An end to endless war doesn’t mean an end to the endless pandemic

Afghanistan

There is a new blog post entitled, “Undeserved criticism.”

Susannah George, “Fear and anticipation on the streets of Kabul as Afghans adapt to Taliban rule,” Washington Post, August 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/29/afghanistan-kabul-taliban-life/

Marjorie Cohn, “As Biden Threatens More War, Don’t Forget the Afghanistan Invasion Was Illegal,” Truthout, August 30, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/as-biden-threatens-more-war-dont-forget-the-afghanistan-invasion-was-illegal/

Rachel Pannett et al., “Last U.S. military flight leaves Kabul; Biden to address nation Tuesday,” Washington Post, August 30, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/30/afghanistan-kabul-taliban-live-updates/


Pandemic

National

Laura Meckler, “Biden administration opens civil rights investigations over bans on school mask mandates,” Washington Post, August 30, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2021/08/30/biden-school-masks-investigation-state/

Pennsylvania

Stephen Caruso, “Pa. GOP candidate says he’ll bring ‘strong men’ to intimidate pro-mask school boards,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 30, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/pa-gop-candidate-says-hell-bring-strong-men-to-intimidate-pro-mask-school-boards/


Hate crimes, White supremacist gangs

David Nakamura, “Hate crimes rise to highest level in 12 years amid increasing attacks on Black and Asian people, FBI says,” Washington Post, August 30, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/hate-crimes-fbi-2020-asian-black/2021/08/30/28bede00-09a7-11ec-9781-07796ffb56fe_story.html


Yes, I was right about the militia movement. That’s actually very bad news.

Day 2 of the book move is now behind me. There are sixteen boxes of books at the new place; I probably have four or fewer left to pack at the old place, not counting the stuff I don’t shelve that also needs to move.


Pandemic

There’s a digital billboard near my old apartment; I drive by it getting to my new apartment and it flashes a series of advertisements.

Two of those advertisements are related to COVID-19. One beseeches the Baldwin Whitehall school district to make masks optional for children attending school; the other says, “Masks don’t work. Stop getting tested. Parental rights matter. [Somebody’s name I don’t remember] is the real pandemic.” Yes, the school masking battle[1] is indeed here.

I shouldn’t be surprised, of course. But it all has me thinking perhaps the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence (SETI) folks should abandon their search in favor of one for “stupid life;” I bet it’d be more fruitful.

Marisa Fernandez, “As hospitals fill, more ambulances forced to wait,” Axios, August 27, 2021, https://www.axios.com/local-ems-covid-surge-wait-times-611657fc-8ddf-4b32-a6dc-c7f2eb799487.html

Hailey Branson-Potts, “Mortuaries fill, hospitals clog in rural California towns with low vaccination rates,“ Los Angeles Times, August 28, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-08-28/la-me-rural-california-covid-surge-vaccinations-lag


Donald Trump

Angela Couloumbis, “Pa.’s legislative leaders wield extraordinary power, and the election audit fight proves it,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 27, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-s-legislative-leaders-wield-extraordinary-power-and-the-election-audit-fight-proves-it/


Militia

I’m a bit late to this article and it’s a long read, but it’s incredibly important. Matt Cohen pulls together a lot stuff about the militia movement,[2] confirming many of my suspicions that I wasn’t really treating as mere suspicions anymore because I had convinced myself of them.

Matt Cohen, “Armed Picnics and Snipers at Family Dollar: Life in a Town With a Government-Approved Militia,” Mother Jones, August 26, 2021, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/08/virginia-militia-bedford-campbell-county/


  1. [1]Ivana Saric, “The fight over mask mandates in schools turns violent,” Axios, August 23, 2021, https://www.axios.com/mask-school-mandate-violence-covid-3abff916-242d-4db5-87f7-b4314dc57c3d.html
  2. [2]Matt Cohen, “Armed Picnics and Snipers at Family Dollar: Life in a Town With a Government-Approved Militia,” Mother Jones, August 26, 2021, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2021/08/virginia-militia-bedford-campbell-county/

Moving, the long, drawn-out version

Today is day 2 of the great book move. I moved eight boxes yesterday. It looks like I have twelve or thirteen left to pack and move and I am hoping to move eight more today.

I have IKEA furniture assembly happening at some ungodly hour (actually 9 am) Monday. These are all chests; a six drawer one to replace the one in the old apartment that won’t fit in the new, and two two-drawer chests which will serve as nightstands, which I’d never gotten around to getting in the old apartment. These are in the same style as my bookshelves, which will naturally be in a different room. I’m not terribly fond of the color scheme but it will, I trust, be good quality stuff.

Tuesday, the movers come for my bed and bookshelves. Also Tuesday, Verizon comes to put in service at the new apartment; I will then no longer have it at the old one.

I’ve ordered blackout curtains for the bedroom, which has a window that looks out to trees and a tiny creek. The latter will surely be interesting when, as we do in Pittsburgh, we get torrential downpours that make California rain seem like a fine mist. Unfortunately, the curtains are coming from China (thankfully, not Xinjiang province); they are presently in Hong Kong and I expect they’ll be on a slow boat from there. But hey, who needs sleep?

Oh yeah, and the curtain rods will have to be mounted. I do have those.

I haven’t really thought out the technology move, which will have to happen Tuesday, beyond that I have one uninterruptible power supply (UPS) at the old apartment that’s had the course. Money will need to be spent to get some of this stuff off the floor in the new place and to cover what I’m pretty sure are going to be some awkward cable and cord runs.

I haven’t really figured out where I’m going to put the television at the new place. Or my computer. Or my monitor. These are probably going to have to fit in the bedroom. I don’t have anything like a table or a desk there. These I’d actually like to retrieve from California in—wait—FEBRUARY? Some of this I really want to figure out after the bed and bookshelves are moved; I’m having trouble visualizing the space.

I’m running out of groceries at the old apartment but I haven’t moved dishes and the like to the new one. But oh yes, I have a new dish rack at the new apartment to replace the rusting mistake I bought when I moved into the old apartment.

I still haven’t figured out about storage for my remaining furniture, for which there isn’t room in the new apartment.

As of tomorrow, I will have two months of overlap, when I still have the old apartment (and am paying rent for it) while I’m moving into the new one, to sort all this out.


