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10 things in tech you need to know today

21 hours 2 min ago

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  1. Facebook briefly prioritized established news sites. In the days after the US election, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg signed off on an algorithm change to the platform's news feed in an effort to fight misinformation. 

  2. Elon Musk is now richer than Bill Gates. The Tesla CEO saw his net worth rise by about $7 billion to $128 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as Tesla's market value topped $500 billion. 

  3. Facebook pages belonging to Trumpworld were major election misinformation culprits. Among the Facebook pages most responsible for spreading misinformation were Donald Trump Jr. and the conservative vloggers Diamond and Silk, according to new study.

  4. Facebook whitelisted thousands of politicians. Since 2018, over 110,000 government officials and candidates have been on a Facebook whitelist that prevented them from being fact-checked, per The Information.
  5. Amazon considers green organizations as threats. Climate change protests including Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, and Greta Thunberg's group Fridays for Future are all among the groups the e-commerce giant is tracking.

  6. Twitter is relaunching verification. The network will verify government officials, companies, non-profits, and influential individuals among other people.

  7. Exclusive: 'Dark store' startups are getting crazy valuations. Investors in Europe are piling money into new companies that promise to deliver groceries in as little as ten minutes.

  8. YouTube suspended conservative news site OANN. The social media giant banned the outlet from posting videos and monetizing its content for a week after it posted a video promoting a fake COVID-19 cure.

  9. Expensify's CEO justified emailing customers in support of Joe Biden. Last month, Expensify CEO David Barrett emailed 10 million of the company's customers, urging them to vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the US presidential election.

  10. Exclusive: Alphabet is pulling its life sciences division out of China. Verily will be shutting its Shanghai office, insiders say.
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A New Jersey congressman is seeking to disbar Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani after he touted election-related conspiracy theories

21 hours 2 min ago
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from New Jersey, filed a complaint to the New York State judicial conduct body to revoke Giuliani's license, the congressman tweeted Tuesday.
  • Pascrell also tweeted that he filed legal complaints in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania aimed at disbarring Giuliani and 22 other lawyers who managed lawsuits that challenged the 2020 election results.
  • "The pattern of behavior by these individuals to effectuate Mr. Trump's sinister arson is a danger not just to our legal system but is also unprecedented in our national life," Pascrell wrote in the complaints, according to his statement.
  • Giuliani and other Trump supporters have been leading efforts attempting to overturn the results of the election, citing disputed conspiracy theories related to election fraud, voter fraud, and mail-in voting.
  • "Donald Trump has done great damage to this nation — but he has always had helpers," Pascrell told The Washington Post via a spokesperson. "These lawyers are enabling his treachery and harming our democracy."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A congressman from New Jersey filed a complaint seeking to disbar President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani after attempts to invalidate President-elect Joe Biden's win.

Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from New Jersey, filed a complaint to the New York State judicial conduct body to revoke Giuliani's license, the congressman tweeted Tuesday.

"In his capacity as a public spokesman and attorney representing the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, Mr. Giuliani has participated in frivolous lawsuits and used our nation's courts to assault public confidence in the United States electoral system, violating the New York Rules of Professional Conduct," the congressman wrote in the complaint.

Pascrell also tweeted Tuesday that he filed legal complaints in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and Pennsylvania aimed at disbarring Giuliani and 22 other lawyers who managed lawsuits that challenged the 2020 election results.

"The pattern of behavior by these individuals to effectuate Mr. Trump's sinister arson is a danger not just to our legal system but is also unprecedented in our national life," Pascrell wrote in the complaints, according to his statement.

"In carrying out that perversion, they have clearly violated the Rules of Professional Conduct they swore to uphold and should face the severest sanction your body can mete out: revocation of their law licensures," he continued.

Read more: Everyone knows Kamala Harris and Jill Biden. Meet 12 more women in prime positions to sway the Biden White House.

Giuliani and others have been leading lawsuits attempting to overturn the results of the election, citing conspiracy theories related to election fraud, voter fraud, and mail-in voting. Giuliani appeared in a courtroom for the first time in decades last week to argue for halting vote certification in Pennsylvania, the Associated Press reported at the time.

"Donald Trump has done great damage to this nation — but he has always had helpers," Pascrell told The Washington Post via a spokesperson. "These lawyers are enabling his treachery and harming our democracy."

Earlier this month, Pascrell also called for federal investigations into Trump and members of his administration upon Biden's transition into the White House.

"[The president] has attacked our elections and sought to throttle democracy," Pascrell said. "He was rightly impeached by the House of Representatives. He has engaged in treachery, in treason. He has all but given up on governing and protecting our nation and if he had a shred of dignity he would resign today."

"Failure to hold financial and political wrongdoing accountable in the past has invited greater malfeasance by bad actors," he continued. "A repeat of those failures in 2021 further emboldens criminality by our national leaders and continues America down the path of lawlessness and authoritarianism. There must be accountability."

Representatives for Giuliani did not immediately return Business Insider's request for comment.

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Obama vented his frustration at the Trump administration's handing of the pandemic to Stephen Colbert, saying don't 'undermine the leading epidemiologist' and call him an 'idiot'

21 hours 26 min ago
Former US President Barack Obama speaks at a Biden-Harris drive-in rally in Orlando, Florida on October 27, 2020.
  • Without mentioning him by name, former President Barack Obama took jabs at President Donald Trump's handling of COVID-19 during an interview with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night.
  • Obama said that the US COVID-19 response could have done better by "preliminarily communicating effectively" and "respecting the science."
  • The former president also said it would have been helpful if the Trump administration was "not undermining the leading epidemiologist in the country and saying he's an idiot."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Without calling him out by name, former President Barack Obama vented his frustration at President Donald Trump's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a Tuesday night interview with "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert, the former president recognized that it was no easy task to respond to a rapidly-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

"This would have been hard for anyone," Obama said, but added that some aspects of responding to the virus were not "rocket science."

"We're not talking about inventing vaccines, which are now coming on board," he said.

The former president said the US COVID-19 response could have done better by "preliminarily communicating effectively" and "respecting the science."

Obama also appeared to take a jab at Trump, saying other actions that would have benefited the US response included "not undermining the leading epidemiologist in the country and saying he's an idiot, being consistent in terms of masks and social distancing, not suggesting that this is some act of oppression, but rather a common sense thing to prevent people from getting sick."

—A Late Show (@colbertlateshow) November 25, 2020

"Had we just taken those steps, there is no doubt that we would have saved some lives, and, ironically, the economy would be better because we would not be swinging back and forth in the way we have, and people would have more confidence about making day-to-day decisions about shopping," Obama continued.

At the onset of the pandemic, Trump downplayed the threat it posed to Americans, challenging advice from public health experts, including the top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, who serves on the White House coronavirus task force.

He has since softened his dismissive tone of the coronavirus — and he and others in his orbit have contracted COVID-19 — but has continued to flout health safety guidelines like observing social distancing and wearing a mask, politicizing the actions that health experts say are effective in slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

As of Tuesday, more than 12 million COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the US, with the death toll nearing 260,000, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. More than 88,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, hitting a record-breaking figure for the 15th consecutive day, according to The Covid Tracking Project.

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Biden's team has made contact with Dr. Fauci, and the president-elect said he has been 'very, very helpful' in briefings with staff

22 hours 52 min ago
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on July 30, 2020 in Washington DC.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has reached out to President-elect Joe Biden's transition staff, Bloomberg reported.
  • "I haven't had a chance to speak to Dr. Fauci," Biden said Tuesday, but Fauci himself confirmed to CNN that he has been talking to the president-elect's staff.
  • The news comes a day after the General Services Administration recognized Biden as the apparent president-elect.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A day after being recognized as the apparent next president of the United States by a Trump official, Joe Biden said Tuesday that his staff has been in touch with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government's top infectious disease expert.

Biden said he has not "had a chance to speak to Dr. Fauci" yet himself, but Bloomberg reported that Fauci has spoken to Biden's transition team.

"He's been very, very helpful," Biden told reporters on Tuesday.

Fauci later told CNN that he has indeed reached out to Biden's staff. The network reported that the dialogue has consisted of "preliminary conversations."

The news comes a day after the US General Services Administration, headed by Trump political appointee Emily Murphy, formally agreed to provide resources to the president-elect's transition.

It also comes as the US may be entering the darkest stage yet of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, more than 88,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, "reaching a new all-time high for the 15th consecutive day," according to The Covid Tracking Project. More than 2,000 new deaths were also reported.

Prior to the GSA providing resources to the Biden transition, the president-elect's team had not been in contact with Fauci, which the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases believed may have been because of the fraught politics around the delayed transition.

In an interview last week with USA Today's editorial board, Fauci explained, "But it's quite obvious that this is a very sensitive period. I don't want to get into that. I have tried to the best of my ability to stay out of the political aspects and just focus on my role as a public health person, a physician, and a scientist."

"To be honest with you," he added, "I believe that the Biden people including Ron Klain [Biden's chief of staff] understand that and don't want to put me in a compromised position."

Fauci has held his position at the NIAID since 1984 and has served through six administrations.

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Trump reportedly has plans to pardon Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 11:18pm
FILE - In this July 10, 2018, file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, following a status hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
  • President Donald Trump may be planning a number of pardons between now and when he leaves office, including pardoning former national security advisor Michael Flynn, Axios reported. 
  • Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia in December 2017. 
  • In May, the Justice Department filed a motion to drop its case against Flynn
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump plans to pardon former national security advisor Michael Flynn, Axios reported, citing sources with direct knowledge of discussions between Trump and close contacts.  

Trump reportedly told sources close to him that he plans to pardon Flynn who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia in a January 24, 2017 interview. 

In January 2020, Flynn moved to withdraw his guilty plea after his lawyers accused the government of prosecutorial misconduct and entrapment during the 2017 interview that led to his conviction. 

Flynn was interviewed as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

In May, the Justice Department filed a motion to drop its case against Flynn.

Read more: Everyone knows Kamala Harris and Jill Biden. Meet 12 more women in prime positions to sway the Biden White House.

