Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy On Sunday, December 13, accept the invitation to step out of your shoes and into the hearts and lives of those in need. Bring or wear a pair of new or gently used shoes to donate and plan to go home barefoot. Shoes will be distributed to the attendees of Church in the Park and the families of Helping Hands. For information, contact Pastor Joe Halbert at (626) 351-2421.First Church of the Nazarene, 3700 East Sierra Madre Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 351-9631 or visit www.paznaz.org. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Community News Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyCitizen Service CenterPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes Community News 7 recommended0 commentsShareShareTweetSharePin it More Cool Stuff Top of the News HerbeautyYou Can’t Wear Just Anything If You’re The President’s DaughterHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty10 Female Celebs Women Love But Men Find UnattractiveHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty9 Gorgeous Looks That Have Been Classic Go-tos For DecadesHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyAmazing Sparks Of On-Screen Chemistry From The 90-sHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty9 Of The Best Metabolism-Boosting Foods For Weight LossHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty8 Easy Exotic Meals Anyone Can MakeHerbeautyHerbeauty Faith & Religion News PazNaz Barefoot Sunday Article and Image courtesy of FIRST CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE Published on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 | 7:33 pm First Heatwave Expected Next Week Subscribe Make a comment Business News Name (required) Mail (required) (not be published) Website Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS
Government AB 5 Survives Repeal, But Some Local Freelancers Are Hopeful Changes Could Be Coming Author of bill that limits freelancers promises ‘We’re Making Changes’ Published on Thursday, February 27, 2020 | 6:33 pm Top of the News 11 recommendedShareShareTweetSharePin it Get our daily Pasadena newspaper in your email box. Free.Get all the latest Pasadena news, more than 10 fresh stories daily, 7 days a week at 7 a.m. Pasadena Will Allow Vaccinated People to Go Without Masks in Most Settings Starting on Tuesday Subscribe Community News Make a comment faithfernandez More » ShareTweetShare on Google+Pin on PinterestSend with WhatsApp,Virtual Schools PasadenaHomes Solve Community/Gov/Pub SafetyPasadena Public WorksPasadena Water and PowerPASADENA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES CALENDARClick here for Movie Showtimes EVENTS & ENTERTAINMENT | FOOD & DRINK | THE ARTS | REAL ESTATE | HOME & GARDEN | WELLNESS | SOCIAL SCENE | GETAWAYS | PARENTS & KIDS Pasadena’s ‘626 Day’ Aims to Celebrate City, Boost Local Economy More Cool Stuff First Heatwave Expected Next Week Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Name (required) Mail (required) (not be published) Website Community News HerbeautyThese Are 15 Great Style Tips From Asian WomenHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyStop Eating Read Meat (Before It’s Too Late)HerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty9 Of The Best Family Friendly Dog BreedsHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyEverything You Need To Know About This Two-Hour ProcedureHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeautyCostume That Makes Actresses Beneath Practically UnrecognizableHerbeautyHerbeautyHerbeauty7 Tips To Rejuvenate Winter Dry, Chapped LipsHerbeautyHerbeauty California Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rockland), left, and AB-5 author Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).California Assembly Bill AB 5 stands firmly in place after a motion by Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R-Rockland), was voted down by the State Assembly Thursday morning, 50-15.The bill codifies into law a landmark Supreme Court of California case which ruled most freelancer workers are actually employees and must be classified as such, dramatically restricting who can qualify as an independent contractor.But the bill’s original author promised to make changes to the bill to protect some freelancers.“Having heard additional feedback from a variety of freelance writers, photographers and journalists, we are making changes to Assembly Bill 5 that accommodate their needs and still proved protections from misclassification,” said Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).Freelance journalist Kathryn Ross whose work has appeared in Pasadena Now and the Pasadena Weekly criticized the AB5 on Thursday.