Keeping Donald Trump’s base happy

Lower education

Donald Trump, we know where you are (figure 1):[1]
109233971_3076439809099698_4184193387854969911_o
Fig. 1. Fowl Language Comic by Brian Gordon, posted on Facebook, July 13, 2020, fair use.


Higher education

Not that I’m really able to keep track of lawsuits against a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule expelling foreign students enrolled at on-line only colleges flying all over the place, but the lawsuits I now know about are those by 1) Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, supported by over 200 other schools, and in which a judge will supposedly hear arguments for an injunction today,[2] and 2) by the state of Massachusetts, joined by several other states, including Pennsylvania.[3] With COVID-19 case counts spiking around the country,[4] including places where these institutions are physically located,[5] it has to be even less likely the colleges and universities will reopen for in-person classes.[6] But I guess if it makes Donald Trump’s base happy, that’s all that matters.

Associated Press, “More than 200 schools, 17 states back lawsuits against Trump administration over international student rule,” CNBC, July 13, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/more-than-200-schools-17-states-back-lawsuits-against-trump-over-international-student-rule.html

John L. Micek, “Pa.’s Shapiro joins fellow AGs in lawsuit over Trump’s foreign student rule,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 13, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/pa-s-shapiro-joins-fellow-ags-in-lawsuit-over-trumps-foreign-student-rule/


  1. [1]Laura Meckler, “With pressure and threats, Trump pushes to fully reopen schools. Schools say: Not so fast,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/trump-schools-cdc-pence/2020/07/08/8a52d400-c14b-11ea-b4f6-cb39cd8940fb_story.html
  2. [2]Associated Press, “More than 200 schools, 17 states back lawsuits against Trump administration over international student rule,” CNBC, July 13, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/more-than-200-schools-17-states-back-lawsuits-against-trump-over-international-student-rule.html; Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines; Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142
  3. [3]Associated Press, “More than 200 schools, 17 states back lawsuits against Trump administration over international student rule,” CNBC, July 13, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/more-than-200-schools-17-states-back-lawsuits-against-trump-over-international-student-rule.html; John L. Micek, “Pa.’s Shapiro joins fellow AGs in lawsuit over Trump’s foreign student rule,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 13, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/pa-s-shapiro-joins-fellow-ags-in-lawsuit-over-trumps-foreign-student-rule/
  4. [4]Agence France-Presse, “Fauci warns U.S. is “knee-deep” in coronavirus first wave,” CBS News, July 7, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fauci-warns-us-knee-deep-coronavirus-first-wave/; Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; CBS News, “U.S. sees another record-breaking day with more than 63,000 coronavirus cases,” July 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cases-usa-63000-daily-record/; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; Jeet Heer, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, July 9, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1281071726596521984.html; Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html; Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Lisa Shumaker and Brendan O’Brien, “Record spike in new coronavirus cases reported in six U.S. states as reopening accelerates,” Reuters, June 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN23N32O; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3
  5. [5]Audrey Williams June, “Over 450 Colleges Are in Coronavirus Hot Spots,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 9, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Over-450-Colleges-Are-in/249156
  6. [6]Robert Kelchen, “Colleges Aren’t Reopening in the Fall,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Aren-t-Reopening-in/248803

Pittsburgh’s ‘bump’

Pandemic

The New York Times has noticed Allegheny County’s spike in COVID-19 cases:[1]

“I knew we would have a bump,” said [Pittsburgh] Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat. “The question is whether or not it would exceed the numbers that we had seen earlier. It not only exceeded them it doubled and I think tripled them. It wasn’t supposed to do that.”[2]

At the very end of the article, there’s a bit of discussion around the terminology “green phase,”[3] the nomenclature adopted by Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf, and the phase under which restaurants and bars were allowed to open for indoor service:[4]

“To anybody from a 2-year-old to a 100-year-old, ‘green’ means go,” Ms. [Bethany] Hallam said “We went to green and everybody went wild.”

“The world is not green,” she said, “until we have a cure or a vaccine.”[5]

I’ve heard something like this from my passengers. But at this point, I just think people are being psychopaths.[6] Because my observation isn’t so much like a light switch between “yellow” and “green” phase, but rather a gradual diminution of people’s compliance that I saw as traffic steadily increased, people started gathering more and more, and as I wondered how sustainable this lockdown was.

This is not about people misinterpreting the signal. It’s about people using any excuse, really any rationalization, they can find to flout the rules, entirely regardless of the fact that they’re killing people, entirely regardless of the fact that they’re being psychopaths.

As a way of exploring this, suppose I put to you the following question: Would you go to a bar if to do so would kill one or more people?

Your answer would likely be a resounding no. You might even question whether I was a psychopath for entertaining this as an ethical question.

But people in Allegheny County have been going to bars and socializing, defying social distancing requirements and face mask requirements,[7] in full knowledge that to do so will kill people. They are even competing to catch COVID-19.[8] They are pursuing their own ends without regard even to grievous consequences.[9] This is far beyond “selfish,” and to call this anything less than “psychopathy” is to drain the latter word of any meaning.

Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html


China

Possibly because of my own experience with bullying by my father, my schoolmates, capitalism,[10] and, oh yes, the police,[11] including both physical and structural violence, I’m not even a little bit opposed to the U.S. decision to official reject China’s claims in the South China Sea.[12] I don’t expect China to respond well to this. But then, China seems not to respond well to any message it doesn’t like. And I remember all too well that conceding to bullies does not make them stop. I just don’t know what a coherent response to China’s bullying, in the South China Sea, in Xinjiang, in Tibet, in Hong Kong, possibly with countries it shares borders with (I think India is not the only country here), and probably in other places I either don’t remember or don’t know about, would be. But I do see, quite clearly, that it is a bully, um, just like a few other powerful countries.

Chun Han Wong, “U.S. Rejects Most Chinese Maritime Claims in South China Sea,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-set-to-reject-certain-chinese-maritime-claims-in-south-china-sea-11594661229


  1. [1]Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html
  2. [2]Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html
  3. [3]Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html
  4. [4]Jamie Martines, “Gov. Wolf to move Allegheny, Westmoreland, other counties to green phase,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-move-allegheny-westmoreland-other-counties-to-green-phase/; WPXI, “16 more Pa. counties going green next Friday, Gov. Wolf says,” May 29, 2020, https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/9-local-counties-move-into-green-phase-next-week/SVG7FMAIZ5AX3CXJMNXJBQR234/
  5. [5]Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/; David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/05/the-expendable-worker/
  7. [7]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 90 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total for county,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-highest-daily-total-of-coronavirus-cases-at-90/; Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-215-new-coronavirus-cases-1-new-death/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Officials: Spike In New Coronavirus Cases Linked To Bars, Not Protests,” June 29, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/29/spike-in-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-bars-not-protests/; Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/; Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/; Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “83 new cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County, no new deaths,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/83-new-cases-of-coronavirus-in-allegheny-county-no-new-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/; Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/; WTAE, “Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in Pennsylvania,” July 1, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/masks-are-now-mandatory-in-all-public-spaces-in-pennsylvania/33026253; WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080
  8. [8]Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/
  9. [9]Kara Mayer Robinson, “Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What’s the Difference?” WebMD, 2014, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/sociopath-psychopath-difference
  10. [10]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “To a Pennsylvania House Minority Leader: When cops profile you, they don’t actually need an offense,” Not Housebroken, January 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/16/to-a-pennsylvania-house-minority-leader-when-cops-profile-you-they-dont-actually-need-an-offense/
  12. [12]Chun Han Wong, “U.S. Rejects Most Chinese Maritime Claims in South China Sea,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-set-to-reject-certain-chinese-maritime-claims-in-south-china-sea-11594661229

We don’t know where bottom is with this pandemic

Pandemic

Y’all know I’m not a sugar-coating kind of guy anyway, but I don’t think there is a way to sugar-coat the possibility that some who survive a bout with COVID-19 might remain vulnerable to reinfection and that this may well eliminate the possibility of “herd immunity.”[1] I’ve already warned against counting on herd immunity.[2] Now I get to notice that the news with the novel coronavirus keeps getting worse. We don’t know where bottom is with this.

By the way, here’s the text of a notification I received from Allegheny County:

This is the COVID-19 Daily Update from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) for July 12, 2020.

Today’s report of 4,962 cases includes 200 new cases and 8 new hospitalizations out of 1,990 test results. There are no new deaths reported. In the newest cases, ages range from 2 months to 95 years old with the median age being 35. Positive results are from tests that span June 26 through July 11.

The full detail follows:

COVID Cases – 4,962 (+ 200)

This number includes 4,771 confirmed cases and 191 probable cases.

The ages, as well as the percentage of cases represented, of those in the county with COVID-19 are listed below.

00-04 – 47 (1%)
05-12 – 72 (1%)
13-18 – 140 (3%)
19-24 – 888 (18%)
25-49 – 2,002 (40%)
50-64 – 930 (19%)
65 + — 883 (18%)

The gender of those with COVID-19 are listed below:

Female – 2,640 (53%)
Male – 2,322 (47%)

Additionally, there are 464 past or present hospitalizations (+ 8).

