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- 11/12/18--07:45: _The best winter coa...
- 11/12/18--13:26: _Michelle Obama open...
- 11/12/18--13:48: _Trump is once again...
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- 11/12/18--13:52: _This $155 laptop ba...
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- 11/12/18--07:45: The best winter coats for men
A good winter coat will keep you warm and dry even when the snow is falling and the wind is howling. A great winter coat will keep you warm, dry, and looking good, too.
The Patagonia Men's Topley Jacket is our top pick because it's well insulated, water resistant, and imbued with understated but undeniable style.
- Best winter coat overall: Patagonia Topley Jacket
- Best waterproof: Columbia OutDry Ex Gold Down Hooded Jacket
- Best for working: Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Parka
- Best for extreme cold: Mountain Hardware Absolute Zero Parka
- Best versatile parka: Fjällräven Kyl Parka
- Best classic wool coat: Woolrich Classic Peacoat
- Michelle Obama spoke about meeting her future-husband Barack during an interview on "20/20" Sunday night.
- The former first lady says she had a bad first impression of Barack because he showed up late to their first meeting, when she was mentoring him during a summer associateship at a Chicago law firm.
- But she warmed up to him and the two eventually started dating.
- Speaking of their first kiss, she said: "From that kiss on ... it was love and he was my man."
- President Donald Trump is once again zeroing in on possible auto tariffs, which would be a massive escalation of his trade battles.
- According to a Bloomberg report, the White House is passing around a report on possible auto tariffs, and Trump is meeting with trade advisers about the idea on Tuesday.
- Placing tariffs on imported cars and trucks would cause substantial economic disruption.
- Tyler "Ninja" Blevins is the most popular professional video game player in the world, streaming "Fortnite: Battle Royale" for millions of followers every day.
- Portland based creative agency Roundhouse recently partnered with Ninja's sponsor, Red Bull, to redesign his home streaming studio, outfitting it with more than $20,000 worth of new equipment and custom features.
- Red Bull documented the process and their new video reveals how Roundhouse transformed Ninja's basement into a full-fledged command center.
- Business Insider spoke with Roundhouse Creative Director Robert Medkeff about designing the state-of-the-art studio.
- Handbag startup Dagne Dover has made a name for itself as the go-to work bag brand for professionals.
- Their 365 collection offers a wide range of styles, all made with neoprene, that nail the day-to-night transition and work well for all sorts of uses.
- The Ryan and Weston Laptop Bags (both $135 for medium, $155 for large) are the newest additions, so we tried them to see how they stack up to the rest of the rest of the collection.
- Safe to say, we were all impressed by these sleek but seriously versatile laptop bags that balance fashion and function all in one.
- As Democrats take back majority control of the House, the conservative House Freedom Caucus will have to adapt to being in the minority, which the group never has had to do since its formation.
- Despite significant losses for the GOP in the midterm elections, more conservative-leaning members who could join the HFC's ranks managed to win their elections, bringing in a handful of more recruits.
- 11/12/18--14:23: 22 unique gift ideas for everyone in the family — all from Amazon
- A Florida judge denied Gov. Rick Scott's request that law enforcement seize and monitor ballots and voting equipment when they're not being used in the state's midterm recount effort.
- The judge said he hasn't seen any evidence of "fraud or irregularities" in the vote counting in Broward and Palm Beach counties, and he urged politicians to "ramp down the rhetoric" about the state's contentious elections.
- Democrats say the lawsuit is a bad faith attempt at distraction and will serve to undermine voter confidence in Florida's electoral system.
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- Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will consult with top DOJ ethics officials about whether he should recuse himself from the Russia investigation, a department spokesperson said.
- The news is significant – Whitaker has a long history of making controversial and antagonistic remarks about the special counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation which throw his independence into question.
- If Whitaker were to recuse himself, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would resume oversight of the Russia investigation.
- Serena Williams was named GQ's "Woman" of the Year.
- GQ published four separate covers to celebrate its Men of the Year, one of which highlighted Williams with the word "Woman" written in, including the quotation marks.
- Twitter users were quick to question why the men's fashion magazine used the punctuation.
- GQ has responded, attributing it to the style of the artist behind the cover's handwriting.
- France has been the most-visited country in the world for more than 20 years running.
- But China is predicted to become the world's top vacation hotspot by 2030.
- Thanks to a growing economy and expanding middle class, China is also expected to become the biggest source of tourists in the world by 2030, passing the United States and Germany, according to Euromonitor.
- Holiday parties where you know virtually no one can be awkward, especially if you're not sure how to start a conversation.
- You could rely on the classic, "So what do you do for a living?" — but then you run the risk of coming off as the least interesting or original person at the party.
- The following icebreakers should help you get an interesting conversation going with ease.
- 11/13/18--07:08: This is what poverty looks like in the US right now
- Writing in a journal can be a therapeutic activity to start your day off with.
- Here, author Jamie Friedlander shares how keeping a journal in the morning has helped quell her anxiety and allowed her to focus on work.
- Five New York City restaurants earned the highest Michelin rating for 2019.
- The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa, and Per Se were all awarded three stars.
- Two of those, Le Bernardin and Per Se, have consistently topped Michelin ratings for 13 years — every year since Michelin started ranking NYC restaurants in 2006.
- President Donald Trump repeatedly portrays himself as a gung-ho supporter of the US military, but a year and a half into his tenure the president has yet to visit American troops in a war-zone.
- The vast majority of Trump's commander-in-chief predecessors dating all the way back to World War II visited troops in war zones, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
- Both Bush and Obama met with US troops in combat zones soon into their first terms.
- 11/13/18--07:40: The best bike fenders you can buy
High-quality bike fenders are easy to install, protect against all sorts of debris your tires may kick up, and don’t rattle much while you’re riding.
The Planet Bike Cascadia Bike Fenders are our top pick because they attach to your bike using durable stainless steel hardware, look good on your ride, and are backed by a lifetime warranty.
- Best bike fenders overall: Planet Bike Cascadia Bike Fenders
- Best rear mudguard: SKS X-Tra Dry Rear Mudguard
- Best affordable bike fender: Fifty-Fifty Mountain Bike Fender
- Best fender for road bikes: SKS Raceblade Long Bicycle Fender Set
- Best front bike fender: Topeak DeFender M1 Mountain Bike Fender
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
Winter is coming, and depending on where you live, that means freezing temperatures, snow, rain, and biting wind that always seems to find the gap between your pants and jacket. But just because the winter weather can be unrelentingly savage, that's no reason not to get outside and get on with your day. With the right winter coat, you can keep the chill at bay while you work or play, and you can even look good while you're at it.
The primary job of a winter coat is pretty straightforward: It needs to keep you warm. This is both a comfort and a safety matter, so make sure to consider the insulation capabilities of a winter jacket over all other factors. It's better to not to die of exposure than it is to look good, so you might have to sacrifice style for welfare. Keep in mind that water resistance plays a big role in warmth. A sodden jacket loses most of its insulation capacity, so if you live in or frequently visit areas with lots of precipitation, you need a jacket that is waterproof (or at least highly water resistant) to ensure that you'll remain warm enough.
