The bipartisan House task force on America’s future defense is path-breaking

Late last month, a bipartisan congressional task force issued a timely report that, apart from purely security-oriented outlets, received far less media coverage than it deserved. Congressional bipartisanship has become virtually an oxymoron in the current political climate. Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee Task Force on the Future of Defense were able to come together to produce a serious, thought-provoking essay that focuses on implementing a defense strategy that is responsive to the threats that will confront America far into the future, indeed as far as the end of this century.

Many of the task force’s proposals have been outlined in previous studies and in congressional testimony. They include a greater focus on funding and developing advanced technologies and incorporating them into military systems and structures; concluding a new arms control agreement with Russia; and controlling the leakage of technology by expanding the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States’s (CFIUS) purview and the scope of Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) legislation.

Similarly, as others have done, the report called for revitalizing — indeed, “modernizing” — America’s relationships with allies, partners and friends. It went even further, however, by calling on Washington to establish “new alliances to meet emerging threats.” Whether the United States can do so is an open question, not merely because Washington has walked away from a host of international agreements in the past several years, but also because states have become chary about formalizing alliance relationships. On the other hand, America certainly can deepen its political and military ties to friendly countries, in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, as it has done with Sweden, Finland and Singapore in recent years. 

The report recognizes that America’s security fundamentally depends on a civilian and military workforce that is open to innovation and experimentation; meaningful cooperation with the non-defense commercial sector; and an overhaul of budgetary priorities to move away from legacy programs and incorporate cutting-edge technology in the “program of record.” In particular, the report recognizes that the national security workforce is woefully ignorant of the latest technological developments. 

The Department of Defense (DOD) bureaucracy relies far too heavily on consultants and contractors as intermediaries between government and private industry. Moreover, the bureaucratic culture in the Pentagon is suspicious, if not downright hostile, to advances in technology that emerge from the commercial sector. While former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, in particular, strived to close the psychological gap between the DOD and Silicon Valley, the report correctly posits that there is considerable room for improvement — in terms of funding for advanced technologies and contracting with the non-defense industrial base to obtain them. 

Most significantly, the report underscores the importance of a “whole-of-government” approach to national security and recommends that the State Department lead such efforts. Regrettably, the term “whole of government” has become a mantra that bureaucrats utter but do not act upon. Unfortunately for them, and the nation they serve, America’s most dangerous potential adversaries, China and Russia, have

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Home Depot Has Long Dominated America’s Newest Pastime: Home Improvement Projects

It all started with a firing—a very foolish one.

In 1978, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank were executives at Handy Dan, a home improvement chain based in Southern California. Despite the business being very profitable, the pair had begun to tinker with a new idea. By lowering prices, they found, the stores’ volume shot up, making Handy Dan even more money. The executives had planned to implement that strategy systemwide, but they never got the chance. Corporate raider Sanford C. Sigoloff—who liked to call himself the “Skillful Scalpel”—took over the company, and deciding to save himself two salaries, got rid of Marcus and Blank.

That one decision probably prevented Handy Dan from becoming America’s home improvement leader. Instead, that honor would go to a place called The Home Depot.

Recruiting investment banker Ken Langone and retailer Pat Farrah, who’d run National Lumber and Supply Company, Marcus and Blank opened up a one-stop warehouse destination with everything a homeowner could want, staffed by knowledgeable salespeople and all selling at discount prices. 

“We believed from the start that if we brought the customer quality merchandise at the right price and offered excellent service, we could change retailing in the United States,” Marcus said in a 2008 interview with Entrepreneur.

As we know, they did just that. The first Home Depot opened in Atlanta in the summer of 1979. By years end, there were three more. Home Depot officially became the largest home improvement retailer in America by 1990, and today it has nearly 2,300 stores.

In recent months, Home Depot has been America’s go-to home center in ways it never imagined. After the pandemic sealed much of the citizenry behind closed doors, Americans made home improvement into a new national pastime. For Q2 2020, the chain’s net sales soared more than 23% to just over $38 billion.

During the quarter, “our DIY customers were reengaging with their home and with The Home Depot,” said evp of merchandising Ted Decker. “While we saw strong demand with exterior projects like building decks, sheds, fences and gardens, we also saw strong growth with interior projects like hard surface flooring, interior lighting and painting, to name a few.”

After focusing on building stores for years, The Home Depot has since shifted its efforts to fortifying its distribution capabilities as part of a $1.2 billion strategy to expand same-day and next-day delivery to customers. Meanwhile, the company’s One Home Depot initiative seeks to create an “interconnected shopping experience” that laces digital and physical commerce together.

It’s all a far cry from the single location that opened its doors in Atlanta 42 years ago. And yet, at its core, the brand hasn’t changed so much.

