I guess this is what lawyers are for (Update #5)


  1. Originally published, February 3, 2021, 1:15 pm.

  2. February 3, 2021, 10:40 pm:

    • The judge has ruled against the Crack’d Egg Restaurant in Brentwood, requiring it to comply with COVID-19 orders or close. The restaurant is asking for a stay while it appeals. The judge, however, cited a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision upholding Governor Wolf’s and Pennsylvania Health Department’s orders, in reaching his decision.[1] So I’m not seeing how this gets reversed. But then, this is Pennsylvania.

    • I managed to run afoul of Twitter’s bots in responding to a post on keys to the City of Pittsburgh. As I recall, such keys were traditionally hung from a lanyard about the bearer’s neck, and a newer design lacks the hole found in traditional wire skeleton keys that would make that possible. I sought to point this out and, after all, if we’re going to uphold antiquated traditions, we ought to uphold them properly.

      But it appears that Twitter’s appeals process relies on the same artificial idiocy as that which condemned me in the first place. So I’m mostly off Twitter until sometime tomorrow.

      I have previously taken up the problem of artificial idiocy in a blog post entitled, “Our new Satan: artificial idiocy and big data mining” and previously encountered a similar problem with Google’s last ill-fated attempt at a social network, Google Plus.

    • My car is off to another expensive start in maintenance in the new year. I’m getting new struts, new shock absorbers, and new tires put on. All this also means an alignment. It’s conceivable the bill will exceed $2,000. I really need a real job because with this rideshare driving, I am, and my passengers are, just destroying perfectly good automobiles, all while not accumulating a penny for retirement, not really being able to take any time off, and not having a life.

    • My mother got me a copy of Ezra Klein’s book Why We’re Polarized. I’ve read the introduction and the first two chapters. It’s an interesting perspective in that Klein perceives a difference between Democrats and Republicans as having increased since a time even as recently as the 1980s, when, he argues, the two major parties were not distinguished by ideological differences. And yes, I guess if your baseline includes southern Democrats who openly sought to preserve white supremacy, then yes, indeed, the Democrats have moved left.[2]

      Republicans have, to an increasing degree, relied on race-baiting to appeal to those former southern Democrats and this, of course, has plumbed despicable depths with Donald Trump.[3] But at least in the early going, Klein seems not to see white supremacy outside the south, such as I see in southwestern Pennsylvania.

      In this, Klein magnifies the differences between the parties at the expense of their similarities. Both parties are dominated by their donors; both embrace neoconservatism, for which neoliberalism is a moral imperative[4] and overseas wars are somehow self-defense; neither takes the climate crisis seriously enough; neither has taken the need for economic relief and universal health insurance coverage generally, let alone in the pandemic, seriously enough; neither is particularly troubled by widening social inequality; indeed, neither is really all that terribly troubled by the cozy relationship between police and white supremacists.[5] From a progressive perspective, these similarities unite the two major parties as an evil blob far to the right. But Klein, so far, at least, barely even acknowledges that there is a progressivism to the left of the Democrats.[6]

  3. February 4, 2021, 5:56 am:

    • I’ve read a bit further into Ezra Klein’s work, which I began discussing in the last update (February 3, 10:40 pm). Klein correctly identifies a problem as being with “us” versus “them” thinking, but then argues that this goes beyond political views into entire lifestyles. If you like Whole Foods, you’re probably a Democrat. If you like Cracker Barrel, you’re probably a Republican. He seems to be thinking that we conform to partisan archetypes in a seeming desperation to align with whichever “us” we identify with.[7]

      This is far too simplistic. Roughly, it aligns with George Lakoff’s “nurturant parent” (Democrat) and “critical father” (Republican) morality systems, but Lakoff was at pains to explain that there would be different emphases among adherents to each morality system.[8]

      My dissertation was all about not treating conservatives monolithically; I identified seven different tendencies, all authoritarian and ideological to be sure, but otherwise strikingly different.[9] Even if we were to merge the three tendencies that comprise Donald Trump’s base, these being authoritarian populism (which actually does embody the hierarchical invidiously monistic thinking that Klein attributes to most of us), paleoconservatism (including white supremacy and neo-Nazism), and social conservatism (mostly evangelical Protestantism), which is still a step beyond my current thinking,[10] we would still have five tendencies on the right.

      Though I have not been as systematic on the left on the left (here viewed broadly as including even mainstream, such as Barack Obama, and conservative, such as Joe Manchin, Democrats, most of whom are neoconservative, a conservative tendency), there are similar differences; but they divide differently, including among those who tend to identify all social inequality as that being the particular form that personally afflicts them. Hillary Clinton, for example, marks herself as a second wave (we’re probably now up to the fourth, albeit ill-defined, wave) feminist by tending to view all social inequality as sexism. My formerly favorite professor (now emeritus) at California State University, East Bay, often reduced social inequality to racism. I’ve seen something similar with sexual and gender minorities, and some progressives focus almost exclusively on class.

      Klein’s error, at least so far, seems to be the opposite extreme from failing to see the forest for the trees. He would not even see separate forests so much as he would notice hardwood forests that often predominate east of the Mississippi and softwood forests that predominate along the west coast. Both characterizations obscure much more than they reveal.

  4. February 4, 2021, 12:11 pm:

    • Please see an update regarding my social network presence on my contact page.

