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These Japanese maid cafes let waitresses verbally abuse, slap and kick you

These Japanese maid cafes let waitresses verbally abuse, slap and kick you.....»»

Category: topSource: yahooDec 3rd, 2023

I"m a kids" soccer referee who"s been threatened with violence by angry parents and coaches. It"s easy to see why there"s a national shortage of officials.

Brian Baer is a referee in eastern New York who's been threatened with gun violence and had to abandon matches and be escorted by police to his car. Brian Baer, third from the right, in a group of referees.Courtesy of Brian Baer Brian Baer is a veteran referee and the president of the Hudson Valley Soccer Referee Association. He said abuse by parents and coaches has always been an issue but post-COVID-19 it's gotten worse. This is his story, as told to writer Elle Hardy. This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Brian Baer, the 55-year-old president of the Hudson Valley Soccer Referee Association in New York, about his job. The following has been edited for length and clarity.When my two oldest kids were playing youth soccer in 2004, I decided I wanted to give back a bit to our local community, so I started coaching. Since then, I've become a referee mentor, licensed by US Soccer, and I've moved into officiating soccer matches for youth as well as amateur adult games, which I've been doing for about 15 years now.In 2017, I also became the volunteer president of the Hudson Valley Soccer Referee Association, which assigns more than 400 member referees for the community league.There's currently a real referee shortage for youth and amateur games, and it's come as a one-two punchThe smaller punch was COVID-19. Over the last two-and-a-half years, we've lost a number of senior referees who felt it was probably a good time to step away.But honestly, the bigger punch is the high amount of verbal abuse, harassment, and sometimes even assault that referees have been experiencing, not just in our area but across the country.I've had multiple incidents against me personally and dealt with even more that's happened to other refereesJust the other day, an adult referee in our league was working a boys-under-14 game. He told me he wound up having to send the coach off after cautioning him twice. The match ended up having to be abandoned.One of the team's coaches was yelling and swearing because he disagreed with how the referee was calling the match. The kicker is, after the game while the referee was walking across the field, he had to walk through the spectators to get to his car and they were verbally abusing and harassing him.The actions by the spectators are in clear violation of the eastern New York Youth Soccer Association's zero-tolerance policy.Penalties for this behavior varyCoaches will receive a minimum of one-game suspension, up to a full 10-games or more for poor behavior from themselves or the parents and supporters.If the parents abusing referees can be identified, they can be banned anywhere from two games to life. There have been extreme cases where a coach or spectator has received a year through to life suspensions.Last year, I was physically threatened by a parent whom I'd thrown out of the game He threatened to kick my butt. I asked the coach to take the parent to the parking lot, but then he came back. Keep in mind, the team that the parent was there supporting was actively winning the game — he was just disagreeing with an offside call that we actually got right.After abandoning the match, I dialed 911 and the state police came and wound up escorting us to our cars.Once, while working an amateur adult game, the referee crew and I were threatened with gun violenceA player, after disagreeing with a decision, threatened to go to his car after the game to get his gun and shoot us in the face. Again, we had to abandon the match and walk off the field.I have dozens of stories that are less extreme than those, but just as equally valid and pertinent to why so many referees are leaving the sport.Before COVID-19, abuse usually came down to a lack of knowledge of the laws of the gameThe main issue that seems to get people angry is the offside law. This knowledge hasn't really improved post-COVID-19, but now it seems people are even more aggressive after being cooped up for two years. And they're taking that anger out on the 14- or 15-year-old, brand new referee — and even the 45-year-old, experienced referee.The referee is just there to do a job, which is to make sure the players are safe and that the laws of the game are applied equitably so all players, spectators, and coaches can enjoy the game.In 2017, eastern New York had just over 3,200 referees. Today, we have 1,300.On top of that, there are even more games and tournaments now than there were five years ago, so staffing games is an issue.The average lifespan of a referee in our association is about four to five years — it's usually kids who start at 14 or 15 and referee with us until they go off to college. In my district, about half the referees are teenagers and half are adults.It's not that we can't attract referees — depending on how many games a referee works, they can earn between $80 and $250. The more games you referee, the more you're going to make per match. Equally, the higher age-level games you do, the more you earn. For example, for an under-17 or 18 match, the center referee would earn roughly $90 and the assistant referee would earn half of that. In an under-10 match, you're only earning about $30 per game.The problem is that once they get harassed, they leave, and it makes retention our biggest problem.In order to deal with referee abuse, we've implemented a robust mentoring program in our district Most of the abuse I've seen is during games for players aged nine through 13. It's not just the parents abusing us, but the coaches as well. For some reason, they start to get abusive from under 11s — because by then they've been in the system for a couple of years.We set up a mentorship program to connect more experienced referees with newer hires. They take one weekend off from officiating and provide support to those who are usually younger or less experienced. We're building a community of referees who look after each other.We do an exercise that we call an 'Oreo cookie'This is when we give them two things that they did really well and something that they can improve upon.So, for example, "You blew your whistle very loudly and confidently throughout the game. Coupled with that, you signaled very confidently, too. But what you can improve upon is your positioning on the field during the run of play" — and then give them two or three examples to help them understand. For someone who was already refereeing at a seven, now we want them to bring it to an eight or a nine.It can be challenging, but I still love refereeing. It gives me an opportunity to give back to the sport that I love so much. I'm able to develop future referees and create a safe and healthy environment for players, whether they're eight or 58 years old.Do you have an interesting story to tell related to your job? Email Lauryn Haas at lhaas@insider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 9th, 2022

Women who say they"ve been sexually harassed by food-delivery drivers say the companies are failing to help them

Insider spoke to five women who say they were sexually harassed by drivers delivering Seamless, Grubhub, and DoorDash orders. DoorDash; Grubhub; Rachel Mendelson/Insider Five women told Insider they were sexually harassed by food-delivery drivers. The allegations range from disturbing text messages to fondling and unwanted touching. The women said they were upset by how the companies —DoorDash and Grubhub — dealt with the reports. Dressed in nothing but a bathrobe and slippers, Cassie* ran down the stairs of her apartment building to collect her food delivery.It was 2 a.m. on a cold December night in Brooklyn, New York, and the 30-year-old was eager to get back into the warmth of her apartment. She quickly greeted the driver, took her order, and was just about to turn around, when he jammed his foot in between the door, she told Insider.After that, everything happened quickly.The driver entered the foyer, and insisted she give him a hug, she said. Fearing for her safety, she agreed, but as the driver leaned in he reached into her robe and groped her breasts and backside, she said.Then he got more aggressive, telling her he wanted to "fuck her," Cassie said."I tried to step back inside the foyer … but he followed me and then he took out his penis and started to jack off," she said.She said she watched, frozen in shock, as the man ejaculated on the floor, pulled up his pants, and ran out the door. "I ended up having to wipe up the mess he made with the napkins from my order," she said.If they forget the ketchup in your bag, you get a $5 credit at least, but if you get sexually assaulted it's not their problem.Cassie, who is trans, was too stunned to grasp what had happened until the next day, when the driver sent her a text message asking her to "not tell anybody" about the night before. Insider has reviewed the message.She immediately called Seamless — where she ordered her food from — to report the incident. The customer service representative was dismissive, she said."They told me they couldn't help me because it wasn't their driver, it was the restaurant's driver," Cassie said. The restaurant, Krazy Chicken & Pizza in Brooklyn, did not respond to Insider's request for comment."They washed their hands of it, which I thought was funny because if they forget the ketchup in your bag, you get a $5 credit at least, but if you get sexually assaulted it's not their problem," she added.Unsatisfied with Seamless' response, Cassie reported the incident to the police, kick-starting what she described as a "traumatizing" investigation that lasted for months.The investigation, confirmed to Insider by the New York Police Department, resulted in the driver being arrested. Cassie chose not to press charges, and the department declined to comment on whether the driver was charged.But while the inquiry was going on, Cassie said she still saw the same man delivering food around her neighborhood. "We would make eye contact, even in front of my house because he would ride by multiple times," she said.A stock photo of a woman hiding under the blanket and using a smartphone.Oscar Wong/GettyAllegations range from disturbing texts to unwanted touchingCassie is among five women who told Insider they were sexually harassed by food-delivery drivers.All of the women, apart from one who is named in full, asked to either be identified with pseudonyms (in asterisks) or have their last name withheld to protect their privacy. All their identities are known to Insider.Of the four women besides Cassie who spoke to Insider, one said she was sexually assaulted by a driver after ordering from Grubhub, while three others said they were harassed by drivers after ordering from Doordash.The alleged incidents in New York, Illinois, and Texas largely took place during the COVID-19 pandemic — between February 2020 and October 2021 — a time when most people were confined to their homes, sensitive to social distancing, and heavily reliant on food delivery.The allegations range from disturbing texts and calls, to fondling and unwanted touching.Annie*, a 20-year-old college student, said she was spending lockdown with her parents in Rochester, New York, in April 2020, when the delivery person who brought her DoorDash order tried to stop her from closing the door on him and pressured her to "hang out."She said she immediately filed a complaint, but DoorDash refused to issue a refund. A customer-service representative only verbally apologized after her father called later and yelled at them, she said."We're in a global pandemic," Annie told Insider. "People have died and this man is out here wanting some coochie."Jenna*, who lives in Chicago, told Insider a driver delivering her DoorDash order called her and played porn noises over the phone in July 2020.She said she filed a complaint with DoorDash the next day and consistently asked for updates on how it would punish the driver. She said she was told two weeks later that DoorDash had closed the case because the driver denied the incident, and when she asked for his name, the person on the phone said they couldn't give it to her due to privacy policies.None of the women, except for Cassie, got the police involved, but all of them said they felt upset and demoralized about how the food-delivery companies dealt with their reports.The GrubHub logo displayed on a smartphone.Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesCompanies' responseRepresentatives for both Grubhub — of which Seamless is a subsidiary — and DoorDash told Insider they have strict policies against sexual harassment."What has been reported is entirely unacceptable and has no place on or off our platform. DoorDash has zero-tolerance for sexual harassment of any kind and takes all reports extremely seriously," a DoorDash spokesperson told Insider in an email.A Grubhub spokesperson, who also spoke for Seamless, told Insider: "We take these allegations extremely seriously, and there is no place for this conduct on Grubhub.""We are committed to continuously updating our policies to protect and support our diners, diners, and restaurant partners, and we work closely with local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute any incidents."The spokesperson said that if a driver was an independent contractor, the company would inform the restaurant of the complaint and ban the driver from their platform. (Cassie said she doesn't remember what company the driver was delivering for when she saw him again.)Little actionReporting a complaint on Seamless, Doordash, and Grubhub is a straightforward procedure. Customers can either use a portal to fill in a form or call customer service directly. But the women who spoke to Insider said that once they filed their complaints, they were left in the dark about what actions, if any, were taken by the companies.That's what happened to Sarah Henalsteen, who told Insider she tried to get a driver fired after he kissed her hand and made disturbing comments while delivering a Chipotle order to her home in Fort Worth, Texas, in February 2020 that she had ordered through DoorDash. (Chipotle told Insider that it does not have its own delivery drivers and that all delivery orders are distributed by third parties.)"He just said, 'Sorry, sorry, sorry. You're so beautiful,' over and over and over as I'm walking away from him to go back inside my house," she said."So I just ignored him. Just went back in and closed the door and locked it. It took me a little while to process what had happened."Henalsteen said she made several complaints to DoorDash via phone and email. She said that while she received a verbal apology from a customer-service agent and a full refund for her order, she never managed to reach anyone high-ranking enough to explain the severity of the case."They just skirted over what actually had happened and just tried to make me happy by giving me money back," she told Insider, adding that it felt like she was speaking to someone who was "reading from a script."Henalsteen said the experience left her feeling deflated and, after realizing she wouldn't get the answers she was seeking, she gave up. "My whole goal was just to try to get him fired because I didn't want any other woman to get into the same situation as me because it could have been much worse," she said. 'Part of my life that I won't receive justice for'Keira P.*, who lives in New York, said she faced similar hurdles filing a complaint on Grubhub against a delivery driver last October.She said the driver shoved his way into her apartment, tried to kiss her, and groped her breasts. "I felt dirty and used, despite doing the best I could to push him off of me and tell him to stop," she said. "I was afraid he would harm me."She said she called, sent multiple emails, and complained about the company on Twitter, but Grubhub still refused to take responsibility.She said a customer-service representative told her over the phone that they couldn't help her because the driver was an independent contractor who worked for DoorDash."But when I spoke to DoorDash they told me the same thing, that I could only get answers from Grubhub," she said.So, like Henalsteen, Keira stopped pursuing the case."It became clear they were just trying to waste my time and exhaust me so that I would not pursue legal action," she said."I just now accept this is part of my life that I won't receive justice for and that I have to live with that."The DoorDash logo on a motorcycle.DoorDashCases are out there but most go unreported, experts sayThere is no publicly-available data that shows exactly how prevalent this issue is.The emotional toll of reporting sexual harassment and assault, coupled with the response that some people may have received from food-delivery companies, often discourage people from taking their complaints further, experts say.Insider sent public-records requests to the police departments of six cities — New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, and Washington, DC. Of those that responded, none were able to give specific data about sexual-harassment cases by food-delivery drivers.But Jaime Santana, a New York-based attorney who takes on sexual-harassment cases in the tech industry, told Insider there are "absolutely cases out there.""Unfortunately in most instances, these are just not reported, which means not much can be done and these workers continue to remain on the road," he said.Taking on such legal cases is also incredibly difficult because of the nature of the gig economy, Santana said. In a lot of ways, these platforms are like the Wild West. Alexandrea Ravenelle, author of "Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy"The business models of companies like DoorDash and Grubhub rely on hiring workers as independent contractors rather than as employees. This paves the way not only for lapses in vetting, but also confusion around where the responsibility lies when liabilities like sexual-harassment allegations happen.Alexandrea Ravenelle, the author of "Hustle and Gig: Struggling and Surviving in the Sharing Economy," told Insider this loose working arrangement means the companies can usually say that if there's a problem, it's the fault of the driver, not them. "In a lot of ways, these platforms are like the Wild West," Ravenelle said. "It's just bringing up dangerous work situations for everyone involved."Ravenelle stressed that the gig-economy model also impacts low-paid workers, who have reportedly also faced sexual harassment and other abuse on the job but receive no support when they contact the companies."It doesn't surprise me that customers would have problems reaching these platforms, seeing as the people who are making money for these platforms, also get no information," she said. "These platforms have a long way to go."Many of the women who spoke to Insider said all they wanted was more information and clarity to start feeling comfortable ordering food to their own homes again.Keira, who said she'd since deleted the Grubhub app, told Insider: "I am now scared every time I ring someone into my building, afraid it might be the man that assaulted me." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 8th, 2022

A timeline of the mounting sexual-misconduct allegations against Sean "Diddy" Combs

Rodney Jones Jr. is the fifth person to accuse Sean 'Diddy' Combs of sexual assault in the last 5 months. Here's a timeline of Combs' allegations. Sean "Diddy" Combs.REUTERS/Lucas JacksonA music producer accused Sean 'Diddy' Combs of sexual assault, according to The New York Times.Combs has faced numerous lawsuits last year alleging sexual misconduct.Here's a timeline of all the allegations.A music producer is the latest to accuse Sean 'Diddy' Combs of sexual assault on the back of several sexual misconduct lawsuits last year.Rodney Jones Jr, also known as Lil Rod, filed the lawsuit against Combs in Manhattan federal court on Monday.Jones accused Combs of repeated unsolicited groping and forcing Jones to perform sexual acts on prostitutes.At the time, the complaint said, the two were working on the Combs' latest album, "The Love Album: Off the Grid." The complaint requests a trial by jury against Combs for multiple offenses, including sexual assault.Shawn Holley, Combs' attorney, denied the allegation in a message to Business Insider."We have overwhelming, indisputable proof that his claims are complete lies," Holley said of Jones' lawsuit."Our attempts to share this proof with Mr. Jones' attorney, Tyrone Blackburn, have been ignored, as Mr. Blackburn refuses to return our calls. We will address these outlandish allegations in court and take all appropriate action against those who make them."Combs' lawsuit troubles began in November 2023 when his ex-girlfriend Casandra "Cassie" Ventura accused Combs of raping and abusing her during their decadelong relationship. That suit was settled quickly, but three more women stepped forward over the following weeks.Here's a brief timeline of the sexual assault allegations Combs has faced in the last few months.November 16, 2023: Ventura files the first lawsuit.Sean 'Diddy' Combs and Cassie Ventura arrives for the 2018 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)In the lawsuit, seen by Business Insider, Ventura accused Combs of years of physical abuse, raping her in their home and forcing her to engage in sex acts with male sex workers. The pair had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2007 to 2018.Ventura said in a statement that she was speaking up before the expiration of New York's Adult Survivors Act, a yearlong suspension on the normal time restrictions for sexual assault lawsuits, which ended on November 23, 2023."After years in silence and darkness, I am finally ready to tell my story, and to speak up on behalf of myself and for the benefit of other women who face violence and abuse in their relationships," Ventura said.Ben Brafman, Combs' lawyer, denied the allegation in a statement to Business Insider and accused Ventura of trying to "tarnish" Combs' reputation for money."For the past six months, Mr. Combs has been subjected to Ms. Ventura's persistent demand of $30 million, under the threat of writing a damaging book about their relationship, which was unequivocally rejected as blatant blackmail," Brafman said.Business Insider reported that Douglas Wigdor, Ventura's lawyer, said Combs offered Ventura an eight-figure sum to prevent her from speaking out before the suit was filed.The next day, the Associated Press reported that Ventura and Combs had settled the suit, though the agreement's details were not publicly disclosed.November 23, 2023: Two more women accuse Combs of sexual abuse.Sean 'Diddy' Combs attends the Clive Davis and Recording Academy Pre-Grammy Gala and Grammy Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Jay-Z in New York City.Nicholas Hunt/Getty ImagesOn the eve of the expiration date for the Adult Survivors Act, two more women accused Combs of sexual abuse in separate lawsuits.Business Insider reported that Joi Dickerson-Neal, one of the accusers, accused Combs of drugging her, sexually assaulting her, and videotaping the assault after a date in 1991. Dickerson-Neal said the incident caused her to become withdrawn, and that she was diagnosed later with clinical depression and dropped out of college.The other accuser, who filed the suit without revealing her identity, said that Combs and R&B singer Aaron Hall sexually assaulted her and a friend after a music industry event in 1990 or 1991, according to AP. The suit said, per AP, that Combs came to their home a few days later to silence them and choked the woman until she passed out.A representative for Hall did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.A spokesperson for Combs told AP that Combs denied both allegations and said the women were exploiting the Adult Survivors Act.Both cases were pending as of late February, NBC News reported.November 28, 2023: the allegations have an impact on Combs' business ventures.Diddy attends the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., September 12, 2023.REUTERS/Andrew KellyAmid the numerous lawsuits, Revolt, a cable television network, announced on Instagram that Combs was stepping down as chairman.Rolling Stone reported on December 3 that Hulu canceled an upcoming reality show project based on Combs and his family called "Diddy+7." Rolling Stone also said 23 brands severed ties with Combs' marketplace for Black-owned businesses, Empower Global.December 6, 2023: A woman accuses Combs and 2 other men of raping her when she was 17.A photo of Sean "Diddy" Combs and "Jane Doe" included in the lawsuit.Wigdor LLPThe woman, who also filed the suit anonymously, alleged that Combs, his longtime producing partner Harve Pierre, and an unnamed third man "sex trafficked and gang raped" her in 2003 when she was 17, according to prior reporting by Business Insider.The lawsuit said Pierre flew the women to Combs' studio in New York, where they gave her drugs and alcohol until she was too inebriated to consent."While at the studio, Ms. Doe was gang raped by Mr. Combs, the Third Assailant and Mr. Pierre, in that order," the suit says. The suit also included photos of the accuser, with her face blurred, in the New York studio.Combs denied the allegation on Instagram and declared he was going to "fight for my name, my family and for the truth." View this post on Instagram A post shared by LOVE (@diddy) "For the last couple of weeks, I have sat silently and watched people try to assassinate my character, destroy my reputation and my legacy," he said. "Sickening allegations have been made against me by individuals looking for a quick payday."Pierre didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.On February 20, 2024, Rolling Stone reported that Combs, Pierre, and Combs' company, Bad Boy Entertainment, filed a response to the lawsuit. Combs' lawyers refuted the allegation and questioned the accuracy of the photographs."(Combs) never participated in, witnessed, or was or is presently aware of any misconduct, sexual or otherwise, relating to plaintiff in any circumstance whatsoever," the filing says, per Rolling Stone.Combs' lawyers also said the suit should be thrown out because they believe an amendment to the Victims of Gender-Motivated Violence Act, which allowed the unnamed woman to sue Combs, is unconstitutional.The 2022 amendment removes the statute of limitations for gender-based violence cases for two years, similar to the Adult Survivors Act.Pierre also denied participating in any sexual assault when he filed his defense. Bad Boy Entertainment motioned to dismiss the suit against them, arguing there is no basis that the Gender-Motivated Violence act expands to corporate defendants.December 7, 2023: Tiffany Red defends Ventura in an open letter published in Rolling Stone.Diddy is now a father of seven.Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Sean “Diddy” CombsTiffany Red is a singer-songwriter who became friends with Ventura in 2015 while working together. In December 2023, Red wrote an open letter in Rolling Stone to Combs, saying that she saw Combs verbally abusing Ventura after Ventura's 29th birthday party in August 2015.Red said the incident occurred outside a private karaoke room that the group went to after the main party. According to Red, Combs pulled Ventura out of the room, cornered her with his security team, and "cursed her out with your hands in her face.""I felt helpless. She looked afraid and kept looking down at the floor. I didn't know what to do. I was scared," Red said.In response, Combs' spokesperson referred Rolling Stone to Combs' Instagram statement.February 26, 2024: Jones Jr. accuses Combs of sexual assault and drugging.Sean "Diddy" Combs attends the 2023 Met Gala.Jamie McCarthy/Getty ImagesJones' suit filed on Monday lists several allegations against Combs, according to the AP and the Times.The suit also says, per AP, Combs made Jones work in a bathroom while Combs walked around naked and showered.Per The Times, Jones accused Combs of grabbing his genitals without consent, attempting to "groom" Jones into having sex with another man, and forcing Jones to "solicit sex workers and perform sex acts to the pleasure of Mr. Combs."Jones also alleged he was not paid for his work on Combs' latest album, according to the Times. There is an online crowdfunding campaign with a statement reading "Help Me Sue Sean 'Diddy' Combs," which seems to have been started by Jones earlier this month.Holley, Combs' attorney, accused Jones of lying to get money from Combs."Lil Rod is nothing more than a liar who filed a $30 million lawsuit shamelessly looking for an undeserved payday," she said in a statement to Business."His reckless name-dropping about events that are pure fiction and simply did not happen is nothing more than a transparent attempt to garner headlines."Tyrone Blackburn, Jones' attorney, did not immediately respond to a request to comment from Business Insider.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytFeb 27th, 2024

Russian soldiers forced to rape each other says report alleging brutal violence on Ukraine frontline

A Russian news outlet interviewed several soldiers, who described brutal conditions in which troops recruited from prisons abuse their comrades. A video shows fighters from Russia's Storm-Z squad explaining they will no longer fight in Ukraine, in protest at treatment by their commanders, on June 28.Gulagu.net/ReutersRussian soldiers are facing brutal punishments on the Ukraine front line, outlet Verstka reported.Soldiers claim that convict soldiers abuse their comrades while commanders stay away from the front.The outlet published videos appearing to show naked soldiers being beaten and others tied to trees.Russian soldiers are subjected to brutal extrajudicial punishments on the front line in Ukraine, including being tied to trees for days, being forced to rape each other, and being thrown in pits naked, according to a shocking article from the independent Russian news outlet Verstka.The outlet interviewed several Russian soldiers over three months, who described brutal conditions in which troops recruited from Russia's prisons bully and abuse mobilized soldiers while commanders remain stationed safely away from the front."Our convicts have completely lost their heads," one soldier told Verstka, citing a lack of rotation on the front line and mounting numbers of fatalities as reasons for their anger.The outlet obtained a video which appeared to show four naked men being hit and verbally abused by military personnel and then made to enter a dug pit.Verstka reported a soldier shouted at the naked victims, "What are you doing, you fucking dog, Don't move, everyone stand... And you run into the hole, whore, to copulate. Run, you fat bitch, whore." Business Insider was unable to verify the claims made in the article.The soldier who shared the video with Verstka, Misha Maltsev, said that this is a typical form of unofficial punishment for those who drink or do drugs while on duty.He further claimed that the vigilante troops then "make them have sex afterwards. They sit and watch it. Laughing, pissing on top of them. Like they're watching TV."Handcuffed to trees"It's hell here," another Russian soldier said. "They're killing each other. The Ukrainians are killing each other. The orders are stupid. Everyone understands that you can't succeed, but they send them to die anyway."Verstka also published a video appearing to show an unidentified soldier being tied to a tree.Those who refuse to fight are also subject to brutal punishments, with Russian soldier Semyon Kiskorov telling the outlet that they would be handcuffed or tied to trees for days and not allowed to eat or drink.Kiskorov claimed that this happened to him and his brother in November 2023 after they refused to go on an assault.Maltsev told Verstka that wounded soldiers are stitched up and sent back to fight, and the bodies of their dead comrades are often left to rot around them.The outlet noted that after speaking with them, Maltsev and his entire unit were killed in the village of Krynky, on the east bank of the Dnipro river where Ukraine has established a bridgehead, in December 2023.In a third video, two men appear to be beaten with sticks as machine guns are fired close to their heads. Groans, shouts, and the sounds of blows on people's bodies can be heard. "That's it, please forgive me," howls one of those being "punished."Russia's 'Storm Z' unitsRussian servicemen take part in military exercises at the Uspenovskyi training ground outside the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia, on September 4, 2022.Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Russian army has suffered heavy casualties throughout the war, with some analysts describing their use of "human wave" tactics, which attempt to overwhelm Ukrainian positions by sending in masses of soldiers on foot.These soldiers are often poorly trained or under-equipped, leading to the number of fatalities to mount.Last year, the Kremlin set up "Storm Z" units. Some of the troops in this force are convicted criminals who go into combat in exchange for time off of their sentences.Ukraine has said that Storm Z shows extremely low combat capability, according to a press release translated by Pravada.The soldiers in this group suffer from alcoholism, engage in looting, and are prone to desertion, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine saidRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2024

The Year Of Cascading Crises

The Year Of Cascading Crises Authored by James Rickards via DailyReckoning.com, I often write about different crises, but usually one at a time. Whether it’s a market crash, recession, bank failures, etc. I take them on an individual basis. But what about a cascade of crises? What about a situation in which one crisis comes after another for a prolonged period? Each crisis might be manageable, but the sheer volume of crises and their cumulative effect might push society to the breaking point. It may seem hyperbolic at first glance, but it’s not — it’s entirely plausible. Now, I’m not necessarily predicting that we’ll get a cascade of crises. But it’s possible, and you should be prepared just in case. That’s because it looks like 2024 might be a year in which the crises do cascade. And the crises will not be natural disasters (although that could happen) but more like social and political disasters. Here’s what might play out over the next 10 months and the reasons why: Much of what is to come is in response to the likely victory of Donald Trump in the race for the presidency. One cannot overstate the sheer fear of Trump by the globalists, Davos crowd, progressives, climate alarmists, DEI gurus and just about anyone else who can’t stand Trump. This fear often manifests itself in the form of Trump derangement syndrome (TDS), which is a genuine form of mental illness, not just a simple disagreement with Trump’s policies. And TDS is contagious. I’m not saying this to defend Trump (he has many flaws); I’m just pointing out the degree to which his critics hate and fear him. Confidence in the Rule of Law Is Gone The key question is: “What would the anti-Trumpers in government and the media do to stop Trump?” The answer is: “Whatever it takes.” Trump is not just an opposing politician; he’s an existential threat to a 50-year-old globalist, anti-nationalist agenda. To keep him out of the White House, his political opponents have resorted to lawfare: the use of law to handicap a political opponent. We see this in the New York civil case in which a judge has now ruled that Trump and his companies must pay a $355 million fine (in addition to what may amount to $100 million in interest payments) for a non-crime. Trump simply did not commit fraud under any plausible interpretation of the law. No one even claims to have been defrauded. There’s also the defamation verdict awarding $83 million to a plaintiff that is out of all proportion to any actual damages, and the classified documents case in Florida. We also see elite attacks in the Jan. 6 case in Washington, D.C., the notorious Stormy Daniels hush money case brought by the biased and incompetent N.Y. District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the mass RICO case brought by the unethical and compromised Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney, Fani Willis — and finally the efforts to kick Trump’s name off the ballot using Section 3 of the 14th Amendment by claiming Trump is an “insurrectionist.” Dubious at Best All of these cases are legally dubious at best. While I’m not a constitutional scholar, I am an attorney with decades of legal experience. And based on that experience, it’s clear that these cases are politically motivated. But in their zeal to get Trump, prosecutors and judges may have overreached. The Washington, D.C., case may be dismissed because the U.S. special prosecutor was not properly appointed under Department of Justice rules. There are also presidential immunity issues pending before the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Georgia case may also be dismissed because of unethical conduct and lack of disclosure by Fani Willis. Damages in the defamation case may be greatly reduced on appeal. Likewise, the Stormy Daniels case is on thin legal ice. And the Supreme Court is likely to rule any day that the 14th Amendment insurrection clause does not apply to Trump’s actions. Meanwhile, it’s difficult to see how the Florida classified documents case can result in a conviction after the kid gloves treatment given to Joe Biden in his classified documents case. And Trump can appeal the New York civil ruling, although it’ll be more difficult than a standard appeal because under the statute, Trump would have to turn over the entire $450 million while the appeal is decided. Trump’s rich, but that’s a lot of money even for a guy like Trump to round up. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has assured nervous New York business owners that they have nothing to fear from this ruling, urging them to remain in New York. But that just proves that this case was about nothing more than taking down Trump. The Damage Is Done The fact that Trump may survive this legal onslaught (or issue a self-pardon upon election) does not alter the damage done. Confidence in the rule of law has been badly eroded. The biased and unbalanced application of the law to Trump has increased the already extreme polarization that exists in the U.S. This polarization is the foundation for the other social dysfunctions to follow. Here’s a summary of the social and infrastructure crises that may follow on the political crisis described above: Energy shortages and blackouts due to Green New Scam policies and the simple physics of trying to maintain a baseline load in the power grid using intermittent sources such as windmills and solar A new pandemic promoted to impose unnecessary lockdowns that act as cover for ballot-box stuffing, extensive ballot harvesting, drop-box abuse and other scams intended to rig the vote for Biden A stock market meltdown as Congress tries to reduce out-of-control fiscal deficits and markets realize that excessive government spending was the only thing keeping the economy going in the first place The rollout of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) that will be used as a surveillance tool to identify those whom Biden calls “enemies of the people.” The targets will be Trump supporters and MAGA Republicans Chinese hacking of critical infrastructure systems including air traffic control, banking and capital markets. As these crises cascade, don’t be surprised if the White House imposes martial law and even takes steps to suspend the elections. Blood in the Streets One event which I find highly likely and a possible cover for some of these other events is blood in the streets of Chicago from Aug. 19–21, 2024. That’s the time and place of the Democratic National Convention to nominate their candidate for president. The convention will likely come under attack from Antifa, the pro-Palestinians, climate activists and others. The new mayor of Chicago, Brandon Johnson, is even more radical than Lori Lightfoot. He will let the demonstrators do what they want and tell the police to stand down. The riots, looting, arson and violence will take on a life of their own. A good example of this is found in Norman Mailer’s book Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968), which covered the riots at the Democratic convention (also in Chicago) in 1968 at the height of the war in Vietnam. The difference between then and now is that in 1968, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley let the police pound the protestors into submission. This time, Brandon Johnson will let the protestors tear up the city. In any case, events of this type can be a catalyst for extreme remedies coming from the White House that could then be used to manipulate election results. I realize that may sound paranoid or conspiratorial. But you have to realize the lengths to which these political operators will go to stop Trump. Once you do, you’ll see it’s not nearly as far-fetched. What Can You Do to Survive? The events I’m talking about would likely result in market turmoil. That’s why it’s prudent to increase your cash allocation, decrease your stock allocation (especially tech stocks) and have gold bullion coins and at least one monster box (containing 500 one-ounce American Silver Eagles available from the U.S. Mint). Land and fine art are other valuable assets. Basically, you want assets that are not vulnerable to bank failure and are not in digital form because of hacking and power grid failures. If you are in stocks, I would allocate funds to major oil companies, major defense contractors, mining companies and agriculture firms such as Cargill and ADM. Treasury notes are another good play because interest rates should plunge in any recession emerging from the chaos. Again, I’m not making a hard prediction that these events will occur. I’m simply stating that there’s a genuine possibility that they may occur, and that you should be prepared. And as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Tyler Durden Wed, 02/21/2024 - 16:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytFeb 21st, 2024

