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Oct 22, 2019, 10:29pm Top

Northern Ireland abortion and same-sex marriage laws change

Women who have abortion will no longer be prosecuted and gay people may marry.

Edited: Oct 23, 2019, 8:23am Top

The Democratic Unionist Party was founded in 1971 by Ian Paisley---an anti-catholic bigot. Having just read Say Nothing which is somewhat about the abduction, murder and disappearance of Jean McConville by the Provisional IRA--a widow with 10 children---the entire reason that McConville was living in the Divis tower blocks with her children was Ian Paisley who was walking down streets in protestant areas and calling out houses where catholics lived. McConville's husband Arthur--a career British soldier (but also a catholic) was forced to leave by his neighbors and shortly thereafter it was decided the rest of the family had to go to. Then Arthur dies and Jean (a protestant) is surrounded by people she doesn't know and who mistrust her.

That said it's not just the Unionists here who are extremely conservative but the Catholic church itself who stood in the way too. I think it helps that the Taoiseach (president) of Ireland is a gay man and there are numerous socialists and marxists among the republicans of the north.

Edited: Oct 23, 2019, 10:04am Top

Before election day, Canadians (Ontarians) not only supported climate action, they were willing to pay for it--if I recall survey results correctly.

Federal election rains on (Ontario Premier) Ford's anti-carbon tax parade
Antonella Artuso | Last Updated: October 22, 2019

(The majority of MPs elected to the (Canadian) House of Commons Monday were vocal supporters of some form of carbon pricing, although the anti-carbon tax Conservatives won more votes than Trudeau’s Liberals.)

...(In Ontario, the conservative) Doug Ford government was tempering its tone on carbon taxes a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won his second term of office.

“Our government’s focus has been making life more affordable for Ontarians, and we hope the federal government will work with us to ensure we are tackling important issues like climate change with real and effective solutions, while making sure our province is a place people and businesses can continue to prosper,” Ford spokesperson Ivana Yelich said in an official statement issued Tuesday...As we evaluate the results of the federal election, and as the Premier said previously, we will continue to discuss our government’s efforts to fight the federal carbon tax,”

The Ford government would not comment when asked if Ontario was still committed to its legal battle with Ottawa over the carbon tax.

When (Ontario) Environment Minister Jeff Yurek announced in August that the government was appealing an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that would allow the federal carbon tax, he swore to use “every tool at our disposal” to fight what he described as a job-killing carbon tax.

New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs said his government may now have to reconsider its opposition to carbon pricing and develop its own plan in light of the election results....


Edited: Oct 24, 2019, 7:50am Top

Depressing that such legislation is required but at least it's in play now--and passage in the House was unanimous/bipartisan!

House unanimously passes bipartisan bill to make animal cruelty a federal crime
Joshua Bote | Oct. 23, 2019

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to make acts of animal cruelty a federal crime.

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act was unanimously passed Tuesday, expanding a prior law that criminalized the creation and distribution of "obscene" videos of animal abuse. The law, however, did not prohibit acts of violence toward animals itself.

Introduced by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) in the House, the law would make it a federal crime for "any person to intentionally engage" in animal cruelty, including burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling or otherwise injuring "non-mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians," per a fact sheet* provided by Rep. Deutch's office.

The law wouldn't interfere with local legislation against animal cruelty...



* https://teddeutch.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2019_pact_act_fact_sheet.pdf

Oct 24, 2019, 8:04am Top

>4 margd:

But it doesn't ban shooting wild animals, nor impaling them with a hunting arrow?

Oct 24, 2019, 8:22am Top

A bit more passive aggression, Mr. Fireman?

Edited: Oct 24, 2019, 9:22am Top

No, a fair question, I think, as you have included "impaling" and "otherwise injuring" in your post. Hunting with guns and bows certainly "otherwise injures" animals, and the latter impales. Does the law specifically exclude hunting from its ban? And does it regulate methods of hunting? In the UK, for example, it can be legal to kill a fox with a gun, but not to hunt it down with a pack of hounds who then tear it to pieces while it is still alive. Unregulated hunting can indeed constitute animal cruelty.

PS: Apologies if it came over as passive aggressive. That certainly wasn't the intention.

Oct 24, 2019, 11:55am Top

otherwise injuring "non-mammals, birds, reptiles or amphibians," per a fact sheet* provided by Rep. Deutch's office.

Is the reason it specifies non-mammals is so that it won't apply to hunting?

Edited: Oct 24, 2019, 4:24pm Top

>8 jjwilson61: Fact sheet says non-human mammals, so I think article must have mis called it?

>9 margd: Does the law specifically exclude hunting from its ban? And does it regulate methods of hunting?

I think in the US, hunting is regulated by the states, except for some interstate legislation like that which executes the Migratory Bird Treaty? "The PACT Act would... be limited to interstate commerce and federal property...would not interfere with state cruelty laws...would be a federal overlay, exactly like the federal animal fighting law."

It's unbelievable what people do to animals. Recently, a local vet took in a dog with a foot square flap of skin cut and dragging from its rib cage...

I wonder if "burning", "suffocating" includes people intentionally leaving animals in hot cars?

Nov 12, 2019, 10:26pm Top

#10--more good news. Not a fan of Amazon.

Dec 20, 2019, 9:17am Top

Reposted from Ebola thread, a bit of happy news!

FDA Approves Ebola Vaccine With 100% Effectiveness
Drew Armstrong | December 20, 2019

U.S. regulators have approved a vaccine to protect against the deadly Ebola virus, a crucial step in the battle against a virus that is considered one of the world’s deadliest killers.

The vaccine, developed and made by Kenilworth, New Jersey-based Merck & Co., was found to be 100% effective when given at least 10 days in advance, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. The tests were conducted in Guinea, during a 2014 to 2016 outbreak.

...The vaccine is given as a single injection, and appears to be most effective when patients have time to build immunity before being exposed to the virus. It’s not clear how long protection from the shot lasts, and the effectiveness of some inoculations can fade over time...


Dec 26, 2019, 6:50am Top

“If you have a bike lock...what do you need?”
Watch as WCK’s Sandie surprised our friends on Abaco this morning with a special present to replace what they lost in the hurricane!

(1:12 https://twitter.com/chefjoseandres/status/1209882300105842693 )

-José Andrés @chefjoseandres | 12:03 PM · Dec 25, 2019
#ChefsForBahamas @WCKitchen

Dec 28, 2019, 9:47am Top

McDonalds Employees Intervene After Woman Mouths ‘Help Me’ At Drive-Thru | NBC Nightly News
•Dec 27, 2019


Edited: Jan 7, 11:30am Top

BBC 3 takes on influencer culture. Because if they'll shill cyanide-laced beverages, they'll shill anything!


To top it off, that presenter sounds an awful lot lot like... Blindboy Boatclub ? :-D

Jan 11, 7:46am Top

Ben: Happened to walk by these warm hand-knitted scarves and toques hanging in @SkeletonPark
with notes encouraging those who might be in need to take one.

Soooo great to see. Way to look out for each other, Kingston. #ygk #ygklove
Image https://twitter.com/983FLYFM/status/1215722200067706887/photo/1
Image https://twitter.com/983FLYFM/status/1215722200067706887/photo/2
Image https://twitter.com/983FLYFM/status/1215722200067706887/photo/3
Image https://twitter.com/983FLYFM/status/1215722200067706887/photo/4 ...

-98.3 FLY FM @983FLYFM | 2:48 PM · Jan 10, 2020

Jan 15, 4:58pm Top

Virginia lawmakers pass Equal Rights Amendment in historic vote
Gregory S. Schneider, Laura Vozzella and Patricia Sullivan | Jan. 15, 2020

RICHMOND — Both chambers of Virginia’s General Assembly passed the Equal Rights Amendment Wednesday, fulfilling a promise that helped Democrats seize control of the legislature and marking a watershed moment in the nearly century-long effort to add protections for women to the U.S. Constitution.

