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Disney wants sports leagues as ESPN partners, but it's not clear sports leagues want ESPN 2023-08-10 - Nikola Jokic of the NBA's Denver Nuggets prepares to be interviewed by ESPN's Lisa Salters after the fourth quarter of the Nuggets' 113-111 Western Conference finals game 4 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Arena in Los Angeles, May 22, 2023. It's clear to the four major U.S. professional sports leagues that Disney 's ESPN is potentially interested in them taking an equity stake in the network. What isn't yet clear is why the leagues would do it. The National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball have both questioned a partnership with ESPN if Disney's goal is to mitigate or replace payments to leagues for sports broadcast rights with equity in ESPN, according to people familiar with the talks. Disney executives and league officials agree that strategic partnership discussions are in the pure "idea" phase and may not amount to anything, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are private. Talks have had few specifics, said the people, but may heat up as ESPN attempts to reach a rights renewal deal with the NBA. Disney's exclusive negotiating window with the NBA ends April 2024. Disney is considering ways to save cash as it tries to shore up its balance sheet. The media giant's streaming division continues to lose money — with $512 million lost in its most recent quarter — and the company would like to pay down its $44.5 billion in debt. Disney also likely owes at least $9.2 billion to Comcast for its minority stake in Hulu. Agreeing to a deal where ESPN trades equity for sports rights could potentially save Disney billions of dollars that it can then use for other strategic ventures. ESPN struck a deal earlier this week with Penn Entertainment, which will provide it with $1.5 billion in cash over the next 10 years. But the leagues also need cash, especially as the regional sports network business is under threat. Teams pay players in large part from the sports rights fees. ESPN's bids serve an essential role in how the leagues earn money. The organizations can generate competitive bids for packages of games because ESPN is almost always a potential buyer. Disney CEO Bob Iger said during Disney's earnings conference call Wednesday that the company is "not necessarily looking for cash infusion" if partners could provide other assets — such as content — as the company transitions ESPN to a direct-to-consumer business. Sources say Disney is targeting 2025 as a potential launch date for an unbundled-from-cable ESPN streaming service. While ESPN+ exists today, it doesn't include ESPN's most valuable live sports such as Monday Night Football and most NBA playoff games. Disney has informed the leagues that it's also holding separate talks with strategic investors who can provide distribution benefits, according to people familiar with the matter. "We're looking for partners that are going to help ESPN successfully transition to a [direct-to-consumer] model," Iger said Wednesday. "And that, as I've said, can come in the form of either content or distribution and marketing support or both." An MLB spokesperson declined to comment. An NBA spokesperson said, "we have a longstanding relationship with Disney and look forward to continuing the discussions around the future of our partnership."
TV giants clash over NBA, NHL, MLB games as local rights go up for grabs 2023-08-10 - In this article SBGI NXST GTN SSP Follow your favorite stocks CREATE FREE ACCOUNT Christian Petersen | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images Tensions are building among broadcast station owners and pay TV providers as the local rights to air NBA, NHL and MLB games go up for grabs. Broadcast station owners including E.W. Scripps Co., Gray Television, Nexstar Media Group and Sinclair have been in discussions with leagues and teams about potential deals to carry games on free over-the-air channels, according to people familiar with the matter, as long-held media rights for teams on regional sports networks unravel. Regional sports networks have owned almost all local sports rights for decades, but their viability is in doubt after tens of millions of Americans have been canceling cable TV in recent years. A shift to a model revolving around broadcast stations and direct-to-consumer streaming would upend the business that saw teams and leagues reap hefty fees. It would also boost broadcast station owners leverage in carriage negotiations — and potentially accelerate cord-cutting. The discussions come soon after Diamond Sports Group, which owns the largest portfolio of RSNs, filed for bankruptcy protection and stopped paying rights fees for some of the teams on its channels. Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns a slate of networks, said it would exit the business by year-end, putting another handful of teams on the table. The leagues and teams began contingency planning in March when Diamond filed for bankruptcy, the people said. Broadcasters are viewing the opportunity to carry local NBA, NHL and MLB games as an unexpected pathway to boost the fees they receive from pay TV operators like Comcast , Charter or DirecTV for the right to carry their stations. Broadcast companies typically tie all of their stations together when they renegotiate contracts with pay TV carriers. That makes local sports unusually valuable. If companies like Gray or Nexstar can land sports rights in several markets, they can likely use those rights as leverage to boost fees for all of their stations. If pay TV operators push back on price increases, the station groups can threaten to black out the games. Leagues typically want to avoid local blackouts which disappoint sports fans. That dynamic has led distributors, which have also shown interest in short-term deals to carry games, to express concern to the leagues about more games going to local broadcast stations being provided free to viewers with a TV antenna and no paid package, the people said. They fear local sports moving to broadcasting could further accelerate cord-cutting. Top executives at DirecTV, including President Bill Morrow, are expected to meet with NBA and NHL leaders in coming weeks as part of an ongoing dialogue about local games if RSNs are to drop teams, some of the people said. Pay TV providers are also exploring alternatives to keep local games in the bundle. Charter Communications is introducing a cheaper TV bundle in the fall without RSNs to give consumers more choices. While MLB teams are also at risk, the talks have so far focused on the NBA and NHL, some of the people said. An NHL spokesperson said the league "is closely monitoring the RSN situation ... [and] prepared to address whatever circumstances dictate to provide our fans with access to our games." RSN pressure The Ohio Cup Trophy on top of a Bally Sports logo prior to a game between the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field in Cleveland, May 17, 2022. George Kubas | Diamond Images | Getty Images The regional sports network business model has been under pressure as consumers ditch traditional cable bundles and turn to streaming instead. For decades, these RSNs have paid fees to leagues and teams, and cord-cutting has hit the model especially hard. That, plus the debt load that stemmed from Sinclair's acquisition of Diamond Sports in 2019, pushed the network's owner into bankruptcy earlier this year. As part of the bankruptcy, Diamond is not only looking to restructure its debt load but also reset some of its media rights deals with teams to reflect so-called market rates. A bankruptcy judge ruled Diamond had to make those rights payments or teams can walk away from their contracts. "We are in ongoing discussions with our team and league partners about paths forward and are engaged in renewal discussions regarding the two distribution agreements