Axios reported that Flynn's lawyer Sidney Powell said she told Trump not to issue a pardon, during a hearing in September, however it's not clear if Powell and Trump discussed anything else after that.  

Trump is reportedly planning a series of pardons between now and when he leaves office.

In July, Trump commuted the sentence of former Republican strategist Roger Stone. Last year, Stone was convicted of five counts of making false statements to the FBI and congressional investigators, one count of witness tampering, and one count of obstruction of justice.

The White House declined to comment. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden laid out his first 100 days in office and said he won't use DOJ as his personal 'vehicle' to investigate Trump

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 11:15pm
  • President-elect Joe Biden said he wouldn't use the Justice Department as his "vehicle" to investigate President Donald Trump — allowing the agency to be independent.
  • Biden laid out his priorities for his first 100 days in office to NBC News anchor Lester Holt in the president-elect's first televised interview since the November election.
  • "I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen," Biden told Holt. "There are a number of investigations that I've read about that are at a state level — there's nothing at all that I can or cannot do about that."
  • "But I'm focused on getting the American public back at a place where they have some certainty, some surety, some knowledge that they can make it," he continued.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President-elect Joe Biden said he wouldn't use the Justice Department as his "vehicle" to investigate President Donald Trump — echoing a campaign phrase about allowing the agency to be independent.

Biden appeared on "NBC Nightly News" with anchor Lester Holt in his first televised interview since the November election, where he was asked about tapping former Democratic rivals for his cabinet, how the presidential transition was moving along, and how he envisions a vaccine rollout next year.

During the interview, the president-elect laid out his priorities in his first 100 days upon taking office in January and responded to a question about investigations into President Donald Trump. As Business Insider's Dave Levinthal previously reported, Trump could face a litany of federal investigations.

"I will not do what this president does and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen," Biden told Holt. "There are a number of investigations that I've read about that are at a state level — there's nothing at all that I can or cannot do about that."

"But I'm focused on getting the American public back at a place where they have some certainty, some surety, some knowledge that they can make it," he continued. "The middle class and working-class people are being crushed. That's my focus."

Earlier this month, Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat from New Jersey, called for federal investigations into Trump and members of his administration upon Biden's transition into the White House.

"[The president] has attacked our elections and sought to throttle democracy," Pascrell said. "He was rightly impeached by the House of Representatives. He has engaged in treachery, in treason. He has all but given up on governing and protecting our nation and if he had a shred of dignity he would resign today."

"Failure to hold financial and political wrongdoing accountable in the past has invited greater malfeasance by bad actors," he continued. "A repeat of those failures in 2021 further emboldens criminality by our national leaders and continues America down the path of lawlessness and authoritarianism. There must be accountability."

Read more: Everyone knows Kamala Harris and Jill Biden. Meet 12 more women in prime positions to sway the Biden White House.

Biden has previously said he aims to restore independence that typically exists between the White House and the Justice Department.

During the campaign he responded to an ABC News town hall question in October, saying: "What the Biden Justice Department will do is let the Justice Department be the Department of Justice. Let them make the judgments of who should be prosecuted."

The line between the DOJ and the president had been blurred with the Trump administration and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Following Election Day, Barr authorized federal investigations into Trump's disputed claims of election fraud, which were largely rooted in conspiracy theories related to voter fraud and mail-in voting.

Biden told Holt that he will take action on immigration and climate change in his first 100 days, but his main priority will be dealing with the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He opened up on his own experience not having health insurance and related it to what some American families may be feeling amid the ongoing pandemic.

"I remember my dad being restless ... so the next morning I asked my mom, 'What's wrong with dad?'" Biden said. "She said, 'Honey, he's worried. We just lost our health insurance. He doesn't know what to do.' Think of all the people who are lying awake at night staring at the ceiling thinking, 'God forbid that happens.'"

"We have to act to guarantee that they have access to affordable health insurance," he continued. "This is more than just a financial crisis. This is a crisis that is causing real mental stress for millions of people and it's within our power to solve it and to grow the economy at the same time."

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Here's how Swamy Kotagiri, incoming CEO of the US's largest auto parts manufacturer, is using an 'open for business mindset' to lead the company

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 11:05pm

  • Magna International, the largest auto-parts manufacturer in the US and third-largest in the world, named a new CEO in October.
  • Over the course of over 30 years, outgoing CEO Don Walker helped the company shape up operationally and overcome debt issues to become an industry leader with a market cap of $22.9 billion, according to PitchBook. 
  • Incoming CEO Swamy Kotagiri takes up the mantle as the auto industry is rapidly changing, with an eye on technologies like electric and autonomous vehicles. 
  • "I'm an engineer at heart," Kotagiri says regularly, according to an interview with Magna's Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.
  • Because of his work, Business Insider named Kotagiri to our annual list of the 10 leaders transforming manufacturing in North America.
  • Visit Business Insider's Transforming Business homepage for more stories.

Magna International, the largest auto-parts manufacturer in the US and third-largest in the world, announced in October that its longtime CEO, Don Walker, will be succeeded by the company's president, Seetarama "Swamy" Kotagiri on January 1, 2001.

"The automotive industry is one the most technologically challenging industry in the world," Walker said in an interview with Bloomberg after the announcement. "You need to have someone that's really passsionate, that's in the details, and Swamy's got a long runway ahead of him."

The promotion parallels a larger transition for the global company, which has dominated as the largest auto-parts supplier in North America by sales since 2008, according to the company.  In recent years it has also added a more entrepreneurial, startup-like focus on developing proprietary technology and building partnerships with up-and-coming companies.

"We're able to think from a systems perspective," Kotagiri said of Magna, in an interview with Business Insider. "If you want to be successful with technology, you need to connect innovation with making money."

Departing CEO Don Walker helped shape Magna into a dominant force in the auto industry. Near the beginning of Walker's time with the company, Magna was facing a $1 billion debt crisis. Over the course of over 30 years at Magna, Walker proved a strong operational leader, and was lauded for his decision to boost the company's savings, which helped the company weather the 2008 recession. 

Now, Kotagiri, who has previously served as the company's  chief technology officer and director of research and development in addition to president, will grapple with broad changes happening across the automotive industry, from electric to autonomous vehicles. Kotagiri, who started his career at General Motors, brings engineering chops to the challenge, Magna employees told Business Insider. 

"One of the things Swamy would say a lot is, 'I'm an engineer at heart," said  Eric Wilds, Magna chief sales and marketing officer, in an interview with Business Insider. "When a bunch of other people are saying, 'Oh my God, this is too much detail,' he's like, 'I love this stuff. This is what I grew up with.'" 

Kotagiri takes the mantle of tech nerd with pride. During a TEDx talk he gave in December, he paused midway through his speech to tell the audience, "Please allow me to geek out and speak engineer for a moment." 

And during a wide-ranging interview with Business Insider, Kotagiri laid out his perspective on machine learning, China's markets, and more. As he moves forward, the executive will have to face big decisions about capitalizing on opportunities like electric vehicles and positioning Magna as a leader in the field.

Across the auto industry, car companies are looking to strike a balance when it comes to emerging technologies. In 2019, only 2.6% of the world's car sales were electric, according to an analysis by IEA, and autonomous vehicles have faced significant setbacks. But fail to invest in developing proprietary technology, and companies run the risk of playing a difficult game of catch-up later on. 

In the realm of autonomous vehicles, Magna has taken a middle ground.

"Our focus has been on assisted driving," Kotagiri told Business Insider. The sensors and software that can help drivers avoid a fender-bender now are the same ones that could contribute to self-driving cars years down the road. 

Kotagiri rose up through the company's R&D teams over the course of a decade to become the company's executive vice president of corporate engineering and R&D in 2013, according to the executive's Linkedin profile. He ascended during a time when the automotive industry began looking at electric vehicles, hybrids, and autonomous vehicles, a Magna representative told Business Insider. During Kotagiri's tenure, Magna added another focus to its auto manufacturing: its own electric powertrains.

Over the years, Kotagiri built a track record of fostering deals that expanded beyond Magna's traditional role as a contract manufacturer. In 2015, the executive saw potential in Uhnder, a Texas-based radar startup, operating in stealth mode at the time. The Austin-based company was mostly focused on producing digital radar for the military, but Kotagiri saw an opportunity to bring its technology to automotive, and Magna invested an undisclosed amount in the company, a Magna spokesperson told Business Insider. Over the course of the past few years, the two have collaborated to add its technology to Magna's portfolio for autonomous-vehicle sensors. 

Magna also made a deal with electric-vehicle startup Fisker in October to build its electric SUV, the Fisker Ocean. Not only is Magna bringing its manufacturing capacity to the deal, but it's offering some of its own technology: its electric-vehicle architecture. What began as a simple contract transformed into a partnership, with Magna buying a 6% stake in the startup, Magna announced in October.

"It's an open-for-business mindset," Wilds said, in reference to Kotagiri's dealmaking skills. "Where do we want to go? How do we best do it?" 

On Friday, the company reported its third-quarter earnings. The company's sales, which totaled $9.1 billion in the third quarter, decreased 2%, while global light-vehicle production decreased 4%. Magna International saw $405 million in profit in the third quarter, a significant improvement over the same period in 2019, which saw a loss of $233 million. 

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Sidelined by Trump during the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC officials say they can't wait to 'rebuild the agency' under the Biden administration

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 8:26pm
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks to the media after receiving a briefing from the transition COVID-19 advisory board on November 09, 2020 at the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware. Mr. Biden spoke about how his administration would respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are optimistic the Biden administration will allow them to rebuild and move forward on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The CDC was sidelined by the Trump administration over their warnings on the severity of the outbreak.
  • Trump and his close allies instead pushed misinformation about the novel coronavirus for months, and touted unproven medicines as cures.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are looking forward to "rebuilding of the agency" after President-elect Joe Biden takes office, CNN reported. 

The CDC has been sidelined by President Donald Trump's administration during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part for their warnings about the outbreak in the US and their efforts to highlight the seriousness of the novel coronavirus. 

As part of his blueprint, Biden has said he is working to restore trust in the organization, which had been politicized under Trump. Officials reportedly interfered with the release of some reports in order to align the messaging with Trump's rhetoric about the virus. 

Nancy Messonnier, the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, was also sidelined early in the pandemic for warning of the "severe" impact of the virus.

"People like ... Nancy Messonnier, I really hope are elevated in the discussion moving forward and empowered to communicate with the public," Celine Gounder, who sits on Biden's COVID-19 advisory board, told Politico

Among other measures to rein in the pandemic, Biden's incoming administration plans to bring back regular media briefings and elevate the voices of scientists and medical experts in public messaging about the virus, something Trump has repeatedly sought to avoid.

After the General Services Administration authorized Biden's presidential transition, a senior CDC official  told CNN: "This is what we've been waiting for is for them to send their landing team here and set up shop." 

One CDC official told CNN they were excited the transition had finally begun.

"From experience, the faster you get through it the better," the official said of the transition, according to the cable news outlet.

So far, more than 12.5 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the US, with more than 259,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A brief, bloody war in a corner of Asia is a warning about why the tank's days of dominance may be over

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 7:26pm
A destroyed Armenian tank in November 2020.
  • Footage of Azerbaijani drones attacking Armenia forces during earlier this year showed the small, relatively cheap munitions wreaking havoc on tanks and armored vehicles.
  • The brief but destructive conflict has reinvigorated debate about whether tanks, which have long been the most dominant ground weapon the battlefield, will still be viable in a clash between modern, technologically advanced militaries. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

On November 9, an armistice brokered by Russia and signed by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan ended a six-week conflict that killed some 5,000 people.

The brutality of the fighting, which has displaced tens of thousands of people, was due in part to the large-scale use of armed drones.

The Azeri Ministry of Defense published videos of drone strikes against Armenian targets daily and even ran the footage on digital billboards in public spaces in the capital, Baku.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev directly credited the drones with Azerbaijan's battlefield success, saying they "shrank our casualties" and helped destroy entrenched Armenian defenses that had been in place for decades.

The footage showed the Armenian military taking unsustainable losses, especially among its tanks and armored vehicles, long believed to be the dominant platforms in any army. The massive toll, seen around the world, has reignited debate about the future of the tank.

Catastrophic losses An Armenian trench before a missile strike by an Azeri attack drone, November 9, 2020.

The debate has been around since at least 1973, when dozens of Israeli tanks and armored vehicles were destroyed daily by Arab infantry using Soviet-built AT-3 Sagger anti-tank guided missiles during the Yom Kippur War.

Those arguing against the tank say that there is no point in investing in new ones since they will easily be destroyed by attack helicopters and anti-tank weapons, which have only gotten more advanced since the 1970s.

The recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh seems to lend credence to this argument.

On October 26, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev claimed his country's forces destroyed 252 tanks and 50 infantry fighting vehicles. A day before the armistice was announced, Armenia claimed it had destroyed 784 armored vehicles in total.

Both sides are likely exaggerating, but dozens of videos published by the Azeris, as well as open-source analysis, make clear that armored units suffered catastrophic losses.

Tank detractors also point to the Dutch decision to disband their entire tank force in 2011, the US Marine Corps' current disbanding of its tank units, and reports that the British may soon get rid of their tanks as proof that the tank's days are over.

Drones are a major new phenomenon A column of seven Armenian tanks seen from an Azeri attack drone over Nagorno-Karabakh, October 9, 2020.

But the case against tanks is not so clear-cut.

For one, just as anti-tank weaponry has gotten more advanced, so have tank defenses. Today's main battle tanks are equipped with things like composite armor, explosive reactive armor plates, and active protective systems designed to detect and destroy incoming anti-tank weapons.

The threat today, as highlighted by the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, is from relatively new weapons: drones and loitering munitions.

"In terms of [unmanned aerial vehicles], there's no question that that is a major new phenomenon," Mark Cancian, a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Marine Corps colonel, told Insider.

Azerbaijan has invested heavily in drones from Russia, Turkey, and Israel, buying armed attack drones as well as "kamikaze" drones.

Their effectiveness was clear. One Azeri video showed at least five Armenian tanks in of a column of seven destroyed or damaged in a single engagement. Drones also provided targeting information for Azeri artillery, something that Russian drones in Ukraine did with devastating effect.

A new phase Armenian T-72 tanks seized by Azerbaijan as Armenian soldiers fled their positions, in Azerbaijan, October 5, 2020.

Recent fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan has not settled the debate over the tank's future. Rather, it marks a new phase of it, showing that the threat of drones must be addressed for tanks to be useful.

"The question is not 'do I get rid of tanks?' but 'if they still have utility, what do I do to protect them so they can be employed in the things they are useful for?" said David Johnson, a principal researcher at the RAND Corporation and former US Army colonel.

"The big question is, 'how do you kill the drones?" he added. "That's a hard question."

The US Army has lacked sufficient anti-air defense capabilities for quite some time. Many of its short-range air-defense weapons were retired after the Cold War, and it has long relied on the Air Force to achieve air supremacy.

But a number of anti-air and anti-drone projects are in development. The Army has ordered anti-aircraft IM-SHORAD Strykers for its immediate anti-air needs, and jamming and laser systems are also being pursued.

New tanks are still being developed and deployed. The US Army began fielding the new M1A2 SEP V3 last summer. China is continuing the roll-out of its new Type 15 light tank, and Russia is expected to receive its first batch of T-14 Armatas soon.

Tanks are still useful, but future wars promise to be more destructive A sailor guides a Marine in an M1A1 Abrams tank ashore from a landing craft at Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

Tanks have largely proven their worth in the 21st century's irregular conflicts.

US tanks were particularly useful in urban combat during the war in Iraq, and Canadian and Danish tanks proved so effective in Afghanistan that the US Marine Corps sent 15 tanks on a similar mission in Helmand province, resulting in fewer attacks on convoys and numerous battlefield successes.

More recently, Russian and separatist tanks played key roles in the most important battles in Donbass against Ukrainian forces.

It's also worth noting that Armenia and Azerbaijan are not first-rate military powers. Armenian air defenses were largely outdated, severely limiting their ability to shoot down the most threatening drones. Additionally, Armenian tanks may not have had the latest protection equipment.

However, a modern war between two great powers will be far more destructive than anything the US or its allies are used to, meaning conflicts over the past two decades aren't the best models for such a fight.

Russian T-14 Armata tanks ahead of the annual Victory Parade for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in Moscow, May 9, 2015.

"You always have to be a little bit careful extrapolating from these kinds of regional conflicts to what a great power conflict would look like," Cancian said, noting that the Spanish Civil War was wildly different from World War II.

"Modern warfare is extremely destructive, and there is just no way of getting around that," Cancian added. "When you see a lot of tanks getting chewed up and airplanes getting chewed up — that's what modern warfare looks like."

While the US has focused on fighting non-state actors over the past 20 years, the prospect of great-power conflict is once again taking center stage. And the US's potential rivals now are investing in combined arms — both air and ground power.

"They're buying both." Johnson said. "They realize that the combined arms team can exploit the effects of drones and provide protective mobility in doing it."

That will lead to losses for all platforms at levels not seen in decades.

"We are accustomed to insurgencies where the pace of the conflict is very slow. It's all about skirmishes" Cancian said. "This is quite different."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tarra Simmons, the first felon elected to Washington state's legislature, wants to give formerly incarcerated people a second chance

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 7:16pm
"We have a particular narrative in our mind about who's in prison and the kinds of crimes that they've committed," newly-elected Washington State Sen. Tarra Simmons told Business Insider.
  • On November 4, 2020, Washington State Representative Tarra Simmons was elected to the state's 23rd district representing Kitsap County, becoming the first formerly incarcerated person to serve in the state's legislature.
  • Simmons, a civil rights attorney who founded the Civil Survival Project, struggled with substance abuse.
  • She led her campaign with her personal story and won both her primary and general election, earning endorsements from Rep. Pramila Jayapal and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
  • In 2017, after graduating from law school at Seattle University, Simmons, represented by ACLU-WA and other attorneys, won a case at the Washington Supreme Court after the Washington State Bar Association did not let her sit for the bar exam.
  • In a wide-ranging interview with Business Insider, Simmons made her policy goals clear, including how she plans to use her past experiences as an advantage in policymaking. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tarra Simmons has lived many lives: Now she is believed to be the first person convicted of a felony to be elected to Washington's state legislature.

In 2011, a series of arrests tied to substance abuse and selling drugs led to a 20-month prison stint for Simmons, then a nurse. After her release, Simmons worked at Burger King and went to law school, but she hit a roadblock when she was prevented from sitting for the state bar exam.

Simmons fought for her right to practice law at the Washington Supreme Court, and now, directly across the street from where she argued her case, she'll be serving as the first Washington State Representative who was convicted of a felony.

Simmons' new role is representing Kitsap County and Washington's 23rd district, and she is hoping to use her distinct knowledge of incarceration to give others a second chance.

Business Insider spoke to Simmons about her life experiences, her state and federal level vision for criminal justice reform, and COVID-19 relief. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You've had a very wide-ranging career in terms of what work you've been involved in before getting to this point. So can you talk to me a little bit about your experience in the healthcare industry and also being formerly incarcerated, the stigma that you've experienced too, before the race and in the process of the race?

So yeah, I was a registered nurse. I was the first person in my family to graduate high school let alone go on to college. I came from a really difficult childhood and was in foster care and homeless and had my first child, got pregnant at 14 and had him at 15, and had a lot of childhood trauma. But then went to college, became a registered nurse, and I worked for 11 years in nursing between long term care in long term care facilities and the emergency room. Then for the last five or six years of my career, I worked for a health insurance company as a disease management nurse from home and consulting people.

But not treating the childhood trauma, I had fallen down some stairs and went to the doctor and for my recovery, they started me with opiates. I got addicted to opiates, and then went to illegal drugs and went to prison. And now that I'm in recovery I see a lot of it was tied to my childhood trauma and medicating for that as opposed to physical pain.

