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Congress" favorite combat jet wouldn"t last long in a war against Russia or China

The Pentagon is buying new wings to keep the A-10s flying, even as questions persist about whether itcan survive over modern battlefields. An A-10 Thunderbolt.US Air Force The A-10 Thunderbolt was developed to take on Soviets tanks and is still roaming the battlefield. The A-10's popularity with Congress has helped it survive the Air Force's efforts to retire it. Against the weaponry now fielded by Russia and China, however, the "Warthog" wouldn't last long. The A-10: A History and a Look at a Bleak Future? One of the most iconic airplanes in the US Air Force's flying inventory is the A-10 Thunderbolt, also affectionately known as the "Warthog."Designed to mow down rows of invading Soviet tanks during an anticipated World War III, the A-10 has served in most of America's post-Cold War conflicts, from the Balkans to Afghanistan.A recent Pentagon contract to manufacture new wingsets promises to keep a decent amount of aircraft flying into the foreseeable future, even as questions persist about whether the A-10 can survive over modern battlefields.A-10 Warthogs: the historyA-10 Warthogs.US Air ForceIn 1967, the US Air Force initiated the A-X program, designed to field a new generation close air support (CAS) aircraft. This was the first for the Air Force, which had traditionally used fighters and light bombers (including the A-10's namesake, the P-47 Thunderbolt) in the CAS role.Although the Air Force's current stable of fighters, including the famous "100 series" planes favored speed above all else, A-X traded speed for survivability, maneuverability at low speeds, loiter time and, most importantly, lethality.After a flyoff against the Northrop A-9, the Fairchild A-10 was picked and the first jets delivered in 1974.The A-10 Thunderbolt is unlike any "fighter" before or since, with survivability features designed to keep it flying during an attack run and make it back to base.The plane featured redundant engineering features designed to keep the plane flying though parts of it were shot away. The two General Electric TF-34 non-afterburning turbofans were moved behind the wing, in order to reduce the plane's infrared signature and protect it from Soviet air defenses such as the SA-7 Grail shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile system.The A-10 pilot sits in a titanium "bathtub" protecting him or her from antiaircraft guns up to 23 millimeters — the primary armament of the ZSU-23-4 mobile air-defense system. The flight-control systems and engines are also encased in titanium plate.An A-10 makes an austere landing and takeoff at the National Training Center in California, June 2019.US Army National Guard/Sgt. Mason CutrerThe A-10 is also designed to be flexible and maneuverable, both in the air and on the ground.The aircraft design stresses maneuverability at slow speeds, allowing the pilot to fly extremely low "nape of the earth" missions to mask its approach to the enemy and to avoid enemy antiaircraft fire. The A-10 is also designed to operate from short, unimproved airstrips in the event regular air base airstrips are put out of action.The Thunderbolt II's best attribute is its armament. The aircraft has 11 external hardpoints for carrying electronic countermeasures, fuel tanks, bombs and missiles. The A-10 can carry up to 24 500-pound bombs, four 2,000-pound bombs or six AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles.This enables the A-10 to carry out a number of frontline missions, from close air support to suppression of enemy air defense, and strike key enemy targets such as fuel storage depots, radar installations and field headquarters.The weapon that sets the A-10 apart from the rest of the aircraft world is the nose-mounted GAU-8/A cannon. The large, seven-barreled Gatling gun can fire armor piercing rounds at up to 4,200 rounds per minute, saturating a target area with lethal cannon fire. The GAU-8/A is mounted 2 degrees nose-down and to the left, so that the firing barrel is always on the centerline.The GAU-8/A was an effective weapon for strafing Soviet armor units advancing in a single-file formation, particularly with specially developed tank-killing depleted-uranium ammunition.Even armor-piercing ammunition without depleted uranium could penetrate ZSU-23-4 mobile air-defense systems, BTR-70 wheeled armored personnel carriers and and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles that made up advancing Soviet motor-rifle regiments, all of which could be opened by the GAU-8/A like cans of sardines.In wartime the A-10 was meant to operate alongside US Army Apache attack helicopters in a so-called Joint Air Attack Team (JAAT) to kill advancing Soviet armor. JAAT doctrine called for Apaches to suppress enemy air defenses, identifying and killing threats to the A-10.An armored vehicle after being struck by an A-10's GAU-8/A cannon.USAFA-10s would then swoop down at a 30-degree angle, hosing down Soviet forces with their Gatling guns. In hindsight, this would not often have worked, as Soviet forces would have advanced too quickly for the interservice teamwork to stop the enemy in time.The A-10's first war was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Warthogs were used to kill Iraqi armor units. 132 A-10s flew 7,983 combat missions during the course of the war, killing 987 tanks, 926 artillery pieces, 1,355 armored vehicles, 10 aircraft on the ground and even two flying helicopters shot down with the GAU-8A.After the Gulf War the Air Force planned to do away with the A-10, replacing it with the F-16, but the A-10's success over the battlefield won it a constituency in Congress.In 1999, A-10s flew over Kosovo in NATO's Operation Allied Force, and after 9/11 A-10s flew over both Iraq and Afghanistan. A-10s flying from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey have flown missions against ISIS since at least 2014, and in January 2018, A-10s returned to the skies over Afghanistan after a hiatus of several years.The Air Force has tried to retire the A-10 for more than a quarter-century. The service has consistently argued that the A-10 cannot survive on the modern battlefield and that A-10 funds are better invested in newer planes such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon — and, now, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.Under pressure from the A-10's fans in Congress and the military, the US Air Force is keeping the planes, for now anyway, seeking to manufacture new wings for more than 100 A-10s. This will ensure that at least 280 aircraft will have the structural improvements necessary to keep a viable force of A-10s in the Air Force's inventory.A-10 Warthogs vs. Russia or China in a war (who wins?)A-10 Warthog.Reuters Photographer / ReutersIs the A-10 viable over today's battlefields?Against low-tech enemies with poor air-defense weapons such as ISIS or the Taliban, the A-10 is still a capable platform. Against other, more modern threats such as Russian or Chinese air defenses the A-10 cannot survive on its own.One solution could be to pair the A-10 with air-defense suppression drones. Once drones have neutralized the air-defense threat, A-10s could conduct standoff attacks, loitering at a safe distance while identifying enemy targets and eliminating them with weapons such as newer versions of the Maverick missile or the Small Diameter Bomb.Strafing runs with the GAU-8/A would be less common, but the guns would still see some use against undefended, massed targets.The A-10 is one of the most successful weapons of the post-Cold War era, and has won legions of fans both in and outside the armed services. The temptation is to keep the aircraft flying as long as possible. The trick is to keep the plane around only as long as it is relevant to the modern battlefield.If the A-10 can fight and win for the next generation, so be it. If not, it needs to be retired and a better plane — or solution — takes its place. There is no room for sentiment in the battlefield's lethal skies.Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring, and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

The Tucker Carlson origin story

Tucker Carlson's journey from prep school provocateur to Fox News flamethrower, according to his friends and former classmates. Tucker Carlson during a CNN National Town Meeting on coverage of the White House sex scandal, on January 28, 1998.Richard Ellis/Getty Images Tucker Carlson is remembered as a provocateur and gleeful contrarian by those who knew him in his early days. His bohemian artist mother abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will. At a Rhode Island prep school and at Trinity College, classmates remember him as a skilled debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audiences. On Oct. 29, 1984, New York police killed an elderly Black woman named Eleanor Bumpurs in her own home. Bumpers, who lived in a public housing complex in the Bronx, had fallen four months behind on her rent. When officials from the city housing authority tried to evict her, she refused, and they called the police. Five officers responded by storming into her apartment. Bumpurs, who had a history of mental illness, grabbed a butcher knife as two officers pushed her against a wall with their plastic shields and a metal pole. A third officer fired two shots from his 12-gauge shotgun, striking Bumpurs in her hand and chest.Eleanor Bumpurs' death dominated the city's news for two months and led the NYPD to revise its guidelines for responding to emotionally disturbed individuals.At St. George's prep school, some 175 miles away in Rhode Island, the incident deeply haunted Richard Wayner. He was one of the school's few Black students and had grown up in a residential tower not far from where Bumpurs had lived. He earned straight As and was so admired that in 1984 his peers elected him senior prefect, the prep equivalent of student body president, making him the first Black class leader in the school's 125-year history. Harvard soon beckoned.Wayner was frustrated with how the St. George's community seemed to ignore the conversations about racial justice that were happening outside the cloistered confines of Aquidneck Island. It bothered Wayne that almost no one at St. George's seemed to know anything about Bumpurs' killing. "You had your crew, you put your head down, and you tried to get through three or four years of prep school with your psyche intact," Wayner said of those days.As senior prefect, one of the duties was to deliver an address each week at the mandatory Sunday chapel service. One Sunday, perched from the chapel podium, Wayner described the shooting as a sea of white faces stared back at him. He concluded with the words: "Does anyone think that woman deserved to die?"Near the front of the chapel, a single hand went up for a few brief seconds. It was Tucker Carlson.Eleanor Bumpurs was shot and killed by the New York Police Department on October 29, 1984APThen a sophomore, Tucker had a reputation as a gleeful contrarian – an indefatigable debater and verbal jouster who, according to some, could also be a bit of a jerk. "Tucker was just sort of fearless," said Ian Toll, a St. George's alumnus who would go on to be a military historian. "Whether it was a legitimate shooting may have been a point of debate but the fact was that Tucker was an underclassmen and the culture was to defer to the seniors." Wayner himself never saw Tucker's hand go up, and the two kept in touch over the years. (Note on style: Tucker Carlson and the members of his family are referred to here by their first names to avoid confusion.)  Four decades later, glimmers of that prep school provocateur appear on Tucker's Prime Time show on Fox, which garners an average of between 3 to 4 million viewers a night. His furrowed visage and spoiling-for-a-fight demeanor are all too familiar to those who have known him for decades. In the words of Roger Stone, a Republican political operative, frequent guest, and longtime friend of Tucker's: "Tucker Carlson is the single most influential conservative journalist in America… It is his courage and his willingness to talk about issues that no one else is willing to cover that has led to this development."Tucker's name has even been floated as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. "I mean, I guess if, like, I was the last person on earth, I could do it. But, I mean, it seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy." he said on the "Ruthless" podcast in June, dismissing this possibility.Tucker's four decades in Washington, and his transition from conservative magazine writer to right-wing television pundit, have been well documented. But less well known are his early years and how they shaped him: his bohemian artist mother, who abandoned her young family and cut Tucker and his brother out of her will; the Rhode Island prep school where he met his future spouse; and his formation into a contrarian debater who could both amuse and infuriate his audience with his attention-getting tactics.Tucker declined to participate in an interview with Insider, saying in a statement. "Your level of interest in the boring details of my life is creepy as hell, and also pathetic," he wrote. "You owe it to yourself and the country to do something useful with your talents. Please reassess."California roots Tucker Carlson's West Coast roots burrow as deep as a giant redwood. He was born in San Francisco in May 1969 as the excesses of the Sixties peaked and the conservative backlash to the counterculture and the Civil Rights movement started to take shape. Tucker's mother, Lisa McNear Lombardi, born in San Francisco in 1945, came from one of the state's storied frontier families. Lisa's mother, Mary Nickel James, was a cattle baron heiress. Her great-great-grandfather had owned 3 million acres of ranchland, making him among the largest landowners west of the Mississippi. Her father Oliver Lombardi was an insurance broker and descendant of Italian-speaking Swiss immigrants. Lisa enrolled at UC Berkeley, where she majored in architecture. She met Richard Carlson, a San Francisco TV journalist from a considerably less prosperous background, while still in college. Lisa and Richard eloped in Reno, Nevada in 1967. The couple didn't notify Lisa's mother, who was traveling in Europe with her new husband at the time. "Family members have been unable to locate them to reveal the nuptials," a gossip item published in the San Francisco Examiner dished.Tucker arrived two years later. A second son, Buckley, was born two years after that. As Richard's career began to flourish, the family moved first to Los Angeles and then, in 1975, to La Jolla, a moneyed, beach-front enclave about 12 miles north of San Diego. When Lisa and Richard divorced a year later, in 1976, Richard got full custody of their sons, then 6 and 4. According to three of Tucker's childhood classmates, Lisa disappeared from her sons' lives. They don't recall Tucker talking about her, or seeing her at school events. Marc Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate who went on to be executive producer of the Tony Kornheiser Show, says the two didn't talk much about Tucker's relationship with his mother and he got the impression that Tucker and Richard were exceptionally close. When Sterne's own parents split up that year, he said Tucker was supportive and understanding. Lisa spent the next two decades as an artist – moving first to Los Angeles, where she befriended the painter David Hockney, and later split her time between France and South Carolina with her husband, British painter Michael Vaughan. In 1979, Richard Carlson married Patricia Swanson, heiress to the Swanson frozen foods empire that perfected the frozen Salisbury steak for hassle-free dinners. She soon legally adopted Tucker and Buckley.  When Lisa died in 2011, her estate was initially divided equally between Tucker, his brother Buckley, and Vaughan. But in 2013, Vaughan's daughter from another marriage found a one-page handwritten document in Lisa's art studio in France that left her assets to her surviving husband with an addendum that stated, "I leave my sons Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson and Buckley Swanson Peck Carlson one dollar each." A protracted battle over Lombardi's estate involving Vaughan and the Carlson brothers wound up in probate court. The Carlsons asserted the will was forged but a forensic witness determined that Lisa had written the note. The case eventually went to the California Appellate Court, which allowed the Carlson brothers to keep their shares in 2019."Lisa was basically sort of a hippie and a free spirit," said one attorney who  represented the Vaughan family and recalled having conversations about the case. "She was very liberal and she did not agree with Tucker's politics. But she stuck the will in the book, everyone forgot about it, and then she passed away."In a 2017 interview with The New Yorker, Tucker described the dissolution of his family as a "totally bizarre situation — which I never talk about, because it was actually not really part of my life at all." Several pieces of art produced by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderLisa When Lisa left her husband and two young sons, she was escaping suburban family life in favor of the more bohemian existence as an artist. One of Tucker and Buckley's former teachers said their mother's absence "left some sour grapes." "I felt they sided with the father," Rusty Rushton, a former St. George's English teacher said. After the divorce, Lisa returned to Los Angeles and tried to break into the city's thriving contemporary art scene. She befriended Mo McDermott, an LA-based British sculptor, model, and longtime assistant to David Hockney, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. A few years before he met Lisa, the scene was captured in Jack Hazan's 1974 groundbreaking documentary "A Bigger Splash," which followed Hockney and his coterie of gay male friends idly lounging around the pool in his Hollywood Hills home."When love goes wrong, there's more than two people who suffer," said McDermott, playing a slightly exaggerated version of himself, in a voiceover in the documentary.Lisa and McDermott became a couple and Lisa won admission into Hockney's entourage. Hockney lived a far more reclusive lifestyle than his pop art compatriot Andy Warhol but some four dozen or so artists, photographers, and writers regularly passed through his properties."She was more like a hippie, arty kind of person. I couldn't ever imagine her being a mother," said Joan Quinn, the then-West Coast editor of Andy Warhol's Interview Magazine, who knew Lisa during those years and still owns several of her works. "She was very nervous all the time… She was ill-content."The pair were often seen at Hockney's Hollywood Hills home and at Friday night gallery openings on La Cienega Boulevard. They collaborated on playful, large-scale wood sculptures of animals, vegetables, and trees. A handful of their pieces could be seen around Hockney's hillside ranch."Hockney had me over to meet them. He wanted a gallery to handle their work," said Molly Barnes, who owns a gallery in West Hollywood and gave the pair shows in 1983 and 1984. "They were brilliant and David loved Mo. He thought they were the best artists around.""She was quiet and intellectual and somewhat withdrawn," Barnes said. "She had come from a lot of money and that reflected on her personality. She wasn't a snob in any way but she had the manners of a private school girl and someone who was fighting the establishment."A sculpture by Tucker's mother, Lisa Lombardi, and her then-partner Mo Mcdermott in the home of a California collector.Ted Soqui for InsiderNone of them recall Lisa discussing her two sons. McDermott died in 1988. After his death, Hockney discovered that McDermott had been stealing drawings from him and selling them. Hockney said the betrayal helped bring on a heart attack. "I believe I had a broken heart," Hockney told The Guardian in 1995. (Hockney did not answer multiple inquiries about Lisa or McDermott.)In 1987, Lisa met Vaughan, one of Hockney's peers in the British art scene known as the "Bradford Mafia." They married in February 1989 and for years afterward they lived in homes in the Pyrenees of southwest France and South Carolina's Sea Islands.Lisa continued to make art, primarily oversized, wooden sculptures of everyday household items like peeled lemons and dice, but she exhibited her work infrequently. She died of cancer in 2011, at which point Carlson was a decade into his media career and a regular contributor on Fox News. Richard In contrast to Lisa's privileged upbringing, Richard's childhood was full of loss. Richard's mother was a 15-year-old high school girl who had starved herself during her pregnancy, and he was born with a condition called rickets. Six weeks later, his mother left him at an orphanage in Boston called The Home for Little Wanderers. Richard's father, who was 18, tried to convince her to kidnap the infant and marry him, but she refused. He shot and killed himself two blocks from her home.A Massachusetts couple fostered Richard for two years until he was adopted by a wool broker and his wife, which he described in a 2009 reflection for the Washington Post. His adoptive parents died when he was still a teenager and Richard was sent to the Naval Academy Preparatory School. He later enlisted in the Marines and enrolled in an ROTC program at the University of Mississippi to pay for college.In 1962, Richard developed an itch for journalism while working as a cop in Ocean City, Maryland at the age of 21, and the future NBC political correspondent Catherine Mackin, helped him get a copy boy job at the Los Angeles Times. Richard moved to San Francisco three years later and his career blossomed. He started producing television news features with his friend, Lance Brisson, the son of actress Rosalind Russell. They filmed migrant farm workers in the Imperial Valley living in cardboard abodes in 110 degree weather, traipsed the Sierra Nevada mountains to visit a hermit, and covered the Zodiac Killer and Bay Area riots (during one demonstration in 1966, they sent television feeds from their car where they trapped for four hours  and a crowd roughed up Brisson, which required four stitches under his left eye). Another time, they rented a helicopter in search of a Soviet trawler but they had to jump into the Pacific Ocean when the chopper ran low on fuel near the shore and crashed.In 1969, Richard and Brisson co-wrote an article for Look Magazine that claimed San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto had mafia ties. Alioto sued the magazine's owner for libel and won a $350,000 judgment when a judge determined the article's allegations were made with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for whether they were true or not." (Richard was not a defendant in the case and has stood by his story. Brisson declined an interview.)Richard moved back to Los Angeles to join KABC's investigative team two years later. One series of stories that delved into a three-wheeled sports car called the Dale and the fraudulent marketing practices of its founder, Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael, won a Peabody award in 1975. The series also outed Carmichael as a transgender woman. (Richard's role in Carmichael's downfall was explored in the HBO documentary "The Lady and the Dale.") Soon after arriving as an anchor for KFMB-TV, San Diego's CBS affiliate, Richard ran a story revealing that tennis pro Renee Richards, who had just won a tournament at the La Jolla Tennis Club, was a transgender woman."I said, 'You can't do this. I am a private person,'" Richards, who years later would advise Caitlyn Jenner about her transition, urged the television journalist to drop his story, according to a 2015 interview. "His reply? 'Dr. Richards, you were a private person until you won that tournament yesterday.'" By the time he left the anchor chair in 1977 to take a public relations job with San Diego Savings and Loan, Richard had soured on journalism. "I have seen a lot of arrogance and hypocrisy in the press and I don't like it," he told San Diego Magazine in 1977. "Television news is insipid, sophomoric, and superficial… There are so many things I think are important and interesting but the media can be counted on to do handstands on that kind of scandal and sexual sensation."Years later, Richard said that he never tried to encourage his eldest son in politics or journalism, but that Tucker had a clear interest in both from an early age. "I never thought he was going to be a reporter or a writer. I never encouraged him to do that," Richard told CSPAN of his eldest son in 2006. "I actually attempted not to encourage him politically, either. I decided those are the things that should be left up to them."A LaJolla, California post card.Found Image Holdings/Corbis via Getty ImagesA La Jolla childhoodAfter the divorce, Richard and his boys stayed in La Jolla in a house overlooking the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Friends of Tucker's would later say that the trauma of their mother's absence brought the three of them closer together.  "They both really admired their dad. He was a great source of wisdom. He's one of the great raconteurs you'll ever meet. They loved that glow that came from him," said Sterne, Tucker's boarding school roommate. "They both looked up to him, it was clear from my eyes."In an essay included in his book "The Long Slide: Thirty Years in American Journalism," Tucker described Richard as a kind parent who imbued family outings with a deeper message.One of Tucker's earliest memories, he writes, was from just after the divorce, when Tucker was seven and Buckley was five: the brothers gripping the edge of a luggage rack on the roof of his family's 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon, while their father gunned the engine down a dirt road."I've sometimes wondered what car surfing was meant to teach us," Tucker wrote. "Was he trying to instill in us a proper sense of fatalism, the acknowledgement that there is only so much in life you can control? Or was it a lesson about the importance of risk?... Unless you're willing to ride the roof of a speeding station wagon, in other words, you're probably not going to leave your mark on the world."More often, the boys were left unsupervised and found their own trouble. Tucker once took a supermarket shopping cart and raced it down a hill in front of their house with Buckley in its basket. The cart tipped over, leaving Buckley with a bloody nose. He also recalled building makeshift hand grenades with hydrochloric acid and aluminum foil – using a recipe from their father's copy of "The Anarchist Cookbook"  and tossing them onto a nearby golf course."No one I know had a father like mine," Tucker wrote. "My father was funnier and more outrageous, more creative  and less willing to conform, than anyone I knew or have known since. My brother and I had the best time growing up."Richard sent Tucker to La Jolla Country Day, an upscale, largely white private school with a reputation as one of the best in Southern California, for elementary and middle school. In his book, "Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution," Tucker described his first grade teacher Marianna Raymond as "a living parody of earth-mother liberalism" who "wore long Indian-print skirts," and sobbed at her desk over the world's unfairness. "As a conservative, I had contempt for the whiny mawkishness of liberals. Stop blubbering and teach us to read. That was my position," he wrote. "Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.""I beg to differ," Raymond countered in an interview, saying that she was also Tucker's tutor during the summer after first grade and was even hired again. "I'm a great teacher. I'm sure he liked me." For her part, she remembered Tucker as a fair-haired tot who was "very sweet" and "very polite." (When The Washington Post reached out her her, she said Carlson's characterization had been "shocking.")  Friends from La Jolla remember that Tucker loved swimming the mile-and-a-half distance between La Jolla Shores Park and La Jolla Cove, jumping off cliffs that jut out into the Pacific Ocean, riffing on the drums, and playing Atari and BB gun games at the mall with his friends. "He was a happy kid. We were young, so we used to go to the beach. We did normal kid stuff," said Richard Borkum, a friend who is now a San Diego-based attorney. When they weren't at the beach or the mall, Borkum and another friend, Javier Susteata, would hang out at the Carlson home listening to The Who, AC/DC, and other classic rock bands. Borkum said the adults at the Carlson household largely left them alone. "I'm Jewish and Javier was Mexican and I'm not sure they were too happy we were going to their house," Borkum said.Another friend, Warren Barrett, remembers jamming with Tucker and going snow camping at Big Bear and snorkeling off Catalina Island with him in middle school."Tucker and I literally ate lunch together every day for two years," Barrett said. "He was completely the opposite of now. He was a cool southern California surfer kid. He was the nicest guy, played drums, and had a bunch of friends. And then something must have happened in his life that turned him into this evil diabolical shithead he is today."LaJolla is a upscale beach community outside of San Diego. Carlson and his family moved their in 1975.Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesSan Diego's next mayorRichard, meanwhile, was exploring a second career in public service. By 1980, he had risen to vice president of a bank headed by Gordon Luce, a California Republican power broker and former Reagan cabinet official. The following year, Richard's public profile got a boost when he tangled with another veteran television journalist, CBS's Mike Wallace. The 60 Minutes star had interviewed Richard for a story about low-income Californians who faced foreclosures from the bank after borrowing money to buy air conditioners without realizing they put their homes up for collateral. Richard had his own film crew tape the interview, and caught Wallace saying that people who had been defrauded were "probably too busy eating their watermelon and tacos." The remark made national headlines and Wallace was forced to apologize.Pete Wilson, the U.S. Senator and former San Diego mayor, encouraged Richard to run for office. In 1984, Richard entered the race to challenge San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock's re-election. "He was a very well-regarded guy," Hedgecock told Insider. "He had an almost Walter Cronkite-like appearance, but because he was in local news he was all about not offending anybody. He didn't have particularly strong views. He was nice looking, articulate, and made good appearances, but what he had to say was not particularly memorable other than he wanted me out of office."Sometimes Tucker tagged along for campaign events. "He would always show up in a sport coat, slacks and a bowtie and I thought that's really nice clothing for someone who is a kid," Hedgecock remembers. He was a very polite young man who didn't say much."Five days before voters went to the polls, Hedgecock went on trial for 15 counts of conspiracy and perjury, an issue that Richard highlighted in his television campaign ads. Richard still lost to Hedgecock 58 to 42 percent despite pouring nearly $800,000 into the race and outspending Hedgecock two to one. (Hedgecock was found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and resigned from office in 1985 but his convictions were overturned on appeal five years later.)People are seen near a beach in La Jolla, California, on April 15, 2020.Gregory Bull/AP PhotoPrep school In the fall of 1983, a teenaged Tucker traded one idyllic beachfront community for another.At 14, Tucker moved across the country to Middletown, Rhode Island, to attend St. George's School. (Buckley would follow him two years later.) The 125-year-old boarding school sits atop a hill overlooking the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and is on the other side of Aquidneck Island where Richard Carlson went to naval school. The private school was known as a repository for children of wealthy East Coast families who were not as academically inclined as those who attended Exeter or Andover. Its campus had dorms named after titans of industry, verdant athletic fields, and a white-sand beach.Senators Claiborne Pell and Prescott Bush graduated, as did Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and poet Ogden Nash. Tucker's class included "Modern Family" actor Julie Bowen; Dede Gardner, the two-time Oscar-winning producer of "12 Years a Slave" and "Moonlight"; and former DC Entertainment president Diane Nelson. Billy Bush – "Extra" host, and cousin to George W. Bush – was three years behind him.Tuition at St. George's cost $13,000 per year in the 1980s (it's now up to $67,000 for boarding school students) and student schedules were tightly regimented with breakfast, classes, athletics, dinner, and study hall encompassing each day. Students were required to take religion classes, and attend chapel twice a week. Faculty and staff would canvass the dorms on Thursdays and Sundays to ensure no one skipped the Episcopal service. Tucker impressed his new chums as an hyper-articulate merrymaker who frequently challenged upperclassmen who enforced dorm rules and the school's liberal faculty members."He was kind of a California surfer kid. He was funny, very intelligent, and genuinely well-liked," said Bryce Traister, who was one year ahead of Tucker and is now a professor at the University of British Columbia. "There were people who didn't like Tucker because they thought he was a bullshitter but he was very charming. He was a rascal and a fast-talker, as full of shit as he is today."Back then Tucker was an iconoclast more in the mold of Ferris Bueller than preppy neocon Alex P. Keaton, even if his wardrobe resembled the "Family Ties" star. Students were required to wear jackets, ties, and khakis, although most came to class disheveled. Tucker wore well-tailored coats and chinos, pairing his outfit with a ribbon-banded watch and colorful bowtie which would later become his signature. "He was always a very sharp dresser. He had a great rack of ties. He always knew how to tie a bowtie but he didn't exclusively wear a bowtie," said Sterne, Tucker's freshman year roommate. "He always had great clothes. It was a lot of Brooks Brothers." Their crew crew held court in each others' dorm rooms at Auchincloss, the freshman hall, kicking around a Hacky Sack and playing soccer, talking about Adolph Huxley, George Orwell, and Hemingway, and dancing to Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, and U2 on the campus lawn. Televisions weren't allowed so students listened to their Sony Walkman swapping cassette recordings of live concerts. Tucker introduced several bands to his friends."He loved classic rock and he was and still is a big fan of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead," said Sterne, who saw a Dead show with Tucker at RFK Stadium in 1986.Sometimes the clique got slices at Aquidneck Pizza and played arcade games in town, hung out in history instructor William Schenck's office, and smoked pot and Marlborough Red cigarettes on a porch in the main building's common room that faced the ocean, according to multiple sources. When the school administrators banned smoking indoors the following year so they congregated behind the dumpster behind the dining hall. Vodka (often the brand Popov) mixed with Kool-Aid was the drink of choice and students stockpiled bottles under their beds.Tucker was an enthusiastic drinker, half a dozen classmates recall. In his book, "The Long Slide," Tucker credits Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" for enticing him to try drugs in 10th grade, The experience gave him "double vision and a headache." By the time he got to college, Tucker writes, "I switched to beer."By the late 1990s Tucker stopped smoking. He eventually cut alcohol too in 2002 after drinking so much while covering George W. Bush in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary that he accidentally got on the wrong plane, according to a friend.Most of Tucker's fellow students remember him best as a skilled speaker."He was always eager to take the less palatable side of the argument and argue that side," said Mahlon Stewart, who attended prep school and college with Tucker and is now a geriatric specialist at Columbia University. "Back then it was comedic. I thought it was an act.""His confidence was just amazing. He could just put out some positions and be willing to argue anything no matter how outlandish," Keller Kimbrough, a former classmate who's now a professor at the University of Colorado. "We were talking about politics and religion one time Tucker pulled this card out of his wallet and said, 'Well actually I'm an ordained minister, I'm an authority on the subject.' This was a stunt. He could literally play the religion card." "When he got the job at Fox I just thought 'Wow that's perfect for him, that's exactly what he can do.'"Their dorm room discourses were never serious. Tucker would pick a side in a debate between whether the color red or blue were better, and the crowd would erupt whenever he made a good point, friends said.  "Even at age 15 he was verbally dexterous and a great debater," Ian Toll said. "His conservative politics was fully formed even back then. He believed in strong defense and minimal government."His teachers saw a pupil who was primed for law school."Language and speaking came naturally to him. He took pleasure in it," said Rusty Rushton, Tucker's former English teacher. Tucker's politics, though, "seemed fluid to me," Rushton said. "I don't think of him as a deeply ensconced ideologue."He ditched soccer after sophomore year to act in a school theater production of Ayn Rand's courtroom thriller "Night of January 16th" (Julie Bowen starred as the prosecuting attorney. Tucker played a juror). But Tucker found his voice in competitive debate when he eventually joined the school's debate club. The team traveled to other private school campuses to compete against schools like Andover, Exeter, and Roxbury Latin in tournaments."He won some debate and basically did a victory lap afterward and got in the face of all the faculty there," one alum from a rival school who debated against Tucker said. "After defeating the student team, he started challenging the faculty, and said, 'Do any of you want to take me on? Are any of you capable of debating me?'"SusieIn the fall of Tucker's sophomore year, a new headmaster arrived at St. George's, Rev. George Andrews II. Andrews' daughter, Susie – who Tucker would eventually marry – was in Tucker's class. According to school tradition, a rotating group of underclassmen was charged with serving their classmates dinner and, one night in late September, Tucker and Susie had the shift at the same time. "They were sitting at a table at the far end of Queen Hall just leaning in, talking to each other," Sterne recalled. "You could see the sparks flying, which was cool."Susie floated between the school's friend groups easily. When she was seen mingling with Tucker, some questioned what she saw in him."People were saying, 'Come on Susie, why are you dating Tucker?' He's such a loser slacker and she was so sweet," Traister said. The pair started dating at the age of 15 and quickly became inseparable. Tucker gained notoriety on campus for repeatedly sneaking into Susie's room on the second floor of Memorial Schoolhouse, the school's stately administrative office that housed the headmaster's quarters. He had less time for his dumpster buddies now that the couple hung out on the campus lawn, attended chapel and an interdenominational campus ministry organization called FOCUS. His senior yearbook included a photo of Tucker squinting in concern to a classmate, with the caption "What do you mean you told Susie?While Susie was universally liked within the St. George's community, her father was polarizing.Andrews led the school during a turbulent period – it was later revealed – when its choirmaster Franklin Coleman was accused of abusing or having inappropriate conduct with at least 10 male students, according to an independent investigation by the law firm Foley Hoag in 2016. (Two attorneys representing several victims said 40 alumni contacted them with credible accounts of molestation and rape accusations at the hands of St. George's employees between 1974 and 2004 after a 2015 school-issued report detailed 26 accounts of abuse in the 1970s and 1980s. (Coleman was never criminally charged and he has not responded to Insider's attempts to reach him.) Over his eight-year tenure as school music director, from 1980 to 1988, Coleman invited groups of boys to his apartment for private parties. Sometimes he shared alcohol and pot with some of them, gave them back and neck rubs, showed pornographic videos, traveled with them on choral trips and stayed in their hotel rooms, and appeared nude around some of them, the report found. Several of Tucker's classmates and former faculty said they had no reason to believe he would have been aware of the accusations. "There were rumors circulating wildly that Coleman was bad news. The idea was he would cultivate relationships with young men," Ian Toll, a St. George's alum, said. "Anyone who was there at that time would have likely been aware of those rumors."Andrews told Foley Hoag investigators he was not aware of any complaints about Coleman until May 1988 (by then, Tucker had finished his freshman year in college) when school psychiatrist Peter Kosseff wrote a report detailing a firsthand account of misconduct. But Andrews acknowledged to investigators the school could have been aware of "prior questionable conduct" before then, the report said. Andrews fired Coleman in May 1988 after the school confronted Coleman with allegations of misconduct and he did not deny them. According to the investigation, Andrews told students Coleman resigned due to "emotional stress" and that he had the "highest regard and respect for him." On the advice of a school attorney, Andrews did not report the music teacher to child protective services. He also knew that his faculty dean wrote Coleman a letter of recommendation for a job at another school, according to investigators. Andrews left the school a few weeks after Coleman departed. By September 1989, he was named headmaster at St. Andrew's School in Boca Raton, Florida which he led for 18 years. (Andrews declined to speak about Tucker or his tenure at either school.) St. George's, meanwhile, reached an undisclosed settlement with up to 30 abuse survivors in 2016. Coleman found work as a choir director at Tampa Preparatory School in Tampa Bay, Florida before he retired in 2008. Tucker Carlson attended St. George’s School, a boarding school starting at age 14.Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty ImagesTrinity In the fall of 1987, Tucker enrolled at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where Rev. Andrews had also attended.Nearly two-thirds of Trinity's student body back then originated from private schools and many came from wealthy backgrounds. Tuition in 1987 cost $11,700 plus an additional $3,720 for room and board—around $27,839 in today's dollars."When the Gulf War broke out" in 1990, one Trinity alum who knew Tucker recalled, "there was a big plywood sign in front of the student center that read, 'Blood for Oil,' and someone else threw a bucket of paint on it."The posh campus was situated in the middle of Hartford, Connecticut, the state's capital and one of its poorest cities. Discussions about race and inequality were sometimes at the forefront of campus politics, but many students avoided engaging in them entirely."There were issues about whether black students should only date other black students, that kind of thing," said Kathleen Werthman, a classmate of Tucker's who now works at a Florida nonprofit for people with disabilities. "My sophomore year, for new students, they had a speaker talking about racism, and one of the students said, 'I never met a black student, how are you supposed to talk to them?' And the idea that only white people can be racist was challenged too."Susie was at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. His brother remained in Rhode Island and other prep school friends had fanned out across the East Coast. Tucker moved into a four-bedroom dormitory overlooking the main quad. One suitemate, Neil Patel, was an economics major from Massachusetts who played intramural softball. (They would co-found the Daily Caller together two decades years later.) Other roommates played on the varsity soccer team and they formed a tight-knit group."I remember being struck by him. He was the same way he is now," said Rev. Billy Cerveny, a college friend of Tucker's who's now a pastor at Redbird Nashville. "He was a force of nature. He had a sense of presence and gravitas. You might get into an argument with him, but you end up loving the guy."Tucker often went out of his way to amuse his friends. Once during the spring semester, several activists set up a podium and microphone beneath his dorm window to protest the CIA's on-campus recruitment visits. The demonstration was open-mic so Tucker went up to the stage and told the crowd of about 15 people, "I think you're all a bunch of greasy chicken fuckers.""I think people laughed. He did," Cerveny said. "There was always a small collection of people any time there was an issue who tried to stir the pot in that way. Some people were dismissive and other people loved it, thinking 'Oh we're getting a fight here.'"As a sophomore, Tucker and his friends moved into a dingy three-story house on Crescent Street on the edge of the campus. He ditched his tailored jackets, khakis, and bowties for oversized Levi jeans, t-shirts, and untucked oxford shirts. Tucker commandeered a low-ceilinged room above the front porch with so many windows he had to hang up tapestries to keep out the sun. The tiny alcove had barely enough space for an eight-foot futon and several bookshelves Tucker built himself stacked with books he collected. Friends remember Tucker receiving an 8-by-10 manilla envelope that his father sent through the mail once or twice a month containing dozens of articles from newspapers and magazines.One of Tucker's friends, Cerveny, remembered stopping by Richard's home in Washington, D.C. and finding evidence of his hobbies, including the world's second largest collection of walking sticks."His house was filled with rare canes he collected from all over the world," Cerveny said. "The hallways had really amazing rows of canes hung on hooks that were specially made to mount these things on the house. One used to be a functional shotgun, another one was made out of a giraffe. His dad would pull out newspaper clippings of WWII Navy aircraft carriers. It changed the way I thought about a lot of things. I had never seen anything like that. Who collects canes?"During sophomore year, Tucker's friends decided to rush Delta Phi, a well-to-do fraternity also known as St. Elmo's. The Greek scene had a large presence on campus — about 20 percent of men joined them even though Trinity was a liberal arts school — and St. Elmo's had a reputation as freewheeling scamps. Once a year, a St. Elmo's brother would ride his motorcycle naked through the campus cafeteria. (Faculty voted in 1992 to abolish Greek life saying they were sexist and racist, and school administrators instead forced fraternities to become co-ed.)But Tucker refused to come aboard. Some classmates thought it was because he didn't want to be hazed."Tucker was not a joiner like that," Mahlon Stewart said. "He wouldn't have set himself up for whatever humiliation would have been involved. He would not have put up with that." But Cerveny, who pledged the fraternity, said it was a matter of faith."I remember explicitly him saying 'Look, I want to focus on what my faith is about and I thought this would be a big distraction,'" Cerveny said. "But he was very much in the mix with us. When we moved to a fraternity house [on Broad Street], we asked him to live with us."Tucker occasionally dropped in on his friends' fraternity events and occasionally brought Susie when she visited or Buckley when he drifted into town. Other times they hung out at Baker's Cafe on New Britain Avenue. Mostly Tucker stayed in his room."He was basically a hermit. It wasn't like he was going to a ton of parties" one Trinity St. Elmo's brother said. "He was not a part of the organizational effort of throwing big parties, or encouraging me to join the fraternity." Susie, who didn't drink or smoke, was a moderating influence. "Tucker and Susie had their moral compass pointing north even back then," Sterne said. "Tucker's faith was not something he was focused on in his early years but when he met Susie and he became close to her family, that started to blossom and grow in him. Now it's a huge part of his life."By the time his crew moved to another house on Broad Street, they each acquired vintage motorcycles and tinkered with them in their garage. Tucker owned a 1968 flathead Harley Davidson that barely ran and relied on a red Jeep 4X4 to transport friends around town (the Volkswagen van he had freshman year blew up). He smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, sipped bourbon, and occasionally brewed beer in the basement, including a batch he named "Coal Porter," according to GQ.When he wasn't reading outside of his courses or tinkering with his carburetor, Tucker took classes in the humanities and ultimately majored in history. Tucker dabbled in other fields including Russian history, Jewish history, Women's Studies, and Religious Studies, sitting in the back of lecture halls with his friends. Ron Kiener, who taught an introductory level course in Judaism, recalled Tucker performing "poorly" but earning a credit. "He did not get a stellar grade from me," Kiener said. "Based on what he says now he surely didn't get very much out of my courses."But Leslie Desmangles, who led courses in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Myth, Rite, and Sacrament, said Tucker was engaged and likely did just enough to pass his courses even if he wasn't very studious or vocal in class discussions."He was interested in understanding the nature of religious belief and studying different cultures and religions but I'm not sure if he had an interest in diversity," Desmangles said. "He was genuinely interested in ritual since a lot of the Episcopal church is highly ritualistic."Tucker's fascination with religion extended to his extracurricular activities too. He and several friends joined Christian Fellowship, a Bible study group that met weekly and helped the school chaplain lead Sunday services. Some members even volunteered with ConnPIRG, a student advocacy group on hunger and environmental issues, and traveled to Washington D.C. to protest the Gulf War. But Tucker steered clear of campus activism. He spent his free time reading and seeing Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, and Sting perform when they came through Connecticut. Sometimes he skipped school to follow his favorite band, the Grateful Dead, on tour.He took an interest in Central American politics too. At the end of freshman year, Tucker and Patel traveled to Nicaragua. "We did not have a place to stay or any set plans," Tucker told the Trinity Tripod, his college paper, in March 1990. "It was very spontaneous. We are both extremely political and we felt that getting to know the country and some of its citizens would give us a better perspective on the situation." In February 1990, Tucker returned with three friends to Managua for 10 days to observe Nicaragua's elections. The National Opposition Union's Violetta Chamoro, which was backed by the U.S. government, defeated the leftist Sandinista National Liberation Front Daniel Ortega who had been in power since 1979. A month later Tucker and his classmate Jennifer Barr, who was separately in Nicaragua to observe elections and distribute medical supplies to the Sandinistas, shared their perspectives about their visits to a small crowd at the Faculty Club for the school's Latin America Week. Tucker thought press coverage of the election was too left-leaning and criticized the media for skewing a conservative victory, according to Barr."I don't think it was necessarily true," Barr said. "He was dismissive [about my views]. I did get a sense that he believed in what he was saying, and it was very different from my experience and my understanding of the race."Tucker's stance on U.S. politics at the time was less didactic. As the 1992 presidential election loomed his senior year, Tucker touted the independent candidacy of Ross Perot, a Texas business magnate, to his friends although it did not appear that Tucker was an ardent supporter."Tucker would go on and on about how Ross Perot was the answer to this or that, as a joke, and every one would participate" one St. Elmo's brother said. "He liked the way Ross Perot was basically throwing a wrench into the system. He wasn't a serious Ross Perot proponent. He was cheering on somebody who was screwing up the system."In Tucker's college yearbook, below his tousle-haired, bowtie wearing thumbnail photo, was a list of his extra-curricular activities: "History; Christian Fellowship 1 2 3 4, Jesse Helms Foundation, Dan White Society." Neither of the latter two – named, respectively, after the ultra-conservative North Carolina Senator, and a San Francisco supervisor who assassinated Harvey Milk in 1978 – ever existed. Tucker admired Helms for being a "bull in the china shop" of Congress, one classmate said. Some friends believed Tucker slipped in the off-color references as a lark."It's like a joke you and a friend would put in a series of anagrams that only you and two friends would remember and no one else would," the St. Elmo's friend said. "It's so niche that only someone like Tucker is thinking things like that or would even know the name of the person who killed Harvey Milk. He paid attention to things like that."Others claimed Tucker was the victim of a prank."It would not at all surprise me if one of the other guys in the [fraternity] house filled it in for him, and not just an inside joke, but pegging him with something that he got grief for," another close friend said. Protesters rally against Fox News outside the Fox News headquarters at the News Corporation building, March 13, 2019 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesAn outsider among insidersBy the spring of 1991, Tucker's academic performance had caught up with him. He had accumulated a 1.9 grade point average and may have finished with a 2.1 GPA, according to one faculty member who viewed a copy of his transcript. Tucker would eventually graduate from Trinity a year late. Falling behind was not uncommon. About 80 percent of Trinity students completed their degrees in four years, according to Trinity College records. (A Trinity spokeswoman would not comment on Tucker's transcript due to FERPA laws, which protect student privacy.Tucker's post-collegiate plans fell through too. Tucker applied to the CIA that spring. The spy agency passed."He mentioned that he had applied and they rejected him because of his drug use," another college friend said, while declining to be named. "He was too honest on his application. I also probably should say I don't know whether he was telling the truth or not." Once the school year was over, Tucker and Neil Patel hit the road on a cross-country motorcycle ride. After that: Washington DC.  Tucker's family left Southern California for Georgetown after President Reagan named his father head of Voice of America. In June 1991, President George H.W. Bush appointed Richard ambassador to the Seychelles and the Carlson family upgraded to a nicer house in Georgetown with a pool in the basement. That summer, with Tucker's father and stepmother often out of town, the Carlson household was the center of Tucker's social lives, the place they retired to after a night drinking at Georgetown college dive bars like Charing Cross and Third Edition, and pubs like Martin's Tavern and The Tombs, immortalized in St. Elmo's Fire. In August, Tucker and Susie got married in St. George's chapel and held a reception at the Clambake Club of Newport, overlooking the Narragansett Bay. Back in Washington, Tucker's prep school, college, and his father's Washington-based networks began to mesh. Tucker took a $14,000-a-year job as an assistant editor and fact checker of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published at the time by the Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading conservative think tank. For the next three decades, Tucker thrived in the Beltway: He joined The Weekly Standard and wrote for several magazines before appearing on cable news networks as a right-of-center analyst and host at CNN, PBS, and MSNBC. His father embarked on a third career as a television executive where he ran the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and his brother became a political operative and a pollster. By the time Tucker reached the core of the conservative media sphere, a slot on Fox News's primetime opinion lineup, he shed friends from his youth who couldn't grapple with the hard-right turn he veered once he became the face of the network.One friend was not surprised with Tucker's act. In the spring of 2016, during the heat of Donald Trump's presidential campaign against Hilary Clinton and a few months before "Tucker Carlson Tonight" premiered on Fox, Tucker had lunch with his old prep school classmate Richard Wayner who made the speech about Eleanor Bumpurs all those years ago. Wayner believed Tucker's gesture from his pew was never serious. "As a 9th or 10th grader in a chapel full of people in a conversation, he was trying to get attention," Wayner said.The two stayed in touch over the years and Tucker at one point suggested he write a handful of pieces for the Daily Caller, the conservative news and opinion site that Tucker co-founded and ran in the 2010s. As they settled into their table at a Midtown Manhattan steakhouse, the two chatted about Wayner's experience on the board of St. George's (which Susie was about to join) and their respective careers. Tucker was floating around at Fox, and Wayner, now an investor and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, said the conversation drifted toward salaries."He was asking, 'How much do you make on Wall Street' and was like, 'Wow, Wall Street guys make a lot.'" Wayner said. When they left the restaurant and headed back toward the Fox News headquarters, several people recognized Tucker on the street even though he had jettisoned his trademark bowtie years ago. Wayner saw Tucker making the pragmatic decision to follow a business model that has made his conservative media counterparts a lot of money."I don't think he has a mission. I don't think he has a plan," Wayner said. "Where he is right now is about as great as whatever he thought he could be.""Tucker knows better. He does. He can get some attention, money, or both." he added. "To me, that's a shame. Because he knows better." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

