Giving Tuesday is a day that encourages people to give back in whatever ways they can.

Giving Tuesday is an international day of charitable giving at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season that is held annually on the Tuesday after Black Friday and always falls between November 27 and December 3.

The movement describes itself as a “global generosity movement” whose the aim is to encourage people to “give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity”.

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Covid-19 Updates

From CalMatters

After the reprieve of a long Thanksgiving weekend, today will likely serve as an unwelcome reminder for Californians that the pandemic is far from over.

Today, the United States is set to close its borders to travelers from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia to limit spread of a COVID-19 variant called omicron, which the World Health Organization on Friday labeled a variant of concern.

Also today, the city of Los Angeles plans to start enforcing one of the country’s strictest vaccine mandates: Restaurants, coffee shops, museums, theaters and other indoor venues must verify that customers are vaccinated before allowing them to enter — or face fines of as much as $5,000.

For Gov. Gavin Newsom, who returned to California on Sunday night after spending much of the last week in Mexico, the developments underscore the twin challenges that will likely define much of his governorship: keeping Californians safe from COVID-19 and keeping the state’s small businesses afloat.

Newsom’s administration is already ramping up its response to the omicron variant, though it hasn’t yet been detected in the U.S. and it’s not yet clear if it’s more transmissible or deadlier than other forms of the virus. The California Department of Public Health said Sunday that it plans to increase COVID-19 testing at airports serving travelers from southern Africa, track the variant through genetic sequencing, and continue to promote vaccines and booster shots.

But even as the Newsom administration doubles down on vaccines, it secured a legal victory that seemingly undermines those efforts. On Friday, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked an order from U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar requiring California prison workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Newsom appealed that ruling last month, arguing that it would result in a severe staffing shortage at state prisons; now employees won’t be required to get the shot until March 2022 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court on Sunday temporarily blocked San Diego Unified School District’s student vaccine mandate — which was set to take effect today — from being implemented while the district allows pregnant students to seek exemptions. The conservative Thomas More Society filed the lawsuit on behalf of a Scripps Ranch High School student, arguing that San Diego Unified was violating students’ First Amendment rights by allowing medical exemptions but not religious ones.

Although California overall is doing better now than a year ago, a CalMatters analysis found that at least 18 of 58 counties had more hospitalized COVID patients last week than they did at the same time last year — and another five had just as many. Some Central California hospitals are so overwhelmed with patients they’re begging the state to make it easier for them to be transferred to other counties.

The economic outlook is similarly dire: California isn’t likely to see a full recovery until the end of 2023, according to a recent report from the California Center for Jobs & The Economy. Passenger levels rebounded at California airports over Thanksgiving weekend, but the omicron variant could erase some of that progress. And about 1 million Californians may have to repay some or all of the federal jobless benefits they received during the pandemic, the state unemployment department warned last week.

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Sunday Reading – 11/28/2021

The following links are just news items and opinions that pass my desk throughout the week. I don’t necessarily support or advocate any of the items, they are just interesting reads.

Looters ransack stores across Bay Area – For evidence that crime will likely be a key issue for California voters in 2022, look no further than last weekend.

On Sunday, a pack of looters robbed a jewelry store in a Hayward mall, smashing glass cases and absconding with the valuables into waiting cars. Also Sunday, Walnut Creek police recommended that businesses close early, citing intelligence that the 80 thieves who ransacked a Nordstrom on Saturday night could strike again. Officials labeled the Nordstrom robbery as “organized retail theft” and said it was possibly linked to a series of burglaries in San Francisco on Friday night.

In San Francisco, social media videos showed masked looters sprinting out of high-end stores in Union Square — including Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Burberry and Bloomingdale’s — with arms full of stolen merchandise worth thousands of dollars. Police arrested eight suspects and seized two cars and two guns, while Mayor London Breed announced plans to restrict vehicle access to Union Square to limit thieves escaping in getaway cars.

Adding to the city’s woes, the San Francisco Chronicle published a glut of stories over the weekend that suggest residents are increasingly frustrated by its response to crime — and fearful for their own safety. One resident’s garage was broken into nine times in two days; video surveillance footage showed the thief wandering around leisurely, as if “he had no fear of getting caught.” And San Francisco’s martial arts academies, locksmiths and home-security companies are seeing a huge increase in demand.

Meanwhile, a group of children, teachers and parents from the Tenderloin hand-delivered a letter to Breed’s secretary, calling on the mayor to “put an end” to neighborhood conditions that include an open-air fentanyl market, frequent gun violence and attempts to rob kids as young as 9. One of the city’s proposed solutions: opening a supervised drug injection site.

Adding to the spate of crime headlines, on Saturday a stray bullet fatally struck a 13-year-old Pasadena boy playing video games in his bedroom.

  • Neighbor Stewart Baynes: “We heard the sirens and knew that it was another shooting. It’s getting to be so damn ridiculous out here.”

The flurry of shoplifting and shootings could pose challenges for San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin — a progressive prosecutor who’s facing a recall election in June and is being blamed for store closures — and Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, whose controversial policies are the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine deep dive and driving a second attempt to recall him. The trends could also prove consequential in the 2022 elections, when voters will choose California’s next top cop.

The burglaries are yet another setback for businesses trying to recover from the pandemic and plug persistent staffing shortages. Although the Golden State’s unemployment rate fell to 7.3% in October as the state added 96,800 jobs, according to the Employment Development Department, California is still tied with Nevada for the highest jobless rate in the nation. Read More > at CalMatters

After String of Robberies, Newsom Tells Local Leaders to “Step Up” and Hold Criminals Accountable – For several years, prosecutors and local law enforcement leaders have warned that recent criminal justice reform laws have created an environment ripe for lawbreaking. For months, businesses have bemoaned a rise in thefts in large cities like San Francisco, only to be told crime isn’t really that bad. Suddenly, the skeptics are coming around.

Amid a string of organized robberies in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Walnut Creek, Union Square, Hayward and elsewhere, Gov. Gavin Newsom says CHP will step up patrols around commercial shopping districts. Newsom also made it clear that he has “no sympathy, no empathy whatsoever” for the perpetrators of the organized smash-and-grabs. His own PlumpJack winery has been targeted by thieves at least four times in the past year.

Then Newsom seemed to point the finger at local governments, telling mayors to “step up” and make sure the criminals are held accountable.

“I’m not the mayor of California. But I was a mayor. And I know when things like this happen, mayors have to step up,” Newsom said. “That’s not an indictment. That’s not a cheap shot.”

Newsom’s not the mayor, but he is the governor. And as governor, he has supported policies that deprioritize property crimes and expand early release over the objections of many mayors. So have the lead prosecutors of some of the state’s largest counties, including Los Angeles’ George Gascón and San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin.

Nevertheless, both Gascón and Boudin said this week they too have no tolerance for the criminals wreaking havoc on their streets. Read More > at California City News

California announces continued delay to Bay Area Dungeness crab season to protect whales – The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced a continued delay in the Bay Area commercial Dungeness crab season Friday because of a number of humpback whales in the Gulf of the Farallones and Monterey Bay.

The season from the Mendocino-Sonoma border down to Big Sur was originally scheduled to open Nov. 15, but on Nov. 1 the department announced it would be delayed after aerial surveys taken in mid-October showed a large number of endangered humpback whales and leatherback sea turtles still in the fishing zone. The latest aerial and boat surveys taken in late October and November found as many 79 humpback whales in the region, prompting the second delay. There have been no recent sightings of leatherback sea turtles.

State rules that protect the marine animals from entanglement in fishing gear triggered the delays, which will push the season well past its traditional Thanksgiving debut.

The department will reassess whether the delay needs to continue on or before Dec. 15, according to the statement.

The commercial season south of Lopez Point (Monterey County) opened Nov. 15 and the commercial season north of the Mendocino-Sonoma County line will open Dec. 1, because whales have migrated out of that area, according to the department. The region in between is where humpback whales have been lingering, though their numbers have decreased since September. Read More > in the San Francisco Chronicle

Poll: 81% of parents think their children are ungrateful – Most parents think it’s a high priority to teach their children gratitude because they are ungrateful, according to a new study released ahead of Thanksgiving.

The poll, conducted for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Michigan, noted that the holiday is a great opportunity to teach gratitude to children but warned that parents should make efforts to teach appreciation for what they have throughout the year.

“Over time and through experiences, children will learn to be grateful for others and appreciate what they have,” the study reads.

The study analyzed responses from 1,125 randomly selected parents with at least one child age 4-10 and found that 81% of parents agree that children today “are not grateful for what they have.” Read More > at UPI

Could One Shot Kill the Flu? – A “universal” flu vaccine could bring one of the world’s longest pandemics to an end.

In truth, we’re never fully ready for the flu. We know it’s coming, like the first fall leaf, and yet three times in the past century—in 1918, 1957, and 1968—it has flattened us, killing a million or more each time. Even in ordinary years, the disease infects a billion people around the world, killing hundreds of thousands; one study estimated that it costs the United States economy close to a hundred billion dollars annually. Our primary weapon against the virus, the flu vaccine, is woefully inadequate. Over the last decade and a half in the United States, flu vaccines have prevented illness only forty per cent of the time; in particularly bad years, when vaccines were less fine-tuned to the strains that were circulating, they were only ten-per-cent protective. Today, the coronavirus pandemic is rightfully the object of our most strenuous efforts. And yet, as the infectious-disease specialists David Morens, Jeffrey Taubenberger, and Anthony Fauci wrote, in a 2009 article in The New England Journal of Medicine, that “we are living in a pandemic era that began around 1918,” when the flu used shipping networks to traverse the world. Since the 1918 pandemic, this century-long, multi-wave pandemic has killed roughly the same number of people.

