Tech competitors are ‘blown away’ by Congress’ CEO grilling and hopeful for antitrust reform

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks via video conference during a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on “Online Platforms and Market Power”, in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2020.

Graeme Jennings | Pool via REUTERS

David Heinemeier Hansson said he was “smiling broadly” by the end of Congress’ grilling of the four Big Tech CEOs this week.

“I was frankly blown away,” said Heinemeier Hansson, co-founder of Basecamp, a central figure in a noisy dispute with Apple over its App Store rules. 

For Heinemeier Hansson, who previously testified before the congressional subcommittee about Big Tech’s impact on start-ups, Wednesday’s hearing exceeded his “lukewarm expectations” in part by simply being mostly unembarrassing. He recalled past hearings where Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was the lone focal point and it seemed lawmakers were unprepared with the basic facts to confront him.

But at Wednesday’s hearing featuring Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, many lawmakers focused their questions on the 1.3 million pieces of evidence the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust has collected in the past year of its probe. That rendered the rehearsed testimony from the CEOs less important, according to Heinemeier Hansson, allowing the evidence to speak for itself.

Heinemeier Hansson’s optimism was shared by other tech rivals who have aired their grievances with the subcommittee as well as enforcers around the world. Google’s most consistent opponent, Yelp’s Luther Lowe, said the hearing was a “seismic” event.

Lowe, SVP of public policy, has been steeped in the debate over Google’s competition practices for nearly a decade. He has seen numerous regulators consider Yelp’s complaints that Google has acted unjustly toward vertical search competitors by ripping off their content or using tactics that discourage users from clicking away from their results and onto other sites. Google, in its 2013 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that ended an antitrust investigation, agreed not to scrape websites like Yelp for content. Google has maintained that its practices are not anti-competitive.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law during a hearing on “Online Platforms and Market Power” in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington, July 29, 2020.

Mandel Ngan | Pool via Reuters

After Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt testified to the Senate in 2011 about the company’s search practices, Lowe recalled feeling underwhelmed with the scrutiny on Google. But this time, he said, there was a more informed focus on the antitrust issues at play.

“What [Congress] do[es] is they send signals,” Lowe said in an interview Thursday. “If the signal in … 2011 was, ‘Hey, FTC investigating Google, why are you messing with this great company,’ the message yesterday was, ‘Why didn’t you go after these companies [earlier]?'”

Eddie Lazarus, chief legal officer at Sonos, was slightly more subdued in his optimism. Sonos is suing Google, alleging patent infringement, and has claimed Google and Amazon artificially lower prices on their smart speakers to edge out competing products like those of Sonos. CEO Patrick Spence testified at a subcommittee field hearing earlier this year about the company’s competitive practices, as did Heinemeier Hansson and the executives from Tile and PopSocket.

“I felt like the committee hearing was a bit like a strobe light where it would flash on and you’d see something really interesting and then it would flash off and it would kind of move to another [topic],” Lazarus said. “But when you put it all together, you got the picture that something was fundamentally wrong here.”

Watching the hearing gave the sense of whiplash, alternating between four CEOs and topics ranging as far as acquisition strategy to censorship. At times, the bipartisan effort of the probe seemed to show cracks, including when Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., lashed out at Republicans for “whining” about conservative bias, pointing to a list of conservative commentators whose work has proliferated across social media platforms.

Congressman Jim Jordan, (R-OH), speaks during a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on “Online Platforms and Market Power”, in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington, July 29, 2020.

Graeme Jennings | Pool via Reuters

While questions of censorship and privacy were not directly related to antitrust, they often indicated broader concerns about the power of the platforms over many aspects of their respective markets and American consumers’ lives. That consensus might become the building block of bipartisan legislation.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., said he chose to focus a round of questioning on Google’s advertising business because he felt it illustrated a central driving factor of a variety of concerns with the digital platforms.

“Regardless if you think they’re censoring conservatives or you think they’re squeezing out competitors or whichever part of the criticism [you think it] is, I think it all comes down to the same thing and it’s money,” Armstrong said. “Usually if you alienate a significant portion of your user base, that harms you economically. And that just isn’t the case for these companies.”

Armstrong argued that companies like Google hide behind claims of privacy, like its decision to remove support for third-party tracking cookies from its web browser, when their tactics are really about suppressing competition.

Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., vice chair of the subcommittee, said many issues important to members can be viewed through the frame of a larger problem with the concentration of power in the tech sector. He gave the example of disinformation, which he said is a type of “collateral” issue that he is concerned about.

“That type of activity is a byproduct of, in my view, monopoly power — the inability of competitors to be able to emerge, which would then compel these entities and platforms like Facebook to take a more serious and urgent approach,” Neguse said.

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., said that optimism for bipartisan action comes in part from the fact that the subcommittee lawmakers have gained trust with one another.

“There are personal relationships being built behind the scenes,” he said. “I think that people are working with each other and starting to trust each other more. Impeachment was a difficult point in this particular Congress because people stopped talking to each other for a little while, and I think we’re coming out of that now and focusing again on legislative work that needs to be done.”

Testimony by Heinemeier Hansson, Sonos’ Spence and others earlier this year seemed to play an important role in solidifying some members’ views. Buck said in an earlier interview that the hearing helped him “put a face on the stories” about the tech giants’ tactics.

“Many of the committee members, both Republican and Democrat, would concede that that hearing was the second most important hearing that this committee has held” in connection to the probe, Neguse said.

Still, the outspoken tech competitors haven’t pinned their hopes entirely on the committee’s forthcoming report and legislation. But they are optimistic Wednesday’s hearing sent a message to the antitrust enforcers currently reviewing the four giants.

“Those reports probably don’t amount to anything at all if they stand alone,” Heinemeier Hansson said. “But they do not stand alone.”

The trove of internal documents released by the committee following the hearing are likely just a fraction of the evidence the FTC and Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division have collected in their respective probes. And as they consider whether an enforcement case is warranted against each company, they now have a signal of support from Congress.

“I think a very clear message was sent to the FTC and the Antitrust Division yesterday that insofar as members of the committee are representing different constituencies in America, those different constituencies are very concerned about the power that is being held by a few people in this country,” Buck said. “I think that they got that message loud and clear.”

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WATCH: CEOs of American tech giants testified remotely on Capitol Hill today—Here’s what they had to say

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Who should get the Covid-19 vaccine first? It’s way trickier than you might think

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech during a visit to the Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ Innovation Center, a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant where components for a potential coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate are being developed, in Morrrisville, North Carolina, U.S., July 27, 2020.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

The hunt is on for a vaccine for Covid-19, which has killed more than 600,000 people.

The current frontrunners include an mRNA vaccine from Moderna; a candidate vaccine from AstraZeneca and Oxford University; a Chinese vaccine from the military and biotech company CanSigo Biologisc; and an mRNA-based vaccine from German company BioNTech and Pfizer.

While a candidate could be approved this year, it remains to be seen whether the vaccine will confer temporary or long-term immunity, or how many doses will be required, as doubling the number of jabs could complicate worldwide immunization efforts.

But bioethicists and public health experts all agree that manufacturing doses for 8 billion people quickly is an insurmountable challenge. 

So someone will have to decide who should get the vaccine first — and why. 

In the United States, committees have begun to form to discuss this tricky issue. An advisory committee of external health experts is advising the Centers for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on an equitable framework. The National Academies of Medicine announced earlier this month that its committee will “develop an overarching framework to assist policymakers in the U.S. and global health communities.”

Some of the most challenging questions they face include whether pregnant women (normally the last to get a vaccine) should be higher up on the list, or whether Black and Latino people — who have been disproportionately affected by the virus — should get access to the vaccine before the rest of the population. 

Then there are the global considerations. Task forces have formed to come up with a “fair and equitable” framework to distribute the vaccine between countries, but face numerous practical challenges.

Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center, thinks some countries will have vaccines to spare, while others won’t have access to many at all. Some nations could use their leverage over vaccines as a way to curry favor or to negotiate trade deals. Enforcing safety and efficacy is another sticking point because not every country has the same quality-control processes.

