Subscribe to Newsy feed
The Latest Videos From
Updated: 3 days 2 hours ago

California Airport Lets Non-Travelers Meet Travelers At Gate

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 01:04

Watch Video

If you've been around long enough to recall traveling prior to 9/11, you may have fond memories of seeing loved ones off or greeting them with an embrace right at the gate. You could relive those memories if you happen to fly in or out of one airport in California.

Ontario International Airport (ONT) in Ontario, California — about 40 miles east of Los Angeles — has announced a new program that allows non-travelers to go all the way to the gate and enjoy ONT's amenities. Better still, it's free.

ONT+ lets guests secure an online visitor pass they can use to enter Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints and access the post-security side of the passenger terminal. With the pass, visitors can also access the restaurants, shops and high-end lounges on the terminal's upper levels.

ONT+ Visitor Pass allows you to:

✅ Meet family/friends at the gate
✅ Check out the food and shopping in the terminals
✅ Geek out to some premium aircraft viewing

Learn more about the program at

— FlyONT (@flyONT) October 19, 2022

"We all remember the excitement of being able to meet arriving family and friends as they get off the plane," ONT Public Safety Administrator Dean Brown said in a statement. "ONT+ is a way to bring back some of that experience from decades ago, in a safe and secure manner."

Brown said he worked closely with TSA to establish the program, which is fully automated and integrated with the TSA's database. As a result, visitors with the ONT+ pass are subject to the same security regulations as passengers boarding an aircraft. So, for instance, if you have an ONT+ Visitor Pass, you won't be allowed to carry items prohibited by TSA into the terminal.

To obtain an ONT+ visitor pass, you should go to within seven days of your visit to complete an online application. You will need to provide your date of birth, gender and full legal name exactly as it appears on your TSA-approved photo ID, such as your passport or driver's license.

You'll receive a confirmation email when your request has been received, and then TSA will review it. If you're applying in advance, you'll get an email after midnight of the day of your visit informing you of your approval status. If you apply on the same day, you should receive an email within 15 minutes. If approved, you'll have access from the approved start time through 9 p.m. that day.

Note that you must show the ONT+ Visitor Pass attachment in the approval notification email on your mobile device to TSA along with your ID. Printed ONT+ Visitor Passes are not accepted. Also, availability is limited and visits are granted on a first-come, first-served basis. If you can't select a start date or time on the form, this means the slots are already filled.

Similar programs have been tested in other airports; Seattle Tacoma Airport currently offers a visitor's pass as well.

How Relationships Have Changed Since Dating Apps Became The Norm

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 01:00

Watch Video

Dating apps are common in this age. According to Pew Research Center's latest data on online dating, 30% of U.S. adults say they have used a dating app. That number is up from just 11% in 2013.

Therapist Matt Lundquist, who works with couples, says in recent years, dating apps often come up in his sessions.

"Many couples we've seen who met through a dating app of some kind has trended up pretty steadily and continually," Lundquist said. "It accelerated yet again in the pandemic, so it's become a big part of people's relationships and people's dating lives. It's become kind of the presumptive way that people are connecting and meeting people to date."

But before dating apps, there were dating sites.

More people were gaining access to computers in the 80s and 90s. The 1998 rom com "You've Got Mail" was one of the first pop culture introductions to online dating.

That time period is also when the world's first online dating website was launched,

In the early 2000s, other dating sites like eHarmony came onto the scene. These dating sites required a detailed profile where users had to give a good bit of information about their life and interests.

Dating apps came almost a decade later, originating in the gay community with platforms like Grindr that launched in 2009. The goal was to connect single men within the same geographic area. In 2012, Tinder was launched, which has been called a pivotal moment for online dating.

But these apps are seen as more casual, without detailed profiles like the dating sites that came before them. They became associated with "hooking up" or just casual encounters, rather than steady dating. Although there's limited research on dating apps since they're still fairly new, experts say this is because users can quickly glance at someone's physical appearance and see if there's an attraction before moving on to the next person.

SEE MORE: Matchmaking Is Making A Resurgence In The Dating World

Hinge was released in 2013, then Bumble came out in 2014 when a former Tinder executive decided to branch out and create a new type of platform where women can make the first move.

Dating apps have expanded the pool of people you can meet, and users say they're likely to meet people on the apps they wouldn't have met otherwise. But Lundquist says because of all of this choice, dating apps can also be tiring. Plus, attitudes toward dating have shifted.

"There are a lot of people... who are kind of cynically swiping, and almost the expectation when they open their phone and look at 10 or 20 or 50 people, which is not an uncommon number to swipe through in a sitting," Lundquist said. "When they agree to go on a date with somebody, the energy around that is really cynical, like, 'Oh, I have a date with somebody from Bumble. It's probably going to be awful.' There's just a lot of cynicism about it."

A survey from April of 500 18 to 54-year-olds found that about 80% experienced emotional burnout or fatigue with online dating.

With that said, some people have great luck with these apps, and their relationships end in marriage. Pew says 12% of people have married or been in a committed relationship with someone they met on a dating app.

According to The Knot, last year, Tinder was responsible for pairing over a quarter of newlyweds who met online, which may be surprising as many people know this as the app for more casual relationships.

When online dating was newer, it was taboo. There was a stigma around meeting someone online, but as they have become the norm, experts say people are more honest about sharing where they met. 

"I've not had a conversation with anybody about stigma," Lundquist said. "We don't want to tell our friends that we met this way, or I don't want to date this way because I don't want to have to tell people I met this way. I've not had that conversation with people in probably three or four years at least. It's become really the norm, at least among the kinds of folks I see in therapy."

Head Of Miss USA Suspended Amid Allegations Of A Rigged Pageant

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 00:58

Watch Video

The head of the Miss USA pageant is suspended amid allegations this month's competition in Reno, Nevada was rigged.

One of the contestants in this year's competition aired out allegations on TikTok, claiming favoritism toward winner R'Bonney Gabriel. 

"There was a lot of proof of favoritism towards the winner, Miss Texas USA," said Heather Lee O'Keefe, Miss Montana USA 2022. "Nothing against her personally, our frustrations are all with the organization."

Gabriel is getting attention for her understated reaction to her win. Further fueling suspicions is a promotional video featuring Gabriel from a pageant sponsor published mere hours after her win.

"Miss Texas USA was allegedly flown to and from Cancun mid-July via the Miss USA-sponsored airline, United," O'Keefe said. "She was the only contestant to receive this special kind of treatment and receive a solo trip to Cancun."

The head of Miss USA, Crystle Stewart, has denied the allegations, but nonetheless, the leadership of Miss Universe, which operates the Miss USA pageant, suspended her while they conduct a full review.

The suspension comes as Miss Universe gets new leadership. Chakrapong "Anne" Chakrajutathip announced Wednesday her company purchased the organization for $20 million. She's the first woman to own the organization. 

"It is the time that we lift the spirit of women," Chakrajutathip said. "I am looking forward to having the transformational leadership in women. This is why I acquire Miss Universe Organization. It is part of my personal life mission that i would just love to empower, to teach, to lead and to inspire all the women in the universe."

The new owner enters the arena under a spotlight — a burning focus on the integrity of the competition's affiliate pageant.

"I think people should expect change," said Amy Emmerich, CEO of the Miss Universe Organization. "We have not discussed together yet what is on the horizon, but I would say to expect some positive change."

FEMA Is Housing Hurricane Survivors, But Demand Is Sky High

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 00:46

Watch Video

A Walmart parking lot has become more than just a place to put a car in the month since Hurricane Ian ravaged Fort Myers.

"My home is Walmart," Anna Hoffman said.

Like many there, Hoffman and her husband's rental home was destroyed.

"I washed my husband's hair this morning in a bucket with bottles of water and shampoo," Hoffman said.

The fierce category four hurricane forced thousands of Floridians out of their homes and brought in thousands more for clean up and construction, creating a shortage in housing for Floridians displaced and those who there to rebuild.

"There aren't any hotels," Hoffman said. "Everything is booked, including FEMA-provided hotels, and the hotel that we did try to book ripped us off."

Jimmy Finch runs an organization called Cultivating Hope. He saw a need, dug into his pockets and drove down from Tennessee just days after Hurricane Ian made landing. He cooks for the crowd in the parking lot.

"I just fill it up and keep cooking till they stop coming," Finch said. 

Finch provides the meals for free, saying workers are his main customers. Many of them are sharing hotel rooms with up to four people, staying a three-hour drive from the island they're cleaning up.

"I think the greatest need is housing, because I've been here 25 days and I'm not going to tell you how many times in that 25 days I've showered," Finch said.

SEE MORE: Florida Seniors' Retirement Plans Were Destroyed With Hurricane Ian

Finch says while his decision to stay and help is a choice, it's not an option for others on a tight budget.

"All along this parking lot we had port-o-lets or porta potties... with sinks to wash your hands," Hoffman said. "There were showers, there was laundry. It's all gone. I mean, you blinked and it was gone."

Many rely on public restrooms and the kindness of others.

"I showered at my husband's work," Hoffman said. "He got permission from his boss, but before that, you kind of just take those sink baths."

FEMA says there is a high demand for short-term lodging for Hurricane Ian victims. The program is providing housing for more than 2,100 households and recently approved direct temporary housing for uninhabitable homes, but it's a small fraction compared to the amount of workers there and the 788,000 in Lee County alone.

"FEMA's direct housing program will not be able to meet every households needs, so I'm also announcing a state-led housing mission to provide travel trailers and recreational vehicles to impacted Floridians who may not be eligible for FEMA's program," Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.

But as long as there is a need, people sleeping at the parking lot are helping each other out, lifting each others' spirits during one of the darkest chapters of their lives.

"I never would have imagined that at 51 years old, everything that I built in my life, it's all gone," Hoffman said.

11 Haunted Hotels You Can Stay In For A Spooky Night Away

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 00:26

Watch Video

If you’ve graduated from Halloween's staged haunted houses and their almost predictable jump scares, you’re ready for an unscripted spooky slumber party with ghosts at a haunted hotel.

At the country’s most historic hotels, some guests have never checked out, their spirits purportedly lingering on the hotel grounds and playing pranks on travelers — like pulling sheets off the bed in the middle of the night and causing lights to mysteriously flicker on and off.

Book a room at one of these 11 U.S. hotels that are rumored to be haunted and enjoy a spirited stay — if you dare. Oh, and to really get in on the fun, don’t forget to pack your electromagnetic field detectors.

La Posada Hotel in Laredo, Texas

La Posada Hotel is a Spanish Revival-style boutique hotel that’s perched on the banks of the Rio Grande River and that once served as a school and a convent for the Sisters of Divine Providence. Over the years, hotel guests have reported seeing the likeness of a little girl with pigtails skipping through the lobby and a restless nun haunting the hotel. Security cameras even captured a dark figure floating 10 feet above the ground, according to the hotel. Other ghostly encounters guests have experienced include cold spots, moving objects and the sound of footsteps in the seemingly empty ballroom.The haunts don’t stop in the hotel, though: La Posada also houses the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum that’s filled with artifacts from the 1800s. Inside the museum, a cradle is known to start rocking all by itself, and a museum voice box intended to narrate the exhibits turns on randomly. A team of paranormal investigators confirmed significant activity in the museum in 2010.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado

During a stay in room 217 at The Stanley Hotel, horror author Stephen King jolted awake from a nightmare that inspired him to pen “The Shining.” The Colonial Revival-style hotel has a commanding presence in Estes Park, which is a gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park and a notable destination for paranormal investigators because it partially sits on a quartz and limestone mineral belt that they say helps retain residual energy, making it conducive for ghostly activities.

As for The Stanley itself? It’s been referred to as a “Disneyland for ghosts” with the central staircase a place where camera-ready guests capture lots of orbs. The hotel has been featured on episodes of “Ghost Hunters,” and visitors can embark on a Spirited Night Tour that relays the historic property’s spirited folklore.

Interesting fact: The movie adaptation of “The Shining” includes exterior shots of the Timberline Lodge in Oregon. However, you might recognize the stately Stanley from a scene in “Dumb and Dumber.”

Heceta Lighthouse in Yachats, Oregon

The Heceta Lighthouse keeps watch over the scenic Oregon Coast where Pacific waves crash against the rocky cliffs.

Those looking for a unique stay with surreal views can check into the old lightkeeper’s quarters at this historic red roof lighthouse. One caveat: You might run into Rue, the wife of an 1890s lighthouse keeper named Frank DeRoy. Lore has it that Rue had a daughter who died tragically during her time there. Guests have reported the scent of flowers or a rose perfume wafting in the air and have noticed imprints on their beds appear out of nowhere.

The Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina

A strange but gentle spirit known as the “Pink Lady” has haunted The Omni Grove Park Inn for decades, according to hotel rumors. It’s believed that she was a “guest of a guest” during the 1920s, falling over the edge of the balcony and meeting her demise on the Palm Court floor. Details of her death are unconfirmed as it’s unknown whether she jumped, fell or was pushed. But since her untimely passing that’s shrouded in mystery, guests have reported seeing a pink mist or an apparition of a young woman with long hair wearing a pink gown.

The Washoe Club in Virginia City, Nevada

Paranormal investigators from “Ghost Adventurers” claim to have come across the “most compelling paranormal evidence ever captured” at Virginia City’s Washoe Club. The epitome of a boom-and-bust mining town, miners went from rags to riches in Virginia City when they struck silver and gold in the resource-rich Comstock Lode.

But this frozen-in-time ghost town outside of Reno had lots of Wild West drama that’s ready-made for ghost stories, including a fire that ravaged the town, a red light district, lover’s quarrels and fatal mining accidents.

For an immersive experience, the Washoe Club offers daily ghost tours or, for $400, your group can get access to all three floors of the hotel, the crypt and the spiral staircase for an full-on investigation.

Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona

In the heart of Tucson’s downtown, Hotel Congress was built in 1919, and during its century-long history it survived a massive fire and has been a hideout for outlaws like John Dillinger.

The second floor is rumored to be the most haunted, with guests in room 242 reporting being awakened by a woman in a long white dress sitting at the foot of the bed. From the plaza, guests have reported seeing a man lingering in the window of room 214 wearing a seersucker suit, despite the room being vacant at the time of the sightings.

The Union Station Nashville Yards in Nashville, Tennessee

Originally a train depot on the L&N Railroad, Union Station today is a beautifully restored boutique hotel that preserves Romanesque architecture and features a stained glass ceiling. It also holds a ghost story, as the legendary room 711 is purportedly haunted by a spirit named Abigail who came to the Union Station depot during World War II to see off her beau. After learning he was killed in battle, it’s said Abigail returned to the railway station and threw herself in front of a train.

Over the years, guests have reported hauntings, including flickering lights and sudden plunges in temperature. One traveler staying in room 711 told the hotel staff he heard what sounded like furniture dragging overhead, though the room is on the top floor of the hotel.

Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, Louisiana

Above-ground tombs, 18th century vampires, voodoo spells and a steady stream of ghost tours in the French Quarter? It’s no wonder New Orleans is known as one of the most haunted places in America and is a notable filming destination for occult-themed shows and films like “American Horror Story Coven.”

While just about every bar and hotel in the Big Easy has its own collection of ghost stories (some bartenders even leave out sips for their resident spirits), Hotel Monteleone, which is anchored by a Carousel Bar, is known for being one of the premier haunted hotels in New Orleans. The ghostly occurrences are common, here, including a restaurant door that opens almost every night even though it’s locked, according to the hotel.

The hotel also claims it’s also haunted by a friendly toddler named Maurice who died of a fever-induced convulsion while his parents were at the opera and he was entrusted in a nanny’s care. His distraught parents returned to the hotel seeking a visit from his spirit, and Maurice appeared to his mother near the room he died in and said, “Mommy, don’t cry. I’m fine.” Other hotel guests have reported witnessing the toddler on the 14th floor (which is actually the 13th floor).

Malaga Inn in Mobile, Alabama

Built on top of a secret tunnel that was rumored to be a hiding spot for soldiers during the Civil War, the Malaga Inn was originally a pair of newly constructed twin mansions that were gifted to a set of sisters as a wedding gift. But could it be the sisters have never abandoned their living quarters? Guests at the 39-room boutique inn have reported seeing a woman in white pacing on the balcony of Room 7, seen chandeliers swinging and furniture moving on its own. Rumored to be one of the most haunted stays in the South, the Malaga Inn was even the setting for a reality TV drama about haunted hotels.

Red Coach Inn in Niagara Falls, New York

For a ghost-themed trip, you can seek out all types of destinations along New York State’s Haunted History Trail. Some of the highlights include the Belhurst Castle in Geneva, where the Isabella Spa and Salon is named after the castle’s most famous ghost, and Miles Wine Cellars in Himrod, where strange happenings like slamming doors and unexplained footsteps occur.

At the English Tudor-style Red Coach Inn that overlooks Niagara’s Upper Rapids, guests have reported paranormal encounters like jewelry moving across dressers and, despite being on the top floor, hearing people dancing above them.

The Oxford Hotel in Denver, Colorado

Back in 1898, Florence Montague shot and killed her philandering husband in Room 320 at The Oxford Hotel before taking her own life. To this day, single male guests who stay in the room have reported being taunted by the ghost of Florence, who is rumored to pull sheets off the bed and turn the lights and bathroom faucets on and off.

For more haunts, the hotel’s bar The Cruise Room is reportedly home to a post office ghost who mutters “the children, I have to get the gifts to the children.” According to historical accounts from the hotel, a mailman en route to deliver Christmas presents to children in the mountain town of Central City got stuck in a snowstorm and never made it.

Florida Candidates Hoping To Win Over Hispanic Voters In Midterms

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 00:26

Watch Video

Early voting is well underway in Florida, and if there's one group of people here the candidates are hoping to win over —  Hispanic voters. 

Venus Flores said she made the wrong decision at 18 years old, and it's influencing her vote in November. 

"I'm a person that had an abortion, you know, and it hurt me when I did it," said Flores. 

Flores, a devout Christian, is putting her religion and social causes first as she picks her candidates this cycle. 

"We should have a right to our children, not the government. The government shouldn't tell me when I should get a vaccine and when I can't get a vaccine," she said. 

She's one of the majority of Hispanic voters who support Republican governor Ron DeSantis' reelection. A Telemundo/LX poll found the governor has a 56% approval rating among Hispanic voters. And when it comes to who they'll pick this time around, he is leading opponent Congressman Charlie Crist comfortably. 

"He stands for what we believe in. He stands for freedom," said Flores. 

Hispanic voters haven't always swung Republican. In fact, Exit polling shows DeSantis lost the group by 10 points the year he won the governorship. But things have changed. 

Republicans have continued to pin far left Democrats, like senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as socialists comparable to the regimes these voters fled. COVID happened, hurricane Ian happened. And the same poll showed high approval ratings for the governor's job on both of those. He's also invested a lot into Spanish language ads to close that losing margin. 

But the reality is Hispanic voters come from more than two dozen different countries, meaning like any group, the priorities of each voter aren't always the same. 

SEE MORE: Voter Priorities Heading Into Midterm Elections

"It just depends where you're from — if you're from maybe Venezuela or Cuba, you're gonna lean one way. And if you're from another country, perhaps you lean the other way," said Joel Flores, mayor of Greenacres, Palm Beach County. 

Crist is seeing support from voters from Latin America. A major issue dividing the Hispanic community is governor DeSantis' decision to send migrants from Florida to Martha's Vineyard. According to Telemundo's polling, Latino immigrants were the most supportive group of the relocation. But Joel Flores, the mayor of Greenacres, a growing Hispanic community in Palm Beach County, said the polling doesn't tell the full story.

"I can't believe the person that we elected to represent us would do such a thing. Personally, as a Hispanic, I an elected official, am ashamed that that event occurred, and that was a thought in somebody's head. My Venezuelan community has felt betrayed. In a way, the reason they felt betrayed is because they support Republican candidates," said Flores.  

And while that issue is upsetting to many, it's the safety of their kids in their neighborhood, the economy and the skyrocketing cost of home ownership keeping them up at night. 

