The Daily Valet. - 3/25/24, Monday

Monday, March 25th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
I take my coffee seriously. I don't want any disruptions, okay?

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Today’s Big Story

Reordering of the Coffee World


New deforrestation laws are shaking up the industry. How will this affect our morning cups?


Listen closely, and you might hear the beans buzzing. The world of coffee is bracing for a big change. The European Deforestation Regulation (or EUDR) will outlaw sales of products like coffee from December if companies can’t prove they are not linked with deforestation. The new rules don’t just seek to reduce risks of illegal logging and its scope is wide: It will apply to cocoa, coffee, soy, palm oil, wood, rubber, and cattle. To sell those products in Europe, big companies will have to provide evidence showing they come from land where forests haven’t been cut since 2020. That will likely prove difficult.

Which means places like Vietnam are hoping that local growers will benefit from a potential reordering of how coffee is traded due to the more stringent laws. The country has been boosting their cultivation of coffee for the past three decades and by the early 2000s, Vietnam had become the second-largest producer of coffee worldwide, which provides a tenth of its export income.

The Southeast Asian nation has long promoted more sustainable farming methods, viewing laws like the EUDR as an “an inevitable change,” according to an August 2023 agriculture ministry communique. The EUDR could help accelerate such a transformation, according to agriculture minister Le Minh Hoang. But the OG coffee growers aren’t just rolling over. According to The National, small-scale producers in Colombia are calling for their voices to be heard amid fears they could lose market access due to barriers like a lack of electricity or internet, certification fees and the additional costs of compliance.

Most farmers say that while they support deforestation policies, they cannot absorb the costs of expensive measures like geomapping, which helps businesses and regulators track illegal deforestation. And industry sources tell Reuters that in places like Ethiopia, farmers' orders are already drying up ahead of the new legislation.

According to the Associated Press, Brazil—the world’s largest coffee producer—is better suited to compete, since its coffee grows on plantations that are far away from forests and it has a relatively well organized supply chain. Also, a study from earlier this year found that Brazilian-grown coffee is most likely to meet the EUDR requirements because much of it is already exported to the E.U. and about a third of its coffee growing acreage already has some kind of sustainability certification. But as for what this means for the cost of your beans, that remains to be seen at this point.

The first known coffee house, known as “Kiva Han,” was established in 1475 in Istanbul, Turkey.

What’s Going on in Congress?


It passed the last bill to fund the government through the fiscal year, but chaos is still stirring

Over the weekend, President Biden signed legislation funding the government through September, the White House confirmed. Earlier Saturday morning, the Senate voted 74-24 to pass a sweeping $1.2 trillion government funding bill after heated last-minute negotiations caused senators to breach the midnight deadline to avert a shutdown.

Biden’s signing of the measure completes a turbulent government funding process during a divided government, featuring a year of haggling, six months of stopgap bills and intense partisan clashes over money and policy along the way. Now, House Speaker Mike Johnson is facing bubbling anger from his right flank—Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has already taken the first step towards a vote to oust Johnson as speaker, and some hardliners aren't ruling out supporting his removal.

Less than six months after a faction of House Republicans led a revolt that removed Kevin McCarthy from the speakership, more and more Republicans are now complaining about the party’s direction under Johnson and now he might be gone, too. The Washington Post points out that the speed of their disenchantment with Johnson is a reminder of the difficulty of leading the restive Republican caucus, which has been shrinking because of member departures. On Friday, Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin announced he would resign next month to join the private sector, leaving Johnson with just one vote to spare to get measures passed on party lines.

Former Rep. Ken Buck on Sunday called Congress a "dysfunctional place" and has no regrets about leaving early.

4 Men Charged in Moscow Attack


Putin seeks to tie concert hall massacre to Ukraine, despite ISIS claim

Four suspects who were arrested in the Moscow concert hall attack that killed more than 130 people on Friday evening appeared in court on Sunday. According to the Associated Press, they showed signs of severe beatings as they faced formal terrorism charges. One appeared to be barely conscious during the hearing.

An ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for one of Europe's deadliest terrorist attacks, which Russian leader Vladimir Putin sought to tie to Ukraine as he declared Sunday a national day of mourning for the Crocus City Hall shooting victims. U.S. officials have also asserted that the Afghanistan-based ISIS-K, a regional branch of ISIS that's active in South-Central Asian countries including in Tajikistan, was behind the attack that analysts say poses a threat to Putin’s strongman image.

Still, Russian officials have been promoting the idea that, somehow, in some way, Ukraine was behind the brutal attack. The massacre came days after Putin claimed victory in an election solidifying his rule throughout the remainder of this decade. Just before the election, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said it was monitoring reports of “imminent” extremist plans to target large gatherings in the Russian capital, including at concerts. However, Axios reports that Putin said on March 19 that statements by Western officials “about the possibility of terrorist attacks in Russia” resembled “outright blackmail and an intention to intimidate and destabilize our society.”

The assault was the third concert venue in the Northern Hemisphere that ISIS has struck in the past decade.

Car Guys Are Excited About the Coming Land Cruiser FJ


The baby Land Cruiser could be arriving very soon and cost about as much as a RAV4

The Land Cruiser nameplate has always been associated with exceptional off-road capabilities, so it’s no surprise that Toyota intends to uphold these traits for future members of the family. This includes the highly-anticipated compact SUV that reports say will inherit the legendary FJ moniker.

The automaker initially unveiled the Compact Cruser as an EV concept. But Japanese auto site Best Car says the Land Cruiser FJ will have a combustion engine. Toyota abandoned work on the hybrid engine planned for the Land Cruiser FJ. A new hybrid version could arrive a year after the Land Cruiser FJ’s launch. Gear Patrol is betting that the more powerful hybrid version is the one Toyota would bring to America.

According to CarScoops, the new 2024 model could be announced later this year and sit on a ladder frame chassis, “unlocking its full potential for adventure-seekers.” We might have to wait until spring 2025 to actually get behind the wheel, but on the bright side, the SUV will be super affordable. One popular car YouTuber is estimating that in America, it should ring in anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000, just below the 4Runner.

The famed 40-series Land Cruiser was introduced in 1960; it went by the name FJ40 (F for the engine type, J for Jeep).


Invest before this company becomes a household name

What if you had the opportunity to invest in the biggest electronics products before they launched into big box retail, would you?

Ring changed doorbells and Nest changed thermostats. Early investors in these companies earned massive returns, but the opportunity to invest was limited to a select, wealthy few. Not anymore. RYSE has just launched in 100+ Best Buy stores, and you're in luck — you can still invest at only $1.50/share before their name becomes known nationwide.

They have patented the only mass market shade automation device, and their exclusive deal with Best Buy resembles that which led Ring and Nest to their billion-dollar buyouts.


What We’re Buying


Stylish storage containers


It's not always easy to get excited about functional and practical home goods. But when they're this cool, the excitement just comes naturally. Cliik is a new line of storage containers ($59 for a three-pack) with lids that snap on with a satisfying click—meant to store everything from food to everyday home and office supplies. The modular system utilizes magnetic tops (that close with a satisfying namesake *click*), and can be stacked both horizontally and vertically. They're crystal clear, air-tight and stain-proof. They also come with a labeling system that integrates into the lids. Each kit of three containers offers 16 premade labels, along with several blanks.

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The five stylish you should be buying this week.

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