Warm Southern Breeze

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How Has the GOP Improved Alabama Quality of Life?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, August 31, 2018

In almost every measure of the quality of life, Alabama comes up short. Seriously short. Or, to couch it in somewhat Biblical terms (which most Alabamians of any political or religious stripe would understand… and, which most any reasonably well-read person would as well), “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” ref: Daniel 5:27 (NIV)

This is not a Republican thing, per se, nor is it a Democratic thing. It is an ongoing statement of the poor quality of of almost EVERYTHING in Alabama. The root of most every problem plaguing Alabamians lies with the state’s 1901 Constitution which, among other things, FORBIDS local self-governance known as Home Rule – the basic principle upon which our democratic republic was founded – which is that EVERY person has a voice, a vote, and a say-so in how things are run from the grass-roots level, and that all are equal under the law, which is no discriminator of persons.

That is in large part why on almost every statewide ballot there are questions pertaining to counties or cities, and why the entire state must vote on what people in the opposite sides of the state do, and why they have a say-so in other towns and cities governance. Think of it as allowing your nosy neighbors a say in how you do things in your house.

Yeah, I know… weird, isn’t it? Maybe “stupid” would be another, better, or more accurate choice of words.

In Montgomery, when the part-time Legislature with full-time pay convenes (total compensation for legislators approximates $50,000/year), they are constitutionally required and mandated to legislate local matters, because the constitution literally FORBIDS local people from making local decisions.

The legislature is further hamstrung, and the people are thereby harmed, by the inordinately short period of time to which they are similarly constitutionally constrained to meet – 30 meeting days in a  105 calendar day period. Who could get ANYTHING done for 4.8 million people in such a short period of time? Seriously… WHO?

Consider public corruption as an example of how problematic the 1901 Alabama State Constitution truly is. Most recently, the GOP-dominated Legislature, Governor’s office, individual legislators (predominately GOP), and other ancillary agencies (Alabama State Troopers/Department of Public Safety, later known as ALEA, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, etc.) were involved in corruption scandals, the likes of which the state hasn’t seen in, like… FOREVER! Seriously. The extent and degree of severity of corruption which has recently plagued Alabama is unparalleled.

Once the GOP-dominated Legislature was in power, they promptly set about improving the practically toothless Ethics Laws which many of them promised to change, if elected. Ordinarily, that’d be a good thing. Mike Hubbard became Speaker of the House, and the state’s top executive branch offices – Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor, State Treasurer, and Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries – were all filled by Republicans.

Now, here’s where the problems begin.

All THREE branches of government – the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial – were touched by serious corruption. As a natural consequence, the people’s business was impeded and damaged, which also wasted the taxpayers time, money and resources to investigate and prosecute.

But perhaps the MOST costly price paid was continued damage to the state’s already tarnished image in the public eye, nationally and internationally… as if it could get any worse.

Governor Robert Bentley was the subject of Federal and State investigations over whether he misused public funds, and violated campaign finance law to further his extra-marital involvement with a female aide. Corollary to that, he was also facing impeachment… the first ever Alabama governor to face such serious public scrutiny and reprisal.

The Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard and other legislators were facing investigations and indictments by the Attorney General for possible violations of ethics laws, and other related laws. Named as witnesses were many well-known, high-powered big business lobbyists, and their clients.

The State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was facing a SECOND investigation in his second elected term over his refusal to obey and uphold Federal Law, and a Federal Judge’s court order to obey the law, which meant he could face public trial by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission (his peers), and a SECOND possible expulsion from the bench.

The Governor accepted a plea deal to two lesser misdemeanors, resigned from office, repaid monies, performed community service, and promised to never again hold public office.

The Chief Justice was found guilty and removed from the bench – a SECOND time.

The Speaker of the House and other legislators were all found GUILTY of violating the very Ethics Laws they passed – which were all felony violations.

As well, over a dozen current legislators and others (high-powered attorneys, former legislators, lobbyists, business owners, etc.) are STILL being found GUILTY of, or pleading GUILTY to violating Federal and/or state law, including bribery, mail fraud, Medicare fraud, misuse of public office, and various other forms of abuse of public trust.

And then, there’s the sheriff from Etowah County, Todd Entrekin, who was found to have LEGALLY redirected funds which were to have been used for feeding inmates (three-quarters of a million dollars), to his own personal use, to, with his wife Karen, purchase a luxurious beachfront house on the Gulf Coast.

