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I've been traveling the world for 6 months, and I've found real life doesn't always live up to the hype. These are the most disappointing places I've been.


porto bookstore Livrarialello portugal

  • In March I left New York to travel around the world as Business Insider's international correspondent. Over the course of more than six months, I have so far visited 12 countries.
  • While I've had some epic adventures, not everything lived up to the hype. Some bucket-list attractions were overpriced, uninspiring, overcrowded, or just plain boring.
  • Among the offending attractions: the "most dangerous hike in the world" in China, the Marina Bay Sands mega-hotel featured in "Crazy Rich Asians," and the Greek isle of Mykonos.
  • I thought it might be helpful to share which of my recent adventures weren't worth the trouble.
  • If you're looking for the things you should do, I have a list of those too.

Let's be honest, some things simply don't live up to the hype.

There's a temptation when going on a big trip abroad to come back singing the praises of everything you did and saw, whether it's a mediocre, all-inclusive island resort or an adrenaline-pumping off-road trip through the desert.

But that muddies the waters. Sometimes, you get to a place, attraction, or activity only to find it overpriced, uninspiring, overcrowded, or just plain boring. If you don't call that out, how do you know some experience you've had really was life-altering?

When I left to travel as Business Insider's international correspondent in March, I knew there would be amazing adventures along the way. I also knew there would be more than a few duds. Among them: the "most dangerous hike in the world" in China, the Marina Bay Sands mega-hotel featured in "Crazy Rich Asians," and the Greek isle of Mykonos.

With 12 countries and six months checked off on the trip so far, I decided it was time to pinpoint my least favorite adventures. Perhaps it'll help you reevaluate an upcoming trip, adjust your expectations for a bucket-list location, or feel less pressure to go see or do that thing that everyone is telling you that you must do.

Here's they are:

SEE ALSO: From off-roading in China to 22 hours of sunlight in Moscow: the one thing you have to do in 12 countries around the world

In China, I headed to Mount Hua, or Huashan, considered to be one of China's five sacred mountains and one of the most popular tourist attractions and pilgrimage sites for Chinese people. The mountain actually has five main peaks — a North, South, East, West, and Center.

While breathtaking, it's considered to be one of the world's most dangerous places to hike, due in large part to the infamous plank walk located on the mountain's highest peak, South, which has a height of 7,070 feet.

Unfortunately, I never got to the plank walk. The easiest way to get to the mountain's peaks is by cable car. The line was insanely long. You can't even see the cable car in this picture.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Trump's likely replacement for Don McGahn indicates the White House is preparing to take a more combative approach toward Mueller


Donald Trump

  • President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to name DOJ veteran Pat Cipollone to replace Don McGahn as White House counsel.
  • Cipollone's legal background and relationship with Trump's legal team suggests he will take a more combative approach toward the special counsel Robert Mueller and the Russia probe than his predecessor did.
  • Cipollone could also help gird the White House in the event of a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives following the upcoming November midterm elections.

President Donald Trump will likely name Justice Department veteran Pat Cipollone to replace the outgoing White House counsel Don McGahn, according to multiple media reports.

Speculation that Trump would tap Cipollone for the position picked up steam over the summer, when McGahn’s departure was first announced.

Cipollone currently practices at the Washington DC-based law firm Stein Mitchell Cipollone Beato & Missner.

His biography on the firm's website states that Cipollone has "substantial expertise" in defamation counseling and defending corporations, organizations, and public figures, including prepublication negotiations and litigation with major media organizations.

He has additional experience working on cases involving regulatory disputes, crisis management, consumer fraud, constitutional issues, and government scrutiny.

A source close to Trump's legal team, which is managing his and the White House's response to the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, told Business Insider that Cipollone has closely advised the president's lawyers in recent months.

He is also reportedly chummy with Emmet Flood, a White House lawyer and veteran attorney who represented President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings in the 1990s.

Cipollone's legal background and relationship with Trump's team suggests he will take a more combative approach toward Mueller than his predecessor did.

McGahn's is the latest in a long string of departures from the White House counsel's office over the last several months. The Washington Post reported that the office normally has a staff of 50 lawyers, but it had 35 earlier this year and is now down to just 25. It has also lost four of its five key deputies in recent months, the report said.

McGahn is a critical figure in the ongoing Russia investigation, particularly as it relates to Mueller's inquiry into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice at various points throughout the investigation.

don mcgahn

He frequently clashed with Ty Cobb, the former White House counsel, about how much to cooperate with Mueller's document and witness requests because he reportedly believed that Trump would be able to assert executive privilege over many of their interactions.

But earlier this year, it emerged that McGahn voluntarily sat down for 30 hours of questioning with Mueller's team that spanned over several months.

It is unusual for a lawyer to share as much information with prosecutors investigating their client as McGahn did with Mueller's team. But one person familiar with the matter told The New York Times that Trump wrongly believed McGahn would act as his personal lawyer when interviewing with Mueller and would therefore protect his interests at all costs.

Instead, McGahn is believed to have given Mueller critical details about Trump's attempts to assert control over the Russia probe. His resolve was bolstered by his belief that Trump had willingly made him available for an interview with Mueller because he was trying to trap McGahn into taking the fall for him.

For that reason, McGahn and his lawyer devised their own plan to cooperate as much as possible with the special counsel, The Times reported.

Trump pushed back on The Times' article and took issue with the implication that McGahn may have turned on him. Nonetheless, McGahn's departure was announced shortly after.

Cipollone's new reported position as White House counsel comes during a critical time for the president. Trump's legal team has been engaged in a protracted back-and-forth with Mueller over the terms of a presidential interview. Earlier this week, CNN reported that Trump's lawyers are in the process of providing written answers to several questions from prosecutors about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.

The report said Mueller insisted on being allowed to ask follow-ups after getting the answers to the first round of questions. The two sides have still not reached an agreement on whether Mueller's team will get to interview Trump in person.

Cipollone could also help gird the White House for a potential Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives following the upcoming November midterm elections. If the party gains control of the lower chamber of Congress, several Democratic lawmakers have said they plan to subpoena as many documents and witnesses from the White House as they can.

SEE ALSO: One of the most important witnesses in Mueller's obstruction probe voluntarily sat down for over 30 hours of questioning

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NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

A writer named on a Google spreadsheet of media men accused of sexual misconduct is suing the woman who created it



  • Writer Stephen Elliott filed a defamation suit on Wednesday against the creator of a crowdsourced list that named him among male media figures accused of sexual misconduct. 
  • Journalist Moira Donegan came forward in January as the author of the "S----y Media Men" list, an online crowdsourced spreadsheet which contained anonymous allegations against Elliott from harassment to rape. 
  • Elliott vehemently denied the allegations in a personal essay, but Donegan said after the suit's filing she stood by the spreadsheet. 

Writer Stephen Elliott has filed a defamation suit against the author of a crowdsourced Google spreadsheet that named him alongside dozens of male media professionals accused of varying degrees of sexual misconduct.

Elliott filed a complaint against journalist Moira Donegan in the Eastern District of New York on October 10 seeking $1.5 million in damages for libel and emotional distress, alleging that Donegan "conspired to create" the "S----y Media Men" list.

The list, which was created and widely circulated last October, includes Elliott's name beside anonymous allegations including "rape accusations, sexual harassment, coercion, unsolicited invitations to his apartment."

Donegan came forward as the spreadsheet's creator in a personal essay for The Cut last January. She said she created the list as "an alternate avenue to report this kind of behavior and warn others without fear of retaliation."

The list came after the high-profile sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and amid the emergence of the #MeToo movement, which swelled in media circles and resulted in a number of male anchors, journalists, and editors being publicly accused of sexual misconduct.

