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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 70,443

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COVID-19 Sparks a Rebirth of the Local Farm Movement

(YES! Magazine) When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the future of the Cannard Family Farm—whose organic vegetables supplied a single Berkeley restaurant—was looking stark.

Ross Cannard is the son of an iconic leader in the local organic movement in California. “Iconoclastic,” Ross says with a chuckle. Bob Cannard built his 30-year career by rejecting organic certification in favor of his own “better than organic” breed of “natural process agriculture,” enriching the soil on his Green String Farm with crushed rock and compost.

He and his son have long sold the fruits of their labor to the famous restaurant Chez Panisse, where, since 1971, chef Alice Waters has pioneered an elegant cuisine based entirely on fresh, local foods straight from the farm.

But in March, the stay-at-home order hit, and the restaurant closed. ...........(more)


Catastrophic Plunge in Jobs & Labor Force in Los Angeles, San Francisco/Silicon Valley Smacks into..

Catastrophic Plunge in Jobs & Labor Force in Los Angeles, San Francisco/Silicon Valley Smacks into Housing Bubbles
by Wolf Richter • May 22, 2020 •

Holy cow, Los Angeles. The economy is gradually opening up. But the exodus has started hard and heavy. And the influx has stopped.
By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

A little anecdotal thingy before we get into the horrifying data: I was on a call with a guy from Google – they want my WOLF STREET media mogul empire to spend money advertising on Google. He was working from home, and since he no longer has to go to Google’s office in Redwood City, he moved home to his parents in St. Louis, Missouri. One more soul gone from the Bay Area housing market, and he still has a job.

Coastal California is an expensive place, and if you lose your job, and you’re not rich, and maybe your stock options didn’t pan out, why stick it out? And if you can work from home, why spend a fortune on housing when you can spend a lot less elsewhere? These are the questions bedeviling millions of workers and former workers.

A housing market as inflated as California’s needs a constant influx of people to keep it going. And when people leave – either because their jobs have evaporated or because they can do their work-from-home somewhere else – well, then the housing markets, both renting and buying, head into trouble.

In Los Angeles County – with a population of 10 million – jobs fell off a cliff. This is where California’s largest and most intense outbreak of Covid-19 was threatening to spiral out of control, New-York-City-like. A lockdown and social distancing brought it under control and prevented a New-York-City-like tragedy. But the job market imploded. ..........(more)


These Women Leaders Are Turning Michigan From A 2020 Battleground Into Trump's Worst Nightmare

(Forbes) On Tuesday, President Trump visited a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan and the headlines are all about whether or not he wore a mask. But what was really revealed during Trump’s visit to the Wolverine state is just how much three of its top leaders, all of whom are women, are unnerving the President of United States and turning the 2020 political battleground into his personal nightmare.

For a President who has a well-known reputation for lobbing insults at women leaders, including his 2016 election rival Hillary Clinton, Trump may have finally met his match as he confronts not one, but three, strong Democratic women leaders who aren’t shy about confronting him. In doing so, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, are not only getting under the President’s skin, but they are getting the best of him as well.

First, it was first-term Governor Whitmer who was the center of the President’s ire as she implemented some of the nation’s most stringent shelter-in-place orders. As armed protestors swarmed the Michigan capital and the President urged Michigan to be ‘liberated,’ Whitmer stood firm. Then came Secretary Benson’s mailing of absentee ballot applications to all of Michigan’s voters, which triggered the President to threaten, via Twitter, the withholding of funds to the state, claiming the ballot application mailing was illegal (it isn’t). Trump’s targeting of Michigan was despite the fact that other Republican states like Georgia, Iowa, and Nebraska have made similar moves.

Then finally this week, Attorney General Dana Nessel got into a war of words with the President regarding his visit to the Ypsilanti Ford factory. The issue at stake was Trump’s general refusal to wear a face mask during his visit, despite state and local requirements that require otherwise. In the end, it appears the President, did wear a mask for at least part of his visit to the Ford factory. ..............(more)


Some Leaders Are Using COVID-19 To Build A Better Future. Others Are Using It As A Weapon.

(HuffPost) Moments of crisis have often been turning points in history, for good and for ill. COVID-19 and the social and economic earthquakes it has triggered have all the makings of an era-defining cataclysm. In the midst of the disaster, it’s impossible to know what the world that emerges will look like, but experts say one thing is clear ― its shape depends on the decisions leaders make now.

The pandemic could lead us down a dark path of authoritarianism, nationalism and mistrust ― the road mapped out, for example, by President Donald Trump’s attacks on the World Health Organization and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s tightening of his grip on power. But there’s another path, too, a more inclusive one beginning to emerge in places like Amsterdam, where leaders are embracing a philosophy that prioritizes residents’ well-being over economic growth, and South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in’s party won a landslide election victory on promises to weave climate action into its coronavirus recovery plans.

Internationally and domestically, the spread of COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated many societies’ deepest fault lines. How leaders respond to the crisis ― how they shape their countries’ recoveries, whose agendas they seek to serve ― could permanently shift the economic and political bedrock. Their choices may strengthen the tide of populism, racism and anti-immigrant sentiment that was already rising before the pandemic, or redeem liberal democracy’s failings and adapt it for a more equitable, resilient future.

