Below Deck Sailing Yacht alum Ashley Marti in skimpy bikini says ‘Happy Thanksgiving’

Ashley Marti selfie.
Ashley enjoys a warm Thanksgiving in Florida. Pic credit: @ashley.marti97/Instagram

Below Deck Sailing Yacht alum Ashley Marti sported a skimpy bikini to celebrate Thanksgiving this week.

Ashely made waves on Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 3 with her obsession with Gary King and her treatment of Gabriela Barragán.

The brunette beauty even skipped the reunion show after putting Bravo on blast.

These days Ashley’s been heating up social media with snaps that showcase her killer body.

Ashley isn’t shy on or off reality television, that’s for sure.

Even the holidays have her giving Below Deck Sailing Yacht fans something to talk about, thanks to her latest snaps.

Ashley Marti in skimpy bikini says ‘Happy Thanksgiving’

Taking to Instagram, Ashley was in full fun in the sun mode as she gave a Thanksgiving Day shout-out. Ashley sported a tiny leopard print bikini as she basked in the glow of the sunshine.

The former Below Deck Sailing Yacht star sprawled out on the grass as the bikini top hugged her chest while the teeny bottoms helped accent her toned legs. With one leg tucked under and the other out straight, Ashley had one hand on the grass and the other on her head as she gazed at the camera.

In the second image, Ashley turned her face away from the camera as the wind blew her long locks, and she placed one hand on her chest. There was also plenty of greenery around Ashley for her latest snaps.

“Happy Thanksgiving from beautiful, sunny Florida! 🦃” was the caption on the post, with hashtags acknowledging she’s a natural beauty and revealing she was in Palm Beach, Florida.

Below Deck Sailing Yacht alum Ashley Marti’s friendship with Kelsie Goglia

Although Ashley didn’t have the best run on Below Deck Sailing Yacht, she did get a new bestie out of her time on the show. Deckhand Kelsie Goglia and Ashley became very close, working on Parsifal III.

Their budding friendship wasn’t addressed on Below Deck Sailing Yacht, but the two have frequently posted about their bond on social media.

Ashley was there when Kelise had the honor of throwing out a pitch at a San Diego Padres game in October.

The two ladies also vacationed together in Ibiza with their former costar Barnaby Birkbeck. Ashley used Instagram to share some photos from the trip captioning the IG post, “Ibiza you did not disappoint..and neither did the squad 🍾.”

Ashley Marti’s days on Below Deck Sailing Yacht are over, but she’s keeping herself plenty busy with social media shares and wowing her followers with some sexy snaps.

Below Deck Sailing Yacht is currently on hiatus. Seasons 1-3 are streaming on Peacock.

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Shoppers share details of their holiday scores during Small Business Saturday in Pittsfield | Local News

PITTSFIELD — Downtown merchants participated in Small Business Saturday, the marketing initiative that aims to get shoppers into local stores one day after the analogous effort undertaken by their big-box counterparts, Black Friday.

Launched by credit card company American Express, the mantle of Small Business Saturday has been taken up by local merchant groups, including Downtown Pittsfield Inc.

DPI led the effort to get shoppers downtown this year via a promotion called “Passport to Downtown Pittsfield,” complete with a raffle where the price of a ticket to enter shakes out to a purchase at a local participating store. 

The Eagle chatted with a few shoppers about the items they purchased this year.

Small Biz Saturday (copy)

A sign in the window of Clark Vintage Lighting on North Street in Pittsfield encourages shoppers to think local, as part of Small Business Saturday in 2020.

WHO: Tom Gelb

TOWN: Pittsfield

WHAT THEY BOUGHT: “We got gifts for some of the people who are right here,” he said, standing beside his parter, Kelly Maguinnis and their son, Jonathan Maguinnis. He also bought a book for himself about the city of Pittsfield, as well as an office lamp Clark Vintage Lighting.

WHY: “We’ve been here [in Pittsfield] a little over a year. But this specific event gave us the reason to come out. We moved here during the pandemic, and we weren’t really leaving the house so much.”