Elliott's suit also includes 30 "Jane Does" who anonymously contributed to the list, and whose identities Elliott hopes to discover by subpoenaing Google. Google told The Daily Beast it would oppose Elliott's requests.

Elliott shared his thoughts about the list in a personal essay published last month and a New York Times opinion article that was published three days after the filing, titled "What do you do when you are anonymously accused of rape?"

After Elliott published the personal essay vehemently denying the allegations and describing how they affected his life, one of his former colleagues, Lyz Lenz, a writer for the Columbia Journalism Review among other publications, tweeted a thread describing his harassment.

Lenz said other women had contacted her to share similar accounts.

"Since your name was on the list I have gotten so many emails from women talking about the harassment you put them through," Lenz wrote. "I'm talking so they don't have to."

After Elliott's filing, Donegan tweeted that though writing the list was the "hardest thing" she had ever written, "I still stand by it." 

A GoFundMe that was created soon after the filing to help cover Donegan's legal fees had reached $92,000 towards its $500,000 goal as of Saturday afternoon.

SEE ALSO: Trump mocks #MeToo movement in derogatory rant about Elizabeth Warren at Montana campaign rally

DON'T MISS: The CEO of Silicon Valley's biggest charitable foundation has resigned over allegations of a 'toxic' culture

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A white woman called the police on a black child she wrongly accused of sexual assault. After being confronted with video footage, she apologized.


cornerstore caroline teresa klein

  • A white woman apologized on Friday after a video went viral showing her calling 911 to wrongly report a sexual assault allegation against a young, black boy in Brooklyn.
  • The woman, 53-year-old Teresa Klein, had alleged on Wednesday that the boy groped her at a convenience store.
  • Klein was confronted with security-camera footage on Friday showing that the boy's backpack had brushed against her.
  • The original video is the latest in a series of instances where white people have called police on black people for seemingly innocuous behavior, raising concerns of racial bias.

A white woman in Brooklyn who called 911 and falsely accused a young black boy of sexual assault apologized on Friday after being confronted with video footage showing that the boy appeared not to touch her.

Teresa Klein, 53, sparked outrage across social media this week after she was captured on video outside a convenience store calling police and accusing a nine-year-old boy of groping her.

"I was just sexually assaulted by a child," Klein said over the phone, as the boy could be heard crying. "The son grabbed my ass and she decided to yell at me," Klein said, referring to the boy's mother.

The video, recorded by 37-year-old Jason Littlejohn, quickly went viral, racking up more than 6 million views as of Saturday evening.

Watch the video below:

Littlejohn labeled Klein "Cornerstore Caroline," the latest variation on a trend of nicknaming white woman who have gone viral for calling 911 on black people. "Permit Patty" and "BBQ Becky" each received online backlash after calling police to report a young black girl selling water in San Francisco and a group of black people barbecuing in Oakland, respectively.

On Friday, Littlejohn uploaded another video showing Klein back at the convenience store and watching surveillance footage from earlier that week. The footage appears to show the boy's bag brushing against Klein's backside as he walked behind her.

Klein conceded to reporters in the store that "the child accidentally brushed against me," and apologized.

"Young man, I don't know your name, but I'm sorry," Klein said, looking into one of the cameras.

Watch the video below:

Though Klein told Fox5NY that she's not racist and phoned police because she believed the boy's mother was being aggressive, her 911 call was the latest in a series of instances where white people have called police on black people for seemingly innocuous behavior, raising concerns of racial bias.

Two young black men in in April were forcibly removed from a Philadelphia Starbucks by police as they sat in the café waiting for a business meeting. In May, a graduate student at Yale University was questioned by police after a fellow student reported her for sleeping in the common area of their dormitory. In June, one black firefighter in uniform was reported to police as he conducted a city-mandated inspection on homes in an Oakland neighborhood.

The witnesses who saw Klein call 911 told media they felt outraged that Klein had frightened and potentially traumatized an innocent young boy.

"The little kid thought he was going to go to jail for something he didn't do," Littlejohn told The New York Times. "I thought it was someone calling police for unnecessary reasons, especially on a child."

SEE ALSO: Starbucks apologizes after viral video shows cops in a Philadelphia store arresting 2 black men who witnesses say 'didn't do anything'

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NOW WATCH: Inside the Trump 'MAGA' hat factory

Democrats are embracing a radical change to US healthcare, and it could be the defining political fight for years to come


Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a healthcare rally.

  • Democrats are increasingly supporting "Medicare for All" — a single-payer healthcare system championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and the progressive wing of the party. 
  • President Donald Trump and the GOP are beginning to attack the proposal — perhaps a sign of its political salience. 
  • But it remains unclear exactly what version of Medicare for All Democrats support, and it remains to be seen how politically feasible the policy is. 

President Donald Trump agrees with Democrats on a key political reality: the importance of healthcare to the American voter. 

Both Democrats and Republicans have zeroed in on the issue ahead of the 2018 midterms. Republicans are attempting to quell concern over the dismantling of Obamacare, insisting they support protecting individuals with preexisting conditions (while fighting those very same protections in court). Democrats are increasingly backing the transformation of the insurance market into a single-payer system, also known as "Medicare for All." 

In a sign of Medicare for All's political salience, Trump this week penned a rare op-ed slamming the progressive proposal, calling it the first step toward socialism and falsely accusing Democrats of plotting to "eviscerate" Medicare and hurt seniors — a key voting bloc. 

Democrats embrace Medicare for All

In a signal of the shifting parameters in the healthcare debate, former President Barack Obama endorsed Democratic calls for Medicare for All in a speech in Illinois in September. 

"Democrats aren't just running on good old ideas like a higher minimum wage, they're running on good new ideas like Medicare for All," he said. 

While the term is newly ubiquitous, the concept of universal public health insurance has had support in the US for more than a century, although its popularity and perceived political feasibility has fluctuated over time.

In 1994, then-first lady Hillary Clinton predicted that the US would have a single-payer system by the year 2000. But by 2016, Clinton's views had shifted. Framing herself as a pragmatic centrist in her presidential primary against Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton promised to improve Obamacare but dismissed the single-payer system Sanders ran on as politically impossible, arguing that it would "never, ever come to pass." 

A year ago, Sanders introduced his "Medicare for All" bill, which would expand the popular government benefit into a health insurance program for all Americans, rather than just those over 65. 

Marking a shift in the Democratic Party, 15 other senators — many of them on the unofficial list to run for president in 2020 — signed on to the bill. More than 120 Democratic House members support the lower chamber's nearly identical version of the bill. 

Protesters outside the offices of Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, urging him to support Sen. Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-all bill.

The leading Medicare for All idea

While there are multiple Medicare for All bills in Congress, the leading model is Sanders', in which there would be no private insurance plans, Medicaid, or other government health plans, but instead a single, nationally-run health insurance program.

Under the current system, consumers pay a monthly premium to a private insurer which in turn pays doctors and healthcare providers when a consumer receives care. Patients on private plans and some government plans are also expected to pay deductibles, an annual out-of-pocket amount, before insurance kicks in, and co-pays, an out-of-pocket cost that splits the price of care with the insurer.

Medicare for All would do away with all of those payments, instead creating a new tax for both employers and households as well as bumping up some existing taxes to help fund payments. The program would also redirect all current federal funds spent on Obamacare insurance premiums and other federal healthcare programs to the new program.

  • Doctors and healthcare providers would receive reimbursement from the government at a rate set by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Sanders' plan would set those reimbursement rates at the current Medicare levels, which are typically much lower than what healthcare providers receive from private insurers.
  • The program would also do away with what is known as balance billing, which allows providers to directly charge the patient the difference between their reimbursement and their estimated cost for providing a service.