You also need to be able to complete a given set of tasks without your coat impeding your abilities. You wouldn't go skiing or work on a construction site in a wool pea coat because the material would restrict your motion and also there's the whole looking ridiculous thing. But you also wouldn't wear a super puffy 800-fill down parka while meeting your friends for a drink in the city on a chilly but clear winter evening. That would be overkill and also look a bit silly. So also make sure to consider when and where you'll wear your coat in terms beyond the environmental factors.
The good news is that lots of men's winter coats are warm, water-resistant, and stylish. Once you have assessed a jacket and determined that it meets your needs in terms of safety and performance, you should absolutely shop based on looks. After all, your winter jacket is the garment people see any time you are out and about in those colder months. Read on to see which of our picks is bets for your needs.
Here are the best men's winter coats you can buy:
Updated on 11/12/2018 by Owen Burke: Added the Woolrich Peacoat and Fjällräven Kyl Parka. Updated prices and formatting.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best men's winter coat overall
Why you'll love it: The Patagonia Men's Topley Jacket offers the warmth of a parka in a handsome, stylish jacket that looks right at home above a pair of jeans or dress slacks.
At a glance, the Patagonia Men's Topley Jacket looks like a casual and rather simple jacket. Its design would not have looked out of place in any decade since the 1940s and will likely remain fashionable many decades into the future. Although this jacket may be unassuming in appearance, it's actually quite capable in terms of performance.
The outer shell of this two-layer coat is made from 100% recycled polyester and is waterproof yet breathable. The inner layer is quilted and features 600-fill-power recycled down that provides excellent insulation. Thanks to a zipper secured with a buttoned storm flap, even a harsh, cutting wind will be kept at bay.
But frankly, lots of jackets look rather like this one and can keep you warm and dry, too. What sets this jacket apart from the pack are the details. Its exterior pockets are lined with brushed jersey to keep your fingers warm and cozy. Its removable hood is well insulated, adjustable, and features a laminated visor to keep precipitation off your face (and out of your eyes, most notably). The left chest pocket has a waterproof zipper and a port for headphones. The waist can be cinched shut with an adjustable drawcord that keeps out that biting wind.
Most people who have worn the Topley give it at least a 4.5-star rating, though the latest version of this retro classic is too new to have many reviews. Most professional apparel writers love the jacket, while a writer from WyomingFlyFishing.com loves the way the "urban-friendly" jacket "wraps you in compressible warmth."
Pros: Stylish appearance, dual-layer design offers excellent insulation, clever design features
Cons: Rather expensive
The best waterproof winter jacket
Why you'll love it: You could have a friend spray you with a hose and still stay dry in the Columbia OutDry Ex Gold Down Hooded Jacket, plus, you'd stay nice and warm.
I own a Columbia Sportswear OutDry Ex Gold Down Hooded Jacket and I wear it dozens of times in the winter. When I'm doing any winter camping or hiking, I use it for the duration of the trip, day and night — balled up, the jacket makes a decent pillow for sleeping. By day, it keeps me warm and, as you likely surmised, 100% dry. When you see Columbia's proprietary OutDry tag on one of its garments, you can count on it to be totally waterproof.
I've worn my Ex Gold Down jacket in heavy snow and in driving rain and on some very cold days, and frankly, when paired with a couple layers of innerwear, the jacket kept me too warm once my heart rate was up. But that's a lot better than too cold. The jacket features multiple slender horizontal baffles that keep the 700-fill-power down in place and evenly distributed, and all seams are coated with an external tape, keeping out cold air and wetness.
Another thing you will love about this jacket is its remarkable compressibility. This thing can keep you warm in freezing temperatures, but then pack down small enough to tuck away into your pack or even into a glove compartment or a drawer. Or, like I do, you can roll the jacket up, fold it into its hood, and use it as a pillow. When you're exhausted after hiking all day, it will offer more than enough comfort.
The Columbia OutDry Ex Gold Down Hooded Jacket scores mainly five-star reviews online, with one customer saying he "highly recommend[s] it for anyone who goes backpacking in varying weather conditions." Another owner says it is "the best rain barrier I have owned."
A writer with Trailspace Outdoor Gear Reviews reported staying dry after a five-mile hike in the rain, and noted that the "nylon interior material is soft against the skin and comfortable." A gear tester with GearJunkie.com praised the coat for being waterproof and warm.
Pros: Exceptional waterproofing, compresses well for packing, lightweight
Cons: Limited breathability can cause sweating issues
The best winter jacket for working outside
Why you'll love it: The Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Parka will help to keep you warm and safe as you get the job done despite the winter weather.
When there's work to be done, you can't let a little thing like blizzard conditions stop you from doing your job. With the Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Parka, winter weather is no obstacle for the hard working man. The exterior of the parka is water resistant and will keep you dry in snow and in moderate rain. The coat features ample insulation for temperatures well below freezing, and thanks to a drawstring waist and hood and adjustable cuffs, the cold air won't be able to seep in anywhere.
But lots of parkas can keep you warm. That's kind of their job, in fact, isn't it? This coat has a leg up on the competition when it comes to use by workers for two primary reasons. The first is the highly reflective strips emblazoned across the chest and back of the parka, which ensure its wearer is highly visible even in low light conditions. The second is the abundance of pockets. The parka has two interior pockets and multiple exterior pockets, perfect for stashing smaller tools and hardware, a pen and pad for notes, a phone or radio, and so forth.
There's one more thing that everyone will love whether you want this coat for work or for warmth while you walk the dog: It costs well under one hundred dollars.
With more than 1,300 reviews in, the Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Parka has a 4.5-star average rating on Amazon. One owner says the "only complaint is that it is almost too warm," while another says it keeps him "toasty warm without being too bulky, has so many pockets I haven’t even found them all yet."
In a winter coat write up, one reviewer with TestFacts.com called the Caterpillar Heavy Insulated Parka the "best winter jacket for men as it boasts a number of features that make it beneficial for the winter season."
Pros: Warmth maintained by secure closures at wrists, hem, and neck, reflective patches, multiple pockets
Cons: Not fully waterproof, sizes run too large
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Michelle Obama says she was certain she wouldn't like Barack Obama when she was assigned to be his mentor when he worked at her law firm in the summer of 1989.
During an interview with ABC News' Robin Roberts on "20/20" Sunday night, the former first lady said she "wasn't impressed" with all of the attention paid to the 27-year-old first-year Harvard Law student.
Her law firm, Sidley & Austin, didn't typically take first-year law students on as summer associates, but made an exception for the law prodigy.
"I have my suspicions when a bunch of white folks fawn all over a black man because I sorta think, 'Ok, he can talk straight so they think he's wonderful.' So that was my theory," Obama recalled.
“He played it real smooth.” former First Lady @MichelleObama tells @RobinRoberts about her first kiss with former President @BarackObama.#MichelleObama#Michellehttps://t.co/GG1GiLPpkxpic.twitter.com/D4jVdjkB8U— Good Morning America (@GMA) November 12, 2018
"And his name was Barack Obama and he was from Hawaii. I thought, 'What?' You know, so I didn't really know what to expect," Obama said.
Then he showed up late for their first meeting.
"I was like, is he trifling? The black man's going to be late on the first day? I was like, 'Um,'" she recalled.
When he finally turned up though, she was attracted to him at first sight.
"And then in walks Barack Obama. And Barack Obama has always walked like Barack Obama," she said. "Like he's got all the time in the world. He had that stride, I was like 'Dude, you're cute.' But in my mind, I was like —"
"Not interested?" Roberts suggested.
"Off limits. Not even not interested," Obama said. "I'm not going to date one of the few black summer associates, Robin, how tacky."
But by July, Obama broke down Michelle Robinson's resolve, and she agreed to go on a date with him.
"We had been hanging out, getting closer. Barack had suggested that we date," she said. "But I was like 'No, no be my friend. Do this, do that. It wouldn't be right, no.' And he was like, 'You're crazy, we should date. I like you, you like me,' and I liked that about him. He was straightforward; he wasn't playing games."
At the end of their first date, they stopped to get ice cream and it was then that they had their first kiss.
"He played it real smooth," she recalled. "He just leaned in for a kiss and that really was it. From that kiss on we were — it was love, and he was my man."
The couple married three years later and went on to have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.
President Donald Trump seems to be once again focused on imposing tariffs on imported cars and trucks, according to new reports, a move that would substantially escalate the president's trade war.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the White House is internally circulating a draft report from the Commerce Department on auto tariffs. Trump plans to meet with his trade team on Tuesday to discuss the report. Releasing a Commerce Department report on auto tariffs would be the next formal step toward imposing such restrictions.
Trump has previously threatened to impose a 25% tariff on all autos and auto parts coming into the US to extract concessions from trading partners including the European Union and Canada. The Commerce Department has launched a formal investigation into possible auto tariffs under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which allows the president to unilaterally impose tariffs on any good as long as there is a national security justification.
The process is the same used by the Trump administration to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum and the rules of the investigation require the Commerce Department to submit a report to the president by February
Almost no members of Trump's cabinet — except hyper-protectionist adviser Peter Navarro — are in favor of auto tariffs, according to the news website Axios, due to the major economic disruptions the restrictions could cause. But Trump favors the tariffs as a way to extract concessions in trade discussions.
Automakers from around the world have warned that such tariffs would be devastating for their industry and likely cause substantial job losses in the US. A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that a 25% auto tariff would cost nearly 200,000 US jobs over a one to three-year timeframe.
In the era of YouTube and Twitch, professional video gamers rely on home studio setups to broadcast their gameplay to the millions of viewers around the world. Most home studios have humble beginnings, in a basement or in a kitchen. But if a streamer becomes successful, they soon need a set-up capable of an increasingly high level of production to serve a growing audience.
The world's most popular gamer, Tyler "Ninja" Blevins, has nearly 20 million subscribers on YouTube and became the first Twitch streamer to reach 10 million followers earlier this year. Ninja spends about 12 hours a day playing live on Twitch from his basement studio and has brought home as much as $500,000 a month through subscription fees and donations. His meteoric rise to the top of the video game world with "Fortnite: Battle Royale" has earned him a number of valuable opportunities, including commercials with Samsung, an ESPN the Magazine cover story, and an ongoing sponsorship from Red Bull.
Red Bull recently partnered with Portland-based creative agency Roundhouse to help Ninja redesign his home streaming setup, his primary base of operations. Roundhouse Creative Director Robert Medkeff flew to meet Ninja in Chicago where they discussed how to upgrade the studio and maintain his personal flair. The agency has worked on major gaming-related projects with Red Bull and Twitch in the past, but designing a state-of-the-art studio brought forth a new set of challenges. Roundhouse presented Ninja with a number of potential plans for the studio; once the gamer chose his favorite, they began fleshing the design out with the best possible technology and lighting options.
"His new studio needed to inspire creativity and support multiple types of content, and stand out as the first gaming studio of its kind," Medkeff told Business Insider in an interview.
While most of Ninja's streams consist of him playing at his desk, the new studio encompasses the full basement room. The space was given a custom acoustic treatment and has been fully outfitted with controllable, color changing LED lighting. Once wall includes eight different monitors for Ninja to host graphics or playback video from his dedicated video server. Another portion of the room has a dedicated analyst desk in place for when Ninja hosts friends or steps away from the action for a bit. Four different Blackmagic Design URSA 4K 60 fps broadcast cameras in the room are able to see the action from every angle while a mixture of Electrovoice and Shure broadcast microphones capture audio.
Red Bull declined to share the budget for the studio design, but the equipment alone is worth more than $20,000. The goal of the studio is to be a one-stop shop for any type of gaming broadcast and everything in the room can be controlled from a digital switch board on Ninja's desk. Despite the big time studio upgrades, Ninja will still be using the same custom built NZXT computer and the free Open Broadcaster Software to stream.
Roundhouse also worked to ensure that Ninja's personality was preserved within the studio. Medkeff said the partnership between Ninja and Red Bull was balanced and stress-free. The room was designed with Ninja's personal branding in mind but the space isn't dominated by sponsor logos.
Dozens of his personal trinkets line the room, including trophies, Funko POP figures, a "Fortnite" pickaxe, and a signed Detroit Lions football helmet. Medkeff said the look of the trophy wall will evolve as Ninja adds more personal effects. Roundhouse filled the studio with a fair share of secret features too, for example, Ninja's dogs have access to a small Murphy bed that pops out of one of the studio's walls.
"I don't want to give away too many things, because there are a lot of nice little hidden things that Ninja will reveal when he streams," Medkeff said.
While playing "Fortnite: Battle Royale" alongside superstar artists like Drake and Travis Scott and winning major tournaments has helped Ninja gain a celebrity profile during the last year, he began competitive gaming with "Halo 3" in 2009. In August, Business Insider spoke with his wife and manager, Jessica Blevins, about how they have handled his skyrocketing career.
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
I wish I could carry my favorite leather tote bag to work — but frankly, it's impractical. Though the style is classic, the thin straps are too weak to carry the weight of my day's worth of supplies and the wide-open interior leaves much to be desired in terms of organization. It's a dilemma commuters and professionals alike know all too well — struggling to find a bag that strikes the balance between comfort and practicality, with a look that still exudes an air of professionalism.
While I'm not planning on giving up my favorite leather tote anytime soon, I will be retiring it to weekend duty in favor of something a little more practical.
Luckily, I didn't have to search far to find a perfect, work-appropriate bag. My team has already sung the praises of Dagne Dover, a brand that makes intelligently designed bags for professional women, and men, who value both fashion and function. The brand already has a running list of commuter-friendly bags, including a carry-all gym bag, a professional leather tote, and a work-appropriate backpack, among others.
