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BeckyDem

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Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Feb 9, 2017, 01:31 PM
Number of posts: 5,987

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Covid is about to become America's deadliest pandemic as U.S. fatalities near 1918 flu estimates

Published Mon, Sep 20 20213:09 PM EDT
Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
@BerkeleyJr


Covid-19 is about to become the most deadly outbreak in recent American history, nearing the estimated U.S. fatalities from the 1918 influenza pandemic, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Reported U.S. deaths due to Covid approached 675,000 on Monday, and are rising at an average of more than 1,900 fatalities per day, Johns Hopkins data shows. The nation is currently experiencing yet another wave of new infections, fueled by the fast-spreading delta variant.

The 1918 flu – which came in three waves, occurring in the spring of 1918, the fall of 1918; and the winter and spring of 1919 – killed an estimated 675,000 Americans, according to the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention. It was considered America’s most lethal pandemic in recent history up until now.

“I think we are now pretty well done with historical comparisons,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a physician and medical historian at the University of Michigan. He added it is time to stop looking back to 1918 as a guide for how to act in the present and to start thinking forward from 2021.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/20/covid-is-americas-deadliest-pandemic-as-us-fatalities-near-1918-flu-estimates.html


( And here we are, where a percentage of Americans are still demanding children not wear masks in schools. )

At Colorado's tight-lipped air pollution agency, a 'culture of fear' prevails

During the Front Range’s smoggiest summer in over a decade, its embattled air-quality watchdog has gone quiet. Ex-employees say they’re not surprised.

By: Chase Woodruff - Monday September 20, 2021 5:00 am

Few Coloradans know the Air Pollution Control Division by name, but every time they take a breath of Rocky Mountain air, they’re impacted by the decisions it makes.

A branch of the state health department with a staff of about 200, the APCD is tasked with overseeing Colorado air-quality policy and, increasingly, with leading many of its efforts to transition to clean energy and battle climate change.

It’s important work that provokes strong opinions and sharp disagreements. Within the last year, the APCD has been sued by multiple environmental groups that accuse it of failing to implement critical climate legislation. Several of its own employees have filed a formal whistleblower complaint that has prompted both state and federal investigations. In July, it abruptly withdrew a pending transportation-emissions rule in a procedural maneuver that state lawyers said was unprecedented. As the agency regulating Front Range air quality, it faces an imminent federal downgrade reclassifying the region as a “severe” violator of the Clean Air Act.

All of this has unfolded as Colorado has experienced its smoggiest summer in more than a decade.

https://coloradonewsline.com/2021/09/20/colorados-air-pollution-agency-culture-fear/


( No matter how you look at it, the entire planet is in deep trouble. )

Costa Ricans Live Longer Than Us. What's the Secret? ( Annals of Medicine August Issue )

We’ve starved our public-health sector. The Costa Rica model demonstrates what happens when you put it first.

By Atul Gawande
August 23, 2021

The cemetery in Atenas, Costa Rica, a small town in the mountains that line the country’s lush Central Valley, contains hundreds of flat white crypt markers laid out in neat rows like mah-jongg tiles, extending in every direction. On a clear afternoon in April, Álvaro Salas Chaves, who was born in Atenas in 1950, guided me through the graves.

“As a child, I witnessed every day two, three, four funerals for kids,” he said. “The cemetery was divided into two. One side for adults, and the other side for children, because the number of deaths was so high.”

Salas grew up in a small, red-roofed farmhouse just down the road. “I was a peasant boy,” he said. He slept on a straw mattress, with a woodstove in the kitchen, and no plumbing. Still, his family was among the better-off in Atenas, then a community of nine thousand people. His parents had a patch of land where they grew coffee, plantains, mangoes, and oranges, and they had three milk cows. His father also had a store on the main road through town, where he sold various staples and local produce. Situated halfway between the capital, San José, and the Pacific port city of Puntarenas, Atenas was a stop for oxcarts travelling to the coast, and the store did good business.

On the cemetery road, however, there was another kind of traffic. When someone died, a long procession of family members and neighbors trailed the coffin, passing in front of Salas’s home. The images of the mourners are still with him.

“At that time, Costa Rica was the most sad country, because the infant-mortality rate was very high,” he said. In 1950, around ten per cent of children died before their first birthday, most often from diarrheal illnesses, respiratory infections, and birth complications. Many youths and young adults died as well. The country’s average life expectancy was fifty-five years, thirteen years shorter than that in the United States at the time.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/08/30/costa-ricans-live-longer-than-us-whats-the-secret

Charlie Savage @charlie_savage : The shadow docket, explained

https://twitter.com/charlie_savage/status/1433603577788915714














The Great American Heist-How the Bayh-Dole Act Wrested Public Science from the People's Hands

Alexander Zaitchik

August 29 2021, 6:00 a.m.


1979: Inventing Competitiveness

On the morning of June 6, 1979, Navy Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the longest-serving officer in the history of the U.S. armed services, sat down before a Senate subcommittee on the Constitution. Famous as the father of the nuclear submarine program, Rickover had recently emerged as that rarest of Washington breeds: a top-brass crusader against waste and corruption in defense contracting. On this day, he deployed his reputation and characteristic bluntness to stop a bill called the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act.

