Advertisements

Stock Market Looking Up Amid Some Trade-Related Optimism

Related eBooks

Key Takeaways:

  • Fed’s Bullard says U.S. manufacturing appears to be in recession
  • China lowers its benchmark lending rate
  • U.S., China set to conclude second day of lower-level talks today

Welcome to quadruple witching day. It happens every quarter on the day when futures and options on indices and stocks all expire on the same day.

Maybe it’s not as ominous as its name might suggest, but these remain days when investors might want to exercise special care as there could be some heightened volatility as people unwind baskets of stocks or futures.

On Wall Street, investors this morning seem to be a bit upbeat, heartened by developments on the trade front and by yet another major economy cutting interest rates.

Today In: Money

China cut its one-year lending rate, joining the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank in dovish steps designed to help stimulate economies by reducing borrowing costs. The moves come amid rising worries about global economic growth as the trade war between the United States and China drags on. (See more below.)

On the trade front, China and the United States are scheduled today to conclude two-day negotiations that began yesterday, seemingly with the aim of paving the way for higher level discussions next month.

The discussions come as there has been a bit of a thaw recently in the chilly trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies. Among recent developments, the Trump administration has excluded hundreds of Chinese items from a 25% tariff.

Resistance Near Record Highs

We’ve been talking for a while about how the U.S.-China trade war seems to be creating a cap that the stock market may not be able to meaningfully breach until the dispute between the world’s two largest economies comes to some sort of definitive conclusion.

That narrative seemed to be in play Thursday with stocks near all-time highs but losing momentum throughout the day. The S&P 500 Index (SPX) closed above 3000 after making it above 3,020. But without a catalyst to push stocks into record territory, this area between 3000 and the all-time high of 3027.98 looks to be an area of resistance.

True, the Fed didn’t give market participants much to get really excited about this week when the central bank delivered an as-expected rate cut. But it seems like the unresolved trade issue could be the bigger weight here.

While optimism around the two-day negotiations may have helped boost the market early Thursday, that sentiment may have been tempered by comments from a White House adviser in a media report that the United States could escalate the trade conflict if a deal isn’t reached soon. Meanwhile, a tweet from the editor of the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China said that “China is not as anxious to reach a deal as the U.S. side thought.”

Reading the Fed Tea Leaves

With mixed signals on the trade front, the market was left to scratch its head about what the Fed might do after its latest rate cut—not exactly a recipe for a rip-roaring day of gains in equities.

It’s arguable that the Fed has left the market in a holding pattern as investors seem unconvinced that the current central bank trajectory is as pro-growth as they want it to be.

But even though there seems to be wariness about the Fed’s language when it comes to interest rates, there could be some percolating excitement about a different type of stimulus that the central bank might have up its sleeve.

Still, without clear direction or conviction, investors seem to be holding off from making a big rotation into any one style of equities, leaving cyclicals still in play even as market participants may also be eyeing defensive sectors.

Today, investors and traders are likely looking to a slate of Fed speakers to try to gain some clarity on the central bank’s thinking. Additionally, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard posted a note explaining his dissent in the Fed’s recent decision to cut its key rate by 25 basis points. Bullard had wanted a 50-basis-point cut, citing expected slowing U.S. economic growth, trade policy uncertainty, rising recession probability estimates, and a U.S. manufacturing sector that “already appears in recession.”

Next week could offer the market further direction on the economy as investors and traders are scheduled to see data releases on consumer confidence and sentiment, new home sales, personal spending, and durable goods orders, as well as the government’s third estimate of gross domestic product.

A Firming Foundation: It’s been a pretty good week for housing market data. Yesterday, figures on existing home sales for August came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million. That was up from 5.42 million in July and beat a Briefing.com consensus of 5.36 million. That came after figures showing August housing starts and building permits came in above expectations. Briefing.com pointed out that lower mortgage rates were behind the strength in existing home sales. “The August sales strength cut the inventory of homes for sale,” Briefing.com said. “That will keep upward pressure on home prices, which in turn is likely going to necessitate the need for mortgage rates to stay down to drive ongoing sales growth.”

Will King Consumer’s Crown Stay Shiny? With the health of the U.S. consumer one of the top issues on the minds of investors and traders along with the trade war and Brexit, market participants are likely to be eyeing next week’s reports on consumer confidence and consumer sentiment with some interest. From the data we’ve been seeing, the U.S. consumer has been helping the economy continue to power along. GDP isn’t going gangbusters, but it’s still pretty solid, and the consumer has a lot to do with that. This could be a comforting sign to investors even as the trade war continues to drag on. If prices at the retail level move up due to tariffs and other cost pressures, consumer resilience could help cushion the U.S. economy.

Global Economic Outlook Darkens: While the U.S. consumer has been one of the backstops to the domestic economy, worries about the global economy in the face of the continued trade war are ratcheting up. The OECD is projecting that the global economy will expand by 2.9% this year and 3% next year, which would be the weakest annual growth rates since the financial crisis. And downside risks continue to mount, the group said Thursday. “Escalating trade conflicts are taking an increasing toll on confidence and investment, adding to policy uncertainty, aggravating risks in financial markets, and endangering already weak growth prospects worldwide,” the OECD said.

TD Ameritrade® commentary for educational purposes only. Member SIPC.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am Chief Market Strategist for TD Ameritrade and began my career as a Chicago Board Options Exchange market maker, trading primarily in the S&P 100 and S&P 500 pits. I’ve also worked for ING Bank, Blue Capital and was Managing Director of Option Trading for Van Der Moolen, USA. In 2006, I joined the thinkorswim Group, which was eventually acquired by TD Ameritrade. I am a 30-year trading veteran and a regular CNBC guest, as well as a member of the Board of Directors at NYSE ARCA and a member of the Arbitration Committee at the CBOE. My licenses include the 3, 4, 7, 24 and 66.

Source: Stock Market Looking Up Amid Some Trade-Related Optimism

265K subscribers
It was a big week for the bulls as optimism for a new trade deal gained steam. With CNBC’s Melissa Lee and the Fast Money traders, Tim Seymour, Brian Kelly, Dan Nathan and Guy Adami.

Advertisements

More Blood Pressure Medication Recalls Due To Cancer Concerns

You may want an MBA. But you want to avoid NMBA.

NMBA stands for N-Methylnitrosobutyric acid, something that you don’t want in your blood pressure medications. But alas, this probable carcinogen continues to appear in various medications at higher than acceptable levels.

The latest news is that Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited is further expanding its recall of Losartan Potassium Tablets USP and Losartan Potassium/hydrochlorothiazide tablets, USP, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA announcement includes five more lots of these medications. The additional lots add to the lots of blood pressure medications that have been recalled in the past 14 months or so.

In 2018 and 2019, it seems like news about potential cancer-causing contaminants in medications has become as repetitive as the lyrics “My Name Is” in Eminem’s song “My Name Is.” I’ve written about such news for blood pressure medications in November of last year, January of this year, and again March of this year. Then, just last week I covered impurities found in a common heartburn medication, ranitidine. Then, on Thursday, I added an update that Novartis was halting its distribution of ranitidine, the generic form of Zantac, until further testing could be done.

Today In: Innovation

As they say when you soil your pants, one time may be an accident but more than three times is a trend. It is time to take a closer look at how drugs are being manufactured, stored, and distributed and how such processes are being monitored. As I have mentioned before, making medications is not the same as making handbags. You don’t, at least you shouldn’t, eat your handbags. While a poorly-made handbag could lead to social embarrassment, a poorly-made medication can have much greater and even life-threatening implications.

The FDA is the main agency to protect you against fraudulent and contaminated medications. But the FDA currently may not have the funding and the resources to carefully check everything that every drug manufacturer and distributor is doing, especially when some of these operations are rapidly changing or occurring overseas.

