Zionism and U.K. Labour

Anti-Semitism

There is a new blog post entitled, “Where any opposition to Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories, no matter how mild, is construed as institutional anti-Semitism.”

Times of Israel, “UK Labour suspends unrepentant Jeremy Corbyn after damning anti-Semitism report,” October 29, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/uk-labour-suspends-jeremy-corbyn-following-release-of-anti-semitism-report/

Asa Winstanley, “UK ‘Labour anti-Semitism’ probe finds only two ‘unlawful acts,’” Electronic Intifada, October 29, 2020, https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/asa-winstanley/uk-labour-anti-semitism-probe-finds-only-two-unlawful-acts


Depression

Dominic Rushe, “For most Americans the crisis is far from over whatever the GDP numbers may say,” Guardian, October 29, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/29/us-gdp-figures-crisis


The U.S. Postal Service gets its overtime back

Zeta


Fig. 1. 72-hour gif of the Eastern U.S. and Mexico, as of 8:01 pm EDT, October 28, 2020.


Postal Service

Neither mailboxes[1] nor sorting machines[2] are mentioned in this latest coverage of an order that seems essentially to require the Postal Service to allow overtime as needed to restore service to levels preceding[3] Louis DeJoy’s orders in July.[4]

Colby Bermel, “Judge orders USPS to reverse mail collection limits now,” Politico, October 27, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/27/postal-service-mail-collection-433112


  1. [1]Jacob Bogage, “DeJoy’s Postal Service policies delayed 7 percent of nation’s first-class mail, Senate Democrat’s report says,” Washington Post, September 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/09/16/dejoy-usps-delays-senate-report/; Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, and Ashley Parker, “Tracing Trump’s Postal Service obsession — from ‘loser’ to ‘scam’ to ‘rigged election,’” Washington Post, August 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-post-office-mail-vote/2020/08/15/27a2ffd4-de5f-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html; Elise Viebeck and Jacob Bogage, “Federal judge temporarily blocks USPS operational changes amid concerns about mail slowdowns, election,” Washington Post, September 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-judge-issues-temporary-injunction-against-usps-operational-changes-amid-concerns-about-mail-slowdowns/2020/09/17/34fb85a0-f91e-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html; Paul Ziobro, Natalie Andrews, and Alexa Corse, “Postmaster to Suspend USPS Changes Until After Election,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/postmaster-general-dejoy-to-testify-before-senate-panel-friday-11597758378
  2. [2]Jacob Bogage, “DeJoy’s Postal Service policies delayed 7 percent of nation’s first-class mail, Senate Democrat’s report says,” Washington Post, September 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/09/16/dejoy-usps-delays-senate-report/; Erin Cox et al., “Postal Service warns 46 states their voters could be disenfranchised by delayed mail-in ballots,” Washington Post, August 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-politics/usps-states-delayed-mail-in-ballots/2020/08/14/64bf3c3c-dcc7-11ea-8051-d5f887d73381_story.html; Amy Gardner and Erin Cox, “At least 21 states plan to sue the Postal Service over service delays, threat to election,” Washington Post, August 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/at-least-20-states-plan-to-sue-the-us-postal-service-over-service-delays-threat-to-election/2020/08/18/c6ca2dc6-e166-11ea-b69b-64f7b0477ed4_story.html; Kristen Holmes and Paul P. Murphy, “USPS email tells managers not to reconnect sorting machines,” CNN, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/usps-reconnect-sorting-machines/index.html; Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Jacob Bogage, “Postal Service backlog sparks worries that ballot delivery could be delayed in November,” Washington Post, July 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/postal-service-backlog-sparks-worries-that-ballot-delivery-could-be-delayed-in-november/2020/07/30/cb19f1f4-d1d0-11ea-8d32-1ebf4e9d8e0d_story.html; Philip Rucker, Josh Dawsey, and Ashley Parker, “Tracing Trump’s Postal Service obsession — from ‘loser’ to ‘scam’ to ‘rigged election,’” Washington Post, August 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-post-office-mail-vote/2020/08/15/27a2ffd4-de5f-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html; Elise Viebeck and Jacob Bogage, “Federal judge temporarily blocks USPS operational changes amid concerns about mail slowdowns, election,” Washington Post, September 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-judge-issues-temporary-injunction-against-usps-operational-changes-amid-concerns-about-mail-slowdowns/2020/09/17/34fb85a0-f91e-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html; Paul Ziobro, Natalie Andrews, and Alexa Corse, “Postmaster to Suspend USPS Changes Until After Election,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/postmaster-general-dejoy-to-testify-before-senate-panel-friday-11597758378
  3. [3]Colby Bermel, “Judge orders USPS to reverse mail collection limits now,” Politico, October 27, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/10/27/postal-service-mail-collection-433112
  4. [4]Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Jacob Bogage, “Postal Service backlog sparks worries that ballot delivery could be delayed in November,” Washington Post, July 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/postal-service-backlog-sparks-worries-that-ballot-delivery-could-be-delayed-in-november/2020/07/30/cb19f1f4-d1d0-11ea-8d32-1ebf4e9d8e0d_story.html; Veronica Stracqualursi and Jessica Dean, “New postal policies that are slowing service may affect 2020 mail-in voting, union leader says,” CNN, July 31, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/31/politics/usps-mail-in-voting-2020-election/index.html

A perfect storm of COVID-19 (Update #6)