Student loans

Lance Lambert, “Biden administration forgives more student loan debt—here’s who is eligible,” Fortune, August 24, 2021, https://fortune.com/education/business/articles/2021/08/24/biden-administration-forgives-more-student-loan-debt-heres-who-is-eligible/

Douglas Belkin, “U.S. Forgives $1.1 Billion in Debt for Former ITT Tech Students,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-forgives-1-1-billion-in-debt-for-former-itt-tech-students-11629995100


Pandemic

Dan Diamond, “‘I’m still not planning to get it’: FDA approval not swaying some vaccine holdouts,” Washington Post, August 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/25/fda-approval-vaccine-holdouts/

Sam Baker, “Coronavirus cases are soaring, especially in the South,” Axios, August 26, 2021, https://www.axios.com/coronavirus-cases-infections-vaccines-hospital-11d44b25-ed17-40cd-b8cf-ca9c4eb582f5.html

Jeannie Suk Gersen, “Should the Government Impose a National COVID-Vaccination Mandate?” New Yorker, August 26, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/should-the-government-impose-a-national-vaccination-mandate

Michael McGough, “Sacramento hospitals ‘at capacity’ and COVID deaths at 6-month high as delta spreads,” Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article253761928.html

Sudhin Thanawala and Jay Reeves, “Virus surge breaks hospital records amid rising toll on kids,” Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/article253764343.html

Marisa Fernandez, “As hospitals fill, more ambulances forced to wait,” Axios, August 27, 2021, https://www.axios.com/local-ems-covid-surge-wait-times-611657fc-8ddf-4b32-a6dc-c7f2eb799487.html


Aghanistan

David Leonhardt to The Morning list, “A better Afghan policy,” New York Times, August 25, 2021, https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20210825&instance_id=38743&nl=the-morning&productCode=NN&regi_id=97793637&segment_id=67145&te=1&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2F51d8629f-6851-5663-99e7-7a33a08aa7eb&user_id=087ade925ce15f15a24824418c4789ce

Phillip Walter Wellman, “US Woman Under Taliban’s Watch Won’t Leave Kabul Without Her Staff and Hundreds of Rescue Animals,” Military.com, August 25, 2021, https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/08/25/us-woman-under-talibans-watch-wont-leave-kabul-without-her-staff-and-hundreds-of-rescue-animals.html

David Smith, “Biden warns masterminds of deadly Kabul bombings: ‘We will make you pay,’” Guardian, August 26, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/26/joe-biden-white-house-crisis-kabul-explosion

Yaroslav Trofimov, Nancy A. Youssef, and Sune Engel Rasmussen, “Kabul Airport Attack Kills 13 U.S. Service Members, at Least 90 Afghans,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/afghanistan-kabul-airport-explosion-11629976397

Tom Yun, “What is ISIS-K? A look at the Afghan-based terrorist group that threatens both Taliban and U.S. forces,” CTV News, August 26, 2021, https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/what-is-isis-k-a-look-at-the-afghan-based-terrorist-group-that-threatens-both-taliban-and-u-s-forces-1.5562085

George Monbiot, “Bloodhounds,” August 27, 2021, https://www.monbiot.com/2021/08/27/bloodhounds/

Graeme Wood, “What Comes Next in Afghanistan,” Atlantic, August 27, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/08/kabul-airport-bombing-afghanistan/619906/

Sayed Ziarmal Hashemi et al., “U.S. presses on with evacuations despite fears of more attacks,” Los Angeles Times, August 27, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-08-27/evacuations-resume-after-kabul-airport-attack-bombings


From bad to worse in Afghanistan

Pandemic

Hospitals are overflowing, largely due to the unvaccinated,[1] who continue to refuse the vaccine despite[2] full FDA approval.[3]

The sheer number of still-skeptical Americans — and their willingness to shift the goal posts on what might convince them — underscores that vaccination mandates are essential, said Robert Murphy, an infectious-disease physician and executive director of the Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.[4]

Spare me the bullshit. Throw these assholes in prison. Don’t release them until they’re dead or they’re fully vaccinated (yes, I mean two weeks after their final innoculation). And if they lose their jobs, so much the better; let them starve on the streets. They should be ineligible for social safety net benefits because those are expressions of a society where people fucking care about each other.

Ellen Nakashima, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Joel Achenbach, “Biden receives inconclusive intelligence report on covid origins,” Washington Post, August 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/24/covid-origins-biden-intelligence-review/

Stephanie Armour and Jared S. Hopkins, “Biden Administration Likely to Approve Covid-19 Boosters at Six Months,” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-administration-plans-covid-19-vaccine-boosters-at-six-months-instead-of-eight-11629919356

Dan Diamond, “‘I’m still not planning to get it’: FDA approval not swaying some vaccine holdouts,” Washington Post, August 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/25/fda-approval-vaccine-holdouts/

Jeannie Suk Gersen, “Should the Government Impose a National COVID-Vaccination Mandate?” New Yorker, August 26, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/should-the-government-impose-a-national-vaccination-mandate

Michael McGough, “Sacramento hospitals ‘at capacity’ and COVID deaths at 6-month high as delta spreads,” Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article253761928.html

Sudhin Thanawala and Jay Reeves, “Virus surge breaks hospital records amid rising toll on kids,” Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/article253764343.html


Afghanistan

David Leonhardt to The Morning list, “A better Afghan policy,” New York Times, August 25, 2021, https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20210825&instance_id=38743&nl=the-morning&productCode=NN&regi_id=97793637&segment_id=67145&te=1&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2F51d8629f-6851-5663-99e7-7a33a08aa7eb&user_id=087ade925ce15f15a24824418c4789ce

Yaroslav Trofimov, Nancy A. Youssef, and Sune Engel Rasmussen, “Kabul Airport Attack Kills 13 U.S. Service Members, at Least 90 Afghans,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/afghanistan-kabul-airport-explosion-11629976397


Donald Trump

Jan Wolfe, “‘Profound abuse’: Judge disciplines pro-Trump lawyers over election lawsuit,” Reuters, August 25, 2021, copy in possession of author

Whitney Wild and Chandelis Duster, “Seven US Capitol Police officers sue former President Trump, Stop the Steal organizers over January 6 riot,” Cable News Network, August 26, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/26/politics/capitol-police-officers-sue-donald-trump-rally-organizers/index.html


Evictions

Utterly unsurprisingly and as Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh had signaled in an earlier decision,[5] the Supreme Court struck down the extended eviction ban[6] that had to be extended because Congressional Democrats failed to act, disingenuously claiming they hadn’t gotten notice that they needed to act,[7] when Kavanaugh had been quite clear that they did.[8]

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court blocks Biden’s extension of eviction ban,” Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-08-26/supreme-court-biden-eviction-moratorium


