Putin plays chicken with US farmers—and loses

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in Words | 0 comments

This article originally appeared on CNBC.com. You can check it out here.

A decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to ban imports on U.S. poultry is leaving folks hungry—just not the ones he intended.

Putin’s move in early August to block American chickens has backfired, sources in the poultry industry say, leaving Russians to pay more at the supermarket for poultry products while American producers remain largely unscathed. The Kremlin put agricultural sanctions in place against several Western nations in retaliation for penalties from the U.S. and European Union following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The real loser is the average Russian consumer, who is now faced with less choices and increased prices for poultry,” said Tom Super, a spokesman for the National Chicken Council. Poultry prices in Russia have risen about 2-3 percent each week since the ban, according to Super.

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Are tax holidays the best way to promote efficient appliances?

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Words | 0 comments

This article originally appeared on CNBC.com. You can check it out here.

Floridians in the market for a new appliance this past weekend were in luck. The state was the latest to hold a sales tax holiday for those buying environmentally friendly appliances.

This year, a growing number of states offered sales tax holidays for energy-efficient appliances, even as the overall number of states participating in all types of tax-free weekends dwindled.

So far this year, seven states held events where energy-efficient appliances were exempt from taxes, the largest number since 2010. In the Florida event, appliances had to have either an Energy Star or WaterSense label to qualify.

Politicians often propose these holidays as a way to increase consumer activity and therefore give a boost to the local economy. Tax-reform advocates, however, say these experiments rarely achieve their intended goals.

“The sales tax holidays just happen to shift consumption throughout time,” rather than increase it overall, said Liz Malm, an economist with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation.

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Check out my latest work at CNBC.com.

Posted by on Sep 20, 2014 in Words | 0 comments

From time to time, I’ll post articles I particularly enjoyed writing during my stint at CNBC through December. In the meanwhile, you can always check out all of my work directly at CNBC.com.

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Making History: 9/11 Museum Exhibit Designer Ricardo Mulero

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Words | 0 comments

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com. You can check it out here.

Like many New Yorkers, Ricardo Mulero has a September 11th story. He was getting off the subway at Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan on his way to work, when he stopped to see what a crowd of people were looking at. Just seconds before, United Airlines Flight 175 had crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Thirteen years later, Mulero has a different perspective on that tragic day, one that has earned him a historic- and prestigious role. Mulero led the team that created the National September 11 Memorial & Museum exhibition, which opened last May. In this capacity, Mulero and his team at Thinc Design worked with the museum team, architects and engineers to help plan the museum’s structure as well as the presentation of the many artifacts remaining from that tragic day.

“Unlike any other history project that I have worked on, it was something that I had been part of,” Mulero told NBC News. “That became kind of interesting.”

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Missed my work from NBCNews.com? Click here!

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Words | 0 comments

I had a great time reporting for NBCNews.com this past summer and can happily say I’m continuing to contribute content when I can to my friends down at 30 Rock. As always, I’ll try my best to post my favorite work here, but in the meantime, click here to see my latest content from NBC News.

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Gov. Rick Perry: Grand Jury Indictment Is ‘Partisan Political Theatrics’

Posted by on Aug 16, 2014 in Words | 0 comments

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com. You can check it out here

Texas Gov. Rick Perry minced no words in his first public statement since a grand jury indicted him Friday on felony charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. Perry said the indictment “amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power,” in a spin on the charges he himself faces. Perry maintained in his address to reporters that his actions were part of his constitutionally-protected authority as governor, calling the charges “partisan political theatrics.”

“I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win,” Perry, a potential Republican candidate for president in 2016, told reporters.

Perry’s indictment follows an investigation into his threat to veto state funding to the Travis County Public Integrity Unit if the county’s district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, did not resign. Lehmberg had pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge last year and served a 45-day sentence, but she would not step down when Perry called on her to go. The Travis County investigative unit is in the predominantly Democratic city of Austin. Lehmberg told NBC News that she had no comment on the matter. In May, Perry told NBC News that he didn’t regret his choice to veto the funds and that he did not commit a crime.

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Florida Jury Awards $23.6B Verdict in Big Tobacco Lawsuit

Posted by on Jul 19, 2014 in Words | 0 comments

This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com. You can check it out here.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company must pay $23.6 billion to the widow of a man who died of lung cancer in one of the largest wrongful death verdicts for a single plaintiff in Florida state history, according to attorneys. A state jury awarded the punitive damages Friday to the estate of Michael Johnson Sr., who died in 1996 from lung cancer after years of chain smoking, attorney Christopher Chestnut told NBC News. Johnson’s estate previously won a $17 million verdict as compensation for his family’s loss.

“This jury sent a message and gave 23.6 billion reasons why you can’t lie to consumers,” said Chestnut, who along with attorney Willie Gary represent 400 cases in Florida against Big Tobacco companies. R.J. Reynolds is the maker of Pall Mall and Camel cigarettes.

The Johnson case stems from a class-action lawsuit involving Miami Beach pediatrician Howard Engle, who sued the tobacco companies for misleading the public and government as to the dangers of smoking. He was awarded $145 billion in a landmark verdict in July 2000 — the largest punitive damage ever awarded in U.S. history at the time. It was overturned in 2003 after an appeals court ruled that it shouldn’t have gone forward as a class-action suit. J. Jeffery Raborn, vice president and assistant general counsel for R.J. Reynolds, said the latest verdict of $23.6 billion was “far beyond the realm of reasonableness and fairness.” Raborn said the company plans to file post-trial motions to appeal the decision and verdict.

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