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Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 72,624

Journal Archives

Employees Are Quitting Instead of Giving Up Working From Home


While companies from Google to Ford Motor Co. and Citigroup Inc. have promised greater flexibility, many chief executives have publicly extolled the importance of being in offices. Some have lamented the perils of remote work, saying it diminishes collaboration and company culture. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon said at a recent conference that it doesn’t work “for those who want to hustle.”

But legions of employees aren’t so sure. If anything, the past year has proved that lots of work can be done from anywhere, sans lengthy commutes on crowded trains or highways. Some people have moved. Others have lingering worries about the virus and vaccine-hesitant colleagues.

And for Twidt, there’s also the notion that some bosses, particularly those of a generation less familiar to remote work, are eager to regain tight control of their minions.

“They feel like we’re not working if they can’t see us,” she said. “It’s a boomer power-play.”

It’s still early to say how the post-pandemic work environment will look. Only about 28% of U.S. office workers are back at their buildings, according to an index of 10 metro areas compiled by security company Kastle Systems. Many employers are still being lenient with policies as the virus lingers, vaccinations continue to roll out and childcare situations remain erratic.

The New York Mayoral Election Is No Longer Andrew Yang's To Lose


Let me take you back to 2013. Everyone had “Get Lucky” stuck in their heads, TikToks were called Vines, and former Rep. Anthony Weiner and then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn led in early polls of the Democratic primary for New York City’s open mayoral seat. But about a month before the primary, then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio surged into the lead and eventually became Gotham’s 109th mayor.

Could something similar happen in 2021? As my colleague Alex Samuels wrote in March, 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang started off this year’s campaign as a clear front-runner. A pretty representative April poll from Ipsos/Spectrum News NY1 found that Yang was the first choice1 of 22 percent of likely voters, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams had 13 percent and City Comptroller Scott Stringer had 11 percent. Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia pulled up the rear at 4 percent, after four other candidates in the single digits.

But three polls of the race released in the past week paint a different picture of the race:

After spending much of the race as the first choice of at least 20 percent — sometimes even 30 percent — of voters, Yang has fallen back into the teens and is roughly tied with Adams … and with Garcia, who is now polling in the double digits even according to a Yang internal poll. (In fact, the most recent poll, from Emerson College/PIX11 News, showed Garcia getting 21 percent of first-choice votes and winning the Democratic nomination after 11 rounds of instant runoffs. However, so far, this poll is an outlier.)

Arizona plans to execute prisoners with a lethal gas the Nazis used at Auschwitz

Source: Washington Post

Arizona is taking steps to use hydrogen cyanide, the deadly gas used during the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis at Auschwitz and other extermination camps, to kill inmates on death row.

Corrections officials have refurbished a gas chamber that hasn’t been used in more than 20 years and have procured ingredients for the lethal gas, also known as Zyklon B, according to partially redacted documents obtained by the Guardian. Invoices show that the state purchased a brick of potassium cyanide, sodium hydroxide pellets and sulfuric acid, and a report details the considerable efforts taken to deem the gas chamber at a prison in Florence, Ariz., “operationally ready.”

Critics of the gas method say that in addition to hydrogen cyanide’s infamous use in the mass killings of Jewish people by the Nazis, it has produced some of the most botched, disturbing executions in the United States.

“You have to wonder what Arizona was thinking in believing that in 2021 it is acceptable to execute people in a gas chamber with cyanide gas,” Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told the British outlet. “Did they have anybody study the history of the Holocaust?”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/06/01/arizona-gas-chamber-execution/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

Melanie Stansbury wins NM-01


As Leahy ponders reelection, potential successors prepare for a vacancy


Sen. Patrick Leahy has a decision to make, and everyone’s waiting.

In the coming months, the 81-year-old Vermont Democrat is expected to disclose whether he will seek a ninth term in the U.S. Senate or step down. The retirement of the fifth longest-serving member in Senate history would open up at least one of the state’s three congressional seats for the first time in 16 years.

The prospect has prompted some of Vermont’s top politicians to prepare for a changing of the guards.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., who is widely seen as an heir apparent to Leahy, has beefed up his political operation and public appearance schedule in recent months. Vermont Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, D-Windham, told VTDigger she is “definitely considering” running for Congress in 2022 if there’s an opening, though she ruled out challenging Leahy or Welch.

NYC Mayor: Progressives' primary power outage: Morales, Stringer and Wiley are all stalled

New York Daily News

But for progressives concerned about blowing their shot at City Hall — to Yang, whose support has started to sag as New Yorkers finally start keying in on the contest and chafing at the idea of voting for a mayor who’s never bothered voting for a mayor himself in 25 years living here and doesn’t know that much about how the city actually functions, or to tightly wound and suspiciously transactional ex-cop and ex-Republican Eric Adams or to the highly competent and dispositionally moderate Kathryn Garcia, who’s shot up since The News and the Times endorsed her — time is running awfully short.