Streetfighters, Hooligans and Nazis: Inside Sweden"s Most Notorious Underground Fight Club

King of the Streets' unsanctioned brawls bring together unfettered ultimate fighting, violent soccer hooliganism, and far-right extremists. Hooligans are seen during the Second Bundesliga match between SpVgg Greuther Fuerth and 1. FC Nuernberg at Sportpark Ronhof Thomas Sommer on November 24, 2019 in Fuerth, Germany.TF-Images/Getty Images King of the Streets hosts unsanctioned brawls at secret locations in Sweden and posts them on YouTube. These events mix ultimate fighting with an increasingly emboldened alliance of soccer hooliganism and neo-Nazis.  Started in Gothenburg, Sweden in around 2013, brawls can now draw millions of views online. There is a scar across Simon "The Savage" Henriksen's face—a deep horizontal cut carved along his left cheek—that tells the tale of wars waged and battles won. As he jogs toward the centre of the cage, the scar glows greyish-brown beneath the spotlight, accentuating his dead eyes and hardened jaw. The Danish hooligan takes in his surroundings—the rectangular cage made of orange metal fencing, the concrete floor speckled with blood, the spectators clad in skull face masks and balaclavas—that set the scene for King of the Streets: a "no rules, no rounds" bare knuckle fight club that has played host to some of the most notorious neo-Nazis in Europe. Across from Simon stands a masked hooligan who goes by the nom de guerre Ronin 030. They shake hands and nod in respect. Simon turns to the crowd and  slaps his face repeatedly, working himself and the crowd into a state of violent frenzy. He pulls off his crimson-colored T-shirt, takes a Muay Thai stance—elbows tucked in and feet shoulder width apart—and waits. The referee brings his tattooed hands together. Clap. Clap. Time to fight. Simon moves swiftly, lurching forward and forcing Ronin against the metal fence, pinning him there. This is his fifth fight for King of the Streets—the most of any competitor in the fight club's mysterious history—and he is yet to taste defeat. He pushes forward again, this time grasping Ronin's head in a Muay Thai clinch before landing a knee on the taller man's chest, buckling him slightly. The crowd roars its approval.  Simon fights like an enraged tiger. When he grows bored with his prey, he delivers two punches to Ronin's temple that send the taller man tumbling backwards. Ronin's head slams against the concrete with a sickening thud. Simon stands over his fallen foe, his right fist raised in the air triumphantly as the crowd rages all around him. Officials swarm the fallen fighter, who remains motionless until the camera fades to black. "This is amazing," reads a YouTube comment beneath a video of Simon's fight with Ronin 030, which drew more than 2.7 million views. "This is the true UFC!" 'The Most Stressed Out and Fucked Up Environment You Can Find'King of the Streets (KOTS) originated in Gothenburg, home to Sweden's most popular soccer team, in around 2013. By 2018, prominent hooligans from across Europe were signing up for their unsanctioned brawls, which can draw a million views on YouTube.But unlike combat sports, KOTS' unsanctioned brawls bring together unfettered ultimate fighting with an increasingly emboldened alliance of violent soccer hooliganism and far-right extremists and neo-Nazis. Held in abandoned warehouses throughout Sweden, fights are fashioned after David Fincher's 1999 film Fight Club (based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk), which has found new life for supposed glorification of hypermasculinity as an escape from late capitalism. Few outsiders have ever attended a KOTS fight in person. This mystique has contributed to its popularity on social media. Most of the fights are available on YouTube, where the KOTS channel has more than 500,000 subscribers. Though its Twitter account was recently suspended for violating the social media platform's terms of service, KOTS is active on Facebook and Instagram. "No decisions, No Rules, No Rounds" is how KOTS describes itself on its slick website. "The most notorious fight club, the one and only place for the unwanted ones, delivering the most stressed out and fucked up environment you can find. 13 fights. 13 knockouts. 400 hooligans."An anti-Nazi poster in Gothenburg, Sweden on September 30, 2017, as the Sweden's Nordic Resistance Front planned to march through central Gothenburg on the day of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. The march never materialized.Julia Reinhart/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesFighters are free to cover their faces with skull face masks and balaclavas, but you won't see the open-palm gloves that are required for UFC fights—fighters' hands must remain bare. The plywood flooring that you'll find at most MMA and boxing events isn't used here; instead, fights take place on concrete floors. Moves that are banned by the UFC—headbutts, strikes to the spine, eye gouging, and biting—are acceptable. There's also no prohibition on performance-enhancing drugs. All of this creates plenty of unprecedented yet entirely predictable dangers—enough to deter certain hardened European hooligans. "Some German hooligans who are active in semi-professional combat sports said that they would never fight there because they believe it is dangerous to fight on concrete," Robert Claus, an expert on right-wing extremism in German soccer and the author of "Hooligans: A world between football, violence," told Insider. "They think it might ruin your body and your career if you get knocked out and hit the floor with your head. Then, it's all over." But it's not just the physical risks that give cause for alarm. Whether by accident or by design, KOTS has become a platform for some of the most notorious hatemongers across Europe, united by a shared penchant for violence and a mutual affection for combat sports. The far-right Nordic Resistance Movement marches in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Sept. 30, 2017.FREDRIK SANDBERG/AFP via Getty ImagesAs Claus says, the fascination with "ideas of violent masculinity" that's shared by some hooligans and combat athletes "has always been a giant, social Darwinist door to the far right."The application I first became aware of KOTS last year while researching the European far-right. The fight club's videos were popular among neo-Nazis and hooligan groups that have flourished on alternative social media platforms such as Telegram. Given the secrecy that shrouds KOTS events, it would have been tricky to attend an event in person. And as a dark-skinned Egyptian, I was reluctant to put myself in that position, even though non-white fighters have occasionally competed for the organization. Still, I wanted to better understand what KOTS is really about and whether it poses a serious threat. Most of the KOTS fighters I reached out to ignored my request, but then one got back to me: Brian Hooi, a Dutch MMA fighter who's Black, and has appeared as "HooiBooi" in two KOTS fights during the past year. Hooi, who has since transitioned back to professional MMA, wouldn't agree to an interview, but said he would answer questions over text on WhatApp. When I asked him what had attracted him to KOTS, he told me that, as a kid, "Fight Club" had been one of his favorite movies, and that he remains fascinated by underground fight culture and the "extreme adrenaline rush" that comes with it. Brian Hooi (left) and Daniele Scatizzi during their lightweight bout at Bellator 270 on November 5, 2021 in Dublin, Ireland.David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images"When I was younger, I was always trying to find underground fight clubs like these, and now I finally found one." Hooi wrote. "I was never concerned about the concrete floor," Hooi wrote. "You know what you signed up for. So if you're scared about it, don't compete. Nobody is forcing you to fight."Meanwhile, using a fake name, I began the process of applying to compete in a KOTS event. Applications to compete are sent out via Telegram, the alternative social media application popular among both anti-fascists and the far right. After I expressed interest, a "fight application" came back that asked a range of questions: Age, height, weight,  and experience, including amateur and professional fight records. Applicants are also asked about their "streetfighting/hooligan background, if you have one." Typically, applicants are matched up according to their weight and experience. But according to the KOTS website, "if it's a beef fight where two people want to settle their problems with fighting each other, we will not care about the weight or experience." (Insider did not submit the application and KOTS did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)One mystery I couldn't solve was how much money is being made, both by KOTS and the fighters.Back in 2019, the fight club started live streaming its events and charging around $14 per fight. It has also set up a merchandise store to sell bandanas ($29) and T-shirts ($45) emblazoned with the KOTS logo. But it's not clear how profitable it is – or, crucially, what KOTS does with the money it pulls in.According to Claus, KOTS is known to cover fighters' travel and accommodation. The KOTS website does refer to "prize money," which it says "depends on your level," though Clause says it's not clear if fighters are paid to get in the ring.For many of the fighters, that might be OK. "The currency in which KOTS fighters are paid in is respect for masculinity— their idea of tough, violent, unmodern masculinity," Claus said. "This public respect from other violent hooligans seems to be the most important thing for them."   'ISIS Welcome, Nazis Welcome' In the 1960s, European governments became concerned with the trend of violent behavior perpetrated by spectators during soccer events. Gangs of violent supporters consisting of young men united through their shared ties to a specific team, would confront opposing fans before, during, or after a match either at stadiums or elsewhere, resulting in injuries, deaths, and wide scale disturbances. This emerging subculture became known as hooliganism.  Following vigorous efforts by governments and law enforcement to reduce the scale of hooliganism across the United Kingdom and Europe, gangs of rival fans have resorted to using social media to plan group fights at discrete locations instead of the spontaneous brawls that took place during matches in the 1970s-80s. Some of the most prominent hooligan groups can be found in Russia, Turkey, as well as in Western European countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, France, and The Netherlands. And while many of these hooligan groups are made up of men who simply enjoy fighting, others are fueled by associations with outright fascist groups and the far right.It's from this world of soccer hooliganism that KOTS has emerged. Simon the Savage—KOTS' most winning fighter—is himself a hooligan representing the "New Gen" firm, which is one of several violent hooligan groups associated with Denmark's Brøndby IF soccer club. (He declined Insider's request to answer questions about his involvement.) He also appears to be affiliated with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, the second-largest motorcycle club in the world (after the Hells Angels), which the US Department of Justice and Europolis have classified as an organized criminal syndicate. The group is responsible for crimes such as money laundering, arms trafficking, extortion, drug dealing, sex trafficking, and murder.West German police officers arrest an English hooligan on June 13, 1988. Rioting broke out in downtown Stuttgart, West Germany, after England was defeated by Ireland 0-1 at the European Soccer Championships.Kraufmann/AP PhotoKOTS itself appears to have been an outgrowth of Sweden's hooligan scene, which boasts at least seven significant hooligan groups known for arranging groups fights in remote locations across the country. But just as it's not clear that Swedish and other European hooligans are looking to spread a specific ideology – the violent spectacle is the point – it appears that the same is true for KOTS."The Swedish football hooligan scene is very non-political for the most part so extremists have been forced to choose between football and politics. KOTS is sort of like that," says Jonathan Leman, a researcher with Expo, a Swedish anti-racist magazine. "My perspective is that it is neither fascist, nor anti-fascist… It is more about the fighting." KOTS insists that it's apolitical. Recently, a screenshot was posted on KOTS' Instagram stories (which disappear after 24 hours) along with the caption, "Everyone please shut the fuck up now." In the exchange, a fan asked why the fight club allows anti-fascists to compete. KOTS replied: "Everyone welcome to fight club. We don't give a fuck. ISIS is welcome. Terrorists welcome. Nazi welcome. AFA welcome. We don't care."And yet, it's not that simple. Far-right extremists and neo-Nazis—both of which have established fanbases that preach physical fitness, romanticize competitive violence, and revere hyper-masculinity—have found KOTS. Yanek, a hooligan representing SK Wallis, a Swiss hooligan firm made up of neo-Nazis, has fought twice with KOTS, in October 2020 and again in 2021. The fight club has also featured Tom Neubert, a neo-Nazi hooligan who competed for the infamous German-based far-right organization Kampf der Nibelungen (KdN), best known for hosting MMA events during an annual far-right festival held in celebration of Adolf Hitler's birthday. He also competed for "F1ght K1ngs" in Ukraine, another MMA organization known for its ties to neo-Nazis. KOTS has also hosted featured fights involving "Orange Dwarf," a hooligan representing the Apoel football club who was celebrated across far-right social media channels following his victory against a Turkish streetfighter. The Rise of Fascist Fight ClubsThe fact that neo-Nazis and other extremists are drawn to violence—whether through legitimate combat sports such as MMA, or through soccer hooliganism, or something like KOTS—is a relatively new development that has taken shape over the past decade.Take the case of White Rex, a Russian apparel brand whose hoodies and sports gear carry neo-nazi symbols. The brand's founder, Denis Kaputsin—also known as Denis Nikitin—was radicalized in Germany's soccer hooligan circles and later used his knowledge of the combat fighting scene to launch a successful business and become a key figure in the European far-right scene. Eventually, he was banned from entering the European Union's Schengen zone, but his clothing line remains popular among combat sports enthusiasts who share the brand's far-right ideology. In April 2021, "Zvonko," a streetfighter representing Germany and Croatia, and "Tomasz," a French hooligan representing Losc Army, a fascist soccer hooligan group based in Lillie, France—stepped into the makeshift ring and prepared for battle. Zvonko strikes first, but Tomasz responds with a flurry of well-placed punches to the ribs and temple. As the camera pans over the fighters, the fascist body art that covers Tomasz is on full display: a white power tattoo across his neck, the face of Rudolf Hess – Hitler's deputy in Germany's Nazi Party – on his arm, and several swastikas elsewhere on his body.  "Tomasz" is Insider has since identified the Frenchman as Tomasz Szkatulski, a far right extremist linked to various neo-Nazi groups including the international Blood and Honor network, a white supremacist group that's banned in Russia and Germany, and has been added to the list of designated terrorist groups in Canada. In addition to being one of the most notorious neo-Nazis involved in the combat sports scene, he is also the founder of Pride France, an MMA lifestyle clothing line that promotes itself as a "brand for nationalists" and sells streetwear and fight gear emblazoned with neo-Nazi symbolism. Some of Pride France's most egregious clothing items include its HTLR women's t-shirt and others that display slogans like "Zero Zolerance." The fascist brand also has a "Halloween" themed shirt depicting a smiling Ku Klux Klan caricature with a noose and a flaming torch, as well as a selection of children's clothing with similar white supremacist slogans. Even the Pride France logo—an amalgamation of several interconnected swastikas with the slogan "Respect Nature"—is a testament to its commitment to fascism. Szkatulski has reportedly been arrested on numerous occasions, including a conviction for attacking a homeless man with a bicycle chain because he was of North African descent. Though the extremist claimed that the attack had "nothing to do with his views,"  he was handed a 12-month prison sentence at the time, which included a six-month suspended term. Szkatulski was also reportedly involved in two separate attacks on the customers of a gay bar in Lille, both of which were orchestrated by known neo-Nazis and skinheads. The April fight got KOTS approximately 492,000 views on YouTube and – presumably – helped introduce a sizable portion of Szkatulski's fans to the underground club.   A fight between fans following match between Djurgardens IF and Hammarby IF at Tele2 Arena on April 29, 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden.Michael Campanella/Getty Images 'Like in the gladiator times'"By recruiting heavily from soccer's violent hooligan world," Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss wrote in her acclaimed book "Hate in the Homeland: The New Far-Right," "the far right can use the MMA scene to transform what has long been an alcohol-laden, street brawl subculture into a more coherent, disciplined, and regulated scene." "There is a valorization of violence and of hyper masculine ideals around defense and sacrifice that align well with the far right's messaging around the need to defend national or racialized territory or to prepare for the race war they anticipate and the street battles that will supposedly be a part of it," said Miller-Idriss, who directs the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL) at American University.  Whether it cultivates neo-Nazi and white supremacists or not, it's clear that KOTS welcomes extremists with open arms – as warriors. And it is precisely the fight club's ambivalence towards the rising threat of far-right extremism in combat sports that could make it a potential recruiting ground for the far right.  While fighters might proudly mimic Tyler Durden, the central figure in Fight Club portrayed by Brad Pitt, many are participating in a built-in structure of toxic hyper-masculinity that, if left unchecked, could lead potential fighters down a path towards far-right extremism. "This is the most raw form of fighting," Hooi, who is not affiliated with any far-right groups, wrote during our interview. "We compete in these events to satisfy an inner feeling—an urge for blood like in the gladiator times."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 4th, 2022

