Pennsylvania bummer

Pennsylvania

As I understood it, it was the potential tax revenue that got California state officials to buy into legalization of recreational marijuana. So look what’s happening now that Pennsylvania has a budget problem.[1] Well, maybe.

I first heard about this possibility last September going into October.[2] I heard about it again in February.[3]

So far, I haven’t heard about any actual movement. Apparently it’s bottled up in committee:

State Sen. [Patrick] Stefano chairs the Law and Justice Committee and oversees the state’s liquor, police and marijuana.

“The bill to legalize recreational adult use marijuana is in my committee and I don’t plan on bringing it up anytime soon yet. We have a lot of research yet to do.” . . .

State Sen. Stefano said his committee is doing research and looking into new studies. He tells KDKA’s Meghan Schiller the biggest hold up right now is that there’s no way to measure THC in a person’s body. He said until there’s a tool to measure intoxication, he’s hesitant to move forward.[4]

What an ass. He asks, “Why don’t we look at controlling our spending first?”[5] In a pandemic, during which this legislature wasn’t nearly so cautious about trying to overturn Tom Wolf’s lockdown,[6] a move rejected by the state supreme court,[7] and which he appears to have lifted too soon at least in Allegheny County.[8]

I hate the Pennsylvania legislature.

Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/


Higher Education

I am, of course, entirely sympathetic to the suit Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have filed against a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule requiring international students at online-only universities, even those switching to online-only on account of the pandemic, to go home.[9] And make no mistake: The harm is great. There are a number of students who, thanks to Trump administration malice, might not be able to re-enter the country if and when their universities ever do go back to in-person instruction.[10] This is a malicious, evil rule.

That doesn’t make me optimistic that the universities will succeed in overturning it. If the purpose of a student visa is to enable students to attend in-person classes, then it quite logically follows that they don’t need to be here when those classes aren’t being held. And there is considerable question about the ability of universities, even those that have sworn to do so, to reopen for in-person classes this year.[11] And, by the way, I don’t trust a lot of students to observe social distancing and mask-wearing rules either, certainly not when so many seem so amenable to the very stupidest notions of conformity with the stupidest of their peers,[12] which is to say that additional caution will certainly be warranted.

That means a lot of kids may be headed home and, oh, how I wish it were otherwise.

Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines

Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142


  1. [1]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  2. [2]Hunter Moyler, “Pennsylvania proposes sale of recreational marijuana just days after governor says he supports legalization,” Newsweek, October 2, 2019, https://www.newsweek.com/pennsylvania-proposes-sale-recreational-marijuana-just-days-after-governor-says-he-supports-1462756; Kara Seymour, “PA Governor Calls For Legalizing Recreational Marijuana,” Patch, September 25, 2019, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/gutg4/pa-governor-calls-for-legalizing-recreational-marijuana
  3. [3]WTAE, “New bill to legalize recreational marijuana unveiled by state lawmaker from Pittsburgh,” February 20, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/recreational-marijuana-bill-pittsburgh-state-rep-jake-wheatley/31025380
  4. [4]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  5. [5]Patrick Stefano, quoted in Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  6. [6]Associated Press, “Pennsylvania GOP seeks to dismantle Wolf’s shutdown,” Tribune-Review, June 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-gop-seeks-to-dismantle-wolfs-shutdown/; Nick Matoney, “‘We can’t do this for another 90 days’: Pa. General Assembly votes to end COVID-19 emergency declaration,” WTAE, June 10, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/we-cant-do-this-for-another-90-days-pa-general-assembly-votes-to-end-covid-19-emergency-declaration/32821325
  7. [7]Elizabeth Hardison and Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Supreme Court throws out GOP challenge to Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency order,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-supreme-court-throws-out-gop-challenge-to-wolfs-covid-19-emergency-order/
  8. [8]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 90 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total for county,” Tribune-Review, June 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-highest-daily-total-of-coronavirus-cases-at-90/; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Officials: Spike In New Coronavirus Cases Linked To Bars, Not Protests,” June 29, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/29/spike-in-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-bars-not-protests/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/; Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/; Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “83 new cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County, no new deaths,” Tribune-Review, June 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/83-new-cases-of-coronavirus-in-allegheny-county-no-new-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/; Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/; WTAE, “Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in Pennsylvania,” July 1, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/masks-are-now-mandatory-in-all-public-spaces-in-pennsylvania/33026253
  9. [9]Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines
  10. [10]Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142
  11. [11]Robert Kelchen, “Colleges Aren’t Reopening in the Fall,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 18, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Colleges-Aren-t-Reopening-in/248803
  12. [12]David Benfell, “Women’s lives are still expendable,” Not Housebroken, October 22, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/10/22/womens-lives-are-still-expendable/

