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Wake Forest University School of Medicine awarded grant to study non-opioid pain management in Hispanic/Latinx cancer survivors

For the more than one-third of cancer survivors who suffer from chronic pain related to treatment, that pain can continue for months or even years after treatment ends. Unfortunately, there are few non-pharmaceutical interventions for pain management for cancer survivors, and even fewer programs offer pain management designed specifically for non-English speaking populations in the U.S. To address this disparity in access to pain management for Spanish-speaking Hispanic and Latinx populations, researchers….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMay 14th, 2022

19 underrated part-time jobs that pay well and how to get them

If you can't find a full-time job, want to make extra income, or need schedule flexibility, part-time work is a promising option. The number of people employed part-time has skyrocketed in the past year.Getty Part-time jobs have become a popular to bring in extra cash with a low commitment. Accountants, physician assistants, and programmers are among the highest paid part-time roles. Writing, tutoring, fitness instructing, and graphic designing are also in-demand options. In recent years, it has felt outdated to think about a career in terms of working long hours for many years in a single job and climbing the career ladder in the same profession you chose as a teenager or 20-something. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic really exploded stereotypes around how and when we do our work.Part-time jobs have expanded since the pandemic hit, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (because employers downgraded full-time jobs, laid people off, or otherwise had to alter their workforce) more than doubled from 4.4 million in February 2020 to 10.9 million in April 2020. And even a year into the global health crisis that number remained higher than it was pre-pandemic. As of September 2021, over 20 million people were working part-time for noneconomic reasons such as balancing school or family — an increase of more than 1.3 million year over year.Below, you'll find 19 high-paying part-time jobs covering a mix of functions, industries, and levels of experience — along with the median hourly rates and links to help you find current job openings. Each rate, pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 data, is at least $20 an hour (with one exception). It's worth noting that since these are median wages, half of earners in these roles fall below and half fall above this rate. In other words, entry-level positions may pay less, but there are also opportunities to make significantly more.Why work part-time?Almost every industry has part-time jobs. These opportunities, typically requiring less than 30 hours of work per week, can give you some consistency without the demands of a full-time job. You might be able to work remotely and, depending on context and employment status, you may earn paid time off or holidays off, too.You might pursue part-time work because you can't find a full-time job, need or want to make extra income on top of your existing employment, or enjoy the flexibility or variety these positions offer. "More and more people are pursuing their passions, and this means multiple roles," said Muse career coach Jennifer Sukola. Working part-time in a competitive field also lets workers "get their foot in the door, gain experience, and find out if they will eventually want to do [the role] full-time."As someone who's been working as a freelancer for a decade, I've taken on many, many part-time jobs — sometimes simultaneously — in order to work the equivalent of one full-time job. I currently work part-time as a writer since it's a competitive field and I live in a city with few staff jobs. But I've previously held part-time roles in tutoring, administration, and marketing.I love having free time during the day, pursuing work I find interesting, working from home (as many of my part-time roles have allowed me to do), seeking out clients, being able to take on — and say no to! — assignments as I see fit, and having a multifaceted career that's not tied to one role or employer.1. WriterMedian hourly rate: $32.27A writer creates communication materials: in print, online, or both. Short-form content might include social media or blog posts, pamphlets, and email copy, while long-form content could mean articles, web content, newsletters, reports, white papers, and even books. You might be assigned to a topic, or you might pitch and create content on your own. Regardless, you may also have to conduct interviews and research and will usually work with an editor or someone who oversees the quality of your work. Some writers specialize in a particular topic or form — science or finance journalist, technical or medical writer, or grant writer, for example — while others might write more broadly. Entry-level writing gigs usually require at least one year of experience, which could be in the form of an internship.Increasingly, media companies have listed part-time writing jobs that can be done remotely — though they usually request that work be done during business hours. In 2021, I obtained a 20-hour a week writing position at Bustle, which is located in New York, and worked 20 hours a week from Boston. Don't limit yourself to just media, though; lots of organizations — from nonprofits to financial institutions and everything in between — need writers.Find writer jobs on The Muse2. Tutor(Note: BLS groups tutors with other teachers and instructors and does not provide hourly wage information.)Tutors help students — children or adults — learn a subject or skill. The material could range from more fundamental subjects like basic math to high-level content like the SAT or college-level physics. Tutoring doesn't always take place during "normal" business hours, with many clients preferring to meet after work or school hours or on the weekends. Unlike teachers, tutors don't need formal accreditation, but they do need a deep knowledge of the subject they're teaching; that usually translates to at least an undergraduate degree in the subject.Rates can vary pretty widely depending on the subject, your experience, and the location: Tutors in cities like DC and New York City can charge $50 an hour and up, for example. If you work on your own, you can charge more, but working with a tutoring agency means they help find students and take care of some of the employment paperwork. When I worked with an agency in DC, I made $33 an hour, but when I worked on my own I made at least $60 an hour and usually more.Find tutor jobs on The Muse3. Marketing specialistMedian hourly rate: $31.64A marketing specialist is responsible for promoting or selling products or services to new or existing customers — which might be individuals and/or organizations. Specialties include email marketing, market research, social media, ecommerce, and search engine marketing (SEM), but the work fundamentally centers around understanding a target audience and knowing how to reach and persuade them to take action. You may need an undergraduate degree in marketing, communications, or even journalism.Companies sometimes hire part-time marketing specialists to help with particular campaigns or to provide expertise in a particular type of marketing. Smaller organizations might only need — or have the budget for — 10 or 20 hours of marketing and communications work per week. In my case, I offered my copywriting and editing skills on a per-project basis, bidding for work based on my availability and the rate I would charge for the work ($40 and above).Find marketing specialist jobs on The Muse4. Graphic designerAverage hourly rate: $25.66A graphic designer supports a business by creating illustrations, graphics, and other visual concepts and content. Projects can vary from a short-term deliverable like a flyer that needs to be visually appealing to a large-scale project like a book or magazine. According to BLS, a college degree or equivalent coursework is usually essential for developing the necessary skill set, which may include web management if they're putting these designs online. Graphic designers can be hired with a year or less of experience, which students can bridge with an internship, summer job, or pro bono work with a club or faculty member.Part-time graphic designers can work consistently with one organization or with many clients by the project as part of an agency or as freelancers, but they usually need to have more significant experience before striking out on their own.Find graphic designer jobs on The Muse5. Exercise trainer or group fitness instructorMedian hourly rate: $19.48Fitness instructors work with individuals or groups on developing their strength, fitness, flexibility, and related skills. They can work with a variety of ages and experience levels and teach various types of classes (such as kickboxing, Zumba, pilates, or spin), depending on their own experience and training.A personal trainer certification can take several months to complete, but you only need to be 18 and have completed high school to be eligible. You may not need credentials to teach group classes, but some employers will require or encourage certifications in the specific type of fitness (for example, a yoga studio might only hire instructors who've completed a yoga teacher training program). Instructors usually teach classes or train clients part-time at gyms, studios, camps, community centers, and other locations. As a trainer, you might also work directly with clients, scheduling by the session.Find exercise trainer and fitness instructor on The Muse6. Massage therapistMedian hourly rate: $20.97A massage therapist works with clients on the muscles and soft tissues of the body to decrease pain and tightness, relieve pressure, and improve health. They can work with a variety of client types in a variety of settings, from salons to doctors' offices to hospitals. Usually massage therapists complete a program with 500 or more hours of study and hands-on training and most states require a certification or license (the exact requirements vary by location).There may be the opportunity to focus on a specialty like sports massage or deep tissue massage. Depending on the workplace, a massage therapist may work in shifts or as scheduled with clients, but there's often flexibility based on the workload and clientele.Find massage therapist jobs on The Muse7. Insurance sales agentMedian hourly rate: $25.08An insurance sales agent sells policies to prospective customers. The policies mitigate against certain types of risk: Life insurance provides financial compensation to an insured person's beneficiaries in the event of the policy holder's death, for example. Like a number of sales jobs, this type of role requires you to talk to strangers every day, identify their needs, and work with them as they complete a detailed application.The actual position could range from working a call center to meeting clients in person. You only need to have completed high school according to BLS, though employers often look for a bachelor's degree, and in any case, you'd be required to obtain a license. There might be flexibility around working from home, especially if you're selling over the phone, and working non-traditional hours.Find insurance sales agent jobs on The Muse8. Executive assistantMedian hourly rate: $30.34An assistant might be expected to handle administrative tasks in and outside of the office: managing calendars and meetings, handling expenses, greeting visitors, answering the phone, and dealing with other clerical tasks. But an executive assistant, who usually supports one or more leaders in an organization, might also do higher-level work including pulling together research, sales material, and other important information for one or more executives.Usually the more senior the executive you work for, the higher the salary. Employers usually look for an undergraduate degree in a business-related field like marketing or accounting, especially if the candidate has no prior experience.Find executive assistant jobs on The Muse9. AccountantMedian hourly rate: $35.37An accountant prepares, reviews, and files financial documents and maintains and organizes detailed tax and other records. In some cases, they might also weigh in on business decisions, suggest strategies to reduce costs or increase revenue, and make other recommendations. They can work for individuals who have complex financial needs or larger organizations, either in-house or at an accounting firm that works with multiple external clients.An accountant needs an undergraduate degree to work, and becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or getting another relevant certification can make an accountant look more attractive to employers. Many accountants do work full time, but smaller businesses might only require assistance during tax season or at the end of every quarter. If you pursue the part-time route, you may need more than one client or job to maintain regular work.Find accountant jobs on The Muse10. Real estate agentMedian hourly rate: $24.63A real estate agent is a professional who helps clients sell, buy, or rent a property. This could include a house, an apartment, a residential building, or a commercial property (and less frequently industrial or agricultural properties). Agents keep track of what's on the market, show properties, facilitate interactions and negotiations between parties, and help clients complete relevant paperwork and records to close deals. They also stay on top of trends in the market so they can advise on how much a property might be worth.You do need your real estate license to become an agent, which requires some pre-licensing courses, but besides that, you only need a high school degree. Many real estate professionals do have bachelor's degrees, so sometimes it helps, but employers look for your ability to close on a sale first and foremost. Real estate agents work odd hours (since many people can only go to open houses or viewings at night and on the weekends) but they also have a lot of flexibility to set their own schedules.Find real estate jobs on The Muse11. Physician assistantMedian hourly rate: $55.48 per hourA physician assistant (PA) works in a variety of medical settings (including hospitals and outpatient clinics) and can diagnose and treat patients as well as assist — as the name implies — doctors and other medical professionals. They can work with a doctor doing surgery, help a patient manage a treatment plan as the provider they see most often, order tests, write prescriptions, and handle a long list of other responsibilities. PAs could work in emergency medicine, trauma surgery, transplants, family medicine, pediatrics, and other specialties — meaning you can choose the area of healthcare that interests you once you decide that this career path is of interest.You'll need a master's degree to become a physician assistant. Though most PAs work full time, smaller practices can use part-time PAs, and sometimes larger clinics and hospitals only require part-time shift work (but bear in mind those shifts could be overnight or on weekends).Find physician assistant jobs on The Muse12. Computer programmerMedian hourly rate: $42.88A computer programmer makes sure that an application or software runs correctly by writing code for new software and features and/or testing and fixing code on a regular basis as bugs are discovered. A bachelor's degree is helpful, but some programmers can obtain positions with an associate's degree or no degree at all. Some companies hire part-time programmers, or you can pursue freelance or contract opportunities.Find computer programmer jobs on The Muse13. Software developerMedian hourly rate: $52.95A software developer designs applications and programs — unlike programmers, who typically execute on a plan or optimize a program, developers are more involved in the creative ideation and problem-solving when an app is in its early stages. They might analyze user needs, brainstorm ways to address those needs via an application or feature, design the various elements of that software, lay out different pieces of the project for programmers to execute on, and handle documentation.Developers are in high demand: BLS projects developer jobs will grow 22% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the 8% average growth for all occupations. Some companies require an undergraduate degree, although it isn't essential. A developer can potentially work remotely and part-time — it just depends on the context and workload. Developers can sometimes work more flexible hours, too.Find software developer jobs on The Muse14. Occupational therapistMedian hourly rate: $41.48When someone is struggling to complete everyday tasks due to injury, illness, pain, and/or disability, an occupational therapist (OT) helps that person adapt their movement and behavior to manage those tasks more effectively. They might focus on helping people do professional work or on enabling them to simply get out of bed and dress themselves. They could work in a person's home or in a professional setting like a hospital or school.This position requires a master's degree as well as licensing. If a school only needs assistance for a few children, for example, an occupational therapist may only need to work part-time hours in that environment. Like some other medical professionals on this list, they can also manage their own businesses and set their own hours.Find occupational therapist jobs on The Muse15. Physical therapistMedian hourly rate: $43.75Like an OT, a physical therapist (PT) can help someone with an illness or injury, but in this case they're working on pain management and mobility. They're an integral part of someone's recovery after a stroke, for example, or in the wake of surgery. A PT might work with a variety of patients — from senior citizens to professional athletes — wherever those patients are, from nursing homes to hospitals to outpatient settings like sports teams or physical therapy clinics.PTs need to be licensed and complete their doctor of physical therapy degree, and some go on to do residencies or fellowships to further specialize. They can work part-time during regular business hours, on evenings and weekends, or a combination of both.Find physical therapist jobs on The Muse16. Dental hygienistMedian hourly rate: $37.06A dental hygienist assists a dentist in cleaning teeth, assessing patients for teeth and gum disease, and communicating best practices around oral health. A dental hygienist often interacts with the patient more frequently than the dentist, which means they need strong customer service and interpersonal skills as well.This role requires completion of a three-year associate's degree (instead of a bachelor's degree) as well as a licensing program. A lot of dental hygienists work part-time, coming in a few days a week, according to BLS, and some may work for more than one dentist or office.Find dental hygienist jobs on The Muse17. Speech-language pathologistMedian hourly rate: $38.69A speech-language pathologist (sometimes called a speech pathologist) helps both children and adults with communication issues. If someone has a challenge, whether it be a speech, language, swallowing, or other communication disorder — which might result from a stroke, hearing loss, developmental delay, Parkinson's disease, autism, or other causes—the pathologist can work with them to mitigate or overcome it.Some speech-language pathologists work in schools or other places where children might be present — before or after school as well as during free periods and as an alternative to their regular classwork. Others work in settings such as hospitals, assisted living centers, private practices, corporations, and the military.It varies by state, but a master's degree is essential and licensing may be required too. On the bright side, the number speech-language pathologist roles is projected to grow 29% from 2020 to 2030, so those who've completed their training and licensing are in high demand.Find speech pathologist jobs on The Muse18. Translator or interpreterMedian hourly rate: $25.16Translators and interpreters convert one language into another — translators via the written word and interpreters via spoken languages. They might assist non-English speaking patients in a hospital or work at a conference center or meeting place where individuals speaking different languages are congregating. They could also work to translate written work such as a manual or book from one language to another.It's essential to have a deep knowledge of languages in this role — with complete fluency in both (whether you grew up bi- or multilingual, majored in a foreign language in college, or otherwise gained competency). An undergraduate degree can sometimes be enough, according to BLS, but sometimes organizations look for continuing education or certifications in the case of court or medical interpreters or translators. Many translators can work remotely. Those who are self-employed tend to have variable hours.Find translator and interpreter jobs on The Muse19. PlumberMedian hourly rate: $27.08Plumbers are the professionals who install, maintain, clean, and repair water, gas, septic and other systems as well as fixtures from toilets to dishwashers. You could be working in a person's home or in a commercial or municipal building, depending on the context and your specialty. As companies work to be more sustainable, plumbers may also help with conserving water.To become a plumber, you would only need a high school degree but there's often vocational training, apprenticeship, and licensing involved. Plumbers are very much dependent on client work, so depending on your boss (and especially if you're self-employed) you can set a limit on how many clients you take on or the hours you're available to work.Find plumber jobs on The MuseEven though they're increasing in popularity, part-time jobs can sometimes be hard to find. It's estimated that up to 85% of all jobs are obtained through networking, and part-time work is no exception.So how do workers go about finding and procuring a high-paying, part-time job? "They can first identify the industries or type of work they want, and then make a list of companies within those industries," Sukola said. Then network actively and often, both with employees at the companies they're interested in to see if part-time work is available and with other part-time workers who hold the kinds of roles they'd like to get into.The key, says Sukola, is having an entrepreneurial spirit: Sometimes positions only materialize because you asked if part-time work was available and a role was adapted or created for you.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma"s Political Reach

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

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

"There"s no getting out of here": Astroworld medics say they were trapped in crowds and unable to radio for help as Travis Scott fans were suffocating

ParaDocs medics who worked Travis Scott's deadly Astroworld festival detailed the tragic sequence of events in their first in-depth interview. The empty stage that hosted the 2021 Astroworld Festival is seen in drone footage days after the tragedy.Nathan Frandino/Reuters ParaDocs medics who worked Travis Scott's deadly Astroworld festival detailed the tragic sequence of events in their first in-depth interviews.  They describe forcing their way into packed crowds and tending to multiple critical victims at a time. The chief dispatcher says the volume of music was so loud that their festival-issued radios became useless. The lead doctor on duty at Travis Scott's Astroworld Festival arrived at 10 a.m. on Nov. 5 at Houston's NRG Park. Almost immediately, she said, "I knew we were in for a shit show." Passing through the gates of the sold-out show three hours before they opened to the public, she watched swarms of teens scaling fences and crashing gates to get inside the park.  "I wasn't nervous," Dr. Danica Barron said later in an interview. "I've done shit shows. All I was thinking is, 'Ok, we're going to have a rough crowd.'"Barron practices festival medicine – an emerging field of mobile emergency medicine focused on tending to drug overdoses, injuries, heat stroke, or any conceivable medical emergency that might arise when tens of thousands of young people come together for days-long events.As the West Coast medical director of ParaDocs Worldwide, a mobile medicine team hired by Astroworld organizers, Barron helped lead a team of more than 70 ParaDocs staffers stationed throughout the festival grounds and inside medical tents. The medic teams ended up treating hundreds of injuries, including 11 people in cardiac arrest. It ended up being one of the deadliest concerts in U.S. history. Ten people died.   Travis Scott performs at the Astroworld Music Festival in Houston on Nov. 5, 2021. The concert ended up being one of the deadliest in U.S. history.Amy Harris/Invision/AP PhotoIn addition to an ongoing criminal investigation by the Houston Police Department, more than 300 lawsuits have been filed against Scott and the festival organizers, including some that also name ParaDocs as a defendant. Paradocs CEO Alex Pollak and other senior staffers dispute claims that they were either overwhelmed or underprepared for the tragedy that unfolded that night. He notes they had enough staff to handle a crowd of 70,000. According to Houston Fire Department logs obtained by USA Today, 50,000 tickets were sold and another 5,000 fans broke in. In their first in-depth interviews since the tragedy, senior staffers on duty that night offered harrowing accounts of how the tragedy unfolded from their perspective.A spokesperson for NRG Park said they were unable to comment "out of respect for pending litigation and ongoing investigations," while ASM Global, which manages events at the park, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Scott's attorney, who argues in legal filings that Scott is "not legally liable" for the tragedy, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Concert promoter Live Nation said in a statement to Insider: "We are continuing to cooperate with and support the investigation to determine what happened so that the Houston community can get the answers they want and deserve."  "The crowd was like a vice" The Astroworld Festival schedule called for the gates to open at 1 p.m. and for various opening acts to perform between 2 and 8 p.m. Then, after an intermission, Scott was set to take the stage at 8:45.ParaDocs senior staffers said they have extensive experience with violent, unpredictable crowds, and, after Astroworld, the senior staff was headed to Orlando for a huge electronic dance music festival.Dr. Danica Barron, the West Coast medical director of ParaDocs Worldwide, was the lead doctor on duty that day.Published with permissionThe company has staffed previous Travis Scott concerts, which were known to be especially wild as the rapper whipped his fans into a frenzy that he dubbed "raging." Twice before, Scott has pleaded guilty to charges arising from his conduct onstage. He pleaded guilty to a reckless conduct charge after urging fans to rush the stage at a Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in 2015, and again to a disorderly conduct charge in the wake of a 2017 Arkansas concert. Barron is one of the most seasoned festival medicine doctors in the U.S. Licensed to practice medicine in multiple states that host big festivals, she has worked more than a hundred music festivals since 2015. She grew up in Los Angeles, graduated from Yale Medical School, and returned to the West Coast, where she spent more than a decade as an emergency room doctor at various West Coast hospitals.  She's trained in tactical combat and casualty medicine, and certified as an "expedition doctor" with a diploma in wilderness medicine.Barron, a mom of three, lights up at my first mention of live music."Oh my God! I used to go to raves all the time," she said. "Love it, love it, love it. Backstage passes, EDM raves, Coachella. I'll hit anything! Classical music concerts, anything live. I love seeing live music, period. Jazz festivals. Whatever is live? I'm there."Barron met ParaDocs CEO Alex Pollak when they worked together at a festival in Texas in 2017, and he brought her on. "We kind of know what we're going to see because we've worked so many festivals," said Pollak. "It's a very specialized thing – knowing the drugs and the trends."The ParaDocs team (from left): medic Damary Chavez, COO Leo Vanegas, CEO Alex Pollack, medic supervisors Zach Chan and Kevin Villatoro, and chief dispatcher Jon Saltzman.Anna Watts for InsiderBy late afternoon, Barron's team in the main medical tent was busy treating relatively routine festival injuries – "fence jumpers and lots of lacerations from people throwing bottles at each other," she said. Houston Fire Department logs from that night obtained by the Houston Chronicle indicate that Houston police were racing to stop one large crowd from scaling a fence while another group tried to crash the main gate. Still, as Scott prepared to take the stage just after 9 p.m, things inside the main medical tent were under control.Drowned in Sound On the other side of the park, inside the festival command center, ParaDocs' chief dispatcher Jon "Salty" Saltzman sat in front of a bank of security camera screens. Alongside nearly two dozen local law enforcement, festival security and dispatchers, it was his job to manage ParaDocs' medic teams.Saltzman, 43, a veteran New York City EMT who wears thick-rimmed black glasses beneath a shock of snow white hair, had been having a routine day up to that point as well. "Busy, but routine," he said.Fans at the Astroworld Festival on Nov. 5, 2021, hours before the tragedy unfolded.Omar Vega/FilmMagicBut outside in the darkness, dangerous swells were forming in tightly-packed sections closest to the main stage, particularly the south quadrant. All afternoon, much of the crowd had been centered around the second "Thrills" stage where the day's opening acts performed. But after opening act SZA's set ended at around 8 p.m., masses of teens surged towards the main "Chills" stage to see Scott. Around 8:30 p.m., a 30-minute countdown clock appeared on the main stage, drawing thousands of teens to press in closer and closer to the stage. At 9:02 p.m., Scott's show kicked off in a dazzling blaze of pyrotechnics that sent streams of fire bursting up into the night sky over Houston. "They were packed so tight the crowd was like a vice," Barron would later observe. "and they couldn't breathe. When it becomes that intense, they can't inhale anymore." 'This is only going to get worse'Saltzman and his dispatchers had been anticipating the typical 30 to 45 minute "rush hour [of patients]" as soon as Scott took the stage. It happened at most festivals, he said, usually at the beginning of the pulse-racing final act. Moments after Scott's set began, Saltzman's team took a report of three people suffering smoke inhalation from the fireworks near the front of the stage. Saltzman began routine radio check-ins with his forward triage supervisors. Each ParaDocs medic had been assigned a radio by Astroworld's festival organizers. The Motorola radios were standard issue and familiar to all of his medics. When he reached supervisor Zach Chan, who was in the south quadrant, Saltzman was caught off guard when he got a report of "multiple critical patients.""It wasn't what he said, but it was how he said it," Saltzman recalled. "Knowing him the way I do, I heard something in his voice that triggered something in me." "Oh, shit," Saltzman thought to himself. "And that's when the snowball started for us in the command center." Suddenly, garbled reports of critically-injured patients began pouring in. "It was too loud for crews to hear me – the speakers they're carrying in those radios are only so large. And when they tried to call me, all I got was noise. It was so loud the microphone kit [in the radios] couldn't distinguish between a voice yelling and the decibels of a music festival."Saltzman and his two dispatchers pulled out maps of the festival area, "trying our best to weed through all the chaos and come up with something tangible. The more I tried, the worse it got." Jon Saltzman, the ParaDocs paramedic.Anna Watts for Insider"There's a point where there's just so much chaos and there's so little communication that I have to just accept that they're working on their own," Saltzman said. Between songs, Saltzman's dispatchers would receive a report they could partially distinguish, and request a location to try and send help, only to be met with silence. Soon it became clear why: the medics in the crowd were using both hands to administer CPR.   "I'm their backup, their lifeline," he continued. "That is how those patients get from the ground in the middle of hell to the medical tent where they can get the care they need. And they can't get there! I'm literally standing there, and I'm the one who's responsible for getting them to that tent, and I can't get them there." When Saltzman and his two dispatchers had what they thought were three distinct reports of cardiac arrests – a casualty level they'd never seen before at a music festival - he knew he had to do something drastic. "We're in the beginning of his set - there's two hours to go. I took a step back and thought, 'This is only going to get worse.'" Saltzman said he told the festival dispatcher they should shut down the festival. "He looked at me and I go, 'I know. I don't have any authority to go this far. But this is uncharted territory. The only way we're going to save these people is to get everyone the fuck out of the grounds. You need to shut this down.'"At 9:38 p.m. – 36 minutes after Scott took the stage – the Houston Fire Department declared a mass casualty incident (MCI), a crisis level triggered when on-site medical teams become overwhelmed by the number or severity of patient injuries and require outside assistance. Still, the concert continued. 'Everyone Was Just Screaming'Chan and Kevin Villatoro, another senior ParaDocs medic, were stationed near the front of the stage when Scott began his set. A flaming bird appeared on a screen high above the stage as a church organ bellowed. Scott, a Houston native who had launched Astroworld in 2018, emerged on stage yelling "Let's go!" As he launched into his first song, four columns of flames shot up on either side of him in front of the stage as tens of thousands of teens bounced in rhythm. A staff medic came rushing over and shouted over the pounding bass. "I need help! I need help!" she shouted over the pounding bass. "My partner's being assaulted!"  Chan and Villatoro raced behind her down the passageway to an area behind the south quadrant. Security had already responded to the assault when they arrived, and the two supervisors treated their colleague and sent him to the main medical tent. But now something more serious was unfolding. Panicked concertgoers were pouring over the barriers and into the area reserved for medical and security personnel seeking medical help, Chan said. ParaDocs supervisors don't carry medical equipment – they oversee teams in the field. But with all the medics either tending to injured concertgoers or trapped somewhere in the crowd, there was no one else to turn to and they got to work.Zach Chan, a supervisor with ParaDocs.Anna Watts for Insider"Everyone was just screaming for help," Chan recalled. "I would have to grab them and [say], 'Look, I need you to take a second to tell me what's wrong.' If it was serious enough to take precedent over someone I'm currently treating, I would help them first. If not, I'd sit them down and say, 'Give me two minutes and let me get back to you.' It was pretty upsetting."Chan, the son of one of the first Asian-American paramedics in the New York City fire department, found a young woman lying on the ground, struggling to breathe and too weak to walk. He sent Villatoro and another supervisor back to the medical tent to retrieve collapsible stretchers. Five minutes passed. Chan now had four critical patients in need of transport – three struggling to breathe and one with severe trauma, he said. Where were the stretchers?Chen's radio crackled to life with multiple reports of unconscious patrons and teens being crushed beneath crowds. He said he knew then that the stretchers weren't coming. He rushed to the nearest security guard."'Dude, I don't care what you do,' he remembers saying. 'I need to move these four people right now.' The guards complied, forcing a pathway through the crowd. "We ended up just throwing them over our backs, and we just ran them to our medical pen," Chan said. At the medical tent, Chan was approached by a frantic teen with yet another report of a possible cardiac arrest and he charged back into the south quadrant."Honestly, looking back on it now? People call us heroes but I just feel like we were idiots," Chan said. "Once I was in the crowd, alone, I just thought to myself, 'I fucked up. There's no getting out of here.'" A moment from the third annual Astroworld Festival at NRG Park on Nov. 05, 2021.Rick Kern/Getty ImagesWhen he finally arrived at the location, he found fellow medics performing CPR on three patients. Chan decided to try and make it back to the medical tent for more stretchers, but the crowd was too dense. He pushed and pushed but moving through it was impossible. Suddenly, the music stopped and he could hear Scott speaking from the stage. The mass of bodies momentarily relaxed, and Chan saw his moment. He burst into the crowd, hoping to make it out to the medical tent. As he charged forward, Chan said he could hear Scott say "something like 'make the ground shake.'" (It was approximately 9:29 p.m, according to a Houston Chronicle timeline, the second time in five minutes that Scott had stopped the show. What he actually said "I wanna make this motherfucking ground shake, goddammit!")As soon as the music resumed, the crowd exploded anew into a frenzied mosh pit. Chan was propelled backwards. "I got about 10 or 15 feet because I'm 300 pounds and I had a running start. That's not something I would ever normally do – barrel through a crowd like that - but this was a life-or-death situation at that point," Chan said. "I ended up getting punched and kicked by the kids, and the next thing I knew I was back in the little CPR circle." He turned to a fellow supervisor, "and I just said "'We're fucked.'"  Earlier this month, Scott said in an interview with radio host Charlamagne tha God that he didn't learn until after the concert was over what had happened and did not hear fans' cries for help and to stop the show."I stopped it a couple times to just make sure everybody was OK. And I really just go off the fans' energy as a collective, call and response. I just didn't hear that," he said."You got lights, you got sound, you got pyro, you got your in-ears, you got your mic, got your music, you got [a] band, there's all types of stuff going on," he said at another point. "Everything kind of just sounds the same and at the end of the day you just hear music. 'There's somebody dead in the crowd!'Villatoro didn't return to Chan's position because as he and another supervisor ran back to the medical tent, they were diverted by something even more urgent.A young man had burst from the crowd, screaming for their attention:  "There's somebody dead!" he shouted. "There's somebody dead in the crowd!" The area in front of the main stage sectioned the sea of fans into four quadrants with a narrow passageway between hardened metal barriers reserved for security and medics. The man led them towards the main stage and about a third of the way up the center passageway that separated the south and east quadrants. He was pointing into the south quadrant. This was the most densely-populated section of the concert and, according to a Washington Post investigation, where the majority of the deaths occurred. Astroworld fans were divided into quadrants. The southern quadrant (bottom left) was where most of the deaths occurred, according to a Washington Post investigation.Nathan Frandino/ReutersMounting the barricades, the two supervisors plunged into the crowd and forged a path through the pulsating forest of bodies. Finally, they spotted a young man on the ground. He was unresponsive. When Villatoro couldn't get a pulse, he said, he began performing CPR. Kneeling over his patient, Villatoro glanced up at one point and saw a small patch of light. There, lit up by cell phone flashlights, he saw the bodies of two more young men. A dizzying sensation seized him. As a child, Villatoro, 31, suffered asthma attacks so severe he was regularly rushed from his Woodside, Queens elementary school in ambulances. That's what got him interested in medicine in the first place. The terrifying sensation of suffocating had never fully left him, and it gripped him now as he knelt in a field strewn with bodies."Everything seemed to happen at once," Villatoro recalled. "It was just a total shock. I just went into autopilot mode." He leapt off the ground and ran towards the two men to check for vital signs. He and the other medic split up and "just [went] straight into compressions."Villatoro's heart was racing, the music thundering overhead. He tried to think. As volunteers came forward he directed them to take turns performing CPR – one person performing compressions while another administers breath. "There was no hearing, no conversation to be had," he said. "Just a lot of yelling and pointing and instinct." On his knees in the dirt, with no stretchers or transport equipment, he could neither get his patients out nor leave them. He was trapped."I'm not going to say that I've been in EMS for a very long time," Villatoro said. "But that was the scariest moment of my life. I actually feared for my life for the first time, honestly."  He had never seen three cardiac arrests in patients so young with no obvious signs of  trampling - pushed-in faces, broken necks - and he surmised they'd been crushed by the crowd while on their feet. Villatoro said he tried repeatedly to call in his location, but he couldn't hear anything over the music. He tried his cell phone but he couldn't get a signal. Kevin Villatoro, a senior ParaDocs medic.Anna Watts for InsiderAround him, Villatoro began to notice that fans were locking arms to form a daisy chain around him and the other medics. "That wall of people was the only thing keeping (the crowd) from crushing us," said Villatoro, who at six feet and 265 pounds is one of the largest medics on the ParaDocs senior staff.  "Even for someone like me, at that point? It didn't matter if I were the Mountain," he said. "While you were crouched down on the ground, doing CPR, you are below the line of sight of anybody. And honestly, the daisy chain was the only thing that was protecting us. Had one person slipped, had people started getting riled up again, and they started pushing in, we would have been easily swept over like a wave."More than 20 minutes passed, Villatoro said, before he finally got through and radioed in his grim report. He took a breath, momentarily relieved. Help would be on the way now, he recalled thinking. During a break between songs, he pressed his radio to his ear, waiting for news of arriving medics.  "Instead, I just started hearing, 'we have another one down,' and then 'another one down.'" Villatoro said he was beginning to lose hope when, finally, he saw the chain of people open and a group of Houston police came pouring through with transport and medical equipment.'Do I tell them to leave? Do I tell them to stop?'Back in the command center, it was clear to Saltzman that people were suffocating inside the crowd, but he couldn't pinpoint where it was happening. He knew his medics and supervisors were going against their most basic training by rushing into dangerous situations without any of the operational communications for which they normally rely on him. And if they went in to help and got trapped, he couldn't get them out. The conflicting impulses tore at him.  "To be sitting there in the command [center] in a nice cushy seat and a desk with a laptop, watching it on the monitors and hearing the chaos going on out there," he recalled. "What do you do I tell them? Do I tell them to leave? Do I tell them to stop?"Like other senior ParaDocs medics, Saltzman is sensitive to criticism that his team failed at their jobs. "Did we do the best we could? Yeah, we went above and beyond. From day one, you're always taught [to care for] yourself, your partner and the patient, in that order, period. And every single one of these guys out in the field, every one of our EMTs, every one of our operations officers, for the greater good, violated rule number one – putting themselves in harm's way."About 30 minutes into Scott's set, Saltzman said he gazed up at the security camera screens and spotted something that made him nauseous. "Everybody kind of looked up and said, 'is that what I think it is?' A vehicle being used as a field ambulance was transporting a critical patient, fighting its way through the crowd as laughing teenagers danced on the roof."I can see one of my [medics] on the back doing CPR, literally underneath someone standing on the golf cart as it's moving … jumping up and down and dancing." —Chaudhary Parvez (@ChaudharyParvez) November 6, 2021 "At the human level, this was disgusting. I watched the entire thing. And I had a moment and I snapped and needed to walk out of the command center. "'Yeah, this is chaos,' he thought as he lit a cigarette. "But it kind of hit me that this was like a failure of human decency and humanity."'Wave after wave after wave'On the other side of the park, Barron's field hospital was filling up."People had been coming in earlier with trample injuries," Barron said. "Some girl had her eye crushed in. Another had their neck stamped pretty bad. Another had abdominal pain. So we knew the crowd was rough." She just didn't know how rough. Soon, three critical patients were brought in with no pulse. Barron's team had just finished treating an apparent opioid overdose and at first "we didn't know if it was more overdoses, or what," she said. "None of them had physical trauma – stepped on faces or chests," she said. "But their pupils were fixed and dilated, meaning they had been anoxic" – deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time, a symptom common to both opiate overdoses and asphyxiation.Barron said she personally intubated at least six of the cardiac arrest patients that came through her field hospital that night, she said. Three days after the tragedy, Harris County medical examiners completed autopsies on eight of the 10 people who ultimately died, but said that causes of death "remain unknown," according to the Houston Chronicle, and that final determinations could take weeks.What wasn't immediately apparent became achingly clear in the aftermath: people being crushed so hard by crowds that many suffocated on their feet. It was something none of the ParaDocs medics or doctors had ever seen at a music festival before. Damary Chavez, a ParaDocs medic.Anna Watts for Insider'Maybe this is all going to end'One of the medics, 24-year-old Damary Chavez, was at a secondary medical tent when a distraught couple came in claiming someone had lost consciousness in the crowd. She followed them toward the southern quadrant. As the crowd got thicker she stopped the man and proposed that she hang on to his hoodie so she wouldn't lose him in the crowd. Leo Vanegas, a medic and ParaDocs's chief operations officer, was already administering CPR, and Chavez joined in so that they could turns.Nearby, a distraught young man told her he was going to climb onto a nearby camera platform to try to stop the show. "People were just freaking out," Chavez said.In a viral video clip from the concert, two fans can be seen climbing the platform and frantically begging the camera operators to "stop the show." At about 9:30 p.m., the music paused briefly and Chavez thought that would finally calm the crowd down enough so that she could get her patient out of the crowd. The memorial outside NRG Park in Houston a few days after the of the 2021 Astroworld Festival.Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images"'Maybe they're going to stop the music. Maybe this is all going to end," she thought, hopefully. "But then you just hear [Travis Scott] say, 'Let's make the ground shake!' – and that's when more fear comes. That's when you panic. 'Are these people going to start jumping and dancing again?'"The crowd exploded anew, with bodies bouncing off each other. "All these people are being crushed," she recalled. "Everyone's falling on top of each other."Crouched over her patient, fighting for space, Chavez could hear cries piercing the darkness. "Help! Help!" Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 17th, 2021

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

Babies with syphilis may have deformed bones, damaged brains, and struggle to hear, see, or breathe. A newborn baby rests at the Ana Betancourt de Mora Hospital in Camaguey, Cuba, on June 19, 2015. Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters The number of US babies born with syphilis quadrupled from 2015 to 2019. Babies with syphilis may have deformed bones, damaged brains, and struggle to hear, see, or breathe. Routine testing and penicillin shots for pregnant women could prevent these cases. This story was originally published by ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom, in collaboration with NPR News. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.When Mai Yang is looking for a patient, she travels light. She dresses deliberately - not too formal, so she won't be mistaken for a police officer; not too casual, so people will look past her tiny 4-foot-10 stature and youthful face and trust her with sensitive health information. Always, she wears closed-toed shoes, "just in case I need to run."Yang carries a stack of cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that show what happens when the Treponema pallidum bacteria invades a patient's body. There's a photo of an angry red sore on a penis. There's one of a tongue, marred by mucus-lined lesions. And there's one of a newborn baby, its belly, torso and thighs dotted in a rash, its mouth open, as if caught midcry.It was because of the prospect of one such baby that Yang found herself walking through a homeless encampment on a blazing July day in Huron, California, an hour's drive southwest of her office at the Fresno County Department of Public Health. She was looking for a pregnant woman named Angelica, whose visit to a community clinic had triggered a report to the health department's sexually transmitted disease program. Angelica had tested positive for syphilis. If she was not treated, her baby could end up like the one in the picture or worse - there was a 40% chance the baby would die.Yang knew, though, that if she helped Angelica get treated with three weekly shots of penicillin at least 30 days before she gave birth, it was likely that the infection would be wiped out and her baby would be born without any symptoms at all. Every case of congenital syphilis, when a baby is born with the disease, is avoidable. Each is considered a "sentinel event," a warning that the public health system is failing.The alarms are now clamoring. In the United States, more than 129,800 syphilis cases were recorded in 2019, double the case count of five years prior. In the same time period, cases of congenital syphilis quadrupled: 1,870 babies were born with the disease; 128 died. Case counts from 2020 are still being finalized, but the CDC has said that reported cases of congenital syphilis have already exceeded the prior year. Black, Hispanic, and Native American babies are disproportionately at risk.There was a time, not too long ago, when CDC officials thought they could eliminate the centuries-old scourge from the United States, for adults and babies. But the effort lost steam and cases soon crept up again. Syphilis is not an outlier. The United States goes through what former CDC director Tom Frieden calls "a deadly cycle of panic and neglect" in which emergencies propel officials to scramble and throw money at a problem - whether that's Ebola, Zika, or COVID-19. Then, as fear ebbs, so does the attention and motivation to finish the task.The last fraction of cases can be the hardest to solve, whether that's eradicating a bug or getting vaccines into arms, yet too often, that's exactly when political attention gets diverted to the next alarm. The result: The hardest to reach and most vulnerable populations are the ones left suffering, after everyone else looks away.Yang first received Angelica's lab report on June 17. The address listed was a P.O. box, and the phone number belonged to her sister, who said Angelica was living in Huron. That was a piece of luck: Huron is tiny; the city spans just 1.6 square miles. On her first visit, a worker at the Alamo Motel said she knew Angelica and directed Yang to a nearby homeless encampment. Angelica wasn't there, so Yang returned a second time, bringing one of the health department nurses who could serve as an interpreter.They made their way to the barren patch of land behind Huron Valley Foods, the local grocery store, where people took shelter in makeshift lean-tos composed of cardboard boxes, scrap wood, and scavenged furniture, draped with sheets that served as ceilings and curtains. Yang stopped outside one of the structures, calling a greeting."Hi, I'm from the health department, I'm looking for Angelica."The nurse echoed her in Spanish.Angelica emerged, squinting in the sunlight. Yang couldn't tell if she was visibly pregnant yet, as her body was obscured by an oversized shirt. The two women were about the same age: Yang 26 and Angelica 27. Yang led her away from the tent, so they could speak privately. Angelica seemed reticent, surprised by the sudden appearance of the two health officers. "You're not in trouble," Yang said, before revealing the results of her blood test.Angelica had never heard of syphilis."Have you been to prenatal care?"Angelica shook her head. The local clinic had referred her to an obstetrician in Hanford, a 30-minute drive away. She had no car. She also mentioned that she didn't intend to raise her baby; her two oldest children lived with her mother, and this one likely would, too.Yang pulled out the CDC cards, showing them to Angelica and asking if she had experienced any of the symptoms illustrated. No, Angelica said, her lips pursed with disgust."Right now you still feel healthy, but this bacteria is still in your body," Yang pressed. "You need to get the infection treated to prevent further health complications to yourself and your baby."The community clinic was just across the street. "Can we walk you over to the clinic and make sure you get seen so we can get this taken care of?"Angelica demurred. She said she hadn't showered for a week and wanted to wash up first. She said she'd go later.Yang tried once more to extract a promise: "What time do you think you'll go?""Today, for sure."The CDC tried and failed to eradicate syphilis - twiceSyphilis is called The Great Imitator: It can look like any number of diseases. In its first stage, the only evidence of infection is a painless sore at the bacteria's point of entry. Weeks later, as the bacteria multiplies, skin rashes bloom on the palms of the hands and bottoms of the feet. Other traits of this stage include fever, headaches, muscle aches, sore throat, and fatigue. These symptoms eventually disappear and the patient progresses into the latent phase, which betrays no external signs. But if left untreated, after a decade or more, syphilis will reemerge in up to 30% of patients, capable of wreaking horror on a wide range of organ systems. Marion Sims, president of the American Medical Association in 1876, called it a "terrible scourge, which begins with lamb-like mildness and ends with lion-like rage that ruthlessly destroys everything in its way."The corkscrew-shaped bacteria can infiltrate the nervous system at any stage of the infection. Yang is haunted by her memory of interviewing a young man whose dementia was so severe that he didn't know why he was in the hospital or how old he was. And regardless of symptoms or stage, the bacteria can penetrate the placenta to infect a fetus. Even in these cases the infection is unpredictable: Many babies are born with normal physical features, but others can have deformed bones or damaged brains, and they can struggle to hear, see, or breathe.From its earliest days, syphilis has been shrouded in stigma. The first recorded outbreak was in the late 15th century, when Charles VIII led the French army to invade Naples. Italian physicians described French soldiers covered with pustules, dying from a sexually transmitted disease. As the affliction spread, Italians called it the French Disease. The French blamed the Neopolitans. It was also called the German, Polish, or Spanish disease, depending on which neighbor one wanted to blame. Even its name bears the taint of divine judgement: It comes from a 16th-century poem that tells of a shepherd, Syphilus, who offended the god Apollo and was punished with a hideous disease.By 1937 in America, when former Surgeon General Thomas Parran wrote the book "Shadow on the Land," he estimated some 680,000 people were under treatment for syphilis; about 60,000 babies were being born annually with congenital syphilis. There was no cure, and the stigma was so strong that public-health officials feared even properly documenting cases.Thanks to Parran's ardent advocacy, Congress in 1938 passed the National Venereal Disease Control Act, which created grants for states to set up clinics and support testing and treatment. Other than a short-lived funding effort during World War I, this was the first coordinated federal push to respond to the disease.Around the same time, the Public Health Service launched an effort to record the natural history of syphilis. Situated in Tuskegee, Alabama, the infamous study recruited 600 black men. By the early 1940s, penicillin became widely available and was found to be a reliable cure, but the treatment was withheld from the study participants. Outrage over the ethical violations would cast a stain across syphilis research for decades to come and fuel generations of mistrust in the medical system among Black Americans that continues to this day. People attend a ceremony near Tuskegee, Alabama, on April 3, 2017, to commemorate the roughly 600 men who were subjects in the Tuskegee syphilis study. Jay Reeves/AP Photo With the introduction of penicillin, cases began to plummet. Twice, the CDC has announced efforts to wipe out the disease - once in the 1960s and again in 1999.In the latest effort, the CDC announced that the United States had "a unique opportunity to eliminate syphilis within its borders," thanks to historically low rates, with 80% of counties reporting zero cases. The concentration of cases in the South "identifies communities in which there is a fundamental failure of public health capacity," the agency noted, adding that elimination - which it defined as fewer than 1,000 cases a year - would "decrease one of our most glaring racial disparities in health."Two years after the campaign began, cases started climbing, first among gay men and, later, heterosexuals. Cases in women started accelerating in 2013, followed shortly by increasing numbers of babies born with syphilis. The reasons for failure are complex: People relaxed safer sex practices after the advent of potent HIV combination therapies, increased methamphetamine use drove riskier behavior, and an explosion of online dating made it hard to track and test sexual partners, according to Ina Park, medical director of the California Prevention Training Center at the University of California San Francisco.But federal and state public-health efforts were hamstrung from the get-go. In 1999, the CDC said it would need about $35 million to $39 million in new federal funds annually for at least five years to eliminate syphilis. The agency got less than half of what it asked for, according to Jo Valentine, former program coordinator of the CDC's Syphilis Elimination Effort. As cases rose, the CDC modified its goals in 2006 from 0.4 primary and secondary syphilis cases per 100,000 in population to 2.2 cases per 100,000. By 2013, as elimination seemed less and less viable, the CDC changed its focus to ending congenital syphilis only.Since then, funding has remained anemic. From 2015 to 2020, the CDC's budget for preventing sexually transmitted infections grew by 2.2%. Taking inflation into account, that's a 7.4% reduction in purchasing power. In the same period, cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia - the three STDs that have federally funded control programs - increased by nearly 30%."We have a long history of nearly eradicating something, then changing our attention, and seeing a resurgence in numbers," David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said. "We have more congenital syphilis cases today in America than we ever had pediatric AIDS at the height of the AIDS epidemic. It's heartbreaking."Adriane Casalotti, chief of government and public affairs at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, warns that the US should not be surprised to see case counts continue to climb."The bugs don't go away," she said. "They're just waiting for the next opportunity, when you're not paying attention."Syphilis has fewer poster children than HIV or cancerYang waited until the end of the day, then called the clinic to see if Angelica had gone for her shot. She had not. Yang would have to block off another half day to visit Huron again, but she had three dozen other cases to deal with.States in the South and West have seen the highest syphilis rates in recent years. In 2017, 64 babies in Fresno County were born with syphilis at a rate of 440 babies per 100,000 live births - about 19 times the national rate. While the county had managed to lower case counts in the two years that followed, the pandemic threatened to unravel that progress, forcing STD staffers to do COVID-19 contact tracing, pausing field visits to find infected people, and scaring patients from seeking care. Yang's colleague handled three cases of stillbirth in 2020; in each, the woman was never diagnosed with syphilis because she feared catching the coronavirus and skipped prenatal care.Yang, whose caseload peaked at 70 during a COVID-19 surge, knew she would not be able handle them all as thoroughly as she'd like to."When I was being mentored by another investigator, he said: 'You're not a superhero. You can't save everybody,'" she said.She prioritizes men who have sex with men, because there's a higher prevalence of syphilis in that population, and pregnant people, because of the horrific consequences for babies.The job of a disease intervention specialist isn't for everyone: It means meeting patients whenever and wherever they are available - in the mop closet of a bus station, in a quiet parking lot - to inform them about the disease, to extract names of sex partners, and to encourage treatment. Patients are often reluctant to talk. They can get belligerent, upset that "the government" has their personal information, or shattered at the thought that a partner is likely cheating on them. Salaries typically start in the low $40,000s.Jena Adams, Yang's supervisor, has eight investigators working on HIV and syphilis. In the middle of 2020, she lost two and replaced them only recently."It's been exhausting," Adams said.She has only one specialist who is trained to take blood samples in the field, crucial for guaranteeing that the partners of those who test positive for syphilis also get tested. Adams wants to get phlebotomy training for the rest of her staff, but it's $2,000 per person. The department also doesn't have anyone who can administer penicillin injections in the field; that would have been key when Yang met Angelica. For a while, a nurse who worked in the tuberculosis program would ride along to give penicillin shots on a volunteer basis. Then he, too, left the health department.Much of the resources in public health trickle down from the CDC, which distributes money to states, which then parcel it out to counties. The CDC gets its budget from Congress, which tells the agency, by line item, exactly how much money it can spend to fight a disease or virus, in an uncommonly specific manner not seen in many other agencies. The decisions are often politically driven and can be detached from actual health needs.When the House and Senate appropriations committees meet to decide how much the CDC will get for each line item, they are barraged by lobbyists for individual disease interests. Stephanie Arnold Pang, senior director of policy and government relations at the National Coalition of STD Directors, can pick out the groups by sight: breast cancer wears pink, Alzheimer's goes in purple, multiple sclerosis comes in orange, HIV in red. STD prevention advocates, like herself, don a green ribbon, but they're far outnumbered.And unlike diseases that might already be familiar to lawmakers, or have patient and family spokespeople who can tell their own powerful stories, syphilis doesn't have many willing poster children. Breast Cancer survivors hold up a check for the amount raised at The Congressional Womens Softball Game at Watkins Recreation Center in Capitol Hill on June 20, 2018. Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call "Congressmen don't wake up one day and say, 'Oh hey, there's congenital syphilis in my jurisdiction.' You have to raise awareness," Arnold Pang said. It can be hard jockeying for a meeting. "Some offices might say, 'I don't have time for you because we've just seen HIV.' ... Sometimes, it feels like you're talking into a void."The consequences of the political nature of public-health funding have become more obvious during the coronavirus pandemic. The 2014 Ebola epidemic was seen as a "global wakeup call" that the world wasn't prepared for a major pandemic, yet in 2018, the CDC scaled back its epidemic prevention work as money ran out."If you've got to choose between Alzheimer's research and stopping an outbreak that may not happen? Stopping an outbreak that might not happen doesn't do well," Frieden, the former CDC director, said. "The CDC needs to have more money and more flexible money. Otherwise, we're going to be in this situation long term."In May 2021, President Joe Biden's administration announced it would set aside $7.4 billion over the next five years to hire and train public health workers, including $1.1 billion for more disease intervention specialists like Yang. Public health officials are thrilled to have the chance to expand their workforce, but some worry the time horizon may be too short."We've seen this movie before, right?" Frieden said. "Everyone gets concerned when there's an outbreak, and when that outbreak stops, the headlines stop, and an economic downturn happens, the budget gets cut."Fresno's STD clinic was shuttered in 2010 amid the Great Recession. Many others have vanished since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.Health leaders thought "by magically beefing up the primary care system, that we would do a better job of catching STIs and treating them," Harvey, the executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said.That hasn't worked out; people want access to anonymous services, and primary care doctors often don't have STDs top of mind. The coalition is lobbying Congress for funding to support STD clinical services, proposing a three-year demonstration project funded at $600 million.It's one of Adams' dreams to see Fresno's STD clinic restored as it was."You could come in for an HIV test and get other STDs checked," she said. "And if a patient is positive, you can give a first injection on the spot."'I've seen people's families ripped apart and I've seen beautiful babies die'On August 12, Yang set out for Huron again, speeding past groves of almond trees and fields of grapes in the department's white Chevy Cruze. She brought along a colleague, Jorge Sevilla, who had recently transferred to the STD program from COVID-19 contact tracing. Yang was anxious to find Angelica again."She's probably in her second trimester now," she said.They found her outside of a pale yellow house a few blocks from the homeless encampment; the owner was letting her stay in a shed tucked in the corner of the dirt yard. This time, it was evident that she was pregnant. Yang noted that Angelica was wearing a wig; hair loss is a symptom of syphilis."Do you remember me?" Yang asked.Angelica nodded. She didn't seem surprised to see Yang again. (I came along, and Sevilla explained who I was and that I was writing about syphilis and the people affected by it. Angelica signed a release for me to report about her case, and she said she had no problem with me writing about her or even using her full name. ProPublica chose to only print her first name.)"How are you doing? How's the baby?""Bien.""So the last time we talked, we were going to have you go to United Healthcare Center to get treatment. Have you gone since?"Angelica shook her head."We brought some gift cards..." Sevilla started in Spanish. The department uses them as incentives for completing injections. But Angelica was already shaking her head. The nearest Walmart was the next town over.Yang turned to her partner. "Tell her: So the reason why we're coming out here again is because we really need her to go in for treatment. [...] We really are concerned for the baby's health especially since she's had the infection for quite a while."Angelica listened while Sevilla interpreted, her eyes on the ground. Then she looked up. "Orita?" she asked. Right now?"I'll walk with you," Yang offered. Angelica shook her head."She said she wants to shower first before she goes over there," Sevilla said.Yang made a face. "She said that to me last time." Yang offered to wait, but Angelica didn't want the health officers to linger by the house. She said she would meet them by the clinic in 15 minutes.Yang was reluctant to let her go but again had no other option. She and Sevilla drove to the clinic, then stood on the corner of the parking lot, staring down the road.Talk to the pediatricians, obstetricians, and families on the front lines of the congenital syphilis surge and it becomes clear why Yang and others are trying so desperately to prevent cases. J.B. Cantey, associate professor in pediatrics at UT Health San Antonio, remembers a baby girl born at 25 weeks gestation who weighed a pound and a half. Syphilis had spread through her bones and lungs. She spent five months in the neonatal intensive care unit, breathing through a ventilator, and was still eating through a tube when she was discharged.Then, there are the miscarriages, the stillbirths, and the inconsolable parents. Irene Stafford, an associate professor and maternal-fetal medicine specialist at UT Health in Houston, cannot forget a patient who came in at 36 weeks for a routine checkup, pregnant with her first child. Stafford realized that there was no heartbeat."She could see on my face that something was really wrong," Stafford recalled. She had to let the patient know that syphilis had killed her baby."She was hysterical, just bawling," Stafford said. "I've seen people's families ripped apart and I've seen beautiful babies die." Fewer than 10% of patients who experience a stillbirth are tested for syphilis, suggesting that cases are underdiagnosed.A Texas grandmother named Solidad Odunuga offers a glimpse into what the future could hold for Angelica's mother, who may wind up raising her baby.In February of last year, Odunuga got a call from the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston. A nurse told her that her daughter was about to give birth and that child protective services had been called. Odunuga had lost contact with her daughter, who struggled with homelessness and substance abuse. She arrived in time to see her grandson delivered, premature at 30 weeks old, weighing 2.7 pounds. He tested positive for syphilis.When a child protective worker asked Odunuga to take custody of the infant, she felt a wave of dread."I was in denial," she recalled. "I did not plan to be a mom again." The baby's medical problems were daunting: "Global developmental delays [...] concerns for visual impairments [...] high risk of cerebral palsy," read a note from the doctor at the time.Still, Odunuga visited her grandson every day for three months, driving to the NICU from her job at the University of Houston. "I'd put him in my shirt to keep him warm and hold him there." She fell in love. She named him Emmanuel.Once Emmanuel was discharged, Odunuga realized she had no choice but to quit her job. While Medicaid covered the costs of Emmanuel's treatment, it was on her to care for him. From infancy, Emmanuel's life has been a whirlwind of constant therapy. Today, at 20 months old, Odunuga brings him to physical, occupational, speech, and developmental therapy, each a different appointment on a different day of the week.Emmanuel has thrived beyond what his doctors predicted, toddling so fast that Odunuga can't look away for a minute and beaming as he waves his favorite toy phone. Yet he still suffers from gagging issues, which means Odunuga can't feed him any solid foods. Liquid gets into his lungs when he aspirates; it has led to pneumonia three times. Emmanuel has a special stroller that helps keep his head in a position that won't aggravate his persistent reflux, but Odunuga said she still has to pull over on the side of the road sometimes when she hears him projectile vomiting from the backseat.The days are endless. Once she puts Emmanuel to bed, Odunuga starts planning the next day's appointments."I've had to cry alone, scream out alone," she said. "Sometimes I wake up and think, 'Is this real?' And then I hear him in the next room."There's no vaccine for syphilis A health worker tests a migrant from Haiti for HIV and syphilis to in Ciudad Acuna, Mexico, on September 25, 2021. Daniel Becerril/Reuters Putting aside the challenge of eliminating syphilis entirely, everyone agrees it's both doable and necessary to prevent newborn cases."There was a crisis in perinatal HIV almost 30 years ago and people stood up and said this is not OK - it's not acceptable for babies to be born in that condition. [...We] brought it down from 1,700 babies born each year with perinatal HIV to less than 40 per year today," Virginia Bowen, an epidemiologist at the CDC, said. "Now here we are with a slightly different condition. We can also stand up and say, 'This is not acceptable.'" Belarus, Bermuda, Cuba, Malaysia, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are among countries recognized by the World Health Organization for eliminating congenital syphilis.Success starts with filling gaps across the health care system.For almost a century, public health experts have advocated for testing pregnant patients more than once for syphilis in order to catch the infection. But policies nationwide still don't reflect this best practice. Six states have no prenatal screening requirement at all. Even in states that require three tests, public-health officials say that many physicians aren't aware of the requirements. Stafford, the maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Houston, says she's tired of hearing her own peers in medicine tell her, "Oh, syphilis is a problem?"It costs public health departments less than 25 cents a dose to buy penicillin, but for a private practice, it's more than $1,000, according to Park of the University of California San Francisco."There's no incentive for a private physician to stock a dose that could expire before it's used, so they often don't have it," she said. "So a woman comes in, they say, 'We'll send you to the emergency department or health department to get it,' then [the patients] don't show up."A vaccine would be invaluable for preventing spread among people at high risk for reinfection. But there is none. Scientists only recently figured out how to grow the bacteria in the lab, prompting grants from the National Institutes of Health to fund research into a vaccine. Justin Radolf, a researcher at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, said he hopes his team will have a vaccine candidate by the end of its five-year grant. But it'll likely take years more to find a manufacturer and run human trials.Public-health agencies also need to recognize that many of the hurdles to getting pregnant people treated involve access to care, economic stability, safe housing, and transportation. In Fresno, Adams has been working on ways her department can collaborate with mental health services. Recently, one of her disease intervention specialists managed to get a pregnant woman treated with penicillin shots and, at the patient's request, connected her with an addiction treatment center.Gaining a patient's cooperation means seeing them as complex humans instead of just a case to solve."There may be past traumas with the healthcare system," Cynthia Deverson, project manager of the Houston Fetal Infant Morbidity Review, said. "There's the fear of being discovered if she's doing something illegal to survive. [...] She may need to be in a certain place at a certain time so she can get something to eat, or maybe it's the only time of the day that's safe for her to sleep. They're not going to tell you that. Yes, they understand there's a problem, but it's not an immediate threat, maybe they don't feel bad yet, so obviously this is not urgent.""What helps to gain trust is consistency," she added. "Literally, it's seeing that [disease specialist] constantly, daily. [...] The woman can see that you're not going to harm her, you're saying, 'I'm here at this time if you need me.'"Yang stood outside the clinic, waiting for Angelica to show up, baking in the 90-degree heat. Her feelings ranged from irritation - Why didn't she just go? I'd have more energy for other cases - to an appreciation for the parts of Angelica's story that she didn't know - She's in survival mode. I need to be more patient.Fifteen minutes ticked by, then 20."OK," Yang announced. "We're going back."She asked Sevilla if he would be OK if they drove Angelica to the clinic; they technically weren't supposed to because of coronavirus precautions, but Yang wasn't sure she could convince Angelica to walk. Sevilla gave her the thumbs up.When they pulled up, they saw Angelica sitting in the backyard, chatting with a friend. She now wore a fresh T-shirt and had shoes on her feet. Angelica sat silently in the back seat as Yang drove to the clinic. A few minutes later, they pulled up to the parking lot.Finally, Yang thought. We got her here.The clinic was packed with people waiting for COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. A worker there had previously told Yang that a walk-in would be fine, but a receptionist now said they were too busy to treat Angelica. She would have to return.Yang felt a surge of frustration, sensing that her hard-fought opportunity was slipping away. She tried to talk to the nurse supervisor, but he wasn't available. She tried to leave the gift cards at the office to reward Angelica if she came, but the receptionist said she couldn't hold them. While Yang negotiated, Sevilla sat with Angelica in the car, waiting.Finally, Yang accepted this was yet another thing she couldn't control.She drove Angelica back to the yellow house. As they arrived, she tried once more to impress on her just how important it was to get treated, asking Sevilla to interpret. "We don't want it to get any more serious, because she can go blind, she could go deaf, she could lose her baby."Angelica already had the door halfway open."So on a scale from one to 10, how important is this to get treated?" Yang asked."Ten," Angelica said. Yang reminded her of the appointment that afternoon. Then Angelica stepped out and returned to the dusty yard.Yang lingered for a moment, watching Angelica go. Then she turned the car back onto the highway and set off toward Fresno, knowing, already, that she'd be back.Postscript: A reporter visited Huron twice more in the months that followed, including once independently to try to interview Angelica, but she wasn't in town. Yang has visited Huron twice more as well - six times in total thus far. In October, a couple of men at the yellow house said Angelica was still in town, still pregnant. Yang and Sevilla spent an hour driving around, talking to residents, hoping to catch Angelica. But she was nowhere to be found.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 2nd, 2021