We’ve controlled a vast number of diseases with vaccination—chicken pox, diphtheria, measles, mumps, polio, rabies, rubella, smallpox, tetanus, typhoid, whooping cough, yellow fever—and, to some degree, we’ve added covid-19 to the list. But the pathogens behind those diseases tend to be relatively static compared with the flu, which returns each year in a vexingly different form. For decades, scientists have dreamed of what some call a “universal” flu vaccine—one that could target many strains of the virus. A universal vaccine would save countless lives not just this year but every year; as those numbers add up, it would become one of the greatest medical breakthroughs in history. Until recently, it’s been beyond the reach of molecular biology. But new technologies are extending our abilities, and researchers are learning how to see through the flu’s disguises. Without knowing it, we’re living on the cusp of a remarkable scientific achievement. One of the world’s longest pandemics could soon be coming to an end. Read More > in The New Yorker

Samsung To Build $17 Billion Chip Factory In Texas, Marking Largest Ever Foreign Investment Into The State – Samsung will build a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Taylor, Texas — marking the largest foreign direct investment in the state’s history.

The investment comes as a global computer chip shortage threatens American businesses, especially in the automobile industry.

As The Daily Wire reported last week, supply chain bottlenecks are restricting the availability of semiconductors and other key inputs for American firms. Ford struck a strategic agreement with GlobalFoundries to develop chips, while General Motors is likewise pursuing relationships with manufacturers.

Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reports that firms across the globe are racing to produce more semiconductors:

Samsung’s doubling down on Texas where it already has a footprint comes amid a year of historic spending for the semiconductor industry, spurred by government incentives seeking to attract local production. A global chip shortage has undercut many industries from smartphones and home appliances to cars.

Samsung, the world’s largest semiconductor maker by revenue, plans to invest more than $205 billion over the next three years, with chip-making a priority. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has earmarked more than $100 billion over the next three years to build new chip factories. Intel Corp. has also unveiled more than $100 billion worth of semiconductor factory investments plans in the U.S. and Europe over the coming decade.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this year that he has “never seen anything like” the semiconductor shortage. Read More > in The Daily Wire

Morning exposure to deep red light improves declining eyesight – Just three minutes of exposure to deep red light once a week, when delivered in the morning, can significantly improve declining eyesight, finds a pioneering new study by UCL researchers.

Published in Scientific Reports, the study builds on the team’s previous work, which showed daily three-minute exposure to longwave deep red light ‘switched on’ energy producing mitochondria cells in the human retina, helping boost naturally declining vision.

For this latest study, scientists wanted to establish what effect a single three-minute exposure would have, while also using much lower energy levels than their previous studies. Furthermore, building on separate UCL research in flies that found mitochondria display ‘shifting workloads’ depending on the time of day, the team compared morning exposure to afternoon exposure.

In summary, researchers found there was, on average, a 17% improvement in participants’ color contrast vision when exposed to three minutes of 670 nanometre (long wavelength) deep red light in the morning and the effects of this single exposure lasted for at least a week. However, when the same test was conducted in the afternoon, no improvement was seen. Read More > at Medical Xpress

Survey: 34% of white college applicants lied about their race to improve chances of getting accepted – Thirty-four percent of white college student applicants have lied about their race to admissions officials to better their chances of getting accepted into their desired university or receive better financial aid, according to a survey from Intelligent.

The survey of 1,250 white college applicants ages 16 and older found that the most popular racial claim was Native American. Out of the 34 percent of white college applicants who lied about their race, 77 percent were accepted.

“It’s the easiest lie to tell because you can’t get caught in it,” said Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam, an admissions consultant at SOSAdmissions.com and author of “Almost Black: The True Story of How I Got Into Medical School By Pretending to Be Black.”

“A lot of people, based on very flimsy reasons, claim to be either African-American, Hispanic or Native American because they know it’s going to improve their chances,” Chokal-Ingam said in an interview with The College Fix.

Though lying on college applications is frowned upon, universities typically do not push back on students about their race. Instead, they accept it regardless of what they look like, he said. Read More > at The College Fix

Do babies cry in the womb? – Beginning in the second trimester of pregnancy, an expecting parent may feel their unborn baby kicking, rolling over and even hiccuping. But is it known whether babies can start crying before they’re born? 

Although pregnant people can’t feel this movement, research suggests that babies do seem to start practicing for this big birth milestone before they’ve taken their first gulp of air.

Ultrasound technologies have allowed us to peer inside the uterus and observe fetuses while they’re still developing. For example, a video published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood — Fetal and Neonatal Edition in 2005 shows a 33-week fetus making facial expressions that look like crying through an ultrasound profile. After the researchers gave the fetus a vibration and noise stimulation, it opens its jaw wide, tucks in its chin and lets out three big exhales in a row as its chest rises and its head tilts back, ending with a chin quiver. This movement was seen in 10 fetuses (about 6% of the total number of babies scanned). Read More > at Live Science

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Great California Delta Trail Draft Master Plan now available

The draft Master Plan for the Great California Delta Trail is now available for review and comment. The Master Plan proposes ways to link trail systems from Sacramento to the San Francisco Bay — and the Delta Protection Commission (DPC) wants to hear your feedback!

The DPC has worked with county parks planners, trails groups, and landowners in developing this draft plan — now it’s time for the public to let the DPC know if this plan will help create a Great California Delta Trail System! Public comment is welcome now until December 16.

There will be two opportunities to attend virtual public presentations on the draft Master Plan:

Register for Tuesday, November 30, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Register for Thursday, December 8, 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Draft Master Plan is available on the Delta Protection Commission’s Recreation & Tourism webpage.

Public comments are accepted via email at submit@delta.ca.gov, by Google Form, or at either of the public meetings.

The Great California Delta Trail (Delta Trail) is envisioned as a continuous recreational corridor through the five California Delta counties (Contra Costa, Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, and San Joaquin). The vision for the Delta Trail includes routes accessible to all with connections to other trails, recreational
facilities, and public transportation. The trail will link the San Francisco Bay Trail system in Contra Costa and Solano Counties to the planned Sacramento River trails in Yolo and Sacramento Counties. The vision also includes water trails.

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Happy Thanksgiving – 2021

In January 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had just been re-elected for a third term. After nearly 10 years of double-digit unemployment and economic stagnation, the Great Depression was abating. War had engulfed Europe, and before year’s end the United States would be drawn into the worldwide conflagration at Pearl Harbor.

In his annual State of the Union address to Congress on Jan. 6, 1941, Roosevelt found it “unhappily, necessary to report that the future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders.” He articulated the case for supporting our future allies in their defiance of dictators, while he simultaneously prepared the nation to fight.

What would we fight for? “In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms,” FDR said. They are freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

In 1943 Norman Rockwell produced a series of four paintings on these Four Freedoms. One of these painting, Freedom From Want, has come to exemplify the old American traditional Thanksgiving, and is most often referred to as the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving.

Of Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms, Freedom from Want is the most seen pieces of art—often featured in art books and has become a nostalgic symbol of the American Thanksgiving holiday. The painting depicts an elderly couple serving a Thanksgiving turkey to a happy and eagerly awaiting family. The iconic Freedom from Want painting promotes the importance of family togetherness and traditional values.

The unity portrayed in Freedom from Want is what makes the painting a classic image for the Thanksgiving holiday, and despite efforts to recreate the image and the message the painting displays, no other artist has accomplished what Rockwell accomplished with Freedom from Want.

Wherever this Thanksgiving Day finds you and your version of Rockwell’s Thanksgiving dinner, remember that “freedom from want” eludes a growing number of people in our community today. Give a little of yourselves; there are collection barrels being distributed throughout your City to collect non-perishable food items and toys from various organizations in your community, or volunteer, these same organizations are always looking for help during the holiday season. Pause for just a moment to step back and reflect upon how blessed we really are — blessed far beyond any measure of what we deserve. I wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving, and God’s blessings to you and your family.

Join with those around you today in prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty — and for their families.

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2021 Thanksgiving & Holiday Shopping Reports – WalletHub

With the hectic holiday season fast approaching but the country still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, WalletHub wanted to drop you a quick note to make sure you didn’t miss any of WalletHub’s recent holiday studies and reports, highlights of which you can find below.

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Update – 11/23/21 Dutch Slough Restoration

The Dutch Slough Tidal Marsh Restoration Project is the first major tidal wetlands restoration site in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to be implemented by DWR. The project will transform 1,187 acres of land into tidal marsh to provide habitat for salmon and other native fish and wildlife.

The Marsh Creek Trail, just north of the BNSF tracks, has been closed while work progressed on the re-routing of Marsh Creek and building bridge abutments for the new section of trail. Recently the levee was breached at Marsh Creek and the creek rerouted and the abutments were completed. The trail will remain closed until the steel for the bridge arrives, February of 2022.

Marsh Creek rerouted
Marsh Creek bridge abutments
Beaver in new Marsh Creek

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Sunday Reading – 11/21/2021

The following links are just news items and opinions that pass my desk throughout the week. I don’t necessarily support or advocate any of the items, they are just interesting reads.

California Dreamin’

“I just took [my son] to our local Walgreens to buy him a toy. While there, a man shoved past me so firmly that he sent me into the shelving. Then he proceeded to fill a brown paper bag with Halloween candy and waltzed out of the store. This is one of five Walgreens stores in SF that will be closing in the next two months, in part because of rampant theft. And our city leaders all keep insisting crime is down.”

I didn’t need to read Michael Shellenberger’s new book, San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, to know what has happened to the city on the Bay. The above quotation is taken from an email from a former student, herself a San Francisco native. Earlier she reported that a homeless man had defecated in front of her townhouse.

San Francisco’s mainstream media and political elite have tried to downplay such stories. But the trends are impossible to ignore. California is one of just a handful of states to see dramatic increases in its homeless population. Between 2015 and 2020, San Francisco’s homeless population grew by 32%, despite the city tripling its funds to address homelessness. Public health and safety have been jeopardized. The entire state has witnessed a spike in shoplifting, particularly in San Francisco. Meanwhile, homeless encampments have become breeding grounds for all sorts of diseases, some of them distinctly medieval.

Some say it’s the mild weather that drives this growth. But other warm-weather places like Houston, Phoenix, and Miami have all reduced their homeless populations, and their percentages of unhoused people are just a fraction of San Francisco’s. As Shellenberger shows, the blame lies not with climate, but with policies and politics.

San Fransicko lays out in precise detail the growth of homelessness and disorder in San Francisco and other West Coast cities, and how the efforts by progressive governments—from liberal drug policies to a deliberate reduction in punishments for minor property offenses—have simply made things worse.