For now, if you are taking blood pressure medications, or any medications for that matter, pay attention to FDA warnings and recall news. The FDA maintains a searchable listing of active product warnings and recalls. As a precautionary measure, you may want to search for a medication before starting it. You can also check with your pharmacist to make sure that your medication is not on a recall or warning list. Of course, if you do find that your medication has a warning or is being recalled, don’t just stop taking it. That can be like trying to return a parachute while you are using it. Check with your doctor first to determine your course of action.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I am a writer, journalist, professor, systems modeler, computational and digital health expert, avocado-eater, and entrepreneur, not always in that order. Currently, I am a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the City University of New York (CUNY), Executive Director of PHICOR (@PHICORteam), and Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. My previous positions include serving as Executive Director of the Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC) at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Associate Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh, and Senior Manager at Quintiles Transnational, working in biotechnology equity research at Montgomery Securities, and co-founding a biotechnology/bioinformatics company. My work involves developing computational approaches, models, and tools to help health and healthcare decision makers in all continents (except for Antarctica) and has been supported by a wide variety of sponsors such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the NIH, AHRQ, CDC, UNICEF, USAID and the Global Fund. I have authored over 200 scientific publications and three books. Follow me on Twitter (@bruce_y_lee) but don’t ask me if I know martial arts.

Source: More Blood Pressure Medication Recalls Due To Cancer Concerns

121K subscribers
Dr. Luke Laffin, staff cardiologist in Preventive Cardiology and Clinical Specialist in Hypertension at Cleveland Clinic answers questions that patients often ask about taking high blood pressure medicines: types of medications, side effects, when to call the doctor, role of self-blood pressure monitoring (including how often), the best time to take blood pressure medications, and if there is a chance that patients can come off medications. He ends the program with three important points for patients with high blood pressure.

5 Confessions Marketers Are Afraid To Admit, Even To Themselves

As someone who’s been marketing things online for about a decade, I can tell you first hand that the fear of marketing is real. It prevented me from growing my business in the earlier stages, and it still does from time to time.

It also held me back from taking on client work for YEARS.

But thankfully, I also learned that I’m not alone. In fact, most marketers can probably tell you at least one or two things that cause them anxiety when it comes to marketing. Here are 5 of the most common.

1. Can I actually market?

Can I Actually Market for marketing confessions

The kind of SEO results you want to be able to send to a client.

Maybe you’re looking at all the shiny emails in your inbox, trying to figure out how email marketing works, how SEO works, and it just seems like it’s too much. So you think to yourself, “I can’t do this.”

One of the biggest fears for marketing newcomers was echoed by Margo Aaron, founder of The Arena, the first virtual coworking space for solopreneurs.

“I hear from marketers all the time and it’s their biggest fear: Can I actually market?  

They develop niche expertise, like design or editing or SEO or headlines. But actually getting more customers into a funnel or increasing sales (or just awareness) for their clients – that creates impostor syndrome.

I definitely had this when I was consulting. It’s part of what’s been so fun about being on my own, I get to control the entire funnel and can actually judge my chops on their own merit (whereas with clients, you might control the website copy or design, but you’re not responsible for sending it traffic).” – Margo Aaron

Let’s get this straight. No one is born out of the womb knowing how to market. It’s a skill that we all have to learn, and it’s possible. It’s also always changing.

You don’t even have to go back to business school (unless you want to) because the internet is a goldmine of marketing resources. Find a course that teaches digital marketing skills or hire someone who can help you and teach it to you.

The other thing is that doing things for other people is HARD. I don’t care if you’re doing copywriting or mowing a lawn. Sure, I can mow my own lawn, but if somebody else is paying me for it (and paying me well), can I do it to their satisfaction? Maybe not.

The problem is that many people get stuck in the learning phase. Why? Fear. Every time you learn something, go try it out and see if it works for you. This is the only way that I know of to truly learn and get over fear and the imposter syndrome that many entrepreneurs suffer from.

2. I’m a spammer

“That they’re one of those spammy marketer types that everyone not so secretly HATES.” – Kaleigh Moore

I get it. You don’t want to come off as the person spamming everyone’s inbox or be the person behind the website with all the pop-ups. But there are tactful ways to get people’s attention without annoying them.
I’m a Spammer for marketing confessions

Please don’t be this guy. Do this instead.

Take for instance the businesses or person whose emails you can’t wait to read when you see them in your inbox. You don’t roll your eyes but instead, you’re excited to read them. What sets them apart from everyone else? TRUST.

They offer value, they delight, they sound like real people. They teach you something new or interesting. They are not pushing a sale every time they send you something.

When you give – whether that’s offering tips, resources free guides etc., and you are consistent – people will naturally show up at your doorstep when you have something to sell because by then, you’ve already won their trust.

And remember: attract, don’t chase. Chasing is what you do when people are running away. Chasing is what causes us to look for tools to do our jobs for us.

3. I want this tool to do my job for me

“If I buy this tool, it’ll put my marketing on autopilot.” – Me for my entire career, including the horrible purchase below.
I Want This Tool To Do My Job For Me for marketing confessions

But seriously, am I the only one who bought this?

If I asked you to write out the top three marketing “tools” you’ve wasted money on, you’d probably have to think for a second. Not because you don’t have three, but more because you have over ten and you’re just trying to rank them.

We’ve ALL bought tools hoping they’d do our jobs for us: make starting new relationships, getting sales, etc. easier.

The great thing about marketing in the 21st century is that there are many tools to help us automate tasks. We can schedule Twitter or Facebook posts for several weeks in advance or program promotional materials to be sent out automatically.

But this doesn’t mean we should try to put all our marketing on autopilot and pray for the best, especially when you’re just getting started.

No current clients or customers? You don’t need an outreach tool.

No social media followers? You don’t need a post scheduler.

In both of the above cases, you just need to start talking to people.

Most of the people trying to sell you on the dream of entrepreneurship are also trying to sell you some sort of product or tool. You don’t need them.

The world of marketing is always changing which means the strategies you use today will change next year or in less time, so while automation helps, it’s best to devise a strong strategy and keep yourself aligned with it.

And even with the right tools, the human part of marketing is absolutely necessary. Trends change, algorithms get rewritten, comments need responses, but what will set you apart from the rest is you. Your unique voice and perspective is a huge part of your marketing strategy whether you know it or not. And it cannot be replaced by any tool.

4. I’m just selling this to make money

I’m Just Selling This To Make Money for marketing confessions

“Depending on which side of the fence they fall on… That they might be selling something to get a financial leg up rather than something they’re 100% passionate about. Which, by the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but sometimes I think those of us who don’t want to be a ‘sleazy marketing person’ go too far to the other side and think everything we sell has to save the world”. – Caroline Zook, Wandering Aimfully

The reason why many marketers struggle with this one is that subconsciously or consciously, we’ve been taught money is the end all, be all. Whether you believe that or not, it still doesn’t dismiss the fact that we all need money to survive.

service@paypal for marketing confessions

I realized this was true when I got on the email list of a famous joint venture (JV) marketer. He’s famous for setting up big affiliate programs and bringing a ton of affiliates on board.

Ever see a big launch where it seems like everybody was promoting a product? That’s probably him behind the scenes. But, what I didn’t realize is that most of the people promoting the product had never even seen it.

He’d sent out videos and slide decks and landing pages that told you all the giveaways they were doing for top affiliates and how to set up your affiliate account, but when I asked to see the product…

he told me it wasn’t even done being produced.

I asked how people could be promoting it without ever seeing the product and he could not, after five more emails, understand why I’d have a problem with that.

Authenticity matters more than ever in marketing so next time you promote a product (or even your own product) consider whether it’s making the world better for other people, or just yourself.

5. I wouldn’t buy what I’m selling

I Wouldn’t Buy What I’m Selling

That’s right, many marketers aren’t even sure about the prices they charge their clients. One marketer confessed he still struggles with pricing. Asking for $10,000 for a consulting agreement when he wouldn’t purchase that himself is a weird paradox for him. He KNOWS that the training he’d provide or the work he’d do is part of a larger six-figure budget in both cases.

“Even though I’d never buy this for myself, it’s still priced correctly. Yep. They’ve budgeted for exactly this. It’s priced at or below market it’s a good option logically but the emotion is what it is.” – Kade Dworkin

There are two main reasons why marketers feel this way:

  1. Lack of confidence in their own skills.
  2. Confusion about what the market rate is.

In order to overcome the first one, you must remember all you’ve accomplished in order to get to where you are today. This means the number of years you worked in a related field, the number of years you spent in school, or even just the soul-searching part of your life that brought you here. Those were all not easy things to get through but I don’t have to tell you that. Factor this in when you are coming up with your prices.