But anyway, so the stigma of being a formerly incarcerated person, also a person in recovery, it's still not... the general population still thinks that the people that end up in prison — thanks to TV shows, we have a particular narrative in our mind about who's in prison and the kinds of crimes that they've committed. And there's a real negative stigma about that.

And since I got out of prison I've been fighting against that stigma and particularly in our laws and policies. So I went to law school to figure out how to change the system because I saw so many people in recovery who had years and years and were the most amazing people who have really done the inner work and have healed and have become of service to others and helped other people navigate substance use disorder and recovery. But they were still held back from renting an apartment, getting a good-paying job, and becoming caretakers for their own grandchildren, all the things. And so I went to law school to figure that out. And then today, actually, I celebrate my three year anniversary from the day I had to fight to the [state's] supreme court to become an attorney.

But I graduated law school and then they wouldn't let me sit for the bar exam because of my past and all along the way I've been fighting these barriers to allow people like me to just become contributing members of our community. I think the missing link is that people don't understand that when you [don't] treat the root cause of crime — I've had some mental health problem, addiction, poverty, being a victim of violence — you oftentimes replicate that violence because of learned behavior. If you grow up in certain communities where violence is prevalent, that's the response that you are socialized to use. But when we can treat the root cause, people can change and recover and become contributing members of our society and our communities. And I think that's what the general population is missing.

I worked really hard, I launched my campaign a year and two weeks before the election, so I worked really hard because I knew it was going to take time for me to reach all of my voters and to explain my past. And I didn't want to hide from it because if you hide from it and it comes up, then there is negativity around that, so I led with my story but I had been leading with my story when I fought to the [state's] supreme court to become an attorney when I went to Olympia, my state capital, and changed laws. I've been leading with my story and just being honest and open and vulnerable because I think that it's the system that needs to change and so I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to educate so many of my voters.

I will say, so I think in my race, many people who usually vote Republican voted for me because of my story, and I'll say that some Democrats didn't vote for me because of my past. I think there was a mix but who knows the numbers? I can just tell you that many Republicans reached out to me and said, "I'm a Republican but I'm voting for you because I believe in your story and I believe what you're doing." And I ended up with 300 votes less than my Democratic house seatmate.

It did come out in that somebody sent my court records around the district to try and smear me with it. There are still evil people out there who just don't want to see somebody come back, and it's unfortunate. And I will say that there were a few Facebook comments but nothing seriously overwhelming which I was surprised about. And I think it's because I really did a strategic move in inoculating against that by leading with my story.

Can tell me about your successful case in front of the Washington Supreme Court in 2017, after finishing law school? Could you just tell me a little bit about what that fight was like and also how, from three years ago to now, how people's perceptions around incarceration have changed in any way?

Absolutely. I will say when I graduated law school I had been newly appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to the brand new Statewide Reentry Council. I became the co-chair of the council in 2016 with our King County prosecutor, Dan Satterberg. I'm going to resign from that role because now I'm going to be in the legislature and just to avoid conflicts. So I've been on that council for four years, and I absolutely think that council along with just an overwhelming movement of advocates that have emerged in the last three to five years, has really helped us get the message out and educate more of the general public around the injustice in our criminal legal system which has led to mass incarceration where the United States holds only five percent of the world's population but 25% of the world's prisoners.

So there has been significant change. We've made progress in the legislature and have passed some reforms and it still goes at a very turtle incremental phase of steps. And it's frustrating for people who really just want to see a healthy and restorative and rehabilitative prison system that allows people to come home and contribute. But in the middle of this is my own personal story of going through law school, graduating with high honors, doing everything right, staying clean and sober, working really super hard, and then being told that I didn't have the character and fitness to become an attorney based on my past.

And it was absolutely devastating to be told that at the end. And so it took seven months and really brilliant attorneys to get my case before the Washington Supreme Court, which had not been done in modern history. The state's Supreme Court had not taken up a bar admission case and usually, whatever the bar association says, the court just follows and doesn't really argue the merits. And so it wasn't just me alone because if it was me alone, I would have failed. But it was the fact that my dear friend, Shon Hopwood, who helped me apply for law school had been admitted to the Washington State Bar Association two years before me, mind you he is a white dude with a privileged background, but he had robbed five banks with a gun and served 12 years in federal prison.

And so for them to deny the drug-addicted female two years after they admitted him, I think he was outraged and decided to come and represent me in the Supreme Court. By that time, he had also shown that he was a person who could change and who had gone on to accomplish great things. He had gone to clerk in the DC Circuit and then was a professor at Georgetown Law School and a brilliant attorney. And so it would have been hard for the Supreme Court to look at him arguing on my behalf and still tell me "no" because he's my support system, he's my friend, and I'm following in his footsteps. And I want nothing more than to serve the public.

But it wasn't just Shon who walked me through my initial bar application and had been doing this work for 35 years in Washington, but it was an entire legal community who wrote this beautiful amicus brief with the ACLU of Washington and hundreds of attorneys, hundreds of advocates, people in recovery, people from the faith community. Just so many people came together to sign this amicus brief that signaled to the state's Supreme Court like, "This is a true injustice."

It's continuing, historically, what we've done is disenfranchise people of color, say that people of the same sex cannot marry. We have, historically in this nation, cast aside certain populations, and it's been a fight for inclusion and that's what my people want and need also. And so, it was difficult but then as I reflect today from three years ago when the state's Supreme Court unanimously ruled in my favor, I just fell to my knees and cried because even more so than winning my election to the state's House of Representatives, that Supreme Court hearing and opinion was the first time I ever felt heard by an entity that was an authority. And it made me feel like I finally got justice.

And I wanted to go into, now that you're in this new position — and just what you see as the Washington state priorities for criminal justice reform?

Yeah, I think that Washington state, we need to reduce the number of people that are currently in prison because we are at capacity. COVID-19 is spreading throughout our prisons, people are dying when they weren't sentenced to death because they cannot protect themselves from the virus. And you can't safely social distance in prisons. That along with the economic recession that we're going through and the Department of Corrections having to reduce their budget, they are asking for the legislature's help to find alternatives to incarceration and reduce our prison population by 30% in the next year.

And so we can do that through a variety of ways. We can increase good time that people are able to earn, we can expand our electronic home monitoring programs so people can go home and do their time on electronic home monitoring, we absolutely need to look at bringing parole back to Washington state which doesn't currently have parole. So if you are sentenced to 60 years, you're doing 60 years even if you're 85 years old and no longer a threat to public safety, which doesn't make sense. If we had a second review board that could determine whether somebody was a risk to public safety or not, we could let people out safely. So we absolutely need to address the number of people we have in prisons and decarcerate our state prison system.

On the reentry side, we need to make sure people are reentering with support, with a place to live, with appropriate and safe housing, with wrap-around services so they don't come back. If we kick people out with 40 dollars and a bus ticket back to your county of origin, that's why one in three people will commit new crime and come back to prison within three years and it's not serving any of us well. There's more victims along the way when you do that and more devastation to families and communities and tax payers are paying for that with a billion-dollar per biennium on our state prison system. So if we invested a little bit in people's education and job skill training and gave them a softer landing back into our community with more support, they'll likely succeed and not commit new crime and not go back. So we need to address that.

When people have done their time, we need to remove the stigma. So, for example, increasing access to the workforce, some of these barriers for life. We have several people in our... elderly folks who want their child to be their caretaker because they're disabled and in their home but their child can't be the caretaker because of a criminal background. So they can't get the state funding for being a COPES provider to take care of them because it's a lifetime DSHS disqualifying list. For example, I can't volunteer in my child's school still to this day. I'm a lawyer, I'm a state representative, and I can't go on a field trip with my own child.

And it's important because the children then suffer the generational trauma. My son, he is African American, he has significant trauma because of my incarceration, I'm trying to break these cycles because my parents were incarcerated, and show up and be a thoughtful, encouraging mother. And so the stigma, the collateral consequences are so vast that you don't even know unless you're in this community, a lot of people don't understand the limitations that we still have. People are in our community contributing, raising their families, paying taxes, working, and still can't vote. So there are so many collateral consequences that I am excited to lead the legislative effort to fix those.

Let's go back to your campaign, along the way you got some really solid boosts from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, and from Sen. Patty Murray, and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg just to name a few people, and I'm curious if you can tell me what that meant for you?

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., talks with reporters after a meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Yeah, I mean to have powerful people in politics get interested in my candidacy, I think it meant a lot to me personally but only because of the community and the identity that I represent that's never been represented in the legislature and it meant to me that they care about the issues that I am fighting for and about the community that I represent who's never had a seat at the policymaking table, right? So, to me, it signaled that while getting legislation through Congress or through the state legislature is slow and it takes really building the coalition of stakeholders and bringing police and prosecutors along and survivors and democrats and republicans and so many different constituencies around that they, in their individual capacities, really do support the change that I'm seeking.

And so, for me, it meant a lot to me, obviously personally, because when you're in a competitive race like I was especially in the primary where I had three Democratic challengers. One who was an elected official, a city council member, who had relationships and name recognition, and here I came out of nowhere, I've not been a part of the Democratic party or anything. And to have their support meant a lot me personally because it was a difficult primary. And it was a difficult general too just in a different way just because of the divide in our country and I was running against a Republican and some of the really awful comments that were coming on Facebook and in the packets sent around with my court records. It was challenging.

What are your thoughts about how Washington state and the legislative bodies, different police unions, police forces in the state, have responded in terms of what the demands of the national and local uprisings are?

Well, I think it does depend on the particular area you're in. I will say that the most progressive place, the Seattle City Council only defunded one percent of the police budget. It was a huge fight to get that one percent. So I don't think that we have responded really well yet.

I will say from the state-level perspective, I'm encouraged because we have doubled our caucus as far as Black legislators go, we've doubled this cycle. We have the most intersectional caucus in the House Democrats that I have ever seen. We had our new member orientation and our reorganization this last weekend and it feels so humbling to be in space with really incredible teammates who we have.

