Ask why your local district attorney isn’t taking as hard a line against Donald Trump’s secret police as Philadelphia’s

Updates

  1. Originally published, July 23, 2020, 10:16 am.
  2. July 23, 3:35 pm:
    • So I thought my car was done. Rohrich Toyota called me to tell me the relay was in. I thought that meant my car was ready to pick up, but no, apparently this was the parts department calling to say the part had arrived. I found this out after I had returned the rental car, and spent $40 on an Uber ride from the rental car place to Rohrich. Now I’ve spent another $20 on an Uber ride home. Hopefully my car will be ready by 4:00 pm.
    • The Wall Street Journal is worried by the latest report on unemployment insurance claims. “The economy’s ability to recover may depend on whether [the unemployed] can stay afloat.”[1] Gonna be a lot of folks sayin’ they told us so. A lot of ’em.

Fireflies

One of the wonders of my brief childhood in Pittsburgh was fireflies. Since returning last year, I haven’t seen nearly so many as I remember then and I wondered if climate change or something else had done them in.

Apparently, they’re still around, but not so much in places where pesticides are used—I’m guessing the maintenance folks dump lots of pesticides on the lawns around my apartment complex—and not so much in hot dry weather like we’ve had the last few weeks.[2]

At least there are thunderstorms.

Mary Ann Thomas, “Where have the fireflies gone in Southwestern Pennsylvania?” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 22, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/where-have-the-fireflies-gone-in-southwestern-pennsylvania/


Protests

Chris Walker, “Philadelphia DA Says Trump’s Police Will Be Arrested If They Assault Protesters,” Truthout, July 22, 2020, https://truthout.org/articles/philadelphia-da-says-trumps-police-will-be-arrested-if-they-assault-protesters/


Recession

Justin Lahart, “Jobs Warning Light Starts Flashing,” Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-warning-light-starts-flashing-11595516312


  1. [1]Justin Lahart, “Jobs Warning Light Starts Flashing,” Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/jobs-warning-light-starts-flashing-11595516312
  2. [2]Mary Ann Thomas, “Where have the fireflies gone in Southwestern Pennsylvania?” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 22, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/where-have-the-fireflies-gone-in-southwestern-pennsylvania/

Your refusal to go vegan is racist, ageist, and helps the novel coronavirus to spread

Pandemic

The text formerly here has been cleaned up and moved to a new blog post entitled, “Nonhuman animal flesh, race, capitalism, and the novel coronavirus.”

Emma Farge with Peter Graff, “WHO warns of ‘second peak’ in areas where COVID-19 declining,” Reuters, May 25, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-who-peak/who-warns-of-second-peak-in-areas-where-covid-19-declining-idUSKBN2311VJ

Antonio Olivo, Marissa J. Lang, and John D. Harden, “Crowded housing and essential jobs: Why so many Latinos are getting coronavirus,” Washington Post, May 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/latinos-coronavirus/2020/05/25/6b5c882a-946e-11ea-82b4-c8db161ff6e5_story.html

Taylor Telford, “The meat industry is trying to get back to normal. But workers are still getting sick — and shortages may get worse,” Washington Post, May 25, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/25/meat-industry-is-trying-get-back-normal-workers-are-still-getting-sick-shortages-may-get-worse/


Even in a pandemic, cops are still, inexcusably, cops

Police

Even in a pandemic, cops are still, inexcusably, cops.

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, “Meet the African-American Doctor Who Tests the Homeless for COVID-19. He was Handcuffed by Miami Police,” Democracy Now, April 16, 2020, https://www.democracynow.org/2020/4/16/meet_the_african_american_doctor_who


Pandemic

The Telegraph is much too diplomatic with China and with Donald Trump. No one believed the earlier numbers from Wuhan; even if China is now being fully transparent, which I assume no one believes, the data issues[1] that plague other places also plague China.[2] And Trump’s “plan” has no force.[3]

When I caught a Lyft to retrieve my car yesterday, my driver and I were both speaking through masks. Probably neither of us understood the other well. But he was saying something about there not being “very many Chinese” someplace—I presume either the apartment complex where I live or near my mechanic—mostly whites and African-Americans (the latter term is the one he used; I avoid it because some Blacks, especially from the Caribbean, choose other ways of identifying themselves—it’s actually best to ask folks how they self-identify).

It’s a problem I haven’t thought about much. I have heard about bigotry against but haven’t really myself even considered blaming people of Chinese origin for the coronavirus in part because China is a huge country. There are an awful lot of people who weren’t anywhere near Wuhan, including some here in the U.S., and so had absolutely nothing to do with the particular wet markets that are generally blamed for providing this virus a bridge from non-human to human animals. And when it comes to non-human to human animal bridges, the Chinese are very, very far from alone.[4] This is by no means a vegan world and this is yet one more reason it needs to be.

But I’m guessing that such bigotry lies behind that driver’s choice of topic (which probably violates Lyft’s rules).

Natasha Lindstrom, “Gov. Wolf: No specific date for ending covid-19 shutdown, getting ‘back to life as we once knew it,’” TribLive, April 16, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gov-wolf-no-specific-date-for-ending-covid-19-shutdown-getting-back-to-life-as-we-once-knew-it/

Ben Riley-Smith, “Donald Trump launches plan to ‘open up America again’ after coronavirus lockdown,” Telegraph, April 17, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/16/donald-trump-launches-plan-open-america-coronavirus-lockdown/

Sophia Yan, “China adds nearly 1,300 coronavirus deaths to official Wuhan toll, blaming reporting delays,” Telegraph, April 17, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/17/china-adds-nearly-1300-coronavirus-deaths-official-wuhan-toll/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “When ‘good’ news might not be so good,” Not Housebroken, April 2, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/02/when-good-news-might-not-be-so-good/; Emma Brown, Beth Reinhard, and Aaron C. Davis, “Coronavirus death toll: Americans are almost certainly dying of covid-19 but being left out of the official count,” Washington Post, April 5, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/coronavirus-death-toll-americans-are-almost-certainly-dying-of-covid-19-but-being-left-out-of-the-official-count/2020/04/05/71d67982-747e-11ea-87da-77a8136c1a6d_story.html; Jennifer Levitz, Mike Cherney, and Daniel Michaels, “U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Passes Italy, Becoming World’s Highest,” Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/health-officials-plead-for-public-to-observe-a-locked-down-easter-11586592822; Yascha Mounk, “This Is Just the Beginning,” Atlantic, March 25, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/03/national-shutdown-least-bad-option/608683/; Wall Street Journal, “Testing for Coronavirus: What We Know About Covid-19 Tests and Treatment,” April 14, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/who-has-covid-19-what-we-know-about-tests-for-the-new-coronavirus-11585868185
  2. [2]Sophia Yan, “China adds nearly 1,300 coronavirus deaths to official Wuhan toll, blaming reporting delays,” Telegraph, April 17, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/17/china-adds-nearly-1300-coronavirus-deaths-official-wuhan-toll/
  3. [3]Ben Riley-Smith, “Donald Trump launches plan to ‘open up America again’ after coronavirus lockdown,” Telegraph, April 17, 2020, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/16/donald-trump-launches-plan-open-america-coronavirus-lockdown/
  4. [4]Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel (New York: W. W. Norton, 1999).

Larger lessons

Iowa

Much of what’s in the New York Times article[1] had been previously reported,[2] but there is a little more detail.

The widespread lack of faith in the Iowa results has shaken many Americans’ confidence in their electoral system. Mr. Trump has reveled in the meltdown. Democrats have proposed abolishing caucuses and ending Iowa’s time at the front of the presidential nominating calendar.

Even as party officials scramble to contain the fallout, the full extent of the problems in Iowa is still not known.[3]

The Times doesn’t say so, but folks who work for a living and fans of Scott Adams’ Dilbert cartoon will recognize the pattern. This is meritocracy at its finest.[4] Naturally, we will not be absorbing the larger lessons even in the primary contest, let alone in our system of social organization at large.

Reid J. Epstein et al., “How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats,” New York Times, February 9, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/09/us/politics/iowa-democratic-caucuses.html


Veganism

I’m not seeing the Vitamin B-12 line here:

An issue is of ethical concern when there is a choice: Do we have alternatives?

On May 5, I will have been vegan for 12 years, despite not liking vegetables. In 2008, I went cold turkey from a “meat and potatoes” diet in which I considered green the color of decay.

Going vegan remains the single most effective action an individual can take to counter the climate crisis and the other forms of environmental catastrophe humans wreak upon the earth. It does so not only in terms of practical action but also in a recognition that this planet, the only planet we have, and the life on it do not exist for our exploitation. The latter rebuts a presumption that leads to pervasive abuse not only of our fellow human beings, but of the environment and of other species.[5]

I don’t care who you are. You have a choice. You need to be doing the right thing for yourself, for your fellow human and non-human animals, and for the environment.


