Netflix’s Reed Hastings on Rejecting Brilliant Jerks, the Power of Big Vacations, and Spending $15 Billion on Content

  The pandemic has exacerbated the winner-take-all economy, and Netflix has been a prime beneficiary of the global lockdown. Before the recent tech-stock rout, the company’s stock price had increased by roughly 40% since March, to the mid-$550s, and its market cap of $242 billion briefly exceeded that of the Walt Disney Co., which is no Mickey Mouse operation and has far more in the way of concrete assets and IP. Membership has also increased dramatically for the global streaming service. The company now has 193 million subscribers in 190 countries. So, how do you get to be like Netflix? In a new book, No Rules Rules, company co-founder Reed Hastings (with co-author Erin Meyer) lays out his management philosophy, which includes paying talent top dollar—while steering clear of brilliant jerks—pumping up candor and taking lots of vacations. Hastings, 59, a former Peace Corps volunteer, acknowledges that his approach is …

Charlottesville Removes Confederate Statue Near Deadly ‘Unite the Right’ Rally Site

(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) — A crowd cheered Saturday as workers in Charlottesville removed a Confederate statue near the site of a violent white nationalist rally three years ago. The removal of a bronze figure of a Confederate soldier known as “At Ready” is seen in Charlottesville as a milestone in eliminating divisive symbols of the Civil War. The Washington Post reports that the process of removing the statue began Saturday morning as workers affixed straps to the 900-pound statute to prepare to remove it from its base. A crowd of about 100 people cheered behind metal barricades as the figure was lifted from its pedestal and lowered to the ground. The statue has been outside the Albermarle County courthouse for 111 years. Members of the crowd all wore masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. Some wore blue Union Civil War caps and danced to music broadcast by a local radio station. The …

Trump tries to deflect blame but stands by comments made in Woodward interview

President Donald Trump, at a White House news conference Thursday, continued to defend comments he made to journalist Bob Woodward in which he admitted he deliberately downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus to the public despite knowing its deadly danger, and argued that if the comments were so bad, Woodward should have made them public sooner. “If Bob Woodward thought it was bad, he should have immediately gone out publicly, not wait for months,” Trump said, appearing to try to deflect any blame. Woodward told The Associated Press Wednesday that he needed time to confirm that Trump’s private comments were accurate. “If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,” Woodward said, saying he made it a priority to get his story out before the election. “Had I decided that my book was coming out on …

How to keep the police from killing more mentally ill people

The police chief and the entire command staff of the Rochester, New York, force resigned Tuesday amid outrage at the killing of Daniel Prude after a police encounter in March. Last week, police body camera video became available showing Prude, while he was in the midst of a psychiatric emergency, in a “spit hood” the police had put on him to guard against the coronavirus, limiting his ability to breathe and apparently leading to his death. For people in mental health emergencies who are already feeling inordinate amounts of confusion, stress and anxiety, police on the scene are often not a solution but a problem. Tragically, the death of a person with mental illness during a police encounter is far from rare. Last month, Damian Daniels, a military veteran who was experiencing mental distress, was killed in a tragic confrontation with San Antonio police. In June, George Zapantis, a man …

Kool & the Gang Co-Founder Ronald ‘Khalis’ Bell Dies at 68

(LOS ANGELES) — Ronald “Khalis” Bell, a co-founder, singer and producer of the group Kool & the Gang, has died. He was 68. Bell died at his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands Wednesday morning with his wife by his side, publicist Sujata Murthy said. The cause of death has not been released. Kool & the Gang grew from jazz roots in the 1960s to become one of the major groups of the 1970s, blending jazz, funk, R&B and pop. After a brief downturn, the group enjoyed a return to stardom in the ’80s. Bell started the group with his brother Robert “Kool” Bell along with neighborhood friends Dennis “D.T.” Thomas, Robert “Spike” Mickens, Charles Smith, George Brown and Ricky West. Kool & the Gang won a Grammy in 1978 for their work on the soundtrack for “Saturday Night Fever.” The group was honored with a BET Soul Train Lifetime …

