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Sunday, October 10, 2021

President Biden's social policy legislation aims to address a problem that weighs on many families - and the teachers and child care centers serving them. To understand the problems Democrats hope to solve with their supersized plan to make child care better and more affordable, ... many parents spend more for care than they do for mortgages, yet teachers get paid like fast food workers and centers cannot hire enough staff. read more

Friday, October 08, 2021

The Palm Beach Police and Fire Foundation is planning a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago this winter that will likely put some quarter-million dollars into Donald Trump's cash registers - despite the former president's incitement of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol that led to the deaths of five police officers and injuries to 140 more. read more

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Damian Williams, an unassuming figure with stellar credentials, is now the most powerful federal law enforcement official in Manhattan. "Beyond his extraordinary qualifications, Damian is the right person at this time in history to be the U.S. attorney for Manhattan," said Theodore V. Wells Jr., a Black partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss and one of the nation's most prominent litigators. read more

Twenty years ago, Judy Bolden served 18 months in a Florida prison. She has been free ever since, but she is still barred from voting by the state until she pays all court fines and fees associated with her conviction. [S]he said she had received a letter informing her that her outstanding debt was a few hundred dollars. Then she checked the Volusia County website and learned that she actually owes nearly $53,000. read more

A new study published Thursday in the journal Pediatrics attempts to quantify the vast hole left by these deaths, estimating that roughly 140,000 children under 18 may have lost parents or caregivers from March 2020 to June 2021 due to covid or other causes classified as pandemic-related. read more


Aggressive and violent clashes between customers and service workers over COVID safety protocols over the past nearly two years have led to prison sentences, fines and deaths.

Businesses have shut down in support of their employees. Some industries have provided self-defense classes and banded together on public awareness campaigns.

Workers in restaurants, bars, hotels (6.8%) and retail (4.7%) businesses quit at a higher rate in August than the record national rate (2.9%), new data from the Labor Department on Tuesday showed.

What they're saying: "I was extremely lucky to work in a place where the employer treated the employees well and everyone made excellent money. ... [Customers] did make me quit," former bartender who goes by Ash in West Virginia, tells Axios Today.

"What really hurts is that the same people whining about people on unemployment were the same people who would come in and treat the people actually working like [crap]," she continued, saying that she also moved to Michigan.

"[As] an essential business - [we] continued to work tirelessly through the entire pandemic ... All we ask for in return is empathy, courtesy and understanding," says Casey Carville, who runs a group of nonprofit veterinary clinics in Texas.

If consumer behavior doesn't improve, more workers may leave, putting the workers who stay at more risk of abuse and placing even greater challenges on businesses to operate.

Workers' fears would likely abate if more Americans get vaccinated and the risk of getting infected on the job declines. That would also allow businesses and local governments to ease up on mask mandates that workers are often tasked with enforcing.

The anti-vax/anti-mitigation crowd is actively sabotaging the US economy by terrorizing many front line workers, causing millions of people to choose their own sanity and safety over pulling in a paycheck that now feels like underwhelming combat pay. The abject selfishness and entitlement of folks like these are rotting away what's left of any notion of comity and community as they blindly assert the personal right to be outright -------- towards other Americans simply trying to serve them for a living.

Until their elder son started kindergarten this fall, Jessica and Matt Lolley paid almost $2,000 a month for their two boys' care - roughly a third of their income and far more than their payments on their three-bedroom house. But one of the teachers who watched the boys earns so little - $10 an hour - that she spends half her time working at Starbucks, where the pay is 50 percent higher and includes health insurance.

Democrats describe the problem as a fundamental market failure " it simply costs more to provide care than many families can afford " and are pushing an unusually ambitious plan to bridge the gap with federal subsidies.

The huge social policy bill being pushed by President Biden would cap families' child care expenses at 7 percent of their income, offer large subsidies to child care centers, and require the centers to raise wages in hopes of improving teacher quality. A version before the House would cost $250 billion over a decade and raise annual spending fivefold or more within a few years. An additional $200 billion would provide universal prekindergarten.

"This would be the biggest investment in the history of child care," said Stephanie Schmit, a child care expert at the Center for Law and Social Policy, a research group that supports the measure. "For too long, parents have had to struggle with the high cost of care, while child care providers have been incredibly undervalued and underpaid. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do right for everyone."

As Democrats describe it, child care is an issue not just of family finance but of macroeconomics (parents need it to join the work force); brain development (much of which happens before children start school); and racial equity (the low-paid work force is disproportionately composed of minorities).

