*WOKE ALERT – Target Hits Books
Last fall, Target thrust itself into a major political controversy when it suddenly removed a pair of books skeptical of prevailing LGBT orthodoxy from its online store. Around that time, we had several interactions with Target’s Investor Relations Department in which we pressed them on what this said about the company’s corporate culture. Their answers were less than satisfactory. Nevertheless, most of us moved on after the issue was apparently resolved. Then, months later, when no one was looking, Target appears to have re-banned the previously unbanned books. Given the endless series of political controversies Woke Capital keeps throwing up, it is understandable if most people have forgotten about the entire pitiful episode.
Here is a quick refresher: Back in November 2020, Target.com had among its catalog two books that upset Twitter activists: Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier, and The End of Gender by Dr. Debra Soh. A Twitter user complained that books they did not like were being sold, prompting a rapid response from Target. Both books were removed. Naturally, this produced a political backlash, so Target Day. That appeared to be the end of the story; yes, an embarrassment for a major corporation, and a bad omen for the direction of corporate America, but the books were again available on Target’s website. Until they weren’t. Prior to attending Target’s annual meeting on June 9, we dug into the controversy again and found that Abigail Shrier had tweeted about her book being unavailable on Target.com — months after the ban was supposedly reversed.
*MURDERAPOLIS: City At Center Of George Floyd Protests Hits All-Time High Murder Record
Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed last May, set a state record for murders in 2020 after officials from across the state called for the defunding of police departments, according to new data. Last year, 185 people were killed in Minnesota, a 58% increase from 2019. The previous record of 183 homicides, set in 1995, caused Minneapolis to be dubbed “Murderapolis.” The majority of the murders occurred in St. Paul and Minneapolis, two cities that also saw a significant decrease in the number of active police officers. The Twin Cities were additionally at the heart of the nationwide “Defund the Police” movement. Initially, a majority of Minneapolis city council members pledged to fully abolish the city’s police department, but later relented after procedural challenges, deciding instead to simply cut $8 million from the department’s budget, according to The Star Tribune. Multiple St. Paul city council members also supported fully disbanding their police department, although such a drastic measure was never passed, as reported by The Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
*LAWSUIT FILED BY BLACK MOTHER AFTER SEGREGATION INSTITUTED BY WOKE ADMINISTRATORS
A lawsuit has now been filed by a black mother after her child’s woke school decided to segregate students by race. As reported, a mother in Atlanta filed a federal discrimination complaint against an elementary school, alleging the school segregated students based on race. “We’ve lost sleep like trying to figure out why would a person do this,” mother Kila Posey, who is Black, told WSB-TV. “First, it was just disbelief that I was having this conversation in 2020 with a person that looks just like me – a Black woman. It’s segregating classrooms. You cannot segregate classrooms. You can’t do it.” “My community, had they known about this, would probably be extremely upset. Not just the Black parents but also White parents,” Posey added. Posey said that the practice was put in place last year at Mary Lin Elementary School by principal Sharyn Briscoe, who is also Black. The Atlanta Public Schools claim that it investigated and took appropriate action, yet did not elaborate on exactly what this ‘appropriate action’ was.
*THE FUTURE OF GYMS IS HYBRID
It’s been a rough year-and-a-half for any place you go to for a half-hearted, 20-minute StairMaster sesh. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 22% of US health clubs have closed for good, taking 1.5 million workers with them, per the International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association. But for the gyms that have managed to stay open through lockdowns, business is booming.
- Planet Fitness increased revenue 241% last quarter compared to 2020, and added 700k new members.
- Colin Waggett, the CEO of London-based luxury gym Third Space, said his clubs are seeing an all-time low on cancellations for pre-booked classes (3%).
- Xpontential, the boutique fitness company that owns brands like Club Pilates and Pure Barre, said that revenue was only 13% below Q2 2019.
In May, when Covid capacity restrictions were lifting across the US, gym traffic returned to 83% of pre-pandemic levels. But crowded weight rooms may not last for long. The Delta variant has already pushed city governments in New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans to require vaccines for public venues, including gyms. And in some states, most recently Oregon, indoor mask mandates are coming back to make your chin even sweatier while you squat.
- Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau told CNBC this week that about 150 clubs currently require masks in accordance with local guidelines, but he hopes that the mandates are short-lived.
There’s also the existential threat posed by in-home fitness companies that exploded during the pandemic. To keep up with demand for its bikes and treads, Peloton broke ground on its first US factory in Ohio this week. And even when this current wave of Covid recedes, most data points to in-home fitness sticking around and coexisting with physical gyms.
- 70% of online fitness program users plan to keep using them post-pandemic, per McKinsey.
- 40% of Peloton users also have a gym membership, according to the company.
Looking ahead…in many ways, the trajectory of gyms reflects the trajectory of the physical office. Advances in tech have made in-home fitness a sweaty, convenient pleasure, but others may crave human interaction and equipment they can’t find at home.
*INFRASTRUCTURE BILL WOULD ADD $256 BILLION TO DEFICITS OVER A DECADE, CBO SAYS
The bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill would add $256 billion to budget deficits over a decade, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday. The report from the nonpartisan agency did not take into account potential revenue increases created by economic growth. As it stands, the CBO said the bill, which does not include tax increases, would generate about $50 billion in revenue. Senators who crafted the plan had said it would be fully paid for through a range of sources including repurposed coronavirus relief funds, unused unemployment insurance aid and economic activity generated by the investments.
*P.R. PRIME ROCKETS TO TOP GOOGLE NEWS RANKING
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We are at a stage in this pandemic when we are trying to persuade the hold-outs – disproportionately white Republicans/evangelicals and urban African-Americans – to get vaccinated. How do we best do this? Endless, condescending nagging won’t help. Coercion is not an option in a free country. Since the vaccinated appear to be able to transmit the virus as well, vaccine passports lose their power to remove all risk. Forcing all the responsible people to go back to constraining their everyday lives for the sake of the vaccine-averse is both unfair and actually weakens the incentive to get a vaccine, because it lowers the general risk of getting it in the broader society. So, the obviously correct public policy is to let mounting sickness and rising deaths concentrate the minds of the recalcitrant. Let reality persuade the delusional and deranged. It has a pretty solid record of doing just that. —- Andrew Sullivan.
*EXAMINER – INVESTIGATES:
An unattractive person misses out on nearly a quarter-million dollars in earnings over a lifetime.
*EXAMINER – LENS:
Every musical artist has to “cross paths with Aretha, especially if you want to be great,” Jennifer Hudson said.
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EXAMINER – CARTOON:
“You’re wasting your time. You should be building equity.”
*WHAT’S UP? BY SARAH GARCIA:
CNN will never fire Chris Cuomo. Unless, of course, he refuses to get vaxxed. Then he’ll be outta there faster than the network’s falling ratings. Summing up: the Cuomo brothers once had it all – just like Bogie and Bacall. But now the ghost of bad karma has paid them a visit and the confrontation was harsh.
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*EXAMINER – LENS:
Lisa Hanawalt’s series “Tuca & Bertie” has an unvarnished emotional core that comes, in part, from Hanawalt’s uncanny ability to metabolize private thoughts and regurgitate them onto the screen.
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