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Charles Gilbert 2021-07-26
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From tunes that provided the backdrop for kitchen discos during lockdown to podcasts that made sense of the tumultuous political climate, a playlist for the pandemic has emerged.

The post Pandemic playlists: Songs (and podcasts) that got us through coronavirus lockdown appeared first on Digiday.

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Charles Gilbert 2021-04-09
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One former aide familiar with Cuomo's air travel described the New York governor's plane as "crazy old" and "terrifying to fly on."
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Charles Gilbert 2021-02-08
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Senators could consider Trump's actions from thousands of angles by looking at social media feeds from those present.
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Charles Gilbert 2020-10-21
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An AI tool that “removes” items of clothing from photos has targeted more than 100,000 women, some of whom appear to be under the age of 18.
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Charles Gilbert 2021-07-04
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Founder Heidi Zak says her favorite books over the past year have shared a common theme of creating a better culture and being a better leader.
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Charles Gilbert 2021-03-21
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Keir Starmer risks being “dumped into the dustbin of history”, Len McCluskey has warned.

The Unite union general secretary said voters “don’t understand” what Labour stands for anymore.

In an interview with Times Radio on Sunday, McCluskey, who was a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, said Starmer was on course to “destroy the unity of the party”.

McCluskey also said the selection process led to the selection of Paul Williams as Labour’s candidate for the Hartlepool by-election “beggars belief”.

Williams chosen to stand in the seat after he was the only person placed on the shortlist of candidates. 

In the interview, McCluskey said: “Keir needs to start telling people what he is and what Labour are. People don’t know at the moment.

“People knew where Jeremy Corbyn was coming from long before any elections.

“People knew where Tony Blair was coming from long before any elections.

“At the moment we are suffering because people don’t understand what Keir Starmer stands for or what Labour stands for. And that’s what he has to do.

“Stick to the radical nature of the policies he stood on and win back the red wall seats.

“If he continues to attack the democracy in the left of the party he’ll destroy the unity of the party and the reality will be he’ll be dumped into the dustbin of history.”

Speaking about the upcoming Hartlepool by-election, McCluskey said: “If that’s Keir’s definition of democracy well it’s certainly not mine. It’s not even a pretence any more.

“A shortlist - actually it was a longlist - of one man. It beggars belief. But at the moment in terms of the internal democracy within our party. Nothing is surprising.

“I regret the fact that a proper process wouldn’t have been gone through.”

The by-election in the so-called red wall seat was triggered after incumbent Labour MP Mike Hill resigned this week amid sexual harassment allegations.

The contest will be seen a key test for Starmer’s leadership, one year after he succeeded Corbyn at the top of the party.

Boris Johnson made advances into traditional Labour territory in the North of England, Midlands and north Wales during the general election in December 2019, in which he secured a Conservative majority victory.

One of the seats taken as part of the host of red-to-blue turnovers in the North East was Williams’ former Stockton South seat. 

Williams has apologised after a Tweet of his from 2011 was unearthed in which he asked his followers: “Do you have a favourite Tory milf?”

Shami Chakrabarti, the former shadow attorney general under Corbyn, has said the “unacceptable misogynistic” language means Williams should be dumped as the candidate.

But speaking to the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, agreed while the language was “completely and utterly unacceptable”, as Williams had apologised he should not have to step down.

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Charles Gilbert 2021-01-31
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The goal of a political party is to broaden its coalition, but by supporting insurrectionists, the GOP has only narrowed theirs.
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Charles Gilbert 2020-10-01
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Our robot colleague Satoshi Nakaboto writes about Bitcoin every fucking day. Welcome to another edition of Bitcoin Today, where I, Satoshi Nakaboto, tell you what’s been going on with Bitcoin in the past 24 hours. As Bentham used to say: Prepare to open the imaginary money chest… Bitcoin price We closed the day, September 30 2020, at a price of $10,787. That’s a minor 0.53 percent decline in 24 hours, or -$57.78. It was the lowest closing price in one day. We’re still 46 percent below Bitcoin‘s all-time high of $20,089 (December 17 2017). Bitcoin market cap Bitcoin‘s market cap…

This story continues at The Next Web
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Charles Gilbert 2021-06-30
(University of Georgia) New research from the University of Georgia shows that there may be more antimicrobial-resistant salmonella in our food animals than scientists previously thought.
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Charles Gilbert 2021-03-12
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Twitch and YouTube chess star Levy Rozman has faced over a week of sustained harassment after calling out an alleged cheater.
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Charles Gilbert 2021-01-16
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As tech companies scramble to tackle the extreme far-right, police and law enforcement are encasing Washington, DC, in a ring of steel.
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Charles Gilbert 2020-09-01
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Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer.

