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IronLionZion's Journal
IronLionZion's Journal
December 31, 2018

Metro suspends rail service in part of D.C. for police investigation


Service on Metro’s Orange and Blue lines was suspended Monday morning in part of downtown D.C. because of a police investigation into a substance that was found, officials said.

At about 9:50 a.m., Metro tweeted that rail service was suspended between the Federal Center SW and Stadium-Armory stations. Officials said the police investigation was in the area of Eastern Market.

The Silver Line is operating only between the Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston stations, officials said. Commuters should transfer to the Orange or Blue lines to continue trips to downtown Washington.

Doug Buchanan, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department, said an emergency call was made after someone found white powder on an elevator at Metro Center. He said a similar find — but not white powder — was made at the Eastern Market station.

Still being paranoid about white powder. White powder can really ruin a commute. Hope this is sorted out before the afternoon commute.
December 28, 2018

District plans to end right turns on red at 100 intersections in 2019


What began in the fuel crisis of the 1970s — when OPEC turned off the spigot for oil to the United States — will come to an end in February for many District drivers.

The ability to take a right turn when faced with a red traffic light will disappear at about 100 D.C. lights where it previously had been permitted.

It’s all in keeping with Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s concept of Vision Zero, an international effort intended to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries. Bowser (D) said allowing right turns at red lights contributes to “entirely preventable” crashes that involve bicyclists and pedestrians.

The District experienced a rash of fatal collisions involving pedestrians and bicyclists during the summer and fall, leading Bowser to say in October, “We want to look at everything that the government can control — how we invest in improving intersections, how we help educate our public and how we enforce the rules of the road.”

I've been both a pedestrian and a driver in some dicey situations. People are way too impatient in my city and need to chill out.
December 18, 2018

A generation of African American heroin users is dying in the opioid epidemic nobody talks about.


Spoon, whose product could be trusted, wasn’t answering his phone. So just after 9 a.m. on a fetid August morning, Sam Rogers had trekked to a corner two miles east of the U.S. Capitol on Pennsylvania Avenue, hoping to find heroin that wouldn’t kill him.

Now Rogers, 53, was back in his bedroom at the hot, dark house on R Street SE. Sitting in a worn swivel chair, he cued a Rob Thomas song on his cellphone and bent over his cooker and syringe. The heroin — a tan powder sold for $10 a bag — simmered into a cloudy liquid with the amber hue of ginger ale.

Palliative or poison: He would know soon enough.

“Come on,” Rogers murmured, sliding a needle into his outer forearm between knots of scar tissue. A pink plume of blood rose in the barrel of the syringe. “There you go.”

In the halls of Congress, a short bus ride away, medical professionals and bereaved families have warned for years of the damage caused by opioids to America’s predominantly white small towns and suburbs.

Almost entirely omitted from their message has been one of the drug epidemic’s deadliest subplots: The experience of older African Americans like Rogers, for whom habits honed over decades of addiction are no longer safe.

A lot of them OD in the city parks at night, often right in front of yuppie condos. Sometimes their dealers live in the yuppie condos.

Visual Story at the link

For those who don't have a WaPo subscription, there has been a drastic increase in ODs among black DC residents over the last few years. It's quite the opposite for whites. And black heroin/opioid addicts are mostly still treated like criminals. Whites are of course victims of the pharma companies and unscrupulous doctors, and deserve treatment and policy solutions from lawmakers.

Elderly addicts are disproportionately impacted by fentanyl, which wasn't a factor back in the day. There are also educated middle class addicts who don't look at all like what we may imagine as heroin addicts.
December 13, 2018

Nancy Pelosi's red coat is so popular that Max Mara is bringing it back


On December 11, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had a highly contentious meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the prospect of a government shutdown and funding for a border wall. The meeting was short but incredibly tense, with Schumer at one point goading Trump into screaming that he would be “proud” to shut down the government to build a border wall.

At the end of the meeting, both parties reached a stalemate, but the Democrats, having convinced Trump to cop to the possibility of a government shutdown, appeared to be the victors. That impression was only enhanced by Pelosi, who was photographed leaving the White House wearing a brick-red funnel-necked three-quarter-length coat with dark sunglasses, looking like a goddamn boss.

