Facepalm, New Years Eve

There is a new blog entry entitled, “No, not everyone should learn to code.”


Pittsburgh

Where I live, the cops actually have to say this:

On the one hand, I’m glad to have reconnected with Pittsburgh, to have touched ground where so many of my relatives lived (and some, whom I haven’t seen in fifty years, still do) and where I lived for a couple years as a kid.

On the other hand, I have landed in a white supremacist hellhole.[1] I’m still working seven days a week with no visible hope for a better life. And this makes me feel I have made a terrible mistake.

Speaking of guns, I finally got this photograph and have added it to my map of Gratuituous Guns.
IMG_0073
Fig. 1. This is an artillery round of some sort, placed on a pillar outside, and pointing directly at, Carrick High School. Carrick is among the areas in Pittsburgh that appears predominantly Black.

The folks who place that artillery round there may wax holier than thou about how this is to honor those who fought in World War II and the Korean War to their hearts’ content. I see a bullet aimed at a high school and can only think that this is a really weird way to honor soldiers.

Small consolations: Amazon Prime delivers in one day here and I get my Whole Foods Market groceries delivered for free through PrimeNow.

And I get my Internet service much faster and, so far at least, much more reliably via fiber optic with Verizon FiOS. I do wish Comcast would quit putting junk mail in my box because, even if I weren’t already pissed at them for their crappy service in California, there’s no way cable is competing with fiber.


This (figure 2) pleases me greatly:
1529931813-20180625 (1)
Fig. 2. Comic by Zack Weinersmith, June 25, 2018, (un)fair use?

And if I have to explain it to you, you don’t understand the Oxford comma.


Gig economy

Uber and Postmates, with a couple drivers, are challenging California’s AB5, which would likely require the companies to treat drivers as employees.[2] Some shit is just annoying.[3]

There are a couple points here. First, the suit was filed in federal, not state, court and, second, on the basis that some industries were exempted, alleges the law fails to provide equal protection[4] (this sounds like a 14th amendment question[5]). The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Uber and Lyft drivers are independent contractors, not employees[6] and while I expect that has little bearing on the question of equal protection, it may signify a different atmosphere at the federal level.

The law was meant to codify a state supreme court decision that many believed implicated gig economy labor practices but was actually in the case of a single company, Dynamex.[7] With the question being about equal protection, it seems clear that the federal court could strike down the California law without overturning the state supreme court decision, which would really mean that Uber and Lyft are likely still on the hook.

This is a long game, it’s still early, and it likely won’t end until and unless the companies capitulate.

Noam Scheiber, “Uber and Postmates File Suit to Block California Freelancer Law,” New York Times, December 30, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/technology/uber-and-postmates-file-suit-to-block-california-freelancer-law.html


Iraq

I had thought the U.S. Embassy in Iraq was the most heavily fortified in the world. It seems folks protesting the recent U.S. bombing there managed to break in anyway.[8]

But ya know, war is the solution, right?

Fucking idiots.

Luke Harding, “Trump accuses Iran over storming of US embassy compound in Baghdad,” Guardian, December 31, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/31/us-embassy-stormed-in-baghdad


  1. [1]David Benfell, “How am I to respond?” Not Housebroken, December 30, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/30/how-am-i-to-respond/
  2. [2]Noam Scheiber, “Uber and Postmates File Suit to Block California Freelancer Law,” New York Times, December 30, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/technology/uber-and-postmates-file-suit-to-block-california-freelancer-law.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Time for the gig economy to grow up,” Not Housebroken, August 30, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/30/time-for-the-gig-economy-to-grow-up/
  4. [4]Noam Scheiber, “Uber and Postmates File Suit to Block California Freelancer Law,” New York Times, December 30, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/technology/uber-and-postmates-file-suit-to-block-california-freelancer-law.html
  5. [5]U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1.
  6. [6]Vanessa Romo, “Uber Drivers Are Not Employees, National Relations Board Rules. Drivers Saw It Coming,” National Public Radio, May 15, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/05/15/723768986/uber-drivers-are-not-employees-national-relations-board-rules-drivers-saw-it-com
  7. [7]Alexia Fernández Campbell, “California is cracking down on the gig economy,” Vox, May 30, 2019, https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/5/30/18642535/california-ab5-misclassify-employees-contractors; Nathan Heller, “A New California Law Takes Aim at Uber and Lyft,” New Yorker, September 12, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-silicon-valley/a-new-california-law-takes-aim-at-uber-and-lyft
  8. [8]Luke Harding, “Trump accuses Iran over storming of US embassy compound in Baghdad,” Guardian, December 31, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/31/us-embassy-stormed-in-baghdad; Mustafa Salim and Liz Sly, “Protesters chanting ‘Death to America’ break into U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad,” Washington Post, December 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-backed-militia-supporters-converge-on-us-embassy-in-baghdad-shouting-death-to-america/2019/12/31/93f050b2-2bb1-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html

Trump accuses Iran over storming of US embassy compound in Baghdad

Luke Harding, “Trump accuses Iran over storming of US embassy compound in Baghdad,” Guardian, December 31, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/31/us-embassy-stormed-in-baghdad

Mustafa Salim and Liz Sly, “Protesters chanting ‘Death to America’ break into U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad,” Washington Post, December 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-backed-militia-supporters-converge-on-us-embassy-in-baghdad-shouting-death-to-america/2019/12/31/93f050b2-2bb1-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html

Mustafa Salim and Liz Sly, “Supporters of Iranian-backed militia end siege of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad,” Washington Post, January 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/supporters-of-iranian-backed-militia-start-withdrawing-from-besieged-us-embassy-in-baghdad-following-militia-orders/2020/01/01/8280cb34-2c9e-11ea-9b60-817cc18cf173_story.html

Julian Borger and Martin Chulov, “Iran general Qassem Suleimani killed in Baghdad drone strike ordered by Trump,” Guardian, January 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/03/baghdad-airport-iraq-attack-deaths-iran-us-tensions

Louisa Loveluck et al., “Trump says Iranian military leader was killed by drone strike ‘to stop a war,’ warns Iran not to retaliate,” Washington Post, January 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iran-strike-live-updates/2020/01/03/3779f55c-2e33-11ea-bcb3-ac6482c4a92f_story.html

Missy Ryan et al., “How Trump decided to kill a top Iranian general,” Washington Post, January 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/how-trump-decided-to-kill-a-top-iranian-general/2020/01/03/77ce3cc4-2e62-11ea-bcd4-24597950008f_story.html

David Nakamura, “In confrontation with Iran, Trump wrestles with the shadow of Obama, ‘the metric he has to beat,’” Washington Post, January 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-confrontation-with-iran-trump-wrestles-with-the-shadow-of-obama-the-metric-he-has-to-beat/2020/01/04/2bd11a80-2e49-11ea-9b60-817cc18cf173_story.html

Paul Waldman, “Trump’s rationales for the Soleimani killing are falling apart,” Washington Post, January 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/01/07/trumps-rationales-soleimani-killing-are-falling-apart/

Uber Drivers Are Not Employees, National Relations Board Rules. Drivers Saw It Coming

PDFs saved on July 6, 2021.