  1. [1]Michael McGough, “Sacramento hospitals ‘at capacity’ and COVID deaths at 6-month high as delta spreads,” Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article253761928.html; Sudhin Thanawala and Jay Reeves, “Virus surge breaks hospital records amid rising toll on kids,” Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/article253764343.html
  2. [2]Dan Diamond, “‘I’m still not planning to get it’: FDA approval not swaying some vaccine holdouts,” Washington Post, August 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/25/fda-approval-vaccine-holdouts/
  3. [3]Ben Guarino, Laurie McGinley, and Tyler Pager, “Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine wins full FDA approval, potentially persuading the hesitant to get a shot,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/23/pfizer-vaccine-full-approval/
  4. [4]Dan Diamond, “‘I’m still not planning to get it’: FDA approval not swaying some vaccine holdouts,” Washington Post, August 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/25/fda-approval-vaccine-holdouts/
  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]David G. Savage, “Supreme Court blocks Biden’s extension of eviction ban,” Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-08-26/supreme-court-biden-eviction-moratorium
  7. [7]Andrew Ackerman, “Biden Asks Congress to Extend Federal Eviction Moratorium,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-asks-congress-to-extend-federal-eviction-moratorium-11627571409; Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle, and Katy O’Donnell, “Democratic push to extend eviction moratorium fizzles in the House,” Politico, July 30, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/30/eviction-battle-house-democrats-501758; John Wagner and Tony Romm, “Biden, Democrats mount last-minute effort to extend eviction moratorium,” Washington Post, July 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-urges-congress-to-extend-eviction-moratorium-saying-his-hands-are-tied-by-supreme-court-ruling/2021/07/29/2ed8a52e-f07e-11eb-81d2-ffae0f931b8f_story.html
  8. [8]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

Stop being nice to those who stand on reckless disregard

So I’m in the middle of half-assed moving. My bed and bookcases move on August 30, but the new place is somewhat smaller than the old (but in a neighborhood well away from the front lines of Pittsburgh’s social conflict), so I’m having to make different decisions about lots of things, including furniture (hello again, IKEA, and thanks to my new car, I actually have something to haul stuff in and I don’t have to rely on IKEA’s beyond abysmal delivery contractor).

Actually publishing this issue, even as I’ve been adding to it, has fallen by the wayside. I’m remedying that now.


Pandemic

Paul Waldman is nicer than I am.[1] I’d refuse vaccine-refusers care at any medical facility and I don’t care if “that’s how medicine works.”[2] Because I’m also done with medical workers putting their lives on the line for people who chose to abuse and even threaten people who offer or follow expert advice and those who risk everyone’s lives. That’s simply bullshit.

Aaron Blake, “The GOP fought mandates by emphasizing the vaccines’ emergency status. Now what?” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/23/gop-fought-mandates-by-emphasizing-vaccines-emergency-status-now-what/

Ben Guarino, Laurie McGinley, and Tyler Pager, “Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine wins full FDA approval, potentially persuading the hesitant to get a shot,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/23/pfizer-vaccine-full-approval/

Ivana Saric, “The fight over mask mandates in schools turns violent,” Axios, August 23, 2021, https://www.axios.com/mask-school-mandate-violence-covid-3abff916-242d-4db5-87f7-b4314dc57c3d.html

Adela Suliman and Bryan Pietsch, “Third Pfizer dose significantly lowers risk of infection in seniors, Israeli data shows,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/23/covid-delta-variant-live-updates/

Paul Waldman, “Time to say it: We’re done with the vaccine refusers,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/23/time-say-it-were-done-with-vaccine-refusers/

Ellen Nakashima, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Joel Achenbach, “Biden receives inconclusive intelligence report on covid origins,” Washington Post, August 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/24/covid-origins-biden-intelligence-review/

Stephanie Armour and Jared S. Hopkins, “Biden Administration Likely to Approve Covid-19 Boosters at Six Months,” Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-administration-plans-covid-19-vaccine-boosters-at-six-months-instead-of-eight-11629919356


Evictions

In an ill-fated try at government work, I was hired by the Census Bureau in 2018. The package of material I had to go through getting hired for a very low-level survey taking position was probably at least as thick as my forearm is long. All this to encounter ethical problems with involuntary participation leading to my soon-to-follow departure.

In that pile of paperwork I faced, there wasn’t a single piece I could argue against; every last page of it could be said to have a legitimate purpose. But if the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, a modern-day definition of Hell might include government bureaucracy. And as I went through the training sessions, it was apparent to me that this bureaucracy wasn’t just a problem for ordinary people trying to access government services; this was a problem even for government workers, who seemed to me constantly to be tripping over their own regulations but also—in a particularly poorly timed screw-up, I lost almost all my identification—remarkably adept at navigating the maze.

That said, government bureaucracy clearly can be daunting, as I saw in the despair of a lifetime government employee who led my training, and that seems to be what’s holding up rent relief.[3] They really need to figure out how to do what they’re doing efficiently, but to do so will almost certainly require a new paradigm that will need to apply widely across government.

Rachel Siegel, “As eviction crisis loomed, rental relief barely picked up in July,” Washington Post, August 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/08/25/emergency-rental-aid-eviction-july/


Afghanistan

Steve Hendrix et al., “Taliban sends hundreds of fighters to final province beyond its control,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/taliban-resistance-panjshir-massoud/2021/08/23/8741bf9c-0411-11ec-b3c4-c462b1edcfc8_story.html

Kevin Liptak, “Biden decides to keep August 31 deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan as evacuations accelerate,” Cable News Network, August 24, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/24/politics/joe-biden-g7-afghanistan/index.html

Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge, “UN rights boss says she has credible reports of Taliban executions,” Reuters, August 24, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/un-rights-boss-says-has-credible-reports-taliban-executions-2021-08-24/

Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis, and Adam Taylor, “Taliban doubles down on Aug. 31 deadline, says Afghans no longer allowed to reach Kabul airport,” Washington Post, August 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/24/afghanistan-kabul-taliban-live-updates/

David Leonhardt to The Morning list, “A better Afghan policy,” New York Times, August 25, 2021, https://messaging-custom-newsletters.nytimes.com/template/oakv2?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20210825&instance_id=38743&nl=the-morning&productCode=NN&regi_id=97793637&segment_id=67145&te=1&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2F51d8629f-6851-5663-99e7-7a33a08aa7eb&user_id=087ade925ce15f15a24824418c4789ce


Infrastructure

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


Climate crisis

George Monbiot criticizes governments for undermining their own climate pledges, for approving new fossil fuel projects even as they claim to recognize the seriousness of the climate crisis.[4] That’s an obvious criticism but I think his text exposes another truth: Governments are treating the climate crisis as just one more problem to be managed among others.

George Monbiot, “Dead Line,” August 24, 2021, https://www.monbiot.com/2021/08/24/dead-line/


Gerrymandering

Pittsburgh has a state prison. I drive by it occasionally on Beaver Avenue in the North Side (specifically, in the Marshall-Shadeland neighborhood). I don’t know where the folks incarcerated there come from and apparently it has been hard for the panel that’s deciding Pennsylvania apportionment to get reliable numbers on just that sort of question. But their decision to count people by the districts they came from rather than those they are incarcerated in will supposedly boost representation from their home districts at the expense of prison districts. Pennsylvania Republicans oppose it[5] and indeed it does seem to me that the subtext here is that the move might make the Pennsylvania legislature just a little less batshit insane.

Pittsburgh’s state prison is a counterexample to what seems to be assumed here; to the extent that its prisoners come from other areas and currently count towards Pittsburgh’s population, the panel’s move will actually hurt Pittsburgh. But the vast majority of state prisons are located in somewhat more conservative areas.[6] To the extent their prisoners come from places like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the move will clearly hurt conservative representation.

