Uber’s lockup expires and we still don’t know what investors think

FireShot Capture 038 - Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson for November 06, 2019 - GoComics_ - www.gocomics.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of comic from 1989 by Bill Waterson.


Uber

The bottom line here is that this is simply not, cannot be, and never will be a sustainable business model.[1] The question, which remains even with today’s sell-off,[2] is to what extent investors will continue to believe the contrary.

Tom McKay, “Surprising No One, Uber Continues to Hemorrhage Cash,” Gizmodo, November 4, 2019, https://gizmodo.com/surprising-no-one-uber-continues-to-hemorrhage-cash-1839625062

Heather Somerville, “Uber Booked Another Quarterly Loss as Revenue Climbed,” Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-booked-another-quarterly-loss-as-revenue-climbed-11572901549

Megan McArdle, “Uber can’t keep bleeding money, can it? It apparently thinks it can,” Washington Post, November 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/uber-cant-keep-bleeding-money-can-it-it-apparently-thinks-it-can/2019/11/05/4aa4fec0-000b-11ea-8501-2a7123a38c58_story.html

Sebastian Herrera and Heather Somerville, “Uber Shares Hit New Low as Post-IPO Lockup Expires,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shares-face-more-pressure-as-post-ipo-lockup-is-set-to-expire-11573041602″

Erik Sherman, “Yesterday, Shareholders Bailed on Uber. Today, Insiders Got Their Chance,” Fortune, November 6, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/11/06/uber-stock-insiders-growth-profit-lockup-period/


Pacific Gas and Electric

Rebecca Smith, “California Mayors Join Campaign to Buy Out PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-mayors-join-campaign-to-make-pg-e-a-cooperative-11572955201


Ageism


Bhaskar Sunkara, “Why it’s time to ditch the ‘ok boomer’ meme,” Guardian, November 6, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/06/ok-boomer-meme-older-generations


  1. [1]Rich Alton, “Basic economics means Uber and Lyft can’t rely on driverless cars to become profitable,” MarketWatch, August 12, 2019, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/basic-economics-means-uber-and-lyft-cant-rely-on-driverless-cars-to-become-profitable-2019-08-12; Richard Durant, “Uber’s Profitability Problem Is Structural,” Seeking Alpha, August 21, 2019, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4287055-ubers-profitability-problem-structural
  2. [2]Sebastian Herrera and Heather Somerville, “Uber Shares Hit New Low as Post-IPO Lockup Expires,” Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/uber-shares-face-more-pressure-as-post-ipo-lockup-is-set-to-expire-11573041602″; Erik Sherman, “Yesterday, Shareholders Bailed on Uber. Today, Insiders Got Their Chance,” Fortune, November 6, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/11/06/uber-stock-insiders-growth-profit-lockup-period/

Burning California

I keep forgetting to publish this. So it gets a little bit longer and a little bit longer and a little bit longer. There really hasn’t been a lot.


Racism

In the Pittsburgh area, while driving for Lyft, I had noticed that a large proportion—almost certainly a majority—of my passengers were Black. Since switching to Uber,[1] my passengers are now predominantly white.

One of my Lyft passengers had mentioned to me that Uber doesn’t accept debit cards as a form of payment. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, this is an example of systemic discrimination, that is, discrimination that may occur without racist intent but in which rules and systems have a discriminatory effect.

If indeed you need a credit card to pay for an Uber ride (I think you can get around this with PayPal), that tends to exclude people with poor or no credit. To the extent that racial stratification coincides with class stratification, which is very visibly the case in the Pittsburgh area, it becomes systemic racism. And the failure to recognize and rectify systemic racism is, itself, racist.

Of course, to say this means that I should (as I have in the past) recognize the classism in the gig economy: It does generally require an electronic form of payment, which “unbanked” folks will have a harder time managing. On the other hand, it also means that Uber and Lyft drivers are not sitting ducks for cash robberies (a significant risk for traditional taxi drivers).

One of my passengers, a Black, told me that western Pennsylvania is one of the worst places in the country to be Black. He says that Blacks are informed here upon arrival that they exist to serve the capitalist economy; they are not persons, but numbers.

Which is yet another example of how it is impossible to separate classism from racism. These forms of discrimination form a hydra-headed monster. You have to cut them all off at once to destroy the beast.

Blacks also bear the brunt of criminal injustice.[2] In California, fire fighting relies upon inmate labor,[3] making it part of the prison-industrial complex.[4] Again, it will be Blacks who bear the brunt of inadequately compensated risks in this activity. And again, this is systemic racism.


California

Kevin Fixler, “From fierce winds to flames: How the Kincade fire made Sonoma County history,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, November 1, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10249729-181/how-the-kincade-fire-spread

Nicole Goodkind, “Prisoners Are Fighting California’s Wildfires on the Front Lines, But Getting Little in Return,” Fortune, November 1, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/11/01/california-prisoners-fighting-wildfires/


Long term unemployment

Patricia Cohen, “Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment Lots of Job Hunting, but No Job, Despite Low Unemployment,” New York Times, November 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/business/economy/long-term-unemployed.html


Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris should be a cautionary tale for neoliberals: At least some progressives want real progressives and are fed up with the fake ones the neoliberal party has been pushing on them.

Shikha Dalmia, “The real reason Kamala Harris is tanking,” Week, November 4, 2019, https://theweek.com/articles/875020/real-reason-kamala-harris-tanking


Recession

It’s one thing to note that economists are bad at predicting recessions[5] and are even bad at recognizing them once they’ve started.[6] All these decades later, they finally seem to be recognizing what just about any idiot at the local tavern could have told them: It’s the unemployment:[7]

The unemployment rate has risen sharply in every recession, and thus economists have long looked for recession signals in its behavior. Ms. [Claudia] Sahm spent weekends playing with a massive spreadsheet, testing different rates of increase over varying periods of time, to arrive at the following formula: If the average of unemployment rate over three months rises a half-percentage point or more above its low over the previous year, the economy is in a recession. . . .

“The reason [this formula has] been getting attention is it is simple, it is understandable, it is something people can observe themselves,” Mr. [Jay] Shaumbaugh said.[8]

Sorry, but it’s hard—really hard—for me to imagine that economists couldn’t have come up with this sooner and it is very telling that Claudia Sahm had to work on this on her own time. Had this sort of inquiry even a chance of being taken seriously before she had the numbers to prove it, she’d have been able to work on it during office hours. But economists before Sahm didn’t come up with this and the Federal Reserve didn’t enable her to work on it on their dime, because they all really just don’t fucking give a damn. What Sahm has done—and she deserves a great deal of credit for overcoming what were surely formidable institutional obstacles—is to shame the fuck out of them with the blindingly obvious.

By the way, going by Sahm’s formula, we are not yet in a recession.[9]

Kate Davidson, “Are We in a Recession? Experts Agree: Ask Claudia Sahm,” Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/are-we-in-a-recession-experts-agree-ask-claudia-sahm-11572789602


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Uber, again,” Irregular Bullshit, October 19, 2019, https://disunitedstates.com/2019/10/19/uber-again/
  2. [2]Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  3. [3]Nicole Goodkind, “Prisoners Are Fighting California’s Wildfires on the Front Lines, But Getting Little in Return,” Fortune, November 1, 2019, https://fortune.com/2019/11/01/california-prisoners-fighting-wildfires/
  4. [4]Empty Cages Collective, “What is the Prison Industrial Complex?” n.d. http://www.prisonabolition.org/what-is-the-prison-industrial-complex/; Daniel Moritz-Rabson, “‘Prison Slavery’: Inmates are paid cents while manufacturing products sold to government,” Newsweek, August 28, 2018, https://www.newsweek.com/prison-slavery-who-benefits-cheap-inmate-labor-1093729
  5. [5]Hites Ahir and Prakash Loungani, “‘There will be growth in the spring’: How well do economists predict turning points?” Vox, April 14, 2014, https://voxeu.org/article/predicting-economic-turning-points; Richard Alford, “Why Economists Have No Shame – Undue Confidence, False Precision, Risk and Monetary Policy,” Naked Capitalism, July 19, 2012, https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/07/richard-alford-why-economists-have-no-shame-undue-confidence-false-precision-risk-and-monetary-policy.html; Ha-Joon Chang and Jonathan Aldred, “After the crash, we need a revolution in the way we teach economics,” Guardian, May 10, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/11/after-crash-need-revolution-in-economics-teaching-chang-aldred; Barry Eichengreen, “Economists, Remove Your Blinders,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 12, 2015, http://www.chronicle.com/article/Economists-Remove-Your/151057/; Paul Krugman, “How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?” New York Times, September 2, 2009, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06Economic-t.html; Paul Krugman, “Triumph of the Wrong?” New York Times, October 11, 2012, https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/opinion/krugman-triumph-of-the-wrong.html; Andrew Simms, “Economics is a failing discipline doing great harm – so let’s rethink it,” Guardian, August 3, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/03/economics-global-economy-climate-crisis; Mark Thoma, “Restoring the Public’s Trust in Economists,” Fiscal Times, May 19, 2015, http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Columns/2015/05/19/Restoring-Public-s-Trust-Economists; Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, “Economists Are Bad At Predicting Recessions,” FiveThirtyEight, August 21, 2019, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/economists-are-bad-at-predicting-recessions/
  6. [6]For example, it took about a year to formally recognize the financial crisis of 2007-2008 as a recession: National Bureau of Economic Research, “Determination of the December 2007 Peak in Economic Activity,” December 11, 2008, http://www.nber.org/cycles/dec2008.html
  7. [7]Kate Davidson, “Are We in a Recession? Experts Agree: Ask Claudia Sahm,” Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/are-we-in-a-recession-experts-agree-ask-claudia-sahm-11572789602
  8. [8]Kate Davidson, “Are We in a Recession? Experts Agree: Ask Claudia Sahm,” Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/are-we-in-a-recession-experts-agree-ask-claudia-sahm-11572789602
  9. [9]Kate Davidson, “Are We in a Recession? Experts Agree: Ask Claudia Sahm,” Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/are-we-in-a-recession-experts-agree-ask-claudia-sahm-11572789602