“The nature of my work has always been creative,” said Ross. “I’m a writer and author and often have to move around throughout the week to different appointments and gigs in different SoCal cities throughout the day that just wouldn’t be possible with an in-house position. Freelance writing helped me stay afloat throughout college and grad school by giving me a way to earn steady income while keeping a flexible schedule and it’s become a cornerstone of my career today. AB5 threatens my main source of income and puts me at a disadvantage with most companies simply because I live in California. I’m seriously concerned about how the law will change my work and daily life and I’m wary each time I get a new gig because I’m just not sure how long it’s going to last. It’s really thrown a wrench in my sense of job security.”Kiley and Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Murrieta) co-authored AB 1928 as an urgency measure that would have returned the legal standard of what independent contracting was before AB 5 was enacted at the beginning of the year.The duo felt that the State Legislature should suspend the changes that were made until there were further considerations made.Kiley’s motion was largely rejected because of procedural issues and Gonzales suddenly announced that there were going to be changes made to AB 5 that she felt would make the bill more palatable by those affected.After the vote squashed Kiley’s motion to repeal AB 5, Assemblywoman Gonzales took to Twitter to further express her feelings.“When we passed #AB 5 last year, we acknowledged our work to provide clarity following the #Dynamex decision wasn’t done. After more than a year of meetings, fact-findings and discussions with freelance writers and journalists, we’re making changes…”Soon after the vote, Assemblyman Kiley spoke to the press about his disappointment with the motion’s defeat.“The Assembly consciously chose to keep enforcing a law that everyone, including the author, acknowledges has major problems and is destroying people’s lives. I’ve never been more ashamed of this legislative body.” Business News Home of the Week: Unique Pasadena Home Located on Madeline Drive, Pasadena
Press Association United supporters once again vented their anger towards Van Gaal after watching their team put on yet another dull, uninspiring performance at Old Trafford. Boos rang out around Old Trafford at half-time and following the final whistle as Saints recorded only their second win at United’s home since 1988, but also their second in 13 months. Charlie Austin scored the winner with his first touch in a Southampton shirt to pile the pressure on beleaguered Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal. There was no doubting who the home supporters blamed for this latest insipid display. Van Gaal was jeered at as he walked down the tunnel. The message was clear – he is no longer wanted by some of them. United’s fans had every right to feel let down by the United manager. This was dour stuff from United, possibly the worst performance of what has been a forgettable season. And they are now five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with 15 matches to go. United too often shifted the ball sideways and backwards, which caused groans from the home supporters. And when Austin rose unmarked to power in James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick in the 87th minute, it came as no surprise. United offered next to nothing in front of goal. Fraser Forster had one save to make all match. Van Gaal claimed in his programme notes that United had started 2016 “well”, but the home fans who were put through yet another dreadful 45 minutes must have disagreed. Yes, results had improved recently, but the style of play has not. United were often ponderous in possession and seemed too nervous to pass forward. Daley Blind provided Forster with his only test of the opening 45 minutes, but the England goalkeeper had little trouble collecting the Dutchman’s long-range shot. Wayne Rooney dragged a shot wide and Anthony Martial tried to chase a short backpass from Virgil van Dijk, but otherwise there was little optimism from the home supporters. Those who left their seats for their half-time refreshments just after the half hour mark missed the best chance of the half. It went to Southampton, who should have taken the lead when Dusan Tadic played a one-two with Sadio Mane but the striker’s touch let him down and David de Gea collected. Boos rang out when United pumped the ball forward twice in quick succession and more jeers came when the half-time whistle sounded. Cheers greeted the announcement that the blundering Marouane Fellaini, who had earlier caught Victor Wanyama with his forearm while jumping, was to be replaced by Juan Mata. The Spaniard injected purpose and energy into United’s attacks. Mata laid the ball off to Martial inside the box, but Van Dijk put in a well-timed interception to deny the Frenchman. Saints rose to the challenge, launching an assault on the United defence around the hour. Wanyama and Long went close with headers from inside the box. Van Gaal was forced into an unwanted substitution when Matteo Darmian, the club’s only fit senior full-back, was replaced by Paddy McNair after being caught in the ribs by Long while jumping for the ball. Austin came on for his Saints debut with 12 minutes to go. His strike partner Long wasted a good chance by heading over James Ward-Prowse’s cross. Austin did not pass on his opportunity, however. The £4million signing lost his marker and powered in Ward-Prowse’s free-kick before Van Gaal walked down the touchline to boos and whistles from the home fans. TWEET OF THE MATCH “7 wins in 22 for #mufc now all comps. 5 PL wins in 16. Every forward step followed by two backwards. How much longer can LvG cling on?” – Sport Journalist Adam Crafton (@AdamCrafton_) questions how long Louis van Gaal can keep his job at Old Trafford. RATINGS MANCHESTER UNITED David de Gea: 6 (out of 10) Cameron Borthwick-Jackson: 5 Chris Smalling: 6 Daley Blind: 5 Matteo Darmian: 6 Morgan Schneiderlin: 5 Marouane Fellaini: 5 Jesse Lingard: 6 Ander Herrera: 6 Anthony Martial: 5 Wayne Rooney: 5 Subs: Juan Mata: 6 Paddy McNair: 5 Adnan Januzaj: 5 SOUTHAMPTON: Fraser Forster: 6 Cedric Soares: 6 Jose Fonte: 7 Virgil van Dijk: 7 Ryan Bertrand: 7 Matt Targett: 6 Jordy Clasie: 7 Dusan Tadic: 6 Victor Wanyama: 7 Sadio Mane: 7 Shane Long: 6 Subs: Oriol Romeu: 6 James Ward-Prowse: 6 Charlie Austin: 7 STAR PLAYER Ryan Bertrand. The England international – who is currently being linked with United – was one of several Southampton defenders to put in a solid shift. Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk also impressed. MOMENT OF THE MATCH Charlie Austin’s goal. Eight minutes after coming off the bench, Southampton’s new striker marked his debut with the first thing even approaching clinical finishing the game had seen as he nodded in fellow substitute James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick. VIEW FROM THE BENCH After a more encouraging performance attack-wise against Newcastle and good result at Liverpool, Louis van Gaal was looking for a combination of the two from his team here. But he saw them deliver neither, United producing another home display devoid of creative spark and condemned to defeat by Austin’s late header. Van Gaal’s counterpart and fellow Dutchman Ronald Koeman will be delighted with a sturdy, patient effort from Southampton that was rewarded with all three points after the new frontman was thrown on. MOAN OF THE MATCH There had been signs of late that things were starting to pick up for Van Gaal’s side, but this was another performance to leave United fans wondering what direction their club is heading in. The Red Devils seem incapable of building any momentum at the moment and the players appear to be hampered by nerves at their own stadium. NEXT UP Derby County v Manchester United, FA Cup fourth round, Friday 29 January. Arsenal v Southampton, Barclays Premier League, Tuesday 2 February
Test your knowledge by seeing how many of these five Chelsea-related questions you can answer correctly.[wp-simple-survey-101] 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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd PLAY LIST 02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort She allows the photo op despite appearing uncomfortable, and simply moves aside when he tries to put his arm around her without asking permission. I’d like to thank everyone who has been sending me love & positivity. I really appreciate the support & understanding 🙏🏼— Dennise Lazaro (@denniselazaro) November 5, 2017 Comments on Facebook have labeled the volleyball star as “suplada” (snobbish) for her behavior. Others have also defended Lazaro, saying that fans should respect public personalities. Lazaro has since addressed the comments on Twitter. “There are certain situations that make a person feel uncomfortable like when random people invade one’s personal space,” she wrote. “To me personal space is something I highly value.”ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LATEST STORIES Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Read Next PVL organizers call Soltones’ PSL ban ‘absurd, uncalled for’ Cocolife teammate Michele Gumabao also came to Lazaro’s defense.Reading tweets about den! One upset fan posts & everybody forgets she smiled for 200 plus people in the meet & greet we just came from! Gosh— Michele I. Gumabao (@gumabaomichele) November 4, 2017She observed, “One upset fan posts and everybody forgets she smiled for 200 plus people in the meet and greet we just came from!” /raRELATED STORIES:SEA Games 7: Things to watch out for with PH women’s volleyball teamBest, brightest make nat’l team MOST READ Volleyball player Denden Lazaro has been tagged as having an “attitude” because she didn’t allow a man to put his arm around her for a picture.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIn the video taken in Bacolod, a stranger, censored with an emoji, ambushes Lazaro for a picture.ADVERTISEMENT CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA View comments Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. And to me personal space is something I highly value.— Dennise Lazaro (@denniselazaro) November 5, 2017She apologized to those “offended with my action” and added, “But I don’t apologize for being me.”I apologize if I offended anybody with my action. But i don’t apologize for being me.— Dennise Lazaro (@denniselazaro) November 5, 2017
Ben Hirsch’s incredible journey from Clifton Hill to Getafeby Chris Sermeno11 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveIt’s game day, and you’re dressed from head to toe in team apparel, thinking of the game that lies ahead… The team bus is pulling into the stadium while crowds of fans mob the entrance, clamouring over each other with cameras and phones in hope of catching a glimpse of their idols through the windows. After a briefing in the change rooms, you lace up your brand new, personalised boots and take to the lush green pitch with your teammates, standing side by side while the adoring public chants and cheers, the spotlights flood the stadium with a brilliant white light for the game that awaits.What would it be like to be a world class footballer? We dream of what we would do with the money, the fame, the global outreach and the millions of adoring fans.While football is enjoyed by millions across the world, few really understand the hard work, career deciding choices and life altering sacrifices that’s required to make it to the professional scene. Australian footballer Ben Hirsch experienced the tough side of football that many of us don’t see. His stories from the humble suburbs of Melbourne to the cutthroat nature of the Spanish system has changed my views of becoming a professional footballer.-I was lucky enough to sit with Ben Hirsh for nearly two hours talking all things football. Apart from being a humble person, his insight and experience was rather unique, and relatable for a lot of young footballers.Ben was a reserved teen playing for Clifton Hill in the lower state tiers of Australian football. Granted, it’s better than your average Sunday league, but hardly of substance for those wanting to make huge leaps and bounds in the world of football. Ben was playing as a reliable left back for his side when he was scouted to train and play at a football academy in Madrid. As with any young player, a move to Europe for football sounds like a dream. In Ben’s case, the dream wouldn’t wait, he was asked to board a plane just a few days later.The two years that would follow had it all, the facilities, the first team treatment, the nerves and challenges of experiencing a new country that he wasn’t familiar with, injuries, and everything you can possibly imagine with being a pro footballer. His introduction to Spain was, in true Spanish fashion, rather direct and blunt. His chauffeur had nothing to go by but a picture of Ben, and they were unable to communicate due to the language barrier. His nerves were high as the driver took him to meet his agent.”Ready to train?”Sure enough, straight off a long flight to Madrid, an unfamiliar cab ride and he was still expected to come dressed to his first training session. There was no sympathy for jet lag, or culture shock. As an aspiring athlete you aren’t afforded such luxuries as a break like the international players.Ben recalls fond memories of his time at the academy, where his teammates welcomed him as one of their own. The share housing filled with aspiring footballers from around the world and local footballers trying to work their way up the Spanish system.”A few of them spoke English so I got to know them pretty well. It was like a family, we’d train together, eat together, live together. Everyone was always on the path for the same goal, to become a professional footballer and we all encouraged each other to keep playing our best and striving for more.”Language was one of the first barriers to overcome. Having come straight from Australia, Ben had no time to pick up any lessons or study beforehand, and it was lucky for him that some of his academy mates were able to converse with him, and make life a little more welcoming for the Aussie expat. The academy held a unique element of unity, which is something Ben was grateful for. Having been baptised in a myriad of uncertainty and unfamiliarity, his teammates were all very understanding of Ben’s disposition. Fortunately, private tutoring helped him to pick up the language and he was able to adapt to his surroundings a little more.I shifted the conversation slightly, and asked Ben “¿Todavía entiendes español?” (Do you still understand Spanish?)As it turns out his Spanish is still very good, we had a short exchange in another language. It’s almost funny how language, like sport, has the power to unite people.On the tactical side of things, Ben needed some time to adjust to the Spanish way of football. Stylistically, it flows much quicker, players are required to control the ball the same way in any scenario. The pace is highlighted by the understanding of both the system that was implemented and the players to execute the plan, regardless of their position or physical ability. “I felt like a fish out of water, at first not knowing much Spanish, then having to try and fit into a new team culture and system. “It took me a while to get used to, training up to 5 times a week doing tactics, drills, running and game play all on different days, as well as match days. There was no resting, or time to absorb the local culture when I first got there.”His teammates and opposition came from reaches around the world, however Ben humbly expressed how well he performed against some players that had taken to the international stage. “There were some internationally capped players, one in particular from the Republic of Congo who had a lot of fanfare about him. I marked on him for a game, and I almost had a laugh to myself about how this kid from Clifton Hill was playing against an international youngster, and did a pretty damn good job too.”Ben’s time with the academy was slowly coming to an end, and he was under the impression he would be jetting back to Australia with some overseas experience under his belt. As football takes its twists and turns, it was around the same time former Copa del Rey runners up Getafe CF came knocking.His parents joined him in Madrid for a few days, unbeknownst to all that he was about to be offered a 2 