“The Home Depot concept is to provide the most complete assortment of lumber, building materials and home improvement products, competitively priced in a service-oriented retail situation,” Marcus has said. And online or off, pandemic or not, it still does just that.

people in home depot shirts working to clean up after a natural disaster
As a purveyor of essential goods, The Home Depot’s disaster role is,
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Sunday Feature: The Kershaw Tapes: Andy’s Kitchen and On the Road in the Americas


Let’s talk about sex: Alfred Kinsey, the man who recorded America’s sexual habits

“He would ask participants, ‘When did you first sleep with a horse?’ And if someone was sleeping with horses, they would have to say”

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Contest Will Flush Out America’s Best Bathroom, DFW Airport In The Running

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For the first time in eight years, the title of America’s Best Restroom could return to Texas.

DFW Airport was nominated as a finalist in the contest sponsored by Cintas Corporation. The 19th annual contest celebrates innovative and hygienic public restrooms across the country.

“This year’s contest recognizes a wide range of finalists, each offering a one-of-a-kind restroom experience with the latest technology or imaginative decor,” said Sean Mulcahey, Marketing Manager, Cintas. “As the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the importance of clean restrooms to the forefront, we’re proud to spotlight these unique and well-maintained restrooms that provide comfortable spaces for guests.

Bathrooms at DFW Airport feature integrated smart restroom technology into all of its gate-side restrooms to include aesthetically pleasing fixtures, touch free dispensing, consumable tracking, and other smart restroom features, allowing staff to operate on demand, rather than a time-scheduled approach for making sure the restrooms are cleaned and well stocked. Digital signage outside each restroom tells guests how many stalls are open, when cleaning is in progress, and indicator lights inside let them know which stalls are available. The features will help with social distancing efforts during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as data for the cleaning staff to efficiently manage increased cleaning protocols.

The public can vote multiple times here for their favorite finalist now through October 19.

The winner will earn a place in the America’s Best Restroom Hall of Fame and receive a Cintas UltraClean restroom cleaning service and $2,500 in facility services or restroom cleaning from Cintas.

Buc-ee’s in New Braunfels won the contest in 2012.

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America’s Test Kitchen Names Kevin Pang Editorial Director of Digital Content | News

BOSTON, Sept. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, America’s Test Kitchen named Kevin Pang as its Editorial Director of Digital Content. Pang, a James Beard Award winner, worked at both the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times and is widely recognized for creating The Takeout, a successful food site he launched for The Onion Inc. He is currently a contributor to The New York Times Magazine.

Pang has directed a documentary film on Netflix chronicling the startup of a Chicago restaurant, hosted a television show about cheeseburgers in Chicago, and produced a podcast that explores the craft of writing. In his newly created role at America’s Test Kitchen, Pang will be responsible for developing and executing a content strategy to grow the audience for the company’s websites and social and video platforms. His new position takes effect on November 2.

“Kevin has been telling the stories of how food shapes the way people live for the last fifteen years. He has a knack for creating engaging content and has the digital business acumen that we need to continue enhancing our online presence,” said Fran Middleton, Chief Digital Officer of America’s Test Kitchen.

“Kevin has a demonstrated track record of growing online audiences,” said David Nussbaum, Chairman and CEO of America’s Test Kitchen. “Our digital businesses now represent more than 40% of our revenue. Kevin is the person to help continue to build a culture of innovation that will accelerate the growth of these businesses.”

Pang started his career as a journalist at the Los Angeles Times, and then spent eleven years at the Chicago Tribune as a reporter and restaurant critic. He is a five-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation Award in journalism, including a 2010 win for “The Cheeseburger Show.” In 2015, his documentary “For Grace” premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival to critical acclaim and just completed a four-year run on Netflix. 

Pang joined The Onion in 2016, where he founded the food site The Takeout and served as its editor in chief. Under his direction, the site attracted over 6.5 million unique monthly visitors and was ranked in the top 25 global food sites according to Comscore. Pang was most recently Creative Director at M. Harris & Co, a Chicago-based marketing firm. Pang was born in Hong Kong, raised in Toronto and Seattle, and earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California. He is currently pursuing his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

“America’s Test Kitchen has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. It has helped me wow friends at dinner parties, make my picky eater son try food he never would’ve given a chance, and made me a better cook with every dish I try,” said Pang, 39. “My goal is to help people fall in love with the ATK brand, as I have. It’s about reimagining the content we

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Legacy Bath and Kitchen Ranked as one of America’s Largest

Legacy Bath and Kitchen Ranked as one of America's Largest

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Legacy Bath and Kitchen, a San Antonio based remodeling company, has been ranked in Qualified Remodeler’s list of the top 500 remodeling companies in the nation.

