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A $15 million lawsuit against Fox News analyst Andrew Napolitano alleges he attempted to rape a man and coerced him into 'bizarre sex games'

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:48pm
Andrew Napolitano stands in the elevator at Trump Tower in 2016.
  • On Monday, New Jersey resident James Kruzelnick filed a lawsuit against Andrew Napolitano, a legal analyst at Fox News and former judge.
  • Kruzelnick's lawsuit alleges that Napolitano stalked him at the steakhouse where he was a waiter for years, harassed him, coerced him into providing sexual favors, and attempted to rape him.
  • This lawsuit closely follows a lawsuit filed on September 11 by Charles Corbishley, which alleges Napolitano "forcibly sodomized" him when he was a 20-year-old defendant in the latter's court.
  • Jon Norinsberg, one of Kruzelnick and Corbishley's lawyers, told Business Insider that he sees a "disturbing" pattern of abuse from Napolitano: "Men who are in a position of unequal power are being forced to do things they don't want to do."
  • Napolitano denies all allegations, and countersued Corbishley for defamation. Fox News did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Fox News analyst and former New Jersey judge Andrew Napolitano is facing two separate allegations of sexual assault.

The first lawsuit against Napolitano was filed on September 11 and alleged that he had "forcibly sodomized" Charles Corbishley, then a 20-year-old defendant in Napolitano's court, in 1987. Napolitano filed a countersuit against Corbishley on September 15 for defamation, denying all of Corbishley's allegations.

On Monday, New Jersey resident James Kruzelnick filed a lawsuit seeking $15 million in damages from Napolitano, claiming a pattern of coercion and sexual abuse between 2014 and 2017. Kruzelnick alleges that Napolitano stalked and harassed him at his place of work, coerced him into "bizarre" sexual acts, and attempted to rape him, resulting in "severe and permanent emotional distress."

Napolitano's lawyer, Tom Clare, sent Business Insider the following statement: "These allegations are total fiction, and Judge Napolitano unequivocally denies them. This copycat lawsuit, filed and promoted publicly by the same lawyers representing career criminal Charles Corbishley, is nothing more than a pile-on attempt to smear Judge Napolitano for their own financial gain."

Jon Norinsberg, one of the lawyers representing both Corbishley and Kruzelnick, told Business Insider that Kruzelnick reached out to the firm after Corbishley's story went public.

"We find Mr. Kruzelnick to be a very credible witness," Norinsberg told Business Insider. "There are witnesses that corroborate parts of his story, and there are various pieces of corroboration that really support the central claims he's making."

Fox News has not publicly addressed Kruzelnick's claims, and did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment on Monday.

From 1987 to 1995, Napolitano was a New Jersey Superior Court judge. He has appeared on Fox News as a legal analyst since 1998.

The new lawsuit alleges 'abhorrent and repulsive' sexual abuse from 2014 to 2017

Kruzelnick's lawsuit alleges that Napolitano first developed an "infatuation" with him when Kruzelnick was a waiter at Mohawk House, an upscale steakhouse in Sparta, New Jersey. Napolitano, who was a regular, would always request Kruzelnick as his waiter, the lawsuit states.

Then in December 2014, Kruzelnick alleges Napolitano followed him to the bathroom and groped him from behind, saying "you are just so hot." Kruzelnick said he pushed Napolitano off him and told him not to do it again.

The lawsuit alleges Napolitano was friends with Mohawk House's owner, Steven Scro, who ordered Kruzelnick to continue to serve Napolitano each time he came to the steakhouse. Napolitano's attentions soon escalated to aggressive sexual remarks, and eventually he invited Kruzelnick to his home, according to the lawsuit.

Kruzelnick says he was both flattered due to Napolitano's status and wary because of his advances, but went to Napolitano's home with the intention of setting proper boundaries on September 6, 2015. As Kruzelnick was waiting in the living room for Napolitano to prepare drinks, the lawsuit alleges, Napolitano came in with his pants down and said, "I want you to do something for me," before throwing himself into Kruzelnick's lap.

Kruzelnick alleges that Napolitano forced him to play the role of "daddy" and spank him as he masturbated.

"Plaintiff was angry and upset about what Napolitano had done. Plaintiff felt like Napolitano had used him for his own gratification and forced him to play some type of bizarre sex game that he had no interest in playing," the lawsuit reads.

Andrew Napolitano, senior judicial analyst for the Fox News Channel, testifies during a Federal Spending Oversight And Emergency Management Subcommittee hearing June 6, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Following that incident, Kruzelnick says Napolitano continued to aggressively pursue him at Mohawk House, but Kruzelnick was afraid of losing his job if he confronted him. Scro, the steakhouse owner, would regularly call Kruzelnick "f----t" and "gay boy" at work, according to the lawsuit.

Scro did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Eventually, Kruzelnick said, he asked Napolitano what his legal rights were regarding Scro's harassment. Napolitano told Kruzelnick to come to his house, according to the lawsuit, where Napolitano told Kruzelnick, "If you do things for me, I'll do things for you," and forced Kruzelnick to spank him again.

The lawsuit states Napolitano later agreed to meet with Kruzelnick and his brother Dallas, who was facing criminal charges and had just become a father. Kruzelnick alleges Napolitano told Dallas he would only help him "if your brother gives me his full cooperation."

From spring 2016 to summer 2017, Kruzelnick alleges Napolitano made him perform "abhorrent and repulsive" sexual acts — including the allegation that Napolitano drugged Kruzelnick and forced him to engage in a threesome with a Fox News intern.

"While Plaintiff felt humiliated, degraded and abused by Napolitano, he also felt that he was powerless to stop the abuse," the lawsuit reads. "If he refused to do what Napolitano wanted him to do, then Napolitano would refuse to help out his brother, and Dallas would go to jail."

Kruzelnick says the abuse ended in August 2017 after Napolitano attempted to "forcibly sodomize" him at the former judge's home. The lawsuit alleges that Kruzelnick fought back by kicking and screaming, and Napolitano eventually let him go.

After the alleged attack, Kruzelnick says he became extremely depressed and withdrawn, and would start crying randomly at work.

Norinsberg said there are "striking" similarities between Kruzelnick's case and Corbishley's case, and that he wouldn't be surprised if there were other victims.

"There is a disturbing pattern," Norinsberg said. "Men who are in a position of unequal power are being forced to do things they don't want to do. And there are consequences they will suffer if they don't do those things."

Kruzelnick is seeking $15 million in damages, according to the lawsuit.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best humidifiers

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:45pm
  • An excellent humidifier can make your home's air much more comfortable to breathe, particularly when the air becomes too dry. 
  • There are a number of great humidifiers available, but our top pick is the Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. It's stylish, inexpensive, and versatile enough to suit most people's needs.

When the air gets too dry, it can potentially lead to health issues such as bloody noses, cracked lips, itchy skin, and more.

It can also simply just be uncomfortable to breathe in dry air. This is common during cold weather when a home is heated. Additionally, besides making our bodies feel discomfort, low humidity may also damage porous things like wooden furniture and framed art.

An air humidifier can help. A humidifier is an electrical appliance that uses water to add moisture the air. Humidifiers come in different shapes and sizes, but for this guide, we focused on portable units that are affordable and can be easily purchased. Still, there are various types of portable humidifiers including those that use warm mist and cool mist. For a quick explainer on the difference, scroll to the bottom of this guide.

We looked at a variety of humidifiers to find the best ones, at a variety of price points.

Here are the best humidifiers:

Prices and links are current as of 9/28/20. We streamlined the introduction of this guide and placed our explainer about the benefits of hot and cold mist toward the bottom of the article.

The best overall The Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is stylish, has two levels of misting, and even lights up for ambiance.

The best humidifier is the Pure Enrichment Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier. Not only is this an excellent and reliable portable humidifier, but it's also affordable.

This cool-mist model has a number of great features. It can humidify the air for up to 16 hours of continuous use leaving no need to worry about replacing the water often, thanks to the 1.5-liter water tank.

The device also has choices of either single or dual-mist nozzles, so you may switch the humidifier to output different levels of mist. An automatic shut-off feature detects when the water level is getting low or if the water tank has been removed. And, it can function as a night light (blue, green, or red).

Because it's small and compact, it isn't effective for larger rooms. The company offers an "XL" version with a larger water tank and longer continuous run-time, or you can check out our pick for large rooms.

Pros: Stylish design, relatively cheap, dual-mist control, automatic shut off, night light

Cons: Not great for larger rooms

The best warm-mist Vicks' Warm Mist Humidifier has a gallon-sized water tank, an automatic shut-off feature, and is ideal for anyone who is sick.

While most people prefer cool-mist humidifiers, in some situations, warm-mist humidifiers are simply better, such as when you're sick and trying to clear a stuffed-up nose. In that case, there's one humidifier that stands above the rest: the Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier.

The device has a big water tank (1 gallon), which allows it to operate for up to 12 hours on a single filling. It runs quietly and there is a night light, which is helpful if you're running it overnight.

The high setting works great for larger rooms, while the lower setting will be a little calmer for small spaces. The way that it works is, the tank feeds the water into a boiling chamber where it's then heated. The vapor produced is up to 95-percent bacteria-free, according to Vicks. The humidifier has an automatic shut-off, so it will turn off when the water runs out.

Pros: Warm mist is great for sinus issues, large water tank, two settings, relatively inexpensive

Cons: Device gets hot, not suitable for homes with children or pets

The best for large rooms The Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 Humidifier doesn't just have a large tank, it also offers both warm and cool mist settings, and the ability to control the mist output.

If you're looking for a humidifier for an expansive room, you'll probably want something with a larger water tank that's capable of outputting more mist. The best is the Sunpentown SPT SU-4010 Humidifier.

The humidifier has a gallon-sized water tank, but it's powerful enough to humidify rooms as large as 500 square feet.

Unlike our other recommendations, this device offers the option of cool-mist or warm-mist settings, which makes it incredibly versatile. It can run for up to 10 hours on the warm-mist setting or 12 hours if you opt for cool. You can also adjust the mist output.

Pros: Warm and cool mist settings, higher mist output for larger rooms, ability to adjust mist output

Cons: A little noisy, on the pricey side 

The best germ-free humidifier The Honeywell HCM350W Humidifier boasts the ability to kill 99.9% of all germs and bacteria, and it's quiet.

If you're concerned about the bacteria that could be circulating in your room, the Honeywell HCM350W Humidifier is a great option. Honeywell markets the device as "germ-free," and that's thanks to the company's patented germ-killing process, which Honeywell claims to kill 99.9% of all water-bred germs and bacteria.

The germ-killing technology isn't the only great feature on the humidifier. It also offers three speed settings, which allow the user to adjust the moisture and sound levels.

The humidifier comes in white or black, so you can choose the color to best suit your room. On top of that, it can run up to 24 hours per filling — as long as it's positioned to a lower setting.

There are two maintenance requirements to consider. You'll need to learn how to maintain the humidifier's wick filter and you will also need to remember to switch out the filters, which adds to the overall cost of the device.

Pros: Technology to kill 99.9% of germs, quieter than other humidifiers, can run up to 24 hours, different colors available

Cons: Requires some maintenance, pricey

Which is better: warm mist or cool mist?

In general, humidifiers are divided into "warm mist" and "cool mist."

Warm-mist humidifiers release moisture into the air by heating it, which kills bacteria in the water. But, if there are children or animals in the house, warm-mist humidifiers can be hazardous because of how hot the appliance becomes, as well as the potential for accidentally spilled hot water.

Within the cool-mist humidifier segment, there are three types:

  • Ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency waves to split water drops into particles, which are then released into the room.
  • Evaporative humidifiers take the room's air and pass it through a filter with water in it, creating a mist. That mist is then blown out the other end of the humidifier.
  • Impeller humidifiers are similar to ultrasonic humidifiers, but instead of using ultrasonic waves, they break-up water drops using a rotating disc. These humidifiers operate louder than the others.

The option you should choose depends on your environment. The Mayo Clinic recommends cool-mist humidifiers if you have children, because of the aforementioned safety concerns. It also said that both cool-mist and warm-mist humidifiers are equally effective. However, cool-mist humidifiers require more cleaning because they have a higher chance of bacteria and mold growth. It's also recommended that distilled or purified water be used instead of tap water.

As mentioned, warm-mist humidifiers disperse steam by heating water, rather than using a fan. They're quieter and can heat up small rooms, however, they also require more energy to operate. There are pros and cons to both, and the best option will depend on your needs.

Check out our other home heating and cooling guides The best space heaters

If you don't have central heating, or do but don't want to use all that energy, then a space heater is a great way to ensure you keep nice and warm during those long winter months, whether you're in your frigid office, that one cold room in your house, or your chilly dorm room. These are the best space heaters.

The best throw blankets

There's nothing better than curling up with a cozy throw blanket and your favorite show or a good book. These are our top picks for the best throw blankets.

The best tower fans

A tower fan can move a substantial amount of air, creating appreciable cooling even in large rooms despite occupying less than a square foot of floor space. Some multifunction tower fans also have heating functions, making them ideal for use in all seasons, albeit usually with an added cost. These are the best tower fans.

The best dehumidifiers

A good dehumidifier removes excess humidity from the air, which can help prevent mold and mildew buildup and eliminate allergens. These are the best dehumidifiers you can buy.

The best electric fans

Even a simple home appliance like an electric fan has seen impressive gains in function and performance over recent years. With all of the available designs, finding a fan that can meet your specific needs has never been easier. Here are the best electric fans.

The best portable air conditioners

In some cases, portable air conditions are the only option in homes or apartments where there is no central AC and window units are not allowed, or simply won't fit. Thankfully, they're easy to use and a snap to install. Here are our top picks for the best portable air conditioners.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk says he's planning to take his satellite internet business public in 'several years' once 'revenue growth is smooth & predictable'

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:44pm
SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk attends a post-launch news conference to discuss the SpaceX Crew Dragon astronaut capsule in-flight abort test at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020.
  • Elon Musk tweeted on Monday that Starlink, an satellite-based internet initiative within his privately held company SpaceX, will "probably IPO" in "several years."
  • Musk said that Starlink likely would wait to go public until "revenue growth is smooth & predictable" and that he would prioritize "small retail investors" when taking the business public.
  • SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell had previously floated the idea in February.
  • Starlink is aiming to start offering space-based internet services to customers this summer, but the company has already drawn criticism over its environmental impact and regulatory approval.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a tweet Monday that he will "probably" take SpaceX's internet-based satellite venture, Starlink, public at some point in the future.

"We will probably IPO Starlink, but only several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth & predictable," Musk said.

He also promised to prioritize smaller investors in a potential public offering, saying the "public market does *not* like erratic cash flow haha. I'm a huge fan of small retail investors. Will make sure they get top priority. You can hold me to it."

—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 28, 2020

Musk said last year that Starlink was an important new revenue stream for his California-based Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell in February floated the idea of spinning Starlink off for an IPO in the coming years.

"Starlink is the right kind of business that we can go ahead and take public," Shotwell said, according to Bloomberg. "That particular piece is an element of the business that we are likely to spin out and go public."

SpaceX is racing to build out its Starlink satellite constellation to offer broadband internet commercially by the end of 2020.

But some astronomers have raised concerns that Starlink satellites could wreak havoc in space, and that they've already disrupted astronomical imaging. Some legal experts have also argued that the Federal Communications Commission's decision to allow Starlink to launch its constellation of tens of thousands of satellites could have been illegal.

(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru: Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

Read the original article on Business Insider

Prime members can support small businesses that sell on Amazon and earn a $10 credit to use on Prime Day — here's how the offer works

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:42pm

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

If you're already an Amazon Prime member with all of our Prime Day 2020 coverage bookmarked, Amazon has introduced another way to prepare for the incoming event — an early Prime Day deal.

From now through October 12, members who spend $10 at select small businesses can get $10 to spend on Prime Day itself. The offer is limited to one per customer, but with the big price drops we expect to see over October 13 and 14, $10 goes a long way. 

How to get the $10 Prime Day credit:Qualifying products we've reviewed (and love):More small businesses we recommendRead the original article on Business Insider

Federal judge says Trump administration's actions against TikTok 'likely exceed' the president's authority

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:40pm
  • A federal judge granted TikTok an injunction Sunday, temporarily blocking the US government's attempt to block new downloads and software updates of the app in the US.
  • According to the injunction, unsealed Monday, the judge said the restrictions imposed on TikTok "likely exceed" the authority of IEEPA, the law giving the president broad authority over economic transactions Donald Trump used to issue the app ban.
  • TikTok also proved it would "suffer irreparable harm" if a ban occured, according to the judge. In court documents, TikTok said 80% to 90% of its US userbase would disappear if the ban lasted six months.
  • Another hearing on Trump's attempted ban is expected before November 12, when the rest of the ban's "phased approach" is scheduled to go into effect.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The US government's attempts to ban TikTok "likely exceed" the legal bounds of Donald Trump's executive authority, a federal judge said in his decision to grant an injunction this weekend, temporarily blocking the ban.

The judge's Sunday night ruling for the injunction came hours before the US government was set to enforce the first part of its two-pronged strategy to ban TikTok nationwide. Sunday's action, as recently laid out by the Commerce Department, would ban new app downloads and software updates for existing TikTok users.

TikTok first filed an injunction request Wednesday as part of the company's lawsuit against the US government challenging the legality of Trump's proposed ban.

The judge in the injunction, unsealed Monday, said the ban likely goes beyond the "lawful bounds" of the authority Donald Trump cited in his August executive orders to ban TikTok. Trump cited authority granted under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows the president to execute "broad authority" in regulating foreign economic transactions. However, IEEPA specifically excludes the ability to regulate "information or informational materials," as the judge pointed out in his injunction ruling.

The federal judge also said TikTok demonstrated it would "suffer irreparable harm" if a ban were to go into effect. In documents submitted to the court, TikTok interim head Vanessa Pappas said that the app would lose 80% to 90% of its users if a ban lasted for more than six months. Pappas also says TikTok's battle with the US government has caused more than 50 candidates to turn down roles at TikTok — a company whose US employee base stands at more than 1,500 and is still rapidly growing.

The second part of the administration's order — which issues a complete ban on TikTok by targeting internet hosting services and content delivery networks — is set to take effect November 12. Separate proceedings will be held prior to that deadline to decide on the implementation of this second part of the ban, the judge said Sunday.

It remains unclear what will happen to the US government's planned TikTok ban if a deal to settle the company's ownership in the US is finalized. The current proposal would break off TikTok's global business into a new US-based company, in which Oracle, Walmart and US investors would have substantial stakes. However, there's still disagreement over whether the deal would give majority ownership to US investors, or whether TikTok's China-based parent company ByteDance would maintain its majority ownership.

Last weekend, Trump said he had given his "blessing" to the Oracle-led deal. However, it is still awaiting approval from US and Chinese governments.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The SEC charged a former Amazon manager and her family with illegally making $1.4 million from insider trading

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:36pm
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission charged an Amazon Finance manager and two of her family members with insider trading on Monday.
  • When she worked at Amazon, Laksha Bohra helped prepare numbers used in Amazon's quarterly and annual earnings reports, according to the SEC.
  • From 2016 to 2018, the SEC alleges that Bohra violated company rules and securities laws by sharing financial information about Amazon's performance with her family, who then made trades based on the information.
  • Bohra's family made $1.4 million from insider trading, the SEC said. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former Amazon employee and two of her family members with insider trading on Monday. Laksha Bohra and her family made $1.4 million using the information, the SEC alleged. 

Bohra was employed in Amazon's tax department, where she routinely looked at and helped prepare numbers associated with Amazon's quarterly and annual earnings, according to an SEC press release. The SEC said that Bohra tipped off her husband, Viky Bohra, to confidential information about Amazon's earnings from January of 2016 through July of 2018, despite quarterly reminder from her work not to do so. Viky Bohra and his father, Gotham, then traded on this information 11 times, the SEC said.

"We allege that the Bohras repeatedly and systematically used Amazon's confidential information for their own gain," SEC Director of San Francisco Regional Office Erin Schneider said in the announcement of the charges. "Employees with access to confidential, potentially market-moving corporate information may not use that information to enrich themselves, their friends, or their families."

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment. Voicemails left for Laksha and Viky Bohra seeking comment were not immediately returned.

The SEC charged Laksha, Viky, and Gotham Bohra in federal court in Seattle with violating securities laws. The three face financial penalties including returning the $1.4 million they're alleged to have made from insider trading, plus $118,406 in interest and $1.1 million in penalties. Viky Bohra also faces criminal charges associated with the allegations from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.

All three Bohras "consented to the entry of final judgments permanently enjoining them from further violations of the charged provisions," the SEC said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump's draft memo firing James Comey was 'tinfoil helmet material,' according to a former Mueller prosecutor's upcoming book

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:34pm
Then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in September 2015.
  • A draft memo that President Donald Trump composed laying out his reasons for firing FBI Director James Comey was "tinfoil helmet material," a former member of the special counsel Robert Mueller's team said.
  • That's according to "Where Law Ends," an upcoming memoir by Andrew Weissmann, who worked on Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Weissmann wrote in his book that James Quarles, another prosecutor on the team, described Trump's draft memo as "tinfoil helmet material" in June 2017.
  • "I read the document immediately, while Jim stood over my desk," Weissmann said, referring to the draft memo. "It was excruciatingly juvenile, disorganized, and brimming with spite — incoherent and narcissistic. You could almost feel the spittle coming off the paper."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A former prosecutor on the special counsel Robert Mueller's team described a memo that President Donald Trump drafted laying out his reasons for firing FBI Director James Comey as "tinfoil helmet material," according to a new book.

The former prosecutor, James Quarles, described the memo that way in a conversation with another prosecutor on Mueller's team, Andrew Weissmann, according to Weissmann's upcoming memoir, "Where Law Ends." Business Insider obtained an early copy of the book.

"Read this," Quarles told Weissmann in June 2017, shortly after Mueller's team acquired the draft memo, according to the book. "It's tinfoil helmet material."

The memo, which Trump drafted in May of that year with help from one of his top advisers, gave Mueller's team a valuable window into Trump's thinking in the days before he fired Comey. At the time, Comey was spearheading the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The president did not send the memo to Comey after then-White House counsel Don McGahn expressed strong opposition to the move. Ultimately, the White House enlisted Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein, respectively the attorney general and deputy attorney general at the time, to compose memos justifying Comey's dismissal.

"I read the document immediately, while Jim stood over my desk," Weissmann said, referring to the draft memo. "It was excruciatingly juvenile, disorganized, and brimming with spite — incoherent and narcissistic. You could almost feel the spittle coming off the paper."

Trump and his adviser Stephen Miller put the memo together shortly after Comey confirmed the existence of the Russia probe to Congress.

"In the memo, Trump went out of his way to mention, repeatedly, that Comey had assured him 'on three separate occasions' that he was not under investigation," Weissmann wrote. "From there, it devolved into a stream-of-consciousness tirade against Comey, his investigation into Russian interference in the election, his handling of the Clinton investigation, his mishandling of the FBI, and other grievances, both real and imagined."

Weissmann added that he and Quarles "knew we were looking at perhaps the rawest, most authentic record of the president's thought process — a distillation of his state of mind as he set Comey's firing in motion."

