Seattle Storm head coach Dan Hughes signals a time out during the fourth quarter of a WNBA basketball game against the New York Liberty, Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, in New York. The Storm defeated the Liberty 84-69.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Seattle coach Dan Hughes knows that his team’s upcoming game against Minnesota will be more emotional for him than many other games this season. It’s the Storm’s annual Breast Health Awareness night.
While breast cancer survivors will be honored at Sunday’s game, it has special meaning for Hughes, who had a cancerous tumor in his digestive tract removed during training camp. He has made a full recovery and returned to the bench on June 21 after missing the team’s first nine games.
“I’ve always told people that the best thing the WNBA has done is the Breast Health Awareness game,” Hughes said. “It has been special. When you hear the word cancer in your life, things that you’ve done in the past carry a little different meaning to you. You’re thankful. Let’s look at the reality. I went through cancer not quite knowing what they are going to find when they do the surgery. What they found was pretty good. I go through screenings every three months to make sure I’m a healthy guy.”
The Storm are hoping to raise $25,000 for the Swedish Cancer Institute’s Patient Assistance Fund, through an online auction , 50/50 raffle and promotional ticket offer. Hughes had his surgery at the Swedish Medical Center.
On Sunday, Hughes will remember a college teammate who was diagnosed with cancer soon after his diagnosis. The Storm’s leader sent a text offering his thoughts and saying that he had just gone through cancer surgery himself. Unfortunately, his former teammate died two weeks ago.
“There are different endings to this story. I feel called to represent the ones that keep going,” the 64-year-old Hughes said. “I’m a faithful guy. I feel God said I want you to deal with this, but I want you to keep going.”
Hughes recalled how one of the first people who reached out to him when he was diagnosed said that now he’ll not only be known as a basketball coach, but also a cancer survivor.
“Our Breast Cancer Awareness night you’ll see that,” he said. “Yes this is a deadly disease, but you also want to celebrate the people who continue to move on in life.”
The veteran coach did say that while cancer has given him more of an appreciation for life, it hasn’t completely changed his coaching habits. Losses still sting.
“I still bottom out, I can’t lie to you,” he said, laughing. “When I do bottom out, it does enter my mind. This is still way better than me being unable to live life. It does enter. I still bottom out. I don’t care what you’re dealing with, if you’re a coach and you lose, it’s just hell. But it does creep in. You’re out here living life and doing probably what you are supposed to be doing.”
One of the many things that Hughes learned while being sidelined by the cancer was how to delegate more to his assistants. That is something he admits his younger self could never have done.
“One of the first things cancer patients told me is that you have to trust other people and let other people help you,” he said. “If you’re a driven coach, 20 years ago, no way (I’d be able to delegate as much). You learn. My cancer rehab doctor said to me. You’ve been around, you’re a bright guy, you figure out how to help your team from where you are. Those are pretty good words. I feel a lot of appreciation for people doing their jobs around me that helps all of us do what we’re trying to do.”
Assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg, who took over while Hughes was out, said that he saw a change in the head coach.
“He definitely took the doctor’s advice,” Kloppenburg said. “He was still around as a consultant, but he had total faith in his staff that we could handle it until he got back.”
A new study shows states with more gun owners have higher numbers of partners and family members killing each other in the home. Veuer’s Chandra Lanier has the story. Buzz60
WASHINGTON – Newtown. Charleston. Pulse. Parkland. Vegas.
America’s most infamous mass shootings in the past decade have led to relatively little changes to prevent gun violence. And mass shootings continue – 251 and counting so far this year.
Washington closed background reporting system loopholes, expanded federal aid for school safety and banned bump stocks in the aftermath of those massacres. But gun safety advocates say real solutions such as tighter background checks, an assault weapons ban and restrictions on high-capacity magazines were left off the table.
Now the question is whether the separate mass killings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left a combined 31 dead and dozens more wounded over an early August weekend could be the spark that leads to significant change.
But the dialogue over larger changes such as “red flag” laws and beefing up background checks – issues Trump has indicated he’s willing to consider – are giving gun-control groups hope that this moment might be different. At least in the long run.
That optimism is fueled by shifting political sands: internal strife at the National Rifle Association, the increasing clout and organizing power of the gun-control movement; a Democratic-controlled House willing to pass gun control measures such as background checks; moves by Corporate America in response to recent gun violence; a sense that a groundswell for gun control is growing.
“We’ve been here before,” said Lanae Erickson, senior vice president of Third Way, a center-left group that backs bipartisan gun control.
“I’m very optimistic about the direction of the conversation around guns over the next five years. I’m pessimistic that Mitch McConnell passes something in the next five weeks or five months,” she said. “These shifts take time and they’re happening. But McConnell is old-school and is not going to do something that is going to make his base angry.”
While they have talked about compromise on gun violence, Republicans say the main culprits for gun violence have little to do with firearms: a breakdown of the family, violent video games and a lack of resources to monitor and help the mentally ill.
NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, who reportedly spoke several times with the president in the days after the Texas and Ohio shooting, tweeted out his opposition to any legislation “that unfairly infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens.”
“The NRA will work in good faith to pursue real solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in America,” he tweeted. “But many proposals are nothing but ‘soundbite solutions’ – which fail to address the root of the problem, confront criminal behavior, or make our communities safer.”
That’s unlikely to appease gun control advocates such as Charlie Mirsky, the political director of March for Our Lives, the grassroots organization that grew out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Parkland, Fla., in 2018. A supporter of an assault weapons ban, Mirsky said March for Our Lives is willing to give on some issues but not on others.
‘We’re compromising already by talking about just (red-flag) orders and background checks,” he told USA TODAY Friday. “There are way more measures that need to be put into place that are necessary to save American lives. That being said, we’re definitely not going to compromise over the bills that we’ve already compromised in being satisfied with.”
Here are four areas gun control advocates support and their prospects for passage when Congress returns:
The House has passed two bills and sent them to the Senate:
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8) would prohibit most person-to-person firearm transfers unless a background check can be conducted. It aims to close a potential loophole allowing the transfer of firearms without a background check at gun shows or between individuals.
The Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 1112) would extend to at least 10 days the amount of time firearms dealers must wait for a response from the background check system before the sale can proceed. Currently, they can make the sale if they haven’t received a response in three days.
Both bills passed with almost every Democrat and a handful of Republicans supporting the measures. But some analysts say it’s doubtful tougher screening would have prevented either massacre.
A bipartisan Senate bill authored by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is being held up as a possible compromise. It would expand background checks – now only applied to purchases from federally licensed gun dealers – to include gun shows and Internet sales. It would continue to exclude those between family members and friends who give or sell guns to each other.
The NRA has opposed the proposal in the past and there is no sign gun rights advocates have changed their position.
“Had Manchin-Toomey passed in the past and had been signed into law, that’s no guarantee that these shootings would’ve been prevented,” Toomey told reporters this week. “But that doesn’t change the fact we ought to be making it as difficult as possible for people who don’t belong owning a firearm from obtaining one. So, I hope we’re at a moment where the atmosphere has changed.”
On Friday, Trump signaled potential support on the issue.
“There’s been no President that feels more strongly about the Second Amendment than I do,” he said. “However, we need meaningful background checks so that sick people don’t get guns.”
Of the all the issues being discussed, this one holds the most potential for passage.
Trump has talked conceptually about supporting such bills that give authorities more power through an emergency protective order process to intervene if they think an armed individual could be plotting to do harm.
Gun safety advocates say it wouldn’t do much because the states that would adopt such a program already have done so. The bill being discussed would not require such programs nationwide but its recognition of states’ rights gives it a chance to win bipartisan passage.
“This tragedy has a different feel because we know there was something that should have stopped it,” Erickson said. “When we’ve seen real movement, it’s usually where there’s a nexus between the gun safety law that we’re talking about and that specific shooting and we have that here.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, believes red flag laws address two facets of preventing mass shootings.
“There are some laws that I think bridge this issue of the guns and the mental health issue, and I think red flag laws is one,” he said.
Assault weapons ban
The latest shootings have revived talk on banning assault weapons, usually defined as military-style, semi-automatic firearms capable of killing large number of people quickly.
A POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday shows nearly seven of 10 respondents back a revival of the ban on such weapons that expired in 2004 and was never renewed.
Advocates are encouraged that a House bill authored by Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline to reimpose the ban has already attracted nearly 200 co-sponsors, including five lawmakers who signed on after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
But there are no Republican co-sponsors and it’s uncertain whether it would even receive the 218 votes in the House if it came up for a vote. Even if it did, the Senate wouldn’t take it up and Trump wouldn’t sign such a bill if it reached his desk.
“We’re not looking at that right now,” Trump told reporters Friday.
Large Capacity magazines
Usually paired with an assault weapons ban, a separate proposal limiting some types of ammunition sales also has little chance of passage any time soon.
Large capacity magazines, some of which can hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition, were used in Dayton and El Paso, as well as other mass shootings, including Las Vegas, Parkland and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
They “significantly increase a shooter’s ability to injure and kill large numbers of people quickly because they enable the individual to fire repeatedly without needing to reload,” according to the Giffords Law Center.
The gun control organization is named after former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was wounded during a 2011 shooting near Tucson.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found 72% of respondents favor prohibiting the sale of high-capacity magazines, which became available after a ban on their sale expired in 2004.
The shootings prompted Rep. Diana DeGette to renew her call for passage of legislation that would prohibit the sale or use of such magazines.
The bill would not apply to high-capacity magazines already legally owned before the bill is enacted, or to any military or law enforcement officers who use high-capacity magazines as part of their jobs.
High-capacity magazines are banned in nine states – including California, Hawaii and New York – and Washington, D.C. Most of the states define high-capacity magazines as being able to hold 10 rounds of ammunition or more.
Yan Zhang , USA TODAYPublished 6:01 a.m. ET Aug. 13, 2019
After more than a decade of rapid growth, Chinese travel to the U.S. is falling. And that has tourist spots scrambling to reverse the trend. Travel fell 5.7% in 2018 to 2.9 million visitors, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office. (May 28) AP, AP
Now that I’ve been in the U.S. for four months – on a journalism fellowship for USA TODAY – one thing has become very clear.
Shopping may be the No 1. reason Chinese visitors like myself love America.
Sure, there’s the culture, the sightseeing and, in my case, the work I’m doing. But deep down, we also relish the opportunity to get great deals on products that would be unavailable, too expensive or less reliable in China. Coming to the Washington, D.C., area – and to New York City for 10 days – from Tianjin has been like entering a shopper’s paradise.
Here’s a sampling of what I’ve bought:
• Vitamin supplements. Buy one and get a 50% discount for the second at CVS, half the price of comparable products in China.
• The latest electric toothbrush. The price is 80% of the old model in China.
• Starbucks ground coffee. My daily sustenance is 60% cheaper than in China.
• Roller and cling film. Although it’s made in China, I’ve never found such good quality there.
• Toys for my tiny Yorkie puppy. Ditto. They’re made in China but, I never found such cute ones in my home country.
That doesn’t scratch the surface. When you travel to America from China, you have to be prepared to take orders from friends. Here’s what mine asked me to bring back: baby food and milk powder from Whole Foods; dry fruit and nuts from Trader Joe’s; reading glasses from Dollorama; foot balm from Costco; cold medicine and paper diapers from CVS; calculators from Staples; lip balm and shower gel from Burt’s Bees; a Nike’s Dynamo Free sneaker; a Zippo lighter; and a Philips electric shaver.
We do buy a lot. A friend who traveled with me bought tampons for the next 12 months.
“The U.S. is the biggest retail market in the world, offering Chinese tourists an unlimited selection of things to buy and places to shop,” says Michael Zakkour, author of “New Retail: Born in China, Going Global” and vice president of Asia strategy and digital commerce at Tompkins International, a supply chain consulting firm.
Three million Chinese tourists visited the U.S. last year, ranking the country fifth, well behind Canada’s 21.2 million. But Chinese visitors spent the most, $36.4 billion, far outpacing Canada’s $22.1 billion, according to the National Travel and Tourism Office.
Chinese spenders have shifted their focus from the luxury goods they used to buy to high-quality but inexpensive everyday consumer products, according to China Daily, a Chinese state-run media outlet.
“Health and wellness products, food and beverage, consumer electronics, baby and child products fill up their suitcases as well,” Zakkour says.
Here’s the irony: We Chinese visitors often pay around $2,000 for an airline ticket and $300 a night for a hotel at least partly so we can fill our suitcases with commodities that each cost under $20 on average.
Why do we go to such lengths?
After numerous product and food safety scandals in China in recent years, many Chinese people do not trust domestic products or sales channels. More than 30% of Chinese consumers expect to buy more foreign products, according to a survey by China’s Commerce Ministry in 2018.
Safety and quality are the main concerns, the survey shows. For example, the country’s demand for safe baby food has grown rapidly since Chinese infant formula killed six babies and made 300,000 sick.
“Even now, when Chinese producers have improved, the damaged reputation remains,” ModusLink said in its research. The fear is deep-rooted in China, and we believe the U.S. is a trusted source.
On Chinese social media, there are many must-buy lists to guide young parents on how to shop for baby food in American supermarkets. The Baby’s Only Organic is at the top. “Other best sellers:Enfamil, Similac, Gerber and Earth’s Best.
International brands and products cost more in China because of taxes and duties. China has high import tariffs that range from 6.4% to 25%. Then there’s a consumption tax, a sales tax and a value-added tax. As a result, most American brands cost more in China even if they’re made there.
I treat an American shopping center like a discount mall even if nothing is on sale. I buy a lot and save lots of money.
China established “The Great Firewall” more than a decade ago, limiting access to many foreign information sources. We can’t visit Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wikipedia and most American news websites from mainland China. Yes, we can buy goods from Amazon or other e-commerce sites, but the taxes make it prohibitive. Traveling abroad is a significant way for us to get a real connection with the outside world, and shopping is part of that.
Owning international brands and products is not only a matter of prestige – it confirms we are still global citizens.
Family trips don’t always have to be expensive and these five destination won’t break the bank. USA TODAY
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FILE – In this April 25, 2018, file photo, NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis is viewed. The NCAA has backtracked on its new agent certification standards and will no longer require a bachelor’s degree for those who will be permitted to represent a student-athlete. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
The NCAA has backtracked on new certification standards and will no longer require a bachelor’s degree for a sports agent to represent Division I men’s basketball players who declare for the NBA draft while maintaining college eligibility.
The requirement drew criticism last week when the certification standards were revealed, including a social media blast by NBA star LeBron James. The requirement was quickly dubbed the “Rich Paul Rule” in reference to James’ agent, who does not have a college degree.
