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Elon Musk Takes Twitter, and Tech Deals, to Another Level

Forget about the endless drama, the bots, the abrupt reversals, the spectacle, the alleged risk to the Republic and all we hold dear. Here is the most important thing about Elon Musk’s buying Twitter: The moguls have been unleashed.

In the old days, when a tech tycoon wanted to buy something big, he needed a company to do it. Steve Case used AOL to buy Time Warner. Jeff Bezos bought Whole Foods for Amazon. Mark Zuckerberg used Facebook to buy Instagram and WhatsApp and Oculus and on and on. These were corporate deals done for the bottom line, even if they might never have happened without a famous and forceful proprietor.

Mr. Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, which finally became a reality on Thursday, six months after he agreed to the deal, is different. It is an individual buying something for himself that 240 million people around the world use regularly. While he has other investors, Mr. Musk will have absolute control over the fate of the short-message social media platform.

It’s a difficult deal to evaluate even in an industry built on deals, because this one is so unusual. It came about whimsically, impulsively. But, even by the standards of Silicon Valley, where billions are casually offered for fledging operations — and even by the wallet of Mr. Musk, on most days the richest man in the world — $44 billion is quite a chunk of change.

the midterm elections’ most prominent campaign contributor, pumping tens of millions of dollars into right-wing congressional candidates. Two of his former employees are the Republican nominees for senator in Ohio and Arizona.

Richard Walker, a professor emeritus of economic geography at the University of California, Berkeley and a historian of Silicon Valley, sees a shift in the locus of power.

“In this new Gilded Age, we’re being battered by billionaires rather than the corporations that were the face of the 20th century,” he said. “And the tech titans are leading the way.”

bought The Washington Post for $250 million. Marc Benioff of Salesforce owns Time magazine. Pierre Omidyar of eBay developed a homegrown media empire.

Deals have been a feature of Silicon Valley as long as there has been a Silicon Valley. Often they fail, especially when the acquisition was made for technology that either quickly grew outdated or never really worked at all. At least one venerable company, Hewlett-Packard, followed that strategy and has practically faded away.

$70 billion-plus acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is pending, has garnered a fraction of the attention despite being No. 2.

said in April after sealing the deal. “I don’t care about the economics at all.”

He cared a little more when the subsequent plunge in the stock market meant that he was overpaying by a significant amount. Analysts estimated that Twitter was worth not $44 billion but $30 billion, or maybe even less. For a few months, Mr. Musk tried to get out of the deal.

This had the paradoxical effect of bringing the transaction down to earth for spectators. Who among us has not failed to do due diligence on a new venture — a job, a house, even a relationship — and then realized that it was going to cost so much more than we had thought? Mr. Musk’s buying Twitter, and then his refusal to buy Twitter, and then his being forced to buy Twitter after all — and everything playing out on Twitter — was weirdly relatable.

Inescapable, too. The apex, or perhaps the nadir, came this month when Mr. Musk introduced a perfume called Burnt Hair, described on its website as “the Essence of Repugnant Desire.”

“Please buy my perfume, so I can buy Twitter,” Mr. Musk tweeted on Oct. 12, garnering nearly 600,000 likes. This worked, apparently; the perfume is now marked “sold out” on its site. Did 30,000 people really pay $100 each for a bottle? Will this perfume actually be produced and sold? (It’s not supposed to be released until next year.) It’s hard to tell where the joke stops, which is perhaps the point.

Evan Spiegel.

“What was unique about Twitter was that no one actually controlled it,” said Richard Greenfield, a media analyst at LightShed Partners. “And now one person will own it in its entirety.”

He is relatively hopeful, however, that Mr. Musk will improve the site, somehow. That, in turn, will have its own consequences.

“If it turns into a massive home run,” Mr. Greenfield said, “you’ll see other billionaires try to do the same thing.”

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Beazer Homes USA, Inc. to Webcast Its Fourth Quarter and Full Year Fiscal 2022 Financial Results Conference Call on November 10, 2022

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) (www.beazer.com) has scheduled the release of its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2022 on Thursday, November 10, 2022 after the close of the market. Management will host a conference call on the same day at 5:00 PM ET to discuss the results.

The public may listen to the conference call and view the Company’s slide presentation on the “Investor Relations” page of the Company’s website, www.beazer.com. In addition, the conference call will be available by telephone at 800-475-0542 (for international callers, dial 517-308-9429). To be admitted to the call, enter the pass code “8571348.” A replay of the conference call will be available, until 10:00 PM ET on November 18, 2022 at 888-566-0411 (for international callers, dial 203-369-3041) with pass code “3740.”

About Beazer Homes

Headquartered in Atlanta, Beazer Homes (NYSE: BZH) is one of the country’s largest homebuilders. Every Beazer home is designed and built to provide Surprising Performance, giving you more quality and more comfort from the moment you move in – saving you money every month. With Beazer’s Choice Plans™, you can personalize your primary living areas – giving you a choice of how you want to live in the home, at no additional cost. And unlike most national homebuilders, we empower our customers to shop and compare loan options. Our Mortgage Choice program gives you the resources to easily compare multiple loan offers and choose the best lender and loan offer for you, saving you thousands over the life of your loan.

We build our homes in Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. For more information, visit beazer.com, or check out Beazer on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Arizona Judge: State Can Enforce Near-Total Abortion Ban

The ruling means the state’s abortion clinics will have to shut down and anyone seeking an abortion will have to go out of state.

Arizona can enforce a near-total ban on abortions that has been blocked for nearly 50 years, a judge ruled Friday, meaning clinics statewide will have to stop providing the procedures to avoid the filing of criminal charges against doctors and other medical workers.

The judge lifted a decades-old injunction that blocked enforcement of the law on the books since before Arizona became a state. The only exemption to the ban is if the woman’s life is in jeopardy.

The ruling means the state’s abortion clinics will have to shut down and anyone seeking an abortion will have to go out of state. The ruling takes effect immediately, although an appeal is possible. Planned Parenthood and two other large providers said they were halting abortions.

Abortion providers have been on a roller coaster since the U.S. Supreme Court in June overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing women a constitutional right to an abortion. At first providers shut down operations, then re-opened, and now have to close again.

Planned Parenthood had urged the judge not to allow enforcement, and its president declared that the ruling “takes Arizonans back to living under an archaic, 150-year-old law.”

“This decision is out of step with the will of Arizonans and will cruelly force pregnant people to leave their communities to access abortion,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who had urged the judge to lift the injunction so the ban could be enforced, cheered.

“We applaud the court for upholding the will of the Legislature and providing clarity and uniformity on this important issue,” Brnovich said in a statement. “I have and will continue to protect the most vulnerable Arizonans.”

The ruling comes amid an election season in which Democrats have seized on abortion rights as a potent issue. Sen. Mark Kelly, under a challenge from Republican Blake Masters, said it “will have a devastating impact on the freedom Arizona women have had for decades” to choose an abortion. Democrat Katie Hobbs, who is running for governor, called it the product of a decadeslong attack on reproductive freedom by Republicans that can only be fended off by voters in November.

Masters and Kari Lake, the Republican running against Hobbs, both back abortion restrictions. Their campaigns had no immediate comment.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Kellie Johnson ruled more than a month after hearing arguments on Brnovich’s request to lift the injunction.

The near-total abortion ban was enacted decades before Arizona secured statehood in 1912. Prosecutions were halted after the injunction was handed down following the Roe decision. Even so, the Legislature reenacted the law in 1977.

Assistant Attorney General Beau Roysden told Johnson at an Aug. 19 hearing that since Roe has been overruled, the sole reason for the injunction blocking the old law is gone and she should allow it to be enforced. Under that law, anyone convicted of performing a surgical abortion or providing drugs for a medication abortion could face two to five years in prison.

