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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,624

Journal Archives

Wall Street Warning to Corporate America: Get Cash While You Can

(Bloomberg) Bankers have a message for America’s debt-laden companies: raise money now, because things could get a lot worse.

The gradual reopening of businesses after months-long shutdowns and a pick up in manufacturing activity have given investors reason for optimism in recent weeks. But underwriters who cater to heavily indebted corporations are offering their clients a bleak preview of what may lie ahead.

The long list of worries includes a new wave of coronavirus contagion in the fall, an extended period of double-digit unemployment, a spike in defaults and a slower-than-expected economic recovery as businesses around the globe adapt to the realities of prolonged social distancing.

Of course, pitching bond sales to companies is part of the job description, and corporate treasurers expect nothing less from bankers whose bonuses are tied to how many deals they do. Still, the grim warnings to stockpile cash reflect how the rally that credit markets have enjoyed since the Federal Reserve took action may be obfuscating an economic picture still fraught with risks. ..............(more)


Robert Reich: Donald Trump is no longer president

Donald Trump is no longer president: Robert Reich

You’d be forgiven if you hadn’t noticed. His verbal bombshells are louder than ever, but Donald J. Trump is no longer president of the United States.

By having no constructive response to any of the monumental crises now convulsing America, Trump has abdicated his office.

He is not governing. He’s golfing, watching cable TV, and tweeting.

How has Trump responded to the widespread unrest following the murder in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes as he was handcuffed on the ground? .............(more)


From hair salons to gyms, experts rank 36 activities by coronavirus risk level

from Michigan Live:

From hair salons to gyms, experts rank 36 activities by coronavirus risk level
Updated Jun 02, 6:48 PM; Posted Jun 02, 10:42 AM

As governments continue to ease restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the burden of managing risk is shifting to people.

Experts have advised people for months to wear masks, wash their hands and stay 6 feet apart. But now that some public places are reopening, individuals must decide for themselves which ones to continue to avoid and which ones pose little risk of spreading the virus.

MLive spoke to the following four public health experts in Michigan, asking them to assess the risk various activities pose to spreading coronavirus.

Dr. Matthew Sims, Beaumont Health director of infectious disease research
Dr. Dennis Cunningham, McLaren Health Care medical director for infection prevention
Dr. Mimi Emig, retired infectious disease specialist with Spectrum Health
Dr. Nasir Husain, Henry Ford Macomb medical director for infection prevention

The doctors pointed to five factors, when considering how risky a given activity might be: Whether it’s inside or outside; proximity to others; exposure time; likelihood of compliance; and personal risk level.


Here's the ranking of 36 activities, starting with the most hazardous.


Risk level: 9

Experts agree – bars are very risky.

"After a couple of drinks, they're starting to feel a little more invincible," Husain said. "And that's when the trouble starts." ..............(more)


Trump Is Using the Military to Hide His Weakness

Trump Is Using the Military to Hide His Weakness
The president’s show of strength demonstrates the precariousness of his authority.

(The Nation) In trying to use the military to quell nationwide protests, Trump has given the most ominous example yet of his authoritarianism. On Monday night, the world saw the disturbing images of Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, decked out in uniform, accompanying Trump to a photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been cleared of protestors by the National Guard and law enforcement agents. Earlier that day, Defense Secretary Mark Esper made a disturbing comment describing American cities experiencing protests as a “battlespace” that the military needed to “dominate.” On Tuesday, there were unsettling images of the military convoys filling the streets of Washington and a phalanx of uniformed soldiers standing guard outside the Lincoln Memorial.

These are troubling scenes and deserve to be remembered as among the most disgraceful events of Trump’s presidency. But they are also evidence of how feeble Trump’s authority is. Trump confirms the rule that macho bluster is usually a compensation for weakness.

The very decision to make the trip to St. John’s was motivated by a desire to counteract stories that Trump was holed up in the White House bunker, which conjured up images of a cowardly president. According to CNN, “Trump himself was angered by coverage depicting him holed up in an underground bunker. He told aides on Monday he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, according to a person familiar with the matter, which is part of what drove the decision to stage the photo-op at St. John’s Church.”

