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20 creative and thoughtful host gifts that go beyond the classic fruit basket

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Gifts for host

A friend or family member has invited you over to spend time in their home. A dinner, a weekend stay, a holiday — maybe even just for a cup of coffee on the porch. Regardless of the occasion, it's a nice gesture to bring a small token of appreciation. 

At a bare minimum, a host gift is a small but generous way to say "Thank you for having me." At its full potential, it's a way to make someone feel valued and recognized for all the time and effort they've spent to give you a welcoming and warm place to be. These host gifts are ones they'll remember and enjoy even after the party is over — once they're over the stress of holiday or dinner-party cleanup (for which your voluntary help is probably the best host gift of all).

Most of these items are available with expedited shipping, and some should arrive within a few days' time, so don't stress too hard if you're last-minute shopping for an invite you just received.

The top 5 best host and hostess gifts:

  1. A never-fail candle from our favorite candle company ($36)
  2. A cookbook from Ina Garten, kitchen queen and host extraordinaire ($17.46)
  3. A set of flavored salt to enhance all their dishes ($39.95)
  4. A wine aerator they can attach to any bottle ($8.99)
  5. A handwoven tea towel for the kitchen ($28)

See more of the best host and hostess gifts:

A trio of chai tea that made it onto Oprah's Favorite Things list
host gifts

Vahdam Chai Tea Trio, available on Amazon, $34.99

This tea trio made Oprah's Favorite Things list for 2019 for the second year in a row, so if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for your host. We've actually tried some of Vahdam's teas and were particularly impressed by its beautiful packaging.

A wine tote and a nice bottle to go with it
Gifts for host wine bag

Single Wine Tote Bag, available on Amazon, $10.98

Wine is a classic host gift, but sometimes it doesn't quite feel like enough. Wrap a bottle in one of these totes and you've got a complete gift for your party host.

And if you're looking for an easy way to order wine online for an upcoming party or the holidays, we've got you covered with this list.

A never-fail candle from our favorite candle company
candles rattan 5

Candles, available at Otherland, from $36

Otherland's candles offer the most beautiful unboxing and gifting experience. They're both a joy to give and a joy to get. You can choose candles from the newest limited-edition collection called Manor House Weekend, or go for the company's five base candles that are carried year-round.

Read our full review of Otherland candles here.

A reusable tote for their next grocery trip
bag

Embroidered Thank You Tote, available at Uncommon Goods, $38

Upon first inspection, you may think we're recommending you just bring some flowers inside a crappy single-use plastic bag. But this embroidered canvas version of a takeout staple is a sweet way to thank them for having you over. They'll be happy to use it on their next farmer's market run.

A classic bottle of lotion for the bathroom
Kiehl's Crème de Corps

Kiehl's Creme de Corps (8.4 oz.), available at Nordstrom, $30

If you ask me, Kiehl's makes the best body lotion out there. It's a classic gift for their bathroom — who could say no to softer skin?

A beautiful pie tin for the baker
Host and hostess gifts pie dish

Remi Pie Dish, available at Anthropologie, $38

If baking is kind of their thing, they won't be able to contain their excitement when you hand them this ornate pie dish. You can probably guess what they'll be serving next time you come over.

A fun take on everyone's favorite peppermint bark
Host and hostess gifts peppermint bark cookies

Peppermint Bark Cookies, available at Williams Sonoma, from $25.95

Williams Sonoma's peppermint bark is a staple for a reason, and these cookies add a fun twist to the ever-popular dessert. Give the treat they can't get enough of, complete with a reusable tin they can pack with goodies to gift someone else.

A recipe tin for the home chef
Host gifts

Rifle Paper Co. Recipe Tin, available at Anthropologie, $34

This recipe tin was one of the sweetest gifts I've ever received. If your host loves to cook or bake, give them a special place to store the recipes they keep closest to their hearts.

A set of flavored salt to enhance all their dishes
Gifts for host

Jacobsen Salt Vials, available on Williams Sonoma, $39.95

Jacobsen's flaky salt is prized by Michelin-starred chefs the world over, and we're positive your host will love to cook with them. This set includes flavored finishing salt they can use to elevate any dish.

Ina Garten's newest cookbooks for her devotees
Gifts for host Ina Garten

"Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks" by Ina Garten, available on Amazon, for $17.46

If they host or entertain frequently, chances are they've used an Ina Garten recipe before. Known for her elegant but laid-back style, Ina's new cookbook is full of the tips and tricks that bring a professional touch to simple, home-cooked dishes.

A puppy plate for the dog person
Host and hostess gifts Wayfair salad plate

Highland Dunes Cavanagh Dogs Melamine Salad Plate, available at Wayfair, $29.99

With quite a few options to choose from, you can gift them one or a whole set of these salad plates adorned by arguably the most ideal image: dogs sipping cocktails on the beach.

A house plant that's hard to kill
the sill_philodendron plant green_high line_pale red_5_1500x.progressive

Philodendron Green, available at The Sill, $36

The Sill is a relatively new startup that's making the process of choosing and buying house plants much easier. This philodendron is just one of many plant and planter options you can choose from — and you can even shop based on which ones are pet-safe. Your order will be delivered straight to them, so you won't have to worry about stopping to pick up flowers on your way there. 

A serving platter with a pop of color
Host and hostess gifts Anthropologie bowl

Gilded Lilac Serving Bowl, available at Anthropologie, $58

Serving platters are one thing a host can never have too many of (unless they have a very small kitchen). This one is uniquely shaped, but would make a beautiful presentation for everything from salads to main dishes.

A wine aerator that doesn't take up a ton of space
Gifts for host wine aerator

Vinetto Wine Aerator, available on Amazon, $8.99

Wine drinkers will almost certainly enjoy the benefits of this inexpensive tool that can improve the taste of even the cheapest bottle. All they need to do is pop the gadget into the top of the bottle and pour themselves a glass, then they can put the cork or a bottle stop back in to preserve it.

A handwoven tea towel for the kitchen
Anthropologie Tea Towel

Maker Minna Handwoven Tea Towel, available at Food52, $28

A nice dish towel for the kitchen is one thing they'll probably never buy for themselves, but will love seeing hanging elegantly from their oven door. 

A custom map of a place they hold near and dear
Grafomap, from $50

Grafomaps, starting at $49

If your host is someone you know well or have lots of memories with, this gift will speak volumes to them. Map out the place you went to college together, the most memorable vacation you took together, the place you met — even a place you have no connection to but know they feel strongly about. The options are pretty much endless. 

A comforter they'll never want to crawl out from underneath
Leesa Comforter

The Leesa Duvet Insert/Comforter, available at Leesa, from $149

It may not look like much, but Leesa's comforter is one of the comfiest, coziest, warmest blankets you'll ever come across. Skip the decorative bedding they'll be sick of by next year and opt for a truly high-quality version they'll love to curl up with.

Non-stick muffin molds that they'll love to bake with
muffin mold

Silpat Silicon Muffin Mold, available at Williams Sonoma, $59.95

I personally use this muffin mold, and I love it so much that I threw out my metal one. Muffins and cupcakes come out perfectly every time with absolutely no sticking — and cleanup in the dishwasher is an absolute breeze.

Read our review on Silpat's baking molds here.

A baking sheet set for the cookie friend
img69o

Copper Goldtouch Non-Stick Baking Sheet Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $49.95

If baking cookies is their respite from the world's chaos, they'll be thrilled to have a fancy new set of non-stick pans and a cooling rack to play with. 

A beautiful coffee table book for the world traveler
book (1)

"Escape" by Gray Malin, available on Amazon, $31.26

Coffee table books are a clever idea if you know about your host's passions. For the one with constant wanderlust (or not enough vacation time at their job), this book features the gorgeous photography of Gray Malin in some unimaginably beautiful locations around the world. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Climate change may prompt a new mass American migration, a move that could leave behind vulnerable groups and widen the wealth gap across the country

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california fires
A firefighter battles the Creek Fire as it threatens homes in the Cascadel Woods neighborhood of Madera County, Calif., on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020.
  • As fires, heat, and storms ravage the nation, Americans and policymakers are forced to confront the realities of climate change in their own backyards. 
  • Experts predict the surge in natural disasters will prompt a global migration to wealthier cities, a move that will likely widen the wealth gap and lead to rapid urbanization. 
  • Historically, Americans moved towards hotter and dryer areas regardless of climate risks, largely because they're significantly richer and more insulated from the devastating impacts of climate change. 
  • While money, technology, and affordable insurance policies have made it easy to make reckless decisions in real estate, experts say this practice will be unsustainable in the long run. 
  • They say a pandemic-induced economic collapse will likely induce a new migration, similar to the Dust Bowl. Researchers expect only 10% will live outside cities by 2050, partly due to climate change. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

August besieged California with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air conditioning broke the state's electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their cellphones. By mid-month, the state had recorded possibly the hottest temperature ever measured on earth — 130 degrees in Death Valley — and an otherworldly storm of lightning had cracked open the sky. From Santa Cruz to Lake Tahoe, thousands of bolts of electricity exploded down onto withered grasslands and forests, some of them already hollowed out by climate-driven infestations of beetles and kiln-dried by the worst five-year drought on record. Soon, California was on fire.

Over the next two weeks, 900 blazes incinerated six times as much land as all the state's 2019 wildfires combined, forcing 100,000 people from their homes. Three of the largest fires in history burned simultaneously in a ring around the San Francisco Bay Area. Another fire burned just 12 miles from my home in Marin County. I watched as towering plumes of smoke billowed from distant hills in all directions and air tankers crisscrossed the skies. Like many Californians, I spent those weeks worrying about what might happen next, wondering how long it would be before an inferno of 60-foot flames swept up the steep, grassy hillside on its way toward my own house, rehearsing in my mind what my family would do to escape.

But I also had a longer-term question, about what would happen once this unprecedented fire season ended. Was it finally time to leave for good?

I had an unusual perspective on the matter. For two years, I have been studying how climate change will influence global migration. My sense was that of all the devastating consequences of a warming planet — changing landscapes, pandemics, mass extinctions — the potential movement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees across the planet stands to be among the most important. I traveled across four countries to witness how rising temperatures were driving climate refugees away from some of the poorest and hottest parts of the world. I had also helped create an enormous computer simulation to analyze how global demographics might shift, and now I was working on a data-mapping project about migration here in the United States.

So it was with some sense of recognition that I faced the fires these last few weeks. In recent years, summer has brought a season of fear to California, with ever-worsening wildfires closing in. But this year felt different. The hopelessness of the pattern was now clear, and the pandemic had already uprooted so many Americans. Relocation no longer seemed like such a distant prospect. Like the subjects of my reporting, climate change had found me, its indiscriminate forces erasing all semblance of normalcy. Suddenly I had to ask myself the very question I'd been asking others: Was it time to move?

I am far from the only American facing such questions. This summer has seen more fires, more heat, more storms — all of it making life increasingly untenable in larger areas of the nation. Already, droughts regularly threaten food crops across the West, while destructive floods inundate towns and fields from the Dakotas to Maryland, collapsing dams in Michigan and raising the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Rising seas and increasingly violent hurricanes are making thousands of miles of American shoreline nearly uninhabitable. As California burned, Hurricane Laura pounded the Louisiana coast with 150-mile-an-hour winds, killing at least 25 people; it was the 12th named storm to form by that point in 2020, another record. Phoenix, meanwhile, endured 53 days of 110-degree heat — 20 more days than the previous record.

For years, Americans have avoided confronting these changes in their own backyards. The decisions we make about where to live are distorted not just by politics that play down climate risks, but also by expensive subsidies and incentives aimed at defying nature. In much of the developing world, vulnerable people will attempt to flee the emerging perils of global warming, seeking cooler temperatures, more fresh water and safety. But here in the United States, people have largely gravitated toward environmental danger, building along coastlines from New Jersey to Florida and settling across the cloudless deserts of the Southwest.

I wanted to know if this was beginning to change. Might Americans finally be waking up to how climate is about to transform their lives? And if so — if a great domestic relocation might be in the offing — was it possible to project where we might go? To answer these questions, I interviewed more than four dozen experts: economists and demographers, climate scientists and insurance executives, architects and urban planners, and ProPublica mapped out the danger zones that will close in on Americans over the next 30 years. The maps for the first time combined exclusive climate data from the Rhodium Group, an independent data-analytics firm; wildfire projections modeled by United States Forest Service researchers and others; and data about America's shifting climate niches, an evolution of work first published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last spring. (A detailed analysis of the maps is available here.)

What I found was a nation on the cusp of a great transformation. Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly 1 in 2 — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water. For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least 4 million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life. The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. And the nation's federal flood-insurance program is for the first time requiring that some of its payouts be used to retreat from climate threats across the country. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo.