You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.

Huge, if true

“This is a war against an invisible enemy, in which we are all on the same side”. In his first Covid update for MPs since the long summer break, Matt Hancock’s political gameplan was clear: seize the moral high ground and depict the hardest edged Labour attacks as mere carping during a national emergency.

But health shadow Jonathan Ashworth’s list of critical questions - on continued Test and Trace failings, on Tory MPs having more say over local lockdowns than public health chiefs - underlined that Labour is very much Boris Johnson’s all-too visible enemy in many senses, and certainly not on the same side of key dividing lines. While Starmer’s party is trying to be a ‘constructive’ Opposition, it never forgets it is the Opposition.

And although Hancock said “what people want to see is people working together, instead of divisive tactics”, and he largely had Tory backbench backing, there was an undercurrent of unease on his own side.

Bernard Jenkin asked whether “political appointee” Dido Harding would be replaced as the head of PHE’s replacement by “a properly appointed public appointments-approved person”. Ex-public health minister Steve Brine had “concerns” about PHE’s expertise on obesity and inequality being lost. Jeremy Hunt pressed on the bruise of a lack of routine testing of NHS, social care staff and teachers.

Hancock (who did suggest mass testing could be possible soon) faced more critical questions from his own side than Gavin Williamson did when he rose for his own statement minutes later. There was clearly a whips operation to circle the wagons round the education secretary, as evidenced by the regular heckling of his new opposite number Kate Green.

Williamson was more punchy than Hancock, yet palpably less sure-footed. He jibed at Green that it was the government itself which had invited Ofqual in July to look at delaying next year’s exams, even suggesting that the postponement was “our position”. That will come as a surprise to Tory MPs who saw a period of confusion this weekend when Labour led the airwaves with its call for a delay, met by government scepticism then reluctant acceptance that a delay should be “looked at”.

Williamson said Green showed “a refreshing change from her predecessor [Rebecca Long-Bailey]” in wanting children back in school, a line that must have pleased her boss Keir Starmer. Indeed Green often sounded more like Williamson’s senior as she admonished him for failing to provide her with sufficient advance notice of his statement.

Like Keir Starmer, Green prefers the quietly forensic approach and it worked. The education secretary simply had no answer to her killer question - could he tell the House when he first knew of the potential problems with the exams algorithm? Given that he was warned internally upto a fortnight before the A level results emerged, yet still went ahead, this is the issue that could still see him toppled. Never forget the sheer anger and panic among Tory MPs when it looked like bright poor students would be robbed of their life chances by a computer model.

But while we got an early assessment of Hancock and Williamson’s record on the first day of autumn term at SW1’s Hogwarts, it was the PM himself who displayed both his strongest and weakest subjects. His strong suit, still liked by many voters, is in putting a positive gloss on things. Recent U-turns were not reverses, he said, but more like a yacht “tacking” in response to a change in the wind while still not being blown off course overall.

As he tortured the ship of state analogy to death, the question is how many Tory MPs are left seasick by the chopping and changing. Making a virtue of occasional U-turns is smart politics (David Cameron was pretty adept at it), making a habit of them is something else entirely. Boris Johnson’s breezy optimism also seemed to transmogrify into actually making things up, as he told the Cabinet that “people are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country”. It all sounded like Trump (“it’s gonna be yuge!”), as even No.10 admitted there were, er, no statistics to back up that claim.

When Starmer addressed the PLP [Parliamentary Labour Party] on Tuesday night for its own first day of term event, there were jokes about who could correctly guess the total number of government U-turns in the pandemic. Starmer told the Zoom call that the shadow team had had a “really strong summer”. The contrast was a “professional, credible and responsible Opposition – in the national interest, versus an utterly incompetent government that’s holding Britain back”, he said.

Labour backbencher Tonia Antoniazzi told me the contrast with PLPs under Corbyn was tangible. “I used to avoid them [PLP meetings] like the plague,” she said but now the atmosphere was “buzzing”. Having taken the seat off the Tories in 2017 in a seat with a strong Brexit voting record, she said voters could live with her argument for a second referendum but “what they couldn’t live with was Jeremy”.