There’s Morales, whose campaign is publicly imploding. Stringer, who progressives have already fled from and wounded in the process. And Maya Wiley, who helped avert the police reform she says she’d fight for as mayor when she was counsel to Mayor de Blasio and then chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and whose campaign has yet to catch fire even as it’s hemorrhaged money so that she has much less to spend over the homestretch than her competitors.

With the City Council poised to move even farther left, and quite possibly also the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the progressives’ circular firing squad hitting the three candidates who are calling for money and authority to be taken away from the NYPD could end up as a figurative bullet dodged for New York City, where literal bullets have flown over the last year as the number of shooting victims literally doubled.

As I've said before, NYC is heavily Democratic (a 7-1 margin) but that does not translate to heavily left-wing.

Justices unanimously rule against asylum seekers on question of credibility

Source: SCOTUSBlog

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with the federal government in a dispute over when federal courts can treat asylum seekers’ testimony as credible. In a unanimous opinion in the consolidated cases of Garland v. Dai and Garland v. Alcaraz-Enriquez, the court rejected the approach of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which had previously taken asylum seekers’ testimony as credible when reviewing cases where immigration courts were silent on applicants’ credibility. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion for the court.

In argument and briefing, the government contended that the 9th Circuit approach violated standards of federal court review. Under the “substantial evidence” standard, federal courts accept the immigration courts’ factual determinations unless the record compels a contrary conclusion. The government argued that the 9th Circuit’s rule allowed federal courts to reject agency decisions even when not compelled to do so.

The asylum seekers, meanwhile, argued that administrative law principles supported the lower court’s approach. In particular, they argued that the rule flows from the Chenery doctrine, which requires federal courts to review an agency’s reasons and findings as given. The asylum seekers asserted that the government’s approach would allow federal courts to affirm on the basis of adverse credibility findings that the agency never made.

In siding with the government, the Supreme Court concluded that the 9th Circuit’s rule “cannot be reconciled” with the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which mandates a “highly deferential” standard of review when federal courts review decisions of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Read more: https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/06/justices-unanimously-rule-against-asylum-seekers-on-question-of-credibility/

Why Gillibrand wants to run for president again

Albany Times-Union

WASHINGTON — After an early departure from the 2020 field, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wants to run for president again, but not in 2024, she said.

"It was such an inspiring experience I hope that some day I get to do it again," the Democrat said in an interview this week. " I don’t know when. It’s not something immediate. It’s something far in the future.”

Gillibrand launched her campaign for president, framing herself as a "young mom" focused on helping America's families, but she failed to break out of a crowded campaign field and terminated her run in August 2019 when she did not qualify for the third presidential debate.

Looking back, Gillibrand says "it wasn't my time and it was very clear, very early."

Shenectady: RESCUED! Tree service rescues cat stuck up in a tree for a week


SCHENECTADY, NY (WRGB) — Seven days after a cat was found stuck up in a tree at Central Park, a local tree service has come to the rescue.

Concerned residents had been trying for days to figure out a way to get the cat down.

We were told when they called city agencies including the Schenectady Police Department and Schenectady Fire Department for help, they were told there’s not much they can do.

So, residents wanted to hire a private tree service company to get the cat down, but since the park is city property, they would need city approval before they can operate there.

On Monday, they received that much needed approval. A tree service company, Allmark Tree & Crane Service, received the green light from the mayor to get the cat down.

With assistance from the Schenectady Fire Dept., the tree service company was able to safely rescue the cat.

Somaliland Parliamentary Elections: Peace and Democracy

Europe Elects

Initially rickety, Somalilander democracy seems much more solid today than at the beginning of the century. In 2010 and later in 2017 the country experienced two peaceful presidential alternations in office, an unprecedented achievement for the region. A miracle which is largely based on the establishment of a particular political system: for the historian Gérald Prunier, ‘Somaliland incorporated its old clan conflict management mechanisms into British common law to achieve a new form of democracy’.

Somaliland has a bicameral presidential political system, which combines three electoral modalities :
= The President is elected by universal, single-round ballot for a four-year term.
= The House of Representatives, which will be elected on May 31, is made up of 82 deputies, elected by multi-member proportional representation for a period of five years.
= The House of Elders is a de facto non-elected assembly, made up of traditional tribal leaders and responsible for revising the bills passed by the House of Representatives.

Only three political parties are allowed to participate in presidential and legislative elections at once. These are determined according to the results of the municipal elections, which take place once every ten years: the three parties which receive at least 20% of the vote in every constituency of the country (or, failing that, those which receive the most votes nationwide) enjoy national electoral accreditation. This system aims for parties to unite at the national level and therefore to reduce political tribalism.

Undoubtedly, democratic life in Somaliland is far from ideal. Elections are regularly postponed due to organisational or economic difficulties: the current House of Representatives has not been renewed for sixteen years, and the Chamber of Elders does not have a strict renewal procedure. Additionally, suspicions of corruption regularly hang over elected officials, although these denunciations are less recurrent than in the past. But Somaliland is still moving in the direction of increasing liberal democratisation. The country is even, sometimes, a pioneer in the matter: during the 2017 presidential election, the authorities successfully used an iris recognition biometric system, in order to avoid double votes. A world first.

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