Catching up

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 19, 2020, at 11:17 am.
  2. September 19, 3:27 pm:
    • I fixed those page links, I think. It seems the WordPress export/import function failed to replicate the setting for permalinks on Not Housebroken. All I probably really had to do was turn that back on. But I updated the pages, so hopefully those are right now.

So I’m catching up. The transition to new hosting was not without its scary moments but it seems my host has been to Hogwarts. His database magic is good. It does appear some page links have been broken, so I have a bit more work to do, which I’ll get to, hopefully tonight.


Pennsylvania

Jamie Martines and Paula Reed Ward, “Why the ruling against Wolf’s covid-19 restrictions faces long odds on appeal, explained,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 17, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/why-the-ruling-against-wolfs-covid-19-restrictions-faces-long-odds-on-appeal-explained/

Meghan Schiller, “Pitt Researcher: Wolf Administration’s Pandemic Restrictions Saved ‘Many, Many Thousands Of Lives,’” KDKA, September 17, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/09/17/pittsburgh-researcher-gov-tom-wolf-pandemic-restrictions-saved-lives/


Allegheny County

Paula Reed Ward, “Brentwood restaurant defies order to close for covid-19 violations, faces court action,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 18, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/south-hills/brentwood-restaurant-defies-order-to-close-for-covid-19-violations-faces-court-action/


Migrants

Tina Vasquez, “Immigrants allege mistreatment by Georgia doctor and whistleblower,” Prism, September 17, 2020, https://www.prismreports.org/article/2020/9/17/immigrants-allege-mistreatment-by-georgia-doctor-and-whistleblower/


Higher Education

Francie Diep, “More Colleges Are Responding to Covid-19 Surges With 2-Week Quarantines. Do They Work?” Chronicle of Higher Education, September 17, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/more-colleges-are-responding-to-covid-19-surges-with-2-week-quarantines-do-they-work


Supreme Court

Robert Barnes and Michael A. Fletcher, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and legal pioneer for gender equality, dies at 87,” Washington Post, September 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/ruth-bader-ginsburg-dies/2020/09/18/3cedc314-fa08-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html

Clare Foran, Manu Raju, and Ted Barrett, “McConnell vows Trump’s nominee to replace Ginsburg will get Senate vote, setting up historic fight,” CNN, September 19, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/18/politics/congress-fight-rgb-seat/index.html


Just leaving all this here

My disgust is complete.


Higher Education

Michelle Hackman and Melissa Korn, “ICE Says Newly Enrolling International Students Can’t Come to U.S. if Classes Fully Online,” Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/ice-says-newly-enrolling-international-students-can-t-come-to-u-s-if-classes-fully-online-11595611772


Gig economy

Marc Santia, “Lyft Driver Says He Was Attacked, Then Arrested After Refusing Rider Without Mask,” WNBC, July 24, 2020, https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/lyft-driver-says-he-was-attacked-after-refusing-rider-without-mask-then-he-was-arrested/2529101/

Joshua Emerson Smith, “A COVID-19 death renews questions of Uber and Lyft’s responsibility to drivers,” San Diego Union-Tribune, July 24, 2020, https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/transportation/story/2020-07-24/uber-driver-dies-covid-19


Elon Musk

So you all remember Elon Musk, the guy who resisted closing a Tesla factory in Fremont for the COVID-19 lockdown, opened it before he should, was in denial about COVID-19 a la Donald Trump, and donated the wrong kind of ventilators to treat the disease?[1] And, oh yeah.[2]

I guess it’s just a little past way beyond amazing that anyone thinks Musk is a great man:

The afterthought:

I don’t know where Tesla gets its lithium. But something’s certainly rotten in Bolivia.[3] And there just ain’t no excuse for Musk.