The Speaker has developed an Equity Council, there's the Members of Color caucus, there's the Black Caucus, and people are being heard and our membership represents the community. We have a really diverse legislature now and it encourages me that we are going to see more progressive policy on the system that has the worst racial disparities which is the criminal legal system. It has the worst racial disparities of any system. Racism persists in our education system, I mean all of them have racial disparities but the criminal legal system in Washington has the worst. And so I think we're going to finally make some progress and I know I'm excited to work with my new teammates.

You're obviously going to be coming in as the pandemic is still going on, so if you could talk to me about what some of the immediate COVID priorities would be?

Yeah, well number one is progressive revenue. Making sure that we don't cut our way out of the economic recession that's in the wake of COVID. So I guess first would be making sure that a vaccination is available as soon as possible and disseminated or free to everybody in Washington state, right? So making sure our health is prioritized and I don't know yet, I hope to get on the Healthcare Committee but I don't know yet the weeds of where we're at with expanding healthcare to make sure everybody is covered in case you do get COVID and can you be treated and be hospitalized and cared for and not lose your home. I don't know where we're at with that, honestly.

But then the economic recession because of this. Instead of cutting headstart programs and rental assistance and food assistance and all the things that people that are low income and middle class and people that lost their jobs need to survive. I think we need to raise revenue through progressive taxation on the people in our state who are getting away without paying their fair share. So closing capital gains and imposing wealth tax and maybe a millionaire income tax, getting the people with the most to pay their fair share is a priority and really being a strong advocate around budget cuts.

A cleaning crew wearing protective clothing (PPE), takes disinfecting equipment into the Life Care Center on March 12, 2020 in Kirkland, Washington.

And I wanted to also ask about, partially from your own experiences and both working in healthcare, struggling with substance abuse and knowing the grip that opioids have on so many communities in the US. How do you see, at this moment right now playing out especially during the pandemic?

Oh absolutely. So suicide rates are up, addiction and relapse are up, the mental health stress of having to stay home, and the economic stress increases mental health ailments and substance use issues. So that is a huge priority for me as well. I'm asking to go on the Healthcare Committee, I'd like to see mental health become as accessible as it is to go buy a bottle of alcohol inside Safeway now, right? Now it's so easy for somebody to go and drink away their sorrows and their anxieties and their worries because it's right there where it used to be you have to go to a liquor store, right? But now it's right there at Safeway. But what have we done to make mental health that accessible where people can reach out and go see somebody and talk through their anxieties and their fears and get into the solution?

I would love to see mental health clinics available in every community. And I think that is the way that we reduce our reliance on prisons and reduce crime if everybody has somebody that can help them get a new perspective when they're stuck, get into the solution. Not just mental health providers but case managers too. A lot of times people don't know that there's a resource out there for them unless they have a helping hand to tell them that. If you're losing your kids or you're a victim of domestic violence and you're staying because you don't know how to get an apartment but you didn't know that the YWCA has funding to help survivors of domestic violence flee, right? And you don't feel like you have any options and you need case managers and social workers as much as you need a clinical therapist to deal with the mental health. Then it's all very intersecting.

I wanted to ask you about OR Measure 110 which passed in Oregon, decriminalizing many drugs, also trying to break down stigma around some of those substances, can you talk to me about what you think that could look like in Washington and whether you think that's a progressive step, what issues could about with it as well?

Yeah. Well, I absolutely think that we need to stop spending billions of dollars on arresting and incarcerating individuals with a public health problem because the resources alone that we spend on the War on Drugs is really a travesty when you have communities that need mental health and social workers and care, right? My concern is that if you just decriminalize without legalizing, you're not really solving the problem, it's a step. But if you legalize, for example, so many people are dying from heroin overdoses because it's cut with fentanyl, there's no safe supply. And I also see legalizing as a potential revenue source too for our budget crisis.

And so I definitely want to see us not just decriminalize but we need to reinvest all of that funding into actual care and that's the way that I will support something like that. If you just decriminalize and just leave people floundering and suffering with their mental health and behavioral health disorders and substance use disorders without the care, we really have not accomplished anything.

Washington also has a federal immigrant detention facility and I wanted to ask you about that end goal as well of decarceration and whether that's something that you're planning on getting involved within terms of immigrant detention decarceration?

Absolutely, I would love to see the Northwest Detention Center close. I think it's a travesty that we lock people up who are coming here to make a good life for themselves and their families and there are so many different reasons why people are unable to get documentation and we should be supporting people in their pathway to documentation and citizenship and the ripping families apart is never okay in my mind because the children are suffering. I definitely want to see us support more individuals and a lot of it does intersect on the federal level and so I'm hoping that with the new administration there will be better pathways to documentation and people legally being in America.

As far as Washington is considered, I would love us not to have a federal detention center here. And maybe it'll make it a lot easier. I will say I support legislation and have supported legislation in the past as an advocate to create welcome cities and to stop the racial profiling that's happening around courthouses. So that was a bill I supported last year was to make it to where police officers within a one-mile radius of a courthouse cannot ask about immigration status or documentation status because survivors of domestic violence were too afraid to go to the courthouse to get a protection order because of being asked about that and being deported and locked in a detention center away from their children. I just think it's a travesty.

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J.Crew promotes the head of Madewell to take over the company, as its CEO exits after just one 'brutal' year leading the struggling clothing company

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 7:14pm
  • J. Crew promoted Madewell head Libby Wadle as its new CEO, the company announced Tuesday.
  • Wadle will replace Jan Singer, who took over in January after the struggling private-equity-backed retailer went more than a year without a leader while trying to revive its brand.
  • "The continued executive turnover at J.Crew adds to the turbulence of an already brutal year for the retailer," Moody's analyst Raya Sokolyanska told Business Insider.
  • The pandemic has added challenges for J.Crew, which recently emerged from bankruptcy. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

J. Crew Group has named Libby Wadle, the head of Madewell, as its next CEO, the company announced in a press release Tuesday.

Wadle's promotion comes less than a year after outgoing CEO Jan Singer took over the struggling retailer and caps off an already tough year for the company, which emerged from bankruptcy in September.

The private-equity-backed J. Crew has seen extensive turnover at the top level, with Wadle becoming its fourth CEO in under four years.

Longtime CEO Mickey Drexler stepped down in 2017 as J.Crew fell out of favor with consumers and was succeeded by Jim Brett, who lasted just 17 months before stepping down in November 2018 amid a clash over the company's direction, after which the retailer went more than a year without a CEO until Singer's appointment in January.

"Moving forward as a company under unified leadership, we will harness the power of our collective platforms and talented teams to ensure our brands can continue to inspire and grow," said Wadle, who has spent the last 16 years in senior leadership roles at various J.Crew brands.

Read more: How to avoid the critical mistakes made by Brooks Brothers and J.Crew — and follow the Louis Vuitton model to stay relevant with customers, generation after generation

Wadle takes over as economic fallout from COVID-19 has ravaged brick-and-mortar retailers, but J.Crew's sales had been declining even before the pandemic hit. In May, J.Crew became the first major retailer to file for bankruptcy as a result of the pandemic, reaching a deal with its lenders to convert about $1.65 billion of its debt into equity.

"The continued executive turnover at J.Crew adds to the turbulence of an already brutal year for the retailer. The brand's turnaround, which was in process during 2019, is now more challenging given the ongoing disruption in apparel spending, as the pandemic continues to radically alter US consumers' shopping habits," Moody's vice-president and senior analyst Raya Sokolyanska told Business Insider in a statement.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Change in media company leadership is in the air

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 6:38pm

Hi and welcome to Insider Advertising, weekly edition, where I get into the big stories in media and advertising. Today's our last newsletter this week before we pause for the Thanksgiving weekend.

If someone forwarded you this email, remember you can sign up here to get your own.

This week: Media leadership changes are in the air, top startups to watch, and Netflix salaries.

A broadcast of the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at The Abbey, on September 29, 2020, in West Hollywood, California.

What's next for newsroom leadership

The election's over, to our great relief. But those of us who thrive on drama can turn their attention to the news media.

Recently we've been watching how companies seems to be poised for their own upheaval in leadership, whether because of retirement, organizational changes, or personal decisions to move on.

  • At the big TV companies, speculation has been swirling about when CNN boss Jeff Zucker will step down. 
  • There's chatter at CBS News about who could replace Susan Zirinsky as she drops hints that she could be looking for a change. 

Change is also afoot in digital and print media. 

It's no ordinary time for media. Companies are grappling with greater activism among their newsrooms, calls for more diversity in leadership, and big changes in how people consume media, which have been sped up in the pandemic — so any changes of the guard will be closely scrutinized for how they address these shifts.

Encantos cofounders (L to R) Nuria Santamaría, Steven Wolfe, Pereira Susie, and Jaramillo Carlos Hoyos.

Startups to watch

All year we've been asking VCs and other investors which startups they're most closely watching.

In advertising and media, the most promising include ones that are especially suited to life in lockdown or promising to solve advertisers' need for sound consumer data:

  • Players' Lounge, a platform where video game players compete with each other for money, a model that seems made for the pandemic.
  • Narrative, which helps direct-to-consumer brands and marketers buy and sell data and offers an antidote to the often shady data broker industry.
  • Encantos, a 4-year-old education and entertainment company for kids that's benefiting from the rise of at-home learning in the lockdown.
  • The Juggernaut, a subscription media company that tells stories around South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.
  • Perksy is an app-based research firm that collects anonymous data about millennials in a privacy friendly way.
Read the full list here.

"Tiger King," "The Umbrella Academy," and "GLOW" were among the most popular.

Netflix salaries

Netflix keeps churning out hit after hit as its subscriber numbers keep soaring.

It's also hiring. Business Insider analyzed US work-visa disclosure data released by the US Office of Foreign Labor Certification to see what Netflix pays for everything from engineers to marketers.

Working at Netflix means accepting some unorthodox practices. The streaming company doesn't offer performance-based bonuses on the belief that they hinder innovation, and says managers shouldn't be afraid to fire people who they don't want on their teams.

But one reason Netflix can get away with this is that it pays pretty darn well.

Based on the data, annual base salaries for various roles range from $110,000 to $850,000, with a median of $400,000.

