Time for Trumpists to receive their own form of ‘justice’

Pittsburgh

When I say Pittsburgh has become a hateful place, consider a couple signs I saw in a neighborhood a little down and across Bettis Road from the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin. These are just around the corner from each other and I’m reciting from memory so the wording may not be precise:

  • “If you’re feeding the feral cats, then clean up their feces from my yard and their urine from my porch.”
  • “If you voted for Joe Biden, you owe me gas money.”

This is not my grandparents’ old neighborhood in Dormont, and I know these signs aren’t representative of everyone in this neighborhood, but even so, I can’t imagine people posting signs like this in their front yards when I was a kid. That said, this is the kind of vitriol I routinely see now on yard signs and bumper stickers and this is the kind of place Pittsburgh has become.

Infrastructure

“That [$4.25 billion diverted from the Motor License Fund to repair roads and bridges, and used to fund Pennsylvania State Police] is money that PennDOT could have otherwise used to address a growing list of repairs needed across the state, including those 2,829 structurally deficient, state-owned bridges,” [Eugene] DePasquale said at a news conference in Harrisburg [announcing the results of an audit of PennDOT for the years 2014 through 2017] attended by state Secretary of Transportation [Leslie] Richards.[1]

It appears the Fern Hollow Bridge was a Pittsburgh-owned bridge,[2] but the truth is, I don’t care. The rich and powerful have all the money, where and how they allocate it, whether to megayachts, shooting tourists into space, endless war, infrastructure, social needs, etc., is really all a shell game and I’m really no longer interested in distinguishing between political and economic elites, because really they’re the same.[3]

Under the state constitution, motorist fees and fuel taxes like the Motor License Fund are to be solely used for highway and bridge construction, repair and safety.

“Right now Pennsylvania is paying the highest gas tax in the nation. Actually three cents more than even California, 13 cents more than New York, and 18 cents more than New Jersey,” [Eugene DePasquale] said.[4]

Ed Blazina et al., “‘A boom, then a monster sound’: 10 hurt after bridge over Pittsburgh’s Frick Park collapses,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 28, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/01/28/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse-forbes-braddock-avenue-point-breeze-squirrel-hill/stories/202201280075

Emma Folts, “From a burning bridge to a sinking road, 5 times Pittsburgh infrastructure raised worries,” Public Source, January 28, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/from-a-burning-bridge-to-a-sinking-road-5-times-pittsburgh-infrastructure-raised-worries/

Megan Guza, “‘It is outrageous’: Pittsburgh leaders, residents seek answers after poor-rated bridge collapses,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/it-is-outrageous-pittsburgh-leaders-residents-seek-answers-after-poor-rated-bridge-collapses/

Tony LaRussa, “Over 40 bridges in Alle-Kiski Valley are rated the same as span that collapsed in Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/here-are-the-bridges-in-the-alle-kiski-valley-rated-the-same-as-span-that-collapsed-in-pittsburgh/

Brian C. Rittmeyer, Megan Guza, and Jason Cato, “10 injured in bridge collapse in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/frick-park-bridge-collapses-natural-gas-smell-in-area/

Charlie Wolfson, “Collapsed Pittsburgh bridge and 175 others rated poor in county drive home need for investment,” Public Source, January 28, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/bridge-collapse-pittsburgh-allegheny-infrastructure-biden/

WTAE, “Gov. Wolf signs proclamation of disaster emergency for Allegheny County following bridge collapse,” January 28, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/bridge-collapse-pittsburgh-gov-wolf-signs-proclamation-of-disaster-emergency/38928541

Julia Felton, “‘It’s a resource problem’: 1 in 8 bridges in Pa. rated in ‘poor’ condition, records show,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/its-a-resource-problem-1-in-8-bridges-in-pa-rated-in-poor-condition-records-show/

Lauren Lee, “Mayor Gainey signs Disaster Emergency Declaration following Fern Hollow bridge collapse,” WTAE, January 30, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/mayor-gainey-to-sign-disaster-emergency-declaration-following-fern-hollow-bridge-collapse/38934884

Mary Ann Thomas, “O’Connor: Rebuilding Forbes Avenue bridge could take 2 years, more than $10M,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 30, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/declarations-of-emergency-expected-to-speed-cleanup-and-reconstruction-of-forbes-avenue-bridge/


Donald Trump

Remember that Donald Trump is a good businessman,[5] therefore anything Letitia James does against him[6] must be wrong, and he did really win the 2020 election so anything Fanni Willis[7] does against him must be wrong. It’s no surprise then that the latter has called in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[8]

Coup attempt

The real injustice is not only that this story drags on over a year later, but that these people also assert a “freedom” to spread disease. I say it’s time for closure: summary justice and firing squads. There’s no justice at all for those who are dying from COVID-19 and it’s the very form of “justice” we’ll soon be seeing when Trumpists get back into power.

FiveThirtyEight, “Is Trump’s Hold On The GOP Still Strong?” January 26, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-trumps-hold-on-the-gop-still-strong/

Alex Isenstadt, “Trump faces MAGA revolt over endorsement,” Politico, January 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/27/trump-maga-revolt-endorsement-00003050

Nick Robins-Early, “Seditious conspiracy is rarely proven. The Oath Keepers trial is a litmus test,” Guardian, January 28, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/28/seditious-conspiracy-charges-trial-oath-keepers-us-court

Tyler Pager, “Trump suggests that if he is reelected, he will pardon Jan. 6 Capitol rioters,” Washington Post, January 29, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/29/trump-jan6-protesters/

Olafimihan Oshin, “Trump calls for protests if prosecutors ‘do anything illegal’ in targeting him,” Hill, January 30, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/592009-trump-calls-for-biggest-protest-weve-ever-had-if-prosecutors-do

Ed Palattella, “Election libel or just free speech?” Erie Times-News, January 30, 2022, https://www.goerie.com/story/news/2022/01/28/free-speech-case-erie-postmaster-project-veritas-james-okeefe-richard-hopkins/6632611001/

Monique Beals, “Georgia prosecutors ask FBI for security help after Trump protest remarks: report,” Hill, January 31, 2022, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/592044-georgia-prosecutors-ask-fbi-for-security-help-one-day-after-trump

John Wagner, “Trump suggests Pence should have ‘overturned’ the election on Jan. 6,” Washington Post, January 31, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/31/trump-pence-overturned-election/

Finances

Olafimihan Oshin, “Trump calls for protests if prosecutors ‘do anything illegal’ in targeting him,” Hill, January 30, 2022, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/592009-trump-calls-for-biggest-protest-weve-ever-had-if-prosecutors-do


Boris Johnson

William Booth and Karla Adam, “Downing Street gatherings during U.K. lockdowns ‘difficult to justify,’ report finds,” Washington Post, January 31, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/31/boris-johnson-investigation-lockdown-party-report/


  1. [1]Sarah Cassi, “$4.2 billion diverted from PennDOT road and bridge repairs to fund state police, new audit reveals,” Easton Express-Times, April 30, 2019, https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/2019/04/42-billion-diverted-from-penndot-road-and-bridge-repairs-to-fund-state-police-new-audit-reveals.html
  2. [2]Charlie Wolfson, “Collapsed Pittsburgh bridge and 175 others rated poor in county drive home need for investment,” Public Source, January 28, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/bridge-collapse-pittsburgh-allegheny-infrastructure-biden/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “No excuses: Power, responsibility, and accountability,” Not Housebroken, December 27, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/27/no-excuses-power-responsibility-and-accountability/
  4. [4]Sarah Cassi, “$4.2 billion diverted from PennDOT road and bridge repairs to fund state police, new audit reveals,” Easton Express-Times, April 30, 2019, https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/2019/04/42-billion-diverted-from-penndot-road-and-bridge-repairs-to-fund-state-police-new-audit-reveals.html
  5. [5]Bess Levin, “G.O.P. Voters Think Losing $1 Billion Makes Someone (Trump) a Good Businessman,” Vanity Fair, May 15, 2019, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/05/republicans-still-think-trump-was-a-successful-businessman; Walter Shapiro, “The Worst Businessman in America,” New Republic, May 8, 2019, https://newrepublic.com/article/153855/trump-tax-returns-worst-businessman-america
  6. [6]Richard Luscombe, “‘The walls are closing in’: Trump reels from week of political setbacks,” Guardian, January 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/22/the-walls-are-closing-in-trump-reels-from-week-of-political-setbacks; Ed Pilkington, “‘House of Trump is crumbling’: why ex-president’s legal net is tightening,” Guardian, January 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/22/donald-trump-legal-perils; Corinne Ramey, “New York Attorney General Says Evidence Suggests Trump, Company Falsely Valued Assets,” Wall Street Journal, January 19, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-attorney-general-evidence-suggests-trump-and-company-falsely-valued-assets-11642573790; Felicia Sonmez, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell, “Supreme Court, investigators force Trump and his children on the defensive on multiple fronts,” Washington Post, January 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/21/supreme-court-investigators-force-trump-his-children-defensive-multiple-fronts/; Heather Vogell, “New Legal Filing Reveals Startling Details of Possible Fraud by Trump Organization,” ProPublica, January 21, 2022, https://www.propublica.org/article/new-legal-filing-reveals-startling-details-of-possible-fraud-by-trump-organization
  7. [7]Monique Beals, “Georgia prosecutors ask FBI for security help after Trump protest remarks: report,” Hill, January 31, 2022, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/592044-georgia-prosecutors-ask-fbi-for-security-help-one-day-after-trump; Richard Luscombe, “‘The walls are closing in’: Trump reels from week of political setbacks,” Guardian, January 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/22/the-walls-are-closing-in-trump-reels-from-week-of-political-setbacks; John Wagner, “Georgia prosecutor requests special grand jury in probe of Trump’s efforts to overturn state’s election results,” Washington Post, January 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/20/georgia-da-seeks-special-grand-jury-trump/; Amy B. Wang and John Wagner, “Georgia prosecutor granted special grand jury in probe of Trump’s efforts to overturn state’s election results,” Washington Post, January 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/24/georgia-prosecutor-granted-special-grand-jury-probe-trumps-efforts-overturn-states-election-results/
  8. [8]Monique Beals, “Georgia prosecutors ask FBI for security help after Trump protest remarks: report,” Hill, January 31, 2022, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/592044-georgia-prosecutors-ask-fbi-for-security-help-one-day-after-trump

Pittsburgh needs to start taking care of business

There are two new blog posts:


Pittsburgh

Infrastructure

Pittsburgh does not take care of business.

