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.
Paul Waldman is nicer than I am. I’d refuse vaccine-refusers care at any medical facility and I don’t care if “that’s how medicine works.” 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
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. 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/
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,” CNN, 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®i_id=97793637&segment_id=67145&te=1&uri=nyt%3A%2F%2Fnewsletter%2F51d8629f-6851-5663-99e7-7a33a08aa7eb&user_id=087ade925ce15f15a24824418c4789ce
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
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. 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/
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 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. 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, 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/
Anna North, “The death of the job,” Vox, August 24, 2021, https://www.vox.com/22621892/jobs-work-pandemic-covid-great-resignation-2021
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. 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. 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