Read the rest here: Netflix salaries revealed: Data shows how much content execs, engineers, marketers, and more made at the streaming service in 2020

Other stories we're reading:

Happy Turkey Day and see you back here Monday.

— Lucia

Read the original article on Business Insider

Getting a negative coronavirus test isn't a free pass to gather with family for Thanksgiving

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 6:30pm
New Yorkers wait outside a CityMD urgent care clinic on November 18, 2020.
  • Many Americans are getting coronavirus tests ahead of Thanksgiving.
  • But experts say the tests are not a free pass to gather indoors with others, since they only provide a snapshot of your infectiousness at one point in time.
  • To truly gather safely, a period of isolation is required before a test, and there should be no exposure after, either.
  • Otherwise, when seeing people outside your household, meet outdoors, wear masks, and maintain social distance.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In New York, the lines for coronavirus tests have gotten so long ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday that some people are paying line-sitters to wait for them.

Demand for the tests has surged across the country as people take precautions before traveling or gathering with family.

Although getting tested is a helpful tool in preventing spread, experts say, it's not enough on its own to ensure safe family gatherings. 

"Testing is one piece of many," Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist at the University of Arizona, told Business Insider. "It's a reactive, secondary prevention strategy and can definitely help identify infections, but it shouldn't be used as a way to justify seeing more people."

Indeed, without isolating before and after a test, testing negative doesn't guarantee that it's safe to hang out indoors and maskless with people outside your household.

Tests provide a snapshot of your viral load

Think of a coronavirus test like a photograph: Even the most accurate molecular tests can only provide information about your viral load at a single moment in time.

A PCR test searches within a sample of sputum — the gunk found in the throat and nasal cavity — for the virus' RNA, then amplifies that RNA a bunch of times until it becomes detectable. 

But the median incubation period for COVID-19 is four to five days — that's how long it takes most people to start displaying symptoms, according to the CDC. So during the days right after infection, the virus might not have replicated and spread throughout the body enough for a PCR test to detect it. In that case, a person could test negative but become infectious — and start feeling ill — hours or days later. 

As the virus spreads throughout the body, however, eventually a person becomes both contagious and likely to test positive.

A medical worker performs a PCR test for the coronavirus on August 31, 2020 in Montreuil, France.

Gathering safely with others indoors and without masks, then, requires a period of isolation before a coronavirus test to account for that possible incubation period. Anand Swaminathan, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at St. Joseph's Hospital in New Jersey, laid out the necessary steps: First, everyone involved must isolate for 14 days, and the quarantine should be strict.

"If your kids are going to school or playing sports or going to daycare, you're not quarantining," Swaminathan told Business Insider.

At the end of that period, all individuals planning to gather should get a coronavirus test. If nobody has illness symptoms and nobody tests positive, then it should be okay to get together, Swaminathan said.

He offered an example of what can happen when that protocol isn't followed. Swaminathan said an acquaintance of his recently attended an eight-person bachelor party. Before it, everyone tested negative. But a day after the party, one member developed symptoms and tested positive. Then three others tested positive.

"The issue was not quarantining adequately before getting together," Swaminathan said. 

A family hosts an outdoor birthday party at their home in Brooklyn, New York, July 12, 2020.

Furthermore, he added, a negative test is only useful if you don't engage in any risky behavior after getting swabbed. In the time between getting a negative test result and seeing friends or family, people should not engage in any activity that could expose them to the virus. 

"You can be negative today, contract tomorrow, and be positive the day after," Swaminathan said.  

The White House super-spreader event

The White House's October coronavirus outbreak can be seen as another example of a worst-case scenario that illustrates the pitfalls of relying on testing alone.

At the end of September, President Donald Trump held a large, 20-minute outdoor ceremony for Amy Coney Barrett, then the Supreme Court nominee. There was also a small indoor reception. The event's 100-plus guests were required to test negative using a rapid test before attending. But once there, most didn't wear masks, and many hugged and mingled before and after the ceremony.

Attorney General William Barr says goodbye to former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other guests at the White House nomination event for Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, September 26, 2020.

Less than a week later, President Trump tested positive for the coronavirus. At least 34 people in the president's orbit tested positive as well. 

Most likely, one or more attendees at the event were infectious when they attended, and the rapid tests the White House used didn't catch their cases. That's partly because rapid tests are less accurate than PCR tests. The White House relied on the Abbott ID Now rapid test, which can produce results in as little as 15 minutes but have been shown in some studies to produce false negatives about 9% of the time.

Other rapid tests, like antigen tests, may only pick up about 70% to 80% of infections, and can also produce false negatives. 

By contrast, PCR or molecular tests are "typically highly accurate," according to the Food and Drug Administration. UC Davis estimates that some PCR tests can be up to 100% accurate when done.

At this point, there's not enough time to isolate before a Thanksgiving gathering if you haven't started already. So it's best to follow the standard precautions that public-health experts recommend.

"If you're seeing people outside your household, keep it small, outdoors, masked when within 6 feet, and stay at your own household table for eating and drinking. And of course, hand hygiene," Popescu said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

I tried 4 different meal-delivery services, and Splendid Spoon is the only one that fits my busy lifestyle

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 6:17pm

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"Busy can be healthy," the Splendid Spoon homepage proclaims in inch-high, sans serif font. It's a nice sentiment, but I didn't really believe it — at least, not at first.

Last year was been my busiest yet. I got married, moved to a new city, and traded in my corporate career in favor of the full-time freelance hustle. It's also been my unhealthiest year. I barely had time to exercise and definitely didn't have time to cook, which means I usually grabbed a not-very-nutritious bagel and cream cheese with my Venti iced coffee every morning and order in takeout at night.

Meal-kit delivery services seem like an appealing alternative to the grab-and-go lifestyle, and I've tried a bunch of them. The major players — Blue Apron, Home Chef, and HelloFresh — offer weekly boxes fully stocked with easy-to-follow recipes and all the ingredients needed for dinner (yay for not have to go grocery shopping!). But I still found myself opting for Uber Eats on particularly stressful evenings. I just didn't have the time or motivation to prep and cook, even with everything laid out for me.

Basically, in my world, "busy" has always been synonymous with "unhealthy," and it's a relationship that Splendid Spoon's founder knows well. In fact, Nicole Centeno launched the company to remedy this exact issue.

"I really was Splendid Spoon's very first customer," Centeno tells Insider Reviews. "I realized how much time we spend thinking about and preparing food. On average, it's about two hours and 15 minutes a day." Do the math: That adds up to 35 days over the course of the year.  

"I set out to make something that was as good and nutritious as if I had made it at home, and something that was as easy as the muffin or croissant around the corner," Centeno continues. In my experience, that's precisely what Splendid Spoon delivers.

To back up a bit, the meal-delivery service sets itself apart from others in that it offers a mix of smoothies, hearty soup bowls, grain bowls, light soup, and wellness shots. The soups and bowls can be chilled or heated for more of a sit-down meal. The program requires zero effort and prep time unless you decide to actually heat the soup, which takes all of five minutes.

"We want to have careers that are meaningful, have time with our family, have time to spend with loved ones," Centeno says of the motivation behind her quick-and-easy meal plans. "That two hours a day spent on food doesn't have to be done anymore — we set out to take care of those moments in a way that you can still be nourished." 

Nourished is actually the perfect word to describe how I felt during my first full week of Splendid Spoon. It honestly came as a surprise, considering my Splendid Spoon plan was pretty much a liquid diet. I'm a notorious snacker and assumed I'd be hungry and craving solids throughout the day, but that wasn't the case.

When I tell Centeno that I felt shockingly full during my first "reset" day — made up of a smoothie and two light soups — she tells me that's all by design. She combined her study of biochemistry with her International Culinary Center experience to come up with combinations that satisfy in every sense of the word.

"I tried a juice cleanse before I started Splendid Spoon, and was hungry and angry the entire time," she says. "Then I realized I was stripping fruits and vegetables of fiber, which is one of the huge reasons to eat fruits and vegetables in the first place." In contrast, Splendid Spoon's offerings feature fruits and veggies that have been cooked down or blended to retain their fiber. 

"Fiber is literally what feeds the good bacteria in your gut, slows down the absorption of sugars, and physically cleanses the digestive system," explains Centeno. "The other amazing thing that happens when you're cooking your vegetables is that you're increasing the bioavailability of certain vitamins." She claims that vitamin A — found in Splendid Spoon's Butternut Tumeric sippable, care of butternut squash — along with vitamins E and K are all more "readily available to the system when heated."

Another way the meal-delivery service helps boost the absorption of nutrients (which, again, helps keep customers feeling full, satisfied, and high-energy) is through the use of healthy fats. Olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil all "create a little vehicle for the nutrients to get into your system more easily," Centeno says.

These are balanced out by proteins and complex carbs, all of which are plant-based, gluten-free, and non-GMO, because the company believes the body is "happier" when it's receiving mostly plant-based fuel.  

I'm personally a meat-eater (I'll never say no to a medium-rare steak), and I have to admit: My body is thriving on the Splendid Spoon program.

My subscription plan, which isn't an option that's available anymore, includes five smoothies, five soups, and four lighter soups delivered weekly for $135; that roughly translates to five days of breakfast, a snack, and/or lunch or dinner. I'm only on my own for weekends, and every meal I have during the week takes between zero and five minutes to prepare. It's pretty much my dream situation.

Subscribers can choose from three plans: five grain or soup bowls ($65); five smoothies and five bowls ($95); or five smoothies, five bowls, and five light soups ($135). Splendid Spoon has 40+ different flavors to choose from, and you can switch them up every week, depending on your personal preferences. All plans come with free shipping.

Centeno and I actually share our two favorite meals. First, the Ab+J smoothie is a must. It's a blend of almond butter and strawberry "jelly," a combo that's so tasty and equally filling. "That one, to me, has the perfect mix of protein, fat, and a little bit of sweet from the strawberries," the founder says. "I will actually have that one in the middle of the day if I'm running behind for lunch, because it takes me into the next gear and keeps me going." 

