Pittsburgh’s ‘bump’

Pandemic

The New York Times has noticed Allegheny County’s spike in COVID-19 cases:[1]

“I knew we would have a bump,” said [Pittsburgh] Mayor Bill Peduto, a Democrat. “The question is whether or not it would exceed the numbers that we had seen earlier. It not only exceeded them it doubled and I think tripled them. It wasn’t supposed to do that.”[2]

At the very end of the article, there’s a bit of discussion around the terminology “green phase,”[3] the nomenclature adopted by Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf, and the phase under which restaurants and bars were allowed to open for indoor service:[4]

“To anybody from a 2-year-old to a 100-year-old, ‘green’ means go,” Ms. [Bethany] Hallam said “We went to green and everybody went wild.”

“The world is not green,” she said, “until we have a cure or a vaccine.”[5]

I’ve heard something like this from my passengers. But at this point, I just think people are being psychopaths.[6] Because my observation isn’t so much like a light switch between “yellow” and “green” phase, but rather a gradual diminution of people’s compliance that I saw as traffic steadily increased, people started gathering more and more, and as I wondered how sustainable this lockdown was.

This is not about people misinterpreting the signal. It’s about people using any excuse, really any rationalization, they can find to flout the rules, entirely regardless of the fact that they’re killing people, entirely regardless of the fact that they’re being psychopaths.

As a way of exploring this, suppose I put to you the following question: Would you go to a bar if to do so would kill one or more people?

Your answer would likely be a resounding no. You might even question whether I was a psychopath for entertaining this as an ethical question.

But people in Allegheny County have been going to bars and socializing, defying social distancing requirements and face mask requirements,[7] in full knowledge that to do so will kill people. They are even competing to catch COVID-19.[8] They are pursuing their own ends without regard even to grievous consequences.[9] This is far beyond “selfish,” and to call this anything less than “psychopathy” is to drain the latter word of any meaning.

Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html


China

Possibly because of my own experience with bullying by my father, my schoolmates, capitalism,[10] and, oh yes, the police,[11] including both physical and structural violence, I’m not even a little bit opposed to the U.S. decision to official reject China’s claims in the South China Sea.[12] I don’t expect China to respond well to this. But then, China seems not to respond well to any message it doesn’t like. And I remember all too well that conceding to bullies does not make them stop. I just don’t know what a coherent response to China’s bullying, in the South China Sea, in Xinjiang, in Tibet, in Hong Kong, possibly with countries it shares borders with (I think India is not the only country here), and probably in other places I either don’t remember or don’t know about, would be. But I do see, quite clearly, that it is a bully, um, just like a few other powerful countries.

Chun Han Wong, “U.S. Rejects Most Chinese Maritime Claims in South China Sea,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-set-to-reject-certain-chinese-maritime-claims-in-south-china-sea-11594661229


  1. [1]Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html
  2. [2]Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html
  3. [3]Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html
  4. [4]Jamie Martines, “Gov. Wolf to move Allegheny, Westmoreland, other counties to green phase,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-move-allegheny-westmoreland-other-counties-to-green-phase/; WPXI, “16 more Pa. counties going green next Friday, Gov. Wolf says,” May 29, 2020, https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/9-local-counties-move-into-green-phase-next-week/SVG7FMAIZ5AX3CXJMNXJBQR234/
  5. [5]Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html
  6. [6]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/; David Benfell, “The expendable worker,” Not Housebroken, July 13, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/05/the-expendable-worker/
  7. [7]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 90 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total for county,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-highest-daily-total-of-coronavirus-cases-at-90/; Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 215 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-215-new-coronavirus-cases-1-new-death/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County reports 158 new coronavirus cases, 12 hospitalizations,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-158-new-coronavirus-cases-12-hospitalizations/; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; KDKA, “Allegheny Co. Health Officials: Spike In New Coronavirus Cases Linked To Bars, Not Protests,” June 29, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/29/spike-in-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-bars-not-protests/; Campbell Robertson and Sarah Mervosh, “Pittsburgh Seemed Like a Virus Success Story. Now Cases Are Surging,” New York Times, July 13, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/us/coronavirus-pittsburgh-pennsylvania.html; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/; Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/; Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “83 new cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County, no new deaths,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/83-new-cases-of-coronavirus-in-allegheny-county-no-new-deaths/; Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/; Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/; WTAE, “Masks are now mandatory in all public spaces in Pennsylvania,” July 1, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/masks-are-now-mandatory-in-all-public-spaces-in-pennsylvania/33026253; WTAE, “Allegheny County issues new 2-week order prohibiting indoor dining and alcohol consumption at restaurants and bars,” July 8, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/allegheny-county-issues-new-mitigation-order-covid-19-coronavirus/33249080
  8. [8]Maria Simbra, “‘It’s Negligence’: Young People Hosting Coronavirus Parties, Betting On Who Gets Infected First,” KDKA, July 3, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/coronavirus-parties-young-people/
  9. [9]Kara Mayer Robinson, “Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What’s the Difference?” WebMD, 2014, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/sociopath-psychopath-difference
  10. [10]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “To a Pennsylvania House Minority Leader: When cops profile you, they don’t actually need an offense,” Not Housebroken, January 16, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/16/to-a-pennsylvania-house-minority-leader-when-cops-profile-you-they-dont-actually-need-an-offense/
  12. [12]Chun Han Wong, “U.S. Rejects Most Chinese Maritime Claims in South China Sea,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-set-to-reject-certain-chinese-maritime-claims-in-south-china-sea-11594661229

You know it won’t be the psychopaths who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance because they wanna go to bars who wind up homeless

Evictions

I wonder if that plan to help renters[1] is bottled up in committee for the same stupid-ass reason as the recreational marijuana bill.[2] Meanwhile, time is running out[3] and you know it won’t be the psychopaths who refuse to wear masks and refuse to social distance because they wanna go to bars who wind up homeless.[4]

Renatta Signorini, “As time ticks down on eviction ban in Pennsylvania, crush of court cases expected,” Tribune-Review, July 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/as-time-ticks-down-on-eviction-ban-in-pennsylvania-crush-of-court-cases-expected/


Higher education

The Chronicle of Higher Education article[5] fleshes out my comments in the last issue. I hadn’t seen it before I published that issue, but I’ve added a citation and listed the article there as well.

Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142


Pandemic


  1. [1]John L. Micek, “Pa. is facing a wave of evictions. Two state House lawmakers have a plan to help,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, June 16, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/commentary/pa-is-facing-a-wave-of-evictions-two-state-house-lawmakers-have-a-plan-to-help-tuesday-morning-coffee/
  2. [2]Meghan Schiller, “Can Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Lessen The Blow Of Pa.’s $3.2B Deficit? Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Says ‘The Time Is Now,’” KDKA, July 7, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/07/john-fetterman-legalizing-recreational-marijuana/
  3. [3]Renatta Signorini, “As time ticks down on eviction ban in Pennsylvania, crush of court cases expected,” Tribune-Review, July 8, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/as-time-ticks-down-on-eviction-ban-in-pennsylvania-crush-of-court-cases-expected/
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases,” Not Housebroken, July 8, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/07/07/the-psychopathy-of-the-spike-in-covid-19-cases/
  5. [5]Karin Fischer, “As MIT and Harvard Sue, Colleges Scramble to Respond to New Federal Policy on International Students,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2020, https://www.chronicle.com/article/As-MITHarvard-Sue/249142

‘They’re Screwing Around in Congress’

There is a new blog post entitled, “The psychopathy of the spike in COVID-19 cases.”

It’s been a hot and dry few days. But as I’m about to hit publish here, look what just appeared to our west (in eastern Ohio):
ecan
Don’t know that it will come our way and suspect it won’t change the pattern much, but there it is.


Fascism

George Monbiot conflates the situations of the U.S. and the U.K., declines to call that conflation fascism, and distinguishes this conflation from fascism on specious grounds.[1] I’m beginning to sense a pattern: It is not intellectually fashionable to invoke the f-word (“fascism”), so people bend over backwards to explain how our situation is different so they can still style themselves ‘intellectuals.’

I call what is happening in the U.S. fascism because, crucially, it seeks to build political support through violence, whether structural or physical, against subaltern groups, especially nonwhites and the poor, that enables further violence against those groups.[2] That’s different from what Monbiot says is happening in the U.K., but Monbiot is criticizing anti-intellectualism in both countries and this is how he grounds his conflation.

I’m not prepared to call intellectuals a subaltern group in either country, though I certainly feel a temptation. Whether I would call the U.K. fascist depends on its treatment of subaltern groups and, while I’m not prepared to excuse that treatment, I’m also not prepared to say that that treatment is part of a feedback loop. Here is my previous definition of fascism from the previous update on May 16:

Fascism is an ideology that seeks to institutionalize structural and physical violence against some or many subaltern groups on the grounds of bigotry and to increase its own public support through the exploitation of such violence and bigotry. This bigotry may take several forms including nationalism, scapegoating, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. To the extent that it succeeds, it acts as a self-reinforcing feedback as public support enables further and more extreme violence.[3]

If, on the other hand, I am to consider intellectuals a subaltern group, it cannot be all intellectuals. Some, like economists who enable an intellectually utterly discredited neoliberalism[4] and those who support the political class in other ways, are often richly rewarded. Professors who cling to tenure hardly seem subaltern to me. So I would need a way to distinguish between outcast intellectuals, those who are not sycophants for the ruling class, and those who are.

That’s not as easy as it sounds. It can’t simply be that intellectuals who agree with me are subaltern, but ideological sycophancy might be one distinguishing feature of non-subaltern intellectuals. There are books on my shelf I haven’t gotten to that might help with this and Sergio Caldarella criticizes ideological conformity.[5] There may also be economic considerations: What if the surplus of Ph.D. holders functions, intentionally or not, to undermine intellectuals’ leverage in the marketplace, and therefore intellectualism at large?

For now, I just don’t know. A group I might more easily include as subaltern is that of dissidents. Monbiot criticizes the elite response to intellectual dissent in the U.S. and the U.K.,[6] but what if the real objection authoritarian populists and elites have with those Monbiot calls intellectuals isn’t to their intellectualism but rather to their ideas?

So here is how I am further refining my definition:

Fascism is an ideology that seeks to institutionalize structural and physical violence against some or many subaltern groups on the grounds of bigotry and to increase its own public support through the exploitation of such violence and bigotry. This bigotry may take several forms including the repression of dissent or the promotion of nationalism, scapegoating, sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. To the extent that it succeeds, it acts as a self-reinforcing feedback as public support enables further and more extreme violence.[7]

George Monbiot, “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” July 6, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/07/07/something-wicked-this-way-comes/


Pennsylvania

Keeping Pennsylvania safe for white supremacy.

Stephen Caruso, “Pro 2nd Amendment lawmakers want to let you carry a gun during an emergency,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 7, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/government-politics/pro-2nd-amendment-lawmakers-want-to-let-you-carry-a-gun-during-an-emergency/


  1. [1]George Monbiot, “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” July 6, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/07/07/something-wicked-this-way-comes/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/06/a-simple-definition-of-fascism/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/06/a-simple-definition-of-fascism/
  4. [4]Mark Blyth, Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea (Oxford, UK: Oxford University, 2013); Amir Fleischmann, “The Myth of the Fiscal Conservative,” Jacobin, March 5, 2017, https://jacobinmag.com/2017/03/fiscal-conservative-social-services-austerity-save-money; Jason Hickel, “Progress and its discontents,” New Internationalist, August 7, 2019, https://newint.org/features/2019/07/01/long-read-progress-and-its-discontents; Daniel Stedman Jones, Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, 2012); Robert Kuttner, “Austerity never works: Deficit hawks are amoral — and wrong,” Salon, May 5, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/05/austerity_never_works_deficit_hawks_are_amoral_and_wrong/; Dennis Loo, Globalization and the Demolition of Society (Glendale, CA: Larkmead, 2011); Thomas Piketty, Jeffrey Sachs, Heiner Flassbeck, Dani Rodrik and Simon Wren-Lewis, “Austerity Has Failed: An Open Letter From Thomas Piketty to Angela Merkel,” Nation, July 6, 2015, http://www.thenation.com/article/austerity-has-failed-an-open-letter-from-thomas-piketty-to-angela-merkel/; John Quiggin, “Austerity Has Been Tested, and It Failed,” Chronicle of Higher Education, May 20, 2013, http://chronicle.com/article/Austerity-Has-Been-Tested-and/139255/; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “How Austerity Kills,” New York Times, May 12, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/13/opinion/how-austerity-kills.html; David Stuckler and Sanjay Basu, “Paul Krugman’s right: Austerity kills,” Salon, May 19, 2013, http://www.salon.com/2013/05/19/paul_krugmans_right_austerity_kills/
  5. [5]Sergio Caldarella, The Dark Campus (Princeton, NJ: Dark Age, 2016).
  6. [6]George Monbiot, “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” July 6, 2020, https://www.monbiot.com/2020/07/07/something-wicked-this-way-comes/
  7. [7]David Benfell, “A simple definition of fascism,” Not Housebroken, July 7, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/07/06/a-simple-definition-of-fascism/

The ‘rigged’ horse race

The ‘rigged’ horse race

All I can say is I guess they’re right to worry. It seems that Max Boot participated in a transition integrity “war game”—I didn’t even know such things existed, but here we are—and has decided we should worry that Donald Trump might refuse to relinquish power should he lose the election.[1] I can’t say he’s wrong. I’ve been calling Trump a delusional raging narcissist for a while now. And certainly others before Boot have worried.[2]

At the same time, I think it will be a disaster, in different ways, perhaps, and not unlike the 2016 election, regardless of who wins. Because neoliberalism is that evil.

Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/


Recession

It’s happening. It’s not like we didn’t know evictions would happen. Indeed, they already were[3] before this latest article.[4] But if you’re wondering why I think neoliberalism is so evil, well, here is merely one example, with big corporations evicting tenants even when their mortgages are backed by the federal government and their tenants are accordingly protected by a federal moratorium on evictions.[5]

And a judge’s response? “I am not familiar with that [the moratorium], but if someone will show me the law on that, I will certainly entertain that.”[6] And this is a judge who claims “[s]he is ‘very sympathetic when it comes to evictions,’ . . . but landlords can also be hurt in the process.”[7]

Spare me the bullshit. Just spare me.

Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/


  1. [1]Max Boot, “What if Trump loses but insists he won?” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/06/what-if-trump-loses-insists-he-won/
  2. [2]Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975
  3. [3]Associated Press, “Tenants Behind on Rent in Pandemic Face Harassment, Eviction,” U.S. News and World Report, June 14, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/virginia/articles/2020-06-13/tenants-behind-on-rent-in-pandemic-face-harassment-eviction; Kriston Capps, “What Happens When the Eviction Bans End?” CityLab, May 29, 2020, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2020/05/pay-rent-eviction-ban-coronavirus-housing-crisis-landlord/612277/
  4. [4]Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/
  5. [5]Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/
  6. [6]Yvonne Williams, quoted in Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/
  7. [7]Renae Merle, “Evictions are likely to skyrocket this summer as jobs remain scarce. Black renters will be hard hit,” Washington Post, July 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/06/eviction-moratoriums-starwood/

#MAGAt Kanye West running for president

There is a new blog post, entitled “The expendable worker.”


Horse race

I don’t know if this constitutes a formal announcement, but

I think Nina Turner might be missing a point here that Donald Trump himself may have put Kanye West up to this.

Amid a dizzying array of—I’m failing to find an adequate word—bullshit emanating from the White House since Trump took office, there was that visit. Yes, Kanye West visited the White House, gave a speech, appeared with the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief.

[Kanye] West spoke to reporters for nearly 10 minutes in the Oval Office. Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, he repeatedly complimented [Donald] Trump, who nodded in agreement. . . .

Trump was asked whether he thought West could be a future presidential candidate, and responded “could very well be.”[1]

And we know that Trump may well be planning to retain office even if he loses the election,[2] which is to very strongly suggest that even in his demented condition, Trump realizes he could lose.

Turner’s tweet is righteous and Debra Messing’s tweet might be partisan, but there is an obvious practical consideration here in which West might siphon enough votes that might otherwise go to Joe Biden to deprive the latter of victory. Much depends on the relative popularity of the two men—and, though the ploy is pretty fucking obvious, not just among Blacks. That’s something I honestly can’t assess. Because popular culture just ain’t my thing.

I do wonder what my old formerly favorite professor, the one who had no answer for and resented being asked the question of whether a political system that depends on war crimes should survive, thinks.


  1. [1]Ayesha Rascoe and Brian Naylor, “‘Quite Something’: Kanye West Makes A Statement In The Oval Office,” National Public Radio, October 11, 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/10/11/656561471/quite-something-kanye-west-makes-a-statement-in-the-oval-office
  2. [2]Timothy E. Wirth and Tom Rogers, “How Trump Could Lose the Election—And Still Remain President,” Newsweek, July 3, 2020, https://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-could-lose-election-still-remain-president-opinion-1513975

I hate the criminal injustice system. But there are folks out there right now who deserve to be prosecuted.

Pandemic

I want to say I don’t know what people were expecting. The trouble is, that wouldn’t be accurate. This is absolute, and absolutely inexcusable, reckless disregard.