Qualified Remodeler is a leading publication in the remodeling and home improvement industry. This is the publication’s 42nd annual TOP 500 Remodelers list. They have ranked Legacy Bath and Kitchen number 203 out of 500 remodeling companies. The criteria used to determine their placement in the ranking includes total remodeling revenue, years in business, industry association memberships, industry certifications, industry awards and community service.

Legacy Bath and Kitchen recently went through a total rebrand and like many local businesses, has faced difficult times during the COVID-19 pandemic and financial crisis.

“To be on this list in the midst of a rebrand and economic crisis shows us that our efforts to run an exceptional remodeling business are paying off,” Krishelle Hicks, Owner of Legacy Bath and Kitchen said. “To be in the company of so many excellent remodeling businesses across the country is gratifying and humbling.”

This is Legacy Bath and Kitchen’s second time to land on the Qualified Remodeler top 500 list. The family-owned and operated company has also won other awards for their quality of service including the Angie’s List 2019 Super Service Award.

For more information about Legacy Bath and Kitchen, please contact Kriselle Hicks at [email protected] or visit https://www.legacybathandkitchen.com/.

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Legacy Bath and Kitchen
15719 US-281 N, San Antonio, TX 78232
(210) 361-3587
[email protected]
[email protected]

About Legacy Bath and Kitchen – Founded in 2006, Legacy Bath and Kitchen was started with the purpose of creating beautiful and functional kitchens and bathrooms for our clients. Our team is devoted to making remodels big and small exceed client expectations. Through professionalism, design expertise and excellent communication, Legacy Bath and Kitchen is the key to an exceptional remodel.

This release was published on openPR.

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H.R. McMaster on America’s enemies and what he saw in the White House – 60 Minutes

H.R. Mcmaster was an eyewitness to the Oval Office tempest that forms President Trump’s foreign policy. McMaster was national security adviser for 13 months beginning in 2017 and he brought a world of experience to the job. He graduated from West Point, led troops in combat, served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, on the way to becoming an Army three-star general, he earned a Ph.D. in history. McMaster has written a new book called “Battlegrounds.” The title refers to threats faced by the U.S. today and to skirmishes at the White House. The now-retired general is a disciple of neither political party. He told us the last few presidents, not just President Trump, have left the United States vulnerable in the eyes of those who would do us harm.

Scott Pelley: How do our competitors view the United States today?

H.R. McMaster: I think our competitors view us as weak and divided. I think they see an opportunity. I think China thinks it’s winning. You know, China sees an America that is divided against each other. They see an America that is reeling from a triple crisis of COVID-19, of the recession associated with COVID-19, and the civil unrest and racial division in the wake of the horrible murder of George Floyd, and over issues of inequality of opportunity. And so, China is acting, I think, now much more aggressively because they think it’s time to do it. They have a window of opportunity to exploit our weaknesses and to come after us. I think Russia feels the same way. I think other adversaries could feel the same way.

Scott Pelley: The very first line in your book is, “This is not the book that most people wanted me to write.”

H.R. McMaster: Right. People wanted me to write another tell-all about my time in the Trump administration. People wanted me to write another book about palace intrigue. I think what Americans need today is we need– we need a discussion. A meaningful– a respectful discussion about these very serious challenges to our security, our prosperity, and our influence in the world. 

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H.R. McMaster

CBS News


President Trump called in McMaster when his first national security adviser quit after 24 days. Michael Flynn had lied about negotiating with Russia before Mr. Trump was inaugurated. The president offered McMaster the job the first time they met.

Scott Pelley: What did your friends and family advise you?

H.R. McMaster: Well, I got a wide range of viewpoints. Many called and urged me to do it, and said, “Here is an unconventional president who needs your help.” Others urged me not to do it. And I think a lot of it was because of the, you know, the unconventional, disruptive, and as some would say, offensive nature of President Trump.

Scott Pelley: It was an easy decision?

H.R. McMaster: It was a very easy decision for me.

