Germany to Get Musk’s Car: Tesla First Cross-DDR Car to Come to Berlin

WELLINGTON, New Zealand–Three weeks ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company would be adding staff at its New Zealand plant to begin producing cars for the German market. A few weeks later, Musk announced plans to open a second Tesla factory in mainland Europe, and, just this week, the Tesla car will come to Berlin as part of Tesla’s first cross-DDR high-power car, the P100D.

While the transfer of jobs from Germany to New Zealand is an important step, Elon Musk’s admission that Tesla has no German equivalent illustrates how the company operates globally. Once its global operations begin, the company employs nearly 40,000 employees and has major plants in China, Europe, and the United States. In Germany, Tesla’s manufacturing site is slated to be the largest battery cell factory outside of China.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised that her government will work with Tesla to ensure that jobs in the country are preserved. “In our negotiations with Tesla, we will be offering necessary support to make a product that will contribute to German economic development,” said Merkel.


Men, it’s time to become conscious of your conscious judgments

Intelligence. Strength. Portability. Those are some of the physical traits associated with masculinity. Are you conscious of the type of masculinity you practice? If not, it’s time to get conscious.

Our brains turn on unconscious bias with the click of a button. We make assumptions about other people based on face recognition, belief systems, and cultural stereotype. There’s no way to stand in judgment of anyone else, and we are fully capable of not judging other people, but in order to stand in judgment of others you need to be conscious.

Making conscious judgments requires intentional decision-making. How can you consciously choose to act with compassion and wisdom when your unconscious bias traps you in a vicious cycle of making assumptions about others?

Here are four ways you can stand in judgment of yourself by making conscious decisions:

-Begin the day by taking a step back and questioning your assumptions.

-Look at your highest values in life, and if you’re not sure, do some research and create a list.

-If you do make a value judgement and it’s turned out to be incorrect, examine why you made the decision in the first place.

-Have a constant dialogue with yourself that is open to feedback from others and internal assessment.

How do you go about creating mindful decisions when it’s already too late?

One simple, yet powerful way to practice mindful judgment is to ask the questions:

– Why am I judging another?

– Where is my bias coming from?

– What kind of person am I judging?

– What do I regret having said to someone?

– How can I create a just, productive, and relationship-oriented relationship with them?

Mindful judgments are easier to make when your underlying assumptions are clear. Some unconscious biases are more visible than others, so it can be a good idea to ask these questions to clear your mind.

Feel free to share how you do it, and let us know if we’re offering advice, training, or resources to help you practice a conscious judgment of yourself. Thanks for the great work you do!


The weirdest way Donald Trump asked why the Democrats are going after climate change

Donald Trump speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Nov. 19, 2018. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Donald Trump held his weekly press conference Monday, and despite being late for the event, he was still on message. The first three questions all focused on the midterm elections, with the president praising his electoral victories in the midterms—and criticizing the focus of the reporting on the results, which he said was “ridiculous.” And then, after saying he would keep talking about the Democrats’ climate bill, Trump added a fourth question: “I want nothing to do with Mike Sondland.”

Sondland is the former Florida Republican chairman who the Associated Press reported on Sunday said Democrats would win seven House seats in November in their quest to take control of the chamber. When asked about the comments, Trump said his “only concern” was that Republicans won their House majority.

But there was an odd twist to the question. After the AP reported Sondland’s comments, the political reporter, Laurie Kellman, tweeted that she was sitting behind Sondland, so that Sondland might not accidentally turn to her and say something he shouldn’t. Kellman didn’t get a direct reply from Sondland, but instead received this suggestion from the White House:

My guests are sitting ahead of me. I want to be sure they stay in that location. Thanks. I’ll send a line w/ further comment next time. — Laurie Kellman (@LaurieKellman) November 19, 2018

Kellman retweeted the tweet, prompting a number of reactions from other reporters to her tweet.

.@AP finds our invitees harder than we would. Thank you to AP for this classy reply. — Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff) November 19, 2018

I’ve got my colleague covering CPAC in front of me. He says we’ll exchange glances, and then he’ll turn. I hope he does. I’m rooting for my group. — Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) November 19, 2018

I’ll note, via the EIC, that a spokesperson later clarified that the White House merely “wished [the reporters] well” because, “someone from our office should be seated across from his desk in the corner of the room.”


The media’s greatest disaster: the online ecosystem

Facing the collapse of print, Americans are gravitating to the online format. But there’s a danger to the shift—to too much information online, writes Professor Mary Susanka in an op-ed in the Washington Post. The key point is that “if something doesn’t get in the stream, it will disappear.” This is both news’s lament and the online industry’s salvation.

For those who don’t follow journalism closely, a word of advice: Don’t assume you’re “ready” for a collapse. This fall, The New York Times announced in an internal memo that the audience had been trending downward since the beginning of the year. Some media company bigwigs openly admit the state of print and the steep slide in digital ad revenue that coincided with it. No one has yet proposed what new formats and revenue streams will fill the gap left by big-time print brands.

But when Ms. Susanka takes a closer look at the not-so-distant future, she wonders if the destruction of local news won’t only reduce the nation’s ability to respond to catastrophic events such as earthquakes and hurricanes. It could not only increase the gap between those who live in rural and suburban areas and their nongraduate neighbors, it could actually have an adverse effect on medical care access.

“Local newspapers present a critical lifeline,” Ms. Susanka writes. “They maintain a link between us, and between us and those around us. They serve as first responders to distressing news and to longer-term human issues, connecting us to family, neighbors and the world outside the home.”

And although Ms. Susanka emphasizes that the shift toward what she calls the “information ecology” is inevitable, she makes it clear that the biggest crisis isn’t in the masses or even the devices we use to access the web, but in the quality of what we create.

The media has made “a haphazard succession of [adventurous] experiments with digital technologies,” says Ms. Susanka. A total reliance on digital formats is currently hurting not only local content creators but also the truth they uncover. In so doing, they risk further damaging the value of news as a public service.


Google hires team that says labor union elections are illegal

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the current CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has hired a group that has long opposed unionization efforts among companies’ white-collar employees.

Google has been in the crosshairs of labor activists who argue that its management needs to stop dragging its feet in adopting union elections among its American workers. Union activists say the company is trying to starve unions of resources and voters.

Alphabet has long denied that it seeks to stifle union organizing at Google. “Over time, a more diverse, representative company will be an even better employer and supplier,” it said in a statement Tuesday.

Only 29 Google workers, most of them from India, have voted to organize as the United Auto Workers’ Google division has pursued talks with the company for several years. Workers at Google’s Japanese parent, SoftBank, also voted to unionize last month.

Earlier this year, dozens of Google employees turned out to protest the company’s outsourcing and bonus-scheme among tech and non-tech workers.

Joseph Hansen, a senior partner at the Lincoln Group and a former Republican staffer on Capitol Hill, said this election season is particularly crucial to Google. “It is an election year in many respects for any company that has labor union membership. In that year, it becomes much more visible.”

The Lincoln Group has lobbied on behalf of businesses such as Google and Facebook, but its social-policy efforts have focused on Republican causes.

Public union opposition to unionization among employers has grown over the past several years. In 2013, Americans for Workplace Opportunity, a political action committee, spent more than $1 million to oppose unionization drives at companies, including Apple and American Airlines.

The National Labor Relations Board has grown more assertive in organizing among companies. This spring, it called on Boeing to hold elections at some of its factories in the United States and in Mexico. The board’s reviews of complaints by workers have mounted.

In April, the NLRB certified a union vote at Spirit AeroSystems, a Wichita, Kan., company. The NLRB ruled that an attempt by the company to illegally fire one of the union’s organizers violated labor law. The company appealed to a federal appeals court, which last month asked the NLRB to explain how it could conclude that the union had the right to organize an employer.

The NLRB would not comment on this election campaign, but said its investigations often get them involved in organizing for employees’ wages and working conditions. It is “not uncommon,” the board said, to receive an election election notice within two weeks of the election itself.


Are vaping products even for kids? FDA nominee dodges the question

In a heated exchange with the Senate Finance Committee’s chairman, the Trump administration’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration tried to skirt questions about a major FDA initiative to ban flavored e-cigarettes.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., grilled Andrew von Eschenbach, who was nominated by President Trump last week to lead the FDA, on e-cigarettes, a growing concern in his home state and across the country.

“Why would you effectively choose to direct a multi-year national regulatory initiative to ban flavors — flavored cigar, cigarillo, and vaping products that are already available, albeit in limited quantities, to millions of Americans? Why would you do this if you really care about health, if you really care about people’s young lives?” Wyden asked von Eschenbach during a hearing on Tuesday.

“I don’t believe that there is any change that we are planning to propose to prohibit the use of flavored e-cigarettes by young people,” von Eschenbach replied.

When pressed by Wyden to clarify whether that was the position of the agency, von Eschenbach replied, “I don’t believe that there is any change we are planning to propose to prohibit the use of flavored e-cigarettes by young people.”

Von Eschenbach is not yet on the Senate panel that reviews his nomination. Senate Republicans pushed back on the suggestion that they’d skirted an important policy question.

“I believe the position of the federal government is that ‘children’s health’ is the overarching agenda, and any kind of change would have to be reviewed at that level,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

The e-cigarette industry lobbied to get an earlier version of the bill to ban flavored products past the president’s desk, and the FDA found a way to forward the legislation. According to Wyden, the administration informed him in July that it was targeting vaping flavors to curb the rise in nicotine use among young people.

“He was notified in July that the president wanted to see this legislation passed by the end of the year,” Wyden said. “That’s just six months after he’s been sworn in to this office, and it is obvious that you’re not engaged on this.”

Opponents of the bill to ban flavored products say it may be more effective to target the original problem: youth access to cigarettes.

“The president’s desire to keep children from gaining access to e-cigarettes is laudable, but it’s just not enough to ensure that these devices are never used by children,” said Wendy Patrick, with the American Vaping Association.

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Kanye West who? California sees boom in creative entrepreneurship Wyden also pressed von Eschenbach on his efforts to extend the deadline for sending back a financial disclosure form, which he described as a “sign that you’re not about to tell the truth about your tax returns.”

“I have already forwarded my financial disclosure forms to the committee,” von Eschenbach said. “Any suggestion that I did not do so I believe is incorrect,” he said, adding, “I stand by the representations I’ve made before.”

Von Eschenbach is the new FDA commissioner and is only taking his oath today, but it is likely that he’ll remain in the agency after the Senate turns him over to the House committee that reviews his nomination. He is expected to have a hearing with the Senate committee when the new Congress begins in January.


Lamar Alexander says he wants to see teens harmed by flavored e-cigarettes

Six-Term Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander testified at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday before the Senate Finance Committee. The agency board’s top member was called to the table to review his nomination, including what his plans were for F.D.A.’s plan to ban the flavored vaping products being marketed to minors.

However, a visibly angry Alexander didn’t flinch when asked by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) if he supported the plan to ban flavored vaping products. He started off by explaining that while the committee didn’t want to see “substance abuse” vaping products continue to be marketed to minors, the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) does have a right to do its own investigations of the marketing.

“There are concerns in the FDA community about how to get at this issue. This committee will not step in and tell the administration or the FDA how to run its agencies,” Alexander said. “We don’t want underage people who are vaping, who are smoking, to harm. We don’t want these products to be sold in convenience stores and they are being sold in convenience stores. I will continue to insist on enforcement of the law.”

Unlike the expansive corporate support for Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, Alexander noted that the 64-year-old F.D.A. president and the same type of leader he worked alongside after Alexander got his start in the medical field. He also appeared candid about acknowledging that there have been “historically marginalized groups,” like minority communities, that have fared badly from the agency.

