华尔街日报新闻文本数据简介

《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)是一家以财经报道为特色的综合性报纸,侧重金融、商业领域的报道,在国际上具有广泛影响力,日发行量达200万份。同时出版了亚洲版、欧洲版、网络版,每天的读者大概有2000多万人。《华尔街日报》新闻舆论通过尖利的笔锋净化着商业市场,正是它的舆论监督让商业公司不能为所欲为。

《华尔街日报》报导风格主要如下:

  • 以严肃见长。报纸上绝大部分为文字报导,插图新闻很少,相比以活泼著称的《今日美国》形成鲜明对照。《华尔街日报》始终是美国最高端的报纸,其读者群的平均家庭年收入是15万美金。
  • 以深度报导见长,对题材的选择也非常谨慎。该报的记者选题的平均周期为六个礼拜。1999年,美国《哥伦比亚新闻评论》评选“走向21世纪的美国21种最佳报纸”,《华尔街日报》名列第三,原因在于“其调查行报导所保持的高品质和挖掘精神”。到2004年底,《华尔街日报》的日均发行量约为180万份。

为支持相关研究,CnOpenData推出华尔街日报新闻文本数据,包含标题、副标题、所属板块、类别、作者、发布日期等字段。

时间区间

1997-2022年


字段展示

华尔街日报新闻文本数据字段表-英文华尔街日报新闻文本数据字段表-中文
IDID
title标题
subHead副标题
section所属板块
category类别
content内容
author作者
date发布日期
timeTag具体更新时间

样本数据

IDtitlesubHeadsectioncategorycontentauthordatetimeTag
ID标题副标题所属板块类别内容作者发布日期具体更新时间
b508b4a3f75503c9a451420f658309b4Moderna Cuts Outlook Amid Covid-Vaccine Supply HurdlesHealthHealthModerna said a decline in demand for its Omicron-targeting Covid-19 doses also hit its performance in its latest quarter. Photo: Simon Simard for The Wall Street JournalModerna Inc.’s third-quarter revenue fell by nearly a third and the pharmaceutical company cut its outlook, saying as part of its earnings report that supply constraints for its Covid-19 vaccines might sap as much as $3 billion in sales this year.The Cambridge, Mass.-based company said Thursday that higher costs and a decline in demand for its original Covid-19 vaccine also hit its performance.Moderna, which three months ago said it projected $21 billion in product sales of its Spikevax vaccine for anticipated delivery this year, now expects between $18 billion and $19 billion. The company said short-term supply constraints will delay some sales into 2023.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue The choppy results came during a quarter of transition for Moderna. Demand for its original Covid-19 vaccine and booster shot dropped, while the company rolled out updated booster shots designed to better target Omicron subvariants of the coronavirus.Newsletter Sign-upThe 10-Point.A personal, guided tour to the best scoops and stories every day in The Wall Street Journal.PreviewSubscribeU.S. regulators cleared one of the updated boosters in late August, and uptake has been relatively slow. Moderna’s new booster shot was in short supply because a contract manufacturer had quality issues that held up the release of doses. At the same time, Moderna shifted to five-dose vials from 10-dose vials for packaging its vaccine.“We actually had to deal with a very complex third quarter from a manufacturing standpoint,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said on a conference call with analysts. He said the company had “many lessons to be learned,” and is working to address the challenges.Moderna shares were off 2.5% at $144.89 at midday Thursday.For the third quarter, Moderna’s product sales declined 35% to $3.1 billion.The company’s cost of sales was $1.1 billion, representing 35% of total product sales in the quarter, rising from $722 million a year earlier. Costs rose partly because of a $333 million charge to write down inventory for vaccine doses that exceeded or were expected to exceed their approved shelf lives. This year, Moderna and other vaccine makers have had to discard unused doses as demand for the shots fell sharply.The new bivalent vaccine might be the first step in developing annual Covid shots, which could follow a similar process to the one used to update flu vaccines every year. Here’s what that process looks like, and why applying it to Covid-19 could be challenging. Illustration: Ryan TrefesModerna also booked expenses for unused manufacturing capacity, and some of its purchase commitments were canceled, the company said.Research-and-development expenses at Moderna rose 57% to $820 million, as the company is running several large clinical trials of experimental drugs and vaccines.Moderna is developing vaccines against seasonal influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV—bugs that are causing hospitalizations in the U.S. Moderna also is developing a combination vaccine designed to protect against Covid, flu and RSV in a single shot.The company also is developing a vaccine with potential to treat cancer, and which is being tested in combination with a Merck & Co. cancer drug in a clinical trial of patients with the skin cancer melanoma.Results of studies of some of these experimental vaccines are due out in the coming weeks and months.Overall for the quarter, the company said net income fell to $1 billion, or $2.53 a share, compared with $3.3 billion, or $7.70 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected $3.30 a share, according to FactSet.Revenue dropped to $3.4 billion, short of analyst estimates for $3.5 billion.Earlier this week, Pfizer Inc. raised its revenue outlook for the year but the company experienced a drop in third-quarter sales of its vaccine to $4.4 billion from nearly $13 billion a year earlier.Write to Peter Loftus at Peter.Loftus@wsj.com and Sabela Ojea at sabela.ojea@wsj.comHow the Biggest Companies Are PerformingWSJ coverage and analysis of the latest corporate earnings Salesforce Margins Rise Amid Cost Cuts Nvidia’s AI Surge Is Just Getting Started Walmart Lifts Outlook as Sales Rise Dick’s, Macy’s Flash Warning Signs on Consumer Housing Market Still Working in Home Depot’s Favor UPS Reduces 2023 Forecasts Apple Sales Slump, Services Unit Hits Record Disney Gets Iger’s Second Show on the RoadAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Peter Loftus and Sabela Ojea2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 4:19 pm ET
4c0625bc3093f492577adbab3ac03ac4Fed’s Hard Line on Interest Rates Fuels Bond RoutFinanceTreasurysFederal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments are likely to make investors reconsider the recent stock rally, analysts said. Photo: ELIZABETH FRANTZ/REUTERSThe Federal Reserve’s signals of more interest-rate increases ahead rattled financial markets anew Thursday, sending stocks lower and driving bond yields back near multiyear highs.Thursday’s declines extended losses that began after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s Wednesday-afternoon warning that high inflation means it is still too soon to think about any pause in the central bank’s inflation-fighting campaign. His comments dashed Wall Street’s hopes for some relief after officials lifted the target fed-funds rate by 0.75 percentage points for the fourth straight meeting.Newsletter Sign-upMarketsGet email notifications when major financial-market and trading news breaks.PreviewSubscribeRising rates have hit investors hard, sending the S&P 500 down 22% so far this year and sparking a historic rout in bonds. The resulting surge in yields, which rise when bond prices fall, has sent shock waves through markets, lifting borrowing costs on everything from mortgages to corporate loans. The blow has fallen particularly hard on Wall Street’s more speculative bets, including shares of highflying technology companies.On Thursday, the stock market notched more losses, with the S&P 500 losing 1.1% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite falling 1.7%. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield finished at 4.123%, according to Tradeweb, up from 4.059% on Wednesday and back near its highest levels since 2008, unwinding some of a recent rally that had carried it below 4%.The two-year Treasury yield—even more sensitive to near-term Fed policy changes—finished Thursday at 4.699%, a new high since 2007.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Normally the Federal Reserve makes a profit from its balance sheet, but with higher interest rates it is now in the red. WSJ explains how the Federal Reserve makes money, what it does with it, and what happens now.The market response “shows that Powell did a good job indicating the Fed remains adamantly focused on bringing inflation back into a more subdued range,” said Blair Shwedo, head of investment-grade bond trading at U.S. Bank. “He did a good job walking back any bullishness in risk assets.”Yields have marched higher for most of 2022, tracking the Fed’s most aggressive set of rate increases since the 1980s. At times, such as in mid-July or during parts of October, the rise has stalled as traders questioned whether falling inflation or an economic downturn could force the Fed to cut rates again sooner rather than later. Each time, signals from Mr. Powell and other Fed officials have driven yields back up.Rates have also been moving higher around the world. On Thursday, the Bank of England matched the Fed with its own 0.75-percentage-point rate increase, the U.K.’s biggest rate increase since 1989. Late last month, a same-sized move by the European Central Bank brought euro rates to their highest level in more than a decade.In the U.S., traders on Thursday extended bets that rates will stay higher for longer. Derivatives-market bets show that traders now think the Fed’s benchmark rate will rise above 5% next year. A month ago, bets suggested a peak closer to 4.5%. A long period of higher rates could jar markets, particularly tech stocks, where investors expect a large share of companies’ profits far in the future. “If the Fed’s rates go up, that directly translates into higher yields. Those higher yields are what we use to calculate present value for the stock market,” said Jurrien Timmer, director of global macro at Fidelity. Higher Treasury yields hurt stock valuations in part because they offer investors a much safer way to lock in positive returns.Still, many investors predict a recession is on the way, which could eventually lead the Fed to reverse course. The housing market—one of the fastest-growing parts of the economy in recent years—has abruptly slowed as mortgage costs soar. Profit growth is dimming for companies from Silicon Valley to Wall Street. A key bond-market indicator is flashing recession warnings. The two-year Treasury yield finished Thursday 0.576 percentage point higher than the 10-year yield, the biggest yield premium for the shorter-term bond since 1982. This reversal of the norm—known as a yield curve inversion—shows investors expect a downturn to eventually force rate cuts. Investors will get a fresh look at the economy’s prospects from Friday’s jobs report. Economists expect the Labor Department’s data to show the economy added 205,000 jobs in October, a strong pace by historical standards but slower than September’s.Some analysts said Mr. Powell’s comments are likely to make investors reconsider the hopes fueling the recent stock rally, which made October the Dow Jones Industrials’ best month since 1976. Similar bets that economic weakness might force the Fed to act less aggressively sparked a previous rally that peaked in August. “If you’re excited to put capital to work into year-end, it’s worth noting Powell said we have a ways to go multiple times,” Mike Zurfluh, a macroeconomic analyst at investment bank Evercore ISI, wrote in a note to clients.Write to Matt Grossman at matt.grossman@wsj.comInflation and the EconomyAnalysis from The Wall Street Journal, selected by the editors Demand for Workers Cools, but Remains Elevated Why Central Bankers Are Unsure Whether They’ve Raised Rates Enough Child-Care Prices Rising at Nearly Twice Inflation Rate Gasoline, Food Threaten to Nudge Inflation Up Cooler July Inflation Opens Door to Fed Pause Jobs Market Shows Signs of Gradual Cooling Soft Landing in Sight for U.S. Economy What to Know About InflationAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Matt Grossman2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 4:22 pm ET
8f9c018efab73ac608136810350cf168Teva Pharmaceutical to Replace CEO Kare SchultzBusinessHealthKare Schultz said he wanted to make time for his family. Photo: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg NewsTeva Pharmaceutical TEVA 0.72%increase; green up pointing triangle Industries Ltd. said it is looking for a new chief executive officer after Kare Schultz confirmed he will step down when his contract expires next year.Mr. Schultz said Thursday that he chose not to renew his contract, which expires in November 2023. “I’m here until then,” he said in an interview.Mr. Schultz said that for years he has wanted to retire at 62, a mandatory retirement age at a previous employer. He will turn 62 in May. His eldest daughter is due to give birth in the coming weeks, he said, making him a grandfather, and he wanted to make time for his family.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue “That combination is motivating me to want to stop,” he said.Mr. Schultz and Teva had suggested previously that he was unlikely to renew his contract. The Israeli news outlet Globes previously reported that Mr. Schultz’s contract wouldn’t be renewed. Teva is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of generic drugs. The board has begun a search for a new CEO, a Teva spokeswoman said.Mr. Schultz took the helm of the Israeli drugmaker in 2017, when Teva had falling profits, a large debt load and a declining share price.Under Mr. Schultz’s leadership, Teva has cut thousands of jobs and closed plants as it paid down debt. He pushed the company further into areas such as biologic drugs, injectables made from living cells, while introducing new products such as migraine treatment Ajovy.Teva has worked to resolve legal challenges including the company’s alleged role in the U.S. opioid epidemic. It recently said it reached a settlement agreement worth up to $4.25 billion to resolve thousands of lawsuits related to the opioid crisis.Shares of Teva were about $14 when Mr. Schultz became CEO, rose to as much as roughly $24 before declining, and closed Wednesday at $8.74. Shares were trading at $8.61 at the closing bell on Thursday.Mr. Schultz wants to stay engaged with the company including possibly serving on its board, the Teva spokeswoman said. Teva’s U.S. generics business remains challenged but its pipeline of drugs could fuel growth if they receive regulatory approval, analysts have said.Mr. Schultz joined Teva after serving as CEO of drugmaker Lundbeck A/S. He also worked at Novo Nordisk A/S, one of Denmark’s biggest companies.Write to Jared S. Hopkins at jared.hopkins@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Jared S. Hopkins2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 4:24 pm ET
59f13dedb745b5015f376f0120c6a9c5Investors Rekindle Love Affair With Short-Term SuccessFinanceSTREETWISEInterest rates are strongly encouraging investors to have a shorter-term outlook. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesInvestors are focused on the short-term again, and it is pushing CEOs away from spending on major long-term projects. The cause? Mainly the Federal Reserve and its aggressive interest-rate rises.Put simply, why bet on risky ventures that might possibly pay off in 10 years when you can earn 4.5% on a totally safe one-year T-bill? Interest rates are strongly encouraging investors to have a shorter-term outlook.Investors lost their zeal for speculative super-long-term bets last year, and the stocks of lossmaking early-stage growth companies in fields such as online taxis, electric cars, instant groceries, space tourism and even internet dog walking crashed. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Normally the Federal Reserve makes a profit from its balance sheet, but with higher interest rates it is now in the red. WSJ explains how the Federal Reserve makes money, what it does with it, and what happens now.This year, the malaise spread to the biggest growth stocks. Last week, shares in Meta Platforms, nee Facebook, plummeted 25% in a day after founder Mark Zuckerberg insisted he would press on with a moonshot-scale bet on developing virtual reality. Investors don’t want to finance long-term projects with returns that even Mr. Zuckerberg admits he has no way to forecast. In the new environment, investors would much rather see cold hard cash than throw money at leaps into the unknown. Companies are starting to understand the implications: If they want a healthy share price, focus on profits today. That matters both for investors and for the economy. When rates were at zero and the Fed was buying government bonds, investors felt they had to take more risk to earn a return. Companies could borrow for less than ever before and as memories of the 2008-09 global financial crisis faded, shareholders encouraged those with what were perceived as good ideas to spend big to try to make “moonshot” plans come good.Such bets are mostly history, because the Fed and other central banks have been frantically hiking rates to tackle runaway inflation. In just the past year, the real cost of 10-year borrowing has jumped from 1 percentage point below inflation to 1.5 points above. That’s a gigantic shift, by far the biggest since 2003, when the Treasury’s figures for Treasury inflation-protected securities start. ARK Innovation, perhaps the fund with the most exposure to companies chasing high-risk, high-reward, long-term ideas, has lost more than three-quarters of its value since its peak in February last year.Outside the world of wild bets on the far-distant future, capital projects with more predictable payoffs are still being funded—but CEOs say that may not last.Ryan Hammond, a U.S. equity strategist at Goldman Sachs, says this year the biggest cut in spending has been on buybacks as companies hoard cash, with capital expenditure, or capex, and research and development continuing to grow. Next year may be a different story, though, and he forecasts a sharp drop in the growth rate of capex.“When growth slows, usually investors reward those companies returning cash to shareholders,” he said. “There’s some skepticism about investing at a time when the economy is slowing, will the RoI return on investment reward the higher cost of capital?”The proportion of business leaders planning to increase capital spending is the lowest since 2013, aside from the pandemic, according to the New York Federal Reserve. The share planning to cut capex has doubled since February to 18%, although remains far below that reached in past recessions.Salman Ahmed, global head of macro at Fidelity International, says still-strong capex reflects past easy money. “It’s an indicator of last year’s frenzy and will go away,” he said. “This year’s leading indicators—IPOs and M&A have collapsed—I would think will show up in next year’s capex numbers.”Other forms of capex may be viewed more positively, and certainly companies are still spending, for now. The Philadelphia Fed survey of manufacturers last month found more firms planned to increase than reduce spending on energy-saving projects and non-computer equipment, even as more prepared to reduce than increase capex on buildings, computers and software. Government efforts to boost microchip production, protectionism on electric-car subsidies and corporate worries about supply chains should support domestic capex.SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSWhat are the implications of a return to short-term thinking on Wall Street? Join the conversation below.The embrace of short termism plays into the arguments of those who say too much short-term thinking has been a scourge on the economy. The reality, as I’ve written before, is that the markets have been happy to finance exceptionally long-term projects for a decade, throwing money at companies to launch lossmaking land grabs. That’s changing and the risk is that companies find it harder to justify worthwhile and profitable projects—good for the economy—even as renewed investment discipline puts an end to many wasteful white elephants.There are other factors at play besides the Fed. What’s likely to develop is a broader version of what happened to oil companies after their shares were crushed in 2016. After years of shareholders encouraging them to drill and expand, plunging crude prices switched the focus of investors to return on capital, and the engineers who led the industry lost their dominance to accountants.The interaction between fundamental forces and shareholder desires are still discouraging capex by major oil companies. Crude prices may be near $90 still and profits and share prices sky-high, but oil demand is expected to weaken in coming years and valuations are low.“The goal here is to sustain and grow the enterprise with the lowest capital possible,” Pierre Breber, chief financial officer of Chevron, told analysts last week. “And we are not really paid for growth by the market.”Wall Street has gone through the same switch it did with oil, suddenly applying a much higher cost of capital via lower share prices and higher borrowing costs. Moonshots are out, advertising and brand-building plans are being scaled back and capex for expansion will be next in line. The best hope for capex is for short-term projects where investors and finance departments can see the immediate payoffs in greater efficiencies.Expect stocks that give priority to stronger balance sheets and return spare cash to shareholders to beat those that keep plowing money back into growth. Only the firms with the strongest records of innovation, huge cash piles or ability to ignore investor pressure are likely to keep making wildly ambitious high-risk, high-reward bets.Write to James Mackintosh at james.mackintosh@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy James Mackintosh2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 10:36 am ET
f25caedc345100aee3fcc9e88c5a61dfHow Morticians Are Putting the Fun in FuneralsThe A-hedMorticians are finding ways to put the fun in funeral to get customers to think about their final farewells—and open their wallets—long before the end.At an industry convention in Baltimore last month, funeral directors were invited to a workshop on how to “build your preneed customer pipeline” and “generate warm leads.” Among the pro tips some have implemented: Dinners at cemeteries, so-called death cafes and burial-plot lotteries. Buy now, die later “I am selling a product nobody wants, but ultimately everybody has to have it,” said Brandon Patterson, one convention attendee.Mr. Patterson said 500 people showed up for a party at his Shreveport Funeral Home & Cremation Tribute Center in Louisiana in October. There was food, live music and a bouncy castle for kids. His staff raffled prizes including tumblers bearing the funeral home logo and tickets to a gospel-music concert. Grammy-nominated singer Major attended. Mr. Patterson said he sees such events as icebreakers into discussions on planning for one’s passage into the hereafter.“You have to find a way to make the conversation as pleasant as possible,” he said. A quarter or more of business at many funeral homes comes from services arranged while the customer was alive, according to Foresight Companies, a Phoenix-based consulting firm. Industry leaders see opportunities for growth. Most people in the U.S. haven’t planned their funerals, according to a March survey conducted by the National Funeral Directors Association. About 15% of people 40 and older said they had made arrangements in writing, but only a third of that group had started paying for them. Advertisement There are myriad ways for people to express themselves and show off their passions after death. At the Baltimore convention, companies displayed old-fashioned hearses and different styles of coffins. Some showcased see-through caskets and ones made of wicker. There were urns shaped like turtles and teddy bears. Some companies offered to turn your ashes into pebbles or use them to grow bonsai plants. The average cost of a funeral with viewing and burial is about $8,000—double the price from the early 1990s, according to the NFDA. That doesn’t include the cost of a monument or burial vault and plot. Customers, those in the industry say, can buy peace of mind in making their own pre-arrangements. “It takes the burden away from the people who survive you,” said Neil Fogarty, president of Dodds Memorials, a Xenia, Ohio-based company that makes cemetery monuments and markers.Those shopping for their future casket, funeral service, plot or tombstone have the option of paying today’s prices in full or paying installments into a trust or insurance plan.“People start planning and they realize, ‘Holy cow, there are so many decisions to be made,’” said Mr. Fogarty, who organized a three-day “Before I Die” festival in the Dayton, Ohio, area last weekend.The festival included a Day of the Dead-themed dinner at a cemetery, screenings of death-themed movies including “Coco” from Walt Disney Co.’s Pixar and a death cafe, where people could converse about mortality. Advertisement Gail Rubin, who has organized several ‘Before I Die’ festivals, celebrating Day of the Dead in the Albuquerque area in 2018. Photo: David Bleicher“We’re convincing people that just as talking about sex doesn’t make you pregnant, talking about death doesn’t make you dead,” said Gail Rubin, who spoke at the festival. She has hosted Before I Die festivals since 2017, and sells a do-it-yourself kit that includes a manual on how to organize a festival, a planning checklist and instructions on how to play the Newly-Dead Game, which involves couples answering questions about their partner’s final wishes.Bob Hoffman, a 76-year-old retired attorney, said that since attending his first Before I Die festival about four years ago, he and his wife decided to be cremated and paid $7,000 for a plot where their remains will be interred in a Washington, D.C., cemetery. He recently finalized what he called his “transition” playlist for his own memorial service, which includes Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” and Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” but he is still ironing out other details. He hopes to troubleshoot them at future festivals.“I’m going for more of the fun part of things,” Mr. Hoffman said. “Once you get into it, there is an endless amount of topics to look at.” Companies at the Baltimore convention showcased collections of handmade dresses for the deceased, as well as ways to turn your ashes into geodes.At Greenlawn Funeral Homes, Cremations & Cemeteries, in Bakersfield, Calif., dozens came to a recent “Chip and Learn” event where they aimed golf balls at a 5-gallon bucket for a chance to win 30% off a prepaid funeral package or burial plot. Greenlawn said it sold 20 “preneed” packages at a Before I Die event in 2019, during which attendees peered into an empty grave, poked the insides of caskets and explored workings of a crematory. Greenlawn has also hosted events at restaurants and wine bars for people to talk about their deaths and funerals. “At first some people were like, ‘This is disrespectful,’ but we’ve had a lot of engagement, a lot of positive reviews,” said Jim La Mar, Greenlawn’s president.Ashley Aley, 53, of Albuquerque, N.M., said she has decided on cremation and started downsizing her possessions and digital footprint since attending a death cafe at a local nursing home in 2018. “I think I was the youngest one there,” she said.Mountain View Funeral Home & Cemetery in Mesa, Ariz., is creating repeat customers by holding living funerals. At one gathering last year, held to coincide with the dearly not-yet-departed’s birthday, cans of soda and Bud Light filled an open casket and a funeral procession was organized, complete with a hearse. Wyndie Scott, a commercial props designer, said she organized the event for her husband because she wanted him to know how much he means to the people in his life.“I told him, I don’t know if I can hold a real funeral now. I don’t know if anything could be better than this,” she said. At the end of the event, Ms. Scott, who organized door-gifts for attendees, awarded two raffle winners a buy-one-get-one-free cremation deal from Mountain View. “One lady loved it and one friend thought it was the oddest, most uncomfortable thing,” she said.Katie Hill, owner of Mortuary Lift Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, demonstrated a lift’s capabilities at the funeral directors’ convention. The quirkier side of lifeThe A-Hed, named for a headline shaped like a capital A, has run on the front page of The Wall Street Journal since 1941.See more a-heds Three Men Battle the FBI Over Buried Civil War Gold. ‘Stuff Just Doesn’t Add Up.’ Obsessed Parents Overanalyze Photos of Their Kids at Camp Where Have All the Lindas Gone? People Are Hiring D-List Celebrities to Deliver Their Bad NewsAdvertisementBy Dominique Mosbergen / Photographs by Michelle Gustafson for The Wall Street Journal2022/11/3
