Business

‘Will you shut up, man?’: Biden sells T-shirt flaunting a memorable phrase from a loony debate

October 1, 2020

Tuesday night’s presidential debate was, well, a “sh*t show” as CNN’s Dana Bash succinctly called it. Another CNN host, Jake Tapper, was a little more reserved—but just barely—calling the Trump-Biden face-off on September 29 “a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck.”

On the other hand, Trump Campaign Manager Bill Stepien said in a statement (presumably because it would have been too hard to keep a straight face while actually speaking these words), “President Trump just turned in the greatest debate performance in presidential history.”

“Yeah,” said Fast Company on Wednesday.

But look, no matter the number of astonishing moments—like when Trump was asked to condemn white supremacists, but instead told the White nationalist hate group, the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by”—there were some great, if not shocking, zingers from Biden. For instance, after Trump continued to talk over Biden, the former VP let out the words that many viewers were probably thinking: “Will you shut up, man?”

Needless to say, Biden’s plea quickly went viral. It went so viral, matter of fact, that the Biden campaign started selling “Will You Shut Up, Man?” T-shirts before the debate was even over, Fast Company reports.

While there are no sales numbers available yet, it’s easy to imagine the shirt will be one of the Biden campaign’s best-sellers. You can grab one now for $30—and, if anything, you might want to just for posterity’s sake. It could easily be one of the most memorable pieces of 2020 election memorabilia.

Then again, we have two more debates to get through. If last night is any indication, who knows what will happen—and what possible T-shirts they may spawn.

Research contact: @FastCompany

Is your name Orlando? Frontier Airlines wants to give you a free flight to Orlando

September 30, 2020

Low-fare carrier Frontier Airlines has joined with Visit Orlando to make it easier than ever for consumers who #LoveOrlando to visit America’s favorite vacation destination. If your first name or last name is “Orlando,” you can enter to fly for free to the Central Florida destination in October.

Specifically, people named “Orlando” are eligible to receive a $250 Frontier Airlines travel voucher for a free (up to the $250 covered by the voucher) flight to Orlando International Airport (MCO) between October 13 and October 20. Those who meet the above requirements and would like to travel during the eligible dates, must complete an entry form at this link.

The entry period begins September 29 and concludes at 11:59 p.m. (MT) on October 5. Frontier airlines will then contact entrants to confirm eligibility and provide the flight voucher.

Just how many U.S. residents are named Orlando? Between1880 and 2018, the Social Security Administration has recorded 47,501 babies born with the first name Orlando in the United States. Among the most famous are actor Orlando Bloom, comic Orlando Jones, baseball player Orlando Cabrera , wrestler Orlando Jordan, and football player Orlando Pace. That’s more than enough people named Orlando to occupy the territory of Turks and Caicos Islands (United Kingdom) with an estimated population of 44,493 (as of July 1, 2012).

And that doesn’t even count the number of Americans with the last name, Orlando. In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 12,586 people with that last name.

Additionally, now through October 5, Frontier is accepting entries for a one-of-a-kind prize package that includes a four-night hotel stay at a Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive plus activities at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games Orlando, Icon Park, and Topgolf Orlando; as well as an Enterprise rental car. Follow this link to enter.

For full prize details, sweepstakes terms and conditions and to enter to win, visit: https://experiences.wyng.com/redirect/?experience=5f6e3b1bd8fe8d00aff817a3&media=Press%20Release

“Like the hashtag says, we ‘#LoveOrlando’ and are thrilled to partner with Visit Orlando to welcome new and returning visitors to the mecca for family fun and entertainment,” said Tyri Squyres, vice president of Marketing for Frontier Airlines. “Frontier proudly offers the most nonstop routes of any airline to Orlando International Airport …. Plus, we can’t wait to welcome all the folks named ‘Orlando’ on flights to their namesake destination.”

The company notes that even during the pandemic, Orlando has debuted new ways to celebrate Halloween and seasonal food festivals with creative social distances measures—drive-thru events, virtual lines, and limited capacity—at the destination’s world-famous theme parks and attractions.

Research contact: @FlyFrontier

Cleverhood debuts new Rover Rain Capes

September 29, 2020

As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow informed us in his 1842 poem: “Into each life some rain must fall.”  And for better or worse, we are still dealing with that reality more than 200 years later; but that doesn’t mean we have to stay home, or wear a bulky slicker, or carry an umbrella to stay dry.

