Linky Friday: Last Day of July, or the 153th Day of March, Depending
[LF1] About that GDP number…
Lost in the noise yesterday, purposefully so according to some folks, was the horrific numbers from the 2rd quarter:
The hope was for jobless benefits rolls to shrink steadily as the economy rebounded, but they rose by 867,000, to 17,018,000, during the week ended July 18, the first increase since late May.
“The pace of improvement has stalled,” said Vincent Reinhart, chief economist at Mellon and a former Fed official. The improvement over May and June was “sharp,” he noted, but – as Thursday’s report of a 33% drop in second-quarter gross domestic product confirmed – it came after “a very big downdraft.”
The “biggest mistake anyone can make is to confuse rebound for recovery,” Reinhart said, estimating GDP will not reach its prior peak until 2022, and full recovery in the labor market is likely to trail that.
[LF2] The EU Refuge Crisis, Five Years Later
In a town so unremarkably, stereotypically German that it was selected to be the place for consumer testing, a check-up of the refugee influx of 2015:
On Aug. 31, 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel held a press conference in which she discussed the challenges that the wave of migration presented for the country. Hundreds of thousands of people were making their way into Europe at the time across the Mediterranean and along the Balkan Route – and many of them had set their sights on Germany. It marked the beginning of years of political discord, pitting EU countries, political parties and individuals against one another. In that press conference, Merkel said: “Germany is a strong country. We have done so much. We can do this!” It is a sentence that would become a trademark of her tenure.
Now, five years later, we know that almost exactly 890,000 asylum seekers came to Germany in 2015. But have we “done this”? It’s hard to say, just as it is difficult to define exactly what “this” means, or even who “we” are. It all depends on your perspective. In Hassloch, the question as to who managed to “do this,” and when and what that means, leads to a number of places — to a city administrator, to an expert on parrots, and to extremely German families with colorful collections of passports. This story, though, begins in city hall…
[LF3] Three Presidents Speak at John Lewis’ memorial service
President Obama’s remarks that made headlines:
"You want to honor John, let's honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for," former President Obama said, discussing voting rights during the eulogy for Rep. John Lewis.
"…And if all this takes eliminating the filibuster…then that's what we should do." pic.twitter.com/xiHaEfZ5x6
— CNN (@CNN) July 30, 2020
President Bush’s remarks:
Former President George W. Bush pays tribute to the late Rep. John Lewis: "He always thought of others. He always believed in preaching the gospel, in word and in deed, insisting that hate and fear had to be answered with love and hope." https://t.co/oIqA7Yn99e pic.twitter.com/3WQdWei28K
— CNN (@CNN) July 30, 2020
President Clinton’s remarks:
"He got into a lot of good trouble along the way but let's not forget he also developed an absolutely uncanny ability to heal troubled waters," former President Bill Clinton says about John Lewis. "He thought that the open hand was better than the clenched fist" pic.twitter.com/oXi8LhP2pa
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 30, 2020
[LF4] Something smells in Chicago…and it isn’t the politics. For a change.
According to some histories of Chicago, early French explorers derived “Chicago” from a sloppy transliteration of “shikaakwa,” the Miami-Illinois word for smelly wild onions, or “Zhigaagong,” an Ojibwe word meaning “on the skunk.” (Chemically, skunk spray and onions contain oily, sulfurous compounds called thiols, which make them both extremely pungent and difficult to wash away.) Telling the story of the 1833 treaty, Nelson Sheppo, an elder of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi, calls the place his ancestors gathered “skunk town.”
“The whole area of Chicago is named after that animal,” says Edith Leoso, tribal historic preservation officer for the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, whose reservation is in northern Wisconsin. She recalls stories of her Anishinaabe ancestors traveling from their homes on southwestern Lake Superior to the mouth of that smelly river each fall, right as young skunks were setting out in search of new territory. Leoso says that her people often trapped the furry omnivores for their sacs of highly concentrated musk, which Ojibwe medicine people use as a treatment for pneumonia.
[LF5] NBA Academies in China Abusive to Players
Very surprised, and impressed, Disney-owned ESPN got this into print with such open criticism of Chinese authorities.
Long before an October tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters spotlighted the NBA’s complicated relationship with China, the league faced complaints from its own employees over human rights concerns inside an NBA youth-development program in that country, an ESPN investigation has found.
American coaches at three NBA training academies in China told league officials their Chinese partners were physically abusing young players and failing to provide schooling, even though commissioner Adam Silver had said that education would be central to the program, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the complaints.