Both the Ryan and Weston are made with neoprene (the same material used to make wetsuits for scuba diving), and come in a range of rich neutral colors. The combination of the distinct-looking fabric with a style that resembles a briefcase creates an appealing aesthetic that passes in both formal and casual environments, truly embodying the purpose of the 365 collection. While the unique style is what might draw customers to these laptop bags at first, it is the superior organization and additional specs that will keep them coming back to Dagne Dover.
Given their names, one of the most prominent features of the Ryan and the Weston is the interior laptop sleeve, but there is so much more.
There's the exterior pocket that's perfect for keeping your phone or wallet almost concealed, but at arm's reach when you need it on the subway. Then there's the interior card slots, the key leash, and the mesh pockets that provide a spot for just about every little thing you'll need throughout the day. Plus, each bag is water resistant so you know your precious tech will be safe (remember, scuba gear!)
Both bags have a regular handle, as well as a crossbody strap, so you can carry it whatever way you find most comfortable. While most features are the same between the models, the most noticable difference is that the Ryan has an exterior zipper pocket, while the Weston has a slimmer, flat exterior. Both bags come in medium and large sizes. The medium's laptop sleeve is 13.25" inches wide, while the large's is 14.5" inches wide, so they can accomodate a range of laptop sizes.
Three of our team members got to test Dagne Dover's new laptop bags. While some of us were already fans of the brand, some of us (like myself) had never tried anything from Dagne Dover before, but it's safe to say, regardless of our prior experience, we were all impressed.
Connie Chen, Insider Picks reporter:
I wish the Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag had existed while I was in college, because it would've actually held up to all the heavy study materials and the laptop I carried around campus. I liked that I could carry it multiple ways — in one hand, over the shoulder, cross-body, or over my luggage handle — and it felt sturdy and comfortable all the while. Since it features so many well-organized compartments for notebooks, smaller tech, and even my keys, it's the only bag I need to carry if I want to bring some work home or to a cafe.
Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter:
Dagne Dover's laptop bag, like much of its offerings, is smarter, leaner, and better looking than most other options. It's spacious enough for my laptop, planner, headphones, keys, and other essentials, but compact enough to be forgettable even in a crowded subway car.
The neoprene is lightweight but sturdy, and being able to carry it like a crossbody or purse is essential. My favorite features are the key leash, lean build, and almost hidden exterior pocket for easy access to my phone or wallet. My only complaint is that I found the medium size's laptop sleeve to be a little snug for the MacBook I use for work, but that's ultimately not a big deal.
Remi Rosmarin, Insider Picks intern:
I was super excited to test the large Weston Laptop Bag after hearing such great things about Dagne Dover from my coworkers. While I'm more partial to the style of backpacks and totes, this bag won me over. I was worried that, as an intern, I might look silly carrying what looks like a briefcase. In all honesty, carrying this on the subway and into the office gave me an air of confidence that only such a professional-looking bag could provide. Still, I was able to bring it to the gym without worrying that a wet locker room floor would ruin it (thanks, neoprene!)
Most importantly, this bag feels like it was designed with every one of my commuter frustrations in mind. The key leash, smartphone-sized back pocket, and multiple organizational slots keep my bag organized, making it easy to find everything and eliminating all that wasted time rummaging through a stuffed, messy bag.
WASHINGTON — The conservative House Freedom Caucus is expected to lose a significant amount of leverage within the Republican Party when the new Congress forms in January, forcing members of the once-powerful faction to adjust to life in the Democratic-controlled House.
At its peak, the Freedom Caucus was able to force the hand of Republican leadership on key issues. By voting together, they could negotiate harder stances with House Speaker Paul Ryan. But with the GOP's losses in the midterm elections last Tuesday, the Freedom Caucus members will be a part of the minority party for the first time in the group's history.
The Freedom Caucus' chairman, North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, acknowledged in an October interview with Roll Call that it would be "our advantage to keep the majority."
"Because then, what puts something across the top could be Democrat votes, not Republican votes," Meadows added. "There would be no Republican-only scenario. However, if you have 40 or 50 Freedom Caucus members, a number of the other [Republican Study Committee] members will look to form coalitions with the Freedom Caucus to encourage the administration to look at more conservative policy."
And because of Democrats taking the majority, HFC members are now likely to be shut out of any leadership roles. Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a founding HFC member and former chairman, had initially announced a bid to run for speaker of the House when Paul Ryan retired. Jordan pivoted to a minority leader run just after the election, but now his prospects are even more dim than his original long shot bid.
Instead, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has emerged as the frontrunner to be the next minority leader, followed by Rep. Steve Scalise as minority whip. In addition, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming is running for House GOP Conference chair unopposed, and North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker is doing the same for the vice chair position.
With the minority leader position being decided among the GOP conference and not on the House floor, Republican aides told INSIDER they are confident in McCarthy's ability to easily win the the top spot. What was once a hot race with multiple people vying for support and perhaps most importantly, the blessing of President Donald Trump, is now a fairly simple decision for Republicans.
Despite GOP's widespread losses, the House added several new conservative members
Despite Republicans getting trounced in many races across the country, HFC recruits managed to pick up several seats in the midterm elections.
Incoming freshmen Republicans like Mark Harris in North Carolina expressed openness to joining the group, telling Spectrum News, "I can’t say that that final decision is there until I exactly understand what that means, but certainly I would be looking that direction."
"I’ve had a great deal of respect from day one for their seriousness with which they approach fiscal responsibility," Harris added.
Several other new Republicans who benefitted from the House Freedom Fund — the HFC's PAC — won their races in primarily deep-red districts, which could further add to their numbers.
Despite being in the minority, the personal associations of many HFC members with President Trump could prove advantageous for the politically weakened group.
Unlike most past presidents, Trump has many unique relationships with Republicans in Congress. Trump talks with members after they give fiery defenses of him on television and even maintains candid friendships with Republicans in the rank and file.
Having Trump's ear during budget talks and other negotiations on must-pass legislation comes with significant advantages, particularly for the more conservative members of the Republican caucus who have been frustrated with rules and process under Ryan's tenure.
"So you've got this frustration of members that they can't offer amendments, which is a problem for them personally, then you've got the committee chairmen that are disempowered, but then the way that you run this, the whole body is disempowered really," FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon told INSIDER in an August interview.
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. When I'm browsing for gifts, Amazon is admittedly not the site where I expect to easily stumble across an option that I've never seen before or regard as cool. I tend to think that the new and interesting startups have a leg up in this regard. Since Amazon is so familiar to shop, however, an ideal situation would be for me to knock out all my holiday shopping at once there. It may be a convenient place to shop for ordinary and practical needs like kitchen tools and organization products, but is it really the best place to find unique gifts for your friends and family? This guide of 22 unique gifts, all available on Amazon, presents a compelling case. Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
When I'm browsing for gifts, Amazon is admittedly not the site where I expect to easily stumble across an option that I've never seen before or regard as cool. I tend to think that the new and interesting startups have a leg up in this regard. Since Amazon is so familiar to shop, however, an ideal situation would be for me to knock out all my holiday shopping at once there.
It may be a convenient place to shop for ordinary and practical needs like kitchen tools and organization products, but is it really the best place to find unique gifts for your friends and family? This guide of 22 unique gifts, all available on Amazon, presents a compelling case.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.
A hook system more reliable than the MTA
Part art piece and part functional organizer, the subway-inspired wall hook reminds them of the joys (and terrors) of riding public transportation.
A GoPro harness for their dog
To see life through their dog's eyes might be one of the best perspectives an owner can experience. The comfortable and sturdy harness will take viewers on canine adventures of all kinds.
A programmable R2-D2
Your favorite droid comes to life, with a little help from a corresponding app. It can drive around their home, change stances, and react to movie moments as it watches.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
A Florida judge denied Gov. Rick Scott's request that law enforcement seize and monitor ballots and voting equipment when they're not being used in the state's midterm recount effort.
"I don't think I have any evidence to enter a mandatory injunction right now," Judge Jack Tuter said on Monday in response to Scott's Sunday suit. "If someone in this county has evidence of fraud or irregularities, they should report it to a law enforcement office."
Tuter also requested that both Democrats and Republicans "ramp down the rhetoric" surrounding the contentious gubernatorial and Senate races in Florida. Both are undergoing recounts as a result of their razor-thin margins, and Tuter argued there is a need to assure Floridians — and Americans — of the integrity of the state's electoral process.
Scott — who his leading Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the Senate race by 0.14 of a percentage point, or around 12,000 votes — filed suit on Sunday, seeking emergency injunctions against local elections supervisors in two Democratic strongholds in South Florida, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
In the complaint, Scott wrote that he was concerned election officials would "store election equipment and ballots in an unsecured facility outside the view of the public." Democrats and others argued that impounding the equipment isn't necessary because it's being stored in a secure facility and there's no evidence that anyone has or could tamper with it.
Following President Donald Trump's lead, Scott has accused elections officials in his state of electoral corruption and of overseeing widespread voter fraud.
"Their goal is to keep mysteriously finding more votes until the election turns out the way they want," Scott said Thursday.
Florida's secretary of state, appointed by Scott, and Department of Law Enforcement has insisted that there are no credible allegations of election fraud to investigate.
Since Election Day last Tuesday, Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated allegations about the vote counts in Florida, claiming that officials are making up votes.
"An honest vote count is no longer possible-ballots massively infected," he tweeted Monday, asserting that Scott and Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis had won their contests.
Republicans, including Scott, are charging that elections officials in the two counties have a record of "incompetence and irregularities in vote tabulations." They point to a recent court ruling that Brenda Snipes, the Broward County elections supervisor, oversaw the illegal destruction of votes in a 2016 congressional contest.
The office has since been under state monitoring — a point that Democrats say undermines Scott's claims of rampant fraud. (Monitors from Scott's administration deny his fraud claims).
"He also can't win because he had his own staff there since the day of the election — multiple people," Mitch Ceasar, the former longtime chairman of the Broward Democratic Party, told INSIDER of Scott's lawsuit. "It's all distraction. It's what I call the shiny object — don't look over here, look at the shiny object over here."
Ceasar added that the GOP lawsuits are a "form of voter suppression, in futuristically," because they have the potential to undermine voters' trust in the electoral system and depress engagement.
The Florida Division of Elections ordered recounts on Saturday in three tight statewide races for US Senate, governor, and state-agriculture commissioner.
Scott filed two other lawsuits late last week alleging that local election officials were hiding vote counts from the public, and the court ordered that the vote information be turned over. And he filed another on Saturday to block the chief elections official in Broward Count from submitting votes that were tallied after noon on Saturday, which was the deadline to submit unofficial vote counts to the state.
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For couples, the holidays are a particularly great gifting opportunity. You know what your partner loves, what small daily annoyances you can solve with a thoughtful gift, and how much they'll appreciate knowing the gesture came from you.
Odds are you want to give them something wonderful — whatever your price range is. All you need is a little direction, and a few great options to choose from.
Below, you'll find 34 of the best gifts to give your girlfriend this year.
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.
A customized map of her favorite place
Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive. You can find the full Insider Picks review here.
A monogrammed jewelry case from an up-and-coming leather startup
Keeping track of expensive, often tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — and jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. Especially if you've gotten her jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future, this is a thoughtful (and personalized) gift. It's made from premium leather, comes in six colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is also a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of.
A beautiful cashmere sweater in tons of colors for $100
Everlane is a cult-favorite startup, and their $100 cashmere sweaters are one of their most popular products ever. Thanks to their transparent pricing, you get a really nice cashmere sweater for the price of a not-so-nice one — and this classic crewneck comes in 18 colors.
If she's especially environmentally conscious, check out Reformation's cashmere. It's more expensive ($148), but it's made from 70% recycled cashmere. If you're looking for something less expensive, cashmere startup Naadam has fantastic cashmere sweaters for $75, but they're prone to sell out.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker will consult with ethics officials at the Department of Justice (DOJ) about whether a recusal from overseeing the Russia investigation is warranted, according to a DOJ spokesperson.
"Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker is fully committed to following all appropriate processes and procedures at the Department of Justice, including consulting with senior ethics officials on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal," the spokesperson said in a statement.
The news is significant — it comes after a steady stream of revelations about Whitaker's history of making antagonistic comments about the Russia investigation and the special counsel Robert Mueller. If Whitaker were to recuse himself, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would resume oversight of the investigation. Though DOJ officials typically follow the recommendations of ethics officials, they are not required to do so.
Mueller is investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 US election, whether members of President Donald Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow, and whether Trump sought to obstruct justice after he learned of the investigation's existence last year.
Trump last week ousted then Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Whitaker following months of resentment toward Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the investigation last year. Trump took a liking to Whitaker after he saw him on CNN last year criticizing Mueller and espousing more partisan views about the Russia investigation.
Once described as the West Wing's "eyes and ears" in the Justice Department, Whitaker has publicly mused about gutting the Russia investigation. As recently as last week, it was believed that Whitaker does not plan to recuse himself from overseeing the inquiry, and The Washington Post also reported that if Mueller wanted to subpoena the president, Whitaker would not allow it.
Among other things, Whitaker wrote in a CNN op-ed article last year that Mueller had overstepped his mandate by digging into the Trump Organization's finances. He has said, without evidence, that there was "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russia. And audio recently resurfaced of Whitaker falsely accusing "the left" of sowing "this theory that essentially Russians interfered with the US election," a theory he claimed had been disproved and did not affect the election.
While he was Sessions' chief of staff, Whitaker met with Trump in the Oval Office more than a dozen times, The Washington Post reported, adding that whenever Trump complained about the Russia investigation, Whitaker "often smiled knowingly and nodded in assent."
People are questioning why GQ used quotation marks to herald Serena Williams as its "Woman" of the Year on its cover, and the brand has responded.
The popular men's fashion magazine announced its "Men (and Woman) of the Year" in a Twitter post on Monday.
The four winners were the "Black Panther" actor Michael B. Jordan, the "Crazy Rich Asians" star Henry Golding, the Hollywood funnyman Jonah Hill, and the 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion Williams.