Pittsburgh’s $158 million 2022 capital budget contains $7.25 million for bridge upgrades.

Oxford professor Daniel Armanios, previously of Carnegie Mellon University, and CMU doctoral student Cari Gandy said Friday that Pittsburgh and area bridges need hundreds of millions of dollars to address poorly rated structures.

The two researchers said in an email to PublicSource that 12% of Pittsburgh bridges have a poorly rated component (such as the road deck, the superstructure or substructure), and they estimated $458 million is needed to improve them.[1]

What’s not said here is how much of that $458 million price tag is due to the maintenance having been deferred.

Ed Blazina et al., “‘A boom, then a monster sound’: 10 hurt after bridge over Pittsburgh’s Frick Park collapses,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 28, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/01/28/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse-forbes-braddock-avenue-point-breeze-squirrel-hill/stories/202201280075

Emma Folts, “From a burning bridge to a sinking road, 5 times Pittsburgh infrastructure raised worries,” Public Source, January 28, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/from-a-burning-bridge-to-a-sinking-road-5-times-pittsburgh-infrastructure-raised-worries/

Megan Guza, “‘It is outrageous’: Pittsburgh leaders, residents seek answers after poor-rated bridge collapses,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/it-is-outrageous-pittsburgh-leaders-residents-seek-answers-after-poor-rated-bridge-collapses/

Tony LaRussa, “Over 40 bridges in Alle-Kiski Valley are rated the same as span that collapsed in Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/here-are-the-bridges-in-the-alle-kiski-valley-rated-the-same-as-span-that-collapsed-in-pittsburgh/

Brian C. Rittmeyer, Megan Guza, and Jason Cato, “10 injured in bridge collapse in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/frick-park-bridge-collapses-natural-gas-smell-in-area/

Charlie Wolfson, “Collapsed Pittsburgh bridge and 175 others rated poor in county drive home need for investment,” Public Source, January 28, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/bridge-collapse-pittsburgh-allegheny-infrastructure-biden/

WTAE, “Gov. Wolf signs proclamation of disaster emergency for Allegheny County following bridge collapse,” January 28, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/bridge-collapse-pittsburgh-gov-wolf-signs-proclamation-of-disaster-emergency/38928541

Julia Felton, “‘It’s a resource problem’: 1 in 8 bridges in Pa. rated in ‘poor’ condition, records show,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/its-a-resource-problem-1-in-8-bridges-in-pa-rated-in-poor-condition-records-show/

Lauren Lee, “Mayor Gainey signs Disaster Emergency Declaration following Fern Hollow bridge collapse,” WTAE, January 30, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/mayor-gainey-to-sign-disaster-emergency-declaration-following-fern-hollow-bridge-collapse/38934884


Police White supremacist gangs

John Archibald, “Brookside police patrolled social media, threatening town’s critics,” AL.com, January 27, 2022, https://www.al.com/news/2022/01/brookside-police-patrolled-social-media-threatening-towns-critics.html

Cory Doctorow, “Cops’ imaginary fears send addicts to real jail,” Pluralistic, January 27, 2022, https://pluralistic.net/2022/01/27/extraordinary-popular-delusions/


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

I have only seen a few stories describing what it’s like to work in a COVID-19 intensive care unit or to watch these patients die.[2] But Megan Guza’s[3] is, by far, the most raw:

Leaning against a desk at the nurses’ station, [Andrea Dugan] stares through the wide wall of windows into rooms in the unit and describes what her job has been like for the past two years.

“In a word, hell.”[4]

To read an account like this, having listened to people in my car, is simply infuriating. These latter assholes are criminal. That’s all there is to it. They’re criminal. There can be no excusing the inhumanity in their denial of the reality of COVID-19, in their refusal to wear masks or get vaccinated.

I don’t care about their excuses. I don’t care about their misinformation. I don’t care what their favorite sources of information told them. I don’t want to hear about their presidential preferences. I sure as hell don’t want to hear about their “freedom.” I don’t want to hear any of that shit. I want these assholes locked up. Forever. If you have to ship them off to Guantanamo to do it, then do it. And if you decide to abandon them without food or water, that’s fine by me.

Associated Press, “Pregnant New Zealand journalist stranded by quarantine rules says she turned to Taliban,” Guardian, January 29, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/29/taliban-helps-pregnant-new-zealand-journalist-stranded-by-quarantine-rules

Megan Guza, “Finding hope amid darkness,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 30, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/holding-onto-hope-inside-a-covid-icu/


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Ed Palattella, “Election libel or just free speech?” Erie Times-News, January 30, 2022, https://www.goerie.com/story/news/2022/01/28/free-speech-case-erie-postmaster-project-veritas-james-okeefe-richard-hopkins/6632611001/


John Fetterman

Conor Lamb, who, like many Democrats, is just barely to the left of Attila the Hun, fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for a Pennsylvania state party endorsement in the race for for Pat Toomey’s old U.S. Senate seat. John Fetterman was far, far behind.[5] But I’ll tell you a secret: When I’m driving around, especially around Erie, I see yard signs for Fetterman. I rarely, if ever, see signs for Lamb.

“No endorsement means no change in the existing trajectory of this campaign,” said J.J. Balaban, a Pennsylvania-based Democratic strategist who is not working for a candidate in the Senate race. “Given that John Fetterman has a substantial lead in the polls and the most money in the bank, he benefits the most from no one being endorsed by the state Democratic Party.”[6]

The question will be how he stacks up against a Republican.

Holly Otterbein, “Pennsylvania Dems decline to endorse in Senate primary,” Politico, January 29, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/29/pennsylvania-democrats-decline-to-endorse-senate-00003442


  1. [1]Charlie Wolfson, “Collapsed Pittsburgh bridge and 175 others rated poor in county drive home need for investment,” Public Source, January 28, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/bridge-collapse-pittsburgh-allegheny-infrastructure-biden/
  2. [2]Karen Gallardo, “On the front lines, here’s what the seven stages of severe COVID-19 look like,” Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2021-08-26/pandemic-covid-19-stages-vaccination-intensive-care-respiratory-therapist; Maria Godoy, “How COVID-19 Kills: The New Coronavirus Disease Can Take A Deadly Turn,” National Public Radio, March 17, 2020, https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/14/805289669/how-covid-19-kills-the-new-coronavirus-disease-can-take-a-deadly-turn; Oliver Laughland and Jessica Glenza, “Inside a Tennessee hospital grappling with Delta and vaccine hesitancy,” Guardian, July 24, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jul/24/tennessee-coronavirus-covid-delta-variant-cases-vaccines; Brittny Mejia, “ICU doctors, nurses demoralized over ‘needless’ COVID-19 misery. ‘Patients are still dying,’” Los Angeles Times, December 24, 2021, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-24/covid-icu
  3. [3]Megan Guza, “Finding hope amid darkness,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 30, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/holding-onto-hope-inside-a-covid-icu/
  4. [4]Megan Guza, “Finding hope amid darkness,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 30, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/holding-onto-hope-inside-a-covid-icu/
  5. [5]Holly Otterbein, “Pennsylvania Dems decline to endorse in Senate primary,” Politico, January 29, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/29/pennsylvania-democrats-decline-to-endorse-senate-00003442
  6. [6]Holly Otterbein, “Pennsylvania Dems decline to endorse in Senate primary,” Politico, January 29, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/29/pennsylvania-democrats-decline-to-endorse-senate-00003442

‘A boom, then a monster sound’: 10 hurt after bridge over Pittsburgh’s Frick Park collapses

Pittsburgh

Infrastructure


Fig. 1. Post-collapse scene at the Fern Hollow Bridge, photograph by National Transportation Safety Board, January 29, 2022, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.


Fig. 2. Screengrab from KDKA (probably the television station) video, via Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 28, 2019,[1] fair use.

Sarah Cassi, “$4.2 billion diverted from PennDOT road and bridge repairs to fund state police, new audit reveals,” Easton Express-Times, April 30, 2019, https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/lehigh-county/2019/04/42-billion-diverted-from-penndot-road-and-bridge-repairs-to-fund-state-police-new-audit-reveals.html

David Wenner, “Sinkhole swallows part of bus in downtown Pittsburgh,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 29, 2019, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/10/sink-hole-swallows-pittsburgh-bus.html

KDKA-TV, “Pittsburgh Councilman Publicly Criticizes ‘Unacceptable’ State Of Roads After Snowfall,” December 27, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/12/27/pittsburgh-councilman-publicly-criticizes-unacceptable-state-of-roads-after-snowfall/

Oliver Morrison, “With all eyes on Biden in Pittsburgh, 13 local experts diagnose the region’s biggest infrastructure needs,” Public Source, March 31, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/with-biden-in-pittsburgh-13-local-experts-diagnose-the-regions-biggest-infrastructure-needs/

Ed Blazina, “Pittsburgh-area leaders press for federal funds to finally build northern section of Mon-Fayette Expressway,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 2, 2021, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2021/06/01/Mon-Fayette-Expressway-Monroeville-Jefferson-Hills-Duquesne-state-hearing/stories/202106010144

Rick Earle, “Pittsburgh Public Works launches internal investigation following snow response issues,” WPXI, January 7, 2022, https://www.wpxi.com/news/local/pittsburgh-public-works-launches-internal-investigation-following-snow-response-issues/3ZAYYSR5WNCD5H5KE67WJ6SKBU/

Julia Felton, “Plowing continues on snow-covered Pittsburgh streets,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 7, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/plowing-continues-on-snow-covered-pittsburgh-streets/

Ed Blazina, “Pennsylvania will receive an extra $1.63 billion in federal infrastructure funds to fix bridges, 3rd most in U.S.,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 14, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/01/14/Pennsylvania-bridges-1-point-63-billion-federal-infrastructure-funds-US-Department-of-Transportation/stories/202201140086

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh officials say snow response will be better ahead of Sunday storm,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 14, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-officials-say-snow-response-will-be-better-ahead-of-sunday-storm/

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh officials say they expect to have streets cleared for Tuesday commute,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 17, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-officials-say-they-expect-to-have-streets-cleared-for-tuesday-commute/

Taylor Spirito, “Pittsburgh residents frustrated after city side streets left unplowed,” WPXI, January 18, 2022, https://www.wpxi.com/news/local/pittsburgh-residents-frustrated-after-city-side-streets-left-unplowed/NLUWU6RFFBCKBCYKDEMU7Y3FWQ/