Almost immediately, Pelosi emerging from the White House became a meme, with everyone from Pentagon reporters to Moonlight director Barry Jenkins gushing over the coat as a power move:

From Kiernan Shipka’s wool swing jacket in The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina to Kate Middleton’s iconic red coat with ruffles, red outerwear is currently having a bit of a moment. At first, the provenance of Pelosi’s coat was a mystery; while some speculated it was made by designer Carolina Herrera, the New York Times later reported that the coat was the Glamis from Max Mara’s 2013 outerwear line. (The dark sunglasses were Armani, for what it’s worth.)

Inspired by the fervor over Pelosi’s coat, on Wednesday afternoon a spokesperson for the brand issued a press release saying it would reissue the coat for the 2019 outerwear collection. Ian Griffiths, the creative director of Max Mara, told the New York Times: “You develop an emotional relationship with a coat like nothing else in your wardrobe. I can imagine why Ms. Pelosi chose to wear it for this important moment, and I’m honored.”

Powerful coat for a powerful woman. I bet Trump was seeing a lot of red that day.
December 13, 2018

DC is literally overrun with rats


WASHINGTON (AP) — Andre Pittman and Gregory Cornes are on a mission to rid Washington of opportunistic vermin.

But their target isn't corrupt officials or shady political fixers; it's Rattus Norvegicus, the common Norway Rat.

The nation's capital is facing a spiraling rat infestation, fueled by mild winters and a human population boom. Washington's government is struggling to keep pace, with the pest control department fielding a record number of calls.

On one recent day, Pittman and Cornes, both veteran Health Department employees, are working within sight of the Capitol, shoveling dry ice pellets into suspected rat burrow entrances. On another, they're summoned about six blocks north of the White House, at 16th Street and M, where residents have complained of an outbreak.

"Rats adapt to everything. They can be like geniuses," Pittman said.

On the grounds of a church, Cornes and Pittman poke around, expertly spotting telltale holes and matted dirt trails that signal rat burrows. Cornes uses an instrument like an extra-long Super Soaker to inject poison into the hole, while Pittman watches to see if the white powder puffs up from other holes and then shovels dirt to block those exits.

December 13, 2018

Workers are ghosting their employers like bad dates


Economists report that workers are starting to act like millennials on Tinder: They’re ditching jobs with nary a text.

“A number of contacts said that they had been ‘ghosted,’ a situation in which a worker stops coming to work without notice and then is impossible to contact,” the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago noted in December’s Beige Book, which tracks employment trends.

National data on economic “ghosting” is lacking. The term, which usually applies to dating, first surfaced in 2016 on Dictionary.com. But companies across the country say silent exits are on the rise.

Analysts blame America’s increasingly tight labor market. Job openings have surpassed the number of seekers for eight straight months, and the unemployment rate has clung to a 49-year low of 3.7 percent since September.

Janitors, baristas, welders, accountants, engineers — they’re all in demand, said Michael Hicks, a labor economist at Ball State University in Indiana. More people may opt to skip tough conversations and slide right into the next thing.

“Why hassle with a boss and a bunch of out-processing,” he said, “when literally everyone has been hiring?”

I put in the standard 2 weeks notice and scheduled a nice week-long vacation before I started my current job last month. The managers didn't want an exit interview or ask any questions about why I was leaving. I was ready to give them an earful but they apparently saw it coming and didn't want it.

December 13, 2018

'Queer Eye' star Tan France to TSA: 'I'm brown but that does NOT mean I'm a damn security risk'


British fashion designer Tan France, the style expert on Netflix’s Emmy Award-winning series “Queer Eye,” is not happy — and it’s not because boot-cut jeans for men are reportedly making a comeback.

The 35-year-old TV personality took to Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday with scathing words about the Transportation and Security Administration, accusing the agency of profiling him and adding his name to a “list of concern.” France is an openly gay Muslim man of Pakistani descent, who was born in the United Kingdom but now resides in Salt Lake City.

“I’ve been put through extra security checks 3 times this week, and was just told by a TSA agent it’s because my name is on a list,” France tweeted to his more than 329,000 followers, tagging TSA’s official Twitter account. “WTF? I’m brown but that does NOT mean I’m a damn security risk!!!”

In short videos posted to his Instagram page after boarding his flight, France, appearing thoroughly frustrated, explained his travel ordeal in detail to his 2.1 million Instagram followers.

“I’m . . . fuming,” said France, using an expletive. “I just got through . . . security at the airport. It took me over two hours. This is now the third time this week.”

For France, who said he has TSA PreCheck membership, the often arduous airport security process usually only takes “15, 20 minutes.”

