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Companies connected to Trump received large taxpayer-funded forgivable loans: A list

Yesterday, the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department disclosed the recipients of 660,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans. The list only includes those who received at least $150,000 in funding, which is less than 15 percent of the total number of loans. The administration originally tried to hide this information.
Recipients do not have to repay the loan if they keep (or re-hire to meet) their pre-COVID-19 levels of employment and compensation and spend the funds on approved expenses.
Explore the list yourself: The Washington Post turned the original spreadsheet into an online searchable database.
This post is about the relevant “highlights” from the list. Some of the connections to politicians are stronger than others. However, the point isn't so much that certain politicians are unethically profiting - the point is that the American people deserve to know where their money is going. Especially when so many "average" Americans are struggling. In other words, draw your own conclusions from the data.

Connections to Trump & family

A New York shipping business (Foremost Group) owned by the family of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, received at least $350,000. “Ms. Chao has no formal affiliation or stake in the business, but she and Mr. McConnell have received millions of dollars in gifts from her father, James, who ran the company until 2018.”
Kasowitz Benson Torres, founded and run by Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, received a loan for between $5 million and $10 million. Mr. Kasowitz and the firm represented Trump during Mueller’s investigation and for decades before Trump was elected president.
The American Center for Law and Justice, whose chief counsel is Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, got between $1 million and $2 million. Sekulow also defended Trump during the Mueller investigation and impeachment proceedings.
Jared Kushner connections:
  • Esplanade Livingston, a Kushner family entity that owns the land in Livingston, N.J., where the family’s Westminster Hotel is, got between $350,000 and $1 million. Esplanade Livingston’s company address is the same as that of the Kushner Companies real estate development business.
  • Princeton Forrestal, a real estate entity owned by various members of the Kushner family not including Mr. Kushner, received a loan of between $1 million and $2 million. It is at least 40 percent owned by Kushner family members.
  • The New York Observer, the news website that Kushner ran before entering the White House and is still owned by Kunsher’s brother-in-law’s investment firm, was approved for between $350,000 and $1 million
  • In addition, up to $2 million was approved for the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, a nonprofit religious school in Livingston, N.J., that’s named for Jared Kushner’s grandfather and supported by the family.
In April, a bank approved a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000 for the Pennsylvania dental practice of Albert Hazzouri, who golfs with Trump and frequents Mar-a-Lago. In 2017, Hazzouri used his access to the president to pass him a policy proposal on club stationery on behalf of the American Dental Association. He addressed the note to Trump “Dear King.”
A firm that raises money for Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee received a loan of more than $1 million, according to the data set, while a company that produces Trump’s political advertisements received between $350,000 and $1 million.
  • The New York Times does not identify these companies by name. I tried to figure out which companies they were referring to but could not be sure. We already knew that Phunware, a Trump re-election campaign data collector, received $2.85 million — nearly 14 times the PPP average of $206,000 (reported in April).
Billionaire property developer Joe Farrell, a prominent Republican fundraiser, received up to $1 million in taxpayer coronavirus relief funds. Farrell, a developer in New York's exclusive Hamptons beachfront community, has thrown fundraising parties for Trump… Farrell this year rented out his 17,000-square-foot, $40 million East End estate, Sandcastle, for close to $2 million to a wealthy Manhattan family trying to escape the coronavirus for six months.
Dozens of tenants at buildings owned by Trump or managed by his companies received funds… More than 20 businesses listed at 40 Wall Street, an office building that Trump has owned since the mid-1990s, also reportedly received government loans totaling at least $20 million. Among the recipients were law offices, financial service firms and nonprofit organizations.
Sushi Nakazawa, a restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, received a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000.
Churches connected to President Donald Trump and other organizations linked to current or former Trump evangelical advisers received at least $17.3 million in loans… City of Destiny, the Florida church that Trump’s personal pastor and White House faith adviser Paula White-Cain calls home, got between $150,000 and $350,000. First Baptist Dallas, led by Trump ally and senior pastor Robert Jeffress got between $2 million and $5 million. Other loan recipients included several churches and organizations connected to allies who joined Trump’s evangelical advisory board during his 2016 campaign.
A company with a name matching one listed on the 2017 financial disclosure of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos received at least $6 million.
Perdue Inc., a Bonaire, Georgia-based trucking company founded by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, received a PPP loan of between $150,000 and $350,000. An Agriculture Department spokesperson said the company is owned indirectly by a trust of which the secretary’s adult children are 99% stakeholders.
American Media, the publisher of the National Enquirer, received a loan in April from Bank of America Corp. of between $2 million and $5 million, records show. American Media is run by Trump’s longtime friend David Pecker. Furthermore, American Media is owned by Chatham Asset Management, a New Jersey-based hedge fund that oversees about $4 billion.
Cottage Hospital, a 25-bed critical access facility in Woodsville, New Hampshire, received between $2 million and $5 million in PPP loans. The hospital’s CEO, Maria Ryan, is a longtime close associate of Rudy Giuliani’s. Ryan currently co-hosts a talk radio show with Giuliani called “Uncovering the Truth.” Cottage Hospital’s annual revenues typically exceed $30 million, according to its most recent publicly available federal tax return. Ryan’s salary, the last filing shows, is nearly $300,000.

Congress and other political connections

Wineries partly owned by Rep. Nunes, R-Calif. Nunes listed on his 2018 public financial disclosure forms roles as a limited partner with investments in Phase 2 Cellars in San Luis Obispo, California, and Alpha Omega Winery in Saint Helena, California. The PPP data shows the wineries received loans of $1 million to $2 million.
KTAK Corp., a Tulsa-based operator of fast food franchises owned by Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), received between $1 million and $2 million. Hern had advocated increasing the size of loans available to franchisees, including in a March letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) benefited when three of his car dealerships, located outside of Pittsburgh, received a combined total of between $450,000 and $1.05 million. Kelly is a multimillionaire.
Several plumbing businesses affiliated with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), all based in Broken Arrow, Okla., each received between $350,000 and $1 million.
Rep. Rick Allen’s (R-Ga.) construction company in Augusta received between $350,000 and $1 million
EDI Associates, a company the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invests in, received between $350,000 and $1 million.
Rep. Nita Lowey’s (D-N.Y.) husband's law firm Lowey Dannenberg P.C. received a loan between $1 million and 2 million. Her husband, Stephen Lowey, is listed as chairman emeritus on the firm's website and is retired from the firm.
Lobbying and policy group Waxman Strategies, which is run by former Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and his son Michael, which received a loan of $350,000 to $1 million.
Before the release of the data Monday, three members of Congress said they or their spouses had received PPP loans: Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas; Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo.; and Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev.
An affiliate of Americans for Tax Reform, the influential conservative group that has been a vocal critic of government spending, received between $150,000 and $350,000. ATR founder Grover Norquist has criticized the unemployment insurance provision of the CARES Act, which he said “delays recovery,” and signed a letter urging lawmakers not to approve a second stimulus bill.
The Ayn Rand Institute, named for conservative philosopher Ayn Rand, received a loan of between $350,000 and $1 million, which it called “partial restitution for government-inflicted losses."
Citizens Against Government Waste, one of the country’s most prominent anti-government spending organizations and a frequent critic of the CARES Act, took between $150,000 and $350,000 in loans as well.

Other noteworthy recipients

More than 5,600 companies in the fossil fuel industry have taken a minimum of $3bn in coronavirus aid from the US federal government. The businesses include oil and gas drillers and coal mine operators, as well as refiners, pipeline companies, and firms that provide services to the industry.
Yeezy, which California business filings show is a holding company registered to Kanye West, received between $2 million and $5 million to support 106 jobs. West is estimated to be worth $1.3 billion.
Washington lobbying shops, high-priced law firms and special-interest groups also received big loans, according to the administration, the latest indication of how the government’s centerpiece effort to shore up mom-and-pop shops set off a race by organizations far afield from Main Street to secure federal money.
  • Wiley Rein, which has a large lobbying practice focusing on trade issues, received between $5 million and $10 million
  • Van Ness Feldman and Beveridge & Diamond, two law firms that focus on helping energy industry clients push their agendas in Washington, received loans between $2 million and $5 million
More than 100 law firms received loans ranging from $1 million to $10 million, the data showed. The list included well-known names like Boies Schiller Flexner, the high-priced law firm run by David Boies, which received between $5 million and $10 million.
A number of prominent private schools were listed as loan recipients, despite the controversy over whether such institutions should take the money. Some also have political connections in DC.
  • In New York City, St. Ann’s School took a loan valued between $5 million and $10 million.
  • Kent Place School, a private school in New Jersey, was reported to have received a loan worth between $1 million and $2 million.
  • Sidwell Friends, which has educated the children of presidents, received a loan worth between $5 million and $10 million.
  • Georgetown Preparatory School, which the Supreme Court justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch attended, received a loan worth between $2 million and $5 million.

The more you know

Fair distribution? There was no apparent link between the amount of economic damage suffered by states and how successful the small businesses in them were at getting the loans from the program. North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas all saw loan approvals of at least 90 percent of their eligible small-business payroll, even though they rank among the least-affected states in terms of unemployment claims during the crisis.
Just a small fraction of the bailout. Keep in mind that the Paycheck Protection Program is just one part of the government’s bailout. There are other, bigger, bailout efforts that the federal government is not required to tell us about.
Here are some articles about the bigger business and financial sector bailouts:
  • ProPublica: How the Coronavirus Bailout Repeats 2008’s Mistakes: Huge Corporate Payoffs With Little Accountability
  • Brookings: What’s the Fed doing in response to the COVID-19 crisis? What more could it do?
  • NYT: How the Fed’s Magic Money Machine Will Turn $454 Billion Into $4 Trillion
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For all the fans who are disgusted by Bon Appetit’s leadership, we can take action to support BA’s BIPOC staff and contributors.

--Edit-- Since this post has gotten some attention, please consider donating to these organizations:
In addition, consider going to https://defund12.org/ and ask your local government officials to reallocate police budgets towards education and social service programs.
—Edit 2— Adam Rapoport has stepped down, but there is much left to be done. Please stay unsubscribed from BA/CN content, and don’t back down until they take real concrete steps to fix their broken leadership, tear down their toxic company culture, and do right by Sohla and every other BIPOC employee.
—Edit 3— If you were going to donate to Reclaim The Block, please check out this post from them listing other great organizations to donate to instead. (Thank you IllustriousTruck)
—Edit 4— Sohla has been (rightfully) getting a lot of attention during this whole debacle, but major props to Hawa Hassan @hawa_22 for exposing more of BA’s horrible discriminatory business practices. Check out her upcoming cookbook In Bibi's Kitchen: The Recipes and Stories of Grandmothers from the Eight African Countries That Touch the Indian Ocean.
—Edit 5— A few days late with the update here but BA video lead Matt Duckor has resigned.
—Edit 6— Hunzi has been suspended from Condé Naste, “pending investigation.” Three employees came forward and expressed the belief that this is retribution for his social media posts that have been critical of CN.
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Who Here Went To 2nd Nature in Utah or Oregon? Reviews Are of Course Terrible. Here Are Just A Few I Found On Yelp!

