Pope Francis calls Joe Biden a ‘good Catholic.’ It’s less clear what he thinks of U.S. bishops

There have been updates to my contact information. Mainly, my experience of the latest moves to crack down on robocalls by requiring wider STIR/SHAKEN implementation[2] is that since that deadline went into effect, the number of car warranty spam calls has dramatically increased and so I am now blocking or declining calls from all unidentified numbers.




Abortion

Chico Harlan and Seung Min Kim, “Biden says Pope Francis called him a good Catholic and said he should keep receiving Communion,” Washington Post, October 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/biden-pope-francis-meeting/2021/10/28/80f529ca-33a1-11ec-8036-7db255bff176_story.html


Pandemic


Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court won’t block vaccine mandate for Maine health-care workers with religious objections,” Washington Post, October 29, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-vaccine-mandate-maine/2021/10/29/0ad60158-3903-11ec-91dc-551d44733e2d_story.html

Howard Blume, “They stuck to their anti-vax beliefs. Now these teachers and school workers are out of jobs,” Los Angeles Times, October 29, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-10-29/the-unvaccinated-few-in-l-a-unified


Billionaire space race

Sam Wolfson is likely a lot closer to being right about Mark Zuckerberg than Zuckerberg is about the ‘metaverse.’ That still isn’t saying much.

Sam Wolfson, “Metaverse, Mars, meditation retreats: billionaires want to escape the world they ruined,” Guardian, October 29, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/oct/29/metaverse-zuckerberg-mars-billionaires-escape-world


Donald Trump

Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, “‘Almost schizophrenic’: Judge rips DOJ approach to Jan. 6 prosecutions,” Politico, October 28, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/10/28/almost-schizophrenic-judge-rips-doj-approach-to-jan-6-prosecutions-517442


Voting rights

Andrew Jeong, “University of Florida bars faculty from testifying in voting rights lawsuit against DeSantis administration,” Washington Post, October 30, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/10/30/florida-voting-rights-desantis-lawsuit/


Gig economy

Laura Forman, “Gig Companies Can’t Take Everyone for a Ride,” Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/gig-companies-cant-take-everyone-for-a-ride-11635602401


  1. [2]Bevin Fletcher, “FCC robocall mitigation deadline goes into effect,” Fierce Wireless, September 30, 2020, https://www.fiercewireless.com/regulatory/fcc-robocall-mitigation-deadline-goes-into-effect

In-N-Out relents, will not have indoor dining in Contra Costa County

So I am finally fully out of my old apartment. I got it cleaned, expensively because my last housekeeper decided he didn’t want to come out that far, and turned in the keys.


Pandemic

Eric Ting, “Contra Costa County says In-N-Out surrenders, will halt indoor dining at all locations,” SFGate, October 27, 2021, https://www.sfgate.com/bay-area-politics/article/In-N-Out-Bay-Area-vaccine-mandate-Contra-Costa-16568951.php

Josh Funk, “Report: At least 59,000 meat workers caught COVID, 269 died,” Sacramento Bee, October 28, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/article255326336.html


Gig economy

Electric vehicles

Apparently that deal for Hertz to buy 100,000 Teslas and make 50,000 of them available to Uber drivers[1] includes an option to raise the latter number to 150,000, in which case Hertz would buy 200,000 Teslas. Uber drivers will not have access to Tesla’s misnamed “full self-driving package.”[2]

Fred Lambert, “Tesla order could double to 200,000 Model 3s to satisfy deal with Uber, says Hertz CEO,” Electrek, October 28, 2021, https://electrek.co/2021/10/28/tesla-order-double-200000-model-3s-satisfy-deal-uber-hertz-ceo/


Infrastructure

There isn’t a deal until both houses of Congress have passed it and Joe Biden has signed it. And while rhetoric is often most furious when negotiations are drawing to a close, I’m more skeptical than ever that this is coming together. Just sayin’.

