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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,621

Journal Archives

'They are fed up': US labor on the march in 2021 after years of decline

(Guardian UK) In 2021 workers appear to have had enough.

Amid constant claims from some industries of labor shortages as the economy recovers from Covid-19 shutdowns, workers have been pushing employers and elected officials to raise wages, improve working conditions and benefits such as paid sick leave through walkouts, protests, rallies and strikes.

The last few months of 2021 saw workers quit at record or near record rates, while an uptick of strikes occurred around the US in October and November 2021.

“I’ve been traveling a lot to picket lines all over the country in the last couple of months, been in so many different states and across all industries. But the one thing that’s been really consistent is the sentiment of the working people who are out there taking the risks is that they are absolutely fed up,” said Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, the main union federation in the US. .........(more)


The past, present, and future of poop

The past, present, and future of poop
In “The Other Dark Matter,” Lina Zeldovich surveys the history and science of how human sewage is handled


In Osaka, Japan, in the early-1700s, neighboring villages fought over rights to city residents' excrement. Much of Japan's soil, sandy and poor in nutrients, produced feeble crops and supported few animals, so farmers depended on human fertilizer to grow food. And they were willing to pay for it. Often in exchange for a fee paid to each household, farmers collected what was called night soil at regular intervals to fashion into fertile compost. Poop was precious. Defecating at a friend's house was considered an act of generosity — a gift. Landlords earned extra income by retaining collection rights from tenants: Often the bigger the household, the lower the rent. As the city of Osaka grew, so did the value of residents' waste, until prices climbed to such extremes in the early 1700s that some desperate farmers resorted to stealing it, despite potential prison time.

Roughly a hundred years later, London's River Thames was choked with human and animal waste, emitting noxious methane, ammonia, and the rotten egg smell of hydrogen sulfide. Seemingly more sewage than water, the river's banks swelled with refuse, interfering with marine navigation and making life miserable for many Londoners. Finally compelled to act, city authorities contracted boats to carry the sludge out to sea and dump it — at the approximate cost of a million pounds, or more than $170 million in today's U.S. dollars.

Why are these stories of human excrement so different? The key, according to science journalist Lina Zeldovich in "The Other Dark Matter: The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth and Health," is that one culture regarded poop as trash, the other as treasure.


Today, Zeldovich argues, we find ourselves at the intersection of Japan's need and Britain's overabundance. Increasing food demand strips our soil of nitrogen and other nutrients, while sewage pollutes land and water. We continue to frame poop as waste and ignore its value at our peril — creating a "ticking time bomb" that perpetuates a broken cycle of dirt, food, and fertilizer.


Fortunately, potential solutions abound. One is Loowatt, a small startup that began in Madagascar's capital city of Antananavrio, also known as Tana, that turns excrement into power and fertilizer. Sanitation is a pressing problem in Tana, where latrines are holes dug into the ground. After frequent rains, Zeldovich writes, "the filth rises up to the brim and then slowly flows over, oozing out into the yards, down the streets, and into people's living rooms." ..........(more)


Remember, Sarah Palin walked so MTG and Boebert could run.....

..... the OG of elected stupid.

How Joe Biden lost Joe Manchin -- and how he can win him back

How Joe Biden lost Joe Manchin — and how he can win him back
The huge comprehensive deal that Democrats wanted may be dead — but not all is lost


(Salon) Iexpect you're going to be reading an endless number of hand wringing analysis pieces over the next couple of days about the deeply disappointing decision by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to go on "Fox News Sunday" after the Senate had recessed for the holiday and announced his decision to destroy the Democratic agenda — making it even more probable that the Republicans will win in 2022. Merry Christmas.

Now it is understandable why podcaster Charlamagne tha God asked Vice President Kamala Harris the other day which Joe — Biden or Manchin — is the real president. Manchin is powerful enough that he has veto power over the entire legislative agenda and he's apparently decided to use it to kill Biden's Build Back Better Bill (BBB). As he said:

I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there. This is a no on this legislation. I have tried everything I know to do.

Manchin went on to say that he believes the Biden administration should direct all of its attention to "the variant," although he didn't explain what exactly he thought they should be doing about it that they have been unable to because they were distracted by their legislative agenda. But then he's offered up dozens of different and conflicting reasons for his reluctance to support the bill during the entire process, stringing the White House along with vague impressions that he could be seduced, so this latest reasoning was no more convincing than any of them.