Kylie Walker, “Pittsburgh Public Works releases statement in response to snow removal concerns,” WTAE, January 18, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/pittsburgh-public-works-releases-statement-in-response-to-snow-removal-concerns/38803017

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh officials say 50 trucks still cleaning snow and ice,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 20, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-officials-say-50-trucks-still-cleaning-snow-and-ice/

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh crews working to clear city streets after Sunday’s snow,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 24, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-crews-working-to-clear-city-streets-after-sundays-snow/

WTAE, “Residents in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood frustrated with snow response,” January 24, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/residents-in-pittsburghs-brookline-neighborhood-frustrated-with-snow-response/38876127

Marcie Cipriani, “Maintenance issues with Public Works trucks creates challenges when treating roads,” WTAE, January 25, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/pittsburgh-snow-plow-issues-treating-roads/38888584

Kylie Walker, “City of Pittsburgh updates snow removal process after Monday’s storm,” WTAE, January 25, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/pittsburgh-snow-removal-update-after-monday-storm/38883671

Ed Blazina et al., “‘A boom, then a monster sound’: 10 hurt after bridge over Pittsburgh’s Frick Park collapses,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 28, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/01/28/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse-forbes-braddock-avenue-point-breeze-squirrel-hill/stories/202201280075

Emma Folts, “From a burning bridge to a sinking road, 5 times Pittsburgh infrastructure raised worries,” Public Source, January 28, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/from-a-burning-bridge-to-a-sinking-road-5-times-pittsburgh-infrastructure-raised-worries/

Megan Guza, “‘It is outrageous’: Pittsburgh leaders, residents seek answers after poor-rated bridge collapses,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/it-is-outrageous-pittsburgh-leaders-residents-seek-answers-after-poor-rated-bridge-collapses/

Tony LaRussa, “Over 40 bridges in Alle-Kiski Valley are rated the same as span that collapsed in Pittsburgh,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/here-are-the-bridges-in-the-alle-kiski-valley-rated-the-same-as-span-that-collapsed-in-pittsburgh/

Brian C. Rittmeyer, Megan Guza, and Jason Cato, “10 injured in bridge collapse in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/frick-park-bridge-collapses-natural-gas-smell-in-area/

Charlie Wolfson, “Collapsed Pittsburgh bridge and 175 others rated poor in county drive home need for investment,” Public Source, January 28, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/bridge-collapse-pittsburgh-allegheny-infrastructure-biden/

WTAE, “Gov. Wolf signs proclamation of disaster emergency for Allegheny County following bridge collapse,” January 28, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/bridge-collapse-pittsburgh-gov-wolf-signs-proclamation-of-disaster-emergency/38928541

Julia Felton, “‘It’s a resource problem’: 1 in 8 bridges in Pa. rated in ‘poor’ condition, records show,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 29, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/its-a-resource-problem-1-in-8-bridges-in-pa-rated-in-poor-condition-records-show/

Margaret J. Krauss et al., “Bridge collapses in Frick Park, hours before Biden arrives in Pittsburgh to discuss infrastructure,” WESA, January 29, 2022, https://www.wesa.fm/2022-01-28/bridge-collapses-in-frick-park

Lauren Lee, “Mayor Gainey signs Disaster Emergency Declaration following Fern Hollow bridge collapse,” WTAE, January 30, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/mayor-gainey-to-sign-disaster-emergency-declaration-following-fern-hollow-bridge-collapse/38934884

Mary Ann Thomas, “O’Connor: Rebuilding Forbes Avenue bridge could take 2 years, more than $10M,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 30, 2022, https://triblive.com/news/declarations-of-emergency-expected-to-speed-cleanup-and-reconstruction-of-forbes-avenue-bridge/

Ryan Deto, “Crane pulls Port Authority bus from Frick Park bridge wreckage,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 31, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/public-viewing-area-opens-for-pittsburghs-collapsed-fern-hollow-bridge-as-cleanup-begins/

KDKA-TV, “Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse: PennDOT To Invest $25.3M To Rebuild Fern Hollow Bridge,” January 31, 2022, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/01/31/penndot-investment-rebuild-fern-hollow-bridge/

Julia Felton, “$25.3M in federal funding set aside to replace Pittsburgh’s collapsed Fern Hollow Bridge,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 1, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/25-3m-in-federal-funding-set-aside-to-replace-pittsburghs-collapsed-fern-hollow-bridge/

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh looks to create infrastructure commission in wake of Fern Hollow Bridge collapse,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 1, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-looks-to-create-infrastructure-commission-in-wake-of-fern-hollow-bridge-collapse/

Ryan Deto, “12 infrastructure fails in the Pittsburgh region, including Fern Hollow Bridge,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/regional/12-infrastructure-fails-in-the-pittsburgh-region-including-fern-hollow-bridge/

Ryan Deto, “Allegheny County has plans to repair all of its poorly rated bridges,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 3, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/allegheny-county-has-plans-to-repair-all-of-its-poorly-rated-bridges/

Ross Guidotti, “Road Conditions In Pittsburgh: Morning After 2 Days Of Storms Sees Streets Both Good And Bad,” KDKA-TV, February 5, 2022, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/02/05/road-conditions-pittsburgh/

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh looks to add more plows to address concerns about snow, ice removal,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 7, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-looks-to-add-more-plows-to-address-concerns-about-snow-ice-removal/

WTAE, “Fern Hollow bridge collapse in Pittsburgh: National Transportation Safety Board releases preliminary report,” February 7, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse-ntsb-preliminary-report-fern-hollow/39004013

WTAE, “Port Authority closes bridge that carries South Busway after portion of bridge shifts,” February 7, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/port-authority-closes-bridge-that-carries-south-busway-in-mt-washington-after-portion-of-bridge-shifts/38987895

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh to add 12 snowplows to city fleet for rest of winter,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 8, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-to-add-12-snow-plows-to-city-fleet-for-rest-of-winter/

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh City Council divided on creating infrastructure committee in wake of bridge collapse,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 10, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-city-council-divided-on-creating-infrastructure-committee-in-wake-of-bridge-collapse/

WTAE, “Versailles Avenue Bridge in McKeesport closed following inspection,” February 11, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/mckeesport-versailles-avenue-bridge-closed-inspection/39047296

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh’s poorly rated South Negley Avenue Bridge slated for repairs,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 18, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburghs-poorly-rated-south-negley-avenue-bridge-slated-for-repairs/

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh adopts measures intended to strengthen focus on city’s infrastructure,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 1, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-adopts-measures-intended-to-strengthen-focus-on-citys-infrastructure/

Megan Tomasic, “Potholes are wreaking havoc again, leaving drivers swerving and road crews scrambling,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review< March 1, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/regional/potholes-are-wreaking-havoc-again-leaving-drivers-swerving-and-road-crews-scrambling/

Julia Felton, “Mayor Gainey says Pittsburgh will reinspect all city-owned bridges in poor condition,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 8, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/mayor-gainey-says-pittsburgh-will-reinspect-all-city-owned-bridges-in-poor-condition/

Nick Matoney, “Snow-covered roads in the Pittsburgh area,” WTAE, March 12, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/snow-covered-roads-in-the-pittsburgh-area/39415760

Jonathan D. Silver et al., “Pittsburgh-area bridges left in chronic disrepair as funding system leaves some of the worst spans behind,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 13, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/03/13/pittsburgh-area-bridges-chronic-disrepair-funding-system/stories/202203130044

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh plans to repave 39 miles of streets; work starts Monday,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 15, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-to-begin-street-paving-monday-plans-to-repave-39-miles-of-streets/

Sam D. Hamill, “Fern Hollow Bridge was severely decaying before collapse, 2021 report indicates,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 19, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/05/19/fern-hollow-bridge-inspection-2021-report-severely-decaying-rust-corrosion-penndot/stories/202205190154

Ed Blazina, “Southwestern Pa. transportation funding plan includes more money for Pittsburgh-area bridges,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 23, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/05/23/southwestern-pennsylvania-commission-transportation-plan-bridge-funding-infrastructure-stimulus/stories/202205210040

Ed Blazina, “PennDOT considers variable speed limits, ramp gates and message boards to improve Parkway East traffic,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 24, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/05/23/penndot-parkway-east-traffic-improvements-variable-speed-limits-message-boards/stories/202205230094

Mark Belko, “Pittsburgh International Airport decides against closing its longest runway,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 7, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/business/development/2022/06/07/pittsburgh-international-airport-runway-10-right-28-left-christina-cassotis-faa-cargo-911th-airlift-wing-171st-air-refueling/stories/202206070051

Nick Matoney, “15 days of restrictions: Pittsburgh drivers should prepare for slowdowns on the Parkway East,” WTAE, June 7, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/15-days-of-restrictions-pittsburgh-drivers-should-prepare-for-slowdowns-on-the-parkway-east/40214850

Ed Blazina, “Goodbye Port Authority, hello Pittsburgh Regional Transit: Agency unveils new name, branding,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 9, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/06/09/port-authority-allegheny-county-new-name-pittsburgh-regional-transit-prt-pat-buses-t-light-rail/stories/202206090131

Sean D. Hamill, “Decades of Neglect,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 18, 2022, https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/fern-hollow-bridge-pittsburgh-inspection-reports-repairs-collapse-engineer-neglect/

Paula Reed Ward, “Fern Hollow Bridge inspection troubling but did not suggest imminent danger, experts say,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 18, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/fern-hollow-bridge-inspection-had-troubling-findings-but-nothing-suggesting-collapse-was-imminent-experts-say/

Ed Blazina, “Moving on: Pennsylvania Turnpike finishes Southern Beltway, ready to begin Mon-Fayette Expressway,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 19, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/06/19/southern-beltway-mon-fayette-expressway-pennsylvania-turnpike/stories/202206160141

Angie Moreschi, “More E-ZPass customers getting $10 penalty charges,” WPXI, June 20, 2022, https://www.wpxi.com/news/local/more-e-zpass-customers-getting-10-penalty-charges/AQFAZMCODJC5JF2ARZJYIMD46U/

Paula Reed Ward, “Pittsburgh argues against release of documents in Fern Hollow Bridge collapse civil case,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 23, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-argues-against-release-of-documents-in-fern-hollow-bridge-collapse-civil-case/

Jesse Bunch, “City blocks lawyer’s request for Fern Hollow Bridge documents,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 24, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2022/06/23/pittsburgh-blocks-lawyer-peter-giglione-request-for-fern-hollow-bridge-inspection-documents/stories/202206230150

Patrick Varine, “Turnpike interchange at I-79 and Southern Beltway now fully open,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 24, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/regional/turnpike-interchange-at-i-79-and-southern-beltway-now-fully-open/