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 26, 2020, 11:33 pm.
  2. October 27, 2020, 9:49 am:
    • Landlords are finding ways around the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eviction ban as renters are unlikely to be able to catch up on the rent. Meanwhile, it’s a real good time to be selling a home,[1] as fortunes diverge widely between the well-off and the poor in a “K-shaped recovery.”[2] That latter point strikes me as crucial: Sure, landlords can evict those they see as “deadbeats,” even get a gig economy company to help with those evictions,[3] but I don’t know where they hope to get replacement tenants from when millions are being evicted[4] because they already don’t have the money to pay rent and therefore can’t come up with move-in deposits.[5] All they’re accomplishing is an increase in suffering both from the evictions themselves and from the pandemic as the evicted move in with friends and family and live in closer quarters,[6] while the housing remains empty.
  3. October 27, 2020, 9:31 pm:
    • If you’re wondering how to bridge the gap between “liberals” and conservatives, there are a few points I should bring to your attention:
      • You’re far, very far, from alone. A lot of folks treat this as a doable thing.
      • You’re also likely with the Democratic Party and their neoliberal project which, being utterly discredited intellectually,[7] can reasonably exist only as an outreach to Republicans.
      • There’s a pretty good chance you’re up against neuroscience, which according to Scientific American, is suggesting that conservative and “liberal” brains really are different, though we really don’t know the causal relationship: Do political differences exist because of brain differences or do brain differences develop from political differences?[8] That last question touches on the question of nature versus nurture, where the social science bias is very strongly toward nurture as explaining most character or behavioral traits, which is probably one reason why I’m skeptical that brain differences are causative. Another is that I don’t actually see myself in the examples offered in this article, which I guess shouldn’t be too terribly surprising, but, not having actually dug into the research, leads me to suspect something else might be up.
  4. October 28, 2020, 6:59 am:
  5. October 28, 2020, 9:30 am:
    • “When you come to a scene where somebody is in a mental crisis, and the only tool you have to deal with it is a gun… where are the proper tools for the job?”[9] Police have shot and killed yet another Black man, this time in Philadelphia. Walter Wallace, Jr., apparently was armed with a knife, but was in the company of his mother, and was likely experiencing a mental health issue. Police didn’t bother with deescalation.[10] People there are furious, they are rioting and looting.[11] This isn’t getting much mainstream attention; I actually first caught wind that anything at all might be up via the National Review where the headline was all about the looting (their story itself is a little better).[12] The National Review is mostly neoconservative, but their headlines in the run-up to the election have sounded more authoritarian populist; they have been awful, sensational, and heavily slanted in favor of Donald Trump, which is not at all the way to get my eyes.
  6. October 28, 9:57 am:

Pandemic

It’s the very scenario the lockdown earlier this year was meant to avoid as hospitals face what is soon likely to be overwhelming numbers of patients:[13]

New reported infections nationwide surpassed 80,000 for the first time ever Friday and again Saturday, as hospitalizations push past 40,000 and daily death tolls begin to climb. This new wave of infections, expected to intensify as winter draws closer, is spread wider than the spring surge that devastated East Coast states and the summer wave that slammed the South and the Southwest. And it comes as some Republican leaders are leery of renewed shutdowns, as Americans grow wearier of restrictions and as the Thanksgiving travel season threatens to supercharge the virus’s spread.

“We are set up for just a perfect storm — a conflagration,” said Megan Ranney, an emergency medicine professor at Brown University. “Right now, you can talk about there being lots of little burning fires across the country. And then Thanksgiving will be the wind that will whip this fire up into an absolute human disaster for our country.”[14]

But you know, remember all those excuses for not wearing fucking masks.[15] Oh, and how the security of the whole free world depends on going to bars.[16] Remember! It’s your patriotic duty to spread the novel coronavirus and kill people.[17]

Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/


Donald Trump

George Conway[18] is back with more.[19] Because, god help us, somebody has to do it.

George T. Conway, III, “I believe in the president, now more than ever,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/26/george-conway-i-believe-in-trump-more-than-ever/


Supreme Court

Just as the Democrats handed Donald Trump the presidency with their insistence on neoliberal dogma in 2016,[20] they have now handed a 6-3 Supreme Court majority to conservatives in 2020.[21] But by all means, blame the folks who want decent jobs, peace, and a better environment and who want to see actual progress towards these ends. Just like the Democrats always do.[22]

Seung Min Kim, “Senate confirms Barrett to Supreme Court, cementing its conservative majority,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/senate-court-barrett-trump/2020/10/26/df76c07e-1789-11eb-befb-8864259bd2d8_story.html


Housing

Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000

Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/


Neuroscience

Lydia Denworth, “Conservative and Liberal Brains Might Have Some Real Differences,” Scientific American, October 26, 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/conservative-and-liberal-brains-might-have-some-real-differences/


Walter Wallace, Jr.

Ximena Conde, “Disbelief and unanswered questions after fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace,” WHYY, October 27, 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/disbelief-and-unanswered-questions-after-fatal-police-shooting-of-walter-wallace/

Darryl C. Murphy, “Grieving Walter Wallace Jr. and seeking justice, West Philly wonders what’s next,” WHYY, October 27, 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/grieving-walter-wallace-jr-and-seeking-justice-west-philly-wonders-whats-next/

Brittany Bernstein, “Hundreds of Looters Ransack Philadelphia Businesses in Second Night of Unrest,” National Review, October 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/hundreds-of-looters-ransack-philadelphia-businesses-in-second-night-of-unrest/


