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Celerity

Celerity's Journal
Celerity's Journal
May 1, 2023

An Acclaimed Architect's Hidden Modernist Masterpiece: Rotherfield Road Henley-on-Thames Oxfordshire



For floorplans, images, and more details, check out the sales listing here: https://themodernhouse.media/rhd

This exquisite example of modern architecture is the work of the acclaimed architect Patrick Gwynne and comes to market for the first time in its history. Commissioned by its only owners in 1959, the architectural design is a masterful exercise in light and materials. Grade II-listed, the lateral living space of over 2,150 sqft was sensitively extended in 1967, in line with Gwynne’s plans. The interior remains a showcase of mid-century features and lovingly retained period detailing. Lying low in beautifully landscaped gardens, the plan follows the gentle curve of a single-storey, a harmonious response to the quiet and secluded site. Henley-on-Thames and its train station are within easy walking distance, with direct services into central London in under one hour.

The Architect

Patrick Gwynne (1913 – 2003) showed enthusiasm for architecture at a young age, joining the office of John Coleridge, a former assistant of Edwin Lutyens. Later, he turned his attention towards Europe, where the likes of Le Corbusier were pushing architecture in an entirely new direction. Having sought more suitable employment, he ended up in the offices of Wells Coates, where he worked alongside Denys Lasdun. With Coates and Lasdun’s assistance, Gwynne designed The Homewood in Esher, one of the finest achievements of residential architecture in Britain. Working from The Homewood, where he lived from 1942 until the end of his life, he soon began to receive commissions for private houses from distinguished and wealthy clients. Gwynne continued to express the influence of European 1930s modernism throughout the 1950s and 60s, designing homes in Hampstead and Blackheath in London and in Surrey, Oxfordshire and Dorset, many of which have been Grade II-listed.

The Area

The home is surrounded by the rolling countryside of the Chiltern Hills AONB. Henley-on-Thames, a 20-minute walk, is a town of charming medieval streets peppered with Victorian and Edwardian architecture lining one of the most beautiful stretches of the Thames. It has an excellent range of boutiques and art galleries, a cinema, a theatre and several great cafes and restaurants, notably Berries Coffee, Shellfish Cow and Daisy Love Henley. The town comes alive in the summer for The Henley Royal Regatta and Henley Festival of Music & Arts. Nearby Marlow provides a further range of attractive facilities. There is an array of gastropubs all within 20 minutes, including The Hand & Flowers and The Coach in Marlow (both Tom Kerridge), The Five Horseshoes in Maidensgrove and The Dew Drop Inn and Hurley Hotel in Hurley. Orwell’s pub and restaurant on Shiplake Row is a firm local favourite which uses seasonal produce.























































May 1, 2023

Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson has spoken positively about Denmark's plan to set up an offshore asylum

facility outside of the EU.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has spoken positively about Denmark’s hopes of setting up an offshore facility, outside of the EU, for processing people who are seeking asylum in the block.

https://www.thelocal.se/20230501/swedish-pm-kristersson-positive-on-danish-offshore-asylum-plan/



Denmark has held talks with Rwanda over a number of years about setting up an offshore asylum facility in the African country, but its current government has put plans for a bilateral deal with Rwanda on hold and said it would prefer an EU agreement which would allow such asylum processing centres to be established outside of the EU. The EU has generally shown limited appetite for the idea and it has also been criticised by the African Union and the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR, but Kristersson was positive in an interview with Danish newspaper Politiken.

“Sooner or later I think that it is entirely obvious that asylum should be tried in a different way than tempting people to go on mortally dangerous journeys to get to the European area and then travel onwards,” he said. Kristersson recently praised Denmark for pioneering stricter immigration policies after he visited the Danish agency responsible for sending refugees back to their home countries. Asked directly whether the Danish position on asylum facilities should be broadly adopted, he told Politiken "that's where we're going to land".

In the interview, the Swedish PM did not elaborate on a potential timescale for such a plan to become reality, and did not go into further detail on it, but added he believes it is “completely obvious” that “we currently do not have a sustainable European migration policy”. Plans for an offshore asylum centre were not included in the Tidö Agreement, the policy agreement signed between the coalition government and the Sweden Democrats. However, the agreement call for an inquiry to be set up which will look into whether asylum seekers could be held in transit centres while their asylum applications are being handled, and analyse whether such centres are possible under European Convention on Human Rights or the Swedish Constitution.