      This is, to say the least, an unfortunate situation. Applying for jobs has been a pathetic failure and I have no functional social network. I had hoped that I might eventually reach someone who might be interested in hiring me through these online networks, but I have no way to reliably avoid running afoul of the artificial idiots that police these networks.

    • I’m finally getting the car back. The total wasn’t as bad as I feared but it’s still bad, close to $1,900.

  5. February 5, 2021, 10:00 pm:

    • The Crack’d Egg is closing its doors while, the owner says, she pursues an appeal.[11]

Allegheny County

So, the Crack’d Egg Restaurant now says it only filed for bankruptcy[12] in what turned out to be, because the bankruptcy judge didn’t allow it, an unsuccessful attempt to evade the Allegheny County Health Department’s lawsuit[13] for flouting pandemic restrictions[14] and now wants to withdraw the filing.[15] This sounds like an abuse of the system to me but I guess that’s what lawyers are for.

Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg restaurant asks to withdraw bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 2, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-restaurant-asks-to-withdraw-bankruptcy-filing/

Paula Reed Ward, “Judge orders Crack’d Egg to follow covid rules or close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-orders-crackd-egg-to-follow-covid-rules-or-close/

Paul Martino, “After Defying Health Department, Crack’d Egg Follows Judge’s Ruling And Closes,” KDKA Television, February 4, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/02/04/crackd-egg-closes/


Andrew Khouri, “Depleted savings, ruined credit: What happens when all the rent comes due?” Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-02-02/rent-debt-worries-grow-covid-strains-tenants

  1. [1]Paula Reed Ward, “Judge orders Crack’d Egg to follow covid rules or close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-orders-crackd-egg-to-follow-covid-rules-or-close/
  2. [2]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  3. [3]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  4. [4]Gertrude Himmelfarb, “Irving Kristol’s Neoconservative Persuasion,” Commentary, February 2011, 25-29.
  5. [5]Mark Berman et al., “Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people,” Washington Post, June 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/protests-spread-over-police-shootings-police-promised-reforms-every-year-they-still-shoot-nearly-1000-people/2020/06/08/5c204f0c-a67c-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html; Kyle Cheney, Sarah Ferris, and Laura Barrón-López, “‘Inside job’: House Dems ask if Capitol rioters had hidden help,” Politico, January 8, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/08/congress-democrats-capitol-riot-inside-job-456725; James Downie, “Time to toss the ‘bad apples’ excuse,” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/31/time-toss-bad-apples-excuse/; Kimberly Kindy, Mark Berman, and Kim Bellware, “After Capitol riot, police chiefs work to root out officers with ties to extremist groups,” Washington Post, January 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/police-capitol-riot-extremists/2021/01/24/16fdb2bc-5a7b-11eb-b8bd-ee36b1cd18bf_story.html; Maggie Koerth, “The Police’s Tepid Response To The Capitol Breach Wasn’t An Aberration,” FiveThirtyEight, January 7, 2021, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-polices-tepid-response-to-the-capitol-breach-wasnt-an-aberration/; Kurtis Lee, Jaweed Kaleem, and Laura King, “‘White supremacy was on full display.’ Double standard seen in police response to riot at Capitol,” Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-01-07/la-na-washington-capitol-police-attack-race; Wesley Lowery, “Aren’t more white people than black people killed by police? Yes, but no,” Washington Post, July 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/07/11/arent-more-white-people-than-black-people-killed-by-police-yes-but-no/; Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/; Elie Mystal, “There’s Only One Possible Conclusion: White America Likes Its Killer Cops,” Nation, May 27, 2020, https://www.thenation.com/article/society/white-america-cops/; Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “How Do We Change America?” New Yorker, June 8, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-do-we-change-america
  6. [6]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  7. [7]Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized (New York: Avid Reader, 2020).
  8. [8]George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago, 2002).
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  10. [10]David Benfell, “The seven tendencies of conservatism,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/the-seven-tendencies-of-conservatism/
  11. [11]Paul Martino, “After Defying Health Department, Crack’d Egg Follows Judge’s Ruling And Closes,” KDKA Television, February 4, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/02/04/crackd-egg-closes/
  12. [12]KDKA, “Brentwood Restaurant That Sued Allegheny County Over Coronavirus Restrictions Files For Bankruptcy,” October 9, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/10/09/the-crackd-egg-files-for-bankruptcy/; Paula Reed Ward, “Allegheny County argues Crack’d Egg can’t hide from covid restrictions under bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 5, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/allegheny-county-argues-crackd-egg-cant-hide-from-covid-restrictions-under-bankruptcy-filing/
  13. [13]Paula Reed Ward, “Judge rules against Crack’d Egg, health department case can proceed,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 7, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-rules-against-crackd-egg-health-department-case-can-proceed/; Paula Reed Ward, “Judge to rule on Crack’d Egg restaurant closure order next week,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/judge-to-rule-on-crackd-egg-restaurant-closure-order-next-week/
  14. [14]Paula Reed Ward, “Brentwood restaurant defies order to close for covid-19 violations, faces court action,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 18, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/brentwood-restaurant-defies-order-to-close-for-covid-19-violations-faces-court-action/; Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg flouts shutdown as deputies quarantined for dining, taking photos with owner,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-flouts-shutdown-as-deputies-quarantined-for-dining-taking-photos-with-owner/
  15. [15]Paula Reed Ward, “Crack’d Egg restaurant asks to withdraw bankruptcy filing,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 2, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/crackd-egg-restaurant-asks-to-withdraw-bankruptcy-filing/

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