Greg Sargent, “Who is killing the billionaires’ tax?” Washington Post, October 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/27/who-is-killing-billionaires-tax/

Theodore Schleifer, “Will Billionaires Really Get Taxed to Smithereens?” Puck News, October 27, 2021, https://puck.news/will-billionaires-really-get-taxed-to-smithereens/


  1. [1]Joann Muller, “A big EV push for Uber drivers,” Axios, October 27, 2021, https://www.axios.com/a-big-ev-push-for-uber-drivers-358a720f-f1ba-4c28-9a83-1bb86061c9e4.html
  2. [2]Fred Lambert, “Tesla order could double to 200,000 Model 3s to satisfy deal with Uber, says Hertz CEO,” Electrek, October 28, 2021, https://electrek.co/2021/10/28/tesla-order-double-200000-model-3s-satisfy-deal-uber-hertz-ceo/

I’ll believe Democrats are serious about taxing billionaires when they confiscate all wealth beyond 40 years of minimum wage

Infrastructure

Theodore Schleifer, “Will Billionaires Really Get Taxed to Smithereens?” Puck News, October 27, 2021, https://puck.news/will-billionaires-really-get-taxed-to-smithereens/


Pandemic

Josh Funk, “Report: At least 59,000 meat workers caught COVID, 269 died,” Sacramento Bee, October 28, 2021, https://www.sacbee.com/news/article255326336.html


Colonizer schools

Francis X. Rocca and Paul Vieira, “Pope Francis to Visit Canada, Seeking Reconciliation With Indigenous Communities,” Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pope-francis-to-visit-canada-seeking-reconciliation-with-indigenous-communities-11635340084


Donald Trump

Timothy Bella, “Florida judge rules Trump can’t skirt Twitter’s terms just because he was president, in latest legal setback,” Washington Post, October 27, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/10/27/trump-twitter-lawsuit-president-judge/


Reparations

Mattea Kramer, “Anti-Imperialism You Can Try at Home,” TomDispatch, October 28, 2021, https://tomdispatch.com/anti-imperialism-you-can-try-at-home/

Hertz deal might put more Uber drivers into Teslas

Labor

Jamison Hixenbaugh, “Gov. Wolf to Impose Higher Wages, Sick Pay Requirements for Workers,” Erie News Now, October 22, 2021, https://www.erienewsnow.com/story/45028810/gov-wolf-to-impose-higher-wages-sick-pay-requirements-for-workers

Holly Harrar, “Gov. Wolf signs new order to protect workers, raise minimum wage,” WFMZ, October 24, 2021, https://www.wfmz.com/news/area/pennsylvania/gov-wolf-signs-new-order-to-protect-workers-raise-minimum-wage/article_bfd7ca56-34ca-11ec-b610-d3b548c20d8d.html


John F. Kennedy

Jefferson Morley and Rex Bradford, “Biden Faces Deadline on Release of JFK Assassination Papers,” Intercept, October 20, 2021, https://theintercept.com/2021/10/20/jfk-assassination-papers-cia-release/

Bryan Bender, “What Biden is keeping secret in the JFK files,” Politico, October 24, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/10/24/biden-secret-jfk-files-517024


Guns

Pennsylvania

On the third anniversary of the Tree of Life shooting, the anti-Semitic Pennsylvania state legislature is at it again.[1]

Brendan Scanland, “Gov. Wolf, Gun Safety Advocates React to Republican Gun Legislation,” Erie News Now, October 26, 2021, https://www.erienewsnow.com/story/45056967/gov-wolf-gun-safety-advocates-react-to-republican-gun-legislation


Gig economy

Electric vehicles

I remember once when I wasn’t driving for Uber or Lyft but was working in the gig economy in another capacity in my Toyota Prius, someone walked up to my car thinking I was their Uber. Hertz and Tesla might be about to change that. And I just can’t wait to see what well-heeled Tesla owners think of this.

When news emerged that Hertz was buying 100,000 Teslas,[2] I raised an eyebrow and carried on. But it turns out half of them will be reserved for Uber drivers.[3]

My concern here has been about range[4] and so I wound up buying a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, with well over 500 miles of range. Over the last two weeks, I’ve had five days where I’ve driven in excess of 250 miles. That’d definitely be pushing the bottom end of what is here reported as a 262-353 mile range (depending on battery size).[5] I had one day, in that period, that exceeded the top end of that range.

Charging stations remain scarce around Pittsburgh, especially in the South Hills where I live, and indeed Pittsburgh will not be among the cities where the Teslas are initially offered, but Hertz will be adding charging stations to at least some of its locations.[6]

Joann Muller, “A big EV push for Uber drivers,” Axios, October 27, 2021, https://www.axios.com/a-big-ev-push-for-uber-drivers-358a720f-f1ba-4c28-9a83-1bb86061c9e4.html


  1. [1]Brendan Scanland, “Gov. Wolf, Gun Safety Advocates React to Republican Gun Legislation,” Erie News Now, October 26, 2021, https://www.erienewsnow.com/story/45056967/gov-wolf-gun-safety-advocates-react-to-republican-gun-legislation
  2. [2]Joann Muller, “How Hertz’s big Tesla deal could boost EV adoption for everyone,” Axios, October 26, 2021, https://www.axios.com/hertz-adds-tesla-electric-car-rental-fleet-b0cb31af-5551-43cc-8f3b-62eae75ba9b3.html
  3. [3]Joann Muller, “A big EV push for Uber drivers,” Axios, October 27, 2021, https://www.axios.com/a-big-ev-push-for-uber-drivers-358a720f-f1ba-4c28-9a83-1bb86061c9e4.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Range anxiety, Uber and Lyft style,” Not Housebroken, May 22, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/05/21/range-anxiety-uber-and-lyft-style/
  5. [5]Joann Muller, “A big EV push for Uber drivers,” Axios, October 27, 2021, https://www.axios.com/a-big-ev-push-for-uber-drivers-358a720f-f1ba-4c28-9a83-1bb86061c9e4.html
  6. [6]Joann Muller, “How Hertz’s big Tesla deal could boost EV adoption for everyone,” Axios, October 26, 2021, https://www.axios.com/hertz-adds-tesla-electric-car-rental-fleet-b0cb31af-5551-43cc-8f3b-62eae75ba9b3.html

A Maryland secession movement

Maryland

I haven’t seen many Confederate flags since the coup attempt on January 6. I did see one soon after crossing the border into Maryland on one of the drives I went on to break in my new car. I don’t know for sure, but it seems likely this would have been one of the counties where there is interest in seceding from Maryland and joining with West Virginia.[1]

In one of many discussions of places to live, my mother once expressed hesitation about moving south of the Mason-Dixon line, the line that separates Pennsylvania from Maryland, and it was on that trip that I saw what she meant. I also traversed a longer stretch in Virginia and while the state has largely turned blue in the red-blue dichotomy that polarizes the U.S., I saw a number of houses that evoked a plantation style. And yes, that was unsettling.

As for West Virginia, I have a storage locker in Follansbee, south of Weirton, and so, on the way back from one of my trips there, I stopped in Weirton at a Kroger store to get a fruit cup and at a car wash to get the car washed. I saw stereotypical coal mining town houses. I saw people who very strongly evoked the Appalachian archetype. The contrast from Steubenville, just across the Ohio River, was stark. The car wash folks worked hard for, judging from the amount I paid, not very much money at all and certainly did a decent job. But this, too, was unsettling and I see the Greater Appalachian connection that Colin Woodard stopped short of—and shouldn’t have—drawn to Allegheny County.[2] And I think maybe those folks in Maryland ought to take a closer look at what they’re asking for.

Michael Levenson, “Bye, Maryland? Lawmakers in 3 Counties Float a Plan to Secede From the State,” New York Times, October 22, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/us/politics/maryland-counties-west-virginia-request.html


  1. [1]Michael Levenson, “Bye, Maryland? Lawmakers in 3 Counties Float a Plan to Secede From the State,” New York Times, October 22, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/us/politics/maryland-counties-west-virginia-request.html
  2. [2]Colin Woodard, American Nations (New York: Penguin, 2011).

Joe Biden: It Would Be an Insult to My Dead Son for Everyone to Have Healthcare

Branko Marcetic, “Biden Says He’s the Workers’ Candidate, But He Has Worked To Cut Medicare and Social Security,” In These Times, April 26, 2019, http://inthesetimes.com/article/21856/joe-biden-cut-medicare-social-security-retirement-age

Tim Marchman, “Joe Biden: It Would Be an Insult to My Dead Son for Everyone to Have Healthcare,” Vice, August 27, 2019, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vb5d7y/joe-biden-medicare-for-all-would-be-an-insult-to-my-dead-son

Glenn Kessler, “Sanders versus Biden on Social Security: a guide to the claims,” MSNBC, March 9, 2020, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/factcheck/sanders-versus-biden-on-social-security-a-guide-to-the-claims/ar-BB10TIMr

Marina Pitofsky, “Biden cites delays, cost when asked about Medicare for All veto,” Hill, March 10, 2020, https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/486749-biden-cites-delays-cost-when-asked-about-medicare-for-all-veto

Jeffery Martin, “87% of Democrats Support ‘Medicare for All,’ Though Joe Biden Doesn’t,” Newsweek, August 4, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/87-democrats-support-medicare-all-though-joe-biden-doesnt-1522833

