The U.S. burns while the rich and powerful fiddle

Social inequality

Billionaires have been profiting exorbitantly from the ups and downs of the stock market as it reacted to news of the pandemic:[1]

Luke Hilyard, executive director of the High Pay Centre, a thinktank that focuses on excessive pay, said the “extreme wealth concentration is an ugly phenomenon from a moral perspective, but it’s also economically and socially destructive”.

“Billionaire wealth equates to a fortune almost impossible to spend over multiple lifetimes of absolute luxury,” Hilyard said. “Anyone accumulating riches on this scale could easily afford to raise the pay of the employees who generate their wealth, or contribute a great deal more in taxes to support vital public services, while remaining very well rewarded for whatever successes they’ve achieved.”[2]

Meanwhile, U.S. politicians still won’t (don’t say “can’t”) agree on an economic relief package even as people are losing their jobs,[3] losing their health insurance (but forget about Medicare For All, even in a pandemic),[4] and being evicted.[5] ’Cause, you know, none of that really matters.[6]

Rupert Neate, “Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis,” Guardian, October 7, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/07/covid-19-crisis-boosts-the-fortunes-of-worlds-billionaires

Jonathan Roeder, Jordyn Holman, and Mary Schlangenstein, “‘People are suffering’: Corporate America lashes Trump after stimulus call,” Sydney Morning Herald, October 7, 2020, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/people-are-suffering-corporate-america-lashes-trump-after-stimulus-call-20201007-p562rj.html


Academia

Colleen Shalby, “California colleges tried to prepare for COVID-19 outbreaks. It didn’t work,” Los Angeles Times, October 7, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-10-07/as-californias-universities-reopen-off-campus-activity-contributes-to-spike-in-covid-19-cases


  1. [1]Rupert Neate, “Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis,” Guardian, October 7, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/07/covid-19-crisis-boosts-the-fortunes-of-worlds-billionaires
  2. [2]Rupert Neate, “Billionaires’ wealth rises to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis,” Guardian, October 7, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/oct/07/covid-19-crisis-boosts-the-fortunes-of-worlds-billionaires
  3. [3]Jonathan Roeder, Jordyn Holman, and Mary Schlangenstein, “‘People are suffering’: Corporate America lashes Trump after stimulus call,” Sydney Morning Herald, October 7, 2020, https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/people-are-suffering-corporate-america-lashes-trump-after-stimulus-call-20201007-p562rj.html
  4. [4]Sara R. Collins and David Blumenthal, “Without universal healthcare, coronavirus puts us all at risk,” Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-03-05/op-ed-time-to-ramp-up-medicaid-to-pay-for-universal-coronavirus-care; Amy Goldstein, “Worries about medical bills and lost pay may hamper coronavirus efforts in the United States,” Washington Post, March 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/worries-about-medical-bills-and-lost-pay-may-hamper-coronavirus-efforts-in-the-united-states/2020/03/02/75825be0-5c9c-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html; Amy Goldstein, “First, the coronavirus pandemic took their jobs. Then, it wiped out their health insurance,” Washington Post, April 18, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/first-the-coronavirus-pandemic-took-their-jobs-then-it-wiped-out-their-health-insurance/2020/04/18/1c2cb5bc-7d7c-11ea-8013-1b6da0e4a2b7_story.html; James Hamblin, “What Will You Do If You Start Coughing?” Atlantic, March 11, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/where-do-you-go-if-you-get-coronavirus/607759/; Eric Levitz, “In the Age of the Coronavirus, Biden’s ‘Results’ Require Bernie’s ‘Revolution,’” New York, March 16, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/who-won-the-democratic-debate-between-biden-and-bernie-coronavirus.html
  5. [5]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; Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey, “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” Associated Press, August 4, 2020, copy in possession of author; Stephen Caruso, “Gov. Wolf says his executive authority has run out on extending eviction moratorium, perplexing some experts,” Pittsburgh City Paper, August 28, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/gov-wolf-says-his-executive-authority-has-run-out-on-extending-eviction-moratorium-perplexing-some-experts/Content?oid=17896117; Benjamin Fearnow, “Biden, Sanders demand 3-month freeze on rent payments, eviction of tenants across U.S.,” Newsweek, March 28, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/biden-sanders-demand-3-month-freeze-rent-payments-eviction-tenants-across-us-1494839; John Fritze and Nicholas Wu, “Trump administration announces nationwide eviction moratorium through end of the year,” USA Today, September 1, 2020, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/09/01/trump-imposes-eviction-moratorium-because-covid-19-pandemic/5686402002/; 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/; Elizabeth Hardison, “Pa.’s moratorium on evictions has ended. Here’s what that means,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, September 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/working-the-economy/pa-s-moratorium-on-evictions-has-ended-heres-what-that-means/; Sam Levin, “California landlords are locking out struggling tenants. A ‘tsunami of evictions’ may be next,” Guardian, July 30, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/30/california-covid-19-evictions-landlords-tenants; Eric Levitz, “This Recession Is a Bigger Housing Crisis Than 2008,” New York, July 13, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/07/coronavirus-recession-evictions-crisis-congress.html; Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/; John L. Micek, “Pa. is facing a wave of evictions. Two state House lawmakers have a plan to help,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/commentary/pa-is-facing-a-wave-of-evictions-two-state-house-lawmakers-have-a-plan-to-help-tuesday-morning-coffee/; Emma Ockerman, “The Tenant Uprising Is Here, and It’s Fierce,” Vice, August 7, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kpdyq/the-tenant-uprising-is-here-and-its-fierce; Ashwin Rodrigues, “Gig Economy Company Launches Uber, But for Evicting People,” Vice, September 21, 2020, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/ep435n/gig-economy-company-launches-uber-but-for-evicting-people; Jenny Schuetz, “America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus,” Brookings, March 12, 2020, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/12/americas-inequitable-housing-system-is-completely-unprepared-for-coronavirus/; Renatta Signorini, “As time ticks down on eviction ban in Pennsylvania, crush of court cases expected,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/as-time-ticks-down-on-eviction-ban-in-pennsylvania-crush-of-court-cases-expected/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The mysterious expectation that elites give a damn,” Not Housebroken, September 26, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/01/the-mysterious-expectation-that-elites-give-a-damn/

