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NBA players reportedly discuss general strike as police protest wave spreads to MLB

Various Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are joining forces with their basketball counterparts to boycott Wednesday evening’s professional sports games.

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Various Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are joining forces with their basketball counterparts to boycott Wednesday evening’s professional sports games in protest of police brutality, racism and Sunday’s police shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The move comes as the players for the National Basketball Association (NBA) are reportedly discussing the possibility of a formal general strike.

The Milwaukee Brewers made the decision to cancel their game with the Cincinnati Brewers first, and the Seattle Mariners quickly joined suit by announcing that they were canceling their own game tonight with the San Diego Padres. The Mariners have the most Black players of any team in the league.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants also decided to silence their bats tonight to join the wave of protest sweeping through professional sports.

The Brewers’ protest was first made public by Wall Street Journal baseball writer Jared Diamond, who announced the news first on Twitter. The Reds quickly agreed not to play the game, ensuring that the protest would not result in a forfeit by the Brewers.

The unexpected halt to tonight’s scheduled games come after the Milwaukee Bucks symbolically announced a boycott of the playoff games by refusing to appear on court for a scheduled match with Orlando Magic.

On Sunday evening, 29-year-old Black male Jacob Blake was shot several times in the back by Kenosha Police in full view of his three children. Blake is currently paralyzed and it is unclear whether he will ever be able to walk again. The shooting was followed by nights of unrest in the Lake Michigan city and is on track to rekindle the weeks of explosive nationwide unrest that unfolded this summer following the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police.

The Bucks’ move to protest police violence following Sunday’s high-profile police shooting in their home state quickly spread across the NBA, with other teams scheduled for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series within the Orlando NBA Bubble at Disney World agreeing that the protest was necessary.

“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry announced in a tweet. “The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”

A half hour prior to the game, the Bucks also shared video of Budenholzer discussing his team’s thoughts about the police shooting.

“It is a great challenge to have an appreciation and a desire to want change,” Budenholzer said. “To want something different and better in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Wisconsin and then to go out and play a game.”

Bucks players also managed to reach politicians in Wisconsin to demand the need for urgent action to halt police violence.

The collective action by NBA athletes could evolve to the level of a formal general strike as basketball players are reportedly set to hold a union meeting where they will deliberate about next steps, tweeted The Athletic writer Jared Weiss.

The unexpected move was essentially a wildcat strike, meaning that the work stoppage was undertaken by players without the authorization of union leadership. Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, the move by the Bucks violated their own contract.

The NBA was quick to frame the boycott as a “postponement” following the reports of widespread labor actions by teams, announcing dryly in a statement that the other games would be cancelled unilaterally by the association and players’ union.

Orlando Magic supported the league’s statement, announcing in their own statement: “Today we stand united with the NBA Office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of color.”

The possibility of a widespread protest across the league during a strange season already rendered abnormal by the COVID-19 pandemic marks a new development after NBA players have become increasingly vocal about racism and police violence nationwide.

Just last week, the Los Angeles Lakers donned red hats that appeared similar to President Trump’s MAGA hats. However, the hats instead read: Make America Great Again Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor.”

It remains unclear as to whether the protest spirit will have a lasting impact on professional baseball, where the majority of players are non-Black and the culture of the sport is generally considered older and more conservative.

TNT sports analyst and former NBA player Kenny Smith also walked off the set of the NBA on TNT in solidarity with the protests.

https://twitter.com/TheNBAHustle/status/1298751098644099073

However, MLB teams and the league itself have generally supported the calls for racial justice with social media posts supporting Black Lives Matter and players symbolically kneeling prior to the national anthem on the July 23 opening day.

Managers and star players such as Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers have also criticized the league and team owners for failing or being too slow in addressing social issues publically, unlike their counterparts in the National Football League (NFL) or NBA.

Sports have long been used throughout history to distract people from important political and social issues of the day. However, it appears that the patience of professional athletes has been exhausted, and they are doing what they can to ensure that attention remains focused on the streets.

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Corruption

Man Who Spent Decades in Prison Gets $6 Million After Cop Found to Have Faked Evidence

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A North Carolina man who spent decades in prison was awarded $6 million in damages by a federal jury after it was found that he was wrongfully convicted thanks to evidence fabricated by a detective.

Darryl Howard languished in prison for over 20 years on double murder and arson charges in 1995 for killing a woman and her teen daughter in 1991. Last Wednesday, a jury in Winston-Salem found that former Durham police detective Darryl Dowdy simply faked the evidence that resulted in his conviction.

In 2016, Howard’s 80-year sentence was stricken down by a Durham County judge who cited the misconduct of police and prosecutors. The $6 million award was the result of a 2017 federal civil rights lawsuit filed by Howard, reports the News & Observer.

Dowdy, 65, denied the accusations in the lawsuit. The former detective was a 36-year veteran of the Durham Police Department before he retired in 2007.