To implement Sanders' Medicare for All plan:

  • The government would first expand the current Medicare benefits to include types of care currently not covered, like vision and dental.
  • Then the age of eligibility for Medicare would drop every year over the course of four years until all Americans qualify.
  • Newborns would be automatically enrolled in the program.

Sanders' plan involves the most wholesale overhaul of the healthcare system, but is not the only idea Democrats are floating. Other members of Congress have proposed plans that would create a federal option for people of all ages to purchase a federally backed health insurance plan similar to Medicare or Medicaid. This plan would not replace private insurance, but rather act as another option alongside private coverage.

Everyone loves Medicare

Sanders' proposal isn't just winning over lawmakers — it's also gaining traction among voters: 

  • A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 85% of Democrats, 52% of Republicans, and 70% of Americans, overall, are in favor of Medicare for All. 
  • Nearly 60% of Americans favor a national health plan in which Americans would be insured by the government, according to a March poll conducted by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • And when the policy involves a public option with the ability to keep a private plan, support for the proposal jumps to 75% (including 64% of Republicans).

New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Medicare's strong brand is likely a reason why the proposal is so popular. Polling by the progressive policy group Data for Progress found that support jumps from 51% to 60% when the term Medicare for All is used, rather than single-payer, to describe a universal healthcare system.

"Americans tend to dislike the idea of big government, but they like specific big government programs. By tying universal healthcare to popular programs like Medicare and Medicaid, progressives can build support for a massive expansion of the social safety net," Data for Progress cofounder Sean McElwee told Business Insider. 

In a testament to Medicare's popularity, Republicans are attacking Medicare for All by arguing the plan would "raid Medicare to pay for socialism," as Trump put it during an August rally. 

Conservatives and other opponents of the proposal raise a host of issues with the plan. The most cited objections are cost, reimbursement rates for providers, the potential for healthcare "rationing" or longer wait times for care, and the potential stifling of pharmaceutical experimentation.

READ MORE: Opponents' main attacks on Medicare for All — and how critics counter >>

Given the variety of versions of Medicare for All, it's clear Democrats are not quite on the same page when it comes to defining the policy. 

Single-payer proponents argue the party shouldn't compromise in their quest to transform the healthcare system, while more cautious Democrats want to avoid a political minefield that could threaten candidates in competitive races and save a debate over the details for later.   

Adam Gaffney, a physician and instructor at Harvard Medical School who supports both the House and Senate versions of Medicare for All legislation, fears that "more establishment types in the Democratic Party" will ultimately water the proposal down into "something unrecognizable." 

"Obstacle number one is the corporate opposition, obstacle number two is the potential that Medicare for All could be co-opted or sort of mutated into a lesser thing," Gaffney told Business Insider.

Kara Eastman, a Medicare for All-supporting progressive running for a US House seat in California, argued that voters of all political persuasions are "craving authenticity and integrity" on the ballot this year, and that candidates should be clear about where they stand. 

"Whether things are politically feasible right now — I don't think that should stop a candidate from laying out a vision for what we stand for and what we believe in," Eastman told Business Insider.

Other supporters of single-payer argue that Democrats should stake out an aggressive position on Medicare for All in part because no matter what they support, Republicans will accuse them of ushering in socialism, raising trillions in taxes, and stripping seniors of care. 

Indeed, the attacks against Democratic candidates in swing and conservative districts have been fierce. 

Rep. John Culberson, a Texas Republican, recently released an ad claiming that his Democratic opponent, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher, "supports a complete government takeover of health care," despite the fact that Fletcher has specifically denounced single-payer and supports "universal health care" achieved by reforming Obamacare. 

Democratic House candidate Kara Eastman celebrates after winning her Nebraska primary.

Running on Medicare for All 

Progressive Democrats are running and winning on Medicare for All across the country, in deep-blue, urban districts in the Bronx and red states like Nebraska. 

In fact, 20% of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue" candidates support Medicare for All, according to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat who founded a Medicare for All PAC last month.  

Meredith Conroy, an associate professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, and a senior adviser at Data for Progress, found that more than half of Democratic candidates in open primaries this year with policy positions on their campaign websites express support for Medicare for All. 

"The majority of candidates included a 'healthcare' section in on their issues page, and most discussed whether they support Medicare for All," Conroy told Business Insider. 

But a good portion of the Democratic Party remains unconvinced that single-payer is politically feasible. They say that the issue can help Democrats win primaries, but it will hurt them in general elections — and they doubt a majority of Americans will ever support the elimination of the private health insurance market, even if Democrats amass the votes in Congress to pass it. 

One Democratic congressional strategist pointed to Katie Porter and Eastman, both Democratic candidates running on Medicare for All who won their primaries in red districts (Orange County, California, and urban/suburban Nebraska, respectively), as "test cases." He argued that both candidates will face unnecessarily brutal — and effective — attacks from their Republican opponents on the issue. 

"You're telling these people you're going to raise their taxes and kick them off their employer plan to put them on some government-run plan that they're not going to be nearly as happy with," the strategist told Business Insider. "I think that's a pretty salient line of attack."

But Porter insists that even in Orange County, where wealthy residents might be largely satisfied with their current plans, the system ultimately fails even the wealthiest. 

"You simply can't save sufficient wealth and you can't buy sufficient insurance to cover the cost of a severely premature baby or to cover the cost of a long-term chronic cancer condition," Porter told Business Insider.

Eastman says she's challenged some of her more affluent potential constituents to consider the systemic benefits of single-payer. 

"Today I had somebody tell me he felt lucky that he had such good coverage through his employer, and my response to him was to say, 'Yes, and do you think it's fair for you to be lucky enough to have that coverage when so many other people do not have that kind of luck?'" Eastman said. "He was fairly stymied by that question."

SEE ALSO: 7 Democratic women to watch in 2020

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Here are some of the biggest arguments against Bernie Sanders' 'Medicare for All' plan, which is gaining popularity among Democrats


bernie trump wide

  • Democrats are increasingly promoting an overhaul of US healthcare known as "Medicare for All."
  • The idea, popularized by Sen. Bernie Sanders, would expand the government-run healthcare program to all Americans.
  • Republicans have attacked the plans, including President Donald Trump.
  • Health policy experts have also identified key issues that any Medicare for All program would need to address.

"Medicare for All," the idea to expand the government-run healthcare program to all Americans, is gaining steam among Democratic politicians and the party's base.

Many candidates are taking on the issue as a central part of their 2018 midterm campaign, and serious contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination are also backing the idea.

But not everyone is a fan.

Republicans, most notably President Donald Trump, have come out in recent weeks to bash the idea. While Trump's attacks leaned heavily on scare tactics, many conservative health policy analysts have also brought up a series of policy issues that could arise from the implementation of Medicare for All.

