As if I required reminding about the danger of being an Uber driver

Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh

Unauthorized violence


Fig. 1. “Ed Gainey poses with CeaseFirePA during the 2020 Women’s March in Downtown Pittsburgh.” Photograph by Megan Gloeckler, undated, via Pittsburgh City Paper,[1] fair use.

I had an order to pick up a passenger at the Sunoco station near the entrance to McKees Rocks along Pennsylvania Route 51 on Monday (February 27). The bridge was blocked off by white supremacist gangsters, one car from the McKees Rocks gang and the other from the Allegheny County gang. I overheard my passenger talking on her phone about a shootout and assumed the shootout had occurred on that bridge.

But the shooting had occurred some distance away, in Stowe Township. The civilians got away. Their car was found later in Mount Washington, a Pittsburgh neighborhood.[2]

But oh yeah, I’m supposed to feel safe as an Uber driver.[3]

Michael DiVittorio, “Pa. drug task force agents, McKees Rocks officer exchange gunfire with suspects in Stowe,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 27, 2023, https://triblive.com/local/pa-drug-task-force-agents-mckees-rocks-officer-exchange-gunfire-with-suspects-in-stowe/


COVID-19 Pandemic


Fig. 1. Photograph by author, November 8, 2022.

There is a new blog post entitled, “Following Alice down a rabbit hole on COVID-19 origins.”

Michael R. Gordon and Warren P. Strobel, “Lab Leak Most Likely Origin of Covid-19 Pandemic, Energy Department Now Says,” Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2023, https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-origin-china-lab-leak-807b7b0a

Michael Hiltzik, “Despite latest reports, there’s still not a speck of evidence that COVID escaped from a Chinese lab,” Los Angeles Times, February 27, 2023, https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2023-02-27/contrary-wsj-claim-theres-still-not-a-speck-of-evidence-that-covid-escaped-from-a-chinese-lab


Gilead

Donald Trump

Coup attempt


Fig. 1. “Jake Angeli (Qanon Shaman), seen holding a Qanon sign at the intersection of Bell Rd and 75th Ave in Peoria, Arizona, on 2020 October 15.” Photography by TheUnseen011101 [pseud.], October 15, 2020, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in any survey, let alone one conducted by Fox News. But that’s not really the point that Eric Lutz is reaching for. His question, really, is whether Republicans who would like to put Donald Trump behind them will muster the courage of their convictions,[4] when it is clear to everyone else concerned now that Trump is general election poison[5] and when Trump hews ever more toward white Christian nationalist extremists,[6] as if, bizarrely, it is only those extremists who will have a vote in November 2024.[7]

Eric Lutz, “The Republican Donor Class Seems Ready to Dump Trump. The Base? Not So Much,” Vanity Fair, February 27, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/02/donald-trump-ron-desantis-poll

Academic repression

Student loans


Fig. 1. Unattributed and undated image via James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal,[8] fair use.

Joe Biden’s student loan relief package came before the U.S. Supreme Court today. And it went just about as well as you’d expect at an ideologically white Christian nationalist court:

Taxpayers do not have standing to sue to stop the government from spending money, and it’s not clear if anyone could show they will be hurt if the government forgives another person’s loan.

But the conservative justices did not sound as though they were thinking of tossing out either of the two related cases before them. . . .

[Chief Justice John G.] Roberts and Justice Clarence Thomas said the word “modify” does not describe a policy to forgive loans that would amount to more than $400 billion. Instead, they said this was a major change that should be decided by Congress.[9]

Just as Donald Trump was against it if Barack Obama had been for it, this court is against it if Joe Biden is for it.

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court casts more doubt on Biden’s plan to forgive student loans,” Los Angeles Times, February 28, 2023, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-02-28/supreme-court-cast-more-doubt-on-bidens-plan-to-forgive-student-loans


Ukraine


Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[10] fair use.

