Daily Digest 9/17 – U.S. Image Plummets Internationally, Mass Migratory Bird Deaths Reported In NM


U.S. Image Plummets Internationally as Most Say Country Has Handled Coronavirus Badly (tmn)

Part of the decline over the past year is linked to how the U.S. had handled the coronavirus pandemic. Across the 13 nations surveyed, a median of just 15% say the U.S. has done a good job of dealing with the outbreak. In contrast, most say the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union have done a good job, and in nearly all nations people give their own country positive marks for dealing with the crisis (the U.S. and UK are notable exceptions). Relatively few think China has handled the pandemic well, although it still receives considerably better reviews than the U.S. response.

Tracking America’s recovery (Brad K.)

Essential workers in hospitals and grocery stores were hailed as everyday heroes, office workers shifted to working from home, and millions of other Americans filed for unemployment. It’s safe to say — your job might never be the same after the pandemic.

Exclusive: The Billionaire Who Wanted To Die Broke Is Now Officially Broke (Adam)

Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife’s retirement. In other words, he’s given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his clandestine, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the  James Bond of Philanthropy.

We mailed 100 letters to test the Postal Service. The verdict: Spotty at best, dismal at worst (tmn)

The Times measured its letter delivery times against the advertised figure from the Postal Service, which says first-class letters should arrive at their destination in one to three business days. Gaare Davis, president of the American Postal Workers Union, California, said the Postal Service has had a goal of delivering first-class letters within the state in two business days and in three business days to Austin, Atlanta and Washington.

Military Police Leaders Weighed Deploying ‘Heat Ray’ Against D.C. Protesters (edelinski)

In his written response, DeMarco, who has sought whistleblower protection, quoted from an email he said was forwarded to him that originated from the Provost Marshal which read, the “ADS can provide our troops a capability they currently do not have, the ability to reach out and engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range, and in a safe, effective, and non-lethal manner.”

Senators Call Google ‘Monopoly Upon Monopoly’ as DOJ Case Nears (Adam)

Google critics have said the fact that the company runs software to handle every step of the online advertising process gives it the chance to play both sides of this market and unfairly benefit its own products. The senators picked up on that argument during Tuesday’s hearing.

“In no other market does the party represent the seller, the buyer, makes the rules and conduct the auction,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut. He called Google’s position “indefensible.”

How the Promise of Normalcy Won the 1920 Election (jdargis)

The American voter of 2020 is aware of a Europe that wants to isolate itself from the United States, to raise a shield against Trump and his feckless gestures at disease control. The electorate of 1920 felt a compulsion to isolate itself from an array of needy, troubled European suitors. Many Americans cast doubtful looks across the Atlantic, and nativists were suspicious of the still assimilating Europeans they nonetheless pandered to as new voting constituencies. The threats to America were coming, after all, from the same places those people had recently left, and to which they might still feel attached.

Conservative group used a bunch of teens to evade Twitter and Facebook moderation (tmn)

Turning Point Action, led by Charlie Kirk, is affiliated with Turning Point USA, a Phoenix-based conservative youth group. That group told The Post in a statement that comparing their operation to a troll farm was a “gross mischaracterization.” Instead, the effort was described as “sincere political activism conducted by real people who passionately hold the beliefs they describe online, not an anonymous troll farm in Russia.”

The Crushing Reality of Zoom School (jdargis)

The lesson we refuse to learn with COVID-19 is that decisions we make today have no bearing on right now, but have a huge effect in a few months. That’s why locking down in March reduced the number of deaths in May. Why opening bars in May brought deaths right back up in July. Why parties on Memorial Day left us with COVID numbers nearly twice as high on Labor Day, and why reopening in-person school in September will likely do exactly what you’d expect come November. The delay between action and reaction means we keep half assing our way through a pandemic that kicks our asses in return.

Claims of ‘coronavirus death squads’ as Colombia is rocked by nine massacres in just two weeks (tmn)

Alberto Posso, from Ecuador, is an economics professor at Melbourne’s RMIT University, and director of the university’s Centre for International Development.

He described the recent spate of violence in Colombia as “horrific” but “no longer surprising”.

U.S. Shale Production Continues To Decline (Michael S.)

Another bearish factor for prices was the pending reopening of Libya’s oil ports, which would signal an increase in production, too. Libya’s oil production has been slashed to less than 100,000 bpd amid the months-long blockade of the export terminals but reopening them will prompt a ramp-up in output. The reopening is not yet a done deal but the latest reports suggest it may only be a matter of time.

Bird populations in US and Canada down 3bn in 50 years (Downunder Bound)

The North America study revealed how many birds were being lost across every type of habitat – from grasslands to coasts to deserts. While it did not directly assess what was driving this, the scientists concluded that, among multiple causes, the major factor was habitat loss driven by human activity.

Mass deaths of migratory birds reported in New Mexico (Downunder Bound)

“It’s devastating. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything this horrible in my life,” Prof Desmond, who works for the university’s department of fish, wildlife, and conservation ecology, told KRQE-TV.

“When you’re there, you know, picking them up off the ground and seeing the extent of it and then looking at all these carcasses come in,” she continued.

British Military Prepares for Climate-Fueled Resource Shortages (Roger B.)

The report, titled A Changing Climate: Exploring the Implications of Climate Change for UK Defence and Security, uses this scenario of a potential 3.5°C temperature rise by end of century to forecast major new climate change developments “which will require increase demand for the Armed Forces to respond to unforeseen or extreme climate-related events, both at home and abroad.”

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