Censored

Censorship

A number of events, none of which I particularly want to get into, have brought the “free” speech/censorship back to the fore and I have a new blog entry entitled, “The paradox of free speech and censorship.”


California

I wish that Gavin Newsom was as mad about the climate crisis[1] as he is about Pacific Gas and Electric.[2]

Katherine Blunt and Alejandro Lazo, “California Governor Threatens State Takeover of PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-governor-threatens-state-takeover-of-pg-e-11572641749


  1. [1]Kurtis Alexander, “Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2018, https://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Scientists-see-fingerprints-of-climate-change-all-13128585.php
  2. [2]Katherine Blunt and Alejandro Lazo, “California Governor Threatens State Takeover of PG&E,” Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/california-governor-threatens-state-takeover-of-pg-e-11572641749

It isn’t California anymore

Updates

  1. Originally published October 31, 7:31 pm.
  2. October 31, 9:34 pm:
    • The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has published a map (figure 1) of nearby (to Santa Rosa) fires since 2015.[1] Try, just try, to imagine living near this.

California

FireShot Capture 035 - Map of Kincade and nearby recent fires - www.pressdemocrat.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat‘s map of fires since 2015.[2]

Firefighters are getting the Kincade fire under control but other fires are ravaging California.[3] But Ronald Reagan’s daughter shares the sense that California has changed.[4]

Patti Davis, “My father’s library will likely survive the fires, but the California of my youth is gone,” Washington Post, October 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/30/my-fathers-library-will-likely-survive-fires-california-my-youth-is-gone/

Dale Kasler, “PG&E says its equipment may have caused a fourth California fire in the past week,” Sacramento Bee, October 30, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236841498.html

Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, “Map of Kincade and nearby recent fires,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10246412-181/map-of-kincade-and-nearby


Redlining

A few days ago, I found a couple more gratuitous guns. One is actually not very far from my apartment, just on a street I don’t drive on very often, and because my complex includes many Black residents, I can accept that this one might be metaphorically aimed at Blacks. The other is in an area I’m much less familiar with, along the Monongahela River in Washington County. I don’t know the racial make-up near the latter location but an initial impression suggests this one is not so metaphorically aimed.


Pictures are here.

Both of these additions raise an issue of how I am assessing metaphorical aims. I need to dredge up demographic maps, preferably spanning several decades. Such demographics need to cover both race and class.


Brexit

Just a quick note on Brexit: The British Press is already in full horse race mode coverage of the forthcoming election.[5] You might have already gathered that this is not the sort of coverage that interests me and that I think political surveys—now boasting a nine percent response rate[6]—should be discounted entirely. Which is to say campaign coverage is bullshit. All of it. Every last diarrhetic drop spewed from the bulls’ asses with such a velocity and range as to cast doubt as to whether any green grass may be found.


  1. [1]Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, “Map of Kincade and nearby recent fires,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10246412-181/map-of-kincade-and-nearby
  2. [2]Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, “Map of Kincade and nearby recent fires,” n.d., https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10246412-181/map-of-kincade-and-nearby
  3. [3]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Active Incidents,” October 30, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  4. [4]Patti Davis, “My father’s library will likely survive the fires, but the California of my youth is gone,” Washington Post, October 30, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/30/my-fathers-library-will-likely-survive-fires-california-my-youth-is-gone/
  5. [5]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Britain sets December date for an election in which Brexit will dominate,” Washington Post, October 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/with-labour-partys-backing-britains-boris-johnson-looks-set-to-get-his-snap-election/2019/10/29/778ed246-f9c9-11e9-9e02-1d45cb3dfa8f_story.html
  6. [6]Steven Shepard, “Report: Phone polls aren’t dead yet,” Politico, May 15, 2017, https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/15/pollsters-phone-polls-238409

The ‘ungriddable’ city

Updates

  1. Originally published, October 26, 7:14 pm. Note: All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) unless otherwise noted.
  2. October 26, 9:39 pm:
    • The mandatory evacuation area for the Kincade fire has expanded. Notably, it now includes my mother’s house. Areas being warned have shifted south (figure 1). Graphics have been updated.
  3. October 27, 4:36 am:
    • To be honest, I’m somewhat perplexed. Even as it appears firefighters are gaining significant control over the Kincade fire and that it has not advanced in the direction of Highway 101, evacuation warnings have now been issued for a relatively small part of northwest Santa Rosa that, ominously, approaches an evacuation center (figure 1). Winds have shifted and are now strongly off-shore.[1] In addition, the evacuation zones are now numbered. Graphics and text have been updated.
  4. October 27, 8:28 am:
    • I haven’t received notifications, which may mean that map updates were out of sync with the notifications I received. It now appears more of Santa Rosa is under mandatory evacuation (figure 1). Winds are now off-shore at 40+ miles per hour.[2] It seems to me that the Santa Rosa evacuation center is now being encroached upon with mandatory evacuation orders on the north and west sides (figure 1). According to the Cal Fire incident page, Kincade fire containment is at 10 percent.[3] Graphics have been updated.
    • It is harder for me to keep up to date during the day, while I’m working, but I’m packing my Chromebook today. I will try.
  5. October 27, 1:05 pm:
    • A mandatory evacuation order has been issued for another piece of Santa Rosa, drawing very near the evacuation center there and the Kincade fire looking very much more serious than it did overnight (figure 1). Wind speeds appear to exceed 50 miles per hour.[4] The fire is now up to 30,000 acres and still at only 10 percent containment.[5]
    • Amidst all the drama, there is, of course, a very real human toll. Some folks are saying they don’t want to repeat their experience from two years ago. As the evacuation orders arrive, they are considering more permanent departures.[6] And it really is something to think about when you can’t rely on the lights being on, as aquifers draw ever lower, and as suffocating smoke becomes an annual occurrence. This isn’t civilization anymore. It may be spectacular, but it’s hell.
  6. October 27, 9:12 pm:
    • Be sure to look through the slide show in this Press-Democrat coverage.[7] I recognize some of the places as places I’ve been.

      They’re ordinary places really. The sort of places you take for granted as you drive right on by. Ordinary, that is, except for those who lived and worked in them. Their lives are forever changed.

      And if you feel a sense of deja vu, that’s kind of my point. This is how it’s been for fire after fire after fire. That bravado we always cheer, where victims swear they’ll rebuild, seems hollow now.

  7. October 28, 4:30 am:
    • Containment is now at 5 percent of over 54,000 acres in the Kincade fire.[8] I’m having trouble telling from the Incident map (figure 1) how far into Windsor the fire has reached. The distance from northern Windsor to my mother’s house is a little less but traverses the same rugged dry terrain that a spread from Healdsburg would. It appears there is a shift in the weather pattern (figure 2) but I am not at this moment able to determine its significance. The winds have dropped[9] but that may only be because it is night time. Graphics have been updated.
  8. October 28, 10:09 am:
    • It kind of looks like I failed to publish the 4:30 am update. Oops.
    • As of now, the Incident Map (figure 1) is making clear that where previously the main part of the Kincade fire had seemed to be in mountainous terrain, it now seems to be moving towards, if not into, Healdsburg and Windsor. Containment is at five percent of over 66,000 acres.[10] Winds seem to have weakened for the moment[11] and it appears the region is in for a bit of a respite on Monday (today) before conditions worsen again on Tuesday.[12]
    • “Cal Fire officials said they were concerned that the fire would jump Highway 128 into fuel-laden land that has not burned in decades.”[13] I’m not sure what the Sacramento Bee reporters mean when they talk about Highway 128, which runs into Mendocino County north of Cloverdale, along Highway 101 to Geyserville, and then east over the mountains into Lake County. Though there’s certainly land there that hasn’t burned yet, Lake County burned before Sonoma County in several massive fires over several years.