Howard and his legal team have expressed satisfaction that the jury recognized the grave injustice he faced, but are disappointed that the $6 million is a mere fraction of the $48 million in damages they requested.

Attorney Nick Brustin, who represented Howard, said that Dowdy’s defense attacked Howard for his past gunshot wounds and history of selling and using drugs.

“I think to some extent the racist defense that they have been implementing since the beginning of the ligation has in some ways succeeded,” Brustin said. “I think the verdict doesn’t value the suffering that Darryl went through.”

Howard himself noted that the heavy damage dealt by his long incarceration have completely altered his life.

“I am happy about the verdict, but I am kind of upset about the damages,” Howard told the News & Reporter.

“Just imagine, 23 years I stayed in prison,” he added.

Brustin also highlighted the systemic nature of the injustice his client suffered as a result of Dowdy’s police work.

“The kinds of misconduct are pattern misconduct,” he noted, adding that Durham police need to review other cases handled by the crooked cop.

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Happy Holidays? Billionaire CEO Fires 900 Workers in Zoom Call

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The boss of an online mortgage lending company has come under fire as callous and heartless after he unceremoniously fired about 900 staff members in the run-up to the holidays – all on one single Zoom call.

Vishal Garg, the chief executive of New York-based mortgage firm Better.com, didn’t mince words in the call, telling employees:

“This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear … If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”

Adding that he did “not want to do this,” he explained that “this is the second time in my career I’m doing this … The last time I did it, I cried.” 

While the 43-year-old CEO claimed that the mass sacking was a painful ordeal, he also noted that the “market has changed” and the company required streamlining to deal with the cool-off in the recent housing boom.

However, Garg neglected to mention that the company recently received $750 million from investors just last week.

According to Fortune, the chief executive also was the anonymous author of a blistering blog post to professional network Build that put his own employees on blast.

“You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system?” Garg wrote, adding that “they were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills. Get educated.”

Garg also has come under fire for his poor management approach and history of abusing workers after an email he sent to employees was published by Forbes last year.

“You are TOO DAMN SLOW,” the CEO wrote. “You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS… SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”

Regardless of his personal frustrations with employees, social media users were stunned by news of the mass firing, calling the move “cold,” “a horrible move,” and “harsh” – especially with Christmas around the corner.

Employment law and business experts have also lambasted Garg’s actions, noting that such mass firings run counter to the law in most countries, and are not only abusive but destructive toward morale, despite being perfectly legal in the United States.

“Existing employees will look to how the company treats people as a signal to how it will treat them in the future,” Gemma Dale of the Liverpool John Moores University in the UK told the BBC.

“There are ways to do these things which, even in difficult conditions, are empathetic and decent,” she added. “There is a right way to do these things both morally and legally.”

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Environment

China Was Just Caught Literally Changing The Weather For Communist Party Celebration: Study

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In recent years, China has made a number of head-turning and downright dazzling technological advances. Now, according to a new study, the East Asian giant has successfully managed to literally change the weather.

According to a recent report from the South China Morning Post, scientists at Tsinghua University say that during the 100-year anniversary of the Communist Party of China, authorities succeeded in modifying the weather in Beijing to clear the sky and improve air quality for the masses gathered to celebrate the party’s centenary in Tiananmen Square.

The large-scale operation involved lacing the clouds above the capital with chemicals to usher in rainfall over suburban parts of Beijing before the July 1 centennial event. According to the Tsinghua researchers, eyewitnesses report rockets being launched from mountains outside the city in the run-up to the event.

The Beijing researchers claim that the artificial rain managed to reduce the level of PM2.5 air pollutants by over two-thirds, bringing air quality to “good” conditions from “moderate” levels per World Health Organization Standards.

The use of chemicals to modify weather conditions is a practice that dates back to at least the 18th century, when European states used gunfire to shoot at storms in hopes to prevent hail from harming crops.

By the turn of the 20th century, dozens of hail cannons were deployed for commercial purposes despite the unproven nature of such primitive geo-engineering methods.

Fast forward to the 2020s, and the People’s Republic of China has reportedly invested vast resources into weather modification programs that will be tested in a region spanning 5.5 million square miles by the year 2025. The impact of such geo-engineering efforts could lead to regional tensions with China’s increasingly nervous neighbors.

Meanwhile, as the potential for a new cold war with the people’s republic continues to grow, professional China skeptics have stoked fears that the ruling Communist Party could use its newfound ability to manipulate the weather for military purposes. However, it’s worth noting that the United States military has been hoping to weaponize the rain since at least 1967.

However, with arid conditions and extreme drought threatening the food security of populations across the globe, the ability to literally make rain fall may not be as frightening as some make it out to be.

Additionally, some researchers have claimed that geoengineering could play a role in mitigating the impact of rampant climate change. However, it remains far too early to know the long-term impact of lacing skies with chemicals on a widespread, regular basis.

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