Then what? One influential 2018 study, published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, suggests that 1 in 12 Americans in the Southern half of the country will move toward California, the Mountain West or the Northwest over the next 45 years because of climate influences alone. Such a shift in population is likely to increase poverty and widen the gulf between the rich and the poor. It will accelerate rapid, perhaps chaotic, urbanization of cities ill-equipped for the burden, testing their capacity to provide basic services and amplifying existing inequities. It will eat away at prosperity, dealing repeated economic blows to coastal, rural, and Southern regions, which could in turn push entire communities to the brink of collapse. This process has already begun in rural Louisiana and coastal Georgia, where low-income and Black and Indigenous communities face environmental change on top of poor health and extreme poverty. Mobility itself, global-migration experts point out, is often a reflection of relative wealth, and as some move, many others will be left behind. Those who stay risk becoming trapped as the land and the society around them ceases to offer any more support.

There are signs that the message is breaking through. Half of Americans now rank climate as a top political priority, up from roughly one-third in 2016, and 3 out of 4 now describe climate change as either "a crisis" or "a major problem." This year, Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa, where tens of thousands of acres of farmland flooded in 2019, ranked climate second only to health care as an issue. A poll by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities found that even Republicans' views are shifting: 1 in 3 now thinks climate change should be declared a national emergency.

Policymakers, having left America unprepared for what's next, now face brutal choices about which communities to save — often at exorbitant costs — and which to sacrifice. Their decisions will almost inevitably make the nation more divided, with those worst off relegated to a nightmare future in which they are left to fend for themselves. Nor will these disruptions wait for the worst environmental changes to occur. The wave begins when individual perception of risk starts to shift, when the environmental threat reaches past the least fortunate and rattles the physical and financial security of broader, wealthier parts of the population. It begins when even places like California's suburbs are no longer safe.

It has already begun.

Let's start with some basics. Across the country, it's going to get hot. Buffalo, New York, may feel in a few decades like Tempe, Arizona, does today, and Tempe itself will sustain 100-degree average summer temperatures by the end of the century. Extreme humidity from New Orleans to northern Wisconsin will make summers increasingly unbearable, turning otherwise seemingly survivable heat waves into debilitating health threats. Fresh water will also be in short supply, not only in the West but also in places like Florida, Georgia and Alabama, where droughts now regularly wither cotton fields. By 2040, according to federal government projections, extreme water shortages will be nearly ubiquitous west of Missouri. The Memphis Sands Aquifer, a crucial water supply for Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana, is already overdrawn by hundreds of millions of gallons a day. Much of the Ogallala Aquifer — which supplies nearly a third of the nation's irrigation groundwater — could be gone by the end of the century.

It can be difficult to see the challenges clearly because so many factors are in play. At least 28 million Americans are likely to face megafires like the ones we are now seeing in California, in places like Texas and Florida and Georgia. At the same time, 100 million Americans — largely in the Mississippi River Basin from Louisiana to Wisconsin — will increasingly face humidity so extreme that working outside or playing school sports could cause heatstroke. Crop yields will be decimated from Texas to Alabama and all the way north through Oklahoma and Kansas and into Nebraska.

The challenges are so widespread and so interrelated that Americans seeking to flee one could well run into another. I live on a hilltop, 400 feet above sea level, and my home will never be touched by rising waters. But by the end of this century, if the more extreme projections of 8 to 10 feet of sea-level rise come to fruition, the shoreline of San Francisco Bay will move 3 miles closer to my house, as it subsumes some 166 square miles of land, including a high school, a new county hospital and the store where I buy groceries. The freeway to San Francisco will need to be raised, and to the east, a new bridge will be required to connect the community of Point Richmond to the city of Berkeley. The Latino, Asian, and Black communities who live in the most-vulnerable low-lying districts will be displaced first, but research from Mathew Hauer, a sociologist at Florida State University who published some of the first modeling of American climate migration in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2017, suggests that the toll will eventually be far more widespread: Nearly 1 in 3 people here in Marin County will leave, part of the roughly 700,000 who his models suggest may abandon the broader Bay Area as a result of sea-level rise alone.

From Maine to North Carolina to Texas, rising sea levels are not just chewing up shorelines but also raising rivers and swamping the subterranean infrastructure of coastal communities, making a stable life there all but impossible. Coastal high points will be cut off from roadways, amenities, and escape routes, and even far inland, saltwater will seep into underground drinking-water supplies. Eight of the nation's 20 largest metropolitan areas — Miami, New York, and Boston among them — will be profoundly altered, indirectly affecting some 50 million people. Imagine large concrete walls separating Fort Lauderdale, Florida, condominiums from a beachless waterfront, or dozens of new bridges connecting the islands of Philadelphia. Not every city can spend $100 billion on a sea wall, as New York most likely will. Barrier islands? Rural areas along the coast without a strong tax base? They are likely, in the long term, unsalvageable.

In all, Hauer projects that 13 million Americans will be forced to move away from submerged coastlines. Add to that the people contending with wildfires and other risks, and the number of Americans who might move — though difficult to predict precisely — could easily be tens of millions larger. Even 13 million climate migrants, though, would rank as the largest migration in North American history. The Great Migration — of 6 million Black Americans out of the South from 1916 to 1970 — transformed almost everything we know about America, from the fate of its labor movement to the shape of its cities to the sound of its music. What would it look like when twice that many people moved? What might change?

Americans have been conditioned not to respond to geographical climate threats as people in the rest of the world do. It is natural that rural Guatemalans or subsistence farmers in Kenya, facing drought or scorching heat, would seek out someplace more stable and resilient. Even a subtle environmental change — a dry well, say — can mean life or death, and without money to address the problem, migration is often simply a question of survival.

By comparison, Americans are richer, often much richer, and more insulated from the shocks of climate change. They are distanced from the food and water sources they depend on, and they are part of a culture that sees every problem as capable of being solved by money. So even as the average flow of the Colorado River — the water supply for 40 million Western Americans and the backbone of the nation's vegetable and cattle farming — has declined for most of the last 33 years, the population of Nevada has doubled. At the same time, more than 1.5 million people have moved to the Phoenix metro area, despite its dependence on that same river (and the fact that temperatures there now regularly hit 115 degrees). Since Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida in 1992 — and even as that state has become a global example of the threat of sea-level rise — more than 5 million people have moved to Florida's shorelines, driving a historic boom in building and real estate.

Similar patterns are evident across the country. Census data shows us how Americans move: toward heat, toward coastlines, toward drought, regardless of evidence of increasing storms and flooding and other disasters.

The sense that money and technology can overcome nature has emboldened Americans. Where money and technology fail, though, it inevitably falls to government policies — and government subsidies — to pick up the slack. Thanks to federally subsidized canals, for example, water in part of the Desert Southwest costs less than it does in Philadelphia. The federal National Flood Insurance Program has paid to rebuild houses that have flooded six times over in the same spot. And federal agriculture aid withholds subsidies from farmers who switch to drought-resistant crops, while paying growers to replant the same ones that failed. Farmers, seed manufacturers, real estate developers and a few homeowners benefit, at least momentarily, but the gap between what the climate can destroy and what money can replace is growing.

Perhaps no market force has proved more influential — and more misguided — than the nation's property-insurance system. From state to state, readily available and affordable policies have made it attractive to buy or replace homes even where they are at high risk of disasters, systematically obscuring the reality of the climate threat and fooling many Americans into thinking that their decisions are safer than they actually are. Part of the problem is that most policies look only 12 months into the future, ignoring long-term trends even as insurance availability influences development and drives people's long-term decision-making.

Even where insurers have tried to withdraw policies or raise rates to reduce climate-related liabilities, state regulators have forced them to provide affordable coverage anyway, simply subsidizing the cost of underwriting such a risky policy or, in some cases, offering it themselves. The regulations — called Fair Access to Insurance Requirements — are justified by developers and local politicians alike as economic lifeboats "of last resort" in regions where climate change threatens to interrupt economic growth. While they do protect some entrenched and vulnerable communities, the laws also satisfy the demand of wealthier homeowners who still want to be able to buy insurance.

At least 30 states, including Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Texas, have developed so-called FAIR plans, and today they serve as a market backstop in the places facing the highest risks of climate-driven disasters, including coastal flooding, hurricanes, and wildfires.

In an era of climate change, though, such policies amount to a sort of shell game, meant to keep growth going even when other obvious signs and scientific research suggest that it should stop.

That's what happened in Florida. Hurricane Andrew reduced parts of cities to landfill and cost insurers nearly $16 billion in payouts. Many insurance companies, recognizing the likelihood that it would happen again, declined to renew policies and left the state. So the Florida Legislature created a state-run company to insure properties itself, preventing both an exodus and an economic collapse by essentially pretending that the climate vulnerabilities didn't exist.

As a result, Florida's taxpayers by 2012 had assumed liabilities worth some $511 billion — more than seven times the state's total budget — as the value of coastal property topped $2.8 trillion. Another direct hurricane risked bankrupting the state. Florida, concerned that it had taken on too much risk, has since scaled back its self-insurance plan. But the development that resulted is still in place.

On a sweltering afternoon last October, with the skies above me full of wildfire smoke, I called Jesse Keenan, an urban-planning and climate-change specialist then at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, who advises the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission on market hazards from climate change. Keenan, who is now an associate professor of real estate at Tulane University's School of Architecture, had been in the news last year for projecting where people might move to — suggesting that Duluth, Minnesota, for instance, should brace for a coming real estate boom as climate migrants move north. But like other scientists I'd spoken with, Keenan had been reluctant to draw conclusions about where these migrants would be driven from.

Last fall, though, as the previous round of fires ravaged California, his phone began to ring, with private equity investors and bankers all looking for his read on the state's future. Their interest suggested a growing investor-grade nervousness about swiftly mounting environmental risk in the hottest real estate markets in the country. It's an early sign, he told me, that the momentum is about to switch directions. "And once this flips," he added, "it's likely to flip very quickly."

In fact, the correction — a newfound respect for the destructive power of nature, coupled with a sudden disavowal of Americans' appetite for reckless development — had begun two years earlier, when a frightening surge in disasters offered a jolting preview of how the climate crisis was changing the rules.

On Oct. 9, 2017, a wildfire blazed through the suburban blue-collar neighborhood of Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, California, virtually in my own backyard. I awoke to learn that more than 1,800 buildings were reduced to ashes, less than 35 miles from where I slept. Inchlong cinders had piled on my windowsills like falling snow.

The Tubbs Fire, as it was called, shouldn't have been possible. Coffey Park is surrounded not by vegetation but by concrete and malls and freeways. So insurers had rated it as "basically zero risk," according to Kevin Van Leer, then a risk modeler from the global insurance liability firm Risk Management Solutions. (He now does similar work for Cape Analytics.) But Van Leer, who had spent seven years picking through the debris left by disasters to understand how insurers could anticipate — and price — the risk of their happening again, had begun to see other "impossible" fires. After a 2016 fire tornado ripped through northern Canada and a firestorm consumed Gatlinburg, Tennessee, he said, "alarm bells started going off" for the insurance industry.

What Van Leer saw when he walked through Coffey Park a week after the Tubbs Fire changed the way he would model and project fire risk forever. Typically, fire would spread along the ground, burning maybe 50% of structures. In Santa Rosa, more than 90% had been leveled. "The destruction was complete," he told me. Van Leer determined that the fire had jumped through the forest canopy, spawning 70-mile-per-hour winds that kicked a storm of embers into the modest homes of Coffey Park, which burned at an acre a second as homes ignited spontaneously from the radiant heat. It was the kind of thing that might never have been possible if California's autumn winds weren't getting fiercer and drier every year, colliding with intensifying, climate-driven heat and ever-expanding development. "It's hard to forecast something you've never seen before," he said.

For me, the awakening to imminent climate risk came with California's rolling power blackouts last fall — an effort to preemptively avoid the risk of a live wire sparking a fire — which showed me that all my notional perspective about climate risk and my own life choices were on a collision course. After the first one, all the food in our refrigerator was lost. When power was interrupted six more times in three weeks, we stopped trying to keep it stocked. All around us, small fires burned. Thick smoke produced fits of coughing. Then, as now, I packed an ax and a go-bag in my car, ready to evacuate. As former Governor Jerry Brown said, it was beginning to feel like the "new abnormal."

It was no surprise, then, that California's property insurers — having watched 26 years' worth of profits dissolve over 24 months — began dropping policies, or that California's insurance commissioner, trying to slow the slide, placed a moratorium on insurance cancellations for parts of the state in 2020. In February, the Legislature introduced a bill compelling California to, in the words of one consumer advocacy group, "follow the lead of Florida" by mandating that insurance remain available, in this case with a requirement that homeowners first harden their properties against fire. At the same time, participation in California's FAIR plan for catastrophic fires has grown by at least 180% since 2015, and in Santa Rosa, houses are being rebuilt in the very same wildfire-vulnerable zones that proved so deadly in 2017. Given that a new study projects a 20% increase in extreme-fire-weather days by 2035, such practices suggest a special form of climate negligence.