      My concern however is with the fire’s move toward Windsor and Healdsburg. If the Kincade fire jumps Highway 101 (the latest incident map, figure 1, suggests it’s reaching right to it), which is what the Tubbs Fire did two years ago, and heads towards my mother’s house, I don’t think any of that territory has burned in decades either. And it looks to me like it’s getting close.

      In the meantime,

      The Kincade Fire and other blazes that erupted Sunday during the heavy winds closed several major roadways, including Interstate 80, the main east-west highway through Northern California between San Francisco and the Nevada state line. I-80 was closed for several hours between Vallejo and Crockett because of brush fires raging at both ends of the Carquinez Bridge, but reopened by mid-afternoon.[14]

      Apparently this is happening all over the state.[15] I said earlier that this is hell. It’s hell. And yeah, reminiscent of when the Sonoma County fires broke out in 2017.

  9. October 28, 8:13 pm:
    • The humiliation of Boris Johnson continues as “he was forced to grudgingly accept the European Union’s offer to delay Brexit until January, and then lost a motion in Parliament to stage a general election before Christmas.”[16] (Brexit)
    • There’s apparently no real news on the Kincade fire. I am updating the graphics nonetheless. The fire does seem like it is spreading towards Healdsburg if not into it (figure 1) and winds are currently on shore.[17]
  10. October 29, 3:51 am:
    • As if Brexit was ever, even once, really on track, it’s gone off the rails again as Boris Johnson has “abandoned” the withdrawal bill because he wants an election so bad. You know, like he wants Brexit itself. And yeah, I’m not the only one calling bullshit.[18]
    • The evacuation orders for much of west Sonoma County, including (just barely) my mother’s house, have been reduced to warnings, though the incident map (figure 1) also seems to show the fire further encroaching on Healdsburg. Cal Fire says it has achieved fifteen percent containment on over 74,000 acres.[19] The winds are shifting again,[20] in line with earlier forecasts.[21] The warning means people need to be ready to leave on a moment’s notice, so this isn’t really clearance for people to return home. This fire still looks incredibly dangerous to me and if those forecasts hold, I expect we’ll see a much more alarming picture later in the day. Text below has mostly been removed—look to these updates instead. Graphics have been updated.
  11. October 29, 10:13 am:
    • Labour will back an election, improving the likelihood that one will occur in December.[22] The call for such an election was likely to succeed anyway, leaving Labour in the unenviable position of going into an election it had opposed.[23] (Brexit)
    • People are mad at Pacific Gas and Electric, and have reason to be, especially with the Kincade fire,[24] but it’s worth remembering the climate crisis is a major contributor.[25] Winds are still relatively weak but have now shifted to an off-shore direction.[26] They keep changing how they show the fire intensity and spread in the Sonoma County Incident Map and I am especially unfond of the latest iteration.

      I see now (figure 1) that Healdsburg is across the Russian River from the fire and the fire has not jumped the river there. But parts of Windsor, especially the north and east are on fire.

      The fire is very close to Highway 101 (figure 1). The road, which is marked as closed, is only four lanes (plus a median) wide there. I can’t imagine that a good gust of wind won’t enable the fire to jump the highway into terrain that I don’t think has burned in a very long time. But they’ve still got a lot of west Sonoma County only on an evacuation warning phase.

      I gotta tell you, this doesn’t help to bolster confidence in their logic for how they ordered evacuations and when. Graphics are updated.

  12. October 29, 2019, 9:06 pm:
    • Parliament has approved an election to be held on December 12,[27] which is just what Boris Johnson wanted. I am disappointed the franchise will not be extended to 16-year olds and European Union nationals: Their futures are at stake, even more than those of the old fogies who so desperately want out of the E.U.[28]
    • The Kincade fire is now 15 percent contained at over 75,000 acres.[29] The fire remains close to, but on the east side of Highway 101. Evacuation warnings are now shown for adjacent parts of Lake County (figure 1). Winds are strongly in an off-shore direction, but not so strong over such a wide area as before.[30]
  13. October 30, 4:33 am:
    • Little seems to have changed with the Kincade fire since the last update,[31] except that stronger winds are appearing over a broader area. Which is to suggest that firefighters seem to be pretty much holding the line, and that if the wind forecast holds,[32] the worst should be over. For now.[33] Graphics have been updated.
  14. October 30, 9:05 am:
    • Richard Denniss explores the social constructions in economics to explain why economists disagree.[34] I respond with a new blog post entitled, “Cats are smarter than we are. Really.
    • The Kincade fire is at 30 percent containment and nearly 77,000 acres.[35] Firefighters seem to be holding the line in areas I’ve been most concerned with but I think maybe not so well to the north and east. Unfortunately there’s a weird cut off in the graphics in figure 1 that makes this harder to discern. Winds are strong and off-shore but not as strong and not as strongly over as wide an area as before.[36] Graphics have been updated.
  15. October 30, 7:00 pm:
    • Asserting the supremacy of state law, an Allegheny County judge struck down Pittsburgh’s gun control laws,[37] which were passed in the wake of the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting last year.[38]
    • My methodology here is weak beyond compare, but I’m guessing from his avatar that Nathan Heller is a lot younger than I am. That said, his recollection of fires in the San Francisco area is about like mine.[39] California just isn’t the place it used to be. It is, as the headline on Annie Lowrey’s exploration of how the Wildlife-Urban Interface came to be so heavily populated proclaims, becoming unlivable.[40] (Kincade fire)
    • Winds are still offshore, but not nearly so strongly as earlier even today.[41] Updated containment figures are not yet available.[42] A lot of east Windsor appears to have burned or to be on fire but Healdsburg continues to be spared. Overall, the Kincade fire looks much less active and evacuation orders and warnings seem to be receding (figure 1). My mother will be going home tomorrow. Graphics have been updated.
    • Barring unforeseen developments, I will end this issue here. It’s become unusual for me to hold an issue open like this for several days on end but I did so on account of the Kincade fire. At this moment, that no longer seems to be justified.

Pittsburgh

I’ve been working on my page entitled, “Pittsburgh driving for the uninitiated anyway, but it turns out that Pittsburgh navigation is sufficiently difficult that it merits a CityLab article.[43] Yes, it really is that bad. And worse.

Vince Guerrieri, “The Map That Unlocked the Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” CityLab, October 25, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/10/pittsburgh-street-map-beltway-system-allegheny-county-roads/600658/


Humanities

Support for the humanities comes from an unlikely source.[44]

Heather Long, “The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors,” Washington Post, October 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/10/19/worlds-top-economists-just-made-case-why-we-still-need-english-majors/


Kincade fire

FireShot Capture 034 - Kincade Fire Incident Map (Sonoma, Napa, Lake Counties)_ - sonomacounty.maps.arcgis.com
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Incident Map, taken on October 30, 2019, at 7:37 pm EDT (4:37 pm PDT). Click on this static image to open the source.
nepac-2019-10-30-18
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of Northeast Pacific satellite photos, taken two hours apart, as of October 30, 6:00 pm EDT (3:00 pm PDT).

Jonathan Cox, another Cal Fire spokesman, called the evacuation orders a preventive measure against “a worst-case scenario for this fire.” Capt. Stephen Volmer, a fire behavior analyst with the agency, said the winds were expected to start blowing the fire in a southwesterly direction beginning about 8 p.m. [PDT] toward Highway 101.[45]

A lot of Sonoma County still has visible scars from the fires two years ago. The psychic scars are, of course, longer lasting. But all I can really say is that the scenes I have seen there are, in a way, beyond description. There is an impact just from seeing the burned areas, or even just driving around a curve and being confronted with burned vegetation. Let alone seeing pads where homes used to be.

Best wishes to all.

