Gavin Newsom might not think what you think he thinks

Pacific Gas and Electric

My guess is that this is not what Gavin Newsom, who has, on balance, been governing as a progressive, means:

PG&E had been on the defensive for months after a group of bondholders made their own alliance with wildfire victims and mounted a hostile takeover bid for the utility. The bondholders, led by Wall Street hedge fund Elliott Management, insisted their takeover plan is still better for California and said PG&E’s proposal would burden the company with billions in new debt.

With Newsom rejecting PG&E’s plan, the bondholders’ effort gets new life.[1]

I’m thinking more along the lines of,

“Nothing I can think of says, ‘screw the public interest’ like a hedge fund-owned public utility,” [Dave] King said.[2]

Dale Kasler, “Gavin Newsom rejects PG&E bankruptcy plan, demands ‘radically restructured’ CA utility,” Sacramento Bee, December 13, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238350708.html


Cenk Uygur

There is a new blog post entitled, “Bernie Sanders should not have endorsed Cenk Uygur in the first place.” This is the first of two new posts today.

Michael Finnegan, “Bernie Sanders retracts endorsement of Californian who defends crude sex ratings of women,” Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-12/bernie-sanders-endorses-cenk-uygur-young-turks


Anti-Semitism

A self-identifying Zionist affirms a right to criticize Zionism, criticizing the order that Donald Trump issued[3] earlier this week.[4]

Kenneth Stern, “I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/antisemitism-executive-order-trump-chilling-effect


The Left

There is another new blog post entitled, “On lessons to be learned.”

David Adler, “What the U.S. Left Can Learn From the Labour Party’s Epic Loss,” In These Times, December 13, 2019, http://inthesetimes.com/article/22220/labour-party-jeremy-corbyn-boris-johnson-uk-brexit-bernie-sanders-left

John Cassidy, “What Are the Real Lessons of the U.K. Election for 2020?” New Yorker, December 14, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-are-the-real-lessons-of-the-uk-election-for-2020


Donald Trump

Robert Barnes, “Supreme Court will take up Trump’s broad claims of protection from investigation,” Washington Post, December 13, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-will-take-up-trumps-broad-claims-of-protection-from-investigation/2019/12/13/1de84cd6-1d19-11ea-8d58-5ac3600967a1_story.html


  1. [1]Dale Kasler, “Gavin Newsom rejects PG&E bankruptcy plan, demands ‘radically restructured’ CA utility,” Sacramento Bee, December 13, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article238350708.html
  2. [2]Tyler Silvy, “Sonoma Clean Power officials will explore public ownership of PG&E utility lines,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, November 14, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10315410-181/sonoma-clean-power-officials-will
  3. [3]Kenneth Stern, “I drafted the definition of antisemitism. Rightwing Jews are weaponizing it,” Guardian, December 13, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/13/antisemitism-executive-order-trump-chilling-effect
  4. [4]Jacob Kornbluh and Melissa Weiss, “A first look at the language of Trump’s executive order on antisemitism,” Jewish Insider, December 11, 2019, https://jewishinsider.com/2019/12/exclusive-a-first-look-at-the-language-of-trumps-executive-order-on-antisemitism/; Veronica Stracqualursi, Paul LeBlanc, and Betsy Klein, “Trump aims to crack down on anti-Semitism on college campuses using civil rights protections,” CNN, December 10, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/10/politics/trump-order-judaism-nationality/index.html

Gun nuttery at the Supreme Court, yet again

Guns

I’m sorry but you just can’t tell me this (figure 1) is about hunting and self-defense.
IMG_0018
Fig. 1. Tank on permanent display outside the Anthony Arms and Shooting Center in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, a civilian arms dealer. This is directly across the street from the Allegheny County Airport, the predecessor to Pittsburgh International Airport. The bulk, at least, of West Mifflin is in Mon Valley, an area predominantly populated by Blacks, many of whom are poor or working class. The airport and this gun shop are located on high ground which overlooks this valley. Photograph by author, September 26, 2019.

Andrew Chung, “U.S. Supreme Court weighs challenge to New York gun transport limits,” Reuters, December 1, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-guns/us-supreme-court-weighs-challenge-to-new-york-gun-transport-limits-idUSKBN1Y50ZG


Abortion

I would highlight the insidious expansion of the term ‘fetus’ to include any product of conception.[1] I understood the term to refer to what an embryo grows into. The Oxford Dictionary of English puts the transition at eight weeks following conception.[2] But bills in Ohio and Pennsylvania are defining it down to the moment of conception. The Ohio bill mandates the reimplantation of the zygote in an ectopic pregnancy—a life-threatening condition—into the uterus. And the Pennsylvania bill attempts to require cremation or burial of remains. All of this is more about being holier-than-thou than it is about what’s even possible.[3]

Peter Wade, “Legislators in Ohio and Pennsylvania Are Proposing Incredibly Restrictive Anti-Abortion Legislation,” Rolling Stone, November 30, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/legislators-in-ohio-and-pennsylvania-are-proposing-incredibly-restrictive-anti-abortion-legislation-919928/


Surveys

So I’ve been calling survey methodology bullshit since I learned the response rate had been nine percent,[4] which simply makes survey methodology untenable—I don’t care what they say or how they manage to excuse it.

