No doorways, no windows, no walls
No shelter here on the ground
No standing and no safe place to fall
Just the promise of this distant sound
Bells are ringing all over the world

Monday, June 27, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday June 27

"Authors are protesting Amazon's e-book return policy, a system they say allows readers to 'steal' from self-published authors. Amazon's current return policy for e-books allows customers to 'cancel an accidental book order within seven days.' But, for some readers, seven days is more than enough time to finish a book and return it after reading, effectively treating Amazon like a library."

"A tiny satellite is poised to set the stage for something far grander: a full-blown lunar space station. NASA’s CAPSTONE satellite is scheduled to launch on Monday and then travel to a unique lunar orbit in a pathfinder mission for the Artemis program, which is seeking to return humans to the Moon later this decade." The launch is now on hold.

"On Friday, NASA held a press call to announce that its planned mission to the asteroid Psyche, planned for launch this autumn, was on indefinite hold. While the spacecraft is ready and has been delivered to the Kennedy Space Center, there has been a delay in validating the software that will run the mission as it operates in remote areas of the Solar System."

"Temperatures are rising nearly everywhere because of global warming, combining with brutal drought in some places to create more intense, frequent and longer heat waves. The past few summers have been some of the hottest on record… Just in the county that includes Phoenix, at least 130 homeless people were among the 339 individuals who died from heat-associated causes in 2021."

"The debate over tax breaks for nonprofit Cleveland-area hospitals is also about racism and redlining." (Grokked from Marie Vibbert)

"Both patients have the same insurance coverage through Anthem Blue Cross of California; they had identical cataract surgeries; and both providers were in Anthem's coverage network. Marilou owed $204, while Danilo was on the hook for a staggering $4,057."

"Health officials on Wednesday recommended that men in Florida who have sex with other men get a meningococcal vaccine following one of the worst outbreaks among gay and bisexual men in U.S. history of a bacteria that causes meningitis."

"On the surface, the monkeypox outbreak in the U.S. doesn't look that bad, especially compared with other countries. Since the international epidemic began in May, the U.S. has recorded 201 cases of monkeypox. In contrast, the U.K. has nearly 800 cases. Spain and Germany both have more than 500… But in the U.S., the official case count is misleading, Makofane and other scientists tell NPR. The outbreak is bigger — perhaps much bigger — than the case count suggests." Best healthcare system in the world my ass.

"The World Health Organization has stopped short of declaring the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern as a result of an emergency committee meeting… The WHO convened an emergency committee meeting Thursday to discuss the severity of the monkeypox outbreak. The result of the meeting was announced Saturday."

"Exacerbating these high gas prices is a huge shortage in refining capacity in the U.S., which isn't likely to be resolved any time soon… Refiners turn crude oil into usable products like gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. There's just fewer refiners in the U.S. today than a couple of years ago."

"'It’s almost unbelievable': People are having their job offers rescinded days before they start." Remember when business were complaining about hiring people who didn't show up? Yeah. They do the same thing. "But over the past few weeks, many employers started scrambling to tighten their budgets due to rising inflation, rumblings of a looming recession and swings in the crypto market." Here it comes, the self-fulfilling prophecy.

"Pending home sales, a measure of signed contracts on existing homes, rose slightly in May, up 0.7% compared with April, according to the National Association of Realtors… That broke a six-month streak of declining demand. Sales were still 13.6% lower than in May 2021."

"Schwedes eventually found a place at his former rent, a much smaller townhouse with no yard or garage and farther from his kids' school. He says the whole process has shaken his longtime hope that at some point he'd be able to buy a home. He wants to build equity and have something to pass on to his children. He also craves a place he can decorate, where the family could always gather for holidays and future grandkids could visit, 'the stuff that you think is normal, that you see in movies growing up.'… Now he feels this cornerstone of the American dream will never happen for him."

"Ecuador has been brought to a near standstill after two weeks of tumultuous protests over a spike in fuel and food prices as global inflation inflames discontent over widening inequality across Latin America."

"A defiant British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in a stubborn standoff with his frustrated Conservative Party on Saturday, after two thumping special election defeats renewed calls for a major change of government direction."

"At least 21 teenagers, the youngest possibly just 13, died this weekend after a night out at a township tavern in South Africa in a tragedy where the cause remains unclear. Many are thought to have been students celebrating the end of their high-school exams on Saturday night, provincial officials said… There were no visible wounds on the bodies. Officials have ruled out a stampede as a possible cause and said autopsies would determine if the deaths could be linked to poisoning."

"Ukrainian troops have 'almost left' Sievierodonetsk after weeks of intense fighting against Russian forces, the mayor of the eastern city said on Saturday, signaling the biggest setback for Ukraine since losing the port of Mariupol in May."

"Russia is believed to have defaulted on its debt for the first time since 1998 after missing a key deadline… Russia has the money to make a $100m payment, which was due on Sunday, but sanctions made it impossible to get the sum to international creditors… The country had been determined to avoid the default, which is a major blow to the nation's prestige."

"Schulz brought more than backstage clout to Title IX. In 1966, he'd introduced a pioneering character: a confident girl jock with freckles, sandals and swagger. Easily the best athlete of all the kids, Peppermint Patty managed her own baseball team, played hockey and raced motocross. The sporty girls in Peanuts, who ice skated and enjoyed throwing balls, helped normalize something as simple and positive as girls playing sports, said Jean Schulz."

