Daily Digest 8/10 – Americans Lining Up At Food Banks, Small Farmers Left Behind In COVID-19 Relief Package


Canada to impose $3.6B in tariffs in response to Trump’s move against Canadian aluminum (edelinski)

A disproportionate number of the more than five dozen items on Canada’s potential hit-list are from key U.S. election swing states, including paint dyes and aluminum waste, for which Michigan is a top exporter to Canada; refrigerators and bicycles, for which Wisconsin is the lead exporter; and aluminum powders and bars from Pennsylvania.

Canadian officials insisted the list wasn’t drawn up with the U.S. election in mind.

Out of work and with families to feed, some Americans are lining up at food banks for the first time in their lives (Sparky1)

Like any other organization, food banks faced their own impacts of the pandemic, which kept some infected workers and older volunteers home, and required changes in procedure to implement social distancing. They changed distribution methods, setting up drive-through or no-contact pickups and starting direct-to-door delivery while coping with supply chain problems. Staffers who were used to helping residents sign up for SNAP benefits in the field set up special phone lines to deal with the influx of applicants.

Small farmers left behind in Trump administration’s COVID-19 relief package (Merle2)

The uneven distribution is stark. The top 1 percent of recipients got more than 20 percent of the money, totaling $1.2 billion. The top 10 percent got over 60 percent of the pot, while the bottom 10 percent got just 0.26 percent. The top 10 percent of recipients got average payments of almost $95,000, while the bottom 10 percent averaged around $300.

Trump’s Orders on Coronavirus Relief Create Confusion (Sparky1)

The series of measures Mr. Trump signed on Saturday were intended to revive unemployment benefits, address an eviction ban, provide relief for student borrowers and suspend collection of payroll taxes after two weeks of talks between congressional Democrats and administration officials failed to produce an agreement on a broader relief package.

But the patchwork of moves was less significant than what the president described in his news conference, and the plan appeared unlikely to have immediate, meaningful impact on the sputtering economy, in part because it provided no direct aid to struggling businesses.

Can Minneapolis Dismantle Its Police Department? (jdargis)

At the beginning of the Trump years, these two left-of-center positions—the liberal conviction that the police could be reformed and the radical one that they could not—generally occupied separate spheres. The idea that the police needed to be abolished, their funding stripped away, was a slogan for protest, not a call taken up by even the most progressive elected officials, who tended to advocate for alternative-intervention programs instead.

Postal Service overhauls leadership as Democrats press for investigation of mail delays (tmn)

The reshuffling threatens to heighten tensions between postal officials and lawmakers, who are troubled by delivery delays — the Postal Service banned employees from working overtime and making extra trips to deliver mail — and wary of the Trump administration’s influence on the Postal Service as the coronavirus pandemic rages and November’s election draws near.

Understanding a Common Cold Virus (000, from 2009)

A research team led by Dr. Stephen B. Liggett at the University of Maryland School of Medicine reasoned that strategies for combating rhinoviruses will depend on a better understanding of rhinovirus diversity and evolution. The team set out, using internal funds, to complete the genetic sequences of all known rhinovirus types. Dr. Ann Palmenberg at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who is supported by NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), collaborated on the analysis. The results appeared in the journal Science on April 3, 2009.

Immunology Is Where Intuition Goes to Die (tmn)

Many infected people still clear the virus after a few weeks of nasty symptoms. But others don’t. Maybe they initially inhaled a large dose of virus. Maybe their innate immune systems were already weakened through old age or chronic disease. In some cases, the adaptive immune system also underperforms: T-cells mobilize, but their levels recede before the virus is vanquished, “almost causing an immunosuppressed state,” Iwasaki says. This dual failure might allow the virus to migrate deeper into the body, toward the vulnerable cells of the lungs, and to other organs including the kidneys, blood vessels, and the gastrointestinal and nervous systems. The immune system can’t constrain it, but doesn’t stop trying. And that’s also a problem.

Mexico’s Coronavirus Struggle Worsened by Fear of Hospitals (jdargis)

Here in Mexico, a similar vicious cycle is taking place. As the pandemic crushes an already weak health care system, with bodies piling up in refrigerated trucks, many Mexicans see the Covid ward as a place where only death awaits — to be avoided at all cost.

The consequences, doctors, nurses and health ministers say, are severe. Mexicans are waiting to seek medical care until their cases are so bad that doctors can do little to help them. Thousands are dying before ever seeing the inside of a hospital, government data show, succumbing to the virus in taxis on the way there or in sickbeds at home.

What Other Countries Can Learn From Australia’s Roaring Rooftop Solar Market (tmn)

While Australia has a vibrant wind market, distributed solar has been the real success story, said Darren Miller, CEO of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. “Wind has been a baseline. Even as states have removed feed-in tariffs, solar rooftop installation rates have grown to record levels,” Miller said in an interview.

A combination of natural advantages and smart policymaking has driven the Australian solar market. Around 10 years ago, Australia’s state governments introduced feed-in tariffs, and federal authorities instituted rebates for solar systems. The latter still cover roughly one-third of consumers’ upfront costs.

Beaming solar power from space to Earth is becoming practical (TourGuideDC)

“The technology has reached a point where we believe we can do it,” Felt told the Journal. “We’re in the final maturation phase for the key technologies, and we’ve got a road map for it … We’ve laid out the whole program, and we’re now on a path to build a 2-meter solar system for launch on a satellite in 2023 to prove the technology.”

Should a Study on Pesticides Affect Our Use of Them? (jdargis)

In laboratory studies, pyrethroid doses far greater than people would normally encounter have caused inflammation, DNA damage and oxidative stress. These effects may or may not happen in people, but they suggest the new findings could be biologically plausible. Also, limited studies in people have found links to impaired neurological development, reproductive health and major diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular disease.

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