  1. [1]Reid J. Epstein et al., “How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats,” New York Times, February 9, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/09/us/politics/iowa-democratic-caucuses.html
  2. [2]Nate Cohn, “New Doubts From Iowa Caucuses: How ‘Satellite’ Votes Are Being Measured,” New York Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/upshot/iowa-caucus-satellite-votes.html; Nate Cohn et al., “Iowa Caucus Results Riddled With Errors and Inconsistencies,” New York Times, February 6, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/06/upshot/iowa-caucuses-errors-results.html
  3. [3]Reid J. Epstein et al., “How the Iowa Caucuses Became an Epic Fiasco for Democrats,” New York Times, February 9, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/09/us/politics/iowa-democratic-caucuses.html
  4. [4]David Benfell, “Bipartisan ‘meritocracy’ and ‘vote Blue no matter who,’” Not Housebroken, February 6, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/02/06/bipartisan-meritocracy-and-vote-blue-no-matter-who/
  5. [5]Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella, II, eds., Terrorists or Freedom fighters? (New York: Lantern, 2004); Greta Gaard, “Vegetarian Ecofeminism: A Review Essay,” Frontiers 23, no. 3 (2002): 117-146.

So, they say that vegans are well off whites fobbing off their lifestyle choices on the poor and people of color.

Brexit

Alison Flood, “Philip Pullman calls for boycott of Brexit 50p coin over ‘missing’ Oxford comma,” Guardian, January 27, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/jan/27/brexit-50p-coin-boycott-philip-pullman-oxford-comma


Veganism

There is a new blog post entitled, “Rationalizing cruelty.”

Laura Reiley, “The fastest-growing vegan demographic is African Americans. Wu-Tang Clan and other hip-hop acts paved the way,” Washington Post, January 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/01/24/fastest-growing-vegan-demographic-is-african-americans-wu-tang-clan-other-hip-hop-acts-paved-way/


Cynicism rules my day

Equal Rights Amendment

There is a new blog post entitled, “Equal Rights for women in the U.S. Maybe. Someday.

Gregory S. Schneider, Laura Vozzella, and Patricia Sullivan, “‘A long time to wait’: Virginia passes Equal Rights Amendment in historic vote,” Washington Post, January 15, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/2020/01/15/0475d51a-36f1-11ea-9541-9107303481a4_story.html


Pennsylvania

There is a new blog post entitled, “To a Pennsylvania House Minority Leader: When cops profile you, they don’t actually need an offense.”

Associated Press, “Pennsylvania House votes to stop drivers’ use of hand-held phones,” Tribune-Review, January 15, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-house-votes-to-stop-drivers-use-of-hand-held-phones/

Stephen Caruso, “After years of trying, Pa. House finally passes handheld cell phone ban,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, January 15, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/criminal-justice/under-house-proposal-youll-pay-for-distracted-driving-but-cant-be-pulled-over-for-it/


Nonhuman animals

“At a tabloid (newspaper), it would be an anthropomorphic question” about whether the female had somehow given up the will to live or worse, Zeigler allowed. But nothing in the animal’s behavior gave any indication of despondency or other emotions humans might wish to project onto it; “the only behavior change we saw is she would spend more time with animal care staff,” he said, a behavior considered normal in such a case.[1]

But they don’t have an explanation,[2] now, do they?

Steve Johnson, “Female lion at Brookfield Zoo dies from mysterious fall into moat not long after death of longtime mate,” Chicago Tribune, January 15, 2020, https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/museums/ct-ent-brookfield-zoo-female-lion-dead-moat-fall-0115-20200114-vimigutim5h6fnc6f7xjytkspm-story.html


The neoliberal party

FireShot Capture 053 - The Political Compass - www.politicalcompass.org
Fig. 1. Screenshot of the Political Compass on 2020 presidential candidates, taken on January 16, 2020. Especially notice where Elizabeth Warren is positioned. For reference, when I’ve taken this test, I’ve placed much farther to the left-libertarian extreme (figure 2) than any of these assholes.

Political_compass_August_13,_2012
Fig. 2. My political compass score as of August 13, 2012.

You all should know by now that I am cynical as fuck about the Democrats, whom I refer to as the neoliberal party. Now here’s a dose of cynicism on Elizabeth Warren, which, for me, makes her spat with Bernie Sanders[3] all make sense. In fact, given the shenanigans of 2016,[4] I’m now waiting to hear that the so-called “centrists” of the party put her up to it.

Nathan J. Robinson, “Thinking About The Democratic Primary,” Current Affairs, January 15, 2020, https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/01/thinking-about-the-democratic-primary


  1. [1]Steve Johnson, “Female lion at Brookfield Zoo dies from mysterious fall into moat not long after death of longtime mate,” Chicago Tribune, January 15, 2020, https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/museums/ct-ent-brookfield-zoo-female-lion-dead-moat-fall-0115-20200114-vimigutim5h6fnc6f7xjytkspm-story.html
  2. [2]Steve Johnson, “Female lion at Brookfield Zoo dies from mysterious fall into moat not long after death of longtime mate,” Chicago Tribune, January 15, 2020, https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/museums/ct-ent-brookfield-zoo-female-lion-dead-moat-fall-0115-20200114-vimigutim5h6fnc6f7xjytkspm-story.html
  3. [3]Nathan J. Robinson, “Thinking About The Democratic Primary,” Current Affairs, January 15, 2020, https://www.currentaffairs.org/2020/01/thinking-about-the-democratic-primary
  4. [4]Donna Brazile, “Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC,” Politico, November 2, 2017, https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/02/clinton-brazile-hacks-2016-215774

The not-so-temporary immunity

Vegans

There is a new blog post entitled, “Is veganism a protected class?

