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Biden the ‘Socialist’ vs. Trump the ‘Caudillo’: The Battle for the Venezuelan Vote

POLITICO (10/19/2020)
  • To entice Florida’s Venezuelans (200,000 people), Trump and Biden are using ads that paint each other as similar to Venezuela’s socialist, authoritarian leaders.
  • Many Venezuelans fled to avoid political repression and economic collapse.
  • Trump plays on this fear by labelling Biden’s policies as a socialist threat to living standards.
  • Biden’s Florida ads portray Trump as a dictatorial authoritarian that lashes back at dissent.
  • While most Floridian Venezuelans voted for Hillary in 2016, many now support Trump since he supports a regime change in Venezuela.

Drivers struck street protesters dozens of times this summer

CNN (10/21/2020)
  • During this summer’s Black Lives Matter protests across America, there were 104 incidents of vehicles driving into protesters (University of Chicago).
  • Malicious intent – 43 of the incidents involved white extremist drivers, the yelling of racial slurs and/or a second collision with protesters.
  • Two incidents were fatal and only five were clearly non-malicious.
  • While some incidents were pre-meditated, others arose after heated verbal exchanges between drivers and protesters.
  • The majority of rammings involved drivers affiliated with far-right groups.

Young People Care More About Covid Than You Think

Bloomberg (10/23/2020)
  • Following widespread pictures and videos showing 18-24 year olds socializing , many blamed the young for rising new COVID infections.
  • However, blaming the young may be exaggerated considering many are more exposed by living in shared spaces and more likely to have high-risk public-facing jobs.
  • A recent survey of thousands of young adults across 29 countries revealed that they’ve been wearing masks, washing their hands and social distancing at high rates.
  • Sadly, young adults report the highest emotional distress from social distancing.

Black Beauty Brands Hit Major Retailers With High Inventory and Marketing Costs

Bloomberg (09/24/2020)
  • Following the George Floyd murder, major retailers such as Sephora pledged to support racial equality by reserving shelf space for Black-owned beauty brands.
  • While admirable, Black brand’s limited financial resources has made offers hard to accept.
  • Major retailers require brands to share 50-60% of their retail sales, significantly reducing profit margins.
  • Also, many Black brands can’t afford to maintain a consistently high, on-demand inventory required for retail.
  • To further assist, Sephora is helping brands secure venture capital.
  • Ultimately, Black brands hope support isn’t a fad.

The furniture resale market is booming

Vox (10/08/2020)
  • With coronavirus shutdowns pushing more Americans from expensive cities to the suburbs, many are offloading their furniture online.
  • Facebook Marketplace, the social network’s used goods portal, has seen furniture sale listings increase 100% since April.
  • Young adults, many of whom are moving back home due to financial hardships, don’t want to deal with paying for movers or storage.
  • And more people stuck working from home are buying quality used furniture to revamp their living spaces.
  • Ultimately, the supply and demand for used furniture grows.

Why Rejected Ballots Could Be A Big Problem In 2020

FiveThirtyEight (10/13/2020)
  • While less than 1% of the 33.4 million 2016 US election absentee mail-in ballots were rejected, the huge increase in 1st-time mail-in voters could impact the 2020 election outcome.
  • The most common reasons for rejection are mail-in ballots received too late and voter signatures not matching signatures on record.
  • Many states have deadlines by which mail ballots must be received, not postmarked.
  • Voters of color and young voters are the most likely to have their mail-in ballots rejected.

Behind China’s Epic Dash for PPE That Left the World Short on Masks

Bloomberg (09/23/2020)
  • On the eve of the Wuhan coronavirus shutdown (January 2020), China’s largest retailer Alibaba only had 46.1 million masks available for 1 billion people.
  • In response, Chinese civic organizations instructed citizens worldwide to buy and send protective gear back home.
  • By late February, China’s 60 million nationals abroad sent 2 billion masks back home.
  • This mass-buying contributed to the global protective gear shortage at the onset of the epidemic.
  • China’s Communist Party has prided itself on having a worldwide diaspora for help in crisis.

Venezuela, Once an Oil Giant, Reaches the End of an Era

The New York Times (NYT) (10/07/2020)
  • US sanctions have crippled Venezuelan oil production to its lowest in nearly 100 years.
  • After earning about $90 billion/year from oil exports a decade ago, Venezuela is on pace to earn only $2.3 billion this year.
  • The sanctions prevent most oil companies from drilling and buying Venezuelan oil.
  • Heavily reliant on government benefits, Venezuela’s citizens have been hit hardest.
  • Venezuela has become Latin America’s poorest country, recently falling behind Haiti.
  • For revenue, the Venezuelan government now relies heavily on illicit gold mining and drug trafficking.

What Happens to Your Body on No Sleep?

Outside (04/02/2019)
  • Scientists have found that the effects of acute sleep deprivation, or all-nighters, kicks in after being awake for 16-18 hours straight.
  • The first sign is a sluggish mind, with reaction times lagging to the equivalent of being legally drunk by the 24th hour awake.
  • After 24 hours, your brain starts forcing you into 10-20 second periods of “micro-sleep”.
  • After 35 hours, the brain’s emotion-emitting amygdala becomes 60% more reactive and the ability to regulate emotions declines.
  • Hallucinations are common after 48 hours awake.