Soma's aromas

Gingerbread Cookies therapeutic soy candles at Soma’s Aromas on Saturday. 

WHO: Buffy Lord

TOWN: Pittsfield

WHAT THEY BOUGHT: Gardener’s Salve moisturizer for herself, and an aromatic scented shower bomb for her mother, each from from Soma’s Aromas.

WHY: “I have very dry winter skin … For my mom, you put it in the shower and it’s a way to get the bath bomb experience when you don’t have a bathtub.” 

spices in cabinet (copy)

Herbs and spices in the apothecary at Witch Slapped in Pittsfield can be used for making potions and crafts. 

WHO: Ashley Holmes

TOWN: Syracuse

WHAT THEY BOUGHT: A tea infuser with a llama charm for her friend at Witch Slapped.

WHY: “Llamas make me think of her. She worked a lot in Peru for grad school.”

On Small Business Saturday, shoppers drawn to downtown Pittsfield's 'uniqueness' (copy)

Deborah Parkington of Dalton shops for her soon-to-be-born great-granddaughter at the Museum Facsimiles Outlet Store in Pittsfield during Small Business Saturday in 2018.

WHO: Jen Sevey

TOWN: Pittsfield

WHAT THEY BOUGHT: Burp cloths, poncho, leather wallet from the Museum Facsimiles Outlet Store.

WHY: “I love this store. Two of them were selfish purchases, and one was a gift for a new baby, my grand niece.”

WHO: Viviana Lisboa

TOWN: Buffalo, N.Y.

WHAT THEY BOUGHT: Poncho, postcards and a necklace from the Museum Facsimiles Outlet Store

WHY: “I’m just looking for some Christmas gifts.”

Anna Maria Gifts

Anna Maria Gifts at 144 South St. participated in Small Business Saturday. 

Small business owner Joanna Kingland has felt no shortage of support from the downtown merchant group since she opened Anna Maria Gifts at 144 South St. last February.

Her eclectic shop stocks a variety of items, vintage clothes and books, handmade leather goods and textiles, art, and cannabis seeds. This time of year, as the holiday season ramps up, she says she sells a range of items from her curated collection of unique things.

“There’s something for everyone,” she said just after opening up her shop on Small Business Saturday.

A couple blocks away on North Street, Danielle Munn is busy helping patrons at Witch Slapped, the store and community gathering space she opened earlier this year. She sells items including tarot cards, crystals, oils and herbs, in addition to a range of other things she summarizes as “tools that people use in their everyday practices for their spiritual needs.”

With 25 sales her first hour of business, Munn said shoppers had been dropping in off the street to tick items off their holiday shopping lists.

Passport to downtown pittsfield

A Passport to Downtown Pittsfield is shown at Soma’s Aromas on Saturday, which is one of the businesses participating in Small Business Saturday.

“It’s been absolutely tremendous, I am blown away by the community support,” Munn said.

Customers were slowly, yet steadily filtering off the street into Soma’s Aromas Saturday.

Owner Soma Dinicola said it’s been a tough year for her retail operation, owing part to the rising cost of the supplies she needs to make and package the hand-poured candles that she sells in her shop alongside other consignment items made and sourced from local sellers and creators.

Amid it all, the Passport to Downtown Pittsfield promotion, she said, buoyed the number of buyers who stopped by.

“Everybody’s doing it, so it’s been really fun,” Dinicola said.

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Vetern Guilty of Making Threats of Harming Moms Demand Action Members

  • Drummon Neil Smithson pleaded guilty to making threats against members of Moms Demand Action.
  • In a letter to Veteran Affairs, Smithson said he would “retaliate” if he did not get his pension.
  • The letter was written 5 months after Smithson was ejected from a Moms Demand Action rally. 

A Florida man pleaded guilty earlier this week to making threats against gun safety activist group Moms Demand Action if the Department of Veterans Affairs revoked his pension. 

Drummon Neil Smithson, 31, an Army veteran, allegedly sent a threatening letter in July 2020 to the Department of Veterans Affairs saying he would harm members of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization advocating for the end of gun violence, according to a statement by the Department of Justice.

