U.S. economy shrinks again in the second quarter, reviving recession fears

The shrinking economy of the USA has grabbed the people’s attention mounting worries and fear about the economy’s stability and resilience.

The U.S. economy has contracted for a second straight quarter, at an annual rate of 0.9 percent, sparking worries that the nation may be entering a recession and adding to the political difficulties facing the Biden administration as it battles with decades-high inflation.

US gross domestic product shrank 0.9 percent in the second quarter, following a decline of 1.6 percent decline in the first quarter. Two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP is the classic definition of a recession

Although economists dispute the likelihood of a complete recession, the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s fresh data, which was announced on Thursday, comes at a turbulent time for the economy. In the past, a recession was often identified by six consecutive months of contraction. A team of experts determines the official outcome, despite the fact that recessions are unusual when unemployment is close to record low levels.

The decline in the second quarter was due to changing consumer and corporate habits. As consumers switched their spending away from things and toward services like hotels and restaurants, retailers purchased fewer goods, including cars. The poor reading was also impacted by declining housing construction and government spending.

President Joe Biden recently denied the country is in a recession, and the White House has been pushing messaging that a recession has to be officially declared by the National Bureau of Economic Research

The disappointing GDP report highlights persistent issues with inflation, which has been around 40-year highs for several months, as well as declining home sales and difficulties for some corporate sectors, including tech and finance. Even the booming labor market is starting to show signs of weakness. Numerous experts have predicted a recession for the following year due to broader concerns about the Ukraine conflict, the future of the global economy, and aggressive interest rate hikes.

“Broadly, this shows an economy that is really slowing,” said Jason Furman, an economics professor at Harvard University who was a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama. “This data is much more worrisome than it was in the first quarter. I don’t think you can easily dismiss these numbers. It isn’t just volatile factors anymore. Meaningful, important parts of the economy are slowing.”

Quarterly GDP growth is seen over the past four years, showing the pandemic recession in early 2020 and the current contraction cycle
The consumer price index hit a four-decade high of 9.1 percent in June -- an astounding level of inflation for an economy that was apparently shrinkingThe Fed has raised interest rates rapidly in 2022, going from near zero to a target range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent, in a bid to tackle rising inflationThe Fed has raised interest rates rapidly in 2022, going from near zero to a target range of 2.25 to 2.5 percent, in a bid to tackle rising inflation -- but higher borrowing rates also put the brakes on economic growth

Senior authorities, notably Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, have strongly refuted claims that the economy is in a recession by pointing to a robust labor market as evidence that the recovery is still on pace. White House officials had maintained that even a second-quarter growth number that was negative shouldn’t be seen as an indication that a recession had begun prior to Thursday’s news.

“Coming off of last year’s historic economic growth … it’s no surprise that the economy is slowing down as the Federal Reserve acts to bring down inflation,” President Biden said in a statement Thursday. Later speaking to reporters on Thursday, Biden ticked off a litany of high points for the economy, including jobs creation, low unemployment and business investments, ending with: “That doesn’t sound like a recession to me.”

The economy has been adding jobs at a steady pace even as GDP shrinks, which some analysts point to in arguing that the economy is not in a recession

Republican politicians have claimed that the nation is in a recession and that the Biden administration’s stimulus spending is to blame for inflation and the overall economic downturn.

Several GOP lawmakers lashed out at the White House for trying to change the definition of recession to prove the U.S. is not in one now
'If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck... guess what?' Representative Neal Dunn tweeted along with an image of the definition of recession claiming it is 'identified by the fall in GDP in two successive quarters'

“You don’t need a fancy economics degree to have seen this coming,” Rep. Kevin Hern (Okla.) said in a statement Thursday. “Biden’s spending over the last 18 months is directly responsible for the economic situation we’re in today.”

President Biden released a statement on the figures, saying:

‘[W]e are on the right path and we will come through this transition stronger and more secure,’ the president wrote in his statement. ‘Our job market remains historically strong, with unemployment at 3.6% and more than 1 million jobs created in the second quarter alone. Consumer spending is continuing to grow.’

‘My economic plan is focused on bringing inflation down, without giving up all the economic gains we have made. Congress has a historic chance to do that by passing the CHIPS and Science Act and Inflation Reduction Act without delay.’

The United States unexpectedly saw its economy slow down by 1.6 percent annually in the first three months of the year. This unexpected slowdown was largely caused by an imbalance in trade, with the country importing far more than it was exporting, and a decline in inventory purchases by companies that were still flush with holiday leftovers.

Representative Doug LaMalfa lashed out at President Biden for his ‘first instinct’ being to ‘deny problems exist.’

‘[S]ee: inflation, gas prices, Afghanistan, Hunter, etc.,’ the lawmaker tweeted.

McCarthy shared a poster Thursday that he says shows Biden blamed everything other than his policies for the downturning economy, including COVID, Putin and supply chain issues

‘We are facing a recession and no amount of changing definitions alters what the American people see,’ LaMalfa continued. ‘Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away, it makes them worse.’

Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy said via tweet that Democrats have turned the ‘American Rescue Plan’ into the ‘American Recession Plan.’

‘The Biden administration does not have a real plan,’ he insisted.

Yellen refuted GOP allegations that the economy is in a recession on Thursday, claiming that consumption was showing signals of ongoing growth and represented a welcome change from growth that was happening too quickly.

Unexpected GDP contraction in US prompts recession fears

“Overall, with a slowdown in private demand, this report indicates an economy transitioning to more steady, sustainable growth,” Yellen said, adding that recessions are typically defined by economists to include “substantial job losses and mass layoffs,” business closures, a decline in private-sector activities, and a “broad-based” weakening of the economy.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Family files $25 million lawsuit against sesame street theme park for discrimination

A video of a Sesame Place employee went viral when she gave audience members high fives while ignoring two Black girls and walking away while dressed as the character Rosita. As a result, several individuals came forward and shared footage of alleged prejudice they experienced at Sesame Place.

Sesame Place is currently being sued for $25 million by a Baltimore family that alleges racial discrimination.

The family claims that at a meet and greet on June 18, four employees disguised as Sesame Street characters ignored Quinton Burns, his daughter Kennedi Burns, and other Black guests.

The lawsuit states that “SeaWorld’s performers readily engaged with numerous similarly situated white customers.”

Father Quinton Burns shared his outrage Wednesday after his daughter Kennedi was snubbed during a Sesame Street parade
Kennedi, pictured on Wednesday, was ignored becaushe was black, a lawsuit claism

“Kennedi was forced to experience racism at the age of five; this is unacceptable and we will not stand by and let this continue,” said the family’s attorney, Malcolm Ruff, at a news conference in Philadelphia.

The family is suing Sesame Place owner SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment for $25 million in damages. The lawsuit is allegedly filed on behalf of all Black visitors to the park since July 27, 2018, who experienced racism and prejudice from staff.

The family who first shared the footage of the bigotry at the Sesame Place theme park is also suing the park for discrimination.

After the video went viral, the theme park said that the employee was denying other parents who wanted their child to have a picture with the figure, not the two Black children.

A different video, however, emerged showing the employee hugging two white kids who were around the two Black kids even though there were no other parents present.

The complaint was prompted by a viral video that appeared to show Rosita ignoring two other black girls from New York during a procession at a park outside of Philadelphia called Langhorne.

In a statement, Sesame Place expressed regret for the situation and clarified that the actor wearing the Rosita costume was simply unable to see their daughter owing to the restricted range of vision of the outfit. 

The video triggered more families to come forward with similar experiences.   

Sesame Workshop - which was careful to explain that Sesame Place is a licensed partner - then posted another statement on its social media Monday night

Sesame Place responded to the lawsuit in a statement sent to Eyewitness News, saying: ‘We will review the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Burns. We look forward to addressing that claim through the established legal process. We are committed to delivering an inclusive, equitable, and entertaining experience for all our guests.” 

In a statement on Sunday, theme park officials called the now-viral moment a ‘misunderstanding,’ saying the mascot likely did not see the girls due to limited vision in the costume’s unwieldy mask.

‘Our brand, our park, and our employees stand for inclusivity and equality in all forms,’ the statement read. ‘That is what Sesame Place is all about and we do not tolerate any behaviors in our parks that are contrary to that commitment.’

