The Los Angeles program received $38 million from the city. A small portion of the money comes from private funds.

According to city data, one-third of adults in Los Angeles are unable to support their families on income from full-time work alone.

“When you provide resources to families that are struggling, it can give them the breathing room to realize goals that many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said when the program began.

That breathing room came at an opportune time for Ms. Barajas. After graduating from high school in 2017, she pushed aside dreams of college and began working a string of retail gigs — Claire’s, Old Navy, Walmart. She set aside $300 from her paycheck each month to help cover her family’s rent.

“I had to work,” she said. “We had no foundation, no money in our pockets.”

Last year, Ms. Barajas, 22, received funds from an extension of the child tax credit. She used some of the money for essentials like clothes and food.

On a recent afternoon in Chatsworth, a Los Angeles neighborhood, Ms. Barajas reflected on how the money from the guaranteed income program was helping her stay afloat. She moved out of her mother’s apartment in April, after an argument. Since then, she and her daughter, now 15 months old, have slept on friends’ couches and sometimes stayed at pay-by-the-week motels.

For now, they are living at a 90-day shelter for women and children. Ms. Barajas hopes to attend community college this fall, but is focused first on finding a job. Many mornings, she scrolls her iPhone looking at postings before her daughter wakes up.

Most of the money from the guaranteed-income payments goes toward food, diapers and clothing, but she’s trying to save several hundred dollars, enough for a security deposit for an apartment she hopes to move into with a friend.

“I’m one emergency away from having to spend money and then live on the streets and become homeless,” she said. “A lot of people are just hanging on with the smallest amount of wiggle room financially.”

Zohna Everett, who was part of the Stockton program, knows how it feels to live within that razor-thin margin.

Before the program began in 2019, she was driving for DoorDash five days a week, bringing in about $100 a day. Her husband at the time worked as a truck driver, and the rent for their two-bedroom apartment was $1,000. To help earn gas money, Ms. Everett sometimes collected recyclables and turned them in for cash.

“The money was a godsend,” Ms. Everett said of the Stockton program, adding that while enrolled in it, she got a contract job at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., on a production line.

Until then, Ms. Everett, 51, had been in a perpetual state of hustle, never stopping long enough to realize her exhaustion. After the payments started, she noticed she was sleeping better than she had in years.

“A weight truly was lifted from me,” she said.

The payments stopped during the pandemic, but she then received stimulus money from the federal government. She had started to save some money, but after a case of Covid left her with persistent fatigue and breathing problems, she recently took a leave from her Tesla job.

“With this pandemic, there is a lot of struggling,” she said. “There needs to be a permanent solution to help people.”

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

Ketamine For Psychedelic Mental Health Healing Grows In Popularity

By Maura Sirianni
September 9, 2022

Research shows that when used in a controlled clinical environment, ketamine can have healing benefits.

Over the past 50 years, research on psychedelics has come a long way from a time when psychedelic albums ruled the charts and psychedelic drugs influenced American counterculture.

Today, research shows some of those same drugs are being used to help people escape a dark place.

“I mean, it’s pretty profound,” said Katy Parr, who sought ketamine therapy.

Parr, of Houston, has long struggled with depression, and says for years she’s been prescribed several different anti-depressants. When the pills failed her, she turned to talk therapy as the only treatment that helped; until she saw a documentary on psychedelic healing.

“I couldn’t sit through the episode; I did watch the whole thing, but it took me two hours because I had to pause so often to sob. Watching their stories was very affirming. I thought, ‘OK, I am sick,'” said Parr.

From there, Parr was recommended by her therapist as a candidate for ketamine therapy and says she’s been benefiting from the sessions ever since.

“There were some moments with some emotional trauma that I have, and I was able to let that go during a ketamine session,” said Parr.

Parr receives treatment at Field Trip Health in Houston, a Toronto-based psychedelic therapy company that has expanded in recent years with clinics in cities across the U.S.

“If the goal is to explore trauma, each session has its own value,” said Dr. Michael Muench, who leads the Field Trip Health clinic in Atlanta.

During sessions, Dr. Muench administers the ketamine injections and checks the patient’s vital signs, while a therapist helps ease the experience.

“So much about psychedelic therapy is about creating a container that feels safe. Part of feeling safe is feeling like what you’re doing is legitimate, supported, and a good and healthy thing,” said Dr. Muench.

The guided experience takes patients on a journey or “trip.” In a dimly lit room, patients wear an eye mask and headphones; it’s a comfortable space for them to address trauma and experience somatic release — something Parr says she experienced during her fourth session.

“It can be extreme laughing, extreme crying; it’s a release of energy and feeling from the body,” said Parr.

