Saturday , May 15 2021
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Articles by run75441

Cuba’s Covid Vaccines Proceed even with US Sanctions

2 days ago

Hit by “renewed” US sanctions (The Guardian) under trump and a Covid pandemic, Cuba is enduring an economic crisis. Pharmacy shelves are empty, people stand in line for hours to buy chicken, and bread is scarce and hard to find. May 6th Cuba reported 1,060 cases totaling 112,714. Another seven deaths occurred bringing the total to 701.

Even as the island nation is under a political siege and suffering from Covid, Cuba is the smallest country in the world to successfully develop its own coronavirus vaccines. Of the 27 coronavirus vaccines in final phase 3 clinical trials around the world, two are of Cuban (NYT) origin.

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Cuba’s Finlay Vaccine Institute developed a vaccine known as Soberana 2.

Soberana which means “Sovereign” in Spanish

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Civilian Labor Force Increases by 430,000

3 days ago

Https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t01.htm#Maybe I am wrong on BLS Household Numbers? Has anyone looked at aggregate Participation Rate and the Civilian Labor Force numeric?

Seasonal Adjusted PR is up 2 tenths of 1% and the Civilian Labor Force increased by 430,000 from March to April. Last year, from January 2020 to end of 2020, PR was down 2%

The nation has recouped 2 tenths of 1% in April. Employed is up ~300,000 and Unemployed is up ~100,000. As you well know to be categorized as Unemployed and part of the Labor Force, a worker has to be looking for work.

During 2020, the trend was downward for Participation Rate with blips along the way. It appears the trend is upwards in 2021 for now.

People are going back to work and

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Older people are giving up hope of paying off their student loans before they die

5 days ago

While commenting on Alan Collinge’s Student Loan Justice site about much of what is being revealed here, I pointed out the problem with interest, interest on top of interest, paying interest before principal, etc. .

It is a problem. You never touch principle. I am very happy to see the Student Loan Justice site and Alan get the attention it deserves with this article by the Insider.

It is unbelievable, people are accruing interest during forbearance and paying all of the interest before paying principle. This does not occur with regular loans. Late payments over a period of time are harshly penalized. Much of the interest accumulated is what students pay first before principle.

Most of the issues with Student Loans results from the

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Want a Public Option? Guess Who is Fighting It!

9 days ago

Want a Public Option? Not So Fast, Say Health Insurers. Guess Who is Fighting It!

Much of this is from an Op-Ed at MedPage Today authored by Wendel Potter. I have added to it as Wendel discusses the impact of insurance as a major influence on healthcare cost. It is one sided and the commentary ignores increased healthcare costs (pharma, hospitals, healthcare supplies, and doctors). I have touched upon both at MedPage Today and here.

The nation’s largest healthcare insurers are making it clear to lawmakers of their opposition to campaign promises to establish a public option. Insurers are threating elected lawmakers with a massive, financed lobbying and PR campaign if they even try to pass a Public Option. In other words, the healthcare industry

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Fox News Talking Politics with a Sixth Grader

9 days ago

Unfortunately for himself, the young man was polite and did not school Brian Kilmeade (after his comment) about trump’s inaction in the beginning of the Covid Pandemic causing the delay in returning to school.

During the young man’s comments to Brian Kilmeade, you can see the young woman in the lower left quadrant shaking her head in agreement.

[embedded content]
Maybe this can be categorized as talking back to your elders? The youngsters get it right and Brian can’t tolerate it.

Taken from The Majority Report. If you do not wish to listen to it all, go to minutes 2:30 to hear the 6th Grader tell Brian Kilmeade what he thinks and Brian’s reply.

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1st Quarter GDP Grew at a 6.4% Rate on Government Stimulus Spending

13 days ago

1st quarter GDP; March incomes & outlays, and March durable goods

Marketwatch 666, Commenter R.J.S.

Our economy grew at a 6.4% rate in the 1st quarter, quite a bit stronger than during the fourth quarter, as stimulus supported growth in personal consumption of goods and increased federal government consumption outlays more than offset weaker private investment, shrinking inventories, falling exports, and the negative impact of rising imports…the Advance Estimate of 1st Quarter GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis estimated that the real output of goods and services produced in the US grew at a 6.4% annual rate from the output of the 4th quarter of 2020, when our real output grew at a 4.3% real rate…in current dollars, our first quarter GDP

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Focus on Fracking

18 days ago

Commenter R.J.S.