An attorney for Planned Parenthood and its Arizona affiliate argued that allowing the pre-statehood ban to be enforced would render more recent laws regulating abortion meaningless. Instead, she urged the judge to let licensed doctors perform abortions and let the old ban only apply to unlicensed practitioners.

The judge sided with Brnovich, saying that because the injunction was issued in 1973 only because of the Roe decision, it must be lifted in its entirety.

“The Court finds an attempt to reconcile fifty years of legislative activity procedurally improper in the context of the motion and record before it,” Johnson wrote. “While there may be legal questions the parties seek to resolve regarding Arizona statutes on abortion, those questions are not for this Court to decide here.”

In overturning Roe on June 24, the high court said states can regulate abortion as they wish.

A physician who runs a clinic providing abortions said she was dismayed but not surprised by the decision.

“It kind of goes with what I’ve been saying for a while now –- it is the intent of the people who run this state that abortion be illegal here,” Dr. DeShawn Taylor said. “Of course we want to hold onto hope in the back of our minds, but in the front of my mind I have been preparing the entire time for the total ban.”

Republicans control the Legislature, and GOP Gov. Doug Ducey is an abortion opponent who has signed every abortion law that reached his desk for the past eight years.

Johnson, the judge, said Planned Parenthood was free to file a new challenge. But with Arizona’s tough abortion laws and all seven Supreme Court justices appointed by Republicans, the chances of success appear slim.

What’s allowed in each state has shifted as legislatures and courts have acted since Roe was overturned. Before Friday’s ruling, bans on abortion at any point in pregnancy were in place in 12 Republican-led states.

In another state, Wisconsin, clinics have stopped providing abortions amid litigation over whether an 1849 ban is in effect. Georgia bans abortions once fetal cardiac activity can be detected. Florida and Utah have bans that kick in after 15 and 18 weeks gestation, respectively.

The ruling came a day before a new Arizona law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy takes effect. Signed by Ducey in March, the law was enacted in hopes that the Supreme Court would pare back limits on abortion regulations. Instead, it overturned Roe.

Ducey has argued that the new law he signed takes precedence over the pre-statehood law, but he did not send his attorneys to argue that before Johnson.

The old law was first enacted among a set of laws known as the “Howell Code” adopted by 1st Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1864. Arizona clinics have been performing about 13,000 abortions a year.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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States Begin Receiving Money From $26B Opioid Settlement

Families hope the money can help combat an epidemic some say is just getting worse, as fentanyl claims lives and targets younger generations.

Opioids rocked households and seized people of all walks of life. 

Kim Humphrey, a commander with the Phoenix Police Department at the time, thought he had it all.

“A marriage, a home, a wonderful life raising two sons,” he said. “It was really good.”

But a call about his 15-year-old son ignited distress that would span nearly a decade:

“‘My daughter goes to school with your son and she’s very concerned that he’s going to overdose,'” he continued. 

A drug test confirmed their fear — it came back positive for opioids. The struggle spiraled and extended its grip to their second son.

“As a parent, we’re looking at this and saying, ‘We must be the worst parents on the planet,'” Humphrey said.  

It took Humphrey and his wife years to find a nonprofit support group called Parents of Addicted Loved Ones, also known as PAL, which he now leads.

“That was the first time that we were sitting in a room full of people who understood,” Humphrey continued.

The opioid crisis contributed to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. in two decades. At the epicenter — three major pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. A yearslong multistate lawsuit led to a historic $26 billion  settlement over the next 18 years.  

Now, some of that money is starting to come in. This year, by the end of August, 27 of nearly 50 states that filed lawsuits had received a total of $310 million. Of that, Arizona received $16 million of their more than $540 million settlement — money Humphrey hopes will trickle down to PAL, which is in dire need of financial assistance following the pandemic.