"Abortion is now illegal or heavily restricted in at least 11 states following the Supreme Court's historic decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade. Twelve other states have laws in place that pave the way to quickly ban or severely restrict access to them, according to research from the Guttmacher Institute, a group that favors abortion rights. Several additional states appear likely to pass new laws."

"Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, medical ethics experts say many physicians will be caught in a bind: unable to fulfill their professional obligations to provide care to their pregnant patients because of state laws that forbid it."

"Using existing data from the National Survey of Family Growth, a recent study estimates that one in five men have impregnated someone who's had an abortion. That's likely an undercount, according to Dr. Brian Nguyen, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Southern California, who helped oversee the project."

"Several hundred demonstrators gathered and marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, channeling anger, frustration and grief as they denounced the Supreme Court’s decision to end a constitutional right to abortion."

"Abortion-rights protesters continued to voice their fury and anguish nationwide Saturday following the seismic ruling by the US Supreme Court to eliminate the federal constitutional right to an abortion… Smaller gatherings of people celebrating the ruling are also taking place." Oh look, the police still have their riot gear. I was worried what with the Jan 6 response and the activities of Proud Boys storming LGBTQ Pride events.

"Patients were in the lobby, waiting, the moment it became a post-Roe America… The staff at Alamo Women’s Reproductive Services Clinic in San Antonio had just received a call from their attorney: abortion procedures in Texas would have to stop immediately. The dozen or so patients in the lobby on Friday morning would have to be turned away. The clinic staff would have to be the ones to tell them."

"JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in America, and two athletic apparel giants with a significant presence in the Northwest have joined a host of companies saying they will cover the cost for employees who need to travel out of state for abortions… Nike and Adidas have also issued statements saying they’ll help employees access abortion if the procedure is restricted where they live. While abortion access is still protected in Oregon, the two companies also have employees in states where abortion will now be banned or severely restricted." That's really nice, but will they change their political donations as well?

"Majorities of Americans say they disagree with the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, think it was politically motivated, are concerned the court will now reconsider rulings that protect other rights, and are more likely to vote for a candidate this fall who would restore the right to an abortion, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll."

"Groups that are opposed to abortion have welcomed the decision, including the Family Resource Council, which has called it 'a major victory for life.' But many global reproductive and women's rights groups are condemning the decision and warn that the U.S. overturning of the constitutional right to abortion will have far-reaching effects around the globe."

"Benjamin Franklin is revered in history for his fixation on inventing practical ways to make everyday life easier. He was a prolific inventor and author, and spent his life tinkering and writing to share his knowledge with the masses… One of the more surprising areas Franklin wanted to demystify for the average American? At-home abortions."

"Now, a still-more conservative Court will hear arguments in the fall about Alabama’s redistricting, in a case targeting the other central piece of the Voting Rights Act: Section 2, which prohibits voting practices and procedures that discriminate on the basis of race. The result of the case could make it more difficult for minority communities to claim new election laws are discriminatory — and raise the bar for what has to happen to get relief from the courts."

"The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a former football coach for a high school in western Washington who lost his job after praying on the 50-yard-line after games… The court ruled 6-3 along ideological lines that the free exercise and free speech clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in religious expression. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion for the majority in the case, known as Kennedy v. Bremerton School District."

"A Providence police officer and Republican political candidate is facing charges after he allegedly assaulted his Democratic opponent outside the Rhode Island State House Friday night, in an incident that has quickly drawn national attention."

"The photographer documenting the event captured one of the documents Biden used during the meeting: a cue card titled 'The President' with the title of the event and bullet-pointed instructions seemingly for Biden." Well thank god he wasn't wearing a tan suit at the time. Also, that traitor Steve Miller can bite my shiny metal ass. Do I need to go find the several instances of Trump's notes being photographed and how they were more explicit on what he was supposed to say?

"But one crucial aspect of his ascent to stratospheric wealth has transpired out of public view. Using the same prowess that he’s applied to race tracks and options markets, Yass has taken aim at another target: his tax bill… There, too, the winnings have been immense: at least $1 billion in tax savings over six recent years, according to ProPublica’s analysis of a trove of IRS data. During that time, Yass paid an average federal income tax rate of just 19%, far below that of comparable Wall Street traders." Eat the rich.

"Voters in Illinois are seeing first-hand what money can buy when it comes to political office… Three different mega-donors are spending tens of millions of dollars to try to influence the outcome of the Republican primary for Illinois governor in Tuesday's election."

"A federal criminal investigation is threatening the proposed merger between former President Donald Trump’s social media enterprise and a special purpose acquisition company, a deal that would give the combined company access to billions of dollars in public markets… That company, Digital World Acquisition Corp., revealed in a securities filing Monday that it became aware on June 16 that each member of its board of directors received subpoenas from a federal grand jury in New York."

"The ShopRite grocery store worker who has been accused of attacking former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has been 'suspended pending termination,' Wakefern Food Corporation, ShopRite's parent company, told Insider on Monday." Yeah, I've seen the video, it's not that much.

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