Dale Kasler, “PG&E expands blackouts as fierce winds approach: 940,000 to lose power in California,” Sacramento Bee, October 26, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236691183.html

Dale Kasler and Hannah Wiley, “50,000 face evacuations in Sonoma County as Kincade Fire peril intensifies,” Sacramento Bee, October 26, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236685153.html

Nico Savidge, Annie Sciacca, and Casey Tolan, “‘I don’t want to do this again’: Blackouts and wildfires put Sonoma County on edge,” San Jose Mercury-News, October 26, 2019, https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/10/26/i-dont-want-to-do-this-again-blackouts-and-fires-make-sonoma-county-residents-question-their-home/

Randi Rossmann and Will Schmitt, “Latest: Crews fighting to protect Windsor from approaching Kincade fire,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, October 27, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10227533-181/latest-winds-picking-up-in

Ryan Sabalow et al., “Kincade Fire forces evacuations and burns 84 square miles, as containment drops to 5%,” Sacramento Bee, October 27, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236719068.html

Dale Kasler, “Can wildfire risk worsen? Northern California eyes more winds, another PG&E outage,” Sacramento Bee, October 28, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236718203.html

Nathan Heller, “San Francisco’s Fire Season,” New Yorker, October 30, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/california-chronicles/san-franciscos-fire-season

Annie Lowrey, “California Is Becoming Unlivable,” Atlantic, October 30, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/can-california-save-itself/601135/


Brexit

William Booth, Michael Birnbaum, and Karla Adam, “U.K. Parliament rejects Boris Johnson’s call for an early election on Dec. 12, but a pre-Brexit election remains likely,” Washington Post, October 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/eu-pushes-brexit-until-end-of-january-british-prime-minister-johnsons-request/2019/10/28/c53839cc-f967-11e9-9534-e0dbcc9f5683_story.html

Karla Adam and William Booth, “Britain sets December date for an election in which Brexit will dominate,” Washington Post, October 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/with-labour-partys-backing-britains-boris-johnson-looks-set-to-get-his-snap-election/2019/10/29/778ed246-f9c9-11e9-9e02-1d45cb3dfa8f_story.html

Max Colchester, “U.K. Opposition Labour Party to Back Boris Johnson’s Call for Election,” Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-opposition-to-back-boris-johnsons-call-for-election-11572347134

Peter Walker, “MPs poised to vote through plan for December election,” Guardian, October 29, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/29/rush-to-election-slowed-mp-stella-creasy-backbench-labour-amendment


  1. [1]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 27, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  2. [2]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 27, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  3. [3]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 27, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  4. [4]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 27, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  5. [5]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 27, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  6. [6]Nico Savidge, Annie Sciacca, and Casey Tolan, “‘I don’t want to do this again’: Blackouts and wildfires put Sonoma County on edge,” San Jose Mercury-News, October 26, 2019, https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/10/26/i-dont-want-to-do-this-again-blackouts-and-fires-make-sonoma-county-residents-question-their-home/
  7. [7]Randi Rossmann and Will Schmitt, “Latest: Crews fighting to protect Windsor from approaching Kincade fire,” Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, October 27, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10227533-181/latest-winds-picking-up-in
  8. [8]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 28, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  9. [9]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 28, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  10. [10]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 28, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  11. [11]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 28, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  12. [12]Dale Kasler, “Can wildfire risk worsen? Northern California eyes more winds, another PG&E outage,” Sacramento Bee, October 28, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236718203.html
  13. [13]Ryan Sabalow et al., “Kincade Fire forces evacuations and burns 84 square miles, as containment drops to 5%,” Sacramento Bee, October 27, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236719068.html
  14. [14]Ryan Sabalow et al., “Kincade Fire forces evacuations and burns 84 square miles, as containment drops to 5%,” Sacramento Bee, October 27, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236719068.html
  15. [15]Ryan Sabalow et al., “Kincade Fire forces evacuations and burns 84 square miles, as containment drops to 5%,” Sacramento Bee, October 27, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236719068.html
  16. [16]William Booth, Michael Birnbaum, and Karla Adam, “U.K. Parliament rejects Boris Johnson’s call for an early election on Dec. 12, but a pre-Brexit election remains likely,” Washington Post, October 28, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/eu-pushes-brexit-until-end-of-january-british-prime-minister-johnsons-request/2019/10/28/c53839cc-f967-11e9-9534-e0dbcc9f5683_story.html
  17. [17]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 28, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  18. [18]Rowena Mason, “Brexit: Boris Johnson abandons bill in new push for December election,” Guardian, October 29, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/28/boris-johnson-abandons-brexit-bill-in-new-push-for-december-election
  19. [19]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 28, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  20. [20]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 28, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  21. [21]Ryan Sabalow et al., “Kincade Fire forces evacuations and burns 84 square miles, as containment drops to 5%,” Sacramento Bee, October 27, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236719068.html
  22. [22]Max Colchester, “U.K. Opposition Labour Party to Back Boris Johnson’s Call for Election,” Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-k-opposition-to-back-boris-johnsons-call-for-election-11572347134
  23. [23]Rowena Mason, “Brexit: Boris Johnson abandons bill in new push for December election,” Guardian, October 29, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/28/boris-johnson-abandons-brexit-bill-in-new-push-for-december-election
  24. [24]Randi Rossman and Will Schmitt, “Broken PG&E tower discovered near origin of Kincade fire on The Geysers geothermal power property,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, October 25, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10216601-181/kincade-fire-starts-inside-the
  25. [25]Kurtis Alexander, “Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2018, https://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Scientists-see-fingerprints-of-climate-change-all-13128585.php
  26. [26]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 29, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  27. [27]Karla Adam and William Booth, “Britain sets December date for an election in which Brexit will dominate,” Washington Post, October 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/with-labour-partys-backing-britains-boris-johnson-looks-set-to-get-his-snap-election/2019/10/29/778ed246-f9c9-11e9-9e02-1d45cb3dfa8f_story.html
  28. [28]Peter Walker, “MPs poised to vote through plan for December election,” Guardian, October 29, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/oct/29/rush-to-election-slowed-mp-stella-creasy-backbench-labour-amendment
  29. [29]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 29, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  30. [30]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 29, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  31. [31]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 29, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  32. [32]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 30, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  33. [33]Kurtis Alexander, “Scientists see fingerprints of climate change all over California’s wildfires,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 3, 2018, https://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Scientists-see-fingerprints-of-climate-change-all-13128585.php
  34. [34]Richard Denniss, “If economics is a science, why isn’t it being more helpful?” Guardian, October 30, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/oct/30/if-economics-is-a-science-why-isnt-it-being-more-helpful
  35. [35]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 30, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  36. [36]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 30, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  37. [37]Bob Bauder, “Judge strikes down Pittsburgh’s controversial gun bills,” Trib, October 29, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/judge-strikes-down-pittsburghs-controversial-gun-bills/
  38. [38]Campbell Robertson, Christopher Mele, and Sabrina Tavernise, “11 Killed in Synagogue Massacre; Suspect Charged With 29 Counts,” New York Times, October 27, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/27/us/active-shooter-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting.html
  39. [39]Nathan Heller, “San Francisco’s Fire Season,” New Yorker, October 30, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/california-chronicles/san-franciscos-fire-season
  40. [40]Annie Lowrey, “California Is Becoming Unlivable,” Atlantic, October 30, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/10/can-california-save-itself/601135/
  41. [41]Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “Map: Real-time map of wind gusts in the North Bay,” October 30, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/10155288-181/map-current-winds-in-the
  42. [42]California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “Incidents,” October 30, 2019, https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
  43. [43]Vince Guerrieri, “The Map That Unlocked the Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” CityLab, October 25, 2019, https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2019/10/pittsburgh-street-map-beltway-system-allegheny-county-roads/600658/
  44. [44]Heather Long, “The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors,” Washington Post, October 19, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/10/19/worlds-top-economists-just-made-case-why-we-still-need-english-majors/
  45. [45]Dale Kasler and Hannah Wiley, “50,000 face evacuations in Sonoma County as Kincade Fire peril intensifies,” Sacramento Bee, October 26, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/fires/article236685153.html

For-profit schools’ most favorite education secretary ever is in contempt of court

For-profit schools

Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, “Federal judge holds DeVos in contempt in loan case, slaps Education Department with $100,000 fine,” Washington Post, October 24, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2019/10/24/federal-judge-holds-devos-contempt-loan-case-slaps-education-dept-with-fine/


Kincade fire

There is a new blog post entitled, “The Kincade fire and the limits of human hubris.”

Randi Rossman and Will Schmitt, “Broken PG&E tower discovered near origin of Kincade fire on The Geysers geothermal power property,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, October 25, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/10216601-181/kincade-fire-starts-inside-the

Reis Thebault, Kim Bellware, and Andrew Freedman, “High-voltage power line broke near origin of massive California fire that forced thousands of evacuations,” Washington Post, October 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/24/fast-moving-wildfire-ignites-northern-california-wine-country-prompting-evacuations/


Veganism

George Reynolds, “Why do people hate vegans?” Guardian, October 25, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/oct/25/why-do-people-hate-vegans


Brexit

Sam Knight has written a history of Brexit, pretty much since Theresa May was toppled.[1] After all, it has been one very long, very strange journey and we still don’t know, really, how it ends.