Be careful what you wish for: White supremacist gang edition

White supremacist gangs


Climate crisis

George Monbiot pushes back against climate fatalism by pointing to the U.S. mobilization for World War II: Taxes and rationing were imposed; car production and housing construction were banned so resources could be diverted to the war effort. We did it then, he argues; we can do it now, against the climate crisis.[1]

This analogy is obviously strained because we cannot manufacture our way out of our wider environmental crisis the way we manufacture arms. The crisis requires instead that capitalism—indeed our entire system of social organization—be replaced. And indeed that might happen. The question is whether it will happen in the time we have before the planet becomes uninhabitable.[2]

George Monbiot, “Miracle of Reduction,” October 24, 2021, https://www.monbiot.com/2021/10/24/miracle-of-reduction/


Democrats


Republicans

Catherine Rampell, “The GOP rebrands itself as the party of tax cheats,” Washington Post, October 21, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/21/gop-rebrands-itself-party-tax-cheats/


Abortion

Roman Catholic Church

Matt Viser, “Biden’s meeting with the pope carries resonance as disputes divide U.S. Catholics,” Washington Post, October 24, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-pope-francis-meeting/2021/10/23/354b1d5c-3290-11ec-a1e5-07223c50280a_story.html


  1. [1]George Monbiot, “Miracle of Reduction,” October 24, 2021, https://www.monbiot.com/2021/10/24/miracle-of-reduction/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Economics, empire, and the environment,” Not Housebroken, October 12, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/10/12/economics-empire-and-the-environment/

Facebook failed against and instead facilitated the coup attempt

Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, and Reed Albergotti, “Inside Facebook, Jan. 6 violence fueled anger, regret over missed warning signs,” Washington Post, October 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/10/22/jan-6-capitol-riot-facebook/


Work

Jamison Hixenbaugh, “Gov. Wolf to Impose Higher Wages, Sick Pay Requirements for Workers,” Erie News Now, October 22, 2021, https://www.erienewsnow.com/story/45028810/gov-wolf-to-impose-higher-wages-sick-pay-requirements-for-workers


Infrastructure

David Smith, “‘We need him to deliver’: Biden faces wrath of disappointed supporters,” Guardian, October 23, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/oct/23/joe-biden-disappointed-supporters-approval


Vikings

Robert Lee Hotz, “Viking Artifacts Give Precise Date for Europeans’ Earliest Presence in North America,” Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2021, https://www.wsj.com/articles/viking-artifacts-give-precise-date-for-europeans-earliest-presence-in-north-america-11634742000


DPRK News is back on Twitter

Twitter


If it vanishes from here, I know how to unvanish it. But as it turns out, all that happens is that the script that’s included with the tweet embed code and adds the Twitter formatting stops working.


New York Times

Dylan Byers, “The New York Times Succession Sweepstakes Is Probably Settled,” Puck News, October 22, 2021, https://puck.news/next-new-york-times-executive-editor/


Pandemic

(Inter)national

Zak Cheney-Rice, “The Police’s Farcical War on Vaccine Mandates,” New York, October 22, 2021, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/10/the-polices-farcical-war-on-vaccine-mandates.html


Some folks need to grow up: Black people are not the only victims of patriarchy

Donald Trump

An Axios newsletter makes it pretty damn clear that, if able, Donald Trump is almost certain to seek and win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. He clearly has the interest and the support.[1] This should be absolutely no surprise.[2] The real question is whether he can win against Democrats who seem determined not to deliver.[3] My revised list of likely or manifest Democratic failures:

I wouldn’t even for a second be surprised if there’s more. This list is just compiled from the vagaries of my recollection.

It’s safe to say that Trump is repugnant to a significant portion of the population. A Democratic failure to deliver may seem anodyne in comparison but it’s hard to see how Democrats attract enthusiastic support.

Oh, and just so you know:

trumpery archaic noun (pl. trumperies) [mass noun] attractive articles of little value or use. practices or beliefs that are superficially or visually appealing but have little real value or worth.
► adjective showy but worthless: trumpery jewellery.
delusive or shallow that trumpery hope which lets us dupe ourselves.
ORIGIN late Middle English (denoting trickery): from Old French tromperie, from tromper deceive’.[4]

Yeah, it’s in the fucking dictionary.


Student loans

The bizarre thing about this article is that Alexis Gravely frames the problem in terms of race even as it appears the underlying story[5] only relates to race to the extent that Black people are already financially disadvantaged and, unsurprisingly,[6] continue to be financially disadvantaged after graduation.[7] However, my own experience[8] makes a mockery of any notion that this is a Black people-only problem.

