The steep and winding road to a Wilkinsburg-Pittsburgh merger

Wilkinsburg

The news coverage on on how all this actually happens is scattered, so I hope I am piecing it together correctly:

It appears backers of an idea to merge Wilkinsburg into Pittsburgh[1] have secured the signatures needed[2] to put the proposal on the November ballot[3] if Pittsburgh’s City Council agrees.[4] Supporters can now ask the Court of Common Pleas to order Pittsburgh’s City Council to vote on whether to allow the ballot question to go forward.[5] Whether the Council would vote in favor is one question;[6] whether Wilkinsburg voters would support the idea is yet another.[7] Supporters claim that Wilkinsburg property taxes would go down;[8] Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto says that’s unclear and wants Wilkinsburg not to be a financial drain on the city.[9]

A lot of Wilkinsburg looks maybe a little worse than Pittsburgh’s nearby and distressed East Hills, Homewood, and Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar neighborhoods. It also includes a piece of the relatively prosperous Blackridge neighborhood and some middle class neighborhoods but my guess is this dies at the City Council because both Peduto and the Council are expressing concern about Wilkinsburg potentially being a drain on Pittsburgh’s finances,[10] which says to me that this is a real concern.

Jon Delano, “Wilkinsburg Moves Closer To A Vote On Merging With The City Of Pittsburgh,” KDKA-TV, June 28, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/06/28/wilkinsburg-potential-merging-with-pittsburgh/

Sheldon Ingram, “A lot needs to happen for Wilkinsburg to merge with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 29, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/a-lot-needs-to-happen-for-wilkinsburg-to-merge-with-pittsburgh/36880087


New York City

Um. Oops.


The narrative I’ve been hearing pretty clearly since the ranked-choice New York City mayoral primary is that Eric Adams, who had run on a “law and order” platform, was likely the winner. That might still be the case, but a botched count suggested that Kathryn Garcia had come close enough to make it really close.[11]


But that count included “test” ballots which should have been excluded from the official count. So we don’t fucking know. And I’m being gentle here: The city’s Board of Elections fails to inspire confidence.[12]

Maya Wiley, who finished second in the first choice count,[13] is reputedly the progressive candidate.

Joe Anuta and David Giambusso, “Latest New York mayoral count voided after ‘test’ ballots included in tally,” Politico, June 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/06/29/election-officials-void-latest-new-york-mayoral-count-after-including-test-results-in-tally-1387464


Contraception

Marisa Fernandez, “CDC: 30% of women at risk of pregnancy are not using contraceptives” Axios, June 30, 2021, https://www.axios.com/women-at-risk-pregnancy-not-birth-control-5a796ccb-8748-471d-8818-8ff428cab5e7.html


“Labor Shortage”

There’s a lot of evidence that unhappy workers are seeking greener pastures and a lot of evidence that employers are trying desperately to keep workers so desperate, in part by maintaining a pool of long-term unemployed, that they’ll work for nearly nothing,[14] but at the Wall Street Journal, Justin Lahart doesn’t want to hear any of it and instead focuses on lots of other reasons that employers may still be having difficulty hiring.[15]

Lahart is likely right that it isn’t any one factor.[16] But still, nobody will hire me,[17] which tells you all you need to know about the so-called “labor shortage.”[18]

Erica Pandey writes, “For the first time in decades, workers have the power to be choosy.”[19] And maybe that’s true, if you’re anyone other than me.[20]

Justin Lahart, “Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-are-hard-to-fill-and-ideology-makes-it-hard-to-understand-why-11625050801

Erica Pandey, “Why almost no one is looking hard for a job,” Axios, June 30, 2021, https://www.axios.com/unemployed-people-not-searching-jobs-115934de-9159-4e4a-abbd-436f51049ee7.html”


Donald Trump

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office charges are only one part[21] of a somewhat larger picture.[22]

Erica Orden, Kara Scannell and Sonia Moghe, “Manhattan grand jury indicts Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg, sources say,” CNN, June 30, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/politics/trump-organization-charges/index.html

Corinne Ramey, “Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg Expected to Be Charged Thursday,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-organization-and-cfo-allen-weisselberg-expected-to-be-charged-thursday-11625060765


Bill Cosby

My contempt for this ruling and a system that could produce it knows no bounds:

[T]he Pennsylvania Supreme Court said that Dist. Atty. Kevin Steele, who made the decision to prosecute Cosby, was obligated to stand by his predecessor’s promise not to charge the entertainer. There was no evidence that promise was ever put in writing.

Justice David Wecht, writing for a split court, said Cosby had relied on the former district attorney’s decision not to charge him when the comedian gave his potentially incriminating testimony in Constand’s civil case.

The court called Cosby’s arrest “an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was forgone for more than a decade.”[23]

MaryClaire Dale, “Bill Cosby freed from prison after court overturns sex assault conviction,” Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-06-30/bill-cosby-sex-assault-conviction-overturned


Pandemic

Don Sweeney and Katie Camero, “Face masks not necessary in US to curb Delta variant, CDC chief says,” Sacramento Bee, June 30, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article252469793.html