It turns out, however, I’ve been wrong since the end of February. The response rate is now down to six or seven percent. Supposedly studies confirm that survey research is still useful and predictive.[5] No. Bullshit.

The portion of the population that chooses to respond to surveys is now entirely a self-selecting group. I don’t care how often you roll the die and get seven. You’re still wrong to call this science.

Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/


  1. [1]Peter Wade, “Legislators in Ohio and Pennsylvania Are Proposing Incredibly Restrictive Anti-Abortion Legislation,” Rolling Stone, November 30, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/legislators-in-ohio-and-pennsylvania-are-proposing-incredibly-restrictive-anti-abortion-legislation-919928/
  2. [2]Oxford Dictionary of English, 3rd ed. (2010), s.v. “fetus.”
  3. [3]Stephen Caruso, “Pa. House passes fetal remains bill with bipartisan backing,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, November 28, 2019, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/pa-house-passes-fetal-remains-bill-with-bipartisan-backing/; Peter Wade, “Legislators in Ohio and Pennsylvania Are Proposing Incredibly Restrictive Anti-Abortion Legislation,” Rolling Stone, November 30, 2019, https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/legislators-in-ohio-and-pennsylvania-are-proposing-incredibly-restrictive-anti-abortion-legislation-919928/
  4. [4]Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409
  5. [5]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019, https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/02/27/response-rates-in-telephone-surveys-have-resumed-their-decline/

Colonization and a potential pogrom

Hong Kong

Tseng Yat-yiu et al., “Hong Kong District Elections Could Gauge Support For Protest Movement,” Global Security, November 22, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/china/2019/china-191122-rfa01.htm


Pittsburgh

So I saw this (figure 1):
IMG_0053
Fig. 1. Photograph by author, November 22, 2019.

And I wrote a new blog entry entitled, “Militia territory.” My mother responded with a bunch of links[1] confirming and expanding many of my worst previously expressed fears and what my passengers have told me about racism in Pittsburgh.[2] These links don’t quite get to the militia issue but they come close, much too close for comfort, and close enough that they lay a groundwork for at least the plausibility of militias in this area, if not their likelihood.

On a more personal note, the Tree of Life Synagogue shooter lived “in a neighborhood dotted with mostly small to medium brick homes, about a 25-minute drive south of Pittsburgh in the suburb of Baldwin Borough,”[3] which is the municipality where I now live. Baldwin is a fairly large place, reaching nearly down to the Monongahela River, with a few apartment buildings so it isn’t necessarily the complex I live in. But the one I live in is probably the largest, so place your bets.

If indeed a race war[4] of the shooting sort breaks out,[5] it very much appears that the part of Pittsburgh I live in could become a combat zone. To my knowledge, however, Blacks are mostly unarmed. I think the gun nuttery I see is largely a white phenomenon. So “war” is probably the wrong word for it. We’ll be looking at a pogrom.

I feel completely helpless to stop it and, after what I saw that one day,[6] I’m pretty sure I can count on the police to stand aside and laugh.

The question, then, is, just how likely is such a scenario?


Chagos Islands

Global Security, “‘Illegal colonial occupier’: Mauritius blasts UK as it skips UN deadline to return Chagos Islands housing US airbase,” November 22, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/uk/2019/uk-191122-rt01.htm


Israel

Times of Israel, “TV report says top Likud leaders working behind the scenes to oust Netanyahu,” November 22, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/tv-says-top-likud-leaders-working-behind-scenes-to-oust-netanyahu/


  1. [1]Colin P. Clarke, “One Year After Tree of Life, We Still Aren’t Talking Enough About Violent White Supremacy,” Rand, October 27, 2019, https://www.rand.org/blog/2019/10/one-year-after-tree-of-life-we-still-arent-talking.html; Letrell Deshan Crittenden, “The Pittsburgh problem: race, media and everyday life in the Steel City,” Columbia Journalism Review, October 25, 2019, https://www.cjr.org/tow_center_reports/racism-black-burnout-in-pittsburgh-journalism.php; Eric Heyl, “Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, Islamic Hate Groups Active In Pittsburgh,” Patch, August 16, 2017, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/pittsburgh/neo-nazi-white-supremacist-islamic-hate-groups-active-pittsburgh; Moriah Ella Mason, “Pittsburgh Doesn’t Need More Guns — We Need Less White Supremacy,” Forward, October 29, 2018, https://forward.com/scribe/413104/pittsburgh-doesnt-need-more-guns-we-need-less-white-supremacy/; Charles Thompson, “Pennsylvania housed 36 active hate groups last year, ranking 8th in the country: report,” Penn Live, February 21, 2019, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/02/southern-poverty-law-center-counts-36-active-hate-groups-in-pennsylvania-in-2018.html
  2. [2]David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not Housebroken, October 12, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/
  3. [3]Campbell Robertson, Christopher Mele, and Sabrina Tavernise, “11 Killed in Synagogue Massacre; Suspect Charged With 29 Counts,” New York Times, October 27, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/27/us/active-shooter-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting.html
  4. [4]Kathleen Parker, “Trump has essentially declared a ‘race war,’” Washington Post, July 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-essentially-declared-a-race-war/2019/07/30/ad6ae554-b305-11e9-8949-5f36ff92706e_story.html
  5. [5]Mary B. McCord, “Armed Militias Are Taking Trump’s Civil War Tweets Seriously,” Lawfare, October 2, 2019, https://www.lawfareblog.com/armed-militias-are-taking-trumps-civil-war-tweets-seriously
  6. [6]David Benfell, “Hey cops! Do you know what year it is?” Not Housebroken, August 27, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/27/hey-cops-do-you-know-what-year-it-is/

Forecast: A blizzard of bullshit, no clearing expected

The last few days: Bullshit, mostly.

It was supposed to snow here, and didn’t. It did get cold, but the streets had dried from the rain that was supposed to turn to snow, so there wasn’t even very much ice.
FireShot Capture 039 - Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson for November 10, 2019 - GoComics_ - www.gocomics.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of comic by Bill Watterson from 1989. Actually, I’d be just fine without the snow, and especially the ice.

I’m beginning to get the picture that folks have been telling me about for months. I’d still desperately rather be doing something besides driving for Uber and Lyft in a Pittsburgh winter or anywhere in any season.[1]


Pete Buttigieg

Which, come to think of it, isn’t much of an improvement on calling Donald Trump’s supporters “deplorables.”[2]

The neoliberal party does not engage on issues because its issue is neoliberalism and even it knows that that’s a loser. It claims a progressive mantle by running on identity. And some idiots still fall for it.


Uber

Kia Kokalitcheva, “Uber says it’s likely to pay Waymo or revamp its self-driving tech,” Axios, November 7, 2019, https://www.axios.com/uber-says-its-likely-to-pay-waymo-or-revamp-its-self-driving-tech-ffa6e420-4273-4cf1-8161-fc40e25b61da.html


Trade

Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Anis Chowdhury, “Trade Liberalization for Development?” InterPress Service, November 5, 2019, http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/11/trade-liberalization-development/


California

fireseasons
Fig. 2. California climate change since 1895.[3]

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “How California’s weather has changed during fire season since 1895,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10274200-181/how-californias-weather-has-changed


  1. [1]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  2. [2]Jonathan Capehart, “This is what’s ‘deplorable’ about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and this campaign,” Washington Post, September 12, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/09/12/this-is-whats-deplorable-about-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-and-this-campaign/
  3. [3]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “How California’s weather has changed during fire season since 1895,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10274200-181/how-californias-weather-has-changed

No deal

Housekeeping

Just a hint to a U.S. Postal Service carrier and a United Parcel Service carrier out there: You have real jobs, you should be grateful for those jobs, and you should do those jobs.

I am not amused by your excuses.[1]

For everyone else, there is a new Pittsburgh mailing address that should be used for the foreseeable future unless I tell you otherwise; see my contact information page for details.


Brexit

Danielle Sheridan, Tony Diver, and Amy Jones, “Brexit latest news: Deal ‘essentially impossible’ after call between Boris Johnson and Angela Merkel, Number 10 says,” Telegraph, October 8, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/08/brexit-latest-news-boris-johnson-no-deal-parliament-prorogation/


Misogyny

Antonia Noori Farzan, “A teenager said there was a rapist at her school. She was suspended for bullying,” Washington Post, October 8, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/08/maine-teenager-suspended-rape-warning-high-school/


Kurdistan

Dion Nissenbaum and Gordon Lubold, “Trump’s Call to Leave Syria Draws Fire From GOP Allies,” Wall Street Journalhttps://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-begins-pullback-from-northern-syria-clearing-way-for-turkish-offensive-11570439862


 

  1. [1]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/

Donald Trump just isn’t that into Faux News (not fake enough) anymore

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 30, 8:26 pm.
  2. Update August 30, 9:55 pm:
    • Dorian is now a category 4 storm as it approaches the Bahamas. Considerable uncertainty remains as to how it will affect Florida.[1] I have also updated the maps from the National Hurricane Center.