Ohio anti-fracking activist joins Greta Thunberg to decry fossil fuel subsidies at Earth Day Congressional Hearing

A self-described “fracking refugee” from Belmont County, Ohio on Thursday joined Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on Earth Day to urge a congressional subcommittee to abandon subsidies to the fossil fuel industry when Congress passes its next infrastructure bill.

Jill Antares Hunkler told the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s environment subcommittee she was forced from her home at the headwaters of the historically pristine Captina Creek Watershed. Her leaving her home was due to oil and gas infrastructure and pollution from a compressor station, It consisted of 78 fracking wells, a transfer

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Eating the Fingers of Fish

19 days ago

“The fish stick is the bane of school children who consider it to be a bland, over cooked, breaded – crusted, cardboard tasting, fish-less effort of lunchrooms and mothers to deceive them into consuming more protein.”

In the 1920s, entrepreneur Clarence Birdseye developed a novel freezing technique. Food was placed between metal plates which froze the food quickly and prevented large ice crystals from forming. When used on fish, the method created large blocks of intermingled fillets. When pried apart, the fillets tore into “mangled and unappetizing chunks,”

Clarence Birdseye’s Frozen Food Machine

Josephson wrote, the fishing industry tried selling the blocks whole as “fish bricks.” The fish blocks were packaged like blocks of ice

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Gasoline demand at an 8 month high

19 days ago

And imports of distillates at a 26 week low.. Commenter R.J.S.

Oil prices moved lower this week on rising Covid cases global​ly ​and on a surprise increase in US crude supplies . . .  after rising 6.1% to $63.13 a barrel last week  on strong economic data and on upwardly revised demand forecasts, the contract price of US light sweet crude for May delivery opened lower on Monday on trader’s jitters over surging Covid cases in Europe and India, but recovered to finish with a 25 cent gain at $63.38 a barrel as a weaker dollar supported prices by making oil cheaper for holders of other currencies. Oil prices continued higher early Tuesday, hitting a one month high of $64.30​,​ following reports of an outage in Libya, but pulled back on fears that

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The Lies of Denialism

20 days ago

A bit of Tom Sullivan @ Hullabaloo this day.

Democrat Moe Davis lost the race last fall for the congressional seat in NC-11 to Republican Madison Cawthorn. The seat was left open when Rep. Mark Meadows vacated it to fumble around for the Trump White House.

Moe Davis tweeted this morning in response to a local letter to the editor denying the assault on the Capitol even happened.

And the Letter:

“Denialism is alive and well “Tom Sullivan on April 25, 2021

In se you missed it the other day, Joe Biden’s speech.

“Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring.”

Tom Sullivan: What happened at the

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SCOTUS In the Shadows and Minority American Justice

26 days ago

SCOTUS Is Making New Law in the Shadows

April 15th, New York Times “Friday night’s injunction was at the 20th time since the court’s term began last October the justices have issued a shadow docket ruling altering the status quo.

Which brings to question, the more substantive the work the justices carry out through such unusual, unsigned, and unexplained orders; the more a “shadow docket” raises concerns about the court’s decision making transparency.

It leaves to questioning the underlying legitimacy of the high court decisions.

Recent years have seen a significant uptick in the volume of “shadow docket” rulings that are resolving matters beyond a singular issue and the issuing of orders changing the effect of lower-court rulings while

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Retail Sales Rose 9.8% in March as Consumers Spent Stimulus Checks

27 days ago

March consumer prices, retail sales, industrial production, & new home construction; February’s business inventories RJS at MarketWatch 666

Seasonally adjusted retail sales increased by 9.8% in March, the second largest jump on record, after retail sales for January and February were both revised higher…the Advance Retail Sales Report for March (pdf) from the Census Bureau estimated that our seasonally adjusted retail and food services sales totaled a record high $619.1 billion during the month, which was up by 9.8 percent (±0.5%) from February’s revised sales of $529.3 billion and 27.7 percent (±0.7 percent) above the adjusted sales in March of last year… February’s seasonally adjusted sales were revised from $561.7 billion to $563.7 billion,

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Daunte Wright’s Killing Makes the Case for Shrinking Police Budgets

28 days ago

Naked Capitalism had this commentary up on its site as introduced by Yves Smith. I made some small editorial changes to further emphasize the two points Yves makes in the beginning and also some of the commentary in the article. Both parts are good reads.