Shellenberger suggests that many of the homeless in San Francisco are not people down on their luck, but those who, quite rationally, move to places where they are free to camp, avoid prosecution for property crimes, receive the occasional hotel room, and even access to free drugs and alcohol. Progressive politicians and policymakers, Schellenberger notes, live in a kind of dreamworld, where the public can build housing for anyone who wants to come to the Bay, a fiscal impossibility in the country’s most expensive city.

But San Fransicko is no right-wing screed about Democratic failure. Shellenberger, a long-time environmental activist, was a socialist in his youth and worked with radicals to protest “economic globalization.” He is part of a dissident movement from within liberal ranks that includes Bill Maher, Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, Batya Ungar-Sargon, and many others.

Shellenberger traces some of  California’s urban dystopia to the writings of Michel Foucault, who challenged the very idea of incarceration and ascribed crime not to personal failings, but to social oppression. Thus seeing in the homeless an advertisement for “social justice,” progressives are reluctant to admit that many homeless people are actually drug-addicted or mentally ill, people whose needs must be addressed by professionals. They sanction even the most demeaning behaviors, like shooting up, masturbating, or defecating in public—now considered “victimless crimes” by San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, whose main priority is not fighting crime but “deincarceration.” Read More > at The Commons

A huge California budget surplus – Remember the Golden State stimulus checks? Well, more might be landing in your bank account in the near future.

That’s because California is — once again — overflowing with money, and will likely have a $31 billion budget surplus next year, according to a Wednesday report from the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office. And because the state is forbidden from spending more tax dollars per Californian than it did in 1978, once adjusted for inflation, it only has a few options for handling the cash windfall: slashing taxes; issuing tax rebates; funneling it to schools and community colleges; or earmarking it for certain purposes, such as infrastructure.

While touring the backlogged Los Angeles and Long Beach ports on Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he plans to “substantially increase our one-time investments in infrastructure” in the budget proposal he’ll send to state lawmakers in January. He also suggested that another round — or two — of stimulus checks could be on the way.

  • Newsom: “How we framed that historic surplus last year, similarly, we will frame our approach this year.”

Newsom and state lawmakers agreed on a record-breaking $262.6 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1, which included $12 billion in stimulus payments and unprecedented investments in educationhomelessness and the environment. On Wednesday, Newsom unveiled the first 18 projects that will receive funding from the $6 billion broadband package.

Much of the extra revenue came from one-time funding sources, which helps explain why many California schools are still facing yawning budget deficits. However, the Legislative Analyst’s Office predicts that California can afford to increase its annual expenses by $3 billion to $8 billion through the 2025-26 fiscal year — a prospect that didn’t appear to sit well with Republicans.

  • Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron: “There’s something wrong when the state is flush with extra cash — $750 for every man, woman and child — while ordinary people have to choose between putting food on the table and filling their gas tank.” 

According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, there are several main reasons why California is swimming in money even though a whopping 26% of residents are functionally unemployed and its poverty rate is the highest in the nation when the cost of living is taken into account. They include:

  • Massive capital gains for the state’s wealthiest residents amid the pandemic.
  • Record consumer spending as residents use state and federal stimulus checks. California businesses reported a record high of $217 billion in taxable sales during the second quarter of 2021, according to figures released Tuesday by the state Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

Asked about skyrocketing gas prices on Wednesday, Newsom said Californians have to “disenthrall” themselves from “being victims of petro politics,” adding, “We have to accelerate our transition — once and for all — away from fossil fuels.” Read More > at CalMatters

$20 billion more projected in early forecast for 2022-23 funding for K-14 schools – In what usually is an accurate annual preview of the governor’s state budget released in early January, the state Legislative Analyst’s Office is projecting a double-digit increase in billions of dollars and percentages in 2022-23 in education funding under Proposition 98. That’s the formula that determines the minimum funding allocation for K-14 schools.

Schools and community colleges can expect an additional $20 billion in 2022-23, which will follow a record level of funding this year. Even the usually restrained LAO calls this good fortune “extraordinary.”

About half of this amount will be from what’s expected to be conservative revenue estimates by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature for 2021-22. A surge in state revenue — the fastest growth rate in history for the year ending in September — will produce $10 billion in one-time money that will roll over to 2022-23.

The other half will be a 12.4% increase in the Prop. 98 guaranteed, ongoing funding, which will rise to $102.7 billion — $9.5 billion more than in 2021-22. Community colleges usually receive about 11% of Prop. 98 funding, with nearly all of the remainder going to K-12 districts, county offices of education and charter schools. Read More > at EdSource

$1 billion project to expand major Bay Area reservoir gains momentum – The rolling hills and ranchlands of eastern Contra Costa County are known for wineries, cattle ranches, wind turbines and growing subdivisions.

But soon they may be known for something else: The biggest new water storage project in the Bay Area in years. And now, amid the current drought, nearly every major water agency in the region wants a piece of it.

The Contra Costa Water District is moving closer to breaking ground on plans to expand Los Vaqueros Reservoir, south of Brentwood, by raising the reservoir’s earthen dam by 56 feet, to 287 feet high. That would make it the second tallest dam in the Bay Area, eclipsed only by Warm Springs Dam on Lake Sonoma near Healdsburg, which is 319 feet high.

Construction, slated to begin in late 2023 and finish by 2030, would expand Los Vaqueros from its current 160,000 acre-feet capacity to 275,000 acre-feet, enough water when full for the annual needs of 1.4 million people.

Recently, the project has cleared several significant hurdles.

Last month, the Contra Costa Water District and seven other agencies formed a legal partnership to oversee the design, construction and funding of the reservoir — including negotiating in the coming year how much money each agency will contribute and how much water they will secure. Read More . in The Mercury News

Gas prices hit new record high – If you’re one of the 6.1 million Californians planning to take a Thanksgiving road trip, prepare to pay more at the pump. The Golden State’s average price for a gallon of gas skyrocketed to $4.69 on Tuesday — breaking the previous record of $4.68 set on Monday, according to AAA. That’s far above the national average of $3.41 and a whopping six cents higher than California’s average gas price last week. Sacramento has set a new record gas price 10 times this month, with the average cost climbing to $4.71 per gallon on Tuesday. A gallon costs more than $5 in many parts of the Bay Area, and some Los Angeles residents were shocked to see prices tick past $6 per gallon on Tuesday. “This is absurd,” Brian Sproule told the Los Angeles Times after paying $72 to fill a tank that normally only costs him $40. Meanwhile, rising inflation rates are pushing up the price of everything from electricity to meat. Frozen turkeys, for example, cost about 26 cents more per pound than they did last year.

  • Los Angeles resident Monica Oliva: “Even the carne asada at the market is $25 to $36, so we were like, ‘OK, we have to change our plans to make (Thanksgiving dinner) affordable.”

As the backlogged supply chain struggles to keep up with steep demand, California businesses reported a record high of $217 billion in taxable sales during the second quarter of 2021, a 39% increase over the same period last year and 17% higher than in 2019, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration announced Tuesday. Those numbers are not adjusted for inflation. Read More > at CalMatters

CA cars: Supply slows, while prices head to the fast lane – Several factors are shaping demand, prices, sales and supply of new and used cars in the Golden State, but consumers know one thing — their pocketbooks are taking a hit.

Jessica Caldwell is Edmunds’ executive director of insights, based in Santa Monica. “There has never been a greater imbalance of supply and demand for vehicles as there is right now across the country, including the nation’s largest automotive market, California,” she says.

By one estimate, new car prices rose 12.1 percent between September 2020 and September 2021, or about $4,871 per vehicle. The average cost of a new car has surpassed $45,000 — an historic first.

Brian Maas helms the California New Car Dealers Association. “Each new car has thousands of computer chips in it,” he says. “There are certain global companies in nations such as South Korea and Taiwan that make these chips. The U.S. was an industry leader a couple of decades ago before companies relocated such production abroad. That’s led to Congressional discussion of returning computer chip production stateside.”

New car sale increases varied by region, according to the CAO. “Southern California led very slightly with 35.3 percent to Northern California’s 34.9 percent. More specifically for selected markets, San Diego County saw a raise in 35.2 percent, LA and Orange counties an increase of 32.9 percent, and the Bay Area an increase of 29.7 percent.”

Meanwhile, new and used auto price hikes are having uneven impacts on Californians.

Amir Daneshvar is the general manager at Zen Auto in East Sacramento. “Major dealerships have financial capital and can control the market by purchasing the available inventory,” he says, “like a monopoly. When they have the majority of the inventory, they can dictate the selling price as the new norm.”

Small car dealers cannot compete with larger ones on inventory or price. There is another factor pushing up car prices, according to Daneshvar. “We also have the new cars which are more advanced and are costing more to produce,” he says. “In turn they are more expensive.”

That is good for the seller, not so much for the buyer. Price hikes can and do spur inflation, which can eat into buying power. Read More > at Capitol Weekly

Oroville Declares Itself a “Constitutional Republic” Free of Mandates – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Oroville has been a den of COVID defiance. The small town at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada made headlines when it bucked state prohibitions on indoor dining last year. Today, the County of Butte where Oroville is located has a vaccination rate under 50%.

Like many rural, conservative areas, Oroville feels unfairly constrained by a heavily democratic government in Sacramento. In the wake of the failed recall attempt against Gavin Newsom, city leaders have let out a primal scream — a resolution declaring Oroville a “constitutional republic” free from federal and state COVID restrictions.

The resolution means absolutely nothing. Except that Oroville is really, really ticked off.

“A municipality cannot unilaterally declare itself not subject to the laws of the state of California,” rural law expert Lisa Pruitt told The Guardian. “Whatever they mean by constitutional republic you can’t say hocus pocus and make it happen.”

Even one of the members who voted for the resolution admitted it has “no teeth.”

What the resolution does do is underscore the growing red-blue, rural-urban divide and some of the fury surrounding vaccine mandates. Vice Mayor Scott Thomson, who proposed the resolution, said the final straw was Newsom “going after our kids and schools.” read More > at California City News

California Desert Towns Struggle To Survive As Violent, Illegal Drug Cartels Take Over – “Cartelville, USA” is a new documentary produced by The Daily Caller and Jorge Ventura that investigates rural Southern California desert towns overrun by Mexican drug and human trafficking cartels. Ventura joins Christopher Bedford and Emily Jashinsky to discuss the film on this episode of The Federalist Radio Hour.