  1. [1]Steve Hanley, “Tesla Cuts Jobs In Nevada, Sends Ventilators To New York,” Clean Technica, March 29, 2020, https://cleantechnica.com/2020/03/29/tesla-cuts-jobs-in-nevada-sends-ventilators-to-new-york/; Tim Higgins, “Elon Musk’s Defiance in the Time of Coronavirus,” Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/elon-musks-defiance-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-11584733458; Kathryn Krawczyk, “’Ventilators’ donated by Elon Musk can’t be used on coronavirus patients, health officials say,” Week, April 2, 2020, https://theweek.com/speedreads/906406/ventilators-donated-by-elon-musk-cant-used-coronavirus-patients-health-officials-say; Jack Morse, “Ventilator manufacturers aren’t impressed by Elon Musk’s offer,” Mashable, March 21, 2020, https://mashable.com/article/experts-doubt-tesla-elon-musk-manufacture-ventilators/; Kari Paul, “Elon Musk rails against ‘fascist’ shelter-in-place orders in Tesla earnings call,” Guardian, April 29, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/29/tesla-quarterly-earnings-coronavirus-shares; Zachary Shahan, “Elon Musk: Should Have 1000 Ventilators Next Week, + 250,000 N95 Masks For Hospitals Tomorrow,” CleanTechnica, March 21, 2020, https://cleantechnica.com/2020/03/21/elon-musk-should-have-1000-ventilators-next-week-250k-n95-masks-for-hospitals-tomorrow-cleantechnica-exclusive/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “Elon Musk, groan, again,” Not Housebroken, April 4, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/22/elon-musk-groan-again/
  3. [3]Marjorie Cohn, “US Is Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia,” Truthout, November 27, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/us-is-again-complicit-in-an-illegal-coup-this-time-in-bolivia/; John Curiel and Jack R. Williams, “Bolivia dismissed its October elections as fraudulent. Our research found no reason to suspect fraud,” Washington Post, February 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/02/26/bolivia-dismissed-its-october-elections-fraudulent-our-research-found-no-reason-suspect-fraud/

Allegheny County is not getting COVID-19 under control after all

There is a new blog post entitled, “Inanity and a populist constitutional republic.”


Pandemic

I’m not sure what changed from this morning, but the picture in Allegheny County looks considerably bleaker this evening (figure 1).
FireShot Capture 212 - Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death - Tri_ - triblive.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot by author, July 12, 2020, of chart from the Tribune-Review of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County.[1]

Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death,” Tribune-Review, July 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-215-new-coronavirus-cases-1-new-death/


  1. [1]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death,” Tribune-Review, July 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-215-new-coronavirus-cases-1-new-death/

First Amendment, Texas-style

Texas

I guess, from his self-description, that Dan Patrick is the Lieutenant Governor of Texas:

There were a number of replies, some opposed, some opposed on first amendment grounds, some supportive for the usual reasons. But here’s the one that is my reason for highlighting this:

Jaw drops to floor.

Of course, this is only one side of the dilemma. It is one thing to assert free speech rights against police who so often follow structural violence with the physical sort, indeed who implicitly threaten it by their very presence as the sole members of our society authorized and equipped to use even lethal force against other members of that same society. It is another when “free speech” is used to intimidate, to silence dissenting views of subaltern people. Between these two vertices lies a vast grey area.

I have a number of reasons for being grumpy. Lacking not merely a pat answer, but really any answer at all is one of them.


Bolivia

The Bolivian elections may not have been fraudulent after all—and the accusation of fraud may be a warm-up for similar claims when progressives win elections in the U.S.:[1]

Under the OAS criteria for fraud, it’s possible that U.S. elections in which votes [for example, provisional ballots] that are counted later tend to lean Democratic might also be classified as fraudulent. Of course, electoral fraud is a serious problem, but relying on unverified tests as proof of fraud is a serious threat to any democracy.[2]

John Curiel and Jack R. Williams, “Bolivia dismissed its October elections as fraudulent. Our research found no reason to suspect fraud,” Washington Post, February 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/02/26/bolivia-dismissed-its-october-elections-fraudulent-our-research-found-no-reason-suspect-fraud/


Migration

Maria Sacchetti and Nick Miroff, “President Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy blocked in federal court,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/trump-remain-in-mexico-halted-federal-court/2020/02/28/87bbf85e-e481-11e9-b403-f738899982d2_story.html


  1. [1]John Curiel and Jack R. Williams, “Bolivia dismissed its October elections as fraudulent. Our research found no reason to suspect fraud,” Washington Post, February 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/02/26/bolivia-dismissed-its-october-elections-fraudulent-our-research-found-no-reason-suspect-fraud/
  2. [2]John Curiel and Jack R. Williams, “Bolivia dismissed its October elections as fraudulent. Our research found no reason to suspect fraud,” Washington Post, February 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/02/26/bolivia-dismissed-its-october-elections-fraudulent-our-research-found-no-reason-suspect-fraud/

The Trump administration tortured migrants

Migration

Just remember, Nancy Pelosi did not deem family separation and concentration camps an impeachment-worthy offense.[1]

The not-for-profit group’s report provides the first in-depth look at the psychological impact of family separation, which the US government continued despite warnings from the nation’s top medical bodies.

