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 …

North and South Dakota Lead in U.S. COVID-19 Growth as Both States Reject Mask Requirements

(SIOUX FALLS, S.D.) — Coronavirus infections in the Dakotas are growing faster than anywhere else in the nation, fueling impassioned debates over masks and personal freedom after months in which the two states avoided the worst of the pandemic. The argument over masks raged this week in Brookings, South Dakota, as the city council considered requiring face coverings in businesses. The city was forced to move its meeting to a local arena to accommodate intense interest, with many citizens speaking against it, before the mask requirement ultimately passed. Amid the brute force of the pandemic, health experts warn that the infections must be contained before care systems are overwhelmed. North Dakota and South Dakota lead the country in new cases per capita over the last two weeks, ranking first and second respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers. South Dakota has also posted some of the country’s highest positivity rates …

President Trump Says He Deliberately Played Down Danger of Coronavirus

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump talked in private about the “deadly” coronavirus last February, even as he was declaring to America it was no worse than the flu and insisting it was under control, according to a new book by journalist Bob Woodward. Trump said Wednesday he was just being a “cheerleader” for the nation and trying to keep everyone calm. His public rhetoric, Trump told Woodward in March, was part of a strategy to deliberately minimize the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said. “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.” Trump, according to the book, acknowledged being alarmed by the virus, even as he was telling the nation that it would swiftly disappear. Coming less than eight weeks before Election Day, the revelations in the book — accompanied by recordings Woodward made of his interviews with Trump …

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 …

Biden to visit Michigan as fallout from Cohen’s book on Trump continues – live

  Michigan Republicans are offering some counter-programming to Joe Biden’s visit today, holding a media call before the Democrat’s speech in Warren. David Eggert (@DavidEggert00) Michigan GOP chair Cox, Rep. Moolenaar, Walberg holding media call before Biden’s visit. Emphasizing Trump’s USMCA trade deal, funding for Soo Locks project, pre-pandemic economic record, virus relief aid. ‘President Trump has delivered on what he said he would do.’ – Walberg September 9, 2020 Congressman Tim Walberg, who represents part of southern Michigan, said during the call that Trump “has delivered on what he said he would do.” In reality, the president has broken about half of the promises he has made to the American people, according to Politifact. Despite that fact, Trump will likely deliver a similar message tomorrow, when he gives a campaign speech in Freeland, Michigan. 9.38am EDT 09:38 Biden’s Michigan visit marks new stage of presidential campaign This is Joan …

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 …

India becomes country with second highest number of Covid cases

India has surpassed Brazil to become the country with the second highest number of coronavirus cases, as the virus continues to spread through the country of 1.3 billion at the fastest rate of anywhere in the world. India recorded more than 90,000 cases overnight, bringing the number of infections in the country past 4.2 million and overtaking Brazil, which with 4.1 million cases had been the second worst-affected country for several months. India now only lags behind the United States, which has had 6.2 million cases so far. However, while cases in the US have begun to level off, the rate of infection in India is worsening by the day, with no signs of when it will hit the peak, and experts are predicting the south Asian country will soon tally the most cases in the world. The death toll stands at 71,000, equating to 50 deaths per million, which …

Manchester bomber was seen ‘praying’ at venue before attack

The Manchester Arena bomber was spotted “praying” at the venue 50 minutes before he carried out the attack and asked what he had in his rucksack, the inquiry into the bombing has heard. It was one of two possible “missed opportunities” to stop Salman Abedi in the hour before the bombing on 22 May 2017, the public inquiry into the attacks heard. Opening the inquiry on Monday, its chairman stressed he was “not looking for scapegoats” but searching for the truth about how Salman Abedi planned and executed the suicide attack, which killed 22 people and injured a further 260. The inquiry, which is being heard in a modified court room at Manchester magistrates court, could not begin until Abedi’s younger brother, Hashem, was tried and convicted of helping to plan the attacks, after being extradited from Libya last year. He was sentenced to at least 55 years in prison …

Hall of Fame outfielder, speedster Brock dies at age 81

NEW YORK — Hall of Famer Lou Brock, one of baseball’s signature leadoff hitters and base stealers who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win three pennants and two World Series in the 1960s, has died. He was 81. Dick Zitzmann, Brock’s longtime agent and friend, confirmed Brock’s death Sunday, but he said he couldn’t provide any details. The Cardinals and Cubs also observed a moment of silence in the outfielder’s memory before their game at Wrigley Field. Brock lost a leg from diabetes in recent years and was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. “Lou Brock was one of the most revered members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the very best to ever wear the Birds on the Bat,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a release. “He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.” The man later nicknamed the Running Redbird and the Base Burglar …

‘He’s been set up’: the American whose life may depend on US-China relations

When Chinese police raided the Guangzhou hotel room of Mark Swidan and arrested him on 13 November 2012, he was on the phone to his mother, Katherine. Swidan had been in China sourcing building materials for his business , Katherine says, and they were discussing booking his ticket home to Houston, Texas, for his wedding, when he said there was a knock at the door. “I heard banging, then I didn’t hear anything after that,” she recalls. Some excruciating weeks later, she says, the US consulate told her they’d tracked him down – he had been arrested and detained on drug trafficking charges. It would be a year before Swidan saw trial in the Jiangmen intermediate people’s court, and another five – all spent in squalid detention – before he was found guilty, sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve in April 2019. The conviction appeared to come out of …