The draft memo played a critical role in Mueller's obstruction-of-justice investigation into the president. Ultimately, the special counsel declined to make a "traditional prosecutorial judgment" on whether the president obstructed justice, citing a Justice Department memo that says a sitting president cannot be indicted.

Weissmann's book, which is set to be released Tuesday, was deeply critical of Mueller's decision in the matter.

When he was asked if Mueller had let down the American public, Weissmann told The Atlantic, "Absolutely, yep." He added: "I wouldn't phrase it as just Mueller. I would say 'the office.' There are a lot of things we did well, and a lot of things we could have done better, to be diplomatic about it."

He also told the outlet: "There's no question I was frustrated at the time. There was more that could be done that we didn't do."

Weissmann added that the Senate Intelligence Committee did a better job at reaching concrete conclusions in its recent report detailing the panel's own investigation into Russian election meddling.

"Even with 1,000 pages, it was better," he said. "It made judgments and calls, instead of saying, 'You could say this and you could say that.'"

Weissmann wrote that he decided to publish a memoir after Attorney General William Barr released a four-page letter that significantly mischaracterized Mueller's findings in the Russia investigation. Barr had "betrayed both friend and country" by misleading the public about the investigation's conclusions, Weissmann wrote in his book.

"I wrote it very much so there would be a public record from somebody, at least one viewpoint, from the inside as opposed to the story being told in maybe a less accurate way by people from the outside," he told The Washington Post.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to get an Apple TV+ subscription and free trial, so that you can watch award-winning original shows and movies

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:27pm
It's easy to get Apple TV+ on nearly any device.
  • To get Apple TV+, you need to have an Apple ID account, with a payment method linked to the account. 
  • Apple TV+ costs $4.99 per month, but all users are eligible for a one week free trial, and if you buy an Apple product, you'll get an entire year for free.
  • You can watch Apple TV+ on your computer, iPhone, iPad, streaming device, or smart TV.
  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Apple's new streaming platform, Apple TV+, debuted in November 2019, with 10 original shows and movies. Since then, its small but star-studded line-up has not only expanded, but won a number of awards.

The service costs $4.99 per month, after a one week free trial. If you buy an Apple product (like an iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch), you might also be eligible for a free year of Apple TV+. Students are also eligible for a free Apple TV+ membership with their Student Plan Apple Music subscription.

If you don't fall into either of these groups, but still want to start watching Apple TV+ on your device, check that your device is eligible and then follow the steps to get a subscription, starting with a free trial. 

All the devices you can watch Apple TV+ on
  • An iPhone or iPod Touch with the latest version of iOS
  • An iPad with the latest version of iPadOS
  • An Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD with the latest version of tvOS
  • A third-generation Apple TV with the latest Apple TV Software Update
  • Any smart TV or streaming media player running the Apple TV app
  • A Mac computer running the latest version of macOS
  • Any computer with a Safari, Firefox, or Chrome web browser that lets you navigate to
How to get an Apple TV+ subscription on any device

1. Open the Apple TV app or website on your Apple iPhone, iPad, computer, or Apple TV. 

2. Sign in with your Apple ID. If you don't have one, you'll need to create it.

3. Scroll down until you see the "Try It Free" or "Start Free Trial" link, then click or tap it. If you're on the website, it should be the first thing you see.

Even if you don't get a year for free, you can take advantage of a one-week trial when you start the service.

5. On the next screen, Apple will ask you to "Confirm" you want to you begin your free trial. Tap or click the button to activate your week-long free trial. 

You'll be charged using payment methods saved in your Apple Wallet after the trial ends.

If you've bought an Apple product within the last three months, you're eligible for a free year of Apple TV+. When signing up, use the code provided to you — if you didn't receive a code, or don't have the chance to enter it, call Apple support.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:Read the original article on Business Insider

The best holiday lights

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:25pm
  • Holiday lights bring feelings of warmth and cheer even in the darkest and coldest days of the year. Testing, setting up, and connecting lights can be anything but a joyful experience, though.
  • The KooPower Waterproof Battery Fairy Lights are a great choice if you prefer white lights because they are controlled by a remote and powered by batteries, so there is no proximity to an outlet or hands-on access required.
  • If a colorful display is more your preference, go with the Brizled LED Mini String Lights whose 66-foot strands allow you to decorate large areas with ease. Plus, you can safely connect up to ten strands without fear of blowing a fuse.

I'm someone who likes their holiday lights and decorations. I spend hours and hours every November climbing up and down ladders and scrambling around on the roof stringing up dozens of feet of lights on every peak and roofline of the house.

With all those hours spent decorating come a fair share of frustrations, though, from blown bulbs to overloaded circuits and even the occasional ladder-related mishap. With those unhappy memories in mind, I've worked to assemble a buying guide filled with holiday lights that not only look great, but that also make your life easier.

Included with a couple of classic plug-in options, this guide features lights that are both solar- and battery-powered. We have lights controlled via a handheld remote and those that are beamed out of a projector. Like it or not, the holiday season comes with its fair share of stress, so let's not make hanging the holiday lights one more source of it.

Sure, those old strands of tiny incandescent bulbs you have tangled up in boxes on the garage shelves are probably fine, but these lights are definitely better. Upgrade your light game this season with these shining examples of great holiday lights.

Here are the best holiday lights:

Prices and links are current as of 9/28/20. We updated our categories. We also replaced our previous light projector pick due to stock issues.

The best classic lights One 66-foot strand of Brizled LED Mini String Lights features 200 LEDs and should provide enough colorful bulbs to decorate an entire tree.

Just one 66-foot strand of these bright, colorful Brizled LED Lights, you should be able to decorate even an 8- or 9-foot tree. Each strand holds 200 individual bulbs in the classic blue, red, yellow, green, and orange assortment.

The Brizled LED Mini String Lights are rated to last for 25,000 hours, so you probably won't have to replace the strand — possibly ever. Even if you leave your lights illuminated for a month straight every year, you can still expect about 35 years out of them.

The best thing about the Brizled LED Mini String Lights isn't their longevity, though, it's their looks. These bulbs approximate the same look as those beloved incandescent mini bulbs you'll remember from holiday seasons past, yet they use about 88% less power than traditional lights and never get hot enough to pose a risk of injury or fire. Plus, they're much brighter than incandescent bulbs, so you'll get much more pop from just one strand.

If colorful lights don't match the look you're going for, Brizled also makes them in both warm and cool white. And should you want to go full Griswold on your holiday decorations, you can safely connect up to 10 strands of these things.

These lights are perfect for indoor use thanks to their cool physical temperature and warm light quality. They are perfectly safe for outdoor use in all sorts of weather conditions.

Pros: Warm and bright light quality, durable lights last for years, spare bulbs and fuse included

Cons: No built-in timer

The best battery-powered lights The KooPower Waterproof Battery Fairy Lights are battery powered and operated via remote control, so once they're in place, you can look forward to weeks of effortless enjoyment.

One of the worst things about holiday lights is the fact that you have to plug them in every time you want them to light up and unplug them when you want them to go dark — unless you have a timer. But even with a timer, you still need the lights to end up near an outlet, or at least be close enough to the outlet that an extension cord can connect the two. With the KooPower Waterproof Battery Fairy Lights with Remote and Timer, both of those situations are things of the past.

The KooPower lights are powered by three AA batteries, and when only lit for a few hours each night, these three batteries will keep the lights aglow for days. With good quality batteries, the lights will shine for 60 hours before needing a change, so even if you left the lights on for four hours every night, that's more than two weeks per set, or likely only one battery change per holiday season. And what's more, you could set these lights up miles from the nearest power outlet if you really wanted to.

The remote control eliminates the need for ready access to the lights and for use of an external timer. With the remote, the lights can be programmed for an on/off cycle, set to twinkle, fade in and out, do a chasing flash pattern, and more. The lights stay cool, thus are safe for use on an indoor tree, and are water-resistant, thus suitable for outdoor hanging.

Pros: Battery power lasts many days, controlled by remote, tiny but bright bulbs, great price

Cons: 36-foot strand too short for some applications, only come in warm white, batteries must be changed after 60 hours of use

The best large-bulb lights The large, softly glowing colorful bulbs of the Good Tidings Ceramic Multi-Colored Holiday Lights look just like something out of a classic film.

Sure, LED bulbs are bright, energy-efficient, cool to the touch, and last for years. But you have to admit, there's something so warm and comforting about classic incandescent bulb holiday lights — especially those oversized bulbs known "in the business" as C9 bulbs.

The Good Tidings Ceramic Multi-Colored Holiday Light Set comes with 25 big, colorful bulbs that shine with a light both bright and soft at once. They will light up your tree, they look great framing a window or doorway, and they're hard to beat when strung across the roofline of the home, especially when a blanket of snow rests around them.

The strand measures 24 feet long, a great length for an indoor tree though a bit short for use outdoors unless you're willing to buy a few strands. They will last for years, though, albeit with an occasional bulb swap needed. Doing so is easy, though. It's just like changing a standard light bulb.

The Good Tidings Ceramic Multi-Colored Holiday Lights are UL listed for indoor and outdoor use and they connect to any standard socket or extension cord. If the soft frosted bulb look isn't to your liking, they also come in a transparent variation. 

Pros: Classic vintage charm, bright lights visible from a distance, easy bulb changes

Cons: Short strand length, glow much warmer than LEDs

The best holiday light projector The remote-controlled Yinuo Christmas Laser Lights Outdoor Projector shines a swirling pattern of red and green stars or other holiday patterns on your home with a simple point and click.

Holiday laser light decorations aren't for everyone, I get that. But falling off of ladders, searching for that one burnt out bulb, and realizing you don't have a long enough extension cord to connect the light strands to the outlet? That stuff isn't for everyone, either. A gently swirling, twinkling display of red and green stars, Christmas trees, Santas, and snowflakes is quite the attractive alternative. 

The Yinuo Christmas Laser Lights Outdoor Projector makes decorating your house for the holidays easier than ever. You simply plant the projector in the ground using its included stake and aim it at your house.

Plug it in, and then turn it on, that's all there is to it. More or less, anyway. You might need to move the projector closer to or farther from the walls a few times as you work to find the perfect coverage. But it's easy stuff overall.

The projector creates rotating or flashing patterns of light, which can be set to green, red, or green and red. You can opt for a pinpoint starfield or choose images including snowflakes, bells, trees, or Santas. Project one, combine them, have them rotate, or leave them static — you can achieve whatever combination you prefer. The lights cover up to 3500 square feet of surface, and the projector can be controlled by a remote that is reliable within 40 feet.

Don't worry about rain, snow, or freezing temperatures, either — this little guy is waterproof and rated to work even when the mercury hits 4 degrees below zero. Also, it's safe to use in temperatures up to 104ºF, in case you happen to be in warmer climes this holiday season.

Pros: Amazingly easy setup, remote control operation, good price point

Cons: Lacks charm of actual strands of lights

The best solar-powered holiday lights Once you have your VMANOO Solar Powered String Lights set up where you want them, they are 100% hands-off until it's time to take the lights down again at the end of the holiday season.

Once you have the VMANOO Solar Powered String Lights where you want them, you don't have to think about these lights again until it's time to put them away after the holidays. That is, except when you admire them or get compliments from others. 

The lights are 100% solar-powered, requiring no proximity to an outlet, no battery swaps, and no programming with a timer or searching for a remote control, either. The lights have a sensor that automatically turns them on once the ambient light is low enough and that will switch them back off once the sun is again filling the sky.

Though to be honest, they will probably have dimmed or switched off entirely before that happens, as they have an approximate eight-hour run-time per charge. Don't worry, though, that's plenty long enough. Even with a dead of winter 4:30 p.m. sunset, the lights will still be aglow well after midnight. 