  1. [1]Kriston Capps, “Landlords Challenge U.S. Eviction Ban and Continue to Oust Renters,” CityLab, October 22, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-22/landlords-launch-legal-attack-on-cdc-eviction-ban; Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000; Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
  2. [2]Heather Long, “The recession is over for the rich, but the working class is far from recovered,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/13/recession-is-over-rich-working-class-is-far-recovered/
  3. [3]Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people
  4. [4]Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey, “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” Associated Press, August 4, 2020, copy in possession of author; Michelle Conlin and Christopher Walljasper, “Time’s up: After a reprieve, a wave of evictions expected across U.S.,” Reuters, October 19, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-housing-eviction-insight/times-up-after-a-reprieve-a-wave-of-evictions-expected-across-u-s-idUKKBN27415U; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants; Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/
  5. [5]Kriston Capps, “What Happens When the Eviction Bans End?” CityLab, May 29, 2020, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/05/pay-rent-eviction-ban-coronavirus-housing-crisis-landlord/612277/; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants; Will Parker, “Struggling Rental Market Could Usher in Next American Housing Crisis,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/struggling-rental-market-could-usher-in-next-american-housing-crisis-11603791000
  6. [6]Kyle Swenson, “Renters thought a CDC order protected them from eviction. Then landlords found loopholes,” Washington Post, October 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2020/10/27/trump-cdc-eviction-moratorium-loopholes/
  7. [7]Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013); David Fickling, “The Gig Economy Compromised Our Immune System,” Yahoo!, July 25, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/gig-economy-compromised-immune-system-000048670.html; Amir Fleischmann, “The Myth of the Fiscal Conservative,” Jacobin, March 5, 2017, https://jacobinmag.com/2017/03/fiscal-conservative-social-services-austerity-save-money; Jason Hickel, “Progress and its discontents,” New Internationalist, August 7, 2019, https://newint.org/features/2019/07/01/long-read-progress-and-its-discontents; Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012); Robert Kuttner, “Austerity never works: Deficit hawks are amoral — and wrong,” Salon, May 5, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/05/austerity_never_works_deficit_hawks_are_amoral_and_wrong/; Dennis Loo, Globalization and the Demolition of Society (Glendale, CA: Larkmead, 2011); Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs, Heiner Flassbeck, Dani Rodrik and Simon Wren-Lewis, “Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel,” Nation, July 6, 2015, http://www.thenation.com/article/austerity-has-failed-an-open-letter-from-thomas-piketty-to-angela-merkel/; John Quiggin, “Austerity Has Been Tested, and It Failed,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 20, 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/Austerity-Has-Been-Tested-and/139255/; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “How Austerity Kills,” New York Times, May 12, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/opinion/how-austerity-kills.html; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “Paul Krugman’s right: Austerity kills,” Salon, May 19, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/19/paul_krugmans_right_austerity_kills/
  8. [8]Lydia Denworth, “Conservative and Liberal Brains Might Have Some Real Differences,” Scientific American, October 26, 2020, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/conservative-and-liberal-brains-might-have-some-real-differences/
  9. [9]Shaka Johnson, quoted in Brittany Bernstein, “Hundreds of Looters Ransack Philadelphia Businesses in Second Night of Unrest,” National Review, October 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/hundreds-of-looters-ransack-philadelphia-businesses-in-second-night-of-unrest/
  10. [10]Ximena Conde, “Disbelief and unanswered questions after fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace,” WHYY, October 27, 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/disbelief-and-unanswered-questions-after-fatal-police-shooting-of-walter-wallace/
  11. [11]Darryl C. Murphy, “Grieving Walter Wallace Jr. and seeking justice, West Philly wonders what’s next,” WHYY, October 27, 2020, https://whyy.org/articles/grieving-walter-wallace-jr-and-seeking-justice-west-philly-wonders-whats-next/
  12. [12]Brittany Bernstein, “Hundreds of Looters Ransack Philadelphia Businesses in Second Night of Unrest,” National Review, October 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/hundreds-of-looters-ransack-philadelphia-businesses-in-second-night-of-unrest/
  13. [13]Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/
  14. [14]Hannah Knowles and Jacqueline Dupree, “Full hospitals, talk of rationing care: New wave of coronavirus cases strains resources,” Washington Post, October 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/25/coronavirus-cases-hospitalizations-surge/
  15. [15]Priya Elan, “The data is in: men are too fragile to wear Covid-19 masks. Grow up, guys,” Guardian, July 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/03/covid-19-masks-men-masculinity; Marc Fisher, Clarence Williams, and Lori Rozsa, “Will Americans wear masks to prevent coronavirus spread? Politics, history, race and crime factor into tough decision,” Washington Post, April 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-masks-america/2020/04/18/bdb16bf2-7a85-11ea-a130-df573469f094_story.html; Christine Hauser, “The Mask Slackers of 1918,” New York Times, August 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/03/us/mask-protests-1918.html; Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Likhitha Butchireddygari, “For Black Americans, Wearing A Mask Comes With Complicated Anxieties,” FiveThirtyEight, June 30, 2020, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/for-black-americans-wearing-a-mask-comes-with-complicated-anxieties/; Griff Witte, Ariana Eunjung Cha, and Josh Dawsey, “At the heart of dismal U.S. coronavirus response, a fraught relationship with masks,” Washington Post, July 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/at-the-heart-of-dismal-us-coronavirus-response-a-fraught-relationship-with-masks/2020/07/28/f47eccd0-cde4-11ea-bc6a-6841b28d9093_story.html
  16. [16]Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; Claire Lampen, Hannah Gold, and Amanda Arnold, “Everything to Know About the Coronavirus in the United States,” Cut, June 24, 2020, https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/which-states-have-coronavirus-and-how-do-you-minimize-risk.html; Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3
  17. [17]Moriah Balingit, “Armed militia helped a Michigan barbershop open, a coronavirus defiance that puts Republican lawmakers in a bind,” Washington Post, May 12, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/coronavirus-michigan-republicans-whitmer/2020/05/12/54975e1a-9466-11ea-82b4-c8db161ff6e5_story.html;
    Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/; Ryan Deto, “Photos: About 120 protest in Downtown Pittsburgh, calling for Pennsylvania to reopen during coronavirus pandemic,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 20, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/photos-about-120-protest-in-downtown-pittsburgh-calling-for-pennsylvania-to-reopen-during-coronavirus-pandemic/Content?oid=17167012; Bryan Armen Graham, “‘Swastikas and nooses’: governor slams ‘racism’ of Michigan lockdown protest,” Guardian, May 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/03/michigan-gretchen-whitmer-lockdown-protest-racism; Fred Kaplan, “Is America in the Early Stages of Armed Insurgency?” Slate, September 8, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/09/america-insurgency-chaos-trump-violence.html; Robert Mackey, “Neo-Fascist Proud Boys Exult Over Trump Telling Them to ‘Stand By,’ Not Stand Down,” Intercept, September 30, 2020, https://theintercept.com/2020/09/30/neo-fascist-proud-boys-exult-trump-telling-stand-not-stand/; Jamie Martines And Tom Davidson, “Protesters in Pittsburgh demand Gov. Wolf to reopen businesses amid coronavirus pandemic,” Tribune-Review, April 20, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-gather-in-pittsburgh-demanding-gov-wolf-reopen-businesses-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/; Luke Mogelson, “The Militias Against Masks,” New Yorker, August 17, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/the-militias-against-masks; Joshua Partlow, “Politics at the point of a gun,” Washington Post, July 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/07/28/conservative-armed-militias-protests-coronavirus/; Rashawn Ray and Rebecca Shankman, “How COVID-19 is changing the gun debate,” Brookings, June 17, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/06/17/how-covid-19-is-changing-the-gun-debate/; Tony Romm, “Fake cures and other coronavirus conspiracy theories are flooding WhatsApp, leaving governments and users with a ‘sense of panic,’” Washington Post, March 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/03/02/whatsapp-coronavirus-misinformation/; Isaac Stanley-Becker and Tony Romm, “Pro-gun activists using Facebook groups to push anti-quarantine protests,” Washington Post, April 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/04/19/pro-gun-activists-using-facebook-groups-push-anti-quarantine-protests/; Kelly Weill, “Sixteen ‘Boogaloo’ Followers Have Been Busted in 7 Days,” Daily Beast, October 9, 2020, https://www.thedailybeast.com/with-the-gov-gretchen-whitmer-busts-16-boogaloo-followers-have-been-busted-in-7-days/; Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett, and Abigail Hauslohner, “FBI charges six who it says plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as seven more who wanted to ignite civil war face state charges,” Washington Post, October 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/michigan-governor-kidnap-plot/2020/10/08/0032e206-0980-11eb-9be6-cf25fb429f1a_story.html
  18. [18]George T. Conway, III, “I believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, February 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/05/george-conway-trump-i-believe/; George T. Conway, III, “I (still) believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/
  19. [19]George T. Conway, III, “I believe in the president, now more than ever,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/26/george-conway-i-believe-in-trump-more-than-ever/
  20. [20]David Benfell, “Democrats must own Donald Trump,” Not Housebroken, November 14, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2016/11/13/democrats-must-own-donald-trump/
  21. [21]Seung Min Kim, “Senate confirms Barrett to Supreme Court, cementing its conservative majority,” Washington Post, October 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/senate-court-barrett-trump/2020/10/26/df76c07e-1789-11eb-befb-8864259bd2d8_story.html
  22. [22]David Benfell, “Voting for complicity,” Not Housebroken, October 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/20/voting-for-complicity/

