Day: July 6, 2020

Posted in Finance

‘Shocking level of bipartisan support’ means Big Tech is facing big (and costly) change

Once seen as a critical tool for internet platforms to police lewd and objectionable online speech, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has gained growing bipartisan support as a law in need of fixing.

Enacted in 1996, Section 230 exempts online platforms from liability for most user-generated speech. President Donald Trump has taken aim at changing the law in a fight against Twitter (TWTR), putting tech giants in legal and regulatory crosshairs that are likely to outlast the current election cycle.

Democrats and Republicans alike voice increasing antipathy over sweeping liability protections that 230 affords to all online platforms — including Facebook (FB), Instagram, YouTube (GOOG) (GOOGL). All told, experts say it’s becoming clear that change is coming.

“If Trump is reelected, frankly even if he isn’t reelected, you might see variations on this proposal coming into some type of effect next year, with a shocking level of bipartisan … Read More

Posted in Insurance

Right-Wing Media Outlets Duped by a Middle East Propaganda Campaign

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

If you want a hot take about the Middle East, Raphael Badani is your man.

As a Newsmax “Insider” columnist, he has thoughts about how Iraq needs to rid itself of Iranian influence to attract investment and why Dubai is an oasis of stability in a turbulent region. His career as a “geopolitical risk consultant and interactive simulation designer” and an “international relations senior analyst” for the Department of Labor have given him plenty of insights about the Middle East. He’s printed those insights at a range of conservative outlets like the Washington Examiner, RealClear Markets, American Thinker, and The National Interest.

Unfortunately for the outlets who published his articles and the readers who believed them, Raphael Badani does not exist. 

His profile photos are stolen from the blog of an unwitting San Diego startup founder. His LinkedIn profile, which described him

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Posted in Money

ICE Threatens to Deport Foreign Students if They’re Attending School via Zoom

Click here to read the full article.

Like other schools, colleges and universities are in the midst of finalizing their plans for how to educate students while protecting them from the novel coronavirus. Will they remain online only, invite all students back to campus, or provide a hybrid of the two approaches so that fewer students will crowd together in buildings? U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) just complicated matters for the many schools with foreign students enrolled.

Back when all campuses shut down in the spring, ICE temporarily suspended a rule for type F-1 (academic coursework) and M-1 (vocational coursework) nonimmigrant student visas that had previously limited the number of online classes students could take. On Monday, instead of simply extending that suspension, the agency announced that in order to stay in the U.S., students can take some but not all their courses online. If their school goes online-only,

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Posted in Personal

Buying Black Has Never Mattered More

Nearly two months into the current Black Lives Matter protests, many activists are now asking supporters to focus their attention on economic inequality and to promote Black businesses.

Their energies will coalesce on July 7, a.k.a. Blackout Day 2020—when Black people and other people of color (along with their allies) are being encouraged to avoid shopping online or in-person. If you must buy something, it should be from a Black-owned business.

Blackout days have been introduced before, but this year’s campaign has particular potency. Originally conceived by musician Calvin Martyr and the Blackout Coalition, its purpose is two-fold, Martyr says: to put corporate America on notice and to bring attention (and money) to Black business owners, designers, and artists.

The Blackout Coalition’s social media describes it as the first step in a continued effort “to rebuild the Black dollar.” The timing couldn’t be more critical: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues

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Posted in Money

Lessons from a Robinhood Trader’s Suicide

As an advocate for young adults prudently beginning their investing journey as soon as possible, I’ve found it difficult to shake this recent story: A young man from Illinois took his own life less than 24 hours after checking his Robinhood account and seeing a negative cash balance of over $730,000. 

For those who might not know, Robinhood is an online trading and investing platform that has become incredibly popular in recent years for the movement it sparked in the brokerage industry toward commission-free trading. The service boasts more than 13 million users with an average age of 31. Almost every incumbent broker must now offer this feature, lest they be unable to compete effectively against lower-cost peers.  

