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

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Show even a shred of humanity and decency and you're toast in today's Republican Party

Virginia Republican who officiated gay wedding loses nomination for Congress

(Guardian UK) A Virginia Republican congressman who angered social conservatives in his district when he officiated a gay wedding has lost his party’s nomination.

Representative Denver Riggleman lost on Saturday in a party convention which was carried out as a drive-thru because of the coronavirus pandemic. He was defeated by Bob Good, a former official in the athletics department at the evangelical Liberty University.

Riggleman, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, upset many Republicans in his district last summer when he officiated the wedding of two male campaign aides.

Donald Trump endorsed him, as did Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. But Good is now the Republican nominee for Virginia’s fifth district. Four Democrats are vying to challenge him in the fall, with the winner picked later this summer. ..........(more)


State polls show a clear shift toward Democrats since protests began

(CNN)The Iowa Poll released Saturday night showed Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield with major momentum.

Forty-six percent of likely voters would vote for Greenfield if the election were held today compared to 43% who would vote for Republican Sen. Joni Ernst -- a within the margin of error advantage for the challenger.

While it's still early and things could change, this Iowa poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., is the latest state survey for either the race for the White House or Senate to show a clear shift toward Democrats since protests began nationwide following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer. .....(more)


Black candidates and political groups see a surge of support amid US protests

(Guardian UK) African American candidates and political groups focused on racial justice have experienced a surge of donations and support amid ongoing national protests about police reform and anti-racism.

The country has been wracked by protests since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death has also triggered an intense introspection on race relations and police brutality, especially against African Americans, and it seems black political candidates are getting more attention as a result.

In Kentucky, state representative Charles Booker, said he’s raised $1m over the past month. Roughly over that same period he’s also been endorsed by top progressive Democrats: Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In New York, Democrat Jamaal Bowman, who is challenging New York congressman Eliot Engel in a tough primary, has surpassed fundraising benchmarks since the beginning of June, as he’s tried to capitalize on missteps by the incumbent congressman – including a hot mic incident at a Black Lives Matter event. Sanders has endorsed Bowman as well. ............(more)


King County Metro will cut bus service 15% due to coronavirus-sparked recession this fall

WA: King County Metro will cut bus service 15% due to coronavirus-sparked recession this fall
Faced with nine-figure losses in retail sales-tax income, King County Metro Transit says it will run only 85% of its pre-coronavirus service when the agency reshuffles its network in mid-September.

Mike Lindblom
The Seattle Times (TNS)

Jun. 11--Faced with nine-figure losses in retail sales-tax income, King County Metro Transit says it will run only 85% of its pre-coronavirus service when the agency reshuffles its network in mid-September.

The agency also announced a few summer changes, to begin charging fares again about July 1 and to install shields near the driver's seat so that front-door boarding and seating may resume. But social distancing, such as a 6-foot separation between riders, will continue indefinitely.

Some trips temporarily cut this spring will be restored June 22, including local buses on Vashon Island.

Metro's daily ridership has collapsed during the viral outbreak, from 413,000 in May 2019 to 112,000 this past May. General Manager Rob Gannon expects to lose some customers permanently. He emphasized Metro retains a countywide system that can be restored quickly if prosperity returns, or ridership soars. ...............(more)


Climate worst-case scenarios may not go far enough, cloud data shows

(Guardian UK) Worst-case global heating scenarios may need to be revised upwards in light of a better understanding of the role of clouds, scientists have said.

Recent modelling data suggests the climate is considerably more sensitive to carbon emissions than previously believed, and experts said the projections had the potential to be “incredibly alarming”, though they stressed further research would be needed to validate the new numbers.

Modelling results from more than 20 institutions are being compiled for the sixth assessment by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is due to be released next year.

Compared with the last assessment in 2014, 25% of them show a sharp upward shift from 3C to 5C in climate sensitivity – the amount of warming projected from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the preindustrial level of 280 parts per million. This has shocked many veteran observers, because assumptions about climate sensitivity have been relatively unchanged since the 1980s. ..............(more)


Polls suggest Trump campaign is in deep trouble in Michigan

(Detroit Free Press) Polls suggest President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is in deep trouble in Michigan, as it appears to be across a handful of key states he won in 2016, with women increasingly rejecting him and previous levels of support among older voters and voters without college degrees lagging.