Faux News

So in the last installment,[2] Donald Trump slammed Faux News for daring to feature some neoliberals (Democrats).[3] Now we have the spurned Faux News firing back.[4] I’m waiting to see the supermarket tabloids on this one. ’Cause you know that’s where all the juicy stuff is.

Allyson Chiu,“‘We don’t work for you’: Fox News’s Neil Cavuto rebukes Trump for slamming network,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/08/30/neil-cavuto-fox-news-trump-work-you/


Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled, “Time for the gig economy to grow up.”

Aaron Gordon, “Uber And Lyft Don’t Have A Right To Exist,” Jalopnik, August 30, 2019, https://jalopnik.com/uber-and-lyft-dont-have-a-right-to-exist-1837680434

Alejandro Lazo and Eliot Brown, “Uber, Lyft, DoorDash Threaten Ballot Fight Over California Gig-Worker Law,” Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-lyft-doordash-threaten-ballot-fight-over-california-gig-worker-law-11567126445


Elon Musk

There is another new blog post entitled, “The consciousness of Elon Musk.”

Edwin Chan, Lulu Yilun Chen, and Chunying Zhang, “The Time a Jet-Lagged Musk Made Alibaba’s Jack Ma Sound Grounded,” Bloomberg, August 29, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-29/the-time-a-jet-lagged-musk-made-alibaba-s-jack-ma-sound-grounded


Dorian

234529_5day_cone_no_line_and_win
This storm track takes Dorian almost directly over the northern Bahama Islands. National Hurricane Center map, August 30, 2019, fair use.

For those who are hoping, seriously or otherwise,[5] Mar a Lago is on south Florida’s Atlantic coast, roughly parallel with Grand Bahama.

I’ve been thinking this storm would surely turn north. Initially I figured it would hit the Carolinas. But as of the 8:00 pm images, the storm appeared to be following an earlier forecast track fairly closely. If the track shown above holds, Dorian should make landfall near Vero Beach, far enough north from Mar a Lago that winds should be strong but considerably reduced. We’re not talking eye wall stuff here by something like 80 miles.
234529
Note that the purple zone is for winds 39 miles per hour or higher. National Hurricane Center map, August 30, 2019, fair use.
car-2019-08-30-20
72-hour gif, images taken two hours apart, as of 8:00 pm.

Kayla Epstein, “‘I’m rooting for a direct hit on Mar a Lago!’ Former Canadian prime minister creates Twitter storm,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/08/30/im-rooting-direct-hit-mar-a-lago-former-canadian-pm-creates-twitter-storm/

Jason Samenow, Matthew Cappucci, and Andrew Freedman, “Potentially disastrous Hurricane Dorian strengthens to Category 4 as it targets Florida and Southeast U.S.,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/08/30/potentially-disastrous-hurricane-dorian-looms-closer-stronger-targeting-florida-southeast-us/


  1. [1]Jason Samenow, Matthew Cappucci, and Andrew Freedman, “Potentially disastrous Hurricane Dorian strengthens to Category 4 as it targets Florida and Southeast U.S.,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/08/30/potentially-disastrous-hurricane-dorian-looms-closer-stronger-targeting-florida-southeast-us/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Are we waiting for the make-up sex or does this count as another divorce?” Irregular Bullshit, August 29, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/08/29/are-we-waiting-for-the-make-up-sex-or-does-this-count-as-another-divorce/
  3. [3]Brett Samuels, “Trump criticizes Fox, which ‘isn’t working for us anymore,’” Hill, August 28, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/459105-trump-criticizes-fox-which-isnt-working-for-us-anymore
  4. [4]Allyson Chiu,“‘We don’t work for you’: Fox News’s Neil Cavuto rebukes Trump for slamming network,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/08/30/neil-cavuto-fox-news-trump-work-you/
  5. [5]Kayla Epstein, “‘I’m rooting for a direct hit on Mar a Lago!’ Former Canadian prime minister creates Twitter storm,” Washington Post, August 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/08/30/im-rooting-direct-hit-mar-a-lago-former-canadian-pm-creates-twitter-storm/

Are we waiting for the make-up sex or does this count as another divorce?

Faux News

Donald Trump apparently did not utter the words, “I divorce thee,” three times. (Oh right, that’s a custom among some Muslims. Well, you know, lots of things are confusing these days.)