“Internationally, there’s a lot of talk about how every life is valuable,” he said. “But that doesn’t address what you do in practical terms if there’s a shortage.”

Caplan is also concerned about the rise of black markets, which might allow rich people in certain countries to jump the line and buy vaccines for themselves and their families.

Other bio-ethicists note complicated questions around responsibility and need. For instance, countries like New Zealand have done a very good job at flattening the curve, while others like Brazil are struggling to contain active outbreaks. So should the countries that have largely stamped out Covid-19 vaccinate their populations last? 

“We need to think through how to distribute vaccines to reduce harm internationally,” said Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. “And some countries are really suffering more than others.”

So who gets the vaccine first?

Within the U.S., bioethicists hope that vaccines are distributed in a centralized and coordinated way. Back in April and May, the lack of coordination from the federal government meant that states had to compete for supplies, including ventilators, and manufacturers were confused about where to send equipment. 

“I’m worried that there will not be the kind of national leadership on the issue that we need to avoid fights from breaking out as people jockey to get access,” said Michelle Mello, professor of law and medicine at Stanford University. 

Even if the federal government steps up, there isn’t yet consensus on who should get access to the vaccines first. 

Most of the experts had a set of categories in mind. Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law and director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown, helped draft policy papers on the issue for the Obama administration during the H1N1 crisis of 2009. 

His strategy would be using the vaccine first to prevent further spread of the virus.

“That is, we might need a kind of ring vaccination strategy for major clusters of cases that don’t we want to spread to other other cities or states,” he said. 

Next, he would prioritize health workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Once they’re vaccinated inside hospitals, he would turn his attention to other essential workers, including police, sanitation workers, and workers who are critical to maintaining our food supply. Then he’d select the most vulnerable, including the elderly or marginalized populations or those with pre-existing conditions. 

Other experts have different ideas.

Nisarg Patel, a surgeon at UC San Francisco and a co-author of an op-ed on the topic, would start with the people at highest risk, including health workers, essential municipal workers, vulnerable groups and the elderly.

But given that nearly half of Americans have at least one chronic illness, there might need to be some consideration about who gets prioritized within that group. For instance, should immunocompromised patients in the midst of cancer treatment get access to the vaccine before tens of millions of people with Type 2 diabetes?

“The way you think through them is to think through the outcomes,” said Mello, although she notes the evidence is still accumulating on that. She also points out, however, that it might be the case that not everyone will want the vaccine immediately – so some might wait and see what happens with the first cohort. 

Even then, it’s not that simple.

Bioethicists point out that some of these decisions can only really be made once the specifics of the vaccine are better understood.

Vulnerable populations including the frail and elderly might not mount a robust immune response to the vaccine, for instance. The data on that from clinical trials is still limited. And health care workers might not get first dibs if they have sufficient PPE to protect themselves. The first round might be limited to those who treat Covid-19 patients specifically. 

“A lot will depend on the vaccine, but also the modeling that we do,” said Emanuel. “We might even find that the best way to reduce the spread of the virus is to vaccinate the most common transmitters, like grocery store workers or policemen,” he said. 

How about the anti-vaxxers?

Another question that will need to be determined by committees: If sufficient people aren’t willing to volunteer for a vaccine, should governments require that certain groups get vaccinated? 

“Voluntary is always better,” said Emanuel. “It’s never the first option to mandate it, but it may be a necessary one.”

Caplan agrees that discussions should be underway on this issue, as a lot of people might be reluctant to get vaccinated. Anti-vaccination sentiment is far from limited to the United States, he points out. In countries like France, surveys have shown that 1 in 3 people do not feel that vaccines are safe. 

Caplan doesn’t have a clear solution for hardline anti-vaxxers, who might never be willing to get the vaccine. But he does think that a lot can be done to sway those who are reluctant or hesitant by showing data from the first group that gets vaccinated. In the United States, he would message to the public that vaccination is required for certain freedoms, like travel or sending their kids to school. Emanuel suggests that public health workers might even consider teaming up with celebrities and influencers to help spread the word. 

These challenges — and many more surrounding vaccine allocation — are surmountable with the right planning and coordination, Emanuel stresses.

“We shouldn’t give up,” he said. 

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SpaceX says Starlink internet has ‘extraordinary demand,’ with nearly 700,000 interested in service

A Starlink user terminal, which would connect consumers to the company’s satellite internet service.

SpaceX

SpaceX said Starlink, its nascent satellite internet service, has already seen “extraordinary demand” from potential customers, with “nearly 700,000 individuals” across the United States indicating they are interested in the company’s coming service.

Due to the greater-than-expected interest, SpaceX filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission on Friday — asking to increase the number of authorized user terminals to 5 million from 1 million. User terminals are the devices consumers would use to connect to the company’s satellite internet network.

The request comes about a month and a half after SpaceX updated its Starlink website to allow potential customers to “get updates on Starlink news and service availability in your area.” Registering one’s interest in Starlink service meant simply submitting an email address and postal address, with no fee required to receive updates.

Starlink is the company’s ambitious plan to build an interconnected network of about 12,000 small satellites, to beam high-speed internet anywhere in the world. To date, SpaceX has launched more than 500 Starlink satellites. In addition to getting the satellites in orbit, SpaceX will need to build a vast system of ground stations and affordable user terminals if it is going to connect consumers directly to its network.

SpaceX deploys its 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit.

SpaceX

SpaceX is beginning a private beta test of Starlink’s service this summer, which it says will be “followed by public beta testing.” Elon Musk’s company told the FCC that Starlink will begin offering commercial service in the northern United States and southern Canada” before the end of this year, “and then will rapidly expand to near-global coverage of the populated world in 2021.” Musk has touted Starlink’s internet speed as rivaling existing Earth-bound services, saying in March that the network will have a “latency below 20 milliseconds, so somebody could play a fast-response video game at a competitive level.”

The satellite network is an ambitious endeavor. As SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell has previously said, “it will cost the company about $10 billion or more” to build the Starlink network. The company has steadily raised funding from private investors in the past several years, most recently valuing SpaceX at $44 billion.

If Starlink succeeds, however, SpaceX has told investors that the satellite internet business is targeting a $1 trillion total addressable market. Morgan Stanley recently said that if Starlink is more successful than expected, SpaceX’s valuation could reach as high as $175 billion in the most optimistic “bull case” scenario.

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Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva tests positive for coronavirus

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.

Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva tested positive for Covid-19, his office announced on Saturday.

Grijalva, a Democrat whose district includes parts of the Phoenix and Tucson areas, as well as much of the state’s border region with Mexico, is self-isolating in the Washington, D.C., area, according to spokesman Geoff Nolan. 

In a statement, the congressman criticized some other members of Congress for not taking the virus seriously and he praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to require masks. 

“While I cannot blame anyone directly for this, this week has shown that there are some Members of Congress who fail to take this crisis seriously,” Grijalva said in the statement. “Numerous Republican members routinely strut around the Capitol without a mask to selfishly make a political statement at the expense of their colleagues, staff, and their families.”

The news about Grijalva’s positive test was first reported by the Arizona Republic, which said that Grijalva presided over a committee meeting on Tuesday that included Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert. Gohmert announced on Wednesday that he had tested positive for the virus. 

Grijalva appears to be the 12th member of Congress to test positive for Covid-19. There have been more than 4.5 million confirmed cases of the virus and at least 153,000 deaths in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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Rogue Police Union: The PBA’s Bloated Overhead

The PBA’s Bloated Overhead
December 7, 1993

THROUGHOUT THE Watergate scandal, the operative phrase was follow the money, an axiom that also serves the PBA story.

In 1991, the PBA raised more than $7 million in dues from its members, while four distinct but affiliated PBA funds took in many millions more from New York City taxpayers. Although the main pen­sion fund for the NYPD — worth $7.5 bil­lion — is mercifully controlled by the city itself (PBA trustees sit on the board), a smaller annuity fund is maintained to pro­vide additional benefits. The city pays in $2 for each police officer each working day (261 a year). Between total contribu­tions from the city and income on invest­ments, this fund received more than $14 million in 1991. A health and welfare fund for cops on active duty took in an­other $22 million; and a comparable fund for retired cops another $20 million. For 1991 alone, total revenues coming in to the PBA, including $7 million in union dues, came to $63 million. The cop on the beat might well ask, “Where did it all go?”

Much of it went where it should have, into services for PBA members — supple­mental dental and optical coverage, death benefits, legal representation, and the like. In 1991 the PBA paid out to members $26.2 million in direct benefits. But in order to provide these services, the PBA spent $23 million, an overhead that should raise the eyelids of the sleepiest IRS or department of labor official. In fact, when the Voice presented this benefit-to-expense ratio to Bob Kobel, an IRS regional spokesman, he replied: “Given that scenario, I feel certain it would cause us to take a closer look, at least to deter­mine why administration costs are so high.”

A close look at individual expense items raises even more questions. Of the PBA’s total overhead for 1991, a large bite — $4.5 million — was paid out for legal work, la­bor negotiating, and lobbying. If you add in the $2.7 million paid for the legal repre­sentation for members, the total legal bill comes to more than $7 million. Virtually every penny of that amount went to Ly­saght, Lysaght & Kramer, the law firm that took over the PBA’s account from attorney Richard Hartman. In prior years, comparable amounts had been paid to Hartman’s firm, to cover his fees for legal work and labor negotiating.

A police officer might well ask why over the last 15 years the union has paid so dearly for labor negotiating. Hartman joined the PBA in 1978, when the base salary for police officers was $17,458 — hardly generous. Despite his skills, the base police salary has remained constant with inflation ever since. In today’s dollars, the $17,458 of 1977 would be worth $40,415. After being paid millions in the interven­ing years, Hartman has managed to negoti­ate a base salary of $40,700 — a $300 gain, not counting fringe benefits. That annual raise does not compare favorably to the ever-growing fees the PBA and Phil Caruso were granting Hartman. In 1977, the PBA paid Hartman’s predecessor $141,467 for “labor negotiating.” In 1978, Hartman’s first full year, the PBA paid him $750,000. By 1990, Hartman’s last year as the union’s negotiator of record, the PBA was paying him $165,000 a month, for a grand annual total of $1,980,000, as a labor “consultant.”

Another large bite of the PBA revenue pie — $8 million — was taken in 1991 by insurance companies. Obviously the PBA has to pay heavily for insurance to pro­vide the benefits it must. But does it need to pay as much as it does? And the ques­tion would not even be raised were it not for the fact that the year after Richard Hartman surrendered his law license, and thereby a great deal of income, PBA suddenly discovered that its members needed a new Met Life policy, the $2.2 million commission on which went to a new insurance agent named … Richard Hartman. (By 1991, the Met Life insur­ance business was transferred to the wives of James Lysaght and Peter Kramer, part­ners of the law firm that was already get­ting all the legal fees mentioned above.)

Instead of enriching cops directly, Caru­so has concentrated the PBA’s efforts on increasing fringe benefits. He argues in the Annual Report for the Annuity Fund: “The doubling of our annual annuity con­tribution by the city, won in our last round of contract talks, was significant, particularly for newer members.” But one is tempted to question both the priorities and the motives of the PBA and its negoti­ators. Unlike salaries, which flow directly from the city to the cops, the “soft” mon­ey flows from the city to the PBA, where it can be siphoned off for the benefit of a handful of friends and associates. The only significant fringe benefit negotiated by Caruso and Hartman that flows direct­ly to police members is the uniform allow­ance, which jumped from $265 in 1977 to $1000 in 1991.

The soft money has permitted the PBA the luxury of a huge overhead. In 1991, for example, the union spent $2.2 million on salaries, $900,000 for printing and publications, $650,000 on delegate ex­penses, and $340,000 for conferences and conventions. Even the relatively smaller expenses raise serious questions. For ex­ample, was the $208,000 fee paid to ac­countants Mendelsohn Kary Bell & Natoli to prepare the PBA’s various 1991 filings much of a bargain? The PBA’s 5500 forms invariably communicate as little as possi­ble. On the PBA’s 1991 filing for the an­nuity fund, for instance, MKBN lumped all assets under the familiar rubric of “other.” Yet a glimpse of the PBA’s annu­al report for the fund in the same year reveals that these assets are all invested in financial instruments for which the IRS provides line items on its 5500 forms: government securities, commercial paper, money market funds.

Indeed, the word “other” often covers some of the largest sums charged against the various PBA accounts. By the Voice’s count, in 1991 the PBA buried $6.6 mil­lion in expenses for its various funds un­der the word “other.” That, of course, would be fine if “other” were explained elsewhere. Conscientious accountants wishing to avoid audits provide supple­mental sheets where such large sums are broken down and detailed. Not so the PBA’s accountants. Two outside CPAs who reviewed PBA returns with the Voice commented that it appeared the union was not concerned about audits, almost as if it thought itself untouchable. They pointed out that several basic accounting rules had been flouted.

For example, although the PBA submits 5500 forms for each benefit plan it oper­ates, those submissions do not include re­quired Schedule P’s, which must list trust­ees and to which the trustees must affix their signatures by way of accepting liabil­ity. Also missing are Schedule A’s, which show where an organization bought its insurance, how much commission was paid, and the names of brokers. Given the amount that the PBA pays out in insur­ance premiums and the name of the bro­ker who received many of these commis­sions — Richard Hartman — the oversight is strange indeed.

Finally, there is the sheer sloppiness of the filings. The PBA’s 5500 forms for 1991 were prepared on IRS forms from the prior year. In its 1989 annuity fund filing, MKBN reported a transfer of $9.9 million into the fund. It is only when one does the math that it becomes clear that the $9.9 million was transferred out of the fund. (The money went to smaller PBAs, the Superior Officers Council, and the Detectives’ Endowment Association, for reasons that are not altogether clear). In this instance, the difference between in and out is almost $20 million. Calls to the PBA accounting firm to get clarification on this and other matters went unanswered.

The various PBA filings yield a number of other issues and questions as well. In addition to the Legal Services Fund, de­signed to represent police in various mat­ters, including house closings, the PBA maintains a separate legal assistance plan within its Health & Welfare Fund. The city gives the union $75 per police officer each year to fund this service, designed to provide legal representation in civil suits brought against police officers whom the city, for whatever reason, does not want to represent (the funds also cover “pension counseling”). According to the PBA con­tract with the city, “These funds shall be maintained in a separate account and shall not be commingled with the other monies received by the Welfare Fund.”

But is that what happened to the $1.4 million taken in by the welfare fund in 1991 for this purpose? The PBA appears to have paid the entire amount to the Lysaght firm. Perhaps Lysaght has the money tucked safely away in an escrow account, But the public filings of the PBA offer no such assurance, and given the PBA’s “fact pattern” — as it’s put in law­-enforcement parlance — of raided escrow accounts and huge fees to lawyers, the transfer to Lysaght is disturbing. Did rank­-and-file police officers really need $1.4 million worth of legal representation for civil matters and pension counseling dur­ing the year? And if not, what is happen­ing to the accumulating funds? Does the city need to continue to fund this account at this level?

The biggest PBA account is the annuity fund, and the natural question is, how is all this money being invested? It is a question Caruso himself addresses in the annuity’s 199 l annual report to members. “The interest yield on An­nuity Fund investments last year was far from awesome,” he wrote, “but nonetheless strictly in keeping with prevailing rates.” In 1991, the annuity fund earned just under 6 per cent.

Interests rates are, without question, down among all varieties of pension plans. But 6 per cent or under is not the prevailing rate. And there is a larg­er question about the PBA’s annuity fund that centers on the pattern of investing. With a stream of city reve­nues large enough to cover the antici­pated direct benefits to members, the annuity fund would seem to have very little need for liquidity. Yet over $40 million of its $55 million worth of assets are held in short-term financial instruments, with only $15 million in long-term. Had more long-term invest­ments been made years ago, they would still be yielding 8 per cent or better. Even long-term assets purchased today’s markets could yield as much as 7 per cent. Those numbers suggest that the PBA annuity fund could have fared much better. Com­ments James Hanley, the director of the city’s Office of Labor Relations: “I know other uniformed service heads boast they’re still doing 11 per cent and 12 per cent.” While Hanley’s numbers seem over the top, The New York Times reported this week that more than 80 per cent of U.S. corpora­tions interviewed recently about their pension funds base their decisions on an annual return of better than 8 per cent. Only 2 per cent anticipated inter­est rates below 7 per cent.

Who is really paying attention to these PBA accounts? According to Hanley, it should be Comptroller Eliz­abeth Holtzman’s office. Yet the comptroller’s office has yet to com­plete its only PBA audit during Holtz­man’s tenure, and it is not looking at the annuity fund. Indeed, Holtzman’s office took two months to confum for the Voice that it still had the authority to monitor the PBA following changes in the 1989 city charter.

The good news in reviewing the po­lice union’s public filings is this: be­cause neither the organization nor its accountants seem to have filed the proper Schedule P’s bearing the signa­tures of the trustees, the statute of limitations is thereby waived. The first auditor to have an extensive go at these books — perhaps incoming comp­troller Alan Hevesi — should have a field day. And he can take all the time he wants. ■

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Pinterest shares close up 36% on user growth and advertising in Q2

Pedestrians pass in front of Pinterest signage displayed outside of the New York Stock Exchange.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Pinterest shares closed up 36.13% on Friday after the company reported second-quarter earnings which reflected how people turned to the service for at-home cooking, remote work and activities during the stay-at-home orders. The earnings were published before the bell on Friday morning.

The company saw total revenue of $272 million, an increase of 4% year-over-year, though it said advertiser demand continued to be affected by the pandemic. Following a sharp drop-off in growth in mid-March as advertisers responded to the pandemic, the company said in a shareholder letter that revenue growth stabilized in April and continued to improve as shelter-in-place restrictions were eased in some states. Pinterest reported its global monthly active users grew 39% year-over-year to 416 million.  

“People needed Pinterest in Q2,” the company said in the letter. “They needed a service that helped them adjust to radically changed circumstances — one that inspired them to cook at home, build vegetable gardens, plan activities for their kids and set up remote offices and home gyms, to name just a few typical COVID-19-related use cases we saw during the quarter.”

The company said users who started using Pinterest during Covid-19 continued to have high engagement even after shelter-in-place restrictions eased — it said while overall engagement peaked in mid-April and early May and subsided as stricter lockdowns ended, engagements remain stable “well above pre-Covid-19 levels.” 

The company said that its total advertiser growth accelerated year-over-year during the second quarter and that spend from small and medium-sized businesses made up nearly half its total revenue. 

Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer at 4C (which recently announced an acquisition by advertising software company Mediaocean), said advertisers on the company’s platform increased budgets on Pinterest by 20% year-over-year in the quarter. He said that’s in part because Pinterest is a place with strong commercial intent and where advertisers can get traction without having ads displayed near controversial content. 

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Rogue Police Union: Nassau’s GOP Affirmative Action Machine

Nassau’s GOP Affirmative Action Machine
December 7, 1988

NASSAU COUNTY abounds in poor role models, and Richard Hartman, a lawyer on the make, found more than his fair share. Take his first two bosses, for instance.

Fresh out of law school, Hartman clerked for Judge Floyd Sarisohn. A few years after Hartman left that job, Sarisohn was removed from office for improperly handling a speeding ticket and for giving a prostitute tips on how to deceive her pro­bation officer. Between 1965 and 1968, Hartman worked for Nassau district attor­ney William Cahn, who would go to jail for padding his expenses and for mail fraud. In 1968 Hartman entered private practice and, like Judge Sarisohn, special­ized in traffic matters. His first partner, Jack Solerwitz, would later, after separat­ing from Hartman, be convicted of steal­ing $5 million from clients.

Hartman cultivated a reputation for helping influential people beat their raps, often at no charge. “If I had friends who got tickets, I sent them to Richie,” said a former city official in Nassau. “If Richie was your attorney, the cop who handled the ticket didn’t show up to testify.”

Meanwhile, as Hartman became famous for getting things done, lawyer Harold Foner was deciding he had too much to do. Foner represented two police unions, the Nassau and New York City PBAs. In 1969, weighed down by his New York City responsibilities, he resigned his Nas­sau position. As his successor, Foner sug­gested the up-and-comer Hartman, who had strong connections to the county’s Republican machine. Foner was neverthe­less surprised when Hartman consented, since the young man’s practice was yield­ing far more than Foner’s salary, which approximated the pay of a police captain. But Hartman correctly bet that handling police labor relations and legal matters could be spectacularly lucrative.

Police officials had taken note of Hart­man. “He lit up the courtroom,” said Wil­liam Rupp, a former state police officer (and later president of the Metropolitan Police Conference) who helped introduce Hartman to police unions. “I thought he could help us with our plight.” And he did. “Before him,” Rupp said, “we used to go to Albany or City Hall on bended knee and beg.”

Thanks to concessions won by Hart­man, within a few years Long Island cops would take it for granted that they earned more than FBI agents. After the Nassau police, Hartman added the Long Island State Parkway Police, then the Suffolk County police, and soon was the super­-lawyer for practically every cop in every city, town, and village on Long Island and in Westchester. At one point, by Hart­man’s own count, he represented 300 unions, mostly in law enforcement.

A mystique built up. If you called Hart­man at 3 p.m., he might return the call at 3 a.m. and act like there was nothing unusual about doing so. People said he slept in his car; indeed, he was rumpled, his shirttails always hanging out. “I don’t think he hit his bed three times a week,” recalled Bob Pick, formerly of New York City’s Office of Labor Relations.

The marathon must have taken its toll, because one night in 1973 Hartman’s car jumped a divider, flipped, and landed on another car. Hartman suffered massive in­ternal injuries, and concerned cops mobbed the hospital. After that, Hartman had himself chauffeured around in a Cad­illac limousine. Always in a hurry, going 90 miles an hour, the limo would hit a bump, scattering his papers about the pas­senger compartment. The car got pulled over on numerous occasions, but was nev­er ticketed, unless it was in New Jersey, where troopers didn’t recognize him.

The high-speed legal practice, mean­while, didn’t stop with cops. Hartman vir­tually locked up the Nassau justice system, representing clerks and court officers, throwing Christmas parties for judges. Hartman’s generosity helped him prevail; aides routinely delivered gifts, ranging over the years from apple-shaped gold baubles to booze, VCRs, and a big­screen TV.

Hartman’s New Year’s party guest list was a Long Island who’s who. One table was invariably heaped with honorary PBA shields, which could be pinned in a wallet and flashed if an officer asked to see a license. “Richie was great at networking,” recalled Daniel Guido, a Nassau police commissioner in the ’70s and now a crim­inal justice professor at John Jay College. “He had the judges in his hip pocket.”

Apparently, there were not enough cops and clerks to keep Hartman busy. He built a long list of criminal clients, which bothered some people, among them Guido: “I suggested to Hartman that it was inappro­priate for him to be repping our 4000 police officers while also … representing people his clients were arresting.”

But no mere police commissioner was going to tell Hartman what to do. The lawyer hit Guido with two $10 million lawsuits accusing him of slander. Hartman eventually withdrew the suit, yet he won the war. Nassau County supervisors did not renew Guido’s contract.

BESIDES HIS ENERGY and his open wal­let, Hartman had deep roots in the Repub­lican organization that ran and still runs Nassau County. So did two brothers, Ar­mand and Alfonse D’Amato. All grew up in the same time, the D’Amato household a few miles from Hartman’s. During the 1960s, Hartman’s father, Bill, nominally a grocer but more significantly a GOP committee man, worked for Joseph Carlino, then the powerful assembly speaker and former law partner of Armand. Early in his career, a young Richard passed the machine’s admissions test, offering himself as the sacrificial lamb for the GOP in a futile 1969 city council race in Demo­cratic-controlled Long Beach.

These connections would become useful to Hartman when he began to negotiate police contracts. His bargaining table suc­cess, insiders said, was not just a matter of caffeine and number-crunching. “The un­spoken thing was that Hartman had such a friendship with [longtime supervisor] Al D’Amato,” a Nassau political operative explained, “that D’Amato went out of his way to get him good contracts.”

Small wonder. D’Amato and fellow su­pervisors — even a Democrat or two — won their seats with the Nassau PBA endorsement and contributions rounded up by Hartman. “Almost anybody from either political party could ask Richie for a contribution,” said John Matthews, until re­cently the Nassau Democratic chairman.

So staunch was that solidarity that even independent-thinking Republicans were banished. Ralph Caso, a Nassau county executive until 1978, told the Voice that when finances tightened and he began op­posing big police wage increases, fellow Republicans, including D’Amato, turned against him and ensured his defeat.

It often seemed many figures in the la­bor-bargaining process, from negotiators to the county executive, were either politi­cal allies or accepting Hartman’s gifts. Hartman began bargaining sessions by sending out for lavish spreads of food and drink, even beer, for both sides of the table. Then he went to work, putting on the appearance of sweating out the details. One observer recalled the lawyer’s tactical devices, as demonstrated at a late-’70s bargaining session. Hartman was leafing through a thick book, and gesticulating: “Now if you look at page 1385, subsection C, paragraph 4, you’ll see that it says, ‘Differential, blah, blah, blah.’ Now if you’ll go back to page 943, you’ll see in subsection … blah, blah, blah.”

“The poor suckers across from him,” the observer said, “just couldn’t keep up.”

Another Hartman tactic was to make excessive demands at the table, which would put the decision into the hands of presumably neutral arbitrators, such as Jo­seph French. In a 1978 settlement, French awarded Hartman’s client, the Nassau PBA, interest on retroactive pay increases, a highly unusual concession. He also doled out a three-year, 24.5 per cent raise. “There were strange aspects of the deci­sion, a strange rationale,” said Bruce Lambert, who covered the talks for News­day. It was noted that French had a few conflicts of interest. He was not only a police buff (a brother and brother-in-law were cops who would benefit from the settlement), but his divorce had been han­dled by Hartman’s firm. (French did not respond to messages left by the Voice.)

In 1979, Al D’Amato himself inter­vened directly in favor of a record salary increase for Nassau Community College’s adjunct faculty, which was represented by Richard Hartman. The lawyer won ex­traordinary labor gains for the adjunct faculty. The contract was written in such a way that it allowed a high percentage of new teaching positions to be filled via the Nassau GOP patronage network — run by the very people negotiating police contracts.

The agreements were so exceptional that they infuriated the full-time faculty, which would reap outsize gains as well. The faculty, whose salaries currently aver­age $72,918, includes D’Amato’s wife Pe­nelope (math) and Hartman’s brother El­liott (math). In turn, the faculty unions gave cash and material support to the campaign of Nassau County Executive Thomas Gulotta, whose wife Elizabeth teaches biology at the school. The most recent faculty contract, in the words of college trustee Richard Kessel, a Demo­crat, “is one of richest municipal labor contracts I’ve ever seen.”

When Al D’Amato intervened in the Nassau Community College negotiations, the math department was headed by Abe Weinstein, a close D’Amato and Hartman pal who has since become a vice-president at the school. Al D’Amato himself has been a Nassau Community College trust­ee, as has Jeffrey Forchelli. Until recently, Forchelli was a law partner of Armand D’Amato — sentenced in November to five months house arrest and 19 months of supervised release (with disbarment proceedings pending) for mail fraud. John Cornachio, who monitors the college’s construction contracts, is the brother of a former Hartman law associate who now represents the Nassau PBA. In 1966 and 1971, Richard Hartman himself taught math classes at Nassau.

The relationship of the college to police labor negotiations is critical to under­standing the quid pro quo nature of Nas­sau County contracts. Regional officials who got themselves or their relatives ad­junct teaching positions at the college were in many cases the same people approving nice contracts for Hartman’s oth­er clients, like the Nassau Police union.

The Nassau County cops became the highest-paid police in the country; their base pay is currently $52,229. With over­time, some officers earn as much as $90,000 annually. Nassau police also re­ceive the best benefits ± days off and va­cation account for half the calendar year. And though police routinely cite the dan­gerous nature of their work as a basis for raises, Nassau officers have a relatively low casualty rate.

When Hartman moved on to New York City, he did not do nearly so well for its police officers, who have a far more peril­ous job. But the concessions he won proved incredibly lucrative to executives at the PBA, its staff, and its small circle of service providers. ■

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College students book hotel rooms for fall semester as uncertainty lingers

Students move out of their dorm at the University of Michigan on March 17, 2020 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Gregory Shamus | Getty Images

Hotels near college campuses are looking to students to fill vacant rooms as the coronavirus pandemic casts uncertainty over the fall semester and demand from travelers remains depressed.

From Syracuse, New York, to Bloomington, Indiana, hotels are becoming an option for students whose families are looking for an alternative to dorm or off-campus housing this fall. Although the option is likely to be pricier than typical on-campus housing, it may alleviate some concerns by offering a less crowded and cleaner environment. That may be welcome as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S. and spikes in cases among sports teams and young adults fan fears about what happens when students return.

Around 12 students have already signed up to stay at the Hotel at the University of Maryland and Cambria College Park, said Jeff Brainard, vice president of sales and marketing for Southern Management Corporation, which owns both hotels near the Maryland campus. He said they are expecting that number to change as the school year comes closer.

Brainard said the hotels don’t see themselves as a competitor to dorms or apartments, but rather a more flexible living arrangement that, while costing more, may bring peace of mind to families given the hotels’ commitments to sanitation.

Students are locked into living in the hotel for at least 60 days, he said. They can then can opt to stay an additional 30 days, but if they need to leave partway through that period, they won’t be charged after the day they check out.

‘People want to come back’

“It’s been really encouraging to talk to the parents and families because as nervous as everybody is, people want to come back,” Brainard said. “But it’s a totally different environment than it’s been in the past. So the enthusiasm to return is tempered with ‘What’s it going to look like when we get there?'”

The cost varies depending on which hotel, the length of the stay and the frequency of services such as cleaning, but the cost to students, though charged daily, would likely come out to somewhere between $1,700 and $2,000 per month, according to Brainard. Depending on how long students live in hotels, they may be exempt from certain taxes in accordance with state and local laws on long-term stays.

Hotel operators say another draw to their properties is that the students are not locked into long-term leases.

Some colleges have reversed course over the past month, reverting from plans to offer in-person coursework to mostly remote, suggesting that students could arrive on campus only to be sent home if cases spike. Many schools have opted for a calendar that ends in-person instruction after Thanksgiving.

The availability of dormitory housing also may be an issue, as some schools have announced plans to reduce the number of students allowed in dorms.

Families also have noted the cleanliness a hotel offers through routine cleaning and sanitation that may not happen when students are left to their own devices, and without sacrificing living close to campus, said Eric Hassberger, president of AJ Capital Partners, which owns The Graduate Hotels chain.

The Graduate chain has booked students to stay in their hotels in Bloomington, Dallas, Minneapolis, Iowa City and New Haven, Connecticut. Students have options for length of stay, cleaning frequency and included meals. Pricing varies depending on the options and market, but the company said it could cost about $100 per night.

Scholar Hotel Group, which has hotels in Syracuse and State College, where Pennsylvania State University is located, has offered either a daily rate or a discounted monthly rate for students, according to Gary Brandeis, president and founder of the chain. At the Syracuse hotel, the cost is $1,650 for one month, but falls to $1,550 per month for a 3-month term or to  $1,350 per month for six. 

Brandeis said the rate isn’t as high as what they would normally get from guests, but they feel like they are providing a service to the community by offering another option and it also helps them keep some revenue coming in. Hotels, like other college town businesses, can no longer look to fall staples like move-in weekends or game days to drive revenue, he said, so they have to get creative in who they target.

“We’re trying to be as flexible and creative as we can to bring as much business into the hotel as we can because, frankly, the business that we would get if there wasn’t a pandemic, it’s just not there,” Brandeis said. “This is a way for us to sort of rethink our business, re-look at the business opportunities and offer our product to a different customer set.” 

A safety net 

Higher education has long been viewed as an equalizer for students coming from different backgrounds, and part of that involves eating in the same dining halls and living in shared spaces. A study from the Hope Center found 15% of students at four-year institutions surveyed in April and May were experiencing homelessness amid the pandemic.

Given the Covid-19 crisis, it is more important to ensure all students have housing, food and electricity than preserving shared spaces, said Anthony Abraham Jack, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of “The Privileged Poor.”

Jack said students opting to live in hotels may have a positive effect, especially at schools that are planning to offer less housing or bring fewer students back to campus than in a normal year. Having the hotel option for students who can afford it, he said, leaves spaces in other housing open for students who have nowhere else to go.

“We have to suspend, in some respects, our beliefs that this incoming year will be one in which in-person community building is going to be the same,” Jack said. “It’s not, and so what I actually would want colleges to focus more on is how do we make sure that we provide students a safety net.”

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NHL hockey is back, and it’s TV-only game is sport’s biggest Covid challenge

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – JULY 29: Bo Horvat #53 of the Vancouver Canucks and Mark Scheifele #55 of the Winnipeg Jets compete for a faceoff during the second period in an exhibition game prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on July 29, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

Jeff Vinnick | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

While the NHL boasts a thrilling live experience, it has faced a continual dilemma with its television product – hockey isn’t designed for the small screen. Advancements in technology, such as high definition, have helped, but issues persist. The puck is small and can be tough to follow. Substitutions are fluid and hard to track. Without a common understanding of the rules, the game action can be overwhelming. Now, the puck is about to drop again, but in a world where the televised sports experience is the only one available to fans. 

The NHL returns for its postseason Saturday after the coronavirus shutdown that began in March cancelled the rest of the regular season. As all pro sports are reduced to a screen experience, hockey’s challenge may be greatest. Qualifying rounds for an expanded set of postseason teams will be held in two hub city arenas with no fans in attendance: Toronto and Edmonton, with the latter hosting the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.

The NHL has always struggled to win over new TV viewers beyond hardcore hockey fans due to difficulty following the puck and players on a television screen. Past attempts to use on-screen technology to improve the viewer experience have failed, but the Covid-19 world has made it more important than ever before for the NHL to get the tech right.

Year after year, other sports consistently draw more viewers to their TV broadcasts. In 2019, the NBA Finals and World Series each drew more than 13 million viewers, while the Stanley Cup Finals only managed three million, according to Statista.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that the nature of our game makes it more difficult to televise it than maybe some of the other sports,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly.

With the help of sports tech firm SMT, the NHL may have a solution – puck and player tracking — a new technology offering the league the ability to collect a plethora of data points and provide more accurate stats. It also creates opportunities to enhance the presentation of TV broadcasts using augmented reality — using computer-generated images to supplement a person’s real-world experience.

This innovation brings many new features to the game from puck trails and player identification graphics to real-time data visualizations. Imagine Sidney Crosby streaking down the ice chasing a digitally enhanced puck with a trail, trying to create a scoring opportunity. As he gains momentum, a graphic of his speed appears above his head. Once Crosby reaches the puck, a gray circle appears beneath his skates, marking possession, while a visualization on-screen shows he’s not offsides.

“Some of these technologies can make that easier on the fans of following who’s playing, who’s doing what, where the puck is,” said Alex Evans, a managing director at L.E.K. Consulting with more than 20 years of media experience.

The NHL has tested puck and player tracking’s AR capabilities in past NHL events such as the last two All-Star Games and initially intended to roll out this technology for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Those plans went on hiatus after the NHL paused its season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Though, the league told CNBC it is “considering the use of the technology in the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final.”

This isn’t the first time the NHL has experimented with augmented reality. Fox, the league’s broadcast partner in the mid-1990s, employed a system called FoxTrax that generated on-screen graphics to help visualize the puck better. While the technology was “cutting-edge,” as Daly says, it drew mixed reviews because of its glitchy and inaccurate performance. Plus, it didn’t track any new data.

“You don’t want it to be like [the early version of the puck tracker],” Evans said. “It might just be annoying and take away from the games.”

EDMONTON, ALBERTA – JULY 30: The Nashville Predators and the Dallas Stars skate in warm-ups prior to against the Nashville Predators exhibition game before the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place on July 30, 2020 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

Jeff Vinnick | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

It’s not as if the NHL opted to stop developing the technology; they just switched broadcast partners. More than 20 years later, Daly says, the technology is “light years better.”

“It’s always positive whenever you can have new technology that can help illustrate the greatness of the sport and the greatness of the players,” said NHL on NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire.

The NHL didn’t return an additional request for comment about whether puck and player tracking would be a component of the league’s main broadcast or an alternate feed, similar to MLB’s Statcast or ESPN’s College Football Megacast.

Highlighting the greatness of its stars is a way for the NHL to sell its product to new viewers. Although, Evans says it’s unlikely. Since the 2011-12 season, NBC’s NHL regular-season ratings (TV + Streaming) have fluctuated, peaking as high as 590,000 in 2012-13 and as low as 417,000 in 2017-18, according to NBC and Sports Business Journal.

“The reality check is [that] player tracking and puck tracking technology probably aren’t going to bring throngs of new viewers just by themselves,” Evans said.

Legalized gambling is lure in getting sports back up

These improvements could lure those on the margin and keep them watching longer, opening up a wave of new avenues for viewer engagement. The many new stats available pairs well with the wave of legalized sports gambling – the possibilities for new proposition bets are endless. Discussing the subject, Evans immediately thought of consumers being able to bet on the top speed a skater could reach in a game. And that’s where Evans sees the broadest industry-wide implications because, with wagering, there’s an immediate path to monetization.

Daly says it’s too early to see how the business of providing these new data points to gaming companies would play out, but it’s a way the technology can offer more assets to their business. However, ESPN reported last September that the NHL has already cut “data exclusivity” deals with MGM Grand, FanDuel and William Hill. According to FanDuel, NHL gambling has grown by 136 percent from March 2019 to March 2020 (FanDuel noted they were not in Iowa or Indiana last year, and Pennsylvania did not offer online service). DraftKings declined to provide data but did comment on the subject.

“The impact of technology on sports is both constant and considerable, and the NHL’s new puck and player tracking enhancements unlock a new layer of opportunity for the legalized betting market as well,” said DraftKings North America President & Co-Founder Matt Kalish. “These kinds of innovations showcase the NHL’s willingness to embrace a new era of fan experience, which, coupled with the league’s continued advocacy for sports betting, gives us great hope for the future of the fan.”

The combination of all this new data, broadcast enhancements and wagering opportunities create a comprehensive second screen experience for viewers, which is a vital way younger audiences consume live sports today. While Daly says the NHL isn’t trying to skew younger, instead attempting to strike a balance between all of the league’s demographics, younger fans are more appealing to advertisers.

With more advertising allure, the NHL can gain leverage on renegotiating its expiring broadcast deal with NBC in 2022, which seems even more critical given the near-term revenue shortfall caused by the pandemic. Statista estimates each team will lose $1.31 million in ticket sales alone for each home game canceled by coronavirus. Outside of Covid-19, the overall health of the league remains encouraging, with a 6 percent rise in the average value of a franchise to $667 million in 2019, according to Forbes.

“It’s more assets,” Daly said. “I think this technology allows us to bring [more] to the table in terms of what we have to offer with our media rights package.”

There are other obstacles to the process. The NHL switched technology providers from Jogmo World Corp. to SMT last year, luckily having a pre-existing relationship with the latter (SMT provided tracking technology for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey). SMT has been a staple in the sports technology industry since being founded by Gerard Hall in 1991. They pioneered the wireless scoring system for professional golf, the first electronic scoreboard for tennis, and the official scoring systems that powered the X Games. In the last decade, SMT acquired Information and Display Systems (IDS) and Sportsvision, with the latter most notably known for developing the first-down graphic in football broadcasts.

“I think as a hockey fan, I find [puck and player tracking] exciting. And I think a lot of fans will as well.

Bill Daly

NHL Deputy Commissioner

Evans also expressed caution on jumping all-in with AR, as other technologies, such as 3D, came and went in the sports world. ESPN launched a 3D channel in 2010 but shut it down in 2013, citing “limited viewer adoption” in a company press release. But to Evans, the priority should be on the platform.

“I think it’s more about getting the content when I want, where I want it, on the device I want, [at a] reasonable cost and obviously high definition and good quality audio,” Evans said. “Then, you get into things like these next-generation statistics and kind of add on features. But there’s sort of this basic level that you really satisfy first.

“I think the first thing is more availability on digital platforms and being able to watch on more devices and more venues then you can today,” Evans said. “That’s probably the first innovation. It’s going to happen because how many folks under 30 have rushed out and [gotten] paid TV subscriptions, right? It’s not that many. So, let’s reach them first with the product we have today. And then we can start to layer [augmented reality and] some of these things on.”

Still, puck and player tracking are going to offer a new way to consume professional hockey on TV, which is now as crucial as ever. With Covid-19 keeping fans out of the NHL’s return-to-play tournament, and possibly parts of next season, enhancing the broadcast experience is vital to the league’s success. It’s unclear whether the NHL will end up implementing the tech during the 2020 playoffs or wait until next season. When it does, puck and player tracking can create new revenue opportunities for the league and its partners and, most of all, provide fans with a rich, enhanced watching experience.

“I think as a hockey fan, I find [puck and player tracking] exciting,” Daly said. “And I think a lot of fans will as well.”

Disclosure: CNBC is part of NBCUniversal, which also is the parent company of NBC Sports.

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اوایل coronavirus مواد مخدر محاکمات آزمایش واکسن بیشتر در افراد سفید; مرحله بعدی با هدف تنوع

Dado Ruvic | ایسنا

مزمن, آسم, آلرژی غذایی و بیماری قلبی, توماس, سه نفری می کند همه چیز او می تواند به حفظ سلامت خود از جمله گرفتن واکسن. بنابراین اگر و هنگامی که یک Covid-19 واکسن در دسترس می شود, او گفت: او را متمایل به سمت گرفتن بیش از حد.

اما قبل از واکسن رسیدن به بازار آنها از طریق مقیاس گسترده ای از تست های ایمنی و اثر بخشی. دو آزمایش در ایالات متحده به طور رسمی آغاز شده و دوشنبه از شرکت های دارویی مدرن و Pfizer.

سه نفری, 44 گفت: او را کمتر احتمال دارد به سعی کنید یک واکسن به عنوان بخشی از یک کارآزمایی بالینی است.

“من منتظر یک قوی تر تجزیه و تحلیل داده ها” گفت: Fernando که گواهی فولاد تکنولوژیست. او اشاره کرد او به ویژه می خواهم می خواهم به دانستن اثرات طولانی مدت برای افراد مبتلا به آسم ،

توماس Fernando بیمار مدافع و Pres. & مدیر عامل شرکت ایلیا-بنیاد علوی

منبع: توماس, سه نفری

به عنوان کسی که از قبل موجود شرایط بهداشتی و است که هر دو آمریکایی های آفریقایی تبار و اسپانیایی Fernando ممکن است دقیقا همان نوع از شرکت کنندگان کارآزمایی بالینی سازمان به دنبال دارد. این Covid-19 پیشگیری از شبکه تشکیل شده توسط موسسه ملی بهداشت است اولویت ثبت نام افراد در بالاترین خطر ابتلا به این بیماری به اواخر مرحله آزمایش های بالینی: کسانی که با زمینه مسائل مربوط به سلامت سالمندان ضروری کارگران و همچنین بومیان آمریکا لاتین و سیاه و جوامع است.

سخت ترین ضربه

“ما واقعا نیاز به فوق العاده و آگاه از رسیدن به آن دسته از جوامع که سخت ترین ضربه را به اطمینان حاصل شود که ما در حال گرفتن افرادی که در افزایش خطر گفت:” میشل Andrasik بالینی استادیار بهداشت جهانی در دانشگاه واشنگتن و مدیر جامعه نامزدی برای Covid-19 پیشگیری از شبکه.

نژادی و اقلیت های قومی نه تنها گرفتن Covid-19 در نرخ های بالاتر اما همچنین داشتن بدتر نتایج مطالعات نشان داده شده است.

Fernando گفت: بسیاری در جامعه ممکن است مردد به ثبت نام در آزمایش های بالینی.

“این همه مورد اعتماد و دیدن نیست که این واکسن در حال رفتن به آزمایش دیگری بر روی آنها,” او گفت:.

این موضوع از پزشکی بی اعتمادی در میان جوامع رنگ “است به طور کامل توجیه می شود اگر شما راه رفتن گفت:” لیندا Goler, Blount, مدیر اجرایی, سیاه, سلامت زنان ضروری است.

توماس Fernando بیمار مدافع و Pres. & مدیر عامل شرکت ایلیا-بنیاد علوی

منبع: توماس, سه نفری

تاریخچه آزمایش

او با اشاره به J. ماریون سیمز یک متخصص زنان که به تجربه در زنان بردگی و Henrietta Lacks که سلول های گرفته شده بدون خانواده اش دانش در سال 1951 و سپس مورد استفاده قرار گیرد به منظور توسعه همه چیز از واکسن فلج اطفال به لقاح مصنوعی. Goler Blount همچنین با اشاره به مطالعه تاسکیگی که در آن مردان سیاه و سفید با سفلیس نمی شد ارائه درمان برای دهه پس از پنی سیلین موجود شد در 1940s به طوری که دولت محققان مطالعه می تواند اثرات طولانی مدت این بیماری است.

“چه اتفاق می افتد این است که در lore” Goler مهندس گفت. “بنابراین با وجود اینکه آمریکایی های آفریقایی تبار که حتی زمانی که زنده تاسکیگی اتفاق می افتد به آنها در مورد آن بشنوند. و آنها تجارب خود را از پزشکان توصیه درمان های خاص و یا بدرفتاری در محیط پزشکی.”

گنجاندن در آزمایش های بالینی مهم برای اطمینان از مواد مخدر و یا واکسن برای هر کسی که به آنها نیاز دارد. Goler مهندس اشاره کرد این می تواند معنی بعضی از داروها نیست به عنوان موثر برای گروه های خاص.

از سمت چپ

“در طول تاریخ مردم از رنگ گذاشته شده از آزمایش های بالینی,” او گفت:. “و ما دیده می شود مقدار زیادی از نمونه هایی که در آن مواد مخدر شده اند و یا داروهای توسعه یافته و معلوم می شود آنها کار نمی کند و همچنین در جوامع رنگ.”

او اشاره کرد تحقیقات نشان می دهد که دگزامتازون امیدوار کننده برای درمان Covid-19. این یک استروئید است که معمولا استفاده می شود به عنوان یک داروی ضد التهاب در درمان آسم و آلرژی در میان چیزهای دیگر. اما دگزامتازون آثار متفاوت در افراد سیاه و سفید و بالینی نگاه کردن به آن به عنوان یک Covid-19 درمان ممکن است شامل اندازه کافی اقلیت های به اطمینان حاصل شود آن را امن برای آنها با توجه به دانشگاه جانز هاپکینز پزشکی داروشناس Namandje Bumpus.

شماره 1 دلیل مردم سیاه و سفید و قهوه ای مردم آیا شرکت در کارآزمایی های بالینی است چرا که هیچ کس آنها را می پرسد.

لیندا Goler مهندس

مدیر عامل سیاه سلامت زنان ضروری است

واکسن آزمایش های خاص هستند که گاهی اوقات “انجام می شود نسبتا سالم جمعیت میانسال و گاهی اوقات بیشتر در راستای مردان, مردان سفید” گفت: عایشه لانگفورد استادیار در گروه جمعیت بهداشت و درمان در دانشگاه نیویورک دانشکده پزشکی. “وجود دارد هیچ چیز با آن اشتباه اما اگر شما یک میانسال زن سیاه و سفید و شما کسی است که 75 سال است که می تواند به برخی از این شرایط که در حال مطالعه در تحقیقات بالینی شما واقعا نمی دانید که چگونه اگر در همه وجود دارد هر گونه تفاوت در پاسخ.”

