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Gender: Male
Hometown: Texas
Home country: United States
Current location: Red Hell Texas
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 76,962

About Me

Middle-aged white guy who believes in justice and equality for all. Math and computer analyst with additional 21st century jack-of-all-trades skills. I'm a stud, not a dud!

Journal Archives

Searing heat will make COVID-19 racial disparities worse

Scientists say the nation is experiencing another public health emergency that will further exacerbate the coronavirus crisis: extreme heat.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting the next three months will be hotter than normal for much of the country; 2020, it says, likely will rank as one of the hottest years on record.

Communities of color, particularly lower-income Black and Latino neighborhoods, will be particularly affected. Extreme heat likely will push more residents into crowded cooling centers, where they may be exposed to the virus, and worsen breathing problems and other underlying health conditions that already disproportionately affect people of color, researchers say.

As the summer heats up, cities are offering help with utility bills; repairing existing air conditioning systems or providing free air conditioners for low-income residents; opening more cooling centers; and parking buses with the air conditioning running so that passersby can cool off.

Read more: https://ctmirror.org/2020/08/02/searing-heat-will-make-covid-19-racial-disparities-worse/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 05:02 PM (0 replies)

Nursing home workers suspend strike plans after Gov. Raimondo pledges support

The union representing workers at five Rhode Island nursing homes has suspended plans to go on strike next week, after Governor Gina M. Raimondo pledged to work with state lawmakers and union leaders to resolve staffing issues and develop a minimum staffing standard.

In a letter Thursday to Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, Raimondo said she was “disappointed” that legislation introduced in the General Assembly to set minimum staffing levels in Rhode Island nursing homes did not pass, but urged workers to stay on the job, saying “we need to keep our nursing home residents safe as we continue our effective response to COVID-19.”

Chronic staffing shortages at nursing homes have been exacerbated during the pandemic, as staff have fallen ill and administrators say they've had trouble finding replacements.

Legislation passed by the state Senate earlier this month to set minimum staffing levels and raise wages at nursing homes has stalled in the House. (The House passed a bill to create a study commission to consider recommendations for nursing homes.)

Read more: https://thepublicsradio.org/news/nursing-home-workers-suspend-strike-plans
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 07:01 AM (0 replies)

The Shadow Notes - Revolution Blues

The great political activist Emma Goldman is often misquoted as saying, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Thankfully, Boston electro-pop duo The Shadow Notes — comprising musicians Levi Ali, a student at UMass Worcester, and Michael Dwan Singh — seem to be of the same mind, as illustrated by their eminently danceable “Revolution Blues.” Indeed, watching the song’s recent music video, which was released on Juneteenth, dancing at the revolution may well be the point.

The video’s narrative begins with Ali and Singh street busking as young, free-spirited friends stop to chat, hug them, dance a bit and then continue on to work at the ominously named Clearmind Corporation. Once the young people arrive at work, though, they are taken to “reprogramming stations,” which sucks the joy from them and turns them into brain-dead worker drones, and even draining them of their fashion sense. Later, when The Shadow Notes see their friends again, they realize something is wrong, and join forces with, as described on the YouTube page, “old friend — veteran revolutionary Jaspal Singh” to hatch a rescue plan. Naturally, it involves a literal dance battle, a la “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

It’s a familiar conceit, but it works here simply because it’s not hammered too hard. Honestly, it’s an absolute blast. Moreover, one would think a song with lyrics such as “Gods have chased my people down/A sea of red and black and brown/l’ll be there with you/Singing revolution blues” would be heavy, but it never loses track of its groove. Which, again, is the point: Losing that groove, that sense of joy, robs life of vitality, and turns you into little more than a zombie.

Can you dance to it? Oh, yeah. At its core, “Revolution Blues” is a breezy club track, and while the politics at its heart seemed earnestly held, the song itself isn’t particularly didactic. The song’s real agenda is a broadly defined freedom and a right to joy, two things with which the song and video positively radiate.

Read more: https://www.worcestermag.com/entertainmentlife/20200802/song-to-get-you-through-week-shadow-notes-deliver-dance-ready-revolution
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 06:39 AM (1 replies)

Rhode Island mistakenly issues tax refunds signed by Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse

Rhode Island mistakenly sent more than 175 tax refund checks signed by Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, rather than the state treasurer and controller.

The Rhode Island Division of Taxation uses the signatures on test files, which were mistakenly printed on the real checks and sent out on Monday, a spokesperson told WPRI-TV.

“No other signature lines were printed besides the two,” said Jade Borgeson, chief of staff for the Rhode Island Department of Revenue, which includes the taxation division. Mickey Mouse is the cartoon character that was animator and producer Walt Disney’s first big hit.

The checks were tax refunds for corporate, sales and tax credits mostly to businesses, WJAR-TV reported.

Read more: https://www.masslive.com/politics/2020/08/rhode-island-mistakenly-issues-tax-refunds-signed-by-walt-disney-mickey-mouse.html
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 06:13 AM (0 replies)

Landlords challenge constitutionality of eviction ban

TWO LANDLORDS from Randolph and Worcester are challenging the constitutionality of the ongoing eviction moratorium, arguing the state is allowing their tenants to basically take property without paying for it.

The two landlords are Marie Baptiste, a nurse from Randolph who says her tenants owe her about $20,000 in back rent, and Mitch Matorin, who owns a three-family house in Worcester where one of his tenants has stopped paying rent.

Richard Vetstein, who is representing the landlords, told Suffolk Superior Court Judge Paul Wilson on Thursday that the eviction moratorium is violating court access rights and constitutional property law. He is seeking an injunction to open housing courts to evictions.

“You’re literally forcing landlords across the state to provide public housing to tenants because of this moratorium,” he said. “This is literally state reps trying to be housing court judges, and it’s gone too far.”

