OPPORTUNITY DAY

by Don Hermann

This is your time. It won’t knock the door down. It’s open for you to act.

Yes, Georgia. We’ve got to hear your voice. Loud and clear. Demonstrate to yourself. Your family. America. The world. That decency. Honesty. Integrity. Equal rights. That Black Lives Matter. That a woman’s body is hers’. And not some bigots who wants to take away hers and all others freedoms. That you will not ride in the back of the bus again, while others ride in the front. That voting will be as convenient for minorities as others.

The message you want to give is clear. And forceful. That your kids will not grow up in a world where lying. Cheating. Manipulating. Doctoring history to minimize slavery. And the Holocaust are control tactics to win elections.

Let your voice be heard. You have a megaphpne. That can be heard around the world. It’s called the VOTE. If you don’t use it now, you may never have the chance again.

That should make you hands perspire uncontrollably.To give you some help and support, Tuesday, December 6, 2022 will be designated OPPORTUNITY DAY.

You are not going to be on an island alone. You will have plenty of support. The NBA will suppend all games on OPPORTUNITY DAY. THE NFL will suspend all practices on OPPORTUNITY DAY. We’ll encourage MLB players and celebrities and politicians of all stripes to encourage you and back you up.

This is your OPPORTUNITY to be heard. To make a statement. “THIS IS AMERICA. A FAIR AND JUST COUNTRY. Equal rights. Equal access to all citizens.
SPEAK UP. THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY. RAPHAEL WARNOCK IS YOU. Show people you mean it.

Photo 53337937 © Yuryz | Dreamstime.com

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How Will a Recession Impact Commercial Construction?

After years of economic shifts, supply chain disruptions and labor issues, a recession is looming. The future is still uncertain, but this seems increasingly likely, so firms must brace for what’s coming. That starts with understanding what commercial construction during a recession will look like.

Economists rank construction as one of the most at-risk industries in a recession, largely thanks to its high expenses and dependence on larger spending. However, commercial building activity doesn’t always align with the residential sector, and recent trends may set it on an entirely different course. Here’s a closer look at how a recession could impact commercial construction.

Earnings

The first thing that likely comes to your mind amid recession fears is how it could impact earnings. A tighter economy could drive businesses to reduce their spending, potentially limiting project availability. Rising interest rates and living costs have already kickstarted this trend in the residential sector, but commercial construction may be safer in this specific scenario.

Unlike many residential firms, commercial contractors still face considerable backlogs. Nonresidential backlogs were higher than at any other point between March 2020 and March 2022, despite a drop since the first quarter of 2022. Consequently, many commercial firms have projects to fall back on even if new contracts slow down.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) may also help the sector through a recession. The bill allocates many funds for large construction projects, helping nonresidential firms find contacts even if businesses delay their new building plans.

Supply Chain Operations

Another concern over commercial construction during a recession is the supply chain. Companies have faced issues like a fastener shortage , lumber delivery delays and rising material costs since the pandemic’s onset. A recession could worsen some of these challenges.

Material suppliers may raise their prices to offset recession-induced losses on their end. Considering how the pandemic has caused many supply chains to dip into and even run out of their safety stocks, some items’ availability may also dwindle.

On the other hand, reduced demand from the residential sector may make some materials more available and lead to dropping prices to account for lower demand. In that scenario, a recession could balance the supply chain issues that have plagued the industry over the past few years. Which way supply chains will go is still uncertain, so it’s best to keep a close eye on your suppliers and emphasize transparency and resiliency.

Employment

The third major area of commercial construction a recession could impact is employment. In past recessions, employment has dropped as firms aim to cut costs and face dwindling demand. However, current labor shortages could reverse that trend.

Industry insiders and experts expect labor shortages to last well into 2023 as the aging workforce retires and fewer young recruits enter the sector. This shortage means many construction firms can’t afford to lay off employees, even amid declining demand. A recession could even spur a wave of new hires.

Price cuts in other sectors could lead to a larger unemployed workforce seeking jobs to account for the rising cost of living. This trend could help you find the talent you need to sustain post-recession growth or finish backlogged projects. If employment doesn’t rise in the industry, it will likely stay roughly the same instead of declining as you’d expect in a typical recession.

How Firms Can Prepare

Overall, commercial construction during a recession won’t suffer as much as the residential sector but could still face some challenges. Even if the recession won’t spell the end for your firm, it’s best to prepare for some changes before an economic downturn.

