U.S. Air Quality Slipping After Years Of Improvement.

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Robert Massimi.
Of course our air quality is slipping… The EPA police curtail manufacturing plants with there strong arm tactics, but what we are not being told is that China, India, Viet Nam, Bangladesh and all the other shit holes pollute without impunity and we and the UN does little to stop it. The globalists sit by and watch China destroy the environment. Do these idiots at the EPA really believe that China’s air doesn’t move around the world? So what these Asian countries do, matters to the world. If the EPA wants to regulate, over regulate our environment, steps have to be taken around the world for every Nation to abide by the polutant laws set forth by the world stage of the UN.
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US air quality is slipping after years of improvement
BY SETH BORENSTEIN and NICKY FORSTER
June 18, 2019

1 of 2
FILE – This combination of Dec. 13 and 17, 2018 photos shows the Utah State Capitol during clear and an inversion day in Salt Lake City. Inversions hover over Salt Lake City as cold, stagnant air settles in the bowl-shaped mountain basins, trapping tailpipe and other emissions that have no way of escaping to create a brown, murky haze the engulfs the metro area. After decades of getting ever cleaner, America’s air quality seems to be stagnating. In 2017 and 2018, the nation had more polluted air days than just a few years earlier, federal data shows. While it remains unclear whether this is the beginning of a trend, health experts say it’s a troubling development. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
After decades of improvement, America’s air may not be getting any cleaner.

Over the last two years the nation had more polluted air days than just a few years earlier, federal data shows. While it remains unclear whether this is the beginning of a trend, health experts say it’s troubling to see air quality progress stagnate.

There were 15% more days with unhealthy air in America both last year and the year before than there were on average from 2013 through 2016, the four years when America had its fewest number of those days since at least 1980.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed just the opposite, saying earlier this month in Ireland: “We have the cleanest air in the world, in the United States, and it’s gotten better since I’m president.”

That’s not quite the case. There were noticeably more polluted air days each year in the president’s first two years in office than any of the four years before, according to new Environmental Protection Agency data analyzed by The Associated Press.

The Trump administration is expected to replace an Obama-era rule designed to limit emissions from electric power plants on Wednesday. Called the Clean Power Plan, it would have gradually phased out coal-burning power plants that emit both air pollutants and heat-trapping gases responsible for climate change.

Air quality is affected by a complex mix of factors, both natural and man-made. Federal regulations that limit the emissions of certain chemicals and soot from factories, cars and trucks have helped dramatically improve air quality over recent decades. In any given year, however, air quality can be affected by natural variations. That may be what’s behind the stalled progress, scientists say.

“What you’re seeing is a flattening off of progress as opposed to a major change in the wrong direction,” said former deputy EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

But Trump is moving to loosen regulations on coal-fired power plants and cars that scientists credit for cleaner air, and he appears to be less stringent about enforcing current rules, according to data obtained by environmental advocates through the Freedom of Information Act.

Scientists say that it is too early to see the effects of changes in environmental policy of the Trump administration, which took office in January 2017.

But they say looser restrictions and lax enforcement would almost certainly reverse the gains that have been made in recent decades, potentially turning what has so far been a modest, two-year backslide into a dangerous trend.

“Today it feels like the future of our kids and our country is at stake,” said former Obama EPA chief Gina McCarthy, now director of the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health. “We do not have the cleanest air and we have not crossed the finish line when it comes to pollution.”

The EPA quietly posted new air quality data online last month that shows a recent uptick in polluted days.

Five hundred and thirty-two American metro areas reported a total of 4,134 days in 2018 when the official air quality index passed 100, which means it is unhealthy for people with heart and lung disease, the elderly and the very young. That’s about 15% more bad air days per city than the average for 2013 to 2016, America’s clean air heyday.

The worst of the bad air days jumped even more. On average, in 2017 and 2018 there were nearly 140 times when a city’s air pollution reached the worst two categories — “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” — with the air quality index greater than 200. That’s more than two-and-a-half times the average of nearly 55 from 2013 to 2016. Last year, Riverside, California, topped the nation with 13 days in the worst two air quality categories and had the most bad air days of all types: 173.

About 100,000 Americans each year die prematurely because of polluted air, studies show.

El Paso, Texas, saw one of the biggest increases in bad air days from the mid-2010s among metro areas with at least 750,000 people. Like the rest of the country, El Paso has seen huge improvements in recent decades, but things have turned worse recently, and people say they notice.

El Paso first grade teacher Tonya Olivas said she’s had to watch her son Joey more carefully. “If he’s having issues with coughing excessively because of his asthma, I will pull him out of recess and P.E. I won’t let him go outside,” she said.

El Paso averaged more than 200 bad air days a year in the 1980s. That dropped steadily to just under 14 a year on average from 2010 to 2016, then ticked up to an average of about 20 over the past two years.
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Katie Hill Resigns.

Freshman Rep. Katie

Robert Massimi.
Big league pig Katie Hill resigns over the fact that she has taken pipe all over Washington DC, California and every where else. A major league slut, Hill is forced to resign because of : swapping,
lewd pics, banging interns and co workers, legislators
and everything else she can get her hands on. Like Hillary Clinton, she goes both ways as well. So she announces her resignation and she will back to being a first rate whore and bang everything in site.
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Hill resigns amid allegations of affair with staffer

“It is with a broken heart that today I announce my resignation from Congress,” Hill tweeted Sunday.

Freshman Rep. Katie Hill resigns amid allegations of affair with staffer
OCT. 28, 201901:43
Oct. 27, 2019, 7:10 PM EDT / Updated Oct. 28, 2019, 5:58 AM EDT
By Tim Stelloh
Freshman Rep. Katie Hill is resigning amid an ethics investigation over an allegedly inappropriate relationship with a staffer.

In a letter posted on Twitter, the Southern California Democrat attributed the resignation to an “abusive” estranged husband and “hateful political operatives” who she said were “driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation.”

Her resignation was first reported by Politico.

The House Ethics Committee investigation of Hill came amid unconfirmed allegations about her personal life reported by conservative site Red State, which along with the Daily Mail published nude photos of the congresswoman without her consent.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

Hill, who was elected last year, described the images as an “illegal” and “appalling invasion of privacy” that had been “weaponized” against her.

“We are currently pursuing all of our available legal options,” she said. “However, I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next.”

She added that she could no longer allow friends and supporters to “suffer this unprecedented brand of cruelty.”

Hill’s estranged husband, Kenny Heslep, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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According to court documents obtained by CNBC, the two were married for nine years before Heslep filed for divorce in Los Angeles in July — one month after he said she told him she was leaving him.

She took their “only operable vehicle and left me stranded at our residence,” Heslep said in the documents.

Heslep also claimed that he got multiple jobs at the organization where Hill had worked because of her “influence.” He said he lost one of those jobs because Hill’s employer was concerned about “nepotism and how it looked that she was my boss,” the documents say.

Last week, Hill apologized after admitting that she had a “consensual” but “inappropriate” relationship with someone on her campaign. But she denied that she had an affair with a congressional staff member.

“I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,” Hill said. “For that I apologize.”

Hill, who was the executive director of a homeless services organization before her election, is the freshman class’ co-representative to the Democratic Caucus’ leadership meetings.

In a statement Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Hill made “a great contribution as a leader of the Freshman Class.”

“She has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable. We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress, and in all workplaces,” Pelosi said.

Tim Stelloh
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.

Alexandra Moe contributed.
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Theater Review. “for all the women that thought they were Mad”

Robert Massimi.
For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad has some good things in it: good lighting, scenic design, costumes and excellent sound design. This show also has some talented actors Joy (Bissera Tseggai), and Angela (Nicole Lewis).

Written by Zawe Ashton who is currently on Broadway in Betrayal; the show is billed as one that touches on many points but not for long on the subjects at point. It is about a daring and exhilarating fever dream about the forces that push a women from the everyday into free fall. The show explores the impact of work, expectations around childlessness and motherhood and the chasm between mental wellness and the healthcare system of women of color.