Jon Moss, “Pa. Commonwealth Court permanently blocks Gov. Tom Wolf’s bridge tolling plan,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 30, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2022/06/30/pa-bridge-tolling-plan-blocked-commonwealth-court-judges-governor-tom-wolf-penndot/stories/202206300111

Andrew Goldstein, “Swindell Bridge shut down after construction work causes debris to fall onto I-279,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 1, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/07/01/swindell-bridge-shut-down-after-construction-work-causes-debris-to-fall-onto-i279/stories/202207010097

Megan Guza, “Swindell Bridge on Pittsburgh’s North Side closed after falling debris,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 1, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/swindell-bridge-on-pittsburghs-north-side-closed-after-falling-debris/

Julia Felton, “Gainey proposes $1.5M contract to assess 150 Pittsburgh bridges,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 5, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/mayors-bridge-safety-plan-introduced-to-pittsburgh-council/

Megan Guza, “Swindell Bridge in Pittsburgh closed indefinitely after maintenance work damages drainage trough,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 5, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/swindell-bridge-in-pittsburgh-closed-indefinitely-after-maintenance-work-damages-drainage-trough/

Hallie Lauer, “Pittsburgh taps WSP Global to evaluate all 150 city-owned bridges,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 5, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-local/2022/07/05/pittsburgh-bridge-inspections-plan-mayor-ed-gainey-city-council-fern-hollow-swindell-wsp-global-infrastructure/stories/202207050063

Joe Napsha, “Emergency closure ordered for Washington Avenue Bridge in Swissvale,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 7, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/washington-avenue-bridge-in-swissvale-bridge-closed/

Mick Stinelli, “Washington Street Bridge in Swissvale closed because of ‘structural concerns,’” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 8, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/east/2022/07/08/washington-street-bridge-swissvale-closed-detour-bus-emergency/stories/202207080078

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh could spend $1.95 million to repair 30th Street Bridge,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 13, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-looks-to-hire-company-for-1-95-million-in-30th-street-bridge-repairs/

Ryan Deto, “First details of Swinburne Bridge replacement project revealed by city,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 14, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/first-details-of-swinburne-bridge-replacement-project-revealed-by-city/

Charlie Wolfson, “Pittsburgh officials seek ‘21st century’ bridge plan with $1.5M contract,” Public Source, August 4, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-bridges-plan-gainey-consultant-contract-fern-hollow-wsp/

Jamie Wiggan, “Pittsburgh’s Hill District prepares for $11 million infrastructure injection,” Pittsburgh City Paper, August 11, 2022, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/pittsburghs-hill-district-prepares-for-11-million-infrastructure-injection/Content?oid=22212279

Hannah Wyman, “Ed Gainey hears from residents on unsafe intersections by Fern Hollow Bridge,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 24, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/08/23/ed-gainey-residents-unsafe-intersections-fern-hollow-bridge-listening-session-infrastructure-squirrel-hill-bike-pedestrian-paths/stories/202208230114

Ryan Deto, “$11.3M in federal funding to go toward infrastructure improvements in Hill District,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 25, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/11-3m-in-federal-funding-to-go-toward-infrastructure-improvements-in-hill-district/

Patrick Damp, “Swindell Bridge reopens to traffic today,” KDKA-TV, September 1, 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/pittsburgh/news/swindell-bridge-reopens-to-traffic-today/

Pete DeLuca, “PennDOT warning of delays for several months as construction starts on McKees Rocks Bridge,” WPXI, September 6, 2022, https://www.wpxi.com/news/local/penndot-warning-delays-several-months-construction-starts-mckees-rocks-bridge/JQXVVH2GGFG3JH2QLKZ4OXVGKU/

Daniel Gilman, “There are 43,000 deficient bridges in the US/29 in the City. . . .,” Twitter, September 14, 2022, https://twitter.com/danielgilman/status/1570151445776957441

Bill Peduto, “The ‘average’ formula to repair/replace a bridge is . . .,” Twitter, September 15, 2022, https://twitter.com/billpeduto/status/1570230022044258304

Megan Trotter, “Highland Park Bridge ramp to southbound Route 28 slated for long-term closure,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 30, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2022/09/30/highland-park-bridge-closure-route-28/stories/202209300091

  1. [1]David Wenner, “Sinkhole swallows part of bus in downtown Pittsburgh,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, October 29, 2019, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/10/sink-hole-swallows-pittsburgh-bus.html

A Pittsburgh bridge collapses just in time for a Joe Biden photo opportunity

COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

There is a new blog post entitled, “Free speech, COVID-19, and responsibility.”

Michaeleen Doucleff, “A second version of omicron is spreading. Here’s why scientists are on alert,” National Public Radio, January 27, 2022, https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2022/01/27/1076123109/new-covid-variant-omicron-ba-2

Paula Reed Ward, “District court in Pittsburgh split on school masking, issue likely to be decided by appellate court,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 27, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/district-court-in-pittsburgh-split-on-school-masking-issue-likely-to-be-decided-by-appellate-court/


Police White supremacist gangs

John Archibald, “Brookside police patrolled social media, threatening town’s critics,” AL.com, January 27, 2022, https://www.al.com/news/2022/01/brookside-police-patrolled-social-media-threatening-towns-critics.html


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Donald Trump is receiving pushback from Trumpists for his endorsement in a Tennessee race, where he seems to have passed over a more loyal candidate.[1] It is further evidence—we should also count the pushback he’s received for pro-vaccination comments he’s made[2]—that Trump does not control Trumpism.[3]

Apparently, some experts think the seditious conspiracy charges against Oath Keepers are relatively strong. What I see in their arguments, however, is conspiracy.[4] This does not touch Jeannie Gersen’s argument about motivation, that the Oath Keepers may in fact have sought to uphold the law as they perceived it.[5]

FiveThirtyEight, “Is Trump’s Hold On The GOP Still Strong?” January 26, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-trumps-hold-on-the-gop-still-strong/

Alex Isenstadt, “Trump faces MAGA revolt over endorsement,” Politico, January 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/27/trump-maga-revolt-endorsement-00003050

Nick Robins-Early, “Seditious conspiracy is rarely proven. The Oath Keepers trial is a litmus test,” Guardian, January 28, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/28/seditious-conspiracy-charges-trial-oath-keepers-us-court


Right-wing dictatorship

Apparently, the state constitution must be amended to permit no-excuse mail-in balloting.[6]

Angela Couloumbis, “State court finds Pennsylvania’s mail voting law unconstitutional, with appeal likely,” Spotlight PA, January 28, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2022/01/pennsylvania-mail-voting-unconstitutional-supreme-court-appeal/


Pittsburgh

I don’t think I even realized there was a bridge where one collapsed.[7] I cross over others that I do see and that scare me more every day: “Allegheny County is home to more structurally deficient bridges than any other county in the country, [Michael] Lamb said.”[8]

As it happens, I had an order in that area Friday evening. Parts of South Braddock Avenue were still closed with Columbia Gas crews on the scene.

Ed Blazina et al., “‘A boom, then a monster sound’: 10 hurt after bridge over Pittsburgh’s Frick Park collapses,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 28, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/01/28/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse-forbes-braddock-avenue-point-breeze-squirrel-hill/stories/202201280075

Brian C. Rittmeyer, Megan Guza, and Jason Cato, “10 injured in bridge collapse in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/frick-park-bridge-collapses-natural-gas-smell-in-area/


  1. [1]Alex Isenstadt, “Trump faces MAGA revolt over endorsement,” Politico, January 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/27/trump-maga-revolt-endorsement-00003050
  2. [2]Jill Colvin, “Trump reveals he got COVID-19 booster shot; crowd boos him,” Associated Press, December 20, 2021, https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-donald-trump-coronavirus-vaccine-74abcd4e6833835f5df445fe2142e22b; 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; Olafimihan Oshin, “Trump pushes back on Candace Owens: ‘People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine,’” Hill, December 23, 2021, https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/public-global-health/587079-trump-pushes-back-on-candace-owens-people-arent-dying; Aila Slisco, “75 Percent of Unvaxxed Trump Voters Vow to Never Get Jab After Ex-President’s Urging: Poll,” Newsweek, December 24, 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/poll-unvaccinated-trump-voters-1663065; Peter Weber, “Candace Owens claims Trump supports COVID vaccines because he’s ‘old’ and ‘came from a time before TV,’” Week, December 27, 2022, https://theweek.com/donald-trump/1008423/candace-owens-claims-trump-supports-covid-vaccines-because-hes-old-and-came
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Trumpism, Donald Trump, the January 6 coup attempt, and a smoking gun that may never be found,” Not Housebroken, December 19, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/14/trumpism-donald-trump-the-january-6-coup-attempt-and-a-smoking-gun-that-may-never-be-found/
  4. [4]Nick Robins-Early, “Seditious conspiracy is rarely proven. The Oath Keepers trial is a litmus test,” Guardian, January 28, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/28/seditious-conspiracy-charges-trial-oath-keepers-us-court
  5. [5]Jeannie Suk Gersen, “The Case Against the Oath Keepers,” New Yorker, January 21, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-case-against-the-oath-keepers
  6. [6]Angela Couloumbis, “State court finds Pennsylvania’s mail voting law unconstitutional, with appeal likely,” Spotlight PA, January 28, 2022, https://www.spotlightpa.org/news/2022/01/pennsylvania-mail-voting-unconstitutional-supreme-court-appeal/
  7. [7]Ed Blazina et al., “‘A boom, then a monster sound’: 10 hurt after bridge over Pittsburgh’s Frick Park collapses,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 28, 2022, https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2022/01/28/pittsburgh-bridge-collapse-forbes-braddock-avenue-point-breeze-squirrel-hill/stories/202201280075
  8. [8]Brian C. Rittmeyer, Megan Guza, and Jason Cato, “10 injured in bridge collapse in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 28, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/frick-park-bridge-collapses-natural-gas-smell-in-area/

Still a mess in Erie

Erie

The streets were still a mess in Erie this morning. I think I know more about how they keep their roads with generally older surfaces in generally better condition now.

I had previously observed that they were demons about sealing cracks in their road surfaces. But I think also they use a lot less salt. Some of the main roads, like the one in front of my motel, were clear, but as I went to work and started driving on the streets people actually live on, it was apparent that little had changed from yesterday. Most roads still had a layer of compressed snow on them, some a layer of slush. A few were almost clear.

Because, as I noted in the previous issue, the terrain is so much more gentle, and probably because I have the car I do, I can drive in these conditions. But it is hard driving. By 6:30 pm, I was ready to quit—I usually quit around 7:30 pm—and the worst of my fatigue lifted as I turned on my music and hit Interstate 79 for the trip home.

The verdict from this trip is that I do not appear likely to make less money in Erie should I indeed move there. I’m troubled by the failure to clear roads but if I’m taking better care of my car by hitting fewer potholes, that probably outweighs the snow plowing issues. I’ll take one more trip, like this one, in a couple more weeks, staying overnight the night of February 9th.


Ukraine

The British Broadcasting Corporation account of the U.S.’ formal response to Russia on Ukraine is about as expected, affirming Ukraine’s sovereignty and refusing to rule out a future accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.[1]

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Ukraine crisis: US rejects Russian demand to bar Ukraine from Nato,” January 27, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60145159


Gulf of Mexico

Anna Phillips and Maxine Joselow, “Judge throws out Biden administration’s massive Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale,” Washington Post, January 27, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/01/27/biden-gulf-of-mexico-lease-sale/


  1. [1]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Ukraine crisis: US rejects Russian demand to bar Ukraine from Nato,” January 27, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60145159

More heat than light on Ukraine

Erie

Somewhere, my mother has a photograph of my father in his grey overcoat standing next to a snowbank. He was six feet tall; the snowbank is higher. That was in Buffalo, I assume down the street from the first house I lived in, probably about 109 miles away from the motel where I’m writing this.

I thought of that picture when I arrived in Erie late yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. It had pretty much stopped snowing but the streets were a mess. The snowbanks weren’t as high as that one in the photograph of my father, but they were probably between four and five feet deep. And I only saw one snowplow at work all day in the Erie area.

Most streets had a layer of slush on them. Some still had a layer of compressed snow probably about an inch thick. They were passable but definitely not in my favorite condition.

That said, I was able to work in these conditions that I wouldn’t have been able to in Pittsburgh. The difference? The terrain. Erie doesn’t have anything like the hills that Pittsburgh has. I didn’t need to worry about losing control at the top of a hill and sliding all the way down.

Instead, the worst of it was that when I was traversing the slush that lined travel lanes (in a lane change, for example), I might fishtail a little bit, but I was always able to correct it with ease.

Having arrived in Erie late, I didn’t make that much money. I’m in a motel for the night and I’ll see how it goes tomorrow, but right now, it still looks like Erie isn’t worse than Pittsburgh.


Pittsburgh

Snow plowing

My mother will likely be familiar with this scenario: The headline on Kylie Walker’s story has absolutely nothing to do with the actual story. Nothing. Really nothing.

The story does not report on any updated process. It does report that a lot of Pittsburgh residents are unhappy with the failure to plow their streets.[1] They’re absolutely right to be unhappy.

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh crews working to clear city streets after Sunday’s snow,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 24, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-crews-working-to-clear-city-streets-after-sundays-snow/

WTAE, “Residents in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood frustrated with snow response,” January 24, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/residents-in-pittsburghs-brookline-neighborhood-frustrated-with-snow-response/38876127

Kylie Walker, “City of Pittsburgh updates snow removal process after Monday’s storm,” WTAE, January 25, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/pittsburgh-snow-removal-update-after-monday-storm/38883671

Annexations

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh City Council considers measure to explore annexing, merging with other municipalities,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 25, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-city-council-considers-measure-to-explore-annexing-merging-with-other-municipalities/

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh City Council delays vote on Wilkinsburg annexation,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 26, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-city-council-delays-vote-on-wilkinsburg-annexation/


Work

One of the curious things about traditionalist conservatism is its relative lack of enthusiasm for capitalism. This particular tendency is horrible in other respects. Traditionalists wouldn’t settle for banning abortion; they would go after birth control and divorce as well. They object to efforts to mitigate social inequality as interfering with “God’s plan” and as therefore doomed to failure. Of all the tendencies, they are the most blatant in their support for authoritarian hierarchy.[2] But the first part is interesting and an example of it appears in First Things for February. There will likely be bits here you disagree with—I certainly do—but I always find it astonishing to see a bit of conservative pushback on the reduction of human beings to mere factors of production.[3]

Michael Toscano, “Workism Isn’t Working,” First Things, February 2022, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2022/02/workism-isnt-working


Ukraine

At this point Julia Ioffe is one of the few people I’m willing to trust on Ukraine:

Russia could invade at any moment, and it’s hard to see how Vladimir Putin, after calling up such a large force and publicly and angrily making his demands, can back off now without losing a lot of face. This whole thing feels like 100,000 of Anton Chekhov’s guns hanging on 100,000 walls. Once they’re introduced, they have to go off.[4]

Julia Ioffe also observes that Vladimir Putin’s moves are producing the very results he says he means to avoid.[5] Which is to say, he’s a fool.[6]

Ioffe offers another nugget, which helps to unravel the inconsistencies I’ve been seeing:

Another thought: Before the new year, Biden made clear that there would be no American boots on the ground in Ukraine, and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg reiterated that because Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the country is not entitled to a defense by NATO states should it be attacked by Russia. At the same time, they are defending Ukraine before it has been attacked. In addition to the weapons shipments and the training of Ukrainians for an Iraq-style insurgency should Russia invade, we’re seeing some new strategies deployed. NATO governments are exposing the diversions that the Kremlin is apparently planning, thereby defanging them. Earlier this month, the Biden administration unmasked an alleged Russian plot to send saboteurs to blow up their own fighters in the Donbas in order to create a pretext for Russia to invade Ukraine. Once that plan for a false flag operation is made public, there’s very little the Russian government can do with it. The logic for the British government revealing Russia’s apparent plan to install a friendly government in Kyiv—a fear that’s been batted around national security and foreign policy circles since this crisis began—is much the same. Neither revelation is guaranteed to stop the Kremlin from pursuing either tack, but it certainly strips it of a really important element: plausible deniability. If you recall the invasion of Crimea by “little green men” and of the Donbas by “volunteers on vacation,” plausible deniability is a key Kremlin strategy.[7]

In this light, the stories need not make absolute sense; they need not be coherent. They just have to be close enough to the truth to dissuade Vladimir Putin from attempting his deceptions. But also, because everything is bullshit,[8] ignore the Ukrainian officials who say to relax.[9]

Julian Borger, Luke Harding, and Andrew Roth, “US accuses Russia of conspiring to take over Ukraine government,” Guardian, January 20, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/20/us-russia-ukraine-government-sanctions

Anatol Lieven, “Diplomats & experts: negotiate, or expect ‘drastic escalation’ by Russia,” Responsible Statecraft, January 20, 2022, https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/01/20/diplomats-experts-negotiate-or-expect-drastic-escalation-by-russia/

Julia Ioffe, “Trump’s Former Russia Guru Explains His Putin Complex,” Puck News, January 21, 2022, https://puck.news/fiona-hill-explains-his-putin-complex/

Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html

John Hudson, “State Department orders diplomats’ families to leave U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, citing ‘threat of Russian military action,’” Not Housebroken, January 23, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/state-department-orders-diplomats-families-to-leave-us-embassy-in-ukraine-citing-threat-of-russian-military-action/2022/01/23/c857b95e-7ca3-11ec-a844-86749890616a_story.html

Robyn Dixon et al., “U.S. puts troops on alert and NATO sends ships, fighter jets to Eastern Europe as Russia continues buildup on Ukraine border,” Washington Post, January 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/24/ukraine-eu-us-embassy-russia/

Fiona Hill, “Putin Has the U.S. Right Where He Wants It,” New York Times, January 24, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/opinion/russia-ukraine-putin-biden.html

Jon Allsop, “The information war over Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, January 25, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/ukraine_russia_america_britain_media.php

Julia Ioffe, “Inside the Biden-Putin Chess Match,” Puck News, January 25, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-the-biden-putin-chess-match/

Yuras Karmanau, “Ukrainian leaders: Stay calm, Russian invasion not imminent,” Associated Press, January 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-russia-diplomacy-europe-baltic-sea-44821c52f54b5e927d86ea28420cb2cf


Anti-aging research

Just so you all know, it is entirely my expectation that the money I’ve spent on a redwood tree for my ashes will not be in vain. There are also the entirely too obvious questions that arise should somebody actually find a cure for aging. You know like, what happens when our population exceeds the carrying capacity of our planet? Or awkwardly, who exactly, now, will be (sufficiently filthy rich enough to be) able to afford these treatments? Theodore Schleifer alludes to the latter, writing,

There is, after all, something seemingly contemptible—and a little bit funny—about billionaires wasting money on futile efforts to live forever. The very notion brings to mind the stories about Peter Thiel injecting himself with teenage blood (which he has denied), or Larry Ellison deadpanning that death just “never made any sense to me,” or Nick Bostrom and Ray Kurzweil signing up to have their bodies cryogenically frozen.[10]

But think also of Jeff Bezos and the working conditions for many at Amazon “fulfillment centers.” Workers can be workers, now, forever![11]

Theodore Schleifer, ”Can Yuri Milner and Jeff Bezos End Death?” Puck News, January 25, 2022, https://puck.news/can-yuri-milner-and-jeff-bezos-end-death/


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

I’m gonna tell y’all a secret. It’s not all that different from what I said about schools, when I pointed out

that teachers and staff may be among the vulnerable, and that when students get sick, as they are,[12] they can’t learn, and when teachers get sick, as they are,[13] they can’t teach.[14]

It’s pretty much the same deal with other occupational sites as well, ironically including the very medical facilities needed to treat them.[15] And a silly little U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a vaccine mandate for businesses[16] ain’t gonna change that even one little bit.

Spencer Kimball, “Biden administration withdraws Covid vaccine mandate for businesses after losing Supreme Court case,” CNBC, January 25, 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/25/covid-vaccine-mandate-osha-withdraws-rule-for-businesses-after-losing-supreme-court-case.html


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Whenever we’re dealing with FiveThirtyEight, we’re dealing with a heavy reliance on survey research, a methodology that should now be in the trash bin[17] due to low response rates, because no, six or seven percent (if not lower)[18] can never replace 90 percent and anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to protect their paycheck. Sorry folks, that’s just how it is. There is absolutely no legitimacy to this type of research now at all.

