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demmiblue's Journal
demmiblue's Journal
February 16, 2021

Can we get some polling data on how many Michiganians ventured out in 10 inches of snow this morning

Can we get some polling data on how many Michiganians ventured out in 10 inches of snow this morning just for a paczki?

I want to know.


Two birds, one stone.

February 16, 2021

Cover of Ms. Magazine:

February 15, 2021

WTO Formally Appoints Okonjo-Iweala as Its First Female Leader

Source: Bloomberg

The World Trade Organization selected Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to be the first woman and first African as its leader, tasking the former Nigerian finance minister with restoring trust in a rules-based global trading system roiled by protectionism and the pandemic.

During a virtual meeting on Monday the WTO’s 164 members unanimously selected the 66-year-old development economist to serve a four-year term as director-general.

After withstanding a veto of her candidacy by the now-departed Trump administration, Okonjo-Iweala takes the helm of the Geneva-based WTO at a precarious time for the world economy and just as the organization itself is mired in a state of dysfunction.

She held a previous role as chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization after a public sector career in international finance, including two terms as Nigeria’s finance minister and some 25 years at the World Bank. Her dual U.S. citizenship means she’s also the first American to hold the organization’s top job.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-02-15/wto-formally-appoints-okonjo-iweala-as-its-first-female-leader

February 15, 2021

Biden is winning Republican support for his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.

Biden is winning Republican support for his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan. Just not in Washington.

The pandemic has not been kind to Fresno, the poorest major city in California. The unemployment rate spiked above 10 percent and has stubbornly remained there. Violent crime has surged, as has homelessness. Tax revenue has plummeted as businesses have shuttered. Lines at food banks are filled with first-timers.

But as bad as it’s been, things could soon get worse: Having frozen hundreds of jobs last year, the city is now being forced to consider laying off 250 people, including police and firefighters, to close a $31 million budget shortfall.

“That,” said Jerry Dyer, mayor of the half-million-strong city in the Central Valley, “is going to be devastating.”

The looming cuts explain why Dyer’s eyes are fixed on Washington, where President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan dangles the tantalizing prospect of a reprieve. Though Dyer is a Republican, he’s rooting for the president to successfully push through federal aid that, after a nightmarish year for Fresno, will “help get us to the end.”

The first-term mayor’s stance reflects a broader split, one that gives Biden and his fellow Democrats a key tactical advantage as negotiations near an expected climax early next month.

Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly oppose the relief bill, casting it as bloated and budget-busting, with some heaping particular scorn on a measure to send $350 billion in assistance to states and cities. Should Biden go ahead without their approval, GOP leaders say, it will prove that his mantra of bipartisanship rings hollow.

But to many Republicans at city halls and statehouses across the country, the relief package looks very different. Instead of the “blue-state bailout” derided by GOP lawmakers, Republican mayors and governors say they see badly needed federal aid to keep police on the beat, to prevent battered Main Street businesses from going under and to help care for the growing ranks of the homeless and the hungry.

February 14, 2021

NEW: @LindseyGrahamSC says Lara Trump could take Senator Burr's (R-NC) seat in the senate...

NEW: @LindseyGrahamSC says Lara Trump could take Senator Burr's (R-NC) seat in the senate when he retires next year. "My friend Richard Burr just made Lara Trump almost the certain nominee for the senate seat in North Carolina to replace him if she runs." #FoxNewsSunday

February 14, 2021

Amazon uses an app called Mentor to track and discipline delivery drivers

Last week, Amazon triggered privacy concerns when it confirmed it's rolling out AI-enabled cameras in vans used by some of its contracted delivery partners. But the company has for years been using software to monitor and track delivery drivers' behavior on the road.

Amazon requires contracted delivery drivers to download and continuously run a smartphone app, called "Mentor," that monitors their driving behavior while they're on the job. The app, which Amazon bills as a tool to improve driver safety, generates a score each day that measures employees' driving performance.

The delivery service partner (DSP) program, launched in 2018, is made up of contracted delivery companies that handle a growing share of the online retail giant's last-mile deliveries. In just a few years, the program has grown to include more than 1,300 delivery firms across five countries, threatening to upend an industry that has traditionally been dominated by shipping partners such as UPS and FedEx.

Just like the AI-equipped cameras rolling out to contracted delivery companies, Mentor is framed as a "digital driver safety app" to help employees avoid accidents and other unsafe driving habits while they're en route to their destination. But multiple delivery drivers who spoke to CNBC described the app as invasive and raised concerns that bugs within the app can, at times, lead to unfair disciplinary action from their manager.


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