It's only a matter of time before homeowners begin to recognize the unsustainability of this approach. Market shock, when driven by the sort of cultural awakening to risk that Keenan observes, can strike a neighborhood like an infectious disease, with fear spreading doubt — and devaluation — from door to door. It happened that way in the foreclosure crisis.

Keenan calls the practice of drawing arbitrary lending boundaries around areas of perceived environmental risk "bluelining," and indeed many of the neighborhoods that banks are bluelining are the same as the ones that were hit by the racist redlining practice in days past. This summer, climate-data analysts at the First Street Foundation released maps showing that 70% more buildings in the United States were vulnerable to flood risk than previously thought; most of the underestimated risk was in low-income neighborhoods.

Such neighborhoods see little in the way of flood-prevention investment. My Bay Area neighborhood, on the other hand, has benefited from consistent investment in efforts to defend it against the ravages of climate change. That questions of livability had reached me, here, were testament to Keenan's belief that the bluelining phenomenon will eventually affect large majorities of equity-holding middle-class Americans too, with broad implications for the overall economy, starting in the nation's largest state.

Under the radar, a new class of dangerous debt — climate-distressed mortgage loans — might already be threatening the financial system. Lending data analyzed by Keenan and his co-author, Jacob Bradt, for a study published in the journal Climatic Change in June shows that small banks are liberally making loans on environmentally threatened homes, but then quickly passing them along to federal mortgage backers. At the same time, they have all but stopped lending money for the higher-end properties worth too much for the government to accept, suggesting that the banks are knowingly passing climate liabilities along to taxpayers as stranded assets.

Once home values begin a one-way plummet, it's easy for economists to see how entire communities spin out of control. The tax base declines and the school system and civic services falter, creating a negative feedback loop that pushes more people to leave. Rising insurance costs and the perception of risk force credit-rating agencies to downgrade towns, making it more difficult for them to issue bonds and plug the springing financial leaks. Local banks, meanwhile, keep securitizing their mortgage debt, sloughing off their own liabilities.

Keenan, though, had a bigger point: All the structural disincentives that had built Americans' irrational response to the climate risk were now reaching their logical endpoint. A pandemic-induced economic collapse will only heighten the vulnerabilities and speed the transition, reducing to nothing whatever thin margin of financial protection has kept people in place. Until now, the market mechanisms had essentially socialized the consequences of high-risk development. But as the costs rise — and the insurers quit, and the bankers divest, and the farm subsidies prove too wasteful, and so on — the full weight of responsibility will fall on individual people.

And that's when the real migration might begin.

As I spoke with Keenan last year, I looked out my own kitchen window onto hillsides of parkland, singed brown by months of dry summer heat. This was precisely the land that my utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, had three times identified as such an imperiled tinderbox that it had to shut off power to avoid fire. It was precisely the kind of wildland-urban interface that all the studies I read blamed for heightening Californians' exposure to climate risks. I mentioned this on the phone and then asked Keenan, "Should I be selling my house and getting — "

He cut me off: "Yes."

Americans have dealt with climate disaster before. The Dust Bowl started after the federal government expanded the Homestead Act to offer more land to settlers willing to work the marginal soil of the Great Plains. Millions took up the invitation, replacing hardy prairie grass with thirsty crops like corn, wheat and cotton. Then, entirely predictably, came the drought. From 1929 to 1934, crop yields across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri plunged by 60%, leaving farmers destitute and exposing the now-barren topsoil to dry winds and soaring temperatures. The resulting dust storms, some of them taller than skyscrapers, buried homes whole and blew as far east as Washington. The disaster propelled an exodus of some 2.5 million people, mostly to the West, where newcomers — "Okies" not just from Oklahoma but also Texas, Arkansas, and Missouri — unsettled communities and competed for jobs. Colorado tried to seal its border from the climate refugees; in California, they were funneled into squalid shanty towns. Only after the migrants settled and had years to claw back a decent life did some towns bounce back stronger.

The places migrants left behind never fully recovered. Eighty years later, Dust Bowl towns still have slower economic growth and lower per capita income than the rest of the country. Dust Bowl survivors and their children are less likely to go to college and more likely to live in poverty. Climatic change made them poor, and it has kept them poor ever since.

A Dust Bowl event will most likely happen again. The Great Plains states today provide nearly half of the nation's wheat, sorghum, and cattle and much of its corn; the farmers and ranchers there export that food to Africa, South America, and Asia. Crop yields, though, will drop sharply with every degree of warming. By 2050, researchers at the University of Chicago and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies found, Dust Bowl-era yields will be the norm, even as demand for scarce water jumps by as much as 20%. Another extreme drought would drive near-total crop losses worse than the Dust Bowl, kneecapping the broader economy. At that point, the authors write, "abandonment is one option."

Projections are inherently imprecise, but the gradual changes to America's cropland — plus the steady baking and burning and flooding — suggest that we are already witnessing a slower-forming but much larger replay of the Dust Bowl that will destroy more than just crops. In 2017, Solomon Hsiang, a climate economist at the University of California, Berkeley, led an analysis of the economic impact of climate-driven changes like rising mortality and rising energy costs, finding that the poorest counties in the United States — mostly across the South and the Southwest — will in some extreme cases face damages equal to more than a third of their gross domestic products. The 2018 National Climate Assessment also warns that the US economy over all could contract by 10%.

That kind of loss typically drives people toward cities, and researchers expect that trend to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. In 1950, less than 65% of Americans lived in cities. By 2050, only 10% will live outside them, in part because of climatic change. By 2100, Hauer estimates, Atlanta, Orlando, Houston, and Austin could each receive more than a quarter million new residents as a result of sea-level displacement alone, meaning it may be those cities — not the places that empty out — that wind up bearing the brunt of America's reshuffling. The World Bank warns that fast-moving climate urbanization leads to rising unemployment, competition for services and deepening poverty.

So what will happen to Atlanta — a metro area of 5.8 million people that may lose its water supply to drought and that our data also shows will face an increase in heat-driven wildfires? Hauer estimates that hundreds of thousands of climate refugees will move into the city by 2100, swelling its population and stressing its infrastructure. Atlanta — where poor transportation and water systems contributed to the state's C+ infrastructure grade last year — already suffers greater income inequality than any other large American city, making it a virtual tinderbox for social conflict. One in 10 households earns less than $10,000 a year, and rings of extreme poverty are growing on its outskirts even as the city center grows wealthier.

Atlanta has started bolstering its defenses against climate change, but in some cases this has only exacerbated divisions. When the city converted an old Westside rock quarry into a reservoir, part of a larger greenbelt to expand parkland, clean the air and protect against drought, the project also fueled rapid upscale growth, driving the poorest Black communities further into impoverished suburbs. That Atlanta hasn't "fully grappled with" such challenges now, said Na'Taki Osborne Jelks, chair of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, means that with more people and higher temperatures, "the city might be pushed to what's manageable."

So might Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Boston, and other cities with long-neglected systems suddenly pressed to expand under increasingly adverse conditions.

Once you accept that climate change is fast making large parts of the United States nearly uninhabitable, the future looks like this: With time, the bottom half of the country grows inhospitable, dangerous, and hot. Something like a tenth of the people who live in the South and the Southwest — from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas to Southern California — decide to move north in search of a better economy and a more temperate environment. Those who stay behind are disproportionately poor and elderly.

In these places, heat alone will cause as many as 80 additional deaths per 100,000 people — the nation's opioid crisis, by comparison, produces 15 additional deaths per 100,000. The most affected people, meanwhile, will pay 20% more for energy, and their crops will yield half as much food or in some cases virtually none at all. That collective burden will drag down regional incomes by roughly 10%, amounting to one of the largest transfers of wealth in American history, as people who live farther north will benefit from that change and see their fortunes rise.

The millions of people moving north will mostly head to the cities of the Northeast and Northwest, which will see their populations grow by roughly 10%, according to one model. Once-chilly places like Minnesota and Michigan and Vermont will become more temperate, verdant, and inviting. Vast regions will prosper; just as Hsiang's research forecast that Southern counties could see a tenth of their economy dry up, he projects that others as far as North Dakota and Minnesota will enjoy a corresponding expansion. Cities like Detroit; Rochester, New York; Buffalo and Milwaukee will see a renaissance, with their excess capacity in infrastructure, water supplies, and highways once again put to good use. One day, it's possible that a high-speed rail line could race across the Dakotas, through Idaho's up-and-coming wine country and the country's new breadbasket along the Canadian border, to the megalopolis of Seattle, which by then has nearly merged with Vancouver to its north.

Sitting in my own backyard one afternoon this summer, my wife and I talked through the implications of this looming American future. The facts were clear and increasingly foreboding. Yet there were so many intangibles — a love of nature, the busy pace of life, the high cost of moving — that conspired to keep us from leaving. Nobody wants to migrate away from home, even when an inexorable danger is inching ever closer. They do it when there is no longer any other choice.

This story was originally published by ProPublica.

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How Joe Biden might handle a showdown with North Korea

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Former Vice President Joe Biden at a campaign event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
  • North Korea has already issued a number of vivid insults about former Vice President Joe Biden, but in just a few months Biden could be the leader North Korea has to deal with.
  • The World asked two experts on US-North Korea relations what to expect if Biden wins the election, but either way, they said, the next US president will be stuck with the same predicament.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

North Korea has called Joe Biden an idiot. An official statement from Pyongyang says the presidential candidate is in the final stages of dementia. To top it off, officials there likened him to a rabid dog who should be beaten to death with a stick.

Yet Biden, pending the outcome of November's election, could very well direct North Korea's fate in the years to come. For decades running, every American president has tried to stop the Kim dynasty from wielding the most powerful weapon known to man.

If Biden wins, he will be the latest to assume that thankless mission: Pressuring North Korea in vain to give up its nukes.

The risk of a North Korean nuclear attack is low but the stakes are high. North Korea's poetic death threats — turning South Korea into a "sea of flame" and reducing America to "ashes and darkness" — are mostly just rhetoric.

But each year, Pyongyang's engineers come closer to perfecting missiles that could deliver on these warnings — allowing the pariah state to better resist its worst nightmare: US-led regime change.

The World asked two experts on US-North Korea relations what to expect if Biden wins the election.

Bracing for more weapons testing

north korea missile test
North Korea tests a Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on September 16, 2017.

North Korea is always itching to try out its advanced weaponry — either detonating warheads to gauge their intensity or lobbing sophisticated long-range missiles to ensure they can reach their targets.

Yet, each test causes the country's enemies — the US, South Korea and Japan — to bristle and consider ratcheting up sanctions in response.

If Biden wins, Kim Jong-un may be tempted to test heavy weapons in the period between US election day and presidential inauguration, said Duyeon Kim, a senior adviser for the International Crisis Group who specializes in nuclear weapons policy.

"They might even do some long-range missile testing," Duyeon Kim said. "Its objective would be not only to try to perfect its nuclear weapons technology but also to gain leverage ahead of any future negotiations."

The tactic here is simple. Agreeing to stop these menacing tests would enable Pyongyang to say to a new president: "We've just given up something to make you happy. Now, what will we get in return?"

Looking back, there have been two major outcomes from Trump's self-described friendship with Kim Jong-un.

America has dialed back its war games with South Korea, which are regarded in Pyongyang as rehearsals for invasion. And Kim Jong-un has also scaled back the more bombastic weapons testing. "From the North Korean perspective, that's a big concession," said Sheen Seong-ho, a professor at Seoul National University.

So, what's next?

Biden could sit down with Kim Jong Un

kim jong un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a factory in an undated photo released by KCNA, August 31, 2014.

There may be no way around a face-to-face meeting — if the next president wants North Korea to stop building nuclear warheads.

So far, Biden's North Korea policy is vague. But he has scoffed at Trump's flashy summits with Kim Jong Un. The Democratic candidate suggests that, without a deal to "move the ball forward" on reducing nukes, he won't agree to meet Kim Jong Un.

Here lies the rub. North Korean negotiators "cannot speak about the nuke issue," Duyeon Kim said. "They say it's up to Chairman Kim to decide that issue, even though it's a core element for Team America."

Unless Kim Jong-un is willing to speak to another high-ranking US official, this means Biden himself might have to rendezvous with Kim Jong Un, whom he has called a "dictator and a tyrant."

Kim Jong Un may refuse to meet Biden

North Korea has consistently pushed the same offer: We'll shut down our premier nuclear facility, Yongbyon, which produces material for warheads — if the UN and US pull back crushing sanctions, which essentially cut off North Korea from the global economy.

Trump wouldn't go for that deal at either of his two summits. Since then, North Korean officials have sounded more irritable, seemingly piling on new demands that must precede any future US negotiations.

Some are extremely ambiguous: ending America's "hostile policy" and suggesting that US officials' mere use the phrase "rogue state" imperils future talks.