Jordan, Golding, and Hill are all lauded as Men of the Year. Williams, however, is listed as a "Woman" of the Year, with quotation marks prominently displayed on the magazine's cover.
Look at the cover photos below.
Announcing GQ's Men (and Woman) of the Year 2018: @michaelb4jordan, @henrygolding, @jonahhill, and @serenawilliams (featuring handwriting by @virgilabloh) https://t.co/EpG3lKCJ3r#GQMOTYpic.twitter.com/6MgczSxSpq— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) November 12, 2018
The quotation marks attracted the attention of people on Twitter.
"Okay but why is woman in quotation marks," a Twitter user named Anna Wagner said.
Okay but why is woman in quotation marks @GQMagazine— Anna Wagner (@Anna_F_Wagner) November 12, 2018
"Why 'woman' and not WOMAN?" another Twitter user said.
Hey @GQMagazine ...what the heck? Why "woman" and not WOMAN? ..seriously?!!!— Carolyn (@careme10) November 12, 2018
Perhaps anticipating the negative reaction the Williams cover art might receive, GQ included an annotation on the cover.
Next to "Woman," outside the second quotation mark, was an asterisk. A second asterisk was found at the bottom left of the page, below the subhead "The Champion, Serena Williams." It says "Handwriting by Virgil Abloh."
Mick Rouse, the research manager for GQ, explained the significance of this in his own post on Twitter.
He said Abloh had "styled everything in quotation marks as of late (see Serena's US Open apparel that he designed)."
Rouse added: "It quite literally has tags/quotations around it because that's Virgil's own style/branding, including in his partnership with Nike and Serena herself. That's the only 'message' behind it."
Because it was handwritten by Virgil Abloh of Off-White, who has styled everything in quotation marks as of late (see Serena's US Open apparel that he designed)— Mick Rouse (@mickrouse) November 12, 2018
It quite literally has tags/quotations around it because that’s Virgil’s own style/branding, including in his partnership with Nike and Serena herself. That’s the only “message” behind it. pic.twitter.com/uaGV1DYDhC— Mick Rouse (@mickrouse) November 12, 2018
Williams has long been scrutinized over her apperance, with her muscular frame standing out in women's tennis.
She has acknowledged being aware of such scrutiny, saying in a May interview with Harper's Bazaar that she had read internet conspiracy theories that she was born a man. Her "strong and muscular" appearance caused people to say such things, Williams said.
Four months later her appearance was once again headline news when the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun published a cartoon depicting her as an angry baby with grossly exaggerated weight, lips, and nose. The paper also published criticism of her character, saying she was "no feminist hero."
Williams' husband, the Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, called the cartoon "racist and misogynistic."
France has held the title of most popular tourist destination in the world for more than 20 years running.
In 2018 alone, 89 million tourists are estimated to have traveled to France.
But France may soon be overtaken by another country as the world's foremost vacation hotspot. According to a report from market-research firm Euromonitor International, China is expected to become the world's most popular tourist destination by 2030.
Euromonitor attributed the expected growth to the rapidly growing economies of other Asian countries and the expanding Asian middle class. China is seeing an increasing number of tourists coming from nearby countries such as Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan.
The firm also cited efforts by China to beef up its tourism infrastructure and make its policies more tourism-friendly.
According to the report, China is also expected to become the biggest source of tourists in the world by 2030, surpassing the United States and Germany. In 2018, just shy of 100 million Chinese tourists visited other countries, but that figure is expected to skyrocket to 250 million in 2030.
It all started with 2008's "Iron Man," but the Marvel Cinematic Universe actually stretches back millions of years.
The history includes far more than what we see on the screen. Thankfully, there's plenty of context within the 20 movies so far to give us a sense of just how far back it goes and when important events not seen in the movies take place.
None of it would be possible, though, without Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, who died on Monday at age 95. Lee helped revolutionize the comics industry in the 1960s, and co-created some of today's most recognizable superheroes, many of which star in the MCU. Those include Spider-Man, Iron Man, Black Panther, Thor, and others that have yet to appear in the franchise, like the X-Men and Fantastic Four.
We've put together a timeline that details the entirety of the MCU, based on the movies (we excluded events from television shows, like the Marvel Netflix series). The timeline can be confusing and isn't entirely concrete. We've included year ranges with each slide below to give a decent understanding of when events took place. Specific years that we know for sure are noted, as well.
From the birth of the Infinity Stones to the Thanos snap, the MCU has built an impressive timeline of events. We hope this timeline, which puts all major events (including ones you forgot about) together will help you better understand some characters' backstories and how specific events have shaped the universe so far.
Note: This timeline was originally published in August 2018.
Check out our in-depth MCU timeline below:
The icons in this key represent the movie that each event on the timeline occurs during or is mentioned in. The Infinity Stones are color coded to match the color they are in the movies.
Big Bang – 1939: Poignant events in the MCU, such as the birth of the Infinity Stones and vibranium landing on Earth, occur long before any of the movies in the MCU actually take place. But they have a lasting impact on overarching stories and events that take place in individual films.
1940 – 1950: Steve Rogers becomes Captain America, an event that jumpstarts the formation of the Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) and, eventually, the Avengers.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Maybe you're interested in making a new professional contact, or perhaps you simply want to make a good impression on a friend of a friend.
Whatever the reason, busting out the clichés upon the first introduction is never a good idea.
To mix the conversation up a bit, try using one of these 23 icebreakers. They should help ease you into an engaging conversation with people you've never met before.
This one may seem simple, but a smile, a name, and a confident handshake can sometimes go a long way, Ariella Coombs wrote for Careerealism.com.
"Sometimes the easiest way to meet someone is to offer a handshake and say 'hi,'" she wrote.
'I'll be honest, the only person I know here is the bartender, and I just met him two minutes ago. Mind if I introduce myself?'
Humor is a good method to put another attendee at ease and jump-start a lighthearted conversation.
'What do you do for fun when you're not working?'
Asking personal questions about people's activities outside of work can help solidify a connection, Shan White, owner of Women's Peak Performance Coaching, told Refinery29.
Asking about someone's after-work hobbies is "semi-personal, yet still professionally acceptable to ask," White said. "This can bring some levity and humor into the conversation while also letting you see what lights them up — what brings them real joy."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Though poverty has slightly declined in recent years, the US Census Bureau found last year that nearly 40 million people are living in poverty in America.
Poverty affects almost every area of life for Americans in every state and city across genders, ages, employment, and education.
See the different ways poverty affects Americans across the nation.
Though those living on the street are the most noticeable, homelessness is just one issue Americans in poverty face.
People in a variety of circumstances rely on government programs and local resources to aid in their struggle to support themselves and their families, working long hours on small incomes.
As costs of living rise across the country, some are forced to take up residence anywhere they can.
Source: Business Insider
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
I’m self-employed as a freelance writer, which means I spend roughly 40 hours per week at home, in loungewear, typing away on my laptop.
The internet is overflowing with productivity advice for people who work from home. Always get dressed as if you’re going to work so you feel more confident, they say. Avoid distractions like friends stopping by, some advise.
I don’t abide by these two rules, or many other prescriptive pieces of advice people often share for the work-from-home crowd. I have my own morning task that sets me up for the perfect day, and it’s never included on these lists.
I am a writer, so this might sound obvious. But I don’t write articles for work on my laptop. Instead, I handwrite for pleasure in my journal.
I’m 28 years old and am currently on my nineteenth journal. I began journaling when I was 14, and the habit never subsided. I began writing as a way to document my life. But the older I got, the more my journal turned into my confidante and my way of dissecting my emotions and exploring why I was feeling a certain way.
I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which means my mind is often overflowing with tiny, insignificant things that disproportionately worry me. Long ago, I discovered writing about these little things often helped me see that they were irrational, and in turn, my anxiety would dissipate. Doing this first thing in the morning helps me set aside the anxious thoughts that occupy my mind so I can focus on the work at hand.
Countering “what ifs”
Several months ago, I had a big interview lined up — one of the largest of my career. I would be speaking on the phone with Dr. Oz for one hour to write a profile on him for Success Magazine. I had interviewed other celebrities in the past, but no one this well known. My impostor syndrome kicked in, and I spent the days leading up to the interview riddled with self-doubt and fear.
On the morning of our call, I wrote about my fears in my journal.I explored every “what if” that was making me anxious, and then wrote about a rational reason why none of them wouldn’t happen. What if I ask a stupid question? That won’t happen because you’ve prepared immensely, and you specialize in health journalism, I told myself. What if I stutter or my voice falters? That won’t happen, because the minute you start an interview, you transform into a person of confidence and conviction, I reminded myself.
Spending just 20 minutes writing about everything that was making me anxious set me up for the perfect interview. None of my “what ifs” happened, and I was able to put my anxiety aside for the call.
Looking inward on personal issues
This morning routine extends beyond my professional fears. In fact, 90% of what I write about each morning is personal. Part of GAD is overthinking anything and everything, and writing about these things often helps me see that I am, in fact, overthinking them.
Due to a shoulder injury that left me unable to exercise for most of the summer, I dwelled incessantly over the fact that I had lost some of the muscle tone I achieved from doing barre each day, and had in turn gained a few pounds.
My husband reminded me that just a few pounds on my 5-foot-7-inch frame wasn’t at all noticeable, and that I’d be back to my normal self in no time. But my fears still consumed me, and I couldn’t let them go. Despite my husband’s kind attempts to assuage my worries, I still felt anxious about my body image. Only writing about these fears helped.
Will people think differently of me if I gained four pounds? I wrote. The answer was, obviously, no. Did I look that much different? No — the worry was irrational. Does my husband, the person who matters the most, still think I’m beautiful? Yes, and he reminds me of that fact every day.
By looking inward at my problems through writing, I’m often able to see when I’m obsessing or catastrophizing. And doing this in the morning — not at night — helps me get these worries out of my head before my day begins, so I can focus on my work with a clear mind.
Five restaurants in New York City were recently awarded one of the highest honors in the industry: three coveted Michelin stars.
The Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare, Eleven Madison Park, Le Bernardin, Masa, and Per Se, all in Manhattan, topped the NYC guide for 2019. All five restaurants are on the pricier side, with meals falling in the $75 and higher category, according to the Michelin guide.
Le Bernadin, a seafood restaurant in Midtown West, was opened in 1986 by a sibling duo from Paris who had already established the restaurant there in 1972. It's now run by one of the siblings, Maguy Le Coze, and chef Eric Ripert.
"When the definitive history of NYC's dining scene is written, Le Bernardin will have a chapter all to itself," reads Michelin's description of the restaurant. "...Seafood restaurants have no hiding place when it comes to cooking fish or crustaceans and this kitchen always hits its marks — whether that's poaching halibut, pan-roasting monkfish, baking striped bass or searing tuna."
Per Se is a newer establishment, opened in 2004 by chef Thomas Keller.
"The kitchen's sourcing is legendary and will make you think again about ingredients you consider familiar," reads the Michelin guide. "For instance, the milk-poached poularde is so exceptionally succulent and flavorsome that any chicken you subsequently sample will seem a disappointment."
Sixteen restaurants in the city earned Michelin stars for the first time, while five others saw their status elevated: Gabriel Kreuther, Kosaka, Le Coucou, Sushi Nakazawa, and Tuome. In total, 76 New York City restaurants received stars for 2019.
Michelin defines a three-star rating as "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey." The stars are based on five criteria: the quality of ingredients used, mastery of flavor and cooking techniques, the personality of the chef in his cuisine, and value for money and consistency between visits.
SEE ALSO: Only 10 guests can eat at this Michelin-starred restaurant per night, where a meal costs $600 and the dining room is transformed by high-tech lights, sounds, and scents throughout the evening
President Donald Trump repeatedly portrays himself as a gung-ho supporter of the US military, but over a year and a half into his tenure the president has yet to visit American troops in a war zone.
Since Trump took office, American troops have been killed everywhere from Somalia and Niger to Yemen and Iraq. In 2018 alone, eight US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.
But Trump has yet to visit Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria, among other places where US troops are putting their lives on the line to execute his orders.
This is arguably out-of-step for a president who's filled his cabinet with generals, boasted about making the military stronger than ever, called for an expensive (and recently cancelled) military parade in the capital, and lambasted NFL players for allegedly disrespecting the troops by kneeling during the national anthem.
In short, Trump has often talked the talk when it comes to the military – barring controversial comments about Sen. John McCain's time as a POW in Vietnam as well as widely criticized attacks against Gold Star families– but will he walk the walk?
Trump's predecessors often visited US troops in war zones overseas
The vast majority of Trump's predecessors dating all the way back to World War II visited troops in war zones, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And both Bush and Obama met with US troops in combat zones soon into their first terms.
Bush, for example, met with ground troops in Baghdad within 10 months of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. By the end of his time in office, Bush made four trips to Iraq and two to Afghanistan.
Comparatively, Obama visited troops in Iraq in 2008 while he was still a senator and made another visit within his first three months as president. Ultimately, Obama made four trips to Afghanistan as president.
The war in Afghanistan is over 17 years old and there's no end in sight
Trump promised to ramp down America's involvement in the war on terror as a presidential candidate. But the realities of the presidency have thus far made it difficult for him to do so and he's even increased US troop presence in some cases. Last year, Trump sent several thousand more troops to Afghanistan, for example.
Presidential visits to troops stationed in harm's way boost morale. The war in Afghanistan just had its 17th anniversary, and the nearly 15,000 US troops stationed there could benefit from seeing the president at a time when many Americans have seemingly forgotten about the conflict.
Moreover, as commander-in-chief some might say Trump has a duty to visit those he orders into harm's way. Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, definitely seems to feel this way.
Reed in October told reporters Trump should honor the sacrifices service members make by visiting troops stationed in combat zones. "I think it should be done," Reed said. "It's not just to get an idea what is going on, but to personally thank the men and women of the United States who are exposing themselves to great dangers for the country."