“I will accept that I may not be the best person to lead the agency on this issue. I’m very comfortable with acknowledging that it’s a very complex problem,” Alexander said. “If I were the new secretary and these are the issues we’re dealing with and we can’t solve them, I would resign my commission.”

The F.D.A. has been working on a plan to ban the flavored e-cigarettes since the agency admitted in March that more than 3 million teens in the U.S. used the electronic smokes.

Although the hearing was scheduled prior to the revelation that former Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) actually pushed for the plan to ban all flavored e-cigarettes as a way to pressure the then-candidate to cover the cost of the Medicaid expansion to 17 million low-income residents, it still shows that politics can play a part in protecting the health of American youth.


Nicene X’s co-founder questions Trump admin over vaping issue during 1st FDA hearing

The FDA nominee for the role of Commissioner held her only public hearing last night, stonewalling pro-vaping advocates.

Sidestepping efforts to get more details on her position on banishing flavored e-cigarettes from shop shelves, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s nominee for the head of the FDA dodged questions about her stance on banning the popular products at her Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday.

Mick Mountz, co-founder of Vape Revolution and co-founder of Nicene X, testified in favor of blocking flavored e-cigarette products from shelves, saying “cool stuff” and “high cotton candy” ingredients in such product leave young people hooked on nicotine.

The flavored products, mainly gummy bear and fruit-flavored e-cigarette cartridges, are disproportionately popular with young people, said Mountz, even though the FDA originally indicated they do not play an integral role in fueling tobacco addiction among youth.

Mountz outlined the need for improved government research on why e-cigarettes are popular with kids.

“We need better research on the facts, the consequences, and the impacts of e-cigarettes…We need to get to the bottom of the science first,” he said.

“We don’t trust any of the anecdotal evidence, and that’s why we’re telling the FDA, and the FDA is going to the top of the food chain to look into the data. And we want the FDA to make a policy decision in the interest of public health.”

Mick Mountz, co-founder of Vape Revolution and co-founder of Nicene X. (Photo Credit: Vape Revolution)

The first e-cigarette was launched in China in 2004 and was passed off as a safer alternative to cigarettes during an FDA approved FDA panel in 2008.

A general lack of research and industry pushback ultimately resulted in the FDA’s rolling back research requirements for e-cigarettes in 2010. Yet several well-respected universities have published papers after conducting their own independent e-cigarette research.

Mountz said the lack of evidence provided a “litmus test for the industry…Based on the scientific evidence that’s available, [they’re] actually pushing against a huge market.”

Cheney first mentioned the “ignorance of America’s youth” at last night’s hearing, saying she wants to “make our kids aware and be able to vote.”

“As an Indio county sheriff for 24 years, I’ve been involved in law enforcement,” she said. “Kids who vape have no clue what’s good for them. But the industry knows.”

Cheney, who serves as a U.S. representative for Wyoming, failed to ask about the association between retail stores and wholesalers, the lack of FDA data and high volume manufacturers vs. small ones, though she spoke about vaping’s effects on youth at an anti-smoking summit in September.

“I’ve learned firsthand how harmful vaping is to people who use it,” she said. “I know that many youth live in pockets of the country where where e-cigarettes are available to them. Some vape in public, in the bathroom.”

“I think young people should be treated like anybody else should,” she said. “We know that having them there when they’re using the product contributes to the damage it does.”


FDA Nominee Sidesteps Questions About Vaping

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — An FDA nominee who later served on the Academy of Tobacco Products advisory board, told supporters the agency was “in danger of being overrun by the very companies we are trying to regulate” in reference to vaping.

But when pressed by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) on the question of whether or not she thought flavored vaping products should be banned, Dr. Vasicy Gulyas dodged the question.