And Republicans universally oppose these efforts by touting their usual false troika of boogeymen; socialism, regulation, and inflation. Yet again - mainly due to Republican recalcitrance - the United States finds itself near the bottom of countries who support young child care.
In the developed world, the United States is an outlier in its low levels of financial support for young children's care - something Democrats, with their safety net spending bill, are trying to change. The U.S. spends 0.2 percent of its G.D.P. on child care for children 2 and under - which amounts to about $200 a year for most families, in the form of a once-a-year tax credit for parents who pay for care.

The other wealthy countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development spend an average of 0.7 percent of G.D.P. on toddlers, mainly through heavily subsidized child care. Denmark, for example, spends $23,140 annually per child on care for children 2 and under.


Just another example of US exceptionalism at the wrong end of the metrics. And be sure to thank a Republican for keeping us there while cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires continues to be their main obsessive focus.

Until you make restitution, you should not get any rights restored.

Did you read the details at all? First, the people's amendment - which affirminately received 2/3rds of the vote - contained no such stipulation. The legislature inserted their own will to blunt what the voters actually passed because they deemed the new law would hurt the Republican Party at the ballot box. This is not a valid reason for passing laws. The law does not serve the Florida people, it only serves the GOP's political objective to limit ballot access to who they perceive as likely voters for other parties.

Second, Florida never had a comprehensive database or systems that kept track of these debts, making it impossible for many former convicts to even find out how much and to whom they owe money. If there are no or incomplete records, what is a person supposed to do?

Third, many of these debts have been turned over to debt collection companies which have tacked on exorbitant fees and interest onto some tabs pushing them into 10s of thousands of dollars. Not to mention that each additional court appearance adds further fees to their totals when ex-convicts try to adjudicate their new legislature-dictated situations.

Fourth, having your freedom taken away IS paying for your crime. If lawmakers are actually interested in restitution then they should create work opportunities for convicts still incarcerated to pay off their debts during their confinement, not actually add the additional sentence of being an indentured servant even after completing prison stints.

This is the way it's been in Florida for a century and a half, ever since the state's Constitution was amended shortly after the Civil War to bar those convicted of a felony from voting. That ban, like similar ones in many other states, was the work of white politicians intent on keeping ballots, and thus political power, out of the hands of millions of Black people who had just been freed from slavery and made full citizens.

Even as other states began reversing their own bans in recent years, Florida remained a holdout - until 2018, when Floridians overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to nearly everyone with a criminal record, upon the completion of their sentence. (Those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense were excluded.)

Democratic and Republican voters alike approved the measure, which passed with nearly two-thirds support. Immediately, as many as 1.4 million people in the state became eligible to vote. It was the biggest expansion of voting rights in decades, anywhere in the country.

That should have been the end of it. But within a year, Florida's Republican-led Legislature gutted the reform by passing a law defining a criminal sentence as complete only after the person sentenced has paid all legal financial obligations connected to it.

The state adds insult to injury by making it difficult, if not impossible, for many of these people, like Ms. Bolden, to figure out what they owe. There is no central database with those numbers, and counties vary in their record-keeping diligence. Some convictions are so old that there are no records to be located.

This isn't just Kafkaesque. It may well be the deciding factor in Florida elections: Donald Trump carried the state by roughly 370,000 votes in 2020, or about half the number of Floridians who are denied the right to vote because they can't afford to pay their fines and fees.

If Florida Republicans spent a fraction of the time actually trying to improve the lives and safety of their constituents instead of usurping the expressed will of voters and actively disenfranchising as many of those they see as opposition voters, the state would be far better than it currently is.

One day there will be a reckoning for those responsible for so much abhorrent anti-democratic, openly racially-skewed behavior. Here's hoping the countervailing political whirlwinds come as swiftly as Mother Nature's many tropical cyclones do to the state of Florida.

Susan Hillis, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researcher and lead author of the study, said she has been lying awake at night worrying about the magnitude of the problem. "It's disturbing to think about how for every four covid deaths, one child is left behind," Hillis said. "This is a crisis."

Mass casualty events in history have been shown to have a domino effect on children. Following World War I, studies showed that children whose soldier fathers died before or after their birth appeared to have decreased life spans. The more than 3,000 children who lost parents in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks still talk about the impact it has had on their lives.

"When a death is sudden and unexpected - which covid is by its nature - there's a lot of uncertainty, and that can put children at risk for many different health consequences," said Komal Sharma-Patel, a clinical psychologist at Children's National Hospital, who has been working with children who have lost parents due to covid.