The NCAA announced Monday it would amend the standards so bachelor’s degrees would not be required for agents currently certified and in good standing with the NBA players union. The NCAA had said last week it modeled its rules after those of the National Basketball Players Association.
“We have been made aware of several current agents who have appropriately represented former student-athletes in their professional quest and whom the (NBPA) has granted waivers of its bachelor’s degree requirement,” the NCAA said in a statement. “While specific individuals were not considered when developing our process, we respect the NBPA’s determination of qualification and have amended our certification criteria.”
The NCAA rule permitting players to obtain an agent yet still return to school after withdrawing from the draft was part of recommendations from the Condoleezza Rice-led Commission on College Basketball, which was formed in response to a federal corruption investigation into the sport.
The change took place last August, and the first players to take advantage of the rule did so in the spring. They were permitted to sign with an agent certified by the NBPA — which was the stopgap standard until the NCAA put together its own certification requirements — though they had to terminate the deal if they decided to withdraw from the draft and return to school.
The amended policy still requires the agent to be certified by the NBPA for at least three consecutive years, as well as taking an in-person examination, going through a background check and paying required fees. In its release last week, the NCAA said agents would pay a $250 application fee and an annual $1,250 certification fee separate from NBPA certification requirements.
DES MOINES — Bernie Sanders examined the butter cow. He power-walked by the Ferris wheel. He gobbled a corn dog.
He spoke to almost no one.
Most presidential candidates use the 10-day Iowa State Fair to showcase their retail campaigning skills, because it is one of the best opportunities to meet a wide cross-section of voters before the caucuses in February. Mr. Sanders’s approach to the event on Sunday — stride briskly, wave occasionally, converse infrequently — underscored how he has grounded his campaign in championing ideas rather than establishing human connections.
His lectern-pounding, impersonal campaign style served him well during his first presidential run, especially here in Iowa, where his near-victory in the caucuses against Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of State, transformed him into a threat for the Democratic nomination.
Yet even as his campaign seeks to project its strength in early primary states, there are signs — in Iowa polls, conversations with local officials and discussions with dozens of voters — suggesting that Mr. Sanders, 77, may be struggling to gain traction in the state that fueled his political rise.
It is a dynamic that was perhaps most evident last weekend at the state fairgrounds: As voters talked up first-time presidential candidates like Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Mr. Sanders was often an afterthought.
Some voters cited Mr. Sanders’s age. Others said they wanted to elect a woman. Many praised his ability to push the party to the left but said it was time for someone else to claim the progressive mantle.
“I’m liking Elizabeth Warren,” said Danielle Hensley, a 22-year-old student from Iowa City, after casting her presidential vote at the fair’s highly unscientific corn kernel poll. Ms. Hensley supported Mr. Sanders in the caucuses four years ago; now, she explained, she sees him as “a 2016 candidate.”
Unlike in 2016, when Mr. Sanders was the only candidate with a liberal populist message, there are now many other progressives who have adopted a similar agenda.CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times
It is still early in the primary season, and Mr. Sanders and his aides dismiss outright any notion that his Iowa campaign has lost momentum, repeatedly asserting that the campaign is well positioned for the long haul. They remain confident that they can energize first-time caucusgoers who were too young to cast their votes four years ago. And they brush off a recent poll that showed Mr. Sanders slipping in the state, saying that it does not capture the views of younger voters, working-class Democrats and others who are not yet paying attention to the race — groups that the campaign sees as a big part of his base.
“We’re feeling really, really good,” Mr. Sanders told reporters after his turn at the fair’s political soapbox. “I think we’re going to win here in Iowa.”
During a conference call with reporters on Monday, Mr. Sanders’s advisers pushed back against doubts about the strength of the campaign, insisting that most polls still have him in second place, and noting that he enjoyed a boost in support in surveys taken after the second Democratic debates. They also maintained that voters trust Mr. Sanders on health care, which his team argues is the most important issue to the electorate.
Mr. Sanders has some significant advantages in the state.
Some gave Mr. Sanders a thumbs down as he made his way through the fair.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times
Through the end of June, he had an estimated 7,000 individual donors in Iowa, according to an analysis of campaign fund-raising records by The New York Times, by far the most of any candidate. And he maintains an army of die-hard liberal foot soldiers who are more than eager to propel him to the convention. On Friday, before the state’s annual Wing Ding dinner in Clear Lake when supporters for the various candidates typically gather and chant outside the event as a show of force, Mr. Sanders’s team boasted that their volunteers had instead knocked on every Democratic door in the town. He plans to return to Iowa next week for what will be his eighth trip to the state since announcing his candidacy in February.
But the landscape for Mr. Sanders is vastly different than it was four years ago. Nearly two dozen candidates are now vying for the nomination. And unlike in 2016, when he had the liberal populist message to himself, there are now many other progressives who have adopted a similar agenda. There is also a surging energy among young activists for diversity, female candidates and generational change.