'I've been very busy'
The White House did not immediately respond to a query from Business Insider as to whether the president had any plans to make such a trip sometime in the not-so-distant future. But Trump addressed the topic in a recent interview with the Associated Press, stating he didn't think a visit to US troops in a combat zone is "overly necessary."
"I will do that at some point, but I don’t think it's overly necessary," Trump said. “I've been very busy with everything that’s taking place here…I’m doing a lot of things. But it’s something I’d do. And do gladly."
"Nobody has been better at the military," Trump added. "I have done more for the military than any president in many, many years."
'I think it's bigger than just a misstep, I think it's a failure of an obligation'
Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday slammed Trump for not visiting troops in a war zone this far into his presidency.
Hagel told CNN by not making such a visit Trump is not giving "recognition" to the fact US troops are fighting and dying in multiple countries, including Afghanistan.
"I think it's bigger than just a misstep. I think it's a failure of an obligation -- of a basic obligation of a commander in chief. He's commander in chief of our forces and not to go to a war zone where we have men and women dying, that's just wrong," Hagel added.
When I was a young, naïve college student, I would ride around campus in every type of weather. If it happened to be raining, I would show up to class with a nice stripe down my back from my tire kicking up gunk from the road. It didn’t feel or look good, but I figured it was just the price I paid for biking. It took an embarrassingly long time to realize that for a few bucks, I could simply install some fenders and only contend with the decidedly cleaner water falling from the sky.
Also referred to as mudguards, fenders come in countless styles. They may attach to your frame, fork, seatpost, or any number of other places. Because there is so much variety, the key to buying a good fender is ensuring that it will work with your bike. For instance, there are some types that don’t work with disc brakes. Others don’t work with caliper brakes. In our guide, we make a point of telling you which bikes each fender will fit on.
Many casual cyclists will pay a bike shop to install their fenders for them. Do not be intimidated by the idea of installing your fenders yourself. All of the options in our guide were designed so that the novice biker could install them on their own with basic tools.
While researching the best bike fenders, we read through countless reviews and ratings from experts and buyers. Our guide features mudguards that will protect you and your bike frame from the elements, have an attractive appearance, and fit several types of bikes.
Here are the best bike fenders you can buy:
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best bike fender overall
Why you'll love it: If you are looking for durable attractive fenders for your commuter, the Planet Bike Cascadia Bike Fenders are your best bet.
The Planet Bike Cascadia Bike Fendersare designed for commuters who like to ride year-round in all weather. The fenders fit bikes with 700c wheels that are between 28 and 35 mm in width, though riders with wider wheels report that these 45 mm-wide fenders work just fine. The fender features polycarbonate blades and 130 mm of extra mudflap coverage.
One of the best parts about the Cascadia Bike Fenders is the manufacturer. Planet Bike offers excellent customer service and backs its products with a limited lifetime warranty. Also, the company believes that fixing components is more sustainable than replacing them, so Planet Bike makes spare parts readily available for repairing its products.
Bike Commuters recommends the Planet Bike Cascadia Bike Fenders because the reviewer was able to install them in 15 minutes and found the process was easy for his disc-equipped bike, unlike other brands he has tried.
Kent’s Bike Blog likes these fenders because they are large enough to clear his 700x40 tires. The reviewer also appreciated that the mounting hardware is predominantly stainless steel, and the V-stays add extra stability. He found that they remain rattle-free on his commutes and have an attractive appearance.
About 72% of the people who reviewed the Planet Bike Cascadia Bike Fenders on Amazon gave the set a positive rating. Dale H. had the most helpful review. He said they just barely cleared his 700x38 tires, but after 1,500 miles, he hasn’t had to adjust them. He commutes in all weather and noticed that snow cakes up on the bottom bracket, and the fender squeaks when going over bumps.
Buyers comment that it takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to install. There are also several people who mention that they have received compliments how the fenders look.
Pros: Easy to install, stainless steel hardware, rattle-free, attractive look, lifetime warranty
Cons: Expensive, doesn’t work with wider tires
The best rear mudguard
Why you'll love it: The SKS X-Tra Dry Rear Mudguard is designed to help mountain bikers and road cyclists keep their rears protected from mud, water, and other ground debris.
The SKS X-Tra Dry Rear Mudguard is popular because it is easy to install and offers lots of protection. The directions consist of three simple pictures. You put the strap around your seatpost, attach and close the clasp, then tighten the bolt with the supplied hex key.
The fender is about 35 mm wide and 15 inches long so it should block anything your rear tire kicks up. The mudguard is designed for 26- and 28-inch wheel sizes, but due to its flexible design, there’s no reason you can’t use it with other sizes.
There are few expert reviews of the SKS X-Tra Dry Rear Mudguard, but Cyclocross Magazine tested it out and recommends it. The reviewer found there was a bit of an art to installing the fender just right. The left clamp needs to be strong enough to keep the guard in place while still allowing the right lever to snap in. He rode in a muddy race and some rainstorms and appreciated that the mudguard kept his backside dry. In the end, he recommends this for road cyclists, cyclocrossers, and mountain bikers.
Approximately 77% of the buyers who reviewed the SKS X-Tra Dry Rear Mudguard on Amazon gave it four or five stars. Many reviewers bought this fender because they were tired of arriving places with a wet butt. They found the mudguard did an excellent job of protecting their hindquarters from debris.
Buyers also found that installation was a breeze, but one cyclist noted that you need to be sure that you tighten the bolt enough to keep the fender from dropping down onto your tire.
Pros: Mainly for mountain bikers and road cyclists, keeps mud and water off your back
Cons: Doesn’t come with a front fender, installation takes a little finessing
The best affordable bike fender
Why you'll love it: If you are looking for a cost-effective, low-profile fender that you can install in a matter of minutes, the Fifty-Fifty Mountain Bike Fender is an excellent choice.
The Fifty-Fifty Mountain Bike Fenderis easy to install using zip ties. To avoid sliding, you attach the fender to your frame at four different points. You can then form the shape for a more attractive look.
The mudguard is made of one-millimeter-thick polypropylene and only weighs an ounce, which is great when you want to keep the weight of your bike to a minimum. It can be used on the front or rear and works on bikes with 26, 27.5, 29-inch, plus, and fat wheel sizes. However, this fender isn’t for bikes with caliper brake systems.
Several expert sites recommend this Fifty-Fifty product as the best mountain bike fender. Among those sites is Furious Bikes. The reviewer appreciates the mudguard’s durability, sturdiness, and flexibility. During testing, he didn’t experience any fender sliding or rattling. Also, it protected the fork stanchions and bridge from getting caked on mud.
Around 83% of the buyers who reviewed the Fifty-fifty Mountain Bike Fender on Amazon gave it five stars. Many of the reviewers mention that they felt they were taking a bit of a risk buying this fender since it’s so inexpensive and doesn’t appear to have much to it.
However, there are several comments about how easy it is to install and how it effectively keeps mud and dust out of their face and wards against the mud and water stripes on their back. There are only five critical reviews of this fender, and there are no common complaints.
Pros: Inexpensive, effortless installation, works with a broad array of bike styles
Cons: Relatively small coverage area
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