To date, there have been 198 deaths (no change). Of those, 186 are confirmed and 12 probable. All deaths are of individuals ranging in age from 23-103, with 84 being the median age of those who have died.

Wearing masks, washing your hands and maintaining physical distance from others is absolutely essential to keep our community safe – now more than ever. Please limit travel and errands to only those that are necessary and take the appropriate steps to protect those around you. Your vigilance can allow us to keep our businesses open and continue to support the economy.

More detailed information is available on the county’s dashboard at https://bit.ly/ACHDcovid-19

I can say it with certainty now. Allegheny County has not got this under control. Period.

D. Clay Ackerly, “My patient caught Covid-19 twice. So long to herd immunity hopes,” Vox, July 12, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/7/12/21321653/getting-covid-19-twice-reinfection-antibody-herd-immunity


  1. [1]D. Clay Ackerly, “My patient caught Covid-19 twice. So long to herd immunity hopes,” Vox, July 12, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/7/12/21321653/getting-covid-19-twice-reinfection-antibody-herd-immunity
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Don’t bet on ‘herd immunity,’” Not Housebroken, July 12, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/18/dont-bet-on-herd-immunity/

Allegheny County is not getting COVID-19 under control after all

There is a new blog post entitled, “Inanity and a populist constitutional republic.”


Pandemic

I’m not sure what changed from this morning, but the picture in Allegheny County looks considerably bleaker this evening (figure 1).
FireShot Capture 212 - Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death - Tri_ - triblive.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot by author, July 12, 2020, of chart from the Tribune-Review of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County.[1]

Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death,” Tribune-Review, July 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-215-new-coronavirus-cases-1-new-death/


  1. [1]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death,” Tribune-Review, July 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-215-new-coronavirus-cases-1-new-death/

It’s ba-a-a-ack!!!! Hydroxychloroquine

Pandemic

The latest on the spike in COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County[1] is starting to look better (figure 1):
FireShot Capture 209 - COVID-19 - www.alleghenycounty.us
Fig. 1. Screenshot by author on July 11, 2020 of Allegheny County graphics on COVID-19 cases.[2]

The darkest area on the map (figure 1) is Penn Hills.

The graphics for case and death counts (figure 1) are a little weird. The yellow lines indicate cumulative cases, so these lines can only go up and will never go down. The legend for these lines is on the right side. The recent grey bars represent preliminary values.

I would have to republish Sarah Jones’ entire article to do it justice. A couple highlights:

The virus is an efficient killer, but it has accomplices. In New York, ProPublica reports, Governor Andrew Cuomo may have placed nursing-home residents in unnecessary danger. By requiring facilities to accept all medically stable patients, even if they were COVID-positive, and prohibiting them from testing would-be residents for the virus, Cuomo opened their doors to infection. New Jersey enforced a similar policy, with similarly deadly results. Governors calculated the risks in front of them and, as hospital beds ran low, shifted the burden to those least able to shoulder it. Forcing the sick into nursing homes may have relieved local hospitals, at least for a while. It also sacrificed the elderly and the disabled to disease – though that’s a conclusion the state of New York itself disputes. . . .

As coronavirus carves through the elderly, it tells us something ugly about the high price of the American project. The prosperity it engenders is real but limited; it is exclusionary by design. Wealth flows upward, where it stays, and creates an inverted pyramid that bloats at the top then vanishes to a fine point at the bottom. Proper care for the elderly and for people with disabilities requires what some corporate executives might call a restructuring — an unpalatable task for those already at the top. Coronavirus lays the consequences bare. In the U.S. the elderly and the disabled aren’t quite unworthy of life, fit only for extermination. But they exist somewhere in the same hostile neighborhood. Life is expensive, which makes it a luxury. Whatever care we extend to the aged we consider a gift, or an act of charity, and not something we owe them because they exist.[3]

The crisis is especially severe for elders among American Indians and other non-white groups.[4] But clearly, we just don’t fucking care.

