Thinking of the Rawhide theme, but waiting, waiting, waiting instead of rolling, rolling, rolling

So, I’m starving to death and a delivery is late. Very late.

But supposedly they are on their way now. And yes, I’m in my new apartment. It’s actually a little bigger than I remembered and I actually have no walls that adjoin other tenants. On the noise front, I’ll be worried about my downstairs neighbors and the hall outside my door.


Updates

  1. Originally published, April 30, 4:55 pm.
  2. April 30, 10:42 pm:
    • The furniture did arrive. I now await my bed and an Internet connection. Those should arrive tomorrow.
    • Robert Mueller didn’t like William Barr’s letter about the report either.[1]
    • A judge ruled that Congress members’ emolument suit against Donald Trump may proceed.[2]

Cellular phones

Yes, be afraid. The science on potential hazards is incomplete.[3] Oh, and actually read the story rather than the headlines attached to it.

That doesn’t mean there’s actually a danger. It just means that we shouldn’t be over-confident that there is no danger. Which, of course, is a more nuanced answer than anyone wants to hear.

Margi Murphy, “The truth about whether your mobile phone is giving you cancer,” Telegraph, April 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2019/04/29/truth-whether-mobile-phone-damaging-health/


Gadgets

What I find especially infuriating are the beeps you can’t do anything about. On uninterruptible power supplies. I try to get bigger ones so I have some resilience to power outages—yes, I like to keep accessing the Internet during them. But there’s no way to tell it okay, I know there’s an outage, but I want to keep working for a little bit. I mean, this is what its battery is for.

Beth Teitell, “Second-hand beep rage? It’s a thing,” Boston Globe, April 29, 2019, https://www2.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/04/29/second-hand-beep-rage-thing/4ZaKQDJRJlwFDHMZJ90nbI/story.html


Fraternities

It really all comes back to the question of what the university is for. Administrators tend to think it’s for whatever brings in revenue (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Athletics, and, it would seem,[4] fraternities). A lot of students think it’s so they can get a degree and then a job, but refuse to conflate this with the learning that’s supposed to accompany that degree. Elite students often think it’s about “networking,” such as so-called “Greek Life,” but again, the learning isn’t really considered relevant. Even the “activists” here are likely convinced that they already know all the answers.

But I have a bridge for sale to anyone who actually believes a fraternity’s claim that they’re behaving themselves now.

Sarah Brown, “Anger Over Greek Life Reaches Boiling Point at Swarthmore, Where Dozens Are Occupying a Frat House,” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 29, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Anger-Over-Greek-Life-Reaches/246205


James Comey

Benjamin Wittes, “Five Things I Learned From the Mueller Report,” Atlantic, April 29, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/ben-wittes-five-conclusions-mueller-report/588259/

Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “Mueller complained that Barr’s letter did not capture ‘context’ of Trump probe,” Washington Post, April 30, 2019, https://beta.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mueller-complained-that-barrs-letter-did-not-capture-context-of-trump-probe/2019/04/30/d3c8fdb6-6b7b-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html


Donald Trump

Patti Davis, “Dear Republicans: Stop using my father, Ronald Reagan, to justify your silence on Trump,” Washington Post, April 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dear-republicans-stop-using-my-father-ronald-reagan-to-justify-your-silence-on-trump/2019/04/30/ed61c6de-6b50-11e9-8f44-e8d8bb1df986_story.html

Jonathan O’Connell, Ann E. Marimow, and Carol D. Leonnig, “Congressional Democrats’ emoluments lawsuit targeting President Trump’s private business can proceed, judge says,” Washington Post, April 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congressional-democrats-emoluments-lawsuit-targeting-president-trumps-private-business-can-proceed-judge-says/2019/04/30/ae2ae6be-5b9f-11e9-a00e-050dc7b82693_story.html


  1. [1]Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, “Mueller complained that Barr’s letter did not capture ‘context’ of Trump probe,” Washington Post, April 30, 2019, https://beta.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/mueller-complained-that-barrs-letter-did-not-capture-context-of-trump-probe/2019/04/30/d3c8fdb6-6b7b-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html
  2. [2]Jonathan O’Connell, Ann E. Marimow, and Carol D. Leonnig, “Congressional Democrats’ emoluments lawsuit targeting President Trump’s private business can proceed, judge says,” Washington Post, April 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/congressional-democrats-emoluments-lawsuit-targeting-president-trumps-private-business-can-proceed-judge-says/2019/04/30/ae2ae6be-5b9f-11e9-a00e-050dc7b82693_story.html
  3. [3]Margi Murphy, “The truth about whether your mobile phone is giving you cancer,” Telegraph, April 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2019/04/29/truth-whether-mobile-phone-damaging-health/
  4. [4]Sarah Brown, “Anger Over Greek Life Reaches Boiling Point at Swarthmore, Where Dozens Are Occupying a Frat House,” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 29, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Anger-Over-Greek-Life-Reaches/246205

Google Maps is driving me nuts in Pittsburgh

I managed to get through the driver’s license process in Pennsylvania. They even accepted the evidence I had available—I’m still establishing residency, with a move-in date of tomorrow—for REAL ID.

Vehicle registration, the piece that’s supposed to happen within twenty days of establishing residency, is proving more difficult. Because I drive for Uber and Lyft, AAA can’t insure me in Pennsylvania (they did in California).

Tomorrow will be a busy day. I’m supposed to get the keys and I expect to receive the first of two furniture deliveries. I’m going to try to unload the car—I’ve actually been hauling around the stuff from California that I could squeeze into my car all this time. I will also endeavor to straighten out the auto insurance.

Hopefully, I can return to the vehicle registration tomorrow or the next day. When this is complete, I will go deal with Uber and Lyft. They will need to run background checks, so I won’t be driving right away regardless.

I can’t say I’m happy about the prospect of doing the Uber/Lyft sort of driving in Pittsburgh. I’m not happy about working for these outfits anyway, but Pittsburgh navigation is seriously challenging. Not only are there the unclear turns, but then there are the intersections you can’t actually see until you already need to be in the correct lane to move correctly through them. And Google Maps simply fails here: It’s way of presenting navigation information has always given me trouble anyway; it completely fails to provide the information I need to navigate these turns properly in Pittsburgh.

I mean, it’s astonishing how horrible Google Maps is here. It really doesn’t work.


Palestine

It would seem that Jared Kushner thinks the solution to the Palestinian issue is to double down on Binyamin Netanyahu’s strategy of making Palestinians suffer more.[1] It hasn’t worked so far and I think the Palestinians will hasten to assure you it won’t work at all.

Marwan Bishara, “The logic behind US humiliation of the Palestinians,” Al Jazeera, April 24, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/logic-humiliation-palestinians-190423123902553.html


Fast Food

Danielle Wiener-Bronner, “Burger King plans to roll out Impossible Whopper across the United States,” CNN, April 29, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/29/business/burger-king-impossible-rollout/index.html


  1. [1]Marwan Bishara, “The logic behind US humiliation of the Palestinians,” Al Jazeera, April 24, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/logic-humiliation-palestinians-190423123902553.html

Semitic ‘snowflakes’

I have acquired more furniture, a dining room set and a dresser. I “take possession” of the apartment on Tuesday. Hopefully by Wednesday afternoon, I’ll actually be able to move in.


Updates

  1. Originally published, April 28, 6:38 pm.
  2. April 28, 8:40 pm:
    • Added what is probably the best explanation of speciesism I’ve ever seen.

Semitic ‘snowflakes’

I’m sorry, I don’t see it and I’m not buying it. The cartoons below, taken from the Times of Israel article, do not seem anti-Semitic to me.


Allegedly anti-Semitic cartoons, reproduced in the Times of Israel, April 28, 2019, fair use. Artists are identified as António Moreira Antunes (left and center) and Aroeira (right).[1]

For these cartoons to be anti-Semitic, any disparaging use of Jewish symbols or even Nazi symbols would have to be taken as anti-Semitic, even when it is aimed not so much at any particular faith, but rather at politicians. Notice that the Muslim crescent, bundled up with sticks of dynamite, evoking a suicide bomber, in one of these cartoons is not taken as Islamophobic.

This despite the fact it is the Israeli government itself that labels as anti-Semitic any objection to its policies toward Palestinians and which insists that Israel must be recognized as a “Jewish state.” Jewish religious symbols may therefore be used to support, but never to oppose Israeli political policies.

Times of Israel, “Likud minister links New York Times to Nazis over Netanyahu cartoon,” April 28, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/likud-minister-links-new-york-times-to-nazis-over-netanyahu-cartoon/


Neoliberalism

Marshall Auerback, “Boeing might represent the greatest indictment of 21st-century capitalism,” Salon, April 27, 2019, https://www.salon.com/2019/04/27/boeing-might-represent-the-greatest-indictment-of-21st-century-capitalism_partner/


Supreme Court

Robert Barnes and Josh Dawsey, “Trump views the Supreme Court as an ally, sowing doubt about its independence among his critics,” Washington Post, April 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/trump-views-the-supreme-court-as-an-ally-sowing-doubt-about-its-independence-among-his-critics/2019/04/27/837c3822-682f-11e9-82ba-fcfeff232e8f_story.html


Speciesism


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “Likud minister links New York Times to Nazis over Netanyahu cartoon,” April 28, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/likud-minister-links-new-york-times-to-nazis-over-netanyahu-cartoon/

Oh, yay. Now it’s time for PennDOT.

Now that I have a place—and an address—I’m beginning to try to sort things out so I can actually get back to work as soon as possible.

That will take a certain amount of time anyway: Both Uber and Lyft will have to run their background checks, and the ones they ran on me in California don’t count. But after a false start in western Massachusetts, I’ve been a little reluctant to pull the trigger on this.

I failed miserably at the chicken-and-egg problem of transferring my car title and driver’s license to Pennsylvania. This will take more effort, some of which cannot be accomplished until Monday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) website claims there’s nothing stopping me from registering the car, which I’m required to do within twenty days of establishing residency. But when I went in, they told me they couldn’t do it without a Pennsylvania driver’s license, which the site claims I have 60 days to accomplish.

And Pennsylvania has been outsourcing PennDOT functions, often to private retailers. Now you have to go to two separate locations to accomplish all this. So I drove to another location to try to deal with the driver’s license. And failed.

I think part of the problem is REAL ID. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) folks have it on their brains. And their web site is less than helpful about getting a driver’s license without REAL ID, which I don’t actually need since I have a passport I can flash at federal officials on those exceedingly rare occasions I need to.

I’ll have to see if the evidence I can pull together will be sufficient. As I’ve now seen in both California and Pennsylvania, this causes a lot of problems for a lot of people.

So while I may not be able to drive for Uber and Lyft right away, at least I’ll have a bed. I take possession of the apartment on Tuesday. The new bed comes on Wednesday. I have my present hotel room until Thursday morning.


I have updated my contact information page. I am asking folks to please use the Google Voice numbers from now on: These will forward automatically to both phones, so assuming I’m not in a dead zone for both AT&T and Verizon, your calls should forward to both phones.

Google reclaims unused numbers, so not only should you be more likely to actually get through, but I believe you’ll be helping me to maintain my claim to those numbers. My phone numbers that I have with the cell phone companies face no such threat.

My observation in the San Francisco Bay Area that AT&T has overall better geographic coverage than Verizon seems to have largely held up in my recent travels from Santa Rosa to western Massachusetts and then to Pittsburgh. My related observation in the Bay Area that Verizon often has faster data speeds has held up less well—this is much more of a mixed bag.

It’s still the case, I think, that I need both cellular providers.


Social inequality

Adam Gabbatt, “Disney heir on CEO’s $66m pay: ‘No one on the freaking planet is worth that,’” Guardian, April 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/26/abigail-disney-bob-iger-amazon-jeff-bezos


James Comey

Murray Waas, “Mueller Prosecutors: Trump Did Obstruct Justice,” New York Review of Books, April 26, 2019, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/04/26/mueller-prosecutors-trump-did-obstruct-justice/


Fast food

Jill Ettinger’s story, originally published on April 4, has been updated as White Castle now offers the sliders at alllocations.[1] As with Carl’s Jr.’s Beyond Famous Star and Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, I doubt these can be certified vegan. So it’s all like going to Denny’s for the veggie burger without cheese (it’s in the “build your own burger” menu): The food itself can be vegan, but cross-contamination with animal products is likely to occur in its preparation.

Jill Ettinger, “White Castle Launches New Vegan Sliders at 377 Locations,” LiveKindly, April 15, 2019, https://www.livekindly.co/vegan-impossible-burger-white-castle-sliders/


Ridesharing

Another huge loss?[2] Hardly a surprise.[3]

Patrick Howell O’Neill, “Just In Time For Its Big IPO, Uber Loses $1 Billion,” Gizmodo, April 26, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/just-in-time-for-its-big-ipo-uber-loses-1-billion-1834331980


Joe Biden

Branko Marcetic, “Biden Says He’s the Workers’ Candidate, But He Has Worked To Cut Medicare and Social Security,” In These Times, April 26, 2019, http://inthesetimes.com/article/21856/joe-biden-cut-medicare-social-security-retirement-age


Security clearances

Rachael Bade, “White House approves ex-official’s testimony after contempt threat,” Washington Post, April 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-approves-officials-testimony-after-contempt-threat/2019/04/27/ec8cbbea-68f5-11e9-83df-04f4d124151f_story.html


  1. [1]Jill Ettinger, “White Castle Launches New Vegan Sliders at 377 Locations,” LiveKindly, April 15, 2019, https://www.livekindly.co/vegan-impossible-burger-white-castle-sliders/
  2. [2]Patrick Howell O’Neill, “Just In Time For Its Big IPO, Uber Loses $1 Billion,” Gizmodo, April 26, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/just-in-time-for-its-big-ipo-uber-loses-1-billion-1834331980
  3. [3]Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, http://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203; Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash,” New York, December 4, 2018, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/will-uber-survive-the-next-decade.html

There is no excuse for Joe Biden. Just none.

I have a place. It’s the first one, the one that looked better than the second.

But there are nicer places to be had for the money. I was starting to freak out at the applications. And I was thinking the purring cat in my lap might be worth much, much more than all the feral cats on the block.


Joe Biden

The students are right[1] are right and Joe Biden is just another fucking idiot bonehead politician who will never get a clue.

I realize I’m supposed to believe in the possibility of redemption but it’s just becoming really, really clear that Biden is hopeless. Even ignoring his history of gaffes, we’ve had some serious ones already just this month. First, in no particular order, there’s the touchy-feely Biden whose apology left more than a little to be desired.[2] Then there’s another non-apology to Anita Hill[3] following—by decades—his mishandling of the hearings in which she testified against Clarence Thomas, who was subsequently confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court.[4] Now, Biden appropriates the Charlottesville tragedy for a campaign video.[5] When white males wonder why everybody else is so mad at them, they can look to Donald Trump for Exhibit A and Joe Biden for Exhibit B and Justice Clarence Thomas (I refer, of course, to the Judiciary Committee of the time that enabled Thomas to be confirmed) for Exhibit C.

Lindsay Ellis, “At the Center of Biden’s Presidential Announcement? UVa Student Activists,” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/At-the-Center-of-Biden-s/246186

Elise Viebeck, “Joe Biden was in charge of the Anita Hill hearing. Even he says it wasn’t fair,” Washington Post, April 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/joe-biden-was-in-charge-of-the-anita-hill-hearing-even-he-says-it-wasnt-fair/2019/04/26/a9a6f384-6500-11e9-82ba-fcfeff232e8f_story.html


Amazon

Colin Lecher, “How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity,’” Verge, April 25, 2019, https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/25/18516004/amazon-warehouse-fulfillment-centers-productivity-firing-terminations


Twitter

Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler, “Why Won’t Twitter Treat White Supremacy Like ISIS? Because It Would Mean Banning Some Republican Politicians Too,” Vice, April 25, 2019, https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/a3xgq5/why-wont-twitter-treat-white-supremacy-like-isis-because-it-would-mean-banning-some-republican-politicians-too


Climate Change

Wait? Actually important news? Well, yeah, actually. I didn’t watch the video of her performance but the text of this speech is just excellent.

Greta Thunberg, “‘You did not act in time’: Greta Thunberg’s full speech to MPs,” Guardian, April 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/23/greta-thunberg-full-speech-to-mps-you-did-not-act-in-time


  1. [1]Lindsay Ellis, “At the Center of Biden’s Presidential Announcement? UVa Student Activists,” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/At-the-Center-of-Biden-s/246186
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Joe Biden blows his #MeToo moment,” Not Housebroken, April 5, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/04/05/joe-biden-blows-his-metoo-moment/
  3. [3]Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Carl Hulse, “Joe Biden Expresses Regret to Anita Hill, but She Says ‘I’m Sorry’ Is Not Enough,” New York Times, April 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/us/politics/joe-biden-anita-hill.html
  4. [4]Elise Viebeck, “Joe Biden was in charge of the Anita Hill hearing. Even he says it wasn’t fair,” Washington Post, April 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/joe-biden-was-in-charge-of-the-anita-hill-hearing-even-he-says-it-wasnt-fair/2019/04/26/a9a6f384-6500-11e9-82ba-fcfeff232e8f_story.html
  5. [5]Lindsay Ellis, “At the Center of Biden’s Presidential Announcement? UVa Student Activists,” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2019, https://www.chronicle.com/article/At-the-Center-of-Biden-s/246186
Apartment hunting, day 2

Apartment hunting, day 2

Yesterday, I was reasonably optimistic about being approved for the Alden, an apartment complex in Baldwin, in the South Hills area around Pittsburgh. This morning, the problem I described in western Massachusetts[1] reared its head as the complex called me to inform me that my application had been declined: Allegedly, neither my mother nor I have credit.

Actually, we do. Mine sucks because of high balances stemming from a catastrophic 2018 and, of course, student loans in the hundreds of thousands of dollars skyrocketing (tens of thousands of dollars per year) with interest. My mother has been somewhat more successful, but both of us have had to put freezes on our credit reports. Hopefully, we can work through this.

In the meantime, the search goes on. The first place I went to today turned out to have nothing available in my price range for the foreseeable future. Another place responded to my inquiry saying that they don’t take co-signers. Finally, I went out to a place that’s a long ways out but a little larger than the place that, at least temporarily, turned me down.


The featured image for this posting of the Irregular Bullshit is from the CityLab article my mother sent me (see Pittsburgh, below). It is one of several the article draws from the University of Pittsburgh’s Smoke Control Lantern Slide Collection.[2] The collection itself appears fairly voluminous. (Fair use.)


Pittsburgh

My mother was not impressed when I sent her the the article about declining and—to hear the American Lung Association tell it—terrible (straight F’s) Pittsburgh air quality.[3] No, not even one little bit. She sent me another article in response, saying this[4] is how it was when she was a kid. The comparison, of course, is a little unfair, and my mom surely didn’t mean for me to take it very seriously: The pictures reveal particulate pollution; they can’t show ozone and other gases that are also worrisome.

Ben Schwartz, “A New Plan to Correct a Historic Mistake in Pittsburgh,” CityLab, April 25, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/design/2019/04/pittsburgh-penguins-hill-district-history-redevelopment-plan/587896/


Ageism and Sexism

Susan Chenery, “Poverty and ageing: ‘we’re swept under the carpet and pushed aside,’” Guardian, April 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/25/poverty-and-ageing-were-swept-under-the-carpet-and-pushed-aside


Moral panics

Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘Free speech isn’t free, is it?’: A story on a teen porn worker could cost a high school journalism teacher her job,” Washington Post, April 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/04/25/free-speech-isnt-free-is-it-sensitive-story-could-cost-high-school-journalism-teacher-her-job/


Uber

And [Uber] points out that it is likely to make the drivers even more unhappy in the future, both because it is investing in autonomous vehicles to reduce the numbers of drivers it needs, and because it plans to reduce payments to drivers in order to increase its chances of turning a profit: “As we aim to reduce Driver incentives to improve our financial performance, we expect Driver dissatisfaction will generally increase.”[5]

So, um, that didn’t take long.[6]

Kari Paul, “Uber drivers plan shutdown over ‘poverty wages’ as company goes public,” Guardian, April 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/24/uber-drivers-strike-ipo


Meter Maids

Yes, I am preferring the disparaging term for folks who have been accused in San Francisco, if not elsewhere, of eating their young.

I am well aware of the difficulties of finding a “real job,” which I define as fulfilling the standards in Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, a treaty in which the U.S. has joined a very small number of countries in failing to ratify.[7] I have failed to find such a job for eighteen years. And I appreciate that many such workers have families to support.

But ethical employment is not employment that principally harms others. While it is far from being uniquely so, parking enforcement is principally a harm, especially in places like San Francisco, which obviously invests in and reaps rewards from it as a reliable source of revenue, a tax by any other name.

To be fully human, one must act ethically. When we act otherwise, we are acting as sub-humans. To do so for employment is to professionally reduce oneself to a sub-human level. And to do so is to deserve sub-human treatment.

Alex Johnson, “Chalking tires to enforce parking rules is unconstitutional, court finds,” April 23, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/chalking-tires-enforce-parking-rules-unconstitutional-court-finds-n997326


Joe Biden

But the larger argument against Biden comes from the progressive wing of the Democratic party, which sees him as a dinosaur holdover from the party’s unenlightened past. Already progressives have charged Biden with a litany of political errors (or crimes), including his maladroit actions as the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee during the 1991 Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings (which allegedly showed his regressive attitudes toward women) and his support for Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill (which is interpreted as callousness about high levels of African American incarceration).[8]

Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland, was even more pointed. “Biden’s chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee during the Thomas nomination reflected his sense of institutionalism a lot more than any sense of feminism. None of this would be disqualifying but it does not stand up well to the feminist sensibilities of the #MeToo era.”[9]

Even setting aside my concern about how Anita Hill was treated, Biden sounds like he’s going to be yet one more mainstream Democrat who will continue the Party’s rightward push—because that’s the way the Party has been pushing since George McGovern’s landslide loss to Richard Nixon in 1972. Neoliberalism will be fine with Biden, no matter what he says about it on the campaign trail.

I can’t live with Donald Trump. But I can’t live with neoliberalism either.

Geoffrey Kabaservice, “Joe Biden is the ultimate centrist Democrat. Is that a liability or strength?” Guardian, April 25, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/25/joe-biden-2020-democrats-choice

Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Carl Hulse, “Joe Biden Expresses Regret to Anita Hill, but She Says ‘I’m Sorry’ Is Not Enough,” New York Times, April 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/us/politics/joe-biden-anita-hill.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “If you don’t like homelessness, here’s an idea: Make it possible to rent an apartment,” Not Housebroken, April 19, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/04/19/if-you-dont-like-homelessness-heres-an-idea-make-it-possible-to-rent-an-apartment/
  2. [2]Mark Byrnes, “What Pittsburgh Looked Like When It Decided It Had a Pollution Problem,” CityLab, June 5, 2012, https://www.citylab.com/design/2012/06/what-pittsburgh-looked-when-it-decided-it-had-pollution-problem/2185/
  3. [3]Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air quality continues to decline, new report finds,” Environmental Health News, April 24, 2019, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburghs-air-quality-continues-to-decline-new-report-finds-2635280543.html
  4. [4]Mark Byrnes, “What Pittsburgh Looked Like When It Decided It Had a Pollution Problem,” CityLab, June 5, 2012, https://www.citylab.com/design/2012/06/what-pittsburgh-looked-when-it-decided-it-had-pollution-problem/2185/
  5. [5]Julia Carrie Wong, “Disgruntled drivers and ‘cultural challenges’: Uber admits to its biggest risk factors,” Guardian, April 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/11/uber-ipo-risk-factors
  6. [6]Kari Paul, “Uber drivers plan shutdown over ‘poverty wages’ as company goes public,” Guardian, April 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/24/uber-drivers-strike-ipo
  7. [7]International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, December 16, 1966, United Nations, General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI), http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/cescr.htm
  8. [8]Geoffrey Kabaservice, “Joe Biden is the ultimate centrist Democrat. Is that a liability or strength?” Guardian, April 25, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/apr/25/joe-biden-2020-democrats-choice
  9. [9]Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Carl Hulse, “Joe Biden Expresses Regret to Anita Hill, but She Says ‘I’m Sorry’ Is Not Enough,” New York Times, April 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/25/us/politics/joe-biden-anita-hill.html

Poverty and ageing: ‘we’re swept under the carpet and pushed aside’

PDFs saved on July 12, 2021.

Susan Chenery, “Poverty and ageing: ‘we’re swept under the carpet and pushed aside,’” Guardian, April 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/25/poverty-and-ageing-were-swept-under-the-carpet-and-pushed-aside

Carol Hymowitz, “Older Workers Have a Big Secret: Their Age,” Wall Street Journal, November 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/older-workers-have-a-big-secret-their-age-11574046301

Laura Newberry, “The pandemic has amplified ageism. ‘It’s open season for discrimination’ against older adults,” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-01/coronavirus-pandemic-has-amplified-ageism

Gloria Jackson, as told to Eli Saslow, “‘I apologize to God for feeling this way,’” Washington Post, May 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/02/elderly-woman-coronavirus-lonely-expendable/

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

Isabel Togoh, “Texas Official Suggests ‘Lots’ Of Grandparents Would Be Willing Risk Coronavirus Death To Keep Economy Going,” Forbes, March 24, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/isabeltogoh/2020/03/24/texas-official-suggests-lots-of-grandparents-would-be-willing-risk-coronavirus-death-to-keep-economy-going/

Sarah Todd, “Older people are the one group egalitarians discriminate against,” Quartz, April 22, 2021, https://qz.com/work/1999849/one-surprising-cause-of-ageism-in-the-workplace/

Douglas Heingartner, “Older job seekers on LinkedIn get fewer job offers, but a younger profile photo helps,” Psych News Daily, July 11, 2021, https://www.psychnewsdaily.com/older-job-seekers-on-linkedin-get-fewer-job-offers-but-younger-profile-photo-helps/


First day of househunting

First day of househunting

The places I looked at today were both old. But the one I went ahead and applied to—this should be successful—had an updated interior, including a microwave oven. Garages are available. The other one has only a small parking lot, which apparently no one uses, down in back on an alley (can’t wait to wait for the snowplow to get to that one). It has not been updated at all. I did not apply to the second.

I also went by some old addresses.

At left is the place my parents and I lived in when we moved back here. It’s a duplex; we lived on the unit on the right. On the right is my maternal grandparents’ old home; this too was really a duplex: They rented out the upper floor.


Donald Trump

Damian Paletta and Erica Werner, “Treasury secretary misses deadline for providing Trump tax returns to House panel, says he will make final decision by May 6,” Washington Post, April 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/treasury-likely-to-defy-tuesday-deadline-to-turn-over-trump-tax-returns/2019/04/23/daa7da46-653e-11e9-82ba-fcfeff232e8f_story.html

Matthew Weaver, Rowena Mason and Caroline Davies, “MPs campaign to have Donald Trump’s UK state visit cancelled,” Guardian, April 23, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/23/donald-trump-plans-state-visit-to-uk-in-june


Census

Robert Barnes, “On Census citizenship question, Supreme Court’s conservatives appear to be united,” Boston Globe, April 23, 2019, https://www2.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2019/04/23/census-citizenship-question-supreme-court-conservatives-appear-united/tB1KUI3oACQAIAjQxVyXRL/story.html


Pittsburgh

Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air quality continues to decline, new report finds,” Environmental Health News, April 24, 2019, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburghs-air-quality-continues-to-decline-new-report-finds-2635280543.html


Domestic Spying

Dustin Volz and Warren P. Strobel, “NSA Recommends Dropping Phone-Surveillance Program,” Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/nsa-recommends-dropping-phone-surveillance-program-11556138247


Pittsburgh’s air quality continues to decline, new report finds

Mark Byrnes, “What Pittsburgh Looked Like When It Decided It Had a Pollution Problem,” CityLab, June 5, 2012, https://www.citylab.com/design/2012/06/what-pittsburgh-looked-when-it-decided-it-had-pollution-problem/2185/

Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air quality continues to decline, new report finds,” Environmental Health News, April 24, 2019, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburghs-air-quality-continues-to-decline-new-report-finds-2635280543.html

Jessi Quinn Alperin, “Clairton, PA, wants to be clear: Residents demand accountability from U.S. Steel,” Environmental Health News, May 13, 2019,
https://www.ehn.org/clairton-coke-works-air-pollution-2636784943.html

Kris Maher, “Pittsburgh Breathes Easier After Repairs at U.S. Steel Coke Plant,” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pittsburgh-breathes-easier-after-repairs-at-u-s-steel-coke-plant-11558872000

Kris Maher, “U.S. Steel Suffers New Fire Knocking Out Pollution Controls in Plant Near Pittsburgh,” Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-steel-suffers-new-fire-knocking-out-pollution-controls-in-plant-near-pittsburgh-11560795102

KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Department Joins Federal Suit Against U.S. Steel,” June 18, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/06/18/allegheny-county-health-department-suit-against-us-steel/

WTAE, “U.S. Steel, health department have deal to settle 2018 air pollution violations at Clairton Coke Works,” June 28, 2019, https://www.wtae.com/article/us-steel-reaches-agreement-with-health-department-to-resolve-enforcement-orders-at-clairton-coke-works/28221648

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel facing a 2nd federal lawsuit tied to December fire at Clairton Plant,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 26, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-facing-a-2nd-federal-lawsuit-tied-to-december-fire-at-clairton-plant/

April Johnston, “‘That’s vinegar:’ The Ohio River’s history of contamination and progress made,” Environmental Health News, November 14, 2019, https://www.ehn.org/ohio-river-pollution-cleanup-2641307895.html

Jamie Martines, “Settlement over bad air in Clairton calls for U.S. Steel to cough up $2 million,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 11, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/settlement-over-bad-air-in-clairton-calls-for-u-s-steel-to-cough-up-2-million/

KDKA, “‘It’s Making Clairton Sick’: Poor Air Quality Impacting Clairton, Liberty Areas,” December 23, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/12/23/air-quality-impacting-clairton-liberty-areas/

Teghan Simonton, “Health department: Air pollution in Mon Valley exceeded federal levels over Christmas,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 27, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/health-department-air-pollution-in-mon-valley-exceeded-federal-levels-over-christmas/

Ollie Gratzinger, “Allegheny County issues another fine to US Steel for air pollution violation,” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 17, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/allegheny-county-issues-another-fine-to-us-steel-for-air-pollution-violation/Content?oid=16576925

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel to hold info sessions about Clairton, Braddock plant upgrades,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-to-hold-info-sessions-about-clairton-braddock-plant-upgrades/

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel, Allegheny County finalize Clairton Coke Works emissions settlement,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 10, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-and-allegheny-county-finalize-clairton-coke-works-emissions-settlement/

James Bruggers, “A Decade Into the Fracking Boom, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia Haven’t Gained Much, a Study Says,” Inside Climate News, February 11, 2021, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11022021/fracking-boom-natural-gas-report/

Andy Sheehan, “Air Quality In Mon Valley Once Again Hits Unhealthy Levels,” KDKA, February 24, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/02/24/mon-valley-air-quality-unhealthy-levels/

WTAE, “Allegheny Co. Health Department announces fines against U.S. Steel for violations at Clairton Coke Works,” May 28, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-co-health-department-announces-fines-against-us-steel-for-violations-at-clairton-coke-works/32702736

Michael Sainato, “The collapse of coal: pandemic accelerates Appalachia job losses,” Guardian, May 29, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/29/coal-miners-coronavirus-job-losses

Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air was unsafe to breathe for 3 months in 2018,” Environmental Health News, January 28, 2020, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburgh-air-pollution-unsafe-2644931105.html

Kate Aronoff, “Fossil Fuel Companies Are Job Killers,” New Republic, April 5, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/161937/fossil-fuel-companies-job-killers

Hannah Lynn, “Report: Pittsburgh ranked 8th worst for air pollution among US cities,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 22, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/report-pittsburgh-ranked-8th-worst-for-air-pollution-among-us-cities/Content?oid=17179037

Kristina Marusic, “Environmental injustice in Pittsburgh: Poor, minority neighborhoods see higher rates of deaths from air pollution,” Environmental Health News, June 12, 2020, https://www.ehn.org/environmental-injustice-pittsburgh-air-pollution-2646169635.html

James Bruggers, “A Decade Into the Fracking Boom, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia Haven’t Gained Much, a Study Says,” Inside Climate News, February 11, 2021, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/11022021/fracking-boom-natural-gas-report/

Kate Aronoff, “Fossil Fuel Companies Are Job Killers,” New Republic, April 5, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/161937/fossil-fuel-companies-job-killers

Oliver Morrison, “Mon Valley air was the healthiest it’s ever been in 2020; region still receives an ‘F’ grade,” Public Source, April 21, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/2020-pittsburgh-air-pollution-allegheny-county-clairton-steel/

Lee Epstein, “I grew up in Pennsylvania coal country. It wasn’t pretty and it’s time to move on,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 26, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/coal-mining-pennsylvania-environment-united-mine-workers-20210426.html

Oliver Morrison, “‘Today is a difficult day.’ U.S. Steel announces closure of several of Clairton’s ‘dirtiest’ coke oven batteries,” Public Source, April 30, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/mon-valley-clairton-us-steel-coke-works-pollution-f-grade-air-quality/

Kristina Marusic, “U.S. Steel abandons clean tech plans in Pittsburgh region following damning health study,” Environmental Health News, May 6, 2021, https://www.ehn.org/us-steel-pittsburgh-pollution-asthma-2652882219/residents-at-risk-and-in-the-dark

Oliver Morrison and Jamie Wiggan, “A thousand little cuts: Locals say a fire on Neville Island shows the pollution didn’t stop after Shenango Coke Works closed,” Public Source, June 23, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-allegheny-neville-air-pollution-metalico-accan-shenango/

Ryan Deto, “Two large air pollution sources will soon be offline. Will Allegheny County’s air quality future be as clean as it can be?” Pittsburgh City Paper, June 23, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/two-large-air-pollution-sources-will-soon-be-offline-will-allegheny-countys-air-quality-future-be-as-clean-as-it-can-be/Content?oid=19710475

Geoff Dembicki, “Joe Manchin Makes $500K a Year From One of the Dirtiest Coal Plants in West Virginia,” Vice, July 28, 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3x8bw/joe-manchin-senator-millions-coal-grant-town-west-virginia

David Moore, “Manchin Bailed Out a Power Plant That Helps His Family Profit From Coal Waste,” Truthout, August 7, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/manchin-bailed-out-a-power-plant-that-helps-his-family-profit-from-coal-waste/

WTAE, “Strong odor reported in Pittsburgh area reportedly coming from chemical company on Neville Island,” September 2, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/strong-odor-in-multiple-downtown-communities-being-investigated/37461467

Daniel Boguslaw, “Joe Manchin’s Dirty Empire,” Intercept, September 3, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/09/03/joe-manchin-coal-fossil-fuels-pollution/

Ryan Deto, “Majority of voters want fracking in Pennsylvania to end, says poll,” Pittsburgh City Paper, September 8, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/majority-of-voters-want-fracking-in-pennsylvania-to-end-says-poll/Content?oid=20153766

Colin Jerolmack, “They Couldn’t Drink Their Water. And Still, They Stayed Quiet,” New York Times, September 17, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/17/opinion/sunday/fracking-pennsylvania-water-contamination.html

Ryan Deto, “U.S. Steel is challenging an Allegheny County proposed air quality regulation,” Pittsburgh City Paper, September 22, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/us-steel-is-challenging-an-allegheny-county-proposed-air-quality-regulation/Content?oid=20236775

WTAE, “Enforcement order issued after strong odor reported in some Pittsburgh communities,” October 5, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/strong-odor-in-pittsburgh-neville-chemical-company/37872848

Ryan Deto, “Proposed natural-gas power plant near Pittsburgh cancels plans,” Pittsburgh City Paper, October 6, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/proposed-natural-gas-power-plant-near-pittsburgh-cancels-plans/Content?oid=20323716

Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air was unhealthy to breathe for 57 days in 2020,” Daily Climate, October 6, 2021, https://www.dailyclimate.org/pittsburgh-air-pollution-2655223412.html

Kristina Marusic, “Should oil and gas companies be exempt from Pennsylvania’s hazardous waste laws?” Environmental Health News, October 7, 2021, https://www.ehn.org/radioactive-waste-oil-and-gas-2655217995.html

Joe Napsha, “Report: Drilling spills ruined wells and polluted streams in Westmoreland, across Pennsylvania,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 9, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/report-drilling-spills-ruined-wells-and-polluted-streams-in-westmoreland-across-pennsylvania/

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

My mother and I have talked some about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, over the last few years. I’m pretty sure she mentioned the Lawrenceville District as a dangerous neighborhood. One can recognize tenement housing in the buildings here. And some graffiti persists.