What’s curious in the FiveThirtyEight article is in how utterly shameless they are in relying on wildly disparate poll results in assessing Donald Trump’s grip on the Republican Party. Not one of them even considers the possibility that some of these results might be outliers and not one of them questions why the results vary to the degree they do. So, largely on the basis of this non-data, they proceed to pontificate.[19]

That said, some, not much, but some, of their pontification stands on its own, so you might want to read it anyway and I don’t think conclusions that Trump’s grip might be slipping a bit or that there is no obvious successor[20] are necessarily wrong. And right now, I’m flatly not seeing what stops the Republicans from winning huge victories in 2022 and 2024, the latter almost certainly with Donald Trump returning to the presidency.

FiveThirtyEight, “Is Trump’s Hold On The GOP Still Strong?” January 26, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-trumps-hold-on-the-gop-still-strong/


Residential schools

Amanda Follett Hosgood, “A Nation’s Journey into ‘the Darkest Recesses of Human Behaviour,’” Tyee, January 25, 2022, https://thetyee.ca/News/2022/01/25/Williams-Lake-Findings/


  1. [1]Kylie Walker, “City of Pittsburgh updates snow removal process after Monday’s storm,” WTAE, January 25, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/pittsburgh-snow-removal-update-after-monday-storm/38883671
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  3. [3]Michael Toscano, “Workism Isn’t Working,” First Things, February 2022, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2022/02/workism-isnt-working
  4. [4]Julia Ioffe, “Inside the Biden-Putin Chess Match,” Puck News, January 25, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-the-biden-putin-chess-match/
  5. [5]Julia Ioffe, “Inside the Biden-Putin Chess Match,” Puck News, January 25, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-the-biden-putin-chess-match/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin is a fool,” Not Housebroken, January 25, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/24/vladimir-putin-is-a-fool/
  7. [7]Julia Ioffe, “Inside the Biden-Putin Chess Match,” Puck News, January 25, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-the-biden-putin-chess-match/
  8. [8]Jon Allsop, “The information war over Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, January 25, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/ukraine_russia_america_britain_media.php; Julia Ioffe, “Inside the Biden-Putin Chess Match,” Puck News, January 25, 2022, https://puck.news/inside-the-biden-putin-chess-match/
  9. [9]Yuras Karmanau, “Ukrainian leaders: Stay calm, Russian invasion not imminent,” Associated Press, January 25, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-russia-diplomacy-europe-baltic-sea-44821c52f54b5e927d86ea28420cb2cf
  10. [10]Theodore Schleifer, ”Can Yuri Milner and Jeff Bezos End Death?” Puck News, January 25, 2022, https://puck.news/can-yuri-milner-and-jeff-bezos-end-death/
  11. [11]Michael Toscano, “Workism Isn’t Working,” First Things, February 2022, https://www.firstthings.com/article/2022/02/workism-isnt-working
  12. [12]Scott Calvert and Ben Chapman, “Schools See Big Drop in Attendance as Students Stay Away, Citing Covid-19,” Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/schools-see-big-drop-in-attendance-as-students-stay-away-citing-covid-19-11641988802; Lindsey Tanner, “Low COVID-19 vaccination rates in kids ages 5 to 11 called a ‘gut punch,’ WTAE, January 12, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/young-kids-low-covid-19-vaccination-rates-called-gut-punch/38749433
  13. [13]Scott Calvert and Ben Chapman, “Schools See Big Drop in Attendance as Students Stay Away, Citing Covid-19,” Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/schools-see-big-drop-in-attendance-as-students-stay-away-citing-covid-19-11641988802
  14. [14]David Benfell, “Dead students learn no lessons,” Not Housebroken, January 12, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/12/dead-students-learn-no-lessons/
  15. [15]Lenny Bernstein, “Inside a Rhode Island hospital E.R. overwhelmed by omicron,” Washington Post, January 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/01/19/covid-emergency-room-omicron/; Spencer Kimball, “Biden administration withdraws Covid vaccine mandate for businesses after losing Supreme Court case,” CNBC, January 25, 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/25/covid-vaccine-mandate-osha-withdraws-rule-for-businesses-after-losing-supreme-court-case.html; Oliver Laughland, “Southern US hospitals grapple with staff shortages amid record Covid cases,” Guardian, January 14, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/14/southern-us-hospitals-staff-shortages-record-covid-cases; Hayley Smith, “With hospitals reeling, California tells COVID-positive medical workers to stay on the job,” Los Angeles Times, January 12, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-01-12/california-to-covid-positive-healthcare-workers-keep-working
  16. [16]Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court blocks Biden’s workplace vaccine rules, allows requirement for health-care workers,” Washington Post, January 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-biden-vaccine-rules/2022/01/13/2e6e4b9e-749e-11ec-bc13-18891499c514_story.html
  17. [17]Dan Balz, “2020 presidential polls suffered worst performance in decades, report says,” Washington Post, July 18, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020-poll-errors/2021/07/18/8d6a9838-e7df-11eb-ba5d-55d3b5ffcaf1_story.html; David Byler, “Polling is broken. No one knows how to fix it,” Washington Post, July 22, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/07/22/polling-is-broken-no-one-knows-how-fix-it/; Mona Chalabi, “The pollsters were wrong – again. Here’s what we know so far,” Guardian, November 4, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/commentisfree/2020/nov/04/the-pollsters-were-wrong-again-heres-what-we-know-so-far; David A. Graham, “The Polling Crisis Is a Catastrophe for American Democracy,” Atlantic, November 4, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/polling-catastrophe/616986/; Steven Shepard, “Dem pollsters acknowledge ‘major errors’ in 2020 polling,” Politico, April 13, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/13/dems-polling-failure-481044
  18. [18]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/
  19. [19]FiveThirtyEight, “Is Trump’s Hold On The GOP Still Strong?” January 26, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-trumps-hold-on-the-gop-still-strong/
  20. [20]FiveThirtyEight, “Is Trump’s Hold On The GOP Still Strong?” January 26, 2022, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/is-trumps-hold-on-the-gop-still-strong/

The Ukraine propaganda war

Ukraine

There is a new blog post entitled, “Vladimir Putin is a fool.”

In general, what I’m seeing out there is a divergence between “tankies,”[1] who, thinking the U.S. is a great Satan, consider anyone opposing the country not merely virtuous but saintly,[2] and therefore argue for compromising Ukraine’s sovereignty;[3] and neoconservatives, who, knowing they’re not going to get a nice not-so-little war out of this one,[4] are nonetheless whipping up hysteria.[5] I’m pretty sure the truth lies somewhere between these asinine poles, I’m not sure where, but I think probably closer to the neoconservative pole: I do think Vladimir Putin is a fool[6] in possession of a significant military with nuclear weapons, which makes him a dangerous fool. What appears absolutely to be the case is that Russia and the West are engaged in a propaganda war.[7]

Julian Borger, Luke Harding, and Andrew Roth, “US accuses Russia of conspiring to take over Ukraine government,” Guardian, January 20, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/20/us-russia-ukraine-government-sanctions

Julia Ioffe, “Trump’s Former Russia Guru Explains His Putin Complex,” Puck News, January 21, 2022, https://puck.news/fiona-hill-explains-his-putin-complex/

Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html

John Hudson, “State Department orders diplomats’ families to leave U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, citing ‘threat of Russian military action,’” Not Housebroken, January 23, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/state-department-orders-diplomats-families-to-leave-us-embassy-in-ukraine-citing-threat-of-russian-military-action/2022/01/23/c857b95e-7ca3-11ec-a844-86749890616a_story.html

Robyn Dixon et al., “U.S. puts troops on alert and NATO sends ships, fighter jets to Eastern Europe as Russia continues buildup on Ukraine border,” Washington Post, January 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/24/ukraine-eu-us-embassy-russia/

Fiona Hill, “Putin Has the U.S. Right Where He Wants It,” New York Times, January 24, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/24/opinion/russia-ukraine-putin-biden.html

Jon Allsop, “The information war over Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, January 25, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/ukraine_russia_america_britain_media.php


Student loans

Molly Osberg, “Who Gets to Be an Expert on Student Loans?” New Republic, January 24, 2022, https://newrepublic.com/article/165109/student-loan-forgiveness-experts


Pittsburgh

Snow plowing

I did go out Monday (January 24), but cut off orders early, as I saw that snow was accumulating on roads even outside the City of Pittsburgh. I came home and read about Pittsburgh Public Works still trying to catch up from Sunday[8] which only reinforces my suspicion that what they’re really counting on is for the temperature to rise so the snow melts.[9] After all, it always works eventually.

It’s now Tuesday and I’m reading about Brookline.[10]

Sorry, Pittsburgh Public Works needs to be shut down, disbanded, and rebuilt from scratch. Fire everyone; make sure they can never get another city job again ever in their lives. This is a culture that must be expunged from government at all levels; the harm it does is to expose government as inept, incompetent, and quite probably corrupt. It rationalizes the capitalist libertarian and neoliberal distrust of government that would privatize everything, even things it makes no sense whatsoever to privatize, and diminish political power in favor of economic power.

Political sanity in the U.S. requires zero tolerance for agencies like Pittsburgh Public Works.

Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh crews working to clear city streets after Sunday’s snow,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 24, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-crews-working-to-clear-city-streets-after-sundays-snow/

WTAE, “Residents in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood frustrated with snow response,” January 24, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/residents-in-pittsburghs-brookline-neighborhood-frustrated-with-snow-response/38876127

Gentrification

Bill O’Toole, “Pittsburgh lacks affordable housing for everyone. Here are key resources for starting your search,” Public Source, January 24, 2022, https://www.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-allegheny-county-affordable-housing-service-guide/


U.S. Civil War

Barbara F. Walter, “Why should we worry that the U.S. could become an ‘anocracy’ again? Because of the threat of civil war,” Washington Post, January 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/24/why-should-we-worry-that-us-could-become-an-anocracy-again-because-threat-civil-war/


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

Amy B. Wang and John Wagner, “Georgia prosecutor granted special grand jury in probe of Trump’s efforts to overturn state’s election results,” Washington Post, January 24, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/24/georgia-prosecutor-granted-special-grand-jury-probe-trumps-efforts-overturn-states-election-results/


Right-wing dictatorship

Jonathan Lai, “The clock is ticking for Pa. redistricting. The 2022 primary is at stake. Here’s what to know,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 24, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pennsylvania-redistricting-delays-primary-election-date-20220124.html


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

Melanie Phillips[11] isn’t quite coherent. What the hell is “demonstrable evidence in favour of ideological dogma?” If such evidence exists—and yes, I’ve heard this claim before—then we are no longer talking about ideological dogma but rather a policy proposal based on positivist evidence. She describes herself as “a Brexiteer who follows the evidence and who believes that science has indeed been hijacked by ideology over climate change,” which is to say she does not follow the evidence, which is pretty much what I’ve seen of so-called “demonstrable evidence in favour of ideological dogma.”