So the next question is, how on earth could such a thing actually happen? As we see with frenzied attempts to disenfranchise people who don’t support Donald Trump,[7] this form of batshit insanity seems to be self-reinforcing, which means that in Pennsylvania, there must be some countervailing feedback I’m not aware of.

Sarah Anne Hughes, “In major shift, Pa. panel votes to count incarcerated people in home districts, not state prisons,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 24, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/in-major-shift-pa-panel-votes-to-count-incarcerated-people-in-home-districts-not-state-prisons/


Jobs

Anna North, “The death of the job,” Vox, August 24, 2021, https://www.vox.com/22621892/jobs-work-pandemic-covid-great-resignation-2021


Gig economy

One of the simultaneously most aggravating and terrifying things about driving for Uber and Lyft is income tax. I moved from California in 2019, had my taxes for the year professionally prepared, and now, California’s Franchise Tax Board is coming after me for a return, which my preparer decided was not necessary, really because the poor are low-hanging fruit, easy pickings, while the rich get to do something else entirely.[8] Not only am I being ripped off in all the ways that the “independent contractor” scam rips workers off, but the ripping off never ends, never goes away, is never something I can put behind me.

So now, with a move in progress, at an expensive time in my life, I’m absolutely terrified. And all for a job I absolutely despise and do not want.

But even with this so-called “labor shortage,” I would not be hired for a real job if I were the last person on earth. I know that now, because the purpose I serve, being underemployed (unemployed would be better) is existential for the capitalist system.[9] And I’m more furious than ever.

Laura Forman, “An Uncomfortable Proposition for Gig Economy Investors,” Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-uncomfortable-proposition-for-gig-economy-investors-11629754144

Justin Ray, “Prop. 22 is ruled unconstitutional: What it means, how apps reacted and what happens next,” Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/newsletter/2021-08-23/proposition-22-lyft-uber-decision-essential-california

Edward Ongweso, Jr., “Prop 22 Was Declared Unconstitutional, and It’s Just the Beginning,” Vice, August 24, 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/4av8jb/prop-22-was-declared-unconstitutional-and-its-just-the-beginning

Suhauna Hussain, “Prop. 22 was ruled unconstitutional. What will the final outcome be?” Los Angeles Times, August 25, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/story/2021-08-25/after-prop-22-ruling-whats-next-uber-lyft


  1. [1]Paul Waldman, “Time to say it: We’re done with the vaccine refusers,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/23/time-say-it-were-done-with-vaccine-refusers/
  2. [2]Paul Waldman, “Time to say it: We’re done with the vaccine refusers,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/23/time-say-it-were-done-with-vaccine-refusers/
  3. [3]Rachel Siegel, “As eviction crisis loomed, rental relief barely picked up in July,” Washington Post, August 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/08/25/emergency-rental-aid-eviction-july/
  4. [4]George Monbiot, “Dead Line,” August 24, 2021, https://www.monbiot.com/2021/08/24/dead-line/
  5. [5]Sarah Anne Hughes, “In major shift, Pa. panel votes to count incarcerated people in home districts, not state prisons,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 24, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/in-major-shift-pa-panel-votes-to-count-incarcerated-people-in-home-districts-not-state-prisons/
  6. [6]Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, “State Prisons,” 2021, https://www.cor.pa.gov/Facilities/StatePrisons/Pages/default.aspx
  7. [7]Philip Bump, “Despite GOP rhetoric, there have been fewer than two dozen charged cases of voter fraud since the election,” Washington Post, May 4, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/05/04/despite-gop-rhetoric-there-have-been-fewer-than-two-dozen-charged-cases-voter-fraud-since-election/; Philip Bump, “Biden warns that American democracy is under threat — a message targeting many in his own party,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/07/13/biden-warns-that-american-democracy-is-under-threat-a-message-targeting-many-his-own-party/; Stephen Caruso, “GOP 2022 gubernatorial hopefuls spar over Pa. vote by-mail law,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 5, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/government-politics/gop-2022-gubernatorial-hopefuls-spar-over-pa-vote-by-mail-law/; Marjorie Cohn, “Supreme Court Drives a Stake Through the Heart of the Voting Rights Act,” Truthout, July 2, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/supreme-court-drives-a-stake-through-the-heart-of-the-voting-rights-act/; Stephen Collinson, “Revolt by Texas Democrats heaps pressure on Washington to act on voting reform,” Cable News Network, June 1, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/01/politics/texas-democrats-voting-reform-pressure/index.html; Elizabeth Findell, “Texas Democrats to Stage Walkout to Kill Voting Bill,” Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-democrats-to-stage-walk-out-to-kill-voting-bill-11626110179; Elizabeth Findell, “Texas Senate Passes Voting Bill, as Democratic Rivals Push Federal Bill,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/texas-senate-expected-to-take-up-vote-on-election-legislation-11626176054; Matt Ford, “The Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill Is Dead,” New Republic, July 13, 2021, https://newrepublic.com/article/162974/democrats-voting-rights-bill-dead; David Gans, “Selective originalism and selective textualism: How the Roberts court decimated the Voting Rights Act,” SCOTUSblog, July 7, 2021, https://www.scotusblog.com/2021/07/selective-originalism-and-selective-textualism-how-the-roberts-court-decimated-the-voting-rights-act/; Amy Gardner and Eva Ruth Moravec, “Texas governor says Democratic lawmakers who left state to stop passage of voting restrictions could face arrest when they return,” Washington Post, July 13, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/texas-democrats-voting-restrictions/2021/07/12/99d35154-e326-11eb-8aa5-5662858b696e_story.html; Amy Gardner and Amy B Wang, “Georgia governor signs into law sweeping voting bill that curtails the use of drop boxes and imposes new ID requirements for mail voting,” Washington Post, March 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/georgia-voting-restrictions/2021/03/25/91009e72-8da1-11eb-9423-04079921c915_story.html; Maya King, David Siders, and Daniel Lippman, “‘We’re f—ed’: Dems fear turnout catastrophe from GOP voting laws,” Politico, July 26, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/26/democrats-gop-voting-laws-crisis-500726; Carrie Levine, “Why there’s even more pressure now on Congress to pass a voting rights bill,” Center for Public Integrity, July 9, 2021, https://publicintegrity.org/inside-publici/newsletters/watchdog-newsletter/why-theres-even-more-pressure-now-on-congress-to-pass-a-voting-rights-bill/; Sam Levine, “Is the US supreme court having a liberal moment? Not on one crucial issue,” Guardian, July 11, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/11/supreme-court-justices-liberal-conservatives; Scott Lemieux, “How the Supreme Court’s Arizona voting rights decision will affect challenges to Georgia’s law,” NBC News, July 1, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/how-supreme-court-s-arizona-voting-rights-decision-will-impact-ncna1272928; Abby Livingston and Carla Astudillo, “Sen. Joe Manchin, key Democratic holdout on federal voting protections, coming to Texas for fundraiser hosted by several GOP donors,” Texas Tribune, June 16, 2021, https://www.texastribune.org/2021/07/15/joe-manchin-texas-fundraiser-republicans/; Amanda Marcotte, “Kyrsten Sinema’s run out of excuses: Supreme Court leaves Senate Democrats with little choice,” Salon, July 2, 2021, https://www.salon.com/2021/07/02/kyrsten-sinemas-run-out-of-excuses-supreme-court-leaves-senate-democrats-with-little-choice/; Joseph Marks, “My Pillow cyber symposium is yet another font of election fraud lies,” Washington Post, August 11, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/11/cybersecurity-202-my-pillow-cyber-symposium-is-yet-another-font-election-fraud-lies/; Jack Rodgers, “Biden Justice Department Won’t Wade Deeper Into High Court Fight of Arizona Election Laws,” Courthouse News Service, February 16, 2021, https://www.courthousenews.com/biden-justice-department-wont-wade-deeper-into-high-court-fight-of-arizona-election-laws/; Nicholas Stephanopoulos, “The Supreme Court showcased its ‘textualist’ double standard on voting rights,” Washington Post, July 1, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/01/supreme-court-alito-voting-rights-act/; Sophia Tesfaye, “Democrats’ actions this week suggest they have no real intention to save our democracy,” Raw Story, September 25, 2020, https://www.rawstory.com/2020/09/democrats-actions-this-week-suggest-they-have-no-real-intention-to-pull-them-out-to-save-our-democracy/; Jane C. Timm, “Texas Democrats flee state in effort to block GOP-backed voting restrictions,” NBC News, July 12, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/texas-democrats-flee-state-effort-block-gop-backed-voting-restrictions-n1273667; Sarina Vij, “Why Minority Voters Have a Lower Voter Turnout: An Analysis of Current Restrictions,” American Bar Association, June 26, 2020, https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/voting-in-2020/why-minority-voters-have-a-lower-voter-turnout/; David Wasserman, “The Cook Political Report’s 2021 Redistricting Overview,” January 26, 2021, https://cookpolitical.com/redistrictnopaywall
  8. [8]British Broadcasting Corporation, “US super-rich ‘pay almost no income tax,’” June 9, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57383869; Jesse Eisinger, Jeff Ernsthausen, and Paul Kiel, “The Secret IRS Files: Trove of Never-Before-Seen Records Reveal How the Wealthiest Avoid Income Tax,” ProPublica, June 8, 2021, https://www.propublica.org/article/the-secret-irs-files-trove-of-never-before-seen-records-reveal-how-the-wealthiest-avoid-income-tax; Nick Hanauer and David M. Rolf, “The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90%—And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure,” Time, September 14, 2020, https://time.com/5888024/50-trillion-income-inequality-america/; Charles Lane, “The rich got richer during the pandemic. We need to claw back their gains,” Washington Post, January 25, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-rich-got-richer-during-the-pandemic-we-need-to-claw-back-their-gains/2021/01/25/d17c8a44-5f32-11eb-9430-e7c77b5b0297_story.html; Rupert Neate, “Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis,” Guardian, October 7, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/07/covid-19-crisis-boosts-the-fortunes-of-worlds-billionaires
  9. [9]David Benfell, “About that alleged ‘labor shortage,’” Not Housebroken, June 10, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/05/09/about-that-alleged-labor-shortage/

