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IronLionZion's Journal
IronLionZion's Journal
July 1, 2019

Sikh drivers are transforming U.S. trucking. Take a ride along the Punjabi American highway


The building is small, single-story, built of corrugated metal sheets. There are seats for 20. The only advertising is spray-painted on concrete roadblocks in English and Punjabi. Next door is a diner and gas station; the county jail is across the road.

Palwinder Singh orders creamy black lentils, chicken curry and roti, finishing it off with chai and cardamom rice pudding. After 13 hours on and off the road in his semi truck, he leans back in a booth as a Bollywood music video plays on TV.

“This is like home,” says Pal, the name he uses on the road (said like “Paul”).

There are 3.5 million truckers in the United States. California has 138,000, the second-most after Texas. Nearly half of those in California are immigrants, most from Mexico or Central America. But as drivers age toward retirement — the average American trucker is 55 — and a shortage grows, Sikh immigrants and their kids are increasingly taking up the job.

Estimates of the number of Sikh truckers vary. In California alone, tens of thousands of truckers trace their heritage to India. The state is home to half of the Sikhs in the U.S. — members of a monotheistic faith with origins in 15th century India whose followers are best recognized by the uncut hair and turbans many men wear. At Sikh temples in Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield and Riverside, the majority of worshipers are truck drivers and their families.

Over the last decade, Indian Americans have launched trucking schools, truck companies, truck washes, trucker temples and no-frills Indian restaurants modeled after truck stops back home, where Sikhs from the state of Punjab dominate the industry.

It's a very interesting article if you read the whole thing. Lots of pictures too.
June 24, 2019

10 years later, America's booming economy still bears scars of the Great Recession


New York (CNN Business)As the United States nears its longest economic expansion on record, it's tempting to proclaim that all the problems brought about by the Great Recession have been fixed.

That would be wrong.
Despite the currently healthy economic figures, from unemployment to foreclosure rates, under the surface the country still bears bruises from the financial crisis. Some of them may never heal without a targeted treatment plan.
Here's what's still ailing America after ten years on the mend.

1. Wins for big cities, losses for small towns
The recession and its aftermath shifted the geography of prosperity in America — and workers still haven't caught up.
Manufacturing employment, which had been in decline since the 1980s, dropped suddenly between 2007 and 2009 as factories failed. That left towns in Michigan, Ohio and upstate New York gasping. "Those places were hit harder by the recession and are slower to recover than the national average," said Dave Swenson, an economics professor at Iowa State University.

In a double whammy for residents of declining towns, the places where new opportunities arose — bigger cities like San Francisco and New York — didn't add nearly enough apartments after the housing crisis to keep up with demand. Wage gains in big cities have concentrated at the top, so even if you found a mid-skill job serving the tech or financial industries, moving to take that job was financially impossible.

"The cost of living in core metro areas has just become prohibitive," Swenson said. "It's slowed some of that migration into the most urban areas."

2. State budgets atrophied
State and local tax revenues took a massive hit during the recession and were only partially backfilled by federal grants, forcing widespread layoffs that weakened all manner of public services. On the surface, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts, tax collections have recovered — in 2018, revenues across all 50 states exceeded their 2008 levels by 13.4%.

However, states have also had to cope with rising costs, particularly for Medicaid. That's made it more difficult to allocate funds for other priorities. State spending on infrastructure as a share of gross domestic product is as low as it's been in 50 years, Pew found, and state governments have 132,300 fewer non-education employees than they did in 2008.

As a millennial who graduated in 2010, I can relate to this SNL skit

June 20, 2019

Horns are growing on young people's skulls. Phone use is to blame, research suggests.


Mobile technology has transformed the way we live — how we read, work, communicate, shop and date.

But we already know this.

What we have not yet grasped is the way the tiny machines in front of us are remolding our skeletons, possibly altering not just the behaviors we exhibit but the bodies we inhabit.

New research in biomechanics suggests that young people are developing hornlike spikes at the back of their skulls — bone spurs caused by the forward tilt of the head, which shifts weight from the spine to the muscles at the back of the head, causing bone growth in the connecting tendons and ligaments. The weight transfer that causes the buildup can be compared to the way the skin thickens into a callus as a response to pressure or abrasion.

The result is a hook or hornlike feature jutting out from the skull, just above the neck.

In academic papers, a pair of researchers at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, argues that the prevalence of the bone growth in younger adults points to shifting body posture brought about by the use of modern technology. They say smartphones and other handheld devices are contorting the human form, requiring users to bend their heads forward to make sense of what’s happening on the miniature screens.

People were worried about cancer when the real problem is bone spurs!
June 19, 2019

US Steel is idling plants, despite tariffs designed to save them


New York (CNN Business)Pain has returned to the US steel industry, despite the tariffs put on imported steel last year that were designed to help.

Late Tuesday US Steel announced it will idle two of the blast furnaces where it makes steel, one in its flagship mill in Gary, Indiana, near Chicago, the other in Ecorse, Michigan, near Detroit. The idled furnaces will cut production by about 200,000 tons of steel or more a month, the company said.

"We will resume blast furnace production at one or both idled blast furnaces when market conditions improve," said the company.
US Steel (X) also cut its earnings outlook and shut an additional blast furnace in Europe. Although some of the drop in profit is because of the slowdown in the European economy, it pointed to softening demand in the American market as well. US manufacturing has been slowing recently.