Melanie Phillips, “Libertarian right has lost its way over Covid,” Times, January 24, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/libertarian-right-has-lost-its-way-over-covid-d3gd0v9w8


State stores

A Pennsylvania oddity is what used to be called “State Stores,” which have now branded themselves as “Fine Wine and Good Spirits.” Pennsylvania allows private retailers to sell beer; a number of these are literally set up as drive throughs. But to get just about anything else alcoholic, you need to go to the state store. It’s a peculiarity that dates way back—I remember all this from when I was a kid—apparently to the end of Prohibition.

Ford Turner, “Will Pennsylvania’s state-run alcohol stores finally be privatized? How the latest attempt differs from past ones,” Harrisburg Morning Call, January 24, 2022, https://www.mcall.com/news/pennsylvania/capitol-ideas/mc-nws-pa-liquor-privatize-proposal-20220124-27g3y6cd6vd2tfswdm6wuyaoca-story.html


John Fetterman

On Twitter, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman portrays himself as a progressive, a strong advocate for recreational marijuana legalization and for LGBTQ+ rights. He’s running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Pat Toomey, who is retiring[12] after having voted for Donald Trump’s impeachment.[13] But he didn’t show up for a “forum last week with Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate candidates” put on by Black Philadelphia clergy.[14]

The no-show brought into the open simmering questions in Democratic circles about whether Fetterman can handle the intense scrutiny that comes with being his party’s early leader in one of the country’s most crucial Senate races. It also drew criticism of his willingness to listen to Black voters. . . .

Fetterman’s campaign also canceled on a December forum organized by the group Indivisible Narberth and Beyond, which said his campaign hasn’t responded to requests to reschedule. In Western Pennsylvania, Progress PA, a coalition of progressive groups, is struggling to schedule him for a candidate event.[15]
Remember that this is the guy who, as mayor of Braddock, a Pittsburgh suburb with a prominent Black population, having heard shots, chased down and brandished a shotgun at a Black jogger. His defense was that the town was having a major problem with gun violence.[16] But he apparently expects to coast on his time as mayor of that borough:

[John] Fetterman’s campaign said his responsibilities presiding over the Senate on their first day of the 2022 session “made his attendance literally impossible.” The state constitution has provisions for the Senate President Pro Tempore to lead the chamber when the lieutenant governor is absent, and Fetterman has missed sessions before, though not frequently.

“Our campaign clearly communicated this along with our sincere regret to the event’s organizers,” the campaign said in a statement, also pointing to his record as mayor of Braddock, a city outside Pittsburgh. “As the 4-term mayor of a more than 70% Black community, our campaign is eager to discuss John’s record on these and other critical issues in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania.”[17]
Bullshit.

Julia Terruso and Jonathan Tamari, “John Fetterman skipped a forum with Black clergy and some Democrats say he’s ducking scrutiny,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/john-fetterman-2022-senate-race-black-clergy-20220125.html


  1. [1]Noah Smith, “Tankies!” Noahpinion, December 31, 2020, https://noahpinion.substack.com/p/tankies
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Democracy Now!’s not-so-good interview with Stephen Cohen on the Ukraine,” Not Housebroken, August 28, 2014, https://disunitedstates.org/2014/02/20/democracy-nows-not-so-good-interview-with-stephen-cohen-on-the-ukraine/
  3. [3]Anatol Lieven, “Diplomats & experts: negotiate, or expect ‘drastic escalation’ by Russia,” Responsible Statecraft, January 20, 2022, https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/01/20/diplomats-experts-negotiate-or-expect-drastic-escalation-by-russia/
  4. [4]Andrew Roth and Julian Borger, “US says it will send troops to eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine,” Guardian, December 6, 2021, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/dec/06/us-says-it-will-send-troops-to-eastern-europe-if-russia-invades-ukraine
  5. [5]Anne Applebaum, “The U.S. Is Naive About Russia. Ukraine Can’t Afford to Be,” Atlantic, January 3, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/ukraine-russia-kyiv-putin-bluff/621145/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin is a fool,” Not Housebroken, January 24, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/24/vladimir-putin-is-a-fool/
  7. [7]Jon Allsop, “The information war over Ukraine,” Columbia Journalism Review, January 25, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/ukraine_russia_america_britain_media.php
  8. [8]Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh crews working to clear city streets after Sunday’s snow,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 24, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-crews-working-to-clear-city-streets-after-sundays-snow/
  9. [9]David Benfell, “Waiting for the snow to melt,” Not Housebroken, January 21, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/01/21/waiting-for-the-snow-to-melt/
  10. [10]WTAE, “Residents in Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood frustrated with snow response,” January 24, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/residents-in-pittsburghs-brookline-neighborhood-frustrated-with-snow-response/38876127
  11. [11]Melanie Phillips, “Libertarian right has lost its way over Covid,” Times, January 24, 2022, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/libertarian-right-has-lost-its-way-over-covid-d3gd0v9w8
  12. [12]John Fetterman, “I'm running for the U.S. Senate to fight for all of Pennsylvania. . .,” Twitter, February 8, 2021, https://twitter.com/JohnFetterman/status/1358776958042181635; NEXTpittsburgh, “Why does Lt. Gov. John Fetterman want to run for Senate?” Public Source, January 15, 2021, https://www.publicsource.org/why-does-lt-gov-john-fetterman-want-to-run-for-senate/; Holly Otterbein, “John Fetterman launches Senate bid in Pennsylvania,” Politico, February 8, 2021, https://www.politico.com/news/2021/02/08/fetterman-senate-pennsylvania-466932; Zoe Richards, “PA Lt. Gov. Fetterman Files To Run For Toomey Seat In 2022,” Talking Points Memo, February 5, 2021, https://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/pa-lt-gov-fetterman-files-to-run-for-toomey-seat-in-2022
  13. [13]Deb Erdley, “Toomey censure remains on hold with Pennsylvania Republicans,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 27, 2021, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/toomey-censure-remains-on-hold-with-pennsylvania-republicans/
  14. [14]Julia Terruso and Jonathan Tamari, “John Fetterman skipped a forum with Black clergy and some Democrats say he’s ducking scrutiny,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/john-fetterman-2022-senate-race-black-clergy-20220125.html
  15. [15]Julia Terruso and Jonathan Tamari, “John Fetterman skipped a forum with Black clergy and some Democrats say he’s ducking scrutiny,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/john-fetterman-2022-senate-race-black-clergy-20220125.html
  16. [16]Stephen Caruso, “Fetterman justifies — but does not apologize for — chasing down and brandishing shotgun at Black jogger while Braddock mayor,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, February 10, 2021, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/fetterman-justifies-but-does-not-apologize-for-chasing-down-and-brandishing-shotgun-at-black-jogger-while-braddock-mayor/
  17. [17]Julia Terruso and Jonathan Tamari, “John Fetterman skipped a forum with Black clergy and some Democrats say he’s ducking scrutiny,” Philadelphia Inquirer, January 25, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/john-fetterman-2022-senate-race-black-clergy-20220125.html

Still only bullshit on Ukraine

Pittsburgh snow

There’s been some light snow this morning with, according to the Weather Underground app on my phone, more expected this afternoon. I am not seeing a winter weather travel advisory so I may well be working.


Ukraine

We still don’t know shit: “U.S. officials say they have intelligence of a Russian plan to invade Ukraine but acknowledge they don’t know Moscow’s ultimate intentions.”[1] Both the U.S. and U.K. have now accused Russia of plotting some form of coup to take over Ukraine’s government;[2] the U.K. version entails installing a politician who runs a pro-Russia television station but endures sanctions from Russia and says he opposes “pro-West” or “pro-Russia” politicians.[3] The U.S. has also accused Russia of planning a false flag operation to justify a Russian military invasion,[4] which, if we’re still on the same story, would involve 175,000 troops.[5]

I don’t know if any of these assholes know what they’re talking about; if they do, what they’re telling us sure as hell ain’t it.

Julian Borger, Luke Harding, and Andrew Roth, “US accuses Russia of conspiring to take over Ukraine government,” Guardian, January 20, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/20/us-russia-ukraine-government-sanctions

Julia Ioffe, “Trump’s Former Russia Guru Explains His Putin Complex,” Puck News, January 21, 2022, https://puck.news/fiona-hill-explains-his-putin-complex/

Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html

John Hudson, “State Department orders diplomats’ families to leave U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, citing ‘threat of Russian military action,’” Not Housebroken, January 23, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/state-department-orders-diplomats-families-to-leave-us-embassy-in-ukraine-citing-threat-of-russian-military-action/2022/01/23/c857b95e-7ca3-11ec-a844-86749890616a_story.html


Donald Trump

Coup attempt

There is a new blog post entitled, “Reasonable and unreasonable doubt in ‘seditious conspiracy.’

Richard Luscombe, “‘The walls are closing in’: Trump reels from week of political setbacks,” Guardian, January 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/22/the-walls-are-closing-in-trump-reels-from-week-of-political-setbacks

Finances

Felicia Sonmez, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell, “Supreme Court, investigators force Trump and his children on the defensive on multiple fronts,” Washington Post, January 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/21/supreme-court-investigators-force-trump-his-children-defensive-multiple-fronts/

Heather Vogell, “New Legal Filing Reveals Startling Details of Possible Fraud by Trump Organization,” ProPublica, January 21, 2022, https://www.propublica.org/article/new-legal-filing-reveals-startling-details-of-possible-fraud-by-trump-organization

Ed Pilkington, “‘House of Trump is crumbling’: why ex-president’s legal net is tightening,” Guardian, January 22, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/22/donald-trump-legal-perils

Richard Luscombe, “‘The walls are closing in’: Trump reels from week of political setbacks,” Guardian, January 23, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/22/the-walls-are-closing-in-trump-reels-from-week-of-political-setbacks


COVID-19 Pandemic

Doctors and charlatans

Tony LaRussa, “Federal court issues injunction ordering Upper St. Clair to keep mask requirement in place,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 23, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/federal-court-issues-injunction-ordering-upper-st-clair-to-keep-mask-requirement-in-place/


U.S. Postal Service

Josh Gohlke, “The U.S. Postal Service’s massive COVID test mobilization speaks to a polarizing truth,” Sacramento Bee, January 23, 2022, https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/article257510829.html


  1. [1]John Hudson, “State Department orders diplomats’ families to leave U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, citing ‘threat of Russian military action,’” Not Housebroken, January 23, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/state-department-orders-diplomats-families-to-leave-us-embassy-in-ukraine-citing-threat-of-russian-military-action/2022/01/23/c857b95e-7ca3-11ec-a844-86749890616a_story.html
  2. [2]Julian Borger, Luke Harding, and Andrew Roth, “US accuses Russia of conspiring to take over Ukraine government,” Guardian, January 20, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/20/us-russia-ukraine-government-sanctions; Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html
  3. [3]Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html
  4. [4]Natasha Bertrand and Jeremy Herb, “US intelligence indicates Russia preparing operation to justify invasion of Ukraine” CNN, January 14, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/14/politics/us-intelligence-russia-false-flag/index.html
  5. [5]Shane Harris and Paul Sonne, “Russia planning massive military offensive against Ukraine involving 175,000 troops, U.S. intelligence warns,” Washington Post, December 3, 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/russia-ukraine-invasion/2021/12/03/98a3760e-546b-11ec-8769-2f4ecdf7a2ad_story.html

Inundated with snow, inundated with shit; can I at least avoid the yellow snow?

