Lyft’s mysterious games

Gig economy

Drivers

Last year, when the lockdown was in force, I came due for a background check with Lyft. This is routine, but because of the lockdown, Lyft warned it might take much longer than usual.

The curious part of all this is that Uber and Lyft use the same company for background checks. I came due with Uber at the same time and when I switched to Uber, they turned around the background check in under 24 hours.

Then Lyft did another background check and another and another. They spent most of last year doing background checks on me. And when I tried driving for them again this year, they did another background check. I have repeatedly asked for, even demanded, and still don’t have an explanation. It’s not like there’s anything new on my record.

And when I did succeed in driving for Lyft once last year when I was in Ohio, where Uber won’t let me work, the pay seemed paltry in comparison.

I have a 5.0 driver rating with Lyft. But I’m feeling treated even more like shit by Lyft than by Uber, so guess who I’m driving for.

Faiz Siddiqui, “Lyft built a brand on being the nice gig work app clad in pink. Its drivers paint a different picture,” Washington Post, September 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/09/21/lyft-driver-shortage/


Pandemic

International

The weird part is that, though my initial COVID-19 was with the Pfizer shots, the booster I’m still scheduled for on October 9th is Moderna. But the Food and Drug Administration’s decision seems to apply to people seeking a Pfizer booster.[9] I probably qualify anyway because I’m sufficiently overweight (clinically obese) and because I have a lot of public exposure driving for Uber.

The headline on Sarah Knapton’s article for the Telegraph should not be taken as a consensus view; Knapton found at least one other expert who is a lot less confident.[10]

Robbie Whelan, “Doctors Left to Decide Who Gets Extra Covid-19 Vaccines Amid Booster Debate,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/doctors-left-to-decide-who-gets-extra-covid-19-vaccines-amid-booster-debate-11632130200

Leana S. Wen, “The CDC should let Americans decide for themselves if their risk warrants getting a booster shot,” Washington Post, September 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/21/fda-limits-booster-shots-at-risk-americans/

Jared S. Hopkins and Felicia Schwartz, “FDA Clears Covid-19 Booster Shots From Pfizer for High-Risk People,” Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/fda-clears-covid-19-booster-shots-from-pfizer-for-high-risk-people-11632354542

Sarah Knapton, “Nowhere left for Covid to go to mutate into a deadly variant, says Oxford vaccine creator, ” Telegraph, September 22, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/09/22/nowhere-left-covid-go-mutate-deadly-variant-says-oxford-vaccine/

Pittsburgh

Public Source, “Allegheny County prepares for boosters; local COVID cases remain high,” September 23, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/important-info-on-coronavirus-preparation-in-allegheny-county/


Infrastructure

Joe Biden met with so-called “centrist” lawmakers who refused to commit to a top line number for the reconciliation package—this was Paul Waldman’s complaint, specifically about Kyrsten Sinema,[11] though I’ve seen it more broadly—and progressive lawmakers who demanded to know why a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure framework bill was being rushed, presumably to avert Kysten Sinema’s threat to vote against a bill she helped negotiate,[12] if, given that progressives have promised to vote against it unless it is accompanied by a socially generous reconciliation package, they don’t want to kill it.[13] Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell thinks Democrats can use the reconciliation package to boost the impending debt limit and is refusing Republican support for it, apparently using the threat of default as leverage against that reconciliation package’s generosity, even though this strategy has rather consistently failed with rather ugly backlash for Republicans.[14]

I think McConnell is betting this time will be different. I think those so-called “centrists” came away with egg on their faces for failing to answer a seemingly straight-forward question from the President of the United States. But while I hope I’m wrong,[15] I also don’t see that any of this passes.