I guess my big accomplishment for the year is that I learned how to spell ‘hydroxychloroquine.’ I guess I can check that one off my bucket list. But in the meantime, Donald Trump is back[5] to selling dangerous[6] snake oil.[7] Oh, and I see we’re back to calling it the ‘China virus,’[8] because ‘coronavirus’ doesn’t stigmatize anybody. But oh yeah, I can’t imagine a better doctor than Trump.[9]

Sarah Jones, “No One Should Be Surprised That America Abandoned the Elderly to Die,” New York, July 9, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/america-is-sacrificing-the-elderly-to-coronavirus.html

Laurie McGinley and Josh Dawsey, “Touting criticized study, White House presses FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine — again,” Washington Post, July 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/07/10/peter-navarro-hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus/


  1. [1]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 90 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total for county,” Tribune-Review, June 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-highest-daily-total-of-coronavirus-cases-at-90/; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Officials: Spike In New Coronavirus Cases Linked To Bars, Not Protests,” June 29, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/29/spike-in-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-bars-not-protests/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/; Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/; Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “83 new cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County, no new deaths,” Tribune-Review, June 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/83-new-cases-of-coronavirus-in-allegheny-county-no-new-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/; Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/; WTAE, “Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in Pennsylvania,” July 1, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/masks-are-now-mandatory-in-all-public-spaces-in-pennsylvania/33026253; WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080
  2. [2]Allegheny County, “COVID-19,” n.d., https://www.alleghenycounty.us/Health-Department/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19.aspx
  3. [3]Sarah Jones, “No One Should Be Surprised That America Abandoned the Elderly to Die,” New York, July 9, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/america-is-sacrificing-the-elderly-to-coronavirus.html
  4. [4]Sarah Jones, “No One Should Be Surprised That America Abandoned the Elderly to Die,” New York, July 9, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/america-is-sacrificing-the-elderly-to-coronavirus.html
  5. [5]Laurie McGinley and Josh Dawsey, “Touting criticized study, White House presses FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine — again,” Washington Post, July 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/07/10/peter-navarro-hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus/
  6. [6]Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-24/fda-warns-against-using-trump-touted-drugs-to-treat-coronavirus; Marilynn Marchione, “Heart woes spur partial stop of malaria drug study for virus,” Washington Post, April 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/heart-woes-spur-partial-stop-of-malaria-drug-study-for-virus/2020/04/13/c6460050-7db6-11ea-84c2-0792d8591911_story.html
  7. [7]Laurie McGinley and Josh Dawsey, “Touting criticized study, White House presses FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine — again,” Washington Post, July 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/07/10/peter-navarro-hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus/; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/rick-bright-trump-hydroxychloroquine.html; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trump wants to lift lockdowns. Other countries’ attempts show why the U.S. isn’t ready,” Washington Post, April 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/21/trump-wants-lift-lockdowns-other-countries-attempts-show-why-us-isnt-ready/; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/07/real-reason-trump-is-obsessed-with-hydroxychloroquine/
  8. [8]Laurie McGinley and Josh Dawsey, “Touting criticized study, White House presses FDA to authorize hydroxychloroquine — again,” Washington Post, July 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/07/10/peter-navarro-hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief,” Not Housebroken, April 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/25/the-dangerous-and-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief/

If you haven’t gone vegan, both human and nonhuman blood is on your hands

So there was thunder and lightning and even some significant rain today in Pittsburgh. But it wasn’t the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay, which tracked north into central New York (figure 1).
ecan
Fig. 1. 72-hour gif of Eastern Canada satellite photographs, two hours apart.

The weather I saw today came from the west, in a front that seemingly materialized from nowhere. It does look like Fay diverted some airflow to make it all possible.


Pandemic

So do you remember when nonhuman animal flesh (“meat”) plants started closing, Donald Trump ordered them to reopen, and workers expressed reluctance[1] and kept getting sick anyway?[2] That’s part of the story[3] of this recent spike in cases.[4]

But did you listen when I told you to go vegan?[5] If not, both nonhuman and human blood is on your hands.

CBS News, “U.S. sees another record-breaking day with more than 63,000 coronavirus cases,” July 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cases-usa-63000-daily-record/

Lauren Hilgers, “How Two Waves of Coronavirus Cases Swept Through the Texas Panhandle,” New Yorker, July 10, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/dispatch/how-two-waves-of-coronavirus-cases-swept-through-the-texas-panhandle


  1. [1]Ann Colwell and Rob McLean, “Meat plant workers to Trump: Employees aren’t going to show up,” CNN, April 29, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/29/business/meat-processing-plant-workers-reaction-executive-order/index.html; Taylor Telford and Kimberly Kindy, “Trump to order meat plants to stay open in pandemic, person familiar with action says,” Washington Post, April 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/28/trump-meat-plants-dpa/
  2. [2]Taylor Telford, “The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick — and shortages may get worse,” Washington Post, May 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/25/meat-industry-is-trying-get-back-normal-workers-are-still-getting-sick-shortages-may-get-worse/
  3. [3]Lauren Hilgers, “How Two Waves of Coronavirus Cases Swept Through the Texas Panhandle,” New Yorker, July 10, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/dispatch/how-two-waves-of-coronavirus-cases-swept-through-the-texas-panhandle
  4. [4]Agence France-Presse, “Fauci warns U.S. is “knee-deep” in coronavirus first wave,” CBS News, July 7, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fauci-warns-us-knee-deep-coronavirus-first-wave/; Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; CBS News, “U.S. sees another record-breaking day with more than 63,000 coronavirus cases,” July 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cases-usa-63000-daily-record/; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; Jeet Heer, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, July 9, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1281071726596521984.html; Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html; Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Lisa Shumaker and Brendan O’Brien, “Record spike in new coronavirus cases reported in six U.S. states as reopening accelerates,” Reuters, June 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN23N32O; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Nonhuman animal flesh, race, capitalism, and the novel coronavirus,” Not Housebroken, May 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/26/nonhuman-animal-flesh-capitalism-and-the-novel-coronavirus/

Tropical Storm Fay

I haven’t been keeping records, but so far this summer in Pittsburgh has been hot, humid, and relatively rain-free. Yesterday was the first day I really started seeing some thunderstorms, but even then, the rain was really relatively light. A flash flood advisory went out but came to nothing.

This is in stark contrast to what I remember of last summer, where it seemed like every day we had horrendous thunderstorms and a deluge. It seemed like every day we had severe weather warnings, flash flood warnings, or at least one of the two.

But Tropical Storm Fay has formed (figure 1):
ecan
Fig. 1. 72-hour gif of Eastern Canada satellite photos, two hours apart.

I don’t really expect any of that to come our way. I think it won’t make it past central Pennsylvania. But it’s interesting nonetheless.

The previous issue saw updates right up through 5:56 am this morning (July 10).


We are apparently not yet at a New York City in March level of crisis

Updates

  1. Originally published, 11:25 am.
  2. July 9, 10:39 pm:
    • The Wall Street Journal article on eastern Oklahoma being American Indian land has been updated[1] and the Washington Post also has an account account than the one I saw earlier.[2] The reservation land apparently does not include Tulsa after all, but adjoins it and the ruling applies only to the treaty with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, although treaties with other tribes are similar; these claims could amount to nearly half the land in Oklahoma (figure 3). Also, I had the part about which courts should have had jurisdiction wrong: These proceedings should have occurred in federal courts.[3]
    • The Washington Post story on the Supreme Court’s ruling on financial records has also been updated. It seems the Manhattan prosecutor will not obtain immediate access to Donald Trump’s financial records. A battle in the lower courts likely lies ahead.[4]
    • Matt Ford dismisses fears[5] that Donald Trump might refuse to leave office if he loses the election.[6] Ford relies on state governors and secretaries of state certifying election results[7] where others understand state legislatures as appointing or failing to appoint electoral college delegates.[8] I see a difference here but honestly don’t know how realistic it is or how much it amounts to.
  3. July 9, 11:09 pm:
    • I almost forgot. . . . You remember that sign I described on the outskirts of Duquesne? For the last couple or so weeks, it’s had a new message (figure 1):
      IMG_20200709_185558
      Fig. 1. Photograph by author, July 9, 2020.

      The Republic of China is Taiwan so I think s/he means the People’s Republic of China, that is, mainland China, which has been a state capitalist regime for decades now. Welcome to southwestern Pennsylvania, where batshit crazy is, I guess, the thing to be.

  4. July 10, 5:56 am:
    • Something I apparently missed from the day before (July 8) is that Allegheny County has issued new rules[9] that replace the old rules[10] forbidding indoor service at bars and restaurants. The new rules will be in effect for two weeks and allow outside service at these establishments.[11] A lot of people, myself included, have thought we’re inevitably heading back to Governor Tom Wolf’s yellow phase, but the Allegheny County orders are likely meant to forestall that. The question is whether the case counts will drop. So far, we really can’t say with any conviction that they have (figure 2).[12]

Pandemic

FireShot Capture 206 - Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizatio_ - triblive.com
Fig. 2. Screenshot taken July 10, 2020 by author of Allegheny County COVID-19 daily case count chart from the Tribune-Review, July 9.[13]

In places where COVID-19 cases are spiking around the U.S., we are apparently not yet[14] at a New York City in March level of crisis.[15] But it’s bad[16] and yet the Trump administration is pressing to fully reopen schools both at the K-12 level[17] and the post-secondary level[18] even as psychopaths already congregate to spread the disease.[19]

1. I try not to be a downer but it’s difficult to view what is happening in the United States as anything other than a massive and unnecessary disaster. The pandemic is spinning out of control as in no other nation on earth & Trump opposes any serious solution.

2. First and foremost there will be a massive human cost of the dead and also (never forget) those scarred for life with chronic conditions. Beyond that, there is no path to real economic recovery unless pandemic brought under control.

3. There’s a global impact as well. Even assuming most other nations get this under control, the fact is the American consumer is the engine that pulls the global economy. There will be no full recovery without USA, meaning a poorer world for years to come.

4. Even if Biden wins in November, he doesn’t assume presidency until January 21, 2021. Will it even be possible to bring things under control by then? And he’ll preside over country with 30-40% population Trumpized, wary of masks, conspiratorial.

5. Maybe someone can talk me out of this but I really don’t see anything but a very rocky road for USA for the foreseeable future.[20]

So, gee, I wonder why this is already not ending well.

While we’re on the topic of things that don’t end well, remember that rally in Tulsa? The one that Donald Trump scheduled despite medical advice to the contrary and that attendees were supposed to sign a waiver against liability for COVID-19 for?[21] The one that filled the arena to less than one-third capacity,[22] a showing that Trump blamed protesters for[23] and social media users claimed credit for[24] but can likely be attributed to Trump’s white supremacist idiocy?[25] Yeah, that one. Well, it “‘likely contributed’ to a dramatic surge in new coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday [July 8].”[26]

Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html

Laura Meckler, “With pressure and threats, Trump pushes to fully reopen schools. Schools say: Not so fast,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/trump-schools-cdc-pence/2020/07/08/8a52d400-c14b-11ea-b4f6-cb39cd8940fb_story.html

Sean Murphy, “Health official: Trump rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge,” Associated Press, July 8, 2020, copy in possession of author

WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080

Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/


Oklahoma

FireShot Capture 203 - Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rule_ - www.wsj.com
Fig. 3. Screenshot by author of Wall Street Journal map, July 9, 2020, showing Five Nations claims.[27]

Speaking of Tulsa, the Supreme Court upheld Muscogee (Creek) Nation claims to some of the eastern half of Oklahoma, including territory adjoining Tulsa. It only applies to the treaty with the Mucogee, but treaties with the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole tribes are similar. The immediate practical effect is to call into question an awful lot of court proceedings that apparently should have occurred in federal courts.[28] But of course the implications go far beyond that and it’s going to be awfully interesting to see how this plays.

Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003

Ann E. Marimow, “American Indian Lands Include Eastern Oklahoma, Supreme Court Rules,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003


Donald Trump

A Manhattan prosecutor has the right to seek Donald Trump’s financial records for a grand jury investigation and Trump has no right to “presidential immunity” in these cases. Which means they’ll probably be under wraps until after November. But the Supreme Court sent the separation of powers question over congressional subpoenas for the same or similar information back to the lower courts.[29] It’s a defeat for Trump, but a defeat neatly deferred until after the election, and which some will therefore call a victory.

I guess we can look forward to Joe Biden pardoning Trump if indeed Biden wins this November. Because as Barack Obama demonstrated,[30] that’s just how the Democrats roll.[31]

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may see Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-tax-returns-financial-records/2020/07/09/8f274352-c1e2-11ea-9fdd-b7ac6b051dc8_story.html


  1. [1]Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  2. [2]Ann E. Marimow, “American Indian Lands Include Eastern Oklahoma, Supreme Court Rules,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  3. [3]Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  4. [4]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may see Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-tax-returns-financial-records/2020/07/09/8f274352-c1e2-11ea-9fdd-b7ac6b051dc8_story.html
  5. [5]Matt Ford, “Fear of a Forever-Trump Administration,” New Republic, July 9, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/158415/trump-refuses-to-step-down
  6. [6]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  7. [7]Matt Ford, “Fear of a Forever-Trump Administration,” New Republic, July 9, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/158415/trump-refuses-to-step-down
  8. [8]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/; Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  9. [9]WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080
  10. [10]Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/
  11. [11]WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080
  12. [12]Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/
  13. [13]Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/
  14. [14]Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html
  15. [15]Ariana Eunjung Cha et al., “Faced with a crush of patients, besieged NYC hospitals struggle with life-or-death decisions,” Washington Post, March 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/31/new-york-city-hospitals-coronavirus/
  16. [16]Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html
  17. [17]Laura Meckler, “With pressure and threats, Trump pushes to fully reopen schools. Schools say: Not so fast,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/trump-schools-cdc-pence/2020/07/08/8a52d400-c14b-11ea-b4f6-cb39cd8940fb_story.html
  18. [18]Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines; Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142
  19. [19]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/; David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/05/the-expendable-worker/
  20. [20]Jeet Heer, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, July 9, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1281071726596521984.html
  21. [21]Oliver Milman, “Trump campaign asks supporters to sign coronavirus waiver ahead of rally,” Guardian, June 12, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/12/trump-rally-supporters-sign-coronavirus-waiver
  22. [22]Andrew Solender, “Turnout At Trump’s Tulsa Rally Was Just Under 6,200–A Fraction Of The Venue’s 19,200 Capacity,” Forbes, June 21, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2020/06/21/turnout-at-trumps-tulsa-rally-was-just-under-6200a-fraction-of-the-venues-19200-capacity/
  23. [23]Eugene Daniels, “Trump campaign blames protesters for disappointing turnout at Tulsa rally,” Politico, June 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/20/trump-rally-tulsa-coronavirus-reset-2020-campaign-330248
  24. [24]Taylor Lorenz, Kellen Browning, and Sheera Frenkel, “TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally,” New York Times, June 21, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/style/tiktok-trump-rally-tulsa.html; Donie O’Sullivan, “TikTok users are trying to troll Trump’s campaign by reserving tickets for Tulsa rally they’ll never use,” CNN, June 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/16/politics/tiktok-trump-tulsa-rally-trnd/index.html
  25. [25]Yashar Ali, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, June 21, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/embed/1274547228619636738.html; David Benfell, “Donald Trump’s humiliation: A million expected for a 19,000-seat venue; less than 6,200 show up,” Not Housebroken, June 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/06/21/donald-trumps-humiliation-a-million-expected-for-a-19000-seat-venue-less-than-6200-show-up/
  26. [26]Sean Murphy, “Health official: Trump rally ‘likely’ source of virus surge,” Associated Press, July 8, 2020, copy in possession of author
  27. [27]Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  28. [28]Jess Bravin and Kris Maher, “Swath of Oklahoma Falls Within Indian Reservation, Supreme Court Rules,” Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-indian-lands-include-eastern-oklahoma-supreme-court-rules-11594304003
  29. [29]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutor may see Trump’s financial records, denies Congress access for now,” Washington Post, July 9, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-trump-tax-returns-financial-records/2020/07/09/8f274352-c1e2-11ea-9fdd-b7ac6b051dc8_story.html
  30. [30]Glenn Greenwald, “Obama’s justice department grants final immunity to Bush’s CIA torturers,” Guardian, August 31, 2012, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/31/obama-justice-department-immunity-bush-cia-torturer; David Johnston and Charlie Savage, “Obama Reluctant to Look Into Bush Programs,” New York Times, January 11, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/12/us/politics/12inquire.html; Elizabeth Holtzman, “Statutes of Limitations Are Expiring on Some Bush Crimes,” Nation, March 20, 2013, https://www.thenation.com/article/statutes-limitations-are-expiring-some-bush-crimes/
  31. [31]David Benfell, “Bipartisan ‘meritocracy’ and ‘vote Blue no matter who,’” Not Housebroken, February 6, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/02/06/bipartisan-meritocracy-and-vote-blue-no-matter-who/

You know it won’t be the psychopaths who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance because they wanna go to bars who wind up homeless

Evictions

I wonder if that plan to help renters[1] is bottled up in committee for the same stupid-ass reason as the recreational marijuana bill.[2] Meanwhile, time is running out[3] and you know it won’t be the psychopaths who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance because they wanna go to bars who wind up homeless.[4]

Renatta Signorini, “As time ticks down on eviction ban in Pennsylvania, crush of court cases expected,” Tribune-Review, July 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/as-time-ticks-down-on-eviction-ban-in-pennsylvania-crush-of-court-cases-expected/


Higher education

The Chronicle of Higher Education article[5] fleshes out my comments in the last issue. I hadn’t seen it before I published that issue, but I’ve added a citation and listed the article there as well.

Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142


Pandemic


  1. [1]John L. Micek, “Pa. is facing a wave of evictions. Two state House lawmakers have a plan to help,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/commentary/pa-is-facing-a-wave-of-evictions-two-state-house-lawmakers-have-a-plan-to-help-tuesday-morning-coffee/
  2. [2]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  3. [3]Renatta Signorini, “As time ticks down on eviction ban in Pennsylvania, crush of court cases expected,” Tribune-Review, July 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/as-time-ticks-down-on-eviction-ban-in-pennsylvania-crush-of-court-cases-expected/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/
  5. [5]Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142

Pennsylvania bummer

Pennsylvania

As I understood it, it was the potential tax revenue that got California state officials to buy into legalization of recreational marijuana. So look what’s happening now that Pennsylvania has a budget problem.[1] Well, maybe.

