Human civilization could 'collapse' like Roman Empire if climate change not addressed, UK PM Boris Johnson warns '-- RT UK News
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 14:23
Modern countries risk repeating the fate of the Roman Empire unless they urgently curb climate change, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned ahead of a major UN summit.
''This is our memento mori,'' Johnson told Italian paper la Repubblica during a flight to a G20 meeting in Rome, Italy, using a Latin phrase meaning, 'Remember that you will die'. The event takes place ahead of a major UN climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, known as COP26.
Rome and its marvelous ruins are a perfect place for G20 and COP26, which begins on Sunday. They remind us that if we don't address climate change, an extraordinary civilization can collapse at a terrifying pace. It's not a far-fetched comparison.
''After its fall, the level of education in Rome, the construction skills went down, the marvelous villas were lost, even the livestock shrunk in size. The same thing can happen to us if we don't act against climate change now,'' the PM said, adding that global warming will spur ''colossal migrations, shortages of food and water, and many other conflicts.''
Johnson was optimistic that modern societies have the capacity to mitigate the negative effects of humans on the planet. ''I'll use a football metaphor. We are at the end of the first half, losing five to one. The second half is going to be tough. But if the whole world is a team, we can overturn the results.''
Unlike the ancient Romans, modern countries have the technology to fight climate change, Johnson said.
Also on rt.com Bill Gates says nuclear power ensures 'reliability' of energy supply, warns of public 'backlash' against carbon tax, price hikes In Glasgow, world leaders are set to reassess their pledges to cut CO2 emissions and discuss investment in renewable energy.
Climate scientists and international organizations, including the UN, have been warning that existing plans to transition to green economies are insufficient or too slow to tackle climate change.
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Tesco's 'penis'-themed buttermilk and other design fails | Tesco | The Guardian
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 14:06
Whoever designed this package of buttermilk may well have had something else on their mind at the time.
There's no escaping it: the design on this carton looks a lot like a penis. And it's a carton of buttermilk. We don't need to say much more.
The unfortunate design hasn't gone unnoticed and attracted puns galore when it was posted on Reddit over the weekend. ''They really made a cock and balls of this branding,'' quipped redditor andyburdens, who said he found the cartons on the shelves of an Irish Tesco branch.
And in case you were wondering: it's not photoshopped, though the item is only available on Tesco's Irish website.
It hasn't helped that one mischievous customer appears to have added a crease to the carton on the right to make it look even more like a penis.
Obviously, there have been jokes aplenty.
This won't be the last time design fails cause a titter on Twitter '' and this is by no means the first time:
London 2012 logo The London 2012 logo Photograph: London 2012/PAImagine designing a logo for one of the biggest sporting events London has ever hosted... only to be told it looks like Lisa Simpson giving a blow job. It was also called a ''broken swastika'' and just plain ''rubbish'' when it was unveiled in 2007.
Tesco's Welsh lady ass fudgeSorry to pick on you again, Tesco, but this one's too good not to bring up again. It's an image which has circulated since late 2013 '' so much so, BuzzFeed reckoned it should have gone into sharing retirement last year.
Air BnB Airbnb's new logo '... What do you see? Photograph: AirbnbApartment rental site Airbnb was subject to endless mocking earlier this year when they unveiled their new logo. Instead of fanfare people reacted like this:
Here are some more as suggested in the comments:
Office of Government CommerceOffice of Government Commerce was a rather good one. Better was their response to queries - something about getting a firm grip on public project delivery costs.
Back story on that logo can be found here.
Euro plus ScandanaviaThe Euro penis?http://cantbeunseen.com/what-has-been-seen/14960-sweden-s-the-penis-finland
All Euro coins have a nob and balls on due to the decision to remove Norway from the map.Can we do amusingly shaped vegetables next week?
What's the biggest design fail you've ever seen? Let us know in the comments below.
'Let's Go Brandon' becomes Biden insult - Chicago Tribune
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 13:20
WASHINGTON '-- When Republican Rep. Bill Posey of Florida ended an Oct. 21 House floor speech with a fist pump and the phrase ''Let's go, Brandon!'' it may have seemed cryptic and weird to many who were listening. But the phrase was already growing in right-wing circles, and now the seemingly upbeat sentiment -- actually a stand-in for swearing at Joe Biden -- is everywhere.
South Carolina Republican Jeff Duncan wore a ''Let's Go Brandon'' face mask at the Capitol last week. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz posed with a ''Let's Go Brandon'' sign at the World Series. Sen. Mitch McConnell's press secretary retweeted a photo of the phrase on a construction sign in Virginia.
The line has become conservative code for something far more vulgar: ''F'--- Joe Biden.'' It's all the rage among Republicans wanting to prove their conservative credentials, a not-so-secret handshake that signals they're in sync with the party's base.
Americans are accustomed to their leaders being publicly jeered, and former President Donald Trump's often-coarse language seemed to expand the boundaries of what counts as normal political speech.
But how did Republicans settle on the Brandon phrase as a G-rated substitute for its more vulgar three-word cousin?
It started at an Oct. 2 NASCAR race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Brandon Brown, a 28-year-old driver, had won his first Xfinity Series and was being interviewed by an NBC Sports reporter. The crowd behind him was chanting something at first difficult to make out. The reporter suggested they were chanting ''Let's go, Brandon'' to cheer the driver. But it became increasingly clear they were saying: ''F'--- Joe Biden.''
A Halloween display incorporating a Make America Great Again hat, a Creepy Joe headstone and a Let's Go Brandon sign is viewed outside a home during a new coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)
NASCAR and NBC have since taken steps to limit ''ambient crowd noise'' during interviews, but it was too late '-- the phrase already had taken off.
When the president visited a construction site in suburban Chicago a few weeks ago to promote his vaccinate-or-test mandate, protesters deployed both three-word phrases. This past week, Biden's motorcade was driving past a ''Let's Go Brandon'' banner as the president passed through Plainfield, New Jersey.
And a group chanted ''Let's go, Brandon'' outside a Virginia park on Monday when Biden made an appearance on behalf of the Democratic candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe. Two protesters dropped the euphemism entirely, holding up hand-drawn signs with the profanity.
On Friday morning on a Southwest flight from Houston to Albuquerque, the pilot signed off his greeting over the public address system with the phrase, to audible gasps from some passengers. Southwest said in a statement that the airline ''takes pride in providing a welcoming, comfortable, and respectful environment'' and that ''behavior from any individual that is divisive or offensive is not condoned.''
Veteran GOP ad maker Jim Innocenzi had no qualms about the coded crudity, calling it ''hilarious.''
''Unless you are living in a cave, you know what it means,'' he said. ''But it's done with a little bit of a class. And if you object and are taking it too seriously, go away.''
America's presidents have endured meanness for centuries; Grover Cleveland faced chants of ''Ma, Ma Where's my Pa?'' in the 1880s over rumors he'd fathered an illegitimate child. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson were the subject of poems that leaned into racist tropes and allegations of bigamy.
''We have a sense of the dignity of the office of president that has consistently been violated to our horror over the course of American history,'' said Cal Jillson, a politics expert and professor in the political science department at Southern Methodist University. ''We never fail to be horrified by some new outrage.''
There were plenty of old outrages.
''F'--- Trump'' graffiti still marks many an overpass in Washington, D.C. George W. Bush had a shoe thrown in his face. Bill Clinton was criticized with such fervor that his most vocal critics were labeled the ''Clinton crazies.''
The biggest difference, though, between the sentiments hurled at the Grover Clevelands of yore and modern politicians is the amplification they get on social media.
''Before the expansion of social media a few years ago, there wasn't an easily accessible public forum to shout your nastiest and darkest public opinions,'' said Matthew Delmont, a history professor at Dartmouth College.
Even the racism and vitriol to which former President Barack Obama was subjected was tempered in part because Twitter was relatively new. There was no TikTok. As for Facebook, leaked company documents have recently revealed how the platform increasingly ignored hate speech and misinformation and allowed it to proliferate.
A portion of the U.S. was already angry before the Brandon moment, believing the 2020 presidential election was rigged despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, which has stood the test of recounts and court cases. But now it's more than that to die-hard Trump supporters, said Stanley Renshon, a political scientist and psychoanalyst at the City University of New York.
He cited the Afghanistan withdrawal, the southern border situation and rancorous school board debates as situations in which Biden critics feel that ''how American institutions are telling the American public what they clearly see and understand to be true, is in fact not true.''
Trump hasn't missed the moment. His Save America PAC now sells a $45 T-shirt featuring ''Let's go Brandon'' above an American flag. One message to supporters reads, ''#FJB or LET'S GO BRANDON? Either way, President Trump wants YOU to have our ICONIC new shirt.''
Separately, T-shirts are popping up in storefronts with the slogan and the NASCAR logo.
And as for the real Brandon, things haven't been so great. He drives for a short-staffed, underfunded team owned by his father. And while that win '-- his first career victory '-- was huge for him, the team has long struggled for sponsorship and existing partners have not been marketing the driver since the slogan.
Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani, Mary Clare Jalonick, Brian Slodysko and Will Weissert in Washington and Jenna Fryer in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.
Talking with Patients about COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 12:40
As a trusted source of health information and healing, your approach to a conversation with patients and families who are hesitant about receiving COVID-19 vaccines can influence their willingness to consider vaccination.
Motivational interviewing external icon is an evidence-based and culturally sensitive way to speak with unvaccinated patients about getting vaccinated. The goal of motivational interviewing is to help people manage mixed feelings and move toward healthy behavior change that is consistent with their values and needs.
Here are four steps to apply motivational interviewing rapidly (1-5 minutes) during a patient visit.
Step 1: Embrace an attitude of empathy and collaboration
Be compassionate, show empathy, and be genuinely curious about the reasons why the patient feels the way they do.Be sensitive to culture, family dynamics, and circumstances that may influence how patients view vaccines.Remember: Arguing and debating do not work. Taking a strong initial stand may also backfire, especially with people who have concerns about vaccines.Step 2: Ask permission to discuss vaccines
Start by asking permission to discuss vaccines. Say something like, ''If it is okay with you, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about COVID-19 vaccines and your family.''
If the patient says no, respect that.Option 1: Move on and say, ''I respect that, and because I care about your overall health, maybe we could talk about the vaccines at a future time.'' Option 2: Based on the patient's demonstrated emotions and your assessment of the patient's worldview and values, you could spend several minutes curiously exploring why the patient doesn't want to talk about it. The goal is to understand, not to change their mind.Remember: These conversations may take time, and they may continue over multiple visits.
If the patient says yes to talking about the vaccines, move to Step 3 '' motivational interviewing.If the patient asks a question about COVID-19 vaccine safety, vaccine risks, or their health or mental health, see potential responses in Step 4.Step 3: Motivational interviewing
Ask the patient a scaled question. For example, ''On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to get a COVID-19 vaccine?'' (1 = never; 10 = already have an appointment to get vaccinated). Then explore both sides of whatever number is given.
Example: Let's assume someone says 4. This is where curiosity comes in. You can say, ''Okay, why 4? And why not a lower number?'' Let them answer, and ask a follow-up question like, ''What would help you move to a 5 or 6?''The goal is to help the patient become more open to moving toward higher numbers'--in other words, getting vaccinated.
You want them to talk about this out loud because talking actually changes how they process their choices and can develop forward momentum.People hesitant about vaccines usually have more practice explaining why they haven't gotten vaccinated, so it's good to reverse that. Ask them to express their vaccination benefits out loud.Be compassionate and curious about the patient's mixed feelings, both the part of them that wants to trust that getting a vaccine is important and safe and the other part that feels hesitant. It is important to show support for the patient to incorporate their personal values and the health needs of their family and community as they make their decision.Step 4: Respond to questions about vaccines, health, or mental health
If a patient asks a question about vaccine safety, vaccine risks, or their health or mental health, respond within the boundaries of your competence, ethics, and scope of practice.
If you feel competent and aware of how to answer the patient's question, respond with empathy and provide scientific information as needed. Refer the patient to resources on the CDC website, which are listed below.If the patient's question is outside of your competence or awareness, recommend that they speak with their medical or mental health provider or a knowledgeable expert, as needed. Content developed by the American Psychological Association (Jared Skillings, PhD, ABPP; Erin Swedish, PhD; Robin McLeod, PhD; Mitch Prinstein, PhD, ABPP; and Stephen Gillaspy, PhD) in partnership with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Demand for Money Behind Many Police Traffic Stops - The New York Times
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 12:06
An investigation into traffic stops across America and the deaths of hundreds of motorists at the hands of police.
Nick Oxford for The New York TimesBusted taillights, missing plates, tinted windows: Across the U.S., ticket revenue funds towns '-- and the police responsible for finding violations.
Oct. 31, 2021 Updated 3:32 a.m. ET
Harold Brown's contribution to the local treasury began as so many others have in Valley Brook, Okla.: A police officer saw that the light above his license plate was out.
''You pulled me over for that? Come on, man,'' said Mr. Brown, a security guard headed home from work at 1:30 a.m. Expressing his annoyance was all it took. The officer yelled at Mr. Brown, ordered him out of the car and threw him to the pavement.
After a trip to jail that night in 2018, hands cuffed and blood running down his face onto his uniform, Mr. Brown eventually arrived at the crux of the matter: Valley Brook wanted $800 in fines and fees. It was a fraction of the roughly $1 million that the town of about 870 people collects each year from traffic cases.
Video Harold Brown was on his way home from work when he was stopped by a police officer because the light above his license place was out. After Mr. Brown expressed annoyance, the officer told him to get out of his car and then threw him to the pavement. Credit Credit... Valley Brook Police Department A hidden scaffolding of financial incentives underpins the policing of motorists in the United States, encouraging some communities to essentially repurpose armed officers as revenue agents searching for infractions largely unrelated to public safety. As a result, driving is one of the most common daily routines during which people have been shot, Tased, beaten or arrested after minor offenses.
Some of those encounters '-- like those with Sandra Bland, Walter Scott and Philando Castile '-- are now notorious and contributed to a national upheaval over race and policing. The New York Times has identified more than 400 others from the past five years in which officers killed unarmed civilians who had not been under pursuit for violent crimes.
Fueling the culture of traffic stops is the federal government, which issues over $600 million a year in highway safety grants that subsidize ticket writing. Although federal officials say they do not impose quotas, at least 20 states have evaluated police performance on the number of traffic stops per hour, which critics say contributes to overpolicing and erosion of public trust, particularly among members of certain racial groups.
Many municipalities across the country rely heavily on ticket revenue and court fees to pay for government services, and some maintain outsize police departments to help generate that money, according to a review of hundreds of municipal audit reports, town budgets, court files and state highway records.
This is, for the most part, not a big-city phenomenon. While Chicago stands out as a large city with a history of collecting millions from motorists, the towns that depend most on such revenue have fewer than 30,000 people. Over 730 municipalities rely on fines and fees for at least 10 percent of their revenue, enough to pay for an entire police force in some small communities, an analysis of census data shows.
More than 10 percent of revenue from fines and fees
More than 10 percent of revenue from fines and fees
More than 10 percent of revenue from fines and fees
A majority are in the South and Midwest, though clusters also appear outside New York City and Washington. They include Henderson, La., a town of about 2,000 people perched along Interstate 10 that collected $1.7 million in fines in 2019 '-- 89 percent of its general revenues '-- and where officers were accused of illegally receiving cash rewards for writing tickets. Oliver, Ga., with about 380 residents, gets more than half its budget from fines, but an investigation last year found that the local police had improperly written more than $40,000 in tickets outside their jurisdiction.
In Bratenahl, Ohio, the town government is so dependent on traffic enforcement that the police chief castigated his officers as ''badge-wearing slugs'' in an email when a downturn in ticket writing jeopardized raises. Ticket revenue helped finance sheriff's equipment in Amherst County, Va.; a ''peace officers annuity and benefit fund'' in Doraville, Ga.; and police training in Connecticut, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
''The message goes out that if you want more training, then go ahead and write more traffic tickets,'' said Gil Kerlikowske, a former police chief in Seattle and three other cities.
An investigation into traffic stops across America and the deaths of hundreds of motorists at the hands of police.
To show how a dependence on ticket revenue can shape traffic enforcement, The Times examined the practices of three states '-- Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia '-- where police traffic stops have set off controversy. What emerges is a tangle of conflicts and contradictions that are often unacknowledged or explained away.
Mayors of predominantly white suburbs in Ohio, for example, defended the ticket-blitzing of Black drivers from Cleveland as an acceptable, if unfortunate, side effect of vigorously patrolling brief sections of interstates within their borders.
Some officers in Oklahoma, insistent that public safety is their goal, no longer cite drunken motorists for driving under the influence, and instead issue less-serious tickets that keep the drivers out of district court and generate more money for the town.
And in a small Virginia town last December, just days after the police threatened and pepper-sprayed a Black and Latino Army lieutenant, Caron Nazario, over a license plate infraction '-- body-camera video released in April would elicit public outrage '-- elected officials questioned the chief on why ticket revenue was down for the year. He later reminded his officers to issue at least ''two tickets per hour'' during federally funded patrols.
Image An officer in Windsor, Va., doused Second Lt. Caron Nazario with pepper spray at a stop last December.Mr. Kerlikowske said that ticket quotas created bad incentives, but that there was value in police traffic enforcement focused on speeding, drinking and reckless driving '-- a ''more important role than just, 'you have a taillight out' or 'you have a tag light out.''' Using small violations as a pretext to search for more serious crimes was ''a pretty weak excuse,'' he said, given their rarity and the unnecessary risk that encounters could escalate.
A traffic signal citation in Euclid, Ohio, led to Richard Hubbard III, then 25, being beaten and Tased by an officer who was later fired, then reinstated by an arbitrator and is now facing assault charges. For Juanisha Brooks, a 34-year-old Defense Department employee, it was unlit taillights that prompted a Virginia state trooper to pull over, handcuff and arrest her '-- a traffic stop prosecutors later declared illegal.
And in Cashion, Okla., an officer chased, threw to the ground and Tased a 65-year-old grandmother who initially refused to accept an $80 ticket for a broken taillight. Ed Blau, a lawyer who represented the woman, Debra Hamil, said there was an entrenched financial motivation behind such traffic stops.
''You've got to fund the government somehow,'' he said, ''and that's exactly how they do it: through fines and fees.''
The Money MachineNewburgh Heights, a frayed industrial village of about a half square mile with 2,000 residents just south of Cleveland, doggedly monitors traffic on the short stretch of Interstate 77 that passes through.
Its 21 police officers cruise around looking for vehicles to pull over, and aim speed cameras from the Harvard Avenue overpass or from a folding chair beside the highway. This augments the town's automated cameras.
Newburgh Heights routinely
gets more than half of its
revenue from traffic violations,
mostly on Interstate 77.
routinely gets more
than half of its revenue
from traffic violations,
mostly on Interstate 77.
routinely gets more
than half of its revenue
from traffic violations,
mostly on Interstate 77.
All told, revenue from traffic citations, which typically accounts for more than half the town's budget, totaled $3 million in 2019. Some of that money is processed through the Newburgh Heights Mayor's Court, one of 286 anachronistic judicial offices that survive, mostly in small towns, across Ohio.
A 2019 report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio found that 1 in 6 traffic tickets in the state were issued in towns with mayor's courts, which the A.C.L.U. called a ''shadowy and unaccountable quasi-judicial system that wrings revenue from drivers.'' The U.S. Supreme Court, as far back as 1927, flagged the inherent conflict in Ohio mayors imposing fines to pay ''marshals, inspectors and detectives'' who, in turn, generated cases.
The fixation on revenue has made mayor's courts an enduring source of controversy. Years of complaints about tiny Linndale, population 160, raking in as much as $1 million annually from speed traps led to a ban on mayor's courts in towns of under 200 residents. In Kirkersville, the police chief resigned, citing, among other things, pressure from the mayor on traffic enforcement.
Trevor Elkins, the mayor of Newburgh Heights, said his town's increasing use of cameras has reduced the need for traffic stops, though the latter remain disproportionately high, according to state data. Either way, funding a significant police force '-- nearly triple the small-town average '-- is ''really what our revenue goes for,'' he said.
''That has gone into public safety, whether that is police, fire, building department and the service department,'' the mayor said.
Publicly, mayors insist their courts are not used to generate money, yet privately that is often the focus of their concerns. The mayor's court in Bratenahl, a wealthy suburb on Lake Erie, typically has more than twice as many traffic cases each year as there are residents in town, according to state records.
But that was not enough for Mayor John Licastro, who emailed his police chief in November 2018 that a ''downturn in mayor's court revenue'' was exacerbating a budget crunch and employee raises could be affected.
Chief Richard Dolbow sent a blunt email to officers: ''I will be looking at stats and scheduling to see what I should do to motivate the badge wearing slugs that have fallen short on the promise and jeopardized our financial raises that we have worked so hard to maintain.''
Mr. Dolbow, who announced his retirement in August, did not respond to a request for comment. Mr. Licastro said, ''The concern I expressed to the chief was because of a drop in revenue across the board, not just revenue from our mayor's court.'' That, he added, ''affects all aspects of how we govern, including employee compensation.''
Image The outsize police force of Bratenahl, Ohio, patrols the brief stretch of Interstate 90 that runs within the town. Credit... Amber Ford for The New York Times Bratenahl, with a population of 1,300 that is 83 percent white, uses its roughly 18 officers to patrol a strip of Interstate 90 that skirts the town's border with Cleveland, where half the residents are Black. As a result, many days, the crowd in Bratenahl mayor's court is mostly Black.
When Caitlin Johnson, a former journalist who had recently relocated to Bratenahl, tried to raise this issue at a public meeting, she said, the once-welcoming community turned cold. Bratenahl residents ''love the police,'' whom they view as a bulwark against big-city crime, she said.
''If you live there and you have a problem, any little thing, the police will be right there to help you,'' said Ms. Johnson, who has since moved away. ''But that is not the way that the people who pass through Bratenahl experience the police.''
Mayor Licastro said officers were simply following the law.
''We don't choose who drives the Shoreway,'' he said.
Image Though Bratenahl is 83 percent white, many days the crowd in mayor's court is mostly Black. Credit... Amber Ford for The New York Times Mr. Elkins offered a similar defense of Newburgh Heights, where Black residents account for about 22 percent of the population yet often make up a majority at his mayor's court. A Times analysis of more than 4,000 traffic citations there found that 76 percent of license and insurance violations, and 63 percent of speeding cases involved Black motorists.
''We don't really control who drives through our community,'' he said.
Public Safety and ProfiteeringOn April 19, 1995, Oklahoma State Trooper Charles J. Hanger, nicknamed ''The Hangman'' for his zeal in pursuing traffic violations, made one of the most famous of roadway stops.
Heading north on I-35, Trooper Hanger spotted a battered 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis with no license plate. Its driver was Timothy J. McVeigh who, about 90 minutes earlier, had detonated a truck full of explosives outside the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people in what then was the worst act of terrorism on American soil.
The McVeigh case holds mythic status among police officers, for whom it is a go-to rejoinder to concerns that many traffic stops are pretexts for raising revenue or searching, without cause, for evidence of other crimes. But researchers and some former police chiefs say that for every occasional lucky break, hundreds of innocent motorists are subjected to needless scrutiny, expense and potential danger.
''Because everybody on the road violates traffic laws, that allows the police, who are also in charge of criminal law enforcement, to investigate crime without meeting any of the standards required for criminal investigation,'' said Sarah A. Seo, a law professor at Columbia University and the author of a history of traffic enforcement.
As early as the 1910s, Dr. Seo said, departments found that taking on traffic enforcement meant they could hire officers and expand their investigative powers. By 1920, traffic fines helped the Los Angeles police traffic division become ''practically self-supporting,'' according to an annual report at the time.
''We think that modern police departments and their power came from the need to fight crime,'' Dr. Seo said. ''Actually, it started with traffic enforcement.''
While tickets and the threat of punishment deter some would-be offenders, the need for municipalities to sustain that revenue model appears to be an incentive for many traffic stops today. An analysis of North Carolina court data by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that ''significantly more tickets'' were issued when localities experienced financial difficulties, suggesting they were ''used as a revenue-generation tool rather than solely a means to increase public safety.''
Thirty-one states and Washington, D.C., required annual vehicle inspections before 1976, but many dropped them over time, saying they failed to deliver safety benefits. Indeed, the Government Accountability Office found that vehicle component failure figured in only a small percentage of crashes, and there was no evidence that things like broken taillights were significant factors.
Nevertheless, state and local governments continue to profit from catching violations that are largely unrelated to traffic safety.
In the 2019 fiscal year, Valley Brook, Okla., collected over $100,000 from tickets for ''defective equipment'' like Mr. Brown's burned-out tag light, with citations issued, on average, nearly every day.
Image A vehicle search in Valley Brook, Okla., which brings in over 70 percent of its revenues from fines. Credit... Nick Oxford for The New York Times A majority of stops in this town of less than a half square mile occur along a four-lane road with the police station, the courthouse, a cannabis dispensary, a liquor store owned by the mayor's wife, and three strip clubs. Valley Brook '-- which collects 72 percent of its revenues from fines, the highest in the state '-- encourages swift payments; in court one night in July, a local judge told people to call friends and family to get money for fines, or else face jail.
Chief Michael A. Stamp defended the police department's practices. Because their jurisdiction covers only one block along the main roadway, he said, officers look for broken taillights or ''wide turns'' to catch more serious infractions.
''I put officers out on the street every single night for the sole purpose of drug and alcohol enforcement, because it's such a big problem that we have here,'' Chief Stamp said. He conceded the town's dependence on traffic tickets, but added, ''I will stand by the fact that what we are doing out here also saves lives.''
By some measures, Nicholas Bowser, 38, is exactly the kind of driver the chief says he wants to take off the road. Rather than pulling over around midnight on July 2, he led officers on a chase from Valley Brook to his home about a mile away. Upon his surrender, the police found a handgun at his feet and discovered his blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit.
That might have been enough to keep Mr. Bowser from driving for a while, or have a court-ordered breathalyzer installed in his truck. But the next day, he retrieved his truck from the impound. All he had to do was pay $2,185.11 in estimated fines and fees to Valley Brook.
Local police had charged him with ''negligent driving'' and ''public intoxication'' '-- lesser crimes than driving drunk, which must be transferred to district court. Some lawyers say that a 2016 law designed to prevent repeat offenders' drunken-driving records from staying hidden in local court systems has incentivized towns to downgrade offenses, keeping the ticket '-- and the revenue.
Image Nicholas Bowser, who said he had chosen not to pull over because he was afraid, was charged with public intoxication but not drunken driving. Credit... Nick Oxford for The New York Times ''The law put a hole in cities' pocketbooks,'' said Bruce Edge, an Oklahoma defense lawyer specializing in drunken-driving cases. So they reduce the charges, he said. ''They get the money, and the driver is not going to be the least bit unhappy.''
Chief Stamp acknowledged that they file drunken-driving incidents as ''public intoxication'' but said revenue was not a factor and noted that prosecutors hadn't pursued previous D.U.I. cases they had sent.
In an interview, Mr. Bowser said, ''I should have gotten a D.U.I.'' This summer, after he requested a jury trial, Valley Brook dropped the charges against him and refunded about $2,000.
After details emerged of the case involving Mr. Brown, the security guard, those charges too were dismissed, the officer was disciplined and Chief Stamp called to apologize. Still, Mr. Brown sued the town, which he asserts has turned traffic enforcement into a ruthless profit-making enterprise.
''They are lawless,'' he said.
A Culture of QuotasWhen Lieutenant Nazario's mistreatment by the police made national headlines in April, officials in Windsor, Va., fired one of the officers involved and called the case an aberration. But in many ways, the traffic stop was routine.
Windsor is one of nearly 100 Virginia communities to receive federal grants encouraging tickets. The annual grants, awarded by state authorities, ranged last year from $900 to the village of Exmore for nabbing seatbelt scofflaws to $1 million to Fairfax County for drunken-driving enforcement. Windsor got $15,750 to target speeders.
There is little doubt that these grants affect the economics, and frequency, of traffic stops. In an interview, Windsor's police chief, Rodney Riddle, denied having ticket quotas, though he suggested the ''bean counters'' in town hall might welcome the money.
Image Rodney Riddle, chief of police in Windsor, which received a $15,750 federal grant last year to target speeders. Credit... Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times But in a January email to officers, obtained through an open-records request, the chief pushed for enough tickets to comply with the grant paying the hourly cost of patrols.
''Please remember,'' he wrote, ''that you are required to write a minimum of two tickets per hour while on grant time and there is zero tolerance.''
Jessica Cowardin, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, said the number of citations ''is just one of many things we look at to evaluate how effective a grant is.'' She added, ''We do not require nor encourage grant-funded police departments to issue a prescribed number of traffic citations.''
Authorities in Virginia are well aware of the risks of tying traffic stops to money, whether from fines or grants. A state inspector general report in 2013 warned about providing incentives for police to conduct ''excessive enforcement solely to generate additional revenue.''
The Virginia grants are a fraction of the roughly $600 million that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sends to states each year. Lucia Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the federal agency, said it did not encourage or require quotas or targets for grant recipients.
But a review of state grant applications found that the number of traffic stops is a common performance measure. In Arkansas, for instance, the goal was ''three vehicle stops per hour'' during grant-funded patrols, while in Madison, S.D., officers were required to ''obtain two citations per grant hour.''
Indiana officials boasted in their 2014 annual report that officers enforcing seatbelt laws averaged 3.26 stops per hour. One was in Hammond, where an officer on grant-funded patrol pulled over a Black family and ended up in a dispute with a passenger, Jamal Jones, after demanding he identify himself. Video shows officers smashing a car window and firing a Taser at Mr. Jones, who, according to a lawsuit he later filed, tried to retrieve a document to use for identification.
It was a traffic ticket.
For all the billions spent to promote ticket-writing by police, there is little evidence that it has helped achieve the grants' primary goal: reducing fatal car crashes.
In 2019 there were 33,244 fatal crashes nationwide, up from 30,296 in 2010. Traffic safety experts say targeted enforcement works, but improvements in automobile technology and highway engineering account for much of the progress since the 1970s and '80s, when annual fatal crashes routinely exceeded 40,000.
In the wake of the George Floyd protests, some municipalities and states are rethinking their approach to traffic stops. Berkeley, Calif., has proposed shifting away from police enforcement, in favor of an unarmed civilian corps; Virginia lawmakers prohibited stops initiated because of defective taillights, tinted windows and loud exhaust.
Fallout from the Nazario case moved Windsor to pursue ways to slow traffic ''while reducing police and citizen contacts,'' including electronic signs and rumble strips. The Windsor police also ended grant-funded patrols, saying it was ''in the best interest of our agency and our community.''
When the town council presented a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year, it projected revenue increases from all major sources except one: traffic fines.
Arya Sundaram contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
ISIS attack feared in VIRGINIA as police officials go on high alert after receiving threat | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 11:53
A threat of a possible ISIS attack on US soil has put put police on high alert after a law enforcement alert warned that the international terrorist group could strike malls and shopping centers in Northern Virginia.
On Thursday 'we received information concerning potential public safety impacts to malls and shopping centers across the region,' Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said at a press conference Friday afternoon.
Davis did not mention what type of warning they received from ISIS beyond calling it 'information that we have that we're simply acting on'.