Second, If you don’t know what your competitors are charging, you’re missing out on crucial information. Find out what they’re charging. Do this for several people and you’ll have a good idea of where your rates should be, which should help you stop questioning yours.

You need to know that there are people in need of the skills you have who are willing to pay for it. Do not water down your commodities for clients who will not appreciate it.

The bottom line

Business marketing can be scary especially if you’re just starting out, but don’t let the professionals who’ve been in the game a lot longer scare you. Everyone had to start somewhere and just like any skill, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Amazing talents or products do speak for themselves but in our overcrowded market today, you need to do marketing to lift it up, otherwise, no one will be able to hear you.

The best piece of advice I can offer is this: continue learning, and try what you learn.

Don’t be afraid to admit and confront these confessions.

That’s the only way you’ll truly get over your fears. Just remember that your skills and talents are unique and someone is looking for them. And when you find those people, charge what you’re worth but also deliver the heck out of the results.

By: Jeff Bullas

Forbes calls him a top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers and the world’s top social marketing talent. Entrepreneur lists him among 50 online marketing influencers to watch. Inc.com has him on the list of 20 digital marketing experts to follow on Twitter. Oanalytica named him #1 Global Content Marketing Influencer. BizHUMM ranks him as the world’s #1 business blogger.

Source: 5 Confessions Marketers Are Afraid To Admit, Even To Themselves

John Crestani

153K subscribers
💵 VIEW MY FREE TRAINING https://goo.gl/7tUaEq ★☆★ WHAT MY TRAINING SYSTEM INCLUDES ★☆★ 🔱 1-ON-1 COACHING 🔱 AUTOMATED ONLINE BUSINESS SYSTEM 🔱 TRAINING COURSE 🔱 LIVE WEEKLY TRAININGS 🔱 COMMUNITY 💰 SIGNUP https://bit.ly/2EfUKAk ★☆★ FOLLOW ME BELOW: ★☆★ 👽 YOUTUBE — https://goo.gl/xEqkAG 👽 FACEBOOK — http://bit.ly/2oqyVsX 👽 LINKEDIN — http://bit.ly/2HO8gOQ 👽 ANGEL LIST — http://bit.ly/2oDKnkm 👽 SNAPCHAT — @johnaffiliate 🎭 PRESS INQUIRIES CONTACT support@johncrestani.com

 

Datadog Stock Surges 39%: Its CEO Recounts When The Company Was An Underdog In New York

Shares of New York-based Datadog rose 39% to close at $37.55 after opening at $40.35 in the cloud company’s market debut Thursday. The successful IPO cements Datadog’s position as an East Coast counterweight to Silicon Valley’s dominance of the enterprise software realm.

“Initially when we started fundraising for Datadog, it was really not that easy,” CEO Olivier Pomel told Forbes after the market closed Thursday. “We were not based where most of the companies were based, so it was hard to get trust from investors on the West Coast. And the investors in New York were not really specialized in the type of company we were building.”

Pomel said this underdog tale worked to the advantage of Datadog. By relying on small checks and angel investors at first, the company was forced to build an efficient business, he said. That’s become a huge asset to the nine-year-old company as it ballooned to a $10.9 billion valuation at the end of Thursday. It reported a net loss of $10.8 million, after posting a $2.6 million loss the year prior—good numbers for a fast-growing company of its stature.

Higher net losses usually accompany recent enterprise tech IPOs with comparable revenue figures, such as with Medallia ($82 million), Dynatrace ($116 million) and Crowdstrike ($140 million). “One thing investors reacted to was the fact that we run a healthy business from a profitability perspective,” Pomel said.

Today In: Innovation

“What helped the most by being in New York was that we’re a little bit closer to customers—there’s more of them here. And, you’re out of the echo chamber in the Silicon Valley so here you can get ahead on what the customers think,” he said. One early investment came from Index Ventures, which has backed Datadog beginning with the Series A funding round. Shardul Shah, a partner at the firm who also sits on Datadog’s board, says he bought in because of Pomel’s “relentless focus on delivering customer value from the very beginning.”

The successes of MongoDB and now Datadog could spur the growth of an enterprise ecosystem in New York. Prior to its market debut, Datadog had raised $147.9 million on what Pitchbook estimates as a $640 million valuation. The IPO is New York’s largest venture capital-backed tech IPO in two decades, according to Renaissance Capital.

Now trading on Nasdaq under the “DDOG” ticker, the company priced 24 million shares at $27 on Wednesday. That’s higher than the $24-to-$26 estimated IPO price listed in its latest filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was already a huge boost from the $19-to-$22 range the company originally set. At its IPO price, Datadog raised $648 million to bring its valuation to $7.8 billion. Pomel said the added cash on hand will offer the company the flexibility to continue making acquisitions. He said he’s happy with Datadog’s acquisitions so far, including application tester Madumbo.

At Datadog’s opening stock price, CEO Olivier Pomel was on the cusp of billionaire status. Forbes calculates that the stock would need to surpass about $43 per share for Pomel’s net worth to cross the $1 billion mark—at the stock’s high point of $41.44, Pomel was $35 million short. After the stock price declined slightly over the course of Thursday, Pomel’s net worth settled at $874 million at the time of market close, but that doesn’t seem to bother him: “The stock, it’s up a good amount, but not too much. I think that’s what we were looking for.”

Datadog offers a cloud analytics platform that also provides log management and monitors infrastructure and application performance. Its software is primarily used by IT and developer teams and cuts across industries—it boasts customers including Samsung, 21st Century Fox, the University of Pennsylvania and the Washington Post. In its S-1, the company identified IT operations management as its primary opportunity market. Research firm Gartner predicts the market will be worth $37 billion by 2023.

The IPO reflects continued investor demand for cloud analytics and monitoring. In August alone, application performance management company Dynatrace’s stock jumped 49% in its public debut, while cloud monitoring vendor SignalFx was acquired by Splunk for more than $1 billion. In its S-1 filing, Datadog lists both Dynatrace and Splunk as direct competitors. The company also counts IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, New Relic and Amazon as rivals across fields such as infrastructure monitoring, application performance management and cloud monitoring.

Datadog jumped to No. 5 on this year’s Forbes Cloud 100 list, which was released last week, up from the No. 19 spot in 2018. As of last Wednesday, half of last year’s top 20 sold or went public, with eight taking the latter route amid a busy couple of months for cloud IPOs. Although most of these stocks—such as Zoom, Slack and Crowdstrike—had strong public debuts, some including Slack and Eventbrite have failed to maintain this momentum. Stripe, the No. 1 company in 2018 and 2019, announced a new funding round Thursday that brings its valuation up to $35 billion.

Datadog filed with the SEC in anticipation of its IPO at the end of August. Revenue increased 97% to $198 million in 2018, according to its S-1 filing. The cloud company reportedly rejected an eleventh-hour acquisition offer from Cisco at a figure “significantly higher” than $7 billion, according to Bloomberg. The move would have paralleled Cisco’s 2017 acquisition of AppDynamics for $3.7 billion, just two nights prior to the application performance management company’s IPO.

This article was updated to include the closing stock price, additional context on finances and comments from Pomel and Shah.

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I am a San Francisco-based assistant editor for technology and innovation. As my beat, I cover Juul Labs. I also write other general tech news. Previously, I made stops at The Ringer and the Raleigh News & Observer. I graduated in 2019 from Duke University, where I spent time as news editor for The Chronicle, the university’s independent news organization.

Source: Datadog Stock Surges 39%: Its CEO Recounts When The Company Was An Underdog In New York

2.17K subscribers

The Watch List: Jonathan Lehr came on The Watch List to discuss what the Datadog IPO means for NYC’s enterprise tech ecosystem.

Current Hurricane Activity Raises Questions About The AMO – What Is It And Why Is it Relevant?