The main worry on the PLP call was the state of the party in Scotland ahead of next year’s Holyrood elections (or “the Hollywood elections” as Angela Rayner accidentally called them, winning what one veteran MP described to me as “the John Prescott deputy leader prize for malapropisms”).

As it happens, however, Rayner is growing into the invaluable Prescott role of firing up the party’s rank and file, its trade union allies (with a surge in members particularly among women in health and care sectors) and its traditional northern supporters.

“They used to say about Prescott, nobody understood what he said but everybody understood what he meant - which is much better than the other way around,” a PLP member told me. Today, it was Rayner who pounced on the PM’s ‘office workers’ claim, saying they “don’t seem to be backed up by any actual figures”.

The line at the PLP however that struck a chord with most Labour MPs came from Kevin Brennan (the party’s best PMQs heckler these days). “Congratulations to you Keir for getting us from the carousel at Katmandu airport to base camp at Everest, in good shape for the long climb ahead,” he said. The contrast with Corbyn was underscored but so too was the mountain that remained.

Labour has finally drawn level in the opinion polls this weekend. Yet perhaps what should worry Tory MPs most is that Starmer and his troops know how long and huge their task really is.

Quote Of The Day

“We seem to have had a few heads roll who are civil servants and in charge in quangos but so far there has been no ministerial accountability.”

Tory MP (and ex education minister) Tim Loughton on the exams fiasco

Tuesday Cheat Sheet

Boris Johnson claimed “huge numbers” of people had gone back to the office today. No.10 could not supply any evidence for the statement, and it emerged later that in greater London bus use rose by just 6% and Tube rose by 8% week-on-week.

Downing Street confirmed that Simon Case will take over as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service next week from Sir Mark Sedwill. The PM’s spokesman didn’t deny he had had to seek permission of Prince William (Case was his private secretary on secondment to No.10) to secure his services.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott suggested some elderly covid patients should be made “as comfortable as possible while nature takes its course.” He hit out at coronavirus “hysteria” and suggested governments have “let fear of falling sick stop us from being fully alive”.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle warned MPs not to “name” in the chamber a Conservative member accused of rape. An MP was arrested on 1 August on suspicion of four separate incidents, involving allegations of sexual offences and assault

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a draft bill will be drawn up setting out the timing, terms and question for a new Scottish independence referendum.

What I’m Reading

How Trump Has Rewritten The Rules Of Rhetoric - Phillip Collins, CapX

Got A Tip?

Send tips, stories, quotes, pics, plugs or gossip to [email protected] 

Subscribe To Commons People

Each week, the HuffPost UK Politics team unpack the biggest stories from Westminster and beyond. Search for Commons People wherever you listen to podcasts and subscribe.

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Charles Gilbert 2021-06-17
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True crime books are nonfiction accounts of real crimes, such as unsolved murders or crimes involving serial killers or fraud. Here are the best ones.
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1
Charles Gilbert 2021-02-10
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Wrenches ain't sexy, but they sure are useful. Here are the ones to get for your tool box.
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Charles Gilbert 2020-10-26
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An extortionist has turned a breach of Finland's Vastaamo mental health services provider into a nightmare for victims.
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0
Charles Gilbert 2020-08-23
img

FILE PHOTO: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos laughs as he talks to the media while touring the new Amazon Spheres during the grand opening at Amazon's Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018.   REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

  • Amazon, Walmart, and Target are thriving while dozens of other retailers are closing stores and filing for bankruptcy.
  • All three companies have benefitted from the closures of "non-essential" stores, as well as spikes in consumer spending on groceries and household goods. 
  • Amazon, Walmart, and Target have also been well positioned to capture a surge in spending online, following years of massive investments in their e-commerce operations.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The pandemic is fueling record growth at Amazon, Walmart, and Target, and solidifying their reign over America's retail landscape for years to come.

All three retailers reported blowout sales in the second quarter. Walmart's digital sales nearly doubled from a year earlier and Target's nearly tripled. The companies' same-store sales climbed 9% and 10.9%, respectively. Amazon's overall sales grew 40% in the quarter.

The companies' strong performance comes against a backdrop of widespread pain and unprecedented upheaval in the US retail industry.

More than a dozen major retailers have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2020, including J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Brooks Brothers, and Tailored Brands, which owns Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank. Retailers have also announced plans to close more than 6,300 stores this year.