5e6ccd3dd0e814bc50b81e9895827540Gas Exporter Sempra Infrastructure to Build New U.S. LNG PlantFinanceSempra Infrastructure, a unit of Sempra, is in talks to sign multiyear LNG agreements with a pipeline operator and a gas producer. Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/Zuma PressSempra Infrastructure will move forward with a project to build a natural-gas export terminal on the U.S. Gulf Coast by early next year, according to people familiar with the matter, potentially adding much-needed supplies of liquefied gas to global markets. The project is the first phase of Port Arthur LNG, the people said, a roughly $10.5 billion export facility in South Texas that would start delivering cargoes around 2027.The project will be capable of producing up to about 13.5 million metric tons of LNG a year, according to the company, making it the largest U.S. terminal approved since the war in Ukraine sent Europe scrambling for replacements to Russian gas.Sempra SRE -0.95%decrease; red down pointing triangle, the parent company of Sempra Infrastructure, said Thursday that its affiliate was targeting a final decision on Port Arthur LNG in the first quarter of 2023.Competition for LNG reached unprecedented levels this year after Russia halted most pipeline gas to Europe, spurring the continent to increase imports of the fuel and giving new momentum to U.S. projects seeking to export a portion of America’s abundant natural gas. The massive export plants, which take years to build, chill the gas to a liquid state so it can be transported by ship.Cheniere Energy Inc. and Venture Global LNG earlier this year approved two projects to develop export terminals in Texas and Louisiana. Those projects, combined with Port Arthur LNG, will add about 37 million metric tons of LNG a year to global supplies starting in 2025—the equivalent of roughly half the current U.S. export capacity, according to the companies and federal data.Sempra Infrastructure is completing a 20-year binding agreement to provide oil-and-gas producer ConocoPhillips COP 0.31%increase; green up pointing triangle with 5 million metric tons a year of LNG, people familiar with the matter said. ConocoPhillips is expected to take a 30% equity investment in the first phase of the project, they said, an option provided for by a preliminary agreement the two companies announced in July.The exporter is also in talks to sign a 20-year nonbinding agreement to provide pipeline operator Williams Co. WMB -1.33%decrease; red down pointing triangle with 3 million metric tons a year of LNG out of Port Arthur, according to people familiar with the matter.ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Ryan Lance said earlier this year that the nonbinding agreement it previously signed with Sempra Infrastructure provided the oil-and-gas producer with an opportunity to participate in premier LNG developments. Williams CEO Alan Armstrong told investors on Tuesday that he expected higher demand for U.S. LNG exports to drive growth opportunities for the company.German energy company RWE AG, Polish energy company Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA and British chemical company Ineos Ltd. also all signed nonbinding supply agreements with Sempra Infrastructure this year. Write to Benoît Morenne at benoit.morenne@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Benoît Morenne2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 10:36 am ET
85a19bbbe287ae45a0181b008aafe868No Evidence of Undeclared Nuclear Activities at Ukraine Sites, U.N. Atomic Agency SaysWorldEurope"Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, spoke recently in New York. Photo: Luiz Rampelotto/Zuma PressBERLIN—The United Nations atomic agency said this week’s inspections in Ukraine found no evidence of activities or nuclear material that hadn’t been declared by Kyiv, rebuffing Russian allegations that the country was working on a dirty bomb.The agency’s Thursday statement, which came after it sent inspectors to three sites in Ukraine at Kyiv’s request, is the latest pushback against Russian allegations against Ukraine and its Western allies. On Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council defeated a Russian resolution alleging there were biological weapons in Ukraine.State media footage showed Russia test-firing ballistic and cruise missiles. The routine exercises come amid Moscow’s claims that Kyiv is preparing to deploy a so-called dirty bomb, an allegation Ukraine has denied. Photo: Russian Defense Ministry/Zuma Press“Over the past few days, the inspectors were able to carry out all activities that the IAEA had planned to conduct and were given unfettered access to the locations,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement. “Based on the evaluation of the results available to date and the information provided by Ukraine, the agency did not find any indications of undeclared nuclear activities and materials at the locations.”Last month, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu made a rare round of telephone calls with his U.S., French, U.K. and Turkish counterparts, claiming that the war in Ukraine was moving toward a more dangerous phase and that Kyiv might soon deploy a dirty bomb.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue State media footage showed Russia test-firing ballistic and cruise missiles on Wednesday. The routine exercises come amid Moscow’s claims that Kyiv is preparing to deploy a so-called dirty bomb, an allegation Ukraine has denied. (Originally published Oct. 27, 2022) Photo: Russian Defense Ministry/Zuma PressMr. Shiogu’s claims were echoed by a Russian letter circulated at the U.N. Security Council, which alleged Ukraine would use a dirty bomb in Ukraine as a pretext for claiming that Russia had launched a tactical nuclear weapon against the country and sparking a Western response.Western officials swiftly dismissed the Russian claim as false, and Washington warned that Russia could be signaling that it is preparing to use such weapons itself in a false-flag operation.Nuclear experts also dismissed the Russian claim, noting that it would be impossible to pass a dirty bomb attack off as a nuclear weapon, because of the differences that can be swiftly detected during the explosion and the aftermath of the use of each type of weapon. No dirty bomb has ever been successfully deployed. Differences between a dirty bomb and a nuclear bomb DIRTY BOMB “WEAPON OF DISRUPTION” AN EXAMPLE OF A NUCLEAR BOMB “WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION” • Not a chain reaction nuclear detonation • Spreads the radiation in immediate area • Radioactive dust and smoke can spread farther away and could be dangerous to health if people breathe in the dust, eat contaminated food, or drink contaminated water • Caused by an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction with uranium-235 or plutonium-239 • Creates mushroom cloud on explosion and can spread several radioactive materials far off • Produces a chain reaction and generates enormous blast, heat, and radiation effects Radioactive material Uranium/plutonium pieces Heavy casing High explosives Beryllium/ polonium core High explosives DIRTY BOMB “WEAPON OF DISRUPTION” • Not a chain reaction nuclear detonation • Spreads the radiation in immediate area • Radioactive dust and smoke can spread farther away and could be dangerous to health if people breathe in the dust, eat contaminated food, or drink contaminated water Radioactive material High explosives AN EXAMPLE OF A NUCLEAR BOMB “WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION” • Caused by an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction with uranium-235 or plutonium-239 • Creates mushroom cloud on explosion and can spread several radioactive materials far off • Produces a chain reaction and generates enormous blast, heat, and radiation effects Heavy casing Uranium/plutonium pieces Beryllium/ polonium core High explosives DIRTY BOMB “WEAPON OF DISRUPTION” • Not a chain reaction nuclear detonation • Spreads the radiation in immediate area • Radioactive dust and smoke can spread farther away and could be dangerous to health if people breathe in the dust, eat contaminated food, or drink contaminated water Radioactive material High explosives AN EXAMPLE OF A NUCLEAR BOMB “WEAPON OF DESTRUCTION” • Caused by an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction with uranium-235 or plutonium-239 • Creates mushroom cloud on explosion and can spread several radioactive materials far off • Produces a chain reaction and generates enormous blast, heat, and radiation effects Uranium/plutonium pieces Heavy casing Beryllium/ polonium core High explosives Sources: Radiation Emergency Medical Management, U.S. Department of Health & Human ServicesJemal R. Brinson / THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Following the Russian allegations, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba spoke with IAEA Director-General Rafael Grossi to request the agency to send inspectors. They arrived Tuesday.In its statement, the agency said that, as is normal practice, they had taken environmental samples at the sites and would report back on the results from those.However, the agency said Ukraine had given its inspectors unfettered access to carry out all the activities the agency planned and provided the IAEA with additional information.“IAEA has checked 3 Ukrainian facilities in focus of Russian disinfo and found no evidence of any ‘dirty bombs’,” Mr. Kuleba said Thursday. “Russia has confirmed its status of the world’s top liar.”The agency had originally planned to visit two locations but added a third site where Russia alleged illicit activities were taking place, diplomats said. The IAEA inspected the Institute for Nuclear Research in Kyiv, Eastern Mining and Processing Plant in Zhovti Kody, and Production Association Pivdennyi Machine-Building Plant in Dnipro. There was no immediate response from Russia to the IAEA statement.Newsletter Sign-upIn Today's PaperA complete list, with links, of every article from the day's Journal.PreviewSubscribeWestern officials have in recent days played down concerns about Russia’s use of nuclear weapons. In remarks last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there is no need to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.Western officials said Russia’s allegations against Ukraine were the latest attempt by Moscow both to deepen anxieties in the West about the war but also to distract attention from Russia’s occupation of Ukraine and its military failures on the ground.“While you’ve got a poor story on the battlefield, while you’ve got lots of bad news in Russia, lots of bad news internationally, we’re seeing that the Kremlin is continuing to try and distract attention,” said a Western official Wednesday.In the first days of the war, Russia alleged that Ukraine was looking to work on nuclear weapons, a claim Mr. Grossi dismissed publicly at the time. In recent weeks, Russia has accused Britain of being behind a Ukrainian attack on the Russian navy in the Black Sea.As part of a 1990s international agreement, Ukraine handed over its Soviet-era nuclear weapons to Russia and received guarantees of its borders.Write to Laurence Norman at laurence.norman@wsj.comThe War in UkraineNews and insights, selected by the editors Counteroffensive Pierces Main Russian Defensive Line in Southeast Ukrainian Drones Strike Deep Inside Russia Kyiv's Elite Snipers Fight Russians, Bullet by Bullet U.S., Allies Seek Long-Term Military Aid for Ukraine The Last Days of Wagner’s Prigozhin Wagner Chief Used Jets to Evade Tracking for Years Ukraine’s Reset: A Slow and Bloody Advance on Foot Why War in Ukraine Could Run for YearsAdvertisement - Scroll to Continue "By Laurence Norman2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 4:36 pm ET
57bc4b21d4620e0121944443d189159dMidterms to Test Democratic Voters’ Enthusiasm for Student Loan ForgivenessPoliticsMidterm Election 2022Most Democrats favor President Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan and most Republicans oppose it.  Photo: Chris Dillmann/Associated PressWASHINGTON—The public is split over President Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plan, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll, but groups that are key to Democrats’ chances in the midterm elections—Black, Latino and younger voters—strongly support the program.Forty-eight percent of the public favors Mr. Biden’s proposal to cancel up to $10,000 in student debt for borrowers with federal student loans who make less than $125,000 a year. Forty-seven percent of those polled said they oppose the program, which is temporarily on hold while a court considers a legal challenge. The one-percentage-point gap is within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The remaining respondents either didn’t have an opinion or declined to answer the question. Support was split along party lines, with most Democrats in favor and most Republicans in opposition. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Though the public is broadly divided over the program, the majority of Black, Latino and Asian American or Pacific Islander voters favor it, with 73%, 64% and 61% in support respectively, according to the Journal poll. Fifty-nine percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 back the plan, while 34% are opposed. Democrats need to retain the coalition of younger and minority voters that helped them win key races in 2018 and 2020, as they face a tough economic climate heading into the midterms. Mr. Biden’s advisers and some Democratic strategists believe the student loan forgiveness program can help build enthusiasm among those key groups and drive them to the polls. The plan, which follows a 2020 campaign promise that Mr. Biden made, is part of the administration’s pitch that it has helped Americans reduce their expenses so they can weather high inflation. Some pollsters are skeptical that many people will go to the polls because of Mr. Biden’s debt relief plan. “It’s good with our base, but it’s just not a voting issue,” said Democratic pollster John Anzalone, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio. The economy is the top issue for most voters and concerns about inflation are taking center stage in the final days of the election.President Biden met students at Delaware State University last month, as Democrats hope loan forgiveness can spark voter enthusiasm during midterm elections. Photo: Evan Vucci/Associated PressThe president delivered remarks on the topic Thursday at a community college in New Mexico, where Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is in a tough re-election race. “My plan is going to make a real difference to lower the monthly costs for families,” Mr. Biden said, adding that he will fight in court to make sure his program isn’t overturned.Jessica Velasquez, the chairwoman of New Mexico’s Democratic Party, said student loan forgiveness “has been absolutely critical to energizing our younger voter demographic here in New Mexico.” Ask WSJ Live From Philadelphia: The State of the Midterms Watch former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Sen. Pat Toomey, along with WSJ's top reporters from the campaign trail, discuss the impact of political polarization on governing and what's at stake in the midterm election. Watch the Conversation Still, some Democrats are concerned about turnout among young voters keeping pace with the 2018 election, when Democrats won control of the House for the first time since 2011. That election saw a 79% jump in turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds—the largest percentage point increase for any age group—compared with the 2014 election, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Michael McDonald, an expert in early voting and a professor at the University of Florida, said this week is the “make-or-break” week for youth participation in early voting, based on trends in previous elections.  In states like North Carolina where a breakdown of election data makes direct comparisons possible for youth turnout at this stage in early voting, the numbers show turnout in this demographic is running roughly a percentage point behind the 2018 midterm election on a daily basis, Mr. McDonald said. Federal data show Black students nationwide are more likely to borrow for college than students of other races and often borrow larger amounts. Black borrowers default on their debt at higher rates and are more likely to face long-term financial burdens from their loans, according to several analyses of federal loan data.Following more than a year of internal debate, Mr. Biden announced in August that he would launch the loan-forgiveness program, the largest in U.S. history. Borrowers who received Pell Grants are eligible for loan forgiveness of up to $20,000. The same income limits apply. The White House said the Education Department is on track to sign off on 16 million applications for loan forgiveness by the end of the week.The government can’t move forward with debt cancellation until a federal appeals court weighs in on a challenge brought by GOP leaders from six states. The leaders alleged the president’s program would deplete tax revenues and financially harm state-established entities that generate revenue from servicing student loans. Other Republicans argue the program is unfair because it does nothing to rein in the high cost of higher education and doesn’t help people who already paid off their loans, never took out loans or didn’t go to college.Earlier: President Biden said in late August that his administration will forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for tens of millions of Americans. Independent estimates suggest the plan will cost more than $300 billion over 10 years. Photo: Evan Vucci/APAkram Khalid, 63, a registered independent from Chambersburg, Pa., said he would back Democrats in the midterms and supports Mr. Biden’s debt-relief plan. Mr. Khalid estimates his four children, who have advanced degrees, collectively owe roughly $600,000 in student loans. He thinks the administration should study expanding the loan program to more borrowers. “It’s a good idea,” he said. “We have to see the data on how it works.”Just over half of college graduates, 52%, support the program and 44% oppose it, according to the Journal poll. Half of people with a high school education or less oppose the program, compared with 44% who support it. Zachary Schmitz, 21, of Evansville, Ind., said he expects to get the majority of his $28,000 in student loans forgiven through the program. It has made Mr. Schmitz and his friends more likely to vote for Mr. Biden in 2024 and to support and donate to Democrats, he said. “Republicans have really been silent on this,” he said. “We don’t really care what the solution is, we just want solutions. And right now there’s only one party offering solutions.”PJ Wear, 68, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., expressed skepticism about the program. “I don’t believe in complete forgiveness,” she said. Ms. Wear, an independent, said loan cancellation should be reserved only for people who do community service or work in public service jobs. The Wall Street Journal poll included 1,500 registered voters, who were reached by phone and text from Oct. 22-26.The Midterm ElectionsKey coverage of November's elections, selected by the editorsFull Election Results Republicans Win Control of House GOP House Majority Could Shield Industries From New Taxes, Regulations What Divided Government Means for Washington GOP Gains College-Educated and Minority Voters in Slim House Pickup Nancy Pelosi Will Step Down as Democratic Party Leader in House Hakeem Jeffries, Front-Runner to Succeed Pelosi, Forged Ties Across Spectrum DeSantis, Others Draw Distinctions With Trump in 2024 GOP Nomination Race Kevin McCarthy Wins GOP Vote for Speaker PostAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Andrew Restuccia and Tarini Parti2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 4:38 pm ET
62e85cd3e60d89763b61f099b6a57743Russia Must Pay for the Rebuilding of UkraineOpinionLettersRegarding Robert Zoellick’s “Russian Cash Can Keep Ukraine Alive This Winter” (op-ed, Oct. 27): If I blow up your home, who is responsible to pay for a new one? Russia is blowing up half of Ukraine. How is there even a question of whether it should be responsible?Sorrell ChesinDavidson, N.C.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 4:37 pm ET
16ac31ce9898b2be41269c6e7bbf95a7What Makes a Bad Teacher?OpinionLettersPhoto: Getty Images/iStockphotoIn “Why Randi Weingarten Supports Harvard’s Discrimination” (Life Science, Oct. 31), Allysia Finley writes of the difficulties in firing “bad” teachers and keeping “higher-quality” teachers in urban schools. The problem is how you define bad and good with respect to teaching. Has Ms. Finley heard of the NYU chemistry professor who says he was fired because students complained that his class was “too hard”? Are the professors who never receive a complaint too easy?I taught high school for more than 30 years in the Philadelphia public schools. I can attest that for school administrators, the customer (student) is always right.Ronald JamesWynnewood, Pa.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 4:41 pm ET
dc98fb4568a0af460e8d9f171ea69c51An Unlikely Way for Republicans to Find UnityOpinionLettersRep. Dan Crenshaw (R., Texas) speaks in Austin, Sept. 23. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg NewsWriting in support of Rep. Dan Crenshaw’s call to overcome disunity within the GOP (“A Time for Choosing for Republicans,” op-ed, Oct. 28), former Secretary of State James Baker says the following: “Rep. Dan Crenshaw is spot-on about the future of the Republican Party and our nation” (Letters, Nov. 1).Mr. Crenshaw lays the blame for disunity on those who consider themselves “populists, nationalists, MAGA, mainstream” and “opportunists . . . quick to label anyone and everyone a ‘RINO’ or ‘establishment sell-out.’”In thinly veiled language, Messrs. Crenshaw and Baker indicate their disapproval of those who fault most Republicans in office for failing to stop or slow down the increasingly progressive (socialist) agenda of the Democrats.In other words, the problem is the upstarts who are dissatisfied with the old guard. This doesn’t sound like a very unifying message.John MooreWilbraham, Mass.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 4:41 pm ET
15715e191ff3430f70b0adeeaae6f118In Latest Off-Market Deal, Aspen Mansion Sells for $48 MillionBe the first to know about the biggest and best luxury home sales and listings by signing up for our Mansion Deals email alert.Real-estate developer Thomas E. Lewis has sold an Aspen home in an off-market deal for $48 million, a major price tag for the local market.Local agents said the deal exemplifies how much the Aspen market has appreciated in just two years. The property was last listed for sale in early 2020 priced at just $31.5 million.The hillside property, completed in 2019, spans more than 10,000 square feet with seven bedrooms on more than one-third of an acre. There is also a bar, a gym and an arcade-style area with a pinball machine, shuffleboard and foosball, all of which were sold with the home, Mr. Lewis said. The property has views of Red Mountain and Hunter Creek. Steps down the hillside lead to a water feature and pond as well as a large outdoor entertaining area. The seller is real-estate developer Thomas E. Lewis, who completed the house in 2019. Steve Mundinger The property spans about 10,000 square feet with a number of outdoor terraces. Steve Mundinger A living room and bar area. Steve Mundinger The property has views of Red Mountain. Steve Mundinger A bathroom. Steve Mundinger Newsletter Sign-upReal EstateFrom aspirational residences to major commercial deals.PreviewSubscribeWhile he initially planned the house as a spec home, Mr. Lewis said he took the property off the market in 2020 to live in it himself. When local agents inquired about the property on behalf of prospective buyers who were desperately seeking luxury homes amid that pandemic, he told them it was no longer for sale, he said. Any offer that came in would have to be significant enough to make him move.“I said, ‘Listen, I’m a businessman. But this is where I live,’ ” he said.Agents said the home was especially valuable thanks to the combination of its scale and proximity to Aspen’s downtown, just a few blocks from West Main Street. There are very few available homes that meet that criteria, they said.The buyer was listed in public records as 19 Little Cloud Inc. Their identity couldn’t immediately be determined. Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse represented both the buyer and seller in the transaction. She declined to comment on the buyer.What’s happening in aspen?Aspen’s Market Is So Crazy That Buyers Shop for Homes That Aren’t Even for SaleContemporary Aspen Mansion Sells for $45 Million in Off-Market DealAspen Mansion Sells for $69 Million in One of the Area’s Priciest-Ever DealsA Never-Been-Lived-In Aspen Home Sells for $48 MillionWrigley Gum Empire Heir Sells Aspen Mansion for $30 MillionOverall, Aspen sales were down 51% in October, compared with the same period last year, according to data from Tim Estin of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. While overall transaction velocity has slowed, local agents say that the most desirable, well-located homes are still trading for record-high numbers and that those deals are being increasingly done off-market. Ms. Wells said that eight deals closed at $40 million or above in Aspen so far this year, compared with three last year.Write to Katherine Clarke at Katherine.Clarke@wsj.comAdvertisementBy Katherine Clarke2022/11/3
cbec891fe9cd70d527965013e284f5dbDefending a Voter’s Right to Know in ArizonaOpinionLettersA sign directs voters to a polling station on Election Day in Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: CHENEY ORR/REUTERSYour editorial “Targeting Campaign Donors in Arizona” (Nov. 1) opens: “Democrats have failed to pass restrictions on political speech in Congress, so they’re taking the fight to state ballots.’’ A significant majority of financial support for Arizona’s Proposition 211, however, came from registered independents and Republicans. Numerous high-profile Arizona Republicans support the ballot measure. Only a few weeks ago, Fife Symington, former Republican governor of Arizona, published a letter of support for Prop 211 in the Arizona Republic.This Arizona ballot measure shouldn’t be confused with other disclosure initiatives that have been partisan in design. It is supported by concerned citizens who believe disclosure leads to a more informed electorate. As Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once wrote, “The premise of the First Amendment is that the American people are neither sheep nor fools, and hence fully capable of considering both the substance of the speech presented to them and its proximate and ultimate source.”Scalia believed that knowing who sends a message is critical to evaluating it. We all intuitively ask ourselves: Why would this person or group be sending this message? Can I trust them to be honest? Are they biased? Do they have an ulterior motive? These are healthy questions that belong at the heart of political discourse, not hidden from view. This is what Arizona Proposition 211 is about.David TedescoCo-chairman, Voter’s Right to Know (Arizona Prop 211)Paradise Valley, Ariz.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 4:42 pm ET
9ed35552e7128a58f296477eea3407feThe Fall of a New York GovernorOpinionLettersMario Cuomo waves during a Columbus Day Parade in New York. Photo: Corbis via Getty ImagesJason Riley’s column “Lee Zeldin’s New York Republicans Party Like It’s 1994” (Upward Mobility, Nov. 2) reminds me of attending Phil Rizzuto Hall of Fame Night at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 9, 1994. I was sitting in the upper deck with my friend, noted New York City historian Vincent Cannato, as 50,700 fans, many of them of Italian descent, lustily cheered Yankees great Rizzuto and then equally lustily booed three-term Democratic New York governor Mario Cuomo.Mr. Cannato then said to me: “50,000 Italians booing Mario Cuomo; he must be in trouble.” Mr. Cannato was right.Cuomo lost to George Pataki as part of the Republican Revolution that gave the GOP control of both Houses of Congress for the first time since 1954, and the New York governor’s mansion for the first time since Malcolm Wilson in 1974.Tevi TroyBipartisan Policy CenterSilver Spring, Md.Mr. Troy is author of “Fight House: Rivalries in the White House from Truman to Trump.”Advertisement - Scroll to Continue2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 4:43 pm ET
1430a7e78e309799ecbeca0bfeb85f93Vonage Will Pay $100 Million to Settle FTC Allegations of Trapping Consumers in SubscriptionsBusinessBusinessEricsson-owned Vonage charged consumers $5 to $50 a month for subscriptions to internet-based phone service. Photo: Mark Schiefelbein/Associated PressEricsson ERIC 0.19%increase; green up pointing triangle AB subsidiary Vonage will pay $100 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that it created a web of obstacles for its customers to cancel the internet-based telephone service and charged unexpected termination fees. The agreement, filed in a federal court Thursday, represents the largest settlement of its kind in the FTC’s enforcement push against companies that allegedly throw up high hurdles to customers seeking to cancel subscriptions or services. New Jersey-based Vonage will be required to obtain consumers’ express consent for services and simplify its cancellation process. The cost of a subscription ranged from $5 to $50 a month for consumers, and potentially thousands a month for businesses, the FTC said. The commission said it received hundreds of complaints from consumers about Vonage’s tactics. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Newsletter Sign-upWSJ Politics & PolicyScoops, analysis and insights driving Washington from the WSJ's D.C. bureau.PreviewSubscribe“This record-breaking settlement should remind companies that they must make cancellation easy or face serious legal consequences,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. The $100 million will be used to refund consumers, the FTC said. Vonage didn’t admit wrongdoing as part of the agreement. “The company felt it was in the best interests of our customers, partners and employees to come to a settlement, so we can focus on creating technology solutions that help people and businesses communicate,” a spokeswoman said.The Vonage settlement follows a FTC policy statement issued in October 2021 that warned companies against locking consumers into subscriptions using what the commission called “dark patterns,” or tactics that include tricking or trapping customers into paying for goods and services and creating obstacles to canceling. The commission said at the time it was ramping up its enforcement in response to a rising number of consumer complaints about deceptive sign-up tactics and unauthorized charges.“This is different from run-of-the-mill deception,” FTC attorney Stephanie Liebner said. “In the new online world, the companies can use consumer data to test what manipulates consumers most effectively.” Vonage provided easy ways for consumers to sign up for a phone plan with a free trial online, but then required the customer to call a live agent to cancel—on a company service number that was different from the main customer service line and not easily found on Vonage’s website, the FTC said. The company didn’t transfer people to the correct line or follow through on promises to return calls from consumers seeking to cancel, the commission said. Vonage also charged termination fees that weren’t disclosed, it said.“They knew they were making people go through hoops on the phone,” Ms. Liebner said. The FTC alleged Vonage violated a law that prohibits unfair or deceptive practices in commerce. The commission also alleged the company violated a 2010 law that provided protections for consumers who shop online.In an earlier case, Age of Learning Inc., which operates children’s online learning program ABCmouse, agreed in 2020 to pay $10 million to settle FTC allegations that it failed to disclose membership terms that led to consumers being charged without their consent. The company didn’t admit wrongdoing. The FTC said it sent refunds to more than 200,000 consumers last year.Write to Erin Mulvaney at erin.mulvaney@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Erin Mulvaney2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 4:52 pm ET
fd3a4755ec73a585cca70af5a57a1939Race Shouldn’t Be ‘Determinative’ in AmericaOpinionLettersThe line by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear oral arguments in affirmative-action cases, Oct. 31. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMy experience with racial discrimination in college admissions (“Racial Discrimination Forever?” Review & Outlook, Nov. 1) came as an alumni interviewer for Cornell University. For several years, I would interview highly qualified, high-achieving applicants to Cornell, many of them Asian-Americans, who hit all the boxes for academics, leadership and nonacademic accomplishments. Yet year after year, I was amazed that none of these superbly gifted Asian students would appear in the list of students offered acceptance.After Cornell submitted an amicus brief in support of Harvard’s system of racial preferences, the light went on in my head. I ended my alumni involvement and redirected my charitable giving. It was in Parents Involved v. Seattle School District (2007) that Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” I hope a majority of the court agrees in the Harvard and University of North Carolina cases.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Ira WinstenGeorgetown, TexasIn response to a question from Chief Justice Roberts, Harvard counsel Seth Waxman conceded that there are scenarios in which “race will be determinative” in admissions. If race can be determinative in a decision about an individual, it raises the question of what can be known about an individual by his or her race.The definition of diversity, as Justice Clarence Thomas observed, may be nebulous and elusive, but the absence of diversity is routinely defined in racial terms on and off campus. Insufficient representation of specific racial groups in a freshman class, a company’s diversity report or the composition of its board for Securities and Exchange Commission disclosures, can all ipso facto reveal the absence of diversity.Reasonable, fair-minded people who support inclusion and equity of treatment for all may reject the notion that race can tell us anything “determinative” about what an individual will or won’t bring to a university. Perhaps this explains the dissonance between public-opinion polls and the views of academia, corporate America and government reflected in the 60 amicus briefs in support of race-conscious admissions. Barry Davis Felton, Pa.Few are talking about the big picture issue with discriminatory college admissions: If our elementary and high schools were doing an excellent job educating black students, these students wouldn’t need preferential admissions at the college level. They would be able to compete on a solely academic footing. This is the real tragedy of our education system. Andrea LorenzMequon, Wis.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 4:44 pm ET
ac78617dadddca52a3b67c5fa99e4ae4Qualcomm’s Longer Life With Apple Comes at a CostFinanceHeard on the StreetCristiano Amon is chief executive officer of Qualcomm. The company Wednesday became the latest chip maker to see its numbers hit by a rapidly weakening smartphone market. Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg NewsQualcomm QCOM 1.11%increase; green up pointing triangle will be keeping Apple AAPL 0.12%increase; green up pointing triangle‘s lucrative iPhone business a while longer—for better and for worse. Qualcomm told investors during its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call late Wednesday that it expects its modem chip to have the “vast majority” of Apple’s iPhone business for the next crop of devices expected to launch in the fall of 2023. That is a shift from the company’s previously stated assumption of 20% share, but the news wasn’t a big surprise. An influential Apple supply-chain analyst reported back in June that Apple’s efforts to develop its own modem had hit a snag and were unlikely to be ready for the 2023 iPhones. But Qualcomm still isn’t counting on keeping the business forever. The company said Wednesday that it now expects “minimal contribution” from Apple for its chipset business for the fiscal year that ends in September of 2025. It is wise for Qualcomm to be so candid. Apple’s business is substantial; the company ships well over 200 million iPhone units each year even in weak cycles. But the world’s most valuable company is also powerfully motivated to bring more of its chip design in house. It has been designing its own application processors for the iPhone and iPad since the 2010 models, and its M-series CPU chips for the Mac have been a rousing success. Apple’s Mac revenue has averaged 20% year-over-year growth over the past eight quarters since it launched the first devices with its in-house processor. Average Mac revenue growth for the eight quarters before that was 8%. Counting Apple out of the business long term also furthers Qualcomm’s ongoing effort to prove that it has a life beyond smartphones. The company even held an analyst meeting in September that focused solely on its burgeoning automotive business, which it expects to have $4 billion in revenue by its fiscal year 2026 compared with about $1.3 billion now. But dialing down phones is no small matter for the company that largely invented the technology behind today’s mobile-communications networks. And it remains the company’s most dominant business now—painfully so. Qualcomm on Wednesday became the latest chip maker to see its numbers hit by a rapidly weakening smartphone market. The company’s projected chipset revenue of about $8 billion for the December quarter was 23% below Wall Street’s forecast and would be the unit’s first decline in three years.  That surprised investors who were already well braced for a slowdown; Qualcomm’s stock slid nearly 8% Thursday. Notably, Apple’s shares also took a hit, falling by more than 4% as the outlook from Qualcomm and fellow wireless chip maker Qorvo painted a dim picture for smartphone demand over the holiday season. Despite their best efforts, Apple and Qualcomm are joined at the hip for a while longer.Write to Dan Gallagher at dan.gallagher@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Dan Gallagher2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 4:52 pm ET
4c570f30e270c9d4c266fc96f3b8f8dc‘Almost Famous’ Review: A Less Than Rocking RetreadOpinionTheater Review"Casey Likes and Solea Pfeiffer Photo: Matt MurphyAlmost everything about “Almost Famous,” the Broadway musical adaptation of the Cameron Crowe movie from 2000, feels almost-good-enough. Stage versions of celebrated films are an annual, never-subsiding tide on New York stages, and certainly this production rises above the average by some measure. Nevertheless much of the quirky delicacy and emotional richness that made the movie so funny and moving are swamped by the inevitable need to amplify the material to fill a Broadway house.Almost FamousBernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 W. 45th St., New York $59-$199, 212-239-6200Mr. Crowe can hardly point fingers: He wrote the book, and collaborated on the lyrics with Tom Kitt (“Next to Normal”), who composed the music created for the show. But a fair amount of the music comes from the movie, which features songs by Mr. Crowe and his then-wife, Nancy Wilson (of the band Heart), in addition to several classic rock songs. Unhappily, you are more likely to leave the musical humming Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer”—perhaps unwisely placed as the first-act finale—than any of the skillful but generic pseudo-rock songs by Mr. Kitt and Mr. Crowe.The book mostly falls into lockstep with Mr. Crowe’s Oscar-winning, semi-autobiographical screenplay, skipping over a brief prologue set in 1969. We pick up the story in 1973, when the precocious 15-year-old William Miller (Casey Likes), an aspiring rock journalist, first encounters Creem magazine editor Lester Bangs (the terrific Rob Colletti, who wanders haphazardly in and out of the show as William’s mentor), and embarks on an odyssey into the louche world of rock bands and their hungry hangers-on. Unfortunately, a movie can do a better job than the theater of re-creating this drug-and-decadence-filled ambience: Here we have to make do with lots of denim—beaded denim, embroidered denim, patchwork denim, macramé-plus-denim, with a few Stevie Nicks types twirling around here and there—to establish the milieu. (David Zinn did the costumes.)Matt Bittner, Drew Gehling, Chris Wood and Brandon Contreras Photo: Matt MurphyWilliam’s mother, Elaine (Anika Larsen), at first attempts to roadblock his ambitions, but soon William is on tour with the on-the-rise band Stillwater, with Lester providing admonishing commentary. He warns William that he must not succumb to the blandishments—women, drugs, but more importantly the cozy intimacy of friendship that the isolated William, like Lester, craves—that he will inevitably be seduced by. William’s first temptation is Penny Lane (Solea Pfeiffer, in beautiful voice, and in Kate Hudson’s fur-trimmed coat and colored glasses from the movie), a groupie who derides the dismissive sobriquet and befriends William, becoming the third point in the emotional triangle of William, Penny and her off-and-on lover, the guitarist of Stillwater, Russell (Chris Wood—a dead ringer for Billy Crudup in the movie).The tiny elephant in the room—or, rather, the not-so-tiny elephant—is that Mr. Likes, who first played the role when the musical made its premiere in San Diego (where many of the principal characters are from) in 2019, looks significantly older than 15, making the goofy charm of William’s interaction with the bleary-eyed rockers and groupies less disarming. (Mr. Likes is terrific, and radiates an eager-eyed innocence, but, at age 20, he simply does not have the cherubic boyishness of the actor in the movie.)Mr. Crowe makes few deviations from his screenplay, wisely, but absent the intimacy of the close-up camera, many of the most affecting moments in the movie—the searing passage in which William tells Penny that she has essentially been traded away by Russell in a card game; the burgeoning paternal affection of Russell for William—do not dig into your heart as deeply here. And while the book follows the contours of the movie almost doggedly, the need to add more music (why?) to every turn in the story eventually results in a draggy feeling, particularly when it comes to the character of Elaine, played with nice relish by Ms. Larsen. Here is a character who really does not need to, and should not, sing her tart dissatisfaction—it was much more crisply and amusingly rendered by the great Frances McDormand in the movie. A single line in the film about her son being abducted by a rock band is far more effective than the long, undistinguished song expressing the same sentiment here.“Almost Famous” has been directed by Jeremy Herrin with the same workmanlike stolidity that he brought to his stage version of the English history saga “Wolf Hall.” Attempts to enliven the action with actors rolling crates of musical instruments around the stage, with performers lolling on top of them, are mostly ineffectual in adding physical vitality to the story. And the scenes of these drug-or-drink-addled characters lounging around or flinging themselves at each other feel stagy and ersatz. Too often, “Almost Famous” feels like “Hair” with a tidy haircut—and that show was not exactly a rawly frank depiction of the tumultuous period it depicted.Although the musical has undoubtedly been crafted with care, Mr. Crowe’s unusually lovely and authentic movie here feels tamed and out-of-focus, becoming yet another blandly diminished stage version of material that was more fresh, trenchant and affecting on film.Mr. Isherwood is the Journal’s theater critic.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue "By Charles Isherwood2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 9:00 pm ET
55cc2ca3743cfad0f1501098707dcd7bWashington State Commissioner Temporarily Blocks Albertsons Dividend PayoutBusinessBusinessA customer pays for groceries at a Safeway supermarket, a subsidiary of Albertsons. Photo: michael reynolds/ShutterstockA Washington state court commissioner temporarily blocked a $4 billion dividend that Albertsons ACI -0.31%decrease; red down pointing triangle Cos. had intended to pay its shareholders next week, announced when the grocer agreed to merge with rival Kroger Co. KR -0.32%decrease; red down pointing triangle in a $20 billion deal last month.Commissioner Henry Judson for the King County Superior Court in Washington said during a hearing Thursday that he will grant a temporary restraining order to stop the planned dividend. The ruling came after the state’s attorney general filed a lawsuit this week against the companies to block the payment, which was initially scheduled for Nov. 7.The proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons, the two largest U.S. supermarket operators, has faced opposition from elected officials, independent retailers and union groups voicing concerns about how the deal would affect food prices, competition and grocery workers’ jobs.A group of six state attorneys general last week asked Albertsons to delay the payment until officials finished reviewing the proposed deal. They wrote in a letter to the companies that the dividend would hurt the ability of Albertsons to compete with Kroger and other retailers if the merger didn’t go through.Albertsons notified the attorneys general late last week that it couldn’t comply, saying that the dividend is part of its strategy to return capital to shareholders and isn’t conditioned on the merger.Mr. Judson said Thursday that the case needs to go through a more detailed hearing, scheduled for Nov. 10, when a judge will decide the fate of the dividend.Albertsons said it will seek to overturn the decision as quickly as possible. The company said the planned dividend won’t hurt its ability to compete against other retailers and that it will still have about $3 billion of liquidity after making the payment. Kroger had no immediate comment.Attorneys general of Washington, D.C., California and Illinois on Wednesday filed a separate lawsuit against the companies in federal court, also seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the payment.Write to Jaewon Kang at jaewon.kang@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Jaewon Kang2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 11:11 pm ET
