Not boring weather

Brazil

Ishaan Tharoor, “Brazil’s Bolsonaro follows the Trump playbook,” Washington Post, August 11, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2021/08/11/bolsonaro-trump-playbook/


Afghanistan

Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from the Afghan capital Kabul, said the fall of Pul-e-Khumri was a “significant development”.

“Significantly, this brings the fighting a lot closer to Kabul itself, and that is a concern for the government.”

The Taliban have captured eight out of 34 provincial capitals in the country in less than a week.

A senior EU official told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that Taliban forces now control 65 percent of Afghan territory, are threatening to take 11 provincial capitals, and are trying to deprive Kabul of its traditional support from national forces in the north.[1]

At least when it was South Vietnam falling, I could say with some confidence that the North had some support from the people, that the collapse would likely be an improvement. Though an end to otherwise endless and pointless war is desperately needed, I am not so sure that is the case in Afghanistan.

Akhtar Mohammad Makoii and Luke Harding, “Taliban capture sixth provincial capital in northern Afghanistan,” Guardian, August 9, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/09/taliban-capture-aibak-sixth-provincial-capital-northern-afghanistan

Al Jazeera, “Taliban seizes eighth Afghan provincial capital in five days,” August 10, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/10/taliban-seizes-farah-seventh-provincial-afghan-capital-in-five-days

Dan Lamothe et al., “U.S. officials warn collapse of Afghan capital could come sooner than expected,” Washington Post, August 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2021/08/10/afghanistan-intelligence-assessment/

Reuters, “Taliban flashpoints in Afghanistan,” August 10, 2021, https://graphics.reuters.com/AFGHANISTAN-CONFLICT/FLASHPOINTS/lbpgnrazjvq/index.html

Tameem Akhgar and John Gambrell, “Taliban complete northeast Afghan blitz as more cities fall,” Associated Press, August 11, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/joe-biden-taliban-e2c0e7b46c03cebb4fdddca309e005e8

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Afghanistan war: Biden says he does not regret troop withdrawal,” August 11, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58167408


Infrastructure

The question now seems to be what can get past a veto from either Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema or both.[2] One thing that looks like it won’t? Any move against fossil fuels,[3] This, even after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report.[4] ’cause ya know, Manchin’s money[5] is infinitely more important than any future at all for the kids.

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

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


Pittsburgh

It appears the trouble started in a bar next door.[6] Meanwhile, Brillobox, which featured a dynamite fake bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, and which closed during the pandemic, has now said it will reopen.[7]

Ryan Deto, “Popular Bloomfield bar Brillobox plans to reopen in fall 2021,” Pittsburgh City Paper, August 10, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/popular-bloomfield-bar-brillobox-plans-to-reopen-in-fall-2021/Content?oid=19988847

Megan Guza, “Man charged in arson damage to D’s Six Pax & Dogz in Swissvale,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 10, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/man-charged-in-arson-damage-to-ds-six-pax-dogz-in-swissvale/

Hal B. Klein, “The 12 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Eateries in Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh, August 10, 2021, https://www.pittsburghmagazine.com/the-12-best-vegan-and-vegetarian-eateries-in-pittsburgh/


Pennsylvania

Pandemic

Justine McDaniel et al., “As cases rise, so do new rules: Philly adds a mask mandate, Pa. to require vaccination or tests for some workers,” Philadelphia Inquirer, August 10, 2021, https://www.inquirer.com/news/covid-pa-vaccine-mandate-mask-philly-20210810.html

Evictions

Ryan Deto, “Allegheny County extended its local eviction moratorium, and data shows it’s necessary,” Pittsburgh City Paper, August 11, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/allegheny-county-extended-its-local-eviction-moratorium-and-data-shows-its-necessary/Content?oid=19990418


Student loans

Charles Lane, “We need to solve the graduate-student loan fiasco with reform, not implement temporary solutions,” Washington Post, August 10, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/10/we-need-solve-graduate-student-loan-fiasco-with-reform-not-implement-temporary-solutions/


The lease signing on my new apartment has been delayed until Thursday evening. My new landlord has repeatedly emphasized to me that I can start moving in as soon as the lease is signed, even though it won’t take effect until September 1st, and he turns over the key. I’m thinking about the logistics now.

I had a passenger today who pronounced me a “Pittsburgher” for my complaints about the plowing in the winter and about the potholes. Perhaps, but probably you have to be a Californian to find the weather in California boring.

The weather certainly wasn’t boring as I drove home tonight. I had already decided to defer buying gas, because messing with flammable liquids just doesn’t seem like a sensible thing to do when electricity is flying all over the place, when as I approached the intersection of Brownsville Road on Route 51, I saw a lightning strike real close. I didn’t see quite where it hit, but it had to be in Whitehall nearby, perhaps on the country club grounds because I heard the thunder instantly.

I involuntarily hit my brake; the cop next to me paused longer than I did—I suspect he was trying to figure out where the strike was. The traffic signal at the intersection went out, flashing red in all directions. This was now a four-way stop with two lanes in each direction, working about as well as you might expect, which is to say, not at all. The cop turned on his lights and pulled into the Verizon Wireless store parking lot. I suspect he had the soggy task of directing traffic.

In my own defense against the charge of now being a “Pittsburgher,” I saw the unplowed roads in the Carrick neighborhood of Pittsburgh last winter and there just ain’t no two ways about it: Those folks have a legitimate beef. And it’s awfully striking that one only has to cross the city limits into suburbs to find plowed roads. I lose days of work in the winter to this situation because I just don’t dare go out when there’s going to be ice on the roads because the city just isn’t doing its job.

And Pittsburgh’s potholes took out my last car. While its replacement is truly a wonderful car and I’m glad to have it, I can’t say I’m wild about having to make a payment that’s on the order of rent monthly on a car that I can only reasonably hope will be more resilient.

That said, there’s a redwood tree near Point Arena, California, slated to receive my ashes and those of my dear cat, Admiral Janeway. In the end, I’ll return.

  1. [1]Al Jazeera, “Taliban seizes eighth Afghan provincial capital in five days,” August 10, 2021, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/10/taliban-seizes-farah-seventh-provincial-afghan-capital-in-five-days
  2. [2]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
  3. [3]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
  4. [4]Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis,” August 7, 2021, https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/
  5. [5]Geoff Dembicki, “Joe Manchin Makes $500K a Year From One of the Dirtiest Coal Plants in West Virginia,” Vice, July 28, 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3x8bw/joe-manchin-senator-millions-coal-grant-town-west-virginia; David Moore, “Manchin Bailed Out a Power Plant That Helps His Family Profit From Coal Waste,” Truthout, August 7, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/manchin-bailed-out-a-power-plant-that-helps-his-family-profit-from-coal-waste/
  6. [6]Megan Guza, “Man charged in arson damage to D’s Six Pax & Dogz in Swissvale,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 10, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/man-charged-in-arson-damage-to-ds-six-pax-dogz-in-swissvale/
  7. [7]Ryan Deto, “Popular Bloomfield bar Brillobox plans to reopen in fall 2021,” Pittsburgh City Paper, August 10, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/popular-bloomfield-bar-brillobox-plans-to-reopen-in-fall-2021/Content?oid=19988847

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