Wishful thinking for Uber and Lyft

Gig economy

It’s curious that Laura Forman ends her article, writing, “Ride-sharing’s heyday is still coming—it just might be a bit late.” Uber and Lyft had expected people to abandon buying cars, but not wanting drivers to share the novel coronavirus with them, people are buying cars again. Even if she is right about the heyday,[1] there is ample cause for doubt that Uber especially and Lyft probably can survive that long. That said, such doubts—and they are legion—have failed to stop the companies so far, in part because they have managed to get favorable coverage whenever they lose less money.[2] Hope, such as Forman expresses and such as I saw in the dot-com boom, propels the companies. Economic reality, such as I saw in the dot-com bust, probably dooms them. The question really is, how long does it take?

Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Face a No-Sharing Economy,” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-face-a-no-sharing-economy-11603710180


Academia

At Bucknell University, where in-person classes are being shut down for a week,[3]

effective immediately any student who must travel more than 30 miles off-campus for any reason – including medical appointments, family events or to vote – will not be permitted to return or take in-person classes the rest of the semester.[4]

Such students may continue their coursework online. The regular semester ends November 20, with final examinations to follow.[5]

John Beauge, “Bucknell cancels in-person classes for a week due to uptick in COVID-19 cases,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 25, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/bucknell-cancels-in-person-classes-for-a-week-due-to-uptick-in-covid-19-cases.html


