This is probably fine!
How have you all been sleeping? My god I just cannot sleep through an entire night anymore. I don’t know if that’s the bounty of external bad news creeping into my brain and infecting me like a spectral gas when my guard is down or more like a reverse phenomenon with the bad news seeping out of my pores like sweat in the other direction.
Probably just that I’m old as shit now.
Here’s some bad news I just read. Not surprising news necessarily but bad all the same. It turns out that people living in poorer counties died at almost twice the rate of people living in richer ones over the course of the pandemic according to a report by the Poor People’s Campaign.
“Crises do not unfold independent of the conditions from which they arise,” they write. “The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated preexisting social and economic disparities that have long festered in the US. Widespread and unequal distribution of wealth, income and resources prior to the pandemic created the conditions for many of the negative outcomes associated with the virus.”
I’ve said as much over and over again in here like so in this piece about the abuses of temp staffing agencies from February:
…it’s a problem that’s only gotten worse during the pandemic. How many times have I written that exact sentence in here by the way? “The pandemic has only exacerbated things…” Everything that was bad was always bad but now we’ve seen how the bottom can drop even further. We’re on one of those amusement park rides where you stand around waiting for it to plummet and then it does and everyone screams holy shit and then it plummets again.
Anyway outside of the first wave of Covid which pretty much fucked everyone everywhere the subsequent waves hammered counties with lower median incomes. The third wave during the winter of 2020-2021 was especially bad with death rates four and a half times higher in the poorer counties. Not as bas the the Delta variant wave however which was fives times worse.
Not really hard to draw a connection between the concerted push to “get back to normal” from the wealthier political and media classes around that time. By then they had started to figure out that they were all likely safe.
Some other findings from the report include that in the 300 counties with the highest death rates 45% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The hardest hit area in the country was Galax county in Virginia they reported with a staggering 1,134 deaths per 100,000 as compared to the 299 per 100,000 nationally. Median income there is $33,000.
It doesn’t seem to be a story of blue states versus red states either. Or even of vaccination rates. The Bronx in New York was devastated as well. Half of the people there live below the poverty line and they suffered a death rate of 538 per 100,000.
“The neglect of poor and low-wealth people in this country during a pandemic is immoral, shocking and unjust, especially in light of the trillions of dollars that profit-driven entities received,” William Barber the director of the Poor People’s Campaign said of the study.
You can read the rest of it here including an interactive map broken down in detail county by county.
I don’t know though something called the Poor People’s Campaign sounds like they might be biased in one direction or the other. Maybe we shouldn’t trust them.
It feels weird saying this but elsewhere in New York there was actually some very very good news this week with workers at the Amazon warehouse on Staten Island voting to unionize. It’s one of the most significant victories for the labor movement in this country in recent memory.
That doesn’t mean the behemoth company is eager to let something like that happen again though. According to documents obtained by Ken Klippenstein at The Intercept the company plans to ban a series of words that pertain to organizing among other things on its forthcoming internal messaging system.
An automatic word monitor would also block a variety of terms that could represent potential critiques of Amazon’s working conditions, like “slave labor,” “prison,” and “plantation,” as well as “restrooms” — presumably related to reports of Amazon employees relieving themselves in bottles to meet punishing quotas.
The list of banned words is almost hilarious until you remember what they’re actually trying to do here.
What’s your favorite? I’m a “I don’t care” with a “restrooms” rising.
“This is dumb” indeed.
Perhaps feeling the heat from the Amazon victory Starbucks is continuing with its own shitty labor busting tactics. Most recently they fired a union leader in Phoenix named Laila Dalton. More Perfect Union calls the firing “an act of retaliation that caps two months of unrelenting harassment against the 19-year-old shift supervisor.”
The dismissal comes just one day before the National Labor Relations Board sends union election ballots to workers at Starbucks’ Scottsdale and Mayo location, where Dalton has worked for several years.
According to a notice of separation provided by two district managers, Dalton was fired for recording audio on her phone while performing inventory in the backroom of the store.
As More Perfect Union has reported, Dalton has been accosted by her managers on multiple occasions; footage of the harsh discipline sessions have repeatedly gone viral and stoked outrage at the company. In March, the NLRB issued a formal complaint against Starbucks for subjecting Dalton to a series of abuses meant to disrupt the union campaign and force her to quit.
Shaken by these regular reprimands, Dalton had begun recording when working by herself or in close proximity to her managers.
“I’m always expecting it, because I’m harassed every single day,” she told More Perfect Union. “I never know when someone’s going to come harassing me, so I always want to be recording.”
This fucking guy. Do you remember when this guy wanted to be president lol.
Assaulted by the threat of unionization.
I think we all know who we have to call in for one last job here.
Here’s a cool letter I got from my doctor’s office yesterday. Can anyone translate any of this for me?
The best I can make of it is that it says while your physical is supposed to be free under the law it’s not going to be if we actually do anything.
My best option here if I want to avail myself of this generous allowance under the Affordable Care Act without having to pay for it would be if I pass by my doctor in the hallway and she asks how I am doing and I say I am fine and keep walking straight out the door.
They probably have a code to charge for that too to be honest. Drive by wellness check.
OK YOU’LL HAVE TO BE A PAID SUBSCRIBER TO READ THE REST OF TODAY’S PIECE BELOW. IT CONCERNS FRANZ WRIGHT AND POETRY AND ANIMAL SUICIDE AND GOING TO THE DENTIST AND WANTING TO DIE AND NOT WANTING TO DIE PLUS MY FAVORITE NEW RECORD OF THE WEEK.