Conservatives and other opponents of the proposal raise a host of issues with the plan's cost and feasibility. The most cited objections:

  • Cost:
    • What opponents are worried about: Sanders' own estimate totals the cost of his plan at $1.38 trillion a year, while other studies put it anywhere from $2.4 trillion to $2.8 trillion a year. A recent, well-publicized study by the Mercatus Center— a libertarian free-market think tank — put the price tag at $32.6 trillion over 10 years.
    • What proponents counter: While the price tag for the federal government would rise, the benefits would far outweigh the costs. In particular, Sanders and others point to the Mercatus Center study's finding that National Health Expenditures — the total that households, businesses, and the government spend on healthcare — would actually be $2 trillion less than currently projected over the first 10 years after implementation.
  • Reimbursement rates for healthcare providers:
    • What opponents say: Sanders' plan assumes doctors, hospitals, and other providers will accept payment rates as much as 40% below what private insurance pays now. The idea is that since the government plan is the only game in town, healthcare providers will be forced to negotiate lower rates, which would drive down costs for the government. But this could make some providers unprofitable and force some hospitals out of business.
    • What proponents say: Providers will make up some of these lost payments in lower overhead costs, including less paperwork and fewer insurer disputes. Additionally, Medicare's reimbursements rates are higher than Medicaid's. And more insured Americans would mean more consumers for hospitals.
  • Healthcare rationing and long wait times:
  • Stifling pharmaceutical innovation:
    • What opponents say: The US spends much more on drug development than other countries and part of the promised savings from the plan would come from negotiating lower drug prices. Since the government is the only buyer in the Medicare for All system, pharma companies would have little choice but accept the prices the government is willing to pay. In turn, opponents argue cutting the amount of money the government pays out for the products pharma and medical device companies make could stifle their research and development.
    • What proponents say: Many pharmaceutical and medical device breakthroughs already use public funds and many innovations are still developed outside of the US. Additionally, most pharma companies already spend much more on marketing, which would become less important in a single-payer system.

SEE ALSO: Democrats are embracing a radical change to US healthcare, and it could be the defining political fight for years to come

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Forget owning a sports team: Rich people are snapping up race horses for up to $2.4 million, and they'll probably never get that money back


Keeneland Racing.JPG

  • Buyers spent a total of $377 million on year-old racehorses, known as yearlings, at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, many hoping they'll become money-making champions.
  • 27 horses at this year's sale sold for $1 million or more, and three sold for over $2 million.
  • From equestrian show jumping and polo to horse racing, horses have long been a favored sport among the rich and elite.
  • Race horses can yield big returns — 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify sold for $500,000 as a yearling and is now worth $75 million — but the odds are slim and the investment can be risky.

What's a millionaire to do when they don't have billions to buy their own sports team?

They spend millions buying their own racehorses instead.

"There's so much excitement in owning Thoroughbred horses — it's the closest thing [people] can be involved with in owning a sports franchise as there is," Bob Ellison, vice president of racing and sales at Keeneland Racing in the world's horse capital of Lexington, Kentucky, told Business Insider.

Ellison oversees the annual Keeneland September Yearling Sale, which auctions off Thoroughbred yearlings (one-year-old horses). In the past, the 13-day sale has produced champion racehorses, such as 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify— and millionaires and billionaires from around the world flock to the sale in hopes of buying the next money-making champion.

Keeneland September Yearling Sale.JPG

They're so eager for a good buy that they're willing to throw down seven figures for high-quality horses — 27 horses at this year's sale sold for $1 million or more, 14 from international buyers and 13 from US buyers, Ellison said.

Three horses sold for more than $2 million, and the highest-priced yearling went for a whopping $2.4 million — a worldwide record so far this year. Overall, buyers collectively spent around $377 million on nearly 3,000 yearlings, according to Ellison. 

Ellison calls yearlings an investment opportunity, but race horses have long been an expensive hobby of the world's richest people.

Rich people and their horses are nothing new

Horses have always been a favored companion among the rich and elite.

Equestrian show jumping has long been associated with royalty and is beloved by famous billionaire offspring like Jennifer Gates, Jessica Springsteen, Eve Jobs, and Georgina Bloomberg. Prized horses can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the cost of maintaining a horse can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars a month. 

Jennifer Gates equestrian

Polo, known as the "sport of kings," is often considered an upper class pastime in which the elite come together to drink cocktails and socialize while watching the sport. Hollywood stars, socialites, and designers flock to the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic every year.

Polo is even picking up steam in China, where Chinese billionaires are regarding it as the new luxury sport.

If its apt name doesn't say as much, The Royal Ascot is a five-day race with royal roots and royal guests; it's one of the UK's biggest society events of the year.

But it's horse racing where rich people put their money. The pinnacle of horse racing in the US, the Kentucky Derby, has been a playground for the rich and famous since 1875, attracting thousands of celebrities, politicians, and locals. 

It's here that some of the horses from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale go on to compete, which has a long list of elite and famous clients including John Malone of Liberty Media, socialite Peter Brandt, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, Campbell Soup heirs Charlotte Webber and George Strawbridge, and ruling families from the Middle East, among others, according to Ellison.

Kentucky Derby fans

In fact, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president of the United Arab Emirates, bought 27 yearlings for nearly $20 million at the sale this year, including seven $1 million-plus purchases. He's one of the world's biggest owners of racehorses, and he owns a massive stable and several racing operations. His brother, Sheikh Hamdan, also spent more than $12 million on 19 horses.

As Ellison puts it, the sale — namely the prospect of a good investment in good fun — brings about a unique melting pot of all kinds of people. 

A dud or a stud? 

But will these million-dollar purchases — or even those yearlings who sold for a mere six figures — become the money-making champions their buyers dream them to be?

Sheikh Mohammed Royal Ascot

It really depends on how well they race after they're sold, Ellison said. For example, Justify was sold for $500,000 — after winning the Triple Crown in 2018, he's now worth $75 million.

But the odds of buying the next Justify are slim. Horse racing syndicate Team Valor founder and CEO Barry Irwin previously told CNBC there is a 90% chance of losing, and that horse racing is a sport you shouldn't get involved with unless you love it.

"This is a game where money invested should be thought of as disposable income," racehorse expert and consultant Tony Cobitz also told the publication. 

Justify Kentucky Derby

Breeders do their best to groom the horses for top sale and promising returns, whether through commercial practices or more natural practices. "Some treat the horses like a tomato, polishing and feeding them in a controlled environment," Ellison said. "Others like a horse to be a horse and raise them in a field.

"Whatever method [breeders] used this year, it appeared that they had a vintage crop that came more mature with more mass, and a more athletic build," he added.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the individual preferences of the buyer. "Some are looking for the physical confirmation — how big is the horse, how does it look racing, how does her coat look, is he muscular," Ellison said. "Others are looking for a horse to run on the grass and sprint — to see how quickly they can get them to the race track," he said.

There are certainly a few things buyers can consider to increase their odds of having a better return — males (colts) are worth more than females (fillies as a yearling, mares as an adult), buying more than one yearling at a sale (like Sheikh Mohammed) gives one more chances at winning, and having a quality pedigree can matter, whether the yearling comes from an exceptional mare or an emerging or well-established sire, Ellison said.

For example, former Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah had his first crop up for sale at the September Yearling Sale — 47 of them sold for a total of more than $19.5 million, at an average of $16,702.

keeneland yearling sale.JPG

Age can also make a difference — one can opt to buy a horse with a good racing history instead of a yearling, but they often come at a higher price and yearlings have an appeal to buyers because they haven't been in anyone else's hands yet.

Despite the slim returns, it's worth noting that the number of seven-figured yearlings sold at the September Yearling Sale more than doubled from last year, making it their fourth largest sale in its 75-year history.

It's a sign of strong economy, Ellison said, but it's also a sign of top-quality horses — buyers won't pay extra for a horse just because they can afford it.

"There's a high risk tolerance," he said. "It's not for the faint of heart."

SEE ALSO: A foreign passport is the latest status symbol, and rich people are spending up to $200,000 to buy it

DON'T MISS: Rich people of different ages prefer to spend their money in vastly different ways

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Hoax alert: The latest spammy viral Facebook post warns users about account 'cloning' (FB)


facebook ceo mark zuckerberg

  • A new spammy viral post on Facebook is warning users about the purported risks of account "cloning."
  • Spoiler alert: There's nothing to worry about.
  • Impersonating accounts is already against Facebook's rules, and is easy to detect — both by Facebook and other users.
  • Copy-posting the chain-mail post "warning" about it achieves nothing, so don't waste your time.

There's a new spammy viral post circulating on Facebook — and it's all about "cloning."

Cloning is when a user copies another user's profile, then uses the information — such as the profile photo and other personal details — to create a new "impostor" Facebook account. It is (obviously) against Facebook's rules, and a chain-mail-esque post has been spreading in recent weeks, warning of the purported dangers of cloning and asking people who read it to copy and paste it into their own posts, so other users can be warned.

If you're tempted to spread the message, however — don't. The risk from cloning is minimal, and you're just wasting your time sharing the message.

One example of the anti-cloning messages circulating is below, though it sometimes varies somewhat in format and substance. (This example was previously also published by Times Union.) It warns users to be vigilant of cloning, and asks them not to accept unusual new friend requests:

"Heads-up!! Almost every account is being cloned. Your picture and your name are used to create a new face book account (they don't need your password to do this this). They want your friends to add them to their Facebook account. Your friends will think that it's you and accept your request. From that point on they can write what they want under your name. I have NO plans to open a new account. Please DO NOT accept a 2nd friend request from "me". please forward to all your contacts."

So should you freak out? In a word: No. 

Genuine instances of cloning are rare, thanks in part to Facebook's security and spam filters for new accounts, and there's an easy way to be sure if you receive a second friend request from someone you know: Just ask them in real life if they sent it. Worried you've been cloned? Just search your name on Facebook, and if any suspicious accounts pop up, report them.

"Claiming to be another person on Facebook violates our Community Standards, and we have a dedicated team that’s tasked with helping to detect and block these kinds of scams. We have made several recent improvements to combat impersonation, including image recognition technology, automation to detect scams, and improved reporting abilities," a Facebook spokesperson told Business Insider.

Facebook hasn't noticed any recent increase in impersonations on the social network, they added.

What's more, even if you do copy and paste the message to spread the word, you're probably just wasting your time, because Facebook's algorithm penalizes chain-mail messages in its newsfeed — meaning few people will ever even see it.

"We’ve heard from people that they don’t like seeing the same post that a lot of people are copying and pasting on to Facebook," the spokesperson said. "So if enough people post the same long post, it could show up lower in people’s News Feeds."

SEE ALSO: Don't fall for the hoax: Facebook isn't restricting your News Feed to 25 friends

Join the conversation about this story »

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A look inside the marriage of the richest couple in history, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos — who met at work, were engaged in 3 months, and own more land than almost anyone else in America (AMZN)


Jeff Bezos wife Mackenzie

  • Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie were married in 1993, after meeting at D.E. Shaw & Co.
  • Shortly afterward, the couple relocated to Seattle to found Amazon.
  • MacKenzie was one of the company's first employees.
  • Today, Jeff Bezos is worth $145 billion, making him the richest person in history.

Jeff Bezos wasn't alone when he made his cross-county road trip to Seattle in 1994. And he wasn't alone when he founded Amazon, the online retail giant some analysts now believe will be the world's first trillion-dollar company.

His wife, MacKenzie, was there for the whole journey.

In an interview with CBS, she described watching her husband build Amazon up from scratch: "To me, watching your spouse, somebody that you love, have an adventure — what is better than that?"

Today, Bloomberg estimates Bezos is worth $145 billion— making him the richest person in history, according to CNN. He's also topped Forbes' annual list of the richest people on the planet for the first time ever. And, recently, Amazon followed Apple to become the second-ever US company to reach a $1 trillion valuation — although the company has since dropped back to a $913 billion market cap.

Here's a look inside the marriage of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos.

SEE ALSO: A day in the life of the world's richest person, Jeff Bezos — who made $6.44 billion in one day, wakes up without an alarm, and washes dishes after dinner

DON'T MISS: Inside billionaire Warren Buffett's unconventional marriage, which included an open arrangement and 3-way Christmas cards

SEE ALSO: Inside the marriage of Bill and Melinda Gates, who met at work, live in a $124 million home, and will leave their children only a small fraction of their fortune

MacKenzie and Jeff first met at investment management firm D.E. Shaw. MacKenzie was a research associate and Jeff was a vice president. Jeff was the first person to interview MacKenzie — a fellow Princeton grad — at the firm.

Source: Business Insider, ForbesVogue

"I think my wife is resourceful, smart, brainy, and hot, but I had the good fortune of having seen her résumé before I met her, so I knew exactly what her SATs were," he joked to Vogue.

Source: Vogue

After she landed the job, they became office neighbors. "All day long I listened to that fabulous laugh," she told Vogue. "How could you not fall in love with that laugh?"

Source: Vogue

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The best and worst new fall TV shows, according to critics


single parents

This fall TV season is a mixed bag. There's some good shows, but there's also quite a few that are a complete waste of time.

Shows like ABC's "Single Parents" and CBS' "God Friended Me" have potential, but shows like CBS' "FBI" and ABC's "A Million Little Things" feel like unoriginal copies of successful shows on other networks. 

If you've run out of good TV to watch, or just want to be up on new shows people are talking about, we took to ratings aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to rank the best and worst shows of fall 2018. Along with the critic ranking, we included the Rotten Tomatoes audience ranking, a sample of what critics have said so far, and show descriptions courtesy of IMDB

Here are the best and worst TV shows of fall 2018 (so far), ranked according to critics:

SEE ALSO: Netflix's new horror series 'The Haunting of Hill House' is a chilling drama that digs much deeper than jump scares


"Happy Together" (CBS)

Description: Claire and Jake's married life is mired in routine, but when megastar Cooper shows up at their door, they get dragged into his life of fame.

Critic Score: 60%

Audience Score: 57%

"Given the opportunity to sing, dance and flail around ridiculously in the pilot, Wayans and West try hard and I smiled frequently at their effort." -The Hollywood Reporter 

"The Haunting of Hill House" — Netflix

Description: Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it.

Critic Score: 90%

Audience Score: N/A

"The Haunting of Hill House is a special treat for horror fans, one of the greatest - and most satisfying - uses of the genre is this new, bingeable medium." -Nerdist

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Marco Rubio says if Saudi Arabia is behind Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and Trump doesn't do anything about it, Congress will


Marco_Rubio saudi arabia

  • Sen. Marco Rubio promised a "strong congressional response" against Saudi Arabia if the country is found to be responsible for the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • Rubio's comments come a day after Trump vowed "severe punishment" for the US ally if they were found responsible.
  • Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a sharp critic of the Saudi Arabian government, was killed last week inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Saudi officials have denied the allegations.

Sen. Marco Rubio promised a "strong congressional response" against Saudi Arabia if the country is found to be responsible for the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

"I believe the Trump administration will do something, the president has said that," Rubio said on CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning. "But if he doesn't, Congress will, that, I can tell you, with 100% certainty."

The Florida Republican continued: "With almost full unanimity across the board, Republicans and Democrats, there will be a very strong congressional response if, in fact, Saudis lured him into that consulate, murdered him, and cut up his body and disposed of it."

The Saudi Arabian journalist was declared missing last week after he did not emerge from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after 11 hours. Turkish authorities believe he was killed inside the consulate.

Khashoggi, who writes for the Washington Post's global opinion section, came to be known as a sharp critic of the Saudi Arabian government. President Donald Trump said in a "60 Minutes" interview that it's possible the Saudis could be responsible for his disappearance and if so, he would inflict "severe punishment."