However, CBS News reported the threat originated with ISIS and is the basis for the alert.
Police cruisers were seen on Friday patrolling the area around Fair Oaks Mall, which is located 20miles outside of Washington, DC.
'Sometimes the information we receive is not with great specificity but we have to respond to it nonetheless,' Davis explained.
Police in Northern Virginia have been warned of a potential threat at malls and shopping centers and said that the treat came from the international terrorist group ISIS, according to Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis (pictured)
'We have increased our police presence throughout the county to include major thoroughfares, transit hubs, shopping plazas and shopping malls,' he said, adding: 'It's just our responsibility to have a greater presence, to be more aware and to ask the community to have their eyes and ears peeled for suspicious activities.'
He said that the increased law enforcement presence will be in place 'where people gather' throughout Halloween weekend and into Tuesday, which is when Virginia's gubernatorial election is taking place.
On Election Day, Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe battles surging GOP opponent Glenn Youngkin, who is reportedly more likely to win if voter turnout is low at the election next week.
However, Davis also noted that 'we routinely do this,' assuring that 'this is not necessarily out of the ordinary for us to ramp up a police presence during a holiday weekend'.
'We have increased our police presence throughout the county to include major thoroughfares, transit hubs, shopping plazas and shopping malls,' Davis said at a press conference on Friday
Increased law enforcement will continue through Halloween weekend and into Election Day on Tuesday, which Davis assured isn't out of the ordinary for a holiday weekend
Officers were already patrolling the area around Fair Oaks Mall (pictured), which is located 20miles outside of Washington, DC
According to CBS News , the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence chief John Cohen said earlier this week that since America's bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30, the terrorist group wants individuals to act on their own in what they call lone-wolf attacks.
'Right now we're seeing a dramatic increase - or an increase - in online activity by media operations associated with different al Qaeda elements and Islamic State,' Cohen said.
The Arlington County Police Department and the Loudon County Sheriff's Office said they were not aware of any specific threats in their areas but they still encouraged people to be vigilant.
The worrisome announcement comes the same week as US intelligence agencies said they believe the Islamic State in Afghanistan could develop the capability to attack the United States in as little as six months, a senior Pentagon official told senators on Tuesday.
The Department of Homeland Security's intelligence chief John Cohen (pictured) said earlier this week that since America's withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 30 the terrorist group wants individuals to act on their own in what they call lone-wolf attacks
On Tuesday US intelligence agencies said they believe the Islamic State in Afghanistan could develop the capability to attack the United States in as little as six months. The worrisome announcement comes after American troops' abrupt exit from Afghanistan on August 30
The stark warning is just the latest reminder of the danger that remains after American troops abruptly left the country at the end of August and the Taliban retook control.
Colin Kahl, the principal adviser to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, said the US must remain vigilant against the threat from Al Qaeda and from the Islamic State's Afghanistan offshoot known as ISIS-K.
'I think the intelligence community currently assesses that both ISIS-K and Al Qaeda have the intent to conduct external operations, including against the United States, but neither currently has the capability to do so,' the Under Secretary of Defense told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
'We could see ISIS-K generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months. I think the current assessments by the intelligence community as Al Qaeda would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability,' Kahl added.
Kahl's comments echoed those of Gen Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, who offered a similar six-month time frame recently.
His words were expected to trigger fresh criticism of the rapid end of America's 20-year war - an end that incited chaotic scenes at Kabul airport and resulted in the deaths of 13 US personnel in an ISIS-K suicide attack.
In response Biden has promised an 'over-the-horizon' counterterrorism capability, using drone strikes to limit terrorist threats to the US.
Secretary of Defense Colin Kahl (pictured) said the US must remain vigilant against the threat from Al Qaeda and from the Islamic State's Afghanistan offshoot known as ISIS-K
Southwest on defense as AP reporter claims she was almost 'removed' from flight after pilot signed off with 'Let's Go Brandon' '-- RT USA News
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 11:12
Critics are calling for the firing of an unidentified pilot after he allegedly signed off when speaking to his passengers, including a reporter, by saying, ''Let's Go, Brandon,'' a phrase commonly used to insult President Joe Biden.
In Saturday tweets, Associated Press reporter Colleen Long said she was on the Southwest flight from Houston, Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and claimed she was almost ''removed'' after trying to ask the pilot about using the phrase.
''That feeling when you're trying to go on vacation and then the pilot says the very thing you're working on over the loudspeaker and you have to try to get him comment but then almost get removed from plane,'' Long tweeted, along with a story by her digging into the ''let's go, Brandon'' phrase, which has become common at sporting events and among Biden critics.
The phrase began at a NASCAR event after an NBC reporter claimed to mishear a crowd chanting, ''f**k Joe Biden,'' instead hearing the now viral term.
Also on rt.com 'Playing with our free speech': Author of anti-Biden rap 'Let's Go Brandon' CENSORED by YouTube talks to RT after TOPPING US chart Long said when she approached the cockpit to speak to the pilot, it was locked and they were about to begin departing.
A TikTok video showing a pilot saying the phrase as he prepares his passengers for landing has also been spread around social media, and it appears to be from a different flight. Pilots have been recently heard frequently repeating the phrase over their radios, according to a Daily Mail report.
Long's account of events had many calling for the airline '' which has been plagued by flight cancelations many critics believe have been caused by staffing shortages due to the Covid-19 vaccine mandate '' to identify and fire the pilot. Others called for boycotts of the airline as a whole.
"On Friday morning on a Southwest flight from Houston to Albuquerque, the pilot signed off his greeting over the public address system with the phrase, to audible gasps from some passengers."Idk '... seems bad @SouthwestAirhttps://t.co/ZfcI8XzVjw
'-- Brandon Richards (@BrandonRichards) October 30, 2021@SouthwestAir do you support your pilots'--who should be paying attention to other stuff, like passenger safety and actually flying an airplane'--mouthing off like this? So unprofessional.
'-- Leesa Brown (@LeesaBrown) October 30, 2021Though Southwest did not address the specific phrase, they did release a statement in response to concerns, saying the company ''takes pride in providing a welcoming, comfortable, and respectful environment for the millions of customers who fly with the airline each year and behavior from any individual that is divisive or offensive is not condoned.''
The pilot's actions come amidst growing controversy over Biden's vaccine mandate, which will require all federal contractors and employees of larger businesses to be inoculated. Southwest and the White House have denied that the mandate has contributed to the staffing shortages currently plaguing multiple industries.
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Amazon wants its live audio app to reinvent the radio show
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 11:08
The ability to add music '-- as well as Amazon's extensive network of products '-- will help boost Project Mic.
Eric Audras/ONOKY/Getty ImagesAmazon is working on a Clubhouse clone with the ability to include music in real-time. ''Project Mic,'' as the app is being called internally, lands somewhere between Clubhouse's casual conversational spaces and a live podcasting app. The new app will be marketed as a way for anyone at all to record and distribute a live radio show, even with music. The Verge reports that Project Mic's ultimate goal is to ''democratize and reinvent the radio.''
Clubhouse's runaway success popularized live audio experiences to such an extent that just about every social media and Big Tech company has attempted to duplicate it this year. Twitter has Spaces; Facebook is testing multiple new audio features; Spotify is prepping a live audio feature; even Reddit has hopped on the bandwagon.
Amazon is hoping it can separate Project Mic from the rest of this pack by including native support for music '-- something Clubhouse has long struggled to incorporate in its app.
A little different than most '-- Amazon is planning to incorporate Amazon Music into Project Mic, giving it a leg up over Clubhouse from day one. Users will be able to tap into Amazon's massive music collection for their live programming, giving it more of a live radio show feel than Clubhouse's conversations.
Amazon is also planning to recruit celebrity talent and influencers to start their own live shows on the app as promotion. A presentation viewed by The Verge showed a mock-up of the new app with listings for shows that are currently live, trending topics, and featured creators.
But can it compete? '-- The best tool Amazon has in its arsenal right now is its extensive network of products '-- and the company knows it. Unlike Clubhouse, which requires a direct app connection to listen in, Amazon plans for its live radio shows to be available through basically all Amazon devices: Echo smart speakers, Twitch, Audible, and Amazon Music. That ease of access will surely help popularize the new live experience.
Clubhouse may have been the catalyst for the live audio renaissance, but Project Mic '-- at least in this current, leaked form '-- bears almost no resemblance to its predecessor. It's more of a cousin than a sibling.
Project Mic won't really be competing with Clubhouse; it's not a social network in the way Clubhouse markets itself to be. Instead, Amazon will be competing with traditional live radio, which is still very much available to the public, and with Spotify, which has really taken over the audio space in both music and podcasts.
Absence of key world leaders is blow to Cop26, Cabinet minister in charge of summit admits | The Independent
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 11:06
NewsUKUK PoliticsMissing leaders unable to join in by Zoom, MPs told - as Alok Sharma is accused of failing to set out benchmarks for success or failure
Queen's Cop26 anger at 'irritating' world leaders who 'talk, but don't do'
The absence of the leaders of China, Russia and Brazil '' and probably India and Japan '' is a blow to Cop26, the Cabinet minister in charge of the summit has admitted.
After Vladimir Putin's announcement that he is staying away from Glasgow, Alok Sharma told MPs: ''Clearly, having world leaders attend is good for the process it's good for Cop.''
It was revealed that absent leaders will be unable to join by Zoom, in a possible blow to Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida, who has spoken of attempting to take part online.
''It's a physical meeting and the participants will be there physically,'' a Cop26 official told a committee by MPs '' with just 11 days until the summit gets underway.
The questions came as Mr Sharma was accused of failing to set out coherent benchmarks for success, to allow a judgement of whether it had been ''a good Cop or a bad Cop''.
The event's president-designate said the aim was to ''keep 1.5 degrees within reach'' '' the maximum global temperature rise thought possible while avoiding catastrophic climate change.
But 11 of the world's 20 biggest economies have yet to announce their contributions to that task '' and there is no agreement on the mechanism to monitor compliance, even if targets are set.
Asked if foot-dragging countries had been told to put commitments to net zero carbon emissions in law, Mr Sharma said they were only required to make the vow.
Leading diplomats have emphasised the importance of face-to-face contact between the leaders of countries '' the only people with the power to make critical climate commitments.
But Xi Jinping, the premier of China '' the world's largest carbon emitter and currently planning more coal-fired power stations '' will almost certainly be missing, although he has not confirmed that.
Mr Putin will also be absent, as will the presidents of Brazil (Jair Bolsonaro), South Africa (Cyril Ramaphosa) and Iran (Ebraham Raisi), while Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has yet to commit.
Labour has warned of the damage to the chances of agreement. Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: ''Without the biggest emitters like Russia and China, progress towards climate safety cannot be achieved.''
In his evidence, Mr Sharma said 200 world leaders will be in Glasgow and that Russia will send a delegation for the whole two weeks of negotiations.
But he acknowledged the wait goes on for ''some of the largest emitters'' to put forward 2030 carbon reduction plans, adding: ''The ball is in their court and that's the big ask we have for them.''
Mr Sharma also defended the government's net zero strategy '' widely criticised as inadequate '' telling the MPs: ''The UK is seen as a leader when it comes to climate action.''
And he downplayed the idea of Glasgow being a make-or-break moment, saying: ''There will be future Cops when we can hopefully make further progress.''
1 /1 Absence of key world leaders is blow to Cop26, Cabinet minister admits Absence of key world leaders is blow to Cop26, Cabinet minister admitsREUTERS
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Greta Thunberg mobbed upon COP26 arrival in Glasgow - The Washington Post
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 11:04
GLASGOW '-- Greta Thunberg may not have been officially invited to the landmark COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, but on the first official day of the conference, she was making her presence known.
The Swedish teenager, who is something of a rock star for climate activists around the world, was quickly surrounded by about a hundred people when she arrived at the Glasgow train station Saturday evening. Several police officers escorted her away from the throng.
''Finally in Glasgow for the COP26! And thank you for the very warm welcome,'' tweeted the 18-year-old who included a picture of her giving a thumbs-up to the assembled crowd. Scotland's Sunday Mail newspaper dubbed the scene: ''Greta Mania.''
Thunberg traveled to Glasgow from London, where she had taken part in a protest demanding that financial institutions stop funding fossil fuel extraction.
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Thousands of activists from around the world are descending on Glasgow for the U.N. Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, which officially kicks off on Sunday. They want world leaders to take bold action to prevent global temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 Celsius above preindustrial levels.
What you need to know about the U.N. COP26 climate summit '-- and why it matters
Thunberg is expected to take part in a demonstration on Nov. 5 organized by the Scottish arm of Fridays for Future, the student movement Thunberg founded in 2018.
In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr that will air Sunday, Thunberg said she hadn't ''officially'' been invited to speak at the conference.
''I think that many people might be scared that if they invite too many radical young people, then that might make them look bad,'' she told Marr in a preview clip. She raised her fingers to make air quotes when she said the word ''radical.''
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She told Marr that the conference needed ''more representation from the so-called global south, from the most affected people and areas.
''It's not fair, when, for example, one country sends lots and lots of delegates, and then another country is very underrepresented. That already creates an imbalance, and climate justice is at the very heart of this crisis. '... As long as we keep ignoring the historical responsibility of the countries of the global north, and as long as we continue to ignore it, the very negotiations will not have a successful outcome.''
The COP26 Coalition, which represents a number of groups including youth strikers, trade unions and faith groups, has called the climate summit ''the most exclusionary in history, with thousands blocked from making their voices heard.'' They said that people have been kept from getting to Glasgow by a range of obstacles, including lack of access to vaccines and travel and accommodation costs.
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About 25,000 international guests are expected to attend the summit '-- Downing Street said it was one of the largest events the U.K. has ever hosted '-- and prices for some short-term rental rooms have soared. One American delegate shared on social media his exchange with a property owner who asked for an extra $2,000 after realizing that the rental period overlapped with the summit.
More than 100 world leaders are expected in Glasgow for meetings on Monday and Tuesday, with some flying in from Rome where they gathered for the G-20 summit.
On the eve of the summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that COP26 would be the ''world's moment of truth.''
''The question everyone is asking is whether we seize this moment or let it slip away,'' he added.
Smithsonian Open Access | Smithsonian Institution
Sun, 31 Oct 2021 10:57
Search for Open Access MediaRemixes by: Access Smithsonian, Amazon Web Services-Sumerian, Amy Karle, An Open Book Foundation, AstroNuts, Autodesk Tinkercad, Cesium, Chris Funk & N M Bodecker Foundation, Creative Commons, Duke University-MorphoSource, Georgetown University Maker Hub in Lauinger Library, Google Arts & Culture, The Khronos Group, MHz Foundation, Michael Joo, Matthew Putman, and James J. Williams III, Sketchfab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, Smithsonian Data Science Lab, Smithsonian Libraries & Museum in a Box, Wikimedia DC
NI, formerly National Instruments, bets on electric vehicle industry
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 16:39
Austin-based National Instruments is making big investments in its electric vehicle business as demand for the technology is growing swiftly.
The technology company, which in May rebranded as NI, is making two acquisitions to boost its EV offerings.
NI has purchased California-based NH Research and has also reached an agreement to purchase the EV Systems business unit of German-based Heinzinger GmbH, in a deal expected to close in 2022.
NI did not disclose the financial terms of the deals, but said the purchases will add a $50 million to $60 million to the company's revenue in 2022. About 150 employees will also be joining the company.
More: Austin's National Instruments wades deeper into autonomous vehicle tech
Founded in 1976, NI is one of the largest tech employers in Central Texas. The company specializes in testing and measurement systems that can be used in numerous industries and applications, from windmills to wireless networks.
The acquisitions are inteded to boost NI's growing electrification, battery and sustainable energy business. NH Research makes high-power testing and measurement applications, such as electric vehicles and batteries, while Heinzinger's EV business segment makes high-current and high-voltage power systems.
More: Seemingly an odd couple, Tesla and Texas becoming tightly entwined
NI's acquisitions are part of a wider Austin trend, as the area is swiftly growing into a hub for the electric vehicle sector. The region has seen a recent influx of companies making electric cars, semi-trucks, motorcycles and batteries, as EV technology accelerates towards more widespread adoption by consumers.
Eric Starkloff, NI's president and CEO said it's exciting for Austin to be a part of the growing wave of EV activity.
''Austin has not been a traditional hotbed for automotive technology. But we are an area with great engineering talents and manufacturing capability with semiconductors and software. And guess what, in electric vehicles, it's a lot about semiconductors and software," Starkloff said. "And so it does actually match Austin's capability and it gives Austin an opportunity to really build more industry here.''
Big-name manufacturers like Ford have started to make all-electric versions of their more popular vehicles, including pickups. General Motors says it plans to only be making electric vehicles by 2035, while Volkswagen estimates that 70% of its sales will be electric by 2030.
More: Tesla moving HQ from California to Austin: 'A huge feather in the cap' for region
"For the automotive industry, one of the things we've seen over the past year or so is a huge shift towards electric vehicle companies and a huge shift of the existing companies like GM and Volvo and others that are announcing an all-electric future," Starkloff said. "That's been a real shift in the market.''
Starkloff said NI is moving to be part of that wave, as new EV technology will need to be developed and tested before cars can be rolled out. This is where NI wants to come in, helping the companies test batteries and engines that power these vehicles.
''You've got companies like Tesla, now headquartered here, on pace to deliver a million cars a year and companies like GM that have committed to an all-electric future, to convert all of their vehicles to electric and many, many other car companies as well,'' Starkloff said. ''That requires a lot of new technology that needs to be developed and tested. And these components end up being really, really important.
Starkloff said that the electric vehicle business is one of the fastest-growing segments of NI's business.
"We expect this to be one of the major growth drivers over the next number of years and I would say the next decade," he said. "This is is a long transition and a lot of technology needs to be developed. And that's what our company does. We support the development of new technology."
NI has been investing in its automotive business in recent years, including last year when the company bought monoDrive, a startup that specializes in autonomous vehicle simulations. At the time it also entered a strategic collaboration with engineering simulation company Ansys.
Netflix employees at the heart of the Dave Chappelle controversy file charges - The Verge
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 16:35
B. Pagels-Minor and Terra Field say the company retaliated against them for engaging in protected activity
By Zoe Schiffer on October 29, 2021 5:00 pm Two Netflix employees at the heart of the Dave Chappelle controversy have filed labor charges against the company, alleging the streaming giant retaliated against them for engaging in protected activity.
B. Pagels-Minor, a Black trans program manager, was fired while organizing a walkout related to Netflix's support of Chappelle's comedy special The Closer, which has been widely condemned as transphobic. Terra Field, a trans software engineer, was suspended after posting a viral tweet thread about the issue.
Netflix said it fired Pagels-Minor for allegedly leaking confidential information '-- a charge they have categorically denied. The company said Field was suspended for attending a director-level meeting she wasn't supposed to, though it reinstated her after finding no ill intent. In the charge, Field says she and hundreds of other Netflix employees were invited to attend the meeting.
Now, the employees are filing unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. They say Netflix's actions were designed to stop workers from speaking out about their working conditions, including the desire to create a safe environment for Netflix staff.
''This charge is not just about B. and Terra, and it's not about Dave. It's about trying to change the culture and having an impact for others,'' says attorney Laurie Burgess. ''The charge is all about collective action. It's about supporting your coworkers and speaking up for things you care about.''
Filing with the NLRB supports the goal of collective action. But it's also an easier choice than filing in state court, as both Pagels-Minor and Field signed Netflix employment agreements that require them to resolve disputes in private arbitration, a process that tends to favor the employer. (This is common at large tech companies, though both Google and Activision Blizzard have recently ended forced arbitration due to employee organizing efforts.)
The NLRB investigates all charges it receives. If it finds the allegations have merit, it can try to secure a settlement or, if that fails, issue a complaint. For employees, the best-case scenario outside of settling is getting reinstated with backpay and forcing Netflix to post a notice that workers are allowed to engage in protected activity.
In a carefully worded statement, Netflix implied Pagels-Minor was the source behind a Bloomberg story that contained internal metrics about how much Netflix paid for The Closer. The narrative then spread in the media, though employees who spoke to The Verge said they didn't believe it was true. After Pagels-Minor was fired, Bloomberg continued to publish stories containing internal metrics about Netflix shows.
B., who is 35 weeks pregnant, is now about to lose their health insurance. ''Amidst all the stress, I am trying to take one day at a time and focus on my health,'' they said in an interview with The Verge. ''As a high-risk pregnancy, I have to be careful. We don't even know what our health insurance situation is, and we are scheduled to be in a hospital having a baby in less than 30 days.''
Field has applied for medical leave from Netflix. Since speaking out, she has received a credible death threat and been doxxed. ''This is what happens with trans people '-- we're tolerated as long as we're quiet, but if we speak up we get harassed,'' she says in an interview with The Verge. ''It has been a really stressful few weeks, but I intend to keep fighting for our community.''
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos is continuing to stand by the special, although he's walked back previous claims that ''content on screen doesn't directly translate to real-world harm.''
Earlier this week, a Verge investigation found that in 2020, Netflix suppressed search results after the controversy around the film Cuties to quell public outrage. The company did not take similar steps for The Closer.
The trans employee resource group released a list of demands ahead of the October 20th walkout. They want Netflix to invest in trans creators and revise internal processes on commissioning potentially harmful content.
In a statement emailed to The Verge after the original publication of this article, a Netflix spokesperson denied retaliating against employees. ''We recognize the hurt and pain caused to our trans colleagues over the last few weeks. But we want to make clear that Netflix has not taken any action against employees for either speaking up or walking out.''
Update October 29th, 7:44PM ET: Added statement from Netflix.
US cites 'crisis' as road deaths rise 18% in first-half 2021
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 13:20
DETROIT (AP) '-- The number of U.S. traffic deaths in the first six months of 2021 hit 20,160, the highest first-half total since 2006, the government reported Thursday, a sign of growing reckless driving during the coronavirus pandemic.
The estimated number was 18.4% higher than the first half of last year, prompting Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to call the increase an unacceptable crisis.
That percentage increase was the biggest six-month increase since the department began recording fatal crash data since 1975.
The department, which includes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, announced that it will develop a national strategy for steps to save lives on the roads.
''''We cannot and should not accept these fatalities as simply a part of everyday life in America,'' Buttigieg said in a statement Thursday. ''No one will accomplish this alone. It will take all levels of government, industries, advocates, engineers and communities across the country working together toward the day when family members no longer have to say good-bye to loved ones because of a traffic crash.''
NHTSA also said that behavioral research from March through June showed that speeding and traveling without a seat belt remain higher than before the coronavirus pandemic. The agency has pointed to increasing road deaths, a trend for the last two years, on more reckless behavior on the roads.
Consumer groups have been urging the agency to move more quickly to boost road safety, pointing to increasing accidents and a yearslong backlog in implementing safety rules. An Associated Press review earlier this month of rule-making by NHTSA found at least 13 auto-safety rules past due, including a rear seat belt reminder requirement passed by Congress in 2012 that was to be implemented by 2015.
''This public safety crisis requires decisive action by the U.S. Department of Transportation, where progress on requirements and performance standards for lifesaving vehicle safety technology has been overdue for far too long,'' said Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, in a statement Thursday. ''Motorists and road users are being killed needlessly while proven solutions are deferred, delayed or dormant.''
The latest spike in fatalities came as people drove more as pandemic shutdowns eased. Preliminary data from the Federal Highway Administration show that vehicle miles traveled in the first six months of the year rose by 173.1 billion miles, around a 13% increase from last year.
The death rate for the first half of this year rose to 1.34 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. It's up from 1.28 deaths per 100 million miles in the first half of 2020, the agency said.
NHTSA Deputy Administrator Steven Cliff, urged drivers to slow down, wear seat belts, drive sober and avoid distractions. President Joe Biden last week nominated Cliff, a former California environmental regulator, to run the agency full-time.
''All of us must work together to stop aggressive, dangerous driving,'' Cliff said.
The Transportation Department said its strategy would follow a ''safe system approach'' to road safety that identifies safety action for drivers, roads, vehicles, speeds and post-crash medical care. The strategy will be released in January, the department said. It also has pointed to plans to start moving on some of the proposed safety regulations, although the agency has often missed past deadlines, even those promised in federal court.
Yen reported from Washington.
'You are the problem': AT&T recommends articles for staff stating that white people are racist | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 13:07
White employees of AT&T have been told to read an article saying that they are racist, are told to confess to their 'white privilege' and acknowledge 'systemic racism,' and must engage with set texts or else they will be penalized in their performance reviews.
John Stankey, who took over as CEO of AT&T in July 2020, has encouraged his staff to make use of an anti-racism education program entitled Listen Understand Act
AT&T, in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, introduced an internal program called Listen Understand Act.
John Stankey, the CEO of AT&T, wrote to the company's 230,000 employees in an April 2021 email, obtained by journalist Christopher Rufo and published on his website.
Stankey, who took over as CEO in July 2020, urged his workers to make the most of the resources provided by AT&T's anti-racism portal.
'As individuals, we can make a difference by doing our part to advance racial equity and justice for all,' he wrote.
'If you are looking for tools to better educate and inform yourself on racial equality, resources are available at Listen. Understand. Act.
'We also encourage you to actively participate in our recently launched Equality First learning experience, a new initiative to increase awareness and action around our value to Stand for Equality.'
Most employees are not forced to engage with the Listen Understand Act program, but managers at AT&T are now assessed annually on diversity issues - with mandatory participation in programs such as discussion groups, book clubs, mentorship programs, and race reeducation exercises, according to Rufo's source.
The source told Rufo that employees are asked to sign a loyalty pledge to 'keep pushing for change.' They are encouraged to sign up to 'intentions' such as 'reading more about systemic racism' and 'challenging others' language that is hateful.'
The source, described as a senior employee, said: 'If you don't do it, you're a racist.'
AT&T's headquarters in Dallas, Texas, are pictured. The company has donated $21.5 million to causes working to enhance racial justice
Rufo published several pages from the Listen Understand Act portal.
One of the recommended reading items was a May 31, 2020 article from the Chicago Tribune by columnist Dahleen Glanton, entitled: 'White America, if you want to know who's responsible for racism, look in the mirror.'
The article claims that America is a 'racist society' and says 'white people are the problem'.
'Regardless of how much you say you detest racism, you are the sole reason it has flourished for centuries,' Glanton writes.
She adds that 'American racism is a uniquely white trait and that black people cannont be racist'.
It continues that white women 'have been telling lies on black men since they were first brought to America in chains' and they 'enjoy the opportunities and privileges that white supremacy affords them' and 'if you are white, you must look in the mirror, feel a sense of guilt, and move out of the way.'
The portal also recommended books such as White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo, and White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White, by Daniel Hill.
DiAngelo's book was among those recommended to AT&T employees
In the 'Act' section of the training program, Rufo reported, AT&T encourages employees to participate in a '21-Day Racial Equity Habit Challenge'.
The plan, he said, relies on the concepts of 'whiteness,' 'white privilege,' and 'white supremacy' and those participating must commit to 'do one action [per day for 21 days] to further [their] understanding of power, privilege, supremacy, oppression, and equity.'
The challenge begins with a series of lessons on 'whiteness,' which claims, among other things, that 'white supremacy [is] baked into our country's foundation,' that 'Whiteness is one of the biggest and most long-running scams ever perpetrated,' and that the 'weaponization of whiteness' creates a 'constant barrage of harm' for minorities.
Participants are told: 'Notice your biases and judgments as they arise. These are gold for you to excavate your subconscious!'
Among the suggestions are items such as: 'Prepare yourself to interrupt racial jokes. Click HERE for some advice about how.'
The authors of the 21 Day Challenge state: 'We think understanding white privilege is a powerful lens into the complexities of doing social justice work, so we've focused our resources on that specific issue.'
A man walks with an umbrella outside of AT&T corporate headquarters on March 13, 2020
An AT&T spokesman told DailyMail.com that Rufo's report was 'misleading' and 'filled with misinformation and inaccuracies'.
'Our goal is to build a workplace that is civil, inclusive and understanding,' the spokesman said.
'The misleading City Journal post is filled with misinformation and inaccuracies, including the ridiculous claim that we require employees to participate in 'race reeducation' exercises. This is blatantly untrue.
'We simply provide employees with resources they can use on a voluntary basis to facilitate conversations that are important to them, our customers and the communities we serve.
'Whether an employee uses these resources or not is up to them, and does not affect their annual performance rating.
'We have a long and proud history of valuing diversity, equality, and inclusion, and will continue to do so.'
On August 23, as part of a comprehensive review of corporate America's anti-racist activities, The Washington Post reported that AT&T had made lobbying for police reform part of some of their employee's job.
AT&T's Western region president, Ken McNeely, told the paper that employees in the legislative and public affairs teams had the lobbying for police reform included in their annual review.
'Our financial contributions to support police reform is but a slice of the pie,' McNeely said, after the paper reported AT&T donated $21.5 million to causes advocating racial justice.
'We actually took a more direct route: Filing testimony or a letter of support in our name '-- using our brand '-- is in many instances more impactful than giving money to a third party.'
The company is not the first to push critical race theory onto its workers. Earlier this month, Walmart has forced more than 1,000 executives to through training that teaches white people are guilty of 'white supremacy thinking' and 'internalized racial superiority'.
Walmart launched the training program in 2018 under CEO Doug McMillon through the Racial Equity Institute - a North Carolina-based firm that works with universities, government agencies and corporations - making the program mandatory for executives and recommending it to hourly-wage employees.
According to the documents leaked to City Journal, the program begins with the claim that the US is a 'white supremacy system' designed by white Europeans 'for the purpose of assigning and maintaining white skin access to power and privilege.'
The whistleblower also claimed that McMillon is a believer in critical race theory and hopes to export the program to other large corporations through his role as chairman of the Business Roundtable, which comprises of more than 200 of American's largest companies.
Despite the commitment to promote diversity and racial equality, only one of Walmart's nine top executives is not white, Global Chief Technology Officer Suresh Kumar, and the vast majority of its 40 vice presidents are white.
The top six leaders reportedly made a combined $112 million in salary in 2019.
State Board of Education President to resign | Ohio | theohiopressnetwork.com
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 13:06
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A source inside the Ohio Statehouse told The Ohio Press Network that State Board of Education President Laura Kohler will announce her resignation on Friday.
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and State Board of Education have been in the spotlight for issues ranging from: critical race theory language used in the board's Resolution 20 (later rescinded); endorsements of in-school COVID-19 interventions such as masking, vaccinating and quarantining; to the group of Ohio school boards leaving the national association of school boards over the national organization's part in U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland's memorandum to U.S. attorneys, the FBI and the U.S. Dept of Justice regarding enhanced policing of concerned parents at school board meetings.
Earlier this month, for the first time in 25 years, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review delivered a finding that advised against a rule change proposed by the ODE. The Common Sense Initiative also advised against the change '' the rule would have removed a requirement for schools to teach certain subjects such as world languages, business, assault prevention and instruction formerly referred to as home economics.
This is a developing story.
Halloween solar flare headed for Earth could trigger Northern Lights this weekend '' and disrupt power grid
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 13:01
THE SUN launched a massive solar flare yesterday that's headed in Earth's direction '' the strongest storm seen in the current weather cycle.
The volley of radiation may trigger the northern lights if it collides with our atmosphere, and could cause major issues for power grids, experts suggest.