year contract with the La Liga outfit that same week. He signed a 2 year senior contract on the day of his late uncle’s birthday, which struck an emotional chord for him as his uncle was a passionate sports fan.”It felt like a dream, I had my parents in Spain with me, I got a shirt with my name on it, I couldn’t really believe this was happening for me. It felt like such a huge shift from the state leagues in Victoria to be training in Spain, then signing for Getafe.”From his academy and his roommates, he was thrust into his first professional environment at Getafe. He details the things that made it feel like the dream had become reality.”It’s the things like walking through the change room, getting treated by first team medical staff, stuff like that which makes you feel like you’re a part of something big.”We trained on top of the hill at the training grounds, and down below you could often see the first team training. Sometimes we’d be lucky to finish early and watch them train, and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. “They’d come up to us later, knowing we were the reserves and take time to say hello and get to know us a little bit.”As most footballing careers sound dreamy, this is where the hard yards kicked in for Ben.Unlike his time at the academy, Getafe is a professional outfit and the expectations were much higher. In terms of the team chemistry, Ben recalls it being a much harsher environment than his academy teammates. “It was much harsher. They weren’t exclusive or anything, but there’s this element of competition for places because for these guys, it was their career they’d worked hard for, or it was their means of making a living. They weren’t going to give up their spot without a fight.”As for many La Liga sides, their reserves play in lower tiers of the Spanish football pyramid. Ben tried as he might to get into the first team but stumbling blocks along the way slowly dissolved his love for the game. The difference in the culture and environment was easily the biggest difference, despite the academy and Getafe both being based in Madrid. The weight of expectation slowly began to play on his mental health. He credits his relationship at the time being one of the stable elements of his life during his footballing career. “This is the main reason I wanted to get my story out there. I didn’t realise until later on how much this was playing on my mental health. I was anxious, had bouts of depression because week in, week out you’re pouring in your blood, sweat and tears, only to find out you weren’t on the team sheet. But you’d do it all again the following week.”I played a few minutes in a game, maybe once a month if I was lucky. It was so tough, putting in all this effort for the chance to be involved. My girlfriend at the time was probably the best thing about my life. She was able to help me through some of the feelings and emotions I’d gone through, and if it wasn’t for her I probably would’ve had some sort of break down or gone home earlier, who knows.”It was an injury that lead to Ben questioning his future. A hamstring injury put him out for the better part of a few weeks, in which time he could finally relax and enjoy his surroundings, something he had lacked while living the tough life of a professional athlete. “The physio spoke English and she was really nice, it felt good getting treated by the first team doctors and being around the first team facilities. I wasn’t training for a while, so I got to go out and experience the city a little more.”I was wearing my Getafe tracksuit, and an older man saw me in the street, and he was thrilled to meet me. He asked how my leg was, said that I’ve got some talent and he can’t wait to see me play. It’s those sorts of moments that take away the hard yards a little bit and make you feel like a pro.”Ben made the most of his injury and took his first trip back home to Melbourne since leaving for the academy. Spending time in the unforgiving but glorious Australian summer, he realised what was most important to him, which was taking care of his mental health and spending time with his loved ones.”I simply couldn’t do that if I were to pursue being a footballer abroad. My mental health was suffering, and I didn’t realise until I’d spent time with family and realised what I was missing back home.”I went back to Madrid soon after and the manager agreed to let me go out on loan, but my mind was decided. I was ready to return home. My experiences were amazing, and I’m forever grateful for them, but evaluating what I truly believe to be best was to be back home.”After a long and arduous 2 years in Madrid, Ben finally returned to Melbourne. His life and career experiences have helped to shape him as a mentor as he manages Manningham’s under 16 side in the state leagues of Victoria, the same leagues he once played in at a similar age.”These days I love coaching and developing the next wave of players. Given my experience in Spain, I can play that big brother role for some of these younger guys, telling them what it takes to play in Europe and helping them to be the best they can be.”These days, Ben works in the family’s business of a winery, while continuing to manage and be involved in football at a coaching level. He hopes to one day move up in Victoria’s footballing world as a manager, but for now he’s content with life, and continues practicing his Spanish.Que viva la vida. TagsTransfersOpinionAbout the authorChris SermenoShare the loveHave your say