The 23 best mods for Skyrim that you can install right now

The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim supports hundreds of thousands of fan-made mods that overhaul the engine, add new enemies, and more. If you're bored of "vanilla" Skyrim, try these mods.Bethesda The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim supports hundreds of thousands of fan-made mods, with more being added every day. Some of the best Skyrim mods overhaul the game's engine, while others add new enemies. Here are 23 of the best Skyrim mods out there, with links and a short description for each. Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories. There are few PC games out there with more mods than The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim. It's been more than a decade since the game's original release, giving fans more than enough time to design thousands of unique mods. And like with most games, you can download all of these mods for free and start playing right away.But with so many mods out there, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are worth your time and which are just filler. That's where this guide comes in.We've gathered up 23 of the best, most fun, and most useful mods for any Skyrim fan. Each one comes with a link to the page that you can download it from, and a short primer on what it offers.Important: This guide focuses exclusively on the original PC version of Skyrim — also sometimes called Classic, "Oldrim," or Legendary Edition — not the newer Special Edition. But if you're playing the Special Edition and find a mod here that you're interested in, try searching for it on Nexus Mods' Skyrim Special Edition page. There's a good chance that you'll find a compatible version.The essential Skyrim modding appsBefore you install any mods, you'll need to prepare your copy of Skyrim to work with them. There are two programs in particular that you should install before adding new mods.Skyrim Script ExtenderThe Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE for short) helps Skyrim understand and use mod files, which it wouldn't be able to do normally. This add-on is mandatory for most Skyrim mods.You can download SKSE from its official website. You'll want to use the "classic build" download links. Follow the instructions inside the README file to install it into your computer's main Skyrim directory.VortexThe best place on the internet to find Skyrim mods is Nexus Mods, and for years they offered their own app called Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) to help users organize and keep track of their downloads. NMM is still available, but the Nexus team recently released a heavily upgraded version called Vortex.Vortex can help manage which order your mods load in (very important for Skyrim), quickly download or delete mods, and even set up "profiles" so you can run different sets of mods at different times.You can download Vortex from its Nexus Mods page here. If you scroll down you'll find links to NMM too, if you prefer to go old-school.Vortex is a complete mod manager for Skyrim, along with other games like Fallout and Dark Souls.Nexus ModsLOOT (optional)If you're not going to use a mod manager like Vortex, then you'll still need a way to manage your mods' load order. The best standalone app for that is LOOT, the Load Order Optimization Tool.LOOT will automatically sort your mods for you, making sure that they don't cause any errors when they run. If the app finds any issues, it'll tell you what they are and how to fix them.You can get LOOT from its official Github page here.The best Skyrim modsYou can find Skyrim mods for almost any occasion on Nexus Mods or from the Steam Workshop. Some will add new enemies or weapons, but others just help the game run smoother. Here are our favorites from across the spectrum.Important: Mods can be finicky pieces of software. While we endorse all the following mods, there's no guarantee that they'll work perfectly on your system, or work when running alongside each other. Make sure to follow each mod's instructions carefully when installing them.Mods that make Skyrim run betterIt's no secret that Skyrim is an incredibly buggy game. These mods squash most of those bugs, as well as make the game look better.Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch (USLEEP)Even if you're not interested in mods, you should install USLEEP. This mod fixes hundreds of bugs and glitches from the original release, both minor and game-breaking. It's also designed to run smoothly with most other mods, meaning that it's a great place to start your modding journey.Just note that you'll either need to be playing Legendary Edition or have all of the DLC installed to run this one.SkyUIThe gold standard for Skyrim mods, SkyUI totally revamps the game's menus, world map, inventories, and more. It includes a full-text search bar for sorting through your items, a favorites menu for quickly accessing your best tools, and even a HUD that shows and tracks all the magical effects you're currently under.A comparison between Skyrim's "vanilla" menus (left) and the upgraded menus with SkyUI (right).Bethesda; SkyUI TeamThere are a lot of mods that will require SkyUI to be installed before they'll work, and that's because one of the new menus offered lets you customize your mods while in-game. If you ever see a mod description refer to something called the "MCM," it's SkyUI's "Mod Configuration Menu."SkyUI is easier to use for mouse-and-keyboard players, and takes up less space on the screen than Skyrim's standard UI. Check it out before you start your next playthrough.BethINIOn a Windows computer, .INI files help applications run correctly. Without them, your favorite apps might not know what fonts to use, what size to make the windows, or even how to launch. Unfortunately, Skyrim's .INI files are messy and complicated, which can lead to worse graphics and sometimes even game crashes. BethINI scans Skyrim's .INI files and organizes them in a more coherent fashion. This not only improves the graphics, but can also boost the framerate and keep your game running when it would normally crash.Skyrim HDBack in 2011, Skyrim was a pretty good looking game. But it hasn't aged well in the decade since — something that the Skyrim HD mod seeks to fix.Skyrim HD redesigns nearly every texture in the game, along with all the lighting and weather effects. The result is a vastly prettier and more immersive world to run around in.A comparison between textures in the original Skyrim (left) and the new textures with Skyrim HD (right).Bethesda; NebuLaThe authors of the mod also offer a "Lite" version, which has less upgrades but is designed to run on slower PCs. Download whichever version will run best for your setup.Quality of life modsThese mods reinvent some of Skyrim's more frustrating design choices, making any playthrough much more enjoyable.A Quality World MapThe world map in vanilla Skyrim is pretty barebones. All you get is a cloudy overview of the land with 2D icons to mark fast travel spots — not exactly a cartographer's dream.The Quality World Map mod fixes this by giving you three options for how the map should look, along with an option to remove the clouds overhead. It also draws out every road in the game so you'll always stay on track.You'll see every road in Skyrim clearly laid out on the map.Bethesda; NebuLaJust note that if you're playing the standard version of Skyrim, you'll need to have at least the Dragonborn DLC installed to use this one.Optional Quick StartSkyrim's opening scene, which features your character waking up in the back of a prison wagon, has become an incredibly popular meme over the past few years. But if you're tired of walking through the same scripted cutscene and dungeon, you can skip it.The Optional Quick Start mod lets you skip the game's prologue, dropping you at the end of Helgen Keep. In place of all the gear and weapons you'd usually find by looting, it'll give you a chest with some items instead.Unread Books GlowThere are 337 unique books to read in Skyrim. Almost none of them are mandatory to find, but reading them is a great way to learn more about the game's world and lore.The Unread Books Glow mod keeps track of which books you've read and which ones you still need to check out. Any book that you haven't opened yet will glow blue. It also includes a SkyUI menu that lets you change how bright the glow is.There are three brightness settings for unread books in this mod.Bethesda; duggelzSimply KnockIf you're trying to get past a locked door in Skyrim, you'll need to pick the lock. But why can't you just ask someone else to let you in?The Simply Knock mod adds a special menu to most locked doors that gives you the option to knock instead of breaking in. Every house and some businesses will have an NPC inside that can open the door for you — if you're able to convince them. And if the person living there is your friend, they'll always let you in.Immersive HUDWant to get a better look at the world around you? Immersive HUD is a simple mod that automatically hides the HUD (your health, magic, compass, etc.) when you don't need it. As soon as you enter combat, the HUD will reappear.Mods that improve the AI and NPCsBetween animals, civilians, and enemies, there are hundreds of NPCs in Skyrim. And like in most Elder Scrolls games, they tend to act pretty robotic. These mods make NPCs smarter and stronger, giving your game a bit more realism.Immersive CitizensThe Immersive Citizens mod revamps how Skyrim's citizens react to the world around them. This includes sensible daily schedules, a "Survival Instinct" that keeps them out of danger, the chance to comment on the daily weather, and more. It even tracks which NPCs are family members, making sure they sit down for a meal together each day. Every citizen has a schedule, and different NPCs might cross paths as the day goes on.Bethesda; Arnaud d'OrchymontEvery citizen is assigned a personality and job which decides how they react to you, and what you might find them doing at any given moment. The mod also adds more citizen-to-citizen conversations for you to eavesdrop on. It might sound mundane, but this is one of the best mods for bringing realism to Skyrim. Interesting NPCsSimilarly, the Interesting NPCs mod adds hundreds of fully voiced NPCs, along with over 50 new quests. More than two dozen of these NPCs can be recruited as followers, and you can even marry a few.The mod also comes with its own custom soundtrack, with almost two-dozen "bard songs" composed and performed by members of the modding community. It's like its own miniature DLC pack.Immersive PatrolsSkyrim's open world environment can sometimes feel empty. The Immersive Patrols mod spawns patrolling soldiers around the world, giving you more chances to chat or fight.Every type of soldier also comes with their own set of alliances and enemies. This means that if you're a member of the wrong faction, a patrolling group might attack you on sight — or you might walk into a battle that's already started between two groups.Immersive CreaturesHumans aren't the only ones who deserve mods. The Immersive Creatures mod adds angry goblins, horrible bugmen, wild skeletons, and more to your world. All of these creatures have their own AI, as well as strengths and weaknesses. They're also tougher than the game's standard enemies, making this mod great for anyone who wants a challenge. This monster, called an Ash Hunter, is exclusive to the Immersive Creatures mod.Bethesda; lifestorockUltimate Follower OverhaulThe Ultimate Follower Overhaul (UFO) mod upgrades the follower system in a variety of ways. Not only can you now have up to 15 followers, but they've all got more dialogue, can ride horses, and are easier to control. And depending on when you install the mod, you can remove their level caps too.Alongside a few other quality of life improvements — your followers won't start fights while you're sneaking anymore, for example — this mod is essential for any player who's looking to lead a group of followers.My Home is Your HomeAnother mod for followers, My Home is Your Home lets you give each follower a daily schedule. You can set when they eat, when they work, where they live, and more. You can also create "groups" of followers that will always stick together and follow the same schedules. It works for most pets and horses, too.Convenient HorsesSpeaking of horses, the Convenient Horses mod is a must for any player who prefers to ride on horseback. The mod adds horseback combat to the game, lets you buy armor and equipment for your horses, and adds an "instant horse call" that will get you riding in seconds. It also lets you choose how your horse will act when in combat as well as customize its health and stamina.High Level EnemiesOnce you play Skyrim for long enough, most enemies go from threats to mere annoyances. It's not that their AI is bad — it's just that you're too strong for them to even scratch.The High Level Enemies mod adds special new foes to Skyrim that level up alongside you, meaning that they'll never be outclassed. They won't stop growing until you do.If you're finding Skyrim's late game too easy, check this one out.Mods that add new features or weaponsSome of the best mods for any game are the ones that make you feel like you're playing something entirely new. These mods run the gamut from adding important new items to completely reinventing how you play.Immersive WeaponsTo start, Immersive Weapons adds over 200 new melee weapons to Skyrim. You can find these weapons scattered around the world, or just craft and upgrade them like vanilla ones. The mod's author puts a big emphasis on immersion, so the items fit perfectly into Skyrim's world and lore. If you're just playing for the first time, chances are you won't be able to tell which weapons are new and which ones were always there.The weapons added in this mod are incredibly detailed.Bethesda; Hothtrooper44, Ironman5000, EckssImmersive ArmorsA companion to Immersive Weapons, the Immersive Armors mod adds dozens of new armor pieces to the game, nearly 400 new shields, and a wealth of cosmetic items like capes. You can craft or buy them like normal, or earn them through quests.VioLensIn Skyrim, your character has a variety of "killmoves," which are special animations they might perform when killing the last enemy in a battle. The VioLens mod is one of several that lets you customize your killmoves, as well as change how often they occur. If you've got a favorite killmove — Who doesn't love the German Suplex? — choose it in the mod so it always triggers. It'll even let you perform your killmoves on dragons.iNeed - Food Water and SleepiNeed turns Skyrim from a simple RPG into a survival game. The mod gives your character hunger, thirst, and rest meters which need to be managed daily. Ignoring your character's needs will debuff you, while keeping the meters full helps you. And drinking too much alcohol in a short time will get you drunk, which effects your stats and graphics. If you want to get even more extreme, you can change the mod's settings so letting your meters drop will harm and eventually kill you. And installing two other mods — Wet and Cold and Dangerous Diseases — will add food spoilage and illness too.Trade and BarterSkyrim is a massive country. And yet, most shops offer similar products for the same prices.The Trade and Barter mod adds a new layer to Skyrim's economy by letting you haggle with merchants. Depending on your relationships, you might earn discounts or be forced to overpay. Big cities will charge more than small towns, and the more you spend in one place, the more items they'll offer.Be careful when you approach the merchant too. If you have a weapon drawn, they might get mad and charge you more — or charge you less out of fear.Really Useful DragonsPossibly the most famous Skyrim mod of all time, Really Useful Dragons changes every dragon in the game into a Thomas the Tank Engine character. That's it.Happy modding!The dragon roars are replaced with train whistles, too.Bethesda; TrainwizRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 16th, 2022

Congress" favorite combat jet wouldn"t last long in a war against Russia or China

The Pentagon is buying new wings to keep the A-10s flying, even as questions persist about whether itcan survive over modern battlefields. An A-10 Thunderbolt.US Air Force The A-10 Thunderbolt was developed to take on Soviets tanks and is still roaming the battlefield. The A-10's popularity with Congress has helped it survive the Air Force's efforts to retire it. Against the weaponry now fielded by Russia and China, however, the "Warthog" wouldn't last long. The A-10: A History and a Look at a Bleak Future? One of the most iconic airplanes in the US Air Force's flying inventory is the A-10 Thunderbolt, also affectionately known as the "Warthog."Designed to mow down rows of invading Soviet tanks during an anticipated World War III, the A-10 has served in most of America's post-Cold War conflicts, from the Balkans to Afghanistan.A recent Pentagon contract to manufacture new wingsets promises to keep a decent amount of aircraft flying into the foreseeable future, even as questions persist about whether the A-10 can survive over modern battlefields.A-10 Warthogs: the historyA-10 Warthogs.US Air ForceIn 1967, the US Air Force initiated the A-X program, designed to field a new generation close air support (CAS) aircraft. This was the first for the Air Force, which had traditionally used fighters and light bombers (including the A-10's namesake, the P-47 Thunderbolt) in the CAS role.Although the Air Force's current stable of fighters, including the famous "100 series" planes favored speed above all else, A-X traded speed for survivability, maneuverability at low speeds, loiter time and, most importantly, lethality.After a flyoff against the Northrop A-9, the Fairchild A-10 was picked and the first jets delivered in 1974.The A-10 Thunderbolt is unlike any "fighter" before or since, with survivability features designed to keep it flying during an attack run and make it back to base.The plane featured redundant engineering features designed to keep the plane flying though parts of it were shot away. The two General Electric TF-34 non-afterburning turbofans were moved behind the wing, in order to reduce the plane's infrared signature and protect it from Soviet air defenses such as the SA-7 Grail shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile system.The A-10 pilot sits in a titanium "bathtub" protecting him or her from antiaircraft guns up to 23 millimeters — the primary armament of the ZSU-23-4 mobile air-defense system. The flight-control systems and engines are also encased in titanium plate.An A-10 makes an austere landing and takeoff at the National Training Center in California, June 2019.US Army National Guard/Sgt. Mason CutrerThe A-10 is also designed to be flexible and maneuverable, both in the air and on the ground.The aircraft design stresses maneuverability at slow speeds, allowing the pilot to fly extremely low "nape of the earth" missions to mask its approach to the enemy and to avoid enemy antiaircraft fire. The A-10 is also designed to operate from short, unimproved airstrips in the event regular air base airstrips are put out of action.The Thunderbolt II's best attribute is its armament. The aircraft has 11 external hardpoints for carrying electronic countermeasures, fuel tanks, bombs and missiles. The A-10 can carry up to 24 500-pound bombs, four 2,000-pound bombs or six AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles.This enables the A-10 to carry out a number of frontline missions, from close air support to suppression of enemy air defense, and strike key enemy targets such as fuel storage depots, radar installations and field headquarters.The weapon that sets the A-10 apart from the rest of the aircraft world is the nose-mounted GAU-8/A cannon. The large, seven-barreled Gatling gun can fire armor piercing rounds at up to 4,200 rounds per minute, saturating a target area with lethal cannon fire. The GAU-8/A is mounted 2 degrees nose-down and to the left, so that the firing barrel is always on the centerline.The GAU-8/A was an effective weapon for strafing Soviet armor units advancing in a single-file formation, particularly with specially developed tank-killing depleted-uranium ammunition.Even armor-piercing ammunition without depleted uranium could penetrate ZSU-23-4 mobile air-defense systems, BTR-70 wheeled armored personnel carriers and and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles that made up advancing Soviet motor-rifle regiments, all of which could be opened by the GAU-8/A like cans of sardines.In wartime the A-10 was meant to operate alongside US Army Apache attack helicopters in a so-called Joint Air Attack Team (JAAT) to kill advancing Soviet armor. JAAT doctrine called for Apaches to suppress enemy air defenses, identifying and killing threats to the A-10.An armored vehicle after being struck by an A-10's GAU-8/A cannon.USAFA-10s would then swoop down at a 30-degree angle, hosing down Soviet forces with their Gatling guns. In hindsight, this would not often have worked, as Soviet forces would have advanced too quickly for the interservice teamwork to stop the enemy in time.The A-10's first war was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when Warthogs were used to kill Iraqi armor units. 132 A-10s flew 7,983 combat missions during the course of the war, killing 987 tanks, 926 artillery pieces, 1,355 armored vehicles, 10 aircraft on the ground and even two flying helicopters shot down with the GAU-8A.After the Gulf War the Air Force planned to do away with the A-10, replacing it with the F-16, but the A-10's success over the battlefield won it a constituency in Congress.In 1999, A-10s flew over Kosovo in NATO's Operation Allied Force, and after 9/11 A-10s flew over both Iraq and Afghanistan. A-10s flying from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey have flown missions against ISIS since at least 2014, and in January 2018, A-10s returned to the skies over Afghanistan after a hiatus of several years.The Air Force has tried to retire the A-10 for more than a quarter-century. The service has consistently argued that the A-10 cannot survive on the modern battlefield and that A-10 funds are better invested in newer planes such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon — and, now, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.Under pressure from the A-10's fans in Congress and the military, the US Air Force is keeping the planes, for now anyway, seeking to manufacture new wings for more than 100 A-10s. This will ensure that at least 280 aircraft will have the structural improvements necessary to keep a viable force of A-10s in the Air Force's inventory.A-10 Warthogs vs. Russia or China in a war (who wins?)A-10 Warthog.Reuters Photographer / ReutersIs the A-10 viable over today's battlefields?Against low-tech enemies with poor air-defense weapons such as ISIS or the Taliban, the A-10 is still a capable platform. Against other, more modern threats such as Russian or Chinese air defenses the A-10 cannot survive on its own.One solution could be to pair the A-10 with air-defense suppression drones. Once drones have neutralized the air-defense threat, A-10s could conduct standoff attacks, loitering at a safe distance while identifying enemy targets and eliminating them with weapons such as newer versions of the Maverick missile or the Small Diameter Bomb.Strafing runs with the GAU-8/A would be less common, but the guns would still see some use against undefended, massed targets.The A-10 is one of the most successful weapons of the post-Cold War era, and has won legions of fans both in and outside the armed services. The temptation is to keep the aircraft flying as long as possible. The trick is to keep the plane around only as long as it is relevant to the modern battlefield.If the A-10 can fight and win for the next generation, so be it. If not, it needs to be retired and a better plane — or solution — takes its place. There is no room for sentiment in the battlefield's lethal skies.Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring, and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Why a plan to put the US Air Force"s workhorse fighter jet onto aircraft carriers didn"t work out

The F-16 has been the US Air Force's workhorse fighter for more than 40 years. A carrier-capable F-16 almost did the same for the US Navy. F-16s on a combat air patrol mission for NATO Operation Allied Force, May 3, 1999. US Air Force/Senior Airman Jeffrey Allen The F-16 has been the US Air Force's workhorse fighter for more than 40 years. At one point, it looked like a carrier-capable version would do the same for the US Navy. Even with modifications, the F-16 carrier variant lost out to what would become the F/A-18 Hornet. The F-16 Fighting Falcon has been the US Air Force's workhorse fighter for more than 40 years, and at one point, it looked like a carrier-capable version would do the same for the US Navy.More than 4,600 F-16s have rolled out off the assembly line since it first took to the sky in 1974, and even amid this era of stealthy supercomputers like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-16 force remains the backbone of America's air dominance.With some 1,245 of the fighter still in operation under the Air Force's banner, the F-16's broad multi-role capabilities and sheer performance make it one of the world's top fighter jets, despite being old enough to have seen the original "Star Wars" in theaters.Today, F-16s fly for the United States, Israel, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, and more … but the most surprising place this highly capable fourth-generation fighter may have ended up is on the deck of America's supercarriers. A US Air Force pilot in an F-16 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base in South Carolina, April 12, 2008. US Air Force/Staff Sgt. Caycee Cook Shortly after the F-16 won the Air Force's new Air Combat Fighter (ACF) contract in 1975, then-Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger pushed the US Navy to adopt the new fighter as well.The F-16 had performed well in its pursuit of the Air Force contract, and if the Navy could also find use for the Fighting Falcon, Schlesinger reasoned, the Defense Department could procure the jet in higher numbers and streamline logistics for both branches.This line of thinking, of course, would eventually lead to the acquisition nightmare that has been the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which was also intended to be a single fighter platform that could meet the disparate needs of the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as foreign buyers.The F-16, then, could have become a similar boondoggle (or maybe proven the concept sound) if the Vought Model 1600, or carrier-capable F-16, had ever made it into service.Precursors to the F-16 and F/A-18 squared off more than once A YF-16 aircraft and a YF-17 aircraft. US Air Force In order for the YF-16 to find its destiny as the Air Force's workhorse fighter, it first had to contend with stiff competition in the form of Northrop's YF-17. The YF-17 was a lightweight prototype fighter first designed to serve as a lower-cost alternative to America's most dominant air superiority fighter in the modern era, the F-15 Eagle.In the minds of military leaders, the large, powerful, and expensive F-15 brought more power to bear than was really necessary for many combat operations, and as such, a cheaper but still highly capable jet could complement America's fleet of Eagles by assuming those lower stakes roles.Ultimately, the YF-16 would outperform the Northrop's YF-17 in testing oriented specifically toward the Air Force's needs, but it wouldn't be the last time these two highly capable platforms would find themselves competing over a contract.In fact, as the Navy mulled over the idea of converting the F-16 for carrier use, it once again found stiff competition in the form of Northrop's YF-17.Neither General Dynamics (the maker of the F-16) nor Northrop (who made the YF-17) had ever built a carrier-fighter before. With a lucrative contract on the line, both firms sought out partners with carrier-aircraft experience.General Dynamics teamed up with Vought to convert their new F-16 Fighting Falcon into the Vought Model 1600, and Northrop paired off with McDonnell Douglas to improve upon their YF-17 design.The new iterations of both of these fighters had to place a larger emphasis on the Navy's primary needs at the time: Namely, long-range radar capabilities for intercept missions and multi-role capabilities to support the sort of air-to-ground combat operations America has come to leverage heavily throughout the past few decades.Making the F-16 into the Vought 1600 The official debut of the YF-16 Falcon, a prototype of the F-16, February 1974. Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images It seems counterintuitive today, with the F-16 so expertly filling the role of an attack aircraft as well as a fighter, but the original concept behind the F-16 was to create a no-frills fighter built to do nothing but dominate the skies.Its designers at General Dynamics, internally known as the "Lightweight Fighter Mafia," sought to keep the "gold-plating" they believed common in new fighter programs away from their new jet. "Gold-plating," in their minds, including a number of things we now think of as practically standard in a fourth- or fifth-generation fighter, like fire control radar, electronic countermeasures for flying in highly contested airspace, radar-guided missiles, and - perhaps most importantly - ground-attack capabilities.By the time the F-16A began to emerge, it would have some of that gold-plating the "Lightweight Fighter Mafia" so disdained, like an AN/APG-66 radar and some intrinsic ground-attack capabilities. It still lacked radar-guided air-to-air weapons, forgoing them in favor of the heat-seeking Sidewinder missile. These additions made the F-16 a better candidate for the Navy's needs than it would have been as originally imagined, but it still didn't quite fit the bill.In order to meet the needs of the Navy, the Vought 1600 was larger than the F-16A, stretching some 3 feet longer, with a 33-foot 3-inch wingspan that was a full 2 feet broader than the Air Force's version of the fighter. The breadth of the wings grew, covering a total of 269 feet and giving the aircraft better stability at lower speeds. The fuselage was flattened a bit and made broader, and its canopy was designed to pivot forward, which was different from the F-16, but can now be found on the F-35.In order to withstand carrier landings, heavier duty landing gear had to be affixed to the Vought 1600's belly, alongside the standard carrier equipment like a landing hook. The fuselage itself was made stronger and in order to offer the engagement range the Navy needed, a pulse-doppler radar for beyond visual range targeting was also added.All told, the structural changes needed to make the F-16 into the Vought 1600 added more than 3,000 pounds to the aircraft. Further changes were made to the fuselage and wings as subsequent iterations of the Vought 1600 came to fruition. The V-1602, for instance, had even more wing area at 399 square feet, and was given a heavier GE F101 engine.For the YF-17, the second time was a charm A Pratt and Whitney engine that will be used in the YF-16, January 22, 1961. Alan Band/Fox Photos/Getty Images Despite the changes made to the F-16 to meet the Navy's needs, the combined General Dynamics/Vought effort would ultimately lose out to Northrop and McDonnell Douglas' YF-17, which would later come to be known as the F/A-18 Hornet, and its own successor, the Block II Super Hornet.The YF-17 may not have cut it for the Air Force, but the Navy saw promise in a scaled-up version of the fighter, thanks to its superior range, and likely, safety.The Vought 1600's low-lying intake located just above the nose-wheel was considered a real risk on the flight deck of a Navy carrier, as it could literally suck unsuspecting sailors straight into it. This wasn't the first time Vought faced this sort of criticism, as the pilot-favorite Vought F-8 Crusader's large, low intake had already earned it the nickname "the Gator," because of its tenacity for gobbling up sailors.Importantly, the F-16's lightweight design and lack of radar-specific weapons made it poorly suited for all-weather operations like intercepting fighters or bombers en route to a carrier strike group."I pointed out that the F-16 carried only AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles and they were clear-air-mass missiles. In clouds, a radar missile like the AIM-7 Sparrow III was required," former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. James L. Holloway explains in his book, "Aircraft Carriers at War: A Personal Retrospective of Korea, Vietnam, and the Soviet Confrontation.""This capability, with the necessary radar guidance system and heavier pylons, had been incorporated into the F-18 design, but the F-16 would not accommodate an all-weather missile system without extensive redesign and added weight."However, according to Holloway's book, Defense Secretary James Schlesinger was still dead set on pushing the Vought 1600 onto the Navy. In order to settle the debate once and for all, Schlesinger invited Admiral Holloway to his office to discuss the Navy's next fighter.Despite Schlesinger telling Holloway that his office was too small to bring more than two of his subordinates to the discussion, Holloway walked into the Secretary of Defense's office to find more than a dozen people waiting for him. Schlesinger ambushed the admiral, keen to use his superior numbers to push the Vought 1600 onto the Navy.Holloway stood firm, however, highlighting the concern of his engineers that the Vought 1600 was apt to bang its engine on the flight deck during carrier landings, which could cause damage to both the deck and the aircraft. When the men gathered in Schlesinger's office argued that problems like that could be mitigated with better pilot technique, Holloway grew frustrated.Clearly, anyone preaching about improved pilot technique to offset a fighter's design shortcomings had never attempted to land on the pitching deck of an aircraft carrier that was barely visible against a seemingly endless backdrop of stormy seas during nighttime operations.The YF-17 also offered a second engine, which could mean the difference between getting a jet back to its carrier or having to dump it in the sea if anything went wrong with one of them.The Vought 1600 misses the boat An F-16. US Air Force Ultimately, it may have been the intended weapons for each platform that became the deciding factor. Because the F-16's design wouldn't accommodate an all-weather missile system without extensive modifications, the Vought 1600 may have been able to manage carrier operations, but still wouldn't meet the exacting needs of the branch.Of course, the F-16 would eventually gain the very capabilities it lacked at the time, both in the form of Sparrow missiles and eventually AMRAAMs.Had similar capabilities been a part of the Vought 1600's pitch, we may not have seen the nearly four decades' worth of service out of the Hornet and Super Hornet family that we have. Instead, the Navy would have been flying F-16s alongside F-14 Tomcats off of their flattops, and the Super Hornet would be another what-if fighter in the annals of military history.Of course, the Vought 1600 wasn't the only legendary American fighter that very nearly found its way into Uncle Sam's carrier fleet. At one point, a significantly upgraded iteration of the F-117 Nighthawk nearly found its way into Naval service. And just a few years later, a similar effort almost placed F-22 Raptors on the Navy's flight decks.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 2nd, 2021

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations

Green Energy: A Bubble In Unrealistic Expectations Authored by David Hay via Everegreen Gavekal blog, “You see what is happening in Europe. There is hysteria and some confusion in the markets. Why?…Some people are speculating on climate change issues, some people are underestimating some things, some are starting to cut back on investments in the extractive industries. There needs to be a smooth transition.” - Vladimir Putin (someone with whom this author rarely agrees) “By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of its citizens.” – John Maynard Keynes (an interesting observation for all the modern day Keynesians to consider given their support of current inflationary US policies, including energy-related) Introduction This week’s EVA provides another sneak preview into David Hay’s book-in-process, “Bubble 3.0” discussing what he thinks is the crucial topic of “greenflation.”  This is a term he coined referring to the rising price for metals and minerals that are essential for solar and wind power, electric cars, and other renewable technologies. It also centers on the reality that as global policymakers have turned against the fossil fuel industry, energy producers are for the first time in history not responding to dramatically higher prices by increasing production.  Consequently, there is a difficult tradeoff that arises as the world pushes harder to combat climate change, driving up energy costs to painful levels, especially for lower income individuals.  What we are currently seeing in Europe is a vivid example of this dilemma.  While it may be the case that governments welcome higher oil and natural gas prices to discourage their use, energy consumers are likely to have a much different reaction. Summary BlackRock’s CEO recently admitted that, despite what many are opining, the green energy transition is nearly certain to be inflationary. Even though it’s early in the year, energy prices are already experiencing unprecedented spikes in Europe and Asia, but most Americans are unaware of the severity. To that point, many British residents being faced with the fact that they may need to ration heat and could be faced with the chilling reality that lives could be lost if this winter is as cold as forecasters are predicting. Because of the huge increase in energy prices, inflation in the eurozone recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices on the Continent that are the equivalent of $200 oil. It used to be that the cure for extreme prices was extreme prices, but these days I’m not so sure.  Oil and gas producers are very wary of making long-term investments to develop new resources given the hostility to their industry and shareholder pressure to minimize outlays. I expect global supply to peak sometime next year and a major supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand returns to normal. In Norway, almost 2/3 of all new vehicle sales are of the electric variety (EVs) – a huge increase in just over a decade. Meanwhile, in the US, it’s only about 2%. Still, given Norway’s penchant for the plug-in auto, the demand for oil has not declined. China, despite being the largest market by far for electric vehicles, is still projected to consume an enormous and rising amount of oil in the future. About 70% of China’s electricity is generated by coal, which has major environmental ramifications in regards to electric vehicles. Because of enormous energy demand in China this year, coal prices have experienced a massive boom. Its usage was up 15% in the first half of this year, and the Chinese government has instructed power providers to obtain all baseload energy sources, regardless of cost.  The massive migration to electric vehicles – and the fact that they use six times the amount of critical minerals as their gasoline-powered counterparts –means demand for these precious resources is expected to skyrocket. This extreme need for rare minerals, combined with rapid demand growth, is a recipe for a major spike in prices. Massively expanding the US electrical grid has several daunting challenges– chief among them the fact that the American public is extremely reluctant to have new transmission lines installed in their area. The state of California continues to blaze the trail for green energy in terms of both scope and speed. How the rest of the country responds to their aggressive take on renewables remains to be seen. It appears we are entering a very odd reality: governments are expending resources they do not have on weakly concentrated energy. And the result may be very detrimental for today’s modern economy. If the trend in energy continues, what looks nearly certain to be the Third Energy crisis of the last half-century may linger for years.  Green energy: A bubble in unrealistic expectations? As I have written in past EVAs, it amazes me how little of the intense inflation debate in 2021 centered on the inflationary implications of the Green Energy transition.  Perhaps it is because there is a built-in assumption that using more renewables should lower energy costs since the sun and the wind provide “free power”.  However, we will soon see that’s not the case, at least not anytime soon; in fact, it’s my contention that it will likely be the opposite for years to come and I’ve got some powerful company.  Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, a very pro-ESG* organization, is one of the few members of Wall Street’s elite who admitted this in the summer of 2021.  The story, however, received minimal press coverage and was quickly forgotten (though, obviously, not be me!).  This EVA will outline myriad reasons why I think Mr. Fink was telling it like it is…despite the political heat that could bring down upon him.  First, though, I will avoid any discussion of whether humanity is the leading cause of global warming.  For purposes of this analysis, let’s make the high-odds assumption that for now a high-speed green energy transition will continue to occur.  (For those who would like a well-researched and clearly articulated overview of the climate debate, I highly recommend the book “Unsettled”; it’s by a former top energy expert and scientist from the Obama administration, Dr. Steven Koonin.) The reason I italicized “for now” is that in my view it’s extremely probable that voters in many Western countries are going to become highly retaliatory toward energy policies that are already creating extreme hardship.  Even though it’s only early autumn as I write these words, energy prices are experiencing unprecedented increases in Europe.  Because it’s “over there”, most Americans are only vaguely aware of the severity of the situation.  But the facts are shocking…  Presently, natural gas is going for $29 per million British Thermal Units (BTUs) in Europe, a quadruple compared to the same time in 2020, versus “just” $5 in the US, which is a mere doubling.  As a consequence, wholesale energy cost in Great Britain rose an unheard of 60% even before summer ended.  Reportedly, nine UK energy companies are on the brink of failure at this time due to their inability to fully pass on the enormous cost increases.  As a result, the British government is reportedly on the verge of nationalizing some of these entities—supposedly, temporarily—to prevent them from collapsing.  (CNBC reported on Wednesday that UK natural gas prices are now up 800% this year; in the US, nat gas rose 20% on Tuesday alone, before giving back a bit more than half of that the next day.) Serious food shortages are expected after exorbitant natural gas costs forced most of England’s commercial production of CO2 to shut down.  (CO2 is used both for stunning animals prior to slaughter and also in food packaging.)  Additionally, ballistic natural gas prices have forced the closure of two big US fertilizer plants due to a potential shortfall of ammonium nitrate of which “nat gas” is a key feedstock.  *ESG stands for Environmental, Social, Governance; in 2021, Blackrock’s assets under management approximated $9 ½ trillion, about one-third of the total US federal debt. With the winter of 2021 approaching, British households are being told they may need to ration heat.  There are even growing concerns about the widespread loss of life if this winter turns out to be a cold one, as 2020 was in Europe.  Weather forecasters are indicating that’s a distinct possibility.   In Spain, consumers are paying 40% more for electricity compared to the prior year.  The Spanish government has begun resorting to price controls to soften the impact of these rapidly escalating costs. (The history of price controls is that they often exacerbate shortages.) Naturally, spiking power prices hit the poorest hardest, which is typical of inflation whether it is of the energy variety or of generalized price increases.  Due to these massive energy price increases, eurozone inflation recently hit a 13-year high, heavily driven by natural gas prices that are the equivalent of $200 per barrel oil.  This is consistent with what I warned about in several EVAs earlier this year and I think there is much more of this looming in the years to come. In Asia, which also had a brutally cold winter in 2020 – 2021, there are severe energy shortages being disclosed, as well.  China has instructed its power providers to secure all the coal they can in preparation for a repeat of frigid conditions and acute deficits even before winter arrives.  The government has also instructed its energy distributors to acquire all the liquified natural gas (LNG) they can, regardless of cost.  LNG recently hit $35 per million British Thermal Units in Asia, up sevenfold in the past year.  China is also rationing power to its heavy industries, further exacerbating the worldwide shortages of almost everything, with notable inflationary implications. In India, where burning coal provides about 70% of electricity generation (as it does in China), utilities are being urged to import coal even though that country has the world’s fourth largest coal reserves.  Several Indian power plants are close to exhausting their coal supplies as power usage rips higher. Normally, I’d say that the cure for such extreme prices, was extreme prices—to slightly paraphrase the old axiom.  But these days, I’m not so sure; in fact, I’m downright dubious.  After all, the enormously influential International Energy Agency has recommended no new fossil fuel development after 2021—“no new”, as in zero.  It’s because of pressure such as this that, even though US natural gas prices have done a Virgin Galactic to $5 this year, the natural gas drilling rig count has stayed flat.  The last time prices were this high there were three times as many working rigs.  It is the same story with oil production.  Most Americans don’t seem to realize it but the US has provided 90% of the planet’s petroleum output growth over the past decade.  In other words, without America’s extraordinary shale oil production boom—which raised total oil output from around 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to 13 million barrels per day in 2019—the world long ago would have had an acute shortage.  (Excluding the Covid-wracked year of 2020, oil demand grows every year—strictly as a function of the developing world, including China, by the way.) Unquestionably, US oil companies could substantially increase output, particularly in the Permian Basin, arguably (but not much) the most prolific oil-producing region in the world.  However, with the Fed being pressured by Congress to punish banks that lend to any fossil fuel operator, and the overall extreme hostility toward domestic energy producers, why would they?  There is also tremendous pressure from Wall Street on these companies to be ESG compliant.  This means reducing their carbon footprint.  That’s tough to do while expanding their volume of oil and gas.  Further, investors, whether on Wall Street or on London’s equivalent, Lombard Street, or in pretty much any Western financial center, are against US energy companies increasing production.  They would much rather see them buy back stock and pay out lush dividends.  The companies are embracing that message.  One leading oil and gas company CEO publicly mused to the effect that buying back his own shares at the prevailing extremely depressed valuations was a much better use of capital than drilling for oil—even at $75 a barrel. As reported by Morgan Stanley, in the summer of 2021, an US institutional broker conceded that of his 400 clients, only one would consider investing in an energy company!  Consequently, the fact that the industry is so detested means that its shares are stunningly undervalued.  How stunningly?  A myriad of US oil and gas producers are trading at free cash flow* yields of 10% to 15% and, in some cases, as high as 25%. In Europe, where the same pressures apply, one of its biggest energy companies is generating a 16% free cash flow yield.  Moreover, that is based up an estimate of $60 per barrel oil, not the prevailing price of $80 on the Continent. *Free cash flow is the excess of gross cash flow over and above the capital spending needed to sustain a business.  Many market professionals consider it more meaningful than earnings.  Therefore, due to the intense antipathy toward Western energy producers they aren’t very inclined to explore for new resources.  Another much overlooked fact about the ultra-critical US shale industry that, as noted, has been nearly the only source of worldwide output growth for the past 13 years, is its rapid decline nature.  Most oil wells see their production taper off at just 4% or 5% per year.  But with shale, that decline rate is 80% after only two years.  (Because of the collapse in exploration activities in 2020 due to Covid, there are far fewer new wells coming on-line; thus, the production base is made up of older wells with slower decline rates but it is still a much steeper cliff than with traditional wells.)  As a result, the US, the world’s most important swing producer, has to come up with about 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of new output just to stay even.  (This was formerly about a 3 million bpd number due to both the factor mentioned above and the 2 million bpd drop in total US oil production, from 13 million bpd to around 11 million bpd since 2019).  Please recall that total US oil production in 2008 was only around 5 million bpd.  Thus, 1.5 million barrels per day is a lot of oil and requires considerable drilling and exploration activities.  Again, this is merely to stay steady-state, much less grow.  The foregoing is why I wrote on multiple occasions in EVAs during 2020, when the futures price for oil went below zero*, that crude would have a spectacular price recovery later that year and, especially, in 2021.  In my view, to go out on my familiar creaky limb, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!  With supply extremely challenged for the above reasons and demand marching back, I believe 2022 could see $100 crude, possibly even higher.  *Physical oil, or real vs paper traded, bottomed in the upper teens when the futures contract for delivery in April, 2020, went deeply negative.  Mike Rothman of Cornerstone Analytics has one of the best oil price forecasting records on Wall Street.  Like me, he was vehemently bullish on oil after the Covid crash in the spring of 2020 (admittedly, his well-reasoned optimism was a key factor in my up-beat outlook).  Here’s what he wrote late this summer:  “Our forecast for ’22 looks to see global oil production capacity exhausted late in the year and our balance suggests OPEC (and OPEC + participants) will face pressures to completely remove any quotas.”  My expectation is that global supply will likely max out sometime next year, barring a powerful negative growth shock (like a Covid variant even more vaccine resistant than Delta).  A significant supply deficit looks inevitable as global demand recovers and exceeds its pre-Covid level.  This is a view also shared by Goldman Sachs and Raymond James, among others; hence, my forecast of triple-digit prices next year.  Raymond James pointed out that in June the oil market was undersupplied by 2.5 mill bpd.  Meanwhile, global petroleum demand was rapidly rising with expectations of nearly pre-Covid consumption by year-end.  Mike Rothman ran this chart in a webcast on 9/10/2021 revealing how far below the seven-year average oil inventories had fallen.  This supply deficit is very likely to become more acute as the calendar flips to 2022. In fact, despite oil prices pushing toward $80, total US crude output now projected to actually decline this year.  This is an unprecedented development.  However, as the very pro-renewables Financial Times (the UK’s equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) explained in an August 11th, 2021, article:  “Energy companies are in a bind.  The old solution would be to invest more in raising gas production.  But with most developed countries adopting plans to be ‘net zero’ on carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier, the appetite for throwing billions at long-term gas projects is diminished.” The author, David Sheppard, went on to opine: “In the oil industry there are those who think a period of plus $100-a-barrel oil is on the horizon, as companies scale back investments in future supplies, while demand is expected to keep rising for most of this decade at a minimum.”  (Emphasis mine)  To which I say, precisely!  Thus, if he’s right about rising demand, as I believe he is, there is quite a collision looming between that reality and the high probability of long-term constrained supplies.  One of the most relevant and fascinating Wall Street research reports I read as I was researching the topic of what I have been referring to as “Greenflation” is from Morgan Stanley.  Its title asked the provocative question:  “With 64% of New Cars Now Electric, Why is Norway Still Using so Much Oil?”  While almost two-thirds of Norway’s new vehicle sales are EVs, a remarkable market share gain in just over a decade, the number in the US is an ultra-modest 2%.   Yet, per the Morgan Stanley piece, despite this extraordinary push into EVs, oil consumption in Norway has been stubbornly stable.  Coincidentally, that’s been the experience of the overall developed world over the past 10 years, as well; petroleum consumption has largely flatlined.  Where demand hasn’t gone horizontal is in the developing world which includes China.  As you can see from the following Cornerstone Analytics chart, China’s oil demand has vaulted by about 6 million barrels per day (bpd) since 2010 while its domestic crude output has, if anything, slightly contracted. Another coincidence is that this 6 million bpd surge in China’s appetite for oil, almost exactly matched the increase in US oil production.  Once again, think where oil prices would be today without America’s shale oil boom. This is unlikely to change over the next decade.  By 2031, there are an estimated one billion Asian consumers moving up into the middle class.  History is clear that more income means more energy consumption.  Unquestionably, renewables will provide much of that power but oil and natural gas are just as unquestionably going to play a critical role.  Underscoring that point, despite the exponential growth of renewables over the last 10 years, every fossil fuel category has seen increased usage.  Thus, even if China gets up to Norway’s 64% EV market share of new car sales over the next decade, its oil usage is likely to continue to swell.  Please be aware that China has become the world’s largest market for EVs—by far.  Despite that, the above chart vividly displays an immense increase in oil demand.  Here’s a similar factoid that I ran in our December 4th EVA, “Totally Toxic”, in which I made a strong bullish case for energy stocks (the main energy ETF is up 35% from then, by the way):  “(There was) a study by the UN and the US government based on the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gasses Induced Climate Change (MAGICC).  The model predicted that ‘the complete elimination of all fossil fuels in the US immediately would only restrict any increase in world temperature by less than one tenth of one degree Celsius by 2050, and by less than one fifth of one degree Celsius by 2100.’  Say again?  If the world’s biggest carbon emitter on a per capita basis causes minimal improvement by going cold turkey on fossil fuels, are we making the right moves by allocating tens of trillions of dollars that we don’t have toward the currently in-vogue green energy solutions?” China's voracious power appetite increase has been true with all of its energy sources.  On the environmentally-friendly front, that includes renewables; on the environmentally-unfriendly side, it also includes coal.  In 2020, China added three times more coal-based power generation than all other countries combined.  This was the equivalent of an additional coal planet each week.  Globally, there was a reduction last year of 17 gigawatts in coal-fired power output; in China, the increase was 29.8 gigawatts, far more than offsetting the rest of the world’s progress in reducing the dirtiest energy source.  (A gigawatt can power a city with a population of roughly 700,000.) Overall, 70% of China’s electricity is coal-generated. This has significant environmental implications as far as electric vehicles (EVs) are concerned.  Because EVs are charged off a grid that is primarily coal- powered, carbon emissions actually rise as the number of such vehicles proliferate. As you can see in the following charts from Reuters’ energy expert John Kemp, Asia’s coal-fired generation has risen drastically in the last 20 years, even as it has receded in the rest of the world.  (The flattening recently is almost certainly due to Covid, with a sharp upward resumption nearly a given.) The worst part is that burning coal not only emits CO2—which is not a pollutant and is essential for life—it also releases vast quantities of nitrous oxide (N20), especially on the scale of coal usage seen in Asia today. N20 is unquestionably a pollutant and a greenhouse gas that is hundreds of times more potent than CO2.  (An interesting footnote is that over the last 550 million years, there have been very few times when the CO2 level has been as low, or lower, than it is today.)  Some scientists believe that one reason for the shrinkage of Arctic sea ice in recent decades is due to the prevailing winds blowing black carbon soot over from Asia.  This is a separate issue from N20 which is a colorless gas.  As the black soot covers the snow and ice fields in Northern Canada, they become more absorbent of the sun’s radiation, thus causing increased melting.  (Source:  “Weathering Climate Change” by Hugh Ross) Due to exploding energy needs in China this year, coal prices have experienced an unprecedented surge.  Despite this stunning rise, Chinese authorities have instructed its power providers to obtain coal, and other baseload energy sources, such as liquified natural gas (LNG), regardless of cost.  Notwithstanding how pricey coal has become, its usage in China was up 15% in the first half of this year vs the first half of 2019 (which was obviously not Covid impacted). Despite the polluting impact of heavy coal utilization, China is unlikely to turn away from it due to its high energy density (unlike renewables), its low cost (usually) and its abundance within its own borders (though its demand is so great that it still needs to import vast amounts).  Regarding oil, as we saw in last week’s final image, it is currently importing roughly 11 million barrels per day (bpd) to satisfy its 15 million bpd consumption (about 15% of total global demand).  In other words, crude imports amount to almost three-quarter of its needs.  At $80 oil, this totals $880 million per day or approximately $320 billion per year.  Imagine what China’s trade surplus would look like without its oil import bill! Ironically, given the current hostility between the world’s superpowers, China has an affinity for US oil because of its light and easy-to-refine nature.  China’s refineries tend to be low-grade and unable to efficiently process heavier grades of crude, unlike the US refining complex which is highly sophisticated and prefers heavy oil such as from Canada and Venezuela—back when the latter actually produced oil. Thus, China favors EVs because they can be de facto coal-powered, lessening its dangerous reliance on imported oil.  It also likes them due to the fact it controls 80% of the lithium ion battery supply and 60% of the planet’s rare earth minerals, both of which are essential to power EVs.     However, even for China, mining enough lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, aluminum and the other essential minerals/metals to meet the ambitious goals of largely electrifying new vehicle volumes is going to be extremely daunting.  This is in addition to mass construction of wind farms and enormously expanded solar panel manufacturing. As one of the planet’s leading energy authorities Daniel Yergin writes: “With the move to electric cars, demand for critical minerals will skyrocket (lithium up 4300%, cobalt and nickel up 2500%), with an electric vehicle using 6 times more minerals than a conventional car and a wind turbine using 9 times more minerals than a gas-fueled power plant.  The resources needed for the ‘mineral-intensive energy system’ of the future are also highly concentrated in relatively few countries. Whereas the top 3 oil producers in the world are responsible for about 30 percent of total liquids production, the top 3 lithium producers control more than 80% of supply. China controls 60% of rare earths output needed for wind towers; the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 70% of the cobalt required for EV batteries.” As many have noted, the environmental impact of immensely ramping up the mining of these materials is undoubtedly going to be severe.  Michael Shellenberger, a life-long environmental activist, has been particularly vociferous in his condemnation of the dominant view that only renewables can solve the global energy needs.  He’s especially critical of how his fellow environmentalists resorted to repetitive deception, in his view, to undercut nuclear power in past decades.  By leaving nuke energy out of the solution set, he foresees a disastrous impact on the planet due to the massive scale (he’d opine, impossibly massive) of resource mining that needs to occur.  (His book, “Apocalypse Never”, is also one I highly recommend; like Dr. Koonin, he hails from the left end of the political spectrum.) Putting aside the environmental ravages of developing rare earth minerals, when you have such high and rapidly rising demand colliding with limited supply, prices are likely to go vertical.  This will be another inflationary “forcing”, a favorite term of climate scientists, caused by the Great Green Energy Transition. Moreover, EVs are very semiconductor intensive.  With semis already in seriously short supply, this is going to make a gnarly situation even gnarlier.  It’s logical to expect that there will be recurring shortages of chips over the next decade for this reason alone (not to mention the acute need for semis as the “internet of things” moves into primetime).  In several of the newsletters I’ve written in recent years, I’ve pointed out the present vulnerability of the US electric grid.  Yet, it will be essential not just to keep it from breaking down under its current load; it must be drastically enhanced, a Herculean task. For one thing, it is excruciatingly hard to install new power lines. As J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest has written: “Grid expansion can be a hornet’s nest of cost, complexity and NIMBYism*, particularly in the US.”  The grid’s frailty, even under today’s demands (i.e., much less than what lies ahead as millions of EVs plug into it) is particularly obvious in California.  However, severe winter weather in 2021 exposed the grid weakness even in energy-rich Texas, which also has a generally welcoming attitude toward infrastructure upgrading and expansion. Yet it’s the Golden State, home to 40 million Americans and the fifth largest economy in the world, if it was its own country (which it occasionally acts like it wants to be), that is leading the charge to EVs and seeking to eliminate internal combustion engines (ICEs) as quickly as possible.  Even now, blackouts and brownouts are becoming increasingly common.  Seemingly convinced it must be a role model for the planet, it’s trying desperately to reduce its emissions, which are less than 1%, of the global total, at the expense of rendering its energy system more similar to a developing country.  In addition to very high electricity costs per kilowatt hour (its mild climate helps offset those), it also has gasoline prices that are 77% above the national average.  *NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard. While California has been a magnet for millions seeking a better life for 150 years, the cost of living is turning the tide the other way.  Unreliable and increasingly expensive energy is likely to intensify that trend.  Combined with home prices that are more than double the US median–$800,000!–California is no longer the land of milk and honey, unless, to slightly paraphrase Woody Guthrie about LA, even back in the 1940s, you’ve got a whole lot of scratch.  More and more people, seem to be scratching California off their list of livable venues.  Voters in the reliably blue state of California may become extremely restive, particularly as they look to Asia and see new coal plants being built at a fever pitch.  The data will become clear that as America keeps decarbonizing–as it has done for 30 years mostly due to the displacement of coal by gas in the US electrical system—Asia will continue to go the other way.  (By the way, electricity represents the largest share of CO2 emission at roughly 25%.)  California has always seemed to lead social trends in this country, as it is doing again with its green energy transition.  The objective is noble though, extremely ambitious, especially the timeline.  As it brings its power paradigm to the rest of America, especially its frail grid, it will be interesting to see how voters react in other states as the cost of power leaps higher and its dependability heads lower.  It’s reasonable to speculate we may be on the verge of witnessing the Californication of the US energy system.  Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, please be aware the IEA (International Energy Agency) has estimated it will cost the planet $5 trillion per year to achieve Net Zero emissions.  This is compared to global GDP of roughly $85 trillion. According to BloombergNEF, the price tag over 30 years, could be as high as $173 trillion.  Frankly, based on the history of gigantic cost overruns on most government-sponsored major infrastructure projects, I’m inclined to take the over—way over—on these estimates. Moreover, energy consulting firm T2 and Associates, has guesstimated electrifying just the US to the extent necessary to eliminate the direct consumption of fuel (i.e., gasoline, natural gas, coal, etc.) would cost between $18 trillion and $29 trillion.  Again, taking into account how these ambitious efforts have played out in the past, I suspect $29 trillion is light.  Regardless, even $18 trillion is a stunner, despite the reality we have all gotten numb to numbers with trillions attached to them.  For perspective, the total, already terrifying, level of US federal debt is $28 trillion. Regardless, as noted last week, the probabilities of the Great Green Energy Transition happening are extremely high.  Relatedly, I believe the likelihood of the Great Greenflation is right up there with them.  As Gavekal’s Didier Darcet wrote in mid-August:  ““Nowadays, and this is a great first in history, governments will commit considerable financial resources they do not have in the extraction of very weakly concentrated energy.” ( i.e., less efficient)  “The bet is very risky, and if it fails, what next?  The modern economy would not withstand expensive energy, or worse, lack of energy.”  While I agree this an historical first, it’s definitely not great (with apologies for all the “greats”).  This is particularly not great for keeping inflation subdued, as well as for attempting to break out of the growth quagmire the Western world has been in for the last two decades.  What we are seeing in Europe right now is an extremely cautionary case study in just how disastrous the war on fossil fuels can be (shortly we will see who or what has been a behind-the-scenes participant in this conflict). Essentially, I believe, as I’ve written in past EVAs, we are entering the third energy crisis of the last 50 years.  If I’m right, it will be characterized by recurring bouts of triple-digit oil prices in the years to come.  Along with Richard Nixon taking the US off the gold standard in 1971, the high inflation of the 1970s was caused by the first two energy crises (the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo and the 1979 Iranian Revolution).  If I’m correct about this being the third, it’s coming at a most inopportune time with the US in hyper-MMT* mode. Frankly, I believe many in the corridors of power would like to see oil trade into the $100s, and natural gas into the teens, as it will help catalyze the shift to renewable energy.  But consumers are likely to have a much different reaction—potentially, a violently different reaction, as I noted last week.  The experience of the Yellow Vest protests in France (referring to the color of the vest protestors wore), are instructive in this regard.  France is a generally left-leaning country.  Despite that, a proposed fuel surtax in November 2018 to fund a renewable energy transition triggered such widespread civil unrest that French president Emmanuel Macron rescinded it the following month. *MMT stands for Modern Monetary Theory.  It holds that a government, like the US, which issues debt in its own currency can spend without concern about budgetary constraints.  If there are not enough buyers of its bonds at acceptable interest rates, that nation’s central bank (the Fed, in our case) simply acquires them with money it creates from its digital printing press.  This is what is happening today in the US.  Many economists consider this highly inflationary. The sharp and politically uncomfortable rise in US gas pump prices this summer caused the Biden administration to plead with OPEC to lift its volume quotas.  The ironic implication of that exhortation was glaringly obvious, as was the inefficiency and pollution consequences of shipping oil thousands of miles across the Atlantic.  (Oil tankers are a significant source of emissions.)  This is as opposed to utilizing domestic oil output, as well as crude from Canada (which is actually generally better suited to the US refining complex).  Beyond the pollution aspect, imported oil obviously worsens America’s massive trade deficit (which would be far more massive without the six million barrels per day of domestic oil volumes that the shale revolution has provided) and costs our nation high-paying jobs. Further, one of my other big fears is that the West is engaging in unilateral energy disarmament.  Russia and China are likely the major beneficiaries of this dangerous scenario.  Per my earlier comment about a stealth combatant in the war on fossil fuels, it may surprise you that a past NATO Secretary General* has accused Russian intelligence of avidly supporting the anti-fracking movements in Western Europe.  Russian TV has railed against fracking for years, even comparing it to pedophilia (certainly, a most bizarre analogy!).  The success of the anti-fracking movement on the Continent has essentially prevented a European version of America’s shale miracles (the UK has the potential to be a major shale gas producer).  Consequently, the European Union’s domestic natural gas production has been in a rapid decline phase for years.  Banning fracking has, of course, made Europe heavily reliant on Russian gas shipments with more than 40% of its supplies coming from Russia. This is in graphic contrast to the shale output boom in the US that has not only made us natural gas self-sufficient but also an export powerhouse of liquified natural gas (LNG).  In 2011, the Nord Stream system of pipelines running under the Baltic Sea from northern Russia began delivering gas west from northern Russia to the German coastal city of Greifswald.  For years, the Russians sought to build a parallel system with the inventive name of Nord Stream 2.  The US government opposed its approval on security grounds but the Biden administration has dropped its opposition.  It now appears Nord Stream 2 will happen, leaving Europe even more exposed to Russian coercion.  Is it possible the Russian government and the Chinese Communist Party have been secretly and aggressively supporting the anti-fossil fuel movements in America?  In my mind, it seems not only possible but probable.  In fact, I believe it is naïve not to come that conclusion.  After all, wouldn’t it be in both of their geopolitical interests to see the US once again caught in a cycle of debilitating inflation, ensnared by the twin traps of MMT and the third energy crisis? *Per former NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasumssen:  Russia has “engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations—environmental organizations working against shale gas—to maintain Europe’s dependence on imported Russian gas”. Along these lines, I was shocked to listen to a recent podcast by the New Yorker magazine on the topic of “intelligent sabotage”.  This segment was an interview between the magazine’s David Remnick and a Swedish professor, Adreas Malm.  Mr. Malm is the author of a new book with the literally explosive title “How To Blow Up A Pipeline”.   Just as it sounds, he advocates detonating pipelines to inhibit fossil fuel distribution.  Mr. Remnick was clearly sympathetic to his guest but he did ask him about the impact on the poor of driving energy prices up drastically which would be the obvious ramification if his sabotage recommendations were widely followed.  Mr. Malm’s reaction was a verbal shrug of the shoulders and words to the effect that this was the price to pay to save the planet. Frankly, I am appalled that the venerable New Yorker would provide a platform for such a radical and unlawful suggestion.  In an era when people are de-platformed for often innocuous comments, it’s incredible to me this was posted and has not been pulled down.  In my mind, this reflects just how tolerant the media is of attacks on the fossil fuel industry, regardless of the deleterious impact on consumers and the global economy. Surely, there is a far better way of coping with the harmful aspects of fossil fuel-based energy than this scorched earth (literally, in the case of Mr. Malm) approach, which includes efforts to block new pipelines, shut existing ones, and severely restrict US energy production.  In America’s case, the result will be forcing us to unnecessarily and increasingly rely on overseas imports.  (For example, per the Wall Street Journal, drilling permits on federal land have crashed to 171 in August from 671 in April.  Further, the contentious $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” plan would raise royalties and fees high enough on US energy producers that it would render them globally uncompetitive.) Such actions would only aggravate what is already a severe energy shock, one that may be worse than the 1970s twin energy crises.  America has it easy compared to Europe, though, given current US policy trends, we might be in their same heavily listing energy boat soon. Solutions include fast-tracking small modular nuclear plants; encouraging the further switch from burning coal to natural gas (a trend that is, unfortunately, going the other way now, as noted above); utilizing and enhancing carbon and methane capture at the point of emission (including improving tail pipe effluent-reduction technology); enhancing pipeline integrity to inhibit methane leaks; among many other mitigation techniques that recognize the reality the global economy will be reliant on fossil fuels for many years, if not decades, to come.  If the climate change movement fails to recognize the essential nature of fossil fuels, it will almost certainly trigger a backlash that will undermine the positive change it is trying to bring about.  This is similar to what it did via its relentless assault on nuclear power which produced a frenzy of coal plant construction in the 1980s and 1990s.  On this point, it’s interesting to see how quickly Europe is re-embracing coal power to alleviate the energy poverty and rationing occurring over there right now - even before winter sets in.  When the choice is between supporting climate change initiatives on one hand and being able to heat your home and provide for your family on the other, is there really any doubt about which option the majority of voters will select? Tyler Durden Tue, 10/26/2021 - 19:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 26th, 2021