In a very intriguing set design, Daniel Soule sets Joy in a box, her office, which turns out to be her life. Joy is a dedicated worker for a company and she has really nothing else in her life. Joy has left her village for the big city to be a success as well as making her family proud. As her life goes on, however, the things that get in the way of her work are bothersome, a burden to her drive and determination. Joy, after all is a regimented person who jogs at lunchtime, changes her cloths constantly during work; she is laser-focused on her tasks at hand.

The play goes from a square box back to the town where she grew up. Family and relatives go about their daily lives, reminisce about the past, and what their future holds. Much pain and suffering has been brought to these women. The continual rain and high water table levels on the river add to the concern of these women at all times. The songs that they sing to the way that they interact with one another are ones of hope and happiness.

The play is not short of philosophical notions; religion, or witchcraft, and their firm beliefs about the many different things. These women always know right from wrong. In a world of wrong, these women do not bend on principals and values.

Resonant in this play is the sound design. Lee Kinney does some deft sound in keeping this play mystical, cutting edge and alive. Between the scenic design and the sound design the play is pleasant to watch and listen too. The costumes lock the play in nicely as well. From traditional garb to Joy’s work outfits, Andrew Jean is able to capture the shows pulse and all three lay a nice foundation for this show.

Director Whitney White has us intrigued by the characters. We want to know more about them, what their lives have been and where they are going in the near future. The acting blends well and together White moves the actors in and out throughout the performance with great ease and relevance. White makes all the actors strong in their roles and collectively as performers. The direction gives us a sense that a storm is brewing both literally and figuratively; we are kept on the edge wondering as an audience when it will happen and to what degree it will happen.

Zawe Ashton is considered to be a new actor to be reckoned with. She has had great notices in Betrayal, in the Netflix series Wanderlust, as well as Velvet Buzzsaw. Ashton has been nominated, and won many awards for acting in the recent past. In writing For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad, she is never clear on the main body of this work. The audience is never really certain as to where she is going as the play unfolds. The show’s bio is that it touches on many women’s issues and then moves on to another topic quickly. The problem here is that it never covers in depth anything that is important. Joy having a child and not wanting to be around the baby is understandable in the plot, but little else is brought to clarity with the two women. Even at the end of the play we are not exactly sure why Joy has become the way she did—what led up to this? Where is the child in all this storyline? To what effect do the songs mean in this play? Many questions are not answered here. Although well acted, it is not enough to make this play a standout. The chic, avant-garde gets lost on this weak storyline and leaves the audience wanting more clarity.

Even though we witness Joy’s life and times, it only scratches the surface as to why she became so unhappy in her life. Equally confusing is that we do not know what is actually causing woman to have there hair fall out. In what is a healthcare issue for women of color, we don’t know anything about the healthcare at all in this play (it is never spoken about), or why women of color are getting sick. With all the good things that go on in this show, it needs a better plot to it. Too confusing and not deep enough in its writing, this play languishes.
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Robert Massimi.
Some are predicting a civil war… this article talks about the rudeness of politicians but it goes deeper than that. People are fed up with high taxes, politicians and the criminality in our government. From James Comey, to Andrew McCabe and on to Pelosi, Schumer and others, the American people are fed up. Affirmative action, over policing (traffic cops, speeding) and jobs that went overseas has many Americans struggling to survive. Rising health care and only a few paying taxes, people are at the breaking point.
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Battleground: 7 in 10 say US ‘on the edge of civil war’
by Paul Bedard
| October 23, 2019 01:27 PM

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Partisan political division and the resulting incivility has reached a low in America, with 67% believing that the nation is nearing civil war, according to a new national survey.

“The majority of Americans believe that we are two-thirds of the way to being on the edge of civil war. That to me is a very pessimistic place,” said Mo Elleithee, the executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service.

And worse, he said in announcing the results of the Institute’s Battleground Poll civility survey, the political division is likely to make the upcoming 2020 presidential race the nastiest in modern history.

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 1.01.43 PM.png
(Screenshot)
Highlighting findings that show voters angered with compromise and growing unfavorable ratings of President Trump and most 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, he said the poll “paints a scenario, a picture of a highly negative campaign that will continue to exacerbate the incivility in our public discourse.

He added, “It will be a sort of race to the bottom, or has the potential to be a race to the bottom.”

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The Civility Poll is an offshoot of the famous bipartisan Battleground Poll conducted by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners and Ed Goeas of the Tarrance Group.

While it found that 87% are frustrated with the rudeness in politics today, it also revealed that the public really isn’t interested in traditional compromise. For example, a nearly equal 84% said that they are “tired of leaders compromising my values and ideals.”

Elleithee explained, “It seems to me what they’re saying is, ‘I believe in common ground, it’s just that common ground is where I’m standing. As soon you move over to where I am we’ll be on common ground.’”

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 1.02.01 PM.png
(Screenshot)
Goeas pointed to the poor favorable ratings of presidential candidates and said that 2020 may be a rare race between candidates that less than half the country likes.

“There is going to be a large body of voters who dislike both of them, and that’s going to be the swing vote in the election, which means it dictates the kind of campaign that’s run,” he said.

Lake agreed that the national division is widening. “There is relative consensus that divisions in this country are getting worse,” she said in her memo accompanying the survey released Tuesday.

Both pollsters noted that the public blames social media, news media and President Trump for the growing division.

But Goeas, not a fan of the president’s, said he believes that Trump didn’t start the rudeness in today’s politics. “He is a symptom of where we are, not ‘the’ disease,” he said, adding, “One of the things that I have focused on as we have gone into this death spiral of incivility in the country, that we had to be at a certain point for Trump to become acceptable.”

The poll backs that up. It found that 84% believe that “behavior that used to be seen as unacceptable is now accepted as normal be
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Ozone Hole Is Smallest On Record.

Robert Massimi.
The climate is a lot better than the left-wing loons would have you believe. More methane than co2, these loonies keep using scare tactics that the world will end soon. Some even profess eating babies to save the planet. We all remember fat Al Gore fudging numbers for his “An Inconvenient Truth). These people lie to get a one world global order, no better place than with the environment. If you can tie up commerce, you can tie up the economy. Not before long you have Cuba, Venezuela or some other shit hole.
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2019 Ozone Hole is the Smallest on Record Since Its Discovery
Abnormal weather patterns in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica dramatically limited ozone depletion in September and October, resulting in the smallest ozone hole observed since 1982, NASA and NOAA scientists reported today.

Scientists from NASA and NOAA work together to track the ozone layer throughout the year and determine when the hole reaches its annual maximum extent. This year, unusually strong weather patterns caused warm temperatures in the upper atmosphere above the South Pole region of Antarctic, which resulted in a small ozone hole.
Credits: NASA Goddard/ Katy Mersmann
This video can be downloaded for free at NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio
The annual ozone hole reached its peak extent of 6.3 million square miles (16. 4 million square kilometers) on Sept. 8, and then shrank to less than 3.9 million square miles (10 million square kilometers) for the remainder of September and October, according to NASA and NOAA satellite measurements. During years with normal weather conditions, the ozone hole typically grows to a maximum area of about 8 million square miles in late September or early October.

“It’s great news for ozone in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Paul Newman, chief scientist for Earth Sciences at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “But it’s important to recognize that what we’re seeing this year is due to warmer stratospheric temperatures. It’s not a sign that atmospheric ozone is suddenly on a fast track to recovery.”

Ozone is a highly reactive molecule comprised of three oxygen atoms that occurs naturally in small amounts. Roughly seven to 25 miles above Earth’s surface, in a layer of the atmosphere called the stratosphere, the ozone layer is a sunscreen, shielding the planet from potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation that can cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress immune systems and also damage plants.

The Antarctic ozone hole forms during the Southern Hemisphere’s late winter as the returning Sun’s rays start ozone-depleting reactions. These reactions involve chemically active forms of chlorine and bromine derived from man-made compounds. The chemistry that leads to their formation involves chemical reactions that occur on the surfaces of cloud particles that form in cold stratospheric layers, leading ultimately to runaway reactions that destroy ozone molecules. In warmer temperatures fewer polar stratospheric clouds form and they don’t persist as long, limiting the ozone-depletion process.

NASA and NOAA monitor the ozone hole via complementary instrumental methods.

Satellites, including NASA’s Aura satellite, the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite and NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System NOAA-20 satellite, measure ozone from space. The Aura satellite’s Microwave Limb Sounder also estimates levels of ozone-destroying chlorine in the stratosphere.

At the South Pole, NOAA staff launch weather balloons carrying ozone-measuring “sondes” which directly sample ozone levels vertically through the atmosphere. Most years, at least some levels of the stratosphere, the region of the upper atmosphere where the largest amounts of ozone are normally found, are found to be completely devoid of ozone.

“This year, ozonesonde measurements at the South Pole did not show any portions of the atmosphere where ozone was completely depleted,” said atmospheric scientist Bryan Johnson at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

Uncommon but not unprecedented

This is the third time in the last 40 years that weather systems have caused warm temperatures that limit ozone depletion, said Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist with Universities Space Research Association, who works at NASA Goddard. Similar weather patterns in the Antarctic stratosphere in September 1988 and 2002 also produced atypically small ozone holes, she said.

“It’s a rare event that we’re still trying to understand,” said Strahan. “If the warming hadn’t happened, we’d likely be looking at a much more typical ozone hole.”

There is no identified connection between the occurrence of these unique patterns and changes in climate.

The weather systems that disrupted the 2019 ozone hole are typically modest in September, but this year they were unusually strong, dramatically warming the Antarctic’s stratosphere during the pivotal time for ozone destruction. At an altitude of about 12 miles (20 kilometers), temperatures during September were 29 degrees F (16˚C) warmer than average, the warmest in the 40-year historical record for September by a wide margin. In addition, these weather systems also weakened the Antarctic polar vortex, knocking it off its normal center over the South Pole and reducing the strong September jet stream around Antarctica from a mean speed of 161 miles per hour to a speed of 67 miles per hour. This slowing vortex rotation allowed air to sink in the lower stratosphere where ozone depletion occurs, where it had two impacts.

First, the sinking warmed the Antarctic lower stratosphere, minimizing the formation and persistence of the polar stratospheric clouds that are a main ingredient in the ozone-destroying process. Second, the strong weather systems brought ozone-rich air from higher latitudes elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere to the area above the Antarctic ozone hole. These two effects led to much higher than normal ozone levels over Antarctica compared to ozone hole conditions usually present since the mid 1980s.

As of October 16, the ozone hole above Antarctica remained small but stable and is expected to gradually dissipate in the coming weeks.

Robert Schwarz/University of Minnesota
This time-lapse photo from Sept. 9, 2019, shows the flight path of an ozonesonde as it rises into the atmosphere over the South Pole from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Scientists release these balloon-borne sensors to measure the thickness of the protective ozone layer high up in the atmosphere.
Credits: Robert Schwarz/University of Minnesota
Antarctic ozone slowly decreased in the 1970s, with large seasonal ozone deficits appearing in the early 1980s. Researchers at the British Antarctic Survey discovered the ozone hole in 1985, and NASA’s satellite estimates of total column ozone from the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer confirmed the 1985 event, revealing the ozone hole’s continental scale.

Thirty-two years ago, the international community signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This agreement regulated the consumption and production of ozone-depleting compounds. Atmospheric levels of man-made ozone depleting substances increased up to the year 2000. Since then, they have slowly declined but remain high enough to produce significant ozone loss. The ozone hole over Antarctica is expected to gradually become less severe as chlorofluorocarbons— banned chlorine-containing synthetic compounds that were once frequently used as coolants—continue to decline. Scientists expect the Antarctic ozone to recover back to the 1980 level around 2070.

To learn more about NOAA and NASA efforts to monitor the ozone and ozone-depleting gases, visit:

https://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/

https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/polar/polar.shtml

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/spo_oz/

Banner Image: The 2019 ozone hole reached its peak extent of 6.3 million square miles (16. 4 million square kilometers) on Sept. 8. Abnormal weather patterns in the upper atmosphere over Antarctica dramatically limited ozone depletion this year. Credit: NASA

By: Ellen Gray
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

By: Theo Stein

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Last Updated: Oct. 22, 2019
Editor: Sara Blumberg
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Hey Democrats, This Is What Socialism Looks Like.

gas with cigarettes to battle inflation
By SCOTT SMITH
today
Robert Massimi.
This is what Democrats want America to become. This is what the Deep State, Bernie Sanders, George Soros, The Ford Foundation; you name it, the left want this. Guys like Yang running for president said it best” send the tax money to Washington, we know what to do with it”. Yeah Wang, they do… the IRS giving six figure bonuses, you people taking health care and pensions in perpetuity even if your one termers. Yaeh, sure you know what to do with the money; you and your fellow swamp rats. Con artists and liars the lot of you. If the left had there way this is what America would look like.
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In this Oct. 8, 2019 photo, gas station attendant Leowaldo Sanchez poses with food items he was paid with by motorists: a bottle of cooking oil, a kilogram if rice and a package of corn flour, as he works at the pump in San Antonio de los Altos on the outskirts of Caracas, Venezuela. Bartering at the pump has taken off as hyperinflation makes Venezuela’s paper currency, the bolivar, hard to find and renders some denominations all but worthless, so that nobody will accept them. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Motorists in socialist Venezuela have long enjoyed the world’s cheapest gasoline, with fuel so heavily subsidized that a full tank these days costs a tiny fraction of a U.S. penny. But the economy is in such shambles that drivers are now paying for fill-ups with a little food, a candy bar or just a cigarette.

Gas station attendant Leowaldo Sanchez takes a cigarette as payment from a motorist in San Antonio de los Altos. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Bartering at the pump has taken off as hyperinflation makes Venezuela’s paper currency, the bolivar, hard to find and renders some denominations all but worthless, so that nobody will accept them.

Without cash in their wallets, drivers often hand gas station attendants a bag of rice, cooking oil or whatever is within reach.

“You can pay with a cigarette,” said Orlando Molina, filling up his subcompact Ford Ka in Caracas. “Heck, it’s no secret to anyone that it goes for nothing.”

Gas is so dirt-cheap that station attendants don’t even know the price. Emptyhanded drivers get waved through, paying nothing at all.

This barter system, while perhaps the envy of cash-strapped drivers outside the country, is just another symptom of bedlam in Venezuela.

Gas station attendant Leowaldo Sanchez poses with food items he was paid with by motorists: a bottle of cooking oil, a kilogram if rice and a package of corn flour, as he works at the pump in San Antonio de los Altos. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
The South American nation of roughly 30 million people is gripped by a deepening political and economic crisis. People live with a nagging feeling that anything from violent street protests to a massive power failure could throw their lives into chaos at any moment.

More than 4 million Venezuelans have fled the country in recent years, escaping low wages, broken hospitals, failing basic services and lack of security.

The International Monetary Fund says inflation is expected to hit a staggering 200,000% this year. Venezuela dropped five zeros from its currency last year in a futile attempt to keep up with inflation. Soaring prices quickly devoured the new denominations.

The smallest bill in circulation, 50 bolivars, is worth about quarter of a U.S. penny. City buses and even banks don’t accept it, arguing it would take such a thick wad of bills to pay for even the most modest items that it wouldn’t be worth the trouble. The largest bill, 50,000 bolivars, equals $2.50.

Gas attendant Orlando Godoy counts his Bolivars bills in San Antonio de los Altos. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Venezuela, which sits atop the world’s largest oil reserves, was once rich. But the economy has fallen into ruin because of what critics say has been two decades of corruption and mismanagement under socialist rule.

President Nicolás Maduro’s hold on power is under challenge from opposition politician Juan Guaidó, who has the backing of the United States and more than 50 other countries that contend Maduro’s re-election in 2018 was crooked.

Gasoline prices are a deadly serious matter in Venezuela. Roughly 300 people died in 1989 during riots that erupted after the country’s president at the time ordered a modest rise in fuel prices.

Amid the economic crash, Maduro has not substantially raised gas prices, a strategy that was probably reinforced after violent protests recently forced the president of Ecuador to back off plans to end fuel subsidies there.

Maduro has acknowledged that the state-run oil company, PDVSA, loses billions of dollars a year because of the discrepancy between the price of gasoline and the costs of production.

At the most, a tank of Venezuelan gasoline has historically cost the equivalent of a few U.S. pennies. Because of inflation and devaluation of the currency, that has plunged even further.