Brett Samuels, “Trump criticizes Fox, which ‘isn’t working for us anymore,’” Hill, August 28, 2019, https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/459105-trump-criticizes-fox-which-isnt-working-for-us-anymore


Jeffrey Epstein

There is a new blog post entitled, “We’ll never know. We’ll never be able to conclusively rule out the conspiracy theories about Jeffrey Epstein’s death.” I’m sure the elite will manage to trudge on. It must be tough.

Mark Hosenball, “FBI studies two broken cameras outside cell where Epstein died: source,” Reuters, August 28, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-jeffrey-epstein-cameras-idUSKCN1VI2LC


Uber

There is another new blog post entitled, “Uber’s spiral down.”

Eliot Brown and Sarah Nassauer, “Uber Cuts Third of Marketing Staff; Lyft Chief Operating Officer Exits,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-cuts-third-of-marketing-staff-lyft-chief-operating-officer-exits-11564430556


Dorian

car-2019-08-29-20
Dorian’s brush with Puerto Rico and a string of Carribean islands can still be seen in this 72-hour gif, composed of images taken two hours apart, as of 8:00 pm EDT tonight.

Matthew Cappucci, Andrew Freedman, and Jason Samenow, “Hurricane Dorian: Florida on guard for potential major hurricane strike,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/08/29/hurricane-dorian-florida-guard-potential-major-hurricane-strike/


Sexual orientation

Can sexual orientation be attributed to nature or nurture? The answer seems to be, it’s complicated, but there are a number of genetic components that appear to increase the probability of particular orientations.[1] What we’re not seeing here is linear causation, with one cause and one effect. But these findings would seem to indicate that sexual orientation cannot be attributed solely to any social cause. They will be a blow to social conservatives, especially those who think they can “reprogram” people to be heterosexual.

Andrea Ganna, et al., “Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior,” Science 365, no. 6456 (2019), doi: 10.1126/science.aat7693


Brexit

But one top Johnson lieutenant, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, was caught on camera acknowledging that Johnson was struggling to push through Brexit without a majority.

“Parliament has been very good at saying what it doesn’t want. It has been awful at saying what it wants. That’s the reality. So eventually any leader has to, you know, try,” Wallace explained to French Defense Minister Florence Parly, caught on camera ahead of an unrelated meeting in Helsinki.

A government spokesman said later that Wallace “misspoke.”[2]

But everyone knows that Ben Wallace “misspoke” the truth. It’s really rather silly, which I guess is another word for a legal artifice, to deny it.

Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Allies of British prime minister resign amid outrage over Parliament suspension,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/british-leaders-backers-dismiss-outrage-over-parliament-suspension-as-candyfloss/2019/08/29/fa1e2c96-ca3c-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html


  1. [1]Andrea Ganna, et al., “Large-scale GWAS reveals insights into the genetic architecture of same-sex sexual behavior,” Science 365, no. 6456 (2019), doi: 10.1126/science.aat7693
  2. [2]Karla Adam and Michael Birnbaum, “Allies of British prime minister resign amid outrage over Parliament suspension,” Washington Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/british-leaders-backers-dismiss-outrage-over-parliament-suspension-as-candyfloss/2019/08/29/fa1e2c96-ca3c-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html

See what you want to see

Gig economy

There is a new blog post entitled, “Liking Lyft, not liking Uber.”

Michael Wursthorn, “Lyft Shares Rally on Hopes Price Increases Will Drive Profit,” Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lyft-shares-rally-on-hopes-price-increases-will-drive-profits-11566845457


Brexit

You wouldn’t expect the shadow (official opposition) attorney general to approve of Boris Johnson’s idea to prorogue Parliament to allow a hard Brexit,[1] which remains the legal default[2] and which all but hard Brexiteers agree would be likely to result in a grave calamity.[3] But still.[4]

Heather Stewart and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: shutting down parliament ‘gravest abuse of power in living memory,’” Guardian, August 26, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/26/brexit-shutting-down-parliament-gravest-abuse-of-power-in-living-memory-legal-advice


Pittsburgh

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel facing a 2nd federal lawsuit tied to December fire at Clairton Plant,” TribLive, August 26, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-facing-a-2nd-federal-lawsuit-tied-to-december-fire-at-clairton-plant/


Jeffrey Epstein

Sorry, this still stinks to high hell.[5]

Carol D. Leonnig and Matt Zapotosky, “Investigators scrutinizing video outside Epstein’s cell find some footage unusable, according to people familiar with the inquiry,” Washington Post, August 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/investigators-scrutinizing-video-outside-epsteins-cell-find-some-footage-unusable-according-to-people-familiar-with-the-inquiry/2019/08/26/df405636-c827-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html


Racism

There is another new blog entry entitled, “Hey cops! Do you know what year it is?


