Skimm for August 24th
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QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Did you misplace a suitcase with £6,500 worth of drugs in it? Great news, it's been found." – Scottish police officers, letting the owner of this bag know that their stuff is OK and available for pickup whenever convenient.

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The Story

Google and Walmart are going shopping. Amazon is not invited.

Tell me more.

Amazon is the largest online retailer and a big reason physical stores are on the struggle bus right now. Walmart – the largest offline retailer – is a very distant second when it comes to online sales, and has been trying to make up the difference for years. Now, it's teaming up with Google to sell its products on Google Express – Google's digital shopping mall where people can buy things from all kinds of stores (think: Target, Costco, Walgreens). The partnership also lets shoppers order from Walmart using Google Home aka Google's version of the Amazon Echo.

What does this mean?

For Walmart, this is a chance to reach more customers and slide into Amazon's territory. For Google, it's a chance to try and poach Amazon customers and introduce them to its shopping platform. Meanwhile, Amazon is saying 'new phone who dis?'

Why's that?

Yesterday, Whole Foods shareholders voted 'yayyy' to Amazon's nearly $14 billion offer to buy the grocery chain. And the Federal Trade Commission said 'it's cool with us.' The deal is expected to be final by the end of the year. And means Amazon gets a larger stake in the grocery biz, access to hundreds of physical stores, and the potential to do things like launch meal kits.

theSkimm

Literally half of all dollars spent online are going into Amazon's pockets. Yesterday's move signals that its competitors are coming together to try and beat them at their own game.

REPEAT AFTER ME...

What people are watching...

The Pentagon. Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the White House will send the Pentagon a memo with more details on President Trump's military transgender ban. Last month, Trump tweeted about the ban – a major policy shift from the Obama administration – but gave little to no details of how it would be implemented. Now, the plan reportedly gives Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to decide whether to kick out transgender service members, based on things like their ability to perform in a war zone. It would also stop the military from admitting new transgender recruits, and cut payments for things like transition therapy. And gives Mattis six-months to make it all happen. Supporters say this will save the gov some money. Critics say determining 'deployability' could lead to more confusion, and sounds a lot like discrimination. Meanwhile yesterday, a federal judge tossed out Texas' latest voter ID law. For years, Texas has been trying to implement a version of the law – requiring voters to show things like passports or driver's licenses when hitting up the polls. But the law keeps getting knocked down because this same federal judge says it discriminates against minorities who may not have some of the newly required ID. Yesterday, the state's latest edition – backed by the Trump administration – failed again.

What to say when you reach for a stress ball at work…

Tension rising. Today, Qatar re-established diplomatic ties with Iran in a big 'eff you' to its neighbors. Earlier this summer, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates said 'it's not us, it's you' and cut off all diplomatic and economic relations with Qatar, in part for getting too cozy with Iran, Saudi Arabia's arch rival. For months now, Qatar's pretty much been pushing 'ignore' on their list of demands (think: stop being friends with Iran, shut down the state media network). And now it looks like it's taking things one step further. Qatar had initially pulled its ambassador from Iran last year, in a show of support with Saudi Arabia after some Saudi diplomatic posts in Iran were attacked. But the two countries have still been economic friends with benefits, and share a huge offshore natural gas field that's a big driver of Qatar's wealth. And now that ambassador is headed back to work.

What to say when you get a letter that your lease is almost up…

On notice. Yesterday, the UN publicly called out the Trump administration for not "unequivocally" rejecting the "horrific events" in Charlottesville, VA earlier this month. Reminder: white supremacist groups gathered there to protest the city's plans to remove a Confederate statue. A man drove a car into a group of counterprotestors, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring many others. Trump said that "both sides" were to blame for the violence. Just about everyone else said 'not really.' The UN says the way the US gov responded to the incident sets a bad example for the rest of the world. Ouch. The org wants the US to investigate and prosecute "alleged perpetrators" of human rights violations in Charlottesville, plus look into what's causing this racism. The UN typically reserves this kind of warning for places where there's a lot of ethnic and religious violence, like Burundi, Iraq, and Kyrgyzstan. So in good company.

What to say when you realize you didn't win Powerball...

Boycotting.

What to say when you hear Taylor Swift's got a new reputation...

Samsung's trying to change theirs.

THING TO KNOW

MVP

Not just your fave sports player. It's Silicon Valley speak for minimum viable product. As in when the tech world puts something out there that's juuust good enough. And then polishes it up into something shiny and new based on user feedback.


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Psst...here's our guide to everything else you need to nail your fall reset.


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