The pro-Israeli scorpion is only part of this story

Updates

  1. Originally published, February 18, 2:59 pm.
  2. February 19, 12:52 am:
    • Oh wow. I forgot to give this post a title. It has one now, “The pro-Israeli scorpion is only part of this story.”
    • Several states have sued over Donald Trump’s border wall ’emergency.’[1] (Unauthorized migration)
    • British businesses want Theresa May to rule out a hard Brexit.[2] (Brexit)
  3. February 19, 2:29 pm:
    • To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to summarize this New Yorker article on so-called Ridesharing services. It covers a lot of ground, rambles a bit, and, I suspect, just might be the pre-runner to a book.[3]
    • Jeff Sparrow writes of Australia, but his comments regarding the politics of Climate Change[4] apply more broadly.
    • One thing I can promise is that the Census Bureau’s claim to be able to overcome the problem of an incompletely estimated 630,000 people failing to respond to the 2020 Census questionnaire due to the citizenship question will not work out the way the Bureau now—in stark contrast to earlier opposition to the question—claims it will.[5] And I’m pretty confident that, while they will likely remain silent, most Census Bureau workers, certainly those above the level of field representative, are quite well aware of this. (Unauthorized migration)
  4. February 20, 1:08 am:
    • Originally, I wasn’t going to archive this story,[6] but it neatly encapsulates the ideology that lends weight to my conviction that traffic engineers are actually malicious.[7] It’s about Cambridge, Massachusetts, where officials decided a while ago to reduce the rate of car ownership in their town. They have not been as successful as they hoped,[8] which should be an object lesson on the topic of “getting people out of their cars,” a planning mantra, that Sebastopol implemented with its “Cittaslow” (I’ll call it “ShitAssSlow“) program that took away car lanes on a state highway in favor of (so far) lightly used bike lanes.[9] Unfortunately, this article is entirely too optimistic about the Cambridge project,[10] offering other strategies that Sebastopol officials might emulate. I just can’t wait.
  5. February 20, 3:26 am:
    • So the latest developments in a story I’ve mostly been rolling my eyes about and not archiving because some things are just too much, are that newly-inaugurated California Governor Gavin Newsom temporarily scaled back now-former Governor Jerry Brown’s pet California High-Speed Rail project to something that might actually be achievable, even unambitious, and certainly not sexy, while the rest is to be reconsidered. So now Donald Trump has gotten involved, demanding California refund federal contributions for the project. The article includes a lot of background (and yeah, as if you had to ask, of course, Trump is full of shit).[11]
  6. February 21, 1:41 am:
    • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against state Civil Asset Forfeiture abuses.[12]
    • After Jeremy Corbyn suffered from seven[13] eight defections from the U.K. Labour Party, Theresa May suffered from three defections from her Conservatives.[14] I’m definitely counting this as a Brexit sideshow for now.
  7. February 21, 4:23 pm:
  8. February 22, 2:30 am:
    • “Theresa May has been warned by a group of 100 moderate Tory MPs that they are prepared to rebel against the Government to force her to delay Brexit if she cannot reach a deal.” They want her to rule out a hard Brexit.[15] I would suggest that there needs to be some evidence that delay can solve anything. All I can see is that it would shield some delusions.

I’ve lived on the west coast almost my entire life. Almost.

But one of the things I remember from a couple years back east is a change in the wind.

It’s really just a slight gust of wind that comes from a different direction. You hear it in the leaves of the trees and you feel it not only for the gust but because it heralds a different air mass that literally feels different. Back east, it portends a change in the weather. If it’s sunny, hot, and humid, and you feel that gust, you know that in a little bit, the weather will be very different, possibly pouring down rain, with lightning and thunder.

People back east get attuned to this. They notice it and react; I remember retreating to a veranda to watch the show, maybe with a glass of lemonade.

I’m still attuned, but out here, that little gust doesn’t mean as much. Our weather grows warmer during the day, the fog may burn off, but we don’t often go from sunny, hot, and humid to pouring down rain, lightning, and thunder. I notice the gust in the fall, when it tells me the season has arrived.

As I stepped out of the house this morning (February 20), I felt that gust of wind. The clouds are weird—one of the ways the weather has changed around here since I was a child—but when I looked at the satellite photo, it appears we’re sheltered from rain by high pressure for now.

I know, you’re expecting some dramatic point to all of this. But this isn’t back east. Like that gust of wind I felt this morning, it probably means nothing at all. Probably.


The text formerly here has been edited and posted in a new research journal entry, “The tragedy of the roads.”


Brexit

The anti-Semitism issue has been doing a bit more than simmering for a while. At least part of it—I don’t know the whole of it—is that anything less than full support for Israeli ethnic cleansing amounts to, in some eyes, especially the eyes of those who support Israeli policies in the occupied territories, anti-Semitism.

