Kohler’s CES 2021 bathroom designs include touchless toilets and a $16,000 tub

This story is part of CES, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

CES 2021 kicks off as a virtual event on Monday, but some companies are already offering a peek at their brand-new products. Kohler is ringing in 2021 with a host of new smart kitchen and bath products ranging from a smart water monitor to a $16,000 tub. 

We’ve seen smart toilets and voice-controlled faucets from the established manufacturer in years past, and this year the focus lands squarely on relaxing and home and keeping our hands free from germ-ridden surfaces as much as possible. 

aad32136-rgb

Kohler

Stillness Bath

If you’d rather buy a bathtub than a used car, Kohler’s stillness bath might be right up your alley. This square tub combines light, fog and aromatherapy to create a spa-like experience at home. 

The bath is based on the practice of Japanese forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. Water fills from the bottom of the bath and overflows into a Hinoki wood moat. The tub is surrounded by lighting, but that’s not all. You can also choose to envelop the surface of your bath with a fog and add essential oils for aromatherapy. 

The Stillness Bath will be available this year in configurations ranging from $6,198 to $15,998 fully loaded. 

1.png

Kohler

Touchless Bathroom Faucet

If there’s anything a global pandemic taught us, it’s that touching stuff is not the best for personal hygiene, especially in the bathroom. Kohler released the Sensate touchless kitchen faucet in 2019, and this new bathroom-focused model offers the same hands-free interaction. Two styles will be available, one with built-in sensing in the faucet itself and another with a button beside the faucet. 

Pricing isn’t available yet, but Kohler says we should see the touchless bathroom faucet come to market by the end of 2021.

1-1.png

Kohler

Innate Intelligent Toilet

This intelligent toilet doesn’t technically have any smart home integrations, but it is pretty jam packed with extra features at a lower (but still expensive) price than the company’s previous intelligent toilets. Innate includes a heated seat, auto opening and closing, a remote, as well as a personal bidet function. Kohler also says you can install the toilet yourself thanks to its DIY-friendly ReadyLock design.

The Innate Intelligent Toilet will be available this summer with an MSRP of $3,100. 

1

Kohler

Touchless Toilet

Kohler is adding more touchless toilets to its portfolio for 2021, bringing us two new styles costing $600 and $1,000. A sensor in the flush lever of the toilet flushes with the wave of your hand. A built-in LED light can be customized through the Kohler app. Both of these toilets are slated for release in March of this year. I’ve never been so excited about a touchless bathroom as I am after living through 2020.

1-2.png

Kohler

Kohler-Phyn Smart Water Monitor

Perhaps the most affordable and

Read more

U.S. vice presidential debate to include plexiglass barrier after White House outbreak

(Reuters) – Vice President Mike Pence and challenger Kamala Harris will be separated by a plexiglass barrier during their debate on Wednesday in an effort to lower the risk of coronavirus transmission, the commission overseeing the event said.

The debate, the only one scheduled between the vice presidential candidates, is scheduled for Salt Lake City, six days after President Donald Trump announced he had contracted the virus.

Both Harris, a Democratic U.S. senator, and Pence, a Republican, have tested negative in recent days, with the vice president working from home over the weekend instead of at the White House. A number of White House staffers and prominent Republicans, including three U.S. senators, have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The Commission on Presidential Debates also said the two candidates would be seated more than 12 feet (3.7 m) apart. There will be a limited number of guests at the debate, all of whom will undergo testing, and anyone who does not wear a mask will be “escorted out,” the commission said.

At the first presidential debate between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden last week, several members of Trump’s family did not wear masks while sitting in the audience.

In a statement, Pence’s spokeswoman, Katie Miller, said: “If Senator Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it.”

In response, Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for Harris, wrote on Twitter: “Interesting that @VPComDir Katie Miller mocks our wanting a plexiglass barrier on the debate stage, when her own boss is supposedly in charge of the COVID-19 task force and should be advocating for this too.”

Miller herself had COVID-19 in the spring.

DEBATE SAFETY

Also on Monday, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the president intends to participate in the next presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami.

