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GOP congressman from Tennessee says 'we're not gonna fix' school shootings and explains that he home schools his daughter

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 5:24pm
  • Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee had few solutions to offer after Monday's mass shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • In response to a question about stopping mass shootings, he said "we're not gonna fix it."
  • He added that his personal solution for keeping his daughter safe is to homeschool her.

Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee offered few solutions in the wake of a tragic mass shooting that left three children and three administrators dead in Nashville, Tennessee, on Monday.

On Monday, a 28-year-old shooter reportedly used assault-style weapons to kill three 9-year-olds and three staff members at The Covenant School, a private Christian school in Nashville.

Burchett told reporters after the tragic event that his solution is to simply keep his child at home.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, hours after the shooting, Burchett was asked, "What else should be done to protect people like your little girl?"

—Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) March 28, 2023


"Well, we homeschool her," Burchett said in response. While answering a separate question about how to quell school shootings, he also said "we're not gonna fix it."

"I don't see any real role that we could do other than mess things up, honestly, because of the situation," Burchett added, commenting about how people can 3D print guns now. "Criminals are gonna be criminals. And my daddy fought in the Second World War, fought in the Pacific, fought the Japanese, and he told me, 'Buddy, if somebody wants to take you out, and doesn't mind losing their life, there's not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it.'"

Burchett had much stronger words on March 7 after his state passed a law banning drag performances in public spaces, telling Newsmax: "We don't put up with that crap in Tennessee."

Burchett's office did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.

In the weeks ahead of the shooting in Nashville, state lawmakers worked to relax gun control laws in the state, pushing forward legislation that would lower the minimum age for carrying guns from 21 to 18.

Rep. Andy Ogles, a Tennessee congressman who represents part of Nashville, also offered "thoughts and prayers," after the mass shooting, which largely fell on deaf ears given a 2021 Christmas photo with his family where he, his wife, and children are holding guns.

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Rolex is discontinuing its $9,300 'mad scientist' Milgauss watch — and now some resellers are listing it for over $13,000

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 5:23pm
  • Rolex has quietly discontinued one of its professional watches, the magnetic field-resistant Milgauss.
  • The move was quickly spotted by collectors, setting off a frenzy of interest in the model.
  • Bob's Watches CEO Paul Altieri told Insider he's holding off selling until prices find a new steady state.

Monday's splashy reveal of Rolex's new watches for 2023 was complemented by the quiet discontinuation of one of the Swiss brand's lesser-known models, the magnetic field-resistant Milgauss.

As all eyes were trained on the 60th anniversary Cosmograph Daytona, a titanium Yacht Master, the all-new 1908, and an emoji-packed, puzzle-faced Day-Date, the company removed all pages related to the Milgauss from its website.

Collectors quickly noticed, and Google search data shows a massive spike on Monday followed by elevated interest in "Milgauss."

Originally introduced in 1953, the Milgauss was one of Rolex's specialty timepieces for people who have interesting jobs, like pilots, sailors, divers, and other explorers.

The Milgauss was the watch for scientists and engineers, or anyone who didn't want to miss lunch because the magnetic interference from their lab equipment threw off the timing of their mechanical wristwatch. The original version was worn by the scientists at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, in Geneva, Rolex says.

In spite of that pedigree, sales were relatively soft.

"It was always kind of a controversial watch, even from when it was first launched back in the '50's," said Paul Altieri, CEO of leading Rolex reseller Bob's Watches, in an interview with Insider. "It was large for its time — thick on your wrist — when back then watches were a lot smaller."

That's not to say the Milgauss didn't have its devotees: actor and professional nerd Jeff Goldblum sported a customized blacked-out version in "Jurassic World: Dominion," while actress Jennifer Aniston and rockstar Anthony Kiedis each flaunted theirs in public appearances over the years.

A 2007 refresh of the original design brought a distinctive turquoise dial and orange lightning bolt second hand, as well as a green sapphire crystal that Rolex says was a first for the industry.

The Milgauss has been largely overlooked on the secondary market, and is one of the only stainless steel Rolex models to trade below retail, according to a price analysis from WatchCharts. It even ranks near last place among the 16 Rolex models tracked on the site.

At the same time, its cult status has largely kept it out of the dramatic rise and fall that swept through more popular models — like the Daytona and the Submariner — over the past two years.

Some resellers are aiming to capitalize on a surge in popularity: a substantial number of dealer listings on Chrono24 are currently well above $13,000 (compared with a $9,300 retail price), while Altieri says he's taking his Milgauss listings down for now.

"What usually happens is right after a model is discontinued, the price will jump, and we don't know where it's going to be. It may take a day or two to stabilize," Altieri said. "We like to sell watches that are at market, even if it goes down. We don't think it will — we think it will go up."

Of course, Rolex could resurrect the Milgauss in a few years, but until it does, mad scientists will have to content themselves with a pre-owned model.

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Senate Democrats bemused by Trump's daydream of running Marjorie Taylor Greene against them: 'We'll beat her'

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 5:11pm
Former US President Donald Trump chats with Republican Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia at the 16th tee during the second round of the LIV golf invitational series on July 30, 2022 in Bedminster, New Jersey.
  • Donald Trump recently said he'd love to see GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene run for Senate.
  • The last three Senate hopefuls Trump has backed in Georgia have lost six straight contests.
  • Current Senate campaign chair Gary Peters is confident Greene would also fall short.

While some Senate Democrats seemed shocked about possibly going toe-to-toe with conservative bomb-thrower Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene in the near future, the party's current reelection chief embraced the challenge. 

"She can do whatever she wants. Wherever she runs, we'll beat her," Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, who picked up a majority-deciding seat as chair of Senate Democrats' campaign arm in 2022 and reupped to oversee the 2024 cycle, told Insider between votes. 

Peters' prediction puts him at odds with Donald Trump, who floated the idea of having the two-term House Republican take a shot at one of Georgia's Democratically-controlled Senate seats during his 2024 campaign kick-off in Waco, Texas

"I would fight like hell for you," the embattled former president told Greene, who has already endorsed his reelection bid and warmed up the crowd at the MAGA lovefest, over the weekend. 

Trump's recent recruiting efforts in the state haven't worked out so well. 

His preferred candidates lost six head-to-head Peach State Senate contests within 26 months, including two general elections in 2020, two special runoff elections in 2021 that produced a 50-50 Senate with a Democratic edge because of Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote, and another general election and runoff in 2022 that earned incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock his first full term. 

Warnock looked rather incredulous as Insider asked for his opinion about Trump's show of support for a Greene senate bid. 

"'Show' is the right word," he said, shaking his head in disbelief as a subway car whisked him towards the US Capitol. 

Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is up for reelection in 2026, cracked a smile when Insider mentioned Trump's ad lib in Waco. 

"I'm not giving much thought to prospective challengers," Ossoff said while striding towards the chamber. A few steps later, he said, "Anyone is free to run. And I'll be ready."

Whether he winds up across the debate stage with Greene or some other Trump-backed challenger, Ossof added that he's not taking anything for granted in the South's busiest battleground

"I have no doubt Georgia will remain a highly competitive state," he said. 

That's exactly the right attitude to take, Democratic strategist Rodell Mollieneau told Insider. 

"Before Dems start congratulating themselves three years in advance, let's not forget that Hershel Walker got 49% of the general electoral vote last year," the former aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and now partner at political consulting firm Rokk Solutions, wrote in an email. "We still have some work to do in that state to solidify our gains for the long term."

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6 'facts' about human evolution that are wrong

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 5:09pm
A scientific theory is an explanation of facts based on robust research that's been replicated numerous times.
  • Modern humans did not evolve from monkeys or any other animal that lives today.
  • Humans continue to evolve but the traits we pass down aren't always for the species' betterment. 
  • "Survival of the fittest" probably doesn't mean what you think and has nothing to do with strength. 
Human evolution is complex. Misconceptions, misunderstandings, and myths readily arise when we try to simplify it too much.America has struggled to get schools nationwide to teach human evolution as fact.

The overwhelming majority of scientists agree that humans evolved over time, yet misconceptions about human evolution persist in American society for a few reasons.

One reason is that evolution is complex, and easily drawn conclusions aren't always entirely accurate. In the past, politicians have misled the public about evolution in an effort to ban teaching the concept in public schools.

Accepting evolution is key to understanding the natural world and our place in it as humans, said Bridget Alex, a lecturer in human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and an editor for "SAPIENS" magazine.

But not everything you hear about evolution in soundbites or headlines is true.

Myth: Humans descended from monkeysSimplistic depictions of human evolution can easily lead to common misconceptions about where we actually came from.

Monkeys and humans share a common ancestor that lived about 60 million years ago, but humans did not descend from the monkeys we see today.

In fact, humans are actually more closely related to chimpanzees than monkeys, but we didn't evolve from chimpanzees, either.

The common ancestor we shared with monkeys diverged into separate lineages that eventually became the monkeys, chimpanzees, and humans we recognize today.

"It's the same way you maybe have siblings, and you descended from common parents, or you maybe have cousins, and you descended from common grandparents," Alex said. "That is, if we keep extending that and go back in time, say, 7 [million] or 8 million years, you'll find that you have the same ancestors as current living chimpanzees have."

Myth: "Survival of the fittest" means only the strongest surviveStudents in East China are shown here saluting the country during a national flag-raising ceremony.

Fitness is often associated with how physically strong and healthy someone is. But in evolutionary terms, fitness means the likelihood of passing on traits to offspring who are then likely to survive and have offspring of their own.

For example, if you compare someone who rarely exercises and eats a poor diet with someone who eats a well-rounded diet and runs marathons, you might say the runner is more "fit."

But if the person with unhealthy habits has 10 grandchildren and the other person has none, then the unhealthy person has higher evolutionary fitness than the person with a healthier lifestyle.

"It's not about how fast you can run or how much you can bench-press," Alex said. "Evolutionary fitness only cares about reproductive success."

Myth: Evolution always leads to progressModern humans aren't necessarily the best version of hominids to ever exist. The ancient human relative shown here, called Homo naledi, had a smaller brain and unusually curved fingers.

Traits passed down through generations aren't necessarily the best traits that contribute to a more advanced, improved species. Traits are passed down from individuals who were simply "good enough" within their environment to reproduce.

For example, fossils show human ancestors had much larger teeth than humans do today, likely due to changes in diet over the last 2 million years.

The size of human teeth today is not necessarily better or worse, but simply more suited to the current environment.

"Evolution cares about reproductive success, having offspring that survive and have their own offspring, passing on particular genes or traits, generation after generation," Alex said. "So if [evolution] doesn't go in a certain direction, it just responds to the local and current conditions."

Myth: Humans have stopped evolvingPeople who live in high altitudes, like this Nepalese woman, have evolved to have fewer red blood cells.

Advancements in technology and medicine have allowed humans to modify our environments and live longer, and that doesn't mean we have stopped evolving.

"As long as our species continues having offspring, we're going to continue to evolve," Alex said.

One example involves groups of people known as Tibetan highlanders and Nepalese Sherpa who live at high altitudes.

Oxygen levels are lower at higher altitudes, making it difficult for people accustomed to lower altitudes to get enough oxygen to their cells, which can affect breathing and cognition.

But over thousands of years, Tibetan highlanders have evolved to thrive in a low-oxygen environment by evolving to produce fewer red blood cells.

Red blood cells help carry oxygen throughout the body, but too many thicken the blood and, like a traffic jam, slow down the process. With fewer red blood cells, that highway opens up and can quickly carry oxygen throughout the body with ease.

Myth: Humans cannot harm ecosystems because organisms will just adaptLarge mammals like elephants are at risk of eventually going extinct as their natural resources continue to decline due to climate change and other human interference.

It is true that organisms will continue to adapt to their environment no matter what humans do to the planet. But humans can and do have a negative impact on ecosystems, changing the world as know it.

"The harsh reality is that many of the animals, plants, and other organisms we know today are not going to survive the next century," Alex said. "Some of the big creatures we've been used to, like giraffes or elephants, their time on earth is probably limited because of human activities."

Climate change is perhaps the most obvious example of how humans can negatively impact ecosystems. Because of human activity that has contributed to climate change, warming temperatures are disrupting giraffe habitats and making food scarce.

Moreover, droughts brought on by climate change are also a threat to large mammals, like elephants and hippos, who rely on natural sources of water for drinking, bathing, and cooling off.

Myth: Human evolution is a theory, not a factA scientific theory is an explanation of facts based on robust research that's been replicated numerous times.

This misconception comes down to a disconnect between how the general public uses the words "theory" and "fact" and how scientists use them.

People outside of the scientific community often use the word "theory" to describe an educated guess, hunch, or assumption about something unproven. This line of thinking also assumes a theory can become a fact when tested and proven.

But from a scientific perspective, that's not how theories and facts work. It's true that a fact is an indisputable observation that has been repeatedly confirmed, like that the sun is a star or that the human skeleton is made up of 206 bones.

But theories aren't guesses waiting to be tested. In scientific terms, a theory is an explanation of facts based on robust research.

The theory of evolution explains how organisms change and adapt to their environments. Other scientific theories include the theory of gravity, which explains why objects fall to the ground, and cell theory, which explains how cells make up all living organisms.

"In order for something to be a theory in science, it has overwhelming scientific evidence, usually from decades (if not centuries) of research and experiments," Alex said. "So if you agree with the theory of gravity, you should also agree with the overwhelming scientific evidence that supports the theory of evolution."

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Layoffs destroy workers' trust, but there are ways employers can reduce the damage, a PwC survey shows

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 5:09pm
Wes Bricker, a vice chair and a US trust solutions coleader at PwC.
  • A PwC survey identified steps employers can take to help restore trust amid layoffs.
  • Workers say more communication and generous severance packages are important.
  • Most execs overestimate how much trust consumers and workers place in their companies.

Laying people off is a pretty quick — and obvious — way to blow up any loyalty workers might have felt for a company. 

Even for those who hang onto their jobs, layoffs can damage morale, innovation, and productivity. Those setbacks can eventually puncture corporate profits

What's not so apparent is that there are steps leaders can take to lessen the blow of layoffs. Making the right moves might even restore some of the trust that gets steamrolled when employers start letting go of workers, according to the results of a new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In an email survey of about 2,000 US workers, nearly six in 10 employees said companies could boost trust amid layoffs by encouraging bosses to step up communication with workers whose jobs are spared, by offering robust severance packages, and by being more open about the reasons behind the cuts. 

"Trust is built in hard times, not easy times," Wes Bricker, a vice chair and US trust solutions coleader at PwC, told Insider.

It's been a tough few months for trust in the workplace. Bank runs and waves of job cuts across industries, including tech, have left some leaders and rank-and-file workers feeling uneasy

Part of the challenge in building trust is the disconnect between how execs and customers see an organization. Eighty-four percent of the 500 business executives who took part in the February survey reported that consumers trust their companies to a high degree. But just over a quarter of the approximately 2,500 consumers polled reported having this level of trust in businesses. 

There was a smaller gap between the people running companies and their workers, with 79% of business executives saying employee trust is high and 65% of employees agreeing with that. 

The fallout from lack of trust goes beyond tarnishing a company's reputation — something those atop corporate org charts acknowledged in the survey: Nine in 10 executives told PwC that the ability to establish and maintain trust helps their company's bottom line. 

Yet the gaps in trust revealed by the survey indicate that there's more work for business leaders to do. 

"Trust is not a fuzzy concept," Bricker said. "Trust is a question of integrity and transparency and being a truth teller, not avoiding hard issues."

The heightened uncertainty this year about the path the economy will take means there are plenty of difficult topics for leaders, and their workers, to cover. There are fights underway over everything from pay to remote work. And the job market remains strong overall despite a campaign by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and cool the economy in hopes of stomping out high inflation. 

The recent challenges in some industries mean business leaders need to be straight with their employees, Bricker said, even when it's difficult. Leaders can share what they're thinking when it comes to pay and pay equity, hiring freezes, layoffs, and the health of the business and how that relates to decisions coming from the C-suite, he said. 