What that shows, said Duyeon Kim, is "North Korea saying, 'America and American officials cannot call us names. If you call us names, we will not show up at the table.'"

"I'm not too worried about a potential President Biden's willingness to engage in dialogue," she said. "Seeing the trajectory, I'm more worried about North Korea not showing up at the table."

Kim Yo Jong in the spotlight

kim yo jong
Kim Yo Jong speaks with North Korean officials during a bilateral meeting at the National Assembly in Hanoi, March 1, 2019.

Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, is a high-ranking official also considered as a possible successor. Officially, she's a top leader within the United Front Department, which manages relations with South Korea and conducts propaganda operations. She has also been known to take on special diplomatic missions.

"She'll definitely play a role in any future nuclear negotiations," Sheen said. "Trust between those two siblings runs very deep," he added, explaining that Kim's sister may be more confident than a trained North Korean negotiator in cutting deals behind the scenes.

If Biden wins, his White House should prioritize making contact with Kim Yo-jong, Duyeon Kim said. "It might be best," she said, "to aim for reaching his sister to get any type of headway or understanding about North Korean thinking."

Status quo could prevail, no matter who wins US election

Irrespective of who controls the White House in 2021, the person in charge of the American empire will be stuck with the same old predicament.

North Korea seems to have dozens of nuclear warheads. The US wants to take them all away. Yet, neither wants to risk a catastrophic war that could kill millions in Asia and beyond.

A Trump victory would maintain the "status quo," Sheen said. That entails Kim Jong-un trying to manage a relationship with Trump veering between unusual warmth and the "simplistic and reckless approach" perhaps best defined by Trump's 2017 tirades against "Little Rocket Man."

A potential President Biden, he said, will bring back a "stable and traditional" American policy. This course of action may even downplay the North Korean showdown, "since the US already has so many crises to deal with."

But the differences between the two camps — when it comes to North Korea at least — are less stark than many of their supporters might imagine. This is not exactly an election between one candidate committed to invading North Korea and another prepared to withdraw all US troops out of South Korea.

"I do not expect a drastic change in American policy towards North Korea, regardless of who is in the White House next year," Duyeon Kim said. "That has been the case over successive American administrations. The goals and the aims have stayed the same."

But officials in Pyongyang might be anxiously awaiting the outcome on election night, Sheen said. "I think they'll be watching closely," he said.

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New ETF aims to deliver gains from S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, and Russell 2000 simultaneously — with only one index's losses

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  • Innovator Capital Management on Wednesday announced the first "triple stacker" exchange-traded fund, aptly named the Innovator Triple Stacker ETF.
  • It aims to deliver gains from funds tracking the S&P 500, the Nasdaq 100, and the Russell 2000 while taking on only the S&P 500's downside.
  • The novel ETF joins two similar funds set to be listed on October 1.
  • Innovator said the funds would charge a 0.79% management fee and be rebalanced every year.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

A new exchange-traded fund seeks to expose investors to gains from three of the most popular stock indexes while taking on only one major index's losses.

The Innovator Triple Stacker ETF, managed by Innovator Capital Management, will offer investors capped upside exposure to funds following the S&P 500, the Nasdaq 100, and the Russell 2000 and aim to limit losses to just the S&P 500, Innovator said on Wednesday. The fund will trade under the ticker TSOC.

The announcement was part of Innovator's reveal of three "stacker" ETFs, the latest complex investing tool to hit the market.

The second offering is Innovator's Double Stacker ETF, which cuts out the Russell 2000 and is otherwise the same as the triple-stacker fund. The ETF will trade under the ticker DSOC.

Read more: A Wall Street firm shares its 5 best ideas for investors who need alternatives to expensive tech stocks — including trades poised to turnaround after getting pummeled by the pandemic

Third is the firm's Double Stacker 9 Buffer ETF. It also tracks the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 but includes the buffer against the first 9% of a year's losses. The fund will trade under the ticker DBOC.

The firm said its new vehicles are set to list on October 1.

Stocks fell in early September on a broad tech-sector slump — investors ditched lofty valuations for value stocks as tech giants sat at record highs. With stocks struggling to retake record highs and with low rates stifling yields, some firms have turned to alternative investments for fresh gains.

All three funds will charge a 0.79% management fee and rebalance annually to reset investors' upside caps, Innovator said.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

Goldman Sachs says oil prices are set to move 'meaningfully higher' into next year. Here are 7 reasons why the firm is bullish, and 5 stocks it recommends buying in advance

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway made $800 million on Snowflake's first day of trading as the stock spiked

Tech stocks aren't in a bubble, but investors should be pickier, Credit Suisse says

Read the original article on Business Insider

VCs are piling into cannabis tech

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marijuana cannabis industry business v2 4x3

Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.

Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week.

Happy Friday readers,

There's never a dull week in cannabis. After much hand-wringing — yes, legalizing cannabis is a much more complicated issue than it seems — the House vote on the MORE Act, a bill to federally decriminalize cannabis, has been delayed until the lame duck session after the election.

Cannabis legalization is popular among voters. But it's politically tricky, as the back-and-forth this week reveals. In the meantime, cannabis investors, execs, and analysts aren't waiting. They say what happens in states like New Jersey is much more important.

What else?

I spoke on two panels at the Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference this week, one with Merida Capital's Mitch Baruchowitz — who discussed the future of investing in cannabis, and another with a few cannabis execs who discussed the branding challenges as more states legalize cannabis.

Yeji is working on a series with the top cannabis VCs, who say they're shifting dollars from early-stage startups to growth-stage firms. You can read the first of that series here

-Jeremy 

Here's what we wrote about this week:

Venture investors are piling into red-hot cannabis tech startups, despite the industry's struggles. Here's why mainstream funds are betting on software over pre-rolls.

Cannabis tech has become the lone bright spot in an industry that has stumbled in recent months, getting $57 million in VC funding since July 1. It's the first time that cannabis tech and software companies took in more money than other sectors of the industry, such as firms that grow or sell marijuana. 

Top cannabis VCs are now searching for companies with proven track records. 6 investors share what it would take for a new startup to grab their attention.

VCs say they're shifting their investment dollars from early-stage firms to growth-stage companies that already have a proven track record. Many investors told us they're still open to new startups, if they have the right qualities and management team.

3 cannabis execs share how they're positioning their firms to profit as more US states are poised to legalize recreational marijuana

I talked to CEOs at three cannabis companies on Wednesday's Luxury Meets Cannabis Conference who shared how they planned to profit as the cannabis market potentially grows in the coming years. Companies say that as more states legalize cannabis, building up a national brand will be key to winning a major stake in the market.

A top Wall Street analyst lays out how New Jersey could create a 'domino effect' of cannabis legalization across the Northeast and shares the 5 stocks that will benefit the most

Of the handful of states that have adult-use cannabis on the ballot, New Jersey has been tapped as the state most likely to legalize once November rolls around.

Cowen analyst Vivien Azer says that if New Jersey voters choose to legalize the drug, it could push neighboring states like New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island to do the same.

Cannabis
(AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)

Executive moves

  • Curaleaf appoints Talley Wettlaufer as SVP of Retail, succeeding Chris Melillo, who is departing the company.
  • Cresco Labs announced the promotions of David Gacom, Melissa Wagamon and Sean McAlister to regionally focused president positions, to focus on California, the Midwest, and the Northeast.
  • Fyllo announced a slew of strategic advisors and a new board member, with experience across companies like Dunkin, Omnicom, and WeWork.
  • Hexo Corp appoints Trent MacDonald as its new CFO, the Quebec-based cannabis cultivator's third CFO within a year. 

Deals, launches, and IPOs

Policy moves

  • The House vote on the MORE Act, a bill to decriminalize cannabis federally, was pushed back to after the election as lawmakers decided to focus on passing COVID-19 stimulus first. Lawmakers say the vote will be held sometime this Fall.

Chart of the week

Cowen predicts that if in November, Arizona and New Jersey legalize adult-use and Mississippi and South Dakota pass medical programs, the US cannabis market could see an additional $284 million in revenue as soon as 2021. By 2025, the US cannabis industry could be around $3 billion more than it would have been without new states coming online.

cannabis 01

What we're reading

Democrats lose control of marijuana messaging (Politico)

'Vote Democrat to legalize it,' Sen. Chuck Schumer tells Leafly (Leafly)

Martha Stewart, blissed out on CBD, is doing just fine (The New York Times)

Will NJ legalize pot this Fall? (WNYC)

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Democratic Sen. Doug Jones faces a tough reelection fight against Tommy Tuberville in Alabama

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2020 Alabama Republican US Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville
  • Sen. Doug Jones, the lone Democratic Senator from the Deep South, is running for a full term against Tommy Tuberville in Alabama. 
  • Jones narrowly won a December 2017 special election to replace former Sen. Jeff Sessions, but now faces much tougher odds against Tuberville. 
  • Tuberville, a former Auburn University football coach, has earned President Donald Trump's endorsement, and easily defeated Sessions in a July runoff. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

Sen. Doug Jones, the lone Democratic Senator from the Deep South, is running for a full term against former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville. 

The candidates: 

Jones, a former federal prosecutor, narrowly defeated scandal-plagued Republican candidate Roy Moore in a hotly-contested December 2017 special election to replace former Sen. Jeff Sessions, who left the seat to become Trump's attorney general. 

He is possibly best-known for successfully prosecuting the four white supremacists responsible for bombing a church and killing four girls in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

Moore had previously been twice expelled from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments from the courthouse's grounds in defiance of a court order, and for refusing to recognize the 2015 Supreme Court decision establishing the legality of same-sex marriage nationwide. 

In addition to a long history of making Islamaphobic, homophobic, and racist comments, a number of explosive news reports revealed that several women accused Moore of sexually harassing or abusing them when they were teenagers in the 1980s and 90s. 

Tuberville, who has previously coached for Auburn University and the University of Cincinnati, defeated Sessions by a 20-point margin in the July 14 primary runoff to officially become the GOP nominee. 

A political newcomer, Tuberville ran his campaign largely on a platform on standing in lockstep with Trump. And partly thanks to Trump's complicated and fraught history with Sessions, he earned Trump's powerful endorsement in the runoff. 

The stakes: 

In addition to winning back the White House, regaining control of the US Senate for the first time since 2015 is a top priority for Democrats and would be a major accomplishment towards either delivering on a future president Joe Biden's policy goals or thwarting Donald Trump's second-term agenda.

Currently, the US Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents that caucus with Democrats, winning that Democrats need to win back a net total of four seats to have a 51-seat majority (if Biden wins, his vice president would also serve as president of the Senate and would be a tie-breaker vote). 

Alabama's Senate race is a rare bright spot in an otherwise tough campaign year for Senate Republicans. 

Jones pulled off a miracle with his 2017 win, and faces a much tougher path to re-election than he did three years ago now running in a presidential election year with Trump at the top of the ticket and with far less help from outside groups.  

And while college football certainly inspires heated debate in Alabama, Tuberville is a much more formidable opponent thanks to Trump's endorsement, having no legislative record to attack, and importantly, not facing any major scandals or accusations of sexual misconduct. 

The money race: Jones has amassed a sizeable cash advantage over Tuberville, who only won his runoff in July. Jones has raised $14.3 million so far this cycle, spent $7.6 million, and has $8.7 million in cash on hand, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, while Tuberville has raised nearly $3.4 million, has spent $2.8 million, and has around $551,000 in cash on hand. 

What the polling says: The most recent poll of the race conducted by Morning Consult from July 24-August 2 found Tuberville leading Jones by 17 points, 52% to 35%. Another survey conducted by Auburn University at Montgomery found Tuberville leading Jones by eight percentage points, 44% to 36%. 

What experts say: The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rate the race as "leans Republican" while Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics rates it "likely Republican."

FiveThirtyEight's US Senate forecasting model shows Tuberville with a 72% chance of defeating Jones in November. While the forecast predicts a victory for the football coach, Tuberville is only forecasted to win 53% of the popular vote share.

Expanded Coverage Module: insider-voter-guide
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Cadillac's answer to Tesla's Autopilot, Super Cruise, will cost $25 per month after its 3-year trial period

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Super Cruise enables hands-free driving on more than 200,000 miles of compatible highways in the United States and Canada.
  • Super Cruise is General Motors' answer to Tesla's Autopilot: an advanced driver-assistance feature.
  • The first three-year trials of Super Cruise, launched in late 2017, expire soon, and GM will begin charging customers a subscription fee to keep the technology activated.
  • The standalone subscription cost for Super Cruise will be $25 per month.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Super Cruise — General Motors' answer to Tesla's Autopilot — launched in late 2017 on the 2018 Cadillac CT6 sedan. It's an advanced driver-assistance system and arguably one of the best things GM currently offers.

But now that the first wave of Super Cruise free trials are about to expire, the automaker wants customers to pay a subscription fee to keep it activated, as first reported by Motor Trend

Super Cruise is currently offered on a basis of a three-year trial, Motor Trend's Greg Fink writes. Past that, it'll be up to buyers whether they want to keep it turned on.