To wit; If you are handcuffed and on the ground, you are killed. If you drive away, you are killed. If you run, then stop, and turn around with your hands up; you are killed. The common thread here is the victims are all Black Americans.

Daunte Wright’s Killing Makes the Case for Shrinking Police Budgets, Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith

Yves here. I don’t pretend to have any good answers for what to do about police brutality, particularly towards people of color. During the Presidential

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Tax Evasion by the High Income

28 days ago

Washington Equitable: Tax evasion at the top of the U.S. income distribution and How To Fight it.

There is another version of the issue starting off with Senior fellow (Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute), Steven M. Rosenthal taking on the issue;

“If Congress Wants the IRS To Collect More Tax from The Rich, It Needs to Pass Better Laws.”

Or you can go to NBER version of the Washington Equitible Working Paper; Tax Evasion at the Top of the Income Distribution: Theory and Evidence, March 2021.

Your Choice.

The question?

“How much tax do high-income Americans evade? And what kinds of evasion tactics do they use?”

Random audits miss two of the more common methods used to minimize taxes. The audits

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4-Day Work Week

29 days ago

From Treehuggers; “Spain To Try Nationwide 4-Day Workweek”

A shorter workweek has been suggested s a means of improving work-life balance and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Freelance Writer, Olivia Rosane. The topics of a shorter work week and climate control was brought up by Sandwichman at Econospeak with the former being touted numerous times by Sandwichman.

Íñigo Errejón, a representative from the new leftwing party Más País, tweeted that the government had agreed to launch a pilot project to trial a four-day workweek.

“We have agreed with the Government to promote a pilot project to reduce working hours. European funds must also serve to reorient the economy towards improving health, caring for the environment and increasing

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That Prices were up the most since 2012 is probably also noteworthy . . .

29 days ago

CPI Rose 0.6% in March on Higher Prices for Energy and Transportation Services, R.J.S, MarketWatch 666

The consumer price index rose 0.6% in March, the largest monthly increase since August 2012, as higher prices for fuel, utilities, transportation services, financial services, and used vehicles were only slightly offset by lower prices for clothing and for communication commodities…the Consumer Price Index Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that seasonally adjusted prices averaged 0.6% higher in March, after rising by 0.4% in February, 0.3% in January, 0.2% in December, 0.2% in November, 0.1% in October, 0.2% in September, 0.4% in August, by 0.5% in July and by 0.5% in June, but after falling by 0.1% last May, by

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It is Ok to Lick Your Counter Top . . . Again

April 15, 2021

A few notes catching you up on stuff.

I would not recommend licking the counter top as it does not taste very good. In any case, the transmission of COVID-19 does not come from touching surfaces. And I am reiterating what I had read approximately a year ago.

The Atlantic‘s Staff Writer Derek Thompson reiterates what is pretty much known since the advent of COVID and ignored by many.

“Deep Cleaning Isn’t a Victimless Crime” brings the point home in its content on surface contamination.

Based on “epidemiological data and studies of environmental transmission factors; the CDC determined surface transmission is not the main route by which SARS-CoV-2 spreads. The risk of transmission is low in this instance.”

Fomites are “objects or

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The USPS 10-year plan may have future rate increases

April 13, 2021

What the USPS 10-year plan may have to say about future rate increases, Steve Hutkins at “Save The Post Office“

The mailers were probably disappointed that the Postal Service’s new 10-year plan released yesterday, “Delivering for America,” did not reveal how big of a rate increase the Postal Service intends to make using the new authority it was granted by the Postal Regulatory Commission. While they wait in suspense, here’s a guess: 3.6 percent.