"What that has cost is that our community, our workforce has been shifted out. Our businesses are suffering. They can't get enough employees to fill those jobs that they desperately need," said Flores.  

And Democrats here are trying to combat those concerns on a very local level with a ballot measure to create $200 million in housing bonds aimed at helping working class families.  

The concerns among Democrats are beyond this election. From the bottom up, Republicans are closing the margins with this voting block in Florida and that alone could turn the tide in Florida for years to come.

Recall Of Philips CPAP Device Causing Worldwide Shortage Of Devices

Fri, 10/28/2022 - 00:20

Watch Video

At doctor Jerald Simmons' Houston area clinics, It's not an overstatement to say patients may be losing sleep these days.  

"Here I am giving someone a diagnosis saying you have obstructive sleep apnea and we need to treat your airway. Oh, by the way, the machine that we want to prescribe for you is been back ordered because there's a worldwide shortage," he said.  

Simmons is a neurologist who treats sleeping disorders. He said a massive recall of Philips machines is causing patients to wait  for the helpful treatment they can deliver. 

"Prior to this recall that occurred, when we would order CPAP machine for a patient. They would get it within about a week and sometimes even sooner. But with the recall it's taking months," he said.  

Philips said potentially harmful disintegrating foam that could be inhaled is the culprit. 

The devices are called continuous positive airway pressure machines or CPAP machines. They force air through a mask to keep passageways open during sleep. They're used to treat sleep apnea — a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. It can lead to drowsiness and increased risk of heart attack. 

The recall's knock-on effects stretch into other device makers, because demand is high for the machines and supplies are limited for them. They usually cost between $500-$1000. 

SEE MORE: This Implant Helps Patients Suffering From Sleep Apnea

Dr. Sudha Tallavajhula, is a doctor at TIRR Memorial Hermann Neurological Sleep Medicine Center. 

"Many of them that did still haven't received the replacement machines. Those that are trying to purchase the machines privately and not go through insurance or wait for the backup and online are paying some pretty hefty sums, you know, outrageous sums for some even refurbished machines. So it has affected a lot of patients," said Tallavajhula. 

The FDA has received more than 70,000 reports of health problems tied to Philips devices including pneumonia, headache and cancer. However such reports are not independently confirmed and cannot prove a causal connection. The FDA took a rare step in March, ordering the Dutch manufacturer to provide clearer information about the health risks of its products, saying "the company's notification efforts to date have been inadequate."  

"But yes, it left a lot of us in the gray zone. In fact, still, I mean, there are some patients that don't quite know what to do," said Tallavajhula. 

If patients have to wait, sleep medicine clinics are providing alternative treatments.  

"All of our new patients that we're diagnosing with sleep apnea that we want to place onto PAP therapy, all of them are having to deal with the delays. So now that's quite a few patients. It's become sort of just our standard, our experience with our patients," said Simmons. 

Philips has said its ongoing testing on the recalled devices is encouraging, but the efforts to solve the problems will stretch on until next year. More than five and a half million Philips CPAP machines worldwide are subject to that recall. Talk to your doctor if you think this affects you. 

Why Is American Election Season So Long?

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 21:43

Watch Video

If it feels like it's always election season — you're not really wrong. 

Talk about the next presidential election is already underway and that's because American presidential candidates campaign longer than candidates in most other countries. 

For example, former Congressman John Delaney announced his bid for the 2020 presidential election on July 28, 2017 — 1,194 days before election day. That's enough time to play 41 World Cups, 75 summer Olympics games or to watch the final 2020 presidential debate 19,000 times. 

So, why is election season so long? In part because it can be, according to Hannah McCarthy, the host of the "Civics 101" podcast and author of "A User's Guide to Democracy: How America Works." 

"The clearest answer here is that the American election system goes on and on and on because we don't have a law limiting how long the election season goes on. Like so many other countries in the world, the FEC does not say, we must start now and stop here," said McCarthy. 

SEE MORE: Political Campaigns Have More Data On You Than You Might Think

In Mexico by law, candidates have 150 days to get through party nominations and the general election. In Japan, the law limits candidates to just 12 days of campaigning and Canada had its longest election cycle in 2015 — 78 days. 

Also responsible for the never-ending campaign cycle in the U.S.: former President Jimmy Carter. He started campaigning for the 1976 election in early 1975, crisscrossing Iowa nearly a year before the state's caucuses. His popularity grew there and eventually launched him into the White House. That "start-early" strategy caught on.  

"It really is in 1976 where you start to see these primaries proving themselves not just as a way for a candidate to get their foot in the door early, but as an important place that you have to prove yourself in order to win the nomination down the line," said McCarthy.  

Money is another reason campaign season never seems to end, according to political science professor Michael Traugott.

"American campaigns are very expensive. The candidates need a lot of time to raise as much money as they can," said Traugott. 

Presidential candidates and political groups spent a total of $5.7 billion on the 2020 election. But that doesn't always pay off with voters. The year-round cycle wears them out. In a 2016 Pew Research survey, 59% of Americans said they were worn out by the amount of election coverage. 

But don't expect the non-stop campaigning to slow down anytime soon.  

"This is the system that we have had and will continue to have from quite far into the future," said Traugott. 

That means presidential races may continue to feel like ultra-marathons.  

Why Are Political Outsiders Running For Office?

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:59

Watch Video

Throughout history, unlikely candidates have moved from the sidelines, to the forefront of American politics

These Washington newcomers are often dubbed "political outsiders." They're candidates who typically have little or no national political experience. With wit, an appealing message and campaign-savvy, outsiders have drawn public support for centuries. They use tactics like catchy slogans, "Together, we will 'Make America Great Again,'" said Donald Trump. 

And relatable stories like the one of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who said "women like me aren't supposed to run for office. I wasn't born to a wealthy or powerful family." Pulling at the heart strings of voters. 

A thread of distrust in the "establishment," some researchers say, fuels the outsider. 

According to the Pew Research Center, confidence that the government will do the "right" thing began to erode in the 1960s, following former President Lyndon B. Johnson's decision to escalate the Vietnam War. That decline continued through former President Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal. 

Americans regained confidence as the economy recovered under Washington outsider Ronald Reagan. It reached a three-decade high in the 90s, with the economic success of the Bill Clinton administration. 

SEE MORE: Herschel Walker Faces Abortion Allegation From 2nd Accuser

But, since 2007, trust in the government hasn't surpassed 30%. This year reached a near historic low at 20%. The country's faith in career bureaucrats has also waned. Pew found confidence in career government workers dropped 9% over the last four years. 

And as the right and the left struggle to find middle ground on key issues, discord between parties has swelled. Pew data showed growing shares of Republicans and Democrats describing the opposing party as close-minded, dishonest, immoral and unintelligent. Researchers at the University of Chicago said polarized times like these are a gateway for political outsiders. 

Following President Trump's victory in 2016, Democrats pulled off a string of upsets to gain the House majority in 2018 — with an arsenal of political newcomers, including military veterans, businesswomen, and physicians coming out on top. History is repeating itself in the upcoming elections, with a field loaded with outsiders. From former athletes, "if you want it bad enough, you work for it, you can get it," said Hershel Walker,  to authors, "I'm here to tell ya, we need a new politics for a new generation," said JD Vance, and even a daytime television host, "we lost too many lives, too many jobs, and too many opportunities because Washington got it wrong," said Mehmet Oz.  

Right now, the polls have shown no clear and faraway favorites. But, if the past is any indication, this year's midterms could bring a host of outsiders inside the beltway. 

Rural Areas To Get $759M In Grants For High-Speed Internet

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:47

Watch Video

The Agriculture Department announced Thursday it is making available $759 million in grants and loans to enable rural communities to access high-speed internet, part of the broader $65 billion push for high-speed connectivity from last year's infrastructure law.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House senior adviser Mitch Landrieu unveiled the grants during a visit to North Carolina.

There are 49 recipients in 24 states. One is North Carolina's AccessOn Networks, which will receive $17.5 million to provide broadband service to 100 businesses, 76 farms and 22 educational facilities in the state's Halifax and Warren counties. Both counties are rural and have predominantly Black populations.

"Rural America needs this," Vilsack said. "Rural America deserves this." He made the announcement in front of John Deere equipment, noting that rural areas tend to be where the electricity for cities is generated and where city dwellers and suburbanites go for vacations.

The announcement and visit to North Carolina, a state with an open U.S. Senate seat, come as President Joe Biden and other top Democratic officials are trying to sell their achievements to voters before the Nov. 8 midterm elections. Landrieu, the infrastructure coordinator and former New Orleans mayor, told reporters on a Wednesday call that the Biden administration has already released $180 billion for various infrastructure projects.

The administration is specifically targeting support for small towns and farm communities, places that generally favor Republicans over Democrats.

SEE MORE: Rural Americans Still Struggle To Gain Access To The Internet

"Rural communities are the backbone of our nation, but for too long they've been left behind and they have been underrecognized," Landrieu said. "We all know how essential the internet is in order to access lifesaving telemedicine, to tap into economic opportunity, to connect with loved ones, to work on precision agriculture and so much more. That's just beyond unacceptable that that's not available to rural America."

Vilsack said he and Landrieu would "learn firsthand" from people in North Carolina about the opportunities internet access can create. They met with state and local officials including North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper at Wake Technical Community College. They will also hold a town hall in Elm City.

Cooper attributed the broadband advances to the pandemic shutdowns that made people more reliant on the internet.

"It tossed us into the future by about a decade — we had to make something good out of something bad," he said. He added that 1 million of the state's residents have been on the wrong side of the digital divide, something the build-out will help to correct.

Neither candidate in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race — Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd — was slated to appear at the events.

Vilsack said that past trips show how broadband connectivity is starting to make a difference. While in Nevada this summer, he heard from people in the town of Lovelock who plan to use the improved internet to enhance their emergency responder services and tourism opportunities as well as help high school students who are earning college credit online.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

U.S. Weekly Unemployment Claims Inch Higher To 217,000

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 19:25

Watch Video

Slightly more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market remains one of the healthiest parts of an uneven U.S. economy.

Jobless claims for the week ending Oct. 22 inched up by 3,000 to 217,000 from 214,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The four-week moving average rose to 219,000 from 212,250 the previous week.

SEE MORE: Why Are Layoffs On The Rise?

Applications for jobless claims, considered a proxy for layoffs, have remained historically low even as the Federal Reserve has cranked up its benchmark borrowing rate in an effort to cool the economy and tame inflation.

Fed officials have warned that the unemployment rate will likely have to rise as part of their fight against rising prices, and the most recent government jobs report likely snuffed out any hope that the Fed would pause rate increases when it meets in next week.

American employers slowed their hiring in September but still added 263,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell from 3.7% to 3.5%, matching a half-century low.

Earlier this month, the government reported that inflation in the United States accelerated in September, with the cost of housing and other necessities intensifying pressure on families and businesses.

SEE MORE: Americans Are Trying To Cope With Rising Inflation

Four-decade high inflation has prompted the Federal Reserve to keep raising its key interest rate, which is currently in a range of 3% to 3.25%. A little more than six months ago, that rate was near zero. The sharp rate hikes have pushed mortgage rates up near 7%, and made other borrowing costlier. The Fed hopes that higher interest rates will slow borrowing and spending and push inflation closer to its traditional 2% target.

The U.S. economy rebounded in the third quarter, the government reported Thursday, expanding by 2.6% after contracting in the first half of the year.

The total number of Americans collecting unemployment aid rose by 55,000 to 1.44 million for the week ending Oct. 15, its highest level in seven months, but still not a worrisome level.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

More Kids To Ride In 'Clean' School Buses, Mostly Electric

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 18:55

Watch Video

Nearly 400 school districts spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C., along with several tribes and U.S. territories, are receiving roughly $1 billion in grants to purchase about 2,500 "clean" school buses under a new federal program.

The Biden administration is making the grants available as part of a wider effort to accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles and reduce air pollution near schools and communities.

Vice President Kamala Harris and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announced the grant awards Wednesday in Seattle. The new, mostly electric school buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save money and better protect children's health, they said.

As many as 25 million children ride yellow buses each school day, and they will have a healthier future with a cleaner fleet, Harris said.

"We are witnessing around our country and around the world the effects of extreme climate," she said. "What we're announcing today is a step forward in our nation's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, to invest in our economy ... to invest in building the skills of America's workforce. All with the goal of not only saving our children, but for them, saving our planet.''

Only about 1% of the nation's 480,000 school buses were electric as of last year, but the push to abandon traditional diesel buses has gained momentum in recent years. Money for the new purchases is available under the federal Clean School Bus Program, which includes $5 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed last year.

The clean bus program "is accelerating our nation's transition to electric and low-emission school buses while ensuring a brighter, healthier future for our children," Regan said.

The EPA initially made $500 million available for clean buses in May but increased that to $965 million last month, responding to what officials called overwhelming demand for electric buses. An additional $1 billion is set to be awarded in the budget year that began Oct. 1.

SEE MORE: Detroit Auto Show Returns After 3 Years, Focus On Electric Vehicles

The EPA said it received about 2,000 applications requesting nearly $4 billion for more than 12,000 buses, mostly electric. Some 389 applications worth $913 million were accepted to support purchase of 2,463 buses, 95% of which will be electric, the EPA said. The remaining buses will run on compressed natural gas or propane.