Ventura describes the environmental problems these towns face as cartels steal water for their illegal marijuana farms, as well as the migrant slave labor and violence that comes with cartel turf wars.

“We are starting to see these cartels shoot at American citizens … the homicide rate is climbing up. They’re finding bodies that are shot and killed connected to this illegal marijuana growth,” Ventura said. Read More > at The Federalist

California Public Employees Must Pay More for Pensions – Public employees in California will bear the brunt of an investment policy change the CalPERS board made Monday, contributing more toward their pensions while their employers enjoy a short-term reprieve thanks to last year’s stock market boom.

The vote by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System Board of Administration concluded a once-every-four-years review of the pension fund’s assets, which were recently valued at $495 billion.

The approved changes, including added flexibility to borrow money, are aimed at adapting the fund to a shifting financial landscape in which stock market expectations decline and traditionally “safe” investments such as treasuries and bonds no longer earn nearly enough money to keep up with increasing pension costs.

The board adopted an annual investment return target of 6.8%, two-tenths of a percentage point lower than last year’s 7% target. It follows the board’s decision in late 2016 to drop its annual earnings target from 7.5%, a change that drove up costs for cities, schools and other government employers.

The new reduction to investment expectations means CalPERS will charge some local governments and employees more because the fund expects to earn less money from its portfolio. Read More > at Governing

State’s encampment strategy unclear – The Newsom administration is giving Caltrans, the state’s transportation agency, $1.1 billion to clean freeways. Some of the money is earmarked for clearing homeless encampments — 100 of which the governor’s office has identified as top priorities. But both Newsom’s office and Caltrans declined to tell CalMatters’ Manuela Tobias which encampments were on the priority list — raising questions about where and how the money is being spent and whether the state is making good on its promise to connect homeless Californians to housing and mental health resources.

Other experts question whether the sweeps themselves are an effective long-term solution, given that California has less than one shelter or transitional housing bed available for every three homeless people. However, the Sacramento city council will today consider a measure that would allow it to start clearing more homeless encampments starting in 2023 as long as residents have been offered two different types of shelter or housing.

FBI email system hacked to send fake cyberattack alerts – The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Saturday, November 13, that hackers had compromised its external email system, then sent out warnings of fake cyberattacks.

The hackers accessed an unclassified server used by FBI personnel to communicate outside of the organization. The hackers then used the compromised server to send the fraudulent emails to possibly thousands of individuals and companies, according to the Washington Post .

“The impacted hardware was taken offline quickly upon discovery of the issue,” the FBI said in a statement . “We continue to encourage the public to be cautious of unknown senders and urge you to report suspicious activity to ic3.gov or cisa.gov.”

The emails sent by the hackers contained no harmful attachments, potentially signaling that the hackers did not have a serious plan to maliciously exploit it. The cyberattack alerts could have simply been a means for the hackers to “get some street cred to tout on underground forums,” a former FBI agent told the outlet.

Spamhaus, an international threat intelligence organization, posted a picture of the email sent by the hackers on social media. Referenced in the email is an international hacker group called the Dark Overlord, which allegedly steals data and demands hefty ransoms for its return. Read More > in the Washington Times

Number of Americans quitting jobs reached record high in September – The number and percentage of U.S. workers voluntarily leaving their jobs reached an all-time high in September, according to data released Friday by the Labor Department.

Roughly 4.4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in September and the “quits rate” rose to 3 percent, according to the latest edition of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey, each a new record. The number of job openings stayed roughly even in August at 10.4 million.

The surge in American workers voluntarily leaving their jobs is the latest sign of growing worker power in the recovering labor market. 

Economists see quits as a window into how willing workers are to leave their current job in search of another role with higher compensation or greater personal fulfillment.

Wages have risen rapidly through 2021, particularly for the lowest-paid workers, as businesses struggle to fill millions of jobs. Both the percentage and number of working-age adults in the labor force are still well below pre-pandemic levels, giving those currently seeking jobs greater leverage and opportunities. Read More > in The Hill

Why Are People Really Quitting Their Jobs? Burnout Tops the List, New Research ShowsThe Great Resignation shows no signs of stopping as employee resignations hit an all-time high in August, extending a five-month streak of record-breaking quit rates.

The pandemic changed everything, and for most employees, it deeply affected how they view and want to experience work. Employers can’t afford to sit back while losing more of their workforce because employee expectations have drastically changed. 

Limeade, an organization dedicated to researching and improving employee well-being, has released its new study, “The Great Resignation Update,” to examine why the “Great Resigners” left. The study surveyed 1,000 U.S.-based employees who started a new job in 2021 and have been there for at least three months.

Here are three key findings from the report with guidance on how to apply these takeaways to become the organization employees are flocking to, not from.

1. The main reason employees quit was burnout.

The No. 1 reason job-changers left their previous employers was burnout, which was cited by 40 percent of survey respondents. Events outside the workplace, like the 2020 COVID-19 recession, have contributed to worsening burnout over the past 20 months.

2. Job changers left seeking flexibility.

When asked what attracted them to their current job, job-changers cited the ability to work remotely (40 percent) and other forms of flexibility (24 percent) like a non-traditional work schedule. Read More > at INC.

Men Are Just As Emotional As Women, Study Suggests – It is not a compliment to call someone “emotional.” We incorrectly see emotion as the opposite of the “rational” or “effective,” even though neuroscientists have long known that emotion is what drives intelligent thought.

Now scientists have just revealed another area where we get emotion completely wrong. Despite centuries of stereotypes, a new study finds that men are just as emotional as women. Men have the same ups and downs, highs and lows as women do. And that is good news for all of us.

Why are we all so sure that women are more emotional than men? There are two main reasons:

First, there is a long history of classifying emotion in a pejorative way and then blaming that on the uterus. In the 19th century, women were considered prone to a uniquely female problem: hysteria. The idea was that women were emotional and unstable and likely to develop behavioral problems, and men couldn’t be because they didn’t have a uterus. Hysterical females were often treated with hysterectomies.

In the 20th century, women have largely been excluded from research (even that used to understand women). Seriously. According to the study authors, this was “partly due to the assumption that ovarian hormone fluctuations lead to variation, especially in emotion, that could not be experimentally controlled.” Those hormonal women were just too unpredictable to be studied. So instead of using science to find out if these assumptions about emotions and female hormones were true, researchers simply ignored women and studied men instead.

Second is the real difference between men and women’s emotionality. Specifically, we describe men’s and women’s emotions in biased ways. As the study’s senior author Adriene Beltz, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, shared in a press release, a man whose emotions fluctuate during a sporting event is described as “passionate.” But a woman whose emotions change due to any event, even if provoked, is considered “irrational.” Read More > at Forbes

Underdog No More, a Deaf Football Team Takes California by Storm – The athletic program at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, has suffered its share of humiliations and harassment over the years. There was the time that a visiting team’s volleyball coach mocked the deaf players. And another time a hearing coach for the girls’ basketball team listened as opponents discussed how embarrassing it would be to lose to a deaf team.

It did not help morale that the varsity football team, the Cubs, recently suffered seven straight losing seasons, leaving the school with the sinking feeling that opposing football teams came to the Riverside campus expecting an easy win.

No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore. This season, they are undefeated — the highest-ranked team in their Southern California division. Through 11 games, they have not so much beaten their opponents as flattened them.

Led by the school’s physical education teacher, Keith Adams, a burly and effervescent deaf man whose two deaf sons are also on the team, the Cubs are a fast and hard-hitting squad. Wing-footed wide receivers fly past defenses, averaging 17 yards per catch. The quarterback doubles as the team’s leading rusher, with 22 touchdowns on the season. A system of coded hand signals among tight-knit teammates and coaches confounds opponents with its speed and efficiency.

With Friday’s win, the Cubs are two games away from capturing the division championship for the first time in the school’s 68-year history. But coaches and players say they already feel like winners. Read More > in The New York Times

From arrest warrants to car warranties, Americans face nearly 30 scams a month! – Does a robocall or bogus spam email ever catch you off guard? Don’t feel bad, a new study finds scammers may be targeting you more than you realize. Americans are the targets of nearly 30 scams a month.

From 10 email scams, nine phone calls, and eight fishy texts a month – the survey of 2,000 American millennials and baby boomers finds the scamming crisis is running rampant.

Two in five respondents reportedly receive upwards of 11 scam emails a month and 34 percent say they get scam phone calls more than 11 times a month. Baby boomers report an average of two more scam calls than millennials per month (10 vs. 8 calls, respectively).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Scam Spotter, a platform created by Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) with support from Google, the survey finds that 46 percent of respondents have lost money due to a scam. The average respondent has fallen victim to five scams over their lifetime where they’ve lost an average of over $500. Read More > at The Study Finds

Employers vs Employees – Who Blinks First – In October, the number of unfilled jobs clocked in at 10.4 million. Meanwhile, there are 7.4 million unemployed workers.

At first blush, this is a head-scratcher…

With more open jobs than jobseekers, why aren’t we at full employment?

Obviously, with 7.4 million people in question, there are variety of reasons for the unwillingness to take open positions, so there’s no definitive takeaway.

However, here’s a broad perspective from The Washington Post:

American workers are increasingly seeking higher pay, more flexibility, and remote options as they flex their leverage in the current job market, but many companies are not necessarily being more accommodative, continuing to favor candidates with several years of experience in their industry, more availability to work evening or weekend hours, or a preference for those willing to work in-person.

Labor economist Aaron Sojourner recently built on the “higher pay” aspect of this argument, asking “why aren’t companies bidding up wages and working conditions fast enough to pull people off the sidelines?”

Well, many are.

From CNBC:

Wages have risen more than $1 an hour, or 4.5%, in the past year across all private-sector jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some sectors are up more — leisure and hospitality pay is up 11%, to $18.95 an hour, for example. The Bureau attributes the upward pressure on earnings to a rising demand for labor.

As one example, Starbucks announced that all hourly pay workers will make an average of nearly $17 an hour by this summer.

There’s a disconnect between what jobseekers want and what employers are willing to give, resulting in a “who will blink first?” impasse.