Trump was surely mindful of the fact that he was being attacked for having a weak response to the protests on Fox News. On Monday Night, Tucker Carlson lambasted Trump for a supposed failure to protect Americans from protestors. “How are you going to protect the country?” Carlson asked. The Fox News host continued to needle Trump by noting that, “The president reassured America that he and his family were just fine. The federally funded bodyguards had kept them safe. He did not mention protecting the rest of the nation, much of which was then on fire. He seemed aware only of himself.” ..............(more)


Jamaica and other Caribbean nations are beginning to reopen to tourists, it'll be interesting...

to see how they manage this, considering the importance of tourism in a lot of the economies. I was actually in Jamaica the week in March that coronavirus hell starting breaking loose in the U.S. The shuttle bus ride back to MoBay Airport from Negril was filled with angst-ridden peeps.


Jamaica Is Reopening for Tourism on June 15

In a major move for the Caribbean tourism sector at large, the island of Jamaica is reopening its borders for travelers beginning June 15.

Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett announced the decision in a letter from the Ministry of Tourism to stakeholders.

Jamaica reopened its borders for the repatriation of nationals on June 1.

The reopening would make Jamaica the largest Caribbean destination to reopen its borders so far. ............(more)


Well, at least he didn't get eaten by an alligator.....


The Dodge Challenger is often described as a bit of a land boast due to its heavy weight and less than stellar handling dynamics. But that’s just poking fun. Now, a Florida man has turned that into much more of a reality when he accidentally drove his red Dodge Challenger into a lagoon. It’s been quite the aquatic week here at MC&T, along with the C7 Corvette Boat we covered earlier.

The pictures come from Kozmo Koz over Facebook, where he stumbled upon what appears to be an Octane Red Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack with a Shaker hood partially submerged in the aqua water. Most importantly, no one was hurt in the ordeal.

According to Koz, the driver was an older man who missed the parking curb and rolled down the hill behind it, right into the lagoon. Luckily, he missed hitting pedestrians at the beach, picnic tables and palm trees. The airbags went off, but the driver walked away without injury. Conspiracy theorists are questioning the lack of driving marks in the sand. ............(more)


Do the work: an anti-racist reading list

Do the work: an anti-racist reading list
What will happen after this news cycle is over and social media posts about diversity die down? Layla F Saad chooses books to fortify a long-term struggle

Layla F Saad
Wed 3 Jun 2020 03.45 EDT

(Guardian UK) Every black person I know right now is exhausted. They are exhausted by the two pandemics disproportionately hurting and killing black people: Covid-19 and white supremacy. Covid-19 is a new sickness that hopefully we’ll soon find a cure for, or at least learn to live with. But white supremacy is a disease as old as time, for which we’ve been waiting generations to see a cure.

As we mourn and seek justice for the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop and Tony McDade (to name but a few), many black people such as myself are wondering: what will happen when the news cycle is over, the social justice memes are no longer posted, and the declarations for inclusivity, diversity and “doing the work” have died down? What happens when white people, momentarily awoken from the comfortable slumber of white privilege by this moment of unignorable protest, go back to sleep? How do we actually create an anti-racist world and rid ourselves of this sickness and system of white supremacy, when the people who benefit from it are not showing up to do the work?

After all, the disproportionate killing of black people at the hands of the police or civilians did not begin in 2020. When Trayvon Martin’s killer went free in 2013, and the Black Lives Matter founders tweeted the hashtag that would reverberate around the world, they were not just calling out the injustice of one case – but rather centuries of injustice of and dehumanisation of black people.

In When They Call You a Terrorist, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele share a gut-wrenching and powerful memoir of the prejudice and persecution so many black Americans experience at the hands of law enforcement. White people have become so desensitised to seeing black lives snuffed out on their mobile phones that they are often unable to connect the dots to see that each person had loved ones, desires, relationships, quirks and dreams. This memoir draws our attention not only to the statistics and atrocities committed against black Americans, but also to the humanity of those whose lives were taken, and those who, still living, continue to fight for justice for us all.

In her collection of essays and speeches Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde famously wrote: “Revolution is not a one-time event.” In order to understand what we are seeing on the news and experiencing in our lives, it’s important to understand how history has shaped this moment. Reaching back to books published by black thinkers and feminists decades ago shows us (depressingly) how things are still very much the same, but also (empoweringly) gives us language and context for understanding what we are seeing now – and therefore the ability to disrupt tactics of oppression that still operate today. ..............(more)


Texas Democrats plan to create a voter registration army - via Zoom

(Guardian UK) Texas Democrats plan to use Zoom to create an army of voter registration volunteers, a novel approach to work around the state’s severe restrictions on voter registration during the Covid-19 pandemic. The effort comes as voter registration efforts, both in Texas and around the US have effectively stalled just months before the presidential election.