  1. [1]Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Face a No-Sharing Economy,” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-face-a-no-sharing-economy-11603710180
  2. [2]Rich Alton, “Basic economics means Uber and Lyft can’t rely on driverless cars to become profitable,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/basic-economics-means-uber-and-lyft-cant-rely-on-driverless-cars-to-become-profitable-2019-08-12; Eliot Brown, “Uber Wants to Be the Uber of Everything—But Can It Make a Profit?” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-wants-to-be-the-uber-of-everything-11556909866; Eliot Brown, “Lyft Raises 2019 Revenue Outlook and Sees Smaller Annual Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lyfts-raises-2019-revenue-outlook-and-sees-smaller-annual-loss-11565208387; Eliot Brown, “Uber Posts Its Largest Quarterly Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-posts-its-largest-ever-quarterly-loss-11565295373; Richard Durant, “Uber’s Profitability Problem Is Structural,” Seeking Alpha, August 21, 2019, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4287055-ubers-profitability-problem-structural; Ryan Felton, “Uber Is Doomed,” Jalopnik, February 24, 2017, https://jalopnik.com/uber-is-doomed-1792634203; Laura Forman, “Uber, Lyft Face a No-Sharing Economy,” Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-face-a-no-sharing-economy-11603710180; Edward Helmore, “Will Uber ever make money? Day of reckoning looms for ride-sharing firm,” Guardian, August 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/04/uber-ride-share-lyft-ipo-earnings; Sebastian Herrera and Heather Somerville, “Uber Shares Hit New Low as Post-IPO Lockup Expires,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shares-face-more-pressure-as-post-ipo-lockup-is-set-to-expire-11573041602″; Megan McArdle, “Uber can’t keep bleeding money, can it? It apparently thinks it can,” Washington Post, November 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/uber-cant-keep-bleeding-money-can-it-it-apparently-thinks-it-can/2019/11/05/4aa4fec0-000b-11ea-8501-2a7123a38c58_story.html; Tom McKay, “Surprising No One, Uber Continues to Hemorrhage Cash,” Gizmodo, November 4, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/surprising-no-one-uber-continues-to-hemorrhage-cash-1839625062; Christopher Mims, “In a Tight Labor Market, Gig Workers Get Harder to Please,” Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-a-tight-labor-market-gig-workers-get-harder-to-please-11556942404; Patrick Howell O’Neill, “Just In Time For Its Big IPO, Uber Loses $1 Billion,” Gizmodo, April 26, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/just-in-time-for-its-big-ipo-uber-loses-1-billion-1834331980; Annie Palmer, “Uber falls to all-time low as investors grow more skeptical,” CNBC, August 12, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/12/uber-stock-falls-to-all-time-low-as-investors-grow-more-skeptical.html; Dan Primack, “Uber’s IPO got caught in a perfect storm,” Axios, May 11, 2019, https://www.axios.com/ubers-ipo-perfect-storm-2a75a55a-adec-496b-bc23-02d99d02920f.html; Preetika Rana, “Uber Ridership Fails to Recover as Pandemic Drives Another Big Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-ridership-fails-to-recover-as-pandemic-drives-another-big-loss-11596744389; Erik Sherman, “Yesterday, Shareholders Bailed on Uber. Today, Insiders Got Their Chance,” Fortune, November 6, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/11/06/uber-stock-insiders-growth-profit-lockup-period/; Faiz Siddiqui and Greg Bensinger, “Uber’s first day of trading ended deep in the red over gig-economy fears,” Washington Post, May 10, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/10/uber-ipo/; Heather Somerville, “Uber Shedding About 350 Jobs to Shore Up Business,” Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shedding-about-350-jobs-to-shore-up-business-11571092680; Heather Somerville, “Uber Booked Another Quarterly Loss as Revenue Climbed,” Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-booked-another-quarterly-loss-as-revenue-climbed-11572901549; Heather Somerville and Mark Maurer, “Uber Cuts More Than 400 Technical Jobs,” Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-cuts-more-than-400-technical-jobs-11568144111; Georgia Wells, “Uber Cites Tight Competition After Posting $1 Billion Loss,” Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ubers-first-quarter-loss-tops-1-billion-11559246846; Stephen Wilmot, “Uber’s Long Road to Profits,” Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ubers-long-road-to-profits-11566471068; Julia Carrie Wong, “Disgruntled drivers and ‘cultural challenges’: Uber admits to its biggest risk factors,” Guardian, April 12, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/apr/11/uber-ipo-risk-factors; Michael Wursthorn, “Lyft Shares Rally on Hopes Price Increases Will Drive Profit,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lyft-shares-rally-on-hopes-price-increases-will-drive-profits-11566845457
  3. [3]John Beauge, “Bucknell cancels in-person classes for a week due to uptick in COVID-19 cases,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 25, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/bucknell-cancels-in-person-classes-for-a-week-due-to-uptick-in-covid-19-cases.html
  4. [4]John Beauge, “Bucknell cancels in-person classes for a week due to uptick in COVID-19 cases,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 25, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/bucknell-cancels-in-person-classes-for-a-week-due-to-uptick-in-covid-19-cases.html
  5. [5]John Beauge, “Bucknell cancels in-person classes for a week due to uptick in COVID-19 cases,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 25, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/10/bucknell-cancels-in-person-classes-for-a-week-due-to-uptick-in-covid-19-cases.html

The worst president in history? It’s complicated. (Update #2)

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 24, 2020, at 1:30 pm.
  2. October 25, 2020, 6:21 am:

Presidents

Attempting a comparison of U.S. presidents, Nicholas Goldberg

quickly realized [he] was in over [his] head trying to determine who was worst among them. Is a corrupt president worse than a incompetent president? Is it worse to separate children from their parents at the border or to allow fugitive slaves to be caught and delivered back to their owners? Is killing thousands of Native Americans worse than denying the existential dangers of climate change? Do the 12 presidents who owned slaves belong automatically at the bottom of the list, regardless of their other achievements or the times in which they lived?[1]

This is a problem with a quantitative approach, as with IQ tests: It can attempt to rank things that compare more like apples and oranges on a single, linear scale. The questions Goldberg raises here will always be problematic.

Nicholas Goldberg, “Is Trump the worst president ever? He’s got some competition,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-10-20/the-worst-president-in-american-history


California

Ryan Sabalow, “‘That is unacceptable.’ California megachurch faces local backlash for dismissing COVID-19,” Sacramento Bee, October 23, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/article246671032.html

Ryan Sabalow, Lara Korte, and Jason Pohl, “Rural California is divided, armed for revolt. What’s the matter in the State of Jefferson?” Sacramento Bee, October 24, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article246652603.html


Social conservatism

The carefully choreographed dance goes like this: Moral character in public officials matters quite a lot when the public officials who morally fail are Democrats; it matters hardly at all when they are Republicans. If it’s a liberal who has crossed ethical lines, emphasize righteous conduct; if it’s a conservative, emphasize forgiveness and verses like “Judge not lest you be judged.” If it’s Bill Clinton in the dock, savage him; if it’s Donald Trump, savage his critics.[2]

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/


  1. [1]Nicholas Goldberg, “Is Trump the worst president ever? He’s got some competition,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-10-20/the-worst-president-in-american-history
  2. [2]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/

Is Trump the worst president ever? He’s got some competition

PDFs saved on July 3, 2021.

Nicholas Goldberg, “Is Trump the worst president ever? He’s got some competition,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-10-20/the-worst-president-in-american-history

Paul Guggenheimer, “James Buchanan not a tough act to follow for Biden as 2nd president from Pennsylvania,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, November 15, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/buchanan-not-a-tough-act-to-follow-for-biden-as-2nd-president-from-pennsylvania/

David Charter, “Donald Trump is only fourth worst president, say US historians,” Times, July 2, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/trump-is-only-fourth-worst-president-say-us-historians-in-survey-sszzftqct

Joe Biden predicts a post-Trump ‘epiphany’ for Republicans

PDFs saved on July 7, 2021.