Lockheed"s (LMT) Unit Wins Deal to Support CH-53K Jet Program

Lockheed's (LMT) Sikorsky is set to provide non-recurring engineering to support the development of an exportable variant to the Marine Corps baseline CH-53K aircraft. Lockheed Martin Corp.’s LMT business segment, Sikorsky Aircraft, recently clinched a contract involving CH-53K aircraft. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, MD has awarded the deal.Details of the DealValued at $23.8 million, the contract is projected to get completed by October 2023. Per the terms of the deal, Sikorsky will provide non-recurring engineering to support the development of an exportable variant to the Marine Corps baseline CH-53K aircraft.The contract will serve the government of Israel. The majority of the work related to this deal will be carried out in Stratford, CT.Importance of CH-53K HelicopterThe CH-53K helicopter builds on Sikorsky’s 50 years of manufacturing and operational triumph with its CH-53A, CH-53D/G and CH-53E predecessors. The chopper specializes in heavy-lifting and movement of troops and equipment from ship to shore and higher altitude terrains more rapidly and effectively for expeditionary U.S. Marine Corps and international military missions. It also supports missions like humanitarian aid, troop transport, casualty evacuation, support of special operations forces, and combat search and rescue (CSAR).Helicopters & Hostile WeaponriesCountries globally have been reinforcing their military resources due to intense geopolitical tensions and amplified terrorist threats. The United States, the largest exporter of military weaponries worldwide, is focused on strengthening its military resources. This is quite evident from the allotment of a $773 billion investment plan in the U.S. fiscal 2023 defense budget for military arsenals and weaponry. Impressively, this budget implies a 4.1% increase from fiscal 2022’s enacted amount.No doubt, among hostile weaponries, military helicopters have been gaining importance owing to advancements and the integration of new tactical and logistical features. This has provided ample opportunities for Lockheed Martin to win production as well as modification contracts for helicopters in recent times. The latest contract win is a bright example of that. Such contract wins, in turn, are likely to drive revenues from the Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) business segment, which comprises the Sikorsky helicopters.The growing demand for proven combat system helicopters will continue to support Lockheed Martin.Growth ProspectsPer a Mordor Intelligence report, the global military aircraft market is expected to witness a CAGR of more than 4% during the 2022-2031 time period. Such projections can be attributed to a rise in global threats and geopolitical instabilities, and increased spending on defense. Considering such market growth projection, Lockheed along with other combat jet manufacturers like Northrop Grumman NOC, Boeing BA and Textron TXT are thus poised to benefit.Since its inception, Northrop Grumman has been a pioneer in the development of manned aircraft for combat. Northrop Grumman also has a tradition of providing technological leadership in all aspects of military aviation and aircraft, such as manned, unmanned, targeting, surveillance, and aircraft self-protection systems that enable warfighters to accomplish missions anytime, anywhere and under any conditions.Northrop Grumman boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 6.1%. The Zacks Consensus estimate for NOC’s 2022 earnings, pegged at $24.84, has declined 0.1% in the past 60 days.Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security segment’s primary products include fixed-wing military aircraft, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-15 programs, P-8 programs, KC-46A Tanker, and T-7A Red Hawk. This segment also produces rotorcraft and rotary-wing programs, such as CH-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache, and V-22 Osprey.Boeing boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for BA’s 2022 sales, pegged at $76.55 billion, indicates an improvement of 22.9% from the prior-year quarter’s reported figure.Textron’s business unit, Textron Aviation Defense designs, builds and supports versatile and globally known military aircraft preferred for training and attack missions. Some of Textron’s renowned products include Beechcraft T-6C trainer and AT-6 Wolverine.Textron boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 12.7%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for TXT’s 2022 sales, pegged at $13.39 billion, indicates an improvement of 8.2% from the prior-year quarter’s reported figure.Price MovementIn the past month, shares of Lockheed have gained 9.9% against the industry’s decline of 41.2%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankLockheed Martin currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Boeing Company (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT): Free Stock Analysis Report Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC): Free Stock Analysis Report Textron Inc. (TXT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 20th, 2022

Should Value Investors Consider Huntsman (HUN) Stock Now?

Let's see if Huntsman (HUN) stock is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now from multiple angles. Value investing is easily one of the most popular ways to find great stocks in any market environment. After all, who wouldn’t want to find stocks that are either flying under the radar and are compelling buys, or offer up tantalizing discounts when compared to fair value?One way to find these companies is by looking at several key metrics and financial ratios, many of which are crucial in the value stock selection process. Let’s put Huntsman Corporation HUN stock into this equation and find out if it is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now, or if investors subscribing to this methodology should look elsewhere for top picks:PE RatioA key metric that value investors always look at is the Price to Earnings Ratio, or PE for short. This shows us how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of earnings in a given stock, and is easily one of the most popular financial ratios in the world. The best use of the PE ratio is to compare the stock’s current PE ratio with: a) where this ratio has been in the past; b) how it compares to the average for the industry/sector; and c) how it compares to the market as a whole.On this front, Huntsman has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 8.95, as you can see in the chart below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThis level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 19.3. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Huntsman’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchFurther, the stock’s PE compares favorably with the Zacks Basic Materials sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 8. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWe should also point out that Huntsman has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 8.19, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Huntsman stock in the near term too.  P/S RatioAnother key metric to note is the Price/Sales ratio. This approach compares a given stock’s price to its total sales, where a lower reading is generally considered better. Some people like this metric more than other value-focused ones because it looks at sales, something that is far harder to manipulate with accounting tricks than earnings. Right now, Huntsman has a P/S ratio of about 0.87. This is lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 4.11 right now.  Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIf anything, HUN is in the lower end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.Broad Value Outlook In aggregate, Huntsman currently has a Zacks Value Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Huntsman a solid choice for value investors.  What About the Stock Overall? Though Huntsman might be a good choice for value investors, there are plenty of other factors to consider before investing in this name. In particular, it is worth noting that the company has a Growth Score of F and a Momentum Score of C. This gives HUN a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of A. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been encouraging. The current year has seen five estimates go higher in the past sixty days compared to three lower, while the full year 2021 estimate has seen three upward revision compared to one downward in the same time period.This has had a positive impact on the consensus estimate though as the current year consensus estimate has improved by 19.7% in the past two months, while the full year 2022 estimate has risen by 1.4%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:Huntsman Corporation Price and Consensus Huntsman Corporation price-consensus-chart | Huntsman Corporation QuoteThis bullish trend is why the stock boasts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and why we are expecting outperformance from the company in the near term.Bottom Line  Huntsman is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible line up of statistics on this front. A strong industry rank (among top 26% of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #1 further instils our confidence. In fact, over the past two years, the Zacks Chemical – Diversified industry has clearly outperformed the market at large, as you can see below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSo, it might pay for value investors to delve deeper into the company’s prospects, as fundamentals indicate that this stock could be a compelling pick. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Huntsman Corporation (HUN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 18th, 2022

Is Hawkins (HWKN) a Suitable Pick for Value Investors Now?

Let's see if Hawkins (HWKN) stock is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now from multiple angles. Value investing is easily one of the most popular ways to find great stocks in any market environment. After all, who wouldn’t want to find stocks that are either flying under the radar and are compelling buys, or offer up tantalizing discounts when compared to fair value?One way to find these companies is by looking at several key metrics and financial ratios, many of which are crucial in the value stock selection process. Let’s put Hawkins, Inc. HWKN stock into this equation and find out if it is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now, or if investors subscribing to this methodology should look elsewhere for top picks:PE RatioA key metric that value investors always look at is the Price to Earnings Ratio, or PE for short. This shows us how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of earnings in a given stock, and is easily one of the most popular financial ratios in the world. The best use of the PE ratio is to compare the stock’s current PE ratio with: a) where this ratio has been in the past; b) how it compares to the average for the industry/sector; and c) how it compares to the market as a whole.On this front, Hawkins has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 16.26, as you can see in the chart below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThis level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 19.3. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Hawkins’ current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchFurther, the stock’s PE compares favorably with the Zacks Basic Materials sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 8. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWe should also point out that Hawkins has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 15.52, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Hawkins stock in the near term too.P/S RatioAnother key metric to note is the Price/Sales ratio. This approach compares a given stock’s price to its total sales, where a lower reading is generally considered better. Some people like this metric more than other value-focused ones because it looks at sales, something that is far harder to manipulate with accounting tricks than earnings. Right now, Hawkins has a P/S ratio of about 1.14. This is lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 4.11 right now.  Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIf anything, HWKN is in the lower end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.Broad Value Outlook In aggregate, Hawkins currently has a Zacks Value Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Hawkins a solid choice for value investors.  What About the Stock Overall? Though Hawkins might be a good choice for value investors, there are plenty of other factors to consider before investing in this name. In particular, it is worth noting that the company has a Growth Score of F and a Momentum Score of C. This gives HWKN a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of A. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been encouraging. The current year has seen five estimates go higher in the past sixty days compared to three lower, while the full year 2021 estimate has seen three upward revision compared to one downward in the same time period.This has had a positive impact on the consensus estimate though as the current year consensus estimate has improved by 19.7% in the past two months, while the full year 2022 estimate has risen by 1.4%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:Hawkins, Inc. Price and Consensus Hawkins, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Hawkins, Inc. QuoteThis bullish trend is why the stock boasts a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and why we are expecting outperformance from the company in the near term.Bottom Line  Hawkins is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible line up of statistics on this front. A Zacks Rank #2 further instils our confidence.However, a sluggish industry rank (among bottom 38% of more than 250 industries) makes it hard to get too excited about this company overall. In fact, over the past two years, the Zacks Chemical – Specialty industry has clearly underperformed the market at large, as you can see below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSo, value investors might want to wait for industry trends to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Hawkins, Inc. (HWKN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 18th, 2022

3 Beaten Down Tech Stocks Trading at Attractive Buying Levels

The bears have had entirely too much fun. When reality sets in and these stocks bounce back, they will undoubtedly go back into hibernation. It’s been a hard-fought war within the market throughout 2022, and tech stocks have seemingly been the biggest targets. Buyers have entirely retreated, and the bears continue to push forward. They’re fully rested from the hibernation they have been in over the last several years, and the immense amount of selling has displayed their strength.  Following a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the unique economic environment we’ve found ourselves in has caused the Fed to become much more hawkish. The Fed opted to raise interest rates to combat inflation, drastically affecting high-growth and tech stocks that borrow at a higher rate to drive future growth.Let the bears have their fun – it won’t last forever. For investors with a long-term horizon, it’s an absolute goldmine out there. Many of investors’ favorite stocks over the last several years have declined to levels we haven’t seen in some time, marking a rich buying opportunity.In fact, this five-year chart of the S&P 500’s forward earnings multiple shows us that the current value of 17.9X is well below 2020 highs of 28.6X and is sitting nicely below the median of 19.9X.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThree ultra-popular stocks – Microsoft MSFT, Apple (AAPL), and Nvidia NVDA – have all tumbled throughout 2022. The chart below illustrates how difficult an environment these companies have sailed through this year while blending in the S&P 500 for a benchmark.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAmid all of the adverse price action, long-term investors have been presented with a juicy opportunity to add to their positions within all three of these stocks. Let’s look at just how stellar of an opportunity it is.NvidiaNvidia NVDA, credited with being the inventor of the highly successful GPU, has seen its forward earnings multiple retrace back down to 36.7X, an absolute fraction of its 2021 high of 93.5X and well below the median of 49.9X over the last five years. Additionally, the value is the lowest we’ve seen since March 2020, providing an opportunity to scoop up shares at a much less expensive price point relative to how stretched valuations had become.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAfter coming well off 2021 all-time highs of $334 per share, NVDA shares have been nearly cut in half, trading in the $180 range as of today. In fact, it’s the lowest level that we’ve seen Nvidia shares trade at since June 2021.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe company has acquired a four-quarter trailing average EPS surprise of a respectable 7%, and in its latest report, the chip giant exceeded EPS estimates by 8.2%. Additionally, earnings growth rates are looking solid as well; NVDA’s current-year earnings are forecasted to grow 25% year-over-year, and the bottom line is forecasted to grow by a sizable 17% in the long term.NVDA is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).AppleWe’re all familiar with Apple AAPL, the creator of the legendary iPhone, Mac, and many other products. The tech-rout of 2022 has sent its forward earnings multiple down to 23.8X, nearly half of its 2020 high of 41.5X and just above its median of 19.5X over the last five years. Additionally, the value is sitting at its lowest level since April 2020.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSliding off of all-time highs of $182 per share back in early January of this year, AAPL shares are trading in the $140 range as of today, the cheapest we’ve seen since October of last year. Apple very rarely takes a step back in the market, marking another excellent buying opportunity for one of the best companies in the world.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOver the last four quarters, Apple has acquired an average EPS surprise in the double-digits of 12%. In the face of adverse business conditions in its latest quarter, the company beat EPS estimates by a notable 6.3%. Additionally, earnings for the current year are expected to grow by 9%, and its bottom line is forecasted to grow by 13% over the next three to five years.Apple is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).MicrosoftMicrosoft MSFT, the widely-hailed tech giant, has seen its forward earnings multiple retrace down to 28X, a tick below its median of 28.1X over the last five years and a fraction of its 37.5X high in December of 2021. Similar to AAPL and NVDA, the value is the lowest since the early months of 2020.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMSFT shares have come well off their all-time highs of $343 per share in December of 2021. As of today, shares are trading in the $260 range – the lowest level we’ve seen them trade at since late May of 2021.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOver its last four quarters, the company carries an average EPS surprise of 9%, and in the latest quarter, MSFT beat EPS expectations by 2%. Looking ahead, current year earnings for the tech giant are forecasted to grow a sizable 17%, and over the next three to five years, the bottom line is forecasted to grow 13%.Microsoft is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Bottom LineAs we can see, all three of these stocks have come down to valuation and price levels not seen in some time. Additionally, they’re all forecasted to have long-term EPS growth in the double digits, which bodes very well for them moving forward.It’s far from over for these companies. While the market conditions have been brutal, to say the least, not all is bad – rich buying opportunities are continuously presenting themselves day in and day out.Trying to time the bottom is hardly possible. Instead, investors should slowly build themselves into a position with periodically timed buys that allow flexibility to manage risk and build a strong average cost position. It’s never fun to go all-in on a purchase and watch the entry point become unfavorable.The bears have had entirely too much fun. When reality sets in and these stocks bounce back, they will undoubtedly go back into hibernation. Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through 2021, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolios gained an impressive +1,001.2% versus the S&P 500’s +348.7%. Now our Director of Research has combed through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank and has handpicked the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in…because the sooner you do, the more upside you stand to grab.See Stocks Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Apple Inc. (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 18th, 2022

A Drinking Man"s Guide To Monetary Policy

A Drinking Man's Guide To Monetary Policy Authored by Gary Galles via The American Institute for Economic Research, There is an old expression—to drive someone to drink—which means to annoy them to distraction. My favorite version of it is George Thorogood and the Destroyers’, “Son, you’re gonna drive me to drinkin’ if you don’t stop drivin’ that Hot Rod Lincoln” (which, now that I have thought of it, I can’t seem to get out of my head). That expression birthed multiple books entitled A Drinking Man’s Guide to topics from Scotland to Cambridge, women to marriage. As far as Google tells me, however, there has never been such a guide to monetary policy. Given that recent monetary policy issues have been vexing enough to qualify—from a long period of near-zero interest rates (often negative in real terms), flaps over “transitory” inflation that wasn’t so transitory but seems to have been a massive surprise to monetary authorities, to only semi-scrutable Federal Reserve plans, modifications and messaging—perhaps it is worth considering a few connections that might appear in a drinking man’s guide to monetary policy. Just like drinking, expansionary monetary policy can provide a temporary (or transitory) high at first (faster real output growth and reduced unemployment). However, the ill effects come later (in an inflation “hangover”).  If you continue expansionary monetary policy long enough, you can do serious, lasting damage to yourself (cirrhosis of the economy). Just as imbibers build up a tolerance for alcohol, people build up a tolerance for expansionary monetary policy via adapting expectations, requiring ever increasing amounts of monetary expansion to keep people fooled enough to stay “high” for a bit longer, with compounding damage and greater difficulty in undoing those consequences later. Once a tolerance to drink or expansionary monetary policy is established, withdrawal symptoms worse than any hangover can result if you stop (as in a stagflation scenario that haunts the dreams of all those making fearful references to the 1970s), especially if it is unexpected. Further, that hangover is likely to persist awhile (to decelerate inflation) before you feel better again and can get back to a “normal” life. Such withdrawal symptoms also mean efforts to stop either expansionary monetary policy or drinking are often short-lived, as the adverse effects tend to come first, while the positive effects come later. That may tempt decision-makers to yield to short-run pressures to feel better now (drink again, possibly excused as taking a “hair of the dog” cure) or by returning to inflationary policies, despite the adverse long-run consequences. As with some alcoholics who don’t deliver on their promises to quit, if monetary authorities fail to fulfill promises to restrain inflation (i.e., they continue to deliver excessive monetary growth or restart it, after slowing monetary growth for a while, when political pressures on them build), observers learn not to believe such promises, or even come to see them as harbingers of the opposite (we become very hard to convince that monetary restraint will persist long enough to do much good about inflation before a reflation scenario occurs). Ask Paul Volcker how costly it is to slow inflation once such expectations have been deeply ingrained into the American psyche.  Some alcoholism counselors have suggested that drinking is hard to quit despite its known adverse effects because the hangovers come enough later that your subconscious doesn’t connect cause and effect. Consequently, when the decision to drink or not is made, the subconscious takes over and often results in the decision to drink. Similarly, expansionary monetary policy may be hard to quit because the long and variable lags between policy changes and their impacts, not to mention all the other variables that can also alter what happens, make it hard to definitively connect a specific policy decision to a particular result, especially when so many discussants in the conversation are political partisans fighting tooth and nail to deny any responsibility on their part. Just as it may be hard for a drunken sailor to precisely determine where he is going (or for an observer to accurately predict where he is going) because of indecisiveness or imperfect control over his movements, it may be hard for the Fed to precisely determine (or Fed-watchers to accurately guess) the future path of monetary policy. That can be because of disagreements or indecisiveness, made worse by the Fed’s dual mandate for real output growth and low unemployment, when there are often unavoidable tradeoffs between them in the short run. Unless we know what the Fed is aiming at today and will be aiming at in the future, we will be hard-pressed to predict its policy intentions and actions. Just as alcoholics hope their affliction will not need to be dealt with, which can make them suckers for promises of a painless “cure,” policy makers and their supporters can assert that there is no problem that needs solving, or that they can deliver an almost painless “cure” for inflation (a promised “soft or softish landing”) if people just elect, appoint or follow the right person or prescription (a promised change that will magically rejigger the necessary tradeoffs). Because there is a lag before all the effects of alcohol intake register, it adds to the difficulty of a drinker’s knowing when to stop. Similarly, the lag before the effects of monetary policy are fully felt always seems to provide some policy makers and commentators sufficient ammunition to assert that now is never the time to stop. There may well be more analogies between drinking and monetary policy worth noting, but my relative lack of drinking experience keeps me from recognizing them. The ones we have seen, however, provide us with plenty of reasons for monetary caution, and for suspicion of “experts” whose analyses are highly inexpert and whose “cures” aren’t. Unfortunately, such knowledge that current monetary policy may be far from ideal might drive many of us to drink when we wouldn’t otherwise. Tyler Durden Tue, 05/17/2022 - 18:25.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytMay 17th, 2022

Is Daqo New Energy (DQ) a Suitable Pick for Value Investors?

Let's see if Daqo New Energy (DQ) stock is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now from multiple angles. Value investing is easily one of the most popular ways to find great stocks in any market environment. After all, who wouldn’t want to find stocks that are either flying under the radar and are compelling buys, or offer up tantalizing discounts when compared to fair value?One way to find these companies is by looking at several key metrics and financial ratios, many of which are crucial in the value stock selection process. Let’s put Daqo New Energy Corp. DQ stock into this equation and find out if it is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now, or if investors subscribing to this methodology should look elsewhere for top picks:PE RatioA key metric that value investors always look at is the Price to Earnings Ratio, or PE for short. This shows us how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of earnings in a given stock, and is easily one of the most popular financial ratios in the world. The best use of the PE ratio is to compare the stock’s current PE ratio with: a) where this ratio has been in the past; b) how it compares to the average for the industry/sector; and c) how it compares to the market as a whole.On this front, Daqo New Energy has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 2.46, as you can see in the chart below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThis level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 18.57. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Daqo New Energy’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchFurther, the stock’s PE compares favorably with the Zacks Basic Materials sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 7.52. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWe should also point out that Daqo New Energy has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 1.83, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Daqo New Energy stock in the near term too. P/S RatioAnother key metric to note is the Price/Sales ratio. This approach compares a given stock’s price to its total sales, where a lower reading is generally considered better. Some people like this metric more than other value-focused ones because it looks at sales, something that is far harder to manipulate with accounting tricks than earnings. Right now, Daqo New Energy has a P/S ratio of about 1.1. This is lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 4.02 right now.  Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIf anything, DQ is in the lower end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.Broad Value Outlook In aggregate, Daqo New Energy currently has a Zacks Value Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Daqo New Energy a solid choice for value investors.  What About the Stock Overall? Though Daqo New Energy might be a good choice for value investors, there are plenty of other factors to consider before investing in this name. In particular, it is worth noting that the company has a Growth Score of F and a Momentum Score of C. This gives DQ a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of A. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been encouraging. The current year has seen five estimates go higher in the past sixty days compared to three lower, while the full year 2021 estimate has seen three upward revision compared to one downward in the same time period.This has had a positive impact on the consensus estimate though as the current year consensus estimate has improved by 19.7% in the past two months, while the full year 2022 estimate has risen by 1.4%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:DAQO New Energy Corp. Price and Consensus DAQO New Energy Corp. price-consensus-chart | DAQO New Energy Corp. QuoteThis bullish trend is why the stock boasts a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and why we are expecting outperformance from the company in the near term.Bottom Line  Daqo New Energy is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible line up of statistics on this front. A strong industry rank (among top 33% of more than 250 industries) and a Zacks Rank #2 further instils our confidence.However, over the past two years, the Zacks Chemical – Specialty industry has clearly underperformed the market at large, as you can see below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSo, value investors might want to wait for industry trends to turn around in this name first, but once that happens, this stock could be a compelling pick. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report DAQO New Energy Corp. (DQ): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 13th, 2022

Should Value Investors Pick Eastman Chemical (EMN) Stock?