...Numerous legal hurdles still have to be cleared before ERA, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, would become part of the U.S. Constitution. Critics say various deadlines for ratification have long since passed. But supporters were jubilant that Virginia, after years of failure, is poised to become the 38th state to ratify the amendment.

...ERA opponents said the vote is merely symbolic, because it remains unclear whether the amendment can actually be ratified so long after its initial approval.

First proposed in 1923, the ERA was reintroduced in every session of Congress until it passed in 1972. U.S. lawmakers set a deadline of March 22, 1979, for three-quarters of the states to ratify the amendment, a measure ERA supporters now say is unconstitutional because it was not included in the amendment text.

As that deadline approached, Congress extended it to June 30, 1982. Because only 35 of the needed 38 state legislatures ratified the ERA by that time, the amendment was declared a failure.

Subsequently, legislatures in five states — Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee and South Dakota — rescinded their ratifications. ERA supporters say there is no provision for rescissions in the Constitution, and therefore they do not count. No federal court has conclusively ruled on that question.

Since 2017, Nevada and Illinois have ratified the ERA, which put Virginia in place as the final state needed for ratification, if the five withdrawals are not counted. But the U.S. Justice Department last week issued a finding that the amendment had expired and could no longer be ratified.

The finding was requested by three state attorneys general who sued the archivist of the United States late last year in an attempt to keep him from registering the amendment if Virginia passed it. Their lawsuit is itself being challenged by two Massachusetts organizations, who say only Congress — not the executive branch — can interfere in a constitutional amendment process. Several efforts are underway on Capitol Hill to either extend or restart the ratification process...


Jan 15, 5:59pm Top

A plain reading of the Constitution would be that there is no expiration of a vote by a state to ratify an amendment and that there is no provision for rescinding such a vote. But I don't expect the "originalists" on the Supreme Court will see it that way.

Jan 29, 3:17pm Top

It may be a drop in the ocean, but I adore stories about (re)nationalization:


Keep at it, Brexitannians, and you may build a Commune yet! ;)

Jan 29, 6:05pm Top

#19--as a former postal worker the threat of privatization was continually hanging over our heads for my last 20 years anyway and continues on to today. The notion that private business can do anything and everything better than the government is a canard that way too many people believe but the public is also continually spoonfed this propagandistic bullshit. They take it apart and that's fine but what will replace it will be so much worse and so much more expensive and they'll never be able to put it back together again. People particularly out in more rural communities will pay through the nose or get no service at all. A private for profit corporation or company will not operate at a loss to deliver their mail or packages to them.

There are things that government will do so much better than a corporation or an industry will---health care for one. Mass transportation such as your Rail story for another.

Jan 30, 12:07am Top

Rebecca Long-Bailey calls on rivals to back public ownership (Guardian)

Labour leadership contender urges pledge for ownership of energy, water, rail and mail...

Jan 30, 8:38am Top

>20 lriley: you can say that again. One of the many things people don't realize is just how awful private mail delivery is. When I was in the service every letter and every package set by me and sent to me made it. The time lag for arrival could be very large but that was a matter of the logistics of getting mail to and from a U.S. destroyer whose orders sent it everywhere and anywhere.

I have several co-workers whose sons and daughters are currently in the U.S. military and are stationed overseas. The privatized delivery of mail to service people is a nightmare. Every one of my co-workers has multiple tales of packages/letters gone missing, being delivered torn open with most of the contents missing, etc. Of course, since military service is out-of-sight out-of-mind no one, other than immediate family members, cares.

Jan 30, 1:16pm Top

>21 johnthefireman:

Labour leadership contender urges pledge for ownership of energy, water, rail and mail...

Wouldn't that be nice... Most projections I'm seeing, though, have Britain back in some feudal configuration. We'll see!

>20 lriley:, >22 alco261:

Nothing sucks so much as privatised infrastructure sucks. First of all, how does it make any sense to think of delivery of basic services like water, electricity, communication in terms of competition?! Or with things like a national train network--how many rail systems can be laid for different companies to "compete" on? Of course that's not the "competition" they have in mind but rather against other means of transport, down to and including bipedal locomotion. Good luck with your gas guzzler, the bus, or rubber-soled shoes, sir.

How do people put up with such blatant nonsense, blackmail and robbery?

Jan 30, 1:50pm Top

#23--originally the Rail in the USA was built in the 19th century and owned by robber baron types who exploited labor to build their transportation networks some of whom even raised their own private police/armies--appointed judges and had almost entire control over their own private little fiefdoms. Robber baron was always an apt description of these despicable people for their own greed very deliberately destroyed the lives of thousands and thousands and thousands.

Rail today like roads and bridges are for public use and seen that way by almost everyone. The narrative that opening up of these services to private for profit entities that will makes things cheaper or better in any significant way is a lie and will never happen. There is a lot of crap going on though--water services is one but also forests--fracking and lumber companies getting sweet deals into national forest lands and leaving nothing but destruction behind. These people lobby congress and the Senate all the time. Lobbying more often than not is nothing other than corruption.

Edited: Feb 6, 9:00am Top

SomeBODY good:

Marie Yovanovitch: These are turbulent times. But we will persist and prevail.
Marie L. Yovanovitch | Feb. 6, 2020

...American way to speak up about wrongdoing...I have seen dictatorships around the world, where blind obedience is the norm and truth-tellers are threatened with punishment or death. We must not allow the United States to become a country where standing up to our government is a dangerous act

...We need to stand up for our values, defend our institutions, participate in civil society and support a free press. Every citizen doesn’t need to do everything, but each one of us can do one thing. And every day, I see American citizens around me doing just that: reanimating the Constitution and the values it represents. We do this even when the odds seem against us, even when wrongdoers seem to be rewarded, because it is the right thing to do...


Feb 19, 6:42am Top

A sad, but much-needed reminder as our Prez honors Limbaugh and pardons Blagojevich
that our lives are full of unsung heroes quietly taking care of others:

‘Mr. Bob,’ 88-year-old crossing guard, saves two children’s lives before sacrificing his own
Meagan Flynn | Feb. 19, 2020


Edited: Feb 23, 7:31am Top

Last night, 42YO Zamboni driver and kidney transplant survivor (from Whitby, Ont) had to step in as Carolina Hurricanes goaltender, two of theirs injured. He made 8 saves, preserving the Hurricanes win over Toronto Maple Leafs, and earning honors and applause from Hurricane and Leaf fans both. Wonderful moment.

(Feb 22 must be a good day to be an amateur athlete: the 40th anniversary of Miracle on Ice when American hockey amateurs won gold medal against powerhouse Russian team, Lake Placid, NY Olympics?)

Emergency backup David Ayres makes eight saves – and NHL history – with win for Hurricanes over Maple Leafs
Steven Ellis February 22, 2020

Injuries to James Reimer and Petr Mrazek thrust the 42-year-old Zamboni driver into action. After a tough start, he settled in behind the Hurricanes defense and helped Carolina pick up the victory.


Feb 28, 7:01am Top

Bobby Ryan.
Hockey player.
Takes a leave in November to get treatment for alcoholism.
Has been sober 100 days.
His first game back with the @Senators was tonight.
He scores a hat trick (3 goals).
This is him on the bench after his 3rd goal.
Just wow.