1e80d71f95965e0e0891b3e96e296fbeNew York Judge Imposes Monitoring Requirements on Trump Business OperationsU.S.U.S.A judge said Thursday that New York’s attorney general had presented abundant evidence to support her contention that Trump’s family business had engaged in fraud. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesA New York judge on Thursday required that Donald Trump’s family business be subject to monitoring requirements while it is facing a civil-fraud lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James.State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron said that given what he called “persistent misrepresentations” by the Trump family’s business in its financial statements over the last decade, “the appointment of an independent monitor is the most prudent and narrowly tailored mechanism to ensure there is no further fraud or illegality.”SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSShould the Trump Organization be barred from moving assets while the civil-fraud lawsuit is pending? Join the conversation below.The ruling came hours after the first public court hearing in Ms. James’s lawsuit, filed in September. The attorney general, a Democrat, alleged Mr. Trump, three of his adult children and his company generated $250 million in ill-gotten gains by engaging in a decadelong scheme to falsely value their assets. Mr. Trump provided false and misleading asset valuations to banks and insurers that inflated his net worth by billions of dollars, she alleged.Donald Trump said he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to answer questions from the New York attorney general at a scheduled deposition in August. WSJ’s Corinne Ramey explains what to know about the investigation into the financial dealings of the former president and his business. Photo illustration: Laura KammermannJustice Engoron said Ms. James had presented dozens of pieces of evidence to support her contention that the Trump family business had engaged in fraud, suggesting her case was likely to succeed on the merits. He pointed to evidence that Mr. Trump had exaggerated the size and inflated the value of a three-floor apartment in Trump Tower and said in financial statements that a dozen rent-restricted apartments appraised at $750,000 were worth $50 million.Justice Engoron said the Trumps’ lawyers “have failed to submit an iota of evidence, or an affidavit from anyone with personal knowledge, rebutting” the attorney general’s “comprehensive demonstration of persistent fraud.” Advertisement - Scroll to Continue “Today’s decision will ensure that Donald Trump and his companies cannot continue the extensive fraud that we uncovered,” Ms. James said after the ruling. New York Attorney General Letitia James has alleged that fraudulent practices have continued since she filed her lawsuit. Photo: Brittainy Newman/Associated PressA spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said, “Today’s decision sets a dangerous precedent for government interference in private enterprise and is an obvious attempt to influence the outcome of the upcoming election.”The Trumps have called the accusations politically motivated, and on Wednesday the former president sued Ms. James in a Florida court, seeking an order that would bar her from accessing and disclosing a trust that details Mr. Trump’s estate plans.Mr. Trump in a statement called Thursday’s decision “ridiculous” and unprecedented. “Businesses will be fleeing New York, which they already are, for other states and other countries,” he said.Ms. James has alleged that Mr. Trump and his company have continued to engage in fraudulent practices since she filed her lawsuit, and said that on the day the suit was filed the Trump Organization registered a new entity incorporated in Delaware, Trump Organization II LLC, with the New York secretary of state. Justice Engoron’s hearing Thursday focused on Ms. James’s request for a preliminary injunction that would bar the company from submitting Mr. Trump’s financial statements to insurers and lenders and prohibit the company from transferring or disposing of assets without court approval. Her office asked the judge to appoint an independent monitor while the case was pending to ensure the Trump Organization followed those rules.The injunction issued by the judge said the Trump business can’t sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of its listed noncash assets without providing a 14-day notice to the New York attorney general and the court.Chris Kise, an attorney for the Trump businesses, during the hearing said the creation of the new Delaware entity was a routine business matter and had nothing to do with the attorney general’s lawsuit. He called the appointment of a monitor “a staggering interference in the normal course of business.” The Trump family, he said, has no intention of moving major assets out of state and couldn’t do so easily anyway, given that its most important assets are large buildings.Mr. Kise accused the attorney general of seeking to score political points with the motion. “This shouldn’t be about political theater. This should be about the facts and the laws applied to those facts,” he said. Kevin Wallace, an attorney with Ms. James’s office, said the role of the monitor wouldn’t be to interfere with the family’s ability to do business. “Our goal is not to impact the day-to-day operations of the Trump Organization,” he said. Write to Laura Kusisto at laura.kusisto@wsj.com and Corinne Ramey at Corinne.Ramey@wsj.comThe Mar-a-Lago DocumentsKey coverage of the handling of classified documents at Trump's resort, selected by the editorsRead the Indictment New Indictment Says Trump Ordered Camera Footage Deleted Trump Documents Trial to Start in May Trump’s Lawyers Are Back in Court The Federal Case Against Trump Trump Pleads Not Guilty Case Puts Judge in the Spotlight How Probe Led to Indictment: A Timeline A Guide to Trump's Legal PerilsAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Laura Kusisto and Corinne Ramey2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 9:53 pm ET
e82ceea5b5a907b6c3b03a9e281ac1c4Auto Makers Are Expanding Voice Controls for Drivers. Cars Will Talk More, Too.The Future of everythingIllustration: John W. TomacYou approach the car with arms full of groceries and call out, “Open the tailgate!” On the road, as snow builds, the vehicle asks if you’d like to engage four-wheel drive, which you do by saying “yes.”  Wondering what that digital warning symbol is on your dashboard? The car can explain as you drive.The technology behind these scenarios is expected to make its way into cars in the next year or two, as auto makers expand voice capabilities and allow users to control more of the car through spoken word. With the proliferation of screens in cars, car makers are offering verbal commands as a way to help the driver keep eyes on the road and avoid visual distractions. They are moving toward voice commands that go deeper into the car’s controls—verbal cues for turning on the wipers, adjusting the mirrors or popping the tailgate. Newsletter Sign-upThe Future of EverythingA look at how innovation and technology are transforming the way we live, work and play. PreviewSubscribeAt the same time, auto makers are programming the car to interject with more suggestions of its own. They are combining voice with artificial intelligence in an effort to transform the car into a travel companion of sorts—one that will suggest a restaurant, alert you to pending problems or even detect your tense mood and adjust by playing classical music. “Voice assistants are becoming much more proactive,” said Prateek Kathpal, chief technology officer at Cerence Inc., a Massachusetts-based company that provides artificial intelligence and other technology to car makers. Car buyers would be forgiven some skepticism. As recently as a decade ago, voice-recognition systems were a source of frustration. Commands required a specific sequence of often stilted words. Commands weren’t standardized, so what worked in, say, the family Ford didn’t work in the Lexus. The systems were so unreliable they dragged down auto makers’ scores in vehicle-quality rankings. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue “Car companies invested tons of money to license voice technology, integrate it, put a button on the steering wheel—and it was a complete letdown,” says Ned Curic, chief technology officer for Jeep maker Stellantis N.V. and previously vice president of Amazon.com’s Alexa Automotive division. “It was like a trust-buster on a scale unimaginable.”These days, drivers are using voice controls more frequently. Forty percent of owners used their in-vehicle voice systems at least once a week, up from 30% in 2019, according to a U.S. survey conducted last year by research firm Strategy Analytics. A survey earlier this year from research firm S&P Global Mobility found that voice was the first or second choice of vehicle owners for using navigation, making phone calls or changing the music, compared with other options like dashboard buttons, steering-wheel controls or the touchscreen.With advances in AI, the systems have become more able to follow conversational commands and questions. That robot lurking behind that multimedia touchscreen is better at understanding your request to switch the radio station and is less likely to call your boss when you meant to call your spouse. And, because most cars now come with internet connections, they can draw from the cloud to keep up-to-date navigation maps and local business listings. The introduction nearly a decade ago of features such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that allow the user’s smartphone to be connected to the touchscreen, providing the look and feel of the phone interface, warmed up users to trying voice commands behind the wheel. Those soon were followed into the cockpit by the addition of Alexa and other app-based virtual assistants. Meanwhile, inside the home, smart speakers have conditioned more people to converse with hardware. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have become ubiquitous. Car companies also have their own embedded systems, typically accessed through a button on the steering wheel. And lately, more auto makers are building Google Assist and other third-party systems into the guts of the car to allow for commands that go beyond the multimedia system, such as adjusting seats or turning up the heat.In the future, as advances in partially automated features are expected to take over more driving tasks, auto makers envision combining voice functionality with entertainment offerings, like gaming, or productivity tools such as email.Mercedes-Benz is testing a system in Germany that lets the driver ask the voice assistant to describe points of interest along the route. Photo: Mercedes-Benz (RENDERING)Among advances expected in voice, Stellantis in 2024 plans to introduce STLA SmartCockpit, which will use voice tech combined with cameras and sensors that interpret hand gestures and glances to, for instance, automatically pick a parking spot. The system, which uses Amazon technology, will also allow users to ask for help configuring the garage door opener at home, for example, or verbally request that the car switch on the four-wheel-drive system, Mr. Curic says.Verbal instruction from the car can be more effective and less distracting for the driver than messages on a screen, Mr. Curic said. If the vehicle is going too fast to make the switch to four-wheel-drive that a driver has requested, a voice message explaining the situation is more easily digested, he said.General Motors Co. and other auto makers are working to allow users to tap into the car’s owner’s manual—that dense brick that normally sits unused in the glove compartment—by asking the car questions. GM plans to deliver a remote software update in coming months to its recently launched Cadillac Lyriq, an electric SUV, that will offer verbal instructions. A passenger’s question on how to set the position of the car’s seats would elicit the answer: “Use the ‘set’ button and one of the two ‘memory’ buttons located on the door panel. Would you like me to walk you through it?”Some cockpit systems are getting better at analyzing your voice. Mr. Kathpal, from Cerence, said the company has developed a feature that can authenticate a voice to securely purchase something online, for example. Meanwhile, the system can detect the user’s tone and pitch for signs of stress or agitation, and adjust by remaining silent, or playing soothing music.  “If you’re stressed, you want the voice out of the way,” he said.SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSHow likely are you to use expanded voice commands in your car? What functions do you think would be most useful—or not? Join the conversation below.Cerence is trying to take voice commands outside the car with a feature that uses a small microphone embedded on the roof that allows the user to ask for the doors or windows to open. It works only with the owner’s preset voice identification. Auto makers also are offering more voice-enabled entertainment options.Mercedes-Benz is testing a system in Germany that it calls Tourguide: The driver can ask the voice assistant to describe points of interest along the route, such as a sports stadium or historic church. The company is considering introducing the feature in North America, a spokesman said. Cerence is developing a karaoke feature it calls Cerence Sing, which allows the driver to follow the lyrics without becoming distracted, said Duygu Kanver, the product manager in charge of the feature. Instead of reading the words on the vehicle’s screen, the user can interrupt to ask the computer voice to repeat the most recent section of lyrics. “The goal is to create a very good experience for the whole car, maybe scoring the singing performances,” Ms. Kanver said. “There’s a lot more to come.” Write to Mike Colias at mike.colias@wsj.comThe Future of EverythingMore stories from The Wall Street Journal's The Future of Everything, about how innovation and technology are transforming the way we live, work and play.The Future of Everything How We Age—and How Scientists Are Working to Turn Back the Clock For This Venture Capitalist, Research on Aging Is Personal Enjoy Alcohol, Without the Hangover Six Technologies That Will Change Your Health Drugs So Futuristic That Doctors Need New Training In Bats, Clues to Fighting Human Disease Finding New Drugs From the Deep Sea Growing a New Type of Organ DonorAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Mike Colias2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 11:04 am ET
9d134b619e9000bb27623410c6bf2d92Robinhood’s Cash Riches Pay OffFinancehEARD ON THE sTREETRobinhood reported that its net interest revenue surged 73% in the third quarter from the prior period. Photo: Amir Hamja for The Wall Street JournalRising rates are helping Robinhood Markets survive slow markets. There’s still more to be done to truly thrive again.The broker reported Wednesday that its net interest revenue surged 73% from the second quarter to $128 million in the third quarter. That helped its average revenue per user to once again tick higher, to $63 from $56.The largest source of net interest revenue is interest on margin lending, which jumped to $48 million from $39 million. Securities lending revenue also grew sequentially, to $29 million from $23 million. The firm’s fully-paid margin lending product, launched in May, contributed $4 million in revenue in the third quarter but is expected to eventually be much more.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Efforts to gather customer cash are also bearing fruit. Robinhood said that it has swept up about $1.5 billion worth of customer cash via its Gold accounts since it raised the rate for those customers to 3% in September. Cash sweeps, which move uninvested customer money to program banks, generated $8 million in third-quarter net interest revenue, up from just $2 million in the second quarter. SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSWhat’s your outlook on Robinhood? Join the conversation below.Overall, net customer deposits into Robinhood grew at a 17% annualized rate in the third quarter. It also generated $20 million in net interest revenue from segregated customer cash and clearinghouse deposits.The third quarter marked a positive turn for adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, at $47 million, up from a loss on that basis of $80 million in the second quarter. The company had said it would reach positive territory by the end of this year. This measure excludes some expenses such as share-based compensation, and some nonrecurring costs such as restructuring charges, as the company reduces its workforce and slims down.Investors shouldn’t get carried away, though. A portion of Robinhood’s interest revenue doesn’t come directly from customer activities but from its own corporate cash pile. Robinhood has more than $6 billion worth on its balance sheet, which generated $29 million in net interest revenue or more than a fifth of its total net interest revenue. That is a good way to help Robinhood on its path to profitability, but it doesn’t necessarily represent deepening relationships with customers for investing and money management.Gathering cash is often a means to an end: Getting people to do something with it. Otherwise, in this environment it is just a competition for who can offer customers the highest rates. And, in a less-upbeat sign, Robinhood says activity in margin borrowing and securities lending by customers is slowing so far in the fourth quarter.Robinhood’s engine—trading—is still moving forward slowly. Transaction-based revenues grew quarter-over-quarter, but by just 3% to $208 million, with growth in equities and options offset by shrinking crypto revenue. Robinhood says it is aiming to launch retirement products in time for tax season, which could be potentially another major funnel into the business and revenue generator. But that remains something for the future.For now, Robinhood is earning via higher rates, enabling it to keep moving forward as it launches important products, and until the market cycle turns in its favor. But it is only a step on its journey through the forest.Robinhood was one of the most valuable startups in Silicon Valley before its IPO. But now, its share price is down around 75%. WSJ’s Gunjan Banerji explains how Robinhood fueled a meme-stock craze and why it’s now struggling. Illustration: Preston JesseeWrite to Telis Demos at Telis.Demos@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Telis Demos2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 11:20 am ET
47ac725dfb53a4fb9a3733e53190f4dfA More Dovish Bank of England Still Wants a RecessionFinancehEARD ON THE sTREETThe Bank of England Thursday announced an increase in its key rate to 3%. Photo: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERSJudging by the Bank of England’s gloomy economic forecasts, U.K. interest rates won’t go as high as the market expects. Unfortunately for investors, the central bank also seems set to mostly ignore its own forecasts.On Thursday, the BOE announced an increase in its key rate by three-quarters of a percentage point to 3%—the highest level of borrowing costs since 2008. This comes a day after the Federal Reserve raised rates by the same amount, warning that they could go higher than previously expected. Newsletter Sign-upHeard on the StreetThe first word on what Wall Street is talking about, delivered to you via email notification.PreviewSubscribeUnlike the Fed, though, the British central bank was interpreted by most analysts as dovish, because the report accompanying the decision suggested that investor expectations for further aggressive action in coming meetings are exaggerated.The BOE’s November projections, which are based on derivative-markets pricing before Oct. 25, imply that rates will peak around 5.3% in the third quarter of next year, and slowly come down. The central bank called this “elevated” and said that, were it to come true, U.K. gross domestic product would shrink by 2.9%, extending its drop throughout 2023 and the first half of 2024. This could be the longest recession on record. Inflation would be below policy makers’ 2% target in two years’ time, and keep falling from there.At the same time, the BOE published its forecast for what would happen if rates were kept at their current 3% level: Inflation would be slightly above 2% in two years’ time, but not significantly, and still sink far below target in 2025. In exchange, the economy would contract a smaller 1.7%.Loading tweet...Through its own forecasts, the BOE seems to be saying that tightening as much as the market thinks would be ill advised. The demise of Liz Truss’s government, with its big ambitions for fiscal expansion, has pushed Britain back into the fold of austerity policies. The central bank has gone from fighting the U.K. Treasury’s plans to inject extra demand into the economy to preparing for yet another hurdle to growth.However, investors shouldn’t expect much upside for stocks and bonds, which were broadly unchanged Thursday. Market expectations of rates have already come down a lot since Oct. 25, as evidence of the U.K.’s newfound fiscal conservatism has piled up. Even before Thursday’s announcement, derivatives were pricing in rates peaking at 4.7%.To be sure, getting to 4.7% in the next three months would still require a lot of movement, so there is room for the BOE to meet markets in the middle. But the maneuvering space isn’t very wide, since officials have provided every indication that the job isn’t done. Even if they tighten by less than Thursday’s move in coming meetings, rates seem unlikely to peak below 3.75%.This looks unjustifiably high, given the BOE’s own forecast that rates at 3% will already cause a recession and bring inflation down—if anything, it suggests money is already too tight. The policy echoes that of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, who said Thursday that even a mild recession won’t stop her hand.Investors may celebrate early signs that Europe’s central banks will soon start inflicting less harm on their own economies. The fact that they are still committed to inflicting some, though, isn’t exactly good news.Write to Jon Sindreu at jon.sindreu@wsj.comWSJ Stock-Picking ContestSee some of the latest picks from our Heard on the Street columnists Debt-Addicted Landlord Struggles The Case for Investing in Giant Robot Suits Investors Can Jam With Toast Compare the WSJ Heard Stock Picks U.S. Steel Can Ride the Manufacturing Boom Owens Corning Appears Insulated From High Rates An Auto-Parts Retailer Crashed—It Can Be Fixed This Gen-Z Lemonade Might SourAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Jon Sindreu2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 11:51 am ET
5e9cbcab4cc9c54a2384036663e6fb40These People Quit Higher-Paying Jobs for Better Work-Life Balance. Inflation Is Testing Their Mettle.Managing Your CareerMany of the millions of people who switched jobs during the pandemic are feeling the bite of inflation especially hard, and for an often overlooked reason—they opted for pay cuts.All around, it has been a good time for American workers and their earning power—if not their spending power. Labor shortages have driven up wages, and many in-demand employees have quit jobs for better-paying ones. Yet a sizable share of job switchers took pay cuts in the Covid-19 era, according to new research. In a survey of more than 2,300 workers, 32% of those who changed jobs since early 2020 said they made less money as a result.Many have traded in a higher paycheck by choice. While nearly a third of job switchers who now make less money said they had been laid off from their previous jobs, about 25% took a pay cut for better work-life balance, according to Prudential Financial, which commissioned the study. Others said they took a lower-paying job because they wanted to pursue a passion, work remotely or in a new location, or find an employer more aligned with their values.  Rising prices for everything from food and housing to vacations are now testing those decisions, pushing many to tighten budgets already trimmed when they opted for lower-paying jobs. Some job switchers say they are pursuing extra work—even if their original goal was to work less. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Many, including 38-year-old Mae Singerman, say they still have no regrets. Mae Singerman with her mother and daughter. Photo: Padraig O’Donoghue“I sacrificed savings for now to live a more balanced life,” says Ms. Singerman, who left her job as director of operations at a nonprofit last fall for a lower-paying administrator role at another organization. She made the decision to find a new job after her appendix burst late one night and she pinged her co-workers from the emergency room to say she was in the hospital but acted as if it were no big deal. “I was obsessed with the job,” she says she realized. “In retrospect, why was I emailing my co-workers at 3 a.m.?”After her recovery, she took a new job that would let her spend more time with her two young children and help take care of her mother, who has dementia. The catch was it came with a 35% pay cut. Because her husband has a union job with predictable annual raises, Ms. Singerman says the couple didn’t have to make major changes to their lifestyle: She lives in a rent-stabilized apartment, and her youngest is no longer in daycare. But as other expenses have climbed, there have been adjustments, such as no longer contributing to her 401(k). The trade-off has been worth it, she says. “It’s hard for me to imagine going back to what I had at this point in my life,” she says. Some who quit jobs for lower-paying positions are now seeking extra work, as are many U.S. workers. In a recent survey of more than 1,000 working adults, 38% said they had looked for a second job and 14% said they planned to. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said it was harder to pay for living expenses than a year earlier, according to the business-software maker Qualtrics, which conducted the study. Inflation is running near a 40-year high, raising the cost of everyday needs such as car repairs and hair cuts.Christopher Doran Photo: Thomas GragliaChristopher Doran, a 32-year-old in northern New Jersey, makes 20% less than he did as a director of nursing at an assisted-living facility until about a year ago. He says he made the switch to nursing at a hospital after realizing that his work affected his relationships with friends and family, and his mental health.“I was missing events with church, or dinners with friends or family. I had to work holidays, so really, I didn’t have any opportunity to enjoy my life,” he says. “I was burned out.”Mr. Doran says he is happy with his choice, but he feels the effect on his finances daily. He doesn’t go out as much because of gas prices. “I used to shop healthier,” he adds. “I can’t because it’s so expensive.” To offset the salary difference and pay off his credit-card debt, Mr. Doran picks up extra shifts at the hospital, which gets him overtime pay. It’s fewer hours and less stress than his old job but still a lot of work, he says.  “I’ve been sacrificing my leisure time to pay the credit cards,” he says. “It’s still kind of taking time I wish I had away.” A series of interest-rate rises have rippled through the U.S. economy, and more are projected to be on the way. WSJ breaks down the numbers hitting Americans’ wallets this year and beyond. Photo: Elise Amendola/Associated PressFor many who have lost jobs, a pay cut was the only option. Kimberly Allen, 38, has changed jobs several times during the pandemic, and her pay has fluctuated with each change. In 2020, she left a nonprofit and took a pay cut for a role in recruiting. A little over a year later, she left that job and almost doubled her salary by taking a contract role with a tech company as a talent sourcer. She was suddenly unemployed when the role ended a few months later.SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSIf you made a job change during the pandemic, what has been your experience? Join the conversation below.“I took a leap of faith,” says Ms. Allen, who lives in Schererville, Ind.Ms. Allen has since found another recruiting job on contract, but it pays 10% less than her last job. Meanwhile, everything from school supplies to sports-team fees and gas spent shuttling everyone back and forth is more expensive than it used to be. Ms. Allen says she and her husband have put a cap on the number of activities their kids can participate in and cut back on entertainment spending.“We’re working on creative low-budget ways to have fun at home for the entire year and probably next year,” she says. Write to Katherine Bindley at katie.bindley@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Katherine Bindley2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 11:24 am ET