Brad Paisley College Gameday guest pickerBelieve it, college football fans – the 2015 season starts in just three days. That also means that Saturday morning, College GameDay will be back on our television screens. ESPN’s famed college football preview show will be broadcasting from Fort Worth, Texas, ahead of the Alabama vs. Wisconsin matchup. Monday, it was announced which celebrity would be joining the crew to make some predictions for the week.Country music star Brad Paisley will be doing some double duty for the event. He’ll be performing his new single “Country Nation” for the crowd and serving as the official celebrity guest picker.Paisley and Sam Ponder had an interesting Twitter conversation regarding the event, too. But no, she didn’t really convince him via social media. ESPN had already made the announcement via press release.Hey @BradPaisley got any plans on September 5th? Asking for a friend (or two)…— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) August 31, 2015Funny you ask, @Sam_Ponder… I was kinda hopin to hang with you and the @CollegeGameDay crew that day.— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) August 31, [email protected] consider this your official invite! Fort Worth, TX. Sundance Square 9am.— Sam Ponder (@sam_ponder) August 31, [email protected]_ponder Hell yeah. Guess I will see everyone on Sept 5th. Fired up for @CollegeGameDay.— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) August 31, 2015Paisley served as the guest picker for last year’s West Virginia vs. TCU contest. What do you think, college football fans? Is he the right choice to kick things off?
By Alex Daley, Chief Technology Investment StrategistLike it or hate it, prescription drugs are big business. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies of the world rake in billions of dollars per year in revenues and proportionately large numbers in profits. A large part of that power to make great profits comes from investing in proprietary intellectual property, i.e., brand-name drugs that the companies can patent and sell exclusively for a fixed period of time.When those patents expire, generic drugmakers are quick to bring out cheaper versions of the drugs. Without having absorbed all of the high research and development costs that the original manufacturers fronted, these generic drugs tend to be much cheaper and eat up a large portion of the market.Every year on average, a few billion dollars’ worth of brand-name drugs drop from patent protection and find themselves with generic competition. But 2012 is record setting. More of the most profitable drugs are coming out of patent protection than ever before, by a long shot.Better than $35 billion in annual sales is at risk. Nine blockbuster drugs account for the majority of those sales – over $27 billion – with blood-thinner Plavix leading the pack. Plavix raked in more than $7 billion last year for Bristol-Myers, but is expected to see its sales fall by half or more in 2012, thanks to generic competition. Antipsychotic Seroquel and asthma medicine Singulair follow with $4 and $3.5 billion in sales, respectively.The numbers would have been even higher if Pfizer had not won a high-stakes court battle against Teva last year, defending Viagra from generics until 2019 (that decision is still up for appeal, however).With 401(k)s and pension plans around the world heavily invested in pharmaceutical companies – and many individuals relying on the steady dividends and, until now, rock-solid valuations – this spells an entirely new risk for portfolios across the board. Many of the world’s largest drugmakers will see declines of 50% or more in their core revenues over the next few years, and that could spell significant trouble come earnings time.Leading the downward charge is Eli Lilly. In 2011, the company saw global sales of $21.5 billion. In 2012, $7.2 billion worth of its products face patent expiration, followed by another $8 billion worth over the next three years. This means that some 71% of Lilly’s total revenues will be pressured by generic competition. AstraZeneca, with $32 billion in annual revenue, also has more than 70% of its sales at risk over three years.Nor is this problem unique to one or two companies. Takeda will see 67% of its revenue at risk. Pfizer, 66%. Bayer, 63%. Johnson & Johnson, 58%. The list goes on and on.In a normal year, a few billion dollars in patent-protected drugs would be facing expiration, and the expectation would be for each company to have a rich pipeline of replacement drugs to fill the void created by those older therapies falling out of patent protection. This isn’t likely in 2012. Not only is the number of expirations large, but the big pharmaceutical companies have also seen a considerable decrease in their research and development throughput over the past decade.Where Is the Next Generation of Drugs?Casual observers of the pharma industry, upon seeing the data on the massive number of patent expirations on the horizon right now, could easily conclude that company executives have been asleep at the switch. Maybe they failed to invest in research and development. Maybe they took too much