Let's see if Eastman Chemical (EMN) stock is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now from multiple angles. Value investing is easily one of the most popular ways to find great stocks in any market environment. After all, who wouldn’t want to find stocks that are either flying under the radar and are compelling buys, or offer up tantalizing discounts when compared to fair value?One way to find these companies is by looking at several key metrics and financial ratios, many of which are crucial in the value stock selection process. Let’s put Eastman Chemical Company EMN stock into this equation and find out if it is a good choice for value-oriented investors right now, or if investors subscribing to this methodology should look elsewhere for top picks:PE RatioA key metric that value investors always look at is the Price to Earnings Ratio, or PE for short. This shows us how much investors are willing to pay for each dollar of earnings in a given stock, and is easily one of the most popular financial ratios in the world. The best use of the PE ratio is to compare the stock’s current PE ratio with: a) where this ratio has been in the past; b) how it compares to the average for the industry/sector; and c) how it compares to the market as a whole.On this front, Eastman Chemical has a trailing twelve months PE ratio of 11.49, as you can see in the chart below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThis level actually compares pretty favorably with the market at large, as the PE for the S&P 500 stands at about 18.57. If we focus on the long-term PE trend, Eastman Chemical’s current PE level puts it below its midpoint over the past five years.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchFurther, the stock’s PE compares favorably with the Zacks Basic Materials sector’s trailing twelve months PE ratio, which stands at 7.52. At the very least, this indicates that the stock is relatively undervalued right now, compared to its peers. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWe should also point out that Eastman Chemical has a forward PE ratio (price relative to this year’s earnings) of just 10.42, so it is fair to say that a slightly more value-oriented path may be ahead for Eastman Chemical stock in the near term too. P/S RatioAnother key metric to note is the Price/Sales ratio. This approach compares a given stock’s price to its total sales, where a lower reading is generally considered better. Some people like this metric more than other value-focused ones because it looks at sales, something that is far harder to manipulate with accounting tricks than earnings. Right now, Eastman Chemical has a P/S ratio of about 1.23. This is lower than the S&P 500 average, which comes in at 4.02 right now.  Also, as we can see in the chart below, this is below the highs for this stock in particular over the past few years.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIf anything, EMN is in the lower end of its range in the time period from a P/S metric, suggesting some level of undervalued trading—at least compared to historical norms.Broad Value Outlook In aggregate, Eastman Chemical currently has a Zacks Value Score of A, putting it into the top 20% of all stocks we cover from this look. This makes Eastman Chemical a solid choice for value investors.  What About the Stock Overall? Though Eastman Chemical might be a good choice for value investors, there are plenty of other factors to consider before investing in this name. In particular, it is worth noting that the company has a Growth Score of F and a Momentum Score of C. This gives EMN a Zacks VGM score — or its overarching fundamental grade — of A. (You can read more about the Zacks Style Scores here >>)Meanwhile, the company’s recent earnings estimates have been encouraging. The current year has seen five estimates go higher in the past sixty days compared to three lower, while the full year 2021 estimate has seen three upward revision compared to one downward in the same time period.This has had a positive impact on the consensus estimate though as the current year consensus estimate has improved by 19.7% in the past two months, while the full year 2022 estimate has risen by 1.4%. You can see the consensus estimate trend and recent price action for the stock in the chart below:Eastman Chemical Company Price and Consensus Eastman Chemical Company price-consensus-chart | Eastman Chemical Company QuoteDespite this positive trend, the stock has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which indicates expectations of in-line performance from the company in the near term.Bottom Line  Eastman Chemical is an inspired choice for value investors, as it is hard to beat its incredible line up of statistics on this front. A strong industry rank (among top 33% of more than 250 industries) further instils our confidence. In fact, over the past two years, the Zacks Chemical – Diversified industry has clearly outperformed the market at large, as you can see below:Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSo, despite a Zacks Rank #3, we believe that bullish analyst sentiment and favorable industry factors make this value stock a compelling pick. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Eastman Chemical Company (EMN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 13th, 2022

The Six Most Common Financial Myths People Believe

The Six Most Common Financial Myths People Believe Authored by Bruce Wilds via Advancing Time blog, It is time to revisit six of the most common financial myths we have come to believe. Accepting any of these as a reflection of reality could lead us down the path to ruin. Unfortunately, belief in them is so widespread most people no longer even question them and are putting their economic future in peril. A myth is often defined as any invented story, idea, concept, or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution. With this in mind, it is understandable those in the government and financial systems would crank out such yarns to keep us docile. The six favorite financial myths are easier to believe when financial fears are low and times are good.  Over the last few years, a slug of freshly printed liquidity being pumped into the global financial system and stock markets has caused many asset bubbles to expand sending the wealth effect into overdrive. An increase in liquidity results in people feeling comfortable to take on more risk and this tends to cause people to "leverage up." During such a time true price discovery has a way of being greatly diminished. Changes made to the rules and financial engineering have made many comparisons to the past obsolete. Sometimes, it is a question of people just being too lazy to question what they see, at other times, it is because they simply can't face the truth. It should be noted that the entertainment industry has flourished as society seeks any diversion to pull our attention away from the sharp edges of reality and into the soft comfort of escape. In some ways, it could be said that our culture has become obsessed with avoiding what is real. Regardless of the reason why people fail to view the myths below as lies the point is they will result in the financial ruin of those counting on them in time of need. Over the years, extraordinary efforts have been made to keep the economy afloat. The most noticeable is the massive amount of new money and credit released into the financial system by central banks. This has been interpreted by many people as confirmation the current trend of never-ending growth will continue. Rather than considering it is time for a reality check it is both easier and more comforting to adopt an "all is well" attitude and ignore the signs of danger lurking around the corner. The crux of this article is about some of society's favorite myths. These feed directly into the economy and our feelings about our financial security. While it could be argued the myths below have more to do with how we feel about life than about money, it cannot be denied that most people make many of their financial decisions based on the assumption the below statements are true. As a society, we rapidly choose to embrace and often choose not to question them because of the discomfort it would undoubtedly create. The six below permeate society and should be enough to remind you and even shed a bit of light upon the fact we as  individuals are vulnerable at any time if reality raises its' ugly head. Believing Myths Is A Head In Sand Approach #1 Government is for the people and by the people - Seriously? After the dog and pony show, we experienced during the last presidential primary all illusions of that should have been erased. After often being forced to choose between the least of two evils it is difficult to praise our political system. After all the talk about "we the people," the fact is the average "person" is far removed from the power to decide important issues. #2 Financial planning means you only have to start saving a little money each year to guarantee an easy retirement.  - The fact is life is a casino where our future is tenuous at best. Much of our circumstances and lives revolve around money and the number of options it gives us when we possess it. I intentionally used the term "casino" to conjure up the image of financial fortune. Which you can lose in a blink of an eye if things go against you. This myth extends deeply into the promises made by the government and others such as pension plans and financial institutions. Many of these promises will not be honored. #3 You have rights and that we are not slaves - I defer to a few lines from a blog by Gerry Spence who has spent his lifetime representing and protecting victims of the legal system from what he calls The New Slave Master: big corporations and big government. In his blog, Spence wrote; The Moneyed Master has closed its doors against the people and sits on its money like an old hen on rotten eggs. The people will not prevail. With its endless propaganda, the Moneyed Master has caused its slaves to believe they are free. #4 Your life will progress and move along pretty much as you have planned - When you think back over the years of your life if you are like most people things have not unfolded as you had planned. You may not be in the occupation you trained for or with your true love. Throughout our life watershed events occur that we have little control over, this holds true when it comes to your finances as well. Having an investment or pension plan go south can completely alter your life. #5 Those in charge or above you care about you and will make an effort to protect you - Sadly, more than one person has been sliced and diced by the people and institutions he or she trusted most. History shows when push comes to shove it is not uncommon for a person to look out for the person they treasure the most and that is often him or herself. Politicians and those in power have a long history of throwing the populace under the bus rather than taking responsibility for the problems they create. #6 It could be argued the biggest myth of all is the idea that inflation is reflected in the Consumer Price Index. Those making financial decisions have masked their failings. This is done by heavily skewing the CPI to give the impression there is little inflation. This dovetails with a theory I continue to expound on, that inflation would be much higher if people were not willing to invest in intangible assets such as stocks and Bitcoin. This removes a lot of demand for tangible items people use in their everyday life.  The fact is inflation is soaring and acts as a wealth transfer mechanism that hurts far more people than it helps. My apologies if this post has been a downer or seems overly negative, however, it is what it is and it was written for a reason. Best stated by a comment I read on another site; These myths add up to where "This is not a can of worms but a warehouse stacked with pallets of cans of worms."  Believing the above myths will impact your life, that is why it is important to recognize them for what they are, lies. This is not to say that by making good and reasonable choices we cannot eliminate some of the risks we encounter when we get out of bed each morning. Developing the habit of being skeptical while pressing on to reach solid and reasonable goals is the best medicine to combat a deck that is often stacked against us. Be careful out there! *  *  * Mentioned above is the fact economists and analysts seem oblivious to the point that so many people willing to invest in intangible assets have helped to minimize inflation. This is a very important part of the inflation puzzle. This is a very important part of the inflation puzzle. The link below is to an article that delves deeper into why this is true. Tyler Durden Tue, 05/10/2022 - 18:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMay 10th, 2022

3 Tech Stocks Investors Shouldn"t Lose Sleep Over

The pullback seems healthy. Additionally, these companies have established themselves in crucial aspects of the world. With the uprising of tech over the last several years, technology stocks have been a beautiful place for investors to park their hard-earned cash. However, these seemingly unstoppable and once high-flying names have suddenly taken a downwards trajectory, leaving shares stuck in nasty downtrends for nearly all of 2022.A hawkish Fed has massively impacted the majority of these stocks throughout 2022. Needing to combat inflation rates we haven’t seen in decades, the Fed decided to raise interest rates. This affects the high-flying tech and growth stocks drastically; investors price in lower future cash flows due to the increasing cost of debt needed to fuel growth.While the sentiment towards these names has significantly shifted, it’s very beneficial to keep a bullish stance on these companies looking at the long-term picture. After all, they have established themselves in the market quite notably and are innovating in areas that will be vital for the world moving forward.We’re here to look at three big players in the tech arena – Apple AAPL, Advanced Micro Devices AMD, and Microsoft MSFT. After having their valuations slashed, it brings us a unique opportunity to buy these companies at levels not seen in quite some time.  The chart below illustrates the year-to-date performance of all three stocks – AAPL, AMD, and MSFT – while throwing in the S&P 500 as a benchmark. As we can see, 2022 hasn’t been kind to these names, with significant sell-offs occurring in all three.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchUpon widening the time frame to the past five years, we can see just how high these companies have climbed, still being able to outpace the general market in the face of a brutal 2022.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe point is – the story is long from over for these tech giants, but instead, we’re just in a sad chapter. Investors shouldn’t turn their backs on stocks that they once loved and would buy without hesitation. We’re here to look at why these three companies are still solid investments looking forward long-term.Advanced Micro DevicesThe tech rout has drastically affected Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), causing its forward P/E ratio to slide down to a more enticing level of 23.9X. The value is an absolute fraction of its high of 107.2X in Q1 FY20 and well below 2021 highs of 67.8X. Additionally, the metric is the lowest we’ve seen since March 2018.The company has also been providing investors with robust quarterly results. Over its last four quarters, AMD has acquired an average EPS surprise in the double-digits of 19%, and in its latest quarterly release, the company beat the Zacks Consensus EPS estimate by a sizable 24%. Additionally, AMD’s forecasted long-term EPS growth is sitting pretty at 33%.AMD expects extreme demand to continue for its products due to its cutting-edge technology and its already established stance in a skyrocketing videogame industry.Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. QuoteApple Investors’ favorite, Apple (AAPL), has a rough 2022, but shares have displayed a higher level of defense than many other tech names year-to-date. Its current forward-earnings multiple has retraced down to 25.7X, well below its 2020 high of 41.5X and slightly above its median of 19.3X over the last five years. Furthermore, the valuation ratio is the lowest since June 2021.The company has a history of exceeding EPS estimates. Over its last four quarterly reports, there has been only one time it didn’t beat the consensus EPS estimate and was in line with expectations. Additionally, the company has acquired an average EPS surprise in the double-digits of 12% over this same period, and in its latest quarter, AAPL beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a sizable 7% in the face of adverse business conditions.Apple has recently become a significant player in the wearable product arena. Its groundbreaking AirPods and revolutionary Apple Watch has allowed the tech giant to diversify its portfolio much beyond its flagship iPhone and has even thrust itself into the health monitoring space.Apple Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Apple Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Apple Inc. QuoteMicrosoftMicrosoft (MSFT), another staple in any tech investor’s portfolio, has had its forward-earnings multiple retrace down to 29.5X, well below its 2020 high of 37.5X and just slightly above its median of 28.1X over the last five years. Additionally, the value is the lowest we’ve seen since March 2020.MSFT has a stellar track record in exceeding EPS estimates, as the last time quarterly results fell short of expectations was all the way back in 2016. Over its last four quarters, the tech giant has posted an average EPS surprise of a considerable 9%, and in its latest quarterly release, MSFT exceeded the Zacks Consensus EPS Estimate by a slight 2%.MSFT’s gaming segment is a bright spot moving forward; its revolutionary Xbox Game Pass service subscriber count exceeded 25 million active players in 2022. Pairing this with the Activision Blizzard ATVI games it acquired in early 2022 with approximately 400 million monthly active players will propel its top line.Microsoft Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise Microsoft Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Microsoft Corporation QuoteBottom LineIt’s been a sad year for tech. Investors have seen their favorite companies’ shares drop immensely in value. However, it’s essential as an investor to always look at the big long-term picture of things. Additionally, these tech stocks’ valuation multiples soared to seemingly unsustainable heights during the bull run of 2020 and 2021, and now it’s time for them to take a step back.The pullback seems healthy. Furthermore, these companies have established themselves in crucial aspects of the world. Apple’s iPhone has kept its traction, AMD’s chips will be needed in many facets of life, and Microsoft has a robust gaming portfolio paired with spectacular cloud computing services.Investors should no doubt sleep soundly with these tech names in their portfolios. Market participants need to keep their heads high and be ready to pounce on these companies once again as soon as the forecast clears up. 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days Just released: Experts distill 7 elite stocks from the current list of 220 Zacks Rank #1 Strong Buys. They deem these tickers "Most Likely for Early Price Pops." Since 1988, the full list has beaten the market more than 2X over with an average gain of +25.4% per year. So be sure to give these hand-picked 7 your immediate attention. See them now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Apple Inc. (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD): Free Stock Analysis Report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Activision Blizzard, Inc (ATVI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 9th, 2022

4 working moms share what they really want for Mother"s Day

One mom says she wants to eat at her favorite noodle place, another says she wants a day alone to spend gardening. L-R: Kelly Barnett, Magda Pecsenye, Shay L.Courtesy photos/Insider Insider spoke with four working moms to ask about what they want this Mother's Day. One, an eviction defense attorney, said she wants a night in a hotel with a massive bathtub. Another, a social services administrator, said she wants a day alone to spend gardening.   The past year has been especially tough on working moms. After dealing with challenges from school closures to the lack of affordable childcare and return-to-office requirements, moms deserve a day of relaxation and doing exactly what they want. Insider spoke with four working moms about the last year of their lives, and how they're hoping to celebrate and what they really want for Mother's Day.The following stories are based on conversations with the sources. Their statements have been edited for length and clarity.'Fresh air and roller skates'Shay L.Courtesy photoShay L., 45, is a fellowship coach in Washington, DC, and has three kids aged 9, 13, and 18.The last year of my life has been a whirlwind of ups and downs. My former partner of eight years (my kids' dad) moved back to his hometown right after the shutdown in early 2020, so I was adjusting to single parenthood. On top of the pandemic, I was working full-time from home with three kids attending school remotely. Then in July 2021, I had a hysterectomy to resolve recurring fibroids.During my recovery from surgery, I met and fell in love with someone amazing. That August, my oldest child went off to college, and in October my father fell ill in a foreign country and died alone. After my uncle died of cancer in December, I spent a restorative Christmas in Puerto Rico with my boyfriend. This year, I want simplicity for Mother's Day. I want sunshine. I want fresh air. I want fun. I want these roller skates. I saw them and they looked fun and whimsical and reminded me of going roller-skating in San Francisco when I was younger. More than anything, I want to be surrounded by people that love me and want the best for me.'A hotel with a massive bathtub'Kelly Barnett.Courtesy photoKelly Barnett, 39, is an eviction defense attorney for the elderly and disabled in Palo Alto, California, and has one son aged 11.The past year has been the most difficult year of my life — and this is coming from someone who went to law school at night as a single mom. I got married in August and moved with my husband and son from San Francisco to Palo Alto.At the time, I was waking up at 5 a.m. to get my son to school in San Francisco by 7 a.m., would then commute for two hours to work in Modesto, and wouldn't get home until after 9 p.m. I'd miss dinner and bedtime stories and began to feel burned out from the long hours. It was awful. My husband is an incredible partner and loving father. Even though he also works as a chemistry professor, he was able to take over a lot of the responsibilities of child raising and housekeeping. Still, no parent should have to do it all. We'd also begun trying to expand our family, which hasn't gone well at all. No one could have prepared me for the disappointment of not being able to conceive. The commute proved unbearable, so I had to leave my cushy job in tech for a position at a nonprofit. My new job is fantastic, but it pays a lot less and the work is intense. We're responsible for keeping vulnerable senior citizens and people with disabilities housed when their landlords are trying to kick them out. We really love our clients and want to do whatever we can to help them, from the work we do in the courtroom to satisfying their landlords demands by coming in with trash bags and cleaning out their units. For Mother's Day, I always feel guilty about only wanting a super basic thing like a massage and pedicure. But god damn, those things are hard to come by. If this was a dream Mother's day, after the spa I might check into a hotel with a massive bathtub and order room service. After some amazing meal, I'd hop into my pajamas and go straight to bed! 'A day alone to spend gardening'Erin Kray.Courtesy photoErin Kray, 38, is a social service administrator in Cleveland, Ohio, and has one son aged 5.I live in Cleveland where the final spring freeze can be as late as April 30, so Mother's Day is one of the first days it's safe to start planting outside without the danger of frost. As a mother who gardens, this gives the holiday a special meaning. Gardening is a little like raising children — you can plant and prune and pick and weed, but ultimately it all grows up doing its own thing and you can only hope what you sow turns out OK and survives the winters.Finding time to garden by myself without interruptions is a treat. Sure, I can pull out a dandelion here or there while chasing around my 5-year-old, but I especially cherish being able to garden alone and find my focus. I work in homeless services, so the pandemic was a level of hell we hadn't ever imagined, in an already incredibly difficult field. 2021 was somehow just as chaotic as 2020. The garden for me is a place of stillness and centering away from the stressors of work.For Mother's Day, I'd like a day by myself to go to the garden store and then time to tinker around in my garden alone. Just let me frivolously buy another perennial I don't need, spend some time listening to trash podcasts, and get my hands dirty.'Noodles and a pink rose bush'Magda Pecsenye.Courtesy photoMagda Pecsenye, 49, is a management strategist in Detroit, Michigan, and has two sons aged 16 and 20.I know a lot of parents struggled through the pandemic, but for me, the last few years have been a gift. If lockdown had happened 10 or 15 years ago I'd have been so stressed, but because my children are older, I was able to spend time with them without the pressure that comes with looking after little ones. I train people in my proprietary management process, so I've been working from home since forever. The only difference for me these past couple years was that everyone else has been working from home, too. And my kids were home — in school all day online — so it was nice because we could meet for lunch and then just go back to our respective Zoom meetings. It's a lot of fun when your kids grow into fully-formed, mostly-independent people. My boys are both so incredibly self-directed. Sure, my younger one would sometimes stay up too late playing video games and we'd have a talk, but as long as he could wake up in time to log in to school, it was fine. This Mother's Day, all I want is for my kids to take me to our favorite place for noodles. And I want them to buy me a pink rose bush and plant it for me. I really love having kids old enough to do these kinds of things! I know a lot of moms prefer to spend the day away from their children but really, I don't need a break from my boys. Now that they're teenagers, I hardly ever see them — even when they're at home! Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 6th, 2022

The best Champagne and sparkling wine for Mother"s Day brunch, graduation, and all of your spring celebrations