End of the road for worker misclassification?

Pandemic

Krutika Amin and Cynthia Cox, “Unvaccinated COVID-19 hospitalizations cost the U.S. health system billions of dollars,” Peterson Foundation on Healthcare and Kaiser Family Foundation, August 20, 2021, https://www.healthsystemtracker.org/brief/unvaccinated-covid-patients-cost-the-u-s-health-system-billions-of-dollars/

Max Hauptman, “Vaccine resistance in the military remains strong, a dilemma for Pentagon as mandate looms,” Washington Post, August 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2021/08/21/vaccine-mandate-pentagon/

Hannah Knowles, “A Texas GOP official’s covid-19 death went viral. Then came calls for vaccination — and bitter divides,” Washington Post, August 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/21/scott-apley-covid-death-vaccine/

Katie MacBride, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, August 21, 2021, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1429287685244420101.html

Guardian, “Trump booed after telling supporters to get Covid vaccine,” August 22, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/aug/22/donald-trump-rally-alabama-covid-vaccine

Ben Guarino, Laurie McGinley, and Tyler Pager, “Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine wins full FDA approval, potentially persuading the hesitant to get a shot,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/23/pfizer-vaccine-full-approval/

Adela Suliman and Bryan Pietsch, “Third Pfizer dose significantly lowers risk of infection in seniors, Israeli data shows,” Washington Post, August 23, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/23/covid-delta-variant-live-updates/


Afghanistan

Danielle Pletka et al., “What Went Wrong in Afghanistan?” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-went-wrong-in-afghanistan-11629472600

Barbara Starr et al., “ISIS terror threat forces US military to establish alternate routes to Kabul airport,” Cable News Network, August 21, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/21/politics/kabul-airport-terror-warning/index.html

Emily Stewart, “The history of US intervention in Afghanistan, from the Cold War to 9/11,” Vox, August 21, 2021, https://www.vox.com/world/22634008/us-troops-afghanistan-cold-war-bush-bin-laden

Associated Press, “The Latest: Pentagon asks airlines for help moving evacuees,” August 22, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/afghanistan-kabul-evacuation-3e03946e8f84540927761d0b83efd769

David Roberts, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, August 22, 2021, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1429538957742592012.html

Tim Shipman, “Tony Blair attacks Joe Biden’s ‘imbecilic’ Afghanistan retreat as Kabul chaos deepens,” Times, August 22, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tony-blair-attacks-joe-bidens-imbecilic-afghanistan-retreat-as-kabul-chaos-deepens-jw782ghxr


Gig economy

Something Laura Forman does, without being explicit about it, is suggest that the writing is on the wall for the “independent contractor” scam, otherwise known as worker misclassification. She writes a lot about California’s Proposition 22 and how investors react[1] to a recent court decision striking it down,[2] but also points out a number of places where attempts are being made to force or have already been successful in forcing gig economy companies to classify their workers as employees.[3] Smart corporate executives would recognize that this scam isn’t flying, but it’s clear they don’t actually have a business plan,[4] and at least two smart writers have labeled Uber a ‘bezzle,’[5] “John Kenneth Galbraith’s coinage for an investment swindle where the losses have yet to be recognized,”[6] as serious analysts continue to doubt Uber’s potential for profit.[7] And whatever can be said about Uber generally also applies to Lyft; it’s just that the bigger company gets more attention.

So assuming these companies’ executives aren’t idiots—yes, I know, a dubious assumption—one then has to assume that they are fully aware of what they are doing and are simply trying to stretch out their highly-paid jobs as long as they can. ’Cause you know their names will all be mud when this comes crashing down.