In 1999, ketamine became a schedule III non-narcotic substance with accepted medical uses. In 2019, the FDA approved a ketamine nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression, and now doctors and therapists use it regularly in a clinical setting. And while the DEA restricts many other psychedelics, researchers have found great benefits of substances like MDMA and psilocybin, or magic mushrooms.

The Johns Hopkins psychedelic research unit found psilocybin is effective in easing anxiety and depression, even treating veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Ketamine results may not be the same for everyone who struggles with depression, and while Parr says she will likely fight depressive symptoms for the rest of her life, the ketamine treatments, along with seeing a regular therapist, have given her a new outlook on life.

“It allowed me to find the pathway to such fulfillment in life and enrichment in my life,” said Parr.

Dr. Muench says the benefits of four to six ketamine sessions can last about a month, with patients returning less frequently for maintenance treatments.

Researchers found ketamine is anywhere from 50% to 80% effective in improving a patient’s mental health.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

The Supply Chain Broke. Robots Are Supposed to Help Fix It.

The people running companies that deliver all manner of products gathered in Philadelphia last week to sift through the lessons of the mayhem besieging the global supply chain. At the center of many proposed solutions: robots and other forms of automation.

On the showroom floor, robot manufacturers demonstrated their latest models, offering them as efficiency-enhancing augments to warehouse workers. Driverless trucks and drones commanded display space, advertising an unfolding era in which machinery will occupy a central place in bringing products to our homes.

The companies depicted their technology as a way to save money on workers and optimize scheduling, while breaking down resistance to a future centered on evolving forms of automation.

persistent economic shocks have intensified traditional conflicts between employers and employees around the globe. Higher prices for energy, food and other goods — in part the result of enduring supply chain tangles — have prompted workers to demand higher wages, along with the right to continue working from home. Employers cite elevated costs for parts, raw materials and transportation in holding the line on pay, yielding a wave of strikes in countries like Britain.

The stakes are especially high for companies engaged in transporting goods. Their executives contend that the Great Supply Chain Disruption is largely the result of labor shortages. Ports are overwhelmed and retail shelves are short of goods because the supply chain has run out of people willing to drive trucks and move goods through warehouses, the argument goes.

Some labor experts challenge such claims, while reframing worker shortages as an unwillingness by employers to pay enough to attract the needed numbers of people.

“This shortage narrative is industry-lobbying rhetoric,” said Steve Viscelli, an economic sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream.” “There is no shortage of truck drivers. These are just really bad jobs.”

A day spent wandering the Home Delivery World trade show inside the Pennsylvania Convention Center revealed how supply chain companies are pursuing automation and flexible staffing as antidotes to rising wages. They are eager to embrace robots as an alternative to human workers. Robots never get sick, not even in a pandemic. They never stay home to attend to their children.

A large truck painted purple and white occupied a prime position on the showroom floor. It was a driverless delivery vehicle produced by Gatik, a Silicon Valley company that is running 30 of them between distribution centers and Walmart stores in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Here was the fix to the difficulties of trucking firms in attracting and retaining drivers, said Richard Steiner, Gatik’s head of policy and communications.

“It’s not quite as appealing a profession as it once was,” he said. “We’re able to offer a solution to that trouble.”

Nearby, an Israeli start-up company, SafeMode, touted a means to limit the notoriously high turnover plaguing the trucking industry. The company has developed an app that monitors the actions of drivers — their speed, the abruptness of their braking, their fuel efficiency — while rewarding those who perform better than their peers.

The company’s founder and chief executive, Ido Levy, displayed data captured the previous day from a driver in Houston. The driver’s steady hand at the wheel had earned him an extra $8 — a cash bonus on top of the $250 he typically earns in a day.

“We really convey a success feeling every day,” Mr. Levy, 31, said. “That really encourages retention. We’re trying to make them feel that they are part of something.”

Mr. Levy conceived of the company with a professor at the M.I.T. Media Lab who tapped research on behavioral psychology and gamification (using elements of game playing to encourage participation).

So far, the SafeMode system has yielded savings of 4 percent on fuel while increasing retention by one-quarter, Mr. Levy said.

Another company, V-Track, based in Charlotte, N.C., employs a technology that is similar to SafeMode’s, also in an effort to dissuade truck drivers from switching jobs. The company places cameras in truck cabs to monitor drivers, alerting them when they are looking at their phones, driving too fast or not wearing their seatbelt.

Jim Becker, the company’s product manager, said many drivers hade come to value the cameras as a means of protecting themselves against unwarranted accusations of malfeasance.

But what is the impact on retention if drivers chafe at being surveilled?

“Frustrations about increased surveillance, especially around in-cab cameras,” are a significant source of driver lament, said Max Farrell, co-founder and chief executive of WorkHound, which gathers real-time feedback.

Several companies on the show floor catered to trucking companies facing difficulties in hiring people to staff their dispatch centers. Their solution was moving such functions to countries where wages are lower.