Texas makes it extremely difficult to conduct voter registration drives, even outside of the pandemic. The state requires anyone who wants to do so to become a volunteer deputy registrar, a process that requires going to a county-run training. Only Texas residents who are eligible to vote in the state can get the certification. Texas has 254 counties, but someone can only legally register voters in the county in which they are deputized and their certification expires at the end of every even-numbered year.

Some states place no restrictions on voter registration drives at all, while others have more modest ones in place like requiring groups to register with the state before they begin their drive. Civil rights groups have long called the Texas requirement a form of voter suppression.

“Texas has some of the strictest voter registration laws in the country,” said Beth Stevens, voting rights legal director at the Texas Civil Rights Project. “In Texas, volunteer deputy registrars can be criminally prosecuted for what most of us would consider administrative errors while they’re registering people.” ...............(more)


Meanwhile, in Brazil.......

(Guardian UK) João Pedro Matos Pinto was young, gifted and black, and he died last month with an assault rifle shot to his back.

“He had dreams. He wanted to be a top lawyer,” said Neilton da Costa Pinto, the father of the Brazilian teenager, whose shooting during a botched police raid has drawn comparisons to the killing of George Floyd, 9,000km north in Minneapolis.

“He always used to say: ‘Dad, one day I’ll make you proud’,” remembered Pinto, a driver from São Gonçalo, a city just east of Rio. “And I’d say: ‘I’ve no doubt about it, son.’ Because he was such a dedicated boy. He really knew what he wanted in life.”

João Pedro, who was 14, was far from the first young black Brazilian man to meet a premature death at the hands of the police. Thousands have been killed in recent years – and 75% of the victims were black.

But his killing has sparked an unusually loud public outcry, amid growing fury over an upsurge in deadly police violence that continues unabated despite a government-ordered shutdown designed to combat Covid-19. ...............(more)


Don't stand so close to me! England's new rules of social distancing

Don't stand so close to me! England's new rules of social distancing
As lockdown eases, meeting up with friends has become bewildering. Can you share food – or a hug? Scientists and etiquette experts weigh in

(Guardian UK) From this week the lockdown rules in England have relaxed – groups of up to six can meet in an outdoor space, so long as they stay two metres apart. Anyone who can’t work from home has already been told to go back to work – while avoiding public transport. The sceptics among us smell a rat – with the alert level the same and the government’s five tests unmet, track-and-trace not ready and a government desperate to deflect attention from its shortcomings – is this easing really for our benefit, or just a way to kick responsibility back on to the population?

However, rejecting the new guidelines altogether and maintaining your own, personal lockdown may not necessarily be the most socially responsible thing either. Prof Carl Heneghan, the director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford, says: “We can’t stay in lockdown for ever. It’s too easy to make this about one disease. You’ve got to look at the wide spectrum of health issues, the backlog of other [medical] appointments, the impact of more austerity on people’s lives, the closure of schools and the effect on educational attainment, which we know is linked to health outcomes.” We won’t understand the dynamics of transmission – we won’t even understand how effective lockdown has been – unless we start to come out of it. It would be stretching a point to say that it’s your duty to attend a small and socially distanced barbecue, but for the sake of a Co-op burger and some coleslaw, I’m prepared to stretch that point.

On the flip side, as the major restrictions lift, it’s easy to forget the minor ones, but they should not be underestimated. Heneghan points out: “There was a 50% drop in acute respiratory infection in the week before lockdown, so social distancing and handwashing were having a significant impact.”

In other words, we are living in one giant grey area, where judgment, common sense, good faith and, most of all, manners are going to be doing a hell of a lot of heavy lifting. So what advice do the etiquette experts – and the boffins – offer?


What if you want to bring your own cutlery or glassware? And do you need to?

Again, if you explain yourself plainly and make it a boundary of yours, a decent friend will accept that even if they think you are extremely cautious. Adam Collins, a doctor of emergency medicine, says: “If everything is washed and clean, and everyone, while they’re there, has their own individual set of plates and cups, that should be fine.” ..........(more)


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