Those efforts could cost taxpayers as much as $50 million while diverting workers and resources from other state agencies, he emphasized. But he said the state is committed to “standing up against any and all perpetrators who attempt to steal personal information and harm Missourians.” He also said the state would work to address those security concerns.

“This individual is not a victim,” he said. “They were acting against a state agency to compromise teachers’ personal information in an attempt to embarrass the state and sell headlines for their news outlet.”

Martineau has not responded to NPR’s request for comment regarding the governor’s accusations.

Parson cited a state statute that defines the offense of tampering with computer data, arguing that nothing in DESE’s website authorized this individual to access teacher data.

He also said that the statute allows his administration to bring a civil suit to recover damages against all of those involved and said emphatically that they refuse to let teachers be “a pawn in the news outlet’s political vendetta.”

“We apologize to the hardworking Missouri teachers who now have to wonder if their personal information was compromised for pathetical political gain by what is supposed to be one of Missouri’s news outlets,” Parson said, describing them as having been put in the middle.

The Missouri State Teachers Association has not commented publicly on the governor’s remarks but released a statement on Thursday afternoon saying that the DESE website’s vulnerabilities have eroded educators’ confidence and calling on the state to “deploy every resource necessary” to keep their personal information secure.

This is not the first time that Parson has lashed out at the news media during the coronavirus pandemic. As The Kansas City Star put it, he has “bristled at unfavorable reporting and singled out The Star, the Post-Dispatch and the Missouri Independent for criticism over their reporting on COVID-19.”

It’s sparking concerns over press freedom

Local and national critics are expressing their support for the newspaper and its right to free speech.

Matt Bailey, the digital freedom program director with PEN America, called the governor’s characterization of the reporter’s actions as “an affront to democracy, the free press, and the public interest” in a statement provided to NPR.

“And it comes at a time when opportunistic political leaders seek to demonize the press,” he added. “Such craven acts merely serve the short-term interests of the governor; in the long term, they chip away at an already-precarious information ecosystem, where a growing number of people distrust credible accountability reporting.”

He added that the newspaper and its reporters acted responsibly in disclosing and then reporting on the security issues, saying they had done so in line with legal and ethical norms.

“Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s threats of legal action against the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and its reporter for pointing out a security flaw on a state website are absurd,” Katherine Jacobsen, the Committee to Protect Journalists’ U.S. and Canada program coordinator, said in a statement. “Using journalists as political scapegoats by casting routine research as ‘hacking’ is a poor attempt to divert public attention from the government’s own security failing.”

Jean Maneke, an attorney for the Missouri Press Association, told The Associated Press that she doubts any judge “would allow this to proceed very far.”

She said the fact that the newspaper warned the state about the security risk indicates it was not acting with any criminal or malicious intent.

Democratic state Rep. Crystal Quade, the House minority leader, released a statement on Thursday saying Parson should thank the newspaper, not threaten it.

“In the finest tradition of public interest journalism, the Post-Dispatch discovered a problem — one publicly discernable to anyone who bothered to look; it verified the problem with experts; and it brought the problem to the attention of state officials for remedial action,” she wrote. “The governor should direct his anger towards the failure of state government to keep its technology secure and up to date and work to fix the problem, not threaten journalists with prosecution for uncovering those failures.”

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These retailers can best weather supply chain disruptions, two traders say

Supply chain woes are plaguing many retailers, but a few stocks may be able to withstand the heat, two traders say.

Though Bank of America named Yeti Holdings and Dick’s Sporting Goods its top fourth-quarter picks for their relatively low exposure to Vietnam’s supply issues, a catch-all play like Costco may be the better bet, Laffer Tengler Investments’ Nancy Tengler told CNBC’s “Trading Nation” on Wednesday.

“This is a company that is well positioned to handle supply chain disruptions,” the firm’s chief investment officer said. “The purchasing team is probably one of the best in the industry.”

Costco’s management said on its latest earnings call that its warehouse format allows for stockpiling inventory and buying it when it’s available, a promising advantage heading into the holidays, Tengler said.

It will also not only benefit from the rise of outdoor retail, like Yeti and Dick’s Sporting Goods, but also holiday, toy and jewelry shopping, she said.

Athleticwear giant Nike could also be positioned for upside, Sanctuary Wealth’s chief investment officer, Jeff Kilburg said in the same interview.

“I think you want to own it,” he said, noting that the stock recently tested and held its 200-day moving average around the $145 level, meaning it has established support in that range.

Nike ended trading up nearly 2% at $156.30 on Wednesday.

“It’s No. 1 in its space,” said Kilburg, also founder and CEO of KKM Financial. Nike’s market cap is north of $237 billion, while Dick’s Sporting Goods’ is around $10.7 billion and Yeti’s is just shy of $7.5 billion, he added.

Though Nike’s stock pulled back earlier this year in response to supply chain issues, its technical positioning and the negative sentiment surrounding Nike could spark a move to the upside, Kilburg said.

“I think this provides an opportunity for a little bit of outperformance,” he said.

Disclosure: Tengler and Laffer Tengler Investments own shares of Costco.


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2021-22 New York Islanders: An Intriguing Stanley Cup Chase Awaits After A Surreal Spring And Summer

As the Islanders begin their season against the Hurricanes tonight, an air of surrealistic disbelief continues to tinge the memories of their captivating run to the edge of the Stanley Cup Finals last spring. 

As in, did all that really happen?

It was remarkable enough that the Islanders — 37 years removed from the last of their four straight championships and 36 years removed from their most recent trip to the Stanley Cup Finals — reached the NHL’s final four for a second straight season by playing 19 intense playoff games spanning 41 days as spring turned into summer.

But they played nine of those games at Nassau Coliseum, which closed in 2015 and was begrudgingly reopened on a placeholder basis during the 2018-19 season as the Islanders waited for their new arena to be constructed at Belmont Park.

As capacity restrictions were relaxed, pandemic-weary fans, hopeful the worst was finally behind them, filed in and let loose 15-plus months of anxiety and pent-up energy. There were singalongs to classic rock staples (sorry, but Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” now qualifies as classic rock) as well as the National Anthem after singer Nicole Raviv’s microphone didn’t work prior to a second-round game against the Bruins — a moment that head coach Barry Trotz said moved his sister, living in Canada, to tears.

“The crowd (has) a big effect on momentum, I think, and as we started to get that back you started getting the emotional connection with the fans,” Trotz said this week. “You could feel (in) Game 6 in the Coliseum — we were down in that game and we started building some momentum and the fans were on it and they wouldn’t let us off the hook.”


There were trending moments on Twitter: The Jets, the Islanders’ former neighbors across the street at Hofstra, showing up and chugging beers…dynasty mainstay Clark Gillies chugging a beer and smashing the can against his 67-year-old head…befuddled Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy giving the Coliseum’s former lacrosse tenants, the New York Saints, publicity they hadn’t enjoyed in 30 years…and of course fans throwing everything that wasn’t locked down on to the ice after Anthony Beauvillier’s overtime goal in Game 6 of the semifinals sent the series back to Tampa.

And then it ended June 25 with a 1-0 loss — via a short-handed goal — to the Lightning. It was a feel-good and valiant run for a no longer dormant franchise — the 49 playoff games the Islanders have played the last three seasons are one fewer than the franchise played the previous 24 seasons combined — and provided Islanders fans too young to remember the dynasty years their own touchstone moments.

“We’ve had a great history to fall back on with this organization with the glory years, but there’s been also some choppiness to the organization in the last probably 20-some years,” Trotz said Tuesday with a diplomatic deftness. “I think that’s stabilized. I think this group feels very proud of what they’re starting to build.”

But the frantic final seconds of Game 7 — when the Islanders fired three desperate shots on goal before defenseman Ryan Pulock helplessly chased the puck into the neutral zone as time expired — and the sight of a near-catatonic Josh Bailey and a teary-eyed Mathew Barzal in their press conferences afterward offered reminders the job wasn’t finished for those on the ice or in the executive suite.

“Being close doesn’t count and we understand that,” Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said Wednesday.

The playoff run felt even more ethereal after a summer in which the Islanders operated with Lamoriello’s trademark silence and secrecy. Other than trading Nick Leddy and Andrew Ladd in deals intended to create salary cap relief and losing Jordan Eberle to the Kraken in the expansion draft, the Islanders did nothing — at least officially — until Sept. 1, when the team finally announced the long-assumed re-signing of free agents Casey Cizikas and Kyle Palmieri and restricted free agents Beauvillier and Ilya Sorokin.

Lamoriello would never declare the Islanders were loading up for a Cup run. But that’s the message delivered by running it back with mostly the same core plus captain Anders Lee, who missed the final 29 regular season games and the playoffs last season due to a torn ACL, as well as 44-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara — who has played so long, he actually wore the Islanders’ post-fisherman jersey as a rookie in 1997-98 — and 37-year-old left winger Zach Parise, the son of early Islanders legend J.P. Parise.

“Deepest team we’ve had since we’ve been here,” Lamoriello said.

It’s also the most serious Stanley Cup contender the Islanders have put on the ice in almost two generations— a team that will be looking to rewrite the ending to last season while also authoring a memorable opening chapter at a packed UBS Arena, the modern facility the franchise has lacked since at least the late ‘80s.

“I think guys are excited, first of all, to be back after the run we’ve had and being that close — sometimes, you’re almost, in your mind, a little too hyped up and wish you could jump right back to that scenario,” Brock Nelson said. “With the new rink (and) the excitement, the fanbase I think has grown. The passion that they have is second-to-none. I think everyone’s all-in on the Island.”

Yet there will also be an air of mystery to this season consistent with the clandestine summer and the surreal spring that preceded it. While the Islanders seem primed to take the long-awaited final step, their best path may not include winning a Metropolitan Division in transition. The Islanders, who appear to be the division’s co-favorites with the Hurricanes, finished tied for 14th and 12th, respectively, in the NHL in points the previous two seasons.

“I think it’s going to be a grind for us to get to the playoffs,” Trotz said. “But once we get to the playoffs, I think we’re built that way.”

Only one of the previous 13 teams to lose in the final four in back-to-back seasons — the 2000-01 Avalanche — followed up the consecutive near-misses by winning the Stanley Cup. None of those teams ever tried returning to the final four or beyond after mounting those two semifinal trips in a span of fewer than 11 months.

And the Islanders will embark upon a full 82-game season with the oldest roster in the league, one that will begin the season with a 13-game road trip — the second-longest in NHL history — while the finishing touches are applied to UBS Arena before the home opener, scheduled for Nov. 20 against the Flames.

Injury concerns have already cropped up for the Islanders, who will open the season without starting goalie Semyon Varlamov and identity line winger Matt Martin, neither of whom played in the preseason.

The intrigue is just beginning for the Islanders at the start of a season in which the question goes from did that really happen to can all this really happen?

“Our unfinished business is we’ve got to take the next step, be it getting to the Finals or winning a Stanley Cup,” Trotz said. “Anything below that is going to be considered a failure within, probably, the group, probably myself and probably the fanbase.

“There’s a privilege to get this extra pressure — it’s like being in the playoffs, it’s a privilege to be in the playoffs, there’s nothing given. I can’t tell you how this season’s going to play out, but if we stay healthy and we play close to our ceiling all year, I feel very comfortable with our hockey team.”

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September Consumer Price Index: Inflation Rises

Consumer prices jumped more than expected last month, with rent, food and furniture costs surging as a limited supply of housing and a shortage of goods stemming from supply chain troubles combined to fuel rapid inflation.

The Consumer Price Index climbed 5.4 percent in September from a year earlier, faster than its 5.3 percent increase through August and above economists’ forecasts. Monthly price gains also exceeded predictions, with the index rising 0.4 percent from August to September.

The figures raise the stakes for both the Federal Reserve and the White House, which are facing a longer period of rapid inflation than they had expected and may soon come under pressure to act to ensure the price gains don’t become a permanent fixture.

On Wednesday, President Biden said his administration was doing what it could to fix supply-chain problems that have helped to produce shortages, long delivery times and rapid price increases for food, televisions, automobiles and other products.