  1. [1]Paul Van Osdol, “Wilkinsburg mayor backs merger with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 18, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/wilkinsburg-merger-with-pittsburgh-proposed/36768006; Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  2. [2]Jon Delano, “Wilkinsburg Moves Closer To A Vote On Merging With The City Of Pittsburgh,” KDKA-TV, June 28, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/06/28/wilkinsburg-potential-merging-with-pittsburgh/
  3. [3]Paul Van Osdol, “Wilkinsburg mayor backs merger with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 18, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/wilkinsburg-merger-with-pittsburgh-proposed/36768006
  4. [4]Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  5. [5]Jon Delano, “Wilkinsburg Moves Closer To A Vote On Merging With The City Of Pittsburgh,” KDKA-TV, June 28, 2021, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2021/06/28/wilkinsburg-potential-merging-with-pittsburgh/
  6. [6]Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  7. [7]Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  8. [8]Paul Van Osdol, “Wilkinsburg mayor backs merger with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 18, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/wilkinsburg-merger-with-pittsburgh-proposed/36768006; Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  9. [9]Sheldon Ingram, “A lot needs to happen for Wilkinsburg to merge with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 29, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/a-lot-needs-to-happen-for-wilkinsburg-to-merge-with-pittsburgh/36880087
  10. [10]Sheldon Ingram, “A lot needs to happen for Wilkinsburg to merge with Pittsburgh,” WTAE, June 29, 2021, https://www.wtae.com/article/a-lot-needs-to-happen-for-wilkinsburg-to-merge-with-pittsburgh/36880087; Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/
  11. [11]Joe Anuta and David Giambusso, “Latest New York mayoral count voided after ‘test’ ballots included in tally,” Politico, June 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/06/29/election-officials-void-latest-new-york-mayoral-count-after-including-test-results-in-tally-1387464
  12. [12]Joe Anuta and David Giambusso, “Latest New York mayoral count voided after ‘test’ ballots included in tally,” Politico, June 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/06/29/election-officials-void-latest-new-york-mayoral-count-after-including-test-results-in-tally-1387464
  13. [13]Joe Anuta and David Giambusso, “Latest New York mayoral count voided after ‘test’ ballots included in tally,” Politico, June 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/albany/story/2021/06/29/election-officials-void-latest-new-york-mayoral-count-after-including-test-results-in-tally-1387464
  14. [14]Abha Bhattarai, “Retail workers are quitting at record rates for higher-paying work: ‘My life isn’t worth a dead-end job,’” Washington Post, June 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/06/21/retail-workers-quitting-jobs/; Stephanie Kelton, The Deficit Myth (New York: Public Affairs, 2021); Eric Levitz, “Letting the Economy Create Jobs for Everyone Is (Sadly) Radical,” New York, June 4, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/biden-full-employment-policy-labor-shortage-inflation.html; Heather Long, “It’s not a ‘labor shortage.’ It’s a great reassessment of work in America,” Washington Post, May 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/05/07/jobs-report-labor-shortage-analysis/; Greg Rosalsky, “Is There Really A Truck Driver Shortage?” National Public Radio, May 25, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2021/05/25/999784202/is-there-really-a-truck-driver-shortage; Eli Rosenberg, “These businesses found a way around the worker shortage: Raising wages to $15 an hour or more,” Washington Post, June 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/06/10/worker-shortage-raising-wages/; Jon Schwarz, “The Business Class Has Been Fearmongering About Worker Shortages for Centuries,” Intercept, May 7, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/05/07/worker-shortage-slavery-capitalism/
  15. [15]Justin Lahart, “Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-are-hard-to-fill-and-ideology-makes-it-hard-to-understand-why-11625050801
  16. [16]Justin Lahart, “Jobs Are Hard to Fill, and Ideology Makes It Hard to Understand Why,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-are-hard-to-fill-and-ideology-makes-it-hard-to-understand-why-11625050801
  17. [17]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  18. [18]David Benfell, “About that alleged ‘labor shortage,’” Not Housebroken, June 10, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/05/09/about-that-alleged-labor-shortage/
  19. [19]Erica Pandey, “Why almost no one is looking hard for a job,” Axios, June 30, 2021, https://www.axios.com/unemployed-people-not-searching-jobs-115934de-9159-4e4a-abbd-436f51049ee7.html”
  20. [20]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  21. [21]Erica Orden, Kara Scannell and Sonia Moghe, “Manhattan grand jury indicts Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg, sources say,” CNN, June 30, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/politics/trump-organization-charges/index.html; Corinne Ramey, “Trump Organization and CFO Allen Weisselberg Expected to Be Charged Thursday,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-organization-and-cfo-allen-weisselberg-expected-to-be-charged-thursday-11625060765
  22. [22]Dan Alexander, “Trump Will Have $900 Million Of Loans Coming Due In His Second Term If He’s Reelected,” Forbes, October 19, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2020/10/19/trump-will-have-900-million-of-loans-coming-due-in-his-second-term-if-hes-reelected/; Devlin Barrett, “Trump’s remarks before Capitol riot may be investigated, says acting U.S. attorney in D.C.,” Washington Post, January 7, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/federal-investigation-capitol-riot-trump/2021/01/07/178d71ac-512c-11eb-83e3-322644d82356_story.html; George T. Conway, III, “Donald Trump’s new reality,” Washington Post, January 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/22/trump-charges-george-conway/; Jane Mayer, “Why Trump Can’t Afford to Lose,” New Yorker, November 1, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/11/09/why-trump-cant-afford-to-lose; Andrew G. McCabe and David C. Williams, “Trump’s New Criminal Problem,” Politico, January 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/01/11/trumps-new-criminal-problem-457298
  23. [23]MaryClaire Dale, “Bill Cosby freed from prison after court overturns sex assault conviction,” Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-06-30/bill-cosby-sex-assault-conviction-overturned

We have a Republican candidate for Pittsburgh mayor

Pittsburgh

Unsurprisingly but disgustingly, Tony Moreno has re-entered the Pittsburgh mayoral race as a Republican.[1] He will draw the not inconsiderable white supremacist and police white supremacist gang-supporting vote but will probably not draw anywhere near enough votes to defeat Ed Gainey, who won the Democratic primary.[2]

Tom Davidson, “Tony Moreno re-enters Pittsburgh mayoral race as Republican,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/tony-moreno-re-enters-pittsburgh-mayoral-race-as-republican/


Positivist hubris

John Horgan rightly doubts that positivism—scientific method—can resolve all the questions of human existence. Unfortunately, people exist who think it can.[3]

John Horgan, “Science Should Not Try to Absorb Religion and Other Ways of Knowing,” Scientific American, June 25, 2021, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/science-should-not-try-to-absorb-religion-and-other-ways-of-knowing/


AdBlock

It looks like the proximal cause of my difficulties yesterday may have been one of my layers of ad-blocking.[4] I have little regret however, as my Mac had been set up in the way that someone who had been away from Macs for over twenty years might indeed screw it up. Now I have a chance to sort it out with a bit more current experience.

One thing I tried to resurrect—and gave up on—is my old script for archiving articles. I wasn’t getting a clue what was going wrong and I just can’t do it anymore; as I said yesterday, my burnout on technical matters is intensifying.

So I’m now archiving articles a simpler way, as PDFs to my Google Drive, which has unlimited storage, and I’m deleting the HTML versions that I had kept private on this site, which enables me to make a bit more public. A lot of the entries on this site will gradually be converted to reading lists on various topics.

Richard Lawler, “AdBlock glitch blanks out content on Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, and other sites,” Verge, June 28, 2021, https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/28/22554495/adblock-plus-filter-lists-wiki-reddit-twitter


Amazon

Amazon Flex is Amazon’s piece of the gig economy. Ironically given the name, it’s less flexible than other gig options as drivers must sign up for times in advance.

Tim De Chant, “Amazon is using algorithms with little human intervention to fire Flex workers,” Ars Technica, June 28, 2021, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/06/amazon-is-firing-flex-workers-using-algorithms-with-little-human-intervention/


Evictions

In a detail that passed below my radar, apparently the Biden administration has extended the eviction moratorium for another month, to the end of July.[5]

In a brief opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said he agreed with [U.S. District Judge Dabney] Friedrich’s ruling, but voted to leave the ban on evictions in place because it’s due to end in a month and “because those few weeks will allow for additional and more orderly distribution of the congressionally appropriated rental assistance funds.”[6]

Dabney Friedrich’s ruling was handed down in May.[7] I do not know the status of other challenges to the ban.

Associated Press, “Supreme Court rejects plea by landlords to lift federal eviction moratorium,” Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-06-29/supreme-court-leaves-cdc-eviction-moratorium-in-place


  1. [1]Tom Davidson, “Tony Moreno re-enters Pittsburgh mayoral race as Republican,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 29, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/tony-moreno-re-enters-pittsburgh-mayoral-race-as-republican/
  2. [2]Associated Press, “Pittsburgh votes out mayor in primary election,” Politico, May 18, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/05/18/pittsburgh-votes-out-mayor-in-primary-election-489542; Tom Davidson, “Pittsburgh, Allegheny County voters approve no-knock warrant ban, solitary confinement restrictions,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 19, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny-county-voters-approve-no-knock-warrant-ban-solitary-confinement-restrictions/; Tom Davidson and Megan Guza, “How did Peduto lose Pittsburgh mayoral primary? Experts offer insight,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 19, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/how-did-peduto-lose-the-pittsburgh-mayoral-primary-experts-offer-insight/; Charlie Wolfson, “Gainey topples Peduto in primary, will be Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor barring a November challenge,” Public Source, May 18, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/gainey-topples-peduto-in-primary-on-course-as-first-black-pittsburgh-mayor/; Charlie Wolfson and Rich Lord, “‘The rebel becomes the establishment’: Peduto and Gainey reflect on a historic election,” May 24, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/gainey-peduto-pittsburgh-mayor-election-police-affordable-housing-covid-politics/
  3. [3]John Horgan, “Science Should Not Try to Absorb Religion and Other Ways of Knowing,” Scientific American, June 25, 2021, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/science-should-not-try-to-absorb-religion-and-other-ways-of-knowing/
  4. [4]Richard Lawler, “AdBlock glitch blanks out content on Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, and other sites,” Verge, June 28, 2021, https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/28/22554495/adblock-plus-filter-lists-wiki-reddit-twitter
  5. [5]Associated Press, “Supreme Court rejects plea by landlords to lift federal eviction moratorium,” Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-06-29/supreme-court-leaves-cdc-eviction-moratorium-in-place
  6. [6]Associated Press, “Supreme Court rejects plea by landlords to lift federal eviction moratorium,” Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-06-29/supreme-court-leaves-cdc-eviction-moratorium-in-place
  7. [7]Kyle Swenson, “Federal judge vacates CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium,” Washington Post, May 5, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/05/05/federal-judge-vacates-cdcs-nationwide-eviction-moratorium/

The technically delayed issue

This issue has been substantially delayed largely due to technical issues which have hopefully now been resolved. Hopefully.

Basically what happened is that both the Safari and Chrome browsers on my Mac were failing to implement the cascading style sheets (CSS) on the back end pages for WordPress, both for The Irregular Bullshit and Not Housebroken. These browsers both also failed to display Twitter feeds. Everything else seemed to be working, but these are the sites I spend most of my online time on.

Because the problem appeared with multiple browsers and because I hadn’t immediately done something to provoke the problem, I thought the problem was with the hosts (both for my sites and for Twitter). But I didn’t see any news about a Twitter outage and eventually I popped open my Pixelbook (a Chrome OS notebook) where I discovered the back ends were working just fine.

There were other issues with the Mac as well that led to a decision to seek a factory reset; only I completely botched it, erasing the wrong partition (where “data” is something different than what I usually associate as data), which necessitated a trip to the Apple Store, where they’ve kindly taken care of it all for free.

As soon as I hit publish on this issue, I’ll be heading out the door to retrieve the Mac. I’ll have a lot of work to do setting it back up and hopefully not recreating the problem.

Sigh. I’m really desperately wanting to put technical issues behind me. I burned out on this shit beginning in 1985 (but didn’t recognize this for decades) and it’s only gotten worse since.


Anti-Semitism

There is a new blog post entitled, “On ‘anti-Semitism.’


Military

Jason Wilson, “Revealed: neo-Confederate group includes military officers and politicians,” Guardian, June 28, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/28/neo-confederate-group-members-politicians-military-officers


Democrats

  • Minimum wage: crashed and burned.
  • Voting rights: almost certainly crashed and burned.
  • Infrastructure: severely curtailed package most likely; still could crash and burn.
  • Green New Deal: not even up for discussion.
  • Medicare For All: reduction in eligibility age possible.

Just sayin’.


Radar in Pennsylvania?


Pennsylvania

One of the really curious things that I’ve had a hard time adapting to since coming to Pittsburgh is the nearly-complete non-enforcement of speed limits. This is partly due to a ban on radar by all but the Pennsylvania state troopers. Some keep trying to change this but they haven’t succeeded yet. One of the arguments against radar has been rooted in a fear that municipalities will use speed enforcement as a revenue source[1] much like San Francisco uses parking ticket revenue. This latest effort would limit such revenue “to 10% of a municipality’s budget.”[2] When I previously visited this topic, it was twenty percent.[3]

Will this time be different? Words I thought I’d never say: I hope so. Because where I come from, the speeds that people drive at routinely here would be considered reckless.

Associated Press, “Senate OKs local police using radar for speed enforcement,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 23, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/senate-oks-local-police-using-radar-for-speed-enforcement/


  1. [1]Associated Press, “Senate OKs local police using radar for speed enforcement,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 23, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/senate-oks-local-police-using-radar-for-speed-enforcement/; Anne Shannon, “Proposed legislation could make Pennsylvania last state to allow local police to use radar,” WGAL, February 14, 2020, https://www.wgal.com/article/proposed-legislation-could-make-pennsylvania-last-state-to-allow-local-police-to-use-radar/30799636
  2. [2]Associated Press, “Senate OKs local police using radar for speed enforcement,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 23, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/senate-oks-local-police-using-radar-for-speed-enforcement/
  3. [3]Anne Shannon, “Proposed legislation could make Pennsylvania last state to allow local police to use radar,” WGAL, February 14, 2020, https://www.wgal.com/article/proposed-legislation-could-make-pennsylvania-last-state-to-allow-local-police-to-use-radar/30799636

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Is Probably Doomed, Alas

Jonathan Chait, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Is Probably Doomed, Alas,” New York, June 25, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/is-the-bipartisan-infrastructure-deal-going-to-pass-biden-republicans-democrats.html

Alex Shephard, “Chuck Schumer Is Done Waiting on Republicans,” New Republic, July 21, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/163014/chuck-schumer-done-waiting-republicans

Lee Fang, “Mystery Group Promoting Infrastructure Privatization Boosted By Toll Road Lobbyists,” Intercept, July 23, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/07/23/infrastructure-privatization-toll-roads/

Mike DeBonis, “Schumer, a leader more liked than feared, faces test of whether he can deliver the ‘big and bold’ agenda he’s promised,” Washington Post, July 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/infrastructure-schumer-senate/2021/07/29/8575551e-efaf-11eb-81d2-ffae0f931b8f_story.html

German Lopez, “What’s in the new infrastructure bill — and why it’s a big deal,” Vox, July 29, 2021, https://www.vox.com/22598883/infrastructure-deal-bipartisan-bill-biden-manchin

Eric Levitz, “5 Reasons Biden Got His Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal,” New York, July 30, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/5-reasons-biden-got-his-bipartisan-infrastructure-deal.html

Andrew Duehren, “CBO Estimates Infrastructure Bill Would Add $256 Billion to Deficits,” Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/cbo-estimates-infrastructure-bill-would-add-256-billion-to-deficits-11628196739

Alex Shephard, “Biden Gets His Bipartisan Victory. Now the Hard Part,” New Republic, August 10, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/163228/senate-passes-infrastructure-bill-reconciliation-next

Clare Foran and Ali Zaslav, “Senate Democrats approve $3.5 trillion budget resolution in key step toward passing major economic package without GOP votes,” CNN, August 11, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/11/politics/senate-approves-budget-resolution/index.html

Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle, “House Dem moderates lay out battle lines as Pelosi stands firm,” Politico, August 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/08/11/house-democrats-moderates-infrastructure-spending-503917

Ryan Lizza et al., “A warning sign for Democrats on climate policy,” Politico, August 11, 2021, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2021/08/11/a-warning-sign-for-democrats-on-climate-policy-493936

Kristina Peterson and Lindsay Wise, “Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Budget Framework Exposes Party Tensions,” Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-3-5-trillion-budget-framework-exposes-party-tensions-11628704569

Sarah D. Wire and Meena Venkataramanan, “House OKs resolution allowing $3.5-trillion social spending bill to advance,” Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-08-24/house-senate-infrastructure-bill-moderates