Vanessa Romo, “Uber Drivers Are Not Employees, National Relations Board Rules. Drivers Saw It Coming,” National Public Radio, May 15, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/05/15/723768986/uber-drivers-are-not-employees-national-relations-board-rules-drivers-saw-it-com

Timothy B. Lee, “Uber, Lyft stocks plunge after Biden official says drivers are employees,” Ars Technica, April 29, 2021, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/04/uber-lyft-stocks-plunge-after-biden-official-says-drivers-are-employees/

Eric Morath, “Biden Blocks Trump-Era Gig-Worker Rule,” Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-blocks-trump-era-gig-worker-rule-11620219168

Nandita Bose, “Analysis: U.S. Labor Secretary’s next move on gig workers likely to include company probes – experts,” Reuters, May 7, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/business/us-labor-secretarys-next-move-gig-workers-likely-include-company-probes-experts-2021-05-07/

Josh Eidelson and Benjamin Penn, “Labor, Gig Companies Near Bargaining Deal in N.Y.,” Bloomberg, May 17, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-18/labor-gig-companies-are-said-to-be-near-bargaining-deal-in-n-y

Sarah Jaffe, “The battle for the future of ‘gig’ work,” Vox, May 18, 2021, https://www.vox.com/the-highlight/22425152/future-of-gig-work-uber-lyft-driving-prop-22


Aung San Suu Kyi is full of genocidal shit: The more complete version

There is a new blog post entitled, “How am I to respond?


Rohingya

I am late getting to this: I only found the latest here via the Daily Chatter newsletter.

I had previously noted[1] that the history did not appear to support[2] Aung San Suu Kyi’s version of the Rohingya genocide.[3]

This is a lawyer writing, and writing well. But I found these words especially choice:

Just like the Uighurs languishing in the world’s largest system of concentration camps, the Kashmiris suffering under the world’s largest military occupation and the Palestinians suffocating in the world’s largest open-air prison, the Rohingya have refused to go quietly like “lambs to the slaughter“. And that refusal has been presented by their persecutors as ”terrorism” justifying the butcher’s knife.[5]

Azeezah Kanji, “Myanmar: Defending genocide at the ICJ,” Al Jazeera, December 22, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/myanmar-defending-genocide-icj-191219113440939.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Don’t you dare call Israel racist! Or the Burmese genocidal!” Irregular Bullshit, December 11, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/12/11/dont-you-dare-call-israel-racist-or-the-burmese-genocidal/
  2. [2]C. Christine Fair, “Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army: Not the Jihadis You Might Expect,” Lawfare, December 9, 2018, https://www.lawfareblog.com/arakan-rohingya-salvation-army-not-jihadis-you-might-expect
  3. [4]
  4. [3]Owen Bowcott, “Aung San Suu Kyi in court as genocide hearing opens in The Hague,” Guardian, December 10, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/dec/10/aung-san-suu-kyi-court-hague-genocide-hearing-myanmar-rohingya; Clyde Hughes, “Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims,” United Press International, December 11, 2019, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2019/12/11/Myanmar-leader-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-rejects-genocide-claims/1061576065233/; Marlise Simons and Hannah Beech, “Aung San Suu Kyi Defends Myanmar Against Rohingya Genocide Accusations,” New York Times, December 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/11/world/asia/aung-san-suu-kyi-rohingya-myanmar-genocide-hague.html Here is a more complete presentation of the case against Burma.[4]Azeezah Kanji, “Myanmar: Defending genocide at the ICJ,” Al Jazeera, December 22, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/myanmar-defending-genocide-icj-191219113440939.html
  5. [5]Azeezah Kanji, “Myanmar: Defending genocide at the ICJ,” Al Jazeera, December 22, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/myanmar-defending-genocide-icj-191219113440939.html

This Is America

Abraham Lincoln to Horace Greeley, “A Letter from President Lincoln.; Reply to Horace Greeley. Slavery and the Union The Restoration of the Union the Paramount Object,” New York Times, August 24, 1862, http://www.nytimes.com/1862/08/24/news/letter-president-lincoln-reply-horace-greeley-slavery-union-restoration-union.html

Glenn W. LaFantasie, “How the South rationalizes secession,” Salon, December 19, 2010, https://www.salon.com/test/2010/12/19/lafantasie_south_secession/

Alexander Abad-Santos, “Racists Ruined the Confederate Flag for Lynyrd Skynyrd,” Atlantic, September 21, 2012, https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2012/09/racists-ruined-confederate-flag-lynyrd-skynyrd/323381/