The VMANOO Solar Powered String Lights come in a 72-foot strand, so you will be able to decorate a smaller tree or bush, an entire roofline, or to frame a number of windows and/or doors with a single strand. As they come in pale white, warm white, multicolored, and blue, you can choose the exact look you want for your holiday illumination.

The one major drawback to these lights is that they're hardly suitable for indoor use, as they need access to the sun to power up and need it to be dark in order to power on. 

Pros: No outlet or batteries needed, sensor turns lights on or off, available in multiple colors

Cons: Limited shine duration per charge

Check out our other great holiday decorating guides The best holiday decorations 

A beautifully decorated home is part of the wonder of the holiday season. We've rounded up the best decorating essentials for your home to make it easier for you.

The best tree skirts

Tree skirts add a dash of color and style to your holiday decor while hiding away that unsightly tree stand and all the holiday light cords. Here are our top picks.

The best artificial Christmas trees

Artificial Christmas trees have come a long way. They have a more realistic and festive look during the holiday season than their predecessors. Even better, quality artificial trees are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles. These are the best artificial Christmas trees.

The best Christmas stockings

Whether you're young or old, there's something magical about the sight of an overflowing stocking awaiting you on Christmas morning. No matter the style you prefer, we have a wide variety of wonderful Christmas stockings.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best hotels in Newport, Rhode Island

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:17pm

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

While states have mostly reopened following shutdowns in the spring, travelers are largely gravitating towards destinations within driving distance of home that offer ample space for social distancing. When it comes to selecting a nearby getaway with plenty of outdoor opportunities, New Englanders have a wealth of options, but few hold a candle to Newport.

Neither too big nor too small, this scenic city is just the right size to give visitors the space they crave. Newport is a four-season destination, though, with miles of beaches, exploring the spoils of the sea is practically a requirement. Newport is heaven for sailing, surfing, beachcombing, and dining that enjoys an ample supply of briny mollusks and crustaceans.

There's plenty to do on dry land, too. Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile path that combines coastal scenery with Gilded Age mansions, is Rhode Island's most visited attraction. History buffs will delight in discovering Newport's past, which is still very much present in its architecture and design. Wealthy families with names like Vanderbilt and Astor built magnificent mansions here in the 19th century, earning Newport a reputation as a posh playground. 

Traveling elsewhere on the East Coast?

Despite Newport's popularity with the yachting crowd, you don't need to be a millionaire to vacation here. We've curated a list of hotels to suit most budgets, ranging in price from $151 to $595 per night. Each of our picks is committed to enhanced cleaning protocols in an effort to fight the risk of contracting COVID-19, which experts say is essential when selecting a hotel. These measures include sanitizing room keys, complimentary masks, and no-contact room service, just to mention a few.

However, it is important to note that there is no vaccine for the novel coronavirus, and therefore, safety is never guaranteed. We recommend assessing your own level of risk and following CDC, WHO, and other reputable organizations safety guidelines, and to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and maintain social distancing.

Additionally, keep in mind that in accordance with the State of Rhode Island Department of Health, visitors to Rhode Island from a state with a positivity rate of COVID-19 greater than 5%, are urged to self-quarantine for 14 days or take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to arrival. 

With all that in mind, I scoured the area for the best hotels that won't break the bank. I chose top hotels based on my own extensive travels to Newport, as well as taking into account reviews from trusted travel sites such as Trip Advisor and A notoriously pricey locale, I made sure affordability was a major consideration and all properties come in under $350, with the exception of one splurge-worthy hotel for those seeking to indulge. All hotels included have well-appointed rooms, good locations, and high guest satisfaction. Additionally, I looked for hotels with standout amenities and unique factors, whether they are historic properties, stock the mini-bar with locally-sourced products, offer guests private patios or in-room fireplaces, or include exceptional water views. 

These are the best hotels in Newport, sorted by price from low to high. Gilded Book Gilded starting at $151 per night

Gilded is a recently renovated property with a cheeky, style-conscious take on the Gilded Age. Think historic meets hip alongside a mix of bold Beaux-Arts furnishings and modern amenities. 

The 17 guest rooms offer plush King or Queen-sized beds with custom-made padded headboards, iPod docking stations, and LED Smart TVs. Colorful throw pillows and bold printed wallpaper add dimension and gold mirrors, plush carpeting, and lacquered surfaces feel delightfully over the top.

The black velvet pool table and secluded patio with a firepit are nice additions to the common areas, and a curated small plate breakfast is included in the room rate. 

Trip Advisor Ranking: 7 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 8.9 out of 10

Pros: There's an abundance of design-forward touches both in-room and in the public spaces. Free parking and a light breakfast included in the rate are nice perks. 

Cons: Some guests complain that there are limited breakfast options. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: Gilded has re-opened for the summer for weekend stays only with the following additional safety measures:

  • Hand sanitizer dispensers placed at key spots including the hotel lobby. 
  • No daily housekeeping for those staying multiple nights. Fresh towels and linens will be delivered to your door in a sealed bag. 
  • All high-touch public spaces will be sanitized hourly including handrails and entry doors.
  • Breakfast can either be picked up or delivered to your door. 
  • For additional information, click here
The Wayfinder Book The Wayfinder starting at $159 per night

The Wayfinder is a new boutique hotel opened by a group of local chefs, artists, and entrepreneurs. Their collaboration aims to highlight Newport's charm from a homegrown perspective. 

This five-acre property is a leading development in the city's North End, set alongside Newport's biggest green space, Miantonomi Park, plus a brewery and an expansive bike path. 

The vibe is relaxed and approachable with a fireplace as the lobby's anchor point. Rooms and suites are decorated with custom furnishings in a cool coastal color scheme with dashes of nautical blue, beige, and cream. Each room features local art, Newport-made bath products, bed throws made at a Rhode Island-based linen store, and a minibar stocked with locally-sourced provisions. 

The Wayfinder offers innovative programming like pop-up flea markets and a rotating roster of Rhode Island food trucks, though these may be impacted by COVID-19 right now. For an additional fee ($50 for up to two pets) pets are welcomed with treats, water bowls, and comfy beds.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 19 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Pros: The outdoor seasonal pool has a raw bar serving fresh-shucked local shellfish and classic cocktails, plus poolside yoga. 

Cons: The property resembles a motel from the outside rather than the boutique hotel it is on the inside.

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: The hotel is open and has implemented the following additional safety measures: 

  • Daily housekeeping by request only. 
  • Bellman/luggage service is not available. 
  • Social distance floor markers have been added. 
  • Room keys are being sanitized.
  • Guests may utilize digital check-in. 
  • Every attempt is being made to leave rooms unoccupied for at least 72 hours between guests.
  • For additional info on upgraded cleaning procedures, click here.
Hotel Viking Book Hotel Viking starting at $199 per night

The Hotel Viking is located in the heart of historic Newport, walking distance to nearly all the town's seaside attractions. 

A member of Historic Hotels of America, the hotel first welcomed guests in 1926. It maintains tradition, including the original brass letterbox in the lobby, but blends stately decor with up-to-date amenities such as excellent in-room Wi-Fi, flat-screen LCD TVs, and yoga classes. 

Guest rooms are decorated in a soft color palette with rich touches of velvet, needlepoint, and tapestries. The classic finishings, including pine plank wood floors and fireplaces, is reminiscent of an English country inn. Marble showers, pillow-top mattresses, and Egyptian cotton linens take it up several notches for a modern crowd. 

The hotel's full-service spa offers treatments with an eye towards the traditions of Bali and Thailand, including a Balinese massage and bamboo ginseng scrub.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 15 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 7.7 out of 10

Pros: This hotel enjoys an in-town location, a spa, and a touch of class for a modest price.  

Cons: Valet parking costs $40 per day. Some complain that rooms are very small. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: The hotel is open though the pool, fitness center, and spa are closed. Additional health and safety features include:

  • Enhanced cleaning protocol in each guest room.
  • Elevated cleaning of high-touch surfaces including the front desk, door handles, and public restrooms. 
  • No-contact room service dining.
  • Temperature checks for employees and guests. 
  • See additional COVID cleaning information here
Hammetts Hotel Book Hammetts Hotel starting at $208 per night

Centrally located on Commercial Wharf, brand new Hammetts Hotel places guests in the heart of Newport. The hotel is also home to the innovative Sarah Langley Gallery, established to engage both hotel guests and the community in artistic conversations. Exhibits rotate on a seasonal basis with plenty of opportunities to connect with artists, curators, and galleries, though this could be impacted by COVID-19. 

The gallery is located in the central corridor of the hotel, while the sun-drenched lobby features floor-to-ceiling windows and abundant seating. There's also a private deck, fitness center, and waterfront restaurant on-site. 

Room decor draws from Newport's seafaring heritage with a crisp grays, whites, unfinished woods, and pops of reds and navy dropped in for good measure. Adding a smattering of industrial chic accents are antique black iron sconces and polished nickel pendant lamps, and beds are outfitted with luxury Mascioni linens. Pay attention to art work in the rooms, which are all from artists with strong ties to Newport.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 8 out of 17 specialty lodgings in Newport Rating: 9.4 out of 10

Pros: This art-infused hotel is a winner for guests who crave eye-candy. 

Cons: If you prefer a low-key stay, this quirky, personality-filled property is not for you. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: The hotel is open and has taken several steps to ensure guest safety while still providing warm hospitality, including the addition of rigorous cleaning protocols such as:

  • Increased frequency of sanitization.
  • Guests are greeted by a parking attendant who will provide self-parking assistance. 
  • Plexiglass has been added to the front desk as a safeguard.
  • Guest rooms will remain unoccupied for 24 hours after departure.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the property. 
  • Masks will be provided at check-in.
  • Additional COVID-19 safety standards may be found here
Mill Street Inn Book Mill Street Inn starting at $209 per night

The Mill Street Inn is a former 19th-century mill converted to an all-suite hotel. Historic features such as original beams and exposed brick walls have been preserved, adding charm. A cornerstone of the design is spaciousness, with generous corridors and large public spaces. The central location is also a winner for those who favor exploring on foot. 

Guest rooms are a mix of Townhouse, Deluxe, and Studio Suites. The Townhouse Suites offer the most room, spread over two levels, and ideal for families or big groups. All suites feature elegant modern decor mixed with intact original industrial accents. Marble bathrooms with Roil bath products, feather beds, and rainfall showers should please discerning visitors.

As an added perk, a continental breakfast and afternoon tea are included in the room rate.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 3 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 9.5 out of 10

Pros: For visitors who favor preservationist design, this imaginatively transformed mill offers visual appeal and plenty of room thanks to its all-suite offerings. 

Cons: There's no elevator in this historic building, so it's not a good option for anyone with mobility issues. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: Mill Street Inn is open and welcoming overnight visitors. Additional cleaning and safety practices include:

  • Disposable masks at the front desk. 
  • Room keys are cleaned with a UV wand. 
  • Evening turndown service has been paused. 
  • Additional health and safety protocols may be found here.
Newport Marriott Book the Newport Marriott from $289 per night

Located along Newport's waterfront, the Newport Marriott is an upscale property from a trusted brand for those who prefer to earn and redeem points while away from home. The lobby bar is a popular watering hole where cocktails and nibbles pair with panoramic views. 

Ample guest rooms have large windows that let in natural light as well as bedside USB and outlet data ports, 55-inch HDTVs, and free high-speed Wi-Fi. Bathrooms are spa-like, with walk-in showers, abundant counter space, and natural wood accents. 

The large fitness center offers state-of-the-art workout equipment, an indoor lap pool, and a whirlpool. There's also a spa for post-exercise relaxation. 

Trip Advisor Ranking: 8 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 8.6 out of 10

Pros: A modern hotel with stunning harbor views, the location is a true highlight. 