The odds don’t favor the jobseekers… Read More > at Investor Place

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Back Home Loans of Nearly $1 Million as Prices Soar – The federal government is about to back mortgages of nearly $1 million for the first time.

The maximum size of home-mortgage loans eligible for backing by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are expected to jump sharply in 2022, a reflection of the rapid appreciation in home prices nationally over the past year.

The increase may make it easier and cheaper for some borrowers to buy a home, particularly in more expensive areas of the country, but the higher limits are also likely to elevate debate about how big of a mortgage is too big to be backed by the government.

“Housing prices are expensive,” said Steve Walsh, president of Scout Mortgage in Scottsdale, Ariz., adding that some of his clients are unable to qualify for loans for modest-sized homes under the current limits.

“I don’t believe these people are looking for a castle, just a three-bedroom house with a backyard,” Mr. Walsh said.

By law, the loan limits are updated annually using a formula that factors in average housing-price increases nationwide.

Currently, the government-controlled mortgage companies can back single-family mortgages that have balances as high as $548,250 in most parts of the country and up to $822,375 in expensive housing markets, including parts of California and New York.

Those limits are expected to jump to a baseline level of about $650,000 in most jurisdictions and to just under $1 million in high-cost markets. Read More > in The Wall Street Journal

CVS is closing 900 storesCVS Health is closing 900 stores over the next three years, amounting to nearly 10% of its footprint, in response to the changing of “consumer buying patterns.”

The drug store chain said Thursday that the closures will result in a retail presence that ensures it has the “right kinds of stores in the right locations for consumers and for the business.” A list of locations shutting down, which will happen beginning next spring, was not immediately released.

The closures are part of broader realignment of its retail strategy of its roughly 10,000 locations. That includes remodeling some stores to include more health services, such as primary care, and an “enhanced version” of its HealthHub layout. Read More > at CNN Business

Pandemic or no, kids are still getting — and spreading — head lice – According to those in the world of professional nitpicking, Pediculus humanus capitis, the much-despised head louse, has returned.

“It’s definitely back,” said Kelli Boswell, owner of Lice & Easy, a boutique where people in the Denver area can get deloused, a process that can range from minutes to hours depending on the method and the infestation. “It’s a sign that things are coming back to normal.”

Colds and more serious bugs like respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are also back. That may leave some to wonder: With all the COVID prevention measures in place, how are kids sharing these things?

Like the coronavirus, all these bugs depend on human sociability. Unfortunately, the measures that many reopened schools have taken to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 — masks, hand-washing, vaccination — do little to deter the spread of the head louse. However, physical distancing, such as spacing desks 3 feet apart, should be helping, if it’s actually happening. Read More > at NPR

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2021’s Best Places to Shop on Black Friday – WalletHub Study

With Black Friday sales starting earlier this year and most consumers planning to shop online rather than in-store, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Best Places to Shop on Black Friday, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.

WalletHub surveyed nearly 5,000 deals from 21 of the biggest U.S. retailers’ 2021 Black Friday ad scans to identify the stores offering the biggest discounts in various product categories such as “Appliances,” “Jewelry” and “Toys.”

The following are some highlights from the report:

Best Black Friday Retailers (Avg. % Discount)
1. Macy’s (58.51%)6. Lenovo (40.29%)
2. JCPenney (57.63%)7. Nordstrom (33.21%)
3. Belk (56.69%)8. Walmart (31.60%)
4. Kohl’s (49.32%)9. HP (31.34%)
5. Office Depot and OfficeMax (42.85%)10. Big Lots (29.19%)

Key Stats

  • Macy’s has the highest overall discount rate at 58.51 percent, whereas Ace Hardware has the lowest at 11.73 percent.
     
  • The overall average discount for Black Friday is 32 percent. Consumers should aim for this discount amount or higher to avoid Black-Friday traps.
     
  • The “Apparel & Accessories” category has one of the biggest shares of discounted items, 18.40 percent of all offers, whereas the “Consumer Packaged Goods” category has the smallest at 3.47 percent.

To view the full report and each retailer’s rank in all product categories, please visit: 
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-retailers-for-black-friday/8385/

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The Beaver Moon lunar eclipse on Nov. 19 will be the longest of the century. Here are its stages explained.

The next eclipse of the moon will greet early risers before dawn on Friday morning (Nov. 19) across North America. 

It will be the second lunar eclipse of 2021 and, in some ways, will be similar to the last one on May 26. Most North Americans will again need to get up early and look low in the west toward daybreak. And again, the farther west you are the better, as the moon will appear much higher from the western part of the continent as opposed to locations farther to the east. It will also be the longest lunar eclipse in 580 years, lasting about 3 hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds, and also the longest this century.

But in another way, it will be different. This lunar eclipse will fall just shy of being total; 97.4% of the moon’s diameter will become immersed in the Earth’s dark umbral shadow at maximum eclipse, leaving just the southernmost limb ever-so-slightly beyond the outer edge of the umbra. 

To those watching with the naked eye, binoculars and small telescopes, the lower edge of the moon will likely remain much brighter than the deep red or ochre hue we can expect across the rest of the moon’s face. 

To prepare for the Beaver Moon lunar eclipse of 2021, check out our guide on how to photograph the moon with a camera. If you need imaging gear, consider our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography to make sure you’re ready for the next eclipse.

Read More > from Sapce.com

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M4.0 Earthquake – 2km NE of San Ramon, CA

Magnitude4.0
Date-Time17 Nov 2021 19:43:44 UTC17 Nov 2021 11:43:44 near epicenter17 Nov 2021 11:43:44 standard time in your timezone
Location37.792N 121.968W
Depth10 km
Distances1.6 km (1.0 mi) NE of San Ramon, California4.4 km (2.7 mi) SE of Danville, California8.6 km (5.3 mi) SE of Alamo, California10.4 km (6.4 mi) NNW of Dublin, California96.9 km (60.1 mi) SSW of Sacramento, California
Location UncertaintyHorizontal: 0.2 km; Vertical 0.4 km
ParametersNph = 70; Dmin = 7.7 km; Rmss = 0.12 seconds; Gp = 49°
Version = 2
Event IDnc 73654060 ***This event supersedes event EW1637178220.

For updates, maps, and technical information
see: Event Page or USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
CISN Northern California Management Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Berkeley Seismological Laboratory
http://www.cisn.org/ncmc.html

11:46 – M2.6 Earthquake – Northern California

11:50 – M2.1 Earthquake – Northern California

11:53 – M2.3 Earthquake – Northern California

11:57 – M1.3 Earthquake – Northern California

11:58 – M3.0 Earthquake – Northern California

12:01 – M1.4 Earthquake – Northern California

12:06 – M2.0 Earthquake – Northern California

12:16 – M2.1 Earthquake – Northern California

12:17 – M1.6 Earthquake – Northern California

12:23 – M1.5 Earthquake – Northern California

12:26 – M1.6 Earthquake – Northern California

1:02 – M2.1 Earthquake – Northern California

4:01 – M2.8 Earthquake – Northern California

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Delta Flood Ready Website

Have you had a chance to visit the new www.DeltaFloodReady.com website? Delta Flood Preparedness Week may be behind us, but a flood can happen at any time of the year. It is important to think about the steps you can take to be prepared in case of an emergency – and small steps can make a BIG difference over time! Created with Delta residents and businesses in mind, we have compiled many resources to help you be flood ready this season, and all year long.

There are over 1,100 miles of levees protecting 700,000 acres of lowland in the California Delta, and no matter how well built the levee, no levee is flood-proof.  Know as much as you can about the threat of flood – your knowledge will be crucial to your safety and the safety of those your care about. Flooding in the Delta can happen at any time, not just during the rainy season – it can even occur during times of drought! By planning ahead, you can help protect your family and neighbors, reduce damage to your property, and be better prepared to recover from a flood emergency in your area. This website will help you take the steps you need to be awarebe prepared, and take action in the event of a flood.

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Proposed Final Map of Contra Costa County Supervisor New Districts

Every ten years, at the conclusion of the census, County Supervisor district boundaries must be redrawn so that each district is substantially equal in population. This process, called redistricting, is important in ensuring that each board member represents about the same number of constituents. Here is the final map proposed

Redistricting Maps and Data

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How long will California be in a state of emergency due to COVID-19?

from CalMatters

Gov. Gavin Newsom last week issued an executive order that extends certain portions of his March 4, 2020 emergency proclamation through March 31, 2022 — raising questions about what conditions would prompt Newsom or state lawmakers to phase out the emergency powers that have shaped Californians’ lives for nearly two years and affected more than 400 laws and regulations.

In extending California’s ability to hire out-of-state health care workers and waive certain licensing requirements, among other things, Newsom cited “the potential beginning of a new surge in COVID-19 cases” and “short-staffed and backlogged” health care facilities. It’s a rationale similar to the one he gave in June, when he said he would keep California’s state of emergency in place even as the economy fully reopened: “This disease has not been extinguished.”

  • Erin Mellon, a Newsom spokesperson, told me Sunday: “The state of emergency ensures the state can continue to respond quickly to evolving conditions as the pandemic persists. As we have seen, this virus and variants are unpredictable. The state of emergency will be ended once conditions no longer warrant an emergency response.”

The news comes as some Californians seek clarity on milestones that would prompt the state to unwind its emergency measures. Two UCSF doctors — including the director of the emergency department’s COVID response — recently started a petition calling on Newsom to identify metrics under which the state would lift its school mask mandate. On Friday, a superior court judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the mask mandate, citing the governor’s emergency authority. (However, the judge also noted that districts can decide for themselves how to enforce the mandate and whether they want to follow the state’s testing and quarantine guidelines.)

Meanwhile, resistance to mask and vaccine mandates appears to be growing in corners of the state that have long opposed Newsom’s COVID rules. A handful of rural Northern California school districts recently voted to defy Newsom’s student COVID-19 vaccine mandate once it goes into effect, putting them at risk of losing millions of dollars in state funding.

Vitriol has grown so intense in some rural areas that local governments are dealing with what one state emergency official called a “stark acceleration of domestic violent extremism.” Last week, the Butte County town of Oroville made national headlines for declaring itself a “constitutional republic” in opposition to Newsom’s pandemic rules.