“As a clinician, nobody was prepared for this to happen on our soil,” the report co-author Dr Ranit Mishori, senior medical adviser at [Physicians for Human Rights], told the Guardian. “It is beyond shocking that this could happen in the United States, by Americans, at the instruction and direct intention of US government officials.”

Legal experts have argued family separation constituted torture, but this is the first time a medical group has reached the determination.[2]

Amanda Holpuch, “Trump’s separation of families constitutes torture, doctors find,” Guardian, February 25, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/25/trump-family-separations-children-torture-psychology


Pittsburgh

There is a new blog post entitled, “The old, the filthy, and the decrepit.”

Andy Sheehan, “Air Quality In Mon Valley Once Again Hits Unhealthy Levels,” KDKA, February 24, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/02/24/mon-valley-air-quality-unhealthy-levels/


Coronavirus

This is an area I don’t talk much about and don’t cover much because my expertise is nil. Hell, I hardly ever even get sick, which is a challenge when I’m trying to be empathetic with people who are. Here’s where it crosses over from all that:


  1. [1]David Benfell, “The whiteness of impeachment,” Not Housebroken, December 15, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/12/15/the-whiteness-of-impeachment/
  2. [2]Amanda Holpuch, “Trump’s separation of families constitutes torture, doctors find,” Guardian, February 25, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/25/trump-family-separations-children-torture-psychology

Okay, I believe it now. The dastardly Russians did it.

Migration

John Burnett, “Acquiring Private Land Is Slowing Trump’s Border Wall,” National Public Radio, December 20, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/12/20/789725311/acquiring-private-land-is-slowing-trumps-border-wall


Impeachment

There is a new blog post entitled, “The asterisk.”

On another note, Vladimir Putin is doing his best to convince me that he did in fact interfere in the 2016 election and Donald Trump is doing his best to convince me that he thinks that’s just great.[1]

So you know what? In the past, I’ve been skeptical, and in general, I am skeptical of classified evidence, but they’re giving me every reason to believe it’s all true. When guilty folks tell me they’re guilty and I have no reason to suspect a coerced confession, what else am I supposed to think?

Ron Elving, “Trump Is Impeached, But There’s No Endgame In Sight,” National Public Radio, December 21, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/12/21/790313280/trump-is-impeached-but-theres-no-endgame-in-sight

Colby Itkowitz and Isabelle Khurshudyan, “Trump touts Putin speaking out against his impeachment,” Washington Post, December 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-touts-putin-speaking-out-against-his-impeachment/2019/12/21/7f23baf2-2404-11ea-a153-dce4b94e4249_story.html


Pittsburgh

Assuming Keaira Booker’s claims[2] are correct—and I have every reason to suspect that they are—there is absolutely no excuse for this cop’s conduct. The right to film is well-established; the dropped disorderly conduct charge against her[3] appears to be a pretext.

Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/


  1. [1]Colby Itkowitz and Isabelle Khurshudyan, “Trump touts Putin speaking out against his impeachment,” Washington Post, December 21, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-touts-putin-speaking-out-against-his-impeachment/2019/12/21/7f23baf2-2404-11ea-a153-dce4b94e4249_story.html
  2. [2]Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/
  3. [3]Jamie Martines, “Woman claims North Braddock officer arrested her for filming traffic stop,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/woman-claims-north-braddock-officer-arrested-her-for-filming-traffic-stop/

Impeachment: The bad, the ugly, and the ugly

Impeachment

There is are two new blog posts:

  1. December 15: “The whiteness of impeachment
  2. December 16: “The least violent solution

Jennifer Rubin, “How far can the House go to stop a sham trial?” Washington Post, December 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/16/how-far-can-house-go-stop-sham-trial/


Homelessness

David G. Savage, “Supreme Court lets stand ruling that protects homeless who sleep on sidewalk,” Los Angeles Times, December 16, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-16/supreme-court-lets-stand-ruling-that-protects-homeless-who-sleep-on-sidewalk


