Ex-Bush Speechwriter: A ‘Loyal’ Republican Is Now Either A Sucker Or A Liar

Alone on a Spaceship, Trying to Save the World

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By Alec Nevala-Lee

Much More Than Muffins: The Women Scientists Who Invented Home Ec

By Virginia Postrel

A Rachel Cusk Novel in a Mystical and Enigmatic New Key

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By Judith Shulevitz

The Constitution Is More Than a Document — It’s a Conversation

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By Adam Cohen

In a New Story Collection, an Insider’s View of the Soviet Union

By Ilya Kaminsky

U.S. Manufacturing Growth Unexpectedly Slows In April

Growth in U.S. manufacturing activity unexpectedly slowed in the month of April, according to a report released by the Institute for Supply Management on Monday.

The ISM said its manufacturing PMI slid to 60.7 in April after jumping to a more than 37-year high of 64.7 in March.

While a reading above 50 still indicates growth in manufacturing activity, economists had expected the index to inch up to 65.0.

“Worker absenteeism, short-term shutdowns due to part shortages, and difficulties in filling open positions continue to be issues that limit manufacturing-growth potential,” said Timothy R. Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

The unexpected pullback by the headline index came as the production index tumbled to 62.5 in April from 68.1 in March and the new orders index fell to 64.3 from 68.0.

The employment index also slumped to 55.1 in April from 59.6 in March, indicating a slowdown in the pace of job growth in the manufacturing sector.

Meanwhile, the report showed the prices index jumped to 89.6 in April from 85.6 in March, reaching its highest level since July of 2008.

“Aluminum, copper, chemicals, all varieties of steel, plastics, transportation costs, wood and lumber products all continued to experience price increases as a result of product scarcity,” said Fiore.

On Wednesday, the ISM is scheduled to release a separate report on activity in the service sector in the month of April. The ISM’s services PMI is expected to inch up to 64.3 in April from 63.7 in March.

Gartner, Inc. Q1 adjusted earnings Beat Estimates

Gartner, Inc. (IT) reported earnings for its first quarter that rose from the same period last year.

The company’s profit came in at $164.1 million, or $1.84 per share. This compares with $75.1 million, or $0.83 per share, in last year’s first quarter.

Excluding items, Gartner, Inc. reported adjusted earnings of $178 million or $2.00 per share for the period.

Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.05 per share, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

The company’s revenue for the quarter rose 7.8% to $1.10 billion from $1.02 billion last year.

Gartner, Inc. earnings at a glance:

-Earnings (Q1): $178 Mln. vs. $108 Mln. last year.
-EPS (Q1): $2.00 vs. $1.20 last year.
-Analysts Estimate: $1.05
-Revenue (Q1): $1.10 Bln vs. $1.02 Bln last year.

Britvic Buys Plant-based Nutrition Brand Plenish; Financial Terms Not Disclosed

Britvic plc (BVIC.L), a plant-based drinks brand, announced Tuesday the acquisition of Plenish, which offers a range of organic, clean label, plant-based beverages across plant-based milks, cold-pressed juices and functional shots. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Plenish, which was founded in 2012 as a direct-to-consumer brand, has since expanded into retail distribution. Kara Rosen, the founder of Plenish, and her team will join Britvic.

Britvic expects the acquisition of Plenish brand, which uses ingredients sourced from sustainable, organic farms and no additives, gives it access to a fast-growing category. The acquisition is directly aligned to the group strategic priorities of Accessing New Spaces and Healthier People, Healthier Planet.

The company said the deal is strategically important, but the immediate value of the transaction is not material enough to impact adjusted EBIT in 2021.

Rosen said, “I started Plenish nine years ago in my kitchen to help make it easy and delicious for people to improve their health and make a positive impact for the planet. Our plant-based drinks are still made like I originally made them at home – with best in class ingredients sourced from sustainable, organic farms and no additives.”

Ex-Bush Speechwriter: A ‘Loyal’ Republican Is Now Either A Sucker Or A Liar

Michael Gerson split Republicans who remain loyal to Donald Trump and the ex-president’s 2020 election lies into two camps in his new column for The Washington Post published Monday.

“To be a loyal Republican, one must be either a sucker or a liar,” wrote Gerson, a former speechwriter for ex-President George W. Bush.

“And because this defining falsehood (about the election) is so obviously and laughably false, we can safely assume that most Republican leaders who embrace it fall into the second category,” he continued. “Knowingly repeating a lie — an act of immorality — is now the evidence of Republican fidelity.”

Gerson said “a founding lie” like Trump’s election fraud conspiracy theory is “intended to remove followers from the messy world of facts and evidence,” “replace critical judgment with personal loyalty” and “encourage distrust of every source of social authority opposed to the leader’s shifting will.”

Trump’s supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 “seemed quite sincere” with their views, said Gerson, who also noted it is difficult to know whether “congenital liar” Trump really believes his falsehoods.

“No, it is the elected Republicans who are lying with open eyes, out of fear or cynicism, who have the most to atone for,” he concluded. “With the health of U.S. democracy at stake, their excuses are disgraceful.”

Read Gerson’s full essay here.