Economics

Add this[6] to the pile of evidence against the field of economics.[7] And give Binyamin Appelbaum some credit—this[8] is a hard thing for anyone who has made their profession within a field—yes, he’s a journalist but he has, through the time I’ve seen his writing, focused on economics—to admit about that field. But it’d help a lot if the New York Times would stop endorsing neoliberals. (And notice that Appelbaum never once uses the word.)

Binyamin Appelbaum, “Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In,” New York Times, August 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/opinion/sunday/economics-milton-friedman.html


  1. [1]Toby Helm and Heather Stewart, “Boris Johnson seeks legal advice on five-week parliament closure ahead of Brexit,” Guardian, August 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/24/johnson-seeks-legal-advice-parliament-closure
  2. [2]Jack Maidment, “Brexit latest news: Theresa May’s deal defeated again by 58 votes – PM hints at general election to break deadlock,” Telegraph, March 29, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/03/29/brexit-latest-news-theresa-may-final-push-mps-prepare-vote-withdrawal/; Amy Davidson Sorkin, “The Double Dishonesty of Boris Johnson’s Brexit Proposals,” New Yorker, August 22, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-double-dishonesty-of-boris-johnsons-brexit-proposals; Peter Walker, “Could parliament’s latest amendment stop no-deal Brexit?” Guardian, July 18, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/18/could-parliaments-latest-amendment-stop-no-deal-brexit; Josh Wilson, “No-deal Brexit odds: Latest predictions on leaving the EU without a deal,” Telegraph, August 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/no-deal-brexit-odds-latest-predictions-leaving-eu-without-deal/
  3. [3]Bobby Allyn and Frank Langfitt, “Leaked Brexit Document Depicts Government Fears Of Gridlock, Food Shortages, Unrest,” National Public Radio, August 18, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/18/752173091/leaked-brexit-document-depicts-government-fears-of-gridlock-food-shortages-unres; David Benfell, “Boris Johnson might think he’s playing poker with the European Union, but he’s actually playing ‘chicken’—with a brick wall,” Not Housebroken, August 2, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/02/boris-johnson-might-think-hes-playing-poker-with-the-european-union-but-hes-actually-playing-chicken-with-a-brick-wall/; Lisa O’Carroll and Rowena Mason, “Johnson told no-deal Brexit will crush domestic policy plans,” Guardian, July 28, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jul/28/boris-johnson-ifg-no-deal-brexit-crush-domestic-policy-plans; Amy Davidson Sorkin, “The Double Dishonesty of Boris Johnson’s Brexit Proposals,” New Yorker, August 22, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/the-double-dishonesty-of-boris-johnsons-brexit-proposals; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/
  4. [4]Heather Stewart and Rowena Mason, “Brexit: shutting down parliament ‘gravest abuse of power in living memory,’” Guardian, August 26, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/aug/26/brexit-shutting-down-parliament-gravest-abuse-of-power-in-living-memory-legal-advice
  5. [5]David Benfell, “What the hell is going on with the prison video from around the time of Jeffrey Epstein’s death?” Not Housebroken, August 16, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/16/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-the-prison-video-from-around-the-time-of-jeffrey-epsteins-death/; Carol D. Leonnig and Matt Zapotosky, “Investigators scrutinizing video outside Epstein’s cell find some footage unusable, according to people familiar with the inquiry,” Washington Post, August 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/investigators-scrutinizing-video-outside-epsteins-cell-find-some-footage-unusable-according-to-people-familiar-with-the-inquiry/2019/08/26/df405636-c827-11e9-a4f3-c081a126de70_story.html
  6. [6]Binyamin Appelbaum, “Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In,” New York Times, August 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/opinion/sunday/economics-milton-friedman.html
  7. [7]Hites Ahir and Prakash Loungani, “‘There will be growth in the spring’: How well do economists predict turning points?” Vox, April 14, 2014, https://voxeu.org/article/predicting-economic-turning-points; Richard Alford, “Why Economists Have No Shame – Undue Confidence, False Precision, Risk and Monetary Policy,” Naked Capitalism, July 19, 2012, https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/richard-alford-why-economists-have-no-shame-undue-confidence-false-precision-risk-and-monetary-policy.html; Ha-Joon Chang and Jonathan Aldred, “After the crash, we need a revolution in the way we teach economics,” Guardian, May 10, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/11/after-crash-need-revolution-in-economics-teaching-chang-aldred; Barry Eichengreen, “Economists, Remove Your Blinders,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 12, 2015, http://www.chronicle.com/article/Economists-Remove-Your/151057/; Paul Krugman, “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?” New York Times, September 2, 2009, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html; Paul Krugman, “Triumph of the Wrong?” New York Times, October 11, 2012, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/opinion/krugman-triumph-of-the-wrong.html; Andrew Simms, “Economics is a failing discipline doing great harm – so let’s rethink it,” Guardian, August 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/03/economics-global-economy-climate-crisis; Mark Thoma, “Restoring the Public’s Trust in Economists,” Fiscal Times, May 19, 2015, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2015/05/19/Restoring-Public-s-Trust-Economists
  8. [8]Binyamin Appelbaum, “Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In,” New York Times, August 25, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/opinion/sunday/economics-milton-friedman.html

How the hell?

