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.
On April 16, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced an investigation of the Minneapolis Police Department. The investigation will focus on patterns and practices of policing, not on an individual case.
This is the first “pattern and practice” investigation ordered by the Biden administration. Garland also revoked the Trump administration’s near-ban of these investigations.
6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. My phone buzzes with a text. “What are your thoughts on Walz ordering the National Guard to Brooklyn Center?”
Governor Walz did not just call out the National Guard. He called out the whole armada of police and military forces assembled under the banner of Operation Safety Net. Operation Safety Net (OSN) was set up to protect property and police from any protests or violence happening after the Derek Chauvin trial. Over the past week, OSN proved unsafe in the highest degree for human beings.
I hoped the National Guard would not be like the police. I hoped that the “citizen” part of their citizen-soldier identity would keep them from the violent, fearful, and racist police mentality that killed Daunte Wright. Instead, they proved indistinguishable from the other branches of the rotten tree that is policing in the United States. Continue reading →
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.
“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.
• “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.
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.
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.
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.
The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act, passed by House of Representatives on January 13, is held hostage today by the Senate filibuster threat—a disgraceful tactic that has repeatedly blocked voting rights, civil rights, and anti-lynching legislation for more than a century. One hundred years ago, in 1922, a filibuster killed the Dyer Anti-Lynching […]
“Kathy spotted the long line of voters as she pulled into the Christian City Welcome Center about 3:30 p.m., ready to cast her ballot in the June 9 primary election. “Hundreds of people were waiting in the heat and rain outside the lush, tree-lined complex in Union City, an Atlanta suburb with 22,400 residents, nearly […]
In the face of this week’s disaster news, Popular Information has a message I needed to hear: change is possible. In their real-life example social media activism drove real world action. Popular Information is a small but feisty organization with deep research and reporting on a limited number of topics, and a well-worth-it $6/month subscription fee. I first encountered […]
Terrified refugees fleeing Afghanistan as the Taliban takes over. Children dying in the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as ICU units fill in hospitals across the southeastern United States. An earthquake in Haiti. Out-of-control fires on the west coast of the United Staes and in Greece. Drought. Global warming. The news is overwhelmingly awful. […]
Less than two weeks ago, Tennessee ordered an end to all vaccination in schools and no more information to teens about vaccine availability—for Covid-19 or for anything else. Just three weeks ago, only 195 people in Tennessee were hospitalized with COVID-19. In Memphis, Methodist University Hospital had no COVID patients at all. Now numbers are soaring. […]