Blower.png
There’s a point here, too. Cartoon by Patrick Blower, February 19, 2019, fair use.[16]

There is a parallel between turmoil in the Labour Party in Britain and the U.S. Democratic Party in that both parties suffer a split between progressive and mainstream factions, with the mainstream utterly convinced of neoconservative and neoliberal righteousness and progressives increasingly saying no more. Look at who resigned: The politics of this split figures prominently as some of the newly self-styled “independents” have even lost confidence votes in their erstwhile local parties.[17] That said, the emphasis is different. In Britain, even conservatives admit that austerity needs to end and of course the huge issue is Brexit. The argument is not nearly so well developed in the U.S., where neoliberalism, despite its intellectual bankruptcy,[18] is simply seen as pragmatic even as it destroys millions of lives.

I’m treating all this as a Brexit sideshow for now. That may change.

Jessica Elgot and Daniel Boffey, “Cabinet ministers tell May: stop using no-deal threat to negotiate,” Guardian, February 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/18/ministers-tell-may-stop-using-no-deal-threat-as-negotiating-tactic

Eliza Mackintosh, “Turmoil in British politics as Labour MPs quit over Brexit and anti-Semitism,” CNN, February 18, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/18/uk/labour-mps-resign-gbr-intl/index.html

Oliver Wright, “Labour Party split: who are the seven MPs who quit to form the Independent Group?” Times, February 18, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/profiles-labour-party-split-who-are-the-seven-mps-who-quit-nfwnjpsvl

Anna Mikhailova and Steven Swinford, “Group of 100 Conservative MPs ready to force Brexit delay if May’s deal fails,” Telegraph, February 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/21/brexit-latest-news-labour-tories-brace-walkouts-defectors-reshape/


Unauthorized migration

It is almost as if authoritarian populists believe—almost by definition, they lack coherence, so it is impossible to be sure—that the reason they’re losing the culture wars is because of unauthorized migration.

Amy Goldstein, “Coalition of states sues Trump over national emergency to build border wall,” Washington Post, February 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/coalition-of-states-sues-trump-over-national-emergency-to-build-border-wall/2019/02/18/9da8019c-33a8-11e9-854a-7a14d7fec96a_story.html

Gregory Wallace, “Census Bureau: 630,000 expected to not complete survey due to citizenship ,” CNN, February 19, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/19/politics/census-citizenship-question/index.html


Ridesharing

Nikil Saval, “Uber and the Ongoing Erasure of Public Life,” New Yorker, February 19, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/dept-of-design/uber-and-the-ongoing-erasure-of-public-life


Climate Change


Certainly, climate change denial is a problem. But so, too, are those who think action can wait. Cartoon by Tom Toles, Washington Post, February 18, 2019, fair use.[19]

Jeff Sparrow, “Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in,” Guardian, February 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/19/centrism-isnt-the-solution-out-of-the-mess-were-in


ShitAssSlow

David L. Ryan, “Cambridge wanted a big drop in car ownership by 2020. That hasn’t exactly happened,” Boston Globe, February 18, 2019, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/02/18/cambridge-wanted-big-drop-car-ownership-that-hasn-exactly-happened/sBu3TbWIBQLi5Nlo00L6AM/story.html


California High-Speed Rail

Ralph Vartabedian and Matthew Ormseth, “Trump administration to cancel $929 million in California high-speed rail funding,” Los Angeles Times, February 19, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-high-speed-rail-20190219-story.html


Civil Asset Forfeiture

Richard Wolf, “Supreme Court strikes blow against states that raise revenue by hefty fines, forfeitures,” USA Today, February 20, 2019, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/20/supreme-court-states-cant-impose-excessive-fees-fines-forfeitures/2919411002/