But this story isn’t just about Robinhood. In recent years, several Robinhood alternatives have sprouted up offering similar functionality for the same cost and often induce investors to sign up with

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Posted in Personal

First MFA Textiles Graduates at Parsons Are Multidisciplinary, Ready for New Challenges In and Out of Fashion

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Three years after embarking on the MFA Textile program at The New School’s Parsons School of Design, the inaugural graduates were not about to let the pandemic lockdown dampen their imaginative ideas.

Each of the 16 graduates have created textiles that intersect craft, technology and sustainability. “I’m so proud and I’m so sad. I’m incredibly impressed by their attitude and endurance. And the way they handled COVID-19 was so positive and so mature. They were also strong,” said Li Edelkoort, who envisioned the MFA Textiles program in 2015.

It launched three years later under the leadership of program director Preeti Gopinath. After stay-at-home mandates required students to exit the classroom, Edelkoort kept up contact online. “They were all in their own houses and apartments with dogs and husbands and boyfriends and roommates — often in very small spaces. They knew how to adapt

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Posted in Finance

‘Bachelor’ Alex Michel Is Apparently Still Single Today

From Women’s Health

When he uttered the words, “Will you accept this rose?”Alex Michel started a sensation. As the very first Bachelor, he also forever transformed Monday nights as fans discovered the joy of following his journey to find love—and all the drama along the way.

His tenure on The Bachelor was 18 years ago. (I know, mind blown.) It’s all coming back, though, as part of ABC’s The Bachelor Greatest Of All Time. That seems like a lifetime ago, and to be sure, some recent contestants were definitely not old enough to remember Alex’s season when it aired.

In case you need a refresher on the guy who started it all, here’s what you need to know about Alex Michel as The Bachelor and everything he’s been up to the last two decades.

Alex was a ‘normal guy’ when he joined The Bachelor.

When Alex became The

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Posted in Insurance

16.3M homeowners miss out on mortgage refinance savings

Mortgage rates have fallen to new all-time lows so many times this year that it’s almost getting routine. “Really? Again?”

But if you’re a homeowner, don’t let me catch you yawning, or shrugging off these milestones. Because a new record low means there are more old mortgages out there that are worth refinancing at lower interest — maybe including your current loan.

Thanks to the latest new floor for mortgage rates, more than 16 million mortgage holders are now good refi candidates and are missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings per month, according to a report released Monday by the mortgage data firm Black Knight.

Find out whether you’re in that group.

As rates slide, opportunities open up

Andrii Yalanskyi / Shutterstock

Rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages dropped last week to an all-time-low average of 3.07%, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which has been conducting weekly

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Posted in Personal

Telehealth called a ‘silver lining’ of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, it might stick

Telehealth use surged from 8% of Americans in December to 29% in May as primary care and mental health physicians and specialists turned to remote care out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a UnitedHealth Group report.

Telehealth evangelists long have touted using high-speed internet connections and a range of devices to link providers and patients for remote care. But regulatory hurdles and medicine’s conservative culture limited virtual checkups to largely minor conditions such as sinus infections or unique circumstances such as connecting neurologists to rural hospitals that lack specialized care.

The pandemic lockdowns closed doctors’ offices and delayed nonemergency care for millions of Americans. Some clinics scrambled to acquire technology platforms to deliver remote care. Others employed rarely used video programs to reach patients in their homes.

Remote visits among Medicare patients surged through the end of March, prompting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Seema

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Posted in Business

Stanley from ‘The Office’ Is Trying to Raise $300,000 to Make a Spinoff Episode

Click here to read the full article.

While NBCUniversal continues to hope for a reboot of “The Office” on the upcoming Peacock streaming platform, a new and unexpected continuation of the beloved sitcom is taking shape online. Leslie David Baker, who starred as Stanley Hudson on all nine seasons of “The Office,” has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a spinoff centered around his character. Baker’s Stanley was a recurring character on the first season of “The Office” before being upped to a series regular for the remaining eight seasons.

Baker’s “Office” spinoff is titled “Uncle Stan: Coming Out of Retirement.” The synopsis for the project reads: “After enjoying his retirement in Florida, carving wood, enjoying the white sand beaches, and dancing to old disco, Uncle Stan (Baker) gets a call from his nephew Lucky in Los Angeles asking for help with his two kids and running his motorcycle/flower

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