As for dinner, you can't go wrong with the Ikarian Stew, which is inspired by one of the world's "blue zones" — a term used to describe areas where citizens are most likely to live to be 100. "There are more centenarians in Ikaria, Greece than most other parts of the world, and one of their staples is this stew," Centeno explains. The dish features black-eyed peas, a great source of brain-boosting folate, as well as antioxidant-rich tomatoes and digestion-easing fennel. Centeno calls it "a powerhouse food," and I have to agree. Plus, it's delicious.

After a month of Splendid Spoon meals, I've learned that busy can be healthy — so long I have every single sweet and savory meal delivered straight to my door. 

Of course, you should run major dietary changes by your doctor or nutritionist before subscribing to Splendid Spoon (or any other service), in order to determine if it's right for you. I personally feel completely satisfied with this plan, but my experience won't necessarily be yours.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ulta's Black Friday sale is live — here's everything you need to know, plus the best deals you can shop now

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 5:56pm

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Ulta cherrypicks all of our favorite beauty products and puts them together in one place for easy shopping. And as of November 21, you can shop Black Friday discounts on many of its bestsellers. 

This year, you'll find deals on cult-favorite products like the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick, Naked eyeshadow palettes, and the Foreo Luna 2. Plus, you'll get free shipping on orders over $35. Below, you'll find some of the best deals available now.

Shop all deals at Ulta here.Best Ulta Black Friday and Holiday Deals for 2020:The Burgundy Palette Kyshadow (medium, Preferred: Ulta)Your #1 Bestsellers Kit (medium, Preferred: Ulta)Featherweight Compact Folding Hair Dryer with Dual Voltage (medium, Preferred: Ulta)Volumizing Hot Rollers Luxe Set (medium, Preferred: Ulta)

We've tested the T3 Hair Rollers ourselves and liked them as a fast, easy way to cheat a blowout. You can read our full review here.

Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette (medium, Preferred: Ulta)Luna Mini 2 (medium, Preferred: Ulta)

Many Insider Reviews members have used the Luna at home for years now. You can find a full review of the original Foreo Luna 2 here.

How do we select Black Friday deals from Ulta?
  • We only choose products that meet our standards for coverage. These items come from trusted brands that we know and use or have tested.
  • The deal price must be better than the retail price or the normal sale price, and if we write about it, we've made sure it's not available somewhere else for cheaper.
When does Ulta's Black Friday sale start?

The Black Friday 2020 sale is happening now online and in stores and will run all week long.

What is Ulta's return policy?

Ulta accepts in-store purchase returns within 60 days of the original purchase with the receipt. Online orders can be returned in-store or sent back by mail, though you will need to cover the shipping costs. 

Can I shop at the Ulta store near me?

So far, yes. Ulta will be closed on Thanksgiving — parting from tradition — but it will reportedly be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday, though this may vary based on location. With public health in mind, we'd recommend shopping online. You'll also save yourself from lines that won't move as quickly as in previous years. 

How does Ulta stand up to the competition on Black Friday?

Ulta carries products that Sephora doesn't and vice versa (for instance, the cult-favorite Tarte Shape Tape concealer is only available at Ulta). We'll be price-matching between the retailers, but we'd recommend checking both Sephora, Ulta, and Nordstrom for your best discounts on the products you really want. But, Ulta's additional coupons do give the retailer an edge on beauty products. Other retailers may automatically price match, but they often don't adjust to lower in-cart prices that you can get from coupons.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Here's how to use your FSA dollars before you lose them at the end of the year — and get a discount on supplies you'd need to buy anyway

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 5:48pm

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • The pre-tax money you contribute to your FSA must be used on eligible healthcare products and services, which can be as mundane as Advil and as unexpected as Felix Gray or Warby Parker glasses or an at-home Zeel massage.
  • FSA dollars work on a use-it-or-lose-it provision. If you don't use your FSA money by December 31 of each year (or March 15 of the new year for many), you lose it. 
  • makes it easy to spend that money before it's gone. They have over 4,000 items that are guaranteed to be covered by your FSA.

Fall is in full swing and it's almost time to use or lose your FSA dollars. Read on to learn more about what that means, and how you can avoid letting your money go to waste.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWhat is FSA?

Many employers offer access to Flexible Spending Accounts, which let you put away pre-tax dollars for eligible healthcare products and services (think everything from surgery and medical bills to thermometers and first-aid kits). Storing money in an FSA account is a great deal, provided that you spend it.

How does FSA work?

FSA operates on a use-it-or-lose-it provision; you must spend the money in your FSA account by the end of the year or risk losing it for good. Many employers offer either more flexibility with a two-and-a-half-month grace period (until March 15, 2021, rather than December 31, 2020) or let you roll $500 into the next year. They can't offer both.

FSA Store estimates that more than $400 million is forfeited every year in FSA funds because employees either miss or forget their spending deadlines (based on estimates using data from the 2017 FSA and HSA Consumer Research conducted by VISA). It's your money and it's pre-tax — it doesn't make sense not to use it. 

You can use FSA dollars to pay for medical expenses that aren't covered by a health plan, like co-pays, deductibles, dental and vision care, or dependent daycare, though eligible expenses can vary based on the plan. But if it's nearing the end of the year and you haven't used your money to help meet your deductible or pay medical expenses, you have the option of spending it on supplies like over-the-counter medication.

What can you buy with your FSA money?

The nitty-gritty details depend on the plan your employer has in place, but you can skip the burden of research by shopping the selection at the FSA store. They do the homework for you and curate more than 4,000 products that are guaranteed to be covered. If they're somehow not, you get your money back. 

Here are a few items on that you can buy with your pre-tax money before you lose it: thermometers, feminine care, sunscreenvitamins, condoms, high-tech healthcare (at-home defibrillator, nausea relief bands, vibrating shoe insoles, ovulation predictors), and travel pillows with orthopedic neck support. View all categories here.

And since the new Affordable Care Act required over-the-counter medications (like Advil and Benadryl) to come with a prescription from a doctor for FSA reimbursement, FSAstore created a Prescription Process that will contact your doctor for you, so you can get the information you need to complete the purchase. 

You can also buy things like Warby Parker or Felix Gray glasses with your FSA and HSA dollars as long as your FSA or HSA card is affiliated with a major credit card, or even book an at-home Zeel massage with it. 

Shop thousands of FSA-eligible items here before you lose those dollars for good.Read the original article on Business Insider

YouTube just suspended OANN after it said the conservative media outlet promoted a fake cure for COVID-19

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 5:44pm
A reporter with One America News Network works at a campaign rally with President Donald Trump on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia.
  • YouTube has suspended the conservative media outlet OANN from posting videos and monetizing its content for a week after it posted a video promoting a fake COVID-19 cure.
  • The site's policies prohibit users from posting content that claims there is a guaranteed cure for the coronavirus disease.
  • The suspension comes as misinformation surrounding the pandemic and the 2020 presidential election continues to proliferate the online world.
  • Social media platforms have attempted to crack down on misinformation by flagging or removing posts, many of which are published by Republicans, prompting conservatives to launch accusations of anti-conservative bias at tech companies.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

YouTube is temporarily suspending One America News Network (OANN) from the platform after the conservative media outlet uploaded a video promoting a fake COVID-19 cure.

OANN is temporarily prohibited from both posting new videos and being able to make money off of existing videos for a week. It will have to reapply for YouTube's monetization feature, according to Axios, which first reported the news.

In a statement to Business Insider, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said: "After careful review, we removed a video from OANN and issued a strike on the channel for violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content claiming there's a guaranteed cure. Additionally, due to repeated violations of our COVID-19 misinformation policy and other channel monetization policies, we've suspended the channel from the YouTube Partner Program and as a result, its monetization on YouTube."

YouTube said the time-out comes in the form of a "strike" against OANN for violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy, which instructs users not to post content that claims a vaccine for the disease is available or that there's a guaranteed cure. This is OANN's first strike, and if it receives two more, the account will be deactivated. OANN has violated YouTube's COVID-19 misinformation policy before, which is why the suspension came in the form of a strike instead of a warning, Axios reported.

YouTube said in mid-October that it would start banning content that contradicts facts from the World Health Organization and local health authorities regarding the coronavirus disease. Unfounded claims include saying COVID-19 vaccines would kill people or cause infertility.

And Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube's parent company, Google, said last week that they're teaming up to help stop the spread of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccines with a British fact-checking charity organization. However, that pledge was only for Canada, the UK, and several other nations — the US government is not participating in the coordinated effort.

YouTube's suspension of OANN comes on the same day that Senate Democrats wrote a joint letter imploring YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki to crack down on election misinformation surrounding the Georgia runoff.

Social media platforms have faced rampant spread of misinformation relating to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 presidential election this year and have rolled out individual efforts to combat misleading content.

Read more: How Mark Zuckerberg's competitiveness and attempts to keep Facebook politically neutral turned it into a haven for misinformation and conspiracy theories that can swing elections

Tech platforms have flagged or removed posts published by conservative outlets and figures, including President Donald Trump, prompting conservatives to levy accusations of anti-right bias at tech companies.

Republican lawmakers have grilled tech CEOs over alleged discrimination at congressional hearings. But as Emma Ruby-Sachs, executive director of the consumer watchdog group SumOfUS, told Business Insider in a previous interview, the fake news spreaders routinely happen to be Republicans.

And right-leaning content statically dominates online — Facebook's top-performing posts regularly come from conservative outlets and figures, like Fox News.

Read the original article on Business Insider

All the best store sales we found for Cyber Monday 2020, from big-box retailers to our favorite startups

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 5:40pm

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

Cyber Monday may come second to Black Friday chronologically, but in terms of deal quality, the two are equals. Both big-box retailers and direct-to-consumer startups turn up in a big way for Cyber Monday, with excellent prices in every category, including tech, smart home gear, home appliances, fashion, and much more. 