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


Back to school in Pittsburgh

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 14, 2020, at 11:27 am.
  2. September 14, 3:36 pm:
    • A federal judge has ruled that Governor Wolf’s shutdown orders in Pennsylvania were unconstitutional, violating a first amendment right of freedom of assembly.[1] The ruling uses capitalist libertarian logic.
    • I updated the satellite photo for Sally. It appears to me to be continuing to gather strength. If I’m not mistaken, an eye is now discernible.
  3. September 15, 9:15 am:
    • I updated the satellite photo for Sally. It does seem like it’s headed straight for the Mississippi River delta, which includes New Orleans. I’m failing to discern an eye now, but it seems to be taking on more of a classic spiral shape.

Sally


Fig. 1. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, September 15, 2020, at 8:01 am EDT.


Higher education

So a bunch of schools ignored the advice that they needed to remain on-line only.[2] It’s pretty rapidly gone wrong, at least at some of the schools that returned to in-person instruction in August, pretty much as had been predicted.[3]

[T]he University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and East Carolina University all moved to remote instruction after just a week of classes. Michigan State University canceled most in-person instruction less than two weeks before the semester began. Many institutions may make similar decisions as the realities of [COVID-19] viral infection collide with their in-person ambitions.[4]

And, of course, that’s gonna cost the universities money but maybe not as much as you might think: In many cases, these reversals occurred too late for students to get their money back. The predictable cynicism ensues but it’s possible hubris and a desperation to maintain enrollment have as much to do with the decisions to resume in-person instruction as greed.[5]

A personal note, here: Even before I had finished my bachelor’s degree (this was late 2005), I was starting to see a lot of hubris on the campus (California State University, East Bay) I attended. Certainly, I see a lot of hubris emanating from Saybrook University now, which having destroyed its human science program, has lost its curricular grounding and—this is painful—seems to be going entirely woo woo.

Hubris is real. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

I’m seeing a lot of masked students now on the streets of Oakland, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh where (very roughly west to east) Carlow University, University of Pittsburgh (“Pitt”), and Carnegie-Mellon University have their main campuses, side-by-side, and also where University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) has three major hospitals. I’m also seeing that at least some K-12 schools are back in session. So far, from the notifications I’ve been getting on my phone, the bump in COVID-19 case counts in Allegheny County has been small. I’m hoping this works out but it’s still awfully early.