Redlining and guns

Redlining

I have mapped where I have found guns or other weaponry gratuitously displayed here. There are two locations, namely in South Park (the park) and North Oakland (Pittsburgh, near University of Pittsburgh, not far from Carnegie Mellon University), here that are not in or near economically distressed areas that appear to me to have high proportions of Blacks among their populations. The rest all are. Most are on the south or west side of the Monongahela River. Three are on the north or east side of that river. I have not yet found such weaponry on display in other locations, although I believe that more get wheeled out around Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

There is not, by any means, a one-to-one correspondence between gratuitous displays of weaponry and disadvantaged areas. I see many more, over a wider area, of the latter. But the proportion with which the former, nine out of eleven at this writing, are placed in or near the latter is what raises my suspicion.[1]

These are all locations I have observed while driving for Lyft so a bias exists in that I am more likely to notice these weapons in places I frequent.

The labels are the addresses (from Google Maps) from where I shot the photographs. I transcribed the geographic coordinates from the photographs to map the locations. They thus do not pinpoint the locations of the weapons themselves but rather vantage points (with slight variations if I used more than one) I used in taking the pictures. Clicking on a point will bring up the photograph and and address. The complete photograph album is publicly available and I have preserved the metadata in the photographs.

This is an ongoing project. More points may be added later.


Migration

Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, and Tami Luhby, “Three federal judges hit Trump on immigration policy changes,” CNN, October 11, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/11/politics/green-card-public-charge-rule-blocked/index.html


Kurdistan

When I first heard about U.S. forces coming under so-called “friendly fire” from Turkish forces invading Syria,[2] I remembered the U.S.S. Liberty, a reconnaisance ship that came under attack by Israel. The ship was well-marked and should have been identifiable as a U.S. ship at a considerable distance. Further, the Israelis deployed a form of electronic attack that took out U.S. military communication channels. But, in what’s widely believed to have been a cover-up, the U.S. and Israeli governments have said it was all a mistake and the sailors on the Liberty are under a permanent gag order. An Intercept story on the incident is a classic example of “he said, she said” journalism, and inclines toward the official account,[3] providing yet more evidence in support of J. Herbert Altschull’s thesis.[4]

So guess what happens? Now the soldiers who came under attack—the Turks knew damn well where they were—insist they were intentionally targeted.[5]

The Israelis might have been covering up a slaughter of Egyptian prisoners of war.[6] The Turks may have wider territorial aspirations than they claim.[7] But Donald Trump abandons the Kurds.[8]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Forces Come Under Turkish Fire As Ankara Presses On In Syria,” Global Security, October 12, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2019/10/mil-191012-rferl01.htm

  1. [1]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/
  2. [2]Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “U.S. Forces Come Under Turkish Fire As Ankara Presses On In Syria,” Global Security, October 12, 2019, https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/2019/10/mil-191012-rferl01.htm
  3. [3]Miriam Pensack, “Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret,” Intercept, June 6, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/
  4. [4]Herbert Altschull, Agents of Power: The Media and Public Policy, 2nd ed. (White Plains, NY: Longman, 1995)
  5. [5]Dan Lamothe, “U.S. forces say Turkey was deliberately ‘bracketing’ American troops with artillery fire in Syria,” Washington Post, October 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/10/12/us-forces-say-turkey-was-deliberately-bracketing-american-forces-with-artillery-fire-syria/
  6. [6]Miriam Pensack, “Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret,” Intercept, June 6, 2017, https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/
  7. [7]Dan Lamothe, “U.S. forces say Turkey was deliberately ‘bracketing’ American troops with artillery fire in Syria,” Washington Post, October 12, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/10/12/us-forces-say-turkey-was-deliberately-bracketing-american-forces-with-artillery-fire-syria/
  8. [8]Kareem Fahim, Sarah Dadouch, and Asser Khattab, “Turkey launches offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria,” Washington Post, October 9, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/with-turkish-offensive-looming-syrian-kurds-mobilize-civilian-defense/2019/10/09/4efca794-ea02-11e9-a329-7378fbfa1b63_story.html; Bethan McKernan, Julian Borger, and Dan Sabbagh, “Turkish troops advance into Syria as Trump washes his hands of the Kurds,” Guardian, October 9, 2019,
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/09/turkey-syria-attack-latest-news-kurds-trump; 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; Richard Spencer, “Turkey steps up airstrikes on Kurds as 60,000 civilians flee,” Times, October 11, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/turkey-steps-up-bombing-of-kurdish-positions-in-northern-syria-g88fr0x5n; Robin Wright, “Defying the World, Turkey Launches a War Against a U.S. Ally in Syria,” New Yorker, October 9, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/defying-the-world-turkey-launches-a-war-against-a-united-states-ally-in-syria; Stephen Zunes, “This Isn’t the First Time the US Has Abandoned the Kurds,” Truthout, October 10, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/this-isnt-the-first-time-the-us-has-abandoned-the-kurds/