3d4b20b5565d0292a1025cc42fd5f6ebPaul Allen’s Quest for Sunken WarshipsEssay"On Nov. 9-10, Christie’s New York will auction off the art collection of Paul Allen, the late Microsoft co-founder. With more than 150 items, including paintings by Van Gogh, Cezanne and Seurat, the sale is expected to fetch some $1 billion. Allen’s interest in art was well known, but less attention has been paid to another of his passions: tracking down and documenting World War II ships sunk in action. Through his umbrella company Vulcan, Allen funded the discovery and exploration of more than 20 warships, including the American aircraft carriers Lexington and Hornet, the cruiser U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Japanese battleship Musashi. “Paul Allen single-handedly, privately, set out to find every significant U.S. World War II warship that fought in a major battle or had a significant story to it,” said explorer David Mearns, whose company Blue Water Recoveries worked with Vulcan for more than five years.Only 10% of the ocean floor is properly mapped, and mountain ranges and canyons dwarf even the largest warship.Finding a wreck presents enormous challenges. Only 10% of the ocean floor is properly mapped, and mountain ranges and canyons dwarf even the largest warship. The ships are rarely intact. And where to start looking, when the ships themselves might not have known exactly where they were when they sank?Allen operated as a maritime private detective, collaborating with appreciative governments, museums and survivor associations but taking orders from none. A keen student of history, he would provide his team a list of the ships he was interested in, and they would determine which wrecks were feasible to explore. Allen would then greenlight a voyage. The expeditions mirrored the man himself—somewhat reclusive, engaging others only as much as necessary. Allen never shared details about the reasons for his commitment or how much he spent on it.The goal of these missions was to locate and document wrecks, not to recover items or human remains. Most if not all of the ships that Mr. Allen found are war graves, subject to the Sunken Military Craft Act (SMCA) of 2004, which protects from unauthorized disturbance all sunken vessels owned by the U.S. government. The Underwater Archaeology Branch of the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) manages 17,000 ship and aircraft wrecks worldwide. Its director, retired Rear Admiral Samuel J. Cox, described how relations between Allen’s team and the Navy warmed over the years: “Initially Mr. Allen and Vulcan operated entirely on their own, pursuing a hobby and interest of Mr. Allen. My Command soon determined that Vulcan was a competent, serious, first-rate group with quality technology, and we were persuaded that they would treat any wreck found with dignity and respect.”Advertisement - Scroll to Continue The U.S.S Indianapolis leaves port in New Jersey, 1932. Photo: Bettmann Archive/Getty ImagesInformation-sharing between Vulcan and the Navy was instrumental in locating the U.S.S. Indianapolis, whose story has captured imaginations for decades. Almost 1,200 men were aboard the cruiser when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine on July 30, 1945, just weeks before the end of World War II. News of the sinking didn’t reach the Navy for three days, and by the time rescue forces arrived, hundreds of sailors had died from exposure, dehydration and shark attacks. Altogether, almost 900 lives were lost, the most on a single ship at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy.The Indianapolis was sunk while sailing alone somewhere in the vast stretch between Guam and the Philippines, and several expeditions to find the wreck had failed before Allen’s team began to search in 2017. “The official Navy position of where she sank turned out to be 40 miles off from where she actually went down,” says Adm. Cox. “To aid in the search, our historians worked to provide Vulcan with a search box, and they eventually found the wreck just outside that box.”“By the time Paul’s group approached me, I had become jaded and almost blew them off,” said William Toti, a retired U.S. Navy captain and chair of the U.S.S. Indianapolis Legacy Organization. “I had heard claims like this so many times before, I no longer believed the ship was discoverable. So when I received that call in August 2017 from the Navy that the ship had actually been discovered and I was cleared to notify the survivors, I almost couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”More in IdeasThe Forgotten Part of MLK’s Dream: Good Jobs and Higher WagesAugust 26, 2023Feminism Can’t Stop Fighting the 1950sAugust 25, 2023What High Schoolers Need to Start the Year: Seinfeld-Style GripingAugust 25, 2023Moderators Have Ruined Presidential Debates. Let’s Get Rid of Them.August 24, 2023The heart of Vulcan’s efforts were two high-tech research vessels. The first, Octopus, did double duty as Allen’s personal yacht. In addition to remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and a futuristic dive control center, it also came equipped with a music recording studio. Its successor, Petrel, included a ship-positioning system that allowed it to automatically “hover” over wrecks miles below on the ocean floor. “Petrel had capabilities the Navy does not have,” says Adm. Cox, who spent time aboard the ship in the South Pacific. “I had better internet connectivity on Petrel in the middle of the Coral Sea than I do at the desk in my office.”Allen cited his father’s service in World War II as stoking his interest in warships. But he also had a lifelong fascination with the oceans. “Paul was fascinated by what happened to the seas, not just shipwrecks,” says Philip Wilcocks, a retired admiral in the Royal Navy who worked with Allen on recovering the bell from a British ship, HMS Hood. Allen was a scuba diver who sponsored a major collaborative project to map the world’s shallow coral reefs, and he shared Vulcan’s data with international efforts to map the world’s ocean floors.An undersea image of the wreck of the U.S.S. Indianapolis. Photo: Lone Wolf MediaBefitting a tech pioneer, Allen equipped the vessels with cutting-edge video and photographic technology. With each discovery Vulcan released images to the public, many of which can be seen on YouTube, showing debris fields, hulls flipped upside down and everyday items strewn. It is something akin to looking at the wreckage of the Twin Towers after 9/11, a powerful reminder that the sunken ships are war graves. One can visit Gettysburg, Waterloo or the D-Day beaches, but the surface of the ocean reveals nothing of old battles, since its victims were swallowed whole. The discovery of these sites can provide a sense of closure. “For the families of the lost, the Indianapolis discovery provided a point on the map they could point to and say, ‘This is where my father, uncle, brother, cousin lies,” said Capt. Toti. “This is hallowed ground for us.’”Mr. Wooley is a journalist and former officer in the British Royal Navy.Corrections & Amplifications The sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis caused the greatest loss of life on a single ship at sea in the history of the U.S. Navy. An earlier version of this article incorrectly described it as the greatest loss of life on a single ship; more lives were lost when the U.S.S. Arizona was sunk at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. (Corrected on Nov. 7)Advertisement - Scroll to Continue "By Alexander Wooley2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 11:59 am ET
eebba44b8c3fa01f1f4534042c1a038dLike Chardonnay? This Under-the-Radar White Is a Bargain AlternativeOn Wine"IN WINE AND IN LIFE, there are stars and there are satellites. Pinot Blanc is the latter.It’s not Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, the more-popular grapes that a couple of retailers recommended as alternatives when I recently went shopping for the more obscure Pinot Blanc. It’s not Chardonnay, either, though some winemakers treat it as such. Pinot Blanc—aka Pinot Bianco, aka Weissburgunder, aka Klevner, depending on where it’s grown—is commonplace but so underrated it isn’t even mentioned in some of my wine reference books. And yet, judging from my recent Pinot Blanc tasting, the really good examples are worth tracking down.Perhaps it’s only fitting that a grape granted so little respect in print and in practice should have an uncertain origin. In “The Oxford Companion to Wine,” Jancis Robinson writes vaguely that Pinot Blanc was “first observed in Burgundy...” Some sources call Pinot Blanc a mutation of Pinot Gris; others, a mutation of Pinot Noir; still others note that all three have the same genetic origin. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Pinot Blanc displays quite a stylistic range depending on where it is grown and how it’s produced. It can be rich and round, almost Chardonnay-like, particularly if it’s barrel-fermented in oak. Alternatively, it can be lively and bright with a crisp acidity and a citrus note. It’s a common component in many sparkling wines, including Champagne and the Crémants of Alsace.Pinot Blanc is grown in various regions in France, including Burgundy and Champagne, where it’s often part of a blend. It’s a key grape in Alsace.Alsace producer Albert Boxler is justly famous for Riesling, but the Boxler family happens to make a terrific Pinot Blanc too. The 2020 Albert Boxler Pinot Blanc ($37) was truly a delightful wine, well-balanced with a long, mineral finish. It was perhaps the most complex Pinot Blanc of my tasting, though a few others came close.Pinot Blanc can be rich and round, almost Chardonnay-like. Or it can be lively and bright with a crisp acidity and a citrus note.One of those runners-up came from Alto Adige, in northeastern Italy. Although Pinot Bianco, as it’s known there, is grown in many regions of Italy, it’s particularly well produced in this Alpine corner of the country. Indeed, Ms. Robinson notes, “Good Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige from low-yielding vineyards, fermented and aged in oak barrels, indicate that Pinot Bianco could give much better results in Italy if it were treated with more respect.”Vintner Martin Foradori Hofstätter, of J. Hofstätter winery in Alto Adige, treats his Pinot Bianco with great respect, though he produces more Pinot Grigio. Pinot Bianco can be challenging from a producer’s perspective. “It is quite difficult to grow (because of the tight packed cluster),” he wrote in an email. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a fan. “Its finesse, acidity, minerality and deepness are unique,” he said. The 2021 J. Hofstätter Weißburgunder Pinot Bianco Alto Adige ($21) is a crisp, medium-bodied white with a pleasingly floral, citrus note—a wonderfully drinkable wine. I had a couple other very pleasant Alto Adige Pinot Biancos: The 2020 Pfitscher Langefeld Pinot Bianco Alto Adige ($20) was clean and lively with an herbal note, and the 2021 Elena Walch Pinot Bianco Alto Adige ($20) was bracingly crisp with a pleasant pear note. I found significant variety in my tasting of German Pinot Blanc, sometimes called Weissburgunder on labels. The 2020 Becker Family Pinot Blanc ($22), produced from vineyards on the border of Germany and France, was pleasant, with notes of citrus and peach, if rather light bodied and a touch simple. The 2021 Hofgut Falkenstein Niedermenniger Herrenberg Weißburgunder Trocken ($31) was even lighter, even more fruity and lower in alcohol (10.5%). The Rheingau Sekt Brut Weiss Latitude 50˚ ($16), a sparkling wine from the Rheingau region, was likewise low in alcohol (11%) and actually only 60% Pinot Blanc (the rest of the blend is Müller-Thurgau), but it was so fresh and delightful I decided it deserved to be included as well.The best German Weissburgunder I tasted came from an unlikely source, Dönnhoff, the Nahe-based producer renowned for its dry Rieslings. I’m a big Dönnhoff fan, and I was surprised to discover that this producer makes Weissburgunder. Gabriel Clary, portfolio director for Dönnhoff’s importer, Skurnik Wines, explained that only a tiny amount (100-200 cases) of the wine makes it to the U.S. as it’s so popular among German drinkers. I understood why: The 2020 Dönnhoff Nahe Weißburgunder Trocken ($28) was a well-balanced, dry white with a wonderfully lengthy saline finish.I found several Pinot Blancs from Oregon and one from Long Island. While most of these U.S. wines were quite pleasant, the one produced by Harper Voit in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was impressive. Winemaker Drew Voit, like Mr. Hofstätter, noted that the grape is difficult to grow. He further acknowledged that it is not nearly as profitable as, say, Pinot Noir. Still, he’s all in with the grape. He believes Pinot Blanc must spend time in oak. “The real character of the wine comes out of a relationship between wine and oak,” he explained. “It’s like Chardonnay. It needs stuff.” Indeed, the 2020 Harper Voit Surlie Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley ($35)—barrel-fermented and left on its lees—was a rich, creamy, Chardonnay-like wine, but marked by a bright acidity. It’s Mr. Voit’s “entry level” Pinot Blanc. He also makes a more expensive still Pinot Blanc and a Champagne-method (and Champagne-priced) sparkling Pinot Blanc, the 2017 Harper Voit Blanc de Blancs ($75).Perhaps Pinot Blanc will forever be a satellite and not a star. But as these wines prove, in the right hands, it can occupy a very important place in the wine universe.OENOFILE / Pinot Blancs worth seeking out 1. 2020 Albert Boxler Pinot Blanc, $37. Although the Boxler name is most often associated with great Riesling, this producer has built a loyal following for other grapes, too—including this terrific, seductive Pinot Blanc produced from 40-year-old vines.2. 2021 J. Hofstätter Weißburgunder Pinot Bianco Alto Adige, $21. A bright and lively take from a top producer in Alto Adige—part of Austria until after World War I, hence the listing of both the Italian and German names, Pinot Bianco and Weissburgunder, on the label. 3. 2020 Dönnhoff Nahe Weißburgunder Trocken, $28. Renowned for dry Rieslings, Dönnhoff also makes a smaller quantity of sought-after dry Weissburgunder, mostly consumed in its native Germany. Some 100-200 cases make it stateside.4. 2020 Harper Voit Surlie Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley, $35. Winemaker Drew Voit is so devoted to this grape he makes three different Pinot Blancs. This is his “entry level” Pinot Blanc, but there is nothing basic about this rich, slightly creamy wine.5. Rheingau Sekt Brut Weiss Latitude 50˚, $16. It’s hard not to like—and drink—this zippy Pinot Blanc-dominant sparkler from Germany’s Rheingau. Produced via the Charmat method, with a secondary fermentation in stainless steel, it’s low in alcohol but high on immediate pleasure.Email Lettie at wine@wsj.comThe Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSWhere is your favorite Pinot Bianco/Pinot Blanc/Weissburgunder made? Join the conversation below.Corrections & Amplifications The first wine in the Oenofile is the Boxler Pinot Blanc not Sylvaner. An earlier version of this article incorrectly used a photo of the Sylvaner. (Corrected on Nov. 7)MORE ON WINEYes, Rieslings Can Be Dry—and Delicious. 5 Bottles to Try.August 24, 2023Yes, You Can Pair Red Wine With Fish. Here’s How to Do It Right.August 10, 2023Avoid a Wine Faux-Pas: The Bottles Hosts Actually Want Their Guests to BringAugust 3, 2023What Happens When You Stop at One Glass of Wine a Day?July 27, 2023For These Influential Families, Life Is Like ‘Succession’—but With More Wine and Far Less DramaJuly 13, 2023Advertisement - Scroll to Continue "By Lettie Teague2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 12:00 pm ET
b052154c233415f3b29b67b3e4975555Stellantis Unit Urges Some Dodge and Chrysler Owners to Stop Driving After Air Bag DeathsBusinessAutos IndustryGetting air bags replaced in the recalled vehicles takes about an hour. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesA Stellantis NV subsidiary is urging owners of certain Dodge and Chrysler vehicles to fix open recalls on these models, after reports that three people were killed by exploding Takata air bags.FCA US LLC, a unit of the global auto maker, had recalled about 276,000 Dodge and Chrysler models in 2015 to fix air bags that were known to rupture upon deployment, flinging metal shards into the vehicle’s cabin.The recalls covered 2005-2010 Dodge Magnums, Chargers and Challengers, as well as Chrysler 300s sold during the same model years.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Within the last seven months, the U.S. subsidiary has learned of two confirmed deaths involving ruptured Takata air bags, as well as a third that has yet to be verified, a company spokesman said.Two of the deaths were in 2010 Dodge Chargers that were covered by the recall campaign but not repaired, he said.FCA is telling owners that they should immediately stop driving the recalled vehicles until they can get the air bags replaced free of charge at a brand dealership. The repair takes about an hour, the manufacturer said. The warning is the latest in what has been a difficult and taxing effort for car companies to fully address the problematic air bags. Auto makers have had to track down millions of older vehicles with the defective Takata air bags, including many which have changed hands several times, and then urge owners to get the needed fixes.The problem with the Takata air bags relates to the mechanism that triggers them to inflate during a crash. Long-term exposure to high heat and humidity can lead to a buildup of moisture that causes the air bag inflaters to explode upon deployment at a significant force, sending shrapnel into the vehicle.The Takata recall effort—one of the largest of its kind in automotive history—has been ongoing for nearly a decade and covers more than 70 million air bags in roughly 42 million cars made by a range of car companies.Before Thursday, federal regulators have confirmed 19 deaths in the U.S. associated with the air bags, which had been made by the former Takata Corp.Globally, the Takata air bags had been linked to at least 22 deaths and more than 180 injuries. Takata filed for bankruptcy in 2017 and auto makers have set aside billions of dollars to cover legal settlements and replacement parts associated with the recalls.Many of Takata’s assets were purchased last year by Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems Inc., and the combined entity now operates as Joyson Safety Systems. Joyson isn’t involved with legacy products associated with the former manufacturer, a spokesman said Thursday.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the auto industry’s main regulatory agency, said it is aware of other reports of Takata air bags rupturing in vehicles made by other auto makers, but they haven’t yet been confirmed. An agency spokeswoman declined to comment further on those incidents. “Left unrepaired, recalled Takata air bags are increasingly dangerous as the risk of an explosion rises as vehicles age,” said Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s acting administrator.It isn’t uncommon for recalls to take years to resolve, in part because many owners either ignore or aren’t aware of open campaigns on their vehicles.NHTSA said that each year millions of recalled vehicles are left unaddressed. NHTSA offers an online tool where owners can look up their vehicles and check if they have been recalled.Write to Ryan Felton at ryan.felton@wsj.com and Dean Seal at dean.seal@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Ryan Felton and Dean Seal2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 12:03 pm ET
3280ae6fede3ef856bd35987b27f0b17NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Assails Kyrie Irving for Not Offering ‘Unqualified Apology’ in Anti-Semitism DramaNBAKyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets are contributing $500,000 each toward ‘causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance.’  Photo: Dustin Satloff/Getty ImagesNearly a week after Kyrie Irving promoted a movie that contains anti-Semitic themes, NBA commissioner Adam Silver assailed him on Thursday for not apologizing or disavowing the contents of the documentary.Silver’s statement came a day after Irving and the Brooklyn Nets, in a joint statement with the Anti-Defamation League, said the player and team would pledge donations totaling $1 million toward “causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance.” Silver said that the contributions are not sufficient atonement.“Kyrie Irving made a reckless decision to post a link to a film containing deeply offensive antisemitic material,” Silver said. “I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize.  I will be meeting with Kyrie in person in the next week to discuss this situation.”Advertisement - Scroll to Continue The harsher words from Silver came five days after the NBA issued an unattributed statement denouncing anti-Semitism and “hate speech of any kind.” The NBA did not name Irving or reference the book or film in that initial statement. The commissioner’s comments brought fresh fuel to a controversy that has consumed the NBA. In the joint statement with the ADL on Wednesday, Irving took responsibility for “the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community,” but he did not apologize. “I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” Irving said. “I do not believe everything said in the documentary was true or reflects my morals and principles. I am a human being learning from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen. So from my family and I, we meant no harm to any one group, race or religion of people, and wish to only be a beacon of truth and light.” The latest Irving drama began last week, when he shared a link to the Amazon Prime video page of the 2018 movie, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” After the movie’s themes came to light, Nets owner Joe Tsai criticized Irving and condemned the film. Irving denied being anti-Semitic and protested that he had done nothing wrong before deleting the tweet. The statement from Irving, the Nets and the ADL came one day after the Nets fired coach Steve Nash after a rocky start to the season that was made even more tumultuous by Irving’s behavior. Irving, who is playing on a contract that pays him $36 million a year, also missed a large chunk of last season because of his refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19.After the movie’s content was highlighted in a Rolling Stone article, Irving’s tweet drew criticism last Friday from ADL chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt, who wrote that: “The book and film he promotes trade in deeply #antisemitic themes, including those promoted by dangerous sects of the Black Hebrew Israelites movement.”Amazon did not respond to a request for comment about the movie. Tsai posted an unusually direct criticism of one of his team’s own players on Friday night but stopped short of suspending or fining Irving. “I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation,” the Nets owner wrote. “I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.” He added: “This is bigger than basketball.” With pressure mounting on Saturday afternoon, Irving denied being anti-Semitic. “I am an OMNIST and I meant no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs,” he tweeted. “The ‘Anti-Semitic’ label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.”Silver himself was singled out for criticism for the league’s initially tepid response. Before the Nets played on Tuesday night in a game aired by TNT, one of the league’s partners, star broadcaster Charles Barkley said the NBA’s lack of disciplinary action was a mistake. “I think the NBA dropped the ball,” Barkley said. “I think Adam should have suspended him. First of all, Adam’s Jewish. You can’t take my $40 million and insult my religion. If you’re going to insult me, you have the right, but I have the right to say, ‘No, you’re not going to take my $40 million dollars and insult my religion.’” The backlash against Irving, the Nets and the NBA intensified after a testy Saturday night press conference that was cut short by team officials. Irving said that he had stumbled on the video by searching on Google, and subsequently on Amazon, while exploring the etymology of his name and as part of his ongoing effort to “elevate my consciousness” about history and religion.He indicated that he did not hold a fixed belief on whether Jews or Africans were “the original chosen people of God,” considered those conversations “a big no-no,” and denied that he had been promoting the movie. By Sunday, the tweet promoting the movie no longer appeared on Irving’s account. Irving was not made available to the media after the Nets’ games on Monday and Tuesday. In a Tuesday press conference with his team in a crisis, Nets general manager Sean Marks said that the Nets did not want to “cause more fuss right now” by allowing Irving to have “more interaction with people.” “Let’s let him simmer down,” Marks said. “Everybody knows he’s going to have to answer these questions at some point. He hasn’t shied away in the past. But I think the last postgame meeting didn’t go well. We’re not trying to cover it up. I think this is something that needs to be addressed.” Write to Louise Radnofsky at louise.radnofsky@wsj.com and Ben Cohen at ben.cohen@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Louise Radnofsky and Ben Cohen2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 12:26 pm ET