Second Nature
Christen V.
Northborough, MA
4/15/2020
“Child abuse child abuse child abuse that's all this place is about I can't tell you how many counselors should be put in jail for child abuse this place is terrible children should never be kidnapped this place should be shut down Did you send your kids here they will be permanently traumatized for the rest of their lives and never trust you again I did have a first-hand experience.”
Allie F.
Bloomington, IN
8/17/2019
Updated review
“I haven't been on Yelp in a long time and saw the response from Andrea. Well, there is another program called "Second Nature Entrada Wilderness Therapy Program" that is also located in Utah. These two organizations have the SAME logo. I'm certain they are affiliated.
Anyone considering attending this program should really do their research.
Here is a link that provides information about how shady these programs are. It also includes investigations completed by the Government Accountability Office.
astart.fmhi.usf.edu
I want to emphasize that wilderness therapy programs are COMPLETELY UNREGULATED. It has been shown that the "educational consultants" and "after-care" programs get kickbacks for referrals.
Again, please message me if you'd like to hear more about my experience. I will be checking my account.
I'm very fortunate that I'm healthy, have a loving family, and am educated. Many people who participate in this program are not as fortunate and are therefore less likely to talk about their experiences.
4/14/2016Previous review
I had a horrible experience in this program. The reason I decided to go is that I had gone through a traumatic experience and I started seeing a therapist who recommended it.
I was expecting to feel supported and get to know the staff and other people in the program. Instead I was treated like a criminal even though I've never done drugs or broken the law.
The staff you interact with on a daily basis are not trained therapists. They were often emotionally abusive. I was told that if I left the program early my parents wouldn't want me back. I have a very close relationship with my family and knew that was bull****. At the time I was on disability at my first job out of college and had moved back home.
We were often bullied and treated with disrespect. We hiked in over 100 degree weather most days . I was on a lot of anti anxieties bc I would get panic attacks which made me extremely tired. Sometimes when I needed a break from hiking (which btw i love hiking and used to do that most weekends before I was mentally I'll) I was told I was lazy and that I could not take a break.
During most of the program I was not allowed to talk to my parents. The therapist kept telling them I needed to stay longer. Btw they charge something like $5,000 per week which isn't cheap so they have a strong incentive to make you stay longer.
Finally in order to leave the program I would just flat out lie to the staff and say everything they wanted to hear. When I finally was allowed to go home my parents were very upset and I was very depressed for months. When I was finally able to communicate with my parents during the program I was terrified to tell them about what the program was like. The therapist was on the phone line and told me what I needed to tell my parents if I wanted to leave any time soon.
I'm happy to say that now I'm doing very well . I'm a full time grad student and work 20 hours a week at a university. If anyone wants to talk to me about my experience I welcome it and am more than happy to answer questions.
Of course this is only my experience and I know there are ppl who benefit from it. If your kid has serious behavioral problems or addicted to drugs they might benefit. If your kid is feeling depressed or anxious I wouldn't recommend it. It could make their problems worse.”
Kate B.
San Rafael, CA
1/26/2019
“Parents: probably good to read some kids reviews as you'll have very little insight into the day-to-day at 2N...
I attended second nature from September-December 2007 when I was 15. Few things after reading some reviews: - I will always hold a very special place in my heart for some of the field staff there. Emily R, Erin, and I think his name was Dan. You don't build much of a connection with the therapist that comes out once a week, so you keep your fingers crossed you get good field staff. - I can verify that I was blindfolded when being transported from the mountains to the high desert when we relocated for winter weather. No big deal, they don't want us running away. - The food was terrible when I was there. I gained about 10 unnecessary pounds from eating all carbs and fat, with very scarce opportunities for animal protein. I remember we had "meat Friday's" which was a gallon freezer bag of mystery meatballs for us to share. We had oatmeal for breakfast every morning, tortillas and peanut butter for lunch, and the famous dehydrated beans and rice for dinner. - Society is different now. Kids don't play outside, they're on their phones. We were sent out on "solos" pretty soon after I arrived which I was NOT prepared for. You have a campsite alone in the woods, with absolutely no one else around. You have your notebook and any books your therapist gives you and that's it...for several days. This was before smart phones and Instagram and I was still uncomfortable beyond belief. I did not have the coping skills or self love to be able to be on my own without any distractions so soon into my stay, which made the experience fairly traumatic for me. - I hiked 11 miles in a snow storm carrying an ~80lb pack with two ingrown toenails that I ended up having to get surgically removed. Did this make me tough? Hell yeah it did. Did it make me stop breaking rules, lying to my parents, and manipulating my way through life? Nope. I did 2 years at boarding school after this which is where the real progress happened.
I'm almost 27 now and have been very successful in my life. 3 stars because second nature taught me to work hard, don't complain, and that things can ALWAYS be worse. Star deductions because it was pretty shitty at times, and if I was put in the position I would not send my child here to learn those lessons.”
📷
Connor N.📷
7/25/2016
“Don't buy into the positive reviews, this place is terrible. You are a monster if you go through with sending a child there. What this place does to people is comparable to rape or molestation in the shame and how it outcasts you permanently from ever really feeling back at home again. When you are out there, the staff have no problem letting you know this is a business and that they are using the willingness and trust of confused and frustrated parents with money, and feeding you into an expensive system where therapists and professionals convince the parents that their child needs expensive boarding school, or other "after-care" programs. I was there summer of 2010 Group4 and I wish this never happened to me. Never have your child kidnapped people. That's what mine did. That's what this program may have you do, many in my group did. They had two huge Richmond gangster African American men burst into my room at 4am and drag me out of my room, threatening to handcuff me if I resisted at all. Others in my group had been beaten bloody by their "escort service" for resisting. Do not listen to the positive reviews. Maybe for a few this might work, but this has made my life hell in unimaginable ways. I'll never forgive my parents for what they put me through with this, and I wish I could organize a joint lawsuit and get together with former "clients" and sue the hell out of this place for the damage they have caused us. You are a monster if you send your kid here. Don't buy into the recommendations of professionals. This is not how you should treat any sort of problem. You are sending your child to a marching internment camp where they could be eaten by a bear because someone else brought food in their pack to bed. Which there aren't tents here people. Just a boat tarp you string up with paracord, so rats run over you in the night, mosquitos swarm you in the hundreds, so loud their buzzing is what wakes you in the morning. Where if you don't make a fire with sticks successfully, you can't sit by the group fire or eat group food, forced to eat cold tuna envelopes while everyone else eats. Where they make you walk miles without water on "dehydration hikes". Where staff members taunt you that you aren't going home and that the therapist will convince your parents to send you to a boarding school. I was just a kid with depression who smoked some weed. A psychologist and his recommended "educational consultant" convinced my parents to have me kidnapped the day after I finished my school year and spend my 16th birthday and the next 3 months in the custodial care of this abomination of a program. Please. I beg of you. For your child's sake don't go down this road if you care anything about having any what of a normal relationship with your child. I can answer more questions if you'd like.”
Sim G.
New York, NY
2/19/2014
“Worst place in the universe. The staff are almost abusive and the program is terrible. I would not recommend this for anyone. It s nothing more than a business, and the place should be shut down. The only reason I'm writing this review, is so no one else will make the same mistake I made, which was to go. I only hope the viewer of this will weigh their options heavily before even thinking about this place.”
Roxanne B.
Los Angeles, CA
📷4/16/2015
“I highly doubt that anyone researching programs will look here.. on Yelp, but I would be remiss not to warn parents and families at every turn of this abusive program. Second Nature makes fantastical claims of it's success rates, safety, and the qualifications of its staff but a little intensive research yields the truth: Second Nature programs are no more effective, and absolutely no different than programs like Utah's now-closed North Star Expeditions/Challenger Foundation. In fact, wilderness programs and boot camp-style "tough love" treatments have zero peer-reviewed studies which show they are effective. I am 100% fo' serious (research it!). I am a former camper, and I ended up swept through the system, and away from home for a bit more than two years. Second Nature refused me my inhaler while hiking despite the fact that I have had documented athsma my entire life (claiming that although I take asthma medication, that I was "lying" about my condition). 2N also espouses isolation as a successful form of therapy (most campers will spend 6-7 days on "Solo," not a single person in sight, completely alone with no idea where staff is located). Please read any literature related to the recent Kelief Browder tragedy if you're curious about whether or not isolation/solitary confinement is an effect form of treatment. 2N Counselors (who hold no degrees, certification, and are often 20-somethings with sleeves or tattoos and no career aspirations) were often incredibly cruel, telling a sick campmate of mine that she was "disgusting," or calling young girls brats, fools, manipulative liars if they were sick, "idiots" and more. Worst of all, the program is recklessly-run and thus, dangerous. Our group was lost one afternoon with no water and no food, and 1 of my fellow campers fainted from dehydration.
  1. Any program that monitors, censors, or severely limits the contact you have with your child raises a big fat red flag. Your child should be able to have unmonitored contact with you, in the case that they are being mistreated or are in danger. 2N censors written letters written by campers, and phonecalls (which are a privilege granted before one leaves) are always in the presence of 1 or more staff member.
  2. A program that deals with frightened, sick, or abused children and teens as "manipulative, liars, entitled brats," and more is also a red flag. "Being immature," is not a reason to send a child to treatment (a child or teen, by definition, is "immature").
  3. Programs that do not require staffers to have advanced degrees, and years of experience in the field= red flag. Qualified individuals should be a first-priority of any program which conducts it's "treatment" in conditions as extreme as 2N's.
  4. Programs which ask you to waive your power of attorney over to their staff and ask that you not sue in the case of severe illness, major injury, or death= red flag.
Essentially, there are far too many horror stories but the bottom line here is: do your research. Now do more. The troubled teen industry is just that- an industry (not-so-fun-fact: supported by Romney's venture capitalist firm, Bain), and their first and foremost priority is to make money for themselves and their friends at therapeutic boarding schools, "escort services," and "educational consultants." Profiting off a family's vulnerability, confusion, fear, or even worse abusive and dysfunctional dynamic is morally reprehensible. Torturing teens doesn't make anything or anyone better, it makes things worse. In the best case scenario, you will be exorbitantly wealthy and able to send your child to a "therapeutic boarding school," a program which I can only describe as abuse-lite. Parents- you have options! Please, please, please arm yourself with facts/peer-reviewed and unbiased statistics and studies regarding troubled teen programs, and not sales propaganda. Best of luck to you!
Essential Reading: helpatanycost.com/questi… (Questions to ask of any program a family is considering) sia-now.org ttp://www.sltrib.com/news/ci\_7139316 heal-online.org/secondna…"
Max G.
Miami, FL
3/3/2020
“I was sent here 2 years back and I can openly say if you plan on sending your kids here there are so many better options. Don't even think about sending your kid away. If you don't want to deal with your child and send them elsewhere do be dealt with you don't truly love them or deserve to be their parent and this is how it will look to the child for the rest of their lives after. It's been two years and I can say I will never truly forgive my dad for sending me to Second Nature. It makes me hate that he's my dad. Yes I was struggling but I wasn't on the verge of death and therefore such intense measures shouldn't even be considered. The only beneficial skills I learned from second nature were survival skills and a general understanding of my emotions. But this doesn't matter whatsoever because the trauma from that experience has caused me more anxiety and depression than ever! I am not just an angry kid who was sent to Second Nature. I happened to enjoy my stay in many parts. But that's simply because I learned that I love the outdoors! but most children sent here are not so fond of their situation and in the end this program causes more problems than it solves. Everyone who was in my group has relapsed or gone back to old habits unless they DECIDED to change themselves. CHANGE DOESN'T WORK WHEN ITS FORCED.”
Zac H.
Asheville, NC
📷
8/21/2019
“You are hiking in rain, feet of snow if you are injured they tell you to suck it up. I am not anti-wilderness, as I think it is a great experience. But this place is truly not therapeutic, the schoolwork is very hard to get help with. This program often leaves you hungry at night and staff will get aggressive over small things such as exchanging phone numbers, whispering, etc. I got my wrists grabbed to the point of bruises after exchanging phone numbers, and I got no apology until he met my parents. Send your child to another wilderness program this is miserable for all parties. My therapist was nice but the staff does NOT CARE except for a select people. Just remember this is your child.”
Cooper S.
Laguna Beach, CA
📷
6/30/2019
“This review goes out for all parents thinking even for a second about sending their child here. It's not worth it. You think your child will learn and grow from this? Well then you are probably just as delusional as the people who run the place. You think, "oh wilderness therapy, sounds like a good way to get my child out of the scene of day to day life and have them step back and work on themselves." Yea if your child was Bear Grylls. Everyday is a grueling fight for survival. I was there in the winter of 2018-2019. I suffer from permanent nerve damage in my feet from the harsh cold and not enough warmth. The staff are harsh, cruel, selfish, and are solely focused on the objective of leaving the next week. The staff are all you have. the only connection to the outside world. Your solace and comfort in a time of stress. A kind staff, someone you could connect with was rare. Shout to the homie Corbin. One of the only real staff I met. Along with Ian, two of the nicest staff. The only way I made it through was because of them. I was in the G9/G3 group. I prayed every week to heaven or hell that I got these guys as staff. The therapist, Tracy, was nice. She was kind and counseling but only came out once a week. Making a true connection difficult. You can go to a therapist at home once a week, for an existential lower price. Shouldn't you be seeing a therapist more at a wilderness therapy program? My story is similar to any child sent her. Messed around, did some drugs. Nothing to harsh, nothing to severe. Diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was truly struggling. All it would've taken was a shoulder to cry on and a pair of ears to listen. No one ever understood or tried to understand without anterior motives. My home life became so bad I resorted to living on the streets. Some time into living on the streets I was picked up by police as a juvenille runaway and taken to the hospital. After waiting hours for my parents to come and get me. I thought hey, maybe this is on me. Maybe i need to open up to my parents more. Im gonna try to change. Im gonna try to make things better. Finally my parents showed, with two very large goons. They told me i was going with the men to utah for a few days. In the car they forced me into the small seat in the back of an SUV. Being 6'4 this was extremely uncomfortable. I was stuck back there for 12 hours. After arriving at the program, being stripped and searched, they proceeded to do a series of medical tests as if i was joining the army. They large hiking boots, and put me in a truck. They drove me out to the middle of nowhere and dropped me off. I proceeded to go through hell. A living hell. Days of coldness. Forgetting warmth. Writing about warm things in life just to get a taste of what i knew was never to come for quite some time. I fought at first. refusing to do what they told me to do. Begging my parents to take me out. Begging them and pleading to show i had changed. All to no avail. All to find out i was stuck for 12 weeks. Maybe more. In a living hell. I learned to lie. You have to lie if you want to get out of there. I lied and got home. Im very successful at home now. Im sober, im happy, and healthier than ive ever been. I have a steady job and true friends who are good and are their for me. Can't say second nature is the right choice for anyone. Unless you truly just want your child to suffer. no one needs to go through this. parents i beg you if you are debating on sending your child here. Just try to listen to your child. forget trying to accomplish anything. just listen. i was forced to spend thanksgiving and christmas out there. In freezing temperatures. Im going to have to stop there because theres just so much more wrong with this program. If you have any questions about my story, experience, or views on second nature feel free to message me.”
Gerald B.
Los Angeles, CA
4/12/2019
“If there were an option for zero stars, that would certainly be my choice. The following is stated exclusively from personal experience. Others may have had better or worse experiences, but the following is what I went through...It is my feeling that the entire operation should have been shut down years ago. I can confirm from personal experience that a significant amount of what other negative reviews had stated are true. For example, it is absolutely true to my experience as well that the 'counselors' required that children created a fire by themselves with sticks, string and a rock each day in order to eat anything cooked on a fire. Otherwise, we were forced to vile dehydrated beans and rice with a little bit of cold water, which I can tell you through personal experience does not re-hydrate them. They are practically inedible and still crunchy and tasteless. That was a daily occurrence. Also, being sent on 'solos' were a real thing - these counselors actually took children to remote places, where they were then left alone for days at a time (wouldn't know exactly for how long, as they had a rule that children were never allowed to know what time it was). We were left with nothing other than minimal food to get by, some water, and our blue tarp and strings to sleep under in a sleeping bag. Yes - that is the same type of blue tarp that would be laid over the back of a pick-up truck to cover up lawn equipment, for example. No insulation, and nothing close to a tent that one can enclose.
There were way too many activities that went on that are so unethical and so horrible to put children through. All children (and I say children because I am referring to the under-18 program, in which children are sent there involuntarily, compared to the adult version), were required to carry on their backs their incredibly heavy backpacks each day on long hikes in all weather conditions. These backpacks held tarp materials, clothing, a week's worth of food, a rock, fire making materials, notebooks, and other items. We were even forced to place heavy rocks in our packs as punishment to make them even heavier. They were very heavy, and not all kids are the same size. They all, however, carried the same backpacks - even the smaller kids. We would have to wake up each day, pack the contents of the bags, then go on long hikes for unknown amounts of time and unknown distances. Counselors refused to ever tell children how long hikes were, how much longer the hikes would be, or what time it was. As a kid, this caused incredible feelings of fear, powerlessness, and that of what a prisoner likely feels.
Upon arrival, children are blindfolded, taken to a remote place in the mountains, then isolated from the group for days until they finish writing their 'life story' with zero guidance or instruction. Then, once they present it they are first told that their life story needs to be one with full accountability or they were forced to be isolated for days more and re-write it. This also comes at a time when children are most fragile, scared, lonely, powerless, and terrified - when they FIRST arrive, typically at night, having no idea what is about to ensue. Imagine this as well - the entire time in the program, children are outdoors. Whether in a snowstorm, windstorm, rainstorm, or any other weather. We were outside 24/7 in the middle of winter, and slept in nothing other than a sleeping bag and a blue tarp over our heads, for which we were responsible figuring out each day how to find a location in the mountains and hang it properly in order to not wake up soaking wet. One pair of underwear for each week. Weekly "showers" consisted of taking a couple of old dirty coffee containers, filling them with water, then stripping in the middle of the woods in the freezing cold and pouring that water on oneself. Not a good time, and very hard to do.
The counselors, who spend days with the children, seemed to have no backgrounds in therapy, no credentials, no schooling or degrees for it. I cannot confirm this but can only speak to personal experience. On what planet should young, inexperienced, uncredentialled adults be physically and emotionally responsible for taking full care of sometimes very emotionally damaged, addicted children, some of whom had psychological disorders. These poor kids should be in the hands of incredibly qualified, trained psychologists and psychiatrists, not counselors looking to make a couple bucks.
I want to review their financials to see if there is an expense item for 'referral fees paid.' I would be very curious to see if they are paying people around the country to refer parents to send their children to this place, creating a bias and moral dilemma. I have spoken with many, very scholarly, successful and brilliant psychologists and psychiatrists, all of whom have said they cannot believe that some people actually send their children to this place. It is shameful. Much more to say but limited character space.”
Andrew C.
Scarsdale, NY
📷
3/19/2019
I went here in September of 2019, and it was one of the most traumatic experience of my life. The therapists there are not people you can sit and talk to about your feelings, they are sarcastic, rude, and insulting. If you don't behave the staff will restrain you by pulling your wrists down and it hurts like hell. If they think you will hurt yourself they will restrain you. If you are too close to the fire, they will restrain you (happened to me twice). If your child is going to grow up and become this very troubled criminal, maybe this place could be beneficial. But if your child is struggling with anger issues, anxiety, depression, skipping schools, etc. This place is just over all not helpful and is not what you need to be spending tens of thousands of dollars on. I have been home for about 4 months now because my parents pulled me out due to harsh staff and rude therapist that my mom was fed up with. I am doing much better now thanks to some medication and I am so grateful my parents decided to pull me out of there. (By the way, if Second Nature is reading this, my therapist was Steve Debois)
Persondude H.
Houston, TX
📷
6/25/2018
“I wrote a review that was once on the top of this list and then it was removed due to the age restricting policy. Well Im 18 now and I'm finally old enough to not get this taken down lol.
Don't send your kid here if you care about your relationship with them. Also don't trust educational consultants or aftercares. Since being a victim of this horrible business model I have seen kids mental well being deteriorate into oblivion. I attended second nature in the summer of 2017 and have never been in a worse mindset than I was put through at this place. I "as well as others" became extremely depressed and suicidal and lost complete respect and trust in our parents. Usually educational consultants will get a commission from sending you here, so when they tell you "Oh your Son/Daughter would really excel here." they are 90% of the time speaking out of their ass and just want that sweet sweet commission.
When I first came to second nature I was extremely mad at my parents and thought I would never forgive them for such a traumatic experience. "Being Gooned/Transported." And to tell you the truth I have not forgiven them. Afterr all of this time. I want to kill myself and have horrible trust in all adult figures because of this place. And I am not the only one.
I'm not really sure what Im trying to do by posting this review but I just want to warn parents that this can severely mess up your kids relationship with you. From what Ive witnessed this is just an expensive business scam directed towards desperate parents that have money to throw away. 99% of the time the therapists and educational consultants will recommend your kid go to aftercare and you will end up spending a-lot more money than you initially thought. All of the kids I knew faked their progress so that they could impress the staff and parents just so they could leave sooner. Please just use this as a last resort and really try hard to think about what you are doing and try to talk with your kid about it instead of just blindly violating human rights and traumatizing them by waking them up to transports. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep thinking about this and I feel so alone now.
I hope you as a parent can help your kids, but do it from a better approach instead of Gooning them and forcefully sending them to shit in a hole for 3 months.
Thanks, Former 2N student.”
Fred X.
Jacksonville, FL
📷
12/3/2016
“They took off my pictures like many other people here I got PTSD from going there along with acute intermittent porphyria. A 1:100 disease for life. I throw up blood regularly I go to the bathroom and see blood in the toilet im now on 10 pills just for anxiety and sleep and 15mg a day of oxy. This place gave me nightmares and health problems for the rest of my life. I moved out never spoke to my parents again. I had pictures that were taken down part of porphyria is you get sun blisters my face back and chest have scars from the sun sores that will never be healed or covered up. I experience pain everyday I've had seizures as a result of the PTSD my last seizure dislocated my shoulder and tore my rotatir cuff. I came out worse than I went in. They refused to bring me to the hospital and I was told if I didn't stop throwing up i couldn't go home. I was so sick there from the salmonella I was throwing up daily one night I was so dehydrated I passed out half way to my tent and passed myself. Sending your kid here could kill them my doctors told me im lucky to be alive and what I have (porphyria) could be passed onto my kids. It mutated my gene. Screw them if you send your kid they will hate you. Im not the only one who came out worse than when they went in. If I got sick I was supposed to carry extra weight while hiking to metaphorically reflect the weight the group had to carry from dragging me by my backpack while I was unconscious on hikes. Luckily the staff although they were told not to bring me to the hospital they atleast didn't force me to carry extra weight after they found me unconscious when I passed out and passed myself. They knew I want faking but the therapist believed I was. I was also mocked because I read the bible cause I knew I was dying. I debated hanging myself while there because I knew I was dying I wanted to go out on my own terms. I had my will written inside my boots telling my parents to get an u/autopsy done. I also told my friends in my group to tell my parents what REALLY happened to me and why I died. I HOPE THIS PLACE BURNS TO THE GROUND. Therapist lu vaughn was my therapist. The staff I had knew something was wrong but they were helpless because of her orders. I been to jail and jail was better than that place. Imagine sending ur child somewhere worse than jail they will never be the same. I don't trust anyone and cut off my entire family because of this place. Look at the other reviews more ppl left with PTSD I wouldn't wish PTSD on my worst enemy!”
6/13/2019
“I attended Second Nature from September to December of 2017. I've thought a lot about writing this review because I didn't want others to think that I was writing this because I was pissed about what had happened. Second Nature did not help me what so ever. Before being sent to Second Nature I was in the middle of a depressive episode and my parents didn't know what to do. Someone recommended this place so off I went. As soon as I got there you are strip searched and examined. I was extremely uncomfortable being thrown into a new environment with no one that you know and being forced to do this. The staff members as a whole were very nice and caring and tried to do whatever they could to make Second Nature seem more enjoyable. However, the therapist that I was assigned did little to help me. She tried to stick so many disorders and diagnoses on me that weren't correct. (Since coming home, I see a therapist weekly and both my therapist and the psychologist I see strongly disagree with the treatment option that was made.) She told my parents that I shouldn't be brought home and that I wouldn't be able to last at home for a while without having another episode. She told my parents that I was unwilling to participate in therapy and that I needed more and more time in the Program. I was willing to participate, I just didn't agree with the diagnoses she was making. None of them made sense for me. While I was there, I had hurt my hip. The doctor on staff decided to provide me with a very strong pain killer that I easily could've been addicted to without checking with my parents first. Not only that, he diagnosed the wrong thing and I would up having to get knee surgery when I got home. I won't argue that Second Nature is not effective, because it is. But before you send your child there, see if that is really the right option for them. If it is the last resort, try it. But if there are other options, try those first. I proved the therapist wrong and I am thriving at home, two years later without being sent to another therapeutic program and have a great relationship with my family due to my current therapist.”
Kalep T.
Chicago, IL
📷
10/19/2017
“Second Nature helped me. How? I still do not know. However I struggle greatly with PTSD from being transported in the middle of the night. My first week I almost killed myself, not intentionally but just out of pure fear of being in the middle of nowhere. Not having contact with my family still haunts me, as now my communication skills are poor. I just wanted to get out of second nature. Once i got in the group i enjoyed it, along with the staff. I reached air phase and was able to go back home after 9 1/2 weeks. My motivation was simply to get home. When i got home no one seemed to understand the trauma i had just been through. I still struggle. All my close friends I made during a very hard time in my life all separated ways. Flashbacks are frequent and make me sad. Second Nature is a good program but my life was better off before going here. Just love your child and try to understand them. Do not send them to second nature. It will only do your child harm along with yourself. Just my opinion. If you are going to go with a wilderness therapy then I do recommend Second Nature.”
Max G.
Miami, FL
3/3/2020
“I was sent here 2 years back and I can openly say if you plan on sending your kids here there are so many better options. Don't even think about sending your kid away. If you don't want to deal with your child and send them elsewhere do be dealt with you don't truly love them or deserve to be their parent and this is how it will look to the child for the rest of their lives after. It's been two years and I can say I will never truly forgive my dad for sending me to Second Nature. It makes me hate that he's my dad. Yes I was struggling but I wasn't on the verge of death and therefore such intense measures shouldn't even be considered. The only beneficial skills I learned from second nature were survival skills and a general understanding of my emotions. But this doesn't matter whatsoever because the trauma from that experience has caused me more anxiety and depression than ever! I am not just an angry kid who was sent to Second Nature. I happened to enjoy my stay in many parts. But that's simply because I learned that I love the outdoors! but most children sent here are not so fond of their situation and in the end this program causes more problems than it solves. Everyone who was in my group has relapsed or gone back to old habits unless they DECIDED to change themselves. CHANGE DOESN'T WORK WHEN ITS FORCED.”
Zac H.
Asheville, NC
8/21/2019
“You are hiking in rain, feet of snow if you are injured they tell you to suck it up. I am not anti-wilderness, as I think it is a great experience. But this place is truly not therapeutic, the schoolwork is very hard to get help with. This program often leaves you hungry at night and staff will get aggressive over small things such as exchanging phone numbers, whispering, etc. I got my wrists grabbed to the point of bruises after exchanging phone numbers, and I got no apology until he met my parents. Send your child to another wilderness program this is miserable for all parties. My therapist was nice but the staff does NOT CARE except for a select people. Just remember this is your child.”
submitted by KillerSpaceBunny to troubledteens [link] [comments]

Another "what should I do about my job/should I go back to school" counseling session if anybody's got the stomach for it. Small town version.

I feel a little sheepish doing this, especially on a day when this is not the most important thing for SSC to be thinking about, but everybody was really nice about commenting on throe_aweigh_'s post. Maybe we need a sticky thread just for these. I'm a long-time SSC reader and occasional commenter, but using a new account and some generic descriptors for the same reasons as u/throe_aweigh_. My post is also ridiculously long but I've bulleted it for skimming.
I'm especially interested in this community's thoughts on some of the problems I think about re: smaller metro areas. The discussion here generally leads me to believe most folks are in major cities or aren't particularly connected to any particular geographic location.
Background on me:
Fast forward to today:
What are my goals?
Going back to school
There's where I'm at, folks. Feel free to say I'm just selfish or delusional or trapped in a narrow way of thinking. I've wondered about all these things myself, so I'd rather hear it straight.
submitted by SmallTownsBigEnnui to slatestarcodex [link] [comments]

A Beginner’s Guide to Improving Your Lawn This Spring & Summer

-- PLEASE NOTE: While questions are very welcome in the comments, be sure to check the two part FAQ below this post as it gets into many of them! --

Three points of orientation:

Make sure this guide pertains to you. This guide was written for those who are growing cool season grasses. What does that mean? Well, there are all sorts of different grasses grown on home lawns but they can generally be split into two camps: cool season and warm season. Cool season grasses include fescue, bluegrass and rye, and are most often grown in the central to northern parts of the USA or in milder parts of southern California. If you live in one of these places, you very likely have cool season turf. Warm season grasses include bermuda, centipede, zoysia, St. Augustine and bahiagrass, and are most often grown in the south and southwestern parts of the country. The differences between cool season and warm season grasses are significant and just like you can’t cook a strip steak and a beef shank in the same way, this cool season plan is simply not going to work if you have warm season turf.
Have reasonable expectations. Sadly we have to begin with what for some of you will be a bitter pill to swallow: if your lawn is in really bad shape, following the steps in this guide is not going to take it from a “2” to a “10” by the end of the summer. The reason for this is simple: the time to renovate and truly transform cool season lawns is in late summer and early fall. The goal here is to make big, noticeable improvements and get you ready for fall when you can truly take your lawn to the next level.
About me and about this guide. I am a lawncare DIYer. Like many of you I bought a house and then had a realization that I had to take care of a lawn and had no idea what I was doing. This guide contains many of the lessons I learned in figuring things out. It also contains lessons learned from watching Allyn Hane (Lawn Care Nut), Pete Denny - u/gciturf (GCI Turf), Matt Martin - u/thegrassfactor (The Grass Factor) and Ryan Knorr, along with reading this sub and thelawnforum.com and listening carefully to the golf course professionals I know. That said, all of the writing is my own though I owe a significant debt of gratitude to u/SirThomasFraterson and u/Unabomber007 who generously read a draft of this guide and offered thoughtful suggestions and critique.

Late Winter (aka Where to Begin):

This is where you start. While it is obviously intended for you to complete these steps in February or early March, if you have found this guide later in the season you still want to start here. Every other step will depend on these things being done.

Step #1 - Measure Your Lawn.

This step is not optional. If you don’t know how big your lawn is there is no way you can apply anything to it as you’ll have no idea how much to apply. There are online tools you can use to get a rough idea of your yard’s size, but I have found they can be off by as much as two hundred square feet. My recommendation is to buy an appropriately sized tape measure or measuring wheel and actually walk your lawn. Unless you have a truly tiny yard, you’ll probably want to divide it up into different areas. To do this take your measurements and draw a small map of your property and identify your particular zones. Treat each area separately.

Step #2 - Get a Soil Test.

Like the previous step, this is not optional. When you are ill and go to the doctor, he (or she) performs tests before he takes any action. He doesn't just cut you open or prescribe random medications hoping everything will work out. Before you add anything to your lawn or do any work to it, you have to test your soil. You can do this at any point, I usually do mine in February. MySoil is an easy, though very expensive source for soil testing. A much cheaper option is to use your County Extension Office, which is staffed by state university employees focused on local agriculture and gardening issues. Find their site and then look around for soil testing; it’ll be there. (Once you find your office's website, it is worth bookmarking it. It will offer a lot of advice for lawncare that is particular to your state. Some of the advice might be considered conservative by the standards of many in this sub, but it is worth having, nonetheless).

Step #3 - Buy a good-quality mower, sprinkler setup, broadcast spreader, backpack or pump sprayer and a scale.

Lawncare is an equipment-driven hobby and there are tons of things you can buy but these five are are the essentials. Of course if you already have one of these items, only upgrade if you feel that your current equipment isn't doing the job.

Step #4 - Fix your pH, if your soil test says you need to.

When you get your soil test back it is most likely going to indicate that you have too little of several things, and perhaps that you have too much of one or two. Ignore everything right now except for pH. This is crucial. If your pH is out of whack it is going to affect your grass' ability to make use of nutrients in your soil. If your pH is low you'll want to add lime; something like ‎Pennington Fast Acting Lime will work. Add it according to your soil test's recommendations and in the amounts specified on the product’s label using your broadcast spreader. If your pH is too high, you'll want to add sulphur. Southern Ag Pelletized Soil Acidifier is a good product. You can apply lime or sulphur any time of the year that the ground is not frozen.

Early Spring:

Step #5 - Aerate your lawn… but only if it is necessary.

Lawn aeration is the process of pulling soil cores out of the lawn in an effort to reduce soil compaction and allow air, water and nutrients to reach the root zone of your grass. Perhaps due to the strident marketing efforts of a couple large lawncare firms, beginners tend to think that they must aerate their lawns every spring and fall. This is not true. You should only aerate your lawn in the spring if it needs it. How do you know if it needs it? Do the screwdriver test. Any day that the ground is not frozen, take a flat-head screwdriver and attempt to push it into the soil in several places in your lawn. The screwdriver should easily be able to sink into the ground. It it cannot, water your lawn lightly and try again. If it still cannot, you should consider aeration.

Step #6 - Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide.

A pre-emergent herbicide is exactly what it sounds like: something you put down to prevent weeds from emerging. It differs from the more common post-emergent herbicides (discussed in Step #9) that attack weeds that have already sprouted. A pre-emergent won't prevent all weeds - or even most - but it will prevent one devastating one: crabgrass, and because it can do that it is an essential part of spring lawncare. The two main options for pre-emergents are Prodiamine and Dithiopyr. Both work well and both come in a dizzying array of formulations, both brand name and generic, liquid and granular, and mixed with fertilizer or without it. The differences matter to a certain extent - and if you are new and can’t decide, go with this easy to apply granular from Sunniland - but what matters much more is getting one of them down at as close to the right time as possible. What is that right time? When your soil temperatures are approaching 55°F. How do you know when that is? Use this website, going back to 2019 and clicking around looking at the 5 year averages for various spring dates. Doing this will give you a rough idea of the right time. As that time approaches, check the website daily. When soil temperatures are consistently around 52 or 53°F - according to the 24 hour average - go ahead and apply.

Mid to Late Spring:

Step #7 - Throw down some fertilizer!

About two to three weeks after your first pre-emergent goes down you’ll want to apply fertilizer. This can get very complicated very quickly but I am going to try to keep it as simple as I can via the following sub-steps:
  1. Figure out how much nitrogen your lawn needs. Grass requires a lot of things, but chief among them when it comes to nutrients is nitrogen. What you want to do is apply between .75 pound and 1.5 pounds of nitrogen per thousand square feet of grass this spring in two split doses. Lean towards somewhere between .75 to 1 pound if you fertilized heavily last fall. Go heavier if you didn’t - particularly if you have never applied fertilizer to your lawn - or if your lawn was seeded or sodded in the latter half of last year. Do not exceed 1.5 pounds of nitrogen. More will not equal better in this context.
  2. Choose a fertilizer. Like lawn mowers, there are nearly endless options when it comes to fertilizer. The generalized nature of this post precludes an in-depth discussion of fertilizer brands. That said, if you are a true beginner, it is hard to go wrong with Milorganite. It is easy to apply and its iron content will give your lawn an enviable dark green color. Yes, there are cheaper fertilizers, better fertilizers, liquid fertilizers, etc. but Milo is a good place to start and available pretty much everywhere in the country.
  1. Translate this “x pounds of nitrogen per thousand feet” (from sub-step #1) into actual pounds of fertilizer. To do this you’ll need to do some very simple, middle school-level math. Any fertilizer you buy will show its analysis on its label. The first number in the trio refers to the percentage of nitrogen in the fertilizer. (The second refers to phosphorus, the third to potassium). To get the “pounds on the ground,” use the following formula: the amount of nitrogen you want to apply ÷ the fertilizer’s nitrogen percentage in decimal form.
  1. Take this ‘x pounds fertilizer per thousand square feet’ information and apply it to the different areas of your property.
  1. Split up your total fertilizer amount into two applications. The first application, to be done two to three weeks after your first pre-emergent goes down, should amount to 2/3rds of your total fertilizer. Your second application which should go down three weeks later should consist of the remaining 1/3rd.
  1. Apply using the same technique discussed in Step #4. As discussed there, lower your spreader setting when you are first beginning so as to ensure an even application.

Step #8 - Apply some humic acid and sea kelp.

This step is optional but I wouldn’t skip it unless you lack the money or time. Humic acid is derived from compressed organic mattter mined from the earth and in that sense it can almost be thought of as like an essence of compost. Humic acid will help improve your soil chemistry and structure and allow your grass to better take up the nutrients you provided it in Step #7. It will also encourage positive microbial growth in your soil. Sea kelp contains two major plant growth hormones that are thought to encourage root growth. There are products like N-EXT RGS and this blend from Simple Lawn Solutions that combine both humic acid and sea kelp (both are liquid products and are best applied using a cheap hose-end sprayer attachment) but you could also buy them separately: The Andersons makes an easy to apply humic acid granular and kelp4less.com offers a variety of sea kelp products. The latter two suggestions offer great value.

Step #9 - Kill your weeds.

Your lawn probably has weeds and spring is going to be a time they are going to rapidly grow. Getting rid of them is important as many weeds will outcompete your grass if given the chance. There are thousands of herbicides available but you’ll need just a couple:
  1. An all-purpose. This will be what you will use on most of your broadleaf weeds like dandelions and plantains. Bayer Advanced makes a product that is effective and available basically everywhere. Compare-n-Save makes an incredibly cheap version that works about as well. SpeedZone is a step up, a “higher power” product used by many professionals, but is not something I would recommend if you have never sprayed weeds before as over-spraying it can do serious damage.
  2. Something for clover. The above products will damage clover, but with the possible exception of SpeedZone, probably won’t knock it out. If you want to kill it - along with its “cousins,” oxalis and chickweed - you’ll need something that contains triclopyr. Your best option is the easy to find Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover, Oxalis Killer.
  3. Specialty items for grassy weeds and other hard to kill items. A favorite of this sub, Tenacity works great on things like crabgrass, annual bluegrass, nimblewill, and yellow nutsedge. Quinclorac also works on crabgrass but if you put down a pre-emergent (Step #6) you shouldn’t have much to deal with. I’d hold off on buying either of these until you see if you actually need them.
A few details to note regarding herbicides:
How to spray weeds: This video from the Lawn Care Nut covers the basics of spot spraying. A few additional points that Allyn didn’t cover: Avoid watering or mowing for at least 24 hours after spraying. The point is to let the herbicide get absorbed into the weed and work its way through it. Washing the herbicide off with water or cutting the sprayed parts off with a mower will obviously hinder that effort.

Step #10 - Treat your lawn for grubs (if they are an issue in your neighborhood) and, if needed, treat for other insects.

Grubs are the larvae of beetles, to the untrained eye they look almost like little white shrimp. They commonly feed on the roots of grass plants and in doing so can devastate a lawn. Grubs are not present in every lawn or even in every neighborhood. I obviously can’t tell you if they are present in yours. You can ask around in your local garden center or chat with a neighbor who is into lawncare and see if he or she is treating for them. If you think grubs might be an issue for you, I suggest a two-pronged attack:

Summer:

Cool season grass has the name it does for a good reason: it thrives during the cooler days of spring and fall. And it struggles in summer, at least in any place where daytime highs exceed 85°F with any regularity. Thus, the proper approach to summer is to hang on, keep the grass healthy and prepare for fall when it can be at its best again.

Step #11 - Mow your lawn!

While I put this step in this section as it is most relevant to summer, make no mistake about it, you should begin mowing as soon as your grass beings growing in the spring. A few tips to help you along:

Step #12 - Water effectively.

If you live in a cooler, rainier place you might be able to get away without watering much in the spring but virtually everyone is going to have to water in the summer. Here are some tips to water effectively:

Step #13 - Prevent fungal diseases if you live in an area where they might strike.

While humans and animals are most often stricken with viral or bacterial diseases, these almost never occur in cool season grasses grown for home lawns. What do occur are fungal diseases. Fungi, as you might have learned in high school science, are a separate kingdom of organisms apart from plants, animals and other tiny things. Fungi that affect lawns require two things in order to grow: heat and humidity. If you have conditions where the temperature (in degrees Fahrenheit) and the percent humidity added together equal 150 or higher, you are at risk for disease. Things you can do to lower your risk include:

Step #14 - Plan for fall.

Fall is the optimal time to seed cool season lawns. If your lawn is thin, you’ll want to overseed it. The best time for this is when your soil temperatures fall to about 70°F. (To find out when this is use the tool linked to in Step #6). If you didn’t aerate in the spring, doing so in the fall - and then seeding - is generally a good idea. Spend some time figuring out what type of seed to plant, what type of starter fertilizer you are going to use, how you are going to control weeds and how you will handle watering. The more detailed your plan going into fall, the better your chances for success.

Plan Review:

NOW
WHEN SOIL TEMPERATURES APPROACH 55°F:
TWO TO THREE WEEKS LATER:
WHEN SOIL TEMPERATURES APPROACH 70°F:
THREE WEEKS AFTER FIRST FERTILIZER APPLICATION:
THROUGHOUT SUMMER:
submitted by wino_tim to lawncare [link] [comments]

The Comprehensive Case for Joe Biden

I originally wrote this prior to the Iowa Caucus to help me decide between two candidates. I wanted to do a series focusing solely on the positive, qualifying attributes of each person and there was no better place to begin than the long-time frontrunner, Vice President Joe Biden. The recent revival of his campaign along with endorsements from Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and former Representative Beto O’Rourke have brought a lot of new people into the fold and I thought it would be good for everyone to get to know Joe better. With his long career of public service and many accomplishments, it would be an act of futility to document it piece by piece, and hope my words end before people’s attention span, so I wanted to focus on the larger trends with every stop Biden made.
Biden began his career as a Public Defender in the Delaware public defender’s office. He reportedly gave up more lucrative opportunities for humble beginnings, but he never regretted it, having already done a stint at a prominent law firm where he sympathized with the opposing plaintiff, a welder who was injured on the job. The experience soured him on the idea of private practice and drew him to protecting the little guy. One longtime NAACP activist in Delaware described his tenure as, “[Biden] would take the case for black folks, for poor whites. He was a hero to the black community when it came to the public defender.”
He next won a race to a seat on Delaware’s New Castle County Council where most of his public record began, including controversial statements on student busing that have dominated news coverage of his time here. Less covered has been his experience connecting with his black constituents and fighting for issues that affected them the most. Biden supported a bill that would have banned the practice of redlining and he championed public housing that was widely opposed by his white constituents
After dislodging long-time Republican Senator, Caleb Boggs, when Biden was given no chance of winning, on a platform of ending the Vietnam War, protecting the environment, civil rights, and change, tragedy struck. While Christmas Shopping, his wife’s car was struck by a truck, killing her and Biden’s infant daughter. Instead of spending Christmas at home with his family, Biden was at the hospital mourning his dead wife and infant daughter, and watching over his two young sons who were injured in the crash. Biden thought about resigning right there, but instead chose to make the two hour Amtrak journey back home to Delaware every night to make sure his sons would never lack for time with him.
Once in the Senate, many of Biden’s first attempts at Bills and Amendments were focused on consumer protection, public infrastructure, and environmental protection. These included:
S.3838 - Debt Collection Practices Act which prohibits debt collectors from harassing or intimidating consumers in connection with the collection or attempted collection of any alleged debt arising from a consumer credit transaction.
S.1961 - Consumer Leasing Act which assures a meaningful disclosure of the terms of leases of personal property so as to enable the lessee to compare more readily the various lease and credit terms available to him, to limit balloon payments, and to assure meaningful and accurate disclosures of lease terms in advertisements.
S.2908 - A bill to establish a mass transportation trust fund and to amend the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964 in order to assure adequate local transportation service.
S.3791 - A bill to amend the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965 in order to assist industry and employees in complying with environmental protection programs.
S.1927 - Equal Credit Opportunity Act Amendments. Prohibits creditors from discriminating against consumer applicants for credit on the basis of age, race, sex, religion, national origin, political affiliation, receipt of public assistance benefits, or the exercise of rights under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act or any other provision of law. Requires creditors to give each consumer applicant a statement of reasons for credit denial or termination.
S.2883 - Fair Credit Reporting Act Amendments. Provides that if an investigative consumer report contains information which may be adverse to the consumer to whom it relates, a consumer reporting agency may not furnish that report to any third party for employment purposes.
Biden soon turned his focus to Foreign Affairs where he carved out a reputation as someone who had faith in diplomacy and de-escalation, but was prepared to defend the peace with American force if necessary. Much of his early career was dedicated to Arms Control including pressuring the Reagan Administration to adhere to the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty with the Soviet Union and decrease the number of nuclear warheads. He followed up with being one of the first US Senators to urge for American intervention to stop the Serbian ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia, and advocated for sending Bosnian Muslims weapons and supporting them with NATO air power. At first both HW Bush and Bill Clinton resisted, but eventually Clinton adopted Biden’s strategy as policy which led to a successful NATO peacekeeping effort. America’s actions are believed to have saved hundreds of thousands of Bosnian Muslims from death, unlawful imprisonment, and displacement from their homes. History later repeated itself with Serbian efforts at ethnic cleansing in Kosovo of its Albanian population, where again, Biden supported the NATO bombing campaign to force Serbian troops to retreat and later backed Kosovo’s independence from Serbia despite protests from Russia. Even with the Iraq War vote that Biden describes as one of his worst mistakes, he lobbied the Bush Administration intensively and drafted resolution to emphasize the need for diplomatic efforts to dismantle Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, not toppling Saddam.
One of the disadvantages of having a long career is that society shifts, your views change with the times for the better, but your former words and actions are written in stone. This is where Joe Biden has received the most criticism, but his three seminal accomplishments in the Senate need another examination. In 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act or better known as the 1994 Crime Bill was passed with bipartisan support. Elements of the Bill have aged terribly including clauses that escalated the War on Drugs, instituted three-strikes provisions for repeat offender, and made it harder for convicts to re-integrate into society. If you asked Biden today, he would probably be the first to admit that there were terrible mistakes made in the Crime Bill, but he’ll never apologize for his two main contributions to it; The Violence Against Women Act and the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.
The Assault Weapons Ban prohibited the manufacture or sale for civilian use of certain semi-automatic weapons. The act also banned magazines that could accommodate 10 rounds or more. The ban had a Sunset provision in 2004, and Republicans have blocked all major attempts at gun control since. It’s difficult to argue a counterfactual, but what’s not a coincidence is that the worst instances of gun violence in America since 2004 have frequently utilized the same kind of weapons that were once restricted by the ban.
The Violence Against Women Act was a gamechanger in ways that younger audiences who lack context and experience cannot understand. Before VAWA became law, domestic violence and marital rape were not considered to be heinous cases worth investigating and prosecuting by the law, but mere family matters. Biden made sure that VAWA was modeled on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and stipulated that gender biased crimes violate a woman’s civil rights. Pre-VAWA, only half of states required arrest when a domestic dispute turned violent, but Biden made it into Federal Law. There were a range of legal remedies put in to protect women including requiring state to respect protection orders from other states, Federal prosecution of domestic violence that crossed state lines, funding domestic violence crisis centers, and grants to education programs to get judges up to date on gender motivated crimes. The overall rate of intimate-partner violence dropped 64% from 1993 to 2010 according to DoJ statistics and many experts credit VAWA for its contribution.
Biden’s 2005 Bankruptcy Bill was probably the most morally opaque of his major legislative accomplishments and has been a constant source of tension with Senator Warren who was on the other side of the debate as a private citizen at the time. I covered Warren’s view of the Bill in my other comprehensive case post, but Biden regarded it as a consumer-oriented bill to reduce costs for everyone. He saw it as a Bill that would prevent people who had the ability to repay debts, from declaring bankruptcy and passing the costs onto creditors and nonbankrupt consumers. While Biden’s vision of bankruptcy is not one that most contemporary experts share anymore, Biden made sure that the legislation would protect low-income households and favor the interests of divorced mothers and their children. This winds back to a consistent trend in his career, where Biden seems to know that the passage of time may not be kind of his legislation, but he will always hedge and put in clauses to look out for the little people in society.
His tenure as Vice President has been very well documented through books, articles, and even memes, so I won’t spend as much time on the details and opt for broad strokes instead. Even contemporary sources described Biden as one of the most influential and active vice-presidents in history, for a very successful Administration. He served as Obama’s legislative point man and closest counselor on a number of issues. According to Austan Goolsbee, Biden pushed an indecisive Obama to embrace Paul Volcker’s idea regarding reducing the risk banks took on their balance sheets. He was one of the stronger advocates for the successful bailout of the Big Three auto companies and helped save American manufacturing. Joe Biden successfully flipped Arlen Specter which made all of Obama’s legislative goals possible. And when it came to foreign policy, Biden played an outsized role as well and was the President’s direct representative on a number of priorities including a feeling out mission for then incoming Party Chief, Xi Jinping. Biden knew his role and was nothing but loyal to his Office and Constitutional vow, while knowing when to prod and push the President. When Obama was seemingly dragging his feet on publicly supporting Gay Marriage, Biden was happy to serve as his guiding star and blow up years of careful messaging and triangulation, and God Bless him for that.
To the present day. In going through Joe Biden’s policy proposals, it should strike you that this is a man who knows the power of the Office of President, but also respects its limitations. I recommend you read through his many proposals, but I’m going to center on his climate change action plan. Despite his public proclamations about bipartisanship, getting buy-in from Republicans, and going back to the good old days of the Senate, his Climate Change plan shows the pragmatic side of Biden. He knows there will be legislative deadlock, so he has put much of his focus on using Executive Branch authority to require more aggressive pollution limits, shifting the Federal Government procurement system (worth over $500 billion a year) to drive innovation in the private sector, reducing the carbon footprint of the Federal Government, defending existing environmental protection law, and using often ignored tools like pro-density housing policy through HUD. He wants to revamp US foreign policy into one that rewards allies who are doing their part, punishes other countries who neglect their obligations to the planet, and pushes for stronger international climate agreements. This is a realistic plan for when idealism fails, which the US Senate is built to do.
To conclude, Biden has never been a man drawn to cynicism or mocking the person in the arena. Rather, he’s a throwback. The last of the era of American politicians who watched JFK give urgency to the idea of pursuing a national purpose-a great American Mission. A true believer in the boundless potential of America. Through personal and professional tragedies that would have taken down a lesser man, Biden’s faith never wavered.
submitted by Barebacking_Bernanke to neoliberal [link] [comments]

Covid-19 update Saturday 11th April

Good evening from the UK. The sun was out on what turned out to be a perfect day weather wise with temperatures soaring above our average of 15C to hit a giddy 23C (76F), just below the temperature threshold at which our print media seems to begin to call the weather a “heatwave”. Unfortunately, we need to continue to stay at home. How many will do so when faced with such pleasant (and rare) weather is unknown across a 4 day weekend; fingers crossed it’s as many as humanly possible.
Virus news in depth
‘I’m Sorry I Can’t Kiss You’—Coronavirus Victims Are Dying Alone - Her father was 83 years old, sweating and gasping for breath. Nancy Hopkins leaned down and rubbed his arm just before paramedics put him into an ambulance. “I’ll be with you every step of the way,” Ms. Hopkins promised him. That was as close as she would ever again get to her dad. When she arrived at the nearby hospital in Conway, S.C., that evening in mid-March, she learned she could not go in because of visitor restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic. She sat alone in her car in the hospital parking lot for hours, crying when she finally drove off. Her father, Robert McCord, a retired livestock dealer, was sick with the coronavirus and lay for 14 days in an isolation room on the top floor of Conway Medical Center. When he neared death on April 1, Ms. Hopkins said goodbye through a phone, placed in a plastic bag and held to his ear by a nurse. “It has been the biggest challenge of my life, knowing I couldn’t be there,” says Ms. Hopkins, who is 59 and a schoolteacher. “Because my father depended on me.” The Wall Street Journal offers some personal stories of the victims of the virus and the family they leave behind (not behind their paywall).