Smithson, who lives in Florida but sent the letter from Massachusetts, was facing unrelated charges when he attended a Mom’s Demand Action gun control rally in Parkland, Florida, in February 2020, according to Masslive. He was allegedly carrying a rifle case with the words “Come take it” scrawled on it, per the outlet. He was then ejected from the rally by police, Masslive reported.

Smithson told veteran affairs he would “retaliate” against Moms Demand Action when he got out of prison if he did not get his pension, according to the outlet. 

“You take my pensions and the second I get out of prison I will go to a Moms Demand Action meeting,” Smithson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by MassLive. “The Anti-gunners will all hide behind their chairs, calling 911, pleading for a guy with a gun to come and save them. Would be one hell of a big mess to clean up. Try me.”

According to the Department of Justice, Smithson is being charged with one count of interstate communications to transmit a threat to injure, which provides a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

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Progressive Andrews Govt Wins ‘Historic’ Third Term in Australian State Election

MELBOURNE, Australia—Victoria’s left-leaning Labor premier Daniel Andrews has won an “historic” third term despite a swing against Victorian Labor in the state’s election on Nov. 26.

This comes amid a controversial term that saw the Labor premier implement the world’s longest lockdown, enforce draconian pandemic measures, and front anti-corruption inquiries.

With just under 60 percent of the votes counted by midnight Nov. 26, the results saw Labor win 49 seats in the Victorian legislative assembly, the Coalition 21 seats, and the Greens 4 seats. Forty-five seats was needed to win the election.

In victory speech on the evening of Nov. 26, Andrews said his government had to make some “incredibly challenging” decisions over the past few years.

“We have had to make some very difficult decisions, some very tough decisions, and Victorian families and businesses right across our state have had a very difficult time.”

“This was a one in 100 year event,” he said, adding that Victorians worked together and got vaccinated.

Andrews briefly outlined his “positive plan” for the state’s future, which includes government-funded kindergarten, additional government-funded  TAFE courses, and more nurses, paramedics, hospitals, and schools.

He also said that his government was bringing back the State Electricity Commission (SEC), which he says push forward the approach of cutting carbon emissions to tackle climate change and remove reliance on “big greedy” companies to lead a transition. The SEC will be a publicly owned power company, with the premier promising to spend $1 billion to create 4.5 gigawatts of renewable energy—about 30 percent of the state’s electricity.

“They will be replaced with something better, and so if political opponents cannot in some point in the future sell the new SEC like they sold the old one,” he said.

“We will deliver every part of a positive plan to benefit each and every Victorian committee matter how you voted.”

The Revived State Electricity Commission

Ex-premier Jeff Kennett has criticised the premier’s move to reintroduced the SEC saying that Victoria will go “broke” under the plan and it “must be stopped.”

“Now he wants to raid your superannuation funds to invest in a new energy company which the government owns,” Kennett said, reported The Age.

Under the revived SEC, the state will have a share of 51 percent, which included the commission’s wind and solar projects. The remaining “preferred” shareholder will be the superannuation industry, Andrews said.

Kennett told the Australian Financial Review that “this is the clearest indication we have seen yet that this Labor socialist premier is so totally irresponsible that he would put forward a political gimmick ahead of the needs of the community.”

No Deal with The Greens

Andrews has previously said that he will not be making any deals with the Greens despite Victorian Greens Leader Samantha Ratnam issuing a statement in Nov. 16 that a partnership between the two parties would “ensure progressive reform.”

“This has been my position for 12 years … No deal will be offered and no deal will be done,” Andrews told ABC News Breakfast on Nov. 14.

The Greens have retained the seats of inner-city Melbourne, which includes Prahran and Brunswick.

The Greens look set to win two inner-city seats in Melbourne, stealing Northcote and Richmond off Labor, increasing their numbers in the lower house.

“No matter how many seats we end up with tonight, this is a Greenslide and there is no doubt that the people of Victoria have voted for our vision of no new coal and gas, tackling the housing crisis and restoring integrity back into Victorian politics,” Ratnam said on Nov. 26.