Boris Johnson doesn’t want a Brexit deal. He wants an election he foolishly thinks he can win.

Brexit

Joe Armitage, “How Henry VIII powers could allow the government to cut through the Surrender Act,” Telegraph, September 27, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/27/henry-viii-powers-could-allow-government-cut-surrender-act/

Kevin Rawlinson, “Language in Brexit debate ‘unacceptable’, warn C of E bishops,” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/27/c-of-e-bishops-call-for-amelioration-of-brexit-rhetoric

Danielle Sheridan, James Crisp, and Tony Diver, “Brexit latest news: Britain is approaching ‘moment of truth’, Stephen Barclay says as EU talks resume,” Telegraph, September 27, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/27/brexit-latest-newsboris-johnson-parliament-no-deal-barnier-conference/

Henry Zeffman and Steven Swinford, “Brexit row: Divisive language harms chance of a deal, Tories warn Johnson,” Times, September 27, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/brexit-row-divisive-language-harms-chance-of-a-deal-tories-warn-johnson-kw2mwjptf


Whistle blowing

There is a new blog post entitled, “The New York Times at least very nearly exposes a whistle blower.“

Maanvi Singh, “New York Times faces backlash after revealing details about whistleblower,” Guardian, September 27, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/sep/26/new-york-times-trump-ukraine-whistleblower-published


Migrants

Maria Sacchetti, “Federal judge blocks Trump administration from detaining migrant children for indefinite periods,” Washington Post, September 27, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/federal-judge-blocks-trump-administration-from-detaining-migrant-children-for-indefinite-periods/2019/09/27/49a39790-e15f-11e9-b199-f638bf2c340f_story.html


The weather, it is a-changing

I know the weather has changed in California. The wildfires there now are unlike anything we had before. And to hear many people talk, a few recent years of relatively normal rainfall might as well have been Noah’s Flood. Their disorientation is understandable: California has suffered many more dry years than wet during my entire adult life.

I’m starting to hear that the weather is indeed also different in Pittsburgh. Summers are wetter and winters are less cool, a passenger told me yesterday. She blamed climate change for Dutch Elm disease (trees are more vulnerable when stressed, including by climate change) and lightning (presumably from severe storms that could be more common as a result of climate change) that had killed some trees around her driveway. She is blind, but she could feel the difference in the pavement: It was cool before; now it is hot. She also conflated the issue of fracking-induced earthquakes. But she’s a believer in the climate crisis.

By the way, she identifies herself as a conservative—I couldn’t identify what tendenc[y|ies]. As I’ve mulled it over, my initial, so-preliminary-that-I-probably-shouldn’t-say-it guess would be traditionalist.

Solastalgia describes the feeling of distress caused by environmental change, and it was coined by Australian environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht. “It was important to give that feeling a name because it was missing from our language,” Albrecht says from his small farm in Australia’s Hunter Valley region in the eastern state of New South Wales.[1]

It’s hard for me to address the weather difference here in Pittsburgh from my own experience. I lived here for a couple years as a kid and my memories from fifty years ago are hazy.

But the pattern I don’t much remember but have seen a lot so far this year has been of a rapid increase in temperature and humidity, followed by rain or thunderstorms. The latter bring some relief, but the temperature rises again following them. This has been happening a lot, even on days when the forecast calls for a relatively low chance of rain.

I do remember walking to the Mount Lebanon swimming pool as a kid. I’m pretty sure I had a bicycle but with the hills around here, it’d have been easier just to walk. People still go to swimming pools, sometimes taking a Lyft to do so. And I see them in the Dormont pool which is visible from McFarland Road (between Beverly Road and Banksville Road).

But it’s kind of hard for me to imagine doing that now; the chance of thunderstorms seems much higher than the forecasts ever indicate. Though there are a number of massive antennae about that I’m pretty sure also serve as lightning rods, a swimming pool is not a wise place to be during such a storm.

I’ve taken to watching the cumulus clouds as I drive around. It seems like they’re here every day. When even only some turn dark, it seems I can be sure that some precipitation is coming, even if it’s only a few big fat drops on my windshield.


Trade

But Donald Trump is a “master of negotiation.” Brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant.

Stephen Bartholomeusz, “Trump is escalating a trade war he isn’t winning,” Sydney Morning Herald, August 5, 2019, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/trump-is-escalating-a-trade-war-he-isn-t-winning-20190805-p52dxf.html


Ridesharing

This[2] adds to the pile.[3]

Laura Bliss, “How Much Traffic Do Uber and Lyft Cause?” CityLab, August 5, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/08/uber-lyft-traffic-congestion-ride-hailing-cities-drivers-vmt/595393/


Migration

2019-8-5-libya-security-migrants
This is a refugee camp. Image by Ismail Zitouny on July 3, 2019, via Public Radio International.[4]

James Reinl, “Libya’s hellish refugee centers remain open despite calls for closure,” Public Radio International, August 6, 2019, https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-08-06/libyas-hellish-refugee-centers-remain-open-despite-calls-closure


Kashmir

One has to take pronouncements, such as this one about the possibilities of war and ethnic cleansing,[5] by Pakistani politicians with a grain of salt. I have noticed a tendency towards hyperbole. But there is absolutely zero up-side to India’s move to revoke Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status.[6] Zero. None. Nada. The risks of a conflagration between these two nuclear-armed countries are considerable and it is entirely worthwhile to wonder what India’s intentions are.

Diaa Hadid, Scott Neuman, and Abdul Sattar, “Pakistan Warns Of War After India’s Move To End Kashmir’s Special Status,” National Public Radio, August 7, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/07/748957876/pakistan-warns-indias-move-to-end-kashmir-s-special-status-could-lead-to-war


Brexit

I’ve heard about the difficulties of re-erecting a hard Irish border, as would be required in a “no deal” scenario,[7] in the abstract. But here they are in a damning first person account.[8]

Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs


Royalty

I’m an anarchist, remember? Which probably should mean I would prefer a republic to a monarchy. Both are authoritarian, but the republic at least has some representation. Which isn’t real democracy and falls a long ways short of what’s actually needed but is at least something.

Here’s someone pointing out, with some considerable justification, however, that British royalty is making a hell of a lot more sense than British politicians.[9] This is the part I really like:

It is typical of the age that anyone allying themselves with an optimistic vision – what if we could avert climate catastrophe? What if we stamped out prejudice? – is immediately greeted with this kind of ire. The mean-spirited arguments are constructed on a foundation of bad faith. Only the underprivileged can talk about privilege; only the excluded can talk about bigotry; only the monk can talk about consumption. The ploy is quite clear: virtually nobody counts as quite deprived enough to have ambitions for a better world, so everybody should just pipe down.[10]

Ouch. There remains the issue of speaking for others, but if you read to the end of her chapter, which a certain professor emeritus I know of might never actually have done, Linda Alcott explains that those of us with some privilege should speak on behalf of others, but in consultation and cooperation with them.[11] Ouch anyway.

Zoe Williams, “I never thought I’d see the royal family as a beacon of hope,” August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/post-referendum-britain-royals-progressive-meghan-markle


Police

I wanted to put a line in my blog post yesterday, “Of course the cops don’t care about white supremacism,” about people of color being more likely to be shot by police.