Nationally, Joe Biden, the former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee, has an 8-percentage-point lead on Trump on average in the polls, according to RealClearPolitics.com, a website that does election analysis. And after a brief surge nationally in late March/early April, Trump's job approval ratings have fallen, with an average of 55% of Americans disapproving of Trump's presidency in the wake of the president's threats to impose military order on civilian protests over police killings of blacks and the deaths and economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Only 42% approve.

It's no better in Michigan, where a recent EPIC-MRA poll shows Biden leading Trump by 12 points and the RealClearPolitics average of polls showing Biden 7 points ahead in Michigan — more than any other state won by Trump four years ago. That only underscores the fact that some election handicappers think that Michigan, relative to most other battleground states he won, is less likely to back him again.

"The only poll that matters is the poll in November," said Laura Cox, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, referring to the Nov. 3 election, who added that the party's internal polls have the race closer than the public polls. "The president and the RNC (Republican National Committee) are heavily invested in Michigan. ... His pathway to victory is through Michigan." ...............(more)


Universal Orlando's reopening shows challenges ahead for theme parks

(CNN) — After being closed since mid-March, Universal Orlando Resort in Florida made a cautious reopening on June 5.

And just as Disneyland Shanghai in China did before it in May, Universal put limits on how many people were allowed in along with numerous coronavirus safety measures.

These reopenings show landscapes of lightly attended parks and could illustrate the challenges that lie ahead this summer for other amusement and theme parks. (That includes SeaWorld in Orlando on June 11 and Walt Disney World Resort on July 11 with the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.)


Will the Universal experience be universal?

In an email statement late Monday afternoon, Universal Orlando said "while we don't share numbers on our park attendance ... we were able to put in practice the measures we have been planning: screening our guests and team members, social distancing, requiring facial coverings, limiting capacity at our parks and attractions and increasing our cleaning and disinfection procedures."

Craig Williams, producer of The DIS Unplugged, attended opening day on June 5. He said he was surprised at what he saw.

"The reopening day was one of the slowest days I've ever seen at Universal Orlando since I've been attending," Williams told CNN Travel. ..............(more)


Guardian UK: We're not all going to be working from home, nor should we. Here's why

We're not all going to be working from home, nor should we. Here's why
Gene Marks

The pandemic has forced us to change the way we work but beware short-term benefits in productivity and home comforts

(Guardian UK) Don’t believe everything you hear about working from home. The pandemic has closed offices around the world. The video-conferencing service Zoom has seen its corporate subscriber numbers grow more than 350%. Cloud companies are falling over themselves to tell people “see, we told you so! The cloud works!” Well, up to a point.

OK, the cloud does work. The technology is fast and (mostly) secure. For too many years small business owners – a great number of them my own clients – ignored these powerful technologies that would have allowed their employees more flexibility. Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve learned that, assuming a relatively new computer and a relatively decent broadband connection, most office workers can get much of their jobs done from their home offices. And, depending on the person, potentially be more productive.

So does this mean the end of the office? A “new normal”? Everyone just goes home and phones it in? Of course not.

Sure, big companies like Square and Twitter are now giving their employees the ability to work from home “permanently”. And, no surprise here, surveys like this one are now saying that people prefer to work from home where they can hang out with their dogs and wear their fuzzy slippers instead of getting dressed to sit in a corporate center cubicle for eight hours. Some analyses insist that working from home increases productivity. Other reports are saying that – because of this phenomenon – offices will become empty, rents will plummet, company cultures will forever change and the face-to-face workplace will fade into history.

Don’t believe it. The demand for real estate may dip, but it’ll return. Don’t burn your cubicles or destroy your beautiful new open office plan. This trend, like a pendulum, will ultimately swing back in another direction. Why do I say this? ...........(more)


So long, New York: pandemic and protests spark new exodus to suburbs

(Guardian UK) New York, I love you, but you’re getting me down, as LCD Soundsystem once sang. After three months besieged by the coronavirus pandemic, New Yorkers are heading for the suburbs – and some say they are never coming back.

Real estate brokers are describing a boom in demand for homes north of the city and on Long Island – and especially those that offer space for home offices. Competition is so fierce, says Madeline Wiebicke, a real estate broker in New City, an affluent hamlet some 20 miles from Manhattan, that city dwellers are snapping up suburban properties in bidding wars, often after just a video tour.