All but one of those identified are Republicans.

But again, this is not an “Us versus Them” or “Republican versus Democrat” problem. It’s a corruption problem, the predominate root of which lies with the 1901 Alabama State Constitution. Consequently, the entire state suffers.

Harvard University’s Center for Ethics researched Legal and Illegal corruption in all 50 states three branches of government, and found Alabama wanting by most measures.

Of course, it neither helps that Alabama has a continuous and ongoing history of voting for one party, or the other – so that there’s rarely if ever a mix of parties in power. It’s quite literally, a bipolar type of operation, which goes from one extreme, to the other.

Alabama has had SIX constitutions, and the one under which it now labors is not even the best of the five which preceded it.

The state’s present constitution – the 1901 Constitution – has well over 900 amendments. That one thing alone makes it the most bloated and inefficient of any such type of governing document in the entire world – hands down, bar none.

The Dictionary of Alabama says this about Alabama’s 1901 Constitutional Convention:
“Called primarily to establish White supremacy by disfranchising Blacks, the Constitutional Convention of 1901 continues to shape Alabama politics in the twenty-first century. The convention also concentrated power in the state legislature, decreased opportunities for Home Rule, and established voter requirements that even many White men could not meet, reducing the political influence of the state’s many poor Whites. The 155 delegates to the Alabama Constitutional Convention of 1901 codified Black disfranchisement and increased the political power of the state legislature at the expense of local government.”

So when combined with the fact that it STILL contains racist language, and provisions which have been Read the rest of this entry »

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American Academy of Family Physicians @AAFP Errs on Website Criticizing #Nurses @NCSBN

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, May 26, 2018

The American Association of Family Physicians website had a glaringly obvious spelling goof in their headline criticizing Board Certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

In a strangely ironic, even cruel twist, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) authored a letter dated 10 May 2018 criticizing the efforts of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) to encourage states to expand their Nursing Scope of Practice laws to more accurately reflect uniformity of standards, and allow professionally Board Certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN-BC) with ability, education, and training to practice to the fullest extent of their license for the benefit of patients and Public Health. News of the AAFP’s letter was published on their website 16 May.

However, since that news item’s publication, the website contained an obviously glaring spelling error, which negatively reflects upon the physicians’ professional organization, and has neither been noticed, nor corrected as of the date of publication of this entry – Saturday, 26 May 2018.

The ostensible purpose of the AAFP letter, which also carried the endorsement of 80+ professional physician organizations, was to Read the rest of this entry »

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Yes! Iron skillets are STILL Made in America!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, April 9, 2018

If you’re like me, you want to “do your part to support the home team,” and buy as many items Made in USA as you can possibly find. It just makes sense to support your friends and neighbors who are also entrepreneurs, skilled artisans and craftsmen.

Now please, don’t misunderstand, I have NEVER opposed Free Trade, but I have long opposed unfair trade… and poor quality products, even if they are Made in USA. And as far as I’ve seen, the quality of Lodge brand iron cookware is on par with cheap Chinese imports. And that is not saying very much at all – or rather, it says volumes.

I enjoy cooking, and am primarily self-taught. And I have learned by trial-and-error, that thin, cheap, often aluminum cookware is inferior, and more often than not, burns food… even when it’s used to simply warm a canned food item, such as green beans, or corn. And the reason why, is that it’s thin!

Multiplied by today’s “flat top” cooking surfaces, that’s a marriage made exclusively in Hell. The reason why, is that unlike flame stoves which can be adjusted for intensity, and even the older “coiled eye” resistor heating elements, flat top/smooth surface cook tops use a very messed up and faulty process. Here’s what typically happens.

Turn on the “burner” and watch what happens. Even at LOW temperatures, the element underneath the smooth surface comes on at 100% intensity, and then quickly goes out. That process is repeated at every “temperature” setting, with the only difference being between “temperatures” is the length of time at which the element stays on. For example, at the “HIGH” setting, the heating/cooking element is on constantly, while on the “MEDIUM” setting, the heating/cooking element cycles on-and-off less frequently than if it were on “LOW.” Essentially, the “temperature” adjustment knob is a timer, rather than a rheostat.

What’s a rheostat?

Glad you asked!