All 81 movies based on Marvel comics, ranked according to critics

From "Avengers: Endgame" to "Howard the Duck," here's how every single Marvel movie stacks up, according to critics. Dakota Johnson as Cassie Webb in "Madame Web."Jessica Kourkounis/Sony There have been 81 movies based on Marvel comic property to date. From "Howard the Duck" to "Madame Web" the quality has ebbed and flowed. Here's how all the Marvel movies — so far — compare to each other. The worst-reviewed film ever based on a Marvel comic is the 2015 reboot of "Fantastic Four," which has a measly 9% score on Rotten Tomatoes."Fantastic Four."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 9%"Fantastic Four" is the second on-screen iteration of the famed Marvel family consisting of Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic (Miles Teller), his love interest Sue Storm/Invisible Woman (Kate Mara), her brother Johnny Storm/Human Torch (Michael B. Jordan), and their friend Ben Grimm/The Thing (Jamie Bell).After they travel to a different dimension and acquire fantastic, if gruesome, powers, they face off against Doctor Doom, played by Toby Kebbell, a former friend turned homicidal maniac."A poorly constructed, ineptly executed, flatfooted piece of Branded Product that plays as though it were written by a piece of software fed every superhero movie script to date and instructed to synthesize them," wrote Flavorwire's Jason Bailey.In second-to-last place is the 2005 "Daredevil" spin-off, "Elektra.""Elektra."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 11%After dying at the end of "Daredevil," Elektra, as played by Jennifer Garner, is revived by her mentor Stick in order to become a force for good. Eventually, she abandons this lifestyle and becomes a contract killer, until an evil organization known as The Hand attempts to kill her.Tim Robey of The Telegraph called the film "Studio dross of the lowest grade."The very first Marvel film was 1986's "Howard the Duck," which was poorly received."Howard the Duck."UniversalRotten Tomatoes score: 13%As you might've guessed from the title, Howard is a duck. Specifically, a resident of the planet Duckworld, which is like Earth, but inhabited by ducks. When Howard finds himself on Earth in the state of Ohio, he must team up with a woman, Beverly Switzler (Lea Thompson) to try and get home."Sound the horns, light the speakers, and cue the marching band, because 'Howard the Duck' is here ... and bad movie historians could not ask for a more mallard-droit venture than this," wrote Michael Burkett of the Orange County Register.The first Marvel movie of 2024 is "Madame Web" — we're already off to a rough start."Madame Web."SonyRotten Tomatoes score: 14%The first Marvel film of 2024 (though not part of the MCU) is "Madame Web," which stars Dakota Johnson as Cassandra Webb, a paramedic living in New York City who somehow gains clairvoyance. She teams up with three young women — Julia (Sydney Sweeney), Anya (Isabela Merced), and Mattie (Celeste O'Connor) — who each have spider-powers in their future to take down a mysterious foe, Ezekiel Sims (Tahar Rahim)."Even Johnson has her limits, and 'Madame Web' blows so far past them that you can practically guess which scenes were shot last based on the degree to which its star has given up," wrote Allison Wilmore for Vulture.After years of delays, "Morbius" was released in 2022 to negative reviews."Morbius."Courtesy of Sony PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 15%In "Morbius," Jared Leto stars as Dr. Michael Morbius, a highly intelligent doctor who is dying from a rare blood disease. In his quest to find a cure, he accidentally turns himself into a "living vampire," a being with enhanced strength, sonar capabilities, a psychic connection with bats ... and the unending desire to drink blood."'Morbius,' at best, will be remembered as the latest effort on Sony's part to make its nascent Sinister Six franchise happen. And, like 'fetch,' it's hard to see that happening," wrote Liz Shannon Miller of Consequence."Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," the 2011 sequel to "Ghost Rider," was marginally worse than its predecessor."Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance."Columbia PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 19%Nicolas Cage returns as stuntman-turned-flaming-skeleton Johnny Blaze, who has been in hiding since the events of the first film. When he finds out that the devil himself has fathered a child and is planning to raise him, he rides again as the demonic Ghost Rider in exchange for getting his soul back."Cage appears to find his role as this second-tier Marvel Comics antihero alternately silly, tremendously fun, and the means to a decent paycheck for not all that much work," wrote the Austin Chronicle's Marc Savlov."Dark Phoenix" (2019) was most likely the last X-Men movie we're going to get with this cast. Too bad it was such a bummer."Dark Phoenix."FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 22%Jean Grey, as played by Sophie Turner, begins to lose control of her psychic abilities, unleashing what's called the "Phoenix Force." The rest of her mutant teammates, and some enemies, assemble to try and help Jean control her powers, leading to tragedy."Outgunned on the action front by box-office rivals and too nervous to tell a more intimate story, 'Dark Phoenix' leaves the franchise running on empty," wrote Michael Hale of Sight & Sound.The most recent "Men in Black" film, 2019's "Men in Black: International," was unable to recapture the magic of the original."Men in Black: International."Sony PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 23%Yes, the "Men in Black" franchise is based on the Malibu Comics run of the same name. Malibu was then acquired by Marvel in 1994.The 2019 stand-alone sequel sees Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson take over for Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, playing two new agents, Agent H and Agent M, who are paired up in London to uncover a mole within the agency."For all its oddball aliens and fantastical technology, the most unbelievable thing about 'Men in Black: International' is just how thoroughly it wastes Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth," wrote Mashable's Angie Han.The final "Blade" film (for now), 2004's "Blade: Trinity," is also the worst "Blade" film."Blade: Trinity."New Line CinemaRotten Tomatoes score: 24%Until Mahershala Ali's "Blade" film is released, this is our most recent version of Blade, a human-vampire hybrid who has dedicated himself to hunting vampires. In the last film of the trilogy, Blade, played by Wesley Snipes, teams up with two new vampire hunters (Ryan Reynolds' Hannibal King and Jessica Biel's Abigail Whistler) to defeat Dracula."This has all the appeal of reheated, congealed blood," wrote Time Out's Nigel Floyd.The first "Ghost Rider" film, released in 2007, introduced audiences to Nicolas Cage's take on a superhero."Ghost Rider."Columbia PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 27%In "Ghost Rider," viewers watch as Cage's Johnny Blaze descends into hell as the literal devil's bounty hunter, a power he received after trading his soul to spare his father's life. Now, when he's around an evil spirit, he becomes the Ghost Rider, a flaming skull demon who rides a motorcycle. He gets into a race against the son of a demon to prevent him from unleashing hell on Earth."Nic Cage seems comfortable in the role of the flaming-skulled biker, but the plot holes are too deep even for his Herbie-like arachnid motorcycle to negotiate," wrote David Jenkins for Time Out.The first "Fantastic Four" film, released in 2005, wasn't much better than the 2015 reboot."Fantastic Four."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 28%Years before he became Captain America, Chris Evans took on the role of Johnny Storm, better known as the Human Torch, in "Fantastic Four." He was joined by Jessica Alba as Sue Storm/Invisible Woman, Ioan Gruffudd as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, and Michael Chiklis as Ben Grimm/The Thing.Instead of traveling to a parallel dimension, this version of the Fantastic Four's origin story sees them interact with a cosmic cloud in space, giving them their powers. But, like in the reboot, their primary nemesis is Doctor Doom, this time a former classmate of Reed and Sue's, played by Julian McMahon.On the AV Club, Keith Phipps simply called the movie "A garish mediocrity."In 2004's "The Punisher" viewers saw the first take on the ruthless vigilante Frank Castle, aka the Punisher."The Punisher."Lions Gate FilmsRotten Tomatoes score: 29%"The Punisher" stars Thomas Jane as Frank Castle, a former FBI agent whose entire family is murdered after his cover is blown by the vengeful Saint crime family, the head of which is played by John Travolta. Frank then dedicates his entire existence to getting revenge on those who were involved in the death of his wife and children."A comic-book action movie with an unpleasant edge," wrote Nev Pierce for the BBC.Its 2008 reboot "Punisher: War Zone" didn't fare any better with critics."Punisher: War Zone."LionsgateRotten Tomatoes score: 29%"War Zone" saw its titular role re-cast with Ray Stevenson, whose version of Frank is now five years into his career as the vigilante the Punisher. This time, Frank goes up against one of his most famous adversaries in the comics, Jigsaw (played by Dominic West), while evading the police who have created a "Punisher Task Force" dedicated to bringing him in."You couldn't call it shoddy, exactly, and the actors take it painfully seriously; it's just dispiriting to see all this endeavor in the service of something so humorless and disgusting," wrote Andrew Pulver of The Guardian."Venom" might've been a hit with audiences when it was released in 2018, but critics didn't feel the same way."Venom."Sony PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 30%In "Venom," Tom Hardy plays journalist Eddie Brock, who loses his job, his fiancée (played by Michelle Williams), and his reputation after he steals confidential documents and confronts a powerful CEO played by Riz Ahmed. Simultaneously, he is exposed to an alien symbiote who calls itself Venom, and the two bond together to protect the Earth."Not since 'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' has a Marvel Comics adaptation centered on such a splendidly weird lead performance," wrote the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs."Kick-Ass 2," the 2013 sequel to "Kick-Ass," wasn't as big of a hit as the original."Kick-Ass 2."Universal PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 32%"Kick-Ass" and its sequel are based on the series of the same name, which was initially published by the Marvel imprint Icon Comics. It has since moved to Image Comics, the third-largest comics brand behind Marvel and DC.Specifically, "Kick-Ass 2" reunites viewers with the vigilante duo of Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass and Chloë Grace Moretz as Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl as they once again face off against Christopher Mintz-Plasse's Chris D'Amico, who has an NSFW alter ego."Although the film has the cheap veneer of female empowerment that comes from having a girl assassin, it is rotten with misogyny," Jenny McCartney for The Telegraph."The New Mutants" was finally released in 2020, and was the 13th and final installment in the "X-Men" franchise at Fox."The New Mutants."FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 36%Now that Disney officially owns Fox, the next X-Men movie we get will likely be an entirely different continuity. For a franchise with high highs and low lows, it's just unfortunate that this was the last hurrah."New Mutants" stars Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga, and Adam Beach as a group of teenage mutants living in a hospital. They were all sent there after causing horrible accidents (or even deaths) with their powers, only to discover that things at the hospital are not what they seem."The concept behind 'The New Mutants' is a solid, intriguing one that could've reinvigorated the familiar origin superhero story. Instead, Boone opts for genericism, ending the 'X-Men' franchise with an angsty-teen whimper," wrote Meagan Navarro for Bloody Disgusting.The 2007 "Fantastic Four" sequel, "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer," was a slight improvement on its predecessor."Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 38%The cast from the first film all returns, joined by Doug Jones and Laurence Fishburne, who provide the physical form and voice, respectively, of the Silver Surfer, a herald from outer space who serves to warn a planet of its incoming destruction at the hands of the planet-killing Galactus."An off-brand superhero movie, the cinematic equivalent of one of those generic breakfast cereals with a badly drawn squirrel for a mascot," wrote Slate's Dana Stevens.With a name like "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," you can assume that the 2009 prequel was supposed to start a whole new series of prequels. They never materialized."X-Men Origins: Wolverine."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 38%The 2009 film focuses on Logan, or Wolverine, as played by Hugh Jackman, and what his life was like before he became the X-Man that we knew and loved in the three previous movies, following him from the Civil War to the 1970s."'Wolverine' starts with a roar before sliding into a chaotic, preachy mess," wrote The Irish Times' Donald Clarke.The 2002 sequel "Men in Black II" wasn't as critically beloved as the first film."Men in Black II."Sony Pictures ReleasingRotten Tomatoes score: 38%After the events of the first film, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) has retired and subsequently had his memory wiped of all things alien, but Agent J (Will Smith) drags him back into duty to confront their biggest threat yet."This is effective button-pushing sci-fi entertainment, but you won't need to be neuralized to forget it," wrote Andy Jacobs for the BBC."The King's Man" is the 2021 prequel to the "Kingsman" franchise."The King's Man."Twentieth Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 40%"The King's Man" is based on the Icon Comics series "Kingsman" (originally titled "The Secret Service"), telling the story of the very first members of the Kingsman, including Ralph Fiennes' Orlando Oxford, his son Conrad (played by Harris Dickinson), a maid/spy Polly (played by Gemma Arterton), a butler/spy Shola (played by Djimon Honsou), and more as they go up against Russian sorcerer Rasputin, as played by Rhys Ifans."It is downright diabolical for Vaughn to make audiences even imagine a sequel to this unnecessary prequel simply to see if can be as outlandish as promised," wrote the Los Angeles Times' Mark Olsen.Ben Affleck took his first turn at the vigilante lifestyle in 2003's "Daredevil.""Daredevil."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 43%Affleck plays Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer with preternaturally sensitive senses and a healthy helping of Catholic guilt who decides to save Hell's Kitchen by becoming Daredevil, the Man Without Fear.He's joined by Jennifer Garner as Elektra, an assassin with a heart, and Jon Favereau as Foggy Nelson, his best friend and fellow lawyer. They go up against the crime boss Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, played by Michael Clarke Duncan, and the unstable assassin Bullseye, played by Colin Farrell.Joe Morganstern of the Wall Street Journal wrote, "It isn't a great film, or even a greatly original one. Still, it has many grace notes, and interesting oddities."2023's "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania" has the distinction of being the lowest-rated film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe."Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 46%It's been a tough time for the MCU over the last couple of years, and "Quantumania" seems to be a nadir for the long-running franchise.In this film, Ant-Man (or Scott Lang), played by Paul Rudd, travels to the microscopic Quantum Realm to save his daughter Cassie (Kathryn Newton), who was sucked in there by a mysterious device. Along for the ride are his girlfriend Hope/The Wasp (Evangeline Lilly), her mom Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer), her dad Hank (Michael Douglas), and various other citizens of this new plane of existence.Kyle Smith of The Wall Street Journal called it "another lackluster blockbuster.""X-Men: Apocalypse" was released in 2016 and stars an unrecognizable Oscar Isaac as an ancient mutant bent on destroying the world."X-Men: Apocalypse."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 47%"Apocalypse" is the ninth "X-Men" film overall, and the third installment in the prequel trilogy that stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult as younger versions of mutants from the original three films.In "Apocalypse," the team must unite to defeat the world's first mutant, En Sabah Nur, or Apocalypse, as he tries to remake the world when he is awoken after thousands of years."This is one of the big dangers for the extended franchise model of filmmaking, that characters and series will be kept alive not because there's a story to tell, but because the franchise must be kept alive," wrote Peter Suderman for Vox.2021's "Eternals" introduced a whole new team of heroes to the MCU — and yes, that is Harry Styles."Eternals."Disney/Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 47%"Eternals," directed by Oscar winner Chloé Zhao, attempted to introduce an entirely new team of superheroes, an alien race called the Eternals, to the MCU and followed them from prehistoric times through the present day. Your mileage may vary on how successful she was, but "Eternals" did introduce Harry Styles to the MCU, so there's that."Zhao ultimately robs the artist's comic of its sweep by constantly turning a space opera into a repetitive character drama," wrote Ed Gonzalez for Slant Magazine.The first "Kingsman" sequel, "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," was released in 2017."Kingsman: The Golden Circle."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 50%"The Golden Circle" stars Taron Egerton once again as Eggsy, a newly minted member of the secret spy organization the Kingsman. After many of its members are wiped out, Eggsy and his colleague Merlin (Mark Strong), travel to the US and meet their American equivalents, the Statesman.David Edelstein simply wrote, "What a mess it is" in his review for Vulture."The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (2014) is the worst Spider-Man movie to date, according to critics."The Amazing Spider-Man 2."Sony / Columbia PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 51%Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone reunite as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, and his doomed girlfriend Gwen Stacy in this over-stuffed sequel that sees Peter going up against Jamie Foxx's Electro, Dane DeHaan's Green Goblin, and Paul Giamatti's Rhino."Over-stuffed with plot and consequently struggles to invest the audience in any of it, since there's so much to get through and so many future films and spin-offs to set up," wrote The Atlantic's David Sims."X-Men: The Last Stand," released in 2006, was imagined as a potential final film for the X-Men."X-Men: The Last Stand."Twentieth Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 57%"The Last Stand" is another interpretation of the "Dark Phoenix Saga," this time focusing on Famke Janssen's version of Jean Grey after she's resurrected following her death in "X2." Like the 2019 version of the story, Jean is unable to control her powers and kills people that she cares about until she is ultimately taken out by Logan."'The Last Stand' pretty much looks and plays like the first films, though perhaps with more noise and babe action and a little less glum," wrote Manohla Dargis for The New York Times."Blade II" wasn't critically adored when it was released in 2002, but has become a cult film since then."Blade II."New LineRotten Tomatoes score: 57%"Blade II" might be a little tough to watch in the year 2024, as its plot focuses on a pandemic that turns vampires into Reapers, aka rabid vampires, but the additions of Ron Perlman and a young Norman Reedus are worth the watch. Plus, it was directed by horror visionary Guillermo del Toro, which means at the very least that it's never boring.As the AV Club's Nathan Rabin wrote, "The world can always use another entertainingly trashy B-movie, and 'Blade II' fits the bill.""Venom: Let There Be Carnage" took everything we liked about the 2018 original and enhanced it when it was released in 2021."Venom: Let There Be Carnage."SonyRotten Tomatoes score: 57%"Venom: Let There Be Carnage" is a lean, mean, killing machine. Ostensibly, the movie is about Venom and Eddie working together to defeat the serial killer Cletus Kasady, played by a dialed-in Woody Harrelson ... but, in actuality, it's a romantic comedy between Venom and Eddie trying to figure out how to live together in one body."A love story written in blood, sweat, and the slime of half-eaten brains," wrote The Independent's Clarisse Loughrey."Blade" (1998) has been ruled the best "Blade" film by critics."Blade."New Line CinemaRotten Tomatoes score: 58%Wesley Snipes makes his debut as Blade, a vampire-human hybrid who has dedicated his life to hunting down vampires in the seedy underworld of his home city, using his unique advantages, like the ability to walk in the daylight."'Blade's' stomach-turning special effects, bone-crunching martial arts and cynical humor will more than satisfy any action-film addict's need for a fix of eye-popping escapist adrenaline," wrote the Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan.In 2023, Captain Marvel returned in "The Marvels," alongside some new friends."The Marvels."Laura Radford/Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 62%After saving the universe, Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) has once again left Earth to continue saving the rest of the galaxy — but when her powers get entangled with her best friend's daughter, Monica (Teyonah Parris), and a Captain Marvel superfan who has nicknamed herself Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), she must return to her home planet to see what exactly is going on, and confront the mistakes of her past."It's silly and makes little sense, but it's such a fun time at the movies. And isn't that why we go to see movies in the first place?" wrote Kristen Lopez for The Wrap.The first big-screen adaptation of Bruce Banner's green transformation, the 2003 film "Hulk," received mixed-to-positive reviews."Hulk."UniversalRotten Tomatoes score: 63%Eric Bana took on the role of Marvel's not-so-jolly green giant in Ang Lee's version of "Hulk" in one of the most faithful comic-book movies, at least aesthetically speaking, even if the character's origin wasn't exactly the same as on the page. A supporting cast of Jennifer Connelly, Sam Elliott, and Nick Nolte also elevates this movie."Where so many comic-book movies feel as disposable as Kleenex, the passionate, un-cynical 'Hulk' stamps itself into your memory. Lee's movies are built to last," wrote Newsweek's David Ansen."Spider-Man 3," released in 2007, capped off the original "Spider-Man" trilogy, and is considered the weakest of the three."Spider-Man 3."Columbia PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 63%"Spider-Man 3" made the mistake of trying to cram too many villains into one film, a mistake that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" replicated a few years later. In the film, Peter, as played by Tobey Maguire, faces off against his best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco) as the new Green Goblin, Flint Marko/Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and Eddie Brock (this time played by Topher Grace), aka Venom.He also infamously dances down the streets of New York City with the most emo haircut of all time, which is later referenced in "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" a decade later."Too many villains, too many pale plot strands, too many romantic misunderstandings, too many conversations, too many street crowds looking high into the air and shouting 'oooh!' this way, then swiveling and shouting aaah!' that way," wrote Roger Ebert."Thor: Love and Thunder" became the lowest-rated "Thor" movie upon its release in 2022 ..."Thor: Love and Thunder."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 63%The follow-up to smash hit "Thor: Ragnarok" and the first-ever fourth solo film for an MCU hero didn't live up to expectations, at least according to critics. But we did get to see Natalie Portman return to the MCU as her version of the Mighty Thor, a couple of screaming goats, and a jaw-dropping post-credits cameo."Though Chris Hemsworth, as usual, has a lot of fun in the title role, the film around him too often strains to provide excitement and laughs," wrote Wall Street Journal's Kyle Smith.... which is impressive because "Thor: The Dark World," released in 2013, was the lowest-rated movie in the MCU until "Eternals.""Thor: The Dark World."Disney / MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 67%"Thor: The Dark World," the 2013 sequel to the 2011 film, stars Chris Hemsworth as the titular Norse god, Tom Hiddleston as his mischievous brother Loki, and Natalie Portman as Thor's Earth-bound love interest Jane Foster. It wasn't as well-received as its predecessor, but it has its defenders."This feels like a really, really, expensive episode of 'Doctor Who.' In a good way," wrote Larushka Ivan-Zadeh for Metro."The Incredible Hulk," the MCU's reboot of Hulk, was released in 2008."The Incredible Hulk."MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 67%Edward Norton took over for Eric Bana in "The Incredible Hulk," which was plagued with rumors of behind-the-scenes drama, including that Norton rewrote much of the movie while it was shooting, and that there were many clashes between Norton, director Louis Leterrier, and Marvel Studios.Those dueling visions led to a moderately received comic-book film."The climax is a bit of a yawn, but most of what precedes it is vigorous and sharp," wrote Tom Charity of CNN.The third "Men in Black" film seemed to recapture some of the original's magic when it was released in 2012."Men in Black 3.""Men in Black 3"Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%A decade after we last saw Agents J and K, viewers were once again treated to the comedic duo of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, but with a twist.The film focuses on an alien who travels back in time to kill a young Agent K (Jones) in the 1960s, leading Agent J (Smith) to also travel back and team up with the young Agent K, played by Josh Brolin, to fix the future."The movie represents at least a partial return to form, not as inventive as the first, but surely better than the recycled materials that made up the second," wrote The Atlantic's Christopher Orr.2013's standalone sequel "The Wolverine" proved why Logan/Wolverine has remained the most beloved member of the X-Men, cinematically speaking."The Wolverine."FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 71%"The Wolverine" separates Hugh Jackman's Wolverine from the rest of the X-Men for his own little side-quest in Japan where he wrestles with the consequences of his actions (aka killing Jean Grey in "X-Men: The Last Stand") and with his "curse" of immortality."Director James Mangold's film features some breathtakingly suspenseful action sequences, exquisite production and costume design and colorful characters, some of whom register more powerfully than others," wrote Christy Lemire for RogerEbert.com.Andrew Garfield's first turn at playing Spider-Man, 2012's "The Amazing Spider-Man," is a solid origin story."The Amazing Spider-Man."Columbia PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 71%Released just five years after Tobey Maguire hung up his spider-suit in 2007, "The Amazing Spider-Man" had its work cut out for it. And, largely, the movie succeeds at introducing a new take on our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and his second-most iconic love interest Gwen Stacy (played by a luminous Emma Stone), while attempting to introduce new lore regarding Peter's parents' disappearance."The casting is just right. As if moving back in time, Andrew Garfield is the Spidey Sean Connery, as opposed to Tobey Maguire's Roger Moore," wrote The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw."Iron Man 2" is the 2010 follow-up to the smash success "Iron Man.""Iron Man 2."MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 72%In retrospect, "Iron Man 2" had an impossible job: to build upon what is still regarded as one of the finest superhero films of all time.Perhaps that's why critics weren't too kind to "Iron Man 2," which focused on Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, being rude to everyone around him while covering up his impending death. Oh, and Mickey Rourke is there playing Whiplash, a Russian villain who loves his bird."Casting the likes of Downey and Rourke and then imprisoning them in jointed refrigerators is resource-squandering of the highest order," wrote Dana Stevens for Slate.The 2022 film "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" was filled with cameos from across the larger Marvel universe."Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 73%After the events of the Disney+ miniseries "WandaVision," Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff has been taken over by the dark forces of the Scarlet Witch, putting her on a collision course with Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Stephen Strange as he works to protect a new teenage friend, America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez), from Wanda's plans."It might be Marvel's multiverse, but 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' is [director Sam] Raimi's plaything. And we wouldn't want it any other way," wrote Kristy Puchko for Mashable.The original "Kingsman" movie, "Kingsman: The Secret Service," was released in 2014."Kingsman: The Secret Service.""Kingsman"Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%"Kingsman," which is based on the Icon Comics run of the same name, is a far bloodier and funnier movie than anything viewers had seen from a comic-book movie in some time. Taron Egerton stars as Eggsy, a petty criminal and Royal Marines dropout who is turned into a super-spy with the help of his mentor, Harry, played by Colin Firth."On Day One of filming, they must have thrown away the moral compass and taken a group vow to splatter our sensibilities with stylish, gratuitous violence and one 'Wait, what?!' moment after another," wrote Richard Roeper for the Chicago Sun-Times.The sequel to "Marvel's The Avengers," 2015's "Avengers: Age of Ultron," was a mixed bag."Avengers: Age of Ultron."MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 76%The Avengers team up once again in "Age of Ultron" to take down the nihilistic AI known as Ultron, designed as a "suit of armor around the world" by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, aka Iron Man and the Hulk, who is hell-bent on destroying the planet at all costs."The sharp, interpersonal dramedy that made the first movie such a delight is again present in flashes, but not infrequently it is drowned out by the noisy, inevitable need to Save the World," wrote Christopher Orr for The Atlantic.We wouldn't have ultra-violent, ultra-profane shows and movies like "Deadpool," "The Boys," "Kingsman," and "Invincible" without 2010's "Kick-Ass.""Kick-Ass."LionsgateRotten Tomatoes score: 77%Of course, some of those characters predate the Icon Comics character, but without the on-screen success of "Kick-Ass," it's hard to tell when those adaptations would've come to pass."Kick-Ass" stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson — who is currently suiting up for his third comic-book movie as Kraven the Hunter — as Dave Lizewski, a normal teenager and comics super-fan who decides to become a vigilante called Kick-Ass. He inspires a movement, and teams up with other vigilantes like Hit-Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) to take down organized crime."Everything you've likely heard about 'Kick-Ass' is true, providing you've heard it's profane, outlandish, ultra-violent, shocking, funny and wildly entertaining," wrote Tom Long of The Detroit News.Chris Hemsworth made his debut as Thor in the 2011 film of the same name."Thor."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 77%Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston were both essentially unknowns when they were cast as Norse gods Thor and Loki (as evidenced by their casting announcement in Deadline), and this movie catapulted them both to the A-list almost immediately.Both Hemsworth and Hiddleston are still involved in the MCU in 2022, with Hemsworth's Thor getting a fourth solo film (a first for the MCU) and Hiddleston's Loki getting a second season of his Disney+ series (also a first for the MCU). Seeing their chemistry as brothers in this first film explains why."The new Marvel Comics movie 'Thor,' directed by Kenneth Branagh, is equal parts trippy, tacky, and monumental, the blend surprisingly agreeable, a happy change from all those aggressively down-to-earth superhero flicks like 'Iron Man,'" wrote David Edelstein for Vulture.The final solo film for Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, "Iron Man 3," was released in 2013."Iron Man 3."Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 79%"Iron Man 3" focuses on Tony Stark dealing with his PTSD after the events of "Avengers," like his near-death experience flying a nuclear bomb through a wormhole in space. But the big twist of this movie, the bait-and-switch identity of the Mandarin, played by Ben Kingsley, remains this movie's biggest legacy."A thrilling film and a somewhat satisfying conclusion to the 'Iron Man' trilogy," wrote Nicolás Delgadillo for Discussing Film."Captain Marvel," the first film in the MCU to focus on a female superhero, is tied with "Iron Man 3." It was released in 2019."Captain Marvel."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 79%Brie Larson stars as Carol Danvers, a former US Air Force pilot who is exposed to a blast of cosmic energy in the '90s, experiences memory loss, and is taken in by an alien race called the Kree. As Carol tries to remember her past, she's introduced to a young(er) S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, a digitally de-aged Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury."The main strength is a core of female friendship: Carol Danvers is the only Marvel hero you could imagine getting hammered and belting out songs by No Doubt," wrote The Observer's Wendy Ide.The second female-focused MCU movie, 2021's "Black Widow," also has a 79%."Black Widow."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 79%Set between the events of "Captain America: Civil War" and "Avengers: Infinity War," and exactly a decade after her introduction as Natasha Romanoff in "Iron Man 2," Scarlett Johansson finally stars in her own solo film with "Black Widow." The film also introduced actors Florence Pugh, David Harbour, and Rachel Weisz to the MCU, all three of whom we'd love to see again in the future."In all the ways that matter to an MCU fan, 'Black Widow' the film meets or exceeds all expectations. It is a killer action flick, and a unique viewing experience... in that I loved it, and the fact that I loved it also makes me livid," wrote Salon's Melanie McFarland."Captain America: The First Avenger" was also released in 2011, and took viewers back in time to the 1940s."Captain America: The First Avenger."Paramount PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 80%Simply put, Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is the role that Chris Evans was born to play. Audiences see Evans first as a digitally altered scrawny kid from Brooklyn who, against all odds, is chosen to receive a "super soldier serum" and become Captain America due to his pure heart. With anyone else, it'd be unbearably cheesy, but Evans sells it."No clever messages here, just bang-on romance and action, with another fresh twist on 20th-century history woven in for the kids to dive into after the credits have rolled," wrote Ed Gibbs for The Sydney Morning Herald.Arguably one of, if not the first modern Marvel movie, 2000's "X-Men" set the stage for movies in the 21st century."X-Men."FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 82%"X-Men" gave us Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Ian McKellan as Magneto, Halle Berry as Storm, Famke Janssen as Jean Grey, James Marsden as Cyclops, Anna Paquin as Rogue, Rebecca Romijn as Mystique ... the list goes on.While the film is a pretty straightforward origin story/team-up film, the action set the template for what the next 20-plus years of movies would look like."The 'X-Men' comic books have spawned a cottage industry of mutant characters, and the movie helps make sense of these legions while offering the established fan base something new to cheer," wrote Jami Bernard for the New York Daily News."Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," released in 2023, was a fitting conclusion to the "Guardians" franchise."Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 82%After the galaxy-saving stakes of the first two "Guardians" films, it was refreshing to watch our favorite rag-tag group of heroes come together to just save one of their friends, Rocket (Bradley Cooper), after he was gravely injured by a new threat, Adam Warlock (Will Poulter).Of course, the film also deals with Peter/Star-Lord's (Chris Pratt) trauma of having to see a new version of his dead ex-girlfriend Gamora (Zoe Saldaña) — a sentence that only makes sense if you've seen "Infinity War" and "Endgame) — but if this is the last we see of our nice space friends, it was a great run."Now that nearly every other cinematic release reads like a holding pattern until they finally get around to mutants, 'Guardians Vol. 3' is the first sign in a while that Marvel might actually have some genuine enjoyment left in the tank," wrote Jackson Weaver for CBC News.Paul Rudd joined the MCU in 2015's "Ant-Man.""Ant-Man."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 83%Rudd plays Scott Lang, a white-collar criminal who is enlisted to take on the mantle of Ant-Man, a shrinking superhero who used to be Michael Douglas' Hank Pym.But, as Pym is too old to suit up, he and his daughter Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) teach Lang how to control ants, shrink and grow at will, and later break into Pym's lab to take down Darren Cross (Corey Stoll)."Paul Rudd stars in a formulaic but consistently entertaining and likable Marvel summer blockbuster," wrote NME's Nick Levine."Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" was equal parts tragic and joyful."Black Panther: Wakanda Forever."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 83%After the tragic (and unexpected) death of Chadwick Boseman in 2020, the highly anticipated "Black Panther" sequel was rewritten to be a story of grief and mourning, while also setting up the future of Wakanda in the MCU for years to come.Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong'o, Letitia Wright, and Winston Duke all put in stellar performances, while Tenoch Huerta introduced viewers to the underwater king Namor with a bang."A thoughtful and mature exploration of communal grief in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Chadwick Boseman," wrote Chicago Reader's Sheri Flanders.Ryan Reynolds returned as the merc with a mouth in 2018's "Deadpool 2.""Deadpool 2."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 84%"Deadpool 2" expanded the universe of Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool, a mutant mercenary who has a tendency to break the fourth wall. In addition to bringing back Teenage Negasonic Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), Colossus (Stefan Kapičić), and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), "Deadpool 2" adds Josh Brolin as Cable and Zazie Beetz as Domino, two welcome additions.In "Deadpool 2," Deadpool teams up with an X-Force (of sorts) to find young Russell Collins, a mutant with fire capabilities, who is the target of the time-traveling assassin Cable, who wants to kill Russell as a teen before he becomes a serial killer in the future."'Deadpool 2' goes bigger than the first, but the shockingly touching family theme pulls all of the new characters and big set pieces together well. Another wild, hilarious ride for the character with just enough honesty and heart," said Perri Nemiroff in a Collider video review."X2: X-Men United" was released three years after its predecessor, in 2003."X2: X-Men United."FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 85%The whole gang reunited in 2003 for "X2," which sees the X-Men go up against Brian Cox's William Stryker, an anti-mutant military scientist who is planning to commit genocide against all mutants."'X2' is pretty much all that you'd ever want out of a comic book movie. It's smart, it's breathlessly paced, the characters have at least 2 1/2 dimensions, and the action sequences are jaw-droppers, even on the small screen," wrote The Advocate's Alonso Duralde.Ryan Reynolds brought Wade Wilson to life (technically for the second time) in 2016's "Deadpool.""Deadpool."David Dolson/20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 85%After playing Deadpool in the 2009 "X-Men" spin-off "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," Reynolds was determined to do the character justice in his own film with a completely redesigned version of him.Seven years later, Reynolds starred in "Deadpool," which tells the story of mercenary Wade Wilson who embarks on a journey to cure himself of terminal cancer with some unintended consequences, like when he becomes immortal and scarred across his entire body."'Deadpool' is obnoxious and puerile and infantile and has an irritating meta tone so snide that it's constantly in danger of nullifying the entire movie, and I still got a pretty big kick out of it," wrote Will Leitch in The New Republic."Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," released in 2017, also has an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes."Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."Disney/MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 85%"GOTG Vol. 2" delves into the true parentage of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, as played by Chris Pratt. In addition to the rest of the stellar returning cast, Kurt Russell was added to play Peter's biological father, Ego the Living Planet, and Pom Klementieff joined the team as the empathic alien, Mantis."In Marvel lingo, 'Guardians 2' feels like a great six-issue arc, the kind of storytelling that used to be the backbone of superhero comics," wrote The Atlantic's David Sims.2018's "Avengers: Infinity War" also has an 85%."Avengers: Infinity War."MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 85%"Avengers: Infinity War" is the first part of the culmination of the first 10 years of the MCU, which concluded one year later in "Avengers: Endgame.""Infinity War" follows Thanos, an alien who is dedicated to erasing half of the universe's population, as he scours space for the six Infinity Stones. Meanwhile, the Avengers stop at nothing to prevent him from getting all six with disastrous consequences."The conclusion of 'Infinity War' is so shocking because it doesn't feel like a cliffhanger, more like a drastic wiping clean of the slate before the whole cycle starts again, with whatever reversal of fortune or comprehensive reboot it may be," wrote Film Comment Magazine's Jonathan Romney."X-Men: First Class" (2011) was a soft reboot of the "X-Men" franchise, introducing younger versions of some of our favorite characters."X-Men: First Class."20th Century FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 86%"First Class" will go down in history as the film that introduced audiences to young Professor X and Magneto, played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively.The film takes place in the '60s, as a young Magneto tracks down the Nazi scientist who killed his mother, and a young Professor X has yet to be confined to his wheelchair."For reasons arising from the way the 'X-Men' film franchise has developed, this is the first Marvel movie set in the period when the characters were created, and thus able to embrace the Rat Pack cool that was part of their original charm," wrote Kim Newman of Sight & Sound.The 2018 "Ant-Man" sequel, "Ant-Man and the Wasp," was ruled an improvement upon the original."Ant-Man and the Wasp."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 87%By adding the Wasp to the title of the film, Evangeline Lilly is the true first woman to play a titular superhero in the MCU, though she still shares top-billing with Paul Rudd as Ant-Man.In "Ant-Man and the Wasp," the two insect-themed heroes reunite to rescue Hope's mom, played by the radiant Michelle Pfeiffer, from the mysterious quantum realm after an accident decades prior."Its intent is limited to amusing and diverting for a couple of hours of high-summer fun. That it does," wrote Matthew Norman of the London Evening Standard.Benedict Cumberbatch's 2016 entry into the MCU, "Doctor Strange" has dazzling visuals meant to be seen on the big screen."Doctor Strange."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 89%Cumberbatch joined the MCU to play Dr. Stephen Strange, a hot-shot surgeon who loses the use of his hands after a brutal car accident and seeks out sorcerers who can help him regain his strength.As Richard Bailey wrote in The New Yorker, the film "lives up to its title, in mostly good ways.""Spider-Man" was released in 2002, shattering all expectations of what a comic-book movie could be."Spider-Man."Columbia PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 90%For a generation of movie fans, Tobey Maguire will forever be their Spider-Man, and director Sam Raimi's trilogy, beginning with 2002's "Spider-Man," will always be the best on-screen representation of the most famous wall-crawler in movie history."Spider-Man" stars, as stated, Maguire as Peter Parker, and he's supported by an all-star cast of Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, Cliff Robertson, Rosemary Harris, and more. The story watches Peter go from a gawky teenager to the super-powered, spandex-clad Spider-Man as he faces off against the Green Goblin (Dafoe), who is determined to take away everything that matters to Peter."At its best, 'Spider-Man' takes the adolescent yearning at the heart of most superhero sagas and gives it a lovely swing. The script, by David Koepp, isn't inspired, but it keeps the emotional beats clean, and director Sam Raimi treats his hero tenderly: He gives him space to watch and think as well as act," wrote Slate's David Edelstein."Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014) is tied with "Spider-Man" at 90%."Captain America: The Winter Soldier."Disney/MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 90%If "Captain America: The First Avenger" was Marvel's take on a WWII drama, "Winter Soldier" is the MCU's version of a tense, political thriller as Cap uncovers multiple layers of conspiracy within the US government, and must go on the run from his presumed-dead best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), now brain-washed into the murderous assassin the Winter Soldier."'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' delivers the superhero movie goods, but it does so with a grin and a wink, and that seems more and more like the right way to approach these things," wrote Jason Bailey for Flavorwire."X-Men: Days of Future Past" was also released in 2014, and also has a 90% critics score."X-Men: Days of Future Past."FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 90%"Days of Future Past" reunites the original "X-Men" cast from the first three movies with the younger versions of themselves introduced in "First Class" by taking Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and sending him back in time to prevent a great tragedy in the present-day."A pleasingly coherent, plot-driven action movie, positively streamlined by the standards of today's superhero blockbusters," wrote The Independent's Laurence Phelan.Those weren't the only 2014 comic-book movies that received a 90%: Pixar's "Big Hero 6" also fits that bill."Big Hero 6."Disney/MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 90%Yes, "Big Hero 6" is based on the Marvel team of the same name, which began in the late '90s. When Disney purchased Marvel in 2009, it was only a matter of time before the House of Mouse merged their two powerhouses, Marvel and Pixar.And, with the success of "Big Hero 6," there's a strong argument for more comic-book Pixar movies. This one focuses on Hiro Hamada, a teenage robotics prodigy living in San Fransokyo.After the death of his older brother Tadashi, Hiro connects with Tadashi's invention, a healthcare robot named Baymax, to save the city, along with Tadashi's friends Fred, Go Go, Wasabi, and Honey Lemon."An origins story ripe with innocence and loss, this anime-inflected treat harks back to Disney's big-hearted heritage even as it looks forward towards new worlds of innovation," wrote The Observer's Mark Kermode.Yet another Marvel movie with a 90% score is 2016's "Captain America: Civil War.""Captain America: Civil War."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 90%Essentially an "Avengers" movie, "Captain America: Civil War" sees Captain America team up with his friends Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) to save his friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) from getting wrongfully convicted for a bombing at the United Nations.Cap goes up against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Bettany), and War Machine (Don Cheadle) to save his friend.Of course, this movie is also famous for introducing Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, aka Black Panther, and Tom Holland as the MCU's version of Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man."It is one of the best movies to ever come out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, balancing engaging action set pieces and witty dialogue with intelligent character studies and ethical debates," wrote Salon's Matthew Rozsa.And the final Marvel film to share a 90% score is 2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home.""Spider-Man: Far From Home."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 90%Picking up a few months after the events of "Avengers: Endgame," Peter Parker/Spider-Man must figure out how to balance his life as a web-slinging superhero and a simple teenager with a crush on his friend MJ, played by a delightful Zendaya.Add in a truly unhinged Jake Gyllenhaal performance as Quentin Beck/Mysterio, and you have the makings of a solid Spidey film."The stakes this time turn out to be considerably lower, and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Teen is arguably just the guy to bring things down to Earth and reestablish a human scale," said NPR's Bob Mondello.The first "Men in Black," released in 1997, set the bar high for the rest of the franchise."Men in Black."Columbia PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 91%"Men in Black" follows Will Smith as James Edwards, an NYPD officer who becomes convinced that aliens are real, leading him to join the Men in Black, a secret government organization dedicated to monitoring and protecting alien refugees that live on Earth. He's partnered with Agent K, played by Tommy Lee Jones.It's a loose adaptation of the Malibu comic series of the same name."'Men in Black' is the wryest, sharpest, most entertaining special effects film in recent memory, a simultaneous participant and mocking parody of the more-bang-for-your-buck behemoth genre," wrote CNN's Paul Tatara."Marvel's The Avengers," released in 2012, proved that Marvel was doing something that no other franchise could compete with (for the first time)."Marvel's The Avengers."Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 91%After four years of teasing out the six main Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, and Hulk), they all met up on the big screen for the first time in "The Avengers."Under the watchful eye of Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, viewers saw Earth's mightiest heroes team up for the first time to take out Thor's brother Loki as he attempted to conquer the world on behalf of a mysterious purple alien."A mega-budget action extravaganza that succeeds on just about every level, and it's one you should certainly go and see as soon as possible," wrote Luke Holland for NME.2014's "Guardians of the Galaxy" has a 92%."Guardians of the Galaxy."DisneyRotten Tomatoes score: 92%At the time, it was a huge swing for Marvel to entrust writer/director James Gunn with bringing one of the lesser-known superhero teams into the MCU. But, as we know, it was one of the smartest gambles Marvel ever made."Guardians," led by the ever-charming Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, combines hilarious jokes with a genuinely sweet story about found family: In this case, Peter finds Gamora (Zoe Saldaña), Drax (Dave Bautista), Groot (Vin Diesel), and Rocket the Raccoon (Bradley Cooper)."Blessed with a loose, anarchic B-picture soul that encourages you to enjoy yourself even when you're not quite sure what's going on, the scruffy 'Guardians' is irreverent in a way that can bring the first 'Star Wars' to mind," wrote Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times.Tom Holland's first solo movie, 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming," also has a 92%."Spider-Man: Homecoming."Chuck Zlotnick/Sony Pictures EntertainmentRotten Tomatoes score: 92%"Spider-Man: Homecoming" was the third reboot of Spider-Man in 15 years, but somehow, once again, the powers that be managed to find a third actor who was just as qualified as his predecessors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield to bring Spidey to life.After his introduction in "Civil War," "Homecoming" focuses on Peter Parker's sweet bond with Tony Stark/Iron Man, and his realization that being a hero is about more than a cool suit."The youthful vibe of this character reset, with its sense of humor and its light touch, makes 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' one of the most enjoyable Marvel movies in years," wrote Chesapeake Family Magazine's Roxana Hadadi."Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" introduced the MCU's first Asian superhero when it was released in 2021."Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."Walt Disney Studios Motion PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 92%Simu Liu tweeted Marvel back in 2018 asking if they were "gonna talk or what #ShangChi." Three years later, Liu debuted as Shang-Chi in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."In it, Shang-Chi comes to accept his past as a member of his father's (played by the always wonderful Tony Leung) criminal organization, the Ten Rings, while protecting his mother's village from the attacks of a demon known as the Dweller-in-Darkness."It's a good movie. It's got a plausibly fearsome villain by way of Leung, a nice ensemble of heroic personalities, and a dose of actually-poignant family drama undergirding all the rest," wrote K. Austin Collins for Rolling Stone."Spider-Man 2" remains a high point for Marvel movies 20 years after its release."Spider-Man 2."SonyRotten Tomatoes score: 93%For many years, "Spider-Man 2" was considered, at least by critics, to be the best Spider-Man movie. From the iconic subway fight against Alfred Molina's Doc Ock to the tear-jerking hero speech by Aunt May to an almost exact replication of one of Spider-Man's most iconic comic panels, "Spider-Man 2" remains genuinely enjoyable, even 20 years later."It's unusual and gratifying to find a multimillion dollar movie that's been put together with some thoughtfulness, that doesn't neglect subtlety in between delivering the smash-bang-wallop," wrote Anthony Quinn of The Independent."Thor: Ragnarok" (2017) breathed new life into the "Thor" franchise."Thor: Ragnarok."Disney/MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 93%"Ragnarok" was one of the most impressive feats in MCU history. After all, two "Thor" movies are among some of the lowest-rated MCU movies, while "Ragnarok" is in the top 10 of all Marvel movies, period.This comes down to director Taika Waititi, who was able to infuse his signature style and tone into the MCU in this cosmic adventure that's also a straight-up comedy, following Thor on his journey to prevent the destruction of his home world, Asgard."Beautifully filmed with serious kinetic energy by director Taika Waititi, with a crackling script, 'Thor: Ragnarok' is a heap of fun. Cue 'Immigrant Song,'" wrote Kristen Lopez for Culturess. Hugh Jackman's swan song as Wolverine, 2017's "Logan," is the best of the "X-Men" franchise. It was even nominated for an Academy Award for its screenplay, a first for a superhero movie."Logan."FoxRotten Tomatoes score: 93%At this point, you've probably heard that "Logan" is more of a Western than a traditional superhero movie, which is correct."Logan" follows a beaten-down Logan whose powers are leaving him, all his friends are dead or dying, and he's living in secret as a limo driver. But when a mysterious young mutant with powers like his shows up, he musters his strength one last time to help her escape."Make no mistake, 'Logan' earns its tears. If Jackman and Stewart are serious about this being their mutual 'X-Men' swan song, they could not have crafted a more heartfelt valedictory," wrote Rolling Stone's Peter Travers.The most recent live-action "Spider-Man" film, 2021's "Spider-Man: No Way Home" was the biggest movie of the year, box-office wise."Spider-Man: No Way Home."Sony PicturesRotten Tomatoes score: 93%"Spider-Man: No Way Home" now has the distinction of sharing the third-best Spider-Man movie crown with "Spider-Man 2" (more on the top Spidey films later). But "No Way Home's" charms are impossible to deny, even if the plot has more holes than Swiss cheese.For Marvel movie fans, it's hard to imagine something more satisfying than seeing Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire together on screen, discussing their rogues' galleries, Tobey's weird web situation, or how with great power comes great responsibility."Throughout all of it, the weird and complex history of Spider-Man as a cinematic icon isn't a hindrance to the story; instead, it's an enhancement, using the quirks of the character's legacy as a source of illumination into why he has endured so long," wrote Liz Shannon Miller of Consequence.For much of the last two decades, the first entry into the MCU, 2008's "Iron Man," was the best-reviewed Marvel movie."Iron Man."Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 94%The reason that pop culture is what it is today can be boiled down to the mega-success of this movie, which set up an entire cinematic universe, revived Robert Downey Jr.'s career, and boosted director Jon Favreau's status so high that he's now basically one of the auteurs of the entire "Star Wars" universe.But this film is simple: Billionaire weapons manufacturer Tony Stark (Downey) is kidnapped by a group of terrorists, which leads him to discover his weapons are landing in the wrong hands. So, he builds a suit of armor and becomes a superhero."Led by Downey's career-resurrecting performance as billionaire weapons peddler Tony Stark, it proves just as indispensable to the movie's giddy escapist appeal as the seamless CGI effects and eye-popping pyrotechnics," wrote Craig Outhier of the Orange County Register."Avengers: Endgame," released in 2019, is tied with "Iron Man.""Avengers: Endgame."Disney/MarvelRotten Tomatoes score: 94%"Endgame," as a movie, is a magic trick. Somehow, this movie crams in 11 years of MCU storytelling and every major character from all of the films, and travels back in time to essentially walk through the universe's greatest hits, has real stakes, and makes a three-hour movie fly by.When the Avengers decide to try and undo Thanos' universe-shattering snap, the original crew from the 2012 movie (with a few notable additions like Karen Gillan's Nebula, Paul Rudd's Ant-Man, and Don Cheadle's War Machine), travel through Marvel history to find the Infinity Stones."Eleven years of Universe building, and this is the crescendo. It really pays off, I've never seen anything quite like it," said James Luxford on the BBC."Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse" was an eye-popping visual feast, even if the 2023 sequel didn't fully live up to the original."Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse."SonyRotten Tomatoes score: 95%"Across the Spider-Verse," the sequel to "Into the Spider-Verse," takes the story of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) and levels it up in every way.Now, Miles is up against not just an extra-dimensional villain known as the Spot (voiced hilariously by Jason Schwartzman), but also an entire society of spider-people, including his old friends Peter B. Parker (Jake Johnson) and Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld), as they are told by Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac) that Miles isn't even meant to exist."'Across The Spider-Verse' truly explodes the idea of what a comic book movie can be. This is thanks to the boundlessly exuberant and adventurous way it both constructs and captures its world(s) during this jaunt through the multiverse," wrote Uproxx's Jason Tabrys.However, the best MCU movie remains 2018's "Black Panther.""Black Panther"Disney/Marvel StudiosRotten Tomatoes score: 96%After the late Chadwick Boseman was introduced in "Captain America: Civil War" as Black Panther, fans were waiting with bated breath for his solo film, and they weren't disappointed. "Black Panther" is a riveting story, where the "villain" (a supremely cast Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger) has a very compelling point and even gets the hero, T'Challa, to change his mind.Supported by all-stars like Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, and Sterling K. Brown, along with newer finds like Letitia Wright and Winston Duke, "Black Panther" is special.To date, it's the only Marvel movie to be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards."'Black Panther' is a revelation, the first film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe that truly feels like an of-the-moment masterwork that also happens to be a comic-book movie," wrote Roxana Hadadi of Chesapeake Family Magazine.But, the reigning No. 1 Marvel movie of all time is the animated "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse," released in 2018."Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"SonyRotten Tomatoes score: 97%"Into the Spider-Verse," which took home best animated feature at the 2019 Oscars, is a movie that has to be seen to be believed. Spider-Men (and -Women!) travel from all over the multiverse to help teenager Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) grow into his own as his universe's new Spider-Man.It proves you don't have to be Peter Parker to be Spider-Man, anyone can wear the mask, as Miles says. The upcoming two-part sequel has a lot of hype to live up to, but we'll always have the greatness of "Into the Spider-Verse" to fall back on."Maintaining a breathless pace, the filmmakers pile up sci-fi conceits, one-liners, and a melange of animation styles; as opposed to lots of other comic book adaptations, this actually captures the sensation of getting absorbed in a comic book," wrote the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytFeb 16th, 2024