Prachi Gupta, “Lynyrd Skynyrd decides it’s finally time to stop using the Confederate flag,” Salon, September 22, 2012, https://www.salon.com/control/2012/09/21/lynyrd_skynyrd_decides_its_finally_time_to_stop_using_the_confederate_flag/

Jonathan Terbush, “Lynyrd Skynyrd calls Confederate Flag racist, prompts fan revolt,” Raw Story, September 22, 2012, https://www.rawstory.com/2012/09/lynyrd-skynyrd-calls-confederate-flag-racist-prompts-fan-revolt/

Chris Willman, “Lynyrd Skynyrd Backtracks On Comments, Proudly Lets Confederate Flag Fly,” Yahoo!, September 24, 2012, http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/stop-the-presses/lynyrd-skynyrd-backtracks-comments-proudly-lets-confederate-flag-003332446.html

Andrew O’Hehir, “Welcome to the new Civil War,” Salon, January 5, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/01/05/welcome_to_the_new_civil_war/

Tracy Thompson, “The South still lies about the Civil War,” Salon, March 16, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/03/16/the_south_still_lies_about_the_civil_war/

Tony Horwitz, “150 Years of Misunderstanding the Civil War,” Atlantic, June 19, 2013, http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/150-years-of-misunderstanding-the-civil-war/277022/

Stephan Richter, “Shutdown shows the Civil War never ended,” Salon, October 8, 2013, https://www.salon.com/2013/10/07/shutdown_shows_the_civil_war_never_ended_partner/

Campbell Robertson, Monica Davey, and Julie Bosman, “Calls to Drop Confederate Emblems Spread Nationwide,” New York Times, June 23, 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/24/us/south-carolina-nikki-haley-confederate-flag.html

Robin Wright, “Is America Headed for a New Kind of Civil War?” New Yorker, August 14, 2017, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/is-america-headed-for-a-new-kind-of-civil-war

Julia Martinez, “For Civil-War Scholars, a Settled Question That Will Never Die: What Caused the War?” Chronicle of Higher Education, October 31, 2017, http://www.chronicle.com/article/For-Civil-War-Scholars-a/241627

Carol L. Folt and Robert A. Blouin, “Update on the Confederate Monument,” University of North Carolina, December 3, 2018, https://chancellor.unc.edu/posts/2018/12/03/message-chancellor-carol-l-folt-update-confederate-monument/

Associated Press, “7 arrested in protest over torn-down Confederate statue,” Grio August 28, 2018, https://thegrio.com/2018/08/28/7-arrested-in-protest-over-torn-down-confederate-statue/

Kia Morgan-Smith, “‘Tear down Silent Sam’: Confederate statue plans at UNC Chapel Hill cause uproar among students,” Grio, December 4, 2018, https://thegrio.com/2018/12/04/unc-chapel-hill-confederate-statue/

Associated Press, “Confederate statue being removed in North Carolina city,” Grio, March 12, 2019, https://thegrio.com/2019/03/12/confederate-statue-removed-winston-salem/

Kathleen Parker, “Trump has essentially declared a ‘race war,’” Washington Post, July 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-essentially-declared-a-race-war/2019/07/30/ad6ae554-b305-11e9-8949-5f36ff92706e_story.html

Claudia Rankine with James D. Walsh, “This Is America,” New York, December 19, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/white-supremacy-terrorism-in-america-2019.html

Marc Fisher, “Confederate statues: In 2020, a renewed battle in America’s enduring Civil War,” Washington Post, June 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/06/11/confederate-statues-attacked-protesters-george-floyd/

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Trump orders statues be protected from ‘mob rule,’” June 27, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53201784

David W. Blight, “Europe in 1989, America in 2020, and the Death of the Lost Cause,” New Yorker, July 1, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/europe-in-1989-america-in-2020-and-the-death-of-the-lost-cause