کلید جمعیت

رهبران Covid-19 پیشگیری از شبکه به توافق برسند.

“اگر ما در حال رفتن به ساخت یک واکسن است که با این نسخهها کار برای همه ما, ما باید قادر به مطمئن شوید که تمام کسانی که کلید جمعیت را شامل می شوند گفت:” دکتر نلسون مایکل که مدیر مرکز تحقیقات بیماری های عفونی در والتر رید ارتش موسسه تحقیقات و بخشی از مغلوب ساختن پیشی جستن مدیریت عملیات با سرعت پیچ و تاب.

اولین مطالعات انسانی از Covid-19 واکسن نمی اولویت بندی نژادی و تنوع است.

در مدرن آزمایشی اجرا شده توسط موسسه ملی آلرژی و بیماری های عفونی و یا NIAID 40 45 نفر سفید در حالی که دانشگاه آکسفورد محققان با اشاره به یافتههای اولیه خود را از محاکمه با AstraZeneca “هستند و به راحتی نمی generalisable به عنوان این است که برای اولین بار در انسان مطالعه نسبتا جوان و داوطلب سالم اکثر آنها سفید است.”

در هفته های آینده دانشگاه جورج واشنگتن مشغول به کار خواهد شد با رهبران جامعه به استخدام یک گروه متنوع از 500 داوطلب برای COVID-19 واکسن محاکمه در منطقه واشنگتن دی سی. بسیاری از داوطلبان سفر به دانشگاه پردیس به شرکت اما محققان نیز سفر در این ون به جذب داوطلبان در مناطق که در آن با در نظر گرفتن مترو و یا سفر بیش از حد ممکن است یک مانع است.

منبع: دانشگاه جورج واشنگتن

سخنگوی AstraZeneca است که با همکاری آکسفورد در آن Covid-19 واکسن گفت: آزمایش های بالینی بزرگتر خواهد شد عبارتند از شرکت کنندگان در “برگرفته از جمعیت های گوناگون” و که در آن سایت های کارآزمایی بالینی “را به تمرکز بر روی مناطقی که وجود دارد مقدار زیادی از بیماری در حال حاضر و که در آن ما می دانیم که این واکسن به طور نامتناسبی اثرات جمعیت است که به طور معمول کمتر در آزمایش های بالینی.”

در اواخر مرحله آزمایش

فایزر و BioNTech که آغاز شد نیز در اواخر مرحله کارآزمایی بالینی خود را Covid-19 واکسن این هفته در ایالات متحده ساخته شده توجه داشته باشید مشابه در مورد خود را در اوایل مطالعه جمعیت و برنامه ریزی برای فاز سه.

این NIAID گفت: فاز یک محاکمه مدرن را واکسن نیست هدف یک قومیت خاص. بنابراین جمعیت ثبت نام نشان دهنده آن است که در پاسخ به, استخدام در شرکت سایت و کسی که ملاقات دادگاه معيارهای ورود به مطالعه.

اما آن را از اولویت های کلیدی در فاز سه که قصد دارد برای ثبت نام 30,000 شرکت کنندگان آغاز شد که روز شنبه در آمریکا

“من نگران هستم در مورد اینکه قادر به جذب مردم به این محاکمات; من نگران هستم … در مورد استخدام افراد مناسب” مدرن افسر ارشد پزشکی دکتر تل Zaks گفت: در بحث سازمان یافته توسط آکادمی علوم نیویورک در اواخر ماه ژوئن.

“من در زندگی نیوتن ماساچوست و اگر من برای راه اندازی یک سایت در اینجا مردم خواهد خط در اطراف بلوک و ما می خواهم که محاکمه استخدام در دو روز,” او گفت:. “اما شما می خواهم پیدا کردن افرادی مثل من که در حال نشستن در خانه در تمام طول روز و که لوکس بودن قادر به دور است.”

Zaks گفت: او خواست تیم خود را به روز رسانی او به طور منظم در آرایش از محاکمه “و به روشنی به محققان است که اگر تنوع نیست نماینده ما متوقف خواهد شد ثبت نام در این سایت ها … و ما ترجیحا ثبت نام در مکان هایی که قادر به رسیدن به آن جمعیت.”

درخواست اولین گام

Goler, Blount, سیاه و سفید, سلامت زنان ضروری است گفت: برنامه ریزی برای ورود گام اول است.

“شماره 1 دلیل مردم سیاه و سفید و قهوه ای مردم آیا شرکت در کارآزمایی های بالینی است زیرا هیچ کس از آنها می پرسد,” او گفت:.

که می تواند به دلیل ارائه دهندگان خدمات سلامت “برخی از فرضیات در مورد آنچه بیماران خواهد و نمی خواهد انجام دهد: آنها نمی منطبق هستند. آنها لازم نیست پول” Goler مهندس گفت. “به طوری که آنها نمی پرسند.”

و داشتن انعطاف پذیری قادر به شرکت در تحقیقات بالینی یک نظر گفته دکتر لیزا کوپر بلومبرگ استاد برجسته حوزه عدالت در سلامت و بهداشت و درمان در دانشگاه جانز هاپکینز پزشکی است.

وجود دارد “روز به روز چالش های است که می تواند در راه انجام چیزی شبیه به شرکت در پژوهش” کوپر گفت. “این چیزی است که شما را به عنوان یک داوطلب است. این یک لوکس به زمان به انجام چیزی شبیه به آن.”

این یک لوکس به زمان به انجام چیزی شبیه به آن.

دکتر لیزا کوپر

بلومبرگ استاد برجسته حوزه عدالت در سلامت و بهداشت و درمان دانشگاه جانز هاپکینز پزشکی

اما NYU را لانگفورد اشاره کرد: “مطالعات اخیر نشان داده است که وقتی مردم دعوت می شود و در واقع ارائه به شرکت گاهی اوقات شما می بینید کسانی که نابرابری را کاهش دهد یا از بین برود.”

کسانی که مشغول به کار در فاز سه واکسن محاکمه در حال حاضر متمرکز بر ایجاد دسترسی برای اولویت جوامع و ایجاد اعتماد است.

کلینیک های سیار

دکتر ریچارد نواک رهبری محقق در دانشگاه ایلینوی در شیکاگو برای مدرن را Covid-19 آزمایش واکسن گفت: تیم او قصد دارد برای رسیدن به آفریقایی-آمریکایی کلیساها و همچنین به عنوان انبار و بسته بندی گوشت می آمد امکانات وجود دارد که در آن بزرگ بوده است, شیوع بیماری.

“ما با استفاده از یک کلینیک سیار است که اجازه خواهد داد که ما برای رفتن به سایت های خاص و ثبت نام تعداد زیادی از مردم در سایت,” او گفت:.

Andrasik که منجر تعامل جامعه برای Coronavirus پیشگیری شبکه گفت: آنها در حال ساخت در کار انجام شده در HIV است که “گسترده” شباهت با Covid-19.

“ما بسیار عادت کرده اند به کار در یک چارچوب که در آن مردم آبرو و جایی که آنها هستند به طور نامتناسبی نهفته به دلیل برخی از اجتماعی و ساختاری عوامل که تاثیر جوامع خود,” او گفت:.

از آنجا که شبکه وب سایت که دارای یک لینک برای افراد داوطلب برای آزمایش های بالینی شد ارسال شده در جولای 8, بیش از 150000 نفر ابراز علاقه او گفت: — و این بود که قبل از شروع هر گونه کمک رسانی مبارزات. اما Andrasik گفت که او هنوز نمی دانم که چگونه بسیاری از کسانی که مردم از اولویت گروه.

“مردم باید احساس کنند که این چیزی است که خوب است برای آنها و جامعه خود” Andrasik گفت. “پس از اعتماد سازی است که واقعا کلیدی است. و که یک شبه اتفاق نمی افتد.”

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