The judge agrees: Uber and Lyft need to grow the fuck up

Ridesharing

It seems that ten days isn’t long enough for the poor babies, Uber and Lyft, to appeal[1] a judge’s preliminary injunction requiring them to comply with California state law and classify drivers as employees rather than as independent contractors[2] and the aforementioned babies, who’ve been throwing a temper tantrum, threatening to hold their breath until they turn blue stop service in California, because they aren’t getting their way,[3] wanted more time to come up with an appeal. The judge told them to grow the fuck up.[4] Okay, maybe not in quite those words:

“I am unconvinced that any extension of the 10-day stay is required,” [San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan] Schulman said. “Both applications are denied.” . . .

In [earlier] ordering an injunction, Schulman assailed what he called Uber’s and Lyft’s “prolonged and brazen refusal” to comply with state law.[5]

Damn right. We are, at this point, fully entitled to know just why these companies think they’re so fucking special.

[6]

Postal Service

Amy Gardner, Josh Dawsey, and Paul Kane, “Trump opposes election aid for states and Postal Service bailout, threatening Nov. 3 vote,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-mail-voting/2020/08/13/3eb9ac62-dd70-11ea-809e-b8be57ba616e_story.html


  1. [1]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html
  2. [2]Therese Poletti, “Uber and Lyft’s ‘day of reckoning’ is finally here,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-and-lyfts-day-of-reckoning-is-finally-here-2020-08-11; Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/
  3. [3]Jessica Bursztynsky and Lauren Feiner, “Lyft may suspend service in California if court requires it to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/lyft-president-says-it-may-have-to-suspend-service-in-california.html; Lauren Feiner, “Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it’s forced to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/uber-may-shut-down-temporarily-in-california.html
  4. [4]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html
  5. [5]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html
  6. [6]Jonathan Stempel, “Judge rejects Uber, Lyft bids to delay California driver injunction,” Yahoo!, August 13, 2020, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/uber-lyft-lose-bid-delay-184959283.html

So how are those human sacrifices to the capitalist god working out for you?

Pennsylvania

There is a new blog post entitled, “The capitalist libertarian solution to the COVID-19 pandemic: Kill the poor.”

Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Lawmaker: It’s not government’s responsibility to ‘try to keep us safe,’” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 12, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-lawmaker-its-not-governments-responsibility-to-try-to-keep-us-safe/


Pandemic

Denise Lu, “The True Coronavirus Toll in the U.S. Has Already Surpassed 200,000,” New York Times, August 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/08/12/us/covid-deaths-us.html


Time again for Uber and Lyft to grow up

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 12, 2020, at 12:15 pm.
  2. August 12, 8:45 pm:
    • Lyft has joined[1] in Uber’s hissy fit.[2] Y’all will have to forgive me if I am utterly unimpressed.

Ridesharing

I wrote last year that it was “Time for the gig economy to grow up.”[3] Now that a judge has told Uber and Lyft much the same thing, both companies plan to appeal,[4] Uber is throwing a hissy fit.[5] So I’ll say it again: Grow the fuck up.

Jessica Bursztynsky and Lauren Feiner, “Lyft may suspend service in California if court requires it to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/lyft-president-says-it-may-have-to-suspend-service-in-california.html

Lauren Feiner, “Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it’s forced to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/uber-may-shut-down-temporarily-in-california.html

Therese Poletti, “Uber and Lyft’s ‘day of reckoning’ is finally here,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-and-lyfts-day-of-reckoning-is-finally-here-2020-08-11


  1. [1]Jessica Bursztynsky and Lauren Feiner, “Lyft may suspend service in California if court requires it to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/lyft-president-says-it-may-have-to-suspend-service-in-california.html
  2. [2]Lauren Feiner, “Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it’s forced to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/uber-may-shut-down-temporarily-in-california.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Time for the gig economy to grow up,” Not Housebroken, August 30, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/30/time-for-the-gig-economy-to-grow-up/
  4. [4]Therese Poletti, “Uber and Lyft’s ‘day of reckoning’ is finally here,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2020, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/uber-and-lyfts-day-of-reckoning-is-finally-here-2020-08-11; Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/
  5. [5]Lauren Feiner, “Uber CEO says its service will probably shut down temporarily in California if it’s forced to classify drivers as employees,” CNBC, August 12, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/12/uber-may-shut-down-temporarily-in-california.html

Aren’t you glad somebody’s keeping track of all the shit?

There is a new blog post entitled, “On police.”


Ridesharing

Faiz Siddiqui, “Uber and Lyft must make their drivers in California full employees, judge rules,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/08/10/uber-lyft-ab5/


Donald Trump

No one should even want to keep track of all the shit Donald Trump utters. But I guess it’s good someone does.[1] And hell, I might need to find some of this someday.

George T. Conway, III, “I (still) believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/


Kamala Harris

Just a reminder.

Marjorie Cohn, “Kamala Harris Has a Distinguished Career of Serving Injustice,” Truthout, July 8, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/kamala-harris-has-a-distinguished-career-of-serving-injustice/

Emily Cadei and Bryan Anderson, “Fact check: Did Kamala Harris block evidence that would have freed death row inmates?” Sacramento Bee, July 31, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article233375207.html

Shikha Dalmia, “The real reason Kamala Harris is tanking,” Week, November 4, 2019, https://theweek.com/articles/875020/real-reason-kamala-harris-tanking


  1. [1]George T. Conway, III, “I believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, February 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/05/george-conway-trump-i-believe/; George T. Conway, III, “I (still) believe the president, and in the president,” Washington Post, August 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/08/10/i-still-believe-president-president/

My Pittsburgh dilemma

Pittsburgh

So I finally got a photograph of a “no trespassing” sign on the outskirts of Clairton (figure 1):
IMG_20200808_133215
Fig. 1. A “no trespassing” sign on the outskirts of Clairton, along Miller Road, just off North State Street. Photograph by author, August 8, 2020.

I say of this on my Pittsburgh page,

The sign in figure 1 is not exceptional. I have white passengers get in my car wearing tee shirts that say, “We don’t call 9-1-1,” and that depict guns. Signs with a similar message may declare that property is “protected by the second amendment.” When you see enough of these signs, and enough of these tee shirts, and enough of these messages; when you see enough guns gratuitously displayed, ostensibly to honor veterans, but especially around certain neighborhoods; when you see the gun nuttery in the state legislature;[1] and when you see gun stores treated as essential businesses during a pandemic,[2] they just don’t seem to be joking anymore.[3]

If I seem to be waffling on the question of moving out of Pittsburgh, it’s because the racism, white supremacism, and politics are, on one hand, so abysmal, and the natural beauty of the place is, on the other, really quite spectacular. Every time I drive up a lane with woods on both sides, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be. Every time I see a Confederate flag, a Trump flag, yet another gun store, or a sign like the one in figure 1, I am so appalled I can’t imagine staying.


  1. [1]Stephen Caruso, “Pro 2nd Amendment lawmakers want to let you carry a gun during an emergency,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 7, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/government-politics/pro-2nd-amendment-lawmakers-want-to-let-you-carry-a-gun-during-an-emergency/; Jon Delano, “Lawrence Co. Lawmaker Wants To Abolish Concealed Carry Gun Permits,” KDKA, May 7, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/05/07/aaron-bernstine-abolish-pennsylvania-concealed-carry-law/
  2. [2]Brian C. Rittmeyer, “Wolf allows gun stores to reopen on limited basis during coronavirus shutdown,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 25, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/wolf-allows-gun-stores-to-reopen-on-limited-basis-during-coronavirus-shutdown/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Pittsburgh,” Irregular Bullshit, n.d., https://disunitedstates.com/pittsburgh/

Political compass

Political Compass

It’s always unwise to attempt to quantify qualitative values and I’ve always had qualms about the Political Compass test because many of its questions are double-headed, meaning they ask two questions simultaneously; and because many embed unfortunate assumptions.

That’s been hard for me to deal with, but I eventually figured out that one has to take the test not for the world as it should be but as it is. And this (figure 1) was my result then:
180px-Political_compass_August_13,_2012
Fig. 1. Political Compass result for author, August 13, 2012.

Now for some reason, all these years later, it’s become a fad on Twitter to display one’s results. So, whatever, I’m sitting at home, waiting for a grocery delivery, and it’d been a while.

It’s often claimed you get more conservative as you get older. Um, no, albeit failing to account for changes in the test over time, at least not in my case (figure 2):
FireShot Capture 248 - The Political Compass - www.politicalcompass.org
Fig. 2. Political Compass result for author, August 9, 2020.

Already as nearly far to the left economically as one can be, it would appear I’ve moved slightly further in a libertarian (not capitalist libertarian) direction.

Oh, and I’ve got all those reactionary wusses whipped.


Donald Trump’s nothing-burger

Recession

Donald Trump’s executive actions, issued in the wake of failed negotiations with Congress, do not amount to another relief package:[1]

“The President cannot create new money with an executive order. These [executive orders] simply show the limitations of the President’s legal authority,” said Jack Smalligan, a former official at the Office of Management and Budget and now a senior policy fellow at the Urban Institute, a centrist think tank.[2]

Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, “Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions,” Washington Post, August 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/08/trump-executive-order-coronavirus/


  1. [1]Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, “Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions,” Washington Post, August 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/08/trump-executive-order-coronavirus/
  2. [2]Jeff Stein, Erica Werner, and Renae Merle, “Trump attempts to wrest tax and spending powers from Congress with new executive actions,” Washington Post, August 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/08/08/trump-executive-order-coronavirus/

Capitalists whine

Allegheny County

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Restaurant and Tavern Association has sort of—only sort of—backed off its threat to reopen bars and restaurants at full capacity. But man, they whine:

In an emotional speech directed to [Tom] Wolf during the rally, [Joe Tambellini] said he’s been in the restaurant business for 41 years.

“Forty-one years — that’s two life sentences, governor. What? You going to throw me in jail? We can’t do it. We can’t do this. So people are talking about opening up, governor, they’re talking about just opening up. You wanna have them open up on their own or you do want to tweak this mandate and let us do it responsibly?” he said.[1]

So there it is. Joe Tambellini compares running a restaurant to a prison sentence.[2] I’m just not even gonna start.

Dillon Carr, “Restaurants back down from ultimatum, request meeting with Gov. Wolf,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 6, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/restaurants-back-down-from-ultimatum-request-meeting-with-gov-wolf/


  1. [1]Dillon Carr, “Restaurants back down from ultimatum, request meeting with Gov. Wolf,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 6, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/restaurants-back-down-from-ultimatum-request-meeting-with-gov-wolf/
  2. [2]Dillon Carr, “Restaurants back down from ultimatum, request meeting with Gov. Wolf,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 6, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/restaurants-back-down-from-ultimatum-request-meeting-with-gov-wolf/

New York Attorney General arranges a massive fundraising boost for the National Rifle Association

National Rifle Association

I predict a huge fundraising bonanza for the National Rifle Association. Because, yes, that’s exactly how this works.

As for the lawsuit[1] itself? We’ll see. There’s a gaming aspect to court proceedings that reduces to a contest to see who can get what rules applied that leads me not to trust that even well-founded cases (which it sounds like this is[2]) will prevail. And we haven’t seen the NRA’s defense yet.

Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html


Ridesharing

Preetika Rana, “Uber Ridership Fails to Recover as Pandemic Drives Another Big Loss,” Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-ridership-fails-to-recover-as-pandemic-drives-another-big-loss-11596744389


  1. [1]Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html
  2. [2]Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger, “New York attorney general seeks to dissolve NRA in suit accusing gun rights group of wide-ranging fraud and self-dealing,” Washington Post, August 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nra-lapierre-ny-attorney-general/2020/08/06/8e389794-d794-11ea-930e-d88518c57dcc_story.html

Enough with the warnings

Allegheny County

There is a new blog post entitled, “Regarding the planned ultimatum by southwestern Pennsylvania bar and restaurant owners.”

Tom Wolf has not responded directly, but shortly afterwards, posted,

We have to do everything we can to keep our communities safe and healthy, including wearing a mask and following mitigation orders so our businesses operate safely.

We continue to work closely with commonwealth agencies and local officials to enforce public safety orders.

The following groups are authorized to enforce business closure orders and safety orders to the full extent of the law:

⚖️ Local officials and law enforcement
🚨 @PAStatePolice
🚑 @PAHealthDept
🍽 @PAAgriculture
💼 @PALaborIndustry
🍺 Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board

Here’s how Pennsylvanians can report #COVID19 health and safety violations:

📱 Contact your local health department or law enforcement agency.
💻 Fill out this form: on.pa.gov/2A8GlK8
⛑ If in violation of OSHA guidance, file a complaint at OSHA.gov.[1]

I hope that enforcement will be vigorous. Enough with the warnings: These assholes know damned well what they’re doing.


Ridesharing

IMG_20190414_135906
Fig. 1. Photograph by author, April 14, 2019.

For anyone curious, I do not expect to benefit from this lawsuit, which relies on AB 5.[2] Gavin Newsom signed the bill on September 18, 2019; it took effect on January 1, 2020.[3] I left the state on April 14, 2019 (figure 1).

Andrew J. Hawkins, “California labor commissioner sues Uber and Lyft for alleged wage theft,” Verge, August 5, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/5/21356096/uber-lyft-california-labor-commissioner-lawsuit-driver-classification


Century III Mall

It’s really quite remarkable: Not far from my apartment is a nearly entirely shuttered shopping mall[4] that apparently was once “the place to go.” There is a neglected roadway, named “Century III Mall,” that is pockmarked with potholes and in fact unfit for traffic: It should be repaired or closed, not simply left to deteriorate as it is.

But to drive down that road is to gaze, carefully, while slowly dodging potholes, to one side and to see relatively modern buildings, certainly more modern than much to be found in surrounding neighborhoods (where many houses are probably something like 80 or 90 years old), left to rot, mostly fenced off. It seems, for now at least, the epitome of abandonment.

I said “nearly entirely shuttered.” One store, even in bankruptcy, remained, JCPenney.[5] Now, it too is closing.[6] It really is bizarre that they clung to this location for so long; I don’t think I ever took anyone there and I doubt I’ve had more than two pickups there.

Jacob Tierney, “Century III Mall’s JCPenney to close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 5, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-malls-jcpenney-to-close/


  1. [1]Tom Wolf, [Twitter thread], Thread Reader App, August 6, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1291345691936198657.html
  2. [2]Andrew J. Hawkins, “California labor commissioner sues Uber and Lyft for alleged wage theft,” Verge, August 5, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/5/21356096/uber-lyft-california-labor-commissioner-lawsuit-driver-classification
  3. [3]John Myers, Johana Bhuiyan, and Margot Roosevelt, “Newsom signs bill rewriting California employment law, limiting use of independent contractors,” Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-18/gavin-newsom-signs-ab5-employees0independent-contractors-california
  4. [4]Sam Bojarski, “Century III Mall boarded up; only JCPenney remains,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-faces-uncertain-future-with-one-tenant-remaining/
  5. [5]Sam Bojarski, “Century III Mall boarded up; only JCPenney remains,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-faces-uncertain-future-with-one-tenant-remaining/
  6. [6]Jacob Tierney, “Century III Mall’s JCPenney to close,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 5, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/century-iii-malls-jcpenney-to-close/