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” …

Summer camp that held off COVID-19 opens fall camp for remote learning

As the school year begins under the cloud of COVID-19 that has closed many schools across the country, students and parents have struggled to cope with remote learning. One summer camp in northern Wisconsin has an innovative solution: fall camp. North Star Camp for Boys was one of the very few sleepaway camps in the country to successfully open and operate a full two-month summer program, doing so without a single COVID-19 case. It did it by creating a “bubble” for all campers and staff with regular testing and tough, strictly enforced COVID-19 protocols. Summer is over, but owner and director Andy Shlensky is creating that same bubble for the first six weeks of the school year. “The idea is, rather than getting stuck in your basement, doing remote schooling and having the option to go from your Google classroom to your Netflix to your Fortnite, we will provide a …

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 …

Millions projected to travel over Labor Day weekend despite COVID-19 concerns

“Florida is this year’s hot spot.” September 3, 2020, 10:03 AM • 6 min read Millions are projected to travel this holiday weekend despite COVID-19 concerns. Labor Day flight bookings are only around a third of what they were last year according to data analysis from travel itinerary app TripIt, but reservations to Florida have jumped 200 percent. “Florida is this year’s hot spot,” TripIt said in its findings. Orlando, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale are all listed among TripIt’s top 25 Labor Day travel destinations as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the Sunshine State as having the second highest total number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Matthew Meltzer, a freelance travel writer, is flying from Louisville, Kentucky, to Miami this weekend to visit friends. “I understand there’s a lot of cases, but it’s just a risk you run,” Meltzer told ABC News. “Life is …

Survivors and Descendants of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre File Lawsuit Seeking Reparations

Attorneys for victims and their descendants affected by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre filed a lawsuit in state court on Tuesday against the City of Tulsa and other defendants seeking reparations for the destruction of the city’s once thriving Black district. The group, led by Tulsa attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons, contends Tulsa’s long history of racial division and tension stemmed from the massacre, during which an angry white mob descended on a 35-block area, looting, killing and burning it to the ground. Hundreds of Black residents were killed, and thousands more were left homeless and living in a hastily constructed internment camp. The city and insurance companies never compensated victims for their losses, and the massacre ultimately resulted in racial and economic disparities that still exist today, the lawsuit claims. In the years following the massacre, city and county officials actively thwarted the community’s effort to rebuild and neglected the Greenwood …

The much-vilified Hollywood paparazzi are mostly Latino — and they face violence, too

“Justin Bieber lashes out at paparazzi after car crash,” “Bieber urges crackdown on paparazzi after photographer’s death,” “Miley Cyrus blasts paparazzi as ‘fools,’ defends Justin Bieber after photographer’s death.” These were just some of the headlines that appeared from coverage following the 2013 death of Chris Guerra, a 29-year-old paparazzo. According to reports, California Highway Patrol officers instructed Guerra, who was trying to snap pictures of the “Changes” singer during a traffic stop, to return to his car, which would require him to walk across four lanes of traffic with no nearby crosswalk. While abiding authorities’ instructions, Guerra was struck by two cars and died. Most of the immediate coverage and celebrity responses not only centered on Bieber but also vilified Guerra and even suggested that he deserved to die for doing his job. Vanessa Díaz, an assistant professor of Chicana/o and Latina/o studies at Loyola Marymount University, offers an …

Biden Asks Voters: ‘Do You Really Feel Safer Under Trump?’

For four nights last week, the speakers at the Republican National Convention imagined what life would be like in Joe Biden’s America. The picture they painted was dark: riots in the streets, economic devastation, a nation gripped by fear. At a rare live campaign event on Monday, Biden offered his response, reminding voters that the crises Republicans described was already happening in the real America, the one where Donald Trump has been President for four years. “These are not images of some imagined Joe Biden America in the future. These are images of Donald Trump’s America today,” Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh. “He keeps telling you: if only he was President, it wouldn’t happen. He keeps telling us, if he was President, you’d feel safe. Well he is President, whether he knows it or not.” It was a clever way to turn the dark and ominous messaging of …

WHO warns that ‘no country can just pretend the pandemic is over’

The World Health Organization urged countries Monday to continue implementing safety measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, such as limiting public gatherings and protecting vulnerable groups as they try to reopen businesses and services.  “The more control countries have over the virus, the more they can open up. Opening up without having control is a recipe for disaster,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a virtual news briefing from the United Nations health agency’s Geneva headquarters. “No country can just pretend the pandemic is over.” Tedros outlined “four essential things that all countries, communities and individuals must focus on to take control.” He said countries should “prevent amplifying events,” which he said many countries have linked to large gatherings at stadiums, nightclubs and places of worship. He added that countries and people can find “creative ways” to be social.  He added that countries should prevent deaths by protecting vulnerable …

United says it will drop widely scorned ticket-change fees

United Airlines says it is dropping a controversial $200 fee on consumers who change a ticket for travel within the United States   United Airlines says it listened to customers and is dropping an unpopular $200 fee for most people who change a ticket for travel within the United States. “When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video posted Sunday. United’s move will put pressure on American Airlines and Delta Air Lines to drop their change fees, also $200 on domestic travel. Delta and American said they are waiving change fees for travel affected by the virus through the year’s end. Southwest Airlines does not charge change fees, a policy which its CEO says has helped it gain more business. United said that it eliminated change fees for people who buy …