A McDonald"s franchisee is paying $4.35 million to settle a lawsuit from a worker who said she was raped by her manager when she was just 14

The lawsuit claimed that the minor's manager began sexually harassing her "almost immediately" after they started working together. A McDonald's franchise group criticizes McDonald's for royalty fee hike. Nancy Luna/InsiderA McDonald's worker in Pittsburgh said in a lawsuit she was raped by her manager when she was 14.The lawsuit says her employer didn't take action after she tried to report the harassment she experienced.McDonald's franchisee Rice Enterprises is paying $4.35 million to settle the suit, first filed in 2021.A McDonald's franchisee has agreed to pay $4.35 million to settle a lawsuit from a worker in Pittsburgh who said she was raped by her manager, a registered sex offender, when she was 14.The case reached a settlement last Monday. The minor's family had filed a lawsuit against both McDonald's and Rice Enterprises, the eight-unit franchise business operating the restaurant she worked at, in September 2021.The lawsuit accused McDonald's and Rice Enterprises of failing to train the minor on how to identify and report sexual harassment, perform background checks on the manager, and properly address complaints of sexual harassment and abuse made by minors.McDonald’s was released from any legal claims on the topic and was not a signatory on the settlement, which was reached between the minor’s family and Rice Enterprises. The minor, who wasn't named in the legal filings, started working at the restaurant in Pittsburgh in late 2020. Early the next year, Walter Garner, now 44, became her manager, according to the lawsuit."Garner began sexually harassing Plaintiff almost immediately after they began working together on the same shift," the lawsuit says.He started by verbally harassing the minor and making sexual innuendoes, according to the lawsuit. His comments "became both more overt and more frequent," including making remarks about the minor's butt and repeatedly asking to see her outside of work.Garner then began touching her inappropriately, the lawsuit says. When she asked him to stop, he told her she was being uptight, according to the lawsuit.He behaved similarly toward two other female minors who worked at the restaurant, the lawsuit says.The three minors told the restaurant's hiring manager about the harassment, but the franchise business didn't take any action, the lawsuit claims. The minor whose family filed the lawsuit says she didn't receive any training related to sexual harassment in the workplace when she started at the company.Then, in February 2021, the minor went into the bathroom during her break because she was not feeling well. "Garner entered the bathroom after her, grabbed Plaintiff and overpowered her, pulled off her McDonald's uniform, and raped her," the lawsuit says.The lawsuit says that the minor went "into shock." She tried to forget about the incident and continued working at the restaurant, the lawsuit says.According to the lawsuit, at some point after this, more senior managers at the restaurant saw video footage of Garner groping the minor while they were investigating a theft from the cash drawer. They spoke to Garner about his conduct but didn't discipline him, according to the lawsuit.So Garner continued to harass the minor, the lawsuit says. "Garner attempted to have sex with Plaintiff inside the kids' area at the McDonald's location in question, but Plaintiff refused," the lawsuit says. "Garner pressured Plaintiff to meet with him after work, where he again used pressure and influence to coerce Plaintiff into sexual acts."In April, Garner showed some photos of himself and the plaintiff to another minor worker at the restaurant, who told her school administration, according to the lawsuit. Staff at the school called the police, who started an investigation the next day, the plaintiff’s lawyers said. Police arrested Garner on May 21, 2021, according to his criminal docket.In October 2021, he pleaded guilty to offenses including statutory sexual assault and indecent assault of a minor, his criminal docket shows. He was sentenced to a minimum of four years in prison, and a maximum of 10. Garner remains in prison.Rice Enterprises only fired Garner after he was arrested, the lawsuit claims."As soon as we were made aware of the complaint against Garner in 2021, we terminated his employment and offered our full support to the impacted employees and law enforcement investigating this case,” Rice Enterprises said in a statement sent to BI by its lawyers.Garner had previously spent time in prison over the sexual assault of a 10-year-old in 1999 and was registered as a permanent sex offender on the Megan's Law sex offender registry, according to the lawsuit and documents viewed by Business Insider.The minor's attorneys said in a press release they agreed to a settlement so that she wouldn't have to endure the "additional stress and trauma" of a trial.In its statement, Rice Enterprises said provides “all employees with a strict policy on sexual harassment and policies and procedures for reporting any violations." It said that since learning of Garner's harassment, it had "redoubled our efforts to ensure a positive and respectful experience for all employees in our restaurants," it said.Rice Enterprises said it conducts background checks on “all management positions” and put Garner's hiring down to a "third-party vendor," named by local outlet TribLive as Backgroundchecks.com, which it said reported that Garner did not have any previous arrests or issues. Rice Enterprises sued the vendor, Backgroundchecks.com in May 2023, according to a copy of the lawsuit viewed by BI.“The events that took place in this case are deeply troubling,” McDonald’s USA told BI. “Everyone working under the Arches deserves to feel safe and respected when they come to work, and sexual harassment or violence of any kind is completely unacceptable.""We're committed to providing franchisees with the resources they need to create a safe working environment in their restaurants – including training around harassment prevention," the company said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytFeb 12th, 2024

7 business leaders reveal how their companies are embracing AI in 2024

ChatGPT kicked off a flurry of excitement around gen AI, as well as questions. While the possibilities are endless, execs are proceeding with caution. Artificial intelligence is likely to continue its push into the workplace in 2024.DrAfter123/Getty ImagesThe emergence of ChatGPT in late 2022 kicked off a flurry of excitement around generative AI.Executives told BI that the power of gen AI would likely change a lot about how businesses operate."Everyone needs to lean in, learn," one exec said about adopting Gen AI.It might not be rizz or authentic — championship words for 2023, according to the people in charge of dictionaries — but AI was one of the buzziest terms of the year.The sudden emergence of OpenAI's ChatGPT in late 2022 kicked off a flurry of commentary about artificial intelligence. Some said it would save humanity, while others predicted doom. Others feared it would kick legions of white-collar workers out of their jobs. It was all some CEOs seemed to want to talk about.It all felt like "gen AI" wasn't as much about generative bots but about a generation. We would be the ones who would tell the humans who follow us about what it was like when the world flipped the switch on AI.It's worth remembering AI has been around for decades, and we've been using it without realizing it. While it's quickly becoming more advanced, there of course, are major limitations.Some are practical. Think hallucinate — another lexical prizewinner in 2023. Others are even more worrying: AI is often described as a black box and we, the people on the receiving end, have little insight into its decision-making.Many business executives told Business Insider that the power of generative AI was likely to change much about how business operates. But what remains unclear is all the ways that might happen.To get some insights, BI rounded up their comments on their excitement about AI and their goals for the technology — along with their concerns.Ancestry: Sriram Thiagarajan, chief technology officerSriram Thiagarajan.AncestryAI and machine learning aren't new to Ancestry but generative AI has "thrown open the possibilities," Sriram Thiagarajan, chief technology officer, told BI. "These algorithms can interpret and understand the semantics of human language, and there are things you can do more effectively leveraging large-language models."Thiagarajan said the genealogical site is experimenting with features and launches something — often a minor feature — every month to see how customers react. Many features involve letting users better extract information from records the company gets from around the world."We are using computer vision to automate visualization of those records. We can read human language, human handwriting, in a couple of different languages, already. We can extract names, places, relationships between people and locations, using advanced machine learning. We're leveraging the LLM to help with those efforts," he said, referring to a large-language model.Ancestry is concerned with hate, abuse, historical facts being misrepresented, and AI hallucination, Thiagarajan said. Right now, there are human reviews of the AI results, even though the company's goal is to automate as much as it can, he said.One challenge is that "LLMs themselves are evolving every week or every two weeks so you have to be constantly curious and can't assume you learned one thing or know how something works," he said.Boston Consulting Group: Vladimir Lukic, managing director & senior partner; global leader, tech and digital advantageVladimir Lukic.Boston Consulting GroupMany of the AI tools that companies have been building might not have that long of a shelf life.That shouldn't be a big worry, Vladimir Lukic, global leader, tech and digital advantage, told BI. What matters more, he said, is that companies are experimenting and developing critical processes.By going through the steps to build AI, companies face questions about the responsible use of the tech and the potential downsides. They're also addressing concerns about finding — and cleaning up — the right data."It was a super helpful exercise to do because they build a muscle," Lukic said.Muscle memory will be a welcome benefit because some AI tools that perhaps only months ago were novel, will soon be defaults, he said. "Probably 80% of the stuff that was built in the last six months will be obsolete because it will be a feature in software packages coming at us," Lukic said.That doesn't mean there won't be hiccups, he said. Some setbacks with AI could cause some firms to slow their adoption. In other cases, companies that see AI kicking out errors or not working as intended might make tweaks to what they've deployed. "There's going to be a wave of how do we fine-tune not the models but the deployment of it," Lukic said.Cushman & Wakefield: Salumeh “Sal” Companieh, chief digital and informationSal Companieh.Cushman & WakefieldCommercial real estate is "centered at delivering insights," so adoption of AI is necessary, Salumeh "Sal" Companieh, chief digital and information officer, told BI.The commercial real estate giant, Companieh said, ensures both real-estate investors and tenants can use an "aggregation of the best market data," including foot traffic, drive time, and weather, to find the best space for their needs. And AI is at the center of that, Companieh said.The tech can help Cushman employees use their time to best serve clients, she said, adding that it's exciting to introduce transformative technology in a field where change is so often gradual.Companieh said clients, including landlords and tenant companies, were rightfully asking for transparency on Cushman's AI use. She said they asked, "Where is it? Where is it incorporated? Where will it be incorporated? How do we ensure their data safety? How do we ensure sound integration of datasets?"The current state of AI and AI adoption is the result of things many companies — including Cushman & Wakefield — have been doing already, Companieh said. This includes creating partnerships, reviewing commercial terms, beefing up cybersecurity teams, and hiring and training talent."AI is very personal to every single organization. The journey you go on is very individualized to your organization. And we're doing right by ours by being authentic to who we are," she said.LinkedIn: Dan Shapero, chief technology officerDan Shapero.LinkedInIn 2022, LinkedIn made the decision to rewrite its roadmap to incorporate AI across a range of capabilities, Dan Shapero, chief technology officer, told BI. "We were lucky enough to see some of the next-gen AI models by being part of Microsoft in the middle of 2022," he said.The networking platform knew this would be a "time of massive experimentation to see where AI made the biggest difference" for both recruiters and job seekers. He said the company will use AI to help people write their profiles because people can find it awkward to describe themselves professionally. "It's not always comfortable for people to write things about themselves," he said.The biggest request from users, Shapero said, is help finding a job. LinkedIn is seeing more questions about how people can use AI in the job hunt, how to describe themselves, and for advice on interviewing.This led to LinkedIn's AI-powered coaching chatbot and personalized writing suggestions for users. There are also new tools for recruiters, such as AI-assisted messages and AI-assisted job descriptions. Company figures show that when recruiters personalize messages via LinkedIn, they see up to a 40% increase in acceptance rates.Shapero thinks AI will lead to ideas that might have once seemed impossible but will also require caution: "We need to embrace these capabilities responsibly and ethically and with equity in mind," he said.SAP: Juergen Mueller, chief technology officer Juergen Mueller.SAPSAP wants to give AI LLMs "means to access the know-how," Juergen Mueller, the chief technology officer, told BI. "We develop a method that you can combine the strength of a large language model with all the real-time, company-specific information that you need," he said.The German company — which focuses on cloud-based subscription services for its financial-reporting, inventory-tracking, and human-resources applications — looks at the processes of companies, including financials, procurements, HR, customer relations, or the supply chain.SAP has worked within the machine-learning AI space for almost nine years. The company has been trying to answer questions around how to work with data; how to protect data; how to use data ethically; what tools data scientists need; "and how can we rethink and upgrade to generative AI."In 2023, the R&D SAP invested in business AI paid off, Mueller said. "Over 25,000 SAP Cloud customers using at least one of our 130 AI scenarios."Yet there are still concerns. "I think the risk is not that there's new technology. The risk is that we don't lean in and don't invest the extra time, extra hours. Because it needs a little bit of time; it is a little complex," he said. "Everyone needs to lean in, learn. That, I think, is the largest risk. Then you have divergence in society."ServiceNow: Chris Bedi, chief digital information officerChris Bedi.ServiceNowServiceNow wants to become an "AI-first" company, Chris Bedi, chief digital information officer, told BI. "We know we're early innings, especially with gen AI, but we are pushing on it hard."ServiceNow, which provides a cloud-based platform for automating IT workflows, uses generative AI search for employees and customers. Generative AI also enables work to get done faster, like reading and interpreting information. "Literally you run a process in a couple of hours. It's additive," he said.Of course, part of understanding and integrating AI is training the company's 22,000 employees. ServiceNow recently held an AI learning day that included panels to help demystify the technology, Bedi said.Teams involved in information technology, human resources, and customer support don't feel threatened by gen AI, he said. About 64% believe it's helping boost productivity, according to Bedi.ServiceNow also considers what happens when AI takes on a bigger part of someone's job. "How do we fill in the gaps of time to do more meaningful work than you were previously able to do?" he said.For Bedi, the value of gen AI "jumps off the page," he said. "The analogy of asking employees to work right now without gen AI is like asking them to use a typewriter when there's a word processor available."Verizon Consumer Group: Sowmyanarayan Sampath, CEOSowmyanarayan Sampath.Tayo "TAYOJR" KukuSowmyanarayan Sampath took over as Verizon Consumer Group's CEO in March, and the job has made it clear how essential the internet has become."If a kid doesn't have connectivity earlier, he can't play video games, do homework. If there is no connectivity, a mom cannot log into a Zoom call from home," Sampath told BI. "Connectivity is the bridge to everything."Internet access is so important that people are willing to pay a bit more for good service, he said.To Sampath, that means using AI at a scale that allows workers to reduce all the information they have to keep in their heads — a challenge Sampath observed while taking calls during a night shift in the Philippines. "Over the years we made our systems pretty complex, so we've made a very sharp turn to simplify," he said.This means implementing AI broadly. AI will allow Verizon to understand "the sentiment of the customer, pick up cues, and then serve up what is best," he said.Sampath's 2024 goal is to be "the world's best AI-applied company" and use it every day, within internal workflows, and then customer interactions. "I'm not that excited by doing these pilots and trials," he said, adding that responsible AI use is a priority. "I don't want the algo doing things I wouldn't do myself."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 2nd, 2024

Top 20 Countries With The Highest Weed Consumption

In this article, we will take a look at the top 20 countries with the highest weed consumption. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to Top 5 Countries With The Highest Weed Consumption. Cannabis use has been a topic of interest and controversy on a global level for years. […] In this article, we will take a look at the top 20 countries with the highest weed consumption. If you want to skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to Top 5 Countries With The Highest Weed Consumption. Cannabis use has been a topic of interest and controversy on a global level for years. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant shift in attitudes toward cannabis, leading to increased consumption and legalization efforts in several countries. The United States and Canada have been at the forefront of this movement. Other countries worldwide, like Uruguay, and several European nations, such as Luxembourg and Albania, have also legalized cannabis to varying degrees. On July 21, the members of the Albanian Parliament legalized cannabis for medical and industrial use. According to New Frontier Data, 70 countries worldwide have legalized cannabis in some form, mainly medical, of which 26 countries provide medical patients with legal access to high-THC cannabis. Additionally, ten countries legalized the recreational use of cannabis. Those who continue to oppose the cannabis policy change continue to express concerns about potential health risks, abuse and addiction related to cannabis use. Even though a growing body of research backs both standpoints, it is evident that the number of those supporting marijuana legalization is growing exponentially. On the contrary, proponents of cannabis argue it has various medicinal benefits, including pain relief, alleviation of symptoms in conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and even potential cancer-fighting properties. Moreover, advocates claim that legalization can bring economic benefits, such as job creation and tax revenue. The legal cannabis market is projected to reach billions of dollars by the end of the decade, attracting investments from both domestic and international companies. The recent deal between Phillip Morris, one of the biggest companies within the tobacco industry, and Israeli med-tech company Syqe Medical which produces a metered-dose inhaler for pain reduction treatment using medical marijuana, is a step in that direction. Global Cannabis Market: An Analysis and Major Players According to an industry analysis report by Fortune Business Insights, the global cannabis market was valued at $43.72 billion in 2022. The market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 34.03% between 2023 and 2030 and reach $444.34 billion by the end of the forecasted period. Some of the cannabis operators in the world have seen exponential growth over the past couple of years, even though 2023 has been rough for the industry. Some of the top performers in the burgeoning market are Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTC:CURLF), Tilray Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY), and Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTC:GTBIF). Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTC:CURLF) is a leader in the medical and recreational marijuana space. The company is based in New York and is involved in the cultivation, production, and sale of cannabis products through retail and wholesale channels. Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. (OTC:CURLF) operates through two segments: Domestic Operations and International Operations. As of December 29, the stock has surged by 31% over the past 6 months. Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTC:GTBIF) is another prominent American manufacturer and retailer of cannabis products. As of December 29, Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTC:GTBIF) is worth $2.68 billion and has returned over 35% to investors on a year-to-date basis. Over the past 3 months, 6 Wall Street analysts have given Buy recommendations on the stock. Green Thumb Industries Inc. (OTC:GTBIF) has an average price forecast of $16.90 and a high price target of $23.89. Tilray Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) is a Canadian cultivator and distributor of cannabis products. The group was founded in January 2022 and has grown to become one of the top pure-play cannabis companies. As of December 29, Tilray Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY) has surged more than 45% over the past 6 months and is worth $1.70 billion on the open market. Hedge funds are piling into Tilray Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ:TLRY). At the close of the third quarter of 2023, the stock was part of 17 investors’ portfolios that disclosed positions worth $84.19 million. This is compared to 15 positions in the preceding quarter with stakes worth $11.08 million. The hedge fund sentiment for the stock is positive. Despite the ongoing discussions and evolving regulations surrounding cannabis, its use and legalization efforts differ significantly from country to country. Some nations have embraced cannabis, allowing its use in various forms and establishing a regulated market. In contrast, others continue to enforce strict laws and prohibit any form of cannabis use. Let’s now take a look at the top 20 countries with the highest weed consumption. Top 20 Countries With The Highest Weed Consumption Our Methodology To compile the list of the top 20 countries with the highest weed consumption, we mixed and matched data from New Frontier Data in 2020, The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and EarthMed. After summarizing the results, we made the following list. The list has been arranged in ascending order of the “prevalence of cannabis use among adults”. Top 20 Countries With The Highest Weed Consumption 20. Croatia Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 10.4% In Croatia, the use of medical marijuana is legal for limited medical use and is decriminalized for personal use. The policy change sought to provide relief primarily to patients with conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, or AIDS. Under the Medical Marijuana Regulation, individuals can avail themselves of cannabis-based medicines that contain more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, both cultivation and sales of cannabis are criminal offenses punishable by imprisonment. 19. Spain Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 10.5% In Spain, the cultivation and personal use of cannabis is considered a non-criminal offense. However, the sale and trade of cannabis remains prohibited. Over the years, this Mediterranean country saw the emergence of numerous clubs and associations for cannabis consumption. These businesses, which first appeared in 1991, operate as not-for-profit organizations. They cultivate cannabis and distribute it to their members at a cost price. In May, the Spanish Pain Society (SED) called for the government to present medical cannabis regulatory framework. According to Business of Cannabis, the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AEMPS) partnered to integrate medical cannabis into the country’s existing health framework. 18. Italy Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 10.8% Italy has embraced a more lenient approach towards cannabis, permitting its use for medical and industrial purposes within a carefully controlled framework while adopting a decriminalization stance towards recreational usage. Specifically, possessing small quantities of marijuana for personal enjoyment is considered a minor offense under civil law. According to The Times, the Italian Army agreed to cultivate and produce high-quality medical marijuana earlier this year, incorporating undisclosed ingredients to nurture potent cannabis strains designed for individuals plagued by health issues such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease. 17. Barbados Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 10.9% Recreational use of marijuana is illegal in Barbados, while medical use was legalized in November 2019 via the Medicinal Cannabis Industry Bill. A second bill approved by the government, the Sacramental Cannabis Bill, allows registered Rastafarians’ spiritual use of cannabis. Barbados Medical Cannabis Licensing Authority’s (BMCLA) chairman recently indicated that the island’s first therapeutic facility is scheduled to kick off operations within a year, reported St Vincent Times. 16. Monaco Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 11.1% In Monaco, cannabis is altogether illegal. The cultivation, sale and possession of both medical and recreational cannabis is considered a criminal offense punishable with jail time and a steep fine. 15. Morocco Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 11.1% Moroccans have been cultivating cannabis for centuries, earning them a place among the world’s top producers of hashish. However, the substance has been illegal since 1956 nationwide. Last fall, the Moroccan state has issued the first ten permits for the medicinal and industrial of cannabis as well as for export. Reuters wrote that cooperatives of farmers living in mountain areas of Al Houceima, Taounat, and Chefchaouen will eventually start cultivating the plant. 14. Belize Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 11.4% This Central American country amended its Misuse of Drugs Act in 2017 to decriminalize marijuana. Under the amended rule, legal marijuana use is allowed only on private property. 13. Nigeria Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 11.4% Even though cannabis is considered illegal in Nigeria, the country is a significant supplier of West African-grown cannabis. Earlier this year, members of the country’s House of Representatives weighed in on a measure that would make commercial cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis legal when enacted by local media. 12. France Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 11.7% In France, cannabis is considered illegal for personal use, but certain cannabis-derived products are allowed for medical use. In January, the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) presented to the government a draft opinion on public policies regarding the use of cannabis. 11. Australia Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 11.8% Despite the differences in legislation across Australian states and territories, cannabis continues to be prohibited and its growth, possession, sale and use are all considered unlawful. But, things could change quickly as legal marijuana has the potential to generate $243.5 million per year in the first five years, revealed a recent report. 10. Madagascar Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 12.5% The use and cultivation of cannabis is outlawed in Madagascar, yet it remains a thriving industry within the country’s borders. 9. Zambia Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 13% Cannabis in Zambia is illegal for recreational use. The substance was legalized In December 2019 for export and medicinal purposes. Two laws addressing the issue got enacted in 2021. 8. Bermuda Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 13.5% Bermudians are allowed to use medical cannabis following the policy change in 2016 legally. A year later, the country introduced the Decriminalization of Cannabis Amendment Act, decriminalizing simple possession of up to 7 grams of the plant. 7. Uruguay Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 15.2% Uruguay president José Mujica signed the recreational cannabis bill into law in 2013, making it the first country in the world to do so. Currently, the government is exporting low-THC cannabis to the US and has also supplied some European countries, such as Switzerland with the plant. 6. New Zealand Prevalence of cannabis use among adults: 15.3%      New Zealand’s first “legal weed” reached pharmacy shelves in the form of tea last year. The move was part of a deal with the Australian Natural Therapeutics Group. The Ministry of Health gave the company the green light to sell its products to those with a prescription who suffer from chronic pain. Medical cannabis products became available in the country after the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Act of 2018 and the 2020 Medicinal Cannabis Scheme (MCS) got enacted. Click to continue reading and see Top 5 Countries With The Highest Weed Consumption. Suggested Articles: 15 Cities Where You Can Buy a Home for Under 300k 20 Best White Wines Under $50 15 Best Places in Iowa for a Couple to Live on Only Social Security Disclosure: None. Top 20 Countries With The Highest Weed Consumption is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 30th, 2023

Vin Diesel"s former assistant accuses him of sexual battery in new lawsuit

"Fast and Furious" actor Vin Diesel was accused of sexual battery by a former assistant. Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto in "Furious 7."Universal PicturesVin Diesel has been accused of sexual battery by a former assistant.In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Thursday, Asta Jonasson said Diesel forcibly kissed and groped her.Jonasson said Diesel also masturbated in front of her."Fast and Furious" franchise actor Vin Diesel has been accused of sexual battery by his former assistant, Vanity Fair reported. Asta Jonasson worked for Diesel in 2010, while he was filming "Fast Five" on location in Atlanta. According to the filing, it was during that period that Diesel groped and forcibly kissed her. Jonasson also says that Diesel masturbated in front of her while she was working as his assistant on the film, according to the filing seen by Vanity Fair.According to the lawsuit seen by VF, Diesel "pinned her against the wall with his body, and grabbed Ms. Jonasson's hand and placed it on his erect penis. Disgusted by being forced to touch his penis, Ms. Jonasson instantaneously withdrew her hand and again verbally refused him."Jonasson was employed by Diesel's One Race production company, which is also named in the suit, along with Diesel's sister, Samantha Vincent, who was an employee of One Race. Jonasson says that after only two weeks, she was fired from the job. According to Rolling Stone, the suit says that Jonasson believes she was fired for "courageously resisting Vin Diesel's sexual assault. Jonasson was able to file her suit thanks to the Speak Out Act — which waives enforcement of non-disclosure agreements — and California assembly bill 2777, which has lifted the statute of limitations on sexual abuse allegations that took place in 2009 or later. Insider has reached out to representatives of Diesel for comment. This is a developing story. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 21st, 2023

35 of the most influential hip-hop songs in music history

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Business Insider made a playlist of the genre's most essential hits, from Sugarhill Gang to Megan Thee Stallion. Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images; Raymond Boyd/Getty Images; Gregory Bojorquez/Getty Images; Ollie Millington/Redferns; Alyssa Powell/InsiderTo celebrate the golden anniversary of hip-hop, we rounded up 35 essential hits.These songs were hugely significant for the genre's growth and made an impact on the music industry.Our picks are listed below in chronological order. Listen to the complete playlist on Insider's Spotify.Hip-hop is a nebulous label — always evolving, and difficult to define.Since its birth in 1973, at a summertime bash in the Bronx, the art form has gone through too many transformations to track. But what's undeniable is the effect on every corner of music and pop culture, despite an uphill battle for recognition in an industry full of white gatekeepers.Today, hip-hop is the most popular style of music in the US. In honor of the golden anniversary, take a look back at some of the songs that had a major impact on its legacy — whether it was breaking down a boundary, creating a subgenre, or inspiring future artists to follow suit.1. 'Rapper's Delight' by Sugarhill Gang (1979)Though not the first hip-hop song ever — that title instead belongs to The Fatback Band's "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" — "Rapper's Delight" introduced the genre to a global audience.Arguably the first hip-hop song to ever reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100, the song opened the floodgates by proving to record labels that rap was commercially viable."When it came out, nothing was the same afterwards," hip-hop activist and journalist Harry Allen told NPR in 2000. "It made everything else possible."2. 'The Breaks' by Kurtis Blow (1980)In early hip-hop nomenclature, the "break," or "breakdown," was the part of the song where most elements other than the percussion dropped out, allowing time for breakdancers to showcase their moves.With that in mind, Kurtis Blow, a breakdancer himself, said "The Breaks" was made as a "tribute to all the breakers.""I wanted to do a tribute song with many breaks so that the breakers could get down and do their thing," Blow told Songfacts. "We danced during the breaks of a song. That was our time to go off or to do our best moves."3. 'Planet Rock' by Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force (1982)Legendary record producer and cofounder of Def Jam Recordings, Rick Rubin, called this "One of the most influential songs of everything," while speaking to Rolling Stone. "It changed the world."Released in 1982 as a non-album single, the song, according to Rolling Stone, introduced Roland 808 beats — the type later used by the Beastie Boys and Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) — to hip-hop and "coined the sonic language" of modern dance music."It's as important as Willie Mitchell or Booker T. were to the Memphis scene," Chuck D of Public Enemy told the publication. "There hasn't been a song like it in hip-hop since."4. 'The Message' by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five (1982)As its title suggests, "The Message" is renowned for marrying classic rap with sharp social commentary. The lyrics wrestle with heavy topics, including generational poverty and over-policing in Black communities.Twenty years after its release, "The Message" became the first-ever rap song to be inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry, which preserves art that is "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." It was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2012.Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five during a photo shoot for their album "The Message" in 1981.Hemu Aggarwal/Getty Images5. 'Sucker M.C.'s' by Run-D.M.C. (1983)When Joseph Simmons (aka Run), Darryl McDaniels (aka D.M.C.), and Jason Mizell (aka Jam Master Jay) formed Run-D.M.C. in Queens, New York, they quickly achieved icon status."Sucker M.C.'s" was released as the B-side for the group's official debut single, "It's Like That." What could've been doomed as a footnote in rap history (it peaked at No. 15 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) became the foundation for an era known as "new-school rap."In contrast to the genre's previous hits, which were flecked with R&B and funk influences, "Sucker M.C.'s" is powerfully minimalistic — stripped down to just B-boy vocals and an Oberheim DMX drum machine, hailed by Billboard as "the most famous hip-hop drum pattern in the history of the genre."As music critic Nelson George wrote, the song was a springboard, "heralding the 808 as the foundation of hip-hop's future and Run-D.M.C. as the genre's new kings." George also argued that Run-D.M.C.'s first album marked "the first time that real hip-hop was pressed to vinyl."Run-D.M.C. performing in 1984.Raymond Boyd/Getty Images6. 'Paul Revere' by Beastie Boys (1986)The Beastie Boys, who were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, gleefully joined the New York City rap scene in 1986 with "Licensed to Ill," the first rap album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Its commercial appeal also helped launch the success of Def Jam, which became one of the most coveted labels for hip-hop artists."Licensed to Ill" spawned several hit singles, including "Girls," "No Sleep till Brooklyn," and "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)."But it was "Paul Revere," the sensationalized origin story of the Beastie Boys, that inspired fellow legends like Rick Ross, Missy Elliott, and N.W.A."'Paul Revere' just changed our life," Ice Cube recalled in 2019. "This is how we knew our style would work. We did a version of 'Paul Revere' at a show and the crowd went crazy. We changed the words, made it dirty, made it ours, and the crowd went crazy, and we knew, OK, this was our style."7. 'I Know You Got Soul' by Eric B. & Rakim (1987)Despite their relatively brief run as a DJ/MC duo, Eric B. & Rakim cemented their legacy as tastemakers following the release of their debut album, "Paid In Full," which is widely recognized as a benchmark in hip-hop history.The fourth track, "I Know You Got Soul," is a standout example of the genre's evolving complexity, as well as its long history with sampling, interpolating, and remixing — in short, transforming something old into something new, a skill that requires resourcefulness, innovation, and finesse.Rolling Stone, which ranked "I Know You Got Soul" at No. 23 among the greatest hip-hop songs of all time, described it as "the sort of jam that disappeared once copyright lawyers stepped up their game.""Eric B. built this landmark 1987 track by looping a chunk of the James Brown-produced song of the same name," the magazine explained. "But turnabout is fair play: British mixmasters M/A/R/R/S built their hit 'Pump Up the Volume' around a sample of Rakim saying that phrase on 'I Know You Got Soul.'"Eric B. & Rakim pose for a portrait session in 1987.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images8. 'Parents Just Don't Understand' by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (1988)In 1989, Jeff Townes and Will Smith (aka DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince) became the first hip-hop act in history to win a Grammy.The inaugural award for best rap performance was presented to their hit single, "Parents Just Don't Understand," a cheeky teen anthem that peaked at No. 12 on the Hot 100.However, Townes and Smith weren't there to accept the award. After learning the groundbreaking rap category wouldn't be televised, the duo refused to attend the ceremony in protest."We don't have the problem with the Grammy as an award or the Grammys as an institution, we just had a problem with the 1989 design of the awards show," Smith told Entertainment Tonight that same year. "We chose to boycott. We feel that it's a slap in the face."9. 'Fuck tha Police' by N.W.A. (1988)N.W.A.'s protest anthem has one of the most powerful, revolutionary, and long-lasting legacies in the history of music.In 2020, 32 years after its release, the song experienced a resurgence in popularity during a new wave of protests against police brutality."That song is still in the same place before it was made," Ice Cube, who was 19 when his group released the track, said in 2015. "It's our legacy here in America with the police department and any kind of authority figures that have to deal with us on a day-to-day basis.""There's usually abuse and violence connected to that interaction, so when 'Fuck tha Police' was made in 1988, it was 400 years in the making," he continued. "And it's still just as relevant as it was before it was made." N.W.A.'s MC Ren and Eazy-E performing in 1989.Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images10. 'Bust a Move' by Young MC (1989)Young MC's signature hit "Bust a Move" represents a playful, nimble, genre-hopping side of hip-hop culture.On top of the memorable Ballin' Jack sample, the song includes pieces of Bette Midler's disco record "Daytime Hustler" and even features Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers playing bass.The song flooded the airwaves upon its release and won the 1990 Grammy Award for best rap performance — making Young MC the first solo rapper ever to win a Grammy. It was the first time a rap category was televised during the ceremony.11. 'Fight the Power' by Public Enemy (1989)First released on the soundtrack for Spike Lee's seminal "Do the Right Thing," "Fight the Power" embodied the anger and frustration felt by the Black community in the face of systemic oppression and police brutality in the United States in the late '80s."If the government dictates who you are, then you're part of the power structure that keeps you down. We were going to fight that and say: 'Look at me as a human being,'" Public Enemy's Chuck D told The Guardian in 2016.The track's bold and unapologetic lyrics ("Elvis was a hero to most / But he never meant shit to me you see") tackled racial inequality head-on and inspired a generation to stand up against injustice."Songs are like little earthquakes," Chuck D said. "After 'Fight the Power,' the fucking world shook."12. 'I Left My Wallet In El Segundo' by A Tribe Called Quest (1990)Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White — collectively known as A Tribe Called Quest — have been widely celebrated for their Afrocentric, neo-soul approach to hip-hop."The rappers from Tribe were far from urban jungle warriors: They loved to read and wanted to smoke weed, not sell it. They wore their intellectualism lightly, but proudly, and they made hip-hop for people who were as interested in ideas as in rhymes," Touré wrote for the New York Times. "Questlove, the drummer for the Roots, told me that when he was a teenager, Tribe was critical to his seeing himself as someone who could be in hip-hop."Indeed, A Tribe Called Quest has influenced a staggering array of artists, from André 3000 to Lorde to Pusha T."Just about anyone out here doing it — outside of anything hardcore or overly gangsta — you're a descendant of Tribe, whether you like it or not," Trent Clark, editor-in-chief of HipHopDX, told USA Today. "Benchmarks, blueprints, they set them all."The group's enduring legacy was launched in 1990 with "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo," released as the lead single from their debut album.13. 'U Can't Touch This' by MC Hammer (1990)Much like "Bust a Move," MC Hammer's catchy hit — which borrows heavily from the Rick James classic "Super Freak" — became a cultural touchstone and helped introduce hip-hop to more mainstream audiences.In addition to its wins for best R&B song and best rap solo performance, "U Can't Touch This" was the first hip-hop song ever to earn a Grammy nomination for record of the year."U Can't Touch This" was released in 1990.MC Hammer/YouTube14. 'Mama Said Knock You Out' by LL Cool J (1991)LL Cool J opened "Mama Said Knock You Out," the titular single from his fourth album, with one of the most iconic raps in history: "Don't call it a comeback / I been here for years."The Queens native had previously received backlash for his third album, "Walking with a Panther," which had been described as over-the-top and out of touch."I definitely had a chip on my shoulder," LL Cool J recalled to Rock the Bells. "They looked at the diamonds, jewelry, and cars as a sign of me being disconnected. When in reality, I was just living out my hustler dreams and that's just what I always wanted to do."The rapper also said he turned to his grandmother for support when he felt ostracized by the hip-hop community."I was already energized when we went to record, but her advice was in the back of my mind," he said.The criticism became fuel for "Mama Said Knock You Out," which went multiplatinum and secured LL Cool J's first Grammy Award for best rap solo performance."Mama Said Knock You Out" remains an indelible piece of pop culture today, especially in the world of athletics. The song was recited by Serena Williams in a 2018 commercial and was recently remixed for the NBA In-Season Tournament soundtrack."That song stands the test of time because exactly what he's talking about," producer Marley Marl told Rock the Bells. "Everybody loves a great comeback story.15. 'Let Me Ride' by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg (1993)Dr. Dre's debut album "The Chronic" was a game changer. It helped popularize the G-funk subgenre and launched Dre's solo career as a rapper and producer — as well as the career of Snoop Dogg, who was largely unknown at the time.Their reggae-inspired collaboration "Let Me Ride" was promoted as the album's third single and earned Dre his first Grammy Award in 1994.Although Dre continues to be celebrated in the music industry, he has also been accused of assault by Dee Barnes, a journalist and MC, who told Rolling Stone that she's been blacklisted by the music industry since speaking out against the mogul.16. 'U.N.I.T.Y.' by Queen Latifah (1993)Queen Latifah became the first female rapper to receive a Grammy Award in 1995, winning best rap solo performance for "U.N.I.T.Y."As with many of her signature songs, "U.N.I.T.Y." celebrates the resilience of women in a male-dominated world, explicitly condemning issues like sexual harassment ("I walked past these dudes when they passed me / One of 'em felt my booty, he was nasty") and sexist language in her own industry ("Instinct leads me to another flow / Every time I hear a brother call a girl a bitch or a ho / Tryna make a sister feel low / You know all of that gots to go").Just this year, Latifah made history again as the first female rapper to join the National Recording Registry with the induction of her debut album "All Hail The Queen."17. 'None of Your Business' by Salt-N-Pepa (1994)The 37th annual Grammys proved to be a historic night for women in hip-hop. After Queen Latifah accepted the award for best rap solo performance, Salt-N-Pepa became the first-ever female rap group to take home a golden gramophone.Cheryl James (aka Salt), Sandra Denton (aka Pepa), and Deidra Roper (aka DJ Spinderella) won best rap performance by a duo or group for "None of Your Business," a sex-positive anthem that calls out misogynistic double standards. It was their third nomination in the category that had previously been dominated by men.The song's parent album, "Very Necessary," was eventually certified multiplatinum — making Salt-N-Pepa the first female rap group to achieve the feat.Salt-n-Pepa at the 1995 Grammy Awards.Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images18. 'Gangsta's Paradise' by Coolio featuring L.V. (1995)"Gangsta's Paradise" didn't just spark a breakthrough in Coolio's career. It marked a turning point for hip-hop at large, in terms of radio play and mainstream appeal.Originally recorded for the drama film "Dangerous Minds," the song is notable for its moody, melodramatic production. Combined with L.V.'s melodic chorus and Coolio's biblical lyrics — "As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death" is based on Psalm 23 — the song became easy to recognize and difficult to shake."Gangsta's Paradise" was the best-selling song of 1995 in the US and wound up topping charts in over a dozen countries. It was also the first hip-hop song to win single of the year at the Billboard Music Awards, an award that celebrates commercial success.To this day, "Gangsta's Paradise" remains one of the most memorable and widely beloved hits from the '90s with over 1 billion streams on Spotify.19. 'Hypnotize' by The Notorious B.I.G. (1997)"Hypnotize" was promoted as the lead single for The Notorious B.I.G's sophomore album, "Life After Death," which was released just 16 days after the Brooklyn legend was murdered.The landmark song became Biggie's first No. 1 hit on the Hot 100, making him the only artist to posthumously top the chart since John Lennon in 1980. (Later that year, "Mo Money Mo Problems" also ascended to No. 1, making Biggie the only artist to top the Hot 100 posthumously twice.)"Hypnotize" is still known as a crossover smash, a sure-fire party starter, partially thanks to its ingenious infusion of disco. The beat was crafted using a sample of Herb Alpert's "Rise," written by Andy Armer and Herb's nephew, Randy "Badazz" Alpert.Randy later revealed that he'd been approached by several hip-hop artists to use the sample, including stars like Ice Cube and Easy E, but he was never convinced — until he heard Biggie's demo."There were probably 8-10 records between the late '80s through the early '90s that tried to sample 'Rise,' and I never liked them," he told Billboard in 2017.After turning down a flood of requests, Randy's publisher convinced him to listen to the "Hypnotize" demo in late 1996."I remember when that thing came on… that was it, I'm done. It's great," he recalled. "I played that cassette over and over. I must've played it for half an hour, 45 minutes. I said, 'That's a fucking hit record.'""To this day 20 years later… like, I ask my twin 17-year-olds, and those 17-year-olds were not born when 'Hypnotize' came out, and were certainly not born when 'Rise' came out. But them and their friends love that record," Randy added. "There are certain artists that work through generations."20. 'I'll Be Missing You' by Diddy featuring Faith Evans & 112 (1997)Before he leveraged his fame to build a business empire, Sean Combs (then known as Diddy) dominated the charts in the '90s and early 2000s.In 1997 alone, Combs notched three No. 1 hits on the Hot 100: "Can't Nobody Hold Me Down," "Mo Money Mo Problems," and "I'll Be Missing You," a tribute to his labelmate, Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace, who was murdered in March of that year.The heartfelt single reigned atop the chart for 11 weeks, which remains one of the longest No. 1 streaks in Billboard history.The following year, "I'll Be Missing You" won best rap performance by a duo or group at the 40th annual Grammy Awards. Combs also won best rap album for "No Way Out," making him the first rapper in history to receive multiple Grammys in a single night.More recently, Combs was sued by his longtime partner and label signee Cassie, who accused him of perpetuating a "cycle of abuse." The case was quickly settled out of court.21. 'Doo Wop (That Thing)' by Lauryn Hill (1998)After a celebrated career with the Fugees, "Doo Wop (That Thing)" was released as Lauryn Hill's solo debut single. It debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100, becoming the 10th song in history to achieve that feat.It also led the charge for Hill's one and only studio album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," on which she was the sole producer.At the 1999 Grammys, Hill became the first hip-hop artist ever to win album of the year, in addition to awards for best new artist, best R&B album, best female R&B vocal performance, and best rhythm & blues song."Doo Wop (That Thing)" remains Hill's signature hit, inspiring a new generation of groundbreaking artists."Normally, you had other people singing the hooks — Nate Dogg, Ashanti. But Lauryn Hill was singing her own hook and spitting intricate verses," Lizzo wrote for Billboard in 2018. "I don't think people realize how amazing and incredible that is — and how difficult it is to pull that off.""She set the bar," Lizzo continued. "I was always afraid of being a singer, but then when I heard Lauryn Hill, I was like, 'Maybe I can do both.'"Lauryn Hill at the 1999 Grammys.Frank Micelotta Archive via Getty Images22. 'Changes' by 2Pac featuring Talent (1998)Before his murder in 1996, Tupac Shakur built a reputation as an outspoken poet, rapping about an array of sociopolitical issues.Although Shakur's music wasn't always "woke" by today's standards, "Changes" stands out as one of his most referenced and most prescient songs.Originally recorded in 1992, "Changes" was released after Shakur's death as the lead single from his "Greatest Hits" compilation. It remains the only posthumous song to be nominated for best rap solo performance at the Grammys.The lyrics reveal a devastating, first-hand account of racist systems in the US, particularly mass incarceration ("It ain't a secret, don't conceal the fact / The penitentiary's packed, and it's filled with blacks"), as well as generational poverty, police brutality, gun violence, and the disastrous war on drugs."'Changes' by 2Pac was the first hip-hop song I heard that stopped me in my tracks," Sampa the Great recently wrote in an essay for The Guardian. "I was 9 years old, living in Botswana as a middle child of five.""Because Tupac was expressing human experiences, it made me connect," she continued. "And that was another note for myself: regardless of where I'm from, what language I speak or which culture I belong to, the human experience always resonates."23. 'Get Ur Freak On' by Missy Elliott (2001)Missy Elliott's status as an innovator and trailblazer was well-established by the time she was ready to release her third studio album, "Miss E... So Addictive." But the album's lead single, "Get Ur Freak On," took Elliott's fame to new heights.Cowritten and produced by Timbaland, the Grammy-winning song has been hailed as "the most iconic 21st-Century dance anthem" (BBC) and "one of the most deliciously freaky, gleefully experimental hip-hop songs ever" (Rolling Stone). Elliott's refusal to pander or follow trends has inspired everyone from Michelle Obama to Bad Bunny."I just wanted to cross the border with this album," she told Vibe magazine in 2001. "When was the last time somebody made records like Prince, or Rick James, or Marvin Gaye's 'Sexual Healing?' I wanted to do what everybody else is scared to do.""Get Ur Freak On" was released in 2001.Missy Elliott/YouTube24. 'Ether' by Nas (2001)Nas honed the art of the diss track with "Ether," released on his fifth album "Stillmatic."Intended as a response to Jay-Z's "Takeover," the song made such a splash that its title became synonymous with public humiliation.According to Merriam-Webster, the word "ether" — historically used to describe "the upper regions of space" — took on a new colloquial meaning thanks to Nas, one that's still popular today."The song, which finished second in a 2017 Rolling Stone Readers' Poll of the best diss tracks of all time, was received with great acclaim and is credited with revitalizing Nas' career," reads an article on the dictionary's website."Shortly after its release, 'ether' began to see use as a verb along the ranks of 'own,' 'savage,' and 'throw shade,' all of which refer to the act of leveling criticism to another in a public way that is intended to humiliate," Merriam-Webster continues. "'Ether' adds to that meaning the effect of leaving the target of such criticism at a loss for response. And now it's out there, in the air, for Jay-Z and everyone else to breathe in."25. 'Lose Yourself' by Eminem (2002)Amid all of Eminem's accomplishments, "Lose Yourself" stands out as one of the most lauded hip-hop cuts of all time.It was the inaugural winner of the Grammy Award for best rap song in 2004 and became the first rap song ever to be nominated for song of the year, a category that celebrates excellence in lyricism. Written for the soundtrack of "8 Mile," Eminem's film debut, it was also the first rap song to win an Oscar.In 2014, "Lose Yourself" became the third song in history to be certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America.26. 'Frontin'' by Pharrell featuring Jay-Z (2003)Today, Pharrell is known for smash hits like "Happy" and "Blurred Lines," as well as his illustrious career as a producer, which has yielded gems like Frank Ocean's "Pink + White," Beyoncé's "Blow," Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body," and Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U."Pharrell has affected both pop and hip-hop culture in nearly incalculable ways — but before all that, "Frontin'" put him on the map as a solo star. Pharrell's debut single pushed him into the spotlight and expanded the reach of his influence, partially thanks to its brilliantly designed music video."The vision of a hip hop-driven, streetwear-inflected lifestyle presented by 'Frontin' in 2003 was basically the blueprint for everything that became cool in the 18 years since," Cam Wolf wrote for GQ. Pharrell also confirmed to Complex that its impact was "calculated."Pharrell in "Frontin.'"Pharrell Williams/YouTube27. 'Hey Ya!' by Outkast (2003)Outkast, the Atlanta duo that's widely credited for the rise of Southern rap, convinced everybody to shake it like a Polaroid picture (even though you're not supposed to do that) when they released "Hey Ya!" as the lead single for their multiplatinum album, "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below."Written, produced, and performed by André 3000, the smash hit is most notable for its genre-defying, cross-generational appeal. Upon its release, the rap-funk-pop behemoth reigned at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for nine weeks and became the first song ever to be downloaded 1 million times on iTunes.Indeed, "Hey Ya!" is probably the closest to "universally beloved" that any song can get. It's been described by critics as an "experimental masterstroke" (NME) and "one of the greatest unifying forces that pop music has given us this century" (Stereogum). In 2021, Rolling Stone ranked "Hey Ya!" as the 10th-best song of all time.28. 'Super Bass' by Nicki Minaj (2011)Plenty of rappers enjoyed radio play before Nicki Minaj came along, but she may have perfected the formula for a crossover hit in the 21st century. "Super Bass" combined rapid-fire rhymes with irresistible hooks, establishing Minaj as a top-tier rapper as much as an international pop star.Whether "Super Bass" is Minaj's best song is irrelevant; it poured gasoline on her career and allowed her to carve a unique path through the music industry.Minaj redefined what it means to be a woman in hip-hop, to the point where you can no longer find a breakthrough star in the genre who hasn't sung her praises. ("Thank you Nicki," Doja Cat explicitly raps on her Grammy-nominated third album. "I love you!")29. 'Marvin's Room' by Drake (2011)Since his debut in 2010, Drake has become the undisputed king of hip-hop's commercial appeal. One could argue that "Take Care" paved the way.Drake's sophomore album is still widely considered his best work. Though it may seem like standard fare to newer fans, that's precisely because its influence was so vast. "Take Care" is credited with popularizing the emotive rap-sung style that took over hip-hop in the 2010s, and its lead single, "Marvin's Room," is the crown jewel of that subgenre."The easiest thing to do is be like, 'I'm the coolest guy, I get all the girls, I'm untouchable,'" Drake's longtime producer, Noah "40" Shebib, told Billboard in 2019. "The hard thing to do is be vulnerable and honest. ['Marvins Room'] opened the doors for artists in Drake's position to make music from their heart and not be so confined to self-imposed rules and regulations."30. 'Alright' by Kendrick Lamar (2015)Kendrick Lamar is considered by many to be the greatest living rapper. Across his four studio albums, the lyrical wiz has racked up countless accolades, including 17 Grammys (out of 47 nominations) and a Pulitzer Prize.Lamar's crowning achievement, however, is not his many awards or glowing reviews. It's the way he's inspired younger generations, especially in the Black community. His standout single "Alright" became a call for justice and an anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement, years before it was reignited by the death of George Floyd."When I'd go in certain parts of the world, and they were singing it in the streets," Lamar told the New York Times in 2015. "When it's outside of the concerts, then you know it's a little bit more deep-rooted than just a song. It's more than just a piece of a record. It's something that people live by — your words."Kendrick Lamar in "Alright."Kendrick Lamar/YouTube31. 'No Problem' by Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz (2016)"No Problem," the most popular song from Chance the Rapper's third mixtape "Coloring Book," helped take down a longstanding barrier for hip-hop artists.Even after he'd arrived on mainstream radars, Chance still refused to sign a major label contract, preferring to operate independently. Like many grassroots rappers, who find success on free platforms like YouTube or SoundCloud, Chance's music wasn't available to purchase, only to stream. This made him ineligible to be nominated for a Grammy Award — until the Recording Academy changed the rule, that is.In 2017, the Recording Academy announced it would allow submissions of streaming-only albums for the first time. That same day, Chance was announced as the first streaming-only artist to receive Grammy nominations — including best rap song and best rap performance for "No Problem."He won the latter during the preshow, in addition to two other awards, cementing his role as a key player in hip-hop's growing takeover.32. 'Bodak Yellow' by Cardi B (2017)It's hard to remember a time when Cardi B wasn't a household name, but before she released "Bodak Yellow" as her major-label debut single, she was still best known as a meme-able character from "Love & Hip-Hop: New York."The song had other plans. It reigned at No. 1 for three weeks — only the second time ever a female rapper had topped the chart unaccompanied — and catapulted Cardi B to Grammy-level reverence."Bodak Yellow" eventually became the first song ever by a female rapper to be certified diamond.33. 'This Is America' by Childish Gambino (2018)Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) surprise-released "This Is America" with no explanation, save for an intricate and unnerving music video.It became an overnight phenomenon. The enigmatic track inspired think pieces, sparked outrage among conservatives, and fueled discussions about racism and gun violence in the US.Whatever Glover's intention was, the song's reach was indisputable; "This Is America" was awarded both song of the year and record of the year at the 61st annual Grammy Awards, becoming the first hip-hop song in history to win either.Childish Gambino in "This Is America."Childish Gambino/YouTube34. 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus (2019)Lil Nas X's breakthrough single, which combines elements of trap, country, and industrial rock, first made headlines for suffering a setback: Billboard unceremoniously booted the viral hit from its country charts, citing indistinct "factors" that many interpreted as racist.In response, Lil Nas X recruited Billy Ray Cyrus, a country legend he only knew from watching "Hannah Montana" as a kid.It's no exaggeration to say that that decision changed the music industry. The new Cyrus-featuring remix of "Old Town Road" set a record for the longest streak at No. 1 on the all-genre Hot 100 (19 weeks) and became the fastest song in history to be certified diamond.The song's runaway success signaled a shift away from genre lines and boundaries — a charge that hip-hop artists had already been leading for decades — and forced a long-overdue conversation about double standards for Black musicians.35. 'Savage Remix' by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé (2020)Megan Thee Stallion was already one of the brightest new stars in rap before her collaboration with Beyoncé made history.At the 2021 Grammys, the Houston natives won best rap song for "Savage Remix," becoming the first-ever female duo to triumph in the category. Their win also meant that Beyoncé — who's dabbled in rap and hip-hop trends throughout her career — had officially become the most-awarded woman in Grammys history."But of course, the Queen is really here for a coronating co-sign of Megan Thee Stallion — the defining artist of a year that seemed a never-ending showcase for her bravado, poise and finely calibrated fury," Lindsay Zoladz wrote for the New York Times. "'Savage' is so much more than a meme, an Instagram caption, a TikTok dance: It is a joyous assertion of Black female personhood in a world that needed it as desperately as water."Barnaby Lane contributed additional reporting.Listen to the complete playlist on Insider's Spotify.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 16th, 2023

Dodgy Dick: Top Democrat Won"t Commit To Subpoenaing Jeffrey Epstein Flight Logs

Dodgy Dick: Top Democrat Won't Commit To Subpoenaing Jeffrey Epstein Flight Logs Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), A powerful Democrat is refusing to commit to issuing a subpoena for more transparent versions of Jeffrey Epstein's flight logs. U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in Washington on April 18, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, declined to tell a reporter or Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who wants the subpoena issued, that he would support the effort. Ms. Blackburn, in late November, tried bringing forth an amendment for a vote that would authorize the subpoena but was blocked by GOP colleagues, who invoked a rule that led to the hearing ending after about two hours. When Mr. Durbin was asked on Dec. 5 whether he'd issue the subpoena, he demurred. "I don't know anything about his flight logs. I know who Epstein was but I certainly don't know anything about the issue," he told a Fox News reporter in Washington. Mr. Durbin also falsely said that the matter "has never been raised by anyone." After entering a committee hearing in which members questioned the FBI's director on various topics, Mr. Durbin told Ms. Blackburn that he was not aware that one of her amendments was a subpoena for Mr. Epstein's flight logs. "I do not know anything about this request," he said. An aide for Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month acknowledged that Ms. Blackburn's attempt to issue the subpoena was blocked during the Nov. 30 committee hearing before noting that Republicans, led by Ranking Member Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) invoked a rule that ended discussion on amendments for the subpoenas that were ultimately approved for a billionaire and conservative activist linked to Supreme Court justices. Mr. Graham's office did not respond to a request for comment. Mr. Durbin "falsely claimed he was not aware of Senator Marsha Blackburn’s amendment to subpoena Jeffrey Epstein’s flight logs," Ms. Blackburn's office said in a statement. Ms. Blackburn was prevented from speaking in the November hearing by Republicans after Mr. Durbin asked her to kick off the amendment process. But in an earlier hearing in November, she said she'd filed for a subpoena for Mr. Epstein's flight logs. "Given the numerous allegations of human trafficking and abuse surrounding Mr. Epstein, we’ve got to identify everyone who could have participated in his horrific conduct," she said at the time. Ms. Blackburn blamed Mr. Durbin and other Democrats for there not being a vote yet on the proposal. “It’s perplexing why Chairman Durbin blocked Senator Blackburn’s amendment request to subpoena Jeffrey Epstein’s estate," a spokesperson for Ms. Blackburn told The Epoch Times via email. "I think you are fully aware that I had two amendments, one dealing with Epstein," Ms. Blackburn said on Tuesday. Mr. Durbin said he was not aware. "I brought it up previously," Ms. Blackburn said. Mr. Durbin said she did not. The subpoena "should be at the top of this committee's to-do list," she also said. A request for comment to a spokesperson for Mr. Durbin was not returned. "I did not know that you offered that amendment. I want a point on the record you and I have never personally discussed this, have we?" Mr. Durbin said. Ms. Blackburn said they spoke briefly after the abrupt end to the late November hearing. "You never mentioned what subject matter your amendment was," Mr. Durbin said. "In committee, I brought up the subject matter of my amendment three weeks prior," Ms. Blackburn said. "Not in my presence," Mr. Durbin said. "I will pull the transcript for you," Ms. Blackburn said. Then-President Bill Clinton welcomes Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell to the White House in a 1993 file image. (William J. Clinton Presidential Library) FBI Director Questioned Ms. Blackburn also told Christopher Wray, the FBI's director, that she wanted more information from the bureau regarding Mr. Epstein, a convicted sex offender who died in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. "There are disturbing allegations that the FBI failed to investigate the sex trafficking allegations," Ms. Blackburn said, noting that one woman who said she was sexually abused by Mr. Epstein has said she took evidence to the FBI, but the bureau refused to investigate. Mr. Wray said the FBI worked together with prosecutors to bring the sex trafficking charges and that it has been a while since he looked at the case. "What we need from you is a complete investigation. Why the FBI did not take this on, and then getting to the bottom of what is an enormous sex trafficking ring and listening to the survivors," Ms. Blackburn said. While the flight logs have been released before, that version was heavily redacted. Ms. Blackburn wondered whether a more transparent version could be released. "Let me offer to get with my team and figure out if there is more information we can provide," Mr. Wray said. The FBI's national press office told The Epoch Times in an email on Dec. 6 that it did not have anything to add, after being asked what Mr. Wray and his team had figured out. RFK Jr. on Flights Some of the most powerful people in the world flew on Mr. Epstein's private plane, according to the logs and witness testimony, including former President Bill Clinton and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running as an independent in the 2024 race, said this week he was on the plane twice. Mr. Kennedy said on Fox that his now-former wife had "some kind of relationship with Ghislaine Maxwell," an associate of Mr. Epstein who has been convicted of sex trafficking of minors. Mr. Kennedy said one of the flights took place in 1993 and that he flew to Florida with his wife and some of his children. "I went then, and another occasion, I flew again with my family with, I think, four of my children," Mr. Kennedy said. "I have been very open about this from the beginning. This was in ’93, so it was 30 years ago. It was before anybody knew about Jeffrey Epstein’s, you know nefarious issues. And I agree with you that all of this information should be released. We should get real answers on what happened to Jeffrey Epstein and any of the high-level political people that he was involved with. All of that should be open to the public.” Tyler Durden Wed, 12/06/2023 - 23:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 7th, 2023