Trump left a military hospital here on Monday after three days of treatment, although mixed messages from the White House have prompted uncertainty about how ill he became.

Biden said on Monday he was willing to participate in next week’s scheduled debate with Trump as long as health experts say it would be safe.

The diagnosis has raised questions about the safety of staging the debates for the Nov. 3 election. The first of three scheduled debates took place last week, two days before Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

“If the scientists say that it’s safe and the distances are safe, then I think that’s fine. I’ll do whatever the experts say is the appropriate thing to do,” Biden, who tested negative for COVID-19 over the weekend, told reporters in Delaware before heading to Florida on a campaign trip.

The normal quarantine period for anyone testing positive for the novel coronavirus is 14 days.

Trump has frequently played down the threat of the pandemic that has now infected 7.4 million Americans and killed more than 209,000. Biden has criticized Trump for not taking the health concerns seriously enough.

Read more

Homespun BLM products include cookie kits, garden gnomes



Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller's cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Sugar cookies with the likeness of President Obama are displayed as part of Julie Muller’s cookie decorating kits which she sell on Etsy, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A few weeks after nationwide protests erupted over the police killing of George Floyd, Julie Muller looked for something positive she could contribute to the movement from her Houston home.

The 67-year-old white woman, who has been selling homemade cookie-decorating kits online since March, decided to offer one with a Black Lives Matter theme. The kit comes with cookie cutters imprinted with former President Barack Obama’s face, sprinkles and icing in red, black and green — the colors of the Pan-African or Black Liberation flag.



Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, makes cutout cookies for her Black Lives Matter kits Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, makes cutout cookies for her Black Lives Matter kits Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Other examples of homespun BLM merchandise include wine stoppers and even garden gnomes — objects more often associated with white suburbia. The white sellers insist they are not trying to make light of racial issues or widen their profit margins. But to many onlookers, the sales through the crafts marketplace Etsy may straddle an uncomfortable line between supporting the movement and exploiting it.



This Sept. 21, 2020, photo provided by Ashleigh Boutelle in Twin Peaks, Calif., shows Black Lives Matter gnomes and gay pride gnomes he painted and is selling online. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (Ashleigh Boutelle via AP)


© Provided by Associated Press
This Sept. 21, 2020, photo provided by Ashleigh Boutelle in Twin Peaks, Calif., shows Black Lives Matter gnomes and gay pride gnomes he painted and is selling online. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (Ashleigh Boutelle via AP)

Muller’s three children were the first to warn her she might appear to be capitalizing on racial unrest. But that’s partly why she wanted to act.

“I’ve been thinking about what’s systemic racism and what is racial profiling,” Muller said. “It’s more about doing my part. What can I offer?”

The protest movement ignited by Floyd’s death in May under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer compelled businesses large and small to declare publicly that they were “woke” to the pain of Black people. Manufacturers soon began making BLM T-shirts, face masks and signs.

It’s not surprising that independent merchants wanted to express solidarity too, said Patti Williams, an associate professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.



Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, mixes up cookie dough Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of the cookie-decorating kits she offers has a Black Lives Matter theme. Amid all the Black Lives Matter themed T-shirts, face masks and signs appearing in recent months, some unconventional merchandise has been popping up on online crafts marketplace Etsy. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


© Provided by Associated Press
Julie Muller, who sells cookie decorating kits on Etsy, mixes up cookie dough Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Houston. One of

Read more

These festival finds around the Chattanooga area include giant pumpkins, fair foods and Christmas decor

It’s fall, y’all, but in Lebanon, Tennessee, they’re thinking about Christmas — and making no apologies for the nod toward the next season.

“I once read somewhere that 70-80% [of consumers] start thinking about and purchasing their first items for Christmas in the month of September,” said Kristi Rowan, president of Midsouth Media Group, which produces Mistletoe Merchants, scheduled Friday through Sunday in Wilson County’s Farm Bureau Expo Center about 30 miles east of Nashville.

It’s one of five festivals happening or continuing in the tri-state area this weekend. A sixth, the DeKalb County VFW Agricultural Fair in Fort Payne, Alabama, starts Monday with a nightly carnival and other entertainment leading up to an all-day celebration on Oct. 3.