Backlogs provide your best safety net for dwindling demand, so aim to build a larger one. It’s impossible to tell how long a recession will last, but having a backlog of around 12 months’ worth of work is a safe target. These projects should fall within your expertise. Pursuing new areas you have little experience in is too risky for a recession.

IIJA and large backlogs may provide work throughout the downturn, but remember that this is an increasingly competitive industry. More than 37,000 new construction businesses emerged between 2021 and 2022 alone, meaning you’ll have to compete for government projects and similar bids. Consequently, it’s best to avoid large purchases and closely monitor your finances until the economy starts looking up.

Given current labor shortages, it’s also important to avoid laying off workers. In fact, it may be best to hone in on hiring practices to take advantage of the increase of unemployed job-seekers.

Finally, commercial contractors should rethink their supply chains. These operations still carry much uncertainty and may need to adapt quickly. Work with partners to bolster supplier relations, improve logistics visibility and embrace resiliency over pure efficiency.

Commercial Construction During a Recession

Commercial construction will likely experience some losses during a recession, but it’ll be better off than some sectors. The industry could see higher earnings, fewer disruptions and steady employment than residential building.

This is promising news, but a recession will not be easy. Firms should take the time to review their standings and prepare for a slower, tighter economy. Proper preparation can ensure success, even amid a recession.

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Sen. Raphael Warnock leads Herschel Walker in final week of Georgia Senate runoff

Published by
New York Daily News

Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., holds a slim lead in a new poll and has much more cash on hand as he seeks to put away Republican challenger Herschel Walker in their Georgia Senate runoff. With just a week before the Dec. 6 runoff, Warnock has edged ahead of Walker on the heels of the only major poll taken since his narrow win in the Election Day contest. The survey commissioned by the AARP shows Warnock with a 51%-47% lead. Buoyed by his potent fundraising operation, the incumbent Democrat also has nearly $30 million in his war chest for the stretch run, compared with less than $10 million for W…

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GUESS WHAT’S COMING TO DINNER (CARTOON, COLUMN AND VIDEO)

I’m writing this from Chicago in the Midway Airport where I’m enjoying a $12.00 Blue Moon.

I’m calling bullshit on Donald Trump’s explanation for having dinner with noted white supremacist Nick Fuentes. And what’s up with a guy of Mexican heritage being a white supremacist? That’d be like me hating white people. Come to think of it, white people can be very annoying. Just this morning at one of the cafes in the Memphis airport, a white blond Karen was stepping in front of people waiting for their names to be called to pick up their orders, to see why hers wasn’t ready yet. “You haven’t called my name yet and I have a plane to catch,” like everyone else was in the terminal just for the cuisine.

But last week, Donald Trump hosted Kanye West, or Ye, at Mar-a-Lago where they had dinner. Coming along for the ride and possibly Mar-a-Lago hater tots was Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist who has denied the Holocaust. Reportedly, Ye wanted advice from Donald Trump on handling his business after several corporations dumped him for antisemitic comments.

Hey, Ye… I have some business advice for you. After losing sponsorships over antisemitism, don’t hang out with white supremacist Holocaust deniers.

Trump claimed he didn’t know who Nick Fuentes was and issued a statement last Friday after it became public and even some Republicans issued statements saying it wasn’t a good idea. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea for a leader that’s setting an example for the country or the party to meet with an avowed racist or antisemite.” It’s normal now for Republicans to have to issue statements saying chowing down with white supremacists in your house isn’t a good idea. Do you know why Democrats never issue statements saying don’t hang out and have dinner with racists? Because Democrats don’t have dinner with racists.

Trump said, “Kanye West (It’s Ye, mother—-er) very much wanted to visit Mar-a-Lago. Our dinner meeting was intended to be Kanye and me only, but he arrived with a guest whom I had never met and knew nothing about.”

After more scorn was heaped on him, Trump issued another statement saying, “So I help a seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye (so now it’s Ye, who Trump had to tell us is black), who has been decimated in his business and virtually everything else and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him very much needed ‘advice.” That’s how you know Ye is troubled because he wants business advice from the guy who’s destroyed every business he’s ever started. You know what they didn’t eat at that dinner? Trump Steaks.

But Trump elaborated. “He shows up with three people, two of which I didn’t know, the other a political person who I haven’t seen in years. I told him “don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win.” Fake News went CRAZY!”