Celebrities who died in 2023

Here are the stars we said goodbye to so far this year, including Sinéad O'Connor, Norman Lear, Jimmy Buffett, Matthew Perry, and Tina Turner. Lisa Marie Presley.Bryan Steffy/WireImage Here are the famous people who died in 2023. Lisa Marley Presley, Jim Brown, Raquel Welch, Matthew Perry, Harry Belafonte, Norman Lear, and Bob Barker all passed away. So did music icons Tina Turner, David Crosby, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett, Sinéad O'Connor, and Robbie Robertson. Joss Ackland, 95Joss Ackland.Pascal Le Segretin/GettyAckland has dozens of movie and TV credits, but he'll be remembered best for the work he did in the late 1980s and into the 1990s.He played the villain Aryan Rudd in 1989's "Lethal Weapon 2." He then played the Soviet Union Ambassador in 1990's "The Hunt for Red October," and then in 1992 played the lovable skate-maker Hans in "The Mighty Ducks." He returned for the sequel in 1996.The British-born character actor's final credit was the 2014 movie "Decline of an Empire," which was a biopic on Catherine of Alexandria.Ackland died on November 19, no cause was given.Alan Arkin, 89Alan Arkin in the 1966 movie "The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming."United Archives/GettySpanning seven decades, the work of Alan Arkin will be remembered forever.Arkin, with his Brooklyn accent, was never hard to miss. Whether he played his gruff style for laughs or drama, he was always top notch.He made his Broadway debut as David Kolowitz in "Enter Laughing," earning his first-ever Tony Award for best featured actor in a play in 1963.Quickly he moved out to Hollywood and found instant success.He nabbed his first Oscar nomination for his leading role in the Norman Jewison 1966 war satire "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming." Arkin earned additional Academy Award nominations for his roles in "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" and "Argo."He won his Oscar for his role as Edwin Hoover in "Little Miss Sunshine," the 2006 critically acclaimed dramedy.Arkin was also a six-time Primetime Emmy nominee, more recently for his supporting role as Norman Newlander on "The Kominsky Method."He died on June 29 at his home in Carlsbad, California. No cause was given.Burt Bacharach, 94Burt Bacharach.Bettmann/GettyA six-time Grammy winner and three-time Oscar winner, Bacharach gave us some of the most memorable pop tunes of all time.The composer and pianist was responsible for "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" from the movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," as well as "Best that You Can Do," the theme from the movie "Arthur." Both of which also became chart-topping singles.Along with lyricist Hal David, the duo are regarded as one of the best songwriting teams of all time. There's the hits they did with Dionne Warwick, like "Walk on By" and "I'll Never Fall in Love Again."Other hits include "The Story of My Life" from Marty Robbins, and "Magic Moments" sung by Perry Como.Bacharach died on February 8 of natural causes.  Bob Barker, 99Bob Barker.CBSThe legendary game show host of "The Price Is Right" was a fixture in houses during the daytime for an astounding 35 years.With his slim figure, golden tan, and full head of white hair, Barker was not just a TV star, for many he was a part of the family as he was on their TV five days a week without fail.It resulted in Barker winning 14 Daytime Emmys Awards for outstanding game show host over his career, and an Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in 1999.Barker died on August 26 of natural causes.Jeff Beck, 78Jeff Beck.Paul Natkin/GettyThe beloved English guitarist of The Yardbirds spent decades evolving his style as he was influenced by everything from blues to hard rock.He's regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time.Thanks to his mix of work with The Yardbirds in the 1960s and his later solo work, he was respected around the world by musicians and fans.Beck won the Grammy for best rock instrumental performance six times and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice — once for being in The Yardbirds and a second time as a solo artist.He died on January 10 after contracting a bacterial meningitis infection.Harry Belafonte, 96Harry Belafonte.NBC Photo Bank/GettyA beloved singer, songwriter, actor, and activist, Belafonte was beloved by millions for many reasons.Along with winning Emmy, Tony, and Grammy awards, he also fought for civil rights alongside his late friends Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sidney Poitier.After claiming fame in 1954 as Joe in "Carmen Jones," in which he was Oscar nominated, he then trail blazed a career both as an actor and a musician.His 1956 album "Calypso sold millions. And as the decades followed he starred in movies like "Buck and the Preacher" (1972) and "Uptown Saturday Night" (1974).And with his activism he did everything from marching with MLK to speaking about the apartheid in South Africa.Belafonte died on April 25. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. Richard Belzer, 78Richard Belzer.Donna Svennevik/Disney General Entertainment Content/GettySince the early 1990s Richard Belzer was synonymous with the TV police procedural.Playing the character detective John Munch, his sarcastic charm made him a fixture on shows like "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "Law & Order" for years. But he was so good at his character that Belzer's Munch also found his way on other shows on other networks, which is unheard of.Munch appeared on 11 different TV shows, which has never happened to a fictional character in the history of television. They include: "Homicide," "Law & Order," "The X-Files," "The Beat," "Law & Order: Trial By Jury," "Arrested Development," "The Wire," "30 Rock," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."Before playing Munch, Belzer was known for his stand-up comedy. He was the warm-up act in the early days of "Saturday Night Live." And if you look close enough you'll see Belzer playing the MC at the Miami club in "Scarface" before the dramatic shootout happens.Belzer died on February 19 at his home in the south of France after "an illness."Tony Bennett, 96Tony Bennett.Michael Ochs Archives/GettyThough born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in Queens, New York, the world knew him as Tony Bennett.The crooner was timeless as he performed hits for generations of fans.His career launched thanks to Bob Hope. The two were touring in the 1950s and it was then that Hope told the young singer to change the stage name he was using, Joe Bari. Bennett decided to shorten his real name and a star was born.His first hit was "Because of You." It followed with another huge hit, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Bennett would go on to win 18 Grammys. But there were struggles along the way.In the '70s, he dealt with what he described as the "darkest period of his life" while battling drug addiction and financial troubles, which he revealed in his 2011 autobiography, "All the Things You Are: The Life of Tony."He finally got back on top in the '90s when he did an "Unplugged" performance for MTV. It led to a new generation of fans, and countless performers wanted to duet with him, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Amy Winehouse, Christina Aguilera, Juanes, and Lady Gaga.In 2014, Bennett and Gaga recorded a joint studio album, "Cheek to Cheek," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.Bennett died on July 21 after a battle with Alzheimer's disease.Robert Blake, 89Robert Blake.Michael Ochs Archives/GettyMost of Blake's life was in front of the camera. As a child actor he was one of the members of the iconic shorts series the "Little Rascals," starring as Mickey. His character appeared in the shorts toward the end of its run in the 1940s. He then starred as Little Beaver in the Western movie franchise "Red Ryder," which was based on the popular comic strip. By the 1950s he made numerous guest spots on TV shows. Then in 1967 he had his breakout (as an adult actor) when he played murderer Perry Smith in the acclaimed adaptation of the Truman Capote true crime book, "In Cold Blood."Blake is known best for playing the lead in the mid 1970s TV series "Baretta," in which he played a street-smart detective with a cockatoo for a pet named Fred. Blake would earn an Emmy for the role.The actor is also known for his infamous private life as he was the face of a high profile court case after being charged with the 2001 murder of his wife. Blake was acquitted of the charge as well as one count of soliciting murder in a 2005 trial.Blake died on March 9 due to heart disease, according to the Associated Press. Jim Brown, 87Jim Brown.GettyJim Brown lived many lives: football icon, movie star, and social activist.In all of them, he did it with a focus and drive that made him a legend.Regarded as one of the greatest football players who ever lived, Brown became a Hall of Famer despite only playing in the NFL for nine seasons. But in that time he shattered records as a running back, won MVP three times, and won the NFL championship in 1964 with the Cleveland Browns.After his shocking retirement he went onto movies, starring in over 30, with standouts being "The Dirty Dozen," "Three The Hard Way," "He Got Game," and "Any Given Sunday."Brown was also a voice for equality throughout his life.Most famously, in 1967, he organized a meeting with top Black athletes in Cleveland to support Muhammad Ali's opposition of the Vietnam war. The meet included the likes of Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor, who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.Brown died on May 18 of natural causes.Jimmy Buffett, 76Jimmy Buffett.Hal Horowitz/WireImage/GettyThanks to his breezy music that made you feel you were laying on a white sand beach whenever hearing it, Jimmy Buffett transported fans of his music into vacation mode for decades thanks to songs like "Margaritaville," "Cheeseburger in Paradise," "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes," and "Come Monday."He took that vibe and made himself a billionaire when he began his Margaritaville restaurant chain in the mid 1980s. That's since evolved into hotels and resorts across the world.Buffett died on September 1 due to Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare skin cancer.Dick Butkus, 80Dick Butkus.Bettmann/GettyDick Butkus' intense drive and colorful personality didn't just make him one of the greatest defensive players ever in the NFL but also forged a path to celebrity once he retired that countless othes have tried to emulate ever since.After hanging it up as a Hall of Fame linebacker for the Chicago Bears in the early 1970s, Butkus became a celebrity endorser, broadcaster, and actor finding success in all three.Being the face of a commercial during Super Bowl IV in 1970 for the antifreeze brand Prestone is considered the launch of the celebrity-endorsed Super Bowl ad. He followed that with starring opposite fellow retired NFL player Bubba Smith (of "Police Academy" fame) in a series of popular Miller Lite ads in the 1980s.He starred in movies like "The Longest Yard" and "Any Given Sunday" and landed series regular roles on shows like "My Two Dads" and "Hang Time."Butkus was also a respected NFL commentator through the 1980s.Butkus died on October 5, no cause was given.Paul Cattermole, 46Paul Cattermole.Tim Roney/GettyCattermole was part of the English pop group S Club 7.The group is known best for the 1999 debut single "Bring It All Back," as well as "Reach" and "Don't Stop Movin'."It was announced earlier this year that all seven original members would go back on the road again for a reunion tour in the UK. It would have been the first time they would all be on stage since 2015.The BBC reported that Cattermole was found dead at his home on April 6, according to a statement from Cattermole's family. The cause of death is unknown.Michael Chiarello, 61Michael Chiarello.Steve Jennings/WireImage/GettyChiarello became one of the first major celebrity chefs to come from the Food Network.His 2003 show "Easy Entertaining" became a hit on the channel. That followed with the show "NapaStyle," which premiered in 2004 on Food Network's sister channel, Fine Living Network. He also was a contestant on the "The Next Iron Chef."Chiarello died in Napa, California, on October 6 after being treated for an acute allergic reaction that led to anaphylactic shock. Angus Cloud, 25Angus Cloud as Fezco on season two, episode four of "Euphoria."Eddy Chen/HBOCloud instantly became a fan favorite on the HBO series "Euphoria" playing the character of drug dealer Fezco, despite the fact that he had zero acting experience before joining the show.Discovered on the streets of New York City by a casting agent, his raw look was perfect for the show.He had a natural ability in front of the camera, a calm and controlled way with his actions that instantly sucked you in as a viewer.Cloud died on July 31 at his family's home in Oakland, California. His death comes as he was struggling with the loss of his father, who was buried in Ireland a week prior. David Crosby, 81David Crosby.NBCU photo bank/GettyThis influential singer-songwriter is behind two of the biggest bands of the 1960s, The Byrds and Crosby, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.The Byrds' first single, a harmony version of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" went No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart in early 1965. The band would become America's answer to The Beatles with its pop/folk influence.As a member of CSNY their 1970 album "Déjà Vu" hit No. 1 on the charts and went on to sell 7 million copies. The following year "4-Way Street," a two-LP live set drawn from their subsequent U.S. tour, came out and went quadruple-platinum.But Crosby was also one of rock's bad boys, his heavy drug use led to a nine-month jail sentence in a Texas state prison in 1985.Crosby's work on The Byrds and CSNY led to 35 million albums sold over his career.He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice.Crosby died on January 18, no cause was given.Melinda Dillon, 83Melinda Dillon.Ron Galella/GettyDillon was the motherly figure in some of the most famous movies of all time.For Steven Spielberg's 1977 classic "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" she plays the mother who can't stop her son from being abducted by aliens and alongside Richard Dreyfuss searches for answers.Then in 1983's "A Christmas Story" she plays a mother trying to raise two boys in the beloved comedy.With her gentle features and soft voice, Dillon made you feel emotions even with the silliest movie, like she did playing the mother of a family that takes in Bigfoot in the 1987 comedy "Harry and the Hendersons."Dillon was nominated for a Tony in 1963 for her performance of Honey in the play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" She was nominated for best supporting actress twice: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and the 1981 drama "Absence of Malice."Dillon died January 9. No cause was given.Frederic Forrest, 86Frederic Forrest.Bill Nation/Sygma/GettyAn acclaimed character actor, Forrest could play quiet and reserve or full of energy. He showed both sides in two Francis Ford Coppola classics: "The Conversation," in which he played a man having a secret affair; and "Apocalypse Now," who as the soldier "Chef" famously runs from a tiger in the jungle.In 1980, he was nominated for best supporting actor for the Bette Midler movie "The Rose."His other credits include the western "The Missouri Breaks" (1976), which starred Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson; the "Chinatown" sequel "The Two Jakes" (1990), which also starred Nicholson; and Coppola's "Tucker: The Man and His Dream."Forrest died on June 23 at his home in Santa Monica, California. He was in hospice care for congestive heart failure, his sister Ginger Forrest Jackson told the Washington Post.William Friedkin, 87William Friedkin.Newsmakers/GettyOne of the "New Hollywood" mavericks who infiltrated Hollywood in the early 1970s and rejuvenated the town with radical stories and styles, Friedkin would find auteur status by the end of the decade.With 1971's "The French Connection" and 1973's "The Exorcist," Friedkin was responsible for movies that became instant classics, with the former earning him his only best director Oscar.Though famously knocked down a peg when his doomed "Sorcerer" came out soon after 1977's "Star Wars" and was a box office dud, the director rebounded in the 1980s with movies like "Cruising," starring Al Pacino, and another police drama masterpiece, 1985's "To Live and Die in L.A."The movies Friedkin made here like him: brash and unapologetic.Friedkin died on August 7. No cause was given.Terry Funk, 79Terry Funk.Bruce Bennett Studios/GettyThanks to his hardcore style Terry Funk became a legend in pro wrestling.With perfect interviews that made him the ultimate heel to fans and his ability to pull off amazing matches in which he seemed to leave everything in the ring ever night, Funk became a moneymaker for promoters not just in the US but also in Japan where he was beloved.When wrestling leaned more into bloody hardcore matches in the 1990s, Funk was a fixture at Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), where its outlandish matches were the biggest rival to the established World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Some of his most memorable matches were with the likes of Rick Flair and Mick Foley, who Funk mentored.Outside the ring, Funk found a nice side hustle playing henchmen in movies like 1987's "Over the Top" with Sylvester Stallone and 1989's "Road House" with Patrick Swayze. He also showed up on TV shows like "Swamp Thing" and "Quantum Leap."Funk died on August 23. No cause was given.Michael Gambon, 82Michael Gambon.Carl Court/AFP/GettyAn acclaimed character actor whose career spanned six decades, Michael Gambon graced both the stage and screen in memorable roles over his career.At the start of his career he was one of the original members of the Royal National Theatre alongside fellow acting legend Laurence Olivier.It was Olivier who gave Gambon his big screen debut with "Othello" in 1965. Gambon went on to star in a wide range of movies: Barry Levinson's "Toys" opposite Robin Williams in 1992, the critical darling "The Insider" in 1999, Robert Altman's "Gosford Park" in 2003, and a perfect gangster in 2004's "Layer Cake" opposite Daniel Craig, to name just a few.But for most he will be remembered for taking the role of Professor Albus Dumbledore following the death of Richard Harris in 2002. He played the role beginning with 2004's "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."Gambon died on September 28 following a bout of pneumonia.Len Goodman, 78Len Goodman.Kelsey McNeal/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty ImagesFor 30 seasons of "Dancing with the Stars" Len Goodman was the show's north star.As head judge of the popular dance competition, the one-time champion ballroom dancer brought a legitimacy to the judges' table as his critiques of the novice stars trying their best to dance alongside professionals were always tough but fair.Along with "DWTS," Goodman was a judge on "Strictly Come Dancing," the UK version of the competition from 2004 to 2016.He served as head judge on "DWTS" for more than 15 years and 30 seasons.Goodman died on April 22 due to bone cancer.Steve Harwell, 56Steve HarwellVince Bucci/GettyAs one of the founders of the band Smash Mouth, Harwell's voice was a fixture through the late '90s and early 2000s when the band was at its height thanks to popular songs like "Walkin on the Sun" and "All-Star."The frontman's booming voice has continued to draw in fans a generation later thanks in large part to "All-Star." The song was included in the hit 2001 animated movie "Shrek" and since has become synonymous with the title thanks to internet memes.Harwell died on September 4 due to liver failure.  Ron Cephas Jones, 66Ron Cephas Jones.NBC/GettyThe veteran character actor was best known for this Emmy-winning performance on the TV series "This is Us" in which he played William Hill, the biological father of Randall Pearson (played by Sterling K. Brown).Previous to that Jones was known for his work on the stage, including the 2014 Broadway production of "Of Mice and Men."His TV and movie credits included, "Mr. Robot," "Luke Cage," "He Got Game," "Half Nelson," and "Dolemite Is My Name."Jones died on August 19 due to a long-standing pulmonary issue, according to People.Bob Knight, 83Bob Knight.Rich Clarkson/NCAA/GettyKnown on the basketball court for his fiery competitiveness, Bob Knight at one time was the most well known coach in college sports and it led to him becoming a pop culture figure thanks to appearances in commercials, TV shows, and movies.Knight won three national championships at Indiana, including an undefeated season in 1975-1976.Knight also won a gold medal at the Olympics for coaching team USA in 1984 with a team that included Michael Jordan.The success led to him showing up in cameos in movies like 1994's "Blue Chips" starring Shaquille O'Neal, and the 2003 Adam Sandler movie "Anger Management." He also showed up in numerous commercials. There was even a reality TV show ESPN did around him called "Knight School" in the early 2000s.Known as "The General," his reputation as a highly volatile coach who would throw chairs and yell at referees and players during games got the best of him when video caught him allegedly choking an Indiana player during practice leading him to leaving the program in 2000.He finished his career at Texas Tech, retiring halfway through the 2007-2008 season.Knight is currently fifth all-tim in wins for men's Division I college basketball with 902.Knight died on November 1, no cause was given.Norman Lear, 101Norman Lear.Norman Lear/Bob Riha, Jr./GettyLear was responsible for revolutionizing television in the 1970s.Behind shows like "All in the Family," "Sanford and Son," "Good Times," and "The Jeffersons," Lear's storytelling brought the complicated world around us onto our TV screens every night. It would lead to Emmy wins and acclaim in Hollywood for the rest of his life, but his work transcended television as it pushed what could (and should) be told on screen. Whether it be Vietnam or racism.Pretty much everything you enjoy on the small screen today has an element that can be traced back to Norman Lear.Lear died on December 5 of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles.Coco Lee, 48Coco Lee.Visual China Group/GettyBorn in Hong Kong, Lee rose to fame as a pop star in the 1990s and 2000s. Then she found international acclaim when she voiced the lead character Mulan in Disney's Mandarin release of 1998's "Mulan" and for singing the Mandarin version of the song "Reflection" from the movie.In 2001, Lee took the stage at the Oscars to sing a song from the soundtrack of the hit movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."Lee died on July 5. According to the singer's sisters, she was struggling with depression for the last few years and died while in a coma after she attempted suicide. Michael Lerner, 81Michael Lerner.Todd Williamson/GettyThe veteran character actor was known for his booming voice and tough-as-nails roles through the decades.Highlights include playing a studio executive in the 1991 Coen brothers movie "Barton Fink," which earned him an Oscar nomination, playing legendary gambler Arnold Rothstein in 1988's "Eight Men Out," and a ruthless gangster opposite Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor the following year in "Harlem Nights."Lerner died on April 8, no cause was given. Gordon Lightfoot, 84Gordon Lightfoot.Mike Slaughter/GettyOne of the main voices of the folk pop scene in the 1960s and 1970s, Lightfoot's music topped by his baritone voice made him one of the most gift songwriters of his era.The Canada-born artist turned out one hit after another: "If You Could Read My Mind," "Sundown," "Carefree Highway," and "Rainy Day People."It led to him being beloved by the likes of Bob Dylan and Robbie Robertson and his songs scoring gold and platinum status.Lightfoot died on May 1, no cause was given.Lisa Loring, 64Lisa Loring played the original Wednesday Addams in "The Addams Family."MGM Television/Bobby Bank/Getty ImagesLoring was the first actor to portray Wednesday Addams in "The Addams Family," the youngest member of the fictional Addams family in the sitcom, which ran for two seasons between 1964 and 1966.She went on to be the blueprint of the character who would be played generations later by the likes of Christina Ricci and most recently Jenna Ortega on the Netflix series "Wednesday."Following the Wednesday role, Loring starred opposite Phyllis Diller in the sitcom "The Pruitts of Southampton." She also starred in "As the World Turns," playing Cricket Montgomery.Her other credits include "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.," "Fantasy Island" and "Barnaby Jones."Loring died on January 28 following complications from a stroke caused by high blood pressure.Shane MacGowan, 65Shane MacGowan.Martyn Goodacre/GettyThe Irish singer and songwriter was the lead singer of the Celtic punk band The Pogues.The band released seven studio albums and scored a big hit in the late 1980 with the song "Fairytale of New York," which McGowan cowrote and featured singer Kristy MacColl.MacGowan was kicked out of the band in the early 1990s due to his heavy drinking, but came back in the early 2000s leading to The Pogues doing sold out tours for years.MacGowan was diagnosed with encephalitis last year, which is inflammation of the brain.He died on November 30. Mark Margolis, 83Mark Margolis.Alan Zenuk/USA NetworkMargolis found fame playing despicable villains in some of the most known movies and TV shows.Early in his career he found fame playing Alberto "The Shadow" in Brian De Palma's 1983 classic "Scarface." Fans of the movie will remember him as the henchman that Tony Montana (Al Pacino) kills at the end of the movie as Montana refused to let Alberto set off a car bomb because children were in the car.Then later in his career he found greater acclaim as the bell-ringing elderly drug kingpin Hector Salamanca in "Breaking Bad." He also reprised the role for "Better Call Saul." That role would lead to him getting an Emmy nomination in 2012.The Jewish-born Margolis was also known for playing the cranky landlord in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" opposite Jim Carrey and starring in numerous Darren Aronofsky movies ("Pi," "Requiem for a Dream," "The Fountain," "The Wrestler," "Black Swan," and "Noah").Margolis died on August 4. No cause was given.David McCallum, 90David McCallum.Bettmann/GettyThis Scottish actor is known best for playing the heartthrob secret agent Illya Kuryakin on the hit 1960s TV show "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," but David McCallum's career is a vast one.Before "U.N.C.L.E." found him global fame, he was embedded in the arts. His parents were both musicians and as a kid McCallum attended the Royal Music Academy to play to oboe. Once he realized he wasn't any good at it he moved to the theater and caught the acting bug.McCallum's first major dose of fame was when he was part of the A-list ensemble cast of the 1963 movie "The Great Escape." Being amongst the stars was a little too much for McCallum's then-wife actress Jill Ireland who fell in love with McCallum's costar Charles Bronson. McCallum and Ireland divorced in 1967. She and Bronson married in 1968.But by then McCallum had become a sex symbol thanks to "U.N.C.L.E.," which would go on to earn him two Emmy nominations. And he even went back to music. He recorded four orchestral albums through the 1960s. And his piece "The Edge" would go on to become legendary in the hip-hop genre as Dr. Dre sampled it for his 2000 single "The Next Episode."The actor would become a fixture on TV for the rest of his career starring in numerous series. he found a resurgence beginning in 2003 when he was cast as medical examiner Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard on the TV series "NCIS."McCallum died of natural causes on September 25.Cormac McCarthy, 89Cormac McCarthy.Andrew H. Walker/WireImageThough McCarthy published his first novel in 1965, he would languish in obscurity for decades until adaptations of his novels "All the Pretty Horses" (1992) and "No Country for Old Men" (2005) were adapted into movies in 2000 and 2008, respectively, bringing his work to a wider audience and winning Oscars for the Coen brothers along the way.  He's also known for gritty classics like the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Road," which chronicles a father and son's post-apocalyptic road trip (made into a movie in 2009), and "Blood Meridian," a historical novel set in the American West. The famously reclusive author died June 13 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, of natural causes at 89, his publisher confirmed.Lola Chantrelle Mitchell (aka, Gangsta Boo), 43Gangsta Boo.Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives/GettyThe Memphis rapper and former member of Three 6 Mafia was a beloved female figure in the "Dirty South" era of rap in the 1990s.After recording albums with Three 6 Mafia until the early 2000s, she went solo.Her 1998 album "Enquiring Minds" featured the hit single, "Where Dem Dollas At."Boo also showed up on songs with Eminem, Gucci Mane, Run the Jewels, OutKast, Lil Wayne, Blood Orange, Latto, and others.Boo was found dead at her home in Memphis on January 1. No official cause of death was given.Richard Moll, 80Richard Moll.Gary Null/NBC/GettyWith his 6'8" frame, Richard Moll was hard to miss on anything he starred in. But his most memorable role was playing the wacky bailiff Aristotle Nostradamus "Bull" Shannon on the 1980s hit TV series "Night Court."His talents led to him getting constant work through his career.He landed guest parts after "Night Court" on a wide range of shows: "Babylon 5," "Anger Management," "Cold Case," "Smallville," "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," and "7th Heaven."And in the 1990s he got work on animated shows. He voiced Harvey Dent/Two-Face on "The Adventures of Batman & Robin" and Scorpion on "Spider-Man: The Animated Series."Moll also showed up in movies like "Scary Movie 2" the live-action feature of "The Flintstones," and "Jingle All the Way."Moll died on October 26, no cause was given.Sinéad O'Connor, 56Sinéad O'Connor.Michel Linssen/Referns/GettyThe Irish singer found worldwide acclaim thanks to her 1990 rendition of the Prince song "Nothing Compares 2 U" and become the number one single in the world that year.Over her career she released 10 albums, but over that time she also found attention due to controversies.In 1990, she said she would not perform her concert if a venue played the US national anthem beforehand. It led to Frank Sinatra saying he would "kick her in the ass."A year later, after receiving four Grammy nominations, she withdrew her name for consideration.Then in 1992, while performing on "Saturday Night Live," she took out a photo of Pope John Paul II and tore it up saying, "Fight the real enemy." She said the act was in protest of child abuse in the Catholic Church.The act would lead to an onslaught of criticism, however, years later O'Connor had zero regrets."I'm not sorry I did it. It was brilliant," O'Connor told The New York Times in 2021. "But it was very traumatizing."O'Connor's son, Shane, died by suicide on 2022. She was hospitalized days later following a series of Tweets saying that she planned to take her own life.The singer died on July 26. No cause was given.Matthew Perry, 54Matthew Perry.Reisig & Taylor/NBCU/GettyWith his comedic talents and matinee idol looks, Matthew Perry was destined for stardom.As a young teen, he had his hopes on being a tennis star. Living in Ottawa with his mother, he soared up the tennis rankes at one point being nationally ranked in Canada when he was 13. But by 15, when he moved to Los Angeles to live with his dad, he shifted his attention to acting.In the 1980s he landed guest spots on big sitcoms like "Charles in Charge" and "Silver Spoons." That followed with roles on "Growing Pains" and "Boys Will Be Boys."Then in 1994 his life changed forever.Being cast as Chandler Bing, the sarcastic member in a group of friends living in New York City, the NBC sitcom "Friends" over its 10 year run on the air became one of the biggest shows on television.Fame was a double-edged sword for Perry. Though it led to him being the star of movies like "Fools Rush In," "The Whole Nine Yards," and "17 Again," plus getting a $1 million per episode payday on "Friends" by the end of its run, he battled with alcoholism and drug addiction for years.On October 28, Perry died after a fatal drowning at his Los Angeles-area home.Lisa Marie Presley, 54Lisa Marie Presley.Michael Tran/FilmMagic/GettyThe beloved daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley was in the spotlight her entire life.She was 9 years old when her father died, but by then the world already knew her as the King's daughter from pictures of her with her dad. His massive plane was also named after her.As she grew into an adult, her fame grew too. She married Michael Jackson, making them the biggest couple in the world for a brief time. They divorced in 1996.She followed in her father's footsteps and made music. Presley released three albums, including singles where she performed duets with her late father.She married musician Danny Keough when she was 20. They had two children together: actor Riley Keough, who was born in 1989, and Benjamin Keough, who was born in 1992. Benjamin died by suicide at the age of 27 in 2020.Presley made her last public appearance on January 10 at the 80th Golden Globes where a biopic on her father, Baz Luhrmann's "Elvis," was nominated for three awards. Austin Butler's performance as Elvis Presley won best performance by an actor in a drama.Presley died on January 12 after experiencing cardiac arrest at her Calabasas home.Lance Reddick, 60Lance Reddick.Jeff Vespa/WireImage/GettyReddick was a respected character actor thanks to his well known performance as Cedric Daniels, the tough but fair lieutenant in the beloved HBO series "The Wire."Most recently he played Charon, the concierge of The Continental in the "John Wick" franchise.Reddick's ice-cold looks and super serious performances made him perfect for dramatic TV shows like "Fringe" and "Bosch" as well as action movies like "Angel Has Fallen" and "Godzilla vs. Kong."Reddick died of natural causes in his Los Angeles home on March 17.Paul Reubens, 70Paul Reubens.Michael Ochs Archives/GettyIn the 1980s and 1990s no other performer was more beloved by children than Paul Reubens — better known as Pee-wee Herman.With his grey suit and red bow tie — along with his weird voice and even weirder antics — Reubens crafted an alter ego for himself birthed first on stage but thanks to movies and TV became a household name.A big reason for that is starring in the Tim Burton 1985 hit movie "Pee-wee's Big Adventure" and then the TV show "Pee-wee's Playhouse," which ran on Saturday mornings from 1986 to 1990.While taking a break from the character he was arrested for indecent exposure in an adult theater in Sarasota, Florida in 1991. Instantly Reubens became a punchline on the late night shows and the Pee-wee character was forgotten.Reubens went on to land non-Pee-wee work in movies like 1999's "Mystery Men" and 2001's "Blow," and gradually as time past Pee-wee became appreciated again. Reubens reprised the character on Broadway for 2010's "The Pee-wee Herman Show" and the 2016 Netflix movie "Pee-wee's Big Holiday."Reubens died on July 30 after having battled cancer privately for years.  Robbie Robertson, 80Robbie Robertson.Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns/GettyWith his group The Band, guitarist Robbie Robertson helped create one of the most renowned groups of the 1970s.He was responsible for contributing to The Band's most known songs like, "The Weight," "Up on Cripple Creek," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," "The Shape I'm In" and "It Makes No Difference."The Band broke up in 1976, which was chronicled in Martin Scorsese's acclaimed documentary "The Last Waltz."Off of that, Robertson and Scorsese forged a collaboration until the musician's death. Robertson did the score or was music supervisor on several of the filmmaker's movies: "Raging Bull," "The King of Comedy," "The Color of Money," "Gangs of New York," "The Departed," "Shutter Island," "The Wolf of Wall Street," "Silence," "The Irishman" and Scorsese's upcoming release "Killers of the Flower Moon."Robertson died on August 9 following a long illness.Richard Roundtree, 81Richard Roundtree.Screen Archives/GettyRichard Roundtree became the face of the trailblazing blaxploitation movie genre when he starred as John Shaft in the 1971 Gordon Parks films "Shaft."Playing a stylish private detective who didn't take any crap from the mob or the cops, Roundtree's performance became a hero for Black America during a turbulent time in the country still dealing with racial equality following the Civil Rights movement of the late 1960s.Roundtree, though going on to star in numerous movies and TV shows over decades, would always be synonymous with Shaft, which to this day is still one of the most powerful Black characters ever put on the big screen.Roundtree died on October 24. He died at his home in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer.Andy Rourke, 59Andy Rourke.Monica Schipper/FilmMagic/GettyAs the bassist for the groundbreaking British rock band The Smiths, Andy Rourke is a legend.His work can be heard in The Smiths hit songs like "This Charming Man" and "There is a Light That Never Goes Out."After the band broke up in 1987, Rourke worked on former bandmate Morrissey's solo tracks like "Piccadilly Palare," "Interesting Drug," and "November Spawned a Monster."Rourke died on May 19 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, according to Variety.Julian Sands, 65Julian Sands.Brian To/FilmMagic/GettyAn acclaimed actor, Sands' work spanned the stage and screen over a 40 year career.After finding attention on the stage in England in the early 1980s, he got his big break when he landed the lead male role opposite Helena Bonham Carter in the 1985 Oscar-winning James Ivory movie "A Room with a View."That launched him into Hollywood where he landed roles in the 1989 horror fantasy "Warlock" and its sequel. He also starred in the 1990 horror comedy "Arachnophobia," David Cronenberg's adaptation of the William Burroughs novel "Naked Lunch" in 1991, and the 1995 movie "Leaving Las Vegas," which earned Nicolas Cage an Oscar.Over his career Sands had recurring roles on TV series including "24," "Medici," "Smallville," "Dexter," "Gotham" and "Elementary."Sands, who was an avid hiker, was reported missing on January 13 after setting out to hike in southern California's San Gabriel Mountains. His remains were found on June 25 in wilderness near Mount Baldy. An investigation confirmed on June 27 that it was Sands.No cause of death was given. Suzanne Shepherd, 89Suzanne Shepherd.Patrick McMullan/GettyKnown best as playing the super concerned mother to Lorraine Bracco's Karen character in Martin Scorsese's classic "Goodfellas," Suzanne Shepherd had a slew of memorable roles over her career.She played the principal with the rather large mole on her face in the 1989 John Candy comedy "Uncle Buck," she also had memorable roles in 1988's "Mystic Pizza" and 2000's "Requiem for a Dream."Shepherd also appeared in 20 episodes on "The Sopranos" playing the mother of Edie Falco's character, Carmela Soprano.Shepherd died on November 17 after suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.The Iron Sheik, 81The Iron Sheik.Bobby Bank/WireImage/GettyIf there were no Iron Sheik there would be no Hulk Hogan.Professional wrestling became a global sensation thanks to not just the popularity of Hulk Hogan but because his nemesis was so despised. That was The Iron Sheik.With his "down with America" talk Sheik (whose real name is Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) became one of the World Wrestling Federation's biggest bad guys, or heels, in the 1980s. He even had the world title.That all set the stage for the showdown between Sheik and Hogan in Madison Square Garden in 1984. Hogan won the belt and pro wrestling was never the same again.Sheik would later team with fellow heel Nikolai Volkoff to make a formidable tag team.Long after his wrestling days were done, Sheik found fame once more thanks to Twitter. With his foul-mouthed tweets about everything from politics to pop culture, he became a sensation and was introduced by a generation that never saw him wrestle. Sheik died on June 7. No cause was given.Tom Sizemore, 61Tom Sizemore.Chris Polk/FilmMagic/GettyIn the 1990s Tom Sizemore graced us with gritty and often twisted performances that made him unforgettable.From his bit parts early in his career like "Born on the Fourth of July," "Point Break," "Passenger 57" and "True Romance," to the peak of his career giving memorable roles in "Natural Born Killers," "Heat," 'Saving Private Ryan," and "Black Hawk Down," Sizemore could be charming in one scene then unleash his madness in the next, and that talent made him a major fixture in the biggest movies of the decade.Sadly, there was a dark troubling side to the actor that crippled his career. Due to drug addiction, by the 2000s he was no longer getting the kind of roles deserving of his talents. Tabloids and reality TV shows chronicled his struggles that ranged from jail time for domestic violence on his former girlfriend "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss to multiple arrests for drug possession.Sizemore died on March 3 following a brain aneurysm on February 18. Suzanne Somers, 76Suzanne Somers.ABC/GettyAn iconic actress and infomercial queen, Suzanne Somers is best known for playing Chrissy Snow in the hit 1970s TV series "Three's Company" opposite John Ritter and Joyce DeWitt, then in the 1990s being the face of the popular exercise machine the Thighmaster.However, she also was ahead of her time attempting to use her stardom and the popularity of the TV show she was on to leverage equal pay, and it led to a dramatic shift in her career.Nearing the fifth season of "Three's Company," Somers bargained with the show's network, ABC, for a restructured contract where she wanted more pay and a percentage of the show's profit, all of which would be on par with what Ritte was getting for the show.A deal was made Somers was iced out from the show, getting limited screen time and shooting her scenes by herself and never seeing her cast. Her contract was not renewed for season six.Somers never landed a TV or movie role as big as Chrissy Snow after that, but over the decades she kept celebrity status thanks to infomercials and authoring books.She died on October 15 due to a recurrence of breast cancer.Aaron Spears, 47Aaron Spears.Andrew Lepley/RedfernsSpears was a drummer who worked with the likes of Ariana Grande and Usher.In 2004, he was Grammy nominated for his work on Usher's album "Confessions."His list of touring and producing credits include: Lil Wayne, Carrie Underwood, Jordin Sparks, Chaka Khan, Adam Lambert, Mary Mary, The Backstreet Boys, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears.Spears died on October 30, no cause was given.Jerry Springer, 79Jerry Springer celebrating the 25th season of his show, "Jerry Springer."NBC/GettyJerry Springer will go down as one of the most controversial talk show hosts of all time.Thanks to his show, "Jerry Springer," he was a fixture on daytime TV in the late 1990s as his show featured people who didn't like each other — sometimes it was domestic reasons, sometimes it was friends at odds — leading to physical altercations right on stage.Starting out his career in politics, he was the mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1978, by the 1990s he moved to entertainment as the show "Jerry Springer" launched in 1991 (it ran for 27 seasons). By the time the decade was over the show was a sensation and was even beating "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in the ratings thanks to it taboo topics, outlandish guests, and the audience's love for Springer, as they would often chant during the show: "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!"Springer died on April 27 peacefully in his home in suburban Chicago.Ray Stevenson, 58Ray Stevenson.Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyThe Irish actor was known best for playing larger-than-life characters.Stevenson played one of the Knights of the Round Table in Antoine Fuqua's 2004 movie "King Arthur." A few years after that he landed the lead role playing Frank Castle in the Marvel movie "Punisher: War Zone."He also showed up in the "Thor" and "Divergent" franchises.Most recently, he played the villain Governor Scott Buxton in the global box office sensation "RRR," and will next be seen playing a Jedi who turns bad in the upcoming "Star Wars" series on Disney+, "Ahsoka."Stevenson died on May 21, no cause was given. Tina Turner, 83Tina Turner.Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferbs/GettyRegarded as the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, for decades Tina Turner was a force in the music world thanks to her powerful singing and endless energy when she performed.From her start with ex-husband Ike Turner in the 1950s, to her historic comeback in the 1980s that made her one of the biggest performers in the world, to her starring in movies ("Tommy," "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome") and a hit movie made about her ("What's Love Got to So with it"), Turner was truly a legend in the entertainment world.Turner is one of the best-selling artists of all time with 12 Grammys, she is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and is the first black artist and first female to be on the cover of Rolling Stone.Her hits will be beloved forever: "Private Dancer," "Better Be Good to Me," "Proud Mary," "What's Love Got to Do with it," and, yes, she even did a James Bond song with "GoldenEye."Turner died on May 24, no cause was given.Raquel Welch, 82Raquel Welch.Herbert Dorfman/Corbis/GettyWith her striking looks and playing strong-willed characters on the big screen, Raquel Welch was more than just a sex symbol, she was a force to be reckoned with.It all started with a role in which she said only a few lines. Starring in the 1966 sci-fi movie "One Million Years B.C.," she instantly became a star as the poster of her in a furry bikini from the movie became a huge best-seller.That led to other roles through the decades like "Bedazzled," "Bandolero!" and "100 Rifles."She won the 1973 Best Actress Golden Globe for her role in "The Three Musketeers."Her career would span over 50 years on the big screen and small, as well as becoming a fashion trend-setter through the decades.Welch died on February 15 following a "brief illness," according to her manager.  Annie Wersching, 45Annie Wersching.Daniel Knighton/FilmMagic/GettyWersching recently played the Borg Queen in the second season of "Picard" and serial killer Rosalind Dyer on "The Rookie."She's also known for he roles in "Bosh," "Timeless" and opposite Kiefer Sutherland in "24" playing F.B.I. agent Renee Walker.Wersching died on January 29. The cause was cancer, which she was diagnosed with in 2020, according to The New York Times.Cindy Williams, 75Cindy Williams.ABC/GettyWilliams is one half of TV comedy royalty as she played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall's Laverne on the popular late 1970s sitcom "Laverne & Shirley."Williams also starred in some memorable movies. She was Ron Howard's love interest in George Lucas' classic 1973 movie "American Graffiti." And she played Gene Hackman's obsession in Francis Ford Coppola's acclaimed 1974 drama "The Conversation."But Williams will always be known best for her comedic chops, which opposite Marshall, who died in 2018, became an iconic duo in television history.Williams died on January 25, no cause was given.Treat Williams, 71Treat Williams.Jemal Countess/GettyWith his good looks and those unmistakable bushy eyebrows, Williams (no relation to Cindy Williams) was a fixture in movies and TV since his breakout role in 1979 as George Berger in the big screen adaptation of the hit musical "Hair."That followed with roles in the Sergio Leone classic "Once Upon a Time in America," Sidney Lumet's "Prince of the City," and a blink-and-you-missed-it role in "Empire Strikes Back."Since then he's known best for playing Dr. Andrew Brown in the early 2000s The WB series "Everwood."Regardless if it was on the big or small screen, Williams always brought the highest skill to a role, which is what made him dependable for years and years.Williams died on June 12 following a motorcycle crash in Vermont.Burt Young, 83Burt Young.Ron Galella/GettyBurt Young spent most of his early career getting small roles in acclaimed movies like 1974's "Chinatown" and "The Gambler," but then his life changed when he got cast as the down-and-out yet lovable brother-in-law in 1976's "Rocky."Playing the best friend of Rocky Balboa, Young earned a best supporting actor Oscar nomination and starred in all the sequels often being the franchise's comic relief.Young also starred in 1984's "Once Upon a Time in America" and 1986's "Back to School."He died on October 8, no cause was given. Read the original article on Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 6th, 2023

8 shows to watch if you love "Gilmore Girls"