Have you taken a look at satellite view of the tropics right now? Hurricane Humberto, a major hurricane, threatens Bermuda. The remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda are drenching Southeast Texas, and several potential systems lurk in tropical regions that we look to at this time of the year. National Hurricane Center tropical meteorologist Eric Blake captures it best in this Tweet:

Anyone want a tropical storm? They are forming like roaches out there! 6 at once in both basins combined is thought to tie a modern NHC record , with two other disturbances adding the cherries on top of a crazy busy day!

Eric Blake, National Hurricane Center on Twitter

The hurricane basins of the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic are very active as seen in the picture below that I took at The Weather Channel early Wednesday morning. While likely not at the forefront of your thought processes this week, this active week prompted me to wonder about the status of something called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). What is it and why am I bringing it up during hurricane season?

According to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) website, the AMO is:

a coherent mode of natural variability occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean with an estimated period of 60-80 years. It is based upon the average anomalies of sea surface temperatures (SST) in the North Atlantic basin, typically over 0-80N.

Kevin Trenberth, Rong Zhang, and NCAR Staff: The Climate Data Guide: Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO)

The AMO has been at the center of many of the discussions about whether hurricane activity changes naturally or is being affected by climate change. I remember a particularly vigorous debate about these topics after the anomalously active 2005 hurricane season that gave us Hurricane Katrina and a series of storms taking on “Greek-letter names.” I haven’t heard as much about it recently, but it is still a “thing.” I often found the AMO-natural variability or anthropogenic climate change debate to be silly. I continue to be baffled by why these things are framed as “either/or” rather than “and.” The current scientific literature suggests the climate change signal on hurricanes will likely be apparent in intensity, forward motion, and surge inundation. The outstanding NOAA GFDL page on hurricanes and climate change points out that there is less conclusiveness on frequency. However, natural climate variability like the AMS is certainly in the mix. A 2017 study in Nature Scientific Reports argues that a negative AMO is emerging in spite of a warm subtropical region. A negative or cool phase is typically associated with fewer Atlantic hurricanes (graphic below).

I reached out to tropical expert Dr. Phil Klotzbach to get his latest thoughts on the AMO, and how this all aligns with what he is seeing in recent years. His group at Colorado State University issues seasonal hurricane forecasts. In their August update, they called for a “near normal” season in terms of activity.

I posed the question to Dr. Klotzbach, “So what’s going on with the AMO right now?” His answer:

That’s the million dollar question. The winters have looked like a very negative AMO with a cold SST tripole. But those cold anomalies have been much weaker in the summer when the far North Atlantic has a much shallower mixed layer.

Dr. Phil Klotzbach, CSU Tropical Meteorology Project

Dr. Klotzbach also told me that when he examined sea surface temperature differences (SSTs) from 2014-2019 minus 1995-2012 averaged over the period August to October (excluding 2019), the far North Atlantic remains colder but the tropical Atlantic SSTs haven’t shown much change. Klotzbach goes on to say:

There has been quite a bit of discussion about a weakening of the Atlantic Meriodional Ocean Circulation (AMOC) in the literature – including a couple of high profile papers published in Nature. The cold SST in the far North Atlantic bares that point out. However, the connection between the polar regions and the tropical regions doesn’t seem to be there during the summer months. Normally a cold far North Atlantic drives a stronger subtropical which drives stronger trade winds that then anomalously cool the tropical Atlantic. This has certainly been the case in the winter months, but the relationship has broken down in the summer

Dr. Phil Klotzbach, CSU Tropical Meteorology Project

I am providing links to 2017 and 2019 studies, respectively, in the Nature Climate Change.

Ultimately, September is a climatologically-active month so there is nothing unusual about seeing tropical waves, depressions, storms and hurricanes at this time of year. Eric Blake’s tweet just inspired me to revisit what people are thinking about the AMO since it was such a hot topic after the 2005 hurricane season.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, was the 2013 President of American Meteorological Society (AMS) and is Director of the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Atmospheric Sciences Program. Dr. Shepherd is the Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor and hosts The Weather Channel’s Weather Geeks Podcast, which can be found at all podcast outlets. Prior to UGA, Dr. Shepherd spent 12 years as a Research Meteorologist at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center and was Deputy Project Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. In 2004, he was honored at the White House with a prestigious PECASE award. He also has received major honors from the American Meteorological Society, American Association of Geographers, and the Captain Planet Foundation. Shepherd is frequently sought as an expert on weather and climate by major media outlets, the White House, and Congress. He has over 80 peer-reviewed scholarly publications and numerous editorials. Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S. and PhD in physical meteorology from Florida State University.

Source: Current Hurricane Activity Raises Questions About The AMO – What Is It And Why Is it Relevant?

TurboTax Glitch Led To $216 Million Tax Bill For Thrift Store Worker

Nobody likes getting a tax bill in the mail. It’s especially concerning when your tax bill is a bit higher than you anticipated. But what happens when it’s hundreds of millions of dollars more than you were expecting? Just ask Donna Smith from Aurora, Colorado. Smith, a part-time worker at a local thrift store, got quite the surprise when she opened a tax bill from the Colorado Department of Revenue to find that the state claimed she owed $216,399,508 in taxes.

Smith, who makes about $10 an hour, couldn’t understand the tax bill. To put the amount in perspective, it’s nearly a quarter of the City of Aurora’s entire budget for the year (report downloads as a PDF).

Smith’s returns are self-prepared, of sorts. Her mother, Diana Valencia, prepared Smith’s tax return for 2018 and couldn’t understand what happened. She told 9News that she went back to check the return, saying, “I mean, I thought, ‘Wow, was that an error on my part?’”

Today In: Money

It was an error – but not on Valencia’s part. Valencia used TurboTax to prepare the return. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR), the TurboTax software made an error tied to Smith’s federal taxable income.

A spokesperson from TurboTax confirmed the error, saying, “For a small number of TurboTax online customers that filed their taxes between June 13-16, there was an issue that caused select fields on their tax return to be incorrectly transmitted during e-file. The issue was quickly fixed and we have been working directly with affected Colorado taxpayers and the Colorado State DOR to help resolve.” If you were affected by the billing error and aren’t currently working to resolve the matter, you should contact the Department of Revenue at (303) 866-4622 to reach a citizen’s advocate.

The Colorado DOR pegged the number of affected taxpayers at 44. That doesn’t mean, however, that a few dozen taxpayers received multi-million dollar tax bills. According to Daniel Carr, Taxation Communications Manager at the Colorado DOR, that number represents taxpayers who encountered the same glitch using TurboTax software during a three-day window in June of this year. “What the taxpayer entered into TurboTax was correct,” Carr said, explaining that “an error in the TurboTax transfer reported incorrect amounts to the State of Colorado.”

The bills went out, explains the DOR, because “[o]n our end it was simply data in data out and we could only process what we were given by TurboTax. We cannot determine the accurate amounts based on the information provided.”

Once the errors were discovered, however, the DOR worked with affected taxpayers. “We have reached out to all of the taxpayers affected and are helping them resolve this issue,” says Carr.

That doesn’t mean that the taxpayers don’t have work to do. According to Carr, “Taxpayers, in this case, who kept a copy of what they submitted are able to send us that copy and we will correct the error. Otherwise, they would have to amend their return.”

(For more information on how to file an amended federal income tax return, click here.)

Mistakes happen all of the time – just maybe not quite this big. No matter the size of the return, taxpayers can protect themselves, Carr advises, by always keeping a copy of filed returns. And if the bill seems out of place? “Contact the Department of Revenue immediately to have it resolved.”

Don’t ignore the problem. That’s good advice for all taxpayers, no matter whether the bill is federal, state or local. In most cases – even when the bill is hundreds of millions of dollars – errors are totally fixable. But don’t wait and hope that it goes away: it’s important to reach out to the respective tax authorities to clear up any problems as soon as possible.

(For more on how to fix a mistake on your return, click here.)

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Years ago, I found myself sitting in law school in Moot Court wearing an oversized itchy blue suit. It was a horrible experience. In a desperate attempt to avoid anything like that in the future, I enrolled in a tax course. I loved it. I signed up for another. Before I knew it, in addition to my JD, I earned an LL.M Taxation. While at law school, I interned at the estates attorney division of the IRS. At IRS, I participated in the review and audit of federal estate tax returns. At one such audit, opposing counsel read my report, looked at his file and said, “Gentlemen, she’s exactly right.” I nearly fainted. It was a short jump from there to practicing, teaching, writing and breathing tax. Just like that, Taxgirl® was born.

Source: TurboTax Glitch Led To $216 Million Tax Bill For Thrift Store Worker

I just finished reviewing TurboTax 2018-2019, and I’m excited about how easy it is to use. 💵But, if you don’t qualify for free file (and it’s limited), they are one of the most expensive options for filing your taxes this year. Check out the full article with all the links here: https://thecollegeinvestor.com/20778/… Here’s what we’re going to talk about in this video: ▶︎ Look at the pricing of TurboTax Online 2018 – 2019 ▶︎ See how easy it is to file your taxes and why I like it so much ▶︎ The limitations of TurboTax Free Edition ▶︎ What upsells to avoid and what upsells you should consider Be sure to subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_c… ★☆★Resources Mentioned in this video:★☆★ 💵TurboTax 2018 – 2019: http://go.thecollegeinvestor.com/Turb… 💵TurboTax Amazon Deal: https://amzn.to/2EctYxn 💵H&R Block Online: http://go.thecollegeinvestor.com/HRBlock ★☆★ Want More From The College Investor? ★☆★ 💻 Check out my blog here: https://thecollegeinvestor.com/ Connect with me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecollegei…

DISCOVER How You Can AUTOMATE FB Video Ads & Get EVERGREEN & CONSISTENT Leads & Sales FAST

Before even running your ad campaign, you first need to learn about the “flows” which are the general game plans. This way, you’re not just giving money to Mark Zuckerberg and then crossing your fingers, hoping and praying that your ads will work. And because some of you might be using the FB ad platform for the first time, I also added the basics such as creating your FB page and Business Manager account inside – plus on how to get access to your partner’s or client’s page/s as well (great if you want to provide this as a service).

I know you already saw this word gazillion times and it might already bore you. But really, if you want to have a very successful ad campaign, you need to do a proper research. Here, I also showed how to “spy” on the currently winning ads so you don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” by having to do the guess work and test a lot of things. All you have to do is copy what is working and apply them in your own ads.

This is actually the secret that gurus are hiding from you. Here, you can learn how to setup automated video ad campaigns for high ticket type of products. And when I say “automate,” I really mean setting things up once then you can go on vacation and the ad will be running for you, giving you results while doing whatever you want!

  • Get FAST results, without having to rely on SEO and crazy algorithm change
  • GROW your social following and widen your reach to attract more people who are VERY interested with your offers
  • Create almost set and forget AUTOMATED campaigns that can give you results in many months to come, even if you’re away.
  • EASILY retarget your video viewers and website visitors to make them come back and grab your offers
  • Become an instant AUTHORITY in your niche by reaching out to your target audience and make them LOVE what you can offer to them 
  • If you want, you can even build your own FB video ad agency, and offer this as a service to business owners! 

Source: Social Video Ads Zoo

This ‘Force of Nature’ and Her $132 Million Company Are Why You Eat Organic Meat

“It’s the hallway of death!” Ariane Daguin is cheerfully leading a strange parade through a barn’s dim back corridor. Normally, this passage conveys fattened ducks from their feeding pens to the slaughterhouse; today, it marks the end of a sales tour.

This duck farm, nestled in the foothills of New York’s Catskill Mountains, is where it all began for Daguin, a blunt and unfussy Frenchwoman who keeps geese and chickens as pets, and who has spent a lifetime selling slaughtered poultry. D’Artagnan, the gourmet meat distributor she co-founded in 1985, took in more than $130 million last year from organic chicken, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised lamb, and other, more exotic animal proteins. But her business started here, with the ducks of Hudson Valley Foie Gras–and the controversial, luxurious livers that give the farm its name.

And it’s here where Daguin now shepherds her salespeople and chef clients past the oblivious animals, greeting them with her usual mixture of familiar delight and wry unsentimentality. “Tomorrow!” she sing-shouts, playful at a formidable six feet. “Foie gras tomorrow!”The founding pride of D’Artagnan, foie gras has also landed Daguin back in the middle of a familiar, and fierce, regulatory fight–but in the 35 years since she started her company, she’s expanded far beyond that niche delicacy. Today, D’Artagnan operates a nearly nationwide network of small farmers who raise chickens, ducks, cows, and other animals by Daguin’s exacting organic, free-range standards.

The company then buys this meat from the farmers and sells it to high-end restaurants; around 7,500 mainstream grocery stores; and, increasingly, directly to the growing numbers of home cooks who care about where their meat comes from and are willing to pay a premium for it.Daguin, 61, has established a high-profile circle of famous friends and clients: fellow French-born chef-entrepreneur Daniel Boulud; New York restaurateur and Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer; the late Anthony Bourdain, who featured Daguin on No Reservations and named his daughter Ariane. She’s less of a household name than these men, but she’s quietly just as influential. Since the early 1980s, her company has been changing how Americans eat meat, by selling sustainably raised, non-factory-farmed animal products long before terms like sustainable or factory farm went mainstream.

 

“She knows every aspect of what it takes to raise an animal, but also what it takes to transform the animal, and how it should taste,” says Boulud, the chef-owner of Manhattan’s Daniel and several other restaurants, who’s served D’Artagnan meat and game for 30 years. “She has definitely helped many chefs–and many Americans–have access to better meat.”Along the way, Daguin overcame several near-catastrophes, including a wrenching co-founder breakup. Through it all, her relentless drive allowed her to maintain control–and sole ownership–of her company, even as fellow boutique-meat pioneers like Niman Ranch and Applegate Farms sold out to industry giants; to return it to profitability despite her massive post-breakup debts and the Great Recession, which decimated many of her customers; and even, in the past decade, to expand oper­ations to a near-national footprint. Within five years, she declares, D’Artagnan’s sales will reach $250 million.

She’s also food royalty. Ariane is the oldest child

Daguin, with a Barred Rock chicken–which will soon be one of the 18,000 chickens her company sells each week.Sarah Wilmer. Yet the same determination that’s bent the world to her will has at times blinded Daguin to looming problems–or exacerbated them. Take foie gras: Lawmakers and animal-rights activists keep trying to ban the stuff, claiming there’s “immense cruelty” in force-feeding ducks to enlarge their livers. But for Daguin, selling foie gras is a point of tremendous personal and cultural pride. She’s fought threats to it across the country­–including the one under way on her home turf of New York City. But defending this much-contested niche product complicates the tightrope she must walk, owing to the peculiar paradox behind D’Artagnan: Ariane Daguin built a business from slaughtering animals–but she really built it by caring about how they live.

But more on all that unpleasantness in a bit. First, as with all good French meals, let’s have some wine.

“Champagne?”

Non! Shots!”

Daguin is standing at the front of a large black bus, of the sort rented out for wine tours and bachelorette parties, pouring generous splashes of sinus-stripping white Armagnac into plastic cups. “You drink this, and all the calories disappear,” she jokes, an unlikely party animal in a duck-printed scarf and mom jeans. “Okaaay, bottoms up!”

This is her “Cassoulet Crawl”–a gut-busting Manhattan restaurant tour tied to a competition over the hearty French stew that’s largely made from several kinds of D’Artagnan-endorsed fatty meats. It’s February, and Daguin’s fifth year organizing and judging the showdown, one overseen by an official French body called the Great Brotherhood of the Cassoulet. (Really. Because France.)

 

The Great Brothers on hand, in red velvet robes accented with yellow trim and cassole-shaped hats, resemble an order of Harry Potter wizards devoted to duck fat and slow-cooked white beans–especially when they bestow an honorary membership upon John Lithgow, who’s come straight from rehearsing a new Broadway play, and who accepts this silly honor with a sincere speech in decent French. If he’s charmingly bemused by the whole thing, he’s also unstinting in admiring his friend, its organizer. “Ariane,” he says, “is a force of nature.”

of André Daguin, a renowned chef in France’s Gascony region, who earned two Michelin stars for the family restaurant-hotel he’d inherited. He became internationally known as “the undisputed leader” of Gascon cuisine, especially for foie gras, as The New York Times declared in 1982. All his offspring followed some version of the family vocation–but Ariane, who knew that her gender meant she wouldn’t be heir to the restaurant, moved to New York City in the late 1970s to study at Columbia University. There she met George Faison, an MBA candidate from Texas who shared her love for French food and humanely raised meat.