“What we do is this peer-to-peer support that has plenty of research behind it that it works. And it did for us,” Humphrey said.

Each state and county has a say in how the money is spent. In Wisconsin, a spending dispute temporarily blocked funds from distribution. 

Sara Whaley, a research associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says the school put together five planning principles to help guide states on spending.

“This is the opportunity to kind of look at what you’re doing and where you’re investing money, and if there are any gaps,” she said. “One, is to spend the money to save lives. Two, is to use evidence to guide spending. Three, invest in youth prevention. Four, focus on racial equity. And five, create a fair and transparent process.”

She adds that the settlement includes basic payout guidelines.

“They are things like broadening access to naloxone or increasing the use of medications to treat opioid use disorder, enriching prevention strategies, improving treatment in jail,” Whaley said.

It’s treatment desperately needed as fentanyl fuels deaths and overdoses, with a holistic and smart spending approach.

Humphrey hopes families can find the peace his has now reached. Both his sons are now clean.

Source: newsy.com

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Key Midterm Races To Watch For Congressional Control

Early in-person voting starts Friday in four states and mail-in ballots have already started going out in others.

With just under two months to go, the race for control of Congress is shaping up to be one of the tightest in recent history. 

And when it comes to which party controls the Senate, election experts say one contest stands out — Pennsylvania.

“The No. 1 race at this point that is likely to switch parties is one that could go from Republican to Democrat, which sort of defies the expectations we had at the beginning of this cycle when it looked like it would be an incredibly favorable midterm cycle for Republicans and a backlash to President Biden and the Democrats,” said Jessica Taylor, Senate and governors editor at The Cook Political Report.

Democrat John Fetterman is leading GOP Senate candidate Mehmet Oz in one of the closest watched races of the fall. 

Current Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring. If Democrats flip his seat, the GOP needs to gain two seats somewhere else to retake the majority.  

Where could those seats be? Eyes are on Arizona, Nevada, New Hampshire and Georgia, where the races are close and Democrats are defending seats they currently hold.  

It’s the opposite in Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, where Republicans are in tight races to hold on to those seats.

Adding to the unpredictability this cycle is the lack of experience among some first-time Republican candidates. Primary voters in five of those eight states put their support behind rookies without any political experience.  

“There are voters that are just so frustrated at this point. And we see this in disapprovals, we see this in wrong track/right track numbers, that there are voters — and I’ve heard this in focus groups I’ve watched this year, too — they’re like, you know, just blow the whole system up,” Taylor continued.

Political outsiders can be successful — look at former President Donald Trump, who continues to be a big influence in the Republican Party.   

“Midterm elections are a referendum on the current president,” Taylor said. “However, we have never seen a former president be this involved and insert himself so much in a way that Democrats could make this a referendum on Trump.”

Trump’s endorsement has helped first-time candidates win their primaries. But it could be a hindrance in the general election when they’re up against Democrats. 

Source: newsy.com

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Virginia Thomas Agrees To Interview With Jan. 6 Panel

By Associated Press
September 21, 2022

The wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, conservative activist Virginia Thomas, has agreed to participate in a voluntary interview.

Conservative activist Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has agreed to participate in a voluntary interview with the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, her lawyer said Wednesday.

Attorney Mark Paoletta said Thomas is “eager to answer the committee’s questions to clear up any misconceptions about her work relating to the 2020 election.”

The committee has sought an interview with Thomas in an effort to know more about her role in trying to help former President Donald Trump overturn his election defeat. She texted with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and contacted lawmakers in Arizona and Wisconsin in the weeks after the election and before the insurrection.

Thomas’s willingness to testify comes as the committee is preparing to wrap up its work before the end of the year and is writing a final report laying out its findings about the U.S. Capitol insurrection. The panel announced Wednesday that it will reconvene for a hearing on Sept. 28, likely the last in a series of hearings that began this summer.