Sesame Place confirmed the incident occurred in a statement posted to Instagram on Saturday, but said it was a 'misunderstanding'

‘We also are, and always have been, committed to making sure every family and every child has the best possible experience at our parks and we are incredibly disappointed when that does not happen.’

‘We spoke to the family and extended our apologies and invited them back for a special meet-and-greet opportunity with our characters,’ the statement read.

‘We apologize to these guests for not delivering the experience they expected and we commit to doing our best to earn their and all guests’ visit and support,’ the statement concluded.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

In Midst Of War, Ukraine President Zelensky and Wife Pose For US Vogue Cover has divided the internet

The Ukrainian leader was blasted online for posing for the magazine with his wife amid the ongoing military conflict. In the midst of the military war with Russia, the most recent issue of Vogue, which featured a glossy photoshoot with Ukrainian President Zelensky and his wife Olena, had a mixed response online.

Despite the fact that the story mostly focused on Zelenska, the couple was photographed together for the article by renowned photographer Annie Leibowitz.

It’s titled: ‘Portrait of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska.’

Following the article’s release, conservative lawmakers and commentators used the picture session as justification for why the US should not have given Ukraine $40 billion in aid to support its war against Russia.

Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert tweeted: ‘While we send Ukraine $60 billion in aid Zelensky is doing photoshoots for Vogue Magazine. These people think we are nothing but a bunch of suckers.’

The article was written by Paris-based journalist Rachel Donadio. On Twitter, Donadio referred to the piece as: ‘One of the most moving and memorable assignments of my career.’ 

Zelenska told Vogue: ‘These have been the most horrible months of my life, and the lives of every Ukrainian.’

She went on: ‘Frankly I don’t think anyone is aware of how we have managed emotionally. We’re looking forward to victory. We have no doubt we will prevail. And this is what keeps us going.’

The former comedy writer added: ‘I like being backstage—it suited me. Moving into the limelight was quite difficult for me.’

Conservative activist Scott Presler tweeted: ‘Why did we send $54 billion to Ukraine, so Zelensky & his wife could pose for Vogue? You’re at war & you’ve got time for photo shoots?’

Texas Congresswoman Mayra Flores tweeted: ‘Biden: Let’s continue to send billions of dollars in foreign aid to Ukraine, they need it!’ She added: ‘Reality: The Zelensky family graces us with a photo shoot to be on the cover of Vogue magazine.’

Erwin said: ‘An outstanding profile. Olena Zelenska has done an incredible job representing her people, ensuring the world knows the story of women and children of Ukraine – and continuing to give voice to the many in need.’

Pro Ukrainian activist Val Voschevska posted an analysis of the photoshoot on an Instagram Post writing in part: ‘She is who she is and I love it. She looks like any of us after a long day at the office – the only difference is that her job is protecting her country from war.’

A Ukrainian citizen wrote in the comments section on Vogue’s official Instagram: ‘Thank you Vogue for bringing awareness about Ukraine from the voices of actual Ukrainians.’

Zelensky has also appeared on the cover of Wired magazine for their September/October release.

Zelensky said: ‘We are all in a social network. It is no longer about whether it is good or not; most of our lives are already online. People study online, get information; people read, and people use it. This is our world now. It is divided.

Amid the row, Zelensky has also appeared on the cover of Wired magazine for their September/October issue

‘The internet is a reality. It is not another world, but rather a modern reality. So if you want people to perceive you as you are, you must use what people use.’

‘The value of life has changed. So let’s say that my attitude has changed, as I do not pay attention to trivialities anymore, and there are clear aspects on which I am focused. 

Rep. Lauren Boebert was among those who was severely critical of the piece
One Twitter user went viral when she advised Zelensky and his wife to 'Read the room'There is no evidence to suggest that the aid sent by the Biden administration to Ukraine has anything to do with the Vogue pieceThe publication of the piece has also led to support from some quarters of social mediaMany users have pointed to the idea that Zelensky and Zelenska are using Vogue to keep reminding people about the plight in UkraineOne of the most prominent proponents of the piece was Verizon executive Tami Erwin

‘The question of the price of freedom, which we learned from books in school, has now become a reality. You know this price. You have seen the number of people who died.’ 

According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, more than 12,000 people have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the invasion. Millions more have been displaced. 