  1. [1]Amy Goldstein, “Coalition of states sues Trump over national emergency to build border wall,” Washington Post, February 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/coalition-of-states-sues-trump-over-national-emergency-to-build-border-wall/2019/02/18/9da8019c-33a8-11e9-854a-7a14d7fec96a_story.html
  2. [2]Jessica Elgot and Daniel Boffey, “Cabinet ministers tell May: stop using no-deal threat to negotiate,” Guardian, February 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/feb/18/ministers-tell-may-stop-using-no-deal-threat-as-negotiating-tactic
  3. [3]Nikil Saval, “Uber and the Ongoing Erasure of Public Life,” New Yorker, February 19, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/dept-of-design/uber-and-the-ongoing-erasure-of-public-life
  4. [4]Jeff Sparrow, “Centrism isn’t the solution to the mess we’re in,” Guardian, February 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/19/centrism-isnt-the-solution-out-of-the-mess-were-in
  5. [5]Gregory Wallace, “Census Bureau: 630,000 expected to not complete survey due to citizenship ,” CNN, February 19, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/19/politics/census-citizenship-question/index.html
  6. [6]David L. Ryan, “Cambridge wanted a big drop in car ownership by 2020. That hasn’t exactly happened,” Boston Globe, February 18, 2019, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/02/18/cambridge-wanted-big-drop-car-ownership-that-hasn-exactly-happened/sBu3TbWIBQLi5Nlo00L6AM/story.html
  7. [7]I’ve spent an unfortunate number of decades of my life driving for work, and I see far too many traffic restrictions that make absolutely no sense, either from a traffic or a safety standpoint. At the heart of nearly every traffic jam in San Francisco, for example, I’ll wager there’s at least one driver absolutely baffled by how they’re to do what they need to do with ubiquitous “No Left Turn” signs, a seemingly infinite number of never-ticketed and even self-righteous jaywalkers, a dire shortage of parking, and other traffic control strategies that essentially require drivers to have expert-level knowledge of every street and intersection they need to traverse in order to correctly navigate. My view of such controls is that far from “calming,” they are far more likely to make drivers desperate, and therefore dangerous.
  8. [8]David L. Ryan, “Cambridge wanted a big drop in car ownership by 2020. That hasn’t exactly happened,” Boston Globe, February 18, 2019, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/02/18/cambridge-wanted-big-drop-car-ownership-that-hasn-exactly-happened/sBu3TbWIBQLi5Nlo00L6AM/story.html
  9. [9]E. I. Hillin, “Bike lane baffler,” Sonoma West Times and News, September 14, 2018, http://www.sonomawest.com/sonoma_west_times_and_news/news/bike-lane-baffler/article_82f34016-b87c-11e8-94a0-6fa4f923792f.html
  10. [10]David L. Ryan, “Cambridge wanted a big drop in car ownership by 2020. That hasn’t exactly happened,” Boston Globe, February 18, 2019, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/02/18/cambridge-wanted-big-drop-car-ownership-that-hasn-exactly-happened/sBu3TbWIBQLi5Nlo00L6AM/story.html
  11. [11]Ralph Vartabedian and Matthew Ormseth, “Trump administration to cancel $929 million in California high-speed rail funding,” Los Angeles Times, February 19, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-high-speed-rail-20190219-story.html
  12. [12]Richard Wolf, “Supreme Court strikes blow against states that raise revenue by hefty fines, forfeitures,” USA Today, February 20, 2019, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/20/supreme-court-states-cant-impose-excessive-fees-fines-forfeitures/2919411002/
  13. [13]Eliza Mackintosh, “Turmoil in British politics as Labour MPs quit over Brexit and anti-Semitism,” CNN, February 18, 2019, https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/18/uk/labour-mps-resign-gbr-intl/index.html
  14. [14]William Booth, “Disgusted by Brexit hard-liners, three lawmakers abandon Theresa May’s Conservative Party,” Washington Post, February 20, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/disgusted-by-brexit-hard-liners-three-lawmakers-abandon-theresa-mays-conservative-party/2019/02/20/20f77b30-3503-11e9-af5b-b51b7ff322e9_story.html
  15. [15]Anna Mikhailova and Steven Swinford, “Group of 100 Conservative MPs ready to force Brexit delay if May’s deal fails,” Telegraph, February 22, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/21/brexit-latest-news-labour-tories-brace-walkouts-defectors-reshape/
  16. [16]Patrick Blower, [cartoon], Telegraph, February 19, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/31/telegraph-cartoons-february-2019/
  17. [17]Oliver Wright, “Labour Party split: who are the seven MPs who quit to form the Independent Group?” Times, February 18, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/profiles-labour-party-split-who-are-the-seven-mps-who-quit-nfwnjpsvl