Eric Bradner and Gregory Krieg, “Joe Biden predicts a post-Trump ‘epiphany’ for Republicans,” CNN, May 14, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/politics/joe-biden-republicans-trump-epiphany/index.html

Matt Ford, “Someone Please Tell Joe Biden That Bipartisanship Is Dead,” New Republic, June 12, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/154183/someone-please-tell-joe-biden-bipartisanship-dead

Moira Donegan, “What does Biden have in common with Trump? Delusional nostalgia,” Guardian, June 21, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/21/joe-biden-trump-sexism-delusional-nostalgia

Paul Waldman, “Joe Biden still hasn’t learned the lessons of the Obama presidency,” Washington Post, December 6, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/06/joe-biden-still-hasnt-learned-lessons-obama-presidency/

Perry Bacon, Jr., “Does Biden Really Think Republicans Will Work With Him? And Could He Be Right?” FiveThirtyEight, January 19, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/does-biden-really-think-republicans-will-work-with-him-and-could-he-be-right/

Matt Viser, “Biden once asserted Republicans would have an ‘epiphany.’ Now he admits he doesn’t understand them,” Washington Post, May 6, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-once-asserted-republicans-would-have-an-epiphany-now-he-admits-he-doesnt-understand-them/2021/05/06/a8204a84-ae77-11eb-acd3-24b44a57093a_story.html

William Rivers Pitt, “Mitch McConnell Says Bipartisanship Is ‘Over.’ Believe Him,” Truthout, July 7, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/mitch-mcconnell-says-bipartisanship-is-over-believe-him/


No silver bullets for this pandemic (Update #8)

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 21, 2020, at 10:57 pm.

  2. October 21, 2020, 11:44 pm:

    • So I was wondering about possible evictions, specifically about two vacant apartments in my building, at my apartment complex.[1] Guess what? The Alden South Hills is pursuing 44 evictions. A magistrate judge has already refused some of them, giving tenants additional time to pay.[2] I have always paid my rent here on time, but in my experience, with regard to rent payments, the management does adopt a rather threatening tone, carrying an undertone that if you live in this complex, you are a deadbeat, so it’s not at all unreasonable to suspect that some vacancies in the complex may be to avoid being evicted and thus to avoid the difficulties of finding a new apartment when evictions have been recorded.

  3. October 22, 2020, 8:55 am:

    • I am revising the language in update #2 to make it a bit more complete. The revised text appears there.

  4. October 22, 2020, 10:20 am:

    • It’s a stretch, and the author even says it’s a stretch, but it’s possible to interpret the Third Amendment, prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in people’s homes, as guaranteeing a right to protection from contagious disease. It seems that smallpox is an important part of the historical context for that amendment, where British soldiers had deliberately passed the disease to American Indians, and not so deliberately to colonists.[3]

  5. October 22, 2020, 10:04 pm:

    • Have I mentioned that Uber and Lyft are evil? Uber is forcing its California drivers to acknowledge repeated messages in support of Proposition 22, at least at one point, for every ride they got.[4] The proposition would exempt them from California’s Assembly Bill 5, which codified a state supreme court decision, and requires the companies to correctly classify their drivers as employees rather than misclassifying them as independent contractors and denying them important labor protections.[5] The companies have been spending record-breaking amounts of money, in a state notorious for plentiful and ludicrously expensive propositions, in support of Proposition 22.[6] Now, some drivers have filed a class action suit against Uber’s practice of bombarding them with the pro-Proposition 22 message, even as the company insists that a majority of its drivers already support the proposition and their own misclassification,[7] which obviously raises the question of, if the independent contractor scam is indeed so popular with its drivers, why must Uber resort to such tactics to support it?

  6. October 23, 2020, 3:33 am:

    • An appeals court upheld[8] a lower court ruling that Uber and Lyft must classify their California drivers as employees[9] (see previous update, October 22, 2020, 10:04 pm) after granting a stay of the lower court ruling[10] that that court had refused to grant.[11]

  7. October 23, 2020, 3:37 am:

    • I caught a wording error in the update for October 22, 2020, 10:04 pm. This error has now been corrected.

  8. October 23, 2020, 10:04 pm:

    • Landlords are finding ways around the eviction moratorium, which expires at the end of the year anyway, but nonetheless suing to overturn it. It’s not at all apparent how folks who are already failing to pay rent are going to be able to find new apartments, so evictions effectively render them homeless. In a pandemic. “When tenants are evicted, they often move in with other family members, increasing the size of households and the chance for viral transmission.”[12]

    • I’ve been saying for a while that we’ve been doing everything wrong with the pandemic. And we already knew we were headed into a third surge.[13] Here we are:

      And it’s not simply a matter of increased testing identifying more cases. Covid-19 hospitalizations increased in 38 states over the past week. The number of deaths nationally has crested above 1,000 in recent days.

      The last time the country hit a new daily record for coronavirus cases — 76,533 on July 17 — just four states accounted for more than 40,000 of those cases: Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, according to a Washington Post analysis.

      On Friday, 11 states accounted for that same lion’s share of cases. And in the past two weeks, 24 states have broken their records for single-day highs of cases. . . .

      “One key way we got through previous waves was by moving health-care workers around. That’s just not possible when the virus is surging everywhere,” said Eleanor J. Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University.[14]

      Don’t forget that even as there is a shortage of doctors and nurses to deal with the surge, they too fall ill, reducing the number available even further. And there are drug shortages. But politicians have just decided we’re going to have to live with it.[15] Or, as some have suggested, die with it.


Pandemic

There is a new blog post entitled, “About that promised COVID-19 vaccine: Sorry, we still aren’t getting out of this pandemic anytime soon.

David Salisbury, “If you’re pinning your hopes on a Covid vaccine, here’s a dose of realism,” Guardian, October 21, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/oct/21/covid-vaccine-immunisation-protection

Melody Schreiber, “A Covid-19 Vaccine Doesn’t Need to Be Perfect,” New Republic, October 21, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/159868/covid-19-vaccine-efficacy-perfect

Alexander Zhang, “The Forgotten Third Amendment Could Give Pandemic-Struck America a Way Forward,” Atlantic, October 21, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/could-third-amendment-protect-against-infection/616791/

William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/


Evictions

Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh-area apartment complex The Alden South Hills seeking large-scale evictions,” Pittsburgh City Paper, October 21, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburgh-area-apartment-complex-the-alden-south-hills-seeking-large-scale-evictions/Content?oid=18223682

Kriston Capps, “Landlords Challenge U.S. Eviction Ban and Continue to Oust Renters,” CityLab, October 22, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-22/landlords-launch-legal-attack-on-cdc-eviction-ban