In an attempt to quell the surge in new cases, Allegheny County officials ordered all bars, restaurants and casinos to halt on-premises dining, expanding an order earlier this week that banned the on-site consumption of alcohol. Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday expanded an order to make masks mandatory in outdoor situations where social distancing can’t be maintained.[1]

Don’t believe me?

“I know that people were angry and frustrated with recent developments including the surge in cases, the prior order and recommendations, as well as the state mask order,” said Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the county health department.[2]

She actually had to say that. The behavior that leads to this increase in cases is criminal. They are psychopaths but lock ’em up anyway and throw away the fucking key.

We are not talking about essential expendable workers here. We are not talking about the unemployed. We are talking about young adults, old enough to know better, who have the funds to go to bars and who just don’t give a damn.[3]

Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/

Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/

Recession

Actually, it’s not one but two “fiscal time bombs” as enhanced unemployment benefits run out and local and state governments run out of money and are forced to lay off more people than they already have.[4]

But due to the same sort of absolute reckless disregard that’s leading Allegheny County to clamp down on bars and restaurants,[5] Catherine Rampell’s plea for more economic relief[6] will likely go unheeded.

Catherine Rampell, “The U.S. job market is still in very bad shape. Just wait until the fiscal time bomb goes off,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/02/us-job-market-is-still-very-bad-shape-just-wait-until-fiscal-time-bomb-goes-off/


  1. [1]Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/
  2. [2]Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/
  3. [3]Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/
  4. [4]Catherine Rampell, “The U.S. job market is still in very bad shape. Just wait until the fiscal time bomb goes off,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/02/us-job-market-is-still-very-bad-shape-just-wait-until-fiscal-time-bomb-goes-off/
  5. [5]KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; Andy Sheehan, “Allegheny County Closes Bars, Restaurants, Casinos And All Activities That Involve Over 25 People For One Week,” KDKA, July 2, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/07/02/allegheny-county-bar-restaurant-casino-closure/; Teghan Simonton, “Allegheny County tops 230 new coronavirus cases,” Tribune-Review, July 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-tops-230-new-coronavirus-cases-no-deaths/
  6. [6]Catherine Rampell, “The U.S. job market is still in very bad shape. Just wait until the fiscal time bomb goes off,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/02/us-job-market-is-still-very-bad-shape-just-wait-until-fiscal-time-bomb-goes-off/

The already out-of-date recovery

There is a new blog post entitled, “Carnivore thinking.”


Recession

I remember my once-favorite professor talking about a media bias in favor of investors, making a point that job market statistics come out once a month (this claim is imprecise), while we have stock market statistics daily. Writing yesterday, of today’s unemployment statistics, Greg Ip effectively points to that very flaw: “In any case, the jobs data are a snapshot of the second week of June, and since then, hiring appears to have slowed.” What we hear today, therefore, will seem more optimistic or less pessimistic than what has likely happened since.[1] As it turns out, the headline unemployment rate fell officially to 11.1 percent. Due to misclassification, 12.1 percent would probably be closer.[2]

But the spike in COVID-19 cases[3] has largely appeared since then, leading businesses that had reopened to shut back down.[4] And we really don’t know how much of an effect that’s had. Pretty sure it isn’t good.

Greg Ip, “A Recovery That Started Out Like a V Is Changing Shape,” Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-reverse-square-root-recovery-11593602775

Eli Rosenberg, Heather Long, and Jeff Stein, “The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, but fierce new headwinds have emerged,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/02/june-2020-jobs-report/


Racism

The text formerly under the heading “The Lost Cause” in yesterday’s issue has been moved to a new blog post entitled, “The loss of the Lost Cause.”


Pandemic

Elizabeth Hardison and Stephen Caruso, “Pa. Supreme Court throws out GOP challenge to Wolf’s COVID-19 emergency order,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, July 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/covid-19/pa-supreme-court-throws-out-gop-challenge-to-wolfs-covid-19-emergency-order/


  1. [1]Greg Ip, “A Recovery That Started Out Like a V Is Changing Shape,” Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-reverse-square-root-recovery-11593602775
  2. [2]Eli Rosenberg, Heather Long, and Jeff Stein, “The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, but fierce new headwinds have emerged,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/02/june-2020-jobs-report/
  3. [3]Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/; Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html; Lisa Shumaker and Brendan O’Brien, “Record spike in new coronavirus cases reported in six U.S. states as reopening accelerates,” Reuters, June 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN23N32O; Meg Wagner et al., “Fauci, Redfield testify on Covid-19 reopening as cases rise,” CNN, June 30, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/webview/politics/live-news/covid-19-school-work-reopening-testimony-06-30-20/h_cc7cf09eae87064e72f75af30984acd3
  4. [4]Greg Ip, “A Recovery That Started Out Like a V Is Changing Shape,” Wall Street Journal, July 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-reverse-square-root-recovery-11593602775; Eli Rosenberg, Heather Long, and Jeff Stein, “The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, but fierce new headwinds have emerged,” Washington Post, July 2, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/02/june-2020-jobs-report/

#COVIDiocy

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 26, 12:46 pm.
  2. June 26, 3:20 pm:
    • Did you think Pittsburgh would want to miss out on all the fun of a spike in COVID-19 cases? No, of course not.[1] And sure enough, Allegheny County has itself a spike.[2]
  3. June 27, 7:57 am:
    • I was thinking it was the day before yesterday, but no, that’s wrong. It was Wednesday when the Dow Jones Industrial Averages fell over 700 points in response to bad news about an increase in COVID-19 cases.[3] It happened again yesterday.[4] It seems pretty safe to say that Wall Street just ain’t drinking Donald Trump’s Kool-Aid, which is kind of interesting given Trump’s devotion to its indices.[5]
    • On that day also, it was reported that the European Union was considering excluding the U.S. from the list of countries from which travelers could visit.[6] That’s looking a lot more likely now.[7]
    • So after getting in my snark about patriotic hypocrisy,[8] wherein Pennsylvania is one of the less patriotic states,[9] today, I see a story alleging that McKeesport is the most patriotic city in Pennsylvania. There are a few ways of viewing this:
      1. McKeesport is more patriotic[10] in a less patriotic state,[11] which makes this less impressive than KDKA wants to make it seem.[12]
      2. The measures used in both studies, by different organizations, emphasize military participation.[13] Patriotism is defined in different ways by different folks and I would continue to admire Samuel Johnson’s pronouncement that “[p]atriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” except that apparently he was referring to false patriotism.[14] Just can’t find a good quote when you want one.
      3. But finally,