Rubio told host Jake Tapper though Trump hasn't been publicly adamant about his plan for retaliation, the US cannot continue "business as usual" and any response "can't be symbolic."

"No matter how important they might be to our Iranian strategy, our ability to be a voice for human rights ... is undermined and compromised if we are not willing to confront something as atrocious as what's allegedly happened here," Rubio said. "How can we criticize [Russian President Vladimir] Putin for killing journalists if we're prepared to allow an ally to do the same?"

He said he didn't think any government officials should go to Saudi Arabia, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's planned trip to an economic conference October 23, "until we know exactly what happened here."

Though Trump called the allegations "really terrible and disgusting," he told reporters on his way to a Kentucky rally Saturday that scrapping arms sales deals would hurt US companies and jobs more than it would punish Saudi Arabia.

"We’re just hurting ourselves," Trump said.

Saudi officials have flatly denied the allegation and claimed Khashoggi left the consulate but failed to provide definitive proof.

SEE ALSO: Saudi Arabia rejects Trump's threats of punishment over Khashoggi row as its market tanks 6.8%

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'Venom' tops the box office for a 2nd consecutive weekend while 'First Man' has a sluggish launch (SNE)


Venom Sony

  • "Venom" wins the weekend box office again with $35.7 million.
  • It's the second-straight weekend that Sony's Marvel movie has been number one at the domestic box office.
  • Warner Bros.' "A Star Is Born" continues to shine, coming in second place again for the second consecutive weekend. It's now earned over $94 million total.
  • Universal's "First Man" didn't do as strong, as the $59 million Neil Armstrong biopic only took in $16.5 million its opening weekend.

Sony is riding high at the moment.

The studio has two titles sitting in the top five at the domestic box office this weekend — "Venom" won for a second straight weekend with an estimated $35.7 million take, while "Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween" took in $16.2 million its first weekend in theaters.

For "Venom," the studio can't be happier how it's performing despite the lousy reviews the movie got. The Marvel movie now has a domestic cume of over $142.8 million.

And add that with the strong performance by "Goosebumps 2," the studio has passed the $1 billion mark for 2018. This is the second consecutive year the studio has passed the milestone. It joins Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal as the other studios that have hit $1 billion this year.

Also performing strong for a second week is Warner Bros.' "A Star Is Born" with $28 million. The studio's big Oscar contender has become a must-see thanks to its memes, hit original song soundtrack, and (of course) its stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (who also directed the movie).

A Star Is Born Warner Bros

After the movie beat "Venom" at the box office on Thursday ($4.5 million over $4.2 million by "Venom"), some in the industry wondered if the word of mouth for "Star" was so strong that it could top the box office over the weekend. It would have been quite a feat, seeing despite adding 22 screens this weekend compared to last (3,708), "Venom" was still on over 4,000.

Still, "A Star Is Born" is doing quite well without topping the box office. With a domestic total so far of over $94 million, the $36 million-budgeted movie is going to be a cash cow for Warner Bros. the rest of the year.

But the same can't be said for Universal's Neil Armstrong movie "First Man." Budgeted at $59 million (not counting the millions it put into advertising), Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling's team-up following the success of "La La Land" didn't grab audiences, as it came in third place. It only took in $16.5 million in its first weekend in theaters (on 3,640 screens).

This could mark the start of studios releasing dramatic titles in the coming months getting a harsh reality: Going up against "A Star Is Born", there's only so much money to go around.

SEE ALSO: 22 astounding facts about the moon landing from "First Man" that are actually true

Join the conversation about this story »

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The New York City Police Department employs an elite bee cop with his own hive atop a precinct. Take a look.



Honeybees help at least 30% of crops grow. The half-inch buzzers pollinate all kinds of plants — they're needed to grow almond trees, vanilla vines, avocados, and cranberries.

Since 2017, bees have also become an integral part of a New York City Police Department (NYPD) building in Queens. On the roof of the 104th precinct, officer Darren Mays keeps more than 30,000 honeybees. By night, he's a beat cop, patrolling the streets of the Ridgewood, Queens neighborhood. But by day, he's a beekeeper in charge of the department's only rooftop hive.

Mays gained temporary fame this summer when he vacuumed up a migrating swarm of bees that perched atop a hot dog cart umbrella in Times Square. 

Mays and another officer, Michael Lauriano, are responsible for responding to any issue a New Yorker calls in with that involves a "stinging insect." He said he responds to about a dozen calls during a typical summer, as people request help with bee swarms, wasps nests, and more. Before Mays and Lauriano, an officer named Anthony 'Tony Bees' Planakis served as the NYPD's first bee 911 responder. 

But the hive on top of the precinct where Mays works wasn't a planned part of his job. It formed out of necessity: During the summer of 2017, Mays answered so many bee calls (roughly two dozen), that he didn't have time to bring recovered bees to his house outside the city, where he keeps five bee colonies. Instead, he assembled a makeshift bee orphanage on top of the office.

I stopped by the rooftop hive last week to check out the yellow-and-black invertebrates there. They're now working quickly to produce honey before the temperature shifts and they go into survival mode for the winter.

Take a look.

SEE ALSO: ‘We’re not crazy’: A NOAA hurricane hunter reveals what it’s like to fly into a big storm like Hurricane Michael

You'd never know from the street level that there's a colony of bees on this roof in Ridgewood, Queens.

Mays didn't always like working with bees. He grew up on a farm in South Carolina and knew plenty of people who raised honeybees, but he said he wanted "nothing to do with it" and thought honey was gross.

Mays even intentionally kicked over a honey bee colony once, while horsing around with his brother, when he was a kid.

"I felt so bad later, once I really got into beekeeping," he said.

Then, about 10 years ago, when Mays was 38 years old, a friend showed him a hive. As an adult, Mays was transfixed by the bees' work. He watched them toil for a full hour. "They live in a perfect society," he said. "There's no boss, there's no governor, even the queen doesn't rule the colony."

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

I trekked to the legendary Great Wall of China to see the 13,000-mile treasure for myself, and it's even more incredible than I expected


Great Wall Of China Photos Tour (1 of 1)

  • The Great Wall of China became one of the 7 New Wonders of the World when it was chosen in 2007 by a vote of 100 million people.
  • The Great Wall may be one of the most iconic man-made structures in the world and is a must-see for most travelers.
  • There are many places to see the 13,000+ mile long wall. I decided to visit a section called Mutianyu about 2 hours outside of Beijing.
  • Located in a picturesque verdant valley, the Wall was beautiful and, on a spring day in May,  there was perfect weather and few crowds. I can't wait to visit wilder sections of the Wall on later trips.

While only one of the ancient seven wonders of the world still stands — the Pyramids of Giza — 100 million people voted in 2007 to select a New Seven Wonders of the World.

Among the winners: the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil, Machu Picchu in Peru, Chichen Itza in Mexico, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Taj Mahal in India.

And, last but not least: the Great Wall of China,

Though the Great Wall was not listed as World Heritage site by UNESCO until 1987, it is possibly the most iconic man-made structure in the world. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say it is a must-see for just about every traveler with even a passing interest in seeing China. 

Visiting the Wall can be easy or hard depending on what exactly you want to see. Stretching over 13,000 miles through mountains, grasslands, and deserts, there are lots of places to see The Great Wall. It all depends on how much time you have and what you want to see. 

When I visited China in April, I was on a tight schedule that had me running from Shanghai to Beijing to Shenzhen for a slew of meetings with tech companies. It left me little time to traverse the wilder sections of the Great Wall. But there was no way I was going to miss a chance to see the wonder.

I decided to visit the Mutianyu section of the Wall, just a couple hours outside of Beijing. Located in a picturesque green valley, the well-maintained section is one of the most popular places to walk the Wall.