In fact, a Providence, Rhode Island-based firm called Cleverhood is manufacturing outerwear for the increasing number of bikers who are hitting the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic—during good weather and bad. The rainwear is short (so it won’t get caught in spokes); available in neon-bright colors; and encourages mobility with its saucy yet chic design.

The Rover Rain Cape is a sleek and less pricey new fully waterproof  option—with a suggested retail price of $99, compared to the $249 that Cleverhood charges for its Classic Cape—with clever features and sustainable materials

Available in six colors, this seam-sealed garment features a three-way adjustable hood and a rugged YKK black zipper. Strong elastic thumb loops keep the Rover secure when biking (plus optional belt available). Reflective 3M accents provide hi-viz for dark, rainy nights. The overall effect, the company said in its September 28 news release, is coverage for your whole body when biking and a garment that looks cool when walking.

“As the coronavirus pandemic limits travel, pastime and health club options, people are walking and biking more. Cities are opening streets to pedestrians, cyclists and open-air dining. We’ve seen a 177% increase in sales, which correlates with the boom in bike sales and people’s new appreciation for their local environment, and healthy coping mechanisms,” said Susan Mocarski, founding owner of Cleverhood. “Rain or shine, it’s good to get out when the opportunity presents itself. We’ve designed the Rover Cape to extend life’s opportunities.”

Research contact: @cleverhoods

In nine states nationwide, the wealthy are looking at a tax increase

September 28, 2020

Legislators in nine states—among them, New York, California, Massachusetts, and Maryland—have renewed their efforts to hike taxes on high earners. The states are facing multibillion-dollar revenue shortfalls, due to the costs of the coronavirus pandemic; as well as lost revenue from shuttered businesses.

Indeed, Democratic lawmakers are arguing that the wealthy—who have largely have escaped the economic hardships of the pandemic—should pay more of the costs and help those who have suffered most, reports CNBC.

However, Republicans and some Democratic governors say tax hikes at the state level will only cause the wealthy to move to lower-tax states, such as Florida and Texas.

After New Jersey passed its “millionaire’s tax” last September— under which state residents who earn more than $1million per year will face higher income taxes, while 800,000 lower-income families will get a tax rebate—legislators in other states renewed similar efforts with greater vigor.

Along with New York, lawmakers in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Vermont have proposed various forms of tax increases on high earners, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Those states account for more than one-third of the U.S. population, and nearly half of the nation’s millionaires, according to population data and wealth surveys.

Research contact: @CNBC

Jeff Bezos opens tuition-free preschool in Washington State

September 25, 2020

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos  announced on September 23 that the first Bezos Academy—envisioned as a leadoff site in what will be a network of free preschools—will open about 18 miles south of Seattle next month, Fox Business reports.

“The Bezos Academy opens its doors on October 19th,” Bezos wrote on Instagram. “This one in Des Moines, Washington, is the first of many free preschools that we’ll be opening for underserved children. Extra kudos to the team for figuring out how to make this happen even amidst COVID, and to Wesley Homes for stepping up with the facility.”

Wesley Homes is a nonprofit retirement community provider associated with the United Methodist Church.

The preschool will be supported by the billionaire’s Bezos Day One Fund, which he established in 2018, according to Fox Business.

“Our Montessori-inspired preschool will offer year-round programming, five days a week, for children [between the ages of three and five]. Admissions will prioritize low-income families,” reads a statement on the Day One Fund’s website.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

Get Undressed! Startup brings fresh meaning to the words ‘salad bar’

September 24, 2020

These aren’t exactly our “salad days”—carefree times of enthusiasm and idealism—but, thanks to Anne Klassman, a self-described foodie and fitness enthusiast, we can now eat salad fixings, no matter what mood, or neck of the woods, we happen to find ourselves in.

One night, as she made dinner with her husband, Klassman recently told Food Business, “We were just swapping ideas, and one of them was, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could make this salad into a snack somehow?’” she recalled. “Many iterations later, we came up with this idea to take the various ingredients you would find in a salad and turn it into a shelf-stable snack.”

It seemed like a simple idea, but Klassman encountered multiple challenges in developing and launching the brand. Undressed debuted in April at the initial peak of the pandemic when many shoppers weren’t seeking or discovering new products. The initial items are snack bars, a segment of the packaged food market that hasn’t seen the same surge in demand as numerous other products as on-the-go consumption has declined due to stay-at-home guidelines.