Sam Knight, “How Brexit Will End,” New Yorker, October 25, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/04/how-brexit-will-end


James Comey

Tammy Kupperman et al., “Judge says impeachment inquiry is legal and justifies disclosing grand jury material,” CNN, October 25, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/25/politics/grand-jury-impeachment-mueller/index.html


  1. [1]Sam Knight, “How Brexit Will End,” New Yorker, October 25, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/11/04/how-brexit-will-end

Not washing dishes

Apparently, people in the Pittsburgh area do not wash dishes.

I have gone to multiple places now, in search of 1) a dish rack, 2) various sorts of scrubbing sponges, 3) a silverware tray, and 4) shelf liners. I even broke down and went into Walmart. As near as I can tell, these items are flatly not available in the Pittsburgh area.

In general, shopping here sucks even more—my mother will be shocked—than in California. The Whole Foods Markets are pathetic. Bed Bath and Beyond is missing about half the stuff that their California counterparts carry. Target, likewise.

Meanwhile, The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) puts California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) utterly and absolutely to shame.

California’s DMV has recently been in the news for long wait times. The DMV there has always been bad—I remember long waits when I was getting my first learner’s permit, oh, somewhere around 44 years ago—and it is an art, rather than a science, to find offices with reasonable wait times. I guess it’d gotten worse.

But at least you can go into a DMV office in California with a reasonable assurance that you can accomplish your business. At least until REAL ID came along.

Remember that I drive for Uber and Lyft. I need this shit straightened out. But PennDOT always wants one more thing.

Their website claims you have twenty days to register your car and sixty days to transfer your drivers license. Further, it says, there is nothing stopping you from registering your car while you sort out your drivers license.

The clerks have another story. Even for a non-REAL ID license, they want your physical Social Security card. Social Security numbers can be verified online and indeed when it comes to replacing a lost card, the Social Security Administration thinks you don’t actually need a physical copy.

And you have to have the Pennsylvania drivers license and Pennsylvania automobile insurance (thanks, AAA for not insuring Uber and Lyft drivers—now I get to pay twice as much for insurance) before you can register the car.

But you have to wait for the REAL ID drivers license in the mail.

Further, you will likely have to go to multiple offices in order to accomplish all this. Because some locations sort out the drivers license paperwork, but don’t take the pictures—they issue what’s called a “camera card,” which you may have to take to yet another location to get your picture taken. And then there are offices that deal with vehicle registration. Some of these overlap, with locations serving more than one function, and PennDOT’s website offers a search function where you can specify all that you need to do: There wasn’t an office that does everything I needed to do, at least anywhere near Pittsburgh.

It might be even more complicated than this—I hope not—because this is only my first experience with PennDOT. I’d just about bet that there are more wrinkles yet in store.


Pittsburgh has moved from early to mid-Spring now. Leaves have come in on the trees and the weather has shifted to alternates of hot and muggy with subsequent refreshing rain. Tonight, there is lightning and even a bit of thunder.


Cuba

Deutschewelle, “EU says will respond to controversial US move on Cuba,” May 2, 2019, https://www.dw.com/en/eu-says-will-respond-to-controversial-us-move-on-cuba/a-48569649


Facebook

Suhauna Hussain, “Facebook bans Alex Jones and other controversial figures for hate speech,” Los Angeles Times, May 2, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-facebook-ban-alex-jones-milo-yiannopoulos-20190502-story.html


Hannah Arendt

Totalitarian states make people into cogs in an administrative machine, [Hannah] Arendt argued, “dehumanizing them.” Worse, she said, this might even be a feature of all modern bureaucracies.[1]

Paul Mason, “Reading Arendt Is Not Enough,” New York Review of Books, May 2, 2019, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/05/02/reading-arendt-is-not-enough/


Uber

Farhad Manjoo, “The Uber I.P.O. Is a Moral Stain on Silicon Valley,” New York Times, May 1, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/01/opinion/uber-ipo.html


Moral Panics

The story of a school newspaper being rebuffed by the school principal and the district superintendent in reporting on a student working in the pornography business[2] would seem to have a happy ending.[3]

The earlier story[4] was confusing about the location of the school in question. Lodi is (or, at least, was) a small town south of Sacramento and north of Stockton in California’s Central Valley. Bear Creek High School is apparently located in the northern outskirts of Stockton but part of the Lodi district.[5]

Sawsan Morrar, “School newspaper gets Lodi district’s OK to publish story about student who works in porn,” Sacramento Bee, May 2,2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article229945129.html


Disaster Relief

The San Francisco Chronicle story of course highlights the California angle, but more fundamentally, this is a story about Donald Trump’s vindictiveness toward Puerto Rico getting in the way of disaster relief funding not only toward Puerto Rico, but for everybody else as well.[6]

Tal Kopan, “Billions in California wildfire relief await breakthrough in Congress,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 30, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Billions-in-California-wildfire-relief-await-13807211.php


James Comey

Benjamin Wittes and I are unlikely to ever agree on much. He operates within a paradigm of law that I view as a paradigm of wealthy white male power (overwhelmingly, it is they who pass the laws). But within that paradigm, his analysis is first rate; it is therefore useful even to me.

Not in my memory has a sitting attorney general more diminished the credibility of his department on any subject. It is a kind of trope of political opposition in every administration that the attorney general—whoever he or she is—is politicizing the Justice Department and acting as a defense lawyer for the president. In this case it is true.[7]

Like Jennifer Levinson, he does not see William Barr as having committed perjury.[8] But a difference I have with Sissela Bok is that I condemn deception, that is, the withholding of relevant facts, with the same force she condemns lying, that is, the intentional utterance of falsehoods.[9] I would argue that both have the same effect of effectively denying the hearer of relevant and correct information, thus denying that hearer the ability to make a properly informed decision, thus impinging on that same hearer’s personal autonomy. This is her argument against lying; it undercuts her ethical distinction on deception.[10]

Wittes demonstrates this, blisteringly, in analyzing Barr’s deceptions. I honestly could not ask for a better example. So read Wittes first. Then Richard Wolffe. Wittes provides the legal backbone that actually makes Wolffe’s points all the more compelling.

Greg Miller, “With Mueller silent, Barr interprets the special counsel’s report — to the advantage of Trump,” Washington Post, May 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/with-mueller-silent-barr-interprets-the-special-counsels-report–to-the-advantage-of-trump/2019/05/01/54b5f3e0-6c3d-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html

Rachael Bade, Mike DeBonis, and John Wagner, “Barr’s no-show triggers contempt threats, Nixon comparison and more impeachment talk,” Washington Post, May 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/barr-is-a-no-show-at-house-hearing-on-mueller-report-as-democrats-warn-of-threat-to-democracy/2019/05/02/005c0ab2-6cda-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html

Benjamin Wittes, “The Catastrophic Performance of Bill Barr,” Atlantic, May 2, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/bill-barrs-performance-was-catastrophic/588574/

Richard Wolffe, “It’s painfully clear: today’s Congress wouldn’t have impeached Richard Nixon,” Guardian, May 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/02/congress-trump-impeach-richard-nixon


Conspiracy Theories

Anna Merlan, “Why we are addicted to conspiracy theories,” Guardian, May 2, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/02/why-we-are-addicted-to-conspiracy-theories


Donald Trump

Aaron Blake, “Trump’s Stephen Moore and Herman Cain debacle,” Washington Post, May 2, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/05/02/trumps-stephen-moore-herman-cain-debacle/


  1. [1]Paul Mason, “Reading Arendt Is Not Enough,” New York Review of Books, May 2, 2019, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2019/05/02/reading-arendt-is-not-enough/
  2. [2]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘Free speech isn’t free, is it?’: A story on a teen porn worker could cost a high school journalism teacher her job,” Washington Post, April 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/04/25/free-speech-isnt-free-is-it-sensitive-story-could-cost-high-school-journalism-teacher-her-job/
  3. [3]Sawsan Morrar, “School newspaper gets Lodi district’s OK to publish story about student who works in porn,” Sacramento Bee, May 2,2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article229945129.html
  4. [4]Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘Free speech isn’t free, is it?’: A story on a teen porn worker could cost a high school journalism teacher her job,” Washington Post, April 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/04/25/free-speech-isnt-free-is-it-sensitive-story-could-cost-high-school-journalism-teacher-her-job/
  5. [5]California Department of Education, “California School Directory: Bear Creek High,” n.d., https://www.cde.ca.gov/SchoolDirectory/details?cdscode=39685853930237
  6. [6]Tal Kopan, “Billions in California wildfire relief await breakthrough in Congress,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 30, 2019, https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Billions-in-California-wildfire-relief-await-13807211.php
  7. [7]Benjamin Wittes, “The Catastrophic Performance of Bill Barr,” Atlantic, May 2, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/bill-barrs-performance-was-catastrophic/588574/
  8. [8]Jennifer Levinson was quoted in Isaac Stanley-Becker, “‘I don’t know’: Barr’s professed ignorance prompts calls for his resignation after Mueller letter,” Washington Post, May 1, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05/01/i-dont-know-barrs-professed-ignorance-prompts-democrats-seek-his-resignation-after-mueller-letter/
  9. [9]Sissela Bok, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life (New York: Vintage, 1999).
  10. [10]Sissela Bok, Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life (New York: Vintage, 1999).