A Cadillac spokesperson told Business Insider: "After the complimentary connectivity expires, customers in the US can purchase a standalone Super Cruise plan for $25 per month or add Super Cruise to select OnStar and Connected Services bundles for an additional $15 per month."

The spokesperson also said that the cars' adaptive cruise control and lane-centering abilities will continue working whether or not there's a subscription to Super Cruise, however. 

Super Cruise started out as only being offered exclusively with the CT6 — which was discontinued earlier this year — but Cadillac said in January that the technology will also be offered on the 2021 CT4, 2021 CT5, and 2021 Escalade. It's unclear why it took so many years for Super Cruise to be offered on other models.

Unlike Tesla's Autopilot, Super Cruise uses a camera to watch the driver's eyes to make sure they are paying attention to the road. Drivers are able to take their hands off the steering wheel while it is active. Business Insider has reviewed both and can conclude that the two systems are some of the best driver-assistance systems currently available to consumers.

It's also worth mentioning (again) that such systems are not fully self-driving or autonomous and should not be treated as such. 

The move to charge users a subscription fee to continue using a feature their car already comes with seems to be part of a larger trend. Business Insider reported in July that BMW is making similar moves, envisioning a future where its cars come with all the hardware for features such as heated seats, but the owners pay a subscription fee to activate them. 

Once the Super Cruise trial period ends, it appears that customers will have to pay to renew the service, despite having already paid for the extra hardware that the technology needs in order to work.

Jalopnik reported in 2017 that Super Cruise was a $5,000 add-on to the CT6's Premium Luxury Trim. CarsDirect reported in May that Super Cruise will start at $2,500 on the new Escalade. 

"The Super Cruise plan enables the map updates and precise GPS corrections required for Super Cruise to function, and also connects the vehicle to an OnStar Emergency advisor in a case where a driver is non-responsive to escalating alerts," the Cadillac spokesperson told Business Insider.

"As a reminder, in the US, we are providing MY18 CT6 Super Cruise first owners a one-year complimentary extension to their Super Cruise service, once their three-year access expires."

Read the original article on Business Insider

While TikTok is getting the most attention, Trump's ban will eviscerate WeChat, which serves as a lifeline to China for the app's millions of US users

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A WeChat logo is displayed in Guangzhou, China.
  • The Trump administration will ban the use of chat and payments app WeChat for users in the US beginning September 20. 
  • The ban is part of an order from the US Commerce Department that will prohibit new downloads and app updates of WeChat and video app TikTok over fears that the apps' user data can be accessed by the Chinese government. 
  • But the ban has far-reaching implications for WeChat: While TikTok will still be usable in the US after Sunday, and a possible sale to US-based Oracle and other investors would eliminate national security concerns, WeChat has no similar way out. 
  • The app is said to have 3.3 million monthly active users in the US, many of whom use it to communicate with family and friends in China. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Downloads of TikTok and WeChat will both be banned in the US beginning on Sunday, the latest escalation in the Trump administration's battle with Chinese-owned apps that are popular among US users. But while TikTok may be able to escape the ban by selling to US investors, there is no easy escape for WeChat.

The US Commerce Department on Friday issued an order that prohibits new app downloads or updates to hyper-popular video app TikTok, which is owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, and WeChat, a chat and payments app owned by owned by the Chinese mega-conglomerate Tencent. The apps' connection to China has sparked government fears over national security and data collection by Chinese officials. 

But the order goes one step further, and it has far worse implications for WeChat: Beginning on Sunday, the app will not only be unavailable to download and unable to process payments, but it will also be rendered unusable for US users — the Commerce Department order prohibits any internet hosting service from "enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the US."

TikTok is currently exploring a sale in the US to software company Oracle and other US investors, which would resolve the Trump administration's national security concerns. If the deal is completed before November 12, the Trump administration says it will lift the ban. 

But there is no such deal on the table for WeChat, and no clear pathway for the app to ban to be lifted.

Both TikTok and WeChat have been closely scrutinized by the Trump administration over the last several months. In August, Trump issued an executive order barring American companies and individuals from making "any transaction" with WeChat over concerns about how much user data the app collects and whether the Chinese government is able to access it. 

A Tencent spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement that it has been in discussions with the US government since the August executive order and that it has already submitted a proposal that would address the government's concerns. 

"WeChat was designed to serve international users outside of mainland China and has always incorporated the highest standards of user privacy and data security," the spokesperson said. "The restrictions announced today are unfortunate, but given our desire to provide ongoing services to our users in the US — for whom WeChat is an important communication tool — we will continue to discuss with the government and other stakeholders in the U.S. ways to achieve a long-term solution."

WeChat currently has millions of users in the US — estimates range from 3.3 million monthly active users, according to App Annie, to 19 million daily active users, according to Reuters, using data from app analytics tracker Apptopia. While the app began as a straightforward messaging service in 2011, it has since evolved into much more, adding features like the ability to send mobile payments, video calling, gaming, shopping, and the option to hail a taxi or order food. The new 

The app is a major part of everyday life in China, to an extent that users outside the country can't fully comprehend — as analyst and Stratechery founder Ben Thompson wrote in 2017, "WeChat is your phone," far more than any comparable apps in the US.

WeChat and Tencent's other messaging app, QQ, are used by more than two-thirds of Chinese people, according to Bloomberg

According to a report from Reuters' Krystal Hu, WeChat has become one of the main communication tools between people the US and China, in part because it hadn't yet been blocked in either country, unlike other popular chat apps, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram. Reuters reports that the ban on WeChat would sever a communication lifeline for Chinese students or expats living in the US, who rely on it to reach family and friends back home. 

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Trump says Kamala Harris 'can't' be the first woman president because she 'comes in through the backdoor'

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President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at Central Wisconsin Airport on September 17, 2020 in Mosinee, Wisconsin.
  • President Donald Trump said Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris "can't" become the first woman president because she "comes in through the back door."
  • "This is not what people want and she comes in through the backdoor, this would not be what people want, especially because it’s her," Trump said during a campaign rally in Wisconsin on Thursday evening.
  • Trump has dug into Joe Biden's running mate ever since she became the first Black woman to be on a major party's presidential ticket.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump continued his line of attack toward Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on Thursday evening, claiming "if a woman is going to become the first president of the United States, it can't be her."

"That would rip our country apart," Trump told his supporters during a campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin. "This is not what people want and she comes in through the backdoor, this would not be what people want, especially because it's her."

The president drew attention to Harris' time on the 2020 Democratic campaign trail and her feuding with her then-rival, now the Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, on the debate stage.

"That's no way for a woman to become the first president, that's for sure," Trump said.

"I said brilliantly, 'He will never pick her because she was too terrible to him,'" he added. "But she picked him and hopefully that's going to be history. It's not going to matter."

Former Vice President Joe Biden announced Harris as his running mate last month, and since then Trump and his allies have coalesced to deride the California senator, attempting to cast her as a "radical socialist" while also calling her "nasty," "disrespectful" and "not competent."

Harris is the first woman of color on a major party ticket, and Trump has floated false birther theories because of that fact, questioning her eligibility to serve as vice president as the child of immigrant parents, born to a Jamaican father and Indian mother. In reality, Harris meets all qualifications to be a vice president; she is a US born citizen who's over the eligiblity age of 35. Trump previously pushed similarly baseless accusations against then-President Barack Obama.

Harris will publicly face off with Vice President Mike Pence for the first time in their only debate, scheduled for Oct. 7 at the University of Utah. The event will be moderated USA Today's Washington bureau chief Susan Page.

"I don't want to put pressure on him but wait till you see what Mike Pence does to her in the debate," Trump said on Thursday. 

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The stock market will become disconnected from the economy in 2021 as companies expand layoffs, money manager says

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A waitress walks past empty chairs and tables in a restaurant in the city of Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, western Germany on June 23, 2020.
  • The stock market will become disconnected from the economy in 2021, as a lot of layoffs become permanent, a money manager said. 
  • RiverFront Investment Group's Kevin Nicholson, said firms focusing on profitability next year will create a "divergence between the economy and the market." 
  • More than 13.5 million Americans are still out of work compared to a pandemic high of about 23 million.
  • Nicholson said he expects the S&P 500 to level between 3,400-3,450 until January. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The economy and stock market will become increasingly disconnected from each other in 2021, as companies are likely to reduce headcount to increase profits, manager Kevin Nicholson told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Thursday. 

The co-chief investment officer of global fixed income at RiverFront Investment Group said firms are going to focus more on profitability next year, and this is "going to create a divergence between the economy and the market." 

Nicholson, who manages $7 billion of assets according to CNBC, said this divergence will hinder the US economic recovery from the pandemic due to the adverse impact it is expected to have on consumption. 

"You can increase profits in two ways. You can either increase your sales and revenue or you can cut costs," he said.  "I believe that companies are going to do the latter and the biggest expense they are going to have is their employees. A lot of these workers that were furloughed will not end up coming back to work and they are going to be permanently unemployed."

Read More: 3 top investing executives lay out the biggest risks to markets heading into a volatile election season — and share their best recommendations for navigating what happens next 

Nicholson said: "The pandemic pledge that a lot of companies put out there will go away as they move towards focusing on profitability unless they are not laying off workers."

More than 13.5 million Americans are still out of work compared to a pandemic high of about 23 million. Data from Yelp this week showed 60% of US businesses that have shut since the start of the coronavirus pandemic won't ever reopen.

The report, published on Wednesday, said a total of 163,735 US businesses have closed since the beginning of the pandemic as of August 31, marking a 23% increase since July 10. 

Nicholson said he is expecting the S&P 500 to range between 3,400-3,450 until January and "move sideways" due to volatility caused by the upcoming election. 

The index has risen about 53% since touching multi-year lows in March, thanks to a boom in tech stocks and a period of rock bottom interest rates as the Fed has poured trillions of dollars worth of stimulus to prevent the economy from collapse. 

Read More: Goldman Sachs says oil prices are set to move 'meaningfully higher' into next year. Here are 7 reasons why the firm is bullish, and 5 stocks it recommends buying in advance

US jobless claims fell more than expected this week, but Nicholson said he is still concerned about the labour market. 

"In the beginning of the pandemic we lost [about] 22 million jobs, and we have put only roughly a little over 10 million back to work," he said. "As each month goes on past June, delta, that rate of change is declining. That is leading me to think we may have a job-light recovery as we get through the pandemic companies are going to right size the business," he said.

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Kohl's Rewards offers shoppers 5% back on every purchase and converts it to Kohl's Cash every month — here's everything you need to know about the new rewards program

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Kohl's launched its new rewards program (after years of testing in select markets) on September 8, and it's worth looking into. With major deals events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up around the corner, free enrollment in a program like Kohl's Rewards can help turn your big purchases into free money.

How do I join?

Enrollment into the program is easy: just sign up online or in store. It's free to join, and just requires an email and phone number to do so. Members of the previous program, Yes2You Rewards, are automatically rolled into the new program, as are any existing rewards points.

How does it work?

  • Earn 5% Kohl's Rewards on every purchase, no minimum amount of spending required.
  • Within 48 hours of purchase, earnings will be added to your membership balance.
  • On the first of every month, receive your Rewards balance in $5 Kohl's Cash increments via email. 
  • Spend your Kohl's Cash on anything in store, through the Kohl's App, or online within 30 days of issuance. No brands are excluded. 
  • Additionally, shop during a Kohl's Cash earn period to earn an extra $10 of Kohl's Cash for every $50 you spend.

Should I join?

Kohl's Rewards may not be an essential service for everyone, but you don't have to be an avid Kohl's fan to benefit from enrollment; it's a profitable program for any deals-minded shopper. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up on the horizon, and if you have any intention of buying while the discounts are plenty, 5% back on all purchases will add up quickly. Kohl's has a history of offering robust holiday deals on bedding, apparel, and most importantly, small home appliances.

However, it's important to note that Kohl's Cash expires if it's not used within the redemption window, which is 30 days after it's issued. If you receive it on the first of October, you'll have to use it all before the month is up or lose it forever. So long as you don't expect Kohl's Rewards to justify uneccessary purchases, but rather just act as a pleasant bonus when buying something you would've bought regardless, it's worthwhile to enroll. 

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Democratic Senator Gary Peters faces Republican John James in Michigan

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John James
John James speaks in Detroit, Michigan after winning his primary election in August 2018.
  • Republican John James is challenging Democratic Sen. Gary Peters for US Senate in Michigan.
  • For Democrats, ensuring that Peters keeps his seat will be key to winning back the Senate majority as they play offense to defeat Republicans in several other states.
  • James previously unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Debbie Stabenow in 2018. Still, his compelling background and fundraising talent make him one of the strongest GOP recruits this cycle.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

Republican John James is challenging Democratic Sen. Gary Peters for US Senate in Michigan.