"That's real transparency," Bricker said. "And even though it's hard, in the long term it builds trust."

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Trump's 'hush money' grand jury may have already voted. But the DA can slow-walk filing an indictment, experts say.

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:19pm
Former President Donald Trump, left. adult film star Stormy Daniels, center. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, right.
  • It's possible the Trump 'hush-money' grand jury has already voted to indict, ex-prosecutors say.
  • Prosecutors have the power to slow-walk the signing and filing of any indictment, they say.
  • Controlling the timing would allow city officials to prepare for unrest before Trump learns his fate.

The Manhattan grand jury that has been weighing potential "hush-money" charges against Donald Trump since mid-January could have voted Monday — we just wouldn't know it yet, former prosecutors told Insider.

NBC reported Tuesday that the grand jury is not meeting for the rest of this week. But that could be because the panel is done with its work, ex-prosecutors said.

If they've already voted to indict, the district attorney's office does not need to file the indictment immediately. Instead they could slow-walk the post-vote process for days, forestalling the moment when Trump is officially indicted, as is in their discretion and power to do, the experts said.

A defendant is only officially indicted when the jury foreperson signs an actual hard-copy indictment and that document is then filed, under seal, with the court clerk's office.

Prosecutors often forestall these two crucial steps — signing and filing — former prosecutors told Insider.

In Trump's case, that would delay when prosecutors tell his legal team he's been indicted, if it comes to that.

And — assuming that Trump would then tell the world — a post-vote delay would give law enforcement the time needed to prepare for any unrest, again if it comes to that, ex-prosecutors said. 

"If they've voted and haven't filed yet, we the public will never know that information," said attorney Diana Florence, for 30 years a white-collar crime prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney's office.

"Given the unusual nature of this case — you're potentially indicting a former president — the logistics are unprecedented," Florence said. "So they're going to want as much time as possible."

The grand jury last met on Monday afternoon, hearing testimony from former Trump ally and National Enquirer publisher David Pecker

If Pecker was indeed the prosecution's final, mop-up witness, as seems possible, then the grand jurors would still have had more than an hour to get instructions on the law, deliberate, and vote before going home Monday night.

Deliberations and voting often take as little as five minutes, ex-prosecutors say, because an indictment vote does not need to be unanimous and the standard of proof, a mere preponderance of the evidence, is so low.

"I think the longest deliberation I've ever had was an hour, and it was probably one of these monster cases," Florence said. "Lots of defendants, lots of evidence, wiretaps — those cases are going to take a while. But this is going to be a relatively short vote."

Once there's a vote to indict, the prosecutor can thank the grand jurors for their work and send them all home, but tell the foreperson to return, alone, to sign the indictment on any day that suits their timing, Florence said.

Indictments are always filed with the clerk immediately after they are signed by the foreperson, she said.

"You don't get it signed and then hold it back in your office," she said. "I've never seen anyone have the indictment signed and not file it immediately."

Only then, after that visit to the clerk's office, would Trump officially be indicted.

Trump is expected to be charged with multiple counts of falsifying business records, his lawyers have said. That's a low-level state felony that would allege he phonied up documents to hide a $130,000 hush-money payment made to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels just days before the 2016 election.

Federal prosecutors have called the payment an illegal campaign contribution, meant to keep voters from hearing Daniels' bombshell claim that she'd had a sexual encounter with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied wrongdoing and any sexual encounter with Daniels.

Prosecutors would likely wait until right after an indictment is filed to let Trump's legal team know they need to bring him in.

"The probable course, after it's been filed, is to call the defense lawyer up and say we want your guy to surrender" on a particular date, predicted attorney John Moscow, another former white-collar crime prosecutor at the Manhattan district attorney's office.

"That's an option that he has," Trump's lawyer would be told of surrendering.

"If he doesn't choose to exercise that option, he doesn't have to," Moscow said, continuing to describe a hypothetical conversation between Trump's prosecutors and his lawyer. "He will, however, ultimately be arrested. Your call." 

Days before this phone call is made, the district attorney will have already warned local law enforcement that big news is about to break and to be ready for a potential reaction.

Law enforcement agencies have already been conferring on how to handle the crowds that may gather upon learning of an indictment and, days later, of an in-person arraignment.

And already, the office of District Attorney Alvin Bragg has had to deal with hoax bomb threats and an anthrax scare.

Trump himself has stridently denied any wrongdoing in connection with the hush-money payment and has urged his supporters to protest any indictment. He has warned of "death and destruction" should an indictment come.

Trump has also vilified Bragg online as an "animal" and a "racist."

A recent post to Trump's Truth Social account showed a photo of the former president wielding a baseball bat, juxtaposed with a photo of Bragg's head. The post was soon deleted and Trump attorney Joe Tacopina has said the image was posted by a staffer, not by Trump himself.

As for Trump's potential surrender date — when he would hypothetically turn himself in, get his prints run and mugshot taken, and then plead not guilty in a lower Manhattan courtroom — it would likely be only a few days after Trump learns, through his lawyers, that he's been indicted (if, indeed, it comes to that).

"I wouldn't give him any time," Moscow said.

"Give him time to rally people from all over the country to come for a riot? I think that's a bad idea," he added. "You don't want him to be able to assemble a mob."

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This Detroit couple bought a $6,500 house destined for the wrecking ball, then picked over old basketball courts, science labs, and churches to renovate it into a beauty. See inside.

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:18pm
Kyle Dubay and Bo Shepherd.
  • Kyle Dubay and Bo Shepherd own Woodward Throwbacks, a store that recycles building materials.
  • In 2019, they purchased a run-down home for $6,500 from the Detroit Land Bank Authority.
  • See how the couple used salvaged materials to renovate and furnish the home.

Kyle Dubay, 34 and his partner, Bo Shepherd, 32, make a living giving old treasures a new life. Together, the couple own and operate Woodward Throwbacks, a Detroit-based furniture and home goods store that designs and builds its pieces with reclaimed materials found in the Motor City. 

The salvagers are always on the lookout for their next project. When they heard about an abandoned home with "great bones" in Detroit's North End, a predominately African American neighborhood of small businesses and churches about ten minutes from downtown, they jumped at the opportunity.

The three-story, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was available for sale through The Detroit Land Bank Authority, an agency with a mission to return run-down and vacant properties in the city to productive use. Each year, the DBLA auctions off thousands of publicly-owned properties through its platform, with bidding sometimes starting as low as $1,000.

In 2019, Dubay and Shepherd purchased the North End home from the DBLA for $6,500. Over the course of three years, the pair put their all and about $300,000 into refurbishing the home. While they did most of the work by themselves, they relied on family, friends, as well as several local businesses that provided them with materials for the renovation.

Last month, they sold the home for $410,000. See how the couple transformed the old decaying home into a luxurious property by using recycled materials like old basketball court floorboards and science lab countertops.

Do you have a similar story you'd like to share with Insider? Get in touch with reporter Alcynna Lloyd at


In 2019, Kyle Dubay and Bo Shepherd purchased the home for $6,500 from the Detroit Land Bank Authority.

The couple found out about the home through a client who had plans to buy the property. 

"One of our clients that lived in the neighborhood wanted to buy it," Dubay told Insider. "He was going to pay us to deconstruct it because he thought it was such an eyesore."

However, upon seeing the home, Dubay and Shepherd fell in love. "We went to our client and asked if he would be opposed to us buying the home instead and fixing it up," Dubay added.  

The client agreed and the couple purchased the home weeks later. 

The home had suffered damage from a fire, leaving it in pretty bad shape.The roof of the home was rotting and needed to be completely replaced.As the home had been abandoned for many years, its yard had grown wild with vegetation.

 "The backyard was a jungle," Dubay said. "We have a dog and she couldn't even run through the yard."

The home's interior was crumbling, too. Many walls, windows, and floors needed to either be repaired or replaced.

"It definitely was not an easy project," Dubay said. "We pretty much had to take it all the way down to the studs."

The fire had peeled away wallpaper in some of the home's rooms, leaving behind nothing but drywall and plaster.The couple discovered evidence of the lives that once inhabited the abandoned home, including mattresses, books, clothes, and shoes.To reduce costs, the couple did most of the renovation work themselves.

"We put a lot of time into the home," Dubay said. "If I charged a client for all that we updated, the house should have been sold for $600,000 or more."

For the work that was outside of their wheelhouse, the couple relied on Shepherd's father who is a professional contractor.When it came to decorating the home, the couple wanted it to look modern yet antiquated.

"We did not want a lot of ornamental stuff like a lot of old houses have," Dubay said. "We wanted to have a nice modern feel and let all of the old materials speak for themselves."

Dubay said that the kitchen, which was the home’s most expensive project, was his favorite room.The kitchen's cabinets and refrigerator panels were built from oak salvaged from church pews around the city.

Dubay said that finding materials in the city is easy because local residents and businesses reach out when they have something interesting to share. 

"We have been recycling materials for a while and have built a big network," Dubay said.  I think people generally like what we do with the final product – they know we're going to save the materials and make it something special."

The kitchen's custom countertops were crafted from old science lab counters sourced from a nearby college.

"The local college went out of business so we took the old lab counters and custom cut them," Dubay said. "They're just really awesome."

The living room’s mantel came from another Detroit home the duo renovated.Dubay said that every single piece of furniture in the home comes from Woodward Throwbacks' showroom or is recycled from another location in the city.The living room's wine cart was made from scrap wood from Woodward Throwbacks' construction shop.

The cart is casted in bio resin and different pieces of wood that were placed into two layers," Dubay said. "We also built a custom metal frame."

The home has two bathrooms that have both been completely refurbished with new floors, sinks, and tubs.This bathroom's vanity was designed and built by Woodward Throwbacks and is made from salvaged parquet flooring.This staircase was donated to the couple from an Instagram follower.

 "It was always our intention to find a spiral staircase for the house but we were striking out constantly when searching," Dubay said. "We made a post on Instagram about how we were struggling, and one of our followers had one that they didn't want anymore."


This dresser was constructed by Woodward Throwbacks from two separate pieces.Dubay said that renovating the home has reinforced his beliefs about recycling.


 "Seeing the finished product and knowing that our philosophy on recycling can work on larger scales is nice," Dubay said. "We want to show people that you can use salvaged materials without a home looking rustic."

Read the original article on Business Insider

US stocks fall as rising bond yields pressure tech amid easing banking sector fears

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:16pm
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange.
  • US stocks fall Tuesday, leaving the S&P 500 lower after three days of gains. 
  • The 2-year Treasury yield pushed back above 4%, pressuring tech stocks. 
  • "I anticipate the need to strengthen capital and liquidity standards for firms over $100 billion," a top Fed official told senators at a hearing about SVB. 

US stocks finished in the red Tuesday as tech shares bore the brunt of rising bond yields amid easing turmoil within the banking sector. 

The tech-concentrated Nasdaq Composite put in the worst performance among key indexes. The S&P 500 fell for the first time in four sessions, with the Information Technology sector a main drag. 

Tech stocks were stung by a rise in the 2-year Treasury yield, pushing  above 4% for the first time in nearly a week. Higher yields slice into the value of future profit for tech and other growth companies. 

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:00 p.m. closing bell on Tuesday: 

Bond yields rose as some measure of calm settled over the banking industry after developments on Monday. First Citizens reached a deal to acquire $72 billion of assets of collapsed Silicon Valley Bank for a $16.5 billion discount. Also easing fears was a Bloomberg report over the weekend that the government may offer more support to banks partially to help First Republic further stabilize. 

But investors, lawmakers, and regulators are still assessing the fallout from this month's implosion of SVB. 

"A review will consider whether the supervisory warnings were sufficient and whether supervisors had sufficient tools to escalate," Michael Barr, the Fed's vice-chair for supervision, told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. "I anticipate the need to strengthen capital and liquidity standards for firms over $100 billion," which would have included SVB. 

Barr called SVB a "textbook case of mismanagement." 

Here's what else is happening today:

In commodities, bonds, and crypto:

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Podcasts can help small-business owners build their brands and win new customers. Here's how.

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:16pm
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Olivia Dreizen Howell and Jenny Dreizen, cofounders of Fresh Starts Registry.
  • Insider talked to small business owners who say brand podcasting has helped them build trust and credibility with customers.
  • Podcasts can also help connect with potential investors.
  • The channel is a cost-friendly way to connect with prospective customers, as well as other industry leaders.
  • This article is part of "Marketing for Small Business," a series exploring the basics of marketing strategy for SBOs to earn new customers and grow their business.

In November, Olivia Dreizen Howell and Jenny Dreizen were looking for investors for their growing company, Fresh Starts Registry, a platform built to support people going through major life changes. Around the same time, they launched their brand podcast, "A Fresh Story," with each episode featuring a guest sharing their story of starting a new life chapter.

Dreizen and Dreizen Howell said the podcast earned them so much exposure that they stepped back from pursuing investors to focus on organic growth through this channel. The website Listen Notes has ranked the podcast in the top 3% of podcasts globally.

Sally Zimney founder of BeMoved.

"I don't understand why more brands don't have podcasts — it is a tool that gets you in front of people in a way that you never would have believed," Dreizen Howell told Insider. 

Sally Zimney, the founder of the speaking-coaching company BeMoved, said her business grew as a direct result of her podcast, where she interviews some of the top communicators. She told Insider that within six months of launching the podcast in 2014, she had enough speaking and coaching work coming in to pursue the business full time.

"The reason I've kept up with this podcast for so many years isn't because I have the dream of being a famous podcast host or because I get thousands of downloads every episode. I have stuck with it because it has been such a critical part of marketing my business," Zimney said. "It gives me a lane through which I can share my expertise and build my own authority, and many of my clients tell me they found me — and built trust in me — by listening to the weekly show."

Dreizen Howell and Zimney are among seven of small-business owners who spoke with Insider about how their brand podcasts support their marketing and business development.

Podcasts make it easier to establish partnerships and get promoted

Interview podcasts in particular can help establish relationships with other leaders in a certain field and get in front of their audiences — without paying hefty fees. 

Zimney described asking someone to be on her podcast as "one of the easiest asks and easiest yeses." She said it sets up a collaboration that naturally leads to partnerships and opportunities.

Dreizen Howell said prospective guests "genuinely do want to share their stories, so they're excited to come onto the podcast," adding, "If we just reached out to these people to ask them to share about Fresh Starts, it probably wouldn't have happened, or they would have asked for money."

Mike Spangenberg, cofounder of apparel brand, State Forty Eight.

Mike Spangenberg, a cofounder of the apparel brand State Forty Eight, said his strategy for maximizing the reach of the Arizona leaders his company interviews on its podcast involves social media. "We post a clip of every episode to our social feeds and will typically add our guest or their organization as a collaborator," he said. "A lot of them choose to accept, so it goes on their feed." This gets State Forty Eight in front of new audiences.

Taja Dockendorf, founder of brand agency Pulp + Wire.

Taja Dockendorf, the founder of the brand agency Pulp and Wire, intentionally interviews brands she hasn't worked with on her podcast. "I have this whole new Rolodex of contacts and experts and friends and people in the field," she said. "It allows us to build relationships that hopefully will lead to doing business together."

Podcasts can help you scale your business

Many small-business owners see podcasts as an important way to acquire loyal customers.

Stella Guan, founder of online design school Path Unbound.

"The customers who came from our podcast tend to be more serious and ready to buy compared to customers who inquire about our courses from other channels simply because they are already persuaded and invested," said Stella Guan, the founder of an online design school called Path Unbound. She added that roughly 60% to 70% of her inquiries said they came from the podcast or from YouTube, where she posts video recordings of her podcast.

Tania Bhattacharyya, the founder of Lumos Marketing, a thought-leadership and brand-messaging consultancy, said that since launching her podcast in 2021 her referrals have generally increased and improved in quality, with nearly all referrals coming in with a better understanding of her philosophy and approach.