Gig economy

Faiz Siddiqui and Reed Albergotti, “Uber drivers sue app over ‘constant barrage’ pushing California anti-employment initiative,” Washington Post, October 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/22/uber-prop22-suit/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Not even a euphemism: ‘Houseless,’” Not Housebroken, October 18, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/10/18/not-even-a-euphemism-houseless/
  2. [2]Ryan Deto, “Pittsburgh-area apartment complex The Alden South Hills seeking large-scale evictions,” Pittsburgh City Paper, October 21, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburgh-area-apartment-complex-the-alden-south-hills-seeking-large-scale-evictions/Content?oid=18223682
  3. [3]Alexander Zhang, “The Forgotten Third Amendment Could Give Pandemic-Struck America a Way Forward,” Atlantic, October 21, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/10/could-third-amendment-protect-against-infection/616791/
  4. [4]Faiz Siddiqui and Reed Albergotti, “Uber drivers sue app over ‘constant barrage’ pushing California anti-employment initiative,” Washington Post, October 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/22/uber-prop22-suit/
  5. [5]Sophia Bollag, “California Uber, Lyft drivers to become employees under measure Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’ll sign,” Sacramento Bee, September 11, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article234973107.html; 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; Aaron Gordon, “Uber And Lyft Don’t Have A Right To Exist,” Jalopnik, August 30, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-dont-have-a-right-to-exist-1837680434; Aaron Gordon, “Uber To California: Make Us,” Jalopnik, September 11, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-drivers-shouldnt-expect-to-be-employees-a-1838048966; 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; Michael Hiltzik, “How millions from Uber and Lyft are funding the harassment of a critic,” Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-09-02/uber-lyft-veena-dubal-twitter-bullying; Therese Poletti, “Uber and Lyft’s ‘day of reckoning’ is finally here,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-and-lyfts-day-of-reckoning-is-finally-here-2020-08-11
  6. [6]Michael Hiltzik, “Uber and Lyft just made their campaign to keep exploiting workers the costliest in history,” Los Angeles Times, September 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-09-08/uber-lyft-most-expensive-initiative
  7. [7]Faiz Siddiqui and Reed Albergotti, “Uber drivers sue app over ‘constant barrage’ pushing California anti-employment initiative,” Washington Post, October 22, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/22/uber-prop22-suit/
  8. [8]Kanishka Singh and Tina Bellon, “California appeals court rules Uber, Lyft must reclassify drivers as employees,” Reuters, October 22, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-california-drivers-idUSKBN27805F
  9. [9]Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/
  10. [10]Lauren Feiner, “Appeals court grants Uber and Lyft a temporary reprieve following threats to shut down in California,” CNBC, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/20/appeals-court-grants-uber-and-lyft-a-temporary-reprieve-in-case-over-driver-classification.html
  11. [11]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html
  12. [12]Kriston Capps, “Landlords Challenge U.S. Eviction Ban and Continue to Oust Renters,” CityLab, October 22, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-22/landlords-launch-legal-attack-on-cdc-eviction-ban
  13. [13]Antonia Noori Farzan et al. “U.S. surpasses 64,000 new coronavirus infections two days in a row for first time since late July,” Washington Post, October 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/10/16/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/; Elliot Hannon, “Trump Says “We’re Rounding the Turn” the Same Day the U.S. Approaches Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases,” Slate, October 23, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/u-s-record-coronavirus-single-day-cases-trump-debate-declares-country-rounding-the-turn.html
  14. [14]William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/
  15. [15]William Wan and Jacqueline Dupree, “America hits highest daily number of coronavirus cases since pandemic began,” Washington Post, October 23, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/10/23/covid-us-spike-cases/; Elliot Hannon, “Trump Says “We’re Rounding the Turn” the Same Day the U.S. Approaches Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases,” Slate, October 23, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/10/u-s-record-coronavirus-single-day-cases-trump-debate-declares-country-rounding-the-turn.html

The third surge of COVID-19

Pandemic

There is a new blog post entitled, “The lesson of the pandemic: An incremental approach won’t save us.”

Karen Kaplan, “U.S. deaths are about 300,000 higher than expected since the coronavirus arrived,” Los Angeles Times, October 20, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-10-20/excess-deaths-in-united-states-since-coronavirus-arrived


Academia

As I was out driving, I noticed one day that banners around the Carnegie-Mellon University campus focused not on academics or scholarship, but on social connection, with lots of smiling (unmasked and not socially-distanced) faces.

But [Soneida] Rodriguez, the resident adviser, said those concessions [in response to an RA strike] haven’t fixed an underlying problem: The [University of Michigan] appears more concerned with giving students the full “college experience” than with protecting public health, she said.

“They’re trying to justify the tuition price,” she said.[1]

Universities are supposed to be sanctuaries for the dissemination and acquisition of knowledge. At least coincidentally with the political embrace of neoliberal dogma, they’ve taken on an entirely different role in what was already an anti-intellectual society.

This is a problem anyway. In a pandemic, it’s an even bigger one.[2]

Michael Vasquez, “‘It’s Negligence’: U. of Michigan Students Ordered to ‘Stay in Place’ After Covid-19 Cases Surge,” Chronicle of Higher Education, October 20, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/its-negligence-u-of-michigan-students-ordered-to-stay-in-place-as-covid-19-cases-surge


Housekeeping

I’ve been stressing out lately. As I put it recently,

I haven’t been sleeping well. Between the difficult navigation and the asshole drivers in Pittsburgh,[3] combined with road conditions that are significantly increasing my maintenance costs, I’m terrified the whole time I’m driving, which I do for Uber and Lyft because it’s the only job I can get even with a Ph.D.[4] I’m stressing out. My heart is pounding when I’m out. And when I wake up, I am short of sleep, unable to sleep more.[5]

But a couple of interesting things have happened. First, when I had to replace that last set of tires, after a mere 21,000 miles, I went ahead and pulled out the money to upgrade the sound system in the car. That is now done. The music does help soothe the savage beast of stress from a situation I cannot adapt to and cannot change.

Then a headlight went out. I’ve been going through a lot of bulbs since I got to Pittsburgh and every time one goes out, I lose time that I could spend working. I was feeling like this was costing me too much money. I stopped back at the place where I got the sound system upgraded and, sure enough, they’ve been able to replace a bunch of the bulbs with LEDs. The LED headlights significantly improve my ability to see at night, even to help avoid potholes, hopefully sparing my front end from some damage.

The LED turn signals improve the visibility of those signals; other drivers are more apt to see and respond to the signals. The backup camera that came with the sound system and the dramatically brighter LED backup lights make it a lot easier and safer when I need to turn around in narrow places, of which in Pittsburgh there are many.

A lot of it, however, feels like status. The LED lights convey an impression of a more expensive car than the 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid actually is. In Pittsburgh, that seems to matter. I’m getting a lot less harassment from obnoxious drivers.

It’s still stressful. I’m still in that situation I cannot adapt to and cannot change. But maybe my blood pressure isn’t so high now.


  1. [1]Michael Vasquez, “‘It’s Negligence’: U. of Michigan Students Ordered to ‘Stay in Place’ After Covid-19 Cases Surge,” Chronicle of Higher Education, October 20, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/its-negligence-u-of-michigan-students-ordered-to-stay-in-place-as-covid-19-cases-surge
  2. [2]Carl T. Bergstrom, “The CDC Is Wrong,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-CDC-Is-Wrong/249174; Francie Diep, “More Colleges Are Responding to Covid-19 Surges With 2-Week Quarantines. Do They Work?” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 17, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/more-colleges-are-responding-to-covid-19-surges-with-2-week-quarantines-do-they-work; Tim Elfrink, “‘We’ve got to do better than this’: College students raise alarm by packing bars, avoiding masks,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/17/alabama-georgia-college-parties-covid/; Lindsay Ellis, “Colleges Hoped for an In-Person Fall. Now the Dream is Crumbling,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/colleges-hoped-for-an-in-person-fall-now-the-dream-is-crumbling; Audrey Williams June, “Over 450 Colleges Are in Coronavirus Hot Spots,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 9, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Over-450-Colleges-Are-in/249156; Robert Kelchen, “Colleges Aren’t Reopening in the Fall,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Aren-t-Reopening-in/248803; Eric Kelderman, “Colleges Are Making Late Calls to Shut Campuses. Is It All About the Money?” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 25, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/colleges-are-making-late-calls-to-shut-campuses-is-it-all-about-the-money; Vivian S. Lee, Vindell Washington, and Robert M. Califf, “The Bad Science of Reopening,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-bad-science-of-reopening; Katherine Mangan, “Health Experts Warn Colleges Not to Send Students Home. But What if Quarantine Spaces Run Out?” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 7, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/health-experts-warn-colleges-not-to-send-students-home-but-what-if-they-run-out-of-quarantine-space; Kery Murakami, “Fauci Urges Colleges Not to Send Students Home,” Inside Higher Ed, September 4, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/09/04/fauci-urges-colleges-not-send-students-home; Notre Dame University, “Notre Dame enacts two weeks of remote instruction,” August 18, 2020, https://news.nd.edu/news/notre-dame-enacts-two-weeks-of-remote-instruction/; Vimal Patel, “A Grad Strike, a Court Fight, a No-Confidence Vote: U. of Michigan Struggles Over Its Campus Reopening,” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 16, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/a-grad-strike-a-court-fight-a-no-confidence-vote-u-of-michigan-struggles-over-its-campus-reopening; Colleen Shalby, “California colleges tried to prepare for COVID-19 outbreaks. It didn’t work,” Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-10-07/as-californias-universities-reopen-off-campus-activity-contributes-to-spike-in-covid-19-cases; Andy Thomason, “After Only One Week, Chapel Hill Abandons In-Person Fall Semester,” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 17, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/after-only-one-week-chapel-hill-abandons-in-person-fall-semester; Michael Vasquez, “‘It’s Negligence’: U. of Michigan Students Ordered to ‘Stay in Place’ After Covid-19 Cases Surge,” Chronicle of Higher Education, October 20, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/its-negligence-u-of-michigan-students-ordered-to-stay-in-place-as-covid-19-cases-surge
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Pittsburgh driving for the uninitiated,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/pittsburgh/pittsburgh-driving-for-the-uninitiated/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  5. [5]David Benfell, “Normalized ‘property rights,’” Not Housebroken, September 23, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/23/normalized-property-rights/

The Pennsylvania Legislature should be thrown in jail

Pennsylvania

Killing people is a crime, but even as COVID-19 case counts surge,[1] the Pennsylvania legislature is still desperately trying to spread the disease.[2] The capitalist god demands human sacrifice[3] and the legislature is eager to oblige.

Megan Guza, “Covid resurgence is here, Pa. officials say after 14 days of new cases topping 1,000,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 19, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/covid-resurgence-is-here-state-officials-say-after-14-days-of-new-cases-topping-1000/

Stephen Caruso, “Pa. House falls two votes shy of overturning Wolf restaurant occupancy veto,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, October 20, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-house-falls-two-votes-shy-of-overturning-wolf-restaurant-occupancy-veto/


  1. [1]Megan Guza, “Covid resurgence is here, Pa. officials say after 14 days of new cases topping 1,000,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 19, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/covid-resurgence-is-here-state-officials-say-after-14-days-of-new-cases-topping-1000/; Samson X. Horne, “Pennsylvania reports 2nd-highest covid-19 case count,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 17, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-05/supreme-court-rejects-challenge-to-pennsylvania-shutdown-order
  2. [2]Stephen Caruso, “Pa. House falls two votes shy of overturning Wolf restaurant occupancy veto,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, October 20, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-house-falls-two-votes-shy-of-overturning-wolf-restaurant-occupancy-veto/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “The capitalist death cult,” Not Housebroken, March 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/27/the-capitalist-death-cult/; David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/; David Benfell, “Surprise! Surprise! The capitalist god is greedy!” Not Housebroken, May 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/23/surprise-surprise-the-capitalist-god-is-greedy/