        An important predictor to military service in the general population is family income. Those with lower family income are more likely to join the military than those with higher family income. Thus the military may indeed be a career option for those for whom there are few better opportunities.[15]

        Uh-huh.[16]

  4. June 27, 12:28 pm:
  5. June 27, 10:26 pm:
    • After reporting 61 new cases yesterday, June 26,[17] Allegheny County reported 90 new cases today, June 27.[18] I’m hearing people worry about a return to “yellow” phase, but I’m not seeing much change in behavior, which is to say they really do indeed not care.[19]
  6. June 28, 7:53 am:
    • Perturbed by the spike in COVID-19 cases?[20] Blame kids,[21] blame anyone who’s still listening to Donald Trump—yes, it would seem some still do[22]—even after all the diarrheic bullshit he has repeatedly spouted throughout this crisis,[23] and blame anti-vaxxers,[24] even if I’m skeptical they amount to all that much. But mostly blame an anti-intellectual society where “[c]ollege kids” (they’re supposed to be the smart ones, right?) “are gonna be a little bit more stupid about things than older people, maybe a little more reckless.”[25] And understand this: There just ain’t no fucking excuse for it. None.
  7. June 28, 10:05 pm:
    • Allegheny County reported 96 new cases[26] while Pennsylvania reported 505 new cases with three new deaths.[27] But given the difference in units of analysis, the difference really shows up in the graphs (figures 1 and 2):
      FireShot Capture 182 - Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new c_ - triblive.com
      Fig. 1. Graph from the Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020.[28]

      FireShot Capture 183 - 505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa. - TribLIVE.com_ - triblive.com
      Fig. 2. Graph from the Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020. [29]

      Pennsylvania is still mostly trending downwards in cases with only a modest upturn recently,[30] while Allegheny County is experiencing a rather sharp spike upwards.[31]

  8. June 28, 10:51 pm:
    • I almost forgot, on June 17th, I wrote,

      On the outskirts of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge, there is an old, somewhat dilapidated sign that seems to be a relic of something long gone. But it is of the sort where one can change the letters and when I first saw it, it seemed to be lambasting a local politician for failing to fix potholes and abandoned houses.

      More recently, its message has been something like, “Quit Crying Wolf and Resign; Open Pennsylvania Now.” The reference is to Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf whose lockdown seems, so far, to have had some success in limiting the pandemic. But the sentiment is widely shared.[32]

      Meanwhile, six states are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Pennsylvania is not one of them.[33][34]

      I finally got a picture of that sign (figure 3) and I’ve seen similar wording on signs in neighboring counties:
      IMG_20200628_123251
      Fig. 3. Photograph by author, June 28, 2020.

      It’s still there, even as Allegheny County is now seeing a spike in cases (figure 1)[35] and the state is seeing a modest upturn in cases (figure 2).[36]

      Elsewhere, I’ve seen graffiti that says simply, “COVID LIES.” This is what I’m up against around here.


Obamacare

During a pandemic, the Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to take health insurance away from 23 million people despite the fact it has no substitute plan in place and has failed to get one passed through Congress. “According to the Thursday report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 487,000 Americans took advantage of the special enrollment period on Healthcare.gov after losing their healthcare plans, likely among the millions of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic.”[37] The county in fact led the state, which is to say it had more cases than Philadelphia, and it is shutting down on-premise consumption of alcohol in bars. Bars can still serve food and they may sell alcohol to go.[38]

Tim Elfrink and Meagan Flynn, “Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/26/trump-obamacare-supreme-court-brief/


Pandemic

As the number of COVID-19 cases hits a new record in the U.S.,[39] there are more than a few folks entitled to say they told us so about now. But gee, anti-vaxxers![40] Oh yeah, and the Trump administration wants to abolish Obamacare without a replacement.[41]

Oh, and by the way, there had earlier been a question left over from a study that showed spring temperatures had not very much slowed the spread of the novel coronavirus,[42] specifically about summer temperatures. I think we can now safely say that summer hasn’t done much, if at all, better than spring.

And I better not hear anyone talk about the pandemic as if it is behind us. I have a mother to worry about.

Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630

Michael Birnbaum and Quentin Ariès, “Europe prepares to reopen to foreign travelers, but Americans don’t even figure into the discussion,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/europe-prepares-to-reopen-to-foreign-travelers-but-americans-dont-even-figure-into-the-discussion/2020/06/26/6232dff8-b7b2-11ea-9a1d-d3db1cbe07ce_story.html

Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/

Hannah Wiley, “‘No masks. No vaccines.’ Battle is brewing over coronavirus immunizations in California,” Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article243381501.html

Tim Elfrink and Meagan Flynn, “Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/26/trump-obamacare-supreme-court-brief/

Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html

KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/

Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/

Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/


McKeesport

KDKA, “McKeesport Named Most Patriotic City In Pennsylvania,” June 26, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/26/mckeesport-named-most-patriotic-city-in-pennsylvania/