057838a06028b1439398c681e8d76a81Iran Unrest Grows as Mourners Mark Deaths of Protest VictimsWorldMiddle EastPeople mourning a 16-year-old protester fled security forces outside Khorramabad, Iran, last week. Photo: -/Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesSeveral mourning ceremonies for Iranians who died in recent protests snowballed into large demonstrations on Thursday, adding fresh momentum to a monthslong antigovernment movement that has swept across the Islamic Republic.Security forces have responded with lethal force against the protests, which were ignited by the death on Sept. 16 of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police, who had detained her for allegedly violating the country’s strict Islamic dress code. More than 200 people have died since the protests began and hundreds more injured, rights groups say.Now, memorials—traditionally held 40 days after passing, a date of remembrance in Islamic tradition—for some of those people who died in the unrest are quickly escalating into protests in a new challenge to the establishment. Demonstrations erupted during mourning ceremonies for protesters killed by security forces in half a dozen cities across Iran on Thursday.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue In Karaj, an industrial city west of Tehran, a large crowd gathered to mark the death of a woman who was shot while protesting in late September. Some clashed with security forces who fired tear gas as they tried to block access to the cemetery where Hadis Najafi, a 22-year-old TikToker, is buried, according to footage posted on social media.Protests soon spread to other parts of the city, with thousands joining, according to social-media posts. Some protesters blocked a highway, beat up a member of the security forces and a cleric and a police facility was set on fire, footage shows. In response, military helicopters brought reinforcements, according to social-media accounts supporting the protests movement.Who is Mahsa Amini?A protester holding a portrait of Mahsa Amini during a demonstration. Photo: ozan kose/Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesIn Shabad, in the western region of Iranian Kurdistan, security forces opened fire on protesters who had gathered for a memorial, according to Hengaw, an Iranian Kurdish human-rights organization.At least three people, including one member of the security forces, died during protests in Iran on Thursday, and a cleric was killed by unknown assailants in the southeastern Baloch region, state media said.The fresh wave of protests underscores how the Islamic Republic is struggling to contain the longest period of unrest in over a decade, as demonstrations move to schools, universities, oil refineries and factories.Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei took a conciliatory stance toward protesters on Wednesday, saying the government had no dispute with young people on the streets, as he sharpened his assertion that the U.S. and other foreign powers were orchestrating the monthslong unrest.A State Department spokesperson said Iran’s government is facing problems of its own making.“Iran’s leadership should be listening to the people, not firing on them and arresting them indiscriminately. It is no wonder the Iranian people are protesting against the flagrant denial of their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the spokesperson said.  While the unrest has been widespread and sometimes drawn thousands of people chanting antigovernment slogans, it has also been largely nonviolent, and led by young people, more often in groups of several dozen or less, making it difficult for security forces to quell them with anti-riot measures.Despite crackdowns and internet shutdowns, demonstrations against the Iranian government have grown into one of the biggest challenges to its leadership in four decades. WSJ maps out how protests have bubbled up across the Iranian society. Photo composite: Adam Adada—David S. Cloud contributed to this article.Uprising in IranKey insights on the protests in Iran, selected by the editors Fresh Push to Force Women to Wear Hijab Protests in Far-Flung Enclave Pose New Challenge Islamic Leaders Face Crisis of Faith The Culture War Behind Iran's ProtestsAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Aresu Eqbali and Benoit Faucon2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 12:31 pm ET
5f14adb870c46ad48b051177fef4e328Challenges From Iran, China and Russia Top Agenda at G-7 MeetingWorldWorldLeading G-7 diplomats appear unlikely to make significant progress toward a price cap on Russian oil at the meeting. Photo: Pool/Getty ImagesMÜNSTER, Germany—Top diplomats from the world’s wealthiest democracies opened two days of meetings Thursday aimed at coordinating their sometimes divergent approaches to Russia, China and Iran.Foreign ministers of the Group of 7 countries plan to issue a strong denunciation of Russia’s nuclear threats in Ukraine when the meeting concludes Friday and to agree on fresh economic support to quickly rebuild Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, according to U.S. and European officials familiar with the agenda.Russia, Western officials say, has been deliberately targeting that infrastructure with waves of military strikes in an effort to increase pressure on Kyiv as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces struggle on the battlefield.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue “The Russian president sinks ever deeper in inhumanity,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Thursday. Mr. Putin, she said, is trying to starve and freeze civilians given that he cannot win militarily. The G-7 countries will respond by expanding support for Ukraine, including armaments as well as aid to rebuild infrastructure.The ministers, a senior State Department official said, will discuss world energy supplies impacted by Russia’s war in Ukraine. But they appear unlikely to make significant progress toward a price cap on Russian oil to curb its energy income, with Washington still undecided on the level of the price cap and some doubts still about the measure in the European Union.They also will attempt to forge a strategy to reduce economic dependency on China, seeking to agree on a campaign to jointly push back against Beijing’s global influence, particularly in resource-rich developing countries, the officials said.Germany, which holds the rotating G-7 presidency, chose the university town of Münster for its symbolism: It was the site of the 1648 Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War. Many commentators now see liberal democracy under threat from authoritarian powers, disinformation and political polarization.Citing the challenge of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “If we let that be challenged with impunity, then the foundations of the international order will start to erode and eventually crumble. And none of us can afford to let that happen.”While the G-7—which includes the U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan—is attempting to project a united front, some gaps have emerged.Senior officials traveling with Mr. Blinken expressed caution over Germany’s increased economic engagement with China, including a trip this week to Beijing by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and approval by his government of the sale of a 24.9% stake in Hamburg port to China’s Cosco. Germany, like other European powers facing stiff economic headwinds from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has longstanding economic ties with China.Both the Trump and Biden administrations “have been very clear that you need to be careful in these strategic sectors not to allow controlling interest by autocratic powers, China being one,” the official said.On Friday morning, the ministers will discuss Iran, including Tehran’s crackdown on protesters, Iran’s weapons deliveries to Russia and the stalled talks on reviving an agreement that set limits on Iran’s nuclear activities.The EU is working on fresh human-rights sanctions against Iran over the authorities’ crackdown on protests that broke out across Iran after the September death of a young Iranian woman in detention for allegedly failing to properly wear her head covering.Ms. Baerbock has suggested the new measures could include sanctions against Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, already under U.S. terror sanctions, although it is unclear if that would win sufficient support within the bloc.Germany ordered its citizens to leave Iran on Thursday following a spate of arrests of European citizens by Iranian authorities.European and U.S. officials are also looking at fresh measures they can take in reaction to Iranian drone supplies to Russia as U.S. officials warn Tehran also appears to be readying surface-to-surface missile deliveries for Russia’s war in Ukraine. Tehran and Moscow have denied the weapons transfers.The U.K., the EU and the U.S. have already imposed some modest sanctions in response to Iran’s actions but discussions are ongoing on how to curtail the weapons deliveries and penalize those involved.The growing Western tensions with Iran come against the backdrop of vanishing hopes in Washington and European capitals about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal that placed limits on Iran’s nuclear activity.The G-7 ministers also invited colleagues from Africa, in a bid to counter Russia’s outreach to the developing world for support of its war in Ukraine. The foreign ministers of Ghana, Kenya and other nations were invited as guests to discuss the global effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on food and energy supply.The foreign ministers were also joined via video-link by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who urged his G-7 counterparts to provide energy transformers, air and missile defenses and other weapons to support Ukraine’s war efforts, he said on Twitter.Laurence Norman contributed to this article.Write to Warren P. Strobel at Warren.Strobel@wsj.com and Bojan Pancevski at bojan.pancevski@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Warren P. Strobel and Bojan Pancevski2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 12:33 pm ET
807b69f6356b538d63b590c2f0470efePepper...and SaltOpinionPepper & SaltPhoto: WSJAdvertisement - Scroll to Continue2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 12:00 am ET
33655561f5b4fba5166fee5bf6a4ce28Psst…There’s a Hidden Market for Six-Figure Jobs. Here’s How to Get In.On the clockAlmost every day, someone who is quietly hunting for a key hire calls Diane Hessan to ask the same question: Whom do you recommend?Ms. Hessan, a former consulting group CEO who sits on the boards of Panera Bread, Eastern Bank and Tufts University, is one of the best-connected business figures in Boston—and something like a password keeper at a speakeasy for six-figure job seekers.All cities have such people, and being on their radars can open hidden doors.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Newsletter Sign-upWSJ Networking ChallengeA five-week challenge from the WSJ careers and work team designed to boost your network and make the connections that matter.PreviewSubscribe“There’s a whole back channel of conversations going on about jobs that are available,” says Ms. Hessan, adding that many of the calls she fields come from private-equity firms seeking leaders for portfolio companies.Far from the public job boards of Indeed, LinkedIn and Monster lies another set of career opportunities—often lucrative ones—that are never posted. The volume of such openings is hard to measure; those who hire and who’ve been hired out of sight say the quality of the positions is more notable than the quantity. Some are management roles that are currently occupied by people whom senior leaders want to push out, but not before discreetly finding replacements.Other unlisted positions may be at venture-backed startups or relate to new corporate initiatives that, for competitive reasons, companies don’t want to advertise in view of rivals.Executives have long relied on their professional networks and headhunters to fill these stealth roles, though the hiring game is trending toward openness. New York City this week began requiring employers to include salary ranges in job postings, and some states are poised to do the same or already have done so. Yet businesses that don’t want to tip their hands (or show employees what’s offered to newcomers) can simply do more recruiting in private channels.A common loophole in pay transparency laws is that companies don’t have to post every job and don’t have to reveal the projected compensation for those unposted positions, says Stephanie Merabet, a labor attorney at Holland & Knight. It is too early to know how many businesses will skirt disclosure by keeping more openings off job boards, but some likely will, says Tae-Youn Park, who researches pay transparency as an associate professor of human resource studies at Cornell University.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue That means you might not learn of an exciting role until someone else gets it, unless you’re the one who comes to mind when a company wants to hire on the sly.SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSWhat advice do you have for navigating the underground job network? Join the conversation below.“You want to be on the call list of somebody who’s working to fill a job that would fit you,” says Matt Massucci, chief executive of the recruiting firm Hirewell. “The only way you do that is to stay top of mind.”Mr. Massucci suggests devoting at least 30 minutes a week to networking, and advises a targeted approach. Make a point to introduce yourself to people who work at companies that interest you. Connect with recruiters in your field, even when you’re not actively looking for a new job. Go to conferences. Speak on panels (yes, the ones that feel like unpaid, extra work). Freshen up that headshot.Be visible to get a job that is not.Brian Pestana Photo: Brian PestanaBrian Pestana, a food industry executive, says he wasn’t interested at first when a Seattle-based recruiter asked to connect on LinkedIn this fall. He lives in Miami and wouldn’t consider relocating, so he didn’t think that networking with someone on the other side of the country would be worthwhile. But you never know, he figured. He chatted and hit things off with the recruiter, who introduced him to Maria Elena Ibañez, chief executive of El Latino Foods in Doral, Fla., about a 15-mile drive from Miami. Mr. Pestana joined El Latino in October as vice president of business development, a position that was never listed on any job board.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue “Don’t dismiss a small opportunity because the one that seems far-fetched might be the one that works out,” he says.Mark Goldberger started this week as head of enterprise sales at Ramp, a financial software startup in New York, after he and a recruiter initially discussed a different position with another company. He says the headhunter quickly identified him as a fit for the Ramp job, based on their previous conversations, which put him on the fast track for the job that was never posted. His early tasks include hiring more sales representatives for his team. One position has been posted publicly, an enterprise account executive with an estimated salary of $221,000 to $260,000, but Mr. Goldberger says it’s possible that he’ll hire multiple people from a single candidate pool, and he isn’t waiting for applications to roll in.Mark Goldberger Photo: Casey Helton“I’m reaching out within my network—the people that I know would be great because I’ve seen them do something similar—and I’m also going to be scouring LinkedIn,” he says. Mr. Goldberger and other hiring managers and recruiters note that companies sometimes list positions as open when their minds are already made up, often to comply with internal policies or collective bargaining agreements that require public postings. The real hiring action, they say, often happens away from the job boards.Shawn Cole, president of executive search firm Cowen Partners, says all of the roles his company fills are unlisted. His clients like to appear to have talent pipelines, and posting an open call for executive applicants can make a business look desperate or disorganized, he says.Mr. Cole says that to get in the running, it helps to build a rapport with a headhunter like him. Be direct—no vague requests to “pick your brain,” please—and don’t bother with an invitation to coffee or lunch.“Send an updated resume and say what you’re interested in,” he says. “Talk about compensation, location and specific career goals. Lunch and things like that? Sad to say, but no one has time for that stuff.”Write to Callum Borchers at callum.borchers@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Callum Borchers2022/11/33-Nov-22
6f4a2dbacec66054562a75ea9ac0ac71Stripe to Cut 14% of JobsFinanceFinanceStripe CEO Patrick Collison said the company ‘overhired for the world we’re in.’ Photo: Alex Flynn/Bloomberg NewsStripe Inc., one of the world’s most highly-valued startups, said Thursday it is laying off about 14% of its employees and blamed the harsh economic climate.Stripe, a payment processor to fast-growing Internet companies like Shopify Inc. SHOP 10.76%increase; green up pointing triangle and Instacart, was a big beneficiary of the pandemic-driven surge in e-commerce in 2020 and 2021.Businesses on Stripe processed more than $640 billion in payments last year, up 60% from a year earlier. A March 2021 fundraising round valued Stripe at $95 billion.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue But 2022 has been more challenging, Stripe Chief Executive Patrick Collison wrote in a message to employees that was also posted on the company’s website. “We overhired for the world we’re in,” Mr. Collison wrote, citing inflation, energy shocks, higher interest rates, smaller investment budgets and more stingy funding for startups.As markets react to inflation and high interest rates, technology stocks are having their worst start to a year on record. WSJ’s Hardika Singh explains why the sector — from tech giants to small startups — is getting hit so hard. Illustration: Jacob Reynolds“We do need to match the pace of our investments with the realities around us,” he wrote. “Today, that means building differently for leaner times.”The cuts will leave Stripe with a workforce of almost 7,000, Mr. Collison wrote, meaning about 1,000 positions are being eliminated. The layoffs will disproportionately affect some teams more than others. The company will need fewer recruiters, for example, since it plans to hire fewer people in 2023.Silicon Valley has been aggressively cutting expenses and eliminating jobs in response to slower growth. Microsoft Corp., Netflix Inc., Peloton Interactive Inc. and Robinhood Markets Inc. have all announced job cuts this year. Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. has begun quietly nudging out a significant number of staffers by reorganizing departments, while Google has required some employees to apply for new jobs.The growth in e-commerce, Stripe’s bread-and-butter business, has slowed from a pandemic-era boom as more people shift their shopping back to bricks-and-mortar stores. Big Stripe customers like Shopify have warned investors to expect losses. Stripe itself lowered its internal valuation by 28% earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.Mr. Collison wrote that Stripe’s leadership made “very consequential mistakes” in recent years. They overestimated the internet economy’s growth for 2022 and 2023 while underestimating the risks of a broad slowdown, he wrote, and they increased expenses too quickly after seeing success in some new product areas.“We are going to correct these mistakes,” Mr. Collison wrote, adding that Stripe would rein in “all other sources of cost.”Write to Peter Rudegeair at peter.rudegeair@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Peter Rudegeair2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 12:35 pm ET