In Dallas, Aaron Blake Sr., a bishop who has been working with children orphaned by covid, said he broke down in tears when he saw data on parent and caregiver deaths from covid at a recent meeting with other Christian leaders.

You don't have to be personally infected with Covid to have your life affected by it. Seems the party of family values would be more cognizant of the lasting damage being left by anti-vaxxers decimating thousands upon thousands of families when parents die from a virus now immunizable against the vast majority of severe outcomes.

Thoughts and prayers aren't bringing these parents and caregivers back, and the lives of the surviving children are inextricably altered on top of the tragedy of the initial losses themselves.

On Tuesday, Mr. Williams, 41, was confirmed by the Senate to be the next United States attorney for the Southern District of New York -- a position whose occupants have included future judges, senators, cabinet members and a New York City mayor. The appointment would make Mr. Williams the most powerful federal law enforcement official in Manhattan and, significantly, the first Black person to lead the storied 232-year-old office.

The Southern District handles some of the nation's most complex fraud, terrorism and corruption cases, including prosecutions that reached former President Donald J. Trump's inner circle. The office is preparing to try Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime companion to Jeffrey Epstein, on sex-trafficking charges (she has pleaded not guilty), and it is investigating Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, Trump lawyer and onetime Southern District U.S. attorney, over his dealings in Ukraine before the 2020 presidential election. He has denied wrongdoing.

Over its long history, Southern District alumni have gone on to serve on the Supreme Court, as U.S. attorney general, secretaries of war and homeland security, F.B.I. director, police commissioner, Manhattan district attorney and New York City mayor (Mr. Giuliani). Yet another, who served in the 1880s, later won the Nobel Peace Prize.

But the office has never been led by a Black person.

"It's not just that Damian is going to be a Black U.S. attorney," said Martin S. Bell, a former Southern District prosecutor who is also Black. "He's also somebody who offers a heightened potential for thoughtfulness and creativity when it comes to bigger questions concerning criminal justice -- and the office's own ability to be credible to a rich, vast and diverse constituency of New Yorkers."

Good luck and godspeed Damian. Protect and defend the Constitution from those trying and willing to subvert it for their own gains.

They are being subjected to more prosecution than those who set buildings on fire and usurped several city blocks.


BS as usual.

Portland man sentenced to 5 years for setting fire during protests

*A Portland man has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree arson for starting a dumpster fire near the city's North Precinct during a protest nearly a year ago.

DA Mike Schmidt announces a 60-month prison sentence in civil unrest, arson case

*Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced that Gavaughn Streeter-Hillerich received a 60-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of Arson in the First Degree.

The guilty plea means Streeter-Hillerich intentionally damaged property owned by the City of Portland by starting a fire and thereby recklessly placing another person in danger of physical injury.


*Man sentenced to 4 years in prison for role in 2020 Portland riot


*Portland protester guilty of arson sentenced to 48 months in prison

A protester who pleaded guilty to arson and throwing a Molotov cocktail at police during a Sept. 23, 2020, demonstration in downtown Portland was sentenced Monday to 48 months in prison.

Cyan Bass set fire to the Multnomah County Justice Center and used a slingshot to damage some of the building's windows, according to court documents.


I have not seen one single sentence related to the 1/6 insurrectionists as harsh as ANY of the above, and there's plenty more if you Google.

Such a bald-faced lie by a bald-faced liar. Or you're simply a malinformed ignoramus - your choice.

Elizabeth Fiedler was scrolling through Facebook when she came across a post circulating on social media from a Florida police department. The post included a photo of a man who police said stole two boxes of diapers and some wipes from a Walmart.

Fiedler, who is 16 and lives in Johnson County, Kan., said she felt sadness for the man in the photo and decided to leave a comment on Facebook. "Doubt I will get a response, but I will pay for these items as long as you leave this man alone," she wrote that same day. Her comment was soon liked by more than 4,000 people. Fiedler wasn't alone in her outrage.

The post was shared several thousand times, and more than 4,500 people weighed in, saying they were offended and upset by the police notice. Facebook users across the United States, and even other countries, commented that they wanted to help the man and his children.

"I'm very supportive of police in general, but this is just cold and heartless," commented a man from Jacksonville, Fla.

"The man is trying hard to care for his children. Have some compassion," wrote a woman from New York.

"I am so disappointed in this post. I'll pay for his diapers. I'm not saying it was right but seriously. I'm sorry guy for the embarrassment and sorry for the person who felt the need to post this," another wrote.