The car

So it’s another $1000+ going into my car in an already expensive year. Tires and front rotors, this time. The front end work earlier this year that, with an inspection and engine fan repair, came to around $1900, was due to Pittsburgh road conditions. I only got about 21,000 miles out of this last set of tires, also largely due to Pittsburgh road conditions. I’m cutting the wheel alignment check interval to 90 days (I put on about 63,000 miles per year), but basically, I’m losing my ass here and because so much of it is due to Pittsburgh road conditions, I really can’t blame the car. I can only blame the ridesharing driving. The trouble is that, even with a Ph.D., I have no choice.[6]


Pennsylvania

Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge rules Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders were unconstitutional,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/federal-judge-rules-gov-wolfs-shutdown-orders-were-unconstitutional/


  1. [1]Paula Reed Ward, “Federal judge rules Gov. Wolf’s shutdown orders were unconstitutional,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/federal-judge-rules-gov-wolfs-shutdown-orders-were-unconstitutional/
  2. [2]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; Vivian S. Lee, Vindell Washington, and Robert M. Califf, “The Bad Science of Reopening,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-bad-science-of-reopening
  3. [3]Tim Elfrink, “‘We’ve got to do better than this’: College students raise alarm by packing bars, avoiding masks,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/17/alabama-georgia-college-parties-covid/; Lindsay Ellis, “Colleges Hoped for an In-Person Fall. Now the Dream is Crumbling,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 20, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/colleges-hoped-for-an-in-person-fall-now-the-dream-is-crumbling; Notre Dame University, “Notre Dame enacts two weeks of remote instruction,” August 18, 2020, https://news.nd.edu/news/notre-dame-enacts-two-weeks-of-remote-instruction/; Andy Thomason, “After Only One Week, Chapel Hill Abandons In-Person Fall Semester,” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 17, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/after-only-one-week-chapel-hill-abandons-in-person-fall-semester
  4. [4]Eric Kelderman, “Colleges Are Making Late Calls to Shut Campuses. Is It All About the Money?” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 25, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/colleges-are-making-late-calls-to-shut-campuses-is-it-all-about-the-money
  5. [5]Eric Kelderman, “Colleges Are Making Late Calls to Shut Campuses. Is It All About the Money?” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 25, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/colleges-are-making-late-calls-to-shut-campuses-is-it-all-about-the-money
  6. [6]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/

Alleged shooter in Portland appears to have committed ‘suicide by cop’

Higher Education

Kery Murakami, “Fauci Urges Colleges Not to Send Students Home,” Inside Higher Ed, September 4, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/09/04/fauci-urges-colleges-not-send-students-home


Protests

It appears the shooter in Portland[1] was a Leftist. In a National Public Radio article, he is being cast as possibly having mental health issues. The victim in that shooting has been identified as Aaron Danielson; the suspect, Michael Reinoehl, died in a volley of, according to people nearby, forty to fifty shots, as “four officers from three different jurisdictions fired weapons” when Reinoehl allegedly produced a weapon,[2] raising the specter of suicide by cop, assuming even that he did indeed brandish that weapon.[3]

That cops are poorly prepared to deal with mental health issues is an argument for abolishing or defunding the police.[4]

Conrad Wilson and Kimberley Freda, “Suspect In Fatal Shooting Of Portland Right-Wing Protester Killed By Law Enforcement,” National Public Radio, September 4, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/09/04/909515885/protester-suspected-in-portland-shooting-death-killed-by-law-enforcement


  1. [1]Faiz Siddiqui and Isaac Stanley-Becker, “One person shot dead in Portland following clashes between pro-Trump supporters, counterprotesters,” Washington Post, August 30, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/29/blm-activists-counterprotesters-clash-portland-leading-arrests/; Hollie Silverman and Alta Spells, “1 person is dead after a shooting during protests in downtown Portland,” CNN, August 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/30/us/portland-protest-fatal-shooting/index.html
  2. [2]Conrad Wilson and Kimberley Freda, “Suspect In Fatal Shooting Of Portland Right-Wing Protester Killed By Law Enforcement,” National Public Radio, September 4, 2020, https://www.npr.org/2020/09/04/909515885/protester-suspected-in-portland-shooting-death-killed-by-law-enforcement
  3. [3]Mark Joseph Stern, “The Police Lie. All the Time. Can Anything Stop Them?” Slate, August 4, 2020, https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/08/police-testilying.html
  4. [4]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; 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

It’s too wet! It’s too dry! I might never see a proper Fall the way this is going.

Pennsylvania

So it’s been a really dry summer and that might diminish the Fall colors[1] yet again. This after the torrential storms of last year diminished those colors.[2] Now, we’re getting torrential rainfall (figure 1), in part due to Laura, but coming from California, I’m all too well aware that a sudden torrent is no substitute for a steadier pace of lighter rain.ecan.gif

Fig. 1. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for eastern Canada, as of August 29, 2020, at 4:01 am.

I’m expecting the remnants of the central part of Laura to pass over Pittsburgh today, but there’s been a flow across the northern tier of states that’s also been affecting us—this is probably not quite done yet.


Pandemic

I keep hearing how children can’t transmit the novel coronavirus,[3] mainly from folks with some form of interest in getting them back in school, even as schools themselves have been cautious.[4] It’s pretty clear kids can carry the virus.[5] And older kids might transmit it as much as adults do.[6] But I’m starting to suspect that proper science is not being done here while self-interested folks spin what evidence there is to support their own hopes. Because for all the hue and cry, this should be a lot more clear cut.

What I keep hearing from parents is that kids are notorious “germ factories,” spreading disease to entire families, and no one seems to offer an adequate answer for why it should be any different with the coronavirus.

Jacqueline Howard and Sandee LaMotte, “Kids can carry coronavirus in respiratory tract for weeks, study suggests,” CNN, August 28, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/28/health/kids-covid-19-nose-throat-wellness/index.html


  1. [1]Marcus Schneck, “Fall foliage expert offers bleak outlook for some of Pennsylvania this fall,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, August 28, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/life/2020/08/fall-foliage-expert-offers-bleak-outlook-for-some-of-pennsylvania-this-fall.html
  2. [2]Mary Ann Thomas, “Leaf peeper season in full swing in the Laurel Highlands; Pittsburgh, Alle-Kiski Valley must wait,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 20, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/valley-news-dispatch/leaf-peeper-season-in-full-swing-in-the-laurel-highlands-pittsburgh-alle-kiski-valley-must-wait/
  3. [3]Benjamin Lee and William V. Raszka, “COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child Is Not to Blame,” Pediatrics 146, no. 1 (2020), doi: 10.1542/peds.2020-004879
  4. [4]Justin Lahart, “Kids at Home Could Put the Economy in Detention,” Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kids-at-home-could-put-the-economy-in-detention-11595583001; Laura Meckler, “With pressure and threats, Trump pushes to fully reopen schools. Schools say: Not so fast,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/trump-schools-cdc-pence/2020/07/08/8a52d400-c14b-11ea-b4f6-cb39cd8940fb_story.html
  5. [5]Jacqueline Howard and Sandee LaMotte, “Kids can carry coronavirus in respiratory tract for weeks, study suggests,” CNN, August 28, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/28/health/kids-covid-19-nose-throat-wellness/index.html; Apoorva Mandavilli, “Children May Carry Coronavirus at High Levels, Study Finds,” New York Times, July 30, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/30/health/coronavirus-children.html
  6. [6]Peter Dockrill, “Older Kids May Transmit COVID-19 as Much as Adults Do, New Evidence Shows,” Science Alert, July 20, 2020, https://www.sciencealert.com/older-children-transmit-covid-19-as-much-as-adults-do-new-evidence-suggests

Election bullshit, intensified

Academia

Notre Dame University, “Notre Dame enacts two weeks of remote instruction,” August 18, 2020, https://news.nd.edu/news/notre-dame-enacts-two-weeks-of-remote-instruction/


Horse race

I’m no historian, but I think you’d have to go a ways back to find an election in the U.S. that is so much bullshit.

And you can’t even argue that Joe Biden is a “functioning adult,” as so many yard signs claim to seek, because he plainly suffers dementia.


The militia movement in the pandemic

Militia movement

Luke Mogelson’s article, principally about the militia movement in a time of the novel coronavirus and anti-racism protests,[1] is absolutely horrifying. I know from my own studies that Mogelson’s analysis and observations are likely correct. That does not diminish the horror.

Oh yeah, and when these assholes deny they are racist, especially when they do so vociferously?[2] As if I didn’t already know, that persuades me that they are racist.

Luke Mogelson, “The Militias Against Masks,” New Yorker, August 17, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/the-militias-against-masks


Academia

Andy Thomason, “After Only One Week, Chapel Hill Abandons In-Person Fall Semester,” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 17, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/after-only-one-week-chapel-hill-abandons-in-person-fall-semester


  1. [1]Luke Mogelson, “The Militias Against Masks,” New Yorker, August 17, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/the-militias-against-masks
  2. [2]Luke Mogelson, “The Militias Against Masks,” New Yorker, August 17, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/the-militias-against-masks

The summer of our discontent

One hot woman

My mother is putting up with a lot out in California, with rotating power outages, 100-plus degree heat, and the upcoming peak of a fire season that looks like it’s going to be really, really bad. It’s also her birthday.

I’m not gonna tell you how old she is. Suffice it to say, she’s outlived a bunch of assholes.

Ironically, with the pandemic, it’s also a time when I’m glad we’re on opposite sides of the country. Driving for Uber and Lyft, I’m exposed to a lot of people in a confined space and it would absolutely not be a good thing for me to give her COVID-19.

Happy birthday, Mom! Such as it is.


