Somebody should write a book on America's serial fixations with one type of dessert, and what each says about the periods of infatuation. The romance with frozen yogurt in the 1980s (think TCBY) gave way to a love affair with donuts in the 1990s (hello, Krispy Kreme), before the gourmet cupcakes in the 2000s. New York City's Magnolia Bakery is widely credited for firing up the last trend, thanks to a cameo in Sex and the City in the summer of 2000.
A year ago, The Wall Street Journal pronounced that "the gourmet-cupcake market is crashing," citing the financial travails of maybe the poster child of that market, Crumbs Bake Shop, another New York City-based purveyor of gourmet cupcakes that went public on the Nasdaq exchange in 2011. Like Krispy Kreme before it, Crumbs expanded too quickly, and its shares had fallen from $13 in mid-2011 to $1.70 by April 2013.
On Monday, Bloomberg Businessweek published what might be considered the gourmet cupcake market's obituary, focused on Crumbs. The high-end cupcakerie, which has closed 17 locations since last year, is now trying to reverse its fortunes by selling its high-priced cupcakes —which cost up to $4.50 a piece — and other baked goods in lowly supermarkets and club retailers like BJ's Wholesale.
What soured consumers on gourmet cupcakes? "It's a short-term trend and we're starting to see a real saturation," Chicago food industry analyst Darren Tristano told The Wall Street Journal a year ago. "Demand is flat. And quite frankly, people can bake cupcakes." (They can also brew their own coffee and make their own hamburgers, of course.) It seems that the high-end cupcake's moment has just come and gone. So what's the next craze?
The Cronut, obviously. And here's the epilogue: Crumbs is banking its future on a croissant-donut hybrid called the Crumbnut. The obvious knockoff of Dominique Ansel's fried croissant is "the last great thing that we put out there," Crumbs CEO Ed Slezak tells Businessweek. "We believe that trends in food can and should be enjoyed by all." Peter Weber
After lagging behind Wisconsin for the first half of the game, the Gators pulled ahead for much of the second half. A concerted comeback by the Badgers produced a tied game with just four seconds left on the overtime clock when Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes scored two points. The game seemed finished — until Florida's Chris Chiozza sprinted down the court to make a running 3-pointer just as the buzzer rang out in Madison Square Garden.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 25, 2017
U.S.-supported Iraqi forces paused their fight to retake the Islamic State-occupied portion of the city of Mosul on Saturday in response to concerns about a high civilian casualty rate. "The recent high death toll among civilians inside the Old City forced us to halt operations to review our plans," said a representative of the Iraqi troops. "It's a time for weighing new offensive plans and tactics. No combat operations are to go on."
At least 200 people were reportedly killed in a single U.S. coalition airstrike in Mosul, news a United Nations official in Iraq condemned as a "terrible loss of life." The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights counts an unconfirmed 700 civilian deaths attributable to coalition strikes and forces since the siege on the western half of the city began in mid-February.
A representative of the U.S. military said an investigation of the alleged casualties is underway, but cautioned the process "takes time ... especially when the date of the alleged strike is in question." Bonnie Kristian
Democrats could hardly contain their excitement after Republicans' health-care bill crashed and burned
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has declared Friday — the day House Republican leadership pulled the vote on the American Health Care Act — a "great day for our country." "It's a victory ... for the American people. For our seniors, for people with disabilities, for our children, for our veterans," Pelosi said in a press conference shortly after the House Republican leadership's announcement.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "Today is a great day for our country... it's a victory for the American people" https://t.co/HAq8bBO0fi
— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 24, 2017
Other Democrats were just as gleeful. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) similarly deemed Friday a "good day for the American people," while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he has "never seen an administration as incompetent as the one occupying the White House." "So much for the art of the deal," Schumer said, referring to President Trump's bestselling book.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez borrowed the words of former Vice President Joe Biden to describe the moment:
This was a rejection of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In the words of my friend @JoeBiden: This is a BFD.
— Tom Perez (@TomPerez) March 24, 2017
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) tweeted this sick burn:
Hey Republicans, don't worry, that burn is covered under the Affordable Care Act
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) March 24, 2017
Hillary Clinton also came out of the woods to celebrate, starting off with this tweet and continuing on with several more:
Today was a victory for all Americans. pic.twitter.com/LX6lzQXtBR
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) March 24, 2017
Trump on Friday blamed Democrats for Republicans' health-care bill's failure, deeming Pelosi and Schumer the real "losers" because now Democrats have to "own" ObamaCare, which he said is "exploding." Democrats were unfazed by that prospect: "We owned it yesterday and the day before and in November," Hoyer said. Becca Stanek
House Republican leadership pulled the American Health Care Act from the chamber floor Friday, after it became apparent it did not have the necessary party consensus to pass. The bill, which was drafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and backed by President Trump, was Republicans' first attempt at realizing their nearly decade-long promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
While former President Barack Obama was in office, Republican lawmakers repeatedly passed bills calling for the repeal of his signature Affordable Care Act, only to have the Democratic president veto that legislation when it arrived on his desk. With the government currently 100 percent controlled by the GOP, some reporters asked after the bill failed Friday why Republicans had been able to pass countless measures under Obama, but not one under a Republican president who might actually sign their bills into law — and Texas Rep. Joe Barton (R) offered a shockingly frank answer:
— Alice Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) March 24, 2017
President Trump declared Friday that the real reason the GOP plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare failed was because there were "no votes from the Democrats." "I think the losers are [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi and [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer, because now they own ObamaCare. They own it, 100 percent own it," Trump said, shortly after the planned vote on the American Health Care Act was called off by House Republican leadership. Trump said he was "a little surprised" by the House Freedom Caucus' refusal to support the GOP-backed bill, but insisted they were still his "friends."
Though Trump claimed "a lot of people don't realize how good" the GOP's health-care proposal was, he maintained that Republican leaders' decision Friday to pull the vote was "perhaps the best thing that could happen." "The best thing politically speaking is to let ObamaCare explode," Trump said, predicting Democrats will eventually "come to us."
Watch Trump's remarks below. Becca Stanek
— Bloomberg (@business) March 24, 2017
At a press conference Friday after GOP leadership canceled the vote on the American Health Care Act, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) admitted "doing big things is hard." "Moving from an opposition party to a governing party comes with growing pains," Ryan said. "Well, we're feeling those pains today."
Though Ryan conceded the House Freedom Caucus contributed to the GOP being short on votes, he laid the blame on the Republican Party as a whole. He noted the party will "need time to reflect" and consider what could've been done better.
Ryan said Republicans "came really close" but ultimately "came up short," explaining why he advised President Trump earlier Friday that "the best thing to do" would be to pull the bill. "ObamaCare is the law of the land," Ryan said. "It's going to remain the law of the land until it's replaced."
Speaker Ryan: “We're gonna be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it's gonna take us to replace" it. pic.twitter.com/1z8DrHNRbc
— ABC News (@ABC) March 24, 2017
House Democrats had the perfect GIF picked out and ready to go when House Republicans pulled the vote on the American Health Care Act on Friday afternoon. Within minutes of the announcement, the official account tweeted this out:
— House Democrats (@HouseDemocrats) March 24, 2017
Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Becca Stanek