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The best flats for comfort and style

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:47pm  |  Clusterstock
  • It's surprisingly hard to find comfortable flats that actually look good with most outfits, but the Everlane Day Glove flats are the answer.
  • They won't give you blisters or create an awkward leg line when you wear dresses — what more could you want?
  • For different styles of flats, we also recommend picks from Rothy's, Allbirds, Margaux, and more.

One of the most cliché but true pieces of fashion advice we all come across at one point or another is this: Buy at least one good pair of flats. Heels are great and all, but flats are the shoes that you can really live your life in. 

To use another cliché, comfort is key here. Otherwise, what's the point? Your flats should be cozy enough to wear morning and night, cute enough to elevate a basic outfit, but simple enough to go with most of the items in your closet. We've rounded up six pairs of flats that members of our team have personally tested or deeply researched to help you break the cycle of hope and bleeding ankles that so often comes with finding the perfect pair of shoes.

Here are the best flats for women:

Updated on 10/22/2020 by Maria Del Russo: Updated prices, links, and our "what we're testing next" category. Removed our "best ballet flats" category because our "best flats for wide feet" are also ballet flats that we highly recommend, and also come in standard sizes. We believe our pick for that category is the superior shoe. We're in the process of testing more flats for this guide, including a pointy-toe option. Check back soon for our updated results. 

The best flats overall The hardest part of shopping for flats is finding a pair that combines comfort, style, and versatility. Enter: The Day Glove flats by Everlane.

This is it — the wear-with-anything shoe you've been waiting for all your life. Everlane's leather Day Glove flat is an almost (but not quite) ballet slipper guaranteed to go with just about all your clothing, even workwear. It's like the perfect "nothing" shoe. It's cute enough not to ruin your outfit but plain enough not to make a huge statement.

Everlane's product description boasts "a snug, glove-like fit" that "will give with time and mold to the shape of your foot." Not only will the flats last, they'll get more comfortable over time! The shoes also feature pull tabs, ventilation holes, and comfy insoles to eliminate some of the most common comfort-related issues flats pose.

The Day Glove flats come in 8 colors, including classics like black and white as well as some fun shades like Metallic and Embossed Snake, and they cost $118-$128. While not inexpensive, this is a great deal for shoes that will last you more than one season. Since the Day Glove flat first launched in 2018, it has become the number one bestseller at Everlane. The Insider Reviews team wrote up a full review after test-driving these flats, and they remain an all-time favorite from the brand

"Everlane's Day Glove flats are much more comfortable than any other flats I've tried," writes Insider Reviews guides editor Malarie Gokey, "They actually fit my foot and move with me — not against me."

In addition to the original leather style, you might also consider the new Mesh version for summer heat or the ReKnit version, which has a textured, breathable knit upper and is made from recycled materials.  — Erin Mayer

Pros: Molds to your foot shape over time cushioned insoles for support, ventilated, pull tab for easy slip-on

Cons: Reviewers noted that snug fit means you may want to size up.

Read our full Everlane Day Glove review here The best travel-friendly flats You don't have to resort to wearing sneakers when you travel thanks to the soft, pliable, and supportive Allbirds Tree Breezer.

Allbirds is probably better known for its Silicon Valley uniform-mandated sneakers like the Wool Runners and Tree Runners. But when you don't want to wear sneakers but still need the same comfort and support, you're better off with its flat silhouette, the Tree Breezer.

These are the flats you'll want to pack in your suitcase because a) they're very light and you can fold them up to maximize packing space, and b) you can walk around in them all day long.

Quell any fears you have of hobbling through a walking tour or calling it an early night because your feet have become one giant blister. The Breezers have bouncy outsoles made from sugarcane and soft, odor-minimizing merino wool-lined insoles. The knit collar wraps onto your foot securely, and the rest of the shoe's knit body is breathable and feels silky smooth against your skin. 

Since the style is more sleek and formal than Allbirds' other shoes, they won't look out of place in a dressier environment. Instead of packing multiple pairs of shoes, you can just bring your all-in-one Tree Breezer flats. If you don't have a chance to try them first before you board your flight, don't worry — most of the Insider Reviews team didn't need to break them in. — Connie Chen

Pros: First Allbirds style available in half sizes, lightweight, foldable, machine-washable 

Cons: Not as sleek as other pairs 

Read our full Allbirds Tree Breezer review here The best sustainable flats On top of being versatile, lightweight, and machine-washable, the Rothy's Flat is sustainably made, and comes in a pointed-toe silhouette. It's the ideal shoe for the conscious consumer. 

Shoe brand Rothy's was born out of the desire to repurpose wasteful, single-use plastics into something beautiful and practical. All of its knit shoes are made from 100% post-consumer plastic water bottles, which are hot washed, sterilized, then fused into a fiber that is knit into yarn. 

The insoles contain recycled foam, while the rubber soles are carbon-free. The adhesives used are non-toxic and vegan. Even the packaging is made from post-consumer recycled materials and is biodegradable.

The lofty challenge of reducing your impact on the planet feels more manageable when you start with the things you use in your everyday life. Thanks to Rothy's, the endeavor won't compromise style or comfort.

Rothy's Flat is the choice for many modern working women because it boasts zero break-in time, a sleek look, and moisture-wicking breathability. You'll feel the difference immediately after slipping your feet in; the flats are very light and flexible, with a bit of give, and there aren't any uncomfortable seams or edges. They come with either round, square, or pointed-toe silhouettes.  

Keeping them in top shape is as easy as throwing them in the washing machine. You can also buy extra insoles to help prolong their life. After wearing them often (and you will because of their versatility), you might wonder if they'll actually hold up. But we've been wearing and washing our pairs for more than a year and they look and feel as good as they did on day one. 

And the brand makes flats that can even transition to chillier temperatures, too. A version made from a mix of Merino wool and Rothy's signature thread made from plastic water bottles is part of their new Merino collection. The result is a cute, comfortable shoe that also keeps your feet warm, not sweaty. — Connie Chen

Pros: Eco-friendly construction, machine-washable, don't stretch out over time, good variety of rotating colors and patterns 

Cons: Fit might be narrow (particularly the pointed-toe style), so could need to size up 

Read our full Rothy's Flat review here The best flats for wide feet Margaux's Demi Flat comes in three different shoe widths, so you never have to miss out on a cute flat style because of your foot shape. 

Ballet flats look deceptively simple. You know if you're reading this guide that it's hard to get the fit just right — some pairs gape, while others rely on uncomfortable heel elastics to stay on your foot. 

You won't encounter this problem with Margaux. It makes flats in a large range of sizes (from 3 through 14), including half sizes. Instead of suggesting you size up or down for wide and narrow feet, the company ensures fit precision by offering each size in Narrow, Medium, and Wide widths. There's also a made-to-order option for a truly custom fit. 

The Demi Flat from Margaux is a simple and elegant ballet flat that benefits from this sizing design. Senior editor Sally Kaplan, who has tried both Medium and Wide pairs of the flat, realized, "With all the walking I do, my feet end up swelling a bit, and the wide pair is more comfortable for long days out."

They feature plush foam padding to give your foot some support, as well as a small heel so you're not walking completely flat on the ground. The bow at the top of the shoe is adjustable in case you want to give your foot even more breathing room. 

You can get the flats in two luxuriously soft and flexible materials, Italian suede or Italian napa leather, which each come in a small selection of colors that show off the materials beautifully.

Though they're more expensive than average at $145 a pair, one online reviewer sums up the appeal of Margaux's flats perfectly: "I'd rather own a single solid pair of ballet flats than a whole bunch of fun, but poorly made ones." — Connie Chen

Pros: Available in half sizes and three widths, elegant design, high-quality construction

Cons: Smaller color and pattern variety than other flat brands, can take some break-in time at the heel

Read our full Margaux Demi Flat review here The best luxury flats The Stellato Anello flats by M. Gemi have the look of a loafer and a pointy flat combined, and they're made of a buttery suede.

Cheap finds are amazing, but sometimes you want to shell out a little more cash for something that will really last. Flat shoes make a great style investment because they are more classic than they are trendy, and you can wear them with so many different pieces.

M. Gemi's Stellato Anello flat is one such shoe that'll actually pay you back over time with its versatility. Handmade in Toscana, Italy, these flats have an elegant pointed toe design that can carry you to an important work meeting as easily as a casual weekend brunch. They come in five different neutral color and material options, from staples like black leather to a light beige suede

Another luxe feature is that they're crafted using the sacchetto technique, "meaning it's formed from one piece of suede, sans the stiff insole." Like the Everlane Day Glove, the brand claims these shoes will mold to fit the unique contours of your feet the more you wear them. Most things in life don't bend to your will the same way, so I think that's a major selling point. —Ashley Phillips

Pros: Sophisticated and elegant design, high-quality, comfortable, made to last

Cons: Suede option not all-weather, minimal color options

What else we considered Everlane's 40-Hour Work Flats.

We've been on the hunt for the perfect pointed-toe flats, but we haven't found our holy grail. We've also tested several other pairs of flats that haven't made it into this list — not because we don't like them, but simply because they haven't quite dethroned our absolute favorites. 

What else we're testing
  • Oliver Cabell: The brand's Dream Flats ($114.80) are said to both look and feel extremely similar to Everlane's Day Glove Flats. We'll let you know how they stack up as soon as we receive them.
  • Everlane: The Day Glove is already our top overall pick for flats, and Everlane just released a breezy, cooling Mesh Day Glove version for the summer. We're looking forward to comparing them.
Check out our other women's style guides The best leggings for workThe best places to buy women's sweatersThe best winter coats for women Read the original article on Business Insider

Russia has a secret chemical weapons program, and its scientists have been in contact with suspected Russian assassins, investigation says

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:42pm  |  Clusterstock
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the State Council at the Kremlin in Moscow, April 21, 2014. Putin said on Monday he had signed a decree rehabilitating Crimea's Tatars and other ethnic minorities, who suffered under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
  • A year-long investigation by Bellingcat conducted in partnership with international media outlets concluded that Russia is operating a clandestine Novichok program.
  • Novichok is the nerve agent used to poison ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal in 2018 and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny this past summer.
  • Facing allegations that it was behind the attacks, Russia claims it destroyed its chemical weapons stockpiles and has denied any involvement in the poisonings.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Despite claims it destroyed its stockpiles, Russia continues to research and develop the chemical weapon Novichok, a nerve agent Russian agents are suspected of using in high-profile attacks, an international investigation said Friday.

The nerve agent Novichok was developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and was used against former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK in 2018 and, in August, against Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Russia has denied allegations that it was behind the attacks, arguing that it does not have a chemical weapons program.

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed in 2017 that Russia had destroyed its chemical weapons stockpiles, but a year-long investigation conducted by Bellingcat — in partnership with Russia's The Insider, Germany's Der Spiegel, and US-funded RFE/RL — concluded that Russian military scientists involved in the original Novichok program continue their work at civilian research institutes while other scientists camouflaged their work within the Russian Ministry of Defense as research into organophosphate poisons, of which Novichok is a part.

The Bellingcat investigation found that since 2010, the St. Petersburg State Institute for Experimental Military Medicine of the Ministry of Defense, possibly with assistance from the Scientific Center Signal, has led Russia's continued efforts to research, develop, and weaponize Novichok — which blocks neurotransmitters and can cause permanent disability and death by heart failure or suffocation.

The institutes were found to be collaborating with the 33rd Central Experimental Institute for Scientific Research of the Ministry of Defense, which the Bellingcat investigation notes was previously involved in work on Russia's chemical weapons program.

They were also reportedly working with the Scientific Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology, which is said to have supervised the purported destruction of Russia's chemical weapon stockpiles.

Furthermore, the investigation found coordination between the two research institutes and a sub unit of Military Unit 29155, an alleged kill operation within Russia's military intelligence, the GRU.

As Business Insider previously reported, Unit 29155 is suspected to have been involved in a number of sensitive and dangerous operations, including Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, assassination attempts across Europe — including the hit on former Russian spy turned double agent Sergei Skripal — and the reported payment of bounties to Taliban militants who attacked US forces in Afghanistan.

"Telecoms data we obtained shows that key researchers from the institute are integrated with Russia's military intelligence, including its black-operations unit (a clandestine sub-unit of GRU's Unit 29155) to a degree that cannot be explained away by purely defensive considerations," Bellingcat reports.

For example, between November 2017 and March 2018, when Skripal and his daughter were poisoned in Salisbury, Sergey Chepur, the head of the St. Petersburg institute, reportedly contacted members of Unit 29155 by phone at least 65 times. Chepur accused Bellingcat of lying when investigators contacted him.

In the wake of the recent Navalny poisoning, European leaders were outraged. Last week, the European Union and the UK imposed sanctions on six senior Russian officials in response. On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators urged the Trump administration to impose new sanctions on Russia.

As Bellingcat notes, the US and European governments have not sanctioned the St. Petersburg State Institute for Experimental Military Medicine of the Ministry of Defense or the Scientific Center Signal.

In the wake of the alleged Russian attack on Navalny, leaders in Europe were outspoken with their criticisms of Russia, but President Donald Trump was silent on the matter.

Read the original article on Business Insider

26 clothing stores you'll see less of in the future

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:30pm  |  Clusterstock
Gap just announced it would begin exiting malls and shutter 350 stores by 2024.
  • Many clothing retailers have announced store closures in the past year, and the coronavirus pandemic has led to even more.
  • Gap Inc. just announced it would begin exiting malls and shutter 350 stores by 2024.
  • American Eagle Outfitters recently announced it will be permanently closing up to 50 stores this year and could close up to 500 stores in the next two years.
  • Legacy department stores Century 21, Lord & Taylor, and Neiman Marcus are all facing store closures.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Once highly popular clothing stores are facing mass closures. Though some retailers were already struggling due to a rise in online shopping, the coronavirus pandemic ground in-store shopping to a halt, leaving those without well-developed e-commerce businesses in serious trouble, according to Forbes.

Victoria's Secret was already in decline before the pandemic and announced in May that it plans to close up to 250 stores in the US and Canada.

Lord & Taylor announced in August 2020 that it had filed for bankruptcy and would begin liquidating its 38 remaining stores. 

Take a look at all the clothing brands and stores you'll see less of in the future.

Gap Inc. just announced it would begin exiting malls and shutter 350 stores by 2024. Gap.

As a result, 80% of remaining Gap stores will be located in off-mall locations, according to AP.

Gap closed 40 stores globally in early 2020 as part of a plan to close 230 stores over the course of two years. Twenty-nine of the closings were in the United States. 

A statement on the company's website said, "We are committed to quickly, thoughtfully, and decisively addressing stores that are underperforming or don't fit our vision for the future of Gap."

According to a previous report by Business Insider, the company plans to open more stores under other banners including Old Navy and Athleta. 

Gap Inc. said it plans to close 130 of its North American Banana Republic stores in the next three years. Banana Republic store in Scarsdale, New York.

A previous article from Business Insider reported earlier this year that net sales at the fashion retailer were down 52%. 

"Banana Republic continues to focus on taking action to adjust to consumer preferences and improve inventory mix as the shift to casual fashion during the stay-at-home requirements has left the brand's workwear assortment disadvantaged," the company said in its August earnings release.

Famed discount department store Century 21 will also close all of its locations. Century 21.

Century 21 announced on September 10 that the retailer would close all 13 of its locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida, after failing to receive money from its insurers, according to the New York Times.

"While retailers across the board have suffered greatly due to Covid-19, and Century 21 is no exception, we are confident that had we received any meaningful portion of the insurance proceeds, we would have been able to save thousands of jobs and weather the storm, in hopes of another incredible recovery," Raymond Gindi, a co-chief executive at Century 21, said in a press release, referencing Century 21's comeback after the September 11 attacks which devastated downtown Manhattan, where the chain's famous New York City location is found.

American Eagle Outfitters recently announced it will be permanently closing up to 50 stores this year and could close up to 500 stores in the next two years. American Eagle Outfitters storefront.

According to an investor press release, net revenue from American Eagle and Aerie fell 15% to $884 million in the second quarter.

After 194 years in business, Lord & Taylor announced in August that it would be closing all of its stores. Lord & Taylor storefront.

The first department store established in the United States, Lord & Taylor announced on August 27, 2020, that it had filed for bankruptcy and would begin liquidating its 38 remaining stores.

"While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the company's brands," Ed Kremer, Lord & Taylor's chief restructuring officer, said in a press statement.

Victoria's Secret announced it would be closing up to 250 stores in the US and Canada. Victoria's Secret.

L Brands, which owns Victoria's Secret, announced in May that it would close 251 stores in the US and Canada. In the US, 235 Victoria's Secret and three Pink stores will close, and the rest will be in Canada. According to Forbes, Victoria's Secret's net sales fell 46% in the first fiscal quarter of 2020.

JCPenney filed for bankruptcy in May and is closing over 150 stores this year. JCPenney.

According to CNN Business, JCPenney missed debt payments and is nearly $4 billion in debt. CEO Jill Soltau said in a press release, "The closure of our stores due to the pandemic necessitated a more fulsome review to include the elimination of outstanding debt."

JCPenney plans to close a total of 242 stores between this fiscal year and the next.

According to Business Insider, JCPenney had already closed six stores in 2020 in Montana, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.

Macy's announced in February that it plans to close 125 stores over the next three years. Macy's.

According to a previous Business Insider report, the closings account for about one-fifth of the company's total stores. The retailer also said it was cutting 2,000 corporate jobs and closing several offices. 

Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement, "We are taking the organization through significant structural change to lower costs, bring teams closer together, and reduce duplicative work."

The owner of Zara, Inditex, announced in June that it would close up to 1,200 stores around the world. Zara.

As Business Insider previously reported, the stores will close over the next two years. The company plans to shift its focus to online sales. 

Inditex hasn't announced which locations will close, but said in a statement it will be "stores at the end of their useful life."

CEO Pablo Isla said in an Inditex report, "The overriding goal between now and 2022 is to speed up full implementation of our integrated store concept, driven by the notion of being able to offer our customers uninterrupted service no matter where they find themselves, on any device and at any time of the day."

Sears announced in November 2019 that it would close 51 stores by February 2020. Sears.

According to Business Insider, the parent company of Sears and Kmart, Transform Holdco, announced it would close 51 Sears stores and 45 KMart stores — 182 Sears and KMart stores will remain following the closures.

Last year Chico's announced it would close 250 stores over the next three years. So far it has closed 49 locations. Chico's.

Chico's operates Chico's, White House Black Market, and Soma, and will close 100 Chico's locations, 90 White House Black Market stores, and 60 Soma locations, Business Insider previously reported

Chico's announced closures in early 2019 and had closed 49 locations by the end of the year, meaning about 200 closures are expected in the next two years.

In March, Modell's filed for bankruptcy and announced it would close all of its 153 stores. Modell's.

According to the New York Post, "The chain, which sold mid-priced activewear brands, faced increasing competition from Dick's Sporting Goods, the only national sporting goods chain left. Dick's recently pulled out of a sales slump by focusing on service at the stores and catering more to women." 

Guess said in June that it planned to close 100 locations worldwide in 18 months. Guess.

Chief Executive Officer Carlos Alberini told Bloomberg analysts, "The recent stock performance and expected demand under our new-normal model made very clear that our store portfolios around the world could be optimized to increase profitability."

Express stated in January that it plans to close approximately 100 of its remaining locations by 2022. Express.

Express closed nine stores in 2019 and closed 31 stores in 22 states in January. Thirty-five stores are expected to close by January 2021, leaving 25 to shut down by the end of 2022, according to Business Insider

CEO Tim Baxter said in a statement, "My expectation is that we will return to a mid-single-digit operating margin through a combination of low-single-digit comp sales growth, margin expansion and cost reductions. This will of course take some time, but we have a clear path."

Neiman Marcus is shuttering five of its locations, as well as 17 of its off-price Neiman Marcus Last Call stores. Neiman Marcus Last Call.

Among the list of closed locations is Neiman Marcus' Hudson Yards location in New York City, which opened a little over a year ago to "significant fanfare," according to a previous article by Business Insider.

Following the bankruptcy filing, Neiman Marcus CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said in a statement, "Like most businesses today, we are facing unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has placed inexorable pressure on our business."

Nordstrom said in May that it would close 19 locations permanently. Nordstrom.

The company announced in early May that it would close 16 stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, Texas, and Puerto Rico, according to Business Insider.

A few weeks later, the company announced additional closures of its luxury apparel Jeffrey stores in Atlanta, New York City, and Palo Alto.

The Children's Place announced in June that it would shutter 300 stores permanently. The Children's Place.

The kids' clothing company said it would close 200 stores this year and 100 more in 2021.

In a press release, CEO Jane Elfers said, "In an effort to structurally position the company for continued success, we are significantly accelerating our fleet optimization initiative, and focusing our resources on accelerating our digital sales, both key elements of our long-standing transformation strategy."

Destination Maternity filed for bankruptcy in October 2019 and said it would shut down 183 stores. Destination Maternity.

Destination Maternity saw several closures in Wisconsin in March, continuing its plan to shutter a total of 183 locations.

According to USA Today, "The company, in a court document, blamed the retail industry's turmoil, declining birth rates, high rents and leadership turnover for faltering. The company has had five CEOs in the last five years."

G-III Apparel Group announced in June that it plans to close all of its Wilsons Leather and G.H. Bass stores. Wilsons Leather.

G-III Apparel Group, which also owns DKNY, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger, said in June that it plans to close all of its 110 Wilson's Leather and 89 G.H. Bass stores, according to a previous Business Insider report.

Chairman and CEO Morris Goldfarb said in a statement, "With a focus on enhancing shareholder value, we have made the difficult decision to close all of the Wilsons Leather and G.H. Bass stores and have entered into agreements for the early lease termination of a significant majority of these stores."

Christopher & Banks announced in 2018 that it planned to close up to 40 stores by the end of 2020. Christopher & Banks.

According to BizJournals, the company lost $8.8 million in one 2018 quarter but saw online sales increase by 10.7%. 

In April 2019, Star Tribune reported that Christopher & Banks was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after failing to meet a minimum $15 million market cap.

Lucky Brand filed for bankruptcy in July and announced it would close at least 13 locations. Lucky Brand.

Lucky Brand currently has about 200 locations in the United States and said it plans to close at least 13 stores. The locations closing will be in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, and Puerto Rico.

Interim CEO Matthew Kaness said in a statement, "While we are optimistic about the reopening of stores and our customers' return, the business has yet to recover fully."

Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy on July 8. The brand will be closing about 51 stores, and some closures have already occurred. Brooks Brothers.

According to CNBC, a spokesperson for the retailer said, "Over the past year, Brooks Brothers' board, leadership team, and financial and legal advisors have been evaluating various strategic options to position the company for future success, including a potential sale of the business," and added, "During this strategic review, Covid-19 became immensely disruptive and took a toll on our business."

On July 8, Business Insider reported that 38 Brooks Brothers stores had permanently closed.

J. Crew filed for bankruptcy in May and announced in July it was closing at least eight stores. J. Crew.

Business Insider reported that a list of eight stores that are set to close in August was released in a bankruptcy filing on July 10. The closing locations are in Nashville, Tennessee; Emeryville, California; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Southampton, New York; St. Paul, Minnesota; Carlsbad, California; and Deer Park, Illinois.

However, J. Crew has since released a statement that the company has re-opened 458 stores, representing approximately 95% of its total store fleet, after a series of temporary closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New York & Co. stores may become obsolete. New York & Co. storefront.

Parent company RTW Retailwinds announced in July that the company had filed for bankruptcy and planned to close most, "if not all," of its brick-and-mortar stores.

Tailored Brands, which owns Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, said in July that it would close up to 500 stores over time and cut its corporate workforce by 20%. Men's Wearhouse storefront.

In August, the parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

According to Business Insider, the company said in a news release that it has "reevaluated the forecasted profitability and strategic value of every store in its fleet relative to current and anticipated trends in consumer demand and has identified up to 500 stores for closure over time."

Fashion retailer Coldwater Creek announced in July 2020 that it would be shutting down its stores and website. Coldwater Creek.

The retailer explained it would be fulfilling orders that were already placed but would be closing its stores and website.

"The challenging issues brought on by COVID-19 have led us down a path we were not expecting," Coldwater Creek said on its website. "Coldwater Creek's retail locations and website are closed and we are unable to take any orders. Thank you for being a valued part of our family and story. Please check back now and then for any updates."

In September, it was announced that Coldwater Creek was acquired by Hong Kong firm Newtimes Group, though nothing has been announced as to whether the brand will return or be restructured.

Read the original article on Business Insider

These are the 25 stocks to bet against on a successful COVID-19 vaccine, according to JPMorgan

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:28pm  |  Clusterstock
  • With a successful COVID-19 vaccine on the horizon, some stocks may fare better than others.
  • According to JPMorgan, investors should look to bet against a handful of stocks that have experienced increased momentum in their business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Once a successful COVID vaccine is distributed and administered, it could lead to a slowdown in growth for a number of businesses as a return to normal activity ensues.
  • Here are 25 stocks traders should bet against once a successful COVID-19 vaccine is disbursed, according to JPMorgan. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The development of a successful COVID-19 vaccine could have wide-ranging implications on a basket of stocks that saw a surge in growth amid the pandemic.

That's according to a Friday note from JPMorgan, which put together a list of 25 stocks traders should bet against once a COVID-19 vaccine is distributed and administered to the population.

"This is a list of stocks that are in the upper echelon of Momentum and have crowded positioning, that could see the second derivative of their profit growth decrease as consumer/corporate activity normalizes," JPMorgan explained.

On the flip side, Goldman Sachs offered six stocks on Friday that could benefit from the distribution and administration of a successful COVID-19 vaccine.

The JPMorgan basket of stocks should be viewed as a tactical opportunity to express a bearish view on the catalyst of a COVID-19 vaccine, and should not be viewed as a fundamental call on the company.

Here are 25 stocks traders should bet against once a successful COVID-19 vaccine is disbursed, according to JPMorgan. 

Read more: Don't put too much energy into predicting the result -- 5 key tips for clients from strategists at JPMorgan's $1.9 trillion asset management arm with less than two weeks to go to the election

1. Novavax

YTD Performance: 2190%

2. Zoom Video

YTD Performance: 654%


YTD Performance: 887%

4. Fiverr International

YTD Performance: 583%

5. Peloton Interactive

YTD Performance: 338%

6. Moderna

YTD Performance: 250%


YTD Performance: 206%

8. Wayfair

YTD Performance: 199%

9. Vista Outdoor

YTD Performance: 171%

10. Bandwith

YTD Performance: 167%

Read More: MORGAN STANLEY: Buy these 61 stocks that will offer major earnings-driven upside following an imminent 10% market sell-off

11. Boston Beer Company 

YTD Performance: 141%


YTD Performance: 127%

13. Logitech International 

YTD Performance: 95%

14. Big Lots 

YTD Performance: 81%

15. Grubhub

YTD Performance: 66%

16. Chipotle Mexican Grill

YTD Performance: 63%

17. Yeti Holdings

YTD Performance: 47%

18. Scotts Miracle-Gro

YTD Performance: 47%

19. K12

YTD Performance: 40%

Read More: Big investors pay thousands of dollars for Danielle DiMartino Booth's research. The former Fed advisor explains how the central bank has distorted markets - and shares 2 areas where analytical traders can still find returns.

20. Equinix

YTD Performance: 38%

21. Clorox

YTD Performance: 38%

22. Costco Wholesale

YTD Performance: 29%

23. Digital Realty Trust

YTD Performance: 29%

24. Central Garden & Pet

YTD Performance: 26%

25. American Well

Performance since IPO: 25%

Read the original article on Business Insider

No, President Trump: Wind turbines aren't killing 'all the birds.' Cats are.

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:19pm  |  Clusterstock
A British Black Silver Tabby adult male cat is judged at the 42nd "Supreme Cat Show" in Birmingham, England on October 27, 2018.

During Thursday's final 2020 presidential debate, President Donald Trump repeated a claim he's made throughout his presidency: that wind turbines are extremely deadly to birds. 

"I know more about wind than you do," Trump told former Vice President Joe Biden. "It's extremely expensive, kills all the birds, it's very intermittent, it's got a lot of problems."

Trump is wrong. Although wind turbines do kill some birds every year, they're not responsible for many avian deaths relative to other causes, and they certainly do not kill "all the birds."

If the President truly wanted to stand up for birds, he'd have targeted cats on the debate stage.

Via Statista


When it comes to bird deaths, cats are unrivaled as the leading cause. Whereas wind turbines only kill about 234,000 birds every year in the United States, felines kill 2.4 billion, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. As of 2017, cats killed more birds than all other human-related causes combined.  

Feral, or "un-owned," cats are largely responsible for this high number, because they spend much of their time outside and hunting for food, according to a 2013 Nature study. Pet cats with access to the outdoors, the research found, killed nearly 684 million birds annually as of the study's publication, a substantial percentage of the total. 

That means that if separated, feral and owned cats would be the number-one and number-two causes of bird death in the US. 

"Simple solutions to reduce mortality caused by pets, such as limiting or preventing outdoor access, should be pursued," the study authors wrote.

Wind turbines aren't among the top 7 causes of bird death Wind turbines in California's Mojave Desert.

Feral cats, domestic cats, oil pits, poison, vehicles, electrical lines, and cell-phone towers all kill more birds than wind turbines.

After cats, buildings with glass windows are the deadliest human-related cause of bird death. Nearly 600 million US birds die colliding into them each year.

Wind turbines aren't even the top cause of bird deaths in the energy-production sector. Oil pits kill 500,000 to 1 million birds each year, according to a Fish and Wildlife Service estimate. That's at least twice as many birds as wind turbines. 

Birds are lured to oil pits thinking they're ponds, then get stuck in them. Under President Barack Obama's administration, companies that left oil pits open for birds to get stuck in could face fines and criminal charges under the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

A waste pit filled with crude oil left by drilling operations in a jungle clearing near the Amazonian town of Sacha, Ecuador, October 21, 2003.

But in 2017, the Trump Administration declared that the law only applied to people "intentionally" killing birds, not oil companies engaging in "lawful commercial activity." 

The plight of birds in the US is very real: A 2019 study found that North America may have lost nearly 3 billion birds, or a quarter of its total bird population, since 1970.

So if you're truly worried about birds, the most effective first step is to mitigate their two biggest threats: Paint decals on your windows so they don't look transparent, and keep your cat inside. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to create a Google Classroom on a computer or mobile device

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:16pm  |  Clusterstock
The Google Classroom logo displayed on a smartphone.
  • You can create a Google Classroom to virtually manage, collaborate, and track class progress for free using your G Suite or personal Gmail account.
  • Once you have named the class, click "Create" and begin adding class materials and announcements on the class stream page.
  • You can add students to your Google Classroom directly or through a class code. 
  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you're teaching a class remotely and your organization has a Google Workspace or G Suite for Education account, you can use the Google Classroom platform to help you stay connected with students. 

Google Classroom lets you upload and schedule assignments that appear on a student's digital calendar and transparently grade work using integrated rubrics and originality reports to avoid plagiarism. You can also communicate with your students' guardians directly, update them on new class announcements digitally, or meet with students face-to-face with Google Meet. 

But before you can do any of that, you'll need to launch a class. You can create a classroom on your desktop or mobile device through your associated G Suite account in a few quick steps. 

For someone to gain access to your Classroom, you'll need to invite them individually or share a class code with them. These are found in slightly different locations on desktop and iPhone. 

Some users may only be allowed to join classes, while others logged in through their organization's Google Workspace account may need to reach out to the administrator for permission to create courses. If you ever need help logging into Google Classroom, see "How to log into Google Classroom." 

With a Google Classroom set up, you're on your way to getting down to the real business of teaching in school, at home, or on the go. 

How to create a Google Classroom on a computer

1. Open your web browser and go to

2. Click on the "+" sign in the top right. 

3. Select "Create class" from the dropdown menu. 

This will begin your class creation process.

4. A window will appear prompting you to name the class and fill out other fields such as "Section," "Subject," and "Room." Fill it out. 

You must name the class to create it, but the other fields are optional.

5. Click "Create" on the bottom right of the popup window.

You've now created a Google Classroom.

6. To share access to the Classroom using the class code, locate it at the top left of the "class stream." 

Your class code at the top left of the class stream on the desktop. How to create a Google Classroom on an iPhone or Android

1. Launch the Google Classroom app.

2. Tap the "+" sign on the bottom right of the app's home screen.

3. Select "Create class" from the menu. 

This will initiate the new classroom process.

4. In the window that appears, name the class and fill out "Section," "Subject," and "Room." 

5. Tap "Create" in the top right of the popup window.

6. To find the class code, tap the Settings icon.

The class code is located within the Settings menu or gear icon at the top right.

7. In the window that pops up, select "Class code" under the "General" heading.

Find your class code under "General." Related coverage from Tech Reference:Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump boasted he had the 'best Black unemployment numbers' in history, but Black unemployment is nearly double the white jobless rate

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:11pm  |  Clusterstock
When the jobless rate for Black Americans recorded a historic low last year in October, the Black unemployment rate (5.4%) was also roughly 1.7 times that of white unemployment (3.2%).
  • President Donald Trump concluded his remarks on Thursday's debate by lauding how "we had the best Black unemployment numbers in the history of our country" during his presidency.
  • Although Black unemployment hit a historic low last fall, Black Americans marked higher rates than the rest of Americans in all of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' alternative measures of labor under-utilization, which provides several indicators for larger context on the labor market.
  • This year Black unemployment has skyrocketed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and Black Americans are suffering from high unemployment rates that have "showed little change."
  • At the same time, the gap between white unemployment and Black unemployment has grown  throughout the pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump boasted he had the "best Black unemployment numbers" during Thursday's final presidential debate with former Vice President Joe Biden.

"We had the best Black unemployment numbers in the history of our country. Hispanic, women, Asian, people with diplomas, with no diplomas, MIT graduates, number one in the class, everybody had the best numbers," he said in his final remarks. 

It's true that last October, Black American unemployment hit a low of 5.4%, surpassing the previous low of 5.5% set in August that year. 

But those numbers don't tell the whole story.

Black unemployment at its lowest was still 1.7 times that of white unemployment (3.2%) in the same time period.

And as the Associated Press noted last year, people are only counted among the unemployment rolls when they are still actively looking for work. The unemployment rate declines were primarily a consequence of fewer unemployed Black Americans seeking work and permanently dropping out of the job market.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses alternative labor under-utilization measures, which provide several additional indicators to capture a better picture of the labor market. Some indicators are more restrictive than the general unemployment rate, like "U-1" which counts unemployed people who were unemployed 15 weeks or longer. Some are more wide-encompassing, such as "U-6," which measures people who are employed but are able to work fewer hours than they seek. A BLS report found that Black Americans marked higher rates than the overall population in all alternative measures of labor underutilization in 2019.

The historically low unemployment rate among Black Americans was also short-lived. Even before the pandemic, the unemployment rate for Black Americans spiked again to 5.9% in December of last year and hit 6% in January of 2020.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Black American unemployment rate skyrocketed to over 16% in April. Less than half of all Black Americans in the labor force were employed. 

Despite Trump's claims in August that the American economy saw "best employment numbers for African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans," the BLS's monthly jobs report for July said Black unemployment "showed little change" with a less than 1% decrease between June and July.

Last month's BLS report said the jobless rates for the Black and Hispanic population "showed little change" with a 13% to 12.1% and 10.5% to 10.3% decline from August to September, respectively. 

Additionally, increasing racial disparities in the workforce widened the gap between white unemployment and Black unemployment grew throughout the pandemic. Last month, the unemployment rate for Black Americans (12.1%) was roughly 1.7 times that of the white population (7%), according to the BLS. In September, the US recorded an overall unemployment rate of 7.9%.





Read the original article on Business Insider

I spent 7 nights working from a 5-star resort in Arizona. From live-music happy hours to poolside cabanas, here's what the 'Work From Hyatt' program was like.

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:07pm  |  Clusterstock
Morning yoga and stretching with Teddy the pug in Allegria Garden at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • In an effort to incentivize business and leisure travelers alike, hotel brands like Hyatt have been rolling out 'workation' packages at deeply discounted rates.
  • Freelance writer Michelle Gross spent a week spent working at the 5-star Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona to see if the 'Work from Hyatt' amenities were worth the $254 per night price tag.
  • During the day, she and her partner did their jobs remotely from their patio or from a designated hotel banquet room stocked with office supplies, and took turns walking their dog around the property. 
  • On weeknights, when the hotel was quiet, they'd sit and enjoy happy hour cocktails outside.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Before the pandemic happened, my trip from Jersey City to South Beach in early March was relatively run of the mill. I was traveling to meet my partner for his company's annual board meeting, a business-meets-leisure (bleisure) vacation spent working, lounging, and networking between the beach and bar.

Little did we know that those blissful pre-pandemic days we took for granted would be the dearth of "bleisure" travel. 

Like many couples whose work-life balance has consisted of small daily arguments exacerbated by an even smaller apartment, we started to explore ways we could work and coexist beyond our four walls.

In an effort to incentivize travelers, hotel brands have gotten creative with their offerings in recent months. 

From 'workation' programs and "school-cation' packages, traditional vacations as we know them have been rebranded to meet travelers' growing demand to work and relax all in one safe, sanitized, and socially distanced setting.

"There is a strong pent-up demand for travel," Asad Ahmed, SVP Commercial Services Americas at Hyatt told Business Insider via email. "We wanted to offer a package to give the millions of people who are indefinitely working and schooling remotely a welcomed change of scenery, with more work and school-life balance, more space, better weather, and a respite from chores." 

In August, Hyatt launched 'Work From Hyatt' at 25 hotels across the US, Mexico, Canada, and The Caribbean. The package performed well, and has now expanded to more than 60 hotels. Hilton and Marriott have also introduced their own iterations of "Working in Paradise," and "Zoom to Zen — Work With Perks" programs at select properties across the US, Caribbean, and Mexico.

After seven months of working from home, we pulled the trigger on a seven day 'workation.'

We went to Hyatt's Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona, a Spanish-style hotel boasting 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space in the shadow of Arizona's Camelback mountain. The minimum seven-night stay at $254 per night plus tax was higher than the average $139 plus tax offered at the other participating 'Work From Hyatt' hotels. 

Editor's note: The writer paid a media rate for her seven-night stay at the property.

The 'Work From Hyatt' includes one daytime cabana at the hotel's pool.

Among the inclusions, which vary from hotel to hotel, was a daily $50 food and beverage credit, dedicated work space in one of the hotel's banquet rooms, waived resort fee, free dog walking, one daytime cabana at the hotel's pool, and an automatic upgrade to a one bedroom suite.

A week before check in, we received an email listing all of the inclusions along with a preference sheet for our stay.

Everything at Royal Palms was contactless including check in via Hyatt's Mobile Entry App. 

The entrance to the Royal Palms Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Once we arrived, everything from booking a reservation in the restaurant to room service was communicated via text message. There's one main restaurant on property called T. Cookes as well as a bar and pool café which utilize QR codes for ordering or can be ordered through the TV menu found in each guestroom.

As a part of the WFH package, our room was upgraded to a mountain view spa suite on the ground floor. Many rooms on property feature private outdoor space, which I promptly designated as my morning office.

Morning coffee on the patio workspace off of our one bedroom suite.

True to its description, our mountain view room also fronted an oversized fountain which provided a nice ambient noise both day and night. The room also came equipped with a mini fridge, steam shower and bathtub, as well as a Keurig coffee machine with enough decaf and caffeinated coffee pods, cream, and coffee cups to last our week-long visit and then some.

Our one bedroom suite, an upgrade for the 'Work From Hyatt' package.

With 16 room types starting from the most basic guest rooms to suites, villas, and private casitas, the grounds are a labyrinth of walkways and tucked away alcoves and gardens. 

Designated as a Historic Hotel of America, Royal Palms' Mediterranean meets Spanish-style architecture dates back to 1926, and was built as a private residence by New York industrialist (and JP Morgan's cousin) Delos Willard Cooke for his ailing wife. 

"It was built for a wife by a loving husband and it's never lost its romantic touch," the hotel's unofficial historian and event and sales manager Brianna Vore told me on the historical property tour, another perk included in our stay. 

One of the courtyard spaces at the resort.

One guest I spoke with booked a room using her military discount for $151 a night, and received an upgraded balcony view room for an additional $10. She said she's a World of Hyatt loyalty member, but had never heard of the hotel before this year. Part of Hyatt's exclusive Unbound Collection, Royal Palms does not look or feel like more traditional Hyatt's or bear any logos, but the Work From Hyatt package can be booked using World of Hyatt points that can go towards members elite tier status.

Our routines varied slightly day to day, and were a balance of work and enjoying the resort's amenities.

After discovering an enclosed garden space not far from our room, it became my go to spot for morning stretching and yoga. Sometimes I'd be accompanied by our two-year-old dog, Teddy, who also likes to stretch in the mornings.

Morning yoga and stretching with Teddy the pug in Allegria Garden at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In addition to guests traveling with their pets, the hotel seemed to largely cater to couples looking for a romantic getaway.

While we were initially drawn here because of its relaxed resort-like setting and complimentary dog walking service, we ended up forgoing that offering altogether, and scheduled our work breaks around taking our dogs for walks around the winding property.

The resort offered a variety of spacious areas to relax, including this terrace and pool right outside our bedroom.

Every morning, while it was still cool enough, my partner and I would sit and have coffee on our room's private patio where I'd set up my morning work station. Breakfast is not included in the WFH package, so we stocked up on oatmeal, cereal, and fruit to keep in the room.

We used $20 of our $50 daily credit towards ordering a fresh pot of coffee and a copy of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, which were delivered to our door for contactless delivery each morning. 

By the afternoon, when the heat would linger between 97-100 degrees, we would move to Palmera South, the banquet room that had been converted into our designated 'Work From Hyatt' office hours space.

Working from the office space Palmera at the Royal Palms. The banquet room is set in the middle of the property and featured ample indoors and outdoors space which was good for getting some fresh air during the day.

The banquet room came outfitted with desks, chairs and offered extras like sticky notes, pens, paper, calculators, and scissors. My partner had brought his computer monitor from home, and posted up at a desk by the window.

Office hours set up in the Palmera South Banquet Room.

Our "office" also came equipped with a mini-fridge loaded with water and soda that was replenished each night, a nice surprise since it wasn't listed in our WFH inclusions email.

A complimentary water and soda mini fridge were provided in the work space and refilled each evening.

There was also a library and game room available for guests who wanted to work in a cozier, academic-inspired setting.

The game room and library at the resort.

While it wasn't required, my partner and I took multiple COVID-19 Rapid tests prior to and during our visit. The hotel never felt crowded, but operating in compliance with Hyatt's Safety First, Wellbeing Always including an enforced mask and social distancing policy in public areas, and a 50% limited the capacity in the restaurant, pool, and bar.

During the weeknights, when the hotel was quiet, we'd sit and enjoy happy hour cocktails at MixUp, the hotel's bar which offered plenty of outdoor seating.

Some of our favorites were their house specialty MixUp Mule made with home-brewed ginger beer, and the Orange Grove, a spicy tequila drink with orange, lemon, demerara, and bitters.

Happy hour MixUp mules made with homemade beer in the Mansion Courtyard.

On Saturday and Sunday, when traffic at the hotel picked up, there was live music and happy hour on the 'Mansion Patio,' which was a great place to sit and people watch in a safe and socially distanced way.

The 'Mansion Courtyard' where live music and nightly happy hour were part of our routine.

Lawn games like bocce, volleyball, and life-sized checkers were always available on a first come, first served basis, and was a fun way to decompress after the work day. 

Well-kept lawns for bocce and other games were the perfect place for an end of day de-stress session.

We didn't partake in these services, but the hotel is also home to an award-winning spa called Alvadora, and a fitness center that was open but would only accommodate one guest or couple from the same household at a time. Both the spa and fitness center could be arranged by texting or calling the concierge.

In response to COVID-19, the hotel recently launched a complimentary Wellness on Demand service with workout classes ranging from Barre, Cardio, HIIT, and Yoga by Exhale and calming meditation sessions from Headspace.

Overall, Hyatt said they've seen a great response to their 'Work From Hyatt' package since its launch, particularly among travelers like us who are looking to change their day to day routine.

Among the most popular destinations attracting travelers according to Hyatt's SP Asad Ahmed are warm weather destinations including Florida, Southern California, and Cabo San Lucas.

"As the world begins to reopen, we are readying ourselves to help people do what they're longing to do," Ahmed said.  "That is to get back on the road to explore new places, feel the excitement of reconnecting with those they miss, destress, reenergize, and once again experience the joy of travel, and do so safely."

Read the original article on Business Insider

10 things in tech you need to know today

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 1:58am  |  Clusterstock
Twitter and the White House cast doubt on claims Trump's Twitter was hacked (again).

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday. Sign up here to get this email in your inbox every morning.

Have an Amazon Alexa device? Listen to this update by searching "Business Insider" in your flash briefing settings.

  1. Quibi failed to hook users. The streaming service likely failed after six months because its slate of content did not break through with its target audience of 25- to 35-year-olds.

  2. Iran threatened Democratic voters. According to Google, Iran was behind a spate of emails purporting to be from far-right group the Proud Boys and threatening recipients with violence if they didn't vote for US President Donald Trump.

  3. Twitter and the White House cast doubt on claims Donald Trump's Twitter got hacked. A hacker said he guessed Trump's password was 'maga2020!', but Twitter and White House denied it.

  4. We reviewed the new iPhone 12. With a refreshed design, a better screen on the standard model, and Night Mode on all cameras, the device feels like a step forward.

  5. Apple wants to avoid iPhone queues. A new iPhone launch is usually synonymous with winding lines at the Apple Store, but the company is implementing a reservation system for stores that are open, should lines begin to form.

  6. Patreon has banned QAnon. The firm said on Thursday morning that creators promoting the movement would be barred from the platform.

  7. Twitter canned political donations. The firm closed its political action committee and donated its surplus cash — more than $117,000 — to a pair of charities.

  8. Amazon is trialling cargo e-bikes in Europe for the first time for deliveries. The goal is tofind ways to counteract the boom in delivery vans and a rise in congestion.

  9. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has new compensation goals. Half of Nadella's pay is now dependent on hitting certain goals, like growing the company's cloud business and Teams chat app.

  10. Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian backed an 18-year-old's AI startup. Oliver Edholm is only 18 years old, and his startup provides AI and deep learning services to e-commerce sites.
Read the original article on Business Insider

'Anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy': Expensify's CEO tells us why the company emailed 10 million customers urging them to vote for Biden

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 12:45am  |  Clusterstock
U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., September 29, 2020.
  • Expensify CEO David Barrett just emailed 10 million of the company's customers urging them to vote for Joe Biden for president.
  • "Anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy," he wrote, adding: "a vote for Trump is to endorse voter suppression."
  • Barrett told Business Insider that Expensify employees contributed edits to the letter and around two-thirds voted in favor of sending it, saying the letter's criticisms of Trump's voter suppression efforts "are not radical ideas."
  • Expensify's public endorsement stands in contrast to other tech companies, such as Facebook, Google, and Coinbase, that have recently cracked down on political discussions internally.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Expensify's approximately 10 million customers received an email Thursday evening from CEO David Barrett with the subject line: "Protect democracy, vote for Biden."

"We are facing an unprecedented attack on the foundations of democracy itself. If you are a US citizen, anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy," Barrett said in the email, adding: "A vote for Trump is to endorse voter suppression, it really is very basic."

The email went on to criticize the Trump administration's efforts to suppress voter turnout and false claims about voter fraud, and it urged Americans to vote for Biden on November 3.

"I wouldn't be sending this email if this election were just about 'normal issues' — taxes, legislative priorities, healthcare, etc.," Barrett wrote. "But it isn't. This election is a referendum on what limits, if any, we place on our elected leaders to govern us in a fair and representative way. This election will decide if widespread voter suppression is an acceptable governing tactic."

But while Barrett initially proposed the email, getting to the point of actually sending it was a mini-democratic process in itself.

He told Business Insider that a number of Expensify's 130 or so employees provided input on the letter's content and that more than two-thirds, a "supermajority," ultimately voted in favor of hitting send.

"We've always been a very strongly values-driven organization, and we talk a lot about what we stand for, what we believe in, what we'll put our money and efforts behind," Barrett said.

"It might seem kind of like, out of the blue, if you don't really know much about Expensify," he added, noting that the company has previously gotten involved in social issues such as subsidizing low-income families' groceries during the pandemic and engaging with local Black Lives Matter leaders in Portland, Oregon, where the company is based.

Barrett said there wasn't universal consensus on sending the letter, but that "the real world is messy and complicated," "these are not radical ideas," and that it was important to take a stand on them nonetheless.

Expensify's decision to weigh in on the 2020 presidential race — and political and social issues more broadly — stands in stark contrast to some other tech companies such as Facebook and Google, which have sought to limit internal discussion on hot-button issues. The CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase also recently penned a memo declaring an "apolitical culture" at the company and urging dissenters to leave (leading around 60 employees to do exactly that).

Barrett criticized Coinbase's approach for what he said was pretending to be apolitical while actually just supporting the status quo.

"If you are a member of a democratic society, you can't opt out of that. Choosing not to participate is also a choice — that is a political decision," he said. "If you are a company that chooses not to engage, that either means: one, our official company stance is that we like the status quo and want to keep it; or two is, we don't like the status quo, but we're too cowardly to do anything about it."

Read the full email from Expensify CEO David Barrett below:

Subject: Protect democracy, vote for Biden.

I know you don't want to hear this from me. And I guarantee I don't want to say it. But we are facing an unprecedented attack on the foundations of democracy itself. If you are a US citizen, anything less than a vote for Biden is a vote against democracy.

That's right, I'm saying a vote for Trump, a vote for a third-party candidate, or simply not voting at all -- they're all the same, and they all mean:

"I care more about my favorite issue than democracy. I believe Trump winning is more important than democracy. I am comfortable standing aside and allowing democracy to be methodically dismantled, in plain sight."

If the polls are accurate, there's a roughly 50% chance that you agree Trump needs to go. You know what to do: show up on November 3rd and vote for Biden. Or even better, don't wait until then: vote today. Go to if you need help figuring out how.

The rest of this email is intended to address the concerns of those who disagree, and I'll try to take the most likely questions in turn:

Q: Why do you care so much about democracy?

Democracy is core to our business success, in a variety of ways. Internally, we are a famously "flat" organization -- nobody reports to anyone else, and advancement is the result of meeting well defined criteria as judged by the vote of those who have already advanced. How we compensate each other is left up to a team vote as well. Even our external business model depends on individual employees "electing" to adopt Expensify as individuals, and then "campaigning" internally to get it adopted companywide. At every layer, democracy is our core competitive advantage -- both as a company, and as a nation. But that advantage is only as strong as the clarity of our rules and the fairness of their application. Any attempt to disrupt the rules or apply them unfairly is a direct threat to the strength of our company, and the strength of our nation.

Q: What gives you the right to tell me what to do?

The first amendment. To be clear, you don't need to listen. But the first amendment exists to encourage people like you and me to find some way to talk about the issues that matter, set aside our differences, and find a common ground on which to collectively govern 331 million citizens. Yes democratic self-rule can be inconvenient. But a burden of democracy is that this is literally our job, so I'm asking all of us to take it seriously.

Q: But you're a company, shouldn't you remain neutral?

Expensify depends on a functioning society and economy; not many expense reports get filed during a civil war. As CEO of this business, it's my job to plot a course through any storm -- and all evidence suggests that another 4 (or as Trump has hinted -- 8, or more?) years of Trump leadership will damage our democracy to such an extent, I'm obligated on behalf of shareholders to take any action I can to avoid it. I am confident our democracy (and Expensify) can survive a Biden presidency. I can't say the same about Trump. It's truly as simple as that.

Q: Don't you think you're… exaggerating a bit?

I truly wish I was. I wouldn't be sending this email if this election were just about "normal issues" -- taxes, legislative priorities, healthcare, etc. But it isn't. This election is a referendum on what limits, if any, we place on our elected leaders to govern us in a fair and representative way. This election will decide if widespread voter suppression is an acceptable governing tactic.

Q: Doesn't everyone suppress votes?

Not like Trump. This is the most heavily litigated election in history, with over 300 lawsuits rushing through the courts before election day. And in every case, Biden is pushing to enable voters while Trump is pushing to suppress them. The trend couldn't be more clear: Biden wants democracy, Trump does not. A vote for Trump is to endorse voter suppression, it really is very basic. This isn't about party politics: if Biden were advocating for half of the voter suppression that Trump is actively doing, then I'd be fighting against Biden, too. This is bigger than politics as usual: this is about the very foundation of our nation.

Q: Isn't Trump just trying to prevent voter fraud?

Voter fraud is virtually nonexistent, as overwhelmingly shown by data showcased by the White House itself. That data comes from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank counting every single known case of voter fraud since 1948, which adds up to only 1,290 distinct votes over 78 years. In 2016 alone there were 138 million votes. There is just no credible argument that voter fraud is significant, even based on Trump's own data.

Q: Isn't Biden just using more widespread voting to get elected?

Absolutely. This is the heart of the issue. Biden believes that enabling more people to vote will help him win. Biden wins by promoting democracy; Trump wins by suppressing it. A vote for Biden is a vote for democracy.

Q: So what if Trump gets elected by voter suppression, all's fair right?

Well that's what we're going to decide, on November 3rd. Do you want your elected official to win based on the merits of their ideas? Or based on the ruthlessness of their voter suppression? And if you're ok with "just a little suppression" -- where do you draw the line?

Q: Why send me this when the polls say Biden is going to win?

The polls said Trump was going to lose last time, and he didn't. But even if the polls can be trusted, that might still not be enough. Trump has stated repeatedly he will only honor an election that he personally feels is fair. So much depending on his personal judgement is worrying, because he has rejected the overwhelming expert consensus that voter fraud has been negligible historically, and has also said he believes it would be impossible to lose a fair election. Accordingly, the only way to ensure a peaceful transition of power is to ensure this election is an overwhelming, undeniable landslide in favor of Biden. Any excuse to question the election is an opportunity for Trump to refuse to leave the White House, plunging this country into a Constitutional crisis bordering on civil war. No matter how slight that risk might be, the consequences of it happening would be so catastrophic to society and the economy, we need to do all we can to prevent it.

So one final plea. As a fellow citizen, I fully support and respect your Constitutional right to disagree -- and as an avid supporter of democracy, I value that disagreement. Constructive, well-informed debate (hopefully using the most accurate, least biased news source available) is what makes this nation so exceptional.

But the Constitution is only as strong as the respect we give it. I'm asking you to cherish it close to your heart, and demand that those you elect do the same.

Founder and CEO of Expensify

PS: Agree or disagree? Reply to this email to share your thoughts with Concierge, or hit me up on Twitter @dbarrett to discuss!

PPS: Want to do even more? Support the National Popular Vote to make every vote count equally toward the presidential election, even if you aren't in one of the 12 states deciding this election.

PPPS: Are you annoyed that you received this as a non-US citizen? If you're lucky enough to live in a democracy, then I'd encourage you to protect it and be willing to do uncomfortable things -- like emailing millions of customers -- to defend it.

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Snowden has been granted permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer says

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 11:58pm  |  Clusterstock
Edward Snowden at the 2019 Web Summit conference.
  • Edward Snowden, a former US security contractor and whistleblower, has been granted permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer said Thursday.
  • He has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the US after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs.
  • Snowden said last year that he was willing to return to the US if he's guaranteed a fair trial.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden has been granted permanent residency in Russia, his lawyer said Thursday.

Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. National Security Agency, has been living in Russia since 2013 to escape prosecution in the U.S. after leaking classified documents detailing government surveillance programs.

"Today, Snowden was handed a residency permit for an unlimited period of time," his Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told Russia's state Tass news agency.

Kucherena told the Interfax news agency that the application was submitted in April, but because of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions, it took immigration authorities more time to consider it. Snowden was able to obtain permanent residency rights because of the changes in Russia's immigration laws made in 2019, the lawyer said.

Kucherena added that Snowden is not considering applying for Russian citizenship at the moment.

Snowden, who has kept a low profile in Russia and occasionally criticized Russian government policies on social media, said last year that he was willing to return to the U.S. if he's guaranteed a fair trial.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump was his own worst nightmare at the final debate: low energy and boring

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 11:40pm  |  Clusterstock
U.S. President Donald Trump participates in the final presidential debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • After all the debates, we know Trump's technique by now: He struts, makes rubber-faced sarcastic smirks, and heckles his rivals.
  • But faced with a competent moderator and the threat of a mute button, he was as neutered as any untalented bully would be. All he could do was resort to his well-worn act of pat insults that barely landed.
  • Unable to once again heckle his way to a dishonorable draw in the last debate of his political life, Trump looked gassed.
  • In the 2020 campaign's final days, Trump's debate performance reveals him as tired, boring, low energy. 
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump's greatest strength as a campaigner has always been his ability to project the confidence to dominate any room by sheer force of personality. 

After 11 Republican primary debates and three debates against Hillary Clinton in 2016, plus two 2020 debates versus Joe Biden, we know the technique by now. 

Trump struts, makes sarcastic smirks, and heckles his rivals. He blathers slanderous word salads, makes everyone with an intelligent thought in their head convulse, and walks off dominating the headlines. 

But like any untalented bully, when tethered to rules requiring a level playing field, he's neutered.

During the second and final debate Trump was forced to act "normal." And if tonight's debate performance is any indication, normal Trump is a tired act. 

The mute button muted Trump

Moderator Kristen Welker of NBC News would not allow Trump to badger his way through 90 minutes of the 14th and final debate of the 2020 campaign, insisting that the allotted speaking times be adhered to. 

Not that moderating a debate featuring a shameless, incoherent blowhard like Trump is an enviable duty, but Welker's unflashy competence was hugely refreshing because it has been so hard to come by in Trump debates. 

There can also be no doubt that the threat of a mute button — installed after Trump's historically disgraceful performance in the first debate — helped keep Trump at bay during the two-minute answer portions.

That's not to say Trump matured into a person who has any respect for objective truth, he was still a walking gaslighter. But in contrast to previous debates, he wasn't allowed to use his typical tactics with the kind of impunity to which he's become accustomed. 

Trumpbots like Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel insinuated that the president was treated unfairly by Welker, but Trump's most stinging defeat is that in the final debate of his political life he inhabited two of the qualities he most fears and loathes. He was low-energy and boring

Trump, tellingly, barely tried to defend his own record with facts. All he could do was flail around with pat lines about the supposedly daming fact that Joe Biden has spent 47 years in government as a senator and vice president — and hasn't yet accomplished the things he'd like to accomplish as president. 

But Trump was unable to articulate — with either quippy "Build The Wall" lines or slightly more substantive ideas — how he would be any different. 

For instance, while Biden has a truly awful record when it comes to criminal justice, Trump's attempt to coronate himself as the savior of criminal justice reform is patently absurd, as his own DOJ has consistently undermined his sole effort at reform, the federal prison reform law known as the First Step Act. 

Trump's 2020 doesn't have the punch of the 2016 vintage

Trump ran roughshod over well more than a dozen Republican rivals during the 2016 debates, crushing their lifelong ambitions for high office with schoolyard taunts like "Little Marco" and "Low Energy Jeb." 

The thing about heckles is they don't even need to be funny or make any sense to serve their intended purpose. They just need to be disruptive to be effective. 

With a no-nonsense moderator and the ominous spectre of a mute button, Trump couldn't heckle his way to a dishonorable draw in the last 2020 debate. 