Just last week, Zelenska flew to Washington DC to meet with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden. 

President Zelensky has been separated from his two children for security reasons since the war in Ukraine began early this year. Pictured here before war broke out in their home country

When asked what it was like to know that her family’s movement is being watched by Russia, Zelenska said: ‘I can’t think about it too seriously, because otherwise, I would become paranoid.’

She said of the dystopian novel ‘1984’ by George Orwell: ‘It’s a horrible coincidence. It’s a picture of what is happening in Russia these days.’ 

Speaking about his wife in the interview, the Ukrainian president said: ‘Of course, she is my love. But she is my greatest friend. She is also a patriot and she deeply loves Ukraine. It’s true. And she is an excellent mother.’

Zelensky and his wife First Lady Olena Zelenska have been married for 20 years. Pictured attending a wedding in 2019

The couple also recently appeared for an interview with Piers Morgan. 

The Ukrainian president told his wife: ‘When you are talking, your opinion has priority. What I would say is I don’t have any other experience. I’ve got only one wife and I am happy. I have one wife, one love and one family. I never got any feeling there was anything wrong with us in or in our relationship. Or maybe do you feel unhappy with me sometimes?,’ according to the Daily Telegraph. 

Zelensky continued: ‘The war is making our relationship stronger, that’s for sure.’ 

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Lia Thomas competitor Riley Gaines reveals she felt ‘extreme discomfort’ sharing locker room

Having a locker room with the transgender athlete she competed against caused “extreme discomfort,” according to a former collegiate swimmer, Riley Gaines Barker who has been open in her criticism of Lia Thomas.

Riley Gaines, a competitive swimmer for the University of Kentucky, complained to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that it bothered her to change in a locker room with someone who had “different parts” and that Thomas’ usage of the women’s restrooms had not been made clear by the organizers at that time.

Riley Gaines, who swam competitively for the University of Kentucky, told Fox News' Tucker Carlson that she was uncomfortable changing in the same locker room as Lia Thomas.

“That’s not something we were forewarned about, which I don’t think is right in any means, changing in a locker room with someone who has different parts,” Gaines said in an interview with the conservative talk show host.

The college athlete who graduated this year has repeatedly knocked Thomas for her participation in women’s swimming — saying Thomas, who was born male, has an unfair biological advantage.

“So not only were we forced to race against a male, we were forced to change in the locker room with one,” Gaines said on Wednesday’s episode of “Tucker Carlson Today.”

Penn Quakers swimmer Lia Thomas holds a trophy after finishing fifth in the 200 free at the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships as Kentucky Wildcats swimmer Riley Gaines looks on.

“Then we’re sitting there not even knowing who to talk to, who to complain to because this kind of all happened behind the scenes and very discreetly.”

Gaines claimed that the National Collegiate Athletic Association had not done enough to preserve the integrity of women’s sports.

Gaines and Thomas tied for fifth place in the 200-meter freestyle NCAA finals in March, and even then, Gaines has been vocal in her criticism of Thomas.

Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines swims the 200 Butterfly prelims at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 19th, 2022.

Gaines criticized the University of Pennsylvania for putting Thomas forward for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s “Woman of the Year” award in 2022 earlier this month.

“This is yet another slap in the face to women,” Gaines, who was also nominated for the award, tweeted. “First a female national title and now nominated for the pinnacle award in collegiate athletics. The @NCAA has made this award worthless.” 

In April, Gaines first spoke with Carlson on Thomas’ participation in women’s swimming.

Gaines stated at the time that she believed it was unjust to be compelled to compete against Thomas and that the majority of female athletes she knew felt the same way.

“We’re dealing with something that’s completely out of our control when we’re racing, biological males,” she said in the April interview. “Whether they have different lung capacities, their height, testosterone levels whether they’ve used testosterone blockers or not — it doesn’t suppress going through puberty as a male. Especially Lia, who swam for three years as a male.”

“It’s completely unfair and it’s a matter of equity, really,” Gaines added.

The world swimming governing organization, FINA, effectively banned transgender women from competing in elite women’s competitions last month as a result of the issue surrounding transgender women in sports.

Source: dailymail.co.uk

Euphoria Star Sydney Sweeney Says She Barely Earns Enough To Survive

Sydney Sweeney, star of “Euphoria,” admitted that her bank account does not yet afford a break to indulge in the good life. The 24-year-old woman pointed out that while she is undoubtedly not indigent—hello, Miu Miu, Laneige, and Armani cosmetics commercial deals—she just doesn’t make as much money from her day job as some might assume.

“If I wanted to take a six-month break, I don’t have the income to cover that,” the rising sex symbol recently told The Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t have someone supporting me, I don’t have anyone I can turn to, to pay my bills or call for help.”

“They don’t pay actors like they used to, and with streamers, you no longer get residuals,” Sweeney explained.

"Euphoria" star Sydney Sweeney says she isn't able to take a long break and has to continuously work.

“The established stars still get paid, but I have to give five percent to my lawyer, 10 percent to my agents, three percent or something like that to my business manager.”

The Euphoria star added: “I have to pay my publicist every month, and that’s more than my mortgage.

“If I just acted, I wouldn’t be able to afford my life in LA. I take deals because I have to.”

She is not paying a mortgage on a humble two-up two-down, as the New York Post notes, but rather a $3 million Los Angeles mansion with a view of a golf course from the front porch.

However, it isn’t in a gated neighborhood like other houses in the region, so admirers can easily drive by and take pictures.

“I couldn’t believe I was even able to buy a house,” she said. “I want to be able to stay there.”

In fairness to the star, she came from a frugal upbringing and explained the tough choices her parents had to make when they moved to LA to pursue her acting career at 13 years old.

“We lived in one room. My mom and I shared a bed and my dad and little brother shared a couch,” she recalled.

Source: unilad.co

Wannabe drug dealer caught on the first day dealing after turning to crime to pay off debt

In a hilarious turn of events, an amateur drug dealer got caught on the first day of his dealing career. Just imagine! Rudy Young, a resident of Blackpool, Lancashire, was engaged as a scrap metal trader until his marriage broke down and he became addicted to cocaine.

The 35-year-pricey old’s habit led to debt accumulation, so he turned to deal as a way to get money.

However, authorities examined Young’s automobile after noticing a person peering through the window on January 20, 2021.

Wannabe Drug Dealer Caught On The First Day

Two mobile phones, £450 in cash, many snap bags containing white powder, and text messages on one of the phones pertaining to drug trading were also discovered inside, prosecutor Claire Larton told Preston Crown Court.

After his 16-year marriage came to an end, Young started using cocaine more frequently as a coping mechanism, according to Julie Taylor, the defendant’s attorney.

After that, he racked up substantial debts and was under pressure to settle them. Young decided to sell narcotics to pay off his obligations because he was worried about the effects it would have on his family and his business. He was also handed a mobile phone to receive orders.

He was caught on his first day. Credit: LancsLive/MEN Media

“He wasn’t very successful,” Taylor said. “He got caught on the very first day.”

Young admitted to possessing Class A drugs with the intent to resell them. He has only received two cautions and no prior convictions, the court was informed.

“You are obviously a resourceful person since you set up your own business as a licensed scrap metal trader,” said Judge Simon Medland QC during the sentencing process. You want to succeed in the world and in your relationship.

Wannabe drug dealer caught on first day dealing after turning to crime to  pay off debt - Daily Star

“Your problem arose inevitably because you began to take cocaine, which is a destructive, addictive, and expensive substance.

“Those who take it inevitably can’t afford it, and you end up being trapped up in a cycle of your own causing, where you are brought into contact with those who are serious criminals who want you to do their work.

“My message that Class A drugs destroy people’s lives is one I am sure you agree with. They destroy people’s health and well-being, and they destroy people’s social stability. All those things they have done to you.”

Even though Young had no prior convictions and there had been a significant delay in getting the case to court, the judge acknowledged that the case had crossed the custody threshold.

Ipswich drugs duo jailed for over 6 years | Suffolk Constabulary

Young also adhered to a curfew that was electronically tracked and helped the probation service create a pre-sentence report.

Young was given a two-year sentence from Judge Medland QC with two years of probation, as well as 150 hours of unpaid labor.

Source: ladbible.com

All about humor, comics, fun, laugh and giggle.