Social Security Administration said on Wednesday that benefits would increase 5.9 percent in 2022, the biggest boost in 40 years. The increase, known as a cost-of-living adjustment, is tied to rising inflation.

jumped early in 2021 as prices for airfares, restaurant meals and apparel recovered after slumping as the economy locked down during the depths of the pandemic. That was expected. But more recently, prices have continued to climb as supply shortages mean businesses cannot keep up with fast-rising demand. Factory shutdowns, clogged shipping routes and labor shortages at ports and along trucking lines have combined to make goods difficult to produce and transport.

expect higher prices. If people believe that their lifestyles will cost more, they may demand higher compensation — and as employers lift pay, they may charge more for their goods to cover the costs, setting off an upward spiral.

though typically too little to fully offset the amount of inflation that has occurred this year. There are notable exceptions to that, including in leisure and hospitality jobs, where pay has accelerated faster than prices.

The fact that rents and other housing costs are now climbing only compounds the concern that price gains are becoming stickier.

“You have the sticky, important and cyclical piece of inflation surprising to the upside,” said Laura Rosner-Warburton, an economist at MacroPolicy Perspectives. “It is certainly a very significant development.”

Matt Permar, a 24-year-old mail carrier from Toledo, Ohio, rents a two-bedroom apartment in a suburban area with a friend from college. The pair had paid $540 a month each for two years, which Mr. Permar called “pretty standard.” But that has changed.

“With the housing market being the way it is, they raised it about $100,” he said of his monthly rent. As a result, Mr. Permar said, he will have less cash to save or invest.

The Fed aims for 2 percent inflation on average over time, which it defines using a different but related index, the Personal Consumption Expenditures measure. That gauge is released at more of a delay, and has also jumped this year.

Central bankers have said they are willing to look past surging prices because the gains are expected to prove transitory, and they expect long-run trends that had kept inflation low for years to come to dominate. But they have grown wary as rapid price gains last.

The Fed’s September meeting minutes showed that “most participants saw inflation risks as weighted to the upside because of concerns that supply disruptions and labor shortages might last longer and might have larger or more persistent effects on prices and wages than they currently assumed.”

Fed officials’ moves toward slowing their bond purchases could leave them more nimble if they find that they need to raise rates to control inflation next year. Officials have signaled that they want to stop buying bonds before raising rates, so that their two tools are not working at odds with each other.

Wall Street is watching every inflation data point closely, because higher rates from the Fed could squeeze growth and stock prices. And climbing costs can cut into corporate profits, denting earning prospects.

White House officials and many Wall Street data watchers tend to emphasize a “core” index of inflation, which strips out volatile food and fuel prices. Core inflation climbed 4 percent in the year through last month, but the monthly gain was less pronounced, at 0.2 percent.

Some economists welcomed that moderation as good news, along with the cooling in key prices, like airfares, that had popped earlier in the economic reopening. Others emphasized that once supply chain kinks were worked out, prices could drop on products like couches, bikes and refrigerators, providing a counterweight to rising housing expenses.

Omair Sharif, founder of Inflation Insights, said he expected consumer price inflation to moderate, coming in at 2.75 percent to 3 percent on a headline basis by next July, and for core inflation to cool down even more.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to panic,” he said.

Ana Swanson and Ben Casselman contributed reporting.

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Delta Air Lines employee vaccination rate rises to 90% as federal mandate approaches

Gate agents assist travelers at a Delta Air Lines Inc. bag drop counter at the San Diego International Airport (SAN) in San Diego, California, U.S., on Monday, April 27, 2020.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Delta Air Lines said Wednesday 90% of its workforce of about 80,000 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19, weeks before the company imposes a $200 monthly insurance surcharge on staff who haven’t gotten shots.

The Atlanta-based airline’s CEO Ed Bastian earlier this month said about 85% of its staff was vaccinated.

The latest tally, disclosed in its quarterly earnings release, comes as airlines are grappling with the Biden administration’s rules that federal contractors’ employees must be vaccinated against Covid, unless they can show a valid religious or medical reason to be exempt.

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Alaska Airlines, which like Delta are federal contractors because they fly government employees and provide other services, in recent weeks have told staff they will comply with the mandate and that employees need to be vaccinated to continue working there, unless they receive an exemption. That means staff needs to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8.

Delta hasn’t issued such a requirement to staff yet.

United Airlines issued its own company mandate in August, threatening to fire people who weren’t vaccinated by Sept. 27. More than 96% of its U.S. employees are now vaccinated, it said.

On Tuesday, Texas-based carriers American and Southwest said they expected the federal vaccine mandate to supersede an order by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that bars businesses and others from mandating the vaccine for employees

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