I first heard about this possibility last September going into October.[2] I heard about it again in February.[3]

So far, I haven’t heard about any actual movement. Apparently it’s bottled up in committee:

State Sen. [Patrick] Stefano chairs the Law and Justice Committee and oversees the state’s liquor, police and marijuana.

“The bill to legalize recreational adult use marijuana is in my committee and I don’t plan on bringing it up anytime soon yet. We have a lot of research yet to do.” . . .

State Sen. Stefano said his committee is doing research and looking into new studies. He tells KDKA’s Meghan Schiller the biggest hold up right now is that there’s no way to measure THC in a person’s body. He said until there’s a tool to measure intoxication, he’s hesitant to move forward.[4]

What an ass. He asks, “Why don’t we look at controlling our spending first?”[5] In a pandemic, during which this legislature wasn’t nearly so cautious about trying to overturn Tom Wolf’s lockdown,[6] a move rejected by the state supreme court,[7] and which he appears to have lifted too soon at least in Allegheny County.[8]

I hate the Pennsylvania legislature.

Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/


Higher Education

I am, of course, entirely sympathetic to the suit Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have filed against a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule requiring international students at online-only universities, even those switching to online-only on account of the pandemic, to go home.[9] And make no mistake: The harm is great. There are a number of students who, thanks to Trump administration malice, might not be able to re-enter the country if and when their universities ever do go back to in-person instruction.[10] This is a malicious, evil rule.

That doesn’t make me optimistic that the universities will succeed in overturning it. If the purpose of a student visa is to enable students to attend in-person classes, then it quite logically follows that they don’t need to be here when those classes aren’t being held. And there is considerable question about the ability of universities, even those that have sworn to do so, to reopen for in-person classes this year.[11] And, by the way, I don’t trust a lot of students to observe social distancing and mask-wearing rules either, certainly not when so many seem so amenable to the very stupidest notions of conformity with the stupidest of their peers,[12] which is to say that additional caution will certainly be warranted.

That means a lot of kids may be headed home and, oh, how I wish it were otherwise.

Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines

Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142


  1. [1]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  2. [2]Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756; Kara Seymour, “PA Governor Calls For Legalizing Recreational Marijuana,” Patch, September 25, 2019, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/gutg4/pa-governor-calls-for-legalizing-recreational-marijuana
  3. [3]WTAE, “New bill to legalize recreational marijuana unveiled by state lawmaker from Pittsburgh,” February 20, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/recreational-marijuana-bill-pittsburgh-state-rep-jake-wheatley/31025380
  4. [4]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  5. [5]Patrick Stefano, quoted in Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  6. [6]Associated Press, “Pennsylvania GOP seeks to dismantle Wolf’s shutdown,” Tribune-Review, June 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-gop-seeks-to-dismantle-wolfs-shutdown/; Nick Matoney, “‘We can’t do this for another 90 days’: Pa. General Assembly votes to end COVID-19 emergency declaration,” WTAE, June 10, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/we-cant-do-this-for-another-90-days-pa-general-assembly-votes-to-end-covid-19-emergency-declaration/32821325
  7. [7]Elizabeth Hardison and Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Supreme Court throws out GOP challenge to Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency order,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-supreme-court-throws-out-gop-challenge-to-wolfs-covid-19-emergency-order/
  8. [8]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 90 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total for county,” Tribune-Review, June 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-highest-daily-total-of-coronavirus-cases-at-90/; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Officials: Spike In New Coronavirus Cases Linked To Bars, Not Protests,” June 29, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/29/spike-in-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-bars-not-protests/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/; Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/; Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “83 new cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County, no new deaths,” Tribune-Review, June 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/83-new-cases-of-coronavirus-in-allegheny-county-no-new-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/; Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/; WTAE, “Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in Pennsylvania,” July 1, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/masks-are-now-mandatory-in-all-public-spaces-in-pennsylvania/33026253
  9. [9]Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines
  10. [10]Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142
  11. [11]Robert Kelchen, “Colleges Aren’t Reopening in the Fall,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Aren-t-Reopening-in/248803
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Women’s lives are still expendable,” Not Housebroken, October 22, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/10/22/womens-lives-are-still-expendable/