Jordan Schanda King, the founder of Easy Scaling, an agency that offers chief-operating-officer services, said that while she relies largely on ads for getting in front of new people, her podcast can help turn them into paying customers. She emails prospective clients some of the company's top episodes and then follows up about new episodes weekly. "It's probably not something that people would list as how they found us, but it's a big part of how they actually trust and want to work with us," she told Insider.

Tania Bhattacharyya, founder of Lumos Marketing.

Bhattacharyya added that she uses her podcast episodes to help guide prospective customers through the sales process. For instance, she said she recently had a call with someone who was hesitant about what people would think when she started sharing her thoughts — Bhattacharyya described that as a common concern among prospective customers. Bhattacharyya had a podcast episode on the subject that she was able to send her. She said this approach has helped her assure and persuade clients without having to go over the same information one-on-one with them. 

Podcasts can seed content for other channels

Several founders said they decided to start a podcast after struggling to create content for their other social channels.

"I finally realized that the easy way to create content for me is to have conversations," Schanda King said. "Now the podcast becomes our big long-form piece of content and gets chunked out into smaller pieces of content, like our newsletter and social media posts."

Jordan Schanda King, founder Easy Scaling.

While Schanda King started her podcast as an interview-only format, she's been adding 10- to 20-minute solo episodes where she talks about topics related to her work that she feels energized by. She said she's found this easier to do than writing out the information. 

Bhattacharyya said her podcast has become the first step in her content-planning process, and she encouraged other founders to repurpose a podcast in as many ways as possible. 

"I could take each episode, transcribe it, and turn it into a 2,000-word blog post that's valuable for SEO. I can take each episode and repurpose it into multiple pieces of LinkedIn content. I can email it to my list. I can stick up the audio on YouTube," she said. "It's one of the most powerful tools that I have in my marketing arsenal to provide value on a really deep scale."

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44 thoughtful last-minute gifts that don't feel rushed

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:15pm

It happens to the best of us: Sometimes, we just miss the shipping deadline to get that holiday gift on their doorstep in time.

Luckily, with the advent of email notifications, two-day delivery, and in-store pickup, you can snag plenty of last-minute gifts that don't look like you scrambled to find something. From snack and wine delivery subscriptions your recipient can curate themselves to gift cards they can use to buy everything from books to vacations, there's an idea for practically every interest and budget. We even included online courses they can complete on their own time if they're the type of people who hate clutter.

So if you have no idea if a physical gift will ship in time or you're pressed to find something for a last-minute visit, keep reading for some thoughtful last-minute gift ideas.

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Delicious treatsSomething personalizedOut of the ordinary gift cards Useful techSubscriptions they'll actually useRead the original article on Business Insider

83 creative gifts for under $100

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:13pm

Gift-giving should be fun, but more often than not, it becomes stressful — doubly so if you're working with a budget. The good news is, a gift doesn't have to be super expensive to be meaningful to someone or last a long time.

To take the guesswork out of your gifting experience, we've curated the best gifts under $100 that you can buy on your own or split the cost of with someone else. From luxury skincare products to affordable kitchen appliances, there are plenty of thoughtful, special gifts you can give within a reasonable price range. And, if you're still looking for more affordable gift ideas or a little something extra, we have a roundup of the best cheap gifts under $25 for you to peruse. 

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Gifts for couples, families, or groupsTech giftsFood giftsHome giftsStyle giftsBeauty giftsFitness, outdoor, and hobby gifts


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The 40 best birthday gifts for him

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:11pm

Why does finding the perfect birthday gift for a guy in your life often feel impossible? You spend days scrolling online, pondering what they like, need, and won't return. You spend so much time thinking about what the perfect gift would be that you haven't even bought anything by the time their big day rolls around. 

Sound familiar? Don't fret, because we've got your back. We made a list of over 40 birthday gifts for him, whether you're celebrating Dad, a partner, your best friend, or a coworker. No matter their role in your life, this list of gift ideas is filled with presents to suit all types of guys with different interests. And f you're so inclined to check out multiple gift guides while hunting, see our picks for the best gifts under $100

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Food and kitchen giftsTech giftsStyle and grooming giftsHome and hobbiesRead the original article on Business Insider

The 43 best birthday gifts for her

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 4:11pm

Whether she's your friend, sister, mother, or coworker, you're on a mission to find the perfect birthday gift for a special person in your life. It can be challenging to find a gift that shows you care and fits their personality, so we've rounded up a list of some of our favorite birthday gifts for her to help you celebrate her special day. 

This list includes gifts that appeal to all different passions and personalities, like fancy olive oils for the one that loves to cook, sheet masks for skincare lovers, and a monthly book subscription for the bookworm. From simple, small gestures to splurge-worthy gifts, there's something for everyone on this list – even the person who seems to have everything already

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Food and kitchen giftsStyle giftsTech giftsHome and hobbies giftsBeauty and self care giftsUnique / personalized giftsRead the original article on Business Insider

Trump says 'I would do that' after Sean Hannity says he 'can't imagine' Trump taking classified records from the White House

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:53pm
Former President Donald Trump
  • Sean Hannity told Trump he couldn't imagine Trump taking documents from the White House.
  • "I know you," Hannity said. "I don't think you would do it."
  • Trump corrected Hannity, saying, "I would do that" and adding that he has the right to "take stuff."

The Fox News host Sean Hannity said Monday he could not imagine Donald Trump taking sensitive documents with him upon leaving the White House. But in a telling interview, Trump quickly corrected him and said that he had the right to "take stuff" as he saw fit.

"I can't imagine you ever saying, um, 'Bring me some of the boxes that we brought back from the White House, I'd like to look at them,'" Hannity told Trump during the interview that aired Monday night. "Did you ever do that?"

"I would have the right to do that, there's nothing wrong with it," Trump claimed.

"I know you," Hannity cut in. "I don't think you would do it."

Trump replied that he doesn't "have a lot of time," but "I would have the right to do that."

"I would do that," the former president added.

According to the Justice Department, Trump did exactly that, and refused to return the records for months after leaving the White House.

In the end, the FBI was forced to execute a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf club in Florida to recover the documents, some of which bore the highest classified markings. Trump's retention of the records is now at the center of a federal criminal investigation into his handling of national security information.

After Trump said during his Monday interview that he would take documents from the White House, Hannity, who has long been one of the former president's closest confidants, attempted to cut him off.

"Let me move on," Hannity said. But Trump had a few other points he wanted to make.

He falsely claimed that the Presidential Records Act gives him "the right to take stuff" and "the right to look at stuff."

"But they have the right to talk, and we have the right to talk," Trump added. "This would have all been worked out. All of a sudden, they raided Mar-a-Lago — viciously raided Mar-a-Lago."

The former president went on to claim that he has some "tapes" in his possession that the feds don't want him to show the public, including one of the FBI executing its warrant.

"I'll take that tape, and I'll air that tape," Hannity said.

"I know you would," Trump replied. "Everybody would take that tape."

—nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) March 28, 2023

Trump's lawyers have repeatedly invoked the Presidential Records Act when arguing that he was justified in moving records from the White House after leaving office.

They've said, among other things, that he could have reasonably viewed the roughly 100 documents marked classified that were recovered from Mar-a-Lago as his personal property, and that the courts have "very limited judicial oversight over such categorization." But legal experts say they appear to have taken an expansive view of the PRA that gives the government control of all but a small portion of records, which were created or received by the president or his staff.

Federal prosecutors have largely dismissed that argument, as well as Trump's public claim that he had declassified all the government records that were retrieved from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump "principally seeks to raise questions about the classification status of the records and their categorization under the Presidential Records Act ('PRA')," the DOJ said in one filing last year. "But Plaintiff does not actually assert—much less provide any evidence—that any of the seized records bearing classification markings have been declassified."

Moreover, although the former president has frequently claimed he had a "standing order" to declassify all the records that were moved to Mar-a-Lago, more than a dozen of his former aides told CNN in September that they had no knowledge of such an order.

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Rep. Cory Mills founded a company that sells arms to foreign governments. He won't say which ones.