Laura Forman, “An Uncomfortable Proposition for Gig Economy Investors,” Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-uncomfortable-proposition-for-gig-economy-investors-11629754144

Justin Ray, “Prop. 22 is ruled unconstitutional: What it means, how apps reacted and what happens next,” Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/newsletter/2021-08-23/proposition-22-lyft-uber-decision-essential-california


  1. [1]Laura Forman, “An Uncomfortable Proposition for Gig Economy Investors,” Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-uncomfortable-proposition-for-gig-economy-investors-11629754144
  2. [2]Jeong Park, “Court rules California gig worker initiative is unconstitutional, a setback to Uber and Lyft,” Sacramento Bee, August 20, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article253647838.html; Preetika Rana, “California Ballot Measure That Classifies Uber, Lyft Drivers as Independent Ruled Unconstitutional,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/proposition-22-is-unconstitutional-california-judge-says-11629512394; Justin Ray, “Prop. 22 is ruled unconstitutional: What it means, how apps reacted and what happens next,” Los Angeles Times, August 23, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/newsletter/2021-08-23/proposition-22-lyft-uber-decision-essential-california; Margot Roosevelt and Suhauna Hussain, “Prop. 22 is ruled unconstitutional, a blow to California gig economy law,” Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2021-08-20/prop-22-unconstitutional; Faiz Siddiqui, “California judge rules unconstitutional the measure classifying Uber and Lyft drivers as contractors,” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/08/20/uber-lyft-prop-22-unconstitutional/
  3. [3]Laura Forman, “An Uncomfortable Proposition for Gig Economy Investors,” Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-uncomfortable-proposition-for-gig-economy-investors-11629754144
  4. [4]David Benfell, “This is not a business plan,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/06/20/this-is-not-a-business-plan/
  5. [5]Cory Doctorow, “End of the line for Uber,” Pluralistic, August 10, 2021, https://pluralistic.net/2021/08/10/unter/#bezzle-no-more; Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash,” New York, December 4, 2018, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/will-uber-survive-the-next-decade.html
  6. [6]Yves Smith, “Uber Is Headed for a Crash,” New York, December 4, 2018, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/will-uber-survive-the-next-decade.html
  7. [7]Trading Places Research, “Uber And Lyft: The Limits Of The Amazon Model,” Seeking Alpha, August 15, 2021, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4449578-uber-and-lyft-the-limits-of-the-amazon-model

Capitalist losers hope for (and will probably get) a win not in the market place that they otherwise idolize but from the Supreme Court

Afghanistan

Danielle Pletka et al., “What Went Wrong in Afghanistan?” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-went-wrong-in-afghanistan-11629472600

Barbara Starr et al., “ISIS terror threat forces US military to establish alternate routes to Kabul airport,” Cable News Network, August 21, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/21/politics/kabul-airport-terror-warning/index.html

Emily Stewart, “The history of US intervention in Afghanistan, from the Cold War to 9/11,” Vox, August 21, 2021, https://www.vox.com/world/22634008/us-troops-afghanistan-cold-war-bush-bin-laden

Associated Press, “The Latest: Pentagon asks airlines for help moving evacuees,” August 22, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/afghanistan-kabul-evacuation-3e03946e8f84540927761d0b83efd769

Tim Shipman, “Tony Blair attacks Joe Biden’s ‘imbecilic’ Afghanistan retreat as Kabul chaos deepens,” Times, August 22, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/tony-blair-attacks-joe-bidens-imbecilic-afghanistan-retreat-as-kabul-chaos-deepens-jw782ghxr


Evictions

Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin, “Real-Estate Interests Ask Supreme Court to Block Biden’s Eviction Moratorium,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-eviction-moratorium-to-continue-appeals-court-rules-11629481219

Alana Durkin Richer, “US appeals court refuses to end CDC’s eviction moratorium,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/article253635263.html


Pandemic

There is a new blog post entitled, “No more excuses. Mandate the vaccine now.

Max Hauptman, “Vaccine resistance in the military remains strong, a dilemma for Pentagon as mandate looms,” Washington Post, August 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2021/08/21/vaccine-mandate-pentagon/

Hannah Knowles, “A Texas GOP official’s covid-19 death went viral. Then came calls for vaccination — and bitter divides,” Washington Post, August 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/21/scott-apley-covid-death-vaccine/


No pity for vaccine-refusers

Pandemic

My patience is completely blown. I don’t care what vaccine-refusers think. I don’t want to hear their excuses, their rationalizations, or any of their bullshit. I will celebrate their deaths from COVID-19. Because the cost of their vaccine-refusal to the rest of us is completely out of line.

I will regret the medical resources devoted to vaccine-refusers’ care and that medical workers will put their lives on the line to provide that care. I will mourn the innocents vaccine-refusers spread the disease to and any innocents who suffer from a variant that exists because vaccine-refusers refused the vaccine. I will mourn the folks whose medical care is delayed or denied or who need to travel further to find care because vaccine-refusers are taking up hospital beds.

So H. Scott Apley died after refusing the vaccine and spreading misinformation?[1] This is cause for celebration. May more similarly inclined assholes die miserable deaths and the sooner the better.

And yes, I think Jason Valentine, who is reportedly refusing patients who lack the vaccine[2] has the right idea. You should have your vaccine card to gain admittance to any medical facility (and, really, anyplace else) unless you’re there to get your vaccine.

Otherwise, tough fucking luck, fuck your feelings, make a vaccine-refuser cry.

Because vaccine-refusers are making their own deathbeds; they should lie in them.

Max Hauptman, “Vaccine resistance in the military remains strong, a dilemma for Pentagon as mandate looms,” Washington Post, August 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2021/08/21/vaccine-mandate-pentagon/

Hannah Knowles, “A Texas GOP official’s covid-19 death went viral. Then came calls for vaccination — and bitter divides,” Washington Post, August 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/21/scott-apley-covid-death-vaccine/


Afghanistan

Larisa Brown et al., “Planes leaving half empty after Taliban set up ring of steel,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/planes-leaving-half-empty-after-taliban-set-up-ring-of-steel-6rdvp2wdb

Eric Levitz, “The Media Is Helping Hawks Win the War Over Biden’s Withdrawal,” New York, August 19, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/08/how-the-media-botched-bidens-afghanistan-withdrawal.html

Ezzatullah Mehrdad, Dan Lamothe, and Kareem Fahim, “Chaos persists at Kabul airport, imperiling Afghanistan evacuation effort,” Washington Post, August 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/airport-kabul-taliban-state-department-karzai/2021/08/19/5de79f4a-0105-11ec-87e0-7e07bd9ce270_story.html

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Airlift From Kabul Gains Speed As Afghans Defy Taliban In Several Cities,” August 19, 2021, https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/taliban-blocking-airport-independence-day/31418029.html

Monique Rivalland and Georgina Roberts, “How Afghanistan’s ambitious young women feel now,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-afghanistans-ambitious-young-women-feel-now-k7t6swgtk