Ishaan Tharoor, “An awkward tension lies beneath the West’s support for Ukraine,” Washington Post, February 27, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com//world/2023/02/27/tension-ukraine-public-private-support-west/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s Oligarchs Fall in Line,” Puck, February 28, 2023, https://puck.news/putins-oligarchs-fall-in-line/


  1. [1]Charlie Wolfson, “Neighborhood groups try to curb shootings as Pittsburgh’s mayoral campaign puts political focus on gun violence,” Pittsburgh City Paper, October 20, 2021, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/neighborhood-groups-try-to-curb-shootings-as-pittsburghs-mayoral-campaign-puts-political-focus-on-gun-violence/Content?oid=20401296
  2. [2]Michael DiVittorio, “Pa. drug task force agents, McKees Rocks officer exchange gunfire with suspects in Stowe,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, February 27, 2023, https://triblive.com/local/pa-drug-task-force-agents-mckees-rocks-officer-exchange-gunfire-with-suspects-in-stowe/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Gaslighting Uber drivers on safety,” Not Housebroken, January 6, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/04/28/gaslighting-uber-drivers-on-safety/
  4. [4]Eric Lutz, “The Republican Donor Class Seems Ready to Dump Trump. The Base? Not So Much,” Vanity Fair, February 27, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/02/donald-trump-ron-desantis-poll
  5. [5]Natalie Andrews, Siobhan Hughes, and Lindsay Wise, “Frustrated Republicans Try to Explain Lack of Midterm ‘Red Wave,’” Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/frustrated-republicans-try-to-explain-lack-of-midterm-red-wave-11668036382; Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey, “One likely 2024 GOP contender triumphed on election night. It wasn’t Donald Trump,” Washington Post, November 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/09/desantis-trump-2024-presidential-election/; Dan Balz, “The vaunted red wave never hit the shore in midterm elections,” Washington Post, November 9, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/08/midterms-dissatisfied-voters-render-judgments-biden-republicans/; Jonathan Freedland, “The winner of the midterms is not yet clear – but the loser is Donald Trump,” Guardian, November 9, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/nov/09/the-winner-of-the-midterms-is-not-yet-clear-but-the-loser-is-donald-trump; Amy Gardner, Reis Thebault, and Robert Klemko, “Election deniers lose races for key state offices in every 2020 battleground,” Washington Post, November 13, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2022/11/13/election-deniers-defeated-state-races/; Liz Goodwin, “A red wave of criticism crashes into Donald Trump after midterm losses,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/11/trump-criticism-midterms-republicans/; David Lauter, “The midterm’s big loser: Trump suffers multiple defeats,” Los Angeles Times, November 9, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/politics/newsletter/2022-11-09/the-midterms-big-loser-trump-suffers-multiple-defeats-essential-politics; Eric Lutz, “The Republican Donor Class Seems Ready to Dump Trump. The Base? Not So Much,” Vanity Fair, February 27, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/02/donald-trump-ron-desantis-poll; Tina Nguyen, “Has Trump Already Lost ’24?” Puck News, November 30, 2022, https://puck.news/has-trump-already-lost-24/; Greg Sargent, “Republicans want Trump to take the blame. Good luck with that,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/11/11/trump-midterm-elections-gop-abortion-rights-2024/; Marianna Sotomayor et al., “Congressional Republicans panic as they watch their lead dwindle,” Washington Post, November 11, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/11/11/senate-republicans-mcconnell-midterms/; Brian Slodysko, “Election takeaways: No sweep for the Republicans after all,” Associated Press, November 9, 2022, https://apnews.com/article/2022-midterm-elections-takeaways-9381d3aaff26d19da95506e045fcd6e1; Jonathan Tamari and William Bender, “‘It’s time for him to retire’: Some Pa. Republicans want to push Trump aside after their election losses,” Philadelphia Inquirer, November 10, 2022, https://www.inquirer.com/politics/election/pa-republicans-blame-trump-2022-losses-20221110.html; Chris Walker, “Trump Is Blaming Everyone But Himself for Midterm Losses — Including His Wife,” Truthout, November 10, 2022, https://truthout.org/articles/trump-is-blaming-everyone-but-himself-for-midterm-losses-including-his-wife/
  6. [6]Kristen Holmes, “Trump expresses support for Capitol rioters as he continues to embrace extremist groups,” Cable News Network, December 2, 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/02/politics/donald-trump-january-6-rioters-support/index.html
  7. [7]David Benfell, “More questions than answers as Donald Trump flags come down,” Not Housebroken, December 3, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/08/28/more-questions-than-answers-as-donald-trump-flags-come-down/
  8. [8]Richard K. Vedder, “Eliminate or Radically Restructure Federal Student Loans,” James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, September 16, 2020, https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2020/09/eliminate-or-radically-restructure-federal-student-loans/
  9. [9]David G. Savage, “Supreme Court casts more doubt on Biden’s plan to forgive student loans,” Los Angeles Times, February 28, 2023, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2023-02-28/supreme-court-cast-more-doubt-on-bidens-plan-to-forgive-student-loans
  10. [10]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/news/picture/ukraine-puts-destroyed-russian-tanks-on-idUSRTSALV9Q

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