f20add4504d7b0058d53a0662da3c517Pilots Are Frustrated With Airlines, Too, and Are Seeking Better Pay and SchedulesBusinessBusinessDelta Air Lines pilots carrying picket signs at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesContract talks between the biggest U.S. carriers and their pilots’ unions have turned acrimonious in recent weeks, with pilots saying the summer disruptions have left them as frustrated as passengers.Airline employees have been picketing at airports for months. The board of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents pilots at American Airlines Group Inc., AAL -0.27%decrease; red down pointing triangle on Wednesday voted down a proposal for a two-year contract that would have boosted pilot pay by about 20% over that time. Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL -0.81%decrease; red down pointing triangle pilots overwhelmingly voted this week to let union leaders call a strike if they decide it is necessary—a vote that is largely symbolic for now but reflects pilots’ frustration with what they see as stalled progress. United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL -0.58%decrease; red down pointing triangle pilots rejected an unpopular agreement its union struck earlier this year. Capt. Jason Ambrosi, chairman of the union that represents Delta’s pilots, said the company offered an underwhelming pay proposal. “Our pilots have essentially had enough,” he said.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Meanwhile, airlines say that negotiations remain on track and that they believe they can come to agreements.Newsletter Sign-upThe 10-Point.A personal, guided tour to the best scoops and stories every day in The Wall Street Journal.PreviewSubscribeFraught labor relations and rancorous bargaining are nothing new for the airline industry, and negotiations that take place every few years are often marked by strong rhetoric before deals are reached.There are also new dynamics. The Covid-19 pandemic upended the industry just as talks between some airlines and pilot groups were getting under way, putting discussions on hold. Now, as travel demand surges back to prepandemic levels, several airlines are contending simultaneously with years of pent-up frustration among pilots and other labor groups.Unions are closely watching what rivals are doing, and provisions to ensure that another carrier doesn’t offer a better deal have become common, said Jerry Glass, president of consulting firm F&H Solutions Group and a longtime negotiator for airline management and other industries. Competition for workers, including pilots, has grown fierce, and unions are leaning heavily on airlines to make changes that will improve their quality of life.“Pilots are looking for the perfect deal,” Mr. Glass said.U.S. labor laws make airline strikes difficult and rare—the last time U.S. passenger airline pilots went on strike was at Spirit Airlines Inc. in 2010. It is far from inevitable that Delta pilots will reach that point, and it could take months for the process to play out. The National Mediation Board would first have to agree that talks have reached an impasse, and would then offer both sides a chance to arbitrate their dispute. If either refused, there would be a 30-day cooling off period. Alaska Air Group Inc.’s pilots had also voted earlier this year to authorize a potential strike, but they came to terms months later.Airlines have started making money again after losing billions of dollars during the pandemic, and they are striving to bring on thousands of new pilots—shattering previous yearly hiring records—in an effort to meet burgeoning travel demand.Smaller regional airlines have negotiated huge wage increases to attract and retain pilots after bigger airlines plundered their workforces. Airlines such as JetBlue Airways Corp. have warned that pilot turnover has been higher than normal. Some airline executives say the industry faces a shortfall that could last years.Given the industry’s optimism about travel demand, Mr. Ambrosi said, “The talk of ‘we’re just getting out of a pandemic, we can’t afford pay increases’ is not something our members are going to tolerate.” From long lines to delays and cancellations, airports around the world have been trying to manage a postpandemic travel surge with a shortage of staff. WSJ follows an American Airlines pilot through the disruptions to unpack how airlines are trying to fix it. Photo Composite: Emily SiuDelta said the vote authorizing a strike was an effort by the union to gain leverage in negotiations, which continue to progress, and won’t affect the airline’s operation.The deal that United Airlines pilots voted down by a big margin Tuesday would have included pay raises of more than 14.5% over 18 months, but the union said it fell short.The union leaders originally backed the agreement, but the two sides had resumed negotiations as it became clear that the agreement was faltering amid pushback from pilots unhappy with the proposed pay raises and certain work rules. Capt. Mike Hamilton, who leads United’s pilots union, said Tuesday that United has dragged its feet. A United spokesman said the airline is already working with the union on a new agreement that it expects will include improved pay rates.In October, Alaska Air became the first major carrier to reach a deal with its pilots, agreeing to an initial pay increase of up to 23%. The airline’s highest-paid pilots will make $306 an hour, up from $266.29, with additional increases in later years.Pay isn’t the only consideration. Pilots say they have worked huge amounts of overtime and frequently seen their schedules upended at the last minute, byproducts of what they have argued were overly ambitious summer flying plans that airlines didn’t have the manpower to staff. Some say they want better schedules and more protections for time off, among other changes. Talks between American Airlines and its pilots union are also on the rocks after union leaders shot down a proposal that would have boosted pay by 12% initially, with another raise of 5% after a year and 2% after two years. That had been an improvement over American’s initial offer of raises totaling 17%.Union officials said that the latest proposed agreement didn’t adequately address pilots’ concerns about quality of life and unreliable schedules.American had no comment. SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSWhat should airlines do to address the pilot shortage? Join the conversation below.Those issues can be among the thorniest to resolve. Capt. Casey Murray, president of the union that represents Southwest Airlines Co. pilots, said a deal may be a year away. A federal mediator is overseeing talks with the airline, but they haven’t yet broached complex scheduling issues. Southwest said it is pleased with the progress so far.Capt. Will McQuillen, chairman of Alaska’s pilot union, said schedule flexibility was an important element in its discussions, and the carrier recognized that good work-life balance is crucial to attracting and retaining pilots. Alaska’s pilots picketed last spring as bargaining heated up. “We were a little bit surprised it took this amount of pressure,” he said.Shane Tackett, Alaska’s chief financial officer, said the airline was “thrilled to be the first mainline carrier to secure a pilot contract.” Write to Alison Sider at alison.sider@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Alison Sider2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 12:41 pm ET
93f55f1fcbd90f0d1322b93f3b1a546eFour Astros Pitchers Combine for First World Series No-Hitter Since 1956MLBAstros pitcher Cristian Javier tossed six no-hit innings. Photo: justin lane/ShutterstockPHILADELPHIA—Right-hander Cristian Javier and three Houston Astros relievers on Wednesday night combined to throw the second no-hitter in World Series history, 66 years after Don Larsen’s perfect game for the New York Yankees.In Game 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Javier, a 25-year-old native of the Dominican Republic making his first World Series start, allowed two baserunners across six innings, both on walks. At 97 pitches and with still three innings to navigate, Javier gave way to the Astros’ bullpen, a decision made by Astros manager Dusty Baker.In his perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Larsen also threw 97 pitches—in nine innings.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly followed Javier, and one night after they hit five home runs in a 7-0 rout of the Astros, the Phillies mustered almost no offense at all. The Astros beat the Phillies, 5-0, and the series is tied at two games apiece.The combined no-hitter was the first in postseason history. Along with Larsen’s perfect game, the only other no-hitter in postseason history was by Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds.Riding a mid-90s fastball he moved around the zone with authority, Javier had nine strikeouts. He walked Bryce Harper to lead off the second inning and Brandon Marsh in the third. Pressly, the Astros’ closer, walked Kyle Schwarber with one out in the ninth inning. J.T. Realmuto grounded to third base for the game’s final out.Javier’s catcher, Christian Vazquez called Javier’s fastball the best in the game. Though it lacks the velocity of some of the premier fastballs, Javier has a deceptive delivery.“It has really good ride to it, so it’s almost a pitch that you have to cheat a bit to be able to square it up,” said Nick Castellanos, who struck out in his only two at-bats against Javier, first on a slider and then on the fastball. “By cheating to his fastball, like exactly what happened in my first at-bat, you’re opening up to all of his off-speed stuff.”Astros pitching coach Josh Miller described it as, “An invisible fastball.”“It’s a pretty special fastball,” he said.Phillies leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber came closest to a hit, when his hard third-inning grounder skittered just to the right of first base.“That’s a good fastball,” he said. “When it says 92 up on the board, it’s playing a little bit harder than that.”Signed out of Santo Domingo in 2015 for $10,000, Javier became a full-time starter for the Astros in 2022, when he made 25 starts. He had made one postseason start before Wednesday night, in New York on Oct. 22 against the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. He allowed one hit in 5 ⅓ innings, a Giancarlo Stanton double that is the only hit allowed in the two postseason starts of his career.“Like always,” Javier said through a translator, “I just try to stay focused, keep calm and attack the hitters as much as possible. I thought my fastball today was really good.”Javier’s parents were in the crowd Wednesday night. He said his mother had seen him pitch in the major leagues before, but his father arrived from the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and watched him pitch for the first time. Visiting with Cristian before the game, they told him he would throw a no-hitter. Javier had thrown more than 100 pitches in a game only twice this season, however, and Miller said the plan was to use that as a ceiling.Javier’s cool demeanor long ago earned him the nickname “El Reptile,” and Baker said he was again the calmest man in the ballpark, even as the no-hitter grew into the middle and later innings.“He was electric,” Baker said. “He threw the ball up, down, and that shows you that the best pitch in baseball is still the well-located fastball.” To the dismay of 45,693 towel-waving fans in Philadelphia, the Phillies had few hard-hit balls against Javier. Abreu, a 25-year-old Dominican making his second World Series appearance, struck out J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos in the seventh inning. Montero got three outs in the eighth, the last on a line drive to right field by Jean Segura that briefly brought the crowd to life. That was gloved by right-fielder Kyle Tucker.The Astros had not scored a run in the Series since the fifth inning of Game 2, when, 18 innings later, they scored five runs in the fifth inning of Game 4 to give Javier and the Astros’ bullpen breathing room. —Lindsey Adler contributed to this article.Yankees pitcher Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Photo: /Associated PressAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Tim Brown2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 1:00 am ET
62e421fc7bdcb27264033529b54b940bJobless Claims Remain Low in Tight U.S. Labor MarketEconomyU.S. EconomyJobless claims are up from earlier this year but remain near their prepandemic 2019 average. Photo: Leonardo Munoz/VIEWpress/Corbis/Getty ImagesU.S. applications for unemployment benefits held nearly steady at a low level last week in the latest sign the labor market remains tight. The job market has cooled a little compared with the first half of the year but remains strong. Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, are down this fall from a summer peak. Last week, workers filed for a seasonally adjusted 217,000 claims, nearly identical to the week before, the Labor Department said Thursday. The prepandemic 2019 weekly average was 218,000, when the labor market also was robust.Other recent figures also point to continued strength in the labor market. Job openings rose in September. Pay and benefits increased rapidly in the third quarter. Hiring has cooled compared with earlier in the year, but payrolls still grew 263,000 in September. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, matching the half-century low last reached in July. The Labor Department’s October employment report will be released on Friday, offering the latest snapshot on the overall job market. Economists estimate payrolls grew by 205,000 last month, which would mark a cooling from the prior month, and the unemployment rate is estimated to have held steady.The job market’s resilience is a challenge to Federal Reserve efforts to cool the economy and bring down inflation that is running near a four-decade high. It raised interest rates by 0.75 percentage point on Wednesday—the fourth consecutive increase of that size. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue “The broader picture is of an overheated labor market where demand substantially exceeds supply,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a Wednesday press conference. He added he doesn’t yet “see the case for real softening” of the labor market.“The Fed is operating on the assumption that the only way to get inflation down is with decreased demand. And the only way they’re going to do that is if the unemployment rate ticks higher,” said Thomas Simons, an economist at Jefferies Financial Group Inc.In the first quarter of 2022, U.S. worker productivity fell in the steepest drop in 74 years. WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath explains why productivity is central to the economy, and why big drops can be difficult to recover from. Illustration: Reshad MalekzaiEmployers in the services sector were more cautious about hiring in October, according to surveys of purchasing managers released Thursday by the Institute for Supply Management and S&P Global. ISM said its employment index contracted slightly while S&P Global said hiring nearly stagnated. “Firms were evaluating costs and future demand more closely before advertising vacancies and expanding staffing levels,” said Siân Jones, senior economist at S&P Global.Still, jobless claims figures point to a job market where many employers are holding on to workers and laid-off workers can quickly find new jobs. Continuing claims, a proxy for the number of people seeking ongoing unemployment benefits, increased to 1.49 million in the week ended Oct. 22 from 1.44 million a week earlier. Those are below weekly totals ahead of the pandemic but above 1.31 million in mid-May, which was the lowest in 53 years. Continuing claims are reported with a one-week lag.The Commerce Department separately said the U.S. trade deficit widened for the first time in six months in September. The $73.3 billion gap reflected lower exports as a strong dollar eased global demand for American products, and higher imports as businesses stocked up early for the holiday shopping season. Imports rose for consumer goods, such as cellphones and pharmaceuticals, and capital goods such as semiconductors and aircraft. The dollar has appreciated this year and rallied in September, in part due to financial-market turbulence in countries like the U.K. A strong dollar makes imports cheaper while lifting the cost of U.S. goods for international consumers, which can hurt exporters.U.S. nonfarm labor productivity—a measure of goods and services produced in the U.S. per hour worked—grew in the third quarter for the first time this year, the Labor Department said in a separate Thursday report. The 0.3% third quarter increase followed a 1.4% decline in the prior quarter.“Looking ahead, productivity gains won’t be strong enough to offset the pressure of higher labor costs,” Oren Klachkin and Ryan Sweet of Oxford Economics wrote in an analyst note. “We’re unlikely to see the type of productivity revival that many hoped for at the onset of the pandemic.”—Harriet Torry contributed to this article. Have you been unemployed at any point since March 2020?Select one...YesNoWhat is your current employment situation?Select one...Unemployed and looking for workUnemployed and not looking for workEmployed at my previous employerEmployed at a new employerTell us more about what you do, what impact the pandemic had on your job, and what you know about the future of your employment in the form below. NameContact (E-mail) Location (City, State) Age By submitting your response to this questionnaire, you consent to Dow Jones processing your special categories of personal information and are indicating that your answers may be investigated and published by The Wall Street Journal and you are willing to be contacted by a Journal reporter to discuss your answers further. In an article on this subject, the Journal will not attribute your answers to you by name unless a reporter contacts you and you provide that consent.Write to Bryan Mena at bryan.mena@wsj.comInflation and the EconomyAnalysis from The Wall Street Journal, selected by the editors Demand for Workers Cools, but Remains Elevated Why Central Bankers Are Unsure Whether They’ve Raised Rates Enough Child-Care Prices Rising at Nearly Twice Inflation Rate Gasoline, Food Threaten to Nudge Inflation Up Cooler July Inflation Opens Door to Fed Pause Jobs Market Shows Signs of Gradual Cooling Soft Landing in Sight for U.S. Economy What to Know About InflationAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Bryan Mena2022/11/3Updated Nov. 3, 2022 12:46 pm ET
da377f731060f4aeb213946b63855761SEC Accountant Warns of Heightened Fraud Risk Amid Recession Fears, Market SelloffFinanceThe SEC is concerned that auditors too often fail to respond adequately to red flags that point to possible financial chicanery. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg NewsWall Street’s top watchdog is warning that the market selloff and fears of a recession could encourage more companies to cook their books, and it is pressuring auditors to catch them. “The current economic environment is subject to significant uncertainties and, historically, that oftentimes leads to heightened fraud risk,” Paul Munter, acting chief accountant at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said in an interview. “So we are trying to be proactive and speak to the marketplace.”The warning comes as regulators increase their scrutiny of auditors. The audit regulator is getting tougher on rule-breaking accountants. Big fines for auditors are part of record monetary sanctions imposed by the SEC in the latest fiscal year. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Paul Munter, acting chief accountant at the SEC Photo: SECThe SEC is concerned that auditors too often fail to respond adequately to red flags that point to possible financial chicanery, Mr. Munter said in a statement last month. Regulators’ inspections of audits “consistently identify areas of concern involving auditors’ application of due professional care and professional skepticism when considering fraud,” the statement said.Auditors say they are following the law, which limits their responsibility to root out frauds. They get frustrated by the public backlash when they fail to catch companies deliberately manipulating financial statements. “We are not set up to look for fraud,” David Dunckley, chief executive of audit firm Grant Thornton UK, told British lawmakers in 2019. “We are not giving a statement that the accounts are correct. We are saying they are reasonable.”The SEC’s Mr. Munter said in his statement it is “particularly troubling” when auditors focus on what they aren’t required to do, which could reduce the likelihood of detecting fraud. He wanted to send a “very strong reminder to audit firms” about their responsibilities, he said in the interview.At their peak, SPACs accounted for 70% of all IPOs, with $95 billion raised. But now, the market has dried up and shares of companies that did SPAC deals have crashed. WSJ explains the decline of the IPO vehicle. Illustration: Ali LarkinA spokesman for Grant Thornton declined to comment. SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSTo what extent should auditors look for fraud? Join the conversation below.The issue of auditors’ responsibility is playing out globally, including in multibillion-dollar lawsuits against Ernst & Young going through the courts in Germany and the U.K. The firm is accused of failings in its audits of two corporate blowups, fintech company Wirecard AG and hospital operator NMC Health PLC. In a U.K. filing last month responding to a $2.7 billion claim for damages related to NMC Health, EY said its audits are designed to give reasonable, rather than absolute, assurance the financials aren’t materially misstated. The primary responsibility for the accuracy of those statements rests with the company, EY’s filing said. It added that the alleged fraud involved falsification of documents. After coming under fire for its role in Wirecard and other corporate failures, EY two years ago told clients it was taking a number of steps to more actively look for big frauds. Those measures have “led to the detection of fraud” in several cases, said David Kane, EY global vice chair professional practice.Ernst & Young has told clients that it was taking steps to more actively look for big frauds.  Photo: Frank Hoermann/Sven Simon/Zuma PressThe firm is using artificial intelligence to parse ledgers for suspicious transactions, mining social-media posts and using forensic-accounting specialists earlier to look for potential accounting violations at high-risk companies, Mr. Kane said. EY is turning away more potential audit clients and discontinuing working for a higher number of existing clients than in the past, he added.Such measures by EY and other accounting firms don’t overcome the basic conflict of interest in the industry: Accounting firms are paid by the companies they audit, making it less likely they will confront bad behavior. Worries that auditors can buckle under client pressure to sign off on suspicious financial statements go back decades. In the run-up to the 2001 collapse of Enron Corp., a partner at its now-defunct auditor Arthur Andersen complained that his advice against certain accounting practices was being ignored. The partner was later removed from the Enron audit team, following complaints by an executive of the Houston-based energy company.Some accounting industry insiders say little has changed since then. Sayantani Ghose, a tax expert and former EY employee, filed a lawsuit against EY in September claiming she was punished for flagging concerns about potential fraud by two big audit clients in 2020.Newsletter Sign-upMarketsGet email notifications when major financial-market and trading news breaks.PreviewSubscribeMs. Ghose said in her lawsuit that she questioned whether the two clients were using intercompany transactions to illegally reduce the amount of tax owed. She alleged that EY overrode her objections, in one case removing her from the account in favor of “an auditor who would rubber-stamp” the client’s approach. Ms. Ghose was fired by EY in January and is now working for another Big Four firm, public records show.“EY’s public stance that its reviews of financial statements are independent of any client pressure does not match the reality of working for the firm,” Michael Willemin, Ms. Ghose’s lawyer, said.An EY spokesman said the firm would aggressively defend itself against Ms. Ghose’s “baseless” claims, which were “dismissed in their entirety” by the Labor Department after she submitted a whistleblower claim. Mr. Willemin said that the lawsuit will look at evidence that wasn’t considered in the earlier ruling, such as EY internal documents and witnesses. After Ms. Ghose filed her lawsuit, she was contacted by other EY employees who said they had also come under pressure for raising concerns during audits, Mr. Willemin said. The EY spokesman said “all our people are encouraged to voice any concerns in performing their professional obligations, without fear of reprisal or retaliation.”Write to Jean Eaglesham at Jean.Eaglesham@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Jean Eaglesham2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 5:30 am ET
3c66fb08fd1d44fc10fbe70cc68026aaDoctors Should Prescribe Opioids for People in Pain, CDC SaysHealthHealthThe recommendation was part of the CDC’s first update to its opioid guidelines since 2016. Photo: Gado via Getty ImagesFederal officials said inflexible rules around the prescription of opioids have harmed some patients, urging doctors to exercise compassion in alleviating pain.In an update to opioid-prescription guidelines, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that a crackdown on opioid prescriptions to address rampant abuse had led to some patients being deprived of medicines they needed.The problem has exacerbated disparities in care, the CDC said. Black patients receiving prescription opioids are less likely to be referred to a pain specialist than white patients and are more likely to receive lower doses of medication for their pain, the CDC said. Disparities in access to treatment are driving up overdose rates among Black and Native American people as drug deaths reach record highs across the country, the CDC has said.Advertisement - Scroll to Continue “We know that people that live with pain experience many challenges,” Christopher Jones, acting director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said on Thursday. “Having safe, consistent and effective pain management should not be one of them.”Opioid prescribing increased fourfold from 1999 to 2010 in parallel with an approximately fourfold increase in overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, according to CDC data.Subsequent crackdowns on prescription opioids led to prescriptions outside hospitals falling 44% in the eight years to 2020, according to preliminary federal data. In some cases, patients cut off from prescriptions turned to the illicit market where potent bootleg fentanyl has taken over much of the heroin and pill trade. Opioid overdose deaths nearly tripled in that time span and moved even higher in 2021.“We saw a wave of patient abandonment and withdrawal and pain that led to patients seeking illicit drugs on the street,” said O. Trent Hall, assistant professor of addiction medicine at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.The CDC said in the first update to its opioid guidelines since 2016 that doctors shouldn’t abruptly stop prescriptions for patients on high opioid doses in particular and should ensure they are receiving appropriate care. Physicians aren’t obligated to follow the CDC’s guidelines.The CDC said states, insurers and drug companies had abandoned some people being treated for cancer or who were near death. Some doctors have dismissed patients who became addicted to opioids without a thorough conversation with those patients about their circumstances, the CDC said. Rigid dosage thresholds and limits on duration of use by insurers and pharmacies have also hurt patients, the CDC said.Some doctors interpreted the CDC’s earlier guidelines as recommended dosage caps, said Soraya Azari, associate program director for the addiction medicine fellowship program at University of California, San Francisco.“Nobody wants to go back to the ’90s where we had really indiscriminate over prescribing of opioids,” Dr. Azari said. “But I do think it’s likely that health systems perhaps loosen some of their stringent guidelines with regards to prescribing.” The CDC said nonopioid pain relief is as effective for many common conditions including lower-back pain, neck pain, kidney stones, migraines and dental pain.When opioids are prescribed, the CDC recommended starting with the lowest effective dosage for people who haven’t taken opioids.Patients who have been taking opioids for a long time might require several months or years to be weaned off them, the CDC said, and may require treatment with buprenorphine, an alternative medicine used to treat pain and opioid addiction. The CDC recommended providing overdose-reversal drugs and education to people tapering off opioids. For some patients, managing opioid use, rather than ending it, may be less harmful, the agency said.Write to Julie Wernau at julie.wernau@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Julie Wernau2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 1:00 pm ET