In addition to Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria have recently shown signs of interest in an offshore asylum processing centre, according to Danish news wire Ritzau. Prior to an EU summit in February, Denmark and Austria, along with six other EU countries, wrote a letter to EU leadership asking for a new approach to reduce migration to the union. In the later, the eight countries argued that the current asylum system no longer works. Greece, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta and Slovakia were the other signatories. The letter did not directly mention the option of an offshore processing system.

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May 1, 2023

Mayday, mayday: a warning from the labour movement



Having battled one crisis after another, a fresh round of austerity could be the last straw for workers.

https://www.socialeurope.eu/mayday-mayday-a-warning-from-the-labour-movement



In Britain the economist and commentator Grace Blakeley recently observed:



Much the same could be said of the mood of many workers worldwide—including in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Canada where there has been an unprecedented rise in strike action for higher wages in response to the cost-of-living crisis. It is also true in France, even if worker fury is more directed at the pension ‘reform’ pressed by the president, Emmanuel Macron, which will force millions to work longer and pay more towards their retirement.

Series of crises

The current crisis is only the latest in a series since 2008. And working people are organising in unions because they don’t want to pay the price for another crisis caused by a greedy elite. The latest, cost-of-living crisis was triggered by spikes in energy prices caused by sanctions against Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine—’triggered’ in the sense that inflation was subsequently driven by companies exploiting energy-related cost increases to add further price increases to boost their profits. That is not just a trade union view: it is expressed by the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, among others. Economists are now discussing the profit-price spiral and ‘greedflation’.

Before there was the Covid-19 crisis. Many workers were required to continue their ‘normal’ work in what had become a life-threatening context. When the lives of the public were at stake, the nurses, shop workers, lorry drivers and cleaners who provided key services were rightly acknowledged as essential—rather than the far more highly remunerated business managers and bankers lionised in the era of the ‘heroic CEO’. Job losses were stemmed but not stopped by government support for businesses and real wages declined.

The period before the pandemic was dominated by the austerity following the financial crisis. The cuts in the United Kingdom were savage—precipitating the slowest recovery in recorded British history—and the fiscal straitjacket imposed on Greece, Spain, Portugal and other countries by the European Union Stability and Growth Pact caused damage from which workers have not yet fully recovered. Greece in particular is still worse off than before the financial crisis.

Regressive policies............

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April 30, 2023

New Democratic star Justin Jones utterly destroys GOP Member to his face during hearing



Watch new Democratic star Justin Jones utterly destroy Tennessee Republican Representative Jason Zachary to his face during a hearing on implicit bias. Meidas Contributor Francis Maxwell reacts.
April 29, 2023

The Ron DeSantis Hospital for White Snowflakes

https://thebanter.substack.com/p/the-ron-desantis-hospital-for-white

https://archive.is/d0hKy



Because I am a fake journalist covering fake stories for the fake media, I was recently allowed full access to one of the most shocking yet most secretive publicly funded institutions in the country. The Florida Hospital for White Snowflakes—also known as DeSantis HOWS, and sometimes DeSantis House—is a facility dedicated to healing young white readers exposed to books revealing unsettling truths of Black American history. Initially in disbelief that such a place even existed, I took the assignment on a lark, mostly as an all-expenses-paid break from the unpleasant northeast winter. What I saw over the course of a few short days would change my life forever.

Tad, as we’ll call him, was a junior at an exclusive mostly white private high school just outside Gainesville. Tad maintained a 3.2 average and in 2021 as a sophomore and the school’s starting quarterback led the team to its first regional title in a decade. Recruited by numerous NCAA Division I colleges, Tad could often be seen escorting various attractive young women about town in a 2021 Porsche GT3 of unknown origin. Sadly, on November 3, 2022, Tad’s world came crashing down.