Many of the retailers that are feeling the most pain right now were already struggling before the pandemic. The virus has only quickened their demise by carrying forward years of projected declines.

Meanwhile, America's big-box titans are thriving amid the global health crisis.

As thousands of stores shut down across the country at the start of the pandemic, Amazon, Walmart, and Target were among the retailers deemed "essential" and therefore able to continue operating. This means they benefitted from several weeks of big stock-up trips, as consumers stockpiled paper goods, food, cleaning products, and more.

Even as "non-essential" stores reopened, big-box retailers continued to dominate. 

At this point, shoppers continued to stock up on food because they were still eating more meals at home. They also started spending on goods for entertaining and working at home, such as bicycles, puzzles, home-office supplies, patio furniture, and other household items.

A record share of consumer spending shifted online, as well, as people tried to avoid going into stores at all.

Moody's Analytics REIS, a commercial real estate-focused arm of Moody's Analytics, estimates that the share of e-commerce spending relative to total retail sales increased from 11.4% at the end of 2019 to a historic 16.4% in the months of March and April alone.

Amazon, Walmart, and Target were all best positioned to reap the benefits of this shift.

These companies have been focused for years on building out massive e-commerce networks capable of shipping hundreds of thousands of products to consumers quickly, cheaply, and efficiently. 

All three companies also had established curbside pickup from stores, which has become massively popular during the pandemic. 

Target, for example, said in-store pickup of online orders grew 60% in the second quarter, and drive-up pickup — in which Target employees deliver orders to customers' cars in a store parking lot — surged more than 700%. 

When consumers have chosen to visit stores, they appear to be consolidating their trips to reduce risk of exposure to the virus. This has made big-box stores — which carry groceries along with a huge selection of general merchandise — highly convenient.

Amid all this, many consumers recently received government stimulus funds and some had extra money from canceled vacations, which boosted retail spending overall, according to the chief executives of Walmart and Target. 

Taken together, these factors have helped make America's biggest retailers more powerful than ever, and poised to win the future of retail in the US.

SEE ALSO: Demand for warehouse space is surging as historic online spending exposes a major weakness

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid

collect
0
Charles Gilbert 2021-07-26
img

From tunes that provided the backdrop for kitchen discos during lockdown to podcasts that made sense of the tumultuous political climate, a playlist for the pandemic has emerged.

The post Pandemic playlists: Songs (and podcasts) that got us through coronavirus lockdown appeared first on Digiday.

Charles Gilbert 2021-06-30
(University of Georgia) New research from the University of Georgia shows that there may be more antimicrobial-resistant salmonella in our food animals than scientists previously thought.
Charles Gilbert 2021-04-09
img
One former aide familiar with Cuomo's air travel described the New York governor's plane as "crazy old" and "terrifying to fly on."
Charles Gilbert 2021-03-12
img
Twitch and YouTube chess star Levy Rozman has faced over a week of sustained harassment after calling out an alleged cheater.
Charles Gilbert 2021-02-08
img
Senators could consider Trump's actions from thousands of angles by looking at social media feeds from those present.
Charles Gilbert 2021-01-16
img
As tech companies scramble to tackle the extreme far-right, police and law enforcement are encasing Washington, DC, in a ring of steel.
Charles Gilbert 2020-10-21
img
An AI tool that “removes” items of clothing from photos has targeted more than 100,000 women, some of whom appear to be under the age of 18.
Charles Gilbert 2020-09-01
img
Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer.

You’re reading The Waugh Zone, our daily politics briefing. Sign up now to get it by email in the evening.

Huge, if true

“This is a war against an invisible enemy, in which we are all on the same side”. In his first Covid update for MPs since the long summer break, Matt Hancock’s political gameplan was clear: seize the moral high ground and depict the hardest edged Labour attacks as mere carping during a national emergency.

But health shadow Jonathan Ashworth’s list of critical questions - on continued Test and Trace failings, on Tory MPs having more say over local lockdowns than public health chiefs - underlined that Labour is very much Boris Johnson’s all-too visible enemy in many senses, and certainly not on the same side of key dividing lines. While Starmer’s party is trying to be a ‘constructive’ Opposition, it never forgets it is the Opposition.

And although Hancock said “what people want to see is people working together, instead of divisive tactics”, and he largely had Tory backbench backing, there was an undercurrent of unease on his own side.

