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Gender: Male
Hometown: Minnesota
Member since: Sat Jan 1, 2005, 04:45 AM
Number of posts: 9,568

Journal Archives

Ughh, Barnes (D) was neck-and-neck a few days ago (U.S. Senate, WI, running against Ron Johnson)

Barnes was neck and neck a few days ago in 538, but now it is 56-44 in simulations favoring Johnson, 3 most recent polls are for Johnson, 9/18 920 AM ET visit,

Edit: I'm no 538 methodology expert, but this isn't the same as the odds of winning ... the most recent polls (all favoring Johnson unfortunately) are Johnson +4, Johnson +1, Johnson +1. Following a string of polls favoring Barnes ( +2, +7, +4, +2)


538 Still shows this the closest of the Senate races.
Scroll half way down the page to the table

There's a DU link to contribute:   https://secure.actblue.com/donate/duforbarnes22

Migrants were promised jobs, free housing before being taken to Martha's Vineyard

Source: USA Today via MSN

MARTHA'S VINEYARD - The migrants were approached as they crossed the street to go to McDonald's. Many got their first taste of the United States while staying at a shelter in San Antonio.

An unidentified man and woman walked up to them and offered what sounded too good to be true: well-paying jobs, free housing, transportation. As an added incentive, the migrants were handed $50 gift cards.

The offer was, in fact, too good to be true. By day's end, they had all been flown to Martha's Vineyard, an island off Massachusetts' coast unfamiliar to the migrants. They were abandoned with no jobs, no housing, no explanation.


Outside the San Antonio center, they were given the offer of jobs and free housing and the $50 gift cards, he said. They were handed red folders with what proved to be fake documents promising jobs and housing, then flown to Martha's Vineyard in private charter planes, stopping at least once along the way, Garcia said.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/migrants-were-promised-jobs-free-housing-before-being-taken-to-martha-s-vineyard/ar-AA11V9PT

Through July of this fiscal year, 128,556 Venezuelans have been encountered at the U.S.-Mexico border, a steep increase from last year's total of 48,678 and just 2,787 in 2020. (The article featured a group of Venezuelan men).

Yet another new ethical low point.

No paywall in this MSN-hosted article.

As midterms approach, election deniers are hampering some election preparations,

ABC News, August 30, 2022


Various excerpts:

In Colorado, supporters of Donald Trump seeking evidence of 2020 election fraud have flooded some county offices with so many records requests that officials say they have been unable to perform their primary duties. ((That's happening all across the country, in huge quantities, according to the article, but I've run out of excerpts -Progree))

In Nevada, some election workers have been followed to their cars and harassed with threats.

And in Philadelphia, concerns about the potential for violence around Election Day have prompted officials to install bulletproof glass at their ballot-processing center.

MORE: False accusations of election fraud prompt some election workers across the US to quit ahead of Election Day

With ten weeks to go until the 2022 midterms, dozens of state and local officials across the country tell ABC News that preparations for the election are being hampered by onerous public information requests, ongoing threats against election workers, and dangerous misinformation campaigns being waged by activists still intent on contesting the 2020 presidential election.

The efforts, many of which are being coordinated at both the national and local level, range from confronting election officials at local government meetings to training volunteers to challenge the vote-counting process on Election Day, according to election officials.

At the "Moment of Truth Summit," a two-day meeting of election deniers hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell last week in Springfield, Missouri, activists instructed attendees on how to request election-related records, and pointed them to templates to make it easier to submit the forms.

,,, Askin has had to report several death threats to the FBI, and she said the vitriol she's receiving from election denial groups is becoming the new normal.'

A very depressing article. I hate to post it, but feel that I should.

An economic perfect storm is battering emerging markets. Debt crises loom

NPR, September 2, 2022
Various excerpts:

The U.S. dollar strengthened to a 20-year high against a collection of foreign currencies this week, spelling more trouble for heavily indebted smaller nations around the world. The stronger dollar makes payments on loans owed in U.S. currency more expensive. This comes as some lower-income countries face mounting economic problems and others — including Sri Lanka, Lebanon and Zambia — have already defaulted on their international debts.

Last week, Argentina slapped sweeping new restrictions on imports of everything from whiskey to software to consulting services to try to contain inflation that's running at over 70 percent. The South American nation has been hemorrhaging foreign currency and the strengthening U.S. dollar threatens to make that worse. In July, the value of the Argentine peso fell to a record low against the dollar on the black market.

"If you look at the history of emerging markets from the Latin American debt crisis in the 1980s, the Mexican peso crisis in 1994, to the different Argentine defaults, to the Brazilian crisis in the early 2000," Balcells ticks through a list of the most recent emerging market meltdowns, including the Asian financial crisis in the late '90s. "All of those periods always coincide with periods of interest rate hikes in the U.S."