that are up this year," a Diamond spokesperson said in a statement. "Our goal is to continue producing and broadcasting games for all teams in our portfolio." In addition to its contracts with teams, Diamond is also negotiating two carriage deals with DirecTV and Comcast, which will soon expire, according to court documents. Though the networks are still profitable, the industry — from the leagues to pay TV providers — is experimenting with alternatives. Many networks, including Diamond-owned Bally Sports channels, now offer direct-to-consumer streaming options, often priced at $19.99 or more a month. "The bottom line is you want to be seen in as many homes as possible and generating new revenues," said sports consultant Lee Berke. "There's not just one way to do it, but you can't be fully devoted to pay TV alone. There needs to be different streams of revenue." Broadcast is back Some of these sports deals have already been signed. The NBA's Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz recently reached deals to be be aired on local broadcast networks run by Gray and Sinclair, respectively. A Nexstar-owned broadcast station in Los Angeles will carry a set of Clipper games, while the Las Vegas Golden Knights, this year's NHL Stanley Cup champions, will be aired on a Scripps network this fall. "One thing is clear to us, regardless of whether [Diamond's] Bally Sports had financial problems. The distribution of teams only through RSNs had become a really bad business for the teams," said Brian Lawlor, president of Scripps Sports, a programming division launched in December. "The teams and leagues have a reach problem." Before the Scripps deal, Lawlor said, the Knights reached about 35% of households in the Las Vegas area on its original network, owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. The Vegas Golden Knights celebrate winning the NHL Stanley Cup after defeating the Florida Panthers on June 13, 2023 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jeff Speer | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images For these deals to work, broadcast station owners need to have existing stations in the same footprint as the teams as well as an affiliate station in the area that isn't a top four broadcaster — ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox — in case it interferes with national sports games. In some cases that means starting new broadcast stations, and in others affiliate networks like the CW Network or Scripps' Ion could be used. Nexstar's CW has been increasingly interested in adding sports, with recent deals for ACC college football games and NASCAR, and would be interested in obtaining more sports rights, including for local games, according to some of the people familiar with the current deals talks. The Phoenix Suns will be aired between two Gray networks, including the newly launched KPHE, reaching more than 2.8 million households and tripling its audience reach. The Suns' deal came to fruition as Diamond opted not to renew its contract with the team. The Suns' rights had also drawn interest from Scripps, some of the people said. Some argue that while cord-cutting is depleting the traditional RSN business, it is still profitable and the lucrative rights fees prop up the payrolls of leagues and teams. Deals with over-the-air broadcasters are unlikely to replicate those fees, even if they expand the reach. "The reality is that the issue people keep talking about is the rights fees. But the rights fees aren't necessarily the question," said Berke. "The question is what's the range of revenue opportunities available for teams and media outlets?" Wider reach means more visibility for fans, Berke pointed out, paving the way for advertising to make up for some of that revenue. MLB differences David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated by Kole Calhoun #56 and Starling Marte #2 after a walk-off RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during the ninth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on August 17, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the A's 4-3. Christian Petersen | Getty Images
Traveling to Hawaii? Here's what to know about the Maui fire. 2023-08-10 - Hawaii tourism official on efforts to evacuate visitors, help residents through devastating fires Hawaii is a noted tourist destination, but with deadly wildfires wreaking havoc on Maui and other islands, the state has declared a state of emergency in all counties. Hawaiian officials are discouraging non-essential travel to Maui amidst the fire's destruction on that island. Major airlines are assisting in efforts to evacuate residents and visitors already located in danger zones, and people with trips planned to Maui are being asked to postpone them, with airlines and accommodation providers offering travelers flexibility to rebook. Here's what to know if you had a vacation in Hawaii scheduled. What parts of Hawaii are experiencing fires? According to local news outlet Hawaii News Now, there are "several out-of-control wildfires on Maui and Hawaii Island." On Maui, the deadly wildfires are currently ablaze in Lahaina, Kihei and Upcountry Maui. The northwest part of the Island of Hawaii, between Hapuna and Kawaihae, is also affected. Can I still go to Maui? The Hawaii Tourism Agency is strongly discouraging non-essential travel to Maui. Even tourists who are already there are encouraged to depart immediately, if they can. "Visitors currently on Maui for non-essential travel reasons are being asked to leave the island as rescue and recovery efforts continue," the Hawaii Tourism Agency said in a statement Wednesday. Travel to the island of Hawaii remains unaffected, and the government said it remains to safe to visit other islands. Are commercial airlines flying to Maui? Many airlines are offering travel waivers that allow customers with immediate plans to travel to Maui to rebook their flights without fees, or to cancel them altogether for credit or, in some cases, a full refund. In 2020, airlines loosened their flight change policies to better accommodate passengers affected by Covid-19-related disruptions. "With the exception of basic economy tickets, almost all U.S. airlines allow you flexibility to either reschedule your trip or cancel and get the full amount you paid back for travel credit for future trip," Scott Keyes, of travel site Going told CBS MoneyWatch. "So you automatically have a lot of flexibility to change your plans or save flight credit for a future trip. That was not really the case pre-pandemic." United Airlines said it's prioritizing the welfare of its employees on Maui and has scrapped commercial flights to the island. It is instead using empty passenger planes to carry Maui residents off the island. "We've cancelled today's inbound flights to Kahului Airport so our planes can fly empty to Maui and be used as passenger flights back to the mainland," the airline said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. The airline also has waivers in place for United passengers who had been scheduled to fly to or from Kahului airport on Maui, as well as Honolulu airport. Customers may either rebook themselves on a flight that departs on or before Aug. 16, or cancel the flight altogether for a full refund, the airline said on its website. For its part, American Airlines said on Thursday that it planned to operate all scheduled flights to and from Maui. The airline is also allowing customers whose travel is affected by the wildfires to rebook without fees or to cancel and receive a full refund. Alaska Air, has a "flexible travel policy" in place that allows customers to change their flights at no cost through Aug. 31 or cancel them in exchange for a travel voucher worth the cost of the flight. Some would-be visitors to Maui said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that they wanted outright refunds from airlines, as opposed to the option to rebook within a short time