According to her biography as listed on the Senate questionnaire, Gulyas has served in the Trump administration as a Special Advisor for Director of the Office of Business Outreach since July. She later served on the board of the Academy of Tobacco Products from 2015 to 2017, a group which set goals like encouraging smokers to give up tobacco products.

Gulyas graduated from Syracuse University in 2002 with a BS in Biology, then entered MD at George Washington University and completed her medical degree at Georgetown University. She was the Director of the Infectious Disease Service at Parkland Hospital, joining the school’s dean as an adviser to the Office of Infectious Diseases. She went on to work as chief medical officer at Wyeth Medical Devices in Chicago.

Trump’s F.D.A. Nominee Sidesteps Questions About Banning Flavored Vaping Products


Lawmakers to grill Trump aide amid Russia probe

By Ashley Jacobs for Insider USA

A top acting Trump administration official will face the House Judiciary Committee and the wrath of President Donald Trump, as the panel convenes a hearing on the president’s alleged obstruction of justice.

Vice Adm. David “Nick” Davidy Hale, who is President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser for strategy, will testify Tuesday at the hearing, according to an aide. Hale will be the highest-ranking official that the Judiciary Committee has interviewed about the Russian probe since Trump’s campaign for president began in June 2015.

Meanwhile, House Democrats on Monday challenged Republican efforts to delay their impeachment efforts, as all 39 Democratic members signed a letter requesting additional briefings from the Justice Department and FBI before its next expected hearing.

The Judiciary Committee began that investigation in May after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. According to members of the House, the documents the Democrats requested show the former FBI director is “cooperating fully” with the committee.

“In the three months since we requested these documents, we have made a deliberate effort to reach out to both the executive and legislative branches of the government to see if we can establish a bipartisan basis for bringing forth this information,” the letter says. “We are disappointed that we have been unable to achieve that goal.”

The Democratic congressional lawmakers then sent a letter to the chairman of the committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the Republican chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., calling for the panel to respond within five days, or to prepare for a second session of the hearing.

Their requests come the day after a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which Goodlatte reportedly requested that he write a memo detailing his objections to any Trump investigation that would fall under special counsel Robert Mueller’s purview.

Monday’s letter, signed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said “nothing justifies delay.”

“The American people deserve answers as to why Donald Trump fired James Comey,” the letter said. “The president and his allies at Fox News have strongly suggested that he did so because Comey was not sufficiently loyal, even threatening to appoint a special counsel to probe claims that a deputy attorney general had leaked classified information to journalists, which the Department of Justice promptly investigated.”

The letter was signed by all House Democrats. GOP Sens. Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Cory Gardner of Colorado co-signed the letter, which expresses concern that Republican leaders are not doing more to conduct their investigation.

“Regardless of whether or not our House leadership seeks to engage in a hearing, American people deserve to know the existence of a relevant and tangible legal justification for the president’s actions,” the letter says.

A spokesman for Goodlatte declined to comment. Goodlatte recently made headlines by announcing he will not seek re-election in 2020, citing his age.

Tuesday’s public hearing begins at 9 a.m. ET, with Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, presenting evidence at the beginning of the hearing.

Today’s is slated to be the first in a series of impeachment hearings, which are to take place in January.

Earlier this month, the House Ways and Means Committee agreed to subpoena written correspondence from former attorney general Jeff Sessions, who has declined to provide records to their probe into whether Trump has obstructed justice.

While legal issues surrounding the president have appeared more urgent on the West Wing floor over the past several months, he has already incurred another set of public relations headaches just this past weekend. The New York Times reported that he had been close to signing an agreement to curtail his fight with Mueller’s special counsel investigation that was more favorable to him than his current arrangement.

The Times reported that the Trump Organization would have limited jurisdiction in matters related to the investigation, likely ruling out some business dealings as potential areas for Mueller to investigate.

The offer turned down, according to a person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to discuss it by name.

According to the Times, the FBI declined to publicize the offer because it was at odds with standard norms and with the president’s agreement to not be contacted by prosecutors.