Weiss: We Got Here Because Of Cowardice, We Get Out With Courage

Weiss: We Got Here Because Of Cowardice, We Get Out With Courage Authored by Bari Weiss via Commentary.org, A lot of people want to convince you that you need a Ph.D. or a law degree or dozens of hours of free time to read dense texts about critical theory to understand the woke movement and its worldview. You do not. You simply need to believe your own eyes and ears.  Let me offer the briefest overview of the core beliefs of the Woke Revolution, which are abundantly clear to anyone willing to look past the hashtags and the jargon. It begins by stipulating that the forces of justice and progress are in a war against backwardness and tyranny. And in a war, the normal rules of the game must be suspended. Indeed, this ideology would argue that those rules are not just obstacles to justice, but tools of oppression. They are the master’s tools.  And the master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house. So the tools themselves are not just replaced but repudiated. And in so doing, persuasion—the purpose of argument—is replaced with public shaming. Moral complexity is replaced with moral certainty. Facts are replaced with feelings. Ideas are replaced with identity. Forgiveness is replaced with punishment. Debate is replaced with de-platforming. Diversity is replaced with homogeneity of thought. Inclusion, with exclusion. In this ideology, speech is violence. But violence, when carried out by the right people in pursuit of a just cause, is not violence at all. In this ideology, bullying is wrong, unless you are bullying the right people, in which case it’s very, very good. In this ideology, education is not about teaching people how to think, it’s about reeducating them in what to think. In this ideology, the need to feel safe trumps the need to speak truthfully.  In this ideology, if you do not tweet the right tweet or share the right slogan, your whole life can be ruined. Just ask Tiffany Riley, a Vermont school principal who was fired—fired—because she said she supports black lives but not the organization Black Lives Matter. In this ideology, the past cannot be understood on its own terms, but must be judged through the morals and mores of the present. It is why statues of Grant and Washington are being torn down. And it is why William Peris, a UCLA lecturer and an Air Force veteran, was investigated for reading Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” out loud in class. In this ideology, intentions don’t matter. That is why Emmanuel Cafferty, a Hispanic utility worker at San Diego Gas and Electric, was fired for making what someone said he thought was a white-supremacist hand gesture—when in fact he was cracking his knuckles out of his car window. In this ideology, the equality of opportunity is replaced with equality of outcome as a measure of fairness. If everyone doesn’t finish the race at the same time, the course must have been defective. Thus, the argument to get rid of the SAT. Or the admissions tests for public schools like Stuyvesant in New York or Lowell in San Francisco.  In this ideology, you are guilty for the sins of your fathers. In other words: You are not you. You are only a mere avatar of your race or your religion or your class. That is why third-graders in Cupertino, California, were asked to rate themselves in terms of their power and privilege. In third grade.  In this system, we are all placed neatly on a spectrum of “privileged” to “oppressed.” We are ranked somewhere on this spectrum in different categories: race, gender, sexual orientation, and class. Then we are given an overall score, based on the sum of these rankings. Having privilege means that your character and your ideas are tainted. This is why, one high-schooler in New York tells me, students in his school are told, “If you are white and male, you are second in line to speak.” This is considered a normal and necessary redistribution of power. Racism has been redefined. It is no longer about discrimination based on the color of someone’s skin. Racism is any system that allows for disparate outcomes between racial groups. If disparity is present, as the high priest of this ideology, Ibram X. Kendi, has explained, racism is present. According to this totalizing new view, we are all either racist or anti-racist. To be a Good Person and not a Bad Person, you must be an “anti-racist.” There is no neutrality. There is no such thing as “not racist.”  Most important: In this revolution, skeptics of any part of this radical ideology are recast as heretics. Those who do not abide by every single aspect of its creed are tarnished as bigots, subjected to boycotts and their work to political litmus tests. The Enlightenment, as the critic Edward Rothstein has put it, has been replaced by the exorcism.  What we call “cancel culture” is really the justice system of this revolution. And the goal of the cancellations is not merely to punish the person being cancelled. The goal is to send a message to everyone else: Step out of line and you are next.  It has worked. A recent CATO study found that 62 percent of Americans are afraid to voice their true views. Nearly a quarter of American academics endorse ousting a colleague for having a wrong opinion about hot-button issues such as immigration or gender differences. And nearly 70 percent of students favor reporting professors if the professor says something that students find offensive, according to a Challey Institute for Global Innovation survey. Why are so many, especially so many young people, drawn to this ideology? It’s not because they are dumb. Or because they are snowflakes, or whatever Fox talking points would have you believe. All of this has taken place against the backdrop of major changes in American life—the tearing apart of our social fabric; the loss of religion and the decline of civic organizations; the opioid crisis; the collapse of American industries; the rise of big tech; successive financial crises; a toxic public discourse; crushing student debt. An epidemic of loneliness. A crisis of meaning. A pandemic of distrust. It has taken place against the backdrop of the American dream’s decline into what feels like a punchline, the inequalities of our supposedly fair, liberal meritocracy clearly rigged in favor of some people and against others. And so on. “I became converted because I was ripe for it and lived in a disintegrating society thrusting for faith.” That was Arthur Koestler writing in 1949 about his love affair with Communism. The same might be said of this new revolutionary faith. And like other religions at their inception, this one has lit on fire the souls of true believers, eager to burn down anything or anyone that stands in its way.  If you have ever tried to build something, even something small, you know how hard it is. It takes time. It takes tremendous effort. But tearing things down? That’s quick work.  The Woke Revolution has been exceptionally effective. It has successfully captured the most important sense-making institutions of American life: our newspapers. Our magazines. Our Hollywood studios. Our publishing houses. Many of our tech companies. And, increasingly, corporate America.  Just as in China under Chairman Mao, the seeds of our own cultural revolution can be traced to the academy, the first of our institutions to be overtaken by it. And our schools—public, private, parochial—are increasingly the recruiting grounds for this ideological army.  A few stories are worth recounting: David Peterson is an art professor at Skidmore College in upstate New York. He stood accused in the fevered summer of 2020 of “engaging in hateful conduct that threatens Black Skidmore students.” What was that hateful conduct? David and his wife, Andrea, went to watch a rally for police officers. “Given the painful events that continue to unfold across this nation, I guess we just felt compelled to see first-hand how all of this was playing out in our own community,” he told the Skidmore student newspaper. David and his wife stayed for 20 minutes on the edge of the event. They held no signs, participated in no chants. They just watched. Then they left for dinner. For the crime of listening, David Peterson’s class was boycotted. A sign appeared on his classroom door: “STOP. By entering this class you are crossing a campus-wide picket line and breaking the boycott against Professor David Peterson. This is not a safe environment for marginalized students.” Then the university opened an investigation into accusations of bias in the classroom. Across the country from Skidmore, at the University of Southern California, a man named Greg Patton is a professor of business communication. In 2020, Patton was teaching a class on “filler words”—such as “um” and “like” and so forth for his master’s-level course on communication for management. It turns out that the Chinese word for “like” sounds like the n-word. Students wrote the school’s staff and administration accusing their professor of “negligence and disregard.” They added: “We are burdened to fight with our existence in society, in the workplace, and in America. We should not be made to fight for our sense of peace and mental well-being” at school. In a normal, reality-based world, there is only one response to such a claim: You misheard. But that was not the response. This was: “It is simply unacceptable for faculty to use words in class that can marginalize, hurt and harm the psychological safety of our students,” the dean, Geoffrey Garrett wrote. “Understandably, this caused great pain and upset among students, and for that I am deeply sorry.”  This rot hasn’t been contained to higher education. At a mandatory training earlier this year in the San Diego Unified School District, Bettina Love, an education professor who believes that children learn better from teachers of the same race, accused white teachers of “spirit murdering black and brown children” and urged them to undergo “antiracist therapy for White educators.”  San Francisco’s public schools didn’t manage to open their schools during the pandemic, but the board decided to rename 44 schools—including those named for George Washington and John Muir—before suspending the plan. Meantime, one of the board members declared merit “racist” and “Trumpian.”  A recent educational program for sixth to eighth grade teachers called “a pathway to equitable math instruction”—funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—was recently sent to Oregon teachers by the state’s Department of Education. The program’s literature informs teachers that white supremacy shows up in math instruction when “rigor is expressed only in difficulty,” and “contrived word problems are valued over the math in students’ lived experiences.”  Serious education is the antidote to such ignorance. Frederick Douglass said, “Education means emancipation. It means light and liberty. It means the uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free.” Soaring words that feel as if they are a report from a distant galaxy. Education is increasingly where debate, dissent, and discovery go to die. It’s also very bad for kids.  For those deemed “privileged,” it creates a hostile environment where kids are too intimidated to participate. For those deemed “oppressed,” it inculcates an extraordinarily pessimistic view of the world, where students are trained to perceive malice and bigotry in everything they see. They are denied the dignity of equal standards and expectations. They are denied the belief in their own agency and ability to succeed. As Zaid Jilani had put it: “You cannot have power without responsibility. Denying minorities responsibility for their own actions, both good and bad, will only deny us the power we rightly deserve.” How did we get here? There are a lot of factors that are relevant to the answer: institutional decay; the tech revolution and the monopolies it created; the arrogance of our elites; poverty; the death of trust. And all of these must be examined, because without them we would have neither the far right nor the cultural revolutionaries now clamoring at America’s gates.  But there is one word we should linger on, because every moment of radical victory turned on it. The word is cowardice. The revolution has been met with almost no resistance by those who have the title CEO or leader or president or principal in front of their names. The refusal of the adults in the room to speak the truth, their refusal to say no to efforts to undermine the mission of their institutions, their fear of being called a bad name and that fear trumping their responsibility—that is how we got here. Allan Bloom had the radicals of the 1960s in mind when he wrote that “a few students discovered that pompous teachers who catechized them about academic freedom could, with a little shove, be made into dancing bears.” Now, a half-century later, those dancing bears hold named chairs at every important elite, sense-making institution in the country.  As Douglas Murray has put it: “The problem is not that the sacrificial victim is selected. The problem is that the people who destroy his reputation are permitted to do so by the complicity, silence and slinking away of everybody else.” Each surely thought: These protestors have some merit! This institution, this university, this school, hasn’t lived up to all of its principles at all times! We have been racist! We have been sexist! We haven’t always been enlightened! I’ll give a bit and we’ll find a way to compromise. This turned out to be as naive as Robespierre thinking that he could avoid the guillotine.  Think about each of the anecdotes I’ve shared here and all the rest you already know. All that had to change for the entire story to turn out differently was for the person in charge, the person tasked with being a steward for the newspaper or the magazine or the college or the school district or the private high school or the kindergarten, to say: No. If cowardice is the thing that has allowed for all of this, the force that stops this cultural revolution can also be summed up by one word: courage. And courage often comes from people you would not expect. Consider Maud Maron. Maron is a lifelong liberal who has always walked the walk. She was an escort for Planned Parenthood; a law-school research assistant to Kathleen Cleaver, the former Black Panther; and a poll watcher for John Kerry in Pennsylvania during the 2004 presidential election. In 2016, she was a regular contributor to Bernie Sanders’s campaign. Maron dedicated her career to Legal Aid: “For me, being a public defender is more than a job,” she told me. “It’s who I am.” But things took a turn when, this past year, Maron spoke out passionately and publicly about the illiberalism that has gripped the New York City public schools attended by her four children.  “I am very open about what I stand for,” she told me. “I am pro-integration. I am pro-diversity. And also I reject the narrative that white parents are to blame for the failures of our school system. I object to the mayor’s proposal to get rid of specialized admissions tests to schools like Stuyvesant. And I believe that racial essentialism is racist and should not be taught in school.” What followed this apparent thought crime was a 21st-century witch hunt. Maron was smeared publicly by her colleagues. They called her “racist, and openly so.” They said, “We’re ashamed that she works for the Legal Aid Society.”  Most people would have walked away and quietly found a new job. Not Maud Maron. This summer, she filed suit against the organization, claiming that she was forced out of Legal Aid because of her political views and her race, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  “The reason they went after me is that I have a different point of view,” she said. “These ideologues have tried to ruin my name and my career, and they are going after other good people. Not enough people stand up and say: It is totally wrong to do this to a person. And this is not going to stop unless people stand up to it.” That’s courage. Courage also looks like Paul Rossi, the math teacher at Grace Church High School in New York who raised questions about this ideology at a mandatory, whites-only student and faculty Zoom meeting. A few days later, all the school’s advisers were required to read a public reprimand of his conduct out loud to every student in the school. Unwilling to disavow his beliefs, Rossi blew the whistle: “I know that by attaching my name to this I’m risking not only my current job but my career as an educator, since most schools, both public and private, are now captive to this backward ideology. But witnessing the harmful impact it has on children, I can’t stay silent.” That’s courage.  Courage is Xi Van Fleet, a Virginia mom who endured Mao’s Cultural Revolution as a child and spoke up to the Loudoun County School Board at a public meeting in June. “You are training our children to loathe our country and our history,” she said in front of the school board. “Growing up in Mao’s China, all of this feels very familiar…. The only difference is that they used class instead of race.” Gordon Klein, a professor at UCLA, recently filed suit against his own university. Why? A student asked him to grade black students with “greater leniency.” He refused, given that such a racial preference would violate UCLA’s anti-discrimination policies (and maybe even the law). But the people in charge of UCLA’s Anderson School launched a racial-discrimination complaint into him. They denounced him, banned him from campus, appointed a monitor to look at his emails, and suspended him. He eventually was reinstated—because he had done absolutely nothing wrong—but not before his reputation and career were severely damaged. “I don’t want to see anyone else’s life destroyed as they attempted to do to me,” Klein told me. “Few have the intestinal fortitude to fight cancel culture. I do. This is about sending a message to every petty tyrant out there.” Courage is Peter Boghossian. He recently resigned his post at Portland State University, writing in a letter to his provost: “The university transformed a bastion of free inquiry into a social justice factory whose only inputs were race, gender and victimhood and whose only output was grievance and division…. I feel morally obligated to make this choice. For ten years, I have taught my students the importance of living by your principles. One of mine is to defend our system of liberal education from those who seek to destroy it. Who would I be if I didn’t?” Who would I be if I didn’t? George Orwell said that “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” In an age of lies, telling the truth is high risk. It comes with a cost. But it is our moral obligation. It is our duty to resist the crowd in this age of mob thinking. It is our duty to think freely in an age of conformity. It is our duty to speak truth in an age of lies.  This bravery isn’t the last or only step in opposing this revolution—it’s just the first. After that must come honest assessments of why America was vulnerable to start with, and an aggressive commitment to rebuilding the economy and society in ways that once again offer life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to the greatest number of Americans. But let’s start with a little courage. Courage means, first off, the unqualified rejection of lies. Do not speak untruths, either about yourself or anyone else, no matter the comfort offered by the mob. And do not genially accept the lies told to you. If possible, be vocal in rejecting claims you know to be false. Courage can be contagious, and your example may serve as a means of transmission. When you’re told that traits such as industriousness and punctuality are the legacy of white supremacy, don’t hesitate to reject it. When you’re told that statues of figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass are offensive, explain that they are national heroes. When you’re told that “nothing has changed” in this country for minorities, don’t dishonor the memory of civil-rights pioneers by agreeing. And when you’re told that America was founded in order to perpetuate slavery, don’t take part in rewriting the country’s history. America is imperfect. I always knew it, as we all do—and the past few years have rocked my faith like no others in my lifetime. But America and we Americans are far from irredeemable.  The motto of Frederick Douglass’s anti-slavery paper, the North Star—“The Right is of no Sex—Truth is of no Color—God is the Father of us all, and all we are brethren”—must remain all of ours. We can still feel the pull of that electric cord Lincoln talked about 163 years ago—the one “in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.” Every day I hear from people who are living in fear in the freest society humankind has ever known. Dissidents in a democracy, practicing doublespeak. That is what is happening right now. What happens five, 10, 20 years from now if we don’t speak up and defend the ideas that have made all of our lives possible? Liberty. Equality. Freedom. Dignity. These are ideas worth fighting for. Tyler Durden Sun, 10/17/2021 - 23:05.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 18th, 2021

The rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the Theranos founder who went from being a Silicon Valley star to being found guilty of wire fraud and conspiracy

Elizabeth Holmes was once lauded as "the next Steve Jobs" for founding blood-testing startup Theranos. Now she could face decades in prison for fraud. Elizabeth Holmes leaves after a hearing at a federal court in San Jose, California, on July 17, 2019.Reuters/Stephen Lam Elizabeth Holmes dropped out of Stanford at 19 to start Theranos and grew its value to $9 billion. Later, technology flaws were exposed, and Theranos and Holmes were charged with "massive fraud." On Monday, Holmes was found guilty on 4 of 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy, which could send her to prison for decades. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In 2014, blood-testing startup Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes, were on top of the world.Back then, Theranos was a revolutionary idea thought up by a woman hailed as a genius who styled herself as a female Steve Jobs. Holmes was the world's youngest female self-made billionaire, and Theranos was one of Silicon Valley's unicorn startups, valued at an estimated $9 billion. But then it all came crashing down.The shortcomings and inaccuracies of Theranos's technology were exposed, along with the role Holmes played in covering it all up. Holmes was ousted as CEO and charged with "massive fraud," and the company was forced to close its labs and testing centers, ultimately shuttering operations altogether.As she awaited trial, Holmes reportedly found the time to get engaged — and married — to a hotel heir named Billy Evans.Now, Holmes has been convicted of fraud in federal court. On Monday, jurors found Holmes guilty of three counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. They found her not guilty of four other counts and failed to reach a unanimous verdict on the remaining three counts against her.This is how Holmes went from precocious child, to ambitious Stanford dropout, to an embattled startup founder convicted of fraud: Elizabeth Holmes was born on February 3, 1984 in Washington, D.C. Her mom, Noel, was a Congressional committee staffer, and her dad, Christian Holmes, worked for Enron before moving to government agencies like USAID.@eholmes2003/TwitterSource: Elizabeth Holmes/Twitter, CNN, Vanity FairHolmes' family moved when she was young, from Washington, D.C. to Houston.Washington, D.C.Getty ImagesSource: FortuneWhen she was 7, Holmes tried to invent her own time machine, filling up an entire notebook with detailed engineering drawings. At the age of 9, Holmes told relatives she wanted to be a billionaire when she grew up. Her relatives described her as saying it with the "utmost seriousness and determination."Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes.REUTERS/Carlo AllegriSource: CBS News, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes had an "intense competitive streak" from a young age. She often played Monopoly with her younger brother and cousin, and she would insist on playing until the end, collecting the houses and hotels until she won. If Holmes was losing, she would often storm off. More than once, she ran directly through a screen on the door.Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, attends a panel discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York, September 29, 2015.REUTERS/Brendan McDermidSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupIt was during high school that Holmes developed her work ethic, often staying up late to study. She quickly became a straight-A student, and even started her own business: she sold C++ compilers, a type of software that translates computer code, to Chinese schools.Tyrone Siu/ReutersSource: Fortune, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes started taking Mandarin lessons, and part-way through high school, talked her way into being accepted by Stanford University’s summer program, which culminated in a trip to Beijing.Yepoka Yeebo / Business InsiderSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupInspired by her great-great-grandfather Christian Holmes, a surgeon, Holmes decided she wanted to go into medicine. But she discovered early on that she was terrified of needles. Later, she said this influenced her to start Theranos.Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderSource: San Francisco Business TimesHolmes went to Stanford to study chemical engineering. When she was a freshman, she became a "president's scholar," an honor which came with a $3,000 stipend to go toward a research project.STANFORD, CA - MAY 22: People ride bikes past Hoover Tower on the Stanford University campus on May 22, 2014 in Stanford, California. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities by China's Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Stanford University ranked second behind Harvard University as the top universities in the world. UC Berkeley ranked third. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Justin Sullivan/GettySource: FortuneHolmes spent the summer after her freshman year interning at the Genome Institute in Singapore. She got the job partly because she spoke Mandarin.An office worker walks along the Singapore River front during the lunch hour.Wong Maye-E/APSource: FortuneAs a sophomore, Holmes went to one of her professors, Channing Robertson, and said: "Let's start a company." With his blessing, she founded Real-Time Cures, later changing the company's name to Theranos. Thanks to a typo, early employees’ paychecks actually said "Real-Time Curses."Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupHolmes soon filed a patent application for a "medical device for analyte monitoring and drug delivery," a wearable device that would administer medication, monitor patients' blood, and adjust the dosage as needed.Reuters/Brian SnyderSource: Fortune, US Patent OfficeBy the next semester, Holmes had dropped out of Stanford altogether, and was working on Theranos in the basement of a college house.Jeff Chiu/APSource: Wall Street JournalTheranos's business model was based around the idea that it could run blood tests, using proprietary technology that required only a finger pinprick and a small amount of blood. Holmes said the tests would be able to detect medical conditions like cancer and high cholesterol.Theranos Chairman, CEO and Founder Elizabeth Holmes (L) and TechCrunch Writer and Moderator Jonathan Shieber speak onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt at Pier 48 on September 8, 2014 in San Francisco, CaliforniaSteve Jennings/Getty ImagesSource: Wall Street JournalHolmes started raising money for Theranos from prominent investors like Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, the father of a childhood friend and the founder of prominent VC firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Theranos raised more than $700 million, and Draper has continued to defend Holmes.Investor Tim Draper (right).CNBCSource: SEC, CrunchbaseHolmes took investors' money on the condition that she wouldn't have to reveal how Theranos' technology worked. Plus, she would have final say over everything having to do with the company.JP Yim/GettySource: Vanity FairThat obsession with secrecy extended to every aspect of Theranos. For the first decade Holmes spent building her company, Theranos operated in stealth mode. She even took three former Theranos employees to court, claiming they had misused Theranos trade secrets.Kimberly White/GettySource: San Francisco Business TimesHolmes' attitude toward secrecy and running a company was borrowed from a Silicon Valley hero of hers: former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Holmes started dressing in black turtlenecks like Jobs, decorated her office with his favorite furniture, and like Jobs, never took vacations.Steve Jobs.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Vanity FairEven Holmes's uncharacteristically deep voice may have been part of a carefully crafted image intended to help her fit in in the male-dominated business world. In ABC's podcast on Holmes called "The Dropout," former Theranos employees said the CEO sometimes "fell out of character," particularly after drinking, and would speak in a higher voice.Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, during the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York.Lucas Jackson/ReutersSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, The CutHolmes was a demanding boss, and wanted her employees to work as hard as she did. She had her assistants track when employees arrived and left each day. To encourage people to work longer hours, she started having dinner catered to the office around 8 p.m. each night.TheranosSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupMore behind-the-scenes footage of what life was like at Theranos was revealed in leaked videos obtained by the team behind the HBO documentary "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley." The more than 100 hours of footage showed Holmes walking around the office, scenes from company parties, speeches from Holmes and Balwani, and Holmes dancing to "U Can't Touch This" by MC Hammer.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at the company's headquarters.Courtesy HBOSource: Business InsiderShortly after Holmes dropped out of Stanford at age 19, she began dating Theranos president and COO Sunny Balwani, who was 20 years her senior. The two met during Holmes' third year in Stanford’s summer Mandarin program, the summer before she went to college. She was bullied by some of the other students, and Balwani had come to her aid.Footage of Sunny Balwani presenting."60 Minutes"Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupBalwani became Holmes' No. 2 at Theranos despite having little experience. He was said to be a bully, and often tracked his employees' whereabouts. Holmes and Balwani eventually broke up in spring 2016 when Holmes pushed him out of the company.Sunny Balwani pictured in January 2019.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupIn 2008, the Theranos board decided to remove Holmes as CEO in favor of someone more experienced. But over the course of a two-hour meeting, Holmes convinced them to let her stay in charge of her company.Jamie McCarthy / GettySource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAs Theranos started to rake in millions of funding, Holmes became the subject of media attention and acclaim in the tech world. She graced the covers of Fortune and Forbes, gave a TED Talk, and spoke on panels with Bill Clinton and Alibaba's Jack Ma.Elizabeth Holmes with former President Bill Clinton, left, and Alibaba cofounder Jack Ma.Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesSource: Vanity FairTheranos quickly began securing outside partnerships. Capital Blue Cross and Cleveland Clinic signed on to offer Theranos tests to their patients, and Walgreens made a deal to open Theranos testing centers in their stores. Theranos also formed a secret partnership with Safeway worth $350 million.A Theranos testing center inside a Walgreens.Melia Robinson/Business InsiderSource: Wired, Business InsiderIn 2011, Holmes hired her younger brother, Christian, to work at Theranos, although he didn’t have a medical or science background. Christian Holmes spent his early days at Theranos reading about sports online and recruiting his Duke University fraternity brothers to join the company. People dubbed Holmes and his crew the "Frat Pack" and "Therabros."Elizabeth Holmes and her brother, Christian.Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesSource: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAt one point, Holmes was the world's youngest self-made female billionaire with a net worth of around $4.5 billion.Kimberly White/Getty Images for Breakthrough PrizeSource: ForbesHolmes was obsessed with security at Theranos. She asked anyone who visited the company’s headquarters to sign non-disclosure agreements before being allowed in the building, and had security guards escort visitors everywhere — even to the bathroom.Michael Dalder/Reuters Holmes hired bodyguards to drive her around in a black Audi sedan. Her nickname was "Eagle One." The windows in her office had bulletproof glass.Source: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley StartupAround the same time, questions were being raised about Theranos' technology. Ian Gibbons — chief scientist at Theranos and one of the company's first hires — warned Holmes that the tests weren't ready for the public to take, and that there were inaccuracies in the technology. Outside scientists began voicing their concerns about Theranos, too.Melia Robinson/Tech InsiderSource: Vanity Fair, Business InsiderBy August 2015, the FDA began investigating Theranos, and regulators from the government body that oversees laboratories found "major inaccuracies" in the testing Theranos was doing on patients.Mike Segar/ReutersSource: Vanity FairBy October 2015, Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou published his investigation into Theranos's struggles with its technology. Carreyrou's reporting sparked the beginning of the company's downward spiral.Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou.CBS "60 Minutes"Source: Wall Street JournalCarreyrou found that Theranos' blood-testing machine, named Edison, couldn't give accurate results, so Theranos was running its samples through the same machines used by traditional blood-testing companies.Carlos Osorio/APSource: Wall Street JournalHolmes appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money" shortly after the WSJ published its story to defend herself and Theranos. "This is what happens when you work to change things, and first they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and then all of a sudden you change the world," Holmes said.CNBC/YouTubeSource: CNBCBy 2016, the FDA, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and SEC were all looking into Theranos.GettySource: Wall Street Journal, WiredIn July 2016, Holmes was banned from the lab-testing industry for two years. By October, Theranos had shut down its lab operations and wellness centers.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn March 2018, Theranos, Holmes, and Balwani were charged with "massive fraud" by the SEC. Holmes agreed to give up financial and voting control of the company, pay a $500,000 fine, and return 18.9 million shares of Theranos stock. She also isn't allowed to be the director or officer of a publicly traded company for 10 years.Jeff Chiu/APSource: Business InsiderDespite the charges, Holmes was allowed to stay on as CEO of Theranos, since it's a private company. The company had been hanging on by a thread, and Holmes wrote to investors asking for more money to save Theranos. "In light of where we are, this is no easy ask," Holmes wrote.Kimberly White/Getty Images for FortuneSource: Business InsiderIn Theranos' final days, Holmes reportedly got a Siberian husky puppy named Balto that she brought into the office. However, the dog wasn't potty trained, and would go to the bathroom inside the company's office and during meetings.A Siberian husky (not Holmes' dog).Kateryna Orlova/ShutterstockSource: Vanity FairIn June 2018, Theranos announced that Holmes was stepping down as CEO. On the same day, the Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury had charged Holmes, along with Balwani, with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital Live (WSJDLive) conference at the Montage hotel in Laguna Beach, California, October 21, 2015.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Business Insider, CNBCTheranos sent an email to shareholders in September 2018 announcing that the company was shutting down. Theranos reportedly said it planned to spend the next few months repaying creditors with its remaining resources.Mike Blake/ReutersSource: Wall Street JournalAround the time Theranos' time was coming to an end, Holmes made her first public appearance alongside William "Billy" Evans, a 27-year-old heir to a hospitality property management company in California. The two reportedly first met in 2017, and were seen together in 2018 at Burning Man, the art festival in the Nevada desert.Jim Rankin/Toronto Star via Getty ImagesSource: Daily MailHolmes is said to wear Evans' MIT "signet ring" on a chain around her neck, and the couple reportedly posts photos "professing their love for each other" on a private Instagram account. Evans' parents are reportedly "flabbergasted" at their son's decision to marry Holmes.—Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) February 21, 2019Source: Vanity Fair, New York PostIt's unclear where Holmes and Evans currently reside, but they were previously living in a $5,000-a-month apartment in San Francisco until April 2019. The apartment was located just a few blocks from one of the city's top tourist attractions, the famously crooked block of Lombard Street.Lombard Place Apartments, where Holmes used to live.Rent SF NowSource: Business InsiderIt was later reported that Holmes and Evans got engaged in early 2019, then married in June in a secretive wedding ceremony. Former Theranos employees were reportedly not invited to the wedding, according to Vanity Fair.Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business InsiderSource: Vanity Fair, New York PostHolmes' and Balwani's cases have since been separated.Justin Silva/Getty, Stephen Lam/Reuters, Business InsiderSource: Department of Justice, Business InsiderBesides the criminal case, Holmes was also involved in a number of civil lawsuits, including one in Arizona brought by former Theranos patients over inaccurate blood tests. The lawyers representing her in the Arizona case said in late 2019 they hadn't been paid over a year and asked to be removed from Holmes' legal team.Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves after a hearing at a federal court.Reuters/Stephen LamSource: Business InsiderHolmes' lawyers in the federal case had tried to get the government's entire case thrown out. In February 2020, Holmes caught a break after some of the charges against her were dropped when a judge ruled that some patients didn't suffer financial loss.Brendan McDermid/ReutersSource: Business InsiderAmid the coronavirus outbreak, Holmes' lawyers asked the judge in April 2020 to deem the case "essential" so the defense team could defy lockdown orders and continue to travel and meet face-to-face. The judge said he was "taken aback" by the defense's pleas to violate lockdown.The federal courthouse in San Jose, California.Reuters/Robert GalbraithSource: Business Insider It soon become clear that the pandemic — and the health risks associated with assembling a trial — would make the July trial date unrealistic. Through hearings held on Zoom, the presiding judge initially pushed the trial back to October 2020 and later postponed it further to March 2021.Passengers wear masks as they walk through LAX airport.Reuters/Lucy NicholsonSource: Business Insider In March 2021, Holmes requested another delay to the trial because she was pregnant. She asked to push back the trial to August 31, and her request was granted. Holmes reportedly gave birth to the child in July.Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider, CNBCHeading into the trial, Holmes felt "wronged, like Salem-witch-trial wronged," says a person who used to work with her closely.Holmes, right, leaving the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building in San Jose, California with her defense team on May 4, 2021.Nhat V. Meyer/MediaNews Group/Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderThe trial kicked off in September. In opening statements, prosecutors argued that, "Out of time and out of money, Elizabeth Holmes decided to lie." Meanwhile, the defense argued that although Theranos ultimately crumbled, "Failure is not a crime. Trying your hardest and coming up short is not a crime."Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives at the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building with her defense team on August 31, 2021 in San Jose, California.Ethan Swope/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider The list of possible witnesses for the trial named roughly 200 people, including the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Henry Kissinger, James Mattis, and Holmes herself.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Courthouse with her mother, Noel Holmes, during her trial.Brittany Hosea-Small/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn the end, the trial featured testimony from just over 30 witnesses.Vicki Behringer/ReutersSource: Business InsiderOver the course of 11 weeks, prosecutors called 29 witnesses to testify — including former Theranos employees, investors, patients, and doctors — before resting its case in November.Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of Theranos, in a San Jose courtroom in September.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business Insider The defense then began making its case, calling just three witnesses, including Holmes herself.Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderOn the stand, Holmes said Balwani emotionally and sexually abused her during their relationship.Former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny' Balwani leaves the Robert F. Peckham U.S. Federal Court on June 28, 2019 in San Jose, California.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes also admitted that she added some pharmaceutical companies' logos to Theranos' reports without authorization. Investors previously said they took some reassurance in those reports because, based on the logos, they thought major pharmaceutical companies had validated Theranos' technology. Holmes said she added the logos to convey that work was done in partnership with those companies, but in hindsight she wishes she had "done it differently."Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes also acknowledged on the stand that she hid Theranos' use of modified commercial devices from investors. She said she did this because company counsel told her that alterations the company made to the machines were trade secrets and needed to be protected as such.Brittany Hosea-Small/ReutersSource: Business InsiderHolmes spent seven days on the stand before the defense rested its case in early December.Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes arrives to attend her fraud trial at federal court in San Jose, California, U.S., December 16, 2021.Peter DaSilva/ReutersSource: Business InsiderIn closing arguments, prosecutors argued that Holmes "chose fraud over business failure" while the defense argued she was "building a business, not a criminal enterprise."Elizabeth Holmes walks into federal court in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Dec. 17, 2021.Nic Coury/Associated PressSource: Business InsiderAfter 15 weeks of trial, Holmes' case headed to a jury of eight men and four women on December 17.Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of blood testing and life sciences company Theranos, leaves the courthouse with her husband Billy Evans after the first day of her fraud trial in San Jose, California on September 8, 2021.Nick Otto/AFP/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderJurors deliberated for a total of seven days over the next few weeks before telling the court on Monday that they were deadlocked on three of the 11 charges against Holmes. The judge read off some jury instructions to the group in court before instructing them to go back and deliberate further.Kate Munsch/ReutersSource: Business InsiderHours later, the jury returned a mixed verdict for Holmes, finding her guilty on one count of conspiracy to defraud investors and three counts of wire fraud. They found her not guilty on four other counts and failed to reach a verdict on the remaining three counts. The counts Holmes was found guilty of were all related to investments; she wasn't convicted on any of the charges involving patients who received inaccurate test results.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSource: Business InsiderHolmes now faces the possibility of decades in prison. Each count carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence, a $250,000 fine, and a requirement to pay victims restitution. Holmes was not taken into custody following the verdict; prosecutors say they want a secure bond for her. A date for a sentencing hearing has not yet been set.AP Photo/Nic Coury, FileSource: Business Insider, Yahoo FinanceMaya Kosoff contributed to an earlier version of this story.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 4th, 2022

The Top 10 Woke Tweets Of 2021

The Top 10 Woke Tweets Of 2021 Authored by Ophelie Jacobson via Campus Reform, Leftist professors in academia didn’t hold back when it came to sharing their woke ideas on Twitter this year. From a professor defending sex work to a professor praising Joseph Stalin, Campus Reform reported on some of the most outrageous hot takes on Twitter out of higher education. 10. UC prof: Zionism has 'politically toxified our schools' A professor at the University of California-Riverside tweeted in January 2021 claiming that Zionism has “politically toxified our schools.” Dylan Rodriguez tweeted, “most California public education administrators don't understand how Zionism politically toxified our schools and curricula. It prevents us from teaching historical material about entire populations. This must not continue.” According to Rodríguez, the tweet was part of the “Save Arab American Studies twitter storm.” He encouraged others to join in the social media movement, tweeting, “Retweet and join with #DefendEthnicStudies. I support a California Ethnic Studies curriculum that is rigorous and inclusive of vital fields like AAS.”  9. UNT gives 'mask-urbate' guidelines for sex during COVID The University of North Texas’s Student Health and Wellness Center had some advice for students on how to have sex and avoid COVID-19 at the same time.  In a since-deleted tweet, the school tweeted “Mask-urbate?! Read below to learn more,” along with an image suggesting that ill students should “skip sex and stay in." “Mask-urbate! Use face coverings during mutual masturbation to reduce your risk,” read the infographic, complete with the university’s logo. The image also encouraged students to “be creative with physical barriers & sexual positions to prevent close face-to-face contact,” and to wear masks as well as condoms during sex. 8. Prof blames 'every single' future COVID death on the GOP A professor at the University of Rhode Island tweeted in July 2021 arguing that the Republican Party will be to blame for “every single” future COVID-19 death. “The thousands of upcoming COVID deaths are entirely the fault of the Republican Party. Every single one,” Loomis tweeted. “Though, it is worth noting, people do have agency and if they were bamboozled by the Republican Party, they also wanted to be.” This tweet came just one day before American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten tweeted that “Millions of Floridians are going to die for Ron DeSantis’ ignorance and he’s choosing to profit from it. He doesn’t care about Floridians; he cares about furthering his own cruel agenda.” 7. Stanford prof says 'Whiteness' explains parents' opposition to school mask mandates A professor at Stanford University tweeted in August 2021 claiming that protestors of school mask mandates are doing so because of their “Whiteness.” Hakeem Jefferson tweeted “make no mistake, this crazy opposition to mask wearing that is leading folks (read white ppl) to act violently at school board meetings & council meetings & everywhere else—yeah, you can’t disconnect it from whiteness. And discussions that don’t acknowledge this are incomplete.” Jefferson also attributed White identity as the cause of the January 6 Capitol riots, saying, “It’s like my reaction to jan6. You don’t have to be an expert in identity to know that whiteness is driving the behavior.” The professor also retweeted a reply to his thread stating, “Whiteness is the most pressing threat to the nation that isn’t climate change.”  6. Iowa State professor says she limits interactions with white people 'as much as possible' A professor at Iowa State University allegedly tweeted in February 2021 that she limits her interactions “with yt people as much as possible.” Rita Mookerjee tweeted "Lately, I try to limit my interactions with yt people as much as possible. I can't with the self-importance and performance esp during Black History Month.”  The term "yt" is often used online in place of the word "white" in conversations involving race.  5. Phylicia Rashad, dean at Howard U, celebrates Bill Cosby’s release from prison The dean of the College of Fine Arts at Howard University tweeted in June 2021 celebrating Bill Cosby’s release from a Pennsylvania prison. Phylicia Rashad, who is also an actress, said in a since-deleted tweet, “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Rashad, who played Cosby’s fictional wife on The Cosby Show, immediately received criticism for her “insensitive and disrespectful” comments.   Rashad then tweeted “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward. My post was in no way intended to be insensitive to their truth. Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing.” 4. Prof: ‘The problem with academia today is that it has too many conservatives’ A professor at the University of Massachusetts tweeted in April 2021 claiming that higher education institutions have “too many conservatives” on campus. Asheesh Kapur Siddique tweeted “The problem with academia today is that it has too many conservatives. They run the university. They sit in admin & on university boards enforcing manufactured austerity, combating unionization, & casualizing most of the professoriate.” He also added that “those who think that the ideological character of the university can be discerned by the political leanings of its faculty betray a fundamental misunderstanding of how institutions work. You have to look at management, not labor.” 3. California professor says Joseph Stalin was a 'very successful revolutionary' A professor at Riverside City College tweeted in June 2021 defending Joseph Stalin and saying he was one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, citing the dictator's contributions to Marxism.  Asatar Bair tweeted, “People say I 'idolize' Stalin. Not true, I hold a fair and balanced view. The man was neither savior nor saint, but he was, at once, a very successful revolutionary, a great contributor to Marxist theory, and said to be a great listener and collaborator during discussions.” Bair also added that he “would certainly conclude that he is one of the great leaders of the 20th c[entury] though.” 2. DISGUSTING: Profs rejoice in Rush Limbaugh's death Conservative talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh passed away at the beginning of the year from lung cancer. Limbaugh hosted a variety of conservative television and radio programs over the course of decades, including The Rush Limbaugh Show. He was one of the most influential talk radio hosts in the United States and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. However, not everyone saw him as a legend. Multiple professors from different colleges and universities tweeted in February 2021 celebrating the passing of Limbaugh.  A professor at Yale University’s law school tweeted, “I wouldn't say I was happy that Rush Limbaugh died. It's more like euphoria.” Scott Shapiro’s tweet has since been deleted tweet. The chair of the religious studies department at the University of Pennsylvania tweeted an ambiguous celebratory GIF about an hour after the news broke.  A professor at Georgia Southern University called Limbaugh “one of the most harmful and poisonous people in the modern United States of America.”  Jared Yates Sexton also added that “his pursuit of wealth and power hurt untold numbers of people and wrought incalculable damage to politics as a public good, society as a whole, and the planet itself.” Ryan Devlin — an assistant professor at the Pratt Institute — tweeted a GIF of a body thrown into a dumpster. The tweet has since been deleted.  1. U of Ottawa professor: ‘Sex work’ is ‘the best thing young people can do early in their careers’ An adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa and a Canadian Lawyer tweeted in June 2021 endorsing sex work for “young people” calling it “the best thing” they can do early in their careers.  Naomi Sayers tweeted, “unpopular opinion: the best thing young people can do early in their careers is do #SexWork on the side because your early career prospects will be unstable, unpredictable, low pay, likely contract work and very much exploitative.” She then addressed the idea of sex work being exploitative by comparing it to capitalism. “That’s how capitalism works… People out here saying young people can be exploited in sex work. Literally, that’s capitalism. Lol. And quite literally, that’s any kind of work.” Tyler Durden Sat, 12/25/2021 - 20:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 25th, 2021