0:45 ( https://twitter.com/andylassner/status/1233241609300398080 )
From Brady Trettenero

- andy lassner @andylassner11:04 PM · Feb 27, 2020

Mar 10, 8:54am Top

This car dealership provides a safe place for homeless to park and sleep overnight

Charlotte, North Carolina:
Just like any other used-car dealership, during the day, Kiplin Automotive Group sells cars. But as night falls and others return home, Kiplin Auto's manager James Charles turns on the lights and transforms the dealership into a haven for those who are homeless and living in their cars.

At night, Stephens would pull into the parking lots of fast-food restaurants, gas stations and apartment complexes that were under construction. She would try to sleep but would often be awakened by the blinding flashlights of security guards who told her to move along.

"It's soothing that you can close your eyes and not worry that you have to open them 15 minutes later. It takes your headache away," Stephens said.

Since Charles' post went up on January 23, about 20 families, men and women have parked their cars in his lot. Some stay for just one night, and others come back every night for weeks.

Mar 10, 12:51pm Top

Shouldn't be up to a car dealership to shelter homeless people.

Standards are abysmal in America, I know I sound like a broken record, but I just can't get over it.

Individual charity is nice, it's not a solution to anything.

Edited: Mar 10, 12:56pm Top

>30 LolaWalser: Yep. But certainly a much better response than most churches, even.

Mar 10, 1:18pm Top

>31 2wonderY:

Could be, but to a non-American that reference too is bizarre and depressing--people in other "developed" countries don't depend on the disposition of churches either. Basic welfare is the concern of the whole society provided by the whole society to anyone in that society, not the concern of this or that business or church.

I'm sorry if I sound... dyspeptic or whatever, it's not personal. The optics prevalent in the US, the reliance on crude capitalism and religion, are just so strange compared to the rest of the world. Even with full globalisation.

Mar 10, 3:47pm Top

Ireland has been a living test of the thesis, "Diversity is Strength", one of dozens around the world.

Catholics are slowly becoming a majority in the North, and will eventually have a referendum on becoming part of the (Catholic-Majority) Republic. Fifty years ago, a positive result on that would have meant civil war, just as a negative result did mean civil war.

But the South is much less Catholic now, certainly no longer under the domination of the Catholic Church, plus, it's part of the EU, and this in itself may attract the support of, or diminesh the opposition of, some Protestants.

If the Unionists -- for whom almost no one outside of their community has much sympathy -- were smart, they would be pressing for a new Partition, allowing most Catholics to reunite with the Republic, while carving out a Loyalist area for themselves. Voluntary and forced population transfers (encouraged by selective killing) would further tribally-purify each area.

As you can see by the map linked to here -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_Northern_Ireland#National_identity -- Northern Ireland is divided very roughly along a line that runs from the northwest to the southeast. Belfast has a substantial number of Catholics and if there is civil war, it will be at the most intense here.

The whole Wiki article is in fact worth reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_Northern_Ireland

Since bloody tribal (racial, ethnic, religious) conflict is not a subject Americans can think about well, due to their history and particular circumstances, it's worth starting to get educated on the things that really motivate real people, as opposed to intellectuals, because this is our future.

Mar 10, 4:02pm Top

All honor to those non-Muslim citizens of India who are standing up for their Muslim fellow Indians:

It's people like this that are the future, or so we must hope. The best Good News there can be. They are swimming against the stream now, and India's Muslims are paying the price for the way Muslims in power in Muslim countries treat non-Muslims -- something for which they as individual Muslims are innocent, or at least not guilty by simple accident of their origin of birth.

We're going to see much more of this sort of thing, but those people for whom common decency overrides blood ties and who resist the killing will be remembered in history as heroes.

Mar 10, 4:33pm Top

>33 Doug1943:

Diversity is a fact of life and learning to appreciate it is a strength. Whereas denying it, to say nothing of trying to suppress and eradicate those who don't conform, is a major and fatal weakness.

Mar 10, 7:03pm Top

At a high level of absraction, this is undoubtedly true. And in the Oxford Senior Common Room. And when the 'diversity' is a lot of x, and just a teeny sprinkling of y, provided the y's are not too much smarter than the xs.

So as a heart-warming piety, sure.

But see the real human race ... where there are substantial numbers, relatively speaking, of Xs and Ys, living close together ... and it's a different story.

As humanity pulls itself up the economic ladder, as backward peoples become more civilized, as the world political economy slowly knits our species together -- over a period of many generations ... as we develop a single human culture ... we may see a humanity living on this globe where tribal origins are as irrelevant as whether you're an Irish Catholic or a Scots Presbyterian is, in America today..

I hope so. But in the meantime, in most places on the earth, certainly in Afirca or Asia or Central Asia, and many parts of Europe ... you don't want to be a racial or religious minority.

Mar 11, 12:39am Top

>36 Doug1943: as backward peoples become more civilized

This usually refers to cultures which are different from that of the speaker (thus "backwards"), or to countries which have not fully embraced free market capitalism (thus not "civilised"). If we speak about diversity, we need to recognise and respect differences. All cultures and civilisations have both pros and cons, but a blanket statement that some are "backwards" or not "civilised" is untenable.

you don't want to be a racial or religious minority

I think you forgot to include the USA in your list, not only "Africa or Asia or Central Asia, and many parts of Europe". There are four whole threads on LT about the experience of being black in the USA (link to the latest one), and I believe Muslims in the USA don't have an easy time either.

Mar 11, 2:04am Top

Yes, it's a subjective judgement.

Here's a little bit about Burundi, a country in Africa, subject to investigation by the International Criminal Court:

"The ICC is meant to act as a court of last resort, stepping in only when national courts cannot or will not prosecute the most serious international crimes. Hundreds of people have been tortured, killed, raped, or disappeared in Burundi since 2015. The Burundian justice system, deeply corrupt and manipulated by ruling party officials, almost never conducts credible investigations or brings those responsible for these crimes to justice. "

I could fill screen after screen of similar reports from Third World countries, and add in a big chunk of the former Yugoslavia and Central Europe where they were unfortunate enough to have serious 'diversity'.

And we may see it in America in the future, if the Left succeeds in firing up racial identity politics and the whites throw off their white guilt and join in.

. 'Civilization' is of course not a binary thing, it's a spectrum ... we're all on a path to it and no one has reached the end yet. We're naked tailless apes, and the progress we've made is astonishing, but heartbreakingly slow.

And it's not irreversible -- Nazi Germany being the most spectacular example. In fact, if you've achieved the technical level that civilization brings, and then revert to the darkness, your uncivilized behavior will be even more efficient.

In Africa, the poor savages have to kill each other with stones and machetes, whereas the Germans did it far more efficiently.

But at the moment, anyone with a brain knows that it's far nicer to live in America or Europe than in Africa, much of Latin America, and a lot of Asia.

As for 'free market' policies -- dear God, man, do you think that the problem with Venezuela or Zimbabwe is that the government doesn't have enough power over what economy is left?

No, I prefer civilization, and almost all the people of the world -- the certainly the poor devils in the Third World living under their violent, corrupt, brutal, stupid, savage leaders, do too.

And where some of these poor people are a minority -- Muslims in Burma and India and China, Christians in any Muslim country, Tamils in Sri Lanka, a dozen different African tribes in a dozen different African countries, it's even worse.

Europe and those parts of the world ruled by Europeans are paradises compared to most Third World countries, which is why people living there are desperate to get out and come to those parts.

Mar 11, 11:31am Top

>36 Doug1943:

At a high level of absraction, this is undoubtedly true.

No, diversity is a primary, material fact of life, not an "abstraction". Biological diversity is a material fact; so is cultural diversity.

in most places on the earth, certainly in Afirca or Asia or Central Asia, and many parts of Europe ... you don't want to be a racial or religious minority.

And what does this have to do with diversity? Persecution is the fault of the persecutors.

>38 Doug1943:

Ignorant racist twaddle.

Mar 11, 5:10pm Top

Some cultures encourage persecution, seeing women, minorities, as bad. Or as their historic enemies, which is usually true. Other cultures have managed to soften up over the centuries, through adoption of an ideology which focusses on individuals, and their right. We're nasty beasts, so progress is slow.

Not all peoples make that journey at equal rates, and not all progress is irreversible. India is now undergoing an upsurge of Hindu naitonalism, perhaps in part as a reaction to an upsurge in Islamic tribalism' ... whatever, it's a step back.

Not all cultures are equal. Some burn deformed babies alive. Some burn captured enemies alive.
Note that we're talking culture here, not genetics.

And everyone knows this.

Plus, hypocrisy is very strong among everyone. It's so easy to proclaim one's virtue, in words.

When Blacks begin to move into a previously-white neighborhood, the whites start to move out. It's called "white flight".

What's interesting is that almost ALL the whites -- the ones who can afford it -- move. The evil wicked racist David Dukes, and the pure, virtuous, shining anti-racist Lola Walsers, they all get out.

Why? Why it's obvious: the white racists are evil and don't want to live near Blacks.

But the white liberals/progressives ... are just making their homes available to the Blacks, whom they love! It's an act of loving self-sacrifice!!!!

Mar 11, 7:16pm Top

After a woman’s bout with homelessness, she set up pop-up walls to share kindness and the basic necessities with others in need

Since November 2018, an estimated 37,000 people have had unencumbered access to free items at 260 locations. In addition to providing basic supplies for survival, Walls of Love pop-ups are made to look nice.

Today made a video about Clevand's Walls of Love last year. In it, founder Holly Jackson talks more about the project.

Unstated but implied is that the city government is not interfering with homeless people's use of the walls and fences.

Edited: Mar 12, 12:27am Top

>38 Doug1943:, >40 Doug1943:

Some things are subjective, Doug. For example, you have chosen to leave your home country, USA, and live in England. I chose, forty-odd years ago, to leave my home country, England, and to migrate to the continent of Africa, where I have lived ever since, in five or six different countries at different times. Was one of us right or wrong? Is north America or Europe better than Africa or vice versa? No. It's simply a subjective choice. But you claim that "anyone with a brain knows that it's far nicer to live in America or Europe than in Africa". Seems I have no brain. On the other hand, I do actually have some experience of what I am talking about.

Much of the rest of what you write, though, is anecdotal, ill-informed half-truths leading to generalised and dubious conclusions, and seems to be tainted by the lens of prejudice. Of course Burundi is going through a difficult period at the moment. Of course some cultures have appalling practices connected with them. So what does that prove? As I said earlier, all cultures have pros and cons. If one were to start listing all the things wrong with US culture it would be a long list. Likewise my native land, Britain, especially if one goes back a few years - colonialism, imperialism, militarism, racism, unfettered free market capitalism, etc. And let's not forget patriarchy and misogyny, which are not unique to "backward" cultures. The dominant cultures in Europe and north America have caused, and continue to cause, death, persecution and hardship on a large scale, just as do some of the practices you list from other parts of the world.

Civilisation? China, India and parts of South America had sophisticated civilisations thousands of years before western civilisation emerged. Islam had a sophisticated (and scientific) civilisation when Europe was still little more than a series of mediaeval fiefdoms. In Europe in my lifetime there have been fascist military dictatorships in Spain, Portugal and Greece (ah, Greece, once the pinnacle of western "civilisation"), and I only missed the ones in Germany and Italy (ah, Rome, the other former pinnacle of western "civilisation") by a few years. And let's not forget the civil wars, most recently Northern Ireland and former Yugoslavia. Civilisations come and go, and to suggest that there is an ideal (read "western") civilisation to which we are all gradually moving is simply false.

a big chunk of the former Yugoslavia and Central Europe where they were unfortunate enough to have serious 'diversity'.

Diversity exists, "a primary, material fact of life" as >39 LolaWalser: says. What was unfortunate was that for several decades a totalitarian dictatorship tried to stifle and repress diversity in Yugoslavia, using state-sponsored violence. More violence then occurred when the authoritarian regime fell (as all authoritarian regimes throughout history always have fallen eventually).

adoption of an ideology which focusses on individuals, and their right

Nobody would deny that the focus on individualism has been important in making progress in human rights. But the extreme individualism of north America and some parts of Europe brings its own problems, and there are many in the world, including in Africa and parts of Asia, who are exploring an increased focus on the rights of communities, in balance with the rights of individuals. Individuals do not exist in a vacuum. They exist in the context of and in relationship with the people, communities and society around us, in which we have to live and with which we have to interact.

>36 Doug1943: we may see a humanity living on this globe where tribal origins are as irrelevant as whether you're an Irish Catholic or a Scots Presbyterian is, in America today..

But not being a Muslim in America today.

Finally, I'm not sure where I fit into your fable about whites leaving black areas. I'm what I suppose you would call a liberal/progressive, and I chose to move to a black area (Africa). What's more, when I was in England for a while a long long time ago, I chose to live and work in Southall for a couple of years, an "inner city" part of west London where more than 60% were of immigrant background (mainly the Indian subcontinent and the Caribbean) and where the culture was distinctly Asian. I loved it - one of the best experiences of my life in England. For every anecdotal generalisation there is usually a counter-anecdote!

Mar 14, 3:01pm Top

In Friday "flash mobs," people all over Italy demonstrate their exuberance and love of music of all kinds in happy balcony performances while in Covid19 lockdown.

Listen! Bodies may be held, but spirits and voices are free.


Mar 14, 10:07pm Top

John ... thank you for a thoughtful, interesting reply. I've got to go to bed now so I can't respond at length, but I will soon.

Please understand: I'm not talking about some sort of innate moral difference among individuals. I'm simply asserting that, from the point of view of human flourishing -- say, the status of women -- some cultures are better at promoting this than others. Why this is so is a complex question, to which i do not have the answer, although I believe it's ultimately rooted in material circumstances.

If we don't believe that there is a 'better' and a 'worse', then the very idea of progress -- which implies going from worse to better -- is meaningless.

As for whites leaving areas when blacks move in ... Google 'white flight'. I'm talking about the US, not anywhere else. (And if I had to pick a culture to live among, it would be among the Chinese, who are more civilized than the rest of us.)

Mar 14, 10:13pm Top

Here's a nice true story.

Where I live, there is a web app called 'NextDoor'. It's a kind of bulletin board for your neighborhood -- you can warn people that a road is closed, or ask if anyone has any boxes for moving, that kind of thing.

Well, we're undergoing the Wuhan Virus thing ... and several people have been posting ideas about how we can help the isolated elderly living among us, who may not be able to get out now to go shopping, etc. Purely spontaneous .. an example of the 'little platoons' which make up a healthy society. By and large none of these people know each other ... we just live near each other.

Here's a link: https://nextdoor.co.uk/news_feed/?post=17592193449323

Edited: Mar 15, 8:13am Top

>44 Doug1943:

Thanks, Doug, for a reasoned and courteous response. I'll try and keep it that way.

from the point of view of human flourishing -- say, the status of women -- some cultures are better at promoting this than others

Yes, some cultures are stronger in some areas of life (eg status of women) than others, but they may be weaker in other areas of life (eg respect for the common good). They all need to develop positively in their different ways - while one may be "backwards" in some aspects, others are "backwards" in other aspects.

If we don't believe that there is a 'better' and a 'worse', then the very idea of progress -- which implies going from worse to better -- is meaningless.

Does progress always mean "worse" to "better", or can it not also describe going from "good" to "better", or from "neutral" to "better"? And is the word not also used to describe going to "worse", eg "They've made progress in developing new nuclear weapons"? But semantics aside, yes, I believe that broadly speaking all cultures are making progress, but that doesn't mean that they are all going in the same direction. The end result will not look the same for all of them, and it will not automatically be "western civilisation", which has a lot to learn from many of the other cultures in the world. And indeed I see many backwards trends emerging in western cultures/civilisations at the moment - populism, nationalism, identity politics (the "tribalism" which many traditional societies are striving to move away from), xenophobia, unilateralism, militarism, unfettered free market capitalism, authoritarianism, extreme individualism, etc.

Mar 15, 12:54pm Top

>44 Doug1943:, >45 Doug1943:, >46 johnthefireman:

Please take this out of this thread, you're not on topic.

John, I beg you for the umpteenth time to consider who you encourage to spread what. If that's too much to ask, then at least consider WHERE you do it.

For the record, I will not tolerate Nazi attitudes in any thread I start, least of all in one trying for a positive outlook.

So unless you two pack it up and move somewhere else, this thread dies.

Edited: Mar 15, 4:34pm Top

I personally know, as a recipient of them, spontaneous acts of kindness in the form of gifts or offers of cash or other goods--sometimes food, sometimes other non-food items. So it isn't my intention in this comment to knock those who do this. Far from it. On the contrary, what I know as a now long-time homeless person is that such acts, while certainly not unknown, are simply not at all "commonplace." They are unusual.

Yes. Sometimes a complete stranger approaches me (always, of course, "on the street"--where else!?, I'm homeless! and offers cash. This is rather unusual. It happens perhaps once in six to twelve, fourteen or more weeks in amounts which are typically the equivalent of less than the cost of a cheap breakfast diner's price for eggs, bacon and toast (coffee not necessarily included; juice not included at all).

Now there is another special case of someone who has made an actual habit of stopping by routinely (but not strictily regularly because, as he's explained, he does this "when (he) can"--and always gives the equivalent of about 12.25 (USD). Because of his repeated but unpredicatable visitations, I have taken to referring to him to other friends or acquaintances of mine as "the 'tooth-fairly'" until, one day, he appeared while I was awake and we met and spoke and I was, for the first time, able to thank him in person. How many people do this? Simple: One and only one. The person, this donor, to whom I refer is unique in my experience.

I can tell you with complete confidence that such "Walls", unless cleverly placed next to a police station or other such place of security would be stripped clean at the first opportunity by people (typically imigrant bands of people) who'd take every item and simply sell it for as much as they could get. They'd pull up in a personal vehicle, get out and, in a group of four or five, quickly grab everything, throw it into the car and drive off; gone in much less than sixty seconds easily.

If you really want to give material goods or even cash to poor and homeless people, you need not go to such lengths as puttling up chain-link-fence walls festooned with plastic-bag covered articles. Instead, just notice the people in your community who are routinely hunched or sprawled out on side-walks with all of the little they possess there with them. Go up and offer them whatever it is you want to feel good about offering. Whatever it is, whether they can and do take it or not, they're going to be there or somewhere else when you or the next person comes by. Typically, in no case does anyone with the means to do so offer any really attractive alternative to these people staying where they are--on the street.

The vast, the overwhelming, majority of people pass by without a word. Homeless people are very typically simply unwelcome in any but an extraordinarily unusual place of drinking or dining. Only the cheapest type of purveyors of food and drink will tolerate a bag-burdened homeless person coming in and taking a seat--particularly when he or she lacks the means to pay for something on the menu. It's understood so well that they simply don't bother to go in. People don't typically state outright, "You're not welcome here." And they ususally don't have to. But, if it comes to it, they would say that in the clearest terms. That's how it is.

You know this perfectly well yourself. You don't want some homeless person sitting anywhere near you, let alone right next to you.

Most important of all is that all such charities remain strictly and completely discretionary. At no time can there ever be resort to something which can be claimed as due and theirs by demonstrable need. All charitable acts are ultimately discretionary and transitory. They spring up only if, when and as "the spirit may move" some (generally very) unusual person to do so. And when that spirit is exhausted, they end. Period.

We live in societies which are. by design, inherently competitive in character and nature and this competition determines virtually everything about the distribution of coveted material goods and, of course, money. In any such society, there are "winners" and there are going to be the contrary, "losers." There cannot be "winners" without "losers" in such circumstances. It's a given. Society's most important and powerful "winners", by definition those with the most in material goods and money, are reliably and dependably adamantly opposed to eliminating their clear advantages and superior opportunities. They have no use for any "levelling" of any real or imaginary "playing field". They've "won"--as they and so many others see things-- and their objective is to ensure that, with what they have obtained, they keep things as they are, to their advantage.

"Halos" are easily doffed or donned as the circumstances require.

As for my afore-mentioned "Tooth-fairy," these latter observations of course do not apply. He's a special case, as I said, a unique case.

Any number of others could decide to do something like what he does. But they don't.

Mar 16, 7:50pm Top

US Begins First Human Trials for Coronavirus Vaccine https://www.rawstory.com/2020/03/us-begins-first-human-trial-of-coronavirus-vacc...
“The open-label trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately 6 weeks,” the NIH said. “The first participant received the investigational vaccine today.”

Mar 17, 9:35am Top

>48 proximity1:

Thanks, mate, for sharing that reflection on homelessness.

Mar 17, 11:05am Top

CAUTION: Statistics, damned statistics, and how you sample data.

In a rare piece of good news about Covid-19, a team of infectious disease experts calculates that the fatality rate in people who have symptoms of the disease caused by the new coronavirus is about 1.4%. Although that estimate applies specifically to Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began, and is based on data from there, it offers a guide to the rest of the world, where many countries might see even lower death rates.

The new figure is significantly below earlier estimates of 2% or 3%. . . -- STAT, by Sharon Begley, March 16, 2020


Edited: Mar 17, 11:25am Top

#ShipsGoingDown #RMSToiletPaper #covid19
1:02 ( https://twitter.com/kristensreality/status/1239336110301446144 )
credit to @BonnievonDuyke

they're playing in the empty toilet paper aisle i'm scREAMING
- Kristen Brancaccio @kristensreality | 7:42 PM · Mar 15, 2020

(Titanic, anyone?)

Mar 17, 12:05pm Top

Did Trump get an overnight brain transplant? And by that I mean did he receive some actual functioning gray matter?
"Trump crashes face first into reality as he reverses himself on the coronavirus in 4 key ways."

Mar 17, 12:42pm Top

Cubans take in sick people others have turned away. Compare that to the orange ape's attempt to buy off German vaccine for exclusive use by the US.

Cruise ship with coronavirus-stricken passengers allowed to dock in Cuba

Mar 17, 1:00pm Top

John -- I'll be replying soon. In the meantime, one aspect of compassion is being understanding of people with mental illness. It's not their fault.

Mar 17, 2:30pm Top

>48 proximity1:
Interesting post.

Edited: Mar 17, 3:00pm Top

>56 LolaWalser:

How appropriate!

Hitler was, himself, an avid banner of books, films, recordings--all except Nazi-approved kinds of art--anything which went against and questioned or poked holes in his authoritarian orthodoxy.

So, once again, people so very pleased to think of themselves as "enlightened",

"Last month Amazon acknowledged the charity’s concerns, saying the company was “mindful of book censorship throughout history” but was taking “concerns from the Holocaust Educational Trust seriously”.

"Amazon had already banned the sale of many other far-right books in recent months, although its policies remain opaque. A handful of foreign-language academic editions of Mein Kampf currently remain available on Amazon’s UK bookstore, including an expensive heavily-annotated German language edition published in 2016 entitled: A Critical Edition, suggesting there may be exceptions for versions of Hitler’s words that provide sufficient historical context.

"A spokesperson for Amazon would not comment on what had prompted the effective ban on Mein Kampf, with the book listings simply replaced by a picture of a dog

“ 'As a bookseller, we provide customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including titles that serve an important educational role in understanding and preventing antisemitism. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer and we do not take selection decisions lightly.”

(standard sanctimonious self-serving corporatist bullshit-speak from such people)

adopt another measure which brings us nearer to the ways of Nazi Germany--not that there aren't others, right "Democrats"? And Walser sees nothing wrong with it because this measure happens to square with her prejudices, which are, as Hitler's were, maniacally-held and defended, brooking no questions.

As a bonus, the rest of us get just what we need: greater general ignorance about Hitler and his beliefs as he expressed them, all premised on the naive idea that goes,

"Stop Hitler's book, stop others from concocting Hitler's ideas (except on their own)."

Mar 18, 10:10am Top

Saskatoon church cancels worship and asks for supplies
Christ Church Anglican asking for people hoarding toilet paper to donate
Peter Mills | Mar 15, 2020

(In Saskatchewan) Christ Church Anglican is now trying to help with something they're calling Project Robin Hood.

"Project Robin Hood is an attempt to repatriate some of those hoarded items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but also like canned goods, non-perishables," (pastor Mark Kleiner) said. "We're just basically asking people if you've got a big hoard of this stuff to give some back."

All of the supplies collected will be given to people in the most need.

"We're talking about our most vulnerable residents of our community. And I've actually already been on the phone twice this morning with people who are concerned. And we're giving people an opportunity to be generous and to kind of listen to our better angels through all this."...


Mar 18, 6:21pm Top

Most people know very little about the dynamics of fascism. Hitler is typically portrayed as a raving maniac. Not true. He was shrewd -- he steered a tiny little nationalist party to power. He understood that the Nazis should NOT take on the German state directly -- that the conservative Prussians who made up much of the army, however much distaste they might have had for a corporal, were more anti-Communist than pro-democratic.

And then he cozened the gullible leaders of Europe. He fooled European diplomats by doing things like joking about the extreme wing of the Nazi party, making them think, "Well, he's no fanatic. We can work with him." He used the old line, "Look, I know what war is ... I'm the last person in the world who wants war ...." He told them what they wanted to hear.

And he was smart in gaining the support, active or passive, of the German masses: he instituted a successful Keynsian economic program. Maybe in the long term there would have been problems, but ... if he had not gone to war, and, say, had died of a heart attack in 1944 ... he would be hero in Germany today.

What's "Good" about this? That the United States does not, at the moment, have a fascist leader with Hitler's brains. Trump? Don't make me laugh. And the genuine fascists out there are not able to hide their views. But ... the US has great potential for some sort of terrible racial conflict. If the current craze for 'identity politics' catches on in the white working class ... we are in trouble. (I thought Steve Bannon might be a candidate, but he's not quite willing to take the step. His models are people like Viktor Orban
and other East/Central European types, who don't need full-blown fascism to do what they want.)

The only real anti-racism in the USA is American patriotism. Internationalist intellectuals may find it distasteful, but it's the only thing that can make ordinary white workers feel that Blacks and Hispanics are their brothers. Wagging preachy fingers from comfortable middle class virtue-signallers won't do it.

For visual proof, go here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y83REbEBD8o

Look at those white bikers. Few liberals among them. You probably wouldn't want to invite one to dinner.

But ... if the Klan had (or lefty anti-military flag-burners) had showed up to protest at one of the Patriot
Guard assemblies escorting the ashes of that Black Marine back home ... they would have been taught
a lesson.

Anyway, boo to Amazon for keeping people from learning about Hitler from the horse's mouth.
In a war, the first thing you do is try to know your enemy.

Mar 19, 4:51am Top

>60 Doug1943:

Alternative history is a genre of fiction. And maybe if Hitler hadn't gone to war he would've spread vegetarianism to a world-changing degree. McDonalds would specialize in spaetzle. Who knows? Although I like reading fiction, I generally resist fictional premises that are simply dumb. Does your death-in-1944 "hero" status include his domestic initiatives like Kristallnacht?

Re the nonfiction realm, mentioned later in your post: it does seem to me that identity politics has caught on for a significant portion of the white working class, and these people see Trump as their guy. Particularly white working class evangelicals.

Mar 19, 5:12am Top

>60 Doug1943:

Anyway, Doug, this is off-topic for this thread. If you want to pursue it, we should take it elsewhere.

Mar 19, 5:51am Top

St. Augustine Distillery making hand sanitizer to help protect community for COVID-19
The distillery's first 200 bottles were given to the St. Augustine Police Department.

‘We make alcohol:’ Holly Hill distillery making free hand sanitizer for residents
HOLLY HILL, Fla. – The owners of Copper Bottom Craft Distillery opened its doors Wednesday to make and distribute hand sanitizers free of charge and the ...
WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando

Mammoth Distillery, which has locations Central Lake, Bellaire and Traverse City, has been making a huge impact by using its spirits and stills to create hand sanitizer, which it is then giving away to the public free of charge.

Michigan distillery giving away hand sanitizer made from spirits during coronavirus pandemic
CENTRAL LAKE, MI – A Northern Michigan distillery is doing its part to meet the massive need for hand sanitizer created by the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19.

Lewisville distillery is turning alcohol byproduct into free hand sanitizer
Like many distilleries, Bendt Distilling Co. in Lewisville finds the first-run batch of alcohol too powerful and pungent for consumption. So co-owner...
The Dallas Morning News

Salem's Divine Distillers makes hand sanitizer, asks recipients donate to non-profits
Statesman Journal

Koval Distillery Now Making Hand Sanitizer For Health Care Workers, Retirement Homes After Getting Approval
RAVENSWOOD — Koval Distillery, known for its whiskey and gin, is now making hand sanitizer to help Chicago medical facilities who don't have enough to fight ...
Block Club Chicago

Local distillery bottling vodka at optimal percentage to kill bacteria, viruses
Yahara Bay Distillers is working to bottle “Just Vodka,” a 140 proof, 70% alcohol by volume vodka that is designed to help kill bacteria and viruses amid global ...
Channel3000.com - WISC-TV3

Long Beach distillery Portuguese Bend is using its alcohol to help prevent coronavirus
When the owners of Long Beach's Portuguese Bend Distillery opened their doors in June the plan was to create vodka, gin and rum, as well as bourbons, rye ...
Long Beach Press Telegram

Dry Fly Distilling sanitizing spray could be available by Thursday
SPOKANE, Wash. — Dry Fly Distilling announced Tuesday it will start making its own sanitizing spray called 'Spokanitizer' due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Father and son John (left) and Jimmy (right) Sharp, co-owners of John Emerald Distilling Company in Opelika
Opelika distillery to begin brewing hand sanitizer
Jimmy Sharp, head distiller at John Emerald Distilling Company in Opelika, is about to take public pandemic protection into his own sanitized hands.

'We're here to fill a need.' Rockville distillery switching from whiskey to hand sanitizer
ROCKVILLE, Md. (ABC7) — It started as a joke, but Twin Valley Distillers has turned its production line of whiskeys, bourbons, and rums into a hand sanitizer ...

Birmingham distillery brewing up free hand sanitizer amid coronavirus crisis
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In line with nationwide business closures amidst the growing coronavirus threat, many Central Alabama store owners have been ...
WIAT - CBS42.com

A Connecticut distillery is making disinfectant alcohol spray
Litchfield Distillery in Litchfield, Conn. has ceased normal production of its spirits to instead provide a public *service*: free disinfectant alcohol spray. When hand ...
CT Post

European brewers and distillers switch production from booze to hand sanitizer
London (CNN Business) Brewers and distillers across Europe are using their production facilities to make hand sanitizer to help fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Mar 19, 8:26pm Top

China reports ZERO new cases of Covid-19 infection over the last 48 hours.