This irritates me because the notion that power relations are intrinsic to racism[9] is making the rounds again in what very much looks to me like an apparent attempt—I offer Gravely’s article[10] and indeed George Yancy’s recent diatribe in Truthout[11] in evidence—to reduce all power relationship issues to race problems or at least desperately to ignore that any other power relationship problems exist, an attempt which needs to be called out from the rooftops for the profoundly repugnant bullshit that it is.

I do not intend in any way to diminish the disadvantages Black people face—I am witness to them every day as I drive around Pittsburgh. But Black people, especially those styling themselves as critical race theorists,[12] need to be damn clear that Black people are not the only oppressed subaltern group on earth and their thinking needs to address a broader system of bigotry and oppression.

Alexis Gravely, “The Struggles of Income-Driven Repayment,” Inside Higher Ed, October 22, 2021, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/10/22/research-advocates-fixes-income-driven-repayment


Pandemic

Pennsylvania region

Even as the local white supremacist gang union challenges Allegheny County’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate in court,[13] a second Pittsburgh gang member has died from COVID-19.[14]

Police have not said whether either man was vaccinated. Public safety officials have said just 61% of the bureau is vaccinated.[15]

We can only wonder how many other people these white supremacist gang members spread COVID-19 to before succumbing.

Sarah Boden, “Experts question the science of police union’s challenge to Allegheny County’s vaccine mandate,” WESA, October 20, 2021, https://www.wesa.fm/health-science-tech/2021-10-20/experts-question-the-science-of-police-unions-challenge-to-allegheny-countys-vaccine-mandate

Paula Reed Ward, “Pa. Commonwealth Court panel hears argument on masking in schools,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 20, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/commonwealth-court-panel-hears-argument-on-masking-in-schools/

Megan Guza, “Pittsburgh police lose 2nd officer to covid-19,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 21, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-police-lose-second-office-to-covid/


  1. [1]Mike Allen to Axios A.M. subscribers, “Trump, your 2024 GOP nominee,” Axios, October 22, 2021, https://www.axios.com/newsletters/axios-am-44f270a6-4d66-4dbc-8aee-66fdb063677f.html
  2. [2]Tina Nguyen, “Javanka ’24: Will They or Won’t They?” Puck News, October 7, 2021, https://puck.news/jared-ivanka-24-will-they-or-wont-they/
  3. [3]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
  4. [4]Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd ed. (2010), s.v. trumpery.
  5. [5]Alexis Gravely, “The Struggles of Income-Driven Repayment,” Inside Higher Ed, October 22, 2021, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/10/22/research-advocates-fixes-income-driven-repayment
  6. [6]Thomas M. Shapiro, Great Divides, 3rd ed. (Boston:McGraw Hill, 2005).
  7. [7]Alexis Gravely, “The Struggles of Income-Driven Repayment,” Inside Higher Ed, October 22, 2021, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/10/22/research-advocates-fixes-income-driven-repayment
  8. [8]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/; David Benfell, “About that alleged ‘labor shortage,’” Not Housebroken, June 10, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/05/09/about-that-alleged-labor-shortage/
  9. [9]George Yancy, “No, Black People Can’t Be ‘Racists,’” Truthout, October 20, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/no-black-people-cant-be-racists/
  10. [10]Alexis Gravely, “The Struggles of Income-Driven Repayment,” Inside Higher Ed, October 22, 2021, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2021/10/22/research-advocates-fixes-income-driven-repayment
  11. [11]George Yancy, “No, Black People Can’t Be ‘Racists,’” Truthout, October 20, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/no-black-people-cant-be-racists/
  12. [12]George Yancy, “No, Black People Can’t Be ‘Racists,’” Truthout, October 20, 2021, https://truthout.org/articles/no-black-people-cant-be-racists/
  13. [13]Sarah Boden, “Experts question the science of police union’s challenge to Allegheny County’s vaccine mandate,” WESA, October 20, 2021, https://www.wesa.fm/health-science-tech/2021-10-20/experts-question-the-science-of-police-unions-challenge-to-allegheny-countys-vaccine-mandate
  14. [14]Megan Guza, “Pittsburgh police lose 2nd officer to covid-19,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 21, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-police-lose-second-office-to-covid/
  15. [15]Megan Guza, “Pittsburgh police lose 2nd officer to covid-19,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 21, 2021, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-police-lose-second-office-to-covid/