Daguin and Faison became friends, and then colleagues at Les Trois Petits Cochons, a New York City charcuterie company that now competes with D’Artagnan. There, Daguin first met Izzy Yanay, an Israeli immigrant and entrepreneur who was trying desperately to find buyers for his products. Yanay was raising ducks at his farm 100 miles northwest of Manhattan, to produce foie gras–which was then largely unknown to Americans, and not an easy sell.

Unless you were dealing with the daughter of André Daguin. As soon as Yanay started his pitch, Ariane exclaimed, “Of course–foie gras!” Still, Les Trois Petits Cochons passed, so she and Faison formed their own company in late 1984, to sell Yanay’s foie and the ducks that created it. “I owe her everything,” Yanay says today. “She saved my life.”

Daguin and Faison named their company after another Gascon–the 17th-century musketeer who inspired Alexandre Dumas’s fictional hero–and adopted the motto made famous by Dumas: All for one, one for all. The co-founders knew the rising chefs at the forefront of what would become the locavore movement, who wanted great-tasting, transparently raised ingredients and would pay a premium for them.

“My interest at D’Artagnan became: How do we change the way Americans eat?” Faison says.Gradually, they built up a network of small farmers who provided those ingredients and followed D’Artag­nan’s specifications for feeding, housing, aging, and slaughtering animals. Soon, the partners started selling other meat and game–rabbit, quail, Berkshire pork, bison–and finding suppliers who made high-quality terrines, sausages, and other European-style charcuterie. Within two years, D’Artagnan was profitable; within 14, its revenue neared $20 million.

 

It was also beginning to live up to Faison’s vision. In 1993, before the USDA finalized its recognition of “organic” as an official designation, D’Artagnan became one of the first companies to sell free-range organic chickens in the U.S., ones that “taste the way your grand­mother says chickens used to taste,” according to the Times in 1994. It wasn’t the only high-end meat company: Applegate Farms was founded in 1987, while Bill Niman was building Niman Ranch into a national brand. But those companies have since been sold–to Spam maker Hormel Foods and poultry giant Perdue, respectively–while Daguin still owns D’Artagnan. And industry experts say her company was and remains unique in the breadth of products it offers and its role in introducing Americans to truffles, venison, wild boar, and the like.

 

“Other organic suppliers are out there, but D’Artagnan takes it to the next level for game meats,” says Mike LoBiondo, who oversees meat and seafood for Rochester, New York-based grocery chain Wegmans. He also praises D’Artagnan’s salesforce for teaching Wegmans, and its customers, how to cook and enjoy these more exotic proteins: “Nobody provides the same level of education.”

But as the company grew, internal tensions mounted. When Daguin had a daughter in 1988 and then brought her infant to the office, Faison felt she was distracted from the business. A listeria outbreak in 1999 sickened customers, triggering a voluntary recall of 70,000 pounds of meat during the all-important holiday season. Then, in 2001, D’Artagnan opened a well-reviewed but doomed Manhattan restaurant–weeks before the September 11 terrorist attacks upended the local economy. The restaurant–one of Daguin’s passions, and another source of friction with Faison–closed in early 2004.

 

Months later, Faison decided that their differences were irreconcilable and that he wanted out. Or, rather, that he wanted Daguin out. As chronicled in a 2006 Inc. feature, Faison stunned Daguin in June 2005 with an offer to buy her D’Artagnan shares for several million dollars. A shotgun clause in their partnership agreement gave her 30 days to accept his offer, or to buy him out for the same price.

Daguin started cold-calling banks, and eventually scraped together enough from a French lender and some savings to buy out Faison. He went on to help run another high-end meat purveyor–DeBragga and Spitler. Daguin was left with sole control–but was deeply in debt and overseeing a staff with sharply divided loyalties, not long before the global economy collapsed.

“It was–oof,” she says, with Gallic understatement. Today, asking the former co-founders about each other is a bit like talking to parents who went through a nasty split but still see each other at functions for their adult child. “Sometimes, divorce is the best thing. It was for Ariane and me,” says Faison. “We are cordial.” Daguin, who retains a sense of betrayal, is less diplomatic. The breakup “was all his fault,” she says. They have done their best “to avoid each other” at industry events for years. Will they ever be friends again? She snorts: “Friends? Non.

Last year, Faison co-founded the Great American Turkey Company, a startup selling humanely raised, antibiotic-free turkey products to supermarkets and online customers. Perhaps coincidentally, D’Artagnan is expanding its turkey offerings later this year.

That first year on her own was terrifying. Taking on another partner or giving up control was out of the question–“I learned my lesson,” she says–but she knew she needed someone to take over Faison’s operational and financial duties.

 

“We were iconic, but we were a little close to the cliff,” is how Andy Wertheim, a consumer­-products veteran who became D’Artagnan’s president, describes what he found when he came on board in 2006. “Our margins were very low. We were in debt. And while we were ubiquitous in an East Coast/chef world, we were largely unknown everywhere else.” Daguin and Wertheim raised prices and slashed their product line, from 2,500 SKUs to 800. They also stopped selling to other distributors, to cut down on the inventory they were freezing instead of selling fresh. To broaden the customer base, Wertheim stepped up marketing, and launched an e-commerce line to ship meat directly to the well-heeled food obsessives who’d absorbed factory-­farming exposés like Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Some were adopting the reduced-but-deliberate meat consumption habits endorsed by the likes of Omnivore’s Michael Pollan.

 

“We agree with the vegan people, up to a point,” says the ever-droll Daguin. “And that point is when I kill my animals.” By 2009, D’Artagnan had climbed back into the black, overcoming new setbacks from the ongoing recession. (Spending $20 on an uncooked organic chicken is tough to justify if you’ve just lost your job or home.) Still, by 2011 Daguin had paid off her loan–and was mulling what she could do with her company’s returning profit. Half goes to annual employee bonuses, which Wertheim says “virtually everyone” gets–and which can help with retention in a company that’s as intense as its founder. (“The hours are crazy; the chefs are crazier,” one former employee recalls.) The rest has helped fuel expansion. To get beyond those East Coast/fancy-chef confines, D’Artagnan needs farmers and slaughterhouses and warehouses across the country: The company can overnight whatever a chef in California needs for dinner service, but if it wants to become a staple in West Coast shops, it needs to supply such stores with chickens or ducks that were raised a couple of hours away, so that days of shelf life are not wasted as they get schlepped across the country.

D’Artagnan notched $132 million for the year that ended in June, $11 million more than it did the previous year, and triple what it made the year Faison left. Since 2011, it’s set up warehouses in Chicago, Houston, and Atlanta, expanding its network of farms and suppliers along the way. Daguin won’t disclose profit, but there was enough to buy a distribution center in Denver last year–and enough for her to start shopping for another in California, to give D’Artagnan a truly national footprint. The company continues to diversify its sources of revenue: Its third-largest line of business, direct-to-consumer online sales, brought in $13 million last year. (Sixty-five percent of revenue comes from restaurant sales, and 25 percent from grocers and other retailers.) To commemorate all this, Daguin plans to fly all 280 employees to New York for an elaborate 35th-anniversary party in early 2020. Which won’t be for the faint of heart: “In addition to being a fantastic entrepreneur and businesswoman, Ariane wants to have fun,” says Boulud, ruefully recalling Parisian bar crawls he barely survived. “And she wants to drag everyone with her.”