Cons: Some guests complain certain rooms have only showers and no bathtubs. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: The property is open. The Newport Marriott is adhering to the chain's Commitment to Clean with:

  • Increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces. 
  • Rigorous cleaning of guest rooms with hospital-grade disinfectants.
  • Electrostatic sprayers used to sanitize surfaces. 
  • Hand sanitizing stations throughout the hotel. 
  • See additional COVID-19 safety and cleaning protocol here
Forty 1 North Book Forty 1 North starting at $300 per night

This sleek waterfront hotel and marina offers numerous configurations of guest rooms, suites, cottages, and lofts, making it ideal for just about any traveler, from families to solo adventurers.

Eco-conscious vacationers will like that the hotel is LEED-certified and incorporates eco-friendly elements into its architecture and design. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the hotel with natural light, walkways are made of recycled glass and crushed shells mixed with a minimum amount of concrete, and CFL lightbulbs reduce energy consumption.   

Guest rooms include in-room fireplaces, hardwood floors, sumptuous Frette linens, wet bars, and mosaic-tiled bathrooms, while cottages and lofts offer extra space and full kitchens, which may be especially appealing right now.

The staff works hard to give each guest an optimum experience with interesting programmings such as waterside Vinyasa yoga and wine tasting classes. 

Trip Advisor Ranking: 5 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Pros: Forty 1 North is tucked away from the street noise, so all you'll hear is the water lapping in the harbor and the sound of the seagulls. 

Cons: Several guests complained about over-priced cocktails ($20) at the bar, so you may be better off imbibing elsewhere. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: The hotel is open. While it doesn't have specific enhanced cleaning stipulations listed on their website, all high-touch surfaces, guest rooms, and public spaces are being cleaned very frequently. We will update this listing if more information becomes available.

Gurney's Newport Resort & Marina Book Gurney's Newport Resort & Marina starting at $309 per night

Gurney's is on Goat Island, across the causeway from the town's main attractions. The location feels incredibly secluded but is still within easy walking distance or a quick water taxi ride from the center of Newport. 

Rooms are furnished in soft, neutral colors with accents of natural texture and maritime touches that capture the town's nautical spirit. Those with expansive water views may even trick you into thinking you are on a boat. Speaking of boats, the resort has its own 22-slip marina, which boating enthusiasts can make good use of.

The outdoor pool is a winner, but if the weather isn't cooperating, the indoor pool is a fine alternative. High-speed internet and daily doorstep newspaper delivery are also included. 

And, it's not called Goat Island for nothing. A visit with the resort's adorable resident goats can also be arranged via the hotel. 

Trip Advisor Ranking: 9 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 8.2 out of 10

Pros: This elegant hotel has a more secluded location, but Newport center is still easily accessible. The resort's marina makes it a popular choice for those looking for a boat slip.

Cons: Some rooms are very small, especially for the higher price. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: Gurney's is currently opened and has numerous COVID-19 response measures in place, including:

  • Hand sanitizing stations and antibacterial wipes are available throughout the hotel and grounds.
  • Complimentary masks.
  • Expanded in-room dining options.
  • Self-parking rather than valet.
  • The fitness center is temporarily closed.
  • See additional info here.
The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection Book The Vanderbilt starting at $349 per night

Spend the night at The Vanderbilt and you're sure to feel like a spoiled rich kid. This vintage Newport mansion was once owned by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, scion of the illustrious Vanderbilt family, and with only 33 rooms and suites, the staff caters to guests' whims and then some.

Common areas include a stately fireplace, museum-quality art, and a very British snooker room. Guest rooms are decorated with splashes of seafoam green and coral, drawing on its coastal location for inspiration, as well as every conceivable amenity, including oversized bathtubs, fine linens, and stellar views of Newport.  

The property features a spa, great dining, and indoor and outdoor pools, though, the use of the pools could be impacted by COVID-19.

Trip Advisor Ranking: 6 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 9.2 out of 10

Pros: Thanks to plenty of pampering and loads of luxuries, you'll feel like your surname is Vanderbilt by the time you check out.  

Cons: The $50 a day resort fee is steep and adds up quickly. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: The hotel is open and has increased its already rigorous cleaning regime to include:

  • Wellness stations with hand sanitizer and wipes. 
  • Complimentary masks. 
  • The fitness center will limit the number of guests permitted at the same time. 
  • Dining venues will space tables. 
  • Room service will be left at your door.
  • Additional info may be found here.
Castle Hill Inn Book Castle Hill Inn starting at $595 per night

Castle Hill Inn is a romantic retreat on a private 40-acre peninsula with panoramic ocean views. If you love the sea, it's essentially nautical nirvana. Sit in one of the Adirondack chairs on the expansive lawn and watch the sailboats breeze by. 

Immersed in nature, this hotel is a luxurious yet non-pretentious property with an eclectic assortment of guest rooms, cottages, and beach houses for plenty of privacy. As an added bonus, the cottages and beach houses are separately nestled along the seaside, so social distancing is inherent in the property's layout.

The clean, minimalist design is light on the frou-frou and heavy on creature comforts. An indulgent afternoon tea and fortifying breakfast are included in the rate, which makes the higher price point more palatable.

If you crave Hollywood nostalgia, book a room at Harbor House and your porch will overlook the rocky enclave that movie star and Princess Grace Kelly favored for a bracing Atlantic dip when she stayed at the hotel. 

Trip Advisor Ranking: 2 out of 24 hotels in Newport Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Pros: This gorgeous hotel is elegant enough to please Jay Gatsby. The staff is uniformly welcoming and ultra-professional. 

Cons: Some guests sleeping in the main building complain about late-night noise from the bar. 

COVID-19 cleaning procedures: Castle Hill Inn is hosting overnight guests. Specific enhanced cleaning includes: 

  • Single serving condiments offered to diners on request.
  • Room service is delivered to your door or terrace to avoid the staff entering your room. 
  • All guest rooms are sanitized with an ozone generator and hospital-grade disinfectant prior to arrival. 
  • All printed material has been removed from guest rooms, with the exception of single-use room service menus.
  • Housekeeping is available in full or limited service options, as guests desire. 
  • Keys will be sanitized and placed in single-use bags.
  • Beach chairs are arranged to maintain physical distance.
  • See more info here
Read the original article on Business Insider

Journalists at White House attacked by raccoons

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:01pm

At least four raccoons caused chaos outside of the White House on Monday, with a CBS News reporter chronicling the saga in a Twitter thread.

—Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) September 28, 2020

The animals were spotted rummaging through various sets of equipment in the live shot tents along the North Lawn.

One of the raccoons latched onto the pants legs of a photographer and a correspondent, according to Paula Reid of CBS.

Reid reported that the White House had contacted the U.S. General Services Administration about the critters.


Read the original article on Business Insider

Pooch Paper is a biodegradable paper alternative to plastic dog waste bags that will help you lessen your carbon footprint

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 5:00pm

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

Pooch Paper Dog Waste Sheets are biodegradable and compostable.

  • Pooch Paper Dog Waste Sheets are an eco-friendly, biodegradable alternative to plastic dog poop bags that are sold at Etsy and Orvis.
  • The paper sheets are easy to fold up and put in your pocket before heading out on a walk with your dog.
  • I've found one sheet is enough to pick up the waste from both of my dogs on a single walk.
  • It takes a few days to get used to the paper, but they're worth it if you're looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

My two hounds enjoy their walks, and we go on about three a day. I always clean up their waste and then dispose of it in the garbage bin in our garage. After a week, the trash gets hauled away and I feel good that the waste wasn't left on my neighbor's lawn or my own.

Yet I use plastic bags to pick up their waste. According to a waste calculator from Doody Calls, my two dogs produce 8 pounds of waste each week. What's more alarming than that is that's 416 pounds of waste each year. I don't want to think about the number of plastic bags that I use in a week.

While I try to use bags that are biodegradable, the effectiveness of biodegradable plastic bags has been called into question.

Recently, though, I found Pooch Paper, an eco-friendly paper alternative to plastic poop bags, and the company sent me some to test for this review. You can purchase Pooch Paper as a one-month supply (50 sheets) or in bulk (4,000 sheets)

What makes Pooch Paper eco-friendly?

The sheets have a grease-resistant coating that keeps waste from soaking through the paper.

Each Pooch Paper sheet is made of recycled non-chlorine-bleached paper and measures 12 inches by 12 inches. The sheets are manufactured using renewable energy and are 100 percent biodegradable and compostable.

"Our paper is made with recycled, unbleached, uncoated softwood pulp using a machine-finished, sustainable manufacturing process," said Tracy Rosensteel, the founder of Pooch Paper. She explained that the unbleached fiber produces a higher pulping yield, which in turn lessens the overall environmental footprint.

Sustainability is the company's top priority. Its goal is to reduce our plastic footprint and its destructive impact on our environment. Plastics are toxic to most species and can result in the creation of dangerous greenhouse gasses when disposed of in a landfill. 

How do Pooch Paper sheets work?

A sheet of Pooch Paper is easy to use. A single sheet holds the waste produced by both of my dogs on a single walk. The texture of the paper took a few days to get used to, but the grease-resistant coating made from corn helps get the waste up into the sheet in just one try.

The instructions say to twist the corners around the waste to contain it before you toss it into the garbage bin. Twisting the corners take a little practice and how much waste is in the center of the sheet will determine how much paper is left to twist. 

Ideally, after you've picked up waste, there will be a space at the top to twist together either the edges or the four corners. The sheet will stay closed, but you do have to carry the used paper with one hand unless you have a carrying pouch attached to your waistband. I highly recommend having a pouch for used sheets. If you do have to carry it with your hands, it's not inconvenient when on a short walk. 

The used waste sheets can go directly into the garbage bin. The FTC's Green Guide explains that all earth-friendly products must completely break down and return to nature within a reasonably short period of time. I now toss the paper sheets into the garbage can without any guilt. 

No Pockets? Try the Canvas Pooch Pouch

I attach the 3-inch-by-3-inch zippered Pooch Pouch (temporarily sold out) to my leash, and it fits about 10 sheets and my house key. You can also attach the pouch to your wrist or belt loop. It is not only practical but also really cute.

The cons 

If the waste I'm picking up isn't solid and firm, it's a little messy to get it into the Pooch Paper and twist the corners without a lot of fuss. 

The paper could also be a bit challenging if you have a large breed dog. When I'm dealing with a large amount of waste, it can be difficult to pick up all of it. My recommendation is to use two sheets, and you'll definitely want to have a pouch to put your sheets into after they're full. 

The bottom line

Pooch Paper is the best eco-friendly option I've found for cleaning up after my dogs on walks. After I pick up the waste, it easily fits in a waist pouch, and one sheet is typically enough for both of my dogs. While they aren't as easy to use as plastic bags, their reduced carbon footprint make them a worthy alternative.

Pros: Manufactured using renewable energy, biodegradable alternative to plastic poop bags, easy to pick up firm waste, one-step process to twist shut

Cons: Can be difficult to clean up loose or large amount of waste, requires a separate pouch to carry used sheets on longer walks

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump's 2016 election targeted 3.5 million Black Americans with attack ads to deter them from voting, according to report

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:55pm
President Donald Trump reacts to the crowd at the end of a campaign event in Minnesota, September 18, 2020.
  • A giant data leak from the 2016 Trump campaign’s database reported by UK outlet Channel 4 News contained details from almost 200 million Americans who were grouped based on demographic information to be targeted with TV and social media ads.
  • One group, labeled "deterrence," disproportionately targeted Black voters, the outlet reported — a group that the Trump campaign’s chief data scientist later said the the campaign "hope don't show up to vote."
  • The Trump campaign has previously denied that it targeted Black Americans in its advertising, but Channel 4 News reported documents show thousands in spending targeted at this group.
  • A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement that "since 2016, elections have changed and so has Facebook," and that this "couldn't happen today."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A data leak from President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign shows that a disproportionate number of Black American potential voters — totalling 3.5 million — were put under a label named "deterrence," according to Channel 4 News.

