spending bill, inmates, education grants and initiatives
The author writes, “The year-end spending bill ... would restore prisoners’ eligibility for federal Pell grants for college, simplify the form used to apply for student aid and erase more than $1 billion in federal debt for historically Black colleges, among an array of other education initiatives tucked into the legislation.” Photo credit: Myfuture.com / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Amazon’s Warehouse Pay Rate Has Left Some Workers Struggling (Dana)

The author writes, “Amazon.com Inc. job ads are everywhere. Plastered on city buses, displayed on career web sites, slotted between songs on classic rock stations. They promise a quick start, $15 an hour and health insurance. In recent weeks, America’s second-largest employer has rolled out videos featuring happy package handlers wearing masks, a pandemic-era twist on its annual holiday season hiring spree. Amazon’s object is to persuade potential recruits that there’s no better place to work. The reality is less rosy. Many Amazon warehouse employees struggle to pay the bills, and more than 4,000 employees are on food stamps in nine states studied by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.”

The Truth in Black and White: An Apology From The Kansas City Star (Russ)

The author writes, “Today we are telling the story of a powerful local business that has done wrong. For 140 years, it has been one of the most influential forces in shaping Kansas City and the region. And yet for much of its early history — through sins of both commission and omission — it disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citians. It reinforced Jim Crow laws and redlining. Decade after early decade it robbed an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition. That business is The Kansas City Star.”

Journalists Hacked With Suspected NSO Group iMessage ‘Zero-Click’ Exploit  (DonkeyHotey)

From the Citizen Lab: “NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware is a mobile phone surveillance solution that enables customers to remotely exploit and monitor devices. The company is a prolific seller of surveillance technology to governments around the world, and its products have been regularly linked to surveillance abuses. Pegasus became known for the telltale malicious links sent to targets via SMS for many years. … The use of malicious links in SMSes made it possible for investigators and targets to quickly identify evidence of past targeting. Targets could not only notice these suspicious messages, but they could also search their message history to detect evidence of hacking attempts.”

‘We Don’t have to Live This Way’: Doctors Call for Climate Action (Mili)

From NPR: “Climate change is making people sick and leading to premature death, according to a pair of influential reports on the connections between global warming and health. Scientists from the World Meteorological Organization released a preliminary report on the global climate which shows that the last decade was the warmest on record and that millions of people were affected by wildfires, floods and extreme heat this year on top of the global pandemic. Separately, a sprawling analysis published Wednesday by the medical research journal the Lancet focuses on public health data from 2019, and finds that heat waves, air pollution and extreme weather increasingly damage human health.”

Atlantic City to Auction Off Chance to Blow Up Trump’s Former Casino (Dan)

The author writes, “One of Donald Trump’s former Atlantic City casinos will be blown up next month, and for the right amount of money, you could be the one to press the button that brings it down. The demolition of the former Trump Plaza casino will become a fundraiser to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City that the mayor hopes will raise in excess of $1m.”

Snake and Egg for Breakfast? Florida Might Encourage to Fight Python Invasion (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “Donna Kalil estimates she’s eaten a dozen pythons in the last three years or so. That’s not including the python jerky, says Kalil, a python hunter for the South Florida Water Management District. ‘I eat that several times a week because I take it out with me on python hunts and I eat it out there.’ State officials would like to see more people like Kalil putting pythons on the menu — not because of their nutritional value but as another way to encourage hunting to control their population.”