Edited: Mar 21, 8:18am Top

>64 Limelite: That IS good news!

Chinese medical workers who have been fighting the #coronavirus day and night in Wuhan celebrated the closing of the last temporary hospital in Wuhan.
The reported #covid19 cases went from a surge in February of 15,000 in one day to only 15 this week.
0:15 ( https://twitter.com/redfishstream/status/1238457755415064576 )
- Redfish @redfishstream | 9:31 AM · Mar 13, 2020

- Redfish @redfishstream | 9:31 AM · Mar 13, 2020


Meanwhile in North America, we celebrate--kindness:

Van Belle Flowers & Garden Centre · Bowmanville, ON, Canada ·
Our most important delivery today.
We wanted to thank the medical professionals for everything that they are doing during this health crisis,
so we dropped off bouquets at Lakeridge Health Bowmanville.
We can’t thank you enough. Please stay safe. We are praying and thinking of you daily.
#vanbelle #vanbelleflowers #medicalprofessionals #wecareaboutyou #prayingforyoursafety #wewillgetthroughthis @ Van Belle Flowers & Garden Centre


Edited: Mar 21, 6:19am Top

> 65 Looking for the "helpers", as Mr. Rogers put it. We should remember them when this is over:

Starbucks closes nearly all cafes during coronavirus outbreak, will pay staff 30 days
Brooke Seipel - 03/20/20

...Starbucks announced Friday that for the next two weeks it will temporarily close all of its cafe-only stores and only operate drive-thru and delivery services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company shared the changes in a press release, adding that all workers will be paid for the next 30 days regardless of whether they choose to go to work or stay home.

...Starbucks is also temporarily adjusting some benefits for childcare. The company said its plan would include "20 days of backup care and the option to use out-of-network caregivers, including friends and family, with a reimbursement of up to $125 per day."...



GM, Ventec, StoptheSpread Joint Statement on Collaboration to Increase Ventilator Production

GM and Ventec Life Systems, in cooperation with StopTheSpread.org, the nation's coordinated private sector response to the COVID-19, are collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of its respiratory care products to support the growing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Ventec will leverage GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more of their critically important ventilators. To support these efforts, StopTheSpread.org will continue to unite business leaders across the country to collect resources to complement and support government efforts....



Reading down the thread, this guy's dad make shirts and Burger King uniforms.
He's reaching out to find healcae profssinals who need help. Those in thick of it understandably aren't great at returning phone calls and e-mails.
5 sec clip below of mask mfr id mesmerizing!

Jeffrey Zhang @strangeharbors | 1:44 PM · Mar 20, 2020:
THREAD: I mostly talk about movies on here, but here goes.
We are currently pivoting our factory to solely make surgical masks and other medical garments in short supply.
We can make 2 million masks a day, and are looking to help in any way possible during this time. #COVID19
0:05 ( https://twitter.com/strangeharbors/status/1241057919128526856 )



United Airlines Threatens To Cut Jobs If Coronavirus Aid Package Isn't Passed
David Zalubowski | March 21, 2020

...Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration reported screening the fewest number of airline passengers ever. Only about 624,000 people passed through airport security checkpoints, compared to 2.4 million people on the same day last year.

In response, airlines are cutting most of their flights and parking many of their planes, while waiting for travel demand to recover.

United has already eliminated 60% of its flights and put a freeze on hiring, while slashing capital spending, cutting payments to vendors and contractors and chopping executive salaries in half.

But a letter to the airline’s 96,000 employees sent jointly by corporate and labor union leadership warns...payroll may be slashed by up to 60%.

The airline industry is asking Congress for $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees, another $25 billion in direct financial aid, plus cuts in airline ticket taxes. But the plan introduced by Senate Republicans Thursday night includes $50 billion for collateralized loans to airlines that must be paid back, and no cash assistance.

Both Republicans and Democrats have balked at providing airlines with such a bailout because while earning near-record profits over the last several years, many U.S. airlines have been using their extra cash to buy back stock and boost their share prices instead of building up cash reserves.



Katie Porter @katieporteroc (US House candidate, CA-45) | 4:03 PM · Mar 20, 2020
On July 15, 2019, your board of directors authorized $3B in buybacks.
Please sit down.

Quote Tweet
CNBC Now @CNBCnow · 14h
BREAKING: United Airlines CEO threatens big job cuts if company doesn't receive "sufficient government support by the end of March"
0:53 ( https://twitter.com/katieporteroc/status/1241092963989688327 )

Edited: Mar 21, 10:11am Top

Watch Robbie Robertson Play ‘The Weight’ With Ringo Starr and Musicians Across Five Continents (5:47)
Patrick Doyle | Sept 18, 2019

The epic Playing for Change video was the result two years of work across ten countries

...“What key is it in, Robbie?” Ringo Starr, sitting behind a drum set, asks Robbie Robertson over the phone. Ringo nods. “F-demented!” What happens next is a joyous cover of “The Weight,” with Robertson reprising the recording’s soulful intro lick. A series of musicians from all over the world – Marcus King, Lukas Nelson, the Japanese guitar virtuoso Char, Congo soul singer Mermens Mosengo and more – all add their own flavor to the classic from different locations...


Mar 21, 11:01am Top

Hadn't seen that one--thanks.

Mar 21, 12:18pm Top

>68 krolik: Great, isn't it? "The Weight's" 50th anniversary!


Two 20-somethings extend ‘invisible hands’ in virus outbreak

...Elkind, a junior at Yale, and a friend, Simone Policano, amassed 1,300 volunteers in 72 hours to deliver groceries and medicine to older New Yorkers and other vulnerable people. They call themselves Invisible Hands, and they do something else in the process — provide human contact and comfort, at a safe distance, of course.

...Grocery and pharmacy orders are placed on the Invisible Hands website. Shoppers must not have traveled out of the country for the virus’ 14-day incubation period, have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have come in contact with anybody who has tested positive.

They must pledge that they have practiced social distancing and other safety measures in their own lives before signing on. They wear gloves while shopping, wipe down bags they’re delivering and use self-checkout when possible.

Bags of goods are left at doors, and cash can be exchanged the same way, or directly to a store or through a digital transaction. Volunteers make a point to pause and chat as they deliver.

...Now, Elkind said, volunteers have offered to extend Invisible Hands to Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and London...


Mar 24, 2:56pm Top

The coronavirus pandemic may improve the way we vote across the USA, as a response to the quarantines and lock-downs is to conduct the Nov. election under "no excuse required" absentee voting.

Democrats have included provisions in the relief bill proposed by Speaker Pelosi and currently being negotiated between Sen. Schumer and Treas. Sec. Mnuchin to protect Americans' right to vote and right to vote safely by mail. This could lead to a national adoption of ALL voting to be conducted by mail in the future.

Voting by mail is safe, easy, secure, and humane -- as long as there is a working US postal system, which will have to be constantly defended from Republican efforts to drown it in the bathtub. Republicans who want to characterize this measure as a political ploy rather than a health issue are signaling their fear of free and fair exercise of everyone's (Republicans included) voting rights by ALL voters.

As reported three hours ago on Politico https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook-pm/2020/03/24/2-yard-line-5-yard-l...
EYES ON NOVEMBER -- “Election officials in both parties call for emergency funding to expand voting by mail before November,” by WaPo’s Amy Gardner, Elise Viebeck and Joseph Marks: “Dozens of state and local election officials, both Republican and Democratic, have signaled their desire for the funding — a sign of how the crisis is altering the usually sharply divided politics around voting measures.