The only arrows left in his quiver were well-worn insults and innuendos about Biden's son, Hunter, that are unlikely to move the needle between Trump and Biden, or even jazz up the MAGA base. 

Trump — the would-be authoritarian if he weren't so lazy and unprincipled — wasn't his usual scary self at this debate. 

Instead, he looked every bit like an incumbent president unable to defend his record, and every bit the child-like demagogue who only understands brute force.

To use Trump's own parlance: "Sad!"

Read the original article on Business Insider

Seattle, Portland, New York sued the Trump administration after the Justice Department labelled them 'anarchist jurisdictions'

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 11:40pm  |  Clusterstock
In normal times, more than 3 million people use transit each day to get to work in the New York region.
  • The Justice Department labeled New York, Seattle, and Portland as "anarchist jurisdictions."
  • The cities have sued the Trump department over that designation. 
  • President Donald Trump issued a memorandum last month that sought to identify localities that permit "anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities" after protests across the country. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

SEATTLE (AP) — New York, Seattle, and Portland — three cities recently labeled "anarchist jurisdictions" by the US Justice Department — filed a lawsuit Thursday to invalidate the designation and fight off the Trump administration's efforts to withhold federal dollars.

"The Trump administration's political threats against Seattle and other Democratic cities are unlawful and an abuse of federal power," Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a news release announcing the federal lawsuit. "It's immoral, unconstitutional, and shameful that we are forced to expend any resources on this political theater."

President Donald Trump issued a memorandum last month that sought to identify localities that permit "anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities" following riots that took place during anti-police and anti-racism protests after George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police. The Justice Department last month identified New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle as three cities that could have federal funding slashed.

The lawsuit ridiculed the designation, calling the president's action "offensive to both the Constitution and common sense" and describing the notion of anarchist jurisdictions "an oxymoronic designation without precedent in American jurisprudence." But it also noted that the consequences of withholding federal money during a pandemic are "deadly serious."

"I said weeks ago if the Trump administration persisted in trying to illegally take away funding from New York City we would take them to court, and we will beat them in court," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, argues that unless Congress says otherwise, the president can't add conditions to money Congress has appropriated. The cities say the designation was arbitrary and capricious, and based on vague and subjective factors. The lawsuit also alleges that the administration violated due process rights and the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which specifies that powers not given to the federal government — such as local policing authority — are reserved for the states.

"It is the Defendants, not the Cities, who are engaging in lawless behavior and threatening the democratic order established by the Framers," the lawsuit said.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

New York City Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson, who joined de Blasio at the mayor's daily briefing, said the cities are suing now because the federal government has begun taking concrete steps to withhold funds. "They've actually taken this anarchist designation and started to include it in applications for federal grants," Johnson said.

As much as $12 billion in federal money affecting health, transportation and law enforcement programs could be at stake, Johnson said.

In one example cited in the lawsuit, the Federal Transit Administration announced this month that it will consider applications for a current COVID-19 public transportation research grant "in accordance" with the anarchist memo.

The Justice Department said the three cities were designated as "anarchist" jurisdictions because they met criteria including "whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction" and whether the city "disempowers or defunds police departments."

For New York, Attorney General William Barr cited "increased unrest, gun violence, and property damage" as the City Council cut $1 billion from the police department's budget for next year. For Portland, he cited the continuous protests and vandalism, and he accused Seattle of permitting anarchy in the "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest," a protest zone of a few city blocks that officials cleared out months ago.

All three cities have previously challenged Trump administration actions successfully. Those include Seattle and Portland's efforts against the administration's plan to withhold money for so-called "sanctuary cities" and New York's efforts against adding a citizenship question to the census and excluding undocumented immigrants from the census count.


Matthews reported from New York.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump has less than 2 weeks to turn around dire numbers and Biden didn't do him any favors in the debate

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 11:37pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is up about 10 points nationwide and has a solid lead in more than enough swing states to get to 270 electoral votes.
  • President Donald Trump needs something to dynamically change the tenor of the race.
  • He didn't get it at the final presidential debate.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump had his final outing on a debate stage, and while pundits will argue about his performance the only real question worth asking is this:

Did anything happen on that television broadcast that will ding Democratic challenger Joe Biden's 9.9 percentage point lead within the next 12 days?

Did Biden say something that would jeopardize his lead? Did Trump do something that would win people back? Was that event so obvious that it'll change the tenor of the race in like a week and a half? If the answer isn't objectively yes, then this debate went poorly for the president.

Trump isn't running against Biden anymore, he's running against time. As of this morning, at least 47 million people have voted in the 2020 presidential election. As of this afternoon, Trump was down about 4.9 points in Pennsylvania, 4.6 points in Wisconsin, 2.1 points in Florida, and 3.2 points in Arizona. As of tonight, there are just eleven nightly evening news broadcasts between now and election night.

He has a lot of distance to cover, and he's running out of time to do it. Every day that is not a positive development for Trump is a loss, because not only does he fail to move the needle but he burns another day that could have been used to move it. 

This is what has made his handling of the debates so puzzling. These are large primetime broadcasts covered by every major network and seen by tens of millions of people. The debates are currency he could use to change the news narrative, but Trump's experiences on the debate stage have been fraught with difficulties this year.

His first outing received strongly negative reactions in terms of his demeanor, but regardless of how the event was viewed mere days later the narrative shifted to speculating if he was infected with coronavirus during the event. The subsequent week was spent discussing the president's diagnosis with a virus that has defined his administration, whose handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been remarkably unpopular with the American people. 

He pulled out of the second debate after it was moved to a virtual setting, and it was replaced with an event that reached a paltry fraction of the viewership that a wall-to-wall official debate would enjoy. 

His third debate, while definitely broadcast out to significantly more people than the town hall, failed to seriously undermine Biden's case for the presidency and failed to bolster his own.

In response to a question about an issue he is fairly strong on — foreign policy, where the American people give his presidency mediocre approval numbers rather than objectively bad — instead he pivoted to discuss Biden's son, who is not a national figure. 

In the end, what was the worst thing that Biden said in the debate in terms of the negative impact it could have on his electoral prospects?

It was probably a moment at the end, where Biden described his environmental policy and indicated that by 2050 he would like to see fewer emissions from the oil and gasoline business, a remark that Trump specifically mentioned Pennsylvania (which has a lucrative if controversial hydraulic fracturing industry) and Texas (the ancestral and corporate home of American petroleum firms) as places where that remark may hurt him. 

Realistically, it's not obvious how that really harms Biden's chances of winning the presidency. Do 5% of Pennsylvanians vote based on the fortunes of a niche extractive business over a thirty-year time horizon? Probably not.

How about Texas? Well, while Biden would likely be thrilled to win Texas — he's down 4 points — any map in which Biden wins Texas is likely one in which he has already won a substantial number of electoral votes. According to FiveThirtyEight, Texas has a paltry 1.8% chance of being the tipping point state in the election, so in a tiny fraction of universes is Biden seriously regretting his choice of words. 

All told, at the beginning of September, Trump had a serious chance to reach the American people and potentially use that time to communicate his strengths and his rival's failures. Instead, he squandered the debates and was unable to control the conversation as he adeptly did in 2016. He has fewer than two weeks to overcome a significant deficit in a half-dozen states, and tonight probably didn't help. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump falsely claims that only migrants with 'the lowest IQ' return for their court dates after being arrested by US immigration authorities

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 11:01pm  |  Clusterstock
U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he tours a section of new U.S.-Mexico border wall built in San Luis, Arizona, U.S., June 23, 2020
  • President Donald Trump falsely claimed that only immigrants with "the lowest IQ" return for their court dates when released after being arrested by US immigration authorities.
  • Trump's comments during Thursday's presidential debate referenced a policy often called "catch and release," where migrants are released from DHS custody pending their immigration court proceedings — which his administration ended in 2018.
  • The DOJ says around 44% don't show up, and researchers say that rate is likely much lower, and no evidence suggests that migrants' IQ plays a role in their likeliness to appear in court.
  • Trump also falsely claimed that migrant children his administration separated from their parents at the border were "so well looked after."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

During Thursday's presidential debate, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that, of the migrants arrested by US immigration authorities who are released from custody pending their court proceedings, only those "with the lowest IQ" show up for their immigration hearings.

"Less than 1% of the people come back. We have to send ICE out and border patrol out to find them," Trump said.

"When you say they come back — they don't come back, Joe, they never come back. Only the really — I hate to say this — but those with the lowest IQ, they might come back," he added.

Trump's claims refer to an immigration policy often called "catch and release," where immigration authorities have the discretion to release detained migrants who they deem to be a low safety or flight risk, pending their immigration court proceedings.

Immigration court records are kept secret by the government (and researchers have repeatedly accused the Trump administration of deleting records), so it's difficult to know exactly how many migrants end up showing up to their court dates.

But Trump's claim of 1% is far from accurate even by his own Justice Department's estimate, which said last year that 44% "of all non-detained removal cases end with an in absentia order of removal due to an alien's failure to attend a scheduled immigration court hearing."

Researchers from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) found in 2019 that 81.6% of migrant families without legal representation showed up to their initial court date, while that jumped to 99.9% for families with legal representation. Overall, they found, 81% attended every single one of their court hearings.

No evidence exists to support Trump's claim that intelligence is in any way correlated with migrants' likeliness to show up for their court dates. 

Still, Trump has been an outspoken critic of the policy, and issued a memo in April 2018 directing federal law enforcement agencies to report to the White House about steps they're taking to "expeditiously end 'catch and release' practices."

Trump also falsely claimed that migrant children his administration separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border were "so well looked after."

This refers to the administration's controversial family separation policy, which was thrust back into the spotlight this week after ACLU lawyers appointed by a federal court to help reunite those families told the court they still haven't been able to find the parents of 545 children. Trump ended the policy in June 2018 following a public outcry, and a court ordered his administration to reunite thousands of families that had been separated.

