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New York throws a parade — and essential workers say ‘Fuhgettaboutit!’

New York City threw essential workers a ticker tape parade along the canyon of heroes last week. And somehow, Gotham’s gilded oligarchs were spared the unsavory sight of marchers in matching “I Saved Your Asses From COVID-19 And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” gear.

Exhausted healthcare workers along with their counterparts in children’s services, transportation, retail and other frontline sectors appeared too giddy about surviving the one-time epicenter of Covid and putting the worst of the ongoing pandemic behind them to pass up a well-deserved shot at the biggest block party NYC has to offer. Marching together, workers knew they deserved all the accolades the tired town could muster.

Yet even this most forgiving atmosphere where heaps of blue and orange confetti were periodically blasted from the backs of municipal pickup trucks couldn’t obscure the level of worker resentment and anger roiling just beneath the highly produced pomp and pageantry.

Parade placards declaring, “Not All Heroes Wear Capes” and “Our Labor Saved Lives” carried an edge. Hearst drivers, embalmers and cemetery staffers made room on their proud banner for an impromptu “FDNY EMS Fair Pay Now!” sign.

As much as he would’ve liked, hapless outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio still couldn’t get everybody on a float.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ District Council 37 [DC 37, AFSME] — the largest public employees union in New York City with some 150,000 members — told Hizzoner just what they thought of his self-serving party by simply not showing up.

Other unions joining DC 37 in its parade boycott, including those representing the Fire Department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services [EMS] as well as the United Probation Officers Association [UPOA], also had no stomach for the naked hypocrisy of patting bone-weary workers on the back while at the same time continuing to deny them fundamentals including pay parity, early retirement and a fair contract.

Fair Labor Contracts

“If the mayor wants to celebrate the frontline city workers who put their health and safety on the line to keep New York running at the height of the pandemic, he can start by ensuring every city worker has a fair contract that pays a living wage,” the UPOA said in a statement.

Just a week before the “Hometown Heroes” parade, some 200 retired city workers took to the streets of lower Manhattan to protest a secretive backroom deal swapping out their Medicare healthcare plans with private Medicare Advantage ones costing them thousands of dollars a year.

“I worked 34 years,” retired special education teacher and United Federation of Teachers [UFT] member Gloria Brandman said at the scene. “I was promised Medicare and supplements paid for by the city.”

Still Waiting

Nationwide, frontline workers who risked all throughout the pandemic are still waiting for fundamental job protections, vital healthcare coverage, a $ 15 an hour minimum wage, the right to organize and enforceable workplace safety standards to protect them against the further spread of Covid and its emerging variants.

What they are getting instead is an economic ass-whooping consisting of stagnant wages, vanishing unemployment benefits and rising consumer prices.

The sweet confections baked into ticker tape parades and the like are meant to distract from all that pain and suffering while the country’s elite continue to gorge themselves on the $ 1.6 trillion they’ve amassed during the pandemic.

In Detroit, for instance, the city’s essential workers are being feted to “Thank You Tuesdays” at Comerica [Bank] Park, where home game festivities include special scoreboard shoutouts and base pads reading, “Thank You Frontline Heroes.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, meanwhile, declared June 17, “Essential Worker Appreciation Day” and called on the feds to issue a one-shot bonus for frontline workers.

Liz Hanbidge, a state representative from Harrisburg, Pa., went even further this past spring, introducing a resolution in her state’s General Assembly designating 2020 as “Frontline Workers Appreciation Year.”

At least Hanbindge backed up the empty accolades with a proposal requiring large businesses to extend hazard pay to essential workers, along with a few other limited pro-worker measures including one offering supplemental payments to frontline workers still earning less than $ 15 an hour.

But elected officials aren’t exactly shutting down traffic or breaking out the yellow vests in order to get working men and women in this country what they need for themselves and their families.

Embattled Governor

Back in New York, where embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing his best to create his own blue collar bone fides with a problematic new monument at Manhattan’s Battery Park dedicated to essential workers, it’s much the same thing.

Ahead of the July 7, “Hometown Heroes” parade, City Council Member Margaret Chin expressed her “hope” that “many eyes” have been opened during the pandemic about the “value of these [essential] jobs.”

“As the city reopens we must continue to respect and advocate for these workers,” the lawmaker, who represents many parts of lower Manhattan including Battery Park City, declared.

As we say in NYC — “That, and $ 2.75 will get me on the subway.”

Hopes and prayers are nothing in the face of an oligarchic onslaught machine that exists to keep exploited farmworkers hidden and out of sight; hard-pressed Amazon employees too exhausted and afraid to raise their heads; and pretty much everyone else in the good ‘ol USA in a permanent somnambulistic stupor.

Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and other vaunted captains of industry are among the few who always have their eyes wide open.

When the monied interests oppose unionization, livable wages and universal healthcare — they know it’s not about the Benjamins. These economic royalists know it’s all about preserving their lofty perches by continuing to deprive working men and women of economic autonomy, strength and power.

Of course, Bezos and the rest of the oligarchic elite have more than enough money to pay workers better wages and benefits [for crying out loud, they’re shooting themselves into outer space]. What they absolutely can’t afford, however, is to lift their boots off our necks. Not even a little bit.

Public exhibitions and monuments like the ones popping up during the vaccination rollout have always been very powerful tools — whether created to instill particular narratives in the minds of the masses favorable to the ruling elite or making the masses believe the ruling elite actually cares about the concerns of workers.

That statue of Robert E. Lee that recently came down in Charlottesville, Va., was erected a-hundred-some-odd-years-ago with a clear-eyed purpose. In this case, to obscure the ugly fact that the Civil War was fought to perpetuate slavery and not at all about protecting “states rights,” “honoring southern heritage,” or any other such nonsense.

And despite the genuine earnestness of the participants, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s decision to allow “BLACK LIVES MATTER” to be painted on 16th Street in Washington, DC also sought to accomplish the ruling elite’s aim of placating the masses without, you know, actually doing anything to stop fascist police from murdering unarmed Black and Brown people.

Either way, it seems like you still can’t go wrong with a statue or parade if you want to try and keep the working class in check.

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As New York salutes health workers with parade, Missouri fights a COVID-19 surge

New York held a ticker-tape parade Wednesday for the health care workers and others who helped the city pull through the darkest days of COVID-19, while authorities in Missouri struggled to beat back a surge blamed on the fast-spreading delta variant and deep resistance to getting vaccinated.

The split-screen images could be a glimpse of what public health experts say may lie ahead for the U.S. even as the economy opens up again and life gets back to something close to normal: outbreaks in corners of the country with low vaccination rates.

“We’ve got a lot to appreciate, because we’re well underway in our recovery,” declared New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who rode on a parade float with hospital employees down the Canyon of Heroes, the skyscraper-lined stretch of Broadway where astronauts, returning soldiers and championship teams are feted.

In Missouri, meanwhile, the Springfield area has been hit so hard that one hospital had to borrow ventilators over the Fourth of July weekend and begged on social media for help from respiratory therapists, several of whom volunteered from other states. Members of a new federal “surge response team” also began arriving to help suppress the outbreak.

Missouri not only leads the nation in new cases relative to the population, it is also averaging 1,000 cases per day — about the same number as the entire Northeast, including the big cities in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

California, with 40 million people, is posting only slightly higher case numbers than Missouri, which has a population of 6 million.

Northeastern states have seen cases, deaths and hospitalizations plummet to almost nothing amid widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Vermont has gone 26 days with new case numbers in single digits. In Maryland, the governor’s office said every death recorded in June was in an unvaccinated person. New York City, which was the lethal epicenter of the U.S. outbreak in the spring of 2020, when the number of dead peaked at over 800 a day, regularly goes entire days with no reported deaths.

The problem in Missouri, as health experts see it: Just 45 percent of the state’s residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 55 percent of the U.S. population. Some rural counties near Springfield have vaccination rates in the teens and 20s.

At the same time, the delta variant is fast becoming the predominant strain in the state. Testing of wastewater shows it is spreading from rural areas into more populated places.

Mercy Hospital Springfield reported Tuesday that it had more than 120 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 — the highest total since the pandemic began. Seventeen people died in the latest two-week reporting period in the county that surrounds Springfield, the most since January. None were vaccinated, authorities said.

Erik Frederick, Mercy’s chief administrative officer, said staff members are frustrated knowing that “this is preventable this time” because of the vaccine.

“We try to convince people, but it is almost like you are talking a different language,” he lamented. “There is no way they are going to get a vaccine. Their personal freedom is more important.”

The Mercy system announced Wednesday that it is requiring vaccinations among staff at the hospital in Springfield, as well as at its 29 other hospitals and 900 or so clinics in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. It said about 75 percent of its more than 40,000 employees are vaccinated.

Missouri also never had a statewide mask mandate. The sentiment against government intervention is so strong that Brian Steele, mayor of the Springfield suburb of Nixa, is facing a recall vote after imposing a mask rule, even though it has long since expired.

At Springfield’s other hospital, Cox South, several patients are in their 20s and 30s, said Ashley Kimberling Casad, vice president of clinical services. She said she had been hopeful when she eyed the COVID-19 numbers in May as she prepared to return from maternity leave.

“I really thought when I came back from maternity leave that, not that COVID would be gone, but that it would just be so manageable. Then all of a sudden it started spiking,” she said, adding that nearly all the virus samples that the hospital is sending for testing are proving to be the delta variant.

Citing the rise in cases, the Springfield school district reinstated its mask requirement for its summer program starting Wednesday.

The contrasting scenes in the U.S. came as the worldwide death toll from COVID-19 closed in on 4 million, by Johns Hopkins University’s count. COVID-19 deaths nationwide are down to around 200 per day from a peak of over 3,400 per day in January.



NYC honors essential workers at parade up Canyon of Heroes

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray wave from a float during a parade honoring essential workers for their efforts in getting New York City through the COVID-19 pandemic, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in New York. Mary Altaffer/AP




In New York, those honored at the parade included nurses and doctors, emergency crews, bus drivers and train operators, teachers and utility workers. The crowds along the route were thin, in part because many businesses are still operating remotely.

“What a difference a year makes,” said parade grand marshal Sandra Lindsay, a nurse who was the first person in the country to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

“Fifteen months ago, we were in a much different place, but thanks to the heroic efforts of so many — health care workers, first responders, front-line workers, the people who fed us, the people who put their lives on the line, we can’t thank them enough.”

Author: HEATHER HOLLINSWORTH and DEEPTI HAJELA Associated Press
Read more here >>> usnews

New York City honors COVID pandemic essential workers at ‘Hometown Heroes’ ticker-tape parade

NEW YORK — A pandemic would seem like the worst time to start working as a nurse in a Manhattan hospital, but there Justin Davis was last spring, trying desperately to help patients stricken with the coronavirus while worried for his own health.

The 43-year-old Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, resident was among those who stepped up to come to New York City when it was a pandemic epicenter, a choice that required leaving behind his wife and three young children for a situation filled with uncertainty and risk.

“I came because I wanted to do something to make my family proud,” the military veteran said.

His family will get a chance to express their pride on Wednesday, along with a whole bunch of New Yorkers, at a parade honoring essential workers for their efforts in getting New York City through the pandemic.

“This is a huge thing,” said his wife, Jennifer Davis. “This is awesome. We just had to come up here and be here for him, to support him and celebrate him.”

MORE: Why ticker tape? History of NYC’s iconic parades as city honors essential workers

Davis will be in the parade on a float sponsored by AMN Healthcare, the staffing company he works for that sent him to New York City and then other places around the country in the last year to work in COVID-swamped hospitals.

“I think it’s just going to be real cool,” Davis said. “And hopefully it can just bring closure.”

The parade is slated to kick off at Battery Park and travel up Broadway in lower Manhattan, the iconic stretch known as the Canyon of Heroes, which has hosted parades honoring world leaders, celebrities and winning sports teams. The last parade before the pandemic honored the U.S. women’s soccer team after their 2019 World Cup win.

City officials said the parade’s grand marshal would be Sandra Lindsay, a health care worker who was the first person in the country to get a COVID vaccine shot.

Other workers being honored include transportation workers, first responders, education and child care providers, and utility workers.

“We’ve got a lot to appreciate, because we’re well underway in our recovery. We’ve got a lot to celebrate and we’ve got a lot of people to celebrate,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

“They deserve a march down the Canyon of Heroes, because it’s something that is reserved for the greatest folks in history. Well, here are some of the folks who made history in New York City’s toughest hour,” he said.

The high temperatures of the week have cut into the celebration plans somewhat. Originally, the parade had been scheduled to be followed by a ceremony at City Hall.

Instead, the mayor and his wife will applaud the participants at the end of the parade route. Water will be available through the route and cooling stations for participants will be located at the beginning and end.

Copyright © 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Author: By Deepti Hajela, Associated Press
Read more here >>> usnews

1 killed, 3 injured in Iowa Independence Day parade accident

SLATER, Iowa — A Minnesota woman was killed and three other people injured Saturday at an Independence Day parade in Iowa.

Iowa State Police said a 2007 Hyundai Sonata was parked on the street after the parade when pedestrians were in the road. A 75-year-old woman backed out and struck several people, the Des Moines Register reported.

Four people were dragged under the vehicle.

Slater Mayor John Kahler said He said he was told that bystanders picked the car up off of those who were trapped under the car.

“This just happened to be an unfortunate accident where some elderly people seemed to be leaving the situation quickly and lost control of their vehicle,” Kahler said.

Mary Nienow, 59, of Alberta Lea, Minnesota, was killed.

Nienow was a teacher at Southgate Elementary in Austin.

A 67-year-old woman, a 30-year-old woman and a 6-year-old child were also injured.

Each year, 5,000-6,000 people descend on the town of about 1,500 residents for its Fourth of July festivities.

Author: Associated Press
Read more here >>> Austin Daily Herald

Review: Rain on Your Parade – A Refreshingly Brief But Saccharine Shower

Author:
This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Reviews

Rain On Your Parade wants very much to be the next Untitled Goose Game. It so desperately needs to be that quirky breakout hit, the virtual talk of the water cooler, the “have you seen that cloud game?” game, spawn of a trillion thinkpieces.

To be fair, it’s a strong concept. You take control of a rain cloud and, er, rain on stuff. Each short single-player stage sees you given one or more objectives, usually along the lines of “soak X” or “don’t soak X”. Things are complicated by the erratic (not erotic) reactions of the “hoomans” you happen to rain upon, and their interaction with the physics that can cause objects you need to soak to get kicked off-screen in a panic, or otherwise simply get in the way of your cloudy goals.

So, yes, a good idea, in theory. Our problem is that we found it all came across as rather uninspired in its execution and occasionally downright irritating in its presentation. Mostly, it’s just a little bit boring, in much the same manner as a wet weekend. Perhaps that’s intentional.

Moving with the analogue stick, you press and hold ‘A’ to rain. There’s a water metre on the right of the screen that empties as you do the same, but it can be refilled (on certain levels) by hovering over a source of moisture (usually water, but you’re also able to rain poison, oil and other substances). Later, you’re also able to create a tornado, blanket the world in snow and unleash lightning strikes. Despite these, there’s never a whole lot to it and we got the impression that the aesthetics and humorous writing are intended to fill in the blanks. They don’t. In fact, we found the tone and writing of the thing a little bit… what is it the kids say now? Oh, yes – cringe. It’s all very twee and affected in a wearyingly familiar sort of way.

However, despite the whole thing feeling a touch lacking, Rain On Your Parade absolutely isn’t without merit. As the game rolls on (like, well, a cloud), your objectives get a fair bit more diverse and require at least a little puzzle-solving and exploration; a school-based level is an early highlight, seeing you undertake multiple disparate objectives as a pleasant preview of the more complex demands to come. There’s also something to be said for the game’s unpredictability; you won’t know where you’re going or what you’ll be asked to do next, and some of the diversions are good for a smile – there’s a full-level homage to a popular stealth series that was enjoyably out-there, and despite a few other whole-level references to other games (Katamari Damacy, etc), Rain On Your Parade feels very much its own thing.

It’s nice, and a bit of a reversal of the usual outcome, to find a game with such an inauspicious start turn into something better. It’s far from perfect – and, to be frank, only just scrapes “good” – but the aforementioned variety does go some way towards making even the dull-as-rainwater early stages more palatable; they may be a bit rubbish, but you’ll be playing them for about a minute apiece, tops. Just like the weather, this one keeps changing.

The quickfire variety does the game a lot of favours, but you’ll smirk and snort with recognition at a Resident Evil reference or momentary flash of invention, rather than laugh out loud at the carnage as per the likes of Untitled Goose Game. Barring a couple of minor difficulty spikes, the whole thing will last you three hours at most, not counting the pretty decent post-game content – new challenges on existing stages and a brand new mode that changes things up in a vaguely interesting way.

Visually it’s all quite slick, with an interesting cardboard aesthetic and a generally smooth framerate – things struggle just a touch on the larger stages, but it’s nothing to kick up a fuss about. We weren’t particularly impressed with the sound design – the sound of rain hitting a surface is (to this writer) one of the most relaxing in existence, and hearing different kind of pitter-patter depending on what you choose to soak would have been a relatively simple-seeming way to immerse the player in the game’s world just that little bit more.

You can also customise your cloud’s default colour and, in a neat touch, manually draw a face on it. It’s a cute feature that allows you to affect a bit more of a personal touch on the game, or just draw genitalia on your cloud as so many of you are no doubt desperate to do.

Conclusion

There’s something just a tiny bit cynical about the “please like me!!” cutesiness of Rain On Your Parade, but despite our best efforts we ended up doing so. Just. It coasts on “what will they do next?” novelty rather than any kind of meaty, significant gameplay, but sometimes that’s okay. It’s something new, which is appealing, and the toybox feel of the proceedings lends itself to a broad appeal – we can see young kids and people who vibe with its twee presentation getting a kick out of it. If you’ve had your fill of ‘cutesy’, though, you might find yourself hoping for a break in the clouds.

Disneyland rules: Strict coronavirus update – fireworks and parade swapped for face masks

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

Themeparks and hotels have been among the hardest-hit businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. Disney parks are renowned for their immersive experiences.

She remained optimistic: “I don’t think that [the pandemic] is going to mess with the magic. We’re still gonna enjoy walking down Main Street, buying a balloon. I hope I can still buy a balloon!”

Despite its loyal patrons’ hopes, however, Disney has made many, many adjustments to its parks.

What will the lockdown rules be at Disney?

The corporation said: “Certain parks, hotels, restaurants, and other offerings may be modified or unavailable, limited in capacity and subject to limited availability or closure, and park admission and offerings are not guaranteed.”

You will need a reservation before you attend, reserved via the Disney Park Pass system.

Those age two and up will need to wear face coverings, this includes all guests and Cast Members.

To enter certain locations your temperature will be taken.

A warning on the site states: “An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, senior citizens and Guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.

“By visiting Walt Disney World Resort you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”

After a Firefighter’s Death, His Son Gets a Truck Birthday Parade

Mr. Lloyd, who had been a Rockland County firefighter for more than 15 years, radioed a call for help from inside the Evergreen Court Home for Adults in Spring Valley, N.Y., before the building collapsed on Tuesday, the authorities said.

“He was that guy that you could call and he would be here in a minute,” Chief Conjura said. “He was that guy that couldn’t leave because he was afraid to miss something. He was that guy you want to have on your team. He’s going to be a big, big, tremendous loss to this department.”

Logan, who was still absorbing his father’s death, didn’t know if any fire truck was coming for his birthday, Chief Conjura said. But as the huge procession of vehicles left the lot and headed to the boy’s street, Chief Conjura told Logan to come outside.

It was gray and rainy, and the sound of the sirens came first.

Then the vehicles arrived, a long, snaking river of flashing red, white and blue lights through the streets of Nanuet.

The vehicles seemed to stretch for miles[1] — fire engines from Monsey, police cars from Orangetown, ambulances from Stony Point, dump trucks from MCM Paving & Excavation from West Haverstraw — and so many more from so many places.

Logan watched as the vehicles rolled by his house for more than 40 minutes, stopping occasionally so firefighters could hand him presents.

“It was unbelievable,” Chief Conjura said. “He was super excited. He was very happy.”

On a day of mourning and loss, the procession, Chief Conjura said, was about answering a call to service.

References

  1. ^ The vehicles seemed to stretch for miles (www.youtube.com)

Michael Levenson

Liza Minneli's surprise appearance on My Chemical Romance album The Black Parade

The Academy Award-winning actor, Liza, turns 75-years-old tomorrow, March 12, 2021. As the daughter of Hollywood icon, Judy Garland, Liza grew up on film sets and had talent in her blood. The star released her first album, Liza! Liza!, in 1964 aged 18 and continued to release music until 2010. In 2006 the star took a chance on up-and-coming emo-rock band My Chemical Romance, whose third album, The Black Parade, was in need of a female vocalist.
The Black Parade’s ninth track, Mama, continued with the album’s theme of war and death, telling of a boy writing home to his mother from the trenches.

Gerard, the lead singer of the band, wanted a female singer who “had a lot of character, someone that was very strong, sorrowful”.

Emotional is what the band received, with Liza crying and sobbing over the song’s outro.

Liza also sombrely yelled over Gerard’s voice, crying the lyrics: “And if you would call me a sweetheart, I’d maybe then sing you a song.”

As a life-long fan of Minnelli, Gerard pitched bringing her on board to his producer while recording the song in early 2006.

READ MORE: Elvis Presley terrible head injury made him see his mother’s ghost

Gerard told The New York Times in 2019: “I love Liza Minnelli. The Black Parade was very theatrical, and we had this song, Mama, and I said: ‘You know, it would be really great in this one part to get Liza.’

“Rob Cavallo, the producer, made a couple of calls and she said she would love to do it.”

The singer explained Liza was patched in remotely from New York and recorded the session in one take.

Gerard added: “It was really cool. The first time I got to speak to her was through the mixing board.”

Liza also “didn’t charge” the band for her time on the record, despite being part of Hollywood royalty.

Not only has Liza won an Oscar for Best Actress from her performance as Sally Bowles in 1973’s Cabaret, she has also won an Emmy.

During the same year Liza won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Program – Variety and Popular Music for her TV gig Liza with a Z – A Concert for Television.

Just over ten years later, in 1983, the singer won a Golden Globe for Best Actress from playing Mary-Lou Weisman in hard-hitting TV drama A Time to Live. The film showed Liza giving her all in a story which involved a family dealing with their son’s death.

Liza also delved into the realm of sitcom when she joined FOX show Arrested Development as Lucille Austero for 21 episodes.

Throughout her acting career, the actor has consistently delivered albums showcasing her musical talent.

Her latest release was in 2010 with Confessions, which she recorded while recovering from knee surgery.

The star had her knee replaced in 2009 at the age of 64, following a previous hip replacement which took place a few years earlier.

SOURCE