School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural or tribal students make up 99% of the projects that were selected, the White House said. More applications are under review, and the EPA plans to select more winners to reach the full $965 million in coming weeks.

Districts set to receive money range from Wrangell, Alaska, to Anniston, Alabama, and Teton County, Wyoming, to Wirt County, West Virginia. Besides the District of Columbia, big cities that won grants for clean school buses include New York, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

White House adviser Mitch Landrieu said he expects many buses to be delivered by the start of the next school year, with the remainder likely to be in service by the end of 2023. The billion dollars being spent this year — along with an additional $4 billon expected over the next four years — should "supercharge" a domestic manufacturing boom for electric school buses, said Landrieu, a former New Orleans mayor tapped by Biden to oversee spending in the massive infrastructure law.

"These buses will be made in America — real jobs with real wages," Landrieu said in an interview. "We are going to ramp up manufacturing in this country."

Environmental and public health groups hailed the announcement, which comes after years of advocacy to replace diesel-powered buses with cleaner alternatives.

"It doesn't make sense to send our kids to school on buses that create brain-harming, lung-harming, cancer-causing, climate-harming pollution,'' said Molly Rauch, public health policy director for Moms Clean Air Force, an environmental group. "Our kids, our bus drivers and our communities deserve better.''

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Meta Fined $24.7M For Campaign Finance Disclosure Violations

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 18:16

Watch Video

A Washington state judge on Wednesday fined Facebook parent company Meta nearly $25 million for repeatedly and intentionally violating campaign finance disclosure law, in what is believed to be the largest campaign finance penalty in U.S. history.

The penalty issued by King County Superior Court Judge Douglass North was the maximum allowed for more than 800 violations of Washington's Fair Campaign Practices Act, passed by voters in 1972 and later strengthened by the Legislature. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson argued that the maximum was appropriate considering his office previously sued Facebook in 2018 for violating the same law.

Meta, based in Menlo Park, California, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

SEE MORE: The History Of Campaign Financing

Washington’s transparency law requires ad sellers such as Meta to keep and make public the names and addresses of those who buy political ads, the target of such ads, how the ads were paid for and the total number of views of each ad. Ad sellers must provide the information to anyone who asks for it. Television stations and newspapers have complied with the law for decades.

But Meta has repeatedly objected to the requirements, arguing unsuccessfully in court that the law is unconstitutional because it “unduly burdens political speech” and is “virtually impossible to fully comply with.” While Facebook does keep an archive of political ads that run on the platform, the archive does not disclose all the information required under Washington's law.

“I have one word for Facebook’s conduct in this case — arrogance,” Ferguson said in a news release. “It intentionally disregarded Washington’s election transparency laws. But that wasn’t enough. Facebook argued in court that those laws should be declared unconstitutional. That’s breathtaking. Where’s the corporate responsibility?"

SEE MORE: Social Media Has Become Saturated With Ads. How Did We Get Here?

In 2018, following Ferguson’s first lawsuit, Facebook agreed to pay $238,000 and committed to transparency in campaign finance and political advertising. It subsequently said it would stop selling political ads in the state rather than comply with the requirements.

Nevertheless, the company continued selling political ads, and Ferguson sued again in 2020.

"Meta was aware that its announced ‘ban’ would not, and did not, stop all such advertising from continuing to be displayed on its platform,” North wrote last month in finding that Meta violation's were intentional.

Each violation of the law is typically punishable by up to $10,000, but penalties can be tripled if a judge finds them to be intentional. North fined Meta $30,000 for each of its 822 violations — about $24.7 million. Ferguson described the fine as the largest campaign finance-related penalty ever issued in the U.S.

Meta, one of the world's richest companies, reported quarterly earnings Wednesday of $4.4 billion, or $1.64 per share, on revenue of nearly $28 billion, in the three month period that ended Sept. 30.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Some States Are Voting On Legalizing Marijuana

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 17:45

Watch Video

Some of the most conservative states in the nation are set to vote on a progressive policy this November — recreational marijuana.  

"The biggest barriers to expanding access to marijuana these days are the fear that it is a gateway drug. And we've proven that it is not," said Rick Steves, the Chair for Board of Directors Chair at NORML. 

Voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota will weigh in on whether they want to legalize cannabis for adults.  

In every state except Maryland, weed is on the ballot because of a citizen-initiated effort.  

"There's been a disconnect between voters and their representatives. And that's what the initiative process is for. It's a recourse for the people to affect changes in public policy, when their representatives aren't listening," said Matthew Schweich, the deputy director at the Marijuana Policy Project

Supporters say the benefits of expanding access include tax revenue, new employment opportunities and eliminating the black market. But one of the biggest impacts is on the criminal justice system and putting an end to arrests for simple possession. 

"These are people who have lost opportunities for jobs, scholarships, joining the military, housing. And there's real, real world impacts of these of these arrests and these convictions and these records. And I think it is a gross injustice that we allow in our society right now,” said Schweich. 

SEE MORE: California Takes Steps To Further Legalize Marijuana

All five states currently allow medicinal cannabis, so each one would be expanding an already-existing marijuana market and making access easier. 

"Access to medical still too difficult, and a lot of voters recognize that and they're very passionate about access to medical. So even if they're on the fence about recreational, they may vote for recreational initiative if they know it legitimately expands access to medical," said Schweich. 

Supporters of these initiatives recognize access needs to be expanded responsibly. They say that means carefully regulating sales and distribution, ensuring marijuana is not marketed to kids, and establishing consumption laws on par with how America treats alcohol.  

"Marijuana is a drug, you know, it needs to be regulated. But the smart way to regulate it is not to make a big criminal issue out of it. But just to educate people and deal honestly, with the public about the challenges revolving around marijuana like other soft drugs, alcohol and tobacco," said Steves.  

Currently, 19 states have legalized weed and another 20 allow medical marijuana, have decriminalized possession or have done both. A new Monmouth University poll found 68% of Americans support legalizing possession of marijuana for personal use.  

U.N. Report: Climate Pollution Reductions 'Highly Inadequate'

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 17:07

Watch Video

The world, especially richer carbon polluting nations, remains "far behind" and is not doing nearly enough -- not even promising to do enough -- to reach any of the global goals limiting future warming, a United Nations report said.

That "highly inadequate" inaction means the window is closing, but not quite shut yet, on efforts to keep future warming to just a few more tenths of a degree from now, according to Thursday's Emissions Gap report from the United Nations Environment Programme.

"Global and national climate commitments are falling pitifully short," United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday. "We are headed for a global catastrophe."

The world is weaning itself from fossil fuels too slowly, the report and experts said.

"The report confirms the utterly glacial pace of climate action, despite the looming precipice of climate tipping points we're approaching," said climate scientist Bill Hare, head of Climate Analytics that also examines what countries are promising and doing about carbon emissions in its own analysis.