But nothing can match the wild west of the internet, where social media users recently circulated a “deepfake” video edited to make it look like one side of Newsom’s face was drooping in reaction to his COVID-19 booster shot. Newsom last week characterized such rumors about his nearly two-week absence from public events as “a rabbit hole of conspiracies,” adding that he didn’t have any reaction to the booster shot and had been spending time with family.

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2021’s Most Overweight & Obese States in America – WalletHub Report

With November being National Diabetes Awareness Month and obesity costing the health care system $147 billion each year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Most Overweight & Obese States in America, as well as accompanying videos and expert commentary.

To determine which states contribute the most to America’s overweight and obesity problem, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 31 key metrics. They range from share of overweight and obese population to sugary-beverage consumption among adolescents to obesity-related health care costs.

20 Most Overweight & Obese States
1. West Virginia11. Texas
2. Mississippi12. Ohio
3. Arkansas13. Georgia
4. Kentucky14. Missouri
5. Alabama15. Kansas
6. Tennessee16. Iowa
7. Delaware17. North Carolina
8. Louisiana18. Michigan
9. South Carolina19. Indiana
10. Oklahoma20. Maryland

Key Stats

  • Colorado and Massachusetts have the lowest percentage of obese adults, 24.00 percent, which is 1.7 times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest at 39.70 percent.
     
  • Utah has the lowest percentage of physically inactive adults, 16.10 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in Kentucky, the state with the highest at 29.40 percent.
     
  • Colorado has the lowest percentage of diabetic adults, 7.50 percent, which is 2.1 times lower than in West Virginia, the state with the highest at 15.70 percent.
     
  • Colorado has the lowest percentage of adults with high blood pressure, 24.50 percent, which is 1.7 times lower than in Mississippi, the state with the highest, at 40.60 percent.

To view the full report and your state or the District’s rank, please visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/fattest-states/16585

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Sunday Reading – 11/14/2021

The following links are just news items and opinions that pass my desk throughout the week. I don’t necessarily support or advocate any of the items, they are just interesting reads.

Northern California gas prices hit records in several cities. See costs in your area – Sacramento and several other Northern California cities hit their highest recorded gas price average within the last week.

Sacramento’s highest recorded average price of regular gasoline was $4.68 on Nov. 5.

Four days later and the price has decreased less than 1 cent, according to the American Automobile Association.

San Francisco hit $4.85 on Nov. 5 and hasn’t seen much movement since. Oakland hit its record average gas price of $4.76 on Tuesday.

And just last week, California ranked among the 10 U.S. states with the largest weekly pump price increase.

Here are the regular gas prices in California by county. See where you land: Read More > in The Sacramento Bee

U.S. Inflation Reached 30-Year High in October – U.S. inflation hit a three-decade high in October—rising at a 6.2% annual rate—as pandemic-related supply shortages and continued strength in consumer demand continued to push up prices.

The Labor Department said the consumer-price index, which measures what consumers pay for goods and services, increased at the fastest annual pace since 1990. Inflation also topped 5% for the fifth straight month.

The so-called core price index, which excludes the often-volatile categories of food and energy, in October climbed 4.6% from a year earlier, higher than September’s 4% rise and the largest increase since 1991.

On a monthly basis, the CPI increased a seasonally adjusted 0.9% in October from the prior month, a sharp acceleration from September’s 0.4% rise, and the same as June’s 0.9% pace.

Price increases were broad-based in October, with higher costs for new and used autos, energy, furniture, rent and medical care, the Labor Department said. Prices fell for airline fares and alcohol. Read More > in The Wall Street Journal

I’m A Twenty Year Truck Driver, I Will Tell You Why America’s “Shipping Crisis” Will Not End – I’m a Class A truck driver with experience in nearly every aspect of freight. My experience in the trucking industry of 20 years tells me that nothing is going to change in the shipping industry.

Let’s start with understanding some things about ports. Outside of dedicated port trucking companies, most trucking companies won’t touch shipping containers. There is a reason for that….

The ‘experts’ want to say we can do things like open the ports 24/7, and this problem will be over in a couple weeks. They are blowing smoke, and they know it. Getting a container out of the port, as slow and aggravating as it is, is really the easy part, if you can find a truck and chassis to haul it. But every truck driver in America can’t operate 24/7, even if the government suspends Hours Of Service Regulations (federal regulations determining how many hours a week we can work/drive), we still need to sleep sometime. There are also restrictions on which trucks can go into a port. They have to be approved, have RFID tags, port registered, and the drivers have to have at least a TWIC card (Transportation Worker Identification Credential from the federal Transportation Security Administration). Some ports have additional requirements. As I have already said, most trucking companies won’t touch shipping containers with a 100 foot pole. What we have is a system with a limited amount of trucks and qualified drivers, many of whom are already working 14 hours a day (legally, the maximum they can), and now the supposed fix is to have them work 24 hours a day, every day, and not stop until the backlog is cleared. It’s not going to happen. It is not physically possible. There is no “cavalry” coming. No trucking companies are going to pay to register their trucks to haul containers for something that is supposedly so “short term,” because these same companies can get higher rate loads outside the ports. There is no extra capacity to be had, and it makes NO difference anyway, because If you can’t get a container unloaded at a warehouse, having drivers work 24/7/365 solves nothing.

What it will truly take to fix this problem is to run EVERYTHING 24/7: ports (both coastal and domestic),trucks, and warehouses. We need tens of thousands more chassis, and a much greater capacity in trucking. Read More > at Medium

Boxes and Boxes Seen Strewn Along LA Railroad Tracks Amid Cargo Container Theft – Union Pacific railroad said there was a rash of cargo container break-ins as the containers were being hauled by train near downtown Los Angeles, as officials are trying to clear the backlog of cargo at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Thousands of boxes as far as the eye could see were strewn along the railroad tracks near Valley Boulevard and North Mission Road in Lincoln Park in footage captured by NewsChopper4 Monday.

The boxes appeared to have fallen or been tossed off cargo containers being hauled by Union Pacific trains.

Several container doors were wide open – including a FedEx container with boxes tipping over.

The section of the track is bordered by homeless encampments on both sides.

Union Pacific issued a statement saying they’re aware of the thefts and are working with local law enforcement to address the issue.

Union Pacific transports goods from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where the backup continues. Read More > at NBC Los Angeles

California parents sue after giving birth, raising someone else’s baby for months – Two California couples gave birth to each others’ babies after a mix-up at a fertility clinic and spent months raising children that weren’t theirs before swapping the infants, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles.

Daphna Cardinale said she and her husband, Alexander, had immediate suspicions that the girl she gave birth to in late 2019 wasn’t theirs because the child had a darker complexion than they do.

They suppressed their doubts because they fell in love with the baby and trusted the in vitro fertilization process and their doctors, Daphna said. Learning months later that she had been pregnant with another couple’s baby, and that another woman had been carrying her child, caused enduring trauma, she said.

The Cardinales’ complaint accuses the Los Angeles-based California Center for Reproductive Health (CCRH) and its owner, Dr. Eliran Mor, of medical malpractice, breach of contract, negligence and fraud. It demands a jury trial and seeks unspecified damages.

The two other parents involved in the alleged mix-up wish to remain anonymous and plan a similar lawsuit in the coming days, according to attorney Adam Wolf, who represents all four parents.

The lawsuit claims CCRH mistakenly implanted the other couple’s embryo into Daphna and transferred the Cardinales’ embryo — made from Daphna’s egg and Alexander’s sperm — into the other woman.

The babies, both girls, were born a week apart in September 2019. Both couples unwittingly raised the wrong child for nearly three months before DNA tests confirmed that the embryos were swapped, according to the filing. Read More > at WDSU News

A Primer on Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Taxation Concepts – For some years the idea of replacing the pay-at-the-pump gas tax with a “vehicle miles traveled” system has been floating in the civic ether.  The reasoning took a few different paths, mostly centered around the issue of the fairness of “user fees” compared to purchase taxation, an idea that was boosted by the proliferation of non-gas using vehicles like electric cars (why am I paying gas taxes for the roads when the Tesla driver pays nothing?, etc.)

Basically, a VMT would be just that – a tax based on how many miles a vehicle moves over the roadways instead of paying a tax every time the gas tank is filled.  Proponents say it is intended to be “cost neutral” for the typical driver.

For example, right now – and these are general AVERAGES – Californians drive each personal car about 13,000 miles per year.  At a miles per gallon figure of 25, that means that – at $1.19 per gallon (the state, fed, sales tax plus fees like cap and trade total) –  a typical motorist will pay $618 per year, or 4.8 cents a mile, in taxes (again these are averages of typical personal vehicle and do not reflect trucks, commercial vehicles, taxis, the use of diesel fuels, etc.).  Most VMT concepts so far have floated a per-mile number in that range as their target.

That is the basic top-line proposal – but exactly how it would work has as many possible twists and turns and off-ramps and on-ramps and side streets as the Orange Crush in southern California being combined with Lombard Street in San Francisco.

There are five basic ways the fee could be calculated:

  • Straight miles – turn the car on, drive 10 miles – no matter where or when – and pay 10 miles in taxes.
  • Highway/major artery miles – no (or a lower) fee for driving around town but the tax would start when one entered a freeway and/or major artery (think Wilshire Boulevard).
  • Congestion miles – a lower tax on any driving during “off-peak” hours, but miles driven during typically heavy traffic times for that specific roadway would be taxed (think the toll lanes in Orange County).
  • Time miles – Similar to congestion miles, but not tied to specific traffic patterns, just the time (and not necessarily the amount of time) of the beginning and/or end of the trip – middle of the night low or no tax, mornings a tax, etc.
  • Cordon miles – Driving in certain areas and/or on certain roads would be taxed while driving elsewhere would not, or be taxed less (this could also be done not just by the mile but also an added tax/fee upon entering a particular area). Read More > at California Globe

Asia, Not the US Is the Main Source of Global Warming – … The New York Times’ Coral Davenport wrote, “The United States is historically the largest source of the pollution that is heating the planet.” That is precisely the widespread misconception which leads Americans to believe the climatic fate of the entire planet is in our hands if only Congress would throw enough money at it. The trouble is the United States has not been “the largest source” of greenhouse gas emissions since 1950, when Europe overtook it for five decades. In recent decades, the U.S. has accounted for an exceedingly small fraction of worldwide increases in carbon dioxide, and an even smaller share of other greenhouse gases.