Caracas resident Maria Perez filled up one day recently, handing the attendant the equivalent of one penny, the smallest bill she had. Most drivers would gladly pay the true price of gas if the government would use the proceeds to invest in services, she said.

A gas attendant fills up plastic bottles with gasoline for a customer at a gas station in Chivacoa. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
“Our roads are unbearable,” she said while running errands on her day off with her mother in the passenger seat. “There are huge holes — craters — that not only damage our cars but also put our own lives at risk.”

Gasoline in Venezuela’s capital of Caracas, the seat of power and largest population center, has so far been immune from the shortages and mile-long lines that plague other parts of the country and can leave drivers waiting for days to reach the pump. Officials blame the shortages on U.S. sanctions against PDVSA.

Service station attendant Orlando Godoy stacked the food and drinks he received from drivers on top of the pumps — a bag of cooking flour, cooking oil, a bottle of mango juice. He earns minimum wage, which amounts to a few dollars a month, so the food helps feed his family.
Hillary Clinton is losing her mind. Now it’s Putin who wants to back a democrat. I thought Putin had Trump in his hip pocket? The puppet comment. This lady (Clinton) is a pig, a fat slob who brings nothing valuable to the table.
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Theater Review. Ominous Men.

“Ominous Men”
Ominously Bad.

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Robert Massimi.

“Ominous Men” at the 14th st Y is a body of work that tries to touch on racial tension (a lot of hatred for whitey), drugs, poverty and misogyny. The problem is that the nexus of the plays writing never does more than scratch the surface.

The play is situated in an abandoned building in the South Bronx. The South Bronx was a place that went upside down under Mayor Lindsey’s fair rent act in the late 60’s. Many apartment owners like Joe Bald burned down there apartments for insurance money rather than let the apartments rent for less. Since the late 60’s, white flight took place in the South Bronx and it has not been the same since.

Three friends, Butch; Goyo; and Yancy get together in this building where Butch is guarding against intruders. We never really feel their friendship as an audience, however. The three are mostly competitive, insulting and generally miserable to one another. You get the feeling that the three would sell each other out in a heartbeat. Even though the three battle one addiction or another, the director never gives us a sense of feeling with these three people.

“Ominous Men” does have some good things about it. The lighting was done very well. The different colors resonate and give this show a cool vibe. Kia Rogers is able to bring the fourteenth Street Y theater stage into a mystic, edgy and raw feeling, and Rogers captures the pulse of what the play should have been. The sound design of Sun Hee Kil grafts some great sounds into this play-also capturing the heartbeat of the performance.

Yancy (Russell Jordan) and Herschel (Howard Pinhasik) turn in very good performances. The show spirals, however, when Mundoo enters. Mundoo has crawled through the floor that Butch and Goyo have dug up because they believe there is money left from yesteryear. We are never sure throughout the entrance of Mundoo just who he is, or even what he is. More androgynous than anything, Mundoo never spooks us, nor motivates the play, or gives us a feeling of him in any way. In fact, it is mind boggling why this character was written into the show. Perhaps if better acted, or better written, maybe his role would have had more meaning. The direction in this play needed to be tightened up. Mundoo nor Goyo do not stand for anything. There presence on stage is confusing in that we do not know these two from beginning to the end. Lorca Peress simply has the actors going through the motions, emotion is really not outstanding here.

Weak direction and a not deep enough plot line really makes “Ominous Men” two hours of a lackluster play. Desi Moreno-Penson never brings fourth the us vs them attitude with her characters. The audience never sees what Penson is trying to write about nor are we ever entertained by the people who’s lives we are witnessing.

For a New York City off-off Broadway show, this was nothing more than a bad community theater play. This play should have had more emotion, more passion and more believe ability , but unfortunately it missed on almost every account.

Russell Jordan -Yancy

Gabrielle Lee -Woman

Howard Pinhasik -Herschel Modecai

Johnny Rivera-Butch

Renoly Santiago- Mundoo

Gus Scharr- Goyo

“Ominous Men” plays at the 14th st Y at 344 East 14th st until November 3erd. This show is one that can be missed as it lacks emotion, good writing as well as direction.