in profits out of the business.But it’s not that simple. A number of factors have conspired to create the shortfall. One of the most commonly cited factors among pharmaceutical executives is the rapid increase in recent years in the amount of time and money it takes to bring a new drug to market.With major lawsuits over the past few decades stemming from side effects of drugs like Accutane, Fen-Phen, and Vioxx resulting in multibillion-dollar settlements and fines, regulators have been feeling pressure for some time to increase the burden of proof that drugs are not just effective but also safe. The result is that the cost to bring the average drug to market has now soared to over $1 billion. And the length of time to market has been increased – by some estimates to as much as double what it once was. While costs and timelines vary greatly depending on the therapy and the disease targeted, it is clear to any industry observer that the bar is now higher.Pharmaceutical executives are quick to place the blame for this on the regulators. But they themselves must share some of it. In 2010 alone, at least a dozen pharmaceutical companies were successfully sued by the Department of Justice or state attorneys general and paid out of settlements in excess of $5 billion just for marketing drugs for “off-label” uses (i.e., when a drug is promoted to doctors to help cure a disease that regulators never explicitly allowed it to be marketed for; this is something that often arises organically after a drug has been readily available for some time and researchers have found other benefits). This kind of aggressive sales and marketing tactic has caused regulators to push back hard on drug companies, restricting labeling and rigorously enforcing prescription standards.Nor is tighter regulation the sole culprit. These “big pharma” companies also have themselves to blame for supporting largely unsuccessful research and development programs for too long and failing to hold their developers accountable. In the past three years nearly every major pharma company has had to significantly reorganize its research and development efforts, lay off large amounts of staff, shutter programs, and in some cases dramatically reinvent the way they approach R&D.The root of this big mess is that the science itself has changed, and the largest companies have failed to adapt.The Year of the Small GuyWith the advent of entire new fields of study – like genomics or nanomaterials – smaller, more nimble companies have raced to the forefront… for instance, Curis Inc. This drug developer has been a pioneer in the field of pathway inhibitors. These biological drugs interfere with the replication pathways that enable cancerous cells to grow out of control. Pathway inhibitor research was born out of both academia and large commercial R&D labs like those in the pharmaceutical companies. And many major pharmaceutical companies have researchers working in that area, looking for biological treatments for cancer. However, instead it was a small company – Curis – that was the first to successfully commercialize the technology.Companies like Curis have emerged due to a mass defection from both big pharma’s labs and academic institutions. Our understanding of biological medicine in particular has increased greatly over the last 20 years, and that has led to a seismic talent shift from larger R&D efforts to small commercial development.The reason is simple: incentive. As a researcher, you can strike proverbial gold with a valuable new approach, even if unproven, but you know it won’t happen if you’re lost inside a large organization. Better to concentrate solely on your narrower area of expertise, as the founder or early-stage member of a small private company with that specific focus. There are thousands of such biopharmaceutical startups in the United States alone, all of them aimed at producing drugs that serve a large – or even a small but now underserved – market. With a potential payoff that can run into the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars in sales, the allure is clear.And there is no shortage of venture capital available for the drug development industry. Companies seeking anywhere from $50 million to $250 million, on the back of promising early lab research, can usually count on finding enough money from private investors to fund the beginning stages of their work.If they are successful and their drug shows promise in early human trials, even if it comes with a $1 billion price tag, there are ways to get a novel therapy to market. The two primary choices are: go public and raise the money from stockholders; or simply sell out to a large pharmaceutical company.It is exactly this latter path that many small biopharmas want to follow. These small companies, in an environment where big pharma is starved for new products, hold a great deal of negotiating power. The formula du jour is to strike marketing partnerships, as opposed to wholesale acquisition. In these arrangements, small companies continue to work on the drug, using funds from their larger partners to sustain development, while giving their partners future rights to sell the drugs in one or more markets and keeping a royalty for themselves. This has transformed large pharmaceutical companies from drug developers into drug marketers. And