If the Democrats and the White House decide to give that approach a go and pick just a few programs that Manchin and Sinema have both supported in the past it will no doubt result in some very hard feelings among the various constituencies that will be left out of this round of legislation. It's a bitter pill to swallow. But this negotiation has almost certainly clarified that having such a small majority makes it extremely difficult to pass anything, particularly when dealing with divas like Manchin and Sinema who are perfectly content to walk away.

To those who say that the Democrats should never have decoupled the infrastructure bill from the BBB bill because that would have been leverage over Manchin, I doubt it would have gone that way. Manchin would just as easily walked away from that as well, particularly since it wouldn't have been bipartisan which is something he actually does care about. ........(more)


Gauteng's Omicron Wave Is Already Peaking. Why?

(New York magazine) In Gauteng, South Africa’s Omicron epicenter, the wave seems to be cresting. In other parts of the country, too, the terrifyingly fast rise of the new variant appears already to be slowing and even receding. This is very encouraging, since it suggests that Omicron waves elsewhere in the world may also be, if disorientingly fast, also mercifully short. But it is also a bit confusing, given that the wave has peaked well before anything like it had fully penetrated the local population, and given that everything we know about the new variant is that neither infection-acquired immunity nor two vaccine doses do much at all to stop transmission.

But this is not a phenomenon peculiar to Omicron. At earlier stages of the pandemic, in sometimes less dramatic ways, other waves have crested and declined much before crude models might’ve suggested the vulnerable population had been exhausted. Sometimes, this has led to premature predictions of early herd immunity: Last summer, Youyang Gu, who’d distinguished himself as a modeler of the pandemic, suggested that in parts of the U.S., at least, communities could be reaching “temporary herd immunity” with exposure levels between 10 percent and 35 percent. More recently, Philippe Lemoine has argued that population structure is a hugely underappreciated factor in pandemic spread, and that we shouldn’t keep turning back to models based on simple inputs like doubling time (how long it takes caseloads to grow by a factor of two) or Rt (how many people each infected person infects, on average).

On Friday, I spoke with Trevor Bedford, of Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, about how to make sense of this phenomenon, and how comfortably we can count on the Omicron waves taking a similar turn, on a similar timetable, elsewhere in the world.

I’m curious to talk to you about the state of play generally, but I wanted to start with what we’re seeing in Gauteng, where the wave already appears to be cresting, though many fewer people appear to have been infected than are vulnerable — especially when you consider that, while people who’ve been infected or vaccinated already may be protected against severe disease, there is hardly any protection against infection per se. Which means, in terms of infection, this is almost a virgin population, so to speak. How do you understand that?

Yeah, it’s a really good question. I’ve been looking into this a bit. The basic idea is that we can measure Rt, and there’s a very simple equation that will convert Rt into your population attack rate: how many people will be infected in the entire epidemic wave. That projection is quite linear. With Delta and the Delta Rt of 1.5 — when it was coming in — I was able to convert that to an attack rate that ultimately matched what we saw. I did that by assuming it would really be mostly targeting the people that aren’t vaccinated or infected previously.

With Omicron, and its initial Rt being three-ish, that same equation should give you something like 90 percent of the population infected. But from what we’ve seen in South Africa, it seems like the wave is crashing well before that. So something is going on. .............(more)


'It's an American issue': can Georgia's candidate for secretary of state save democracy?

‘It’s an American issue’: can Georgia’s candidate for secretary of state save democracy?
Bee Nguyen, who has led her party’s fight against Republican-backed voting restrictions, may prove vital to building election integrity and restoring voter confidence in Georgia

Timothy Pratt in Atlanta, Georgia
Fri 17 Dec 2021 07.50 EST

(Guardian UK) Georgia state representative Bee Nguyen has seemed destined to wage epic battles in her fast-changing state ever since replacing Stacey Abrams in its legislature four years ago when the now-nationally-recognized Democrat announced her first bid for governor.

Or maybe it’s since former president and Georgia native Jimmy Carter decided, more than 40 years ago, to double the number of refugees admitted to the US from Vietnam – including her parents. Nguyen was born in Iowa, but has lived in Georgia since her parents moved here when she was seven.

