Pieties

George Floyd

There is another new blog post entitled, “Pieties in defense of the status quo.”

The charges against Derek Chauvin, who had his knee on George Floyd’s neck, have been upgraded to second degree murder and charges for aiding and abetting that murder have been laid against the other officers at the scene.[1] I remain skeptical that any charges would have been brought whatsoever had the protests not been so widespread and intense.

Also, the only surprising thing about Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s resistance to Donald Trump’s threat to send in the troops to quell protests over the murder of George Floyd is that he did so publicly.[2]

Ben Collins, Brandy Zadrozny, and Emmanuelle Saliba, “White nationalist group posing as antifa called for violence on Twitter,” NBC News, June 1, 2020,

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/security/twitter-takes-down-washington-protest-disinformation-bot-behavior-n1221456

Sandy Smith, “You Can Be Supportive of the Rioters and Angry With the Looters at the Same Time,” Philadelphia, June 1, 2020, https://www.phillymag.com/news/2020/06/01/philadelphia-looters-protesters/

Colby Itkowitz, “George W. Bush calls out racial injustices and celebrates protesters who ‘march for a better future,’” Washington Post, June 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/george-w-bush-calls-out-racial-injustices-and-celebrates-protesters-who-march-for-a-better-future/2020/06/02/2d2f7252-a511-11ea-bb20-ebf0921f3bbd_story.html

Josh Campbell, Sara Sidner, and Eric Levenson, “All four former officers involved in George Floyd’s killing now face charges,” CNN, June 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/03/us/george-floyd-officers-charges/index.html


  1. [1]Josh Campbell, Sara Sidner, and Eric Levenson, “All four former officers involved in George Floyd’s killing now face charges,” CNN, June 3, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/03/us/george-floyd-officers-charges/index.html
  2. [2]Dan Lamothe, Missy Ryan, and Paul Sonne, “Pentagon chief balks at Trump’s call for active-duty military force on U.S. citizens, and Mattis rips president,” Washington Post, June 3, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/despite-suggestions-from-trump-pentagon-chief-says-he-does-not-support-invoking-insurrection-act/2020/06/03/8e8dad2e-a59e-11ea-8681-7d471bf20207_story.html

The disgrace is complete

George Floyd

I can’t say I’m much impressed. There are, in all honesty, some great quotes in these Washington Post stories.[1] And that’s the real reason I archived them. But there is nothing here that points to actual work towards actual justice, nothing that points to a positive peace.

If the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic raised the question of whether the country is a failed state,[2] this surely answers it.

They turned holy ground into a battleground.[3]

Meanwhile, Evan Osnos has an account of Donald Trump and what happened at that Episcopalean Church near the White House[4] that has infuriated many Christians (but not some evangelical Protestants).[5]

The disgrace is complete.

Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “Episcopal bishop on President Trump: ‘Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence,’” Washington Post, June 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/bishop-budde-trump-church/2020/06/01/20ca70f8-a466-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html

Egan Millard, “Outraged Episcopal leaders condemn tear-gassing clergy, protesters for Trump photo op at Washington church,” Episcopal News Service, June 2, 2020, https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/06/02/episcopal-leaders-express-outrage-condemn-tear-gassing-protesters-for-trump-photo-op-at-washington-church/

Toluse Olorunnipa, “As nation convulses with fiery protests, leaders struggle to address deep racial despair,” Washington Post, June 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-nation-convulses-with-fiery-protests-leaders-struggle-to-address-deep-racial-despair/2020/06/02/92ecd452-a428-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html

Evan Osnos, “‘An Abuse of Sacred Symbols’: Trump, a Bible, and a Sanctuary,” New Yorker, June 2, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/an-abuse-of-sacred-symbols-trump-a-bible-and-a-sanctuary


