And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Linkee-poo Wednesday Dec 23

"It's no secret that inhaling smoke is bad for your lungs. But now, scientists are suggesting smoke may also carry and spread infectious diseases… The theory, published in Science Magazine, is based on research that found wildfire smoke is teeming with thousands of species of microorganisms. Some of these microorganisms, including bacteria and fungal spores, are known to cause disease."

"Can employers make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?… Yes, with some exceptions."

"Ten months into the pandemic, it has become far clearer why tens of thousands of healthcare workers have been infected by the virus and why so many have died: dire PPE shortages. Limited Covid tests. Sparse tracking of viral spread. Layers of flawed policies handed down by healthcare executives and politicians, and lax enforcement by government regulators." Jazz hands! "And an Osha investigation into Marks’ death found there was no sign on the door to warn him that a potentially infected patient was inside, nor was there a cart outside the room where he could grab protective gear." I can't tell you how many time this has happened, both from negligence and from ignorance. The later I can understand (although it makes me mad, because seriously, what is it about the word "pandemic" that administrators don't understand), the former makes me incandescent with rage.

"The European Union executive threw Britain a lifeline on Tuesday after it became stranded in Covid-19 isolation, recommending that E.U. members roll-back sweeping border closures to allow freight to resume and people to return home for Christmas."

"Some goods and passengers began arriving on French shores in the morning, thanks to an agreement that allows people with a negative virus test to cross the Channel from Britain. But officials warned the backlog would take days to clear, and some truckers scuffled with police as huge lines of vehicles persisted at the port of Dover."

"The Department of Justice is alleging that Walmart broke the law and contributed to the prescription opioid crisis by filling thousands of invalid prescriptions and failing to report suspicious orders of opioids, according to the department's statement… The Justice Department said the civil penalties it is seeking could total billions of dollars and injunctive relief." Didn't see that one coming. But also understand, the DoJ is asking Walmart to police what you take, not just "noticing the large trends."

"A second round of stimulus checks had been expected to land in the bank accounts of millions of Americans as soon as next week, thanks to the $900 billion economic relief package that Congress passed Monday night. But President Donald Trump's sudden insistence Tuesday that lawmakers boost the bill's $600 stimulus checks to $2,000 per person is now throwing the timing and amount of the checks into question." It's one way to throw a temper tantrum and deny people any relief, all while appearing to be fighting for people. It's a lame political hack job. Why do I think so? The president could have interjected the conservation and negotiations to bring about a $2000 stimulus AT ANY TIME. Instead he waited until the bill was on the way to his desk. And even with the Democrats saying, "We'll pass it!" the original $600 bill will be signed (most likely) and everybody can go into Christmas saying how they "wanted to do more for the people who are suffering." Also I'll point out that the extra stimulus going to people who are on Medicaid will bump many of them out of the program.

"Jobless claims rose less than expected last week as employers weighed a wintertime spike in Covid-19 cases against expected relief from a pending $900 billion stimulus package, the Labor Department reported Wednesday… The number of first-time unemployment-benefits filers decelerated to 803,000 in the week ended Dec. 19. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected initial claims to rise to 888,000… Initial claims for the previous week were revised higher by 7,000 to 892,000, the highest print since early September." Again, note the trend of revising earlier numbers upward. And while it's starting to sound and feel familiar, having 800,000+ new jobless claims in one week is Not Normal™.

"Israeli politics is once again in turmoil: parliament has dissolved and Israel will hold yet another election expected on March 23. It will be Israel's fourth national vote in the span of two years."

"Facebook argues that Apple's privacy changes in iOS 14, which give users the option to opt-out of ad tracking, will harm small businesses that see increased sales from personalized ads. However, some Facebook employees are reportedly complaining about what they perceived to be a self-serving campaign." Well of course, cancelling ad tracking would destroy Facebook's revenue stream.

"When the votes came in a few hours later, the $900 billion stimulus package easily cleared both chambers. It was long overdue, desperately needed and, by many measures, not quite good enough considering the sizable problems many Americans still face in the Covid-19 era. But one bright spot was the $15 billion set aside for independent venues, Broadway theaters, movie theaters, talent agencies and museums. Though it benefits numerous cultural institutions that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, its inclusion in the bill is due in large part to the efforts of those in the live music industry."

"U.S. airlines have begun the complicated process of calling back 32,000 workers they furloughed this fall, a condition struggling carriers need to comply with to receive $15 billion in additional federal payroll support."

"The U.S. Postal Service has opened a new processing facility in Northeast Ohio and may receive additional funding through the latest federal COVID-19 relief bill as it faces continued mail delays that have led to holiday gifts, medications and more arriving weeks behind schedule." The damage done by this administration will last a long time.

"Floriano is one of more than 30 undocumented immigrants who've come forward with allegations of medical abuse, according to court papers filed late Monday — all of them current or former detainees at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Ga. Many of the women say that they were pressured to have unwanted or unnecessary gynecological procedures while in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or that they were retaliated against for speaking out."

"In a one-day special legislative session called to address a number of pandemic-related crises, lawmakers also voted to protect schools from lawsuits related to COVID-19 and to bolster bars and restaurants by allowing cocktail sales to go… Those proposals all passed relatively speedily. The real tumult was happening outside."

Just a bunch of peaceful patriotic protestors… "Oregon State Police reported that officers were sprayed with 'some kind of chemical agent' twice while trying to repel people from the building. Officers had arrested three people as of early afternoon, including a 41-year-old man who state police said sprayed bear mace at police… Those arrests did not dissuade demonstrators, some of whom shattered glass doors into the Capitol while demanding to be let inside. Some members of the crowd harassed or assaulted journalists reporting on the event." Yet they carried the "Thin Blue Line" flag.

"The voting conspiracy theories that have led millions of Republicans to feel as though the election was stolen from them, which are still spreading, have also led to calls for Coomer's head."

"A top employee of Dominion Voting Systems, who has gone into hiding after becoming the subject of conspiracy theories on the right since the election, is suing the Trump campaign, a number of campaign surrogates and pro-Trump media outlets, alleging defamation."

"All of which is to say: Actual secession in the U.S. remains, for the moment, something outside the realm of feasibility. But that misses the point about what is really driving the threats. Whether they acknowledge it or not, the proponents of severing centuries-old bonds don’t necessarily want to break away. (Who wants the financial implosion and massive outflow of capital that would come with actual independence, anyway?) Instead, they are using secession as a kind of rhetorical cover for an opposition strategy that has erupted periodically throughout American history: rampant obstructionism and even outright nullification. This isn’t a replay of the rise of the Confederacy in 1861 as much as it is the birth of the Tea Party in 2009—a grinding war of attrition fought from inside the government, using the legislatively lethal weapon of 'no.'"

"Justice Department whistleblowers are calling on federal watchdogs and members of Congress to investigate what they call illegal and abusive government directives that waste money and chill 'diversity-related speech across the entire federal workforce.'… NPR has obtained a letter by a lawyer for the whistleblowers, who report that diversity and inclusion programs they had planned for the Justice Department earlier this year were branded "divisive propaganda" and had to be canceled."

"President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone." The fuckers. These assholes belong in jail. Because we don't treat humans like the rabid dogs they are.

Also… "President Donald Trump has pardoned 15 people, including a pair of congressional Republicans who were strong and early supporters, a 2016 campaign official ensnared in the Russia probe and former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad." 25th Amendment time.

No comments: