Calling for peace when the cops are still murdering people

Institutional racism

There is a new blog post entitled, “What are ‘proper directions’ for protest when peaceful protest is for naught?

Associated Press, “Officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck arrested on murder charge,” Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-05-29/minnesota-george-floyd-officer-arrested

Holly Bailey et al., “Chaotic Minneapolis protests spread amid emotional calls for justice, peace, Washington Post, May 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/29/chaotic-minneapolis-protests-spread-amid-emotional-calls-justice-peace/


Pittsburgh

U.S. Steel’s response is that this is old news.[1]

WTAE, “Allegheny Co. Health Department announces fines against U.S. Steel for violations at Clairton Coke Works,” May 28, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-co-health-department-announces-fines-against-us-steel-for-violations-at-clairton-coke-works/32702736


Pandemic

Allegheny County goes to “green” phase on June 5.[2]

Jamie Martines, “Gov. Wolf to move Allegheny, Westmoreland, other counties to green phase,” TribLive, May 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-move-allegheny-westmoreland-other-counties-to-green-phase/


  1. [1]WTAE, “Allegheny Co. Health Department announces fines against U.S. Steel for violations at Clairton Coke Works,” May 28, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-co-health-department-announces-fines-against-us-steel-for-violations-at-clairton-coke-works/32702736
  2. [2]Jamie Martines, “Gov. Wolf to move Allegheny, Westmoreland, other counties to green phase,” TribLive, May 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-move-allegheny-westmoreland-other-counties-to-green-phase/

The Year of Fear

There is a new blog post from Sunday entitled, “Pittsburgh, race, and a threat to appropriated identity.”

The Columbia Journalism Review has been running a series entitled “The Year of Fear,” featuring essays from local journalists in four towns in this election year. I’ve been following Jason Togyer, who covers McKeesport, largely because he helps fill in the blanks in my understanding of what has happened to Pittsburgh and that new blog post responds to one of his essays. For me, this is truly amazing stuff.


So Uber and Lyft drivers are supposed to buy electric cars now?

Updates

  1. Originally published, March 8, 2020, 9:35 am.
  2. March 9, 3:17 am:
    • I have updated the citations in my self-quotation in the section on coronavirus to reflect the articles that have been published[1] since I originally wrote that passage. My claim hasn’t changed; there’s just more evidence supporting it.

Gig economy

Previously, a Union of Concerned Scientists study found that Uber and Lyft vehicles emit 70 percent more pollution per passenger mile than if the gig economy didn’t exist.[2] The states of California and Washington are looking to regulation to address the problem.[3]

I wonder how many Uber and Lyft drivers in the states of California and Washington face a similar dilemma to my own: It’s extremely unlikely a new electric car can pencil out financially. Where I presently drive a 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid that I bought for cash, I would have to make car payments and higher insurance payments—this before we even get to depreciation costs on a new car. I have no charging station for an electric car nearby and no place to plug one in where I live, even though I rent a garage.

And I really need to wait for the next generation of batteries. The range with lithium-ion is really much too short, especially for the occasional cross-country trip; and to take care of the battery, I should only charge to between 20 and 80 percent, slowly, which reduces both range and availability. I don’t know how I’d even manage that in my present situation.

The battery technology that General Motors is still developing, with a range of 600 miles,[4] would meet my criteria if it can be charged to full capacity quickly. I would still need to make it work financially.

Hydrogen—as with the Toyota Mirai that costs nearly $60,000—would be attractive except there are no hydrogen stations in Pennsylvania.[5] Cross-country trips would be a problem, and again, this would need to work financially.

All in all, I’m once again feeling like the world presumes I’m made of money. I’m not. I’m poor.

And there are very few Uber and Lyft drivers who aren’t poor. We wouldn’t be subjecting ourselves to this abuse otherwise.

Tony Barboza, “Taking an Uber or Lyft pollutes more than driving, California finds. Next stop: Regulations,” Los Angeles, March 7, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-03-07/uber-lyft-ride-hailing-air-pollution-greenhouse-gas-emissions


Coronavirus

Coronavirus is officially a fuck-up. More people are getting sick and dying because of this.[6] And its spread is out of control.[7]

It may seem callous to discuss implications for Donald Trump in an election year. But the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief’s presidency is already vicious, lethal, and incompetent. Coronavirus adds to the toll.

As I have noted, however, this is largely a structural problem (citations updated):

  • Capitalist medicine hinders rather than helps.[8]
  • Neoliberal employment policies, in which “efficiency” is defined as low labor cost, such as those the gig economy depends upon, hinder rather than help.[9]
  • People in charge should care more about taking care of people than about taking care of the stock market.[10][11]

Yes, Trump is incompetent. Yes, his administration is incompetent. And no, there’s no excuse for it.[12] But the structural factors predate him, in some cases, by millenia.

Since the Neolithic, we have organized ourselves for greed and acquisition, principally for the few, principally at the expense of the rest of us (I would include non-human animals here) and of the environment.[13] Now, we are overrunning the planet, facilitating the spread of disease. Trump is almost entirely a symptom of that; from a position of power, he contributes to it, but he is certainly not an original cause.

Trump will be blamed nonetheless, as indeed the Washington Post does[14] and as indeed others do.

But the Democrats are now highly likely to nominate their own dementia case. Joe Biden is who the party powerful want to nominate[15] and Bernie Sanders faces a now nearly insurmountable challenge in overcoming that.[16]

And from what I can see driving around southwestern Pennsylvania, Trump’s base sees him as heroic. They will blame the bungling—and yes, they’ll acknowledge it is bungling—on “bureaucracy” and applaud Trump’s efforts to trim it further.

That’s how coronavirus plays out in November.

Colby Itkowitz, Ashley Parker, and Seung Min Kim, “Coronavirus continues its rapid spread, confounding efforts by global leaders,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/07/coronavirus-continues-its-rapid-spread-confounding-efforts-by-global-leaders/

Ashley Parker, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Lena H. Sun, “Squandered time: How the Trump administration lost control of the coronavirus crisis,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-coronavirus-response-squandered-time/2020/03/07/5c47d3d0-5fcb-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html


  1. [1]Sara R. Collins and David Blumenthal, “Without universal healthcare, coronavirus puts us all at risk,” Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-03-05/op-ed-time-to-ramp-up-medicaid-to-pay-for-universal-coronavirus-care; Mariel Garza, “Why aren’t we paying people with the coronavirus to stay home?” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-03-06/opinion-why-arent-we-paying-people-with-the-coronavirus-to-stay-home; Ashley Parker, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Lena H. Sun, “Squandered time: How the Trump administration lost control of the coronavirus crisis,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-coronavirus-response-squandered-time/2020/03/07/5c47d3d0-5fcb-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html
  2. [2]Andrew J. Hawkins, “Uber and Lyft generate 70 percent more pollution than trips they displace: study,” Verge, February 25, 2020, https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/25/21152512/uber-lyft-climate-change-emissions-pollution-ucs-study
  3. [3]Tony Barboza, “Taking an Uber or Lyft pollutes more than driving, California finds. Next stop: Regulations,” Los Angeles, March 7, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/environment/story/2020-03-07/uber-lyft-ride-hailing-air-pollution-greenhouse-gas-emissions
  4. [4]Peter Valdes-Dapena, “GM’s new electric car battery tops Tesla’s,” CNN, March 5, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/04/business/gm-electric-car-battery-400-miles-of-range/index.html
  5. [5]Department of Energy, “Pennsylvania Transportation Data for Alternative Fuels and Vehicles,” n.d., https://afdc.energy.gov/states/pa
  6. [6]Ashley Parker, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Lena H. Sun, “Squandered time: How the Trump administration lost control of the coronavirus crisis,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-coronavirus-response-squandered-time/2020/03/07/5c47d3d0-5fcb-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html
  7. [7]Colby Itkowitz, Ashley Parker, and Seung Min Kim, “Coronavirus continues its rapid spread, confounding efforts by global leaders,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/07/coronavirus-continues-its-rapid-spread-confounding-efforts-by-global-leaders/
  8. [8]Sara R. Collins and David Blumenthal, “Without universal healthcare, coronavirus puts us all at risk,” Los Angeles Times, March 5, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-03-05/op-ed-time-to-ramp-up-medicaid-to-pay-for-universal-coronavirus-care; Amy Goldstein, “Worries about medical bills and lost pay may hamper coronavirus efforts in the United States,” Washington Post, March 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/worries-about-medical-bills-and-lost-pay-may-hamper-coronavirus-efforts-in-the-united-states/2020/03/02/75825be0-5c9c-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html
  9. [9]Mariel Garza, “Why aren’t we paying people with the coronavirus to stay home?” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-03-06/opinion-why-arent-we-paying-people-with-the-coronavirus-to-stay-home; Amy Goldstein, “Worries about medical bills and lost pay may hamper coronavirus efforts in the United States,” Washington Post, March 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/worries-about-medical-bills-and-lost-pay-may-hamper-coronavirus-efforts-in-the-united-states/2020/03/02/75825be0-5c9c-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html; Nitasha Tiku, “Gig workers face the spread of the new coronavirus with no safety net,” Washington Post, February 29, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/02/29/gig-workers-face-spread-new-coronavirus-with-no-safety-net/
  10. [10]Dana Milbank, “For Trump, a reckoning has come,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/28/trump-reckoning-has-come/; Ashley Parker, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Lena H. Sun, “Squandered time: How the Trump administration lost control of the coronavirus crisis,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-coronavirus-response-squandered-time/2020/03/07/5c47d3d0-5fcb-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html; Paul Waldman, “How coronavirus has deeply flummoxed conservative media,” Washington Post, February 28, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/28/how-coronavirus-has-deeply-flummuxed-conservative-media/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “Coronavirus shows how Joe Biden is the wrong answer,” Irregular Bullshit, March 3, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/03/03/coronavirus-shows-how-joe-biden-is-the-wrong-answer/
  12. [12]Ashley Parker, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Lena H. Sun, “Squandered time: How the Trump administration lost control of the coronavirus crisis,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-coronavirus-response-squandered-time/2020/03/07/5c47d3d0-5fcb-11ea-9055-5fa12981bbbf_story.html
  13. [13]John H. Bodley, Victims of Progress, 5th ed. (Lanham, MD: AltaMira, 2008).
  14. [14]Colby Itkowitz, Ashley Parker, and Seung Min Kim, “Coronavirus continues its rapid spread, confounding efforts by global leaders,” Washington Post, March 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/07/coronavirus-continues-its-rapid-spread-confounding-efforts-by-global-leaders/
  15. [15]FiveThirtyEight, “The 2020 Endorsement Primary,” March 8, 2020, https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2020-endorsements/democratic-primary/
  16. [16]David Benfell, “Four more years,” Irregular Bullshit, March 5, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/03/05/four-more-years/

The Trump administration tortured migrants

Migration

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

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

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

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

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


Pittsburgh

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

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


Coronavirus

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


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

They didn’t do it: Malcolm X assassination may be reinvestigated

Malcolm X

Meagan Flynn, “Malcolm X assassination may be reinvestigated as Netflix documentary, lawyers cast doubt on convictions,” Washington Post, February 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/02/10/malcolmx-assassination-netflix/


Housing

Michael Sainato, “‘We’re technically homeless’: the eviction epidemic plaguing the US,” Guardian, February 11, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/feb/11/us-eviction-rates-causes-richmond-atlanta


Pittsburgh

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel, Allegheny County finalize Clairton Coke Works emissions settlement,” Tribune-Review, February 10, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-and-allegheny-county-finalize-clairton-coke-works-emissions-settlement/


Binyamin Netanyahu will be tried for corruption, in stark contrast with Donald Trump

Impeachment

“Nine months left to go, the people should judge. We are a republic, we are based on the will of the people — the people should judge,” [Diane] Feinstein said Tuesday, after the president’s team finished a three-day presentation in his defense. “That was my view and it still is my view.”[1]

Diane Feinstein must have figured out that voting to acquit might be a bad idea after all:

Zachary Evans, “McConnell Tells Caucus They Lack the Votes to Block Impeachment Witnesses,” National Review, January 28, 2020, https://www.nationalreview.com/news/trump-impeachment-trial-mitch-mcconnell-tells-caucus-they-lack-the-votes-to-block-witnesses/

Molly O’Toole, Jennifer Haberkorn, and Eli Stokols, “Feinstein says she’s a maybe on acquitting Trump as his defense team ends impeachment arguments,” Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-01-28/trump-team-wraps-impeachment-defense-with-an-elephant-in-the-senate-john-bolton


Israel

[Binyamin] Netanyahu’s announcement [withdrawing his request for immunity] came hours before the Knesset was set to form a committee to debate — and almost certainly reject — his immunity request.[2]

Richard Haass’ tweet undoubtedly reflects what Donald Trump would have the Palestinians do. One question is whether a fair deal would be possible in such negotiations. Given the present players, I doubt it. On the other hand, the risk of annexation[3] is being realized.[4]

“Your peace plan…addresses the root cause of the conflict by insisting that the Palestinians will finally have to recognize Israel as the Jewish state,” [Binyamin Netanyahu] said.

“Second, it stipulates that Israel will retain security control on the entire area west of the Jordan River, thereby giving Israel a permanent eastern border to defend ourselves across our longest border. Third, your plan calls for Hamas to be disarmed and Gaza to be demilitarized. Fourth, it makes clear that the Palestinian refugee problem must be solved outside the state of Israel. Fifth, it calls for our ancient capital, Jerusalem, to remain united under Israel sovereignty. Sixth, your plan does not uproot anyone from their homes, Israelis and Palestinians alike.”[5]

Sheena Anne Arackal, “The ‘Deal of the Century’ is Apartheid,” Mondoweiss, January 28, 2020, https://mondoweiss.net/2020/01/the-deal-of-the-century-is-apartheid/

Times of Israel, “As peace plan rolls out, Netanyahu says he will annex Jordan Valley, settlements,” January 28, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-peace-plan-rolls-out-netanyahu-says-he-will-annex-jordan-valley-settlements/

Times of Israel, “Trump unveils plan for ‘realistic 2-state’ deal, ‘undivided’ Israeli Jerusalem,” January 28, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-unveils-plan-for-realistic-2-state-deal-undivided-israeli-jerusalem/

Raoul Wootliff, “Netanyahu indicted for corruption in three cases, in first for a sitting PM,” Times of Israel, January 28, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-indicted-for-corruption-in-three-cases-in-first-for-a-sitting-pm/


Pittsburgh

Overall, Pittsburgh’s air seems to be improving.[6] This, of course, will be no surprise to my mother, who was here when the steel industry was pumping soot into the air at a ferocious rate.[7] Some of that soot can still, decades later, be seen on some retaining walls and on the sides of some buildings. But this[8] refers to more recent improvements.

Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel to hold info sessions about Clairton, Braddock plant upgrades,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-to-hold-info-sessions-about-clairton-braddock-plant-upgrades/

Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air was unsafe to breathe for 3 months in 2018,” Environmental Health News, January 28, 2020, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburgh-air-pollution-unsafe-2644931105.html


  1. [1]Molly O’Toole, Jennifer Haberkorn, and Eli Stokols, “Feinstein says she’s a maybe on acquitting Trump as his defense team ends impeachment arguments,” Los Angeles Times, January 28, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-01-28/trump-team-wraps-impeachment-defense-with-an-elephant-in-the-senate-john-bolton
  2. [2]Raoul Wootliff, “Netanyahu indicted for corruption in three cases, in first for a sitting PM,” Times of Israel, January 28, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-indicted-for-corruption-in-three-cases-in-first-for-a-sitting-pm/
  3. [3]Michael Bachner and Jacob Magid, “Settler leaders call for West Bank annexation after US shifts stance,” Times of Israel, November 18, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/settler-leaders-call-for-west-bank-annexation-after-us-shifts-stance/
  4. [4]Times of Israel, “As peace plan rolls out, Netanyahu says he will annex Jordan Valley, settlements,” January 28, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-peace-plan-rolls-out-netanyahu-says-he-will-annex-jordan-valley-settlements/
  5. [5]Times of Israel, “As peace plan rolls out, Netanyahu says he will annex Jordan Valley, settlements,” January 28, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-peace-plan-rolls-out-netanyahu-says-he-will-annex-jordan-valley-settlements/
  6. [6]Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air was unsafe to breathe for 3 months in 2018,” Environmental Health News, January 28, 2020, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburgh-air-pollution-unsafe-2644931105.html
  7. [7]Mark Byrnes, “What Pittsburgh Looked Like When It Decided It Had a Pollution Problem,” CityLab, June 5, 2012, https://www.citylab.com/design/2012/06/what-pittsburgh-looked-when-it-decided-it-had-pollution-problem/2185/
  8. [8]Kristina Marusic, “Pittsburgh’s air was unsafe to breathe for 3 months in 2018,” Environmental Health News, January 28, 2020, https://www.ehn.org/pittsburgh-air-pollution-unsafe-2644931105.html

For-profit accreditation scammers scamming

For-profit schools

The following two statements, both attributed to the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools and quoted directly from the article, very likely contradict each other:

“To the contrary, we [the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools] believe strongly that the information the agency submitted with its recognition application – both narrative and evidence – satisfies any reasonable interpretation of [the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s] standards,” the accrediting agency said in its letter to CHEA.

ACICS said it had significant concerns about CHEA’s recognition process and about “its ongoing implementation of several new policies.” The agency said it plans to reapply at a later date.[1]

Unfortunately,

Recognition by CHEA isn’t necessary for an accreditor to oversee federal aid eligibility. But approval by the association can affect decisions by state authorizers, specialized accrediting agencies, licensing boards and some institutional authorities in other countries.[2]

Financial aid is, of course, what keeps for-profit schools in business. And that’s precisely what makes them a scam. And it’s awfully fishy that Betsy DeVos loves them so.

Paul Fain, “For-Profit Accreditor Drops Recognition Bid,” Inside Higher Ed, January 20, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/01/20/profit-accreditor-drops-recognition-bid


Pittsburgh

Ryan Deto, “The displacement of Anthony Hardison from his Lawrenceville apartment is a microcosm of a neighborhood epidemic,” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 15, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/the-displacement-of-anthony-hardison-from-his-lawrenceville-apartment-is-a-microcosm-of-a-neighborhood-epidemic/Content?oid=16556108

Ollie Gratzinger, “Allegheny County issues another fine to US Steel for air pollution violation,” Pittsburgh City Paper, January 17, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/allegheny-county-issues-another-fine-to-us-steel-for-air-pollution-violation/Content?oid=16576925


  1. [1]Paul Fain, “For-Profit Accreditor Drops Recognition Bid,” Inside Higher Ed, January 20, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/01/20/profit-accreditor-drops-recognition-bid
  2. [2]Paul Fain, “For-Profit Accreditor Drops Recognition Bid,” Inside Higher Ed, January 20, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2020/01/20/profit-accreditor-drops-recognition-bid

Weep for those poor, suffering, picked-on billionaires

Pittsburgh

It’s been unseasonably warm in Pittsburgh. The thermometer in my dashboard said it reached 60° Fahrenheit. It’s been fifty years since I saw a Pittsburgh winter, but I sure don’t remember this.

It was cooler earlier this week, but most of the snow from last week had melted, so folks in Clairton experienced a smoggy, rather than a white Christmas.[1]

Teghan Simonton, “Health department: Air pollution in Mon Valley exceeded federal levels over Christmas,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 27, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/health-department-air-pollution-in-mon-valley-exceeded-federal-levels-over-christmas/


Entitlement

In an end-of-decade[2] piece, Helaine Olen has quite the parade of billionaires whining about how the world is so, so cruel to them, replete with Nazi metaphors,[3] of course, because, I guess, they think they’re in some kind of a competition with Jews in the Holocaust. (And no, I haven’t seen anyone complain that this ludicrously false analogy—no one has seriously, no matter how seriously tempted, proposed a similar treatment to Jews in the Holocaust for capitalist thieves who in fact do far more damage and kill far more people than the folks we do put to death[4]—is anti-Semitic, which maybe they should.[5]) Olen didn’t even include the examples in my own collection: Susanne Klatten and Stefan Quandt,[6] Tom Perkins,[7] and, albeit in 2009, Lloyd Blankfein.[8] But never fear, they have their luxury bunkers to hide out in[9] should any actual move to line them up against the wall materialize.

Helaine Olen, “The decade of the billionaire victim,” Washington Post, December 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/26/decade-billionaire-victim/


  1. [1]KDKA, “‘It’s Making Clairton Sick’: Poor Air Quality Impacting Clairton, Liberty Areas,” December 23, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/12/23/air-quality-impacting-clairton-liberty-areas/; Teghan Simonton, “Health department: Air pollution in Mon Valley exceeded federal levels over Christmas,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 27, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/health-department-air-pollution-in-mon-valley-exceeded-federal-levels-over-christmas/
  2. [2]I’m confused. Centuries end in years ending with 00, apparently because there is a year one, but no year zero, yet decades end in years ending with 9? Apparently all this is still in dispute: Merriam-Webster, “Centuries and How to Refer to Them,” n.d., https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/centuries-and-how-to-refer-to-them
  3. [3]Helaine Olen, “The decade of the billionaire victim,” Washington Post, December 26, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/26/decade-billionaire-victim/
  4. [4]Steven E. Barkan, Criminology: A Sociological Understanding, 3rd ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006); Jeffrey Reiman, The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, 7th ed. (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2004).
  5. [5]Eric Cortellessa, “Trump tells pro-Israel conference that some US Jews don’t love Israel enough,” Times of Israel, December 8, 2019, https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-tells-jewish-group-theyll-vote-for-him-to-protect-their-wealth/
  6. [6]Chris Reiter, “BMW Billionaire Heirs Say Their Lives Are Harder Than You Think,” Bloomberg, June 20, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-20/bmw-billionaire-heirs-say-their-lives-are-harder-than-you-think
  7. [7]Tom Perkins, “Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?” Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2014, https://www.wsj.com/articles/progressive-kristallnacht-coming-1390600169
  8. [8]John Arlidge, “I’m doing ‘God’s work’. Meet Mr Goldman Sachs,” Times, November 8, 2009, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/im-doing-gods-work-meet-mr-goldman-sachs-zflqc78gqs8
  9. [9]Jim Dobson, “Inside the World’s Largest Underground Survival Community: 575 Luxury Bunkers for 5,000 People,” Forbes, October 7, 2016, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimdobson/2016/10/07/exclusive-look-inside-the-worlds-largest-underground-survival-community-5000-people-575-bunkers/

Tear it down

Pittsburgh

There is a new blog post entitled, “The place where I live.”


There was what I recognize from my time in California’s Central Valley as a tule fog. It seems to have trapped the emissions from U.S. Steel’s Clairton plant in the area, treating folks to a lovely sulfurous odor.[1]

They really need to get rid of that fucking plant.[2] Shut it down. Tear it down. Put something there that’s good for the residents.

KDKA, “‘It’s Making Clairton Sick’: Poor Air Quality Impacting Clairton, Liberty Areas,” December 23, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/12/23/air-quality-impacting-clairton-liberty-areas/


  1. [1]KDKA, “‘It’s Making Clairton Sick’: Poor Air Quality Impacting Clairton, Liberty Areas,” December 23, 2019, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2019/12/23/air-quality-impacting-clairton-liberty-areas/
  2. [2]Kris Maher, “U.S. Steel Suffers New Fire Knocking Out Pollution Controls in Plant Near Pittsburgh,” Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-steel-suffers-new-fire-knocking-out-pollution-controls-in-plant-near-pittsburgh-11560795102; Jamie Martines, “U.S. Steel facing a 2nd federal lawsuit tied to December fire at Clairton Plant,” TribLive, August 26, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/u-s-steel-facing-a-2nd-federal-lawsuit-tied-to-december-fire-at-clairton-plant/; Jamie Martines, “Settlement over bad air in Clairton calls for U.S. Steel to cough up $2 million,” TribLive, December 11, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/settlement-over-bad-air-in-clairton-calls-for-u-s-steel-to-cough-up-2-million/; WTAE, “U.S. Steel, health department have deal to settle 2018 air pollution violations at Clairton Coke Works,” June 28, 2019, https://www.wtae.com/article/us-steel-reaches-agreement-with-health-department-to-resolve-enforcement-orders-at-clairton-coke-works/28221648

Not the good kind of acid

There is a correction in the previous issue.


Ohio River

April Johnston, “‘That’s vinegar:’ The Ohio River’s history of contamination and progress made,” Environmental Health News, November 14, 2019, https://www.ehn.org/ohio-river-pollution-cleanup-2641307895.html


Hong Kong

The appearance of the People’s Liberation Army, that is, Mainland China’s army, on the streets of Hong Kong was relatively benign: They cleared roadblocks set up by protesters. But everyone understands the implicit threat of possible intervention.[1]

John Lyons, Steven Russolillo, and Eun-Young Jeong, “Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mainland-chinese-soldiers-take-to-hong-kong-streets-for-first-time-since-protests-began-11573907250


  1. [1]John Lyons, Steven Russolillo, and Eun-Young Jeong, “Mainland Chinese Soldiers Take to Hong Kong Streets for First Time During Protests,” Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/mainland-chinese-soldiers-take-to-hong-kong-streets-for-first-time-since-protests-began-11573907250