When is the last time you’ve been in a Hallmark?
When is the last time you’ve been in a Hallmark?
It begins. According to this NPR report, Starbucks is closing more than half its stores in mainland China due to the coronavirus.
Starbucks has temporarily closed more than half of its stores in mainland China as an outbreak of coronavirus has surged through the country, affecting thousands of people.
Here’s a great example of irresponsible journalism. Back in 2107, the website Task and Purpose ran a hit piece titled “6 Types Of Dudes Being Mad In Their Cars On Video“. The writer Francis Horten, mistakenly reported that I (Thomas Dishaw) was the man in this video “US Army Veteran Gives Dire Warning, Its Time To Prepare”. The writer thought that since I uploaded the video to my YouTube account, I must be the person in the video, they were WRONG. I have since deleted this video so I cant be confused with the guy in the video, unfortunately, the writer managed to bunch me together with the likes of Alex Jones and a few other losers.
Here’s a clip from the Task and Purpose article.
Unlike most artists R.A. The Rugged Man isn’t a slave, he’s willing to speak his mind no matter how controversial the issue. Imagine a mainstream douchebag (insert any name) having the balls to call out the U.S war machine and its fake two-party system, I can’t think of any.
There aren’t many artists left like R.A. The Rugged Man, society has been watered down with politically correct yesmen who are not willing to take a stand on any controversial issues. With a new album on the way R.A. The Rugged Man is still willing to put his career and endorsements on the line with an Instagram post that calls out the United States Government for what it is, TRASH!
I commend you.
⚠️Alert: #Iran‘s largest mobile network operators including MCI, Rightel and IranCell have fallen offline as of 6:00 pm (14:30 UTC) amid worsening internet shutdowns as protests intensify #IranProtests📉
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) November 16, 2019
Microsoft has hired former United States Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an audit of facial recognition company AnyVision to determine whether it complies with Microsoft’s ethical principles on how the biometric surveillance technology should be used.
Microsoft’s venture capital arm, M12, invested in AnyVision as part of a $74 million Series A funding round in June. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft stipulated that AnyVision should comply with its six ethical principles to guide its facial recognition work: fairness, transparency, accountability, nondiscrimination, notice and consent, and lawful surveillance.
The last principle states, “We will advocate for safeguards for people’s democratic freedoms in law enforcement surveillance scenarios and will not deploy facial recognition technology in scenarios that we believe will put these freedoms at risk.”
AnyVision, headquartered in Israel, sells an “advanced tactical surveillance” software system, Better Tomorrow. It lets customers identify individuals and objects in any live camera feed, such as a security camera or smartphone, and then track targets as they move between different feeds.
NBC News reported in October that according to five sources familiar with the matter, AnyVision’s technology has powered a secret military surveillance project that has monitored Palestinians in the West Bank. The project was so successful that AnyVision won Israel’s top defense price in 2018 for preventing “hundreds of terror attacks” using “large amounts of data.”
Human rights activist argued that AnyVision’s work monitoring Palestinians in the West Bank was incompatible with its public statements about ethical standards for facial recognition technology.
“AnyVision’s facial recognition technology is not being used for surveillance in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, and AnyVision would not allow its technology to be used for that purpose,” said AnyVision in a statement issued to NBC News last month.
U.S. President Donald Trump has asked Japan to quadruple annual payments for U.S. forces stationed there to around $8 billion, Foreign Policy reported, part of Washington’s efforts to press its allies to increase their defense spending.
The current agreement that covers the 54,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan expires in March 2021.
The demand was made to Japanese officials during a trip to the region in July by John Bolton, at that time Trump’s national security adviser, and Matt Pottinger, who was then the Asia director for the National Security Council, the U.S. global affairs magazine said, citing unidentified former U.S. officials.
A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman said the report was incorrect and no U.S.-Japan negotiations on a new agreement have taken place.
Bored with just plain old protests and interrupting political events to force their climate change virtue signaling onto the world, environmentalists are now using the legal system to harass those who don’t agree with their world view or aren’t “green” enough for their liking.
That’s what Mark McVeigh, a 24 year old environmental scientist from Australia has done: he is suing the $57 pension fund he is invested in with his retirement savings for “not adequately disclosing or assessing the impact of climate change on its investments,” according to Bloomberg.
The case will determine whether or not funds are in breach of fiduciary duties by failing to make investments that mitigate climate change.
Prior to filing the suit, McVeigh had asked Retail Employees Superannuation Trust, his pension fund, how it was “ensuring his savings were future proofed against rising world temperatures”. He didn’t like the answer he was given, so now he is suing.
“I see climate change as a huge risk that dwarfs a lot of other things — it’s such a big physical impact on the planet, and the economy.”
The fund says that climate change is one of the variety of factors it has to consider when investing on behalf of its 2 million members. Australia’s pension pool, which stands at about $2.9 trillion, is watching the case closely to see if the outcome will make it more difficult for funds to meet their already legislated minimum return targets.
Ian Patrick, chief investment officer at Sunsuper Pty, which manages A$70 billion, said: “Looking after the best financial interests of our members requires us to be conscious of the risks, but not exclude a whole segment of the economy that’s going to be very meaningful for a period of time. Right now, the interests of our members — the sole purpose of super — is what wins out.”
Other firms are also starting to act accordingly. One study by State Street Global Advisors showed that “fiduciary duty is one of the main ‘push factors’ for financial institutions to adopt environmental, social and governance principles.”
Other funds in Australia have employed “responsible investment teams” to try and mix environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors into their portfolios. They have joined global investor initiatives like United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and have used their stakes in large companies to advocate for change.
Remember the days when you used to just choose your own investments, before the government told you what you had to invest in?
Mary Delahunty, head of impact at HESTA, said: “As soon as you remove capital, they don’t have to have a conversation with you anymore.”
Pension funds are also trying to mitigate climate risk using debt. Some funds have written loans to gas companies in the Permian Basin instead of taking equity stakes and bearing the risk of being junior on the capital structure.
Patrick continued: “Those loans deliver double-digit returns over periods of up to 10 years while the world shifts to a cleaner energy mix. It’s why we prefer debt and why we think about the tenor of that debt quite deeply. Relative to holding long-term equity in an energy asset, that addresses the risk quite substantially.”
Activism is still on the rise and banks are still shying away from investing in environmentally damaging projects, but the Australian government has moved in the other direction. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is instead “considering new laws to prevent activists like environmental lobby group Market Forces from stymieing commercial decisions and threatening economic growth.”
REST recently appointed a responsible investment manager and in June and took control of a wind farm in Western Australia.
“Specific climate-related issues which we engage with our investment managers on include carbon foot printing, stranded assets, climate-related scenario analysis and exposure to lower carbon assets,” a REST spokesperson said.
Michael Gerrard, a professor of environmental, climate change and energy law at Colombia University, said: “Success in litigation breeds imitation, so if McVeigh wins, people will take a close look. People are so desperate at the failure of governments to act adequately on climate change that they’re looking for litigation targets.”
The McVeigh case makes its way to court on November 22 for a preliminary hearing.
It’s been over a dozen years since Susanne LeClair of West Palm Beach, Florida was first diagnosed with cancer and she’s been fighting ever since. Now she, like many other Americans facing life-threatening illness, is bankrupt despite having health insurance.
Before her first cancer-related surgery, LeClair was told by the hospital they accepted her employer-based health insurance.
“I paid my $300 copay. After the surgery, I started receiving all these invoices and came to find out the only thing covered was my bed because the hospital was out of network,” said LeClair. “My bills were hundreds of thousands of dollars, so I had no choice but to file bankruptcy.”
LeClair is on the verge of having to file for bankruptcy a second time due to the mounting medical debt she has accrued for additional cancer-related surgeries, regular appointments, medications and supplies related to her recovery, despite having health insurance and paying as much as she can out of pocket for copays, deductibles and premiums to maintain insurance.
“My medical bills are at $52,000. I’ve done everything from credit cards to consolidation loans, I just keep simply paying one credit card with another interest-free one until I can pay the next one,” LeClair added. “It’s the side of cancer most people don’t understand or know about and it’s never-ending. It just keeps adding up and adding up and before you know it you’re back in debt that you can’t believe again.”
Bankruptcy can also make it difficult to find employment given that many employers will disqualify a candidate with a bankruptcy filing found from a background check.
According to a study published in February 2019, about 530,000 bankruptcies filed annually are because of debt accrued due to a medical illness. The study found that even the Obama administration’s landmark Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) has failed to change the proportion of bankruptcies caused by medical debts, with poor health insurance cited as one of the main culprits.
Republicans and Democrats are currently at loggerheads over Trump administration plans to further weaken Obamacare by making it easier for states to opt out of certain requirements and offer cheaper plans that could further exacerbate the situation. And health insurance has emerged as one of the signature issues of the 2020 election, and the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination with senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren promising a total overhaul and Joe Biden and others pledging milder reforms. What all sides admit is that the current system is broken.
Pornhub said on Wednesday that PayPal would no longer support payments to Pornhub performers (via Vice). In a blog post, Pornhub said that it was “devastated” by the decision, which cuts off the primary way it pays “over a hundred thousand performers.”
In a statement given to Vice, PayPal said that the company discovered that “Pornhub has made certain business payments through PayPal without seeking our permission. We have taken action to stop these transactions from occurring.” PayPal’s acceptable use policy also forbids “certain sexually oriented materials or services,” which, as Vice points out, is murky enough phrasing to give PayPal leeway to make decisions like this.