13 careers to consider if you"re interested in environmental science and the skills you need to succeed

There are dozens of career options in environmental science. Wildlife biologist, conservation officer, or science editor could be your perfect fit. A career in environmental science can help you make a difference in the world.CasarsaGuru/Getty Images Jobs in environmental science are viable career paths and crucial for the future of our planet.  If you studied environmental science, you probably have more transferable skills than you realize. Consider one option, environmental engineering, where you can make an average of $57,685 a year. You might be the kid who loved being outdoors, exploring the nearby woods, and collecting bugs in a jar or taking samples from the local pond to look at under your most prized possession: a microscope (you know, the one you'd never let your little brother so much as breathe near). Or maybe you were that, umm, let's say spirited, high school volunteer who led an effort to clean up a state park after you realized what all that litter was doing to the poor animals. Perhaps you watched in horror — in person or on TV — as a wildfire consumed a West Coast town or as Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, killing so many that we still don't have an exact death toll.Whatever drove you to study — or consider studying — environmental science, you're well aware that the world needs you right now. Environmental science majors are prepared to take on our climate crisis, conserve natural resources and environments, lead the charge on renewable energy, and — not to be dramatic — literally save the planet.But as you're sitting in class, doing your labs, and trying to imagine your next steps, you might start to feel overwhelmed. "Can I really make a difference in a world that's burning and melting and only getting worse?" you might wonder. "There's so much to do, where would I even start?" The great thing is: There are so many options open to environmental science majors. But the problem is: There are so many options open to environmental science majors.You don't need a list of 734 possible jobs. But what you probably could use is a tailored list that digs into a few particularly promising career options — and maybe a quick look at some of the skills you've gained that will help you thrive in the workplace and what types of organizations and industries are looking to hire former amateur pond sleuths like you.Skills environmental science grads already haveAnybody who's completed college already has valuable skills for the workplace. And "environmental science degrees specifically provide an abundance of transferable skills," Alaina G. Levine, a STEM career coach, writer covering environmental science topics, and president of Quantum Success Solutions, LLC, a career consultancy focused on engineering and the sciences, said. Your degree has prepared you to work in basically any field you'd like, Levine said, whether you want to pursue a career related to environmental science or go in another direction.Here are a few of the transferable skills you likely gained:Communication and storytelling: Throughout your coursework, you learned to communicate by writing research proposals and reports, essays, and emails; discussing information with others in classes or group projects; and giving presentations. Environmental science majors often need to take complex topics and translate them into a compelling story that convinces people they need to care about something and take action, Levine said. You learn how to "mine data and distill it in a way your 'constituents' will understand," whether your constituents are your classmates, teachers, colleagues, managers, executives, policymakers, or the public.Marketing: Most environmental science programs won't mention that you're learning marketing skills, Levine said, but any time you're explaining the value of a project or even a natural resource, you're using marketing skills. "Marketing" might feel like a dirty word in the context of our planet, but it simply means crafting a message that convinces someone to take action. In environmental science, you might be persuading a company to put money or time into a new process that's more sustainable or writing a grant proposal where you're communicating the value of your research.Leadership: Many employers are looking for leadership skills in employees at all levels. Leadership "isn't just being appointed or anointed a leader," Levine said. It's any time you take ownership or initiative. Individuals have to lead "a team of one every day," and decide how to do their work productively and efficiently, Levine said. You'll also have to lead your own initiatives, programs, and/or research even as an early-career employee. You already got practice with these skills whenever you led a group project, coordinated resources to meet deadlines or budgets, or made decisions based on new information or data. Research: "Environmental science programs turn out students who are excellent in conducting research," Sara Hutchison, a career coach who's advised environmental science majors and has a degree in sustainable development herself, said. Students often have to study primary sources, read through compliance and legal documentation, collect their own data in the field, employ the scientific method, and write about their findings, all of which teach them strong research practices, such as how to select reliable sources and data. Even if you're not working in a research setting, these skills help you collect the information you need to solve problems. Speaking of which...Problem-solving: In addition to gathering the data they need and making autonomous decisions, environmental science students learn how to look at a problem from multiple perspectives, which "is an extremely valuable asset, both in scientific careers and less 'traditional' careers," Dr. Gemma Cassidy, who's hired and advised environmental science majors and is currently the senior journals publishing manager for Wiley, a large scientific-publishing company, said. For example, they may need to look at how an issue with air quality might be affecting different parts of an ecosystem and evaluate the economic costs of various solutions. Or in a very different context, they might consider how proposed upgrades to a software product might affect users.Risk assessment/management: Since environmental science students often need to conduct field research, they're practiced in risk assessment and management, Levine said. They may have to shift priorities or adjust plans either before going out in the field or on the fly due to risks like weather, wildlife, environmental conditions, or even other humans. For example, a dangerous storm may compromise your ability to safely collect water samples, so maybe you have to analyze the nearby soil instead or adjust your research timelines. You may also specifically study the possible risks to a certain population of frogs as the climate changes, for example. Risk assessment and management is useful whenever you're evaluating the best course of action for a given project or initiative.Computer skills: Like most fields, environmental science is increasingly relying on technology. During your coursework, you likely learned the computing skills needed to analyze and visualize data, build models or projections to predict outcomes, and possibly utilize AI and machine learning. These computer skills are highly sought after both inside and outside of the environmental science field."As a final point, graduates from an environmental sciences background likely have a passion for our planet, and how best to protect it," Cassidy said. Employers are always looking for workers who care deeply and are knowledgeable about what they'll be doing — and many organizations are hiring workers to help fight the climate crisis in particular.Where can environmental science majors work?When you're deciding where you'd like to work — whether that's a type of organization or a certain industry — Levine suggests thinking about your values and what drives you. "Do you want to protect the coastlines because you grew up in a seaside area?" Levine asked. Or would you like to help decrease the negative effects big companies have on our environment? Are there certain animals or plant life you want to protect? Are you interested in maintaining and improving public health? Do you want to directly affect policy?Here are some of the common industries and types of organizations where environmental science majors work:Local, city, state, and federal governmentMunicipalities and utilitiesNonprofit organizationsEducationMuseumsEnergy (both renewable energy companies and traditional fossil fuels companies looking to decrease their environmental impact)Manufacturing and safetyFood productionReal estate developmentPublishing and mediaPublic healthZoos, aquariums, national parks, and other conservation centersBut this list is far from exhaustive. More and more organizations are prioritizing sustainability in their day-to-day operations, Cassidy said. As a result, those with environmental science degrees are needed "across the board." Many environmental science careers might feel "hidden," Levine said, but you can find them through networking and environmental professional organizations such as the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP).Even if you don't want a career in environmental science, "​​The degree you pick to complete in college does not define the career you will pursue," Hutchison said. So don't feel boxed in.13 jobs and careers for environmental science majorsBelow you'll find 13 jobs and careers you can pursue with an environmental science degree (and you can click on the links to search for current openings on The Muse). Many of these jobs can be found in multiple or all of the above industries or types of organizations and you can specialize according to your area of focus or interest. For example, you can be an environmental science technician for a real estate company that studies the effects different developments may have on the water in a local ecosystem or you might be an environmental consultant who specializes in helping manufacturers decrease the air pollutants produced by their work.Unless otherwise noted, all salary information is from PayScale.com. (Note that PayScale's database is updated nightly; the numbers below reflect figures as of November 2021.)1. Environmental educator or environmental science teacherAverage educator salary: $51,316Average secondary school teacher salary: $50,038Environmental educators come in multiple forms. You may choose to become a secondary school teacher in either environmental science or a smaller subset of the subject such as oceanography, or you might work for a museum, national park, zoo, or other conservation center or program.Regardless, environmental educators teach others about the environment and issues facing it — plus how they as individuals can help. For example, Hutchison once worked as a tour guide for a local cavern. "Sharing my passion for the environment with children and tourists was amazing," Hutchison said. "I loved how it opened their eyes to why they should clean up their pet waste or not pollute waters because all that goes downstream into a cave like ours."The qualifications you'll need to be an environmental educator depend on exactly where you'd like to work. If you'd like to be a secondary school teacher, you may need to take education classes or obtain a master's degree depending on which state you'd like to teach in.Find environmental educator or teacher jobs on The Muse2. Environmental engineer or environmental engineering technicianAverage environmental engineer salary: $66,621Average engineering technician salary: $57,685Environmental engineers design, plan, and build systems that improve or monitor the environment. They also collect and/or analyze scientific data and conduct quality control tests to inform or adjust their plans. For example an environmental engineer may be responsible for designing a new water treatment center, equipment that reduces the pollution a factory releases, a sustainable recreational attraction, or a building that minimally disrupts the environment. Meanwhile, environmental engineering technicians and technologists carry out the plans that environmental engineers create."If you really like building things, deploying applications, and seeing the work you do transform people's lives directly," you might consider one of these careers, Levine said.If you haven't already completed substantial engineering coursework alongside or as part of your major, you may need to complete a master's in engineering — but it depends where you'd like to work. However, engineering technician jobs often don't require engineering-specific degrees (though you may still need an OSHA certification).Find environmental engineer and environmental engineering technician jobs on The Muse3. Environmental scientist and environmental science and protection techniciansAverage environmental scientist salary: $52,680Average environmental technician salary: $43,485These professionals conduct research, experiments, field work, and tests to monitor or discover more about the environment. Environmental scientists may propose new research and design experiments with the goal of evaluating, preventing, controlling, or fixing environmental problems.Environmental science and protection technicians are often responsible for conducting tests in the field and reporting findings to a scientist, municipality, or any other entity that's monitoring environmental conditions. For example, you may be responsible for gathering and testing water samples to make sure a nearby company is not compromising the ecosystem or you might work for a city government, continuously monitoring air quality.You can focus in a myriad of areas in environmental science such as microbiology, ecology, oceanography, or geology. In order to become an environmental scientist, you'll need a master's degree or PhD in your chosen area of focus, but technicians can often land jobs with bachelor's degrees in environmental science.Find environmental scientist, environmental science technician, and other environmental science jobs on The Muse4. Wildlife biologistAverage salary: $50,186Wildlife biologists are a subset of environmental scientists that focus specifically on animals and other wildlife and how they interact with their environments. They may conduct studies on animals in their natural habitat or in zoo or sanctuary environments and/or monitor threats to populations and come up with ways to mitigate them. Wildlife biologists often focus on specific types of animals or plants.Depending on where you'd like to work, you can often find an entry-level position with a bachelor's degree in environmental science, but to advance and/or conduct independent research you'll need to obtain a PhD.Find wildlife biologist jobs on The Muse5. Environmental health and safety specialistAverage salary: $64,210Environmental health and safety (EHS) specialists study how different environmental conditions affect human health, protect the health and safety of individuals and ecosystems by setting regulations and guidelines, and ensure compliance with these regulations and guidelines. They may work for governments or other oversight organizations to set and enforce safety and environmental standards for geographic areas or industries, or they might work for individual companies to ensure the safety of work processes and the company's overall sustainability.You can often get these jobs with a bachelor's degree, though some employers will require that you obtain relevant safety certifications for their industry.Find environmental health and safety specialist jobs on The Muse6. Conservation officerAverage salary: $44,667Conservation officers, also known as park rangers, manage state and national parks, forests, and other wildlife areas. They are responsible for the safety of guests and wildlife as well as the conservation of the area. Conservation officers may also maintain campgrounds, trails, and other facilities; manage programs for the public; answer questions; and address and correct possible risks to the environment or guests. If you love being outside and interacting with the public, this could be the job for you. You can land a job as a conservation officer with a bachelor's degree in environmental science.Find conservation officer and park ranger jobs on The Muse7. Recycling coordinatorAverage salary: $53,705Recycling coordinators and officers oversee the way recyclables are handled by an organization or municipality. For smaller companies or schools, this might be part of a broader role, but for larger entities, overseeing recycling efforts could be your full-time job."It's no longer about making signs for the recycling cans," Hutchison, who was previously a recycling coordinator for a university, said. "It's about waste trucks, dumpster pulls, procurement of containers, writing [requests for proposals to] vendors, endless spreadsheets on waste to create baselines for reduction goals, and hosting field trips for the local classrooms." Basically, you need to make sure all the recycling gets sorted properly, picked up, and transferred to the appropriate facility so that the material can be reused, all while advocating for the program and encouraging individuals to participate.If you're super organized and want to help decrease the amount of waste going to landfills, this could be a job for you. Hutchison snagged her role right out of college — so there are entry-level opportunities.Find recycling coordinator and other recycling positions on The Muse8. Environmental consultantAverage salary: $58,387In general, consultants evaluate client companies and their departments and processes; analyze their findings; and propose solutions to solve problems, save money, or increase efficiency. Environmental consultants specifically focus on sustainability and environmental impact. For example, they might suggest ways for companies to reduce their carbon footprints or advise them on how to better use and dispose of hazardous materials.Consultants often work for consultancies or as freelancers. If you want to help companies increase their sustainability and curb emissions or waste, this career could be a great fit. You can often get these jobs with a bachelor's degree.Find environmental consultant jobs on The Muse9. Environmental policy analystAverage policy analyst salary: $60,216Environmental policy analysts research, analyze, and evaluate the effects an existing or proposed law, regulation, or program will have on the environment, people, wildlife, or any other facet of society. These jobs involve "packaging research in a way that can be used in policy to make laws and regulations that will make a difference," Levine said. So if you want to have a direct effect on what companies and individuals need to do to curb climate change, for example, a career in environmental policy may be for you.You may be able to find an entry-level position with a bachelor's degree in environmental science (look for federal, state, and local government fellowships and programs specifically designed for this) — but you could need further education to progress in your career.Find environmental policy analyst jobs on The Muse10. Science editorAverage salary: $60,499Science editors put together academic journals or textbooks consisting of science information and new discoveries, research, and studies. Depending on your role and career level, you may be responsible for copyediting and formatting articles, assigning and editing articles or book sections, or assessing original research and coordinating peer reviews of it. Scientific publishing "is a great career for those who feel passionately about the science but want to step away from being the ones doing the research themselves," Cassidy said. "Working on academic journals gives you a front-row seat to new, cutting-edge research, and working with editors and academic societies can be very inspiring."While an environmental science degree will give you the scientific background you need to understand the research, you'll also need strong writing and editing skills to pursue this career.Find science editor and other editing jobs on The Muse11. Science communications specialistAverage communications specialist salary: $54,008While this might sound like a similar role to science editor, science communicators work across industries and mediums. No matter what your focus is, though, all science communications specialists have the same goal: sharing often complex information about science (or the environment) in a way that the intended audience understands it, cares about it, and knows what to do about it. Depending on where you work, you may write press releases, website or social copy, TV, radio, or online video scripts, or reported and researched articles; create infographics, videos, pamphlets, and other presentations; or produce educational materials for schools, museums, and other programs.Your background in environmental science will give you the technical know-how you'll need and lend you credibility, Levine said. You may also need strong writing skills, social media savvy, video production knowledge, or graphic design chops, depending on the roles you'd like to pursue. You may find jobs for science or environmental nonprofits, departments, or organizations labeled "communications specialist," "communications coordinator," or similar, but you should also search for roles that describe the specific work you'd like to do, such as "copywriter," "video editor," or "social media manager" at companies that focus on an area of the environment or science you're passionate about.Find science communications specialist jobs and science communication jobs on The Muse12. Data analystAverage salary: $61,881Data analysts collect, organize, and interpret large amounts of information in order to solve problems or make recommendations. They may also be responsible for creating projections, models, or data visualizations.You can find these roles at companies across many industries, so if you'd like to work for a company focused on some aspect of the environment, you can. For example, you might analyze the data from a large number of water samples taken along a coastline to look for patterns for a clean water–focused nonprofit.But as an environmental science graduate, you likely have the data knowledge you need to seek a position in a different field entirely — particularly if you can demonstrate coding experience, which employers are increasingly looking for in data professionals. You can also take online classes or look into a data science bootcamp to boost your skills. A bachelor's degree is usually the only education requirement for entry-level roles, but you may need a master's degree for more senior roles.Find data analyst and other data jobs on The Muse13. Marketing analystAverage salary: $57,134Marketing analysts evaluate data, prices, markets, strategies, and customer bases to answer marketing questions or solve issues either for the company they work for or for a client company. If you have an environmental science degree but you're interested in something outside of that field, marketing analysts are needed in every industry. For example, you could find a marketing analyst job for a renewable energy company that sells solar panels to individual homes or you can find a position for a tech company working on a productivity app.With the storytelling, data analysis, research, and marketing skills you gained from your coursework, you can likely find an entry-level marketing analyst job right out of undergrad.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 12th, 2021

NRC venture tapped to develop climate change hub on Governors Island

A partnership of North River Company and BJH Advisors has been selected to develop a climate change solutions hub on Governors Island. Called Buttermilk Labs, the joint venture has been designated by the Trust for Governors Island as the lessee for Building 301 following a public RFP process seeking a... The post NRC venture tapped to develop climate change hub on Governors Island appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. A partnership of North River Company and BJH Advisors has been selected to develop a climate change solutions hub on Governors Island. Called Buttermilk Labs, the joint venture has been designated by the Trust for Governors Island as the lessee for Building 301 following a public RFP process seeking a developer to ground lease, redevelop, and operate the historic structure as a hub of commercial, non-profit, and/or academic uses related to sustainability and climate change solutions. Buttermilk Labs (rendering top) will include 10,000 s/f of office and co-working space for small businesses and non-profit organizations in the environmental sustainability sector, R&D laboratory space, 2,000 s/f of event and convening space, and other public amenities for Governors Island visitors and tenants. A curated venture space led by Greenwood Strategies and Barretto Bay Strategies will anchor the project and provide support and mentoring to a mix of startups focused on design and engineering for climate adaptation, renewable energy research and monitoring, and the transition to a low-carbon economy. The space will offer New York’s rapidly-expanding climate-tech community a full roster of industry convenings, public events, and commercialization and growth programming. According to the Trust, the lab is already in talks with prospective tenants focused on the offshore wind and urban resiliency sectors. They include Duro UAS,  a New York City-based company that  makes  autonomous submersible systems for underwater monitoring and data collection; the Waterfront Alliance, which plans to offer STEM-based estuary education and public programming under its Rise to Resilience campaign; Rebuild by Design, which helps communities identify and design solutions for large-scale climate change. Duro UAS makes underwater monitoring systems Upon completion, Buttermilk Labs will also feature several new public amenities for Governors Island, including year-round food and beverage service, a 2,000 SF indoor event space, common areas open to the public, exhibition spaces, and several outdoor amenities, including designated space for outdoor events. Brooklyn-based Brown Butter Craft Bar and Kitchen is in talks to operate F&B. Empire State Development, through the New York City Regional Economic Development Council, is supporting Buttermilk Labs with a $2,500,000 grant.  Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, “Companies dedicated to creating a cleaner environment are crucial to New York’s efforts in moving the State toward a greener economy. Empire State Development is proud to provide funding for this project, which will support businesses focused on climate change and create a pipeline of talent for jobs in the industry. With Buttermilk Labs, New York State will continue to lead the fight for creative climate solutions, and a future focused on boosting our economy with green jobs.” The announcement represents a milestone in the Trust’s ongoing strategy to reactivate the Island’s nearly 1.3M SF of historic buildings and represents the first commercial tenant on Governors Island dedicated to climate solutions. Constructed in 1934 and expanded in 1959, Building 301 originally served as a school for children of US Army and US Coast Guard personnel stationed on Governors Island. Building 301 will be redeveloped as a climate change hub Occupants of Buttermilk Labs will join Governors Island’s growing community of year-round tenants, including the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center at Governors Island, the Billion Oyster Project, Shandaken Projects, Beam Center, the Institute for Public Architecture and QC Terme, a destination day spa that is currently under construction. In June, 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Trust for Governors Island announced a competition to establish a Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island, and is currently seeking an anchor university and research institution through a Request for Expressions of Interest. Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that Governors Island will be open to the public on a year-round basis for the first time in history beginning in 2021, with NYC Ferry expanding service to seven days a week on the South Brooklyn route. For more information, visit govisland.org. New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Winston Fisher, Partner at Fisher Brothers, and Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, CUNY Chancellor, said, “Buttermilk Labs advances the NYCREDC’s goal of preparing New York’s economy for a climate-friendly future. We are proud to support the Trust for Governors Island and its partnership with Buttermilk Labs, which will cultivate businesses and nonprofits focused on climate change and help prepare a workforce that will protect the environment.” “North River Company has a deep history restoring historic structures and caring for environmental issues dating back to our founder, Coleman Burke, who with his team, remodeled the 1890’s Terminal Stores Building as well as other brick and beam structures,” said Christopher Flagg, President of North River Company. “Coley also served on the board of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and several other environmental not-for-profits. Being awarded this project designation by the Trust for Governors Island as the first step of their broader initiative to establish the island as a global hub of climate innovation would be an honor for any applicant, but certainly holds a particular meaningfulness for our team.” NRC will have majority ownership and management control of the project. BJH Advisors is a certified minority and women-owned real estate development, and public and private sector advisory firm; Barretto Bay Strategies is an urban solutions consulting firm specializing in sustainable activation practices for long vacant or underutilized properties; and Greenwood Strategies is a climate action and innovation consulting firm helping emerging companies address climate, energy and resiliency opportunities. The post NRC venture tapped to develop climate change hub on Governors Island appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyNov 29th, 2021

America"s Woke Colleges Can"t Be Salvaged. We Need New Ones

America's Woke Colleges Can't Be Salvaged. We Need New Ones Authored by Niall Ferguson, op-ed via Bloomberg.com, I'm Helping to Start a New College Because Higher Ed Is Broken If you enjoyed Netflix’s “The Chair” - a lighthearted depiction of a crisis-prone English Department at an imaginary Ivy League college - you are clearly not in higher education. Something is rotten in the state of academia and it’s no laughing matter.   Grade inflation. Spiraling costs. Corruption and racial discrimination in admissions. Junk content (“Grievance Studies”) published in risible journals. Above all, the erosion of academic freedom and the ascendancy of an illiberal “successor ideology” known to its critics as wokeism, which manifests itself as career-ending “cancelations” and speaker disinvitations, but less visibly generates a pervasive climate of anxiety and self-censorship. Some say that universities are so rotten that the institution itself should simply be abandoned and replaced with an online alternative — a metaversity perhaps, to go with the metaverse. I disagree. I have long been skeptical that online courses and content can be anything other than supplementary to the traditional real-time, real-space college experience. However, having taught at several, including Cambridge, Oxford, New York University and Harvard, I have also come to doubt that the existing universities can be swiftly cured of their current pathologies. That is why this week I am one of a group of people announcing the founding of a new university — indeed, a new kind of university: the University of Austin. The founders of this university are a diverse group in terms of our backgrounds and our experiences (though doubtless not diverse enough for some). Our political views also differ. To quote our founding president, Pano Kanelos, “What unites us is a common dismay at the state of modern academia and a belief that it is time for something new.” There is no need to imagine a mythical golden age. The original universities were religious institutions, as committed to orthodoxy and as hostile to heresy as today’s woke seminaries. In the wake of the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution, scholars gradually became less like clergymen; but until the 20th century their students were essentially gentlemen, who owed their admission as much to inherited status as to intellectual ability. Many of the great intellectual breakthroughs of the Enlightenment were achieved off campus. Only from the 19th century did academia become truly secularized and professional, with the decline of religious requirements, the rise to pre-eminence of the natural sciences, the spread of the German system of academic promotion (from doctorate up in steps to full professorship), and the proliferation of scholarly journals based on peer-review. Yet the same German universities that led the world in so many fields around 1900 became enthusiastic helpmeets of the Nazis in ways that revealed the perils of an amoral scholarship decoupled from Christian ethics and too closely connected to the state. Even the institutions with the most sustained records of excellence — Oxford and Cambridge — have had prolonged periods of torpor. F.M. Cornford could mock the inherent conservatism of Oxbridge politics in his “Microcosmographia Academica” in 1908. When Malcolm Bradbury wrote his satirical novel “The History Man” in 1975, universities everywhere were still predominantly white, male and middle class. The process whereby a college education became more widely available — to women, to the working class, to racial minorities — has been slow and remains incomplete. Meanwhile, there have been complaints about the adverse consequences of this process in American universities since Allan Bloom’s “Closing of the American Mind,” which was published back in 1987. Nevertheless, much had been achieved by the later years of the 20th century. There was a general agreement that the central purpose of a university was the pursuit of truth — think only of Harvard’s stark Latin motto: Veritas — and that the crucial means to that end were freedom of conscience, thought, speech and publication. There was supposed to be no discrimination in admissions, examinations and academic appointments, other than on the basis of intellectual merit. That was crucial to enabling Jews and other minority groups to take full advantage of their intellectual potential. It was understood that professors were awarded tenure principally to preserve academic freedom so that they might “dare to think” — Immanuel Kant’s other great imperative, Sapere aude! — without fear of being fired. The benefits of all this defy quantification. A huge proportion of the major scientific breakthroughs of the past century were made by men and women whose academic jobs gave them economic security and a supportive community in which to do their best work. Would the democracies have won the world wars and the Cold War without the contributions of their universities? It seems doubtful. Think only of Bletchley Park and the Manhattan Project. Sure, the Ivy League’s best and brightest also gave us the Vietnam War. But remember, too, that there were more university-based computers on the Arpanet — the original internet — than any other kind. No Stanford, no Silicon Valley. Those of us who were fortunate to be undergraduates in the 1980s remember the exhilarating combination of intellectual freedom and ambition to which all this gave rise. Yet, in the past decade, exhilaration has been replaced by suffocation, to the point that I feel genuinely sorry for today’s undergraduates. In Heterodox Academy’s 2020 Campus Expression Survey, 62% of sampled college students agreed that the climate on their campus prevented them from saying things they believed, up from 55% in 2019, while 41% were reluctant to discuss politics in a classroom, up from 32% in 2019. Some 60% of students said they were reluctant to speak up in class because they were concerned other students would criticize their views as being offensive. Such anxieties are far from groundless. According to a nationwide survey of a thousand undergraduates by the Challey Institute for Global Innovation, 85% of self-described liberal students would report a professor to the university if the professor said something that they found offensive, while 76% would report another student. In a study published in March entitled “Academic Freedom in Crisis: Punishment, Political Discrimination and Self-Censorship,” the Centre for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology showed that academic freedom is under attack not only in the U.S., but also in the U.K. and Canada. Three-quarters of conservative American and British academics in the social sciences and humanities said there is a hostile climate for their beliefs in their department. This compares to just 5% among left-wing faculty in the U.S. Again, one can understand why. Younger academics are especially likely to support dismissal of a colleague who has made some heretical utterance, with 40% of American social sciences and humanities professors under the age of 40 supporting at least one of four hypothetical dismissal campaigns. Ph.D. students are even more intolerant than other young academics: 55% of American Ph.D. students under 40 supported at least one hypothetical dismissal campaign. “High-profile deplatformings and dismissals” get the attention, the authors of the report conclude, but “far more pervasive threats to academic freedom stem … from fears of a) cancellation — threats to one’s job or reputation — and b) political discrimination.” These are not unfounded fears. The number of scholars targeted for their speech has risen dramatically since 2015, according to research by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. FIRE has logged 426 incidents since 2015. Just under three-quarters of them resulted in some kind of sanction — including an investigation alone or voluntary resignation — against the scholar. Such efforts to restrict free speech usually originate with “progressive” student groups, but often find support from left-leaning faculty members and are encouraged by college administrators, who tend (as Sam Abrams of Sarah Lawrence College demonstrated, and as his own subsequent experience confirmed) to be even further to the left than professors. There are also attacks on academic freedom from the right, which FIRE challenges. With a growing number of Republicans calling for bans on critical race theory, I fear the illiberalism is metastasizing. Trigger warnings. Safe spaces. Preferred pronouns. Checked privileges. Microaggressions. Antiracism. All these terms are routinely deployed on campuses throughout the English-speaking world as part of a sustained campaign to impose ideological conformity in the name of diversity. As a result, it often feels as if there is less free speech and free thought in the American university today than in almost any other institution in the U.S. To the historian’s eyes, there is something unpleasantly familiar about the patterns of behavior that have, in a matter of a few years, become normal on many campuses. The chanting of slogans. The brandishing of placards. The letters informing on colleagues and classmates. The denunciations of professors to the authorities. The lack of due process. The cancelations. The rehabilitations following abject confessions. The officiousness of unaccountable bureaucrats. Any student of the totalitarian regimes of the mid-20th century recognizes all this with astonishment. It turns out that it can happen in a free society, too, if institutions and individuals who claim to be liberal choose to behave in an entirely illiberal fashion.  How to explain this rapid descent of academia from a culture of free inquiry and debate into a kind of Totalitarianism Lite? In their book “The Coddling of the American Mind,” the social psychiatrist Jonathan Haidt and FIRE president Greg Lukianoff lay much of the blame on a culture of parenting and early education that encourages students to believe that “what doesn’t kill you makes you weaker,” that you should “always trust your feelings,” and that “life is a battle between good people and evil people.” However, I believe the core problems are the pathological structures and perverse incentives of the modern university. It is not the case, as many Americans believe, that U.S. colleges have always been left-leaning and that today’s are no different from those of the 1960s. As Stanley Rothman, Robert Lichter and Neil Nevitte showed in a 2005 study, while 39% of the professoriate on average described themselves as left-wing in 1984, the proportion had risen to 72% by 1999, by which time being a conservative had become a measurable career handicap. Mitchell Langbert’s analysis of tenure-track, Ph.D.-holding professors from 51 of the 66 top-ranked liberal arts colleges in 2017 found that those with known political affiliations were overwhelmingly Democratic. Nearly two-fifths of the colleges in Langbert’s sample were Republican-free. The mean Democratic-to-Republican ratio across the sample was 10.4:1, or 12.7:1 if the two military academies, West Point and Annapolis, were excluded. For history departments, the ratio was 17.4:1; for English 48.3:1. No ratio is calculable for anthropology, as the number of Republican professors was zero. In 2020, Langbert and Sean Stevens  found an even bigger skew to the left when they considered political donations to parties by professors. The ratio of dollars contributed to Democratic versus Republican candidates and committees was 21:1. Commentators who argue that the pendulum will magically swing back betray a lack of understanding about the academic hiring and promotion process. With political discrimination against conservatives now overt, most departments are likely to move further to the left over time as the last remaining conservatives retire. Yet the leftward march of the professoriate is only one of the structural flaws that characterize today’s university. If you think the faculty are politically skewed, take a look at academic administrators. A shocking insight into the way some activist-administrators seek to bully students into ideological conformity was provided by Trent Colbert, a Yale Law School student who invited his fellow members of the Native American Law Students Association to “a Constitution Day bash” at the “NALSA Trap House,” a term that used to mean a crack den but now is just a mildly risque way of describing a party. Diversity director Yaseen Eldik’s thinly veiled threats to Colbert if he didn’t sign a groveling apology — “I worry about this leaning over your reputation as a person, not just here but when you leave” — were too much even for an editorial board member at the Washington Post. Democracy may die in darkness; academic freedom dies in wokeness. Moreover, the sheer number of the administrators is a problem in itself. In 1970, U.S. colleges employed more professors than administrators. Between then and 2010, however, the number of full-time professors or “full-time equivalents” increased by slightly more than 50%, in line with student enrollments. The number of administrators and administrative staffers rose by 85% and 240%, respectively. The ever-growing army of coordinators for Title IX — the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination — is one manifestation of the bureaucratic bloat, which since the 1990s has helped propel tuition costs far ahead of inflation. The third structural problem is weak leadership. Time and again — most recently at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where a lecture by the University of Chicago geophysicist Dorian Abbot was abruptly canceled because he had been critical of affirmative action — academic leaders have yielded to noisy mobs baying for disinvitations. There are notable exceptions, such as Robert Zimmer, who as president of the University of Chicago between 2006 and 2021 made a stand for academic freedom. But the number of other colleges to have adopted the Chicago statement, a pledge crafted by the school’s Committee on Freedom of Expression, remains just 55, out of nearly 2,500 institutions offering four-year undergraduate programs. Finally, there is the problem of the donors — most but not all alumni — and trustees, many of whom have been astonishingly oblivious of the problems described above. In 2019, donors gave nearly $50 billion to colleges. Eight donors gave $100 million or more. People generally do not make that kind of money without being hard-nosed in their business dealings. Yet the capitalist class appears strangely unaware of the anticapitalist uses to which its money is often put. A phenomenon I find deeply puzzling is the lack of due diligence associated with much academic philanthropy, despite numerous cases when the intentions of benefactors have deliberately been subverted. All this would be bad enough if it meant only that U.S. universities are no longer conducive to free inquiry and promotion based on merit, without which scientific advances are certain to be impeded and educational standards to fall. But academic illiberalism is not confined to college campuses. As students collect their degrees and enter the workforce, they inevitably carry some of what they have learned at college with them. Multiple manifestations of “woke” thinking and behavior at newspapers, publishing houses, technology companies and other corporations have confirmed Andrew Sullivan’s 2018 observation, “We all live on campus now.” When a problem becomes this widespread, the traditional American solution is to create new institutions. As we have seen, universities are relatively long-lived compared to companies and even nations. But not all great universities are ancient. Of today’s top 25 universities, according to the global rankings compiled by the London Times Higher Education Supplement, four were founded in the 20th century. Fully 14 were 19th-century foundations; four date back to the 18th century. Only Oxford (which can trace its origins to 1096) and Cambridge (1209) are medieval in origin.  As might be inferred from the large number (10) of today’s leading institutions founded in the U.S. between 1855 and 1900, new universities tend to be established when wealthy elites grow impatient with the existing ones and see no way of reforming them. The puzzle is why, despite the resurgence of inequality in the U.S. since the 1990s and the more or less simultaneous decline in standards at the existing universities, so few new ones have been created. Only a handful have been set up this century: University of California Merced (2005), Ave Maria University (2003) and Soka University of America (2001). Just five U.S. colleges founded in the past 50 years make it into the Times’s top 25 “Young Universities”: University of Alabama at Birmingham (founded 1969), University of Texas at Dallas (1969), George Mason (1957), University of Texas at San Antonio (1969) and Florida International (1969). Each is (or originated as) part of a state university system. In short, the beneficiaries of today’s gilded age seem altogether more tolerant of academic degeneration than their 19th-century predecessors. For whatever reason, many prefer to give their money to established universities, no matter how antithetical those institutions’ values have become to their own. This makes no sense, even if the principal motivation is to buy Ivy League spots for their offspring. Why would you pay to have your children indoctrinated with ideas you despise? So what should the university of the future look like? Clearly, there is no point in simply copying and pasting Harvard, Yale or Princeton and expecting a different outcome. Even if such an approach were affordable, it would be the wrong one. To begin with, a new institution can’t compete with the established brands when it comes to undergraduate programs. Young Americans and their counterparts elsewhere go to college as much for the high-prestige credentials and the peer networks as for the education. That’s why a new university can’t start by offering bachelors’ degrees. The University of Austin will therefore begin modestly, with a summer school offering “Forbidden Courses” — the kind of content and instruction no longer available at most established campuses, addressing the kind of provocative questions that often lead to cancelation or self-censorship. The next step will be a one-year master’s program in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. The primary purpose of conventional business programs is to credential large cohorts of passive learners with a lowest-common-denominator curriculum. The University of Austin’s program will aim to teach students classical principles of the market economy and then embed them in a network of successful technologists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and public-policy reformers. It will offer an introduction to the world of American technology similar to the introduction to the Chinese economy offered by the highly successful Schwarzman Scholars program, combining both academic pedagogy and practical experience. Later, there will be parallel programs in Politics and Applied History and in Education and Public Service. Only after these initial programs have been set up will we start offering a four-year liberal arts degree.  The first two years of study will consist of an intensive liberal arts curriculum, including the study of philosophy, literature, history, politics, economics, mathematics, the sciences and the fine arts. There will be Oxbridge-style instruction, with small tutorials and college-wide lectures, providing an in-depth and personalized learning experience with interdisciplinary breadth.   After two years of a comprehensive and rigorous liberal arts education, undergraduates will join one of four academic centers as junior fellows, pursuing disciplinary coursework, conducting hands-on research and gaining experience as interns. The initial centers will include one for entrepreneurship and leadership, one for politics and applied history, one for education and public service, and one for technology, engineering and mathematics. To those who argue that we could more easily do all this with some kind of internet platform, I would say that online learning is no substitute for learning on a campus, for reasons rooted in evolutionary psychology. We simply learn much better in relatively small groups in real time and space, not least because a good deal of what students learn in a well-functioning university comes from their informal discussions in the absence of professors. This explains the persistence of the university over a millennium, despite successive revolutions in information technology. To those who wonder how a new institution can avoid being captured by the illiberal-liberal establishment that now dominates higher education, I would answer that the governance structure of the institution will be designed to prevent that. The Chicago principles of freedom of expression will be enshrined in the founding charter. The founders will form a corporation or board of trustees that will be sovereign. Not only will the corporation appoint the president of the college; it will also have a final say over all appointments or promotions. There will be one unusual obligation on faculty members, besides the standard ones to teach and carry out research: to conduct the admissions process by means of an examination that they will set and grade. Admission will be based primarily on performance on the exam. That will avoid the corrupt rackets run by so many elite admissions offices today. As for our choice of location in the Texas capital, I would say that proximity to a highly regarded public university — albeit one where even the idea of establishing an institute to study liberty is now controversial — will ensure that the University of Austin has to compete at the highest level from the outset. My fellow founders and I have no illusions about the difficulty of the task ahead. We fully expect condemnation from the educational establishment and its media apologists. We shall regard all such attacks as vindication — the flak will be a sign that we are above the target. In our minds, there can be no more urgent task for a society than to ensure the health of its system of higher education. The American system today is broken in ways that pose a profound threat to the future strength and stability of the U.S. It is time to start fixing it. But the opportunity to do so in the classic American way — by creating something new, actually building rather than “building back” — is an inspiring and exciting one. To quote Haidt and Lukianoff: “A school that makes freedom of inquiry an essential part of its identity, selects students who show special promise as seekers of truth, orients and prepares those students for productive disagreement … would be inspiring to join, a joy to attend, and a blessing to society.” That is not the kind of institution satirized in “The Chair.” It is precisely the kind of institution we need today. *  *  * Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was previously a professor of history at Harvard, New York University and Oxford. He is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm. His latest book is "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe." Tyler Durden Wed, 11/10/2021 - 22:05.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 10th, 2021