 

This April, Daguin talked expansion plans with her new banker, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, over lunch in his executive dining room. Yet while being courted by one of the world’s most powerful CEOs, Daguin was characteristically uncowed. JPMorgan’s corporate caterer isn’t a big D’Artagnan client, so Daguin ate the fish “to make a point,” she recounts, grinning about her “smart-aleck” order. “I said, ‘Oh, when I don’t know the provenance, I try to avoid factory-farmed chicken.’ “She’s a long way from begging banks to bail her out. (And JPMorgan Chase executives seem unruffled by their client’s sense of humor: “Ariane’s leadership and drive is inspiring,” commercial-bank executive Maria Lucas says.) But not all of D’Artagnan’s problems have stayed in the past. Today, Daguin is facing a resurgent threat, aimed straight at the heart of her company.

Which, of course, is its liver.

 

The New York City Council, in mid-June, debated a bill banning foie gras. No vote had been scheduled by presstime, but if it passes, the result could be especially damaging, particularly for Hudson Valley and the few other small U.S. farms that focus on producing foie gras, because it would prohibit restaurants from “the provision of foie gras in any manner.” (Chefs have protested other bans by giving away foie for free.)

The newest proposal is a significant threat to Hudson Valley Foie Gras; at least a third of its sales come from the city. Daguin estimates she stands to lose about 10 percent of her business–$15 million in sales of livers and the ducks that produce them. While the hit to her business seems survivable, her pride is another matter. For the daughter of the Gascon chef who made foie gras famous, such a ban is an attack on her identity and heritage. “Culturally, not just for our company but for the whole world of gastronomy,” Daguin says, “it would be a huge, huge loss–the beginning of the end.”

 

This summer, Daguin and Yanay and other farmers mobilized to counter the passionate editorials and protests of the foie gras foes. It’s a tricky issue for the woman who proclaims that she cares just as much about animal welfare as “vegan activists” do, even if she sometimes expresses this in a decidedly Daguin-esque way. “We agree with the vegan people, up to a point,” she says. “And that point is when I kill my animals.”

Such talk, of course, won’t charm her opponents. “The costly French delicacy involves force-feeding ducks and geese several times a day by shoving metal pipes down their throats and swelling their livers to 10 times a healthy size,” proclaimed, somewhat inaccurately, an op-ed written by the executive director of Nyclass, a controversial lobbying group that backed the New York bill. (See “Duck, Duck, Foe,” below.) “It is a disgusting practice and it must end.”

 

Yet foie gras is, at most, an asterisk to the meat industry’s substantial systemic issues, which have the United Nations and international coalitions of scientists sounding alarms. “I can’t believe we’re going through this again,” says Marion Nestle, the author and nutrition expert. “Other issues in meat-raising are much more critical.”

 

Barred Rocks and Brune Landaises at a D’Artagnan farm.Sarah Wilmer. It’s a generally weird time for the meat industry, which claims $1 trillion in U.S. “economic impact.” Americans are eating record amounts of animal protein. Only around 5 percent identify as vegetarian. Yet we’re increasingly aware of all of the downsides of how meat is produced, and seeking plant-based alternatives from the fast-growing likes of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, which raised $240 million in a May IPO.

Large factory farms have been widely criticized for releasing immense amounts of waste and pollutants into our air and water; for juicing their livestock with so many antibiotics that bacteria become resistant to their effects, causing potential health crises for humans; and for raising their animals in cramped, filthy, torturous conditions. And while Yanay processes maybe 500,000 ducks per year, factory farming churns through about nine billion chickens in the U.S. annually, and roughly 32 million cows.

Those are the horrific processes that Daguin has dedicated her life and her company to countering, and for which she provides her widely praised alternatives. But her fierce allegiance to foie gras–and the production process that sounds so inhumane, for what’s essentially a food for the 1 percent–puts her company in the cross hairs of the animal activists with whom she otherwise claims common ground. “My animals have one bad day,” she insists while driving to the farm, her long frame folded into the red Mini Cooper her daughter decorated with duck decals.

Such determination built Daguin’s company, rescued it from the wreckage of her breakup with Faison, and kept it independent when fellow organic-meat pioneers sold out. But it also has generated other obstacles for D’Artagnan–including the question of its future.

Daguin ducks this question as much as possible, perhaps because it’s a rare example of her plans getting thwarted. In her oft-told gospel of How Ariane Kept D’Artagnan, her daughter is Angel Gabriel, the herald who encouraged her mother to fight for the company. Alix, then 17, was visiting her grandparents in France when Ariane called to tell her that Faison might force her out. “And then she says to me, ‘Are you going to let George do that? What if, one day, I want to join the company?’ ” Daguin recounts, proud and wistful. “That’s the one thing–that one little sentence–that made me really fight hard for this.”

Today, Alix is an architect, with her own design firm and no plans to take over the company she inspired her mother to fight for. “My mom has raised me to think for myself,” she says. “At this point, I have my own path.”

At 61, Daguin does not seem to have retirement in her vocabulary, and she admits she’s not doing much planning for an Ariane-less D’Artagnan. Maybe she’ll sell some of it to her employees, through an ESOP–“as long as I can keep some control,” she muses.

 

But for now, there are foie gras battles to fight, a property in California to find, and sales to double. She’s also looking for a farm in upstate New York, planning to turn it into a D’Artagnan foundation and self-sustaining restaurant–one where people can milk the cows or learn how to make cheese and bread before dining at the sure-to-be-spectacular farm-to-table restaurant, which Alix will design. If it comes to fruition, the nonprofit could slyly accomplish goals that have long eluded Daguin: work with her daughter, resurrect her doomed restaurant–even, finally, become her father’s heir.

 

All of this is on her mind as she drives her tiny car across the George Washington Bridge, en route to Hudson Valley, a summer morning sky and the Hudson River stretched out endlessly on either side. “It’s good to get out of the office,” Daguin sighs, brightening as she contemplates her planned nonprofit. She’s just found the right farmland, she confides, and is waiting to hear if her offer is accepted. She lifts both hands, fingers crossed for her latest hope and dream. Letting go of the wheel, if only for a moment.

Duck, Duck, Foe

The process known as gavage is hard to describe in a way that doesn’t sound unpleasant, though what I observed at Hudson Valley Foie Gras in July did not seem to unduly distress the birds. Three times a day, a worker enters the in-barn but open-air pens holding about 10 ducks each, checks every duck’s gullet to make sure it’s fully digested its last feed, inserts a thin rubber tube down the duck’s throat, and dispenses liquid feed. Then the tube is removed and it’s on to the next duck. The feeding takes about five seconds per bird.

Animal-rights activists and foie gras foes call this process torturous. Foie gras producers, and some outside observers, however, argue that duck physiology is made for this; unlike humans, the birds have thick esophagi and livers that enlarge without showing signs of disease. “This has become an issue that people get angry over because it’s an easy target,” says Michaela DeSoucey, a North Carolina State associate professor and the author of Contested Tastes: Foie Gras and the Politics of Food. “People are nuts–on both sides.”

Many foie gras bans have been proposed around the country. The biggest so far was in California: In 2004, state law­makers passed a ban that went into effect in 2012, which has since ping-ponged through the appeals courts. (Current status: Upheld.) In 2006, Chicago aldermen passed a short-lived, much-mocked ban, which Mayor Richard M. Daley called “the silliest law that they’ve ever passed.” (It was repealed in 2008.) The bill New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera introduced in January would ban the sale of foie gras in the city by restaurants and vendors–which would affect businesses outside of the city, too. At presstime, the bill hadn’t been voted on, and producers were in limbo. “For us,” Daguin sighs, “it’s a big cloud over our heads.”

Source: This ‘Force of Nature’ and Her $132 Million Company Are Why You Eat Organic Meat

2019 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport – 3 Things You Need To Know

The Lexus brand has worked hard over the past few years to redesign it’s lineup in accordance with a bold new design theme. The ES is now the latest model to receive a full redesign, effectively turning the look into that of an entirely different car: and for the better. The ES offers a refined ride, quiet interior, and a hybrid powertrain if you’d like to add some electrification to your drive. It competes with cars like the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6, and while those models are arguably a bit sportier, neither can match the calming ride of the ES.