The massive database included the details of nearly 200 million Americans, categorized into eight groups, including ones titled "get out the vote" and "persuasion," to target potential voters in 16 battleground election states with ads both on social media and on television, the outlet reported.

The campaign's digital director told PBS Frontline in 2018 that he is "nearly 100% sure we did not run any campaigns that targeted even African Americans," but documents seen by Channel 4 News show that thousands of dollars were spent on targeted attack ads against then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a Business Insider query about what "deterrence" meant in this context, but dismissed Channel 4's report as "fake news."

Black voters disproportionately in 'deterrence' category

The leaked database included vastly detailed information, including addresses, party affiliation and voting history. It also scored individuals on election issues such as jobs, law and order and healthcare, the outlet reported.

According to the investigation, the targeted ads aimed to dissuade a select group of voters from supporting Clinton and those in the "deterrence" group were those who the campaign's chief data scientist later said the campaign "hope don't show up to vote."

In Channel 4 News' analysis, while 13% of Black Americans were categorized overall, they made up 29% of the "deterrence" group.

In the swing state of Wisconsin — which Trump won in 2016 — turnout of Black voters collapsed by 19%, the outlet reported. Although they formed 5.4% of the population, 35% of the "deterrence" group were Black.

Meanwhile, the segment of potential voters named "persuasion" — those who could possibly be persuaded to vote for Trump — was 75% white, and just 1.8% of them were Black, the outlet reported.

The pattern is repeated across several states, according to the outlet.

The Trump campaign posted six million versions of highly targeted adverts on Facebook in 2016, the outlet reported. Facebook had not yet set up its publicly viewable ad library, so it's not clear exactly what was shown to those groups. 

However, a confidential Cambridge Analytica document seen by the outlet said that $55,000 was spent in Georgia on targeting them with what it described as the "predators video," in which Clinton in 1996 described Black gang members as "super predators." She later apologized for the remark.

The disproportionate targeting of Black Americans represents a  'category of suppression' Voters cast their ballots at Keevan Elementary School August 4, 2020 in North St. Louis, Missouri.

Black voter turnout fell in 2016 for the first time in 20 years, the outlet noted, although the cause is unknown. Jamal Watkins, Vice President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) told the outlet the tactics amounted to a modern-day suppression campaign.

Data is commonly used to profile voters to tailor messaging and encourage them to turn out — but not to deter people, he said. "That just seems, fundamentally, it's a shift from the notion of democracy," Watkins told the outlet.

He also added criticism of Facebook, telling the outlet: "I don't believe Facebook has fully disclosed their role, and fully disclosed the types of ads that were run, who was involved and literally how they may have been embedded in, say, the Trump campaign to make this all come to life."

A Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider: "Since 2016, elections have changed and so has Facebook - what happened with Cambridge Analytica couldn't happen today.

"We have 35,000 people working to ensure the integrity of our platform, created a political ads library to make political advertising more transparent than anywhere else, and have protected more than 200 elections worldwide," the spokesperson said. "We also have rules prohibiting voter suppression and are running the largest voting information campaign in American history."

When contacted for comment on the investigation by Business Insider, Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh called the Channel 4 News report "fake news."

"President Trump has built a relationship of trust with African American voters because of the First Step Act's criminal justice reform, creating Opportunity Zones and his recently announced Platinum Plan to invest $500 billion in the Black community," Murtaugh said. 

"Democrats deterred voters in 2016 by nominating Hillary Clinton, who called Black men 'Super Predators,' and they did it again this year by nominating Joe Biden, who has advocated for racist policies such as the 1994 Crime Bill and even spoke at the funeral of a Klan member," he added.

Murtaugh was likely referring to the funeral of former Klan member Robert Byrd, who later apologized and advocated for civil rights. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Starbucks isn't selling its Pumpkin Spice Latte at hundreds of stores in the Middle East this year, as customers demand the return of the beloved drink

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:51pm
The Pumpkin Spice Latte is not returning to Starbucks menus in the Middle East in 2020.
  • Starbucks is not bringing its Pumpkin Spice Latte back to stores in the Middle East this year. 
  • "Unfortunately, PSL won't be available this year due to Business and Operations reasons," Starbucks Middle East wrote on Facebook.
  • The news sparked despair among some PSL lovers, who have been forced to make do with the Salted Caramel Latte. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Starbucks customers in the US have been sipping their Pumpkin Spice Lattes for more than a month. But, in the Middle East — where the chain has hundreds of stores in countries including the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar — the iconic autumnal beverage is nowhere to be seen. 

This week, Starbucks Middle East announced it was launching a "new" drink — the Salted Caramel Latte. While some people were excited about the new drink, many customers responded with demands that Starbucks bring back the Pumpkin Spice Latte. 

A recent Starbucks Middle East Instagram post.

"As if 2020 can't get any worse...There won't be any Pumpkin Spice Latte?!?!" one person commented on Facebook. "Why Starbucks? Why???? We look forward all year for this. Boo!"

"Bring back PSL!" another commented. 

"PSL when????" commented a third. 

Starbucks Middle East responded on Facebook that the Pumpkin Spice Latte would not be returning in 2020. Starbucks did not respond to Business Insider's request for further comment on the decision. 

"Unfortunately, PSL won't be available this year due to Business and Operations reasons," the brand wrote on Facebook. "We encourage you to stay tuned on our channels for our upcoming drinks." 

Restaurants around the world have tweaked their menus to adjust to the pandemic. Chains such as Denny's and IHOP have streamlined their menus, while McDonald's has cut salads andAll-Day Breakfast from the menu. These adjustments have helped simplify operations and speed up service at a time when companies are facing supply chain challenges and seeing to-go sales explode. 

The Pumpkin Spice Latte's return was unencumbered by the pandemic in the US. The drink made its triumphant return to the menu in the US in late August — its earliest ever launch. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

ETNs combine a bond's reliability with a stock's profitability. Here's how they work, and how to weigh the risks and rewards

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:51pm
ETNs trade on exchanges like stocks, but actually work more like bonds.
  • Exchange-traded notes (ETNs) are debt securities that track the performance of a financial asset or index and trade on stock exchanges. 
  • ETNs pay a lump sum when they mature, and investors make money if the underlying tracked asset has risen in value.
  • While they offer investors access to exotic sectors and strategies, ETNs have drawbacks, like illiquidity and credit risk.
  • Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories.

Many investors are likely familiar with the exchange-traded fund (ETF), a bundle of easily-traded securities ideally suited for portfolio diversification. But what is an exchange-traded note, or an ETN? Is it the same as an ETF?

The short answer is that the two products are quite different. 

An ETF operates like a mutual fund, giving investors a tiny slice of ownership in each of the bundled assets it represents, while an ETN is a debt instrument most similar to a corporate bond

ETNs come with unique risks that are tempered by benefits like exposure to novel markets and favorable taxation, so they're well worth exploring. 

What is an ETN?

"Exchange-traded" means that ETNs are bought and sold on a national stock exchange, while "note" is a nod to the fact that an ETN is actually a debt. Much like a bond, a note is an IOU from a bank or other financial institution, indicating your purchase, and lining you up for a potential payout when it matures. ETN investors don't own anything; rather, they hold this debt.

Without ownership shares, that payout can't come in the form of dividends, so where does it come from? 

An ETN is modeled to track a specific market metric (a measure), and your return will be based on its performance. If that metric — it can be a particular asset, asset class, or an index — is higher when your note matures than it was when you purchased it, you make a profit, and vice versa. 

Take an ETN that models the price of gold, for example. You don't actually own any gold bars, but the value of your note is pegged to gold's price. The difference between the purchase price and the sale price of the underlying commodity is your return — minus any fees. 

How does an ETN work?

As we previously mentioned, an ETN is a debt security, a financial asset representing a loan one party makes to another. One party (who buys the security) provides liquid capital, and the other (who issues the security) offers favorable terms for getting to use that capital, dictating term length, repayment of the principal, and often a set return.

The catch is that for ETNs, everything except term length is unknown, as its success or failure is bound to the performance of the asset. Plus, the debt you're taking on is unsecured — there's no collateral to back it — which means you're staking everything on the promise of the borrower. 

At term's end, you'll be issued a lump-sum payout consisting of your initial principal, plus or minus the price change for the underlying asset. 

ETNs vs. ETFs

Since ETNs are so often discussed in the same breath as ETFs, it's useful to compare the two assets. Both are exchange-traded products (ETPs), and both track the movements of the metric they represent. But from there, ETFs and ETNs differ in three crucial ways:

1. Format: An ETF is built like a mutual fund and issues returns as periodic dividends, whereas an ETN is a debt instrument and issues returns as a single payout.

2. Risk: A successful ETF will perform identically to its tracked index or asset, but not every ETF is successful. Deviations are known as tracking errors and eat into returns. For ETNs, tracking errors aren't a factor, since they are tied directly to their tracked metric.

3. Taxation: Your ETF distributes taxable dividends based on your ownership shares. Because ETNs issue lump-sum payments, note-holders pay taxes just once. 

What are the benefits of an ETN?

The ETN was designed to provide the reliability of a bond with the profit margin of a stock and come with a whole host of additional benefits.

Favorable tax treatment

Because ETNs don't distribute dividends, many note-holders escape short-term capital gains taxes. You'd only owe taxes on any profits when the note comes due or you sell it, and that'll usually be at the lower long-term capital gains rate. 

Access to novel markets

ETNs give access to complex strategies and sectors of the market that are often difficult, if not downright impossible, for individual investors to reach, like foreign markets, currencies, and commodity futures

More accurate returns

Since ETNs rack their associated metrics point for point, you won't miss out on profits due to funds' underperformance, expense ratios, or tracking errors. 

Potentially enhanced returns 

A leveraged ETN — which uses financial derivatives and hedging techniques — can offer even greater returns. Think of it as a multiplier. While a regular ETN typically tracks its underlying index on a one-to-one basis, a leveraged ETF may aim for a two-to-one or even three-to-one ratio. That means, if the value of the underlying commodity increases by 1%, your return increases by 2% with a leveraged ETN. But note: those same rules also apply to losses.

What are the risks of an ETN?

No investment product is without its downsides, so there are some reasons to be cautious about ETNs as well. 

Credit risk

Every trade you make exposes you to market risk (the chance that the asset won't perform well). But ETNs come with credit risk as well: If the issuing institution defaults, your principal and return go with it. Short of that, even bad news about the issuer could ding the price of its ETN, impacting you if you wanted to sell it before maturity.

Lack of liquidity

ETFs can be traded throughout the day, allowing the nimble investor to take advantage of market movement, but the ETN is less liquid. Those hoping to jettison large blocks of units get the opportunity to do so just once a week, leaving you exposed to holding-period risk in the meantime.

Fewer investment options

ETNs are less in-demand than many other products, so options remain limited and prices can vary wildly. The issuing institutions do their best to keep valuations stable, but their methods can cause fluctuation.

The financial takeaway

If this sounds a bit too risky, there are other non-ETN options to explore. A good place to start is with bond ETFs or bonds themselves, which guarantee a fixed rate of return in advance. Unlike ETNs, bonds are rated by credit agencies, which indicates how big a risk they are.

Or, if your interest is still piqued by ETNs, think about what asset classes are currently missing from your portfolio, and look for a note that tracks them. Once you've found one you like, observe how it's behaved over time, mark the reputation and stability of the issuing bank, and make sure you understand exactly what each note and its underlying asset contains. 

Then and only then should you take note to add that particular exchange-traded note to your portfolio.

Related Coverage in Investing:An ETF is a type of investment that's easy to purchase and requires little managementETFs and mutual funds can instantly diversify your portfolio, but they differ in how they're traded, managed and taxed. Here's what you should know.Investors pumped $22.5 billion into US bond funds in a single week - the highest amount since 2007Bank of America raises $1 billion in a corporate bond offering to help health industry fight pandemicThe Fed unveils top corporate-bond ETFs targeted in its $1.3 billion stimulus spreeRead the original article on Business Insider

Racial bias is an everyday reality for Black American shoppers. Cassi Pittman Claytor is studying how to end it.

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:45pm
A sign on a closed Sephora store during companywide racial bias training in June 2019.
  • Cassi Pittman Claytor is an assistant professor of sociology at Case Western University whose research focuses on how racism plays out in many different aspects of Blacks' lives, including when they visit retail stores. 
  • She is working with Sephora to inform a national study the retailer is conducting about racial bias in store environments, pertaining to both customers and employees. The goal is for the research to be applied to all kinds of retailers. 
  • "There's the idea that it's a toll, but not everyone pays the same toll," Pittman Claytor said in a recent interview with Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Back in April 2019, SZA said in a viral tweet that she was racially profiled at a Sephora store in Calabasas, California. 

The music artist, who is Black, said a Sephora employee she identified as "Sandy" called security on her, to make sure she wasn't trying to steal anything from the store. 

"We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy," SZA tweeted.

Two months later, Sephora closed all of its US stores, distribution centers, and corporate offices for an hour of diversity training informed by experts on race. 

Around the same time, the beauty retailer commissioned a national study on racial bias, in collaboration with Cassi Pittman Claytor, an assistant professor of sociology at Case Western Reserve University, and David Crockett, a marketing professor at the University of South Carolina.

Their research examines the entire process of buying a product, from the moment a consumer realizes they need to make a purchase to the moment they complete it, and how racism played a role in each phase.  

"For example, the market might privilege white male consumers, and their experience is more pleasant or more favorable, more satisfactory, if they are perceived as the ideal or most favored," Pittman Claytor said in a recent interview with Business Insider. "Race can positively impact consumers, and it may negatively impact others."

The goal for the ongoing Sephora-commissioned study is to reach conclusions that could apply to consumer experiences no matter the retailer, helping businesses to reduce the possibility that racial bias would happen in stores.  

Pittman Claytor said that racial bias would be nearly impossible to eliminate altogether, but that retailers can pinpoint strategies to make sure that all of their customers, no matter their race, can have a better experience. 

Sephora once again closed its stores for racial-bias trainings in July. The two-hour trainings took place on Blackout Day, when Black people and other people of color were encouraged not to spend money except at Black-owned businesses.

Sephora was also the first retailer to publicly announce its support of the 15% Pledge, which asks businesses to devote 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses. West Elm and Rent the Runway are among the companies who have since joined the movement.

Pittman Claytor said signing the pledge is a good first step, but it needs to be part of a broader strategy. 

"A lot of companies can do a lot better," she said. 

Cassi Pittman Claytor. 'Not everyone pays the same toll' 

A retail store is unique in that it's a place where people of different races and statuses come into contact with each other. That mismatch means that shoppers tend to make snap judgments about others based on how they look and dress, Pittman Claytor said. 

She said that Black consumers report experiences like not being greeted when they enter stores, receiving inferior service, and feeling that they are being associated with theft and that they are being watched by store workers.

On the other side of the equation, Black retail workers say they have been bullied or referred to in derogatory terms by customers. 

"It's a pervasive problem," she said. "There's the idea that it's a toll, but not everyone pays the same toll."

Pittman Claytor said that in addition to the financial toll — leading Black people to often end up paying more for the same product, including cars — there's also an emotional one, "the stress and strain" that comes from being treated as if you were inferior "when you're just trying to spend your hard-earned money." 

And during the time of the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately affected Black Americans, wearing a mask in public has complicated interactions further. 

"People of color do a lot of work with their body language to convey that they belong, that they're not going to steal anything," Pittman Claytor said. "[A mask] effectively makes it more difficult to communicate with your smile ... It's often a tool we use to disarm people." 

Racial bias also shows up in the types of products that are made and how they are advertised. In beauty, for example, there may be dozens of shades of beige makeup marketed but only two of brown. 

"Questions about who the store is for need to begin at the corporate level," she said, adding that companies need to be getting insight and feedback from a diverse set of people. 

People sit with shopping bags outside of Macy's Herald Square store in New York City. Black buying power is on the rise

Blacks' economic clout continues to grow in America. According to the most recent study on Black consumer habits by Nielsen, Black buying power has grown from $320 billion in 1990 to $1.3 trillion in 2018. It grew 114% from 2000 to 2018, compared to 89% growth in white buying power. 

Pittman Claytor, who was named to Business Insider's list of the 100 People Transforming Business for 2020, examines how middle-class Blacks navigate historically white spaces in her new book, "Black Privilege." Her sociological research touches on topics like how Blacks navigate the corporate world, how they choose where to live, and why buying from Black-owned businesses is important to them.

She said that middle-class Blacks often experience racism more frequently than those of a lower socieconomic status because they're more likely to be only one of a few in their position. 

"Unlike whites, no matter how high blacks climb, they continue to confront societal racial hierarchies that place blacks at the bottom, preventing them from capitalizing and cashing in on all the benefits that their credentials and class status should afford them," she writes in her book. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Presidential debates have always been political theater. Here are some of their most memorable moments.

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:39pm
Donald Trump speaks as Dr. Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz look on during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas on December 15, 2015.
  • On September 29, President Trump and Joe Biden will face off in the first of three presidential debates.
  • Style often matters far more than substance in presidential debates.
  • Presidential candidates who are able to deliver one-liners and not get rattled in the spotlight tend to dominate in debates. 
  • Debates are political theater — they rarely do much to inform voters when it comes to policy. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

In theory, presidential debates are meant to educate the public on the most important issues facing the country and how candidates would approach them. 

In reality, presidential debates are often little more than political theater, and largely an opportunity for candidates to show how well they can handle the spotlight and how good they are on their feet. 

A presidential candidate's charisma often far outweighs his or her knowledge of policy when it comes to performing well in a debate.

Candidates who can speak in soundbites tend to perform better than those who can bloviate about complex topics. 

To put it another way, style typically matters more than substance in debates. 

President Donald Trump repeatedly proved that by wiping the floor with his opponents in presidential debates during the 2016 campaign season. He tapped into his skill as an entertainer and focused more on making the audience laugh with insults and quips than offering in-depth takes on the issues. 

This is not to say presidential debates are not consequential, though their overall impact on elections can be difficult to measure.

Here are some of the biggest moments in the history of presidential debates.

1960: John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon Kennedy and Nixon pictured after their nationally televised first of four presidential debates on September 26, 1960.

The debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960 was the first ever televised presidential debate. 

Discussions on this debate have often focused on the fact Kennedy wore makeup during the debate but Nixon refused. Historians debate the extent to which this hurt Nixon, but the narrative surrounding this debate has been that Kennedy looked youthful and strong while Nixon looked gaunt and pale. 

Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, told Time in 2019 this set "the standard and creates the idea that debates are not simply about the substance, but also the presentation."

Kennedy's performance in the first debate changed the history of presidential elections and candidates began to recognize the power of television and importance of appearance.

Some candidates became so wary of how TV could impact an election that after the 1960 campaign season the next televised debate did not occur for another 16 years. Former President Lyndon B. Johnson, for example, refused to debate in 1964 — as did Nixon in 1968 and 1972.

1976: Gerald Ford vs. Jimmy Carter On September 23, 1976, Ford speaks during the first of three televised presidential debates with Carter.


That was Time's headline after President Gerald Ford in a 1976 debate versus Jimmy Carter declared there was "no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe."

"There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never be will under a Ford administration. ... I don't believe the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union," Ford said.

It was the height of the Cold War and the Soviet Union had a strong grip over the entire region at the time, making Ford's remarks at odds with reality. 

The moderator at the time, Max Frankel of The New York Times, responded, "I'm sorry, what?"

The line would haunt Ford through the rest of the campaign season, and he eventually lost to Carter. 

Ford showed that a gaffe in a debate can contribute to a candidate's demise. 

1980: Ronald Reagan vs. Jimmy Carter On October 28, 1980, Carter shakes hands with Reagan after debating in the Cleveland Music Hall in Cleveland.

Ronald Reagan, a former actor, was a natural during presidential debates and had a knack for winning over the crowd with one-liners. He showed off this skill in a 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter. 

After Carter delivered a lengthy and intricate monologue on healthcare, Reagan looked at him with a smile and said, "There you go again." 

Reporting on the debate at the time portrayed Carter as lacking a sense of humor and far too serious while Reagan was viewed as "calm and reasonable."

Reagan showed that delivering a quick zinger in a debate could quickly shift the conversation away from policy and devastate an opponent. 

The former California governor went on to defeat Carter, making him a one-term president.


1984: Ronald Reagan vs. Walter Mondale Mondale, left, and Reagan shake hands before moving to their podiums for the start of their debate on October 7, 1984.

Reagan showed off his skills as a performer once again in a 1984 debate with Minnesota Democrat Walter Mondale. 

After a poor performance in the first televised debate against Mondale, some began to raise concerns that Reagan's age was becoming a problem. Reagan was 76 at the time, and some felt he was too old to serve a second term as president. 

Reagan was able to alleviate concerns about this with his sense of humor. 

When the moderator asked Reagan about whether his age could be an issue, he replied, "I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience."

The audience, and even Mondale, exploded with laughter. Reagan used charm to his advantage once again, and he went on to win the election.


1988: Lloyd Bentsen vs. Dan Quayle In this October 5, 1988 photo, Bentsen, left, shakes hands with Quayle before the start of their vice presidential debate in Omaha, Nebraska.

The 1988 vice presidential debate between George H.W. Bush's running-mate, Dan Quayle, and Michael Dukakis' running-mate, Lloyd Bentsen, did not change the course of the election, but it did deliver one of the most memorable one-liners in presidential debate history. 

Quayle, a Republican senator from Indiana, tried to compare himself to former President John F. Kennedy in the debate. He was young and trying to dismiss concerns about lacking experience.

Bentsen, a Democrat from Texas, was not having it. 

"I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy," Bentsen said, prompting a roar of applause from the crowd.


1992: George H.W. Bush vs. Bill Clinton and Ross Perot President Bush looks at his watch during the 1992 presidential campaign debate with Perot, top, and Clinton, not shown.

Sometimes it's not what candidates say but their general demeanor that determines how their performances in a debate are graded and remembered. 

In a 1992 town hall-style debate with Bill Clinton, an audience member asked Bush about national debt. 

As the audience member began to ask the question, Bush took a quick look at his watch. Bush, who was president at the time, came off as though he didn't care about or have time to listen to the concerns of regular Americans. 

He went on to lose the election to Clinton, and was a one-term president.


2000: George W. Bush vs. Al Gore Bush, left, speaks as Gore watches during their third and final debate at Washington University in St. Louis.

During a 2000 town hall-style debate between then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore, the younger Bush showed that you don't need to use words to make people laugh and win over the crowd. Sometimes just a simple gesture will do the trick. 

Gore berated Bush with condescending, wonky attacks throughout the debate. At one point, as Bush was answering a question, Gore got up and started walking toward him. 

It seemed as though Gore wanted to intimidate Bush, but it didn't work. Bush looked at him and gave him a quick nod, which prompted laughter, and then continued his answer. 

After, Gore's team thought he'd won the debate on policy but "on mannerisms and the takeaway, he ended up losing."

Bush "opened up a lead in several polls" within a week and would go on to win the election.


2012: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney Obama answers a question as Romney listens during the third presidential debate on October 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Florida.

"The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years."

That was Barack Obama's big zinger in a 2012 debate against Mitt Romney, as the president sought to dismiss his Republican challenger's assertion that Russia was the country's "No. 1 geopolitical foe."

It was one of the most-talked about moments after the debate, and seen as a blow to Romney (who ultimately lost the election).

But the line did not age well, as Russia annexed Crimea roughly two years later. It proved that a candidate doesn't necessarily have to be correct to be perceived as winning the argument.


2016: Donald Trump vs. GOP candidates From left, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and John Kasich on August 6, 2015.

After the first GOP presidential primary debate of the 2016 campaign season in August 2015, CNN reported, "It was the most dramatic opening to a presidential debate in recent memory —and Donald Trump stole the show before he'd even said a word."

Indeed, no candidate on the stage could outmatch Trump in showmanship, who used his experience as a reality TV star to his advantage.

"One of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter," moderator Megyn Kelly said to Trump toward the beginning of the debate. "However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals."

Trump interrupted Kelly and said, "Only Rosie O'Donnell." The crowd roared with applause and laughter. 

Trump proved that you don't have to be the most polished person on the stage to win in the end. 

"For more than a month, Trump has defied the normal patterns of politics and Thursday night was no exception," CNN reported at the time.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Dow leaps 410 points as revived stimulus hopes drive new recovery bets

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:36pm
  • US equities surged on Monday as investors' hopes for a smooth economic rebound outweighed rising coronavirus cases.
  • Bank stocks led major indexes higher, marking a sharp pivot from the tech-led rallies seen throughout the summer.
  • Investors cheered comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the weekend indicating that a last-minute stimulus measure just might be passed before the November presidential election.
  • Economic data in China also lifted investors' hopes for a near-term rebound. The country's National Bureau of Statistics reported that industrial profits grew for the fourth consecutive month in August, by 19.1%.
  • Oil prices retraced early losses and climbed alongside a falling US dollar. West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 1.4%, to $40.80 per barrel.
  • Watch major indexes update live here.

US stocks soared on Monday as new stimulus hopes and encouraging economic data lifted investor sentiments.

Tech giants continued their bounce-back, with Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook all pushing indexes higher. In a pivot from recent rallies, bank stocks led major indexes higher as investors widened their positioning for the US economic recovery. Real-estate and energy names also climbed.

Those hoping for a last-minute stimulus deal received encouraging commentary from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday. Pelosi indicated that Democrats' new $2.4 trillion proposal may come to a vote as soon as next week and that she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued to hold talks on passing new relief.

"Given how far apart the two sides were, markets had all but given up on action prior to the election," said Jamie Cox, a managing partner at Harris Financial Group. "Those expectations, which had been pricing in over the last week or so, are being unwound a bit today."

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4 p.m. market close on Monday:

Read more: 'Classic signs of euphoric sentiment': Famed economist David Rosenberg warns that Snowflake-led IPO mania is inflating a market bubble that could soon pop

Still, major banks aren't optimistic about a near-term breakthrough. Morgan Stanley on Sunday lowered its forecast for fourth-quarter US growth to 3.4% from 9.3%, citing "diminishing fiscal support" for the bearish shift. Economists at Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and JPMorgan have issued similar downward adjustments in recent weeks, based on unlikely stimulus progress.

Traders also cheered encouraging economic data out of China. The country's industrial giants posted a fourth straight month of profit growth in August, the National Bureau of Statistics said. Earnings at large industrial companies leaped by 19.1%, slowing only slightly from July's 19.6% reading. The report suggested similar rebounds in store for countries still early into their recoveries.

Monday's uptick signaled that the final trading days of September could yield better results than past weeks. Friday's gains failed to pull the market into a positive weekly return and notched stocks' fourth straight weekly loss.

September is likely to be the first month of negative returns after stocks' sharp rally through the summer. But price swings typically seen in October might make up for the losses, said Chris Larkin, the managing director of trading and investment product at E-Trade.

"Many expect the volatility and market drops to bleed into October, and while it's historically the stock market's most volatile month, it's also been one of the most bullish with plenty of upside to go with the down," he said, adding that October boasted the highest median return of any month.

Read more: The Fed's pandemic response has created a 'zombie horde' of crumbling companies, says $702 billion Principal. Here are 4 portfolio moves that minimize the risks posed by these firms, and the worst-hit industries to avoid.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals tumbled after trading was temporarily halted ahead of the opening bell. The biotech firm announced on Monday that its trial of a coronavirus vaccine was under a temporary hold because of questions from the Food and Drug Administration. Inovio said it planned to answer them in October and resume the trial soon after.

HSBC soared after its largest shareholder bolstered its position in the bank. The firm's shares gained in London trading as well.

Uber surged after a judge in the UK ruled that its service could continue in London.

Virgin Galactic rallied after Bank of America initiated coverage on the stock with a "buy" rating. The analysts' price target implied that shares of the space-travel company would more than double over the next year on "unparalleled" growth potential.

Spot gold gained as much as 1.1% to $1,882.98 per ounce, slowly climbing back to the key support level of $1,900. Treasury yields wavered.

Oil erased early losses and rose as the US dollar dropped. West Texas Intermediate crude gained as much as 1.4%, to $40.80 per barrel. Brent crude, oil's international standard, climbed 1.7%, to $42.62 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

'Expect more stock-market weakness': A Wall Street strategist lays out how investors' most-trusted defenses against crashes are failing them at a critical time

Recent market returns suggest investors are prepping for weaker US recovery, UBS says

Fed's new inflation strategy will lift profits and reduce risks for stock investors, Goldman Sachs says

Read the original article on Business Insider

Even the lowest-paid workers in America have a higher tax bill than Trump

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:35pm
President Donald Trump.

On Sunday, The New York Times released a bombshell report on President Donald Trump's tax returns over the past two decades. Among the many stunning revelations was that Trump, a self-described billionaire and real-estate mogul, paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and again in 2017.

Business Insider estimated that workers making just under $18,000 a year would have paid a similar amount of income tax as the president did, based on listings of tax brackets for 2016 and 2017 by the Tax Foundation, an independent tax-policy nonprofit.

Estimating a normal worker's income taxes

To keep things simple, we'll consider a single worker with no children in our calculations.

Our hypothetical worker is using the standard deduction, which means they aren't itemizing various specialized deductions and tax breaks for things like interest paid on a mortgage or charitable donations.

We also assume they took the standard personal exemption, which was another tool in the tax code to reduce taxable income based on the number of dependents in the filer's household; it was removed under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

According to the Tax Foundation, the standard deduction for a single filer in 2016 was $6,300, and the personal exemption was $4,050. That means our hypothetical taxpayer could deduct $10,350 from their actual income when calculating their taxable income in 2016.

In 2016, the lowest tax bracket covered taxable income under $9,275 for single filers, according to the Tax Foundation, and that income was taxed at a rate of 10%.

Putting all this together, a single filer in 2016 taking the standard deduction and personal exemption who made $17,850 would have had a taxable income of $7,500 and thus would have owed $750 in income taxes, equal to what Trump reportedly paid.

A similar calculation using the standard deduction, the personal exemption, and tax brackets from 2017 suggests a taxpayer who made $17,900 would have owed $750 that year.

The overwhelming majority of Americans working full time make much more than $17,900 and thus would have owed more than $750 in federal income taxes, under our above assumptions.

Most Americans make much more than $17,900

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary as of May 2017 for gaming dealers, who run gambling games in businesses such as casinos, was $19,820, the lowest reported annual median wage among occupations in the BLS database.

With the 2017 standard deduction and personal exemption, a typical gaming dealer would have owed $947.

Fast-food-prep and serving workers had a median annual wage of $20,180, leading to an estimated tax bill of just over $1,000.

Business Insider's Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported that Trump's tax bill was lower than that of Americans making as little as $20,000 a year.

A similar calculation shows that a married couple filing jointly, taking the standard deduction and two personal exemptions, and earning $28,200 in 2016 and $28,300 in 2017 would have had an income-tax bill of $750.

This calculation covers only the federal income tax. Most workers and business owners pay many other taxes, like the payroll taxes that support Social Security and Medicare. Indeed, the Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten told The Times that Trump had paid "tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes" since 2015, though The Times noted that this did not directly address Trump's income-tax payments.

This is also, of course, a very simplified calculation. The tax code is enormously complex, and there are plenty of other caveats — deductions other than the standard deduction, or tax credits like the earned-income tax credit — that could make things more complicated for our hypothetical taxpayer.

Read The New York Times' full report »Read the original article on Business Insider

Body-camera footage shows Trump's former campaign manager Brad Parscale being tackled by police outside his Florida home

Mon, 09/28/2020 - 4:30pm
Brad Parscale is tackled by law enforcement outside his Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home.
  • The Fort Lauderdale Police Department released body-camera footage showing former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale being tackled and arrested outside his home on Sunday evening. 
  • His wife, Candice Parscale, told the police that Brad loaded a firearm and threatened to hurt himself.
  • The video shows Brad Parscale being tackled by officers after he eventually emerges from his home, shirtless and holding a beer.
  • Responding officers, who observed bruises on Candice Parscale's face and body, seized 10 firearms from the couple's home, according to a police report obtained by Business Insider.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, police on Monday released body-camera footage showing President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Brad Parscale being tackled and arrested outside his home on Sunday. 

His wife, Candice Parscale, called the police on Sunday, saying her husband had loaded a firearm and threatened to hurt himself, according to a police report obtained by Business Insider.

After a prolonged standoff, Brad Parscale was taken into custody and hospitalized under Florida's Baker Act, which allows people to be involuntarily hospitalized if they're believed to pose a threat to themselves or others. 

The three-minute video shows Candice Parscale standing outside the couple's house in a bathing suit and wrapped in a towel, telling Officer Timothy Skaggs that she fled the house in fear and later heard what sounded like a gunshot come from inside the home. 

"He's acting crazy, so I went outside to the backyard and let him just chill out," she says in the video. "And he was just going irate. And he came out of his office, cocked a gun, went back, and I was like, 'OK, this is f---ed up,' and so I went to the front yard."

Skaggs spoke with Brad Parscale on the phone, urging him to "come outside with no weapons," according to the body-cam video. Brad Parscale initially refused to do so.

Later in the video, Brad Parscale, who is about 6-foot-8, comes out of his house, shirtless and carrying a beer. He approaches another officer and says, "Listen, I'm not trying to kill myself. She's lying. I'm your friend."

Shortly after, several other officers approach Brad Parscale, repeatedly telling him to "get on the ground." When he makes no immediate moves to do so, two officers tackle him with what the police report described as a "double leg take down."

Brad Parscale repeatedly says, "I didn't do anything," as the officers roll him onto his stomach, handcuff him, and help him back to his feet. 

Candice Parscale told officers that her husband had post-traumatic stress disorder and had been violent and threatened to harm himself in recent weeks, according to the police report. 

Law enforcement seized 10 firearms — two shotguns, a .22 caliber revolver, five handguns, and two rifles — from the Parscale residence, according to the report.

Police also reported that Candice Parscale had several bruises on her face and body, which she said were the result of her husband assaulting her days before. She did not report that assault at the time.

"While speaking with Candace Parscale I noticed several large sized contusions on both of her arms, her cheek and forehead," Detective Steven Smith wrote in a report on the incident. "When I asked how she received the bruising, Candace Parscale stated Brad Parscale hits her."

Police reported that Brad Parscale smelled of alcohol. He is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at Broward Health Medical Center and has not been charged with any crimes.

Brad Parscale was removed from his position as Trump's reelection campaign manager in July and was replaced by then-deputy campaign manager Bill Stepien. He's stayed on the team as an adviser. Shortly after Brad Parscale's demotion, the Trump campaign began investigating campaign spending overseen by him, Business Insider previously reported.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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