Fiddling while the planet burns

Updates

  1. Originally published, March 3, 5:01 pm.
  2. March 4, 8:28 pm:
    • Aaron Blake thinks Rand Paul’s rebuke of Donald Trump’s border wall state of non-emergency might matter.[1] (Unauthorized migration)
  3. March 5, 12:00 noon:
  4. March 6, 2019, 8:33 pm:
    • A second federal judge has struck down the citizenship question proposed for the 2020 U.S. Census.[2] (Unauthorized migration)

Once again, even as I continue to add stories to my archive, there is little that focuses my mind. Almost nothing here is surprising.


Stephon Clark

Anita Chabria, “Sacramento police officers who shot Stephon Clark will not face criminal charges,” Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-stephon-clark-sacramento-shooting-20190302-story.html

Madeline Holcombe, “DA painted picture of Stephon Clark as ‘troubled.’ His fiancée gave a tearful rebuke,” CNN, March 3, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/03/us/sacramento-police-shooting-stephon-clark-investigation-sunday/index.html


California High Speed Rail

Ralph Vartabedian, “Newsom’s shorter California bullet train plan likely to run out of money before completion,” Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2019, https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-plan-challenges-20190303-story.html


Russian River flooding

Mary Callahan, “Another major flood along Russian River raises question of what’s to be done,” Santa Rosa Press Democrat, March 3, 2019, https://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/9339847-181/another-major-flood-along-russian


Pacific Gas and Electric

Katherine Blunt and Russell Gold, “PG&E Delayed Safety Work on Power Line That Is Prime Suspect in California Wildfire,” Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/pg-e-delayed-safety-work-on-power-line-that-is-prime-suspect-in-california-wildfire-11551292977


Donald Trump

Isaac Chotiner, “A Legal Editor on What We Learned from Michael Cohen’s Congressional Testimony,” New Yorker, February 27, 2019, https://www.newyorker.com/news/q-and-a/a-legal-editor-on-what-we-learned-from-michael-cohens-congressional-testimony


Brexit

William James, Kylie MacLellan, and Elizabeth Piper, “May’s Brexit deal, no-deal or delay? British PM offers lawmakers a choice,” Reuters, February 26, 2019, https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN1QF0LZ

Steven Swinford et al., “More than 100 Tory MPs revolt over Brexit Article 50 as Eurosceptics accuse Theresa May of ‘buckling,’” Telegraph, February 27, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/02/27/brexit-latest-newstheresa-may-tells-parliament-do-duty-support/


Unauthorized migration

Aaron Blake, “Rand Paul’s big rebuke of Trump’s ‘national emergency,’ and why it could actually matter,” Washington Post, March 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/04/rand-pauls-big-rebuke-trumps-national-emergency-why-it-could-actually-matter/

Maddy Ashmun, “California scores win against Trump’s citizenship census question,” Sacramento Bee, March 6, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article227206259.html


  1. [1]Aaron Blake, “Rand Paul’s big rebuke of Trump’s ‘national emergency,’ and why it could actually matter,” Washington Post, March 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/04/rand-pauls-big-rebuke-trumps-national-emergency-why-it-could-actually-matter/
  2. [2]Maddy Ashmun, “California scores win against Trump’s citizenship census question,” Sacramento Bee, March 6, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article227206259.html

Hard Brexiteers twist and turn, but whose neck is in the noose?

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 29, 2:42 am.
  2. Added discussion of my experience driving with Uber and Lyft, January 29, 5:42 am.
  3. January 29, 7:52 pm:
    • Pacific Gas and Electric’s bankruptcy is likely to be extraordinarily expensive while yielding little relief from the wildfire-related liabilities it faces.[1]
    • Parliament has voted against a hard Brexit, but 1) the vote is non-binding (as was the original referendum), and 2) the premise that Theresa May will be able to renegotiate the backstop continues to appear impossible.[2]
  4. January 30, 12:56 am:
    • Added a New Yorker cartoon. I didn’t see who the artist might be.
    • The Wall Street Journal article[3] noted above (January 29, 7:52 pm) apparently isn’t reassuring very many people.[4] I’m perplexed: Both sides in this seem legally informed to me. Perhaps I’m wrong about that.
  5. January 30, 8:20 pm:
    • Kevin McCarthy has drawn suspicion for delays in appointing Republican members to the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. With the delay, he has delayed the hand over of transcripts to Robert Mueller,[5] who is widely thought to be nearing completion of his investigation. Given that Donald Trump has blown his opportunity to fire Mueller,[6] I’m not actually seeing Mueller’s limits here: Can he not extend his investigation as long as necessary? (James Comey)
    • Epistemologically, conservatives are an interesting case, often tending to prefer almost anything, be it ideology or a notion of how things ought to be to empirical information about how things actually are.[7] It’s harder to know with authoritarian populists, as Donald Trump demonstrates yet again.[8]
  6. January 30, 11:21 pm:
    • I’m all in favor of sticking it to Pacific Gas and Electric over the California wildfires, and probably just on general principle, but William Alsup, the judge in PG&E’s criminal conviction and subsequent probation for the San Bruno gas line explosion seems to go a little overboard as he criticizes both the company and the California Public Utilities Commission for their handling of fire safety.[9]
    • At least for this issue, it seems the New Yorker is on a roll. Another of their cartoons added.
  7. January 31, 11:38 pm:
    • So I’ve been leaving this, um, conflict, ahem, between Donald Trump and the intelligence community—The Deep State—to simmer for a while. The spitballs, even when thrown in public, just don’t impress me much. But now, in the wake of Senate testimony given by intelligence agency heads, Trump is discovering that there are limits to his support even in the Republican-controlled Senate.[10] I was wondering a bit, not very much, what was happening with neoconservatives who opposed Trump. Now, it seems like when the Republican neoconservatives can get a few of their Democratic neoconservative colleagues to join in, well, it’s just a bit reminiscent of old days. (You may ask me if this is a good or bad thing; just don’t ask me if this is a good or bad thing relative to the present good or bad thing. There! Did I just answer the question I’d have let you ask without you even having to ask it?)

When I say I’m a BA-A-AD vegan, this is what I mean:NewYorker
via the New Yorker, fair use (I hope).

Well, that, and a few other things.


I generally think music—including that crap I’m inclined not to count as ‘music’—is one of the ways that generations create their own identities. Just as rock and roll irritated earlier generations, rap and hip hop irritate me. But then there are my less charitable moments. The gist of which an unknown cartoonist for the New Yorker has captured well:DC013019
Sadly, many folks around where I live will fail to appreciate the noises that a radiator makes when it heats a room. They’re pretty discordant and often startling.


One of the things that really sucks about driving for work is that people who don’t actually have to do your job get to make decisions about how you’ll do it. So, for example, Uber and Lyft simply relay orders for riders to be picked up where it is illegal, unsafe, or otherwise problematic to pick up. Except, that is, with Uber’s Express Pool service, where Uber sets the illegal, unsafe, or otherwise problematic pick up locations just to make riders walk to them (to save money and, supposedly, but not really, time).

San Francisco blames Uber and Lyft for its traffic problems,[11] allegedly targets drivers for additional enforcement,[12] then uses the results of this alleged targeting to justify blaming Uber and Lyft,[13] expects drivers to pony up for a business license (to my knowledge, no other city in California does this), and then, after picking drivers’ pockets every way it can, demands to know if drivers are making a minimum wage[14] (we generally do not[15]). Nobody makes any effort to make our jobs legally easier, we have no control over pickup locations, and we’re just sitting ducks.

There are places I avoid picking up. I go off line to avoid pickups in San Francisco because one $300 ticket (for picking up in a bus stop where there really was no alternative pickup location available) for a $5 fare is enough, thank you very much; and in Sonoma County, where the business seems disproportionately about drunks who drink to get drunk and conflate such drinking with sociability (and no, this has little to do with the growing winery or microbrew industries). But even so, I still occasionally encounter cops who only care about the law, not about the practicalities of some poor schmuck trying to make a living. In their honor, I present the latest Existential Comics strip:socratesTheCop1
socratesTheCop2

The philosopher-cop is Socrates. I didn’t study a lot of philosophy in my academic career but whoever it is that draws this strip is brilliant.


Brexit

Boris Johnson imagines that the European Union will grant Britain an out from the backstop.[16] It won’t[17] and everything else is a sideshow that can, at best, only delay the inevitable. So fasten your seat belts and hold on tight: The powers that be have apparently agreed there will be no second referendum. That means a hard Brexit.