I have TSA Pre and Global Entry. It doesn't wash the brown off my skin either. Coming back to the US, where I was born and raised, this November, they asked me at least 20 question about why I was coming to the US, where was I going, how would I get there, why BWI airport when I live in DC, etc. It was so dumb.

But of course any white guy with a gun can get into crowded schools and movie theaters and churches whenever they want. And they can't be a terrorist if they don't state a political agenda.
December 12, 2018

The scammers gaming India's overcrowded job market


As competition for jobs among India’s youth intensifies, the offer of a lucrative career in a call centre can be difficult to turn down – even if the work turns out to be operating a scam.

In mid-2017, a few months after I had moved to Delhi to work for a national newspaper, I began to browse job websites. Every other day, an Indian news report underlines the gap between jobs and jobseekers. In 2016, in one municipality, 19,000 people applied for 114 jobs; among those competing to be a street sweeper were thousands of college graduates, some with engineering and MBA degrees. In the same year, more than 1.5 million people applied for 1,500 jobs with a state-owned bank, and more than 9 million took entrance exams for fewer than 100,000 jobs on the railways.

Faced with this lack of opportunity, many turn to rioting. Within months of returning to full-time reporting, I had covered two large urban youth revolts, in which entire cities had been shut down as people demanded quotas in education and jobs – today, young people from agricultural castes want to work in offices and not farms. I wondered what other options were open to them.

Then, while scanning jobs websites one day, I saw the ads: a mix of keywords that seemed designed for the ambitious young jobseeker: “International BPO. Zero years’ experience. 40% ENGLISH required. ONE-DAY training. Fast CAREER Growth – a LIFE is what you make.” In 2017, a call-centre job at a BPO (a business process outsourcing company) doesn’t have the appeal it did a decade or so ago. The industry has lost value over the years because of poor oversight, and competing markets including the Philippines and US prisons. But it’s still a job.

At the bottom of such job adverts is the name and number of an “HR”, a middleman between a jobseeker and a placement agency. One day, a colleague and I called one of them. The middleman wasn’t interested in knowing anything about us – he simply told us to expect a text message after the call, and to follow the instructions. The text invited us to an interview at a recruitment office in west Delhi, where we were supposed to hand over the code at the bottom of the message.

Interesting read on how and why people get into scamming.

Making people believe they are the real victims encourages them to victimize others. You can either be a victim and stay poor, or you can be a victim and make some unearned money and feel like a winner.

People are willing to do monstrous things to other people if they feel it is deserved as some sort of punitive resentful mentality. After all, those overweight foreigners probably watch porn, elected Trump, and deserve to be punished, right?
December 10, 2018

What the smart money is buying as the market tanks


New York (CNN Business)The Dow and S&P 500 are now both in the red for 2018, and investors have few places to hide as the stock market tanks. But savvy people are finding some pockets of safety.

Gold, an investment that often shines during times of financial stress, is up nearly 4% so far in the fourth quarter while the S&P 500 and Dow have both plunged nearly 10% and the Nasdaq has plummeted almost 13%. The rise in gold prices has been good news for miners too. Newmont (NEM), which is in the S&P 500, is up nearly 10% since the end of September. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) has gained about 7%.

Utility stocks and real estate investment trusts, which both pay hefty dividends, have held up well too. The Dow Jones Utilities Average has gained more than 3.5%. The SPDR Dow Jones REIT ETF is up more than 1%. "Owning exciting things was more fun and profitable than owning good things," said Jon Cheigh, portfolio manager of global real estate with Cohen & Steers. "But high momentum stocks have started to come under pressure and real estate valuations are finally starting to look more attractive."
Yield plays in focus

Another clear sign investors are craving anything that can guarantee them a bit of a return: Investors keep rushing into bonds, despite the yield on the 10-Year Treasury falling to just 2.85%. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) has gained nearly 2.5% this year.

Neil Dwane, managing director of Allianz Global Investors, said these more conservative investments might be coming into favor now because investors are realizing that growth in the US this year might be as good as it gets for awhile.

Personally, I don't trust gold but the rest of the advice is good: dividends, bonds, utilities, food, conservative investments are the way to go as we watch Trump destroy our economy. Don't worry, Trump's buddies are getting rich off this volatility but the rest of us don't have to get eaten for lunch.

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Southwestern PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Washington, DC
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 06:36 PM
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About IronLionZion

If an H-1b has an American accent, they are probably not an H-1b. It's race, not citizenship. Americans are more diverse than you think. Millions of US citizens don't look the way you might expect. This fact is very important and will help us win elections.

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