An X1.0 class solar flare flashes in the lower center of the Sun on October 28, 2021 Credit: Nasa 3
An ultraviolet image of the flare captured by Nasa highlights the extremely hot material in flares, which is colourised here in teal Credit: NasaNASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which tracks the Sun's activity, captured an image of the event at 11:35 a.m. EST (4:35 p.m. BST) on Thursday.
It has already caused a temporary, but strong, radio blackout in parts of South America, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).
The flare is the result of a coronal mass ejection (CME) '' a huge expulsion of plasma from the Sun's outer layer, called the corona.
In a blog post, Nasa said that the "significant" flare has been classified an X1.
Flares are ranked by letter, with the biggest labelled as "X-class." The smallest flares are "A-class."
Higher numbers designate more intense flares. Nasa logged an X28 in 2003, though an X1 is still a significant eruption.
The flare is expected to hit Earth over the weekend, meaning it could land on Halloween on October 31.
Dr Tamitha Skov, a space weather physicist, said on Twitter: "A direct hit for Halloween! The solar storm launched during the X-flare today is indeed Earth-directed!
"NASA predictions confirm impact by early October 31.
"Expect aurora to mid-latitudes, as well as GPS reception issues and amateur radio disruptions on Earth's nightside!"
Solar flares can have an impact on Earth. They affect our planet's magnetic field, which in turn can disrupt power grids and communications networks.
"Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground," NASA said.
"However '' when intense enough '' they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel."
Thankfully, due to the flare's intensity, any disruption it causes is likely to be temporary.
In the past, larger solar flares have wreaked havoc on our planet.
In 1989, a strong solar eruption shot so many electrically charged particles at Earth that the Canadian Province of Quebec lost power for nine hours.
As well as causing issues for our tech, they can cause harm to astronauts working on the International Space Station, either through radiation exposure or by interfering with mission control communications.
The Earth's magnetic field helps to protect us from the more extreme consequences of solar flares.
Weaker solar flares are responsible for auroras like the Northern Lights.
Those natural light displays are examples of the Earth's magnetosphere getting bombarded by solar wind, which creates the bright green and blue displays.
The sun is currently at the start of a new 11 year solar cycle, which usually sees eruptions and flares grow more intense and extreme.
These events are expected to peak around 2025 and it's hoped the Solar Orbiter will observe them all as it aims to fly within 26 million miles of the sun.
Solar storms may cause issues for our tech on Earth Credit: Reuters Nasa probe films FIRST close-up footage of solar eruption during trip to the SunIn other news, three entirely new lifeforms were recently discovered at different locations onboard the International Space Station.
Nasa has announced that it is accepting applications for wannabe space explorers who wish to fire their names to the Red Planet.
And, the Perseverance Mars rover has revealed stunning video and audio recordings from the surface of the Red Planet.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
'Nazis' allegedly supporting Republican candidate with Tiki-torches revealed to be a false-flag stunt by Lincoln Project '-- RT USA News
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 12:29
With the Virginia gubernatorial campaign down to the wire, Democrats pointed and shrieked at ''Nazis'' allegedly supporting their opponent in Charlottesville. The Lincoln Project then admitted to the false-flag stunt.
The election has gone from a sure thing for Democrat Terry McAuliffe to a possible upset by Republican Glenn Youngkin in recent weeks. On Friday, as Youngkin came to Charlottesville for the final campaign push, reporters were drawn to a group of people posing in front of his bus in pouring rain. All five wore hats, sunglasses, white shirts, khakis and tiki torches '' in what seemed to be a reference to the 2017 'Unite the Right' rally that ended in violence.
Local and national media dutifully reported that the group said ''what sounded like, 'We're all in for Glenn''' as they posed outside the bus. The report was then amplified by McAuliffe's staffers: Christina Freundlich said ''this is who Glenn Youngkin's supporters are,'' while Jen Goodman called it ''disgusting and disqualifying.'' Both tweets have since been deleted.
When asked about it, Youngkin said, ''I think they work for Terry McAuliffe, and I'm sure he sent them,'' adding that the Democrat will ''do anything to win.''
McAuliffe's campaign issued a statement denying the claim. ''This was not us or anyone affiliated with our campaign,'' they said, adding it was "shameful and wrong" to accuse them of this.
Then internet sleuths went to work, alleging that the people in the photo were actually Democrat activists. Following the claims, the suspected activists began locking and purging their social media profiles, one after another. According to one social media user, the fact that the media themselves showed zero interest in identifying the so-called racists was suspicious on its own.
Dem Party operatives and MSNBC "analysts" spent the day spreading a photo that was dubious from the start - staged to make it appear neo-Nazis were supporting Glenn Youngkin - and now it turns out that, yet again, they spread disinformation. Over and over: the same people do this https://t.co/5Pmr2Oku1j
'-- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 29, 2021''This gross false-flag operation reeks of desperation from the McAuliffe camp who is currently trailing Youngkin by 8 points,'' tweeted Alec Sears, a conservative political consultant.
He proceeded to claim that two people in the photos '' a man and a woman '' looked like staffers with Virginia Democrats and Virginia Young Democrats. Both quickly scrubbed their social media accounts. So did a black Democrat activist, who was accused of being part of the stunt.
The presence of a black man amid the alleged ''white supremacists'' quickly made 'Jussie Smollett' and 'Clayton Bigsby' trend on Twitter. The former is the actor awaiting trial for allegedly fabricating a hate crime against himself and blaming Republican supporters. The latter is a 'black Klansman' character created by African-American comic Dave Chappelle.
The fact Clayton Bigsby and the rest of the Merrick Garland Craigslist actors brought tiki torches out in the pouring rain tells you everything you need to know pic.twitter.com/nwrgKikqse
'-- Jack Posobiec ðºð¸ (@JackPosobiec) October 29, 2021It was at this point that the Lincoln Project '' a controversial outfit run by former Republican strategists who have disavowed their party and gone all-out for Democrats '' admitted the stunt was their doing, calling it a ''demonstration'' to remind Virginians who Youngkin supposedly really is.
Their admission did not ring very convincing, however, and still left unanswered the question of the identity of the people involved in #TikiGate '' with the Democrats categorically denying it was their staffers.
After spending the entire day amplifying the stunt, McAuliffe's campaign issued a statement condemning it after the Lincoln Project came forward.
''What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should immediately apologize,'' said campaign manager Chris Bolling.
@TerryMcAuliffe's campaign condemned the stunt. ''What happened today is disgusting and distasteful and we condemn it in the strongest terms. Those involved should immediately apologize,'' Terry for Virginia Campaign Manager Chris Bolling told me.
'-- Cameron Joseph (@cam_joseph) October 29, 2021The Lincoln Project definitely did not act alone '' as Lauren Windsor, a political operative with a pro-Democrat outfit called American Family Voices, admitted she worked with them ''to coordinate'' the stunt in order to ''defend our democracy from rightwing extremists.''
In my capacity as a communications consultant, I worked w @ProjectLincoln to coordinate today's Youngkin action in Charlottesville. I join them in the fight to defend our democracy from rightwing extremists and call for Glenn Youngkin to denounce Trump's 'very fine people.
'-- Lauren Windsor (@lawindsor) October 29, 2021The tiki-torch getup was clearly meant as a reference to the August 2017 'Unite the Right' rally which ended in a riot. President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Youngkin, was accused by the media and Democrats at the time of supporting the ''Nazis.'' President Joe Biden made that claim central to the story of why he decided to run against Trump in 2020. Trump in fact unequivocally condemned the neo-Nazis, as well as the man who ran over one of the counter-protesters, killing her.
Also on rt.com Do the Dems have no respect for parents? Their strategy in Virginia suggests so, and it's going to cost them dear McAuliffe began his campaign comfortably in the lead, but Youngkin has caught up in recent days. One poll is showing him eight points ahead among likely voters, while another shows him four points in the lead. Not even appearances by Biden and former President Barack Obama in recent weeks could turn the tide, so McAuliffe increasingly turned to accusing Youngkin of racism and bigotry.
The Republican's surge appears to be related to his opposition to mask mandates and critical race theory in schools, an issue that has exploded to the fore in recent months.
Friday's stunt was furiously denounced by Sally Hudson, a Virginia Democrat and state delegate whose district includes Charlottesville.
''Charlottesville is not a prop. Our community is still reeling from years of trauma '-- especially this week,'' she tweeted. ''Don't come back,[Project Lincoln]. Your stunts aren't welcome here.''
Also on rt.com Virginia malls boost security, police on lookout for 'non-specific' Halloween weekend ISIS terrorist attack threat Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
Ice Cube Walks Away from $9 Million Movie Deal Over COVID Vaccine Requirement
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 11:57
Music - 2 hours ago
zo Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers'... Photo by David Becker via Getty Images.
Ice Cube was set to star alongside Jack Black in a new comedy from Sony Pictures.Sony Pictures is officially on the hunt for an actor to replace Ice Cube in their upcoming comedy, Oh Hell No.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the rapper-turned-actor (turned-anti-vaxxer?) reportedly stepped away from the film after declining a request from producers to get one of the COVID-19 vaccines. And apparently, nobody involved in the production wants to say anything about it, as the studio, the rapper's agency, the film's producers and director, are all refusing to comment.
However, the same sources who revealed Cube's departure from the production are claiming the rapper was slated to earn $9 million for his role, starring alongside Jack Black in the movie. Production on the film was set to begin this winter in Hawaii led by director Kitao Sakurai, who was fresh off a breakout moment with Eric Andre's Bad Trip in 2020. THR also reports producers of the movie made it clear all cast and crew were required to get vaccinated.
And though it seems like a lot to turn down just to avoid the shot, Oh Hell No isn't even the first picture Cube has exited this year. THR notes the rapper was slated to star in a boxing movie from Universal titled Flint Strong. And though it actually did one day of shooting in March 2020 before getting shut down during the pandemic, Cube only just left that project within the last few months. It's unclear whether that had anything to do with top-down vaccine requirements on set. Cube has yet to offer a statement.
Trends and Facts on Newspapers | State of the News Media | Pew Research Center
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 11:35
MORE FACT SHEETS: STATE OF THE NEWS MEDIA
Newspapers are a critical part of the American news landscape, but they have been hit hard as more and more Americans consume news digitally. The industry's financial fortunes and subscriber base have been in decline since the mid-2000s, but their website audience traffic has again begun to grow. Explore the patterns and longitudinal data about U.S. newspapers below.
AudienceThe estimated total U.S. daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) in 2020 was 24.3 million for weekday and 25.8 million for Sunday, each down 6% from the previous year '' though with some caveats, as detailed below and in a new Decoded post.
(Note that the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM), the source of this circulation data and the group that audits the circulation figures of many of the largest North American newspapers and other publications, changed their reporting period in 2020 from a three-month period to a six-month period. As such, in 2020, the comparison is between average circulation for the three months ending September 2019 and the six months ending September 2020. Additional details about how the circulation estimate is calculated can be found in the methodological note below.)
Within this total circulation figure, weekday print circulation decreased 19% and Sunday print circulation decreased 14%.
Digital circulation is more difficult to gauge. Using only the AAM data, digital circulation in 2020 is projected to have risen sharply, with weekday up 27% and Sunday up 26%. But three of the highest-circulation daily papers in the U.S. '' The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post '' have in recent years not fully reported their digital circulation to AAM. The Times and the Journal provide data on digital subscriptions in publicly available reports, but since this is not the same as circulation and may not be counted under the same rules used by AAM, these independently produced figures cannot easily be merged with the AAM data. If these independently produced figures were included with the AAM data in both 2019 and 2020, weekday digital circulation would have risen even more sharply, by 38%.
Estimated newspaper circulation using two different data sourcesDateAAM onlyNYT/WSJ subscriptions plus AAM201634,657,19934,657,199201730,948,41933,291,558201828,554,13732,961,320201925,952,58432,359,455202024,299,33335,644,533Pew Research Center
The addition of these figures would also change the overall picture for combined print and digital circulation. In previous years, including these subscription numbers with the AAM circulation data would not have changed the overall circulation picture, as total circulation would still decline. In 2020, however, including the Times' and the Journal's digital subscribers reverses the trend: Total weekday circulation would rise by 10%, not fall by 6%, as is the case when looking strictly at the AAM data. For comparison, the chart above shows estimated total weekday circulation using just the AAM data and when the digital subscriber numbers from the Times and the Journal are included over the past five years. For more details on how this affects our estimates and conclusions, see this post on our Decoded blog.
Unique visitors of newspaper websitesYearAverage monthly unique visitorsQ4 20148,233,544Q4 20159,709,071Q4 201611,734,536Q4 201711,527,744Q4 201811,600,124Q4 201912,149,197Q4 202013,866,542Pew Research Center
Gauging digital audience for the entire newspaper industry is difficult since many daily newspapers do not receive enough traffic to their websites to be measured by Comscore, the data source relied on here. Thus, the figures offered above reflect the top 50 U.S. daily newspapers based on circulation. In the fourth quarter of 2020, there was an average of 13.9 million monthly unique visitors (across all devices) for these top 50 newspapers. This is up 14% from 2019, which itself was 5% higher than 2018. (The list of top 50 papers is based on Sunday circulation but includes The Wall Street Journal, which does not report Sunday circulation to AAM. It also includes The Washington Post and The New York Times, which make the top 50 even though they do not fully report their digital circulation to AAM. For more details and the full list of newspapers, see our methodology.)
Visit duration of newspaper websitesYearAverage minutes per visitQ4 20142.59Q4 20152.59Q4 20162.45Q4 20172.44Q4 20182.32Q4 20192.10Q4 20201.82Pew Research Center
Average minutes per visit for the top 50 U.S. daily newspapers, based on circulation, is a little less than two minutes in Q4 2020. This is down about 45 seconds from when we first began tracking this in Q4 2014.
EconomicsThe total estimated advertising revenue for the newspaper industry in 2020 was $8.8 billion, based on the Center's analysis of financial statements for publicly traded newspaper companies. This is down 29% from 2019. Total estimated circulation revenue was $11.1 billion, compared with $11.0 billion in 2019. This is the first year in our data that circulation revenue has been higher than advertising revenue.
In the chart above, data through 2012 comes from the trade group formerly known as the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), now known as the News Media Alliance (NMA). Data from 2013 onward is based on the Center's analysis of financial statements from publicly traded U.S. newspaper companies, which in 2020 numbered five and accounted for more than 300 U.S. daily newspapers, from large national papers to midsize metro dailies and local papers. From 2013 onward, the year-over-year percentage change in advertising and circulation revenue for these companies is calculated and then applied to the previous year's revenue totals as reported by the NMA/NAA. In testing this method, changes from 2006 through 2012 generally matched those as reported by the NMA/NAA; for more details, see our 2016 report.
Share of newspaper advertising revenue coming from digital advertisingYearAdvertising revenue coming from digital advertising201117%201219%201320%201421%201525%201629%201731%201835%201935%202039%Pew Research Center
Digital advertising accounted for 39% of newspaper advertising revenue in 2020, based on this analysis of publicly traded newspaper companies. The portion stood at 35% in 2019 '' but at 17% in 2011, the first year it was possible to perform this analysis.
Newsroom investmentAccording to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, 30,820 people worked as reporters, editors, photographers, or film and video editors and operators in the newspaper industry in 2020. That is down 12% from 2019 and 57% from 2004. Median wages for editors in 2020 were about $50,000, while for reporters, the figure was about $36,000.
