Wednesday Morning: Woe, Nelly, Woe

I meant woe, not whoa. I do know the difference.

It’s woe I was thinking of when I wrote this next bit.

What would you do if you were told you wouldn’t be paid for last 2 months of a 9-month job?
Let’s say you have kids to feed, a mortgage/car payment/college loan payments to make, childcare to pay, out-of-pocket healthcare costs — you know, all the expenses the average working person has.

In spite of one or more obligatory college degrees, continuing education requirements and mandatory background checks, your job requires you to work in facilities where ‘mushrooms, black mold, fecal matter, dead rodents, no heat‘ are common. It’s a workplace functioning like Flint’s water crisis, and it’s been this way for more than a decade. Fellow employees have had to bring in paper towels and light bulbs from home or solicit them as donations to the workplace.

Because of your employer’s money woes, you may even have made a concession agreeing to collect your pay over 3-4 months instead of the next six to eight weeks you are actually scheduled to work.

And then your employer’s employer says they aren’t going to pay, and you might have to work without pay for the next six weeks. Unpaid, as in violation of labor laws unpaid.

And your employer’s employer has a history of acting both in bad faith and with prejudice. Your workplace hasn’t improved for years; children were permanently poisoned and adults died as a result of their awful handiwork on this and other projects.

What would you do? Quietly stay at your desk working and hope for the best, or walk out in protest to demand action?

The employer’s employer accuses you of all manner of bad things, and is actively undermining your rights to organize, by the way.

Welcome to Detroit Public School system, and welcome to more of Michigan’s obnoxious and toxic GOP-led legislating. Pretty sure the jerks who are causing this latest crisis by grandstanding on teachers’ backs don’t care if the president arrives here in Michigan today.

Dude caught on video sprinkling substance on food arrested by FBI
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about in Michigan, some whackjob has been sprinkling a mixture of hand sanitizer and rodent poison on food in stores, including salad buffets. He was caught on security camera in Ann Arbor, but he is alleged to have sprinkled this mix in multiple stores in Ypsilanti, Saline, Birch Run, and Midland. The mixture is not supposed to be toxic, but who wants to eat remnants of isopropyl alcohol and an anticoagulant? What the hell was this all about anyhow?

Canadian city of 80,000 forced to evacuate overnight due to massive wildfire
Mind-boggling to think of an urban center this size forced to flee on such short notice, but Fort McMurray did just that beginning late afternoon yesterday. Even the local hospital was emptied as fire leaped from undeveloped to developed areas, consuming neighborhoods. 80% of homes in the Beacon Hill neighborhood are ash. Conditions have been unusually warm and dry in the region; the local temperature was 83F degrees before the evacuation notice was issued. Weather conditions today are expected to be hotter (32C/90F) and WSW winds stronger ahead of a cold front, likely spreading the fire even farther to the northeast.

The area around Fort McMurray has only been in moderate drought conditions, yet the fire was explosive, doubling in size in a matter of hours. Can’t begin to imagine what might happen in areas where conditions are drier while this climate-enhanced super El Nino continues.

Volkswagen’s former head of engine and transmission development exits company
Wolfgang Hatz, suspended by VW for his role in Dieselgate, chose voluntarily to leave the company. This bit in NYT’s article is choice:

In 2007, shortly after being named head of engine and transmission development at Volkswagen, Mr. Hatz complained at an event in San Francisco that new rules on tailpipe emissions in California were unrealistic.

“I see it as nearly impossible for us,” Mr. Hatz said of a proposed regulation during the event, which was filmed by an auto website.

In other words, Hatz didn’t see the purpose of the regulation, didn’t perceive a challenge to design truly clean diesel — he saw an obstruction he needed to bypass. Auf wiedersehn, Herr Hatz.

Odds and sods

  • Middle Eastern drought worst in 900 years (NASA) — Drought map of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey looks awful, but Egypt — wow.
  • Wars might be caused by lack of water (Scientific American) — I sense a theme developing…hey, guess when the Crusades were? 900 years ago.
  • Study shows stocks overvalued often, too long (Phys.org) — Huh. Interleaves with economic social theory of reflexivity, that.
  • Third leading cause of death in U.S.: medical errors (Science Daily) — Grok this: 250,000 deaths a year. You’d think insurance companies and policy makers would look into this, considering annual death toll is like ten times that on 9/11. Imagine if we spend tax dollars on fixing this and improving health care instead of militarizing against the rare-to-non-existent domestic terror attack.
  • Tesla’s residential battery, Powerwall, now for sale (Bloomberg) — Residential solar may now explode with growth. We can only hope.

It’s supposedly downhill from the top of this hump. Race you to the bottom!

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
14 replies
  1. Wapiti says:

    That Powerwall battery might be a game-changer. Just last week I read a fellow blog commenter who believed that we couldn’t totally get away from nuclear because solar and wind couldn’t be continuous (the conversation assumed eliminating carbon producers). It seemed valid. But for the construction price of nuke power plant, at a minimum of $2 billion, not including operation and waste disposal/monitoring, a community could deploy 500 thousand residential batteries. I assume there might be some discount for a half million units.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    They never caught the Chicago Tylenol murderer back in 1982. Seven dead. I’m guessing that was before the pervasiveness of security cameras–although the Chicago person had it easier—just placing on some store shelves some stuff that he or she had bought legally over time. Score one for surveillance?
    .
    As to Fort McMurray, they should never have put all those burnable fields next to a big city in the first place, don’t you think? Or is it the other way around?

  3. by the lakeshore says:

    Today, President Barack Obama visits Flint, Michigan

    What President Obama Needs To Do in Flint

    A few suggestions from ACLU Michigan investigative reporter Curt Guyette who broke the story about the city’s toxic water.

    http://billmoyers.com/story/what-president-obama-needs-to-do-in-flint/

    Second Anniversary of Switch to Flint River Sees Too Little Progress in Ending Water Crisis

    http://www.aclumich.org/article/second-anniversary-switch-flint-river-sees-too-little-progress-ending-water-crisis

    • martin says:

      quote”What President Obama Needs To Do in Flint”unquote

      Go to a local house. Draw a glass of tapwater and drink it. I’m positive he’ll love it.

      Fuck. Of course he won’t…..
      quote”And that, above all else, is what President Obama needs to absorb during his visit to Flint. One thing he’s unlikely to absorb: The toxins that are still in the Flint water. Government officials claim it’s safe to drink if it has been filtered. But when asked if the president would be imbibing during his visit, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest had this to say:

      I’m not aware of any photo-ops that involve the President’s consumption of water.”unquote

      Photo ops. PHOTO OPS. PHUCKING P H O T O O P S.
      This is the only thing he is there for. Photo ops.

      If there’s any doubt this scum sucking cockroach is STILL a politician..raise your hand.

      I hope he chokes on his next glass of water.

  4. by the lakeshore says:

    what is “ironic” about the firestorm approaching Fort McMurray is that the city is the Oil / Tar sands capital of Canada (if not the world) and supplies usa with tons of the dirty filthy stuff.

    wonder if Global Warming or Climate Change or Mother Nature or Fate or Kismet are feeling a little schadenfreude today?

  5. martin says:

    quote”What would you do if you were told you wouldn’t be paid for last 2 months of a 9-month job?”unquote

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d be figuring out a plan to get the fuck out of this insane state of Michigan. I’ve only lived here three years, and I’m 2 months from leaving. Can’t wait to see this miserable, ugly, godforsaken land that time forgot, shithole of a State in my rear view mirror. Unfortunately, people who have lived their entire lives here don’t even know what a shithole it really is. As for Detroit.. I can’t even imagine people having to live in that cesspool. It should be declared a land fill. Then fill it with the body’s of the corrupt government officials and burn it.

    2. quote”Dude caught on video sprinkling substance on food arrested by FBI”unquote
    This is one of those cases where they should drop this dude in the middle of Costa Rica…naked. After facing a 100 customer vigilante squad first, of course.

    3. quote”Canadian city of 80,000 forced to evacuate overnight due to massive wildfire”unquote My heart and prayers goes out to the people in Fort McMurray . Entire lifetimes of work gone up in flames. It’s just too bad it wasn’t Detroit.

    4. quote”Volkswagen’s former head of engine and transmission development exits company…”unquote
    The heck with Costa Rica. Drop him in the middle of Detroit..naked.

    5. quote”Middle Eastern drought worst in 900 years”
    How can you tell the difference? Insert rolling eyes smiley here. Meanwhile, let’s hope it lasts 900 more years. Maybe it’ll keep them busy finding water instead of trying to kill everyone who doesn’t think the same way the local goat thinks.

    6. quote”Wars might be caused by lack of water ” unquote
    Might? Insert double facepalm smiley here.
    Fucking brilliant. They should have asked the residents of Owens valley. sheezusHchrist. Next thing you know they’ll suggest wars are caused over oil.

    7. quote”Study shows stocks overvalued often, too long (Phys.org) — Huh
    Hahahahaha! Really? You don’t say. Mark Zuckface must be ROTFIGSL.

    8. quote”Third leading cause of death in U.S.: medical errors (Science Daily) — Grok this: 250,000 deaths a year. unquote
    At least Obamacare will pay for your death certificate too. fuk. Maybe Congress should pass a law banning Hospitals. I mean.. isn’t this mass killings? fuk. Terrorists should be so lucky. And yeah..rolling eyes here too.

    9. I can’t go on. My eyes are tired of rolling already.

  6. martin says:

    ps..speaking of scum sucking cockroaches..White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest must be blind. He couldn’t possibly look in a mirror without vomiting.

  7. martin says:

    Well sooprise sooprise sooprise. Dust my britches…

    http://thehill.com/policy/278710-obama-drinks-flint-water

    Filtered of course. Can’t have our fav prez getting lead poisoning now can we?
    On the other hand, I’d submit his brain has already been poisoned for 7 yrs at least. Power poisoned. Kill list Tuesday is living proof.