Primary Votes Fallen, Again

Despite the win, as of midnight Nov. 27 the primary votes for both major parties has again fallen, with Labor down 5.7 percent from the 2018 election to 37.2 percent, and the Coalition are down 0.6 percent to 34.5 percent. Meanwhile, the Greens are up 0.6 percent to 11.4 percent, and others up 5.7 percent to 16.9 percent.

In a concession speech, Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy said there were “tremendous swings” towards the Coalition in Melbourne’s north and west, despite the commentary.

“Swings above 15, approaching 20 percent in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs,” he said.

The Liberals picked up Nepean on the Mornington Peninsula but lost nearby Hastings, while others remained too close to call.

“I hope that the Labor Party, who will form the government, will heed that message, and will have a change in style, a change in attitude, a more approachable, focus more on uniting Victorians, not just dividing them. As has been the case.”

The Liberal Party leader added that his party will still hold the premier to account.

“We do not shy away from the important messages we have raised in this last term around health and the state of our health system,” Guy said.

“I am immensely proud of all of the Liberal National Party candidates around the state. Our time in the sun will come again.”

Federal Liberal Senator Jane Hume said while the Liberals had enjoyed some good swings, they were just in the wrong seats.

“There’s going to be some soul-searching … I think that there was a much better policy platform this election than there was at the last election,” Hume said on Sky News.

Guy said that it is important for Victorians, post election, to know that “the best of our state should be ahead of us, not behind us.”

Polls closed at 6 p.m. on Nov. 26 after weeks of early voting in which nearly two million Victorians casted their ballots at early voting centres or by post.

On Nov. 24, the premier broke with tradition to cast his ballot outside his electorate of Mulgrave with his wife Catherine and two of his children.

Andrews will be the longest serving Labor premier in Victoria if he remains leader until Easter.

Henry Jom


Henry Jom is an Australian based reporter covering local Australia news.
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Kieffer Bellows on returning to UBS Arena with Flyers to play Islanders: ‘It’s going to be weird’

If you needed any indication that Kieffer Bellows is no longer a member of the New York Islanders, just take a look at his chin. 

“I don’t know what you call it, I guess growing out the facial hair was just something that I’m maybe being lazy about it,” Bellows said on Saturday before his Philadelphia Flyers squared off against his former team, which prohibits facial hair during the regular season.”But it’s just there.”

The 24-year-old left-winger returned to UBS Arena for the first time since being put on waivers by the Islanders last month where he was shortly claimed by the Metropolitan Division-rival Flyers. 

“It’s going to be weird looking across the ice and not wearing the blue and orange,” Bellows said, adding that he’s recently spoken with the likes of Sebastian Aho, Oliver Wahlstrom, and recent debutant Simon Holmstrom. “But I’m happy to see the success that the team is having. I’m happy they’re doing well.”

Weirdness aside, this is an opportunity for Bellows to get consistent playing time, which was nothing promised when he was with the Islanders. He played 68 games across four seasons in New York after being drafted 19th overall in 2016, including just one in 2022-23 before getting waived.

“It was surprising but I know that Lou has to make the best decisions for his team in the long run so I respect it,” Bellows said. “I only have high praise for Lou and that organization… That’s where I started my career. They gave me my first opportunity to play in the NHL and I can’t thank them enough for that.”

He’s already played in nine with a banged-up Flyers team that has struggled mightily as of late, losing nine straight entering Saturday night’s tilt at UBS Arena.

“I was super excited to hear that Philadelphia wanted to claim me and I was excited for another opportunity to show myself as the player I believe I am and I know that I am,” Bellows said. “I feel like I’ve been given a good opportunity.”

Profiled as a potential high-end scorer, Bellows posted 11 goals and 14 assists in those 68 games with the Islanders, but has yet to get off the mark in Philadelphia — something he said will come in a matter of time as long as he keeps playing

“I’m just trying to learn the system and get used to everything. But these last three games I’ve really found myself. I’m shooting the puck more,” he said. “Right now I’m not too worried about that. I know that if I’m getting opportunities, sooner rather than later they’re going to go in.”