frame, given the extent of devastation the wildfires have caused. Even if some flights are taking off, "we have nowhere to stay as our hotel was on the west Maui in Lahaina," said one frustrated traveler. Southwest Airlines said it had added flights between islands and back to the mainland U.S. "to keep people and supplies moving." Some fares from Maui to the mainland U.S. are under $100. Hawaiian Airlines also said it's adding extra flights between Maui and Honolulu for as little as $19 "to facilitate urgent travel." The Hawaii Tourism Agency added that "airlines are being very supportive during this emergency crisis and providing additional flights to help visitors depart from Maui. Airlines are also adjusting their travel schedules to support those visitors who had planned to arrive this week." Will I be compensated for my accommodations? Many major hotels and resorts in vulnerable areas have lost power, halted service and stopped accepting guests altogether. The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa said the hotel is "closed to arrivals and not accepting guests" through Aug. 13. It will issue refunds including for deposits and prepayments to guests who had been scheduled to stay at the property through the weekend. Homesharing site Airbnb said its extenuating circumstances policy has gone into effect for parts of Hawaii, including all of Maui. It allows hosts and guests to cancel their stays without penalty and entitles guests to full refunds for reservations they don't use. What if I bought travel insurance? In the case of non-refundable reservations, a travel insurance policy could help you recoup funds related to a trip you didn't take. For travelers already on Maui, some of these policies also come with medical evacuation options that can help visitors to the island get to safer grounds. Some credit card companies even build in protections related to travel too, without requiring that you sign up for additional protections. "Many of them automatically include travel insurance, so check and see what you're entitled to," Keyes said. —With reporting by Elizabeth Napolitano
Conservative groups are challenging corporate efforts to diversify workforce 2023-08-10 - U.S. corporations that vowed to diversify their workforces three years ago are now seeing those goals come under fire by conservative legal groups. America First Legal and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, two right-leaning nonprofits, have filed lawsuits in recent years against employers like Texas A&M University, Target and Kellogg's, challenging their efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI. Conservative legal groups have been fighting diversity hiring practices for years but the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June to strike down affirmative action in college admissions has added fuel to their engine, Lauren Weber, a Wall Street Journal reporter, told CBS News. "The affirmative action case which you mention addressed higher education; it did not address any of these employment programs — but that may be the next frontier, and I think that's partly what these groups are counting on," Weber said. In a more recent DEI legal challenge, America First Legal filed a lawsuit against Nordstrom in June arguing that the clothing retailer's goal of increasing representation of Black and Latino people in manager roles by at least 50% by the end of 2025 is discriminatory because it is race-based. Conservative legal groups are using two federal laws — the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 — as the main foundation for many of their DEI challenges, Weber said. The use of those laws by conservatives is noteworthy because they were passed decades ago with hopes of expanding employment opportunities for people of color, she said. "So, you see these same tools that were used to expand opportunity, now being used to challenge these DEI programs," Weber said. "None of the laws have changed here, but I think the question of what are the practical risks with some of the programs has changed." "Committed as ever" While more lawsuits may lead some employers to ease back on diversity programs, Weber said, many plan to forge ahead —even if it means a court battle. "Some companies that are more risk-averse may pull back, but many companies we've spoken to said 'Nope, we are not changing anything. We are as committed as ever,'" she said. "This comes down to a fundamental question of 'Does equal opportunity exist in the American workplace and American corporations?'" During the pandemic and in the wake of George Floyd's murder in Minnesota, some of the nation's largest companies vowed to increase diversity among their corporate ranks. Best Buy and Starbucks, for example, aspired to fill a third of their corporate jobs with people of color by 2025. Adidas, Facebook, Google, Wells Fargo and Microsoft had similar goals. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor challenged those hiring goals in 2020, arguing that basing hirings targets largely on race was discriminatory.
Supreme Court temporarily blocks Purdue Pharma settlement that would shield Sackler family 2023-08-10 - Washington — The Supreme Court on Thursday temporarily blocked a nationwide settlement with OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma that would shield members of the Sackler family who own the company from civil lawsuits over the toll of opioids. The justices agreed to a request from the Biden administration to put the brakes on an agreement reached last year with state and local governments. In addition, the high court will hear arguments before the end of the year over whether the settlement can proceed. The deal would allow the company to emerge from bankruptcy as a different entity, with its profits used to fight the opioid epidemic. Members of the Sackler family would contribute up to $6 billion. But a key component of the agreement would shield family members, who are not seeking bankruptcy protection as individuals, from lawsuits. The U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee, represented by the Justice Department, opposes releasing the Sackler family from legal liability. The justices directed the parties to address whether bankruptcy law authorizes a blanket shield from lawsuits filed by all opioid victims. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had allowed the reorganization plan to proceed. In a filing with the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said that if the lower court's decision is allowed to stand, it would provide a "roadmap for wealthy corporations and individuals to misuse the bankruptcy system to avoid mass tort liability." "That is not what Congress enacted the Bankruptcy Code to accomplish," she told the justices. "And if such abuses are permitted, the gamesmanship that is sure to follow will only amplify the harms to victims by redistributing bargaining power to tortfeasors." Lawyers for Purdue and other parties to the agreement had urged the justices to stay out of the case. "This is a baseless stay application that, if granted, would harm victims and needlessly delay the distribution of billions of dollars to abate the opioid crisis," Purdue's lawyers wrote. Ed Neiger, a lawyer representing individual victims of the opioid crisis who would be in line for a piece of the settlement, said it was a disappointment that they would have to wait longer for any compensation but also praised the court for agreeing to hear the case so soon. "They clearly see the urgency of the matter," he said. Another group of mostly parents of people who died from opioid overdoses has called for the settlement not to be accepted. Opioids have been linked to more than 70,000 fatal overdoses annually in the U.S. in recent years. Most of those are from fentanyl and other synthetic drugs. But the crisis widened in the early 2000s as OxyContin and other powerful prescription painkillers became prevalent.