U.S. Crime Victims Often Don’t Get the Government Money Meant to Help Them Heal—and Say They Feel ‘Excluded’

Aswad Thomas’ dream of pursuing a career in basketball was disrupted about a decade ago when he was shot twice in the back during an attempted armed robbery in Connecticut. In the following years, Thomas—like many other victims of violent crime—didn’t know that Congress had set aside money and resources for his recovery decades ago. Had Thomas known, the 37-year-old says he would have been better able to deal with the injury as well as his PTSD by tapping into counseling services, physical therapy and relocation support. “I was shot just blocks away from where I live so the fear of going outside was something I struggled with for years,” Thomas says. “I would have loved physical therapy to help me get back on my feet and see if I could continue my basketball career.” Thomas was 26 when he was shot, just three months after he became a first-generation …

Afghan officials: Kabul bomb targets VP, kills 10 civilians

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry says a bombing in Kabul targeting the convoy of the country’s first vice president killed 10 people and wounded more than a dozen others, including several of the vice president’s bodyguards By RAHIM FAIEZ Associated Press September 9, 2020, 8:04 AM • 4 min read KABUL, Afghanistan — A bombing in the Afghan capital on Wednesday targeted the convoy of the country’s first vice president, killing 10 people and wounding more than a dozen others, including several of the vice president’s bodyguards, the Interior Ministry said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing and the Taliban quickly denied they were behind the attack. First Vice President Amrullah Saleh suffered minor burns in the blast. Saleh, who is also Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief, said in his first television appearance immediately after the attack that he was fine and had sustained only slight burns. He appeared in the …

Pennsylvania voting access suit could have national repercussions

The Donald Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have intervened in a closely watched election lawsuit over voting access in Pennsylvania that could reverberate nationally ahead of voting in November, especially for voters of color. Hearings kicked off Tuesday in the lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania NAACP against the commonwealth over what it argued were inadequate provisions for voting during the coronavirus outbreak. The complaint argues that during Pennsylvania’s June primaries, numerous polling locations were closed or consolidated due to coronavirus concerns and poll worker unavailability, and information about where to vote was not clear. Because Black and Latino groups have fallen ill from coronavirus at greater rates, many in those communities, as well as the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, were uncertain about how and whether it was safe to vote, Kenneth Huston, president of NAACP Pennsylvania, testified. Let our news meet your inbox. The news and …

Rochester Police Leaders Retire After Protests Over the Suffocation Death of Daniel Prude

(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) — Top police leaders in New York’s third-largest city are retiring en masse amid criticism of the city’s handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude, the mayor of Rochester said Tuesday. La’Ron Singletary, the city’s police chief, is among those retiring, as is Deputy Chief Joseph M. Morabito and possibly other senior commanders, Mayor Lovely Warren said. Warren made the surprise announcement of the retirements at a City Council briefing being held online. Council members had expected the chief to appear in person to discuss ongoing protests over the death of Prude, a 41-year-old Black man who died several days after an encounter with police March 23. “As you all know, this has been a very challenging time for the city of Rochester, and the chief was not asked to give his resignation because I do believe that he’s giving his very best,” Warren told council members. …

You’re Not Imagining It: Trump Books Are Coming Out at a Rapid Clip

If you feel like you can’t keep up with all of the bombshell books about President Donald Trump and his Administration, you’re not alone. In terms of raw numbers, there’s been an average of roughly one book about Trump and his inner circle released every single day for the last 188 weeks. Last week, we had a tell-all from a former friend and aide to First Lady Melania Trump, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. Today, we have former Trump fixer Michael Cohen’s searing account of the dastardly deeds he undertook on behalf of his former pal. And next week, we’ll have the second Trump-era tome of master Washington insider Bob Woodward. All three are on Amazon’s bestseller list. Among the site’s top 25 books of all varieties, seven are Trump related. The sheer volume of books about an incumbent administration is at a pace twice as fast as we saw at this …