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Afghanistan: Taliban ‘tortured and massacred’ men from Hazara minority,” August 20, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58277463

Susannah George, “The treacherous journey into Kabul airport to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan,” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/20/kabul-airport-journalists-evacuation/

Ellen Knickmeyer, Robert Burns, and Matthew Lee, “Biden to address chaotic Kabul evacuation amid criticism,” Associated Press, August 20, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-kabul-taliban-d036db0b190acba68087f3d46ffae146

Danielle Pletka et al., “What Went Wrong in Afghanistan?” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-went-wrong-in-afghanistan-11629472600

Barbara Starr et al., “ISIS terror threat forces US military to establish alternate routes to Kabul airport,” Cable News Network, August 21, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/21/politics/kabul-airport-terror-warning/index.html


Gig economy

Jeong Park, “Court rules California gig worker initiative is unconstitutional, a setback to Uber and Lyft,” Sacramento Bee, August 20, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article253647838.html

Preetika Rana, “California Ballot Measure That Classifies Uber, Lyft Drivers as Independent Ruled Unconstitutional,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/proposition-22-is-unconstitutional-california-judge-says-11629512394

Faiz Siddiqui, “California judge rules unconstitutional the measure classifying Uber and Lyft drivers as contractors,” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/08/20/uber-lyft-prop-22-unconstitutional/


Evictions

Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin, “Real-Estate Interests Ask Supreme Court to Block Biden’s Eviction Moratorium,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-eviction-moratorium-to-continue-appeals-court-rules-11629481219

Alana Durkin Richer, “US appeals court refuses to end CDC’s eviction moratorium,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/article253635263.html


  1. [1]Hannah Knowles, “A Texas GOP official’s covid-19 death went viral. Then came calls for vaccination — and bitter divides,” Washington Post, August 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/21/scott-apley-covid-death-vaccine/
  2. [2]Timothy Bella, “An Alabama doctor watched patients reject the coronavirus vaccine. Now he’s refusing to treat them,” Washington Post, August 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/18/alabama-doctor-unvaccinated-patients-valentine/

Alameda County judge rules Proposition 22, which preserves the ‘independent contractor’ scam in California, unconstitutional

A move date of August 31st has now been confirmed with a highly-rated local moving company. My Verizon FiOS service will move the same day, minimizing that particular disruption.


Donald Trump

Brown Shirts

Whitney Wild et al., “Police identify suspect who surrendered after claiming to have a bomb near US Capitol,” Cable News Network, August 19, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/19/politics/us-capitol-suspected-explosives/index.html

Amy B. Wang, “Lawmakers denounce GOP Rep. Brooks for appearing sympathetic to Capitol bomb threat suspect,” Washington Post, August 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/08/19/lawmakers-denounce-gop-rep-brooks-appearing-sympathetic-capitol-bomb-threat-suspect/

Rachel Weiner, “Man who claimed to have bomb near Capitol charged with threatening to use ‘weapon of mass destruction,’” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/roseberry-capitol-bomb-threat-charges-court/2021/08/20/3dadc848-01ce-11ec-ba7e-2cf966e88e93_story.html

2020 Election

Associated Press, “GOP senator’s plan to issue Pennsylvania election subpoenas ‘stopped,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 19, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gop-senators-plan-to-issue-pennsylvania-election-subpoenas-stopped/

Greg Sargent, “As the MAGA-land crackup gets worse, a few voices plead for sanity,” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/20/maga-land-crackup-gets-worse-few-voices-plead-sanity/


Afghanistan

Larisa Brown et al., “Planes leaving half empty after Taliban set up ring of steel,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/planes-leaving-half-empty-after-taliban-set-up-ring-of-steel-6rdvp2wdb

Ezzatullah Mehrdad, Dan Lamothe, and Kareem Fahim, “Chaos persists at Kabul airport, imperiling Afghanistan evacuation effort,” Washington Post, August 19, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/airport-kabul-taliban-state-department-karzai/2021/08/19/5de79f4a-0105-11ec-87e0-7e07bd9ce270_story.html

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Airlift From Kabul Gains Speed As Afghans Defy Taliban In Several Cities,” August 19, 2021, https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/taliban-blocking-airport-independence-day/31418029.html

Monique Rivalland and Georgina Roberts, “How Afghanistan’s ambitious young women feel now,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-afghanistans-ambitious-young-women-feel-now-k7t6swgtk

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Afghanistan: Taliban ‘tortured and massacred’ men from Hazara minority,” August 20, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58277463

Susannah George, “The treacherous journey into Kabul airport to escape Taliban-controlled Afghanistan,” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/08/20/kabul-airport-journalists-evacuation/

Ellen Knickmeyer, Robert Burns, and Matthew Lee, “Biden to address chaotic Kabul evacuation amid criticism,” Associated Press, August 20, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/business-health-coronavirus-pandemic-kabul-taliban-d036db0b190acba68087f3d46ffae146


Evictions

Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin, “Real-Estate Interests Ask Supreme Court to Block Biden’s Eviction Moratorium,” Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-eviction-moratorium-to-continue-appeals-court-rules-11629481219


Gig economy

Jeong Park, “Court rules California gig worker initiative is unconstitutional, a setback to Uber and Lyft,” Sacramento Bee, August 20, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article253647838.html

Faiz Siddiqui, “California judge rules unconstitutional the measure classifying Uber and Lyft drivers as contractors,” Washington Post, August 20, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/08/20/uber-lyft-prop-22-unconstitutional/


Mandates

I am targeting an August 31 move date. There will obviously be disruptions at that time, especially as, of course, other things need to be dealt with on that day and the following.


Pandemic

National

Assuming the plans described[1] actually go into effect, I’ll be eligible for a booster shot on November 26, which would be in plenty of time for a February trip to visit my mother.

It appears that while the vaccines continue to offer significant protection even against the delta variant, there is a problem in that even if you are fully vaccinated, if you do get sick with it, all bets are off; you then face many of the same risks as if you had not been vaccinated at all.[2]

Paige Williams, “Mississippi’s Hospital System Is Rapidly Approaching Statewide Failure,” New Yorker, August 17, 2021, https://www.newyorker.com/news/us-journal/mississippis-hospital-system-is-rapidly-approaching-statewide-failure

Timothy Bella, “An Alabama doctor watched patients reject the coronavirus vaccine. Now he’s refusing to treat them,” Washington Post, August 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2021/08/18/alabama-doctor-unvaccinated-patients-valentine/

Andrew Nikiforuk, “How Wildfire Smoke Supercharges the COVID Virus,” Tyee, August 18, 2021, https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2021/08/18/Wildfire-Smoke-Supercharges-COVID/

Sabrina Siddiqui and Anna Wilde Mathews, “Biden Tells Nursing Homes to Vaccinate Staffs to Keep Medicare, Medicaid Funds,” Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-to-tell-nursing-homes-to-require-staff-to-be-vaccinated-to-keep-federal-funding-11629313862