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:49pm
Rep. Cory Mills.
  • Cory Mills arrived in Congress with grenades and cast himself a champion of local law enforcement.
  • An Insider review found that the munitions company he cofounded had sold to foreign governments.
  • Mills has refused to publicly disclose his foreign dealings or even confirm who owns the company.

Cory Mills landed in Congress like a grenade.

Literally: At the start of this term, the freshman Republican from Florida handed out 40 mm grenades stamped with a GOP elephant to congressional colleagues.

"I am eager to get to work with you on behalf of the American people," he wrote in an accompanying note.

The grenades were inert. But the stunt was in line with the type of guns-blazing, America-first rhetoric that Mills, an arms dealer, decorated Army combat veteran, and former military contractor, deployed during his campaign in Florida's 7th Congressional District.

—Morgan Phillips (@_phillipsmorgan) January 26, 2023

Mills, a cofounder of the munitions manufacturer and security contractor Pacem Solutions, positioned himself as a defender of police departments under attack from the "woke" Biden administration. In a 2022 campaign ad, Mills said he "backs the blue" and bragged that his company sold the tear gas that the police used to suppress recent racial-justice and abortion-rights protests.

What Mills didn't advertise was Pacem's munitions contracts with foreign governments. Instead, Mills has refused to publicly disclose his connections and dealings with powers abroad while at the same time sitting on two committees overseeing foreign affairs and military spending — as well as wielding the power to vote on foreign arms deals.

An Insider examination of his business dealings, though, found that Pacem has had deep ties to foreign governments and is struggling financially.

Pacem has repeatedly courted munitions deals with foreign governments over during its nearly decade-long existence. A Saudi government-affiliated national security expo promoted Pacem as one of its featured vendors in 2019, with Mills' face posted across the event's social-media pages. Pacem also exhibited in Abu Dhabi that same year, at one of the largest weapons shows in the world.

A representative for Mills refused to disclose all of the countries Pacem has sold munitions to. But Insider was able to identify multiple foreign buyers. In one major contract from 2015, Pacem and a partner UK munitions firm reached a $228 million arms deal with Iraq. Mills confirmed that deal, saying it was facilitated by the US Department of Defense and wasn't entirely paid out.

A member of the Iraqi security forces carries his weapon in the center of Fallujah, Iraq, in 2016, after ISIS was pushed from the city.

Pacem has sold munitions to Ukraine and Colombia in recent years, according to three sources familiar with the matter, though it's unclear whether those sales are continuing.

A spokesperson for Mills did not respond to repeated requests for a full accounting of the congressman's foreign dealings through Pacem. The company's chief legal officer, Joseph Schmitz, said all of Pacem's foreign munitions sales were approved by the State Department.

Though Mills told Insider he had divested from the company, he was still listed as executive chair on the website of Pacem Solutions at publication time. Pacem Solutions removed the "Who We Are" page that listed Mills as executive chair after Insider published this article; Pacem's lawyer told Insider that the page was "outdated." Schmitz refused to tell Insider who owned the company but said it would be incorrect to publish that Cory Mills "owns 100% of Pacem Solutions and Pacem Defense."

Mills' influence over American military spending while having ties to a munitions company poses the potential for conflicts of interest, an ethics watchdog said.

"It's an obvious conflict of interest, a no-brainer to anyone with common sense," said Don Sherman, the senior vice president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left-leaning nonprofit advocating government ethics reform.

Schmitz said Mills' ties to Pacem were "being vetted" by the House ethics committee. "Everything is above-board," he told Insider. The ethics committee's general counsel declined to confirm whether it was currently working to resolve Mills' relationship with Pacem.

Pacem's troubled history

An explosion ripped through the humid air of a small Florida panhandle town midmorning on September 14, 2018.

Employees at Amtec Less-Lethal Systems, a riot-control-munitions manufacturer in Perry, Florida, had been assembling flash-bang strips. The blast, which federal workplace-safety inspectors indicated might have been caused by static electricity leaping onto explosive powder, immediately killed one worker and injured another so severely that he died the next week.

One month later, Pacem Defense bought the business for $10 million. The explosion loomed over the start of Pacem's ownership of the facility. Repercussions from the incident have contributed to a slew of financial troubles dragging Pacem down.

Mills' involvement in the defense and munitions world evolved out of his years in the armed forces and work as a private military contractor. He served in the US Army from 1999 to 2003, according to his discharge paperwork. During that time he was sent to Kosovo and Iraq, and he was awarded the Bronze Star.

Mills later spent four years as a military contractor for Dyncorp, where he worked in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to his LinkedIn profile. On the campaign trail and in media interviews he has described being "blown up twice" while on assignment there. He subsequently worked for the federal contractors Chemonics International and Pax Mondial Ltd., before striking out on his own.

In 2014, Mills and his wife, Rana Al Saadi, an Iraqi refugee who came to the US in 2008, founded Pacem. Mills described Pacem to Insider as a "turnkey solution," which encompasses global threat analysis, security services contracting, weapons sales, and training.

The company appeared intent on quickly establishing a global footprint in the years after its founding. Pacem "delivered millions of defense products around the world to some of the most challenging regions," including explosive cartridges for use in grenade launchers, according to a press release it issued in 2018. Early archived copies of Pacem Solutions' website mention work with international development groups like USAID and showed pictures from Ukraine, Pakistan, and Iraq, among other places. Another archived page showed Pacem with offices in Kabul, Baghdad, and Islamabad.

But since the acquisition of Amtec, Pacem appears to have lost value. Pacem Solutions and Pacem Defense are together now worth anywhere from $10 million down to just $2 million, according to a financial disclosure Mills filed in January — equal to or less than the price Pacem paid for Amtec alone.

The Amtec explosion, which workplace-safety inspectors concluded was caused by inadequate safety controls, cost Pacem.

Mills said the explosion, which occurred before Pacem acquired the company, underscored the need for a thorough intervention into Amtec's processes and facilities. Pacem poured at least $2 million into facility upgrades, Mills told a local news outlet, including improvements related to the explosion.

"We bought it knowing the company had issues, then we had our engineers redesign certain products that were not working well," Mills told Insider. Financially, COVID-19 also "slowed things down tremendously," he added. In a statement, Mills' spokesperson also said Pacem didn't lay off any employees and gave small raises during the pandemic.

Pacem is also loaded with debt: It owes $48 million to a Canadian lender, nearly five times the company's highest potential valuation. Mills said the loan was funding research and development.

There are additional issues that have dogged the company. In the past two years, the munitions plant has been forced to shut down twice for failing to pay workers' compensation insurance premiums, according to Florida's Department of Workers Compensation.

Schmitz, Pacem's chief legal officer, confirmed the shutdowns but claimed the missed workers' compensation payments were an accidental oversight.

Money woes aren't Pacem's only problem. In December 2020, the company blew up or burned several boxes of hazardous waste, according to two people familiar with the incident and a report from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The agency cited Pacem for improper storage and disposal of the waste.

Schmitz told Insider that Pacem self-reported the incident and that it wasn't a "big deal," with "no environmental impact."

International arms trader

Mills' congressional campaign played up Pacem's contracts with local law enforcement, claiming that the "liberal media is crying" about the company supplying tear gas that was used against racial-justice protesters. These contracts with local law enforcement represent the bulk of Pacem's client volume, Mills told Insider.

But a review of Pacem's contracts suggests its dealings with law enforcement are relatively small-dollar. The company sold roughly $1.3 million worth of tear gas to police departments from 2018 to mid-2021, it reported to a congressional oversight committee. The company sells other products to police departments, like flash bangs, that Congress didn't ask about.

The size of those hundreds of tear-gas transactions pales in comparison with just one foreign arms deal identified by Insider.

In 2015, Pacem, in partnership with the UK weapons dealer Chemring, signed a contract with the Iraqi government worth $228 million. The deal would have represented nearly 2.5% of the country's entire military expenditures that year, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks military spending.

A Marine Corps Lance corporal carries 40 mm grenades of the type manufactured by Pacem.

Mills said Pacem never received the full value of the contract, which he said was intended to provide "certain types of support in launching counteroffensives against ISIS to drive them out of Iraq." The Islamic State militant group was pushed out of key Iraqi cities before the contract was supposed to close, according to Mills.