Read more: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/housing/landlords-challenge-constitutionality-of-eviction-ban-2/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 06:08 AM (3 replies)

A Massachusetts island just opened to the public after more than 300 years

Travelers can now explore a Massachusetts island that just opened to the public after more than 300 years.

The 24-acre Sipson Island, in the heart of Cape Cod’s Pleasant Bay, was privately owned until last month when most of it was purchased by Sipson Island Trust, which aims to restore the island’s ecology, support environmental and historical education and research, and provide public recreation, according to its website. Saturday’s opening marked the first time the public was welcome on the land since it was sold by a Monomoyick leader to English colonists in 1711, according to the trust.

Visitors can now walk, hike, picnic, swim, bird watch, fish, and more on the island, which offers beaches, coastal banks, salt marsh, eelgrass beds, upland meadows, and woodland.

“The opening went fantastically!” wrote Tasia Blough, president of Sipson Island Trust, in a Facebook post. “After years of work, it was so rewarding to see families enjoying picnics on the island‘s shores, hiking the uplands, and fishing in the shallows.”

Read more: https://www.boston.com/travel/travel/2020/07/28/sipson-island-reopening
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 05:37 AM (2 replies)

Union launches campaign to try to prevent more higher ed layoffs and a fall COVID-19 disaster

The Massachusetts Teachers Association is launching a multimedia campaign on Monday, accusing public higher education executives of failing to effectively advocate for funding from Congress and the state Legislature to avoid layoffs and a COVID-19 disaster this fall.

In a video message slated to appear on social media, radio and TV stations including CNN, MSNBC and ESPN, faculty and staff from UMass and some of the state’s nine other public universities and 15 community colleges say that layoffs, furloughs and insufficient planning have left those schools unprepared for a safe and equitable semester.

“Through these cuts, the public higher education administrators in Massachusetts are creating not just a potential public health crisis, but also a crisis of equity,” said Merrie Najimy, president of the association, which represents more than 18,000 faculty and staff on Massachusetts public higher education campuses.

“Using the pandemic as an excuse to dismantle programs and to cut thousands of higher ed staff at the universities and colleges that disproportionately serve low-income students and students of color is a disturbing approach, one that needs to be reversed and rebuked,” Najimy said.

Read more: https://www.bostonherald.com/2020/07/31/union-launches-campaign-to-try-to-prevent-more-higher-ed-layoffs-and-a-fall-covid-19-disaster/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 04:38 AM (0 replies)

Pfizer executive targets end of year for COVID-19 vaccine

BOSTON (AP) — An executive at a Massachusetts facility helping create a potential vaccine for the coronavirus said Thursday that the company hopes to have the treatment ready by the end of the year.

“We have the potential, subject to technical success and regulatory authorization, to manufacture up to 100 million vaccine doses by the end of this year and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021,” said Meg Ruesch, research and development leader at Pfizer Inc.’s Andover, Massachusetts, facility.

The vaccine candidate, a collaboration between Pfizer and BioNTech, “introduces into the body the genetic instructions for the cell to make a specific protein — in this case a SARS-CoV-2 protein — which is intended to stumulate an immune response,” she said.

The data on the trials has been encouraging, she said at a news conference with Gov. Charlie Baker.

Read more: https://apnews.com/66a6536738b1c2fcced5c5b9dff682a5
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 04:33 AM (4 replies)

Baker cites a number of large social gatherings as a recipe for coronavirus disaster

Governor Charlie Baker said Friday that recent large gatherings in communities throughout the state were a “recipe for disaster” in potentially spreading the coronavirus, and warned residents that “we’re going to have to make some changes” if the positive test rate continues to move up.

Baker made the comments during his regular State House briefing.

“Recently, we’ve seen disturbing reports of large gatherings where people are letting down their guard, not wearing face coverings, not social distancing, and giving the virus the opening that it relentlessly seeks to spread,” Baker said.

He cited a recent lifeguard party in Falmouth, a house party in Chatham, an unauthorized football camp in Weymouth, a Chelmsford party, a Wrentham gathering, and a prom party in Cohasset attended by 90. He also noted reports about a cluster at Bay State Medical Center in Springfield. A party on a private boat in Boston Harbor is also under investigation as a cluster by the Department of Public Health, he said.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/07/31/metro/gov-baker-warns-large-social-gatherings-are-recipe-coronavirus-disaster/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 04:15 AM (5 replies)

Predicted mail ballot flood will make it 'almost impossible' for R.I. to know winners on Election

Predicted mail ballot flood will make it ‘almost impossible’ for R.I. to know winners on Election Night

PROVIDENCE – Every politician and campaign operative has their own Election Day ritual, but at some point, most of them end up asking the same question in calls or text messages to anyone – reporters, friends, each other – who might have some intel to share: “What are ya hearing?”

The answers rarely have any value, and most aren’t even true. A voting machine is broken in South Kingstown. The lines are long in Providence. Everyone, everywhere, is somehow cheating. They all know that elections aren’t actually won on Election Day, but the gossip serves as a twisted form of therapy.

This year, the normal anxiety that ripples through Rhode Island’s political class will be enhanced and extended because it’s likely that winners won’t be declared for several days after polls close at 8 p.m. for both the Sept. 8 primary and Nov. 3 general election.

With fears over the coronavirus expected to lead to tens of thousands of additional mail ballots this election cycle, officials say they see no way that all votes will be counted to definitively call winners, especially in local races that could see more than half of all votes arrive via the mail.

Read more: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/07/31/metro/predicted-mail-ballot-flood-will-make-it-almost-impossible-ri-know-winners-election-night/
Posted by TexasTowelie | Sun Aug 2, 2020, 04:09 AM (3 replies)
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