A quick search indicated that might be wrong and it seems the story remains unclear. Brentin Mock goes into all this in some detail.[12]

Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/


  1. [1]Will Higginbotham, “Are You Climate Homesick? He’s Got a Word for That,” Ozy, July 26, 2019, https://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/are-you-climate-homesick-hes-got-a-word-for-that/95504
  2. [2]Laura Bliss, “How Much Traffic Do Uber and Lyft Cause?” CityLab, August 5, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/08/uber-lyft-traffic-congestion-ride-hailing-cities-drivers-vmt/595393/
  3. [3]Emily Badger, “Is Uber Helping or Hurting Mass Transit?” New York Times, October 16, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/upshot/is-uber-helping-or-hurting-mass-transit.html; Katie Dowd, “Why is San Francisco traffic so bad? Uber and Lyft are to blame, says city,” SFGate, December 13, 2016, http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/San-Francisco-traffic-Uber-Lyft-SFMTA-blame-10791265.php; Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, “SFPD: Uber, Lyft account for two-thirds of congestion-related traffic violations downtown,” San Francisco Examiner, September 25, 2017, http://www.sfexaminer.com/sfpd-uber-lyft-account-two-thirds-congestion-related-traffic-violations-downtown/; Nikil Saval, “Uber and the Ongoing Erasure of Public Life,” New Yorker, February 19, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/dept-of-design/uber-and-the-ongoing-erasure-of-public-life; Faiz Siddiqui, “A new study says services like UberPool are making traffic worse,” Washington Post, July 25, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/dr-gridlock/wp/2018/07/25/a-new-study-says-services-like-uberpool-are-making-traffic-worse/; Heather Somerville, “San Francisco investigating whether Uber, Lyft are public nuisances,” Reuters, June 5, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-san-francisco-rideservices-idUSKBN18W2F3 See also David Benfell, “San Francisco’s war on Uber and Lyft drivers,” Not Housebroken, September 27, 2017, https://disunitedstates.org/2017/09/27/san-franciscos-war-on-uber-and-lyft-drivers/
  4. [4]James Reinl, “Libya’s hellish refugee centers remain open despite calls for closure,” Public Radio International, August 6, 2019, https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-08-06/libyas-hellish-refugee-centers-remain-open-despite-calls-closure
  5. [5]Diaa Hadid, Scott Neuman, and Abdul Sattar, “Pakistan Warns Of War After India’s Move To End Kashmir’s Special Status,” National Public Radio, August 7, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/08/07/748957876/pakistan-warns-indias-move-to-end-kashmir-s-special-status-could-lead-to-war
  6. [6]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
  7. [7]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Could Boris Johnson’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit break up the United Kingdom?” Washington Post, July 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/could-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-crack-up-the-united-kingdom/2019/07/29/b871ebac-b1e6-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Daniel Boffey, “However you look at it, the logic of a Brexit backstop refuses to yield,” Guardian, June 24, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jun/24/however-look-logic-brexit-backstop-refuses-to-yield-irish; British Broadcasting Corporation, “Irish deputy PM Coveney: No deal Brexit would mean customs checks in Ireland,” July 21, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49062367/irish-deputy-pm-coveney-no-deal-brexit-would-mean-customs-checks-in-ireland; Amanda Ferguson and William Booth, “Northern Ireland’s politicians don’t agree on much. Except that Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit would be a disaster,” Washington Post, July 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/northern-irelands-politicians-dont-agree-on-much-except-that-boris-johnsons-no-deal-brexit-would-be-a-disaster/2019/07/31/c209affa-b2eb-11e9-acc8-1d847bacca73_story.html; Peter Foster and Camilla Tominey, “Boris Johnson warned that ‘no deal’ Brexit will require return of ‘direct rule’ in Northern Ireland,” Telegraph, July 26, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/26/boris-johnson-warned-no-deal-brexit-will-require-return-direct/; Conor Humphries, “Irish PM says hard Brexit would raise issue of Irish unification,” Telegraph, July 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-eu-ireland-nireland-idUSKCN1UL280
  8. [8]Séamas O’Reilly, “Hard Brexiters’ stance on the Irish border is nonsense – I can tell you, I grew up there,” Guardian, August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/northern-ireland-hard-border-brexit-customs
  9. [9]Zoe Williams, “I never thought I’d see the royal family as a beacon of hope,” August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/post-referendum-britain-royals-progressive-meghan-markle
  10. [10]Zoe Williams, “I never thought I’d see the royal family as a beacon of hope,” August 7, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/07/post-referendum-britain-royals-progressive-meghan-markle
  11. [11]Linda Martín Alcott, “The Problem of Speaking for Others,” in Who Can Speak? Authority and Critical Identity, Judith Roof and Robyn Wiegman, eds. (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 1995), 97-119.
  12. [12]Brentin Mock, “What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings,” CityLab, August 6, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/