It’s Time To Invest In “The Next Pot Stocks”

Today, I’m going to reveal what I call, “The Next Pot Stocks.” Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Next Pot Stocks This is a new class of stocks that provide the rare opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an investment craze… Just like pot stocks a few years ago. You […] Today, I’m going to reveal what I call, “The Next Pot Stocks.” 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); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The Next Pot Stocks This is a new class of stocks that provide the rare opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an investment craze… Just like pot stocks a few years ago. You probably remember that craze... when many companies in the marijuana business jumped 1,000%, 2,000%, even 3,000% in under three years. The Next Pot Stocks could provide investors with similar gains… and they could do it even faster. That’s because The Next Pot Stocks are solving a multitrillion-dollar problem. According to Our World in Data, 970 million people worldwide suffer from a mental health or substance abuse disorder. That’s 12.4% of all folks on earth. The Lancet Global Health is one of the most respected health journals in the world. It estimates that mental health problems cost $2 to $5 trillion per year. And Psychiatric Times says mental health issues will likely cost $16 trillion each year by 2030. That’s more than three-fourths the size of the entire US economy. Something must change. That’s where The Next Pot Stocks come in… Scientific evidence shows they can treat many devastating and costly mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and opioid addiction. And they can do it better, faster, and at a fraction of the cost of existing treatments. I’ll reveal what these stocks are in a minute. The Surge In Original Pot Stocks But let’s first look at why the original pot stocks shot off like a rocket… For decades, pot wasn’t just frowned upon socially: It was illegal… Even though scientists knew marijuana had legitimate medical uses—like treating pain and seizures. Today, pot is fully legal in 15 states and Washington D.C. Another 22 states have legalized it for medical use. That’s 37 states plus D.C. where folks can legally use marijuana. Simply put, pot stocks surged as pot was legalized. In less than seven months, The North American Marijuana Index jumped 241% as legalization in the massive California market became imminent. But the individual names soared even higher... Aurora Cannabis Inc (NASDAQ:ACB) shot up nearly 4,000% in just two and a half years. Source: Yahoo Finance Canopy Growth Corp (NASDAQ:CGC) jumped nearly as much in three years. Source: Yahoo Finance And GrowGeneration Corp (NASDAQ:GRWG) flew more than 1,500% in just two years. Source: Yahoo Finance I see the same thing happening with The Next Pot Stocks… The substances they’re dealing with have been frowned upon socially, and downright illegal, for decades. But that’s now changing. The social stigma is rapidly disappearing as more and more stories come out about these substances saving lives. Former NBA star Lamar Odom, for example, has well-documented substance abuse problems. He says these substances saved him from his drug addiction. Psychedelics Stocks If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about psychedelics stocks… Psychedelics are compounds like LSD, ecstasy (MDMA), and magic mushrooms (psilocybin). For decades, I’ve been reading about how psychedelics can treat problems like depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and drug addiction. And they can treat these issues more effectively, more safely, and with fewer side effects than the medicines currently on the market. Today, clinical trials are confirming this is true through real scientific evidence. World-renowned Johns Hopkins University launched The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research in September 2019 to study these compounds. One of their recent trials showed that psilocybin effectively treated depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer. Other clinical trials run by a nonprofit have shown that MDMA is a safe and effective way to treat PTSD in veterans. Most importantly, the US government is finally moving toward legalizing many psychedelics. For example, the Food and Drug Administration awarded the “breakthrough therapy designation” to a psilocybin drug being developed by COMPASS Pathways. The drug shows great promise in treating major depressive disorder. The “breakthrough therapy designation” is a rare and coveted prize for drug makers. It speeds up the development of a drug when evidence shows it could be a big improvement over available therapies. In short, evidence is piling up that psychedelics can help millions of people. It’s only a matter of time until we get a big wave of legalization—like we did with marijuana. That’s why psychedelics stocks are starting to appear on investors’ radars… For US investors, a psychedelics ETF has already started trading under the ticker PSY. A few of the psychedelics stocks that trade on major US exchanges are COMPASS Pathways PLC (NASDAQ:CMPS), Mind Medicine Inc (NASDAQ:MNMD), Seelos Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SEEL), and ATAI Life Sciences NV (NASDAQ:ATAI). It’s “early days” in psychedelics... and the odds are stacked in favor of patient investors who are ready to pounce when the perfect opportunity presents itself... As I mentioned, the situation reminds me of pot stocks three to four years ago. Legitimate scientific research is piling up that psychedelics are useful medically... And that they need not be harmful when used correctly, under medical supervision. The stigma around psychedelics is receding. And governments are slowly but surely starting to legalize certain ones. That’s why psychedelics stocks are one of the top ideas on my radar. The Great Disruptors: 3 Breakthrough Stocks Set to Double Your Money" Get our latest report where we reveal our three favorite stocks that will hand you 100% gains as they disrupt whole industries. Get your free copy here. Article By Chris Wood, Mauldin Economics Updated on Oct 4, 2021, 12:32 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 4th, 2021

Transcript: Hubert Joly

       The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Hubert Joly, Best Buy CEO, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   BARRY RITHOLTZ,… Read More The post Transcript: Hubert Joly appeared first on The Big Picture.        The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Hubert Joly, Best Buy CEO, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, I have an extra special guest. Hubert Joly is the man who helped turn around Best Buy when they were floundering about a decade ago. The stock has since returned 10X from when he joined as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He is the author of a fascinating new book, “The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism.” He’s really a fascinating guy, has an amazing background, both as a consultant for McKinsey and being on a number of different boards and running a number of different companies. Everybody who’s looked at his work always put him amongst the best CEOs, top 100 this, top 30 that, really just a tremendous, tremendous track record. And I had a fascinating time speaking with him. I think if you’re at all interested in anything involving leadership or the next era of capitalism or why the old-school Neutron Jack approach to just firing everybody and cutting costs away to restore profitability no longer works, you’re going to find this to be a fascinating conversation. So, with no further ado, my interview with Hubert Joly. VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: This week, my special guest is Hubert Joly. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy. He is currently the Senior Lecturer on Business at Harvard Business School. He is on the boards of directors at Johnson & Johnson and Ralph Lauren and has been named one of the top 100 CEOs by Harvard Business Review, one of the top 30 CEOs by Barron’s and one of the top 10 CEOs to work for in the U.S. by Glassdoor. Hubert Joly, welcome to Bloomberg. HUBERT JOLY, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School: Well, thank you, Barry, very much looking forward to our conversation. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s start with a little bit of your background, you’ve been the CEO of three major companies. Tell us about how that came about. Take us to the beginning or early days of your career. JOLY: Yes, Barry. I started my career with McKinsey & Company in France and then also in the U.S. Essentially, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, that, I thought, it’d be a great training ground and I ending up staying a dozen years at the firm, done a great deal and had wonderful opportunities to lead great companies. At first, I left McKinsey to lead a client that was EDS, Electronic Data Systems in France and I ended up doing a number of turnaround and transformations of companies in industry sectors that were challenged by technology. So, in videogames, in travel, and then, of course, ended up with Best Buy. And I’ve ended up working a variety of industry sectors and those specializations there and every move was a move that was based on — it was – there was somebody with whom I had developed relationship that played a critical role. And so, for example, when I left Vivendi Universal to become the CEO of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, the CEO of (inaudible), which was one of the two shareholders, had been a client of mine and where we have stayed friends. So, Barry, one of the key lessons is that try to minimize the number of people you annoy or irritate along the way and try to focus on doing a great job when you are and then I hope that God provides in the end, which is, I think, the lesson for me of my career. RITHOLTZ: So, I want to spend more time talking about your career. But I have to ask, how did you find yourself moving from France to the United States, what led to that and what was that transition like? Because every time I’m in Paris, I always end up saying to myself, God, I could live here. JOLY: Yes. Thank you for that, Barry. So, the first time I moved to the U.S. in 1985, I was with McKinsey & Company. I’d gone to school in France and there had been discussion of should I do an MBA in the U.S. and after a while, McKinsey said no, you really don’t need to do that. But if you want to spend time in the U.S., we’ll send you to one of our offices. So, I ended up in the San Francisco office, quite the years where the minors were at the top of their game, right? So, that — it’s quite fascinating. And then the last time I moved to the U.S. was in ’08, 2008, when I became the CEO of Carlson Companies. So, I moved there from Paris, France to Minneapolis, Minnesota. And I love France. I think it’s a great country. I love the U.S. What I love about the U.S. is that since Jefferson, we’ve been optimistic. It’s been the dream of a better life and it’s this optimism. Let me tell you, in France, you talk about a problem that has never been solved. People will say, well, who are you to talk about it. Nobody has been able to solve it, right. But in the U.S., if a problem has never been solved, immediately, your friends is like, this is interesting, let’s see whether we can solve it. I love this optimism in this great country and I’m now a dual citizen, Barry. RITHOLTZ: Very — really, really interesting. So, let’s talk a little bit about how one becomes a good CEO. Is it effectively on-the-job training or is it a function of your experience and ability that makes you a great leader? JOLY: Yes. There’s the myth that you’re born a leader. I think that every leader was born, of course, but none of us were born leaders and I think it’s a learning journey. And for me, it’s been — yes, I’m learning by doing, learning on the job, learning from great mentors. One thing I learned the most about — with McKinsey was watching my client’s lead and I learned so much from a number of them. Learning from colleagues, at Best Buy, I learned so much from the frontliners and some of our great executives and then our coach. So, let’s slow down here. Can we agree, Barry, that exactly 100% of the top 100 tennis players in the world have a coach. RITHOLTZ: Sure. JOLY: I think the same is true for all of the NFL teams, all of the Champions League teams. What about us executives, right? And so, it’s interesting that now, for CEOs and senior executives have coaches much more popular. But 10 or 15 years ago, not so much. And I’ve benefited enormously, my first coach was the inimitable Marshall Goldsmith. I’ve learned a ton from him. He helped me deal with feedback and focus on getting better and asking for advice. And without Marshall, I would not be – it is infomercial before and after picture, it’s most improved. RITHOLTZ: Marshall Goldsmith was where? Was that at McKinsey or? JOLY: It was — the first time I worked with Marshall was in 2009. I had just became the CEO of Carlson Companies and my head of HR, Elizabeth Bastoni, told me, would you like to work with a coach and my first reaction was, am I doing anything wrong, is everything wrong with this? He said, no, no. I know Marshall, he helps in a great deal get better. His clients are – were, at that time, Alan Mullally of Ford and Jim Kim of the World Bank. I said, that’s cool, I want to be a member of that club. And Marshall was so helpful because when I was getting feedback, you do a 360 and you hear the goods and then you hear the other parts and my reaction initially was, what’s wrong with them, right? What are they talking about? And Marshall helped me — and the way he helped was — so, I did the 360. He gave me first all of the good things that people have said and says, spend the time to swallow this, digest this. And then the next day, he gave me the other stuff and he said, here’s the scoop, you don’t need to do anything with it, right? There’s no god that says that you need to get better at any of these things but you can — but you get to decide what you want to work on and get better at, right? And think about, so, here’s a question that we could ask, right, think about things that you’d like to get better at, right, and if you cannot think about anything, try humility, right, as a potential area. And then what Marshall made me do is talk to my team and said, thank you very much for all of the feedback you’ve given me and then based on what you said, I’m going to start to work on three things, number one, number two, number three, and I’m going to follow up with each of you to ask you for advice on how I can get better at these three things and then a few months from now, I’ll follow up to see how I’m doing. Now, believe me, Barry, first time I did this, this was excruciating pain having to admit to my team that I was not perfect. They knew it. They knew I was not perfect but having to say it out loud and then I wanted to get better at something. But this getting better at something makes it very positive. And then — so, later on, when I joined Best Buy, I repeated that signaling to every one of the executives that it was OK to want to get better at something. And so, later on, everybody at Best Buy had a coach and we were all helping out each other on getting better at our job, which is what I think you need to do. So, coaching — executive coaching plays a key role in my life. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And I recall seeing Marshall Goldsmith’s name on a book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” and a quick Google search shows me that like you, he also is a professor. He teaches at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and has quite an impressive CV. But I want to stick with the concept of coaching and mentors, what did you learn at McKinsey who helped you when you were there sort of develop into the CEO that you are today? JOLY: Yes. So, there was — for me, there were two phases, Barry, at McKinsey that we serve, before the partnership and then the partnership. So, in my first say six years as an associate and then a manager, I learned a lot about problem-solving, communications, serving functional matters and so forth. So, I could say I learned a bunch of technical skills. But when I became a partner, the opportunity I got was sit down next to the CEO of the clients, watch them do their thing and listen and learn from them and that makes me — I got a great deal, right, because they were paying us and I was learning from them, right? Couldn’t get a better deal than that. And so, I will always remember, there was a client in, Jean-Marie Descarpentries was the CEO of a computer company Honeywell Bull and this is the guy who told me that the purpose of the company is not to make money, right? It’s an outcome, right? In business, you have three imperatives. You have the people imperative, which are the right teams. We have the business imperatives, which are the customers or clients and then great products and services. And then there’s a financial imperative and, of course, you have to understand that excellence on the financial imperative is the result of excellence on the business imperative, which itself is the result of excellence on the people imperative. So, it’s people, business, finance and finance is an outcome. And by the way, it’s not the ultimate goal because if you think about a company as a human organization, a bunch of people working together, they’re probably in there to create something in the world, right, and we can dig into this but that was — and believe me that was 30 years before the BRT statement of 2019 that we said we need (ph) in August the second anniversary. And so then, it was — the practical implications around this is that when you do your monthly review with your team, start with people and organization. Don’t start with financial results. If you should start with financial result, you’re going to spend your entire time on financials and you want to understand what’s driving these results whereas if you start with people and organization, you have a chance to spend time on that, then business, customers, products and then the CFO will make sure that you’ll spend enough time on the financial results. So, for me, that was a game changer and I applied this throughout my career and you could say whether it was in videogames or in travel or hospitality or in Best Buy, this focus on people first and treating profit as an outcome was a big driver performance. And this has not smoked anything illegal when I say this, Barry. As you know, the share price of Best Buy went from beyond low, it was $11. Recently, it’s been between 110 and 120. So, time spent in nine years, that’s not bad. Maybe you could have done better, Barry, but it’s OK, I think. RITHOLTZ: No. I don’t think I could have done better than 10X and PES no longer illegal in New York. So, you could smoke whatever you like. We’re going to — by the way, those three steps that you just mentioned are right from the book and we’re going to talk a little more about the book in a few minutes. But before we get to that, I have one last question to ask you which has to do with the fact that Best Buy, you mentioned it’s up 10X, it’s a publicly-traded company. Before you were at Best Buy, you are also at a giant company but it was privately held. Tell us a little bit about what that transition was like having to answer to shareholders and Wall Street. How did you manage that? Very different experience from everybody I’ve spoken with over the years. JOLY: Yes. Barry, so, I’ve worked in a public company, Best Buy. I’ve worked in a family-owned company, this was Carlson Companies. I’ve worked in a partially private equity-owned company, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, one equity partner of JPMorgan with 45 different shareholders and frankly, I think it’s pretty much all the same. You have shareholders whether they are large entities like Fidelity or Wellington or it’s a private equity player or it’s a family, they have expectations and needs and, by the way, all of them are human beings, right, by the way and that’s focused on the high-intensity trading that all the longs and all the shorts, they are human beings, and I’ve had – even though I say profit is an outcome and is not the ultimate goal, shareholders, even in stakeholder capitalism, are very important stakeholders. They’re taking care of our retirement. So, we love them for that. And so, when I was a CEO of Best Buy, I so enjoyed spending time with our shareholders sharing with them what we’re doing, answering their questions, they’re smart. It was always taking things away and the key was pay attention, listen and then pay attention to the say/do ratio. Best Buy had lost its credibility because they were saying a lot but not doing much, right? So, with my wonderful CFO sharing the column with me, we’re going to say less and do more and that’s how we’re going to build our credibility and we would be very transparent, share our situation, the opportunities we saw, what we’re going to do, and then we update them in our progress. And so, I really enjoy the competition. But in many ways, Barry, I think public, private equity or a family is largely the same. It’s people, we have to respect them and take care of their needs. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Hubert Joly. He is the former Chairman and Chief Executive at Best Buy, a company that he helped turn around over the course of his tenure there. Let’s talk a little bit about that. If you would have asked me a decade ago what the future look like for Best Buy, I would have said they were toast that Amazon was going to eat their lunch and they were heading to the garbage pile. Tell us what the key was to turning the company around so successfully. JOLY: You’re, right. Everybody thought we’re going to die. There was zero buy recommendation on the start in 2012 and what I found as I was examining the opportunity to become the CEO because my first reaction when I was approached was this is crazy, right? This is the same reaction as you described. But what I found is that there was nothing wrong with the markets or the business outside. All of the problems were self-inflicted. In fact, the customers needed Best Buy because we needed a place where to see and touch and feel the products and ask questions. And the vendors ultimately needed Best Buy. They needed a place where to showcase their products, the fruit of their billions of dollars of R&D investments. The problems were self-inflicted. Prices were not competitive. The online shopping experience was terrible. Speed of shipping was bad. The customer experiences in the stores have deteriorated. The cost structure was bloated and, and, and. That’s great news because if a problem is self-inflicted, you can fix it. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: And so the first phase was all about fixing what was broken and the advice I had been getting, Barry, was cut, cut, cut. We’re going to have to close stores, cut headcounts. We did the opposite. All of the stores were profitable. So, frankly, there was no point of closing stores in a significant fashion. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: It was very — the first phase was a very people centric approach, listening to the frontliners. My first week on the job, I spent it in the store in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I think in France, we would say St. Cloud but over there it’s St. Cloud so there you go. And really listening to the frontliners, they had all of the answers about what needed to be done. And so, my job was pretty easy, it was do what they have to — what they said we needed to do like fix the website, make sure the prices were competitive and so forth. The second on the people centric approach, build the right team at the top and then instead of focusing on headcount reduction, focus on growing the top line by meeting the customer needs and fixing what was broken in the customer experience and treating headcount reduction really as a last resort. And then focus on mobilizing the team on what we need to do for the customers. That sounds soft but that was our opportunity and that’s what we need to do in the first two or three or four years. And then once we have saved the company, it was about how do we — where do we go from here, how — what kind of company do we want to build for the future. And that’s why we focused on designing our purpose as a company. We said we’re actually not a consumer electronics retailer. We are a company in the business of enriching life through technology by addressing key human needs, which we’ll talk more about this. But this was transported because it’s expanded our addressable market and have to mobilize everybody. And as a company, we have to work on making this come to life in all of our activities and really creating an environment where – I think the summary at that time was we unleashed human magic. We had a hundred thousand people plus, I think spring in their step, connecting would drive them in life with their job and doing magical things for customers. And frankly, Barry, I learned so much along the way and, again, all of this sound soft but go back to — we went from $11 to 110 or 120. That was the key. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. So, let’s talk a little bit about what you guys had done in the physical stores. The big threat to Best Buy was people showrooming, meaning showing up to look it up products and then buying it for a little cheaper at Amazon. How did you — and this is the line from the book, quote, “How did you kill showrooming and turned it into showcasing?” unquote. JOLY: Yes. So, everybody was talking about showrooming at that time. The frequenct was not that high actually but of course, it was incredibly frustrating for the blue shirt associates in our store to spend time with you, Barry, we love you but we spent 30 minutes with you answering all of your questions about the TV and then you buy it online. So, after 30 days at the company, we actually decided that we were going to take price off the table by lining up places with Amazon and giving the blue shirts the authority on the spot to match Amazon prices. And so, I took price off the table … RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: … and the customers, once they were in our stores, they were ours to lose. RITHOLTZ: Right. When you want to drive home with the TV in the back of the car instead of waiting a couple of days from it to come from Amazon, immediate gratification has to be a huge benefit you guys have as the physical store. JOLY: Exactly. And then, yes, of course, the (inaudible) but you’re still going to die because your cost structure is too high, it’s higher than Amazon or Walmart. So, we did take $2 billion of cost out. RITHOLTZ: Wow. JOLY: But the way we won in the end was we just had aha moment of, as I said, showcasing. If you are a Samsung or HP or Amazon and Google products, you need a place where to showcase your products, right, because you spend billions of dollars on R&D and if it’s just I’d say vignette on a website or box on a shelf, you’re not going to excite the customers. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: You need a place where to showcase your products. And so, we did deals. The first one was with Samsung where we had a meeting in December of 2012, Barry. J.K. Shin, the then CEO of Samsung Electronics came to visit us in Minneapolis in December of 2012 and over dinner, we did a deal where in a matter of months, you would have 1,000 Samsung stores within our stores where you could showcase these products. It was just across the aisle from — we already had an Apple store within the store and it was good for the customers because they could see the products, they could compare with Apple. It was good for Samsung, right, because the alternative for them first was to build 1,000 stores in the U.S., it takes time, it’s difficult, and. of course, we have this great location and great traffic. And good for us because it was part of our OPM strategy, other people’s money strategy, right, because there were some good economics for us. And so, that allowed us to offset the cost advantage in Walmart or Amazon we have and then over time, we did deal with all of the world’s foremost almost tech companies, including Amazon for crying out loud, and that was the game changer. And we look — if you look at our stores today, they are shiny because — we have all of these shiny objects and you can see and experience all of these products. So, that was really a game changer. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about both Samsung and Amazon. First, I’m always surprised that people don’t realize what a giant product company Samsung is. It’s not just phones but it’s phones, its TVs, it’s washers, dryers. I mean, Samsung basically anything in your house is a product that Samsung makes and not just entry-level washer, dryers or refrigerators. I think was it last year or two years ago, they bought Dacor, which is like a subzero, high-end manufacturer of kitchen appliances. So, when you set up the store within a store with Samsung, tell us about what that did and how did that impact Samsung’s sales at Best Buys? JOLY: Sure. Yes. I mean, you’re right to highlight this great company. The first deal we did with them was focused on phones and tablets and cameras. So, in a matter of months, they had these stores within our stores and it really put them on the map. It is I think — if you go back to the ’90s, Samsung was not the same company. They were really low end and the chairman at that time, so, the father of the current — of J.Y. Lee now, came to the U.S. and said, at some point, I want Best Buy to carry us and it would be the ultimate goal. And now, they’re one of our top five vendors, probably better than top five. And so, it really gives them the physical presence and to prove that it’s worth for them was then we did the same in the TV department and then in the appliance department. So, it’s been a series of wins for them. And once we have announced the deal with Samsung, other — we had similar conversation with Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, we had a conversation at CES and then two months later, we did the Microsoft stores within Best Buy and then it went on and on. And Tim Cook at Apple told me that he didn’t really like what we were doing, he understood it but he didn’t really like it and Apple has been a very important vendor to Best Buy. So, what we decided to do with them is do more. And so, it was stronger partnership. So, Best Buy is not simply carrying products and partners with the world’s foremost tech companies and with some of these companies and partners on product development, new product introduction and because there’s so much innovation that drives the business, it’s a critical role we play. We also partner in service, Best Buy sells AppleCare, an authorized Apple service provider. So, these partnerships really changed the game. And in the U.S., I think it’s not arrogant to say that Best Buy is the only player which these large companies can do these meaningful deals. So, it really changed the trajectory. RITHOLTZ: I have to ask you about the Geek Squad. Whose idea was that and how significant is it to the company? JOLY: Sure. Robert Stephens was a student at the University of Minnesota, was the — is the founder of Geek Squad in 1994. Very creative guy. The name itself is good — is cool, the logo and so forth, and then Best Buy acquired the company in 2002 when it was quite — still quite small and now, of course, it’s become really big, it’s 20,000 employees. And it’s the key elements of Best Buy’s differentiation because Best Buy is not just in the business of selling you something. We’re — our target customer — people who are excited about technology need technology but also need help with it. And so, with the Geek Squad and the blue shirts, we’re able to advise you when you’re looking at what to do but also help you implement in your home, helps you figure out if something is not working across, right? Of course, let’s take an example. If Netflix is not working tonight at your house, Barry, is it because of Netflix, is it piping to the home, is it the router, is it the streaming device, is it the TV, honey, what is it, right? And we’re honey, right, and we’re going to be able to help you across all of these vendors. And so, that’s a big differentiator for the company. So, really genius. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Hubert Joly. His new book is called, “The Heart of Business.” Let’s talk a little bit about writing a book which is quite an endeavor. What motivated you to sit down and say, sure, I’ll write a book? JOLY: Well, this is not a traditional field book. So, this is not a memoir. This is not about the story of the Best Buy turnaround per se. It was reflection, Barry, and it’s really been something I’ve been thinking about for the last 30 years that so much of what I’ve learned at business school, what McKinsey or the early years of my career is wrong, dated or incomplete. And when sit back today or in the last couple of years, even though I’m the eternal (ph) optimist, I have to say it out loud, the world as we know it is not working, right? We’re in this multifaceted crisis, you have, of course, the health crisis and economic crisis, suicidal issues, racial issues, environmental problems, geopolitical tension, it simply is not working. And what’s the definition of madness, right? It’s doing the same thing and hoping for different outcome. And for me, on my FBI’s most wanted list, is two people. One is Milton Friedman, shareholder primacy, and two is Bob McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense and executive at Ford who’s the — almost the inventor top-down scientific management. These approaches don’t work and I think they got us in trouble and there’s a growing number of us, right, and certainly, I’m not the only one, who believe that there’s a better formula that business can be a force for good that — it’s the idea that business should pursue a noble purpose and take care of all of the stakeholders that you put people at the center. You embrace all stakeholders in some kind of declaration of future dependents. There’s no need to choose between employees and customers and shareholders. It’s by taking care of customers and employees and the community that generate great returns for shareholders. We treat profit as an outcome and this formula, people call it stakeholder capitalism or purposeful leadership, I think everybody now talks about it and embrace it, most people. There’s still a few who don’t agree. But the challenge then is how do you do this, how do you make this happen and, Barry, I felt that with my experience and the credibility of the Best Buy turnaround, I could add my voice and my energy to call this necessary foundation of business and capitalism around purpose and humanity and provide like a guide for any leader at any level frankly who is keen to move in that direction but like the rest of us, we would help. And so, that was the genesis of the book and the subtitle of the book is leadership principles, right, for the next era of capitalism and the book is full of very concrete examples and stories and illustrations. There’s questions at the end of each chapter that people can use to reflect and act at their company. So, that’s the book. RITHOLTZ: Speaking of the book, it got a terrific review from all — of all people, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. How did that come about, how did Bezos give you a review and what’s the relationship like between Best Buy and Amazon these days? JOLY: Sure. Best Buys has always sold Amazon products because we think about Amazon as the retailer, of course, as a cloud company but Amazon is also a product company, right? They have the Kindle and, of course, all of their Echo products. And Best Buy have always sold Amazon’s products in the stores. Other retailers say it otherwise but we felt these were great products and we’re here to serve customers. I got to know Jeff firstly through the business council. Both of us were members there on the executive committee and once, I was invited to discuss our turnaround and how we had approached that transformation and Jeff was in the first row and being very kind. But then we did this significant partnership where I think it was in 2018. Amazon gave Best Buy exclusive rights to Fire TV platform, which is their smart TV platform, to be embedded into smart TVs. So, any smart TV with the Fire TV embedded in it, Best Buy is going to control that. It’s only going to be sold at Best Buy or by Best Buy and Amazon. And when we did the announcement for this deal, we did it in a store in Beverly, Washington, and Jeff came and we had some media there and Jeff said, TV is a considerate purchase. You got to see the TV. Best Buy is the best place in the world we you can do this. That’s why we’re doing the partnership and we built this stress-based relationship. And, of course, the media was — this was a jaw-dropping moment and Jeff is a very generous man. It’s interesting because it raises another question which is how do you think about competition. As you lead a company, do you obsess about competition or do you obsess about your customers and what you can become. And that’s one of the things that Jeff and and I share which is you obsess about your customers and becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Of course, at Best Buy, we look at Amazon. We wanted to — actually, in the sense, we neutralize them, right, because same prices, same great shopping experience and we ship as fast as they do. So, let’s call it a draw on the online business and then we have unique asset. And so, you’re not obsessed about your competition. In fact, in some cases, you partner with them and I think the world — other than the COVID pandemic, there’s another pandemic in the world which is the fear or the obsession about zero-sum games. The only way that Amazon could win is if Best Buy loses or vice versa. The only way this podcast can be successful, Barry, is if you win and I lose. That’s crazy, right? You get to collaborate and create great outcomes and I think in this world as leaders, we have to think about how we can create when win, win, win outcomes for our customers, our employees, our vendors, the community and ultimately, their shareholders. RITHOLTZ: And to put some flesh on those bones, some numbers on it, in 2007, before the financial crisis, Best Buy had done about $35 billion in revenue. In 2020, they were somewhere in the neighborhood of 47 billion and this year, I think the company is looking for an excess of 50 billion. So, clearly, that’s been heading in the right direction. Let’s talk a little bit about your experience on other boards. You’re in the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson and you’re on the board of directors at Ralph Lauren. What have you learned from those firms that were applicable to Best Buy and what do you bring to the table for those companies? JOLY: Yes. So, I joined — the first board I joined was Ralph Lauren in 2009 and I was the CEO of Carlson Companies, which was Carlson Wagonlit Travel, TGI Fridays and then a bunch of hotels, Regent and Radisson. The reason why I was interested in joining another board was to try to become a better CEO in the relationship with my board and sitting on somebody else’s board, you can see the needs of the board and then you can see how the CEO and their team are dealing with you. So, that was a great experience because when you become CEO and you deal with the board, you have zero experience, right, dealing with the board. So, that’s one of the things you learn on the job. So, that was a great way for me to learn. And these two companies, J&J and Ralph Lauren, they’re two amazing companies. J&J, I joined recently. I joined about 18 months ago. And so, watching Alex Gorsky and his team navigate the pandemic, their Credo-based approach. I mean, they’re the inventor of stakeholder capitalism before (inaudible), right, with their Credo that they created in 1943 that’s focused on all of the stakeholders. They’re one of the most innovative companies. So, they show the value of doing meaningful innovation for the benefit of, in their case, their patients. This is a wonderful entrepreneur. The company was founded in ’67 and it’s a great company, one of the most iconic brands on the planet. So, how do drive this and how do you balance left brain and right brain and, of course, enjoying cooperating with Patrice Louvet, the CEO, who is a terrific guy. And so, learning — I’m like a sponge, I love learning (ph) from others. What I bring, I would frame it along the lines of what I was looking for my board to do when I was CEO and I was not looking for the board to give me all of the answers and do my job, right? But I use the board — I wanted — I build a board that would give me complementary skills. So, I wanted to have the best people on the board that would have skills that would be additive to our management team and use the board as a sounding board to — I would get 80 percent of the value of the board meeting in preparation to the board meeting. And then getting reaction at the sounding board. When you are in the weed, sometimes, you’re missing something and then being able to access unique expertise from my board. So, what I try to bring on these boards is I try to be a resource for the management team, a sounding board, and helping them with their most important issues. I really enjoyed that. I’m in the state now where I started a new chapter as you highlighted, I’m no longer a CEO but it’s a matter of giving back and helping the next generation of leaders be the — become the best version of themselves they can be. So, I do that through boards and through executive education at Harvard Business School, also coach and mentor of a number of CEOs and executives. So, it’s — I just love doing that. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about what you’re doing now. Tell us about the class you’re teaching at Harvard. JOLY: So, on Monday, August 30th, that is the first day of school for the incoming MBA class. So, I’m one of the professors in the first year. I teach marketing, which is about — it’s focused really on how do you grow a company focusing on the customers. So, that’s one of the things I do. I’m also part of the faculty that’s — as a program for new CEOs. So, twice per year with a small bunch of new CEOs, I did this when I became CEO, that come here for three days and we try to help them out. I’m also part of the faculty that’s doing a program called Leading Global Businesses and last but not the least, I’m really passionate about this, we’re designing and we’re going to pilot program for companies and then also in the MBA program called Putting Purpose to Work and Unleashing Human Magic. So, many companies on this purpose journey today. And so, there’s going to be a series of workshops for the top 30 people, custom programs, one company at a time, and we’re going to try to support them in their journey. We’re doing our first pilot this fall and to look forward to learning from that experience. And I think we’re just in the early innings of that new era of capitalism. So, so much to learn. I’m super excited to be part of that journey with a number of companies. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. I have to ask you the obvious question, is your book a book you assigned to your students? What do you have them read? JOLY: So, HBS is a school where there’s really not, for the most part, mandatory reading of any books. So, I know that last year, before the book was established, my wonderful Section E from the MBA program, they all got a copy of the manuscript and they had great conversations, too. Sometimes, the book gets distributed to the participants of the executive education programs. But in the MBA, there’s little mandatory reading. It’s all about, as you know, the case study methodology, which is a wonderful way to learn because it’s hard to learn just from reading. Reading, I mean, I encourage people to read the books for sure but it’s by practicing that you really learned, right? So, that’s the HBS way. RITHOLTZ: To say the very least. And one of the things that Bezos specifically mentioned was that he thought your turnarounds at Best Buy was going on eventually become a Harvard Business School case study. What are your thoughts on that? JOLY: Well, we’re actually working on that with Professor Gupta and it’s going to be taught for the first time. This is going to be fun, right? It’s going to be the last case of the marketing class in December. And so, of course, in my section, it’s going to be ironic. I’m going to be Professor Joly and I’m going to be one of the protagonists. There’s been other cases on Best Buy but this one is going to be much on the turnaround and transformation. So, that’s going to be fun. I’ve also taught it — we’ve also taught it in some of the executive education programs. So, Jeff – I know Jeff is right, there’s a Best Buy case now at Harvard Business School. RITHOLTZ: Really, really quite interesting. So, you mentioned purposeful leadership. Let’s delve into that a little bit. How does one become a purposeful leader who’s focused on creating the sort of environment where others can flourish and perform at their best? JOLY: Yes. This is, for me, such an important information and I grew up believing that as the leader, what was important was to be smart, right, where I went to school and to — some of the best schools and in the early years of my career, this is the left brain would highlight being the smartest person in the room. I’ve learned over the years that this is not what drives great outcome over time. I had an entire reflection and we slowed down. One of the things that is important to do is reflect on why do we work. Is work markedly a mixed reputation, right? We work — is work a punishment because some dude send in paradise, right, or is work something we do so that we can do something else that’s more fun or is work part of our fulfillment as a human being, part of our quest for meaning, right, to talk about Victor Frankl. And one of the things that I really invite myself to do and every leader to do is reflect on this. What’s going to be the meaning of my life professionally? How do I want to be remembered? One of the things we ask the CEOs to do in the CEO program in Harvard is write your retirement speech or with my wife when I — when we coach or mentor CEOs, we ask them to write their eulogy. What would you like other people to say on that day when you’re not here to listen? And I think this is so meaningful because people talk about the purpose of the corporation. I think it starts with our individual purpose, right, because motivation is intrinsic, right? And so, how can you lead others if you cannot lead your life and yourself? For me, that’s the beginning. And very practical, one of the turning points in our journey at Best buy, Barry, was every quarter, we would get together as an executive team for an offsite and one day, I asked every one of the executive team members to come to the offsite with a picture of themselves when they were little, maybe two or three years old. We got some really cute pictures, Barry, I can tell you that and over dinner, we spent the evening sharing with each other our life story and what drives us in life, what’s the meaning of our life. And what came out of that discussion, several things, one is we realized that all of us were human beings, not just a CFO or CMO or CHO, and that, with a couple of exceptions, all of us had the same kind of goals in life, which is it is the golden rule, do something good to other people. And that was transformational because we said, well, we’re the executive team of Best Buy. At that time, Best Buy — we had saved Best Buy and it was — where do we go from here? Why don’t we use Best Buy as a platform to do something good in the world and become a company that customers are going to love, employees are going to love, community is going to love and, of course, shareholders are going to continue to love. And so, there’s a similar idea in my mind which is connecting what drives us as individuals with the purpose of the company and the thing for companies that are embarked on the purpose journey, they write down their purpose but if they just try to cascade it down and communicate it to everybody and say, why don’t you — why aren’t you excited about this new purpose, right, it doesn’t work. We really have to start with what drives every individual and the company and then you realize that, yes, what is your role. So, in the book, I talked about the five Bs of purposeful leadership. The first B is be clear about your — what we are talking about, be clear about your own purpose, be clear about the purpose of people around you and how it connects with what you’re doing at the company. The second one is be clear about your role as a leader. It’s not to be the smartest person in the room but to create the environment in which others can be the best version of themselves. And, of course, if you’re leading a significant company and Best buy has more than 100,000 people, the only thing that happens is the thing that you decide that you come up with, you know it’s going to go far, right? So, it’s all about creating this environment which is significant mind shift. It’s also about — yes, Barry? RITHOLTZ: I was going to say, I’m struck by your comments and this comes through the book about showing vulnerability, inspiring people, embracing your humanity. I think back to the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, whose nickname was Neutron Jack for how frequently he would lay off people and close divisions and fire other executives. When you were putting your philosophy to work at Best Buy, were you aware that this is a radical break from what had come before you? JOLY: Yes. And to quote — so, to go back to France in 1789, at the moment of the Storming of Bastille, there is Louis XVI asked La Rochefoucauld, is this a revolt, and La Rochefoucauld’s response says, no, sire, this is a revolution. And I think that’s what it is and it’s really shifting things. People are not the problem. They’re the source and they’re also the ultimate goal. And I think that most people agree with this, Barry, the challenge is not agreeing with this now, I think it’s really doing it and it’s — I can speak from experience. If you were to look at my face, you would see all of these scars on my face. Learning from experience and trying to get better at this is a lifelong journey of learning to be vulnerable. I was raised — being taught that I — you couldn’t say I don’t know and now, in the world we live, did you have a manual for the COVID pandemic, did you have a manual for back-to-the-office, Barry? No. So, it’s clear that we don’t know. So, we have to be able to say my name is Hubert and I need help and we’re going to work together to figure it out. So, there’s a C change in leadership, meaning from a place of purpose and with humanity and a great deal of humility. RITHOLTZ: So, I want to talk about the pandemic in a moment. I want to stick with this revolution that you mentioned. There’s a quote from the book that I really like, quote, “The Milton Friedman version of capitalism got us here. But now, this model is failing.” Explain to us how it got us here, why it’s failing now and what comes next. JOLY: I used this to highlight the idea which mainly has been Milton Friedman’s, only I get was the context when he spoke. But the obsession with profits being the only thing that matters is proven to be poisonous and excessive focus on profit is poisonous and there’s several reasons for this. One is when we look at the reported profit of the company — by the way, if anybody believes that U.S. GAAP really tries to equate economic performance, study your accounting again, it’s not even trying, it’s a set of principles. There’s many things that GAAP profit does not capture, including your negative impact on the environment or how well your sales force is trained. The other thing is that it focuses on an outcome. So, in medicine, the (inaudible) analogous is my MD was focused on my temperature, right, and I don’t want a doctor that’s purely focused on my temperature because maybe he’s going to put the thermometer in the fridge or in the oven, right, depending. I want somebody who’s going to be interested in what’s driving my health and try to help me get healthy. And so, we got confused by this obsession and that was (inaudible) and, of course, there’s extreme cases. Enron is one of them but — where we lost track of why we’re on this planet and responsibility with doing the right thing. So, this new model, the reinvention of business probably going back to some of our roots, right, with the idea that business is here to purse enabled (ph) purpose. And this is not about socialism, this is about doing something good in the world that could be responding to needs of customers in a way that’s responsible. It’s about putting people at the center embracing all of the stakeholders in a harmonious fashion, refusing zero-sum games and treating profit as an outcome. I think that’s the formula that’s employed by some of the best companies on the planet. And as leaders, we need to go back to that and to learn new things because we’re so influenced by some of the techniques we learned last century, including this top-down management approach and using it extensively. So, that’s something you’re going to learn over time. There’s research by the MIT that shows that financial incentive deteriorates performance, which is the opposite of what we’ve learned, right? But if you feed somebody with carrots and sticks, beware because you’re going to get a donkey, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: And in a world where you need creativity and people to be their best, motivation is going to be intrinsic. So, that’s what you need to be able to touch and get to the environment where people want to be their best and make a meaningful contribution in their work. So, I think this is a very exciting phase. This is an urgent phase because I’m concerned probably like you and many others that we have a few ticking timebombs and I have three wonderful granddaughters. I want to do my best to try to, quote-unquote, “make the planet” be a better world, right, than the current trajectory. RITHOLTZ: And this is very consistent, I have a fuller understanding of your philosophy that profit should be an outcome and not just the goal in and of itself. You’ve really put some meat on those bones. JOLY: Yes. Thank you, Barry, and there’s practical implications of that again and starting your monthly business meetings or even your board meetings with people and organization and then customers and business and then basically (ph) with with financial results. You should take care of the first two, the profits will follow. So, it’s a significant practical and philosophical transformation. Talking about quotes here, we quoted Milton Friedman, but I love this quote from the Lebanese prophet, Kahlil Gibran, who said that work is love made visible. RITHOLTZ: That’s a wonderful quote. And let’s talk a little bit about visibility of some of the changes you did. By the time you stepped down from the board of directors in June of last year, Best Buy’s board of 13 directors had, for the first time ever, a majority of women and three African-American directors. Tell us how you brought about this increase of diversity. What about diversity throughout the rest of the company and what was the impact of so much inclusion and a shift away from the older homogenous types of boards? JOLY: I think, Barry, it’s clear for every one of us today that having diversity is going to get to a better business outcome and I do believe that has there been Lehman brothers and sisters instead of Lehman brothers, we would have had a different outcome. But if you also take it a very practical fashion, in one of our stores in Chicago that’s in the Polish neighborhood, if the blue shirts don’t speak Polish, they’re not going to sell much. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: Or when we had Brazilian tourists in Orlando, the blue shirts didn’t speak Portuguese, they were not going to sell much. So, having diversity of every dimension, talent, skills, profiles, gender, race, the country’s color is changing very rapidly, it’s becoming black and brown, we have to represent — it’s very simple, we have to represent the diversity of the customers we serve. If we don’t, bad things happen. And so, there’s a business imperative, there’s also a moral imperative when we see the state of the country. So, from a gender standpoint, as I said, I have three granddaughters, I want them to have the best opportunities, and why would it make sense to only recruit from a quarter of the population, right? RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: The board’s — I’ll say the board’s composition was a great place to focus now. It’s not the only one. When we rebuilt the board study in 2013, we want to have the best skills. We were determined to be diverse. So, we had an early focus on gender diversity and when I started to focus more on ethnic diversity, probably starting in 2016, 2017, I met — I had a great meeting with Mellody Hobson of Ariel Investments and … RITHOLTZ: Sure. JOLY: … she’s now the Chair of Starbucks, everyone knows Mellody, she’s amazing, one of the things she told me is that people cannot be who they cannot see. And so, starting at the top and having a board that would signal the direction was important. So, what’s really — and changing the composition of the board is not that hard with only 10 or 12 or 13 people, how hard can it be? So, we told the headhunter don’t bother giving us resumes of non-black directors, right, and if you believe that you are unable to find great black candidates, well, say that’s OK, we won’t have a problem with that. We’ll just work with another firm. It’s not a problem. And so, we recruited three amazing directors and we got them on the board that they’ve concluded (ph) in this direction and I think it makes a huge difference. And, of course, Best Buy is headquartered in Minneapolis and following the killing — the murder of George Floyd, it’s pretty simple, if you — if the city is on fire, right, if the community is on fire, you just can’t open stores, right? You can’t run a business. RITHOLTZ: Right. JOLY: So, in this country, we have this big racial issue that has been going on for centuries. I think generation has the opportunity to end systemic racism and that’s something we, I think, business can play a big role in this. So, that was determined and that’s what we did. RITHOLTZ: Let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all our guest starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days, give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime, what’s keeping you entertained during the pandemic? JOLY: I have so much electronic equipment in our place that I’m doing a lot of streaming. I love — I always listen to music. I’m a movie buff. I have a collection of probably 800 movies on my (inaudible) setup. Our favorite I would say recently has been “Good Doctor.” I think that’s Season 5, it’s starting at the end of September. We’re very excited about this. And then from a podcast standpoint, I like listening to HBR’s Idea Cast. That’s a weekly – a great weekly podcast. Whitney Johnson has a great leadership podcast called “Disrupt Yourself.” And then I have to mention, there’s a young teenager, well, teenager would be young anyway, right, but let’s call him a teenager, Logan Lin has got a FinanZe podcast that focused on the Z generation. My God, the guy is so cool. So, everybody joins and downloads FinanZe spelled F-I-N-A-N-Z-E and that’s Logan Lin. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. We hinted at some of your mentors but let’s jump into that in more depth. Tell us some of the people who helped to shape your career. JOLY: There’s so many, Barry. Jean-Marie Descarpentries, a client of mine, had this big influence on me teaching me so much about how to put people first and treating profits as an outcome. There were two great friends, yes, who happened to be monks in a religious congregation in the early ’90s. That was a turning point. They asked me to write a couple of articles with them on the theology and philosophy of work which is where I got a lot of my roots in terms of work as part of our search for meaning as individuals, as human beings. It changed my perspective on work. Another turning point, too, in my early 40s, you could say throughout the book, it was at the top of my first mountain, right, had been a partner at McKinsey & Company. I was on the executive team of Vivendi Universal, by many measures., I’ve been successful, right, except I think the top of that first mountain was very dry which was not fulfilling. There was no real meaning. So, I call it my midlife crisis, right? So, instead of going on to an island, I did — I stepped back and I did the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. So, you could say the founder of the Jesuits, of course. You could say he was one of my mentors that was really helpful to help me discern my calling in life, which today or since then has been to try to make a positive difference on people around me and use the platform I have to make a positive difference in the world which is what I’m doing now teaching and mentoring and so forth. And then we mentioned Marshall Goldsmith, my first coach and a good friend. Later on, I also worked with Eric Pliner at YSC. When the board — so, Marshall was doing my annual — having that board with my annual evaluation and the board realized that Marshall and I were such good friends and said, we need somebody more objective now. And we got Eric Pliner, who is now the CEO of YSC, worked with me but also his firm works with every one of our executives and helps us with executive team’s effectiveness and that was quite transformative. You should have spent more time earlier on not just on building the right team but enhancing our team effectiveness and I learned a lot working with Eric in that journey. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about everybody’s favorite question, tell us about some of your favorite books and what are you reading right now. JOLY: I read three books this summer. The first one is by Rakesh Khurana who’s now the President of Harvard College and it’s called “From Higher Aims to Hired Hands” which is the history — exactly for me, the history of business education in the U.S. over the last 120 years and how the business school curriculum were saved and how — and why he believes and I do believe as well that we need to evolve it not just learning techniques but also with — it’s not just about learning something or learning to do something, it’s also learning to be, which is I think an entire journey. I also read “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson and a book by my colleague, Tsedal Neeley, “Remote Work Revolution” which is, of course, a very timely book. Best book ever read, I have to mention Marcel Proust being French, “In Search of Lost Time.” It’s only 3,000 pages. So, if you have a minute or two, I encourage you to get to it. Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is another favorite. And you mentioned the Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” And finally, I have to mention my wife’s book called “Aligned: Becoming the Leader You’re Meant To Be” and her name is Hortense Le Gentil. It’s one of the best leadership books that I’ve ever read and, of course, a little bias maybe. RITHOLTZ: Maybe you’re a little bit bias. So, you work with grad students and college students, what sort of advice would you give to a recent college graduate who is interested in a career either as an executive or leadership or even in retail? JOLY: I think the advice is the same as we give the new CEOs is write your retirement speech or even better, write your eulogy. And I know my good friend John Donahoe, who’s now the CEO of Nike, did this when he graduated and he’s always kept it. And I understand he goes back to it every year and it’s hard. (Inaudible) between the ages of 26 and 34, early in your adult life, you don’t necessarily know everything but try to write it and see what journey you want to be on and how you want to be remembered. That would be one plot. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And our final question, what do you know about the world’s of leadership and executive management today that you wish you knew a couple of decades ago when you were first getting started? JOLY: Well, there’s so much over the years. I think it has to do with profits being an outcome not the goal. It’s about importance of looking at drivers of performance. It’s about my role as a leader is not to be the smartest person in the room but to create the right environment. Not about being perfect. Nobody’s perfect. And I think the quest for — maybe I’ll finish with this, the quest for perfection can be very dangerous, can be evil, right, because if you’re trying to be perfect, guess what, you’re not going to be successful. You’re going to be incredibly demanding and harsh with people around you because you expect them to be perfect. And so, you have to be laxed and be kind with yourself and others around you and be able to open up and share what you are struggling with, understand what they’re struggling with and help each other out. That’s the — I think to me, that’s — it’s such an important consideration. The quest of perfection can be very dangerous. Be kind to yourself. During the pandemic, we learned so much, right? We used to fly around Barry, long time ago on planes, right, and we were told by the steward or the stewardess, if the oxygen mask comes down, put it on yourself first before you help others. So, as we continue to go through challenging time, taking care of yourself as a leader, making sure you meditate, you reflect, you exercise, you ask for help either from your personal board of directors, your best friends, that’s the key thing, that’s going to be the way that we can then help others. So, take care of yourself first. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. We have been speaking with Hubert Joly, former Chairman and CEO at Best Buy and currently a lecturer at Harvard Business School. Thank you, Hubert, for being so generous with your time. If you enjoy this conversation, be sure and check out any of our previous 376 former discussions that we’ve had. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, Acast, wherever you feed your podcast fix. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads, you can find those at ritholtz.com. Follow me on Twitter @Ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack staff that helps put these conversations together each week, Charlie Vollmer is my audio engineer extraordinaire, Atika Valbrun is my project manager, Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my researcher. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio   ~~~   The post Transcript: Hubert Joly appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureSep 27th, 2021