US Steel's action follows similar warnings Monday from Nucor (NUE), the nation's largest steelmaker, and Steel Dynamics (STLD). Both are now forecasting lower profits. Nucor pointed to weaker demand from the US auto industry. Steel Dynamics said steel prices have declined across its line of products.

The Trump administration placed a 25% tariff on steel imports in 2018. It helped temporarily lift prices as domestic steelmakers no longer had to worry about as much competition from low-priced steel from China and other locations.

Maybe Trump's tariffs aren't working out like he expected
June 17, 2019

Airbus bests Boeing on day one of the Paris Air Show


London (CNN Business)Airbus kicked off the Paris Air Show by unveiling a new jet and announcing orders for over 100 new planes. Its chastened rival Boeing was meanwhile stuck playing defense over the 737 Max.

The recent divergence in fortunes of the world's dominant planemakers was on full display at the biennial industry beauty contest, where the companies typically confirm orders for hundreds of jets.

Airbus (EADSF) opened the show by pulling back the curtain on the A321XLR, a new single-aisle aircraft with a longer range than variants of its popular A321neo. The jet will enter service in 2023, and ramp up the pressure on Boeing in the market for smaller planes that can fly long routes.

It quickly followed that up by announcing three new orders.
Middle East Airlines, the flag carrier of Lebanon, became the launch customer for the A321XLR by ordering four of the jets. Virgin Atlantic inked a deal for 14 A330-900s, a wide-body jet that occupies a market segment where Airbus has struggled recently. The largest order came from Air Lease Corporation for up to 100 planes including 27 A321XLRs and 50 A220-300s.

Boeing (BA) and Airbus have both netted 500 firm orders at each of the past three editions of the Paris Air Show, according to the investment bank Cowen, with options for additional aircraft topping 700.

Boeing should continue to insult the countries who bought their 737 Max plane. I'm sure that's the secret to gaining customers.
June 17, 2019

India is hitting the United States with more tariffs


New Delhi (CNN Business)India just increased tariffs on US exports, dealing another blow to fragile global trade.

The tariffs on 28 US products, announced on Saturday by India's Finance Ministry, went into effect Sunday. The goods targeted include American apples — which will be hit with a 70% tariff — as well as almonds, lentils and several chemical products.

India first announced plans to impose new tariffs a year ago in retaliation for increased US import duties on Indian steel and aluminum. But it repeatedly delayed imposing them while the two sides held a series of trade talks.

The Indian government did not specify the value of the goods targeted in its statement, but previously told the World Trade Organization that they were worth around $241 million.

The two countries exchange goods and services worth about $142 billion a year, but the relationship has soured in recent weeks after the Trump administration ended India's participation in a preferential trade program earlier this month. The program exempted Indian goods worth more than $6 billion from US import duties in 2018.

Making America Great Again by screwing farmers. Crops will be rotting in storage with fewer buyers.
June 14, 2019

The new plan to remove a trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: Bury it


It sounds like an idea plucked from science fiction, but the reality is that trees and plants already do it.

Last month, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere surpassed 415 parts per million, the highest in human history. Environmental experts say the world is increasingly on a path toward a climate crisis.

The most prominent efforts to prevent that crisis involve reducing carbon emissions. But another idea is also starting to gain traction — sucking all that carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it underground.

It sounds like an idea plucked from science fiction, but the reality is that trees and plants already do it, breathing carbon dioxide and then depositing it via roots and decay into the soil. That’s why consumers and companies often “offset” their carbon emissions by planting carbon-sucking trees elsewhere in the world.

But an upstart company, ­Boston-based Indigo AG, now wants to transform farming practices so that agriculture becomes quite the opposite of what it is today — a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.

By promoting techniques that increase the potential of agricultural land to suck in carbon, the backers of Indigo AG believe they can set the foundation for a major effort to stem climate change. On Wednesday, the company announced a new initiative with the ambitious goal of removing 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by paying farmers to modify their practices.
June 11, 2019

'A major punch in the gut': Midwest rains projected to create near-record dead zone in Gulf


As rain deluged the Midwest this spring, commercial fisherman Ryan Bradley knew it was only a matter of time before the disaster reached him.

All that water falling on all that fertilizer-enriched farmland would soon wend its way through streams and rivers into Bradley’s fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Mississippi coast. The nutrient excess would cause tiny algae to burst into bloom, then die, sink, and decompose on the ocean floor — a process that sucks all the oxygen from the water, turning it toxic. Fish would suffocate or flee, leaving Bradley and his fellow fishermen nothing to harvest.

Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Louisiana State University confirmed Bradley’s worst fears in forecasts published Monday, predicting this spring’s record rainfall would produce one of the largest-ever “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico. An area the size of New Jersey could become almost entirely barren this summer, posing a threat to marine species — and the fishermen who depend on them.

“It’s just a major punch in the gut,” said Bradley, a fifth-generation commercial fisherman from Long Beach, Miss. Bradley is executive director for Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, a nonprofit that supports the state’s fishermen.

Bradley said he plans to travel to D.C. this month to ask federal lawmakers to declare a fisheries disaster, making relief funds available to affected fishermen. “To have a total wipeout,” he said, “which is what we’re going to have here now, I don’t know if our guys are going to be able to make it.”

First farmers and now fishermen getting punched in the gut. I can't wait to see what our presidential administration does to help these folks before the next election.

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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
Number of posts: 44,287

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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