Amongst all of the hustle and bustle, it can get overwhelming to sort through all of the sales going on in celebration of the event. Below, we've put together the best Cyber Monday sales from retailers we trust — and we'll update it as we find more. Whether you're prepping your game plan ahead of time or just tuning in on November 30, you can find every Cyber Monday sale worth looking at, below.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky The best Cyber Monday sales from big-box retailers

Amazon: Save big in several categories including, tech, home and kitchen, fashion, and more. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Best Buy: Save on TVs, laptops, gaming gear, and more starting at 12:00 a.m. CT, November 30. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Kohl's: Save with online exclusive deals on tech, home goods, countertop appliances and more. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Macy's: Save on home goods, countertop appliances, apparel, and more online. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Target: Save on TVs, gaming gear, countertop appliances, and more starting November 30.  Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Walmart: Save on TVs, electronics, and household appliances. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Wayfair: Save on everything for your home from November 30 to December 4 this year. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

The best Cyber Monday tech sales

Amazon: Save big in several categories including, laptops, gaming gear, smart home devices, and more. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Best Buy: Save on TVs, laptops, gaming gear, and more starting at 12:00 a.m. CT, November 30. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Samsung: Save on the Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy S20, Z Galaxy Fold2, and more smartphones all month. 

Target: Save on TVs, gaming gear, countertop appliances, and more starting November 30.  Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Walmart: Save on TVs, electronics, and household appliances. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

The best Cyber Monday home and kitchen sales

Amazon: Save on kitchen appliances, baking gear, furniture, and more. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Best Buy: Save on household appliances, vacuums, and more starting at 12:00 a.m. CT, November 30. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Brooklinen: Get 20% off sitewide with no minimum purchase — save on sheets, bedding and more.

Casper: Get 30% off bundles, 15% off mattresses, 10% off pillows, bedding, and more through November 30.

Crane and Canopy: Save 20% on everything, including bedding, sheets, and decor with code YAY20.

Kohl's: Save with online exclusive deals on home goods, countertop appliances and more. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Macy's: Save on home goods, countertop appliances, and more online. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Snowe: Save 20% on orders $100+ with free shipping.

Target: Save on TVs, countertop appliances, and more starting November 30. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Walmart: Save on kitchen gear, vacuums, household appliances, and more. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

Wayfair: Save on everything for your home from November 30 to December 4 this year. Read our round-up of the best deals here.

The best Cyber Monday mattress and bedding sales

Bear Mattress: Get 20% off sitewide with two free Cloud pillows and a sheet set included with every mattress or bundle purchase. 

Brooklinen: Get 20% off sitewide with no minimum purchase — save on sheets, bedding and more.

Casper: Get 30% off bundles, 15% off mattresses, 10% off pillows, bedding, and more through November 30.

The best Cyber Monday style and beauty sales

Alleyoop: Save 20% sitewide through November 30 — save on makeup, skincare, and more.

Arctic Cool: Save 25% sitewide through December 2 — a rare deep discount from the retailer.

Bandier: Save 30% sitewide and 40% on sweats only on Cyber Monday. 

Clarks: Starting November 29, save 40% on your entire purchase with code CYBER

Eyebuydirect: Buy one, get one free with free shipping through December 31 with code SNEAKPEEK.

Frank and Oak: Save 30% on everything with code BLACKFRIDAY30 starting November 25.

M.Gemi: Save up to 70% sitewide on shoes for men and women. 

Ministry of Supply: Save 25% sitewide through November 30.

M.M.LaFleur: Save up to 70% on best-selling styles during the Unprecedented Times Sale.

SPANX: Starting November 25, save 20% sitewide — save on leggings, shapewear, and more.

Tortuga: Buy more and save more — spend $200 save 20%, spend $300 save 25%, spend $500 and save 30%.

Vincero: Save 15% sitewide or get 20% off $200+ and 25% off $300+ through December 2. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden's rumored choice for secretary of defense may make history, but she won't do Biden any favors

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 5:31pm
Joe Biden, then vice president, greets US Air Force personnel at an air base in Romania, May 20, 2014.
  • President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly giving serious consideration to selecting Michèle Flournoy, a former Obama administration official, as secretary of defense.
  • Flournoy would be the first woman to hold that job, but she would bring with her old thinking about the world and the US's role in it, writes Defense Priorities fellow and retired US Army Col. Daniel L. Davis.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

According to numerous media reports, President-elect Joe Biden is giving serious consideration to selecting Michèle Flournoy, a former Obama administration official, as Secretary of Defense. Based on her track record, Flournoy would neither serve Biden nor the country well.

Regardless of who Biden eventually selects, his next Pentagon chief should be someone who recognizes the world we live in today is different than the one we inherited after the Cold War.

Flournoy may look impressive on paper. She was the third highest ranking official in the Department of Defense during President Barack Obama's first term, serving as under secretary of defense for policy and formerly the chief executive officer of the influential Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

But throughout her tenure in the Obama administration, Flournoy was often wrong on key matters of war and peace. In 2011, for example, she testified before the House Armed Services Committee that Obama's Afghan surge was working.

"Our strategy is working," Flournoy confidently stated, and that "over 140,000" US and NATO forces in Afghanistan were placing "relentless pressure on the insurgents and regaining more and more critical territory."

Michele Flournoy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, June 2, 2014.

I was an Army officer stationed on the ground in Afghanistan at the time and I knew that claim to be entirely false, as I revealed in a detailed report the following year.

Events in the nine years since her claims have exposed the reality that the Afghanistan strategy was never working, as the Taliban today owns or contests more territory than at any time since 2001, the Afghan government remains hopelessly corrupt, and the country produces upwards of 84% of the world's opium which effectively funds Taliban operations.

Flournoy is hardly alone in holding such conventional and mistaken views, however.

Many senior defense officials and personalities in America today gained the bulk of their understanding, knowledge, and experience in the midst of the Cold War and the aftermath of 9/11. While Washington is intensely divided on a range of domestic issues, there is remarkable unity when it comes to foreign policy — to our collective detriment.

Whether Bush's war of choice in Iraq and conversion of the Afghan war into a nation-building operation, Obama's decision to expand the war in Afghanistan and engage in extra-constitutional military forays into Libya, Syria, and Yemen, or Trump's expansion of military operations in Syria, Iraq, and numerous locations in Africa, the consistent theme of senior defense officials has been to rely on the use or threat of lethal military power against our presumed opponents and to minimize diplomacy.

The result has been the perpetuation of a series of forever wars around the world, the overuse of our armed forces, and a paranoid inflation of terror threats abroad. It is time to acknowledge the strategies of the past have failed and that new ways of thinking are needed for the future.

The president-elect will have to be careful, however, not to automatically jettison every action or policy enacted by Trump. For example, at various points in his Administration, Trump promised he would withdraw American troops from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Though he reduced the number of troops in each, Trump never ended any of the forever wars he inherited. America would be well-served if Biden made good on Trump's aspirations.

Biden should nominate a secretary of defense that recognizes this reality and will break from the fundamental failures of the past by adopting a strategy that can succeed. At its core, a strategy based on domestic and global realities that could result in real gains for America would include three key pillars.

US troops in Afghanistan.

First, acknowledge that the series of forever wars have not only failed to improve our security but have demonstrably weakened it. America's unmatched combination of nuclear and conventional military power provides the foundation that will deter all possible opponents from launching unprovoked attacks against our country.

Second, prioritize where we spend our defense dollars based on vital national interests and set objectives that are attainable and cost-effective. Fighting unnecessary conflicts throughout the Middle East and North Africa that have no bearing — one way or the other — on US national security are a waste of treasure and an unacceptable sacrifice of our military personnel.

Third, elevate diplomacy as the primary instrument with which we engage the world, reserving the application of lethal military power only when it is absolutely necessary to prevent enemy attack (or respond to an unprovoked attack already underway).

It is crucial that Biden's incoming foreign policy team breaks with the failure of the past several decades. He should jettison what hasn't worked, reinforce what has, and have the courage and leadership necessary to launch out in new directions to the benefit of our country.

Daniel L. Davis is a retired US Army colonel who served multiple tours in Afghanistan. He is a fellow with Defense Priorities. Follow him @DanielLDavis1

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump touted the stock market in a surprise news briefing and then left after only a minute

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 5:15pm
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence leave the stage after speaking to the press in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on November 24, 2020.
  • President Donald Trump only spoke for a minute at a surprise news conference on Tuesday.
  • He arrived at the White House briefing room alongside Vice President Mike Pence, praised the stock market, commented on the coronavirus vaccine, and left without fielding questions from reporters.
  • "The stock market's just broken 30,000. Never been broken, that number. That's a sacred number: 30,000. Nobody thought they'd ever see it," the president said.
  • This is only the third time since November 3 that Trump has spoken from the White House press briefing room. He's mostly stayed out of the public eye after being trounced in the election.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump spoke for only one minute at a news conference on Tuesday — potentially his shortest one ever.

Upon arriving at the White House press briefing room, the president praised the Dow Jones Industrial Average's historic gains, made a comment about the coronavirus vaccine, and then walked out without taking any questions. Vice President Mike Pence stood beside him but did not speak.

"The stock market's just broken 30,000. Never been broken, that number. That's a sacred number: 30,000. Nobody thought they'd ever see it," Trump said. "That's the ninth time since the beginning of 2020, and it's the 48th time that we've broken records during the Trump administration. And I just want to congratulate all the people within the administration that worked so hard."  

—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2020

Reporters, who were only given brief notice that the presser was going to begin, tried to get their questions in as Trump stepped out. He ignored them.

"Well, that was weird as s---," one reporter said about the scene shortly after Trump left.

—The Recount (@therecount) November 24, 2020

This is only the third time Trump has spoken from the briefing lectern since the election on November 3. He has not answered questions from the press in the past three weeks and has largely stayed out of the public eye following his loss.

The president's impromptu appearance come after his administration on Monday evening announced that it would formally began the transition process with President-elect Joe Biden's team. General Services Administration head Emily Murphy pledged to release "resources and services" to Biden's transition team.

Also on Monday, Biden announced former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as his pick for Treasury Secretary. Reports noted that both of the moves on Monday prompted stocks to jump afterward.

Yet Trump seemed to take credit for the rising stocks at the briefing. He did not mention the transition process nor concede defeat to Biden.

"Remember, the GSA has been terrific, and Emily Murphy has done a great job, but the GSA does not determine who the next President of the United States will be," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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