  1. [1]John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/
  2. [2]Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/
  3. [3]Thomas Heath and Hamza Shaban, “Dow tumbles more than 700 points as surge in coronavirus cases rattles investors,” Washington Post, June 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/24/dow-tumbles-more-than-700-points-surge-coronavirus-cases-rattles-investors/; Lisa Shumaker and Sharon Bernstein, “Washington state makes face masks mandatory as some states see new coronavirus surge,” Reuters, June 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/washington-state-makes-face-masks-mandatory-as-some-states-see-new-coronavirus-surge-idUSKBN23U2QT
  4. [4]Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; Thomas Heath and Hannah Denham, “Dow tumbles 730 points as covid-19 flare-ups force states to push back reopening,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/26/stocks-markets-today-texas-coronavirus/
  5. [5]Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-24/fda-warns-against-using-trump-touted-drugs-to-treat-coronavirus; David Benfell, “The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief,” Not Housebroken, April 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/25/the-dangerous-and-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief/; Aaron Blake, “The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/07/timeline-trumps-coronavirus-response-is-increasingly-damning/; Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/; 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/; David Roth, “The Enduring Delusion of a Chastened Trump,” New Republic, April 3, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157154/enduring-delusion-chastened-trump; Aaron Rupar, “Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole,” Vox, April 22, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/4/22/21230982/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-trump-fox-news-hype; Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/rick-bright-trump-hydroxychloroquine.html; David Von Drehle, “If Trump doesn’t like the coronavirus news now, he’ll hate what comes next,” Washington Post, March 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/if-trump-doesnt-like-the-coronavirus-news-now-hell-hate-what-comes-next/2020/03/10/e478c314-62ea-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_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/; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/07/real-reason-trump-is-obsessed-with-hydroxychloroquine/
  6. [6]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Coronavirus: EU considers barring Americans from travel list,” June 24, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53161447
  7. [7]Michael Birnbaum and Quentin Ariès, “Europe prepares to reopen to foreign travelers, but Americans don’t even figure into the discussion,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/europe-prepares-to-reopen-to-foreign-travelers-but-americans-dont-even-figure-into-the-discussion/2020/06/26/6232dff8-b7b2-11ea-9a1d-d3db1cbe07ce_story.html
  8. [8]David Benfell, “Patriotic hypocrisy,” Irregular Bullshit, June 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/06/25/patriotic-hypocrisy/
  9. [9]KDKA, “Study Finds Pennsylvania Among The Least Patriotic States In America,” June 24, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/24/pennsylvania-is-among-least-patriots-states-in-america/
  10. [10]KDKA, “McKeesport Named Most Patriotic City In Pennsylvania,” June 26, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/26/mckeesport-named-most-patriotic-city-in-pennsylvania/
  11. [11]KDKA, “Study Finds Pennsylvania Among The Least Patriotic States In America,” June 24, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/24/pennsylvania-is-among-least-patriots-states-in-america/
  12. [12]KDKA, “McKeesport Named Most Patriotic City In Pennsylvania,” June 26, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/26/mckeesport-named-most-patriotic-city-in-pennsylvania/
  13. [13]KDKA, “Study Finds Pennsylvania Among The Least Patriotic States In America,” June 24, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/24/pennsylvania-is-among-least-patriots-states-in-america/; KDKA, “McKeesport Named Most Patriotic City In Pennsylvania,” June 26, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/26/mckeesport-named-most-patriotic-city-in-pennsylvania/
  14. [14]The Samuel Johnson Sound Bite Page, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel,” March 25, 2020, https://www.samueljohnson.com/refuge.html
  15. [15]Amy Lutz, “Who Joins the Military?: A Look at Race, Class, and Immigration Who Joins the Military?: A Look at Race, Class, and Immigration Status Status,” Journal of Political and Military Sociology 36, no. 2 (2008): 184.
  16. [16]Jason Togyer, “In towns like McKeesport, the future was already precarious. Then came coronavirus,” Columbia Journalism Review, May 22, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-mckeesport-crime-covid-19.php
  17. [17]Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/
  18. [18]Samson X. Horne, “Allegheny County reports 90 new coronavirus cases, the highest daily total for county,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 27, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-reports-highest-daily-total-of-coronavirus-cases-at-90/
  19. [19]John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/
  20. [20]Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630; Lisa Shumaker and Sharon Bernstein, “Washington state makes face masks mandatory as some states see new coronavirus surge,” Reuters, June 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/washington-state-makes-face-masks-mandatory-as-some-states-see-new-coronavirus-surge-idUSKBN23U2QT
  21. [21]Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html
  22. [22]Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, “With Trump leading the way, America’s coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/with-trump-leading-the-way-americas-coronavirus-failures-exposed-by-record-surge-in-new-infections/2020/06/27/bd15aea2-b7c4-11ea-a8da-693df3d7674a_story.html
  23. [23]Associated Press, “FDA warns against using the drugs that Trump touts for coronavirus,” Los Angeles Times, April 24, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-04-24/fda-warns-against-using-trump-touted-drugs-to-treat-coronavirus; David Benfell, “The dangerous and delusional raging narcissist-in-chief,” Not Housebroken, April 25, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/25/the-dangerous-and-delusional-raging-narcissist-in-chief/; Aaron Blake, “The timeline of Trump’s coronavirus response is increasingly damning,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/07/timeline-trumps-coronavirus-response-is-increasingly-damning/; Allyson Chiu, Katie Shepherd, and Brittany Shammas, “Trump comments prompt doctors, and Lysol, to warn against injecting disinfectants,” Washington Post, April 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/04/24/disinfectant-injection-coronavirus-trump/; Tim Elfrink and Meagan Flynn, “Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/26/trump-obamacare-supreme-court-brief/; 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/; David Roth, “The Enduring Delusion of a Chastened Trump,” New Republic, April 3, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157154/enduring-delusion-chastened-trump; Aaron Rupar, “Trump and Fox News want to send their hydroxychloroquine hype down the memory hole,” Vox, April 22, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/4/22/21230982/hydroxychloroquine-coronavirus-trump-fox-news-hype; Anna Sanders and Chris Sommerfeldt, “A spike in New Yorkers ingesting household cleaners following Trump’s controversial coronavirus comments,” New York Daily News, April 24, 2020, https://www.nydailynews.com/coronavirus/ny-coronavirus-new-yorkers-household-cleaners-trump-20200425-rnaqio5dyfeaxmthxx2vktqa5m-story.html; Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, “Health Dept. Official Says Doubts on Hydroxychloroquine Led to His Ouster,” New York Times, April 22, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/politics/rick-bright-trump-hydroxychloroquine.html; David Von Drehle, “If Trump doesn’t like the coronavirus news now, he’ll hate what comes next,” Washington Post, March 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/if-trump-doesnt-like-the-coronavirus-news-now-hell-hate-what-comes-next/2020/03/10/e478c314-62ea-11ea-acca-80c22bbee96f_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/; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/07/real-reason-trump-is-obsessed-with-hydroxychloroquine/
  24. [24]Hannah Wiley, “‘No masks. No vaccines.’ Battle is brewing over coronavirus immunizations in California,” Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article243381501.html
  25. [25]Geoff Beere, quoted in Annie Gowen, Arelis R. Hernández, and Lori Rozsa, “Young people urged to take virus more seriously as pandemic worsens in U.S.,” Washington Post, June 27, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/young-people-are-driving-a-spike-in-coronavirus-infections-officials-say/2020/06/27/3654638c-b7b4-11ea-a510-55bf26485c93_story.html
  26. [26]Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/
  27. [27]Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/
  28. [28]Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/
  29. [29]Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/
  30. [30]Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/
  31. [31]Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/
  32. [32]Associated Press, “Pennsylvania GOP seeks to dismantle Wolf’s shutdown,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 9, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-gop-seeks-to-dismantle-wolfs-shutdown/; Jana Benscoter, “Dauphin, York DAs, say they won’t take immediate action against businesses that reopen in defiance of state order,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 9, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/dauphin-york-das-say-they-wont-take-action-against-businesses-that-reopen-in-red-phase-counties.html; Ryan Deto, “Photos: About 120 protest in Downtown Pittsburgh, calling for Pennsylvania to reopen during coronavirus pandemic,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 20, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/photos-about-120-protest-in-downtown-pittsburgh-calling-for-pennsylvania-to-reopen-during-coronavirus-pandemic/Content?oid=17167012; Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf threatens action against Pennsylvania counties, businesses that ignore restrictions,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 11, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-threatens-action-against-pennsylvania-counties-businesses-that-ignore-restrictions/; Jamie Martines And Tom Davidson, “Protesters in Pittsburgh demand Gov. Wolf to reopen businesses amid coronavirus pandemic,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 20, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-gather-in-pittsburgh-demanding-gov-wolf-reopen-businesses-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/; Nick Matoney, “‘We can’t do this for another 90 days’: Pa. General Assembly votes to end COVID-19 emergency declaration,” WTAE, June 10, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/we-cant-do-this-for-another-90-days-pa-general-assembly-votes-to-end-covid-19-emergency-declaration/32821325; Charles Thompson, “Two central Pa. counties say they plan to reopen ahead of Gov. Wolf’s schedule,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 8, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/dauphin-lebanon-county-officials-declare-themselves-ready-to-reopen-say-they-will-break-from-gov-wolfs-plan.html; Charles Thompson, “A growing number of Pa. counties test Gov. Tom Wolf’s emergency powers, saying they’ll decide if it’s time to reopen,” Harrisburg Patriot-News, May 9, 2020, https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/05/a-growing-number-of-pa-counties-test-gov-tom-wolfs-emergency-powers-saying-theyll-decide-if-its-time-to-reopen.html
  33. [33]Lisa Shumaker and Brendan O’Brien, “Record spike in new coronavirus cases reported in six U.S. states as reopening accelerates,” Reuters, June 16, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-idUSKBN23N32O
  34. [34]David Benfell, “Pennsylvania gadflies,” Irregular Bullshit, June 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.com/2020/06/17/pennsylvania-gadflies/
  35. [35]Teghan Simonton, “61 new coronavirus cases reported in Allegheny County, highest in 2 months,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 26, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/61-new-cases-of-coronavirus-reported-in-allegheny-county-2-deaths/; KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/; Madasyn Lee, “Allegheny County exceeds highest coronavirus case total with 96 new cases,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/allegheny-county-exceeds-highest-coronavirus-case-total-with-96-new-cases/
  36. [36]Megan Tomasic, “505 new coronavirus cases, 3 deaths reported in Pa.,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 28, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/505-new-coronavirus-cases-3-deaths-reported-in-pa/
  37. [37]Tim Elfrink and Meagan Flynn, “Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/26/trump-obamacare-supreme-court-brief/
  38. [38]KDKA, “‘For The First Time…Allegheny Co. Led The State In The Number Of New COVID-19 Cases’: Allegheny Co. Officials Ban On-Site Consumption Of Alcohol At Local Bars,” June 28, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/28/allegheny-co-highest-case-numbers-bans-on-site-drinking/
  39. [39]Talal Ansari, “Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Virus Cases Hit Record,” Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-latest-news-06-26-2020-11593159630
  40. [40]Hannah Wiley, “‘No masks. No vaccines.’ Battle is brewing over coronavirus immunizations in California,” Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article243381501.html
  41. [41]Tim Elfrink and Meagan Flynn, “Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare,” Washington Post, June 26, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/06/26/trump-obamacare-supreme-court-brief/
  42. [42]Mount Auburn Hospital, “Warmer Temperatures Slow COVID-19 Transmission, but Not by Much,” June 1, 2020, https://www.mountauburnhospital.org/about-us/press-room/2020/press-release-warmer-temperatures-slow-covid-19-transmission-but/

We are #COVIDIOTS

Updates

  1. Originally published, June 24, 1:58 pm.
  2. June 24, 4:54 pm:
    • The Dow Jones Industrial Averages fell 709 points on news of a spike in COVID-19 cases.[1]

      “Wishful thinking has given way to practical reality when it comes to Covid-19,” said Daniel P. Wiener, chairman of Adviser Investments. “Warm weather and a reduction in the rate of deaths does not give people the right to go out and party. They partied, the market partied and the hangover begins.”[2]

      This is the kind of news that might get the delusional raging narcissist-in-chief’s attention but what about the rest of the idiots?


Pandemic

There’s simply no excuse for what I’m seeing here. Sorry.

Sure, the government should have done more to help people comply with the lockdown—I’ve made that point repeatedly.[3] But you can’t blame the behavior I’m seeing in Pittsburgh[4] on the lockdown, because the lockdown is all but over.[5] People are choosing to be stupid, it’s not just Pittsburgh, and we’re seeing spikes in cases because of it.[6] And Europe, notably, sees that.[7]

Lauran Neergaard and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Fauci: Next few weeks critical to tamping down virus spikes,” Associated Press, June 23, 2020, copy in possession of author [You can click on this for now, but the Associated Press generally does not maintain stories on its site indefinitely; the link is likely to expire.]

Lisa Shumaker and Sharon Bernstein, “Washington state makes face masks mandatory as some states see new coronavirus surge,” Reuters, June 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/washington-state-makes-face-masks-mandatory-as-some-states-see-new-coronavirus-surge-idUSKBN23U2QT

John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/

British Broadcasting Corporation, “Coronavirus: EU considers barring Americans from travel list,” June 24, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53161447

Thomas Heath and Hamza Shaban, “Dow tumbles more than 700 points as surge in coronavirus cases rattles investors,” Washington Post, June 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/24/dow-tumbles-more-than-700-points-surge-coronavirus-cases-rattles-investors/

Claire Lampen, Hannah Gold, and Amanda Arnold, “Everything to Know About the Coronavirus in the United States,” Cut, June 24, 2020, https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/which-states-have-coronavirus-and-how-do-you-minimize-risk.html


The car

The good news is that the “Check Hybrid System” indication had cleared when the dealer looked at the car this morning. They did see that it had thrown a code when they checked the history but they don’t know what that code was, so the bad news is that whatever the cause was, it hasn’t been identified. It likely still lurks.


  1. [1]Thomas Heath and Hamza Shaban, “Dow tumbles more than 700 points as surge in coronavirus cases rattles investors,” Washington Post, June 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/24/dow-tumbles-more-than-700-points-surge-coronavirus-cases-rattles-investors/
  2. [2]Thomas Heath and Hamza Shaban, “Dow tumbles more than 700 points as surge in coronavirus cases rattles investors,” Washington Post, June 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/24/dow-tumbles-more-than-700-points-surge-coronavirus-cases-rattles-investors/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “As we cower in our apartments,” Not Housebroken, April 6, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/06/as-we-cower-in-our-apartments/; David Benfell, “Yet again, a season for cynicism,” Not Housebroken, May 10, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/05/10/yet-again-a-season-for-cynicism/; David Benfell, “Endorsing a giant meteor strike in 2020,” Not Housebroken, June 22, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/06/22/endorsing-a-giant-meteor-strike-in-2020/
  4. [4]John Shumway, “‘People Don’t Care’: Recent Jump In Allegheny County Coronavirus Cases Linked To People In Their 20s, 30s,” KDKA, June 23, 2020, https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2020/06/23/jump-in-allegheny-county-coronavirus-cases-linked-to-young-people/
  5. [5]Jamie Martines, “Gov. Wolf to move Allegheny, Westmoreland, other counties to green phase,” Tribune-Review, May 29, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/gov-wolf-to-move-allegheny-westmoreland-other-counties-to-green-phase/; WPXI, “16 more Pa. counties going green next Friday, Gov. Wolf says,” May 29, 2020, https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/9-local-counties-move-into-green-phase-next-week/SVG7FMAIZ5AX3CXJMNXJBQR234/
  6. [6]Claire Lampen, Hannah Gold, and Amanda Arnold, “Everything to Know About the Coronavirus in the United States,” Cut, June 24, 2020, https://www.thecut.com/2020/06/which-states-have-coronavirus-and-how-do-you-minimize-risk.html; Lauran Neergaard and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Fauci: Next few weeks critical to tamping down virus spikes,” Associated Press, June 23, 2020, copy in possession of author; Lisa Shumaker and Sharon Bernstein, “Washington state makes face masks mandatory as some states see new coronavirus surge,” Reuters, June 23, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa/washington-state-makes-face-masks-mandatory-as-some-states-see-new-coronavirus-surge-idUSKBN23U2QT
  7. [7]British Broadcasting Corporation, “Coronavirus: EU considers barring Americans from travel list,” June 24, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53161447

Recession, depression, my car has broken down

There’s no commentary in this issue. I had to take my car into the dealer because the dreaded “Check Hybrid System” indication came on. It looked to me, from what I could see, that the system is in fact still working. I can only hope that that means the battery has not gone bad.

It’d probably cost something like $4,000 to replace that battery. I don’t have it and, frankly, the car isn’t worth it. As of last night, the cost per mile clocked in at 34¢ per mile; this’d likely double that, putting it well past the IRS mileage allowance, even without depreciation.

I’m terrified. And I’m unlikely to hear before the end of the week because it’ll take that long before they even get to it.


Donald Trump


History

Bess Connolly, “Climate change, the rise of the Roman Empire, and the fall of the Ptolemies,” Yale University, June 22, 2020, https://news.yale.edu/2020/06/22/climate-change-rise-roman-empire-and-fall-ptolemies


Recession

Annie Lowrey, “The Second Great Depression,” Atlantic, June 23, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/06/second-great-depression/613360/

Neil Paine and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux, “What Economists Fear Most During This Recovery,” FiveThirtyEight, June 23, 2020, https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-economists-fear-most-during-this-recovery/