The role of the WHO is continuing to become more and more politically controversial - Today’s Guardian live blog (link below) says that Taiwan has accused the World Health Organization (WHO) of playing word games in a dispute over details it sought in an email querying if the new coronavirus could be transmitted between people. Taiwan is not a WHO member, because of objections from China, which claims the island as its own and deems it to have no right to membership of international bodies. Such an approach, Taiwan says, deprived it of timely information to fight the virus, and it accused the WHO of having ignored its communications early in the pandemic, which has infected 1.6 million people and killed 100,000 worldwide. Last month, Taiwan said it had received no reply from the WHO to a 31 December query for information on the outbreak in China’s central city of Wuhan, including whether it could be transmitted between people. The WHO has said the email it received made no mention of human-to-human transmission. In Taipei on Saturday, the health minister, Chen Shih-chung, quoted the text of the email written in English that the government sent to the WHO.

Will we all need to sign up to a digital tracking app to speed up the reopening of our countries? - There is increasing chatter on social media and in some parts of mainstream media about whether the general public in each country will need to sign up to some kind of tracking app (a system that’s in widespread use in China already says CNN). Andy Slavitt ran a poll asking whether people would sign up to it here; at time of writing it was 53.6% in favour with another 34% in favour with caveats and only 12.5% flatly rejecting it. Dr Farzard Mostashari, formally an Epidemiological Intelligence Service officer with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and also formally a national health IT coordinator has written a twitter thread where he says it’ll be feasible, usable and hopefully acceptable from a privacy stance - but it’ll only work if a large proportion of the population sign up to it. For now though, Apple and Google are teaming up to begin work on a solution.

Vox news: I’ve read the plans to reopen the US economy. They’re scary. - Vox news has written an article suggesting that the only options to reopen the economy all involve significant changes from societal norms. “Over the past few days, I’ve been reading the major plans for what comes after social distancing. You can read them, too. There’s one from the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, the left-leaning Center for American Progress, Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer. I thought, perhaps naively, that reading them would be a comfort — at least then I’d be able to imagine the path back to normal. But it wasn’t. In different ways, all these plans say the same thing: Even if you can imagine the herculean political, social, and economic changes necessary to manage our way through this crisis effectively, there is no normal for the foreseeable future. Until there’s a vaccine, the United States either needs economically ruinous levels of social distancing, a digital surveillance state of shocking size and scope, or a mass testing apparatus of even more shocking size and intrusiveness”. The article goes into more detail: “While similar efforts have borne fruit in Singapore and South Korea, the US is a very different country, with a more mistrustful, individualistic culture. Already, polling shows that 70 percent of Republicans, and 46 percent of Democrats, strongly oppose using cellphone data to enforce quarantine orders.” There’s more on the topic here: (link).

Virus news in brief


Source: Today’s Guardian live blog unless otherwise stated

















Supply chain news in depth


Two more significant companies in the US trucking and transportation field have implemented layoffs and furloughs - Freightwaves reports that Echo Global Logistics they had a “small reduction” in staff this week that constitutes less than 5% of the company’s workforce. “A large portion of these were furloughs and will come back as business conditions dictate,” (the CEO) wrote. Of those who were not furloughed but dismissed from the company, they were provided with severance, according to Waggoner. At less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier Saia, the President and Chief Operating Officer told FreightWaves in an email that the company “temporarily re-aligned some sales functions, which included a furloughing of a small number of sales personnel.” Saia has the “intention of bringing them back as business levels warrant.” No numbers on the size of the staff impacted was provided.

Supply chain news in brief

















Donations

Several asked if they can send me $/£/€ via Patreon (in some cases because I've saved them time or money, others for no reason at all). I don't need the cash (that's lovely though) but food bank charities are getting really hit hard with all this panic buying. Please consider giving whatever you'd have given me to a foodbank charity instead:
UK: https://www.trusselltrust.org/
France: https://www.banquealimentaire.org/
Germany: https://www.tafel.de/
Netherlands: https://www.voedselbankennederland.nl/steun-ons/steun-voedselbank-donatie/
Italy: https://www.bancoalimentare.it/it/node/1
Spain: https://www.fesbal.org/
Australia: https://www.foodbank.org.au/
Canada: https://www.foodbankscanada.ca/
USA: https://www.feedingamerica.org/
Thanks in advance for any donations you give. If there's foodbank charities in your country and it's not listed above, please suggest it and I will include it going forward.


-------
I ran out of time to also do the stats, sorry. No post tomorrow (Sunday), Monday's (if I manage to make time) is highly likely to be posted evening UK time. Apologies for any inconvenience caused to anyone.
submitted by Fwoggie2 to supplychain [link] [comments]