Marshall Welch, a 34-year-old hotel manager from Auburndale, Fla., said he was disappointed that the Winter Haven police shared the dad's embarrassing situation on social media.

"I don't disagree that he broke the law," Welch said. "What I disagree with was out of all the cases they get from Walmart, why did they choose to blast a father trying to provide for his children after many attempts to pay for the items?"

After the man was identified by someone in the public, Walmart signed a waiver not to prosecute him. And the police let him know there were many people in the public trying to reach out and help him and his family. They also gave him a list of local organizations that are available to provide help.

Merck and partner Ridgeback Biotherapeutics said in a news release they would apply for emergency use authorization for the drug, molnupiravir, in the United States as soon as possible. It would be the first antiviral pill for covid-19.

A simple, easy-to-prescribe pill that prevents mild and moderate cases of covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, from turning into dire episodes has been one of the missing pieces of the medical armamentarium to fight the virus.

Merck has already begun producing molnupiravir. The small brown capsules must be taken twice a day for five days. The company predicts it will make 10 million courses of treatment by the end of the year. The U.S. government made an advance purchase of 1.7 million treatment courses of the drug at a cost of $1.2 billion.

The biggest impact of the drug might be in the rest of the world, where vaccine availability is low and monoclonal antibody treatments may be impractical or unavailable. Merck has licensed its drug to five Indian generic drug manufacturers to speed up availability in low- and middle-income countries, many of which have had limited access to vaccines.

The company said it would use a "tiered pricing approach," pricing the drug to reflect countries' ability to pay for the drug.

A global trial of the pill enrolled 775 people with mild or moderate covid-19. Participants had at least one risk factor for severe covid-19, such as obesity or advanced age. They had to start the drug regimen within five days of symptom onset and be unvaccinated.

Half of study participants received the drug and half received a placebo. No deaths were reported among people receiving the drug, but eight deaths were recorded among those who received a placebo. The rate of hospitalization and death in people who received the drug was 7.3 percent - about half the level for those who received a placebo.

Those results, showing the drug afforded significant protection, led an independent safety board to suggest halting the trial.

Laboratory and animal experiments suggest the pill may be effective against known variants, including delta. Unlike vaccines or antibodies that target specific proteins on the surface of the virus, molnupiravir works by introducing genetic errors that garble the coronavirus's genetic code. That means it may be more resistant to mutation, and may even work on other coronaviruses or RNA viruses.


This is a BFD for real! Having another effective weapon against Covid is a fantastic breakthrough in pharmaceutical science and the fact generic licenses have already been signed bodes well for the lesser income countries and their populations on top of the discovery.

Here's hoping molnupiravir will become a Covid defeater readily available the world over in the coming months.

then the only thing we are discussing was whether or not staff at nursing homes did not wear masks because they were not available or if they did not wear them because the CDC told them that they did not need to - again CLOTH SURGICAL MASKS.

FAQs on Shortages of Surgical Masks and Gowns During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Content current as of: 06/19/2020

Q: Is there a shortage of gowns? Surgical masks?

A: The FDA is aware that as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to expand globally, the supply chain for these devices will continue to be stressed if demand exceeds available supplies. We have received information from healthcare organizations that some distributors may have placed certain types of personal protective equipment (PPE) on allocation, basing the quantity available to the healthcare organization on previous usage, not projected use. Increased use may exceed the available supply of PPE, resulting in shortages at some healthcare organizations.

Health Care Workers Still Face Daunting Shortages of Masks and Other P.P.E.

Frontline medical personnel in hospitals and nursing homes are urging the incoming Biden administration to use the Defense Production Act to increase manufacturing of personal protective equipment.

With the White House largely disengaged from the crisis, medical workers, supply chain specialists and public health experts are urging President-elect Biden to make good on his campaign promises to use the Defense Production Act to boost domestic manufacturing of personal protective equipment, test kits, vaccines and the medical supplies needed to immunize hundreds of millions of Americans. They are also hoping the incoming administration will take over the distribution of scarce goods and put an end to profiteering and the mad scramble for P.P.E. that has pitted states and deep-pocketed hospital chains against nursing homes and small rural hospitals.

Get Us PPE, a volunteer organization that connects health care facilities to available protective gear, says requests for help have more than tripled in the first half of December compared with the same period last month. Nearly 90 percent of the frontline workers the group surveyed across the country say they are repeatedly reusing masks designed for single use.

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