  1. [1]Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “Episcopal bishop on President Trump: ‘Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence,’” Washington Post, June 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/bishop-budde-trump-church/2020/06/01/20ca70f8-a466-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html; Toluse Olorunnipa, “As nation convulses with fiery protests, leaders struggle to address deep racial despair,” Washington Post, June 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-nation-convulses-with-fiery-protests-leaders-struggle-to-address-deep-racial-despair/2020/06/02/92ecd452-a428-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html
  2. [2]George Packer, “We Are Living in a Failed State,” Atlantic, June 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/06/underlying-conditions/610261/
  3. [3]Gini Gerbasi, quoted in Egan Millard, “Outraged Episcopal leaders condemn tear-gassing clergy, protesters for Trump photo op at Washington church,” Episcopal News Service, June 2, 2020, https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/06/02/episcopal-leaders-express-outrage-condemn-tear-gassing-protesters-for-trump-photo-op-at-washington-church/
  4. [4]Evan Osnos, “‘An Abuse of Sacred Symbols’: Trump, a Bible, and a Sanctuary,” New Yorker, June 2, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/an-abuse-of-sacred-symbols-trump-a-bible-and-a-sanctuary
  5. [5]Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, “Episcopal bishop on President Trump: ‘Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence,’” Washington Post, June 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/bishop-budde-trump-church/2020/06/01/20ca70f8-a466-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html; Egan Millard, “Outraged Episcopal leaders condemn tear-gassing clergy, protesters for Trump photo op at Washington church,” Episcopal News Service, June 2, 2020, https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/06/02/episcopal-leaders-express-outrage-condemn-tear-gassing-protesters-for-trump-photo-op-at-washington-church/; Evan Osnos, “‘An Abuse of Sacred Symbols’: Trump, a Bible, and a Sanctuary,” New Yorker, June 2, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/an-abuse-of-sacred-symbols-trump-a-bible-and-a-sanctuary

Spring doesn’t much retard COVID-19 transmission. Summer is another question.

Pandemic

Mount Auburn’s press release is on a peer-reviewed, published study. Basically, they found that the effects of warmer temperatures, between 52° F and 70° F, were limited in reducing transmission of the novel coronavirus. Their data for temperatures over 70° F is limited, so we still don’t know much about what summer will do to the pandemic in much of the country.[1]

Mount Auburn Hospital, “Warmer Temperatures Slow COVID-19 Transmission, but Not by Much,” June 1, 2020, https://www.mountauburnhospital.org/about-us/press-room/2020/press-release-warmer-temperatures-slow-covid-19-transmission-but/


George Floyd

There is a new blog post entitled, “On sending in the troops.”

Matt Zapotosky, “Trump threatens military action to quell protests, and the law would let him do it,” Washington Post, June 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/can-trump-use-military-to-stop-protests-insurrection-act/2020/06/01/c3724380-a46b-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html


  1. [1]Mount Auburn Hospital, “Warmer Temperatures Slow COVID-19 Transmission, but Not by Much,” June 1, 2020, https://www.mountauburnhospital.org/about-us/press-room/2020/press-release-warmer-temperatures-slow-covid-19-transmission-but/

In Amerikkka, no form of Black protest is acceptable

George Floyd

IMG_20200531_131906
Fig. 1. Photograph by author, May 31, 2020.

In a recent post, I highlight the question of a friend helping a friend guard his Metro PCS store which is, in essence, how should Blacks protest when peaceful protest fails?[1] I don’t think he’s going to like Kellie Carter Jackson’s answer. But I’ll bet you he acknowledges its truth. In short, the answer is that no form of Black protest is acceptable in Amerikkka.[2] As James Downie noted,

When mostly white protesters openly carrying assault rifles tried to shut down the Michigan state legislature, police didn’t fire rubber bullets or drive cars into demonstrators. But when mostly nonwhite protesters marched, that restraint was nowhere to be seen.[3]

Kellie Carter Jackson, “The Double Standard of the American Riot,” Atlantic, June 1, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/06/riots-are-american-way-george-floyd-protests/612466/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “What are ‘proper directions’ for protest when peaceful protest is for naught?” Not Housebroken, June 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/29/what-are-proper-directions-for-protest-when-peaceful-protest-is-for-naught/
  2. [2]Kellie Carter Jackson, “The Double Standard of the American Riot,” Atlantic, June 1, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/06/riots-are-american-way-george-floyd-protests/612466/
  3. [3]James Downie, “Time to toss the ‘bad apples’ excuse,” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/31/time-toss-bad-apples-excuse/

The country is burning and the elites reveal how very much alike they are

George Floyd

IMG_20200531_131906
Fig. 1. Graffiti declaring “I Love You, I Miss You” has appeared in lots of places around Pittsburgh. This is one example, captured when I didn’t have the opportunity to frame the shot better. Photograph by author, May 31, 2020.

There is a new blog post entitled, “The reason the status quo is not the answer is that the status quo cannot be the answer.”

James Downie, “Time to toss the ‘bad apples’ excuse,” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/31/time-toss-bad-apples-excuse/

Philip Rucker, “As cities burned, Trump stayed silent — other than tweeting fuel on the fire,” Washington Post, May 31, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-cities-burned-trump-stayed-silent–other-than-tweeting-fuel-on-the-fire/2020/05/31/4fc8761a-a354-11ea-b619-3f9133bbb482_story.html

David Charter, “George Floyd: US rocked by worst race riots since 1960s,” Times, June 1, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/american-cities-rocked-by-worst-race-riots-since-the-1960s-fn0x0jlmj

Rebecca Tan et al, “Night of destruction across D.C. after protesters clash with police outside White House,” Washington Post, June 1, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-braces-for-third-day-of-protests-and-clashes-over-death-of-george-floyd/2020/05/31/589471a4-a33b-11ea-b473-04905b1af82b_story.html


When authorities refuse to do what is blindingly obvious they should do, when they refuse to respond to nonviolent protest, what are folks supposed to do?

George Floyd

And they do so even when it was blindingly obvious that something else was needed:

This formulation is showing up a lot in my Twitter feed:

They’ve got the receipts. Meanwhile,

I don’t know how true that is—it certainly is possible, especially in Pittsburgh—but those arguing for nonviolence still need to answer a question.

Dillon Carr and Natasha Lindstrom, “George Floyd protests in Pittsburgh: Curfew in effect; protesters turn violent; police cars torched,” TribLive, May 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protests-underway-in-downtown-pittsburgh/

KDKA, “Pittsburgh Public Safety Has Declared ‘Unlawful Assembly’ Downtown, Urging Businesses To Close, Residents To Stay Home,” May 30, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/05/30/protest-shuts-down-streets-downtown/


So many reasons for unrest

Pandemic

As a Guardian article notes, Donald Trump promised to revitalize the coal industry. Whatever efforts he made to that end, they were insufficient anyway. But the pandemic adds to workers’ woes in this region. Some will surely blame the lockdown, even as they lose the health insurance that would help to address COVID-19 related medical costs, that had already helped manage the medical costs they already bear.[1] Neither neoliberals nor environmentalists are addressing this and their failure to do so only reinforces my doubts that either neoliberals (the mainstream of the Democratic Party) or environmentalists really want be rid of Donald Trump.

Ian Lovett, Erin Ailworth, and Joe Barrett, “Minnesota Bolsters Law Enforcement as Protests Roil U.S. After George Floyd’s Death,” Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/george-floyd-protests-minneapolis-11590844180

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court rejects challenge to California limits on church crowds during pandemic,” Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-05-29/supreme-court-california-church-crowds-pandemic

Michael Sainato, “The collapse of coal: pandemic accelerates Appalachia job losses,” Guardian, May 29, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/29/coal-miners-coronavirus-job-losses


Pacific Gas and Electric

If the California Public Utilities Commission wants to satisfy folks that regulatory capture is not involved in its decision to approve PG&E’s bankruptcy plan, it needs to explain exactly how it is that the judge’s ideas would hamper its flexibility in regulation.[2] That isn’t even the least bit clear.

KPIX, “Federal Judge Calls PG&E ‘Recalcitrant Criminal,’ Delays New Probation Ruling,” May 28, 2020, https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/05/28/regulators-approve-pge-bankruptcy-plan-despite-safety-fears/


George Floyd

A Wall Street Journal news alert (figure 1) caught my eye:
FireShot Capture 166 - WSJ News Alert_ U.S. Army Units Prepare for Possible Deployment to Mi_ - mail.google.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of a misleading Wall Street Journal news alert.

In fact, the National Guard is being mobilized.[3] And yes, the difference matters.

My last blog post remains relevant.

Ian Lovett, Erin Ailworth, and Joe Barrett, “Minnesota Bolsters Law Enforcement as Protests Roil U.S. After George Floyd’s Death,” Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/george-floyd-protests-minneapolis-11590844180

Jon Queally, “Cornel West Says ‘Neo-Fascist Gangster’ Trump and Neoliberal Democrats Expose America as ‘Failed Social Experiment,’” Common Dreams, May 30, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/30/cornel-west-says-neo-fascist-gangster-trump-and-neoliberal-democrats-expose-america


  1. [1]Michael Sainato, “The collapse of coal: pandemic accelerates Appalachia job losses,” Guardian, May 29, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/29/coal-miners-coronavirus-job-losses
  2. [2]KPIX, “Federal Judge Calls PG&E ‘Recalcitrant Criminal,’ Delays New Probation Ruling,” May 28, 2020, https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/05/28/regulators-approve-pge-bankruptcy-plan-despite-safety-fears/
  3. [3]Ian Lovett, Erin Ailworth, and Joe Barrett, “Minnesota Bolsters Law Enforcement as Protests Roil U.S. After George Floyd’s Death,” Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/george-floyd-protests-minneapolis-11590844180

Calling for peace when the cops are still murdering people

Institutional racism

There is a new blog post entitled, “What are ‘proper directions’ for protest when peaceful protest is for naught?

Associated Press, “Officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck arrested on murder charge,” Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-05-29/minnesota-george-floyd-officer-arrested

Holly Bailey et al., “Chaotic Minneapolis protests spread amid emotional calls for justice, peace, Washington Post, May 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/29/chaotic-minneapolis-protests-spread-amid-emotional-calls-justice-peace/


Pittsburgh

U.S. Steel’s response is that this is old news.[1]

WTAE, “Allegheny Co. Health Department announces fines against U.S. Steel for violations at Clairton Coke Works,” May 28, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-co-health-department-announces-fines-against-us-steel-for-violations-at-clairton-coke-works/32702736


Pandemic

Allegheny County goes to “green” phase on June 5.[2]

Jamie Martines, “Gov. Wolf to move Allegheny, Westmoreland, other counties to green phase,” TribLive, May 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-move-allegheny-westmoreland-other-counties-to-green-phase/


  1. [1]WTAE, “Allegheny Co. Health Department announces fines against U.S. Steel for violations at Clairton Coke Works,” May 28, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-co-health-department-announces-fines-against-us-steel-for-violations-at-clairton-coke-works/32702736
  2. [2]Jamie Martines, “Gov. Wolf to move Allegheny, Westmoreland, other counties to green phase,” TribLive, May 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-move-allegheny-westmoreland-other-counties-to-green-phase/

Just another ‘few bad apples’ killing yet another Black man

Institutional racism

Mayor Jacob Frey’s tweet is, yet again, the “a few bad apples” response to yet another incident where a white cop kills a Black man. We are long past the point here where racist cops can be dismissed as “a few bad apples.” There are simply too many of these incidents to be so lightly dismissed. But to do so evades the culpability of the entire chain of command in creating, tolerating, and sustaining a situation where these incidents occur.[1]

Remember always, when somebody utters the “law and order” canard, to ask, whose law? Whose order?

Elie Mystal, “There’s Only One Possible Conclusion: White America Likes Its Killer Cops,” Nation, May 27, 2020, https://www.thenation.com/article/society/white-america-cops/


Recession

Tony Romm, “Americans have filed more than 40 million jobless claims in past 10 weeks, as another 2.1 million filed for benefits last week,” Washington Post, May 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/28/unemployment-claims-coronavirus/


  1. [1]Philip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect (New York: Random House, 2008).

The different ways the pandemic affects education

Education

There is a new blog post entitled, “Keeping the poor, poor, even when they serve their country.”

Jason Togyer, “In towns like McKeesport, the future was already precarious. Then came coronavirus,” Columbia Journalism Review, May 22, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-mckeesport-crime-covid-19.php

Greta Anderson, “A One-Day Difference,” Inside Higher Ed, May 27, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/05/27/rules-could-deprive-national-guard-members-fighting-covid-19-education-benefits


Gratuitous guns

I was working in some areas I hadn’t worked in so intensively before today and found three more gratuitous guns. These are farther west, in Ambridge, New Brighton, and Beaver Falls, than others I’d seen in the Pittsburgh area. I had to do some clean-up of the relevant album and re-add all the locations as a single layer to the map because it turns out there’s a limit to how many layers you can add to one of these maps. But they’re all there now.

See Pittsburgh.