But an August report from the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security found that migrant children were often left in vans for hours and sometimes overnight while waiting to be reunited, according to NBC News. A 2019 report by the Texas Tribune and the Center for Public Integrity also found that Trump administration officials were aware that children could be traumatized by the separations but accelerated the practice anyways.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump claims he is 'the least racist person in this room' to Biden and a Black moderator at the final presidential debate

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 10:18pm  |  Clusterstock
  • President Donald Trump expressed disappointment at Thursday's debate that he has been criticized for being hostile to racial minority groups, especially Black Americans.
  • The final debate of the 2020 election cycle was moderated by NBC News' Kristen Welker, who is Black.
  • "I can't even the see audience because it's so dark. I am the least racist person in this room," Trump said.
  • Democratic challenger Joe Biden responded forcefully on the issue of race, which he has spotlighted extensively throughout this campaign.
  • "Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history," he said, likening Trump to a "dog whistle as big as a foghorn."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump expressed disappointment that he has been criticized for being hostile to racial minority groups, especially Black Americans, during a heated exchange with Democratic nominee Joe Biden at Thursday's debate.

Trump was asked about why he has spoken unfavorably about the Black Lives Matter movement and why he has been criticized for creating an uneasy racial climate in the country.

"I think I have great relationships with all people," Trump said. "I am the least racist person in this room. I don't know what to say. I got criminal justice reform done, prison reform, and opportunity zones. I took care of Black colleges and universities ... They can say anything. I makes me sad."

"I can't even the see audience because it's so dark," he added. "I am the least racist person in this room."

Biden responded forcefully on the issue of race, which he has spotlighted extensively throughout this campaign.

"Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we've had in modern history," Biden said. "He pours fuel on every single racist fire. He started off this campaign coming down the escalator saying he was going to get rid of those 'Mexican rapists.' He has made everything worse across the board ... This guy is a dog whistle as big as a foghorn."

Trump responded by slamming Biden for the 1994 crime bill, which the former vice president recently said was a "mistake."

—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 23, 2020Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump mocked Biden as a 'typical politician' for trying to speak to American families in the final presidential debate

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 10:04pm  |  Clusterstock
President Donald Trump answers a question as Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden listens during the second and final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the last debate between the two candidates before the election on November 3.
  • President Donald Trump called former Vice President Joe Biden a "typical politician" after he directly addressed American families during the final presidential debate.
  • "I'm not a typical politician. That's why I got elected," Trump said. "Come on, Joe, you can do better."
  • The comments came after a back-and-forth of attacks about Trump's businesses and Biden's family.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump mocked former Vice President Joe Biden after he turned directly to the camera to address American families during the final presidential debate.

"Just a typical politician when I see that," Trump said. "I'm not a typical politician — that's why I got elected."

Biden pivoted to address viewers at home during a debate segment about national security that had shifted into a discussion about the president's taxes and Biden's son Hunter's business dealings.

"There's a reason he's bringing up all of this malarkey," Biden said. "He does not want to talk about the substantive issues. It's not about his family and my family. It's about your family and your family is hurting badly."

"You're sitting at the kitchen table this morning," he said. "We should be talking about your families, but that's the last thing he wants to talk about."

Trump rebuked his Democratic opponent for veering off-topic.

"Let's get off the subject of China and let's talk around sitting around the table," Trump said. "Come on Joe, you can do better than that." 

—ABC News (@ABC) October 23, 2020



Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden called Trump 'a very confused guy' during the debate when the president falsely claimed he's a far-left liberal who wants 'socialized medicine'

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 9:43pm  |  Clusterstock
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during the final 2020 U.S. presidential campaign debate in the Curb Event Center at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., October 22, 2020.
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden described President Donald Trump as "a very confused guy" when the president falsely claimed Biden supports "socialized medicine" during Thursday's debate. 
  • "He thinks he's running against somebody else. He's running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them," said the former vice president.
  • Trump repeated the false claim that 180 million Americans stand to lose their private health insurance under Biden's plan.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called President Donald Trump "a very confused guy" when the president falsely claimed Biden supports "socialized medicine" during Thursday night's presidential debate. 

In a discussion about healthcare, Trump said Biden's plan to expand the Affordable Care Act by adding a public option would "destroy" Medicare and Social Security, and amount to socialism. The former vice president, who doesn't support Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All proposal, went on the attack in response. 

"He's a very confused guy," Biden said. "He thinks he's running against somebody else. He's running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them." 

The president also falsely claimed that 180 million Americans would lose their private health insurance under Biden's plan. While Sanders' Medicare for All proposal would eliminate private insurance, Biden's plan wouldn't. 

Biden's plan, which he called "Bidencare," would allow Americans under 65 to receive Medicare — a public option on the healthcare exchanges. His plan would also seek to make healthcare plans on the exchanges more affordable by lowering the limit on how much plans can cost and get rid of the cap on insurance subsidies.

Trump didn't deliver any new details about his long-promised healthcare proposal. 

The president's domestic policy chief recently told Business Insider that an Obamacare replacement is still "being worked on."

—Axios (@axios) October 23, 2020


Read the original article on Business Insider

A California appeals court unanimously upheld a ruling that Uber and Lyft must reclassify their drivers as employees under the state's gig work law

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 9:38pm  |  Clusterstock
Drivers in California sued Uber and Lyft, claiming the companies owe them $630 million in back wages.
  • A California appeals court on Thursday unanimously upheld a lower court ruling requiring Uber and Lyft to reclassify their drivers as employees under the state's gig work law, AB-5.
  • The ruling doesn't kick in immediately, however, leaving in place an emergency stay issued in August until likely after the election.
  • Uber and Lyft have sought to avoid being forced to comply with the ruling by trying to convince voters to exempt them from AB-5 via a ballot measure into which the companies have poured nearly $200 million.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A California appeals court handed Uber and Lyft a major legal defeat on Thursday, ruling that a lower court was correct in granting an injunction forcing the companies to reclassify their drivers as employees under the state's gig worker law AB-5.

In their ruling, judges from California's first district Court of Appeal said they were "unpersuaded" by arguments from Uber and Lyft that the lower court erred in issuing the injunction.

The judges also invoked the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in their ruling, noting that her "cogent explanation" of the legal test for reviewing a trial court's decision to issue an injunction played a key role in its analysis of the case.

"This decision makes it abundantly clear that Uber and Lyft have been breaking the law for years," San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement Thursday evening.

"This is a victory for the people of California and for every driver who has been denied fair wages, paid sick days, and other benefits by these companies. For too long Uber and Lyft have illegally denied their drivers basic workplace protections and shifted that burden onto drivers and taxpayers. Uber and Lyft have pocketed millions of dollars by leaving drivers in the lurch and taxpayers to foot the bill," Herrera said.

The ruling doesn't take effect, however, until 30 days after the court issues a remittitur in the case, a step that kicks the case back to the lower court after any further legal challenges — or lack thereof — to Thursday's ruling.

Uber and Lyft both told Business Insider that they're weighing all legal options.

Based on the typical timeline for issuing a remittitur, it's unlikely Uber and Lyft will be required to reclassify their drivers before election day, putting the issue in the hands of California voters.

Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing and food delivery companies including DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub have poured nearly $200 million into Proposition 22, a ballot measure that would exempt the companies from AB-5.

"Today's ruling means that if the voters don't say Yes on Proposition 22, rideshare drivers will be prevented from continuing to work as independent contractors, putting hundreds of thousands of Californians out of work and likely shutting down ridesharing throughout much of the state," Uber spokesperson Davis White told Business Insider.

Lyft spokesperson CJ Macklin also highlighted the ballot measure, telling Business Insider: "This ruling makes it more urgent than ever for voters to stand with drivers and vote yes on Prop. 22,"

Uber and Lyft threatened to suspend service in California if the courts didn't grant an emergency stay allowing them to keep drivers as contractors pending the outcome of the legal battle — a tactic the companies have employed on multiple occasions in other states when faced with legislation they opposed.

Read more: Uber and Lyft say the battle over AB-5 is about preserving flexibility for part-time gig workers. The reality is their businesses have become dependent on full-time drivers and they can't afford to pay them like employees.

But the battle over AB-5 is possibly the most consequential one Uber and Lyft have faced, as evidenced by the aggressive public relations campaign the companies have relied on.

As part of that campaign: Uber reportedly forced drivers and passengers to click on its in-app political ads; Uber paid $85,000 to the consulting firm of the California NAACP's president, who endorsed Proposition 22; and the pro-Proposition 22 group funded by Uber and Lyft sent fake "progressive" mailers to voters that falsely claimed to be associated with Bernie Sanders and other progressive politicians (Sanders and the California Democratic Party have come out against Proposition 22).

Read the original article on Business Insider

Biden called out Rudy Giuliani as 'a Russian pawn' during the final presidential debate

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 9:01pm  |  Clusterstock
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden gestures while speaking during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. (
  • Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called former New York City Mayor and Trump ally Rudy Giuliani "a Russian pawn" during Thursday's debate.
  • In recent weeks, Giuliani has played a large role in pushing out controversial and unverified information oabout the business dealings of Hunter Biden, one of Joe Biden's children.
  • Biden seemed to be referring to a Washington Post report that Russian intelligence agencies focused on Giuliani as a top target to push their preferred narrative. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Former vice president and 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani a "Russian pawn" in the second presidential debate against President Donald Trump. 

Giuliani, an ally of Trump, has in recent days pushed dubious allegations that Biden's son, Hunter Biden, has been involved in shady business dealings, and has said that he has incriminating evidence on Hunter. 

Biden's camp has described the claims as an effort to undermine confidence in the United States presidential election. 

"His own national security adviser told him that what is happening with his buddy, Rudy Giuliani, he's being used as a Russian pawn, he's being fed information that is Russian — that is not true. And then what happens? Nothing happens," Biden said. "And then you find out that everything that's going on here about Russia is wanting to make sure that I do not get elected the next President of the United States because they know I know them and they know me."

As Insider's Sonam Sheth noted in Business Insider's live fact check of the debate, Biden appeared to be referring to reporting in the Washington Post that Russian intelligence was zeroing in on Giuliani as a potential target. When Trump was informed of the Russian's efforts, he said, "That's Rudy," according to the Post.

—Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 23, 2020


Read the original article on Business Insider

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