A 10% to 15% market correction would be healthy right now, long-time bull Ed Yardeni says

Long-time market bull Ed Yardeni is on correction watch. The Yardeni Research President predicts more losses as investors look to lighten up on the historic rally’s biggest winners: Mega big cap growth stocks, particularly technology. But he contends that’s not such a bad thing. “The market has had a huge move since March 23. The Nasdaq is up something like 70%. That’s a melt-up. It’s not as big as what we had in 1999 when we had over 200%. But I wouldn’t want to see a repeat of that. So, I’m actually somewhat comforted by the market taking a break here,” he told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Friday. “It’s a healthy development.” The tech-heavy Nasdaq is coming off its worst week since March 20. It closed on Friday down more than 6% from its Wednesday record high. Meanwhile, the S&P 500, which has significant exposure to tech, saw its worst week …

Prince Harry pays back £2.4m for Frogmore Cottage renovation

The Duke of Sussex has paid back £2.4m of taxpayers’ money used to renovate Frogmore Cottage, his spokesperson has said. Harry and Meghan’s official residence was gifted to them by the Queen but required extensive renovation to make it habitable for the couple and their son, Archie. In January, they announced that they were stepping back from their senior roles in the royal family and planned to split their time between the UK and North America, the continent of Meghan’s birth. They recently bought a home in Montecito, near Santa Barbara in California. As part of Harry and Meghan’s change of role they said they would work to become financially independent and repay the Frogmore Cottage costs. It is understood they have been able to make the payment now because of their recently signed multimillion-pound Netflix deal. Harry’s spokesman said: “A contribution has been made to the sovereign grant [the …

As virus cases drop, governors may gamble on bars. Again.

As the number of coronavirus cases fall in the U.S., governors in hard-hit states are rethinking lockdown orders on bars By PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press September 7, 2020, 12:11 AM • 5 min read AUSTIN, Texas — A guy walks into a bar, which still isn’t allowed in Texas. But Jeff Brightwell owns this bar. Two months into an indefinite shutdown, he’s just checking on the place — the tables six feet apart, the “Covid 19 House Rules” sign instructing drinkers not to mingle. All the safeguards that didn’t keep the doors open because Dot’s Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard is a bar under Texas law. And bars, in a pandemic? “Really not good,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s infectious disease expert, told Congress in June. But some governors are warming up to good enough. Thousands of bars forced to close after massive virus outbreaks swept across the U.S. …

Hurricane Laura Death Toll in Louisiana Rises to 25

(BATON ROUGE, La.) — Two additional deaths tied to Hurricane Laura were reported Saturday by the Louisiana Department of Health, bringing the storm’s total death toll in the state to 25. The Health Department said a 52-year-old Grant Parish man who died of a heat-related illness while removing storm debris and a 25-year-old man in Natchitoches Parish died of electrocution after coming into direct contact with a power line. The Health Department said he was resuscitated at the time but later died. The coroner has confirmed this death is storm-related. The Category 4 storm roared ashore in southwest Louisiana on Aug. 27. The death toll in Louisiana stands at 25, according to the state Health Department. Five deaths in Texas were also attributed to the storm. Hurricane Laura also killed nearly two dozen people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic en route to the U.S. Gulf Coast.   Read the …

Northeastern University Dismisses 11 Students, Without Returning Their $36,500 Tuition Fees, for Violating COVID-19 Rules

Northeastern University dismissed 11 first-year students for violating social distancing rules, but held on to their tuition payments. The Boston university dismissed the students after two staff members from their program caught them gathering at the Westin Hotel, which is being used as university housing during the pandemic, the school said on Friday. The Boston Globe reported the university will not return a $36,500 fee the students each pre-paid to take part in the semester-long N.U.in Program, an international study experience that now has a location in Boston due to COVID-19. However, the students will still be permitted to officially enroll as freshmen this January, the university told TIME. “The students have been informed that they are no longer part of the Northeastern community for the fall semester. They have the right to contest their dismissal at an expedited hearing,” the university said in a statement. The students were told …

Are aliens hiding in plain sight?