The testimony from Thomas — known as Ginni — was one of the remaining items for the panel as it eyes the completion of its work. The panel has already interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses and shown some of that video testimony in its eight hearings over the summer.

The extent of Thomas’ involvement ahead of the Capitol attack is unknown. She has said in interviews that she attended the initial pro-Trump rally the morning of Jan. 6 but left before Trump spoke and the crowds headed for the Capitol.

Thomas, a Trump supporter long active in conservative causes, has repeatedly maintained that her political activities posed no conflict of interest with the work of her husband. Justice Thomas was the lone dissenting voice when the Supreme Court ruled in January to allow a congressional committee access to presidential diaries, visitor logs, speech drafts and handwritten notes relating to the events of Jan. 6.

It’s unclear if the hearing next week will provide a general overview of what the panel has learned or if it will focus on new information and evidence, such as any evidence provided by Thomas. The committee conducted several interviews at the end of July and into August with Trump’s Cabinet secretaries, some of whom had discussed invoking the constitutional process in the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office after the insurrection.

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the committee’s Republican vice chairwoman, said at the panel’s most recent hearing in July that the committee “has far more evidence to share with the American people and more to gather.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press. 

Source: newsy.com

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More Migrants Arrive In D.C. As White House Slams Republican Governors

By Newsy Staff

and Associated Press
September 17, 2022

More than 50 migrants were bused to the home of Vice President Kamala Harris, while New York officials expected at least six more buses to arrive.

Another wave of migrants arrived at the nation’s capital and New York City on Saturday as the White House continues to criticize Republican governors in Texas, Florida and Arizona for what it calls a “political stunt.”

More than 50 migrants were bused to the home of Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday while New York officials expected at least six more buses to arrive by the end of the day.

The White House hammered the Republican governors of Texas and Florida for arranging for the transport of migrants to Democratic strongholds in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The governors of Texas and Arizona have sent thousands of migrants on buses to New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., in recent months.

But the latest surprise moves – which included two flights to Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday paid for by Florida – reached a new level of political theater that critics derided as inhumane.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the flights to Martha’s Vineyard were part of an effort to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”

President Joe Biden criticized the move, saying “Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke to reporters Friday as the migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard were being moved to housing on a military base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

“These are the kinds of tactics we see from smugglers in places like Mexico and Guatemala,” Jean-Pierre said. “And for what? A photo-op. Because these governors care about creating political theater, then creating actual solutions to help folks who are fleeing communism, to help children, to help families.”

Massachusetts is planning to activate as many as 125 National Guard members to assist.

In New York, Mayor Eric Adams says shelters are at their breaking point due to the influx of migrants.

In total, there have been nearly two million encounters along the southern border this year, which is already over 200,000 more than last year.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Sends Migrants To Massachusetts By Plane

Republican governors sent more migrants to Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis took part in the latest tactic Republican governors have employed to push back on what they view as President Biden and Congressional democrats’ inaction on the migrant crisis. DeSantis sent two charter planes Wednesday carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard — a popular vacation spot off the coast of Massachusetts.

“The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all of a sudden go berserk and they’re so upset this was happening,” DeSantis said.

The planes, which were carrying roughly 50 migrants including children, arrived around 3pm with no warning, according to local officials. 

Earlier this summer, Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas began sending buses full of migrants apprehended at the southern border to Washington D.C., often with no warning. 

“In any one sector in the state of Texas, we have more than 5,000 people coming across that sector every single day,” Abbott said.

On Thursday, two buses carrying migrants also arrived at the U.S. Naval Observatory — the vice president’s official residence in Washington D.C. Those buses came from Del Rio, Texas.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public health emergency last week in order to redirect more resources to support the thousands of migrants who have arrived in the nation’s capital from Texas and Arizona. And just last month, Texas Gov. Abbott began sending migrants to New York and Chicago as welll. 

Illinois governor JB Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation and has tapped the state’s national guard to help handle the hundreds of migrants being sent from Texas. 

