Author Archives: Mary Turck

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet, www.tcdailyplanet.net, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.

Billions in Profit, Not One Cent for Taxes

money
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Fed-Ex, Nike, Xcel Energy, and dozens of other huge and hugely profitable companies paid not one red cent in taxes last year. While some 55 large corporations avoided taxes entirely, even more companies paid historically low levels because of the 2017 Trump tax cuts. This is just plain wrong.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hate Crime

Photo by L.C. Notaasen, published under Creative Commons license

 Two days ago, a 21-year-old white man went on a shooting rampage that targeted Asian women. He killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women.

Police said they do not know whether this was a hate crime. 

Instead of my usual analysis of events or issues, this blog post is mainly other people’s words.

Rest In Peace: 

– Delaina Ashley Yaun, 33, mother of a 14 year old & 8mo old 

– Xiaojie Tan, 49, massage therapist & owner of 1 spa 

– Daoyou Feng, 44 

– Julie Park, in her 70s 

– Hyeon Jeong Park, 50s 

– Paul Andre Michels 

(2 more not yet named) 

CENTER THE VICTIMS. #StopAsianHate

Twitter says: She was old enough to be my grandma, 

and also

I am kind of not okay about the fact that this 21 year old killed women my mother’s age and so many people are like “well, shrug, that’s what happens when you have irresistible objects of lust.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Flu News Is Good News

This is part of an amazing series created and generously shared by Ricardo Levins Morales for this time of crisis. Check out the whole series on his Facebook page and at his studio https://www.rlmartstudio.com

As the 2020-21 flu season comes to an end, good news and lessons for the future come from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This year’s flu season was far less serious than any previous year, and far less deadly as well.

Last year—2019-2020—the CDC estimated that estimated 38 million influenza-type illnesses in the United States, with 18 million medical visits, 405,000 hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths.

This year, the CDC preliminary data through March 6 reported only 1,561 cases of influenza for the 2020-21 flu season.  

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Do Not Ignore Genocide Against Uyghurs

Right now, the Chinese government is carrying out genocide against the Uyghur ethnic minorityA report from the nonpartisan Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy (formerly the Center for Global Policy) details the past six years of this genocide: 

“In 2014, China’s Head of State, President Xi Jinping, launched the ‘People’s War on Terror’ in XUAR [Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region], making the areas where Uyghurs constitute nearly 90 percent of the population the front line. High-level officials followed up with orders to ’round up everyone who should be rounded up,’ ‘wipe them out completely … destroy them root and branch,’ and ‘break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections, and break their origins.’ Officials described Uyghurs with dehumanizing terms and repeatedly likened the mass internment of Uyghurs to ‘eradicating tumors.’” 

The U.S. government names this persecution as genocide. The Chinese government denies it, of course. That denial lacks all plausibility.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Just Pay People: Income Supplements Work

Image by 401(k)2012, published under Creative Commons license.

Two years ago, Stockton, California began a “basic income” experiment. The privately funded Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) gave 125 randomly selected residents of poor neighborhoods $500 per month—no strings attached—for two years. A just-completed study of SEED’s first year showed dramatic results:

• “Guaranteed income reduced income volatility, or the month-to-month income fluctuations that households face. 

• “Unconditional cash enabled recipients to find full-time employment. 

• “Recipients of guaranteed income were healthier, showing less depression and anxiety and enhanced wellbeing. 

• “The guaranteed income alleviated financial scarcity creating new opportunities for self-determination, choice, goal-setting, and risk-taking.” 

Some of the benefits were intangible: “I can breathe,” said one participant who, like others, said she could now spend more, and calmer, less anxious time with her children. For program participants overall, more than one-third of the monthly $500 was spent on food. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Republic: Can We Keep It?

I remember an old and possibly apocryphal story about Benjamin Franklin and the framing of the Constitution. Supposedly, someone accosted him after the 1787 Constitutional Convention and shouted, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Franklin replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” 

Today, the republic is threatened by Republicans attacking voting rights a cross the country. They propose state voting legislation targeting people of color and poor people. Some proposals also aim to disenfranchise any other population that might be more Democratic-leaning than Republican, such as college students.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Food Workers Need Protection

Watch John Oliver’s segment on meat processing workers on YouTube

Even in the best of times, meat-packing and poultry-processing workers face astronomically high risks of injury. Now COVID has made those industries much more dangerous, and government agencies charged with protecting workers have utterly failed them. 

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Texas Home Electric Bill: $16,000

money
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

After a week of electricity blackouts, heat failures, and frozen water pipes, many Texans now face thousands of dollars in unexpected electric bills. The reason: a conscienceless rip-off by an unregulated electric utility. For Texans who have an auto-pay arrangement, that means bank accounts emptied or thousands of dollars already charged to their credit cards. 

Ripple effects of the Texas disaster will reach almost every Minnesotan. Demand for natural gas, in Minnesota and across the country, was higher than normal because of February’s subzero temperatures. Supply was dramatically smaller than normal because the irresponsible inaction of Texas natural gas producers and public utilities led to failure of production and delivery systems. When supply is low and demand is high, producers can and do hike their prices. 

Texas produces huge quantities of natural gas for the national market. Texan natural gas and public utilities largely ignored warnings from 2011 and failed to winterize natural gas production and distribution facilities. They froze up, leaving Texans out in the cold, literally freezing to death. When Texas natural gas producers froze up, national natural gas prices shot up—as much as 100 times the pre-freeze level. The cost to Minnesotans for the February price spike is estimated at $300 to $400 per household. 

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Finding Some Good News From Texas

New York Times, February 19, 2021

Power failures, burst water pipes, carbon monoxide poisoning, car crashes, drownings, house fires and hypothermia: look anywhere and you see that Texas is a deadly mess this week. But tragic stories and political failures are not the only story. Amazing grace, generosity, and goodness also deserve recognition. 

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Time to act on COVID vaccination disparities

Black Minnesotans, Asian Minnesotans, American Indians, and Latino Minnesotans are far more likely than White Minnesotans to become infected, to be hospitalized, to suffer severe cases, and to die of COVID. That is the grim truth reported by the Minnesota Department of Health in its weekly COVID report. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this disparity exists across the country, with Black and Latino Americans nearly three times as likely to die from COVID as White Americans.

Originally published in Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder

That might suggest that Black, Latino, Native American, and Asian Minnesotans should be a priority for COVID vaccination. That is not happening. In fact, the way that vaccines are targeted—both in Minnesota and across the country—suggests that the opposite could be true.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized