Pittsburgh’s gonna fight blight? Sorry, war’s over, blight won.




Fig. 1. Most of the homeless encampments I’ve seen around Pittsburgh have been on the North Side. This one is downtown, right by a Parkway (Interstate 376) onramp. Photograph by author, May 22, 2023.

Ford Turner, “A bill to help Pittsburgh fight blight is close to passing as Pa. lawmakers continue budget talks,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 17, 2023, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/politics-state/2023/06/17/pittsburgh-blight-bill-pennsylvania-budget/stories/202306160092


White Christian nationalism

Fig. 1. If one weighs by geography rather than population, Pennsylvania is very much a white Christian nationalist kind of place. Photograph by author, January 5, 2023.

Jonathan Chait argues that Ron DeSantis is campaigning to racist bigots.[1] We might suspect he’s competing for the same voters as Donald Trump (and Doug Mastriano). This makes sense if the majority of your voters are racist bigots, which might be true of Republicans, but, since the 2022 midterms, still appears unlikely to be true of the general electorate.[2]

Casey Quackenbush, “The Constitutional Kamikaze,” New York, June 13, 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/06/the-dark-money-behind-mark-mecklers-convention-of-states.html

Laura Brodie, “The disgraced Confederate history of the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag,” Washington Post, June 14, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2023/06/14/confederacy-dont-tread-on-me-flag/

John E. Finn, “How ‘constitutional county’ declarations undermine the Constitution – a legal scholar explains,” Conversation, June 15, 2023, https://theconversation.com/how-constitutional-county-declarations-undermine-the-constitution-a-legal-scholar-explains-206834

Jonathan Chait, “Ron DeSantis Wants More Honoring Confederates, Less Funding for Black History,” New York, June 16, 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/06/ron-desantis-fort-bragg-confederacy-black-history-massacre-poll-tax.html

Megan Guza, “‘May their memories always be a blessing’: Jewish community comes together after gunman is convicted in synagogue massacre,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 16, 2023, https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2023/06/16/pittsburgh-tree-of-live-synagogue-shooting-trial-verdict-robert-bowers/stories/202306160050


Fig. 1. “Elon Musk shared a video of his entrance on his Twitter account.” Photograph attributed to Elon Musk, October 26, 2022, via the New York Post,[3] fair use.

William Cohan’s essays have been pretty good on the whole Elon Musk buying Twitter thing throughout a nonsensical saga that clearly hasn’t gotten any more sensible.

As a former restructuring and bankruptcy advisor at Lazard, I can recognize the signs of a company in distress. After all, it’s a pretty obvious tell that there’s financial trouble brewing when a company stops paying its bills as they become due. That’s a recipe for financial disaster, or bankruptcy, or both. Last time I checked, if a company has more than 12 creditors—as Twitter does—then any three of them can join together to put a company into an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding. And Elon [Musk] is in danger here. At some point, the creditors he is mindlessly stiffing on a regular basis are going to get sufficiently pissed to throw Twitter into bankruptcy.[4]

Uh oh. And yeah, it’s just weird:

But I don’t get it, dude. Elon [Musk] is the world’s richest man, with a net worth of some $233 billion, according to Bloomberg, up an astounding $100 billion so far in 2023. Why is he not paying the people he owes money to? Why is he risking an involuntary bankruptcy filing? And then, of course, there is the upcoming interest payment of around $300 million due to the group of seven or so banks that still hold Twitter’s $13 billion of debt used to pay a portion of the $44 billion Twitter purchase price. I know Elon made the interest payments owed in January and in May. But will he make the next one, due in September? I suppose not paying those (metaphorical) nickels and dimes is one thing. But if he doesn’t pay the banks the $300 million he owes them in September, he will be asking for trouble in the form of a financial restructuring, or worse, a bankruptcy filing.[5]

Remember what I keep saying: If it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense, and it cannot last. Oh, and Elon Musk is a continuing, clear, and present danger to his own wealth.

William D. Cohan, “Will Elon Lose Control of Twitter?” Puck, June 18, 2023, https://puck.news/will-elon-lose-control-of-twitter/

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.