Pittsburgh snow


Fig. 1. Comic by Patrick McDonnell, January 23, 2022, fair use.[1]

I actually like the snow. Pittsburgh is at its most beautiful under a layer of snow. But it looks like I’m staying home today, Sunday, with tomorrow, Monday, very much in doubt, as significant snowfall and hazardous conditions are expected.[2] I do need to head out early to pick up a prescription and groceries, but then it will be back home, hiding from a blizzard.

This, it must be said, is a factor in my thinking about Erie. I’m thinking that in complete contrast to the utterly and completely hopeless debacle that is Pittsburgh Public Works,[3] they might actually have their act together in Erie,[4] where they more regularly get inundated, which would actually mean fewer days lost to icy roads.

If it still looks like a mess here in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, I may even head up a day early. (I already have reservations for Wednesday night.)


Ukraine

This from the the politician, Yevhen Murayev, whom Russia would allegedly install as Ukraine’s leader in some form of coup:[5]

As someone who has been under Russian sanctions for four years, barred from Russia as a national security threat and whose father got his assets frozen in Russia, I find it hard to comment on the [U.K.] Foreign Office’s statement.[6]

But apparently Murayev has a “pro-Russian” television station. He also said, “The time of pro-Western and pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine is gone forever.”[7]

I’m pretty sure we’re being inundated with shit here. I’m not sure how much from whom, but possibly the combined content of London, Moscow, and Kyiv sewage treatment facilities. Okay, add Washington, D.C.: “U.S. officials said they have no reason to doubt the British intelligence.”[8] That’s a lot of sewage.

Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html


  1. [1]Patrick McDonnell, “Mutts,” Comics Kingdom, January 23, 2022, https://comicskingdom.com/mutts/2022-01-23
  2. [2]Tony LaRussa, “Pittsburgh region under winter weather advisory for Sunday, 2-4 inches of snow expected,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 22, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/regional/pittsburgh-region-under-winter-weather-advisory-for-sunday-2-4-inches-of-snow-expected/
  3. [3]Rick Earle, “Pittsburgh Public Works launches internal investigation following snow response issues,” WPXI, January 7, 2022, https://www.wpxi.com/news/local/pittsburgh-public-works-launches-internal-investigation-following-snow-response-issues/3ZAYYSR5WNCD5H5KE67WJ6SKBU/; Julia Felton, “Plowing continues on snow-covered Pittsburgh streets,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 7, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/plowing-continues-on-snow-covered-pittsburgh-streets/; Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh officials say snow response will be better ahead of Sunday storm,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 14, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-officials-say-snow-response-will-be-better-ahead-of-sunday-storm/; Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh officials say they expect to have streets cleared for Tuesday commute,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 17, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-officials-say-they-expect-to-have-streets-cleared-for-tuesday-commute/; Julia Felton, “Pittsburgh officials say 50 trucks still cleaning snow and ice,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 20, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-officials-say-50-trucks-still-cleaning-snow-and-ice/; KDKA-TV, “Pittsburgh Councilman Publicly Criticizes ‘Unacceptable’ State Of Roads After Snowfall,” December 27, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/12/27/pittsburgh-councilman-publicly-criticizes-unacceptable-state-of-roads-after-snowfall/; Taylor Spirito, “Pittsburgh residents frustrated after city side streets left unplowed,” WPXI, January 18, 2022, https://www.wpxi.com/news/local/pittsburgh-residents-frustrated-after-city-side-streets-left-unplowed/NLUWU6RFFBCKBCYKDEMU7Y3FWQ/; Kylie Walker, “Pittsburgh Public Works releases statement in response to snow removal concerns,” WTAE, January 18, 2022, https://www.wtae.com/article/pittsburgh-public-works-releases-statement-in-response-to-snow-removal-concerns/38803017
  4. [4]Matthew Rink, “Salt before snow: How Erie approached snowstorm in inner-city,” Erie Times-News, January 22, 2022, https://www.goerie.com/story/news/local/2022/01/23/city-erie-pa-salted-before-recent-snowstorm-did-unique-strategy-work/6563382001/
  5. [5]Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html
  6. [6]Yevhen Murayev, quoted in Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html
  7. [7]Yevhen Murayev, quoted in Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html
  8. [8]Paul Sonne, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, “U.K. accuses Russia of scheming to install a pro-Kremlin government in Ukraine,” Washington Post, January 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/uk-accuses-russia-of-scheming-to-install-a-pro-kremlin-government-in-ukraine/2022/01/22/41c0999e-7bde-11ec-b79d-e53ef5e1fbe2_story.html

An actually valid legal rationalization for the January 6, 2021, coup attempt?

COVID-19 Pandemic

Medicine and the folks who think they know better

I am no longer dividing this topic between (Inter)national and Pennsylvania region. Stories formerly listed in the latter are now included with the former.

The ruling in the Upper Saint Clair case[1] contrasts with one in August, last year, for the North Allegheny school district.[2] My impression, quite possibly incorrect, is that masking is more controversial in the South Hills area (which includes Upper Saint Clair) than in the North Hills and the judge in the Upper Saint Clair case, while claiming to be ruling according to the law, made a point of recognizing the controversy.[3] So yeah, my very deep suspicion is that he was ruling politically rather than legally.

Ben Rumsby and Simon Briggs, “Australian Open thrown into chaos as Novak Djokovic faces Sunday court hearing after government cancels visa again,” Telegraph, January 14, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tennis/2022/01/14/novak-djokovic-visa-cancelled-australian-open-covid-unvaccinated/

Paul Karp, “Novak Djokovic leaves Australia after court upholds visa cancellation,” Guardian, January 16, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jan/16/novak-djokovic-to-be-deported-from-australia-after-losing-appeal-against-visa-cancellation

Michael E. Miller, “Novak Djokovic loses visa challenge, denting hopes of playing in the Australian Open,” Washington Post, January 16, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/01/15/novak-djokovic-australia-visa/

Tumaini Carayol, “Djokovic’s French Open title defence in doubt after Covid pass ruling,” Guardian, January 17, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/jan/17/djokovics-french-open-title-defence-in-doubt-over-covid-pass-ruling

Andrea Stanley, “People Are Hiding That Their Unvaccinated Loved Ones Died of COVID,” Atlantic, January 18, 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2022/01/unvaccinated-covid-deaths-secret-grief/621269/

Lenny Bernstein, “Inside a Rhode Island hospital E.R. overwhelmed by omicron,” Washington Post, January 19, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/01/19/covid-emergency-room-omicron/

Jacob Gershman, “Judge Blocks Biden Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate for Federal Workers,” Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-blocks-biden-covid-19-vaccine-mandate-for-federal-workers-11642790097

Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge rejects request to reinstate universal masking in Upper St. Clair School District,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 21, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/federal-judge-rejects-request-to-reinstate-universal-masking-in-upper-st-clair-school-district/


Donald Trump, Right-wing militias, U.S. Civil War

Coup attempt

The question of [Stewart] Rhodes’s purpose, though, is complicated by the likelihood that he and his co-conspirators believed that the election was stolen, and that Congress was acting unconstitutionally to install an illegitimate usurper as the President. In other words, the defendants’ subjective purpose may have been to fight against the subversion of law, not to prevent its execution. Thus, “the big lie”—and the troubling fact that much of the country appears to believe it is the truth—is at the core of the seditious-conspiracy charge.[4]

Oh, shit. Jeannie Suk Gersen, a Harvard law professor, is arguing that a jury may well fail to convict the leader of the Oath Keepers on a charge of seditious conspiracy.[5] I understand and accept her reasoning. I am deeply troubled that the government may not be able to overcome it.

Gersen does point out that Rhodes believed that we are headed for a civil war. But if she is concerned—rightly, I think—that jurors may believe that the 2020 election was stolen,[6] she should also be concerned that those jurors may support Donald Trump’s efforts to regain power, feel violence is justified, or even support such a civil war.[7] I would expect that voir dire, the juror selection process, should seek to weed out such potential jurors, but people who are prepared to accept violence may well be prepared to accept deceit in service to their cause and therefore being willing to deceive lawyers and the judge. And I’m not sure how, logically, advocacy for a civil war helps the prosecutors’ case anyway; to the extent such advocacy might be seen as illegal, it might be excused on the very same grounds as the attempt to stop the election certification (the coup attempt) on January 6, 2021.

This is all bad. Very, very bad. And getting worse.

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court rejects Trump’s plea to shield White House records from House inquiry,” Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2022-01-19/supreme-court-turns-down-trumps-plea-to-shield-his-white-house-records-from-house-probe

John Wagner, “Georgia prosecutor requests special grand jury in probe of Trump’s efforts to overturn state’s election results,” Washington Post, January 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/20/georgia-da-seeks-special-grand-jury-trump/

George T. Conway, III, “The Supreme Court’s order against Donald Trump is even worse for him than it appears,” Washington Post, January 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/21/courts-hand-donald-trump-loss-after-loss-after-loss/

Jeannie Suk Gersen, “The Case Against the Oath Keepers,” New Yorker, January 21, 2022, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-case-against-the-oath-keepers

Felicia Sonmez, Josh Dawsey, and Jonathan O’Connell, “Supreme Court, investigators force Trump and his children on the defensive on multiple fronts,” Washington Post, January 21, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/01/21/supreme-court-investigators-force-trump-his-children-defensive-multiple-fronts/