Other day-trip options include a jaunt to Marietta for a flavorful alternative to the North Georgia State Fair, happening the next two weekends, or to Pigeon Forge for the opening of the six-week Harvest Festival and Great Pumpkin LumiNights at Dollywood.

Closer to home, the Pumpkin Palooza family festival will take place Saturday at Greenway Park & Pavilion in Cleveland, Tennessee.

Rowan said Mistletoe Merchants is one of six spring and holiday markets her company produces in Tennessee and Mississippi.

“Last year we had about 5,000 shoppers, doubling from the previous year of 2,500,” Rowan said of the market, now in its fifth year in the Nashville area. “This event is really catching on and will soon be like our seasoned shows with 15,000 shoppers.”

Her 20-year-old Memphis show typically draws crowds of that size, she said, but it has been canceled entirely this year due to coronavirus concerns. For the Nashville event, several popular mix-and-mingle activities have been dropped, including Cupcakes & Cocktails, Muffins & Mimosas, Sangria Sunday and Santa appearances. However, general-admission shopping among the more than 100 vendors will take place as scheduled.

“This is a shopper’s chance to shop some of these unique businesses that you would not normally see, all while supporting small businesses and our economy,” Rowan said.

Likewise, the North Georgia State Fair has scaled back this year, canceling the midway and blue-ribbon competitions and revamping as Taste of the Fair.

Visitors will drive through to view the menus of at least 15 food vendors, then park for in-car or walk-up service. In-car service will provide a limited menu and an attendant who will take and deliver orders. Walk-up service will provide a full vendor menu, and visitors will leave their cars to order directly from the vendors. Masks are required for anyone choosing walk-up service.

At Dollywood, the seasonal programming includes more than 800 concerts by Southern gospel and bluegrass artists over the next six weeks, along with demonstrations by resident crafters and visiting artists, set amid the autumnal beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. New for 2020 are pumpkins weighing up to 1,000 pounds each, great for using as photo backdrops or just for marveling at their colossal size. As the sun sets, the theme park transforms into a whimsical display of

Read more

House Republican introduces amendment to include farm aid in stopgap funding bill



Mike Conaway wearing a suit and tie: House Republican introduces amendment to include farm aid in stopgap funding bill


© Greg Nash
House Republican introduces amendment to include farm aid in stopgap funding bill

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, on Monday introduced an amendment to a stopgap government funding measure that would provide farm aid and extend child nutritional assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Democrats earlier Monday introduced a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government funding through Dec. 11.

Negotiators aimed to release a bipartisan stopgap bill on Friday, but talks collapsed after the parties were unable to reach an agreement on whether a provision to provide additional payments to farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which is capped at a borrowing limit of $30 billion, should be included.

House Democrats ultimately opted to omit the language to provide more funding to CCC on Monday, a move that sparked strong backlash from Republicans in both chambers and leaving just over a week to come to an agreement and avoid a damaging government shutdown.

Conaway’s amendment would change the bill to include language to “reimburse the Commodity Credit Corporation for net realized losses sustained” and extend the increase in child food benefits through 2021.

“This amendment is simple and straightforward. It reflects the bipartisan agreement that was reached last week, and then reneged on by the Democratic leadership on Friday. My amendment replenishes the CCC, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and provides pandemic funding increases for SNAP,” Conaway said during a House Rules Committee mark up following the bill’s release.

“Up until recently, the CCC has been replenished on a bipartisan basis, without controversy. But once again, Democrat leadership has upended this long-standing practice, and I have no real idea why. Democrat leaders are mad at the Trump administration, because they’ve used the CCC dollars to provide trade aid to farmers or ranchers and dairy producers hurt by China, and apparently now the Democrats are mad that the administration is providing CCC dollars to help farmers or ranchers and dairy producers hurt by COVID-19.”

Democrats, however, argue a sweeping Democrat-led relief package that passed the House in May provided relief for farmers that have taken a financial hit as a result of the pandemic and allege the administration is using the funding for political gain.

“What the Trump Administration wanted added to the clean CR wasn’t help for farmers – it was more than $20 billion more taxpayer dollars that the Trump Administration views as a bottomless, unaccountable political slush fund,” one senior Democratic aide said.

Republicans have indicated that the Democrat-led bill faces an uphill battle without the CCC language. Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to avert a government shutdown, and the showdown over the bill comes just weeks ahead of election day.

“House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need. This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America,” Senate Majority Leader

Read more

Biden White House economic team could include Elizabeth Warren, Lael Brainard

Democratic presidential hopefuls Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden shake hands as they arrive onstage for the third Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Despite an uncertain economic outlook and a diverse array of advisors on Joe Biden’s economic team, Wall Street speculators and Beltway wonks have nonetheless drummed up a list of policymakers who could play roles in a potential Biden White House.

The cast ranges from progressive favorite Sen. Elizabeth Warren to equitability economist Heather Boushey. Longtime Biden confidant Jared Bernstein is also thought to be a top contender for a role, while others speculate that Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard could be on the short list.

CNBC reached out to several economists and politicians who reportedly are advising the Biden campaign. All declined to offer comment for this story and on their interactions with the campaign.

The economy — along with the coronavirus crisis itself — are likely to be Biden’s top priorities should he defeat President Donald Trump in November. The former vice president holds a lead of approximately 7 percentage points in polling averages and narrowly edges Trump in several swing-state polls.

The U.S. unemployment rate is still over 8%, more than 13 million American workers continue to receive unemployment benefits, and Covid-19 remains far from contained and could rebound this fall as people spend more time indoors.

So whom Biden chooses to lead the White House’s economic policy will likely have more impact than usual for a newly elected president.

“Steven Mnuchin emerged as the key negotiator between House Democrats and the White House, and demonstrated the key role the secretary of Treasury can play,” wrote Tom Block, policy analyst at FundStrat Global Advisors. “If VP Biden wins, getting the economy back on track will undoubtedly be his highest priority.”

Here some of the people considered to be leading candidates for economic roles in a potential Biden administration.

Elizabeth Warren

No conversation about Biden’s future Cabinet would be complete without a mention of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, whose crusader-like devotion to holding Wall Street accountable has made her something of a progressive icon.

Though she was among Biden’s challengers in the Democratic primary, her deep knowledge of the U.S. financial system and bankruptcy law makes her a compelling contender for Treasury secretary. She and Biden now reportedly hold regular phone calls to discuss policy. Biden has touted Warren-endorsed ideas ranging from topics such as personal bankruptcy and expanding Social Security to ending student-loan debt for millions.

But a key force that could potentially doom Warren’s appointment to lead the Treasury is her indisputable value to Democrats as a senator.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) delivers a campaign speech at East Los Angeles College on March 2, 2020 in Monterey Park, California.

Mario Tama | Getty Images

Even if Biden wins the White House, the composition of the Senate is far less certain and Democrats may be hard-pressed to

Read more

At Kabba’s Kitchen, Senegalese specials include some of Portland’s tastiest fried spring rolls

Would you be surprised to learn that some of Portland’s tastiest fried springs rolls come from a new Senegalese food cart?

Then you don’t know nems.

A legacy of French colonialism, spring rolls were brought to West Africa by the Vietnamese brides of Senegalese soldiers returning from the Indochina War. The crunchy snacks are now among the most popular street foods in Dakar. At Kabba’s Kitchen, one of just a tiny handful of West African restaurants in Portland, chef-owner Kabba Saidikhan carries on this tradition, wrapping ground beef and chicken with glass noodles in egg roll wrappers (the see-through rice paper used in Senegal is a bit too sticky for the cart, she says), then deep fries each roll to a golden crunch.

Saidikhan moved from Senegal to Vancouver, Wash. in 1996, back when Portland’s most famous West African restaurant was the North Park Blocks’ Baobab, which closed in the early 2000s. Urged on by friends, relatives and other fans of her cooking, Saidikhan decided to test out the food cart waters last year. Kabba’s Kitchen opened on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in May. As it happens, the former cheesesteak cart Saidikhan bought sits on the same block as Akadi, Ivory Coast-born chef Fatou Ouattara’s three-year-old restaurant. (Black Star Grill, a Ghanaian food cart formerly parked near Portland State University, is currently on hiatus as owner Enoch Aggrey looks for a new home).

“I had heard of the name Akadi, but i never really went there,” Saidikhan says. “But once we bought the cart, and signed all the papers, I was introducing myself to one of the ladies that runs a cart here, Kee (Kee’s Loaded Kitchen owner Kiauna Nelson), and she says, ‘Do you know there’s a West African restaurant right there?” And so we drove around the corner, and my husband goes, ‘Look, there’s the restaurant right there!’”

Kabba's Kitchen food cart

Fataya and nems from Kabba’s Kitchen.The Oregonian

There’s some menu overlap between the two businesses, including a whole fish preparation (a signature at Akadi) and the Senegalese favorite mafé, a creamy peanut sauce tossed with beef (Kabba’s is nice). But as Saidikhan points out, there are plenty of differences as well.

“We both serve West African. They serve Ivory Coast/Ghanaian. We serve Senegambian,” Saidikhan says, combining Senegal and Gambia, her family’s interlocking home countries. “Africa is so big, you know, there’s a variety of food.”

As for those fried spring rolls, Saidikhan hopes customers focus instead on another appetizer. She points to her fataya, a fried meat pie with ground meat, potatoes, onion, herbs and spices, which has deeper Senegalese roots.

11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 3625 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; 503-438-6770; https://kabbas-kitchen.business.site. This story is part of our annual guide to Portland’s best new food carts. Know of a cart that opened in the past year that you think we should know about? Drop me a line at [email protected] and let me know why you love it.

Michael Russell,

Read more

What to Include in a Bathroom Remodel

The bathroom should be an oasis within your home, where you feel comfortable and even a bit pampered. If your bathroom is barely functional enough to fulfill your basic restroom requirements, you might want to consider a bathroom remodeling project. Remodeling your bathroom can not only provide you with a soothing retreat, but it can add long-term value to your home.

Bathroom Remodel Ideas

Before you get started on your bathroom remodel, consider your budget and make a list of features you want to include. Careful planning is required so you don’t end up with an oversized tub or run out of money before the work is complete. Here are some things to consider addressing in your remodel:

1. Smart Storage

Crowded counters and lack of space for daily essentials such as towels can make your bathroom a place of frustration rather than relaxation. When it comes to bathroom remodeling, addressing storage problems is a must. Built-in storage that utilizes the room’s vertical space, such as tall cabinets with drawers, can hide your mess while freeing up floor space. Consider adding an electric outlet within a cabinet for keeping electronic devices, such as toothbrushes, out of sight while they’re charging.

2. Ventilation

Your bathroom’s ventilation system is another important element to think about. An improved ventilation system can help inhibit harmful mold growth and protect the finishes of your bathroom furniture. An upgraded fan can also be less noisy, and some come with humidity sensors that turn the fans on automatically.

3. Adequate Lighting

Tired of putting on makeup in your bathroom only to find you look like a vampy raccoon in regular daylight? Take advantage of your bathroom remodel to install better lighting that complements the colors of your walls rather than distorting them. Remodeling small bathroom lighting can involve including vanity lights around a mirror.

4. A Good Soak

There are plenty of choices available for stylish showers and tubs. In a more spacious bathroom, a soaking tub is a nice luxury to add. In a more constricted space, you can achieve a similar effect by adding a tub with heightened walls.

When it comes to showers, some bathroom shower remodel ideas include adding extra shower floor space and an additional showerhead, as well as including smaller showerheads along the walls that pulsate water for a water massage. You can also install showerheads on the ceiling for a tropical rainforest vibe. For a bathroom shower remodel in a smaller space, a steam shower can incorporate many of these bells and whistles into one unit.

5. Go Green

One of the biggest trends in bathroom remodeling is incorporating items that are both sustainable and economical. You can make your bathroom more eco-friendly by using cork flooring, which is warmer to the touch than tile, and by installing a timer on floor heaters. Decrease bathroom water consumption with water-saving showerheads and low-flow toilets, and conserve electricity with an on-demand water heater that heats water instantly instead of storing it.

Instead …

Read more