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Sacked vegan brings landmark discrimination case,” January 2, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-50969168


Israel

Despite [Binyamin] Netanyahu’s assertion that any immunity would be temporary, his actual request sent to Edelstein indicated otherwise: the prime minister’s lawyers wrote he was asking for functional immunity in one of the three cases against him as well as in certain aspects of another. Functional immunity protects parliamentarians from prosecution for things they did in fulfilling their parliamentary work, and is permanent, rather than temporary. Procedural immunity is temporary, and has to do with offenses committed by a parliamentarian that are unrelated to his parliamentary work.[1]

Just as Donald Trump’s supporters claim that impeachment seeks to overturn the results of the 2016 election, Binyamin Netanyahu claims that the indictments seek to overturn the will of voters, despite the fact that Netanyahu has failed to form a government. It appears unlikely that the Knesset will grant immunity, even once it is able to do so, so the principal effect of this is to stall the indictments.[2]

Times of Israel, “Netanyahu asks Knesset for immunity from prosecution, delaying indictment,” January 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-announces-he-is-asking-knesset-for-immunity-from-prosecution/


  1. [1]Times of Israel, “Netanyahu asks Knesset for immunity from prosecution, delaying indictment,” January 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-announces-he-is-asking-knesset-for-immunity-from-prosecution/
  2. [2]Times of Israel, “Netanyahu asks Knesset for immunity from prosecution, delaying indictment,” January 1, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-announces-he-is-asking-knesset-for-immunity-from-prosecution/

The anti-Semitism lie against the Labour Party in the United Kingdom

Updates

  1. Originally published, November 27, 6:32 pm.
  2. November 27, 9:49 pm:
    • Donald Trump signed the bill supporting Hong Kong protesters[1] that had passed both houses of Congress with “veto-proof” majorities, but which he had nonetheless threatened to veto.[2] In a signing statement, Trump threatened to pick and choose which parts of the law he will comply with.[3]

Anti-semitism

The British general election campaign is proving very, very ugly, pretty much no matter what side you’re on. Among the ugliness is the resurrection of allegations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn, notably in an op-ed published in the Times.[4]

As near as I can determine, these allegations are utterly unsubstantiated, and likely result from the Labour Party’s occasional sympathy with the Palestinian cause.[5] Honestly, if libel laws in the U.K. weren’t so lax, I’d say there should be some lawsuits. And yeah, Ephraim Mirvis’ op-ed is more of the same fucking bullshit.[6] Read it and see for yourself, because—it’s amazing—this is as much substance as we ever see to these allegations.

Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk


Koalas

Natasha Daly, “No, koalas aren’t ‘functionally extinct’—yet,” National Geographic, November 25, 2019, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/11/koalas-near-extinction-myth-australia-fires/


Bolivia

Marjorie Cohn keeps being right. I expect she is this time, too.[7]

Marjorie Cohn, “US Is Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia,” Truthout, November 27, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/us-is-again-complicit-in-an-illegal-coup-this-time-in-bolivia/


Hong Kong

Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html


  1. [1]Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html
  2. [2]David J. Lynch, “Trump says he might veto legislation that aims to protect human rights in Hong Kong because bill could affect China trade talks,” Washington Post, November 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/11/22/trump-says-he-might-veto-legislation-that-aims-protect-human-rights-hong-kong-because-bill-would-impact-china-trade-talks/
  3. [3]Paul LeBlanc, “Trump signs Hong Kong human rights act,” CNN, November 27, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/27/politics/trump-hong-kong-human-right-democracy/index.html
  4. [4]Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk
  5. [5]Wikipedia, s.v. “Antisemitism in the UK Labour Party,” last modified November 27, 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism_in_the_UK_Labour_Party
  6. [6]Ephraim Mirvis, “What will become of Jews in Britain if Labour forms the next government?” Times, November 25, 2019, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ephraim-mirvis-what-will-become-of-jews-in-britain-if-labour-forms-the-next-government-ghpsdbljk
  7. [7]Marjorie Cohn, “US Is Again Complicit in an Illegal Coup, This Time in Bolivia,” Truthout, November 27, 2019, https://truthout.org/articles/us-is-again-complicit-in-an-illegal-coup-this-time-in-bolivia/