Thursday, January 5th, 2023

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A look at the business of Costco

But how can Costco turn a profit if its products sell at a lower price than at other retailers? The answer involves its unique business model. According to the Motley Fool, nearly 80% of the company's net income is generated by its two different types of membership fees: a regular $60 per year membership fee, and a $120 per year "executive" membership fee with a 2% cash back reward on products.

These fees help Costco in two ways. First — and most importantly — they ensure that the company receives a steady stream of revenue, even when in-store purchases drop. During the COVID-19 pandemic, which temporarily forced physical stores to close, this was especially helpful. Membership fees also give customers an incentive to continue shopping at Costco in order to get their money's worth. 

1/5/2023 12:24 pm | | Tags: business, retail, capitalism

Dan Rather on the eve of the 2-year anniversary of January 6th

It was an attack on the very meaning and security of American democracy orchestrated by a man who had sworn to uphold the Constitution as the chief executive of our nation. Unbelievable. But believable. Buttressed by reams of evidence, including the man's own words and deeds. 

And yet, here we are. Rather than unifying us as a nation, this date and all it represents divides us, weakens us, challenges the confidence we have in what we once believed was inviolable.

The scene of the insurrection — our mighty Capitol — is once more beset by chaos. This time it is coming from within the House, quite literally. But the two events are inextricably linked. For the most part, the rebels of January 2023 are marinated in the same Big Lie and nihilism that fueled the mob in 2021. In fact, many of these congressional office holders were cheerleaders and even participants in the earlier attacks on American democracy we now commemorate.

As shameful as these events are, they are as much a part of who we are as a country in 2023 as "We the people" or "a more perfect union." We cannot afford to look away. These forces of autocracy and the extreme far right might have been tempered in the recent midterm elections, but they were far from vanquished. As we see in the spectacle of choosing a speaker of the House, the chaos is endemic to the current Republican Party. 

1/5/2023 4:27 pm | | Tags: january 6th, us politics, us history

Some miscellaneous tweets concerning Congress

1/5/2023 4:35 pm | | Tags: gerrymandering, republicans

"McCarthy debacle comes with a lesson: There's a downside to being a party of fascist trolls"

Initially I had pulled over 500 words of excerpts from the article to put here, but I will instead just include this paragraph. I am reading Eco's essay mentioned below now.

In his "Ur-Fascism" essay, Eco laid out 14 features of fascism, which add up not to a coherent political philosophy so much as a series of antisocial impulses. It's worth reading in its entirety, but the McCarthy debacle illustrates some of Eco's most important observations: Fascism is deliberately irrational. Indeed, it makes a fetish of irrationality. It's a "cult of action for action's sake" that believes thinking before acting "is a form of emasculation." The fascist believes that "life is permanent warfare" and therefore there must always be an enemy to struggle against. That's why fascists love conspiracy theories. Their "followers must feel besieged," and since they have no real oppressors to rail against, they make up imaginary ones. 

1/5/2023 4:58 pm | | Tags: us politics, republicans, fascism

"Indie bookshop numbers hit 10-year high in 2022 defying brutal UK retail year"

You love to see it. Here's hoping the trend continues.

1/5/2023 7:49 pm | | Tags: business, united kingdom

Mastodon Favs for January, 5th 2023

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1/5/2023 10:45 pm | | Tags: mastodon, social media, automated
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