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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Southwestern PA
Home country: USA
Current location: Washington, DC
Member since: Mon Nov 10, 2003, 07:36 PM
Number of posts: 43,646

About Me

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.

Journal Archives

Biden to announce 'one-stop-shop' website for covid resources, including vaccines and treatments


President also to get second booster shot on camera, as White House seeks to increase vaccinations against possible virus surge

President Biden on Wednesday afternoon will announce the launch of covid.gov, a website that the White House is billing as a “one-stop-shop” for Americans seeking vaccines, tests, treatments and masks, while urging Congress yet again to pass a stalled funding package to support the nation’s virus response.

Biden also will receive his second booster shot on camera after his remarks, as the White House seeks to encourage more Americans to get maximally protected before a possible virus surge.

The new website — which consolidates efforts launched earlier in the pandemic, such as covidtests.gov and vaccines.gov — also includes information on local virus spread, guidance on travel rules and restrictions, and a new tool to help Americans locate places to receive immediate antiviral treatments if they have covid.


Biden’s speech will also include “an urgent and direct message to Congress to act swiftly to secure funding for our covid response, and emphasize that the progress we have made is at severe risk if they fail to act,” according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the remarks.

I've been wanting a single source of guidance to reduce variation and confusion among the American people. The other side can "do their own research" while sensible people get info from COVID.gov

Prices are going up, and CEOs are making out like bandits


New York (CNN Business)Inflation is eating into everyone's paycheck — unless you're a CEO.

Prices are going up just about everywhere, and corporations have been quick to blame those hikes on the cost of doing business, with labor and materials prices going up because of Covid-fueled supply issues and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. And while compensation for American workers climbed 4% last year, the biggest increase since 2001, you're paying a lot more for stuff: When adjusted for inflation, wages and salaries actually fell 2.4%.

Meanwhile, CEOs are making out like bandits. In some ways, they've got us to thank for it.
During the first year of the pandemic, CEO pay jumped 19% — even as many of their businesses ground to a halt, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

It's safe to say CEOs are more than keeping up with inflation. Corporate profits have skyrocketed, and demand for goods and services has remained strong even as prices have climbed. Frustration is building, however: Consumer sentiment this month slumped to its lowest level since 2011.

Executive compensation is always top tier, of course, but the difference now is that consumers are having to take it on the chin while the top brass get wealthier and profit margins get fatter.

I'm sure it will trickle down all over us some day.

Is a recession coming? Alan Greenspan says the answer is in men's underwear


New York (CNN Business)Former Federal Reserve head Alan Greenspan has a keen interest in men's underwear.

Not because he's preoccupied with the evolving fashions of nether garments — rather, he sees underwear sales as a key economic predictor.
Sounds weird, right? But it's just one of the many strange ways experts try to predict booms and busts.

"He once told me that ... the garment that is most private is male underpants, because nobody sees it except people in the locker room, and who cares?" longtime NPR correspondent Robert Krulwich said of Greenspan years ago. Those sales are usually stable, "so on those few occasions where it dips, that means that men are so pinched that they are deciding not to replace underpants."

The men's underwear index (yes, it exists) backs up Greenspan's theory: US sales of men's underwear fell significantly from 2007 to 2009, during the Great Recession, but gained steam again in 2010 as the economy recovered.

Analysts are always searching for signs that might predict a downturn. Just as a stampede of animals fleeing to higher ground can be an early sign of a tsunami, the same rules can be applied to the state of the economy.

I suppose women would see mens' underwear. But even good quality underwear will wear out and need to be replaced. I had a female classmate claim she tracks lipstick sales for the same reason.

But what they won't tell us is that the Fed is likely to intentionally cause a recession to control inflation. It will cause some Americans to buy less stuff for a short while.

Inside Ukraine's race to prevent Russia from controlling the skies

U.S. Botanic Garden Fully Reopens April 1


“The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) will reopen the Conservatory to the public on April 1, marking a full reopening of all areas of the USBG. Entrance to the USBG is free and timed tickets will not be required. The Conservatory will resume normal hours of 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily, the gated outdoor gardens will be open spring-summer hours of 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and Bartholdi Fountain and Gardens will continue to be open dawn to dusk.

