• China announces sanctions on seven Americans, including HRW's Sophie Richardson

    China's foreign ministry spokesperson also referred to American 'preaching' and 'arrogance.'

  • Economic concerns raised by former Wells Fargo CEO

    ... Kevin Kovacevich: Inflation (2-3% increase in salary for average worker, and 4-5% inflation on just the basics like food, gas, consumer goods); trillion dollar deficits already and trillion more if Biden admin gets budget passed.

    Markets at all time high. Kovacevich's idea is that the market is priced alright based on where rates are now, but once that changes in the coming year or years the market will look differently.

     
  • Virginia still top business state

    ... according to CNBC's annual state competitiveness rankings. It's done very well in the past 15 years in this survey.

    Reasons include a strong workforce (40% have at least a bachelors, according to the US Census Bureau, although the state has a relative shortage of workers and relatively few outsiders move there for work - it also has slightly below-average unemployment) and solid education system, reportedly.

    Virginia scored high points in Cost of Doing Business, Infrastructure, Life Health and Inclusion (formerly Quality of Life), and Workforce. Although its score for Education looks low in its rankings, it represents the second highest state after Mass. and CNBC considers it key to winning the survey.

    'Education is the best tool we have to make our Commonwealth a better, more equitable place for everyone,' according to Gov. Northam.

    Virginia like other US states is currently focusing heavily on change in the form of forcing diversity, sustainability and connectivity. It also has a high cost of living and high wages.

    The other top 5 were N.C., Utah, Texas and Tennessee.

     
  • UAE princess capture helped by FBI, says USA Today investigation

    Reportedly, they gave the UAE gov the geolocation of Princess Sheikha Latifa's yacht as she fled the kingdom in 2018, after getting it from a US internet provider.

    Reports have it the FBI was misled by the UAE, that they had been told she was kidnapped.

    The US org might have broken protocol to do this, not first subpoenaing the provider.

     
  • Last US troops leave Bagram Airfield in the night

    ... without telling the new Afghan commander.

    The base, about an hour away from Kabul, has made headlines over the years for horrible accounts of the US forces there torturing Afghanis, sometimes to death.

    The Afghan soldiers now guarding the base have said they look to the government and the village to support them with resources. 'the Americans destroyed everything here.' Much of the supplies (boots, exercise machines - The Americans took their sophisticated modern military tools) left by the troops has made it's way to scrapyards and second-hand shops.

    Some have said they are glad the Americans left, that now Afghanistan can have peace, which the Americans didn't bring.

     
  • Afghanistan after America

    Now it's the Afghan govt versus the Taliban, which is reported to be retaking ground, on the offensive. Since Biden announced the US's complete withdrawal a couple months ago, Taliban took about 1/4 (127, 10 of those again retaken by the Afghan military) of the districts of Afghanistan, where they are implementing Sharia and blocking media.

    Last US troops leave Sept 1 (the last 650 that remain, contra to the Doha agreement, after most of the 4000-strong force left), and then we'll really see what Taliban will do.

    "This land belongs to you and us," said an Afghan soldier, "The Russians were here and they left. Then the Americans came and now they have left. This country is ours, and we will protect it even without pay or equipment."

    Reports are that the Taliban aren't willing to go sit at the negotiating table, where Afghan govt negotiators are waiting.

    There are lineups at passport offices, people wanting to leave, remembering the 90s.
     
  • Rumsfeld died, age 88

    Forum boards were a list of comments that were either negative and critical of the harms he is believed to have caused, or dismissive or joking. I read through them and didn't see any on the other side of the fence.

  • US bombing in Iraq again

    ... without asking Congress, the Whitehouse bombed some targets (Kitab Hezbollah and Kitab Saeed Ashahada) on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.

    The act may fall under jurisdiction that requires authorization under War Powers, but the White House didn't seek that from Congress.

    The DoD said they targeted Iran-backed militias who had used UAVs against US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

    Iraq's military condemned the act, saying it was a blatant violation of Iraqi sovereignty and national security.