Bernard Jenkin asked whether “political appointee” Dido Harding would be replaced as the head of PHE’s replacement by “a properly appointed public appointments-approved person”. Ex-public health minister Steve Brine had “concerns” about PHE’s expertise on obesity and inequality being lost. Jeremy Hunt pressed on the bruise of a lack of routine testing of NHS, social care staff and teachers.

Hancock (who did suggest mass testing could be possible soon) faced more critical questions from his own side than Gavin Williamson did when he rose for his own statement minutes later. There was clearly a whips operation to circle the wagons round the education secretary, as evidenced by the regular heckling of his new opposite number Kate Green.

Williamson was more punchy than Hancock, yet palpably less sure-footed. He jibed at Green that it was the government itself which had invited Ofqual in July to look at delaying next year’s exams, even suggesting that the postponement was “our position”. That will come as a surprise to Tory MPs who saw a period of confusion this weekend when Labour led the airwaves with its call for a delay, met by government scepticism then reluctant acceptance that a delay should be “looked at”.

Williamson said Green showed “a refreshing change from her predecessor [Rebecca Long-Bailey]” in wanting children back in school, a line that must have pleased her boss Keir Starmer. Indeed Green often sounded more like Williamson’s senior as she admonished him for failing to provide her with sufficient advance notice of his statement.

Like Keir Starmer, Green prefers the quietly forensic approach and it worked. The education secretary simply had no answer to her killer question - could he tell the House when he first knew of the potential problems with the exams algorithm? Given that he was warned internally upto a fortnight before the A level results emerged, yet still went ahead, this is the issue that could still see him toppled. Never forget the sheer anger and panic among Tory MPs when it looked like bright poor students would be robbed of their life chances by a computer model.

But while we got an early assessment of Hancock and Williamson’s record on the first day of autumn term at SW1’s Hogwarts, it was the PM himself who displayed both his strongest and weakest subjects. His strong suit, still liked by many voters, is in putting a positive gloss on things. Recent U-turns were not reverses, he said, but more like a yacht “tacking” in response to a change in the wind while still not being blown off course overall.

As he tortured the ship of state analogy to death, the question is how many Tory MPs are left seasick by the chopping and changing. Making a virtue of occasional U-turns is smart politics (David Cameron was pretty adept at it), making a habit of them is something else entirely. Boris Johnson’s breezy optimism also seemed to transmogrify into actually making things up, as he told the Cabinet that “people are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country”. It all sounded like Trump (“it’s gonna be yuge!”), as even No.10 admitted there were, er, no statistics to back up that claim.

When Starmer addressed the PLP [Parliamentary Labour Party] on Tuesday night for its own first day of term event, there were jokes about who could correctly guess the total number of government U-turns in the pandemic. Starmer told the Zoom call that the shadow team had had a “really strong summer”. The contrast was a “professional, credible and responsible Opposition – in the national interest, versus an utterly incompetent government that’s holding Britain back”, he said.

Labour backbencher Tonia Antoniazzi told me the contrast with PLPs under Corbyn was tangible. “I used to avoid them [PLP meetings] like the plague,” she said but now the atmosphere was “buzzing”. Having taken the seat off the Tories in 2017 in a seat with a strong Brexit voting record, she said voters could live with her argument for a second referendum but “what they couldn’t live with was Jeremy”.

The main worry on the PLP call was the state of the party in Scotland ahead of next year’s Holyrood elections (or “the Hollywood elections” as Angela Rayner accidentally called them, winning what one veteran MP described to me as “the John Prescott deputy leader prize for malapropisms”).

As it happens, however, Rayner is growing into the invaluable Prescott role of firing up the party’s rank and file, its trade union allies (with a surge in members particularly among women in health and care sectors) and its traditional northern supporters.

“They used to say about Prescott, nobody understood what he said but everybody understood what he meant - which is much better than the other way around,” a PLP member told me. Today, it was Rayner who pounced on the PM’s ‘office workers’ claim, saying they “don’t seem to be backed up by any actual figures”.

The line at the PLP however that struck a chord with most Labour MPs came from Kevin Brennan (the party’s best PMQs heckler these days). “Congratulations to you Keir for getting us from the carousel at Katmandu airport to base camp at Everest, in good shape for the long climb ahead,” he said. The contrast with Corbyn was underscored but so too was the mountain that remained.

Labour has finally drawn level in the opinion polls this weekend. Yet perhaps what should worry Tory MPs most is that Starmer and his troops know how long and huge their task really is.