Jonathan Chait, “Joe Manchin Has Put Biden’s Presidency in Mortal Danger,” New York, September 2, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/09/joe-manchin-pause-biden-presidency-failed-danger-congress-democrats.html

Rick Perlstein, “When America Had a Moral Panic Over Inflation,” New York, September 2, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/09/the-1970s-when-america-had-a-moral-panic-over-inflation.html

Oriana Gonzalez, “Sanders insists Dems’ spending package remain at $3.5 trillion,” Axios, September 8, 2021, https://www.axios.com/sanders-manchin-spending-package-35-trillion-536a9c7f-6dd1-450a-8d65-c6dd986cc86e.html

Hans Nichols, “Manchin backs as little as $1 trillion of Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan,” Axios, September 8, 2021, https://www.axios.com/scoop-manchin-backs-as-little-as-1-trillion-of-bidens-35-trillion-plan-91d079e0-84a7-4f8f-94d4-212827a61339.html

Tony Romm, “Sens. Manchin and Sanders square off as Democrats clash over $3.5 trillion economic package,” Washington Post, September 12, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/09/12/manchin-sanders-reconciliation/

Mike DeBonis, “Joe Manchin gets all the attention. But Kyrsten Sinema could be an even bigger obstacle for Democrats’ spending plans,” Washington Post, September 15, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sinema-reconciliation-manchin/2021/09/15/8c583f96-162d-11ec-9589-31ac3173c2e5_story.html

Amber Phillips, “How the Senate parliamentarian could make or break Democrats’ spending bill,” Washington Post, September 16, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/16/senate-parliamentarian-elizabeth-macdonough-reconciliation/

Andrew Restuccia, “Biden Push to Replace America’s Lead Pipes Faces Challenges,” Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-push-to-replace-americas-lead-pipes-faces-challenges-11631880001

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Senate parliamentarian won’t allow citizenship pathway for immigrants in Democrats’ spending bill,” Los Angeles Times, September 19, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-09-19/parliamentarian-decision-on-pathway-to-citizenship

Jonathan Chait, “Kyrsten Sinema Threatens to Kill Her Own Infrastructure Bill,” New York, September 20, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/09/kyrsten-sinema-threatens-infrastructure-bill-biden-build-back-better.html

Mike DeBonis, Sean Sullivan and Maria Sacchetti, “After immigration ruling, Democrats’ once-sweeping agenda continues to shrink,” Washington Post, September 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/immigration-reconciliation-democrats-agenda/2021/09/20/bee98da2-1a29-11ec-a99a-5fea2b2da34b_story.html

Paul Waldman, “Kyrsten Sinema needs to show us what she believes in,” Washington Post, September 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/20/kyrsten-sinema-needs-show-us-what-she-believes/

Unsurprisingly, unidentified phenomena remain unidentified, but maybe there’ll be a little less gaslighting on UFOs

Wilkinsburg

Charlie Wolfson, “An effort to merge Wilkinsburg with Pittsburgh is brewing,” Public Source, June 25, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/wilkinsburg-annexation-pittsburgh-garrett-kail-smith-property-tax/


Unidentified aerial phenomena


Probably the most significant point about the intelligence report sent to Congress today is that we can no longer be gaslit[1] about unidentified aerial phenomena all being “weather balloons” or advanced test aircraft or some other mundane thing. Otherwise, we still don’t know much.

And probably what’s covered by the report is a fraction of what’s been seen. People haven’t wanted to jeopardize their careers by reporting this stuff.[2] Maybe that can be alleviated now.

Because more information would be a good thing.

Bryan Bender and Andrew Desiderio, “Government report can’t explain UFOs, but offers no evidence of aliens,” Politico, June 25, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/25/government-report-ufos-are-real-496319


Infrastructure

Given that Democrats had been talking about a two-track process, one track bipartisan and the other through reconciliation, for infrastructure for a while, Republican claims of a “betrayal” seem disingenuous. They had to have known what they were getting into. But they’ve come up with an excuse for getting out of it.[3]

Jonathan Chait, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Is Probably Doomed, Alas,” New York, June 25, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/is-the-bipartisan-infrastructure-deal-going-to-pass-biden-republicans-democrats.html


  1. [1]Bryan Bender and Andrew Desiderio, “Government report can’t explain UFOs, but offers no evidence of aliens,” Politico, June 25, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/25/government-report-ufos-are-real-496319
  2. [2]Bryan Bender and Andrew Desiderio, “Government report can’t explain UFOs, but offers no evidence of aliens,” Politico, June 25, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/25/government-report-ufos-are-real-496319
  3. [3]Jonathan Chait, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Is Probably Doomed, Alas,” New York, June 25, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/06/is-the-bipartisan-infrastructure-deal-going-to-pass-biden-republicans-democrats.html

A comet might have triggered authoritarianism

Neolithic

The transition from the Ice Age to the Neolithic has long been a point of curiosity for me: It is here that humans settled onto fixed agricultural plots and coalesced an authoritarian system of social organization from what had previously been much less hierarchical and much more egalitarian. We began to view wilderness less as home and increasingly as hostile.[1] Why? William Burroughs attributed the change to climate change.[2] But what precipitated the climate change? It looks like it might have been a comet.[3]

University of Edinburgh, “Comet strike may have sparked civilisation shift,” Phys.org, June 24, 2021, https://phys.org/news/2021-06-comet-civilisation-shift.html


Residential schools

Amanda Coletta and Michael E. Miller, “Hundreds of graves found at former residential school for Indigenous children in Canada,” Washington Post, June 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/06/23/canada-cowessess-residential-school-graves/


Donald Trump

Spencer S. Hsu, “500 arrested in Jan. 6 Capitol riot, including first charged with assault on media member, Garland announces,” Washington Post, June 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/legal-issues/500-arrested-in-jan-6-capitol-riot-including-first-charged-with-assault-on-media-member-garland-announces/2021/06/24/cc972198-d529-11eb-ae54-515e2f63d37d_story.html


Federal Bureau of Investigation

I’m not expecting ever to learn the full story here. But apparently there’s considerable reason to doubt that a Federal Bureau of Investigation dig for gold in Pennsylvania did indeed come up empty. The gold had allegedly been stolen during the Civil War.[4]

Michael Rubinkam, “Affidavit: FBI feared Pennsylvania would seize fabled gold,” Associated Press, June 25, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/pennsylvania-oddities-technology-lifestyle-government-and-politics-2c2d2a064fa7f8b3835648821ca3ecbc


Self-driving cars

There is a new blog post entitled, “The ‘hard problem’ of self-driving technology.”

Mark Gurman, “Apple’s Car Obsession Is All About Taking Eyes Off the Road,” Bloomberg, June 24, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-24/big-tech-s-car-obsession-is-all-about-taking-eyes-off-the-road


  1. [1]John H. Bodley, Victims of Progress, 5th ed. (Lanham, MD, Altamira, 2008); William J. Burroughs, Climate Change in Prehistory (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University, 2008); Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995); Max Oelschlaeger, The Idea of Wilderness (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1991).
  2. [2]William J. Burroughs, Climate Change in Prehistory (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University, 2008).
  3. [3]University of Edinburgh, “Comet strike may have sparked civilisation shift,” Phys.org, June 24, 2021, https://phys.org/news/2021-06-comet-civilisation-shift.html
  4. [4]MMichael Rubinkam, “Affidavit: FBI feared Pennsylvania would seize fabled gold,” Associated Press, June 25, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/pennsylvania-oddities-technology-lifestyle-government-and-politics-2c2d2a064fa7f8b3835648821ca3ecbc

Pittsburgh’s air is getting cleaner. But there’s still a ways to go

Pandemic

There is a new blog post entitled, “No more excuses: Get vaccinated.”

Adam Cancryn and David Lim, “Biden administration likely to miss July 4 vaccine target as new Covid strain surges,” Politico, June 22, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/06/22/biden-july-4-vaccination-target-495485

Dan Diamond, “153 people resigned or were fired from a Texas hospital system after refusing to get vaccinated,” Washington Post, June 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/06/22/houston-methodist-loses-153-employees-vaccine-mandate/

Dhruv Khullar, “One half of America is protected. The other is approaching a perilous moment in the pandemic,” New Yorker, June 23, 2021, ttps://www.newyorker.com/science/medical-dispatch/the-delta-variant-is-a-grave-danger-to-the-unvaccinated


Donald Trump

[W]hile the report eviscerates claims about election fraud, its authors also use the allegations to urge their legislative colleagues to change Michigan’s voting laws to make absentee voting harder and limit the availability of drop boxes for absentee ballots, as Republicans have done in other swing states as they try to limit voting.[1]

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said [of Rudy Giuliani’s law license] suspensions such as these are unusual.

“You’re a lawyer, your job is to zealously represent your client. A lot of times your client maybe has done wrong, but what you cannot do as a lawyer is just lie,” Honig said on CNN’s “At This Hour.” “This does not happen every day by any stretch. This is a very rare thing and a very extreme thing for the court to do.”[2]

Reid J. Epstein, “Michigan Republicans Debunk Voter Fraud Claims in Unsparing Report,” New York Times, June 23, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/23/us/politics/michigan-2020-election.html

Erica Orden, Veronica Stracqualursi, and Katelyn Polantz, “Rudy Giuliani suspended from practicing law in New York state,” CNN, June 24, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/24/politics/rudy-giuliani-suspended-law/index.html


Pittsburgh

Something that has perplexed me since moving to Pittsburgh from California is that areas I would expect to be desirable areas where rich people would live often are not. This includes many areas with river views and hilltops. About the one clear exception is Mount Washington, which overlooks the conjunction of the forks of the Ohio River (the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers) and downtown.

I’ve wondered if hilltops were where smoke drifted from the now mostly but not entirely gone steel industry. I’ve wondered about flood risk in low lying areas (and apparently this has been a problem). But the environmental injustice here is impossible for me to ignore.

In June, the Cheswick coal-fired power plant also announced it will shut down completely in September. Zachary Barber, a clean air advocate at statewide environmental group PennEnvironment, says pollution from the Clairton Coke Works and the Cheswick Power Plant have had an outsized role in Pittsburgh’s air pollution and the health problems they cause for residents.

“For years, some of the biggest polluters have been the Clairton Coke Works. By quantity, that’s the biggest. And the Cheswick Power Plant, which in our previous report, was one of the most toxic,” says Barber, referring to PennEnvironment’s Toxic Ten Report, which ranks Allegheny County’s worst polluters. “When we get to the point when Clairton closes three of their most polluting batteries, which is a third of their pollution, that is going to be a pretty substantial reduction in pollution.”[3]

It’s not just communities with disproportionately Black populations. The Cheswick power plant, actually in Springdale, the next town upstream, is along a stretch of the Allegheny River north and east of Oakmont, Aspinwall, and Fox Chapel, all quite well off communities, that is suddenly and jarringly working class. The Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion share a post in Springdale, with a gratuitous gun prominently displayed, for me, a sure sign of white supremacy trouble.[4]

