Louis DeJoy accused of ‘voter suppression’

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 13, 2020, at 9:52 am.
  2. September 13, 10:49 am:
    • There have been tens of thousands of COVID-19 cases and hundreds of deaths at animal flesh packing plants. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has fined merely two companies a mere $29,000, apparently under influence from the Trump administration. Labor representatives worry the paltry fines will function as a disincentive to safety.[1]
  3. September 13, 9:23 pm:
  4. September 14, 2:46 am:
    • I’m not sure that the horse isn’t already out of the barn, but confirming the last update (September 13, 9:23 pm), it appears the judge did indeed grant a temporary restraining order against the Postal Service.[2]
  5. September 14, 3:06 am:
    • I guess this is Sally (figure 2) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Conservatism

There is a new blog post entitled, “On ‘freedom.’


Postal Service

“In Colorado, every registered voter is sent a ballot without having to make a request and voters are urged to return ballots by mail sooner than seven days before the election. My office asked USPS officials to delay or not send the mailer in Colorado, but they refused to commit to that,” said [Colorado Secretary of State Jena] Griswold. Voters in states with similar vote-by-mail, such as California and Washington, could also be misled by the postcard’s recommendations.[3]

I had thought the card was pretty germaine, but given its obvious significance in this election, took the precaution of scanning it in (figure 1) before, as I do with nearly everything, shredding it:[4]

Fig. 1. Scan of card received by author on September 11, 2020, from the U.S. Postal Service.

Sure enough, there is specific advice there that could conflict with some states’ rules. And it really wouldn’t have taken a lot of rephrasing to mollify Jena Griswold and her colleagues from, she says, at least five other states.[5]

Jake Johnson, “Condemning ‘Attempt at Voter Suppression,’ Colorado Sues DeJoy Over Misleading Postal Service Mailers,” Common Dreams, September 12, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/12/condemning-attempt-voter-suppression-colorado-sues-dejoy-over-misleading-postal

Colleen Flynn and Evan Kruegel, “TRO against USPS granted in lawsuit filed by Colo. Sec. of State Jena Griswold,” KDVR, September 12, 2020, https://kdvr.com/news/tro-against-usps-granted-in-lawsuit-filed-by-colo-sec-of-state-jena-griswold/


Animal flesh

Kimberly Kindy, “More than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of covid-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines,” Washington Post, September 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/osha-covid-meat-plant-fines/2020/09/13/1dca3e14-f395-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html


Sally


Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for Eastern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico, as of September 14, 2020, at 2:02 am.


  1. [1]Kimberly Kindy, “More than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of covid-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines,” Washington Post, September 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/osha-covid-meat-plant-fines/2020/09/13/1dca3e14-f395-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html
  2. [2]Colleen Flynn and Evan Kruegel, “TRO against USPS granted in lawsuit filed by Colo. Sec. of State Jena Griswold,” KDVR, September 12, 2020, https://kdvr.com/news/tro-against-usps-granted-in-lawsuit-filed-by-colo-sec-of-state-jena-griswold/
  3. [3]Jake Johnson, “Condemning ‘Attempt at Voter Suppression,’ Colorado Sues DeJoy Over Misleading Postal Service Mailers,” Common Dreams, September 12, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/12/condemning-attempt-voter-suppression-colorado-sues-dejoy-over-misleading-postal
  4. [4]The idea is that should I dispose of anything that might be used against me in this way, the motherfuckers will have to piece together a lot of junk before they find it.
  5. [5]Jake Johnson, “Condemning ‘Attempt at Voter Suppression,’ Colorado Sues DeJoy Over Misleading Postal Service Mailers,” Common Dreams, September 12, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/12/condemning-attempt-voter-suppression-colorado-sues-dejoy-over-misleading-postal

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

Laura comes ashore


Laura

eusgm.gif
Fig. 1. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, as of August 27, 2020, at 6:01 am.

Gerald Herbert, Melinda Deslatte, and Stacey Plaisance, “Laura slams Louisiana coast with fierce wind, surging sea,” Associated Press, August 27, 2020, article in possession of author


A polarized Pennsylvania bummer

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf repeated his earlier call for legalization of recreational marijuana,[1] this time framing it as part of the state’s economic recovery from the pandemic.[2] At last report, a bill intended to do just that[3] was still bottled up in a hostile committee, even as the lieutenant governor echoed the governor’s call:[4]

State Sen. [Patrick] Stefano said his committee is doing research and looking into new studies. He tells KDKA’s Meghan Schiller the biggest hold up right now is that there’s no way to measure THC in a person’s body. He said until there’s a tool to measure intoxication, he’s hesitant to move forward.[5]

Wolf alluded to the state legislature’s failed attempts to curtail his efforts to manage the pandemic[6] and proposed that some revenue go to help small businesses:[7]

“House and Senate Democrats have been fighting for progress to protect families and businesses in these spaces since the beginning of the pandemic, but they have been stopped at every turn by the Republican majority focused on ignoring the public health crisis,” [Tom] Wolf said.

“That must stop now. The legislature must come back and take immediate steps to provide funding to frontline workers and businesses, put in place protections for families and our workforce, and make these commonsense reforms that can provide confidence in our government. Pennsylvanians need relief, they need reform, and they need it now.”[8]

I trust he isn’t holding his breath.

Sonia Moghe and Taylor Romine, “Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan,” CNN, August 26, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/pennsylvania-legalize-recreational-marijuana-trnd/index.html


Laura

eusgm.gif
Fig. 1. 72-hour of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, as of August 26, 2020, 10:01 pm.

It looks to me like landfall will occur in extreme southwestern Louisiana, just across the border from Texas.


  1. [1]Kara Seymour, “PA Governor Calls For Legalizing Recreational Marijuana,” Patch, September 25, 2019, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/gutg4/pa-governor-calls-for-legalizing-recreational-marijuana
  2. [2]Sonia Moghe and Taylor Romine, “Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan,” CNN, August 26, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/pennsylvania-legalize-recreational-marijuana-trnd/index.html
  3. [3]WTAE, “New bill to legalize recreational marijuana unveiled by state lawmaker from Pittsburgh,” February 20, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/recreational-marijuana-bill-pittsburgh-state-rep-jake-wheatley/31025380
  4. [4]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  5. [5]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  6. [6]Associated Press, “Pennsylvania GOP seeks to dismantle Wolf’s shutdown,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-gop-seeks-to-dismantle-wolfs-shutdown/; Associated Press, “Pennsylvania Republicans Mount New Challenge To Gov. Tom Wolf’s Pandemic Power,” KDKA, July 14, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/14/republicans-mount-new-challenge-to-governors-pandemic-power/; Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Lawmaker: It’s not government’s responsibility to ‘try to keep us safe,’” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, August 12, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-lawmaker-its-not-governments-responsibility-to-try-to-keep-us-safe/; Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf, GOP critic spar over social media post parroting health secretary’s LGBQT comments,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gov-wolf-gop-critic-spar-over-social-media-post-parroting-health-secretarys-lgbqt-comments/; Elizabeth Hardison and Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Supreme Court throws out GOP challenge to Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency order,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-supreme-court-throws-out-gop-challenge-to-wolfs-covid-19-emergency-order/; Nick Matoney, “‘We can’t do this for another 90 days’: Pa. General Assembly votes to end COVID-19 emergency declaration,” WTAE, June 10, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/we-cant-do-this-for-another-90-days-pa-general-assembly-votes-to-end-covid-19-emergency-declaration/32821325; John L. Micek, “W. Pa. Rep. Metcalfe files impeachment articles to ‘remove dictator Wolf’ over pandemic response,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/w-pa-rep-metcalfe-files-impeachment-articles-to-remove-dictator-wolf-over-pandemic-response/
  7. [7]Sonia Moghe and Taylor Romine, “Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan,” CNN, August 26, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/pennsylvania-legalize-recreational-marijuana-trnd/index.html
  8. [8]Sonia Moghe and Taylor Romine, “Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan,” CNN, August 26, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/26/us/pennsylvania-legalize-recreational-marijuana-trnd/index.html

A bumper sticker of hate

wp-1598373513760.jpg
Fig. 1. Photograph by author, August 25, 2020.

What kind of an asshole puts a bumper sticker like this (figure 1) on the back of their car? I take that question on in a new blog post entitled, “The Donald Trump supporters’ campaign message: Fuck Your Feelings.”


Tropical Storms

eusgm
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, as of August 26, 2020 at 8:01 am EDT.

Laura now appears to be setting its own course (figure 2) and may graze both the Louisiana coast and the extreme eastern Texas coast.


Walbridge Fire isn’t quite yet a memory

Walbridge Fire

There are almost no evacuation warning areas left. What remains are some residual fires and some mandatory evacuation zones and one evacuation warning zone (figure 1).
FireShot Capture 310 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map taken by author on August 25, 2020 at 9:58 pm EDT (6:58 pm PDT).

Barring adverse developments, I’ll probably stop paying attention here.


Tropical Storms

eusgm
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico, as of August 25, 2020, 10:01 pm EDT.

It’s still a bit ambiguous to my eye, but Laura appears to possibly be on a more westerly track than the one followed by Marco (figure 2). My guess would now be landfall in Louisiana or Mississippi. I’m expecting a better idea tomorrow, yeah, probably just as the storm actually is making landfall.