"Gilmore Girls" is still the ultimate cozy show for fall, but fans of Lorelai and Rory might like "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "Schitt's Creek." Lauren Graham as Lorelai Gilmore and Alexis Bledel as Rory Gilmore in "Gilmore Girls," and Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam Maisel in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."Warner Bros./Amazon Prime Video"Gilmore Girls" is still the ultimate cozy show for fall over 20 years after it first aired. But there are other shows with similar vibes to fill the Lorelai and Rory-shaped hole in your life.Here are eight shows you should watch if you love "Gilmore Girls."There is no better antidote to a cold winter's night than settling in to watch — or rewatch, as the case may be — our favorite Stars Hollow residents, Lorelai and Rory, in "Gilmore Girls."More than 20 years after it first premiered, "Gilmore Girls" is still a perennial favorite on Netflix. In fact, Netflix brought back the series in 2016 for a spinoff, "A Year in the Life," because of its enduring popularity.While there may never be another mother-daughter duo quite like Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel), there are some other popular shows fans might get a kick out of.Here are eight shows we recommend if you love "Gilmore Girls.""Schitt's Creek""Schitt's Creek."ITV Studios Global EntertainmentFor fans wanting more small-town drama and comedy, then "Schitt's Creek" is the perfect follow-up to "Gilmore Girls."The comedy follows Johnny (Eugene Levy) and Moira Rose (Catherine O'Hara), and their spoiled children, who move to Schitt's Creek after they lose their entire fortune.The show is packed with laughs, but it effortlessly balances humor and heart. An early highlight in the series is the brilliant love triangle between Alexis Rose (Annie Murphy), Ted Mullens (Dustin Milligan), and Mutt Schitt (Tim Rozon)."Schitt's Creek" ran for six seasons, so it'll definitely fill the "Gilmore Girls" void for a while."The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"Rachel Brosnahan stars in "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."AmazonWhile "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is a much different show to "Gilmore Girls," in the sense that it's set in 1950s New York, it comes from the same creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino.Rachel Brosnahan plays Miriam "Midge" Maisel, a housewife who discovers that she's great at stand-up comedy and attempts to make it big as a professional comic with the help of agent Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein).At the same time, Midge must look after her young children; deal with her strained relationship with her husband, Joel (Michael Zegen); and contend with her interfering parents, Abe (Tony Shalhoub) and Rose Weissman (Marin Hinkle)."Mrs. Maisel" and its cast have won numerous Emmys and Golden Globes since it started airing in 2017, just in case you needed any more persuading."Sweet Magnolias"JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Brooke Elliott, and Heather Headley are the stars of "Sweet Magnolias."Netflix"Gilmore Girls" kept fans hooked with the twists in Lorelai and Rory's respective romantic lives, including Rory choosing between Dean (Jared Padalecki) and Jess (Milo Ventimiglia). Netflix's "Sweet Magnolias" should certainly satiate the hunger for more juicy drama.The show follows three South Carolina women who rely on each other to get through the messy days of their lives. Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) is dealing with separating from her husband, Dana Sue (Brooke Elliot) is trying to run her own restaurant, and attorney Helen (Heather Headley) is trying her hand at opening her own spa.There are three seasons streaming on Netflix, with a fourth on the way."Parenthood"Lauren Graham stars in "Gilmore Girls" and "Parenthood."Colleen Hayes/NBCFor fans missing the "Gilmore Girls" stars themselves, NBC's "Parenthood" is the next best thing because Lauren Graham plays one of the lead characters in the 2010 series.Based on Ron Howard's 1989 movie of the same name, "Parenthood" revolves around the many members of the Braverman family in California.Graham plays Sarah Braverman, a divorcee who is trying to raise her two teenagers while maintaining a civil relationship with her ex-husband, Seth (John Corbett).The show also revolves around Sarah's siblings, Adam (Peter Krause), Crosby (Dax Shepard), and Julia (Erika Christensen), who all have families of their own.Six seasons. 103 episodes. You're welcome."This Is Us"Justin Hartley and Sterling K. Brown.NBCNeed a good cry? "This Is Us" masterfully tugs at the heartstrings across all of its six seasons.The drama revolves around the Pearson family and mainly focuses on three siblings: Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown).The family has dealt with a number of unfortunate events over the years, and the show frequently uses flashbacks to explain certain moments in the siblings' lives."Gilmore Girls" fans should be pleased to see Milo Ventimiglia in "This Is Us," as he plays the siblings' father, Jack Pearson, in scenes set in the past.Be warned, though: it's an emotional ride."Ginny & Georgia"Brianne Howey as Georgia Miller and Antonia Gentry as Ginny Miller.Netflix"Ginny & Georgia" feels like "Gilmore Girls" for a new generationThe show picks up with 30-year-old mom Georgia Miller (Brianne Howey) moving to the town of Wellsbury, Massachusetts, with her 15-year-old daughter, Ginny (Antonia Gentry), and her 9-year-old son, Austin (Diesel La Torraca).The move is supposed to be a fresh start for Georgia and her children after years of abuse and difficult circumstances while trying to raise her young children.It's "Gilmore Girls" if Lorelai learned how to shoot a gun and was on the run from her past."Dawson's Creek"Michelle Williams, James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, and Joshua Jackson starred in "Dawson's Creek."Warner BrothersThe high bar for teen drama shows was set back in 1998 with "Dawson's Creek," which focuses on Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) and his friends as they navigate their lives in high school and beyond."Dawson's Creek" had viewers tearing up at the love triangle between Dawson, Joey Potter (Katie Holmes), and Pacey Witter (Joshua Jackson). If you loved Rory's dilemma of choosing between Dean and Jess, you'll love this."One Tree Hill"Chad Michael Murray and James Lafferty in "One Tree Hill."The CWClearly, there was something in the water during the early 2000s, because "One Tree Hill" is another drama set in a fictional town about a group of teens just trying to get through high school."One Tree Hill" put Chad Michael Murray on the map. He plays Lucas Scott opposite James Lafferty as Lucas' half-brother, Nathan Scott.The early seasons focus on the brothers' relationships at high school and all the messy drama that unfolds because of it. The later seasons see the brothers settle down and get married.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 28th, 2023

15 Countries with the Highest Alcohol Consumption in Europe

In this article, we are going to discuss the 15 countries with the highest alcohol consumption in Europe. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global alcohol industry, the effect of taxes on alcohol abuse, and the rising popularity of non-alcoholic beer in Europe, and go directly to 5 Countries with the Highest Alcohol […] In this article, we are going to discuss the 15 countries with the highest alcohol consumption in Europe. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global alcohol industry, the effect of taxes on alcohol abuse, and the rising popularity of non-alcoholic beer in Europe, and go directly to 5 Countries with the Highest Alcohol Consumption in Europe.  Europe has a particular wealth of different drinking cultures, with so many countries so close together, all of which enjoy drinking traditions that can differ vastly. However, the fact that it is the tipsy continent can essentially be traced back to climatic circumstances which forced European ancestors to rely on fermented beverages to store calories and have access to safe drinking water.  In the Middle Ages and early modern times, water was very often polluted, full of microbes, and basically unfit to drink, thus forcing everyone – from commoners to royalty – to hydrate by way of beer or wine. Wine is naturally free of dangerous bacteria thanks to fermentation and its acidic content, and was often diluted with water before consumption. Beer, besides being sterile due to boiling, also had a high nutritional value, especially for populations which based their diet on cereals. As a result, simply by way of necessity, alcohol became an important part of the European diet for men, women, and children alike. The Global Alcohol Industry: In 2019, the global alcohol consumption, measured in liters of pure alcohol per person of 15 years of age or older, was 5.5 liters, which is a 4.7% decrease from 5.7 liters in 2010. As we mentioned in our article – 30 Drunkest Countries in the World – the global alcoholic beverages market was valued at $1.62 trillion in 2021, and is projected to reach $2 trillion by 2031, with a CAGR of 2.2% during the forecast period.  The market is likely to be driven by the increasing global young-adult demographic, coupled with high disposable income and consumer demand for premium/super-premium products. Globally, beer drives the market for alcoholic beverages. Regionally, North America and Asia-Pacific are expected to dominate the market during the forecast period. According to the 2021 European Health Report by the WHO, Europe is the continent that drinks the most alcohol in the world, with every person aged 15 and over consuming an average of 9.5 liters of pure alcohol every year. This is equivalent to around 190 liters of beer, 80 liters of wine, or 24 liters of spirits. The Effect of Taxes on Alcohol Abuse:  The booze industry argues that alcohol excise taxes do not reduce heavy drinking because of substitutions to lower-cost products and that these taxes disproportionately burden low-income drinkers. Alternatively, over the last two decades, a growing number of economists have examined the impact of alcohol beverage taxes and prices on alcohol consumption and heavy drinking. Several of these studies have focused on high-risk populations, such as youth and young adults, including college students.  This research, using a variety of different data and empirical approaches, has generally found that an increase in the prices of alcoholic beverages led to reductions in drinking, heavy drinking, and the consequences of alcohol use and abuse. These findings indicate that a rise in alcoholic-beverage taxes could be a highly effective option for reducing alcohol abuse and its consequences.  According to a study conducted by the NCD Advisory Council’s signature initiative working group, if countries of the WHO European Region were to introduce a minimum level of 15% tax on the retail price per unit of alcohol, regardless of the type of alcoholic beverage, it would save 133,000 lives each year.  The Rising Popularity of Non-Alcoholic Beer:  There is currently an increasing demand for low- and no- alcohol beverages in the European Union as consumers are looking for more options, taste, and also lifestyle changes. This is especially the case for beer which is already a well-established market in most of the E.U. member states. In 2020, Europe was the world’s top producer of non-alcoholic beer, with a major share of 45.2% in the global market.  This trend has attracted the attention of several key players around the globe and one industry giant leading the charge is Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD). The beer behemoth has set the ambitious goal of ensuring that low- or no-alcohol beer products make up at least 20% of its global beer volume by 2025. As a result, the company announced this summer that it is investing $34.4 million in upgrading some of its Belgian breweries, which will help expand its non-alcoholic beer portfolio. The investment will also improve Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD)’s bottling capabilities and optimize a new de-alcoholizing system that is used to make Corona Cero – the company’s newest non-alcoholic version of its classic Mexican lager that debuted in ten European countries last year.  Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) ranks among the Largest Alcohol Companies in the World in 2023.  Similarly, Guinness-owner Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO) has also recently invested $26.7 million in a new facility at St. James’s Gate in Dublin for its non-alcoholic stout. The new Guinness 0.0 production facility has a total capacity of 500,000 hectolitres, and is a big expansion of production capacity since the non-alcoholic stout launched in the Irish market in mid 2021. The investment is spurred by increasing demand from consumers for the 0.0 option, as Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO) forecasts that the non-alcoholic alternative will account for 10% of all Guinness trademark sales in Ireland in the coming years. Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO) sits among the Best Alcohol Stocks to Own According to Hedge Funds. With that said, here are the Drunkest Countries in Europe.  Ievgenii Meyer/Shutterstock.com Methodology:  To collect information for this article, we have referred to The Global Health Observatory of the World Health Organization, looking for Countries that Consume the Most Alcohol in Europe. The following countries have been ranked by their per capita consumption of pure alcohol for people aged 15 and over in 2019. One thing to keep in mind is that just because the people in these countries generally consume higher levels of alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re drunkards. Alcohol is simply an essential part of many cultures around the world and alcoholic beverages play a significant role in important events and celebrations, since they can be associated with many festivals and rituals.   If you’re also interested to read about which cities consume the most alcohol in the U.S., here are the Drunkest Cities in America in 2023.  15. Andorra Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.05 liters Andorra has one of the lowest tax rates on food and alcohol. The tax on food is just 1%, while the alcohol tax is 4.5%. In neighboring Spain, most taxes start from 20%, and that’s why many people come from France and Spain to Andorra just to stock their fridges by buying fish, meat, groceries, and alcohol.  14. Estonia Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.26 liters Prices of goods and services increased rapidly in Estonia last year while the rise in alcohol prices was significantly less. The prices of beer and grape wine rose slightly but the price of hard alcohol remained at the 2021 level or cheaper. The incomes of the Estonian people continued to grow in 2022 and so alcohol became even more accessible.  With 12.2% of its population suffering from alcohol use disorder, Estonia sits among the Most Alcoholic Countries in Europe in 2023.  13. France Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.3 liters Recognized all over the world for its savoir-faire regarding food and drink, France has a long history of alcohol production and consumption. Wine is deeply embedded in the French culture and identity of the people. There are vineyards scattered throughout the country, responsible for producing 7-8 billion bottles of wine a year.  With an average wine consumption of 6.44 liters per capita, France sits among the Top Wine Drinking Countries in the World. 12. Moldova Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.36 liters The wine culture is very strong in the Republic of Moldova and the wine industry employs almost 10% of the national workforce, with the income generated from viticulture forming 15% of the annual national budget. Up to 70% of alcohol consumed in the country is homemade wine. Moldova ranks among the Top Alcohol Drinking European Countries.   11. Luxembourg Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.53 liters Since alcohol is relatively cheaper in Luxembourg, a large number of Belgians travel regularly to their neighboring country to buy their favorite tipples. The country is also famous for its high quality wine, about two-thirds of which is consumed domestically.  10. Poland Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.63 liters Vodka is deeply embedded in Polish culture, so much so that there is even a growing debate between Russian and Polish people as to who invented the popular spirit. Poland is the largest market for vodka in the E.U., representing over 35% sales in the region. With over 20% of the vodka market share in the country, the Żubrówka brand remains the market leader.  Poland is counted among the Top 10 Countries that Drink the Most Alcohol in Europe.  9. Ireland Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.7 liters Ireland is a nation with a love for alcohol and the Irish prefer to spend their time in pubs rather than casual cafes and restaurants. The country produces some of the finest stouts or whiskeys than anywhere else in the world. In fact, the Emerald Isle is home to Guinness – one of the Most Consumed Beer Brands in the World.  8. Lithuania Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.79 liters Lithuanians mostly prefer to drink beer, which makes 44% of the total consumed alcohol in the country, while wine accounts for 15%. In order to discourage people from consuming alcohol, the Lithuanian government has enacted a number of legal and administrative changes over the last decade. For example, in 2014 it became illegal to consume alcohol in public places, like streets and parks. 7. Bulgaria Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.92 liters Bulgaria has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption, roughly equivalent to 2.6 bottles of wine or 4.9 liters of beer per week per person aged 15 or older. Based on the current consumption patterns in the country, OECD simulations estimate that diseases and injuries caused by drinking lead to treatment costs equivalent to 1.8% of the national health expenditure.  6. Austria Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.97 liters Austria has not only developed a culture for food, but also a drinking culture that is second to none. Although each region has its own preference, beer and wine are the most popular alcoholic drinks in the country.  Unlike in some European countries, purchasing alcohol in Austria is regulated at a regional level. Essentially, there are two different age requirements – either 16 or 18 years – and these depend on the region and the percentage of alcohol content.  Austria is among the European Countries that Drink the Most Alcohol in 2023. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Countries with the Highest Alcohol Consumption in Europe.  Suggested Articles: 20 Countries with Highest Rates of Alcoholism 15 African Countries with the Most Alcohol Consumption 20 Most Consumed Alcohols in the World Disclosure: None. 15 Countries with the Highest Alcohol Consumption in Europe is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyNov 9th, 2023

Universal basic income is working — even in red states

All across America, giving people free cash is reducing homelessness, increasing employment, and improving health. All across America, the evidence is overwhelming: Universal basic income is working.Chelsea Jia Feng/InsiderIn the spring of 2022, Tydricka Lewis finally bought a car that started every time she asked it to and no longer left her stranded.Her 2020 Nissan Rogue was essential to her new job as a peer-support specialist — helping people in mental-health crises required her to be able to get places reliably and fast. And it was essential to her new life outside prison, where she'd spent six years and four months for chasing fraudulent checks.It was a car that Lewis, a 32-year-old single mother of three, would not otherwise have been able to afford. But when she was selected for Durham, North Carolina's guaranteed-income pilot program, she knew exactly where her $600 monthly stipend would be best spent. In late 2020, then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledged $15 million to the national advocacy group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income to help select cities and towns across America kick-start basic-income programs. Durham was one of 25 recipients and received $500,000 from Dorsey and another $500,000 from local philanthropy and the city's coffers.Durham's mayor pro tempore, Mark-Anthony Middleton, who helped oversee the program, had been advocating for his city to introduce a basic income for years. "We wanted to see what a stream of income, without any determination of virtue or vice attached to it, would do," he said. As Durham's population has ballooned, many of its lower-income and Black residents have been pushed to the fringes. Once one of the South's centers of Black commerce, with its own Black Wall Street, the vibrant Hayti community, home to the renowned historically Black North Carolina Central University, Durham has become much whiter — by 51% over the past 20 years, according to US Census data. And as wealthier residents moved in, Durham's median home price rose by more than 50% between 2010 and 2019. So the city decided that all of the $1 million in basic-income funds would go to a single, vulnerable group: formerly incarcerated residents.Many taxpayers were not happy about this. As the program neared its launch in March 2022, Middleton's inbox and mailbox were flooded with messages filled with epithets. They came from white residents in the more conservative counties near Durham to recent transplants from liberal strongholds like New York City and the Bay Area. They demanded to know why the city was underwriting criminals, disincentivizing work with free handouts, and spending public dollars to help people who, in some opinions, might not deserve help. Middleton's answer to all criticism was steadfast, simple, and by his own admission, "very selfish.""We're going to have to pay for these people one way or another, either in incarceration, benefits, homeless shelters, whatever it is," he told me. "It seems to me that spending more money up front makes more sense than housing folks, monitoring and feeding them, and taking care of their healthcare in prison."He encourages skeptical taxpayers to look at universal basic income from the same "selfish point of view." "By virtue of your humanity, your citizenship, and your residency," he added, "there's a certain line we will not allow you to fall under because it's good policy for us."Though the data is still nascent, basic income has proven to be good policy everywhere it's been tested in America. The Durham program would be one of its greatest tests yet.The idea that the government should guarantee all citizens a set amount of money has been discussed at the margins of American policy throughout the nation's history.In his 1797 pamphlet "Agrarian Justice," Thomas Paine argued that all citizens had the right to a guaranteed lump sum when they became adults. During the Great Depression, Louisiana's governor, Huey Long, proposed a guaranteed annual household income of $2,000 to $3,000 (some $40,000 to $60,000 in 2023). In 1972, when Senator George McGovern was running for president, he proposed writing a $1,000 check annually to every American. Though the concept faltered in the Reaganomics era of the 1980s and the Clintonomics of the 1990s, talk of a universal basic income reemerged during the 2020 presidential-election campaign, when it became a major platform point of the candidate Andrew Yang. "What's helpful about cash is that it's cash, and you can use it for whatever you need."A large part of the renewed interest is that "we have a higher degree of inequality now than we did before the Great Depression," said Anna Jefferson, a principal investigator at Abt Associates who studies data from basic-income programs across the country.In the past few years, aided no doubt by the economic consequences wrought by the pandemic, centuries of theory have at last been put to the test. A few dozen cities across the country have begun basic-income programs, and the early results have been overwhelmingly positive. In Denver, more than 800 of the city's most vulnerable residents received monthly stipends of up to $1,000. So far the program has reduced homelessness, increased employment, and bolstered the mental-health outcomes of participants. A similar program in Stockton, California, had similar effects — the unemployment rate among the 125 participants was nearly halved. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studying the program concluded it could have "profound positive impacts on local public health."Pilot programs have sprung up across the country, from liberal strongholds such as Los Angeles and Baltimore to more centrist and conservative cities like Columbia, South Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; and Gainesville, Florida. Just Income, the Florida program, also focused its stipends on formerly incarcerated individuals, with a rationale similar to Middleton's. "It costs Floridians about $28,000 a year to hold someone in prison," the director of the Gainesville program said in a press release earlier this year. "Alternatively, we're investing just $7,600 directly to one of our valued neighbors, giving them a vital income floor." In city after city and cohort after cohort — old, young, single parents, ex-convicts — universal basic income has improved health outcomes, raised employment, and bolstered childcare opportunities (and recipients have had consistently better outcomes than control groups).Among those who received a basic income in Stockton, California, the unemployment rate dropped by nearly 50%.Nick Otto/AFP/Getty ImagesAccording to Jefferson, guaranteed income — which she calls "unrestricted cash transfers" — impacts recipients' lives almost immediately. Early results from her firm's analysis, she said, "really show that cash can improve people's financial stress and mental health remarkably and quickly."With more data at hand than theoretical projection, the evidence is overwhelming: Universal basic income is working nearly universally.To qualify for Durham's guaranteed-income program, which the city called Excel, applicants had to be Durham residents 18 years or older, incarcerated no later than 2016, and fall below 60% of the city's annual median incomee. From a pool of 247 eligible applicants, 109 were randomly selected to be recipients, and the rest were part of the control group.One element that was essential to Middleton was that the money Excel handed out come with no strings attached. He wanted to see how the beneficiaries chose to use their money. None were required to check in with StepUp — the Durham-based nonprofit that administered the program — or the city to explain how and where they were using their income. There was no work requirement and no surveys to fill out. Recipients all received a debit card preloaded with $600 a month for a year — $7,200 to spend as they pleased."Folks paid their rent, they bought clothes for their children, they bought medicine, some people took a weekend trip," Middleton said. "Mostly, people did normal stuff; they paid bills and bought food. Surprise, surprise." Others paid off long-standing student loans.Jefferson has found this is typical of how basic-income recipients across the country spend their stipends. While it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where each dollar goes, the vast majority of recipients spend them on the basics: healthier food, school supplies, and extracurriculars or developmental support for their children. "What's helpful about cash is that it's cash, and you can use it for whatever you need," Jefferson said.After she was released from prison in 2019, Tydricka Lewis cobbled together a living by holding two, sometimes three, jobs at once, including at a KFC and a Habitat for Humanity resource center. A few months after her release, she was certified as a peer-support specialist and began working with a nonprofit that provides community mental-health and substance-abuse treatment. She could have used her Excel money to buy food or clothes for her three children, who were 18, 11, and 3. But she saw a car as the lynchpin through which she could provide for her family, a foundation to hopefully pull them out of the poverty that she has been mired in for so much of her life. The Rogue also afforded Lewis peace of mind, knowing that she and her kids would no longer have to worry about the car's heater fritzing out in the middle of Durham's icy winters.By all early accounts, Excel has been a resounding success. The employment rates and housing rates among the recipients have steadily climbed. And during the program's yearlong run, there was a zero-percent rate of recidivism. "Economically stable people make better neighbors. When they aren't worried about how they're going to pay their bills, they tend not to come through your window at night."Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studying the program plan to have data comparing recipients' outcomes to the control group's outcomes in 2024. But based on early results, Durham County is now set to roll out a $750-a-month guaranteed-income pilot to 125 local families who have children at home and fall beneath 30% of the county's annual median income. Meanwhile, Middleton has secured another $1 million in the city's budget to continue the initiative with public dollars, which he hopes will kick off in mid-2024.Promising as these pilot programs are, the chances of a truly universal basic income in America remain remote. For one, empirical evidence does not equal political will. UBI researchers often point to Congress's decision not to renew the Covid-era Child Tax Credit — even though it slashed America's monthly child poverty rate by 30% — as a measure of how difficult passing a nationwide UBI would be. The main political roadblock is its cost. A 2022 Washington Post story about UBI noted that "providing $1,000 a month to every American regardless of income" would cost more than $3 trillion a year, "nearly half the federal government's entire budget."But as that same article noted, a mass of evidence suggests that "pulling people out of poverty generates a huge increase in tax revenue as well as savings on public assistance programs." And as Jefferson noted, if new pilot programs produce the same results as what's already been tested, they may help sway the court of public opinion yet. If still more data shows, she said, shows that guaranteed income "is reducing the need for food assistance or housing subsidies or criminal justice systems or burdens on healthcare systems, it may be something that pays for itself."As for Tydricka Lewis, basic income afforded her the latitude to start her own nonprofit. The New Generation Movement offers peer support to the kinds of young girls she once was — raised in poverty, often from single-parent homes, and in some cases acquainted with the carceral system. Lewis has taken them to a Durham Bulls baseball game, hosted cookouts and dance parties, and helped them create vision boards imagining their own futures.Though she's making more money than she ever has in her life, Lewis still struggles to make ends meet. Staying above Durham's rising tide has proven difficult. This September, her rent on a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Durham rose from $1,486 to $1,680 a month, forcing Lewis, along with two of her children and a niece, to move in with her mother."We are literally being thrown out of our town, of the community where we've been in our whole life," Lewis said. "But me and my family, we will escape poverty. We're not where we need to be, but we are damn sure on our way."Michael Venutolo-Mantovani has written for The New York Times, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Wired, and many others. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife and their two children.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 29th, 2023

They got out of prison. Then the city gave them $7,200 — no strings attached.

All across America, giving people free cash is reducing homelessness, increasing employment, and improving health. All across America, the evidence is overwhelming: Universal basic income is working.Chelsea Jia Feng/InsiderIn the spring of 2022, Tydricka Lewis finally bought a car that started every time she asked it to and no longer left her stranded.Her 2020 Nissan Rogue was essential to her new job as a peer-support specialist — helping people in mental-health crises required her to be able to get places reliably and fast. And it was essential to her new life outside prison, where she'd spent six years and four months for chasing fraudulent checks.It was a car that Lewis, a 32-year-old single mother of three, would not otherwise have been able to afford. But when she was selected for Durham, North Carolina's guaranteed-income pilot program, she knew exactly where her $600 monthly stipend would be best spent. In late 2020, then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey pledged $15 million to the national advocacy group Mayors for a Guaranteed Income to help select cities and towns across America kick-start basic-income programs. Durham was one of 25 recipients and received $500,000 from Dorsey and another $500,000 from local philanthropy and the city's coffers.Durham's mayor pro tempore, Mark-Anthony Middleton, who helped oversee the program, had been advocating for his city to introduce a basic income for years. "We wanted to see what a stream of income, without any determination of virtue or vice attached to it, would do," he said. As Durham's population has ballooned, many of its lower-income and Black residents have been pushed to the fringes. Once one of the South's centers of Black commerce, with its own Black Wall Street, the vibrant Hayti community, home to the renowned historically Black North Carolina Central University, Durham has become much whiter — by 51% over the past 20 years, according to US Census data. And as wealthier residents moved in, Durham's median home price rose by more than 50% between 2010 and 2019. So the city decided that all of the $1 million in basic-income funds would go to a single, vulnerable group: formerly incarcerated residents.Many taxpayers were not happy about this. As the program neared its launch in March 2022, Middleton's inbox and mailbox were flooded with messages filled with epithets. They came from white residents in the more conservative counties near Durham to recent transplants from liberal strongholds like New York City and the Bay Area. They demanded to know why the city was underwriting criminals, disincentivizing work with free handouts, and spending public dollars to help people who, in some opinions, might not deserve help. Middleton's answer to all criticism was steadfast, simple, and by his own admission, "very selfish.""We're going to have to pay for these people one way or another, either in incarceration, benefits, homeless shelters, whatever it is," he told me. "It seems to me that spending more money up front makes more sense than housing folks, monitoring and feeding them, and taking care of their healthcare in prison."He encourages skeptical taxpayers to look at universal basic income from the same "selfish point of view." "By virtue of your humanity, your citizenship, and your residency," he added, "there's a certain line we will not allow you to fall under because it's good policy for us."Though the data is still nascent, basic income has proven to be good policy everywhere it's been tested in America. The Durham program would be one of its greatest tests yet.The idea that the government should guarantee all citizens a set amount of money has been discussed at the margins of American policy throughout the nation's history.In his 1797 pamphlet "Agrarian Justice," Thomas Paine argued that all citizens had the right to a guaranteed lump sum when they became adults. During the Great Depression, Louisiana's governor, Huey Long, proposed a guaranteed annual household income of $2,000 to $3,000 (some $40,000 to $60,000 in 2023). In 1972, when Senator George McGovern was running for president, he proposed writing a $1,000 check annually to every American. Though the concept faltered in the Reaganomics era of the 1980s and the Clintonomics of the 1990s, talk of a universal basic income reemerged during the 2020 presidential-election campaign, when it became a major platform point of the candidate Andrew Yang. "What's helpful about cash is that it's cash, and you can use it for whatever you need."A large part of the renewed interest is that "we have a higher degree of inequality now than we did before the Great Depression," said Anna Jefferson, a principal investigator at Abt Associates who studies data from basic-income programs across the country.In the past few years, aided no doubt by the economic consequences wrought by the pandemic, centuries of theory have at last been put to the test. A few dozen cities across the country have begun basic-income programs, and the early results have been overwhelmingly positive. In Denver, more than 800 of the city's most vulnerable residents received monthly stipends of up to $1,000. So far the program has reduced homelessness, increased employment, and bolstered the mental-health outcomes of participants. A similar program in Stockton, California, had similar effects — the unemployment rate among the 125 participants was nearly halved. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studying the program concluded it could have "profound positive impacts on local public health."Pilot programs have sprung up across the country, from liberal strongholds such as Los Angeles and Baltimore to more centrist and conservative cities like Columbia, South Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; and Gainesville, Florida. Just Income, the Florida program, also focused its stipends on formerly incarcerated individuals, with a rationale similar to Middleton's. "It costs Floridians about $28,000 a year to hold someone in prison," the director of the Gainesville program said in a press release earlier this year. "Alternatively, we're investing just $7,600 directly to one of our valued neighbors, giving them a vital income floor." In city after city and cohort after cohort — old, young, single parents, ex-convicts — universal basic income has improved health outcomes, raised employment, and bolstered childcare opportunities (and recipients have had consistently better outcomes than control groups).Among those who received a basic income in Stockton, California, the unemployment rate dropped by nearly 50%.Nick Otto/AFP/Getty ImagesAccording to Jefferson, guaranteed income — which she calls "unrestricted cash transfers" — impacts recipients' lives almost immediately. Early results from her firm's analysis, she said, "really show that cash can improve people's financial stress and mental health remarkably and quickly."With more data at hand than theoretical projection, the evidence is overwhelming: Universal basic income is working nearly universally.To qualify for Durham's guaranteed-income program, which the city called Excel, applicants had to be Durham residents 18 years or older, incarcerated no later than 2016, and fall below 60% of the city's annual median incomee. From a pool of 247 eligible applicants, 109 were randomly selected to be recipients, and the rest were part of the control group.One element that was essential to Middleton was that the money Excel handed out come with no strings attached. He wanted to see how the beneficiaries chose to use their money. None were required to check in with StepUp — the Durham-based nonprofit that administered the program — or the city to explain how and where they were using their income. There was no work requirement and no surveys to fill out. Recipients all received a debit card preloaded with $600 a month for a year — $7,200 to spend as they pleased."Folks paid their rent, they bought clothes for their children, they bought medicine, some people took a weekend trip," Middleton said. "Mostly, people did normal stuff; they paid bills and bought food. Surprise, surprise." Others paid off long-standing student loans.Jefferson has found this is typical of how basic-income recipients across the country spend their stipends. While it's difficult to pinpoint exactly where each dollar goes, the vast majority of recipients spend them on the basics: healthier food, school supplies, and extracurriculars or developmental support for their children. "What's helpful about cash is that it's cash, and you can use it for whatever you need," Jefferson said.After she was released from prison in 2019, Tydricka Lewis cobbled together a living by holding two, sometimes three, jobs at once, including at a KFC and a Habitat for Humanity resource center. A few months after her release, she was certified as a peer-support specialist and began working with a nonprofit that provides community mental-health and substance-abuse treatment. She could have used her Excel money to buy food or clothes for her three children, who were 18, 11, and 3. But she saw a car as the lynchpin through which she could provide for her family, a foundation to hopefully pull them out of the poverty that she has been mired in for so much of her life. The Rogue also afforded Lewis peace of mind, knowing that she and her kids would no longer have to worry about the car's heater fritzing out in the middle of Durham's icy winters.By all early accounts, Excel has been a resounding success. The employment rates and housing rates among the recipients have steadily climbed. And during the program's yearlong run, there was a zero-percent rate of recidivism. "Economically stable people make better neighbors. When they aren't worried about how they're going to pay their bills, they tend not to come through your window at night."Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania studying the program plan to have data comparing recipients' outcomes to the control group's outcomes in 2024. But based on early results, Durham County is now set to roll out a $750-a-month guaranteed-income pilot to 125 local families who have children at home and fall beneath 30% of the county's annual median income. Meanwhile, Middleton has secured another $1 million in the city's budget to continue the initiative with public dollars, which he hopes will kick off in mid-2024.Promising as these pilot programs are, the chances of a truly universal basic income in America remain remote. For one, empirical evidence does not equal political will. UBI researchers often point to Congress's decision not to renew the Covid-era Child Tax Credit — even though it slashed America's monthly child poverty rate by 30% — as a measure of how difficult passing a nationwide UBI would be. The main political roadblock is its cost. A 2022 Washington Post story about UBI noted that "providing $1,000 a month to every American regardless of income" would cost more than $3 trillion a year, "nearly half the federal government's entire budget." But as that same article noted, a mass of evidence suggests that "pulling people out of poverty generates a huge increase in tax revenue as well as savings on public assistance programs." And as Jefferson noted, if new pilot programs produce the same results as what's already been tested, they may help sway the court of public opinion yet. If still more data shows, she said, shows that guaranteed income "is reducing the need for food assistance or housing subsidies or criminal justice systems or burdens on healthcare systems, it may be something that pays for itself."As for Tydricka Lewis, basic income afforded her the latitude to start her own nonprofit. The New Generation Movement offers peer support to the kinds of young girls she once was — raised in poverty, often from single-parent homes, and in some cases acquainted with the carceral system. Lewis has taken them to a Durham Bulls baseball game, hosted cookouts and dance parties, and helped them create vision boards imagining their own futures.Though she's making more money than she ever has in her life, Lewis still struggles to make ends meet. Staying above Durham's rising tide has proven difficult. This September, her rent on a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Durham rose from $1,486 to $1,680 a month, forcing Lewis, along with two of her children and a niece, to move in with her mother."We are literally being thrown out of our town, of the community where we've been in our whole life," Lewis said. "But me and my family, we will escape poverty. We're not where we need to be, but we are damn sure on our way."Michael Venutolo-Mantovani has written for The New York Times, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Wired, and many others. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife and their two children.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 29th, 2023