The candidates:

Peters, a former US House Representative from the Detroit area, was first elected to the US Senate in 2014 and is seeking a second term.

Peters is one of the more understated and low-key members of the Democratic caucus, but holds powerful posts as the ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He's rated as one of the most bipartisan members of the Senate by Georgetown University's Lugar Center and has emphasized his record of working behind the scenes on Capitol Hill to secure concrete achievements on the campaign trail.

James, a US Army veteran who served as an aviation officer in Iraq and has more recently worked in economic development, is running for Senate in Michigan for the second time in 2020. He challenged Michigan's senior Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2018, and lost by 6.5 points, 52.3% to 45.8%.

As a Republican running in a state that President Donald Trump only won by a margin of 0.3 percentage points in 2016, James has struck a delicate balance between emphasizing his conservative bonafides while creating some distance between his bid for office and Trump, mainly framing himself as part of an up-and-coming generation of Republican leaders. 

As James lost the 2018 Senate race to Stabenow, Michigan elected Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and several other statewide Democratic officials and flipped two suburban US House seats, the 8th and 11th congressional districts, from Republican to Democratic control. 

The stakes:

In addition to winning back the White House, regaining control of the US Senate for the first time since 2015 is a top priority for Democrats and would be a major accomplishment towards either delivering on a future president Joe Biden's policy goals or thwarting Trump's second-term agenda.

Currently, the US Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents that caucus with Democrats, winning that Democrats need to win back a net total of four seats to have a 51-seat majority (if Biden wins, his vice president would also serve as president of the Senate and would be a tie-breaker vote). 

Peters, along with Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, is one of just two Senate Democrats running for re-election in a state that Trump won in 2016. 

James' compelling background, fundraising talent, and campaign charisma make him one of the strongest GOP recruits this cycle. But like in 2018, he'll face an uphill battle overcoming the national trends favoring Democrats and in 2020, will have to contend with Trump — who is currently receiving dismal marks from Michigan voters on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — running at the top of the ticket. 

For Democrats, ensuring that Peters keeps his seat will be key to winning back the Senate majority as they play offense to defeat Republicans in several other states and win back the key swing state of Michigan in the electoral college. Democratic nominee Joe Biden currently leads Trump by 7.6 points in Michigan on average, according to FiveThirtyEight.

The money race: James has been an extremely competitive fundraiser, bringing in just over $20 million so far this cycle compared to $21 million for Peters and narrowly outspending Peters, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Peters has over $11 million in cash on hand compared to $9.2 million for James.

What the polling says: So far, Peters has led James by comfortable margins in almost all the polls of the race conducted in 2020. The most recent survey from Michigan-based pollster EPIC-MRA, conducted September 10-15, showed Peters leading James by four points, 45% to 41%, among likely voters. 

Another poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group for the AARP similarly found Peters ahead by four points, 45% to 41%. 

What some of the experts say:  The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, and Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics all rate the race as leans Democratic. 

FiveThirtyEight's US Senate forecasting model shows Peters with an 81% chance of winning his bid for reelection. Peters is projected to win 52% of the popular vote, or 7 percentage points more than James.

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The best women's slippers

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Whether you have perpetually cold feet, you follow a no-outdoor-shoes-inside-the-house rule and need something for indoor wear, or you just feel your soles deserve a touch of comfort, the right slippers make all the difference.

Our top pick is the tried and true L.L.Bean Wicked Good Moccasins, a mainstay of cozy comfort from a brand that has had a steadfast reputation for decades.

Here are the best women's slippers you can buy in 2020:

Prices and links current as of 9/10/2020. 

The best slippers overall
L.L.Bean Wicked Good Moccasins

For many people, "slipper" is synonymous with shearling-lined, suede moccasins like the Wicked Good Moccasins from L.L.Bean.

L.L.Bean's Wicked Good Moccasins are the classic moccasin-style slipper. They are fully lined with real shearling – no faux sheepskin here – and have warm suede uppers that gently gather around the top of the foot, and include a suede cord that ties in a bow. These slippers also have a sturdy rubber outsole, so you can wear them for quick trips outdoors as well as cozying up inside.

We're not the only ones who love this fluffy shearling option. On L.L.Bean's own site, the Wicked Good Moccasins have nearly 5,000 reviews. Buyers overwhelmingly comment on the softness of the shearling and the overall comfort of the slippers. Some do mention, however, that the slippers run a bit small, and others feel the shearling wears out sooner than they would expect. If you find this happens, you can buy a new shearling insole at L.L.Bean for $30. 

If you're looking for a pair of cozy and warm slippers, the Wicked Good Moccasins are a great choice. And, at just $79, they're a great price too. If you are someone whose feet get hot easily though, you may want something made with a more breathable material or an open-back style. 

Pros: Real shearling, very soft, super warm

Cons: Might overheat your feet, some customers feel they wear out too quickly

The best slip-on slippers
Minnetonka Chesney

Minnetonka's Chesney slippers are soft, warm, convenient, and affordable.

Minnetonka started as a roadside gift shop in 1946. Since then, the company has been making high-quality leather and suede slippers, moccasins, boots, and more. We tried several different pairs of Minnetonka slippers and enjoyed them all, but it's the Chesney slippers that really stood out to us.

These real suede slippers are cozy, comfy, and attractive. The slippers are easy to slide on and off and they have a sturdy, hard sole so you can wear them outside to run a quick errand if need be.

But best of all, these slippers are warm. My feet always feel like ice cubes as soon as temperatures drop below 65 degrees, but I really hate wearing socks, so it's slippers or nothing. I've been a fan of Minnetonka's moccasins for years, so I was excited to try the Chesney slippers, and they lived up to my expectations.

They are plush, warm, and solid enough to support my feet even if I wear them outside or downstairs to the laundry room in my apartment building. I wiggle my toes into these toasty warm slippers every night after work. — Malarie Gokey

Pros: Warm, comfy, affordable, good solid sole, real suede

Cons: Not for long excursions outside

Read our full Minnetonka Slippers review.

The best outdoor slippers
ugg

With a plush interior and a lightweight, but durable outsole, the Ugg Tasman Slippers are a comfy choice you won't regret wearing outside. 

If you're searching for slippers, you're bound to come across Ugg at some point. The Australian brand is so well-known for its sheepskin boots and slippers that there's even a colloquialism "fuggs" for shoes that look similar but aren't made from the brand. 

In my opinion, the praise for Ugg is well deserved. The shoes are supremely comfortable and they're made from high-quality materials. A personal favorite is the Tasman Slipper. These slippers have lasted in my closet for a good 10 years. It wasn't until the embroidered trim began fraying and the inner sole was completely matted that I decided it may be best to finally retire them. All that goes to say, these things last

While Ugg has a lot of slipper options, I love the Tasmans for their versatility. The Uggpure (the brand's proprietary wool material) insole is seriously plush — it feels like you're always standing on top of a luxurious rug. This pair also comes with a particularly durable yet lightweight outsole, making them a great choice for wearing outdoors. Because they're slip-ons and keep your whole foot covered, these are ideal for just throwing on with a pair of jeans or leggings when you're in a rush to get out of the house. Insider Reviews reporter Amir Ismael also counts himself as a fan of the Tasman Slippers

The braided embroidery around the shoe adds a bit of flair, and the color offerings include chestnut and black which both match pretty much everything. At $100, these are pricier than some of the options on this list, but you'll likely get more than enough wear out of them to make the price feel fair. — Remi Rosmarin

Pros: Long-lasting, durable, thick sole is perfect for walking outside

Cons: Pricey, wool can get matted around the foot

The best full-coverage slippers
L.L.Bean Wicked Good Slippers

The L.L. Bean Wicked Good Slippers come up to your ankle to keep your whole foot warm and secure in cold weather.

These slippers are a variation on our top pick that provide a bit more coverage to make sure you stay warm. While the moccasins stop below your ankle, exposing the gap between your slippers and your pants to cold air, the Wicked Good Slippers come all the way up over your ankle bone.

My partner has had a pair of these slippers for years, and I've stolen them plenty of times over the course of our relationship. They're genuine shearling-lined and incredibly soft, so they're perfect for our apartment where the heating is a bit spotty in the winter months. Even though they come up so high on the foot, they're so soft that there's no pinching or digging, even when you've got your feet curled up under you on the couch.

The shearling is moisture-wicking, so even though your feet may get a bit sweaty due to the limited breathability of the suede, your feet will still stay relatively dry. The shearling does get matted over years of wear, losing some of its initial fluffiness, but the integrity of the overall slipper has lasted very well.

You can't slip them on — they require at least one hand to assist you in pulling them over your heel — but they're not going to fall off your feet as you rush around the house either.

Unlike the Wicked Good Moccasins, the Wicked Good Slippers don't have a rubber outsole, so they are indoor only. The leather sole isn't textured, and though I've never found them to be slippery, you may want to be careful on tile surfaces. If you're making occasional trips to the mailbox, the moccasins may be a better choice for you. 

Pros: Full coverage, long-lasting, genuine sheepskin and shearling

Cons: Indoor only, shearling can become matted from wear

The best ergonomic slippers
Vionic Relax Slipper

If you suffer from bunions, arthritis, or plantar fasciitis, you'll appreciate the support, adjustability, and soft comfort of the Vionic Women's Relax Slippers.

Vionic specializes in shoes for problem feet, and with the Relax Slippers, the company brings its sole-soothing design into the bedroom (or wherever else you wear these cozy slippers). The easy slip-on, slip-off style means no struggling with sore toes, while the adjustable top straps let you fit the slippers perfectly, even if one foot is swollen and the other is not.

The Relax Slippers have Vionic's biomechanical footbed to provide excellent support, while the EVA midsole absorbs shock and reduces stress on your feet and legs. Soft polyester terrycloth is easy on your feet and holds up well without irritating tender skin.

One downside is that these slippers are not full-coverage, so you may find your toes getting a bit cold in the winter, but thanks to their open design, you can easily pair these with socks for a bit of extra warmth and protection.

Pros: Ergonomic design is excellent for swollen or sore feet, adjustable strap, good support, and rubber outsole

Cons: May run a little large, not full coverage

The best vegan slippers
birdies

The Birdie Heron Slippers combine luxe looks with shock-absorbing cushioning and high-density memory foam. As a bonus, they're also vegan-friendly.

Smoking slippers are a little more formal than your average pair of moccasins. They're sophisticated in style and comfortable in fit and feel. This type of shoe actually has a history of being worn for at-home entertaining. 

Birdies breathes new life into the classic silhouette with the Heron Slipper, making it a little more modern and exciting for the contemporary shopper. The exterior is made of soft velvet, which feels as luxurious as it looks. The inner sole is made of quilted satin, which makes for a soft and supportive spot for your feet. "The quilted satin footbed was bouncy, making me feel like I was stepping into a pillow every time I slipped the shoes on," Insider Reviews senior reporter Connie Chen has said of the pair.

What makes the Heron Slippers so comfortable? They have a seven-layer responsive cushion design, which includes shock absorption and dual-layer, high-density memory foam. Because there is a small heel, these slippers are suited for outdoor wear just as much as they are for wearing around the house. 

On top of the chic design and wearable construction, Birdies Heron Slippers are completely vegan. Since many slippers are made out of shearling and fleece products, Birdies is a good brand to know about if you're looking for something that's animal-friendly. — Remi Rosmarin

Pros: Vegan, comfortable, stylish, can wear indoors and outdoors

Cons: You'll need to be careful with the velvet when wearing outside

What we're looking forward to testing
Mahabis

To keep this guide fresh with the best recommendations, we're always trying out new pairs. Here are some of the slippers we're excited about now:

  • Mahabis Classic, $109: A wool upper and foam footbed mean that Mahabis contour to your foot for serious comfort. The sole is made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) which is a durable, rubber-like material that makes these slippers sufficient for indoor and outdoor wear.
  • Haflinger Cat Slipper, $84.95: Haflinger's low-profile, soft wool slippers are sure to keep your feet cozy. The brand puts cute appliqués on many of its pairs, which make these a particularly fun option to wear while lounging.  
  • L.L. Bean Glerups Wool Slippers, $95These slippers are easy to slip on and off thanks to the open heel. Reviewers say the felted wool upper is super soft and contours to the shape of your feet. 
  • Lands' End Suede Leather Moccasin Slippers, $44.95These cozy moccasins come in fun colors and can be monogrammed for a personal touch. 
Check out our other great loungewear guides
eberjey2

The best men's slippers

With a fine pair of slippers, you can relax around the house in comfort or step outside to grab the paper or some logs for the fire. The UGG Ascot Slippers are our top pick because they're warm, supportive, and long-lasting.


The best loungewear

The best loungewear is perfect for relaxing at home, plus, it's stylish enough that you wouldn't be embarrassed to be seen in it. We love all of Tommy John's loungewear from the cozy joggers to the lightweight underwear. 


The best women's pajamas

A comfortable set of pajamas makes bedtime all the better. We picked plenty of pajamas that look as good as they feel. The J.Crew Dreamy Cotton Pajamas are our top pick because they're comfortable, cute, and come in a wide range of sizes.


The best women's bathrobe

A bathrobe can make any day feel like a spa day. There are plenty of comfortable options out there, but our top pick is the Parachute Classic Bathrobe because it adds a touch of luxury to your life at an affordable price. 

 

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Trump just banned WeChat for US users. Here's how the company behind the popular app became a $69 billion behemoth that has a stake in everything from 'Fortnite' to Hollywood blockbusters.

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WeChat mascots are displayed inside Tencent office in Guangzhou, China.
  • The Trump administration has banned WeChat in the US beginning on Sunday. The ban follows an executive order against the app in August that barred US companies and individuals from making any transactions with WeChat. 
  • WeChat is owned by Tencent, which isn't a household name in the US, but is one of the most valuable companies in the world. Tencent has a stake in everything from blockbuster films to gaming. 
  • In fact, Tencent is the biggest video game company in the world. It owns US game studio Riot Games and has a substantial stake in Epic Games, the company behind "Fortnite." 
  • Run by billionaire Pony Ma, Tencent is now worth around $69 billion — more than Berkshire Hathaway and Johnson & Johnson, and nearly as much as Alibaba.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration announced Friday it will ban WeChat, the social media app owned by mega-conglomerate Tencent, for US users beginning on September 20.

Tencent likely isn't a household name for many Americans, but it's one of the biggest firms in Asia and has a stake in everything from video games like "Fortnite" to blockbuster films, including "Men in Black: International," "Top Gun: Maverick," and "Terminator: Dark Fate." 

Plus, its messaging apps, WeChat and QQ, are used by more than two-thirds of Chinese people, according to Bloomberg

The order, issued by the US Commerce Department, states that beginning on Sunday, WeChat will not only be unavailable to download and unable to process payments, but it will also be rendered unusable for US users — the order prohibits any internet hosting service from "enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the US." This could have far-reaching effects on the 3.3 million monthly active WeChat users in the US, as well as for Tencent.

Tencent has said it will continue to work with US officials to achieve a "long-term solution," and that the company "has always incorporated the highest standards of user privacy and data security."

As WeChat's future hangs in the balance and Tencent works to continue operating in the US, here's a look back at how Tencent got its start in the late '90s and grew to become one of the most powerful companies in the world. 

Tencent was founded in 1998 by Ma Huateng — better known as Pony Ma — along with three of his classmates from college and a friend.
pony ma tencent
Tencent founder and CEO Pony Ma in Wuzhen, China, in November 2018.

Today, Ma is one of the richest people in the world with a net worth of $55.5 billion, according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.

While Ma oversees the company, Tencent's day-to-day operations are managed by its president, Martin Lau, according to Bloomberg

Tencent has a hand in everything from entertainment to financial services to comics. But perhaps its most powerful tool is WeChat.
FILE PHOTO:  A WeChat logo is displayed inside TIT Creativity Industry Zone where Tencent office is located in Guangzhou, China May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
A WeChat logo is displayed inside TIT Creativity Industry Zone in Guangzhou.

While WeChat began as a messaging app, it's evolved into much more than that. 

Tencent launched WeChat in 2011 with the goal of allowing users to send messages over the internet, much like WhatsApp. Since then, Tencent has added features like video calling, gaming, shopping, the ability to send mobile payments, and the option to hail a taxi or order food. 

The app is a major part of everyday life in China, to an extent that users outside the country can't fully comprehend. 

"For all intents and purposes WeChat is your phone, and to a far greater extent in China than anywhere else, your phone is everything," analyst and Stratechery founder Ben Thompson wrote in 2017. "There is nothing in any other country that is comparable, particularly the Facebook properties (Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp) to which WeChat is commonly compared." 

But WeChat has also become a surveillance tool, according to experts. Researchers at Citizen Lab recently found that WeChat has been monitoring sensitive keywords and images sent by users overseas and using the findings to help it train its censorship algorithms in China.  

The app also collects a substantial amount of information from its users, including their face and voice, leading some to worry that it could become an instrument for the Chinese government.  

In recent years, Tencent has become the world's largest video game company through its tactic of investing in or outright buying up major game makers.
Fortnite
An attendee stops to text next to Epic Games' Fortnite sign at E3, the annual video games expo in Los Angeles.

Tencent outright owns Riot Games, the Los Angeles-based studio responsible for two of the world's biggest games: "League of Legends" and "Teamfight Tactics."

Tencent also owns a 40% stake in Epic Games, the North Carolina-based company behind "Fortnite," the Epic Games Store, and Unreal Engine, the software suite that powers a huge portion of gaming. And it owns the majority of Supercell, the Finnish mobile gaming powerhouse behind "Clash of Clans," "Clash Royale," and "Brawl Stars."

On top of that, Tencent has minority stakes in "Call of Duty" publisher Activision and "Assassin's Creed" publisher Ubisoft.

And for American companies looking to get their games in front of the Chinese market, Tencent also operates as a gatekeeper of sorts. For example, when Activision wants to bring "Call of Duty" to China, it partners with Tencent. Same goes for EA, Sony, and Ubisoft. 

Moreover, Tencent operates WeGame — the Chinese equivalent of Steam, the world's largest PC gaming storefront. There's one major difference between Steam and WeGame: Tencent's version of Steam has far more users.

All of that combined means Tencent is the most powerful gaming company in the world

Tencent has its own production company, Tencent Pictures, which has invested in multiple US films.
Top Gun Maverick

Launched in 2015, Tencent Pictures has been involved in high-profile Hollywood projects, including: 

  • "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"
  • "Terminator: Dark Fate"
  • "Top Gun: Maverick" 
  • "Venom"
  • "Wonder Woman"
  • "Kong: Skull Island"
  • "Men in Black: International" 
It's a major investor, with holdings in Tesla, Reddit, Discord, and Snap. Tencent has invested in more "unicorn" startups than Japanese investment giant SoftBank, according to Quartz.
Snapchat

Source: Quartz, Bloomberg, Pitchbook

Tencent also has a stake in streaming, music, and comics.
NBA store China
People walk by the NBA flagship retail store on October 9, 2019 in Beijing, China.

The company has signed major distribution deals with Sony Music, Warner Music Group, and YG Entertainment, which allow Tencent to distribute their music catalogs online and promote artists from those labels on Tencent's platforms, according to Reuters

And in 2015, Tencent signed a deal worth $700 million with National Basketball Association, making the company the NBA's exclusive digital partner in China. The deal allowed Tencent to carry live games, the NBA draft, the NBA Finals, and the All-Star Game, Bloomberg reported at the time. 

Tencent also has a massive comics and animation business, with its app pulling in 120 million monthly active users, according to TechCrunch

Before the August executive order, Tencent was valued at more than $680 billion, making it the eighth-largest company in the world in terms of market value. But the ban resulted in a loss of $34.6 billion from its value, according to Bloomberg.
FILE PHOTO - Tencent headquarters is seen at Nanshan Hi-Tech Industrial Park in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Tencent headquarters is seen at Nanshan Hi-Tech Industrial Park in Shenzhen.

Tencent was previously more valuable than Berkshire Hathaway and Johnson & Johnson, and was edging in on Alibaba, according to Bloomberg.

While Tencent is based in Shenzhen, China, it has offices in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Tokyo, Palo Alto, California, and elsewhere around the world. 

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Trump said he was 'actually sad' to hear of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death: 'She led an amazing life'

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President Donald Trump speaks to the press pool as he reacts to the news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on the tarmac of Bemidji Regional Airport after addressing supporters during a "Great American Comeback" rally at in Bemidji, Minnesota, on September 18, 2020.
  • President Donald Trump at first missed the news of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on Friday on account of a campaign rally in Minnesota.
  • "She just died? Wow. I didn't know that," Trump told reporters who informed him of her passing afterwards.
  • He continued: "She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I'm actually sad to hear that."
  • Bipartisan tributes are pouring in for the judicial icon whose death opens up a seat on the Supreme Court less than two months before a presidential election. 
  • In a statement later on Friday night, Trump honored Ginsburg as a "titan of the law" who "demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable towards one's colleagues."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump said on Friday night that he was "sad" to hear that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died.

Trump was speaking to a crowd of supporters at a "Great American Comeback" rally at Bemidji Regional Airport in Bemidji, Minnesota, when it came to light that Ginsburg, 87, had died due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. 

Still in the dark, he told the crowd that the Supreme Court "is so important," adding, "The next president will get one, two, three or four Supreme Court justices ... Many presidents have had none."

An attendee shouted "Ginsburg is dead," apparently trying to inform Trump of what had just occurred. The president, however, didn't hear the person, according to reporters at the scene.

Trump finished his address and headed to Air Force One. That's when the press pool informed him of Ginsburg's passing.

"She just died?" he asked. "Wow. I didn't know that. You're just telling me now for the first time."

The president continued: "She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not. She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I'm actually sad to hear that."

Bipartisan tributes poured in for Ginsburg, a judicial icon. Her death opens up a seat on the Supreme Court in an election year. 

In a statement later on Friday night, Trump called Ginsburg a "titan of the law" who "demonstrated that one can disagree without being disagreeable towards one's colleagues."

Recognizing Ginsburg for serving the Supreme Court for 27 years, Trump praised her "powerful dissents," saying, "Her opinions, including well-known decisions regarding the legal equality of women and the disabled, have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds."

The president also described Ginsburg as a "fighter to the end," before concluding, "May her memory be a great and magnificent blessing to the world."

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After the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Schumer repeats McConnell's statement after Justice Scalia's death word for word

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes the stage for a discussion at the Georgetown University Law Center on February 10, 2020 in Washington, DC.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat should not be filled until after the election.
  • Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87. 
  • "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president," Schumer said. 
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the same exact statement following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Senate Minority Chuck Schumer issued the same statement following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. 

Ginsburg died at the age of 87 due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. The Supreme Court Justice battled multiple forms of cancer over the past two decades. 

Following her death, Schumer said: "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

Ginsburg's death comes just a few weeks before the November presidential election, and many are concerned about who President Donald Trump might select to replace her. 

Her seat could be Trump's third opportunity to nominate a lifetime appointee. The appointee could give the court a conservative majority for decades. 

Ginsburg herself dictated a statement to her granddaughter, Clara Spera, which said, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Following Scalia's death, McConnell said: "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President."

A battle between Republicans and Democrats erupted following Scalia's death in February 2016, because some felt it would be too late for then-President Barack Obama to push a nominee through a polarized Senate. 

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Biden demands the GOP-led Senate block any Trump Supreme Court nominee before the election

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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee former Vice President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the William Hicks Anderson Community Center, on July 28, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden remembered the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as "not only a giant in the legal profession but a beloved figure," in a Friday night tribute.
  • The 2020 Democratic presidential candidate made clear, however, that the Republican-controlled Senate must not consider a new nominee for the court, following the same precedent that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set in blocking then-President Obama's nominee.
  • "The voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," he said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden demanded that the open seat on the Supreme Court created by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg must not be filled until a new presidential term begins.

"Tonight, and in the coming days, we should focus on the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy," Biden said in remarks reacting to the feminist icon's death at age 87 due to complications with cancer on Friday evening.

"But there is no doubt, let me be clear, that the voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," he added. "This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when they were almost 10 months to go before the election," referring to when Sen. Mitch McConnell blocked then-President Barack Obama's nominee Merrick Garland from being considered.

"That's the position the United States Senate must take today," Biden emphasized. "They should do this with full consideration and that is my hope and expectation of what will happen."

There is no law that prevents President Donald Trump from putting forth a nominee for consideration by the Senate, which may then hold a confirmation vote and fill the vacancy before the 2020 general election. And McConnell has already indicated plans to do so, but he did not mention when.

"President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," he said on Friday.

Trump earlier this month released a shortlist of his picks for the nation's highest court, adding 20 potential nominees, including three conservative senators and several judges.

In his comments after her death, Biden called the justice "not only a giant in the legal profession but a beloved figure."

"She practiced the highest American ideals as a justice. Equality and justice under the law," he said. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us."

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Democrats' last hope to stop Trump from replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg rests with a handful of Republican senators

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Donald Trump phone
  • The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has reignited critical questions about whether President Donald Trump will be able to force through a nominee to replace Ginsburg, and what, if anything, Democrats can do to stop it.
  • Given the current makeup of the US Senate — 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two Independents who caucus with Democrats — the minority party has no power to stop the president and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell if they decide to push a confirmation through.
  • With 46 days until Election Day, Democrats' hopes rest on a handful of Republican senators who may break ranks to stop the president from being able to get a third Supreme Court justice confirmed.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, said hours before Ginsburg's death that she would not vote to confirm a Trump nominee until after November 3.
  • Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who is facing a tough reelection fight, said she would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice in October, and she would also not vote to seat a justice in the lame-duck period if Trump loses the election.
  • Retiring Sens. Lamar Alexander and Pat Roberts, as well as Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, have all been floated as potential swing votes along with Collins and Murkowski.
  • And Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, said in October 2018 that "if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump's term, and the primary process has started, we'll wait to the next election."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday sent shockwaves through the country. It also reignited long-running questions about whether President Donald Trump will be able to force through a nominee to replace Ginsburg and what, if anything, Democrats can do to stop it.

The short answer is that, given the current makeup of the US Senate, Democrats have no power to stop Trump on their own if he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decide to push a confirmation through. With 46 days to go until Election Day, Democrats' hopes rest on a handful of Republican senators who may break ranks to vote against Trump's nominee.

Following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, McConnell said in a statement, "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

At the time, the senator from Kentucky indicated that should a similar scenario arise in 2020, he would not hold off until the election.

Indeed, McConnell indicated his willingness to fulfill that promise on Friday after Ginsburg died, saying in a statement that Trump's nominee "will receive a vote on the floor of the Senate."

McConnell explained his position by saying that the Republican Senate majority "pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president's second term" in 2016, adding, "We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president's Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year."

Americans "reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise."

As Business Insider reported in July, There are long-standing procedures for a scenario like this, laid out in the Judiciary Act of 1869:

  • Once there's a vacancy, the president can nominate someone to the bench.
  • If the Senate is in recess, the president's pick can cruise right through to take their oath and join the court — but only temporarily, until a confirmation vote by the end of the next Congress.
    • This route is less likely because Democrats could try to call for a "pro forma" session, meaning Congress isn't really in recess. Recess appointments still have to be confirmed by the end of the next Congress, so Trump and McConnell would prefer to have the votes for a regular, permanent replacement while there's still a GOP majority.
  • If the Senate is in session, senators will hold an executive session and hearings on the nominee, which can take two to three months with minimal delays. This process includes background checks, individual meetings between the nominee and senators, and then questioning in hearings before the final confirmation vote.
  • Once the Senate confirms the nominee, the nominee is installed as a Supreme Court justice for life.

Given the outrage from Democrats over McConnell's decision to block the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016, the dynamics now are a little more complicated. With Democrats in the minority and Senate rules no longer offering filibuster protection for the minority party for Supreme Court nominations, they have few options, if any, to stop McConnell.

The Senate consists of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two Independents who caucus with Democrats. In order to stop McConnell, at least four Republicans would have to split from their party. Now, all eyes are on several Republican senators, some of whom have at times stood against Trump and others who are facing tough reelection fights, who could be the deciding factor in whether Trump gets to nominate a third Supreme Court justice.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Alaska Public Media's Casey Groves on Friday, hours before Ginsburg's death, that she would not vote to confirm a Trump nominee until after November 3. "I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election," Murkowski said.

Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, who is facing an uphill reelection battle and will likely lose her Senate seat in November, told The New York Times' Jonathan Martin that she would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court justice in October.

"I think that's too close, I really do," she told Martin, adding that she would also not vote to seat a justice in the lame-duck period if the 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins the election.

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Pat Roberts, both of whom are retiring after their term ends, could also be Republican swing votes. Sen. Mitt Romney, of Utah, who was the only Republican to vote to convict Trump following his impeachment, was floated as a potential swing vote as well.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, which takes up the initial nomination before it moves to the full floor of the Senate, did not say Friday whether he would support Trump and McConnell in trying to push a confirmation through.

He said in October 2018, however, that "if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump's term, and the primary process has started, we'll wait to the next election."

 

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Here are all of Trump's possible Supreme Court nominees, including several conservative judges, lawyers, and 3 senators

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US Supreme Court in Washington, DC.
  • The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has raised the stakes for the fate of the Supreme Court.
  • President Donald Trump earlier this month announced 20 new names that he may nominate if he's reelected, in an effort to energize evangelicals and socially conservative voters.
  • Though Trump may put forth a pick before then because of the sudden vacancy created by the late Ginsburg.
  • Trump added Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton to his shortlist, though only Cotton expressed interest in the position after the announcement.
  • If Trump wins in 2020, he could appoint a sweeping conservative majority in his second term. 
  • Here's a list of the contenders.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday evening has raised the stakes for the fate of the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg, who died at age 87 due to cancer-related complications, has created an empty seat on the bench, allowing President Donald Trump to put forth a new nominee. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already indicated that he plans to consider a confirmation vote. 

The president has a roster of potential picks ready and unveiled 20 additions to his list on Sept. 9.

While it's typical of any administration to keep a running shortlist of possible Supreme Court nominees, Trump's announcement, which included an array of conservative judges and lawyers as contenders — along with three Republican senators — sent a nod to conservative voters and may boost his 2020 bid, less than two months ahead of Election Day. During his 2016 campaign, Trump released similar lists that became key to rallying conservative support.

"Joe Biden has refused to release his list, perhaps because he knows the names are so extremely far left that they could never withstand public scrutiny or receive acceptance," Trump said during his announcement. "He must release a list of justices for people to properly make a decision as to how they will vote. It is very important that he do so."

So far Trump has cemented a 5-4 conservative majority on the bench. He added Justices Neil Gorsuch in September 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in July 2018.

If the Senate confirms a new Trump nominee, he could tip the scale into a greater Republican-appointed majority at 6-3.

And if Trump wins a second term, he may create an overwhelmingly conservative court at 7-2. It's likely that another vacancy may open up within the next four years, because of aging liberal justice Stephen Breyer, who turned 82 last month. 

The new contenders announced include:

  • Bridget Bade, 54: Bade is a circuit judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. She attended law school at Arizona State University and previously served as a magistrate judge on the US District Court for the District of Arizona.
  • Daniel Cameron, 34: Cameron was elected as attorney general of Kentucky in 2019. He previously served as legal counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and worked in private practice before running for political office. Cameron has recently faced criticism for his handling of the Breonna Taylor case. He was a featured speaker at the 2020 Republican National Convention.
  • Paul Clement, 54: Clement served as US solicitor general from 2004 to 2008 under President George W. Bush. He also served as acting US attorney general in September 2007.
  • Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, 43: Cotton was first elected to the Senate in 2014, defeating Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor. He has compiled a staunchly conservative voting record over the past six years.
  • Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, 49: Cruz was elected to the Senate in 2010 as part of the Tea Party wave. He attended law school at Harvard and served as solicitor general of Texas before running for public office. In 2016, he sought the Republican presidential nomination.
  • Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, 40: Hawley graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for Chief Justice John Roberts. He was elected as attorney general of Missouri in 2016 before successfully running for Senate in 2018, defeating two-term Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
  • Steven Engel, 46: Engel is the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. He has served in the administration since 2017.
  • Noel Francisco, 51: Francisco is a former US solicitor general. He was a staunch defender of the Trump administration's position to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
  • James Ho: Ho is a circuit judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. He clerked for Justice Clarence Thomas and served as chief counsel of the subcommittees on the Constitution and immigration under Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.
  • Gregory Katsas, 56: Katsas has been a circuit judge for the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since December 2017. He was previously a deputy White House counsel in the Trump administration.
  • Barbara Lagoa, 52: Lagoa is a circuit judge for the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. She graduated from Columbia Law School and was the first Hispanic woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Florida.
  • Christopher Landau, 56: Landau has been the US ambassador to Mexico since August 2019. He clerked for Supreme Court Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia, later serving in private practice.
  • Carlos Muñiz, 51: Muñiz is a justice on the Florida Supreme Court, serving since January 2019. He previously served as general counsel of the US Department of Education.
  • Martha Pacold, 41: Pacold has been a district judge for the Northern District of Illinois since August 2019.  
  • Peter Phipps, 47: Phipps, a graduate of Stanford Law School, is a circuit judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. He was previously a judge of the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Sarah Pitlyk: Pitlyk is a judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. She graduated from Yale Law School and clerked for Kavanaugh during his tenure on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
  • Lawrence VanDyke, 47: VanDyke is a circuit judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. He previously served as solicitor general of both Montana and Nevada.
  • Allison Jones Rushing: Rushing, a member of the Federalist Society, has been a circuit judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit since March 2019.
  • Kate Comerford Todd: Todd is a former senior vice president and chief counsel for the US Chamber Litigation Center. She graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked for Thomas.
  • Kyle Duncan, 48: Duncan is a US 5th Circuit judge, serving since May 2018 — part of the Trump administration's mass appointment of conservative judges to federal courts. During his Senate confirmation hearing, he was grilled by Democrats for how his religious beliefs could affect his rulings and afterward hailed by conservatives for securing the seat. He graduated with a law degree from Louisiana State University. 

The names add to previous lists of people under consideration, including:

  • Raymond Kethledge, 51: Kethledge has served as a circuit judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit since 2008 and was appointed by Bush. Kethledge had previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kethledge met with Trump as a finalist for the Supreme Court seat before that ultimately went to Kavanaugh.
  • Amul Thapar, 51: Thapar also serves on the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. He was a front-runner for the Supreme Court in both 2016 and 2018, when he was a US district judge. If selected this time, Thapar would make history as the first Asian American on the court.
  • Amy Coney Barrett, 48: Barrett, a hero to the religious right, also met with Trump as a top candidate for the court two years ago, thrilling conservatives. She graduated from Notre Dame University Law School and later returned to teach before being appointed to the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in October 2017.  
  • Andy Oldham, 42: Oldham also serves on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, since July 2018. Previously, he was general counsel to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. He graduated from Harvard Law School and has clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. 
  • Elizabeth Branch, 52: Branch has been a circuit judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit since March 2018. She had worked as a senior official in the George W. Bush administration and later as a judge for the Georgia Court of Appeals.
  • Mike Lee, 49: Lee is a Republican US senator from Utah who was elected in 2010. Since entering the Senate, he has compiled a mostly conservative voting record, with some streaks of libertarianism. After graduating from law school at Brigham Young University, Lee clerked for Alito, who at the time was a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit. As a sitting lawmaker, he would be a more unconventional choice for the Supreme Court, but he'd likely attract some bipartisan support in a confirmation process.
  • Joan Larsen, 51: Larsen has been a circuit judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which covers Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, since 2017. She graduated at the top of her class at Northwestern University's law school and clerked for Judge David Sentelle of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and Scalia. An Iowa native, she would add a rare Midwestern voice to the court.
  • Thomas Hardiman, 55: A leading pick for the two previous Supreme Court vacancies during the Trump presidency, Hardiman has been a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit since April 2007. He graduated from the Georgetown University Law Center and was an attorney in private practice before being nominated and confirmed to a judicial seat on the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, where he served from 2003 until joining the US Court of Appeals. As a federal judge, his votes have been decidedly conservative, with his opinions on gun-rights cases reflecting an originalist approach.
  • Britt Grant, 42: Grant is a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, where she has served since August 2018. While a student at Stanford Law School, she was a chapter president of the Federalist Society, the influential conservative legal organization. After law school, she clerked for Kavanaugh when he was a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Grant served as the solicitor general of Georgia from 2015 to 2017 before being appointed to a seat on the Supreme Court of Georgia. She was elevated to the 11th Circuit the next year.
  • Allison Eid, 55: Eid is a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. She graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and clerked for Thomas. From 2005 to 2006, she was solicitor general of Colorado, and then served as an associate justice on the Colorado Supreme Court from May 2006 to November 2017, when she joined the 10th Circuit.
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Trump reportedly pushed again for a cut of the TikTok deal in a call with Oracle chairman Larry Ellison and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon

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donald trump phone

President Donald Trump again made the case that the US government should receive a payout as part of a TikTok deal, this time to Oracle cofounder and chairman Larry Ellison and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, Bloomberg reported.

Trump spoke with Ellison and McMillon by phone on Friday, according to Bloomberg, as he's considering whether to sign off on a deal submitted by Oracle and TikTok parent ByteDance earlier this week and on the same day the US Commerce Department said it will ban all downloads of the viral video app starting Sunday.

Trump has repeatedly argued that the US government should get a cut of any deal involving the sale of TikTok's assets to an American company, which he has sought to force through multiple executive orders due to alleged national security concerns.

But on Wednesday, Trump said his lawyers had advised him there's no "legal path" through which the government could receive such a payout.

"Amazingly, I find that you're not allowed to do that — you're not allowed to accept money," Trump told reporters during the press conference. "If they're willing to make big payments to the government, they're not allowed, because there's no way of doing that."

On Thursday, the US Treasury Department and ByteDance reportedly reached a tentative agreement for a deal that would allow Oracle and US investors to take a majority stake in TikTok. Walmart, which had initially joined a bid with Microsoft, is still looking to become an investor in the viral video app, according to Bloomberg.

As the Sunday deadline looms, any deal is far from certain.

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