The first graph “Annual share of global CO2 emissions” shows the U.S. share of global COemissions has been falling during most postwar decades – recently from 23.9% in 2000 to 14.5% in 2019. Meanwhile, carbon emissions in Asia rose from 35.8% of the global total in 2000 to 55.6% in 2019.

Focusing on carbon dioxide overstates the U.S. share of global greenhouse gas emissions, however, because CO2 accounts for 80% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions but only 65% for the whole world. Non-carbon greenhouse gases far more potent and long-lasting than CO2, such as methane and nitrous oxide, are a much bigger problem outside the U.S.

When all greenhouse gases are included, the World Resources Institute finds “Emissions from the United States contribute only 12.67% to global emissions,” while just five Asian nations –China, India, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia– contribute three times as much –39.2%.

With only a 12.67% share of greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. political promises to change the world climate by subsidizing “green energy” companies or products is an impossible mission. The U.S. share of emissions cannot possibly keep falling fast enough to make up for rising emissions in Asia.

Passenger vehicles, for example, account for 16.4% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but the U.S. accounts for 12.67% of such emissions worldwide. That means totally banning and destroying all American passenger cars and trucks (commute and shop only with bikes or walking shoes) could reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by only 2.1%. Spending decades and billions to gradually replace most passenger vehicles with EVs would have an immeasurably trivial effect. The small American tail cannot wag this fat Asian dog. Read More > at the American Institute for Economic Research

Greener—and Poorer – A fixation on renewable energy, along with the closure of natural gas and nuclear plants, has helped drive the cost of electricity and gas in California higher than anywhere else in the continental U.S. And the lion’s share of these costs is borne by low-income families. Adjusted for cost of living, California has the nation’s highest poverty rate—about 7.1 million people—due in part to the high costs of essentials like housing, gas, and electricity.

This is largely the result of California’s regressive tax policies. The state sales tax, property tax, and any user fee, be it a road toll or bus fare, hits lower-income workers harder because these levies take no account of the payer’s lower earnings. A $100 fee hits the budget for a lower-tiered earner harder than it does a higher-tiered one. Consider the gas tax. One of the biggest financial shocks for consumers in recent months has been the ever-escalating cost of fueling their cars. A gas tax is a recessive excise tax that disproportionately penalizes lower- and middle-class households, since they spend a larger proportion of their annual income on gasoline than do high-income families.

California’s gas tax grew even worse for families this year when an automatic tax increase went into effect in July, thanks to Senate Bill 1, passed in 2017. The law incrementally and automatically raises the fuel excise tax each year, ostensibly to help fund road and bridge repairs. Californians affected by the bill have pleaded with Governor Newsom to intervene, given recent economic troubles, but he has remained silent on the issue. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at $4.44 a gallon, Los Angeles-area consumers paid 32.1 percent more than the $3.361 national average in August 2021. These costs put a disproportionate burden on low-income residents.

Many progressive elected leaders favor nudging residents away from gas-powered cars altogether in favor of electric vehicles. But EVs cost on average between $10,000 and $15,000 more than a similar gas-powered model. EVs make up a mere 3 percent of car sales nationwide, but about 40 percent of EV registrations are in California. Nearly 80 percent of battery-powered cars sold last year in the United States were Teslas. A midrange Tesla costs $60,000 and up, but it’s a great deal for high-income earners in California, due to a $7,500 federal tax credit and generous state incentives and subsidies—“Green Welfare for the Rich,” as the Wall Street Journal described it.

Los Angeles County’s transit agency is now considering using congestion pricing to charge those driving on the roads and highways that they are already paying for with their state taxes, including at the pump. This pricing structure would charge drivers based on how far they travel, and how congested roads are when they travel. In essence, this is a toll, for which both high- and low-income drivers pay the same rate. You don’t have to be an economist to understand that low-income households typically drive more miles each day to get to work, since they can’t afford to live in more expensive urban areas where most of the jobs are. Read More > at City Journal

The Dirty Truth About Clean Technologies – There’s a dirty secret hidden in every wind turbine. They may convert moving air cleanly and efficiently into electricity, but few know much about what they are made of. Much of the material inside wind turbines are the product of brutal encroachments on our natural world.

Each unit requires cement, sand, steel, zinc and aluminum. And tons of copper: for the generator, for the gearbox, for the transformer station and for the endless strands of cable. Around 67 tons of copper can be found in a medium-sized offshore turbine. To extract this amount of copper, miners have to move almost 50,000 tons of earth and rock, around five times the weight of the Eiffel Tower. The ore is shredded, ground, watered and leached. The bottom line: a lot of nature destroyed for a little bit of green power.

A visit to the Los Pelambres mine in northern Chile provides a clear grasp of the dimensions involved. It is home to one of the world’s largest copper deposits, a giant gray crater at an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,800 feet). The earth here is full of metalliferous ore. Just under 2 percent of the world’s copper production comes from this single pit.

Dump trucks, 3,500-horsepower strong, transport multi-ton loads down the terrace roads that line the mine. The boulders are transported by conveyor belt almost 13 kilometers (8 miles) into the valley, where the copper is extracted from the rock. This processing requires huge amounts of electricity and water, a particularly precious commodity in this arid region.

Few are aware of this fact as they drive their electric vehicle, use electricity from wind or solar power, or have a lithium-ion storage facility set up in the basement – making them feel like pioneers in sustainability. Many don’t realize how extremely polluting the production of raw materials from which climate technologies are manufactured really is. Who knew, for example, that 77 tons of carbon dioxide are emitted during the manufacture of one ton of neodymium, a rare earth metal that is used in wind turbines? By comparison: Even the production of a ton of steel only emits around 1.9 tons of CO2.

According to calculations by the International Energy Agency (IEA), global demand for critical raw materials will quadruple by 2040 – in the case of lithium, demand is expected to be as high as 42 times greater. According to IEA head Fatih Birol, these materials are becoming “essential components of a future clean global energy system.” Read More > at Der Spiegel

Inside Death Valley Junction, the forgotten California town with two residents and an opera house – If you’re taking U.S. Route 95 north out of Las Vegas, turn left at the alien-themed brothel, drive 7 miles beyond the giant cow, over the California border into the low desert, and you’ll find it. 

A tiny town with no stores, no bars, no restaurants, only two residents and a mysterious building that makes no sense at all. 

Death Valley is both the lowest land in America and the hottest place on Earth. Its ancient salty lake bed, when plundered for its valuable minerals a century ago, gave rise to fringe communities on the edge of the desert and on the edge of life. One of those towns is Death Valley Junction. 

The settlement is like nowhere else in California. The old elevated Death Valley Railroad that once carried borax out of the valley to Los Angeles now splinters into the sand. Derelict cottages and sand-beaten mills bake in the sun, looking like they could blow away in a strong wind. The place is in disrepair, save for a lone icon of American eccentricity, the Amargosa Opera House and Hotel, that is open for business today, if you can find the lobby. Read More > at SFGate

This is California’s Fastest Shrinking County – Lassen County in the Sierra Nevada is the state’s fastest shrinking county, according to a new analysis from 24/7 Wall St.

The website reviewed population data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population and Housing Unit Estimates Program to develop a list of the counties with the greatest population decline in each state. Only four states — Delaware, Hawaii, South Dakota, and Washington — had no counties with a population decline from 2010 to 2020.

“Economic opportunity — or lack thereof — can be a major factor that causes people to relocate,” according to 24/7 Wall St. “Most of the fastest shrinking counties in every state have an unemployment rate and a poverty rate greater than or equal to that of the state itself. Other factors, like prevalence of violent crime, lack of recreational activities, and other less desirable qualities can be factors that cause residents to leave an area in droves.”

From 2010-2020, Lassen had a population change of -14.0% (34,895 to 30,016). The May 2021 unemployment rate in Lassen was 5.3% compared to 7.5% for the state.

Lassen’s population decline is a trend seen in many rural areas and was discussed at length in this report from the USDA Forest Service last year.

Read 24/7 Wall St.’s full methodology and see a list of the fastest shrinking counties in America here. Read More > at California County News

Letting babies eat eggs could help avoid allergy later, study says – Feeding eggs to infants could reduce their risk of egg allergy later on, new research suggests.

For the study, researchers at the University at Buffalo in New York, analyzed U.S. government data from more than 2,200 parents who were surveyed about their children’s eating habits and food allergies from birth to 6 years of age.

“We found that children who hadn’t had egg introduced by 12 months were more likely to have egg allergy at 6 years,” said lead author Dr. Giulia Martone, who is scheduled to present the findings Sunday at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, in New Orleans.

Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal. Read More > at UPI

Learning about risks at the playground – When I was in kindergarten, the playground roundabout was for older kids. I longed to be old enough to give it a try. On the first day of first grade, I saw it was gone. Someone had fallen off and broken a collarbone. I would never have my chance.

Germany is making playgrounds riskier so children will grow up “risk competent,” writes Lenore Skenazy on Reason.

Insurance companies pushed for equipment, such as taller climbing structures, that teach children how to assess risks. They cited a 2004 study that found that “children who had improved their motor skills in playgrounds at an early age were less likely to suffer accidents as they got older,” reports The Guardian.

In the U.S., many “play scholars” want more exciting playgrounds, writes Skenazy.  “Unfortunately, that runs smack into our culture’s habit of underestimating kids, overestimating danger, and hiring trial lawyers.” Read More > at Linking and Thinking on Education

Native American Lawsuit Challenges Colorado Ban On Native American “Mascots” As Discriminatory – The banning of Native American (American Indian) depictions for sports teams gets a lot of press, most famously the Washington Redskins renaming themselves the Washington Football Team.

There’s a side to this issue that I had not thought of, but is argued in a lawsuit just filed in Colorado. That when the government is involved in such name bans, it is discrimination against American Indians because it deprives them of the ability to have things named after them. It is, according to the argument, the worst form of cultural appropriation, more like cultural depravation.

