GM to sell 5 plants, cut 14,000 jobs
^ Investors cheer!
>>> GM to kill Chevrolet Volt, Cruze, Impala as Americans ditch passenger cars
Detroit Free Press
>>>Ohio officials slam GM’s move out of an area Trump pledged to revive
“I said, those jobs have left Ohio? They’re all coming back. They’re all coming back. Don’t move, don’t sell your house.”
The So-Called President, July 2017
Housing boom busting
Cribbed from the Wall Street Journal
PLANO, Texas—A half-hour drive straight north from downtown Dallas sits one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. Cotton fields have been replaced with Toyota’s new North American headquarters, a Dallas Cowboys training facility and a sand-colored shopping strip with a Tesla dealership and a three-story food hall.
— Yet even with the booming growth, Dallas’s once vibrant housing market is sputtering. In the high-end subdivisions in the suburb of Frisco, builders are cutting prices on new homes by up to $150,000. On one street alone, $4 million of new homes sat empty on a visit earlier this month. Some home builders are so desperate to attract interest they are offering agents the chance to win Louis Vuitton handbags or Super Bowl tickets with round-trip airfare, if their clients buy a home. Yet fresh-baked cookies sit uneaten at sparsely attended open houses.
— The U.S. economy just had one of its best six-month stretches in a decade, as the unemployment rate hovers around its lowest level in half a century. Still, along with a recent swoon in the stock market, the housing market—which makes up a sixth of the U.S. economy—has been a troubling weak spot.
— U.S. existing home sales have declined on an annual basis for eight straight months, the longest slump in more than four years, according to the National Association of Realtors report Wednesday. The slowdown has been driven by places that had earlier seen some of the strongest price growth during this recovery, including Seattle, Denver, New York City, Boston and the Bay Area.
— Dallas, which had the second-strongest annual increase in employment of any metropolitan area in the country in September, helps explain why. Even though the economy in the sprawling metro area has boomed, home prices have grown much faster than wages, and buyers have been straining to afford homes.
— Those price challenges have been masked in part by access to cheap credit, but that era is coming to an end. Since the beginning of the year, mortgage rates have risen about a percentage point, to the highest level since 2011.
Gene-edited baby claim by Chinese scientist sparks outrage
>>> Rice University to investigate professor who helped create FrankenBabies
— Editing the genomes of embryos is controversial because the changes would be passed on to future generations. Such research is illegal in the United States. Even researchers who support one day editing embryonic DNA to prevent diseases faulted the project for lacking proper safeguards and transparency.
The coming war over Ukraine?
The danger of escalation is real and must be treated as such.
The National Interest
— Russia’s continuous attempts to control the Kerch Straits have long been connected to its designs on Crimea. Ukraine has always resisted these efforts, which got the two countries close to military conflict well before 2014.
>>> Clash over Kerch Straits, in bullet points
21-year-old loser goes on trial in Charlottesville car-ramming death
— The man who allegedly rammed a car into a crowd of protesters during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year is set to go to trial on Monday for the murder of Heather Heyer.
— Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, was one of the local residents who protested against neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups that descended on the quiet university town for a “Unite the Right” rally on 12 August 2017. Dozens of other protesters were injured, many seriously, in the alleged car attack.
— James Alex Fields, a 21-year-old white man who was photographed marching with the neo-Nazi group Vanguard America, faces a first-degree murder charge, multiple charges of malicious wounding and assault and separate federal hate crime charges.
Yay, American health care!
Hospital denies woman a heart transplant, suggests she fundraise for it.
Detroit Free Press
— A Grand Rapids-based hospital system has denied a heart transplant to an ailing 60-year-old woman, recommending that she first try to fund raise $10,000 on her own.
— In a Nov. 20 letter that has since gone viral on social media, a nurse with Spectrum Health’s Heart & Lung Specialized Care Clinics told the patient that a heart transplant committee determined that she isn’t currently eligible for the transplant because she needs more secure financing for the expensive immunosuppresive drugs necessary to keep her body from rejecting the new organ.
— “The committee is recommending a fundraising effort of $10,000,” the nurse wrote.
— The hospital declined Free Press requests for an interview Sunday.
Civic lessons: This is how your gov’t works
FDA (in pocket of vaping companies) moves toward stealth ban on cigarettes, cigars
— Earlier this month, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced sweeping new rules governing e-cigarettes and tobacco in the United States. The most striking change is a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes in retail locations that admit minors, which will limit most in-person sales to specialty retailers like vape shops and tobacconists. The FDA also announced its intention to eventually ban menthol cigarettes and all forms of flavored cigars.
— More worryingly, these moves may pave the way for even more radical regulations that would, in essence, make it illegal to sell the combustible tobacco products favored by cigarette and cigar smokers throughout the United States.
Social Security helped slash elderly poverty to 9.2 percent in the 20th century – that triumph is now in jeopardy
— Do Americans want to return to a time when so many of their elders died in poverty?
Phil-Tiger screwup highlights limits of internet sports
— “People think of this as TV and it will never be as reliable as TV,” said Dan Rayburn, the principal analyst at Frost & Sullivan who writes for the website Streamingmediablog.com. “The internet was not built for reliable video delivery.”
For-profit prisons sued for exploiting labor
“The fact that the company is able to obtain the labor it needs to function, for the facility to function, at vastly below market rates is part of its business model.”
^ Profitable prisons! What a great idea! What will Republicans think of next?
Migrants retreat after hail of tear gas, rubber bullets
— Hundreds of Central American migrants who tried to force through a Mexican police blockade into the United States retreated to a nearby camp Monday after US border agents pushed them back with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Educated cops more aggressive, researchers find
Officers with college degrees were significantly more likely to pull over drivers for less serious violations. For example, they were 50 percent more likely than officers without a college degree to stop drivers for a moving violation other than speeding, such as failure to signal when changing lanes. They were three times as likely to perform consent searches of drivers or their vehicles, and twice as likely to make arrests on discretionary grounds.
— Our preliminary interpretation is that having a college degree is a proxy for ambition, which expresses itself in the officers’ routine enforcement practices.
— College-educated officers may be more focused than their peers on achieving promotions and so are more closely attuned to the traditional reward structure of policing, which is based primarily on stops, finding contraband and arrests
Social media movement: Report prostitutes to IRS
^ No, we’re not quite ready to be bullied into calling ’em sex workers.
— This harassment campaign seems to have originated last week, with a joke someone posted to Facebook about being audited for income made through a Snapchat account. From there, it was picked up by misogynists and trolls on Facebook and spread to Reddit and 4chan. It gained more traction on Twitter over the weekend, with the hashtag #thotaudit. As more people piled into the conversation to defend or degrade sex workers, it kept spreading.