it has created a massive market for entrepreneurs seeking the next Advair or Ambien.With 2012’s patent-bubble bursting, that market has more potential than ever. After a very successful decade, large pharma companies are flush with cash. Yet with their R&D pipelines comparatively dry, they know that the gravy train is slowing quickly. So the pressure is on for them to make use of that cash and quickly refill their pipelines with new drugs. The only way to do that is to partner with or acquire an even larger number of small biopharmaceutical companies.On their end, the little guys are in need of cash, in large amounts. Plus, the little guys don’t always have the political connections and necessary muscle to push something novel through a crowd of risk-averse regulators. It’s a marriage made in heaven.Making It Work for Your PortfolioThe question remains: what does all this mean for investors? And what is the most effective way to profit from it?The patent problems highlighted above aren’t news to the institutional traders on Wall Street and around the world. So, profiting from the major revenue hits is not as simple as shorting big pharma stocks and waiting for the market to turn. Long or short, the question for big pharma investors is which ones will pick the real winners from among so many new drugs. Those that place the right bets have a chance of stemming the bleeding – and maybe even coming out whole. But their desperation is likely to lead to a lot of bad decisions, and in addition it remains to be seen if the most promising of those small companies, the ones with the multibillion-dollar-per-year opportunities, are even willing to take big pharma to the dance. While big pharma brings a lot to the table, their sales and marketing talent is just as vulnerable as their researchers were to the lure of a startup’s money-machine potential.Increasingly, startups are hedging their bets by partnering with a big pharma company on a handful of their therapies, using those paychecks to fund a number of proprietary research projects, and intending to take those other drugs to market themselves. It’s a movie we’ve seen before, with companies like Amgen and Genentech having been formed on the backs of deals with larger distributors, only to parlay that success into building the next generation of billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies.Thus, the key to investing success in this race is about picking the right horses. That means not only the companies with the best technology, but those who also really understand their business model and structure their company either for a major partnership or to go it on their own.With the number of major drugs coming off patent in 2012 greater than ever before, the opportunity for small drug developers, and investors, has never been bigger. And the stakes for larger companies have never been higher.[Our “Curing Cancer” portfolio features four innovative biotech firms that could save the lives of millions… and create a brand-new generation of millionaires. Learn more.] Bits & BytesCongress Questions Apple over Path Debacle (The Next Web)A privacy debacle that started with social startup Path has unfurled into a firestorm over the past week. The company, which was following usual industry practices (as many observers have pointed out), stored address book data from application users on the iPhone on its servers and then used that data for making recommendations. Since that information was revealed, Apple (whose APIs allow it to store data without any kind of notice to users), Twitter (whose application does basically the same as Path’s), and even the US Congress (whose members know how to get on TV when they butt their noses in where they don’t belong) have become embroiled in the mess.New LED Burns Ten Times Brighter (Technology Review)In a sort of follow-up to last week’s article on the lighting wars, here’s a story about Fremont, California-based startup Soraa, which thinks it can make LEDs cheaply enough to replace regular bulbs. The company’s new MR16 LED is a 12-watt bulb that supposedly matches the output of a 50-watt halogen while using 75% less energy.Doing Biotech in My Bedroom (Technology Review)Its practitioners call it “DIYbio.” But due to similarities of this movement to computer hackers and their culture, outsiders have dubbed the practice “biohacking” and the practitioners “biohackers.” Biohackers are do-it-yourself biologists who conduct their experiments outside the traditional university and corporate laboratory setting – instead taking to basements, dorm rooms, kitchens, and even closets to fiddle with genomes, conduct biotech research, and even develop novel cures for disease. DIY biologists come in all shapes and sizes – from the formally trained, seasoned scientist and biotech founder to the self-taught hobbyist whose daily life has nothing to do with science. In this case, 26-year-old Cathal Garvey dropped out of a Ph.D. program at a big cancer lab to prove that important biotech can be done by just about anyone in an open-source fashion and on a shoestring budget.Coffee App Finds Caffeine’s Safe Zone (Futurity)A new software app from Applied Cognitive Systems called Caffeine Zone 2 Lite can help tell you when a cup of coffee will give you a mental boost and when it will keep you awake.