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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 73,015

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"We Do This For The Water": Indigenous Organizers Defend Menominee River

"We Do This For The Water": Indigenous Organizers Defend Menominee River
Indigenous water protectors confront massive mining companies, building community on the way.


(In These Times) The Menominee River forms Wisconsin’s Northeastern border with Michigan, winding for about 120 miles and opening into Lake Michigan’s Green Bay. About thirty-five miles from the mouth of the river sits the proposed location of the Back Forty Mine, a project by the Canadian mining company, Aquila Resources.

The open pit mine that the company intends to dig out of land a mere 150 feet from the Menominee River in Michigan would be deeper than the height of the tallest building in Wisconsin, at 750 feet. The proposed mine will extract gold and sulfide from the banks of the river.

Opponents of the mining project warn that sulfide wastes will pollute the Menominee River, which provides the spawning grounds for one of the largest populations of lake sturgeon in the Lake Michigan basin. Moreover, the proposed mining site sits on the original tribal homeland of the Menominee Nation, whose sacred place of origin lies at the mouth of the Menominee River. Sturgeon also have great cultural significance to the Menominee, whose reservation is currently located about 85 miles southwest of the proposed mine site.

And although the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality initially granted Aquila permission to build on that location, the company’s ability to begin mining has been stalled — possibly for good. Ruling in favor of the Menominee Nation, on January 5, a Michigan Administrative Law Judge revoked Aquila’s permit for an open pit mine. The decision was based largely on Aquila’s lack of information on the projected environmental impact of the Back Forty Mine and the dangers of cultural desecration to sacred sites in the homeland of the Menominee. ..............(more)


Florida Man Faces 30 Years for Vandalizing Asian American Family's Vehicles, Sending Threatening....

A Daytona Beach, Fla., man is facing up to 30 years in prison after being convicted this week of vandalizing vehicles belonging to an Asian American family with racial slurs.

What he did: Kyle Christiansen, 34, spray-painted two of the family’s vehicles and placed nails in their driveway on July 29, 2020.

* The vehicles, which were parked at the family’s home in New Smyrna Beach, were a black pickup truck owned by a male family member and a gray Honda sedan owned by his sister-in-law.

* They were defaced with the words “Die G**k Rat” and “G**k Retard Rat,” as per News Daytona Beach.

* The damages reportedly cost more than $5,000. Christiansen, who is currently in Volusia Sheriff's Office custody, was arrested in September 2020, according to WFTV.


Joe Manchin's "highly suspicious" reversal on voting bill follows donation from corporate lobby

(Salon) Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat famous for his vow to maintain the Senate filibuster and thereby scuttle much of President Biden's agenda, recently published an op-ed opposing the For the People Act, Democrats' whopping voting-rights bill. That article strongly echoed talking points from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — and appeared shortly after the influential pro-business lobby resumed donations to Manchin's campaign after nearly a decade.

Manchin, who co-sponsored the sweeping voting rights legislation in 2019 and has supported filibuster reform in the past, became the first Senate Democrat to oppose the bill this week while reiterating his opposition to changing the filibuster, a key roadblock to voting reform. Skeptical members of Manchin's party have questioned the reasons for his opposition, especially after after a recent poll found that a majority of West Virginia voters support changing the filibuster rules and that 79% of the state's voters — including a large majority of Republicans — support the For the People Act.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., suggested that Manchin's opposition to the proposal and filibuster reform may really be about measures in the bill aimed at cracking down on lobbyists and dark money.

"This is probably just as much a part of Joe Manchin's calculus than anything else," she told MSNBC on Tuesday. "You look at the Koch brothers and you look at organizations like the Heritage Foundation and conservative lobby groups that are doing a victory lap ... over the fact that Manchin refuses to change on the filibuster. And I think that these two things are very closely intertwined."

Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by billionaire Republican donor Charles Koch, has explicitly targeted Manchin in its pressure campaign to defeat the legislation even though their own data shows that provisions cracking down on dark money are highly popular, including among Republican voters. Heritage Action, the advocacy arm of the Koch-backed Heritage Foundation, organized a rally earlier this year to pressure Manchin to oppose the bill. Heritage Action has also partnered with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to craft model voting-restriction laws for Republican state legislators. A Heritage Action organizer boasted in a video obtained by Mother Jones that the group was behind key provisions of the controversial law recently passed in Georgia. ...........(more)


Mystery substance staining beachgoers' feet in Maine identified as bugs

June 9 (UPI) -- An ocean researcher said the mysterious black substance that has been staining the feet of visitors to Maine beaches is actually the crushed remains of tiny insects.

The York County Parks and Recreation Department said on its website that Department of Environmental Protection officials were investigating after multiple visitors to southern Maine beaches reported the bottoms of their feet had been stained by a black substance that was difficult to wash off.

The substance was initially thought to be algae, but John Lillibridge, a recently retired oceanographer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, examined a sample through a microscope and made a surprising discovery.

"Much to our surprise, it wasn't some kind of algae or an oil spill like you would expect, it was just a whole bunch of dead bugs in the water," Lillibridge told WMTW-TV. ...........(more)


Fear and anger in Canada after Muslim family is killed: 'How many more people have to die?'

(Guardian UK) As thousands of people gathered outside Canada’s second-largest mosque in London, Ontario, Reina Persaud was watching her niece and other children chalking brightly-coloured hearts all over the road.

The “pathway of hearts” was a tribute to the Afzaals, a local Muslim family, who every evening would take a walk around the neighbourhood, greeting neighbours and friends – and who were killed on Sunday in what police have described as a premeditated attack motivated by Islamophobia.

Members of three generations of the family died when a 20-year old man ploughed his pickup truck into them: Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, their daughter Yumna Afzaal, 15, Salman’s mother, Talat Afzaal, 74. The couple’s son, Fayez, nine, remains in the hospital.


The suspect, Nathaniel Veltman, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Sunday’s attack has spread fear and sadness across Muslim and racialized communities – but there is also growing anger at the country’s failure to curb racism and Islamophobia. .................(more)


Drunk Florida man arrested after boat crashes into Naples bridge

NAPLES, Fla. – A Florida man was arrested Tuesday after a boat crashed into the Gordon River Bridge around 9 p.m. in Naples.

Joseph Turner, 35, is facing a misdemeanor charge of disorderly intoxication after police said he jumped from the boat onto the bridge after he was repeatedly told not to, according to the Naples Police Department.

The boat, named ‘Double Sunshine,’ had gotten trapped against the bridge near the 1200 block of 5th Avenue S because of a strong tide, investigators said.

People on the boat were jumping from the boat’s top deck onto the bridge, the boat’s captain told police. ..............(more)


This Supreme Court case could fundamentally alter LGBTQ+ rights -- and not in a good way

(Salon) Arelatively obscure Supreme Court case heard last year could fundamentally alter the landscape of LGBTQ+ rights and anti-discrimination law — and given the court's current conservative supermajority, many community advocates fear the worst. The case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, arose last year from a civil suit involving Catholic Social Services (CSS), an agency with a history of denying services to same-sex couples. The city of Philadelphia suspended its private contract with CSS to manage foster care services, prompting the lawsuit.

Though the case has a relatively narrow focus — a fact the court may use to deliver a tightly focused ruling later this month — it could also have far-reaching consequences for government contractors and even private businesses, according to CNBC. The court's decision is expected to paint a clearer picture for the future of LGBTQ+ issues at the federal level — an area of significant concern for LGBTQ+ advocates following former President Trump's three conservative appointments.

What makes the Fulton case unusual is the dearth of legal precedents that might help predict how the court will rule. "There really are no cases at the Supreme Court level that are close to this one," said Douglas Laycock, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. "All the precedents are pretty general, and the facts in Fulton are unbelievably complicated. They could write this decision all kinds of different ways. It's really impossible to predict."

