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

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/

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/

Keeping Donald Trump’s base happy

Updates

  1. Originally published, July 14, 11:10 am.
  2. July 14, 6:42 pm:
    • I guess the folks suing the Trump administration over the rule expelling foreign students whose colleges and universities were going online only due to the pandemic[1] had a stronger case than I realized. They’ve retracted the rule.[2]

      Facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities, the Trump administration on Tuesday rescinded a rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the country if their schools held classes entirely online because of the coronavirus pandemic.[3]

      I have to say, I’m surprised. It seems to me that usually this administration fights harder than this, counting on the Supreme Court to ultimately uphold their policies. Because you know it’s like those rules on a boat I cited in an blog entry last year on Donald Trump’s epistemology.[4]

  3. July 14, 7:41 pm:
    • My desktop was running painfully slowly, it was time to reboot, so I ended the 6:42 pm update early.
    • Massachusetts is suing over Uber and Lyft driver misclassification.[5]
    • I forgot, there’s a new blog post as of about midday entitled, “Tax time.”
    • The earlier problem with a “check hybrid system” indication returned with a vengeance today, killing the engine. Fortunately my passenger was less than a block from where he was going. Also present, a “check VSC system” indication. The car was willing to start again by the time the tow truck driver got there but I had him tow it to the dealer anyway, while I caught an Uber home (tow truck drivers don’t give stranded motorists rides now).
  4. July 15, 5:18 am:
    • The pushback to the policy [expelling foreign students of universities and colleges that go online only in response to the pandemic] from higher education was immediate and fierce. Within 48 hours, Harvard and MIT had sued to stop the policy, and more than 250 other colleges signed onto amicus briefs in support. Still other institutions, including the Johns Hopkins University and all of California’s public colleges, filed lawsuits in their local courts.

      The opposition did not come from higher education alone. Twenty-one states sued. Cities and counties spoke out against the policy, saying the loss of international students would be an enormous hit to their local economies. So, too, did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, organized labor, and some of the country’s largest tech companies, including Google and Facebook.

      To many, the policy change was seen as part of a Trump-administration effort to force colleges and business to reopen, using international students as pawns. In its court filing in the MIT-Harvard case, the government contested that idea, but during a television interview, Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of homeland security, acknowledged that a goal of the policy was to “encourage schools to reopen.”[6]

      But higher education still faces a shortage of foreign students, who generally pay higher tuition than U.S. students, exacerbated by Trump administration policies. Students are increasingly going to friendlier countries.[7]

      It’s pretty clear here that the Trump administration was aiming to kill two birds with a single stone: First, the now rescinded policy feeds the xenophobic impulses of Donald Trump’s base, and second, the harm that policy does to institutions and students feeds the anti-intellectual impulses of Trump’s base. The latter impression is reinforced by likely politically-compromised Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that recommends against testing students for COVID-19 when returning to school this fall.[8] One might indeed infer that the Trump administration is trying first to kick students out of the country where it can, and to kill the students, professors, and their families where it can’t.


Lower education

Donald Trump, we know where you are (figure 1):[9]
109233971_3076439809099698_4184193387854969911_o
Fig. 1. Fowl Language Comic by Brian Gordon, posted on Facebook, July 13, 2020, fair use.


Higher education

Not that I’m really able to keep track of lawsuits against a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement rule expelling foreign students enrolled at on-line only colleges flying all over the place, but the lawsuits I now know about are those by 1) Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, supported by over 200 other schools, and in which a judge will supposedly hear arguments for an injunction today,[10] and 2) by the state of Massachusetts, joined by several other states, including Pennsylvania.[11] With COVID-19 case counts spiking around the country,[12] including places where these institutions are physically located,[13] it has to be even less likely the colleges and universities will reopen for in-person classes.[14] But I guess if it makes Donald Trump’s base happy, that’s all that matters.

Associated Press, “More than 200 schools, 17 states back lawsuits against Trump administration over international student rule,” CNBC, July 13, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/more-than-200-schools-17-states-back-lawsuits-against-trump-over-international-student-rule.html

John L. Micek, “Pa.’s Shapiro joins fellow AGs in lawsuit over Trump’s foreign student rule,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 13, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/pa-s-shapiro-joins-fellow-ags-in-lawsuit-over-trumps-foreign-student-rule/

Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga, “Trump administration backs off plan requiring international students to take face-to-face classes,” Washington Post, July 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/ice-rule-harvard-international-students-rescinded/2020/07/14/319fdae0-c607-11ea-a99f-3bbdffb1af38_story.html

Collin Binkley, “Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students,” Associated Press, July 14, 2020, copy in possession of author

Carl T. Bergstrom, “The CDC Is Wrong,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-CDC-Is-Wrong/249174

Karin Fischer, “U.S. Rescinds Visa Policy That Could Have Forced Colleges to Hold Some Classes in Person,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/US-Rescinds-Visa-Policy-That/249182


  1. [1]Associated Press, “More than 200 schools, 17 states back lawsuits against Trump administration over international student rule,” CNBC, July 13, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/more-than-200-schools-17-states-back-lawsuits-against-trump-over-international-student-rule.html; Associated Press, “More than 200 schools, 17 states back lawsuits against Trump administration over international student rule,” CNBC, July 13, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/more-than-200-schools-17-states-back-lawsuits-against-trump-over-international-student-rule.html; Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines; Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142; John L. Micek, “Pa.’s Shapiro joins fellow AGs in lawsuit over Trump’s foreign student rule,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 13, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/pa-s-shapiro-joins-fellow-ags-in-lawsuit-over-trumps-foreign-student-rule/
  2. [2]Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga, “Trump administration backs off plan requiring international students to take face-to-face classes,” Washington Post, July 14, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/ice-rule-harvard-international-students-rescinded/2020/07/14/319fdae0-c607-11ea-a99f-3bbdffb1af38_story.html; Collin Binkley, “Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students,” Associated Press, July 14, 2020, copy in possession of author
  3. [3]Collin Binkley, “Trump administration rescinds rule on foreign students,” Associated Press, July 14, 2020, copy in possession of author
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The captain is always right,” Not Housebroken, September 8, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/08/the-captain-is-always-right/
  5. [5]Tina Bellon, “Massachusetts sues Uber, Lyft over driver status as contractors,” Reuters, July 14, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-lawsuit-massachusetts-idUSKCN24F2OX
  6. [6]Karin Fischer, “U.S. Rescinds Visa Policy That Could Have Forced Colleges to Hold Some Classes in Person,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/US-Rescinds-Visa-Policy-That/249182
  7. [7]Karin Fischer, “U.S. Rescinds Visa Policy That Could Have Forced Colleges to Hold Some Classes in Person,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/US-Rescinds-Visa-Policy-That/249182
  8. [8]Carl T. Bergstrom, “The CDC Is Wrong,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 14, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/The-CDC-Is-Wrong/249174
  9. [9]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
  10. [10]Associated Press, “More than 200 schools, 17 states back lawsuits against Trump administration over international student rule,” CNBC, July 13, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/more-than-200-schools-17-states-back-lawsuits-against-trump-over-international-student-rule.html; Bloomberg, “Harvard and MIT sue ICE to halt new student visa guidelines,” Los Angeles Times, July 8, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-07-08/harvard-and-mit-sue-ice-to-halt-new-student-visa-guidelines; Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142
  11. [11]Associated Press, “More than 200 schools, 17 states back lawsuits against Trump administration over international student rule,” CNBC, July 13, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/13/more-than-200-schools-17-states-back-lawsuits-against-trump-over-international-student-rule.html; John L. Micek, “Pa.’s Shapiro joins fellow AGs in lawsuit over Trump’s foreign student rule,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 13, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/pa-s-shapiro-joins-fellow-ags-in-lawsuit-over-trumps-foreign-student-rule/
  12. [12]Agence France-Presse, “Fauci warns U.S. is “knee-deep” in coronavirus first wave,” CBS News, July 7, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fauci-warns-us-knee-deep-coronavirus-first-wave/; Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; CBS News, “U.S. sees another record-breaking day with more than 63,000 coronavirus cases,” July 10, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cases-usa-63000-daily-record/; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; Jeet Heer, [Twitter thread], Twitter Thread App, July 9, 2020, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1281071726596521984.html; Chelsea Janes et al., “Surge in virus hospitalizations strains hospitals in several states,” Washington Post, July 8, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/surge-in-virus-hospitalizations-strains-hospitals-in-several-states/2020/07/08/12855e5e-c135-11ea-864a-0dd31b9d6917_story.html; Christina Maxouris, “Officials say states like Arizona and Texas reopened too quickly after soaring Covid-19 cases,” CNN, July 6, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/06/health/us-coronavirus-monday/index.html; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Lisa Shumaker and Brendan O’Brien, “Record spike in new coronavirus cases reported in six U.S. states as reopening accelerates,” Reuters, June 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN23N32O; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3
  13. [13]Audrey Williams June, “Over 450 Colleges Are in Coronavirus Hot Spots,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 9, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/Over-450-Colleges-Are-in/249156
  14. [14]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