It was the perfect trip to see 3,000-years worth of history in a single day.

Here's what the experience was like:

SEE ALSO: One of the 7 wonders of the world is a 10,000-year-old city hidden in the desert — and in real life, it's more incredible than you can imagine

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While most people tend to think of The Great Wall as one giant thing, it's actually a series of sometimes connected, sometimes independent fortifications built along China's historical northern border.

There are any number of sections to visit, but the most popular tend to be those within a few hours of Beijing. The Badaling section, the closest to Beijing is easy to walk but very crowded, while the Simatai section is further away, quiet, unrestored, and requires a difficult hike. The Mutianyu section is somewhere in between those two.

After about a two-hour drive north from Beijing, I arrived at the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. There's a big paifang, or Chinese gateway arch, to let you know you're in the right place.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The most popular Halloween candy in every US state


halloween candy

  • Halloween is almost here. 
  • CandyStore.com, an online candy retailer, recently used 11 years of sales data to determine the favorite candy of every state. 
  • It found that New Yorkers love Sour Patch Kids, Californians love Skittles, and Texans love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. 
  • See which candy is most popular in your state. 

New Yorkers love Sour Patch Kids, Californians love Skittles, and Texans love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. 

That is, at least, according to a recent study by CandyStore.com, an online retailer that sells candy in bulk across the United States and Canada. 

CandyStore.com's study looked at sales data from 2007 to 2017 to find each state's favorite candy in the months leading up to Halloween. Sales were broken down by state and then verified by CandyStore.com's distributors. 

This year, the National Retail Federation is estimating that shoppers will spend $2.6 billion on Halloween candy, which is slightly lower than last year's estimate of $2.7 billion. That's equal to about $27 spent on candy per person.

According to CandyStore.com, the top sellers nationwide were Skittles, M&M's, and Snickers. 

Take a look at which candy is most popular in your state. 

most popular halloween candy every state map

SEE ALSO: Take a look inside the massive, 1,000-store chain that only operates in the run-up to Halloween

Join the conversation about this story »

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3 Wall Street CEOs tried to get Saudi Arabia to delay a major investment conference because of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance


jamie dimon

  • Three high-profile Wall Street CEOs reportedly attempted to persuade Saudi officials to push back Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative conference.
  • The push by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman came amid backlash to the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, disappeared early this month after entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey. Turkish officials have accused Saudi Arabia's government of involvement in what they say is his death.
  • Business leaders and media partners have pulled out of FII because of Khashoggi's disappearance.
  • Dimon, Fink, and Schwarzman also attempted to persuade Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to make his attendance at FII contingent on the Saudis offering more information on Khashoggi.
  • The trio of CEOs eventually announced they would not attend the October 23-25 conference.

Three of Wall Street's leading CEOs unsuccessfully tried to persuade Saudi Arabia's government to delay a major investment conference amid fallout over the disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman attempted to persuade the Saudis to push back the Future Investment Initiative in the country's capital of Riyadh, according to a report in The New York Times.

Executives and media partners have been dropping out of the event since Khashoggi disappeared in Turkey in what Turkish officials say was a killing orchestrated by the Saudis.

FII, scheduled to take place October 23-25, is meant to drum up investors' support for the Saudis' Public Investment Fund and interest in Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's Vision 2030 plan, which is intended to reshape the country's economy and ease dependency on oil revenue.

The plan is heavily contingent on international investment, and Salman, colloquially known as MBS, has been courting American celebrities, politicians, and financiers over the past few years to bring in capital.

In addition to appealing to the Saudis directly, the three Wall Street titans also reportedly attempted to pressure Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin into making his appearance at FII contingent on the Saudis revealing more information about Khashoggi's disappearance. That approach has also failed, as Mnuchin reiterated his intention to attend the conference on Friday.

After their failed attempts, a representative of Dimon's confirmed to The Times on Sunday evening that he was dropping out of the conference, while sources told The Times on Monday that Schwarzman and Fink were doing the same.

The three executives' companies have significant financial ties to Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammed told Reuters in October 2017 that Blackstone, Schwarzman's firm, and BlackRock, Fink's firm, committed to opening offices in Riyadh.

Khashoggi's disappearance has caused international furor and created a rift between the US and Saudi Arabia. The journalist, who has written for The Washington Post, is known to be critical of the Saudi government.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Reports have suggested that Prince Mohammed ordered Saudi officials to bring Khashoggi back to the country but during the attempt the journalist was killed.

Saudi Arabia has denied any role and claims Khashoggi left the consulate.

President Donald Trump told "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday that there would be "severe punishment" if the Saudis killed Khashoggi, but he softened his stance Monday morning.

"Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened 'to our Saudi Arabian citizen.' He said that they are working closely with Turkey to find answer," Trump said. "I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!"

SEE ALSO: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin will attend Saudi Arabia’s 'Davos in the Desert' even though CEOs are ditching the conference after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Join the conversation about this story »

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Warren Buffett predicted the fall of Eddie Lampert and Sears over 10 years ago (SHLD, BRK.A, BRK.B)


warren buffett 2006

  • Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy early Monday, the culmination of a downward spiral.
  • CEO Eddie Lampert, once called the "next Warren Buffett," will also step down.
  • Incidentally, Buffett predicted the retailer's and Lampert's downfall in 2005.
  • "Turning around a retailer that has been slipping for a long time would be very difficult," Buffett said at the time. "Can you think of an example of a retailer that was successfully turned around?"

The end for Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund manager in charge of Sears Holding Group, appears near. And Warren Buffett's decade-old prediction is finally coming true.

Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday and announced the closing of 142 more stores, and Lampert also agreed to step down as CEO of the company. The announcement appears to be the final straw in a long decline for the once iconic retailer.

The fall from grace of both Lampert, once considered the "next Warren Buffett," and Sears was laid out by the Berkshire Hathaway CEO 13 years ago.

In an interview between Buffett and a group of University of Kansas students that has been circulating since 2005, Buffett was asked about Lampert and his attempt to turn around Sears. In his reply, the famed investor laid out the road map for the retailer's continued decline.

"Eddie is a very smart guy, but putting Kmart and Sears together is a tough hand," Buffett told the Kansas crowd. "Turning around a retailer that has been slipping for a long time would be very difficult. Can you think of an example of a retailer that was successfully turned around?"

Buffett also compared it to his experience investing in retail in the 1970s. For him, the constantly changing winds of consumer preferences make it impossible for retailers to catch up to more forward-thinking stores after falling behind. From Buffett:

"Retailing is like shooting at a moving target. In the past, people didn't like to go excessive distances from the streetcars to buy things. People would flock to those retailers that were nearby. In 1966 we bought the Hochschild Kohn department store in Baltimore. We learned quickly that it wasn't going to be a winner, long term, in a very short period of time. We had an antiquated distribution system. We did everything else right. We put in escalators. We gave people more credit. We had a great guy running it, and we still couldn't win. So we sold it around 1970. That store isn't there anymore. It isn't good enough that there were smart people running it."

Buffett said other competitors such as Costco and Walmart could provide better deals while operating on smaller margins, making it hard for Sears and Kmart to compete.

"Costco is working on a 10, 11% gross margin that is better than the Walmarts and Sam's," Buffett said.

"In comparison, department stores have 35% gross margins. It's tough to compete against the best deal for customers. Department stores will keep their old customers that have a habit of shopping there, but they won't pick up new ones."

This is what has happened. The focus on downsizing their store footprint and becoming resource light under Lampert didn't translate into sustainable sales or profits. Instead, the stores hemorrhaged customers and other retail competitors have lapped both Sears and Kmart.