In Colorado in 2021, legislation was passed banning the use of American Indian mascots, broadly defined. Now the law is being challenged in a lawsuit filed on November 2, 2021, on behalf of the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) and individuals by the Mountain States Legal Foundation

As it turns out, not all Native Americans support the law as written. The Native American Guardians Association supports the respectful use of Native American names and imagery in certain instances, and it fears that erasing all such imagery and iconography could also erase Native American history from school grounds. The group is troubled enough by the law’s free speech and equal protection implications, and they are challenging its Constitutionality on those grounds.

There’s no question that many American Indian-themed “mascots” and team names can be demeaning. But not all of them are or were. The Guardians agree with most Americans that no person or nation of people should be a “mascot.” That is why they oppose the use of American Indian mascot performers and caricatures that mock Native American heritage — such as Lamar (Colorado) High School’s former mascot, Chief Ugh-Lee or the Atlanta Braves’ former Native American caricature Chief Noc-A-Homa — in sports and other public venues.

But The Guardians also believe that culturally appropriate Native American names, logos, and imagery can be an important and educational way to honor Native Americans, and to help public schools neutralize offensive and stereotypical Native American caricatures and iconography while teaching students and the general public about American Indian history, a history shared by all Americans. The law doesn’t attempt to differentiate between the two, sweeping the potentially good away with the bad. Read More > at Legal Insurrection

Falling asleep at this time may protect your heart – The time you go to bed may affect your risk for heart disease. In fact, researchers say, there is a heart health sweet spot for falling asleep: from 10 to 11 p.m.

An analysis of data from more than 88,000 adults tracked for around six years revealed a 12 percent greater risk among those who dropped off from 11 to 11:59 p.m. and a 25 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease among people who fell asleep at midnight or later. Falling asleep earlier than 10 p.m. was associated with a 24 percent increase in risk, according to a report published Monday in the European Heart Journal—Digital Health.

“The body has a 24-hour internal clock, called circadian rhythm, that helps regulate physical and mental functioning,” a co-author of the study, David Plans, a neuroscientist and experimental psychologist who is a senior lecturer in organizational neuroscience at the University of Exeter in the U.K., said in a statement. “While we cannot conclude causation from our study, the results suggest that early or late bedtimes may be more likely to disrupt the body clock, with adverse consequences for cardiovascular health.” Read More > at NBC News

Virgin Galactic has sold 100 tickets to space since increasing flight prices to $450,000Virgin Galactic reopened ticket sales for its trips to the edge of space at a higher price back in August, and the company says it has sold 100 of the $450,000 tickets so far. They used to cost $250,000 each.

Overall, around 700 people, including Elon Musk, have reserved a spot on a Virgin Galactic flight. The company hopes to sell 1,000 tickets before starting commercial trips, which it recently delayed (again) to the fourth quarter of 2022. As The Vergenotes, Virgin Galactic has so far only let people who made a refundable $1,000 deposit buy tickets. The company plans to let more people reserve a spot starting in early 2022. Read More > at Engadget

NASA pushes back crewed moon landing to 2025 – NASA has officially adjusted its timeline for the Artemis III mission and won’t be landing on the Moon in 2024. The agency is now aiming to land the first woman and next American man on the lunar surface in 2025 at the earliest, NASA administrator Bill Nelson has announced. NASA was originally targeting a 2028 launch date for its return to the Moon, but the Trump administration moved that date up by four years back in 2017. In a conference call with reporters, Nelson said “the Trump administration’s target of 2024 human landing was not grounded in technical feasibility.”

In addition to the unrealistic deadline, Nelson blamed Blue Origin’s lawsuit against the agency for the delay. It had to put its contract with SpaceX on hold and pause work on the lunar lander that’s meant to take astronauts to the surface of the Moon for a couple of times. NASA lost almost seven months of work on the lander as a result, which had cast doubts on the 2024 landing even before Nelson made his announcement. Read More > at Engadget

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FREE Emergency Preparedness Training

This training is designed for the entire community. We will cover some basic steps to start your preparedness along with some resources that will aid you in emergencies, especially Public Safety Power Shut-offs. Here’s the Zoom Registration link to the training:  

https://bit.ly/3nJdBNh

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 “Inside the Crime Files” a podcast taking you inside the crime

On Monday, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert launched a podcast called “Inside the Crime Files,” a project that apparently aims to satisfy people’s zest for true-crime content while also promoting Schubert’s career as a prosecutor. “I put away the Golden State Killer and Second Story Rapist,” Schubert proclaimed on Twitter. “Now, I’m taking you inside crime files.” A serial rapist case solved by Schubert’s office was also the subject of an October episode of Bloodline Detectives titled “Sacrilege in Sacramento.”

From CalMatters

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11 Things to Remember This Veterans Day

BY MICHELE DEBCZAK NOVEMBER 11, 2018 (UPDATED: NOVEMBER 10, 2020)

Whether or not you know someone who served in the military or you served yourself, Veterans Day is a holiday worth observing. There are around 18 million veterans living in the U.S.—here are some things to remember when honoring them on November 11.

1. DON’T CONFUSE VETERANS DAY WITH MEMORIAL DAY.

Memorial Day (the last Monday in May) and Veterans Day (November 11) both honor the men and women who served in our nation’s military, but there’s a major difference between the holidays. While Memorial Day is reserved for those who died while serving their country, Veterans Day is a time to recognize all veterans, both the dead and the living.

2. VETERANS DAY USED TO HAVE A DIFFERENT NAME.

On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued an Armistice Day proclamation—a reference to the agreement made between the Allies and Germany to end World War I a year earlier. Congress officially declared Armistice Day a federal holiday in 1938 (most states already had their own observances). In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation that officially changed the name to Veterans Day, making the holiday more inclusive of veterans who had served after and prior to the First World War.

3. THE DATE OF VETERANS DAY HOLDS A HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE.

Though the date changed a few times throughout the 20th century, today Veterans Day falls on November 11 of each year. The date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the end of World War I, which occurred “at the 11th hour of 11th day of the 11th month.”

4. FEWER THAN HALF A MILLION WORLD WAR II VETERANS ARE ALIVE TODAY. 

World War II ended more than 70 years ago, but many of the veterans who fought in the war are still around to thank. According to the most recent estimates, around 450,000 of the 16 million people who fought in the Second World War were alive in 2019. But The National WWII Museum estimates that around 350 pass away each day, which is why the museum is dedicated to preserving World War II history through first-hand, oral accounts.

5. NOT EVERY VETERAN FOUGHT IN A WAR. 

Members of the military don’t need to fight overseas to serve their country. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly a quarter of the veterans living in America today only served during peacetime. Military missions that don’t involve war may include protecting U.S. embassies, providing natural disaster relief, and bringing medical assistance to impoverished communities.

6. THREE STATES HAVE HUGE VETERAN POPULATIONS. 

There are three U.S. states whose veteran populations exceed 1 million: California with 1.56 million, Texas with 1.46 million, and Florida with 1.44 million. And the states with the highest percentage of veterans are Alaska, Virginia, Montana, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Maine, all with around 10 percent of the adult population being veterans. These numbers still make up just a fraction of the country’s 18.2 million veterans, who can be found in all parts of the U.S.

7. VETERANS TEND TO BE WELL-EDUCATED. 

People who served in the military tend to have completed higher levels of education than those who have not enlisted. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 37.1 percent of U.S. veterans have completed some college or have an associate’s degree and 27.7 percent have earned at least a bachelor’s degree.

8. VETERANS DAY IS CELEBRATED IN OTHER COUNTRIES (KIND OF). 

Several countries have their own holidays recognizing veterans and those who have died in wars that fall on or around November 11. But the important day goes by a different name outside the U.S.: In Canada, it’s Remembrance Day, and many in the UK observe both Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.

9. VETERANS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE UNHOUSED. 

Despite only accounting for 7 percent of the general population, veterans make up roughly 11 percent of the adult unhoused population. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports there are more than 40,000 veterans living without homes on any given night in the U.S. Compared with the total veteran population, younger veterans are disproportionately likely to be unhoused, though there are people who have served in a range of wars—including World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and Afghanistan and Iraq—living on the streets, with Vietnam War-era veterans accounting for nearly half the total, according to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans.

10. MANY VETERANS LEAVE THE ARMED FORCES WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. 

Mental illness crops up in veterans at an alarmingly high rate. According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research in 2008, close to one-fifth of veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan came home with either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. These issues can have many potential causes, but in a significant portion of veterans, head injury may have been a key factor. About 7 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan vets have a mental health condition and also reported sustaining a traumatic brain injury.

11. YOU CAN SUPPORT VETERANS ANY TIME OF YEAR. 

From picking up the tab for a veteran at your local diner or driving them to a doctor’s appointment, there are many small ways to show your gratitude to the veterans in your community. There are also plenty of charitable organizations dedicated to supporting veterans around the country. Here is a list of some of the veterans’ groups looking for donations and volunteers.

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Veterans Day – 2021

Veterans Day Images 2019

Today marks the 103rd Veterans Day, when we pause at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in honor of all American veterans.

Our national Veterans Day observance originated as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. The Armistice commemoration was to honor Veterans of World War 1.

On 11 November 1921, an unknown American soldier from World War I was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in the Tomb of the Unknown, in recognition of WWI veterans and in conjunction with the cessation of hostilities at 11 a.m. on 11 November 1918 – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. This was President Warren Harding’s request: “All … citizens … indulge in a period of silent thanks to God for these … valorous lives and of supplication for His Divine mercy … on our beloved country.”

Inscribed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are the words, “Here lies in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Allied Commander of World War II, signed legislation formally changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Eisenhower wrote, “[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

Veterans Day is a tribute to military veterans who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Not to be confused with Memorial Day, which honors those who died while in service, Veterans Day honors all military veterans.

We should remind ourselves today of the following observation from Army veteran Charles M. Province:

It is the Soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

Veterans of Oakley

Delta Veterans Group

Delta Diablo Det 1155 Marine Corps League

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6435

East County Veterans Support Services

FAQ about Veterans DayLINK

Free “Thank You” cards to send to a Veteran – LINK

Organizations that send cards to Veterans – LINK

Military veteran story projects – LINK

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