We already know that the calculations the Postal Service submitted to the PRC in February indicate the hike could be as large as 5.56 percent (on top of the CPI increase), but the new system allows some of the rate authority to be banked for future years, so the increase could be smaller. And that is

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US Trade Deficit Rises 4.8% in February to Record High

April 12, 2021

“US Trade Deficit Rises 4.8% in February to Record High,” Commenter R.J.S. at Marketwatch 666

Our trade deficit rose 4.8% February, as both our exports and imports decreased, but the value of our exports fell by almost three times as much as the value of our imports did….the Commerce Department report on our international trade in goods and services for February indicated that our seasonally adjusted goods and services trade deficit rose by $3.3 billion to $71.1 billion in February, from a January deficit that was revised down to $67.8 billion from the $68.2 billion deficit reported a month ago…in rounded figures, the value of our February exports fell by $5.0 billion to $187.3 billion on $4.8 billion decrease to $131.1 billion in our exports of

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Risk of Being Killed by Police Varies by Your Ethnicity

April 10, 2021

A Healthcare Issue

Derek Chauvin trial live: Paramedic who responded to George Floyd told partner.

‘I think he’s dead.’

When paramedics arrived, Bravinder saw multiple officers on the side of the road on top of “our patient lying on the ground next to a squad car. He said he

“assumed there was potentially some struggle still since they were still on top of him.” 

“Prosecutor Erin Eldridge played a clip of officer Thomas Lane’s body camera video, which shows Floyd lying handcuffed, flat on the ground, on his stomach and unmoving as the paramedics bring over a stretcher. 

Bravinder is seen making a gesture with his hand, indicating that Chauvin needs to move his knee so that Floyd can be put on the gurney. Bravinder also tries to

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An Incomplete Letter

April 10, 2021

Dear Senator Joe McConnell, Joe McManchin, Joe Manchin:

I write to you not as a constituent because I am not one of your constituents; but, I am confused. It is difficult to align with a politician who changes his persona various times.  I am confused by your series of stances on the filibuster and what you believe it to mean with regard to the Senate and its procedures.

The filibuster was never meant to be the sole action available as taken by a minority within the Senate. It did have a counter which fell by the wayside when suggested such was unneeded due to Senators being more astute and gentlemanly in their manner during Senate sessions.

After a debate was begun, the “Previous Question Motion” was used in the Senate to end debate if

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Construction Spending Fell 0.8% in February

April 3, 2021

Commenter RJS at MarketWatch 666

Construction Spending Fell 0.8% in February after January & December Figures Were Revised Higher

The Census Bureau’s report on February construction spending (pdf) reported that “Construction spending during February 2021 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,516.9 billion, 0.8 percent (±0.7 percent) below the revised January estimate of $1,529.0 billion. The February figure is 5.3 percent (±1.0 percent) above the February 2020 estimate of $1,441.1 billion. During the first two months of this year, construction spending amounted to $213.2 billion, 4.9 percent (±1.0 percent) above the $203.2 billion for the same period in 2020. “…the January annualized spending estimate was revised 0.5% higher,

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VA Study: How Long Does COVID-19 Vaccine Immunity Last?

April 2, 2021

This popped up in my email box today. I am not a member of any particular group representing veterans; but, I do use the VA for healthcare as a discharged Marine Sergeant. At times, I have written in support of various actions by different military groups supporting veterans.

With regard to healthcare, Medicare has started to use the VA Pharmaceutical formulary due to their pricing. In some cases such as Metoprolol, Medicare has changed from one version to another as a result of cost saves.

Groundbreaking VA Study Shows How Long COVID-19 Vaccine Immunity May Last

26 Mar 2021 Military.com | By Patricia Kime

Among the great unknowns of the COVID-19 vaccines now in use against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is how long immunity lasts and whether

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You are either for more people voting or you want to suppress the vote.

April 2, 2021

It appears, big business is “beginning” to take exception to what Republicans are doing at the local level to suppress the right to vote by the poor, the minorities, etc. It is about time for those who can exert such pressure on state legislatures to do so in support of the right to vote.

It would be cool if the Coca Cola defied the Georgia government and handed out Dasani (water) to voters before they entered a voting line and if Pepsi did the same with their brand Aquafina.

Usually, the law restricting actives near a polling place is a a defined distance of approximately a hundred feet or so.