UPS says drivers to make $170,000 in pay and benefits following union deal 2023-08-10 - UPS drivers will earn an average of $170,000 in annual pay and benefits at the end of a five-year contract agreement, UPS CEO Carol Tomé said during an earnings call this week. The executive's comments punctuated the end of a weekslong struggle between UPS and the Teamsters Union which negotiated with the carrier last month to avert a strike and secure a new contract for 340,000 union employees. "We expected negotiations with the Teamsters to be late and loud, and they were," Tomé said during the call. As a result, UPS slashed its full-year revenue forecasts "primarily to reflect the volume impact from labor negotiations and the costs associated with the tentative agreement," she added. The deal, which was reached on July 25, will increase full-time workers' compensation to $170,000 from roughly $145,000 over five years, according to UPS' calculations. It will also boost part-time workers' salaries to at least $25.75 per hour, and end mandatory overtime, Tomé told investors on Tuesday. Online searches for jobs with "UPS" or "United Parcel Service" in the title jumped 50% in the week after the new pay deal was announced, Bloomberg News reported, citing data from Indeed. Higher six-figure pay for UPS drivers By the end of the new contract, full-time UPS delivery drivers will make an average of $49 per hour, which works out to nearly $102,000 per year, assuming a 40-hour workweek, 52 weeks a year. That places UPS drivers near the same pay grade as software developers, finance directors and physician assistants, who all earn average salaries in the $108,000 - $115,000 range, according to Indeed. UPS did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch's request for comment about how drivers' projected $170,000 pay and benefits figure was calculated. The new labor contract should "be ratified in two weeks," with voting ending on August 22, Tomé said. UPS' deal with the Teamsters is the "single largest private-sector collective bargaining agreement in North America," the union group said in a blog post last month. It comes as unions notch wage increases for aviation workers and less than a year after a court reaffirmed union workers' win at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse.
Target recalls more than 2 million scented candles after reports of glass shattering during use 2023-08-10 - Target has recalled about 2.2 million scented candles sold exclusively at its stores because the candles' glass jars may suddenly shatter while the wick is burning. The recall, issued Thursday by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), affects Threshold Glass Jar 5.5 ounce 1-Wick and 20 ounce 3-Wick Candles sold in a variety of scents like Blue Agave & Cactus, Frosted Holly Berries and Pineapple Sage. Manufactured in Vietnam, the candles come in glass jars that can crack or break during use, posing laceration and burn risks, a the recall notice on its website. Target has so far received 19 reports of the jars breaking or cracking during use. One such incident caused a minor injury, the CPSC said. Target sold the candles nationwide for between $3 and $12 from February 2020 and July 2023. Target has recalled millions of Threshold brand candles sold exclusively at its stores because of laceration and burn hazards posed by the products' glass jars which may shatter during use. Consumer Product Safety Commission The recall affected Threshold scented candles with the following item numbers which can be found on the product stickers located on the bottom of the glass jars. 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Pineapple Sage & Sugarcane -Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0056 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Berry Lemonade & Melon - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0200 20 oz 3-Wick Jar White Gardenia & Jasmine - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0266 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Charcoal & Black Teakwood - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0268 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Rose Petal & Lotus - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0271 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Peony & Cherry Blossom - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0275 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Pineapple Sage & Sugarcane - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0276 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Woodland Cypress & Bergamot - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0294 20 oz 3-wick Jar Macintosh & Pumpkin - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0562 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Frosted Holly Berries - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0589 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Harvest Festival - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0679 20oz 3-Wick Jar Macintosh & Pumpkin - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0697 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Merry Berry - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0701 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Christmas Velvet - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0723 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Blue Agave & Cactus - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0743 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Wild Honeysuckle & Lilac - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0774 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Soft Cashmere & Lavender - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-0816 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Candied Almond & Vanilla - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-1164 20 oz 3-Wick Jar White Gardenia & Jasmine - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-1222 20 oz 3-Wick Lidded Glass Rainwater Lily - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-1442 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Citrus Zest & Aloe - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-1534 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Smoked Cinnamon & Hickory - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-1589 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Golden Orchid - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-1798 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Candle - Apple & Evergreen - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-2225 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Pineapple Sage - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-2682 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Vanilla Pumpkin - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-2683 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Candle Fresh Linen & Sea Salt - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-3080 20 oz 3-wick Jar Cashmere Cinnamon - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-3142 20 oz 3-wick Jar Pine & Juniper - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-3218 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Cinnamon Beignet - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-3233 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Twilight Woods & Amber - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-3888 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Cerulean Surf & Sea - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-3919 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Blue Agave & Cactus - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-3970 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Candied Almond & Vanilla - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-4045 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Apple Blossom & Breeze - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-4079 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Wonder Berry & Sage - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-4722 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Spiced Vanilla - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-5026 20 oz Lidded Milky Glass Jar 3-Wick - Frosted Vanilla Cupcake Candle - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-5706 Item number: 054-09-5706 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Green Mango & Pomelo - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-5711 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Spiced Gingerbread Cookie - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-5888 20 oz Lidded Glass 3-Wick Strawberry & Hibiscus - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-6079 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Pumpkin Spice - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-6795 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Fresh Fraser - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-6993 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Spiced Gingerbread Cookie - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-7437 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Red Mandarin & Guava - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-7504 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Warm Cider & Cinnamon - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-7849 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Water Mint & Eucalyptus - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-7915 