For more on Kieffer Bellows and the Islanders, visit


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The Double Slit Experiment and the Wave Nature of Light

By Don Lincoln, Fermilab

In quantum mechanics, when multiple waves exist in the same place at the same time, they interact. The term scientists use is interfere. This interference can be either positive or negative. Applying the same, if light is a wave, we should be able to observe something similar. But, do we? Does it conclusively settle the question whether light is a particle or a wave?

An image showing a simulation of the double-slit experiment with electron.
What we see in Thomas Young’s experiment is that, coming out of the two slits, is not one, but many beams of light. (Image: Alexandre Gondran/Public domain)

Adding and Canceling of Waves

We can clearly observe this interference at the beach. Waves come in toward the shore and sometimes cross. When the peak of two waves cross, the result is that the water level is lifted unusually high. When a peak of one wave crosses the trough of another, the two cancel each other out and the result is that the level of water doesn’t change at all. Interestingly, if waves hit each other randomly, with neither peaks hitting peaks, nor peaks hitting troughs, something in between happens, with the two waves somewhat enhancing each other or cancelling each other out.

This adding and cancelling thing works for all waves. But does it work for light, too?

Thomas Young’s Double Slit Experiments

In 1801, British scientist Thomas Young set up an experiment that, once and for all, showed that light was a wave. A modern version of Young’s experiment can be performed by taking a laser and pointing it at two very narrow slits cut in an aluminum foil. To work, the two slits have to be very close to one another. What we then see is that, coming out of the two slits, is not one, but many beams of light. On a distant wall, a series of bright dots are visible, separated by dark spaces.

This is exactly the same phenomenon as the interference of water waves. The bright spots are caused by the waves from one slit, enhancing the waves from the other slit, and the dark spots are caused when the waves cancel each other out. By covering up one of the slits, it can be further proved that it is caused due to the interference of waves.

Young’s original paper was published in 1803. He didn’t have lasers or even the ability to easily make such slits. He even had to work really had to show that light was a wave. But prove it, he did. Thomas Young’s double slit experiments and others that followed showed quite clearly that light was a wave. The arguments of the 18th century that, whether light was a particle or a wave, were over. Or were they?

This article comes directly from content in the video series The Evidence for Modern Physics: How We Know What We KnowWatch it now, on Wondrium.

Heinrich Hertz

In the mid-1800s, scientists invented an electric eye whereby, by shining light on certain material, they could cause electricity to flow in a circuit. The same kinds of techniques nowadays are used for cameras and other electronics to detect how bright the environment is.

But, it was in 1887 that the plot thickened. German physicist, Heinrich Hertz, did a series of very interesting experiments. He basically took two metal electrodes, separated by a small distance, and placed both of them in a vacuum surrounded by a glass container. He then charged the electrodes up with a very high voltage and as expected, nothing happened. But things changed when he shined a light on the electrodes. By doing so, he could cause a spark to occur. However, when he started changing both—the color and brightness of the light—a mystery unfolded.

A bust of Heinrich Hertz.
In 1887, German physicist, Heinrich Hertz, did a series of very interesting experiments. (Image: Klaus-Dieter Keller/Public domain)

When Hertz shined blue light, he got a spark just as with purple and green. However, yellow didn’t. Neither did orange or red. Hence, bluish colors caused a spark, but reddish didn’t.

Moreover, the brightness didn’t matter, or at least it didn’t matter in odd ways. If he increased the brightness of the bluish colors, it caused much bigger sparks and caused more electricity to flow. Hertz knew that because, by this time, he had added some extra equipment to measure the current flow. But when he took the red, yellow, and orange light and absolutely maxed out how bright they were, he got nothing. No sparks and no electricity flow.

Brightness of Light Proportional to Its Amplitude

This clearly didn’t make sense if light was a wave. For waves, the amount of energy carried by the wave is determined by the amplitude of the wave, whereby, amplitude refers to the height. This makes complete sense for water waves. If we’re standing in the lake, little ripples have nearly no effect as they pass over us. Three or four feet high big waves, can knock us off our feet. And, of course 30 or 40 feet tall tidal waves are completely deadly and can destroy buildings and scour clean a shoreline. For water waves, like many things, size matters.

Additionally, the brightness of a light is also proportional to its amplitude under the wave theory of light. A dim blue beam could well have much less energy than a super bright red beam. Yet, with Hertz’s experiments, there was simply nothing he could do to make a spark occur with red light.

Inconsistent with the Wave Model of Light

Considering that this was in 1887, the electron hadn’t been discovered yet. The discovery of radioactivity was about to occur and, in 1897, physicist J. J. Thomson discovered the electron. Once the electron had been discovered, it was possible to look at Hertz’s experiments differently.

A spark was caused when electrons were knocked out of atoms. And, under that explanatory framework, it seemed that red, orange, and yellow light simply didn’t have the power to knock electrons out of atoms, while the bluer colors had no problem although nobody knew why. However, this was a bit of an antithesis as this observation was completely and totally inconsistent with the wave model of light.

Common Questions about the Double Slit Experiment and the Wave Nature of Light

Q: What did Thomas Young’s experiment set up to prove?

Thomas Young set up an experiment that, once and for all, showed that light was a wave.

Q: When did scientists invent an electric eye?

In the mid-1800s, scientists invented an electric eye whereby, by shining light on certain material, they could cause electricity to flow in a circuit.

Q: What determines the amount of energy carried by a wave?

For waves, the amount of energy carried by the wave is determined by the amplitude of the wave, whereby, amplitude refers to the height.

Keep Reading
Photons and Wavelength: Is Light a Particle or a Wave?
Gradual Redefining of Matter and Reality: From Mechanics to Quantum
The Concept and Forms of Energy and Energy Conversion

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Kate Chastain defends Captain Sandy Yawn, weighs in on Captain Lee Rosbach Below Deck exit rumors

Kate Chastain on WWHL.
Kate’s dishing some Below Deck news. Pic credit: Bravo

Below Deck alum Kate Chastain has jumped to the defense of Captain Sandy Yawn, who has endured a slew of backlash from Below Deck Mediterranean fans over the past couple of years.

Kate has also acknowledged those pesky rumors that her pal Captain Lee Rosbach plans to retire from the OG show after Season 10.

Despite no longer being on Below Deck, Kate remains plugged into the franchise and other Bravo shows too.

Kate’s still consistently asked about Below Deck and various cast members.

As Below Deck Med Season 7 comes to a close and Below Deck Season 10 kicks off, Kate’s dishing some dirt on the two captains of those shows.

During a recent podcast interview, Kate had a lot to say about Captain Lee and Captain Sandy.

Kate Chastain defends Below Deck Med’s Captain Sandy Yawn amid backlash

There’s no question that Captain Sandy has been under fire from Below Deck Mediterranean fans over the past couple of years following her firing of Hannah Ferrier.

Season 7 of Below Deck Med did help redeem her reputation, and Kate’s here to make sure people know Captain Sandy gets a bad rap.

Kate recently stopped by her friend and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Brandi Glanville’s Unfiltered podcast to dish all things Below Deck. When Brandi gave Captain Sandy props, Kate agreed before defending the captain.

“I feel bad because Captain Sandy really gets an unfairly bad rap from a lot of the viewers. She really does, and it’s so unfair because she’s actually truly one of the best captains out of all the franchises,” Kate expressed.

The former chief stew also made it clear that Captain Sandy’s a “bad a**.” Kate also expressed that the captain’s truly a great, genuine person.

Kate Chastain weighs in on Captain Lee Rosbach Below Deck retirement rumors

For months the rumor mill has been buzzing that Captain Lee was getting ready to say goodbye to Below Deck.

Captain Lee has denied these rumors, but health issues playing out on Season 10 of Below Deck have still caused concern he will soon retire. The captain and Kate reunited to help make the milestone season of Below Deck.