Without going into too much detail, think of a rheostat as a Read the rest of this entry »

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America Is Under Attack

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 28, 2018

FaceBook criticism is nothing new. In fact, there’s an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to it, which began, interestingly enough, in 2007 – a mere two years after the company, under CEO Mark Zuckerberg, settled a lawsuit with brothers Cameron, and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra claiming that he had stolen the idea for the company, which at the time was valued at US$10 Billion. It’s now worth more than 40 times that.

FaceBook’s IPO was May 21, 2012, opened selling at $26.21 per share, and now trades around the $150 mark. The last time it was near that price was June 12, 2017, while the highest it’s ever been was $190.28 on January 29, this year. So this momentary decline is a mere hiccough, or passing fancy of algorithmic computer-based trading, from which humans are largely excluded. FaceBook’s market capitalization, aka 
“market cap” is very nearly $450 billion, which is the total dollar market value of a company’s outstanding shares.

Less than a year later, in 2013, FaceBook was resoundingly publicly criticized for not having protections in place to guard against online stalking, child sexual predators, and bullies after loosening restrictions on Read the rest of this entry »

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Remington Files Bankruptcy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, March 26, 2018

Remington Outdoor Company, formerly known as Remington Arms Company, LLC, is America’s oldest firearms manufacturer, and privately-owned by Cerberus Capital Management, announced February 12, 2018, that they intended to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection later this year. Cerberus will relinquish ownership once restructuring is completed. Their filing was done today, March 26, 2018.

Remington’s plan will allow them to reduce debt by $700 million of their $950 million debt, contribute $145 million of new capital into their subsidiaries, and $100 million in creditor-funded money as a debtor-in-possession term loan. Planning for the bankruptcy had been announced late 2017.

The company’s unaudited returns dated February 12, 2018, show net revenue of Read the rest of this entry »

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That Big Clear Rock On Your Left Ring Finger… Is An Ostentatious, Useless Piece Of Crap.

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, January 22, 2018

“A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” sang late starlet Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”

But since when did diamonds become valuable?

And how did clear pieces of carbon, nothing more than mere coal, a dirty fossil fuel, come to symbolize – of all things – “love”?

They’re certainly not rare (though for a brief time, they were), and in fact, they are significantly more abundant than gold – though you likely wouldn’t be aware of it, per se – and because diamonds are the hardest substance known to science, it’s not uncommon to find diamond abrasives in any hardware store, or construction site. They’re even on fingernail files. But since when did you ever see a golden saw, or golden fingernail file?

But first, some  supply-and-demand “backstory” mixed with market manipulation and eventual monopoly… and then back again.

In 1870, gigantic diamond mines were discovered near Read the rest of this entry »

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Welcome The F-35 Lightning II To Alabama!

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

I’ve just heard/read the news that the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field in Montgomery has been chosen to get a fleet of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Mission jet aircraft.

That’s the $1.45 TRILLION-dollar TOTAL LIFETIME OPERATION COST of operations, cost-overrun, over-budget, faulty, so-called “do-everything” aircraft which can’t do an aerial “dogfight,” and the money already spent upon it ($350Billion) could have LITERALLY purchased a “McMansion-priced home” ($600K – over 2x the average price of the average US house), for EVERY SINGLE HOMELESS person in our nationand– had plenty of money left over.

It’s part and parcel of what late, former WWII Supreme Allied Commander, former-two term Republican POTUS Dwight David Eisenhower called the “military industrial complex” in his Farewell Address the evening of January 17, 1961, as a two-term Republican, under whose leadership our nation grew like “gangbusters,” our infrastructure expanded phenomenally and exponentially, and under who the Personal Income Tax Rates upon the VERY WEALTHIEST of Americans was 90%+, with Corporate Income Tax Rates 40+%.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

“This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Alabama Can’t Have Nice Things, Including Internet Service

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 21, 2017

Why Can’t Alabama Have Nice Things?
-or-
Why FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal Could Be Good For Alabama’s Economy

Already, following quickly on the heels of GOP FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s (a former corporate lawyer for Verizon) Net Neutrality repeal, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Comcast, Cox Communications, and Frontier Communications have announced increased costs starting January. see: https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2017/12/19/comcast-cox-frontier-net-neutrality/

<sarcasm>I suppose the “savings” regular families get from the GOP’s Tax Scam bill will offset any additional costs.</sarcasm>

Now, here’s the (easy to understand) “deal”:

Those firms want to increase sales, and by extension, increase profits. Not merely margins. In order to do that, one must TRULY compete on a “level playing field.”