Horse race

Robert McCartney, “Here’s one way Trump could try to steal the election, voting experts say,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/heres-one-way-trump-could-try-to-steal-the-election-voting-experts-say/2020/08/16/b5bf0c2a-de66-11ea-b205-ff838e15a9a6_story.html


Pittsburgh

There is a new blog post entitled, “Off with their heads.”

Shelby Cassesse, “Protesters Call For Mayor Peduto’s Resignation After Arrest Of Protester In Oakland,” KDKA, August 16, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/08/16/protesters-call-for-removal-of-mayor-peduto/

Mary Ann Thomas, “Angry crowd shows up at Mayor Peduto’s home challenging Pittsburgh police arrest of protester,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 16, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-show-up-at-pedutos-home-protesting-city-police-arrest-of-protester-saturday/


Academia

Gee, who[1] could have told us this[2] would happen?

Tim Elfrink, “‘We’ve got to do better than this’: College students raise alarm by packing bars, avoiding masks,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/17/alabama-georgia-college-parties-covid/


  1. [1]Vivian S. Lee, Vindell Washington, and Robert M. Califf, “The Bad Science of Reopening,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-bad-science-of-reopening
  2. [2]Tim Elfrink, “‘We’ve got to do better than this’: College students raise alarm by packing bars, avoiding masks,” Washington Post, August 17, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/08/17/alabama-georgia-college-parties-covid/

Donald Trump’s nothing-burger

Recession

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

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

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


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

Some people might, after all, really be immune to COVID-19

Pandemic

Some folks might have a T-cell response that protects them from COVID-19 and this may mean that “herd immunity” isn’t quite[1] the mirage it’s been made out to be,[2] and some of what’s described in this article, frankly, sounds a lot like me and to the extent it does apply to me, I might not after all be at risk of exposing others. But if I understand correctly, T-cell response stems from previous exposure to a pathogen or a similar pathogen.[3] My deal seems to be that I just never come down with this shit—any of it—in the first place.

But one thing that occurs to me is that if antibodies are different from T-cells, and it seems they are,[4] then antibody tests will fail to detect all the immunity that’s already out there. And how much of it is indeed out there matters a lot for how we come through this, whether in fact there is, after all, “herd immunity.”[5]

This is the first good news I’ve seen in this pandemic. The trouble is, it won’t be good enough news for far too many people, only some of whom have already died.

Sanjay Gupta and Andrea Kane, “Do some people have protection against the coronavirus?” CNN, August 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html


Recession

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman write for the Politico “Playbook” newsletter,

WE ARE MOVING INTO the phase where serious progress has to be made, or it may be time to reconsider who’s at the negotiating table. [emphasis in original][6]

When you’ve already got the people with authority to make a deal at the table, who would reconsider? Who else would have that authority? These are words that sound right and may even be right but fail to reach the practicalities involved, let alone the heart of the problem.[7]

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, “Will they ever get a deal?” Politico, August 3, 2020, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2020/08/03/will-they-ever-get-a-deal-489957


Isaias

eusgm


Higher education

Vivian S. Lee, Vindell Washington, and Robert M. Califf, “The Bad Science of Reopening,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/the-bad-science-of-reopening


  1. [1]Sanjay Gupta and Andrea Kane, “Do some people have protection against the coronavirus?” CNN, August 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html
  2. [2]D. Clay Ackerly, “My patient caught Covid-19 twice. So long to herd immunity hopes,” Vox, July 12, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/7/12/21321653/getting-covid-19-twice-reinfection-antibody-herd-immunity; Christie Aschwanden, “Sorry, Immunity to Covid-19 Won’t Be Like a Superpower,” Wired, April 16, 2020, https://www.wired.com/story/sorry-immunity-to-covid-19-wont-be-like-a-superpower/
  3. [3]Sanjay Gupta and Andrea Kane, “Do some people have protection against the coronavirus?” CNN, August 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html
  4. [4]Sanjay Gupta and Andrea Kane, “Do some people have protection against the coronavirus?” CNN, August 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html
  5. [5]Sanjay Gupta and Andrea Kane, “Do some people have protection against the coronavirus?” CNN, August 2, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/health/gupta-coronavirus-t-cell-cross-reactivity-immunity-wellness/index.html
  6. [6]Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman, “Will they ever get a deal?” Politico, August 3, 2020, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2020/08/03/will-they-ever-get-a-deal-489957
  7. [7]David Benfell, “We need to do everything different,” Not Housebroken, July 30, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/30/we-need-to-do-everything-different/; David Benfell, “The mysterious expectation that elites give a damn,” Not Housebroken, August 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/08/01/the-mysterious-expectation-that-elites-give-a-damn/