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Eleven thousand scientists from 150 countries just issued a warning of “untold suffering” resulting from climate change if humanity doesn’t act. This follows a similar letter, with a similar warning, issued by the scientific community in 2017.

In the new letter, scientists say that despite 40 years of warnings, humanity has not made the significant changes needed to counter the coming climate crisis. They argue that in order to make a difference, six major changes are required: replacing fossil fuels, cutting the emissions of pollutants such as methane and soot, eating less meat, restoring and defending ecosystems, creating a carbon-free economy and stabilizing population growth.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/05/world/climate-emergency-scientists-warning-intl-trnd/index.html

Many have attacked Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare-for-All plan for being too expensive, claiming the program would add trillions to the national debt.

Warren’s answer is a wealth tax of 6% on fortunes above 1$ billion.

Advocates of all universal healthcare proposals make the point that a country as wealthy as the US should be able to afford such programs. They argue that all the tax reforms of the last thirty-five years have benefited the ultra rich and it’s time the pendulum swung back. Many compare today’s US economy to the gilded age of the late 19th century, when industrialists amassed incredible fortunes while the majority of our population suffered from poverty and poor working conditions.

A new study by economists, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, concluded that the 400 richest families pay a lower effective tax rate than the bottom half of all US households and it’s the first time the top forty families have paid a lower tax rate than the middle class in 100 years.

In response to the plan, several billionaires have argued that Warren is punishing success. Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase told CBS News that Warren “vilifies successful people.”

Bill Gates made a joke that he might have to pay $100 billion of his $109 billion fortune under Warren’s tax. Then, he went on to question, “I don’t know how open-minded she is or if she’d even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money.”

Warren responded that she would love to sit down with Gates to explain how much he would pay. How would you like to be a fly on the wall in that meeting? It’s a discussion that will be central to the next election cycle.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/elizabeth-warren-tells-bill-gates-shell-explain-her-wealth-tax-to-him/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/americas-richest-400-families-pay-a-lower-tax-rate-than-the-middle-class/

A woman died with a spear through her chest at a beach condo. Her boyfriend has been charged with her murder and has pleaded not guilty, claims the death was an accident.

Luckily, Hallandale Beach officials say that an Amazon Echo, or similar device, was in the room. So, as it stands, a voice assistant might be a key witness in the trial.

Source: https://fox59.com/2019/11/04/did-amazons-alexa-witness-a-homicide-police-obtain-recordings-in-womans-death/

 

A study by non partisan, non profit research group called New America shows the median income is lower today than it was in the 1980’s for 18 to 34 year olds, in spite of higher levels of education. The rise in contract and freelance positions is contributing factor in these results. It helps to explain why 30 percent of Americans aged 15-30 say that they would like to immigrate to another country according to Gallup. Income doesn’t tell the full story of prosperity. One must also understand the cost of living, levels of debt and asset ownership to get the full picture. Unfortunately, when it comes to total wealth, Millennials are falling even further behind. People today aged 23 to 38 have 40% less wealth than people of the same age group in 1989. This puts future US economic health in question. The most vital working age group for the next several decades is not happy with their economic condition and do not see a future in the US. It’s a message to American business that its push to part-time its workforce and its push to degrade unions and the support they provide is having long term negative consequences. Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/05/millennials-earn-20-percent-less-than-boomersdespite-being-better-educated.html
As smartphone manufacturer subsidies are vanishing, carriers are stepping up. AT&T’s new HBO Max streaming service is being offered free for mobile phones and $15 for everyone else. This offer follows a pattern of streaming services being used as ‘free’ marketing ploys. Last week Disney and Verizon started offering an unlimited plan that includes a year of Disney +. Certain T Mobile plans provide free Netflix for two years. Comcast’s Xfinity offers free Netflix and an additional break for Xfinity mobile subscribers. The trend will last as long as it works to get people to sign up for long term subscriptions. Source: https://www.wired.com/story/hbo-max-is-the-new-200-dollar-iphone/

McDonald’s confirmed today that CEO Steve Easterbrook was fired for a consensual relationship with an employee. McDonald’s is replacing him with McDonald’s USA President, Chris Kempczinski.

