Breakin’ the law, Breakin’ the law!

KUSHNER’S SHADOW TASK FORCE VIOLATES MULTIPLE LAWS

Jared Kushner’s shadow coronavirus task force appears to be violating both the Presidential Records Act (PRA) and Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) by using private email accounts with no assurance their communications are being preserved and by meeting in secret, according to a letter sent today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The failure of the White House to comply with any of the PRA and FACA requirements leaves the public in the dark about the work the shadow task force has done and the influence of private industries on the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic…

“If there was ever a time we need records and transparency, this is it. As the seriousness of this pandemic continues to grow, the public needs to understand who in the White House is making policy decisions, who from private industry is influencing those decisions, and how decisions to address this pandemic are being made,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder. “After this crisis has passed, we will need to be able to look back at how this administration responded to the situation and have the full picture of what was going on behind closed doors in order to understand what we could do better in the future.”

Yes, that will require a Congress with backbone, brains, integrity and a willingness to stand up for Constitutional standards. All qualities currently missing in action.

COVID-19 is pushing the growth of online grocery shopping

In the wake of COVID-19, consumers around the globe have been forced to change their buying habits…For many, ecommerce has become the preferred—or only—way to buy goods, a change that will likely accelerate the adoption of ecommerce by 2-3 years…

Based on our survey and a category-by-category analysis of US retail sales, we expect ecommerce to represent as much as 32% of retail sales in Q2 2020.

People are using ecommerce in new ways during this shutdown, which will create new habits and accelerate the trend toward buying goods online. Online delivery of groceries and household goods under index overall ecommerce, leaving even more room for growth. We expect Amazon, Walmart, Target, Uber Eats, Doordash, Instacart, and others to see new and long-lasting demand for their ecommerce services…

So, when stores re-open, will shoppers that were forced online flood back to the stores, or will some of their new habits stick? Our survey indicates that a majority of people will increase their online shopping going forward. 47% of respondents said they will return to buying most things in stores but plan on buying more online; an additional 13% said they plan on continuing to buy most things online.

If the cost remains the same [or close enough], convenience rules. Delivery charges are comparatively small or non-existent. Pickup is easy as pie in my recent experience. We usually combine an errand or two with our Sunday morning grocery shopping. Now, we just pick out what we need a day or so in advance. Schedule the pickup. Roll into a parking spot at the scheduled time – after checking in online or by phone to make certain [1] nothing screwed up, [2] let them track our drive to town so the order is ready to load into the car when we roll in. Catch our other stops, afterwards [or before]. Easy-peasy.

And guess what? No impulse buying.

Fake President’s fake economist predicts few supply line problems

This was published Sunday. Figured I’d wait a day or two to see how predictions start to pan out.

White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow expressed confidence that U.S. supply lines and the workforce would be largely unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak Sunday.

“I’m going to say yes, knowing there may be some exceptions…” Kudlow told CBS’ Margaret Brennan, asked if Americans would be well-positioned to feed themselves amid images of runs on grocery stores…but added “the employment story may become more tenuous in the weeks ahead.”

Kudlow predicted that the Senate will take up a raft of measures addressing the virus, whose provisions include paid sick leave for some workers and free virus testing, “pretty rapidly.”…

“We have lots of ways and means to make sure nobody falls through the cracks,” Kudlow added.

So, couple days later, Mnuchin is predicting 20% unemployment. We had the fun and games through the first week of shopping with large-scale numbers beginning to show on the infection rate and concurrent death rate. The greater toilet paper hoard began. Every region displayed different shortages. And the response from the government side, from the White House to the Republican-controlled Senate has been predictable and inane.

Trump finally discovered the infection rate of COVID-19. Someone must have finally explained in words of two syllables or less what each infection spreading to 2.3 people per contact works out to in street math.

And Kudlow has never been a learned, trained economist. He’s a journalist who worked for a newspaper that reported on economics among other topics on Wall Street. Got him a popular spot on television. Proved to be a hit with conservative and rightwing idealogues…and that was enough to get the gig and title from a fake president who wouldn’t know an economist if one bit him on the ass.

Like his boss, El Trumpo…Kudlow will continue to devote his time aiding any large corporation whose profits – not their people – might fall through the cracks

Self Portrait – Sunday morning

1. Yes, I really do have a neck. Just wearing my hoodie [and Mr.Robot cap underneath], ready to head out for our usual Sunday morning grocery shopping.

2. Returning home, I must note all the nutters out there panic shopping because the world is coming to an end or something equally Trumpian. Cripes! Checking out at Trader Joe’s – well prepared with every available checkout register staffed and the shelves pretty well filled – was a piece of cake. Unlike our first stop on the way into town which had only 2 registers open and half the shelves apparently still cleaned out from Saturday. TJ’s still took a while with middle-class twits and preppers loading up on boxes and boxes of cold cereal and “self-limiting” at 4 dozen eggs per cart. :-]

Saudis ready to dump cheap oil by the boatload — and more!

Saudi Arabia’s state-run shipping company has hired multiple very large crude carriers to carry all the extra oil it plans on exporting next month—a rare move indeed for the shipping company that sports its own fleet of 41 tankers, according to Bloomberg sources.

Bahri, as the Saudi’s shipping company is known, has booked passage for its crude oil on three VLCCs, each with the capacity to haul 2 million barrels of crude. The preliminary bookings are heading to the US Gulf Coast, the sources say—but the bookings could still fail…

Next month, Saudi Arabia has plans to increase shipments of crude to its prized market, Asia, who will be more than happy to take on more oil at the substantial discount that the Saudis are selling their oil for as part of its oil war strategy. However, trips from to the US take 40 days, and Bahir’s own tankers would not return to Saudi Arabia in time to load these extra volumes.

But all that could change in the blink of an eye.

More tankers. More oil. Cheaper retail. What could possibly go wrong?

Stock Market’s level of (dis)trust in the Fake President

Trump gave us his little fireside chat, last night, on what he is doing to bring safety to the people of the United States of America, to our health infrastructure, to our economy. Here’s how the Stock Market responded, this morning…

The S&P index has a fail-safe mechanism that automagically kicks in when it looks like the bottom is falling out, a crash is imminent. This engages when the value expressed in this index falls 7%.

This took place, today, 7 minutes after the trading day began. Trading was halted…and resumed after the usual 15 minutes rule. Not exactly resounding support for the bullshitter-in-chief.

Sucralose might make you fatter and sicker — advertising says it won’t

A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism by a group of Yale researchers found that the consumption of the common artificial sweetener sucralose (which is found in Splenda, Zerocal, Sukrana, SucraPlus and other brands) in combination with carbohydrates can swiftly turn a healthy person into one with high blood sugar.

From whole grain English muffins to reduced-sugar ketchup, sucralose is found in thousands of baked goods, condiments, syrups and other consumer packaged goods – almost all of them containing carbs…

The artificial sweetener by itself seemed to be fine, the researchers discovered, but that changed when combined with a carbohydrate. Seven beverages over two weeks and the previously healthy people in this group became glucose intolerant, a metabolic condition that results in elevated blood glucose levels and puts people at an increased risk for diabetes…

The finding follows a study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine last year that found that consumption of two or more glasses of artificially sweetened soft drinks a day increased deaths from circulatory diseases. And a 2008 study by scientists at Purdue University showed that artificial sweeteners alone could result in higher blood pressure, weight gain, and increased risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease in rats.

RTFA. Scary ain’t as bad as the profiteering corporate researchers who may have determined similar results from the crap being churned out for weight loss, weight control…when they originally devised the product and in subsequent testing.

Crap survey says Corona beer sales crashing from coronavirus fears

Some American beer drinkers are allegedly avoiding Corona beer amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak–at least according to a controversial new survey.

38 percent of beer drinkers surveyed reportedly insisted they would not, under any circumstances, buy Corona as the highly-publicized virus spreads across the globe, according to the survey conducted by 5W Public Relations, via the New York Post…

Of course, despite some people frantically searching a connection between the easy-drinking Mexican beer and the feared virus on Google, there is no connection between Corona beer and coronavirus — except for the name.

But this connection is manufactured, and [the survey] is ignoring far more mundane reasons Americans might not buy a Corona, including that they don’t like the taste. Of those Americans who did report regularly drinking Corona, only 4 percent said they would now stop drinking the beer.

So while everyone should be washing their hands frequently and taking all the precautions suggested by the CDC to avoid contracting Coronavirus, it looks like we can all continue to drink as much Corona beer as we want.

I am surprised the reported number is only 4%. This is a nation that handed the presidency over to numbnuts. Perhaps there is hope for us, after all.

Kimbal Musk is a Brooklyn farmer…

HIS NEW FARM WILL BE INSIDE 25 SHIPPING CONTAINERS


Atsalottabasil!

Vertical farming is an indoor farming method in which crops are grown in stacked layers, often without soil. The practice is becoming more popular and important as urban populations grow dramatically and available farmland decreases….While vertical farming isn’t a new concept, these eco-friendly indoor farms are now rapidly expanding.

Elon Musk’s younger brother, Kimbal Musk, who was named “Global Social Entrepreneur” of the year by the World Economic Forum in 2017, started Square Roots, an indoor urban farming company based in Brooklyn, in 2016. Square Roots’ mission is to bring fresh, local food to cities around the world by empowering younger generations to participate in urban farming.

Musk said the company plans to open a Square Roots “Super Farm” — with 25 climate-controlled shipping containers, cold storage, biosecurity infrastructure and everything else needed to run a vertical farm at scale — in less than three months…

“Environmentalists, urban farmers, architects, agronomists, and public health experts, among others, have been joining this mini revolution as they partner to work out a way to salvage a food-scarce, ultra-urbanized future,” Kheir Al-Kodmany, a professor of sustainable urban design at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said in a report.

It involves various techniques, such as hydroponics, which uses mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent; aquaponics, which uses aquatic creatures — such as fish and snails — and cultivates plants in water; and aeroponics, which grows plants in the air.

It works. A fair number of knowledgeable folks believe this can be economically self-sufficient and beneficial.