Podcast: Time for The GOAT to hang ‘em up.


Podcast: Time for The GOAT to hang ‘em up.

The Dallas Cowboys and Dak Prescott made short work of Tampa Bay and Tom Brady Monday night and made Brady look like an old man in the process. Will Brady hang up his spikes? The Cleveland boys discuss Brady’s future, the NFL playoffs (and Prescott’s excellence), college football coaching changes, with some high school and college basketball added in.

Stream all episodes here.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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Black Delta farm workers who were paid less than white South Africans settle lawsuits outside court


Black Delta farm workers who were paid less than white South Africans settle lawsuits outside court

The 13 Black farm workers who sued two Delta Farms — accusing the farm operators of racists hiring practices and paying white visa workers from South Africa more per hour — have reached a settlement outside of court, their attorneys announced this week.

The terms of the agreement forbid the parties from disclosing the settlements’ dollar amounts.

“But it was a significant amount of money,” said Attorney Rob McDuff, who represented the workers. “I think the settlements demonstrate it’s far better for these companies and these farms to pay people properly than to ignore the law.”

Both Sunflower County farms — Pitts Farms and Harris Russell Farms — were in a Mississippi Today investigation that found a pattern of misuse of the H-2A visa program in the Delta.

READ MORE: White Delta farm owners are underpaying and pushing out Black workers

Pitts, a soybean, corn, and cotton farm, and Harris Russell, a catfish farm, brought in white South Africans through the visa program, which is intended to only be used when farms cannot find enough local workers.

The program requires farm owners to pay both local workers and foreign workers the same wage, but years of paystubs obtained by Mississippi Today showed Black workers made mostly the federal minimum wage of $7.25 while getting fewer and fewer hours each season. The H-2A workers took home upwards of $11 an hour.

Eventually, the local workers said they were told they no longer had jobs, according to the lawsuits and interviews Mississippi Today had with former workers.

Ty Pinkins, a former attorney on the case, said the result of the lawsuits has pressured other farms with visa workers into following federal mandates over pay for their local employees.

“Many of the Black workers have expressed excitement and they’re happy that having the courage to come forward has caused a lot of farmworkers to receive a pay rate to the degree they were supposed to get in the first place,” Pinkins said.

Mississippi Today’s investigation found Pitts Farms had already been fined for paying its local workers less money than visa workers and not properly offering jobs back to local workers by the Department of Labor. But the DOL only audited the farm’s paychecks and bank statements for a two-year period — the standard for its investigations.

That meant most of the men in the Pitts Farms , filed in 2021, didn’t receive any of the federally mandated backwages the farm had to pay. They had stopped working for Pitts before the audit period.

Harris Russell was investigated by the federal labor department after the lawsuit was filed and Mississippi Today’s investigation was published. The catfish farm, along with 10 other farms, were fined a collective $122,610. The string of investigations recovered wages for 45 workers totaling $134,532.

Neither Pitts or Harris Russell farms responded to a request for comment.

In June, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh visited the Delta and met with some of the men in the lawsuits. Two months later, the labor department began its investigations of the 11 other farms that were recently fined.

McDuff said he and his colleagues at the Mississippi Center for Justice and Southern Migrant Legal Services plan to file more lawsuits against other farms with pay discrepancies between Black local workers and white South African workers.

“Many other Delta farms are engaging in these unlawful practices and more suits will be coming against those who do not pay fair wages to the local workers,” said Amal Bouhabib, another one of the workers’ attorneys.

Editor’s note: The Mississippi Center For Justice President and CEO Vangela Wade serves on Mississippi Today’s board of trustees.

This article first on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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A sneak peek inside the Viking Mississippi cruise ship docking in the Quad-Cities


If it weren’t for the Viking Mississippi, Linda Friberg might have never made her way to the Quad-Cities. 
The Chattanooga, Tenn., resident has traveled on Viking ships through European rivers and across the ocean, and boarded the company’s first Mississippi River cruise from Alton, Minn. So far, the experience has been on par with past trips, she said. 
“It’s just what we would expect to see,” Friberg said. “Service has been great and it’s a beautiful ship.” 
The Viking Mississippi set off on its maiden voyage last week, and stopped by Davenport for the second time Tuesday on its way back up the Mississippi River. Once again Quad-City natives stopped by to see the large vessel anchored at port while passengers were bused to excursions at the Figge Art , Deere-Wiman House and Butterworth Center and more. 
A quiet atmosphere had settled over the ship, with staff cleaning rooms and preparing food for lunch and dinner. With five decks and 193 staterooms that can fit 386 guests, the Viking Mississippi isBy: BROOKLYN DRAISEY
Title: A sneak peek inside the Viking Mississippi cruise ship docking in the Quad-Cities
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Published Date: 44817

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Bitcoin’s Blowing Up, and That’s Good News for Human Rights. Here’s Why

Bitcoin crypto money

Bitcoin’s value reached an all-time high this week after Tesla announced it had bought $1.5 billion worth of the . After its launch in early 2009, Bitcoin has gone through a lot of ups and downs. Some of its biggest price swings were in 2017 and 2018, when a steep rise followed by an 84 percent decline brought plenty of hype and headlines. After a quiet period, the last three months of 2020 saw yet another sharp rise as the currency’s value more than tripled—and it’s still climbing.

Not surprisingly, more and more investors are now jumping on what can still seem like a techy, trendy bandwagon. In an where governments are printing money hand over fist, people want a more secure place to put their assets. In addition to prevailing economic uncertainty, many institutional investors are dipping their toes into the cryptocurrency, and even PayPal began offering customers the ability to buy Bitcoin late last year. Elon Musk’s repeated endorsement of the cryptocurrency hasn’t hurt, either. Some even believe digital currencies like Bitcoin are the future of money.

But intertwined with Bitcoin’s more speculative potential (as an asset or currency) is an important feature many investors may miss: its power to protect human rights and stand against tyranny.

In a new for Reason magazine, Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at the Human Rights Foundation, explains why the cryptocurrency is an inalienable tool for preserving freedom, and how it’s being used by people in different parts of the world to do so.

Money makes the world go ’round, and as such, it’s a perfect tool for surveillance and control. The decline of cash in many societies and its replacement with digital payment methods means we’ve all but kissed financial privacy goodbye; all of our digital transactions are logged and kept on record for years.

In most democratic countries this doesn’t tend to come with consequences much more intrusive than targeted ads. But for the more than four billion people living under authoritarian regimes, it’s a different story.

Their governments can—and do—freeze peoples’ bank accounts, shut down ATMs, decide who gets cut off from financial services, and even seize private funds. Actions like these are often targeted at individuals labeled as problematic: activists, dissidents, union leaders, critics of the ruling party, intellectuals, and the like. Cutting off access to money is a quick-and-dirty way to immobilize people, not to mention wreak havoc when it’s done on a large scale.

If only there was a monetary system not controlled by a central bank, untouchable by governments, where value could be transmitted without corruption or interference and unaffected by international borders.

Enter Bitcoin.

This article first on Singularity Hub and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Image Credit: Aleksi Räisä on Unsplash

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