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Christmas Velvet - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8165 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Candle Coconut White Woods - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8380 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Caramel Latte - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8559 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Tonka & Vanilla Amber - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8670 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Berry Lemonade & Melon - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8758 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Pumpkin Spice - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8768 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Green Mango & Pomelo - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8942 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Garden Herb & Cucumber - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8993 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Pumpkin Woods - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-9017 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Merry Berry - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-9120 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Tangerine Ginger - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-9293 20 oz Lidded Milky Glass Jar 3-Wick - Orange Blossom & Oak Candle - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-9306 Item number: 054-09-9306 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Fresh Fraser - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-9690 20 oz 3-Wick Jar Harvest Festival - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-9801 5.5 oz Jar Blue Agave and Cactus Candle - Threshold. Item number: 054-09-8268 The candles were manufactured in Vietnam and Target has so far received 19 reports of the jars breaking or cracking. One such incident caused a minor injury, the CPSC said. Target sold the candles nationwide for between $3 and $12 from February 2020 and July 2023. Anyone with the candles should stop using it immediately and return it to Target for a full refund, the CPSC said. Customers can also contact Target directly to get a prepaid shipping label to return the product by mail. The company announced a similar recall for the same brand of candle in May, which included the 14-ounce sizes. They too had problems with the jar's glass breaking. Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Target at 1-800-440-0680 or visit
Disney is raising prices on ad-free Disney+, Hulu — and plans a crackdown on password sharing 2023-08-10 - Walt Disney's ad-free streaming services are about to get more expensive — and the media giant is also vowing to crackdown on password sharing. Disney on Wednesday said it will boost the cost of ad-free Disney+ by $3 a month, or about 27%, to $13.99. It also plans to increase the monthly fee for ad-free Hulu by $3, or 20%, to $17.99. The new pricing will go into effect on October 12, the company said. The plans to boost prices and dissuade users from sharing passwords come as streaming networks are witnessing a slowdown in subscriber growth. In the case of Disney+, the service shed about 300,000 subscribers in the U.S. and Canada since April, the company said in its earnings report on Wednesday. Disney CEO Robert Iger said that the company is seeing stronger demand for its ad-supported streaming networks from marketers than older television and cable platforms. "[T]he advertising marketplace for streaming is picking up," Iger said on a conference call with investors and analysts. "It's more healthy than the advertising marketplace for linear television." He added, "We believe in the future of advertising on our streaming platforms both Disney+ and Hulu, and we're obviously trying with our pricing strategy to migrate more subs to the advertiser-supported tier." Disney password sharing crackdown Disney also said it plans to crack down on password sharing, although it didn't disclose details on how it plans to do so. The company is following rival Netflix in trying to stop subscribers from passing their account details to other people. "Regarding password sharing, we already have the technical capability to monitor much of this," Iger said on the conference call. "What we don't know, of course, is as we get to work on this, how much of the password sharing as we basically eliminate it will convert to growth in [subscribers]." Some analysts doubted whether price hikes and getting tough on password sharers can do much to lead Disney back to sustainable growth. Paul Verna, an analyst with Insider Intelligence, said in a note that the company's moves aren't likely to calm investors "anxious for clarity on the company's strategy for its streaming services and TV networks." —With reporting by the Associated Press
Inflation rose 3.2% in July, marking the first increase after a year of falling prices 2023-08-10 - Inflation rose by an annual rate of 3.2% in July, reflecting the first increase after 12 consecutive months of cooling prices. The Consumer Price Index, which tracks a basket of goods and services typically purchased by consumers, grew 0.2%, the same as it did in June, the Labor Department said Thursday. The increase fell just below economists' forecast of 3.3%, according to FactSet. The so-called core CPI, which excludes volatile fuel and food costs, rose 4.7% from a year ago. "Overall, the underlying details of the July CPI inflation data are consistent with ongoing progress on disinflation," said Gurpreet Gill, global fixed income macro strategist at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. "Although core services inflation trended higher on the month, other component-level trend are evolving in line with our expectations." The uptick, the first increase in the pace of growth since June 2022, is due partly to higher housing and food costs. Even so, economists said underlying pressures are easing and the economy is showing signs that price increases will continue to cool. Gill added, "In particular, rents and used car prices softened, alongside clothing and airfares." Housing costs, airline fares The cost of shelter surged, accounting for 90% of the total increase after rising 7.7% on an annual basis. The recreation, new vehicles and household furnishings and operations indexes also rose. Vehicle insurance costs also increased, jumping to 2% after climbing 1.7% in June. Vehicle insurance providers have hiked prices as they face higher repair and replacement costs, according to OANDA senior market analyst Ed Moya, adding that the slight rise in inflation in July does not tarnish the larger picture. "It's nothing that will derail this past year of steadily declining prices," Moya told CBS MoneyWatch prior to the inflation report's release. "There is a lot of optimism that we're going to see that disinflation process remain intact." Price declines Meanwhile, some types of services and products saw price declines, including airline fares, which fell 8.1% on a monthly basis. That represents the fourth straight month of declines for airfares. Goldman Sachs economists expect core CPI inflation to remain in the 0.2%-0.3% range going forward, kept in check by higher levels of auto inventories which will drive down used car prices. Used car prices are expected to fall 10% year-over-year in December 2023, analysts said in a research note. Another rate hike? The latest CPI report signals that the Fed's series of aggressive rate hikes have not been sufficient to battle inflation. "Still, we expect the Fed to skip rate hikes in September and November, when inflation should have decelerated even further," Ryan Sweet, Oxford Economics chief US economist said in a research note. "Therefore, we believe the Fed is done hiking rates in this tightening cycle but won't cut rates until early next year as they will want to err on the side of keeping rates higher for longer to ensure they win the inflation battle." Other economists agree the Fed will likely press pause on hiking interest rates. "Fed officials will likely look at the report as one more step down the disinflationary path," EY-Parthenon senior economist Lydia Boussour said in a research note. That said, it will "keep the door open to further rate hikes if the data justifies it."
Herbert J. Siegel, Investor in Major Media Deals, Dies at 95 2023-08-10 - Herbert J. Siegel, a maverick investor who became a billionaire entertainment-industry mogul most notable for finally enabling the merger of Warner Communications and Time Inc. in 1989 and for selling 10 television stations to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in 2000, died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 95. His wife, Jeanne, said the cause was heart failure. Mr. Siegel, the gregarious son of an immigrant garment manufacturer, combined his boyhood passions — deal-making and an infatuation with the film industry — to reap massive profits. The humorist Art Buchwald once said that Mr. Siegel deserved an Academy Award for having earned the most money in Hollywood without ever making a movie. Mr. Siegel got started young; he was still in college when, flush with a trust fund from his father, he sought to purchase a 20 percent stake in the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League for $60,000. His bid was unsuccessful, so instead he bought an interest in a company that packaged television programs and that was partly owned by his father-in-law, an organizer of the Columbia Broadcasting System.
