Arctic blast

Updates

  1. Originally published, May 5, 11:24 am.
  2. May 5, 5:56 pm:
    • Eleven years ago today, I traveled to a vegan deli in Oakland, California, and tried a sandwich. I concluded that “fake” meat would be sufficient and since that evening, I have tried as much as possible to live a plant-based lifestyle.
    • Laurence Tribe has expressed support for impeachment. However, he also points to an “opposing” view.[1] Well, not quite. Will Bunch richly acknowledges all the arguments against impeachment, but essentially argues that it is the moral, even if futile, thing to do.[2] Which is really pretty much the same argument as Tribe’s. My problem is I don’t think empty actions count. And an empty action in defense of a system that gave us a choice between two utterly despicable candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and enabled the latter to become president just doesn’t seem like a path forward to me.
    • Um, oops. Really big oops. It seems Boeing knew about problems with the 737 MAX cockpit alert system and didn’t tell anybody. And even when it did start admitting to the problem, it did so selectively and incompletely, to some airlines and pilots sooner than others if at all, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) accepted that the problem was, as Boeing claimed, not a threat to safety. Apparently, it remains unclear if fixing this would have prevented two notorious crashes that have led to grounding of the entire fleet.[3]
  3. May 5, 10:00 pm:
    • I don’t want to say that Mehdi Hasan is right about the possibility Donald Trump might refuse to leave office if impeached or defeated.[4] I also can’t tell you he’s wrong.

At eight o’clock on a Sunday morning, church bells are ringing. I forgot to mention about church bells yesterday.

They ring church bells here. It doesn’t last long but they do ring them. This doesn’t happen much in California. And I suspect, in California, if somebody did this, somebody’d call the police: There’d better be an actual fucking emergency if you’re going to wake me up at that hour.

As it happens, though, I was already awake. I have not yet returned to my normal sleeping patterns.

It’s been raining, gently, all night. It was delicious to leave the windows open until, this morning, after I was already up, it turned cold. I put a couple waffles in the microwave and was mostly cured.

One—only one—of the features that keeps us guessing about Pittsburgh weather is that there really isn’t that much, except distance, between us and the Arctic. The terrain here, and to the north, is mostly rolling hills and valleys, enough to give the land texture, nowhere near enough to block the occasional arctic blast.


I am still furious about Duquesne Light. And apart from the fact that lying to me takes me from zero to furious in nothing flat, it is also an obstruction.

I know that whatever the problem actually is, it isn’t what they claim it is. Which means I can’t, even if I have the capability, address the actual problem because I don’t know what it even is.

And in the meantime, I have shared what the Census Bureau calls “personally identifiable information,” the stuff that’s supposed to be protected at all costs on pain of a felony (if memory serves, five years prison, $15,000 fine) there, with an operation that lies to me.

It is just this sort of callous disregard that gives bureaucracy a bad name. But an important note: This isn’t government bureaucracy. It’s private enterprise, the allegedly superior and more efficient corporate, bureaucracy.

Duquesne Light has a horrendous reputation, apparently dating back decades—my mother said, “Oh, Duquesne Light.” I could hear the tone of painful recognition in her voice. I don’t know if they were this bad when she was a kid, or if they were this bad when we lived here when I was a kid, or if they were this bad when she came back here briefly while moving back from Washington, D.C., to the San Francisco Bay Area. In any case, it’s been decades.

I spoke to the leasing office folks about the situation because 1) they need to be kept apprised of the account number, and 2) I needed them to fax (for free) the application, lease, and my drivers license, yet again (the second attempt with this). They rolled their eyes: “Duquesne is the worst.” The lady there I’ve worked with most said that, in her experience, the blurred documents excuse is their “go-to” when they don’t know what went wrong.

Neoliberalism may not be the cause of Duquesne’s problems. But my experience here demonstrates that the neoliberal mantra that anything corporate is better than anything government is clearly and flatly wrong. There is absolutely no logic or evidence offered in support of that mantra and those who espouse it deserve to put to work digging their own mass grave, preferably with their bare hands in dry, rocky soil, then crucified, shallowly drawn and quartered, and then shot, but this last only when they’re still conscious but already so close to death that they aren’t feeling the pain. I want them to feel the despair of impending death, die slowly, excruciatingly, and fall into the grave, not out of it. Nobody should deal with them, or their corpses, ever again.

Or maybe we can find wasps to lay their eggs in neoliberals and let the larvae eat them alive. (How many wasps would that take, per neoliberal?)

At least with PennDOT, my recent experience with government bureaucracy, there’s a step-by-step process. Their website is misleading, I had to excruciatingly and painfully feel my way through to find the correct process, but I’ve now accomplished nearly everything I set out to. I’m pretty sure (possibly overconfident) I’ve got everything lined up so I can complete that this Thursday. (I’m running out of money; it’d be nice to start earning it again.)

With Duquesne, there isn’t even that. I got an account number from them with one of their missives, but what they’re telling me to is clearly wrong, based on lies. Whether they’re institutional lies, produced by computers and relayed by unwitting humans, or individual lies, meant by workers to cover their own individual asses, doesn’t matter to me. They’re lies. And apparently, they lie a lot.


My kitchen is finally starting to look like a kitchen. Only starting. I’ve had new dishes, silverware, glasses, and knives still in their original wrapping—I needed them right away—sitting on the bigger-than-some-but-still-small kitchen counter. And they needed washing, hence the need for dishwashing stuff, and putting away, hence the need for shelf lining. All that stuff finally arrived yesterday, from Amazon, which apparently recognizes that yes, some folks do still wash dishes.


Brexit

Brexit still looks to be either coming down hard or not at all. They keep spinning their wheels but the damnable outcome remains the same. I think the “herding cats” metaphor might not be adequate here.

Toby Helm and Michael Savage, “Brexit: anger grows at May-Corbyn bid to stitch up deal,” Guardian, May 5, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/04/anger-grows-may-corbyn-bid-stitch-up-brexit-deal


Donald Trump

It appears I misunderstood the context of a comment by Jamie Raskin, who said, “If they want to impeach the president, they should go ahead and introduce the articles.”[5] On May 3rd, I wrote:

I still agree with Nancy Pelosi on impeachment. As Jamie Raskin put it, “If they want to impeach the president so badly they should introduce the articles today, and I bet you a lot of Democrats are ready to join them.”[6] Raskin has a point: For all the calls for impeachment, no one has actually introduced articles of impeachment and, surely, everyone understands what happens when impeachment reaches the Senate. Which suggests rather strongly that all this talk is mere grandstanding.[7]

Jamie Raskin was very likely referring to Republicans seeking to goad Democrats into impeachment rather than already-goaded Democrats.[8] I have inserted a correction into that issue of the Irregular Bullshit.

Since then, the argument has gotten interesting. Laurence Tribe has weighed in, in support of impeachment, saying:

Will Bunch, “Trump’s diabolical plan to blow up democracy, get reelected and avoid jail just might work,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2019, https://www.philly.com/opinion/commentary/trump-wants-impeachment-2020-reelection-strategy-blame-democrats-ignore-subpoenas-20190505.html

Mike Lillis and Cristina Marcos, “Dems see GOP effort to drive them to impeach Trump,” Hill, May 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/house/442115-dems-see-gop-effort-to-drive-them-to-impeach-trump

Mehdi Hasan, “Yes, Let’s Defeat or Impeach Donald Trump. But What If He Refuses to Leave the White House?” Intercept, March 6, 2019, https://theintercept.com/2019/03/06/donald-trump-impeachment-2020/


Gaza Strip

Apparently about a year before the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Samuel Johnson declared that “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” I believe he was in error, but perhaps only because Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist yet: Dead baby pictures are the last resort of a scoundrel. And both Israelis and Gazans are posting them.

Judah Ari Gross, “Gearing up for days of fighting, IDF sends tank reinforcements to Gaza border,” Times of Israel, May 5, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/gearing-up-for-days-of-fighting-idf-sends-tank-reinforcements-to-gaza-border/


Boeing

I’m just going to go out on a limb here and predict that Boeing’s stock will take a nosedive tomorrow.

Andy Pasztor, Andrew Tangel, and Alison Sider, “Boeing Knew About Safety-Alert Problem for a Year Before Telling FAA, Airlines,” Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-knew-about-safety-alert-problem-for-a-year-before-telling-faa-airlines-11557087129


 

  1. [1]Laurence Tribe, [microblog post], May 5, 2019, https://twitter.com/tribelaw/status/1125110933490163712
  2. [2]Will Bunch, “Trump’s diabolical plan to blow up democracy, get reelected and avoid jail just might work,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 5, 2019, https://www.philly.com/opinion/commentary/trump-wants-impeachment-2020-reelection-strategy-blame-democrats-ignore-subpoenas-20190505.html
  3. [3]Andy Pasztor, Andrew Tangel, and Alison Sider, “Boeing Knew About Safety-Alert Problem for a Year Before Telling FAA, Airlines,” Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-knew-about-safety-alert-problem-for-a-year-before-telling-faa-airlines-11557087129
  4. [4]Mehdi Hasan, “Yes, Let’s Defeat or Impeach Donald Trump. But What If He Refuses to Leave the White House?” Intercept, March 6, 2019, https://theintercept.com/2019/03/06/donald-trump-impeachment-2020/
  5. [5]Jamie Raskin, quoted in Mike Lillis and Cristina Marcos, “Dems see GOP effort to drive them to impeach Trump,” Hill, May 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/house/442115-dems-see-gop-effort-to-drive-them-to-impeach-trump
  6. [6]Jamie B. Raskin, quoted in Mike DeBonis and Rachael Bade, “Pelosi escalates attacks on Trump, compares him to Nixon, as Barr’s defiance angers Democrats,” Washington Post, May 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pelosi-escalates-attacks-on-trump-compares-him-to-nixon-as-barrs-defiance-angers-democrats/2019/05/02/e4580542-6cf1-11e9-8f44-e8d8bb1df986_story.html
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Grandstanding on impeachment,” Irregular Bullshit, May 3, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/05/03/grandstanding-on-impeachment/
  8. [8]Mike Lillis and Cristina Marcos, “Dems see GOP effort to drive them to impeach Trump,” Hill, May 5, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/house/442115-dems-see-gop-effort-to-drive-them-to-impeach-trump

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