9d6f6d411c16d27720d8069c65dc073dKanye West, Louis Farrakhan and Anti-SemitismOpinionHouses of WorshipKanye West watches the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, March 11. Photo: Ashley Landis/Associated PressWhat lessons can we learn from the rubbish-cluttered mind of Kanye West? We can start by drawing some important distinctions. Mr. West’s is a particular kind of anti-Semitism. The left-wing activist Shaun King writes in Newsweek that “you don’t have to be white to be a white supremacist,” and that “Kanye West is now a full-blown white supremacist.” This is a category error. The “white extinction” conspiracy theory promoted by white supremacists holds that Jews promote integration, miscegenation and civil rights as part of a plot to replace the white race. Mr. West appears to believe the opposite. “Jewish people have owned the black voice,” he said on a recent podcast, later speaking of black Americans “being signed to a Jewish-owned record label, or having a Jewish manager, or being signed to a Jewish basketball team, or doing a movie on a Jewish platform like Disney.” Advertisement - Scroll to Continue That sort of talk sounds very much like the ravings of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the world’s foremost black anti-Semite. “You can’t do nothing in Hollywood unless you go by them”—the Jews—Mr. Farrakhan said in a 2010 speech. “You a hip-hop artist? You can’t do nothing, you gotta go by them. You want to be a great sports figure? They own that plantation. Children of Israel, they got you jumping through hoops.”Similarly, Mr. West’s claim that Planned Parenthood was founded by Jews to control the black population is the inverse of the white-supremacist notion that Jews have promoted abortion to eradicate whites. Again, Mr. West was merely echoing the Nation of Islam, which has long implicated Planned Parenthood in a supposed black “depopulation agenda.”Or take Mr. West’s “lost tribes” theory. “When I say Jew,” he told Tucker Carlson in an unaired segment of an Oct. 6 interview, “I mean the 12 lost tribes of Judah, the blood of Christ, who the people known as the race black really are.” This comes straight from black-supremacy doctrine. The Nation of Islam’s central tenet is that Jews swindled black people out of their birthright as God’s chosen. “The original Hebrews are black,” Mr. Farrakhan says in the same 2010 speech. It’s also the animating idea behind the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, two adherents of which shot and killed four people at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, N.J., in 2019.Even Mr. West’s reported praise of Hitler echoes Mr. Farrakhan, who described Hitler as “a very great man” and expressed delight at comparisons between himself and the murderer of six million Jews.None of this is surprising. Mr. West has had a longstanding relationship with Mr. Farrakhan, conferring with him on several occasions and visiting the Nation of Islam headquarters in 2005. In one song, Mr. West describes Mr. Farrakhan as his “sensei.”Does it matter which strain of Jew-hatred Mr. West subscribes to? Distinctions matter—and in the American media’s reluctance to acknowledge black anti-Semitism, it has festered. The past few years have seen hundreds of attacks on Jews in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., and other Hasidic enclaves, most of them perpetrated by African-Americans. Among other African-American assaults that have been memory-holed is the 2020 Hanukkah murder of a rabbi in his own home in Monsey, N.Y. The Black Lives Matter movement has an unsettling preoccupation with Israel, and one of its key bodies put out a platform accusing the Jewish state of genocide.  There’s a reason for the confusion over the source of Mr. West’s racist outlook. The American commentariat now responds to discrete acts of Jew-hatred based foremost on their partisan utility. When Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib tweet one of their occasional calumnies about Jewish money or Americans’ dual loyalty to Israel, the right notes the anti-Semitism on display, while the left either excuses or ignores it. Similarly, because Mr. West has supported Donald Trump, the former president’s enemies eagerly cast his statements about Jewish power as representative of a bigoted American conservatism. On the populist right, meanwhile, the firebrand commentator Candace Owens tweeted that Adidas “better pay Ye” after the company canceled its contracts with Mr. West.It’s absurd to call Mr. West a purveyor of “white supremacy.” His racism arises from a different source, and it ought to be called by its proper name. Leviticus 19:17 states: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him.” In other words, confront your friend’s sin lest you share in his guilt. Mr. Greenwald is executive editor of Commentary magazine.Main Street: Unlike Hollywood’s woke, at least its Communists could make good movies (04/26/21). Images: Everett Collection/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images Composite: Mark KellyAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Abe Greenwald2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 1:36 pm ET
428aaccaf440a1ab79f31c277e47de6eThere Has to Be a Better Way to Lose $800 BillionBusinessScience of Success"You know what’s cool? A trillion dollars. That was the market capitalization of Facebook just over a year ago, right before the company decided to rename itself Meta. It has since declined by roughly $800 billion. Eight hundred billion dollars! That’s more than the market cap of almost every company in the S&P 500. It’s more than Exxon Mobil. It’s more than Berkshire Hathaway. It’s more than Tesla and a parking lot of Tesla cars. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue The recent tech selloff has shrunk Amazon, Alphabet and every giant but Apple, wiping out trillions of dollars across Silicon Valley with a brutal efficiency that only an engineer could appreciate. But no company looks as dismal these days as the one whose stock price is down 75% since last September. The good news for Meta META 0.27%increase; green up pointing triangle is that many of the biggest losers in recent market history learned how to win again. The bad news for Meta is that it doesn’t have much else in common with them. More Science of SuccessA Startup in the New Jersey Suburbs Is Battling the Giants of Silicon ValleyAugust 25, 2023This Tomato Sauce Is Delicious. It’s Also Worth Billions of Dollars.August 17, 2023That Cool New Bookstore? It’s a Barnes & Noble.July 29, 2023She Was the Oppenheimer of Barbie. Her Invention Blew Up.July 20, 2023Many companies change strategies because they lost money. Meta is losing money because it changed strategies. It has been almost exactly one year since chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg made the bold maneuver of rebranding Facebook as Meta Platforms because he believed the future of the company was not in social media but the immersive, amorphous online realm known as the metaverse. The decision to place so much faith in such an unproven premise will go down as one of the riskiest bets any corporation has ever made, no matter what happens next. But what’s happening now is bleak. It’s still not clear what might count as success, only that Meta is nowhere close to it—and the company has gone about getting there in the wrong way. “You want to take big problems and break them down so that you have small wins and small losses,” said Sim Sitkin, the Michael W. Krzyzewski distinguished professor in leadership at Duke University. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg wore a fencing outfit during an event announcing the company’s shift to the metaverse. Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg NewsI called Dr. Sitkin because he wrote a scholarly paper a few decades ago about this strategy of small losses and coined a term for it: “intelligent failure.” The evaporation of $800 billion in market value was not particularly smart by his standard, which is useful for thinking about Meta and other tech companies because of the nature of their businesses. Innovation requires experimentation. Experiments fail. Failure can be instructive. Major success is the product of minor failures, but only if the experiments meet specific criteria. They should address worthy questions with uncertain answers. They should be meticulously planned and useful regardless of the results. And they should be modest. That’s the most important thing about them. The rewards are incremental because the risks are not existential. Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Amy Edmondson, a Harvard Business School professor and author of the forthcoming book “Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well,” says the optimal bet size is hard to define but easy to describe. “As small as possible,” she said. “Just big enough to be informative.” Then she put it another way: “You don’t bet the company.” Meta didn’t exactly follow that advice. Last year, Mr. Zuckerberg declared that he wanted Facebook to be a metaverse company. Last week, after Meta reported another grim quarter for earnings, the CEO reiterated that he still felt that way. He understood that “people might disagree with this investment.” He just happened to think they were wrong. “I think people are going to look back on decades from now and talk about the importance of the work that was done here,” he said. They have a lot more work to do. My colleagues at The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Meta’s flagship metaverse had fewer than 200,000 monthly active users. There are more people who come to see the New York Mets. But it doesn’t really matter that Mr. Zuckerberg’s view is as lonely as the metaverse. His control of Meta’s voting shares gives him an unusual form of power. “That gives us even more responsibility to push for it and do things that other people might not be able to do,” he recently told the tech site Protocol, adding: “I want to live in a world where big companies use their resources to take big shots.” (A spokeswoman for Meta declined to comment but pointed to Mr. Zuckerberg’s previous remarks.) Others in his shoes might feel pressure to cut their losses. But it’s a good thing legs are coming to the metaverse because Mr. Zuckerberg is digging in his heels. Newsletter Sign-upThe 10-Point.A personal, guided tour to the best scoops and stories every day in The Wall Street Journal.PreviewSubscribeI haven’t spent much time in the metaverse—which, as it turns out, makes me like most people at Meta—and I have no plans to vacation there anytime soon. Neither does Dr. Sitkin. The metaverse has more appeal to him as a concept than a place to visit because it represents a “stretch goal,” as he calls it, or a seemingly impossible task that requires some kind of external circumstance or creative breakthrough to achieve. But what really interests Dr. Sitkin is that companies avoid risk when they’re doing well and inhale risk when they can least afford mistakes. This is the paradox of stretch goals.“Those who should pursue them don’t,” he said, “and those who shouldn’t pursue them do.” Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Meta is an exception to that rule. It should pursue stretch goals. It did. The problem was that it stretched too far and its goal was too vague.“You definitely want to have a parachute if you’re going to jump off a high cliff,” said Dr. Sitkin. “And you want to know if that cliff has a staircase going down—so you can do it one step at a time.” ‘I think people are going to look back on decades from now and talk about the importance of the work that was done here,’ Mr. Zuckerberg said in defense of the company’s strategy shift. Photo: BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERSIt’s entirely possible that Mr. Zuckerberg is right about the metaverse and the company’s stock price will be a bargain in the long run. A website he built from a college dorm room becoming one of the world’s most valuable companies also sounded crazy, and positioning Facebook for mobile at precisely the right time showed that he’s been able to peek around corners of social media that few other people can see. But his latest vision requires squinting. Mr. Zuckerberg himself warned that it would take patience, trust and more than a few quarters of lousy financial results to figure out whether the metaverse bet pays off. “This is not an investment that is going to be profitable for us anytime in the near future,” he said one year ago. Since 2020, 23 S&P 500 companies have had their stock prices drop more than 70% in less than one year and then climb back to a new high. Percentage change from previous high 175 % Mosaic 150 125 Devon Energy 100 Paramount 75 50 25 0 Meta’s decline –25 –50 –75 –100 Previous high Low New high 175 % Mosaic 150 125 Devon Energy 100 Paramount 75 50 25 0 Meta’s decline –25 –50 –75 –100 Previous high Low New high Note: Based on closing lows since 2020 Sources: Dow Jones Market Data; FactSet That prediction turned out to be accurate. The operating losses of its metaverse division amounted to $3.7 billion last quarter alone, and Meta’s chief financial officer said that he anticipates “operating losses in 2023 will grow significantly.” The market reacted appropriately to this comment: It freaked. Meta is now trading at its lowest price since 2016, when TikTok was a sound that clocks made, and the company has shed $23,000 a second in market cap from last year’s peak. The financial incentives for intelligent failure get stronger the faster a company grows. The price of the all-or-nothing bet on nascent technology that Mr. Zuckerberg made from his dorm room was low in dollar terms. Now it’s humongous. But a surprising thing about companies that have been in Meta’s position is how many of them made their money back. In fact, nearly two dozen S&P 500 companies have recovered from being down 70% in one year since 2020 alone, according to Dow Jones Market Data research. Most of those losses were the result of broader forces beyond the control of those companies. The pandemic crushed department stores, but Macy’s and The Gap are back above their prepandemic stock prices. Energy stocks were pounded when U.S. oil futures briefly ducked below zero, but Halliburton and Occidental Petroleum recovered from the lows and climbed back to previous highs. Meta has plenty of headwinds in the real world, too. The economy is gloomy and interest rates are rising. A bitter dispute with Apple bruised Facebook’s advertising business as competition with TikTok cut into Instagram’s popularity. But what makes Meta different from the survivors of stock tumbles is what caused them to begin with. Theirs were external shocks. This one was self-inflicted.It’s appropriately meta that the most compelling explanation for an $800 billion free fall is in the name of the company. That may be a failure not intelligent enough to be a success. Write to Ben Cohen at ben.cohen@wsj.comAdvertisement - Scroll to Continue "By Ben Cohen2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 5:30 am ET
c00b1862a9b53f795c9eff6dcd6b2112Republican Opposition to Helping Ukraine Grows, WSJ Poll FindsPoliticsMidterm Election 2022A woman walking through her destroyed home in a village near Chernihiv, Ukraine. Photo: Ed Ram/Getty ImagesWASHINGTON—The majority of Americans support continuing aid to Ukraine in what will likely be a prolonged war with Russia, but support is becoming a partisan issue as Republican opposition grows to helping the country, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll.Military and financial aid to Ukraine has emerged as one of many political flashpoints days before a midterm election in which control of the Congress is at stake. The continuing flow of aid is falling out of favor with some Republicans in the House of Representatives, who say they struggle to justify the overseas spending amid domestic concerns, including high inflation and economic uncertainty.Newsletter Sign-upWSJ Politics & PolicyScoops, analysis and insights driving Washington from the WSJ's D.C. bureau.PreviewSubscribeSome 30% of respondents overall said in the new survey they believe the administration is doing too much to help Ukraine, up from 6% in a March Journal poll. The change was driven by a big shift among GOP voters: 48% of Republicans now say the U.S. is doing too much, up from 6% in the previous survey.The portion of GOP voters who said the U.S. isn’t doing enough to help Ukraine fell to 17%, a steep drop from 61% in March.The 2022 midterm elections are being held in a strange economic environment. Inflation is high but unemployment is low. So is the economy good or bad? We go behind the political messaging to break down the numbers. Illustration: Madeline MarshallIn a separate question that wasn’t asked in previous Journal surveys, 57% of poll respondents said they favor sending additional financial aid to Ukraine to support its war effort, while 37% said they opposed it. Among respondents, 81% of Democrats said they supported additional financial aid for Ukraine, while only 35% of Republicans and 45% of independents said the same.“Ukraine needs to fight their own battle, and we should have stayed out of it,” said Kelly Carpenter, a 54-year-old Republican accounts-payable specialist from Galena, Mo. “We have so much going on here—the border, crime, inflation is ridiculous—we need to take care of our people in our country.”Advertisement - Scroll to Continue Ask WSJ Live From Philadelphia: The State of the Midterms Watch former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Sen. Pat Toomey, along with WSJ's top reporters from the campaign trail, discuss the impact of political polarization on governing and what's at stake in the midterm election. Watch the Conversation Eric Ramos, a Democrat from Austin, Texas, said that while he supports continued aid for Ukraine, issues directly affecting the homeland should take priority.“It’s got to be a balance of using money for what we need for ourselves as opposed to what other people need,” said Mr. Ramos, a 33-year-old middle-school teacher. “You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people.”The Biden administration has provided almost $18 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion in February. U.S.-provided weapons, most notably the Himars long-range rocket launchers, have helped Ukraine take back territory in the east and south.Speaking in Berlin recently, Denys Shmyhal, the Ukrainian prime minister, said the war had wiped out at least 35% of the country’s economy. He called on the West to provide an immediate economic relief package of $17 billion. He also asked for $1.5 billion in economic aid a month from the U.S. next year.SHARE YOUR THOUGHTSShould the U.S. continue to offer support to Ukraine? Why or why not? Join the conversation below.Support in Congress for pumping aid to Ukraine is starting to fracture as many Republicans in the House question whether the money would be better spent combating China and tackling economic problems facing the U.S., lawmakers and congressional staff from both parties said.Republicans are heavily favored by nonpartisan analysts to capture control of the House in next week’s midterm elections. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), who will likely be speaker if the GOP wins the majority, said last month that Congress wouldn’t “write a blank check to Ukraine” under GOP leadership. He later clarified that some within his caucus want greater accountability for the funds sent to the government in Kyiv.Lawmakers are weighing plans to pass a multibillion-dollar aid package for Ukraine before year’s end, congressional aides said, reflecting fears among Democrats and some Republicans that a new and potentially GOP-controlled Congress would be less supportive of such assistance.Write to Vivian Salama at vivian.salama@wsj.comThe Midterm ElectionsKey coverage of November's elections, selected by the editorsFull Election Results Republicans Win Control of House GOP House Majority Could Shield Industries From New Taxes, Regulations What Divided Government Means for Washington GOP Gains College-Educated and Minority Voters in Slim House Pickup Nancy Pelosi Will Step Down as Democratic Party Leader in House Hakeem Jeffries, Front-Runner to Succeed Pelosi, Forged Ties Across Spectrum DeSantis, Others Draw Distinctions With Trump in 2024 GOP Nomination Race Kevin McCarthy Wins GOP Vote for Speaker PostAdvertisement - Scroll to ContinueBy Vivian Salama2022/11/3Nov. 3, 2022 5:30 am ET
7428e73c69fb0accc2b0c6b3d146c4f6How ‘Andor’ Designers Took ‘Star Wars’ Back to the Analog EraTelevisionTo construct the world of the “Star Wars” prequel series “Andor,” the show’s designers went back to the 1970s to find inspiration—and spare parts. A vintage Polaroid camera, an early portable cassette player, and a lot of beefy buttons, switches and knobs all got built into the retro-futuristic gadgets that have important functions in the show.“We are very much into reality,” said set decorator Rebecca Alleway. “That was the mantra for ‘Andor,’ full stop.” “Andor” has given a jolt to the “Star Wars” franchise by emphasizing gritty realism in both its look and its writing. The show is set in a time before that of the first film from 1977, and there’s not a Skywalker or lightsaber in sight. Diego Luna plays Cassian Andor, a hustler and thief who reluctantly joins a rebel cell making moves against the Empire, which is in a pre-Death Star phase of consolidating control. The streaming series, nearing the end of its first 12-episode season on Disney+, tells the story of a tenuous insurgency leading up to the events in “Rogue One.” In that 2016 movie Mr. Luna’s character leads a rebel mission to steal plans for the Empire’s planet-killing weapon.“Andor” was created by Tony Gilroy, a writer of “Rogue One” and known for such films as “Michael Clayton” and the Jason Bourne series. The show is rooted in the everyday places where characters work and live. They include a rebel organizer posing as a galactic antiquities dealer (Stellan Skarsgård), and prisoners racing like pit crews to build Imperial equipment. There are spaceships and other computer-generated elements, but many of the environments were built by production crews as “practical” sets. “Andor” is an anomaly in an industry that has pushed ever further into digitally fabricated worlds. Recent “Star Wars” productions such as “The Mandalorian” have made more use of an immersive stage known as a “volume”: Cameras capture actors performing on a set surrounded by massive video screens displaying virtual backdrops, such as alien landscapes.Advertisement Below, how the “Andor” team made some of the fictional tech that appears throughout the show.Big, Chunky Hardware“Andor” designers drew on an era before technology was slim and sleek. Workhorse computers, like the ones in the industrial setting of Ferrix, have bulky hoods and manual interfaces.“There’s no touching the screen. Everything is controlled by a big, chunky button or a dial,” said prop master Martyn Doust. Computers in ‘Andor’ were built with chunky buttons, not touch screens. Photo: Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.On the set of ‘Andor,’ working screens provided realism for actors and a source of lighting for cameras. Photo: Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.Graphic designer Dominic Sikking maintains a “button board” full of samples that have a satisfying look and feel. “I can tell a cheap button when I see it,” he said. Tech plays a recurring role in the story. Characters gaze into a console resembling those once found in air-traffic control towers, attempting to track a suspicious spaceship.GPS it’s not. “The Empire is at the top with their technology, but even theirs has limits. You can’t make it too easy for them,” Mr. Doust said.Advertisement The devices themselves aren’t dummies. Screens inside the prop gadgets display graphics and text (in the “Star Wars” alphabet), offering realism for actors and a source of lighting for cameras. No Wi-Fi, No InternetPeople don’t use paper in the “Star Wars” universe, so what’s their equivalent to paperwork? In the Imperial Security Bureau, agents use hand-held computers to sift through data as they hunt for evidence of a rebel plot. These blocky “datapads” were designed to hide iPads or Samsung tablets inside with glowing (and rechargeable) screens.Imperial agents use datapads to hunt for evidence of a rebel plot. Photo: Courte