Russia Tries to Bolster Ruble as Inflation Adds to Economic Woes 2023-08-10 - After Russia’s ruble hit a 16-month low against the U.S. dollar, raising fears of rising inflation, even one of President Vladimir V. Putin’s top cheerleaders in state media lashed out at the country’s financial authorities on Thursday over an exchange rate that he said was a subject of global mockery. The Russian central bank took measures on Thursday to stabilize the currency, amid the latest squall of financial volatility unleashed by Mr. Putin’s war against Ukraine. This time, the challenges are seen in both a struggling ruble that is fueling inflation, but also in government budget deficits that raise concerns about the sustainability of Russia’s intense spending on the war. The weakening ruble neared an exchange rate of 100 per U.S. dollar earlier this week, down by roughly 25 percent since the start of the year. The decline prompted the Bank of Russia on Thursday to halt purchases of foreign currency for the remainder of the year “to reduce volatility.” The central bank’s move should help shore up the ruble, because when the bank spends rubles to buy foreign currency, it increases the supply of rubles in circulation, lowering their value. The ruble was roughly flat in trading on Thursday.
Supreme Court Pauses Opioid Settlement With Sacklers Pending Review 2023-08-10 - The Supreme Court agreed on Thursday to consider the government’s challenge of a bankruptcy settlement involving Purdue Pharma, putting on pause a deal that would have shielded members of the wealthy Sackler family from civil opioid lawsuits in exchange for payments of up to $6 billion to thousands of plaintiffs. In doing so, the court sided with the Justice Department, which had requested the court put the settlement plan on hold while it considered reviewing the agreement. The government has argued that the family behind Purdue Pharma, maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin, should not be able to take advantage of legal protections meant for debtors in “financial distress.” The court’s order, which was unsigned, gave no reasons and included no public dissents, adds to the uncertainty around the plan to compensate states, local governments, tribes and individuals harmed by the opioid crisis while offering protection for the Sackler family. The order specified that the justices would hear arguments in the case in December. The court’s decision to take up the challenge to the bankruptcy agreement is the latest twist in the yearslong legal battle over compensation for victims of the prescription drug crisis.
U.S. Watchdog Halts Studies at N.Y. Psychiatric Center After a Subject’s Suicide 2023-08-10 - Federal regulators have suspended research on human subjects at the Columbia-affiliated New York State Psychiatric Institute, one of the country’s oldest research centers, as they investigate safety protocols across the institute after the suicide of a research participant. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kate Migliaccio-Grabill, confirmed on Wednesday that the agency’s Office for Human Research Protections was investigating the psychiatric institute “and has restricted its ability to conduct H.H.S.-supported human subject research.” About two weeks before the federal order, on June 12, the institute had “voluntarily paused all studies that included ongoing interactions with human subjects,” according to Carla Cantor, the institute’s director of communications. The decision affected 417 studies, of which 198 have continuing participation. Of those, 124 receive federal funding. It is unusual for the U.S. regulatory office to suspend research, and this suggests that investigators are concerned that potential violations of safety protocols occurred more broadly within the institute. Almost 500 studies, with combined budgets totaling $86 million, are underway at the institute, according to its website.
Judge Strikes Down F.D.A. Rule Regulating Premium Cigars 2023-08-10 - Not Everyone Is Celebrating Public health groups including the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Cancer Society had filed briefs in court urging the judge to keep the regulations in place. On Thursday, Thomas Carr, the national director of policy for the American Lung Association, called the ruling deeply disappointing. “All cigars, including premium cigars, can cause death and disease, and no tobacco product should be without regulation of any kind,” he said. “Even luxury cars need to have seatbelts and airbag warnings. Premium cigars should be no different.” Mr. Carr also cited the National Cancer Institute’s conclusion: “Cigar smoking causes cancer of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus and lung.” In a court filing, the public health groups warned that an exemption would “create the misimpression that premium cigars are safer tobacco products because they are unregulated.” How the Cigar Battle Began The F.D.A. effort to regulate these cigars stems from the Tobacco Control Act of 2009, under which Congress specifically awarded the agency broad authority over cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. It also allowed the agency to “deem” or identify other products that were to be subject to the law. So in 2014, the F.D.A. began a process to regulate cigars. The agency did ask for public comment over whether premium cigars could be regulated less rigorously. Cigar Rights of America, an advocacy group and plaintiff in the case, urged the F.D.A. to tread lightly, saying that the smoking of premium cigars was an occasional past time and that many users “do not inhale at all.” The group also argued that most users were mature adults outside the age and scope of the population needing the protections provided by Congress in passing the law. In turn, the F.D.A. opted to require premium cigar makers to conduct extensive studies of their products, list ingredients and register them annually. The agency noted that the cigar industry did not offer persuasive evidence about health effects or youth use that would warrant an exemption. The agency concluded that regulating all cigars equally “more completely protects the public health.” Groups supporting the cigar industry, in turn, sued. The Bigger Picture The F.D.A. is still busy enforcing numerous parts of the landmark 2009 law. Legal challenges are frequent, particularly as the agency attempts to take thousands of e-cigarette products off the market. Michael Edney, a partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP who represented the cigar plaintiffs, said the decision had broader implications for tobacco enforcement. “I think what the court is saying here is that the decision whether and how to regulate certain tobacco products is complicated,” he said. “When industry and retail groups come in and provide evidence about a different path,” the F.D.A. really has to analyze it, he said. “They can’t just say, ‘We want to regulate you folks, and our decision is final.’” The American Lung Association said it is discussing the decision internally with other public health groups. The F.D.A. said Thursday that it did not comment on litigation. It was unclear whether the agency would appeal.
Striking Writers and Studios Agree to Restart Negotiations 2023-08-10 - The announcement of a return to the bargaining table was the first positive development in a dual labor walkout — tens of thousands of actors went on strike in mid-July — that has brought Hollywood production to a halt. Late-night television shows immediately went dark, and broadcast networks have retooled their fall seasons to include mostly reality series. Last week’s session, which lasted about an hour, was the first time the lead negotiators from each side had sat down in person since May 1, when talks collapsed. Both sides had characterized it as a meeting to determine whether it made sense to restart talks. With a strike starting to hurt companies and writers alike, was there a give-and-take to be had? Pressure has been increasing from multiple directions to reach an agreement. “It is critical that this gets resolved immediately so that Los Angeles gets back on track, and I stand ready to personally engage with all the stakeholders in any way possible to help get this done,” Karen Bass, the mayor of Los Angeles, said in a statement last Friday. Screenwriters and actors are worried about not receiving a fair share of the spoils of a streaming-dominated future. They say streaming-era business practices have made their profession an unsustainable one. Many streaming shows have eight to 12 episodes per season, compared with more than 20 made for traditional television. Writers are fighting for better residual pay, a type of royalty for reruns and other showings, which they have said is a crucial source of income for the middle-class writer whose compensation has been upended by streaming.