W. Ralph Eubanks, “The Confederate Flag Finally Falls in Mississippi,” New Yorker, July 1, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-confederate-flag-finally-falls-in-mississippi

Andrea Mazzarino, “War Zone America?” TomDispatch, September 22, 2020, http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176752/tomgram%3A_andrea_mazzarino%2C_%28un%29civil_war/

Teo Armus and Joe Heim, “Charlottesville to take down Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson statues Saturday,” Washington Post, July 9, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/07/09/robert-e-lee-statue-charlottesville-removal/

David W. Blight, “The Civil War Isn’t Over,” Atlantic, April 8, 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/the-civil-war-isnt-over/389847/

Ta-Nehisi Coates, “What This Cruel War Was Over,” Atlantic, June 22, 2015, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/what-this-cruel-war-was-over/396482/

Chas Danner, “Charlottesville Finally Removes Confederate Statues,” New York, July 10, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/charlottesville-removes-confederate-statues-photos-videos.html

Erin Edgerton, “George Rogers Clark statue at UVa removed,” Charlottesville Daily Progress, July 11, 2021, https://dailyprogress.com/photos-george-rogers-clark-statue-at-uva-removed/collection_0000b42a-e260-11eb-aceb-cbc2b676ebc1.html

David Masciotra, “Could genocide really happen here? Leading scholar says America is on ‘high alert,’” Salon, July 11, 2021, https://www.salon.com/2021/07/11/could-genocide-really-happen-here-leading-scholar-says-america-is-on-high-alert/

Sarah Brown, “U. of South Carolina Wants to Rename Buildings. State Politics Will Stop It,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 16, 2021, https://www.chronicle.com/article/u-of-south-carolina-wants-to-rename-buildings-state-politics-will-stop-it

Taylor Telford, “Dozens of nooses have shown up on U.S. construction sites. The culprits rarely face consequences,” Washington Post, July 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/07/22/noose-construction-industry-racism/

Wright Thompson, “His Name Was Emmett Till,” Atlantic, September 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/09/barn-emmett-till-murder/619493/

Gregory S. Schneider and Laura Vozzella, “Robert E. Lee statue is removed in Richmond, ex-capital of Confederacy, after months of protests and legal resistance,” Washington Post, September 8, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/robert-e-lee-statue-removal/2021/09/08/1d9564ee-103d-11ec-9cb6-bf9351a25799_story.html

Gillian Brockell, “Counties with more Confederate monuments also had more lynchings, study finds,” Washington Post, October 13, 2021, Counties with more Confederate monuments also had more lynchings, study finds

Joe Napsha, “Norwin superintendent reaches out to parents following Confederate clothing incident,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 13, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/norwin-superintendent-reaches-out-to-parents-following-confederate-clothing-incident/

Violence

There are two new blog posts from December 28th:


Paleoconservatism

Faithful readers of my blog know that I’m finding signs of and hearing about a militia movement, which I think likely to be white supremacist, entirely too close to home in Pittsburgh.[1] I didn’t find this article in New York[2] until today on Apple News.

I honestly don’t know what to do. A large part of my problem is the sheer scale of gun nuttery in Pennsylvania and the fact that it is almost certainly connected to racism[3] frankly makes me hang my head in shame.

For me, even without a single shot being fired, this is violence. The violence is directed at Blacks but, in perceiving it, I feel again all the unfair violence I endured as a child[4] that has been exacerbated by my experience with the job market as an adult.[5] And I feel it again as I am subject to the aggressive driving of (mostly) young white men in testosterone trucks while driving for Uber and Lyft.[6]

Whites assert their power with impunity here and I recall all the violence waged with that same impunity against me. I am traumatized again.

Claudia Rankine with James D. Walsh, “This Is America,” New York, December 19, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/white-supremacy-terrorism-in-america-2019.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Militia territory,” Not Housebroken, November 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/11/22/militia-territory/; David Benfell, “The place where I live,” Not Housebroken, December 26, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/26/the-place-where-i-live/
  2. [2]Claudia Rankine with James D. Walsh, “This Is America,” New York, December 19, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/white-supremacy-terrorism-in-america-2019.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not Housebroken, October 12, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/
  4. [4]I was physically abused by my father, but also, I was relentlessly bullied by other children in school. I recognize the experience that C. J. Pascoe describes in Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School (Berkeley: University of California, 2007), in which boys enforce social conformity with the ‘fag’ epithet regardless of the victim’s sexual orientation, decades later, in another place, as if it were my own.
  5. [5]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Pittsburgh driving for the uninitiated,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/pittsburgh-driving-for-the-uninitiated/

After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use

PDFs saved on July 10, 2021.

Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html

Elizabeth Bruenig, “In God’s country,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/

Peter Wehner, “Evangelicals Made a Bad Bargain With Trump,” Atlantic, October 18, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/the-evangelical-movements-bad-bargain/616760/

Sarah Jones, “White Evangelicals Made a Deal With the Devil. Now What?” New York, December 6, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/white-evangelicals-made-a-deal-with-trump-now-what.html

Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/

Eliza Griswold, “A Pennsylvania Lawmaker and the Resurgence of Christian Nationalism,” New Yorker, May 9, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/on-religion/a-pennsylvania-lawmaker-and-the-resurgence-of-christian-nationalism

David Smith, “The martyr who may rise again: Christian right’s faith in Trump not shaken,” Guardian, June 20, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/19/trump-christian-right-conference-faith-and-freedom

Michelle Goldberg, “The Christian Right Is in Decline, and It’s Taking America With It,” New York Times, July 9, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/09/opinion/religious-right-america.html


Weep for those poor, suffering, picked-on billionaires

Pittsburgh

It’s been unseasonably warm in Pittsburgh. The thermometer in my dashboard said it reached 60° Fahrenheit. It’s been fifty years since I saw a Pittsburgh winter, but I sure don’t remember this.

It was cooler earlier this week, but most of the snow from last week had melted, so folks in Clairton experienced a smoggy, rather than a white Christmas.[1]

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/


Entitlement

In an end-of-decade[2] piece, Helaine Olen has quite the parade of billionaires whining about how the world is so, so cruel to them, replete with Nazi metaphors,[3] of course, because, I guess, they think they’re in some kind of a competition with Jews in the Holocaust. (And no, I haven’t seen anyone complain that this ludicrously false analogy—no one has seriously, no matter how seriously tempted, proposed a similar treatment to Jews in the Holocaust for capitalist thieves who in fact do far more damage and kill far more people than the folks we do put to death[4]—is anti-Semitic, which maybe they should.[5]) Olen didn’t even include the examples in my own collection: Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt,[6] Tom Perkins,[7] and, albeit in 2009, Lloyd Blankfein.[8] But never fear, they have their luxury bunkers to hide out in[9] should any actual move to line them up against the wall materialize.

Helaine Olen, “The decade of the billionaire victim,” Washington Post, December 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/26/decade-billionaire-victim/


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]I’m confused. Centuries end in years ending with 00, apparently because there is a year one, but no year zero, yet decades end in years ending with 9? Apparently all this is still in dispute: Merriam-Webster, “Centuries and How to Refer to Them,” n.d., https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/centuries-and-how-to-refer-to-them
  3. [3]Helaine Olen, “The decade of the billionaire victim,” Washington Post, December 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/26/decade-billionaire-victim/
  4. [4]Steven E. Barkan, Criminology: A Sociological Understanding, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006); Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  5. [5]Eric Cortellessa, “Trump tells pro-Israel conference that some US Jews don’t love Israel enough,” Times of Israel, December 8, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-tells-jewish-group-theyll-vote-for-him-to-protect-their-wealth/
  6. [6]Chris Reiter, “BMW Billionaire Heirs Say Their Lives Are Harder Than You Think,” Bloomberg, June 20, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-20/bmw-billionaire-heirs-say-their-lives-are-harder-than-you-think
  7. [7]Tom Perkins, “Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?” Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2014, https://www.wsj.com/articles/progressive-kristallnacht-coming-1390600169
  8. [8]John Arlidge, “I’m doing ‘God’s work’. Meet Mr Goldman Sachs,” Times, November 8, 2009, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/im-doing-gods-work-meet-mr-goldman-sachs-zflqc78gqs8
  9. [9]Jim Dobson, “Inside the World’s Largest Underground Survival Community: 575 Luxury Bunkers for 5,000 People,” Forbes, October 7, 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobson/2016/10/07/exclusive-look-inside-the-worlds-largest-underground-survival-community-5000-people-575-bunkers/

Tear it down

Pittsburgh

There is a new blog post entitled, “The place where I live.”


There was what I recognize from my time in California’s Central Valley as a tule fog. It seems to have trapped the emissions from U.S. Steel’s Clairton plant in the area, treating folks to a lovely sulfurous odor.[1]

They really need to get rid of that fucking plant.[2] Shut it down. Tear it down. Put something there that’s good for the residents.

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/


  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]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; Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel facing a 2nd federal lawsuit tied to December fire at Clairton Plant,” TribLive, August 26, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-facing-a-2nd-federal-lawsuit-tied-to-december-fire-at-clairton-plant/; Jamie Martines, “Settlement over bad air in Clairton calls for U.S. Steel to cough up $2 million,” TribLive, 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/; 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

Dementius, J.D.

Government

There is a new blog post entitled, “Encouraging the good.”

George Monbiot, “Rewilding Politics,” Guardian, December 23, 2019, https://www.monbiot.com/2019/12/23/rewilding-politics/


Donald Trump

Ain’t Rudy Giuliani a piece of work? It gets even richer if you read the New York story by Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,”[1] that the Washington Post story is largely based on.[2]

I suppose that Amerikkkans deserve to know who is representing them and in what capacity, but it seems to me Nuzzi’s reporting approaches an ethical boundary. Details such as the saliva dripping from the corner of Rudy Giuliani’s mouth onto his sweater, the unzipped fly, the stumble against the wall,[3] and his claim to be “more of a Jew than [George] Soros [a Holocaust survivor] is”[4] combine to paint an unflattering portrait of a man not in command of his faculties. As I see more in life, I begin to associate paranoid rambling, as with Giuliani’s ranting about George Soros (a favorite authoritarian populist bogeyman),[5] in older people with dementia.

My mother would undoubtedly remind me that it’s an old tradition among reporters, of whom a very old archetype is scarcely better, to let their subjects get drunk and spill their beans. But is an obviously drunk and possibly demented Giuliani really competent to consent to such an interview on the record?

Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html

Michael Brice-Saddler, “Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic, says he is ‘more of a Jew’ than George Soros, who survived the Holocaust,” Washington Post, December 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/23/rudy-giuliani-says-he-is-more-jew-than-george-soros-who-survived-holocaust/

Jerusalem Online, “Rudy Giuliani: I’m More of A Jew than Holocaust Survivor,” December 24, 2019, https://www.jerusalemonline.com/rudy-giuliani-im-more-of-a-jew-than-holocaust-survivor/


  1. [1]Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html
  2. [2]Michael Brice-Saddler, “Rudy Giuliani, a Catholic, says he is ‘more of a Jew’ than George Soros, who survived the Holocaust,” Washington Post, December 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/23/rudy-giuliani-says-he-is-more-jew-than-george-soros-who-survived-holocaust/
  3. [3]Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html
  4. [4]Rudy Giuliani, quoted in Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html
  5. [5]Olivia Nuzzi, “A Conversation With Rudy Giuliani Over Bloody Marys at the Mark Hotel,” New York, December 23, 2019, http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/12/a-conversation-with-rudy-giuliani-over-bloody-marys.html