Employment in newspaper newsroomsYearTotal200471,640200572,600200674,410200773,810200871,070200960,770201055,260201154,050201251,430201348,920201446,310201544,120201642,450201739,210201837,900201934,950202030,820Pew Research Center
YearNews analysts,reporters andjournalistsEditorsPhotographersTelevision, video, andfilm camera operatorsand editors2012$36,381$52,114$40,899$53,9552013$36,384$51,420$42,271$56,6742014$35,559$50,290$41,163$55,9272015$35,399$50,936$41,769$61,2392016$35,596$51,981$42,931$58,5182017$36,093$52,196$42,006$54,2232018$36,017$50,830$43,181$50,7062019$35,579$50,462$43,658$55,8892020$35,950$50,010$45,710$53,730Pew Research Center
Methodological noteIn this fact sheet, circulation data through 2014 is from Editor & Publisher, which was published on the website of the News Media Alliance (NMA), known at the time as the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). Since then, the NMA no longer supplies this data, so the Center determined the year-over-year change in total circulation for those daily U.S. newspapers that report to the Alliance for Audited Media and meet certain criteria. This percentage change was then applied to the total circulation from the prior year '' thus the use of the term ''estimated total circulation.'' This technique is also used to create the revenue estimates, using the financial statements of publicly traded newspaper companies as the data source.
Find out moreThis fact sheet was compiled by Senior Researcher Michael Barthel and Research Assistant Kirsten Worden.
Read the methodology.
Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. This is the latest report in Pew Research Center's ongoing investigation of the state of news, information and journalism in the digital age, a research program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Find more in-depth explorations of U.S. newspapers by following the links below:
A third of large U.S. newspapers experienced layoffs in 2020, more than in 2019, May 21, 2021More than eight-in-ten Americans get news from digital devices, Jan. 12, 2021Coronavirus-Driven Downturn Hits Newspapers Hard as TV News Thrives, Oct. 29, 2020Nearly 2,800 newspaper companies received paycheck protection loans, and most were under $150K, Oct. 29, 2020U.S. newspapers have shed half of their newsroom employees since 2008, April 20, 2020Americans' main sources for political news vary by party and age, April 1, 2020Black and white Democrats differ in their media diets, assessments of primaries, March 11, 2020Fast facts about the newspaper industry's financial struggles as McClatchy files for bankruptcy, Feb. 14, 2020U.S. Media Polarization and the 2020 Election: A Nation Divided, Jan. 24, 2020For Local News, Americans Embrace Digital but Still Want Strong Community Connection, March 26, 2019What are the local news dynamics in your city?, March 26, 2019
The 37-year-olds are afraid of the 23-year-olds who work for them / Twitter
Sat, 30 Oct 2021 00:08
Something went wrong, but don't fret '-- let's give it another shot.
The virtual currency boom echoes dotcom fever | by The Financial Times | Financial Times | Medium
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 22:15
Paris Hilton joins celebrities endorsing digital coins, just as Whoopi Goldberg did with an earlier craze The Financial Times Sep 11, 2017·
A view of Bitcoin token and a miner miniature figures '-- Photo by Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesBy Izabella Kaminska
In 1999, the actor Whoopi Goldberg made a bold decision. Rather than be paid for an endorsement for a dotcom start-up, she took a 10 per cent stake in the business'...
Kentucky principal probed after getting lap dance at homecoming
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 15:41
A Kentucky school district is investigating after a teenage boy gave lap dances to his high school principal and other staff members during a homecoming event.
Other provocative photos of spirit events at Hazard High School posted on social media showed teen girls parading around the gym dressed as Hooters waitresses and boys being paddled, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Hazard Independent Superintendent Sondra Combs told the paper Wednesday that the incidents are under investigation.
Hazard High School principal Donald Mobelini has come under fire for acting inappropriately with students at a homecoming event. City of HazardThe most eyebrow-raising pics show a teen dancing seductively near Donald ''Happy'' Mobelini, who is both principal of Hazard High School and the city's mayor.
Hazard High School in Hazard, Kentucky. FacebookThe administrator is standing with a big grin on his face, while the boy '-- clad in a black dress '-- bends over in front of him, photos show. The same teen is also pictured with the dress pulled down below his stomach, as he danced shirtless for other adults in a gym.
''The incident is under investigation and as you know anything under investigation I really can't talk about,'' Combs reportedly said. ''Once the investigation is complete, appropriate action will be taken.''
The reported pictures had all been deleted from the Hazard High School Athletics Facebook page by Wednesday night.
''Public education is under so much fire right now. This kind of stuff is not helpful. In fact, it's disgusting. It appears they are sexualizing young adults,'' Nema Brewer, a co-founder of the public education group Ky. 120 United, told the paper.
Mobelini has twice been investigated for alcohol incidents involving students, according to the report. In one incident, photos surfaced of him driving kids around as they drank and smoked, the article said.
Paying $450,000 to families separated at the border is too much?
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 11:44
What would be the appropriate financial compensation if the government yanked your child from your arms and couldn't find the child for months or years '' or ever?
If that were to happen to you or somebody you care about, would you still think that $450,000 is too much to compensate for the pain and suffering?
Would you still tell yourself or others to suck it up and just deal with the trauma and everything else?
That's exactly what Republicans are saying about a Wall Street Journal exclusive report that the Biden administration is considering settling multiple lawsuits stemming from Trump's zero-tolerance immigration enforcement policy that separated thousands of children from their parents.
Republicans say they should get nothingThat practice drew worldwide condemnation and Trump ended it. But not without first separating at least 5,500 children from their parents caught at the U.S.-Mexico border, including some asylum seekers.
It doesn't matter why those migrants fled their countries, or the psychological trauma to the child, or the fact that the U.S. government lost track of some of them and haven't reunited all families.
They should get nothing. Zero. Zilch, Republicans say.
''UNACCEPTABLE,'' Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa yelled on Twitter. ''Report says Biden admin considering payments of 450k per person 2ppl who crossed the border ILLEGALLY Those are taxpayers dollars We should not be paying anything to ppl who break our laws.''
Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida chimed in.
''Democrats have lost their minds,'' he said. ''They actually want to send $450k to illegal immigrants that broke our laws while a crisis rages at our Southern border. This is INSANE.''
Would Grassley, Scott and all the other Republicans screaming bloody hell to any compensation say the same thing if these mostly Central American migrants were, for instance, Jewish fleeing Nazi Germany?
Would the Republicans say the same thing if these migrants separated from their children were, for instance, people from Israel fleeing to save their lives?
Clearly, they view migrants as less than humanThey wouldn't, of course, because not all human beings are created equal. Not even in America, a country founded precisely on those ideals.
These Republicans make it abundantly clear that they view people showing up at the southern border as less than human, people who apparently deserve everything that happens to them '' including forcibly taking their children away by the U.S. government.
Settling the more than 900 claims filed over Trump's family separation policy is complex and could top $1 billion, according to the same Journal reporting.
The Republicans crying foul shouldn't blame Biden. They should blame their guy, who created this mess in the first place. Instead, expect them to use this human tragedy as just another election tool.
But how about you? What do you think the appropriate compensation should be if the government forcibly takes your child from you?
Elvia Daz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @elviadiaz1.
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'If they destroy the free press, they destroy the world,' Roger Waters says after UK court adjourns to rule on Assange extradition '-- RT World News
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 11:42
Julian Assange's extradition case could deal a fatal blow to free press worldwide, Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters told RT as a British court weighed final arguments on whether to transfer the WikiLeaks co-founder to US custody.
Though the UK High Court did not hand down a ruling after Thursday's appeal hearing and is now taking time to consider a decision, Waters said he's ''deeply, deeply concerned'' about how the case will play out, blasting the appeals process as a ''kangaroo court.''
''It has nothing to do with justice or the arguments provided,'' Waters told RT in an interview. ''It is absolute nonsense that this man has been locked up a single day '' whether it's in the Ecuadorian Embassy or in Belmarsh.''
The future of all of us, and all of our children and grandchildren hangs upon this court case. If they destroy the fourth estate '' which is what they're trying to do by destroying Assange '' they destroy the world.
The WikiLeaks co-founder has been held in London's maximum-security Belmarsh prison since 2019, arrested by UK authorities after spending some seven years in the city's Ecuadorian Embassy under political asylum. Accused of violating the century-old Espionage Act by publishing classified material, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison if extradited to the United States and found guilty.
While District Judge Vanessa Baraitser initially declined Washington's extradition request, citing concerns about Assange's mental health and the risk he might commit suicide in an American prison, the US has since appealed, making its final arguments during Thursday's hearing.
Waters blasted that original judgement as ''mealy-mouthed,'' arguing that Baraitser should have tossed the case and left no chance for an appeal.
If she'd listened to the evidence and if she was a proper judge and if she made a proper judgement, she would have said there is no case to answer '' case dismissed, set the prisoner free. She didn't.
Also on rt.com US appeal hearing to extradite Julian Assange concludes in UK High Court with no immediate ruling US authorities have offered ''assurances'' that Assange would not be mistreated in American custody, but Waters insisted ''they're lying through their teeth,'' citing indefinite detentions and torture at the US-run Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. Rights groups such as Amnesty International have also rejected the US assurances as paper-thin, also pointing to a less-than-stellar US human rights record.
The rockstar did note, however, that if the court decides to grant the US request, Assange's defense team will have an opportunity for its own appeal, and ''will get a chance to challenge all the ludicrous nonsense that's gone on up until this point.'' Regardless of the legal outcome, he urged supporters of Assange, WikiLeaks and the free press to ''go on making as much noise as they can.''
''They should try to persuade their neighbors and their uncles and aunts and grandmas and grandpas and everybody they know to take to the streets to protest it,'' he added.
We are not going anywhere at all, and our voice is going to get louder and louder and louder until Julian Assange is set free. I can promise you that.
Also on rt.com 'Kidnapping journalists' on US behest: Assange's father & supporters tell RT extradition 'zombie case' will have dire consequences Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
First Comes Love. Then Comes Sterilization. - by Suzy Weiss - Common Sense with Bari Weiss
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 11:41
Playground at night in New York City. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)Rachel Diamond looks like most of the moms at the Park Slope caf(C) where we meet. She's wearing a green t-shirt under a black corduroy jumper, sensible shoes and carries a smart, leather bag. She sips a four dollar iced chai. Except the 31-year-old isn't a mom. And she never will be. ''You know,'' Diamond says cheerily, ''I never expected to be the poster child of sterilization.''
On the aspiring actor's TikTok, one finds short funny videos about Diamond's job working the register at a cafe near Union Square and updates on her rescue pitbull, Rue, who has anemia. Mixed in are the clips extolling her child-free life. They have titles like ''Sterilization Attempt #3'' and ''Being Childfree: We DO Know What We're Missing.'' It's been five months since she had her fallopian tubes cut '-- not tied '-- and she has 64,000 followers.
Growing up near Hershey, Penn., Diamond always assumed she'd have a family of her own. Then came college at Arcadia University; her political awakening, away from her conservative roots, and towards progressivism; and a therapist who she found online a few months after graduation who made her realize that being spanked as a child was deeply traumatic, and that it made her fear authority figures like her father. She decided that she never wanted to be one herself. Never ever ever.
''Looking back, I never pretended that my American Girl dolls were children, they were always my sisters,'' she says. ''There were little things showing that I wasn't preparing myself for motherhood. I think for me, it's as innate as saying, 'I've always wanted to be a mom.'''
Diamond is hardly an outlier. Americans are making fewer babies than we've made since we started keeping track in the 1930s. And some women, like Diamond, are not just putting off pregnancy but eliminating the possibility of it altogether.
Last year, the number of deaths exceeded that of births in 25 states '-- up from five the year before. The marriage rate is also at an all-time low, at 6.5 marriages per 1,000 people. Millennials are the first generation where a majority are unmarried (about 56%). They are also more likely to live with their own parents, according to Pew, than previous generations were in their twenties and thirties.
They also aren't having sex. The number of young men (ages 18 to 30) who admit they have had no sex in the past year tripled between 2008 and 2018. Cities like New York, where young, secular Americans flock to to build their lives, are increasingly childless. In San Francisco, there are more dogs than children.
A dog sits in a stroller. (Getty Images)It used to be that people wanted to make babies. Women, especially, but also men. That was a healthy young person's default position, and our existence depended on it. We wanted to do other things, of course, and the great post-feminist challenge was how to have it all '-- the proper work-life balance, the career and the baby, the supportive husband and the adventurous life.
But now, for an increasing number, the question isn't how to have it all. It's: why do it at all?
This psychological reversal didn't just happen. It took place inside the hurricane of spiritual, cultural and environmental forces swirling around us. But the message from this young cohort is clear: Life is already exhausting enough. And the world is broken and burning. Who would want to bring new, innocent life into a criminally unequal society situated on a planet with catastrophically rising sea levels?
The Rapture '-- sorry, the end '-- is upon us, and this is no time for onesies. So says The New Yorker and NPR and AOC. According to a new poll, 39% of Gen Zers are hesitant to procreate for fear of the climate apocalypse. A nationally representative study of adults in Michigan found that over a quarter of adults there are child-free by choice. And new research by the Institute of Family Studies found that the desire to have a child among adults decreased by 17% since the onset of the pandemic.
''I think it's morally wrong to bring a child into the world,'' said Isabel, 28, a self proclaimed anti-natalist who lives in southwestern Texas and did not want her last name in print. ''No matter how good someone has it, they will suffer.''
Texas's new, highly restrictive abortion law has led her to take action sooner instead of later. ''I was going to wait until I was thirty to get the procedure done,'' Isabel said, ''but, with the Heartbeat Bill in place, I can't take the risk of getting pregnant and not being able to abort.''
Last week, she was approved for The Operation '-- aka laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy. (Many surgeons won't sterilize young, childless women because studies indicate high rates of regret, so it can take time to lock one down.) During the procedure, which she hopes will take place in the next few months depending on Covid and the hospital's capacity to perform elective surgeries, Isabel's surgeon will make three incisions: two near her abdomen and one just above her belly button. This will allow the surgeon to insert cameras and then remove her fallopian tubes.
Isabel is planning a ''sterilization celebration'' at a local sushi joint. There will be lots of booze, a smattering of friends, and her brother and his husband, who are also child-free. ''I don't want to work my life away,'' says Isabel, who hopes to retire in her fifties or earlier.
Darlene Nickell, 31, in Denver, Colo., had her tubes removed eight months ago. ''My generation is very aware of the ways that our parents traumatized us,'' she tells me. ''My mom smoked a lot of weed and did her own thing, and my dad was away a lot for work.'' She says her parents' marriage improved after they became empty nesters.
She first set out to get sterilized at the age of 21 and was told by her doctor that she needed written consent from her male partner or to have already had two kids. Meantime, her childless male friend from high school had successfully gotten his vasectomy a year before. ''That felt like an attack on me.''
Darlene, who was surprised that her obstetrician agreed to sterilize her when she brought it up at her yearly check up, is the self-proclaimed black sheep of her family '-- though she says her two younger sisters, one in her twenties and one in her teens, are likely to follow her lead. The 23-year-old is exploring sterilization herself; the other is ''feeling inspired'' by the child-free life.
The child-free find each other on social media, mostly on Reddit. There's r/childfree and r/antinatalism and r/fencesitters '-- as in, ''I'm on the fence about this whole kids thing.'' You can also find doctors who will sterilize you, and how-to guides with tips and frequently asked questions like ''Can you trust a fence-sitter boyfriend who doesn't want a vasectomy?''
Rachel Diamond's live-in boyfriend, Cameron Gilkes, 33, introduced her to Reddit and her new family of people dead set against creating families. ''I asked to get a vasectomy at 24 and 26,'' says Cameron, who was hopeful for any type of male contraceptive, one injectable called Vasalgel has been stuck in trials for years, before Rachel got sterilized. ''We'd been trying for a long time,'' she says.
They met on eHarmony seven years ago and ''came out'' to each other on their second date. The script from the movie they saw that night, ''Interstellar,'' sits on a stuffed bookshelf next to ''The Feminine Mystique,'' ''Screenwriting for Dummies,'' and ''The Peter Pan Chronicles'' in the two-bedroom apartment they share with a third roommate who they met through a friend.
The space is well-kept, if cramped with accessories and toys for their ''special-needs'' pitbull. (''She's scared of other dogs,'' Diamond explained. ''She's never been socialized because she was bred for fighting, and she is so much f-ing work.'') Star Wars action figures are lined up atop a shoe rack and just beneath a Bluetooth-enabled lightsaber, custom made to be as close to movie-realness as possible. On the fridge are magnets from The Strand, one of a Baby Yoda peeking out of a spaceship, and a few from the Brooklyn Public Library, including one declaring ''Knowledge is Power.''
Child-freedom '-- and Diamond and Gilkes are child-free, not anti-natalist, in that they don't think it's necessarily wrong for other people to procreate '-- comes with its own lingo. ''Brant'' means ''breeder rant'' (as in, the annoying things people with kids tell people without kids about how great life is with kids). ''Mombie'' is a haggard mom-zombie, lost to the land of breast milk and binkies. ''THINKER'' is an acronym standing for ''Two Healthy Incomes No Kids Early Retirement.'' ''Bingo-ing'' refers to the questions the child-free get asked by the child-full: ''What if your kid cures cancer? What if you regret it? Who will take care of you when you're older?'''
The dating apps have taken note. On Hinge for example, under the ''My Vitals'' section, there's also ''Vices,'' like if you take drugs, and ''Virtues,'' for religious and political affiliations, you can tick off whether you want children, if you don't want them, or if you're ''open'' to it. If you're child-free, you can eliminate future breeders from your feed using a premium plan starting at $29.99 per month.
The child-free have many reasons for not wanting babies: fear of pregnancy, fear of authority, fear of preeclampsia (a pregnancy disorder that can lead to undesirable outcomes for the mother and baby), fear of postpartum depression. And, in Diamond and Gilkes' case, racism.
Diamond is white. Gilkes is black. And they say they worry about what life would be like for a biracial baby in today's America. ''I wouldn't be able to say 'I understand' if they came home from school and had been bullied for their hair or their skin color,'' Diamond said.
Gilkes said, ''I had a girlfriend break up with me because she didn't want to deal with the racism that came with dating a black guy, and said if we had kids she wouldn't know how to do black girl hair.'' (That prompted Diamond to roll her eyes. ''I mean, there are salons and professionals for that.'')
I asked them if they ever thought about their own personal legacy '-- the people they would leave behind. ''The whole legacy thing makes me laugh,'' Rachel said. ''It's like, 'Who do you think you are?' Do you want your kid to be a founding father? That would make them a colonizer.''
Sophia '-- a 19-year old communications student who goes to a small school in British Columbia, and declined to give her last name for privacy reasons '-- was just approved for sterilization by her doctor in Canada. She told me she has a great relationship with her parents who are ''super chill'' about her decision to be child-free, despite the fact that they're both religious Christians. She has one sister who she says is pro-kid, or at least not anti, and though Sophia doesn't believe in God anymore '-- she's left behind the church she grew up in and its ''toxic culture'' '-- she describes herself as ''vaguely spiritual.''
She says taking the pill or using another non-permanent birth control would amount to kicking the can down the road since she knows she doesn't want kids ever. ''I'm going to do this invasive thing once, rest for a few days, and never think about it again.''
The teen, who has a roommate named Emily and a part-time job at a grocery store, doesn't have a clear picture of her life besides travelling, and maybe moving to the coast, away from the ''semi-desert grasslands'' where she lives now. In high school she visited Ecuador and Kenya on humanitarian trips, and has dreams to hit every continent.
She was surprised that the doctor, who will sterilize her in the coming months, didn't ask about her sexual history. If she did she would have found out that it amounts to little more than flirting and a few dates.
''I'm a virgin, and I was worried that she would send me off to have sex before she agreed to do it,'' Sophia says. She acknowledged that she may come down with a case of baby fever in her twenties, but that that's just another risk that she's accepting. ''There's no point regretting what you can't change,'' she says. If she were to eventually find a partner who wanted kids? ''That would just be a dealbreaker for me.'' She doesn't remember one moment that turned her off permanently to parenthood, but she never really liked being around other kids when she was one, and hated babysitting when she got older. ''I found it draining.''
Chelsea, a 25 year-old in Sacramento, told me kids ''kind of gross her out.'' She's weighing the risks of going under the knife, like infection or mood swings brought on by anesthesia, but says regret isn't one of them. ''What's there to regret?'' writes another Redditor, ''That I'll be too happy? Too free?''
According to Clay Routledge, an existential psychologist at North Dakota State University who has studied young people's attitudes toward the future, there is a growing school of thought among twenty-somethings that humans are the problem. It's not just that we've built factories and polluted the oceans and launched tons of garbage into space. It's that there's something about us '-- our psychology, our chromosomal wiring '-- that makes it impossible for us to make things better.
Close-up of white plastic bag with yellow smiley slowly drifting under surface of water with school of tropical fish. (Andrey Nekrasov/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)''They're saying that the future isn't a good investment,'' Routledge says. ''And if there's no future, why would you be anything but hedonistic? Why would you donate to charities? Why would you try to make the world better or care about human progress?'' He adds that this generation has a sense that ''humans were a mistake.''
Sophie Lewis, a British feminist scholar, calls the institution of the family a ''microfactory of debtors'' and argues that it generally ''sucks.'' In her book, ''Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family,'' Lewis describes pregnancy as ''something to be struggled in and against.'' She dreams of a post-parent world, one in which the old notion of the family is replaced with a ''classless commune on the basis of the best available care for all.''
She might well get it, unless the current fever breaks.
''I used to think all kids are bad, and I had a period in middle school where I was ultra liberal, and I thought everyone should stop having kids,'' says 19-year-old Sophia in British Columbia. ''I chalk it up to emotional immaturity. As I got older, I realized that there was more to this, and I didn't have to be super uptight in my beliefs.''
I ask what she hopes her childless life will look like. What countries will she visit? Where will she live? What will she do with all of her free time, and what does she hope her career will be? ''It's kind of hard to ask someone who is nineteen and hasn't finished college what they want their life to look like,'' she tells me, a little annoyed.
Suzy Weiss's last feature for us was about the explosion in American homeschooling.
Read it here:
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Regulator paves way for NHS e-cigarette prescriptions in England | E-cigarettes | The Guardian
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 11:38
E-cigarettes may soon be prescribed on the NHS to help smokers quit under radical plans by ministers to slash smoking rates in England.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published updated guidance that paves the way for medicinally licensed e-cigarette products to be prescribed for tobacco smokers who want to stop smoking and switch to vaping instead.
The move could see England become the first country in the world to prescribe medicinally licensed e-cigarettes. Almost 64,000 people die from smoking every year. About 3.6 million, or 7% of adults in Britain, are thought to use e-cigarettes.
Doctors, medical leaders and health campaigners welcomed the move. ''I am convinced this will be a gamechanger,'' said Sir Norman Lamb, the former health minister who chaired the Commons science and technology committee's inquiry into e-cigarettes in 2018. His committee concluded that there would be ''significant benefit'' to having medicinally licensed e-cigarettes that could be prescribed, he said.
Prof Linda Bauld, the Bruce and John Usher chair in public health at the University of Edinburgh, said it was ''excellent news''.
''While there is good evidence that e-cigarettes available as consumer products can help smokers to quit, we also know that up to one in three smokers in the UK has not tried these devices,'' she said.
''Smokers have concerns about safety and misperceptions about the relative risks of e-cigarettes compared with tobacco. For some, cost is also perceived as a barrier. The option of having approved devices that could be prescribed would reassure smokers about relative risks and also assist in reaching those least able to afford e-cigarettes.''
E-cigarettes contain nicotine and are not risk-free. ''The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke,'' the NHS says '' though these chemicals are found at much lower levels in e-cigarettes.
Public health experts have also raised concerns about young people in particular becoming hooked on vaping despite never having smoked. Tobacco companies have turned to creating the devices.
However, expert reviews have concluded that regulated e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking. A medicinally licensed e-cigarette would have to pass even more rigorous safety checks, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
Manufacturers can now approach the MHRA and submit their products to the same regulatory approvals process as other medicines available on the NHS. If an e-cigarette gets MHRA approval, doctors could then decide on a case-by-case basis whether it would be appropriate to prescribe an e-cigarette to a patient to help them quit smoking.
Dr June Raine, the chief executive of the MHRA, said the evidence was ''clear'' that e-cigarettes are less harmful to health than smoking tobacco and that e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking for good. ''The updated guidance on licensing requirements we have published today is a strong first step towards availability of safe and effective licensed e-cigarette products.''
The NHS said the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) would have to give the green light to e-cigarettes before they could be rolled out on the health service. A spokesperson added: ''The NHS will not be prescribing e-cigarettes unless Nice recommends them for use.''
Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature death. While rates are at record low levels in the UK, there are still about 6.1 million smokers in England. There are also alarming differences in rates across the country, with smoking rates in Blackpool (23.4%) and Kingston upon Hull (22.2%) vastly higher than rates in wealthier areas such as Richmond upon Thames (8%).
E-cigarettes were the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit in England in 2020. The number of e-cigarette users grew from about 700,000 in 2012 to 3.6 million in 2019, falling to 3.2 million in 2020 before rising again in 2021 to 3.6 million.
Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said: ''Opening the door to a licensed e-cigarette prescribed on the NHS has the potential to tackle the stark disparities in smoking rates across the country, helping people stop smoking wherever they live and whatever their background.''
'Almost schizophrenic': Judge rips DOJ approach to Jan. 6 prosecutions - POLITICO
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 11:29
Howell then made clear that she considered all participants in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach '-- which the Justice Department now estimates at 2,000 to 2,500 people '-- enablers of an assault against the republic.
''The damage to the reputation of our democracy, which is usually held up around the world '... that reputation suffered because of Jan. 6,'' Howell said, noting that the mob chased lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence into hiding, and sent staffers ducking under their desks for cover.
''The rioters attacking the Capitol on Jan. 6 were not mere trespassers engaging in protected First Amendment conduct or protests,'' Howell added. ''They were not merely disorderly, as countless videos show the mob that attacked the Capitol was violent. Everyone participating in the mob contributed to that violence.''
Howell's harsh words for the Justice Department came as she sentenced Jack Griffith of Tennessee to three years probation for breaching the Capitol for about 10 minutes on Jan. 6 amid the broader attack. Prosecutors had asked for a three-month jail term for Griffith, who faced a maximum of six months on the charge he pleaded guilty to, of ''parading'' or demonstrating inside the Capitol.
Howell's decision was a highly anticipated milestone in the wide-ranging prosecution of more than 700 Jan. 6 defendants. She has taken a leading role in pressing prosecutors to consider the broader threat to democracy that the riot presented when considering charges and punishment for participants. And her words, as the chief of the District Court blocks from the Capitol, often carry more weight than those of her colleagues. She has consistently expressed alarm and skepticism about prosecutors' ginger language and approach to some of the initial cases before her court '-- and she attributed public ''confusion'' about the seriousness of the Capitol attack to the government's approach.
''After all that scorching rhetoric ... the government goes on to describe the rioters who got through the police lines and got into the building as 'those who trespassed,''' Howell said. ''This was no mere trespass.''
The judge indicated she considered the sentence she imposed on Griffith relatively light, but said it was the result of prosecutors' decisions to resolve his case and others. Howell said there was a disconnect between the nearly apocalyptic language prosecutors have used in court filings about the Jan. 6 attack and what she called the ''most minimal'' charges the government settled for in plea deals.
''I don't think it's any secret to say that federal judges rarely deal with Class B petty offenses. This is not our normal diet of criminal conduct,'' Howell said, adding that such crimes are typically resolved with ''a $50 ticket.''
Howell said there were indications that prosecutors had displayed ''sort of an evolving, changing position'' in their sentencing recommendations related to Jan. 6. But she noted that federal law requires judges to avoid unwarranted disparities when sentencing defendants for similar conduct.
Howell also noted that the decision to allow many defendants to plead to petty offenses essentially stripped judges of the ability to alter the $500 restitution the government has agreed to in those cases.
''From where I sit, my hands are tied with respect to restitution,'' the judge said.
Howell noted that even if every rioter paid the $500, it would amount to about $300,000, which she called ''barely a drop in the bucket.'' She estimated that the total cost of the riot '-- based on government spending to reimburse law enforcement agencies and repair damage to the Capitol '-- exceeded $560 million.
At one point, the judge asked whether officials as high as Attorney General Merrick Garland had weighed in on the sentences to be pursued in Capitol riot cases.
''I'm not aware of the specifics of how plea agreements have been run up the chain. I know they have been,'' Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie Carter said.
During the lengthy sentencing hearing, Howell also emphasized that some of the judges have felt ''played'' by defendants who received light sentences by expressing remorse, only to recant after their cases were resolved. Howell specifically referenced the case of Anna Morgan-Lloyd, who took to Fox News after her sentence and said she didn't witness any violence at the Capitol.
Morgan-Lloyd's attorney Heather Shaner '-- who also represents Griffith '-- told Howell that Morgan-Lloyd was ''played'' by Fox host Laura Ingraham.
''It wasn't a lack of remorse. It was her stupidity to go on that forum,'' Shaner said of her client. ''I felt humiliated, I felt betrayed.''
Griffith addressed Howell to express regret for his actions and suggest he never wished violence upon those in the Capitol '-- despite his embrace of pro-Trump election conspiracy theories and encouragement of those storming the building. But Howell said his contrition couldn't be trusted, considering he has never repudiated his belief that the election was stolen and appeared driven to criminal conduct by misinformation.
''You're not a lemming, Mr. Griffith,'' she said. ''You can think for yourself.''
Mastercard is preparing its infrastructure for the deployment of CBDCs
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 11:04
During an earnings call with investors and stakeholders, Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard, discussed his positive outlook on the cryptocurrency industry. The company has not only seen sizable volume growth in consumers using their Mastercards to purchase crypto but has also secured several partnerships with cryptocurrency firms. But Miebach's most ambitious viewpoint emerged during a discussion regarding central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, saying:
"We are saying at this point in time, the most likely chance for this kind of technology to work for payments is if it's issued through a government in the form of a CBDC. We said that on a couple of calls before, and we said that we will make our network ready to do that as and when a government is ready to put out a CBDC that will exist alongside the dollar or the euro as a settlement currency in our network."
Miebach remained confident on Mastercard's role in the matter, stating "We can provide a safe space for government and private sector banks to figure out how that will actually work."
Talk of CBDCs has continued to rapidly gain traction over the past year. On Oct.21, the Bahamas became the first country in the world to issue a CBDC '-- known as the "Sand Dollar". Just a few days later, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced plans to unveil its own eNaira CBDC in the country.
According to Statistica, Mastercard processed 113 billion transactions across the globe last year '-- just behind Visa's 188 billion and Union Pay's 151 billion.
The world's third-largest payment processor has taken a keen interest in the cryptocurrency space in recent months. On Monday, Mastercard announced it would partner with cryptocurrency marketplace Bakkt to enable its U.S. customers to trade digital currencies. In September, the company declared that it would acquire blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace to track illicit transactions across 900 different cryptocurrencies. However, CEO Miebach has taken a more risk-averse approach to the industry as a whole, as stated in the company's third-quarter earnings call:
"Questions like the last mile '-- how do you bring utility into the hands of your citizens if you put out a CBDC. Acceptance questions and so forth. So, facilitating investments as an asset class, we do that, and we get ready for CBDCs. Should there be a private sector stablecoin? We might also do that. But we have very strict principles on when to do this and when not."
