January 22, 2018

President Trump has no permanent "drug czar" — the Office of National Drug Control Policy is being led by Acting Director Richard Baum, who has worked in the ONDCP since 1997. In a Jan. 3 memo, The Washington Post reports, Baum said his office "recognizes that we have lost a few talented staff members" and "the functions of the chief of staff will be picked up by me and the deputy chief of staff." The deputy chief of staff, the Post notes, is a 24-year-old named Taylor Weyeneth whose only other post-college experience was as a paid member of Trump's presidential campaign and volunteer during his presidential transition.

Weyeneth rose quickly through the ranks, in part because of the aforementioned vacancies, and aside from the questions of whether a recent college graduate with no real experience should be helping to make drug policy during a devastating opioid epidemic, the Post now reports that Weyeneth fudged his résumé. For example, he said that he had worked as a legal assistant at the New York law firm O'Dwyer & Bernstien during college for eight months longer than he really had — a discrepancy the FBI picked up, leading to a second, then a third résumé. And that job apparently did not end well.

Weyeneth was "discharged" in August 2015, partner Brian O'Dwyer told the Post. "We were very disappointed in what happened," he said, adding that he had hired Weyeneth in part because both men belonged to the same fraternity. O'Dwyer & Bernstien had trained Weyeneth in expectation that he would work there for a long while, O'Dwyer said, but Weyeneth "just didn't show."

After the Post's first report, the White House said Weyeneth would return to being White House liaison to the ONDCP, but as of this weekend, he has remained deputy chief of staff, the Post said. You can read more about his exaggerated résumé at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

March 17, 2016

Go to any social gathering in Brooklyn, the San Francisco area, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Austin, or any number of other cities favored by young professionals, and the topic invariably turns to the skyrocketing cost of housing. Typically, you are supposed to spend about 30 percent of your income on housing, financial experts say, but the typical solo renter between 22 and 34, paying the median U.S. apartment rent, spends 53 percent of income — and in San Francisco, where the median rent is about $4,500 a month, that slice of income jumps to 78 percent, according to Zillow. Venture capitalists have one solution, The Wall Street Journal reports: "adult dorms."

The idea is that young people moving to new cities will want a community they can simply move into, rather than scouring Craigslist for an apartment and/or roommate, and they will be willing to pay for a tiny room with shared kitchen and living spaces. That idea has attracted some pretty big money — WeWork Cos., which offers shared office space, recently secured more than $1.4 billion to kick off WeLive co-housing projects in lower Manhattan and suburban D.C. There is "insanely high consumer demand for reimagining how millennials live in urban environments," says Jason Stoffer, a partner at a firm, Maven, backing co-living startup Common.

"The risk," say Eliot Brown and Laura Kusisto at The Journal, "is that young workers will balk at paying the high prices the startups are counting on — upward of $1,800 a bed a month in some cases — to live in what is essentially an upscale college dorm or a retirement home for the young." Still, price aside, it isn't exactly a new idea. A century ago, new residents of big cities lived in boardinghouses or residential hotels. "Widening income gaps and the resurgence of the city create the market conditions for the rebirth of rooming houses," says Alan Durning at nonprofit think tank the Sightline Institute. "The way people have afforded to live in central cities is to have less space." Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Peter Weber

August 21, 2015

There is no serious "digital divide" between black, white, and Hispanic millennials in the U.S., according to a new Associated Press/NORC poll. In all, 64 percent of U.S. millennials — people age 18 to 34 — regularly read or watch news online, including 66 percent of African-Americans, 65 percent of whites, and 53 percent of Hispanics. Nearly all millennials have a smartphone, and half reported using a tablet, the poll found.

"What we've seen is millennials' similarities are much greater than the differences people thought that there were going to be," said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the Associated Press Institute. When it comes to online habits and access, he said, "we've created new common ground."

There are some differences, according to the survey: The most common online activity for black respondents was streaming music or TV/movies, versus using email for white millennials and keeping up with friends for Hispanic respondents. When it came to getting their news, the millennials said they rely heavily on Facebook: 57 percent get news from Facebook at least once a day, 81 percent at least once a week, and they often seek out non-traditional news sources. Traditional news sites get at least one bone, AP says: "Hispanics and African-Americans are just as likely as any millennials to have a paid news subscription." How likely is that? AP didn't say.