“Still, Republicans in Washington say they are inclined to oppose an effort to include the funding and new rules on how states run their elections in a $2 trillion coronavirus response package, with some casting the effort as part of a Democratic strategy to try to load up the bill with unrelated pet priorities. … Voting advocates — and election officials in both parties — see it differently. They predict a colossal surge in demand for early and mail-in balloting by voters seeking to protect themselves against the highly infectious coronavirus. Preparing for it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, a cost directly related to the pandemic, they say.” WaPo https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/election-officials-in-both-parties-call-...

Mar 24, 3:12pm Top

>71 Limelite:

Not holding my breath for that. If it happens, great. But Americans find ways to screw up every little bit of stuff that just might make the place a little less horrible, so...

Edited: Mar 24, 3:17pm Top

The life that begins for Cuban doctors in Italy

A brigade from the island, made up of 37 doctors and 15 nurses, is already fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the Italian region most affected by the disease.

"We are not supermen, we are revolutionary doctors"

Mar 24, 5:52pm Top

>73 LolaWalser: Not just that, but they're bringing some goods.


Mar 24, 6:03pm Top

Our foreign policy towards Cuba has long been a disgrace.

Mar 24, 6:07pm Top

Interferon's not new as such, and I wouldn't want to raise hopes by calling it a miracle, but it is potent.

It's also a lesson to all who think that only the US has the power to make drugs, or that it has to cost billions--it costs billions in the US because the most important thing are the pig-fat dividends to your pig-fat stockholders and insurance business.

Blow it all up and bury them. They clearly have no qualms about burying you.

Edited: Mar 24, 8:17pm Top

#76--back in the 90's people in the United States would reimport American produced pharmaceuticals from Canada because they were much cheaper in Canada because the Canadian govt. would negotiate pharma prices down for their system with our same American pharmaceutical concerns who would sell the same exact drug at a much higher markup to its own citizens (and to think those concerns got and still get billions in free R&D money from the American taxpayer). This is because Canada negotiates for all its citizens and covers all its citizens. This is because our govt. could give a shit about its own people and is happy as all get out to lie out of their collective asses and play voters against voters.

Back in the mid 90's Bill Clinton pretty much teamed up with Newt Gingrich then republican speaker of the house and whoever was the Senate leader to block reimportation. Why? Well because they were big donors looking for favorable treatment and when reimportation ended those same Pharma concerns could then rape the American public which it has been doing again and again ever since. I use to see the catalogs from Canada going through our processing plant and all of a sudden no more. So if anyone is wondering why they have to pay an outrageous amount of money for a epi-pen or insulin it started right then.

These same drug companies pulling out every stop possible to make sure this country never has M4A because if that day ever happens---they won't be destroyed but they will lose a lot. It was clear what candidate was for M4A and it's the candidate the Democratic Party was most afraid of nominating so they made sure that didn't happen. They'd rather run a guy who's a half step away from full blown dementia.

Edited: Mar 24, 8:29pm Top

>77 lriley: "Back in the '90s"? Pfft. I'm considering doing that NOW to get a larger stockpile of asthma meds in case of supply disruption. Never had a problem doing it years ago, and I defy Customs to seize any such shipment under the present circumstances.

Here are the relevant certifying agencies:

Mar 26, 7:05am Top

The Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street will provide FREE lodging to doctors, nurses & medical personnel currently working to respond to the #COVID19 pandemic.
Thank you FourSeasons.
The first of many hotels we hope will make their rooms available.

- Andrew Cuomo @NYGovCuomo | 3:28 PM · Mar 25, 2020

Mar 26, 10:08pm Top

The other day, Le Monde invited readers to share ways they were finding to deal with France's very strict confinement rules. The story has disappeared, so I can't link to it.

One woman wrote delightedly, "My husband has gotten so bored that he's started to cook!!"

But best was a mother who wrote that her 8-year-old daughter and her 8-year-old friend in their separate homes had invented a way to play hide and seek with their cell phones. In their new version, it's not the person who hides but the cell phone (I'm supposing with the camera turned on), and the other player has to figure out exactly where it is in the bedroom. This gives me hope.

Mar 29, 4:36am Top

The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra delivers Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' with 19 musicians playing their parts from their homes

Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest (4 min)

From us, for you. We’re adjusting to a new reality and we’ll have to find solutions in order to support each other. Creative forces help us, let’s think outside of the box and use innovation to keep our connection and make it work, together. Because if we do it together, we’ll succeed.


Mar 29, 4:29pm Top

If we didn't laugh...

NARRATOR: By the end of Quarantine Week 2, the family was forced to access the undelivered Girl Scout cookie inventory
- Asha Rangappa @AshaRangappa_ | 11:12 PM · Mar 27, 2020

"Forced" is doing a lot of work here.
- Graham @ScienceOMFG Mar 27

- Asha Rangappa @AshaRangappa_ Mar 27

- Monty Boa @MontyBoa99 8:03 AM · Mar 28, 2020

Week 1: I'm worried about coronavirus
Week 2: I'm also worried about diabetes
- Operative_X @OperativeXRay Mar 27

Week 2? What are you people, superheroes?
- EJ @ejtwister 11:37 PM · Mar 27, 2020

Undelivered cookies taste better: the secret ingredient is "even more guilt"
- Paul Sarjeant @psarj 11:15 PM · Mar 27, 2020

Dear Customers: Due to unforeseen supply chain challenges, we will be refunding all cookie purchases within the next 7 business days. Best regards.
- Dreams In Green @dreams_in_green 11:16 PM · Mar 27, 2020

Nationalizing the cookies. Gotta do it.
- marcuspro @marcuspro 1:13 PM · Mar 27, 2020

The Strategic Cookie Reserves...
- Rodney Caston @RodneyCaston Mar 27

Mar 30, 11:52am Top

Hope is a strange invention –
A Patent of the Heart –
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out –

Of this electric Adjunct
Not anything is known
But its unique momentum
Embellish all we own –

— Emily Dickinson, c. 1877

Mar 31, 8:09am Top

Humans v pathogen (cartoon)


Apr 1, 2:54am Top

Vatican official tells clergy: ‘There is a Gospel in the making on the streets’ (Crux)

While Rome is under lockdown, one person drives hundreds of miles a day through the empty streets of the Italian capital, picking up food from factories and businesses and delivering them personally to the city’s poor.

Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Polish prelate that leads Pope Francis’s charitable efforts, says he once dreamed of being a milkman. “Now my dream comes true,” he laughs, after loading another truck full of dairy products...

Apr 1, 2:37pm Top

Good, hopeful, and beautiful.


Edited: Apr 1, 4:56pm Top

>87 Limelite: Yes!

This one brought a tear to my eye.

(My dad loved to dance--but only with the prettiest ladies--who could have been his grand daughters... We think Mom bopped him with her handbag when he finally joined her. :)

Apr 1, 5:10pm Top

>88 margd: Bless them!

Apr 1, 9:12pm Top

>88 margd: Can't sit still watching them. Great staff at that care center!

Edited: Apr 2, 12:56am Top

‘A beautiful thing’: the African migrants getting healthy food to Italians (Guardian)

After years of exploitation, former fruit pickers set up a co-operative near Rome selling vegetables and yoghurt. Now they are working ‘twice as hard’ to get supplies to families under lockdown...

Sudan: As Africa Cases Rise, Drama Group Go On the Road With Life-Saving Messages to Halt Spread of Covid-19 (African Arguments)

A fleet of vehicles equipped with loudspeakers and signboards have been on the move through North Darfur and Kordofan in Sudan, sharing messages about handwashing, social distancing and other ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19...

Group: Pro and Con

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