There is a hint—it’s bare, but there—in the New York Times report that Jack Smith may be developing additional cases against Donald Trump that Judge Aileen Cannon might have felt the criticism of her earlier rulings. Alan Feuer reports that Cannon is deferring to her magistrate judge in more motions.[6] If this is true, then something missing from the public record may be the conversations Cannon had with other judges, especially after she was overturned. Yeah, I’m thinking of this tweet:[7]

Marc Fisher, “Trump’s path to indictment: ‘Isn’t it better if there are no documents?’” Washington Post, June 10, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/10/trump-classified-documents-path-bathroom-indictment/

Michael S. Schmidt et al., “Trump Supporters’ Violent Rhetoric in His Defense Disturbs Experts,” New York Times, June 10, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/10/us/politics/trump-supporter-violent-rhetoric.html

Kyle Cheney, “He devised a fringe legal theory to try to keep Trump in power. Now he’s on the verge of being disbarred,” Forbes, June 11, 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/06/11/john-eastman-disbarment-trial-trump-00101407

Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], “On the Trump/Nauta Indictment,” Patreon, June 11, 2023, https://www.patreon.com/posts/on-trump-nauta-84420752

Marina Pitofsky, “Barr ‘shocked’ by Trump indictment details: “If even half of it is true, then he’s toast,’” USA Today, June 11, 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/06/11/bill-barr-donald-trump-classified-documents-indictment/70310878007/

Paul Rosenzweig, “The Three Biggest Obstacles to Convicting Trump,” Atlantic, June 11, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/three-biggest-obstacles-convicting-trump/674366/

David Aaron, “How Much Prison Time Does Former President Trump Face? Applying the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines,” Just Security, June 12, 2023, https://www.justsecurity.org/86901/how-much-prison-time-does-former-president-trump-face-applying-the-u-s-sentencing-guidelines/

Isaac Chotiner, “Will the Judge in Trump’s Case Recuse Herself—or Be Forced To?” New Yorker, June 12, 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/will-the-judge-in-trumps-case-recuse-herself-or-be-forced-to

Spencer S. Hsu et al., “Trump scrambles to find lawyer before first federal court appearance,” Washington Post, June 12, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/12/trump-documents-lawyer/

Molly Jong-Fast, “Even a Damning Federal Case Can’t Break the GOP’s Devotion to Donald Trump,” Vanity Fair, June 12, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/06/donald-trump-federal-indictment-case-gop

Eric Lutz, “Judge Aileen Cannon Could Blow Up Trump Documents Case,” Vanity Fair, June 12, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/06/aileen-cannon-trump-documents-case

Nick Madigan, Verónica Zaragovia, and Richard Fausset, “Floridians Would Make Up Trump’s Jury Pool. Here’s What Some Are Saying,” New York Times, June 12, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/12/us/trump-voters-florida-jury.html

Jeannie Suk Gersen, “The Case Against Trump Is Strong, but There Are Problems Ahead,” New Yorker, June 13, 2023, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-case-against-trump-is-strong-but-there-are-problems-ahead

Shayna Jacobs et al., “Trump arraigned, pleads not guilty to 37 classified documents charges,” Washington Post, June 13, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/06/13/trump-court-miami-indictment/

Bess Levin, “Trump Basically One Day Away From Hiring a Lawyer Who Advertises on the Side of a Bus to Defend Him,” Vanity Fair, June 13, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/06/donald-trump-lawyer-search

Hugo Lowell, “Trump finds no new lawyers for court appearance in Mar-a-Lago case,” Guardian, June 13, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jun/13/trump-finds-no-new-lawyers-mar-a-lago-documents-arraignment

James Risen, “Trump Is a Predator Who Feeds on Lackeys,” Intercept, June 13, 2023, https://theintercept.com/2023/06/13/trump-indictment-aide-walt-nauta/

Jesús Rodríguez, “In the MAGA mirror, Trump’s legal peril looks like a personal threat,” Washington Post, June 13, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2023/06/13/trump-arraignment-courthouse-crowd/

Gabriel Sherman, “Donald Trump Advisers Worry Over Legal Team Civil War: ‘It’s All Coming to a Head,’” Vanity Fair, June 13, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/06/donald-trump-legal-team-indictment

Maanvi Singh, “Trump claims ‘political persecution’ in speech after arraignment,” Guardian, June 13, 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jun/13/trump-new-jersey-speech-after-arraignment

Jeffrey Blehar, “Pardoning Is Not Enough: We Must All Perform Seppuku for Donald Trump,” National Review, June 14, 2023, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/pardoning-is-not-enough-we-must-all-perform-seppuku-for-donald-trump/

Alan Feuer, Maggie Haberman, and Glenn Thrush, “They Are Trump’s Aides and Lawyers. Now They Could Be Trial Witnesses,” New York Times, June 14, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/14/us/politics/trump-lawyers-witnesses-nauta-corcoran.html

Quinta Jurecic, “Trump Can’t Bluster His Way Through Court,” Atlantic, June 14, 2023, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2023/06/trump-cant-bluster-his-way-through-court/674395/

Bess Levin, “Melania Trump Is Apparently in a Zen Place About Her Husband Potentially Going to Prison,” Vanity Fair, June 14, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/06/melania-trump-donald-trump-documents-case

Michael S. Schmidt and Charlie Savage, “Judge in Trump Documents Case Has Scant Criminal Trial Experience,” New York Times, June 14, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/14/us/politics/aileen-cannon-judge-trump-documents.html

Prem Thakker, “Trump ‘Is Scared Shitless,’” New Republic, June 14, 2023, https://newrepublic.com/post/173620/rump-is-scared-shitless

Glenn Thrush, Nicholas Nehamas, and Eileen Sullivan, “Trump Is Arraigned on Documents and Obstruction Charges,” New York Times, June 14, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/13/us/politics/trump-arraignment-documents.html

Aaron Blake, “6 big questions ahead on Trump’s indictment,” Washington Post, June 15, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/06/15/6-big-questions-trumps-indictment/

Alan Feuer, “In Miami, the Only Violence From Trump Supporters Was Rhetorical,” New York Times, June 15, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/15/us/politics/trump-protests-proud-boys.html

Mathew Ingram, “The tech platforms have surrendered in the fight over election-related misinformation,” Columbia Journalism Review, June 15, 2023, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/tech-platforms-election-denial-meta-twitter-trump-reinstatement.php

Stefania Palma, “Jack Smith: the federal prosecutor taking on Donald Trump,” Financial Times, June 15, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/7fb3fa61-42ec-4f5b-9eda-523dfb368e1e

Alan Feuer, “Evidence in Trump Documents Case Hints at ‘Ongoing Investigations,’ Filing Says,” New York Times, June 16, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/16/us/politics/trump-documents-case.html

Human Science


Artificial idiocy

Kevin Jiang, “Google’s new AI search function is revolutionary — but don’t believe everything it says, experts say,” Toronto Star, June 15, 2023, https://www.thestar.com/business/technology/2023/06/15/googles-new-ai-search-function-is-revolutionary-but-dont-believe-everything-it-says-experts-say.html



Fig. 1. “Container ship Hyundai Smart just comes in the Port of Hamburg.” Photograph by Hummelhummel [pseud.], September 11, 2013, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Rana Foroohar, “America is telling a very different story about trade,” Financial Times, June 18, 2023, https://www.ft.com/content/e4e87c54-8265-4f04-ac67-d9cebbc54507

Academic repression

Critical Race Theory History

Robin D. G. Kelley, “The Long War on Black Studies,” New York Review of Books, June 17, 2023, https://www.nybooks.com/online/2023/06/17/the-long-war-on-black-studies/

  1. [1]Jonathan Chait, “Ron DeSantis Wants More Honoring Confederates, Less Funding for Black History,” New York, June 16, 2023, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2023/06/ron-desantis-fort-bragg-confederacy-black-history-massacre-poll-tax.html
  2. [2]David Benfell, “It should be obvious by now: Donald Trump and Doug Mastriano are not the future of the Republican Party,” Not Housebroken, March 29, 2023, https://disunitedstates.org/2023/03/26/it-should-be-obvious-by-now-donald-trump-and-doug-mastriano-are-not-the-future-of-the-republican-party/
  3. [3]Thomas Barrabi, “Elon Musk barges into Twitter HQ as deal nears: ‘Let that sink in,’” New York Post, October 26, 2022, https://nypost.com/2022/10/26/elon-musk-barges-into-twitter-headquarters-as-deal-nears/
  4. [4]William D. Cohan, “Will Elon Lose Control of Twitter?” Puck, June 18, 2023, https://puck.news/will-elon-lose-control-of-twitter/
  5. [5]William D. Cohan, “Will Elon Lose Control of Twitter?” Puck, June 18, 2023, https://puck.news/will-elon-lose-control-of-twitter/
  6. [6]Alan Feuer, “Evidence in Trump Documents Case Hints at ‘Ongoing Investigations,’ Filing Says,” New York Times, June 16, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/16/us/politics/trump-documents-case.html
  7. [7]Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], “That is, if I were a Judge and was overturned in this manner, I would find it hard to leave the house” Twitter, September 21, 2022,
  8. [8]Richard Nixon [Justin Sherrin], Twitter, September 21, 2022,

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