    The popular mobilization forces are part of Iraq's security structure, so the US did bomb an ally, analysts say, although the US said those groups had attacked US targets first.

    Kitab Saeed Ashahada announced an open war again US targets in Iraq as a response.

    Biden's second use of military force.

     
  • Americans overwhelmingly don't want to go back to their jobs this year

    A recent poll found almost 100% of people don't want to return to the office after being in their homes over the past year. They prefer the life of spending more time with friends and family. They're considering finding a new job.

    There are also more jobs available then ever. 9.3m jobs in April.

    People are asking whether the stimulus so far or the stimulus expected in the future have contributed to people not wanting to get jobs, but data doesn't seem convincing one way or another.

     
  • Lordstown Motors CEO and CFO have resigned

    ... amid shortselling investigation, but having more to do perhaps with the company saying they had 'substantial doubt' they could continue next year. Shares were down 10%.

     
  • Lots of talk about billionaires not paying taxes

    No one knows how the journalists at ProPublica got hold of tax records for several years for some of the richest Americans.

    Bezos, Musk, Soros, Buffet, etc., paid what appear to be small dollar figures in income tax for certain years (some years $0, some years around $70k were the most quoted figures, dating back to the year 2011). This is because they don't generally make income (particularly when you're talking about each year). Instead, they hold assets. Their largest asset is generally company stock, which is only taxed if it is sold (capital gains). Some years, they need to raise cash and so they take loans against their assets. This is not taxable.

     
  • US Republicans very much enjoying Kamala Harris' not visiting the US/Mexico border

    They're counting the days (now about 80) since she's held a news conference on the immigration issue.

    She's been down in Guatemala, tasked with addressing the root cause of the immigration crisis.

    According to Ted Cruz in a recent criticism of the Biden government, the US is seeing the highest rate of illegal immigration in 20 years.

     
  • Most disruptive infrastructure attack ever on U.S. soil

    Apparently. Colonial Pipeline hack. This pipeline sends a lot of the oil from Texas to New Jersey, from where it's distributed to other places. Hackers gained control of Colonial's system and are doing a ransomware action. Colonial took their all their operations offline because they didn't want the hackers to gain access to the IT that controls the pipes. They're currently handling some segments of the pipelines manually.

    We don't know too many details because Colonial hasn't given them to the DHS, reportedly.

    Some gas stations have run dry. Price of gas has already gone up 7 cents in the week, following the regular demand-supply equation. There's been panic buying and long queues, and the airline industry has been affected. Flights have been stopped and they've additional stops in order for planes to fuel up.

    The pipelines serve 90 U.S. military installations and 26 oil refineries, so the ripple effects are still to be seen.

    FBI is saying the hacker is Darkside from Russia, who usually works on big money ransom projects. They have a published list of things they won't hack, and don't seem to want to hurt normal people, although in this case gas prices effects everyone.

    A massive effort is expected to get things running again about a week after the problem started, involving the FBI and other government agencies and a task force assembled by the White House. But it depends whether they can resolve the ransomware situation.

    In recent years, the U.S. has scaled up its oil production and became a net exporter, but is now looking at returning to being an importer of oil.

     
  • There's talk about making Puerto Rico the 51st US state
     
  • Convicts in private prisons serve 90 days longer than public prisons

    This is about 5% longer.

    In private prisons, the company's contract has it that they are payed a per diem for each occupied bed.

    "The delayed release erodes half of the cost savings offered by private contracting and is linked to the greater likelihood of conduct violations in private prisons. The additional days served do not lead to apparent changes in inmate recidivism," according to the author.*

    Mukherjee, Anita. "Impacts of Private Prison Contracting on Inmate Time Served and Recidivism."

     
  • 400 people moving to Dallas every day

    Other hot real estate markets right now include Phoenix, Austin, and Atlanta.

    Line up to buy and buy as soon you can, with prices for new homes less than for old homes for the first time in 15 years due to inflated building costs (lumber notably up 400% this year), although different from 15 years ago buyers are actually qualified to buy.

     

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