Politics

Brian Burns / June 02,2020

London protesters mourn George Floyd

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It was a peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration in Hyde Park, where protesters of many different racial and cultural backgrounds chanted Floyd’s name through their face masks, demanding justice. Several protesters shared their outrage over the killing to CNN, drawing parallels with their own experiences, and expressed dismay about US President Donald Trump’s reaction to the protests.

“There’s racism everywhere, and we have to fight it. I don’t just mean white people against black people. Racism is racism, and that’s what we have to fight. We have to be just one, human beings, we just need to be one. We all breathe the same air, we all bleed the same color.

“We can’t have people being scared when reaching for their wallets in their car. We can’t have people being scared when they are raided at home by the police and being killed. We can’t have people being scared of being on the street, not doing nothing, just standing on the street and the police come and finds a reason to shoot you and to kill you and to take your breath. (…)

“It’s not the first time. Five years ago we were yelling the same thing — ‘I can’t breathe.’ Why do we still have to do it today? It makes no sense. How can this still be? Why can’t people understand we are one? Why so much hate?

“This is way bigger than just America, it’s way bigger than George Floyd. It’s way bigger than just one cop killing a black man — it’s about injustice.”

 

Cleo Charlery, 26

London protesters mourn George Floyd

Brian Burns / May 30,2020

Lawn and Landscape Blog (part 6)

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Lawn and Landscape Blog (part 6)

Lawn and Landscape Blog (part 6)
The topic of this blog is lawn care.
As I mentioned when I began the Lawn and Landscape Blog earlier this spring my professional training and expertise was in horticulture and landscaping. I have not had any formal training in lawn management, but do have plenty of experience in maintaining my nearly 13,000 square foot lawn.
I will list the practices which work well for me.
The first (and most obvious) comment about lawn care is that it is much easier to have a healthy and thick lawn when the lawn receives as much sunlight as possible. While there are varieties of grass that tolerate shade, in general the best lawns will be those that receive the most direct sunlight. Because of the way my property was laid out, I was able to choose to not plant trees in the yard immediately in front of and behind the house.
In general, lawns receiving the most sunlight will be thicker and require less fertilization and weed control.
Lawn and Landscape Blog (part 6)My backyard: The trees are in the rear part of the yard, which allows plenty of sunshine for the lawn
Lawn height
The general rule of thumb with lawns (officially called “turfgrass”) is that the higher it is “on top”, the deeper the roots will be.
I do not have an irrigation system, so I need to rely on adequate rainfall, or lug hoses around the yard.

Brian Burns / May 09,2020

Summer camps, if they open, moving to small groups, virtual options

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Summer camps, if they open, moving to small groups, virtual options

Boulder’s Alicen Kandt said her initial plans for the summer for her 5 year old and 8 year old included camps, vacation and occasional help from grandparents.
Now, she said, the camps she signed up for are “playing it by ear,” but most likely will be virtual, especially early in the summer, as camps grapple with how to operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are looking for backup plans because virtual is not an acceptable option for us,” she said, noting she and her husband are currently working full time from home. “I need my kids to be off of the computer that they’ve been glued to for distance learning and out of the house and not needing our supervision so that we can do work.”
She said she would feel comfortable sending her children to a mostly outdoor camp with good safety protocols — and would like to minimize exposure to their elderly parents. Hiring a nanny is another option, but she’s comcerned a nanny will find it challenging to keep her kids busy with so many places still closed.
“The uncertainty and inconsistency of guidance and public directives make planning the future very difficult for us, but also for the camp providers,” she said. “It’s also so difficult to know what is best and safest for us, our community and our local, elderly family members who normally provide backup childcare.”
Many parents, especially working parents, started carefully mapping out summer plans months ago, registering for camps, organizing trips and picking activities.
But continued coronavirus concerns have turned summer into a big question mark.

Brian Burns / May 01,2020

Mahindra Holidays to first reopen resorts close to metro cities submit lockdown

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Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd (MHRIL) on Sunday mentioned it plans to first reopen resorts which can be at drivable distance from the metro cities as soon as the coronavirus lockdown is lifted. The Mahindra Group agency has at the moment suspended operations at its resorts in compliance with the federal government directives.
“At Club Mahindra we now have over 255,000 member households and as soon as journey restrictions are relaxed and state borders open up, and other people really feel comfy sufficient to journey once more, we count on our members and their households to start out travelling to our resorts in their very own automobiles, since we’re at drivable distances from main cities,” MHRIL MD and CEO Kavinder Singh instructed .

The firm is gearing up for this by putting in all the mandatory security associated customary working procedures (SOPs). It will guarantee the very best ranges of hygiene requirements (hospital grade) to realize a fast return to normalcy, he added.

“We will first open resorts which can be at a drivable distance from the most important metro cities,” Singh mentioned. He, nevertheless didn’t share the variety of resorts that will be opened within the first part.

The firm has over 100 resorts in India and overseas.

Asked in regards to the steps the corporate is taking to make sure the well being and security of friends and staff on the resorts, Singh mentioned: “In view of the present state of affairs we’re implementing varied SOPs which can cowl hygiene and disinfection norms in any respect the contact factors in our resorts.”

Brian Burns / April 16,2020

States Should Be Allowed to Levy Sales Taxes on Internet Access

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The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), enacted in 1998, was intended to protect the developing internet technology. ITFA, which prohibited states and localities from applying taxes on internet access or imposing discriminatory digital-only taxes, became permanent in 2016 but included a grandfather clause that allowed states with taxes existing before 1998 to keep that tax in place until June 30, 2020.

On July 1, sales taxes levied on internet access in six states—Hawaii, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin—will become illegal under the provisions of the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA). The states would have collected nearly $1 billion in fiscal year 2021.

Today, the internet hardly requires extraordinary protection from state and local sales taxes. In fact, 80 percent of U.S. households have a subscription to the internet, and 90 percent of U.S. adults use the internet. Indeed, the application of sales taxes on access to the internet does not seem to impact this number, as the percent of households with internet access in states currently levying a sales tax is comparable to national averages (2014-2018 data): 83 percent in Hawaii, 72 percent in New Mexico, 80 percent in Ohio, 78 percent in South Dakota, 79 percent in Texas, and 80 percent in Wisconsin.

Brian Burns / January 18,2020

Michigan Attorney General Nessel Appeals Line Five Court of Claims Decision

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by Bruce Walker
 
Michigan’s attorney general is appealing a ruling in the ongoing battle over a proposed tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac.
At issue is the Enbridge Line 5 oil and natural gas pipeline, which has spanned Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas since 1953. After the line was struck by a tugboat anchor in 2018, Enbridge announced plans to replace the current line situated on the lakebed with a tunnel buried 100 feet beneath the bedrock.
In late 2018, then-Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration amended Public Act 214 of 1952, which originally sanctioned the construction of the Mackinac Bridge. The amended act authorized the building of the Enbridge Line 5 tunnel.
After taking office on Jan. 1, 2019, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel began a united attempt to unravel the deal. In March 2019, Nessel issued a formal opinion that the amendment violated Michigan’s Constitution because the initial Public Act is specific to the Mackinac Bridge as explicitly stated in the Act’s official title.
Enbridge sued in June 2019, and Michigan Court of Claims Judge Michael J. Kelly ruled in the company’s favor and against Nessel last October, prompting the attorney general’s brief filed on Thursday in the Michigan Court of Appeals.
According to the AG’s brief: “Michigan’s Constitution provides that ‘[n]o law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title. No bill shall be altered or amended on its passage through either house so as to change its original purpose as determined by its total content and not alone by its title.’”

Brian Burns / January 18,2020

Is Housing Affordable Anymore? What Happened?

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Is Housing Affordable Anymore? What Happened?

Over the years, the UN-Habitat has inspired its policies around affordable housing and resilient infrastructure. And that cuts across the board to include both rental and property for sale. Further, it highlights urbanization as the indispensable engine that can drive developments in every nation.
It is a prerequisite for individual prosperity and national growth. Critical highlights of the then Housing Policy were addressing the affordability of housing for all within the confines of urban policies. With that, even the Philippines has had its fair share of improvements as the housing market here pursues closing in on the global crisis of inadequate housing.
But is that the case here?
It would be inaccurate and biased not to mention that while the issue of inadequate housing is imminent, the number of residences that are going vacant is increasing year after year. Could the problem be that the public’s purchasing power is lacking? Is it that the Philippines’ population is dwindling?
Could it be that national policies for housing, in general, are discouraging the public from buying and renting out properties? Is the nation’s housing market intimidating to developers and mortgage providers?
A resounding no
None of the above underlines the root problem of affordable housing. There are low-cost housing in Tanza, Cavite, and even in other parts of the Philippines. But, do they address the issue of urbanization using affordable housing as the means toward social development and equality?

Brian Burns / December 18,2019

The Factors That Affect the Type of Foundation Used in Buildings

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The Factors That Affect the Type of Foundation Used in Buildings

Buildings are not measured by how it looks because style and design are subjective. A true measure of a building is by the strength of materials and methods of construction. A building’s style can fade, but a durable structure with great foundations can withstand the test of time.

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