There are two new blog posts:
How many NRA spokesmen does it take to change a lightbulb? pic.twitter.com/yIm0efRO
— Jeffrey Levin (@jilevin) September 20, 2020
“In Colorado, every registered voter is sent a ballot without having to make a request and voters are urged to return ballots by mail sooner than seven days before the election. My office asked USPS officials to delay or not send the mailer in Colorado, but they refused to commit to that,” said [Colorado Secretary of State Jena] Griswold. Voters in states with similar vote-by-mail, such as California and Washington, could also be misled by the postcard’s recommendations.
I had thought the card was pretty germaine, but given its obvious significance in this election, took the precaution of scanning it in (figure 1) before, as I do with nearly everything, shredding it:
Fig. 1. Scan of card received by author on September 11, 2020, from the U.S. Postal Service.
Sure enough, there is specific advice there that could conflict with some states’ rules. And it really wouldn’t have taken a lot of rephrasing to mollify Jena Griswold and her colleagues from, she says, at least five other states.
Jake Johnson, “Condemning ‘Attempt at Voter Suppression,’ Colorado Sues DeJoy Over Misleading Postal Service Mailers,” Common Dreams, September 12, 2020, https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/12/condemning-attempt-voter-suppression-colorado-sues-dejoy-over-misleading-postal
Colleen Flynn and Evan Kruegel, “TRO against USPS granted in lawsuit filed by Colo. Sec. of State Jena Griswold,” KDVR, September 12, 2020, https://kdvr.com/news/tro-against-usps-granted-in-lawsuit-filed-by-colo-sec-of-state-jena-griswold/
Kimberly Kindy, “More than 200 meat plant workers in the U.S. have died of covid-19. Federal regulators just issued two modest fines,” Washington Post, September 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/osha-covid-meat-plant-fines/2020/09/13/1dca3e14-f395-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for Eastern U.S. and the Gulf of Mexico, as of September 14, 2020, at 2:02 am.
Elizabeth Hardison, “Pa.’s moratorium on evictions has ended. Here’s what that means,” Pennsylvania Capital-Star, September 1, 2020, https://www.penncapital-star.com/working-the-economy/pa-s-moratorium-on-evictions-has-ended-heres-what-that-means/
I think I see what Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is doing. He wants an incredibly repugnant state legislature to do its fucking job. One problem is he’s using very vulnerable people, people about to pushed into homelessness because of pandemic-related unemployment, to push his point. Even by the lax standards of political ethics, this is cynical to say the least.
The other problem is that this legislature really is horrible—perhaps to an even greater degree than with Congress, Republicans here, who control both houses, are absolutely in thrall to Donald Trump—and has been specifically horrible on the topic of the pandemic. Even as urgent as this issue is, counting on the legislature to “come to its senses” is folly.
Stephen Caruso, “Gov. Wolf says his executive authority has run out on extending eviction moratorium, perplexing some experts,” Pittsburgh City Paper, August 28, 2020, https://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/gov-wolf-says-his-executive-authority-has-run-out-on-extending-eviction-moratorium-perplexing-some-experts/Content?oid=17896117
It’s a sadly familiar story: Historically, some unions have been co-opted by employers, helping in their own emasculation, while union officials feather their own beds. Only this time, it’s organizations that should advocate for people of color, advocating California’s Proposition 22, arguing that ridesharing provides access to transportation and work for people of color. What they mean is that that work pays an estimated $5.64 per hour in California.
These organizations ought to be ashamed of themselves. But hey, their beds are feathered.
Kim Bojórquez, “Why are Black and Latino advocacy groups backing Uber, Lyft in California labor law fight?” Sacramento Bee, August 23, 2020, https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article244812707.html
Fig. 1. Screenshot of Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, taken by author, August 23, 2020, 9:23 pm.
Fig. 2. 72-hour gif of western U.S. satellite imagery.
The mandatory evacuation zones are beginning to recede a bit as the active fires look sparser (figure 1). Thanks to lightning forecasts, we’re not out of the woods.
Fig. 3. 72-hour gif of satellite imagery for the Eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.
Shame, shame. This speculation lacks support:
The overall number of laid-off American workers collecting unemployment benefits declined last week from 15.5 million to 14.8 million. Many of them probably found jobs. But some may have used up all their benefits, which in most states run out after about six months.
We don’t know how many found jobs and we don’t know how many simply used up their benefits. The claim that “many of them probably found jobs” is unsupported and frames information optimistically without justification for that optimism.
Christopher Rugaber, “Rise in jobless claims reflects still-struggling US economy,” Associated Press, August 20, 2020, copy in possession of author
Postmaster General DeJoy has not halted changes mentioned in his Tuesday letter.
The core of our legal allegations have not been addressed at all — which is why our coalition just filed in Federal Court.
— AG Josh Shapiro (@PAAttorneyGen) August 21, 2020
DeJoy just conceded he’s not rolling back his illegal change on late trips — one of the key counts in our lawsuit.
— AG Josh Shapiro (@PAAttorneyGen) August 21, 2020
The Postmaster General admitted that he made changes that impacted delivery service.
Now we need detailed information on how he plans to reverse those illegal changes.
— AG Josh Shapiro (@PAAttorneyGen) August 21, 2020
As at least 21 state attorneys general sued, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy suspended the changes that might interfere with election mail. It is now apparent that “suspend” does not mean “reverse,” as an email has come to light forbidding the reconstruction or reconnection of sorting machines that had already been removed from service.
Kristen Holmes and Paul P. Murphy, “USPS email tells managers not to reconnect sorting machines,” CNN, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/usps-reconnect-sorting-machines/index.html
Fig. 1. Caribbean satellite imagery, compiled by author, as of August 21, 2020, 8:02 am.
This (figure 2) is what they’re showing:
Fig. 2. Storm track projections from the Weather Channel for Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Depression Fourteen, August 20, 2020, fair use.
According to the Weather Channel, Laura seems projected to skim a bunch of islands, including Cuba. From what I’ve seen, that won’t affect its strength much. Tropical Depression 13 passes over the Yucatan Peninsula; that might weaken it some, but first, it looks to me like it is actually skirting that peninsula, possibly passing over western Cuba instead (figure 1); and second, it could regain strength or intensify once it hits the Gulf of Mexico.
Also, I’m not sure I buy their timing on Laura. Laura has a much longer distance to traverse than Tropical Depression 13 along their projected tracks and it doesn’t look to me like it’s moving that much faster. I can also see it turning north and east of the U.S. entirely (figure 1).
Either way, and assuming these storms make landfall along the Gulf of Mexico coast, some or all of this seems to me like it could head towards Pittsburgh as it gets caught up in a flow from Louisiana (figure 3):
Fig. 3. Eastern U.S. and Gulf of Mexico satellite imagery, compiled by author, as of August 21, 2020, 8:01 am.
If so, a relatively quiet, hot, and rainless summer might be in for a break.
Sean Breslin, “Tropical Storm Laura and Tropical Depression Fourteen: Track the Storms,” Weather Channel, August 20, 2020, https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2020-08-20-tropical-depression-thirteen-fourteen-laura-marco-tracker
Fig. 4. Map from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department showing grids, received August 21, 2020, fair use.
The Sonoma County Fire Incident Map seems to be working again. I have a screenshot (figure 5):
Fig. 5. Screenshot of the Sonoma County Fire Incident Map, taken on August 21, 2020, at 12:01 pm EDT (9:01 am PDT) by author.
The warning zones are getting close to the Laguna de Santa Rosa. The mandatory evacuation zone now reaches nearly to Forestville.
Mom, stay where you are.
An appeals court has ruled that Uber and Lyft may continue to misclassify drivers for the time being. But the companies must have a plan to comply within 30 days if their appeal fails and California’s sham Proposition 22 fails to pass. So the bawling, hissy-fit throwing, temper tantrum throwing crybabies got their way. And we know how that turns out.
Lauren Feiner, “Appeals court grants Uber and Lyft a temporary reprieve following threats to shut down in California,” CNBC, August 20, 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/20/appeals-court-grants-uber-and-lyft-a-temporary-reprieve-in-case-over-driver-classification.html
Speaking of that blog post . . .
Leila Miller, “Low-wage workers face retaliation for demanding COVID-19 safety measures at work,” Los Angeles Times, August 15, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-15/coronavirus-workers-retaliation-claims
I generally oppose violence but my god, with mother-fuckers like these capitalists, and a system that actively enables rather than restrains them, what are you supposed to do?
Nick Matoney, “Restaurant revolution: Some owners in Pennsylvania plan to expand capacity despite mandate,” WTAE, August 14, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/restaurant-revolution-some-owners-in-pennsylvania-plan-to-expand-capacity-despite-mandate/33602662
Teghan Simonton, “Braddock restaurant owner apologizes for comparing Gov. Wolf, Levine to Nazis,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 14, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/braddock-restaurant-owner-apologizes-for-comparing-gov-wolf-levine-to-nazis/
Salvador Rizzo, “Trump promotes false claim that Harris might not be a natural-born U.S. citizen,” Washington Post, August 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/08/13/trump-falsely-claims-harris-might-not-be-us-citizen/
It would appear the United Arab Emirates have sold the Palestinians down the river:
Israel and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties in a historic Washington-brokered deal under which Israel will “suspend” its plans to annex parts of the Palestinian territories.
However, cracks in the deal became quickly apparent after its announcement on Thursday, with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying there was “no change” to his annexation plans, while the UAE insisted that it “immediately stops annexation”.
Palestinians had been expecting that Arab countries would withhold recognition until they (the Palestinians) had agreed a peace deal with Israel.
So at best, Jared Kushner’s “peace deal,” with which he sought to humiliate Palestinians, has moved the bar: With the U.S. offering Binyamin Netanyahu annexation, the UAE could agree to Israel’s suspension of that annexation in exchange for recognition. And at worst, the Palestinians got nothing at all with the annexation to proceed regardless. This sounds like that “constructive ambiguity” I learned about, a routine sleaze in international relations where both sides can affirm their own interpretations of the agreement, but the language is actually very ambiguous.
Oliver Holmes and Julian Borger, “Israel signs historic deal with UAE that will ‘suspend’ West Bank annexation,” Guardian, August 13, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/13/israel-and-uae-to-form-diplomatic-ties-says-donald-trump
Some restaurants and bars in Allegheny County are about to defy health orders. I’m just not eating at any of them now because I don’t know which of them will continue to comply, which will not, and I’m not going to go someplace to find out they’re defying measures meant to limit the spread of a lethal pandemic just because they think they should be immunized from capitalist risk. I’m completely furious.
Dillon Carr, “As deadline approaches, restaurants vary on defying Wolf’s capacity order, other restrictions,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, August 13, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/as-deadline-approaches-restaurants-vary-on-defying-wolfs-capacity-order-other-restrictions/