Neville Island is on the Ohio River. It has bridge connections to Stowe Township (adjacent to McKees Rocks) and Coraopolis as well as on I-79. And while the Monongahela River Valley (“Mon Valley”) is a poster child for environmental injustice, where dirty, polluting industries cause and aggravate health problems in areas with lots of poor and working class people,[5] Neville Island, a poor area, might be at least as hazardous. But it’s hard to know: Not all of the pollution is being detected by official Allegheny County monitors and it’s also near better off areas like Ben Avon and even Avalon, which seems to account for some of this attention.[6]

Ryan Deto, “Two large air pollution sources will soon be offline. Will Allegheny County’s air quality future be as clean as it can be?” Pittsburgh City Paper, June 23, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/two-large-air-pollution-sources-will-soon-be-offline-will-allegheny-countys-air-quality-future-be-as-clean-as-it-can-be/Content?oid=19710475

Oliver Morrison and Jamie Wiggan, “A thousand little cuts: Locals say a fire on Neville Island shows the pollution didn’t stop after Shenango Coke Works closed,” Public Source, June 23, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-allegheny-neville-air-pollution-metalico-accan-shenango/


  1. [1]Reid J. Epstein, “Michigan Republicans Debunk Voter Fraud Claims in Unsparing Report,” New York Times, June 23, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/23/us/politics/michigan-2020-election.html
  2. [2]Erica Orden, Veronica Stracqualursi, and Katelyn Polantz, “Rudy Giuliani suspended from practicing law in New York state,” CNN, June 24, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/24/politics/rudy-giuliani-suspended-law/index.html
  3. [3]Ryan Deto, “Two large air pollution sources will soon be offline. Will Allegheny County’s air quality future be as clean as it can be?” Pittsburgh City Paper, June 23, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/two-large-air-pollution-sources-will-soon-be-offline-will-allegheny-countys-air-quality-future-be-as-clean-as-it-can-be/Content?oid=19710475
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Keeping the poor, poor, even when they serve their country,” Not Housebroken, May 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/27/keeping-the-poor-poor-even-when-they-serve-their-country/; David Benfell, “On patriotism,” Not Housebroken, June 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/06/27/on-patriotism/; David Benfell, “Eviction and race war,” Not Housebroken, November 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/09/01/eviction-and-race-war/; David Benfell, “Pittsburgh, race, and a threat to appropriated identity,” Not Housebroken, November 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/17/pittsburgh-race-and-a-threat-to-appropriated-identity/; David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not Housebroken, April 6, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/; David Benfell, “Hate, Pittsburgh Style,” Not Housebroken, April 6, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/04/06/hate-pittsburgh-style/
  5. [5]Jessi Quinn Alperin, “Clairton, PA, wants to be clear: Residents demand accountability from U.S. Steel,” Environmental Health News, May 13, 2019,
    https://www.ehn.org/clairton-coke-works-air-pollution-2636784943.html; Ollie Gratzinger, “Allegheny County issues another fine to US Steel for air pollution violation,” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 17, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/allegheny-county-issues-another-fine-to-us-steel-for-air-pollution-violation/Content?oid=16576925; KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Department Joins Federal Suit Against U.S. Steel,” June 18, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/06/18/allegheny-county-health-department-suit-against-us-steel/; 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/; Hannah Lynn, “Report: Pittsburgh ranked 8th worst for air pollution among US cities,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 22, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/report-pittsburgh-ranked-8th-worst-for-air-pollution-among-us-cities/Content?oid=17179037; Kris Maher, “Pittsburgh Breathes Easier After Repairs at U.S. Steel Coke Plant,” Wall Street Journal, May 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pittsburgh-breathes-easier-after-repairs-at-u-s-steel-coke-plant-11558872000; 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,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 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,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 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/; Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel to hold info sessions about Clairton, Braddock plant upgrades,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-to-hold-info-sessions-about-clairton-braddock-plant-upgrades/; Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel, Allegheny County finalize Clairton Coke Works emissions settlement,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 10, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-and-allegheny-county-finalize-clairton-coke-works-emissions-settlement/; Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air quality continues to decline, new report finds,” Environmental Health News, April 24, 2019, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburghs-air-quality-continues-to-decline-new-report-finds-2635280543.html; Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air was unsafe to breathe for 3 months in 2018,” Environmental Health News, January 28, 2020, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburgh-air-pollution-unsafe-2644931105.html; Kristina Marusic, “Environmental injustice in Pittsburgh: Poor, minority neighborhoods see higher rates of deaths from air pollution,” Environmental Health News, June 12, 2020, https://www.ehn.org/environmental-injustice-pittsburgh-air-pollution-2646169635.html; Kristina Marusic, “U.S. Steel abandons clean tech plans in Pittsburgh region following damning health study,” Environmental Health News, May 6, 2021, https://www.ehn.org/us-steel-pittsburgh-pollution-asthma-2652882219/residents-at-risk-and-in-the-dark; Oliver Morrison, “Mon Valley air was the healthiest it’s ever been in 2020; region still receives an ‘F’ grade,” Public Source, April 21, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/2020-pittsburgh-air-pollution-allegheny-county-clairton-steel/; Oliver Morrison, “‘Today is a difficult day.’ U.S. Steel announces closure of several of Clairton’s ‘dirtiest’ coke oven batteries,” Public Source, April 30, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/mon-valley-clairton-us-steel-coke-works-pollution-f-grade-air-quality/; Andy Sheehan, “Air Quality In Mon Valley Once Again Hits Unhealthy Levels,” KDKA, February 24, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/02/24/mon-valley-air-quality-unhealthy-levels/; Teghan Simonton, “Health department: Air pollution in Mon Valley exceeded federal levels over Christmas,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 27, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/health-department-air-pollution-in-mon-valley-exceeded-federal-levels-over-christmas/; 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; WTAE, “Allegheny Co. Health Department announces fines against U.S. Steel for violations at Clairton Coke Works,” May 28, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-co-health-department-announces-fines-against-us-steel-for-violations-at-clairton-coke-works/32702736
  6. [6]Oliver Morrison and Jamie Wiggan, “A thousand little cuts: Locals say a fire on Neville Island shows the pollution didn’t stop after Shenango Coke Works closed,” Public Source, June 23, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-allegheny-neville-air-pollution-metalico-accan-shenango/

I was bored with the weather in California (update #3)

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 21, 2021, 2:31 pm.