Introducing a savory product in a predominately sweet category is another obstacle. Are consumers ready for a range of bars featuring spinach and kale?

“We know it can be a bit of a shock to the consumer because we’re all so accustomed to the sugar-laden bar market that is also largely brown or brownish tone,” Klassman explained to Food Business.. “Our bars are green. That is completely unexpected.”

Formulating a snack that met her scrupulous ingredient and nutrition standards also proved tricky. Klassman, who had no prior food industry experience, partnered with a team of advisers and product developers who “affectionately call me the CE-No,” she said.

“I felt so strongly about using whole ingredients and real food,” Klassman said. “It kept the bars so very clean but made it super difficult to keep them shelf-stable. It would have probably been easier for us to go in the refrigerated space rather than the shelf stable space, but I really felt strongly about creating something you could throw in your bag or leave in your car and not have to worry about it.”

Each Undressed bar contains 5 to 7 grams of protein and a full serving of vegetables. Varieties include chipotle cranberry, cilantro lime, honey mustard and sesame ginger. The products contain no gluten, soy, dairy, added sugar or genetically modified ingredients. 

“We like to think of ourselves as the first greens-based savory bar in North America, or the first salad bar as we’ve decided to call ourselves,” Klassman said. “Everything we do is inspired by our love for greens, and especially salads. We get excited about the possibility of people eating greens every single day. The current flavor profiles, which we launched with four, were initially chosen by our team of advisers. We taste tested a bunch of fresh salads and then did some research on flavors, and our goal was to make the most delicious bar.”

Undressed bars are sold online at Amazon.com and eatundressed.com and at select Whole Foods Market stores in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. Klassman hopes to expand distribution next year to retailers on the East Coast, as well as to gyms and athletic events.

In addition to adding more flavors, Klassman plans to expand the brand’s portfolio beyond bars into other convenient, greens-based products.

“Our hope is this is just the beginning of an array of potential solutions to help people eat more plant-based foods, especially greens, in the future,” she said. “So we certainly have plans for some line extensions under name Undressed. There’s really nothing quite like what we have, certainly in North America, outside of kale chips and variations on those.”

Research contact: @linkedin.com/in/anne-klassman-137b1299

Pentagon used CARES Act funds meant for masks and swabs to make jet engine parts and body armor

Sep4ember 23, 2020

The Defense Department has allowed the Pentagon to play a shell game with $1 billion in federal funds intended to pay for pandemic-related PPE and equipment such as respirators, medical gloves and gowns, swabs and test kits, and ventilators.

 Congress allotted the financing to the Pentagon, even as the coronavirus pandemic spiked last March, in order to build up the nation’s stockpile of medical equipment. Instead, the Washington Post reports, the money has been funneled mostly to defense contractors for the manufacture of such items as jet engine parts, body armor, and dress uniforms.

The change illustrates how one taxpayer-backed effort to battle the novel coronavirus, which has killed about 200,000 Americans to date, was instead diverted toward patching up long-standing perceived gaps in military supplies.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed earlier this year, gave the Pentagon money to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” But a few weeks later, the Defense Department began reshaping how it would award the money in a way that represented a major departure from Congress’s intent.

Among the awards: $183 million to firms including Rolls-Royce and ArcelorMittal to maintain the shipbuilding industry; tens of millions of dollars for satellite, drone and space surveillance technology; $80 million to a Kansas aircraft parts business suffering from the Boeing 737 Max grounding and the global slowdown in air travel; and $2 million for a domestic manufacturer of Army dress uniform fabric.

The payments were made even though U.S. health officials believe that major funding gaps in pandemic response still remain. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)said in Senate testimony last week that states desperately need $6 billion to distribute vaccines to Americans early next year. Many U.S. hospitals still face a severe shortage of N95 masks. These are the types of problems that the money was originally intended to address.

“This is part and parcel of whether we have budget priorities that actually serve our public safety or whether we have a government that is captured by special interests,” said Mandy Smithberger, a defense analyst at the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group.

The $1 billion fund is just a fraction of the $3 trillion in emergency spending that Congress approved earlier this year to deal with the pandemic. But it shows how the blizzard of bailout cash was — in some cases — redirected to firms that weren’t originally targeted for assistance. It also shows how difficult it has been for officials to track how money is spent and — in the case of Congress — intervene when changes are made.