At the same time, several Iowa Democratic officials said they were miffed by Mr. Sanders’s campaign, which they see as operating as something of a lone wolf.
Jeannine Grady, Democratic chairwoman in Marshall County, where Mr. Sanders defeated Mrs. Clinton in the caucuses in 2016, said Mr. Sanders’s campaign is not following the traditional campaign playbook of staying in close contact with county chairs.
Though running an unconventional, outsider campaign had worked for him in the past, she said, it may not work this time, especially now that his message is no longer novel and voters have so many other candidates on offer.
“I don’t believe it’s possible for him to run an insurgent campaign like he did four years ago,” said Ms. Grady, who caucused for Mr. Sanders in 2016. “Part of being an insurgent is being relatively unknown. He can’t now be unknown.”
“Sanders is running on the fumes of his last campaign,” said William Baresel, Democratic chairman in Floyd County. “And weakness is starting to show in get-out-the-vote efforts they have done.”
Sanders allies say it is precisely that willingness to operate outside the established political system that is part of Mr. Sanders’s appeal, especially for those who believe the current system is broken and requires wholesale change.
Mr. Sanders’s most loyal fans still flock to his events because of the constancy of his message.CreditJordan Gale for The New York Times
Pete D’Alessandro, who ran Mr. Sanders’s Iowa campaign in 2016 and is now a senior adviser, stressed in an interview that the campaign was working behind the scenes to woo voters who had not yet tuned in to the political process.
“If we do as a team what we’re supposed to do each day, we will be in a position to talk to that voter who can’t engage right now when they’re ready to engage,” he said. “Then you’ll see a whole different dialogue going on.”
And he suggested that Mr. Sanders should not be measured by the usual political metrics for success.
“The reason that I’m not concerned is I know at the end of most days, we sit around as a senior staff and we say, ‘We just won today,’” he said.
But if the stakes are high for every presidential candidate in Iowa, they are even more elevated for Mr. Sanders: Many political observers say success for him in 2020 is predicated on a repeat strong performance in the caucuses.
And as he traveled across Iowa ahead of his visit to the state fair, Mr. Sanders declared that he planned to win not just the Iowa caucuses, but the nominating contests in New Hampshire, Nevada and California as well.
Though he has faced some criticism for adhering strictly to his message, it is, perhaps above all, his constancy that has loyal fans still flocking to his events — he had one of the biggest crowds at the fair — and pledging their allegiance.
Waiting to hear Ms. Warren speak at the fair on Saturday, Misty Cornelius, 38, of Des Moines, said she remained “a strong Bernie supporter” — a declaration confirmed by the glittery “Bernie 2020” tattoo she bore on her chest.
Earlier this month, a mass shooter killed 22 and injured 24 others at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, specifically targeting Latino immigrants; the shooter had a manifesto, in which he mentioned multiple times the “great replacement,” a racist theory—popular among white supremacists—that white people will be replaced by people of color. “This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” the shooter wrote.
The New York Times reported that Trump’s campaign has posted 2,000-plus ads on Facebook using the term “invasion” since January.
Trump made light of someone at his rally shouting “shoot them” in a response to how we should deal with immigration.
Trump has an immigrant wife, immigrant in laws. He’s consistently talked about how we need more immigrants from Scandinavian countries.
He isn’t against immigrants, he’s against non-white immigrants. He’s extremely dangerous, impeach him now.
More than 100 flights were canceled at Hong Kong International Airport Tuesday as thousands of demonstrators flooded the airport’s main terminal for the fifth consecutive day, prompting Chinese officials to liken the pro-democracy movement to “terrorism.”
The airport reopened Tuesday, just one day after protesters were able to successfully shut down all operations, only to see further delays as two separate arrival halls and one departure area were clogged by thousands of demonstrators.
Protesters surround banners that read: “Those on the street today are all warriors!” center top, and “Release all the detainees!” during a sit-in rally at the arrival hall of the Hong Kong International airport in Hong Kong, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
The black-clad protesters held up signs in Simplified Chinese and English to appeal to travelers from mainland China and other parts of the world. “Democracy is a good thing,” said one sign in Simplified Chinese characters, which are used in mainland China instead of the Traditional Chinese script of Hong Kong.
For more than two months, Hong Kong has experienced mass protests urging democratic reforms and an investigation into police conduct. The shutdown of one of the world’s busiest transport hubs added to what authorities say is already a major blow to the financial hub’s crucial tourism industry.
Scientists at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., were concerned when a young man contacted their department last year complaining of a heart-pounding, hallucinogenic high he had neither expected nor wanted to have.
The team, led by the forensic toxicologist Michelle R. Peace, had published a study about mysterious ingredients in vaping liquids. That’s how the man, a graduate student Ms. Peace declined to name, knew to tell it about his experience.
He said he had vaped a liquid, from a company called Diamond CBD, that contained CBD, or cannabidiol. A compound reputed to have soothing properties, CBD has been marketed by the fast-growing cannabis industry as an ingredient in sleeping masks, kombucha, Carl’s Jr. burgers and Martha Stewart-backed dog treats. It is not supposed to cause a psychoactive experience.