Apparently, Ye missed Trump’s announcement that he’s running for president because Ye is also running and asked Trump to be his running mate. Yes, Ye is troubled.

But again, how did this white supremacist get inside Mar-a-Lago with all the other white supremacists?

Here’s where I call b.s. on Trump claiming he didn’t know who Fuentes was and that Ye just showed up with unexpected guests. Trump has Secret Service protection. I guess it’s possible for surprise visitors to show up at Mar-a-Lago but these guys are extremely particular about who former presidents (sic) spend time with. And sure, it may be hard to police everyone who walks into Mar-a-Lago since it’s a country club and even stolen classified documents have been stored there, but it just seems bizarre that the Secret Service was unaware a holocaust white supremacist was coming for dinner.

Also, Trump claims he didn’t know the guy and we all know Trump is a liar.

Goodbye from, Chicago.

Watch me draw:

Visit Clay Jones’ website and email him at Clay@claytoonz.com.

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Protests against strict COVID-zero policy are sweeping China. It’s anyone’s guess what happens now

David S G Goodman , University of Sydney

Public protests in China related to the government’s COVID-19 restrictions have hit the news worldwide over the weekend, following a fatal apartment fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang last week which killed ten people.

Many internet users claimed some residents could not escape because the apartment building was partially locked down, though authorities denied this.

There have been reports some demonstrators have called for President Xi Jinping, the newly re-elected General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, to stand down . Others have criticised the rule of the party itself.

China’s COVID measures are among the strictest in the world, as it continues to pursue lockdowns to suppress the virus – what it calls a “dynamic zero COVID” policy.

While these protests are certainly serious challenges to authority, they should be kept in perspective. In particular, there’s no real parallel to those in Tiananmen Square in 1989. These are street protests where the demonstrators disperse after marching and protesting, and the main focus of the protests are the COVID restrictions rather than wider political principles.

The main issue here is frustration not just with COVID restrictions, but the inconsistent ways these measures are being implemented.

At least in the short-term, the state’s reactions are likely to be muted. There’s undoubtedly pressure for change, though how this will be achieved is hard to predict.

A more national response

Protests in China have actually become quite common in the last couple of decades, though they almost always centre around a specific issue and are highly localised.

Workers in a factory may protest over lack of payment or deteriorating conditions . Villagers forced to resettle so that their land can be redeveloped attempt resistance, sometimes even to the extent of refusing to be moved away. Residents in new housing estates become mobilised to complain about the lack of promised roads, retail outlets and services.

These kinds of protest are usually resolved reasonably and quickly not least by state officials intervening to ensure solutions in the name of maintaining stability.

Less capable of such instant solution are protests about more general principles, such as freedom of expression, legal representation, or governmental responsibilities. In such cases, government responses have tended to suppress the concerns.

But such protests have almost always been localised and not led to any sense of a regional or national movement. This has even been true of industrial disputes where workers have protested in one or more factories under a single brand or owner.

There’s no evidence at this stage that this is an organised national movement. But it seems protesters in each city have been emboldened by the actions of demonstrators in others.

Reading China’s social media it’s clear, for example, that demonstrators in Beijing and Shanghai report on each others’ protests, as well as commenting on the initial protest causes in Urumqi.

To date, police reactions have varied between locations. Some police were said to have been allowing demonstrations to continue.

But in other places, minor scuffles have been reported , including some arrests .

Off the streets and away from the demonstrators, asymptomatic residents of apartment blocks in lockdown have occasionally continued to protest .

Student demands

Some 40 students at China’s leading Peking University issued a declaration on Sunday that criticised “the implementation of the dynamic zero policy”. They said the COVID-zero policies had an increasing number of problems and have led to “horrible tragedies”, though they also acknowledged the importance and effectiveness of the safety measures implemented earlier in the pandemic.

They also said “The most urgent task now is to find a temporary way of coexistence that minimises the danger of the epidemic while ensuring basic social order and basic economic and livelihood needs”.

To this end, they propose five key measures:

  1. “To avoid the abuse of public power, all regional quarantine blockades should be stopped to ensure that all people in communities, villages, units and schools can enter and leave freely”

  2. “Abolish technical means to monitor the whereabouts of citizens, such as pass codes and [health code] cell phone tracking app. Stop considering the spread of the epidemic as the responsibility of certain individuals or institutions. Devote resources to long-term work such as vaccine, drug development and hospital construction”

  3. “Implement voluntary [PCR] testing and voluntary quarantine for undiagnosed and asymptomatic individuals”

  4. “Liberalize restrictions on the expression of public opinion and allow suggestions and criticism of specific implementation problems in different regions”

  5. “Make truthful disclosures of infection data, including the number of infected people, the death rate, long [COVID] rate, to eliminate epidemic panic during the transition”.

The key issues are how to move from the current “dynamic zero COVID” policy towards something else, and indeed what that should be, given the inadequate health coverage in much of the country.The Conversation

David S G Goodman , Director, China Studies Centre, Professor of Chinese Politics, University of Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .

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Right-wing Oath Keepers founder convicted of sedition in U.S. Capitol attack plot

Published by
Reuters

By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Stewart Rhodes, founder of the right-wing Oath Keepers militia group, was convicted by a jury on Tuesday of seditious conspiracy for last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol in a failed bid to overturn then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss – an important victory for the Justice Department. Rhodes, a Yale Law School-educated former Army paratrooper and disbarred attorney, was accused by prosecutors during an eight-week trial of fomenting a plot to use force to block Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory over Trump. He wa…

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Will Bunch: The far right is losing. That’s why America has never been so dangerous

Published by
The Philadelphia Inquirer

‘Tis the season, apparently. Pre-Thanksgiving travelers who clogged the busy Gate D10 at Seattle-Tacoma International were shocked — although maybe slightly less shocked than they would have been five years ago — to see a young-adult male passenger abruptly throw up a Nazi salute and begin a barely comprehensible antisemitic rant. “Heil Hitler! Sieg Heil!” the man shouted, as fellow travelers either shook their heads or flipped on their iPhones. “Race war!” Airport police arrested the man, later identified as Nicholas Edward Letney, before he could board the Dallas-bound flight. As he was drag…

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In Chicago, Pence denounces Trump dinner with antisemitic purveyors Kanye West and Nick Fuentes

Published by
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Former Vice President Mike Pence on Monday denounced former President Donald Trump for dining last week with a pair of antisemitic purveyors, Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, but stopped short of saying whether he thought it should disqualify Trump’s bid to recapture the White House. Pence, the former one-term Indiana governor before joining Trump’s Republican ticket in 2016, is eyeing his own bid for the GOP nomination for president. But he said a decision won’t come before the holidays. He also said he hasn’t made a decision to cooperate with the U.S. Justice Department on its criminal…

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A Review of the 5th Avenue Theatre’s Presentation of The Wiz

In 1978, as a six-year-old kid, I watched the movie The Wiz, in a mostly empty mall theater with my older brother and sister. The movie enthralled, traumatized, excited, and bored me. As a somewhat sheltered white kid from the Pacific Northwest, I had a very limited understanding of black artists, black entertainment, and black culture. My best understanding of diversity came through watching Sesame Street or the Electric Company. I was also six and didn’t really have that great of an understanding of the cultural context of my own existence. So for me, The Wiz movie was an introduction to a world I knew very little about.

I had heard the ABC Jackson 5 song, but I had no idea who Michael Jackson was and I certainly didn’t realize he was playing the movie’s Scarecrow. What I did know is that I instantly liked his voice and I wanted to hear more. I think I had seen Nipsy Russel on several daytime game shows, but I had never heard him sing or seen him dance until he put on the Tinman suit and shuffled into my heart. He was the embodiment of cool and I attempted to model that cool, listening to the movie’s soundtrack while dancing and sliding on our living room wood floor. And Diana Ross as Dorothy, and Richard Pryor as the Wizard, and Lena Horne as Glinda, all seemed strangely familiar and wonderfully different to my childhood sensibilities. Those two hours and sixteen minutes of movie magic had a strong impression on my little kid soul. I was also incredibly traumatized.

For me, The Wiz was also a fever dream of nightmarish imagery that revisited me when I had trouble sleeping at night. There is a subway scene in The Wiz that I still watch with one eye closed and my head partially turned away from the screen. The Wiz’s yellow brick road took Dorothy through a fair amount of trauma. Regardless, I loved most of the music and was delighted when my parents bought the double record album. I will admit, the movie did drag a bit for me at the end. My six-year-old attention span could have used one or two fewer “believe in yourself” ballads. Even so, the movie had a profound positive impact on my impressionable mind.