Inflation Picks Up, but Details Under the Surface Are Encouraging 2023-08-10 - Fresh inflation data offered the latest evidence that price increases were meaningfully cooling, good news for consumers and policymakers alike more than a year into the Federal Reserve’s campaign to slow the economy and wrestle cost increases back under control. The Consumer Price Index climbed 3.2 percent in July from a year earlier, according to a report released on Thursday. That was the first acceleration in 13 months, and followed a 3 percent reading in June. But that tick up requires context. Inflation was rapid in June last year and slightly slower the next month. That means that when this year’s numbers were measured against 2022 readings, June looked lower and July appeared higher than if the year-earlier figures had been more stable. Economists were more keenly focused on another figure: the “core” inflation index, which strips out volatile food and fuel prices. That picked up by 4.7 percent from last July, down from 4.8 percent in June. And on a monthly basis, core inflation roughly matched an encouragingly low pace from the previous month.
Utah man killed by FBI joins a growing list of people willing to die for Trump 2023-08-10 - Hours before President Joe Biden traveled to Utah on Wednesday, FBI agents shot and killed a man in his home in Provo as they were serving an arrest warrant. According to FBI documents, the man had threatened to kill the president and other government officials, most of whom he apparently believed to be mistreating former President Donald Trump. According to FBI documents, the man had threatened to kill the president and other government officials he apparently believed to be mistreating former President Donald Trump. The FBI affidavit in support of the search warrant request describes the alleged conduct and threats it attributes to Craig Deleeuw Robertson, a retired steel and welding inspector. Those threats reportedly include Robertson’s social media posts indicating his desire to also harm the FBI agents investigating him and kill Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who leads the New York “hush money” case against Trump. No one should be surprised by this development. In fact, I’d be surprised if we don’t see more violent threats against government officials, given the incendiary rhetoric from Trump and his supporters. Robertson’s threats against those officials appear to be an end result of stochastic terrorism, generally defined as the public vilification of a particular group of people that randomly and unpredictably leads to violence against members of that group. According to a July report from the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats, "From April 6, 2023 to June 26, 2023, Americans agreeing that 'the use of force is justified to restore Donald Trump to the presidency' increased from 4.5% to 7%, or the equivalent of an estimated shift from 12 million to 18 million American adults." That research institute found that the increase "likely reflects the response of more intense commitment to Trump following the announcement of the federal indictment against him for mishandling 3 classified documents on June 9, 2023 — about two and a half weeks before our June 26, 2023, survey." According to the FBI's affidavit, Robertson was a self-described “MAGA Trumper,” who was spotted during FBI surveillance wearing a hat emblazoned with the word “Trump” and attired in the quintessential Trump costume of blue suit, white shirt and red tie. While emulating a former president’s attire isn’t criminal, threatening to kill his enemies certainly is. Apparently, that’s what got the FBI’s attention. Robertson was likely to be charged with three distinct federal violations related to making various and repeated ominous threats on two different social media platforms: The first count, making interstate threats, related to what authorities say were his threats to kill Bragg. FBI officials and other law enforcement officers outside the home of Craig Robertson in Provo, Utah, on Wednesday. George Frey / Getty Images According to that document, he made a detailed description of how he’d like to kill Bragg, including where he’d hide out and what weapon he’d used to kill him. Agents were also investigating him for threats against the FBI. According to the agency, he wrote, “Hey FBI agents, you still monitoring my social media? Checking to make sure I have a loaded gun handy in case you drop by again.” As for his reported threats on Biden, the Utah man allegedly posted, “I HEAR BIDEN IS COMING TO UTAH,” before saying he was preparing his sniper rifle. Reportedly, Robertson made threatening posts that mentioned U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, New York Attorney General Letitia James (who is overseeing a civil case against the Trump Organization), Vice President Kamala Harris and California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The Utah man allegedly posted, “I HEAR BIDEN IS COMING TO UTAH,” before saying he was preparing his sniper rifle. You need not be clairvoyant to have predicted those reported threats. While Trump and his GOP have a long record of publicly denouncing the FBI and the Department of Justice, those verbal assaults are now even more heated. Since Trump has been indicted in a state court in Manhattan, and by federal grand juries in Florida and Washington, D.C., he has responded with vile and dangerously inciteful rhetoric. In posts on Truth Social, he’s called special counsel Jack Smith “deranged,” referred to former Vice President Mike Pence — a potential witness against Trump in the latest federal indictment — as “delusional” and claimed he could never get a fair trial from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who was randomly assigned to that case. If it seems to you that you’ve seen this kind of thing before, you’re right. Trump used similar provocative and accusatory language after he lost the 2020 election. Then, on Jan. 6, 2021, many of his supporters violently attacked police officers, breached security and tried to stop certification of the Electoral College vote. About 1,000 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack. Many of those defendants who've been charged have claimed as a defense that they did what they did because Trump wanted them to. The founder of the Oath Keepers, now convicted of seditious conspiracy, asserted that his militia was waiting that day for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act. Ashli Babbitt, who was consumed by Trump conspiracy theories, was one of many who breached the U.S. Capitol, and she was wrapped in a Trump flag when a U.S. Capitol Police officer shot and killed her. You saw it, too, in Cincinnati. A man upset about the FBI executing a search warrant at Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, reportedly posted a call to action on social media that encouraged likeminded people to “get whatever you need to be ready for combat.” He later walked into the FBI field office in Cincinnati, tried to breach security, and, after a standoff that lasted hours, was shot dead. More than 1,000 people have been charged with Jan. 6 crimes. Many claimed they did what they did because Trump wanted them to. Expecting to soon be indicted on state charges in Fulton County, Georgia, for his attempts to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in that state, Trump this week called District Attorney Fani Willis a “young racist in Atlanta” and made a scurrilous and unfounded allegation about her sex life. Even if Trump is eventually issued a gag order from a judge in one of his cases for continuing his violence-inducing rhetoric, that doesn’t mean his proxies in Congress and on far-right media will stop. But the poll indicating that millions of Americans think it’s OK to commit violence on behalf of Trump is why his inflammatory language, and that of his proxies, is so dangerous. And why law enforcement can’t afford to be less than vigilant.