Futures Rise As Dip Buyers Emerge To Cap Best Week Since Mid-March

Futures Rise As Dip Buyers Emerge To Cap Best Week Since Mid-March Unless stocks crater today, and the S&P tumbles by 4.3%, the streak of seven consecutive weekly declines in the S&P is about to end... ... as US stock futures rose again on Friday, their third consecutive gain, setting up the underlying indexes for the first strong weekly finish since late March on signs consumers remain resilient despite inflationary pressures, as upbeat earnings from Alibaba and Baidu eased some fears on the economic impact of China’s Covid lockdowns, and as investors (mostly retail) have staged a cautious return to the market hoping that the selloff earlier this month left valuations at bargain levels. Nasdaq 100 contracts rose 0.5% by 7:15 a.m. in New York, while S&P 500 futures were up 0.4%. Still, even after the recent rout, upside may be limited as the S&P 500’s 12-month fwd P/E ratio is now near its 10-year average. Among notable moves in premarket trading, Gap Inc. shares sank as much as 17% as analysts after analysts said that the retailer’s guidance cut was worse than expected, prompting brokers to lower their targets and downgrade the stock given a worsening macroeconomic environment could trigger further bad news. China's Uber, Didi Chuxing, jumped after a Bloomberg News report that state-owned automaker China FAW Group is considering acquiring a significant stake in the ride-hailing company. Zscaler Inc. rose after the security software company reported results above expectations.  Here are some other notable premarket movers: Gap (GPS US) shares dropped as much as 17% in US premarket trading with analysts saying that the retailer’s guidance cut was more than expected, prompting brokers to lower their targets and downgrade the stock given a worsening macroeconomic environment could trigger further bad news. Costco (COST US) shares dropped 2.1% in US after-hours trading on Thursday. While Costco’s margins disappointed analysts, brokers were generally positive on how the wholesale retailer is navigating an environment with rising inflation by controlling expenses. Zscaler (ZS US) shares rose 2% in extended trading on Thursday, after the security software company reported third- quarter results that beat expectations and raised its full-year forecast. Analysts lauded strength in multi-product deals. Marvell Technology (MRVL US) shares climbed 3.4% in US postmarket trading after results. Analysts highlighted that the semiconductor maker is seeing strength across key markets, in particular across data center and carrier infrastructure. 23andMe Holding Co. (ME US) dropped 8.3% in postmarket trading Thursday. It is in a “tough spot,” Citi says in note after the consumer genetics firm gave a fiscal 2023 revenue forecast that missed expectations. Workday (WDAY US) shares fell 9% in extended trading on Thursday, after the software company reported adjusted first-quarter earnings that missed expectations. Analysts noted that software deals were pushed out of the quarter and cut their price targets as they factored in the increased global uncertainty. The latest round of retail earnings have restored some confidence in consumer demand, lifting appetite for risk assets, while speculation is growing that the Federal Reserve will pause its rate hikes later this year as inflation shows signs of peaking. Still, Citigroup strategists on Friday cut their recommendation on US stocks to neutral on the risk of a recession, joining an increasing number of banks in warning of a growth slowdown. The path for the Federal Reserve to successfully bring inflation down while keeping the rate of economic growth above zero is narrow, according to Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “If Fed policymakers underestimate the strength of the US economy, we face an extended period of above-target inflation. If they overestimate it, we face a recession. And we can’t know with great conviction which path we’re on,” he wrote in a note. Global stock funds saw their biggest inflows in 10 weeks, led by US stocks, according to EPFR data, as cheaper valuations lured buyers after a steep selloff on recession fears. The selloff made valuations attractive and enticed investors back into a market still shadowed by worries about inflation and higher interest rates, China’s downbeat economic outlook and the war in Ukraine. “We may see a little bit more stability here because we have repriced the stocks so much already,” Anastasia Amoroso, iCapital chief investment strategist, said on Bloomberg Television. “In the next three to six months it’s still going to be a constrained market environment.” Meanwhile, China-US tensions are once again being played out after direct comments from Secretary of State Antony Blinken aimed at Chinese President Xi Jinping. And in a fresh challenge to Beijing, the US and Taiwan are planning to announce negotiations to deepen economic ties. And elseshwere, as the Russins war in Ukraine approaches 100 days, the US may announce a new package of aid for Kyiv as soon as next week that would include long-range rocket systems and other advanced weapons. Boris Johnson urged further military support for Ukraine, including sending it more offensive weapons such as Multiple Launch Rocket Systems that can strike targets from much further away. Russia’s efforts to avoid its first foreign default in a century are back in focus on Friday, when investors are supposed to receive about $100 million in interest on Russian debt. Turning back to markets, consumer and technology sectors led gains in Europe’s Stoxx 600 which rose 0.9%, and was headed for its best weekly advance since mid-March, while utilities and energy shared lagged after the UK government announced windfall tax plans on oil and gas companies on Thursday. BP Plc said it will look again at its plans in the country. Here are some of the more notable movers in Europe: Cantargia gains as much as 23%, the largest intraday rise since December, after releasing three research updates late Thursday. The interim readout for the company’s nadunolimab (CAN04), used in combination with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel as a first line treatment of PDAC, a type of pancreatic cancer, was the most interesting of the data releases, according Kempen. FirstGroup shares jump as much as 9.8%, extending the gains from yesterday’s confirmation that the public transport operator received an unsolicited takeover approach from I Squared. Richemont shares rise as much as 8.3%, heading for their best weekly advance since November, pushing the Swiss Market Index higher as dip buyers returned more broadly this week. European miners advance for a third day, outperforming all other sectors on the Stoxx 600 on Friday as iron ore futures climb and metals posted broad gains. Hapag-Lloyd falls as much as 7.1% after Citi cut the recommendation to neutral from buy due to valuation versus peers. In note on European shipping, broker says it expects the supply and demand dynamics to remain favorable in the near term. Rieter Holding falls as much as 5.4% as Baader Helvea downgrades its recommendation to reduce from add after the manufacturer of chemical fiber systems said that it’s seeing a challenging first half. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also advanced as upbeat earnings from Alibaba and Baidu eased some fears on the economic impact of China’s Covid lockdowns and fueled risk-on sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1.6%, poised for its first gain in four sessions, led by consumer discretionary and technology shares. Most markets in the region were up, led by Hong Kong.  Alibaba and Baidu both delivered better-than-expected quarterly sales growth, providing investors with some relief after Tencent’s recent lackluster report and amid concerns over China’s virus measure and regulatory crackdowns. The Hang Seng Tech Index, which tracks the nation’s tech giants listed in Hong Kong, surged 3.8%. Asian equities have gained about 0.7% this week, set for a back-to-back weekly advance as dip buyers emerged. The regional MSCI benchmark is still down about 14% this year amid ongoing market concerns over global inflation and higher US interest rates, China’s economic outlook and the war in Ukraine. “The risk of a bull trap cannot be dismissed,” Vishnu Varathan, the head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank, wrote in a note. “Bear markets are famous for the pockets of relief rallies,” and increasing strains on liquidity in the coming quarters “may not pass without pain.” Japan’s stocks likewise advanced as the nation prepared to reopen to foreign tourists and China’s tech shares jumped.    The Topix rose 0.5% to 1,887.30 as of the 3pm close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.7% to 26,781.68. Tokyo Electron Ltd. contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 3.2%. Out of 2,171 shares in the index, 1,480 rose and 615 fell, while 76 were unchanged In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1.1% to close at 7,182.70, the highest level since May 6, led by energy and consumer discretionary shares. Woodside Energy Group was among the biggest gainers as US crude and gasoline stockpiles showed signs of continuing decline ahead of the summer driving season. Appen was the top decliner after saying that Telus revoked its indicative proposal for a takeover. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.3% to 11,065.15 In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slumped as the dollar was steady to weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Treasuries were steady across the curve. The euro inched up to touch a fresh one- month high of 1.0765 before paring. The bund yield curve bull- flattened slightly, drawing the 10-year yield away from 1%. Risk- sensitive Antipodean and Scandinavian currencies led gains. The Australian dollar climbed as a decent retail sales print brightened the outlook and a drop in the greenback triggered buy-stops. Benchmark bonds slipped. Australian retail sales rose 0.9% m/m in April vs estimate +1% and prior +1.6%. The pound ticked higher, touching its highest level in a month against the dollar, while gilts advanced. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said that his package of support for the UK economy will have a “minimal” impact on inflation. The yen advanced for a second day as lower Treasury yields weighed on the dollar. Japanese bonds rise after being sold off on Thursday In rates, Treasuries were steady, following gains in European markets where bull-flattening was observed across bunds and gilts. Yields were richer by 1bp-3bp across the curve, the 10-year yield dropped by ~2bp to 2.72%, underperforming bunds by 1.5bp, gilts by ~3bp. IG dollar issuance slate still blank in what has so far been the slowest week of the year for new deals; next week’s calendar is expected to total $25b- $30b. Focal points for US session include several economic data releases including April personal income/spending with PCE deflator. Sifma recommended 2pm close of trading for dollar-denominated fixed income ahead of US holiday weekend.    In commodities, WTI drifts 0.7% higher to trade below $115. Spot gold rises roughly $7 to trade at $1,858/oz. Most base metals are in the green; LME nickel rises 6.6%, outperforming peers. Looking to the day ahead, and data releases include US personal income and personal spending for April, as well as the preliminary wholesale inventories for that month, and the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May. In the Euro Area, there’s also the M3 money supply for April. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB Chief Economist Lane. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,068.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 440.64 MXAP up 1.6% to 165.89 MXAPJ up 2.1% to 542.44 Nikkei up 0.7% to 26,781.68 Topix up 0.5% to 1,887.30 Hang Seng Index up 2.9% to 20,697.36 Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,130.24 Sensex up 1.2% to 54,919.92 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.1% to 7,182.71 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,638.05 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.99% Euro up 0.1% to $1.0737 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $117.91/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,859.48 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.16% to 101.67 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The path for Russia to keep sidestepping its first foreign default in a century is turning more onerous as another coupon comes due on the warring nation’s debt. Investors are supposed to receive about $100 million of interest on Russian foreign debt in their accounts by Friday, payments President Vladimir Putin’s government says it has already made China’s oil trading giant Unipec has significantly increased the number of hired tankers to ship a key crude from eastern Russia A central bank legal proposal envisages Russian eurobond issuers placing “substitute” bonds in order to ensure debt payments come through to local investors, Interfax reported The US and Taiwan are planning to announce negotiations to deepen economic ties, people familiar with the matter said, in a fresh challenge to Beijing, which has cautioned Washington on its relationship with the island. Profits at Chinese industrial firms shrank last month for the first time in two years as Covid outbreaks and lockdowns disrupted factory production, transport logistics and sales “The process of increasing interest rates should be gradual,” ECB Governing Council member Pablo Hernandez de Cos comments in op- ed in Expansion. “The aim is to avoid abrupt movements, which could be particularly damaging in a context of high uncertainty such as the current one” The RBA is poised for its first review in a generation as new Treasurer Jim Chalmers makes good on a pledge to ensure the nation’s monetary and fiscal regimes are fit for purpose The UK signed its first trade agreement with a US state, amid warnings that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s stance on Brexit is hindering progress on a broader deal with Joe Biden’s administration A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks took impetus from the risk-on mood on Wall St where all major indices were lifted amid month-end flows and encouraging retailer earnings.  ASX 200 was led higher by outperformance in the commodity and resources industries, while consumer stocks were mixed after Retail Sales printed in line with expectations, albeit at a slowdown from the prior month. Nikkei 225 traded positively but with upside capped by a mixed currency and weakness in energy and power names after increases in international prices and with the government looking to address the tight energy market. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were firmer with notable outperformance in Hong Kong amid a euphoric tech sector after earnings from Alibaba and Baidu topped estimates which also inspired the NASDAQ Golden Dragon China Index during the prior US session, while advances in the mainland were moderated by the contraction in April Industrial Profits and after Premier Li’s unpublished comments from Wednesday’s emergency meeting came to light in which he warned of dire consequences for the economy. Top Asian News China’s State Council will seek specific implementation rules by May 31st regarding necessary measures at all levels of government and will dispatch inspection teams to all 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions to oversee the rollout amid an urgent need for national economic mobilisation, according to SGH Macro Advisors. US is seeking to hold economic discussions with Taiwan in the latest test with China, while supply chains and agriculture are said to be among the topics, according to Bloomberg. Furthermore, reports noted that bilateral economic talks will be announced in the upcoming weeks. Evergrande (3333 HK) is reportedly considering repaying offshore bondholders in instalments, according to Reuters sources; discussing giving the option of converting part of debt into equity of property management and EV units. China's Health Official says some areas along the Jilin border report local infections without a clear source, close attention should be paid to the risk of importing the virus; COVID infections show a trend of gradual spread from border to inland areas, via Reuters European bourses are firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.9%, drawing impetus from APAC strength into month-end with catalysts thin thus far. Stateside, futures are supported across the board with familiar themes in play pre-PCE Price Index for insight into the 'peak' inflation narrative; ES +0.3%. Note, the FTSE 100 Unch. is the mornings underperformer amid pressure in energy names after Chancellor Sunak's windfall tax announcement on Thursday. DiDi (DIDI) has reportedly drawn interest from FAW Group, regarding a stake purchase, according to Bloomberg. +7.5% in the pre-market Top European News UK Oil Windfall Tax Prompts BP to Review Investment Plans; UK Energy Stocks Extend Windfall Declines as Retailers Gain Richemont Leads Swiss Stocks Higher as Dip Buyers Return Hapag-Lloyd Drops; Cut to Neutral at Citi on Valuation Big Dividend Payers May Be Next After UK Windfall Tax on Energy FX Greenback grinds higher ahead of PCE inflation metrics with month end rebalancing flows providing impetus, DXY bounces from fresh WTD base just under 101.500 to 101.800. Kiwi and Aussie propped by bounce in commodities and Loonie protected by further gains in crude; NZD/USD tests Fib retracement at 0.7129, AUD/USD eyes 0.7150 and USD/CAD probes 1.2750. Big option expiries in the mix and potentially supportive for the Dollar into long US holiday weekend, +1bln rolling off at NY cut not far from spot in EUR/USD, USD/JPY, AUD/USD and USD/CAD. Rand firmer as Gold touches Usd 1860/oz after 200 DMA breach, USD/ZAR below 15.7000. Fixed Income Debt futures on a firmer footing ahead of US PCE price metrics, but some way below weekly peaks. Bunds sub-154.00, Gilts under 119.00 and 10 year T-note below 121-00. Curves a tad flatter following hot reception for 7 year US issuance. Commodities Crude benchmarks are underpinned, but off best levels, by broader sentiment and initial USD weakness going into a long US weekend with Memorial Day touted as the driving seasons commencement. WTI July and Brent August, at best, were in proximity to USD 115/bbl vs troughs of USD 113.61/bbl and USD 113.77/bbl respectively. US Treasury is reportedly expected to renew Chevron’s (CVX) license to operate in Venezuela as soon as Friday, according to Reuters citing sources. China's State Planner has approved a coal mine in the Shanxi area to bolster annual output to 12mln tonnes per annum from 8mln; investment of CNY 5.35bln, via Reuters. Spot gold is steady and holding onto the bulk of overnight upside after breaching the 21-DMA at USD 1850.80/oz; USD 1860.19/oz peak, thus far. US Event Calendar 08:30: April Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. -$114.8b, prior -$125.3b, revised -$127.1b 08:30: April Retail Inventories MoM, est. 2.0%, prior 2.0% April Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 2.0%, prior 2.3% 08:30: April Personal Income, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5%; April Personal Spending, est. 0.8%, prior 1.1% 08:30: April PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.9%; PCE Deflator YoY, est. 6.2%, prior 6.6% April PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3%; PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.9%, prior 5.2% April Real Personal Spending, est. 0.7%, prior 0.2% 10:00: May U. of Mich. Current Conditions, est. 63.6, prior 63.6; Expectations, est. 56.3, prior 56.3; Sentiment, est. 59.1, prior 59.1 10:00: May U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 5.4%, prior 5.4%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that it’s your last chance to answer our latest monthly survey, where we try to ask questions that aren’t easy to derive from market pricing. This time we ask if you think the Fed would be willing to push the economy into recession in order to get inflation back to target. We also ask whether you think there are still bubbles in markets and whether equities have bottomed out yet. And there’s another on which is the best asset class to hedge against inflation. The more people that fill it in the more useful so all help from readers is very welcome. The link is here. I did have tickets available for tomorrow night's Champions League final but there is a big 36 hole golf tournament at my club so I decided that at my age you never know when your body will fail next so playing sport now pips watching it live. So I'll be playing golf all day, trying to rescue my marriage for an hour when I get home, and then blaring out the final on the TV at home with a couple of glasses of wine for good measure. I can't honestly think of a better day. However I may come last and Liverpool may lose so let's see what happens! The market comeback this week is on a par with some of Madrid's remarkable ones this year and indeed it’s been another strong performance over the last 24 hours, with better-than-expected outlooks from US retailers helping to bolster sentiment, coupled with growing hopes that the Fed won’t take policy much into restrictive territory, if at all. Those developments helped the S&P 500 to post a +1.99% advance yesterday, bringing its gains for the week to +4.01%, and means we should finally be on the verge of ending a run of 7 consecutive weekly losses. Obviously it’s not impossible things could end up in negative territory given recent volatility, and it was only last week the index posted a one-day decline of more than -4%, but it would still take a massive slump today to get an 8th consecutive week in the red for only the third time since the Great Depression. That advance grew stronger as the day went on, with S&P futures having actually been negative when we went to press yesterday. But sentiment was aided by a number of positive earnings developments, with Macy’s (+19.31%) boosting its adjusted EPS guidance before the US open, whilst the discount retailers Dollar Tree (+21.87%) and Dollar General (+13.72%) both surged as well thanks to decent reports of their own. That helped consumer discretionary (+4.78%) to be the top performing sector in the S&P, and in fact Dollar Tree was the top performing company in the entire index. Cyclicals were the outperformers, but defensives also shared in the advance that saw around 90% of the index’s members move higher on the day. As well as that news on the retail side, risk appetite has been further supported by growing speculation that the Fed won’t be as aggressive in hiking rates as had been speculated just a few weeks ago. I'm not sure I agree with that conclusion but if you look at the futures-implied rate by the December 2022 meeting of 2.64%, that is some way down from its peak of 2.88% back on May 3rd, and in fact means that markets have now taken out just shy of one 25bp hike from the rate implied by year end, which makes a change from that pretty consistent move higher we’ve seen over recent months. Yesterday also brought fresh signs that this re-pricing is beginning to filter its way through to the real economy, with data from Freddie Mac showing that the average rate for a 30-year mortgage fell to 5.10% last week, down from 5.25% the week before. For reference that’s the biggest weekly decline since April 2020, and comes on the back of recent housing data that’s underwhelmed against the backdrop of higher rates. There was another report fitting that pattern yesterday too, with pending home sales for April dropping by a larger than expected -3.9% (vs. -2.1% expected). But as with the retail outlooks, the more timely data was much more positive, with the weekly initial jobless claims falling to 210k (vs. 215k expected) in the week ending May 21, whilst the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing index for May came in at 23 (vs. 15 expected). Treasuries swung back and forth against this backdrop, but ultimately the more bullish outlook led to a small steepening in the curve, with the 2yr yield down -1.6bps as 10yr yields were essentially flat at 2.75%. In a change from recent weeks, breakevens marched higher despite the little changed headline, with the 10yr breakeven up +7.0bps to come off its two-month low the previous day. But to be fair, that came amidst a big surge in oil prices after US data showed gasoline stockpiles fell to their lowest seasonal level since 2014, with Brent Crude (+2.96%) up to a 2-month high of $117.40/bbl, whilst WTI (+3.41%) rose to $114.09/bbl. European markets followed a pretty similar pattern to the US, with the STOXX 600 advancing +0.78% on the day. However, utilities (-1.12%) were the worst-performing after the UK government moved to impose a temporary windfall tax on oil and gas firms’ profits at a rate of 25%. That came as part of a wider package of measures to help with the cost of living, adding up to £15bn in total. They included a one-off payment of £650 to 8mn households in receipt of state benefits, with separate payments of £300 to pensioner households and £150 to those receiving disability benefits. There was also a doubling in the energy bills discount from £200 to £400, whilst the requirement to pay it back over five years has been removed as well. See Sanjay Raja’s blog on it here and where he also compares the measures to similar ones seen in the big 4 EuroArea economies. With more fiscal spending in the pipeline, UK gilts underperformed their counterparts elsewhere in Europe, with 10yr yields ending the day up +5.9bps. Those on bunds (+4.6bps) and OATs (+3.2bps) also rose too, but the broader risk-on tone led to a tightening in peripheral spreads, with the gap between 10yr BTPs over bunds falling -10.4bps yesterday to 189bps. There was a similar pattern on the credit side, with iTraxx crossover coming down -23.9bps to 439bps, which was its biggest daily decline in nearly 2 months. Asian equity markets are joining in the rally this morning with the Hang Seng rising +2.93% as Chinese listed tech stocks are witnessing big gains after Alibaba (+12.21%) posted better than expected Q4 earnings yesterday. Mainland Chinese stocks are also trading higher with the Shanghai Composite (+0.52%) and CSI (+0.63%) up. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.63%) and Kospi (+0.89%) are also in the green. Outside of Asia, futures contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.11%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.14%) are seeing mild losses. Data released earlier showed that Tokyo’s core CPI rose +1.9% y/y in May versus +2.0% expected. Core core was +0.9% y/y as expected with nothing here at the moment to change the BoJ's stance. Elsewhere, China’s industrial profits (-8.5% y/y) shrank at the fastest pace in two years in April, swinging from a +12.2% gain in March. On the geopolitical front, we heard from US Secretary of State Blinken yesterday, who gave a significant speech on the Biden Administration’s China policy. Blinken zoomed out to give a view of the forest from the trees, noting that the Russia-Ukraine conflict was not as strategically important as America’s relationship with China over the long-run. He offered a three pillar strategy for managing the relationship with China that involved investing in US competitiveness, aligning strategy with allies to enhance effectiveness, and to compete with China across economic, military, and technological frontiers. He noted the countries’ two different political systems need not impair connection between its peoples, or inhibit dialogue. Staying on the US-China front but switching gears, a bi-partisan group of US senators sent a letter to President Biden urging him to keep tariffs on China, to improve the US’s negotiating position in future deals, pouring cold water on the prospects for tariff relief to provide a temporary salve to raging price pressures. To the day ahead, and data releases include US personal income and personal spending for April, as well as the preliminary wholesale inventories for that month, and the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for May. In the Euro Area, there’s also the M3 money supply for April. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB Chief Economist Lane.   Tyler Durden Fri, 05/27/2022 - 07:54.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge19 hr. 5 min. ago