  18. [18]Richard Alford, “Why Economists Have No Shame – Undue Confidence, False Precision, Risk and Monetary Policy,” Naked Capitalism, July 19, 2012, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/richard-alford-why-economists-have-no-shame-undue-confidence-false-precision-risk-and-monetary-policy.html; Robert Atkinson and Michael Lind, “Econ 101 is killing America,” Salon, July 8, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/07/08/how_%e2%80%9cecon_101%e2%80%9d_is_killing_america/; Dean Baker, “Discredited Harvard Austerity-Pushers Reinhart and Rogoff Keep Lying to Protect Themselves,” Alternet, April 26, 2013, http://www.alternet.org/economy/discredited-harvard-austerity-pushers-reinhart-and-rogoff-keep-lying-protect-themselves; Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013); Ha-Joon Chang and Jonathan Aldred, “After the crash, we need a revolution in the way we teach economics,” Guardian, May 10, 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/11/after-crash-need-revolution-in-economics-teaching-chang-aldred; Jefferson Cowie, “Why Are Economists So Small-Minded?” Chronicle of Higher Education, February 7, 2016, http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Are-Economists-So/235159; Barry Eichengreen, “Economists, Remove Your Blinders,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 12, 2015, http://chronicle.com/article/Economists-Remove-Your/151057/; Ross Gittins, “Rescue economics from the folly of neoliberalism,” Sydney Morning Herald, December 10, 2017, http://www.smh.com.au/business/comment-and-analysis/rescue-economics-from-the-folly-of-neoliberalism-20171209-h01sq4.html; Mike Konczal, “Reinhart/Rogoff-gate isn’t the first time austerians have used bad data,” Washington Post, April 20, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/20/reinhartrogoff-gate-isnt-the-first-time-austerians-have-used-bad-data/; Paul Krugman, “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?” New York Times, September 2, 2009, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html; Simon Kennedy, “Krugman Wishes He Were Wrong Amid EU Austerity Backlash,” Bloomberg, October 12, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-05-02/krugman-wishes-he-was-wrong-amid-eu-austerity-backlash.html; Paul Krugman, “Myths of Austerity,” New York Times, July 1, 2010, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/opinion/02krugman.html; Paul Krugman, “Economics in the Crisis,” New York Times, March 5, 2012, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/05/economics-in-the-crisis/; Paul Krugman, “The Austerity Agenda,” New York Times, May 31, 2012, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-agenda.html; Paul Krugman, “1937,” New York Times, June 3, 2012, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/03/1937-2/; Paul Krugman, “The Austerity Debacle,” New York Times, January 29, 2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-debacle.html; Paul Krugman, “How the Case for Austerity Has Crumbled,” review of The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire, by Neil Irwin, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea, by Mark Blyth, and The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, by David A. Stockman, New York Review of Books, June 6, 2013, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/jun/06/how-case-austerity-has-crumbled/; Paul Krugman, “The Depressed Economy Is All About Austerity,” New York Times, September 24, 2013, http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/24/the-depressed-economy-is-all-about-austerity/; Robert Kuttner, “Austerity never works: Deficit hawks are amoral — and wrong,” Salon, May 5, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/05/austerity_never_works_deficit_hawks_are_amoral_and_wrong/; Matt O’Brien, “Why is the recovery so weak? It’s the austerity, stupid,” Washington Post, October 10, 2014, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/10/why-is-the-recovery-so-weak-its-the-austerity-stupid/; Lynn Stuart Parramore, “Meet the 28-year-old Student Who Exposed Two Harvard Professors Whose Shoddy Research Drove Global Austerity,” Alternet, April 18, 2013, http://www.alternet.org/economy/meet-28-year-old-student-who-exposed-two-harvard-professors-whose-shoddy-research-drove; John Quiggin, “Austerity Has Been Tested, and It Failed,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 20, 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/Austerity-Has-Been-Tested-and/139255/; Dani Rodrik, “Free-Trade Blinders,” Project Syndicate, March 9, 2012,  http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/free-trade-blinders; Robert B. Reich, “Economics Is Too Important to Be Left to Economists,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 23, 2015, http://chronicle.com/article/Economics-Is-Too-Important-to/233335/; John Paul Rollert, “Greed Is Good: A 300-Year History of a Dangerous Idea,” Atlantic, April 7, 2014, http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/04/greed-is-good-a-300-year-history-of-a-dangerous-idea/360265/; Howard Schneider, “An amazing mea culpa from the IMF’s chief economist on austerity,” Washington Post, January 3, 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/03/an-amazing-mea-culpa-from-the-imfs-chief-economist-on-austerity/; Matthew Schofield, “Europe elections aside, experts say austerity is far from dead,” McClatchy, May 14, 2012, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/05/07/148037/europe-elections-aside-experts.html; Andreas Whittam Smith, “The age of austerity is over. Why? It doesn’t work,” Independent, April 25, 2013, http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-age-of-austerity-is-over-why-it-doesnt-work-8586201.html; Noah Smith, “Most of What You Learned in Econ 101 Is Wrong,” Bloomberg, November 24, 2015, http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-11-24/most-of-what-you-learned-in-econ-101-is-wrong; Mark Thoma, “Are Economists Driven by Ideology or Evidence?” Fiscal Times, November 3, 2015, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2015/11/03/Are-Economists-Driven-Ideology-or-Evidence
  19. [19]Tom Toles, “Climate deniers finally change their tune” [cartoon], Washington Post, February 18, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/18/climate-deniers-finally-change-their-tune/

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