Joe Watts, “Brexit: Theresa May’s renegotiation hopes dealt blow as Ireland says backstop ‘isn’t going to change,’” Independent, January 27, 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-backstop-theresa-may-ireland-border-simon-coveney-deal-vote-parliament-commons-a8749076.html

Peter Foster, “What is the Brexit backstop, and why is the Irish border so important to the deal?” Telegraph, January 28, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/brexit-backstop-irish-border-important-deal/

James Rothwell, “The Brexit ‘Freedom Clause’ – key questions answered,” Telegraph, January 28, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/28/brexit-freedom-clause-key-questions-answered/

William Booth, Karla Adam, and Michael Birnbaum, “Parliament asserts that Britain shouldn’t leave E.U. without a deal, sends Theresa May back to Brussels,” Washington Post, January 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/brexit-theresa-may-tells-a-divided-parliament-she-wants-to-reopen-talks-with-eu/2019/01/29/66ebca3a-1fe9-11e9-a759-2b8541bbbe20_story.html


Pacific Gas and Electric

Oh gawd. Yet more “[w]e are fully committed”[18] crap. Somebody really needs to explain to Pacific Gas and Electric’s public relations folks that they have completely and totally annihilated the credibility of that phrase through extreme overuse.

Seriously, when it seems virtually every public statement you issue contains those words, it all adds up to an acknowledgment of numerous commitments that, since you’re constantly having to talk about them, obviously have gone unfulfilled.

Peg Brickley and Andrew Scurria, “As PG&E Enters Bankruptcy, Professionals Flock to Potential Fee Bonanza,” Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-pg-e-prepares-for-bankruptcy-professionals-flock-to-potential-fee-bonanza-11548715723

Subrat Patnaik, “PG&E, owner of biggest U.S. power utility, files for bankruptcy,” Reuters, January 29, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pg-e-us-bankruptcy-idUSKCN1PN0PX

Dale Kasler, “‘Safety is not your No. 1 thing.’ Judge rips PG&E over California wildfires,” Sacramento Bee, January 30, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article225289445.html


James Comey

Mike Memoli, Ken Dilanian, and Alex Moe, “GOP delay in naming House Intelligence Committee members may have cost Mueller,” NBC News, January 30, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/gop-delay-naming-house-intelligence-committee-members-may-have-cost-n964781


Donald Trump

Shane Harris and John Wagner, “In latest attack on intelligence agencies, Trump ignores where they actually agree,” Washington Post, January 30, 2019, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/comment/18412#comment-18412


The Deep State

Karoun Demirjian, “Senate rebukes Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, Afghanistan,” Washington Post, January 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-backs-mcconnells-rebuke-of-trumps-military-drawdown-plans-in-syria-afghanistan/2019/01/31/5812d058-2584-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html


  1. [1]Peg Brickley and Andrew Scurria, “As PG&E Enters Bankruptcy, Professionals Flock to Potential Fee Bonanza,” Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-pg-e-prepares-for-bankruptcy-professionals-flock-to-potential-fee-bonanza-11548715723
  2. [2]William Booth, Karla Adam, and Michael Birnbaum, “Parliament asserts that Britain shouldn’t leave E.U. without a deal, sends Theresa May back to Brussels,” Washington Post, January 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/brexit-theresa-may-tells-a-divided-parliament-she-wants-to-reopen-talks-with-eu/2019/01/29/66ebca3a-1fe9-11e9-a759-2b8541bbbe20_story.html
  3. [3]Peg Brickley and Andrew Scurria, “As PG&E Enters Bankruptcy, Professionals Flock to Potential Fee Bonanza,” Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/as-pg-e-prepares-for-bankruptcy-professionals-flock-to-potential-fee-bonanza-11548715723
  4. [4]Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak, “‘We have been shorted.’ Why wildfire survivors are furious about PG&E’s bankruptcy filing,” Sacramento Bee, January 29, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/article225246820.html
  5. [5]Mike Memoli, Ken Dilanian, and Alex Moe, “GOP delay in naming House Intelligence Committee members may have cost Mueller,” NBC News, January 30, 2019, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/gop-delay-naming-house-intelligence-committee-members-may-have-cost-n964781
  6. [6]Aaron Blake, “Trump backers just had their anti-Mueller hopes and dreams dashed,” Washington Post, December 18, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/12/18/trump-backers-just-had-their-anti-mueller-hopes-dreams-dashed/; Paul Waldman, “Trump’s battle to destroy the Mueller investigation is officially doomed,” Washington Post, November 16, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/11/16/trumps-battle-to-destroy-the-mueller-investigation-is-officially-doomed/; Benjamin Wittes, “It’s Probably Too Late to Stop Mueller,” Atlantic, November 9, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/10-reasons-whitaker-might-not-foil-mueller/575467/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  8. [8]Shane Harris and John Wagner, “In latest attack on intelligence agencies, Trump ignores where they actually agree,” Washington Post, January 30, 2019, https://parts-unknown.org/drupal7/comment/18412#comment-18412
  9. [9]Dale Kasler, “‘Safety is not your No. 1 thing.’ Judge rips PG&E over California wildfires,” Sacramento Bee, January 30, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article225289445.html
  10. [10]Karoun Demirjian, “Senate rebukes Trump’s plan to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria, Afghanistan,” Washington Post, January 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/senate-backs-mcconnells-rebuke-of-trumps-military-drawdown-plans-in-syria-afghanistan/2019/01/31/5812d058-2584-11e9-90cd-dedb0c92dc17_story.html
  11. [11]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
  12. [12]One of my passengers informed me that she worked for San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency and that the agency had a team assigned to target Uber and Lyft drivers.
  13. [13]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/
  14. [14]City Attorney of San Francisco, “Herrera investigates Uber, Lyft over driver pay and benefits,” PR Newswire, May 29, 2018, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/herrera-investigates-uber-lyft-over-driver-pay-and-benefits-300655892.html
  15. [15]Cyrus Farivar, “What’s Uber and Lyft drivers’ median hourly wage? $10 or lower, report finds,” Ars Tehnica, March 6, 2018, https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/whats-uber-and-lyft-drivers-median-hourly-wage-under-4-report-finds/
  16. [16]James Rothwell, “The Brexit ‘Freedom Clause’ – key questions answered,” Telegraph, January 28, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/28/brexit-freedom-clause-key-questions-answered/
  17. [17]Peter Foster, “What is the Brexit backstop, and why is the Irish border so important to the deal?” Telegraph, January 28, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/0/brexit-backstop-irish-border-important-deal/; Joe Watts, “Brexit: Theresa May’s renegotiation hopes dealt blow as Ireland says backstop ‘isn’t going to change,’” Independent, January 27, 2019, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-backstop-theresa-may-ireland-border-simon-coveney-deal-vote-parliament-commons-a8749076.html
  18. [18]John Simon, quoted in Subrat Patnaik, “PG&E, owner of biggest U.S. power utility, files for bankruptcy,” Reuters, January 29, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pg-e-us-bankruptcy-idUSKCN1PN0PX