Instead of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels, the global goals set by 2015 Paris agreement, the way the world is acting now, warming will hit 5 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100, the UN report said. Countries concrete pledges would bring that down to 4.7 degrees Fahrenheit. It's already warmed 2 degrees Fahrenheit since pre-industrial times.

"In all likelihood we will pass by 1.5," UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen told The Associated Press in an interview. "We can still do it, but that means 45% emissions reductions" by 2030.

SEE MORE: U.N. Weather Agency: Greenhouse Gases Reach New Record In 2021

World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said the U.N. weather agency has calculated that there's a 50% chance that world will likely hit the 1.5 degree mark temporarily in the next five years and "in the next decade we'd be there on a more permanent basis."

"It's really about understanding that every little digit (tenth of a degree of warming) that we shave off is a lesser catastrophic outlook," Andersen said.

"We're sliding from climate crisis to climate disaster," Andersen said in a Thursday news conference.

The emissions gap is the difference between the amount of carbon pollution being spewed between now and 2030 and the lower levels needed to keep warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees.

Guterres said "the emissions gap is a by-product of a commitments gap. A promises gap. An action gap."

Stanford University climate scientist Rob Jackson, who chairs the independent Global Carbon Project that tracks carbon dioxide emissions around the world but wasn't part of the UN report, said "another decade of fossil emissions at current rates and we'll zip past 1.5C.... The way things are going though we'll zip past 1.5C, past 2C and -- heaven help us -- even 2.5 or 3C."

"We're failing by winning too slowly," Jackson said in an email. "Renewables are booming and cheaper than ever. But COVID stimulus plans and the war in Ukraine have disrupted global energy markets and led some countries (to) revert to coal and other fuels. This can't continue in a safe climate."

SEE MORE: Scientists Say New Climate Law Is Likely To Reduce Warming

In 10 days, yearly international climate negotiations will begin in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and in the run up to the United Nations conference, several reports highlight different aspects of the world's battle to curb climate change. Wednesday, a different UN agency looked at countries' official emission reduction targets. Thursday's Emissions Gap report looks at what countries are actually doing as well as what they promise to do in the future in various pledges.

The G20 nations, the richest countries, are responsible for 75% of the heat-trapping pollution, Andersen said, adding "clearly the more those G20s lean in, the better we will be."

The report said "G20 members are far behind in delivering" on their promises to reduce emissions. Taking out the special cases of Turkey and Russia, current polices by G20 nations fall 2.6 billion metric tons a year short of the 2030 goal, the report said. Both Turkey and Russia's targets for 2030 have higher pollution levels than current policies project and using their projections would make the G20 emissions gap artificially low, the report said.

"It's critical that China, as well as the U.S. and other G20 countries, actually lead," Andersen said. She hailed the newly passed $375 billion American climate- and inflation-fighting law as an example of action instead of just promises.

The report said that by 2030 the U.S. law should prevent 1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions, which is much more than other nations efforts made this year.

"What we're calling for is an accelerated pace because there are good things happening out there in a number of countries, but it's just not fast enough and it's not consistent enough," Andersen said.

Overall to get to the emission cuts needed, the world needs to transform to a low-carbon economy, something that needs global investments of $4 trillion to $6 trillion a year, the report said.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

U.S. Mortgage Rates Top 7% For The First Time In 2 Decades

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 16:28

Watch Video

The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate topped 7% for the first time in more than two decades this week, a result of the Federal Reserve's aggressive rate hikes intended to tame inflation not seen in some 40 years.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the key 30-year rate jumped to 7.08% from 6.94% last week. The last time the average rate was above 7% was April 2002, a time when the U.S. was still reeling from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but six years away from the 2008 housing market collapse that triggered the Great Recession.

Last year at this time, rates on a 30-year mortgage averaged 3.14%.

The Fed has raised its key benchmark lending rate five times this year, including three consecutive 0.75 percentage point increases that have brought its key short-term borrowing rate to a range of 3% to 3.25%, the highest level since 2008. At their last meeting in late September, Fed officials projected that by early next year they would raise their key rate to roughly 4.5%.

SEE MORE: U.S. Economy Returned To Growth Last Quarter, Expanding 2.6%

Mortgage rates don't necessarily mirror the Fed's rate increases, but tend to track the yield on the 10-year Treasury note. That's influenced by a variety of factors, including investors' expectations for future inflation and global demand for U.S. Treasurys.

Many potential homebuyers have moved to the sidelines as mortgage rates have more than doubled this year. Sales of existing homes have declined for eight straight months as borrowing costs have become too high a hurdle for many Americans already paying more for food, gas and other necessities. Meanwhile, some homeowners have held off putting their homes on the market because they don't want to jump into a higher rate on their next mortgage.

The Fed is expected to raise its benchmark rate another three-quarters of a point when it meets next week. Despite the rate increases, inflation has hardly budged from 40-year highs, above 8% at both the consumer and wholesale level.

The Fed rate increases have shown some signs of cooling the economy. But the rate increases have seemed to have little effect on the job market yet, which remains strong with the unemployment rate matching a 50-year low of 3.5% and layoffs still historically low.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Judge Considers Stopping Phoenix Ballot Drop Box Watchers

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 16:22

Watch Video

A federal judge in Arizona said he hopes to decide by Friday whether to order members of a group to stop monitoring outdoor ballot drop boxes in the Phoenix area in an effort that has sparked allegations of voter intimidation.

The groups Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans and Voto Latino asked U.S. District Judge Michael Liburdi during a Wednesday hearing to prevent members of Clean Elections USA from gathering within sight of drop boxes in Maricopa County, the state's most populous, and from following voters and taking photos and videos of them and their cars.

The attorney for Clean Elections USA said that such a broad restraining order would be unconstitutional.

Liburdi said he hoped to issue a decision by Friday but could continue to weigh the matter into the weekend.

The League of Women Voters filed a similar suit Tuesday in federal court in Arizona, alleging that Clean Elections USA is intimidating voters.

That suit also alleges that the groups Lions of Liberty and the Yavapai County Preparedness Team, which are associated with the far-right anti-government group Oath Keepers, have undertaken their own effort to watch ballot boxes and film voters in Arizona’s Yavapai County.

Election deniers around the United States have embraced a film that has been discredited called “2000 Mules” that claims that people were paid to travel among drop boxes and stuff them with fraudulent ballots during the 2020 presidential vote.

There’s no evidence for the notion that a network of Democrat-associated ballot “mules” has conspired to collect and deliver ballots to drop boxes, either two year ago or in the upcoming midterm elections.

SEE MORE: Election '22: What Matters: Election Integrity On The Ballot

Amid the complaints from voters who say they have been harassed, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said this week his office has begun providing security around drop boxes. Sheriff's deputies responded when two masked people carrying guns and wearing bulletproof vests showed up at a drop box in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.

The secretary of state this week said her office has received six cases of potential voter intimidation to the state attorney general and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a threatening email sent to the state elections director.

The U.S. attorney's office in Arizona said it is also keeping an eye on cases alleging voter intimidation and vowed to prosecute those who violate federal law.

Federal officials said local police officers would be the “front line in efforts to ensure that all qualified voters are able to exercise their right to vote free of intimidation or other election abuses.”

“We will vigorously safeguard all Arizonans’ rights to freely and lawfully cast their ballot during the election,” the office said Wednesday. “As the several election threat-related cases pending federal felony charges from alleged criminal activity arising out of our State show, acts which cross the line will not go unaddressed.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is calling on voters to report any intimidation immediately to police and file a complaint with his office.

“Regardless of intent, this type of misguided behavior is contrary to both the laws and values of our state,” said Brnovich, a Republican.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

How Much Is It Costing You To Go Back Into The Office?

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 15:07

Watch Video

Americans are working from home, or telecommuting, now more than ever. The telecommuting trend was already growing over the past decade, and the pandemic really accelerated the shift from the office to remote work. 

According to Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of the workforce holds telework-compatible jobs. A whopping 79% of people want to work from home. Given that telecommuting makes work more efficient and reduces overhead for businesses, the move to it could result in an economic benefit of over $700 billion per year, with companies seeing savings from real estate, utilities, and increased productivity, as well as from decreased turnover and absenteeism. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that telecommuting could save workers two to three weeks of time spent commuting and thousands of dollars in transportation and other work-related costs each year.

On the environmental side, WalletHub suggests if we have 50 million employees nationwide who want to work from home and allow 47 million of them to do so, we'd save 390 million gallons of gas and prevent 3.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. 

SEE MORE: 'Zoom Towns' Offering Incentives To Attract Remote Workers

Calculate The Cost Of Going Into The Office

If you are considering returning to the office (or your boss is mandating it), you can use WalletHub's Telework Calculator to estimate how much time and money you might save by working from home for part or all of the week. The handy tool uses your vehicle type, location and commute distance and time to calculate potential savings.  

For example, if you live in Michigan, drive an SUV and commute 10 miles five days per week, the calculator estimates that telecommuting could save you $3,076 per year on gas and car expenses and that you could theoretically earn an extra $4,641 by working during the time you would have spent commuting. That figure is calculated using each state’s average hourly wage. The calculator also estimates that eliminating that commute would reduce carbon emissions by 2.6 tons annually.

Intangible Benefits Of Telecommuting

Working from home can also improve work-life balance, as many of us learned during the pandemic. Having the flexibility to tackle a load of laundry in between Zoom meetings or keep an eye on the kids after school can go a long way in boosting employee morale. In fact, a recent study of more than 12,000 workers determined that remote work increased employee happiness by 20%. 

Of course, there are some drawbacks to telecommuting, especially when it comes to data security, workplace culture and employee engagement. Some managers argue that in-person interaction is critical for team building. 

Managing Back-To-Office Costs

If you want or need to return to the office, some increase in expenses is probably inevitable. New data shows that a single day in the office can cost more than $50 when you account for things like lunches out, coffee runs, dog walkers and transportation. But you may be able to offset or reduce those expenses. If your employer prefers you to be in the office more than at home, you could try to renegotiate your salary because of the change in circumstances or ask about employer-provided benefits such as transportation or parking stipends.

Packing your lunch and brewing coffee at home can also help curb spending. Those seemingly small purchases can add up to a few hundred dollars each month if you work in the office two, three or more days per week.

Kanye West Kicked Out Of Skechers' Headquarters In California

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 14:30

Watch Video

The rapper formerly known as Kanye West was escorted out of the California-based headquarters of athletic shoemaker Skechers after he showed up unannounced Wednesday, a day after Adidas ended its partnership with the artist following his antisemitic remarks.

The Grammy winner, who legally changed his name to Ye, "arrived unannounced and without invitation" at Skechers corporate headquarters in Manhattan Beach, southwest of Los Angeles, the company said.

"Considering Ye was engaged in unauthorized filming, two Skechers executives escorted him and his party from the building after a brief conversation," according to a company statement.

"Skechers is not considering and has no intention of working with West," the company said. "We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech."

SEE MORE: Adidas Ends Partnership With Ye Over Antisemitic Remarks

The rapper's Instagram account — which had been suspended over antisemitic comments — resumed posting Tuesday night. A new message showing a screen grab of a text message that appeared to be from a contact at a high-profile law firm spelled out when Ye could resume making apparel and new shoe designs.

Details of the message could not be verified; email messages sent to representatives for Ye weren't immediately returned.

For weeks, Ye has made antisemitic comments in interviews and social media, including a Twitter post earlier this month that he would soon go "death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE," an apparent reference to the U.S. defense readiness condition scale known as DEFCON. His posts led to his suspension from both Twitter and Instagram.

He apologized for the tweet on Monday.

SEE MORE: NFL's Donald, NBA's Brown End Their Deals With Kanye West's Agency

On Tuesday, sportswear manufacturer Adidas announced that it was ending a partnership with Ye that helped make him a billionaire, saying it doesn't tolerate antisemitism and hate speech.

The German sneaker giant said it expected that the decision to immediately stop production of its Yeezy products would cause a hit to its net income of up to 250 million euros ($246 million).

The company had stuck with Ye through other controversies after he suggested slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine the "mark of the beast."

Other companies also have announced they were cutting ties with Ye, including Foot Locker, Gap, TJ Maxx, JPMorgan Chase bank and Vogue magazine. An MRC documentary about him was also scrapped.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Powerball Jackpot Grows To Estimated $800M After No Winner Drawn

Thu, 10/27/2022 - 14:07

Watch Video

No one won an estimated $700 million Powerball jackpot, meaning the big prize will grow to an estimated $800 million for the next drawing.

The numbers drawn Wednesday night were: 19, 36, 37, 46 and 56. The Powerball was 24.

SEE MORE: Ticket Bought In Illinois Wins $1.28B Mega Millions Jackpot

No one has matched all six numbers and won the Powerball jackpot since Aug. 3, allowing the prize to grow to the fifth-largest in U.S. history. That amounts to 36 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner.

The lack of a winner reflects the long odds of winning the grand prize, which are one in 292.2 million.

The new $800 million jackpot amount is for winners who take their winnings through an annuity, paid annually over 29 years. However, nearly all winners choose the cash option, which would be $383.7 million after taxes.

The biggest lottery jackpot to date was a $1.586 billion Powerball prize that three ticket holders won in 2016.

SEE MORE: 2016: Man Killed With Ax After Fight Over Lottery Tickets And Beer

Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The next drawing is Saturday.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.