastating betrayal, it's in search of help as a patient. 'Comfort & Joy' Amazon "Comfort & Joy," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.36In this holiday-themed story, Joy Candellaro is struggling to find her Christmas spirit after her divorce and spontaneously buys a ticket to the Pacific Northwest, hoping for an adventure that will reignite her enthusiasm for life. In a small town, Joy meets six-year-old Bobby who, along with his father, is struggling to celebrate the holidays after losing his mom. Together, Joy, Bobby, and Daniel help each other heal and find the courage to believe in love and family once again.  'If You Believe' Amazon "If You Believe," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.27"If You Believe" is a demonstration of the emotional intensity Kristin Hannah is able to convey in a novel. When professional fighter Mad Dog Stone answers an ad to live and help on an apple farm before his next fight, he meets Mariah Throckmorton, self-exiled and hiding from a scandalous past. Against all odds, the two begin to fall for each other. As they confront their pasts, they must decide if they should stay in each other's lives or let their love fade with the season.  'Waiting for the Moon' Amazon "Waiting for the Moon," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.69Selena can't remember who she is or how she came to be in a beautiful mansion on the Maine coast, but she finds comfort in a strange physician-turned-recluse she meets nearby. Ian Carrick is haunted by a telepathic gift that destroyed his career but when he meets Selena, he finds she's the only one whose thoughts he can't hear. Selena and Ian bring light into each other's dark lives and help each other heal, even as a figure from the past threatens to end their fantasy romance. 'Once in Every Life' Amazon "Once in Every Life," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99When brilliant research scientist Tess Gregory suddenly dies before she can fulfill her longings for a husband and child, an angel allows her to choose the life into which she'd be reincarnated. Waking in a hospital bed, Tess finds herself in the body of a post-Civil War woman with a husband, children, and plenty of family and marital problems that she must conquer if she wants to find her magical love story after all. 'When Lightning Strikes' Amazon "When Lightning Strikes," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99In this time-travel romance, Alaina Costanza, a romance writer, is thrust straight into the wild west of her most recent novel during a peculiar storm. When she's kidnapped by her own character, the handsome outlaw Killian, the two fall into a whirlwind romance that they know must end if Alaina has any chance of reaching her child, left behind in the present. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

William Shatner made a light dig at Jeff Bezos" playfulness on the Blue Origin flight in July: "I don"t want to throw Skittles - I want to look out the window"

William Shatner took a dig at Jeff Bezos for throwing Skittles on a July Blue Origin flight, saying he just wanted to "look out the window" instead. Actor William Shatner (left) and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos. AP Photo/Steven Senne/Tony Gutierrez/AP William Shatner took a light jab at Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos in a Today Show interview on Thursday. The "Star Trek" actor said, "I don't want to throw Skittles - I want to look out the window." Bezos had thrown Skittles with Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen on his Blue Origin flight in July. When William Shatner went up into space on Wednesday, he spent a lot of time glued to the window, gazing down at Earth.Now, the 90-year-old "Star Trek" actor has made a light jab at someone who didn't quite do the same.Blue Origin's first human spaceflight took place in July, launching into space CEO Jeff Bezos, his brother Mark Bezos, 82-year-old aviator Wally Funk, and Dutch teenager Oliver Daemen.During their brief stint in zero gravity during the flight, Bezos threw Skittles with Daemen, with each trying to throw the candies into the other's mouth.Shatner referenced their game in an interview on The Today Show on Thursday, speaking about his own experience with weightlessness on the New Shepard rocket."You're floating," he said. "I don't want to turn somersaults, I don't want to throw Skittles - I want to look out the window."In a video showing the four passengers of Wednesday's flight during their 11-minute trip, Shatner can be seen staring down at Earth, saying, "No description can equal this."With the conclusion of the 11-minute trip, Shatner became the oldest person to ever reach space. After landing back on Earth, he thanked Bezos for the flight."What you have given me is the most profound experience," Shatner told Bezos. "I am so filled with emotion about what just happened. It's extraordinary."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Rickards: Systemic Risk Is Greater Than Ever

Rickards: Systemic Risk Is Greater Than Ever Authored by James Rickards via DailyReckoning.com, Contagion! There has been a litany of bad news recently, including the U.S. August humiliation in Afghanistan, China’s aggressive actions against Taiwan and increased tensions with Iran, North Korea and Russia. It will take the U.S. years, possibly decades, to recover from the debacle of August 2021 and the collapse of American prestige. All of these geopolitical events combine to undermine confidence in U.S. power. When that happens, a loss of confidence in the U.S. dollar is not far behind. And, perhaps most importantly of all recent bad news, is a market meltdown and slowing growth in China. Greatest Ponzi Ever I’ve long advised my readers that the Chinese wealth management product (WMP) system is the greatest Ponzi in the history of the world. Retail investors are led to believe that WMPs are like bank deposits and are backed by the bank that sells them. They’re not. They’re actually unsecured units in blind pools that can be invested in anything the pool manager wants. Most WMP funds have been invested in the real estate sector. This has led to asset bubbles in real estate (at best) and wasted developments that cannot cover their costs (at worst). When investors wanted their money back, the sponsor would simply sell more WMPs and use the money to pay back the redeeming investors. That’s what gave the product its Ponzi characteristic. The total amount invested in WMPs is now in the trillions of dollars used to finance thousands of projects sponsored by hundreds of major developers. Chinese investors are all-in with WMPs. Now the entire edifice is collapsing as I predicted it would. The largest property developer in China, Evergrande, is quickly headed for bankruptcy. That’s a multibillion-dollar fiasco on its own. Evergrande losses will arise in WMPs, corporate debt, unpaid contractor bills, equity markets and unfinished housing projects. China’s entire property and financial system is on the verge of a world-historic crack-up. And it won’t remain limited to China. It comes back to contagion. Financial Contagions Are Like Biological Contagions Unfortunately, since early last year, the world has learned a painful lesson in biological contagions. A similar dynamic applies in financial panics. It can begin with one bank or broker going bankrupt as the result of a market collapse (a “financial patient zero”). But the financial distress quickly spreads to banks that did business with the failed entity and then to stockholders and depositors of those other banks and so on until the entire world is in the grip of a financial panic as happened in 2008. Disease contagion and financial contagion both work the same way. The nonlinear mathematics and system dynamics are identical in the two cases even though the “virus” is financial distress rather than a biological virus. And unfortunately, each crisis is bigger than the one before and requires more intervention by the central banks. The reason has to do with the system scale. In complex dynamic systems such as capital markets, risk is an exponential function of system scale. Increasing market scale correlates with exponentially larger market collapses. Today, systemic risk is more dangerous than ever because the entire system is larger than before. This means that the larger size of the system implies a future global liquidity crisis and market panic far larger than the Panic of 2008. Too-big-to-fail banks are bigger than ever, have a larger percentage of the total assets of the banking system and have much larger derivatives books. Contagion and The Old Man and the Sea To understand the risk of contagion, you can think of the marlin in Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. The marlin started out as a prize catch lashed to the side of the fisherman Santiago’s boat. But once there was blood in the water, every shark within miles descended on the marlin and devoured it. By the time Santiago got to shore, there was nothing left of the marlin but the bill, the tail and some bones. An even greater danger for markets is when these two kinds of contagion converge. This happens when market losses spill over into broader markets, and then those losses give rise to systematic trading against a particular instrument or hedge fund. When the targeted instrument or fund is driven under, credit losses spread to a wider group of fund counterparts that then fall under suspicion themselves. Soon a marketwide liquidity panic emerges in which “everybody wants his money back.” This is exactly what happened during the Russia/Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) crisis in 1998. To the Brink of Collapse It was an international monetary crisis that started in Thailand in June 1997, spread to Indonesia and Korea and then finally to Russia by August 1998. It was exactly like dominoes falling. LTCM wasn’t a country, although it was a hedge fund as big as a country in terms of its financial footings. I was right in the middle of that crash. I was the general counsel of that firm. I negotiated that bailout. The importance of that role is that I had a front-row seat. I was in the conference room, in the deal room, at a big New York law firm. There were hundreds of lawyers. There were 14 banks in the LTCM bailout fund. There were 19 other banks in a $1 billion unsecured credit facility. Included were Treasury officials, Federal Reserve officials, other government officials, Long Term Capital and our partners. I was on point for one side of the deal and had to coordinate all that. Wall Street Bailed out Itself It was a $4 billion all-cash deal, which we put together in 72 hours with no due diligence. Anyone who’s raised money for his or her company or done deals can think about that and imagine how difficult it would be to get a group of banks to write you a check for $4 billion in three days. Systematic pressure on LTCM persisted until the fund was almost broke. As Wall Street attacked the fund, they missed the fact that they were also the creditors of the fund. By breaking LTCM, they were breaking themselves. That’s when the Fed intervened and forced Wall Street to bail out the fund. Those involved can say they bailed out Long Term Capital. But if Long Term Capital had failed, and it was on the way to failure, $1.3 trillion of derivatives would’ve been flipped back to Wall Street. In reality, Wall Street bailed out itself. The panic of 2008 was an even more extreme version of 1998. We were days, if not hours, from the sequential collapse of every major bank in the world. The 2008 panic had its roots in subprime mortgages but quickly spread to debt obligations of all kinds, especially money market funds and European bank commercial paper. Think of the dominoes again. What had happened there? You had a banking crisis. Except in 2008, Wall Street did not bail out a hedge fund; instead, the central banks bailed out Wall Street. Systemic Risk Is Greater Than Ever The point, again, is that today systemic risk is more dangerous than ever, and each crisis is bigger than the one before. Remember, too-big-to-fail banks are bigger than ever, have a larger percentage of the total assets of the banking system and have much larger derivatives books. The ability of central banks to deal with a new crisis is highly constrained by low interest rates and bloated balance sheets, which have exploded even higher in response to the pandemic. The Fed’s balance sheet is currently about $8.5 trillion. Last March it was $4.2 trillion. In September 2008, it was under $1 trillion, so that just shows you how bloated the Fed’s balance sheet has become since the Great Financial Crisis. The threat of contagion is a scary reminder of the hidden linkages in modern capital markets. The conditions are in place. But you can’t wait for the shock to occur because by then it will be too late. You won’t be able to get your money out of the market in time because it’ll be a mad rush to the exits. The solution for investors is to have some assets outside the traditional markets and outside the banking system. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 08:22.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 14th, 2021

The ‘Great Resignation’ Is Finally Getting Companies to Take Burnout Seriously. Is It Enough?

Toward the end of last year, Anthony Klotz, a professor of business administration at Texas A&M University who studies workplace resignations, realized that a lot of people were about to quit their jobs. A record 42.1 million Americans quit a job in 2019, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, but that rate dropped… Toward the end of last year, Anthony Klotz, a professor of business administration at Texas A&M University who studies workplace resignations, realized that a lot of people were about to quit their jobs. A record 42.1 million Americans quit a job in 2019, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, but that rate dropped off during the pandemic-addled year of 2020. As 2021 approached, bringing with it the promise of effective vaccines and a return to semi-normal life, Klotz guessed that two things would happen. First, many of the people who wanted to quit in 2020 but held off due to fear or uncertainty would finally feel secure enough to do so. And second, pandemic-era epiphanies, exhaustion and burnout would drive a whole new cohort of people to quit their jobs. In a moment of inspiration, Klotz predicted that a “Great Resignation” was coming. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] It’s safe to say it’s here. Every month from April to August 2021, at least 2.5% of the American workforce quit their jobs. In August alone, more than 4.2 million people handed in their two weeks’ notice, according to federal statistics. So far, 2021 quit levels are about 10% to 15% higher than they were in record-setting 2019, by Klotz’s calculations. Read more: Why Literally Millions of Americans Are Quitting Their Jobs Companies are clearly taking notice, particularly given the staffing shortages that are hamstringing many customer-facing industries and slowing the supply chain. “Just keeping people from quitting is not necessarily a good business strategy,” Klotz says. Increasingly, businesses are trying something more ambitious: actually making their workers happy. For many, that means targeting burnout, a cocktail of work-related stress, exhaustion, cynicism and negativity that is surging during the pandemic. Forty-two percent of U.S. women and 35% of U.S. men said they feel burned out often or almost always in 2021, according to a recent McKinsey & Co. report. For a long time, burnout was seen as the worker’s problem—something they needed to fix with self-care and yoga and sleep if they were going to make it in the rat race of life. There are dozens of studies and even more articles focused on curing burnout from the employee perspective. Mindfulness and meditation can help. Finding social support can help. Tailoring your job to align with your interests and values can help. But according to Christina Maslach, a social psychologist who is the U.S.’ preeminent burnout expert and co-creator of the most commonly used tool for assessing worker burnout, none of these strategies will ever be successful if they place all the onus on the worker. “Nobody is really pointing to the problem, which is that chronic job stresses have not been well managed” by employers, she says. Now, with so many people turning in resignation letters, businesses are starting to get with the program. “There’s mass attrition and it’s very expensive for employers to keep up with the amount of people who are leaving,” says workplace well-being expert Jennifer Moss, author of the recent book The Burnout Epidemic. “Because it’s now a bottom-line issue, more organizations are jumping on board.” For example: tech companies including Bumble, LinkedIn and Hootsuite closed for a week this year to give people a break and combat burnout. Fidelity Investments is piloting a program in which some employees work 30 hours a week, taking a small pay cut but keeping their full benefits. Highwire public relations, which has offices in several major U.S. cities, aimed to eliminate 30% of its meetings to give employees ample time away from Zoom, ideally translating to shorter and more efficient work days. Other employers have implemented programs meant to foster empathy, in hopes of making employees feel appreciated. But as with so many corporate initiatives—and it’s worth noting that these are mostly geared towards office-based workers, though burnout certainly exists among blue-collar workers, too—it’s hard not to feel at least a little skeptical. Can canceling a few Zoom meetings and giving people an extra week of vacation really cure a bone-deep malaise? At its core, burnout is what happens when “chronic job stressors have not been well managed,” Maslach explains. But it’s more complicated than simply feeling stressed-out or overextended. Someone suffering from burnout also has a “negative, hostile, cynical, ‘take-this-job-and-shove-it’ kind of attitude” and negative feelings about their own work and choices, Maslach says. A lawyer who becomes disillusioned with her career and begins to question why she ever went to law school at all might qualify, whereas a psychiatrist who loves but is exhausted by her job probably wouldn’t. Importantly, burnout is not a medical diagnosis or a mental health condition—instead, the World Health Organization classifies it as an “occupational phenomenon.” But studies show that it can overlap with physical and mental health issues, including depression, insomnia, gastrointestinal problems and headaches. It can even be a predictor of chronic diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes, research shows. Burnout is particularly common (and well-studied) among medical professionals. As of September 2020, 76% of U.S. health care workers reported exhaustion and burnout, according to the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation (NIHCM). Even before the pandemic, between 35% and 54% of U.S. doctors and nurses reported symptoms of burnout, NIHCM says. But any person, in any profession, can experience burnout, and right now, people are reporting it in droves. Read more: Physician Burnout Costs the U.S. Billions of Dollars Each Year Work stress didn’t magically appear for the first time during the pandemic, but “there wasn’t this huge other factor looming above everyone’s head” before COVID-19 hit, says Malissa Clark, who studies employee well-being at the University of Georgia. Uncertainty can feed into burnout, she says, as can blurring the boundaries between work and home life or struggling to parent and homeschool children on top of working. In other words, the pandemic has been a “perfect storm” for burnout. For some people in a position to do so, the answer to that problem has been to quit. In a pre-pandemic Deloitte study on burnout, 42% of U.S. respondents said they had left a job specifically because of burnout—which means organizations have a clear motivation to finally take the problem seriously. There’s no one-size-fits-all burnout cure, but Maslach’s research suggests there are six key areas on which businesses should focus: creating manageable workloads giving employees control over their jobs, to the extent possible rewarding and acknowledging good work, either financially or verbally fostering community treating workers fairly and equitably helping workers find value in their work To figure out where to start, companies should ask their employees, Maslach says. Bosses often can’t see problems that exist under their noses, and they never will if they don’t ask. In a 2020 survey from PwC, 81% of surveyed executives said their company had successfully expanded childcare benefits during the pandemic, but only 45% of office workers (who did not necessarily work under the surveyed executives) said their company had done enough to support working parents. Executives were also far more likely to say their companies were supporting their employees’ mental health than were lower-level employees. Boston-based sales and marketing company HubSpot took on an anti-burnout initiative this year, in part because quarterly employee surveys began to show that the ongoing “ambiguity and uncertainty” of the pandemic were getting to people in a major way, says chief people officer Katie Burke. The company announced an annual “week of rest” for the entire staff, so that everyone could take a break without coming back to a mountain of emails; eliminated internal meetings on Fridays; offered trainings for managers who want to better support their teams; and offered resilience workshops to all staff members. On a systemic level, Burke says the company is “taking a look at the things that cause the most stress for people” and trying to develop solutions, like standardizing workloads year round (rather than having busy versus light seasons), automating certain tasks, pushing back deadlines on non-urgent products and helping people figure out how much they can feasibly accomplish in a given timeframe. “We are seeing [the results] in how happy and engaged our employees are, and honestly, just in the anecdotal feedback we’re hearing from people,” Burke says. But even that effort, which is fairly ambitious relative to other workplaces, hasn’t been enough for everyone. Writing on Blind, an anonymous messaging app for people who work in the tech industry, one unnamed HubSpot employee called the week of rest “a hollow gesture without addressing the root cause of burnout in the company.” On LinkedIn, other commenters called it “a Band-Aid.” Maslach agrees that time off alone can’t fix the problem. “If the best thing you can do for your employees is to tell them not to come to work,” she says, “what is wrong with the work?” A better way to ensure lasting change, in Moss’ opinion, is for managers to ask their employees three questions every week: “How are you?” “What are the highs and lows of this week?” And, “What can I do to make next week easier?” If bosses consistently ask those questions and actually work to solve the problems that come to light, Moss says it would go a long way. Most people don’t want “a million dollars,” she says. “It’s probably going to be, ‘Can we delegate some of this work or push this deadline off’…or, ‘I want permission to not have a full day of Zoom meetings next week.’” For people who work in jobs that typically are less flexible, like food service or retail, managers could ask for input about how schedules are made and communicated, or make it easier for people to ask for time off, Klotz says. Even something as simple as allowing people to choose when they take their breaks can make a difference. Of course, there are limits to how much an individual manager can do, particularly if their organization refuses to hire enough people or pay their existing employees fairly. (Some workers are tackling such systemic problems by unionizing or going on strike.) In the end, Moss says, the changes have to come from the top down and permeate every aspect of workplace culture. If and until that happens, Maslach says quitting will sometimes be the best option, at least for people who can afford to do so. There’s no guarantee that the next job will be better, nor that an individual’s relationship to work will change with a new position. But if a company isn’t willing to actually solve the burnout problem at its source, Maslach says employees can’t be expected to muscle through. For those who can’t or don’t want to quit, though, the Great Resignation may hold promise of another sort. Actually getting managers to listen to and solve problems might seem like a pipe dream, but Klotz says this is a perfect time for employees to test their bosses’ limits, given growing anxiety about the number of people who are resigning. If you lay your cards on the table and ask for what you want—different hours, fewer meetings, shifted responsibilities—you may end up in a better situation without going through the disruptive process of leaving and finding a new job, he says. “Why not use the leverage you have,” he says, “to turn the job you have into the job you want?”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 14th, 2021

Taibbi: Konstantin Kilimnik, Russiagate"s Last Fall Guy, Speaks Out

Taibbi: Konstantin Kilimnik, Russiagate's Last Fall Guy, Speaks Out Authored by Matt Taibbi via TK News, On Real Time With Bill Maher two Fridays ago, I fumbled and deflected politely over a Russiagate question, instead of going full cage match. The segment went off the rails beginning with this exchange: MAHER: You compared it to WMDs. You said, the Russia connection with Trump is this generation’s WMD. I don’t think that’s an accurate analogy, because there were no WMDs. But there was collusion with Russia. TAIBBI: Really? Where? MAHER: Where? The Senate Intelligence Committee, run by Republicans, who are if anything slavish to Trump, their report said, “The Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian intelligence services during the 2016 presidential election posed a ‘grave’ counterintelligence threat.” First of all, that quote isn’t from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report from last August. It’s actually a paraphrase of the report from an Associated Press article, “Trump campaign’s Russia contacts ‘grave’ threat, Senate says,” which reads: WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump campaign’s interactions with Russian intelligence services during the 2016 presidential election posed a “grave” counterintelligence threat, a Senate panel concluded Tuesday… The real SSCI quote is a little different: Taken as a whole, Manafort's high-level access and willingness to share information with individuals closely affiliated with the Russian intelligence services, particularly Kilimnik and associates of Oleg Deripaska, represented a grave counterintelligence threat. By all rights, Russiagate should be dead as a serious news story. But as the Real Time episode showed, “collusion” is still alive for some, and the bulk of the case essentially rests now upon the characterization of one person from the above passage as a Russian agent: a former aide to Paul Manafort named Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik is a Ukrainian-American who’d served in the army and was hired to work as a translator at the American-funded International Republican Institute in Moscow beginning in the mid-nineties. In 2005, he left the IRI to go work for Paul Manafort, who was advising future president Viktor Yanukovich and the “Party of Regions” in Ukraine. As it happens, Kilimnik worked at the IRI in Moscow during the same time I lived in that city in the nineties and early 2000s. In fact, he was well-known enough in that small expatriate community that in the space of a day last week I was able to reach, through mutual acquaintances, five of Kilimnik’s former colleagues, including three from the IRI and one from the U.S. State Department, to whom he was a regular and valuable contact (the Senate investigators left that fact out). I also called Kilimnik and had two lengthy interviews with him. Why bring this up? Because in that little flurry of calls, I did more actual work on Konstantin Kilimnik than either the Special Counsel or SSCI researchers, who ostensibly spent thousands of man-hours investigating him. Kilimnik being a spy wouldn’t just mean that the Trump campaign had been penetrated. It would mean the same thing for the IRI, which was chaired by late Senator and leading proponent of the Russiagate theory John McCain at the time. More to the point, it would also be disastrous for the State Department, and particularly for the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, whose staffers placed great trust in “KK” as a regular source. The FBI’s own declassified reports show Kilimnik met with the head of the Kiev embassy’s political section “at least biweekly” during his time working with Manafort and Yanukovitch, adding that he “displayed good knowledge and seemed to know what was going on,” and came across as “less slanted” than other sources, among many other things. This fits with what I was told by multiple former colleagues of Kilimnik’s, that staffers in the Kiev embassy valued his analyses above those of some Americans in Yanukovitch’s orbit. (A third former co-worker was a little more blunt about what he heard, saying the Kiev embassy was “sucking his dick”). They also show the embassy was so intent on protecting Kilimnik’s identity as a State Department source that they pulled his name out of diplomatic cables sent home: Kilimnik says he “played a certain role in communication with the Western embassies in Kiev” both before and after the “Euromaidan” Revolution in 2014. “I tried to draw attention to facts about thugs attacking TV channels and opposition politicians, and things like [an arson attack against “InterTV” in 2016],” he says, adding that he “naively thought the West would stand for media freedom and protecting rules for fair play in politics, like it has for many years.” The only reason nobody’s asked the Senate Committee why Kilimnik’s alleged spy status doesn’t also represent a “grave” embarrassment to, say, the U.S. State Department is because our press corps is the most dogshit on earth (more on that in a moment). Special Counsel Robert Mueller claimed the FBI spoke to an IRI employee who said Kilimnik was “fired from his post because his links to Russian intelligence were too strong.” Though not all the IRI staffers I reached liked Kilimnik, each found the idea that he might be a spy alternately ridiculous and baffling. Multiple ex-colleagues said they believed he was fired for “moonlighting,” i.e. because he’d already started working for Manafort. “I was actually moonlighting. It was a funny story,” Kilimnik says (for a more complete explanation, see the Q&A below). As to the idea that it was known around the IRI office that Kilimnik had intelligence ties, one former senior IRI official said, “I think whoever said that, that’s someone trying to feel more important in retrospect,” adding that the idea that he was “some GRU plant from years gone by” was questionable because the Russians “didn’t know their right from their left back then, and the IRI could not described as a high-value target.” The official concluded: “I find the notion that Kilimnik is now this big figure remarkable.” None of former employees of the Moscow IRI office I spoke with had been contacted by any American investigator, including Mueller. Then there’s the matter of the suspect himself. Question to Kilimnik: how many times was he questioned by American authorities, with whom he was so familiar — remember he met with American officials “at least biweekly” at one point pre-Trump — during the entire Russiagate period? “Not a single person from the U.S. Government ever reached out to me,” Kilimnik says. Nobody from the Office of the Special Counsel, the FBI, or the Senate Intelligence Committee ever contacted him? “Not once,” Kilimnik says. “Nobody from Mueller’s team reached out to me, literally nobody.” In reaching Kilimnik last week I also became just the second American reporter, after Aaron Maté of RealClear Investigations and Grayzone, to call Kilimnik for comment on the Senate report. Virtually every American news organization or TV commentary program has in the last year repeated accusations against Kilimnik made by either the Senate Intelligence Committee or the U.S. Treasury Department, which earlier this year called him a “Russian Intelligence Services agent” in an announcement of sanctions against Russia. It was once normal practice in American media to give people a chance to respond to serious allegations, but no longer, apparently. “Zero. Zero,” says Kilimnik, when asked how many American media outlets called him after the release of the Senate report. Incidentally, Kilimnik isn’t hiding under a snow-covered trap door at a secret FSB installation outside Izhievsk. He’s in an apartment in Northwest Moscow, where anyone could find him. “Everybody knows my phone number. It was in Mueller’s reports,” he says. “But I got no questions. I mean, a lot of people know how to find me. I guess they just didn’t care.” Kilimnik was even on the list of 16 entities and 16 individuals the Treasury just this year said “attempted to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election at the direction of the leadership of the Russian Government.” That’s the 2020 election, not the 2016 election, meaning the one that came after the Senate report. “The US actually sanctioned me for interference in 2020 elections,” Kilimnik says. “I would not be able to say why. I’d love to know. I’ve been sitting in fucking Moscow, in my backyard, and feeding squirrels. Must have been some sort of interference.” The aforementioned Maté published photos of Kilimnik’s passport that appear to show he entered the U.S. on a visa stamped in a regular Russian passport on October 28, 1997. This is the same date the Senate committee said he was entering the United States on a diplomatic passport. The Senate also said Kilimnik met with Manafort in Spain in 2017, which he denies. “I’ve never been to Spain,” Kilimnik laughs. “I haven’t been there. Let them prove I’ve been there.” Another thing that came up on Real Time was the idea that we shouldn’t dismiss the monetarily tiny Russian Facebook campaign — featuring classics that ironically read like Real Time bits, with images of Jesus pleading with American voters, “Struggling with addiction to masturbation? Reach out to me and we’ll beat it together” — because “9/11 didn’t cost much either”: I oversold things on the air, talking about how the Internet Research Agency only spent $100,000, as only $44,000 of that was before the campaign. More importantly, only a tiny percentage of ads qualified as coherent propaganda. I’d wager few Americans have actually read through all these ads, which have messages like, “Tell me once again that there’s no such thing as white privilege,” “Stop Trump and his bigoted agenda!”, and “Share the experience and the challenges of the black hair industry.” Overall, for 2016, they read like a creepy, overambitious parody of woke culture, with a tinge of Charlie Manson’s “Helter Skelter” plan thrown in. Whatever it is/was, it’s pretty far from 9/11: Kilimnik stands accused of helping Evil Von Putin aim this high-tech weapon. How? Senate investigators said, “Manafort briefed Kilimnik on sensitive Campaign polling data and the Campaign’s strategy for beating Hillary Clinton.” What was sensitive about it? “That’s bullshit. There was nothing that resembled ‘sensitive’ polling data,” Kilimnik says. “I would get two figures maybe once a month, not every day, not every week.” Two figures — meaning two pages? “Two digits,” he says. “Like, ‘Trump 40, Hillary 45.’ That’s all I would get, nothing more. So I don’t understand how this is sensitive data.” Kilimnik was getting his information from former Trump deputy campaign chief Rick Gates, who was directed to send the data to Kilimnik by Manafort. None other than Rachel Maddow once called Gates “Mueller’s star cooperating witness.” I called Gates last week and asked: what was he passing to Kilimnik? “Top-line data, and I want people to understand what that means,” he says. “It was like, ‘Ohio, Clinton 48, Trump 50,’ Or, ‘Wisconsin, Trump 50, Clinton 42.’ The sources were a combination of things like RealClear Politics and occasionally some numbers from [Republican pollster] Tony Fabrizio. But it was all just top-line stuff.” Gates’s story is that Manafort was passing this data back to people like his longtime sponsors, the Ukrainian barons Rinat Akhmetov and Sergei Lyvochkin, because “Paul was just trying to show that Trump was doing well,” as “Paul was just trying to do what he’s always done,” i.e. trying to show how valuable he could be. For those disinclined to believing the Gates or Kilimnik version of events, remember that neither Mueller nor the Senate Intelligence Committee could come up with a different one. Apart from adding “sensitive” to their description (Mueller just called it “internal polling data”), the Senate never offered evidence that Kilimnik was getting more than those few numbers. As to why Kilimnik was sent this information, this is what the Senate had to say: The Committee was unable to reliably determine why Manafort shared sensitive internal polling data or Campaign strategy with Kilimnik. Manafort and Gates both claimed that it was part of an effort to resolve past business disputes and obtain new work with their past Russian and Ukrainian clients by showcasing Manafort's success. Why “sensitive?” The Committee was “unable to reliably determine” why, having no idea what Kilimnik did with those numbers. But they were sure enough it was bad to conclude it represented a “grave counterintelligence threat.” Kilimnik is roughly the twentieth suspect in a long list of alleged secret conduits that across five years have already been tried out and discarded by pundits and investigators alike as “smoking gun” links between Trump and Putin. An abbreviated list: There was a Maltese professor named Josef Mifsud and a young Trump aide named George Papadopoulos, former Trump adviser Carter Page, an alleged “secret server” supposedly pinging between Trump and Alfa Bank, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser J.D. Gordon, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, real estate developer Felix Sater, another Russian who approached Trump people claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton named Henry Oknyansky, a Russian firm called Concord Consulting, plus Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and many others. The pattern with all of these “smoking gun” cases was the same. At first, there would be a great press hullaballoo, complete with front-page media profiles and heated straight-to-camera monologues at the tops of cable commentary shows over “Breaking News” chyrons: Freakouts would be long, but months or years later, narratives would collapse. Ambassador Sergei Kislyak was everyone’s favorite suspect in the summer of 2016 for having done everything from rig the Republican convention platform to turning Sessions into a spy, but then Mueller quietly said Kisylak’s interactions with Trump officials in those months were “brief, public, and non-substantive.” Reporters howled that Christopher Steele was right about Cohen meeting Russian hackers in Prague to help rig the 2016 race, and even claimed (see above) that Mueller was about to release evidence of it any minute, until Mueller said flatly, “Cohen… never traveled to Prague.” The saddest case involved Carter Page. Steele’s Dossier identified Page — not Vladimir Putin, Julian Assange, or even Donald Trump — as the mastermind of the Wikileaks leak: The aim of leaking the DNC e-mails to WikiLeaks during the Democratic Convention had been to swing supporters of Bernie SANDERS away from Hillary CLINTON and across to TRUMP… This objective had been conceived and promoted, inter alia, by TRUMP’s foreign policy adviser Carter PAGE… Steele also had Page negotiating a massive bribe via the oil company Rosneft in exchange for the dropping of sanctions, and acting as the personal intermediary between Paul Manafort and the Kremlin. Page, not knowing he was being spied upon, told an FBI informant that August that he had “literally never met” or “said one word to” Paul Manafort, even going so far as to complain that Manafort never answered his emails. The FBI sat on this information, and wrote up a secret surveillance warrant application that read: Sub-Source reported that the conspiracy was being managed by Candidate’s then campaign manager, who was using, among others, foreign policy advisor Carter Page as an intermediary… It wasn’t until the report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz came out in December of 2019 that the world found out that the FBI not only “did not have information corroborating the specific allegations against Carter Page,” but had covered up Page’s history as an informant for the CIA, very much like the Senate and the Treasury are now covering up Kilimnik’s status as a U.S. State Department source. Kilimnik is just the last person on the list, and he’s conveniently in Moscow, unlikely to ever come back here to defend himself. As such, he’s the perfect fall guy for the marooned-Japanese-soldier-type holdouts on Russiagate who think the collusion narrative is still viable. More from Kilimnik: TK: You were described by the Senate Intelligence Committee as a “Russian Intelligence Officer.” Are you one? Konstantin Kilimnik: I have not had any relationship with any intelligence agency. Not with U.S. intelligence, not the Ukrainian, Russian, Zimbabwean, whatever. I’m a consultant who has worked for many years running elections in Ukraine. I just haven’t had any relationship with any intelligence, and haven’t seen any facts proving otherwise. I think the investigation was so politically charged from the beginning, that they just needed to find a Russian body that they could just put as much dirt as possible on. Ultimately, nobody is going to care, because all the Russians are considered to be bad anyhow, they’re all spies. TK: The intelligence community in the U.S. seems unanimous in their conclusion that Russians interfered in the 2016 and 2020 elections. Did they not? Konstantin Kilimnik: I don’t think Russians interfered… I know that runs counter to all the conclusions of the intelligence community and all that country to all the intelligence and press and all that. And maybe there were other efforts, as well. But, I was not involved in any of that. There was a lot of misinformation, just because the public wanted someone, and I just happened to be that person thrown into the mix. If I had Hungarian citizenship or any other citizenship, of course, people would not have given my name. They just needed the Russian connection, and I happened to be that unfortunate Russian connection. TK: The Mueller report claims an IRI employee believed you were “fired from his post because his links to Russian intelligence were too strong.” Others say you were “moonlighting.” Why did you leave the IRI? Konstantin Kilimnik: I was actually moonlighting. It was a funny story. I was looking for ways to move on, because by 2005 I had been at IRI for 10 years. Some time in mid-2004 an old IRI pal, Phil Griffin, reemerged and proposed a well-paying job of going to Ukraine and writing analyses of what was going on during the Orange Revolution, for Manafort. So, I went there after not having been to Ukraine for over 10 years. I was ecstatic about Kiev and got seriously interested in what was going on politically… Manafort, Griffin and I (as a translator) went to Donetsk in, I think, November 2004 to meet some guy I had no previous knowledge of (who turned out to be Rinat Akhmetov’s closest confidant, Borys Kolesnikov). Manafort and he spoke for several days and got convinced that the “Donetsk guys” were not even close to being thugs they had been portrayed by the Western media to be. I went back a couple of times to translate for these meetings, which I thought were not in any conflict with my work at IRI Moscow. Then, the government in Ukraine changed. [Viktor] Yuschenko became the President, Manafort was in negotiations about the contract, and I almost forgot about my short translation jobs. In April 2005, we were at an IRI retreat, and my boss, director of Europe and Eurasia programs Steve Nix got a tip from the new President’s office that “Donetsk thugs” were looking to hire an American consultant, and that a guy who seemed to work at IRI was helping in the process. Steve, who was very pro-Yuschenko, completely freaked out, and accused me of working for criminals. I said that a) I was doing this in my free time, 2) this did not conflict in any way with my job at IRI Russia, and 3) maybe things are not so straightforward in Ukrainian politics, and there are no guys in black and white hats, but mostly gray hats. He disagreed and demanded I resign, which I did. TK: The Senate claims you met Manafort in Spain in 2017. Did you? Konstantin Kilimnik: I have never been to Spain. (laughter)...I have not been there. They can’t prove that. And yet they’ve inserted that. And yet, that’s central to what they’re saying. Europe is specific place in terms of passports and immigration. To cross the border, you have to give your fingerprints, and upon any re-entry too. If I went to Spain, I can guarantee that, first of all, Europe keeps a record of that. They would say that I have crossed the border at a certain time in a certain place. And that would be okay because, again, it’s all tied to the fingerprints. You cannot get into the EU without this. You can’t fake it. So let them prove it. TK: You’ve been accused of obtaining that “sensitive polling data” for Oleg Deripaska. Was that right? Konstantin Kilimnik: No, Deripaska was a Russian businessman. I actually didn’t have any contact with him. There were Ukrainian businessmen and Ukrainian politicians in 2016 who were in opposition, and who were actually under pressure from Petro Poroshenko’s government. Naturally, for them, any change, opening a channel into the U.S. Government, that for them would have been a great thing. So that’s why they were interested in the outcome of the elections. There was no Russian connection whatsoever. If there were, they would have a record of me talking to Deripaska or visiting him.TK: You never had any contact with Deripaska? Konstantin Kilimnik: No, I haven’t met him since, I’m afraid to be exact, but like 2006, I think was the last time I saw him. I was translating for Manafort. But after that, Manafort spoke to him himself, because Deripaska spoke the language by then. And there was no need for me. Part 2 of my interview with Konstantin Kilimnik is coming later this week. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 21:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

RE/MAX Broker Shares His Journey From Independent to Franchise Model

Josh Naughton Broker/Owner RE/MAX Innovative Properties Londonderry, New Hampshire www.remax.com/real-estate-agents/joshua-naughton-londonderry-nh/101915141 Region served: Southern New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts Years in real estate: 19 Number of offices: 6 Number of agents: 102 Jordan Grice: You previously operated your brokerage as an independent firm. Why did you decide to explore opportunities with a franchise brand?  Josh Naughton: […] The post RE/MAX Broker Shares His Journey From Independent to Franchise Model appeared first on RISMedia. Josh Naughton Broker/Owner RE/MAX Innovative Properties Londonderry, New Hampshire www.remax.com/real-estate-agents/joshua-naughton-londonderry-nh/101915141 Region served: Southern New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts Years in real estate: 19 Number of offices: 6 Number of agents: 102 Jordan Grice: You previously operated your brokerage as an independent firm. Why did you decide to explore opportunities with a franchise brand?  Josh Naughton: We were trying to figure out how to grow our business while supporting our agents with better tools, technology and marketing. The other part of that is building an actual business that was an asset for myself and my partners, and we felt that having a franchise was a better opportunity to do that. Having a franchise behind us is something we felt would be invaluable. JG: What attracted you to the RE/MAX brand?  JN: When we got into it, we explored other franchises. We felt pretty strongly that we wanted to get involved with a franchise to leverage their brand and support. RE/MAX® has a phenomenal on-the-ground support network with people you can call or text. JG: What was it like transitioning to RE/MAX?  JN: It was a success story across the board. RE/MAX had everything in place to help make the transition smooth, and our agents were open-minded to it because they saw the value in the brand and the tools. They saw what they were going to be getting and how we were looking toward helping them grow their business. JG: What tools and resources provided by RE/MAX do you and your agents find most valuable?  JN: While they have great marketing, webinars and educational opportunities that can be accessed through RE/MAX University®, their events are also valuable. As an agent, when you’re selling real estate, you’re very hyper-local and day-to-day. Being able to have a network of RE/MAX agents who can get together at conferences and conventions and send referrals all over the world is a huge asset. JG: What advice do you have for brokers seeking to grow through acquisition?  JN: I think the important thing is that the agents have to come first. Ensure that the resources are there so agents can continue to have the support they had and not have to worry about anything being left behind. You have to make it a seamless transition for the agents who are being folded into the company. Another thing is the culture. Your agents have to know that they’re part of the office’s culture, and that the owners and managers are there to support them. JG: What do you think today’s agent finds most valuable when considering which brokerage to join?  JN: Value is competitive compensation plans. It’s manager and owner support. Value is resources and education, tools and technology, and being one step ahead of everything so that the agent doesn’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. Another big piece of it is the coaching to help them grow their business from where they are today to wherever they want to be. Agents don’t need you every single day, but when they do need you, you have to be available. For more information, please visit www.remax.com. Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email him your real estate news to jgrice@rismedia.com. The post RE/MAX Broker Shares His Journey From Independent to Franchise Model appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaOct 13th, 2021

Mike Pence"s chief of staff trashed a memo calling for him to overturn the election as "boneheaded analysis"

Marc Short said they "always felt strongly that no limited-government conservative" would want a vice president to overturn an election. Vice President Mike Pence, joined at left by chief of staff Marc Short, finishes a swearing-in ceremony for senators in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool VP Pence's chief of staff dismissed Eastman memo as "boneheaded analysis." The memo from a legal scholar dubiously argued Pence could overturn the 2020 election. Pence told journalist David Drucker that Trump was getting "really, really bad advice." Former Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Marc Short denounced a memo from a legal scholar arguing Pence could unilaterally overturn President Joe Biden's Electoral College win as "boneheaded analysis" in an interview for a new book. Short spoke to Washington Examiner journalist and author David Drucker for his forthcoming book "In Trump's Shadow: The Battle for 2024 and the Future of the GOP," a copy of which Insider obtained ahead of its October 19 publication from Twelve Books. In his interview with Drucker, Short blamed a power vacuum in the White House that created an opening for conspiracy theory-wielding lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, in addition to figures like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, to fill Trump's head with the false belief that the 2020 election was stolen and the incorrect notion that his vice president could unilaterally reverse his election loss. "Unfortunately, I think the president had some really, really bad advice," Short told Drucker. "The way the White House was structured at that point was that those people giving that really, really bad advice were given carte blanche access to the president, and I think there were no safeguards in the way the White House was being run at that point." The pressure campaign targeting Pence kicked up a notch with a six-page memo on January 3 from conservative legal scholar John Eastman, a fellow at the Claremont Institute, who advanced a legally dubious argument that Pence could reverse the presidential election at the January 6 joint session of Congress. Eastman conjured a scenario where seven states that voted for Biden sent "alternate" slates of electors for Trump based on non-existent widespread fraud, Pence would discard the Electoral Count Act of 1887 as unconstitutional, and appoint himself the ultimate arbiter of which electoral votes to count to induce the overturning of Biden's Electoral College victory."We researched all of those, and I think very fastidiously wanted to be respectful of new perspectives that we were brought, but always felt strongly that no limited-government conservative would ever advocate that one person could unilaterally choose what electors to accept or reject and would ever be given that sort of power by our Founders," Short told Drucker. "Nor would we ever want anyone to have that power." The memo accompanied a "heated" January 4 Oval Office meeting where Trump told Pence of Eastman: "he's a respected constitutional attorney, you should hear him out." Drucker wrote that given his indeed solid reputation in the conservative legal world, Eastman taking a prominent role in the pressure campaign left Pence and his crew "flabbergasted." "In that January 4 meeting, the vice president listened courteously, as was his habit. But he held firm, as was also his habit, reiterated his position on the matter that he had relayed to the president, unwavering, so many times before," Drucker wrote. Pence's team had Gregory Jacob, who served as Pence's general counsel from March 2020 through January 2021 and is now a partner at O'Melveny & Myers in Washington DC, to research the matter and write up a countervailing memo of their own that Pence would issue as a statement just before the joint session on January 6."It was such boneheaded analysis, and so we intended to have our record make that clear, too," Short said of the Eastman memo. In the more than two-page letter to his colleagues, Pence said he wouldn't stand in the way of lawmakers who wanted to raise objections to the counting of electoral votes but it was his "considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not." Expanded Coverage Module: capitol-siege-moduleRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Pence"s former chief of staff says "there were no safeguards" to how the White House was run leading up to January 6

"Those people giving [Trump] really, really bad advice were given carte blanche access to the president," Marc Short told author David Drucker. Vice President Mike Pence speaks as U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a signing ceremony and meeting with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister of Kosovo Avdullah Hoti in the Oval Office of the White House on September 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images Pence's ex-chief of staff says there were "no safeguards" in the White House ahead of January 6. "Unfortunately, I think the president had some really, really bad advice," Marc Short told journalist David Drucker. Short spoke to Drucker for his forthcoming book "In Trump's Shadow" on the future of the GOP. Former Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff says there were "no safeguards" in the White House leading up to the January 6 insurrection as Trump repeatedly received bad advice about the results of the 2020 election.Marc Short, Pence's longtime right-hand man, spoke to Washington Examiner journalist and author David Drucker for Drucker's forthcoming book "In Trump's Shadow: The Battle for 2024 and the Future of the GOP," a copy of which Insider obtained ahead of its October 19 publication by Twelve Books. "Unfortunately, I think the president had some really, really bad advice," Short told Drucker. "The way the White House was structured at that point was that those people giving that really, really bad advice were given carte blanche access to the president, and I think there were no safeguards in the way the White House was being run at that point." While Short didn't name names, previously reporting n books like Wolff's "Landslide" and Michael Bender's "Frankly We Did Win This Election" detailed the vacuum of advisers in the White House. By January 6, Wolff wrote in his book, many administration officials and White House staffers had quit or distanced themselves from the action.They left only a small circle of aides who were still involved in Trump's day-to-day activities. The White House counsel's office being largely checked out left Rudy Giuliani as Trump's main legal confidante, and created an opening for conspiracy theorists like lawyer Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to get Trump's ear and promote conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was rigged.Giuliani, in particular, became obsessed and fixated on the idea that Pence, in his ceremonial role facilitating the counting of Electoral College votes on January 6, could somehow preclude Congress from affirming President Joe Biden's election victory. The conspiracy theory culminated in a legally dubious memo from legal scholar John Eastman."We researched all of those, and I think very fastidiously wanted to be respectful of new perspectives that we were brought, but always felt strongly that no limited-government conservative would ever advocate that one person could unilaterally choose what electors to accept or reject," Short told Drucker. Giuliani and Powell have faced real-world consequences within the legal profession for using the courts to propagate those lies, and all three are being sued for defamation for $1.2 billion each by Dominion Voting Systems for baselessly claiming the company's voting machines were central to a ploy to steal the election. Drucker details how years before the insurrection Pence remained unfailingly loyal to Trump while carving out a high degree of independence and autonomy from the president behind the scenes. That including serving as the White House's point person for corporate leaders and lobbyists, and building up his own political operation, including his own PAC, with his own advisers outside the confines of the West Wing's operations. Ironically, Drucker argues, Trump throwing Pence under the bus and publicly breaking with him over the former VP's refusal may end up boosting Pence's standing and prospects in 2024. Trump denouncing Pence, Drucker writes, was the necessary clean break that will allow Pence to occupy his own distinct lane in 2024. "Pence was always going to have to untether himself from Trump, eventually. January 6 accomplished that. In the process, it saved the vice president from having to manufacture independence from Trump," Drucker wrote. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

The Elizabeth Holmes trial: Another sucker takes the stand

Steven Burd, former CEO of the supermarket chain Safeway, told the court how Elizabeth Holmes talked him into a disastrous $30 million investment in Theranos. Former Safeway CEO Steven Burd leaves the courthouse after testifying in the Theranos trial. Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters The first few alleged victims who have been called to testify in the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, might as well be called The Smartest Dupes in the Room. First came James Mattis, the retired four-star general, who testified that he invested in the failed blood-testing startup even though Holmes was his "sole source" of information about the company. And now we have Steven Burd, the former CEO of the supermarket giant Safeway, who spent yesterday on the stand explaining how he - a celebrated titan of industry - fell hard for Holmes and her high-tech schtick.Burd - a robust septuagenarian who comes across as a hard-charging, likable-enough, Business Roundtable type - oversaw Safeway's cash investment of $30 million in Theranos. As she did with Mattis and other older men, Holmes clearly made an impression on Burd. He called her charismatic and smart and conceded that she was pretty much his only contact at the company.Burd testified that he saw a big opportunity in Theranos: If Safeway customers who came to shop could be persuaded to get a blood test and then wait for the results, they would be likely to spend more on groceries. When Safeway added gas stations in its parking lots, for instance, it boosted sales by an average of 6%. And if Theranos later marketed those same blood-testing services to other supermarkets, Safeway would effectively profit twice from its initial investment.Assistant US Attorney Robert Leach used Burd's testimony to flick at several recurring themes in the government's case. Had Burd, he asked, been aware of the romantic relationship between Holmes and Theranos' president, Sunny Balwani? Burd said he had not. Did he think the relationship had any relevance? "It just raises the question of what else is hidden from view," Burd replied.Leach also placed into evidence a slide from a presentation that Holmes made to the Safeway board. It repeated the now-infamous assertion that Theranos had been "comprehensively validated over the course of the last seven years by 10 of the 15 largest pharmaceutical companies." It's a statement that's either an outright lie or a bold attempt to redefine the meaning of "comprehensively validated."You can tell a lot about either side's case by the questions most often repeated. "Did Miss Holmes ever attribute delays to technical issues?" Leach asked Burd while discussing one of several times that Theranos missed a promised milestone. In one instance, Burd said, "I was told that stacking six machines would generate a lot of heat and they were struggling with how to dissipate the heat." But when Leach asked Burd whether Holmes mentioned technical issues as excuses for the other missed deadlines, the CEO's answer was simply, "No." Holmes, Leach seemed to be suggesting, had criminally withheld from Safeway the critical fact behind all the delays: Its product didn't work.The lazy car buyer defenseThe task of cross-examining Burd fell to the defense attorney Kevin Downey, who proved to be a good deal more gentlemanly than his colleague Lance Wade, who kept the last government witness on the stand for four full days. In a relatively brisk 2 1/2 hours of questioning, Downey pushed two lines of argument on Burd. First, he suggested, Burd's due diligence sucked. Downey characterized Burd as floating above it all. Had he asked Holmes how much money she spent to develop the technology? "I don't recall." Had Robert Edwards, Safeway's chief financial officer? "I don't know." Did Burd get any insight into the capabilities of Theranos when he introduced Holmes to Jonathan Simons, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins University? "Obviously Jonathan was in no position at a dinner meeting to evaluate the technology," Burd responded. "He thought if Theranos could do this, that would be a game changer."Downey's attempt to paint Burd as a lazy car buyer who failed to properly kick the tires wasn't very convincing. If Holmes lied to Burd, after all, it doesn't matter how good a job Burd did in trying to learn the truth. The lie would still constitute criminal fraud. But Burd, like Mattis before him, did come across as oddly gullible for a man who spent decades at the pinnacle of his chosen profession.Downey had better luck with his second line of argument: that Burd and Safeway knew full well that Theranos was using traditional blood-testing devices developed by third parties, rather than its own finger sticks. At one point, for example, Burd had noted his displeasure that Theranos was sending blood samples to an offsite lab. That meant patients who got their blood drawn at Safeway wouldn't get their results while they were still at the store. One solution would have been for Theranos to install blood-analysis equipment on-site at Safeway, but that prospect didn't appeal to Holmes. "We are doing this to serve the Safeway patients," she told Burd in an email the defense produced, "but it does not make sense for us to invest in a full-service dinosaur lab." Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the courthouse with her mother, Noel Holmes. Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters Like so much evidence at a protracted trial, such details start to blend together after a while. It's all so dreary and slow and boring that nothing really stands out - there's no Perry Mason moment, where the witness breaks down in tears. But the defense's argument was clear: If Burd knew Theranos wasn't relying on finger-stick samples, then Holmes wasn't defrauding Safeway. Sure, the startup may not have made good on its promise to develop technology that would revolutionize blood testing. But failure, as Holmes' lawyers asserted in their opening statements, isn't a crime.'Becoming Discouraged'At least one tricky legal move was deployed during Burd's testimony. Toward the end of his time on the stand, Burd was asked by the prosecution about an email he had written to Holmes in July 2011. In it, the supermarket executive told Holmes he wanted to "maximize my return on my $275 million remodel investment."Leach asked Burd to clarify. "Was this money you gave to Theranos?""No," Burd replied. "This was money we used to remodel the stores."Unbeknownst to the jury, the subject of what Safeway spent to create spaces for Theranos blood-draw clinics had been the subject of much lawyerly squabbling over the previous two days. In arguments before Judge Edward Davila, without the jury present, the prosecution maintained that it should be allowed to present Safeway's huge remodeling expenditures to demonstrate the full scope of its losses in the Theranos debacle. The defense objected to conflating what Safeway invested in its stores - which later housed Quest Diagnostics blood-draw sites - with what it lost on its Theranos investment.The judge sided with the defense, ruling that the prosecution couldn't discuss Safeway's big-dollar remodeling. So Leach found a back-door way to introduce the subject. Spotting the 2011 email, which the defense had entered into evidence for another reason - and without objection, as the judge noted - he asked Burd about the $275 million. The jury heard the number, followed by the word "investment." Mission accomplished.Burd's appearance was dry, but it did include one intriguing moment. While explaining how the Theranos relationship went south, the government displayed a November 2012 email from Burd to Holmes with the subject line "Becoming Discouraged." Burd wrote: "I can only recall having been discouraged once in the last 62 years. That said, I am getting close to my second event.""I'm one of the most positive people you'll ever meet," Burd testified, by way of explanation. "I don't get discouraged."Which raises the question: What is the one other time in Steven Burd's long life that left him as discouraged as dealing with Elizabeth Holmes?Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Cathie Wood says the exodus from expensive cities will keep a lid on inflation

"The great migration is from the very high-rent areas of the world to much lower rents," superstar investor Cathie Wood said. Cathie Wood shot to fame in 2020 on the back of winning tech bets. Brendan McDermid/Reuters Cathie Wood has said the exodus from expensive cities during COVID should help hold down inflation. Wood reckons strong inflation will be transitory, and has said she expects commodities to cool next year. Her company, Ark Invest, is moving to St. Petersburg, Florida in November, from New York. Superstar investor Cathie Wood has put forward one reason why strong inflation might not last: people are fleeing expensive cities like New York for cheaper ones.Wood's own company Ark Invest is relocating from New York to St. Petersburg, Florida in November. She said on Tuesday at an Ark webinar that the cost of living in St. Petersburg "is anywhere from 20% to 40% less than in New York City and that includes the rents," according to comments reported by CNBC."The exodus, or the great migration, is from the very high-rent areas of the world to much lower rents. So there's going to be a mix effect that many are not taking into account as they're thinking about inflation," she said.Read more: The head of investment strategy for iShares' $2.3 trillion US business explains 2 key market themes that will define the upcoming Q3 earnings season - and shares why 'stagflation' concerns are overblownDuring the coronavirus pandemic many people left densely populated cities. Working from home meant a company's workers didn't have to all be in the same place, while many people wanted more space and greenery.Human resources company ADP found at the start of this year that 30% of remote workers in the US had changed their living arrangement during the pandemic, while another 29% were considering a change.ADP said cities such as New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami were seeing "an exodus."Wood, who founded and is CEO of Ark Invest, is not worried about inflation, despite it coming in above 5% for the last three months in the US.She has argued commodity prices should fall in 2022 and innovation should keep things cheap over the longer term.Wood is moving Ark Invest to St. Petersburg because she sees it as an innovation hub, according to CNBC. "We believe that St. Pete wants to become the next Austin and attract tech companies, attract innovation," she said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 13th, 2021

Inside the gargantuan civilian effort to get remaining Americans out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

Project Dynamo is still evacuating Americans and US visa holders out of Afghanistan even after Western militaries have all withdrawn from the country. Bryan Stern, founder of Project Dynamo, in the group's mission control room. Bryan Stern Civilian-run groups are still evacuating Americans and visa holders out of Afghanistan. One of these groups is Project Dynamo, run by American civilians. The group is processing around 30,000 applications from people desperate to flee Afghanistan. See more stories on Insider's business page. The moment the wheels of the Kam Air charter plane left the tarmac in Kabul, Afghanistan, people were crying tears of joy.That flight to the United States, which took place September 28, was carrying more than 100 US citizens, green card holders, and Special Immigration Visa (SIV) holders who remained trapped in Kabul when it fell to the Taliban on August 15.Also there were two men working for Project Dynamo, an American civilian-run organization that has continued evacuation efforts from Afghanistan even after foreign forces withdrew at the end of August."It was just pure emotion," Bryan Stern, who was on the plane, told Insider. "I was just so relieved and happy with what we had accomplished." Stern at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. Bryan Stern. That was the first private rescue mission from Afghanistan organized by a non-governmental organization, Stern said.Stern, a former 9/11 responder and US Army veteran from Florida, said he felt "angry" seeing the chaos unfold in Kabul after the Taliban takeover because it reminded him of what happened in New York City 20 years ago."I just couldn't get it out of my mind. I saw people jump from the towers and now they were doing the same but from airplanes," he said, referring to the photos that showed desperate Afghans falling out of planes as they tried to flee Kabul.It was this anger, paired with a "feeling of helplessness," that prompted him to set up Project Dynamo with a few friends, he said.A 'massive undertaking'Several weeks later, Stern is still traveling across the world, coordinating efforts to get people out of Kabul, be it by foot, bus, or plane. US evacuees at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. Bryan Stern But with little help from the US government and funded mostly from donations, Project Dynamo is facing a "massive undertaking," said Jen Wilson, one of the organization's volunteers."When evacuations first started, it was obviously very frantic … but at least we had options because the State Department and the embassies were all at the airport, processing visas," Wilson, who is based in the US, told Insider."But now, it's obviously gotten much slower. We're also hindered because there is no diplomatic presence from any country that we can utilize. So it's just us."How it worksHere's how the process works, according to Stern:Anyone wishing to leave Afghanistan can register on Project Dynamo's website and upload their passport and visa information for their destination countries.Project Dynamo then vets and approves the documents with help from the relevant governments, and notifies them that an evacuation flight is being organized.Once there are enough people for a flight, the group sends them to a safe house.Everyone is then given a measles shot and a COVID-19 test before boarding the flight."A safe house is not as spooky it sounds," Stern said. "Everything is controlled ... you're not smuggled, you're not under a carpet. This is all legal.""We also have to remember these are not refugees, they're Americans who are going home." A passenger receiving a measles, mumps, and rubella shot. Bryan Stern Meanwhile, Project Dynamo works with fixers on the ground, arranging buses and provisions for the passengers.The team also has connections to different private charter companies from around the world, Stern said, adding that Kam Air - the largest private Afghan airline - offered to help with last month's evacuation.Stern declined to say how much that flight cost. None of the passengers on board have to pay a ticket fee, he added.It's usually the charter companies that work with the Taliban to get clearance to fly, Stern said.He said the idea that getting out of Afghanistan is an impossible mission was a "huge misconception": "If you understand the rules and the process and the procedures, and you follow all this, you can get out," he said.Wilson, meanwhile, said the Taliban had posed "no problems at all" with Project Dynamo's passengers because they "don't want Americans in their country anyway." Still, the process is tedious, and things could go awry. Last week's evacuation flight was delayed for 33 hours after the Department of Homeland Security briefly denied it entry into the US, leaving the evacuees stranded at the Abu Dhabi airport with little food and having to sleep on floors."There's a lot of waiting around, but this is part of the process," Stern said.Project Dynamo has received around 30,000 applications to fleeIt is unclear exactly how many Americans and visa holders are still in Afghanistan.In an address to the nation on August 31, the day of the military-withdrawal deadline, President Joe Biden said that around "100 to 200 Americans" who wanted to leave Afghanistan were still there. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a Senate hearing last month that the number of remaining Americans "fluctuates daily."A State Department official also told reporters on September 1 that "the majority" of SIV applicants were left behind after the military withdrawal. Project Dynamo has received around 30,000 applications from Afghans desperate to leave the country since August 15, Stern said.But the majority of them don't have the necessary paperwork to do so, and Project Dynamo can't help them acquire these documents, meaning they can't leave, Stern said.Many have already fled through other means, Stern said, adding that Project Dynamo had already helped some families cross the Afghanistan-Pakistan border by foot. He did not give a specific number. A post shared by PROJECT DYNAMO (@projectdynamo) While the work moves slowly, Wilson said it still feels urgent."For the Afghans on the ground ... they're running out of food, they're running out of money," she said. "They don't have enough water, the prices of goods and services in countries have skyrocketed. So they are really trapped there. And the winter season is coming."But the team has no plans of slowing down any time soon, Wilson said, adding they will do "whatever it takes" to get everyone out.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 13th, 2021