Daily Archives: January 28, 2021

UCSF Research Shows Industries in Which Workers Are Most Likely to Die From COVID

NBC Bay Area – Jan 24, 2021

It’s dangerous for everyone during the pandemic, but UCSF researchers say they know which workers are the most at risk. Sergio Quintana reports.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Farming

The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Streamed live on Jan 25, 2021

How has Ontario’s food system responded to issues brought on by the pandemic? And what steps are being taken to help farmers better protect the health and safety of agri-food workers across the province? Then, addressing the prevalence, effects, and experiences of poverty in Ontario’s smaller and rural communities.

Dr. Peter Hotez: “Globalized Anti-Science Movement” Threatens Pandemic Response & Public Hea lth

Democracy Now!

Published on Jan 28, 2021

The Biden administration has vowed to increase the rate of vaccinations as COVID-19 continues to spread uncontrollably across the entire U.S., with 90,000 people predicted to die in the next four weeks. President Biden announced plans to acquire another 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech and is devising ways to allow retired nurses and doctors to administer vaccines. Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, says the Trump administration’s lies and inaction around the pandemic laid the groundwork for the current explosion in cases. He also warns that a “globalized anti-science movement” has grown stronger in recent years, spreading dangerous disinformation and threatening the public health response to COVID-19. “It’s a killer, because now people are tying their political allegiance to not getting vaccinated, to not wearing marks, to not social distancing.”

Sen. Romney Takes On GOP Who Make False Election Claims | Morning Joe | MSNBC

MSNBC – Jan 28, 2021

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is calling out his fellow Republicans who continue to push the myth that Joe Biden stole the 2020 presidential election. Aired on 01/28/2021.

Lockdown Measures In Spain, Denmark And The Netherlands Bring Citizens Out In Protest | CRUX

CRUX – Jan 26, 2021

Several European countries have imposed fresh restrictions or tightened the COVID-19 preventive measures after the New Year. This has sparked violent protests in Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain.

Biden uses executive authority to address health care, climate change

CBS News = Jan 28, 2021

President Joe Biden is taking steps to roll back some Trump-era health care policies. He’s also using his executive authority to launch new government effort to fight climate change. CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe joined CBSN to discuss the latest.

COVID-19 And Farm Safety Is Dealt A Harsh Blow

The Lempert Report

Premiered Jan 26, 2021
As of yesterday, we have a new administration and a new head of the USDA, and the breaking news each day has overshadowed the news that in the waning days of the last administration the USDA diverted $1.5 billion in grants and loans for COVID-19 safety needs on the farm to a food box program. This gets even weirder. It is actually Ivanka Trump who is quoted in the USDA’s statement. Ivanka Trump? What does she have to do with the USDA? Here’s what she said: “With over 3.3 billion meals distributed to families across this nation, I am proud to share that thanks to the Trump administration’s efforts, the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has an additional $1.5 billion to continue to feed families in need, provide employment and support our small farmers. During these unprecedented times, this Administration will continue to fight for American families and will always put them first!”

The move did not go unnoticed. More than 70 congressional leaders signed a letter urging the USDA to prioritize funding for farmworker safety. The bipartisan letter points out that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 directed the Secretary of Agriculture to use at least $1.5 billion to purchase and distribute agricultural products as well as to provide grants and loans to protect workers from Covid-19. “As the pandemic exploded over the past few months, farmers and farm workers continued to show up, do their jobs, and put food on our tables,” stated California Representative Jimmy Panetta in a release. “…My colleagues and I will continue to work together on a bipartisan basis, not just to secure that funding, but also to ensure that the USDA does its job and uses that funding to keep our agriculture workers safe and our food supply secure.”

The announcement from the USDA in its final days under Secretary Sonny Perdue took legislators, advocates, farmers and laborers alike unaware; those who had worked together on language that farmers hoped would help reimburse them for costs incurred in 2020 for PPE, social distancing strategies, testing farm workers and safety engineering. It is getting harder and harder for farmers and their workers. Last year, New York, California, Minnesota, Hawaii, Washington, and Maryland took the lead in granting overtime pay to farm workers. As the law took effect a year ago on January 1, 2020, but there was a hitch. Workers would only receive time-and-a-half pay after they had already worked a 60-hour week, 20 hours higher than the threshold that governs virtually all other categories of employees in the United States. In New York, late last year, a state board convened to consider lowering the threshold to 40 hours.

The three-person panel, comprised of a former union leader, the president of the pro-business New York Farm Bureau, and a member appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, decided to keep the threshold at 60 hours this year, citing pandemic-related uncertainty. The board announced it will reconsider the threshold in November at the earliest. The average hourly pay for a farm worker here in the US is $13.99 according to the USDA. The average hourly wage for production and non-supervisory nonfarm workers across the nation is $23.51. Anyone want to be a farm worker?

Professor wants to expand understanding of environmental literature – Harvard Ga zette

Sarah Dimick wants to expand our understanding of environmental literature beyond traditional narratives that extol the beauty of the natural world or wallow in apocalypse. In her teaching and research, the assistant professor of English (who joined the department last year) analyzes themes of displacement, resistance, and justice in novels, poetry, nonfiction, and memoir. Dimick spoke to the Gazette about how she got started and the ways that literature can enlighten our understanding of the past, present, and future under climate change.


Sarah Dimick

Gazette: When did you first become interested in the intersections of environmentalism, climate change, and literature? Dimick: Much of my work in this area began when I was an undergraduate student. I spent the summer after my sophomore year in college working as a backpacking guide in the Absaroka-Beartooth mountains in Montana. I had a conversation on the trail with a man who had been herding sheep in those mountains for decades, and he explained that the glaciers in that area were receding at an alarming rate. He never used the words climate change, but he was acutely aware that his home landscape was undergoing this dramatic shift. He was concerned about the availability of water. The following summer, a fellowship allowed me to travel to the Himalayas, working with a women’s collective located near Dharamsala, India. As they embroidered items to sell, the women spoke about how the glacier just up the mountain was receding quite quickly. I was struck by the way these stories emerging in two very different areas of the world were starting to resonate and potentially speak to each other. Gazette: How can literature help us understand the lived realities of climate change? …(read more).

Lord Martin Rees and Prof Sir Charles Godfray in conversation: “Thinking aga in about the future and prospects for humanity” – Crowdcast

Lord Martin Rees and Prof Sir Charles Godfray in conversation: “Thinking again about the future and prospects for humanity” by Oxford Martin School is about to go live!

Click the picture to watch.

Build Back Better: Joe Biden’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Plan for Working Families | Joe Biden for President: Official Campaign Website

Joe Biden believes to his core that there’s no greater economic engine in the world than the hard work and ingenuity of the American people. Nobody has more respect for the working women and men who get up every day to build and sustain this country, or more confidence that they can meet the challenges we face.

Make no mistake: America has been knocked down. The unemployment rate is higher than it was in the Great Recession. Millions have lost jobs, hours, pay, health care, or the small business they started, through no fault of their own.

The pandemic has also laid bare some unacceptable truths. Even before COVID-19, the Trump Administration was pursuing economic policies that rewarded wealth over work and corporations over working families. Too many families were struggling to make ends meet and too many parents were worried about the economic future for their children. And, Black and Latino Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and women have never been welcomed as full participants in the economy.

Biden believes this is no time to just build back to the way things were before, with the old economy’s structural weaknesses and inequalities still in place. This is the moment to imagine and build a new American economy for our families and the next generation.

An economy where every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead. An economy more vibrant and more powerful precisely because everybody will be cut in on the deal.

In this time of crisis, Joe Biden has a plan to create millions of good-paying jobs and to give America’s working families the tools, choices, and freedom they need to build back better.

That starts with a real strategy to deal with the pandemic. We

can’t solve the jobs crisis until we solve the public health crisis. Trump may have forgotten about COVID, but COVID hasn’t forgotten about us. On March 12, April 27, and June 11, Biden laid out a comprehensive strategy to get the pandemic under control and effectively reopen the economy — an approach that will both protect the health and safety of our people and boost economic activity. He will start implementing that plan on Day One.

Biden will also provide further immediate relief to working families, small businesses, and communities. Biden will:

  • Provide state, local, and tribal governments with the aid they need so educators, firefighters and other essential workers aren’t being laid off.
  • Extend COVID crisis unemployment insurance to help those who are out of work.
  • Provide a comeback package for Main Street businesses and entrepreneurs.

And, Biden will immediately put people to work by enlisting them to help fight the pandemic, including through a Public Health Jobs Corps.

But that’s just the start. The Biden economic recovery plan for working families will build our economy back better. Whenever America has had its back against the wall, we have acted together to lay the foundation — through public investment and a strong social contract — for the American people to pull together and push forward.

The Biden plan will mobilize the American people in service of four bold, national efforts to address four great national challenges.