20 States with the Highest Alcohol and Beer Tax

In this article, we are going to discuss the 20 states with the highest alcohol and beer tax. You can skip our detailed analysis of the importance of the U.S. alcohol industry, the impact of Covid-19 on alcohol consumption in America, the effect of taxes on alcohol abuse, and the call for lower tax rates […] In this article, we are going to discuss the 20 states with the highest alcohol and beer tax. You can skip our detailed analysis of the importance of the U.S. alcohol industry, the impact of Covid-19 on alcohol consumption in America, the effect of taxes on alcohol abuse, and the call for lower tax rates for canned cocktails, and go directly to 5 States with the Highest Alcohol and Beer Tax.  Federal taxation of alcohol dates back to the earliest years of the republic. In 1791, almost immediately after the Constitution was ratified, Alexander Hamilton pushed for a national excise tax on liquor as a means of raising revenue to pay down the national debt. The Founding Father believed that a tax on distilled spirits would be useful both because they were widely consumed, and thus represented a fairly large tax base, but also because he perceived distilled spirits to be a luxury good, and thus a tax might be fairly progressive.  Many social reformers also believed distilled spirits were damaging to society, and so looked favorably on higher taxes. These arguments for excise taxes, that they tax socially damaging goods, or luxury goods, or serve as advantageous and politically popular revenue sources, continue even today in various forms. The Importance of the U.S. Alcohol Industry:  As we mentioned in our article – US Alcohol Exports by Country: Top 15 – booze plays an enormous role in the American economy. As of 2021, the total share of the beverage alcohol market in the U.S. represented almost $250 billion and over 3.4 billion cases sold. Beer/FMB/hard seltzer accounted for 43.5% of value share, followed closely by spirits at 39.5%, and wine at a 17% share.  The U.S. alcohol beverage industry is responsible for sustaining more than 4 million jobs and generating almost $70 billion in annual tax revenue. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the economic benefits the industry provides to late night restaurants and pizza shops. Per the Beer Institute, the beer industry alone supports 1.75 million jobs. From the farmers harvesting the barley in your beer, to the beer truck driver, to your local bartender, every aspect of your drink exists because of someone in the alcohol industry working hard behind the scenes. The positive economic impact of alcohol is something you seldom consider when having a drink, but, given the facts, maybe it’s time we all raise a glass to it. The Impact of Covid-19  As the Covid-19 virus tightened its grip on the country in 2020, the hospitality industry took one of the biggest economic hits, but that didn’t mean it became harder to get a drink. With almost every state relaxing its alcohol laws in 2020 in an effort to keep local economies afloat, it was even easier to kick back with a drink after a bad day. All but three states gave liquor stores a lockdown exemption, with many classifying the business – along with grocery stores and pharmacies – as an essential service.  In the first few weeks of the lockdown, alcohol sales for off-premise locations jumped 54% and online alcohol sales had increased by 262% compared to sales data from the same week in 2019. From March to September 2020, there were $41.9 billion in liquor store sales, representing an increase of 20% from the same period the previous year.  Americans drank more alcohol during the pandemic and this was also reflected in the resultant imposts collected by the national kitty. Alcohol tax revenues collected by the U.S. Treasury Department rose by 8% in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2021, compared to the previous year, and remained well above pre-pandemic levels. The Effect of Taxes on Alcohol Abuse:  The booze industry argues that alcohol excise taxes do not reduce heavy drinking because of substitutions to lower-cost products and that these taxes disproportionately burden low-income drinkers. Alternatively, over the last two decades, a growing number of economists have examined the impact of alcohol beverage taxes and prices on alcohol consumption and heavy drinking. Several of these studies have focused on high-risk populations, such as youth and young adults, including college students.  This research, using a variety of different data and empirical approaches, has generally found that an increase in the prices of alcoholic beverages led to reductions in drinking, heavy drinking, and the consequences of alcohol use and abuse. These findings indicate that a rise in alcoholic-beverage taxes could be a highly effective option for reducing alcohol abuse and its consequences.  Increasing alcohol taxes could not only improve public health, but also reduce the disparity between alcohol-related costs and total alcohol taxes in states. It could help prevent the reallocation of the societal cost of drinking from those who drink excessively to the general public. Conversely, if specific excise taxes are not increased, these taxes are likely to further erode over time because of inflation, which could result in an even greater disparity between alcohol taxes and alcohol-attributable costs. Due to their higher levies on booze, several of the names in our list of States with the Highest Tax on Alcohol also rank among the States that Drink the Least Alcohol per Capita.  According to a study conducted by the NCD Advisory Council’s signature initiative working group, if countries of the WHO European Region were to introduce a minimum level of 15% tax on the retail price per unit of alcohol, regardless of the type of alcoholic beverage, it would save 133,000 lives each year.  Lower Tax Rates for Canned Cocktails:  The spirits industry has an effort underway to lobby states to lower taxes on canned cocktails to more closely mimic those placed on beer and hard seltzer. Since distilled spirits face the stiffest tax rates due to their high alcohol content, canned cocktails are also taxed heavily at every level. However, distillers argue that Ready-to-Drink cocktails have similar alcohol content as beer and hard seltzer and are treated unfairly just because their drinks contain spirits. In 2020, U.S. consumption of canned cocktails grew 52.7% from the previous year, accounting for 6.9% of the total volume in the alcoholic ready-to-drink category, according to IWSR data. The higher sales have encouraged liquor companies to take the offensive in a fight for tax parity.  As a result, several states have already taken steps to level the field in favor of the canned cocktails, and thus support the country’s burgeoning craft-distilling industry. An example of this is Michigan, where in 2021, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed SB 144 – a bill to increase market access to RTD cocktails for adult consumers and reduce the tax on these spirits-based products. Under the new law, the tax rate on RTD cocktails up to 13.5% ABV has decreased from $0.48 to $0.30/liter. Ready-to-drink beverages continue to make headlines as the fastest-growing alcohol beverage category. While malt-based RTDs still retain a 91% share by volume in the American RTD market, spirit-based RTDs grew by 51% in 2021, approximately double the growth of the wine-and malt-based categories. As we mentioned in our article – 25 Most Popular Spirits in the World –  the spirits-based RTDs are expected to grow at a CAGR of 33% in volume in the U.S. by 2025.  A recent new spirit-based RTD offering that popped up in the market is the good ol’ Jack & Coke. Although the classic drink has been a quintessential serve at every bar for a long time, the much-loved cocktail is now also available in the form of a pre-mixed, canned RTD – courtesy of a joint venture between the Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BF-B) and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO).  Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola RTD made its U.S. debut in March this year in 12-oz. cans (7% ABV), and Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola Zero Sugar also became available in May. Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BF-B) and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) took a test-and learn-approach for the initial launch, applying lessons from a single-country rollout in Mexico to a global scaling strategy, bringing the product to 13 countries in 12 months.  Both the Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BF-B) and The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) rank among the Largest Beverage Companies in the World in 2023.  With that said, here are the States with the Highest Liquor and Beer Taxes.  Ievgenii Meyer/Shutterstock.com Methodology:  To collect data for this article, we have referred to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, looking for States with the Highest Alcohol and Beer Tax in 2023. Since distilled spirits face the stiffest tax rates due to their high alcohol content, we have ranked the following states by their distilled spirits excise tax rates as of January 2023. To allow for comparability across states, DISCUS uses a methodology for estimating tax rates that accounts for the various ways in which spirits are taxed and sold. These figures include case and bottle fees, special sales taxes on spirits (separate from, and in addition to, the excise tax), wholesale taxes, and retail and distributor license fees. Moreover, we have also mentioned the beer excise tax rate for each state below.  20. Arkansas Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $8.01 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.35 per gallon Arkansas laws are strict and uncompromising when it comes to liquor, and more than half of the state’s counties are dry. In these counties, there’s no legal sale of alcohol in bars or stores and only licensed restaurants can serve alcoholic beverages. 19. West Virginia Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $8.32 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.18 per gallon ‘The Mountain State’, with its less-restrictive alcohol laws, has over 28 breweries. Liquor was only sold in state-owned stores in West Virginia before 1990, after which the state auctioned off permits to private businesses to legally sell alcohol. However, due to the predominant religious sentiment in West Virginia and the state’s high alcohol tax rates, it still has a very low alcohol consumption rate compared to the rest of the country.  18. Vermont Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $8.39 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.27 per gallon Last year, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed legislation lowering taxes on ready-to-drink spirits, the latest front in an ongoing battle within the alcoholic beverage industry that pits distillers against beer and wine makers across the country. The bill reduced taxes on packs of ready-to-drink spirits to $1.10 per gallon. However, beer and wine producers say the ready-to-drink cocktails deserve the higher tax rates and limited sales space because of the type of alcohol they deliver. 17. Mississippi Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $8.51 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.43 per gallon According to Mississippi laws, the maximum alcohol content allowed in beers is 8% and beers with an alcohol content of over 8% are illegal. However, despite being a state with high excise tax on beer, Mississippi ranks among the U.S. States With the Highest Beer Consumption per Capita.  16. Illinois Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $8.55 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.23 per gallon Of the $62.6 billion in taxes collected by Illinois in 2022, 0.5%, or $320 million, came from alcoholic beverages sales tax. Illinois is ranked 28th out of the 50 states in alcohol consumption, with the average drinking-age Illinoisan consuming 2.32 gallons per year. 15. Minnesota Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $8.7 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.47 per gallon In 2013, The Minnesota House approved a bill that would raise state taxes by $2.6 billion, in part, by enacting the state’s first alcohol tax increase in about 25 years. With the exception of Iowa, Minnesota is the state with the highest alcohol tax rate between all of its neighbors.  14. Kentucky Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $9.25 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.93 per gallon Although Kentucky is home to the country’s burgeoning Bourbon industry, the Bluegrass State has the 17th lowest share of adults who report excessive drinking at 17.3%, compared to 19% nationwide.  2021 was a great year for the state’s Bourbon industry and for the first time there were more than 10 million barrels of Bourbon aging across Kentucky, and distillers set records by filling nearly 2.5 million barrels in a single year. However, this also meant that distillers in Kentucky were slated to pay more than $33 million in aging barrel taxes in 2021 alone. That figure was 140% higher than it had been 10 years before. 13. Montana Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $10.57 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.47 per gallon The distilleries of Montana create all sorts of high quality alcoholic spirits. From huckleberry gins to Montana moonshine to bacon-flavored vodka, there’s a liquor out there for everyone.  Since Montana does not levy a sales tax, it tends to have relatively lower tax rates on beer and wine, however, it still ranks among states with the highest liquor tax. The Treasure State has a liquor monopoly, which means that it sells alcoholic beverages at its own stores and adds a tax at the point of sale.  12. Ohio Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $11.38 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.18 per gallon An uptick in alcohol consumption in the Buckeye State in 2020 meant more alcohol tax revenue. Ohio generated $113.6 million in taxes on alcohol sales in 2020 – an increase of 7.8% over 2019 and up 11% from 2018. However, the average Ohioan drank 689 alcoholic drinks in 2021, an 11% decrease from 776 the previous year, according to a survey by DrugAbuse.com. A possible reason for this welcomed drop in drinking could be a change in routines for individuals, as restrictions eased in the pandemic’s second year and more people returned to out-of-home jobs. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) and the City of Columbus are launching the first ever city-wide program in the U.S. to understand and help reduce the harmful use of alcohol, as part of the beer giant’s Global Smart Drinking Goals initiative. As part of the initiative, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) has committed to investing at least $1 billion across its markets in dedicated social marketing campaigns and programs to influence social norms and individual behaviors to reduce harmful use of alcohol. Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) ranks among the Largest Alcohol Companies in the World in 2023.  11. Maine Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $11.96 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.35 per gallon Maine is a control state, meaning it manages the wholesale of spirits. However, the state’s grocery stores and gas stations are still allowed to sell beer, wine, and liquor. Though famous for its coffee flavored brandy, the Pine Tree State is home to over 90 breweries, with Portland as an important city in the American craft beer industry. 10. Idaho Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $12.15 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.15 per gallon Although Idaho ranks among the Least Alcoholic States, Idahoans set a new record for the highest spending on liquor in the last financial year, which ended on June 30th 2023. The Gem State’s residents spend just under $320 million on liquor during the year, with the state, cities, and counties raking up $115.6 million in liquor tax revenue.  In Idaho, beer containing more than 4% ABV is considered ‘strong beer’ and is taxed like wine at $0.45 per gallon. Idaho is counted among the Top 10 States with the Highest Tax on Alcohol.  9. Alaska Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $12.8 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $1.07 per gallon Alaska has a reputation as a hard-drinking state with simple tastes. However, the state’s alcohol preferences are changing and it’s drinking less beer, more liquor and more wine. It’s also drinking less mainstream beer and more craft beer. When Alaska’s state alcohol tax was increased in 1983 and 2002, a study of 40 years’ worth of health outcomes data found significant and lasting reductions in the numbers and rates of deaths in Alaska caused by alcohol-related diseases. Alaska sits among the states with the highest tax on beer. 8. Michigan Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $13.57 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.2 per gallon According to a new Michigan law introduced last year, liquor taxes will now pay for the state’s deputy road patrol. It will add $15 million in its first year and an extra 5% in subsequent years to cover for inflation.  Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also signed legislation this summer that would allow for the sale of alcohol in college stadiums and arenas in the Great Lake State.  7. Iowa Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $14.1 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.19 per gallon Aside from the effect of high taxes, alcohol is more on the expensive side in Iowa because of state laws that force brewers and distillers to use state required distribution partners, and state-run warehouses. Some of these laws are left over from prohibition while others are meant to protect local distributors from abuse from large brewers. The Hawkeye State collected a total of $168 million in taxes from liquor sales in FY 2021, putting it among the States with the Highest Alcohol Tax.  6. Utah Excise Tax Rate on Distilled Spirits: $15.92 per gallon  Excise Tax Rate on Beer: $0.41 per gallon Most people know Mormons are supposed to be teetotalers, so the fact that Utah doesn’t drink much isn’t surprising. Over half of the state’s population identifies as Mormon, a religion that explicitly forbids alcohol consumption. However, the Beehive State’s liquor and wine stores still witnessed alcohol sales of $557.6 million last year, bringing in $198.66 million in revenue to pay for statewide services like transportation and infrastructure, health, education, public safety, school lunches for kids, and underage drinking prevention. Utah ranks 6th in our list of states with high alcohol tax. Click to continue reading and see the 5 States with the Highest Alcohol and Beer Tax.  Suggested Articles: 30 Drunkest Countries in the World 30 Drunkest Cities in America in 2023 20 Best Low-Alcohol Beers in America Disclosure: None. 20 States with the Highest Alcohol and Beer Tax is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyOct 27th, 2023

30 Drunkest Countries in the World

In this article, we are going to discuss the 30 drunkest countries in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global alcohol industry, the rise of alcohol-free culture, and the CSR initiative by an industry giant, and go directly to 10 Drunkest Countries in the World.  Alcohol is so commonly discussed in […] In this article, we are going to discuss the 30 drunkest countries in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of the global alcohol industry, the rise of alcohol-free culture, and the CSR initiative by an industry giant, and go directly to 10 Drunkest Countries in the World.  Alcohol is so commonly discussed in terms of its negative effects that it is often seen as being wholly detrimental. As a result, the personally functional and socially integrative uses of alcohol tend to be overlooked. The vast majority of drinkers around the world are occasional and moderate – normal drinkers who experience no harm from their own consumption of alcoholic beverages. Thus, relatively small minorities fall into the class of heavy, excessive, or problem-drinkers, including alcoholics. Nevertheless, problem-drinkers invoke so much trouble for themselves, their families, their employers, their occupational or social associates, and their communities and society that ‘alcohol problems’ are major and costly causes of disorder and suffering. The Global Alcohol Industry: In 2019, the global alcohol consumption, measured in liters of pure alcohol per person of 15 years of age or older, was 5.5 liters, which is a 4.7% relative decrease from 5.7 liters in 2010.  As we mentioned in our article – 25 Largest Alcohol Companies in the World in 2023 – the global alcoholic beverages market size was valued at $1.62 trillion in 2021, and the market is projected to reach $2 trillion by 2031, with a CAGR of 2.2% during the forecast period.  The market is likely to be driven by the increasing global young-adult demographic, coupled with high disposable income and consumer demand for premium/super-premium products. Globally, beer drives the market for alcoholic beverages. Regionally, North America and Asia-Pacific are expected to dominate the market during the forecast period. The Rise of Alcohol-Free Culture:  The global low and no-alcohol consumer trend is a significant shift in the drinks industry, driven by increasingly health-conscious consumers seeking alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages. Millennials and Generation Z are the main insurgents, driving a transformation in choice and demanding more from their drinks. These younger generations are adopting a healthier lifestyle and reaping the benefits of going alcohol-free – but they’re not the only ones. From fitness fans and healthy lifestylers to a renaissance in older living, knowing what you’re putting into your body is now a key priority. As we mentioned in our article – Gen Z’s 25 Favorite Brands in 2023 – these young consumers are also a more health-conscious generation and a growing share of them is outright turning away from alcohol. In 2022, 38% of Gen Z were buying more non-alcoholic beverages than in the previous year.  Several industry players have realized that the no-alcohol trend is here to stay and are coming up with innovative solutions to keep their current consumer base engaged, along with attracting a new generation of drinkers. Owned by Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO), the iconic Captain Morgan rum brand unveiled Captain Morgan Spiced Gold 0.0% in August, an alcohol-free alternative to the famous Original Spiced Gold, offering a deliciously spiced flavor profile. Following the successful launch of Guinness 0.0%, Tanqueray 0.0%, and Gordons 0.0% over the past few years, Captain Morgan Spiced Gold 0.0% brings further choice to the market as the latest brand, and first dark spirit, to join Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO)’s alcohol-free portfolio. With 22.9 million cases sold worldwide in 2022, Captain Morgan is counted among the Most Popular Spirits in the World.   Warren Buffett initiated a position in Diageo plc (NYSE:DEO) in the first quarter of 2023 with 227,750 shares worth $39.510 million and his position in the company remained unchanged in the second quarter. In Q2, Diageo represented 0.1% of Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio. The most prominent stakeholder in the company in Q2 was Markel Gayner Asset Management with 1.35 million shares, worth $234.23 million. Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative:  Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) is the Largest Beer Producer in the World and the company launched its Global Smart Drinking Goals initiative in order to make a tangible contribution to the reduction of harmful use of alcohol globally.  As part of the initiative, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) has committed to investing at least $1 billion across its markets in dedicated social marketing campaigns and programs to influence social norms and individual behaviors to reduce harmful use of alcohol. Another goal is to ensure that low- or no-alcohol beer products make up at least 20% of the global beer volume of the company by 2025, and it is already investing $34 million in upgrading some of its Belgian breweries, which will help expand its non-alcoholic beer portfolio. The beer behemoth has been facing some headwinds in the American market after the recent controversy regarding its best-selling brand Bud Light, which resulted in the iconic brand losing its crown as the Top-Selling Beer in America after nearly two decades.  As we mentioned in our article – Top 20 Wine Producing Countries in the World – Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD) shares haven’t gone anywhere in recent years, and it lost around 40% of its value over the last 5 years. It is a highly leveraged company and the rising interest rates aren’t helping the stock either. Nevertheless, billionaire Bill Gates’ portfolio managers decided to initiate a $96 million position in the firm during the second quarter.  With that said, here are the Countries that Drink the Most Alcohol.  Photo by Adam Wilson on Unsplash Methodology:  To collect information for this article, we have referred to The Global Health Observatory of the World Health Organization, looking for Countries that Consume the Most Alcohol. The following countries have been ranked by their per capita consumption of pure alcohol for people aged 15 and over in 2019. One thing to keep in mind is that just because the people in these countries generally consume higher levels of alcohol, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re drunkards. Alcohol is simply an essential part of many cultures around the world and alcoholic beverages play a significant role in important events and celebrations, since they can be associated with many festivals and rituals.   If you’re also interested to read about which cities consume the most alcohol in the U.S., here are the Drunkest Cities in America in 2023.  30. Montenegro Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.34 liters Young people in Montenegro live in an environment where alcohol is a part of everyday life – of cultural, religious, and social customs. Aside from the wine that the Balkan country is famous for, Rakija is also a popular traditional drink in Montenegro.  29. Tanzania Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.36 liters Alcohol use is a significant problem among young people in northern Tanzania. Factors that contribute to alcohol abuse include the abundance of home brewers, lifestyles that are dominated by social pressures, and traditional expectations such as the excessive consumption of alcohol at weddings, funerals, and other distinct occasions. Tanzania ranks among the African Countries with the Most Alcohol Consumption.  28. Switzerland Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.4 liters Drinking alcohol is common in Switzerland, especially in social contexts and as a way to unwind over the weekend. It is estimated that beer, as well as wine, make up around 80% of alcohol consumption in Switzerland. The majority of Swiss wines are consumed domestically and only a small percentage is exported.  27. Russia Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.42 liters It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Russia ranks among the list of Drunkest Countries, considering that drinking is a pervasive, socially acceptable behavior in Russian society and a major source of revenue for the government.  Since 2011, Russia has taken an active role in implementing the recommendations of the EAPA to reduce the harmful use of alcohol by further increasing excise taxes, raising the minimum unit price of alcohol, and substantially reducing the availability of retail alcohol. Russia also ranks among the Top Countries for Vodka Consumption.  26. Portugal Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.45 liters In the E.U., drinking every day is most frequent in Portugal, with about 20.7% of the population consuming alcohol daily. The Portuguese government decided to raise alcohol taxes by 4% last year, however, the country’s all-important wine industry was given a tax break.  With an average wine consumption of 6.04 liters per capita, Portugal sits among the Top Wine Drinking Countries in the World. 25. Slovakia Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.48 liters Drinking is very much a part of Slovak culture and some form of alcohol is usually present at any social occasion. The standard shot glass size in the Central European country is 50 ml, while it is usually around 44 ml around the world. Slovakia ranks among the Drunkest Countries per Capita.  24. Cook Islands Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.56 liters The Cook Islands are not only notable for their mesmerizing beaches, but also for their high alcohol consumption. Cook Islanders are fond of spirits, particularly rum, which accounts for more than half of the overall alcohol consumption. Moreover, the heavy influx of tourists also leads to the high levels of alcohol consumed in the beautiful island country.  23. Hungary Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.6 liters Hungary is among the Countries with the Highest Rates of Alcoholism in the World. Along with pálinka – a high-alcohol fruit brandy – vodka is also a popular spirit in the Central European country. According to Eurostat, Hungary has the cheapest prices of alcohol for any country in the European Union.  22. United Kingdom Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.82 liters Compared to other European countries, the U.K. is near the average in terms of overall alcohol consumption. However, it is consistently among the highest for binge drinking. This reflects the fact that, on average, drinking in the United Kingdom tends to involve more drunkenness than elsewhere. 21. Belarus Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.9 liters Despite the large number of government policy initiatives that authorities claimed were controlling the problem, alcohol consumption in Belarus grew rapidly up to 2010, when it reached the highest level in the world. The Eastern European country increased the excise tax on alcohol last year to curb its high alcohol use.  20. Spain Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.91 liters Alcohol has always been an important part of Spanish culture and Spanish wine and sangria are especially admired all over the world. Beer is the Spaniards’ favorite tipple though, consumed by over 50% of the population.  Spain is counted among the Top Beer Producing Countries in the World.  19. Slovenia Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 10.98 liters While Slovenians love beer and wine, there’s really only one national drink – Schnapps. Called Zganje in the local language, making this liquor is also a national pastime, and although you can find factory-made bottles of Schnapps in liquor stores and supermarkets, it’s the locally made Zganje brewed in someone’s garage that’s usually the best.  Slovenia is counted among the Top 20 Alcohol Drinking Countries.  18. Andorra Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.05 liters Andorra has one of the lowest tax rates on food and alcohol. The tax on food is just 1%, while the alcohol tax is 4.5%. In neighboring Spain, most taxes start from 20%, and that’s why many people come from France and Spain to Andorra just to stock their fridges by buying fish, meat, groceries, and alcohol.  17. Estonia Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.26 liters Prices of goods and services increased rapidly in Estonia last year while the rise in alcohol prices was significantly less. The prices of beer and grape wine rose slightly but the price of hard alcohol remained at the 2021 level or cheaper. The incomes of the Estonian people continued to grow in 2022 and so alcohol became even more accessible.  16. France Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.3 liters Recognized all over the world for its savoir-faire regarding food and drink, France has a long history of alcohol production and consumption. Wine is deeply embedded in the French culture and identity of the people. There are vineyards scattered throughout the country, responsible for producing 7-8 billion bottles of wine a year.  15. Moldova Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.36 liters The wine culture is very strong in the Republic of Moldova and the wine industry employs almost 10% of the national workforce, with the income generated from viticulture forming 15% of the annual national budget. Up to 70% of alcohol consumed in the country is homemade wine. Moldova ranks among Countries that Drink the Most in Europe.   14. Laos Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.52 liters Laos has many ethnic groups and each has its own traditions and culture, but alcohol plays an important role throughout Lao society. There is a rule in the Southeast Asian country, especially in the villages of different ethnic groups, that you cannot drink less. While women may retire after drinking a few shots and enjoy the party with food, for men, it is not acceptable. You have to drink as much as you can, and sometimes, even more than you can. 13. Luxembourg Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.53 liters Since alcohol is relatively cheaper in Luxembourg, a large number of Belgians travel regularly to their neighboring country to buy their favorite tipples. The country is also famous for its high quality wine, about two-thirds of which is consumed domestically.  12. Poland Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.63 liters Vodka is deeply embedded in Polish culture, so much so that there is even a growing debate between Russian and Polish people as to who invented the popular spirit. Poland is the largest market for vodka in the E.U., representing over 35% sales in the region. With over 20% of the vodka market share in the country, the Żubrówka brand remains the market leader.  Poland is among the Countries that Drink the Most Alcohol in 2023.  11. Ireland Alcohol Consumption per Capita: 11.7 liters Ireland is a nation with a love for alcohol and the Irish prefer to spend their time in pubs rather than casual cafes and restaurants. The country produces some of the finest stouts or whiskeys than anywhere else in the world. In fact, the Emerald Isle is home to Guinness – one of the Most Consumed Beer Brands in the World.  Click to continue reading and see the 10 Drunkest Countries in the World. Suggested Articles: 20 States that Drink the Least Alcohol per Capita 20 Most Consumed Alcohols in the World 20 Countries with Most Alcohol Deaths Disclosure: None. 30 Drunkest Countries in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyOct 25th, 2023

Senator Dianne Feinstein Dead At 90

Senator Dianne Feinstein Dead At 90 Senator Dianne Feinstein has died at the age of 90, shortly after her return to Congress following a bout of shingles, according to Punchbowl News' Jake Sherman. BREAKING NEWS: DIANNE FEINSTEIN HAS PASSED AWAY AT 90 PUNCHBOWL NEWS TEXT OUT A FEW MIN AGO — Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) September 29, 2023 Feinstein returned to the Senate in May after a two-month battle with shingles, where she appeared to be unaware of her own extended absence. When a reporter asked him how her colleagues have received her upon her return, she said, "No, I've been here. I've been voting." She concluded by scolding the reporter. For the good of her health, her dignity, the Senate, the Democratic Party and our democracy, it’s past time now for Senator Feinstein’s family and caretakers to convene and immediately end this ghastly, degrading spectacle that borders on elder abuse.pic.twitter.com/d0ABJvbVX4 — Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) May 18, 2023 In July, Feinstein appeared to be completely lost during a Senate Appropriations Committee session which required staff assistance. When called on for a simple "aye" or "nay" vote, the 90-year-old launched into a speech supporting the measure. Only after 15 seconds of awkwardness did she heed repeated commands to "just say aye" -- instructions issued by both committee chair Patty Murray and one of Feinstein's staffers. ABC NEWS: It was a "concerning moment" today when Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein had to be verbally instructed — both by a staffer and a fellow senator — how to vote during a committee hearing pic.twitter.com/ovPdJ1miyf — RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 27, 2023 For more than a year, Feinstein's mental decline has been chronicled by even the most liberal newspapers. Last year, the Times and San Francisco Chronicle published insider accounts of Feinstein being unable to remember names, meetings and phone conversations. The Times described her as sometimes "walk[ing] around in a state of befuddlement."   Upon her return, Capitol Hill observers noticed that Nancy Pelosi's daughter was escorting Feinstein all around the Capitol. The motive is likely more than charitable: Rep. Adam Schiff, a Pelosi ally, wants Feinstein's seat and desperately wanted her to hang on through the 2024 election.  That's because California Governor Gavin Newsom has already promised that, in the event of an early Feinstein departure, he would appoint a black woman. One of Schiff's declared opponents is Rep. Barbara Lee. If appointed, she'd enter the 2024 race with the power of incumbency.  Tyler Durden Fri, 09/29/2023 - 05:50.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 29th, 2023