Kashmir

I don’t doubt the seriousness of the situation in Kashmir,[1] but there are some seriously unanswered questions in the Wall Street Journal’s report.[2]

Allegedly, “[s]ecurity personnel in the area said they had orders to make sure no one left their homes unless it was a medical emergency” and allegedly there is a near-total communications and Internet blackout.[3] So how does anyone visit anyone to conduct interviews? How are people not starving in their houses? What about utility services? This makes no sense.

Niharika Mandhana, “Kashmir Seethes Under Indian Security Clampdown,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kashmir-seethes-under-indian-security-clampdown-11565899945


Criminal injustice

Jarryd Bartle, “We know that prison doesn’t work. So what are the alternatives?” Guardian, August 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/16/we-know-that-prison-doesnt-work-so-what-are-the-alternatives


Recession

The Trump administration is treating the possibility or probability of a recession as a psychological problem,[4] which it is,[5] but as if there were no actual causes to to worry about, which there are.[6] Utterly in denial, the Trump administration is failing to respond to the risk, instead blaming the news media and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.[7] None of this will help Trump’s re-election prospects if there is indeed a downturn.[8] Nor will it help us.[9]

Andrew Restuccia and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Any Economic Downturn Could Scramble Trump’s 2020 Strategy,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/any-economic-downturn-could-scramble-trumps-2020-strategy-11565898073

Catherine Rampell, “Trump has a dream team for mismanaging a recession,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-a-dream-team-for-mismanaging-a-recession/2019/08/15/0254451c-bf98-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html

Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html


Jeffrey Epstein

There is a new blog post entitled, “What the hell is going on with the prison video from around the time of Jeffrey Epstein’s death?” This originally got published in the wrong place. That error has now been rectified.

The coroner has ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death a suicide by hanging. Epstein’s lawyers aren’t satisfied and I think they’re right to demand the video evidence[10] that seems to have gone missing.[11]

Evan Perez and Mark Morales, “Basic facts about Epstein’s suicide elude investigators 5 days later,” CNN, August 15, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/15/politics/jeffrey-epstein-prison-suicide-questions/index.html

Devlin Barrett, “Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy concludes his death was a suicide by hanging,” Washington Post, August 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/jeffrey-epsteins-autopsy-concludes-his-death-was-a-suicide-by-hanging/2019/08/16/bb670d58-c053-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html


Israel

It has certainly been reasonable to accuse U.S. politicians of putting support for Israel, presumably to attract favor from Jewish voters, above the interests of the country.[12] Now Binyamin Netanyahu, whose government has apparently repudiated a two-state solution,[13] is accused of putting allegiance to Donald Trump ahead of Israeli interests.[14]

Raphael Ahren, “Spurning lawmakers, Netanyahu loses the Democrats he never thought he had,” Times of Israel, August 16, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-never-thought-he-had-the-support-of-democrats-now-he-might-not/


Migration

Brent Kendall and Louise Radnofsky, “Appeals Court Narrows Injunction Barring Trump Asylum Restrictions,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/appeals-court-narrows-injunction-barring-trump-asylum-restrictions-11565972193


Greenland

main_1500
Not for sale.[15] Undated photograph by Felipe Dana, Associated Press, via the Atlantic.

Alexandra Petri, “The Emperor’s New Island, a tale of Trump buying Greenland,” Washington Post, August 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/08/16/emperors-new-island-tale-trump-buying-greenland/

Vivian Salama et al., “President Trump Eyes a New Real-Estate Purchase: Greenland,” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-eyes-a-new-real-estate-purchase-greenland-11565904223

Vivian Salama and Andrew Restuccia, “Greenland Tells Trump: ‘We’re Open for Business, Not for Sale,’” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/greenland-tells-trump-were-open-for-business-not-for-sale-11565960064


  1. [1]Niha Masih, “India revokes special status of Kashmir, putting tense region on edge,” Washington Post, August 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/india-revokes-special-status-of-kashmir-putting-tense-region-on-edge/2019/08/05/2232fcd0-b740-11e9-8e83-4e6687e99814_story.html
  2. [2]Niharika Mandhana, “Kashmir Seethes Under Indian Security Clampdown,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kashmir-seethes-under-indian-security-clampdown-11565899945
  3. [3]Niharika Mandhana, “Kashmir Seethes Under Indian Security Clampdown,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kashmir-seethes-under-indian-security-clampdown-11565899945
  4. [4]Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html
  5. [5]David Benfell, “As a possible or probable recession looms, neoliberalism evades challenge. Yet again,” Not Housebroken, August 14, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/08/14/as-a-possible-or-probable-recession-looms-neoliberalism-evades-challenge-yet-again/
  6. [6]Jon Hilsenrath, “After Record-Long Expansion, Here’s What Could Knock the Economy Off Course,” Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-record-long-expansion-heres-what-could-knock-the-economy-off-course-11559591043; John Kemp, “Global economy is probably in recession,” Reuters, August 7, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-global-economy-kemp/column-global-economy-is-probably-in-recession-idUKKCN1UX1OF; Colin Kruger, “‘Insane levels’: Can a world where profitless companies are flying last?” Sydney Morning Herald, August 10, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/insane-levels-can-a-world-where-profitless-companies-are-flying-last-20190808-p52f3d.html; Damian Paletta, Thomas Heath, and Taylor Telford, “Stocks tank as another recession warning surfaces,” Washington Post, August 14, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/08/14/stocks-tank-another-recession-warning-surfaces/; Tim Wallace, “‘Very real’ recession risk as economy contracts for first time in seven years,” Telegraph, August 9, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/08/09/recession-risk-now-real-economy-contracts-first-time-seven-years/; Tim Wallace, “World economy faces a risk that’s far bigger than Trump’s trade war,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 9, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/world-economy-faces-a-risk-that-s-far-bigger-than-trump-s-trade-war-20190809-p52ffs.html
  7. [7]Andrew Restuccia and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Any Economic Downturn Could Scramble Trump’s 2020 Strategy,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/any-economic-downturn-could-scramble-trumps-2020-strategy-11565898073; Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html
  8. [8]Aaron Blake, “How a recession could doom Trump’s 2020 reelection,” Washington Post, August 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/12/how-recession-could-doom-trumps-reelection/; Andrew Restuccia and Rebecca Ballhaus, “Any Economic Downturn Could Scramble Trump’s 2020 Strategy,” Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/any-economic-downturn-could-scramble-trumps-2020-strategy-11565898073; Philip Rucker, Damian Paletta, and Josh Dawsey, “Trump, banking on strong economy to win reelection, frets over a possible downturn,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-banking-on-strong-economy-to-win-reelection-frets-over-a-possible-downturn/2019/08/15/04a85352-bf67-11e9-b873-63ace636af08_story.html
  9. [9]Catherine Rampell, “Trump has a dream team for mismanaging a recession,” Washington Post, August 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-has-a-dream-team-for-mismanaging-a-recession/2019/08/15/0254451c-bf98-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html
  10. [10]Devlin Barrett, “Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy concludes his death was a suicide by hanging,” Washington Post, August 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/jeffrey-epsteins-autopsy-concludes-his-death-was-a-suicide-by-hanging/2019/08/16/bb670d58-c053-11e9-a5c6-1e74f7ec4a93_story.html
  11. [11]Evan Perez and Mark Morales, “Basic facts about Epstein’s suicide elude investigators 5 days later,” CNN, August 15, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/15/politics/jeffrey-epstein-prison-suicide-questions/index.html
  12. [12]Thaddeus Russell, “Does U.S. Support for Israel Threaten American Safety?” Daily Beast, July 14, 2017, https://www.thedailybeast.com/thaddeus-russell-does-us-support-for-israel-threaten-american-safety
  13. [13]Michael Arria, “Israeli lawmakers to Congress: two-state solution far more dangerous to Israel than BDS,” Mondoweiss, August 13, 2019, https://mondoweiss.net/2019/08/lawmakers-congress-dangerous/; Gil Hoffman, “Israeli MKs to Congress: Thanks, but BDS bill ‘dangerous for
    Israel,’” Jerusalem Post, August 12, 2019, https://www.jpost.com/American-Politics/Israeli-MKs-to-Congress-Thanks-but-BDS-bill-dangerous-for-Israel-598392
  14. [14]Raphael Ahren, “Spurning lawmakers, Netanyahu loses the Democrats he never thought he had,” Times of Israel, August 16, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-never-thought-he-had-the-support-of-democrats-now-he-might-not/
  15. [15]Vivian Salama and Andrew Restuccia, “Greenland Tells Trump: ‘We’re Open for Business, Not for Sale,’” Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/greenland-tells-trump-were-open-for-business-not-for-sale-11565960064