In July, three unmanned missions blasted off to Mars – from China (Tianwen-1), the US (Nasa’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover) and the United Arab Emirates (Hope). The Chinese and American missions have lander craft that will seek signs of current or past life on Mars. Nasa is also planning to send its Europa Clipper probe to survey Jupiter’s moon Europa, and the robotic lander Dragonfly to Saturn’s moon Titan. Both moons are widely thought to be promising hunting grounds for life in our solar system – as are the underground oceans of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Meanwhile, we can now glimpse the chemical makeup of atmospheres of planets that orbit other stars (exoplanets), of which more than 4,000 are now known. Some hope these studies might disclose possible signatures of life. But can any of these searches do their job properly unless we have a clear idea of what “life” …

Two men allegedly linked to ‘Boogaloo’ accused of offering to work with Hamas

Two self-described “Boogaloo Bois” have been charged with terrorism-related offenses after authorities said the men discussed attacking government officials and buildings and tried to work with people they believed to be members of Hamas. Michael Robert Solomon, 30, of Minnesota, and Benjamin Ryan Teeter, 22, of North Carolina, were communicating with a “confidential human source” or an undercover FBI official, not Hamas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota said Friday. The men are each charged with one count of conspiring to provide and attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers said Solomon and Teeter wanted to “overthrow the government.” “This case can only be understood as a disturbing example of the old adage, ‘The enemy of your enemy is your friend,’” Demers said in a statement. Solomon and Teeter are accused of discussing blowing up a Minnesota …

Charlie Kaufman’s ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ isn’t a horror film. It’s better.

Road trips “remind you that the world is bigger than the inside of your own head,” observes a young woman played by Jessie Buckley in Charlie Kaufman’s elegiac thriller “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” on Netflix. Her statement is more or less in opposition to Kaufman’s entire body of work, which is dedicated to spelunking through the darkest recesses of the inside of his characters’ heads, so it should immediately be a little suspicious. This untrustworthy quality is worsened by her character’s boyfriend, Jake (Jesse Plemons), who seems to know what she’s thinking from moment to moment on their drive to meet his parents for dinner — a first for her. Then there are the incongruities and apparently intentional continuity errors: Sometimes she’s wearing a sweater; in the next shot, the sweater is gone. There’s an old man driving a truck in a series of interstitial scenes who doesn’t seem …

UN experts raise concerns over Hong Kong security law

Seven human rights experts affiliated with the U.N. are raising concerns over Hong Kong’s new national security law in a letter addressed to Chinese authorities, saying the legislation limits certain fundamental freedoms By ZEN SOO and JAMEY KEATEN Associated Press September 4, 2020, 9:45 AM • 4 min read HONG KONG — Seven human rights experts affiliated with the U.N. raised concerns over Hong Kong’s new national security law in a letter addressed to Chinese authorities, saying the legislation limits certain fundamental freedoms. The letter, released Friday, said the law raises a “serious risk” that rights such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly may be infringed upon. It also highlighted the undermining of the independence of judges and lawyers in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. “We underscore that general assertions of conduct that threatens ‘national security’ without proper definitions and limitations may severely curtail civic space, the right to participate …

Greek FM heads to UN amid tense standoff with Turkey

Greece’s foreign minister is heading to New York Friday for talks with the United Nations secretary general, amid escalating tensions with Turkey over maritime boundaries September 4, 2020, 9:06 AM • 2 min read ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s foreign minister is heading to New York for talks with the United Nations secretary general, amid escalating tensions with Turkey over maritime boundaries. The Foreign Ministry said Nikos Dendias was traveling Friday for a meeting with Antonio Guterres. Talks will focus on “issues of international and regional interest, with an emphasis on current developments in the eastern Mediterranean and the Cyprus issue, as well as the role of the U.N.” Neighbors and NATO allies Greece and Turkey have been locked in a tense standoff in the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey is prospecting the seabed for energy reserves in an area Greece claims as its own continental shelf. Ankara says it has every …