The NBA ran into myriad problems by opening one of the academies in Xinjiang, a police state in western China where more than a million Uighur Muslims are now held in barbed-wire camps. American coaches were frequently harassed and surveilled in Xinjiang, the sources said.
One American coach was detained three times without cause; he and others were unable to obtain housing because of their status as foreigners.
A former league employee compared the atmosphere when he worked in Xinjiang to “World War II Germany.”
[LF6] Herman Cain has Died
Among the clips in this video package from CNN, the first time most folks noticed the then-CEO nationally was a confrontation with then-President Bill Clinton.
[LF7] The “Wall of Moms” came down, and it wasn’t the Feds that did it
“The lies are finally clear and we are sad but ultimately not surprised that anti-Blackness showed its ugly head,” read the post published on Wednesday by Don’t Shoot Portland, a local Black Lives Matter and mutual aid group founded in 2014.
The Wednesday post alleges that Wall of Moms founder Bev Barnum filed for business registrations without consulting the newly instated Black leaders and that the safety of Black members at the nightly protests in downtown Portland was overlooked.
The post said that issues of Black mothers’ safety have only come to light in the past 24 hours.
Barnum appeared to file three business registrations on Tuesday including one that makes The Wall of Moms a 501c3 nonprofit. Don’t Shoot Portland interpreted the filings to mean that Wall of Moms goal was to get federal officers out of Portland — not to support Black Lives Matter, according to the Instagram post. The newly instated Black leaders were not told about the registrations, according to the post.
“None of the Black leadership WOM claimed to implement knew about this,” the Wednesday post reads. “Combined with the lack of care for Black women, we were used to further the agenda unrelated to BLM.”
Don’t Shoot Portland’s statement was retweeted on Twitter by the Wall of Moms’ official Twitter account.
The Wall of Moms answered a commenter’s question saying, “The founder went rogue. Many of us do not agree with her decisions. And she does not currently have access to this account.”
The Wall of Moms tweeted just before 1 p.m. that it’s trying to regroup and “do things the right way,” but that there were no official announcements.
[LF8] Real Estate Gone Wrong
I don’t think this one will be making an episode of Househunters International anytime soon:
A German couple who planned to move their family and business to Cape Breton got more than they bargained for. Their first property deal in Canada came with Nazi propaganda.
Petra Krug said the man who sold her and her husband a property in Richmond County, N.S., also sent them emails with attachments that, among other things, honoured Germans from the Second World War and denied six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
Krug said she never asked for the material in the emails and didn’t want it. “I try to ignore that, because it is not our business with the things from Nazi and I detest it,” she said. “I detest it.”
Krug said she and her husband, Bernhard, spent several years dealing by email with Frank Eckhardt, owner of F.E. Property Sales in St. Peters, N.S., looking for a piece of land in Cape Breton. They wanted to immigrate with their daughter and start a new business leasing cottages in the country to seniors looking to downsize.
Allegations about Eckhardt holding far-right and Nazi views were first raised publicly last week in an article in the German magazine Der Spiegel. He was also the subject of a CBC News article last year after a couple from Austria complained about a land purchase they made from him.
[LF9] Congress debates delaying their August recess for new legislation as CARES Act expires
This example is from South Carolina but you can find the same story about everywhere:
The federal CARES Act provided protections for tenants across the country who took a financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic. But with those safeguards set to expire, advocates for low-income South Carolinians fear that hundreds of thousands of people may lose their housing.
Eviction filings in South Carolina have been on the rise since the end of May, when a statewide moratorium on evictions expired. But up until July 24, the CARES Act prohibited landlords from evicting tenants living in buildings with federally backed mortgages.
Though landlords will have to wait until the end of August to actually remove tenants, “We’re going to see an avalanche of eviction filings start to pour in,” said Sue Berkowitz, director of the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center. “I think there’s no question that African American and Latinx communities will be disproportionately impacted.”
U.S. Consulting firm Stout and The National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel analyzed pulse survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau and found that 53.5% of renters in South Carolina may be at risk of eviction. The survey data also showed that Black and Hispanic renters displayed less confidence in their ability to pay rent than their white counterparts.
Congress is working to pass a second version of the CARES Act, but the most recent version released by Senate Republicans did not include a moratorium on evictions.
The CARES Act also provided a weekly $600 federal unemployment benefit which will run out at the end of this week. Though the new GOP bill pledges to replace 70% of a person’s income, Bryan Grady, chief research officer at the South Carolina Housing Finance and Development Authority, said that might not be enough for some residents to cover the cost of rent.