However, before that, she spilled the tea to Brandi regarding whether Captain Lee will give up his helm of Below Deck or not.

“He’s always coming back. I mean, Captain Lee will probably be on Below Deck for as long as the show is on,” Kate expressed. “There is a saying that every good captain goes down with the ship, and metaphorically Captain Lee would do that.”

Kate Chastain’s a big fan of Captain Sandy Yawn and Captain Lee Rosbach. The former chief stew always tells it like it is, and she’s all about lifting those two captains up.

Below Deck airs Mondays at 8/7c on Bravo. Below Deck Mediterranean is currently on hiatus on Bravo.

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Why shopping on Small Business Saturday is important in Houston

• Texas has 3.1 million small businesses, and more than half of small businesses, 56%, believe this year’s Small Business Saturday is more important than ever for their company, LawnStarter, a lawn service in Harris County, said in a news release.

• Small businesses employ about 14% of the Houston region’s workforce in 2019 — nearly 400,000 people, according to the governor’s office and Understanding Houston.

• Projections from American Express indicate that holiday retail sales will be at an all-time high in 2022. This holiday season, consumers are estimated to spend up to $960.4 billion, with up to $224.31 billion targeted for online purchases.

•  American Express predicts that $0.67 of every dollar spent at a small company stays in the local community. This has the potential to increase sales during the 2022 holiday season, in the aftermath of the pandemic 78% of small businesses believe that holiday sales will affect their ability to remain open in 2022.

•  Over 51 million people participated in Small Business Saturday in 2021, creating a record $20 billion in reported spending, up from $12 million in 2020.

‘Show your local support’

Some Houston-area small businesses posted on social media expressing their appreciation for their loyal customers over the years.

“We can’t let Small Business Saturday pass by without acknowledging the love and support our community has shown us through the years,” Corona Paint and Body said in a tweet. “Thank you so much for choosing us for all of your auto body needs, Houston!”

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State “voter fraud” units fail to find problems

Get ready to put on your shocked face. As it turns out, investigative units organized in states to weed out the supposed massive amounts of voter fraud alleged by the likes of Donald Trump and Dinesh D’Souza have turned up…Wait for it…Waaaiiit for iiiiittt…bupkis.

Yes, bupkis. Nada. Nothing. Zilch.

No widespread voter fraud. No conspiracy. No efforts by Democratic pols to submit false votes.

As initially reported by the Associated Press, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia all created special units to investigate reports of fraud following the 2020 election.

They found nothing then and they’re finding nothing now.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares has stated affirmatively that he’s found no evidence of fraud whatsoever.

Meanwhile, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which has been charged with enforcing Georgia’s new election law, has so far not been able to bring a single investigation to the fore.

It is working with the Georgia Attorney General there on an investigation into one breach, however – involving Trump supporters in a district he won by 40% in 2020.

In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis made quite the show of his Office of Election Crimes and Security.

While likely intimidating thousands of ex-cons who should be eligible to vote (despite Republican efforts to keep them from doing so), it made a grand total of twenty arrests – all of which appear to be cases of ex-cons thinking they were eligible to vote (based mainly on being told so) when they actually weren’t.

In all three states: a lot of huffing and puffing and no house to blow down.

There’s a good reason for this, of course — from a voter’s perspective, casting more than one ballot would be insanely stupid.

It would essentially do nothing to change the results of a major election, yet getting caught would result in serious penalties, including fines and possible jail time.

Who would take such a risk?

Paul Smith, VP of the Campaign Legal Center, has a simple explanation for what’s really at work here.

“It’s a myth that’s created so they can justify making it harder for people to vote,” as he told the AP.

The “they,” by the way, are Republicans – this is not a “both sides” issue.

Republicans have been using accusations of voter fraud, voter ID laws, voter caging, the closing of polling stations, the purging of voter rolls, and every other trick they can think of to keep certain people from voting.

I won’t say who it is, but let’s just say that if you have white skin and live in an affluent area, you probably don’t have to worry too much.

Help me go after the GOP in all its slimy environs. Join me on Twitter: @RossRosenfeld

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