A Los Angeles teen led a fight to shut down urban oil wells, survived cancer, and won a "Green Nobel"

Nalleli Cobo fought to close a leaking oil well near her home, sue the city of Los Angeles for environmental racism, and phase out urban drilling. Nalleli Cobo in front of the closed AllenCo site.Tamara Leigh Photography for the Goldman Environmental Prize Nalleli Cobo has spent half her life fighting to end oil and gas drilling in Los Angeles. Cobo and her neighbors became sick as a nearby oil well site leaked potentially toxic gas into the air. The 21-year-old won a 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize for her successful efforts to stop urban drilling. When she was 9 years old, Nalleli Cobo got a nosebleed that changed her life.It was the first of many, soon accompanied by headaches, heart palpitations, stomach pain, spasms, and asthma.Cobo lived in an apartment in South Los Angeles with three siblings, her great-grandparents, and her mother, who had immigrated there from Mexico. Talking with their neighbors, they learned that many people in the building were experiencing similar health issues. They suspected the oil-drilling site across the street."Everyone could smell it," Cobo told Insider.The oil wells, run by a company called AllenCo, often emitted a nauseating rotten-egg smell. Sometimes the smell seemed masked with artificial scents, filling the neighborhood with the smell of guava or cherries or chocolate.It turned out the AllenCo site was leaking. Gas from drilling sites can contain harmful substances like particulate matter, benzene, and carbon monoxide. Research has linked proximity to oil and gas wells with higher rates of preterm births, respiratory irritation, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.Active pumpjacks from oil wells in Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, on March 10, 2022.Bing Guan/ReutersWhen Cobo thinks about growing up in that apartment with her family, she said, "It just makes me so warm and fuzzy. But then you would take a step outside and it was an entirely different world."Her health issues continued for a decade, culminating in a cancer diagnosis when she was 19. She eventually underwent three surgeries, six weeks of radiation, three rounds of chemo, eight minor procedures, and fought off two infections. Because of the pandemic, she went into treatment alone. To save her life, surgeons had to remove her entire reproductive system. She can no longer have children.From the age of 9, despite her health problems, Cobo organized her neighbors and led a tireless campaign against the wells, resulting in the site's permanent closure and criminal charges against AllenCo executives. Legal disputes between the company and the city are ongoing."They chose the wrong community," said Cobo, who is now 21 and has been cancer-free for a year and five months.The work didn't stop with AllenCo. Los Angeles is home to one of the largest urban oil fields in the country. Roughly 580,000 residents live within a quarter-mile of an active well. Cobo's continued activism added to a chorus of voices from neighborhoods across the city, where residents said wells were making them sick. In January, Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to ban new oil and gas wells and phase out existing ones over a five-year period.Cobo's efforts earned her a 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize, known as the "Green Nobel," on Wednesday.AllenCo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.After-school activism: a 'Hannah Montana' double lifeNalleli Cobo has been fighting to end oil and gas drilling in Los Angeles since she was 9.Tamara Leigh Photography for the Goldman Environmental PrizeShortly after Cobo and her neighbors began noticing health problems, toxicologists from the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility came to Cobo's building, confirmed the leak from the AllenCo site, and explained the associated health risks.Horrified, Cobo and her mother began filing complaints to the local air-quality management district. They galvanized their neighbors to speak at city council meetings and hold rallies, where Cobo spoke publicly about her health.For years, Cobo would return from school and do homework until her mother finished work. Then they would go knock on neighbors' doors to hand out flyers. Sometimes they had a meeting after school or watched documentaries on fracking and drilling."It was up to us to become the experts," Cobo said.Nalleli Cobo, a 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize winner, and her mother.Tamara Leigh Photography for the Goldman Environmental PrizeWhat she really wanted to watch was the Disney Channel crossover of the TV shows "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" and "Hannah Montana," where Miley Cyrus plays a California teen who leads a secret double life as a famous pop star."It was learning to sacrifice things like that," Cobo said, adding, "it did low-key feel like a little 'Hannah Montana' moment, where it was my activism and being a normal little 9-year-old girl."Soon, Cobo and her neighbors had organized a group called People Over Pozos (which means "wells" in Spanish). In 2013, several inspectors from the US Environmental Protection Agency became sick after visiting the AllenCo oil wells. The company promptly suspended its operations there.Cobo and her family moved to a new neighborhood just a few months later. She said her health immediately improved."It was like crazy night and day, when I didn't have to use my inhaler 30 times a day anymore, or I could sleep in my own bed again without nosebleeds," she said.Cobo helped sue the city of Los Angeles and get the wells shut down for goodOil wells in Los Angeles, California.Tamara Leigh Photography for the Goldman Environmental PrizeThe temporary closure wasn't enough for Cobo and her neighbors to feel safe. The site wasn't completely shuttered, and there were still thousands like it across the city.In 2015, Cobo co-founded the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition. The group sued the city of Los Angeles for environmental racism, saying it had disproportionately permitted oil drilling in Latino and Black communities. Cobo remembers rushing from school to file the lawsuit before the courthouse closed for the day."I've always put my activism before school or anything. For me, it's a life-and-death situation. It's my community on the line. It's future generations on the line. It's a no-brainer that I have to give my all," she said.After the city adopted new requirements for oil drilling applications, they reached a settlement in the lawsuit.Nalleli Cobo holds the Goldman Environmental Prize.Tamara Leigh Photography for the Goldman Environmental PrizeDoctors don't know for sure what caused Cobo's cancer. "At first, we thought it was possibly genetic. So we all got tested, even my great-grandma, who was 104. And it wasn't," she said.In September 2019, inspectors for the California Department of Conservation discovered that gas was still leaking from the AllenCo site, since its wells hadn't been plugged. The following year, the site closed permanently. Cobo bought a cake to celebrate with her family. (A recent report from The Los Angeles Times indicates that the wells still haven't been properly plugged.)"I think listening to frontline communities is really important," Cobo said, adding, "We're not experts, but we know our communities, we know our stories. And that's why it's important that we work as a team."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 25th, 2022

19 valuable pieces of advice from the best graduation speeches of all time

Taylor Swift's NYU speech called on graduates to embrace their mistakes and said, "a lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too." Taylor Swift delivers the commencement address to New York University graduates, in New York on May 18, 2022.Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images Most commencement speeches tend to follow a similar formula. However, some are so inspiring they are remembered long after graduation. Taylor Swift told the NYU class of 2022 that perfection is unattainable. "Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer." — Shonda Rhimes' 2014 speech at Dartmouth CollegeShonda Rhimes at Dartmouth College.Dartmouth/YouTubeThe world's most powerful showrunner told grads to stop dreaming and start doing.The world has plenty of dreamers, she said. "And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing." She pushed grads to be those people."Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer," she advised — whether or not you know what your "passion" might be. "The truth is, it doesn't matter. You don't have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn't have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real," she said.Read the transcript and watch the video."Empathy and kindness are the true signs of emotional intelligence." — Will Ferrell's 2017 speech at the University of Southern CaliforniaWill Ferrell at the University of Southern California.Jerritt Clark/Getty ImagesComedian Will Ferrell, best known for lead roles in films like "Anchorman," "Elf," and "Talledega Nights," delivered a thoughtful speech to USC's graduating class of 2018."No matter how cliché it may sound, you will never truly be successful until you learn to give beyond yourself," he said. "Empathy and kindness are the true signs of emotional intelligence, and that's what Viv and I try to teach our boys. Hey Matthias, get your hands of Axel right now! Stop it. I can see you. Okay? Dr. Ferrell's watching you."He also offered some words of encouragement: "For many of you who maybe don't have it all figured out, it's okay. That's the same chair that I sat in. Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result."He even finished off with a stirring rendition of the Whitney Houston classic, "I Will Always Love You." He was, of course, referring to the graduates.Read the transcript and watch the video."As you leave this room don't forget to ask yourself what you can offer to make the 'club of life' go up? How can you make this place better, in spite of your circumstances?" — Issa Rae's 2021 speech at Stanford UniversityIssa Rae in HBO's "Insecure."Merie W. Wallace/HBOIn the speech, Rae pulled lyrics from Boosie Badazz, Foxx, and Webbie's "Wipe Me Down," which she said she and her friends played on a boombox during the "Wacky Walk" portion of their own 2007 graduation ceremony at Stanford, to illustrate the importance of seeing "every opportunity as a VIP — as someone who belongs and deserves to be here." Rae particularly drew attention to one line from the song that reads, "I pull up at the club, VIP, gas tank on E, but all dranks on me. Wipe me down.""To honor the classic song that has guided my own life — as you leave this room, don't forget to ask yourself what you can offer to make the 'club of life' go up. How can you make this place better, in spite of your circumstances?" she said. "And as you figure those things out, don't forget to step back and wipe yourselves down, wipe each other down and go claim what's yours like the VIPs that you are."Read the transcript and watch the video."Not everything that happens to us happens because of us." — Sheryl Sandberg's 2016 speech at UC BerkeleySheryl Sandberg speaks during a forum in San Francisco.AP Photo/Eric RisbergDuring the Facebook COO's deeply personal commencement speech about resilience at UC Berkeley, she spoke on how understanding the three Ps that largely determine our ability to deal with setbacks helped her cope with the loss of her husband, Dave Goldberg.She outlined the three Ps as:· Personalization: Whether you believe an event is your fault.· Pervasiveness: Whether you believe an event will affect all areas of your life.· Permanence: How long you think the negative feelings will last."This is the lesson that not everything that happens to us happens because of us," Sandberg said about personalization. It took understanding this for Sandberg to accept that she couldn't have prevented her husband's death. "His doctors had not identified his coronary artery disease. I was an economics major; how could I have?"Read the transcript and watch the video."If you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options." — David Foster Wallace's 2005 speech at Kenyon CollegeDavid Foster Wallace at Kenyon College.Steve RhodesIn his now-legendary "This Is Water" speech, the author urged grads to be a little less arrogant and a little less certain about their beliefs."This is not a matter of virtue," Wallace said. "It's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self."Doing that will be hard, he said. "It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won't be able to do it, or you just flat won't want to."But breaking free of that lens can allow you to truly experience life, to consider possibilities beyond your default reactions."If you're automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won't consider possibilities that aren't annoying and miserable," he said. "But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down."Read the transcript and watch the video."Be the heroine of your life, not the victim." — Nora Ephron's 1996 speech at Wellesley CollegeNora Ephron.Joe Corrigan/Stringer/Getty ImagesAddressing her fellow alums with trademark wit, Ephron reflected on all the things that had changed since her days at Wellesley — and all the things that hadn't."My class went to college in the era when you got a master's degrees in teaching because it was 'something to fall back on' in the worst case scenario, the worst case scenario being that no one married you and you actually had to go to work," she said. But while things had changed drastically by 1996, Ephron warned grads not to "delude yourself that the powerful cultural values that wrecked the lives of so many of my classmates have vanished from the earth." "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim," she said. "Maybe young women don't wonder whether they can have it all any longer, but in case any of you are wondering, of course you can have it all. What are you going to do? Everything, is my guess. It will be a little messy, but embrace the mess. It will be complicated, but rejoice in the complications."Read the transcript and watch the video."Our problems are manmade — therefore, they can be solved by man." — John F. Kennedy's 1963 speech at American UniversityJohn F. Kennedy at American University.Ted Streshinsky Photographic Archive/Getty ImagesAgainst the tumult of the early '60s, Kennedy inspired graduates to strive for what may be the biggest goal of them all: world peace."Too many of us think it is impossible," he said. "Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable — that mankind is doomed — that we are gripped by forces we cannot control."Our job is not to accept that, he urged. "Our problems are manmade — therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants." Read the transcript and watch the video."Err in the direction of kindness." — George Saunders' 2013 speech at Syracuse UniversityGeorge Saunders.Evan Agostini/Invision/AP ImagesSaunders stressed what turns out to be a deceptively simple idea: the importance of kindness. "What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness," he said. "Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded ... sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly." But kindness is hard, the writer said. It's not necessarily our default. In part, he explained, kindness comes with age. "It might be a simple matter of attrition: as we get older, we come to see how useless it is to be selfish — how illogical, really." The challenge he laid out: Don't wait. "Speed it along," he urged. "Start right now.""There's a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness," Saunders said. "But there's also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf — seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.""Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness."Read the transcript and watch the video."Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what's going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along." — Stephen Colbert's 2011 speech at Northwestern UniversityStephen Colbert.Joshua Lott/AP ImagesThe comedian and host of the "Late Show" told grads they should never feel like they have it all figured out."Whatever your dream is right now, if you don't achieve it, you haven't failed, and you're not some loser. But just as importantly — and this is the part I may not get right and you may not listen to — if you do get your dream, you are not a winner," Colbert said.It's a lesson he learned from his improv days. When actors are working together properly, he explained, they're all serving each other, playing off each other on a common idea. "And life is an improvisation. You have no idea what's going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along. And like improv, you cannot win your life," he said.Red the transcript and watch the video."Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." — Steve Jobs' 2005 speech at Stanford UniversitySteve Jobs at Stanford University.Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News ServiceIn a remarkably personal address, the Apple founder and CEO advised graduates to live each day as if it were their last."Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life," he said. He'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a year earlier."Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important," he continued. "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."Jobs said this mindset will make you understand the importance of your work. "And the only way to do great work is to love what you do," he said. "If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."Settling means giving in to someone else's vision of your life — a temptation Jobs warned against. "Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."Read the transcript and watch the video."We can learn to live without the sick excitement, without the kick of having scores to settle." — Kurt Vonnegut's 1999 speech at Agnes Scott CollegeKurt Vonnegut at Agnes Scott College.C-SPANThe famed author became one of the most sought-after commencement speakers in the United States for many years, thanks to his insights on morality and cooperation. At Agnes Scott, he asked graduates to make the world a better place by respecting humanity — and living without hate. Hammurabi lived 4,000 years ago, he pointed out. We can stop living by his code."We may never dissuade leaders of our nation or any other nation from responding vengefully, violently, to every insult or injury. In this, the Age of Television, they will continue to find irresistible the temptation to become entertainers, to compete with movies by blowing up bridges and police stations and factories and so on," he said."But in our personal lives, our inner lives, at least, we can learn to live without the sick excitement, without the kick of having scores to settle with this particular person, or that bunch of people, or that particular institution or race or nation. And we can then reasonably ask forgiveness for our trespasses, since we forgive those who trespass against us."The result, he said, would be a happier, more peaceful, and more complete existence.Read the partial transcript and watch the video."If it doesn't feel right, don't do it." — Oprah Winfrey's 2008 speech at Stanford UniversityOprah Winfrey at Stanford University.YouTube/Stanford UniversityThe media mogul told Stanford's class of 2008 that they can't sacrifice happiness for money. "When you're doing the work you're meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you're getting paid," she said.She said you can feel when you're doing the right thing in your gut. "What I know now is that feelings are really your GPS system for life. When you're supposed to do something or not supposed to do something, your emotional guidance system lets you know," she said.She explained that doing what your instincts tells you to do will make you more successful because it will drive you to work harder and will save you from debilitating stress."If it doesn't feel right, don't do it. That's the lesson. And that lesson alone will save you, my friends, a lot of grief," Winfrey said. "Even doubt means don't. This is what I've learned. There are many times when you don't know what to do. When you don't know what to do, get still, get very still, until you do know what to do."Read the transcript and watch the video."The difference between triumph and defeat, you'll find, isn't about willingness to take risks — it's about mastery of rescue." — Atul Gawande's 2012 speech at Williams CollegeAtul Gawande.Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesPushing beyond the tired "take risks!" commencement cliché, the surgeon, writer, and activist took a more nuanced approach: what matters isn't just that you take risks; it's how you take them.To explain, he turned to medicine."Scientists have given a new name to the deaths that occur in surgery after something goes wrong — whether it is an infection or some bizarre twist of the stomach," said Gawande. "They call them a 'Failure to Rescue.' More than anything, this is what distinguished the great from the mediocre. They didn't fail less. They rescued more."What matters, he said, isn't the failure — that's inevitable — but what happens next. "A failure often does not have to be a failure at all. However, you have to be ready for it. Will you admit when things go wrong? Will you take steps to set them right? — because the difference between triumph and defeat, you'll find, isn't about willingness to take risks. It's about mastery of rescue."Read the transcript and watch the video."Your job is to create a world that lasts forever." — Stephen Spielberg's 2016 speech at HarvardSteven Spielberg at Harvard.Harvard"This world is full of monsters," director Steven Spielberg told Harvard graduates, and it's the next generation's job to vanquish them."My job is to create a world that lasts two hours. Your job is to create a world that lasts forever," he said.These monsters manifest themselves as racism, homophobia, and ethnic, class, political, and religious hatred, he said, noting that there is no difference between them: "It is all one big hate."Spielberg said that hate is born of an "us versus them" mentality, and thinking instead about people as "we" requires replacing fear with curiosity."'Us' and 'them' will find the 'we' by connecting with each other, and by believing that we're members of the same tribe, and by feeling empathy for every soul," he said.Read the transcript and watch the video. "There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized." — Conan O'Brien's 2011 speech at Dartmouth CollegeConan O'Brien at Dartmouth College.Dartmouth CollegeIn his hilarious 2011 address to Dartmouth College, the late-night host spoke about his brief run on "The Tonight Show" before being replaced by Jay Leno. O'Brien described the fallout as the lowest point in his life, feeling very publicly humiliated and defeated. But once he got back on his feet and went on a comedy tour across the country, he discovered something important."There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized," he said.He explained that for decades the ultimate goal of every comedian was to host "The Tonight Show," and like many comedians, he thought achieving that goal would define his success. "But that is not true. No specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you," he said.He noted that disappointment is a part of life, and the beauty of it is that it can help you gain clarity and conviction."It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique," O'Brien said. "It's not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can be a catalyst for profound re-invention." O'Brien said that dreams constantly evolve, and your ideal career path at 22 years old will not necessarily be the same at 32 or 42 years old. "I am here to tell you that whatever you think your dream is now, it will probably change. And that's okay," he said.Read the transcript and watch the video."You are your own stories." — Toni Morrison's 2004 speech at Wellesley CollegeToni Morrison at Wellesley College.Lisa Poole/AP ImagesInstead of the usual commencement platitudes — none of which, Morrison argued, are true anyway — the Nobel Prize-winning writer asked grads to create their own narratives. "What is now known is not all what you are capable of knowing," she said. "You are your own stories and therefore free to imagine and experience what it means to be human without wealth. What it feels like to be human without domination over others, without reckless arrogance, without fear of others unlike you, without rotating, rehearsing and reinventing the hatreds you learned in the sandbox."In your own story, you can't control all the characters, Morrison said. "The theme you choose may change or simply elude you. But being your own story means you can always choose the tone. It also means that you can invent the language to say who you are and what you mean." Being a storyteller reflects a deep optimism, she said — and as a storyteller herself, "I see your life as already artful, waiting, just waiting and ready for you to make it art."Read the transcript and watch the video."I wake up in a house that was built by slaves." — Michelle Obama's 2016 speech at the City College of New YorkMichelle Obama at the City College of New York.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesIn her 23rd and final commencement speech as First Lady, Michelle Obama urged the Class of 2016 to pursue happiness and live out whatever version of the American Dream is right for them."It's the story that I witness every single day when I wake up in a house that was built by slaves," she said, "and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, black young women — head off to school waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States, the son of a man from Kenya who came here to America for the same reasons as many of you: To get an education and improve his prospects in life.""So, graduates, while I think it's fair to say that our Founding Fathers never could have imagined this day," she continued, "all of you are very much the fruits of their vision. Their legacy is very much your legacy and your inheritance. And don't let anybody tell you differently. You are the living, breathing proof that the American Dream endures in our time. It's you."Read the transcript and watch the video."Call upon your grit. Try something." — Tim Cook's 2019 speech at Tulane UniversityTim Cook at Tulane University.Josh Brasted/Getty ImagesApple CEO Tim Cook delivered the 2019 commencement speech for the graduates of Tulane University, offering valuable advice on success."We forget sometimes that our preexisting beliefs have their own force of gravity," Cook said. "Today, certain algorithms pull toward you the things you already know, believe, or like, and they push away everything else. Push back.""You may succeed. You may fail. But make it your life's work to remake the world because there is nothing more beautiful or more worthwhile than working to leave something better for humanity."Read the transcript and watch the video."My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best things in my life." — Taylor Swift's 2022 speech at New York UniversityTaylor Swift delivers the commencement address to New York University graduates on May 18, 2022.Dia Dipasupil/Getty ImagesIn her first public appearance of 2022, Taylor Swift poked fun at her "cringe" fashion moments and her experience of growing up in the public eye, which led to receiving a lot of unsolicited career advice."I became a young adult while being fed the message that if I didn't make any mistakes, all the children of America would grow up to be perfect angels. However, if I did slip up, the entire Earth would fall off its axis and it would be entirely my fault and I would go to pop star jail forever and ever," Swift said in her speech. "It was all centered around the idea that mistakes equal failure and ultimately, the loss of any chance at a happy or rewarding life.""This has not been my experience," she continued. "My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best things in my life."She also alluded to her past feud with Kanye West, joking that "getting canceled on the internet and nearly losing my career gave me an excellent knowledge of all the types of wine."She elaborated, saying that losing things doesn't just mean losing."A lot of the time, when we lose things, we gain things too," she said. Read the transcript and watch the video.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 19th, 2022

Vertex (VRTX) Outperforms Industry This Year So Far: Here"s Why

Vertex's (VRTX) cystic franchise sales continue to grow. Vertex has a broad clinical non-CF pipeline, which is progressing rapidly. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated VRTX stock has risen 19.2% this year so far against the industry’s decline of 25%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchVertex’s main area of focus is cystic fibrosis (CF). With its four CF medicines, Vertex is treating the majority of the 83,000 patients living with CF in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia.Vertex’s cystic franchise sales continue to grow driven by its triple therapy, Trikafta/Kaftrio. New reimbursement agreements in ex-U.S. markets and label expansions to younger age groups in the United States are driving Trikafta/Kaftrio sales higher.Vertex is evaluating its medicines in younger patient populations and aims to have small molecule treatments for approximately 90% of people with CF. Additionally, Vertex is pursuing genetic therapies to address the remaining 10% of CF patients, including an mRNA approach in partnership with Moderna MRNA. Vertex and Moderna plan to begin clinical development of their CFTR mRNA therapy in 2022/2023.Vertex is also evaluating a triple combination of VX-561, a CFTR potentiator, VX-121, a CFTR corrector, and tezacaftor in two pivotal phase III studies. This new once-a-day combination medicine has the potential for enhanced patient benefit than Trikafta. Enrollment in the studies is expected to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023.Meanwhile, Vertex has a broad clinical non-CF pipeline across six disease areas like pain, sickle cell disease, beta-thalassemia, APOL1-mediated kidney diseases (AMKD) and cell therapy for type I diabetes. Clinical studies on these candidates are progressing rapidly with impressive data presented from multiple programs this year that established proof-of-concept.Vertex is co-developing a gene-editing treatment, CTX001 in partnership with CRISPR Therapeutics CRSP in two devastating diseases — sickle cell disease and thalassemia. Phase I/II studies of CTX001 in adult transfusion-dependent b-thalassemia in Europe and sickle cell disease in the United States are ongoing. The preliminary safety and efficacy data from the studies were positive.Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics plan to file regulatory applications for CTX001 for both indications in late 2022. Vertex expects CTX001 to be its next commercial launch.In March, Vertex initiated the pivotal development of VX-147 in a single phase II/III study in patients with AMKD with two APOL1 mutations and proteinuric kidney disease. In patients with APOL1-mediated focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS, a particular kind of AMKD, treatment with VX-147 led to a 47.6% reduction in proteinuria compared to baseline in a phase II study.VX-548, a novel first-in-class, non-opioid NaV1.8 inhibitor, is being evaluated in two phase II acute pain studies, one following bunionectomy surgery and the other following abdominoplasty surgery. In March, Vertex announced positive data from the two phase II studies on VX-548. The studies met their primary endpoint and established proof of concept for VX-548. Based on this data, the company plans to advance VX-548 into pivotal development for acute pain in the second half of 2022.A phase I/II study is ongoing on VX-880, Vertex’s stem cell-derived fully differentiated islet cell replacement therapy that could offer a functional cure for people living with type I diabetes. While the program was placed on a clinical hold by the FDA in May based on insufficient information for dose escalation, data available from the two patients treated at half-dose demonstrated proof of concept. VX-880 is Vertex’s first of the two investigational programs for the transplant of functional islets into patients. VX-880 is for the transplantation of islet cells alone, using immunosuppression to protect the implanted cells. The second program will involve the implantation of the islet cells inside an immunoprotective device. Clinical development on the second program is expected to begin in 2022.ConclusionVertex faces minimal competition in its core CF franchise.Recently, AbbVie ABBV completed an interim analysis of a phase II proof-of-concept study on its triple combination CF therapy. However, the interim efficacy results did not meet the pre-specified criteria for advancing this triple therapy in development.The failure of AbbVie’s CF therapy has removed a significant overhang on Vertex’s shares regarding competitive data.However, Vertex’s dependence on just the CF franchise for commercial revenues is a concern. Vertex’s non-CF programs carry significant risk, which is a concern.Overall, a consistent rise in CF sales, the rapid progress of the non-CF pipeline candidates, minimal competition in its core CF franchise, and regular business development should keep the stock afloat going forward.Vertex currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX): Free Stock Analysis Report Moderna, Inc. (MRNA): Free Stock Analysis Report AbbVie Inc. (ABBV): Free Stock Analysis Report CRISPR Therapeutics AG (CRSP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 18th, 2022

