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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

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The Dixie Fire is moving too fast for California's emergency alert systems





(Grist) Northern California’s Dixie Fire continued to make history this weekend, jumping past Oregon’s Bootleg Fire to become the biggest active blaze in the United States. As of Monday afternoon, it is California’s second-largest wildfire in recorded history, having ripped through nearly half a million acres since it sparked last month.

But it’s not just the Dixie Fire’s size that’s notable; it’s also incredibly fast-moving. Since its inception, the Dixie Fire has devoured California’s parched forests at a mind-boggling rate — on some days tearing through an acre of land every second. As a result, authorities have had to work swiftly to try to disseminate up-to-date information to local residents whose homes may be endangered by the flames.

“We’re seeing truly frightening fire behavior,” said Plumas National Forest supervisor Chris Carlton in a public briefing on August 5, shortly after the historic town of Greenville, California, was razed by the Dixie Fire. “We have a lot of veteran firefighters who have served for 20, 30 years and have never seen behavior like this, especially day after day.”

While that behavior is new, it’s not entirely unexpected. The Dixie Fire is just the latest in a series of wildfires that are much more extreme than the blazes of the previous century. A century-long history of bad forest management is partly to blame, but so is climate change: Severe drought and rising temperatures have sucked moisture out of California’s forests, creating tinderbox conditions that are ripe for massive and quick-moving conflagrations. Once wildfires get going, they can even create their own positive feedback cycles: On July 20, the Dixie Fire generated a “pyro cumulonimbus” cloud system that sparked lightning and drove strong winds, helping to accelerate the fire’s spread. ................(more)

https://grist.org/climate/dixie-fire-california-fast-climate-evacuation-communication/




Spirit Airlines' week-long meltdown has reportedly caught the attention of the US government

Spirit Airlines' week-long meltdown has caught the attention of the US government's Department of Transportation, The Points Guy first reported on Tuesday.

The budget airline canceled approximately 2,000 flights last week due to a poorly timed combination of bad weather, system outages, and staffing issues.

The DOT has reportedly been in contact with Spirit to "remind" the budget airline of the federal laws protecting passengers whose flights have been canceled. The department is currently monitoring the airline's next steps and reviewing customer complaints, according to TPG's David Slotnick. ..........(more)

https://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/spirit-airlines-week-long-meltdown-has-reportedly-caught-the-attention-of-the-us-government/ar-AANa5nw?




WMATA: Regional capital investment has delivered safety, more reliable service (DC Metro)





Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) reports a safer, more reliable system as it reaches the halfway point of its six-year capital program and marks three years since the National Capital Region agreed to provide the authority with a dependable funding stream to address capital needs.

The “Progress Report to Stakeholders” includes opening statements from WMATA Board of Directors Chair Paul Smedberg and General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld in which Wiedefeld writes “Metro struggled to provide basic levels of service following a prolonged period of underinvestment in the system.”

Following the passage of legislation in 2018 by Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia Council to provide WMATA with $500 million in annual funding to aid the transit authority in executing its strategic plan “Keep Metro Safe, Reliable and Affordable,” at the three-year mark, WMATA reports:

* A 50 percent reduction in emergency track repairs since FY2018 through WMATA’s preventative maintenance program;

* A near 80 percent reduction in incidents resulting from insulator fires between FY2018 and FY2021 (from 39 to five);

* The three years of cable meggering work also produced the first fiscal year (FY2021) with zero recorded traction power cable fires;

* All 48 underground stations have received major lighting upgrades, making them up to 10 times brighter while reducing energy consumption by about 60 percent;

* Cellular coverage is available in all tunnels and stations, as well as free Wi-Fi in all 91 stations;

* The Platform Improvement Project has rebuilt 17 of 20 outdoor station platforms scheduled for critical repairs, improving safety and accessibility while adding customer experience improvements such as new passenger information displays;

* Work to increase the system’s water pumping capacity results in 6.75 million gallons of water removed from the system every four days, which is enough to fill the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool; and

* 95 percent of the system’s escalators and 97 percent of its elevators are available for customer use every day on average.


“We are only halfway through the six-year capital program, but the region’s investment is paying dividends to our customers who are getting better service,” said Wiedefeld. “Riders who are returning for the first time since the pandemic will see a more reliable train service than we’ve offered in years.” .............(more)

https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/article/21233455/wmata-regional-capital-investment-has-delivered-safety-more-reliable-service




WMATA: Regional capital investment has delivered safety, more reliable service (DC Metro)




Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) reports a safer, more reliable system as it reaches the halfway point of its six-year capital program and marks three years since the National Capital Region agreed to provide the authority with a dependable funding stream to address capital needs.

The “Progress Report to Stakeholders” includes opening statements from WMATA Board of Directors Chair Paul Smedberg and General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld in which Wiedefeld writes “Metro struggled to provide basic levels of service following a prolonged period of underinvestment in the system.”

Following the passage of legislation in 2018 by Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia Council to provide WMATA with $500 million in annual funding to aid the transit authority in executing its strategic plan “Keep Metro Safe, Reliable and Affordable,” at the three-year mark, WMATA reports:

* A 50 percent reduction in emergency track repairs since FY2018 through WMATA’s preventative maintenance program;

* A near 80 percent reduction in incidents resulting from insulator fires between FY2018 and FY2021 (from 39 to five);

* The three years of cable meggering work also produced the first fiscal year (FY2021) with zero recorded traction power cable fires;

* All 48 underground stations have received major lighting upgrades, making them up to 10 times brighter while reducing energy consumption by about 60 percent;

* Cellular coverage is available in all tunnels and stations, as well as free Wi-Fi in all 91 stations;

* The Platform Improvement Project has rebuilt 17 of 20 outdoor station platforms scheduled for critical repairs, improving safety and accessibility while adding customer experience improvements such as new passenger information displays;

* Work to increase the system’s water pumping capacity results in 6.75 million gallons of water removed from the system every four days, which is enough to fill the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool; and

* 95 percent of the system’s escalators and 97 percent of its elevators are available for customer use every day on average.


“We are only halfway through the six-year capital program, but the region’s investment is paying dividends to our customers who are getting better service,” said Wiedefeld. “Riders who are returning for the first time since the pandemic will see a more reliable train service than we’ve offered in years.” .............(more)

https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/article/21233455/wmata-regional-capital-investment-has-delivered-safety-more-reliable-service




Accused Whitmer kidnap plotters also discussed attacking Ohio governor, feds say


(Detroit News) FBI agents did not entrap five men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer because the defendants were predisposed to commit the crime and attack other politicians, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, federal prosecutors said Monday.

The DeWine connection to a high-profile federal criminal case involving alleged violent extremism has not been previously disclosed and reveals accused plotters discussed a broader, bipartisan attack on politicians from several states. Prosecutors leveled the new allegation in a court filing Monday while fighting what has emerged as a central defense strategy that involves accusing the FBI of entrapment.

The government was responding four weeks after defense lawyers leveled a broad attack on the government case built with help from at least one dozen informants and undercover FBI agents.

In a 22-page filing, prosecutors alleged the accused plotters met near Columbus, Ohio, in June 2020 and discussed attacking Whitmer, a Democrat and DeWine, a Republican, along with a second Democrat, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was linked to the investigation last fall. .............(more)

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/08/09/accused-whitmer-plotters-mulled-attacking-ohio-gov-dewine-feds-say/5544873001/




Follow the money: Understanding the deep roots of Donald Trump's coup attempt


Follow the money: Understanding the deep roots of Donald Trump's coup attempt
It sure looks as if Jan. 6, and the entire Trump presidency, were planned and funded by oligarchs in the shadows

By CHAUNCEY DEVEGA
PUBLISHED AUGUST 10, 2021 9:11AM


(Salon) Donald Trump and his allies and followers were involved in a conspiracy against American democracy, the Constitution, the general welfare and the rule of law. Trump may have been president by title, but not in spirit or through his actions. At almost every opportunity he betrayed the presidential oath and worked to undermine the United States and its interests.