"How many retailers have really sunk, and then come back?" Buffett said. "Not many. I can't think of any."

He's not called the "Oracle of Omaha" for nothing.

SEE ALSO: Sears files for bankruptcy and plans to close 142 stores as the CEO steps down

Join the conversation about this story »

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Elizabeth Warren releases DNA test 'strongly' supporting claims of Native American ancestry in rebuke to Trump


Elizabeth Warren

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, on Monday released the findings of a DNA test that a researcher said "strongly support" her claims of Native American ancestry.
  • President Donald Trump has used Warren's claims to mock and undermine her, nicknaming her "Pocahontas."
  • He said in July that he would donate $1 million to a charity of Warren's choice if a DNA test found she had Native American heritage.
  • On Monday morning, Trump denied ever offering the money.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, on Monday released the findings of a DNA test that a report said "strongly support" her claim of Native American ancestry, a claim on which President Donald Trump has previously seized to mock and undermine her.

Trump said at a July rally that he would give $1 million to a charity of Warren's choice if a DNA test found that the senator had Native American heritage.

"I have a feeling she will say no," Trump said to cheers from the crowd.

Warren's Senate reelection campaign has now created a website and released a five-minute video that features her family in Oklahoma, where she was born and raised, and Carlos Bustamante, the Stanford University professor who conducted the DNA test.

In the video, Bustamante says the facts suggest Warren "absolutely" had a Native American ancestor between six and 10 generations ago; the report describing the test's results says they "strongly support" that conclusion.

The video also features several of Warren's former academic colleagues pushing back on another line of attack from Trump and his allies, that Warren used her claim of Native American ancestry to advance her legal and political career. The president often sarcastically refers to the senator as "Pocahontas," which many consider a racist insult.

In the video, Warren's former colleagues say her ethnicity was not considered when they hired her to teach at Harvard Law School, the University of Houston, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and UT Austin School of Law.

"The people who recruited Elizabeth to her teaching jobs, including Ronald Reagan's former solicitor general, all confirm: they hired her because she was an award-winning legal scholar and professor and they were unaware of her family's heritage," the website says.

The senator asked Trump to direct his $1 million donation to the Indigenous Women's Resource Center, a nonprofit group that works to protect Native American women and their children from violence.

But on Monday morning, Trump denied ever offering Warren money in exchange for such test results.

"I didn't say that — you better read it again," he told a gaggle of reporters outside the White House.

The White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, dismissed the DNA test on Monday, telling CNN it "really doesn't interest me."

This effort is the most comprehensive the senator has undertaken to defend and shed light on her heritage. She said she's out not simply out to clear her name but to condemn racist attacks on Native Americans.

"Trump can say whatever he wants about me," Warren says in the video. "But mocking Native Americans or any group in order to try to get at me — that's not what America stands for."

The public-relations campaign has reignited speculation that Warren is preparing for a 2020 presidential bid. Warren is already a national leader of the progressive left wing of the Democratic Party, has a strong fundraising operation, and is poised to win reelection to the Senate in a landslide next month.

During a September event in Holyoke, Massachusetts, she gave her clearest indication yet that she would run in 2020.

"It's time for women to go to Washington and fix our broken government, and that includes a woman at the top. So here's what I promise: After November 6, I will take a hard look at running for president," she said to an extended standing ovation.

But the senator must also contend with what her constituents want her to do. A recent poll in Warren's home state found that a majority of Massachusetts voters didn't want her to run for the presidency, despite approving of her work in the Senate.

SEE ALSO: 7 Democratic women to watch in 2020

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'First Man' screenwriter explains how truthful the ending of the movie is


First man Daniel McFadden

  • "First Man" screenwriter Josh Singer explains why he believes the ending of the movie is accurate.
  • It comes right from the autobiography of Neil Armstrong that the movie is based on.


Warning: Spoilers below if you haven't seen "First Man."

One of the most dramatic moments in Damien Chazelle's Neil Armstrong biopic, "First Man," is at the end of the movie when Apollo 11 has successfully landed on the moon and Armstrong (played by Ryan Gosling) is walking the lunar surface and comes across a dark crater. He opens his hand to reveal a child-sized bracelet with the name of his daughter, Karen, who had died of a brain tumor when she was two. Armstrong then tosses the bracelet into the crater, implying the astronaut's attempt to come to peace with her passing, which has haunted him up to this point. 

Screenwriter Josh Singer spent four years researching Armstrong to write "First Man," even elevating the standards of accuracy he had for his Oscar-winning script "Spotlight." And for this scene he worked extremely hard to try to make it as true as possible.

Singer said the idea to put the bracelet scene in the movie came right from the book "First Man" is based on, the biography of Armstrong written by James R. Hansen.

"I would never have made that leap based on nothing," Singer told Business Insider. "That is actually from Jim, who studied Neil more than any historian in the country."

Singer built a friendship with Hansen over the years of getting the movie off the ground, and in their talking he learned from the author that astronauts who went to the moon were known to leave keepsakes, ranging from an Apollo 1 patch which commemorated the three astronauts who died on that mission, to even mementos that honored Russian cosmonauts who died trying to get to space.

"So Jim wondered if Neil did something like that and he asked Neil for the manifest for his PPK [Personal Preference Kit] in which he would have kept something like that," Singer said. "Neil couldn't find it, Neil had lost it. Jim felt that was very not like Neil, so suspicious Jim went and talked to June Hoffman, Neil's sister, who Jim felt knew Neil better than almost anyone. He asked, 'Do you think Neil might have left something of Karen's on the moon?' And June said, 'Oh, I dearly hope so.' And Jim wrote that in his book and said for what it was worth that he believed that Neil had done something like this." 

The moment in the movie is a touching reminder of how human Armstrong and his fellow astronauts were who raced to get to the moon. But for Singer, it also had to pass the accuracy test. 

"I had done four years of research, not 40 like Jim, so I wouldn't have felt comfortable writing that on my own," Singer said. "But I felt like if it was good enough for Jim, and good enough for June Hoffman, it was good enough for us."

"First Man" is currently playing in theaters. 

SEE ALSO: "Am I mature enough to lead a group of people?": Jonah Hill opens up about the anxieties and triumphs in his 4-year journey to make his acclaimed directorial debut "Mid90s"

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For almost 2 years, no one wanted to buy Warren Buffett's Southern California vacation home, but it finally sold for $7.5 million


warren buffett laguna 2x1

  • Warren Buffett's Laguna Beach, California, home has sold for $7.5 million.
  • He first listed the beach house for $11 million in early 2017. In August, he reduced the price by more than $3 million to $7.9 million.
  • Buffett purchased the home for just $150,000 in 1971, which is less than $1 million in today's dollars.


Warren Buffett's Laguna Beach, California, home has finally sold for about $7.5 million, according to representatives of Villa Real Estate. Buffett first listed the property for sale in early 2017.

In August, Buffett cut the $11 million asking price by more than $3 million, reported the Orange County Register.

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO has owned the home since 1971, when he purchased it for $150,000. That's about $934,000 in today's dollars. He's since renovated the place, which has six bedrooms and more than 3,500 square feet of living space.

The billionaire investor had primarily used it as a beach retreat for his family, but they reportedly hadn't used it much since his first wife, Susan, died in 2004.

Let's take a tour of Buffett's beach-town home.

SEE ALSO: 24 mind-blowing facts about Warren Buffett and his $87 billion fortune

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Buffett's longtime vacation home is located in the affluent beachside community of Laguna Beach, in Orange County, California.

It's part of a gated community called Emerald Bay and is just a short walk from the beach.

The beaches here are stunning, with high cliffs.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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