Not only do poorer countries have larger debts in U.S. currency, now they are having to pay even more for imports bought in dollars as the currency strengthens. And this time around, global prices for fuel and food were already surging, due to currency fluctuations and significant supply shortfalls caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Bloomberg: the number of emerging market borrowers that have debt trading at distressed levels has doubled over the last six months.

"the worst food security crisis any of us have ever seen," ... food makes up about 40% of consumer purchases in sub-Saharan Africa, so an increase in food prices weighs very heavily.

Countries mentioned: Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Argentina, Lebanon, Pakistan, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia,

2021 saw record-high greenhouse gases, sea levels and ocean heat, new report shows

Source: ABC News via MSN

Last year saw record levels of major greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, released into the Earth's atmosphere, according to an international climate report. The annual State of the Climate report, published Wednesday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society and led by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Centers for Environmental Information, also found that global sea level and ocean heat reached record highs in 2021.

. . . In 2021, the global annual average atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was 414.7 parts per million (ppm) -- 2.3 ppm greater than the amounts measured in 2020, according to the latest State of the Climate report. That marks the highest amount measured since 1958 -- the start of the instrumental record -- and in at least the last million years, based on paleoclimatic records, the report found. It was also the fifth-highest growth rate in the modern record.

Two other major greenhouse gases -- methane and nitrous oxide -- also saw record concentrations last year, according to the report. The annual increase in methane was the highest in the modern record, and the growth rate of nitrous oxide the third-highest, it found.

. . . Last year was the fifth- or sixth-warmest on record, depending on the dataset referenced, with the last seven years (2015-2021) the seven warmest years on record, according to the report.

Read more: https://www.msn.com/en-us/weather/topstories/2021-saw-record-high-greenhouse-gases-sea-levels-and-ocean-heat-new-report-shows/ar-AA11kk6Z

Hmmm, the 7 warmest years on record occurred in the last 7 years.

Global average ocean temperature down to more than 6,000 feet also set a record, even though La Nina cooled the surface.

The climate report, now in its 32nd issuance, is based on contributions from more than 530 scientists in over 60 countries.

What's sad is that none of this is surprising.

Happy September First Day

About those 20 Florida ex-felons who allegedly illegally voted ...

Ron DeSantis’ First Voter Fraud Bust Is Quickly Imploding, Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, 8/29/22

. . . DeSantis’ misadventure traces back to Amendment 4, the ballot initiative that was supposed to restore voting rights to most people who had completed sentences for felony convictions. (Those convicted of murder and sex offenses were excluded.) Floridians overwhelmingly approved the constitutional amendment in 2018. Yet DeSantis and his fellow Republicans promptly sabotaged the amendment by enacting an unnavigable, incomprehensible system for individuals who wished to regain their right to vote. The state refused to establish a coherent process for people convicted of felonies to learn they are eligible to cast a ballot. Many Floridians with disqualifying convictions, including the defendants arrested this month, are therefore unaware that amendment 4 does not apply to them.

. . . But they [the 20 ex-felons who voted] did not reach this conclusion [about being able to vote] on their own. As Politico’s Matt Dixon has reported, these defendants were told by Florida officials that they were legally permitted to vote. And because they believed these officials, they now face up to five years in prison for the crime of voter fraud.

In affidavits and media interviews, defendants share the same tragic story: They filled out a voter registration card; their county election office approved it, telling them they could vote; they cast a ballot in 2020; and now they are charged with a felony offense. Because local election officials approved each registration, DeSantis’ spokespeople have sought to blame them for failing to uncover the disqualifying convictions. This accusation conveniently overlooks a crucial fact: Florida law tasks the state government with flagging felony convictions that bar a resident from registering to vote. It wasn’t local officials who dropped the ball. It was the DeSantis administration.

... The first round of defendants are charged with voting while ineligible, a third-degree felony in Florida. This law applies to any voter who casts a ballot “knowing he or she is not a qualified elector.” In other words, prosecutors must prove (to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt) that the defendants knew their votes were illegal. Clearly, they had no such knowledge. Election officials told them they could vote, and provided them with all the tools to do so.

. . . Perhaps the governor won’t mind when the criminal case against these voters falls apart. His intention, after all, was to create a chilling effect on others’ rights, frightening eligible residents out of trying to vote.

More: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/ron-desantis-first-voter-fraud-bust-is-quickly-imploding/ar-AA11fhGV

I don't know if they are technically felons or ex-felons -- whatever, they have all completed their sentences. But certain felonies are not eligible to have their voting rights restored.

Edited to add: Florida is also one of the states that require that all court-ordered fees, fines, whatever be paid first ... and many states like this have a tendency to bury people in fees and fines so they never gain the right to vote, let alone being able to gain any footing financially, giving them no choice but to work in the gray market or worse


Same link as above in case above doesn't work

Drought conditions are damaging some homes (soil shrinking causing voids under foundations...

Drought conditions are damaging some Minnesota homes, CBS, 8/17/22

Katie Molitor has noticed small cracks in her home in Savage getting longer and deeper. There are also cracks in her back patio and on the exterior of her foundation walls.

Andy Berreth with Innovative Basement Authority says these are symptoms of a house on unstable soil. Drought conditions are one of the causes.

"What happens is the soil will actually shrink," Berreth said. "As it dries out, it shrinks and when it shrinks, voids actually will occur under the foundation itself."

He says the house then twists and torques, and cracks can form in drywall. Windows and doors can get stuck closed, too.

Berreth says virtually any house can be susceptible to this, but homes built into hills or on slopes are particularly at risk.

MORE: https://www.cbsnews.com/minnesota/news/drought-conditions-are-damaging-some-minnesota-homes/

More on where to look for cracking

Obviously not something unique to Minnesota homes.

As if we don't have enough already to worry about

Coastal erosion in Puerto Rico - CNN reports (4 min video)


Really eye-catching of how narrow the beaches are in some places, and gone in other places where streets and houses are crumbling, and how quickly all this is happening. And it reminds us that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens.

*Cross posted in U.S. territorities (there's no Puerto Rico group)

Federal investigators say US Bank workers opened fake accounts for sales goals

Source: CBS Minnesota

For more than a decade, US Bank pressured its employees to open fake accounts in their customers' names in order to meet unrealistic sales goals, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Thursday, in a case that is deeply similar to the sales practices scandal uncovered at Wells Fargo last decade.

The CFPB alleged that US Bank accessed consumers credit reports to open checking and savings accounts, credit cards and lines of credit without their permission. Employees were encouraged to do so, in order to meet the bank's goals of selling multiple products to each customer with the bank.

The scale of US Banks's fake accounts scandal was not disclosed immediately by the CFPB, but the bank was forced to pay $37.5 million in fines and penalties and will have to refund customers any fees they paid for the fake accounts.


A spokesman for US Bank said the bad sales practices were a legacy issue at the bank dating back to 2016, and that the bank has made significant improvements to its sales practices since then. The consent order reached with the CFPB acknowledges that US Bank did make improvements to its sales practices in recent years, which included no longer tying pay to opened accounts and requiring customers' consent to open new services.

Read more: https://www.cbsnews.com/minnesota/news/federal-investigators-say-us-bank-workers-opened-fake-accounts-for-sales-goals/

It was a huge story about 6 years ago when Wells Fargo was caught at this. I had not heard of any other bank doing this particular kind of thing, although there have been plenty of bank scandals, Bank Of America comes to mind. And of course all the corruption leading to the liars loans and 2008-9 housing bubble collapse.

Anyway, very disappointing hearing about workplace cultures like this. And they wonder why so many are not in the labor force. I mean, who wants to play corporate games 80 hours a week?

U.S. Bank / U.S. Bancorp is the 5th largest bank in the U.S.

Bow down, peasants!


The Minneapolis Alano may have to close - donations less than 1/3 pre-covid levels

The famed "2218", 2218 1st Ave. S. Around these parts, if you want to burnish your AA credentials, you mention your time spent at "2218". And of course you attended the "By the Book 4th Step Workshop" (I forget how many weeks that is).

Contrary to what the article says, it's not a "treatment center". It's just a place that holds AA and Al Anon (and maybe some other 12-step) meetings and hosts events.

This may be a "local story" but I'm sure the same thing is happening everywhere -- fewer face-to-face meetings, fewer donations. I hate to see the physical infrastructure crumble and go away.

Historic substance recovery center in Minneapolis faces closure as funding fades, CBS Local, 6/21/22

It's one of the oldest treatment centers in the world - and the Minneapolis AA house could have to close - unless something changes fast.

The timing couldn't be worse. Substance abuse and overdoses skyrocketed during the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It's a piece of recovery history, and these days it's a piece of work, as part of the 1887 building is crumbling. This Minneapolis Alano AA Club is a place for people to go to meetings and keep themselves busy and sober in the evenings.

the building is crumbling and the funding is fading.

"COVID reduced our pledging numbers to less than a third of what they were and COVID reduced our income to less than a third.

And prior to COVID, we were barely scraping by," treasurer Cheryl Larson said.

So they are hoping to raise $250,000 for emergency repairs so they can keep repairing lives.

"The Alano Society of Minneapolis was incorporated in March of 1942 which makes it is the oldest continuously operating Alano Club at a single location in the world."

So at least we have one world-class distinction, pretty surprising for "north of flyover country".

Only 7 years (6 3/4) after Dr. Bob had his last drink.

There are other alano clubs in Minneapolis, and plenty more in the metro area, but this one is the "mother ship".
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