In 2016, an Iraqi auditing agency raised questions about whether it had overpaid for Pacem's services. Iraq's interior ministry "accepted the pricing and the specs supplied by the company for the product, without forming a technical committee, or asking any of the official trusted consultants to write up specs and details of pricing that are up to date before moving forward to the contract procedure," Iraq's Federal Board of Supreme Audit wrote. Mills said the contracting process was above-board and overseen in part by the US Department of Defense.

Pacem's overseas presence extends past the Iraq deal. The company has an office in Dubai, and in 2015 it also had offices in Islamabad and Kabul, according to an archived version of Pacem's website. Mills' wife, Rana, who is described on Pacem's website as the company's executive chairwoman, is the CEO of another Dubai-based company, Abdeen DMCC, according to her LinkedIn page. It's not clear what Abdeen does, and Rana did not respond to questions about Pacem's ownership or Abdeen DMCC.

On its website, Pacem says it is "registered" to "legally work" in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kurdistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Kenya, Somaliland, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Brazil, Malaysia, and Dubai. Pacem appeared at the 2019 Saudi National Security and Risk Prevention Expo, an arms and defense sales convention, and the same year was an exhibitor at IDEX, a massive five-day weapons show in Abu Dhabi.

Pacem appears to have invested in the Amtec facility at least in part to manufacture weapons for sale abroad, not at home. Mills wrote to a federal regulator in 2019 that he had upgraded Pacem's munitions plant to "manufacture a new energetic product that will serve our allies around the world."

Before Pacem bought Amtec, Amtec had delivered on contracts for ammunition worth about $5.6 million with federal agencies, including the Defense Department and Bureau of Prisons. Since the acquisition closed in 2018, Pacem has delivered only $314,110 worth of munitions and consulting services to the US government, according to a federal contracting database. Some federal contracts are classified and may not be disclosed.

In Congress, Mills sits on the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees, which oversee military spending and foreign weapons sales.

Mills' oversight role "could have a huge impact on his business, his competitors writ large," Sherman said. But as it stands, there is no requirement for him to reveal the extent of his dealings with foreign governments.

The arms dealer in Congress

Mills leaned heavily on his endorsement from former President Donald Trump during his congressional campaign. Echoing Trump's election denial and anti-immigrant views, he voiced support for a temporary ban on immigration to the United States and told the Orlando Sentinel that he didn't view the Biden administration as legitimate.

In Congress, Mills has sought to position himself as someone who understands American involvement in foreign conflicts from the ground up and align himself with Republicans who are skeptical of US military involvement abroad. He has excoriated the Biden administration for what he's described as its botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, and he's opposed additional American aid to Ukraine.

Before he was even sworn in, Mills appeared alongside Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz at a December 2022 press conference touting a resolution to audit US funding for the war in Ukraine.

"We should not go around thinking that we're always the world's police, and have the answers," Mills said at the press conference, warning of the potential for "nuclear escalation" in Ukraine and an "axis of evil" between Russia, China and Iran.

Mills also recently voted for an ill-fated resolution sponsored by Gaetz that would've ordered President Joe Biden to withdraw US troops from Syria, joining a coalition of intervention-skeptical Republicans and progressives.

He's also waded into the culture wars, introducing a bill aimed at preventing the supposed distribution of sexual material in schools.

But so far, months into his freshman term, he's still best known for his grenades.

Editor's note: March 23, 2023 — This story has been updated to remove a reference to Pacem's rubber bullets being used against protesters in Hong Kong in 2019. While a company that Pacem acquired in 2018 did supply less-lethal munitions to the Hong Kong government, Pacem said the sales took place before the acquisition. It has also been updated to include a comment from Pacem's chief legal officer, Joseph Schmitz, clarifying Pacem's current ownership. While Mills told Insider that he had divested from Pacem and Schmitz indicated that Mills was no longer the company's owner, after this story was published Schmitz clarified that he intended to say only that it would be inaccurate to describe Mills as the sole owner of Pacem Defense and Pacem Solutions.

Editor's note: March 28, 2023 — This article has been updated to reflect that Pacem Solutions removed the page that listed Mills as an executive chair following publication.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A Wharton professor had AI chatbots work on a business project for 30 minutes — Bing wrote 1,757 words in under 3 minutes, and ChatGPT wrote code to build an entire website

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:44pm
Wharton professor Ethan Mollick set out to see how much ChatGPT and Bing could accomplish in just 30 minutes.
  • A Wharton professor ran an experiment to test how much AI tools could accomplish in just 30 minutes.
  • Ethan Mollick tasked ChatGPT and the new Bing with working on a business project.
  • ChatGPT wrote HTML code to build a website, and Bing wrote 7 pages of text in 2 minutes and 40 seconds.

How much can AI do in half an hour? One professor recently found out.

Ethan Mollick, an associate professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, put AI tools, including OpenAI's ChatGPT and Microsoft's new Bing, to work on a business project in an experiment he documented on his Substack. The task specifically was to market the launch of an educational game.

"What it accomplished was superhuman," he wrote in his post. In 30 minutes it: did market research, created a positioning document, wrote an email campaign, created a website, created a logo and 'hero shot' graphic, made a social media campaign for multiple platforms, and scripted and created a video."

First, Mollick asked Bing to look up the educational game in question to teach itself about the product. He then told Bing to create an email marketing campaign to promote the game. In just 2 minutes and 40 seconds, Bing spat out 4 emails totaling 1,757 words and 7 pages, which Mollick writes were "all correct" and "pretty good." Bing also wrote a social media campaign when prompted, including posts for Facebook and Twitter.

To build a website for the game, Mollick turned to ChatGPT, which produced HTML code for a launch announcement page, though he notes GPT-4 (ChatGPT's latest iteration) "ran very slowly" on this task, so it went a few minutes past the half-hour limit.

"I am sure humans could have done better, but they could not have been as fast," Mollick wrote of his experiment. "And that, I think, is both the problem and the opportunity."

Mollick has compared Bing and ChatGPT before. Last month, he tasked both with writing a 1,000-word essay on tasked both with writing a 1,000-word essay on "how innovations are adopted in a specific industry or organization of your choice" and decided Bing produced "much higher quality" responses.

Mollick made headlines earlier this year for requiring that his students use ChatGPT, while many schools and colleges ban such AI tools, citing concerns that they'll facilitate plagiarism.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Technology stocks just flashed their first sell signal since just before the market peaked in November 2021

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:30pm
  • The Nasdaq 100 just flashed a "sell" signal for the first time since November 2021, according to Fairlead Strategies.
  • The sell signal suggests the stock market will soon roll over, leading to a return of strength in defensive sectors.
  • Outperformance in utilities and health care stocks "would be naturally associated with the next market downdraft," Fairlead's Katie Stockton said.

The Nasdaq 100 just generated a "sell" signal for the first time since November 2021, which was just a few weeks before the stock market hit its peak.

That's according to Fairlead Strategies' founder Katie Stockton, who told clients on Tuesday that the implications of the sell signal could lead to an imminent decline in the broader stock market.

The sell signal was generated on Monday via the Tom DeMark Sequential indicator, which generated a counter-trend "13" sell signal.

The DeMark Indicators help technical analysts measure the supply and demand of a given security and have been known to highlight important inflection points in price trends. The indicators are commonly utilized by various strategists on Wall Street.

"Past signals have been fairly timely," Stockton told Insider on Tuesday. "The implications of the '13 sell' signal are for a two-week pullback in the Nasdaq 100, but sometimes they yield more lasting reversals."

The sell signal comes as mega-cap tech giants take a breather from their recent rally, which essentially powered much of the stock market higher given that Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Nvidia, and Alphabet collectively represent about 40% of the Nasdaq 100. 

As those mega-cap tech giants falter, more defensive sectors which have floundered since the start of the year are starting to perk up, signaling that a potential rotation among investors out of risky stocks and into more stable companies is materializing. 