  2. June 21, 2021, 6:44 pm:

    • That was quite a storm. I heard the metallic thunderclaps that suggest to me the storm was really, really close, perhaps overhead.

  3. June 21, 2021, 9:28 pm:

    • Do yourself a favor and click on the link and hit play. Or maybe you can hit play here.

    • At this writing, a flash flood warning is still up. A flood warning I saw earlier seems no longer to be up.


Paranormal

There is a new blog post entitled, “Arbiters of knowledge.”

John Blake, “They lost their loved ones to Covid. Then they heard from them again,” CNN, June 20, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/20/health/supernatural-encounters-pandemic-loved-ones-blake/index.html


Pittsburgh

There is a new blog post entitled, “Gentrification denial.”


There were several power failures here yesterday. I haven’t heard what the source of the problem(s) is/are. But it turns out that I have enough of my Internet infrastructure on uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) that my network connection survives even fairly lengthy outages. I just have to be patient as my Mac keeps bugging me to shut down even as the UPS has plenty of juice. There may be more fun today.

Claudette is now offshore but there’s a severe thunderstorm watch in effect until 8:00 pm here.


Hey Donald Trump supporters: Thanks so very, very much for the delta variant in the U.S.

Donald Trump

My distinction between authoritarian populists (the “Tea Party,” now “Make America Great Again”), paleoconservatives (white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the like), and social conservatives (mostly evangelical Protestants) seems decreasingly tenable[1] following the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority conference, where the views expressed by social conservatives seemed indistinguishable from those of authoritarian populists.[2] But in fact, Donald Trump has aroused considerable controversy among social conservatives.[3]

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


Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled, “This is not a business plan.”

Rida Qadri and Alexandra Mateescu, “Uber and Lyft: woo drivers with stable pay, not short-term honeypots,” Guardian, June 20, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/20/gig-economy-companies-uber-lyft-drivers-pandemic


Pandemic

This is where COVID-19 denial, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine resistance, and vaccine refusal matter.[4] Because the delta variant is both more contagious, even for the fully vaccinated, and more dangerous. Vaccines still offer significant protection.[5] But there has to be a real question as to how long it will be before a variant arises that does break through the vaccines more often.

Talal Ansari and Jason Douglas, “Delta Covid-19 Variant Likely to Become Dominant in U.S., CDC Director Says,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/delta-covid-19-variant-likely-to-become-dominant-in-u-s-cdc-director-says-11624047575


  1. [1]David Benfell, “The seven tendencies of conservatism,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/the-seven-tendencies-of-conservatism/
  2. [2]David Smith, “The martyr who may rise again: Christian right’s faith in Trump not shaken,” Guardian, June 20, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/19/trump-christian-right-conference-faith-and-freedom
  3. [3]Elizabeth Bruenig, “In God’s country,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/14/evangelicals-view-trump-their-protector-will-they-stand-by-him/; Rod Dreher, “Eric Metaxas’s American Apocalypse,” American Conservative, December 10, 2020, https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/eric-metaxas-trump-bloodshed-american-apocalypse-live-not-by-lies/; Sarah Jones, “White Evangelicals Made a Deal With the Devil. Now What?” New York, December 6, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/12/white-evangelicals-made-a-deal-with-trump-now-what.html; 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/; Julie Zauzmer and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “After Trump and Moore, some evangelicals are finding their own label too toxic to use,” Washington Post, December 14, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/after-trump-and-moore-some-evangelicals-are-finding-their-own-label-too-toxic-to-use/2017/12/14/b034034c-e020-11e7-89e8-edec16379010_story.html
  4. [4]Philip Bump, “Vaccine skepticism and disregard for containment efforts go hand in hand,” Washington Post, April 2, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/04/02/vaccine-skepticism-disregard-containment-efforts-go-hand-in-hand/; April Dembosky, “It’s not Tuskegee. Current medical racism fuels Black Americans’ vaccine hesitancy,” Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2021-03-25/current-medical-racism-not-tuskegee-expls-vaccine-hesitancy-among-black-americans; Apoorva Mandavilli, “Reaching ‘Herd Immunity’ Is Unlikely in the U.S., Experts Now Believe,” New York Times, May 3, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/health/covid-herd-immunity-vaccine.html; Chris Megerian, “Biden’s coronavirus success threatened by political divisions he pledged to heal,” Los Angeles Times, April 27, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-04-27/bidens-coronavirus-success-threatened-by-political-divisions-he-pledged-to-heal; Benjamin Wallace-Wells, “The Vaccine Resisters,” New Yorker, March 5, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/annals-of-populism/the-vaccine-resisters; Laurel Wamsley, “Florida Gov. DeSantis Rejects Vaccine Passports As ‘Completely Unacceptable,’” National Public Radio, March 30, 2021, https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/30/982837517/florida-gov-desantis-rejects-vaccine-passports-as-completely-unacceptable
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