The examples are legion: Trump was elected with the help of a hostile foreign power and appeared to do its leader's bidding throughout his presidency. Trump engaged in acts of democide against the American people through sabotage and willful neglect in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump is directly and indirectly responsible for the deaths of more than 600,000 people in America. He was impeached twice — something unprecedented in American history — for crimes against democracy and the Constitution.

....(snip)....

What new information have we learned? Trump's coup attempt came much closer to succeeding than was known even several weeks ago. The coup attempt was not "amateurish" or a joke. Trump and his allies' attempts to overthrow American democracy were entirely in earnest. Trump's followers who overran the Capitol should not be described as a "mob." At least some of them were organized, dedicated and well-financed, as well as zealously loyal.

....(snip)....

Jane Mayer of the New Yorker has already begun that necessary work. In her new essay "The Big Money Behind the Big Lie," Mayer details how a small number of billionaires and elite right-wing interest groups and activists are working across the country to overthrow America's multiracial democracy.

....(snip)....

Mayer reports that the Arizona audit was "fed by sophisticated, well-funded national organizations whose boards of directors include some of the country's wealthiest and highest-profile conservatives. Dark-money groups, whose donors may remain anonymous but are clearly linked to influential right-wing think tanks and interest groups such as the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), "have relentlessly promoted the myth that American elections are rife with fraud, and, according to leaked records of their internal deliberations, they have drafted, supported, and in some cases taken credit for state laws that make it harder to vote." ..........(more)

https://www.salon.com/2021/08/10/follow-the-money-understanding-the-deep-roots-of-donald-trumps-coup-attempt/




How Michigan's public universities will handle mask, vaccine mandates


(Detroit Free Press) One by one, Michigan colleges and universities have announced mask and vaccine mandates for the approaching school year.

The measures are meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as concerns over the virus' delta variant escalate. The CDC on Wednesday bumped Michigan's transmission level up to substantial from high. The CDC updated its guidance to recommend that vaccinated people still don masks indoors in areas where COVID-19 transmission is high or substantial.

Here is what the state's public universities have announced:

University of Michigan

U-M has mandated vaccinations for students, faculty and staff members. In a news release, university officials said those who do not adhere to the mandate will be subject to disciplinary action, but did not specify what the discipline would entail. ..............(more)

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/08/10/michigan-school-mask-vaccine-mandate-college-university/5541108001/




Of course Cuomo's top cover-up artist was a woman -- sexists have long hid behind complicit women


Of course Cuomo's top cover-up artist was a woman — sexists have long hid behind complicit women
Why women play along with sexist men

By AMANDA MARCOTTE
PUBLISHED AUGUST 9, 2021 12:58PM


(Salon) After the show "The Handmaid's Tale" debuted, the term "Aunt Lydia" — to describe women who conspire to uphold sexist systems for personal gain — entered the American lexicon, and none too soon. Aunt Lydias have always been with us, of course. They believe it's unlikely that they'll ever see true equality for women in their lifetimes. So rather than fight for a better tomorrow for others, they decide there's a lot to be gained, personally, from complicity. But explaining this complex reality in soundbite-driven American political discourse is always a slog, making "it can't be sexist even if women support it" a disturbingly effective, if incredibly dumb, gambit. It is why sexist men have long employed Aunt Lydias, willing to give a select few women a minor taste of power, so long as they work to keep other women in their place.