"Technology and communication services [stocks] pulled back in relative terms and that's something we expect to persist in the near-term. Looking longer term... we'll see more defensive sector rotation to the benefit of the likes of utilities, consumer stables, and health care, and that would be naturally associated with the next market downdraft," Stockton told clients.

Such a drop makes sense given the sharp rebound in tech stocks so far this year, with the Nasdaq 100 up about 15% year-to-date, which is five times the gain seen in the S&P 500 over the same time period. Shares of Nvidia are up 79% year-to-date, while Amazon and Microsoft are up 15% and 14%, respectively. 

Stockton highlighted that the Nasdaq is likely to face stiff resistance around 12,850, which represents about 10% upside from current levels. That level should essentially cap the Nasdaq's upside for the foreseeable future. 

Meanwhile, the Nasdaq just fell below its initial support of 11,776, according to Stockton, paving the way for longer-term support of about 10,600 to be tested. A decline to that support level represents potential downside of 9% from current levels.

The sell indicator "does support short-term weakness here and it suggests that resistance of roughly 12,856 for the Nasdaq 100 will remain intact. That would suggest the mega caps continue to struggle after yesterday's weakness," Stockton said.

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AMC surges 21% on report that Amazon may be interested in buying the movie theater chain

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 3:22pm
ocial distancing stickers are placed by the concession stand at the AMC Lincoln Square 13 movie theater on March 05, 2021 in New York City. AMC Theatres reopened its New York area locations today, with new safety precautions in place, for the first time since closing in March because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • AMC Entertainment surged as much as 21% on Tuesday after a report suggested Amazon might buy the struggling movie theater chain.
  • The Intersect reported that Amazon chariman Jeff Bezos ordered his investment advisors to "explore acquisition plans" for AMC.
  • AMC has been on a rollercoaster ride ever since it became a target for meme-stock trader in 2020.

AMC Entertainment soared as much as 21% on Tuesday after a report from The Intersect said that Amazon is considering an acquisition of the struggling movie theater chain.

Shares of AMC Entertainment were already up about 5% Tuesday afternoon, but those gains were supercharged after the report from the Intersect was released.

According to the report, Amazon founder and chairman Jeff Bezos has ordered his investment advisors to "explore acquisition plans" for AMC and its 600 movie theater locations. The report cited multiple senior sources familiar with the discussions. 

"The thinking is that Amazon can use AMC's nearly 600 movie theaters across North America, Europe and the Middle East as 'marketing weigh stations,'" the report said, citing an Amazon insider. 

Amazon could essentially use AMC's movie theaters as a way to promote its slate of Amazon Prime movies, cross-sell other Amazon services such as grocery delivery, as well as serve as a local distribution hub for Amazon products. 

Amazon employed a similar strategy when it acquired Whole Foods in 2017. 

A potential acquisition would end a tumultuous period for AMC Entertainment, which has experienced a rollercoaster ride over the past two years as it became the target of meme-stock investors on Reddit and other forums. Shares of AMC surged to a record high of nearly $73 in June 2021, but have since dropped more than 90% to $5.29. 

Amazon would be able to help AMC service its multi-billion dollar debt pile, which is key given that the movie theater chain is not profitable as the movie box office has yet to reach its 2018 peak of nearly $12 billion. In 2022, the total box US office haul was just under $7.4 billion. 

AMC CEO Adam Aron responded to the Intersect in a text message late Monday evening with "we do not reply to rumors and speculation." 

The Intersect is a newsletter published on Substack that was launched about two months ago by journalist Joe Bel Bruno. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

There's more economic pain coming as the SVB fallout is likely not contained, Mohamed El-Erian says

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 2:54pm
Mohamed El-Erian
  • More economic pain is coming as the SVB fallout is likely not contained, Mohamed El-Erian said.
  • Though policymakers have quelled financial contagion, economic contagion is still a risk, he warned.
  • El-Erian has said a recession isn't inevitable, but other commentators have warned of one this year.

There's more economic pain coming because the fallout from the Silicon Valley Bank collapse is likely not contained, according to top economist Mohamed El-Erian.

In an op-ed for Bloomberg on Tuesday, El-Erian said that while policymakers limited contagion in the financial system with most deposits still in the US banking system, that doesn't account for the effect on the economy as banks getting influxes of deposits have different lending profiles.

"This economic contagion, which will play out over time, threatens to increase the challenges facing an economy that is dealing with inflation, a mishandled interest-rate hiking cycle, declines in personal savings, bouts of financial instability and a slowing global economy," El-Erian warned.

Other market commentators have also warned of more economic pain, as the outflow of deposits in recent weeks will make banks less willing to lend, leading to tighter credit conditions. That will naturally slow down economic activity, experts say, which has significantly raised the odds of recession

That issue layers on top of the existing struggles the US economy is facing. El-Erian has warned for months of the dangers of high inflation.

And though the Fed has raised interest rates aggressively to control inflation, it's now under pressure to lower rates to quell banking volatility, meaning the US is facing a trilemma of fighting inflation, avoiding recession, and regaining financial stability, he said.

"What is happening now is a reminder to financial companies, regulators, and supervisors that the effects of banking accidents are unlikely to be contained to the banking sector. It is also a reminder to markets not to allow the understandable focus on supersonic-speed financial contagion divert all the attention away from slower-moving economic contagion," El-Erian warned. 

Though El-Erian has said a recession isn't inevitable, other commentators have warned that a downturn is more likely.

Goldman Sachs raised its prediction for a recession this year from a 25% probability to 35%, and legendary investor Jeremy Grantham predicted a painful recession that could cause stocks to plunge 50%.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Meta is lowering bonus payouts for some employees and reverting to twice-a-year performance reviews

Tue, 03/28/2023 - 2:48pm
Meta is reportedly planning to lower bonus payouts for some and shift back to having two performance reviews a year, an internal memo says.
  • Meta is dropping bonus pay for lower-performing employees.
  • The company formerly known as Facebook is also going back to two performance reviews a year.
  • More layoffs are also on the way, leaving one employee to describe the situation as "a hunger games." 

Meta is altering its bonus system and moving back to a twice-yearly performance review process as it overhauls its structure and operations amid what CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier declared is a "year of efficiency."

The changes to the bonus system at the company, formerly known at Facebook, will see employees who get a lower performance rating of "met most expectations" paid less in a bonus grant of restricted stock, according to two people familiar with the company. Meta is known to be generous with bonus or refresher grants of stock to employees, with higher performers able to receive double or triple the value of their base salary in RSU grants.

While those who receive a "met most" expectations rating during their review will still receive a bonus payout, the maximum will now be 65% of their base pay, the people familiar said. Previously it was 85%. The bonus payout for higher performing employees is staying the same, one of the people familiar said.

According to a memo on the change first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Meta said altering the bonus payouts for some workers is "significant" and that it "might disappoint some people." However, "it aligns with our continued focus on maintaining a high-performance culture," the memo read, per the Journal.

Since last year, Meta has been increasing performance pressure on workers, and people leading teams have been directed to increase the number of employees put into lower performing categories, as Insider reported. The company last November conducted its first mass layoff, letting go of 11,000 workers. A second round of layoffs is coming this year, with about 10,000 employees to be let go in a staggered layoff process. Tech and engineering employees will be laid off in April, likely mid-month, while business departments will be hit in May, also mid-month, the two people familiar with the company said.

"This is a hunger games situation," a current Meta employee told Insider. "If you survive layoffs, you'll be straight into performance review in June," the employee said.

Although Meta has long had bi-annual performance reviews, the company memo as reported by WSJ said the upcoming review in June is "a calibrated performance signal for fairness." It will include a three-point grading system that assesses if an employee is performing significantly above, at or above, or below expectations.

"We're making changes to our performance process taking into account learnings and feedback over the last year while optimizing for the future," a Meta spokesperson said in a statement to Insider. "These changes are not related to workforce restructuring."

Are you a Meta employee or someone else with insight to share? Contact Kali Hays at, on secure messaging app Signal at 949-280-0267, or through Twitter DM at @hayskali. Reach out using a non-work device.

Contact Britney Nguyen at

Read the original article on Business Insider

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