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/

Democracy Now! “‘We Need to Deliver’: Anger Grows at Sens. Manchin, Sinema over Obstruction of Democratic Priorities,” September 21, 2021, https://www.democracynow.org/2021/9/21/35_trillion_spending_bill_ro_khanna

Aaron Blake, “Republicans usually lose shutdown fights. So why are they going there again?” Washington Post, September 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/22/republicans-usually-lose-shutdown-fights-so-why-are-they-going-there-again/

Jeff Stein, “Former GOP treasury secretaries tried defusing debt ceiling bomb in private talks with McConnell, Yellen,” Washington Post, September 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/09/22/debt-ceiling-yellen-mnuchin-paulson/

Ryan Lizza et al. to Politico Playbook subscribers, “Inside the room of Biden’s talks with Dems,” September 23, 2021, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2021/09/23/inside-the-room-of-bidens-talks-with-dems-494444


Environment

(Not so) ‘clean’ energy

[Daniel] Yergin is not against the electric-car movement per se, but he thinks most people don’t realize how much fossil-fuel and other environmental disruption must happen in order to make electric cars. He said some 20 percent of an electric car is made of plastic, which of course is derived from fossil fuels, and that some 500,000 pounds of earth has to be moved to make a 1,000-pound battery because of the minerals—chiefly lithium, cobalt and copper—that are mined to make it. “You get rid of one set of dependencies and you get another,” he said. “The slogans are there, but the reality, when you get down to the engineering and making it happen, gets a lot more complicated. There’s a carbon footprint in mining, as well.”[16]

William D. Cohan, “‘From Big Oil to Big Shovels’: Daniel Yergin Outlines the Future of Energy,” Puck, September 22, 2021, https://puck.news/from-big-oil-to-big-shovels-daniel-yergin-outlines-the-future-of-energy/

Pittsburgh

Ryan Deto, “U.S. Steel is challenging an Allegheny County proposed air quality regulation,” Pittsburgh City Paper, September 22, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/us-steel-is-challenging-an-allegheny-county-proposed-air-quality-regulation/Content?oid=20236775


White supremacist gangs

Felicia Sonmez and Mike DeBonis, “No deal on bill to overhaul policing in aftermath of protests over killing of Black Americans,” Washington Post, September 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/policing-george-floyd-congress-legislation/2021/09/22/36324a34-1bc9-11ec-a99a-5fea2b2da34b_story.html


  1. [9]Jared S. Hopkins and Felicia Schwartz, “FDA Clears Covid-19 Booster Shots From Pfizer for High-Risk People,” Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/fda-clears-covid-19-booster-shots-from-pfizer-for-high-risk-people-11632354542
  2. [10]Sarah Knapton, “Nowhere left for Covid to go to mutate into a deadly variant, says Oxford vaccine creator, ” Telegraph, September 22, 2021, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2021/09/22/nowhere-left-covid-go-mutate-deadly-variant-says-oxford-vaccine/
  3. [11]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/
  4. [12]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/
  5. [13]Ryan Lizza et al. to Politico Playbook subscribers, “Inside the room of Biden’s talks with Dems,” September 23, 2021, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2021/09/23/inside-the-room-of-bidens-talks-with-dems-494444
  6. [14]Aaron Blake, “Republicans usually lose shutdown fights. So why are they going there again?” Washington Post, September 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/09/22/republicans-usually-lose-shutdown-fights-so-why-are-they-going-there-again/; Jeff Stein, “Former GOP treasury secretaries tried defusing debt ceiling bomb in private talks with McConnell, Yellen,” Washington Post, September 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2021/09/22/debt-ceiling-yellen-mnuchin-paulson/
  7. [15]David Benfell, “If you seek justice, don’t blame the U.S. Senate Parliamentarian,” Not Housebroken, September 20, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/09/20/if-you-seek-justice-dont-blame-the-u-s-senate-parliamentarian/
  8. [16]William D. Cohan, “‘From Big Oil to Big Shovels’: Daniel Yergin Outlines the Future of Energy,” Puck, September 22, 2021, https://puck.news/from-big-oil-to-big-shovels-daniel-yergin-outlines-the-future-of-energy/

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