You can read more about the findings with The Associated Press. Peter Weber

May 15, 2015

The restaurant business would appear to have a lot of factors in its favor, according to a lay-of-the-land look at the industry by Jonathan Maze in trade publication Nation's Restaurant News. These include low gas prices, a growing economy, and rising consumer confidence.

Yet analysts project that restaurant traffic growth will remain "stagnant" in the years to come. How come? One reason is that millennials, many of whom came of age in the crucible of the recession, continue to eat at home. "They've gotten used to being at home," Bonnie Riggs, an industry analyst, told Maze. "A lot are cooking. They like it. Many say they love it."

Other factors include a shrinking middle class, rising take-out competition from convenience stores and groceries, and a shift from traditional chain restaurants toward healthy meals that are locally sourced. Ryu Spaeth

January 22, 2015

Forget Girls, Broad City, and every other show about millennials living in big cities. According to a new survey, 66 percent of millennials would rather live in the suburbs than in a city.

Millennials, a.k.a. those born in the 1980s and 1990s, are a key demographic for brokers. The Wall Street Journal reports that "one of the hottest debates among housing economists" is whether millennials want to live in big cities or if they'll eventually move to the suburbs.

A new survey released Wednesday by the National Association of Home Builders suggests that stereotypes about millennials in tiny, urban studio apartments may not be true. The group surveyed 1,506 people who were born after 1977 and found that most of them want to live in single-family suburban homes, even those who currently reside in the city.

The survey found that 66 percent of millennials want to live in the suburbs, 24 percent want to live in rural areas, and just 10 percent want to live in a city center. One of the primary reasons millennials indicated wanting to leave the city center was "to live in more space than they have now."

There is one caveat to the survey, though: It only included millennials who either bought a home within the last three years or plan to do so in the next three years. So those planning to continue renting may want to stay in urban centers. Meghan DeMaria

September 4, 2014

New research suggests that millennials are more skeptical of U.S. institutions, including the government and the media, than were previous generations.

The study, which will be published this month in the journal Psychological Science, found that young people's trust levels "hit an all-time low in 2012," according to The Associated Press. Jean Twenge, the study's lead author, suggests that events like mass shootings, the Great Recession, and sex scandals in the church may contribute to millennials' negative opinion of various institutions. The study looked at the country's General Social Survey and the University of Michigan's "Monitoring the Future" survey, which polls roughly 140,000 high school seniors each year.

In 2012, 16 percent of high school seniors surveyed agreed with the statement that "most people can be trusted." Eighteen percent of high school seniors agreed with the statement in the early 1990s, and roughly a third of high school seniors agreed with the statement in the mid-1970s.

In addition to the general statement about "most people," millennial approval of institutions, including Congress, the media, and various religious groups, decreased at a greater rate than in other generations, which the University of Georgia researchers attribute, at least in part, to the Sept. 11 attacks. From 2010 to 2012, only 22 percent of high school seniors thought Congress was doing a "good" or "very good" job, while 49 percent of high school seniors said the same from 2000 to 2002. Meghan DeMaria

May 1, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not a fan of your selfies. In candid remarks before an interview last week, Netanyahu was caught on camera railing against the culture of photographing every dang insignificant thing in one's life, asking a photo-snapping press, "What do you get out of all these photos?"

He went on, in remarks helpfully transcribed and translated by The Washington Post:

I don't get this new world. Everyone is taking pictures. When do they have time to live? They're taking pictures all the time. Everyone is taking pictures of each other. Only taking pictures, that's all they do. Taking pictures, pictures, pictures, pictures. Stop taking pictures: Live! [...] So I'm the only person here without all these electronic devices? And I'm a free man, and you're all slaves. You are slaves to your gadgets. [Washington Post]

Hear that, selfie-loving millennials? Netanyahu would never take a selfie. Ever.

(via Facebook / IsraeliPM)

Oh, never mind. Jon Terbush

March 9, 2014

Millennials are far less trusting of others than are older generations of Americans, and they're more likely to be religiously unaffiliated, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center on how America's favorite think piece-inspiring generation is "forging a distinctive path into adulthood."

Only 19 percent of millennials agree that "most people can be trusted," compared to 40 percent of baby boomers who say the same. Meanwhile, almost one in three millennials claim religious independence, while fully half call themselves political independents.

So what do millennials believe in? Selfies, and lots of them. Members of the digitally-savvy generation are more than twice as likely as members of any other age group to have shared a selfie, with 55 percent saying they'd done so in the past.

Meanwhile, the Silent Generation is apparently still trying to figure out just what in the heck "selfie" even means. Jon Terbush

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