The shorthand "Aunt Lydia" was useful to illustrate situations like Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine defending Justice Brett Kavanaugh after accusations of sexual assault, or explain why the anti-choice movement has so many women in it. But for those of us who loved the book long before Ann Dowd's indelible performance as Lydia on the otherwise flawed TV version of "The Handmaid's Tale," the icon of female complicity will always be Serena Joy. In Margaret Atwood's hands, the character is a darkly funny satire of Phyllis Schlafly, the clever and ambitious far-right activist who, in the 70s, realized her only real pathway to power was to become the nation's most prominent anti-feminist. Serena in the novel is Atwood's revenge fantasy on Schlafly. Serena, like Schlafly, rose to power and fame by promoting patriarchy, and her punishment is living in the world she fought so hard to create, where she is shut up in the house, bored and angry, while her husband sleeps with enslaved sex workers.

....(snip)....

All of which is a long way to say that it really should be no surprise that the first head to roll in the sexual harassment scandal in the governor's office of New York does not belong to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the man who is facing an attorney general's report documenting 11 women accusing him of abuses. Cuomo is digging in, determined to survive this through gaslighting and sheer belligerence. Instead, the big resignation news on Monday morning is that of his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, who put out a statement saying "the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying."

To be clear, DeRosa had it coming. Her name is all over the investigation report released by New York's attorney general, Letitia James. "DeRosa is mentioned by name 187 times — as much as Cuomo," Josh Dawsey of the Washington Post writes, "She is portrayed as a constant force, taking part in an alleged effort to discredit one of his accusers, lining up women and elected officials to defend him and even confronting and chastising the governor about his behavior at one point."

DeRosa is described as going particularly hard after Lindsey Boylan, who was the first woman to accuse Cuomo publicly. DeRosa reportedly demanded Boylan's "full file," with the apparent intent to use the information within to discredit her. DeRosa is also accused of pressuring unrelated government officials to defend Cuomo, spying on other government employees, and trying to kill a story about Cuomo changing promotion rules for state troopers so he could have a specific woman as his bodyguard. That trooper has now accused him of harassment. .................(more)

https://www.salon.com/2021/08/09/of-course-cuomos-top-cover-up-artist-was-a-woman--sexists-have-long-hid-behind-complicit-women/




The Ashes of the Dixie Fire Cast a Pall 1,000 Miles From Its Flames


(NYT) TAYLORSVILLE, Calif. — Captured by an astronaut’s camera, the Dixie Fire appears as a thick and sickening miasma pouring from the earth’s surface. At its center in the eastern mountains of California, the fire is devouring acre after acre of rugged wildland to become the second largest blaze in the state’s history.

But Dixie and other megafires in the West have left a footprint much larger than the evergreen forests they level and the towns they decimate.

Summer after summer, California, a global leader in battling air pollution from vehicles, sends giant clouds of haze filled with health-damaging particles across the country. Even as far as Denver, 1,100 miles to the east, the fire has helped create a pall of noxious smoke during an already scorching summer.

By one measure, wildfires — intensified by drought and climate change — are the largest source of potentially deadly air pollution in California. And in recent weeks, the accumulating haze and smoke from California’s fires and high ozone levels have turned the air in Salt Lake City and Denver into some of the dirtiest in the world, more harmful than Delhi’s or Beijing’s on many recent days. .............(more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/09/us/dixie-fire-california.html




Families reunite, couples return to empty properties as Canada border reopens


( Detroit Free Press). When the clock struck midnight on Monday, Canada reopened its borders to U.S. citizens after more than a year of only allowing essential travel.

Although some Americans were not going to wait a minute longer than necessary to get into Canada, Detroit’s ports to Canada didn’t get much attention early Monday. Wait times for the Ambassador Bridge hovered around 10 minutes, with the Detroit-Windsor tunnel following closely.

But the Ambassador saw some families reunite and couples return to empty properties across the river.

Asawari Kaur of Indiana, along with her family, huddled together at Detroit’s duty free shop minutes before midnight. Some of Kaur’s family hadn’t seen her brother, who got married in April, in almost two years.

“We were all so eagerly waiting for that day,” Kaur said. “As soon as it hits midnight, we’re gonna enter the border.” ............(more)

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2021/08/09/canada-border-ambassador-bridge-reopens-covid-19/5512058001/




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