At stake was the government’s long-standing proprietorship of patents on inventions resulting from the research it underwrote. The proposed legislation would hand patents over to the private contractors that conducted research at government expense, essentially gutting the government’s ownership stake and paving the way for monopolization. The bill’s supporters — those in favor of removing this block — included drug companies, venture capital firms, university patent offices, and the nascent biotech industry. Those opposed to this sweeping change in federal patent policy were led by a fading Democratic coalition committed to New Deal ideas about antitrust regulation, patents, and public science controlled in the public interest. Rickover was a lone but strong military voice for this coalition: a war hero with the authority of having overseen the construction of the first nuclear propulsion systems, one of the most complex government science programs since the Manhattan Project.


Speaking before the subcommittee, Rickover railed against the proposed policy changes. “Government contractors should not be given title to inventions developed at government expense,” he said. “These inventions are paid for by the public and therefore should be available for any citizen to use or not as he sees fit.”

This seemed self-evident to Rickover. After all, he noted, “companies generally claim title to the inventions of their employees on the basis that the company pays their wages.” It befuddled and angered him that the U.S. government would consider giving up its own shop rights to industries that would never do the same. In his decades managing the development of nuclear reactors, Rickover had witnessed the very contest between public interest and private greed so clearly anticipated by mid-century advocates for keeping public science under public control.

https://theintercept.com/2021/08/29/bayh-dole-act-public-science-patents/

RIP Ed Asner.

Ed Asner was a great talent and a wonderful human being.


Tax the rich: An animated fairy tale, is narrated by Ed Asner, with animation by Mike Konopacki. Written and directed by Fred Glass for the California Federation of Teachers. An 8 minute video about how we arrived at this moment of poorly funded public services and widening economic inequality.

How the defense industry helped prolong the war in Afghanistan

CACI is a well-known company with a $907 million contract in Afghanistan — it also has undisclosed ties to think tanks opposed to withdrawal.

August 27, 2021

Written by
Eli Clifton

Weapons firms and defense contractors consume over half of the Pentagon’s $740 billion budget and the end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan poses a threat for their share-holders and executives.

That concern was laid bare in a new investigative report by In These Times’ Sarah Lazare on CACI International, a Pentagon contractor currently two years into a five-year $907 million contract to provide “intelligence operations and analytics support” for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. CACI’s CEO warned investors in an August 12 earnings call, “we have about a 2 percent headwind coming into FY 2022 because of Afghanistan,” referring to a negative impact on profits from the withdrawal.

Lazare points out that CACI is a corporate sponsor of the Institute for Study of War, a hawkish think tank whose experts argued in an August 20 paper that “Russia, China, Iran, and Turkey are weighing how to take advantage of the United States’ hurried withdrawal.” ISW’s board chair, Jack Keane, a former General Dynamics board member and current chairman of Humvee manufacturer AM General, has been making the rounds of Fox News shows, blasting the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan.

ISW has not disclosed the financial conflict of interest between its criticisms of Biden’s withdrawal and its corporate sponsor’s financial ties to the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan. Fox News does not disclose Keane’s role as chairman of a Pentagon contractor or ISW’s funding from defense contractors including CACI and General Dynamics.

CACI enjoys one other important connection to the effort to slow down or oppose Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. CACI board member Susan M. Gordon served on the congressionally established Afghanistan Study Group which recommended extending the withdrawal deadline from Afghanistan. The potential conflicts of interest within the ASG were vast, as two of the three co-chairs and nine of the group’s 12 plenary members have current or recent financial ties to the weapons industry. Like ISW, the Study Group provided no disclosure that its co-chairs and plenary members received nearly $4 million in compensation for their work on the boards of defense contractors.

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2021/08/27/how-the-defense-industry-helped-prolong-the-war-in-afghanistan/

Sam Haselby @samhaselby: The U.S. can't convince almost half of its own citizens to take a vaccine

https://twitter.com/samhaselby/status/1431221855797514248















( That's a question I would love to hear msm ask all the hawks out there )

'Showing Climate Change as it Happens':A Veteran Photojournalist on Capturing California's Wildfires

'Showing Climate Change as it Happens': A Veteran Photojournalist on Capturing California's Intensifying Wildfires

Kent Porter's specialty as a photographer for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat is capturing images of wildfires, but he broke format to write an essay about how he sees reporting on fire as documenting climate change.

“I’ve just passed my 34th year as a photojournalist with The Press Democrat,” he writes. “Every year I think fire season can’t get worse, and it does.”

Porter writes about a “wake-up moment” in 2015, when the Valley Fire and two other wildfires torched Lake County, where he grew up. He describes it as “a preview of the new era of catastrophic wildfire in California.”

Porter recalls fire racing through “bug-killed and parched forest atop Cobb Mountain before storming into Middletown, destroying more than 1,300 homes in all and killing four people.”

Ever since then, Porter writes, he has felt a sense of responsibility to show how that “threat is escalating amid the onslaught of climate change.”

https://www.kqed.org/science/1976490/showing-climate-change-as-it-happens-a-veteran-photojournalist-on-capturing-californias-intensifying-wildfires

( No words )

Charles M. Blow @CharlesMBlow: Read my column, "The Anti-Gay Agenda

https://twitter.com/CharlesMBlow/status/1430726531572195330










(The exceptional, Charles Blow, as always.)
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