Assigned Jeanne Theoharis’s The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by a now unemployed English teacher who either hadn’t read or had ignored a recent memo by the school board, Tad could not locate the Cliffs Notes in time and read over half the book in conventional fashion for a paper ironically due just days before widespread availability of ChatGPT. Friends and teammates recall Tad being in an unusually somber mood in the ensuing days, making comments to the effect of “Rosa Parks received death threats for years after her courageous one-woman resistance on that bus back in 1955,” and “Rosa Parks, nearly broke, fled north to find work.”

Tad missed practice on November 9 and skipped a keg party on November 12. On the evening of November 16 Tad experienced several minutes of erectile dysfunction while attempting to bring the previous year’s prom queen to climax. The quarterback’s tailspin reached a nadir on the afternoon of Saturday, November 26 when during round 1 of the division playoffs Tad threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter en route to a 27-24 defeat at the hands of a clear underdog opponent.

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April 29, 2023

Failed Market Approaches to Long-Term Care

The interests of care workers should be aligned with those of service users. The interests of corporate owners of care homes are however aligned with those of their shareholders. In this Social Europe research essay, supported by the European Federation of Public Service Unions and Public Services International, Jason Ward of the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research documents the shocking results of privatisation of social care around the world. Public funds have been siphoned off into profits sequestered in secrecy jurisdictions, at the expense of care workers and service quality. Public ownership represents the urgently needed alternative.



https://www.socialeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Ward-RE13.pdf

Abstract

In countries where responsibility for long-term care of a growing elderly population has shifted significantly to the private sector, expectations of quality of service and standards of care are not being realised. This essay draws on prior research, analyses and case studies from Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and the United States.

Employment in longterm care has been growing but its largely female, often migrant, workforce has been subject to severe exploitation. High turnover and chronic staff shortages are exacerbated by low wages and excessive workloads, undermining the quality of care. Rather than funding improvements, private operators of long-term care regularly extract excessive revenues from public funding and private fees.

This pattern is common across ownership types: private equity, private business, public company and large-scale not-for-profit. In almost all cases, private operators put business interests—profits or expansion—ahead of quality of care. Government regulation has been largely insufficient to maintain acceptable standards but some reform efforts are beginning to emerge.

Greater worker participation and engagement with public health systems and communities must be part of the solution, to ensure higher quality, address chronic staff shortages and build public support for adequate, fair and transparent public funding. Further reforms and future funding increases should prioritise direct public provision, to ensure adequate standards and reduce profit extraction by private operators.

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April 29, 2023

If we do not abandon this utter folly of Blue State shifting to these non partisan Congressional and

State legislature map-drawing schemes, we are going to have a hard time clawing back both the US House and maintaining or clawing back some of the State chambers.

North Carolina is now going to go back to their hyper partisan pro-Rethug map which will likely yield an 8 net seat swing against us in the US House elections in 2024. We may well go from 7 Dems, 7 Rethugs, to 3 Dems, 11 Rethugs.

The Rethugs, now, due to that turncoat Dem switching parties, also have supermajorities in both NC State chambers, so we can no longer block them with a veto by Roy Cooper.


We already lost (in 2022) a net 12 to 16 seats in NY alone due to Cuomo's decade plus machinations in his endless wars with the NY progressives. We need to undue his damage ASAP.

He is one of the biggest legitimate targets (probably the biggest) as to why we lost the US House in 2022.

The 2014 NY Constitutional redistricting change was a Cuomo-led dodgy gambit:

https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/what-went-wrong-new-yorks-redistricting

In 2014, one of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s signature accomplishments was the passage of a constitutional amendment that changed the way the state’s political maps are drawn. Instead of the legislature drawing maps, a bipartisan advisory commission would draw maps in the first instance for consideration by the legislature. The amendment also for the first time created legally enforceable protections in state law against partisan gerrymandering.

At the time, Cuomo boasted that the amendment would “permanently reform the redistricting process in New York to once and for all end self-interested partisan gerrymandering.”

New York’s experience contrasts with that of states with more robust reforms like California and Michigan, where maps passed on a bipartisan basis (unanimously in California) and were upheld by courts. Here’s a look at three reasons why the New York process produced less than optimal results.

The 2014 New York reforms did not create a truly independent redistricting process.

Ultimately, most of the problems with how New York’s redistricting played out lie in the design of the 2014 reforms. Despite being described in New York law as “independent,” the changes in reality resulted in a process that remains far more open to political manipulation and is far less independent than those of states that adopted more comprehensive reforms.


Cuomo also prevented Dem control of the NY Senate for years with his Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) scheme. The IDC was a group of members of the New York State Senate from the Democratic Party who were elected as Democrats but formed a coalition to give the Republicans the majority in the chamber.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Democratic_Conference

Founded January 5, 2011
Dissolved April 16, 2018

Split from Democratic Party of New York
Merged into Democratic Party of New York

Ideology Modern liberalism
Conservative liberalism

Seats in the State Senate (at dissolution)
8 / 63

The Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) was a group of members of the New York State Senate from the Democratic Party who were elected as Democrats but formed a coalition to give the Republicans the majority in the chamber, and attempted to create an independent caucus or a third caucus in the New York State Senate or a third party in the State of New York and prevent the Republican Party from gerrymandering the state senate districts of the 8 IDC members. At the time of its dissolution, the IDC included eight members: Jeffrey D. Klein, Marisol Alcantara, Tony Avella, David Carlucci, Jesse Hamilton, Jose Peralta, Diane Savino, and David Valesky. Klein, Savino, Valesky, and Carlucci formed the IDC in 2011 due to disagreements with John L. Sampson, the Democratic leader in the New York State Senate. The IDC allied itself with Senate Republicans throughout its existence. During the 2013–14 legislative session, the IDC and the Senate Republican Conference controlled the Senate jointly, as the Senate Republicans did not have sufficient numbers to form a governing majority on their own.

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In the November 2012 elections, Democrats won a majority of seats in the State Senate. Following the election, the IDC formed a bipartisan coalition with the Senate Republican Conference that enabled the two conferences to control the Senate despite the Democrats' numerical majority. Under their power-sharing arrangement, the IDC and the Senate Republicans agreed to " decide what bills [would] reach the Senate floor each day of the session", would "dole out committee assignments", would "have the power to make appointments to state and local boards", and would "share negotiations over the state budget". Klein and Skelos also agreed that the title of Senate President would shift back and forth between the two of them every two weeks. Additionally, Simcha Felder, a Democratic senator-elect, announced he would caucus with the Republicans.

In December 2012, the IDC recruited Malcolm Smith to join its ranks. This move was part of a failed attempt by Smith to secure the Republican Party nomination in the New York City mayoral election; Smith was indicted on federal corruption charges, which led to his expulsion from the IDC on April 14, 2013, and his eventual conviction. On February 26, 2014, Tony Avella left the Senate Democratic Conference to join the IDC.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was actively involved in the formation of the conference, encouraging it to maintain Republican leadership of the chamber and providing tactical advice in order to keep more liberal New York City Democrats out of power.


And he DID pack the courts with conservatives.

The former governor stacked New York’s highest court with conservatives who hijacked the state’s redistricting process.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/11/2022-midterms-new-york-republicans-cuomo-maloney.html

A year ago, Democrats were wise to the possibility that the midterms might get ugly, but they had high hopes for New York. Red states across the country were redrawing voting districts to a new extreme, shoring up congressional advantages for their party. New York, it seemed, could do the same for Democrats—make the state even bluer, a competitive rejoinder to a redistricting cycle that seemed certain to play to Republicans’ advantage.

The year 2021 marked the first time in a century that the New York Democrats had total control of state government, giving them unimpeded power in redistricting. Party leaders “optimistically predicted that new district lines could safeguard Democrats and imperil as many as five Republican seats,” noted the New York Times. Rumors circulated that Dems could lock in as much as a 23 to 3 advantage. Today, all of that seems like a far-off fantasy.

A startling nine of New York’s 26 congressional seats are currently in play for the GOP; party leaders are flocking to the state to help campaign for Democrats holding on by a thread. Jill Biden announced Thursday that she would campaign for one such Democrat, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who opted to run in an easier, bluer district and was put in charge of House Democrats’ entire national reelection apparatus, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He’s now on the ropes.

What the hell happened here? And who’s to blame?