Poor, poor, spoiled-rotten babies

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 20, 10:34 pm.
  2. June 21, 4:23 am:
    • It appears there was a campaign on TikTok to reserve tickets for Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa that would never be used. The campaign, reported by CNN in a story that appears to be several days older than the dateline (judging from the URL, it would have been June 16), was not expected to succeed as it is routine that many more “RSVP” for these events than can actually attend and the rallies usually fill arenas anyway.[1] I do not and suspect I will never have the pieces put together to say that this campaign was indeed the cause of Trump’s disappointment[2] but the TikTok users, joined by Korean pop music fans, are claiming success.[3]
  3. June 21, 10:25 am:
  4. June 21, 2:53 pm:
    • Yashar Ali has what I think is a very useful analysis of Donald Trump’s rally failure,[4] which I have included in an update to my new blog entry (from the 10:25 am update).

Police

Atlanta police have responded to a murder charge against the officer who killed Rayshard Brooks with various labor actions, including a sick-out and refusals to leave their precincts.[5] This underscores a point I have previously made that police refuse accountability and so cannot be trusted with weapons.[6] I would say now that they cannot be trusted with authority over others, period.

We can now identify four essential features of policing as currently practiced:

  1. A unique license to use even lethal force against other human beings;
  2. the use of this license to enforce laws passed by mostly wealthy white men against other human beings;[7]
  3. a nearly-unanimous refusal of accountability for the use of this force;[8]
  4. and that this license colors any other tactics police may use, effectively reducing them to the potential for even lethal force.

In sum, all this amounts to is a response to so-called ‘disorder’ (as understood by mostly wealthy white men[9]) with effectively unregulated violence in which the perpetrators, both at the legislative and enforcement levels, generally refuse to recognize there is a problem.

I have updated a recent blog post accordingly and, as well, to account for Zak Cheney-Rice’s article,[10] which I had not seen before writing that post.

Will Pavia, “Atlanta police stage sick leave protest over murder charge,” Times, June 19, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/angry-police-in-sick-leave-protest-over-murder-charge-trf6btshv

Zak Cheney-Rice, “Why Police Abolition Is a Useful Framework — Even for Skeptics,” New York, June 15, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/police-abolitionist-lessons-for-america.html


Pennsylvania

KDKA, “Report: Pennsylvania’s State Economy Has Some Of The Most Racial Inequality In The Country,” June 17, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/17/pennsylvania-economy-racial-inequality/


Donald Trump

Eugene Daniels, “Trump campaign blames protesters for disappointing turnout at Tulsa rally,” Politico, June 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/20/trump-rally-tulsa-coronavirus-reset-2020-campaign-330248

Donie O’Sullivan, “TikTok users are trying to troll Trump’s campaign by reserving tickets for Tulsa rally they’ll never use,” CNN, June 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/16/politics/tiktok-trump-tulsa-rally-trnd/index.html

Aruna Viswanatha, “Judge Denies Justice Department Request to Immediately Block Bolton Book,” Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/judge-denies-justice-department-request-to-block-bolton-book-11592663539

Yashar Ali, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, June 21, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/embed/1274547228619636738.html

Taylor Lorenz, Kellen Browning, and Sheera Frenkel, “TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally,” New York Times, June 21, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/style/tiktok-trump-rally-tulsa.html

Andrew Solender, “Turnout At Trump’s Tulsa Rally Was Just Under 6,200–A Fraction Of The Venue’s 19,200 Capacity,” Forbes, June 21, 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewsolender/2020/06/21/turnout-at-trumps-tulsa-rally-was-just-under-6200a-fraction-of-the-venues-19200-capacity/


  1. [1]Donie O’Sullivan, “TikTok users are trying to troll Trump’s campaign by reserving tickets for Tulsa rally they’ll never use,” CNN, June 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/16/politics/tiktok-trump-tulsa-rally-trnd/index.html
  2. [2]Eugene Daniels, “Trump campaign blames protesters for disappointing turnout at Tulsa rally,” Politico, June 20, 2020, https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/20/trump-rally-tulsa-coronavirus-reset-2020-campaign-330248
  3. [3]Taylor Lorenz, Kellen Browning, and Sheera Frenkel, “TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally,” New York Times, June 21, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/style/tiktok-trump-rally-tulsa.html
  4. [4]Yashar Ali, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, June 21, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/embed/1274547228619636738.html
  5. [5]Will Pavia, “Atlanta police stage sick leave protest over murder charge,” Times, June 19, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/angry-police-in-sick-leave-protest-over-murder-charge-trf6btshv
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Time to take the guns away,” Not Housebroken, January 6, 2015, https://disunitedstates.org/2015/01/04/time-to-take-the-guns-away/
  7. [7]Herbert J. Gans, The War Against The Poor: The Underclass And Antipoverty Policy (New York: Basic, 1995); Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Time to take the guns away,” Not Housebroken, January 6, 2015, https://disunitedstates.org/2015/01/04/time-to-take-the-guns-away/; Zak Cheney-Rice, “Why Police Abolition Is a Useful Framework — Even for Skeptics,” New York, June 15, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/police-abolitionist-lessons-for-america.html; Will Pavia, “Atlanta police stage sick leave protest over murder charge,” Times, June 19, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/angry-police-in-sick-leave-protest-over-murder-charge-trf6btshv
  9. [9]David Benfell, “A constitutional oligarchy: Deconstructing Federalist No. 10,” Not Housebroken, June 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/22/a-constitutional-oligarchy-deconstructing-federalist-no-10/
  10. [10]Zak Cheney-Rice, “Why Police Abolition Is a Useful Framework — Even for Skeptics,” New York, June 15, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/police-abolitionist-lessons-for-america.html

Eviction can’t be the answer, but I guess it is

Recession

I previously noted that “[t]he self-righteousness and sense of entitlement is strong in these folks [landlords]”[1] and indeed they are evicting and harassing tenants by means both legal and illegal.[2]

Even if they can’t be evicted right now, if the courts are closed, the landlords are sending threatening emails, text messages, asking for rent, threatening to lock tenants out.[3]

They’re ruthless in the very ways I have heard so many times over the years that they are.

Nationwide, the coronavirus housing catastrophe is just beginning to pick up momentum. The true eviction cliff could come in August, after the federal $600-per-week boost to unemployment benefits ends. Those benefits are helping tens of millions of households keep up with the rent. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already pledged not to renew these benefits.[4]

Eviction can’t be the answer, but I guess it is, even as housing really already wasn’t affordable for low income folks anywhere in the country,[5] making the burden of catching upon missed rent payments likely insurmountable.

Associated Press, “Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction,” U.S. News and World Report, June 14, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2020-06-13/tenants-behind-on-rent-in-pandemic-face-harassment-eviction


Pacific Gas and Electric

After each name was read, the chief executive of PG&E Corp. solemnly answered: “Guilty, your honor.”

PG&E admitted its guilt Tuesday in Butte County Superior Court in connection with the Camp Fire, the second time in three years the state’s largest utility has been convicted of a felony.[6]

Pacific Gas and Electric pled guilty to “a count of felony involuntary manslaughter for each of the 84 victims and a single count of unlawfully starting a fire, for a total of 85 counts.”[7] The corporation is a repeat felony offender, but it seems very unlikely anyone is going to prison and it seems highly likely the company will be allowed to continue operating.

I had thought the consequences of a felony conviction were supposed to be rather more serious.

Dale Kasler, “PG&E pleads guilty to manslaughter charges for Camp Fire, deadliest in California history,” Sacramento Bee, June 16, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article243571597.html


Housekeeping

So as I have begun to look seriously at housing options (because I think I may need to move next year), I’m seeing a situation around Pittsburgh and, for that matter, pretty much all around the country, in which there are four options:

  1. Affordable housing in desperately poor and likely dangerous neighborhoods. These are likely slums. I’m already unhappy with my present landlord on maintenance issues and these are neighborhoods I don’t even want to drive through at night (they’re fine during the day), let alone sleep in.
  2. Affordable housing in not so poor but white supremacist neighborhoods. This is pretty much the situation I’m in now. It’s quiet and I can sleep at night. Usually, the maintenance is pretty good (just not on a couple issues lately). But I hate seeing the guns. I hate seeing the Confederate flags. I hate seeing all the camouflage paint schemes. I hate seeing the “Blue Lives Matter” flags and signs expressing support for local police.
  3. Unaffordable housing in wealthier, better educated, and often gentrified neighborhoods. Here I find people with whom I can have intelligent conversations. But I can’t afford the rent.
  4. Unaffordable housing in fabulously wealthy neighborhoods, sometimes with fabulous views. Obviously not an option.

The other thing I’m increasingly sensing is that in Pittsburgh, renting generally marks one as poor: Houses can be bought for $300,000, so if you rent, you are either renting a very expensive apartment or you are poor. This bothers me because I am well aware that being poor marks one as a target for the police and I in fact go to great lengths to limit the appearance of being poor (the Uber and Lyft stickers on my car do not help).

I haven’t actually had any trouble with the police here but let’s just say it’s a sensitive point for me.


  1. [1]David Benfell, “When nothing happened next,” Not Housebroken, March 29, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/29/when-nothing-happened-next/
  2. [2]Associated Press, “Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction,” U.S. News and World Report, June 14, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2020-06-13/tenants-behind-on-rent-in-pandemic-face-harassment-eviction
  3. [3]Rachel Garland, quoted in Associated Press, “Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction,” U.S. News and World Report, June 14, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2020-06-13/tenants-behind-on-rent-in-pandemic-face-harassment-eviction
  4. [4]Kriston Capps, “What Happens When the Eviction Bans End?” CityLab, May 29, 2020, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/05/pay-rent-eviction-ban-coronavirus-housing-crisis-landlord/612277/
  5. [5]National Low Income Housing Coalition, “Out Of Reach 2019,” 2020, https://reports.nlihc.org/oor
  6. [6]Dale Kasler, “PG&E pleads guilty to manslaughter charges for Camp Fire, deadliest in California history,” Sacramento Bee, June 16, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article243571597.html
  7. [7]Dale Kasler, “PG&E pleads guilty to manslaughter charges for Camp Fire, deadliest in California history,” Sacramento Bee, June 16, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article243571597.html

This ‘lesser of two evils’ thing just ain’t working like it used to

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 14, 10:00 pm.
  2. June 15, 7:16 am:
    • Even my loyal readers hadn’t read my most recent blog post and I realized the argument could be made stronger. I have revised it and changed the publication date. This affects the URL. It has been updated here.
  3. June 15, 9:50 am:
    • There has been yet another police shooting of yet another Black man.[1] That blog post has been revised further.

Horse race

It would seem that some folks just aren’t buying into the whole concept of “lesser of two evils” anymore.[2] That’s probably a bigger problem for Democrats than it is Republicans. They were warned. I warned them[3] but they were also warned by a whole bunch of people besides me all this year.

But of course, that assumes the Democrats even want to win. Which, to me, isn’t at all clear.[4]

Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., “New generation of activists, deeply skeptical of Democratic Party, resists calls to channel energy into the 2020 campaign,” Washington Post, June 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-generation-of-activists-deeply-skeptical-of-democratic-party-resists-calls-to-channel-energy-into-the-2020-campaign/2020/06/13/cbacede6-ac47-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html


Police

There is a new blog post entitled, “Defunding the police is, at best, a baby’s first step.”

Amanda Arnold, “What Exactly Does It Mean to Defund the Police?” Cut, June 12, 2020, https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/what-does-defund-the-police-mean-the-phrase-explained.html

Theresa Waldrop et al., “Autopsy report says Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back, lists manner of death as homicide,” CNN, June 14, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/14/us/atlanta-protests-rayshard-brooks-sunday/index.html

Felicia Sonmez et al., “Killing of black man in Atlanta puts spotlight anew on police, as prosecutors contemplate charges against officer,” Washington Post, June 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/killing-of-black-man-in-atlanta-puts-spotlight-anew-on-police-as-prosecutors-contemplate-charges-against-officer/2020/06/14/ad9cea20-ae60-11ea-856d-5054296735e5_story.html


Recession

Olivia Rockeman and Jill Ward, “Millions of Job Losses Are at Risk of Becoming Permanent,” Bloomberg, June 14, 2020, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-06-14/millions-of-jobs-could-be-permanently-lost-in-reallocation-shock


  1. [1]Felicia Sonmez et al., “Killing of black man in Atlanta puts spotlight anew on police, as prosecutors contemplate charges against officer,” Washington Post, June 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/killing-of-black-man-in-atlanta-puts-spotlight-anew-on-police-as-prosecutors-contemplate-charges-against-officer/2020/06/14/ad9cea20-ae60-11ea-856d-5054296735e5_story.html; Theresa Waldrop et al., “Autopsy report says Rayshard Brooks was shot twice in the back, lists manner of death as homicide,” CNN, June 14, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/14/us/atlanta-protests-rayshard-brooks-sunday/index.html
  2. [2]Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., “New generation of activists, deeply skeptical of Democratic Party, resists calls to channel energy into the 2020 campaign,” Washington Post, June 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/new-generation-of-activists-deeply-skeptical-of-democratic-party-resists-calls-to-channel-energy-into-the-2020-campaign/2020/06/13/cbacede6-ac47-11ea-9063-e69bd6520940_story.html
  3. [3]David Benfell, “A false dichotomy view of politics,” Not Housebroken, November 2, 2016, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/05/15/the-lesser-of-two-evils-the-more-successful-con-artist/; David Benfell, “The lesser of two evils? The more successful con artist,” Not Housebroken, May 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/05/15/the-lesser-of-two-evils-the-more-successful-con-artist/; David Benfell, “How the neoliberal (usually known as Democratic) party may well lose in 2020,” Not Housebroken, December 7, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/07/how-the-neoliberal-usually-known-as-democratic-party-may-well-lose-in-2020/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The limits of game theory in U.S. politics,” Not Housebroken, December 20, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/20/the-limits-of-game-theory-in-u-s-politics/

Kente cloth was the wrong cloth to wear

George Floyd

There is a new blog post entitled, “They should have ‘simply worn red.’

Nana Efua Mumford, “Democratic leaders’ kneeling was fine. The kente cloth was not,” Washington Post, June 11, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/06/11/educate-yourself-before-you-wear-kente/

Maritza Perez, “The Congressional Police Reform Bill Fails to Meet the Moment,” Common Dreams, June 12, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/06/12/congressional-police-reform-bill-fails-meet-moment


Pittsburgh

One longstanding issue has been that police have increasingly been dealing with social problems, such as drug addiction, homelessness, and poverty. They have one approach, which is pretty much to treat everything and everybody as criminal or as potentially criminal. But it’s completely the wrong approach for many issues, especially where mental health is involved.

Bill Peduto is backing a measure that would enable the police to step back from at least some of these issues so people who are really victims can actually get help rather than ending up in the slammer.[1] It’s a good move.

Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Proposes Creation Of New Office That Would ‘Allow Public Safety To Step Back’ And Get People Longer-Term Help,” KDKA, June 12, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/12/pittsburgh-office-of-community-health-and-safety/


  1. [1]Andy Sheehan, “Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto Proposes Creation Of New Office That Would ‘Allow Public Safety To Step Back’ And Get People Longer-Term Help,” KDKA, June 12, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/12/pittsburgh-office-of-community-health-and-safety/

Yes, it is possible to be safe without the police, at least in some places for a limited time

I’m going ahead and publishing this now. The weather has gotten interesting north of here—apparently a tornado near Beaver Falls—and a severe thunderstorm warning has been posted for at least very close to my area.


George Floyd

With so many examples of how humanity is not ready for anarchism, it’s quite a surprise to read an account of how a community protected itself without the police and without replicating the problems of the police.[1] I don’t know how sustainable this is or how widely applicable, but it’s quite a story and certainly worth looking at.

Meanwhile Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor looks more broadly, both historically and topically, at the issues the U.S. needs to address[2]—and of course, won’t. I had not seen her article when I tweeted my response to Chuck Wendig above, but I think we’re on the same page.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “How Do We Change America?” New Yorker, June 8, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-do-we-change-america

Hahrie Han, “What Happened When the Minneapolis Police Lost Legitimacy?” New York Times, June 10, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/opinion/floyd-minneapolis-police-protests.html


  1. [1]Hahrie Han, “What Happened When the Minneapolis Police Lost Legitimacy?” New York Times, June 10, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/10/opinion/floyd-minneapolis-police-protests.html
  2. [2]Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “How Do We Change America?” New Yorker, June 8, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-do-we-change-america

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/

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,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 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/