As I grew older, I became aware that The Wiz movie was a loose adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical, The Wiz. This made me want to see how loosely the original musical was adapted. In 2015 NBC aired a version of The Wiz Broadway musical that was more true to the original production, but the television show also merged some of the movie changes into the original version. All this to say, I had not yet seen the original show performed in its truest form until last night at The 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle. What I experienced last night was a universally approachable, joyful, auditorily and visually pleasing presentation of The Wiz. In many ways, the Broadway musical has a simpler, powerful focus that trusts the audience to find the deeper meaning. Although the show definitely touches on a narrative and imagery unique to the black American experience, the themes go far beyond a racial construct. The Wiz speaks to many universal coming of age themes.

In many ways, Dorothy’s journey to Oz represents a journey towards developing her own sense of self. The Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion represent aspects of the human identity that must be well formed for a person to do well in this world. Through the Scarecrow, Dorothy overcomes her sense of not being smart enough. Through the Tinman, Dorothy learns what it means to be emotionally whole. However, Dorothy needs more than a healthy intellect and healthy emotions; she also needs the courage to step out into the world and to put that health into action. Once she has a healthy confidence in her mind, her heart, and her resolve, she is able to head back home as her own person. For a girl being raised by her aunt and uncle, this sense of identity is crucial for Dorothy to find herself in the world. This universal struggle to find a healthy sense of self makes the Wiz universally approachable.

However, let me be clear. The 5th Avenue’s production of The Wiz is primarily enjoyable because of the amazing voices that anchor the entire show. If she is singing, Kataka Corn (Dorothy) can lead me down any yellow brick road, and I will follow. Honestly, I think hearing her sing the final song is worth the show’s admission. Along with Kataka Corn, all the other artists are extremely gifted and pleasing to the hear and see. Nehemiah Hooks (Scarecrow), Phillip Attmore (Tinman), Nate Tenenbaum (Lion), Marlette Buchanan (Aunt Em), Trina Mills (Glinda), Sarah Russell (Addaperle), Be Russell (The Wiz), Madison Willis (Evillene), and the entire ensemble provide vocal performances that are pretty much unparallel to anything you will ever see at the 5th Avenue Theatre. The singing is so good you get kind of spoiled by it. Oh hum….just another amazing song belted out with powerful musical precision.

The production design and lighting are beautiful and engaging and Kelli Foster Warder’s direction and choreography infuses the musical with comedic energy and a consistent, unrelenting joy. I was particularly enthralled with how the production handled the Lion. His costume was superb and Nate Tenenbaum presented probably the most enjoyable Lion I have seen in any presentation of The Wiz, Wizard of Oz or even the Lion King. He just nailed it and the audience was more than appreciative.

Which brings me to the audience itself and the importance of the 5th Avenue bringing this presentation to the stage in Seattle. There was an energy and responsiveness in the opening night crowd that made the show extremely enjoyable. The night reminded me once again about the magic of live, local theater. There is something truly spiritual and unifying when a room full of people enjoy an edifying experience together.

I will have to admit one problem I had with the show. It is the same problem my six-year-old self had with the movie. I felt like the ending dragged a bit. I would prefer for Glinda and the Wizard to have less stage time and to keep the focus on the foursome that travel the yellow brick road. The ballads sung by Glinda and the Wizard are beautiful, but they take away from the impact of Dorothy’s final show ending number. I know this is more a problem with the original construct of the musical, but I still think it is worth revisiting in future presentations. One or two fewer songs at the end would fit well with the rest of the musical’s brisk pace.

Also, I would be lying if I didn’t say I missed hearing the song “You Can’t Win” that was written for the movie version of The Wiz. I know it isn’t in the original Broadway production, but it was in the production I listened to as a kid while I pretended to be Michael Jackson and danced around our living room floor.

If you want a fun holiday treat, then ease on down the road to the 5th Avenue Theatre to see their energetic and life affirming production of The Wiz.

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Fox News’ reports about ‘looting’ stopped after the election

Published by
Raw Story

Republicans ran their 2022 midterm campaigns talking about the economy being a problem and complaining about inflation. Their first actions will focus on investigations into President Joe Biden. In an interview with “Meet the Press,” the presumed incoming chairman of the House Reform and Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer (R-KY) cited a number of “scandals” that only views of the Fox networks would know. According to Comer he’ll start with an investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic response. He did indicate that the team would investigate the response going back to Donald Trump’s administr…

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