Luckily, there’s an easy answer for the last question: Look no further than erstwhile Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo. If Cuomo is known for anything beyond his miscreant behavior in office, it should be for his willingness to abet the state’s conservative forces for his personal gain, often to his own party’s disadvantage. Nowhere was this more obvious than his judicial appointments, where Cuomo routinely elevated conservative appointees—gleefully scoring points against his progressive opponents in Albany and New York City by moving the judicial branch rapidly to the right.

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His never-ending quest for power concentration and hatred of the NYC+ liberal/prog block in the 2 statehouse chambers, especially the Senate, his dodgy, so-called independent redistricting schemes, and his conservative court packing are likely the coups de grâce that ended up costing us control of the US House in 2022.

The original Dem map (26 seats, NY lost one seat to redistricting due to a TINY few thousand falling short in population)

in NY was

23-3 Dem favouring

21-5 strong Dem favouring

the final results are in, and they were disastrous

15 Dem 11 Rethug


so a net swing loss of 12 to 16 seats (6 to 8 loss for us, 6 to 8 gain for the Rethugs)
April 28, 2023

TL(PM) DIGEST: Nevertheless, inflation persisted



The changing face of inflation

https://www.liberalpatriot.com/i/117869738/the-changing-face-of-inflation

What happened? Economic growth slowed to 1.1 percent in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023, while wages grew at a healthy annual clip of 5.1 percent. Inflation continued its glacial retreat, but remained persistent with prices rising at an annual rate of 4.2 percent. But the underlying drivers of inflation have changed: services—not goods, food, or energy—accounted for most of last quarter’s price increases, and inflation itself no longer appears to be cancelling out wage increases.




Why does it matter? No one likes to pay more for the same goods and services, but public discontent with the state of the economy and concerns about inflation have more to do with the fact that inflation exceeded wage growth over the past two years—many Americans have been taking home more pay, yes, but not enough to keep up with rising prices. That gap seems to have closed in the recent data, but it remains to be seen whether or how long it will take for this new economic reality to affect ordinary Americans.

https://twitter.com/jeannasmialek/status/1651596080071557120


TLP’s take: Economic data continues to give policymakers and ordinary Americans mixed messages when it comes to employment, inflation, and overall economic growth. But this recent release suggests that Federal Reserve’s strategy to cool off the economy without risking a major recession is working, albeit not as quickly as many of us would like.
April 28, 2023

A Nebraska lawmaker faces an ethics investigation for simply being mother to a trans child

https://www.reckon.news/news/2023/04/this-is-harassment-nebraska-lawmaker-megan-hunt-slams-ethics-investigation-over-her-trans-child.html


Nebraska State Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha, is seen in the Legislative Chamber in Lincoln, Neb., Friday, March 1, 2019. Abortion supporters have scored a surprising victory in Nebraska, derailing a bill that would have automatically outlawed abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturns its decision to legalize the procedure.


Nebraska Democratic state Sen. Megan Hunt is being investigated for an alleged conflict of interest in her decision to vote against a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for people under 19. David D. Begley, a prominent Omaha attorney, filed the complaint on March 23, claiming that because Hunt is the mother of a trans child, she’s likely to benefit financially if the legislation, LB 574, does not become law.

On Wednesday, Hunt was informed by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission that the group would launch a formal probe into the matter. The lawmaker responded to the allegations the same day, speaking from the state Capitol. “This, colleagues, is not serious. This is harassment,” she said. “This is using the legal system that we have in our state to stop corruption, to increase transparency, to hold governments accountable and using it to harass a member of the Legislature.”

LB 574 was introduced in January by freshman Sen. Kathleen Kauth, a Republican. Hunt’s medical insurance and that of her child’s is provided by Medicaid, which is managed by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. Based on a speech Hunt gave on the state legislature floor, gender-affirming care for her child would cost $7,000 a month without insurance.

LB 574 states that “state funds shall not be directly or indirectly used, granted, paid or distributed to any entity, organization or individual that provides gender altering procedures to an individual younger than 19.” Gender-affirming care is not part of the state’s Medicaid coverage, however. In Begley’s complaint, he argues that “If LB 574 does not become law, then Sen. Hunt’s immediate family member could receive a financial benefit with Medicaid paying for the medical sources necessary to transition genders.”

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About Celerity

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