Attractive New Exterior Design

The new ES is built on the all-new Global Architecture – K (GA-K) platform, which Lexus engineered to make vehicles more agile, comfortable and striking.  There is no doubt that the all-new ES is a visually appealing vehicle, and it is easy to spot even in a long lineup of Mercedes and BMW’s. While some people have criticized Lexus for such a daring new design standard, I commend them.  Brands must take big risks to set themselves apart from the competition, or risk fading to the middle of the pack. Thanks to the adventurous decisions Lexus has made, the ES stands out with both instant brand recognition and an iconic look… and that’s exactly how it should be.

Today In: Lifestyle

Updated Engine & New 8-Speed Transmission

The ES only offers one petrol engine, a 3.5-liter V6 producing 302 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, it will accelerate the ES350 from 0-60 in around 6.6 seconds. While it’s not going to win many races, it is more than enough to feel confident and content while driving. It would be nice however, if more potent engines were offered, and it may be something for Lexus to consider adding in the future.  There is nothing to complain about in the new eight-speed transmission either, it’s an incredibly refined gearbox, offering smooth shifts under any and all conditions.

Upgraded Interior

Perhaps the biggest change on the all-new ES is in the interior.  Lexus has employed the latest signature design attributes and technology to make it feel and look like a true luxury car.

When it comes to the F-Sport model’s interior design, Lexus created an all-new kind of metallic cabin trim inspired by the making of a traditional Japanese sword.  Hadori aluminum trim features fluctuating wave patterns that give a three-dimensional appearance that varies depending on the viewing angle.

The seats are some of the most comfortable in-class, offering a unique and sporty design without sacrificing comfort. Even the seat controls and done in a metal finish making the cabin feel refined along with other soft interior elements and real metal trim.

Final Thoughts

The ES F-Sport focuses on comfort first, which is ideal if you are looking for something with a more aggressive look but don’t want to sacrifice comfort for it.  The refined powertrain, coupled with the new 8-speed, is incredibly smooth, though it also makes the ES one of the slowest vehicles in-class. Especially when compared against the base BMW 5 series, which has a 0-60 time of under 6 seconds and offers more power from a standstill, the ES can seem a bit slow. But, it is incredibly important to keep in mind that the ES starts at just $39,500, while the BMW and Audi equivalents are in the mid $50k range, a giant price gap which gives the ES a significant advantage.

Having been born in the Detroit area, I grew up with motor oil running through my veins. Wanting to put my passion to good use, at age sixteen I co-founded and hosted an automotive-focused YouTube channel, the Oakland Car Review, which garnered millions of views during its run. Transitioning toward written content, I was an early-stage partner in DRIVE Magazine and eventually oversaw its conversion to a fully digital platform. I now lead web operations at ThisIsDrive.com. My work extends to other outlets as well, these include some well-known names, such as Kelly Blue Book’s technology-focused Ride.Tech website. I remain up-to-date on the latest industry happenings by doing hours of research per week so that I can keep you informed. I am pleased to have been published on automotive topics for over five years and I look forward to bringing my passion for the industry and cars themselves to Forbes readers.

Source: 2019 Lexus ES 350 F-Sport – 3 Things You Need To Know

For nearly 30 years, the Lexus ES has consistently attracted luxury sedan shoppers wanted comfort, space, and value. Over the years, Lexus followed that same formula and the result in the best-selling Lexus sedan despite its very humble FWD Camry based roots. For 2019, Lexus hopes to inject a healthy dosage of youth to the mix with the very first F-Sport ES. It takes the sleek design from the flagship LS with nearly as much rear seat space as its much larger sibling. The 302 HP V6 still drives the front wheels, but the result of the new GA-K platform makes this 2019 model the sportiness ES Lexus has ever built.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro Leak Shows Stunning Design And Cool Features

Now the latest iPhones have been revealed, attention turns to Huawei. Its Mate 30 series is now the most highly-anticipated launch, for several reasons.

The unveiling takes place in Munich on Thursday, September 18, but a series of press renders have leaked, according to the ever-dependable Evan Blass.

There will be four phones in the series, the Mate 30 Lite, Mate 30 and the one we’re. concerned with here: the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. The fourth will be the Mate 30 Pro Porsche Design, which is more of a niche model.

There have already been reports of exactly what the new Pro will look like, but the new images from Blass show greater detail of what could be Huawei’s most handsome phone yet.

Today In: Innovation

Here’s what to expect at the Munich launch.

Front and rear of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, it's claimed.

@evleaks

This is the bit we’ve seen before but the latest images look splendid. The circular bezel around the four cameras evokes a camera lens itself, so it’s a particularly satisfying piece of design.

And note that the cameras don’t seem to protrude very far at all, unlike almost every other smartphone out there apart from the Nokia 9 PureView.

The notch isn’t small – room for a second camera

The front-facing camera and other tech are sitting in a bigger cut-out than on the Huawei P30 Pro, for instance. This suggests that the new phone will have two cameras, designed to make face unlocking faster and more secure than on current Huawei phones. Perhaps secure enough to authorize payments? We’ll see, though remember the current Huawei flagships include a fingerprint sensor under the display so that’s likely here as well.

Is this the sumptuous waterfall edge to the Huawei Mate 30 Pro?

@evleaks

The display design is sumptuous

This is what’s called a waterfall display. No, there’s no actual water involved, it means the way the display cascades over the edges like, you’ve guessed it, a waterfall. It’s one of the things that makes the phone looks so gorgeous and appealing.

Only one button – so where’s the volume control?

There’s a simplicity to design with fewer buttons, especially since there’s no visible fingerprint sensor, too. But the only previous phone with barely any buttons, from LG, had big volume rockers either side of the fingerprint/power button. This doesn’t seem to, seeming to confirm a previous rumor that the volume controls, like the fingerprint sensor, will be buried under the display. Cool, huh?

And one big unanswered question

This kind of leak can’t answer the biggest question of all: what software will the Mate 30 Pro use? Unless something changes in the U.S.-China trade negotiations, it seems Huawei can’t use the full Google Mobile Services Android on its next phones.

Now, things are changing very quickly in this situation but I doubt there’ll be any movement before this week’s reveal.

So, don’t be surprised if there’s a gap between announcement and release or even if Huawei play things close to their chest.

It could choose to put its own Harmony OS onboard but it’s made clear that’s a back-up, not the first choice.

It could put open-source Android on the phone and find some way to make it easy for customers to add apps like Google Maps, Gmail and so on. That’s possible, too.

That may not be answered this week, but for everything else, not long until we know.

__________

Follow me on Instagram by clicking here: davidphelantech and Twitter: @davidphelan2009

More on Forbes

Apple Watch Series 5 Sports Dazzling Always-On Screen, Cool Extras

Move Over, AirPods 2: Huawei Reveals Show-Stopping FreeBuds 3 With Cool Features

Huawei Shock: Mate 30 Pro To Miss Gmail, Google Maps, Report Claims

Sony 40th Anniversary Walkman’s Surprise Feature Is A Scene-Stealer

Huawei Mate 30 Pro Leaked Images Show Jaw-Dropping Design

Follow me on Twitter.

I’ve been writing about technology for two decades and am always struck by how the sector swings from startling innovation to regular repetitiveness. My areas of specialty are wearable tech, cameras, home entertainment and mobile technology. Over the years I’ve written about gadgets for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Metro, Stuff, T3, Pocket-lint, Wareable.com and Wired. Right now most of my work away from Forbes appears in the Independent, the Evening Standard and Monocle Magazine. Parenthetically, I also work as an actor, enjoying equally the first Mission Impossible movie, a season at Shakespeare’s Globe and a stint on Hollyoaks. Follow me on Instagram: davidphelantech, or Twitter: @davidphelan2009

Source: Huawei Mate 30 Pro Leak Shows Stunning Design And Cool Features

Huawei Mate 30 Pro Official Look, Mate 30, Mate 30 RS Porsche Edition, Mate 30 Lite, Watch GT 2, Kirin 990, OFFICIAL Teasers & More! 🔔 Please Subscribe for Daily Tech Videos 🙂 Mate 30 Pro Intro Concept by – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSSKZ… ★ INSTAGRAM: http://instagram.com/xeetechcare ★ TWITTER: http://twitter.com/xeetechcare

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar