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

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