Del Quentin Wilber, “Biden administration plans to offer COVID booster shots after 8 months,” Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-08-18/biden-administration-urges-booster-shots-8-months-after-being-inoculated

Rhys Blakely, “Double Covid vaccine doesn’t stop symptoms for half of Delta cases,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/double-covid-vaccine-symptoms-delta-variant-cases-8jfxkzp03

Pennsylvania

Erin McCarthy and Laura McCrystal, “U.S. has a plan for coronavirus booster shots. Pa. and Philly say they’re ready,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 18, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/third-covid-vaccine-dose-booster-shots-20210818.html


Afghanistan

I can’t say I understand authoritarian regimes trying to prevent people leaving. People who are desperate to leave are unlikely ever to be loyal subjects and the criticism they may offer from abroad pales before the image of a Berlin Wall or an Iron Curtain. Prevented from leaving, they will only become subversive and if the regime imprisons them, it must provide guards, shelter, and food. But here it is again with Afghanistan.[3]

Certainly it must be embarrassing for the Taliban to be seen not as ‘liberators’ but rather as imposing a rule that tens of thousands (at least) are desperate to escape.[4] But this is a short term pain, entirely to be expected, one that any authoritarian regime must accept. The Taliban now inflict upon themselves a long term injury.


Fig. 1. Cartoon by Brian Adcock, August 17, 2021, for the Guardian, fair use.

Naomi Conrad, Masood Saifullah, and Birgitta Schülke-Gill, “In Kabul, terrified Afghans wait for the call to safety,” Deutsche Welle, August 18, 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/in-kabul-terrified-afghans-wait-for-the-call-to-safety/a-58894365

Ben Doherty, Warren Murray, and agencies, “Afghanistan: reports emerge of Taliban beating Afghans seeking to flee Kabul,” Guardian, August 18, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/18/afghanistan-reports-emerge-of-taliban-beating-afghans-seeking-to-flee-kabul

Joyce Sohyun Lee et al., “With the Taliban now in control, here’s what Afghans are seeing in Kabul,” Washington Post, August 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/interactive/2021/videos-afghanistan-kabul-taliban-arrival/

Larisa Brown et al., “Planes leaving half empty after Taliban set up ring of steel,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/planes-leaving-half-empty-after-taliban-set-up-ring-of-steel-6rdvp2wdb

Monique Rivalland and Georgina Roberts, “How Afghanistan’s ambitious young women feel now,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/how-afghanistans-ambitious-young-women-feel-now-k7t6swgtk


Brown shirts

So there was a bomb threat near government buildings in Washington, D.C., this morning. When I first saw the story I suspected there might be more to it, so I made a note to check it again later, and sure enough, it was a Trump supporter. There was apparently no bomb but there was a video and supposedly, the suspect, one Floyd Ray Roseberry of Grover, North Carolina, possessed bomb-making materials. He was apparently acting alone.[5]

All that said, I don’t know how you classify a significant number of Trump supporters as anything other than extremely dangerous with a high potential for violence:

Officials have been sounding the alarm over online extremist rhetoric that is strikingly similar to the buildup to the January 6 Capitol insurrection, with increasing calls for violence linked to conspiracy theories and false narratives.[6]

Whitney Wild et al., “Police identify suspect who surrendered after claiming to have a bomb near US Capitol,” Cable News Network, August 19, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/19/politics/us-capitol-suspected-explosives/index.html


Donald Trump

Associated Press, “GOP senator’s plan to issue Pennsylvania election subpoenas ‘stopped,’” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 19, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gop-senators-plan-to-issue-pennsylvania-election-subpoenas-stopped/


  1. [1]Del Quentin Wilber, “Biden administration plans to offer COVID booster shots after 8 months,” Los Angeles Times, August 18, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-08-18/biden-administration-urges-booster-shots-8-months-after-being-inoculated
  2. [2]Rhys Blakely, “Double Covid vaccine doesn’t stop symptoms for half of Delta cases,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/double-covid-vaccine-symptoms-delta-variant-cases-8jfxkzp03
  3. [3]Larisa Brown et al., “Planes leaving half empty after Taliban set up ring of steel,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/planes-leaving-half-empty-after-taliban-set-up-ring-of-steel-6rdvp2wdb; Naomi Conrad, Masood Saifullah, and Birgitta Schülke-Gill, “In Kabul, terrified Afghans wait for the call to safety,” Deutsche Welle, August 18, 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/in-kabul-terrified-afghans-wait-for-the-call-to-safety/a-58894365; Ben Doherty, Warren Murray, and agencies, “Afghanistan: reports emerge of Taliban beating Afghans seeking to flee Kabul,” Guardian, August 18, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/18/afghanistan-reports-emerge-of-taliban-beating-afghans-seeking-to-flee-kabul; Charlie Faulkner and Ben Farmer, “Desperate Afghans plunge to deaths from departing US planes as Kabul airport overrun,” Telegraph, August 16, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/08/16/kabul-airport-chaos-thousands-overrun-tarmac-desperate-bid-escape/; Yaroslav Trofimov, Dion Nissenbaum, and Margherita Stancati, “‘Saigon on Steroids’: The Desperate Rush to Flee Afghanistan,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saigon-on-steroids-the-desperate-rush-to-flee-afghanistan-11629071999
  4. [4]Larisa Brown et al., “Planes leaving half empty after Taliban set up ring of steel,” Times, August 19, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/planes-leaving-half-empty-after-taliban-set-up-ring-of-steel-6rdvp2wdb; Naomi Conrad, Masood Saifullah, and Birgitta Schülke-Gill, “In Kabul, terrified Afghans wait for the call to safety,” Deutsche Welle, August 18, 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/in-kabul-terrified-afghans-wait-for-the-call-to-safety/a-58894365; Ben Doherty, Warren Murray, and agencies, “Afghanistan: reports emerge of Taliban beating Afghans seeking to flee Kabul,” Guardian, August 18, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/18/afghanistan-reports-emerge-of-taliban-beating-afghans-seeking-to-flee-kabul; Charlie Faulkner and Ben Farmer, “Desperate Afghans plunge to deaths from departing US planes as Kabul airport overrun,” Telegraph, August 16, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2021/08/16/kabul-airport-chaos-thousands-overrun-tarmac-desperate-bid-escape/; Yaroslav Trofimov, Dion Nissenbaum, and Margherita Stancati, “‘Saigon on Steroids’: The Desperate Rush to Flee Afghanistan,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/saigon-on-steroids-the-desperate-rush-to-flee-afghanistan-11629071999
  5. [5]Whitney Wild et al., “Police identify suspect who surrendered after claiming to have a bomb near US Capitol,” Cable News Network, August 19, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/19/politics/us-capitol-suspected-explosives/index.html
  6. [6]Whitney Wild et al., “Police identify suspect who surrendered after claiming to have a bomb near US Capitol,” Cable News Network, August 19, 2021, https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/19/politics/us-capitol-suspected-explosives/index.html