Quote Of The Day

“We seem to have had a few heads roll who are civil servants and in charge in quangos but so far there has been no ministerial accountability.”

Tory MP (and ex education minister) Tim Loughton on the exams fiasco

Tuesday Cheat Sheet

Boris Johnson claimed “huge numbers” of people had gone back to the office today. No.10 could not supply any evidence for the statement, and it emerged later that in greater London bus use rose by just 6% and Tube rose by 8% week-on-week.

Downing Street confirmed that Simon Case will take over as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service next week from Sir Mark Sedwill. The PM’s spokesman didn’t deny he had had to seek permission of Prince William (Case was his private secretary on secondment to No.10) to secure his services.

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott suggested some elderly covid patients should be made “as comfortable as possible while nature takes its course.” He hit out at coronavirus “hysteria” and suggested governments have “let fear of falling sick stop us from being fully alive”.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle warned MPs not to “name” in the chamber a Conservative member accused of rape. An MP was arrested on 1 August on suspicion of four separate incidents, involving allegations of sexual offences and assault

Nicola Sturgeon has announced a draft bill will be drawn up setting out the timing, terms and question for a new Scottish independence referendum.

What I’m Reading

How Trump Has Rewritten The Rules Of Rhetoric - Phillip Collins, CapX

Got A Tip?

Send tips, stories, quotes, pics, plugs or gossip to [email protected] 

Subscribe To Commons People

Each week, the HuffPost UK Politics team unpack the biggest stories from Westminster and beyond. Search for Commons People wherever you listen to podcasts and subscribe.

Charles Gilbert 2021-07-04
img
Founder Heidi Zak says her favorite books over the past year have shared a common theme of creating a better culture and being a better leader.
Charles Gilbert 2021-06-17
img
True crime books are nonfiction accounts of real crimes, such as unsolved murders or crimes involving serial killers or fraud. Here are the best ones.
Charles Gilbert 2021-03-21
img

Keir Starmer risks being “dumped into the dustbin of history”, Len McCluskey has warned.

The Unite union general secretary said voters “don’t understand” what Labour stands for anymore.

In an interview with Times Radio on Sunday, McCluskey, who was a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, said Starmer was on course to “destroy the unity of the party”.

McCluskey also said the selection process led to the selection of Paul Williams as Labour’s candidate for the Hartlepool by-election “beggars belief”.

Williams chosen to stand in the seat after he was the only person placed on the shortlist of candidates. 

In the interview, McCluskey said: “Keir needs to start telling people what he is and what Labour are. People don’t know at the moment.

“People knew where Jeremy Corbyn was coming from long before any elections.

“People knew where Tony Blair was coming from long before any elections.

“At the moment we are suffering because people don’t understand what Keir Starmer stands for or what Labour stands for. And that’s what he has to do.

“Stick to the radical nature of the policies he stood on and win back the red wall seats.

“If he continues to attack the democracy in the left of the party he’ll destroy the unity of the party and the reality will be he’ll be dumped into the dustbin of history.”

Speaking about the upcoming Hartlepool by-election, McCluskey said: “If that’s Keir’s definition of democracy well it’s certainly not mine. It’s not even a pretence any more.

“A shortlist - actually it was a longlist - of one man. It beggars belief. But at the moment in terms of the internal democracy within our party. Nothing is surprising.

“I regret the fact that a proper process wouldn’t have been gone through.”

The by-election in the so-called red wall seat was triggered after incumbent Labour MP Mike Hill resigned this week amid sexual harassment allegations.

The contest will be seen a key test for Starmer’s leadership, one year after he succeeded Corbyn at the top of the party.

Boris Johnson made advances into traditional Labour territory in the North of England, Midlands and north Wales during the general election in December 2019, in which he secured a Conservative majority victory.

One of the seats taken as part of the host of red-to-blue turnovers in the North East was Williams’ former Stockton South seat. 

Williams has apologised after a Tweet of his from 2011 was unearthed in which he asked his followers: “Do you have a favourite Tory milf?”

Shami Chakrabarti, the former shadow attorney general under Corbyn, has said the “unacceptable misogynistic” language means Williams should be dumped as the candidate.

But speaking to the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Lisa Nandy, the shadow foreign secretary, agreed while the language was “completely and utterly unacceptable”, as Williams had apologised he should not have to step down.