Easterbrook has been CEO since 2015. Before then he was chief Brand Officer for McDonald’s and formerly head of the UK-Northern Europe division. He will receive 26 weeks of severance and is prohibited from working for competitors for two years. Don’t worry about him, last year he took home $21,761,052.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/03/mcdonalds-steve-easterbrook-is-out-as-ceo-due-to-a-consensual-relationship-with-an-employee.html

https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNSE7_nGphlX-QtifhQZwUPZzD3ysQ%3A1572891630108&ei=7mvAXdqbBqnJ5gK_0ruoAQ&q=steve+easterbrook+compensation&oq=Steve+Easterbrook&gs_l=psy-ab.1.6.0i131l4j0i3j0i131l2j0i3j0l2.6172121.6172121..6180332…0.2..0.85.85.1……0….2j1..gws-wiz…….0i71.bWAaV6rO12w

Bernie Sanders revealed a plan to legalize marijuana on the federal level through executive action in 100 days. The plan also has mechanisms for limiting the industry by labeling marijuana a controlled substance so it can be regulated for safety and ban targeting young people.

The plan also seeks to alleviate the racial injustices caused by the war on drugs with a tax to pay for four programs aimed at addressing the damages. One of the programs is a $10 billion development fund for communities hit hardest by the drug war.

Source: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/10/24/20930422/bernie-sanders-marijuana-legalization-plan

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood this year are inspired by cult classics and horror films produced during the 1980s.  Executive producer of the event, John Murdy, reflected fondly on his own experience, “When I grew up in the ’80s, it was the ’50s that were cool. We looked to like ‘Happy Days,’ ‘American Graffiti’ and listened to The Stray Cats. So, it makes sense now, that in 2019, the ’80s are the hip thing.”

The throwback event runs on every Thursday night, from September 19th to October 31st.  Guests are invited to dress in their favorite 1980s apparel – everything from neon leg warmers, to windbreakers and track suits. Fans will be able to immerse themselves in the sights and sounds of the decade – 1980s music will be on the escalators and MTV-era music videos will be on the screens of the subway where the “Ghostbusters,” “Creepshow” and “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man” attractions are located.

The Ghostbusters attraction was approved by Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and offers memorable moments from all three Ghostbuster films.

Several mazes with designs based on horror films are featured.  Last year there was one based on the first season the Netflix thriller Stranger Things.  This year’s Stranger Things maze is based on the second and third seasons of the show and promises to meet high expectations.

Event Stats

  • Dates: Consecutive Thursdaynights, from September 19th to October 31st
  • Time: 7pm
  • Location: Universal Studios Hollywood, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA

Prices:

  • General Admission $64-$102
  • Universal Express Passes $159-$299
  • Multi-Evening Passes $109-$299
  • Various daytime/nighttime combo tickets $97-$147
  • All-inclusive R.I.P. Tours start at $279.
  • All passes are available at Hollywood.HalloweenHorrorNights.com
Apple Store’s search engine has come under scrutiny recently for favoring Apple’s company created apps in its results.  Scrutiny by regulators in Europe and the United States forced Apple to change its search algorithm in July. The New York Times had analyzed the search results for six years and found that Apple’s own apps ranked first with at least 700 search terms used in the store. According to the newspaper, the analysis since 2013 included a ranking of more than 1,800 specific apps for 13 keywords. The Wall Street Journal confirmed The Times reporting with its review that found similar results; Apple’s own apps often took priority. Before changes to the algorithm, when one searched for common terms such as “music” or “podcast,” Apple Music or Apple podcasts would come up and you’d see unrelated Apple apps, forcing Apple’s competitors down the lists. This is a natural result of the company’s tight control of the process.  iPhone apps can only be installed from Apple’s Store and Apple’s software competes with many of the independent developers in the store. Newspapers get involved when governments get involved.  This issue is the subject of a civil lawsuit in the US and the US Department of Justice is considering an Apple investigation. The Dutch are looking into it as well. Apple told The Times that it has made changes to help users better find the apps they are looking for.  After the changes, it appears that fewer of Apple’s own apps appear at the top of search results.

The way people watch TV and movies has shifted dramatically away from following scheduled releases to on-demand and streaming and binge watching. Waiting for a week until the next episode of your favorite show airs is largely of the past.

However, Netflix, the folks that brought us binge watching, recently showed some sympathy for the older way of doing things.  Starting with Rhythm the Flow, their new music competition series featuring T.I, Cardi B and Chance the Rapper, they have chosen a hybrid release schedule. Several episodes will be released each week over a couple months.  This schedule retains some elements of binge while building the anticipation for the next group of episodes.

This hybrid schedule reflects a clever business sense.  It recognizes that this program may be best if the formula is adjusted.  Likewise, Disney, a future competitor in the streaming space, plans to release shows like Loki and The Mandalorian in the traditional weekly format. Lesson: No format, style or business practice is cast in stone – in the age of downloads, vinyl records are making a comeback for audiophiles, so anything is possible.