Masks are recommended for indoor spaces, and groups are encouraged to maintain social distance from other visitor groups. Visitors who are sick or do not feel well should stay home.

All interior rooms of the Conservatory will be open starting April 1, and the Children’s Garden and Southern Exposure seasonal outdoor courtyards are planned to reopen April 22, weather permitting.

I noticed some renovations happening when I've walked by. Looking forward to seeing it reopen.

A Bad News Day For Metro: No Quick Fix For 7000-Series, Silver Line Opening Delayed Again


Metro delivered two major news items Thursday that rail riders won’t want to hear.

The transit agency says it has no quick fix for the beleaguered 7000-series trains. They’ve been out of service since an October derailment and that has meant reduced service across the system for five months — that’s expected to continue through summer. Meanwhile, the extension of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport and Ashburn will not open before July 1, missing yet another target.

The problems ailing the wheels of the 7000-series trains, which make up 60% of the fleet, are multi-faceted and have no “near term solution,” according to General Manager Paul Wiedefeld.

WMATA will attempt to bring back eight more 6000-series trains by May, which will help with reliability and add more trains on the crowded Yellow and Green lines.

Metro aims to gradually bring back the 7000-series trains throughout the summer, eventually aiming to get 10-minute headways on the Red Line and trains every 15 minutes on all other lines.

This is frustrating for folks who depend on it. Not everyone can work from home and gas prices are up.

Desi Lydic Foxsplains: Who is Ketanji Brown Jackson? The Daily Show

Metro's 8000-Series Trains Will Be Built In Maryland


Hitachi Rail, the company contracted to build Metro’s newest 8000-series trains, will open a factory in Hagerstown, Maryland. The $70 million factory will create a total of more than 1,300 jobs in the region, bringing in more than $350 million annually for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, according to a statement released by Hitachi on Monday.

Hitachi is only the second manufacturer to construct Metro trains in the region. The retired 5000 series trains (the ones with the carpeting) were also assembled in Maryland, in a joint contract between the Spanish manufacturer Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles and Maryland-based AAI Corporation. Other fleets, like the 7000-series and 6000-series, were built overseas in Spain, Italy and Japan, and domestically in New York and Nebraska.

“Having a global company like Hitachi Rail select Hagerstown as the site of a major U.S. expansion is outstanding news for Washington County and the entire state of Maryland,” Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement Monday.

The factory, located about 90 minutes from the Greenbelt Rail Yard, where the completed trains will be delivered, is slated to be operational by winter 2023-2024. Taking up more than 300,000 square feet (the length of about five football fields), the factory will produce about 20 railcars a month, according to Hitachi, with the ability to manufacture several different types of trains.

I hope the wheels work out better this time. They should triple check the measurements, and then test it again to be sure.

NLAW Anti Tank Weapon Javelin Anti Tank Missile ATGM Comparison

Some DUers have questioned the exceptionally American prices for Javelins. It's not because of inflation in Joe Biden's America.

It's mainly due to the guidance system, range, and reload capability. Sometimes Ukrainian soldiers need that. Other times the much cheaper NLAW will do if they're up close and need to react quickly. Both will defeat Putin's tanks.

What it means for Russia to default on its debt


First thing's first: What is 'default'?
Put simply: Governments, just like regular people, take out loans to finance big projects, and those loans must be repaid on a schedule. A default happens when a borrower cannot pay the interest or principal on its debt when it comes due.

Why can't Russia pay its bills?
To be sure, Russia has the money. It just can't access a bunch of it.
Since 2014, the last time the West sanctioned Russia over its annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin has built up about $640 billion in foreign reserves. About half of those funds are now frozen under Western sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine.

What happens if Russia defaults?.
"A default is a disaster for Russia," said Timothy Ash, a senior sovereign strategist at BlueBay Asset Management.
The country's assault on Ukraine has left it with few friends in the international community, and a default would likely cut off access to foreign financing for years.

Russia's economy is already hemorrhaging. Since the war started, its currency has fallen to record lows, critical revenue is slowing as oil traders shun Russian crude, dozens of international corporations have suspended operations, and sanctions have frozen more than $300 billion in foreign currency reserves.

Lots more useful info explained at the link, like payments in dollars or Euros vs rubles. CNN is free. Clicking it won't send you to the gulag.

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