His uniform changed but not his soldier’s view, confront our adversaries and support Iraq

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America’s Test Kitchen Names Toni Tipton-Martin Editor in Chief of Cook’s Country

TipRanks

Oppenheimer: 3 Stocks That Could Surge Over 100% From Current Levels

So far, September has been a wild ride of ups and downs. Following the recent bout of volatility, stocks have ticked higher again. But as uncertainty regarding another rescue program and the presidential election continues to linger, where does the market go from here? Weighing in for Oppenheimer, Chief Investment Strategist John Stoltzfus argues that any market dips appear “relatively contained and orderly,” and present longer-term investors the chance to find “babies that got thrown out with the bathwater.” He noted, “For nervous investors the recent downdraft has presented opportunity to take some profits without FOMO (fear of missing out).”As for the tech heavyweights that powered the market’s five-month charge forward, the strategist believes “current expectations that technology stocks will remain under pressure for some time seem exaggerated.” Stoltzfus adds that the “core of technology stocks did not appear terribly rich in price considering that developments in technology and innovation have yet to show signs of plateauing in the current cycle.”Taking Stoltzfus’ outlook into consideration, our focus turned to stocks that Oppenheimer analysts are bullish on. The firm’s pros see triple-digit upside potential in store for three tickers in particular. Running the names through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out what makes each so compelling.MediWound Ltd. (MDWD)Developing cutting-edge products, MediWound wants to address unmet needs in the fields of severe burn and chronic wound management. With an important government contract secured, Oppenheimer has high hopes for this name.Back in January, MDWD announced that the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) had entered into a contract to procure $16.5 million of NexoBrid, its drug designed to remove eschar in adults with deep partial and full-thickness thermal burns (a process called debridement), for an emergency stockpile. According to management, the first delivery is set for Q3 2020.On top of this, the company filed the NexoBrid Biologics License Application (BLA) with the FDA for eschar removal in adults with deep partial-thickness and full-thickness thermal burns in June. MDWD’s U.S. commercial partner, Vericel, is preparing for an immediate launch upon approval.Representing Oppenheimer, 5-star analyst Kevin DeGeeter points out that “Given the filing involved participation from three parties—MDWD, U.S. commercial partner Vericel and funding partners at BARDA—and was completed against the backdrop of public sector work-from-home mandates, we view meeting stated timelines as a material milestone and derisking event for MDWD shares… we believe NexoBrid is on track for 1H21 launch.”Should the therapy ultimately be approved, MDWD is entitled to a $7.5 million milestone payment from Vericel. “We believe the combination of existing cash and the $7.5 million milestone payment from VCEL upon NexoBrid approval should fund operations at least into 2H23,” DeGeeter added.DeGeeter also points out that MDWD plans to open 25-30 sites in U.S. and Israel to support the Phase 2 study of EscharEx, its product for chronic wounds. Although COVID-19 resulted in a delay, the analyst thinks “the current timeline of 1H21 is achievable.”To this end, DeGeeter

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Exploring the Largest Tropical Botanical Garden in the Americas

Nestled in the heart of the Americas, in the beautiful country of Honduras, you will find the largest botanical garden in the Americas: Lancetilla Botanical Garden. Its name comes from one of the local plants that is quite abundant here: the Lancetilla Palm, a lovely tropical palm tree that is protected by a nasty set of thorns that keep it away from the menu of the diverse local animals, as well as off the roofs of the thatched palms that locals build.

Lancetilla Botanical Gardens is located in the lovely destination of Atlantida, right in the heart of Central America's Caribbean Coast, jus t outside the city of Tela. Atlantida, was the actually created as a department (local equivalent to a state of province) to facilitate the activities of two large fruit companies that established themselves in the area at the beginning of the Twentieth Century: The Vaccaro Brothers Company, which later became the Standard Fruit Company, and the Tela Railroad Company, which is part of the United Fruit Brands. The first had its operational and administrative hub in the city of La Ceiba, and the latter in the city of Tela.

As part of an effort to find different fruits that would be a profitable produce to export, the Tela Railroad Company established a center for investigation and created what today is known as Lancetilla Botanical Garden. Here, a large collection of exotic fruit trees from Central and South America, as well as Asia, Africa and even Oceania was put together, with experimental plantsations of several of them, including the absolutely delicious Mangosteen and Rambutan from southeast Asia. Get acquainted with the over 16 different species of palms that form part of the local collection, and walk under the tunnel that the giant spiny bamboo forms at the end of the trail.

Today Lancetilla Botanical Garden is managed by the ESNACIFOR, which stands for National School of Forest Sciences, whose headquarters is in the City of Siguatepeque, in the department of Comayagua. The Gardens are open to the public year round, and have a nice, well kept trail and great guides that will make exploring the largest botanical garden in the Americas a truly learning experience.

Lancetilla Botanical Gardens is also a great place for birdwatchers, because the abundance of tropical fruits make it a site that naturally attracts birds of different species who thrive on the abundance of food in the area.

Plan on spending at least three or four hours in the garden, but make sure you bring some insect repellent with you, as a large part of this tropical garden is covered with a dense jungle that makes mosquitoes thrive!

Lancetilla is but one of the many different nature and educational activities that you can enjoy in Atlantida, which is probably the most complete destination of its sort in the World, certainly in Central America.

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