Heather Cox- Richardson from “Letters from an American:”

Yesterday, more than 70 Black executives wrote a letter urging companies to fight the

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Revising the 2021 Budget to Pass Additional Budget bills

March 30, 2021

Democrats have used the the 2021 budget reconciliation process to pass the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. This was made possible because Congress did not pass a budget resolution last year which allows Democrats to make use of it in 2021.

Schumer plans to use the 2022 budget vehicle for individual portions Biden’s infrastructure and jobs plan. Democrats assumed the most they could do with reconciliation until next year when another budget vehicle would become available.

Unless McConnell became accommodating which seems as unlikely as a bipartisan breakthrough, Democrats would be left with multiples of bills the same as when McConnell controlled the Senate. It is also horrifically unlikely to overcome a filibuster with the 60-vote

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“Personal income decreased $1,516.6 billion in February”

March 29, 2021

Commenter R.J.S., MARKETWATCH 666

Personal Income down 7.1% in February, Personal Spending down 1.0%, PCE Price Index up 0.2%

The February report on Personal Income and Outlays from the Bureau of Economic Analysis gives us nearly half the data that will go into 1st quarter GDP, since it gives us 2 months of data on our personal consumption expenditures (PCE), which accounts for nearly 70% of GDP, and the PCE price index, the inflation gauge the Fed targets, and which is used to adjust that personal spending data for inflation to give us the relative change in the output of goods and services that our spending indicated….this report also provides us with the nation’s personal income data, disposable personal income, which is income after taxes,

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Monday Morning Reads

March 29, 2021

The Real Border Crisis, The Atlantic, Adam Serwer, March 2021

This border surge is no different than 2019 and going back a decade. It will peak in May and the decline.

What is the border crisis? Is it the recent surge of migrants, or is it the treatment of those migrants in detention facilities? The answer to that question—or whether you consider the situation at the border to be a crisis at all—most likely determines what you think the Biden administration should do about it.

For conservatives, the answer is clear: Democrats invited the increase in migrants with their permissive, open-borders immigration policies. Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has accused President Joe Biden of announcing that “the United States will not secure

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Box Ship Stuck in the Suez Canal

March 28, 2021

Mike’s Blog Roundup with Infidel 753 today featuring a Sunday post from “Butterflies and Wheels,” Ophelia Benson used commenter Freelander’s words about the Container ship stuck in the Suez Canal.. Whew, that was a long chain of tributes.

If you do not know, the Suez is a short-cut saving days and tons of fuel used when going around the Horn of Africa. It is estimated to be an ~$360,000 savings.

Container Ship “Ever Given,” Evergreen Line, The New York Times, Satellite image by CNES, via Airbus By Scott ReinhardEvergreen Line Update, March 28th:

Having removed more than 20,000 tons of sand and mud, the dredging operation underway has succeeded in loosening the EVER GIVEN’s bow within the bank of the Suez Canal and the ship’s stern has been

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February Durable Goods: Orders Down, Shipments Down, Inventory Up

March 28, 2021

Commenter RJS at MARKETWATCH 666

February Durable Goods: New Orders Down 1.1%, Shipments Down 3.5%, Inventories Up 0.7%

The Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders for February (pdf) from the Census Bureau reported that the value of the widely watched new orders for manufactured durable goods decreased by $2.9 billion or 1.1 percent to $254.0 billion in February, the first decrease in 10 months, after January’s new orders were revised from the $256.6 billion reported last month to $256.9 billion, now a 3.5% increase from December’s new orders . . . as a result, year to date new orders are still up by 3.4% from those of 2020 . . .

The volatile monthly new orders for transportation equipment led

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Medicaid Enrollment Grew ~30% Year-Over-Year

March 27, 2021

Medicaid expansion enrollment grew nearly 30% year-over-year in 19-state sample, Andrew Sprung, XPOSTFACTOID, March 17, 2021

An update on Medicaid expansion enrollment growth since the pandemic struck. Below is a sampling of 19 expansion states through January of this year, and 14 states through February.

Maintaining the assumption, explained here, “relatively slow growth in California would push the national total down by about 2.5 percentage points.” These tallies still point to year-over-year enrollment growth of approximately 30% from February 2020 to February 2021.

If that’s right, then Medicaid enrollment among those rendered eligible by ACA expansion criteria (adults with income up to 138% FPL) may exceed 19 million nationally and may

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