Now, events of recent months have made it clearer than ever what’s at stake for Nguyen in her next bid: becoming Georgia’s secretary of state, responsible for overseeing elections and other duties in a state that seems set to be at the center of 2022’s midterm elections and also a key battleground in the 2024 presidential race.

Since becoming the first Asian American woman in Georgia’s legislature, she has led her party’s fight against Republican-backed restrictions on voting. Now, if she becomes her party’s nominee for secretary of state, her ideas may prove vital to building election integrity and restoring voter confidence in Georgia, and by example, elsewhere in America at a moment when US democracy itself seems in peril. ..............(more)


Naked Florida man steals pickup truck from dealership, leads authorities on pursuit, police say

MELBOURNE, Fla. – A naked Florida man stole a pickup truck from a dealership, leading police on a pursuit early Wednesday in Melbourne, according to police.

Melbourne police said Richard Blose, 40, was at Fiat of Melbourne before 7 a.m. when an employee saw him standing naked in a paint booth before the man got into a 2021 Ram truck. Blose then backed out of the booth in the pickup truck and drove off from the dealership, police said.

The Melbourne Police Department said surveillance video showed Blose at the dealership just before 5 a.m. wearing only underwear, walking around the business, getting into another car and sitting on its roof for 30 minutes before stealing the Ram. ...........(more)


Florida man compares self to Rosa Parks, kicked off flight for wearing red thong as face mask

A Florida man has been banned from flying on United Airlines after an incident in which he wore a red thong as a face mask.

Adam Jenne of Cape Coral said he has been wearing the underwear in his “absurd” way of complying with facemask requirements on several flights, according to a report on WBBH NBC 2 in Fort Myers.

In an interview with the TV station, he compared himself to Rosa Parks, the icon of the civil rights movement.

“Everything else that has sparked change in this country has started from everyday people,” he said. “Rosa Parks wasn’t famous. She changed the course of history.” ..........(more)


'Poor folks trying to make it as best we can': surviving Mississippi's miserly healthcare system

‘Poor folks trying to make it as best we can’: surviving Mississippi’s miserly healthcare system
The poorest and blackest state in the US declined to expand Medicaid, leaving many citizens without coverage

by April Simpson

This story was published in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit news organization that investigates inequality.

Jabriel Muhammad pays up to $40 when he sees a doctor at the community health center in Jefferson county in rural south-western Mississippi. And he goes to the center only when he is really ill. But there’s another price to pay for not having health insurance. In October, he was hit with a $1,394 hospital bill for an MRI scan to diagnose why he wasn’t breathing properly.

“We’re poor folks trying to make it as best we can,” said Muhammad, a 40-year-old self-employed carpenter and plumber. “If I make $10,000 with the work that I do in a year, that’s a nice feeling to me.”

In Mississippi, the poorest and blackest state in the US, single adults without children like Muhammad are not eligible for public health insurance, regardless of how little they earn each year. If he lived 30 miles west in Louisiana, across the Mississippi river, he could afford to see a doctor more often.

Louisiana is the only deep south state that expanded Medicaid under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which extended healthcare access for people who work but don’t have medical coverage. Most of the 2 million people in the US without expanded coverage live in eight states in the south, where the legacy of slavery continues to shape healthcare policies, efforts to alleviate poverty and the life circumstances of thousands of Black people. ...........(more)


Florida man arrested, charged in Jan. 6 attack on US Capitol

WASHINGTON -- A Florida man has been arrested on charges related to storming the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection and attacking a police officer, officials said.

Mason Joel Courson, 26, of Tamarac, was arrested Tuesday in South Florida and charged with eight federal offenses that include assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers and inflicting bodily injury, civil disorder, and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, according to court records. He made his initial court appearance Wednesday in Florida, but the case is being prosecuted in Washington federal court.

According to court documents, Courson joined with others objecting to Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory over former Republican President Donald Trump. A mob attacked the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying election results, authorities said. Five people died in the violence.

According to the indictment, Courson participated in an assault of a Metropolitan Police Department officer who was beaten by a group armed with a baton, flagpole and crutch. Earlier that afternoon, Courson participated in “heave-ho” efforts to advance into the Capitol in the area of the Lower West Terrace tunnel leading into the building, officials said. ........(more)


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