Saturday midday open thread: Companies abandon NRA; Virgin Hyperloop plans 760 mph prototype
254 days remain until the November election
• What’s coming up on Sunday Kos …
° Black History Month: AfroLatina Pura Belpré gave children the precious love of books and stories, by Denise Oliver Velez
° Watch out, NRA: there’s new momentum in gun control fight, by Sher Watts Spooner
° Your right to own a gun is not more important then the life of a child, by Mark E Andersen
° Showing its love of coal miners, Trump regime seeks rule change to kill more of them from black lung, by Meteor Blades
° Because Trump is too stupid to know just how stupid he is, by Susan Grigsby
° #NeverAgain movement drives us around a new corner on the issues of guns, schools and mental health, by Frank Vyan Walton
° ‘No one ever asked to see my birth certificate’: The Mitt Romney story, by Jon Perr
° We need an economic system where a Bill Gates or Koch brothers is impDemocgossible, by Egberto Willies
° Book review: ‘Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South,’ by Ian Reifowitz
• Demographic trends show increasingly fractured workforce:
The trends across so many different groups are hard to summarize briefly, but one particular pattern stands out: workers seem to be increasingly separating into two groups: prime-age adults who are falling out of, or never get into, the labor market at all, and prime-age adults who are employed and working more hours. [...]
Black women work as much as white women but lose more hours when the economy slows down. In 2016, employed white and black women worked roughly equivalent hours (1,853 and 1,845 hours, respectively). But black women lose more hours when the economy slows down. Indeed, prior to the Great Recession, employed black women worked as many as or more hours than employed white women. A majority of black women who did not work in 2016 (45.0 percent) were out of work “involuntarily” due to factors like illness, disability, or inability to find work, compared with 27.7 percent of white women.
• Companies who cut ties with NRA find themselves pummeled by NRA supporters:
“MetLife didn’t shoot anyone, but I just can’t pay them,” Clark Bacon, a research assistant at a children’s hospital, said in an interview Friday morning, after posting about his frustration on the company’s Facebook page. He had pledged to cancel his MetLife auto and home insurance package, for which he spends nearly $9,000 a year, after learning that the company offered N.R.A. members pre-negotiated discounts.
For companies like MetLife that are caught in the middle of these angry social media storms, actions tied to divisive social issues can be a lose-lose proposition. A year ago, Nordstrom first faced calls for a consumer boycott because it carried the Ivanka Trump line of clothing. But it quickly drew another round of boycott cries from the other side of the ideological spectrum when it quietly stopped selling her products.
xTheyÃ¢ÂÂre waiting to speak #SignsSomeoneIsListening pic.twitter.com/nXKZcw1esE— #HashtagJones (@HashtagJones1) February 24, 2018
• Texas already arms teachers, janitors, and others at its public schools:
State lawmakers have created a program to train and arm “school marshals” — teachers, principals, coaches, custodians and others ready to defend a school. And the program’s creator thinks it could well be the inspiration for Trump’s endorsement of armed teachers, following the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. [...]
It's not clear how many marshals there are because it is a secret force. The few districts that are thought to have authorized them typically won’t even say they have done so — so gunmen can’t target them. Students don’t know if their teacher is a marshal. Neither do parents. It’s based on the theory of secret flight marshals — which Trump has also referenced.
• Trump’s suggestions for modest gun law reforms kindles cries of betrayal from gun rights advocates.
• Poll indicates gun law debate could affect midterms:
In a Marist Poll survey released Friday, 71 percent of respondents said laws concerning gun sales should be strengthened. Unlike the partisan divide found with many other topics, a majority of both Republicans (51 percent) and Democrats (93 percent) said they’d like to see tougher gun laws. [...]
Among registered voters, 85 percent said their vote will be influenced by the candidates’ position on gun laws. Of those, 59 percent said it will be a major factor in their decision, as opposed to 26 percent who consider it a minor factor.
• Plans unveiled for hyperloop linking Abu Dhabi and Dubai at 760 mph:
Virgin Hyperloop One has released a prototype for a levitating pod that is designed to zoom at speeds as high as 760 mph (1,200 km/h) through a Hyperloop connecting Dubai to Abu Dhabi, according to news sources.
The 87-mile (140 kilometers) journey usually takes 90 minutes by car, but the Hyperloop will take a mere 12 minutes, thanks to its innovative track — a long tube that has had its air removed to create a vacuum inside, according to the Daily Mail.
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