“We’re at a crossroads,” said Åsa Persson, research director at the Stockholm Environment Institute. “There is a battle at the moment of these different world views, and time will tell what will be the outcome.” ..........(more)


Economist who predicted 2008 housing crash issues apocalyptic warning on COVID-19 economic recovery

(Raw Story) Economist Nouriel Roubini, who became famous after correctly predicting that a bursting housing bubble would cause a global financial crisis, has issued a dire warning about what will happen to the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As New York Magazine’s Eric Levitz reports, Roubini is predicting that the current recession will morph into a full-scale economic depression that will devastate societies across the globe.

“He foresees a slow, lackluster (i.e., ‘U-shaped’) economic rebound in the pandemic’s immediate aftermath,” Levitz writes. “But he insists that this recovery will quickly collapse beneath the weight of the global economy’s accumulated debts. Specifically, Roubini argues that the massive private debts accrued during both the 2008 crash and COVID-19 crisis will durably depress consumption and weaken the short-lived recovery.” ........(more)


Europe Gets Greener as U.S. Rolls Back Environmental Rule

(Bloomberg) --

The dangerous added-effects of air pollution during the pandemic have emerged as the latest partisan flashpoint in Washington. Research shows emissions may heighten the risk of complications and death from Covid-19.

Despite these dangers, and the 94,000 Americans already dead from the virus on his watch, President Donald Trump has continued to weaken environmental rules at the behest of the fossil fuel industry. Over the past few months the Environmental Protection Agency has intensified its three-year campaign to cut protections—for both the environment and public health.

Trump’s EPA is finalizing rules that ease fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles while attacking rules aimed at reducing mercury pollution at power plants. Last month, the agency opted not to strengthen air-quality requirements governing soot, and now it’s seeking to give retailers more time to sell outdated wood heaters that emit more smoke—and potentially lethal air pollution. ..............(more)


Big Gretch 1, Asshole Republicans in Michigan Legislature 0

Judge tosses Legislature's lawsuit over Gov. Whitmer's emergency powers

Updated 34 minutes ago

A judge has tossed a lawsuit filed by Republican lawmakers that challenged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's use of emergency powers to lockdown the state amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens sided with the governor, a Democrat, in an opinion issued Thursday afternoon that ends the lawsuit.

Legal experts had said such an outcome was likely. Republicans vowed to appeal the judge's ruling.

The lawsuit, filed May 7 by the Republican-controlled state House and Senate, argued that Whitmer's emergency orders, including the stay-at-home order that runs through May 28, were invalid because of a lack of statutory authority. ......(more)


The Next Recession Will Destroy Millennials

The Next Recession Will Destroy Millennials

Millennials are already in debt and without savings. After the next downturn, they’ll be in even bigger trouble.

The trade war is dragging on. The yield curve is inverting. Investors are fleeing to safety. Global growth is slowing. The stock market is dipping. The Millennials are screwed.

Recessions are never good for anyone. A sputtering economy means miserable financial, emotional, and physical-health consequences for everyone from infants to retirees. But the next one—if it happens, when it starts happening—stands to hit this much-maligned generation particularly hard. For adults between the ages of 22 and 38, after all, the last recession never really ended.

Millennials got bodied in the downturn, have struggled in the recovery, and are now left more vulnerable than other, older age cohorts. As they pitch toward middle age, they are failing to make it to the middle class, and are likely to be the first generation in modern economic history to end up worse off than their parents. The next downturn might make sure of it, stalling their careers and sucking away their wages right as the Millennials enter their prime earning years. .........(more)


Why It Matters That Jane Roe Says She Was Paid By The Religious Right

Why It Matters That Jane Roe Says She Was Paid By The Religious Right
The revelation from Norma McCorvey, known as Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade, is a reminder of the most powerful asset of the anti-abortion movement: money.

(HiffPost) Norma McCorvey was one of the anti-abortion movement’s biggest success stories. Republican lawmakers shared her story in Congress: how she went from the center of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Case that legalized abortion in 1973, to decrying the procedure as an anti-abortion activist. Abortion opponents invited her to speak at rallies, and legislators hosted her before committees.

When she died in 2017, anti-choice activists applauded her life as evidence that even ardent abortion rights supporters could see the light. 

Now that’s all coming apart. In “AKA Jane Roe,” an FX documentary filmed shortly before her death, McCorvey revealed that she was paid to advocate against abortion. One activist confirmed this; others have denied it.

The film might not change minds ― the anti-abortion movement is well-funded and energized by an increasingly religious Republican Party. But it shows the lengths to which anti-abortion groups are willing to go to fight against the right to terminate a pregnancy. Caught in the middle was a woman who grew up poor, survived a physically abusive childhood and later escaped an abusive husband. She was homeless for certain periods, and was closeted and shamed for being a gay woman throughout her life. .........(more)


Trump Repeats Unfounded Claims About Mail-In Voting, Threatens Funding To 2 States

(NPR) President Trump on Wednesday escalated his rhetorical campaign against an expansion of mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic by threatening the federal funding to two states with Democratic governors.

Trump appeared to be set off by an announcement the day before from Michigan's Democratic secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, who said her office will mail an absentee ballot application to every voter in the state for August and November elections.

Trump narrowly won Michigan in 2016, giving him the Electoral College votes needed to become president. Trump is expected to visit the state on Thursday to tour a Ford facility that has been repurposed to make ventilators. ........(more)


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