Ms. Peace decided to run some tests of Diamond CBD vaping liquids, some from the graduate student and some bought from the manufacturer. In four of nine samples, all marketed on the company’s website as 100 percent natural, her lab discovered a synthetic compound, 5F-ADB. That ingredient has been linked by the Drug Enforcement Administration to anxiety, convulsions, psychosis, hospitalization and death.
Diamond CBD has often promoted its products as health aids meant to “help your body to heal and recover” and “to make you feel the best version of yourself.” The company’s parent, PotNetwork Holdings, said in a statement that independent tests did not show “any unnatural or improper derivative.” The company said it planned to run more tests on its products and materials and would issue a recall if it found any problems.
The efforts of cannabis companies to go mainstream could be hampered by CBD advertising that depends on misleading or unproven claims, entrepreneurs and researchers said. Ms. Peace compared the marketing efforts of some companies to snake-oil scams in the 1800s, “when guys in wagons were selling sham tinctures in glass bottles.”
“People are taking these products in good faith, because they believe somebody is overseeing the quality of these products,” Ms. Peace said. “But there’s basically nobody.”
Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the cannabis plant. Both produce chemicals known as cannabinoids, including CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a psychoactive compound associated with a high.
CBD products derived from hemp are legal to possess under a new federal law, as long as they contain 0.3 percent THC or less. In marijuana, which is not legal in many states, the amount of THC tends to be greater.
But in the gray area between state and federal regulations, and in the shifting terminology used to describe (and sometimes conflate) cannabis, marijuana and hemp, dubious promotions have proliferated. Some brands have claimed that their CBD is “a lifesaver” and an “unbelievable cure.” The Food and Drug Administration has warned companies to stop making “unfounded claims” that CBD can help treat cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, A.D.H.D. and opioid withdrawal.
“This market was illegal for a long time,” said Ann Skalski, a former executive at Saks Fifth Avenue who handles branding for Double Barrel, which recently marketed a $100,000 diamond-encrusted vaping device. “It might be hard for some of the players to change.”
Cannabis products were once advertised via word of mouth or on stickers in bathroom stalls. Now, with growing support for legalization, cannabis ads have appeared in publications like The New York Times, which accepts advocacy ads on the issue of legalization.
Marketing professionals recruited from top agencies and luxury brands are working to drum up demand. Havas Creative Group, one of the largest advertising firms in the world, started a cannabis-focused offshoot in July. Within a decade, analysts expect Americans to spend more on cannabis than they currently do on their pets — a figure that stands around $75 billion.
Retail companies have spent millions of dollars to dismantle the stereotype of dazed, joint-toting slackers. After running a “Forget Stoner” marketing campaign, the marijuana dispensary chain MedMen released a commercial this year, directed by the Oscar-winner Spike Jonze, called “The New Normal.”
Samples of CBD products at Virginia Commonwealth University’s lab. “People are taking these products in good faith, because they believe somebody is overseeing the quality of these products,” Ms. Peace said. “But there’s basically nobody.”CreditParker Michels-Boyce for The New York Times
Some CBD products include a balm intended to soothe menstrual cramps, sold by Whoopi Goldberg’s company. Gwyneth Paltrow’s company, Goop, has promoted cannabis products in partnership with MedMen under the Wellness section of its site. Arizona Beverages, known for its iced teas, recently announced a partnership with Dixie Brands that could create THC-infused gummies and drinks. The message: Cannabis is as American as apple pie (a popular flavor for CBD-infused oils and tinctures, along with pumpkin spice).
Many companies are careful not to make unproven claims. But rules about marketing CBD and marijuana — which vary from state to state based on what the products contain and how they are used — are often confusing and difficult to enforce. Companies claiming to have a miracle elixir may face warnings but few serious repercussions.
“There are already 500 different products, and 5,000 around the corner, and we’re doing nothing,” said John Ayers, a computational epidemiologist at the University of California, San Diego.
Mr. Ayers and two colleagues published a report this year accusing companies like MedMen of modeling their marketing campaigns after strategies used by the tobacco industry in the 1950s, including questionable health claims and techniques geared toward young consumers.
The researchers cited MedMen billboards with the slogan “Heal, it’s legal,” podcast advertisements promoting unnamed wellness treatments and a note on the company’s website that it “cannot guarantee the accuracy of any marijuana information provided.” MedMen’s products included a high school varsity jacket emblazoned with a marijuana leaf, according to the report. MedMen declined to comment for this article.
As of July, more than 30 states allow medical marijuana, while more than 10 have legalized recreational marijuana. But the D.E.A. still considers it to be a Schedule 1 drug, in the same camp as heroin, ecstasy and LSD, and marijuana advertising is restricted.
The rules for CBD are different. Legislation passed last year removed some hemp-derived CBD from the federal government’s list of controlled substances. But while the Food and Drug Administration warns that it remains illegal to market CBD as a dietary supplement or an ingredient in food and beverages, the agency has barely enforced the ban.
The agency is “using all available resources to monitor the marketplace” for deceptive advertising and is “working quickly to continue to clarify our regulatory authority” over cannabis products, said Amy Abernethy, the F.D.A.’s principal deputy commissioner, in a statement on Monday to The Times.
Since 2017, the F.D.A. has filed only nine warning letters against CBD companies. The agency “does not have the resources to go after all of the products,” said Lisa M. Dwyer, a lawyer for the King & Spalding firm, who previously held advisory roles at the F.D.A.
Cannabis marketing has limited reach, at least for now. ABC declined to broadcast an ad from Lowell Herb Company, featuring the actress Bella Thorne, during the Oscars this year, the marijuana and hemp company said. The marijuana retailer Acreage offered to spend $5 million on a 60-second advocacy message during the Super Bowl, but CBS rejected the pitch, said Joen Choe, the company’s vice president of marketing.
Paid advertising on Facebook and Google is also restricted, but many cannabis companies have still managed to promote themselves on social media. After Kim Kardashian threw a CBD-themed baby shower in April, her posts about the party most likely reached 12.3 million people, according to Captiv8, which connects brands with paid influencers.
“It’s not always clear what the line is,” said Taylor West, who handles cannabis clients for the communications firm Heart + Mind Media.
Some brands are going a different way, with ads critical of the hype. In July, CBDistillery unveiled seven billboards in Times Square that blasted brands trying to capitalize on the craze with products like CBD toilet paper and CBD condoms. The market is like the “Wild West,” said Chris Van Dusen, the company’s chief marketing officer.
“With the industry being so new, and there being so much confusion from the consumer side, companies selling gimmicky products aren’t helping the industry’s cause,” he said.
At the same time, some CBD consumers continue to experience unexpected side effects. Ms. Peace, the toxicologist in Virginia, said that in recent months she had received dozens of messages, many of them “terrifying,” from people worried that they had ingested adulterated CBD products.
“These aren’t necessarily products being marketed and sold in sketchy shops,” she said. “I’ve heard from, literally, little old ladies who walked in to their local pharmacy to purchase CBD products recommended to them.”
Voting is too damn hard, it should be by mail and mandatory in every state and moved to a ranked choice system. Move election day to tax day April 15th. Your taxes and votes come in together. Is this really so hard? Set the system up to ensure 1 person 1 vote and separate the data using something open source and open to audit that separates votes from people and encrypt them so there is no way to track who voted for who. The IRS knows who is a citizen and who is not, so it basically eliminates fears of fraudulent voting or voter manipulation. The agency would obviously need to be expanded to take this on. New laws would be drafted, protections and procedures could be put in place, and that solves most of the complaints about voting. There is an automatic paper trailer, hard for fraud or foreign interventions.
You take the existing infrastructure and make it more efficient, like Sanders’ ideas to reintroduce banking to post offices. That is fucking brilliant. Best damn idea of the whole race no one is talking about. You would, at once, improve access to banking and loans all over the country. Immediately have a branch in almost every town and neighborhood, in a centralized location, ready to go. This would allow for strategic investment in communities that need it giving the government a powerful tool. Individuals would have affordable access to loans and capital, and all but eliminate the pay-day loan industry, putting more of that money back into people’s hands. It would raise interest for the rest of us because the banks would no longer be the only alternative. And on and on, that one act if Bernie or anyone else did it would probably lift countless people out of poverty or at the very least dramatically improve their lives. It’s stupid NOT to do it!!
WASHINGTON — From tax cuts to relaxed regulations to tariffs, each of President Trump’s economic initiatives is based on a promise: to set off a wave of investment and bring back jobs that the president says the United States has lost to foreign countries.
“We have the greatest companies anywhere in the world,” Mr. Trump said at the White House recently. “They’re all coming back now. They’re coming back to the United States.”
Mr. Trump’s tax cuts unquestionably stimulated the American economy in 2018, helping to push economic growth to 2.5 percent for the year and fueling an increase in manufacturing jobs. But statistics from the government and other sources do not support Mr. Trump’s claim about his policies’ effectiveness in drawing investment and jobs from abroad.
Foreign investment in the United States grew at a slower annual pace in the first two years of Mr. Trump’s tenure than during Barack Obama’s presidency, according to Commerce Department data released in July. Growth in business investment from all sources, foreign and domestic, accelerated briefly after Mr. Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax-cut package in late 2017 but then slowed. Investment growth turned negative this spring, providing a drag on economic output.
In Mr. Trump’s first two years in office, companies announced plans to relocate just under 145,000 factory jobs to the United States, according to data and modeling by the Reshoring Initiative, a Washington nonprofit group. That is a record high in the group’s data, which dates back to the late 1980s, but it adds up to less than one month of average job gains in the United States in its decade-long expansion. More than half of those jobs — about 82,000 — were announced in 2017, before Mr. Trump’s tax cuts took effect.