A serious discussion on AR500 and steel body armor

This is not a thread I wanted to make, but it is a long time coming. I have some issues with "calling out" people who appear to be committed to liberty and getting armor, gear and training in the hands of the people, but some pretty worrying things are happening in the armor industry and at AR500, such as the release of the "Militia helmet" (an objectively terrible design with numerous safety issues, I've already made a thread on that), the reduction of plate coverage to save weight (see the new "advanced lightweight shooter's cut" steel plates) and the continued refusal to receive NIJ certification for their steel body armor purely as a cost cutting measure even though other steel armor companies have actually done so.
I hope this thread will at least give some insight into body armor choices in 2020. All sources will be at the bottom of this post.
WHAT IS AR500?
That depends if you're asking about the steel, or the company. If you're asking about the former, AR500 steel is abrasion resistant steel, with a brinell hardness of 500. Abrasion resistant steel is highly desirable in situations where other types of steel fail due to wear and tear, and is often seen in dozer blades, truck bed liners, and in steel targets. It should be noted that while AR500 has been used as field expedient armor for vehicles, it is not the same thing as MIL-A-46100 AKA ballistic steel, a type of steel plate approved for use in armored vehicles by the DOD. In addition, the armor hardness varies around 10% per batch due to variation in the creation process, so the brinell hardness of the armor is actually between AR450 and 550 depending on the batch.
If you're asking about the company, AR500 was founded in June 2012, and shortly after, renamed to the Armored Republic, although it still retains the name "AR500". In a July 2019 interview with Ammoland, the CEO of the Armored Republic, Tyler O' Neal, stated that he began AR500 after he became concerned with the cost and availability of body armor- that is, that many companies would not sell to "civilians". Since then, AR500 has taken the body armor world by storm, with a massive marketing campaign, including positive testimonies and infomercials from big Youtube names such as FPS Russia (RIP) IraqVeteran8888, and DemolitionRanch. If one were to search "body armor" on google, most of the top responses are always AR500.
THE GOOD
To their credit, AR500 provides a product.
A. Price
AR500 can be quite cheap compared to its competition. An individual with just $140 in savings can acquire a Freeman plate carrier and two bare level 3 plates. In comparison, the cheapest known NIJ certified ceramic armor begins at this price point, per plate. Alternatives to common medical items are relatively inexpensive as well, and magazine pouches sold by AR500 are sometimes cheaper than US military surplus options, such as a $15 kangaroo pouch insert that carriers 3 STANAG magazines.
B. Accessibility
AR500 is only legally required to not sell armor to felons and those under the age of 18, as any other armor company. However, many armor companies still refuse sales to non-police buyers, or do so through distributors only. AR500 will sell their armor directly to almost anyone who can afford it. The same goes for their medical supplies, and yes, some companies refuse to sell medical items if the buyer lacks certain certifications.
C. Durability
Steel armor is simply durable. Although NIJ certification for body armor requires drop testing, extreme temperature exposure, exposure to liquids, regardless of armor composition (ceramic, kevlar, polyethylene, etc) steel armor is less affected by environmental factors.
THE UGLY
Oh boy.
A. Lack of NIJ Certification
The National Institute of Justice, or NIJ, provides a means of regulation on body armor sold to "civilians" and police alike. NIJ certification for armor is per plate model or vest model- and this process is extensive. In order to pass testing and become certified body armor, a company must submit up to 37 plates of each model for the process. It is not legally required to submit to NIJ certification to sell body armor, but it is highly recommended if you want informed consumers and police to buy it.
Then begins the extreme temperatures test (per shorta07 "Once testing begins, the plates are put in a chamber at 149 °F with 80% humidity for 10 days. After that they go in a thermal cycling test for 24HR that includes temperatures from 5 °F to 194 °F. A visual test will be performed after this to see if the adhesives have held up")
After this, there is a submersion test. Each plate is submerged underwater for about 30 minutes.
Then, while the plate is still wet, it is dropped - twice- from four feet.
After all this has been done, the plate is finally shot according to its threat level, which, for a level 3 plate, is six shots of M80 ball from a .308 rifle with an impact velocity of just under 2800 fps. All hard armor plates must not be penetrated in order to pass this test- this includes ceramic and polyethylene armors, which, according to fuddlore, cannot be shot more than once without failing.
Lastly, there is the backface deformation test. After being shot, the deformation- or bulging- on the back of the plate overall cannot be more than 44mm- or just under 2 inches- at its greatest point. This ensures that the user does not sustain serious injury if they are hit in the armor plate even if the round does not penetrate. If one is shot by a round inside of the NIJ threat level they may be bruised, but they will most certainly not die just because of internal injuries.
Oh, and to retain certification, the company must be willing to have NIJ inspectors randomly drop in to take several plates off the line and have them tested as well in FIT, or follow up inspection tests, just like the initial testing. If the plates fail, or are found to be made differently in any way than the certified plates, the certification is forfeited.
So what's the big deal about NIJ certification?
Absolutely none of AR500's soft armor or steel plate is NIJ certified. Not a single model.
To be fair, AR500 does sell exactly two plates which are NIJ certified- a polyethylene level 3 plate, and a level 4 ceramic. These listings are proudly displayed as "0101.06 NIJ certified" and are listed on the NIJ approved armor section. But none of their steel armors are certified.
B. Dishonest marketing and wording
"But wait!" You say as you browse the webstore. "It says right here 'Independently tested and rated to NIJ 0101.06 standards' on the listing! That means it's NIJ certified!"
Do you know what that means? Absolutely fucking nothing. When a company has achieved NIJ certification, they will proudly say so. Claiming "compliance to" or "rated to" a standard is meaningless weasel wording. If the NIJ has found an armor to be compliant with its standards the plate listing should read "0101.06 NIJ certified" (or 0101.07 NIJ Certified when the new standard drops hopefully this year)and is listed under the NIJ approved armor.
For reference, this is the NIJ "Compliant Products List". If the armor you're looking for doesn't show up it isn't certified. https://www.justnet.org/app/tims/CPLReport.aspx
AR500 steel offerings aren't certified, so they don't get that level of testing certified armor does. In fact, armor has been recalled in the past after end users shot the armor and found that it was not up to the standards Ar500 claimed, and entire batches- tens of thousands of plates- had to be recalled and replaced.
Because there is not outside regulation on AR500 steel armor, the "rating" of these steel plates, and whether one batch of armor works or one doesn't is COMPLETELY up to the manufacturer. Abrasion resistant steel was never intended to function as body armor, and the fact that it's only been done for the last eight years may be a reason as to why people who get shot for a living stick to anything else.
"But my favorite Youtuber shot this plate a bunch of times and it held up fine!"
This should be another point on its own, but it would take too long to break down. I'll make it quick. Not only are random Youtube tests not scientific (plates are frequently allowed to float freely, or are shot by non spec rifles and ammunition, such as 556 SBRs, or reduced velocity ammunition) they're often paid infomercials.
AR500 maintains an extremely good affiliate program. Whenever a product is sold, the person with the affiliate link (such as Demolition Ranch) gets 10% of the proceeds. If Sootch00 makes a video on Ar500, that receives a million views, and 50,000 people use his affiliate link in the video description to save 5% or whatever on their order, and buy $300 worth of gear and armor each, Sootch just made 1.5 MILLION dollars. The money is literally too good to pass up if you have that kind of reach and no qualms about selling a product you have issues with.
AR500 is just about the Raid: Shadow Legends of the armor industry- if a Guntube channel wants money, they're willing to provide it in exchange for a 5 minute torture test skewed heavily in their favor.
C. Poor protection against M193, M855A1 and any armor piercing rounds
In a 2015 video, Youtube personality and influencer FPS Russia shot an AR500 level 3 plate with a 556 "SBR" of unknown barrel length and with an unknown round. After seeing the plate apparently stop these rounds, many people believed that this meant the armor could stop 556 "period". https://youtu.be/nlwlKEeJ0vU?t=255
In fact, it has been revealed that steel armor has a serious weakness to high velocity or high hardness rounds, and is easily penetrated by rounds like the M193 55 grain ball ammunition, (the most common round for the AR-15 in America) the M855A1 62 grain steel penetrator round (the most common load for the US military) and any armor piercing round, including the 30-06 M2 AP.
Even before the FPS russia video, this was known. The Wound Channel, in a January 2015 video, showed AR500 armor being defeated by XM193 rounds fired from a 16" AR15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrWtgyFQ8LU&list=WL&index=6&t=0s
In response, AR500 does not even list 55 grain ammunition as something their basic level 3 armor protects against. Actually, the only 556 load they list is a 62 grain round at a mere 2600 fps. Instead, they state on their website, " Looking for protection against high velocity threats such as M193? Look into our level III+ body armor, which is special threated tested to M193 at velocities up to 3,100 feet per second."
The problem here is that while the Level 3+ "Lightweight" and Level 3+ plates are "rated to" 3000 and 3100 fps m193 ball respectively, these velocities are easily reached by 14.5" and 16" AR-15s respectively. 18" and 20" barrels could reach even higher- 3300 fps from a full length m16 is not unheard of. Inside of typical combat distances, this is not the armor to rely on to stop incoming 556 rounds.
M855A1 is another big killer of steel. Same with M80A1- the steel tipped 308 version of 855A1. EPR ammunition in general makes swiss cheese of steel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srHSAmgTnyc&
Finally, AR500 admits their armor offers no protection against AP rounds whatsoever. The classic M2 AP in 30-06 blows through it like a teenager at a stop sign. For this reason, they sell a level 4 ceramic plate- which is NIJ certified.
D. Spalling and bouncing projectiles
When shot, most body armor acts to prevent penetration of incoming rounds by "catching" the projectile. The science of the way this works is a little beyond me as I am not a big brained type, but Kevlar, polyethylene, and ceramic plates all work in this way: https://i.imgur.com/tToIZad.jpg.
Steel stands out as it does not "catch" the round. Instead, it "breaks" the incoming round through its hardness. This is why steel does not lose its claimed ballistic effectiveness as quickly as other material types does, but it has a major downside.
When the projectile breaks up, it has a significant chance of sending the remains of the shattered projectile up, around and parallel to the plate- potentially into the wearer's arms, neck, chin, legs, and... lap. This video, while an advertisement for poly armor, shows how serious this problem can be in slow motion. https://youtu.be/hzSqUB-Ielg?t=17. Hicock 45 also shows this problem with steel targets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GpKZzt29BM
Spalling is particularly insidious as the sharp pieces of copper or steel jacket from a broken up round can cause the wearer severe injury, and if it is disturbed by wound packing, can potentially slice an artery. (If you've ever been to a Stop The Bleed course, feel free to ask the instructor if he has any expanded projectiles and see how sharp those suckers are)
Armor companies claim to have solved this problem by applying a thin layer of truck bed liner to armor plates sold, (AR500 calls it PAXCON) and, for a significant upcharge, an extra thick coating of it. There are numerous problems here: The first of which being that this doesn't prevent bouncing projectiles. It isn't completely effective at stopping spall (https://files.catbox.moe/o7z5qj.jpeg, thanks to Revelation_3-9) and this thick layer of truck bed lining can fall off in chunks after taking an impact: https://youtu.be/HBhnOLwYOck?t=75 thus negating any "multi hit" advantage steel claims to have. Once the truck bed liner has been destroyed in a region, the wearer is now carrying what amounts to a bare steel plate. Finally, ethical concerns arise. If this coating is so important, why is it optional? And what about people who cannot afford it?
Bouncing projectiles are another serious matter. This video, made by AR500, shows a projectile bouncing directly off their AR500 militia helmet, upwards, where it could be a hazard to people around the shooter, or the shooter themselves, depending on the angle: https://youtu.be/9ChpcT_BH_s?t=104
Again: steel does not stop rounds by catching them. They shatter or re-direct them. I would not stand next to someone wearing a steel plate if rounds are incoming for more than one reason.
Oh, and if your steel plate is ever penetrated, not only will the penetrated section of armor get pushed into the wound by the bullet, you now have the deal with the metal protrusion that comes with twisted steel- potentially meaning you've got jagged pieces of metal interacting with a wound near a major artery or organ. Fun, fun, fun!
E. Weight
AR500 armor is ungodly heavy in Level 3+ format. It is only a quarter inch thick, yet for a 10x12 plate it is around 9 lbs per armor plate in the new reduced coverage "advanced shooter's cut" type. Oh, and it should be mentioned that that's the bare plate- AR500 doesn't mention how much the extra truck bed liner coat weighs.
Spartan Armor, however, does, and their exact same model of 10x12 plate gains a full POUND of weight per plate with the extra coating. This means that for front and back coverage- no side plates- the wearer is now carrying 20 lbs of armor alone, and in conjunction with AR500's already rather heavy plate carriers, the wearer is now carrying 23 lbs of gear just for front and back protection. In sharp contrast, a 3 lb plate carrier holding ESAPI level 3 ceramic body armor with ballistic inserts would weigh around 15 lbs, a savings significant enough that one could carry seven 30 round 556 magazines full of ammunition (a pound each) and the armor and still be carrying less weight than the AR500 loadout without ammo.
Want to add side plates, with coating? Congratulations. Each 6x6 armor plate weighs 2.7 lbs each, with an estimated weight of 3.5 lbs each with extra coating. You are now carrying 30 pounds of armor and carrier, and you still don't have ammo, water, food, medical, tools, comms, etc.
You could go with level 3+ light weight, which are a far more manageable 6.5 lbs each with coating. Oh, but the coverage on them is hilarious, and you're down to 3000 fps for 556 round protection.
You might also be wondering why AR500 has never produced a level 4 steel plate. A front and back plate set would weigh 30 lbs each with coated protection. (https://i.redd.it/pdoahtdm9r141.jpg)
F. Steel Armor is no longer as cost effective as it once was
Steel armor is not cheap. Not anymore it isn't. With the introduction of $130-200 ceramic, NIJ certified, Level 4 armor plates produced by reputable companies, $160 Level 3+, multicurve, and coated steel armor plates are worse in almost every single way. They're heavier, lack an NIJ cert, and have a risk of spalling. Any cheaper steel armor is either not effective against 556 or is missing spall coating.
G. Trauma Pads
For an additional $35 you can also purchase a 10x12 pad made of nylon to go behind your armor plates and do... something. They don't add ballistic protection and are intended to reduce the "trauma" of being hit.
The most likely explanation of this is that because AR500 plates aren't NIJ certified for backface deformation, the wearer may experience BFD significant enough to cause major internal injury, and the trauma pads are intended to alleviate this. But NIJ certified armor should do this automatically anyway...
H. Gear is cheaply made, legitimate medical items are overpriced, and most everything produced is made overseas
AR500 sells two types of gear and medical equipment: Questionably made, with imported labor and materials, at a low cost, and good stuff, like CAT tourniquets and HSGI mag pouches, at an extreme mark up, to encourage the buyer to purchase AR500 made gear.
Most of AR500's carriers and products- even their $235 "Invictus" plate carrier in multicam, a price extremely close to the MSRP of the Crye JPC 2.0, which is US made- are manufactured in Vietnam.
The mag pouches tend to be a little behind the curve- mostly using flap retention rather than adjustable, and the same goes for the holsters.
Medical items are depressing. Genuine CAT 7 tourniquets are $25 each from North American Rescue- AR500 sells them for $50 each. Instead, they assure you, you can buy a "SWAT-T" tourniquet, a tourniquet which has questionable origins and has never been approved for use in trauma care, for $20. Again, this is being done to persuade the buyer to select the cheaper options.
FINAL NOTES AND CONCLUSION
AR500 is not an ethically upright company. They do make a product, and they do produce it at a low cost for the basic option, but they massively upcharge for crucial extras, and options actually verified by the US government for ballistic protection and backface deformation can be even cheaper than a Level 3+ plate with extra spall liner. Their kit is backed by bro-science and paid Youtube "tests" rather than something approaching scientific investigation.
I won't shill for another option here. But just know that $130 NIJ certified, ceramic plates exist. They exist at $200, $300, $500... etc etc. Same with polyethylene. And Kevlar, if you don't need rifle protection. Steel is not an alternative to properly made ballistic armor. No one who pulls a trigger for a living wears it. It is not "different brands of cereal" it's the difference between a new car with safety equipment and inspections by all the regulatory agencies and one that asks you to spend an extra 120% on airbags (that spray pieces of metal into your face when a crash happens).
https://www.leecosteel.com/news/post/understanding-abrasion-resistant-steel-plate/
https://www.ammoland.com/2019/07/i-get-asked-a-lot-how-i-started-ar500-armo#axzz6BVkh6Q9u
https://www.reddit.com/tacticalgeacomments/eq34eb/why_would_i_want_nij_certified_hard_armor_and/
TL;DR AR500 is ass and there are $130-150 NIJ certified level 4 ceramic plates if you know where to look.
submitted by richardguy to tacticalgear [link] [comments]

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