Brexit hits the fan

Updates

  1. Originally published, January 14, 11:56 pm.
  2. January 15, 6:55 am:
    • It’s probably pointless to forecast Theresa May’s demise as prime minister following an expected massive defeat for her Brexit plan. But the Telegraph article says something about the machinations involved. “Normally,” we would be looking at some sort of election here. The “normal” question would be whether it will be a general election as Labour seeks to maneuver into power (I don’t believe this will succeed) or a second referendum (or maybe even both).[1] The knives are out for May[2] as politicians maneuver for advantage but at this point, the question of the deal itself isn’t even so much about whether it can pass—it almost certainly can’t—but rather about the scale of the defeat and whether May can survive that defeat.[3] I still think those who insist they can get a better deal should be required to say how; details here seem notably absent. The real drama is now simply, baldly, a power struggle.
  3. January 15, 1:13 pm:
    • As widely expected, the U.K. Parliament voted down Theresa May’s Brexit deal. It did so by a margin of over 200 votes.[4] Going by the earlier Telegraph coverage, that should mean she will have to resign.[5] As also expected,[6] Jeremy Corbyn has put forward a no-confidence motion.[7] But, unbelievably, May apparently intends to carry on.[8]
  4. January 16, 1:02 am:
    • Allan Lichtmann is just pointing out that Nancy Pelosi is now second in the line of succession to the presidency, immediately behind the vice president.[9] Y’know, just sayin’.
    • Yasmeen Serhan’s take on the Brexit vote is to point out that “[Theresa] May has insisted that the only thing worse than leaving the EU without a deal would be to leave it with a bad one.” Parliament, Serhan argues, took May at her word.[10] May also insisted the choice was between her deal and no deal, rebuffing calls for a second referendum on grounds that “Brexit supporters might even lose that second vote and be saddled with a bitterly divided nation and the status quo,”[11] which is true enough—indeed, it’s probably fair to say that a narrow outcome, reflecting bitter division, would be the most likely result, no matter which way it came out.[12] But with European Union diplomats insisting that May’s deal was the best that could be gotten,[13] the choice is no longer between May’s deal and no deal. It’s now between a second referendum and no deal,[14] and ministers should consider, given dire predictions of what will happen in the absence of a deal,[15] what their constituents will think of them as a hard Brexit unfolds.
  5. January 16, 4:55 pm:
    • As expected,[16] Theresa May survived the no-confidence motion in the U.K. Parliament.[17] (Brexit)
  6. January 17, 12:08 pm:
    • So I thought that Nancy Pelosi, despite her problematic position within the mainstream of the Democratic Party, might be the right person to take on Donald Trump over his stupid border wall. I noted my reasons could be construed as sexist.[18] But she might be vindicating me and, indeed, I might have been able to handle the issue differently had I had the quotes available to me when I wrote that blog entry that are available now.[19]
  7. January 17, 3:30 pm:
    • Maybe this matters more than I think, but Donald Trump responded to Nancy Pelosi’s move to postpone the State of the Union address by cutting off her access to military aircraft for a planned trip.[20] I just don’t see her trip to Afghanistan mattering as much to her as his planned appearance on national television addressing a joint session of Congress does to him. I think it’s understood that Pelosi’s move was an opening gambit. Trump’s response looks astonishingly weak to me—it certainly reflects uncertainty at the White House over how to respond.[21]
    • The judge overseeing Pacific Gas and Electric’s probation for a gas line explosion in San Bruno blames uninsulated conductors for many wildfires in which the utility has been implicated.[22] Hint to PG&E: Your repeated responses about how you “are committed to” whatever are getting really tired. And I’m not arguing if people say they’re empty.
  8. January 18, 12:35 am:
    • Theresa May has been accused of “pandering to the hard right of [her] party”[23] in what now appears to be a careen toward a hard Brexit. But it seems many in Labour, including members of the shadow cabinet, are equally adamant that there should be no second referendum. The logic seems to be that a second referendum would betray those who supported the outcome of the first one,[24] and I’m pretty sure[25] this argument is common to similarly opposed Tories (Conservatives). Which is to say that a naïvely (I include myself in this naïeveté,[26] abysmally unaware of the complications of the Irish border) taken vote must be adhered to regardless of the consequences? Even when consequences which were not as well known—perhaps even not known at all—become much more clear? Which is to say that unappetizing options for compliance with the first outcome may not be subject to debate and vote? Really? Really? Oh and which is to say that voters might never change their fucking minds? Really? Does anyone else see that this is more about parties jostling for power, desperately seeking to avoid punishment from some folks with some really rather perverse notions of sovereignty? Certainly, it’s less than an honest admission that the options—each unappetizing in one way or another—might deserve popular consideration.
  9. January 18, 01:00 am:
    • It turns out the government has been exploring the feasibility of a second referendum on Brexit—you know, someone was asking for a friend.[27]

Brexit

MayWalksThePlank
Patrick Blower, January 15, 2019, via the Telegraph, fair use.

Gordon Rayner, “Theresa May ‘will have to stand down’ if she suffers heavy defeat in Brexit vote, Cabinet ministers suggest,” Telegraph, January 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/14/theresa-may-will-asked-stand-suffers-heavy-defeat-brexit-vote/

Harry Yorke, Christopher Hope, and Steven Swinford, “Jeremy Corbyn to table motion of no confidence moments after Theresa May’s expected record defeat,” Telegraph, January 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/14/jeremy-corbyn-table-motion-no-confidence-moments-theresa-mays/

Bianca Britton, “British lawmakers crush Theresa May’s Brexit deal by record margin,” CNN, January 15, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/15/uk/brexit-vote-theresa-may-gbr-intl/index.html

William Booth and Karla Adam, “Brexit vote: British Parliament rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal, leaving withdrawal from E.U. and prime minister’s political future in doubt,” Washington Post, January 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/brexit-vote-2019/2019/01/15/8eb6579a-1816-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html

Yasmeen Serhan, “The Brexit Deal’s Historic Defeat,” Atlantic, January 15, 2019, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2019/01/theresa-may-defeat-brexit-deal/580414/

Heather Stewart, “Theresa May loses Brexit deal vote by majority of 230,” Guardian, January 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/15/theresa-may-loses-brexit-deal-vote-by-majority-of-230

William Booth and Karla Adam, “Theresa May survives confidence vote, even after Brexit failure,” Telegraph, January 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/theresa-may-expected-to-survive-confidence-vote-even-after-brexit-failure/2019/01/16/80863074-1914-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html

Heather Stewart, Jessica Elgot, and Peter Walker, “May survives vote, but Britain remains in Brexit deadlock,” Guardian, January 16, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/16/mays-government-survives-no-confidence-vote-after-brexit-defeat

Heather Stewart, Peter Walker, and Rajeev Syal, “Corbyn could face string of resignations if he backs ‘people’s vote,’ ” Guardian, January 17, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/17/corbyn-could-face-string-of-resignations-if-he-backs-peoples-vote

Christopher Hope, “Second Brexit referendum: Official Government guidance says it will take a year to organise, Telegraph, January 18, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/17/revealed-official-government-guidance-saying-will-take-year/


Pacific Gas and Electric

Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak, “PG&E calls bankruptcy ‘only viable option’ in California wildfire crisis,” Sacramento Bee, January 14, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article224504140.html


Nancy Pelosi

Allan Lichtman, “Could Nancy Pelosi be the next president of the United States?” Hill, January 15, 2019, https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/425344-could-nancy-pelosi-be-the-next-president-of-the-united-states

John Bresnahan, Heather Caygle, and Rachael Bade, “‘She’s satin and steel’: Pelosi wages war on Trump,” Politico, January 16, 2019, https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/16/has-trump-met-his-match-pelosi-1106624

Jeremy Diamond, Sarah Westwood, and Kevin Liptak, “Trump denies Pelosi military aircraft for war zone trip,” January 17, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/17/politics/donald-trump-nancy-pelosi-trip-cancel/index.html

Paul Kane, Philip Rucker, and Josh Dawsey, “‘She wields the knife’: Pelosi moves to belittle and undercut Trump in shutdown fight,” Washington Post, January 16, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/she-wields-the-knife-pelosi-moves-to-belittle-and-undercut-trump-in-shutdown-fight/2019/01/16/e6861fbe-19b0-11e9-88fe-f9f77a3bcb6c_story.html


Pacific Gas and Electric

Dale Kasler and Ryan Sabalow, “Judge blames deadly California wildfires on PG&E’s uninsulated power conductors,” Sacramento Bee, January 17, 2019, https://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/fires/article224709110.html


  1. [1]Harry Yorke, Christopher Hope, and Steven Swinford, “Jeremy Corbyn to table motion of no confidence moments after Theresa May’s expected record defeat,” Telegraph, January 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/14/jeremy-corbyn-table-motion-no-confidence-moments-theresa-mays/
  2. [2]Gordon Rayner, “Theresa May ‘will have to stand down’ if she suffers heavy defeat in Brexit vote, Cabinet ministers suggest,” Telegraph, January 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/14/theresa-may-will-asked-stand-suffers-heavy-defeat-brexit-vote/
  3. [3]Harry Yorke, Christopher Hope, and Steven Swinford, “Jeremy Corbyn to table motion of no confidence moments after Theresa May’s expected record defeat,” Telegraph, January 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/14/jeremy-corbyn-table-motion-no-confidence-moments-theresa-mays/
  4. [4]William Booth and Karla Adam, “Brexit vote: British Parliament rejects Theresa May’s Brexit deal, leaving withdrawal from E.U. and prime minister’s political future in doubt,” Washington Post, January 15, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/brexit-vote-2019/2019/01/15/8eb6579a-1816-11e9-b8e6-567190c2fd08_story.html; Bianca Britton, “British lawmakers crush Theresa May’s Brexit deal by record margin,” CNN, January 15, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/15/uk/brexit-vote-theresa-may-gbr-intl/index.html; Heather Stewart, “Theresa May loses Brexit deal vote by majority of 230,” Guardian, January 15, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/jan/15/theresa-may-loses-brexit-deal-vote-by-majority-of-230
  5. [5]Gordon Rayner, “Theresa May ‘will have to stand down’ if she suffers heavy defeat in Brexit vote, Cabinet ministers suggest,” Telegraph, January 14, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/01/14/theresa-may-will-asked-stand-suffers-heavy-defeat-brexit-vote/
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