Austin man shot, killed by police after city's attempt to cut his grass leads to standoff, house fire, officials say
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 11:00
A code inspector also suffered a minor shoulder injury during the standoff, reports say What started as Austin city personnel helping cut a man's lawn quickly turned into a deadly situation after gunshots were fired, an hourslong standoff with police ensued, the house caught fire and the man was fatally shot by officers, according to Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon. (Austin PD)AUSTIN, Texas '' What started as Austin city personnel helping cut a man's lawn quickly turned into a deadly situation after gunshots were fired, an hourslong standoff with police ensued, the house caught fire and the man was fatally shot by officers, according to Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon.
The incident began at 9:16 a.m., Wednesday, at a home in the 10600 block of Pinkney Lane in the Circle C Ranch neighborhood.
Officers were first called to the home to serve a nuisance search warrant, but they were unable to find the man, according to Chief Chacon.
The warrant was left at the door by officers as city personnel began working on trimming the man's lawn. However, around 10:21 a.m., authorities said the man began firing gunshots at them from inside of the home.
Officers backed off and were able to take cover and get all of the city staff to safety, according to Chief Chacon.
SWAT, mental health officers and a crisis negotiator were called to assist police on scene, as the man would still not leave his home.
Out of precaution, officials closed the neighborhood to traffic, asked residents to shelter in place, and placed Kiker Elementary School on lockdown, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Officers and SWAT spent hours trying to get into contact with the man to coax him out of his home but were unsuccessful, according to Chief Chacon.
Around 3 p.m., the man reportedly began shooting at officers again at the back of the home, and police decided the next step was to deploy a robot to enter the residence from the front.
That's how officers determined a fire had been started and was quickly spreading on the inside, according to Chief Chacon. Still, the man continued to hole up in his home, even though it became fully engulfed in flames.
Police said eventually the man came out through the garage door, but he was armed with weapons. That's when a SWAT officer fired a gunshot at the man and struck and injured him.
Officials treated his life-threatening injuries at the scene before he was taken by EMS to an area hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased.
A code inspector also suffered a minor shoulder injury during the standoff while seeking cover, according to the Statesman. However, no other injuries were reported.
The house fire was extinguished by Austin Fire Department and the flames were contained from spreading to other neighboring homes, according to Chief Chacon. The lockdown at Kiker Elementary was also lifted.
The SWAT officer who shot the man will be placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues, according to Chief Chacon.
The man's identity has not yet been released, though reports say based on Travis County records, Robert B. Richart owns the property.
The Statesman reports that on Aug. 12, the city notified Richart that he had violated city code after not mowing his grass and that ''weeds were more than a foot tall.'' He was ordered to mow the lawn at the latest, by Aug. 19.
The purpose of city personnel visiting the man's home was to make sure he was in compliance with the homeowners association, according to a report from NBC News.
''They attempted to cut the lawn for him, and this is the reaction they got,'' said Austin Police spokesperson Jose Mendez in a statement.
We'll bring more updates to this story as they become available.
More on KSAT:Argument led to West Side shooting, police say
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About the Author:Cody King Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.
Biden Administration in Talks to Pay Hundreds of Millions to Immigrant Families Separated at Border - WSJ
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 04:00
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UK study finds vaccinated people easily transmit Delta variant in households | Reuters
Fri, 29 Oct 2021 02:01
People walk past a sign encouraging the public to get their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine doses in Manchester, Britain, October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo
LONDON, Oct 28 (Reuters) - The Delta coronavirus variant can transmit easily from vaccinated people to their household contacts, a British study found on Thursday, although contacts were less likely to get infected if they were vaccinated themselves.
The Imperial College London study illustrates how the highly transmissible Delta variant can spread even in a vaccinated population.
The researchers underlined that did not weaken the argument for vaccination as the best way of reducing serious illness from COVID-19 and said booster shots were required.
They found infections in the vaccinated cleared more quickly, but the peak viral load remained similar to the unvaccinated.
"By carrying out repeated and frequent sampling from contacts of COVID-19 cases, we found that vaccinated people can contract and pass on infection within households, including to vaccinated household members," Dr Anika Singanayagam, co-lead author of the study, said.
"Our findings provide important insights into... why the Delta variant is continuing to cause high COVID-19 case numbers around the world, even in countries with high vaccination rates."
The study, which enrolled 621 participants, found that of 205 household contacts of people with Delta COVID-19 infection, 38% of household contacts who were unvaccinated went on to test positive, compared to 25% of vaccinated contacts.
Vaccinated contacts who tested positive for COVID-19 on average had received their shots longer ago than those who tested negative, which the authors said was evidence of waning immunity and supported the need for booster shots.
Imperial epidemiologist Neil Ferguson said that the transmissibility of Delta meant that it was unlikely Britain would reach "herd immunity" for long.
"That may happen in the next few weeks: if the epidemic's current transmission peaks and then starts declining, we have by definition in some sense reached herd immunity, but it is not going to be a permanent thing," he told reporters.
"Immunity wanes over time, it is imperfect, so you still get transmission happening, and that is why the booster programme is so important."
Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Barbara Lewis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Here's how Biden's Build Back Better framework would tax the rich
Thu, 28 Oct 2021 20:57
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President Joe Biden issued a $1.75 trillion social and climate spending plan on Thursday. About $1 trillion would be financed by higher taxes on wealthy Americans.The Build Back Better proposal would levy a tax surcharge on Americans who earn more than $10 million, invest in more IRS enforcement and raise taxes for some business owners.It's unclear whether the plan has the full backing of Democrats in the House and Senate.President Joe Biden delivers remarks on his proposed Build Back Better social spending bill in the White House on Oct. 28, 2021
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The White House issued a framework for a $1.75 trillion social and climate spending bill on Thursday '-- and would finance more than half of it from tax reforms aimed at wealthy Americans.
The plan would raise revenue by levying a tax surcharge on those making more than $10 million a year, raising taxes for some high-income business owners and strengthening IRS tax enforcement, according to the outline.
The framework was the product of several months of negotiations between moderate and progressive Democrats. Together, proposals targeting wealthy taxpayers would raise about $1 trillion of the nearly $2 trillion of total revenue being raised. (The rest would come from new taxes on corporations and stock buybacks, for example.)
President Joe Biden said the legislation was fully paid for and would help reduce the federal budget deficit.
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"I don't want to punish anyone's success; I'm a capitalist," President Biden said in a speech Thursday. "All I'm asking is, pay your fair share."
Biden reiterated that households earning less than $400,000 a year wouldn't "pay a penny more" in federal taxes and would likely get a tax cut from the proposal, via elements like the enhanced child tax credit, and reduced costs on child care and health care.
The framework omits specifics beyond high-level detail. But it seems to abandon many tax proposals issued last month by the House Ways and Means Committee, even while the overarching policy goal of targeting the wealthy is the same.
For example, the framework doesn't raise the current top 37% income tax rate or 20% top rate on investment income (with the exception of multimillionaires subject to the proposed surtax). It also wouldn't impose new required distributions from big retirement accounts or alter rules around estate taxes and trusts, for example.
"It's far slimmed down," said Kyle Pomerleau, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank. "It forgoes a lot of things they'd proposed in the House bill."
Of course, the proposal needs near-unanimous backing from Democrats in the House and Senate, given their razor-thin majorities, and it's unclear whether it has the party's full support.
Here are some of the major provisions in the Build Back Better framework.
Millionaire and billionaire surtaxThe plan would impose a new surtax on the top 0.02% of Americans, according to the White House.
There would be a 5% surtax on adjusted gross income of more than $10 million, and an additional 3% (or, a total 8% surtax) on income of more than $25 million.
The surtax is estimated to raise $230 billion over 10 years.
"This is one of the main provisions in here that directly taxes the wealthy," said Garrett Watson, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation.
It would affect a much larger number of people than another tax floated by Senate Democrats earlier this week on the wealth of billionaires. That tax would have affected about 700 people, whereas the millionaire surtax would perhaps affect hundreds of thousands of people, according to Watson's rough estimate.
Essentially, an 8% surtax would mean the highest earners pay a top 45% federal marginal income tax rate on wages and business income. (They currently pay 37%.)
They'd also pay a top 28% top federal rate on long-term capital gains and dividends, plus the existing 3.8% net investment income tax on high earners. (Taxes on long-term capital gains apply to growth on stocks and other assets sold after one year of ownership. The top tax rate is currently 20%.)
That the tax seems to apply to "adjusted gross income" and not "taxable income" is significant, Watson said.
That's because the AGI measure reflects income before it's reduced by charitable contributions and other tax breaks '-- meaning the surtax would encompass more taxpayers.
IRS enforcementSOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images
Democrats' plan would make investments in IRS enforcement to help close the so-called tax gap.
The top 1% evade more than $160 billion per year in taxes, according to the White House.
Relative to other taxpayers, they get a bigger share of income from opaque sources, such as certain business arrangements that aren't as readily subject to tax reporting or withholding, according to Watson.
The IRS would hire enforcement agents trained to pursue wealthy tax evaders, overhaul 1960s-era technology and invest in taxpayer services to help ordinary Americans, according to the White House.
It estimates these measures would raise $400 billion over 10 years '-- the single-biggest revenue raiser in the proposal.
However, some question how lawmakers arrived at that revenue figure. The Treasury Department estimated last month that an $80 billion IRS investment would generate $320 billion in revenue over a decade.
Business incomeThere are two provisions in the Build Back Better framework related to business income.
One would apply a 3.8% Medicare surtax to all income from pass-through businesses and another would limit a tax break on business losses for the wealthy.
The reforms would raise $250 billion and $170 billion, respectively, over a decade, according to estimates.
Currently, the owners of most pass-through businesses are subject to a 3.8% self-employment tax or net investment income tax. (Such businesses, like sole proprietorships and partnerships, pass their earnings to owners' individual tax returns.)
However, some profits (namely, those of S corporations) aren't subject to the 3.8% net investment income tax, which was created by the Affordable Care Act to fund Medicare expansion. The proposal would close this loophole for wealthy business owners. (The proposal doesn't specify an income threshold.)
The second proposal is also somewhat vague on business losses. But the House tax proposal last month, which contained a similar measure, may offer a clue; it would permanently disallow excess business losses (meaning, net tax deductions that exceed their business income).
This applies to businesses that aren't structured as a corporation.
Adam Curry's Metaverse | EW.com
Thu, 28 Oct 2021 20:33
It may come as a shock, but MTV's erstwhile poufy-haired veejay is something of a cyber-rebel. Back in the day before big corporations like Viacom got a whiff of how ''cool'' the Internet was with the kids, Curry posted a music news forum at mtv.com. But now, due to a legal battle over the name, he has relocated to Metaverse with Adam Curry's Metaverse. What you will find there is a stockpile of regularly updated rock news and gossip, super-slick graphics, and handy links to other rocksites on the Net. Best of all, you'll sleep a little easier at night knowing that, at least for one person, there's life after MTV's Top 20 Video Countdown. B+
Democrats unveil billionaires' tax as Biden plan takes shape
Thu, 28 Oct 2021 13:42
Pushing past skeptics, Senate Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a new billionaires' tax proposal, an entirely new entry in the tax code designed to help pay for President Joe Biden's sweeping domestic policy package and edge his party closer to an overall agreement.
The proposed tax would hit the gains of those with more than $1 billion in assets or incomes of more than $100 million a year, and it could begin to shore up the big social services and climate change plan Biden is racing to finish before departing this week for global summits.
The new billionaires' proposal, coupled with a new 15% corporate minimum tax, would provide alternative revenue sources that Biden needs to win over one key Democrat, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who had rejected the party's earlier idea of reversing the Trump-era tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy to raise revenue.
Biden met late Tuesday evening with Sinema and another Democratic holdout, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, at the White House.
''No senator wants to stand up and say, 'Gee, I think it's just fine for billionaires to pay little or no taxes for years on end,''' said Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, helming the new effort.
Biden and his party are zeroing in on at least $1.75 trillion in health care, child care and climate change programs, scaling back what had been a $3.5 trillion plan, as they try to wrap up negotiations this week.
Taken together, the new tax on billionaires and the 15% corporate minimum tax are designed to fulfill Biden's desire for the wealthy and big business to pay their ''fair share.'' They also fit his promise that no new taxes hit those earning less than $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for couples. Biden insists all the new spending will be fully paid for and not piled onto the national debt.
While the new tax proposals have appeared agreeable to Manchin and could win over Sinema, whose support is needed in the 50-50 split Senate where Biden has no votes to spare, the idea of the billionaires' tax has run into criticism from other Democrats as cumbersome or worse.
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he told Wyden the billionaires' tax may be more difficult to implement than the route his panel took in simply raising rates on corporations and the wealthy.
Under Wyden's emerging plan, the billionaires' tax would hit the wealthiest of Americans, fewer than 800 people, starting in the 2022 tax year, according to a person familiar with the plan who insisted on anonymity to discuss it.
It would require those with assets of more than $1 billion, or three consecutive years of income of $100 million, to pay taxes on the gains of stocks and other tradeable assets, rather than waiting until holdings are sold.
A similar billionaires' tax would be applied to non-tradeable assets, including real estate, but it would be deferred with the tax not assessed until the asset was sold, though interest would have to be paid.
Overall, the billionaires' tax rate would align with the capital gains rate, now 23.8%. Democrats have said it could raise $200 billion in revenue that could help fund Biden's package over 10 years.
''I've been talking about this for years,'' said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who campaigned for the presidency on a wealth tax, and backs Wyden's approach. ''I've even made billionaires cry over this.''
Republicans have derided the billionaires' tax as ''harebrained,'' and some have suggested it would face a legal challenge.
And key fellow Democrats were also raising concerns about the billionaires' tax, saying the idea of simply undoing the 2017 tax cuts by hiking top rates was more straightforward and transparent.
Under the House bill approved by Neal's panel, the top individual income tax rate would rise from 37% to 39.6%, on those earning more than $400,000 a year, or $450,000 for couples. The corporate rate would increase from 21% to 26.5%. The bill also proposes a 3% surtax on the wealthiest Americans with adjusted income beyond $5 million a year.
With Sinema rejecting the House's approach to taxes and Manchin panning the new spending on programs, the senators have packed a one-two punch, throwing Biden's overall plan into flux.
That was also forcing difficult reductions, if not the outright elimination, of policy priorities '-- from paid family leave to child care to dental, vision and hearing aid benefits for seniors.
The once hefty climate change strategies are losing some punch, too, focusing away from punitive measures on polluters that raised objections from coal-state Manchin, in a shift toward instead rewarding clean energy incentives.
Manchin's resistance may scuttle one other tax idea '-- a plan to give the IRS more resources to go after tax scofflaws. He said he told Biden during their weekend meeting at the president's home in Delaware that that plan was ''messed up'' and would allow the government to monitor bank accounts.
All told, Biden's package remains a substantial undertaking '-- and could still top $2 trillion in perhaps the largest effort of its kind from Congress in decades. But it's far slimmer than the president and his party first envisioned.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told lawmakers in a closed meeting Tuesday they were on the verge of ''something major, transformative, historic and bigger than anything else'' ever attempted in Congress, according to another person who insisted on anonymity to share her private remarks to the caucus.
Other leading Democrats began to lend their backing to the emerging deal.
''We know that we are close,'' said Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, after a meeting with Biden at the White House. ''And let me be explicitly clear: Our footprints and fingerprints are on this.''
From the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden still hoped to have a deal in hand to show foreign leaders the U.S. government was performing effectively on climate change and other major issues. But she acknowledged that might not happen, forcing him to keep working on the package from afar.
She warned about failure as opposed to compromise.
''The alternative to what is being negotiated is not the original package,'' she said. ''It is nothing.''
Democrats are hoping to reach an agreement by week's end, paving the way for a House vote on a related $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill before routine transportation funds expire Sunday. That separate roads-and-bridges bill stalled when progressive lawmakers refused to support it until deliberations on the broader Biden bill were complete.
Associated Press writers Farnoush Amiri, Darlene Superville and Colleen Long contributed to this report.