Demand for homes, say brokers, is fuelled not only by fears that coronavirus infections in densely populated urban areas could rise again next winter, but also by fundamental shifts in demand from in-office to remote workers, and by the protests following the police killing of George Floyd that have dominated New York’s streets.

Office life has been fundamentally challenged by Covid-19. Some employers have warned that social distancing measures could significantly reduce workspace, forcing a 60% reduction of daily headcount, while for many teleconferencing has proven a functional alternative to the daily commute. ...............(more)


Hard Times in the Big Easy

from Vanity Fair:

Hard Times in the Big Easy
Fifteen years ago Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Now a second storm—COVID-19—has swept in, its death toll eclipsing that of the hurricane, and many in the Crescent City fear the virus could leave untold devastation in its wake.


JUNE 11, 2020

By sheer luck, I missed Mardi Gras this year. My wife, Jane, and I, longtime New Orleans–area residents, were in Mexico, which had yet to get the memo about not hugging your friends or eating in crowded restaurants. Some three week later, on March 17, I stepped off a plane, back home, with reason to wonder if I was a walking, talking vector for the coronavirus.

Mardi Gras, which more than triples the population of New Orleans to 1.4 million, is a late-winter blowout. In the weeks leading up to it, Mayor LaToya Cantrell, so I later learned, had been in touch with the Centers for Disease Control about whether to cancel the whole extravaganza, and no one at the CDC had raised a red flag. As the holiday approached, there were no recorded cases of COVID in Louisiana. The national death toll, later amended, still stood officially at zero. President Donald Trump had yet to tweet about a “Chinese virus” that would “miraculously” disappear with sunny weather. He had yet to insinuate that Fake News was crashing the Dow just to hurt his chances for reelection. He had yet to try distracting the nation from his failures of leadership during the pandemic by tweeting reckless fantasies about turning “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons” on protesters decrying the murder of an unarmed Black man by Minneapolis police. Cantrell was and would remain unpersuaded by the president’s groundless insinuations. In early March she issued orders on crowd size and social distancing.

A week later, gatherings larger than 10 were outlawed and table service at restaurants was suspended, a bold move in a city famous for gourmet dining, a linchpin of the local economy. The overarching message: Shelter in place. A public service announcement from retired Lt. General Russel Honoré, one of the few heroes of the otherwise mismanaged federal response to Hurricane Katrina, ended with a stay-home warning to New Orleans worthy of a pissed-off parent. “Don’t make me come back down there again,” Honoré thundered.


A red-hot trumpeter all of 25 years old, Glenn Hall was at the Grammys in late January when he got a first inkling about the coronavirus from a news alert on his cell phone. When not playing with his jazz-funk-fusion combo Lil’ Glenn & Backatown, Hall is out front of Rebirth Brass Band, a venerable group founded 12 years before he was born. The COVID warning hadn’t scared up much attention back in New Orleans, and Hall made it home in time to enjoy Mardi Gras to the hilt—the parades, gigging with Rebirth all over the place, and then…boom! The world of a promising young trumpeter—with a music-royalty pedigree (he’s a relative of NOLA’s storied Andrews family)—came to a shuddering halt. So did preparation for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival—the April–May extravaganza at the fairgrounds racetrack. It’s where upstart jazz or blues players earn their chops. Now, in the season of COVID, it was the first and most important casualty of a canceled festival lineup that normally runs all year long.


Pandemics are caused by invisible pathogens that slip quietly into human populations and stalk their prey. That might seem to make them polar opposites of New Orleans’s more persistent scourge: hurricanes, with their howling winds and trackable routes toward landfall. Not so, says Barry: “Just like with hurricanes, you know there’s always another pandemic on the way; you just don’t know when or how strong it’s going to be.” The challenge in preparing for pandemics, Barry adds, is that doing so “requires investment in something that doesn’t necessarily offer an immediate payoff. Governments don’t like that.” In the same way that local levee boards and the Army Corps of Engineers neglected to properly design and upgrade the flood defense that failed New Orleans, Trump’s pound-foolish dismantling of vital agencies and systems, pre-COVID, left numerous cities in harm’s way, New Orleans among them. ..............(more)


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