Pain Allocation, Frog Poison, And Druckenmiller"s Secret Weapon

Pain Allocation, Frog Poison, And Druckenmiller's Secret Weapon By Alex of the MacroOps substack “My portfolio is very balanced… I have half my assets in cash and the other half is in pain…”  My brother-in-law told me that the other day and it made me chuckle. I’m guessing that pain allocation resonates with more than a few people right now.   We’re holding 68% cash in the MO port and have been carrying productive shorts (short ETHUSD, short RTY, short NVDA) so our net exposure has been low. But even with this defensive posturing, we’ve felt some pain over the past few weeks as our port has drawn down a bit from NAV highs. It obviously could be much worse. But still, drawdowns aren’t fun.  We aren’t going to talk about markets in this note. We’ll save that for Sunday. This is going to be more of a stream of consciousness, including answers to some questions a few of you have put to me recently.  We’ll cover portfolio and trade management, thinking about macro outlooks, jungle medicine, and maybe psychedelics, we’ll see.  I did my first Kambo ceremony the other day. Kambo is known in Portuguese as the “vaccine of the forest”. It’s been used amongst the indigenous cultures of the Amazon for thousands of years and is believed to be a purgative, immunity-boosting medicine.  It’s frog poison.  They first burn your skin in a few spots and then apply the poison to the burns, so it goes straight into your bloodstream.  The poison hits quick. It first races down into your chest and sends your heart beating like a John Bonham drum solo… From there it blasts into your skull causing partial blind and deafness and then disperses throughout the rest of your body sending every single one of your cells buzzing like a bee.  Your face swells, you experience dyschronometria, and you turn into a human firehose. Hence the purgative descriptor. You can watch a Youtube video of a ceremony here.  It’s not something you do for fun.  But… they say it’s good for you .  It’s too early for me to speak to its efficacy. I’ve been pretty wiped out since and have at times felt like I was getting gut-punched by Tyson over the last few days. The practitioners told me this is from the medicine clearing out parasites in my gut and that I need to complete the treatment with two more rounds this weekend. So looks like I’ve got my weekend planned :).  I realize most of you are sane and normal and you probably read about this stuff and think my elevator doesn’t travel all the way up to the top floor. I get that. Totally understandable. I don’t blame you.  Personally, I’m open to trying things like this because they pass the wisdom of time and geography filter that I discussed last year (link here). Also, I struggled with a serious chronic illness for a number of years after my last combat tour. And as a result, I was forced to get a little (read: very) experimental on the health front. Anyways, this is definitely not medical advice. I’m not a doctor, I haven’t even watched Grey’s Anatomy. And if you ever feel compelled to try Kambo, do your research and only do it with a very experienced practitioner.  Rule #1: Don’t lose money…  @jr asked me a great question in the Slack yesterday in response to this SQ chart I posted.  The question was “How do you balance the desire to 1) buy a great value zone and 2) wait for price to prove itself (in this case, confirm a support level).”  I love trade management questions like this because there is no single right answer. It’s all nuance, context, process, goal dependent, etc…  But it’s really thinking through these nuances and developing a framework, where you make the money. Picking winners are a dime a dozen. The money-making comes in the risk and trade management.  So here’s my answer to the question that doesn’t have a simple answer. My approach to trading and investing is to not lose money. Everything I do in markets stems from this single driving desire. There are a number of ways to do this. You can, for example, be a really smart calculating business analyst/value investor type with a love for 10Ks and the patience to see your thesis born true. In this approach, your risk management (how you don’t lose money), is in your analysis, your assessment of risk, and the embedded margin of safety. A critical behavioral edge for this approach is to be able to actually sit through the portfolio volatility (ie, large paper drawdowns) that inevitably come so you don’t end up puking the lows. Something that’s easier said than done...  This is a difficult path. It’s one that most punters claim to do, usually because they’re acting out a mimetic desire to be like daddy Buffett. But few are successful at this over multiple cycles (key being multiple cycles since this is an easy one in a bull market).  Here’s the main issue with this approach. You don’t get a ton of at-bats. And, as a result, your feedback loops are very long. This makes it next to impossible to know if you actually have any skill or if you’re just the beneficiary of survivorship bias who’s on borrowed time… and eventually, your patient capital becomes purgatory positioning, which inevitably ends with you getting zeroed out of the game for good. You can see more than a few examples of this playing out today.  You don’t need to look far to find a “value” fund managers that just 12-months ago was celebrated for his/her astonishing 5-year returns and sought after for interviews, raised Buku assets, were praised for their superhuman intellects, etc… and they’re now closing up shop after erasing all of their career gains in less than 6-months…  They suffered under the delusion they were in possession of God-like analytical abilities. But in reality, they were just cluelessly surfing a macro liquidity wave juiced by a growth-at-any-cost fad. This happens every cycle. Few make it to the next. We don’t play that game.  Three maxims were inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo (the Delphic maxims). These were: “Know thyself”, “Nothing to excess”, and “Certainty brings insanity”.  My approach to not losing money is centered around these three truths.  Know thyself… this one is the most important.  We have met the enemy and he is us to quote Oliver Perry and Pogo. To make it in this game you need to be brutally honest about what your strengths are, and more importantly, where you are weak… Self-awareness is critical to long-term investing survival. For instance, I know I’m not going to win any securities analysis contest.  I’m a Generalist with a capital G. One who likes his investment ideas simple and obvious (at least to me). There’s no edge for me in trying to parse through the legalese fine print of a 10k better than the other 10 million MBA-trained super-geniuses out there doing the same. I think the market is generally pretty good at that stuff. It is mostly efficient. Except sometimes it isn’t… sometimes it’s wildly hysterical. That’s when my back of the napkin fundamental math skills can be put to work. That’s where I do have an edge.  I’m good at staying level-headed. It takes a lot to get me excited. Market moves just don’t really do that for me.  So while my weakness is my inability to analyze the esoteric minutiae. My strength is in my wiring (due to either nature or nurture) which makes me decent at playing the metagame and identifying “the point of max pessimism” as Sir John Templeton would call it. My approach is similar to what Bill Miller lays out here:  The securities we typically analyze are those that reflect the behavioral anomalies arising from largely emotional reactions to events. In the broadest sense, those securities reflect low expectations of future value creation, usually arising from either macroeconomic or microeconomic events or fears. Our research efforts are oriented toward determining whether a large gap exists between those low embedded expectations and the likely intrinsic value of the security.  I’m good at calling BS on the market. Identifying when the Narrative Pendulum has swung wildly out to one side and no longer discounts any reasonable reality. That’s one of my strengths.  Here’s the catch, though. Even when I get real bulled or beared up on something. I’m talking high conviction, stepping to the plate for my fat pitch Babe Ruth’n it kind of excitement… I stay cognizant of the fact that I could still very much have something wrong, or that I’m missing a key piece of the puzzle and my thesis could at any moment, go Jenga.  My confidence never goes above 90%. Never.  So this is where the second maxim comes in hand, Nothing in excess…  No excess of confidence, in positioning, or overcommitment.  I’m all for going Totis Porcis and betting the ranch. The thing is, I always make sure I have another ranch. There’s a balance, an indefinable sweet spot, between conviction and fallibility, aggressiveness and risk control, striking when hot and quickly adjusting when wrong…  This leads us nicely to the third maxim of “Certainty brings insanity”.  If only the LUNAtics out there had read up on their Delphic philosophy… tuition is high at Market University, best not to make it more so with an addiction to the gamble and ignis fatuus…  You know why Druckenmiller is the GOAT?  He never lost money. Like really never lost money. The guy had five down quarters over his 30-year career of managing money. Let me repeat… Druckenmiller only had FIVE DOWN QUARTERS OVER A 30-YEAR CAREER… To quote the famous figure skater Will Ferrell, that’s mind-bottling. I know traders who’ve worked with him. They say he embodies strong opinions, weakly held. He could pound the table with conviction one moment. And just as aggressively cut and run the next, if the market hit a predefined technical uncle point or a key piece of data changed. No ego. No attachment. Just ruthless money management and a focus on capping his downside…  His mental flexibility and devotion to managing risk are the skills that made him legendary.  It’s not his deep intellectual macro insights or his penetrating fundamental analysis of stocks. He’s skilled in those areas, sure. But that’s table stakes. That’s not where his genius is.  His genius is in executing a system, a holistic process, that allows him to be wrong time and time again but not lose money. This sets him up with the capital (both financial and mental) to whole hog it when the fat pitches arrive.  Man, this is becoming a long-winded roundabout way to answer the question. What was the question again?  Oh, right… “How do you balance the desire to 1) buy a great value zone and 2) wait for the price to prove itself (in this case, confirm a support level).” Okay, so let’s use our above SQ example to illustrate.  I like Block, Inc. (SQ) the company. I like their products. I’m a frequent user of their cash app. I financed a food truck business. They use SQ’s products and love it. I see SQ products everywhere now. Young millennials I talk to all use Cash app. Not Venmo/Paypal. Not Zelle. The hard data supports this. I think Jack Dorsey is one of the most underrated Founders/CEOs in tech. It seems to me that he’s built an incredibly impressive culture capable of fast innovation at scale. And he’s doing this in hardware, software, and financial services, all simultaneously. That is rare.  There remains a LOT of low-hanging margin to eat in the overregulated noninnovative financial services industry. To me, SQ is the clear leader and has the best shot at winning big in this space over the long term. They can potentially close the consumer-merchant loop and become an impenetrable fast-growing business with a massive TAM.  Because of the above and all the reasons Brandon has laid out in his excellent research pieces on the stock. I want to be a buyer of SQ when it goes on sale.  SQ is currently on sale.  Its multiples are at or near historic lows (see graph below). Meanwhile, the company’s fundamentals have never been stronger. Its path to success has never been as clear. So we want to be looking for spots to buy. Now, we already own SQ. We put on a small starter position last month. We added another small amount to that position the other day.  We want to build this position into a big one as it’s one of our higher long-term conviction plays (outside of the still ridiculously cheap commodity shitcos we own).  At the same time, our Bear Market Shock and Trend Fragility indicators peaked out at the start of this year, giving us a lead on the current action, which is why we’ve been able to sidestep the pummeling and make a little money YTD.  While our indicators suggest we’re probably at or near a short-term tradeable bottom. We still need to see major breadth thrusts confirmation and preferably a VIX spike to mark a total washout low. Until then we should expect a continuation of the sideways volatile regime at best or a bear market at worst.  Nothing in this game is a sure thing though...  We can enter an extended bear or we can soon bottom and run… Things can change, the Fed can flip, the dollar can rip, inflation can come down or shoot up… in macro environments full of noise, as this one very much is, we need to stay balanced and nimble.  We don’t want to be binary in our thinking.  You can’t be all bull or all bear in a market like this. You can have your opinions and tilt your positioning in that direction. But you want to own some stuff that would work in case you’re wrong. That way you don’t get caught flatfooted. Not to mention, staying balanced does something to the mind. It helps keep you more intellectually flexible and honest.  We very rarely go 100% cash. The last time we did was in late Feb 2020. But the writing was on the wall for that one and today is very different. Okay, so we like SQ and want to own more. But the macro picture is uncertain. We can assign roughly equal odds to a further selloff or a near-term bottom here.  We also hold lots of cash on the books. To get a bit more balanced and in line with our equal macro odds, we want to take small swings at adding to SQ — and other names we like. SQ is at long-term support. This gives us a technical inflection point. A logical uncle point in which to nest in our stops, in case we’re wrong or early.  So we’ll add a little bit here. We’ll keep the position small because the stock remains in a larger corrective phase and because the macro is messy.  If and when we get (1) broad market breadth thrusts triggering (as shown on the breadth tab of our HUD) and/or (2) SQ shows signs it has put in a base and buyers are back in control (ie, higher pivot points, consecutive bull bars, SQN in Bull regime, etc…). Then we’ll look to more aggressively build on the position.  If breadth thrusts fail to materialize and/or SQ punches through support and continues on its downtrend. We can cut our additions and go back to our small nominal starter position.  In doing so, we protect our downside (NOT LOSE MONEY) first and foremost. While also staying engaged in a stock that has incredible asymmetry over the long haul.  This creates balance. Balance keeps us honest. In markets, it helps keep us alive. It prevents us from going full Kambo and purging our pain allocation right at the lows…  Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 10:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 16th, 2022

Pharma Stock Roundup: PFE"s Biohaven Buyout Offer, BAYRY"s Q1 Earnings Update

Pfizer (PFE) is set to buy migraine drugmaker, Biohaven Pharmaceuticals for $11.6 billion. Bayer (BAYRY) beats Q1 earnings and sales expectations. This week, Pfizer PFE offered to buy migraine drugmaker, Biohaven Pharmaceuticals for $11.6 billion. Bayer BAYRY announced first-quarter 2022 earnings. Roche RHHBY announced disappointing data from a phase III PD-L1-high metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)study. The FDA granted full approval to Eli Lilly LLY and Incyte’s Olumiant for treating COVID-19 in certain hospitalized patients. The drug has been available in the United States under emergency approval since 2020. AbbVie’s ABBV Rinvoq achieved clinical remission and endoscopic response at one year in a phase III maintenance study in patients with Crohn's disease.Recap of the Week’s Most Important StoriesPfizer to Buy Biohaven for $11.6B: Pfizer announced a definitive agreement to acquire Biohaven for a purchase consideration of approximately $11.6 billion in cash. The acquisition will add the latter’s migraine therapy, rimegepant, which is approved as Nurtec ODT in the United States for both acute treatment and episodic prevention of migraine in adults.Rimegepant was recently approved as Vydura in the European Union for both acute treatment of migraine and prophylaxis of episodic migraine. Biohaven’s calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) also includes zavegepant for which a regulatory application was filed in the United States in March as an intranasal spray for the acute treatment of migraine. Pfizer already has commercialization rights to rimegepant and zavegepant outside U.S. markets, per a deal signed in November last year as well as a 2.6% stake in Biohaven.Per the deal, Pfizer will acquire all outstanding shares of Biohaven that it does not already own for $148.50 per share in cash. Biohaven shareholders will also get 0.5 of a share of a new publicly-traded company that will retain Biohaven’s non-CGRP pipeline compounds. The new company will continue to operate under the Biohaven name. Pfizer’s acquisition of Biohaven is expected to close in early 2023.Pfizer and partner Myovant Sciences announced that the FDA has extended the review period of Myovant Sciences’ supplemental new drug application (sNDA) for Myfembree by three months.This sNDA seeks approval for Myfembree (relugolix 40 mg, estradiol 1 mg and norethindrone acetate 0.5 mg) to manage moderate-to-severe pain associated with endometriosis. The FDA delayed its decision to Aug 6 from May 6 as it needs time to review new information submitted by the companies on FDA’s request regarding bone mineral density.Last month, the companies had received a notice from the FDA that identified deficiencies that precluded the decision on labeling and/or post-marketing requirements in the sNDABayer Tops Q1 Earnings & Sales Estimates: Bayer beat estimates for both earnings and sales in the first quarter. While sales in the Crop Science unit rose 21.6%, Pharmaceutical unit sales rose 2.6% year over year. Sales of key drug, Eylea rose 13.9%, driven by strong growth as a result of high demand in Europe and China. Sales in the Consumer Health segment rose 17.2%, supported by a robust recovery from the pandemic across all regions. The company maintained its previously issued core earnings guidance of €7 per share and sales outlook of €46 billion in 2022.Roche’s Lung Cancer Study Fails to Improve PFS:Roche’s phase III study evaluating its investigational anti-TIGIT immunotherapy tiragolumab plus its PD-L1 inhibitor Tecentriq for the first-line treatment of PD-L1-high metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) failed to meet its co-primary endpoint of progression-free survival. The second primary endpoint of overall survival was not mature and the SKYSCRAPER-01 study will continue for further analysis. However, the study did achieve a numerical improvement for both the primary endpoints.FDA’s Full Approval to Lilly’s Olumiant for Hospitalized COVID-19: The FDA granted full approval to Lilly/Incyte’s JAK inhibitor Olumiant (baricitinib) for treating COVID-19 in certain hospitalized adults requiring various degrees of oxygen support. Olumiant is already authorized for emergency use for this indication by the FDA since November 2020. However, the FDA’s full approval comes with a boxed warning on its label about the risk of serious infections, mortality, malignancy, major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) and thrombosis. Olumiant is presently approved to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in several countries and authorized to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients in approximately 15 countries. Olumiant is also approved in Europe and Japan for atopic dermatitis while it is under review in the United States for the same indication.AbbVie’s Rinvoq Meets Goal in Crohn’s Disease Study: AbbVie’s U-ENDURE, a phase III maintenance study evaluating Rinvoq (upadacitinib) in adult patients with moderate to severe Crohn's disease met the primary endpoint. In the study, a significantly greater proportion of patients treated with either 15 mg or 30 mg of upadacitinib achieved the co-primary endpoints of clinical remission and endoscopic response and a key secondary endpoint of endoscopic remission at one year compared to placebo. Rinvoq has been studied as an oral medicine for moderate-to-severe Crohn's disease in two other studies as well, U-EXCEED and U-EXCEL induction studies.The NYSE ARCA Pharmaceutical Index declined 0.9% in the last five trading sessions.Here’s how the eight major stocks performed in the last five trading sessions.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the last five trading sessions, Pfizer rose the most (4%) while Roche declined the most (9.6%).In the past six months, AbbVie rose the most (32%) while Roche declined the most (20.5%).(See the last pharma stock roundup here: Q1 Earnings of LLY, MRK & NVS, FDA Updates for AZN & PFE)What's Next in the Pharma World?Watch for regular pipeline and regulatory updates next week. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Roche Holding AG (RHHBY): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Eli Lilly and Company (LLY): Free Stock Analysis Report Bayer Aktiengesellschaft (BAYRY): Free Stock Analysis Report AbbVie Inc. (ABBV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 13th, 2022

How Federal Student-Loans Create College-Rankings Scandals

How Federal Student-Loans Create College-Rankings Scandals Authored by Preston Cooper via RealClear Education (emphasis ours), A whistleblower lawsuit filed last month alleges that Rutgers University’s business school artificially boosted its rankings by using a temp agency to hire MBA graduates and place them into “sham positions at the university itself,” according to NJ.com, which first reported the news. Though shocking, the scandal is the natural result of the incentives the federal government has set up for schools through uncapped student loan subsidies for graduate programs. Photo: Ekrulila Rutgers has denied the charges. But the allegations are credible when considering the source: the lawsuit was filed by Deidre White, the human resources manager at Rutgers’ business school. Days later, a separate class-action lawsuit was filed by one of Rutgers’ MBA students. Last year Rutgers was ranked first among public business schools in the northeast by Bloomberg Businessweek. One wonders how many students, hoping for a degree that would boost their employability, may have been deceived by that rosy statistic. The scandal follows similar incidents at other universities. The University of Southern California withdrew from the U.S. News & World Report graduate education school rankings due to “inaccuracies” in its reported data stretching back for years. And earlier this year, the dean of Temple University’s business school was sentenced to more than a year in prison for submitting false data to U.S. News. Why would university officials risk prison time to manipulate their rankings? The answer is that graduate degrees—especially master’s degrees—are increasingly becoming a cash cow for universities. Though federal loans to dependent undergraduate students are capped at $31,000, loans to graduate students are effectively unlimited. Many schools have vastly expanded their graduate school offerings to soak up this stream of cash. The number of master’s degrees conferred annually has risen 41% since 2006, when unlimited loans for graduate students were introduced. Over the past decade, universities have added more than 9,000 new master’s degree programs. The master’s-degree bonanza shows no sign of tapering off. While the number of students pursuing higher education has dropped 6% overall since the beginning of the pandemic, enrollment in master’s degree programs has moved in the opposite direction, surging by nearly 6%. Predictably, this has led to a surge in graduate student debt. In 2019-20, 43% of all federal student loans issued were for graduate education, up from 33% at the beginning of the decade. Rutgers itself gets over half of its federal student loan funding from graduate programs. For many prominent universities, undergraduate education is old news—graduate programs are where the real money is. Unfortunately, much of this federal largesse finances programs of questionable financial value. According to my estimates of return on investment, 40% of master’s degrees do not provide their students with an increase in earnings large enough to justify their costs. Among MBAs and other business-related master’s degrees, the share of nonperforming programs rises to 62%. Perhaps that reality is a reason that so many graduate schools feel the need to fudge rankings data. Many graduate borrowers will strain under the weight of debt that the federal government so freely gave out. But taxpayers will pick up a large share of the burden as well. Most graduate borrowers are eligible for income-based repayment programs which limit their monthly payments and grant loan cancelations after a set period of time. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that more than half of graduate loans issued in 2022 and repaid on income-based plans will eventually be discharged. The student loan payment pause has also transferred many of the costs of graduate school from borrowers to taxpayers. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the average master’s degree holder has already received over $13,000 of effective loan forgiveness through canceled interest payments and excess inflation during the pause. These factors, plus the possibility of additional loan forgiveness in the future, allow universities to hint that students might not have to pay the full cost of their education—and makes it easier to sell them on expensive master’s degrees. The Education Department has the tools to put a stop to this racket. A regulation known as borrower defense to repayment allows students defrauded by their institutions to have their federal student loans canceled; the institution must make taxpayers whole in the event of a successful loan discharge. Initially developed by the Obama administration, the rule was aimed at for-profit colleges, but there’s no reason it couldn’t be used against a public flagship university like Rutgers. If the Education Department forced a school with provably falsified rankings data to pay off the loans of defrauded students, it would send a firm signal that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated. But borrower defense to repayment isn’t enough. There are plenty of federally funded master’s degree programs where institutions are not guilty of fraud, but outcomes are abysmal nonetheless. Therefore, it is also necessary for Congress to remove the incentive for universities to market bad master’s degrees in the first place: their unlimited federal funding. The prevalence of master’s degrees that offer little to no return on investment can be chalked up to uncapped federal student loans, which are handed out in an undiscriminating fashion, and the repayment regime that forces taxpayers to pick up the tab for unpaid loans. Universities push low-quality master’s degrees to capture the federal dollars, while students are willing to borrow thanks to the federal government’s implicit stamp of approval. End federal loans for graduate school, and most low-quality master’s degrees will vanish. Private lenders would be able to meet demand for the financing of quality graduate degrees, such as medicine. Reliable financial returns for these degrees mean that private lenders will jump at the chance to lend to medical students attending reputable institutions, but will be far more hesitant to pony up $180,000 for a master’s degree in film. A thriving private market for graduate student loans existed before Congress uncapped federal loans in 2006. There is no need for a federal graduate loan program when the private sector can adequately fill the role. The brewing scandal at Rutgers is a sign that many universities will do anything for a piece of the federal government’s unlimited graduate loan offerings. By ending federal loan subsidies for graduate programs, Congress can fix the bad incentives that led to this mess, protect students from low-quality master’s degrees, and save taxpayers a heap of money along the way. Preston Cooper is a research fellow in higher education at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity. Tyler Durden Tue, 05/10/2022 - 20:05.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 10th, 2022

Wall Street Internship Checklist: How to land a competitive 2023 summer internship in investment banking, trading, or asset management

Use Insider's reporting to stay on top of the recruiting cycle, and learn how to impress interviewers from Goldman Sachs to Morgan Stanley to Blackstone. How to land a summer internship on Wall Street.Reuters/herval Summer internships at Wall Street banks boast some of the most sought-after undergrad opportunities. Many interviews are happening in-person again after two mostly virtual years.  The search can begin 12 to 18 months ahead of time. Use our reporting to give you an edge. See more stories on Insider's business page. Today's Wall Street interns could turn out to be tomorrow's managing directors.Even if that's a bit of a stretch, it's true that summer internships at leading financial-services firms are a tried-and-true gateway to full time employment at investment banks, private-equity firms, and hedge funds. They pay well, too, with many interns at both bulge-bracket and boutique banks earning a prorated summer salary on a scale that's upwards of $100,000.As you might imagine, actually landing one of these internships is notoriously competitive. The biggest US banks can receive hundreds of thousands of applications for a relatively small number of roles each summer — meaning they can be tougher to crack than landing a spot at an Ivy League university.Take Goldman Sachs, for instance, which accepted just 1.5% of candidates into its 2022 summer internship class out of more than 236,000 applications worldwide, according to a person with knowledge of the bank's recruiting efforts.So how do you become one of the lucky few to receive such an offer? Experts say that a sense of ambition, the willingness to hustle, and investing plenty of time into preparation are all crucial.Insider's comprehensive reporting includes more than a dozen stories on everything from what interns do, to how to nail your interviews, to the types of prep questions to expect when you meet with managing directors or HR.Check out our robust Wall Street internship coverage here — and, if you're in the running for an internship for next summer, get in touch with this reporter to share your story.Insider's Wall Street reporter Reed Alexander can be reached via email at ralexander@insider.com, or SMS/the encrypted app Signal at (561) 247-5758.Interview advice from top bankersAlexandra Soto of Lazard, left, and Claire O'Connor of Barclays, right.Courtesy of Lazard and BarclaysAfter two years of mostly virtual recruiting, Wall Street's hunger games are back — and this time, they're taking place largely in person.Claire O'Connor, a managing director and head of loan capital markets and acquisition finance at Barclays in New York, says that the return to in-person recruiting is generally a good thing. "This is such a people business," O'Connor told Insider. "Making those personal connections early on is really important, both for the candidates as well as for people on my side of the table to really get to know people, understand what motivates them, and what drives them."Insider spoke to three high-powered executives from Barclays, RBC Capital Markets, and Lazard, who offered their best advice for those looking to nail their interviews and stand out. Here's what they told us.How to land a Wall Street summer internship: Top investment bankers reveal their best advice, from asking the right questions to cold calling executivesWhat not to do in a virtual interviewAsier Romero/Shutterstock; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderDuring the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, students participating in virtual recruiting for investment-banking and hedge fund internships were often aided by a little trick up their sleeves: digital cheat sheets.If you're participating in any virtual interviews this year, using this hack could be tempting — but students should think twice about trying it, because those who got caught were taken off of recruiters' lists last year.Finance students used digital cheat sheets to land internships during the pandemic. Here's what they looked like — and what happened when they got caught.What you need to know about Goldman SachsBrendan McDermid/File Photo/ReutersLast month, Goldman Sachs representatives delivered a campus recruiting presentation to finance students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of Wall Street's most trusted repositories from which to source talent.The bank shared two slideshows — nearly 30 pages in all — bursting with information about the firm's investment-banking and asset-management summer analyst programs. Insider got a hold of the slides.The two presentations highlight stats, data, and dozens of details about the bank's business lines. Use them to study up on how Goldman operates before tossing your hat into the ring.Applying for a Goldman Sachs internship next year? Check out 29 leaked slides that reveal everything from what the gig entails to how its asset managers raise money.What does a Goldman analyst do anyway?Young bankers on Wall Street are feeling stressed due to lack of technical knowledge.RichVintage/Getty ImagesHeadline-grabbing deals, calls with titans of industry, dinner with your pals in the city, and of course, hammering out a few unavoidable Excel spreadsheets.These are just a few hallmarks of the lives of entry-level investment-banking analysts at Goldman Sachs, according to a mock daily schedule created by recruiters at the powerhouse Wall Street firm. Here's what Goldman Sachs says is a typical day in the life of its analysts, from calls with CEOs to eating dinner at your deskWhat is an 'exit opportunity'?Samantha Lee/InsiderThe journey from investment banking to private equity is a well-worn path, and so-called "exit opportunities" — that is, where juniors bankers can conceivably go to work into after moving on from banking — fuels much intrigue and even jealousy among the intern and analyst sets.Exit opps are such an important consideration that PJT Partners, one of Wall Street's most prestigious elite boutique banks, even tabulated all the exit opps of 70 of its junior bankers from 2012 to 2020, in an effort to flex the bank's top employment outcomes to internship hopefuls.PJT presented this information in a slide at a recent Wharton undergrad presentation. It was subsequently obtained by Insider. The boutique bank says its former junior staffers go on to work for a bevy of blockbuster buy-side heavyweights, like Blackstone, Apollo, and KKR, to name a few. Leaked data reveals the most popular 'exit opportunities' for PJT Partners' junior bankers — from Blackstone to Centerbridge PartnersWhen does investment-banking internship recruiting start?Samantha Lee/Business InsiderIn recent years, investment banks have opened application portals and kicked off campus recruiting earlier and earlier. Insiders say it's a reflection of the urgency they feel to lock up the most competitive undergrad talent."When you think about the recruiting timeline and the matriculation to full-time analyst program, that journey really starts two years earlier," Andrea O'Neal, a senior coach with Management Leadership for Tomorrow, an organization that helps prepare diverse students for finance industry careers, told Insider in an interview in 2021.We mapped out the timeline to nab an IB summer analyst role, which can begin as early as 24 months before the summer gigs actually doInterview prep: What is an investment-banking 'superday'?Samantha Lee/Business InsiderAs investment-banking interview rounds advance, candidates may be called into "superdays," which indicate that a search process is nearing its conclusion. Sometimes, banks even fly and pay for lodging for their top out-of-state to travel to New York or wherever the company is conducting its superdays, in order to meet those candidates in person.Superdays are competitive, rapid-fire sequences of interview rounds, which are typically conducted by senior bankers such as managing directors and vice presidents. They're intense, and candidates should expect worldwide experiences meeting — and trying to impress — multiple company leaders in a relatively short period of time.Insider obtained two lists of questions developed by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, which can help you think through your interview prep strategy.REVEALED: 22 questions from Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to help prep prospective interns for intense 'superday' interviewsWhat kind of work do investment-banking summer interns do? Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/InsiderOnce you successfully nail an internship offer and go from applicant to intern, what can you expect to do on the job?In the summer of 2021, we asked an IB summer analyst at a leading large-cap bank to break down a week in their life. The intern created a detailed schedule featuring colorful nuggets like what their final project consisted of, the kind of feedback they received from managers, and how they enjoyed a late-night ice cream party with colleagues at the office until 2:30 a.m.From socializing in Manhattan to working on live deals, here's what you can expect.Inside the Wall Street internship: A 21-year-old investment-banking intern walked us through a 75-hour work week churning out pitch decks, partying in Brooklyn, and digging into ice cream at the office after midnightInside Wall Street's diversity recruiting programsWilliam Pemberton, Citi senior analyst.Courtesy of CitigroupNumerous banks have established specialized recruiting programs focused on diverse candidates, or those who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latinx, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and others.Citigroup is one such firm. Last year, the Wall Street bank shared an exclusive look at its Early ID program with Insider. The program, which was established five years ago, receives thousands of applications per year, giving diverse students a chance to begin their recruiting process several months earlier than the rest of the applicant pool.Citi Early ID candidates can apply for internships in business lines such as markets; consumer services; human resources; and banking, capital markets, and advisory. One successful Citi banker who went through the program, William Pemberton, broke down how it works for us.Citigroup showed us how its Early ID program trains and mentors thousands of diverse candidates every year to help them ace their interviews and land internships at the global bankHow to turn your internship into a full-time offerTamia Marrow shared tips for landing a full-time offer and how to ace your internship.Tamia MarrowGrowing up in Burlington, North Carolina, Tamia Marrow never expected she'd find her way to one of the most prestigious asset managers in the global finance industry. But the first-gen student who worked at McDonalds in high school to save up for her first car — a 2006 Honda Pilot costing $8,000 — nevertheless managed to pull it off.In spite of the challenges she experienced interning virutally during the pandemic, Marrow impressed her supervisors and landed a return offer to join the firm she graduated college. She shared with Insider how she did it, offering powerful advice for others endeavoring to follow in her footsteps.A first-generation college student from an HBCU crushed her virtual internship at BlackRock and landed a full-time offer. She laid out how to turn a summer gig on Wall Street into a coveted full-time job.Consulting internships at McKinsey, BCG, and Bain are kicking off earlier than everConsulting firms are moving their recruiting timelines for summer interns up so they aren't left in investment banks' dust.Sean Murphy/Getty ImagesInvestment banks are known to start their internship recruiting processes 12 to 18 months ahead of time, but they're hardly alone. The Big 3 consulting firms — McKinsey, Bain, and the Boston Consulting Group — are progressively moving the kickoffs to their internship searches earlier and earlier, as Insider reported in 2021.For instance, BCG last year opened up its 2022 summer internship applications six to eight weeks earlier than previous years. McKinsey's first application deadline was a month earlier than it was the year before.Insider is tracking the consulting internship timeline and talking to decision-makers about why it's starting earlier — a sign, they say, that consulting giants are keen to duke it out with banks to nab the best talent before they're off the market.Insider spoke to recruiting experts, college career counselors, and hiring managers at leading consulting firms to understand why they're pushing their internship timelines up so dramatically.Getting your foot in the door on the buy-sideGeneral Atlantic managing director Alex Crisses walked Insider through the growth-equity investment firm's elite summer souring internship.Courtesy of General AtlanticGeneral Atlantic managing director Alex Crisses has an intriguing thesis: Betting on the gut instincts of college kids could result in some of the $65 billion growth-equity investor's smartest plays.Every summer, Crisses' team brings on about six to eight interns. They mainly focus on sourcing and pitching opportunities that would fall within one of the firm's five investment sectors: technology, consumer, financial services, life sciences, and healthcare.Crisses, GA's head of new investment sourcing and co-head of emerging growth, walked us through the buy-side firm's highly competitive but growing summer internship program, which accepts about 2% of applicants.Inside General Atlantic's undergrad internship, where just 2% of applicants are selected to pitch new investments in cmopanies like Duolingo and RiskifiedPrivate-equity mega-funds like KKR want undergradsGrace Koa is the head of talent acquisition at KKR.KKRAfter years of mainly recruiting analysts from the junior rungs of investment banks, private-equity firms are no longer keen to wait as patiently for entry-level bankers to transition from Wall Street to the buy-side after completing two years on the desk.Now, they're engaged in heated battles with investment banks to recruit talent directly from college campuses. Last year, Grace Koo, head of talent acquisition at private-equity giant KKR, told Insider about how the firm is broadening out the group of schools it relies upon to source future dealmakers for its burgeoning analyst program.A KKR talent exec says the private-equity firm's college recruiting is expanding beyond core target schoolsThe secrets of successful networkingAmy Cheetham is a partner at California-based venture capital firm Costanoa Ventures.Lisa DeneffeExperts say cold outreach is an effective tool to secure a summer internship, and research backs that up. Research published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers in 2020 found that 70% of the more than 540 interns surveyed said they'd landed an internship through cold outreach.But how do you break the ice and make cold outreach feel, well, not quite so cold? Insider asked a top venture capitalist who got her start as an intern at JPMorgan Chase — and used effective email networking with people she didn't already know to help her get the gig in the first place.It took about 150 emails in all, according to Amy Cheetham, a partner at Costanoa Ventures, an early-stage investment firm based in Palo Alto, California. Along the way, she learned important lessons about how to get a foot in the door on Wall Street if you don't already have a Rolodex of industry contacts.How to use cold emails to land a gig working on Wall Street, according to a JPMorgan banking analyst turned VC who did it herselfDisclosure: KKR is a large shareholder in Axel Springer, which owns Business Insider.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 10th, 2022