What’s more, according to the Post’s report, the Trump Administration has done little to limit the defense firms from accessing multiple bailout funds at once—and is not requiring the companies to refrain from layoffs as a condition of receiving the awards.

Congress, at President Trump’s urging, is debating whether to pass another massive stimulus package, and the Pentagon and defense contractors have called for an additional $11 billion to be directed toward their programs.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

KitKat’s Flavor Club Sweepstakes offers fans a chance to preview and taste new brand innovations

September 22, 2020

When Groucho Marx said “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member,” he might not have been considering KitKat’s Flaver Club Sweepstakes.

Launching on September 21, the club will offer 200 fans the opportunity to be one of the first to taste some of the brand’s newest flavor innovations. The sweepstakes invites fans to enter—here—at no cost, for the chance to be selected to join a limited group KitKat insiders who will receive in-development products and club member swag, delivered straight to their doorsteps. Entries will be open for submission from September 21 at 9 a.m. (EDT), and will close on September Free29 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).

Sweepstakes entrants who are selected to be club members will receive three kits during the debut year, which will start now and go through Spring 2021. The brand is excited to announce that the first kit will feature the highly anticipated KitKat Duo’s  mocha + chocolate before it arrives on shelves nationwide this November.

“We listened to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our recent KitKat flavor launches,” said Amy Minderman, a senior brand manager for the parent company, Hershey. . “It is important for us to hear feedback from our fans, so that we can continue to create flavors they love, so we are thrilled to introduce the Kit Ka.

No purchase is necessary to enter or win the sweepstakes. Entrants must be legal residents of the USA, and must be 18 years of age or older.

Research contact: @KITKAT

Trump bans TikTok, WeChat from app stores beginning September 20

September 21, 2020

In a move that will sharply raise tensions with Beijing from app—and infuriate about 100 million American active users—the Trump Administration has announced that it is banning China’s virally popular TikTok, as well as the less sought-after WeChat, from mobile app stores beginning September 20, The Washington Post reports.

On Sunday, the United States also will ban any provision of Internet hosting services that enables WeChat to be used for money transfers or mobile payments. The Administration will give TikTok until November 12 until further bans kick in.

Western companies and bankers still continue to wrangle with TikTok’s owner, the White House, and Chinese authorities to try to arrange a sale of some of TikTok’s business, the Post says. Indeed, TikTok’s partnership with a U.S. corporation— most likely Oracle—could save it in this country, but details about such decisions remain unclear.

“Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

Meanwhile, the Independent reports, TikTok denies that it has shared user data with the Chinese government, or that it would do so if asked. The company says it has not censored videos at the request of Chinese authorities and insists it is not a national-security threat.

“The President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted,” Commerce said in its statement.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Now, NYC restaurants can add a 10% ‘COVID-19 Recovery Charge’ to customers’ bills

September 18, 2020

The New York City Council has passed new legislation that could help hard-strapped  restaurants—but at a price to diners, Fox Business reports.

On September 16, the council approved a bill that, effective immediately, allows restaurants to add a COVID-19 Recovery Charge to their customers’ checks, if they choose to do so—provided that the the charge is “clearly disclosed” on the menu and bill.

The new law limits the amount of the surcharge to 10% of a customer’s total bill, according to Fox Business.

According to NBC New York, the bill only allows small restaurants to add the recovery charge to their customers’ bills. That doesn’t include “pushcarts, stands, vehicles, or large chains

Restarants in the Big Apple have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic—starting with the statewide lockdown and restrictions on in-person dining. Even now, restaurants in the city only are allowed to serve food outdoors. (Although, starting on September 30, restaurants will be allowed to offer indoor dining, at a 25% capacity.)

“I know that we’re going to be fine, however, 25% for a lot smaller restaurants is not going to cut the bill, not when you have those looming commercial New York real estate to pay,” Tren’ness Woods-Black, the vice president of communications of Sylvia’s restaurant , told Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo on September 14.

Previously, restaurants weren’t allowed to add an extra charge in order to make up for coronavirus losses, “even if such surcharge is clearly disclosed,” the NYC Council website said.

The COVID-19 relief charge will only last “until 90 days after full indoor dining is once again permitted,” the bill says.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness