The Daily Valet. - 6/12/24, Wednesday

Wednesday, June 12th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
Should I spend less time on my phone? Maybe. Am I willing to give up my phone? Never.

Today’s Big Story

Retailers Cut Prices


More and more stores are finally lowering prices. Will it last?


It sounds like retailers got a little nervous. Americans aren’t exactly buying like they used to. They’re not necessarily buying less, but becoming more price-conscious and choosy. And in a game of chicken between stores and shoppers, it’s the stores that appear to be yielding first, by dropping prices on thousands of products.

The news that Target was slashing prices on about 5,000 everyday staples—things like bread, milk and diapers—made an especially big splash last month. But the beloved big-box retailer wasn’t alone. The grocery chain Aldi also said it would cut prices on over 250 items. Then Walmart followed suit. So did McDonald’s, Best Buy and others.

The markdowns come as inflation has pushed prices higher for the past two years, squeezing Americans and forcing them to choose between wants and needs. That’s a problem not just for individual shoppers or even big retail chains but for the whole American economy, of which about two-thirds comes from consumer spending.

While discounts are an everyday tool in retail, one analyst told the Associated Press that these aggressive price cuts that cover thousands of items announced by a number of retailers represent a “major shift” in recent strategy. He noted most companies talked about price increases in the past two or three years, and the cut marks the first big “price war” since before inflation started taking hold.

What’s actually getting cheaper? So far, it’s a mix of groceries and general merchandise including toys, beauty products and household goods. But even car markers like Ford recently marked down some models, including EVs, by 17%, reports the Washington Post. And while you might start to notice things getting cheaper, experts say it won’t happen all at once. Even if some items cost less, it’s possible others will continue to cost more—leaving you with a similar tab at the checkout line.

At the Same Time:
The Federal Reserve’s aggressive efforts to raise interest rates have made it more expensive for Americans to finance purchases with credit.

Hunter Biden Found Guilty


He was convicted of all three felonies in federal gun trial

Hunter Biden was convicted Tuesday of all three felony charges related to the purchase of a revolver in 2018 when, prosecutors argued, the president’s son lied on a mandatory gun-purchase form by saying he was not illegally using or addicted to drugs. He now faces up to 25 years in prison with the three charges, although as a first-time offender it’s unlikely he will receive the maximum sentence.

His father, President Joe Biden, said in a statement Tuesday that he would accept the outcome of his son Hunter's trial and conviction. The president added that he’d “continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal.” Recently Biden also said that he would not issue a pardon for his son if he was convicted.

This is the first time a child of an American president has been convicted of a crime, and while it’s not great for President Biden, it also delivers a blow to Donald Trump. NBC News chief political analyst Chuck Todd said that the real political fallout from the verdict hurts Trump because it proves there isn't a double standard at the Department of Justice. Intelligencer points out that “four-fifths of Republican voters now believe the decisions to prosecute Trump in New York came from the Biden administration” … but “it could not be more obvious that one candidate in this race genuinely believes in upholding the rule of law.”

Dig Deeper:
A juror in the case called the trial a "waste of taxpayers" dollars, and says texts were key evidence.

U.S. to Send Another Patriot Missile Battery to Ukraine


It’s one of the best air-defense weapons, but America and its allies have a limited supply

The United States will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system, two U.S. officials said Tuesday, answering Kyiv’s desperate calls for more air defenses as it battles an intense Russian assault on the northeastern Kharkiv region. President Biden has approved the move, which would be the second Patriot system that the U.S. has given to Ukraine—although the Pentagon has routinely provided an undisclosed number of missiles for the system. Other allies, including Germany, also have provided air defense systems as well as munitions for them.

The new system will come from Poland, reports the New York Times, where it has been protecting a rotational force of American troops who will be returning to the United States, officials said. With its sophisticated radar and missile interceptors, the Patriot system can be used to shoot down targets like aircraft and ballistic missiles. It’s also one of the scarcest weapons systems in the U.S. arsenal. Pentagon officials refuse to disclose how many it has, but one senior military official said that the Army has deployed only 14.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy late last month pleaded for additional U.S.-made Patriot systems, arguing that they will help his forces fight the close to 3,000 bombs that he said Russia launches into the country every month. American allies also have Patriots, and two of those nations have sent a couple to Ukraine, but U.S. officials say they hope European powers will send more.

U.S. lifts ban on controversial Ukrainian military unit using American weapons.

The Light Phone 3


Still a distraction-free phone, but now it’s a little less minimalist

You’ve heard by now that we’re in a dumbphone boom. As people realise they’re spending too much time glued to the top smartphones, they’re looking for ways to cut down. The new Light Phone 3 is the least dumb dumbphone you can go for.

The phone maker, known for its minimalist phone with an e-paper screen, has now opted for a sleek black-and-white OLED screen. It still doesn’t offer any access to social media, the internet or even email. But Engadget says it’s not completely bare, however, as the Light Phone III includes an embedded NFC chip for making payments. It also allows access to navigation tools, a simple music player, texting, voice notes, a calendar, a timer and an alarm.

The goal, according to The Verge, was to once again build a simpler, less alluring smartphone for when you want to check out but also, this time, to maybe replace your smartphone for good. The new model also gains a pair of cameras: a 50-megapixel one on the back and an 8-megapixel selfie camera on the front. There's even a point-and-shoot camera-like hardware shutter button, too.

The phone comes with a replaceable battery to keep the device ticking for years.

Your June Reading List


From the life of Joni Mitchell to retracing how America got so divided


What are you reading these days? If you’re in need of some good summer reading—be it for flipping through on the beach or staying in the air conditioning—June has some spectacular new releases that you should pick up. And they're pretty varied, so there’s bound to be something to suit anyone’s taste.



By: Ann Powers
Out: Now

Ann Powers is a master at chronicling music, art and culture, so her new focus on the legendary Joni Mitchell has a lot of people excited to dig into fresh perspectives on Mitchell’s life and work.


The Knockout Artist

By: Harry Crews
Out: Now

Penguin Classics is reissuing the cult Southern writer’s 1988 novel about a boxer with the unique skill of being able to KO himself, and the strange and dangerous places it takes him.


When the Clock Broke

By: John Ganz
Out: June 18

Acclaimed political writer John Ganz tells the story of America’s late-century discontents and how rising anger and domestic turmoil brought the polarization and resurgent extremism we know today.



By: Santiago Jose Sanchez
Out: June 25

Sanchez’s powerful first novel follows a young boy from Colombia to the United States and back again as he struggles with abandonment issues, acclimating to a new homeland and grappling with his sexuality and self-acceptance.


Lightweight Summer Layers


How to keep your wardrobe interesting without overheating


Swimmers camp-collar shirt, $540 by BODE

Sure, it's summertime and things are more relaxed. But that doesn't mean you want a boring fit. Looking to add a little spice to your summer wardrobe? The key is layering up with lightweight, breathable fabrics—that way you can still look stylish and interesting without overheating. With the right textural fabrics and a little ingenuity, you can put together some really impressive layered summer looks. MR PORTER has everything you need to layer right this summer.


Straight-leg linen pant, $285 by Mr P.

Kyoto sandal, $150 by Birkenstock

Seb linen drawstring short, $185 by NN07

Check Out:
The key pieces you need this summer

Morning Motto

Keep going.


I am not everything I want to be, but I am more than I was, and I am still learning.




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