Fractured Politics and Tornados

Updates

  1. Originally published, May 28, 7:47 pm.
  2. May 28, 8:35 pm:
    • I realized I had misinterpreted an image that was included with the Weather Underground email relaying the warnings. See the revised text.
  3. May 28, 10:39 pm:
    • I was lying on top of my bed, trying to get to sleep when a thunderstorm finally arrived. It was probably as close to the center of a thunderstorm as I have ever been and it seemed especially dramatic. A heavy rain commenced. And then, as quickly as it had arrived, it was gone, leaving noticeably cooler temperatures.

Uber apparently finally decided to stop playing games, possibly because I threatened legal action. The money they owed me now appears in my account as a pending transaction. But I won’t return to driving for them. I’m not, no way, no how, a banker, and it’s a huge red flag for me when anybody gets weird about paying up.

Lyft seems to dominate much of the market around here anyway. My problem with them, as always, is that I often travel much too far for short rides on a rate scheme that pays much too little.

But I had a little experience with ridesharing here with just Lyft, which didn’t require a fresh background check, before Uber came on line for me. My income didn’t improve with Uber.


Tornados

I woke up around three this morning to flashes of lightning and thunder. (It’s not unusual for me to wake up around this time, needing hydration. I typically take a whack at email and then go back to bed.) I’m pretty sure this is the same storm that delivered tornados to Ohio, killing at least one.[1]
eus-2019-05-28-08
This afternoon, a tornado watch—not a warning, but just a watch—was issued for areas including Allegheny County, where I live. It will remain in effect until 10:00 pm. A flash flood warning was issued, to be in effect until 9:30 pm, this evening, for specific areas I’m not particularly near (I’m on high ground, anyway). As this issue goes to publication, I grabbed another gif:
eus-2019-05-28-18
You can see the storm and it’s overcast right now where I am but no sign of thunderstorms and, perhaps ominously, the breeze I felt earlier has died down.

Timothy Bella and Kayla Epstein, “Deadly tornadoes leave trail of destruction across Ohio,” Washington Post, May 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/28/large-destructive-tornado-rips-through-dayton-ohio-area-reportedly-causing-injuries-extensive-damage/


Brexit

While the Tories are the party most visibly and most dramatically torn asunder by Brexit, Labour has also been riven by Remain and Leave factions. Jeremy Corbyn, something, at least, of a Euroskeptic, has been trying to let the Tories take all the heat without committing Labour either way. Even though Labour has long been the principal opposition to the Tories.

Corbyn’s gambit failed miserably as Remainers deserted Labour in the European Union Parliamentary election. So now he’s calling for a second referendum.[2]

The trouble is that Brexit isn’t the only thing dividing Labour. Just like with the Democrats in the U.S., Labour has also long been divided into neoliberal (so-called “centrist”) and compassionate factions. But there is considerable overlap between the Remainers and the neoliberals, Britain does not have an institutionalized two-party system, and Britons have credible neoliberal alternatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens (yes, the Greens). Labour might have lost these voters for the foreseeable future as Corbyn has been outspoken in opposition to neoliberalism.

Rowena Mason and Jessica Elgot, “Corbyn backs referendum on Brexit deal after EU election exodus,” Guardian, May 28, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/27/jeremy-corbyn-signals-more-support-for-second-referendum-after-voter-exodus


Prisons

I understand there are concerns, including about replication, about Philip Zimbardo’s description of “the power of the situation,” based on his notorious Stanford Prison Experiment.[3] But then something like this[4] happens. And it doesn’t happen in isolation. Such cases, as Zimbardo argued, are not simply the work of “bad apples.” Rather, they point to something systemic.[5]

Positivists can argue about what they call “science” all they like. People are dying who are not supposed to die, guards keep being callous even when people’s lives are on the line, and I am not impressed.

Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘Somebody owes me lunch!’: Prison guards bet on an inmate’s suicide. Then, choking sounds came from her unit,” Washington Post, May 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/28/somebody-owes-me-lunch-prison-guards-bet-an-inmates-suicide-then-choking-sounds-came-her-unit/


  1. [1]Timothy Bella and Kayla Epstein, “Deadly tornadoes leave trail of destruction across Ohio,” Washington Post, May 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/28/large-destructive-tornado-rips-through-dayton-ohio-area-reportedly-causing-injuries-extensive-damage/
  2. [2]Rowena Mason and Jessica Elgot, “Corbyn backs referendum on Brexit deal after EU election exodus,” Guardian, May 28, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/27/jeremy-corbyn-signals-more-support-for-second-referendum-after-voter-exodus
  3. [3]Brian Resnick, “The Stanford Prison Experiment was massively influential. We just learned it was a fraud,” Vox, June 13, 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/6/13/17449118/stanford-prison-experiment-fraud-psychology-replication; Brian Resnick, “Philip Zimbardo defends the Stanford Prison Experiment, his most famous work,” Vox, June 28, 2018, https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/6/28/17509470/stanford-prison-experiment-zimbardo-interview
  4. [4]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘Somebody owes me lunch!’: Prison guards bet on an inmate’s suicide. Then, choking sounds came from her unit,” Washington Post, May 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/28/somebody-owes-me-lunch-prison-guards-bet-an-inmates-suicide-then-choking-sounds-came-her-unit/
  5. [5]Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (New York: Random House, 2008).

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