Lean Solutions, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., sets up call centers in Colombia and Guatemala — a response to “the labor challenge in the U.S.,” said Hunter Bell, a company sales agent.

A Kentucky start-up, NS Talent Solutions, establishes dispatch operations in Mexico, at a saving of up to 40 percent compared with the United States.

“The pandemic has helped,” said Michael Bartlett, director of sales. “The world is now comfortable with remote staffing.”

Scores of businesses promoted services that recruit and vet part-time and temporary workers, offering a way for companies to ramp up as needed without having to commit to full-time employees.

Pruuvn, a start-up in Atlanta, sells a service that allows companies to eliminate employees who recruit and conduct background checks.

“It allows you to get rid of or replace multiple individuals,” the company’s chief executive, Bryan Hobbs, said during a presentation.

Another staffing firm, Veryable of Dallas, offered a platform to pair workers such as retirees and students seeking part-time, temporary stints with supply chain companies.

Jonathan Katz, the company’s regional partnerships manager for the Southeast, described temporary staffing as the way for smaller warehouses and distribution operations that lack the money to install robots to enhance their ability to adjust to swings in demand.

A drone company, Zipline, showed video of its equipment taking off behind a Walmart in Pea Ridge, Ark., dropping items like mayonnaise and even a birthday cake into the backyards of customers’ homes. Another company, DroneUp, trumpeted plans to set up similar services at 30 Walmart stores in Arkansas, Texas and Florida by the end of the year.

But the largest companies are the most focused on deploying robots.

Locus, the manufacturer, has already outfitted 200 warehouses globally with its robots, recently expanding into Europe and Australia.

Locus says its machines are meant not to replace workers but to complement them — a way to squeeze more productivity out of the same warehouse by relieving the humans of the need to push the carts.

But the company also presents its robots as the solution to worker shortages. Unlike workers, robots can be easily scaled up and cut back, eliminating the need to hire and train temporary employees, Melissa Valentine, director of retail global accounts at Locus, said during a panel discussion.

Locus even rents out its robots, allowing customers to add them and eliminate them as needed. Locus handles the maintenance.

Robots can “solve labor issues,” said Nathan Ray, director of distribution center operations at Albertsons, the grocery chain, who previously held executive roles at Amazon and Target. “You can find a solution that’s right for your budget. There’s just so many options out there.”

As Mr. Ray acknowledged, a key impediment to the more rapid deployment of automation is fear among workers that robots are a threat to their jobs. Once they realize that the robots are there not to replace them but merely to relieve them of physically taxing jobs like pushing carts, “it gets really fun,” Mr. Ray said. “They realize it’s kind of cool.”

Workers even give robots cute nicknames, he added.

But another panelist, Bruce Dzinski, director of transportation at Party City, a chain of party supply stores, presented robots as an alternative to higher pay.

“You couldn’t get labor, so you raised your wages to try to get people,” he said. “And then everybody else raised wages.”

Robots never demand a raise.

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

AP-NORC Poll: 2 In 10 Report Experience With Gun Violence

CDC data shows a spike in gun violence since the pandemic, with gun-related homicides increasing across the country in metro and rural areas.

About 2 in 10 U.S. adults say they or someone close to them has had a personal experience with gun violence, according to a recent poll that shows Black and Hispanic adults are especially likely to have had their lives touched by it.

The poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 54% of Black Americans and 27% of Hispanic Americans reported that they or a close friend or family member experienced gun violence in the last five years, compared with of 13% of white Americans. Overall, 21% of U.S. adults reported a personal tie to gun violence, such as being threatened by a gun or being a victim of a shooting.

Ebony Brown, a 39-year-old accountant in Atlanta, is among those who has seen gun violence touch those close to her. Her brother was shot to death in 2002 in Jacksonville, Florida, while visiting from college.

“He was at the right place at the wrong time,” said Brown, who is Black.

An acquaintance of a friend pulled a gun during an attempted robbery at a home and shot several people, including Brown’s brother, who she said died instantly. Another person also was slain.

Brown said she doesn’t consider herself a gun lover, but she’s worried enough about becoming a victim of gun violence herself that she’s considering getting a handgun.

“I’m really getting ready to get one. I’ve been to the range,” Brown said. “My dad is a police officer and he wants me to have it.”

The survey was conducted after a stretch of mass shootings across the U.S., from a grocery store in New York, an elementary school in Texas and a Fourth of July parade in Illinois — along with a smattering of incidents of gun violence in cities across the U.S. that don’t always make national news but leave local communities on edge.

Professor Jens Ludwig, who is director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, said the 1 in 5 people with a friend or family member who was a victim of violence was a “strikingly high number.”

It shows that those who experience gun violence “aren’t the only victims,” he said.

Ludwig compared the way gun violence affects entire communities to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that the people who died or became very ill from COVID-19 weren’t the only ones affected; kids were kept home from school, businesses closed, and people couldn’t see loved ones.

The same is true with gun violence, Ludwig said. “People are changing the way they live,” he said.

For example, he said, when people who can afford to leave cities where gun violence is a big problem move out in droves, it hurts everyone still there.

He cited Detroit as one example. Gun-related homicides increased from 2016 to 2020, from a rate of 37.6 per 100,000 people to 45.4 per 100,000 people, according to FBI data collected by the pro-gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. Black people were 2.1 times more likely to die by gun homicides than white people, according to the data.

Following a particularly violent summer weekend in Detroit that saw two dozen nonfatal shootings and seven homicides, Police Chief James White denounced the rising gun violence in the city and across the nation.

“We understand these numbers make media headlines, but to us they represent people,” White told reporters. “These represent families. This represents children. This represents husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. Our Detroit families are in pain. Neighbors near the gunfire are shaken and lives have been forever changed.”

While most Americans say they feel gun violence has increased nationwide and in their states, 59% of Black Americans and 45% of Hispanics said that gun violence is on the rise in their communities, compared with 34% of white Americans. Similarly, people living in urban areas are more likely to say gun violence is rising in their communities than those in suburban or rural areas, 51% to 39% to 27%.

That is in line with recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data has shown a spike in gun violence since the pandemic, with gun-related homicides increasing across the country in large and small metro areas and in rural areas. The data found Black people are disproportionately impacted by gun violence and are more likely to be the victims of gun crimes or homicides.

Brittany Samuels, a 31-year-old in Detroit, says she still carries physical scars from being shot at age 14 by her uncle, who she said was bipolar and schizophrenic, and fatally shot her grandmother, one of his coworkers and himself.

She said it has also shaped the way she thinks about gun violence and gun ownership, and she feels it is too easy for guns to get into the wrong hands.

Samuels, who is Black, said gun violence in her community has made her rethink where and when to go places, like skipping Detroit’s downtown entertainment district or certain gas stations as certain times.

“You don’t know if someone is going to rob you at gunpoint or if they are going to have a shootout in the middle of the gas station,” she said. “I don’t go when it’s dark — even if it’s in the morning. And you really won’t catch me at a gas station that’s not lit up.”

Diego Saldana, 30, of Baldwin Park, California, in the Los Angeles metro area, said he found himself facing a 9mm handgun during an attempted robbery six months ago. He feels gun violence is on the rise and believes it’s likely he will be a victim of gun violence again in the next five years.

“I think it’s due to the (poor) economy — people are desperate for easy money,” said Saldana, who is Mexican. “People … are stressing about stuff and expressing it with violence. Everybody is on edge.”

The poll of 1,373 adults was conducted July 28-Aug. 1 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<

White House Sends Extra Monkeypox Vaccines Ahead Of Pride Events

The White House is sending tens of thousands of monkeypox vaccine doses to areas hosting Labor Day pride events.

Federal and state health officials are sharing their plans to prevent Labor Day pride events from becoming monkeypox super spreaders.

The White House monkeypox response team says they’re sending an extra 6,000 vaccine doses to the Southern Decadence event in New Orleans, 2,400 extra to Pridefest in Oakland, California and 5,500 doses to Atlanta Black Pride in Georgia.

“It was a great opportunity to get folks ready for the event in terms of getting vaccines on the ground early, but also a great opportunity to reach people who don’t feel comfortable in a clinic but do feel comfortable in less stigmatizing spaces that can occur in the events,” said Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, White House national monkeypox response deputy coordinator.

It comes as Texas health officials confirm the first U.S. monkeypox death. They say an adult patient in the Houston area also was severely immunocompromised. An autopsy is expected in the next few weeks.

“Death is possible due to monkeypox but remains rare,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, the CDC’s monkeypox response incident manager.

Anyone can get monkeypox. The World Health Organization and the CDC say gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of the cases.

In the U.S., cases are slowly trending down compared to July.

The WHO say the Americas accounted for 60% of global monkeypox cases in the past month. 

“There are encouraging early signs, as evidenced in France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom and other countries that the outbreak may be slowing,” said Hans Kluge, WHO Europe regional director.

Federal officials are cautiously optimistic, but challenges remain, like getting vaccines equally distributed. About 10% of monkeypox vaccine doses have been given to Black people. They account for one-third of U.S. cases, according to the CDC.

The FDA also recently green lit a different method for giving the JYNNEOS shot: underneath the skin, but not as deep in the muscle. Federal officials say that should help get two doses of the vaccine to the 1.6 million people in the U.S. who are most at risk of contracting the virus.

Source: newsy.com

View Source

>>> Don’t Miss Today’s BEST Amazon Deals! <<<<