Experts helped us pick the best Champagne, cava, prosecco, and other sparkling wines for all types of budgets and tastes. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Kokouu/Getty ImagesThis content is intended for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol abuse, get help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) provides a free, confidential, 24/7, treatment referral, and information service.Champagne, a favorite beverage for toasting, comes from its namesake region in France. Aged in individual bottles, many enthusiasts prize the limestone soil where the grapes are grown. Because of the region's rules and prestige, bottles labeled Champagne are generally more expensive than those from other places. But there's more to sparkling wine than just Champagne. Prosecco from Italy and cava from Spain generally cost less but are often their own enjoyable experience. Producers from all over the world follow similar methods to make sparkling wine. The results are much more accessible and affordable than Champagne.For our guide, we recommend a variety of options at various prices, based on consultations with wine experts and our research. Taste is very subjective, however. You can ask several experts for suggestions and see no overlap, and that's why there is no single winner. The market is also tricky: You can find certain brands everywhere, while smaller producers tend to distribute in limited areas. That doesn't mean one is better than the other, but we tried to factor in availability with our choices.Check with your local wine shop for availability.Cheat sheet to picking a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wineRunPhoto/Getty ImagesShort on time? If you need a bottle of Champagne or sparkling wine now, here are our recommendations if you can't explore our entire guide.The best Champagne for showing offWhen the budget doesn't matter: Krug Grand Cuvée (about $225), Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut 2004 (about $450), Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée (about $70)The best non-Champagne sparkling wineGreat for everyday drinking or pairing with food: Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2018 ($35), Domaine Franck Besson Rosé Granit ($25), Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut ($25), Claude Branger "L'éClipse" Méthode Traditionnelle ($19)The best rosé sparkling wine for date nightFor those very special occasions: Raventós i Blanc de Nit Rose 2017 ($26), Graham Beck NV Brut Rosé ($23), Ruinart NV Brut Rosé ($55)The best budget sparkling wineIdeal for toasting or celebrating, when you need to maximize your budget while still drinking something tasty: Segura Viudas ($10), Mas Fi Cava Brut Rosé ($14)The best for christening a shipAnything under $5, as you won't be drinking it.The best ChampagneThe best Champagnes under $65The selection of Champagne at your grocery store will mostly consist of big-name makers, with prices starting around $40. To be called Champagne, the wine must be made in a specific region of France. While perhaps not priced for most people's weekly wine budget, you can still find many Champagnes that come out to around $10 a glass. "We try to kind of really combat this stigma of Champagne being celebratory and kind of pretentious," said Ariel Arce, owner of Air's Champagne Parlor in New York City.Most of the choices at these prices will be non-vintage, meaning winemakers may mix different varieties and harvests of grapes to ensure their signature wines taste the same, year after year. These are perfect for drinking right off the shelf for an impromptu celebration. What our experts particularly likeThe specialists we consulted recommend Agrapart & Fils Les 7 Crus Brut NV, Chartogne-Taillet Sainte Anne Brut, Cheurlin Brut Spéciale, and Marie Courtin Résonance Extra-Brut. "There's almost nothing better than grower's Champagne," Chevonne Ball, owner of wine-focused travel company Dirty Radish, said about the Chartogne-Taillet. "Crisp and elegant, this true Champagne is worth the price.""For those seeking the crème de la crème of the sparkling world, I always have some grower Champagnes in stock, like Laherte Frères," said Laura Marchetti, owner of Riverview Wines & Spirits. The winesAgrapart & Fils Les 7 Crus Brut NV: A non-vintage Champagne that's made from 90% chardonnay and 10% pinot noir grapes. Notes: brioche, yeast.Chartogne-Taillet Sainte Anne Brut: Made from 50% chardonnay and the rest a mix of black grapes, mainly pinot noir, this non-vintage Champagne is a split of the previous year's wine and wines that were aged two to five years. Notes: apple, citrus.Cheurlin Brut Spéciale: This non-vintage Champagne, 70% Chardonnay and 30% pinot noir, is from a historic house and is imported to the US by former Detroit Piston Isaiah Thomas. Notes: bread, citrus.Henriot Brut Souverain NV: With 30% of the Brut Souverain coming from reserve wines and an almost equal amount of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, this Champagne is very consistent from bottle to bottle. Notes: apple, mineral.Laherte Frères Blanc de Blancs Brut Nature NV: This chardonnay grape Champagne is made from 50% reserve wines from previous years. Notes: mineral, lemon.Marie Courtin Résonance Extra-Brut: This wine is made from pinot noir grapes. Owner Dominique Moreau makes zero-dosage Champagne, aged in the bottle for about two years. Notes: tart, yeasty.Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut: This Champagne, made with pinot noir, pinot meunier, and chardonnay grapes, should be easy to find in practically any grocery or liquor store. Notes: citrus, apple.The best Champagnes under $150As you go closer to the over-$100 price point, you'll start seeing more vintage wines. The grapes for vintages all come from the same year, and the wines are aged longer than non-vintages. Leaving a bottle to sit for three years takes up space, which costs money. There are also constraints on how much is grown in Champagne, France. "It's a small area of land, so they can only produce so much," said Crystal Hinds, who owns Effervescence, a sparkling wine lounge in New Orleans. "You're paying for the taste of that terroir, which is usually very limestone."At under $150, you'll also see some cuvées, which is a term winemakers use to designate their very special blends. But there's no real regulation of the term, so its appearance on a label doesn't ensure quality. The winesBollinger Brut Special Cuvée: A popular Champagne made of over 60% pinot noir grapes, Bollinger's Special Cuvée shouldn't be too hard to find. Notes: apple, toast.Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve NV: Forty percent of this wine is from the reserve selection, which are wines aged an average of 10 years. Charles Heidsieck was one of the first Champagnes imported to the US in the 19th Century. Notes: brioche, apple.Delamotte Blanc de Blancs Vintage Brut 2012: This chardonnay grape Champagne is a vintage from 2012 that's definitely expensive but not too over-the-top. Notes: citrus, mineral.Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru: Egly-Ouriet is a grower-producer in Champagne, and its Brut is a mix of 75% pinot noir and 25% chardonnay. Notes: lemon, butter.Henri Goutorbe Special Club Brut Champagne 2006: A wine labeled "Special Club" must earn the approval of the Club Trésors de Champagne's members. Henri Goutorbe is a grower-producer, and this 2006 wine meets the designation. Notes: biscuit, lemon.Pierre Péters Cuvée de Reserve Blanc de Blancs Brut: Another grower-producer, Pierre Péters makes a chardonnay blanc de blancs from 40% reserve wine. Notes: pear, mineral.The best Champagnes over $150For most people, drinking a glass of Champagne from a bottle that costs upwards of $150 is a once-in-a-lifetime – if ever – event. As prices climb, there will be more vintages. Prized wines are made with more care and are aged longer, so they come in smaller batches. Rarity increases the price. Producers also make bottles that are meant to be stored before they're savored. That's not true of every expensive Champagne, but if you're spending a lot, you'll want to ensure you're drinking it at the best time. To see just how out-of-control prices can get, check out some of the world's most expensive Champagnes. The winesDom Perignon Brut 2005: This vintage from Moët & Chandon is ready to drink now but can also be stored for a few years. Notes: toast, apples.Krug Grande Cuvée: Unlike many high-priced Champagnes, this Krug is a non-vintage. It's made by blending over 120 individual wines. Notes: lemon, brioche.Laurent-Perrier NV Grand Siècle Grande Cuvée Brut No. 24: A non-vintage, this Champagne is made from chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, a blend of wines from the 2007, 2006, and 2004 vintages. Notes: toast, honey.Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Extra Brut 2010: The wine, made up of 71% pinot noir and 29% chardonnay grapes, is a good choice for aging. Notes: almond, citrus.Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2009: You can either drink or save this cuvée, which is made of pinot noir and chardonnay grapes. It's named for the English Prime Minister, who was a fan. Notes: brioche, citrus. Alternatively, if you can get the 2008 vintage, which is generally harder to find, we recommend it.Salon Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut 2004: This prestige cuvée, made from chardonnay grapes, is a good choice for aging, especially given the price. Notes: mineral, citrus.Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2007: While you can drink Taittinger's all-chardonnay Champagne now, you can also age it a bit. Notes: citrus, nuts.The best proseccoThe best prosecco under $20Most prosecco comes from Italy and is aged in tanks, unlike Champagne, which ages in bottles. "Prosecco is usually super easy to drink," Hinds said. "It's not super complex — doesn't have a lot of different flavors that linger." It's very easy to find a nice bottle of prosecco for under $20, which makes it attractive for a lot of people. "If I'm being honest, people are buying for cost," said Ball of Dirty Radish. "But I would say that people who like prosecco probably really like a little bit softer of a bubble," she added. What our experts particularly likeBall is a fan of Loredan Gasparini's prosecco. "Inexpensive and available at most grocery stores, this is one of my favorite brunch sparkling wines," she said. "Delicious on its own or great as a mimosa. I suggest fresh-squeezed citrus!" The winesAcinum Extra Dry Prosecco: From the Veneto region of Italy, this prosecco is made from 100% glera grapes. Notes: pear, apple.Adriano Adami Garbel Brut Prosecco: This prosecco from Treviso in Northern Italy is made with glera grapes. Notes: melon, apple.Bisol Jeio Prosecco Superiore: From the Valdobbiadene area of Northern Italy, the Bisol family makes this prosecco from glera grapes. Notes: apple, citrus.La Marca Prosecco: Easy to spot with its pale-blue label, this is a prosecco you can find most anywhere. Notes: apple, lemon.Loredan Gasparini NV Brut Asolo Prosecco Superiore: Made with all glera grapes, this prosecco is from Veneto, Italy. Notes: apple, citrus.Villa Sandi Prosecco il Fresco Brut: Villa Sandi's prosecco comes from the Treviso region in Italy and is made from mostly glera grapes, along with some chardonnay and pinot blanc. Notes: apple, citrus.The best prosecco over $20A few years ago, the prosecco industry was having issues with counterfeit sparkling wine. To try and combat the problem, it created two classifications, Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG). Both require following strict regulations, but DOCG is more stringent.Not all prosecco — even some nice ones — will have these marks, but they can help guide your selection-making if you're feeling a little lost and want a marker of quality. Keep in mind that taste is subjective, and it doesn't guarantee it will be to your liking, though. The winesBisol Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Crede DOCG Brut 2018:  Made from 85% glera grapes, as well as pinot bianco and verdiso, this prosecco is from Valdobbiadene in Italy. Notes: pear, apple.Cà dei Zago Prosecco Col Fondo 2018: Mostly made with glera, this prosecco from the Valdobbiadene also has some verdiso, perera, and bianchetta grapes. Notes: lemon, apple.Col Vetoraz Valdobbiadene Cartizze Superiore 2018: The Cartizze on this label refers to a specific hilly region known for its quality glera grapes. Notes: peach, floral.Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco Superiore: You can sometimes find this 100% glera prosecco for under $20, making it an even better value. Notes: apple, lemon.Rebuli Prosecco Cartizze: From the Cartizze area, like the Col Vetoraz, this prosecco is made completely from glera grapes. Notes: floral, apple.The best cavaThe best cava under $20Penedès, a region of Catalonia, Spain, is known for its sparkling wine called cava. Compared to prosecco, cava is made more similarly to Champagne — aged in bottles. The grapes are very different, though, with many wines being made from a mix of macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo grapes. There's a lot of variety when it comes to cava, including vintages and rosés.  Like prosecco, it is much more affordable than Champagne. But just because you can pick up a bottle for $10, it doesn't mean you need to hold your nose and drink. While inexpensive cavas do make great choices for mimosas or bellinis, you can also enjoy them in their own right. What our experts particularly like"[The Naveran Dama Brut] has one of the most delicate mousses and mouthfeel," Ball said. "The bubbles fill your palate with delicious aromas." Marchetti of Riverview Wines & Spirits recommends the line of Azimut wines from Cellers de Can Suriol "for a classic, traditional palate at an affordable price."The winesAnna de Codorníu Blanc de Blancs Brut Reserva Cava: Mainly chardonnay, along with some parellada, xarel·lo, and macabeo grapes, this cava is aged at least 15 months. Notes: peach, citrus.Cellers de Can Suriol Azimut Brut Nature Cava: A cava from Penedès, this wine is made with macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo grapes. Notes: white fruit, pear.Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava: Macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo grapes make up this cava from Penedès, in Spain. Notes: apple, toast.Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia Brut: Aged for 36 months, this Brut wine from the Penedès region is made from 55% xarel·lo grapes, with some macabeo and parellada grapes as well. Notes: apple, citrus.Naveran Dama Brut Cava: This cava from Penedès has a somewhat unique mix of 85% Chardonnay and 15% parellada grapes. Notes: apple, yeast.Segura Viudas: From Penedès, this cava is made with macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo and is widely distributed in the US. Notes: apple, citrus.The best cava over $20When is a cava not a cava? When the winemaker doesn't want it to be called that. Some producers wanted to designate what they see as their wines' quality, so they've begun labeling their bottles with Corpinnat instead of cava. Raventós i Blanc, meanwhile, uses its own designation for its sparkling wines, Conca del Riu Anoia. This doesn't mean everything still labeled cava is bad. Corpinnat producers make up only a small percentage of winemakers in the region, so there's still plenty of cava to go around. The winesGramona III Lustros Brut Nature 2012: A blend of xarel·lo and macabeo grapes, this wine is aged for 70 months and comes from the Penedès region. Notes: apple, pastry.Raventós i Blanc de la Finca Brut 2016: Located in the Penedès region, Raventós i Blanc makes this sparkling wine from macabeo, xarel·lo, and parellada grapes. Notes: apple, citrus.Recaredo Brut Nature Intens Rosat Cava 2014: This cava is made from monastrell and garnatxa grapes in the Penedès region of Spain. Notes: red fruit, toast.Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Cava Brut: This Brut from Segura Viudas is made from macabeo and parellada grapes and aged for 30 months. Notes: floral, lemon.The best sparkling wineWhile all of the wines mentioned in this guide are, technically, sparkling wines, the ones mentioned here focus on wines mostly from the United States. The best sparkling wine under $25There are sparkling winemakers all across the United States, all using different methods and grape varieties with unique results. Not only can you find terrific options, but stateside products are also often budget-friendly too."Sparkling wines coming out of Oregon or California are always going to be vastly different than any of the others, because we're so young and so new," said Ball of Dirty Radish. "There's very cool stuff happening all around the country in sparkling wine," Arce said. The problem is, it can be difficult to find Michigan's Mawby wines or sparkling wines from New York's Finger Lakes outside of certain areas. You might have a local winery making a sparkling wine that you fall in love with, so they're worth exploring in addition to some of the more widely distributed brands.Besides US wineries, there are nice options from other winemaking regions such as Australia and New Zealand. For a bit of prestige, Mumm Napa is an affordable sparkling wine made in the traditional style of its parent company, G.H. Mumm of France.What our experts particularly likeThe recommendations for Gruet Sauvage Blanc de Blancs and McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut come from our panel. Sunshine Foss, who owns Happy Cork in Brooklyn, New York, says the McBride Sisters' wine has been popular in her shop because of the name, "but it's also a really, really good sparkling Brut."The winesDomaine Ste. Michelle Brut Columbia Valley NV: A blend of chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes, this sparkling wine comes from Washington State. Notes: lemon, mineral. Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs Carneros: This California sparkling wine is 100% chardonnay. Notes: apple, lemon. Gruet Sauvage Blanc de Blancs: Made only from chardonnay grapes, Gruet's Sauvage is from New Mexico. Notes: lemon, apple. McBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Sparkling Brut: This Brut is made from 90% chardonnay and 10% pinot gris grapes, grown in New Zealand. Notes: lemon, floral.Mumm Napa Brut Prestige: Chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot gris, and pinot meunier grapes make up this Brut wine from California. Notes: apples, bread.The best sparkling wine over $25It's not just US winemakers that have vineyards in California. Some big Champagne houses, like Taittinger Champagne and Louis Roederer, have land in the state. That's why wines from Roederer Estate, for example, are lower than a typical Champagne. Larger producers will often stick to more traditional methods and grapes, while smaller producers might experiment more. Caraccioli Cellars, for example, is a smaller, family-run vineyard in California."The big difference between a big house and a small house (a big producer and a small producer) is how they're handling the wine," Ball said. Smaller operations often lack machinery, so they hand turn or hand riddle the bottles. That's one reason it took some US winemakers a while to get into sparkling wine, she said: "It takes a lot of work."You can find sparkling wines from the United States that cost over $100, for bottles producers have taken extra time and attention with or that come from a particular vintage. There are many quality wines for closer to $50, though. What our experts particularly like"Corollary Wines is the husband and wife duo Dan and Jeanne's passion project," Ball said. The Cuvée One is a mix of grapes from five Oregon vineyards, grown in different soils and climates, and that interest in the varying terroirs of the state comes through in the wine, she said. The winesCorollary Wines Cuvée One: An Oregon wine, it's made with 50% pinot noir, 32% chardonnay, and 18% pinot blanc grapes. Notes: lemon, bread. Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut 2013: From California's Russian River Valley area, this Brut is made from pinot noir and chardonnay, aged for four years. Notes: apple, floral.J Vineyards Cuvée 20 Brut: Almost half chardonnay grapes, plus pinot noir and some pinot meunier, make up this California sparkling wine. Notes: peach, green apple.Roederer Estate L'Ermitage 2013: Roederer Estate is the California winery from Champagne maker Louis Roederer; this sparkling wine is made from chardonnay and pinot noir grapes. Notes: apple, toast.Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2018: This blanc de blancs comes from California and is made from 100% chardonnay. Notes: citrus, pastry.The best sparkling wine in a canSometimes you want a glass of bubbles without the glass part, and that's where sparkling wine cans come in. Over the past several years, more and more winemakers have started making more portable versions of their products. You won't find Champagne in a can, but you can still get some great bubbles for on-the-go — or at home. The winesNomadica Sparkling Pinot Noir Rosé: Pinot noir grapes make up this sparkling wine from California. Notes: berries, pomegranate. Underwood Rosé Bubbles: Mostly pinot noir with some chardonnay and pinot gris grapes, this wine from Oregon is available in bottle and can form. Notes: strawberry, cherry.The best CrémantCrémants are sparkling wines from eight regions in France — including Loire, Alsace, and Burgundy — and one in Luxembourg. They're made in a similar style as Champagne but are just a fraction of the cost. Some are made with grapes you won't find in Champagne. There's not an easy way to describe the taste, because there's a lot of variety. The prices of many of these sparkling wines are much, much lower than Champagne. "I feel like you can find great value," Ball said. The winesDomaine de Montbourgeau Crémant du Jura Brut: This is a chardonnay crémant from the Jura region of France. Notes: apple, citrus.Domaine J. Laurens Crémant de Limoux Brut Rosé: A rosé, this crémant is a blend of chardonnay, chenin blanc, and pinot noir grapes. Notes: cherry, strawberry.Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut: From Alsace, France, this crémant contains pinot auxerrois, pinot blanc, and chardonnay grapes. Notes: pear, floral. Faire La Fête Crémant de Limoux: Though many crémants from Limoux contain mauzac grapes, this wine is a blend of mostly chardonnay, plus chenin blanc and pinot noir. Notes: green apple, lemon.Pierre Sparr Crémant d'Alsace Brut Reserve: Eighty percent pinot blanc and 20% pinot auxerrois, this crémant comes from the Alsace region. Notes: apple, citrus.The best sparkling roséThe best sparkling rosé under $20There are several ways to make rosé sparkling, and it's going to taste different depending on many factors. Despite its pretty color, rosé doesn't have to be sweet. As with Champagne, you'll find bottles labeled Brut to be on the drier side. "I think a lot of people think that rosé is maybe something that's going to be sweeter or more fruit-forward, which that category, again, has so many variations within it," said Arce of Air's Champagne Parlor. For under $20, you won't find pink-hued Champagne, but there are lots of cavas and other sparkling rosés from around the world (including other parts of France) at that price. What our experts particularly likeThe experts we spoke to mentioned Landmass Papi Sparkling Rosé, Lve Rosé by John Legend, and Rivarose Brut Rosé as some of their go-to rosés. "It's really delicate," said Effervescence's Hinds of the Rivarose. "It's not overly sparkling." She also said the modern-looking bottle makes it perfect for gifting. The winesCampo Viejo Cava Gran Brut Rosé: Made from 100% trepat grapes, the rosé was aged in the bottle for nine months. Notes: strawberry, citrus.Graham Beck NV Brut Rosé: This rosé from South African winery Graham Beck, a mix of pinot noir and chardonnay, undergoes its second fermentation in the bottle. Notes: raspberry, apple.Landmass Papi Sparkling Rosé: From the Willamette Valley in Oregon, this sparkling rosé is made from tempranillo grapes. Notes: apple, strawberry.Lve Rosé by John Legend: John Legend's Lve rosé is made in the Charmat Method, like prosecco, from mostly unspecified white grapes, along with some pinot noir and grenache grapes. Notes: strawberry, mineral.Mas Fi Cava Brut Rosé: This Spanish cava is made from trepat grapes and is aged for 11 months in the bottle. Notes: cherry, strawberry.Rivarose Brut Rosé: A rosé from the Provence region of France, Rivarose's sparkling wine is a blend of syrah and grenache grapes. Notes: strawberry, pear.Segura Viudas Cava Brut Rosé: Segura Viudas' affordable and ubiquitous cava was made from mostly trepat grapes. Notes: strawberry, raspberry.The best sparkling rosé under $50Closer to $50, you can start to find rosé Champagne, but the majority of sparkling wines under that price are from other regions. There are many rosé crémants from France that are around $25, but you can also get bottles from Italy, the US, and elsewhere for a similar price. What our experts particularly like"I would definitely hold [the Domaine Franck Besson Rosé Granit] up against any of the other sorts of higher-end wines that you would find out of Champagne," said Ball of Dirty Radish. The winesRaventós i Blanc de Nit Rose 2017: A sparkling wine from the Penedès region of Spain, it's made from xarel·lo, macabeo, and parellada, as well as monastrell, which gives the wine its color. Notes: floral, strawberry.Domaine Franck Besson Rosé Granit: Franck Besson is a unique producer in Beaujolais, France, and this rosé is 100% gamay grapes. Notes: strawberry, cherry.Louis Bouillot Perle d'Aurore Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé: Pinot noir, chardonnay, and gamay grapes are used to make this wine, which is aged for 12 months. Notes: strawberry, toast.Parigot & Richard Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé: Aged for three years, Parigot & Richard's rosé is made from only pinot noir grapes. Notes: raspberry, mineral.Scharffenberger NV Brut Rosé: From California, Scharffenberger's rosé is nearly evenly split between chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, aged for two years in the bottle. Notes: raspberry, citrus.Schramsberg Brut Rosé: Made in California with mostly pinot noir and some chardonnay grapes, this rosé is aged in the bottle for about two years. Note: strawberry, bread.The best sparkling rosé over $50Just like other Champagnes, you can find bottles of rosé that cost hundreds of dollars, including Krug and Dom Perignon. Vintages and some cuvées will cost more, because winemakers take more care with them, and some of them are aged for longer. For under $100, there are lots of delicious choices from Champagne, as well as many sparkling rosés from elsewhere. The winesBillecart-Salmon Brut Rosé: Chardonnay, pinot meunier, and pinot noir grapes make up this rosé from Champagne. Notes: strawberry, orange.Henriot Brut Rosé: Henriot's rosé Champagne is aged for three years and is made from pinot noir, chardonnay, and pinot meunier grapes. Notes: raspberry, mineral.Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé: A rosé Champagne, this wine is made of 100% pinot noir grapes and aged for five years. Notes: raspberry, brioche.Ruinart NV Brut Rosé: Ruinart's rosé is 55% pinot noir and 45% chardonnay and comes from the Champagne region. Notes: raspberry, spice.Soter 2014 Mineral Springs Brut Rosé Sparkling: Mainly pinot noir with some chardonnay grapes, Soter's Oregon rosé is aged for five years in the bottle. Notes: strawberry, almond.The best pét-natPétillant-naturel (pét-nat) wines are bottled while still undergoing their first fermentation. Some winemakers leave the yeast in the bottle, so the final product will be cloudy, with sediment on the bottom. "Pét-nats have become super-big right now because it's on the sparkling side but it's done in such a natural way," said Sunshine Foss of Happy Cork. The results tend to be less predictable than something like a cuveé, which is reliably blended from known reserves. "A lot of wine geeks love that funky taste, like strawberry cola," said Crystal Hinds. "Some taste like sour beers." You can find many pét-nats for between $20 and $50.What our experts particularly likeHinds recommends both the Kobal Wines rosé and the Les Tètes Nat Igny Rusé ($29): "It's just so beautiful and delicate," she said of the Les Tètes' wine. "You can hardly tell that it's a pét-nat." "Being Italian I'll always have a few prosecco col fondo — the Italian version of pét-nat," said Marchetti of Riverside Wine & Spirits. "Those are old-school, unfiltered prosecco." She suggests offerings from Carolina Gatti and the Col Tamarie, as well as Rodica's sparkling malvasia from Slovenia.The winesAncarani Indigeno Pétillant Naturel 2019: This pét-nat comes from Italy and is made from trebbiano grapes. Notes: citrus, bread.Bichi Pet Mex Pétillant Naturel Rosé: Bichi is a winery in Mexico that doesn't like to reveal what type of grape goes into this pét-nat. Notes: strawberry, citrus.Cambridge Road Naturalist Pétillant Naturel: A New Zealand wine, this pét-nat has riesling, pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes. Notes: pear, citrus.Carolina Gatti Ratatuja: An orange wine from Veneto, Italy, it's a blend of glera, pinot bianco, chardonnay, tocai, and verduzzo grapes. Notes: peach, apricot.Cruse Wine Valdiguié Pétillant Naturel: Made from valdiguié grapes, this pét-nat hails from lauded California winemaker Michael Cruse. Notes: strawberry, tart. Julien Braud La Bulle de l'Ouest Pétillant Brut: Low in alcohol (8%), this French wine is made with 100% melon de Bourgogne grapes. Notes: floral, citrus. Kobal Wines Bajta Blaufränkisch Rosé: This wine from Slovenia is made from blaufränkisch grapes. Notes: strawberry, yeast.Les Tètes Les Parcelles Tète Nat Igny Rusé: From France's Loire Valley, this wine is made from chenin blanc grapes. Notes: floral, cotton candy. Moutard Pet Mout Pétillant Naturel Chardonnay: Moutard makes wines from both Champagne and Burgundy in France, including this chardonnay pét-nat. Notes: citrus, mineral.Onward Wines Pétillant-Naturel Rosé: This pinot noir pét-nat is from California. Notes: strawberry, citrus.Rodica Bela Sparkling Malvasia Brut: From Slovenia's Istrian Peninsula, this pét-nat is 100% malvasia grapes. Notes: white fruit, floral.William Chris Péttilant Naturel Rosé: Texas winery William Chris makes this wine from sangiovese, mourvèdre, cinsault, and trebbiano grapes. Notes: citrus, melon.What is Champagne and sparkling wine?With a few exceptions, Champagne is sparkling wine that comes from Champagne, France. The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) oversees production and enforces the strict regulations that govern virtually every aspect of the process."When you're paying for Champagne, you're paying for some of the techniques that are used," said Crystal Hinds, owner of Effervescence. "They can only pick at a certain time. They can only pick so much per hectare."If you pick up a bottle, and it has the word "Champagne" on it, the wine is almost certainly from this region and was made in accordance with the rules. "California Champagne" is quite different and is essentially the product of a loophole.  Cava, prosecco, and other sparkling wines are made from a variety of methods, with different grapes, and in different regions and countries. Consider this glossary a crash course in Champagne 101.  Assemblage: The process of blending wines from different vineyards, grapes, and years. You might see the assemblage listed as a percentage of each type of grape. Blanc de Blancs: It means "white of whites," so these wines are made from all-white grapes; in the Champagne region, this usually means 100% chardonnay. Blanc de Noirs: Noir is French for black, and only red grapes go into these wines, but the resulting wine is still a pale golden color because it uses the juice and not the skin, which is where the reddish color comes from. Brut: In the traditional method, Champagne goes through two fermentations. After the second, winemakers add sugar, which is known as "dosage." Drier, less sweet sparkling wines will have the word "brut" on the label. Here's the scale, from driest to sweetest:Brut Nature 2. Extra brut 3. Brut 4. Extra dry or extra sec 5. Dry or sec 6. Demi-sec 7. Doux Brut Nature: The driest of the dry, brut nature has no added sugar. It may contain some leftover sugar, up to three grams per liter. Cava: Cava is sparkling wine from Spain. However, not all sparkling wine from the country is labeled as such. Compared to prosecco, cava is more similar to Champagne. Winemakers mainly use three varieties of white grapes to make cava: macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo. Champagne, France: This region is in the northeast of the country, about 90 miles from Paris.  Cru: Traditionally, Champagne houses purchased their grapes from growers. There are 319 crus, which are also known as villages or vineyards, in the region. There are some grower-producers that use their own grapes, and so you won't find these designations on some very good bottles of wine. Crémant: Crémants are sparkling wines from France but made outside of the Champagne region. "Crémant is a really great way to go if you're looking for a good glass of sparkling wine, but without the cost of the Champagne tag, if you will," said Chevonne Ball of Dirty Radish.Cuveé: In Champagne-making, the first pressing is considered the best, and it's known as the cuvée. Subsequent pressings are the taille. Some winemakers also call their special blends cuvées, but there's no guarantee that something labeled with that word will be spectacular.   Disgorgement: During riddling, the yeast sediment collects in the neck of the bottle. To get it out, winemakers submerge the neck into a freezing solution. Then they turn the bottles right-side-up, take off the cap, and the carbon dioxide inside pushes the frozen chunk of sediment out. Fermentation: For the second fermentation -- which gives the wine its bubbles -- producers add the liqueur de tirage, a solution of sugar and yeast. Champagne and cava undergo this second fermentation in individual bottles. For prosecco, it happens in a tank, so it's a much less labor-intensive process. Grapes: Some types of sparkling wine use a limited amount of grape varieties. Champagne is most often made from chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier grapes. Cava is mainly macabeo, parellada, and xarel·lo grapes. Glera grapes are typically used for prosecco. Lees: After the second fermentation — once the yeast has consumed all the sugar and died — the wine isn't quite ready. Champagne stays in the bottle for at least 15 months before it's released. Non-vintage cuvées stay in the bottle with the lees, or dead yeast deposits, for at least 12 months. Vintage cuvées must rest on the lees for three years, minimum. Liqueur de tirage: The mix of sugar, yeast, and sometimes a bit of wine that producers add to non-sparkling base wine to start the second fermentation. The yeast consumes the sugar, creating carbon dioxide and alcohol.   Méthode Traditionnelle: The traditional method of making Champagne, where the second fermentation takes place inside an individual bottle. Many sparkling wines outside of Champagne are made in this way.       Non-Vintage: The vast majority of Champagne is non-vintage. It's not about how long the wine was aged. Rather, it means that the wine is a blend of different vintages or types of grapes, or it comes from grapes in different vineyards. Using a mix allows winemakers to create a more consistent wine. Prosecco: Prosecco is made in Northeast Italy, primarily using glera grapes. Unlike Champagne, prosecco is made with the Charmat Method. Instead of the second fermentation taking place in individual bottles, it happens in a tank, in larger batches. The method is faster and less expensive, so the resulting wine costs less than Champagne. Pét-nat: Short for pétillant-naturel, this style of sparkling wine has grown in popularity over the past several years. Non-sparkling wine undergoes a single fermentation when yeast transforms sugar into alcohol. The CO2 is released, so the wine is still instead of bubbly. With pét-nats, winemakers bottle up the wine during this first fermentation, retaining some of the CO2. Riddling: To get the yeast sediment into the neck of the bottle, winemakers slowly tip the bottle so the bottom is up. It can take a week or months, depending on the quality (and eventual price) of the wine.  Rosé: There are a few ways to make sparkling rosé or rosé champagne. Winemakers may add still (unsparkling) red wine to give some color or they may "bleed" juice from tanks of macerating grapes that will be used for red wine. Even when it's described with words like fruity, rosé can still be dry. Sec: On the scale from driest to sweetest, Sec is on the sweeter side, while brut has less sugar.Sparkling wine: Champagne, cava, and prosecco are all sparkling wines. They all have bubbles. You can find sparkling wines from practically anywhere. They may be made with different methods and different grapes, which is why they are priced and taste differently. Terroir: When people discuss terroir, they mean the climate, soil, grape varieties, landscape, and other factors that make wines distinct. Vintage: Vintage wines come from grapes harvested in a single year. That year will be on the label, so it's easy to tell vintages and non-vintages apart. These are the wines people buy and store in cellars. Non-vintages are meant to be drunk right off the shelf.Advice from our expertsFor our guide, we consulted four experts (from left to right): Sunshine Foss, Ariel Arce, Chevonne Ball, Crystal Hinds, and Laura Marchetti (not shown).Happy Cork/Universe/Dirty Radish/EffervescenceTo help us narrow down some selections of Champagne and sparkling wines, we spoke with five experts and got advice and recommendations for choosing what to drink. Drink what you like: "Prior to even this new wave of making wine more accessible, people thought, 'Okay, well you have to have this vocabulary to be able to speak to the wine and understand the wine.' For me, it's just really about how it tastes and what I like to drink," said Sunshine Foss, owner of Happy Cork in Brooklyn, New York. Sometimes, smaller is better: "I don't think like you have to go to that $150 splurge point to find a good bottle of Champagne," said Ariel Arce, who's been called the "Champagne Empress of Greenwich Village" by the New York Times. For $65 to $80, she said you can get a nice bottle from a smaller producer, who both grows the grapes and makes the wine. She owns Air's Champagne Parlor in New York City and wrote the book "Better with Bubbles: An Effervescent Education in Champagnes & Sparkling Wines."Taste a lot: "There's not really a way to learn about wine other than to try it and to taste it," said Chevonne Ball, who owns Dirty Radish, a travel company that specializes in wine tours. Look outside of Champagne and France: "That's one of the fun things that we do, is look for these different sparkling wines from different countries and give it a try," said Crystal Hinds, who owns Effervescence, a sparkling wine lounge in New Orleans, Louisiana. Try to be a little extroverted: "If visiting a boutique wine shop, I'd ask what the staff is drinking right now," said Laura Marchetti, owner of Riverview Wine & Spirits in Jersey City, New Jersey. "Ask what's new and exciting and what wines their go-to wines are. Once you get the staff pumped up, it's often hard to get them to stop working for you." She knows this can be intimidating for some, but she adds that she's an introvert as well.How to choose what Champagne or sparkling wine to buyFG Trade/Getty ImagesTo gather our lists of recommendations, we consulted our panel of experts and looked at expert lists of best Champagnes, sparkling wines, cavas, proseccos, crémants, and more from Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Food and Wine, Decanter, Wine Folly, The New York Times, and The Chicago Tribune. If you feel overwhelmed in the store or while searching online, here are some things to keep in mind. Start with the price: If you must have Champagne from France, the cheapest bottle is going to cost around $40. Sunshine Foss, who owns Happy Cork in Brooklyn, said she thinks people should also be flexible on price. "You might come in saying, 'Okay, I'm going to spend $50 on a bottle,' but you might get two or three bottles for that price that are all going to be amazing," she said.Buy by brand: If you definitely, definitely want to buy Champagne but are still stumped, you can look at some well-known brands and feel confident about what you're getting. "It's not my first recommendation, but I do think there are certain brands that make an incredibly consistent and quality product," said Arce, owner of Air's Champagne Parlor. She recommends Charles Heidsieck, Bollinger, Philipponnat, Henriot, and Delamotte. "Those are five really beautiful houses, all of which are going to have their non-vintage Brut at an affordable price point," she said.  Look outside Champagne: There's cava from Spain or prosecco from Italy, but South Africa, England, Brazil, Australia, and lots of other countries are also in the sparkling wine business. "You're going to be tasting different grapes, like a malbec or like a blaufränkisch, grapes you've never even heard of, something different than the chardonnay and pinot noir and pinot meunier," said Crystal Hinds, who owns Effervescence. "You won't compare them as much to Champagne if you're tasting a totally different grape." Don't expect all sparkling wine to taste like Champagne: "There's nothing worse, in my opinion, than sparkling wines that are trying to compete with a region that's been making wine for hundreds of years," Arce said. "I think American sparkling is more fun when it's made in its own way, with its own unique grapes." Compared to France, Oregon, California, and other states are newer to making sparkling wine. "It's different soil. It's different terroir," said Ball, who owns Dirty Radish. "It's different grapes, and the rules are different. So we have a lot more freedom here because we have less of the regulations than they do in something like France."But if you do want something similar to Champagne: There are plenty of winemakers that use Champagne-style methods outside of the region. They'll label their bottles with méthode Champenoise or méthode traditionnelle. They'll also use the same grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. "I really liked the wine from Caraccioli Cellars, if you're looking for something to be similar to champagne," said Arce.What are vegan, organic, biodynamic, and natural wines?Kurga/Getty ImagesWhile you might assume all wines are vegan, some winemakers clarify their wines with egg whites, gelatin, or other animal products. Wines labeled vegan will instead use clay or charcoal for this process. US organic wines, certified by the USDA, are made without synthetic fertilizers, and the yeast and other additives must all be organic. If a US wine is labeled "made with organic grapes," then the yeast and additives might not be organic. The European Union follows similar guidelines for its organic wines, but they might contain more sulfites. Other countries may have different practices. Biodynamic winemakers follow many organic practices, but their wines may contain more sulfites. They also follow a strict calendar when certain tasks like pruning or watering take place. Natural wines are low-intervention, so the producers don't add yeast or sulfites. These are often made in smaller batches.What's your palate? A crash course on tasting notesProbably one of the most difficult ways for newcomers to wine is figuring out what they do and don't like based on taste. After a few tries, they might realize whether they're fans of dry or sweet, but it can be hard to distinguish apple or citrus notes, then articulate what it is that's appealing or off-putting."Sometimes, people don't even know what their palate is," said Sunshine Foss of Happy Cork. Some will assume dry means bitter, for example. "They'll tell me, 'Oh, I don't want a dry wine, but then they'll point to something that they've already had, and it's like one of the driest wines," she said. Brut wines will be on the drier side, while dry, sec, and doux will be sweeter."I'll ask about style and price point, if it's for just sipping or also meant to go with food," said Laura Marchetti, who owns Riverview Wine & Spirits. "However, usually the key is to engage with the person, to get them to do the talking in their own language and then for us to decipher from there.""A lot of times, you break down people's first experiences by asking them just simple questions,  like, "Do you like something a little bit fresher and brighter or something with more fruits?'" said Ariel Arce, owner of Air's Champagne Parlor. "And then if you liked something on the lighter end, 'Can we dabble into flavors of berries, apples, and pears? Do we like minerals and lemon zest?'" All those questions will help a professional track down something you'll love, but you can start by paying attention to what you like when there's a bottle actually open in front of you. "You're on your phone all the time throughout dinner, so why not take a quick note, take a quick photo of that wine?" said Chevonne Ball, owner of Dirty Radish. If there's something you can pinpoint about what you like, that will be helpful for the next time you go into a wine shop, but it's not necessary. "It doesn't have to be very specific," she said. "It doesn't have to be lemon zest and lavender fields and blah, blah, blah." The more you taste sparkling wine, the better you'll be at distinguishing what you like. It's the only way to learn, said Ball: "You don't know that you like your burgers medium rare until you've had a medium-rare burger."What should I eat with Champagne?Marija Babic/EyeEm/Getty ImagesChampagne and sparkling wine has long been associated with celebrations. That means people often think the meal they eat with their wine needs to be special, too. That's not the case, according to Chevonne Ball and Crystal Hinds."I dare you to find one thing that doesn't go with Champagne," Ball said. "You can't — it goes with everything." Hinds agrees. Unlike red or white wines that pair well with select foods, "everything goes with sparkling wine," she said. "You can go through your entire meal with sparkling wine." But you can also open a bag of potato chips. At her sparkling wine lounge, Effervescence, Hinds takes housemade chips and pairs them crème-fraîche, chives, and caviar. The bar also serves popcorn with nutritional yeast, paprika, and olive oil. "Even plain popcorn with a little salt and butter is delicious with bubbles," she said. Hinds also recommends pairing sparkling wine with fried foods. "The acid in the bubbles cut through the grease and the fried tastes and the fat, and it goes beautifully with the fried chicken," she said. "I would have a glass of something with a big plate of onion rings and be just fine."Hinds gave a few suggestions for wine and food pairings. Jean Vesselle Brut Oeil de Perdrix NV ($54 to $60): "This particular wine, which is 100% pinot noir, carries me from an appetizer of warm brie to turkey, beef, or pork and on to dessert — if it lasts that long," Hinds said. "I poured from a magnum this year. It was that kind of year."Claude Branger "L'éClipse" Méthode Traditionnelle ($19): "For an everyday bubbly to pair with the raw oysters, I pull a bottle of Claude Branger's L'éClipse, which is made entirely from melon de Bourgogne," Hinds said. "We at Effervescence call it the oyster wine."  Gusbourne Brut Reserve ($48): "Of course when I want to impress a special guest with something new and amazing, I pair the Gusbourne Brut Reserve (2013) from Sussex, England," Hinds said. "It usually surprises our guests that it is not from Champagne, France, but England." Peter Lauer Riesling Sekt Brut Réserve ($66 to $99): "Lastly, I find Peter Lauer's Riesling Sekt Brut Réserve from Saar, Germany the perfect bubble for most of our desserts, which are seasonal and made in house. They are not usually overly sweet," Hinds said. "The Peter Lauer has a hint of ripe apricot and peach, with lime and slight biscuit notes that complemented our Citrus and Crème dessert (makrut lime meringue, pistachio, satsuma, Tahitian vanilla whipped cream) perfectly."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

Top 5 Momentum Picks for May Despite Fed"s Aggressive Stance

We have narrowed our search to five large-cap momentum stocks. These are: AR, CHRW, PKG, CSL and ADM. In its May FOMC meeting, the Fed initiated aggressive strategies to combat soaring inflation, which is currently at a 40-year high. The central bank hiked the benchmark interest rate at a magnitude not seen since 2000 and announced the date of commencement and size of its balance sheet shrinkage. However, Wall Street applauded the Fed’s decisions with an astonishing rally on May 4.Fed’s aggressive stances were much anticipated by market participants. In addition, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell cleared doubts of investors about how the rate hikes will likely to take shape in the rest of 2022. Market participants are relieved that the Fed will not take any ultra-hawkish policies to contain inflation, which may lead to economic recession.We expect U.S. stock markets to stabilize in May after an extremely volatile April. At this stage, it should be fruitful to buy momentum stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank. Five of them are — Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. ADM, C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. CHRW, Antero Resources Corp. AR, Packaging Corporation of America PKG and Carlisle Companies Inc. CSL.Wall Street Appreciates Fed’s DecisionsIn his post-FOMC statement, Jerome Powell said that the central bank has decided to raise the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points effective immediately. Notably, the Fed raised the lending rate by 25 basis points in its March FOMC, for the first time in more than three years. With this decision, the Fed fund rate has increased to 0.75-1%.Moreover, the Fed has decided to shrink the size of its $9 trillion balance sheet in a phased manner affective Jun 1. Initially, the central bank will roll off $30 billion of Treasury Notes and $17.5 billion on mortgage-backed securities per month. After three months, the size of the Treasury Note will increase to $60 billion and mortgage-backed securities will increase to $35 billion per month.The decision of hiking the benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points in a FOMC is the highest since 2000. Market participants were expecting a 50 basis point rate hike and an official announcement of the beginning of the balance sheet reduction program in May FOMC.A section of economists and financial experts remained concerned that the Fed may become highly aggressive with a 75 basis-point rate hike in May. However, Powell categorically said that the central bank is not seriously considering a 75 basis point rate hike.At the same time, he hinted that a rate hike of 50 basis points is likely to come in the next two FOMC meetings. At present, the CME FedWatch data indicates that the Fed fund rate will reach 2.75-3% by the end of 2022.Wall Street had a relief rally after the Fed Chair provided a clear guidance about the Fed fund rate structure for the rest of 2022. The three major stock indexes — the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite — climbed 2.8%, 3% and 3.2%, respectively. The small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 also surged 2.7%. Market’s fear gauge – CBOE VIX — fell 13.1% to 25.42.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed our search to five large-cap (market capital > $10 billion) momentum stocks. These stocks have seen strong earnings estimate revisions within the last 7 days indicating that the market is expecting this companies to do good  business in the near-term.Moreover, these stocks have provided double-digit returns in the past three months and have more upside left. Each of our picks carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and has a Momentum Score of A.  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our five picks in the past three months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchArcher-Daniels-Midland has been gaining from solid demand, improved productivity and product innovations. Persistent growth in the Nutrition segment of ADM, driven by significant gains in the Human and Animal Nutrition units, remained the key growth drivers. Archer-Daniels-Midland expects the nutrition segment’s operating profit growth of 20% in 2022. The company has been significantly progressing on its three strategic pillars — optimize, drive, and growth.Archer-Daniels-Midland has an expected earnings growth rate of 15.4% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 7% over the last 7 days. The stock price has surged 20% in the past three months.C.H. Robinson is benefiting from favorable freight market conditions, such as increased volumes and higher pricing, amid tight capacity. CHRW’s growth-by-acquisition policy is also impressive.To this end, in May 2021, C.H. Robinson acquired freight forwarding company Combinex Holding B.V. to strengthen its European Surface Transportation business. The acquisition not only broadens its customer base but also improves customer services by clubbing Combinex’s expertise.C.H. Robinson has an expected earnings growth rate of 14.1% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 12.3% over the last 7 days. The stock price has climbed 23.8% in the past three months.Packaging Corporation manufactures and sells containerboard and corrugated packaging products in the United States. PKG continues to benefit from robust packaging demand backed by e-commerce and rising requirement for the packaging of food, beverages and medicines.PKG’s Packaging segment will benefit from higher corrugated products shipments with three additional shipping days. For the Paper segment, the company expects higher prices and mix. Packaging Corporation continues to implement price hikes that will help offset the impact of high operating costs, freight expenses and supply chain issues on margins.Packaging Corporation has an expected earnings growth rate of 24.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 2% over the last 7 days. The stock price has advanced 11.6% in the past three months.Antero Resources has positioned itself among the fast-growing natural gas producers in the United States. AR’s strategic acreage position in the low-risk and long reserve-life properties of the Appalachian Basin is a major positive. Its core acreage position allows for major long lateral drilling opportunities and capital efficiencies.Antero Resources expects to generate $1.5-$1.7 billion of free cash flow in 2022, suggesting a significant improvement from $849 million reported in 2021. AR is targeting a capital return program of 25%-50% of free cash flows annually, beginning with the implementation of the share repurchase program of up to $1 billion. Also, Antero Resources is well-positioned to capitalize on the rising natural gas price.Antero Resources has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 1.6% over the last 7 days. The stock price has soared 89.3% in the past three months.Carlisle is set to gain from strength in the U.S. reroofing end markets along with acquired assets. Strength in the medical technologies business and recovery in the commercial aerospace business are likely to drive CSL’s performance.Carlisle’s focus on product launches and an improved outlook for industrial capital spending should be beneficial. For 2022, Carlisle expects revenues to grow more than 30% year over year. CSL’s shareholder-friendly policies are likely to act as tailwinds.Carlisle has an expected earnings growth rate of 68.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 11% over the last 7 days. The stock price has jumped 25.3% in the past three months. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM): Free Stock Analysis Report C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc. (CHRW): Free Stock Analysis Report Packaging Corporation of America (PKG): Free Stock Analysis Report Carlisle Companies Incorporated (CSL): Free Stock Analysis Report Antero Resources Corporation (AR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 5th, 2022

ETF Areas in the Spotlight Post Buffett"s 2022 Meeting

Here, we highlight a few ETF areas that have received the spotlight since Buffett's in-person annual meeting on Apr 30. Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett held his conglomerate’s first in-person annual meeting since 2019 on Apr 30. This was a widely attended event as many shareholders wanted to listen to their favorite investment guru, popularly known as the “Oracle of Omaha”. The meeting, also famously dubbed as “Woodstock for Capitalists” was attended by some big CEOs like Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan JPM, Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick as well as Apple’s AAPL CEO Tim Cook, per a CNBC article.Given the excitement about this meeting in the investment world, it definitely brought a lot of ETF areas into the spotlight. Let’s take a look at some of them:Energy ETFsBuffett has been focusing on the energy sector, which has been one of the best performing S&P 500 sectors in 2022.  In fact, the energy space has remained a prime investment area holding the interest of market participants since the beginning of the year. Reopening global economies, accelerated coronavirus vaccine rollout and improving labor markets were adding to the strength in the sector. Going on, the rally in oil prices due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis added to the sector’s momentum.Buffett has increased his investment in Chevron CVX by around 475.6% since the end of 2021. The above-mentioned was worth $25.9 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2022 versus its value of $4.5 billion at 2021-end (per a CNBC article). Notably, Chevron pays a 3.6% dividend. Buffett also scooped up 14% of oil giant Occidental Petroleum OXY, worth more than $7 billion, in two weeks during March.Against the bullish energy sector backdrop, let’s take a look at some energy ETFs that are worth adding for more returns: Invesco Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production ETF PXE, Vanguard Energy ETF VDE, Fidelity MSCI Energy Index ETF (FENY), The Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) and iShares U.S. Energy ETF (IYE) (read: Exxon, Chevron Lags Q1 Earnings, Up YoY: Energy ETFs in Focus).Financial ETFsBuffett has a reputation for favoring banks. He had invested $5 billion into Bank of America BAC in 2011 to support the banking industry, per a CNBC article. Bank of America and American Express AXP were two of Buffett’s other major holdings, worth $42.6 billion and $28.4 billion, respectively, at the end of the first quarter of 2022.The shift toward a tighter monetary policy will push yields higher, thereby helping the financial sector. This is because rising rates will help in boosting profits for banks, insurance companies, discount brokerage firms and asset managers. The steepening of the yield curve (the difference between short and long-term interest rates) is likely to support banks’ net interest margins. As a result, net interest income, which constitutes a chunk of banks’ revenues, is likely to receive support from the steepening of the yield curve and a modest rise in loan demand. Notably, as the economy starts operating in full swing, the banking space will be able to generate more business.Let’s take a look at some financial ETFs that can gain from the current environment: iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF IYG, Invesco KBW Bank Portfolio KBWB, The Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF) and ETFMG Prime Mobile Payments ETF (IPAY) (read: 5 ETF Strategies to Follow in May).Technology ETFsThe technology giant Apple continues to be Berkshire’s biggest holding, worth $159.1 billion at the end of March 2022, accounting for about 40% of its equity portfolio (as stated in a CNBC article). According the same article, Buffett bought $600 million worth of Apple shares post a three-day fall in the stock last quarter. Berkshire has received regular dividends from Apple over the years, averaging nearly $775 million annually (per a CNBC article).Berkshire announced a major stake in tech hardware stock HP Inc. HPQ at the beginning of April. He scooped up nearly 121-million HP shares worth roughly $4.2 billion.ETFs with the largest allocation to the tech titans have been in focus. The Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund XLK, Vanguard Information Technology ETF VGT, MSCI Information Technology Index ETF FTEC, iShares US Technology ETF (IYW) and iShares Russell Top 200 Growth ETF (IWY) have Apple as the top firm with a double-digit allocation (read: Apple Beats on Earnings, Issues Weak Outlook: ETFs in Focus).Bitcoin ETFsNot all the ETF areas have been hogging the spotlight for the right reasons since the Berkshire’s annual meeting. This area of investment that has been historically criticized by Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman of Charlie Munger. Buffett believes that the bitcoins are incapable of producing anything or multiplying in comparison to tangible investment forms like farmland and rental properties, per a CNBC article.Buffett even mentioned that “If you ... owned all of the bitcoin in the world and you offered it to me for $25, I wouldn’t take it,” Buffett said. “Because what would I do with it? I’ll have to sell it back to you one way or another. It isn’t going to do anything,” as stated in a CNBC article.  Munger expressed his views on cryptocurrency more bluntly by stating that “In my life I try and avoid things that are stupid and evil and make me look bad in comparison with somebody else — and Bitcoin does all three,” according to an article on Bankrate.com.Thus, the stern views of Buffett might put ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF BITO in a tough spot. Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Bank of America Corporation (BAC): Free Stock Analysis Report JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report Apple Inc. (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report HP Inc. (HPQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Chevron Corporation (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY): Free Stock Analysis Report Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE): ETF Research Reports Invesco KBW Bank ETF (KBWB): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF (IYG): ETF Research Reports Fidelity MSCI Information Technology Index ETF (FTEC): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT): ETF Research Reports Invesco Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production ETF (PXE): ETF Research Reports ProShares Bitcoin Strategy ETF (BITO): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksMay 4th, 2022

53 genuinely useful gifts to get your teacher for Teacher Appreciation Week

For Teacher Appreciation Week, show teachers you care with one of our gift ideas, from a mug warmer to gift cards. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.For Teacher Appreciation Week, show teachers you care with one of our gift ideas, from a necklace to a school supply organizer.AmazonThe best teachers work tirelessly inside and outside the classroom with endless enthusiasm, patience, and compassion along the way. Whether it's Teacher Appreciation Week or the last day of school, they deserve a little token of gratitude for all that they do.The greatest way to show a teacher that their work doesn't go unappreciated is by giving them a thoughtful gift, be it a sentimental card or a practical item that makes their life easier. Below, we outlined the best gifts for teachers, from delicious snacks to morning routine upgrades.53 of the best teacher gifts in 2022:A video montage from their studentsMontageGroup video gift, available at Montage, $29Nothing will bring happy tears to a teacher's eyes quite like a video montage from their students. The Montage platform makes it easy to compile videos — it sends email invitations to each person, provides instructions to upload their videos on the website, and compiles the videos into a montage with background music.A subtle but specific necklaceAmazonLcherry Bar Necklace, available at Amazon, $16.98Gifts that are teaching themed can often be kitschy or cheesy, but this necklace has the best of both worlds. It acknowledges the specific work of a teacher in the packaging, but is simple and subtle enough to wear each day. A plant set that will never dieTargetArtificial Succulent Plant Arrangement, available at Target, from $15If they love the look of plants but rightfully don't have the time to maintain them, a fake succulent assortment is a great option. It looks just like a terrarium but will never wilt. A chic school supply organizerAmazonMarbrasse Bamboo Art Supply Organizer, available at Amazon, $24.99This school supply organizer is an elevated take on the typical plastic container. It rotates for convenient access, but it can blend seamlessly in their classroom or home.Something to add to their snack stashSnack MagicSnack Magic Stash, available at Snack Magic, from $35Almost every teacher keeps a stash of snacks and treats for those days when they really need a pick-me-up. With a snack magic box, you can create a custom snack box full of treats the teacher will love.A comfortable space to workBed Bath & BeyondLapgear Lap Desk, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, $34.99Teachers inevitably have to bring their work home. With this lap desk, at least they can work comfortably from their bed or the couch as they lesson plan or grade on weekends. The desk comes in seven unique patterns.A personalized message from their favorite celebrityCameoCameo Video, available at Cameo, from $1Take the gold standard of teacher gifts — a personal and thoughtful letter — up a notch and have their favorite celebrity deliver the message. You can choose from thousands of celebrities to record a personalized video message to send to the teacher. (Since the more famous celebrities can be pricier, this can be a great gift to split with other classmates).Relaxing bath saltsRitualsMagnesium Bath Crystals, available at Rituals, $17.50Even the most energetic teacher knows that teaching can be exhausting. Give them something to help them relax and unwind at the end of a long day. These bath crystals are designed to soothe muscles and improve sleep quality.Something to make their classroom more comfortableSteph Coelho/Business InsiderHoneywell VersaHeat Digital Two Position Ceramic Personal Heater, available at Amazon and Walmart, $44.96Most teachers don't get to choose the temperature of their classroom, and shivering or sweating uncontrollably doesn't make for an ideal workday. With this space heater that also functions as a fan, they can make their classroom comfortable all year long. Just be sure to check that space heaters are allowed in classrooms before purchasing.Hand cream to combat drynessAmazonTonymoly Hand Cream, available at Amazon and Ulta, $12After washing and sanitizing their hands all day long, teachers' skin easily becomes dry and cracked. This premium peach hand cream will keep their hands soft and smelling nice.A warming plate for their coffeeAmazonMr. Coffee Mug Warmer, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, from $11.99It's a rare day that a teacher gets to finish their coffee before it gets cold. Give them the gift of perpetually warm coffee with this mug warmer they can plug in right at their desk.Bookends for their home or classroomWest ElmAgate Bookends, available at West Elm, from $34These beautiful bookends are made of solid agate. They can decide to use it in their home library or as a homey accent in their classroom. Something to satisfy their sweet toothBaked In ColorRainbow Chocolate Chip Cookie Tins, available at Baked in Color, from $30Many teachers keep a secret stash of their favorite treats hidden somewhere in their desks. Satisfy their sweet tooth with a tin of beautiful rainbow chocolate chip cookies.A story from the students' perspectiveTarget"Dear Teacher," available at Target, $11.16Perfect for preschool or kindergarten teachers, "Dear Teacher" is a love letter to all kinds of educators, written from the perspective of the kids who learn from them. It's an adorable message that teachers can share and appreciate with their students.A scented candle that reminds them of a happy placeAmazonHomesick Scented Candle, available at Amazon, from $31.28This is a great gift that's sure to make them feel sentimental. Whether it's their hometown, college town, or favorite spot to vacation, a Homesick candle — with scents inspired by all sorts of locations — will bring them back to that favorite place.A tablet and pen that lets them convey handwritten material remotelyAmazonXP-Pen Graphic Tablet, available at Amazon, $25.99One of the difficult aspects of remote learning is finding resourceful and convenient ways to mirror in-person tactics teachers use. This Graphic Tablet lets teachers draw using the stylus to convey information they may have handwritten before, such as math formulas or diagrams.A funny book of the best wrong test answersUncommon Goods"F in Exams" by Richard Benson, available at Uncommon Goods, $8.50After a stressful year for teachers, you may want to celebrate the funny and lighthearted side of the job. This book compiles some of the most amusing and inventive real-life wrong answers to grade school and high school tests.A personalized embosser for their personal libraryEtsyCustom Stamp, available at Etsy, from $34.50This unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with "from the library of [their name]" by pressing down like a hole-puncher. It's the kind of thing most people would never buy themselves but would genuinely cherish and get a kick out of if they received it as a present.The best water bottle they'll ever useAmazonHydro Flask Water Bottle, available at Amazon, from $36.07A stellar water bottle is a timeless life upgrade, but it'll be especially useful this summer. This stainless steel version from HydroFlask is the best water bottle you can buy, thanks to insulated stainless steel that keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to six. Delicious food from some of the most loved restaurants in the countryGoldbellyGoldbelly Restaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $35.95Bring a bit of their favorite restaurant right to their door. From bagels to barbeque, Goldbelly ships food gifts nationwide from iconic eateries in major cities.A small, water-resistant speaker to enjoy outside this summerAmazonSoundcore Flare Mini Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, $42.99Ensure they enjoy the summer with a portable, water-resistant speaker like this version from Anker. It's got a 12-hour battery life as well as LED lights on the bottom that they can adjust for five different lighting moods. We think it's the best relatively cheap Bluetooth speaker you can buy.A comfy sleep maskAmazonLuxury Sleep Mask, available at Amazon, $14.95Gift a comfortable sleep mask and help them get the kind of restorative, deep sleep they must need this year.A coloring book full of phrases your teacher can relate all too well toAmazonTeacher Life: A Snarky Chalkboard Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $5.99There are some situations that only teachers can understand, and this adult coloring book perfectly captures them with humor and cheekiness. The illustrations are single-sided, so they can take the page out and frame it if they so wish. Substantial, comfortable socksBombasMen's or Women's socks, available at Bombas, from $12.50Adulthood transforms socks from a banal, unexciting gift to a precious life upgrade. Bombas makes some of our favorite and most comfortable pairs, and we love to gift them to friends and family.A convenient wireless phone chargerAmazonMoshi Otto Q Wireless Charger, available at Amazon, $39.95Make their life that much easier with a wireless fast-charging pad that they can simply set their phone on top of in order to charge. After years of using the Moshi Otto Q, we ranked this version the best wireless charger you can buy. It's compatible with iPhones, AirPods, Samsung Galaxy/Note, Google Pixel, and other Qi-enabled devices.A gift card for travel experiencesAirbnbGift an Airbnb gift card, from $25Summer vacation is almost here, and you can help your teacher plan some much-needed time off with an Airbnb gift card that never expires (and can be used for online experiences if they're not comfortable traveling right now).A small potted plant for their deskThe SillSnake Plant Laurentii, available at The Sill, from $28Instead of gifting a flower bouquet, try an indoor plant. It lasts longer and requires less maintenance, but livens up their desk just as well. A tote bagBAGGUBAGGU Giant Pocket Tote, available at BAGGU, $62BAGGU makes great bags and its machine-washable cotton totes are no exception. Help your teacher carry all those lesson plans, tests, and homework papers with this cute yet sturdy tote. An insulated mugAmazonHydro Flask 12 oz Coffee Mug, available at Hydro Flask, $24.95Whatever it is they drink in the morning to prepare them for the school day ahead, this insulated mug keeps the beverage at the appropriate temperature for an astonishingly long amount of time. It has a comfortable handle and comes in many bright colors. Takeout any time they want itDoorDash AppDoorDashDoordash Gift Card, available at DoorDash, from $25Teachers log long days to support and enrich the lives of their students. Make sure their next easy, delicious dinner and relaxing night in is comped with a Doordash gift card.A comfortable seat cushionPurple.FacebookPurple Seat Cushion, available at Purple, $65These cushions can help soothe sore muscles and alleviate back strain. They're available in a variety of designs and thicknesses. Read our full review here. A way to squeeze in leisure readingAudible/InstagramAudible 3-Month Membership, available at Amazon, $45In between grading papers and designing lesson plans, it might be hard for your teacher to carve out time to read a book (for fun). Audible is a great way to catch up on the bestsellers everyone's reading, appreciate the classics from a new angle, or finally dive into that book they keep falling asleep to in bed. Decadent cupcakes they can enjoyBaked By MelissaCupcake Gift Boxes, available at Baked by Melissa, from $34Who doesn't love getting a sweet surprise? With delicious flavors ranging from Cookie Dough to Pink Frosted Donut, these bite-size treats are sure to please. You can also add a special gift box to complete the gift.Practical, reusable silicone strawsFood52Five Two Silicone Straws Single Pack, available at Food52, $25Bendable, sustainable, and portable (thanks to the set of carrying cases), these fun straws are the accessory they can use in their classroom, at home, and on the go.A coffee subscriptionDriftaway Coffee InstagramCoffee Subscription, available at Driftaway, from $54.00Chances are the coffee in the teacher's lounge isn't exactly top-notch. Thankfully, Driftaway Coffee's is, and keeps things interesting by sending new whole bean varieties every month (and improving upon the next selection based on their feedback). By the end of the school year, your teacher will have a good idea of the type of coffee they really like. A detailed poster of the opening lines from famous novelsPop Chart LabLab 'Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels', available at Pop Chart, $30English and grammar teachers will appreciate this chart diagramming the opening lines from 25 famous works of fiction. After admiring the partitioned, color-coded picto-grammatical representations, they'll want to read the books all over again. A fragrant candleOtherlandOtherland Candle, available at Otherland, $36These sophisticated coconut and soy wax candles come in scents ranging from refreshing Canopy (fig, ivy greens, mint) to rich Chandelier (champagne, saffron, leather). The beautiful look, delightful scents, and personalized matchbox make this candle gifting experience special. A heartfelt, personalized thank you cardEtsyPersonalized Winnie the Pooh Keepsake Greeting Card, available at Etsy, from $5.26Sometimes it just feels nice to be appreciated. A sweet card can go a long way — and it won't break the bank. A personalized notebook, planner, or address bookMintedTeach From The Heart Notebook, available at Minted, $18Give this one to the best teacher you know. You'll be able to customize the cover design, interior cover, and interior format of the notebook. A pillow massager for their neck and backAmazonZyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager, available at Amazon, $64.95If you've ever caught your child's teacher looking stressed or tense, you can fix that with this heated at-home massager that feels almost like a professional massage. It has four deep-kneading rotating nodes to relieve aches, knots, and muscle tension. A fun tape dispenserAmazonOtto the Otter Tape Dispenser, available at Amazon, $17.99An adorable twist to the traditional, ugly tape dispenser will instantly liven up their desk. A cute, funny coffee mugEtsyWatch Me Click Now Watch Me Grade Grade mug, available at Etsy, $13.50A cute mug that reminds them of their grateful students can be a fun, routine moment of motivation in a busy day.A cellphone standAmazonLamicall Cellphone Stand, available at Amazon, $10.99The simple, sleek, and durable stand is the perfect way to keep their device upright at just the right angle as they work. While it's a no-frills gift, it's undoubtedly practical and useful. A personalized desk signEtsyPersonalized Desk Wedge Sign, available at Etsy, from $25.99The wedge is a solid natural hardwood while the sign is shatter-resistant fogged acrylic glass, allowing it to last through any teacher's illustrious career. A gift card to stock up on versatile work shirtsDavid Slotnick/Business InsiderPublic Rec gift card, from $25Public Rec makes the most versatile polo shirt we've found, and many of the offerings from this athleisure brand are suitable for the classroom and beyond.A custom rubber stampEtsyCustom Stamp, available at Etsy, from $25Gift the stamp they'll always reach for first as they check and grade homework. You can get creative by submitting a picture of your teacher's face or their favorite catchphrase. There are three different mount choices and many more size options. A book-of-the-month subscription for summer readingBook of the Month/FacebookBook of the Month Membership, from three months for $49.99A hardcover book delivered monthly is a great way for a teacher to unplug and kick their feet up over summer break. Every month, they can choose from acclaimed fiction and nonfiction titles.A cozy plush blanketNordstromBliss Plush Throw, available at Nordstrom, $39.50Add to their home setup with a plush throw to wrap themselves in luxury. Available in a wide array of colors, this blanket adds coziness to any room.A novelty USB flash driveAmazonPink Pig USB 2.0 Flash Drive, available at Amazon, $12.99A cute and funny flash drive can instantly make work more fun. Sometimes, it's the little things. A smart home deviceAmazonAmazon Echo Dot, available at Amazon, $27.99For work or leisure, the small smart home device is endlessly useful. They can play Jeopardy, ask for recipes, listen to the news, turn lights on, play music, reorder products, and more.  A personalized key ring Leatherology/InstagramLeatherology Hotel Keychain, available at Leatherology, $15The full-grain leather keychain is a perfectly composed accessory that they'll love to carry, especially if you personalize it (for only $5) with a monogram. Beautiful note cube inspired by an American artistThe Met StoreLouis C. Tiffany Favrile Note Cube, available at The Met, $15Known for his stained glass work, Louis C. Tiffany lends his colorful and delicate designs to this tray, which hold 500 loose paper sheets and 50 color paper clips. Gift cardsTargetBuy a gift card from: Amazon, Target, StaplesAt the end of the day, teachers will always appreciate a gift card, especially if it's to a store where they can stock up on supplies. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 3rd, 2022