Except they’ve been gentrified as fuck. (I mentioned this to her tonight and she sent me this link, which substantially supports the foregoing.)[1]

The result is actually rather charming. I wouldn’t live here: The streets are too narrow and parking is too difficult. But it is cute. There is an attraction.

And of course the question with gentrification—the answer here is not so obvious as it is in the San Francisco Bay Area, where homeless encampments and recreational vehicles are ubiquitous—is what the fuck happened to the people?

I have four appointments to see apartments, scattered over two days. I’m hoping to have a place by the end of the week (subject to how long it takes to get through the application process).

It’s oddly satisfying to be back in Pittsburgh. But it is immediately obvious that, if anything, I underestimated the difficulty driving in the city when I was seriously impressed that Uber was testing self-driving cars here. This city is incredibly difficult, with narrow streets, steep grades, interchanges that require multiple rapid lane changes, and, not so much by the time I arrived, nightmare traffic getting in and out of Pittsburgh, a task which requires crossing bridges that, funny thing, are the same, exact size they were fifty years ago.

In a way I have an advantage here over western Massachusetts; I first started to learn to find my way around in San Francisco when we lived there the first time (when I was in the second through the first half of the fourth grade). While I learned the fundamentals of a grid system there (learning to navigate city streets), I developed further here (when I finished the fourth grade, the fifth grade, and most, but not all, of the sixth grade—um, yeah, under parental supervision, I was a sixth grade drop-out; later I skipped the twelfth grade entirely). And so I actually already understand a part of how this area fits together. It’s still going to be really, really hard learning my away around and figuring out how to move through those interchanges with all those lane changes.

In the Bay Area, I spoke of every town having its own quirks in navigation—turns, for example, that really require foreknowledge because there are multiple options in roughly the same direction—that I called “booby-traps.” Here, there will be booby-traps layered on top of booby-traps.


Um, sorry. I’ve been publishing these daily so those who worry about me for whatever reason can be assured that I’m still kicking.

But I was tired last night. And I forgot that, nervous about this trip, I had not slept well the night before. I took what I assumed would be a nap and got eight hours of sleep.

Anyway, I am not caught up.


White House security clearances

Tom Hamburger, “House panel moves to hold former White House official in contempt after he obeys Trump administration’s instruction not to testify,” Washington Post, April 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/04/23/white-house-instructs-official-ignore-democratic-subpoena-over-security-clearances/


Sacramento Sheriff

Marcos Breton discovers that the elite are not responsive to the people.[2] Next, he needs to discover whom, as a direct consequence, the police actually serve.

Marcos Bretón, “Did Sheriff Scott Jones get away with going rogue? Apparently so,” Sacramento Bee, April 23, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article229560064.html


Brexit

If the Tories want to lose a general election, they could hardly do better than to choose Boris Johnson as a replacement for Theresa May. There is a reason that he and Donald Trump like each other so well, but the British public is not the U.S. public.

As to Brexit itself, just forget it for now. These machinations are not really about Brexit, but about jockeying for power on the pretext of getting a better deal (no one—not one—has satisfactorily explained how they would actually do this but they each carry on as if they had) or somehow muster a parliamentary majority in support of any option, let alone May’s deal.[3] As Rory Stewart pointed out, “a new leader with charm and nimble feet would [not] suddenly be able to get the deal across the line.” Or anything else across that line either, for that matter. “It’s nothing to do with the individual, it is that people disagree deeply over Brexit.”[4] Yup. You might think he’d actually been paying attention.

Oliver Wright, “Tory Brexiteers rewrite the rules in fresh bid to oust Theresa May,” Times, April 23, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/tory-brexiteers-rewrite-the-rules-in-fresh-bid-to-oust-theresa-may-x63kt8h9z


  1. [1]Jeremy, “A Drinking, Eating, and Attraction Guide to Lawrenceville,” Discover the burgh, April 15, 2019, https://www.discovertheburgh.com/lawrenceville-neighborhood-guide/
  2. [2]Marcos Bretón, “Did Sheriff Scott Jones get away with going rogue? Apparently so,” Sacramento Bee, April 23, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article229560064.html
  3. [3]Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot, and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: May calls for cabinet showdown as MPs reject all options,” Guardian, April 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/apr/01/brexit-deadlock-continues-as-mps-fail-to-find-compromise
  4. [4]Rory Stewart, quoted in Oliver Wright, “Tory Brexiteers rewrite the rules in fresh bid to oust Theresa May,” Times, April 23, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/tory-brexiteers-rewrite-the-rules-in-fresh-bid-to-oust-theresa-may-x63kt8h9z