Moreover, the Reshoring Initiative data show fewer than 30,000 jobs that companies say they will relocate to the United States because of Mr. Trump’s tariffs on imported steel, aluminum, solar panels, washing machines and a variety of Chinese goods. Researchers at A.T. Kearney said last month that Mr. Trump’s trade policies, including tariffs, had pushed factory activity not to the United States but to low-cost Asian countries other than China, like Vietnam.
Now manufacturing is struggling amid a global slowdown and fallout from the trade war, which Mr. Trump has escalated by imposing additional tariffs on Chinese goods and by labeling China a “currency manipulator.”
A May report by researchers at the International Monetary Fund concluded that the investment impact of the tax bill “has been smaller than would have been predicted based on the effects of previous U.S. tax-cut episodes” and that the strongest effects on investment were likely to have shown up in the first year after the law was enacted. Morgan Stanley’s Business Conditions Index shows companies’ plans for new investment plummeted this summer.
The tax law reduced the corporate income-tax rate to 21 percent from a top rate of 35 percent, and it overhauled the way the United States taxes multinational companies. Data show those changes have encouraged multinational companies to shift hundreds of billions of dollars in profits to their American operations, essentially for accounting purposes, through a process known as repatriation.
Mr. Trump often cites repatriation figures as if they reflected direct investment in the United States. That’s wrong, said Brad Setser, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who tracks international investment flows.
Commerce Department statistics show that the repatriated funds came mainly from low-tax countries like Ireland and Bermuda, where companies had booked profits to minimize tax liability, and not from China or other economic competitors like Japan.
That flow of money “doesn’t mean all that much,” Mr. Setser said. “You’re not in any way seeing a shift in real activity back to the United States.”
Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said, “We’re sensing and seeing a betrayal of workers and promises broken over and over again.”CreditAlbert Cesare/The Cincinnati Enquirer, via Associated Press
Administration officials contend that those selling shares will soon invest their proceeds from the buybacks into start-ups, business expansions or other forms of economic activity.
The officials also assert that tariffs are helping to create jobs. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told a conference in Washington last month that the positive effects of Mr. Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs “can be measured on the factory floor.”
Jim Lentz, who oversees North American operations for the Japanese automaker Toyota, has cited the company’s plans to invest $13 billion in American operations over the next several years.
“Thank you, Mr. President, for having such a strong economy for allowing us to be able to do that,” Mr. Lentz said at the White House last month.
At a summit meeting in June, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan handed Mr. Trump a chart showing Japanese investments in the United States that would yield just under 22,000 new jobs.
While Mr. Trump hailed the figures, Commerce Department data show that the rate of Japanese investment growth in the United States has slowed under Mr. Trump, compared with Mr. Obama’s second term. And companies like Toyota have warned that the president’s determination that foreign autos pose a national-security threat and may be subjected to tariffs could discourage additional investment.
On another front, administration officials point to companies like Mylan and Allergan — which had moved their corporate addresses overseas in a process known as inversion but recently said they would return to the United States — as a sign of success for the tax law. Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said last week that “you’re seeing American firms move back.”
When a CNBC interviewer said the Mylan and Allergan moves would not bring back manufacturing jobs, Mr. Kudlow agreed. But he said, “You’re also going to have factories moving back in from other places around the world, including China.”
Mr. Setser said he was surprised that relatively few pharmaceutical companies were moving plants and activity back to the United States from countries like Ireland or Switzerland. Pharmaceutical imports from those countries actually rose in 2018, he noted.
Harry Moser, the founder and president of the Reshoring Initiative, praised Mr. Trump’s efforts to bring jobs and investment back to the United States, but said the president’s trade fights appeared to have undercut those efforts last year.
“We are pleased with the over 50 percent surge in reshoring jobs announced in 2017 and the record number of companies announcing reshoring jobs in 2018,” said Mr. Moser, whose group advocates measures to bring back five million factory jobs.
But he said efforts to draw investment and jobs to the United States were less successful in 2018 than 2017 because of a stronger dollar, which makes American products more expensive in foreign markets, as well as “uncertainty from the tariffs, dysfunction in Washington and the increasing skilled-work-force shortage.”
Mr. Trump won office by tapping into frustration among working-class voters in traditional manufacturing states where economists say up to 2.5 million jobs were lost to Chinese competition in the century’s first decade. Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, an industrial state that Mr. Trump carried easily in 2016, said some workers there were growing disillusioned over the president’s failure to deliver jobs to replace those in shuttered factories like the General Motors plant in Lordstown.
“We’re sensing and seeing a betrayal of workers and promises broken over and over again,” said Mr. Brown, a Democrat.
Mr. Brown has proposed several bills that he says would reverse the outflow of jobs, including tax incentives for companies that invest in the United States and pay workers well. Mr. Moser said the aim could be furthered by investment in skills development for manufacturing workers and by the weakening of the dollar — both policies that Mr. Trump has pushed.