Appeals court strikes gun restriction implicated in Hunter Biden case 2023-08-10 - In a case from Mississippi, a federal appeals court just ruled against a prohibition on drug users having guns. This issue may sound familiar if you've been paying close attention to the Hunter Biden case unfolding in Delaware. Whatever impact the ruling has on the president’s son, it’s a significant nationwide issue that’s worth watching as the Supreme Court inevitably addresses it. Wednesday’s ruling in United States v. Daniels comes from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the right-wing court based in New Orleans that covers Texas and Mississippi in addition to Louisiana. In the case of confessed cannabis consumer Patrick Daniels, a three-judge 5th Circuit panel said the federal law barring gun possession by such an “unlawful user” violates the Second Amendment. The opinion was authored by Ronald Reagan appointee Jerry Smith, joined by Donald Trump appointee Don Willett and Barack Obama appointee Stephen Higginson, who wrote a concurring opinion that demonstrated the absurd state of Second Amendment jurisprudence. Higginson also observed that, even though the panel only struck down the law as applied to Daniels, its reasoning would likely apply to others, too. Of course, it was the Supreme Court’s decision in the Bruen case last year that unleashed new attacks on gun laws. The 6-3 party-line ruling made them presumptively unlawful unless they’re consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation. Unsurprisingly, that historical test has led to some funky outcomes, like when the 5th Circuit struck down a prohibition on domestic abusers having guns. The Supreme Court is reviewing that case, United States v. Rahimi, in the coming term that starts in October. Hunter Biden at the White House on July 7, 2022. Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file As for Hunter Biden, who was charged in June with possessing a firearm while being addicted to a controlled substance, he was already looking at a diversion agreement for the gun charge that could result in its dismissal. Plus, he also faces tax charges. So practically speaking, the prospect of the gun law being struck down nationwide might not change his bottom line — especially if he and the prosecution can reach an agreement covering both the tax and gun charges after the plea deal went off the rails last month. There’s an irony, of course, in the Democratic president’s son — a favorite political target of Republicans — benefiting from right-wing court rulings that his father's administration is challenging. Still, whether United States v. Biden becomes a landmark Second Amendment case is far from clear. It's unclear if it becomes much of a case at all, if the parties sort out their plea deal. But whatever the fate of that Delaware case and its subject, we’ll be watching the Supreme Court to see how much further it takes that amendment.
'It looks apocalyptic' Maui resident describes experience with deadly wildfires 2023-08-10 - 'To the right of this government, is only a wall' Impact of new judicial law in Israel 05:32
The political relevance of Trump’s preference for the south of France 2023-08-10 - It was just four days ago when Donald Trump responded to the United States coming up short in the World Cup by celebrating the defeat of his own country’s team. While common sense suggests the bare minimum of patriotism would lead an American politician to root for American athletes in international competition, the former Republican president actually taunted the U.S. women’s soccer team. As part of an online harangue, Trump went so far as to argue, “Many of our players were openly hostile” to the United States. That wasn’t true — none of the women on the team expressed any such hostility — though there was a degree of irony to the circumstances: The former president was questioning the athletes’ patriotism while simultaneously rejoicing in the loss of his country’s team. Two days later, as HuffPost noted, Trump expressed a preference for enjoying the south of France rather than being in the United States. Trump, who has frequently expressed disdain for America and Americans, made the comment during a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Tuesday as he griped about the criminal charges against him and lamented ever getting into politics. “I could have been relaxing at Mar-a-Lago or in the south of France ― which I would prefer being in this country, frankly,” he said. As a video clip of the comments suggested, this was not a scripted comment: The former president apparently just said what he was thinking. After seeing this, my first thought was about partisan asymmetry. Indeed, it’s worth pausing to imagine what the reaction might be if a Democratic presidential hopeful, after rooting against an American team, said he or she would prefer to be in the south of France rather than the United States. It’s also worth noting that if Trump acted on this preference, he might not enjoy the reception: As recently as 2020, the Republican’s final full year in the White House, a report from the Pew Research Center found that Trump was wildly unpopular in France. But it was the back-to-back comments that struck me as especially notable: On Sunday, the former president applauded a U.S. defeat in the World Cup tournament, and on Tuesday, he’d rather be in France than his own country. This comes less than a year after Trump used to his social media platform to describe the United States as, among other things, “evil.” Given this, I continue to find it remarkable that questions about the former president’s patriotism aren’t louder. Indeed, none of this is especially new. Revisiting our previous coverage, it was two weeks after his 2017 inauguration when Trump sat down for an interview in which he was reminded that Russia’s Vladimir Putin is “a killer.” Trump replied, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?” As we discussed at the time, Americans generally weren’t accustomed to hearing their president be quite this critical of the United States. What’s more, the idea that the American chief executive saw a moral equivalence between us and a brutal autocrat came as a reminder that Trump didn’t always hold his country in the highest regard. It was part of an unsubtle larger pattern. In December 2015, then-candidate Trump was asked about Putin’s habit of invading countries and killing critics. “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader,” Trump replied, “unlike what we have in this country.” Reminded that Putin has been accused of ordering the murder of critics and journalists, Trump added, “Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also.” In a July 2016 interview with The New York Times, the Republican went on to argue that the United States lacks the moral authority to lead, because we’re just not a good enough country to command respect. “When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger,” he said. There’s never been a president, from either party, who’s been so cavalier about America lacking in credibility. Sentiments such as “When the world looks at how bad the United States is...” are usually heard from America’s opponents, not America’s president. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg noted during the 2016 campaign that Barack Obama “has never spoken as negatively about America as Donald Trump has.” The Republican also explicitly rejected the idea of “America exceptionalism,” questioning aloud whether the United States really is “more outstanding” than other nations. To be sure, it’s a free country. If Trump wants to argue that the United States is “evil,” that’s his right. If he’s convinced that the United States is not a force for good in the world, he’s welcome to make the case. He can also root against U.S. athletes and dream of spending time on foreign soil. All of this, of course, is his business. But it’s more than a little jarring to see the Republican, at different times, both claim the moral high ground on patriotism and run down his own country in ways no former president has ever done. This post updates our related earlier coverage.