    At least he did it. You know..solidarity and all that shit. But I’ve got $5 bucks that says that water wasn’t filtered tap water from Flint though. Any takers?

  8. by the lakeshore says:

    Accused water plant operator takes plea deal in Flint water crisis

    Mike Glasgow accepted the plea agreement during appearance in Genesee District Court May 4, and special prosecutor said Glasgow has already provided important testimony showing how state officials orchestrated manipulation of water test results – that two Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regulators told him to remove selected test results that registered high lead levels, skewing overall readings.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2016/05/accused_water_plant_operator_t.html#incart_river_index

  9. Denis says:

    Rayne, re: Ft. McMurray: “They weren’t fields but woods (though I’m
    sure you were just being snarky).”
    .
    Not so much snark, actually. Have a look at GoogleEarth. Yes, the city
    is tightly bounded by woodlands, but the tar-sands ops and the residues
    of burned out tar-sands digs are adjacent the city, particularly to the N.
    The huge Syncrude operation is just up the road at Ft. McKay, which
    hasn’t popped up in the news yet. Between Ft McKay and Ft. McMurray
    is Tar Island. Gross.
    .
    The tar-sands operations probably haven’t contributed yet to the
    problem. The fires started S. of the city between Rt. 63 and the Athabasca
    River. They are spreading N very rapidly. Wonder what will happen when
    they hit those large tank farms and enormous tar-sands pits. Maybe the
    open area will act as a firebreak. Maybe it’ll ignite. Stay tuned.
    .
    Most of the 88,000 people fled S to Edmonton, 250 miles away. There is
    virtually nothing between Ft McMurray and Edmonton except trees
    and oil fields. Now here’s the question that has me keeping my gas tank
    full: How far ya’ gonna’ get with what’s in the tank? And the reason I say
    it is because the first 500 or so vehicles out of Ft McMurray may be able
    to find gas at the odd rural service stations along the road; the rest may
    be sleeping in their cars along the road for a few days.
    .
    I remember being on I-10 just west of Biloxi after Katrina. It was littered
    with cars that had run out of gas. Three days after the hurricane, the local
    radio station announced that there was a gas station able to pump gas
    via a backup diesel generator and it was the only gas around. I passed a
    line of cars along the interstate that began at the exit where the open gas
    station was and went for five miles. People desperate to get some gas and
    get out.
    .
    As for Ft McMurray, thankfully the town is cleared and no injuries reported
    as yet. Hold your breath, cross your fingers for these folks. The Peshtego
    Fire in Wisconsin on Oct08|1871 came out of nowhere and burned down
    about a dozen communities. Estimates to 2500 deaths. Same day as the
    Chicago Fire, the Great Michigan Fire, the Port Huron Fire. The US hadn’t
    seen another day that scary until yesterday when Trump wrapped up the
    GOP-nom.

  10. Evangelista says:

    “Let’s say you have kids to feed, a mortgage/car payment/college loan payments to make, childcare to pay, out-of-pocket healthcare costs — you know, all the expenses the average working person has…What would you do if you were told [by your employer]…[to do something illegal, to pretend to not know, to keep your mouth shut…]…”
    .
    This is the dilemma du jour in the early 21st century U.S.A.

    It was the dilemma du jour in the ex-Soviet Union during the ‘Collapse’ of the 1990s…
    .
    Wolfgang Hatz spoke out… They may have a different concept of ethics in Germany?

  11. lefty665 says:

    The Powerwall looks cool, like to have me some of that, but… It’s 6.5kw and they’ve discontinued the larger one. How long can you run a house on that? For power outage backup it’s great, a few led/cfl lights, reefer, pump, modem/router but not much else. At average rates that’s around 75 cents of electricity from the power company. How long would that run you? Plus, at around $3k before install it’s close to $500 per Kw of backup. It’s a great idea whose time hasn’t quite come yet. But it’s a start, and that’s how we make progress.
    .
    Coumadin, Warfarin, Rat poison with an FDA label as blood thinner. Mom never called it anything but rat poison.

  12. Rayne says:

    Evangelista (7:23) — This:
    Wolfgang Hatz spoke out… They may have a different concept of ethics in Germany?

    Yeah, they do. That’s what Daniel Lange said in the video I shared last week (start at 17:30). Germany and EU do not have punitive damages, don’t have the same impetus to avoid gross negligence or outright malignance in product development as U.S. companies do, due to difference between German/EU and U.S. laws.

    And I’m pretty sure you’ve blown by the fact Hatz is directly responsible for the emissions controls defeat in his former role as head of engine and transmission development. I’m pretty sure you and just about everybody else missed that his statement is an implicit admission there is no clean diesel technology. The guy responsible for its development said the emissions standards — and therefore the technology developed under his leadership — is “nearly impossible” in 2007, when VW was already deep into developing its so-called “clean diesel” passenger vehicles. (VW opted not to go with licensing Mercedes’ BlueTec in 2005, choosing instead to develop their own alternative.)

    Yeah. Very different ethics. He didn’t quit then, just kept on plugging away at defeating emissions standards and getting away with it for another +7 years.

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