But, let’s consider another thought, that being of service. There are, even now, many areas in our nation WITHOUT ISP, or options. It’s VERY “close to home.”

For example, I can drive 30-45 minutes and be in a VERY remote area… which, until this point, had NO ISP, save for satellite service. At my urging, relatives, whose example I am referencing, began to collaborate with their neighbors to get ISP to “lay line” to their, and others’ residences.

They (area residents) were already paying for a service (satellite ISP) which quality was poor, unreliable, and costly. The “wire line” ISP (falsely) claimed that to extend service to that area (even though it was already nearby – at the road), would not be “profitable.” I demurred, urged and encouraged them ALL THE MORE to Read the rest of this entry »

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Follow The Money: Paul Manafort, Donald Trump & Michael Flynn

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

By now, you’ve likely heard, or read about Paul Manafort’s bail being revoked.

Manfort, of course, was briefly then-candidate Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign Manager, and has been arrested by the FBI as part of former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s (b.1944) ongoing investigation into illegal activity by foreign nations in the United States, some of which may have been related to the General Election of 2016.

Manfort (b.1949) is a Georgetown University School of Law-educated attorney, and among other activities, has made his money lobbying for, and advising the national political campaigns of such presidential candidates as Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Robert “Bob” Dole.

Manafort has also advised political campaigns in totalitarian dictatorial regimes, and has lobbied for, advised, and represented some highly unsavory international criminal characters including Read the rest of this entry »

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All Work Has Dignity -and- The Laborer Is Worthy Of Their Hire

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, October 23, 2017

A long-time & dear friend recently shared this thought: “If you’re going to say something about people lacking career aspirations, make sure you’ve created opportunities for advancement and not merely encouraged people to work from Engineer II to Engineer III.”

My thoughts follow:

While I am in an ethnographic & demographic majority, I am simultaneously in an educational & professional minority. However, for as long as I can remember, I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, either through Vocational Education – and that word, “vocation,” is one we have improperly derided, though it has ALWAYS had greatly esteemed meaning. So let us instead, use the OUTSTANDING and more descriptive term “Trades.”

Now… I have NEVER ceased advocating for educational attainment, INCLUDING Trades!

ALL work has dignity! And “the laborer is worthy of their hire.” And that is PRECISELY what those who purport to promote employment do NOT do by deriding & belittling Read the rest of this entry »

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Extending Battery Life in iOS 11

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 19, 2017

In Apple’s iOS 11 {as 11.0.3 (15A432)}, shortened battery life/power has been a source of continual complaint form many.

Part of the reason why, is that in iOS 11, the Bluetooth & Wi-Fi features can NOT be turned OFF from the “swipe” menu, which is accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

Instead, what that “switch” does, is to Read the rest of this entry »

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Build The Wall

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Seems an Alabama company (Caddell Construction, in Montgomery) is vying for POS45’s attention by being one of six “finalists” in the surreality show now called “The President,” which has built a “life-sized sample” segment along the US-Mexico border.

Why don’t the idiots build one around Alabama?

Which reminds me of a story:

On one of their patrols, two GIs in the Middle East happened upon a device halfway buried in the sand, which they thought was an IED. After determining it was not, one of them picked it up and dusted it off, whereupon a cloud of smoke began to billow from it.

Scared, he threw it down, and they began to run from it.

Just as soon they thought they’d safely distanced themselves from it, they turned around and then saw a genie appear from within the cloud of smoke.

They hesitated reaching for their rifles because the genie appeared unarmed. After all, a muscular man wearing a turban, no shirt, and a billowy pair of pants could hardly be a menace… right?

Suddenly, the genie spoke, and in a authoritative voice said, Read the rest of this entry »

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Cuss…tomer Service, With A Smile!😄

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, August 28, 2017

You gotta’ feel for the folks on the other end of the phone in corporate Customer Care / Customer Service for various companies. Sometimes, they catch Hell. Seriously, they do.

Folks may sometimes call up mad as a hornet, irritated – for whatever reason – and then proceed to “take it out” on whoever answers the phone.

It’s a DIFFICULT job, to be certain, but someone’s gotta’ do it.

So… hat’s OFF to those unsung heroes of business enterprise!

Now, let’s get real… real hard, and really real.

Most folks, I would presume, don’t walk around with a chip on their shoulder. They’re not constantly engaging or berating themselves with conflicting internal dialogue, or hearing voices in their head. In other words, not only are they sane, they’re moderately happy, satisfied with life, and things in general. While there are occasions in which they become dissatisfied, angry, or upset, those very same sane people communicate, and collaborate with others to make others aware of problems, so that solutions and corrections to them may be made.

Of course, few would suppose that Read the rest of this entry »

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Deep Dish Pizza: A How-To Guide

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 25, 2017

Who doesn‘t like pizza?

Why, it’s practically unAmerican to not like pizza! Have you ever made your own pizza at home? Ever wanted to make a Deep Dish Pizza at home? Good news – you can! And I’ll share images and a recipe which will help get you started.

This may come as a complete surprise to some, but pizza is BIG BUSINESS in the United States.

Top 50 Pizza Chains’ Annual Sales by State (Click to enlarge)

And as Marketplace Host and Senior Editor Kai Ryssdal says, “but first, let’s do the numbers…”

According to CHD Expert, a foodservice industry marketing trends & data organization, at the end of September 2016, there were 76,723 pizza restaurants in operation in the United States.

In their 2016 Pizza Consumer Trend Report, foodservice industry researcher Technomic found that 41% of consumers polled say they eat pizza once a week, a 55% increase from the 26% reported only 2 years ago.

And a 2016 Morgan Stanley report found that pizza delivery is a $30 billion industry, but could be be worth over $210 billion — which is the total amount Americans currently spent on off-premise dining. And of that $30 billion figure, over 1/3 – $11 billion – are delivery orders which are placed online, and nearly 2/3 of those online orders are… pizza.

So with impressive data like that, it should come as no surprise that a Harris Poll found that Americans’ No. 1 favorite comfort food is pizza, which also had twice as many votes as any other dish… including chocolate.

Now, for a recipe, and the how-to.

There are many seemingly innumerable styles of pizza, which vary with stuffed crusts, in shape, size, ingredients, and any other number of variations in pizza, and fortunately, this one will be simple enough to make at home.

We’re going to make the entire thing, including the crust.

A highly flavored #homemade #pizza dough crust - hWhat you’ll need is Read the rest of this entry »

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Will That Be Cash, Pizza, Praise, Or Nothing?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, June 24, 2017

Decades ago, Dale Carnegie expounded on the power of praise in his classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

In it, he wrote in part that, “…there is one longing – almost as deep, almost as imperious, as the desire for food or sleep – which is seldom gratified. It is what Dewey calls Read the rest of this entry »

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German Grocer Aldi To Heat Up U.S. Competition

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, June 12, 2017

German Discount Grocer Aldi Sets U.S. Expansion Plan

Aldi says it will open nearly 900 stores, invest $5 billion over five years

Aldi says it will open 900 stores and invest $5 billion over five years. Photo by Anthony Devlin/Zuma Press

By Heather Haddon
June 11, 2017 9:00 p.m. ET

Competition in the U.S. grocery sector is about to get more fierce.

Discount grocery chain Aldi is expected to unveil on Monday plans to invest $5 billion to open nearly 900 stores and remodel hundreds more in the U.S.

The expansion, over the next five years, puts the German grocer on track to becoming the third-largest food retailer in the U.S. by store count, behind the larger Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co., and a growing threat to traditional food retailers.

Aldi said it is expected to have a total of 2,500 locations across the U.S. by 2022. Its plan comes as another German discounter, Lidl, is set to open its first 10 stores in the U.S. on Thursday as part of a multiyear expansion.

Executives at Wal-Mart and Kroger have been preparing for the growth of the discounters for years. Wal-Mart has been sprucing up its stores and slashing prices on some products in select markets, while Kroger continues to drive down costs to compete.

But the discounters could have a big impact on the U.S. grocery market as they did in Europe. Their market share there has steadily grown while traditional supermarkets have seen theirs fall.

Deep discount chains in the U.S. are expected to grow by up to 10% a year through 2020, five times the rate of traditional grocers, according to a recent report by consulting firm Bain & Co.

“It should absolutely be more than scary to traditional grocers and retailers,” said Mikey Vu, a partner in Bain’s retail practice.

Many shoppers in the U.S. are unfamiliar with Aldi. The chain has been in the U.S. since Read the rest of this entry »

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