Charles Gilbert 2021-02-10
img
Wrenches ain't sexy, but they sure are useful. Here are the ones to get for your tool box.
Charles Gilbert 2021-01-31
img
The goal of a political party is to broaden its coalition, but by supporting insurrectionists, the GOP has only narrowed theirs.
Charles Gilbert 2020-10-26
img
An extortionist has turned a breach of Finland's Vastaamo mental health services provider into a nightmare for victims.
Charles Gilbert 2020-10-01
img

Our robot colleague Satoshi Nakaboto writes about Bitcoin every fucking day. Welcome to another edition of Bitcoin Today, where I, Satoshi Nakaboto, tell you what’s been going on with Bitcoin in the past 24 hours. As Bentham used to say: Prepare to open the imaginary money chest… Bitcoin price We closed the day, September 30 2020, at a price of $10,787. That’s a minor 0.53 percent decline in 24 hours, or -$57.78. It was the lowest closing price in one day. We’re still 46 percent below Bitcoin‘s all-time high of $20,089 (December 17 2017). Bitcoin market cap Bitcoin‘s market cap…

This story continues at The Next Web
Charles Gilbert 2020-08-23
img

FILE PHOTO: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos laughs as he talks to the media while touring the new Amazon Spheres during the grand opening at Amazon's Seattle headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., January 29, 2018.   REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

  • Amazon, Walmart, and Target are thriving while dozens of other retailers are closing stores and filing for bankruptcy.
  • All three companies have benefitted from the closures of "non-essential" stores, as well as spikes in consumer spending on groceries and household goods. 
  • Amazon, Walmart, and Target have also been well positioned to capture a surge in spending online, following years of massive investments in their e-commerce operations.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The pandemic is fueling record growth at Amazon, Walmart, and Target, and solidifying their reign over America's retail landscape for years to come.

All three retailers reported blowout sales in the second quarter. Walmart's digital sales nearly doubled from a year earlier and Target's nearly tripled. The companies' same-store sales climbed 9% and 10.9%, respectively. Amazon's overall sales grew 40% in the quarter.

The companies' strong performance comes against a backdrop of widespread pain and unprecedented upheaval in the US retail industry.

More than a dozen major retailers have filed for bankruptcy so far in 2020, including J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Brooks Brothers, and Tailored Brands, which owns Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank. Retailers have also announced plans to close more than 6,300 stores this year.

Many of the retailers that are feeling the most pain right now were already struggling before the pandemic. The virus has only quickened their demise by carrying forward years of projected declines.

Meanwhile, America's big-box titans are thriving amid the global health crisis.

As thousands of stores shut down across the country at the start of the pandemic, Amazon, Walmart, and Target were among the retailers deemed "essential" and therefore able to continue operating. This means they benefitted from several weeks of big stock-up trips, as consumers stockpiled paper goods, food, cleaning products, and more.

Even as "non-essential" stores reopened, big-box retailers continued to dominate. 

At this point, shoppers continued to stock up on food because they were still eating more meals at home. They also started spending on goods for entertaining and working at home, such as bicycles, puzzles, home-office supplies, patio furniture, and other household items.

A record share of consumer spending shifted online, as well, as people tried to avoid going into stores at all.

Moody's Analytics REIS, a commercial real estate-focused arm of Moody's Analytics, estimates that the share of e-commerce spending relative to total retail sales increased from 11.4% at the end of 2019 to a historic 16.4% in the months of March and April alone.

Amazon, Walmart, and Target were all best positioned to reap the benefits of this shift.

These companies have been focused for years on building out massive e-commerce networks capable of shipping hundreds of thousands of products to consumers quickly, cheaply, and efficiently. 

All three companies also had established curbside pickup from stores, which has become massively popular during the pandemic. 

Target, for example, said in-store pickup of online orders grew 60% in the second quarter, and drive-up pickup — in which Target employees deliver orders to customers' cars in a store parking lot — surged more than 700%. 

When consumers have chosen to visit stores, they appear to be consolidating their trips to reduce risk of exposure to the virus. This has made big-box stores — which carry groceries along with a huge selection of general merchandise — highly convenient.

Amid all this, many consumers recently received government stimulus funds and some had extra money from canceled vacations, which boosted retail spending overall, according to the chief executives of Walmart and Target. 

Taken together, these factors have helped make America's biggest retailers more powerful than ever, and poised to win the future of retail in the US.

SEE ALSO: Demand for warehouse space is surging as historic online spending exposes a major weakness

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