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
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,
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
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
Right now, the Chinese government is carrying out genocide against the Uyghur ethnic minority. A 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
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
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
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
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
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