Pornhub tells The Verge that the decision affects performers who are part of Pornhub’s Model Program, which lets individuals upload their own videos and earn advertising revenue from those videos. The company is pointing performers toward its other payment options including check, direct deposit, the Paxum e-wallet, and the Verge cryptocurrency (no relation to The Verge). Pornhub tells us that it will “continue to add more sex worker-friendly” ways to get paid and that it’s exploring more crypto options as well.
It seems like a reach to expect the hundred thousand performers to switch over to a single type of cryptocurrency for their paychecks, though, and direct deposit may also be dicey for some: a number of banks refuse to serve sex workers, according to this list compiled by Survivors Against SESTA. Pornhub explained last year that PayPal was a key alternative to banks: “PayPal specifically is a method of payment that many people, who may not have the luxury of a bank account, rely on to get paid,” the company wrote.
Sports Illustrated was a weekly publication as recently as 2015. In 2020 it will become a monthly, Yahoo Finance has learned.
The magazine reduced to twice per month in January 2018. Now, just two years later, it will cut again to one issue per month in 2020—plus four special issues and the Swimsuit Issue, for a total of 17 issues in the calendar year.
Sports Illustrated staffers learned of the coming change at an all-hands meeting in October. Sports Illustrated management has also notified its printer of the plan to go monthly.
Most notably, sources close to the magazine say the “close time” for each issue will be 3-4 weeks, meaning that everything in every issue must be “closed” (all text and photos edited, complete, sent to the printer) more than three weeks before the magazine comes out.
That will meaningfully change the look and content of each issue, since stories will have to be evergreen enough to have a longer shelf life on newsstands. In addition, the iconic covers Sports Illustrated is so known for, which often show newsy photographs of a championship game or notable moment that just happened in the past week, likely won’t be possible.
Although the magazine will publish less frequently, the issues will be printed on heavier paper stock and priced higher on newsstands. And some current staffers are pleased with the new plan. “I actually like the idea, it doesn’t make sense as a weekly anymore,” says one writer at the magazine, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I think the issues will look more like Vanity Fair or Vogue.”
Bernard “Jack” Young, who took office in May, said during his weekly press conference that “there’s not any lack of leadership of my part.”
“That’s what people need to understand. I’m not committing the murders. The police commissioner is not committing it. The council is not committing it. So how can you fault leadership?” he questioned. “You know this has been five years of 300-plus murders, and I don’t see it as a lack of leadership.”
Mayor Jack Young on Baltimore homicides: "I'm not committing the murders. The police commissioner has not committed it. The council's not committing it. So how can you fault leadership?" https://t.co/Yg9MMRnUTE pic.twitter.com/5XExpSMGA2
— FOX Baltimore (@FOXBaltimore) November 13, 2019
At least 296 people have been killed so far in the major northeastern city in Maryland this year, according to The Baltimore Sun, putting the city on track to have more than 300 homicides for the fifth year in a row. Baltimore has a population of more than 600,000 people.
Baltimore cops have somewhat relaxed the intensity of their enforcement efforts in the wake of Freddie Gray’s 2015 death while in police custody and the protests that followed. Preliminary data suggests cops have been reporting fewer and fewer criminal incidents in the years since Gray died, leading many observers to draw a correlation between overly cautious law enforcement stemming from the heightened scrutiny.
Several Southwest Baltimore neighbors began their Thursday morning with a visit to the South Monroe Grocery store and more bad news.
The lingering scent of bleach and a police presence outside the small shop signaled to patrons that another homicide had occurred. The officers soon placed a call to the fire department to wash the remaining flecks of blood from the pavement.
Hours earlier, a man and a woman were fatally shot — the 299th and 300th individuals killed in Baltimore in 2019.
Their deaths marked the city’s fifth consecutive year losing at least 300 citizens to homicide. The staggering total has become an unofficial milestone in Baltimore’s annual struggle to quell extreme violence.
Police confirmed the double shooting Thursday near the grocery store in the 1900 block of McHenry St. Prior to that, 21-year-old Donnell Brockington, of Aberdeen, died at an area hospital after he was found Wednesday night with gunshot wounds in the 2600 block of McElderry St.
“Every murder is a tragedy. We don’t want any. We strive to clear them all,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said Thursday on WYPR’s Midday show with Tom Hall.
Harrison, who previously served as New Orleans’ chief, said it took years for that city to reverse its crime trends. He said he attributed the reversals there partially to apprehending and holding criminals accountable. By solving more crimes, he said they were able to solve homicides, shootings and prevent more.
He said a new deployment strategy in Baltimore placed officers in the area of a shooting Wednesday night, allowing them to catch a fleeing vehicle. “Our officers were right where they are supposed to be.”
However, Harrison said to address the “culture of violence” in Baltimore, he said there must be programs offering young men a path away from a life of crime.
“If you’re not doing that we are only responding to it,” he said.