One key precedent in Fulton will likely be the Supreme Court's 1990 ruling in Employment Division v. Smith, when it found that the federal government didn't have to pay unemployment benefits to a Native American man who'd been fired from his job for consuming peyote, a hallucinogen used in Native ceremonies for thousands of years. The decision broadly established that religion could not be used as grounds for breaking the law. ..........(more)


NC: With bus drivers in short supply, some Triangle transit agencies must cut service

Jun. 8—RALEIGH — Some Triangle transit agencies are having trouble hiring enough bus drivers and are starting to cut back service as a result.

GoTriangle says it will temporarily suspend weekday buses between downtown Cary and Raleigh and reduce frequency on seven other routes across the region starting Monday, June 14.

Meanwhile, Chapel Hill Transit says it will modify its schedules this summer to deal with a deficit of 25 full-time and 15 part-time drivers. Brian Litchfield, the agency's director, said transit agencies across the country are struggling to attract and keep drivers.

"Like many systems we are implementing some adjustments to routes with hopes to return them as staffing levels stabilize," Litchfield wrote in an email. ..............(more)


Traveler sues Orlando airport, TSA for 'stranding' him in The Villages over mask mandate

Traveler sues Orlando airport, TSA for ‘stranding’ him in The Villages over mask mandate
CDC, TSA, Homeland Security, U.S. president named as defendants

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Washington D.C. man says he is stranded in The Villages after he was not allowed to board a flight last week when he declined to put on a face mask to comply with the federal mandate.

Now he’s suing federal agencies, the Orlando International Airport and President Joe Biden for damages, according to court documents.

Lucas Wall is the named plaintiff in the case. The complaint reads that Wall wants to permanently prohibit the enforcement of the Federal Transportation Mask Mandate and the International Traveler Testing Requirement.

Wall is filing the lawsuit after the Transportation Security Administration refused to let him board a flight out of OIA last week for not wearing a mask even though he says he has a qualifying disability, court records show. Wall said he has general anxiety disorder and previous attempts of wearing a mask have instigated symptoms of a panic attack, including hyperventilating and other breathing trouble. He carries a special card to evade mask-wearing during the pandemic, the lawsuit reads.

“I am currently stranded at my mother’s house in The Villages,” Wall, who is representing himself, writes in the suit. ................(more)


Special Report: Passenger Rail Stat Snapshot

Special Report: Passenger Rail Stat Snapshot
The light at the end of the pandemic’s tunnel seems to be getting closer with each passing week as new vehicle orders and infrastructure projects continue to progress.

Mischa Wanek-Libman
Jun 8th, 2021

In a typical pre-pandemic year, rail modes would account for nearly half of U.S. transit ridership. However, passenger rail providers are contending with deeper ridership reductions and many have not experienced the start of rebounds that bus modes have seen.

However, the industry is fighting to keep rail modes robust and viable options within the mobility mix through advocacy efforts and continued investment.

In late May, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) submitted testimony for the record to the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure urging the establishment of a passenger rail trust fund.

“Passenger rail is an underutilized mode, and ripe to connect with national and local transportation networks and rural areas with high-performance corridor services. These services will relieve congestion on highways and airspace and provide efficient, accessible, equitable and environmentally friendly mobility options. New and reinvigorated rail corridors will have multiple users and would connect seamlessly with Amtrak and local and regional public transit services,” APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas wrote. “Dedicated funding for passenger rail is critical to realize these goals.”


In April, the Chicago Transit Authority began to introduce its new 7000-series railcars into service on the Blue Line. The new cars incorporate additional safety and comfort amenities such as an active vehicle suspension system, new passenger information displays and a new interior seating configuration.

Sound Transit in Seattle, Wash., put its first Series 2 cars into service in May. The Series 2 cars have larger windows, wider center aisles, more room to stow luggage, seating for 70 and dynamic information displays. ..........(more)


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