Abolish the police

Pandemic

This probably isn’t another hydroxychloroquine. It looks like blood plasma therapy might be effective for some COVID-19 patients. We don’t know how many. We don’t know how often. But it probably isn’t 35 percent of patients.[1]

“For the first time ever, I feel like official people in communications and people at the F.D.A. grossly misrepresented data about a therapy,” said Dr. Walid Gellad, who leads the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh.[2]

Katie Thomas and Sheri Fink, “F.D.A. ‘Grossly Misrepresented’ Blood Plasma Data, Scientists Say,” New York Times, August 24, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/health/fda-blood-plasma.html


Police

There is a new blog post entitled, “Don’t just defund the police. Abolish them.”

Stephen Maturen, “Wisconsin calls out National Guard after unrest over police shooting of Black man,” Reuters, August 24, 2020, https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-global-race-usa-wisconsin/wisconsin-calls-out-national-guard-after-unrest-over-police-shooting-of-black-man-idUKKBN25K0CP


Walbridge Fire

At this point, it’s very much looking to me like residual smoke, rather than fire itself, is the principle concern here. Though there have been no further downgrades of evacuation zones since 6:00 pm EDT (3:00 pm PDT) yesterday, the number of active fires seems to be diminishing (figure 1).
FireShot Capture 307 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map taken by author, August 25, 2020, at 8:04 am EDT (5:04 am PDT).

The threat of lightning[3] should also be diminishing as that low pressure area, now roughly west of Monterey, is looking pretty weak (figure 2), but I would be cautious about this for at least one more day.
wus
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the western U.S.

Tropical storms

Marco is gone, its remnants appear over the Atlantic; Laura is entering the Gulf of Mexico and looks to me likely to follow roughly the same track as Marco, hitting the Florida panhandle (figure 3).
eusgm.gif
Fig. 3. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico


  1. [1]Katie Thomas and Sheri Fink, “F.D.A. ‘Grossly Misrepresented’ Blood Plasma Data, Scientists Say,” New York Times, August 24, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/health/fda-blood-plasma.html
  2. [2]Katie Thomas and Sheri Fink, “F.D.A. ‘Grossly Misrepresented’ Blood Plasma Data, Scientists Say,” New York Times, August 24, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/24/health/fda-blood-plasma.html
  3. [3]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html

Maybe my Mom can go home soon

Walbridge Fire

FireShot Capture 304 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1 Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map taken by author, August 24, 2012, 9:07 pm EDT (6:07 PDT).

Mandatory evacuation zones continue to recede (figure 1) but the possibility of lightning[1] remains (figure 2).
wus
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the western U.S.

The low pressure area responsible for that lightning risk appears to be substantially weakening and centered southwest of Monterey.


Tropical storms

eusgm.gif
Fig. 3. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.

Marco has come ashore in the Florida panhandle and is entering Georgia, seemingly on track for South Carolina, while Laura is pretty close to where Marco was when it entered the Gulf of Mexico (figure 3).


  1. [1]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html

Organizations for people of color, betraying people of color

Updates

  1. Originally published, August 23, 2020, at 9:38 pm.
  2. August 24, 5:50 am:
    • But for the predicted lightning storms,[1] with matching development now appearing, the Walbridge Fire looks more and more like something in the rear view mirror. I have replaced the screenshot of the Sonoma County Fire Incident Map with one taken at 5:26 am and updated the satellite imagery.
    • Similarly, I have updated the satellite imagery for the eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico. Marco appears to be making landfall in the Florida panhandle. Laura is now south of Cuba and looks to me like it could be caught in the same pattern that shifted Marco east. That pattern is itself shifting east so Laura would likely hit further east than Marco.

Ridesharing

It’s a sadly familiar story: Historically, some unions have been co-opted by employers, helping in their own emasculation, while union officials feather their own beds. Only this time, it’s organizations that should advocate for people of color, advocating California’s Proposition 22, arguing that ridesharing provides access to transportation and work for people of color. What they mean is that that work pays an estimated $5.64 per hour in California.[2]

These organizations ought to be ashamed of themselves. But hey, their beds are feathered.

Kim Bojórquez, “Why are Black and Latino advocacy groups backing Uber, Lyft in California labor law fight?” Sacramento Bee, August 23, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article244812707.html


Walbridge Fire

FireShot Capture 301 - County of Sonoma Fire Incident Map - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com.png
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, taken by author, August 23, 2020, 9:23 pm.

wus
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of western U.S. satellite imagery.

The mandatory evacuation zones are beginning to recede a bit as the active fires look sparser (figure 1). Thanks to lightning forecasts, we’re not out of the woods.[3]


Tropical Storms

eusgm.gif
Fig. 3. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the Eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.


  1. [1]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html
  2. [2]Kim Bojórquez, “Why are Black and Latino advocacy groups backing Uber, Lyft in California labor law fight?” Sacramento Bee, August 23, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article244812707.html
  3. [3]Michael McGough, “More weekend thunder, lightning in Northern California forecasts stoke wildfire concerns,” Sacramento Bee, August 21, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article245139635.html