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

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

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/

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,” TribLive, 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,” TribLive, 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

Fracking sarcoma

There is a new blog post entitled, “The theory of the morality of polarization.” It fills in some theoretical background for an older blog post entitled, “The morality of polarization” from over a year ago, on a topic I wound up presenting impromptu at a Human Science Institute conference.


Pennsylvania

I live near Washington County, where some of the larger clusters of Ewing’s sarcoma have been diagnosed.[1]

Kris Maher, “After String of Rare Cancer Cases, Pennsylvania Investigates Potential Link to Fracking,” Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-string-of-rare-cancer-cases-pennsylvania-investigates-potential-link-to-fracking-11576837802


  1. [1]Kris Maher, “After String of Rare Cancer Cases, Pennsylvania Investigates Potential Link to Fracking,” Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-string-of-rare-cancer-cases-pennsylvania-investigates-potential-link-to-fracking-11576837802

Barack Obama, just shut the fuck up

Barack Obama

I really can’t add anything to Arwa Mahdawi’s op-ed on Barack Obama’s suggestion that “for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything,”[1] as she contrasts New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern with Burma’s head civilian Aung San Suu Kyi and points to discrepancies—I would have to quote too much of the article to do it justice—in our expectations of women and of men and in how each respond to those expectations.[2]

Donald Trump, while setting out to entirely reverse Obama’s legacy, has benefited from the so-called economic expansion that Obama’s policies started. And Obama has reaffirmed[3] his unforgivable so-called “centrism,”[4] really neoconservatism, for which neoliberalism is a moral imperative.[5] It’s no wonder Joe Biden was his vice president.

Yes, Trump is worse than Obama. That’s damnation only by comparison to a presidency that did enough damage already and that I can’t condemn strongly enough.

But on top of all that, Obama has to say stupid shit about women. He’s starting to remind me of Hillary Clinton.

Arwa Mahdawi, “You’re not helping, Obama – just reinforcing myths about men v women,” Guardian, December 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/21/barack-obama-women-better-than-men-myths-leaders


  1. [1]Barack Obama, quoted in Arwa Mahdawi, “You’re not helping, Obama – just reinforcing myths about men v women,” Guardian, December 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/21/barack-obama-women-better-than-men-myths-leaders
  2. [2]Arwa Mahdawi, “You’re not helping, Obama – just reinforcing myths about men v women,” Guardian, December 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/21/barack-obama-women-better-than-men-myths-leaders
  3. [3]Justine Coleman, “Obama privately said he would speak up to stop Sanders: report,” Hill, November 26, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/472090-obama-privately-said-he-would-speak-up-to-stop-sanders-report; Ryan Lizza, “Waiting for Obama,” Politico, November 26, 2019, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2019/11/26/barack-obama-2020-democrats-candidates-biden-073025
  4. [4]David Benfell, “A most consequential president,” Not Housebroken, July 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2015/07/15/a-most-consequential-president/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).

Okay, I believe it now. The dastardly Russians did it.

Migration

John Burnett, “Acquiring Private Land Is Slowing Trump’s Border Wall,” National Public Radio, December 20, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/12/20/789725311/acquiring-private-land-is-slowing-trumps-border-wall


Impeachment

There is a new blog post entitled, “The asterisk.”

On another note, Vladimir Putin is doing his best to convince me that he did in fact interfere in the 2016 election and Donald Trump is doing his best to convince me that he thinks that’s just great.[1]

So you know what? In the past, I’ve been skeptical, and in general, I am skeptical of classified evidence, but they’re giving me every reason to believe it’s all true. When guilty folks tell me they’re guilty and I have no reason to suspect a coerced confession, what else am I supposed to think?

Ron Elving, “Trump Is Impeached, But There’s No Endgame In Sight,” National Public Radio, December 21, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/12/21/790313280/trump-is-impeached-but-theres-no-endgame-in-sight

Colby Itkowitz and Isabelle Khurshudyan, “Trump touts Putin speaking out against his impeachment,” Washington Post, December 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-touts-putin-speaking-out-against-his-impeachment/2019/12/21/7f23baf2-2404-11ea-a153-dce4b94e4249_story.html


Pittsburgh

Assuming Keaira Booker’s claims[2] are correct—and I have every reason to suspect that they are—there is absolutely no excuse for this cop’s conduct. The right to film is well-established; the dropped disorderly conduct charge against her[3] appears to be a pretext.

Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” TribLive, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/


  1. [1]Colby Itkowitz and Isabelle Khurshudyan, “Trump touts Putin speaking out against his impeachment,” Washington Post, December 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-touts-putin-speaking-out-against-his-impeachment/2019/12/21/7f23baf2-2404-11ea-a153-dce4b94e4249_story.html
  2. [2]Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” TribLive, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/
  3. [3]Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” TribLive, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/

Streets of Pittsburgh

There is a new blog post entitled, “The limits of game theory in U.S. politics.”


FireShot Capture 048 - Google Maps - www.google.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot from Google Maps, taken December 20.

There is a particular series of streets I encounter (figure 1), not far from where I live, that I think speaks to the professed religiosity exemplified in massive churches around here.

I can turn onto Bliss, representing the ecstasy of religious or spiritual experience. This is the inspiration for, for example, the world’s “great” religions.[1] Then I turn on to Grace as in the state of having had that experience.

Driving down Grace, I pass two cul-de-sacs (dead ends), first, Faith, which occurs in the absence of that ecstasy or its experience. It is simply trust in the unknowable, often as divine providence. Finally, I pass Sabbath, representing ritual, the rites of an organized church that the original inspiration has degenerated into as the religion has become organized. The founders of these religions often might well not recognize or approve what their teachings have become.[2]

There are a lot of weird street names around here. Among others, I’ve seen Clever, Wise, and Obey. I fear I lose a few points of IQ every time I turn onto Clever. And my god, who would name a street “Obey?”


  1. [1]Karen Armstrong, The Great Transformation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006).
  2. [2]Karen Armstrong, The Great Transformation (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006).