Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Employers map out another WFH year

Major tech employers are reviving their discussions on work-from-home perks and pay now that companies worldwide are entering their second year of going remote. Issues such as tax burdens and parental support are being weighed “across industries,” with requiring employees to update their locations for tax purposes while some companies“work from anywhere” plan keeps paying higher salaries. Ultimately, employers are trying to keep workers engaged and happy without getting into regulatory issues. (The Wall Street Journal)


North Carolina woman dragged nearly 1,200 feet after trying to dance next to car

A woman was hospitalized with “serious life-threatening injuries” after she was dragged nearly 1,200 feet when she attempted to exit a vehicle and dance, authorities said. The incident took place in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to police, the woman had left a 2018 Honda and began dancing but became tangled in the car’s seat belt. “As the light turned green, the rear left passenger exited and began dancing next to the vehicle,” the Raleigh Police Department wrote in an incident report. “This passenger became tangled in the seat belt as the vehicle began to drive away. The passenger was dragged approximately 1,185 feet before the driver was made aware of the situation.” Five people, including the woman, were in the car at the time of the incident. Police did not indicate why the woman decided to exit the vehicle. According to the report, the driver was traveling the speed limit, which was 35 mph. The driver was not suspected of drug or alcohol use, the television station reported. (WTVD)


Almost a third of people with ‘mild’ COVID-19 battle symptoms months later, study finds

A new research is shedding new light on the condition. Researchers from the University of Washington followed 177 people with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection for up to nine months, the longest follow-up to date. Notably, this group included 150 outpatients, who had “mild” disease and were not hospitalized. They found that 30% of respondents reported persistent symptoms. The most common were fatigue and loss of smell or taste. More than 30% of respondents reported worse quality of life compared to before getting sick. And 14 participants (8%), including 9 people who had not been hospitalized, reported having trouble performing at least one usual activity, such as daily chores. The researchers wrote that with 57.8 million cases worldwide, “even a small incidence of long-term debility could have enormous health and economic consequences.” There are now more than 110 million cases worldwide, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (JAMA Network Open)


Border agents seize 277 pounds of banned bologna

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in New Mexico discovered 30 rolls of prohibited pork bologna around 6:30 p.m. hidden beneath floor mats and seats of a car during a vehicle inspection. Bologna containing pork is prohibited because it could possibly contain foreign animal disease. The driver was given a $1,000 citation. This is the second time in as many months that agents have confiscated the banned bologna. On February 7, officials seized 194 pounds of bologna from the trunk and inside luggage of an SUV driven by a 49-year-old Albuquerque resident. (KPHO)


AG sues Texas utility over customers’ sky-high energy bills

Texas’ attorney general said he’s suing electricity provider Griddy for passing along massive bills to its customers during last month’s winter storm. The lawsuit comes days after Texas’ power grid manager effectively shut down Griddy by revoking its access to the state’s electricity market. Griddy charges $10 a month to give people a way to pay wholesale prices for electricity instead of a fixed rate. But when temperatures plummeted well below freezing last month, wholesale prices spiked and Griddy customers were left with sky-high electricity bills. “Griddy misled Texans and signed them up for services which, in a time of crisis, resulted in individual Texans each losing thousands of dollars,” the Texas Attorney General said in a statement. “As Texans struggled to survive this winter storm, Griddy made the suffering even worse as it debited outrageous amounts each day.” The lawsuit accused Griddy of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and seeks refunds for customers. The unusually heavy winter storm blanketed much of Texas with snow, knocking out electricity to 4 million customers and leaving many struggling to find clean water. Meanwhile, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, shifted about 10,000 Griddy customers to other utilities on Friday. Griddy said in a statement that ERCOT took our members and have effectively shut down Griddy. (Associated Press)


Cemetery worker buried alive in New York grave mishap

A New York cemetery worker was buried alive while working inside a grave. The 42-year-old man was leveling out the bottom of a 7-foot-deep grave at Washington Memorial Park in Mount Sinai when the sides collapsed, burying him. His co-workers’ attempts to dig him out were unsuccessful, and despite the rescue efforts of first responders from several agencies, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Suffolk County Police are investigating the fatal accident. (WABC)


Tokyo asks China to stop anal swab tests for COVID-19 on Japanese citizens

Tokyo has requested Beijing to stop taking anal swab tests for COVID-19 on Japanese citizens as the procedure causes psychological pain, a government spokesman said. The Chief Cabinet Secretary said the government has not received a response that Beijing would change the testing procedure, so Japan would continue to ask China to alter the way of testing. “Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused a great psychological pain,” the Chief Cabinet Secretary said in a news conference. It was not known how many Japanese citizens received such tests for the coronavirus, he said. Some Chinese cities are using samples taken from the anus to detect potential COVID-19 infections as China steps up screening to make sure no potential carrier of the new coronavirus is missed. China’s foreign ministry denied last month that United States diplomats in the country had been required to take anal swab tests for COVID-19, following media reports that some had complained about the procedure. (Reuters)


Oregon Governor Facing Full Secession as Measure to Join Idaho Will Appear on Ballots in Multiple Oregon Counties

According to sources, five counties in the eastern portion of the state of Oregon are likely to vote this May on whether they want to join the adjacent state of Idaho. The Greater Idaho Project, which has sought to persuade counties in the conservative eastern part of Oregon to join their more Republican neighboring state, says it’s awaiting verification to get the measure on the ballot in two counties, Baker and Lake. Grant, Malheur and Sherman counties have already passed the threshold needed to hold a vote on the matter. Proponents of the measure feel “swaths of conservative, pro-Trump, anti-tax voters” in the east of the state are poorly represented by a government dominated by the liberal coastal areas in Oregon. Baker and Lake counties would be voting on the measure on May 18, since proponents of secession had gathered 141 percent of the necessary signatures. The state has yet to verify the signatures, however. In total, the group aims to get 22 of Oregon’s 36 counties, those outside the liberal Willamette Valley, to join with Idaho. (Idaho Statesman)


2021’s worst states for women

With March being Women’s History Month and women going through 55% of the net job losses since the beginning of the pandemic, WalletHub compared 50 states across 26 key metrics. The study looked for median earnings for female workers to women’s preventive health care to the female homicide rate. For instance, women represent nearly two-thirds of all minimum-wage workers in the U.S. Their political representation also suffers, as women make up 51% of the U.S. population but only 24% of the Senate and 27.1% of the House of Representatives. The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially harmful financially for women, too, as they have lost their jobs at greater rates than men. The results show that:

Best States for Women

  1. Minnesota
  2. Maine
  3. Vermont
  4. North Dakota
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Iowa
  7. Washington
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Wisconsin
  10. South Dakota

Worst States for Women

  1. Mississippi
  2. Alabama
  3. Arkansas
  4. Louisiana
  5. Oklahoma
  6. South Carolina
  7. Texas
  8. Nevada
  9. West Virginia
  10. New Mexico

(Wallet Hub)


Millions of Americans are finding it hard to pay their taxes after discovering that the unemployment benefits they’ve been living on for the past year are taxable

According to one estimate from a left-leaning think tank, only about 40% of the 40 million Americans who received unemployment benefits in 2020 withheld taxes. Some jobless Americans say that they owe unpayable amounts, even though they checked a box on the unemployment form to withhold taxes. Some legislators have argued that tax bills on unemployment benefits should be temporarily waived due to the pandemic, but no such stipulation made it into the $1.9T stimulus bill passed by the House this weekend. One proposal introduced in the Senate would eliminate taxes on the first $10,200 given to individuals in unemployment benefits. It would cost an estimated $30B. Unemployment benefits were not taxable from their inception in 1935 until 1986. As of December 2020, more than 10 million Americans were still unemployed. (Washington Post)


Two sisters separated by adoption discovered each other while working at the same restaurant in New Haven, Connecticut.

They met at the Russian Lady in New Haven in 2013. They looked alike, got along instantly, and even had the same tattoo. Despite adoption paperwork suggesting that they couldn’t be related, the pair got a DNA test years later that proved they’re sisters. “We started twinning, we wore the same clothes, we actually bought shirts one day that said ‘I’m the big sister/I’m the little sister,'” they said. The pair have since discovered their birth parents and discovered they have seven other siblings. (WTNH)


Man who reports break-in winds up in handcuffs after drugs found, police say

A 42-year-old man in Phoenix, Arizona called police about a burglar at his apartment, but he’s the one who ended up getting arrested. He called officers to report a burglar at his apartment. When officers arrived, they didn’t find a burglar. What they did find, however, was a large stash of drugs and drug paraphernalia, according to court documents. Police say they found thousands of blue pills that appeared to be fentanyl pills, as well as a baggie filled with a white substance that appeared to be meth. Police say all of the drugs were in plain view. In all, officers say they seized 6,000 fentanyl pills, 392 grams of meth and $4,685 in cash. Police also found digital scales, small baggies, and needles, all of which are consistent with drug use, court documents say. He was taken into custody and faces several felony drug charges. A judge set his bail at $5,000. If he is released, the judge said he’ll need to be fitted with an electronic monitoring device. (AZ Family)


Wednesday Brings Thuggery To A Whole New Level With:

  • Cold Cuts Day
  • I Want You To Be Happy Day
  • International Ear Care Day
  • Mulled Wine Day
  • National Anthem Day
  • Princess Day
  • Simplify Your Life Day
  • Soup It Forward Day
  • What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs? Day
  • World Birth Defects Day
  • World Hearing Awareness Day
  • World Maths Day
  • World Wildlife Day