“Let me be clear: while other states may be treating these vulnerable families as pawns, here in Illinois, we are treating them as people and when a person comes urgently seeking help here in Illinois we offer them a helping hand,” Pritzker said.

Nearly a dozen busloads of immigrants have arrived in recent weeks in Chicago, with some migrants being relocated by the state to hotels in the suburbs — angering local mayors. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has called on the Biden administration to provide more federal assistance in light of Texas’ action. 

“Governor Abbott’s racist and xenophobic practices of expulsion have only amplified the challenges many of these migrants have experienced on their journey to find a safe place,” Lightfoot said.

Source: newsy.com

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Why Is The Trucking Industry Changing?

During the pandemic the trucking industry struggled due to loss of drivers. Now the industry is picking back up as driver enrollment increases.

Manny Guzman’s life on the road is a far cry from his long days four years ago when the father of one was taking orders for wedding cakes and pastries at a bakery in Chicago. 

“I worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week — there was no day off,” said Guzman. “I got my license and I was lucky enough to get a job with this company that does flatbed haul steel.” 

Manny is part of a new breed of truckers that’s critical to the rapidly-changing backbone of American commerce. 

The American Trucking Association said it was already short about 61,000 drivers before the pandemic decimated the industry. 

Even back in 2017 Leah Shaver, COO of the National Transportation Institute, said “students are not coming in at fast enough rates, and they’re not sticking with the industry the way we need.” 

So when 2020 came around, trucking was nowhere near prepared for what happened. Just as demand for shipping skyrocketed, more drivers decided to hang up the keys. 

“Most of the drivers are aging out, we’re in our 50s, 60s and 70s and we raised our families — its time to come off the road,” said Mary Okeefe, a Pinellas Technical College lead instructor.

Fewer drivers on the roads and more cargo ships sitting on ports made for a supply chain mess. But more than two years later a new breed of truckers could drive what trucking schools hope will be a rebound in late 2022.

“We normally have 55 to 60 students. We have 82 right now. All of the companies are experiencing shortages. They call us constantly and they call constantly for drivers,” said Larry Scott, an instructor at ATDS Driving School.   

And trucking’s rebirth, if you will, is also an opportunity to change how it looks. Right now, the average truck driver is a white 48-year-old man. But the American Trucking Association says the rate of Black and Latino drivers over the last two decades has jumped 45%. 

It’s still just shy of 8% of all drivers today that are women, but that’s an all-time high. 

“I love to travel. I don’t have any kids yet so whats wrong with seeing the world and making some money,” said Tanzania Kellum, an ATDS student. 

And if we didn’t understand the value of truckers before COVID, our increased demand for them has given drivers more leverage to get more out of their work. 

The average driver made more than $69,000 last year. 

That’s 18% higher than the year prior. 

Trucking companies hope higher wages attract younger drivers and tee up long-term careers, to give the industry some stability. 

But federal regulations can make that tricky. While most states let anyone over 18 get a commercial driver’s license, federal law says no one under 21 can drive a big rig across state lines. 

The federal Safe Driver Apprenticeship Pilot Program aims to change that by allowing drivers under 21 to cross state lines while accompanied by an experienced trucker. It’s a move that could help fill driver gaps. 

So could autonomous semi-trucks. They’re currently undergoing tests in Arizona, with commercial shipments expected to start next year.  

“We believe autonomous trucking is coming to the industry, we believe its gonna be on our roads in the very near future,” said Lee White, the VP of strategy for TuSimple. 

Until then, industry leaders hope more truckers like Manny Guzman see driving as a life-changing career, to cushion their bank accounts and stabilize the American economy.  

“It is the best decision because I’ve made more money doing this than I ever made in my life doing the bakery thing, owning my own business. Even when I started driving for somebody else, I was making more money than I was making working 16 hours a day seven days a week for myself. It was like a no-brainer,” said Guzman.  

Source: newsy.com

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